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You, too, proceed; make falling arts your care,
Erect new wonders, and the old repair;
Jones and Palladio to themselves restore,
And be whate'er Vitruvius was before. --Pope.
ONE of the H.. ls made up his mind to go with my brother to Sydney; so, most of us being about to separate, we considered it necessary to have a parting dinner; after which, and a few songs, Mr. W.......h proposed a game of chess.
We went into the next room (our bed-room), and there thought to play our game out in peace; but my brother, getting tired of singing, left our fellow-boarders in a state of glorious confusion. S... l was singing The fine old English Gentleman; at the same time the eldest H.. l, who was very fond of reciting, was giving-out part of Othello, with the usual theatrical accompaniments, to the positive danger of the chimney ornaments, while his brother's low unmusical voice was heard shrilly singing, For I am a friar of orders grey, &c., with a rapidity of utterance truly astonishing.
The landlady kept nervously running in to try and quiet them. When silence was proclaimed, she said she was astonished at them! her house had always been considered the quietest and most respect------Here her voice was drowned by--For she's a jolly good woman! At this point she bounced out of the room and came and knocked at our bed-room door, thinking perhaps we might quiet the noisy party a little, but we had taken the precaution to lock the room door; not wishing to be disturbed, we did not answer. Mrs. Edwards soon lost her patience and temper; finding knocking was of no avail, she began to kick the door, which, however, resisted all her efforts. "Mr. W.......h!" said she, " I am ashamed of you, making all this noise"--(we had scarcely spoken since we sat down to play). By this time her voice had increased to a shriek-- "There's Doctor P........t and a woman
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round the corner!!"--by which rather singular expression she meant that the said doctor had come out of his house to see what was the matter, and a woman had put her head out of window for the same laudable purpose, thereby giving us to understand that we had alarmed all the neighbours. "Mr. J.. n R......t!" shrieked our worthy Pythoness, "will you let me come into my own room or not?" (she forgot she had let the room to us). "Good move, that!" returned I, alluding to our game.
Mrs. Edwards called her husband and son to assist in breaking open the door. They kindly said they would give us ten minutes' grace previous to forcing an entrance, during which time, however, the treacherous rascals went round into the street and tried to get in at the window--I say tried, because we had, like good generals, provided against such a contingency.
When our treaty, which had been so shamefully broken, expired, Mr. Edwards ordered his wife to hold her tongue. "Open the door quickly," said he, "or I'll burst it open!"--"Capital play that, W....... h!" answered I. "Hold your tongue!" thundered Mrs. Edwards to her lovely daughters, who had come down stairs in their night-dresses and were asking her if the house was on fire. "The noisy wretches, to take a poo--r woman's character a--wa--y!" sobbed our poor landlady.
"If you don't open the door instantly, I'll break it open!" said Mr. Edwards. "Excellent check-mate, that!" observed W.......h, quietly getting up to obey his mandate. Directly the key was turned Mrs. Edwards rushed in, upset Mr. W.......h over a portmanteau, and ran away with the candle, leaving us in total darkness, thereby giving us a chance to break through the family ranks drawn up in front of the door. They were composed of the landlord, and his body-guard of two sons (who took good care to keep behind their father) and two daughters, who were thrown into confusion by the unexpected retreat of their commanding officer with the candle.
We broke through without stopping to answer any questions, and marched into the dining-room, where we spent the remainder of the evening undisturbed, and next day
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we had to pay for three wine-glasses, an arm-chair, and a wash-hand basin, all of which were killed or wounded in the last night's engagement.
My brother and Mr. H.. l left us for Sydney, and I obtained an engagement in the government staff, getting one pound per week, out of which I had to keep myself and a horse and pay travelling expenses. Now, as it cost me a pound a week for board and lodging alone while I was in Wellington, it is clear it was not a very profitable concern; however, I persevered, hoping for better success, and made a few surveys in Wellington.
