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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.
struggle; one of the barrels of Atoi’s piece went off, and the contents flew amongst us, without, however, doing any material injury; and, finally, the musket was wrested out of his hands.  He then sat still for about twenty minutes, to recover his breath, when he seized a club and rushed upon his brother (for mortal weapons were now prohibited).  The brother started up, armed in the same manner; some heavy blows passed between them; when, having thrown aside their clubs, they grappled each other firmly, and a dreadful struggle ensued.  As they were both completely naked, their hair was the only thing to take hold by; but being long, thick, and strong, it afforded a firm grasp, and they committed desperate havoc on each other’s persons.  At this period of the fight their poor old mother, who was quite blind, came forward to try and separate the combatants; the sister and younger brothers now followed her example; and, finally, the fair and frail cause of all this commotion.

The brothers, having completely exhausted their strength, were easily separated; and as their friends had carefully removed all weapons out of their reach, they of course were deprived of the means of injuring each other.  The members of Atoi’s family, together with a few friends, now sat down in a circle, to converse and consult on the affair.  Atoi’s wife totally denied the charge, and protested her innocence, and many circumstances were brought forward to corroborate her statements.  The husband at length was satisfied, and all parties were reconciled.

CHAPTER XXVII.

The law of retaliation.

This affair was scarcely terminated, when we found that another of a still more serious nature was likely to arise from it and would threaten the peace of both villages.  When King George sent his messenger to inform Atoi of the infidelity of his wife, the infuriated husband assaulted the man, and it was rumoured that he had killed him.  This was an offence not to be forgiven, and George was so exasperated by it that he vowed he would exterminate the whole of Atoi’s tribe.  A native, however, arrived with the intelligence that the man was not dead, but only wounded.  This did not seem to allay George’s feelings of resentment, and he instantly made great preparations for war.  When our anxiety was wound up to the utmost, we were greatly astonished to see Atoi and all his friends approach our settlement, totally unarmed.  George went out to meet them, looking so full of rage that I thought Atoi stood but a slight chance for his life.  After a great deal of violent pantomimic action and grimace, the apology offered by Atoi was accepted, and the visit was concluded by a grand war-dance and sham fight performed in their best manner.  King George, in the fulness of his heart at this complete restoration of friendship, gave a great feast of kumaras and fish, to which we added some tobacco; and the whole of the party seated themselves by each other with the utmost sociality—­a convincing proof that animosity is not long an inmate of their breasts.

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