1886-87 - USA, Canada, Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Egypt
March 15th, 1887
Dunedin, New Zealand
In two days I expect to leave this beautiful country for Melbourne which I shall indeed be very thankful to reach - once more to get some letters from home. I pray and trust in that goodness and mercy that has hitherto preserved us each and all during our long separation from one another. My experience in the different towns I have visited has not varied much, it appears all of a piece - happy times with the brethren, and success in the business. P.F.Co. will be rather surprised to receive my New Zealand orders - it is the most signal success I have ever met with in all my long experience. I did splendidly in Wellington with a very large ﬁrm who kindly gave me the name of an equally large one in this place and who are their keenest competitors, my weeks labour has issued in their giving me a much larger order than the Wellington ﬁrm and best of all their London house pay in cash against invoice. This too like all the other towns I have seen in New Zealand is a beautiful place - as far as large buildings are concerned it is the most important of all the towns. All around it are very high ranges of mountains and a magniﬁcent river about 6 miles up from the port (Port Chalmers) near the ocean. The gathering here is small compared to the others, but we have had some very real fellowship. Mr. Lowe has a brother here who married a daughter of the late Dr. Cronin - they have been very kind to me and many evenings have been spent with them - they gave me a call at the Hotel just now with one of their boys and a lady friend, to look at my samples. They were saying that the sitting room I am occupying Dr. Burton was in for about 10 days and only left with his lady patient the day before my arrival. Mr. Lowe's brother is the Chief Engineer of the Railway here.
Am now thinking seriously as to how I am to get home and have been brought into a new difficulty through reports from others that it is not really safe to go through the Red Sea after the ﬁrst week in May and all the steamers from Singapore to England go through the Canal – I am told there would be great difﬁculty in getting a steamer from Singapore to the Cape and if I do not reach Singapore until May my best way to return then would be through Japan and across the Paciﬁc again to San Francisco and returning through America which seems a tremendous way round. Or I could return from Singapore to Sydney and cross over to Auckland and take one of the regular steamers from there to Plymouth via Rio. If I ﬁnd I cannot do business at Melbourne I should make short work of Australia and get right on to Singapore, but on the other hand if I meet with anything like the success there I have here, it will detain me many weeks, even if I only work Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. I intended going to Tasmania from here but the steamers only call there once a fortnight and as the boat on Thursday goes direct to Melbourne without calling at Hobart I have decided to go direct to Australia now and if I have time I shall run over to Hobart from there, it is only a day's run from Melbourne. I assure you it is like a dream to me when I think where I am - so many thousands of miles away from home. The steamers from here to England are very ﬁne and are engaged 12 months ahead to carry the frozen sheep home and yet the supply here is enormous that they hardly know what to do with them - I saw a splendid leg of mutton hanging at a butchers shop a day or two ago weighing nearly 8 lbs for 6d, a whole carcass is sometimes sold for l/6 or 2/- - prime merino mutton. No wonder that the children grow rapidly and that the people generally look so well, seeing that they get such a cheap and abundant supply of food. Trust you are keeping well and that the Lord graciously gives you continual cheer of heart - the little time will soon pass now as I am quite decided about returning home somehow D.V. To work all the other countries as I have done hitherto would occupy me a couple of years and by June I shall have had enough of it for this round. God has graciously preserved me in good health and for me it has been very pleasant, but I know and feel the other side of it and am indeed longing to set my face homeward once more. The weather has been very ﬁne for many weeks - it is the beginning of their Autumn, so that all the fruits are abundant - I bought 5 splendid peaches yesterday for 6d - weighing a pound. While food however is very cheap - many things are dear, all indeed that are imported – house rent too is high, but they are very pretty comfortable dwellings, all around the hills, mostly built of wood with nice verandahs and gardens ﬁlled with old English ﬂowers and plants. In the furniture way I have not seen such a good shop as Petter Brothers in New Zealand. It is only people who have capital that can do any good here and those who come out to touch farming without a practical knowledge of it generally lose their money - no place in the world like England take it all together. The mail carrying this letter will not leave here for a week but thought I had better write before starting for Australia although it is just possible the one I send from Melbourne on the 24th or 25th may reach nearly as soon as this, I have written Gant a letter by this mail. Much love to Eunice, Eliza & Mr. Robertshaw and all enquiring friends and to your dear self my beloved wife and my dear Arundel and Harry, Harriett and Emma and all the darling children and commending you all once more to our precious God and Father believe me.
I am very affectionate Husband
As soon as my way is clear as to the steamer home I shall cable P.F.Co. a word that they will understand and will at once acquaint you so that if arriving at Plymouth or Southampton you might meet me. D.V.