Richard Davies was born in Carmarthen in South Wales in 1848, the third son in a family of six children. His father being well-off, he was given the opportunity to try a number of jobs, but found it hard to settle (for the same reason perhaps!).
Eventually, after a lengthy stay in Egypt, where he was employed first as a clerk for the Eastern Cable Company in Alexandria and then by John Matheson & Co., and of which he has written a good account (reproduced in the book), he tried New Zealand. We have no details of his arrival here, but he was soon working as an auditor for George in Oamaru, and attracting the attention of George’s oldest daughter.
The many letters from Richard during his lengthy courtship of Emma (for George was understandably reluctant to give Emma over to him before he demonstrated a greater ability to support her), reveal Richard to the reader, and surprise anyone who thought Victorians (and colonial males in particular) as emotionally repressed!
A sample letter from Richard to Emma