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Ngamihi; or The Maori Chief's Daughter

Chapter XLI. Lieutenant Lovelock gets 'Sat Upon.'

page 167

Chapter XLI. Lieutenant Lovelock gets 'Sat Upon.'

We found the Lieutenant regaling himself with a cigar and a glass of whisky and water.

"Aw, Captain Wilson, how do; twy some whisky and water."

"No thanks, I don't require any, I want to——"

The Lieutenant here gave me an angry glance and said—

"I suppose Douglas has been running to you with a weport. He should not trouble a sick man I think."

"It is not his habit to do so, but in this case he has done his duty. Douglas has informed me that you have lodged six Maoris in the guard room. You have heard how the doctor and Captain Snell became acquainted with Taipua, and now when he shows himself in accordance with his promise given after the fight, you thrust him into prison with his five companions. Winning over by kindness a man like the young chief is a victory more to be desired than one gained by fighting, and does more good to our cause than you imagine."

page 168

"How did I know that it was Captain Shell's particular friends that I had got hold of?" he drawled indifferently, helping himself to another glass of whisky and water.

"Sergeant Douglas knew the men, and advised you not to insult them."

"Aw—did he really? well the aw—fact—of it is, I don't take advice from non-coms. Fact, 'pon honor.'

"It is not beneath any officer to take advice from his subordinates," answered the Captain sharply. I may tell you that Colonial regiments do not work on the stiff lines that they are worked in England. I believe commissioned and non-commissioned officers can be close friends without the discipline of the regiment being interfered with in the slightest. But I didn't come here to preach. You had better liberate your prioners at once, and I will hold myself responsible for their conduct during Captain Shell's absence."

"Aw—well I suppose so" he drawled; "Sergeant," he continued in a sharp voice, "let the prisoners out of the gward room, and take them to h—if you life."

As I had succeeded in my object I hastened to obey the order—not the latter—and when I got outside I found Andrews waiting for me.

"Is it all right about them critters the Lootenant sent to the guard room, Sergeant?" he inquired eagerly. "Yes, it is all right; and I am now going to let them out. I will ask old Mr. Davis to let them have his empty house for the present. There is a little furniture there, and we can supply them with blankets."

"I thought Captain Wilson would bring the cuss of a Lootenant to his senses. A word with you, Sergeant—look out page 169for him! Perhaps you don't know that the Lootenant is in love with Miss Munroe, and hates you in consequence. Marry her to spite him!"

"Nonsence, Andrews; Miss Munroe and I are great friends—but that is all. Were I a commissioned officer, I might try and compete with him; but it would be presumption on my part to do so while in my present position."

"Never mind, I reckon I was a good hunter once, and can see a little ahead yet. Very few tools come off the prairie," was the reply.

I thought over what Andrews had said, and—

"Hope filled with flowers her cork-tree bark,
And lighted her helm with a glow-worm spark
Then love, when he saw her bark fly past.
 Said lingering time will soon be passed!
               Hope out-speeds time."

We soon had our Maori friends at liberty, and endeavoured in every way to let them see that the treatment to which they had been so unceremoniously subjected to was no fault of ours. Captain Wilson came to see them and had a long conversation with the young chief, his reception being most cordial, and when he left, all unpleasantness, if any existed, had been removed.

Captain Snell returned after dark from his shooting excursion, having had some splendid sport, pakuras, ducks, and pigeons being very plentiful. He was greatly annoyed at what had taken place in his absence, and severely censured the Lieutenant for his arbitrary action. The latter had excused himself by saying that he had had too much whisky and water—"in fact had to take it to prewent him from getting the blues in this beathly hole."

page 170

As I was off duty that evening I determined to pay Mr. Munroe a visit, as I wished to see Miss Munroe in reference to a concert we were getting up in aid of the Ambulance Class. Several lectures had been given by Doctor Gill, which were greatly appreciated. A number of our men had joined the class, and the Doctor was greatly pleased with its prospects of success, which he attributed much to Miss Munroe's zeal.