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War to the Knife, or, Tangata Maori

Chapter IX

page 191

Chapter IX

"You can inform me, then," said Massinger, "as to the exact manner in which the war commenced."

"I fancy I can. This Waitara block which you have heard about has been the causa belli, in every sense of the word. The Governor, egged on by the Provincial Council of Auckland and the land-buying party in the General Assembly, at length consented to purchase it from Teira."

"I was told in Auckland that the Governor said if a satisfactory title could be given, he would accept the offer which Teira made. That seemed fair enough."

"Nothing less so. First of all, because Teira knew—no one better—that no living native had a right to sell an area of tribal land. There are always scores of claimants to such blocks, the consent of all of whom was necessary. And after and above all this, Te Rangitake, as the Ariki (High Priest and spiritual head) of the tribe, had an unquestioned right to forbid the sale."

"How, then, did Teira come to sell the land?"

"Because he was certain of payment of so much ready money down, and had an old grudge against page 192Te Rangitake. With the Government behind him, he argued, they would be able to force through the bargain. He either did not count on the stubborn resistance of the tribe, or, more likely, did not care.

"He seems to have acted treacherously to his own people and dishonestly towards us."

"Precisely. But no people on earth are more reckless of consequences than these. Still, Colonel Browne was distinctly wrong in accepting a disputed title. His former opinion, from which he unluckily receded, was (as he wrote to Lord Caernarvon), 'That the immediate consequences of any attempt to acquire Maori lands without previously extinguishing the native title to the satisfaction of all having an interest in them would be a universal outbreak, in which many innocent Europeans would perish, and colonization be indefinitely retarded.' Of course, the Europeans coveted these lands, and were determined to get them by hook or by crook."

"Then what would you have advised?"

"The mischief is done now. The rebellion must be put down or the tribes pacified. No easy task, as you will see. Still, a public trial and full examination of the title of Teira would have satisfied Rangitake and the tribes. Teira's title was bad, as every Maori in the island knows, and every Englishman must confess, who is not interested in land or politics."

"But a war would have been certain to come at some time between the races."

"Possibly; but it should not have been entered upon to bolster up a wrong and an injustice."

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"Will it spread, do you think?"

"I fully believe that it will. The Waikatos will join, unless I am misinformed—a powerful tribe, well armed, and with numbers of young men who have not been able to indulge in tribal fighting lately, and are naturally eager for battle."

"Are they, then, so devoted to war? This tribe has been exceptionally prosperous, I have heard."

"All the more reason. They have 'waxed fat,' etc., and long to try conclusions with the white man. As for liking war as an amusement, read the record of the last century. It is one long list of stubborn and bloody engagements—wars for conquest; wars in satisfaction of long-past feuds; wars in defence; wars of aggression; wars for ill-timed pleasantries; for all conceivable reasons; last, not least, for no reason at all. Of the Maoris it may be said most truly, as Sir Walter Scott of the borderer—

'Let nobles fight for fame;
Let vassals follow where they lead.
Burghers, to guard their townships bleed;
But war's the Borderer's game.'

So most truly is it the Maori's. Next to the chance of killing his enemy, the chance of being killed himself is the most delightful excitement known to him. So, you may judge that a force of this character, used to gliding through woods like these, unhampered by clothing, yet well armed, must be a dangerous foe."

"So I should think," said Massinger. "And if these Waikatos join the Ngatiawa and other tribes, they will have a considerable force? What, for page 194instance, is about the number of adult whites in this North Island?"

"In 1849 about six thousand, including nearly half as many soldiers; and of natives, say one hundred and five thousand."

"Then if they choose to combine, they could drive us into the sea."

"If a really well-organized attack by the whole Maori nation was made before the Government could get help from abroad, the whites would be something in the same position as they were in Hayti when the negroes revolted. But it will never come off."

"Why should it not?"

