Page:Our New Zealand Cousins.djvu/131

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115
Our New Zealand Cousins.

ablutions are gratefully clean. Naturally, with abundant water the baths are copiously supplied; but then the accessories and surroundings are so clean and comfortable! The butcher's meat is naturally superior; but how much is that superiority enhanced by the prevalent cleanliness and the really good cookery? It is an ungrateful task at all times to find fault, and doubly distasteful when a comparison tells against one's local prejudices and the natural bias one has in favour of home institutions. Still, if I am to be a truthful critic, I must give my opinions on what I observe, honestly and fearlessly; and I am content to appeal to any traveller who has had experience of hotels in New Zealand and New South Wales to say whether, at every point, the management of the older colony does not lag miserably behind that of the newer colony.

"Bung" is a mighty power in the land; and the licensed victualler's calling is an honourable and a necessary one. But in the name of common sense and common fairness, let the bargain be observed loyally on both sides. In many cases, as things go at present, the licence is all with the publican to do as he "darn pleases," while the victualling, which the public have a right to expect is ——. Yes, just so, a blank!

But to return to Wanganui. If the visitor wants to have a comprehensive view of the town, let him do as we did, and mount the steep Flagstaff Hill, which looks down upon the river, spanned by its noble bridge on iron piers; and there, while his sense of smell is regaled with the sweet scent of the