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

Augustus Earle
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 197 pages of information about A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827.

The affair was simply this:  Atoi had two wives.  During the time of our visit to his village, he was absent, and had entrusted these women to the care of his brother; but he, instead of being faithful to the trust reposed in him, had actually seduced one of them.  This circumstance came to the knowledge of George, and he, feeling for the honour of his absent friend, immediately proceeded to the village, and thus gave the parties warning that he was fully aware of the nature of their proceedings.  He had also dispatched a messenger to Atoi, to inform him of his disgrace, and to request his immediate return.  In the course of the day it was expected he would arrive, and bring with him a strong party of friends, all burning with revenge, and eager to punish his brother for his unnatural perfidy.  It was thought that unless George interfered, much bloodshed might ensue; and it may readily be imagined how anxious we were that this dreaded meeting should be over; yet I (for one) had determined that I would be a witness of it.  Therefore, when word was brought to me that Atoi was crossing the bay, I hastened down to the beach.  There I found all parties assembled from both villages.  George and his followers, who were to act as mediators, sat immediately in front of the place of landing; behind them were Atoi’s brother and all his partizans; and in the rear were all the women and children, with about a dozen white faces scattered amongst them.  The scene was picturesque and exceedingly interesting.  It was near the close of a lovely summer’s day—­the sun, fast sinking towards the horizon, threw a warm and mellow glow over the wide expanse of the far-spreading bay, whose smooth waters were only disturbed by the approaching canoe cutting its foamy way.  It was crowded with naked warriors, urging their rapid course towards the shore; and we heard the loud and furious song of the chief, animating his friends to exertion; we saw his frantic gestures, as he stood in the centre of his canoe, brandishing his weapons.  As they came near the place of landing, George ran into the stream, and as the canoe touched the shore, attacked Atoi, but in a playful manner, splashing water over him.  Thus irritated, Atoi jumped on land, and, with a double-barrelled musket in his hand, ran towards his brother, and doubtless would have killed him on the spot, had he not been prevented.  I now saw the advantage of George and his party being present.  He and three of his subjects seized upon Atoi, and tried to wrest the weapon from his hands, which if they had been able to effect, a mortal combat could not take place, such being the custom here.  Atoi was a very powerful man of about thirty, and those who attacked him had a most difficult task; twice he broke from them; and I then watched the countenance of his brother, which was perfectly cool and collected, though the firelock was in readiness, and the finger on the trigger, which might despatch him instantly.  All parties sat perfectly quiet during the desperate

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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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