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The Diary of James Brogden, August 1871 – December 1872

10 February 1872

10 February 1872

Next day was to see the mail stopped! Four men who were supposed to be going in search of gold came up, the Maoris tried to frighten and stop them, but they started off next morning, one strong fine fellow taking the lead, carried page 55 a large swag on his back enough for 2 ordinary men, saying he would not be stopped by any one. An Agent of the Government came to settle about the Mails and gave away a quantity of beer, - the Chief and his men, as well as all the women, availed themselves of his liberality to such an extent that they were all intoxicated. One old lady was especially hilarious, - and remembering that some relation of hers had recently died, and that it was incumbent on her to celebrate the event, she primed herself afresh with liquor and began to howl most piteously – the chief mocking her the while creating great fun among the rest. She was taken down to the canoe, and we quite expected to see her upset, but when there on the water, her new position acted liked a charm in keeping her perfectly still and quiet. She, however, recommenced the hideous howling on the other side of the river, her hideous tones gradually subsiding as night advanced and she became sober, - the incident reminding us of the English woman who when her husband died, sad said [gap — reason: unclear] she had cried all day, and should “I shall begin again as soon as I have eaten this bit of pudding.”