I accompanied Mr. P.. k, principal government surveyor, and Mr. McL.. n, the government land commissioner, to Rangitikei, to pay the last instalment, 2000l., to the natives for the purchase of their land in the Rangetikei and Manawatu districts, and make a survey of the native reserves. 1
After three days' travelling we arrived at our destination, and took up our quarters at Scott's inn. On the day appointed the natives mustered in the inn yard, where they presented a novel sight, sitting round on their haunches to the number of two hundred. Calling the chiefs in one at a time, Mr. McL.. n distributed the money amongst them. In the mean while we were surprised by the arrival of a deputation from a tribe at Moutoa, thirty miles up the Manawatu, wishing to dispose of another portion of land. We gave them all a feast, to which they did ample justice; and when it was finished, McL.. n advanced into the centre and made a long speech in Maorie, representing, as far as I could understand, that if they sold all their land they would lose all the advantages of trade, &c, and become strangers and beggars in the land of their birth; whereas, if they continued cultivating the land, and improving themselves under the tuition of the missionaries, in time they would become brothers with the white man, and live in houses, with flocks and herds around them. He then sat down, and an old woman of rank
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stepped nimbly forward. These people are fond of imitating the dress of the whites; and if they can pick up only one article of clothing, they wear it without any regard to the other parts of their person. She had on a fashionable straw bonnet, with a bright green veil modestly concealing her face, whilst over her naked shoulders was thrown a white blanket, which reached down to her knees. Below this appeared her dusky legs and feet; the whole presenting a ludicrous contrast, putting one in mind of the Mexican full-dress--a shirt-collar and a pair of spurs. She made a long energetic speech, nourishing a spear the whole time. After her a young man arose, dressed in a complete suit of oilskin, although it was a very warm day. Several others succeeded, and made very eloquent speeches, giving them point and force by flourishing their weapons. Not perfectly understanding the language, I cannot favour the reader with an interpretation; but they did not all agree on selling their land; so one old woman stepped into the centre, with the usual accompaniment of a spear, and began singing in a shrill voice, when about thirty joined her. They formed themselves into a ring, and commenced their war-dance. In stepping round they kept time, making imaginary passes at an enemy; while the sound of their rude kettle-drums, formed of pigskin stretched over half a gourd, added a wild charm to the scene. After this was over they departed quietly to their camps. In the mean time I amused myself taking the likeness of a Maorie woman, who was very coy, hiding her face in her hands, running away and coming back again. I sent this sketch round to Wellington, with several other things, in a small vessel, which was unfortunately lost in crossing the bar of the river Manawatu.
Next day an officer arrived on horseback, who coolly stated that he had left his companion, Dr. F. x, stuck fast in a bog on the other side of the river, also on horseback, very imperfectly representing Patience on a monument. Scott went to the rescue; and when the doctor appeared, his trousers were saturated with blood from his knees to his feet. He was a very tall stout man, and his horse
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being unwilling as well as unable to carry him, he had us d a little coercion with the spur, which made our army doctor look as if he had been guilty of murdering a bullock. However, his horse was knocked up, so he put him out to grass for a fortnight, and we rallied him on his excellent horsemanship.
A short time before we arrived, one of the surveyors had been out shooting kakas, a kind of parrot, which is very much esteemed. Catching a glimpse of one in a tree, the foliage of which was very thick, he fired, when what was his astonishment on seeing a Maorie fall to the ground, crushing the branches in his rapid descent! After some time, recovering from his surprise, he went up to the man, who was hallooing furiously, and found him, fortunately, more frightened than hurt, only two or three shots having struck him on the back. He had gone up the tree with a decoy bird, at which our sportsman had fired. By this time several of his tribe had gathered round him, and our unlucky surveyor would have been tomahawked had it not been for the interference of an old native who understood a little English, and explained to them that it was an accident.
We were surveying the native reserves, when an old chief, who was shewing Mr P.. k the boundary of his land, pointed to an oven built of stone, about six feet wide and seven feet high, tapering off in a conical shape to the top. "There," said he exultingly, "I have roasted my sixteen at once!" meaning, of course, men; and casting at the same time a sidelong look at the said Mr. P.. k's evident bon etat, he smacked his lips and grinned. It used to be an universal custom amongst them to kill and eat all prisoners taken in war--hence, they never increased much in number.
I began to grow discontented with the bad pay of a stingy government, when favorable accounts from the gold-fields induced me to throw up my engagement.
