Drovers Road

Drovers Road

Adventures in New Zealand #1
by Joyce West
Publisher: Bethlehem Books
Trade Paperback, 245 pages
Price: $14.95

Historical Setting: New Zealand, 1950s

Henrietta was a pure white goat, with long hair like teased silk and pale yellow eyes that stood out from her head. I could never begin to tell you all the awful things which Henrietta did while she lived at Drovers Road . . .

One afternoon, I was driving Henrietta in the little carriage down the track from the stables toward the river flat. Suddenly she took a mad fit and bolted. I was sitting in the carriage with my knees doubled up to my chin, and Henrietta went off so suddenly that I turned a backwards somersault and the reins ripped through my fingers, and then I was lying on my back on the path, and Henrietta and the carriage were disappearing down the hill in a cloud of dust. Straight under the bars she went and into the horse paddock. The Chocolate Soldier took one look at Henrietta and the leaping, rocking carriage, and he bolted too, and the other horses bolted after him. Henrietta gave a loud trembling bleat and pursued them.

Round and round the paddock they went, the horses mad with fright, and squealing and kicking, almost crashing into the fence in their blind panic, Henrietta still chasing them. Then it happened. She got up close to the Soldier, and he stood madly on his head, and let fly with both hind legs. It seemed to me that the kick lifted Henrietta ten feet.

"Oh, Henrietta!" I sobbed, running. "Oh, she's killed!"

Henrietta is only one of the many characters—man and beast—(all of whom survive, by the way) hilariously or touchingly drawn by the fictitious Gay Allan in her lively recounting of life on a New Zealand sheep station. She begins her story: "I have made up my mind that while I lie here waiting for my sprained ankle to mend, I shall write a book. It will be about ourselves, the Allan family, about Drovers Road and all our adventures here, and then when we are grown up we can read it, and remember how happy we were."

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