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'Tween Snow and Fire, by Bertram Mitford 1

'Tween Snow and Fire, by Bertram Mitford


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Title: 'Tween Snow and Fire A Tale of the Last Kafir War

Author: Bertram Mitford

Release Date: June 19, 2010 [EBook #32896]

Language: English
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Produced
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'Tween
by BertramsetMitford
Snow
by encoding:
Nick
and Fire ASCII
Hodson of London, England
CHAPTER ONE. 2

CHAPTER ONE.

THE EPISODE OF THE WHITE DOG.

The buck is running for dear life.

The dog is some fifty yards behind the buck. The Kafir is about the same
behind
distance he the dog,
is striving which
right manfully to maintain; not so unsuccessfully,
either,
the considering
speed of two legsthatagainst
he is pitting
that of eight.

Down the long grass slope they course--buck, dog, and savage. The former, a
game little
steinbok antelope
species, of the
takes the ground in a series of long, flying leaps, his white
tail whisking
defiance. Thelike a flaga tawny,
second, of black-muzzled grey-hound, stretching his
snaky
quarry,length
utters in
nothe wakeasofwith
sound, his arrow-like velocity he holds on his course,
his cruel saliva
dripping eyes gleaming, his jaws
in pleasurable anticipation of the coming feast. The third, a
fine, well-knit
naked young Kafir,
body glistening from hishead to foot with red ochre, urges on his hound
with an occasional
encouragement, as shrill
he coverswhooptheofground at a surprising pace in his free,
bounding
knob-kerrie stride.
in hisHe holds
hand, a for use as soon as the quarry shall be within
ready
hurling distance.
But of this there seems small chance at present. It takes a good dog indeed to
run down
with an unwounded
the openveldt beforebuckhim, and good as this one is, it seems probable that he will get left.
grass slope they course,Downbut thethe
long
opposite acclivity is the quarry's opportunity.
The
to pointed
touch groundhoofs
in seem hardlyflight of their owner. The distance between the
the arrowy
latter and the pursuing hound
increases.

Along a high ridge overlooking this primitive chase grow, at regular


intervals, several
One of these circular
conceals clumps of
a spectator. bush.
The latter is seated on horseback in the
very midstloosely
dangling of the in
scrub, his feet his hand closed tightly and rather
the stirrups,
suggestively
gun--rifle andround
smooththebore--which
breech of a double
rests across the pommel of his saddle.
There iscompletely
himself a frown upon his face,
hidden, as,
he watches intently the progress of the sport. It is
evident that
interested he pleased.
than is more

For Tom Carhayes is the owner of this Kaffrarian stock run. In that part of
Kaffraria,
scarce, game
owing to isthe
exceedingly
presence of a redundant native population. Tom
Carhayes
spares no is an ardent
effort sportsman
to protect and the game upon his farm. Yet here is a
and restore
Kafir running
his very nose. down
Small awonder
buck under
that he feels furious.

"That scoundrel Goniwe!" he mutters between his set teeth. "I'll put a bullet
throughhimself
nigger his cur,within
and lick
an the
inch of his life!"

The offence is an aggravated one. Not only is the act of poaching a very
perpetrator
sheep.
indeed
The
running
two.
situation.
But
patch from
buck
capitalThe
ofThese
that
more
bush
dog
just
Fifty
has
crime ought
hishe
is
that
nearly
similar
by
in said
yards
ahis
has
sight
long
to
distance
master,
left
be
gained
more
tothan
eyes,way
atthat
tobut
that
take
above
and
at
by
behind
the
which
no
moment
scent,
thethe
care
crest
time
there
quarry
now,
conceals
of
of
may
aat
themselves
suddenly
the
good-tempered
and
least
easily
will
ridge.
thethree
bespectator.
spectator
be
darts
over
Once
while
foiled,
miles
forth
the
man,
over
hehas
The
away,
ridge
byanother
indulges
itvows
atobuck,
his
sudden
and
rise
herding
chances
todog--a
in
in
in
make
turn
his
an a
about
illicit
condign
are
to
stirrups
comparative
white
thoroughly
right
good.
buck-hunt.
one.
eleven
or
to
example
The
left,
command
Itdemoralised
safety.
has
hundred
pursuing
andsprung
Small
ofahim.
double
aofview
wonder
hound,
by
from
histhe
of
master's
orathe
advent of
CHAPTER ONE. 3

this new enemy, executes a rapid double, and thus pressed back into the very
jaws of its first
alternative but topursuer hasthe
head up novalley as fast as its legs can carry it.

But the new hound is fresh, and in fact a better dog than the first one. He
presses thethe
needs not quarry very close
encouraging and of his master, who has leaped forth from his
shouts
concealmenthim.
unleashing immediately
For a few upon
moments the pace is even, then it decreases
. The buck seemed doomed.

And, indeed, such is the case anyhow. For, held in waiting at a given point,
ready
a thirdtodog.
be let slipisifthe
Such necessary, is
Kafir method of hunting. The best dog ever whelped
is not
or quitepower,
staying equal, toeither in speed
running down a full-grown buck in ,the butopen
by adopting
veldt the above means of
hunting in relays, the chance are equalised. To be more accurate, the quarry
has no chance at all.
On speeds the chase; the new dog, a tall white grey-hound of surprising
endurance and speed,
the other, lashed into againing rapidly;
final spurt by the spirit of emulation, not far behind.
The twowith
hounds Kafirs, stimulating
yells their
of encouragement, are straining every nerve to be in at the
death.
The buck--terror and demoralisation in its soft, lustrous eyes--is heading
straightThe
place. forlatter
the spectator's
raises his hiding
piece, with the intention of sending a bullet
through the first
come abreast dogposition;
of his as soon as
theitshot
shallbarrel will finish off the other.

But he does not fire. The fact is, the man is simply shaking with rage.
Grinding
utter his teeth,
inability to hithe recognises
a haystack at his
that moment, let alone a swiftly coursing
grey-hound.
The chase sweeps by within seventy yards of his position--buck, dog, and
Kafirs. Then another diversion
occurs.

Two more natives rise, apparently out of the ground itself. One of these,
poising
springy,himself erect
quivering with aholds
motion, peculiar
his kerrie ready to hurl. The buck is barely
thirtythe
like yards distant, and going
wind.

"Whigge--woof!" The hard stick hurls through the air--aimed nearly as far
ahead offrom
distant the the
quarry as the latter
marksman. Thereis is a splintering crash, and a shrill, horrid
scream--then
shape, writhinga reddish brown
and rolling in agony upon the ground. The aim of the savage
has been
buck's true.
legs areAll four ofand
snapped theshattered like pipe-stems.

The two hounds hurl themselves upon the struggling carcase, their savage
snarls mingling
half-human yell with
emittedthe by
sickening,
the terrified and tortured steinbok. The four
Kafirs gather round their prey.
"Suka inja !" ["Get out, dog!"] cries one of them brutally, giving the white dog a dig in
butt-end ofthehisribs withand
kerrie, theputting the wretched buck out of its agony by a
blow on the with
The hound, headawith the same.
snarling yelp, springs away from the carcase, and lies
down
are
Were beside
heaving
expected
hum.
presence.
Goniwe
angry To
he
man
for
wise
the
prey.
He his
and fellow.
panting
isdeserting
concealed
might
seldom
he
Their
wouldindeed
his Their
after
savage
wise,
spectator
elect
post,
and flanks
the
derive run,
masters,
to though
Tom
leave
the
someand
sight their
Carhayes
squatted
them
the
modicum
is
wisdomlolling
alone
simply
around,
forms tongues
entirely,
of
ofmaddening.
satisfaction
no
that
are and
exception
act
and
resting toglaring
ofwould
consolation
He
by
after
judges
the
their
eyesdelinquents
turn
exertions,
the
withdraw
general
breaks
time
be hungrily
subsequently
may from
doubted.
rule.
for
quietly
chatting
swooping
his
With atoward
sjambokking
has
cover
But
without
inarrived.
savage
aand
down the
thoroughly
deep
betraying
rides
the
curse
bass
upondefaulting
furiously
hehis down upon the offending group.
CHAPTER ONE. 4

But if he imagines his unlooked for arrival is going to strike terror to the
hearts of those
poachers, daring
he soon and impudent
becomes alive to his mistake. Two of them, including his
own others
The herd, are already
make standing.
no attempt to rise from their careless and squatting posture.
All contemplate
absolute himand
unconcern, withthe half-concealed and contemptuous grin spread
across
retainerthe
in broad countenance
no wise of his
tends to allay his fury.

"What the devil are you doing here, Goniwe?" he cries. "Get away back to
your to
hide flock at once,
ribbons. or I'll
Here. Gettan
outyour
of the light you two--I'm going to shoot that
dog--unless you want
through yourselves the charge
instead."

This speech, delivered half in Boer Dutch, half in the Xosa language, has a
startling
Kafirs effect.
spring The other
suddenly to two
their feet, and all four close up in a line in front of
the speaker,
between himsoandas their
to stand
dogs. Their demeanour is insolent and threatening to
the last degree.
"Whau 'mlungu!" ["Ho! white man!"] cries the man whose successful throw has brought
down the
barbarian of herculean quarry--a
stature and with an evil, sinister cast of countenance. ! But
'mlungu
it will
"Shoot
not away,
be only a dog that will die."

The purport of this menace is unmistakable. The speaker even advances a


step, shifting,
assegais from as
hishe doeshand
right so, his
to his left--leaving the former free to wield an
ugly looking kerrie.seem
fellow-countrymen His equally ready for action.

Carhayes is beside himself with fury. To be defied and bearded like this on
his own land,
scoundrels and he
whom by has
fourcaught
black red-handed in the act of killing his own
game! The
through hisposition is uncontrollable
well-nigh intolerable. Butwrath there runs a vein of caution.

Were he to act upon his first impulse and shoot the offending hound, he
would
Kafirs have
wouldbut beone
uponcharge left. The
him before he could draw trigger. They evidently mean
mischief,
one. Two ofandthem
theyare
arearmed
four towith assegais and all four carry--in their hands
the scarcely less
weapon--the formidable
ordinary hard-wood kerrie. Moreover, were he to come off
victorious
of at the
them dead, theprice of shooting
act would entail one
very ugly consequences, for although the
frontier
short of was practically
a state of war, itinwas
little
not actually so, which meant that the civil law
still held sway
certainly claim and would
its vindication to the full.

For a moment or two the opposing parties stand confronting each other. The
whitethe
grips man, seated
breech ofon
hishis
gunhorse,
convulsively, and the veins stand out in cords
upon his powerlessness.
his utter flushed face as The
he realises
Kafirs, their naked, muscular frames repulsive
with red
their ochre,
savage stand motionless,
countenances wreathed in a sneer of hate and defiance. There are
scarcely ten yards between
them.

The train is laid. It only needs the application of a spark to cause a


magnificent
by the
Hlangani,
Now
that
Kafir
his istall
tracks
itswhether flare-up.
abarbarian
master's
toowithout
much
man
!"through
he
last
offor
even
cries
the That
who
word spark
has
Carhayes.
pure
House first
ainyelp,
was
his is applied
spoken.
accident--in
great,
aof
and
command
Up
Sarili,
lies
goes
sneering
feebly
the
other
his
toGreat
piece:
itself,
tones.
words,
kicking
Chief,
there
the
"Go
the
his
white
and
away.
is
"sheer
life
a is
flash
dog
away,
not
We
cussedness"
atand
the
have
this
with
white
a talked
the enough
"AuFate--or
dog
["Get
of
juncture
protecting
report.
blood umlungu
mine?
out."
welling
The
gets
shadow
Go
whether
Usually
wretched
with
up,
from
away.
and
you.
ofaonly
itleaving
hound
great
its
imagines
Am master
employed
Isinks
not
thebegins
intoward
to slink
a dog.]
away. This
overand
thethe
veldt
swaggering insolence of
Suka
the
!"
CHAPTER ONE. 5

circular wound behind the shoulder. The poor beast has run down his last
buck.
[Commonly known as Kreli--the paramount chief of all the Xosa tribes.]

The train is fired. Like the crouching leopard crawling nearer for a surer
springadvances
glide, the great to
Kafir, with a sudden
the horse's head, and makes a quick clutch at the bridle.
Had he followed
rapidly succeededupinblow
seizing it, the
from a deadly kerrie would have stretched the
rider senseless,
theveldt if not
. But the dead,
latter upon
is too quick for him. Jerking back his horse's head and driving
the animalin to
both
rearspurs, he causes
and plunge, thus defeating any attempt on the part of his
enemiesastowell
saddle, dragashim from the
widening the distance between himself and them.

"Stand back, you curs!" he roars, dropping his piece to a level with the chest
of the foremost.
moves "The
another step firstbewho
shall served the same as that brute of a dog!"

But the Kafirs only laugh derisively. They are shrewd enough to know that
the civil
and law he
imagine is still
dareparamount,
not fire on them. A kerrie hurtles through the air with an
ugly "whigge."
Carhayes Blindhis
discharges with fury, barrel full at the tall savage, who is still
remaining
advancing
whose towardsdemeanour
threatening him, and and formidable aspect seems to warrant even
that
The extreme step in self-defence.
Kafir falls.

Surprised, half cowed by this unlooked for contingency, the others pause
irresolute. Before
themselves theyshout,
a warning can recover
close at hand, creates a diversion which seems
likelyoftoaffairs.
face throw a new light on the
CHAPTER TWO. 6

CHAPTER TWO.

"YOU HAVE STRUCK A CHIEF."

"Baleka[Run], you dogs!" cried Carhayes, who had taken the opportunity of slipping
a couple
cartridges into hisofgun.
fresh
" Baleka, or I'll shoot the lot of you."

He looked as if he meant it, too. The Kafirs, deeming discretion the better
part
to of valour, judged it expedient
temporise.

"Don't shoot again,Baas! [Master.] You have already killed one man!" they said significantly.

"And I'll kill four!" was the infuriated reply.


, do" you
Baleka
hear--quick--sharp--at once, or you're dead
men!"

"Don't do anything so foolish, Tom," said a voice at his side, and a hand was
stretched
the aim ofout theasthreatening
though to piece.
arrest "For God's sake, remember. We are not at
war--yet."
"That be hanged!" came the rough rejoinder. "Anyway, we'll give these
fellows
to a royal good
three--that's thrashing.
enough Weodds.
are two
Come along, Eustace, and we'll lick them
within an inch of their lives."
"We'll do nothing of the sort," replied the other quietly and firmly. Then, with
an anxiety
could in his faceconceal,
not altogether which he he walked his horse over to the prostrate Kafir.
Buthisthefeet.
to latter
Hissuddenly staggered
left shoulder was streaming with blood, and the concussion of
the close
him. Evendischarge
his would-behad stunned
slayer looked somewhat relieved over this turn
which
he had affairs
to thank hadthetaken, and for
plunging thishorse, for it is difficult to shoot straight,
of his
even
steed point
beneath blank,
one,with a restive
let alone the additional handicap of being in a white rage
at the time.
Of his wound the Kafir took not the smallest notice. He stood contemplating
thebitter
of two white
hatredmen with a scowl
deepening upon his ochre-besmeared visage. His three
countrymen halted irresolute
distance--a respectful a little
distance, thought Carhayes with a sneer--in the
background,
their assistance as though
should bewaiting to see
required. if he spoke:
Then

"Now hear my words, you whom the people call Umlilwane. I know you,
even though
me--better foryou
youdoifnot
youknow
did, for then you would not have wounded the
sleeping lion,hooded
anger of the nor have aroused
snake, whothe
is swift to strike. Ha! I am Hlangani," he
continued,
perfect roarraising his voice
of menace, to aeyes blazed like live coals as he pointed to the
and his
shot wounds
now black and inhideous
his shoulder,
with clotted blood. "I am Hlangani, the son of
Ngcesiba,What
Gcaleka. a manman of the House
living am Iofafraid of? Behold me here as I stand. Shoot
again,
you Umlilwane--shoot
dare.Hau again, ifYou have slain my dog--my white hunting dog, the last of
! Hear my `word.'
outrun every other his breed--who
hunting dogcan in the land, even as the wind outstrippeth the
have
[Umlilwane:
"Damn
is
turning
my shed
word.
the
to his
myHouse
Keep
"Little
companion,
blood,
clear
of
crawling ox-wagon, and youFire"--Kafirs
Gcaleka,
theofblood
"we
me, anyway,"
had
for
of are
athe
better
chief.
fond
next
said
load
You
of
time
Carhayes,
bestowing
up
had
you
this
better
fall
buck-meat
with
nicknames.
foul
firstaof
have
sneer
meand cut
I'll
This
ascarry
shoot
off
theone
it for it is better to
yourdead.
lose
man
referred
short
savage,
denunciation,
you
home.aof
right
temper.]
hand
What
the
having
toAnd
hand,
its
House
than
onbearer's
stalked
now,
vented
earth
one's
of Eustace,"
Gcaleka."
is
scowlingly
habitually
his
mind
the good
. Thisaway
is mywith
`word,'
his compatriots.
Umlilwane--bear "Look
," for
it[fool],
here,
inyou
memory,
he
have
isidenge
continued.
struck a "This
chief
--a
CHAPTER TWO. 7

of my trying to preserve the game, with a whole location of these black scum
not ten
went on,miles
as hefrom mythe
placed door?" he of the unfortunate steinbok on the crupper
carcase
of his horse.
"No good. No good, whatever, as I am always telling you," rejoined the other
decisively,
game can't "Kafir locations
exist side and
by side. Doesn't it ever strike you, Tom, that this game-
preserving mania
you--costing is costing dear."
us, excessively

"Hang it. I suppose it is," growled Carhayes. "I'll clear


to some
out, trek
other part of the country where a
fellow isn't overrun by a lot of worthless, lazy, red Kafirs. I wish to Heaven
they'd
I'd takeonly start
it out this precious
of some of their war.
hides. Have some better sport than buck-
hunting then, eh?"
"Perhaps. But there may be no war after all. Meanwhile you have won the
enmity
and of every Kafir
Ncanduku's in Nteya's
locations. I wouldn't give ten pounds for our two hundred
pound
it meantpair of breeding
leaving ostriches,
them here if from now, that's all."
three days

"Oh, shut up croaking, Eustace," snarled Carhayes, "And by the way, who the
deuce
and is this
what sweep
is he doingHlangani,
on this side of the river anyway?"

"He's a Gcaleka, as he said, and a petty chief under Kreli; and the Gaikas on
this sideIare
quarrel. surethem."
know to take up his

"H'm. It strikes me you know these black scoundrels rather well, Eustace.
What a queer
wonder what onchap youhas
earth are.made
Now,you
I take such an interest in them of late."

"So do I. I suppose, though, I find them interesting, especially since I have


learnedAnd
easily. to talk
theywith
are them pretty On the whole, I like them."
interesting.

Carhayes made no reply, unless an inarticulate growl could be construed as


such, and
silence. the two
They weremen rodecousins,
distant on in these two, and as regarded their farming
operations,
were two men partners. Yet never
more utterly dissimilar. Carhayes, the older by a matter of ten
years,
of was just
forty--but hisonpowerfully
the wrongbuiltside frame was as tough and vigorous as in the
most
He energetic
was rather adays
goodoflooking
his youth.
man, but the firm set of his lips beneath the
thick, fair of
shortness beard, and aset
the neck, certain
forth his choleric disposition at first glance. The
otherand
two, waswhile
slightly the taller
lacking of the massive proportions of his cousin, was
the broad,
straight,face
Milne's and would
well sethaveup. puzzled
But Eustace
the keenest character reader. It was a blank.
Not that there
stupidity was aught stamped
or woodenness of thereon. On the contrary, there were
moments when it would
rare attractiveness, but itslight up with
normal a
expression was of that impassibility which
you may see of
countenance upon the or a lawyer of intellect and wide experience, whose
a priest
vocation involves
profoundly varied an intimate and
acquaintance with human nature in all its chequered lights
and shades;
upon that of rarely,
one sohowever,
young.

From
plains
The
the
forest
of
column the
transparent,
faintly ahigh
aundulating
panorama
red
farmhouse
light,
in
and
across
ochre
of balmy ridge
straggling
mimosa-dotted
grey
indeed,
on
the
grass
was or
smoke
their
air
wide
two on
barred
land
was
of which
labyrinth
clothing
were
marked
this
and
melted
the
bydales
airthe
early
intervening
theand
of
the
that
into
of two
discernible, anmen
hump-like
spring were
intersecting
locality
Kaffraria.
persons
evenspace.
indistinct
day
and
the
of
showingriding,
Kabousie
was
here
voices
The
many
kloofs. the
Beneath--against
as
blue
and
pure eye
invigorating
aof
inFar
Heights,
distant
there,
haze--the
their
azure
vivid
away could
savage
rising
and
of
kraal
their
over
the
as
Indianawander
pleasing
in
lying
wine.
heavens
opposite
green
theline
Far
at will
was
away over
Ocean--while
slopes
golden,
upon
along
inhabitants
ridge,
contrast
unflecked
the
to
the
about the
alternating
sunlit
the
against
still
spurs
and rolling,
southeast
half
atmosphere,
plains,
inby
of
the
the
the
aawith
the
mile
low grassy
single
green
opposite
the
the
hills.
lines
distant,
ofwhite
sweep
of
acloud.
cattle
So
of
the
direction
still,
walls
dark
floated
so
CHAPTER TWO. 8

hillside, moved ten or a dozen Kafirs--men, women, and children. They


stepped
pace, andout
theinlazy
line hum
at a brisk, elastic
of their conversation drifted to the ears of the two
white men
almost soits
catch plainly that they could
burden.

To the younger of these two men the splendid vastness of this magnificent
panorama,
figures framing
of its the picturesque
barbarous inhabitants, made up a scene of which he never
wearied, forstock
Kaffrarian though at present
farmer, he hada the mind of a thinker, a philosopher, and a
poet.nothing
was To the elder, however,
noteworthy there
or attractive about it. We fear he regarded the
beautiful rolling plains
better or worseveldt foraspurposes
so muchof stock-feeding, and was apt to resent the continued and
the glorious vault above unbroken blue
as likely to of
lead to an inconvenient scarcity of rain,
if not
the to a positive
dozen Kafirs indrought. As for so far from discerning anything poetical
the foreground,
or picturesque
looked upon them about
as them, he number of black scoundrels making their way
just that
to the nearest
drunk canteen to
on the proceeds ofget
the barter of skins flayed from stolen sheep--his
own sheep among those of others.
As if to emphasise this last idea, cresting the ridge at that moment, they came
in sightStraggling
flock. of a large,indeed!
straggling
In twos and threes, in clumps of a dozen, and in
clumps of fifty,
numbering the animals,
but eleven hundred,though
were spread over nearly two. miles
It wasoftheveldt
flock in charge of the
defaulting and contumacious Goniwe, who, however, having caught a
glimpse
masters, of the approach
might be descriedof hurriedly
his two collecting his scattered charges.
Carhayes ground his teeth.
"I'll rip his black hide off him. I'll teach him to let the sheep go to the devil
while he his
gripping hunts ourhe
reins bucks."
drove And
his spurs into his horse's flanks, with fell intent
toward the offending Kafir.
"Wait--wait!" urged the more prudent Eustace. "For Heaven's sake, don't give
yourself
must lickaway again.
the boy, waitIf until
you you get him--and the sheep--safe home this
evening.
its more thanIf you givehe'll
likely him leave
beansthenow,
whole flock inand
thewon't
veldtcome back at all--not forgetting, of
course, to drive off a dozen or two to Nteya's location."

There was reason in this, and Carhayes acquiesced with a snarl. To collect the
scattered men
mounted sheepa was to the
labour two
of no great difficulty or time, and with a stern
injunction
playing thetofool
Goniwe not to
a second be found
time, the pair turned their horses' heads and rode
homeward.
CHAPTER THREE. 9

CHAPTER THREE.

EANSWYTH.

Anta's Kloof--such was the name of Tom Carhayes' farm--was situated on the
very was
This edgeunfortunate,
of the Gaikabecause
location.its owner got on but poorly with his barbarous
neighbours.
bore him no They, for their
good will part,
either.

The homestead comprised a comfortable stone dwelling in one story. Aand high
veranda
stoep ran round
three sides of it, commanding a wide and lovely view of rolling plains and
mimosa
house wassprinkled
built onkloofs, for the Behind, as a background, a few miles
rising ground.
distant, rose
Kabousie the green
Heights. spurs ofascent
A gradual the of a few hundred feet above the house
affordedand
rugged a splendid view Kei
table-topped of the
Hills. And beyond these, on the right, the plains
of Gcalekaland,
smoke rising from with
manythe ablue
clustering kraal. Yet soft and peaceful as was the
landscape,
peace thereinwas
just then the little
mindofof its inhabitants, white or brown, for the savages
were believed
preparation fortowar,
be in
foractive
a concerted and murderous outbreak on a large scale,
involving aofrepetition
massacres of the
isolated and unprepared settlers such as characterised similar
risings on happily,
last, then, former occasions;
a quarter of thea century ago.

Nearer, nearer to his western bed, dipped the sinking sun, throwing out long
slanting darts
bringing of golden
to a close, rays ere
in a flood of effulgent glory, the sweet African spring day.
They
of thefell
dam, onlying
the placid
belowsurface
in the kloof, causing it to shine like a sea of
quicksilver.
green of the They brought
willows, whose outfeathery
the vivid
boughs drooped upon the cool water.
They blended
cooing of ring with
doves,theswaying
soft, restful
upon many a mimosa spray, or winging their
way
to swiftly
their fromroost
evening the mealie
and they lands
seemed to impart a blithe gladsomeness to the
mellow shout
echoing from theof the
coolhoopoe,
shade of yonder rugged and bush-clad kloof.

Round the house a dozen or so tiny ostrich chicks were picking at the ground,
or disputing
some the possession
unexpected dainty with of a tribe of long-legged fowls. Quaint enough
they looked,
with these
their bright little,
eyes, andfluffy balls,
tawny, spotted necks; frail enough, too, and apt to
come
beak ofoffany
badly at the rooster
truculent spur or who should resent their share of the plunder
aforesaid.
the care ofNominally
a small Kafir theyboy,
arebut
underthe little black rascal--his master being
absent and his mistress
hearted--prefers soft associations of yonder group of beehive huts
the congenial
away there
kraals, behind
and the fun the sheep miniature kraals with mud and three or four
of building
boon companions,
chicks are left to herdso the ostrich But the volleying boom of their male
themselves.
parent, down
enclosure, there
rolls out in the great
loudly enough on the evening air, and the huge bird may
be described
his in allplumage,
jet and snowy the glory withof inflated throat, rearing himself to his full
height, of
search rolling his fiery eye in
an adversary.

And now the flaming rays of the sinking sun have given place to a softer,
mellower
afterglow light, and the
is merging intoredthe pearly grey of evening. The hillside is streaked
coming
down
right
count
for
witha ,the
woman,
or
hungry
in.
theleft--
upHeslope,
the
dappledpauses
and
her
kloof,
raising
erect
soon
expectant.
a and
hides moment,
carriage
arrives
a cloud
of manyThen
cattleatlooks
of
causing
a its
responsive
dust--guided,
upon
nightly
around,
her
the fold.
ridge
tolow
then
appear
kept
But
greets
comes
drives
together,
the
even
the
aherd
the
white,
taller.
clamourous
sheep
isbynonplussed,
moving
And
anintoshe
the
mass of
voices
hoek
occasional
for
kraal,
throws
Eanswyth
------------------------------------------------------------------------
was there
very
fleecy
and
of
hisisbeautiful.
the
having
Carhayes
red
kerrie
no
backs.
calves,
kaross
deftly
secured
ItThe
stood
streams
shut
,around
looking
thrown
face,
up
the
onin
him
with
the
gate,
out
the
tostoep
and
the
for
calfthe
stalks
return
away ofto
her
thehusband
huts. and cousin. She was verythere
Baas
tall
to
CHAPTER THREE. 10

its straight, thoroughbred features, was one of those which, at first sight,
conveyedattractiveness,
ordinary an impressionand of more than
this impression further acquaintance never failed
to develop
its into a realisation
rare loveliness. Yet by no of means a mere animal or flower-like beauty.
There was
marked, character
arching in the
brows, andstrongly
in the serene, straight glance of the large, grey
eyes. Further,
that their ownerthere wasnot
would indication
be lacking in tact or fixity of purpose; two
qualities
Her hair, usually
though found handmany
dark, was in hand.
shades removed from black, and of it she
possessed a more than bountiful
supply.

She came of a good old Colonial family, but had been educated in England.
Well educated,
which too; thanks
salutary storing of a to
mind eagerly open to culture, many an otherwise
dull and
four unoccupied
years of marriedhour of her
life--frequently left, as she was, alone for a whole day
at a time--was
brightness. turned
Alone? to for she was childless.
Yes,

When she had married bluff, hot-tempered Tom Carhayes, who was nearly
fifteentoyears
gone hera senior,
live on and stock
Kaffrarian had farm, her acquaintance unanimously
declaredBut
away." shewhether
had "thrown herself
this was so or not, certain it is that Eanswyth herself
evincedand
effect, no indeed
sort of more
indication to that
than one of the aforesaid acquaintance eventually
came to envy To
contentment. herthe
calm, cheerfulof which sentiment she would reply with a
expression
quiet
was cutsmile
out that
for ashe supposed she and that the restful seclusion, not to say
"blue-stocking,"
monotony,
ample timeof forher life, afforded
indulging her tastes.
her studious

After three years her husband's cousin had come to live with them. Eustace
Milne, who
moderate was possessed
means, had devotedof the few years subsequent on leaving college to
"seeing
be owned theheworld," and it must
had managed to see a good deal of it in the time. But tiring
eventually
made of thetoprocess,
overtures he had
his cousin to enter into partnership with the latter in his
stock-farming
who at that time operations.
had been Carhayes,
somewhat unlucky, having been hard hit by a
couple ofmoreover
thinking very bad that
seasons, and
the presence in the house of his cousin, whom he
knew and rather
life a little liked, would
more cheerful make
for Eanswyth, agreed, and forthwith Eustace had
sailed
fair for theofCape.
amount capitalHeinto
hadthe
putconcern
a and more than a fair amount of energy,
andthe
of at two
this men
time were
the operations
flourishing exceedingly.

We fear that--human nature being the same all the world over, even in that
sparsely
were not inhabited locality--there
wanting some--not many it is true, but still some--who saw in the
abovea scandalous
wag arrangementtongue somethingover. toCarhayes was a prosaic and rather crusty
personage,
wife. Eustace many
Milneyearswasolder
just than his
the reverse of this, being imaginative, cultured,
even tempered,
chose, and, when
of very attractive he
manner; moreover, he was but three or four years her
senior.
evolvedPossibly the the
itself from rumour
disappointment of its originators, as well as from the
insatiable and universal
scandal-mongering love in
inherent ofhuman nature, for Eustace Milne was , and during
parti
eminently
nearly an eligible
a year's residence at Anta's Kloof had shown no disposition to throw
the handkerchief
surrounding at any
fair. But to of the
Carhayes, whom thanks to his known proclivity
towards punching
never reached, headsnice
no such thisidea
rumouroccurred, for with all his faults or failings
there
stood
As
and
now was
reassuring
being
prolonged
Nor she
there
was
growing
in
sillynothing
crooked-minded
stood
the
her
was
absence it.mean
about
circumstance.
about
shoes
uneasiness
there
intensity.
a shade
of
watching
of
She
the
her
of or
the
The man,
altogether
noted
individual
anxiety
She
husband and
return
for
felt
further
the
in as
inclined
of
devoid
and
who
the for
return
the
the Eanswyth
cousin,
large
should
flock,
non-appearance
of
to
of send
grey herself,
justification.
those
made
combined
undertake
eyes,
for
who
her
thewhich
came
fear
herd
with
of
We we
to the should
enlighten
that
have
not,
and
were
the
other have
something
Eanswyth
question
absence
said
bent
flock.
her
that
of
of
been
the
began
upon
its
him,
This,
had
Tom uncommonly
master
same,
gone
but
Carhayes
the
intoconjunction
after
feel
surrounding
very
by
to count
word
vaguely
all
wrong
was sorry
it or
in,
was
not
with oftothe
hint.
indeed.
uneasy,
was
on have
no
the
not use
a with
veldta
CHAPTER THREE. 11

best of terms with his barbarous neighbours. We have shown moreover that
his cholericcalculated
eminently disposition to was
keep him in chronic hot water. Such was indeed the
case.
he didHardly a week
not come into passed
collision that
with them, more or less violently, generally on
the vexed
and question
crossing his farmof trespass,
accompanied by their dogs. More than one of these
dogs had been
occasions, and shot
whenbywe himsayonthat
such
a Kafir loves his dog a trifle more dearly
than hiswhich
hatred children,
theyitcherished
follows that the this imperious and high-handed settler
towards
will hardlywas
Carhayes bear exaggeration.
a powerful man But
and utterly fearless, and although these
qualities
life, had so far
the savages availed
were merely to biding
save histheir time. Meanwhile they solaced
themselves with secret acts
revenge. A thoroughbred of would be found dead in the stable, a valuable
horse
cow
in thewould be stabbed
openveldt to death
, or a fine, full-grown ostrich would be discovered with a shattered leg and all
its
wing-feathers plucked, sure sign, the latter, that the damage was due to no
accident.
had These
generally acts of retaliation
followed within a few days of one of the broils above alluded
to, but so far
Carhayes, from
their intimidating
only effect was to enrage him the more. He vowed fearful and
summary vengeance
perpetrators, should he against the
ever succeed in detecting them. He even went boldly
to theclaim
laid principal Gaika chiefsBut
to compensation. andthose magnates were the last men in the
world were
Some to sideexcessively
with, or tocivil,
help him.
others indifferent, but all disclaimed any
responsibility in the matter.
Bearing these facts in mind there was, we repeat, every excuse for
Eanswyth's
relief escaped anxiety.
her. TheButtramp
suddenly a sigh
of hoofs of
reaching her ears caused her to turn,
and there,
from approaching
a wholly unexpected the direction,
house came the two familiar mounted figures.
CHAPTER FOUR. 12

CHAPTER FOUR.

"LOVE SETTLING UNAWARES."

"Well, old girl, and how have you been getting through the day," was
Carhayes'
slid from hisunceremonious
horse. Eustace greeting
turned as he his head, and the faintest shadow of
away
contempt flitted
impassive across his
countenance. Had this glorious creature stood in the same
relationship
more towardsof
have dreamed himself he could
addressing no "old girl" than he could have of
her as
carving
the silverhisaltar
name across
which the front of
is exhibited once a year in the "Battistero" at Florence.

