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Ngamihi; or The Maori Chief's Daughter

Chapter XXXIII. Render unto Cæsar's the Things that are Cæsar's

page 135

Chapter XXXIII. Render unto Cæsar's the Things that are Cæsar's

Shortly after the Captain gave a sigh, opened his eyes and looked up at me." I remained silent until he spoke.

"Miss Munroe," he said, "how good of you to look after me. How can I repay you for your kindness?"

"You owe me very little Captain Wilson," I answered, "but that, will do another time. You must not talk too much now, as you have been very ill. A few words perhaps will do you no harm if you don't over exert yourself. How do you feel?"

"I think I am all right now," he answered with a faint smile. "The horrible pain is gone from my head, and I feel quite cool and comfortable. My dear young lady you must let me again thank you for your care of me. I was quite conscious last night when you put some cooling applications to my head and made me take strange doses of medicine. Of one thing I am sure, and that is, that it was not the nurse who was so attentive to me. But then—something else puzzles me."

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"What is it, Captain?" I asked.

"I hardly like to say, Miss Munroe. It may have been imagination—or a dream."

"Yes, of course," I answered, not wishing to inquire too closely. "All sorts of things flit through a person's brain when they have been ill. However, I may as well tell you that the whole credit of your recovery belongs to the Maori girl Zada, who was your nurse throughout your illness, and who alone deserves your thanks."

"All," he cried with a start, a light breaking over his countenance, "that may account for something that has puzzled me."

"Now, pray do no excite yourself," I remonstrated, as he attempted to sit up.

"But you will explain matters, won't you? I know I am weak, but I promise to control myself. To think of Zada saving my life; God bless her! But where is the doctor?"

"He has followed the expedition which went to look for Arline Hirch. He knew you were in good hands, otherwise he would have remained behind—but I forgot, you know nothing about it."

"No; but do tell me about Zada, I will keep quiet, and listening will not harm me," said he with feverish eagerness

"I then told him about your meeting with Zada in the forest; her request to be allowed to nurse him, and of the answer we brought her together. How the doctor despaired of his life, and had given up all hope until Zada's providential page 137appearance. How Zada turned the doctor and me out of the room for twenty-four hours. Her frantic joy at his recovery, and her wish to leave before he awoke. After I had finished I asked the Captain if he could eat anything."

"Yes, I believe I could manage a grilled chop," he answered absently.

"No, you can't have that," I replied. "Doctor Zada had ordered you chicken broth first. Later on, perhaps, you can have something more substantial; in the meantime I will give the nurse directions, and will come and see you again shortly."

"There's a yarn for you," said Mr. Munroe.

"What do you think of it Douglas?"

"I am delighted to hear of Captain Wilson's recovery," said I warmly. "Have you seen him since, Miss Munroe?"

"Yes, and as his appetite has considerably improved, think we can now safely consider him convalescent. And now, Mr. Douglas, we will hear of your adventures since you left. I know the expedition was successful in rescuing Arline Hirch. Dad—I mean father—and I were in the crowd when you returned. How pleased the poor girl looked on seeing so many of her friends congregated to welcome her back. It is a great pity, however, that so many lives were lost in the rescue of one person."

"That is not the point my dear," answered her father, "an outrage like that should not be allowed to go unpunished if only to show the rebels that we will not allow them to murder white people with impunity. They should be taught from the outset who is master, and then the country will be governed in safety."

page 138

"You are quite right Mr. Munroe," I replied. "I believe we have gained a double victory, as you will hear from my narrative."

I then gave them a brief resume of what occurred during our expedition.

"I expect," said the old gentleman, "that that rain of fire must have thrown the rebels into the greatest confusion. It was a grand idea of Ngahoia's, and he certainly ought to be rewarded."

"I suppose there will be a large funeral to-morrow. What time will it be Mr. Douglas?" asked Miss Munroe.

"At ten o'clock. Will you be there?"

"Yes; dad and I will follow in the buggy. Poor old mater is laid up in her room with a severe cold, so I am mistress of the house for the present," she answered with a smile.

"Yes, I know that," said her father, with a grimace.

I shortly after took my leave as I wanted to have a chat with my old chum Andrews before going to bed.

The funeral passed off quietly next morning, and was well attended by the townspeople. Some days later Captain Snell informed me that a detachment of twenty-five men under Lieutenant Lovelock was expected next day. He gave me instructions to arrange for their accommodation as they were intended to replace the men we had lost in the fight.