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A Jubilee Letter.

Timaru, Fob. 7th, 1563. _■ Dear Micky,—At length our sea-voyage is past, And we've" got to : ,this mighty New -Zealand at • last. And, sure, bub I'm glad: for one thing and another Makes'-this crossing-the ocean the .deuce of a, bother. There's first, the sea-sickness—bad luck to the ■ pain; It's myself was killed, Micky, again and again,; Salt-water, by gallons, forced down my poor throttle Till my inside was washed out as- clean as a bottle. Then the food that we got made us think .of our sinsPotatoes like gravel, and horseflesh iii tins;. Such lighting for what they called-coffee and teas, Sucli duffs, without fruit, and such soup, without peas; Sticli positions, at night, when you got into bed— Noiv sleeping upright, and now, perhaps, on your head; While your dinner—when starving and ready to dieInstead of your mouth, would come slap in your eye; Or else, a great sea, if contrary the weather, Would pop down, and set yon all swimming together. But, never mind; now, we're no longer, afloat--They brought us all safely ashore in a - boat; Bui we got such a ducking, oh dear; in the rain That! thought we conld never have dried us again. Then, out in a mighty great field we were sent, = While a man and a boy came and put up a tent; But, as one wouldn't hold us—perhaps four or five score— They presently came back, and put up some ; more, In which, we were told, we should all have to stay. They won't finish the barracks till we're all gone away. And now, to describe, my dear Micky, to you This beautiful city they call Timaru. Just fancy a town that's without any streets, Where buildings, at random, are all that one meets, Wiih grass for the-*pavement—that's not very strange, And mud in the -winter, byway of a- change; Where the ground's ; so uneven—a deuce of a bothei You can roll from onejjiouse right on top of another; And so bad off for wateaj—-it's true by my soul, That men, horses, anftl|attle,: all drink at one hole; Where no man, could *he help it, would linger a minute, Wltile the Government Town, faith, there's not a- house " in

They've an ' Irish Town ' here, where the Paddys (sly elves)

Have settled together, and live by themselves; A 'Deal Town,' all boatmen, old 'shells' and what not; And a ' York Town,' the lowest and worst of the lot. They tellme there's streets, and they say there's a squareFine places, no doubt, if you ; knew where they were'; A town hall, and market-place too (do you mind 'em), Land-office, and all—if you knew where to find 'em; A park. I believe — could but be found; And a hospital, too, they've marked out on the ground. Faith, a mighty fine place is this same Timaru— That is, it will be—in a century or two. And then, for the houses: they're half built of mud, Like they made them at home in the time of the flood; With a church—though I-hear very few here have tried

Thirteen was the most that whs ever inside it; With three or four shops, butchers, tailors and cobblers, Two' inns—where they serve you out very small nobblers A baker, a Dutchman, a watchmaker too, A grog-selling Yankee, a draper, a Jew.

Then, the money you pay, and the things to be had— The dearest of dear for the worst of the badDamaged lots fiom all parts, though you must be eontent—

The tprolit—a trifle—five hundred per cent; While, if you should grumble -the shopman will shout, 'We don't want your custom; we're better without.' This, morning, while walking, I felt rather pale, So .went in, and called for a quart full of ale, Which I drank, laid down sixpence, and sauntered away, When old Sam bellowed out,. ' It's three shillings to pay.' By the powers, Micky darling, 'twas only his wife-Pretty-creature—that saved me; from ta"king his life. Three shillings! You'd better be under the groimd. And tobacco, I hears sixteen shillings" a pound; While you daren't light a fire, if you're ever so willing, For a stick like a broom-handle, costs you a shilling. You've heard, my dear Mick,, what high wages they're

giving, But you've not heard a word what it costs you for. living: And you heard how poor fellows their fortunes arc making. When I hear such tales told, faith, it sets my heart aching; For, though Government, generous, pays us (by heaven!) Six shillings a day, yet our living costs seven. ■ • But it's no use to growl; there's a policeman to fright

us, Who keeps showing his teeth, as though meaning, to bite us,

"With a coat buttoned up that's bo frightened to stoop in, And a thing on his head like a pot they boil soup in. Then (oh dear) such a country—half mountain, half bog— First drowned in the rain and then lost in a fog; Where the wind (by the powers!) blows the hair off your

. head; Where you half roast by day and half freeze in your bed; Where one goes fifty miles to pick up a day's labour, And at least five-and-twenty to see one's next neighbour, Or to call in a save you from dying Or to do what's required when one's wife's'multiplying; Where the grass is like spears, to er danger one's life, And what doesn't stab you cuts just like a knife; Where your face is in lumps —a most terrible sight — With sandflies by day and mosquitoes by night; Where travelling about of adventure is full: First chased by a pig and then tossed by a bull; Where the rivers (oh! clear) you find, when you come to 'em The way to get over is just to go through 'em; Where you sleep in a flax 'bush—faint, hungry, and tired— And'wake in a fright—for the grass has been fired; Whore — No matter what.—ln Otago, T'm told, They're making their hundreds and thousands in gold. I'll clear out at once; on the diggings T'm bent; Ten thousand will do mo—l'm easy content. With that in my pocket I'll soon; bid adieu To this beautiful island and sweet Tiinaru. J.T.M. [The writer J. T. Morris, was a passenger by the Strathallaii, who went on to Lyttelton, but presently returned to South Canterbury, and; after serving for somo time on a < Survey Party, settled oh Maori Hill.]

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Bibliographic details

A Jubilee Letter., Timaru Herald, Volume XIIC, Issue 13805, 16 January 1909, Supplement

Word Count

A Jubilee Letter. Timaru Herald, Volume XIIC, Issue 13805, 16 January 1909, Supplement

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