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Check to Your King

Chapter Sixteen — The King Goes Back to Nature

Chapter Sixteen
The King Goes Back to Nature

Though it may seem unbalanced, I would like here to present a few notions concerning another monarch, who also, owing to pressure of circumstance, went back to Nature.

Nebuchadnezzar grew sick of King's dishes,
Weary of peacock, flamingo and venison.
Said he to Unperturbed, “Yield me a benison,
Grant Thine old reprobate three ploughboy wishes.
Lord, let it come to pass
Hot flesh be cooled with grass,
Gross paunch anticipate
Appetite's fate
Give me the cud of the slow-browsing kine
Grazing on dreams in the silken blue shadow,
Out of Thy mercy, let healing be mine
That the sick, snarling cur tears from the meadow.
Yield me a bellyful
Of that blest cool
Meat on which earth of Thine
Nurtures the swine.”

God said to reprobate, “Taste then of earth.
Learn ere thy grave-clothes the smack of the soil.
Blunt tooth and nail in a scavenger's toil,
Lair with my wild things: be butt of men's mirth
Spittle on beard and cheek,
Thou shalt grow meek,
Vacant eyes peer afar
For my white-mantled star.
Woo my wild almond, with snow for her wimple,
Run to the palace gates, babbling of wonder–
Knotted hands, bleeding feet, stumble and blunder–
page 146 There are yet spendours I save for the simple.
Schooled of my living grass
Thou shalt surpass
Kings whose worm-hearts are fed
On a pride void and dead.”

Everyone, you see, takes it for granted that Nebuchadnezzar was induced to crawl on all fours, eating grass, because God, wishing to punish him, could think of nothing better than to make him ridiculous. On the other hand, isn't it possible that God and Nebuchadnezzar came to an agreement about the desirability of grass… roots tangled in sunny soils, stains and sweetness of berries, queer little flavours pent up in nuts? It sounds Shavian, and it would be too much to represent God as Shavian. However, under some circumstances, the reversion to Nature can be cure, not chastisement.

Not that Charles went so far back to Nature as all this. He did not crawl on all fours, unless when looking for tin-tacks, as a tiresome detail of his job-carpentering about the place. He did not quite eat grass, though he grew and ground his own grain, and Margaret helped Emily to bake the long loaves.

But in all his monumental papers, there are two periods concerning which he writes, not like an optimist, but like a thoroughly happy man. One was that moment in the orange-groves of Nukahiva. The other was the few months after he had hauled down his colours, and before he had had time to get into any fresh trouble.

It was not all bliss. He couldn't go near the empty flagstaff. The Maoris had grown used to it as a rencontre when they wished to deliver themselves of great ideas, and thought very poorly of Charles for letting the White Queen deprive him of his flag. Yells of “Have you eaten the White Queen's stir-about?” greeted him whenever he approached the old meeting-place. The tribal elders buttonholed him and made reproachful speeches. You can imagine how galling this must have been to Charles, who was accustomed to a monopoly of that sort of thing for himself.

“They'll forget,” he decided. As it happened, they never did, and the flag was to make a dramatic little reappearance later in history. In the meantime, however…

There was a crackle of resiny wood in the fire-place, whose smoke wreathed solemnly up the vast clay chimney affected by the pioneers. One still sees them sometimes, built outside the house, their hand-baked bricks sprawling over a whole wall. Their fires were tremendous. Nearly all the cooking was done in three-legged page 147 iron camp-ovens, like witches' cauldrons. As for lighting, isolated settlers - picking up the trick from the Maoris - attended to that in an odd way. Liver of a shark, no less. The fish was split open, his liver suspended between two sticks until a sufficiency of oil had appeared. This was burnt in little bowls of clay, with wicks of white calico twisted round long sticks. Charles, however, must have more dignity in his surroundings than that… candles, and wax ones, if it breaks him. The little Sèvres nymph supported her candlesticks so that their banners of gold fluttered directly over the pride of Mount Isabel - a piano, a genuine piano, shipped from Sydney to the Hokianga, and packed by horse through bush to “our mountain home”. Probably it was the only piano in the district, but wasn't it worth the trouble? Now Charles could play “When the King shall have his own again.”