"Pretty well, Tom," she answered smilingly. "And you? I hope you haven't
been getting
mischief. Hasinto
he,any more
Eustace."

"Well, I have, then," rejoined Carhayes, grimly, for Eustace pretended not to
Ihear. "WhatNow
suppose. you'd calld'you
what mischief,
think? I caughtGoniwe
that schelm
having a buck-hunt--a buck-hunt, by Jove!
right under my very nose; he and three other niggers. They'd got two dogs,
good dogsthe
admiring too, andtheschepsels
way I put
couldn't
them help
on by relays, nor yet the fine shot they made at the buck with a
kerrie. Well, I rode up and told them to clear out of the light because I
intended
you to shoot
believe their
it? they dogs.
didn't Would
budge. Actually squared up to me."

"I hope you didn't shoot their dogs," said Eanswyth anxiously.

"Didn't I! one of 'em, that is. Do you think I'm the man to be bounced by Jack
Kafir? to
bound Notletmuch I'm through
daylight not. I was
the brute, and I did."

"Through the Kafir?" cried Eanswyth, in horror, turning pale.

"Through both," answered Carhayes, with a roar of laughter. "Through both,


by just
up Jove!inAsk
timeEustace.
to be in He came
at the death. But, don't get scared, old girl. I only
`barked'
to the nigger,
hunt bucks andother
in some sent world.
the dogI had to do it. Those chaps were four to
one, you see,
me. They hadand shied too."
assegais, Icerries at

"Oh, I don't know what will happen to us one of these days!" she cried, in
real distress.
every time you"As
areit out
is, Iinam
theuneasy
veldt ."

"You needn't be--no fear. Those chaps know me better than to attempt any
tricks. They're
comes to bitingall bark--but
they funk off. when
Thatit schelm
I plugged to-day threatened no end of things; said I'd better have
cut off my right hand first, because it was better to lose one's hand than one's
mind--or
do you thinksome such bosh.
I attach But
any importance to that? I laughed in the fellow's face
and told
foul of me him thelikely
he'd next time
enoughhe fell
lose his life-- and that would be worse still for
him."
Eustace,
whole
should
"By
"Not,
expense
theeh?"
unfortunate
be
way,
of
listening
left--as
was
theTom,"
defaulter.
theshe
to
episode,
almost
said
these
so often
Eanswyth,
"He's
remarks,
shouted
withwas--alone,
playing
thereply,
frowned
"Goniwe
sure
Harry--not
accompanied
result
revolted
slightly.
hasn't
of doubling
ahim.
brought
doubt
The
byHad
selfish
aabout
this
vehement
inhehis
delicate
been
it.
coarseness
sheep
I'll and
make
yet,
of his
woman's
Carhayes
counsel
and
undisguised
an
Rather!
example
it'scousin
nearly
Hold
inanxiety
hethe
of
expletive
would
in
on.
matter.
dark."
him
thus
whenever
Where's
this
have
revealing
attime.
the
kept
my
shethickest
his
theown sjambok ?"
CHAPTER FOUR. 13

[Sjambok: A whip, made out of a single piece of rhinoceros, or sea-cow hide,


tapering atinthe
generally thepoint.
shapeItofis a riding-whip.]

He dived into the house, and, deaf to his wife's entreaties and expostulations,
armed himself
formidable with the
rawhide whip in addition to his gun, and flinging the bridle once
more across
sprang thesaddle.
into the horse's neck,

"Coming, Eustace?" he cried.

"No. I think not. The sheep can't be far off, and you can easily bring them in,
even if, as
Goniwe hasissloped.
not unlikely,
Besides, I don't think we ought to leave Eanswyth all
alone."
With a spluttered exclamation of impatience, Carhayes clapped spurs to his
horse andrecover
kloof to cantered
hisaway
sheepdown the
and execute summary vengeance upon their
defective herd.
"Do go after him, Eustace. Don't think about me. I don't in the least mind
beingone
only leftwho
alone.
canDoactgo.
as You are the
a check upon him, and I fear he will get himself--all
of us--into
almost hopesome terrible
Goniwe has scrape. I for if Tom comes across him in his
run away,
present
boy." humour he will half kill the

"He won't come across him. On that point you may set your mind quite at
ease.
of He will
getting intohave no opportunity
hot water, and I certainly shan't think of leaving you alone
here to-night
salvaging forsheep
a few the sake of or less. We must make up our minds to lose
more
some,
will beI'm
all afraid,
right." but the bulk of them

"Still, I wish you'd go," she pursued anxiously. "What if Tom should meet veldt
and
with anywith
quarrel Kafirs in the
them, as he is sure to do?"

"He won't meet any. There isn't a chance of it. Look here, Eanswyth; Tom
mustnot
I'm take caretoofleave
going himself
youfor once.
alone here now for the sake of fifty Toms."

"Why! Have you heard anything fresh?" she queried anxiously, detecting a
veiled significance in his words.
"Certainly not. Nothing at all. Haven't been near Komgha for ten days, and
haven't
I'll seen my
just take anyone
horsesince.
roundNow, to the stable and give him a feed--and be with
you in a minute."
As a matter of fact, there was an arriere-pensee underlying his words. For Eustace had been pondering over
Hlangani's strangely worded threat. And it was a strangely worded You had one.
better
" have cut off your
right hand... for it is better to lose a hand than ." Carhayes
one's mind had dismissed it contemptuously from
his thoughts, but Eustace Milne, keen-witted, imaginative, had set to work to
puzzle it out. Did
chief meditate somethemore
Gcaleka
subtle and hellish form of vengeance than the
ordinary
mere
who
by blood
contemplation
Yes,
of and
intercourse--never
But his
halves;
that
he
was
middle-aged
loved
no commonplace
for
dearest
yet
such blood,
her.
during
of blow
to
aThis
by and,
frightful
cousin.
him?
nearly
word
should one
ifor
aso,
keen-witted,
Surely.
Hedangerof
fall
yearhow
sign
loved
The
whiledid
spent
had
hanging he purpose
philosophical
her
words
he
he
with
beneath
betrayed
was
seemed
over
allalive,
the to
Eanswyth,
the
man
his
to carry
raging
same
hebear itworld
secret--at
ofresolved
the out? Byso
roof--nearly
abandonment
just
cool,
this
least,
at
even-
all
was a year
of
he a
striking
imagined.
hazards.
easy,
back
in atWhy
natureCarhayes
interpretation--and
minded
flow
madly
strong
of Eustace
pleasant,
love
to his
that
had
with
Milne,
heart.through
social
does
he
at
thecome
the
For
beautiful
nothing
felt
bare
he the
there
the one
loved
blood
wife
at all,
her.
CHAPTER FOUR. 14

was a question he had been asking himself for some time past? Why had he
stayed,
latter hewhy
hateddidand
he despised
stay? Forhimself
the on account of his miserable weakness.
But now it seemed
answered--that thatbeen
he had bothbrought
were there for a purpose--to
from protect
the fearful
herconsequences entailed
by the blundering ferocity of him who should have been her first protector--
to
andsave her from
terrible fate. some
Surelyimpending
this was sufficient answer.

Then a wild thrill set his pulses tingling--a thrill of joy, of fierce expectation
set on
the foot by
intense a single thought,
expectation of the gambler who sees fortune brought within his
reach
chancesbyalready
the potential
strongturn of favour. They were on the eve of war. What
in his
might the
Blind, chances Tom
blundering of war not entail?
Carhayes running his head, like a bull, at every stone
wall--were
war nottenfold
increased the chances of such a man as this? And then--and then--?
against

No man could be more unfitted to hold possession of such a priceless


treasure
not hold as
it. this--argued the man who did

"Confess, Eanswyth, that you are very glad I didn't take you at your word and
go after
they wereTom," said
sitting Eustace,
cosily as
at table.

"Perhaps I am. I have been getting so dreadfully nervous and low spirited of
late--so different
strong-minded to the I used to be," she said with a rueful smile. "I am
creature
becoming quite frightened to be left
alone."

"Are you? Well, I think I can undertake to promise that you shall not be left
alone
alwaysagain.
makeOne of us
a point ofmust
being around the house while the other is away. But
look here,
think Eanswyth;
you oughtn't I really
to go on staying here at present. Why don't you go down
to the of
other Colony and stay
the towns, in one
or even or other farm of Tom's, until things are settled
at that
again?"
"I won't do that. And I'm really not in the least afraid for myself. I don't
believe the Kafirs would harm me."
"Then why are you nervous at being left alone?" was the very pertinent
rejoinder.
"Not on my own account. It is only that solitude gives me time to think. I am
always imagining
to frightful grief inTom
somecoming
form or other."

The other did not at once reply. He was balancing a knife meditatively on the
edge of his
features plate, his
a perfect maskfineof impassibility. But in reality his thoughts ran black
and
"Tom."bitter.
What It was
the all "Tom"
deuce hadand Tom done to deserve all this solicitude--and how
was it appreciated
fortunate object? Not by its
a hair's-breadth. Then, as she rose from the table and to look
stoep
out
went
for anyoutsignon the
of the absent one's return, Eustace was conscious of another turn
of the
had hespear
arrived in the wound.
on the sceneWhy of the fray that morning just in time to intervene?
suggested
delay of a few his evil angel.and...
minutes, The
I"Would
said
and
horrible
had
countrymen
"Iwere
don't
had
been
Josane
tothink
itfled
forms
tell
"smelt
dowas
against
from
you
anything
itof
would,"
aout"
that
death
grizzled
Kreli's
his
by
Josane
towards
by
white
she
acountry
witch-doctor.
torture
old
answered
was
protectors,
Kafir
persuading
urging
some
habitually
who
with
years
He
that
by
held
you
awas
whom
meted
deprecatory
very
previously,
the
totherefore
adopt
post
thing
he
outwas
of
tothe
this
thereby
smile.
cattle-herd
those
not
looked
more
morning?"
likely
accused
"Inarrowly
prudent
upon
should
tounder
throw
said
as
ofbe
an
course
Eustace
the
escaping
his
in
intelligent
trustworthy
tenhis
hypothetical
two
times
lot
and
cousins.
when
with
one
more
and
leave
man,
of
his
she
thoroughly
nervous
the
offence--for
He
here
which
own
returned.
varied
wasforifindeed
aaIGcaleka,
and
while,
were
The
he he ifwas.
CHAPTER FOUR. 15

right away, and, as I said before, I don't believe the Kafirs would do me the
slightest harm."
Eustace, though he had every reason to suppose the contrary, said nothing as
he fill
to rosehisfrom theHetable
pipe. wasand began of a wild thrill of delight at her steadfast
conscious
refusal. Whatthat
here without would life be worth
presence? Well, come what might, no harm should fall upon
her, of that he made mental
oath.

Eanswyth, having superintended the clearing of the table by the two little rather
role
Kafir girls who
indifferent filled the joined him on
handmaidens, . Itthe
wasstoep
a lovely night; warm and balmy. The dark vault
above was so crowded with stars that they seemed to hang in golden patches.

"Shall we walk a little way down the kloof and see if we can meet Tom," she
suggested.
"A good idea. Just half a minute though. I want to get another pipe."

He went into his room, slipped a "bull-dog" revolver of heavy calibre into his
pocket, and quickly rejoined
her.

Then as they walked side by side--they two, alone together in the darkness,
alone
the in the sweet,
Southern night;soft beauty
alone, as it of
were, outside the very world; in a world apart
where
rich none of
shroud might intrude;
darkness the them--Eustace began to wonder if he were
around
really
all. Themade of flesh
pent-up forceand
of blood after
his self-contained and concentrated nature was in
sore
of dangerforth
pouring of breaking
the firesits
andbarriers,
molten lava raging within--and to do so would
be ruin--utter,ruin
irretrievable endless,
to any hopes which he might have ventured to form.

He could see every feature of that sweet, patrician face in the starlight. The
even, musical
exquisitely tones of voice,
modulated that within a yard of his ears, fairly maddened him.
The rich,night
African balmy zephyrsaround;
breathed of the the chirrup of the cricket, and now and again
theadeep-throated
of bull-frog frombooming croak
anemphasising
adjacent vleiits stillness. Again those wild, raging fires surged up to the
surface. "Eanswyth, I love you--love you-- worship you--adore you! Apart
from you,
blank! Who,lifewhat,
is worse
is thethan a sodden, senseless lout who now stands
dull,
between
all heavenus?
and Forget
earthhim,
to me!"darling, and beblazed through his brain in letters of
The words
flame.
he had He
notcould hardly
actually feelthem.
uttered sure

"What is the matter, Eustace? I have asked you a question three times, and
you haven't answered me."
"I really beg your pardon. I--I--suppose I was thinking of something else. Do
you mind asking it again?"
The strange harshness of his voice struck her. It was well for him-- well for
both of them--that
darkness stood himthe
in friendly
such good stead.

"I asked
The
"Tom"
"Oh,
"Whatloom
not
is you,
again!
very
that?how
of the
He
far,"
Look! far do
mountains
fairly setyou
heListen!"
answered.
his
wasthink
she Tom
teeth.
blackly
"You would
exclaimed
"Well
see,
visible
sheep
into have
suddenly,
in
the
are
theto
Gaikaride before
slow-moving
starlight.
laying finding
location,"
aAway
hand
brutes
was
upon
in thethe
the
and
sheep?"
savage
But
difficult
the
his
distance,
arm.
dark.
he checked
reply
toHe'll
apparently
drive,
that
turn
it rose
especially
unuttered.
up
into
soon,
the
hisvery
in
lips.
never fear."
CHAPTER FOUR. 16

heart of them, there suddenly shown forth a lurid glow. The V-shaped scarp
of the slopes
against stoodwhich
the glare, dullywas
in relief
as that of a furnace. At the same time there
floatedchorus--a
weird forth upon the long-drawn
wild, night a strange,
eerie melody, half chant, half howl, faint
and distant,
though manybut yet distinct,
miles away.

"What can they be up to at the location, Eustace? Can it be that they have
risen already?"
Eanswyth, ejaculated
turning pale in the starlight.

The reddening glare intensified, the fierce, wild cadence shrilled forth, now
in dirge-like
notes wail, now
of demon-like andinmerciless
swelling exultation. There was a faint, muffled roar
distantholding
as of fiends thunder--a
highclamour
revel--and still the wild chorus gathered in volume,
hideous in
menace, asits blood-chilling
it cleft the dark stillness of the night.

"Oh, let us turn back!" cried Eanswyth. "There is something horrible going
on to-night.now.
frightened I really
Thatam quite noise! It terrifies me!"
hideous

Well it might. The deep-toned thunder note within the burning heart of the
volcano isfire
portends of and
terrible
ruinimport, for it
and widespread death. There were those who were then
sitting on the
volcano--a verge
mere of a in the midst of a vast, teeming population of fierce
handful
and truculent
that savages.
weird chorus strikeWell might
dismay into the hearts of its hearers, for it was the
preliminarybattle-song
storm--the rumble of the coming
of the warlike and now hostile Gaika clans.
CHAPTER FIVE. 17

CHAPTER FIVE.

THE WAR-DANCE AT NTEYA'S KRAAL.

The sun has just touched the western horizon, bathing in a parting flood of
red andhills
rolling goldandthe the
round spurs ofclusters
straggling the of dome-shaped huts which lie dotted
about for
order the avalley
couple inofirregular
miles. There is a continuous hum of voices in the air,
mingling
the wholewith
placethe low of
seems to cattle, and with human life. Indeed, such is the
be teeming
case; for this
collection kraal--or rather
of kraals--is the head centre of Nteya's location and the residence
of that chief himself.
Each group of huts owns its cattle inclosure, whose dark space, girdled with a
strongwith
filled thornthepalisade, is now forms of its horned denizens. It is milking
many-coloured
time,the
into andzinc
thepails
metallic
risessquirt of liquid
rhythmic above the deep hum of the monotonous
chant of thethe
forth from milkers.
kraal gatesWomen step the full pails on their heads, their ochre-
balancing
smearedpots,
flower bodies shining
while like
theirinlords, new
hand, reim
set to work to catch a fresh cow--for among Kafirs milking is
essentially man's work. About the huts squat other groups of natives, men
smoking
pipes, andtheir queer shaped,
exchanging indabaangular
[Gossip or news]; women also smoking, and busy with their household
whether of the culinary affairs,
or nursery order; round bellied, beady-eyed children
tumbling
romps, andover each
dogs everother
on thein their
prowl to pick up a stray bone, or to obtain a
surreptitious lick
cooking-pot; and atovertheallinterior of a
the never-ending flow of voices, the deep bass of
the men blending
feminine treble, but withall the clearerand pleasing, for the language and voices of
rhythmic
the Bantu races
melodious. The are
bluealikereek of wood-smoke rising upon the evening air,
minglesand
grease with thatinseparable
kine pungent odour fromof every Kafir kraal.

That something unwonted is impending here to-night is manifest. Men would


start suddenly
fellows and gaze from beside their
expectantly out upon the approaches to the kraal, or now
and
groupagain
wouldtheturn
heads in of a whole
eager scrutiny of the surrounding
. For strung
veldtout upon the hillsides in twos and
threes, or in parties of ten or a dozen, some mounted, some afoot, come a
great number
come: those whoof Kafirs. On they
are mounted kicking their shaggy little ponies into a
headlonginto
starting gallop;
a run,those whointo
leaping are the
not,air, singing, or now and again venting a
shrill
From and ear-splitting
far and near--from whistle.
every direction converging upon the kraal, onAnd theythey are all armed.
come.
The excitement in the kraal itself intensifies. All rise to their feet to receive
the newcomers,
whom is greetedeachwithgroup of shouts of welcome. Snatches of war-songs
boisterous
rise upon
assegai the blends
hafts air, andwith
the rattle of
the barbaric melody. Still, pouring in from all sides,
come fresh
time the sunarrivals,
has shotandhis by
lastthe
fading ray upon the stirring scene, the kraal
cannot have
thousand men.contained far short of a

Near the principal group of huts stands a circular inclosure about fifty yards
in diameter.
fence bristleAbove
the great thebranching
thorn horns of oxen. To this point all eyes are now
turned,
clamourand the deafening
of voices is hushed in expectation of a new diversion.
A narrow
poor
by
Quickly
air.
Then,
refuse
muffled,
aThe
broad-bladed
beast
scenting
tosecond
another
moaning
move.
opening
cleardanger,
animal
They
of
oxnoise
assegai.
isthe
follows
made
huddle
fence
plunges
and
evoked
in
The
terrified
upon
than
together
theforward
slaughterer
infence
the
itcattle
is
moreover
first.
with
suddenly
and
dead.
byThe
lowered
steps
half
theA
by
weapon,
scent
seen
athird
back
the
dozen
heads,
to
crowd
of
follows,
toplunge
now
blood.
Kafirs
hisbacking
which
lurking
dimmed
with
and
In
enter.
vain
is
fall
away
like
position
An
and
their
ox is
turned
forward
and
reddened
result.
gathering
from
would-be
them stands
the
with
out.
in
opening
with
outside,
drivers
assegais.
with
aNo
heap,
blood,
sooner
arm
shout
and
the
stabbed
Move
upraised.
flashes
emitting
beasts
isand
thethey
togoad
stubbornly
in
the
the
will
theheart
not.
CHAPTER FIVE. 18

Another opening is made on the opposite side to that of the first. After some
trouble two
through. oxen
They areout
rush driven
together, one falling by the hand of the lurking
slaughterer,
death the otherof
at the assegais meeting a speedy
the spectators.

There still remain upwards of a dozen within the kraal, but of these not one
can be inducedthey
Panic-stricken to pass out. together closer still, until at last, their terror giving
huddle
way to a frenzy
maddened brutesofturn
rage, thefuriously charge their tormentors. The air is rent
and
with savage
clashing bellowings
of horns. The dustandflies
the in clouds from the rumbling earth as the
frenzied
round thecreatures
inclosure. tear round
Two andKafirs, less agile or less fortunate than their
of the
fellows,with
falling are aflung highthud
lifeless in the air, the spectators outside; then, crashing
among
through the fence
panic-stricken in a body,
bullocks theforth into the open, scattering the crowd right
stream
and left before the fury of their
rush.

Then ensues a wild and stirring scene. Their great horns lowered, the
infuriated
the village,animals course
each beset by amadly
crowdthrough
of armed savages whose dark, agile forms,
avoiding
their charge,the fierce
may beimpetus
seen toof spring alongside, plying the deadly assegai. One
turns suddenly
straight and headsbellowing hideously. Like magic the crowd parts,
for its pursuers,
thereand
air, is athe
whizz
poorof assegais
beast in the
crashes earthward, bristling with quivering assegai
hafts,
Yelling,as whistling
a pin cushion
like with pins.
fiends, in their uncontrollable excitement, the savages
dart in and
fleeing out and
beasts, among
the the
red firelight gleams upon assegai points and rolling
eyeballs,bellowing
frenzied and the airofrings with the and the wild shouts of the pursuers.
the pursued,

But it cannot last long. Soon the mad fury of the chase gives way to the
nauseous accompaniments
slaughter house of a In an incredibly short space of time, each of
on a large scale.
the bullocks
disjointed is reduced
heap of flesh toanda bones. Men, staggering beneath huge slabs of
quivering
the meat, make
fires, leaving theirtoway
the dogs to and quarrel over an abundant repast of
snarl
steaming offal.
The great joints frizzle and sputter over the red coals. Squatted around, a
hungryimpatiently
Kafirs gleam in theirwatcheyes, theroasting morsel. Then, hardly waiting until it is
each
warmed
meat fromthrough,
the fire.they drag the
Assegais are plied, and soon the huge joints are reduced to
strips of half-raw
champing flesh,ofand
of hundreds theof jaws around each red blaze takes the place
pairs
of the deep bass
conversation, as hum of
the savages throw all their energies into the assimilation of
their unwonted
cannibal meal.
feast--the It is like
smoky flareaof the great fires--the mighty slabs of red
flesh--the fierce,
around--the gleam dark figures seated
of weapons in the firelight.

[The unwonted meal. In former days, meat was very sparingly eaten among
the Amaxosa
mealies beingraces, milkarticles
the staple and of diet. When employed on such a scale as
above described,
stimulating effectitupon
had a curiously
people habitually almost vegetarians. Hence it was
looked upon as a preparation for
war.]

At length even the very bones are picked clean, and thrown over the feasters'
shoulders
voices
indulgence
glows
formation,
their
up
make
brooding
becomes are
incontrollable
turning
byweapons
the
upon to
toas
very
rest,
each
the
inthe
raised
hills,
the dogs.
assegai
an and Then
once
excitement,
together.
whole
rising
earth
and
other
mad
unwonted
the
points
itself
roaring
louder
they more
gathering
volume
Thetremble,
go
the
and the
stimulant,
and
weird
ofthrough
savages
rolling
of
aof kraal
louder,
legion
the
excited
rhythm
and becomes
fierce
the
the
eyeballs.
foam
the
of
and
pantomime
Kafirs
warriors
is
wild
quivering
and
the
at
ledthe ainrattle
beasts,
A
thunder scene
threatening
off
leap
wild
lips
join
of
toaand of
ravaging
war-song
in,
of
their wild
encountering
high,
hundreds
of
beating
their
song,
feet.
assegaiand
wailing
eyeballs
for
rises
with
Weapons
time
blood.
of
hafts
and
upon
key
its
pairs
with
by
is
excited
are
the
atheir
of
echoed
final
Worked
seem
slaying
kind
feet
air; stir.
brandished,
an
start Roused
feet--clashing
chorus
toof
keeping
then
back
upimaginary
toof
falling
from byfoe;
afirelight
a"Ha--ha--ha!"
regular
degree
andthe
the
into
the copious
dark,
sockets,
of
hefts
time,
circular
andofeven
as , then
choragus
taken
CHAPTER FIVE. 19

in the background a number of women have formed up behind the dancing


warriors and
barbarity with
of the more
latter arethan all the
playing at beating out the brains of the wounded
with knob-kerries.
rattle of the hideousThe roar and goes up to the heavens, cleaving the solemn
performance
silenceThe
night. of the sweetbounding,
leaping, African perspiring shapes, look truly devilish in the red
firelight. The excitement
fierce savages seems to haveof the
reached a pitch little short of downright frenzy.
Yet itthey
For shows
havenoeaten
signsmeat
of abating.
.
CHAPTER SIX. 20

CHAPTER SIX.

HLANGANI, THE HERALD.

Suddenly, as if by magic, the wild war-dance ceased, and the fierce,


murderous
silence. rhythm
Sinking wasinreduced
down to
a half-sitting posture, quivering with suppressed
excitement,
forward liketheir
thosedark forms
of so manybent
crouching leopards, their eyeballs rolling in the
lurid glow,
eagerly, the Kafirs
awaiting whatrested
was to follow.

A group of chiefs advanced within the circle of light. A little in front of these,
prominent
reason among
of his themstature
towering by and herculean build, was a warrior of savage
and awe-inspiring
countenance aspect.
bore an evil, His
scowling sneer, which looked habitual, and his
aeyes glowedoflike
headdress live coals.
monkey skins,Heabove
worewhich waved a tuft of plumes from the
tail
wasof the blue
nearly crane.
naked, andHis
his body
muscular limbs, red with ochre, were decorated
with
of fringeshair.
flowing of cows'
On histails
leftand
arm,tufts
above the elbow, he wore a thick; square
armletheofcarried
hand solid ivory, andbroad-bladed
a large, in his assegai. One shoulder was swathed in a
rude bandage,
concealed the latterhair
by fantastic nearly
adornments.

A hum of suppressed eagerness went round the crowd of excited barbarians


as this It
midst. man stood forth
subsided into ainsilence
their that might be felt as he spoke:

"I am Hlangani, the son of Ngcesiba, the Herald of the Great Chief Sarili [Or
Kreli], of
House theGcaleka.
son of Hintza,
Hear myof the
word, for it is the word of Sarili, the Great
Chief--the
children ofchief
Xosa.paramount of all the

"This is the word of the Great Chief to his children of the House of Ngqika
[Or
when Gaika]. Lo, the time
the Amanglezi has come
[English] seek a quarrel with us. We can no longer live
sideroom
no by side, sayAma-Gcaleka
for the they. There is in the land they have hitherto dwelt in. They
must go.
"So they have located our dogs, the cowardly Amafengu (Fingoes), our
slaves
to ours,and
thatour
wedogs,
may on thea next
have land plague to scourge us, that our sides
continual
may be wrung
stinging withour
flies, that thename
pest of
maythese
be spat upon and laughed at by those who
were our
these own provoke
English dogs. Thus would
us to quarrel.

"Who were these Amafengu? Were they not our dogs and our slaves? Who
are they now?
ourdogs. Who Still dogs--but
will they not Not our dogs--not our slaves--but--our
be shortly?
masters!
fierce savage,Our masters!"
shaking roaredassegai
the broad the which he held, until it quivered like
a band of"The
firelight. flamesonsin theof red
Gcaleka will be the slaves of their former slaves--the
dogs of
sons of Gcaleka
their former only,dogs.
but allNotthethe
children of Xosa. Not the House of Gcaleka
only, is
Who butdoing
the House of Ngqika.
this? The Amanglezi! Who would tread upon the necks of our
chiefs and place
their lying the fetters of
and hypocritical creeds upon the limbs of our young men till the
collective
A
sounded
to
"This
subdued.
begin
low
restrain
is
by
suppressed
the
the
breaking
They
wisdom
them
latter are turned
drunkards? `word'
ominous
are
from
roar
up
of
growing
our
breaking
the
rattle
ranrulers
influence
nation
into slaves and
The Amanglezi! through
of
tooassegai
Whoforth
numerous.
of
inwould
the
floods
the
ofanew
Amanglezi.
the
hafts.
circle
chiefs.
of
into
They
stopIt
fire-water?
ofneeded
their
thefierce
are
We
The
frenzied
waxing
must
and
all
mouthstime
The
the
ofexcitable
put
has
too
Amanglezi.
self-control
war-dance.
down
our come
strong.
when
Their
amapakatiAre
But
of and drown the
[Councillors]
wewave
barbarians
atheir
availed
the
power
chieftainship
men--I
Amaxosa
habitually
must
of
to the
quell
say?
asbealtogether.
races
the
speaker's
broken.
self-contained
Are
theorator
must
rising
we We
hand
men?"
paused.
Hear
betumult
mustye
race
Again
this,
and he yecontinued:
CHAPTER SIX. 21

sons of Ngqika? Hear you this, O Matanzima, warrior son of Saudili, the
Greatyou
Hear Chief of O
this, theNteya--
House ofrace
Ngqika?
of thepakati of Ngqika? Hear you this, O Nxabahlana, of the House of the
Chief, you who haveGreat led our bands to war before the very birth of many of
the young
Hear men
ye this, I see before
Maquades andme?Mpanhla and Sivulele, and you, Panganisi and
Untiwa,
the House ofof
theHlambi,
House of Seyolo
golden of
mouthed in council--in the battle-field flames of
consuming
all fire?here
ye gathered Hear ye this,
before me this night--tried warriors, and young men who
have never
children seen war.
of Xosa The
are growing too strong. They must be subdued. The power
of their
Such is chiefs
the wordmust
of be
thebroken.
rulers of the Amanglezi."

This time, as the orator paused, there was no restraining the fierce excitement
of his hearers.
named, who had Each warrior
greeted the mention of himself with a low, but emphatic
"--now sprang
" ha to his feet. No
further example was needed. Again, the wild rhythm of the war-song rose
upon the night;
thunder-roll again
of the theoffierce
tread hundreds of feet shook the ground. Again the
circle of firelight was
grim, threatening forms,alive with in measured time, to the unearthly chant, to
swaying
the accompaniment
shaking of fantastic of the
adornments, to the quivering rattle of assegai hafts. For
some minutes
when this continued--then
the excitement was almost at its height, a mysterious signal was given
and the whole
dropped quicklywild
intocrowd
its listening attitude again.

"Such is the word of the Amanglezi," went on the speaker. "Now hear the
word of Sarili,
Paramount your
Chief, thefather,
fatherthe
of all the children of Xosa. Hear the word of the
Great Chief
mouth conveyed
of Hlangani, thebyherald--`Lo,
the the time has come when we must unite
in the strength
Amanglezi are of brethren.
urging The dogs on to provoke us. The Amafengu are
our very
located
jeer on young
at our our borders,
men--to to lure
tauntour
andyoung women over into their kraals that
the very and
debased namedefiled.
of Gcaleka
Not amay
day be
passes that this does not happen. Why do we
not revenge
execute this? Why
a sudden do wevengeance
and fearful not upon these dogs who spit at our
name and nation?
Amanglezi We dare
say: "Your dogsnot.
are The
now our dogs. Touch them and we shall send
armies
be eatenofup"--But,
soldiers and
dareyouwe will
not? Dare we not? Answer me, all ye children of
the racecall
father, of Xosa! I, Sarili,
upon you--I, youryour chief. Answer! Show that the war-fire of
Sarili,
our free
dead. andbeen
It has warrior race is notfor many years, but it is not dead. It is ready to
smouldering
break forth
lightning as the
leaps fromdestroying
the black thunder-cloud. It is ready to blaze forth in its
strength
its reach.and to consume all within

"`Where is my father, Hintza? Where is he who was lured into the white
man'sshot
then camp by fair
down? Dopromises
I not hearand
his spirit calling unto me day and night. I
cannotissleep,
father forfor
crying thevengeance.
spirit of myIt is crying day and night from the depths. Yet,
not to meMy
Hintza? only. Whoyet
father, wasnot my father only. The father of all the sons of Xosa!

"`Lo, the white Governor has summoned me, your chief, to meet him. He has
invited me,
promises to your
visit chief,
him atwith fair Shall I go, that I, Sarili, may meet with the
his camp.
same dealing
father, Hintza?that laidindeed,
I will, low mygo, but it will be with the whole array of the
fighting
back. men of the Amaxosa at my
spoken
children.
through
reeds
war-fires
tremble;
The speaker
bythrough
the
for
the
Eat
gleam
mountains
the
water
ceased.
them,
the
spirit
from side
and
mouth
Athe
ofdead
and
quiver
when
Hintza,
mountain
of
valleys
silence
Hlangani,
you
beneath
myhave
of
tops--tongue
fell
father,
our
the
eaten
upon
myfair
rushing
which
herald.
his
and
land.
roaring
hearers--a
your
has
of
Receive
Letthe
slumbered
hearts
the
to
storm
thunder
tongue--that
weird
these
arewind.
for
strong,
oxen
silence
ofyears,
Let
your
asthe
the
a is
"`Hearthat
present
stand
war-dances
trumpet
Amanglezi
awake
vengeance--is
upon prepared.
again
my
from
tongues
tumultuous
"word,"
may
shake
and
your
crying
Let
hear
of
isthe
father
your
crying
my
the
it
and
crowd
earth
children
and
war-cry
tocrying
for
his
as the
roll
of
aloud
the House
that theoftime
Nteya,
ofhas
thepakati
come.'"
race of Ngqika. Hear my "word" as
CHAPTER SIX. 22

crouching in eager expectancy in the red firelight. Suddenly, upon the black
gloom
the of the night,
eastward, far awayforth
there gleamed to a streak of flame. Then another and
another.
circle. A subdued
Then, roar rana crimson
as by magic, around theglare fell upon the serried ranks of
expectantwar
fantastic listeners,
panoply lighting
as withupthetheir
light of day. From the hill top above the
kraal there Itshot
red flame. up ahigh
leaped greatinto
tongue of
the velvety blackness of the heavens. Splitting
up intoin
roared many a forking
the air--the flash it rays licking up into a cloud of lurid smoke
gleaming
which blotted
reddening outThe
folds. the distant
stars inwar
its signal of the Gcaleka chieftain was
answered.
"Ha!" cried Hlangani, in a voice of thunder. "Ha! Now will the heart of your
father,
ye Sarili,
proved be glad. his
yourselves Now have indeed, oh, sons of Ngqika! Now have you
children
proved yourselves
trumpet tongues ofmen, your for the
war-flames are crying aloud--tongue roaring to
tongue upon the wings of the night."
With the quickness of lightning the warriors had again thrown themselves
into formation,
to a pitch and now worked
of uncontrollable up
excitement, the unearthly cadence of the war-
songthunder
the rose into a fiendish
of the demonroar,dance and
rolled and reverberated among the hills,
while frenzied
grim, lighting up the fierce
figures in its array of glare, the huge beacon, high above on
brooding
the hilltop,
upon blazed
the night forth
in all sullenly and destructive significance.
its menacing

Suddenly, as if by magic, the mad orgy of the savages was suspended. For
advancing into their
midst--fearlessly, very contemptuously, even--rode a solitary horseman--a
boldly,
white man, an Englishman.
CHAPTER SEVEN. 23

CHAPTER SEVEN.

