Chapter 148380480

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Chapter NumberIV
Chapter TitleAN ADVENTURE.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article148380480
Full Date1893-09-23
Page Number2
Corrections0
Word Count3756
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEastern Districts Chronicle (York, WA : 1877 - 1927)
Trove TitleMaoriland Ho! Nature's Enchanting Wonder Isle. A Weird and Entrancing Romance
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CHA-l'TKB IV,

AN ADVKNTURE.

To Hunnn, of Slaketu, wag a handiom* woll made Maori fully oik feet high, and in the prime of life. Unlike most chief tains he had not a tattoo mark on his face, .avo a email star on hin upper lip, bat even thin was hid by a thick moustacho

worn after the fashion of tlio Pakolm. lie j ivns well educated, and could conrerse intelligently on most of the topics agitat ing the country botwoon Maori and Fakeha. Moreover, Te llunnn wasa firm believer in spiritualism, uud tvas specially gifted as a clairvoyant. One glance at the man's large black steadfast eyes in dicated tine latent power of that mysteri

VIM lore* termed nuinul WBgaetiim

strongly developed willim him. Poaatbly ttie ftinovi had never spent <u» hour of his Ufa in absfruce study. Nay, it only needed a few loading questions to con vince ono that To Hunna liad never hoard of Mesmer or clcotro biology, hypnotism, and such peculiar subject#. Indeed, the chief Has naturally modest and reserved in his manner to everyone, but rouse him by some taunting remark or opposition in controversy, and there appeared at once that remarkable power, wliioh is to-day testing the skill of your schoolmen to in terpret.

Such days as were left to our friends Vane aud Iiowo were agreeably spent,

and when the time came for the latter to

present his letter of introduction nt Pine lulls, it was decided Temple Vane shuuld accompany his friend, and sp:nd a few day# with Major Weldon.

To Hunna, who was on very friendly terms with tlie Major's family, agreed to accompany them in tho capacity of guida, Burko Brady also made one of the party.

" Tiiero wcro soino Vaylhcn bhek guardsor Maories at tho station who wimtod luokiu' after," lie paid, "an' filiuro now woo the time to taclio tliem their duty."

In the early midsummer morning the little party left Tauratiga, each mounted on a large cob for the thirty miles jour ney. Leaving tho sea coast in their rear, tliey ascended the heights beyond Wiaroa and pasBed through a tract of loveliest ferns, and away down tho slopes which lie at tho foot of tho Hunna Ranges. After passing into the forest of Papukura, it seemed to the young Englishman that they would never emerge again into open country. From ridge to ridge, up and down, with the giant kauri pines over head and around them, until thc.v struck the valley of the river again nt Ntitigore. At several stages of the journey the party were obliged to dismount and climb the slippery heights, and scramblo down on tho other sido many hundreds of feet. In some places there were pumice stone terraces miles in length, and rising tier upon tier like the seats in some colossal theatre, and these continued until tlie open glades and fertile valleys of tho

Patea were reached. To the east frowned tho summit of Tekare, where Hawi, the rebel Maori chief, had ? entrenched him Belf and his two thousand warriors, while behind his impregnable Pah (Fort) thun dered the surges of the ocean three thous

and feet below.

From a high ridge the party could clearly discern the forms of the Maories moving about in the stronghold.

Te Hunna briefly explained that though his countrymen tvas at enmity with the Government over come land transaction, Te Aniu WBB on friendly terms with the settlers around him.

The rebel chieftain had three wives, and bad made overtures for tiro more.

He was the father of a numerous progeny, bis pride and his joy, and he owed his authority over his people more to his gigantic stature (six feet nine inches) than pride of birth. Moat Maories believed thatTe Anio rejected Christianity because he had been baptised by Tuniwha, the Fire God-the ruler of the spirits of earth, water, and air.

Once when a terrible landslip took place on the shores of tho lake, Te Aniu escaped, though his father and his three brothers, Wai, Haki, and JRewari were engulphed.