The wild autumn, with its tattered leaves, its tattered regrets, blew itself out of breath. Down in the bay, a hurricane tore the sails of H.M.S. Herald to shreds, and beached scores of smaller craft on the ribs of the rocks. Winter mists rose up, and shut Mount Isabel away from the world. The Long Bush, with its unmetalled if ambitious road, its beautiful beginning of a twelvemile carriage-drive, was almost impassable. The smaller tracks were a mire of heavy yellow clay, nightmare stuff clinging in great dollops to a man's boots, and suddenly oozing into quivering bog where the tracks were lipped by the urgent restive green of the high-growing raupo.

“I was glazier, tinsmith, carpenter, joiner, carriage-builder, well-digger. I drove my team of six bullocks, and so did my sons, as to the manner born. There were no drones in our hive.”

They were worth talking about, those bullocks; great, burly, bony, buffalo bullocks, with immense brandishing horns and surprisingly meek eyes. To feel the tug of their great shoulders straining, as the cart pitches out of the mud… to crack the rawhide in a figure S, using language unbecoming a baron and a gentleman… to smell the resin bleeding in sticky red drops from white timber… that's not such a bad variety of conquest for a beaten man. And then the de Thierrys were perpetually on the track of timber-thieves, white and native. The impudence of the scoundrels was almost unnerving. No less than ten thousand feet of timber, cut, squared, and dressed, hauled down by his own bullocks to river's edge, were stacked overnight. What happens? Every stick is stolen, shipped down the Hokianga, loaded on board the piratical schooners whose skippers will thumb their noses at the law, provided they've got their spars at a cut rate.

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There's enough trade, however, to keep the pot boiling. Timber is the principal export, finding a ready market in Sydney. Then there are always stray boats in the Hokianga, ready to pay well for quick provisioning. Not so bad, when one considers that, a few years before, the only considerable trade from New Zealand was in native birds - stuffed, for women's bonnets-and dried Maori heads, for curios. The latter industry was a bad business. When the native found he could get a price for the dried and tattooed head of his brother-man what did he do? Sit about under a tree, waiting for someone to be good enough to die? Not likely.… He devised ambushes, knocked his enemy on the head, doctored the head in the steam, according to specification, and was down at the trading-vessels, bright and early, demanding a cash price. The purchasers, no doubt, went to church on Sundays, and were models of respectability in their own home towns.

Charles Frederick, the eldest de Thierry boy, is twenty-one now; the rest follow him in steps and stairs. The daughter of the house is half past eleven. The natives, who love Isabel, can't make anything of her little name but “Irapera”, which greeting salutes her whenever she goes abroad. Charles uses “my Isabel”, or, alternately, “my angel girl”. No companions for any of them, barring their papa's handful of faithful and so persecuted settlers, and the Maoris. That has its results. Charles Frederick, who kept on the title of Baron de Thierry after his father's death, married three times, leaving successors in plenty. The second wedding certificate, which began a line of Maori de Thierrys, gives his name, but the bride is registered simply as “a native woman”. That comes strangely from his father's son. But it was a road as rough as the track through the Long Bush that ended in such bitterness.

They made their own bread, grinding wheat and maize in the little steel mill from Sydney, and devising loaves and rolls of eccentric shape, twisted like pig-tails or sticks of barley-sugar. Two water-mills turned across the clear stream which furnished their main household supply. A solemn old Chinaman, wandering down from the Bay of Islands, his yellow turnip-lantern face and white tufty beard regarded as a terrible apparition by the innocent Maoris, showed the boys where tree-stumps in burnt-off patches of land provided delicious edible fungi. Richard and George would tramp home, their flaxen kits heavy with the sleek-plumed bodies of the wood-pigeon. Charles hired an old Maori fisherman, who for three figs of tobacco a day did precisely nothing except decorate the landscape with the most beautiful and lavish curls of blue that ever came out of a stumpy clay pipe.

page 149

They learned the how and where of spearing fish by torch-light. The torches, thonged with flax and soaked in resin, burned with a pumpkin-yellow flame, spitting across the dark like prowling salamanders. There were flounders and green-boned butterfish, and the forest pools supplied eels, mud-coloured creatures repulsive to look upon, but edible when dried golden in the smoke of the chimneyless native whares.

Leaving out the Maoris, most of the strangers who entered Mount Isabel that year were sailors spending a few weeks ashore -deserters, in some cases – and willing, both for money and curiosity, to join forces with King Pokeno as casual labourers. Any guests Charles could get hold of, he treated like brothers. He must have been dying for an audience.

