Chapter 71738961

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Chapter NumberVII
Chapter TitleTHE HEIGHTS OF TOMARTU.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71738961
Full Date1892-05-14
Page Number0
Corrections0
Word Count1279
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleNorthern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 - 1954)
Trove TitleFernbrook's Double: A Romance of Maoriland
article text

CU APTER,,VII.

THU HEICIICIS OP TOMARTÜ.

Two days nf tor tho oven ta rocóriled in tli9 luat chapter, : thu. dotachmont of To Papa's Millingers 1 readied tho valley of Pitkuhiim. Hero Paul-Titori, the military .ifonius j of . tlio Maories, had. assembled every warrior that could, boar aims throughout tho Waikato. Tennrti and ltowiirti brought ten thousand mon to Iiis bmuior. , Tho treaty of , Waitanga had

boon broken. Tho war whioh now loomed : ovor tho lund had its rise in tho Waitana district.

Titori sold tho Government some two million acroa, , and . aftor the purchase locked up tho land against thoBo sent out to occupy it. Remonstrance waa of no avail. Tho hot blood of tho Maories could

net withstand th» temptation to fight and chivo tho Pakilias into tho sea. Amongst tho young warriorsi thoro was boasting enough, if that alone could hnvo douo it.

Possibly their boasting was not altogether,

vain. It was well known to the Govern ment that, within twelve months tho

Waikato chieftains had expended £30,000 in guns, lead and caps. Well armod, with au abundant commissariat of Karakas, po tatoes, and wild pigs,- stored in varioua parts of tho colony, thoy felt confidont of victory. Moreover, tho leader of,tho vobol host know what a valuable auxiliary ho had in his women. They wore an*army works corps in thomsolvcs. A Maori wo man in peace or war can do as much work ns a man, ; Her arms are strong, and her will to do right good.'« 1 Strapping the flax-made., basket, of provender .on her bhottldors this dusky Amazon .will carry a fourth of tho load of a mule through for ests that no mule could'move in, and save in meeting tho foo, she isfully as effective in the field as tho warriors themselves.

From tho heights of Tomartu above tho valley, the sight was n very imposing ono. On tito south sido! of tho vale ? tho, Maori warriors wore mua tor od in throe divisions, whilo above tho dark solid mass roso tho Kilto or split rock. Legend, hath it that Tonga of old, split this-.vast-dome with a blow of his fist. ??' -On tho. crown of tho

mount wore gutho'red five chieftains, tho hoads of tho Waikato people.": They wore - Boatod in a.circlo, in tho > oontro of which

stood Paul-Titori,j Hilton»'Fernbrook's lotter in his hand. Ho had just ' read its contents, and stood loaning, carelessly, against tho polo v from which the rod flag of tho Maories floated on tho apex of tho Kilto. A handsome devil-may-euro follow thia Titori, if tho index of Ilia features and his manners went for any thing, ? Un liko 1ÚB companions, the Maori had not a tattoo mark upon him." A clear, olivo complexion, straight cut nose and mouth, gave him all tho appearance of a Moor of Spain. ' His dress was wholly ISuropoan, sa YO for a bright soirlot handkerchief wound about his head. ..

"Wliatunawor shall we send to our friend at tlio Birrior Rock ?" ho asked at length, turning to thu silent circle.

" Ho ÍB a I'akeha. Why should ho wish to fight against hi9 race?" replied ilonti

of Waitana.

" Nay, his mother , was a Maori, and from a boy he has boon a friond to our people," responded Titori/' "Hore in this le I tor, Hilton Fernbrook swears to' espouse our .causo to. tho doatli. , Tho question is-Sliall ho bo admitted to our

councils ?" .

" What guarantoo liavo wo that this man is not a traitor and a spy, who scotts our friendship only to hotray us?"do manded young Howarti.,

"Au oxcellout hostage my euglo,"an Hworod Paul Titori, looking again at tho lotter .in, his hand. "Ho says tho daughter of To Papa shall bo his bonds woman., I liavo spoken."

Thoro -was a loud murmur of approval whon tho naraoof To Ooro waa spoken.

"My voice is for thc young Pakoha," cried 'Po Ranga of Taranaki.

-" And mine, and mino,'* echoed the others. "Let him come, and bring the hostage with him." .

Paul Titori knelt down and wrote a few lines on the back of Hilton Fernbrook's letter, then ho summoned McKombo and the Ferret.

"Prepare to roturo to tho. Barrier at once," ho said to the former, in Maori. "Givothis letter to your masher. Twenty warriors shall accompany you to Wangn

tura. Go!"

McKombo turned to depart, followed by the Ferret, but at a sign from Titori, Joe Sharpe was led back to the valley by a small escort of tho Rangers, to be kept ia durance vile pending the arrival of Iiis lord and master.

'And now from the high peak of tho Kilio, the blood-red flag was lowered and hoisted again, like tho dipping of a pen nant of a man-of-war in salutation. This was the .signal for a commotion in the ranks of the multitude in the valley be low. In the space of a few minutes the whole tribes formed themselves into two divisions, with a distance of about fifty yards between them, tho ranks being four deep. Many had di vea tod themselves of Tamba and Toga, and stood almost nude, their bodies daubed in a diabolical manner with rod and white stripes.

When tho two columns had formed up opposite each other, To Ranga of Taranaki, descended from the hill, armed only with his Men, and placed himself between

them.

"What was going to happen ?"

They were going to dance tho war

danoo.

This is a custom ns old as tho Maorios themselves, but only performed in time

of war.

Standing silently for. a short time, tho whole ranks squat down on tho ground as if by mutual consent. Suddenly at a given signal from the mount, tho warriors start to their feet, each balancing his weapon in' his right, hand. With the regularity of an army corps each Maori elevates his right log and right side of tho body, then the left leg and left side ; and than Uko a flash of lightning, tho dark division leap threo feat in tho air, brandishing their guns, and raising such a succession of horrid shrieks os novor fell upon the ears of mortal man. From frantic yells tho noisos terminate with ono long, deep-drawn sigh, accompanied with gaping mouths, inflated nostrils, distorted faces, out-hanging tonguos and fixed star ing oyes.

To mo it is not given tho power to paint in words tho picture of this droad cere mony. No ono can faithfully describe it.;, yot tho scono is vividly beforo my mind's oyo. The strange, motley ranks, tho contorted, hellish faces, utterly frightful beyond tho lino of ugliest humanity.

Again and again these movements are repeated, and time is marked by striking tho left palm on tho right thigh so ns to producá ono sound. Anon, working themsolvea up into a stato of temporary insanity, tho grim forceB rush madly at each'other in mimic strife With tho

fury of wild boasts, thoy yell and grapple and stab, each selecting a fooman worthy of his stool.

It is but mock warfare after all. Under neath it, howovor, thora is a subtle sign, woll known to that small circlo, grouped on tho Kobi.

It moans death and destruction ts many a poor colonist, wrapped up within tue fancied security of his smiling domain.

It moans fire and sword and murder to innocent mon, womoii and childron. It moans war, war to tho doath, without pity br morey.

God holp us all, when such a fiend is lot loose to mar his handiwork.