As my next survey was to have been at the Ahuriri, Hawkes' Bay, I had previously sent my instruments, &c. on by vessel; now, as I had given up my berth, it became necessary to get them back again. I wished to see that part of the country and the centre of the island, and
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determined on walking. I sold my horse on the spot, because the bush was too thick to get a horse through. By referring to a map of New Zealand, and looking out my starting-point, Rangitikei, on the west coast, following the coast south till the mouth of the Manawatu is arrived at, and then tracing the river upwards to its source, and from thence continuing to Hawkes' Bay, the reader will be able to form some idea of the nature of my undertaking, alone amidst savages.
The deputation before mentioned being about to return to their pah at Moutoa, which lay in my route, I made up my mind to accompany them. One of these Maories intreated the chief woman of his tribe, and nearly strangled her, being only prevented from doing so effectually by the opportune arrival of two white men.
It is death by their law for a Maorie to strike a person of rank of his own tribe, so Waikeha had to run for his life, but he escaped.
We started next day. The Maories swore to take the life of the criminal, and carried their arms ready for instant use. The chief took the lead at a trot, the men followed next, and the women brought up the rear. The whole day's journey, about twenty-five miles, was across a sandy plain. About noon we perceived some smoke ascending from a little hillock, and soon came upon a party of natives camping; we tried to avoid them, but, seeing we could not pass without being observed, we approached, and, finding they were a friendly tribe, we squatted down and discussed some potatoes together.
The natives have not entirely got rid of their party feeling; indeed I have known some old chiefs who were unwilling to go ten miles from their own pah for fear of being murdered, in return for some of the horrid deeds they had committed in former days.
Towards night we arrived at the foot of some hills; entering a defile we soon found ourselves in a region where vegetation abounded: a short walk brought us to Moutoa.
This place is picturesquely situated on the banks of the Manawatu, and completely hemmed in by the bush.
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The wahines (women) came out and greeted us with a shout of welcome.
The old chief led me into his whare, where I was received by his wife, and the petty chiefs and women of the tribe. It being supper-time, we squatted around the steaming pot in a circle, and dipping in our hands we pulled out the smoking potatoes. Fancy a young Englishman sitting down to supper with a party of savages! There were three pots, and around each a circle was formed simultaneously, reminding me of a dinner-party where one table will not accommodate all. There is no ceremony observed at these feasts; the instant the pot is taken off the fire and set down, the neuter verb "to fall to" is actively conjugated.
After a smoke a corrobery 2 ensued, and then we began to think of taking some rest. The whare was built of toi-toi, about 12 feet by 8, and 6 feet to the ridge-pole; the only opening being about the size of an ordinary pigsty door. After closing this orifice, which served both for a chimney and a door, they put another log on the fire, which was burning brightly in the centre of the apartment, and we lay round it to the number of eighteen, each man with his head towards the fire.
The smoke having no vent made the place quite suffocating. I was thinking of the continental mode of committing suicide with charcoal, when I became quite feverish; so I jumped up and walked out.
I had not gone far when three young men overtook me, and, shouting all together "Pakeha, pakeha!" 3 gave me to understand that a white man was not far off, pointing at the same time across the river, to denote the direction in which he lived.
I got into a canoe, followed by the three natives, who paddled me across, and led me through the tangled scrub to a little whare, about a quarter of a mile from the river.
I was surprised to see a white man settled so far from his fellows. He was seated at supper beside a roaring fire, and made me welcome. He earned a scanty living by manufacturing the New Zealand flax, and laying it up in ropes, cords, &c
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The house was literally swarming with mice. The prepared flax was stacked against the sides of the house, covered with a light roof; this formed a cover for the vermin, and I watched them running all over my blankets till I fell asleep.