It is rather amusing; perhaps a little sad as well. Among his casual labourers, he now extols the French, and can't find a good word to say for the English. The French wear red caps, they are versatile, they botanise, they sing love-songs, they do not require more than beer or light wine. But the English, with their faces ruddy as harvest moons, demand whisky. He stigmatises their brawling very ponderously, but can't help admitting that, of all men in the world, the so-drunken English are the best sawyers, while the long-legged Americans – also, for the most part, intoxicated and riotous – win by a short head from the English as axemen.

It is too chilly, however, to stand on ceremony or grievance. All human creatures, in awe of the storms outside, a little imbued with that languor which sends the northern animals into the sleep of hibernation, crowd into the kitchen at Mount Isabel. Red and lusty as wine, the flames pour up the throttle of the clay chimney, casting their spirited reflections on walls whitewashed over a foundation of wattle-boughs and mud. The red-capped men sing in French, the red-faced ones in that English tongue which didn't sound so bad when it was the season of cider-making in Bathampton, County Somerset.

It is curious to look back at a place which the wilderness has taken again, these many years, and see flaunted against the bush the little defiances of firelight and candlelight; to press one's face, in fancy, against a window-pane that has fallen starred into the long grass, and see behind it, in a kitchen big as Cheiron's cavern, the fire leaping up. A man with his back to the window sits at the piano. One has only a glimpse of a swart profile, but his hands move swiftly over the keyboard. The red-capped men chant their Breton ditty. Then they make a circle, and she comes among them, page 150 her frills rampant with snowy starch, all airs and graces, as was the custom when a young lady was about to render a Musical Item. But the little voice is so artless, so sweet, and it strikes so truly on the chord of memory.

“Sur le pont d'Avignon
L'on y danse, tout en ronde.…”

Rightwards and leftwards, bows of a depth that no Monsieur, however beau, could manage without splitting the buttons off his waistcoat and pantaloons. But what would a young lady know of that?

Then it is whirled away, and the bitter leaves fly there from an old alien tree, helplessly, angrily-stranded among its perennial neighbours, whose leaves, with their air of self-command, are always that same glossy dark green. There is nothing more, the place is empty.

Only once that winter Charles stirred from Mount Isabel: when he went to Paihia, in the Bay of Islands, to pay his respects to Captain Hobson. The Governor, recovering from the paralytic stroke brought on by his over-exertions and Captain Nias's impertinence, was staying at the Church of England Mission Station, sheltered beneath the wing of the Rev. Mr. William Williams, the scholar of his family, and much less of an autocrat than his brother, Archdeacon Henry Williams.

Land, land, land! They were all at it; some nibbling, some openly showing their greed, widening their jaws to gulp down great tracts of it. They called it commerce, the insolent and patent injustice of their dealings with the native. They expected him to submit, to be tame and purchasable. They had paid for their many thousands of acres, they claimed. A fool and his money.… But Captain Hobson and his honour… not so soon parted, as they would find.

Still, the darkness of his bedroom was for ever invaded by them. He could get no peace. The bedclothes writhed into heaps, at one minute clammy with cold, at the next drenched with sweat. He fought out wars, knowing, at the back of his mind, that his own health and stamina were ruined, or he could calmly have ruled this disorder, which, after all, was not provoked by people of so considerable a character that Her Majesty's representative need take great note of them.

Edward Gibbon Wakefield and his clan, down in Wellington, biting off a million acres for the company, refusing to disgorge; and strong men stood behind that deal at home. In the north, every page 151 second person who addressed him had an axe to grind. No civility you could trust, until you found what petition was embedded in the butter. He forced on himself the cold and repellent personality which was not naturally his own. “The matter will be settled in due course by the forthcoming Land Commissions, which at Her Majesty's wish will be set up…” He said that perhaps a hundred times in the day; becoming ever more aware of hatred, resentment, and greed, huge and active spirits in the air, having quite as much personality as the human beings through whom they whined and blustered. Personality.… Sometimes it seemed to the Lieutenant-Governor that these land-sharks had literally sacrificed their own spiritual integrity, that out of their eyes looked nothing more human than a monstrous greed. He thought of the devilpossessed in the Scriptures. But the casting out of devils was out of date… though one cannot conceive of anything more lacking in dignity than that a man should allow himself to be governed by such instincts.

“Oh, Liz! Liz, my dear,” thought the sick man, remembering how, in her vital gaiety, his wife had always seemed able to barricade the world against meanness. It was the Bermudas she had liked best, where they had been stationed in a place like a floating dream, all colours. And she could be childish, too. The delight she took in modelling those wax fruits after the Bermudan oddities. “Couldn't you almost bite them, Will?” with a pomegranate of wax in the palm of one hand, and in the other a contrivance which might have been a grenadilla.

