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.

CHAPTER XXXV.

THREATENED INVASION BY HONGI.

We had passed some months here, and were beginning to look out for the return of our brig, to take us again into civilised society, when we were once more thrown into alarm by a threatened invasion.  A rumour was circulated in the village that Hongi, who now lay at the point of death, had declared that he would make one last glorious effort before he expired.  He was resolved (it was reported) to collect his warriors, overcome George and his followers, possess himself of Kororarika, and die upon the conquered territory of his enemy; and I had no doubt that in his moment of delirium such had been his exclamations, as it had always been one of his favourite projects.  When this was reported to George, he immediately came to us, and with a most doleful countenance told us we must take care of ourselves; for, if the report proved true, he was much too weak to protect us.  This certainly caused us some alarm, but, fortunately for us, a good-sized whaler, the Marianne, was then lying at anchor in the port, having arrived but a few days previously.  The presence of a ship, all over the world, is felt as a protection to Europeans, as in case of danger it is a sure place of refuge.

King George sent off his messengers in every direction to inform his friends and dependants of the threats uttered against him by Hongi, and the next day eight large war canoes, filled with warriors, came to his assistance.  They landed at some distance from the beach, and, as it was late in the day, they would not make their public entree till the next morning; for the New Zealanders are very fond of giving a grand effect to all their public meetings.  I determined to pay them a visit, to witness the ceremonies of the night bivouack, which proved a most picturesque scene, and wild and beautiful in the extreme.  Their watch fires glanced upon the dark skins of these finely formed men, and on their bright weapons.  Some groups were dancing; others were lying round a fire, chanting wild songs, descriptive of former wars; whilst the graver elders sat in a circle, and discussed the present state of affairs.  All were delighted to see me, and each group offered to share their fire and provisions with the “white visitor,” as they termed me.

The next morning these auxiliary forces were seen descending the hills to our village; and, in order to return the compliment, we all went in our best array to receive them.  There were upwards of two hundred athletic, naked savages, each armed with his firelock, and marching with the utmost regularity.  The chiefs took the lead.  The alarm such a sight might have created was dissipated by the certainty that they came as our protectors.  I even imagined their countenances were not so ferocious as usual but as they approached near to our party, the usual sham fight began, accompanied by the war dance, and although

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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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