A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827 eBook

Augustus Earle
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 169 pages of information about A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827.

The Attorney-General of the colony took a particular interest in these savages, and gave a large party, to which they were invited.  Several of the visitors on this occasion came out of curiosity to see how these cannibals would conduct themselves, expecting, no doubt, to witness a display of disgusting gluttony; but in that they were disappointed, for never did any set of men behave with greater decorum than they did.

On being apprised of this invitation, they were all most anxious to obtain European dresses, and when we refused to lend them ours, they requested of our servants the loan of a suit.  This being denied them also, with the little money they had they attempted to bargain for whole suits of convict dresses, in order to make their debut in style at the table of the Attorney-General!  When I discovered this to be the case, I explained to them the impropriety of their conduct, and roused their pride by pointing out to them the absurdity of men of their high rank in their own country wishing to appear in the cast-off dress of degraded slaves, and how much more suitable it was to the dignity of their character to appear in their own national costume.  Accordingly, on the appointed day, they met the company superbly attired in mats and feathers; they made a splendid show at the dinner-table, and afforded great amusement to the evening visitors.  At an early hour they got very sleepy, but were too polite to hint how much they felt oppressed by drowsiness.  I saw their eyes grow heavy, and perceived that it was difficult for them to sit upright on their chairs.  I mentioned these symptoms to their kind host, who immediately consented to their retiring.  They accordingly withdrew into a corner of one of the adjoining rooms, where, lying down huddled together, and covering themselves with their mats, they were soon asleep, and gave no interruption to anyone during the remainder of the evening.

The greatest treat it was in our power to bestow on them was to take them to a review of the troops then stationed at Sydney.  The splendour of their regimentals, the regularity of their movements, and the precision of their firing, made them nearly mad with delight; they ran about the plain literally wild with joy, occasionally stopping to gaze with wonder on men performing what they deemed such prodigies.  In their ecstasies they occasionally vociferated their own furious war-whoop.  Their extravagant expressions of delight, and their many extraordinary gestures, caused great amusement both to the military and to the spectators assembled on the ground; and when the review was over my savage friends were quite exhausted with fatigue and excitement.

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A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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