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The Old Whaling Days

(1) Mrs. Guard's Account

(1) Mrs. Guard's Account.

“Mrs. Guard states, that when the New Zealanders first took her prisoner she was nearly exhausted with the loss of blood, which was flowing from the wounds she received in her head with their tomahawks. They voraciously licked the blood, and, when it ceased to flow, attempted to make an incision in her throat for that purpose, with part of an iron hoop. They then stripped her and her children naked, dragged her to their huts, and would have killed her, had not a chief's wife kindly interfered in her behalf, and when the bludgeon was raised with that intention, threw a rug over her person and saved her life. The savages took the two children from under her arms and threw them on the ground; and, while they were dividing the property they had stolen from the crew of the Harriet, kept running backwards and forwards over the children as they lay upon the ground—one of which, the youngest still retains the marks of this brutal operation. They afterwards delivered the youngest child to the mother, and took the other away into the bush, and Mrs. Guard did not see it for two months after. A short time had elapsed, when the Natives took Mrs. Guard to Wymattee, about forty miles from where the Harriet was wrecked, being in a perfect state of nudity, both her and her children, where they gave her an old shirt; this was the only covering she, and the infant sucking at her breast, had for the whole of the winter. They gave her potatoes to eat; and as she had made them great promises of what they would receive when Mr. Guard returned, if they spared her life, they did not afterwards ill-use her. In this state she remained for page 424 about five months; and during that time, saw the Natives cut up and eat those they killed belonging to the Harriet, (one of whom was Mrs. Guard's brother), occasionally bringing some pieces of human flesh to her, and asking her to partake of it with them. When the vessels arrived off the Nooma, they brought her down and expected the long-promised payment; Captain Guard immediately seized the man who had her, and secured him. The Natives on seeing this, fired several shots at Mr. Guard; and the military, not having come up to Captain Guard's assistance in sufficient time to secure her, the New Zealanders ran away with Mrs. Guard into the bush, and took her back to Wymattee. Here they again wanted to kill her, but as numbers of them were against it, expecting she would fetch a large sum, she was allowed to live. The Alligator followed to Wymattee, and exchanged the native prisoner for Mrs. Guard and her child; the other child was afterwards given up as we have before stated. As soon as the unfortunate Mrs. Guard and child were on board, they were treated with the greatest kindness by the officers and men of the Alligator, who also made a subscription for them. Mr. and Mrs. Guard have requested us to take this opportunity of acknowledging their sincere gratitude for the kindness of the officers on board His Majesty's ship Alligator, both of them and family—not in only rescuing them from savage thraldom, but for their charitable treatment afterwards—the recollection of which will never be effaced.”