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NEW ZEALAND. The Islands of New Zealand have of late occupied the attention of practical as well as theoretical colonists. The country describes an irregular, but on the whole, a long figure, extending from north to south, and has been computed to contain an area of 62,160 square miles, or about 39,782,400 square acres; the medium breadth being about eighty miles, with a length something over 800 miles.
New Zealand exhibits a world in miniature, It would seem as if nature, isolating this country from the great continent, had atoned for its banishment by concentrating within it all the varied features and resources which lie so widely apart in the more extensive surfaces of the earth. It has its alpine districts, snow-clad and bristling with glaciers, whose drainage falling in foaming cataracts, is received into numerous and some of them considerable rivers; its table-lands and plains, sometimes flat, at others undulated by rounded and fertile hills. Valleys overspread with rich verdure; and forests, the trees of which occasionally rise to a height which leaves no similarity between them and the tallest pines of Norway, also combine to form the scenery of New Zealand. Nor are the more forbidding
aspects and phenomena of nature wanting; the mountains on the eastern side of North Island contain volcanoes; and Mr. Black witnessed an eruption in Walkai, an island in the Bay of Plenty: some of the plateaux are cleft by yawning fissures of unfathomed depth; and the south-western coast presents the inhospitable faces of craggy and stupendous rocks. So dreary and desolate is the north extremity of these islands, that the natives have fixed upon it as their “Styx,” leading to the abodes of the dead.
The general face of the territory is undulating. A chain of eminences extends throughout its entire length, rising with a varied ascent from inconsiderable hills to lofty mountains. In some of the rocks, whose strata are exposed by the sea, metalliferous veins have been detected. Iron has been found in considerable quantities in Mercury Bay, and manganese near the banks of the river Cowa-cowa. No coal-mines have been discovered, but peat-coal exists under the vegetable soil of North Cape. The natives appear to make no use even of the few metals yet met with, their axes, arms, and ornaments being cut from porphyry, jade, and other hard stones. The soils change with almost every mile; but being constantly refreshed by disintegrations from the sides of the mountains, are generally fertile, all the rivers in the land being bordered with extensive banks of rich alluvium. Hence it would appear, that though the more formidable mountains of South Island would restrict cultivation in extent, yet they give to the available land a deeper and more productive soil than that of the northern, less rugged, and therefore more extensively cultivable island. Even here the excellence of the land is equally attested by the luxuriant and verdant fern which overruns the depressed parts of the entire country. Our Engraving represents the banks of the Hutt River.
LOOK TO THE END. We were assembled at breakfast the following morning, when the well-known knock of the postman resounded through the house. My brother Edward, on hearing it, rushed from the table. Outstripping the maid servant, he opened the door, and presently returned holding up a letter, the address of which I recognized to be in Miss Percy's hand writing. I was busied in pouring the coffee, but my hand trembled so violently that I was compelled to desist for a few minutes, during which time my father, who was a strict observer of etiquette, reproved Edward for his breach of good manners, observing it was a scriptural rule, that “all things should be done decently and in order."
This remark operating as a temporary quietus, enabled us to restrain our impatience, whilst my father rubbed his spectacles, and leisurely proceeded to read his letter.
This, however, proved a tedious operation; and my mother, who sympathised in my curiosity, not being herself absolutel free from that feminine weakness, at length interposed. “My dear,” she remarked, “ Caroline is anxiously waiting to know Miss Percy's decision.”
“She shall be gratified presently,” he replied. “ Could you not read the letter aloud,” suggested my mother, for you
know we are all a little interested in its contents." My father looked up with a significant smile. “ I find it difficult to decipher Miss Percy's hand,” he said; “I trust, Caroline, my dear, you will avoid the fashionable affectation of writing illegibly. Philip, you are an adept in such matters, pray oblige your mother and sister.” My brother quickly glanced his eye over the first page,
then smiled, and nodded at me. I understood that the decision was favorable, and could not repress an exclamation of joy. The letter, which was then read aloud, afforded general satisfaction. My governess expressed a wish that I should spend the last week of the vacation with Elizabeth, and accompany her on her return to school. To this plan my parents offered no objection, though my brothers would have preferred a different arrangement, saying it was hardly fair to lose my society without an equivalent in the way of news and adventures.
I must pass over the few weeks I remained at home, and
hasten to the time when I once more bade adieu to my beloved friends—not as formerly with tears and regrets, but with joyous anticipations of coming pleasure. Mrs. Dalton and Elizabeth met me on my arrival in town, and my boxes being removed from the stage coach to a handsome carriage, we soon reached Mr. Dalton's house, which was situated in a fashionable suburban square.
I had formed a sufficiently exalted idea of the position and consequence of my new acquaintances, but a very imperfect one of the style of their establishment. I felt absolutely bewildered with the costly furniture, and elaborate decorations of the spacious apartments, the luxurious and expensive mode of living, and the number of the servants; neither could I refrain from contrasting the whole with the simple elegance, correct taste, and compact arrangement of Mr. Selwyn's delightful residence. But the difference was still more apparent when I became familiar with the children's apartments, which were at the back of the house, and consisted of two sleeping-rooms and a study. The latter, which had been formerly used as a nursery, was carpeted and furnished with book-case, globes, maps, reclining couch, piano, and other school-room appendages ; but it was badly lighted, having only a single window, the lower panes of which were shaded by a muslin blind to prevent the children looking down into the court-yard, of which it commanded a view. Here Elizabeth's only sister spent the greater portion of her time, attended by Miss Martyn, a young lady whose chief business consisted in waiting upon her, and giving her such instruction as the delicate state of her health permitted her to receive. This interesting child was a cripple, and nothing could exceed the tenderness with which she was treated by every member of the family. Retiring in manner, and possessing "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit," Emma Dalton was contented, and even happy, in her seclusion ; ready to sympathise with the pleasures of her lively sister, though she habitually shrank from sharing them. Naturally timid, and sensitively alive to her deformity, she was excused seeing the company which frequented her father's house, unless some guest more intimate than the others chose to visit her in her own apartment. Her lameness being very great, much