In the morning I recrossed the river, when the guide I had engaged to continue the journey refused to proceed; so, after a good deal of persuasion, I induced a Maorie and his wife to accompany me as far as Iwhi. The old chief wrote me several letters to enable me to procure guides for short stages, from pah to pah, lying in my route. I insert one to show what the missionaries have done in educating the natives in so short a time: --
"Mei 25, 1852. "Kia te,
"Korene hoe Kore tenara koe, tenei ahau
"kua kite ia te Wiremu raua ko te Harakira kua korero
"ahau kia te Wiremu itaku korero kia koe kua wakaae
"mai ia kia awhei te wi he Hapa eta e Neho tenara koe
"ku tau to te Hapa ki Moutoa Hoana * * * * * * * hei
"tae mai ki te ******** ta tena koe te*******
"ki te wi ka haere ****** * ohau kia ki te ia te
"Wiremu karua aku korero tangata ku korero kia ia
"takaae mai ano ia ka ki mai kua rite ane ia raua ko te
"Harakira kei te Wio te kia pa a enei a ka me tene ta
"E Neho tenera koe he rahi ano toku aroha atu kia koe
"eta tena a hau ka kite nga mahi i konei tenei a te
"Harakira kua ma rena tia ki te Wahine kua ki te ahua
"ia raua eta tenara koe * * * mai i * * kainga *****
"****** ki Tamariki ka ******* * taku korero
" * * * * * * * * **
" * * * *. "
This writing, however, was a work of time (as they are only beginners), and detained me till noon, when we filled a basket with potatoes and departed. The bush, however, was so thick and so destitute of track, the
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trees and underwood also growing down to the water's edge, that we were obliged to go by water.
Selecting a light canoe, we took our seats--or rather places, as, the canoe not being provided with those conveniences, we were obliged to sit at the bottom. The man took the stern paddle, the woman the bow, and I the midships. The scenery was beautiful, following the river, meandering through a deep ravine, the slopes covered with fine timber; while the supple-jack, creeping along the branches, drops down from their extremities perpendicularly, and takes root in the earth, giving the trees the appearance of being stayed down with ropes.
We had not gone far when it began to rain, which soon increased to a violent storm. I gave the woman some unmanufactured tobacco, which she, acting on the principle that fingers were made before knives, soon cut up with her teeth. They smoke very much; indeed, you frequently see a mother and the child on her back both smoking. When unable to procure tobacco they smoke dry leaves; but now some of the tribes grow and manufacture their own tobacco.
We paddled up the river for about two hours, when we approached some rapids. The current here runs so strong that we were obliged to propel the canoe with poles. Soon after we got up the rapids, which fell probably nine feet, we passed the pah of Puketotara, a small native village on the banks, where I was greeted with shouts of "Pakeha! pakeha!"--the white man! the white man!
Towards night we reached a small deserted whare on the banks, nearly destroyed by the weather. We soon collected some wood and made a fire. The woman baked the potatoes by throwing them in the ashes, and we sat around the fire to take the stiffness out of our limbs, and smoked our pipes; we then lay down, rolled in a blanket, and slept till morning.
We crossed the river betimes, and, having made fast our canoe to the bank with a piece of flax, abandoned it. Striking into the bush, we followed the track for several miles up a tributary creek, sometimes having to cross the stream, at others to walk along its bed. The bush was
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very thick, and the atmosphere close and oppressive. We now struck off from the creek, and after walking about twenty-five miles we came to a bend of the river Manawatu. Again we followed the course of the stream a few miles, till we arrived at Iwhi, the settlement to which my guides belonged. I was kindly welcomed by the natives, and, as my clothes were wet, I took them off and sat down to supper, with a blanket thrown over my shoulders a la mode.
We refreshed ourselves with potatoes, as usual, which proved very acceptable after fasting nearly all day. There are some of the handsomest native girls in this pah that I have ever seen: here they had lost that native characteristic, a flat broad nose; and some of their countenances were quite classical.
Getting tired, I went into one of the whares to sleep: it was soon filled with natives of both sexes, to the number, I believe, of seventeen. They closed the door and put more logs on the fire, which, as is customary, was in the centre of the room; we lay round it, but the smoke was so thick as to prevent us from seeing one another.
I did not sleep much that night: the dense air made me feel thirsty and feverish, so I amused myself with adding to the smoke by means of a pipe of tobacco: had it not rained hard all night I should have lain outside.