"Because, as in the Great Indian Mutiny, the tribes are divided. Some of the older chiefs, men of ability and forecast, have always been true to the whites, and will remain so—Waka Nene and Patuone, with others. Their tribes are powerful, and are, like most savage races, ready to join the whites against their hereditary enemies—such, by many a bitter blood-feud, that time has not weakened."

"I understood from your daughter—you will pardon me for referring to it—that you had personally assisted the British Government in the time of Heke's rebellion."

"Yes; I was the first and only white man who raised men, and held him and his force in check after he had sacked and burned the town of Kororariku. We were fighting almost every day for a month till the troops arrived. When I proposed to the chief, Waka Nene, to oppose Heke, he said he had not men enough, but that if I would join him with all I could raise, he would turn out. I saw that the fate page 195of the North depended on my answer; Heke was then on the march to Hokianga. I agreed. In twenty-four hours I had joined the chief, with twice as many men as he had, and, as I said before, we found the enemy in full employment till the troops came."

"What a glorious opportunity! And yet it is not every one who could have taken prompt advantage of it. I should have been delighted to have been in it."

Mannering looked with approval at the animated countenance of the speaker as he said—

"Waka Nene and I would have been only too glad to recruit you and a few more of the same stamp. It was very good fun while it lasted. My friend Waterton came on as soon as he could get across from Hokianga, and was in the thick of it. His right-hand man was shot dead within a foot of him."

Though ordinarily reserved, Massinger, when abroad, made a point of conversing with strangers of all callings and both sexes, in an unstudied fashion, which often produced unexpected gains.

He was wont to tell himself that this careless comradeship was like turning over the leaves of a new book. For is not the mind of any human creature, could one but catch sight of certain cabalistic characters, traced deep in the tablets of the inner soul, more exciting, more amazing, more comic, more terrible, more instructive than any book that ever left printer's hands? Yet never, at home or abroad, had he encountered a companion like to this one. A wonderful admixture of the heroic and social attributes! The reckless courage of a Berserker; page 196the air of born command which showed itself in every instinctive motion; the love of danger for its own sake, as yet unslaked by time, by dangerous adventures over land and sea; the iron constitution which could endure, even enjoy, the privations of savage life, joined to an intellect of the highest order; speculative, daring, fully instructed in the latest results of science and sociology, yet capable of presenting every subject upon which he touched in a new and original light; while around the most grave issues and important questions played a vein of humour, comic or cynical, but irresistibly attractive.

Massinger had heard of such personages, but had assuredly never met one in the flesh before. What might such a man not have become, with the favouring conditions which encircle some men's lives? A great general, an admiral, for he was equally at home on land or sea; a prime minister; an explorer; a pastoral magnate in the wide areas and desolate waste kingdoms of Australia, where a thousand square miles wave with luxuriant vegetation during one year, and in the second following are dust and ashes! To any eminence in the wide realms of Greater Britain might he not have ascended, surrounded by staunch friends and devoted admirers, had he chosen to select a career and follow it up with the unflinching determination for which he was proverbial! And, thought this Englishman, what had he done? what was he? A leader of men, certainly—a chief in a savage tribe in a scarce known island, at the very end of the world, content to live and die far from the centres of civilization, the home of his race, the refinements of art, and intellectual page 197contact with his peers. What an existence, what an end, for one who had doubtless started in life with high hopes of success and distinction in the full acceptation of the word, of honourable command and acknowledged eminence!

And what had been the clog upon the wheel, the fateful temptation, the enthralling lure potent to sway so strong, so swift a champion from the path sacred to his race, leaving him towards the close of life among shallows and quicksands? What, indeed? mused he, looking up. And, even as he turned, Erena, fresh from an exploration to the fords of a flooded stream which barred their path, presented a living answer to the query. As she stood in the uncertain light which struggled through the forest glades, her eyes bright with triumph and her form transfigured with the momentary gleam of the sunrays, he could have imagined her a naiad of old Arcadian days, prompt to warn the hero of the approach of danger. Such must have been her mother in the springtime of her beauty, in the year when her father, a youthful Ulysses, appeared as a god newly arisen from the sea before the Nausicaa of the tribe. It was not given to man to resist the o'ermastering spell of such a maiden's love. "The oracle has spoken," he thought. "Is it a warning, or the knell of fate?"