Suddenly, and while the Maori was in the midst of his recital, tliero came a far olf cry on the ears of the four men.

"Ocli, murther ! what is that?" cried lijady, lifting his hand to enjoin silence.

" Some of the Maories calling to each other in the scrub," suggested Vane.

The chief shook his head. "'That is not the cry of a Maori," he said.

" liark again. It is a whyena of the Pakehas. She cries for bolp. Follow

me."

As be spoke Te Hunna put his horso up the cliff, the others following. Gaining the height the party beheld the cause of the cry they had heard. Below 011 the open plain, which was clear of trees fur some considerable distance, three horse men were riding hard for the brushwood on the other sido. Tiie foremost of the three held a female tightly on the saddle before him, who, by her gestures and her torn garments, was evidently being carried awav against her will. *

Temple Vane and his companions took in the situation at a glance, aud rode full tilt to the rescue.

It soemed no easy matter to keep pace with the runaways, for they appeared better mounted than their pursuers. Seeing that they were likely 10 escape Te Hunna, who bestrode a iialf-bred Taranaki "Sheltie " of great speed, put the animal to its utmost test, for over half a mile, then suddenly casliug him self from the saddle the Maori unslung his ahort rifle, and kneeling down, took aim and tired at the horse carrying its doublo burden. The poor brute gave a convulsive leap into the air, t hen fell dead, with the girt partly under it. As for the man that held her he quickly jumped out of the danger, and being assisted by one of hiB companions to mount behind him, they were soon beyond pursuit.

Fenton Howe was the first to reach tho fallen stead, and beheld a slight girlish form, with long fair hair and large blue eyes, dilated with terror, holding her clanped hands towards him in mute sup plication for succour.

.' It is Paul liarjew and his men ;

mercy, save me," she cried, as she clung I to the young Englishman, but Howe had j only time to raise the shining head upon his arm ere she fainted ; and all the skill

of the Maori and his friends could not j rouse her from her swoon. j

Luckily the sufferer had not, been in-! jured by the fallen steed, but the shock I to her had been great, nnd it was decided to convey her (oPinefalls without further do) ay.

Te Hunna spoke of constructing a litter, but Fenton Howe, taking the slender formjn his arms said he would carry her,

aud so tlie party moved on at a quick j

Ea.ce in the direction of the station which

urko Brady informed them WBB only n

few miles distant. They had not pro ceeded far, however, ere the parly be came aware that some ono was advancing towards them at a hand gallop.

" By the powers 1 here's that ruflian Paul Bar jew after us," cried Brady. "Let yes look to your weapons, boys, an' give the divels paddy whack."

There WAS no cause for alarm, for while they were preparing to defend their charge, chore cautared into view two per sonages vastly dissimilar in appearanoe.

The first, seated on a Blender-limbed, beautiful bay horso, was a lovely girl of about eighteen. Her dark-green, ex quisitely fitting habit displayed a slim, graceful figure, equally exquisite; a white eollar clasped her soft, white throat, fast ened by a pink bow, while a broad brimmed hat rested on silky masses of nut brown hair, drawn from an oval countenance of singular beauty and deli cacy. Her complexion was clear as ivory, upon whioh the swift ride had brought a soft color like the lip of a etmeo shell, giving an almost unnatural brilliancy to a pair of dftk blue cfei, (haded by hag,

8 47

thick eyelashes. Not only was tlie fact) delicate and roiincd, but WHS rendered yet moro attractive by an expression gentle and confiding.

Her companion -stva a Maori iti a loose dress of linen and straw hat, while at their sido bounded a splendid Scotch coilio or sheep dog.