He was subject now, he knew, to sudden fits of exasperation and fury. That forced calm of his was the steel door on the cage; and behind it, the beasts of Ephesus. But when one met him halfway in civility, he could still smile and converse, over Mr. William Williams's long-nosed silver coffee-pot, upon any topic at all except land.…

Unfortunately, of course, land was the burden of old Crusoe de Thierry's song, as with all the others. Captain Hobson was a little sorry for old Crusoe. “The forthcoming Land Commissions will soon be held.”

Charles went home disconsolate. But, be it counted unto him for virtue, he was sorry himself for the Lieutenant-Governor. “Much as I like the Lieutenant-Governor as a man,” he invariably begins his preambles concerning the injustice with which he was treated.

It seems impossible. But, nevertheless, at this time Charles has contrived to get himself into another tangle, quite a new one, and page 152 there are two chiefs threatening to cut his liver out; and Ohlsen, the club-law King of the Hokianga, advising Tau Nui, the fiercest, to march upon him and seize house and possessions in return for that promissory note.

Thus: Tau Nui, an important Hokianga chief approached Charles with an offer of an enormous acreage, stretching up the Whangaroa Peninsula. The area would be more than 100,000 acres. Tau Nui wanted £40 for it.

Charles accepts, signs a promissory note for £400, gives it to Tau Nui with an earnest of the bargain, and writes to Sydney, where he has a lawyer, to raise the cash.

But Tamati Waaka Nene then appears, says Tau Nui is a thief and a liar, that the land belongs to him, and that he wants to sell it to Captain Hobson for the Government.

Tau Nui learns of this, says Nene is thief and liar himself, and the land fairly his, as he earned it by right of conquest.

Patuone, Nene's brother, comes hurrying to Mount Isabel, warning Charles that if he takes the land, the Maoris will attack him.

Charles refuses, in the meantime, to pay the promissory note or to accept delivery of the land, and refers the matter to Captain Hobson.

Tau Nui first offers to see Charles safely installed in the land, then to fight Nene, then to fight Charles himself, if he won't pay up. In this he is seconded by club-law Mr. Ohlsen, who says Tau Nui has a claim on all de Thierry properties until he gets his £400, and should take them by force.

Charles tears his hair, and starts sleeping over gunpowderbarrels once again, talking about what a good shot he is, and writing indignant letters.

Both Tau Nui and Nene go off to the Bay of Islands, to pester the life out of Governor Hobson.

Governor Hobson wishes he were back at the Bermudas, and had never heard the word “land-sale”.

It is discovered that Tau Nui wasn't lying, after all. He did conquer the land, and has right of vending. Nene was wrong.

But by this time, either Charles has discovered he can't raise the £400, or he has spent it on something else. Anyhow, he hasn't got it.

Ultima Thule: The status quo is maintained, but under passionate protest all round. Maoris steal more and more timber and pigs, and feel more and more sanctimoniously in the right about it. Charles still can't see where he was wrong. He hopes to heaven the Land Commission will sit, and quick about it, for, what with page 153 Maori depredations and argument, he has only about 300 safe acres left at Mount Isabel. Yet he's afraid.… One can do with friends at Courts and Commissions, and where will the Baron de Thierry find them? How he wishes the French ships would darken New Zealand's door, as was promised all those months ago.…

Time, time, how slowly you creep! Why aren't you like the fox in the fairy-tale? The Prince sat on his back, and away they went, so fast that the wind whistled through their hair. But here… one has time to hear the grasses grow.

Thunderclouds split over Mount Isabel, for a spectacular fall of raindrops fat and round as marbles. Up from the Long Bush, one sopping June night, tears a Maori runner, explaining that Lieutenant Smart, riding over to Mount Isabel at Hobson's request, has bogged himself in the forests, and, if not drowned by this time, will at least be perishing of the cold.

One can imagine the excitement. Charles and the boys lugging on great gum boots, Charles forgetting his principles and slipping a flask of best brandy into his pocket, the lanthorns winding like a procession of large scarlet ladybirds down the hills. The hero, Lieutenant Smart, is discovered a mile down the track, sitting quite unconcerned by the body of a fine black horse, which had its neck broken by a falling tree, throwing its rider clear. Exclamations of horror and concern are all wasted.

“I've lost my little black pipe, Baron. I'd not have broken that pipe for twenty horses. Do you smoke, Baron? A man can't feel the same if he hasn't got his pipe.”