"I have found the bridge," she said, her clear tones ringing out through the silent woods, joyous with girlish triumph. "It was made in the old wars, but is still strong. Westward lies the Hokianga."

She led the way by a well-worn path which turned at an angle from the ordinary track.

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"Here is the bridge!" she said at length, pausing at the bank of a rushing stream, which, swollen by rain in the mountain ranges, had in twenty-four hours risen many feet above the ordinary ford. "It is old, as you can see, but strong and unbroken still. Over this passed the great tribe of the Ngatimaru when they were fleeing with their women and children in Hougi's time. I could almost fancy that I see traces of blood on these great beams still. But it will serve us as well as it served them. And now we have but to cross these wooded hills and we are at Maru-noki, my father's home. I welcome you to it in advance."

Here they were joined by Mr. Mannering and Warwick, who had been talking earnestly for some time, probably about the war, and the more pressing and now inevitable consequences.

"I could wish that you had made your appearance last year," said the former, "when I could have acted as cicerone with leisure and effect After being a foe to hurry and bustle all my life, I think it most unkind of fate to let me in for what I plainly foresee will be a period of disturbance most unsatisfactory to all concerned."

"There is nothing which I should have enjoyed so much," replied Massinger; "but you will agree with me that this is no time for dilettante work. I shall always be thankful for the experience I have had so far, with its unfading memories."

"And may I ask what you propose to do when you reach Auckland?"

"They were talking of raising a volunteer corps when I left, and——"

page 199

"They have already raised one," interposed Mannering. "More than that, the militia have been called out, and proclamation of martial law made. Te Rangitake's pah was burnt on the 6th; the boundaries of the Waitara block were surveyed the week after under military protection. Te Rangitake built another pah on the disputed land, and pulled up the surveyors' pegs. On the 17th, Colonel Gold attacked the pah with howitzers, after sending a note by Parris, which the Maoris refused to read. They returned fire, and wounded three men. Next morning a breach was made, by which the troops entered, to find the pah empty. They were two days destroying a fortification put up in one night, and garrisoned by seventy Maoris!"

"A bad start, surely?"

"Yes, as tending to give the tribes confidence in their ability to fight white troops—a dangerous lesson, as the Governor and his advisers will find out."

"Has further fighting followed?"

"Unfortunately, yes. Two pahs have been built at Omata, and three settlers killed south of Taranaki. Te Rangitaka, to do him justice, warned his men not to make war on unarmed people. A combined force of militia volunteers, soldiers, and sailors stormed the pah at Omatu. So it is a very pretty quarrel as it stands."

"You have heard this 'from a sure hand,' as they used to say before post-offices were invented?"

"My tidings are only too true, I am sorry to say. And, in spite of the success of the troops, my opinion is that the war has only commenced. If the Waikato tribes join, others will be drawn in. It will take years page 200to subdue them thoroughly—years of vast expenditure of blood and treasure."

"Speaking from your experience of both sides, what would you suggest as an alternative policy?"

"Withdrawing from Waitara promptly. Justice would be done, and a lasting peace might be secured. The Maoris are now the Queen's subjects, and should be treated as such. Just now each side has secured a temporary advantage. With a consistent and impartial policy, disaffection would cease. By-and-by the natives will sell their land readily enough; with a minimum price established by the Crown and proper titles decided by a Land Court, all things would find their level. No one will object except land speculators and their allies."

"Would not the Government act even now upon your representations?"

"Hardly. I am afraid that I am in the position of Wisdom crying in the streets. But, to quit 'the arts of war and peace,' wildly exciting as the subject is becoming, here is Maru-noki, our lodge in the wilderness, to which I beg to welcome you heartily."