Strangers were evidently not expected to be encountered on Hint route, or pro I bubly tliey at that jimiod were rare any where, for, on perceiving the group the girl, with a startled look, abruptly drew ruin, causing tho Maori so unexpectedly to follow suit that, riding without stirrups, he threw hia arms round tho horBos neck

to BRVO l-iiiiaelf from slipping off tlie crupper, while the dug, pl-iuting his fore fact tirmly on tho ground, gave a loud bark <il interrogation an he regarded those in front, for it said as plainly as bark could-" pray, what are you doing there ? What is your business i"

Korafow scco'.ids, which to allnp poatcd minutes, the two parties gazed at each otliur in silcnce. The young girl, it was evident, was deciding whi ther to proceed or retreat. Then Temple Vane, removing his lint in a manner that a Ue^ent Street lounger miglit tmvu en vied, and which apparently at onco re

moved the feara or doubts-either thiB or

tho handsome ligurc andcunuionaiice that

all Women and cmldreii alike seemed in

stantly attracted by and to trust-ad

vanced.

441 must <mtreat your pardon for ad dressing you, lady," he said in his clcar voice, toned to deepest respect. " We were on our way to pay a vir.it to I'iiic

falls Station when ivc encmnlered a band of rullinns, who wcro carrying oil this un fortunate girl. I need not Kay that the ill Usage she has received has almost killed her, and there being no means of ascer taining who she is or from whence she came, we are hastening to seek assistance from Major Weldon."

Tho horsewoman paid scant hoed to Vane's explanation. Catching siijlit «if the fainting form supported by the young Englishman, sho sprang lightly to the ground, and advancing, uttered an ex

clamation of astonishment.

" It is Nita," she cried. " Sho is dead ! Who has dona this?" and tho girl draw herself up aud regarded the party with suspicion and fear.

" I am To Hunua, of Makctu," re sponded the Maori, bendins his stately head before hrr. Tho Pakeh.i has spoken truly. The Whyona (tlirl) is not dead. Sec, she moves. We must havo help at onco."

The girl came forward at the Gi st sound of his voice. "Ah! howstupin 1 am not to have known our Maori friend," and she clapped her hands together while her bright eyes sparkled with pleasure. " Good 'i'e Hunna, what shall wo do. This poor girl must be conveyed t.i the station straight away. It is only a mile distant. Teranga, come forward, sir."

The Maari wlio had accompanied her spurred up his horse.

" Hide to the house for your life, sir, and request my father to meet us with the carriage. Quick, and do not spare your horse on the way."

In a moment the girl was on hor knees beside the insensible form of Nita, who, at Vane'e directions had been placed in an easy position on a bed of soft torus.

Howe aud his comrade looked at each other, and then at the forms of the two girls, tho one pallid, rigid, beautifnl-the other not less lovely in her sympathetic

tenderness for the invalid.

Fenton Howe and the rest stood apart conversing. Then the young Englishman advanced and said, " may I ask if you are Miss Weldon

The young lady raised her head and looked at him. " Yos ; my name is Grace Weldon."

"And mine is Fenton Howe. Our family are of (he Howe's of the North of England. My micle, Colonel Weslholme, was an intimate friend of Major Wuldun before he left England, I mil the un worthy bearer of a letter of introduction from my kinsman to your father, Mies Weldon, and am coustrainod to say Lhat tho .missive should have been delivered two years ago. Only-only uuforeseuo circumstances prevented mo from-from having the honor of delivering it in per

son."

Grace Weldon smiled. That little short

6peech, given hesitatingly, and tho faco ol tho tipeaker while he delivered himself of it, appeared to give his fair hearer tho key to his character, fjliy, aud diflident in general to all but her iMioonal friends, Major Welduii's daughter liked this youth with his classic face and his dreamy

eyes.

" My father will be delighted to wel come you to ourpoor domicile, Mr Howe," she replied. "I have often heard liiiu speak of Colonel Westholuie."

Fenton Howe bowed. " Will you kindly allow me to introduce ray friend to you, Miss Weldon he said.

*. Please do so," and Grace Weldon rose to her feet.

Howo led his comrade forward. 'Tem ple Vane, Miss Weldon. Mr Vane is a stranger in these parts, like myself. 1 have persunded him to accompany me to I'incfalls, but like the shy fellow he is, the fear of iutrudiug appears to havo takonaway the zest of our trip."