In the morning, leaving his wife behind, the Maorie went on with me. We followed the river for nine or ten miles till we came to a couple of fishing whares; here it was necessary to cross the river, so we called a halt, and the natives cooked some potatoes for us, and then, to add to the obligation, ferried us across the stream, which was rather rapid. We found the track on the opposite side, and followed it. After crossing a tract of level land we came to the foot of the Rua-hina range (the snowy range of the centre of the island). The travelling here was very toilsome, over a succession of ranges, each one loftier than the last, until we reached the summit. The vegetation is in some places above the snow-line. At the crown my guide called a halt, and whilst he was smoking I ascended a tree, from whence I had one of
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the most magnificent views in the island, over forests of trees which never shed their leaves, interspersed with open plains and lakes; while beyond, in the distance, the sea was visible on both sides of me. Resuming the journey, my guide began to show signs of fatigue, and, to my great annoyance, insisted on resting about every mile. I had a native spear with me for a walking-stick, which I carried as a soldier does a fixed bayonet. I kept close behind the Maorie, and every time he stopped he got pricked up (of course, by accident), which made him trot on a little brisker. He had quite an original way of carrying his pipe: from wearing an earring of about three ounces in weight, the hole pierced for its reception had become very much enlarged, so, as he was on a journey, he had left the trinket at home, and wore the pipe in its place.
At dark we came to a travelling hut--something similar to a lean-to roof, the lowest part starting from the ground, and the highest supported by a pole at each corner. It was situated at the foot of a mountain torrent, and, the only noises we could hear were the roaring of the waterfall and the shrieking of the parrots. Here we stopped for the night, made a fire, cooked some potatoes, and turned in. We were up again at dawn, put another log on the fire, and eat our vegetables as usual. We then started on the track, which led through a dense bush, occasionally coming on a small open space covered with grass. After about an hour's travelling we reached a bend of the river Manawatu, which runs through a gorge in the range; this we forded., and shortly after came in sight of Putukai, where the chief Ihakara met and welcomed us, and took us home with him, where we were soon settled round the pot having our dinner--I "doing in Rome as the Romans do," sitting on the ground, dipping my hands in the pot and pulling out the potatoes. As soon as the pot is placed on the ground, about a dozen sit round it, a regular scramble ensues, and those who eat slowest get worst off. Ihakara, who volunteered to be my guide, went out, and in about twenty minutes returned with six fine kakas (a kind of parrot), for food on the road. I was in high spirits at the prospect of a meat
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supper, as I had lived on potatoes for several days. We had travelled about two miles, and were just going to ford the river, when we were surprised to see the prints of three English-made boots. We followed them up and coo-o-ed several times: at last we got an answer, and shortly after came up with three white men, who had lost their way, and would probably have lost their lives, had we not found them and set them right. After travelling five miles farther, we met a Maorie driving two pigs to Putukai. This man was one of Ihakara's tribe; and after a good deal of jabbering, which I did not understand, the latter told me plainly he would go no farther, and wanted me to go back to his pah; but, as he had deceived me, I would not return with him, but trusted to Providence and proceeded alone. I overheard the pig-driver tell Ihakara that he had come from Ahuriri, so 1 had little fear of not being able to track the pigs all the way, provided it did not rain hard enough to obliterate the track; but I could not get one of the hakas out of him for love or money, so I was disappointed of my anticipated meat supper. I however succeeded in keeping his tinder-box out of sight, which was about the size of a dinner plate. I kept the track till dark, and then lost it; so I gave over for the night, and laid my blankets down and made a good fire--thanks to Ihakara's tinder-box. About half-an-hour after I went to look for some more dead wood, thinking I should see my fire well enough, but when I turned round I could see no signs of it, and wandered about for a long while in the rain. I was just thinking of cutting some branches and making a bed where I was, before I got too far away, and looking for my blankets in the morning, when I came right on the spot; so I made up the fire, and lay down, supperless, beside it.
I was awoke in the morning before daylight with the parrot's shrill music, and proceeded north by compass till I found the track of the pigs. I travelled about six miles, hungry enough, through a dense forest--now over a high range, then down a deep ravine--when I came to ft plain extending as far as the eye could reach. From the density of the atmosphere in the bush, I now felt
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as if a load had been taken off my chest, and walked on in high spirits, twice fording a river which crossed my course, and which I supposed to be the Waibukerau.
I travelled on till dark, hoping to reach a settlement, when I again lost the track of the pigs, and was obliged to stop and camp. My tinder had become so damp, from exposure, that I could not even get a light for my pipe. I had now walked about forty-five miles without food, and there was no prospect of getting any till the following day.