IN THE LION'S DEN.

Every eye was bent upon the new arrival. With a quick, instinctive movement
the savagesEnglishman.
foolhardy closed around the was a scowl of deadly import upon each grim
There
face. Hundreds
poised of assegais
with a quiver were eagerness. The man's life seemed not
of suppressed
worth a moment's purchase.
"Out of my way, you schepsels
!" he cried roughly, urging his horse through the sullen and threatening
crowd,of armed and excited barbarians worked up to
as though so many hundreds
the highest pitch of
blood-thirstiness were just that number of cowering and subservient slaves.
"Out ofismy
Where way, do
Nteya? you Nteya,
I want hear? the chief. Where is he?"

"Here I am,umlungu
[White man]. What do you want with me?" answered Nteya--making a rapid
peremptory signalandto restrain the imminent resentment of his followers. "Am
I not always
should breakhere, thatme
in upon youin this violent manner? Do
house,
I goand
to your
ride up to the door and shout for
you as though you were stricken with sudden deafness?"

The chief's rebuke, quiet and dignified, might have carried some tinge of
humiliation to
overbearing any
and man less than Tom Carhayes, even as the low growl of
hot-headed
hardly arose
which contained
fromexasperation
the throng might have conveyed an ominous warning. But
upon
thrownthis manYet
away. bothit were alike
may be that the very insanity of his fool-hardiness
constituted
but a momenthishis
safety.
doom Had
washesealed.
quailed

"I didn't come here to,"hold


[Talk--palaver]
an indaba he shouted. "I want my sheep. Look here, Nteya. You
have put me off very cleverly time after time with one excuse or another. But pagadi
this time youI've
[Cornered]. arerun you to earth--or rather some of those
of yours.
schepsels
That young villain Goniwe has
driven off thirty-seven of my sheep, and two of your fellows have helped
him. I've
your spoored
location them right
as straight as a into
line. Now?"

"When was this, Umlilwane?" said Nteya, imperturbably.

"When? When? To-night, man. This very night, do you hear?" roared the
other.
"Hau! The white man has the eyes of twenty vultures that he can see to follow the
spoornight,"
on a dark of thirty-seven sheep voice--and a great shout of derisive
cried a mocking
laughterThe
crowd. went
oldupchief,
fromhowever,
the wholepreserved
savage his dignified and calm demeanour.

"You are excited, Umlilwane," he said--a faint smile lurking round the
cornersgoofhome
better his mouth. "Hadinyou
and return thenot
morning and talk things over quietly? Surely
you
like awould
boy ornot forget yourself
a quarrelsome old woman."
If a soft
precisely
"You
They
And shaking
infernal
areanswer
here
opposite
with
old
now,
turneth
scoundrel!"
fury
result.
I tellhe
away
you;
Ifdarted
Carhayes
wrath,
here
he forth
roared.
now.
assuredly
had
hisAnd
"Don't
been
hand,
youan
enraged
Iwhich
tell
try
injunction
to
you
still
put
before,
I have
held
me
to keep
off
his
the
spoored
with
fury
heavy
coolyour
now
the
to
an would
rose
sheep
usual
rhinoceros
he
"Hau!"
chiefs
angry
toKafir
right
of
white
cried
the
man
have
hide
bang
lies
Amaxosa
Hlangani,
heat.
conduceth
struck
and
intoshuffling."
your
the
are
who
to
chief
trampled
kraal?
ahadthen
been
on
and
aby
silent
there.
(whites).
thesebut
Butabelungu
attentive
Are
Nteyawedid
men,
witness
notI move.
say?
to this
Are scene.
!we
Thus
men?"
"it, is
Hau
assjambok
And
that
though
the
CHAPTER SEVEN. 24

eyes of the savage flashed with terrible meaning as he waved his hand in the
direction of the foolhardy
Englishman.

Thus was the spark applied to the dry tinder. The crowd surged forward. A
dozen
bridle, sinewy
and in ahands gripped
moment the was flung violently to the earth.
Carhayes

Stunned, half-senseless he lay. Assegais flashed in the firelight. It seemed


that the
were unfortunate
numbered. settler's
Another hours and a score of bright blades would be
moment
buried in his body.
But a stern and peremptory mandate from the chief arrested each impending
stroke.
"Stop, my children!" cried Nteya, standing over the prostrate man and
extending
off his arms
the deadly as "Stop,
blows. thoughmyto children!
ward I, your chief; I, your father,
command it. Would
hands of your you Be
enemies? play intoIthe
wise, say. Be wise in time."

Sullenly the crowd fell back. With weapons still uplifted, with eyes hanging
hungrily
like tigersupon their
balked chief's face,of their prey, the warriors paused. And the
momentarily
dull,flashing
fire brooding glare
aloft of the
upon the signal
hilltop fell redly upon that fierce and threatening
sea of figures
prostrate bodystanding over the
of their hated and now helpless enemy. But the word of a
Kafir chief
There is law
was no to his that
disputing followers.
decisive mandate.

"Rise, Umlilwane," went on Nteya. "Rise, and go in peace. In the evening,


whentothe
well blood is
provoke heated,
strife it is not
by angry words. In the morning, when heads are cool,
return here
are here, andshall
they talk.beIfrestored
your sheepto you. Now go, while it is yet safe."

Carhayes, still half-stunned by the violence of his fall, staggered to his feet.

"If they are here!" he repeated sullenly. "Damn here!"


it, they
he blazed
are forth in a fresh access of wrath.
Then catching the malevolent glance of Hlangani, and becoming alive to the
very sinisteronand
expression themenacing
countenances of the other Kafirs, even he began to realise
that some not
desirable, degree of prudence
to say essential. was
"Well, well, it's the old trick again, but I
suppose our
growled, turn
as he will cometosoon,"
proceeded mounthe
his horse.

The crowd parted to make way for him, and amid ominous mutterings and an
unpleasantly
of suggestive
weapons towards him,shaking
he rode away as he had come. None followed him.
The chief's
receding eye was
figure. Theupon his"word" had been given. But even protected by
chief's
that safe
to put as conduct, he would
much space be wise
as possible between himself and that sullen and warlike
gathering,
greatest and that, too, with the
despatch.

None followed him--at the moment. But Hlangani mixed unperceived among
the
herecrowd, whispering
and a word a word
there. And soon, by twos and threes, a number of armed
savages
night, stole silently
moving swiftly forth
uponinto the
the retreating horseman's track.
CHAPTER EIGHT. 25

CHAPTER EIGHT.

"ON THE ROCK THEY SCORCH, LIKE A DROP OF FIRE."

"What are they really doing over there, do you suppose, Eustace?" said
Eanswyth
the house. anxiously,
The thunder as of
they
theregained
wild war-dance floated across the intervening
miles of
glare of many
space,fires
and luridly
the mistyoutlined the distant mountain slopes. The position
was sufficiently
woman terrifying
alone there save fortoone
anymale protector, with hundreds of excited and
now hostile
their savages
weird and performing
clamourous war rites but a few miles away.

"I'm afraid there's no mistake about it; they are holding a big war-dance," was
the reply.
This "But
sort of funit's
hasnothing new. on at the different kraals for the last month.
been going
It's only
next doorbecause we are,
to Nteya's so tothat
location say,we hear it to-night at all."

"But Nteya is such a good old man," said Eanswyth. "Surely he wouldn't
harmrising."
any us. Surely he wouldn't join in

"You are correct in your first idea, in the second, not. We are rapidly making Kreli
in re
suchthe
and a hash of affairs
Fingoes over in the Transkei, that we are simply laying the train for a
war with
race. Howthe whole
can Amaxosa
Nteya, or any other subordinate chief, refuse to join when
called upon The
Paramount. by Kreli, theought
trouble Chiefto be settled before it goes any further, and my
opinion is that it could be."
"You are quite a politician," said Eanswyth, with a smile. "You ought to put
up for the
Native Secretaryship for
Affairs."

"Let us sit out here," he said, drawing up a couple of cane chairs which were . "Here
stoep
is a
always on the
very out-of-the-way phenomenon-- one the like of which we might not
witness
well seeagain in a lifetime. We may as
it out."

If Eanswyth had been rather alarmed heretofore, the other's perfect


unconcern
wild, unearthlywentchorus
far to reassure
echoing her. The the darkness--the glare of the fires,
through
thethe
of distant,
savage butorgy,
thundrous
conveyed clamour
no terrors to this strong-nerved and
philosophical
saw in them a companion
strange andof hers. interesting
deeply He only experience. Seated there in the
starlight, some of
communicated thattounconcern
itself her. A restful calm came upon her. This man beside
her was asAnd
strength. a very
thentower
cameof over her a consciousness--not for the first time, but
stronger
it--of howthan she hadhis
necessary ever felt was to her. His calm, strong judgment had
presence
kept matters
time past. Hestraight
had been forthea long
one to pour oil on the troubled waters; to allay or
avert the evils
husband's which hertemper and ill-judged violence had thickly gathered
ungovernable
around
there them.her
beside Now, as hecontemplating
calmly sat the sufficiently appalling
manifestations
that would otherwiseof thathave
night--manifestations
driven her wild with terror--she was conscious of
feeling hardly any fear.
Andcould
unclouded.
He
the
with
love--his
for
cane the
delicate
what
her--her
chair--a
molten,
concealed
see
ofFor
profile
Eustace
her
jagged
sole
raging
atface
that
protector,
turned
and
nail,
himself?
in
fires
moment
hopeless
the
which
half
ofstarlight--even
amid
passion
Lucky,
away
his
protruded,
love
the
mind
from
brooding
indeed,
which
forcould
her
him.
lacerating
the
consumed
overcame
that
only
lustrous
He
peril
his
was
be
that
it
judgment
compared
alone
glow
him
nearly
him.
threatened.
asHe
of
with
to
hethe
was
could
to
the
sat
her
great
the
A
strong,
bone--
there.
in
silence
notthe
his brain
seething,
eyes--could
sweet,
had
command
His
still
pain--mind
hand
fallen
he soft
felt
habitually
misty
clenched
words--not
between
African
nothing
triumphed.
mark rush
the
the
night--alone
them.
of
clear
ofclear
even
physical
arm
a whirlpool.
and
His
outline
of
voice,
his or
CHAPTER EIGHT. 26

Yes, the anguish of his mind was so intense as to be akin to physical pain.
Why could
together they not
always? be could,
They thus but for one life. One life only, between him and
such bliss
should be athat the whole
bright worldparadise! One life! A legion of fiends seemed
and golden
to wrestle
soul. "Onewithin the man's
life!" they echoed raging
in jibbering, gnashing chorus. "One life!" they
seemed to shriek
brain. "What morealoud in snapped
easily his than the cord of a life?"

The tumultuous thunder of the fierce war-dance sounded louder and louder
upon the
distant night--the
fires glare
reddened, andofthen
the glowed forth afresh. What if Tom Carhayes
had comesheep--and
missing upon the spoor
in his of his rage had followed it right into Nteya's
blind
location?into
straight Might heofnot
a den as well
lions? Thewalk
savage Gaikas, wound up to the highest pitch
of bloodthirsty
would at such aexcitement,
time be hardly less dangerous than so many beasts of prey.
Even
of thatatone
thatlife
very moment
might the cord
be snapped.

Suddenly a great tongue of flame shot up into the night, then another and
another. From
threatening a hilltop
beacons the red
flashed andtheir message of hate and defiance. The
forth
distant
had tumult
ceased. of the and
A weird savage orgy silence lay upon the surrounding country.
brooding

"Oh, what does it mean? What does it all mean?" cried Eanswyth starting up
from
whiteher chair.
with Her face
fear--her waseyes, gazing forth upon the gushing fires, were
dilated
wild and there
standing horror-stricken.
at her side,Eustace,
could hardly restrain himself from throwing his
arms around
passionate her and
storm pouring outloving
of comforting, a words. Yet she belonged to another
man--was
should thembound
part.to him
But until
what if death
death had already parted them? What if she
were so with
thought bound no longer?
a fierce, wildhe
yearning that had in it something of the murderer's
fell
gazepurpose,
upon theaswild
he strained hissavage hostility.
signals of

"Don't be frightened, Eanswyth," he said reassuringly, but in a voice from


whichtrace
every even of heemotion.
could not"You banish shall come to no harm to-night, dear, take my
word
we must for take
it. To-morrow,
you to some though,
safer place than this is likely to prove for the next
few days."
She made no answer. He had drawn his arm through hers and the strong,
reassuring
her fears. Ittouch
seemed seemed
to him to that
dispelshe leaned upon him, as though for physical
support
Thus theynostood,
less than
theirforfigures
mental. silhouetted in the dull red glow. Thus they
stood, the face ofemotions--that
with conflicting the one stormyof the other calm, restful, safe in that firm
protecting
they stood,companionship.
and to one of these Thustwo that isolated position in the midst of a
brooding peril
sweetest, most represented
ecstatic moment the that life had ever afforded. And still upon the
distant hilltops,
upward into the gushing redly
velvety darkness, the war-fires of the savages gleamed and
burned.
"We had better go in now," said Eustace, after a while, when the flaming
beacons
"You must hadbeattired
length burnt by
to death low.this time, and it won't do to sit out here all
night. You must have some rest."
"I will try," she answered. "Do you know, Eustace, there is a something about
you that
everything
There
"Ah!
choked.
Thus
passion you
towasseems
to
thataright.
Their
find toIput
overmaster
extent
softness
eyes
that,am not
Eustace
met
doinhim.herin
you?"
in the the
But
Milne,
tone
he least frightened
starlight--met
before
answered,
that
thebordered
cool-headed,
he could now."
ininaupon
astrained,
pour
long,
the
tenderness--a
forth
clinging
philosophic,
harsh,
the unrestrained
unnatural
gaze--then
softness
had
thathiswas
in
voice.
their
another
allowed
torrentlips.
frame
Then
ofman,
the
dangerous
words
Yet,
impulse
his
ofand--a
she
mind.
utterance
which
belonged
indeed
life
of his
should
stood
seemed
mad
totoabetween
part
man these two.
CHAPTER EIGHT. 27

them there and then forever, or bind them more closely for weal or for woe,
Eanswyth
herself fromsuddenly
his closewrenched
embrace. A clatter of rapidly approaching hoofs was
borne upon the night.
"It's Tom!" she cried, at the same time fervently blessing the friendly
darkness which
face. "It must beconcealed
Tom. What hercan
burning
he have been doing with himself all this
time?"
"Rather! It's Tom, right enough, or what's left of him!" echoed the loud, well-
known
rode upvoice, as the
to thestoep andhorseman
flung himself from the saddle. "What's left of him," he repeated grimly.
"Can't you
strike a light, Eanswyth, instead of standing there staring at a man as if he
had actually by
mince-meat been cut infernal
those into brutes, instead of having only had a very
narrowtestily,
added escapestriding
from that pastsame,"
her tohe
enter the house, which up till now had been
left in darkness
reasons, lest by for prudential
rendering it more conspicuous the sight might tempt their
savage
ugly neighbours,
humour, to somein their
deed present
of violence and outrage.

A lamp was quickly lighted, and then a half-shriek escaped Eanswyth. For
her husband
spectacle. Hepresented a ghastly
was hatless, and his thick brown beard was matted with blood,
which
side ofhad streamed
his face from down
a woundthe in his head. One of his hands, too, was covered
with blood,
hacked andin
and cut hisseveral
clothesplaces.
were

"For Heaven's sake, Eanswyth, don't stand there screeching like an idiotic
schoolgirl,
grog, but run
for I want an and
`eyeget out some
opener' badly, I can tell you," he burst forth with an
angry
get somestamp of the
water andfoot.
clean"Then
rag, and bandage me up a bit-- for besides the crack
on thehalf
least head you see
a dozen I've got
assegai at distributed about my carcase."
stabs

Pale and terrified, Eanswyth hurried away, and Carhayes, who had thrown
himself on the
growlingly sofa,anproceeded
to give account of the rough usage he had been subjected to.
He must have
followed, beenfor
he said, stealthily
about half an hour after leaving Nteya's kraal he had
been
party set upon inSo
of Kafirs. thesudden
darkness
wasbythe
a assault that they had succeeded in
snatching
he could use hisit.
gun away on
A blow from
thehim
headbefore
with a kerrie--a whack which would have
floored a weaker
parenthesised man--he
grimly and with ill-concealed pride--having failed to knock
him off his horse,
endeavoured to stabthehim
savages
with their assegais--and in fact had wounded him in
several
him theyplaces.
had not Fortunately
succeededfor in seizing his bridle, or at any rate in retaining
hold
been of it, or his doom would have
sealed.

"The chap who tried it on dropped under my stirrup-iron," explained


Carhayes.
Jingo! He'll"Inever
`downed'
kick him, byI the
again, living That scoundrel Nteya promised I
do believe.
shouldn't
dog! Therebehemolested,he the
was,,the oldliving
andschelm
our friend of to-day, Hlangani--and Matanzima, old Sandili's son,
and Sivulele, and a lot of them, haranguing the rest. They mean war. There
couldn't
seven have been
hundred less thanholding
of them--all six or a big war-dance, got up in their feathers
and fal-lals.
that, Eustace?What
Anddo in you think
I went bangof into the very thick of them."

"I knew
encumbered
"Of
Eustace
halves?
courseit would
Why
turned
you
it.had come
away
From
did," to
theyretorted
to
that
not this
conceal one
moment
completed
hertheof these
husband,
he
white
their days,
hatedfury
work
with Tom,"
his that
cousin
aand
savage
was said
ridwith Eanswyth,
blasting
the
snarl.
aearth
secret
"You
him.
of and who
awouldn't
Why
coarse-
bitter
now reappeared
necessary
be
dear.
suppose
had
minded
hatred.
stood
a the
woman
`Ibetween
And
told
Kafirs
brute
you with
refreshment,
you
this
ifset
who
done
you
him
to
was
you the
so,'simply
work
didn't,
and--
things
`Iso,'--isn't
thetold
and
life
and
Paradise.
my
by
water
that
see
that
what
and
a woman's
towels
you canfor
invariable
dodressing
for a fellow.
parrot
his wounds.
Eh?"
cry. Instead of `telling me so,'
CHAPTER EIGHT. 28

Tom Carhayes was indeed in a vile humour--not on account of the wounds he


had received,
them were; forugly as some
he was of
not lacking in brute courage or endurance. But his
wrath burnt
daring of hishot against the
assailants, whoinsolent
had presumed to attack him, who had, moreover,
done sohim
robbed treacherously,
of his gun, had
as well as of a number of sheep, and had added insult
to injury
when by laughing
he asked in his face
for redress.

"I'll be even with them. I will, by the living Jingo!" he snarled as he sat
sipping his still
Eanswyth, brandy
paleand
andwater--while
agitated from the various and stirring events of the
night,
rather bathed his fingers.
trembling wounds"I'll
withride into Komgha to-morrow and have the
wholedog,
lying lot arrested--especially thatpolice myself, if only to see the old
Nteya. I'll go with the
scoundrel."handcuffed and hauled off to
thetronk

"What on earth induced you to run your head into such a hornet's nest for the
sake of aatfew
Eustace last,sheep?" said
thinking he ought to say something.

"Hang it, man!" was the impatient retort. "Do you suppose I was going to let
these
of me?scoundrels
I tell you have the laugh
I spoored the sheep slap into Nteya's kraal."

"Well, they seem to have the laugh of you now,, rather,"


anyhow--of
said Eustace
us drily, as he turned away.
CHAPTER NINE. 29

CHAPTER NINE.

A STARTLING SURPRISE.

Nature is rarely sympathetic. The day dawned, fair and lovely, upon the night
of terror
few andrays,
golden brooding
dartingperil. A
horizontally upon the green, undulating slopes of the
pleasant Kaffrarian
landscape--then the sun shot up from the eastern skyline. Before him the
white the
upon mist, which
land had settled
a couple of hoursdown
before dawn, now rolled back in ragged
folds, dew--a
silver leaving glittering
a sheeny sparkle
carpet ofof diamond drops upon tree and shrub. Bird
voices
many awere twittering
gladsome into life,note.
and varying in Little meer-kats, startled by the tread of
thelisten,
to horse,ere
satplunging,
upon theirwith
haunches
a frisk and a scamper, into the safety of their
burrows. Aand
distended tortoise, his neck
motionless, his bright eye dilated with alarm, noiselessly
shrank
of into the
his shell, justarmour-plated
in time to avoid safety
probable decapitation from the falling hoof
which
rollingsent
half his protective
a dozen yardsshell
down the slope. But he now riding abroad thus
early,
any hadtrivial
such little attention
sights andtosounds.
give to His mind was fully occupied.

No sleep had fallen to Eustace's lot that night. Late as it was when they
retired to rest,offatiguing
as the events the day hadand been,
excitingthere was no sleep for him. Carhayes,
exasperated
treatment heby
hadthe wrongsatand
received therough
hands of his barbarous neighbours, had
withdrawn
fearful, in a humour
exacting thatattention
unceasing was trulyfrom his wife and rudely repulsing his
cousin's
place, in offer
ordertothat
taketheEanswyth's
latter might take some much-needed rest. A
proceeding
white heat of which
silentlashed Eustace
fury, and in hisinto
owna mind it is to be feared he defined the
otherutterly
and as a selfish, inconsiderate,
irredeemable brute. Which, after all, is mere human nature. It is
alwaysworse
rather the other
thanfellow who
a fiend. is we in his shoes we should be something a
Were
little higher than an angel. That of
course.

Unable to endure the feverish heat of restlessness that was upon him, with the
first glimmer
arose. One of of hisdawn
horsesEustace
had been kept up in the stable, and having saddled
the animal
horse was ahebadly
issued forth. vicious
broken, But the brute, and like the human heart was
deceitful
when andinherent
to the desperately wicked,
villainy of hisand
corrupt nature was superadded the
tangible
exchangegrievance of having
a comfortable stabletofor the fresh, not to say raw, atmosphere of
early dawn,
himself he resolved as
as disagreeable to possible.
make He began by trying all he knew to buck
the saddle
might, off--but
however, befruitlessly. He with the rider. So almost before the latter
more successful
hadseat,
his deftly
downswung himself
again went into
the perverse brute's head, and up went his back.
Plunging, rearing,
squealing, the animalkicking,
managed to waste five minutes and a great deal of
superfluous
some roughish energy, and tointo
treatment incur
the bargain, for his rider was as firm in the
saddle as aowned
moreover bullet ainstout
a cartridge,
crop andand
a pair of sharp spurs, and withal was little
inclined
that to stand
morning fromany nonsense
man or beast.

But the tussle did Eustace good, in that it acted with bracing effect upon his
nerves,
refractory andsteed
having reduced
to order, he the
headed for the, opennot much
veldtcaring where he went as long as he was
moving.
still
yielded
night--alone
once
Then
was
the
upon result
seemed
inclined
his
ithad
could
toAnd
better
which
come
theto
almost
to
now
only,
weird
feel
judgment
decide
that
thatas
to
the
in
horribly
enchantment
interruption
the
one
the
that
pressure
sun
had
of
very
it Eanswyth's
inopportune
rose,
was
been
world
ofhad
not.
of
flooding
those
atthe
fault
brought
itself.
Onmoment,
lips
temperament,
interruption.
the
all
the
His
to
along--for
contrary,
about.
air
his,
better
when
with
the
Again,
judgment
But
the
throw
instinctive
athey
once
mellow
ice
was
the
two
out
passion
must
it
rough
had
were
in
warmth,
clinging
be
more
failed
was
and
alone
broken
ato
great
in
him
truer
returned
inopportune?
gently
bitter
vivid
theat
inthan
elation
contrast
words
hush
at
thehis
first,
judgment.
critical
hour
ofwhich
kiss
came
Thinking
the
and
of. nectar
soft,
time--and
fear.
this
upon
hadsensuous
isthings
followed
He
him.
sweetness
just
had
for
He
over now he She had
CHAPTER NINE. 30

of that cup of which she had just tasted. He had not seen her since, but he
soon would.
cards He would
with a master play
hand. Byhis
no bungling would he risk the game.

It was characteristic of the man that he could thus reason--could thus scheme
and plot--that
the strong side
whirl of by
hisside with he could calculate chances, map out a plan.
passion,
And there
gross in hiswas nothing
thoughts ofsordid orlove for Eanswyth was pure, even noble--
her. His
elevating,
that she wasperfect--but
bound by for the fact
an indissoluble tie to another man.

Ah, but--there lay the gulf; there rose the great and invincible barrier. Yet,
why invincible?
The serpent was abroad in Eden that morning. With the most sweet
recollection
in of butrested
his heart, there a few within
hours back freshmind a perfect glow of radiant
Eustace's
peace. Many
hardly a word,
understood many
at the a tone,
time, came back to him now with startling clearness.
For a year
beneath thethey
samehad dwelt
roof, for nearly that period,
that period,
for quite
as he was forced to own to himself, he had
striven hard to conquer the hopeless, the unlawful love, which he plainly
foresaw
too strongwould sooner
for him. Butornowlater
it grow
had overwhelmed him, and--she had returned
it. The
eyes at scales had fallen
last--from fromeyes.
both their his What a very paradise was opening out its
golden
but-- theglories
barrierbefore them.
between Ah,
them--and that barrier the life of another!

Yet what is held upon more desperately frail tenure than a life? What is more
easilyItsnapped
life? might havethanbeen
the cord
doneofduring
a the past night. By no more than a hair's-
breadth
The had Carhayes
savages might on escaped.
the next occasion strike more true. Yes, assuredly, the
serpent was
now--his trailabroad
a trailinofthat Eden
blood. There was something of the murderer in
Eustace Milne at that moment.
Mechanically still he rode on. He was skirting a high rounded spur. Rising
from ainbushy
miles front valley not many
were several threads of blue smoke, and the faint sound of
avoices, withborne
dog, was now upon
and thenthe the yelp
silent of
morning air. He had travelled some distance
and now kraals
outlying not farofinNteya's
front laylocation.
the

A set, ruthless look came over his fine face. Here were tools enough ready to
his hand.
those clansNotof afierce
man and
amongtruculent barbarians but hated his cousin with a
hatred
On the begotten
other hand of he
years of friction.
himself was on the best of terms with them and their
rulers.
reward,Aand--well,
little finessing--a
so far helavish
shrank from deliberate and cold-blooded murder.
And as though
temptation beforeto cast off become too strong for him, he wrenched round
it should
his horse
rode downwithintoaasudden jerkbushy
wild and and kloof which ran round the spur of the hill.

"Never mind!" he exclaimed half aloud. "Never mind! We shall have a big
warwar,
for on our
andhands directly.
its glorious Hurrah
chances!--Pincher, you fool, what the deuce is the
matter with you?"
For the horse had suddenly stopped short. With his ears cocked forward he
stood, snorting
trembling violently,Then with a frantic plunge he endeavoured to turn
and backing.
andmaster's
his bolt.
Issuing
number
limbs ofBut
threatening
horse, still
but
fromto hissinuous
will
bedecked
red,
aspect
strike
the master's
were
shade
of
dismay
with
theof hand
strong
forms.
grim,
the
the
into and
enough
barbarous
mimosa
The totrees,
scowling defeat
the ochre-smeared
heart and this effort.
countenances
of the
fantastic
seeming
rider,
bodies, At the
remembering
adornments
tolooked
rise
the
out same
gleaming time
formidable
of
ofthe
the
thetanglehis
critical
master's
the
of
assegai
night's
enough,
state
"Stop!"
long,
cause eye
ofmartial
blades,
the
cried
coarse
not became
oftimes.
merely
alarm.
one
orgy,
herbage,alive
theofbrawny,
to
thescare tomuscular
savage
Kafirs
were the
aperemptorily.
and "Come no farther, white man!"
CHAPTER NINE. 31

With a rapid movement two of them advanced as if to seize his bridle.

"Stop yourselves!" cried Eustace decisively, covering the pair with a revolver.

So determined was his mien, and withal so cool and commanding, that the
savages paused
ejaculation rose irresolute. A quick
from the whole party. There was a flash and a glitter. A score
of assegais
for were poised
a fling. Assailants ready
and assailed were barely a dozen yards apart. It was a
critical His
Milne. moment for Eustace
life hung upon a hair.

Suddenly every weapon was lowered--in obedience to a word spoken by a


tall Kafir from
emerged who at
thethat moment
bush. Then Eustace knew the crisis was past. He, too,
lowered his weapon.
"What does this mean, Ncanduku?" he said, addressing the new arrival.
"Why
me? We doareyour
notpeople make war upon
at war."

"Au!" ejaculated several of the Kafirs, bringing their hands to their faces as if to
hideremark.
by this the sarcastic grin evoked
He addressed shrugged his shoulders.

"Fear nothing, Ixeshane," [The Deliberate] he replied, with a half-amused you.


smile.nothing."
Fear "No harm will be done

The slight emphasis on the "you" did not escape Eustace's quick ear, coming
as it did
train so close upon his recent
of thought.

"Why should I fear?" he said. "I see before me Ncanduku, the brother of
Nteya,
both my friend--both
chiefs of the Housemy
of friends,
Gaika. I see before me, I say, Ncanduku, my
friend,
also whom Iofknow.
a number men,Ifully
see before
armed,mewhom I do not know."

"Hau!" exclaimed the whole body of Kafirs, who, bending forwards, had been
eagerly taking in every word of
this address.

"These armed men," he continued, "have just threatened my life. Yet, I fear
nothing. Look!"
He raised the revolver, which he now held by the barrel. In a twinkling he
threw
the open theinto
cartridges breech and emptied
his hand. Another emphatic murmur rose from the Kafirs
at this strange move.
"Look!" he went on, holding out the empty weapon towards them in one
hand,
the and "You
other. the half
aredozen cartridges
more than twentyinmen--armed. I am but one man--
unarmed. Do I fear anything?"
Again a hum went round the party--this time of admiration--respect. Eustace
had played
stroke. But ahebold--a
knew hisfoolhardy
men.
"I am
long
So
and
was saying,
deliberately
joined
while
in, Ixeshane!"
nohe
since
by
hurry,
dismounted,
Ncanduku
seated
I Ncanduku,"
have
exclaimed
himself
seen
and
andyou,
two
Ncanduku.
replied
flinging
in and
or
thethree
shade,
many
Eustace,
his"You
more.
bridle
things
thus
who,
are
The
completely
over
have
a for
bold
other
a happened
bush,
purposes
man.
Kafirs
placing
heIt walked
sank
is
of
ingood
his
that
himself
down
own,
at
that I have
"Whau
Now,
chose
time.
littleindaba
least
in
intotheaaWe
ifsquatting
power
toseen
dozen
you
ignore
will
you
."
are
of
yards
sit
[Talk.]
the
this
posture
going
this
down
savages.
from
hint.
morning.
home,
and
where
the
"Ithold
is
He
horse
nobody
a a will interfere with you."
CHAPTER NINE. 32

they were.

"First we will smoke," he said, handing his pouch to the Gaika chief.
"Though
very I fear the
far among contents
all our won't
friends go
here."
CHAPTER TEN. 33

CHAPTER TEN.

A MUTUAL WARNING.

It may not here be out of place to offer a word of explanation as to the


extraordinarily
existing between cordial
Eustacerelations
Milne and his barbarian neighbours. A student of
nature allinthe
rejoiced worldready
finding over, tohehis
hadhand so promising a subject as this fine race
of savages,to,
proximity dwelling
and indeedin close
in and among, the abodes of the white colonists, and
instead
the of learning
Kafirs as so many to look
moreuponor less troublesome and indifferent farm servants,
actual
foemen,stock-lifters
he had startedand bypotential
recognising their many good qualities and
resolving
the race andto make a complete study
its characteristics. of he had effected, with the
And this
thoroughness
undertook. whichlinguist,
A quick marked he everything he
soon mastered the rather difficult, but
melodious
in which long andand
expressive
frequentXosa tongue, with its speakers had by this time
conversations
rendered
man of keenhimintellect,
nearly perfect;
he could a hold his own in argument with any of these
people,
the scopewho, on subjects
of their within are about the shrewdest debaters in the
acquaintance,
world.
and His coolofdeliberation
soundness of speech their abundant respect, and the
judgment commanded
friendlyheand
which disinterested
invariably evincedfeeling
towards them being once understood and
appreciated,
sprang up onaboth verysides.
genuine liking

Of course all this did not pass unnoticed by his white acquaintances and
neighbours--who
upon were wontintoconsequence,
him as an eccentricity look and to chaff him a good deal
about his "blanket
him when friends,"
he expected to beor
inask
the Cabinet as Secretary for Native Affairs. A
few of sneer
would the more ill-naturedhis cousin among the latter. But Eustace Milne
occasionally,
could take chaff
equanimity, with
and as forperfect
the approval or disapproval of anybody he regarded it
not one whit.
Stay--of anybody? Yes--of one.

And that approval he had gained to the full. Eanswyth, watching her cousin
duringwith
living the year
them, that
hadhefelt
hadher
been
regard and respect for him deepen more and
more. Many
judgment anda tact
timeavailed
had histo settle matters of serious difficulty and, of late,
actual peril,imperiousness
hot-headed brought about of byher
thehusband in his dealings with the natives.
Living
with a year beneath
anybody the work-a-day
in ordinary same roof intercourse affords the best possible
opportunity
character of of
thatstudying
person. the
Eanswyth, we say, had so studied the character of
her husband'sit cousin
pronounced andflawless.
well-nigh had But of this more elsewhere.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Who are those people, Ncanduku?" said Eustace, after a few preliminary
puffsSikuni
and in silence.
here, "Except
they are yourself
all strangers to me. I do not seem to know one of
their faces."
The chief shrugged his shoulders, emitting a thick puff of smoke from his
"They
molested
"Who
bearded are
are
, Ixeshane!
on
they
strangers,"
lips. their
afraid
way
Youof?
he
back
know
answered.
Nottothere
the
their
Amafengu,
is"They
own
trouble
country.
arejust
their
Ama-Gcaleka,
now
They
dogs?with
are
Why
afraid,
theand
should
Amafengu
are
so they
theygo
[Fingoes].
go
returning
Kei.
"But
"Whau
armed."
armed
strength?"
They
why
and
These
to
are
have
travel
their
men
they
been
in
own
might
all
such
visiting
so
country
heavily
be some across
armed?
of the
their
Wefriends
are notatatNteya's
war." kraal."
CHAPTER TEN. 34

The chief fixed his glance upon his interlocutor's face, and there was a merry
twinkle
away in his eye as he turned
again.

