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The Autobiography of a Maori

A Cruel Slander

A Cruel Slander

I have been the victim of a cruel slander, set afoot by people who should have known better. Evidently they judged other people by their own standards. My wife was a delicate girl when I married her and after the births of our first children she became thinner and was often unwell and at times I thought I might lose her. Gossips made out that her ill-health was caused by my frequent thrashing of her. The slanderers should have known that Kate was the last person in the world to tolerate cruelty and insults. When she went on a seven-month holiday to her people at Manutuke, some of her friends asked her whether there was anything in the rumour which they had heard. When she denied unequivocally the slanderous accusation, they thought she was only endeavouring to shield me. Some Maoris have a peculiar idea of married life: they are quite sure that a man who has a pretty wife must naturally be a jealous husband. Kate is prepossessing in her looks, and I am not. Therefore, so they infer, I must be jealous and must occasionally give her a hiding to keep her subdued.

As I pen these perhaps too personal lines, my wife is on holiday. My old detractors, were they still alive would hardly know her for she is not the skinny girl they once knew; she is now a robust-looking woman, and, as a matron, she has grown quite fat.