In the late 1940s, Percy Malthus (right) submitted a manuscript entitled Red Embers to the publisher A. H. Reed (who was a personal acquaintance of his – they shared a love of walking) and was very disappointed at its rejection. Sixty years later some of his descendants thought it would be a good idea to make Red Embers available to others – so we decided to publish it ourselves. It needs to be made clear, however, that the version we produced comes from several surviving partial manuscripts, and it is not known how it compares with the one that was submitted and rejected.
To give a broader idea of his writings – and thus of himself – a few other accounts are included in this compilation, and it is hoped that those presented will give a glimpse into Percy's philosophy and life values. The Contents of this little book are: Introduction, 1899 Amateur Athletics Championships (see photo at left), Letter to The Right Hon R. J. Seddon, Cast Ashore, The Flight of the Godwits, Stephens Island, The Lighthouses of New Zealand, The Milford Track, and of course Red Embers itself.
Perceval Malthus was born in Rangiora in 1874. After leaving school he worked as a wood cutter and on farms; he later became a union secretary, travelling around Canterbury collecting shearers' subscriptions. He competed successfully in long distance running in New Zealand and Australia; served in South Africa towards end of Boer War, then joined the lighthouse service where he was stationed on a number of lighthouses around the New Zealand coast. He married May Saxon in 1907 and they had four children: Charles, Marion, Shelia, and Dora – all of whom are shown in this 1954 photograph. Percy died in Hampden aged 90.
Red Embers was published in March 2009 (64 pages A4 size, ISBN 978-0-473-14780-8) and is available from Michael Trotter, 170 Tuahiwi Road, R D 2, KAIAPOI 7691, New Zealand. The cost is NZ$15.00 per copy plus $5.50 packing and postage for up to four copies (within New Zealand). Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org