"A man is not afraid of one dog, Ixeshane, nor yet of two," he replied. "But if
akill
hundred
them orsetbeupon him,
killed he must
himself."

Eustace uttered a murmur of assent. Then after a pause he said:

"To travel in a strong party like that in these times is not wise. What if these
Gcalekas
Police were to fall there
patrol--would in with
nota surely be a fight? That might bring on a war. I
amnot.
is a peaceable man.had
What if they Everybody
met a less peaceable man than myself, and threatened
him as have
would they did
beenme? There
a fight and the white man might have been killed--for what
can one man do against twenty?"
"He need not have been killed--only frightened," struck in the other Kafir,
Sikuni.
"Some men are easier killed than frightened," rejoined Eustace. "Last night
some people
attacked from Nteya's
my brother, kraal`brother' is often colloquially used among
[The term
Kafirs to designate
relationship] other
stole his gun,degrees of to kill him. But they did not frighten
and tried
him."
In spite of the conventional exclamation of astonishment which arose from
his hearers,
well Eustace
aware that was no
this was perfectly
news to them.

"That is bad news," said Ncanduku, with well-feigned concern. "But it may
not haveIxeshane.
people, been done by any
There mayofhave
our been some Fingo dogs wandering about
theorder
in land,that
whothe
have done may
English this thing
blame us for it."

It was now Eustace's turn to smile.

"Does a dog wander to the mouth of a den of lions?" he said, keenly enjoying
the notion
"Will a fewofFingoes
turningattack
the tables.
a guest of Nteya's within the very light of the fires
of the Gaika location?"
"Your brother, Umlilwane, is too hot-headed," answered the chief, forced to
shift
younghisman.
ground.
Our "Yet
young hemen,
is nottoo,
a are hot-headed at times and escape from
under the
chiefs. Butcontrolling
Nteya willeye of the
surely punish those who have done this thing."

"Let your friends proceed on their way, Ncanduku," said Eustace suddenly,
and
withinyou
a low tone. "I would speak
alone."

The chief assented, and at a word from him the Gcalekas rose to their feet
and gathered
With up their
a respectful saluteweapons.
to the white man they filed off into the bush, and
soon
and thethedeep
faintbass
rattlehum
of assegai
of theirhafts
voices faded into silence.
"Now
trouble
then,
"The
We
into love
awrongs
should
quieter
webetween
not
areyour
the
of
alone,"
country,
the
Gaikas
the
brother,
Paramount
Gcalekas
began
andhave
Umlilwane.
that
Eustace
lighted
and
speedily;
Chief
theafter
the
are
Fingoes,
Yet,
war-fires,
for
the
a tell
pause.
the
wrongs
him
surely
land
"We
have
toof
will
Kreli
collect
are
the
danced
soon
friends,
whole
ishis
able
bethe
flocks
dead."
Xosa
towar-
take
and
race,"
Ncanduku,
care
dance?
answered
his
[Native
"Andherds
ofwhat
his
The
idiom
and
the
own
if
and
quarrel
he
Kafir.
tofor
can
interests.
leave,
refuses?"
war.]
is
talk
"See
not
tofreely.
now.
depart
Why,
theirs."
If there is
CHAPTER TEN. 35

"Then he, too, will soon be dead."

For some minutes Eustace kept silence. The Kafir's remark had added fuel to
the firehis
within which was
heart. burning a direct answer to lurid unspoken thoughts which
It seemed
had
mindbeen surging
at the time ofthrough his by the at first hostile party.
his surprise

"Umlilwane is an obstinate man," he said at length. "What if he laughs at the


warning?"
"When a man sits inside his house and laughs while his house is burning,
what happens to him, Ixeshane?"
"He stands a fair chance of being burnt too. But listen, Ncanduku. You have Inkosikazi.
no quarrelChieftainess.
[Literally against the In this instance `lady.'] Surely not a man of the House
of Gaika would harm her!"
The chief shook his head with a troubled expression.

"Let her go, too!" he said emphatically. "Let her go, too, and that as soon as
possible.
war When
is rolling thethe
over redland,
wavethere
of is no place where the delicate feet of white
women may
friends, stand For
Ixeshane. dry.your
We are
sake, and for that, of
tellthe
Umlilwane
Inkosikazito gather together his cattle and
to go."

"We are friends, indeed, Ncanduku. But how long can we be so? If war
breaks
can I sitout between
still? our Ipeople
I cannot. how
must fight--must fight for my own race, and in
defence
can of our property.
we remain friends?" How, then,

"In war-time every man must do his duty," answered the Gaika. "He must
obey
for histhe word
race andofcolour."
his chief and fight

"Truly spoken and well understood. And now a warning for a warning. If I
had the ears of your chiefs
amapakati[Councillors] thisandis what I should say: Do not be drawn into this war. Let the
Gcalekas
their own quarrel. fightstand
They out upon wholly different ground. If they are
vanquished--as,
in the long run--the of course,
Governmentthey willwillbeshow them mercy, will treat them as a
conquered
the people.
other tribes Butthe
within you, and border, are British subjects. Queen
colonial
Victoria
Sandili, notis your chief,
Seyolo, notnot Kreli, not man of the House of Gaika or Hlambi,
Ndimba--no
but the
war uponWhite Queen. the
the Colony If you make
Government will treat you as criminals, not as a
conquered
against the people,
Queen, butyouraschief.
rebelsYou will be shown no mercy. Your chiefs will
very likely
fighting men bewill
hung beand
sentyour
to the convict prisons for many a long year. That
when
long canyouyou arecarry
beaten. onAnd how Things are not as they were. The country is
the war?
notsoldiers
of as it was. thatThink of the
will be sentnumber
against you; of the police; of the settlers, who will
turn out
with the to
besta man--all armed mind. And what sort of weapons have you? A
breechloaders,
few old muzzle
dangerous to theloaders
shootermorethan to his mark. What can you do with these and
your assegais
with the against
best rifles people
in the world?armedI am indeed your friend, Ncanduku, and the
friendgathering
warning
"The
example.
grows
And of
wordsyour
sink
darker
"But race.
ofdeep
every
the Let
inday.
Ixeshane
up his
young my
your
assegais
are
Imenmind,
seealways
no
are and carry
thelight,"
turbulent.
chief
the itThey
words toofthe
disappeared
he added, chiefs.
wisdom," Let
courteously
will
among them
not listen
said be the
theholding
trees,
the
to the wise
Kafir,
in time."
rising
counsels
stirrup
peace,
following
larger in
party.
Ixeshane,
forobedience
ofthe
Eustace
their
direction
and
elders.
to
toremember
mount,
the
taken
The
other's
cloud
"Go
bymythe
inwarning."
CHAPTER ELEVEN. 36

CHAPTER ELEVEN.

"THE TAIL WAGS THE DOG."

Eustace had plenty to occupy his thoughts during his homeward ride. The
emphatic
chief was warning
not to beofsetthe Gaika
aside lightly. That Ncanduku knew more than he chose
to say was
spoken out evident. He had
very plainly for one of his race, who dearly love veiled hints and
beating
there around
was more the bush. Still
behind.

Especially did the chief's perturbation when Eanswyth was referred to strike
him as ominous
degree. to the lastthere are few instances of Kafirs seriously
Even in war-time
maltreating
was white
well liked women,
by such anddusky
of her Eanswyth
neighbours as she had come in contact
with. Yet inhated
thoroughly the present
was her case so
husband that it was conceivable they might even
strike at him through her.
Why had Carhayes not fallen in with the armed party instead of himself,
thought
have cutEustace
the knotbitterly. That would
of the difficulty in a trice. They would not have spared him
so readily. They
Hlangani's were Gcalekas,
tribesmen. Hlangani's wound would have been avenged, and
Eanswyth would by this time be free.
Very fair and peaceful was the aspect of the farm as the last rise brought it
full into the
bleating horseman's
of sheep, view.by
mellowed The
distance, as the flocks streamed forth white veldt
, and
upon
the the green
lowing of thefloated upon the rich morning air--together with the
of cattle,
sound of voices group
the picturesque and laughter
of native from
huts where the farm servants dwelt. Doves
cooed softly,
sprays flitting
of mimosa amongthe
fringing themealie lands; and upon the surface of the dam
there was
light. a shimmer
All seemed of silver
peaceful--happy--prosperous; yet over all brooded the red
cloud of war.
Eustace felt his pulses quicken and his heart stir as he strained his eyes upon
the house,
flutter of a to catch
light maybe
dress in thetheveranda. Many a morning had he thus returned
from a ride without
heartstirring. Yet now soitmuch as a
was different. The ice had been broken. A new light
had been
light, let in--a
glowing sweet
around hisnew
path like a ray of Paradise. They understood each
other at last.
Yet did they? How would she receive him--how greet him after the disclosure
of last night?
thought betterWould she the
of it? For have first time in his life he felt his confidence fail
him.
"Hallo, Eustace! Thought you had trekked off somewhere for the day,"
growled Carhayes,
doorway. "Been lookingmeeting him inofthe
up some your blanket friends?"

"Where are you off to yourself, Tom?" was the reply. For the other was got
upfor
if in riding boots and breeches, as
a journey.

"To Komgha--I'm going over to lay an information against Nteya. I'll have schelm
in
tronk
the
by
the old
to-night."
"Not much
With
"Gammon,
round apresently
mutter to be
my and
dear
and
taken
a chap.
growl
look
byafter
that,
ICarhayes
never
the
is there?
funked
sheep.
joined
Just
I've
a nigger
him
come
been
outside.
yet
this
obliged
and
way
InI to
anever
afew
minute,
put words
on
will.
Josane's
will
And, I
you?
as
Eustace
warning.
say.
small
he well
may
You'd
I've
boy
know."
not
conveyed
Itheard
in
better
was
beGoniwe's
up
something
received
take
totothe
him
aplace,
ride
mark.
characteristically--with
Ncanduku's
you
and
Imay
daresay I'll be back
a shout
before
ofdark."
scornful laughter.
CHAPTER ELEVEN. 37

"Well, the sheep will have to take their chance, Tom. I'm not going out of call
of the homestead
Eanswyth while
is left here alone."

"Bosh!" returned Carhayes. "She don't mind. Has she not been left alone here
scores of Itimes?
you like. However,
must be off." do as

They had been walking towards the stable during this conversation. Carhayes
led forth
and rode his horse,
away. mounted,
Eustace put up his, and having cut up a couple of bundles of
oat-hay--for theyway
hands--took his were
to short of
the house.

He had warned his cousin and his warning had been scouted. He had
struggled
him, withitacame
but now temptation
to the not
sametothing,
warn and at any rate his own hands were
clean.
was Theand
long, journey to Komgha
in these times for a man so hated as Tom Carhayes, might not
be altogether
towards dusk.safe,
Well,especially
he had been warned.

Eustace had purposely taken time over attending to his horse. Even his strong
nervesbefore
hand neededheashould
little getting in
meet Eanswyth that morning; even his pulses beat
quicker
Most as would
men he drewhave nearbeen
the house.
eager to get it over; would have blundered it
over.
reasonNot
hadsothe
this one. Not
Kafirs withouthim "Ixeshane"--the Deliberate.
nicknamed

Eanswyth rose from the table as he entered. Breakfast was over, and Tom
Carhayes, with had
impulsiveness, characteristic
started off upon his journey with a rush, as we have seen.
Thus once
alone morenot
together, these two
amid thewere
romantic witchery of the southern night, but in
the full broad light of day.
Well, and then? Had they not similarly been together alone countless times
during
it the past year? Yes,
was different--widely but nowThe ice had been broken between them.
different.

Still, one would hardly have suspected it. Eanswyth was perfectly calm and
composed.
upon There
the sweet wasand
face, a tired
darklook
circles under the beautiful eyes as if their
ownerher
both had slept
tone andbut little. Otherwise
manner were free from any trace of confusion.

"I have put your breakfast to the kitchen fire to keep warm, Eustace," she
said. "Well,
you met withwhat adventures
in the veldt this have
morning?"

"First of all, how good of you. Secondly--leaving my adventures in abeyance


forgetting
in the present--did
any rest?"you succeed

He was looking straight at her. There was a latent caress in his glance--in his
tone.
"Not much," she answered, leaving the room for a moment in order to fetch
the
washot dish above
a trying sort ofreferred to. "It
a night for us all, wasn't it?" she resumed as she returned.
"And
rushing
"Never
of
care
His
face,
"I thinknowoff
bitterness.
hand
of
and Tom
again
yourself,
mind
we
had
sheare amust
Tom. onA
"About
made
prisoned
other
pair needs
aamovement
fool's
little
yourself.
ofpeople
hers
very go
errand."
blood-letting
asfoolish
must
she
I don't
tostood
withdraw
dopeople,"
believe
soseems
over
for you.
it.
him
you
she
good
The
said,
Presently
have
arranging
attempt,
forwith
closed
himIathe
rather
however,
am
laugh
your
plates
going
than
eyes
whose
and
was
tothisa
otherwise,"
night
sling
and
dishes.
feeble
sadness
you
the
through.
one.
Aalmost
shall
hammock
faint
said
have
If
colour
conveyed
Eustace,
you
aunder
right
won't
came with
the
royal
take
into
idea
trees
a siesta."
her
dash
CHAPTER ELEVEN. 38

of a sob.

"Perhaps so," he rejoined, pressing the hand he held to his cheek a moment,
ereworth
be releasing it. "What
without would life
its foolishness?"

For a few moments neither spoke. Eanswyth was busying herself arranging
some of the
adjusting an things
ornamentin the room,
here, dusting one there. Eustace ate his breakfast in
silence, to
seemed tried
himto,atrather,
times for
as ifithe could not eat at all. The attempt seemed to
choke him.
feelings, wereHisinthoughts, his were they two alone together, with the whole
a whirl. Here
day before
seemed them,arisen
to have and yet there in the nature of a barrier between them.
something

A barrier, however, which it would not be difficult to overthrow, his unerring


judgment
fought hard told him;
with yet henot to lose his self-control. He noted the refined
himself
grace
busiedofherself
every about
movement as she thoroughbred poise of the stately head, the
the room--the
sheenAll
hair. of this
lightought
upontothebelong
rich to him--did belong to him. Yet he fought hard
with himself,
brave, beautifulforface
he read in that mute but eloquent--an appeal to him to spare
an appeal,
her.
A rap at the door startled him--startled them both. What if it was some
neighbour
them a visit, who had ridden
thought over
Eustace to pay
with dismay--some confounded bore who
would
of be likely
the day? But ittowas
remain
onlythe
oldbest part the cattle-herd. His master had told
Josane,
himsome
for to look in presently
tobacco, whichand ask been promised.
he had

"I'll go round to the storeroom and get it for him," said Eanswyth. "You go on
with your breakfast, Eustace."
"No, I'll go. I've done anyhow. Besides, I want to speak to him."

Followed by the old Kafir, Eustace unlocked the storeroom--a dark, cool
chamber
outbuilding.forming part of an
The carcase of a sheep, freshly killed that morning, dangled , emitting
reims
afrom
salt,arancid
beam.odour--kegs
Piles of of sheep-dip, huge rolls of Boer tobacco, bundles
of yoke-skeys,
things requisiteand a dozen
to the detailsother
of farm work were stowed around or disposed
on shelves. and
grindstone On aone side was bench.
carpenter's a Eustace cut off a liberal length from one
of the old
to rollsKafir.
of tobacco andfilled
Then he gavehis
it own pipe.

"Josane?"

"Nkose!"

"You are no fool, Josane. You have lived a good many years, and your head is
nearly asofsnow-sprinkled
summit as the in the autumn. What do you thing of last
the Great Winterberg
night's performance over yonder?"
The old man's shrewd countenance melted into a slight smile and he shook
his head.
"The
Their
such! aWho
Gaikas
country
thingcan
seen?
are
issay
fertile
fools,"
The
for certain,"
and
dog
he replied.
well
wagssaid
watered,
his"They
the
tail.old
But
yet
have
man
they
inno
this
with
want
quarrel
case
antoexpressive
itthrow
with
is the
the
ittail
away
English,
shrug
thatwith
of the
yet they
both
"Will
"Au
wags
"Howshoulders.
hands.
the
they
so,are
dog."
Josane?"
fight,
They
clamouring
"Yet,
Josane?"
arewas
mad."
for
ever
war.
CHAPTER ELEVEN. 39

"The chiefs of the Gaikas do not wish for war. The old men do not wish for
it. But the eager
boys--are youngfor
men--the
it. The women taunt them, they say; tell them they have
forgotten
the howthe
boys and to women
be warriors. So for war, and the chiefs and the old men give
clamour
way. Thus!"the tail wags the
dog.Hau

"And what about the Gcalekas?"

"The Gcalekas? It is this way,. If


Nkose
you shut up two bulls alone in the same kraal, if you put two
scorpions into a mealie stamp, how long will it be before they fight? So it is
with the Gcalekas
Fingoes. The land and thelarge enough for both. The Gcalekas are ready for
is not
war."
"And Kreli?"

"The Great Chief is in one of his red moods," answered Josane, in a different
tone to thatwhen
employed which he had of the Gaikas. "He has a powerful witch-doctress. I
speaking
know
by her?her.
WasWas I not
I not `smelt
`eaten up'out'
at her `word'? The toad! The impostor! The
jackal
her. cat! The slimy fish! I know
Ha!"

[Eaten up: Idiom for the total sequestration of a person's possessions.]

The old man's eyes glared and his tone rose to one of fierce excitement at the
recollection
Eustace, of his wrongs.
accustomed to study his fellow-men, took careful note of the
circumstance.
It might serve Strange things
him in good happened.
stead one day.

"The Gcalekas will fight," went on Josane. "Perhaps they are fighting now. will have some
Baas
Perhaps
news the when he returns from Komgha. The telegraph is quick, but the
to bring
voice of the
quicker," he bird
addedin with
the air is
a meaning smile, which convinced his listener that
he knew
chose a great deal more than he
to say.

"The fire stick is even now in the thatch," went on the Kafir, after a few more
puffs atfrom
herald his pipe. "There
the Great is a among the Gaika kraals."
Chief

"Hlangani?"

"Hlangani. The Gaikas are listening to his `word,' and are lighting the war-
fires. If he
Sandili, hiscan obtain
work the ear
is, done.
Ixeshane,"
Whauof he went on, slipping into the familiar name in his excitement.
"You English are very weak people. You ought to arrest Matanzima, and
several others,
Resident and send
to Sandili, whoashould
strongalways keep his ear."

"We can't do that, Josane. There are wheels within wheels and a power
behind the throne.
what happens," he Well, we shall
went on, risingsee
as a hint to the other to depart.
He did not choose, for reasons of his own, to ask Josane direct how imminent
the their
would
set danger
beaffairs
ever
might
so
in be.
slightly
order
To against
dotoso
impair
the .coming
his
Butown
in his
storm
prestige
ownthejudgment
better. he decided that the sooner they
CHAPTER TWELVE. 40

CHAPTER TWELVE.

"AH, LOVE, BUT A DAY!"

Pondering over what the old Kafir had said, Eustace busied himself over two
or three odd
returning jobs.
to the Then, he filled up a large measure of mealies and went
storeroom,
to the house.
"I'm going down to the ostrich camp, Eanswyth. Do you feel inclined to stroll
that far, or are you too tired?"
"Yes and no. I think it will do me good."

Flinging on a wide straw hat she joined him in the doorway. The ostrich
camp was
yards fromonly a couple
the house, andofathundred
sight of them the great birds came shambling
down to the fence,
male having the truculent
laid aside his aggressive ferocity for the occasion, as he
condescended,
to allow himselfwithto besullen and lordly
fed, though evenair,then the quarrelsome disposition of
the creature
now would
and again in a find venthiss,
savage every
accompanied by a sudden and treacherous
kick aimedthe
whenever at latter
his timid consort
ventured within the very outskirts of the mealies thrown
down. But no sooner
grain disappeared thanhad
thethe last instincts of the aggressive bully were all to
worst
the forerearing
biped, again, himself
and the up huge
to his full height, his jetty coat and snowy wing-
feathers making
challenged a brave show,
his benefactors forthwith, rolling his fiery eyes as though longing
to behold
with them in front
no protecting fenceofbetween.
him

"Of all the ungracious, not to say ungrateful, scoundrels disfiguring God's
earth,worst,"
very I believe a cock ostrich
remarked Eustace.is "He
the is, if possible, worse in that line than the
Britishalways
won't loafer,open
for even the latter upon you until he has fairly assimilated
his Billingsgate
the gin
dole `towith
savewhich yourstarving'
him from ill-judged has warmed his gullet. But this brute would
willingly kickwhile
smithereens, you into
you were in the very act of feeding him."

Eanswyth laughed.

"What strange ideas you have got, Eustace. Now I wonder to how many
people
have any such notion as that would
occurred."

"Have I? I am often told so, so I suppose I must have. But the grand majority
of people never
themselves, think
consequently when they happen upon anybody who does they
gaze upon himaswith
astonishment unmitigated
a strange and startling product of some unknown state of
existence."
"Thank you," retorted Eanswyth with a laugh. "That's a little hard on me. As I
made
am the remark,
included in theofgrand
course I
majority which doesn't think."

"I have a very great mind to treat that observation with the silence it
"Perhaps
burden
her
peacefully,
situation.
arigidly
far-seeing
play
strong
thoughts.
into
deserves.
Isn't on
it?"ofcharacter;
each
itEach
Itthe
guard;
and
inwardly
is,"
isAnd
conversation,
aother's
habitually
was
shethe
of
the
acquiesced
conscious
so
one
those
hands,
other
ridiculousblissfully--it
with
self-contained
two
as
striving
for
the
of
an
softly,
walking
mutual
the
involuntary
feminine
observation. to
was
mass
inrely
aid,
there
nature.
ahard
tone
ofinstinct
upon
mutual
molten
side
outburst
to
that
So
say
the
by
far,
was
of
support
fires
which
necessity
side
self-preservation
of
both
half
the
raging
inwas
forces
against
athe
dangerous,
sigh,
ofthe
radiant
within
caution
were
not
each
mostso
the
and
mucheggshell
because
sunshine--outwardly
fully
thin
superadded
patience
evenly
other. alive
on
Had
matched--so
too
enjoined
account
to
there
to
tender,
the
crust;
thebeen
peril
of
by
sense
each
undercurrent
far
the
so
aaught
ofboth
tranquilly,
actual
of
was
therectitude
of
couldofsoof
CHAPTER TWELVE. 41

selfishness--of the mere unholy desire of possession--in this man's love,


things
His would
cool brainhave
and been otherwise.
consummate judgment would have given him
immeasurably
of the advantage--in
the whole situation. But it wasfact, theAs
not so. keywe have said, that love was
chivalrously
have pure--even
been rather noble--would
elevating but for the circumstance that its indulgence meant
the
life.discounting of another man's

Thus they walked, side by side, in the soft and sensuous sunshine. A shimmer
of heat
Far awayrose from
over thethe ground.
rolling plains a few cattle and horses, dotted here and there
grazing, constituted
sign of life, the only
and the range of wooded hills against the sky line loomed purple
and misty
haze. in the
If ever golden
a land summer
seemed to enjoy the blessings of peace assuredly it was
this fairthem.
around land here spread out

They had reached another of the ostrich camps, wherein were domiciled
some eight or ten pairs
eighteen-month-old of which not having yet learned the extent of their
birds,
power,
the were as tame
four-year-old male and
wasdocile
savageas and combative. Eustace had scattered the
contents
them, andofnow
his colander
the two were amongleaning over the gate, listlessly watching the
birds feed.
"Talking of people never thinking," continued Eustace, "I don't so much
wonder
suppose,atand
that.
soThey
lose thehaven't time,
faculty. I have enough to do to steer ahead in
They
their own
what doesnarrow
astonishlittle
me groves.
is that ifBut
you state an obvious fact--so obvious as to
amount
burst to athem
upon platitude--it
as a kindseems to surprise, as a kind of practical joke on
of wild
wheels,
and dragready
themto startit away
with down-hill
to utter crash unless they edge away from it as far as
possible.
stare Youother,
at each see them
and turn
openand
an amazed and gaping mouth into which you
might insertina the
them being pumpkin without
least aware of it."

"As for instance?" queried Eanswyth, with a smile.

"Well--as for instance. I wonder what the effect would be upon an ordinary
dozen of sane
suddenly people were
to propound I
the perfectly obvious truism that life is full of
surprises.
ought I don't
to know bywonder, at They
this time. least, would
for I start by scouting the idea; ten to one
theyretort
and wouldthatdeny
lifethe premise,
was just what we chose to make it; which is a fallacy, in
thattheit human
in assumesscheme
that anyis one atom independent--firstly, of the rest of the
absolutely
crowd; secondly, offact, is competent to boss the former and direct the latter.
circumstances--in
Which, inEuclid,
immortal the words of the
is absurd."

"Yet if any man is thus competent, it is yourself, Eustace."

"No," he said, shaking his head meditatively. "You are mistaken. I am


certainly
of anyonenot whoindependent
may elect to of do
theme
action
a good or an ill turn. He, she, or it, has me
at a disadvantage
possess the gift ofall round, for
foresight in aIdegree so limited as to be.practically
As for circumstances--so
nil far from
pretending to direct them I am the mere creature of them. So are we all."
"Several
surrounded
their
ascene
circumstances--first
friendly
assegais
justthings.
smoke,
inby
the
bang
a But
very
gang
and
through
in
I'll
nick
of
parted
being
give
Kafirs,
ofme,
you
on
molested
time,
and
the
all
anIarmed
best
instance
if
should
Ncanduku--you
atof
all--second
toterms.
have
the
of what
teeth.
been
Now,
in
I aNearly
was
know
Ncanduku's
wasn't
dead
saying
him--Nteya's
man.
all
I helplessly,
ofjust
As
lucky
them
itnow.
was,
"What
This
were
brother--hadn't
we
abjectly,
"Eustace!
arrival?"
satmorning
ondown,
has
the
the
And
started
very
creature
had
Iyou
appeared
was
verge
an
you
never
surprised
ofupon
ofon
told
shying
the
this
and
metrain
this!"
of thought?" she asked suddenly. indaba
and
CHAPTER TWELVE. 42

"I told Tom--just as he was starting--and he laughed. He didn't seem to think


much ofdid
neither it. I.
ToWhy--what's
tell the truth,the matter, Eanswyth?"

Her face was deathly white. Her eyes, wide open, were dilated with horror;
then
next they filled
moment with
she wastears. The wildly--locked in his close embrace.
sobbing

"Eanswyth, darling--my darling. What is it? Do not give way so! There is
nothing to be alarmed about
now--nothing."

His tones had sunk to a murmur of thrilling tenderness. He was showering


kisses upon stray
eyes--upon her lips, her of
tresses brow,
softher
hair which escaped beneath her hat. What had
become of
guarded their attitude
self-control now?of Broken down, swept away at one stroke as the
swollen
away themountain streamofsweeps
frail barricade timber and stones which thought to dam its
course--broken down
passionate outburst ofbefore
a strongthenature awakened to the knowledge of itself--
startledby
touch, into
thelife
fullbyforce
the magic
and fury of a consciousness of real love.

"You are right," she said at last. "We must go away from here. I cannot bear
that you
such shouldperil.
frightful be exposed to Why did we ever meet!"
O Eustace!

Why, indeed! he thought. And the fierce, wild thrill of exultation which fan
through
that him at
her love thehis--that
was consciousness
for good or for ill she belonged to him--belonged
to him
the absolutely--was
thought: How was itdashed byend? His clear-sighted, disciplined nature
going to
could not altogether
consideration. get rid of thatdisciplined as it was, he could not forego
But clear-sighted,
that which
joy and constituted
sweetness the whole
of living. "Sufficient for the day" must be his motto. Let
the morrow take care of itself.
"Why did we ever meet?" he echoed. "Ah, does not that precisely exemplify
what
is fullIof
was saying just
surprises. now?Number
Surprise Life 1, when Ihere
firstatfound
all. Number
you 2, when I awoke to the fact
that you were stealing away my very self. And I soon did awake to that
consciousness."
"You did?"

"I did. And I have been battling hard against it--against myself-- against
you--and
influence your
ever insidiously
since." enthralling

His tone had become indescribably sweet and winning. If the power of the
manwith
all invariably
whom hemade
wasitself felt into
brought by contact in the affairs of everyday life,
how
now much more was
as he poured the itrevelation
manifestedof his long pent-up love--the love of a
strong, self-contained
broken naturethe
bounds at last--into which hadthis woman whom he had subjugated--
ears of
yes, subjugated, utterly,
completely.

And what of her?


It was
drinking
eyes,
But
enthralling,
"O Eustace,"
every
glowing
as in
though
medal
the
beautiful
she
into
entrancing
all
has
cried,
hers.
heaven
its
love
tearing
obverse
She
tenderness
which
had
hadherself
opened
side.
yielded--utterly,
had thrown
of
Like
away
before
those
the
from
atones--hungrily
stab
her
mystic
completely,
him,
eyes.
of aglamour
and
sword
Sheyet
stood
for
devouring
itkeeping
ascame
she
ofthere
awas
radiant
home
his
the
not
tightly
straight
one
the
to
Paradise
just
hands
Eanswyth.
rapture
atotrifle
clenched
do
clasped
glance
upon
things
of
tooThis
it!
her
late.
in
of
tightly
bythat
those
life,
wonderful,
halves.
embrace,
had
inmagnetic
hers
come
Ah,as
CHAPTER TWELVE. 43

though she would hold him at arm's length but could not. "O Eustace! my
darling! How is it going to end?
How?"

The very thought which had passed unspoken through his own mind.

"Dearest, think only of the present. For the future--who knows! Did we not
agree just now--life is full of
surprises?"

------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Au!"

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Both started. Eanswyth could not repress a little scream, while even Eustace
realised that heaswas
disadvantage, taken attoaconfront the owner of the deep bass voice
he turned
which had fired off the above
ejaculation.

It proceeded from a tall, athletic Kafir, who, barely ten yards off, stood
calmly
and surveying
massive the pair.was
countenance His wreathed
grim into an amused smile. His nearly
nakedred
usual body was and
ochre, anointed
roundwith the part of his left arm he wore a splendid
the upper
ivory ring. He
knob-kerrie andcarried
severala heavy
assegais, one of which he was twisting about in easy,
listless fashion in his right hand.
At sight of this extremely unwelcome, not to say formidable, apparition,
aEustace's hand instinctively
quick movement sought theand with
back of his hip--a movement which a Western
man would thoroughly
understood. have it--empty. For his eye, familiar with every
But he withdrew
changethat
noted of the native countenance,
expression of this man's face was good-humoured rather than
aggressive. Andtowithal
partly familiar him. it seemed

"Who are you--and what do you want?" he said shortly. Then as his glance
fell upon
round theabarbarian's
bandage wrapped
shoulder: "Ah. I know you--Hlangani."

"Keep your `little gun' in your pocket, Ixeshane," said the Kafir, speaking in a
tone
"I amofnot
good-humoured banter.
the man to be shot at twice. Besides,enemy.
I am not
If Iyour
were, I could have killed you many
times over already, before you saw me; could have killed you both, you and Inkosikazi ."
the
This was self-evident. Eustace, recognising it, felt rather small. He to be
takenconstituted
had thus at a disadvantage, he, who
himself Eanswyth's special protector against this very man!
Yes.
he wasHenot
feltgoing
decidedly small,
to show it. but

"You speak the truth, Hlangani," he answered calmly. "You are not my
enemy.
But
The why No
suddenness.
that
accident,
every was
eyes ofman
do
sense you
almost
he was
the of the
come
interposed
Thesavage
appalling
on
smiling,race
thehere? ofcontemplate.
glared,
alert. Xosa
There
hisgood-humoured
tobody
He and isis.ready
between
was his bad blood between
countenance
Eanswyth
So
expression
toeffective
draw his you
underwent
and
gave
was and
revolver
theway the
itspeaker,
upon
ato
with
oneowner
Eustace
and
of
athis
wide
"Ha!You
of place.
transformation
deadly
that
though
lightning-like
carelessly,
chief
enough
hate,
hesay
of
made Surely
of
the
truly,
for
rapidity
and
almost
aHouse
no
both.the
ruthless land
Ixeshane.
as
movement,
ifat
magical
Why
blood
of
by
the is
ferocity
Gcaleka.
should
first
There
between
in
hisitsyour
Ha!"
is mepathways
and the man
cross?"
of whom you speak. Blood--the blood
CHAPTER TWELVE. 44

aggressive indication. But no such indication was manifested.

"No. You have no enemies among our people--neither you nor the "--went Inkosikazi
on Hlangani as his
countenance resumed its normal calm. "You have always been friends to us. not living you
here
Why are as our friends and neighbours--you two, without the poison of our
together
deadly enemy
between us andtoyou--you
cause ill-blood
alone together? I would speak with you apart,
Ixeshane."
Now, Eanswyth, though living side by side with the natives, was, like most
colonial people,
in the Xosa but She
tongue. poorly
knew versed
a smattering of it, just sufficient for kitchen
purposes, and but
consequently, thatfor
wasa all;
word here and there, the above dialogue was
unintelligible
with to her. But
her companion. His itfamiliarity
was otherwise
with the language was all but complete,
and with
but not only
all itswith the He
tricks. language,
knew that the other was "talking dark," and his
quick perception
meaning which was readily grasped
intended theconveyed. With the lurid thoughts
to be
indulged in fresh
cousin still that morning as regarded
in his mind, it could his
hardly have been otherwise.

He hated the man: he loved the man's wife. "How is it going to end?" had
been his
"How unuttered
is it going tocry justshe
end!" now.
had re-echoed. Well, here was a short and easy
solution
of blood ready
surgedtotohand. A flush
his face, and his heart beat fiercely under the terrible
temptation thuswas
Yet so fleeting thrown
it as in his way.
scarcely to constitute a temptation at all. Now that it
wasdo
not putthis
nakedly
thing.toHehim he could
could not consent to a murder--a cold-blooded,
treacherous murder.
"I cannot talk with you apart, Hlangani," he answered. "I cannot leave standing
the Inkosikazi
here alone even
for a few minutes."