A man can't feel the same, either, if in enemy territory he is at once rubbed dry before a roaring fire, and then sits down to a bowl of macaroni soup, draped in a spare pair of his host's pantaloons, which are luckily not too bad a fit. Still, the whole effect might have been ruined if Lieutenant Smart hadn't been able to borrow from one of the farm-hands a terrible black black stub of clay, at which Charles nearly fainted with horror, resisting a primitive instinct which urged him to cross himself. Deep puffs at this instrument: beautiful blue rings curling into the air.

“Ah!…” (Puff.) “That's good, Baron.” (Puff.) “A man can't feel the same without his pipe.” (Puff, puff, puff.)

Add to that a reasonably sound claret.… Affairs march. Lieutenant Smart sits cross-legged, telling about the rumoured majesty of the portable house to be shipped out from England, for service as Government House.

“Like that we provided on St. Helena for old Boney… oh, saving your presence, Baron.”

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“Boney him all you please” – contentedly from Charles, who loves claret and damns the Bonapartists.

“Just as you say, Baron. But the Governor's house will be a fine one; it's to cost £4,000, which is more than the Crown paid for Boney's housing, and quite right too. It will be part marble, with forty-two french windows, and cedar-wood doors, and iron arches outside, where English roses may climb, if God gives 'em grace to bloom here. The settlement has a tavern that's supposed to be respectable now, though I can't say I ever tried it for myself. And there's a savings bank open twice weekly, and down at Port Nicholson, where the Wakefields' chicken settlement crows so loud, what do you think they've got for entertainment? Nothing less than a Pickwick Club. Have you read the old rascal, Baron? Next time you come to Russell, I'll lend you my copy. Next only to my pipe, I do love Sammy Pickwick.”

Lieutenant Smart stayed the week-end. Officially, he was there to look into land-claims. Actually, he was a good, kind, lazy soul, who would marshal chessmen with the best, applaud loudly when Isabel was bidden to stand by the piano and give another musical item, and praise Margaret's pigeon stew until her snorts changed to some such doleful agreement as, “Best we can do, in this land of heathen blacks and cannibals.” In the evenings they brought out the sheeted procession of the de Thierry ghost-stories, only to be told when the twigs were spitting like fairy cats in the fire-place.

There were the candles at the King of Norway's banquet, Great-uncle de Laville was consul there, and when the Revolution broke out, he didn't go home to be guillotined, but stayed on at the Norwegian Court, joining in state ceremonials, but thinking all the time of his mother, who was in Paris. One night, when Great-uncle de Laville sat at a royal banquet, candles leaning from porcelain sticks on either side of each guest, tall candles with flames silver like little haloes, his two candles went out. The servant in green quickly relighted them; but, with not a breath of wind in the hall, they guttered and sank again.

Then the diners fell to watching, and the candles were lit and lit, but always their flames seemed cowed into darkness. At last Great-uncle de Laville's face was very white, and the guests looked at him as they would at a man under some heavy misfortune. So he excused himself and left the hall, and that night started on his journey to Paris. But he was too late, for the Revolutionists had found his mother, who was once a very wealthy old lady, and still very proud. Her serving-girl helped her to escape from the empty house, where shadows scuttled about like rats on page 155 the sinking ship. But the streets terrified her, and she turned aside into the lofty sad darkness of a church, where white altar candles burned low. There the Revolutionists found her, and killed her with pikes at the high altar, the faces of stained-glass saints looking down, still-lipped as though they saw but did not understand.

Great-uncle de Laville's coach never rattled back to Norway, for in Paris the Terror caught him too.

And there was Caroline's doll and the stranger on the stairs. Caroline, the children's aunt and Papa's own sister, had been only seven, with long, thin legs and a satin hair-ribbon, when they lived in the London house where the attic was always locked up, because the landlord said he had stored rare drugs there – after turning the little apothecary-shop which was once the front of the house into a parlour with a bay window.

Caroline had a beautiful doll, with long, shining hair. She would sit out on the staircase in the evenings, teaching it lullabies. One night they heard her say, “No, no, you shan't have my doll. Go away, pray do.” But when they went out into the shadow, only Caroline and her doll were there. Often, after that, they heard the little girl talking to someone on the stairs, and decided that perhaps somebody in the next house, whose peaked gable joined their own, was making his way through the empty attic. But no; when they looked, the door above the stair squeezed in behind the cisterns was securely nailed up, with great bent rusty nails. When at last they forced the door, and looked in at the room whose spirit was all sheathed in cobwebs, there was no stranger, but only on the floor wide-spreading stains, rusty in colour as the nails, groping their way to the door. Then the landlord confessed that the last tenant, Dr. Parmentier, had killed himself there, when he could no longer make a living from dispensing behind the counter in the apothecary-shop, whose jars of dragon's blood, mouse-ear, vervein, wild ginger, old man root, were too far away from the press of London for customers to be attracted by its wavering green and blue bottles of light.