They had been pursuing a winding woodland path, which at last conducted them to an eminence below which the view, opening out, disclosed a noble river. Immediately below where they stood, and near a rude but massive wharf, was a cottage, built bungalow-fashion, with broad verandahs, surrounded by a palisaded garden, and shaded by those typically British trees, the "oak, the ash, and the bonny elm tree." Leafy memorials of the fatherland, they are rarely absent from the humblest cottage, the lordliest mansion, in Britain's colonies, and in none do they page 201flourish more luxuriantly than in these isles of the farthest South.

The present home of the Hokianga tribe was on the lower levels, which, since the cessation of the chronic warfare which desolated each district from time to time, they had adopted as more convenient. None the less, however, on a lofty hill-top within easy reach was the primeval fortress, to which for generations they had been wont nightly to repair for security, and from which issued to their daily duties the long trains of chiefs, warriors, women, and slaves. On the opposite bank of the river were low hills and dunes of drifted sand, while to the eastward rose two promontories, cloud-like in the misty azure, between which rose and fell the tides of the unbounded main.

Warwick and Erena had gone forward to the cottage, whence a hospitable smoke presently ascended. Willing handmaids from the kainga were also in evidence. No time was wasted. The keen air, the day's march, all tended to superior appetites. In half an hour after Massinger had been refreshed with a glass of excellent Hollands, and inducted into a bedroom, furnished chiefly with books, he found himself in the dining-room before a luncheon-table exceedingly well appointed. The fish and game, with vegetables and corned pork, were truly excellent. The bread was extemporized, but, in the shape of hot griddle cakes, was only too appetizing. Tea, of course, concluded the repast, than which, Massinger confessed, he never remembered enjoying one more heartily.

"In an hour or so," said Mr. Mannering, "we will stroll down to the kainga. The head chief of our page 202tribe, the celebrated Waka Nene, whom you met on your way over to the Terraces, has returned. You will hear what he says on the present state of things. No man in the island can speak with more knowledge or authority. Warwick and I have a few arrangements to make; meanwhile I dare say you can find something to interest you among my old books. Erena will keep you company till I return."

Massinger found ample pabulum mentis among the varied collection of books and papers, which not only filled the shelves around three sides of the room, but won place on the mantelpiece, the window-sills, and, indeed, on the floor. Old colonial works of the earliest days of New Zealand, Tasmania, and Australia, the worn binding of which denoted their archaic value, jostled the latest scientific treatises or recently issued biographies and travels, besides magazines and illustrated papers up to date.

"Here," thought he, "is another factor in the so-called solitary, self-exiled life of this truly remarkable man—'never less lonely than when alone,' with these companions of every age and all time at his elbow. What a delicious place to read in! I can fancy him on this couch, with his pipe and a favourite author, when the day is declining, or beneath those o'er-shadowing ferns on the hillside, spending hours in a state of absolute beatitude. The open window 'gives' on the broad river, 'strong without rage, without o'erflowing full,' an occasional sail fleeting by like a returning sea-bird. Canoes are racing home after a day's fishing, the girls paddling for their lives, and encouraging one another in the mimic contest with laughing reproaches and warlike cries. The dolce page 203far niente period to be succeeded by a pedestrian expedition at the head of his faithful retainers, or a yacht voyage to Auckland, where congenial companionship at the Club and the news of the civilized world await him. How peacefully, how happily, might life flow on under such conditions! How long might slow o'ertaking age defer his approach! The only thing wanting to complete this ideal existence, for a man of his temperament, is the excitement of war; and this he is about to have."

The catalogue of pleasures open to a quasi-hermit of such various tastes and accomplishments was interrupted by the entrance of Erena, who had apparently completed her household arrangements, and was minded to add the charms of her society to his mental indulgences.

