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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.

After the important subjects had been settled by the elders, the young men assembled without their weapons, and began another kind of sham fight, one grappling with another, till hundreds of them were locked in each other’s arms, and were flung in heaps in every direction.  After they were tired of this pastime, a regular ring was formed, and a wrestling match began, which was carried on in as regular and fair a manner as a boxing match in our own country, and as much skill and cunning were displayed in the art of throwing as the greatest connoisseur would desire.  I was pleased, also, to observe that, whatever happened (and some most severe throws and blows passed), nothing could disturb their good humour.

This party, having remained for seven days on our beach, and not hearing anything more of our intended invaders, their provisions also becoming rather scarce, took leave in order to return to their own district, placing scouts to give them quick intelligence of the movements of the enemy.

CHAPTER XXXVI.

ARRIVAL OF A WARSHIP.

A few days after the departure of this friendly tribe, a “King’s ship” of eighteen guns arrived in the Bay; consequently all our fears of an immediate invasion were over.  No sooner had she cast anchor than our friend George came to us, expressing the greatest anxiety to visit King George of England’s warship, and requesting we would accompany him, which we readily agreed to do; and he left us to adorn himself for the occasion.  Soon after he reappeared in great state.  A very splendid war-mat was thrown over his shoulders; his hair was dressed, oiled, and decorated with feathers, and his person was plentifully covered with red ochre:  he appeared a very fine-looking fellow:  his mother, his three wives, and all his sons and daughters were dressed in equal magnificence, and accompanied him.

In this state we went off to visit the vessel; but the moment I came alongside, I repented my being there, for the rude and churlish manner in which we were received distressed me considerably.  In the first place, an order was given that none but the chief himself should be allowed to come on board; consequently his wives and daughters were obliged to remain in the canoe.  The captain spoke only a few words to George, who was allowed to remain but a few minutes in the cabin; on getting up to take leave, George took off his fine war-mantle and presented it to the captain; but, receiving no other covering in return for his gift, he went on shore naked!  The officers of the vessel behaved differently:  they conducted us all down into the gun-room, where they treated us most kindly, and paid every attention to our friend George, whose dignity was deeply wounded by the cool and contemptuous behaviour of the captain.

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