The piercing glance of the shrewd savage had been scrutinising his face--had
been reading
Upon him theitterrible
like a book.
struggle within had not been lost.

"Consider, Ixeshane," he pursued. "What is the gift of a few dozen cows, oftwo hundred, when
cows
compared with the happiness of a man's lifetime? Nothing.Is it to be? Say the word. Is it to be
?"

The barbarian's fiery eyes were fixed upon his with deep and terrible
meaning.glare
blasting To Eustace it seemed
of the Arch fiend as if the shone forth from their cruel depths.
himself

"It isnot to be. The `word' is No! Unmistakably and distinctly No. You understand,
Hlangani?"
"Au! As you will, Ixeshane," replied the Kafir, with an expressive shrug of his
shoulders.
`charm'," "See.toYou
referring wear acoin which Eustace wore hanging from his
a curious
watch-chain.
mind send over"Ifthe
you`charm'
changetoyour
me at Nteya's kraal this night--it shall be
returned.
too But after to-night it may be
late. Farewell."

And flinging his blanket over his shoulder the savage turned and strode away --Eustace
veldt
into
sortthe
apurposely omitting
of earnest to offer
of the dark him
and aterrible
little tobacco,
bargain lest
whichthisHlangani
ordinaryhad
token of
good willstill
proposed
true--but should
to had be
him--by
noneconstrued
mere lessinto
the hints surely
it is proposed.
CHAPTER THIRTEEN. 45

CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

"...AND THE WORLD IS CHANGED."

They stood for some moments watching the receding figure of the Kafir in
silence.
break it.Eanswyth was the first to

"What have you been talking about all this time, Eustace? Is it any new
danger that threatens us?"
"N-no. Rather the reverse if anything," and his features cleared up as if to
bear out
don't see,the truth of
though, whyhisyou
words. "I
shouldn't know it. That's the man we fell foul of yesterday--you
veldt
in the
remember the affair of the white dog?"

"Oh!" and Eanswyth turned very pale.

"Now don't be alarmed, dearest. I believe he only loafed round here to try
and collect some compensation."
"Is that really all, Eustace?" she went on anxiously. "You seemed very much
disturbed,
ever dear.
saw you I don't
look think I
so thoroughly disturbed."

There was no perturbation left in his glance now. He took her face lovingly
between
again andhis hands and kissed it
again.

"Did you not, my sweet? Well, perhaps there has never existed such ground
for it.soPerhaps
with I havean
inopportune never met
interruption. But now, cheer up. We must make the
most of tells
instinct this day,
me thatfor ait sort oflast we shall have to ourselves, at any rate for
is the
some
shall wetimedotowith
come. And nowShall
ourselves? whatwe go back to the house or sit here a little
while and talk?"
Eanswyth was in favour of the latter plan. And, seated there in the shade of a
great acacia,
morning spedthebyrich
in a summer
golden dream. The fair panorama of distant hills and
wooded
upon thekloofs;
wide sweepthe radiant sunlight
of mimosa-dotted plains, shimmering into many a
fantastic
the call ofmirage in thein
bird voices glowing heat; brake, and the continuous chirrup of
the adjacent
crickets; the
sensuous air,full,
rich,warm glow oflife-giving;
permeating, the here indeed was a very Eden. Thus
the golden
swiftly by. morning sped

But how was it all to end? That was the black drop clouding the sparkling
cup--that
across thatwas the trail
sunny Eden.ofAnd the serpent
yet not, for it may be that this very rift but
served only tothrilling
intoxicating, enhancedelights
the of the present--that this idyl of happiness,
unlawful
man, wasalike in the sight
a hundredfold of God orby the sad vein of undercurrent running
sweetened
through
that it--even
it was not to the
last.consciousness
For do we not, in the weak contrariety of our mortal
natures,
proportion value a thing
to the in exact of our tenure!
precariousness
Come hours
"Guess
"Two good,
how andlong
come ten
we
ill,
minutes
have
neverbeenwould
of our
sitting
either
lasthere!"
peaceful
of them
saidday
forget
Eanswyth
together--gone.
that at
day:
last,
short,
with
Of our
a
golden,
rapid
"No--don't
"About
"Exactly
first and
glance
half
idyllic.
our
twolook,"
an
last
athours
her
hour,
day
she
watch.
andit
together."
added
seems.
ten minutes."
hurriedly,
But I suppose
"I wantit you
musttobeguess
more."than that."
CHAPTER THIRTEEN. 46

"Why do you say our last, dear?" she murmured, toying with his hair. His
head layuponinto
gazing herher
lap,large
his blue
greyeyes
ones.

"Because, as I told you, I have a strong inkling that way--at any rate, for
some time tobut,
lamentable, come.
I'm Itafraid,
is wholly
inevitable."

She bent her head--her beautiful stately head--drooped her lips to his and
kissed them passionately.
"Eustace, Eustace, my darling--my very life! Why do I love you like this!"

"Because you can't help it, my sweet one!" he answered, returning her kisses
with an ardour equalling her
own.

"Why did I give way so soon? Why did I give way at all? As you say,
because
short, I couldn't
because help
it. You
was it--because--in
you
drew me out of myself--you forced me to love you, forced me to. Ah-h!
how I love you!" and

The quiver in her tones would not be entirely suppressed. Even he had hardly
suspected the full
passion latent force
within thisofwoman, only awaiting the magic touch to blaze
forth the
been intotouch
brightwhich
flame.had
And his had it.
enkindled

"You have brought more than a Paradise into my life," he replied, his glance
holding
her herseyes.
radiant as he"Tell
looked
me,up
didinto
you never suspect, all these months,when
that Iinonly
the halo-influence
lived
of your presence?"

"I knew it."

"You knew it?"

"Of course I did," she answered with a joyous laugh, taking his face between
her hands
should and
have kissing
been it again.if "I
no woman I had not. But, I have kept my secret better
than you.
been Yes,against
battling my secret.
yourIinfluence
have far harder than you have against mine,
and youand
started, havea look
conquered." He like dismay came into his face.
of something

"If that is so, you witching enchantress, why did you not lift me out of my
torment
worst is long ago,"think
this. Just he said.
what"But the
opportunities we have missed, what a long time
we
havehave wasted which might
been--Heaven."

"Yet, even then, it may be better as things have turned out. My love-- my
star--I
this could die
moment. But,"withandhappiness
then to the at quiver of joy in her voice succeeded an
intonation
suppose this ofworld
sadness, does"but--I
not contain a more wicked woman than myself. Tell
me,life,
be
"That
of
for,
e.g., Eustace,"
checking
"Perfectly.
called
and
Isisas
the
from
anupon
well
debt
If
odd she
whatever
our
this
as
to went
remark
question,
incurred
love
the
suffer
rulelaws
ison,
there
in he amight have
wrong--wicked--we
worth
and
of
tears
isNature,
no
the
thoroughly
and
escape.
huge been
bitterness
go to about
compound
Everything,
bear
characteristic
shall
for
outthis to make,
beinterest
the
called
therefore,"tell
entrancingly
opinions
one,"
likely
upon
he me
be what
resolves
ofto
to
replied
the
happy
suffer for
you
flood
now?"
itselfthink.
slowly.
theologians.
exacted
future?
it sooner
into
ofNow oraShall
later?"we
"Unfortunately
upon
sunshine
mere
Everything
apply
it in notfar
question
upon
the
this one
all
to
our
must
or
the
theday
oflives
near
price--
present
be
events
paid case. Do you follow me?"
CHAPTER THIRTEEN. 47

"That is precisely my meaning. I will go further. The term `poetic justice' is, I
firmlyidiom.
mere believe, more
If we arethan a wrong through love for each other we shall have
doing
to expiate
We shall beit made
at some
to future time. each other. Now, Eanswyth, what do you say to that?"
suffer through

"I say, amen. I say that the future can take care of itself, that I defy it--no--
wait!--notentrancing
delirious, that. But I happiness
say that if is
this
wrong, I would rather brave torments a
thousand-fold,
of than yield
it," she answered, up one
her eyes iota into his, and with a sort of proud,
beaming
defiant ring
throwing in her
down thevoice, as all
gage to if power, human or divine, to come between
them.
"I say the same--my life!" was his reply.

Thus the bargain was sealed--ratified. Thus was the glove hurled down for
Fate to
time wastake up, if when
coming it would. The both--would remember those defiant,
she--when
those deliberate words.
Not to-day, however, should any forebodings of the Future be suffered to
cloud thethose
quickly, Present. They
short, fled,hours.
golden all tooThey melted one by one, merged into the
dimtime
the glories
comeof the
whenpast. Would
those blissful hours should be conjured forth by the
strong yearnings
conjured forth to of
be alived
breaking heart,
through again and again, in the day of black and
hopeless despair, when
radiant enchantment of to
thethe
Present should have succeeded the woe of a
never-ending and rayless night?
But the day was with them now--idyllic, blissful--never to be forgotten as
longitasfled!
that they two should live. Alas,

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tom Carhayes returned that evening in high good humour. He was


accompanied by
neighbouring another
settler man,
of the a of Hoste, a pleasant, cheery fellow, who was
name
aKloof.
frequent visitor at Anta's

"Well, Mrs Carhayes," cried the latter, flinging his right leg over his horse's
neck and sliding
side-saddle to the
fashion, ground
"your husband has been pretty well selling up the
establishment
think to-day.Milne.
of that? Hallo, What do
Howyou
'do?"

"I've made a good shot this time," assented Carhayes, "I've sold off nearly
three
the thousand at
contractor, ofathe sheep
pound to Reid,
a head all round. What do you think of that,
Eustace?
cattle, too,And a hundred
heifers and thirty
and slaughter stock."

"H'm! Well, you know best," said Eustace. "But why this wholesale
clearance, Tom?"
"Why? Why, man, haven't you heard? No, of course he hasn't. War! That's
why.
begun. War,
Ourbyfellows
the living Jingo!
are over theIt's
Kei already, peppering the niggers like two
o'clock."
"Orthe
"A
Komgha,
in report
. being
That's
village
and
came
peppered
so.get
isparticularly
By-the-by,
into
full
among
up.
by
Komgha
them--which
There
them,"
Mrs
wants
to-day
are
Carhayes,
chuckled
you
more
that
so
to waggons
far
join
there
Carhayes.
I mustn't
seems
her.
hadShe
than
toforget
been
"Eh,
be
was
houses
the
aHoste?
my
lucky
fight,
more
errand.
asin
and
We'll
itlikely
getting
is,the
The
and
pay
side
wife
ait,
off
lotsome old
Police
more
"Wait
hide.
"Ja
for
of the
fellows
has
byBy
have
till
question,"
now
had
picked
the
we
are
been
every
Lord,
scores
in
uplicked.
moved
tents.
struck
hole
awon't
cottage
on or
They
Jack
Anyhow,
in
across
we?"
shanty
Hoste.
in
Kafir's
aretheariver."
lot
CHAPTER THIRTEEN. 48

going to make a biglaager of the place."

Eanswyth looked startled. "Are things as bad as all that?" she said.

"They just are," answered Hoste. "You can't go on staying here. It isn't safe--
is it, Carhayes?
here is trekking,Everyone round trekked. I met George Payne in Komgha to-
or have already
day. Even
from he hadGap,
Fountains cleared
and out
there's no fellow laughs at the scare like he does."

"Hoste is right, Eanswyth," said Carhayes. "So you'd better roll up your traps
and go backI with
to-morrow. can'thim
go with you, because Reid is coming over to take delivery
of the
you stock.
over, Eustace
if he might drive
don't mind."

Eustace didnot mind--of that we may be sure. But although no glance passed between
both were thinkingEanswyth
the sameandthing.
himself,
To the mind of each came back the words A sort of
of that morning:
instinct tells me it" is the last day we shall have to ourselves for some time !" to And it would be.
come
They sat down to supper. Tom Carhayes was in tremendous spirits that
evening. He
slaughter breathed
against threatenings
the whole and race, chuckling gleefully over the old
of the Xosa
scores
upon ithein was going toofpay
the persons its off
fighting men. In fact, he was as delighted over
the certainty
held of anfat
half a dozen outbreak as for
contracts if hethe supply of the troops and levies.

"I'll keep a tally-stick, by Jove; and every nigger I pot I'll cut a nick," he said.
"There'll
at the endbeofathe
good few
war! It notches
was a first-class stroke of luck doing that deal with
Reid, wasn't
have our handsit, Eustace? We for
entirely free shall
whatever fun turns up."

Eustace agreed. He had reasons of his own for wanting to keep his hands free
during the next fewhowever, they were of a different nature to those
months--possibly,
entertained by his cousin.
"We can move the rest of the stock to Swaanepoel's Hoek," went on
Carhayes.
to "Bentley
look after it for a will be only tooThen
consideration. gladfor some real sport! Eustace, pass
the grog to Hoste."
"That your Somerset East farm?" said the latter, filling his glass.

"Yes. Not a bad place, either; only too stony."

"You're a jolly lucky fellow to have a Somerset East farm to send your stock
to,"
had,rejoined Hoste.
I know. The few"Isheep
wish I have left are hardly worth looking after. There
are safe towith
inlaager be abrandt-zick
lotflocks,
of Dutchmen
and ours will be covered with it by the time it's all over. Same thing
withlung sickness will clear them all out too."
cattle. Red water and

"Well, we'll lift a lot from old Kreli to make up for it," said Carhayes. "By the
way,toEustace.
Kreli--he's
"H'm.
"Oh,
red-blanket
"That's
bill you're
Small been
pay--and
all veryTalking
niggers
always
wonder
pretty,
goodifof
asummoned
harping
are Tom.
he
many to
to won't.
beon
Butmeet
treated
vacant
that
the the
What
old Governor
`making'
like
chairs
was
string,"
civilised
at and
thevarious
hasn't
upshot won't
saidbeings!
Carhayes
begun go."
household
of his
It's
yet.
father,
ridiculous,
impatiently.
By
tables.
the
Hintza,
time
Fair
being
Governor?"
"Hang
man.
told,
it's
play ended,
or
They've
summoned
itthey
all--as
wemust
got
shall
if to
abehave
lot
meet
do
made
of
asathe
they
longish
to." are fair play--even
is between
CHAPTER THIRTEEN. 49

our exalted selves and `a lot of red-blanket niggers.'"

"Milne is right, Carhayes," struck in Hoste. "Milne is right so far. Kafirs have
got long
one, don'tmemories,
blame oldand I, for
Kreli for snapping his fingers at the Governor. But I
don't agree
treated him with
fairlyhim thatwhole.
on the we haven't
Hang it, what have they got to complain of?"

"I don't say they have anything in that line," said Eustace. "My remark about
treating to
answer them
what fairly
Tomwas only in Still, I think it a mistake to have located the
suggested.
Fingoes and Gcalekas
to each other, nextartificial
with a mere door boundary between. It was safe to produce
a shindy sooner or later."
Thus the ball of conversation rolled on. Carhayes, excited over the prospect
hostilities,
of grog more took a glass
than was goodor for
twohim, and waxed extremely argumentative as for
stoep
an
they
al adjourned toSothe
frescosmoke. he and his guest began, continued, and ended the campaign
of plans, according
each highly to satisfactory
a great diversity
to its originators and proportionately
disastrous to the dark-skinned enemy.
In this conversation Eanswyth did not join. The sweet and soothing
influences of
mind--and allthe
thisday justtalk
noisy passed filled
jarred upon herher. To her also the prospect of the
coming
one. campaign
After the eventswasofathe
welcome
last twenty-four hours to go on living as
heretofore would love
newly awakened be a for
terrible strain.
the one manHerwas so overwhelming as to engender
in her a proportionate
aversion feeling
towards the other. of a fearful position. The temporary
It was
separation
would involved
be more than by the campaign
welcome. But separation from the one meant separation
from the other. That was not
welcome.

And that other--what if he were to fall? He was so fearless--so foolhardy and


confident.
some insane What if he and
mission undertook
was treacherously murdered?--O Heaven--what
awould lifetears
rush of be without
brimmed him
to now? Andat the mere thought.
her eyes

Eustace, who had remained behind for a moment, to light his pipe, looked up
and caught her glance.
"I suppose I had better arrange to drive you over to Komgha to-morrow?" he
said, aloud
voice. andthe
Outside in an ordinary
other two were talking and arguing at a great rate.

"Yes, I would not forego that for anything," she whispered. "But--leave me
now, or II wish
Quick! shall it."
break down.

One glance, straight into her eyes, and he obeyed. But that glance had said
enough--had said more
words could have done.than many

"By the way, Tom," said Eustace, joining the pair of wranglers outside.
"What
to haveabout Nteya?
him run Youknow."
in, you were going

"So! Well,
were
head.
price
reach
Next morning,
extremely
for
Ithe
had you
what
Gaika see,
a job
you it'sthe
shortly
busy,
location.
towant
find this
after way:
Reid,
tolatter
Then
sell, Ithe
sunrise,
intoo
I'll
thatgot
takeon
much
man's
the
first that deal
itcontractor
place,
so
out
worth
toof
bebutwith
him,
some
able Reid,
arrived
when
and
to
hunting
afford
ayou
to first
good
take
hear
for,thing,
more
many and
delivery
of
I can
than
amore
man
tell
an
of
thatthem
drove
willing
you.
of wife.
stock.
Soto theNteya
Itoo."
and
let
So
give other
hurried
hea and out
lumping ofbig
my towe
------------------------------------------------------------------------
the
off-hand
his slide--until
Carhayes
farewell
CHAPTER THIRTEEN. 50

But the same held not good of his cousin and partner. Indeed one would think
that Eustace
whatever hadsale
in the no concern
for all the interest he took in it. Far more concerned was
he to ensure
every that Eanswyth
conceivable thing thathad
might conduce to her comfort and convenience
during her
sojourn journeying
in the settlement,to and
than to satisfy himself that Contractor Reid, a
canny Scot and
deal, should a knowing
be allowed no file at a for climbing down from or getting
loop-hole
behind his bargain.
"I say, Milne," cried Hoste, while the horses were being inspanned. "It's
ratherspan
Let's slowinwork ridingasbya one's
my horse leader,self.
and drive unicorn. There's room for my
saddle
can getifinwethetiecart
it on behind--and
with you. MoreIsociable like. See?"

But Eustace didn't see, or rather didn't want to see. This was clearly a case of
"two's company, three's a
crowd."

Equally clearly was it a case wherein the third might be excused for omitting
to apply the maxim.
"There's a goodish weight in the trap already," he replied dubiously. But
Eanswyth struck in:
"We can make room for you, Mr Hoste. Certainly. And if we have the
additional pulladditional
neutralise the of your horse it will
weight."

Eustace said nothing. If Eanswyth's mood had undergone something of a


change since
natural, last night,
he allowed. Thethat was only was not to his liking. But then, of most
arrangement
arrangements
world the sameinheld this good.
tiresomeWith which reflection, being a philosopher, he
consoled himself.
There was not much sign of the disturbed state of the country during the first
part of
they the nearer
drew drive. But later, as an abandoned homestead--standing silent
the settlement,
andplace
the deserted,
devoidits kraals
of life,empty andof sheep and cattle raising a cloud of dust in
or a trek
the
waggon distance,
or twotogether
loadedwithwithathe families and household goods of those, like
themselves,
more or less hastening from their
isolated positions to seek safety in numbers, spoke eloquently
aand withgroup
small meaning. Nowwould
of Kafirs and again
pass them on the road, and although unarmed,
save for
there their aordinary
seemed world ofkerries,
grim meaning in each dark face, a menace in the
bold stare which
ordinarily did duty for the greeting, as if the savages knew that their
civil, good-humoured
time was coming now.
It was a splendid day, sunny and radiant. But there was an oppressiveness in
athe atmosphere
change, and ever which
andportended
anon came a low boom of thunder. An inky cloud was
rising behind
Heights, the Kabousie
spreading wider and wider over the plains of Kafirland. A lurid haze
subdued
rumble ofthe thesunshine,
approaching as thestorm drew nearer and nearer, and the blue electric
flashes played
hilltops where the around the misty
ill-omened war-fires had gleamed two nights before. Even
so, in like
cloud of warfashion,
sweptthe downbrooding
upon the land, darker and darker.
CHAPTER FOURTEEN. 51

CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

A CURTAIN SECRET.

The settlement of Komgha--called after an infinitesimal stream of that


name--was,an
townships, like mostinsignificant
utterly frontier place. It consisted of a few straggling
blocks of houses
apparently withoutplumped
rhyme or down
reason in the middle
, which
ofhere
the veldt
was open and undulating. It boasted
a few stores and canteens, a couple of institutions termed by courtesy
"hotels,"
and an exceedingly
a well-kept ugly church,
cricket ground. To the eastward rose the Kei Hills, the only
picturesque element
place, prominent about
among the the flat, table-topped summit of Moordenaar's
these
aKop, [Dutch,
tragical spot"Murderer's
so named onPeak"]
account of the surprise and massacre of a party of
officers who
ventured had incautiously
up there in small force during one of the previous wars. The village
wasFrontier
the virtuallyArmed
the headquarters
and Mounted of Police, the substantial square barracks,
which
of that harboured thecrowning
useful force, artillery troop
the hill nearly a mile away, and there was
generally another
quartered troop
around the or two
place. The main road from King Williamstown to the
Transkeian
the village. territories ran through

At the period of our story, however, there was no lack of life or stir about the
normally
it sleepy little
was in process place, for
of transformation intooraarmed
huge laager
camp. Waggons were coming in from several
directions--laden mostly with the families and household goods of fleeing
settlers,and
whips andthe
theharsh
sharpyells
crack
of of
their drivers rose high above the general turmoil.
Men were nothing
bent upon bustlingin toparticular
and fro, and looking as though each and all carried the
fatestanding,
or of a nation in hisatpockets,
in knots street corners, discussing the situation, each
perchance
than with a little
his neighbour. Allless
sortsknowledge
of wild rumours were in the air, the least of
which was
Transkei hadthat every
been white in and
massacred, the that Kreli was marching upon Komgha at
the head of the whole Gcaleka
army.

Mrs Hoste, with her two young daughters, were at the door as the party drove
up. They
very received Eanswyth
cordially.

"At last--at last! Why, we have been looking out for you for the last hour. I
declare,too
stayed I began
long attoAnta's
think you
Kloof,hadand the Kafirs had taken you prisoner or
something.
Milne? How doin.
But--come you
Wedo,areMrgoing to have a dreadful storm in a minute.
Mercy on us! What a flash!"
The blue, steely gleam was followed by a roll of thunder, long, loud,
reverberating.
the zinc roof. AThere was a patter
few raindrops, uponas large as saucers, splashed around,
nearly
and then,
men couldalmost
get intobefore
their the two
waterproof coats, the rain descended with a roar and
a rush,hardly
could in suchsee
a deluge that the
to outspan theytrap.

"Allamaghtaag ! but that's a fine rain," cried Hoste, with a farmer's appreciation, as he swung
himself free
his dripping mackintosh of little veranda.
in the
"Especially
"Well,
"Which,
say weMr shan't
being
Milne,"
forstarve.
interpreted,
those
cried
Well,
whoMrsare
and
means
Hoste,
under
what's
that
from
canvas,"
the
I must
the
latest
head
said
prepare
absurdity
Eustace
of the
for table,
the
inwith
the
worst,"
as
away
significant
theof
was
twothe
glance
upon
men
and
rejoinder.
news?"
aentered.
dinner
the
miniature
at plain
a"Never
has
group
"Its
just
been
torrent
past
of
mind.
outside
tents
ready
three
roared
I dare
pitched
since
the
o'clock
down
village.
half-past
every
Forone.
the
depression
surrounding
We quite
hadinbeen
expected
theveldt
ground.
turnedyou intothen."
something like a sea,
CHAPTER FOURTEEN. 52

"Just what I was going to ask you. You're hand-in-glove with all the Kafir
chiefs.the
usall You ought to be able to give
news."

Eustace smiled to himself. He could tell them a few things that would
astonish them
But he did not considerably,
choose. if he chose.

"We'll loaf round the village presently," said Hoste. "Likely enough we'll hear
something then."
"Likely enough it'll be about as reliable as usual," said Eustace. "What was
the last report?
Gcaleka Kreli and at
army encamped thethe Kei Drift--be here in two hours?"

"It's all very well to laugh," said Mrs Hoste. "But what if we were attacked
some fine night?"
"There isn't the ghost of a chance of it. Especially with all these wondrous
fortifications about."
"I wish I thought you were serious. It would be a relief to me if I could think
so."
"Pray do think so, Mrs Hoste. There is no sort of chance of this place being
attacked;
easy." so make your mind

"What do you think of our crib, Milne?" struck in Hoste.

"It seems snug enough. Not palatial, but good enough for all purposes. You
were lucky to light upon it."
"Rather. There isn't so much as the corner of a rat hole to be had in the whole
place now.
raining," asBut, it's knocked
a bright gleam ofoff
sunlight shot into the room. "Only a thunder-
shower.Let's
dinner. We seem
go outtoand
havepick
done
up the latest lie. By the way, you don't want to
go
Wehome again
can give to-night,
you Milne? on the sofa."
a shake-down

"The fact is I don't. To-morrow will do just as well, and then I suppose I'll
have to trek with
Swaanepoel's the while
Hoek, stock Tom,
down thirsting
to for death or glory, fills up that tally
slick he was telling us about last
night."

"But don't you intend to volunteer for the front, like the rest?" asked Mrs
Hoste in astonishment.
"No. Not at present, anyway.
no quarrel
I've with Jack Kafir; rather the reverse. I own I should likesee
the
to
campaign, but I couldn't do that without drawing trigger, and that's just what
I'd absolute
of rather avoid, except in a case
necessity."

It might have been imagination, but Eustace fancied he could detect a look of
intense
Eanswyth'srelieffeatures
pass over as he announced his desire to avoid the scene of
hostilities.
him--upon
he
"We'll
They
the
very
Some
would
farming
Babel
soon
were
go roundYet
them
not with
reached
of
indulging
class;
have
tongues,
to soinmany
both--he
men
Pagel's
been
the hotel.
for
with
careful
chaff eyes
would
first,"
pretty
large,
The
and upon
not
tosaid look
nearly
bar
study
loud
sinewy directly
Hoste,
and
laughter,
every attwo
appearances. her.
smoking-room
hands,
asman
the
and
and
was Such
ahabited
But
few,
men
talking
were
a we iscrammed
good atthe
strolled
partially
regreteffect
deal
once,
forth.
to
can of .arriere-pensee
orsay,
with
"If Two days ago
an exceedingly
happen
establishment
rumour
likely
men--and
entirely
mostly
were ason
in
has
innot
smoke;
two
the
corduroy.
taken
it's
all-absorbing
of
days,
there
ashape
men
unsteady
thorough
notably
There
wemostly
atshall
all,
was
on
topic.
understanding
the
of
pick
a it up." between two persons.
CHAPTER FOURTEEN. 53

their pins.

Rumour, our two friends found, had taken shape, and the great item of news
which
had everybody
received was discussing
theimprimatur
of official announcement. There had been a fight between the Gcalekas and
Fingoes, and a body the of Mounted Police, interfering on behalf of the latter,
had been
retire withdefeated
the loss and
of aforced to
sub-inspector and half a dozen men. This had
happened
days in the Idutywa Reserve two
previously.

Grave news, was the unanimous verdict. Grave news that the enemy should
have triumphed
engagement. in the such
Another very success,
first and every native from Natal to the Great
Fish news
The Riverwould
wouldflash
be upfrom
in arms.
tribe to tribe, from kraal to kraal, quicker than a
telegraphic message.
"That you, Payne?" cried Hoste.

The man addressed, who formed one of an arguing knot, turned.

"Thought it was," went on the first speaker, shaking hands. "Here's Milne, on
the scare like
Carhayes theon
is still rest
hisoffarm,
us. standing out longer than even you, eh Payne?
We brought
Milne and I."in his wife to-day,

"Then he's all right. If it wasn't for our women-kind we could all stick to our
farms right
Payne. "Justthrough,"
think whatanswered
sort of effect it has on Jack Kafir to see every fellow
cutting away from him like
mad."

"Why don't you practise what you preach then, old chap?" put in another
man, while
laughed three or four
significantly, formore
Payne's opinions were decidedly in disfavour
among that
trekaway gathering.
and "Why
leave your owndo you
place?"

"Oh, blazes take you all! Ain't I jolly well hung round with women-kind?"
was the
tone reply,
which in a arueful,
raised roar ofcomic
laughter. "How can I?"

"What has become of that Britisher who was staying with you?" asked Hoste.

A very quaint expression came into the other's face. "He's thinking more of
love than his
lowering of war,"
voiceheforanswered,
Hoste's benefit. "Expect he'll take one of the said
women-kind
sharp. offhis
Won't be myfault
hands mighty
if he doesn't."

"Britishers ain't no damn good!" said a burly fellow in corduroy, with a lurch
up against Eustace.
Some of the men looked awkward; others interested. The remark was enough
to provokeinhalf
especially thata room,
dozen frequented
fights, as it often was by Police troopers, many
morewhom
arecent
remark
"I
partly
confusion
"It's
of say,fellow
rather
than
with
youwere
hadto
this
rough young
importation
fellows--Hoste,
laying
apassed
old
view
to Kreli.
embark
on Englishmen
and
himself
to
unheard.
me, thus
avoiding
Hang
this
Eustace
out
Milne.likely
Besides,
shindy,"
it.to
any
This to
improve
in
Lets resent
further
active
atmosphere
he
hego
saw such
continued
his
chance
and aaHere
hostilities.
at
place?
have
a is aslur
glance
ofenough
as upon
wet!"
The
they
row.
that
I've the
expression
found
"Put
to
said
the
float
got home-
afellow
Payne,
themselves
aname
alot
line-of-
ofof
was
to
his
grownpet
immobile
drunk.
making
your
battle
it--when
outside
splendid article.
ship.
again.
apoison
lands
we've
move But
features
Let's itour
"What's
under
had took
towards
and
get
waswe'll
out aifgood
good
bar, deal
cultivation.
the
as
moistener,
of
the
drink
the not before."
CHAPTER FOURTEEN. 54

Fountains Gap is a perfect jewel in that line, and now I must sacrifice the
wholeboat,
same lot. Well,
that'swe're all in the
one thing," he added philosophically. "So long, you fellows.
I must
if thosego home.
chaps Hallo!
have Wonder
brought any news."

Three Police troopers rode quickly by, heading for the quarters of their
commanding
evidently officer.
ridden They
express had from the Transkei, and had not spared their
direct
horses
and either, forlooked
themselves both the latter
jaded and travel-worn, besides being splashed from
head to foot with mud.
The evening passed pleasantly enough. Eustace declined his friend's
invitation
the villagetotoaccompany
try and learn him again
some intonews. After that night Eanswyth and
more
he wouldonly
Heaven be parted--for
knew. But in howthatlong,
rather crowded circle there was no such thing tete-a-tete,
as even
and this aheminute's
well knew. The conversation was all general, still he could delight
his eyes with
her--could let the
his mere sightin
ears revel ofthe music of her voice. Yet was there a
something
glance, of oneunderlying
or both ofthethem,
tone, which
the conveyed a more than ordinary
meaning?
For, that night, long after the bugle calls from the Police camps and the
carolling ofunsteadily
somewhat jolly soulshomeward
wending from the convivial bar, had sunk into
silence,
and Mrsa Hoste
master strangemade unto her lord
remark.

"What a pity Eanswyth didn't marry her husband's cousin instead of her
husband."
"Great Scott! What the very deuce do you mean?"

"Well, I mean it is a pity. Look how well they seem to suit each other. Look
at them here
stranger to-day.
coming Anyone, any
in hap-hazard, would at once have jumped to the conclusion
that they
And it's abelonged
pity they to eachTom
don't. other.
Carhayes isn't at all the man for that dear
Eanswyth.
sorry to be Ihis
should
wife be uncommonly
myself, I know that much."

"I daresay you would. But Providence has been much kinder to you in that
line than you
Heavens, Ada,deserve. But oh,careful
do be mighty good what you say. If you had propounded
thatinstance,
for idea of yours tono
there's anyone else,what amount of mischief it might open up."
knowing

"So? All right. There's no fear of my being such a fool. If you've preached
enough--have you? Well, go to
sleep."
CHAPTER FIFTEEN. 55

CHAPTER FIFTEEN.

"BUT I AM THY LOVE."

Three days later Carhayes arrived. He was in high spirits. The remainder of
his stock
charge of was underwas
Eustace, way, and, in steadily down to his other farm in the
trekking
Colony,
from thewhich
seat ofwas sufficiently
hostilities remote
to ensure its safety. He had ridden with them a day trek,
a half
and had to help
then start with
returned the all haste to enrol himself in the Kaffrarian
Rangers--a
among mounted corps,
the stock-farmers ofraised
the district, of whom it consisted almost entirely.

"Wish I was you, Tom," Hoste had said ruefully. "Wouldn't I just like to be
agoing
slap bang
at oldoff to the
Kreli frontoftohumbugging
instead have around here looking after stock.
business islaager
all fustian. I
This the things would be just as safe on the farm."
believe

"Well, shunt them back there and come along," was Carhayes' reply.

"We are not all so fortunate as you, Mr Carhayes," retorted Mrs Hoste with a
trifle
was toofher
asperity, for thispalatable.
by no means advice "What would you have done yourself, I
should like to know,
accommodating but who
cousin, for that
has taken all the trouble off your hands and left
you free to go and get shot if you
like?"