"It is easy to see that I have been away," she said. "When the fit takes him, my father surrounds himself with books, which he never puts back, and reads day and night for weeks together. He is absentminded, and careless of the proprieties to a wonderful degree, so that I have a month's work generally in putting him and the household to rights when I return from a visit or an excursion."

"And do you often go so far from home as when I met you first?" he said. "I suppose you are not afraid?"

"Afraid?" she said, with a look of surprise and scorn. "Of what, or of whom? In time of peace who is there to harm me? When you saw me I had been to see a cousin. She sometimes comes here to stay with me."

"I am sorry not to have met her. Why didn't page 204you introduce me? Is she of the same charming complexion as yourself—that clear brunette tint which I admire so much?"

The girl laughed merrily. "Do you indeed? The truth is, she was rather shy. She is a 'full Maori,' as we say, though she talks good English, and is thought very good-looking. I would have brought her up, but she went away the morning after. Her family sent for her in a hurry. But I see my father coming up to take you to the chief, Waka Nene."

"The great chief of whom I have heard so much; I hardly noticed him before. Now tell me about him. What is his general disposition?"

"He is a man who would have made a great field-marshal in any other country. Very calm—generally, that is—looking always to the future; slow in making up his mind, never changing it afterwards. He decided many years ago that the religion of England and her laws were those for him and his tribe to adopt, and in war or peace he has never swerved from that policy."

"You said something about his being calm nearly always? Is he sometimes the contrary?"

"He is usually most dignified; but he can be terrible when really aroused. It is an old story now, but he once shot a native dead before his own friends and relations because he had helped to kill a white man treacherously."

"Indeed, that was judicial severity in earnest. How did it come about?"

"In this way. The natives at Whakatane first of all 'cut out' and burned a vessel called the Haws, or Haweis, killing part of the crew. They were headed by a chief called Ngarara, or 'the reptile'— page 205not so very unlike his namesake, our friend. He, however, was shot by a Ngapuhi chief from the deck of the New Zealander, a vessel sent from the Bay of Islands, to make an example of him. The tribe went to Hicks Bay, and, taking the pah there, at Wharekahika, captured two Europeans; one they killed, the other was rescued by a passing ship. A Ngapuhi native took part in the murder; he was then visiting at Whakatane, but lived with his wife at Tauranga. Waka Nene was on the beach at Maunga-tapu when this native returned. He advanced towards him and delivered a speech, taki-ing, or pacing up and down, Maori-fashion, while the other natives sat around. 'Oh,' he said, 'you're a pretty fellow to call yourself a Ngapuhi! Do they murder pakehas in that manner? What makes you steal away to kill pakehas? Had the pakeha done you any harm, that you killed him? There! that is for your work," he said, as he suddenly stopped short and shot the native dead, in the midst of his friends. It was bold and rash, but all New Zealand knew him then and long after as the friend of the pakehas."

"That was true Jedwood justice, which used to be described as 'hang first and try afterwards,' but from his point of view it was the just vengeance of the law."

"It seemed cruel," said Erena, who had told with flashing eye and heightened colour this tale of the "wrath of a king." "But little was thought of the poor white man killed by a stranger to the tribe for an act with which he had nothing to do, and perhaps had never heard of. What the Ngapuhi suffered for was, that if he had belonged to Ngarara's tribe his act page 206would have been justified, as utu (proper vengeance). It was for mixing himself up with the blood-feud of another tribe that Waka Nene killed him; and his people saw the justice of it, and did not interfere."

Mr. Mannering, arriving at the end of the story, announced two facts, one of which was that the chief would be ready to receive them in half an hour; the other, that a timber-laden schooner would leave the wharf on the following afternoon, and no doubt would be happy to give Mr. Massinger and Warwick a passage to Auckland.

"Of course, we should be too happy to put you up for as long as you cared to stay with us; but, from what I hear, things are going from bad to worse at Taranaki. The natives have scored what they consider a success so far, and are confident that they can hold their own against the regulars. More troops have been sent for, also artillery. Nothing less than a campaign will satisfy either side now."