So the de Thierrys went away from the house, and at the last moment Caroline ran back and left her beautiful doll sitting on the stairs, its white-stockinged legs dangling neat and prim, its face pouting beneath its sunbonnet, waiting for Dr. Parmentier to come down and play with it.

And when the shadows drew back into the black-throated chimney, where a thousand minute soot-demons danced wildly in the smoky flames, Charles would make them laugh again by telling about sixteen-year-old Aunt Caroline, who was so brave page 156 and chased a burglar away from their house in Somerset, with nothing but a candlestick for her weapon. The children, however, were undecided whether to admire Aunt Caroline or the burglar, who was nothing but a chimney-sweep's little black boy, and who marched into the house in broad daylight, as bold as brass, with his soot-bag on his shoulder, and would have cleared the sideboard of silver if Aunt Caroline hadn't come running down and caught him at it.

But the story not often told was of Grandfather de Thierry's dream in Grave, after the Revolutionists drove him into exile. In the morning, he couldn't, even when cool sunshine dazzled on the round white pebbles of the paths where he walked with two French nobles and their beautiful greyhounds, forget the tall, sad man in the brown camlet coat, with a flat hat pulled over his eyes, and very high boots. As they turned a corner in the park, whose oaks and dreaming sunlight seemed to know no sorrows at all, Grandfather de Thierry caught his breath, and plucked at his companion's sleeve. For the man in brown camlet was walking straight towards them. As he would have passed, Grandfather de Thierry stepped forward and touched his arm, saying, “You are from Paris?”

“Since yesterday,” said the tall man indifferently. “And I do not go back.”

“Not after what you have seen,” said Grandfather de Thierry.

The man's face whitened suddenly, and his eyes peered out under his flat hat.

“How do you know what I have seen?” he asked hardly.

“You were with those who saw the King led to the scaffold. You came out of the gates of a tall house built like a triangle, with carved and gilded gryphons on the cornice. It was you saw His Majesty drop his kerchief, and stepped forward to pick it up. But you remembered that he was captive, and it would be most dangerous to show him any kindness. So you watched.”

And the tall man said curtly, “Keep your dreams,” and was gone. Like the black-eyed gipsy who came to the London lodging-house and told the Baroness, his mother, so many queer things about the squirming little boy who stamped his foot, and declared that gipsies were friends of the Devil and he wouldn't listen to them. But she smiled at him out of her old eyes, red-black as rubies, and said, “It's all true, my little dear, so sure as you've got three teeny moles over your heart.” And when he slipped inside and pulled up his high white shirt, with its starched frill, there were the three teeny moles plain in the looking-glass. And long and long page 157 he thought of the many queer things the gipsy woman had told, and again afterwards, when one or another of them seemed to come true.

Winter outside, a great, high-ribbed cave, its roof pierced with the white, freezing, stalactites of starlight. The winds came roaring in, like those demonic spirits of whom the Maoris were so fond: Hau-Tuia, who is Piercing Wind, Hau Ngangana, who is Blustering Wind, and their mother, Te Mangu, who is Darkness. The Haumaringiringi, who are the Mist Gods; Hauauru, Mauru, Tamauru, and Tauru, the four spirits of the West Wind; Haumia-Tikitiki, Lord of Fern Root and all Wild Foods. Not the Haumarotoroto, the Fine-Weather Gods, those had been blown away by the cold and evil ones, But Rangiwhenua was there, the Lord over Thunder, and his servants the Kahui-Tipua, the Ogre-band.

Ghostly voices around the house. But within, Lieutenant Smart beats His Majesty over the cheesboard, two nights out of three. Both gentlemen are eased with claret, after being blistered with Margaret's unforgettable parsnip wine. They discuss the Wakefield plans, the gentlemanlike conduct of Governor Hobson, the prospective personnel of the Land Commission. The windy house is stranded like the Ark on Ararat, there is nothing to see outside the windows but a tossing and rebellious darkness of high-stomached trees. Within the charmed circle, firelight and candlelight fall gently as the lustre known in a dream.