My necessities compelled me to request a favour from them, which was, that they would allow one of their boys, who could speak English, to accompany me, as our loads were heavy; and his being known to belong to their establishment I thought might be some protection; but the short answer of the monosyllable “No” soon made me repent having asked it. I spread my bed in one of their empty rooms; and started at daybreak next morning, with my two native slaves. I could not banish from my remembrance the inhospitable conduct of these missionaries; they never even inquired whether I had any provision for a journey they themselves would not have dared to undertake, which was evident by their giving a native a warm piece for merely taking a letter for them. As my shoes were nearly worn out, and I had a long distance to go, over execrable roads, I had intended asking them for a new pair, as they had abundance of everything of the kind sent to them from England, to distribute to the needy (and I fully came under that description of character); but finding them so selfish and cold-hearted, and meeting with one refusal, I refrained, and set off, literally almost barefooted.
THE JOURNEY TO HOKIANGA.
We journeyed on all day by a road I had never been before, my attendants evidently taking by-paths to avoid meeting stragglers or runaways. I was well laden, having to carry my musket and my basket of provisions; and each of my men, in addition to the loads I had placed on his shoulders, bore a basket of potatoes. Once or twice, during our route, we saw some persons at a distance, and I was sorry to notice the great alarm it occasioned to my companions, as I now had every reason to apprehend, that, in case of danger, they would slip off their burdens, make their escape, and leave me and my baggage to my fate, which the missionaries had told me they considered a thing very likely to happen. Once we heard a great firing of muskets, which I afterwards ascertained to be the feu de joie fired at the first meeting of the chiefs, at their grand assembling in the neutral village.