"If it were an ordinary time nothing would give me greater pleasure, I can say most sincerely," said Massinger. "I could fish and sail, ride and walk, and even take a turn at that mysterious industry of gum-digging, of which I hear exciting reports. But as things are, I feel in honour bound to report myself at headquarters. I am not wholly inexperienced in military matters, if a yeomanry captain's commission counts for anything."

"You will find that it has a solid value at present," said Mannering. "The colonists are so keen, that any one who has ever heard a bugle-call is looked upon as a veteran."

"Indeed, yes," laughed Erena. "We shall look in page 207the papers for what happens when Major Massinger goes to the front. Only, remember our bush rambles, and don't despise the poor natives because they have no uniform. Keep a good look-out among the tree-ferns and the manuka; there will be the danger."

Upon which Erena, who seemed quite as much inclined for tears as for laughter, retreated to her own dominions.

The great chief of the Ngapuhi stood near the carved porch of the whare-puni, surrounded by the elders of the tribe. He was dressed in his garments of ceremony, having a fine flaxen mat, worn toga-fashion, across his breast. In his hair were the rare feathers of the beautiful huia which none save a chief may wear. His staff was in his hand, which he shifted to the left as he extended his right hand in friendly greeting to the pakeha.

"My word to you is again welcome," he said, fixing his calm, inexpressive, but steadfast eyes upon the young man's face. "My pakeha friend Mannering tells me that you depart to Waitemata. It is well. My heart is sore because of the foolishness of the Mata Kawana. The runanga of the pakeha also is obdurate."

"The war has begun," said Mannering. "It seems a small matter, but this land at Waitara will be dearly bought."

"A little fire will burn the forest when the fern is dry," replied the chief, gravely. "Money was given to Teira for Waitara, but blood must be paid. The chain of the surveyor is now red."

"Will not Te Rangitake listen to Wiremu Thompson page 208and to Tamati Ngapora?" said Mr. Mannering. "Their word is not for war. Trade is better than fighting, better than too much land."

"He would listen, perhaps, but the people of the tribe will not. Then there is the King business to bring more trouble. If the Waikato join the Ngatihaua, it will be such a war as we have not seen yet."

"And the Ngapuhi?" asked Massinger, almost wondering at his own temerity.

"The Ngapuhi," replied the chief, with stately dignity, "fought for the English through the war of Honi-Heke; they fought with the Rarawas against the Ngati maniapoto and the Waikato. They will do so now. You have the writing of Waka Nene?"

He produced the paper.

A grave smile overspread the tattooed countenance as he spoke rapidly for some minutes in the native tongue to Mr. Mannering, who replied in the same language; then, saluting both in a farewell manner, he departed towards the spot where a concourse of natives of both sexes stood or sat amid the whares of the kainga.

"What did he say to you?" inquired Massinger. "Did it relate to me in any way?"

"Yes; it was only that it would be a good thing for you to keep that bit of paper. No one could tell now what was going to happen. He thought it well that you should leave in the timber vessel. I am of the same opinion, or we should not let you go just yet, I promise you."

Then they strolled homewards. The declining sun was lighting up the green meadows, in which page 209women were working in the kumera patches; the broad reach of the river, on which canoes were gliding smoothly in the half light; the grim pah, with its palisades and trenches, looking down upon the peaceful scene which, to all appearance, was fixed in Arcadian serenity. Was it fated to resound with the war-cries of hostile tribes in the coming campaign? Was the tomahawk, the club, the musket, of a ruthless foe to work war's worst horrors upon this simple industrious community of nature's children?

