MAR. with waking intelligence. Is that why some men are more mouldy than others?
AUCK. You don’t quite grasp. You see, racially I am in a totally different classification to yourself. Being English, I am of the Aryan branch of the Caucassic group, and, true to type, you will observe that my colour is whitish; hair, flaxen, long, wavy and silky; skull dolichocephalic; orthogonathous jaw –
MAR. seriously. Excuse me, if jaw refers to conversation yours is altogether beyond me.
AUCK. continuing, unheeding interruption. – in temperament, active and enterprising, practical, serious, and highly imaginative.
MAR. Oh, yes; very highly imaginative.
AUCKLINGTON noticing that he is not making as much headway as he would like; hits on the idea to awaken Manama’s interest by producing the mere from his pocket, but takes out bone by mistake.
AUCK. Here I have something which should be of common interest to us both; I prize it immensely, and would not part with it for worlds.
MAR. You have a leetle bone to pick with me? laughs heartily.
AUCK. discovering his error. How silly – my mistake! You are making merry, and ‘merry’s’ the word. replaces bone and brings out mere.
MARAMA at sight of the mere is overcome with emotion; she sways slightly, and AUCKLINGTON rises as if to steady her.
AUCK. My dear, don’t be so distressed. This object is surely not what you Maoris call “tapu,”
MARAMA at Aucklington’s touch turns away as if stung.
AUCK. mystified. Well, well. Never mind, never mind, I don’t want to hurt you.
MARAMA increases the distance between herself and Aucklington.
AUCK. pacifically. Let me go to fetch my camera and take a pretty picture of you; a charming little snapshot to give your sweetheart. There now – don’t be upset – I will be back in a moment. exits hurriedly L.I.E.
MARAMA half stunned, realizing that she is alone, comes down stage, distractedly. Why am I too late – too late? Had Mr. Dale still possessed the mere, he would have understood – have sympathised – and given it to me to bestow upon Huia, my betrothed, as a wedding gift. Huia with this priceless heirloom of highest chieftain rank would have made a fitting companion for me, a princess of equal birth, and our marriage would have been celebrated by a hui attended by hundreds.
And now. what is the alternative? Some moonlight night, Huia, after one of his passionate pleadings will carry me off to his raupo whare, and the hui, with its feasting and congratulations, will be only a honeymoon dream.
soft music as MARAMA falls on her knees and clasps her tiki, kissing it.
Oh, Tiki! Tiki! Mascot and comforter, help me, help me and guide my destiny.
MARAMA again hugs her tiki to her breast; then heartened, as if struck by a bright idea, she rises.