I had an oilskin bag, the length of my body, which I used to turn into at night, and found it an excellent thing on this occasion, for a sharp frost had set in. When I awoke in the morning. I found my blanket coated with ice: my trousers were as stiff as a board, and before I could get them on I had to dance about in my shirt, for a quarter of an hour, "like a cat on hot bricks," in order to keep myself warm. My boots being in the same condition, I took them down to the river, thinking to soften them by filling them with water; but, as fast as I poured it out, a coat of ice formed on the inside, so I slung them to my blanket as useless.
After walking about three miles I was rejoiced at seeing smoke, which proved to proceed from a newly formed station. After fording a river about four feet deep, and clambering a steep bank, I arrived at Mr. C.....g's station, and found him reading service to his men. He received me kindly, and made me take a quantity of mustard to keep me from getting the cramp. I was now so weak as to be scarcely able to stand; nevertheless, in two days I was again able to travel, having about fifty miles farther to go. A native here told me that only nine persons had crossed before me--two of whom died of starvation, and a third went raving mad, from the same cause and the bewilderment of being lost--so mine was a narrow escape.
I was now again afoot; and Mr. C.....g, having occasion to go to the Ahuriri for provision, accompanied me. Turning our backs to the snowy range, the first day's march brought us to Pukowa, a small native settlement, where we stopped for the night. Here we over-
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took a man, known as "Charlie the Dutchman," who spoke a jargon which ought to be called double Dutch, being composed of Dutch and English: however, he likewise spoke the Maorie language fluently, having picked it up during many years' residence in the colony. I believe he had deserted from a whaling vessel; but it is hard to say what he had been. Many queer tales were told about him; and, it was said, the whalers higher up the bay had sworn to take his life, on account of some treacherous behaviour to them.
In this pah there was a pretty little half-caste girl, as white as any European; her father had been drowned in fording one of the numerous creeks during a heavy fresh, and her mother had returned to her tribe. It was very painful to see her, bearing every resemblance to an English girl, talking an uncouth language, and gnawing a large piece of nearly raw pork, with great avidity. She had a very sweet voice, and tried to pronounce several English words.
Next morning, finding myself unable to travel, I borrowed the queen's 4 horse as far as Hapuka's, a distance of fifteen miles. It was a beautiful little black mare, unshod and nearly wild, but she carried my weight with ease. Passing between two ranges of hills, she got up to the saddle-girths in a bog, but I threw myself off and got her out without much difficulty.
We soon emerged on to the Ahuriri plain. This is a fine plain, and standing in the centre you see a clear horizon all round, such as you would at sea. After crossing several creeks, which were dangerous on account of the quicksands, we rode at full gallop up to Hapuka's house. He is a fine well-made man, about six feet in height, and of an intellectual cast of countenance. He has lately been made a magistrate, and decides disputes among the natives. I asked him to lend me the mare as far as Ahuriri, and told him of the desertion of my guide, and that I was two days without food. He readily granted my request, saying at the same time, that, if the natives had not lent her to me at the last pah, he would have gone over and stockwhipped them.
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The Roman Catholic Mission has a handsome station here. The resident priest invited us to dinner, but, having still a long way to travel before nightfall, we declined his hospitality--a virtue for which the gentlemen of this mission are justly celebrated, whilst the reputation of the Protestant missionary, Mr. C--., is of an opposite character.
After fording an arm of the sea, we arrived at Mr. A.......r's, where we dined. Mr. A. is married to a native woman, and, through her, possesses great influence with her countrymen, with whom he traffics for maize and pork, buying the pigs alive at a penny per pound, which he cures, and ships his purchases down to Wellington. In this way he carries on an extensive business, his expenses averaging fifteen pounds a day.
In the evening we crossed the river Ahuriri, and put up at McCain's public-house, just in time to attend the wedding of a half-caste girl to a white man.