The evening which Massinger spent at this "kingdom by the sea" would always, he told himself, be marked with a white stone in his calendar. Nothing could have exceeded the geniality of the atmosphere. The dinner was excellent of its kind, while the saddle of home-grown, black-faced mutton, precursor of the astounding shipments which have afforded of late years such cheap and plentiful repasts to the British working man, reminded the ex-squire of his home flock. Mr. Mannering produced claret of a choice vintage, the finest which the guest had met with in New Zealand. Tales of wild life and strange company were contributed by the host and Warwick, replete with thrilling interest, as hair-breadth escapes or hand-to-hand fights were described. Erena's gay laugh or sportive disclaimer were not wanting, while Massinger took care to play the part of a discreet listener, less anxious to speak than to absorb the rare and unfamiliar knowledge which only such men as Mannering and their guide were capable of imparting.

It was arranged that in the following-morning Erena should accompany him to the pah which the stranger was most anxious to see—the far-famed tribal page 210fortress, the unconquered Whiria, which every traveller since the days of Cook had lauded for its exhibition of engineering skill.

"You will have full time," said Mr. Mannering, "as the schooner does not leave until late in the afternoon, and will probably anchor at Rawene to take in Kauri gum. If so, I trust you will be able to make acquaintance with my old friend and comrade, Waterton, who is the King of the Lower Hokianga. I will say nothing more than that you will find him 'a picked man of countries,' and as such, with other qualities, a very treasure-house of knowledge. He has not so long returned from an extended European tour, so that he is well up to date in the old world and the new."

Our hero thought to himself that surely no other country contained so many notable personages, rich in the courtier's, scholar's, soldier's eye, tongue, sword, as this astonishing island, in which the human marvels were not less numerous and unique than those of nature. But he said merely that he trusted in his luck to provide him with a head wind, in which case he would be delighted to avail himself of Mr. Waterton's hospitality.

"It is such a pretty house, and quite a wonderful garden," chimed in Erena. "I think they have every tree in Australia there, besides our poor ratas and karakas. However, you will see for yourself; only don't tell the Miss Watertons what a pilgrimage we have done together, or there will be murder next time we meet"

"I shall be most discreet, I assure you; but I am afraid I shall break down in the cross-examination. What a pity you will not be there to defend me!"

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"I should like to go very much; but there will be no more visiting for me for some time to come, unless the tribe moves away. But if we can't tell what is before us in time of peace, in war it will be even more uncertain. And now I must say good-night if we are to walk to the pah to-morrow, and the track is chiefly uphill."

Warwick strolled down to the village, bent upon ascertaining the popular feeling on the subject of the war, and Mannering, having lighted his pipe and opened a fresh bottle of claret, invited his guest to take the comfortable armchair on the opposite side of the glowing wood fire, and "launched out into a wide sea of reasoning eloquence."

His guest was not anxious to retire early, though having a fair amount of exercise to his credit. He was one of those lucky people who are capable of deferring sleep to a more convenient season if any specially exciting affair be on hand. Reflecting that he might never have the opportunity of enjoying such another symposium, or meeting so many-sided an entertainer, he resigned himself frankly to the occasion. The bottle of claret was finished, and perhaps another or two opened, the second of the small hours was near its close, when the séance was concluded, and Massinger retired for the night, well pleased with himself as having had good value for a protracted sederunt.

Hour after hour had he listened to the charmed converse of this extraordinary personage. Much had he seen, much read, deeply thought, in solitude revolving the social and scientific problems of all ages, bending a vigorous and original mind to the solution of the page 212dread mysteries of life and death, with much solemn questioning of the Sphinx regarding the Here and the Hereafter. He could imagine him travelling onward through the dread solitudes of the Antarctic pole, sledge-borne, like the creation of Frankenstein, or turbaned and robed as an Arab, urging a camel through the arid wastes of the Western deserts. Of all inhabited lands south of the equator, his knowledge was complete and accurate, and in every clime or condition of life the guest could well believe that the analytical, all-comprehensive, unresting intelligence was testing scientific results or garnering knowledge. And yet, Cui bono? What contributions to the use and enjoyment of mankind could such a protagonist, in every contest between man and nature, have furnished? Would he bequeath such a treasure to posterity, or would his wisdom die with him?