"Oh, Eustace? Yes, he's a useful chap," said Carhayes complacently,


beginning
you to cram
think the beggarhishas
pipe. "What
gone do
and done? Why, he has inspanned four or five
boys him
help fromwith
Nteya's !location
The verytofellows we are trekking away from, by Jove! And they will help
thetrek
extraordinary fellow, him,Eustace--I
too. An never saw such a chap for managing Kafirs.
He can make 'em do anything."
"Well, its a good thing he can. But doesn't he want to go and see some of the
fun himself?"
"Not he. Or, if he does, he can leave Bentley in charge and come back as
soon as hemy
Bentley's hasman
put down
thingsthere.
straight.
I let him live at Swaanepoel's Hoek and run a
little stock of his
consideration own on the place in order and looking after it generally.
of keeping
He'llstock
our be glad
nowenough to look after
for a consideration--if Eustace gets sick of it and really does
elect`blanket
his to comefriends'--Ho-ho!"
and have a shot at

The Kaffrarian Rangers were, as we have said, a corps raised in the district.
The farmers
mounted andcomposing it
equipped themselves, and elected their own leaders. There was
little discipline,
sense of the word, in the
but military
the men knew each other and had thorough confidence
in their leaders.
understood They and were as much at home
the natives, or in
onthe
thebush
veldtas the Kafirs themselves. They
affected no uniforms, but all were clad in a serviceable attire which should
not be too important
cover--an conspicuous in
consideration--and all were well equipped in the way of
arms
askedandfor other necessaries.
no pay--only They that they should be entitled to keep
stipulating
capturing
as
This,
three
They
to
natives
witness
anxious
days
then,
were
whatever ofstock
from
every
their
of
as
was
to enforced
it
march
the
had
departure.
shade
they enemy--which
corps
been
at and
delay
sundown
might sceptical
toFarmers
colour,
which
while
succeedand
in
lined
and
Carhayes
waiting
and
inmany
camp
indifferent
storekeepers,
thecases
for
roadway
had
the
orders--and
attached
would
anight
month
in
transport-riders
serried
be
athimself,
the
merely
previously,
after
Kei
ranks.
a Drift.
retaking
andand
There
gladly
among
All
theirranks
accepted
useful
the
characteristically
Hostes
Komgha--and
Mounted
was aown.
band,
aand
corps.
the
Police,
ofThe
his
too,
which,
services
its
The
wife--he
Government,
blowing
craftsmen
wife--turned
off-hand
latter
after
of proceeded
so
two
numbered
off
farewell
and
now
orout to
to
between
take
the hissixty
place.
and seventy men.
CHAPTER FIFTEEN. 56

"God Save the Queen," with all the power of its leathern lungs. Cheer after
cheer
in wentfile,
double up looking
as the men rode by, workman-like with their well filled
exceedingly
cartridge belts
revolvers. andgood-byes
Hearty their gunsand
anda little parting chaff from friends and
intimatesthe
through were shoutedcheers
deafening after them
and the brazen strains of the band, and, their
numbers
contingentaugmented
of mounted byfriends,
a who were to ride a part of the way with them,
"justextremely
the to see themneatsquarely off,"
and serviceable corps moved away into a cloud of dust.

There was another side to all this enthusiasm, however. A good many
feminine handkerchiefs
to that martial band. A goodwaved farewell
many feminine handkerchiefs were, pressed
openly
For or furtively
of those to tearful
threescore eyes.
and odd men going forth that evening in all the pride
of their itstrength
ardour, would beandstrange,
martial indeed, if some, at any rate, were not destined to
leave their bones
grave--victims to in
thea bullet
far-away
and assegai of the savage.

The days went by and grew into weeks, but there was no want of life and stir
in the littlehad
Carhayes settlement.
remarkedAs grimly during his brief sojourn therein--life appeared
to beHardly
lies. made up of bugle calls
a half-hour andbugle was not sounding--either at the Police
that the
camps,now
troops or atbeing
thoserapidly
of the regular
moved to the front, and scarcely a day went by but
a corps of mounted
volunteers burghers
passed through, enorroute
for the seat of war. The store keepers and Government contractors
laughed and waxed fat.

All sorts of rumours were in the air, and as usual wildly contradictory. The
white
in forces peril
imminent in theofTranskei were The Gcaleka country had been swept clear
annihilation.
from end
sueing fortopeace.
end. Kreli
Kreli was
had declared himself strong enough to whip all the
whites
with thesent
helpagainst
of thehim,
GaikasandandthenHlambis to invade and ravage the Eastern
Province
were of the
on the eve Colony.
of rising,The
andGaikas
making common cause with their Gcaleka
brethren.wish
slightest The Gaikas
for war.hadThenot the were never more insolent and threatening.
Gaikas
The Gaikas
cowed werein
and lived thoroughly
mortal dread of being attacked themselves. Thus Rumour
many tongued.
The while events had taken place at the seat of war. The Kafirs had attacked
the Ibeka,
trading post a hastily fortified in great force, and after many hours of
in the Transkei,
determined
with fighting
great loss, had been
repulsed repulsed
by a mere handful of the Mounted Police, who, with
a FingoKreli's
place. levy, garrisoned the on the Xora River had been carried by assault
principal kraal
and burntchieftain,
Gcaleka to the ground,--the
with his sons and councillors, narrowly escaping falling
into the hands
forces--and of theother
several Colonial
minor engagements had been fought. But the
powerfulthroughout
located Gaika andBritishHlambiKaffraria,
tribes though believed to be restless and
plotting, continued
watching the turn oftoevents,
"sit still,"
andas if after night upon the distant hills the
night
signal
beneathfires
the of the savages
midnight sky ingleamed
flashing, lurid tongues, speaking their
mysterious,
Amatola awesome
to the Bashi. messages from the

Hoste--who, with other of his neighbours, was occupied with the armed laager
--was
tending
growingofdailyhis stock
more in
restless and discontented. It was cruelly rough on him, he
declared,
like
would
front
"You
out that.
remarked
That
wisdom
opposition
betweento
He
worthy,
at
should
have
once,
byone
tobe
the
seenpinned
wanted
them
just
who
what
he
day, to
possession
vowed.
see
nothing
had
ahaving
he down
goyarn
little
the ofand
termed
accompanied
In
plan
just
of
which have
it.athe
that
which
ridden
He his
partner share
Feminine
friend
resolution
would
him,
should
in.
of of
"He
try
noddedof met
the
hisPayne's fun. The
Controller-General's
leave
and
he
own
saysmake
oracularly--a
joys
them
itwrote
with
was
and
some
free,
the
but
himwar might
sorrows,
greatest
satisfactory
in
lukewarm
about
nod be
aDepartment.
day
which
he
the
sport
orwas
two,
fight
he
brought
might
not
But
to Kreli's
start
going
he
had.tokraal,
arrangement
encouragement
at
ever mean
and
off toan
Eh,in end
Hoste anyofhis
anything.
put
and
search
Payne?"
Ada,"
from
himself
then
had day,
he
hatched
get
Taught
the
in and
wife.
away
death
active he
to the
CHAPTER FIFTEEN. 57

or glory coveted by their martial souls.

The cottage which Hoste had taken for his family was a tiny pill-box of a
place on thefronting
settlement, outer fringe
uponof thethe
veldt
, which situation rendered the ladies a little nervous at night,
notwithstanding an elaborate system of outposts and pickets by which the
village wasAtsupposed
protected. such a time to bethe presence of Eanswyth, of whom they were very
fond,Hoste
Mrs was aand perfect godsend toThe latter were nice, bright children of fifteen
her daughters.
and thirteen,
there were also respectively,
two boys--thenand away at a boarding school in Grahamstown. If
Eanswyth
complain of ever
thehad reasonortoloneliness of her life on the farm, here it was
dullness
quite the
house so reverse.
small that Not
fouronly was the
persons were sufficient to crowd it, but somebody or
other,always
was situated like themselves,
dropping in, sitting half the day chatting, or gossiping about the
progress and
rumours of the war and
reports the were
which manyflying around. In fact, there was seldom a
respite
for from the
no sooner had"strife of tongues,"
one batch of visitors departed than another would arrive,
always
manner.inNow, the most
of allinformal
this excess of sociability, Eanswyth was becoming a
trifle weary.
To begin with, she could obtain little or no privacy. Accustomed to full
measure
sorely of it in
missed it her
now.daily
She life,
evenshebegan to realise that what she had taken as a
matterofofher
some course--
neighbourswhat, had
indeed,
half commiserated her for--was a luxury, and,
like other aarticles
category, thing tofalling under that
be dispensed with now that they were living, so to say, in
a state of siege.
She was fond of the two girls, as we have said; yet there were times when she
wouldtohave
room theirpreferred their
company--would have preferred a long, solitary walk. She was
fond of her friend
entertainer; yet thatand cheery person's voluble tongue was apt to be sometimes a
trifle oppressive.
neighbours and they Sheliked
likedher;
her yet the constant and generally harmless gossip
of the otherwho
daughters, settlers'
werewives and
ever visiting or being visited by them, regarding work,
native servants,thebabies,
engagements, war, and so forth, would strike her as boring and
wearisome
times whento shethewould
last degree. Theremuch
have given wereto be alone-- absolutely and entirely
alone--and think.
For she had enough to think about now, enough to occupy every moment of
her thoughts,
was it good that dayitand night.
should be But
so--was it good?

"I am a wicked woman!" she would say to herself, half bitterly, half sadly,
but never
wicked regretfully--"a
woman. fearfully
That is why I feel so restless, so discontented."

Never regretfully? No; for the sudden rush of the new dawn which had swept
inan
it upon her life glamour
enchanted had spread thatover
was all-powerful in its surpassing sweetness.
That first of
darkness kiss--alone in the midnight--had kindled the Fire of the Live
that peril-haunted
Coal;alone
two that one long,had
together, golden day,the
riveted theyburning link. There was no room for
regret.
Yet there were times when she was a prey to the most poignant anguish--a
woman of Eanswyth's
moral fibre could nevernatural
escapeand that-- could never throw herself callously,
unthinkingly,
A
her
of mixture
a"Save
terribly
loss--not of
convertible
position
agony. into
me natural
from
"Heaven
through
would the
terms
the
one. perilous
sensuousness
effect,
come
help
the
byThus
loss
anyand
me!"
upon
but,
poorgulf.
spirituality,
means--and
ofAnd
oh,
her
this
humanity,
remove
inthen
new
fullandthe
would
often
force.
not spirit
from--and
enthralling
the
in
be would
"Heaven
the
cause!"
added
dark, ever
before--the
influence
the
help
Asilent bedays
strange,
mental
me!" warring
hours
which
she
a of
of night a
against
not
would
Augustine
the sensethe
reservation,
renders
anguish,
paradoxical mind--which
consummation
cry
the
engrossingly,
ofhalf
of
keenest
the
prayer,
"But
Hippo
aloud
black
of
of
but
until
in
horror
the two
mental are one;
indescribably
athe
genuine
world.
now--until
fervour
of ofsweet!" through the not
means
CHAPTER FIFTEEN. 58

As the days grew into weeks, the strain upon such a nature as Eanswyth's
began
She to tell--as
began to lookit pale
was bound to do.
and worn, and in such close companionship the
change
her could not escape the eyes of
friends.

"Don't you let yourself be anxious, my dear," said a motherly settler's wife
one day, bursting
administer with
comfort. a desire
"The to will soon be back now. And they're all
Rangers
right so
work andfar--have had asome
haven't lost man.rough
Your husband knows how to take care of
himself;
back never fear. Yes, they'll soon be
now."

This was the sort of consolation she had to acquiesce in--to receive with a
glad smile
after at the
to torture time, with
herself and for
thehours
miserable guilty consciousness that the fate of
the Kaffrarian
her a matter ofRangers was to
infinitesimal account. There was one, however, whom
appearances
to wereinbeginning
deceive, who, pursuancenooflonger
the strange and subtle woman's instinct,
which
remarkhad moved
to her , her
husband to
inmake
as recorded
camera that
in a former chapter, began to feel certain that the real object of
Eanswyth's solicitude was to be found west, not east--back in the peaceful
Colony instead
braving peril at of
theinhands
the Transkei
of the savage enemy. That one was Mrs Hoste. She
was not a clever
means--not even woman
a sharp by any yet her mind had leaped straight to the root
woman,
of the her
made matter.
feel And the discovery
exceedingly uncomfortable.

That farewell, made in outwardly easy social fashion, under several pairs of
eyes, hadhad
Eustace beennotaridden
final one.
over on another visit, not even a flying one, as
Eanswyth
bitterly had hoped as
disappointed he she
would.
was,Still,
she had appreciated the wisdom of his
motives--at
quality morefirst.
thanIfanother
there wassheone
had admired in him in times past, it was his
thorough
a thing. Ifand resolute
anything hadway
to beof done,
doinghe did it thoroughly. The undertaking
upon which
certainly he was then
demanded engaged
all his time and attention, and he had given both, as was
his wont.
would Still
have she had
found hoped
or made he opportunity for seeing her once more.
some

She had heard from him two or three times, but they were letters that all the
world might
Eustace have
was far seen,
too for to send anything more meaning into a house full
prudent
of other people,
crowded house atand a small
that. and glance of an eye--purely accidental, but still
The mere
a mere
third glance--on
person, the part
no matter who,ofwould
a be more than sufficient to tumble down
his fair house
irreparable of He
ruin. cards
wasin not
great and to take any such risks.
a man

She had appreciated his caution--at first. But, as time went by, the black drop
of a terrible
within suspicion
her heart. Whatdistilled
if he had begun to think differently! What if he had
suffered
by a merehimself
moment to of
be passing
carried away
passion! What if time and absence had opened
his eyes!not
It could Oh,be.
it Yet
wassuch
too terrible!
things had happened--were happening every day.

An awful sense of desolation was upon her. She hungered for his presence--
for thea scrap
even soundofofpaper
his voice--for
containing one loving word which his hand had written.
To this had the woman
strong-natured serene, proud,
come. Her love had humbled her to the dust. Thus do
we suffer
whom we through those fordoes the delight of an hour become the scourge of
transgress--thus
a year.
CHAPTER SIXTEEN. 59

CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

"A MADNESS OF FAREWELLS."

One afternoon Eanswyth managed to steal away for a solitary ramble


unperceived.
actually In the joy
succeeded, she of having
had wandered some little distance from the
settlement.
No She felt
Kafirs would benot theleast
in the slightest
likelyfear.
to molest her so near a strongly
garrisoned neighbourhood
immediate post, even if thehadtribes
beenin the
in a state of open hostility, which was
not at present
solitude, it wasthe
notcase. As forenough, for the country was open and sweeping
complete
and therecoming
in sight, were always horsemen
and going in the distance, along the main road.

Half unconsciously she walked in the direction of her deserted home. It was a
lovely,
the sun cloudless afternoon
was already beginningandto slant towards his western bed, darting long
rays
wide,ofrolling
gleaming gold
plains, upon theout with photographic clearness the blue
throwing
outlines ofgleefully
chirruped the distant
in hills. Crickets
the grass, and away down in the hollow a pair of blue
cranes uttering
along, were stalking mincingly
their metallic, but not unmelodious, cry.

Suddenly the clink of a horse's hoof smote upon her ear. It was advancing
along
of the roadway
vexation in front.
spread over her A flush
face. It might be somebody she knew--and who
would
her backinsist upon
on the accompanying
score of the disturbed state of the country, if not upon that of
politeness.
away, She had
to rejoice likenot stolen in her sense of freedom, for that. It was very
a schoolgirl
annoying.
The horseman topped the rise. She gave a little cry, and stood rooted to the
groundtoasstone.
turned though her limbs
Could were
it be--? Yes--it was!

In a moment he had sprung to the ground beside her. She could not move
now if shefast
was held hadindesired
a strongto,embrace.
for she A rain of warm kisses was falling upon her
lips--her face.
"Eanswyth--my darling--my love! Did you come to meet me?"

"O Eustace! I had begun to think you were never coming back to me! Ah,
you little Dear
through. knowone, what I haveknew
I never gone till now how my very life was wrapped up
in you!" with
thrilling she gasped, her voiceof tenderness and passion as she clung to him,
a very volcano
returning
again, as ifhisshe
kisses
couldagain
neverand
let him go.

She did not look unhappy and worn now. Her eyes shone with the light of
love--the
into beautiful
smiles--her lips face
whole wreathed
was transfigured with her great happiness.

"Dear love, you have grown more beautiful than ever; and all for me," he
murmured
his in thather
which bound peculiar
to himtone
withofa magnetic force that was almost
intoxicating. "It is all for me--isn't it?"
"Yes,"
"Eustace,
"Because
And soshe
you
it
darling,
answered
would
doubted why
have
me?
without
did
been
You
you
hesitation;
the
thought
never
height
write
that
of
looking
insanity,
Itohad
me?him
only
At
under
straightly,
been
least,existing
playing
whyfearlessly
didwith
youyou?
only
in
the that
"And
write
and
circumstances,
Or
only eyes.
matter-of-fact
to
in
yet
even
be
that
Heaven
you
away
ordinary,
otherwise
doubted
tofrom
help
have
way?"
you
formal
her!
me!"
Idone
had
two
otherwise.
or three weeks and I could forget?"
CHAPTER SIXTEEN. 60

His tone, low and quiet, was just tinged with reproach. But it contained a
subtle
to consciousness
her ears it soundedof power. And sweet, for it was this very sense of power
inexpressibly
that constituted
which drew her the magnetism
to him.

"Yes, I will confess. I did think that," she answered. "I can hide nothing from
you. YouAh,
exactly. havemyread my thoughts
own--my own! What have I not gone through! But you are
with me
good again. Life seems too
altogether."

"It was our first parting, and a longish one," he said musingly as he walked
beside her towards
settlement--his thewith the bridle over its neck, following behind with the
horse,
docility
for both of
of aus,
dog. "It was good
Eanswyth, my life. Now, do you think it was exactly delightful
to me."
"N-no," she replied plaintively, pressing to her side the arm which he had
passed
"Though,through hers
of late, as theyknown
I haven't walked.what to think."

"They will know what to think if you go on looking so ridiculously happy,"


he said meaningly.
gossip-loving "The
soul of mother Hoste will be mighty quick at putting two and
two together. And then?"
"And then? And then--I don't care--I've
again,"
got you
she answered with a gleeful laugh. "You--do you
hear? You--you-- you."

He looked rather grave. A struggle seemed to be going on within him.

"But you won't have me very long, my dear one. I am on my way to the front.
In fact,
and I start
Hoste, andthis very night. I,
Payne."

No fear of her too happy look betraying her now. It faded from her eyes like
the
poolsunlight
when thefrom thethunder-cloud
black surface of a sweeps over it. It gave place to a stricken,
despairing
went to hisexpression,
heart. which

"You have come back to me only to leave me again? O Eustace--Eustace! I


ammy
is a very wicked woman,
punishment. But howand
canthis
I bear it!"

Then he calmed her. Strong as he was, his voice shook a little as he reasoned
with her,
course pointing
was in everyoutway
howthethis
best. He could not remain away down in the
Colony, heno
absolutely said, and he
pretext forhad
staying on at Komgha. Besides, in a small, crowded
and gossipymadness
downright place, ittowould
attemptbe it. Their secret would be common property in
a day. Heaway
unhappy was too
fromrestless andat present it was impossible to remain near her.
her, and
Thecampaign
the chances and excitement
offered the onlyofway out of it. After that, brighter times were in
store--brighter
than they daredtimes,
dreamperhaps,
of.

He calmed
connect
the
Though
this
company
arrangement.
demeanour
intention
power
occasion
theyher--by
Eustace,
of
with
and
and
her
were
was the
Narrowly,
certainty
Eanswyth force
appearance
husband
and
of
at doubtful
all
sheof
times
she
to
went
was
hisofcordiality.
proceed
of, hisconfirm
scrutinised
right.
love.
the
to
at reasoning--by
any
best
Never
Wherefore,
torate,
the
ofthe
And
friends,
her
front
again
one
pair,
the the
rapidly
of
in
she
and
could
reason
them.very magnetism
a regarded
few
failed
welcome
developing
she
Then,
for
hours.
doubt
not
this
him
again,
to
Eustace
With
was ofmet
his
this--never--
suspicions.
discern
as twofold.
athis
she had
influence;
come
to
with
First,
Of
traces
just
defection
treacherous
that
course,
learned,
atthe
what
of most
extent
the
agitation
fact
she
it
hands
might.
friend
to
was of
happy
of
didher
hisall,
aof
not
and
And
at perhaps,
dismay,
preconcerted
arrival
Mrs
amid
best
hesitate
anxiety
she
Hoste
and
her
in
was
theto bythe
grief.
scrupled
inon
CHAPTER SIXTEEN. 61

not to tell him as much.

"It's all very well for you, Mr Milne," she said. "You have only got yourself
to please.
you oughtBut others
to have morehaven't,
senseand
than to aid and abet a couple of responsible
fathers
there and of my
families
stupidlike Mr Payne
husband in any such folly."

"Ought he?" guffawed the stupid husband aforesaid, from another room
where
say, he was
Ada? Howcleaning
is he to aget
gun. "But
to the I by himself? It wouldn't be altogether
front
safe. So, you
dependent on see,
our he's absolutely
escort. Eh, Payne?"

"Ja," replied that worthy, laconically.

"You should be more patriotic, Mrs Hoste," murmured Eustace. "You see,
you give us precious
encouragement to diepoor
for our country--which process is defined by the poet
as a sweet and decorous one."
"Die for your fiddlestick!" was the half-laughing, half-angry reply. "But, as I
said before,
you. Nobodyit's
is all very well
dependent onfor
you. Nobody cares what becomes of you."

Did they not? There was one in that room to whom his safety was dearer than
a hundred
was lives,bursting
well-nigh whose with
heartunspoken agony at the prospect of the parting
which was
parting drawing
which shouldsosend
near--that
him forth for weeks, for months perhaps, with
peril and privation
companions. Yet sheformust
dailykeep up appearances--must maintain a smooth and
untroubled
cared aspect. Nobody
for him!

The three men were to start an hour before midnight, and with two more
whom
the they were
settlement, to meet themselves
reckoned just outsidestrong enough to cross the hostile
ground in comparative
reckoning rather on evading safety--the enemy than on meeting him in battle with
such
wouldsmall numbers.
be easier, for theAndGcaleka
this country had been swept from end to end and
its inhabitants
Bashi--for a time.driven beyondprocess
In which the the Kaffrarian Rangers had gallantly
borne their part.
As the hour for starting drew near, prodigious was the fussiness displayed by
Hoste over
couldn't findthe preparations.
this, and he couldn'tHe find that--he wanted this done and that
done--in
nuisance.short Nowmade all thishimself
was done a signal
in accordance with a crafty idea of Payne's.
"Theon
turn women will be bound
the waterworks. to
Therefore, give them plenty to do. Fuss them out of
their very
have time lives
so much so that they
as to thinkwon't
of snivelling--until we're gone, and then it
won't matter,"philosopher--who
unprincipled had enjoined thathad sent his own family down to King
Williamstown some days previously.
"Do you mind taking a quarter of an hour's stroll, Eanswyth?" said Eustace in
his mostbefore
shortly matter-of-fact
they wereway, due to start. "You see, neither Tom nor I can tell how
long we
there aremaytwo be away,things
or three and in connection with our joint possessions which I
should like to discuss with you."
Eanswyth's
would
farewell,
It
Behind,
Thus
wasthey heart
abelovely
the
in
offered gave
stood--alone--and
the
lightsnight.
presence
them
of theaofbound.
The village,
ofseeing
thin
half
the The
sickle
atime
the
eachtime
dozen
sound
of ofofalone;
seemed
other parting
apeople.
new voices
all
moon
But
too was
that
hung
and
his drawing
short.
their
readiness
laughter;
inThus very
farewell near,
the heavens,
they
of
in resource
front,
must
stood--
and
be
andunnerved
made,
had
all
the
away
alone
was itopened
seemed
zenith
darkness
hit against
beneath
even
upon
wasas
toas
ofas
athe
the
thatif
way,
ablaze
heart
she
the no opportunity
blackness
stars,
other
silent
was,
while
inwith
the
and
could
she,
terrible
stars.
of
heart
the
think
hills
poignancy
ofglowed
nothing.offorth
that aparting
red fire.hour. veldt
. Far
CHAPTER SIXTEEN. 62

"Oh, my darling, what if I were never to see you again! What if you were
neverEanswyth
forth to come backin a to me!"
wail burst "You are going into all kinds of danger,
of anguish.
but through
me oh, my loved one, think
it all--think of if you are tempted to do anything foolhardy.
of me
My heart
parting is almost
with you likebroken at
this. Anything--anything more, would break it quite."

"I wish to Heaven mere danger was the only thing we had to trouble about,"
he said,
this rather
cheer you,bitterly. "Butcheer
my sweet-- let us both. You doubted me before--you cannot
again.other's
each We arelove both so beside
that strong such
in a possession the whole world is a trifle.
And betterbe,and
be--must brighter
before us--"times may

"Hallo, Milne," shouted the voice of Hoste in the distance. "Where are you,
man? Time's up!"
Both started--in each other's embrace--at this horribly jarring and unwelcome
reminder. "The
bawl like all thefellow
bulls of needn't
Bashan, confound him!" muttered Eustace with a
frown.
"Eustace--dearest--must we really part now?" she murmured in a broken sob,
clinging
"First of to
all,him
takemore
this,"closely.
slipping a small, flat, oblong packet into his hand.
"Openway.
your it--read
I gotit--when
it ready, you are on
thinking we should have no opportunity of being
alone together
love--dear, dearagain.
love--And now, Heaven bless you--no, I must not say that, I
good-bye.
amavail
no too wicked.
comingItfrom would be of
me--"

"I say, Milne! Are you coming along with us or are you not?" roared Hoste
again fromifhis
"Because not,front
just door.
kindly say so."

"You are under no precise necessity to cause the dead to rise, are you,
Hoste?"ofsaid
couple Eustace
minutes tranquilly,
later, a
as they stepped within the light of the windows.
"Because,
should if heard
have you had
youwhispered I As it is, you have about woke up the
just as well.
whole of British
shall have Kaffraria,
the sentries and fire
opening we upon
at large
the veldt
in a minute. There--there goes the Police bugle
already."

"Don't care a hang. We are waiting to start. Here come the horses. Now--
Good-bye,
old Kreli!" everyone, and hurrah for

A couple of native stable-hands appeared, leading three horses, saddled and


bridled.
deal Then there leave-taking
of tumultuous was a good between Hoste and his family circle, mingled
with sniffling and
handkerchiefs, and of quieter farewells as concerned the rest of the party. But
the tornsuffered
group heart ofinone in thatEanswyth's sweet, proud face was marvellously
silence.
self-possessed.
"Extraordinary creatures, women," said Payne, as the three men rode out of
the settlement.
positively enjoy"Ithe
believe
fun ofthey
a good snivel. It's just the same with my own
crowd.
obligedWhen
to sendI left home
a note by Ia was
boy to say `ta-ta' to escape it all, don't you know."
Hoste guffawed.
"Some
Carhayes,
"Now, George,
fewfor
of instance.
them
who
It was
are
theShe
sensible,
just
verydon't
the
deuce
sort
though,"
make
should
of thing
anywent
she
fuss,
that
make
on
George
orthe
turn
a latter,
fuss
on
Payne,
over
the
flaring
hose.
philosopher
or turn
up
Takes
aon
andinstance.
vesuvian
things
person
Hoste
the
for hose
cynic,
guffawed
as
should."
for?"
they
towould
light
Eh?"
come--as
heagain.
his
said.
do.pipe.
"You
a rational
"Mrs
or me,
CHAPTER SIXTEEN. 63

"N-no, I suppose not. Milne, perhaps. He's a sort of brother or cousin or


something, isn't he?"
If Eustace had felt disposed to resent this kind of free-and-easiness he
forebore,
liked and that who,
the speaker, for two reasons.
withal, wasHe something of an original, and therefore a
privileged person,of
very carelessness and
theagain
remarktheof either man showed that no suspicion as to
his secret
their had found
minds--a matterplace
as to in
which he had not been without a misgiving a few
minutes back.
On opening the packet which Eanswyth had put into his hand at parting,
Eustace foundtobacco-box,
antique silver it to consist of a little chased. This contained a photograph
beautifully
of herself,
short, and apenned
hurriedly letter; the lastwhich,
note, a perused there alone, with all the
desolation
upon of the
him, was recent parting
effectual to thrillfresh
his heart to the very core.

"And now," it ended--"And now, oh, my precious one, good-bye--I dare not
say
from`Godme itbless
wouldyou.' Coming
entail a curse rather than a blessing. I am too wicked. Yet,
is our
be love so wicked?
so divinely, Could sweet
so beautifully it if it were? Ah, I neither know nor care. I
only know
befall that were
you--were you anything
never to cometo back to me--my heart would be broken.
Yes, broken.
only just thatAnd yet, itsuffer
I should would be
through you. Good-bye, my dearest one--my
only love.
alone beforeWeyou
may not but
start, meet againyou, in all your dangers and hardships, to
I want
have alwayscoming,
little lines, with youas these
they do,poor warm from my hand and heart--"

The writing broke off abruptly and there were signs that more than one tear
hadeloquent
so fallen upon the silent, but oh,
paper.
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN. 64

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.

IN THE ENEMY'S COUNTRY.

"Hi, Hoste, Eustace! Tumble up! We are to start in half an hour."

It is dark as Erebus--dark as it can only be an hour or so before daybreak. The


camp-fires
gone have
out and it islong since
raining heavily. The speaker, stooping down, puts his head
into a patrol
sleepers tent wherein
lie, packed two
like sardines.

A responsive grunt or two and Hoste replies without moving.

"Bosh! None of your larks, Tom. Why, it's pitch dark, and raining as if some
fellow were bombarding
with a battery the tent
of garden hoses."

"Tom can't sleep himself, so he won't let us. Mean of him--to put it mildly,"
remarks
tent, withthe other occupant
a cavernous yawn.of the

"But it isn't bosh," retorts Carhayes testily. "I tell you we are to start in half
an withdraws,
he hour, so nowgrowling
you know," and about not standing there jawing to them
something
all day.
Orders were orders, and duty was duty. So arousing themselves from their
warmeyes
their lair and
the two sleepers
promptly rubbed
began to look to their preparations.

"By Jove!" remarked Eustace as a big, cold drop hit him on the crown of the
head, while
blanket twojust
he had more
castfell
off.on"Now
the one can solve the riddle as to what
becomes
They are of all theupplayed
bought out sieves.Contractors for the manufacture of
by Government
canvas for patrol tents."
"Theriddle ! Yes. That's about the appropriate term, as witness the state of the canvas."

"Oh! A dismal jest and worthy the day and the hour," rejoined the other,
lifting
It a corner
was still pitchofdark
the and
sail to peer out.
raining as heavily as ever. "We can't make a fire at
anythere
Is price--that
any grogmeans no coffee.
left, Hoste?"

"Not a drop."

"H'm! That's bad. What is there in the way of provender?"

"Nothing."

"That's worse. Gcalekaland, even, is of considerable account in the world's


The
examined
stowed
simple
the
Except
Rangers
light
narrow,
two,
economy.
the saidbecause
those
away
that
of
meanwhile,
orband
Itakennel-like
isdark,
tiny
who
inrubbed
aeverything
belts
travelling
were
rainy
prime
wherein and
had
toover
and
tomorning.
pockets
been
corner
learnconstitute
was
with
withal
lamp,
ofpreparing
the kept
anwhere
which
All
artleaky
oil-rag;
in
the
ofwho
a patrol,
they
structure
state
Eustace
vigorously
could
cartridges
`doing would
ofscarcely
readiness--were
were
always
which
be
for
were
enjoying
without.'"all-ready
anybody
their
had
unearthed
sheltered
with
expedition,
afor
made.
was
himuse;
from
astir
when
them
Then
and
in
which
possible,
acunning
our
the
comfortable
few
night
camp
twomore
wasfriends
waterproof
guns
through.
ofasimple
the
sleep
three
were
emerged
Kaffrarian
warmly
days
preparations--
carefully
wrappers
patrol.
from
rolled
and
Byup in their
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN. 65

blankets, as men who are uncertain of their next night's rest will do--and the
prospect
as the dawnlooked cheerless
lightened. enough
A faint streak in the eastern sky was slowly widening,
but elsewhere
clouds, and thenot a breakdrip,
continual in thedrip, of the rain, mingled with the subdued
tones of the
adjusted men's
bit and voices,
stirrup andasstrapped
they their supplies in blanket and holster.
Three days' of
with plenty rations were issued,
ammunition, and inand
high spirits the prevailing wetness
notwithstanding,
set forth. the men were ready to

"This won't last. By ten o'clock there won't be a cloud in the sky," said the
commander of the
veteran, elected to corps, a grizzled
that post by the unanimous vote of his men. In keeping
with hiswhich
energy, habitual and untiring
caused his followers often to wonder when he ever did sleep,
he had any
before beenofupthem.
and astir
And long
now he bade them good-bye, and, the patrol having
mounted,
the they filed
rain running out of camp,
in streams down the men's waterproofs.

More than three weeks have elapsed since the sacking of Kreli's principal
kraal, and duringboth
reinforcements, thisoftime
colonial levies and Imperial troops, have been
pouring into
conflicts the Transkei.
of greater or less Several
importance have taken place, and the Gcaleka
country
its warlikehasinhabitants
been effectually
havingcleared,
either betaken themselves to the dense forest
countryacross
refuge alongthetheBashi
coast,to ortheir
fled more
for peaceful neighbours, the Bomvanas,
who
even dare not refuse
if desirous to dothem shelter,
so. On the whole, the progress of the war has been
anything
of but satisfactory.
the Gcalekas have beenAkilled,number certainly, but the tribe is unsubdued. The
Great
as are Chief,
also hisKreli,
sons isandstill at large,councillors; and although the land has been
principal
swept,
are onlyyet its refugee
awaiting inhabitantsof the colonial forces to swarm back into their
the departure
old locations.
large Meanwhile,
force is kept a at heavy expense to the Colony, and in no wise
in the field,
to
andthe advantagethemselves,
volunteers of the burghers whose farms or businesses are likely to suffer
through
late, their prolonged
however, operationsabsence.
have been Of mainly confined to hunting down stray
groups
of of the enemy
patrols--with poor by a system
results--perhaps killing a Kafir or two by a long and
lucky shot,
learnt cautionforand
the invariably
savages have show the invaders a clean pair of heels.