The Return schooner, Captain T.....g, was fortunately lying in the river, bound shortly for Wellington, so I secured a passage in her, but by some accident she got aground; all the ballast and cargo were taken out, and an attempt was made to kedge her off, but without success. However, two or three days after, a heavy gale coming on, the captain set all sail, and she glided off into deep water, where she again brought up, without carrying away a ropeyarn. The Rose, a small fore-and-aft schooner of thirty-five tons burthen, with only seven tons of ballast in her, was lying at anchor just outside the river in a heavy seaway, and rolling so heavily that you could only see her hull when she was on the top of a wave. She hoisted a flag of distress, but the men about McCain's said they would not go out to her unless they saw her in more danger. Darkness came on, and during the night she parted her cable, went out to sea, and was not heard of whilst I was in the country. As she was so light, she most likely turned over.
The morning of the wedding-day set in wet and miserable, and Mr. C--, the Protestant missionary, would not marry the couple at McCain's, although he had to pass by that very morning; but obliged them to walk
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seven miles, through the bush, to a native church: so we determined to pay him out for it. On his way back he had to pass the house again, and to be ferried across the river. We got out Mr. P.. k's five-oared whale-boat for the occasion; and A... t, who was staying there, and myself, gave one of the schooner's seamen two bottles of grog to give him a ducking, which was accomplished in the following manner.
A... t and I each took an oar in the whale-boat to see the fun. As soon as we grounded on the opposite side, which was about twenty yards from the shore, Jack jumped out of the boat, touched his hat, and said "I'll carry you ashore, Sir. "Mr. C-- answered by getting on his back. Jack took about half a dozen steps, when he pretended to fall down, throwing Mr. C-- over his head, where he lay at full length like a half-tide rock. The missionary did not trust himself again pick-a-back, but got up and walked ashore, having received a wholesome practical lesson on the folly of putting people to unnecessary trouble.
Well satisfied, we returned, kissed the bride, and had the wedding dinner. At six o'clock, after the bride and bridegroom's health, and a few more toasts, had been drunk and responded to, a fiddler was engaged from the schooner. A number of natives crowded round the house: we admitted the women, and stationed "Boots" at the door to keep the men out. The fiddler struck up a polka; we each seized a Maorie girl, and joined in the dance.
Captain T.... g, not being a very good judge of feminine agility, had chosen a fat old Maorie woman, who had been vegetating on potatoes for at least half a century. There was a door on one side, at the top of a step leading into a bed-room I owed the captain a grudge for tripping up me and my dusky partner; so, polking past the door, which was locked, I managed to turn the key and leave the door ajar; and when Captain T.... g reached it in the dance, I charged with my partner, who was a light weight, from the other side of the room, carrying our gallant captain, with his fat'"lady fair," against the door, which, of course,
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flew open, and they disappeared like lightning. I then turned the key upon them, and only let them out at supper-time; he was swearing like a trooper, but the lady was extremely silent.
The next two days I was out duck-shooting, had plenty of sport, and then went on board the Return. She sailed with half her cargo on board, and dropped anchor about sixteen miles up the bay to take in the complement; but as there was every appearance of a gale coming on, we got up our anchor, and sailed out without any more cargo. When abreast of Castle Point the gale burst upon us and carried us out to sea. After a good deal of difficulty, having no chronometer on board, in four days we again made the land; and, two or three days after, entered Port Nicholson Heads, where we learnt that the Henry, a small fore-and-aft schooner, had been lost in the gale we had just weathered. Her crew, consisting of four seamen, and a passenger, were lost; and the mutilated bodies were afterwards washed ashore, partly devoured by sharks, which abound here.
Mr. W.......h had taken a small house, and kindly invited me to stay with him, which offer I accepted. I here learnt that Mr. Barney R.... s, whom I had previously known in Wellington, and who I should imagine was between fifty and sixty years of age, had married a young lady of eighteen. He had formerly been captain of a whaler, and, having realized a little of the needful, had retired to New Zealand to enjoy it. I had once occasion to visit him on business, when he was altering and refitting his house; and his orders to the workmen to "haul this bed out of the way," and "rouse out that chest of drawers," amused me considerably. He thought that on entering the holy state of matrimony he ought to have his portrait taken, so he engaged an able artist for the purpose. "Pray, how would you like it taken, sir?" said the artist. "Oh!" said Mr. Barney, scratching his head and considering, "in a group, I think." The artist had much difficulty in keeping his countenance, but how he succeeded in pleasing the captain I do not know.