Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/221

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209
SURVIVALS FROM MARRIAGE BY CAPTURE.

lady would prove successful, the chief of the Ngatiroa was induced, through the influence of a new wife, the sister of the suitor, to proclaim a tawa tango. An ambassadress was sent to give notice to the Mania tribe, and two large canoes full of men accompanied her. The ambassadress saw the tawa received at a friendly village, where it was arranged it should remain for a day or two, and then went on to the settlement of the Mania. There she was received with great respect and distinction, nor was there the slightest change made in the manner of her hosts when she announced that a tawa would arrive the next day or the day after to carry off a certain maiden. "Of whom did the tawa consist?" she was asked; and when the Mania learned that it was only composed of about one hundred and sixty men in two canoes, they felt rather offended at so small a tawa coming to attempt the abduction of one of their maidens. However, in the mean time, and without the knowledge of the ambassadress, who would have been obliged by custom to declare the true strength of the party, the tawa had been reenforced by seven more canoes full of men, which had started a few hours after the first two. The warriors in these canoes reached the Mania settlement and hid in a gully close below the pa, or stockaded fort, leaving the two original canoes to approach alone. When the Mania saw only these two canoes, they opened the gates of their pa, and the chiefs, having marshaled their men, performed the customary dance of welcome. The Ngatiroa who had landed below the pa, formed in a long, oblong phalanx, the rear of which rested upon the gully in which their friends lay concealed, and, upon the conclusion of the dance of the Mania, commenced their share in the performance. The oblong wedge, the Maori order of battle, advanced singing in a low tone, and gesticulating in what they would have called a mild manner. On they advanced, the movement raising no suspicion in the breasts of their adversaries, it being part of the customary ritual of the war dance, until the thin end of the phalanx overlapped the Mania, and stood between them and the gates of the pa. Suddenly a change was visible in the antics of the Ngatiroa; their gesticulations became violent, their eyes protruded, their heads were thrown back, and their throats uttered a mighty shout. As the cry passed their lips, a stream of warriors rushed up the banks of the gully and joined the cluster of their comrades, now swollen to a compact mass of six hundred men. When the Mania realized the ruse practiced upon them, they never for a moment thought of giving up the fair cause of the incursion without a struggle. Into the pa poured both parties—the Mania to rally round the girl; the Ngatiroa, except the small party expressly told off to carry away the lady, seeking every man an opponent to wrestle with. Each