But no one imagines the war at an end, and that notwithstanding a


proclamation issuing
Commissioner of CrownfromLands
the office of the
offering free grants of land in the Gcaleka
country conditional
residence upononthehis exceedingly perilous holding. This
of the grantee
proclamation,
little however,
practical joke on theis part
regarded
of theasHonourable
a the Commissioner. Few, if
any, makenone
certainly application,
comply withand the conditions of the grant. The while patrolling
goes on as vigorously as ever.
Eustace and his travelling companions had reached the camp of the
Kaffrarian
indeed, Rangers
would have in dueelected
been course.toHoste,
a subordinate command in the troop had
he
histaken
place the
wasfield at up
filled first,
andbut
henow
must perforce join in a private capacity; which
position he
complete accepted with
equanimity. He could have all the fun, he said, and none of the
responsibility,
command whereas
he would havein been
a postletofin for no end of bother. So he and Eustace
chum
and up together,
supplies and share
and danger and tent
duty, like a pair of regulation foster-brothers.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
of
Our
whereabouts
appear
means
but
in
histhe
own
forty
patrol
ways
enemy,
let
inway.
all
such
them
rode
of
told,
of
In
their
bush
moderate
teach
the
steadily
short,
allonly
enemy
fighting,
more
him
they
misgiving
on,
force
aor
and
reckoned
lesson--and
keeping
less
and
as
histhoroughly
to
experienced
cattle,
being
render
athemselves
sharp
ardently
lest
rather
anlook
understanding
the
engagement
frontiersmen,
than
did
wily
well
outthe
to
on
sons
able
engage
men
allfeasible
to
of
sides.
how
who
hope
render
Xosa
him
to
knew
Its
for
with
meet
in
should
account
actual
such
how
athe
fair
instructions
conflict.
chance
an
to
savage
of
notuse
at
opportunity.
afford
least
their
on
ofShould
success,
six
them
his
rifles--all
were
times
own
They
the
he,
tothen
ground
chance.
that
however,
ascertain
numbered
well
by
number
versed
and
all the
in
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN. 66

In spite of his predilection for the dark-skinned barbarians aforesaid and his
preference
there for the ways
was something of peace, entrancing to Eustace Milne in this
wonderfully
adventurous
country, rideheld
as they through the hostile
on over hill and valley, keeping a careful watch upon
the long reaches
extending from theof dark
forestbush
land which they were skirting, and which might
conceal hundreds--
thousands--of nay foe lying in wait in his lurking place for this mere
the savage
handfulsent
which of whites--a something
a thrill through his veins and caused his eye to brighten as he rode
along
for theinclouds
the fresh
hadmorning
dispersedair;
now, and the sun, mounting into his sphere of
unbroken
earth blue, like
to glisten caused theas
silver wet
the raindrops hung about the grass and bushes in
clusters of flashing gems.
"So! That's better!" said one of the men, throwing open his waterproof coat.
"More cheerful like!"
"It is," assented another. "We ought to have a brush with Jack Kafir to-day.
It's Sunday."
"Sunday is it?" said a third. "There ain't no Sundays in the Transkei."

"But there are though, and its generally the day on which we have a fight."

"That's so," said the first speaker, a tall, wiry young fellow from the
Chalumna
think we'redistrict. "I suppose
such a bloomin' the niggers
pious lot that we shan't hurt 'em on Sunday, so
they always hit upon it to go in at
us."

"Or p'r'aps they, think we're having Sunday school, or holdin' a prayer
meeting. Eh, Bill?"
"Ja. Most likely."

They were riding along a high grassy ridge falling away steep and sudden
upon aone
were fewside. Below, on
woebegone the slope,
looking mealie fields and a deserted kraal, and
beyond,
the dark about
forest half
line.aSuddenly
mile distant, was of the party, who, with three or four
the leader
others, was
ahead, was seen
ridingtoahalt,
littleand
wayearnestly to scrutinise the slope beneath. Quickly
the rest spurred up to him.
"What is it?"--"What's up, Shelton?" were some of the eager inquiries.

"There's something moving down there in that mealie field, just where the
sod-wall
about fourmakes a bend--there,
hundred yards off," replied Shelton, still looking through his field
glasses.
him half"Stay--it's
put up hisahead
Kafir.
andI saw
bob down again."

Every eye was bent upon the spot, eager and expectant. But nothing moved.
Thenand
aim thefired.
leaderThe took a careful
clods flew from the sod-wall, heavy and sticky with the
recenthole
great rain,inasit.the bullet knockedtwo
Simultaneously a naked Kafirs sprang up and made for the
bush as hard as they could run.
Bang--bang! Bang--bang--bang! A rattling volley greeted their appearance.
still
bucks;
would
he unscathed
bounding
Bang--bang!
Each
assegais,
"Steady,
But carried
the
might
men!
and
more andthey
aPing--ping!
one,
asNo
gun
eager
wellgood
as
andhe
haveran
leaping
spirits
had alike
throwing
ran,
The to
spoken render
turned
of
powder
bullets
the
away themselves
toparty
his
the
showered
horn
head more
ammunition!"
wind.
empty
and
to As asdifficult
ammunition
look
around
their
long
atrifles
cried
his
the those
enemies.
fleeing assavages,
atShelton,
pouch
them.
naked,marks.
slung
Full
Not
the all,
three
throwing
round
hundred
under
leader.
bounding
however.
the
him,
"Better
yards
up
Eustace
fire
forms
besides
theof
had
letearth
were
a 'em
Milne
score
they
a bundle
in
go."
to
of
sight
clods.
hadcover
good
of
made
so marksmen.
long But these were excited.
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN. 67

no attempt to fire a shot. He was not there, as he said afterwards, to practise


at a couple
away. of poor
Others, devilsofrunning
somewhat the same opinion, confined themselves to looking
on. But no
present to asuch
largefastidious
section there
notions commended themselves. The secret of war,
they held,
much was upon
damage to inflict as
the enemy as possible, and under whatever
circumstances. So they tried all they knew to
act upon their logic.

"Whoop! Hurrah! They're down!" shouted some one, as the fugitives


suddenly disappeared.
"Nay what!" said a tall Dutchman, shaking his head. "They are only
sneaking," and
reappeared asfifty
some he spoke
yardsthe Kafirsbut were out of sight again in a second.
further,
They were
sluitor taking advantage
furrow--crawling like of a
serpents along in this precarious shelter.

"Stay where you are--stay where you are," cried Shelton in a tone of
authority,
movementastosome
mountoftheir
the men made
horses andadash forward in pursuit. "Just as like as
notwe
do to be a trap.
know are How many more [Dutch: `Lying in wait'] in the bush yonder.
not `voer-ly-ing'
The whole thing may be a
plant."

The sound wisdom of this order availed to check the more eager spirits. They
still held their
readiness pieces
for the nextinopportunity.

"Hoste--Eustace--watch that point where the pumpkin patch ends. They'll


have a clear
hundred runthere,"
yards of at least a
said Carhayes, who was sitting on an ant-heap a little
aparttaking
then from the rest,asevery
a shot now
he saw hisand
chance.

"It's a devil of a distance," growled Hoste. "Six hundred yards if it's an inch--
Ah!"
For the Kafirs sprang up just where Carhayes had foretold, and again, with a
crash,
at them.many rifles were emptied
Fifty--thirty--twenty yards more and they will be safe. Suddenly one
of them falls.
"He's down--fairly down!" yelled someone. "A long shot, too. Oh-h-h! He's
only winged! Look! He's up
again?"

It was so. The fallen man was literally hopping on one leg, with the other
tucked
both up under
Kafirs him. In athe
had reached moment
cover and disappeared.

"Well, I never!" cried Hoste; "Heaven knows how many shots we've thrown
away
they'veupon those
given devils
us the slipand
afternow
all."

"Anyone would take us for a pack of bloomin' sojers. Can't hit a nigger in a
dozen shots
growled apiece.
a burly Pooh!" in tones of ineffable disgust, as he blew into
frontiersman,
the
rifle.still
"Eh, smoking
what's breech
that?" he of continued
his as all eyes were bent on the spot where
the fugitives
For
open.
forest
"Well,
"He's
"I've aknown
tall
aThen
again,
I'm
plucky had
savage
that disappeared.
somethinged!"
with
laughing
dog,"
ahad
sort
very
said
emerged
ofloudly.
contemptuous
thing
another.
criedThey
happen
from
Carhayes.
"If
recognised
the
any
more
gesture,
bush,
fellow
"That
than
and
and
him
nigger
once,"
deserved
with
shaking
as the
asaid
has
howl
man
togot
his
Shelton,
escape
of
who
assegai
the
derision
laugh
had
he
theat
did.
of
his
began
white
escaped
Four
us
leader
now."
blazing
hundred
enemies,
to
ofunhurt.
execute
the
away
party,
yards
heatasprang
him
an
and
experienced
ata into
once!
scoretheof
Well, well!" pasinseul
the
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN. 68

frontiersman who had served in two previous wars. "Same thing in buck
shooting.allYou'll
fellows seeata the
blazing score of buck, cutting up the dust all round him till you
same
can hardly
and yet notsee the poor
touching him.beast,
That's because they're excited, and shooting
jealous.
shots Now
lying upwith
and one
takingor their
two cool
time, the buck wouldn't have a ghost of a
show--any
two Kafirs more than But
have had. would those
we'd better get on, boys. We'll off-saddle further
ahead,for
fresh and then ourmay
whatever horses
turnwill
up.beIt's my opinion there are more of those chaps
hanging about."
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN. 69

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN.

THE TABLES TURNED.

Eager at the prospect of a brush, their appetites for which had been whetted
by what had
resumed theirjust
wayoccurred, they
in the best of spirits, and at length fixing upon a suitable
spot the party off-saddled for
breakfast.

"We ought to fall in with a patrol of Brathwaite's Horse lower down,"


remarked a man,
a three-legged stirring thewith
cooking-pot contents of spoon. "Then we should be strong
a wooden
enough
and to take
pepper Jackthe bushhandsomely."
Kafir for it

"If we can find him," rejoined another with a loud guffaw. "Hallo! Who's
this?"
A dark form appeared in the hollow beneath. Immediately every man had
aseized his one
perilous rifle,for
andthethenew
moment
arrival.was

"Hold hard! Don't fire!" cried Shelton. "It's only a single Kafir. Let's see what
the fellowtheir
lowering wants." And they awaited the approach of a rather sulky looking
weapons
native, whoand
suspicious drew near with a expression of countenance.
apprehensive

"Who are you and where do you come from?" asked Shelton.

"From down there,Baas


," replied the fellow, in fair English, jerking his thumb in the direction of a
labyrinthaway beneath. "They have taken all my cattle--the
of bushy kloofs stretching
Gcalekas
where have.theirs."
to find I can show you

The men looked at each other and several shook their heads incredulously.

"What are you? Are you a Gcaleka?" asked Shelton.

"No,Baas . Bomvana. I'm Jonas. I'm a loyal Mission-station boy."

"Oh, the devil you are! Now, then, Jonas, what about these cattle?"

Then the native unfolded his tale--how that in the forest land immediately
beneath of
number themthewasGcalekaconcealed a large
cattle--a thousand of them at least. There were some
men in
said, butcharge,
still theabout
whites sixty, he be strong enough to take the lot; only they
might
would have to fight, perhaps.
Carefully they questioned him, but from the main details of his story he never
swerved.
was to be His object,on
revenged hethesaid,
Gcalekas, who had billeted themselves in the
"Look
cock-and-bull
All
For eyes
a
Bomvana
things minute
here,
were Jonas,"
withcountryhefixed
lie,
did
a high and andupon
not
he
hand.that
said
reply.
werethe
you've
Butimpressively.
native's
Thencome
carrying
Shelton hewas
face,
shook
here
"Supposing
asto
not his
thelead
quitehead,
leader
usI with
into
were
left aoff
satisfied. ato
trap?
wholly
tell
speaking.
And
you that
But
this ayarn
supposing
men
not
incredulous
"Nay, here
muscle
Baasof
toI,"yours
were
laugh.
shoot
therein
he said.
to
is
youtell
all
quailed.
"Baasis
when
ahalf aI dozen
count
joking."
twenty? What then?"
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN. 70

"Well, you must be telling the truth or else you must be the pluckiest nigger
in allthe
play Kafirland to us,"
fool with comesaid
here and "What do you say, boys? Shall we trust
Shelton.
to what
make this fellow
a dash for thetells us and
spoil?"

An acclamation of universal assent hailed this proposal. In an incredibly


short space
saddled, andofwith
timethe
thenative
horsesinwere
their midst the whole party moved down in
the direction of the bush.
"In here,Baas ," said the guide, piloting them down a narrow path where they were obliged
file. On either to maintain
side single
was a dark, dense jungle, the plumed euphorbia rising
high overhead
path, rough andabove the bush.
widening, Theto lead down and down--no one knew
seemed
whither.
to The
lead the guide
way, butwas
wasnot
keptsuffered
near the head of the party, those immediately
aroundhim
shoot himdead
beingat prepared to of treachery.
the first sign

"Damned fools we must be to come into a place like this on the bare word of
a black fellow,"
Carhayes. grunted
"I think the cuss means square and above board--but going down
here in this
doesn't seempicnicking way--it
right somehow."

But they were in for it now, and soon the path opened, and before and
beneath
covered them
with alay a network
thick, jungly of kloofs
scrub, here and there shooting
a rugged up
krantz
from the waves of foliage. Not
a sound was heard as they filed on in the cloudless stillness of the sunny
forenoon.
in Even
that great the valley.
lonely birds were silent

"There," whispered the Bomvana, when they had gone some distance further.
"There is the cattle."
He pointed to a long, winding kloof whose entrance was commanded by
cliffs on either
cautiously side.they
around, Looking
entered this. Soon they could hear the sound of
voices.
"By George! We are on them now," said Shelton in a low tone. "But, keep
cool, men--only keep cool!"
They passed a large kraal which was quite deserted, but only just, for the
smoke
fire, andstill rose from
a couple morewere
of dogs thanyet
oneskulking around the huts. Eagerly and in
silence theyan
lo--turning pressed
angle offorward, and
the cliff--there burst upon their view a sight which
amply repaid
enterprise theythe
hadrisk of the upon. For the narrow defile was full of cattle--
embarked
an immense
being driven herd--which were and as quietly as the two score armed
forward as rapidly
savages the
Clearly in their
latterrear
hadcould driveofthem.
got wind their approach.

"Allamaghtaag !" exclaimed one of the men, catching sight of the mass of animals, which,
plunging
crowding over each other,and
threaded their way through the bush in a dozen
separate, but
columns. closely
"What packed,
a take! A thousand at least!"

"Ping--ping! Whigge!" The bullets began to sing about their ears, and from
the
of
coverbush
smoke.
couple
dead
atheir
"Now,
cattle,
rode
flying
tolerably
off
only
orandaround
over
but The
boys!"
of
writhing
aseffective
thought
opened
don't
brisk
hard there
Kafirs
thecried
same--on
separate
as
fire,
inanow issued
who
itvolleys
the
Shelton.
brisk
could
and
throes
being
more
they puffs
were
fire,
the
into
go,
"Half
of driving
bullets
todashed,
but
than
to
them,
save
death;
head
too
of
toandthe
their
you
and
late.
that cattle, aseeing
helter-skelter,
the
while
bits
come
at
extent."
own
animals
Quickly
least
of
several
lives.
with
pot-leg
And that the
back--stumbling
the
dozen
hardly
me--and
The
more
foremost
in
began
rest
of invaders
furtherance
might
knowing
their
Carhayes,
melted
to half
whistle
be
number
among
seen
at
of
away
oftimes
the
you
this
lay
werethe
patrol,soreining
stretched
limping
into
injunction
stones,
how the
they few,
uncomfortably
take asdropped
crashing
bush,
off
other
upon
kept
the whence
half
now
well
in,
their
the
close.
through
had
and down
ground,
divided
as
saddles.
poured
they into
collect
bushes
could,
stone
kept
force
atheup
or
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN. 71

Amid much shouting and whistling the terrified creatures were at last turned.
Down the defile
rushed--eyes theyand horns clashing, trampling to pulp the dead or
rolling
helpless who
drivers, bodieshadofbeen
someshotof their
in theformer
earlier stages of the conflict. It was an
indescribable scene--the
many-coloured dappled,
hides flashing in the sun as the immense herd surged
furiously downthe
mingling with thatshouting
wild pass.
andAndconfusion, and the terrified lowing of the
cattlesmell
and half-frenzied
of blood--thewithoverhanging
the sight cliffs echoed back in sharper tones the
"crack-crack"
Kaffirs, of the
who, well riflescover
under of thethemselves, kept up a continuous, but luckily
ineffective, fire upon the patrol.
Suddenly a dark form rose up in front of the horsemen. Springing like a cat
the savage
breast of hismade a swift
intended stab at
victim, theswerved quickly, but not quickly enough,
who
and the blade
descended, of the assegai
inflicting an ugly wound in the man's side. Dropping to the
ground again,
ducked in timethe daringthe
to avoid assailant
revolver bullet aimed at him, and gliding in
among the
before the infuriated
fleeing cattle, escaped could get in another shot. So quickly did it
frontiersman
all take place
wounded manthat, except
himself, the anybody knew what had happened.
hardly

"Hurt, Thompson?" sung out Hoste, seeing that the man looked rather pale.

"No. Nothin' to speak of, at least. Time enough to see to it by and by."

As he spoke the horse of another man plunged and then fell heavily forward.
The poorstricken
mortally beast had
bybeen
one of the enemy's missiles, and would never rise again.
The dismounted
alongside man ranholding on by the stirrup of the latter.
of a comrade,

"Why, what's become of the Bomvana?" suddenly inquired someone.

They looked around. There was no sign of their guide. Could he have been
playing
away in them false and slipped
the confusion? Even now the enemy might be lying in wait
somewhere in overwhelming
to cut off their retreat. force, ready

"By Jove! There he is!" cried another man presently. "And--the beggar's
dead!"
He was. In the confusion of the attack they had forgotten their guide, who
must have fallen
the enemy, intobeen
and have the hands of to the vengeance of the latter. The body
sacrificed
of the unfortunate
propped Bomvana,
up in a sitting posture against a tree by his slayers in savage
mockery,
throat waspresented
cut from aearhideous
to ear, sight.
and theThetrunk was nearly divided by a terrible
gash while
ribs, right across it just below
from several assegaithestabs the dark arterial blood was still oozing
forth.
"Faugh!" exclaimed Hoste with a grimace of disgust, while two or three of
the younger
turned rathermen
paleof
asthe
theyparty
shudderingly gazed upon the sickening sight. "Poor
devil!
of him,They've made short work
anyhow."

"H'm!
keenly
that
They
were
branch
would
effort Inever
chap's
very
had.
to don't
watching
off
retain
wild,wonder
Itfrom
story
was
doit.for
besides
the
was
an
no atmen
Certain
the it,"
opportunity
main
easy
truebeingsaid
matter
it
body,
hewas
to
was Shelton.
thoroughly
straggle,
drawing
that
tothe "It
retrieve--or
drive
the
aggrieved
for
savages
asuch must
scared
goodly
the
an be deuced
partially
Kafirs
party.
were
with
enormous
number
However,rough
following
all
would
retrieve--the
the
after
herd
hustling
hardly
them.tolet
let's
them
throughbe
get sold
disaster
to
These
insuch
and
on.
the
the a
by the
fro
had one
We've
still."
prize
thick
of they ofhad
tobush
bush.
go
day.
got
be your
without own asmen.
out-manoeuvred,
our
as Many
had--and
near
workstraining
of all
the
they
beganStill,
before
animals
dared,
every
yet if
tous
it
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN. 72

Cautiously, then, the party retreated with their spoil, seeking a favourable
outletunwieldy
their by whichcapture
they could
into drive
the open country; for on all sides the way out of
the valley
bushy. was steep,
Suddenly broken,
a shout and and of consternation went up from a man
of warning
on thewere
eyes left turned
of the advance. All from him upon the point to which he signalled.
on him--and

What they saw there was enough to send the blood back to every heart.
CHAPTER NINETEEN. 73

CHAPTER NINETEEN.

THE LAST CARTRIDGE.

This is what they saw.

Over the brow of the high ridge, about a mile in their rear, a dark mass was
advancing.
ants' It was
nest--on theylike a disturbed
came, those dark forms, swarming over the hill--and the
sun glinted on
gun-barrels assegai
as the blades
savage hostand
poured down the steep slope, glancing from
bush to bush, rapidly and in
silence.

"I'm afraid we shall have to give up the cattle, lads, and fight our way out,"
said Shelton,
strength of theasadvancing
he took inKafirs.
the full"Those chaps mean business, and there are
too
us."many of them and too few of

"We'll make it hot for 'em, all the same," said Carhayes, with a scowl. "I have
just put two more
gun-stock--not nicks
sure on myto have had four or five, but am only certain of
I oughtn't
two--Hallo! That's near."
It was. A bullet had swept his hat off, whirling it away a dozen yards. At the
same
to time
issue puffs
from theof smoke and
hillside, began
the twigs of the bushes beyond were sadly cut
about as the
hummed enemy's missiles
overhead--but always overhead--pretty thickly. At first, the said
enemy
himself,was rather they
although charycould
of showing
see groups of red figures flitting from bush to
bush,potlegs
and and thebecame
whiggemore
of bullets
and more unpleasantly near, while from the slope
abovebursting
kept jets of smoke
forth atand flame
all points.

The plan of the whites was to make a running fight of it. While one-half of
the patrol
other half drove
was toon theon
fight cattle,
foot,the
covering their comrades' retreat, but always
keeping near enough to close up, if
necessary.

"Now, boys--let 'em have it!" cried Shelton, as a strong body of the enemy
made a sudden
flank to rushattention,
draw their upon their left another party, with a chorus of shouts and
while
deafening
their whistles,
assegais and waving
and karosses, darted in between the cattle and their captors,
with theoff
driving object of separating and
the former.

A volley was discharged--with deadly effect, as testified by the number who


fell,
dead.wounded, maimed,
The rest rushed on,orgliding
stone in among the fleeing cattle--whistling and
yelling in a frenzy of excitement.
"Keep cool, boys, and fire low," cried Carhayes--who was in command of the
dismounted
of party--as
Kafirs suddenly a crowd
started up on their rear, and, with assegais uplifted,
threatened a determined charge.
"Now!"

about
Again
steeds
of
leaping,
But
hotly
from
at the
the
the
the
as
two
their
savages.
there
as
respite
to
ochre-smeared
latter.
they
fleeing
force
shooting
was
, were,
but
was
Then,
But
them
aKafirs
roar,
taking
however
only
began
now.
without
toas
warriors.
aat
close
advantage
Steady
the
temporary
to
long
bad
show
pausing
whole
uprange,
had
of
Itonrestiveness,
was
eye,
of
fire
their
been
one.
to
the
our
too
and
was
reload,
comrades,
Changing
bush
their
frontiersmen
much.
cool
poured
terrified
marksmanship
he
every
of
The
pressed
his
brain,
in
into
man
latter
order
tactics,
by
were
the
they
the
the
discharged
wavered,
advancing
to
now
handful
earlier
continuous
the
avoid
werein
fierce
keenly
ain
being
then
his
ofmass.
the
foe
whites who
Even
crash
revolver
dropped
no
coup
entirely
day,
different
alive
longer
while
to
de
the
ofevery
surrounded
main
firing
into
vein.
horses,
attempted
excited
cover.
the
formed
opportunity.
There
and
steady,
very
and
the
and
an
was
the
thick
fierce
practising
open
cut
trained
rear
nothing
of
off
yells
guard
the wildso
CHAPTER NINETEEN. 74

Directly a Kafir showed his head he was morally certain to receive a ball
through
as to makeit, or
himsofeel
uncomfortably
as if he had close
escaped by a miracle, and think twice about
exposing himself a second time.
Meanwhile the cattle were being driven off by the enemy, and indeed matters
had become
render this a so serious
mere as to consideration. From the bush on three sides a
secondary
continuous
had firebeen
the Kafirs was even
kept up, and
moderately decent shots not a man of that patrol
would through
partly have livedfeartooftell the tale;themselves,
exposing but partly through fear of their own
fire-arms,
were to the use
completely of which they
unaccustomed, the savages made such wild shooting that
their
Now missiles
and then,flew high overhead.
however, a shot would take effect. One man received a bullet
in the shoulder,
bridle another
hand shattered. had hisof the horses were badly wounded, but, as yet,
Several
there were
enemy, no fatalities.
confident in the The
strength of his overwhelming numbers, waxed
bolder--crowding
Every bush was alive in closer and closer.
with Kafir warriors, who kept starting up when and
where
that leasthave
would expected
been in a manner
highly disconcerting to any but cool and determined
men.
But this is just what these were. All hope of saving the spoil had been
abandoned. The
dismounted now,frontiersmen,
were fighting the savages in their own way, from bush to
bush.
"This is getting rather too hot," muttered Shelton, with an ominous shake of
the head. "We
in directly. Ourshall
best be hemmed
chance would be for someone to break through and ride
to the camp
hesitated for help."anyone
to despatch Yet he upon so dangerous a service.

Just then several assegais came whizzing in among them. Two horses were
transfixed,
slight woundandinHoste received a
the leg.

"Damn!" he cried furiously, stamping with pain, while a roar of laughter went
up from
catch his fellows,
a squint at John"Let me sooty mug! Ah!"
Kafir's

His piece flew to his shoulder--then it cracked. He had just glimpsed a


woolly head,
jackal's decked with
skin, peering fromabehind
strip ofa bush not twenty yards away, and whose
owner, doubtless,
laughter attracted by thewhites, had put it forward to see what the
of those devil-may-care
fun was about.
struggling sound,A kicking,
mingled with stifled groans, seemed to show that the shot
had been effective.
"Downed him! Hooray!" yelled Hoste, still squirming under the smart of the
assegai prick
ofloepers thatintime--must
his calf. "Charge
have knocked daylight through him!"

Taking advantage of this diversion, a tall, gaunt Kafir, rising noiselessly amid
adeliberately
mass of tangledaiming creepers, was So silent had been his movements, so
at somebody.
occupied
he were the
was entirely other whites,
unperceived. Histhat
eye went down to the breech. He seemed to
require a long and careful aim.
But just then he was perceived by one, and instinctively Eustace brought his
piece
For liketo abear.
flashBut
hehe did that
noted not fire.
the savage was aiming full at Carhayes' back .
The latter,
other
bush,
powder
With
peril--his
adirection.
surrounded
frightful
and
broad
sublimely
the Eustace
crash
back
fascination,
by ruthless
unconscious
turned
of felt
volleys.
his
he
full
enemies,
crouched
heart
to
She
ofthehis
going
was
deadly
the
deadly
motionless.
his
sweet
like
now--his
tube
peril,
aface
hammer,
of Carhayes
was
of
the
atEanswyth
savage.
last.
keenly
andThe
was
heThe
alert
turned
life
passed
stillon
which
the
lookstood
white
before
had
stood
unconscious
distance
latterout
could
no
and
him,
was
for
more.
between
cold.
not
amid
an
of
barely
enemy
his
miss.
There
the
them
imminent
fifteen
smoke
in
in now
the
theyards.
of
wild The
CHAPTER NINETEEN. 75

It all passed like lightning--the awful, the scathing temptation. He could not
do it. And
finger withever
pressed the thought,
so lightlyhis
on the trigger, and the Kafir crashed heavily
backward, shot
brain--while thethrough
ball fromthehis gun, which, with a supreme effort he had
discharged
hummed in his death
perilously nearthroes,
his intended victim's head.

"Hallo, Milne! You got in that shot just right," cried one of the men, who had
turned in timethe
situation--not to take in of
whole theit, luckily.

Eustace said nothing. His better nature had triumphed. Still, as he slipped a
fresh cartridge
piece, there wasinto his smoking
a feeling of desolation upon him, as though the intoxicating
sense of
world possessing
had been withinthehis
whole
grasp, and as suddenly reft from it again. The
extremely
he--in whichcritical position
the whole in which passed unheeded. "Fool!" whispered the
party--stood,
tempting,
had gibing fiend.and
your opportunity "You
you threw it away. You will never have it again.
She
Neveris lost to you
can you forever
hope now. her!"
to possess

And now the firing opened from an unexpected quarter--and behold, the
bushywarriors.
Kafir slope in front was alive
The patrol was with
entirely surrounded, and now the savages
began to shout exultantly to each
other.

"We have got the white men in a hole," they cried. "Ha! They cannot get out.
Look, the
bright, butsun is shining
it will be darkvery
for the white men long before it touches the hill.
They are caught
trap.Hau !" like wolves in a

"Ho-ho! Are they!" sung out Carhayes, in reply to this taunt. "When a wolf is
caught
kill himinwithout
a trap, the dogshis
feeling cannot
teeth. The Amaxosa dogs have caught not a wolf,
but a lion.
bites." AndHere
quickis as
one of his he brought up his rifle and picked off a tall
lightning
Gcaleka,
bush who was
to another flittingoffrom
a couple one yards above. The Kafir lurched heavily
hundred
forward,
the earth convulsively
with both hands. clutching
A yell of rage arose from the savages and a perfect
hail of bullets
whistling andthe
around assegais came
whites--fortunately still overhead.

"Aha!" roared Carhayes with a shout of reckless laughter. "Now does any
other Ha,
bite? dog ha!
want to feel
I am the lion's
he whom the people call Umlilwane. `The Little Fire' can
burn. He kraal
burn the it wasofwho helped
Sarili, to Chief of the House of Gcaleka. He it is who
the Great
has `burned'
many dogs ofthe
thelife outofofXosa. He will burn out the lives of many more! Ha,
race
ha--dogs--
forth! blackcan
Try who scum!
standCome
before The Little Fire and not be burned up--utterly
consumed
dogs, comeaway!
forth!"Come forth,

Catching their comrade's dare-devil spirit, the men laughed and cheered
wildly.
and rage,But the Kafirs,
forgot full of hate
their prudence. A great mass of them leaped from their cover,
and shrilling their
war-whistles, snappedwildtheir assegais off short, and bore down upon the
handful
charge. of whites in full impetuous
Critical
almost
celerity
cross-fire
With
hand
who
His hair
showed
of
a roar
aof
as
aand
case
dead
upon
the
like
beard
the
of
moment
savages
Kafir,
the
aselling
slightest
wild
fairly
compact
dashed
themselves,
beast,
was,
their
bristled,
signonrushing
the
lives
among
Carhayes
oflatter
resistance
his
dearly.
and
the
eyes
were
mass
sprang
before
fallen
They
glared,
prepared
orthat
these
even
and
from
instantly
inasstruggling
aof
his
could
he
never
second
life.
stood
cover
gave
so
more
Athe
Berserk
much
erect,
foe,
and,
way,
ground
dangerously
striking
wrenching
melting
as
whirling
ferocity
was
to
cool
into
swerve,
strewn
aheap
right
seemed
the
heavy
heavy
cover
than
and
ofwith
humanity.
to
they
knob-kerrie
left,
now
club,
have
with
apoured
groaning,
braining
when
the
spattered
seized
serpent-like
from
it
such
was
the
all
writhing
and
athe
those
man.
deadly
CHAPTER NINETEEN. 76

shiny with blood and brains. He roared again:

"Ho, dogs! Come and stand before the lion! Come, feel his bite--who dares?
Ha, ha!"
kerrie he laughed,
down bringingcrash
with a sickening the upon the head of a prostrate warrior
whom
makinghea last
had desperate
detected instab
theatacthim
of with an assegai--shattering the skull to
atoms. "Come,
cowards. Come,stand before
and be me,to atoms."
ground

But to this challenge no answer was returned. There was a strange silence
among
portend?theThat
enemy. What
he was did to
about it throw up the game and withdraw? No such
luck.heHis
and wasstrength
burningwas toovengeful
with great, rage at the loss of so many men. It could
only mean
some that desperate
new and he was planning
move.

"I say, Milne, lend us a few cartridges; I've shot away all mine."

Eustace, without a word, handed half a dozen to the speaker. The latter, a fine
young
was fellow his
enjoying of twenty-one,
first experience in the noble game of war. He had been
blazing conscious
though away throughout the day as
of the presence of a waggon-load of ammunition in the
patrol.
"Thanks awfully--Ah-h!"

The last ejaculation escaped him in a kind of shuddering sigh. His features
grew livid,
which he hadandjust
thegrasped
cartridges
dropped from his grasp as he sank to the ground
withcrawled
had scarcelyup a struggle.
behind him,A Kafir
and had stabbed him between the shoulders with
athrough
broad-bladed assegai--right
to the heart. A deep vengeful curse went up from his comrades, and
they looked
object on whichwildly around
to exact for an
retribution. In vain. The wily foe was not going to
show himself.
But the incident threw a new light upon the state of affairs, and a very lurid
one it was. Several
ammunition, but had had run out from
refrained of saying so lest the fact, becoming known,
shouldit discourage
Now was of no use thedisguising
others. matters further. There were barely fifty
rounds left among
patrol--that thesomething
is to say, whole less than a round and a half per man. And
they wereof
hundreds still
thehemmed in by hemmed in, too, as the recent fatality proved,
enemy, closely
and it till
hours stilldark.
wanted a good
Small many
wonder that a very gloomy expression rested upon
almost
positionevery countenance.
was almost as bad The
as it could possibly be.
CHAPTER TWENTY. 77

CHAPTER TWENTY.

THE TABLES TURNED AGAIN.

Suddenly a tremendous volley crashed forth from the hillside on their left
front, followed
another immediately
on the right. by
For a moment the men looked at each other in silence,
and the expression
determination of gloomy
hitherto depicted on their countenances gave way to one of
animated and half-incredulous
relief.

For no sound of hostile volley was that. No. Help was at hand. Already they
couldtosee
bush the in
bush Kafirs gliding
groups, from to make good their retreat, thoroughly
hastening
disconcerted
disastrous by this new and
surprise.

"Whoop!--Hooray! Yoicks forward!" shouted the beleaguered combatants,


each man
form giving
of cheer, his particular
varying from savage war-cry to view halloo. They were wild
with excitement,
reason not onlyfor
of their unlooked bydeliverance from almost certain massacre, but
also on account
position of being
to turn the tablesinupon
a their skulking foe.

Then came the crack--crack--crack--of the rifles of the new arrivals, who
advancedcaution,
without rapidly,through
yet not the
entirely
bush, picking off the retreating Kafirs as these
showed
from themselves
cover to cover.inAnd
fleeing
above the crackle of the dropping shots rang out the
wild notes ofplayed.
villainously a bugle,A roar of laughter went up from our friends.

"Brathwaite's Horse for a fiver!" cried Hoste. "That's Jack Armitage's post-
horn. I know its infamous
bray--And--there's old himself."
Brathwaite

"Any of you fellows hurt?" sung out the latter, a fine, stalwart frontiersman,
who, down
rode with several
upon the of group.
his men,The remainder were spread out in skirmishing
line onofeither
rattle side,showing
their fire the irregular
that they were still busy peppering the enemy in
sight.
"One man killed," answered Shelton. "It's Parr, poor chap."

"So? Well, fall in with us and come on. We haven't done with Jack Kafir yet."

"Can't. We're all but cleaned out of ammunition."