The fair New Zealander raises her eyes to Vane's face, th«n laughs softly with ovident amusement. *. Mr Vane need have no fear on the score of intrusion. We dwellers in tho ranges are only too glad to show our hospitality to the stranger within our gates."

The young lady, whose embarassuient at being thrown into tho company ot stranger* had been considerably lessened by the recognition of Te Huuna, and also by tht> additional fact that Fenton Howo was tho bearer of a letter to her father. Grace Weldon explained that Nita, who had been a passengur by the umil coach from Htvelock to tile Titori V.illey had mot with an accident near Pinefalls, and had been couveyed to the station; whore alio had recoived every attention, and was almost recovered. " This morning tho poor thing requested to walk to the top of the falls lu close proximity to the house, and left, accompanied by a Maori servant named Ranga, and 1 can assure you I was inoro surprised in ay life to meet'the unfortunate girl here iu this condi

tion."

" You have communicated with her friends, of course ?"said Vano.

" Alias Dairy has not any relatives I': believe, save her father, who is a store keeper at the diggings," answered Grace.

The two young men oast meaning glances at each other.

" By jove, Barry was tho name of that villainous card sharper, who had tho grog shanty on the hill at Titori," mut tered Howe, turning aside to hide his

surprise. " Tom Darry, thaf, was it,

oh r"

Vane nodded,

" The poor girl was on her way to visit him when the co&oh upset," continued Graoo, not heeding her companions. "We have written to Mr Barry, but strange to' spy the letter has been returned to us again. *'

While thtf hold convene tU» Maori,

with tlio carriage, niaclo ito appearance

on tliu brow of tlie hill.

A tall, stately lady dressed ii black, and voitiiug apuctucles aliylitei) there

frum, who, with the iiBsiatance of/the tiro

friends, lud the eufTcrur gently placed on

wine Buft mats at tho bottom of tlio con veyance, und tho whole parly sUrted for

tho station.

It came to Temple Vano like some half forgotten dream that lie had seen this lady before, but when or liovr, or under what conditions ho could not for the life of him bring to his remembrance.

" My dear aunt, UiiH in Mr Howe, and 1 his friend Mr Temple Vane," cried the' voico nf Grace Woldun from the side of1 tho carriage, whero she had evidently been giving her relativo doltila of the j

occurrence. ,

Vano bowed, arid again fijtod his eyes j on tho elder lady «o if to force hit mind into some channel o£ past events in his ! life which vrould furnish a cine to recog-1

nition of liar.

Slio was about forty years of age, but the sombre altiro and iier hair, which, though yet luxuriant, was quite white, together with her pale face and grave ex pression of countenance, niado Madame Elsie appear much older.

Her liauro was above the middle; height. livery movement of the woman was marked by the calm, refined dignity ol a lady one would rather expect to find in some Old World dining room than in

the New Zealand bush.

Tlie young fnan's cogitations were in terrupted by liia comrade, who, placing his hand upon his arm, drew hitu back a paco or two from the rest.

'"See here, old fellow, I think it but right to teli Major vVeldoa all we k~iow concerning tho rascal Barry, if lie is really this poor girl's father ; ' then, it is absolutely necessary the Weldon's should know that his daughter ia undertheir care and hospitality."

" Perhaps you are right," responded Vane, thoughtfully; yet, tlie girl can scarcely be held accountable for the vices of her parent. See! isn't yonder Pine falls Station,"

They had reached a rising ground as Uc spoke, and the young tuan perceived in the plain beneath, about a mile and a half distant, a commodious one storey station, constructed, however, with a cer tain sense of picturesqueness and taste, which, at that period, was lacking in most squatters' residences. The verandah ran round three sides of the house. At the back extended a numbor of out-houses and a large stock yard. In front ivas a cultivated gardeu, wherein grew brilliant flowers and luscious fruit bearing trees.

Surrounding the station was a well wooded country, shut in northward by high peaks and ridges and forests of gi gantic kauri pines. Westward rose a high dome uf rocks, over which tumbled in licrcc confusion a gleaming sheet'of water that irrigated the station for miles, and from which the'homestead had, no doubt,

taken ito name.

At the present moment the stockyard was full of cattle ; tho farm hands were moving hurriedly about; all was bustle and industry. At the entrance they could just discern something Btanding in light clothes and helmet.

" There's papa," said (Jroco Wcldon. " If you will excuse me I will ride on and announce your coming." Gathering up her reins she put her horse at a greater speed, and descended the road leading to the station, the dog barking and galloping by her side.

" You were right. Vane," he remarked. " That's a better way for a man to ac cumulate wealth than gold digging."

" Yes," replied the other, but in a tone that seemed I10 was but half conscious of wti.it he said.

Fenton glanced round at him, then following the direction of his gaze, saw it rested on Grace Weldon. Ho Biniled, but the moment after u feeling of disquietude cams over liim. Ho recollected that Temple Vane was coming to l'inefalls Station by his introduction, and that, un fortunately, ho knew worse than nothing

of him.

Tiiey had slackened their pace to give Grace Woldon time to carry her news ; now they saw her spring from her horse and join the gentleman in the helmet; then the skirt uf her t iding habit, held so aa not to encumber her walk, she hastened to the house to eoou issuo forth, and re joining her father advanced up the road

to meet them."

" Welcome, gentlemen, to l'inefalls," said Major Weldon, raising Ins hat as Vaimaiid Hone came up, " though I wish yon had arrived under pleasanter circum stances. Dear! dear! that pour child looks ill indeed," he added. '' It will be best to surrender her to tho women's charge; my sister will, I know, see thai she has every care."

Opening the gate he led them up to the veiand.ih, into which a lady had just come, followed by a female servant.

Major Wcldon was a man of about middle height, square shouldered, with a fair, lrcsh, well-looking face, clear grey eyes, light waving brown hair, and a frank, genial expression-a true specimen uf a gentleman squatter,

*' I am sure you will cxcuso my sister in-law, gentlemen," said Major Weldon, aa that lady, with a stately bend of her head to the young men, led tho way into the house,'followed by two female ser vants bearing the insensible form of Nita in their arms.

With Fenton Howe's tattered missive in his Imud and lus daughter by liis side

the master of l'inefalls looked at the two young men earnestly. " Dear ! dear ! how it lakes a man's memory back, and makes him icel old too!" (laughing). "Oier twenty years ago Jack Westholme and I began life with all the world before us."

"Still," said Vane, his eyes resting on Grace bunging on her father's arm, her pretty cheek resting against hur father's shoulder, "it has iu its transit left bloss ingK."

.' Indeed, yes; you are right, wore so than you can imagine," responded Major Weldon, looking with almost passionate fondness on the girl, whose bright eyes were lixed thoughtfully before her. " If time lias brought sorrow, it has happinces also to cheer my old age,"

"Your old ago, papa?" naked Grace, glancing up mid laughing merrily. " It will bo years and years before you reach

1 that."

" It is yon then, Grace, who lieepB me young," ho smiled. *' You know tlw say ijig iB- 4 n man is as old aa ho foeh.' Your youth is contagious. But," ho pro ceeded, " it was very kind of Jack West hoiiino to give you this letter. He must hnwo guessi'd how welcome ia an English faco, iresli from the old country with all tho now a, Mr Vane,"

" Pardon me, Major Weldon," replied Temple,. With a slight heightening of color which Teuton's eyes only observed. "The letter youi Jiavo has no reference to me. I had not Ilia pleasure <>t Colonel West * holme's aa'juaiutaneo. Indued, I-that is

Mr HoivoVwill toll you that our friendship only began on the Titori Valley Gold* flpld»,"-f9 »« Oqmsuhto. MH 9 9t0

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