"So?" said Brathwaite again. "We've turned up none too soon then.
Fortunately we've got plenty."
A hurried levy was made upon the cartridge belts of the new arrivals, and
thus reinforced
word, in every
the Kaffrarian men,sense
keenoftotheavenge their comrade and retrieve their
position,
and the wholefell inforce
with moved
their rescuers,
rapidly forward in pursuit of the enemy.
But the
have
they
"There
over
"We
race for
must
could
which
melted
they
latter
them,
get
stomach,
ago!"
into
number
had
the
too,earth
suddenly
cattle,"
hastened
forthey
of
they'll
orKafirs
cried
air.
were
shouted
tohave
Ifmake
Brathwaite,
not
were
thirty-five
got
going
someone,
himself
swarming
a good
towhites--a
Shelton
stand
scarce.
pointing
start.
in against
full
They
With
having
mere
retreat.
to characteristic
are
the
that
handful--had
hurriedly
sure
almost
A
handful
tremendous
to bare
take
given
given
celerity,
multiplied
brow
fusillade
point,
him
them the
about
right
of
but
particulars.
athe
was
with
hill
by
away
as
wily
opened
three.
about
much
slight
to
savages
that
"And
half
fighting
effect.
upon
big
aseemed
we
mile
this
bit
The
as
must
of
away,
distance
to was too great.
CHAPTER TWENTY. 78

forest which runs down to the coast. Once there they are safe as far as we are
concerned. I know this strip of
country."

Armitage, the man who owned the bugle, and who was known to most there
present
name, aseither personally
a licenced or by
wag and an incorrigible practical joker, was instructed to
blowina hideous
did, call of assembly. This he
and discordant fashion, and the men collected. Briefly
Brathwaite explained the situation.
"Beyond this first rise there's another," he said. "Beyond, that there's five ; then the strip
veldt
of
miles
forest of open
I was mentioning. If we don't get the cattle in the open we shan't get
them at all. Forward!"
No second command was needed. The whole force pressed eagerly forward.
At length,
during after
which nota toilsome
an enemyride,
was seen, except here and there the body of a
dead crested
they one lyingtheinbrow
a pool
of of
theblood,
second ridge. A great shout arose.

"There they are! Now then, boys--cut 'em out!"

Away in front, about five miles distant, lay a long, dark line of forest. Half-
wayimmense
an betweenherd this of
andcattle
themselves
was streaming . The
across
drivers,
the veldt
about two score in number, were at first
seen to redouble their efforts to urge on the animals. Then, at sight of the
whitewith
them horsemen
a wildbearing down
cheer, they upon
incontinently abandoned their charge and fled
for dear life.
"Never mind the niggers," sang out Brathwaite, as one or two of his men
tried toKafirs.
flying rein in"Never
for a snap
mindshot at the
them. Head the cattle round for all you know. If
once theyany
may lose get number
into the of
bush we And spurring into a gallop he circled round
them."
before
by the excited
his whole troop.herd,
The followed
foremost beasts stopped short, throwing up their
heads
of with many and
bewilderment a snort andwhile
terror, bellowthe bulk of the herd pressed on. For some
minutes the
frenzied clashingthe
bellowing, of clouds
horns andof dust, and the excited shouts of the
horsemen
of din and made up anMany
confusion. indescribable scene rolled on the ground by the
of the animals,
plunging,or
trampled swaying
gored to mass,
deathwere
by their bewildered companions. At last the
tumultuous
subside, andexcitement
the animals, began
withtoheaving flanks and rolling eyes, stood huddled
together as
pleasure of if awaiting
their the
new drivers.

"Steady! Don't rush them," shouted Brathwaite. "Head them away quietly for
the open
don't for allbreak
let them you know, and
through."

More than one comical scene was enacted as the line of horsemen, extended
so as to
away gradually
from the bush,work drovethe their
herd charge forward. Now and then a cow, with a
calfprogeny,
her at her side, or haply
would turn and missing
furiously charge the line of horsemen, causing
an abrupt
two instances scatter,
the and
utterinand oneignominious
or flight of the doughty warrior singled
out, who to
thankful perchance
lay her out waswith onlya revolver
too shot in the nick of time to save himself
and
beinghisripped
steed,up or or
both,
impaledfrom by those vicious horns. But the best fun of all was
afforded
black-and-white
Jack
took
right
in
Then
alongside,
hideous
horse
pursuit. by
Armitage,
itangles
madcap
and
into
and athereto,
man
The
and
his huge
terrific
Jack, old
bull.
bending
massive
bull's
were
we have
madder
blast.
itrolling
vicious
followed,
over
cranium
said,
There
on
than
in
little
was
the
the
was
to
as
ever
eyes
bursting
ground,
saddle
suddenly
a amatter
with
ferocious
began
and
the
with
and
of
break
to
placing
excitement
course,
the
animal
roll
bellow--down
away
bull
wickedly,
his
that
galloped
spirits;
from
bugle
of
Armitage,
thethe
and
consequently
went
almost
day's
away
herd
from
the
being
events,
and
a trot
when
start
nearest
he
was
against
brute's
unimpeded.
broke
seen
offthe
head,
the
toon
into
to
aforesaid
him,
animal's
his
range
and,
a own
should
wild
lo,
his
quadruped
account
ear
gallop.
in
horse
spur
ahetwinkling
blew
away
at a
CHAPTER TWENTY. 79

Roars of laughter arose from the discomfited one's comrades, which did not
decreasebrute
savage as they watched
in the thecharging one of the retreating Kafirs, who
distance
seemed
by almost
this new as much
enemy as hedisconcerted
had been by the missiles of his human foes. Finally
both disappeared within the
bush.

"Hurt, old man?" cried Hoste, riding up as the fallen one found his feet again,
stood rubbing
and looking rather his shoulder
dazed with the shock. The horse had already struggled up.
Fortunately
horns for it,and
were short the blunt,
bull's and it seemed none the worse for the tumble.

"No. Had a devil of a shake-up, though. A bottle of doctor's stuff's a fool to


it."
"Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast--sings the poet. In this case it
hadn't," said
ancients mustEustace. "Those
have been awful liars. Eh, Armitage?"

"You bet. Hallo! Where's my old post-horn?" he went on, looking round for
his instrument,
discovered which
about he yards off, unharmed, save for a slight dent. Putting
a dozen
it to his lips he blew a frightful
fanfare.

"I say, Jack, you'll have the old bull back again," said Brathwaite. "Better
shut up. of
trumpet He's deadAnd
yours. nutsnow,
on that
theold
farther we get into the open, the better. We
mustn't Kafir
Johnny camp aanywhere
chance ofthat'll give
cutting out the cattle again."

"We've done a good day's work, anyhow," said Shelton. "This isn't half a bad
haul--and it's fairly decent stock
for Kafir stock."

"Kafir stock be damned!" growled Carhayes. "Whatever is decent among it is


stolenfor
sleep stock,
any you
of usbet. Not much
to-night, boys. We shall mostly all have to keep our eyes
skinned, if we are of
lot safe. Whoever to take
us areinnot
thison horse guard will be on cattle guard."

They were joined by the few men who had remained behind to guard the
corpse
was of their in
conveyed slain comrade.
a sort of litter,This
improvised of blankets and slung between
two quiet
dash horses; andofnow
and excitement theto the and pursuit, there succeeded a subdued
conflict
quiet, almost of
the presence a gloom,
the deadbyman
reason of midst. Still--it was the fortune of war.
in their
CHAPTER TWENTY 80

CHAPTER TWENTY

ONE.

UNDER ORDERS FOR HOME.

The Kaffrarian Rangers were ordered home.

To be strictly accurate, that redoubtable corps had applied to be withdrawn.


There
render was not enough
it worth the while to of
do the
to men who composed it--men mostly with a
substantial
remain any stake
longerinwasting
the country--to
their time in a series of fruitless patrols on the off-
chance
long of an occasional
distance veryGcaleka scout or two; for the enemy no longer
shot at a stray
attempted
He to meet
had suffered them inboth
severely, battle.
in men and possessions, and there were those
who
nearlydeclared
enoughthat
of it.heThe
hadFrontier
had Armed and Mounted Police and, if
necessary,along
stationed the regular troopswould
the border, now be sufficient to cope with any further
disturbance;
forces appliedsotomost of the volunteer
be withdrawn.

They had been several weeks --several


in the veldt
weeks absent from their farms and businesses. They had
rendered excellent service; had, in fact, constituted the very backbone of the
offensive
fair, operations.
now that It was only
there remained no more to be done, to allow them to return.
Brathwaite'ssoHorse
withdrawn, had already
had most of the mounted corps. The Kaffrarian Rangers were
nearly the last.
The men were in excellent health and spirits. They had lost one of their
number--the
had poorwith
met his fate young
the fellow who Shelton, and had been buried near
patrol under
where henone
wounds, fell--a
offew had
these received
being, however, of a very serious nature. But they had
left their
and weremark upon withal,
returning, the enemy,
in possession of a large number of the latter's
cattle.
fanciedYet they
they had a grievance, or
had.

They had not nearly enough fighting. The combined plan of the campaign
hadtheir
to not liking.
been carried
The enemyout according
had been suffered to escape just at the very
moment
to inflict when
upon him it was within their
a decisive and power
crushing blow. There had been too much of
the old those
among womanly element
intrusted with the conduct of affairs. In a word, the whole
business hadcharacteristic
thoroughly been bungled. andAnd in this
British growl none joined more heartily than
Tom Carhayes.
There was one, however, who in no wise joined in it at all, and that one was
Eustace
enough of Milne. He had had
campaigning to last him for the present, and for every reason
mightily
were welcomed
ordered home. theOf news
late anthat they longing had corrie upon him to return,
intense
but nowconsummation
desired that that ardently had been attained he realised that it was dashed with
the sickening and
consciousness desolating
of hopes shattered. The campaign, so far as he was concerned,
had been barren of result.
But for him--but for his intervention--Tom Carhayes would have been a dead
free.
have
Even
decorum.
who
Why
yielding
man,interferes
The
sped
had
now
and toKafir
he
But
true,
he
anintervened
would
no,
idiotic
Eanswythin
could
andwhat
thehappiness
be
scruple,
cup
not
doesn't
hurrying
wouldtohave
was
save
be had
for
shattered
concern
missed
his
back
him--for
deliberately
cousin's
to
athim
in
claim
that
his
her--would
life?
deserves
distance.
grasp,
flung
her--that
When
back
and
allBut
have
Fortune
is,
he
his
into
for
allowing
gets,"
become
own
her
his
was
was
face
playing
for
the
the
the
a
interference
blissful,
reasonable
hand
grimly
lashed
directly
chance
not proffer
that
his
disgusted
she
into
golden,
had
mind
period
ithad
the
his
again.
shattered
held
bullet
hands
again
reality
reflection
exacted
His
out.
and
of
he,
of
it.
opportunity
She
the
a"A
by
again.
which
lifetime.
savage
would
man would
had occurred and he had let it go by.
CHAPTER TWENTY 81

Yet he could not have acted otherwise. Could he not? he thought savagely, as
at thatstruck
voice moment uponhishis
cousin's
ear. Not that its utterances contained anything
objectionable,
frame of mind,but to the
there waslistener's
something then
insufferably self-assertive in their very
tone.theCould
get chancehe again.
not? LetButhim
thisonly
he never would. It was thought by many that
the war was practically at an end.
If his cousin had been a different stamp of man and one built of finer clay, it
is more than
Eustace would probable that differently--would have conquered that
have acted
overmastering
had so long andand so unlawful
successfullyloveconcealed,
which he or at any rate would have fled
from temptation.
otherwise. But itwas
The fellow wassuch
far a rough, assertive, thick-headed,
inconsiderate
appreciate his boor, utterly unable
own splendid to
good fortune. He deserved no mercy. Yet this
the being to whom
was bound--whom, Eanswyth
moreover, she had managed to tolerate with every
semblance
until of, athad
he himself anylaid
rate,siege
contentment,
to the castle of her outwardly calm, but
glowingly
carried passionate
it by storm, bynature,
a singleand hadde main .
coup

And now? How could she ever resume that old contented toleration, how
relegate
Every himself to word
look--every an outside place.
of hers-- during that last walk, when he had come
upon her
sweet andsoclinging
unexpectedly--every
caress during that last parting, was burnt into his memory
as with red-hot
seemed that theirons.
curtainAnd now
must beitrung down on everything. Tom Carhayes was
returning in rude
more boastful, health;
a more louder, personality than ever. Let the very heavens
aggressive
fall!
A change had come over Eustace. He became moody and taciturn, at times
strangelytemperament.
equable irritable for one
Thisofwas
his noticed by many; wondered at by some.

"Why, what's the row with you, old chap!" said Carhayes one day in his bluff,
off-hand
sorry thatmanner.
we can't"Sick
scareand
up another fight, eh?"

"Milne's conscience is hitting him hard over the number of his `blanket
friends' he hasman,
cut in another shot already. Ha, ha!"guffaw.
with an asinine

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Kaffrarian Rangers were ordered home. The order reached them in their
camp on the
they acted Bashi,
upon andpreparations
it. No forthwith delayed the setting out of such a light-
marching-order
the corps.
breakfasts were Accordingly
cooked and eaten, the camp was struck, and the whole
troop started upon its homeward
way.

"I say, Hoste!" said Carhayes, while they were breakfasting on boiled mealies
and to
say ration beef.
a shoot "What
before wedoleave
you this? We are bound to get a bushbuck ram or
two in some of these kloofs."
"Haven't you shot away enough cartridges yet, Tom?" laughed Hoste. "Still I
think weamight
only for change tryafter
for athe
buck if
niggers; besides, we can eat the buck, which is
part say,
you
"What
"All of
nodded
river the
right.
bank
do change.
Payne?
assent.
IWe'll
for
say?two I'mthree
Will
"That'll
have
I say
or on.
you
some
it's
make What
cut
the in?"do
hours,
sport
most
four then!"
and
of
damn
us--we
catch
said
idiotic
up
don't
Carhayes.
the
idea
want
troop
I ever
"You'll
any
in heard
camp
more,"
come,
mooted,"
to-night.
he too,
wentWe
answered
"Still--I'll
Eustace?
on.
are
"Likely
bound
"Weso can
That's
Payne
cut
to
are
just
get
in."
the
right,"
some
sententiously.
hunt
niggers,"
down
sport."
as Eustace
murmured
the the more prudent Payne.
CHAPTER TWENTY 82

The commander of the troop, when applied to, made no decided objection to
the have
we abovesaid,
scheme. There was,
no discipline as ordinary sense of the word, the offices of
in the
command
they being elective.
were under orders to Besides,
return straight home, which was practically
disbandment.
the So,he
undertaking, while not forbidding
pointed out to those concerned that it might involve
serious riskato
was rather themselves; in
crack-brained a word,
idea.

"Just what I said," remarked Payne laconically, lighting his pipe.

"Then why do you go, old chap?" asked one of the bystanders with a laugh.

"That's just what I don't know myself," was the reply, delivered so tranquilly
and deliberately
general roar. as to evoke a

The camp had been pitched upon high ground overlooking the valley of the
Bashi, which
rugged ran beneath
bush-clad between
banks. So the troop set forth on its homeward way, while
our fourheads
horses' friends, turning
in the theirdirection, struck downward into the thick bush
opposite
along the river bank.
CHAPTER TWENTY 83

CHAPTER TWENTY

TWO.

"WE ARE FOUR FOOLS."

For upwards of two hours they forced their way through the thick scrub, but
success did not crown
efforts--did even waittheirupon the same. Once or twice a rustle and a
scamper in had
something frontgot
announced
up and brokenthat away, but whatever it was, owing to the
thickness of the
celerity with bushit and
which made theitself scarce, not one of the hunters could
determine--being
catch a glimpse ofunable so much
the quarry. as to wearied with their failure to obtain
At length,
sportgained
they under abnormal
the edge of difficulties,
the river, and there, upon a patch of smooth
greensward
cliff, beneathtothe
they decided cool shade
off-saddle andof a a snack.
have

"By Jove!" exclaimed Hoste, looking complacently around. "This is a lovely


spot for
John a picnic.
Kafir have usBut
in wouldn't
a hole just, if he were to come upon us now?"

"We are four fools," said Payne sententiously.

"We are," growled Carhayes. "You never said a truer word than that. Four
damned
shot fools to in
at anything think we'dofget
a strip a country we've been chevying niggers up
cursed
and
Anddownas thefor
ideathewas
lastmine,
six weeks.
I suppose I'm the champion fool of the lot," he
added with
haven't fireda asavage laugh.
shot this "Wemorning, and have had all our trouble for
blessed
nothing."
This was not precisely the reflection that Payne's words were intended to
convey. But he said nothing.
"I'm not sure we have had our trouble for nothing," put in Eustace. "It's grand
country, anyhow."
It was. Magnificent and romantic scenery surrounded them; huge
perpendicular
hundreds krantzes
of feet; towering
piles upon pilesup
ofmany
broken rocks and boulders, wherein the
luxuriant
had profuselyand tangled vegetation
taken root; great rifts and ravines, covered with dense black
forest, and
current theriver
of the swiftjoining
murmuring
its music with the piping of birds from rock and
brake.
But the remark was productive of a growl only from Carhayes. He had not
comehad
had outenough
to lookandat scenery.
to spareThey
of that during the campaign. He had come out to
get
got ait.shot at a buck, and hadn't

Pipes were lighted, and the quartette lounged luxuriously upon the sward.
The frowning
towering grandeur
heights, of theglow of the sunlight upon the tree-tops, the soft,
the golden
sensuous
air, the humwarmth of theand
of insects, summer
the plashing murmur of the river, unconsciously
affected all four--even
dissatisfied Tom Carhayes. grumbling,
"Whisht!"
"What's
Up
the
as everybody
stones,
the sunlit
thesaid
ofrow,
river
unshod
knows,
Payne
George?"
came
is
hoofs.
suddenly,
aagreat
sound--a
whispered
Mingling
conductor
holding
sound
Hoste
with
upof
audible
this
his
below
sound.
hand
were
tohis
Though
to
all
other
breath.
enjoin
now,
sounds--the
more
asilence,
"Hear
sound
thanfamiliar
and
half
low a
starting
The
For
anything?"
to
murmur
mile
all--the
answer
others
distant,
from
oftread
were
human
Payne
they
hisof
prompt
lounging
recognised
waved
hoofs
voices.to
upon
his
Water,
attitude.
follow
hand
the his
again
example.
and went on listening intently.
CHAPTER TWENTY 84

deep tones and inflections of Kafir voices, whose owners were evidently
coming
same down
side to the river on the
as themselves.

From their resting place the river ran in a long, straight reach. Peering
cautiously
were able to through
command the bushes, they immediately several large oxen, with
this. Almost
great the
from branching horns,
forest, and, emerged
entering the water, splashed through to the other side.
They were
drivers, threefollowed by theirwho plunged into the river in their wake, holding
naked Kafirs,
their assegais
heads, for the high
waterover
cametheir
fully breast-high. They could even hear the rattle of
the assegai
climbed up hafts as the savages
the opposite bank, laughing like children as they shook the water
drops from their
well-greased sleek,
skins. They counted thirteen head of cattle.

"A baker's dozen, by Jove! Stolen, of course," whispered Hoste.! if" only Allamaghtaag
we had known of that
before we might have gone [Waylay]
to voer-ly
that drift, for it must be a drift. We might have bagged all
three niggers and trundled the oxen back to camp. A full span, save three.
Suppose
That'll bethey've eaten theschelms
one apiece--the rest. !"

"It isn't altogether too late now," said Carhayes. "I smell some fun ahead. Let
themwe'll
then get upgoover
downtheand
rise, andif their spoor seems worth following."
look

"And what if they are only the advance guard of a lot more?" suggested
Hoste.
"They are not," was the confident reply. "There are too few beasts and too
few sticking
fun niggers. out
I tell
foryou
us."there's some

Quickly the horses were saddled. A high, bushy ridge precluded all chance of
their
by thepresence being discovered
three marauders as soon as the latter had crossed the river, and it
certainlyThen,
before. had not beenallowed
having discovered
sufficient time to elapse, they forded the river
and
side,rode
so asforward on theonother
to converge the spoor leading up from the drift below.

"Here it is--as plain as mud," said Carhayes, bending over in his saddle to
examine
sandy, the ground,
showed which, dryand
the hoof-prints andfootmarks so plainly that a child might
have the
over followed
rise bythem.
now, "They
and theare well
way isn't so rough as I expected. Our plan is to
make straight
hill. We for up
can't get themuch
top ofquicker
the than they can, I'm afraid, unless we want
to blow
don't. Butouronce
horses, which
we are we we shall find it
up there , and
all open
all we've
veldtgot to do is to ride them down in
the open, shoot the niggers, and head the stock back for the river again.
Anyone propose an amendment to that
resolution?"

"We are four fools," said Payne laconically, knocking the ashes out of his
pipe and pocketing that useful
implement.

"Ja! That's so," said Carhayes, joining heartily in the laugh which greeted this
"We
Theremark.
we case
on
extreme for
acquiesced
"A track,
justofthe"And
care,
are,"
rough
the fun, now,
silently,
lest
criedthat's
tailand
the
wagging
but boys,
Hoste,
stony,
clink
as are
thethey
question?"
whose
of
the
took
the
dog,"
caught
longer
hoof-stroke
dare-devil
presently
each
to follow
other's
recklessness
ofwhispered
athan
shod
glance,
they
horse
was
Payne
ahad
curious
perchance
akin
expected.
to Eustace.
tosatirical
that of
Carhayes.
twinkle
both
"Two
fools!"
Moreover
stumbling
men.
wise
lurked
they
The
on
men the
other
in
had
led
rocky
theto
bytwo
eyes
exercise
two
wayofshould
CHAPTER TWENTY 85

be borne to the quick, watchful ears of those they were following. At length,
however,
was theand
gained, brow of the
there ridge
before them lay a rolling expanse of open country, yet
not so openfor
predicted, asitCarhayes
was prettyhadthickly dotted with mimosa, and the grass was
long, coarse,
rapid and tangled,
riding dangerous rendering
in parts.

Suddenly they came right upon a kraal nestling in a mimosa covered valley.
Three old
against onehags were
of the seatedshaped huts, otherwise the place seemed quite
beehive
deserted. No
seen--not children
even were tocur
a half-starved be skulking around--and of men or cattle there
was
wereno sign. Thehad
following spoor
growntheyvery indistinct, and here seemed to split up into
several directions.
The old women, frightful, toothless crones, all wrinkles and flaps, showed no
signs of alarm
unexpected at this of the invading white men. On the contrary, they
appearance
began quavering
shrill, to abuse them roundly in a
treble.

"Macbethin excelsis !" murmured Eustace at sight of them.

"Stop that cackling, you old hell-cats!" said Carhayes with a growl like that
of a savage
revolver anddog, as heitdrew
pointed right his
at them, a pantomime which they thoroughly
understood,
abuse droppedfortotheir high-pitched
a most doleful howl. "Here, Eustace. You can patter the
lingo better
haven't than any damn
the patience, of us, it!
andAskI these old rag bags which way the fellows
with the oxen took."
"We know nothing about men or oxen," came the prompt and whimpering
reply.
"You do know. Tell us quickly!" repeated Eustace warningly.

Sullenly the first disclaimer was reiterated.

A furious expletive burst from Carhayes.

"We can't lose any more time being fooled by these infernal old hags!" he
cried. five
count "If they don't
I'll put tell usthrough
a bullet before Ieach of them. Now-- Inye--zimbini--zintatu
..." [One-- two--three.]

"Hold hard, don't be a fool," warned Payne. "The shots are bound to be
heard."
"So they are. I know a better trick than that." And striking a match Carhayes
walked hut.
nearest his horse up tosufficient.
This was the The old crones shrieked for mercy, while one
of them quavered out:
"Ride that way,abelungu
!" [White men] pointing in a direction they had not intended to take. "But you
will far."
have to ride far--very

Believing they had inspired sufficient terror to insure the truth of this
information,
time
abandonwasted
followed
which
down
ejaculation
"Hurrah!into
hadtheir
by
Now and
in
abeen
burst
kloof,
the furiously
eliciting
spoil
we'll
other
more
from
and
until
cut it,
three.
or
the
up
'em
lesscursing
Carhayes
absolutely
the
lips
out!"
But the
scattered
other
ofthe
all crammed
yelled
side.
forced
old
four.
and
crone's the
Carhayes,
Then,
Nearly
to spurs
indistinct,
doas
statement
so,
athey
mile into
asredoubledhisthe
converged
they
gained
inproved
front,
dashed horse's
their
into oneflanks
stringing
correct.
brow
forward
efforts,
ofAup
yet
in
as
and
couple
broad
with started
aanother
the
pursuit.
karosses
long,
thirteen
loud
spoor.
of off
gradual
ridge,
The
they
miles
shouts at
oxen, aexcited
Kafirs,
Another
strove
an gallop,
acclivity,
further
and
urged
loath
to
waving
ridge,
accelerate
the
forward
trotted
totracks,
then by thethree
pacenatives.
of the already overdriven animals.
CHAPTER TWENTY 86

"We'd better risk a long shot," shouted Hoste, as it became apparent that the
pursued
the wereinvery
rise, and nearmoment
another the top of
would be out of sight. "There may be a lot of
bush,lose
may on the other side, and we
them."

"No. Better not lose time or distance," said the more prudent Payne. "We'll
have 'em directly."
CHAPTER TWENTY 87

CHAPTER TWENTY

THREE.

"ONWARD THEY PLY--IN DREADFUL RACE."

The Kafirs, with their spoil, had disappeared, and on the pursuers gaining the
ridge,
had there seemed,
suggested, as Hoste
a pretty good chance of losing them altogether; for the mere
depression
which they of theracing,
were groundnarrowed
down and deepened into a long, winding valley,
thickly
bushes andovergrown with
tall grass. mimosa
The marauders could now be seen straining every nerve
to gain this--with
possible--if their booty,
not, without if shouted summons to them to stand or be
it. Every
shot
of seemed
causing onlytotoredouble
them have thetheir
effect
efforts--winding in and out among the grass
and thorn-bushes
rapidity of serpents.with the

The pursuers were gaining. Rough and tangled as the ground now became,
the speed
tell in the of horses
race. A few was bound to
moments more and the spoil would be theirs. Suddenly,
but very quietly, Eustace said:
"I say, you fellows--don't look round, but--turn your horses' heads and ride We are in a trap
!"
like the devil!
The amazed, the startled look that came upon the faces of those three would
have beenbut
extreme, entertaining in the of the occasion. However, they were men
for the seriousness
accustomed
Accordingly,totheycritical situations.
slackened, as directed, and suddenly headed round their
horses asthe
abandon if they had decided to
pursuit.

Not a minute too soon had come Eustace's discovery and warning. Like the
passing
gust, themovement of a sudden
grass and bushes rustled and waved, as a long line of ambushed
savages sprang
with a wild and up on eitheryell
deafening side, and forward upon the thoroughly
charged
disconcerted and now sadly demoralised
four.

The Kafirs had been lying hidden in horseshoe formation. Had our friends
advanced
their dooma would
hundred yards
have beenfurther
sealed. They would have been hemmed in
completely.
Eustace Happily,
uttered however,
his warning, when
they had not quite got between the extremities
of the "shoe."
As it stood, however, the situation was appalling to the last degree. Terrified
to madness,
almost the horses rearing
unmanageable, becameand plunging in a perfect frenzy, of fear, and it
was all that
to steer themtheir ridersthe
through could do thorn-bushes, a single plunge into one of
bristling
which would,
going, hurl both at steed
the rate and they
rider were
to the earth. And, again, the wild war-cry
pealedand
bush through
tussock theofvalley, and every
grass enemies--seemed
seemed to grow to swarm with dark, sinuous forms, to blaze with
the gleam of assegai blades and rolling eyeballs. The race for spoil had
become a race for life.
There had been barely a hundred yards between them and their assailants
this
grass,
the
best,
pressed--their
ashouting,
behind
white
swarming
close
shot
whenmounted
distance
whereas
up
men
and
was
feared
the and
rending
numbers
the
fired.
alive.
had
men.
intercept
latter the
to
fact
lithe,
injure
Either
On
alarmingly
Kafir
the
firstMoreover
that
of
sinuous,
itair
the
them
sped,
they
sprangtheir
warriors,
those
with
main
were
further
friends
decreased,
that
up,ochre-greased
the
who
their
body,
horses,
fearful
active,
andbeing
led
shrill,
on,
in"horns"
did
front;
at
forced
for
race,
in
hard
ear-splitting
some
not
no
the
bodies
or
as
the
care
began
small
up-hill,
nature
for
point
iron,
pursuers
to
flashing
some
degree
to
waste
best
had
of
war-whistles.
tended
spread
the
reason
the
known
slowly
through
blown
time
ground,
advantage
to
out
of
neutralise
into
but
at
after
their
stopping
the
Although
an
rough
surely
grass
their
angle
own
on
andthe
whatever
recent
that
like
many
they
gaining.
to
themselves.
aim,
overgrown
rough
serpents--whooping,
were
of
line
spurt,
and
And
them
advantage
anxious
of
ground.
those
were
flight
now,
had
withwho
not
guns,
to
from
On
asmight
long,
capture
though
at
were
they
the
their
yet
tangled
lienot
the
to
with
CHAPTER TWENTY 88

It was a case of every man for himself. Hoste and Payne had gained some
slight start,
bringing up Eustace
the rear.and
TheCarhayes
latter, gripping his revolver, was in the act of
delivering
mass a shot who
of warriors into the
hadthick
racedofupa to within ten yards of them, when his
horse
its footstumbled. The animal
into an ant-bear hole had put in the long grass. Down it came,
concealed
plunging
and shootingheavily forward
its rider overonitsits nose,
head.

A deafening roar of exultation went up from the pursuers as they flung


themselves upon
half-stunned as heCarhayes. Still,
was, the desperate pluck of the unfortunate man caused
him to make
an effort an effort
though. As hetorose
rise.toOnly
his knees he was beaten to the ground in a
moment
of beneath
the kerries theassailants.
of his savage blows

Eustace heard the crash of the fall, and turning his head, in spite of the deadly
risk he rantoinwander
attention suffering
from hishis own course even for a second, he took in the
whole scene--the
whooping, excitedcrowd of
barbarians, clustering round the fallen man, assegais and
kerries
dull, waving sound
sickening in the air, then the
of blows. And even in that moment of deadly peril, his
ownslain
the fate man,
as hopeless
a thrill as
of that of exultation shot through him. Fortune had once
fierce
more played
Eanswyth was into
his.his
Hehands.
had got his second chance. This time it was out of his
power
he to throw
wished to do itso.
away even had
Still--the mockery of it! It had come too late.

Meanwhile, Payne and Hoste, being the best mounted, had obtained some
little start,lines
extended but even
of theupon them
fierce the were beginning to close.
pursuers

"Now, George--both together! Let 'em have it!" yelled Hoste, pointing his
revolver
of Kafirsatwhothe were
foremost of a mass
charging in upon them on his side. The ball sped. The
savage,asa at
naked tall,
hissinewy warrior,
birth save for a collar of jackals' teeth and a leather belt round
his waist,
and leaped
fell stone high
dead, in through
shot the air the heart. At the same time Payne's pistol
spoke,
his kneeand anotherby
shattered barbarian fell,Crack! and down went another while in the
the bullet.
act of poising his assegai for a
fling.

"Up-hill work, but nearly through!" cried Payne as he dropped another of the
pursuers insteeds,
frightened his tracks.
withThe
ears thrown back and nostrils distended, tugged
frantically
along, at their
but the agilebits as they tore
barbarians seemed to keep pace with them, though they
refrained
close. Butfrom
now again attempting
they began to their assegais. One of these grazed
to throw
Payne's in
ground shoulder and stucknervously.
front, quivering fast in theAnother scored the flank of Hoste's
horse,and
snort causing
boundthewithpoortheanimal
sharp topain. Another stuck into Payne's boot, while a
fourth hit Hoste
shoulders, fair between
but having the at long range and being withal a somewhat
been hurled
blunt weapon,
penetrate it failed
the stout cordtojacket.

"Devilish good shot, that," remarked the target. "But I say, George, where are
the other fellows?"
"Dunno! It's a case of every man for himself now, and all his work cut out at
that."
Allthe
For
extended
to
"Through
revolver
this
ontopthe
had
intwo
of
them,
plain
his
been
it,strong
right,
and
beneath,
George.
thenow
bodies
he
worksat
they
It's
converging
of
down
of
our
would
but
theonly
to
aenemy.
few
his
join
upon
show!"
saddle
minutes,
hands
These
their
cried
for
before
line
had
and
the
Hoste.
of
circled
now
last
the
flight
and
latter
the
Andround
in
brow
final
with
could
suchthe
charge.
of
the
wise
hope
the
hill,
reins
hill
asIt
to
bitter
to
while
pass
circle.
gripped
wasmeet
areached.
through
curse
the
wildly
and
infugitives
his
burst
utterly
exciting
the
Aleft
furious
rapidly
from
hand
had
cut the
them
and
been
and
closing
pair.
his
off,
forced
CHAPTER TWENTY 89

moment--the issues, life or death.

The lines were rapidly closing in. With maddened yells and assegais uplifted,
the Kafir every
straining warriors were
effort to complete that fatal circle. A few yards more--
twenty--ten!
hemmed in. it was done. They were

But the headlong, dashing valour of the two men stood them well. Not a
moment
shout did put
Hoste theyhis
pause.
horseWith a wild
straight at a huge barbarian who strove to stop
him--knocking
and through thethe savagethus
opening sprawling,
breached the two horsemen shot like an arrow
from the bow,
advantage of aand havingcourse
down-hill the they left the fierce and yelling crowd behind
in a trice.
they yet. AFar from
hole safe were
concealed in the grass--a strained sinew--a hundred
unforeseen
would be atcircumstances--and they
the mercy of their merciless foes.

And now the latter began to open fire upon them, and the crackle of the
volleyofbehind
hum mingled
missiles with
overhead thearound.
and ugly

"Allamaghtaag ! My horse is hit!" exclaimed Payne, feeling the animal squirm under him in
a manner there
was no mistaking.

"So?" was the concerned reply. "He's got to go, though, as long as you can
keep him
reach on hisorlegs.
the river, If we
at any ratecan't
the thick bush along it, we're done for."

They turned their heads. Though beyond the reach of their missiles now, they
could see that
no means the Kafirsthe
relinquished had by On they came--a dense, dark mass
pursuit.
streaming
cruel across the plain--steady
purpose--pertinacious of of bloodhounds. Hoste's steed was
as a pack
beginning towhile
exhaustion, showthat
ominous
of his signs of
companion, bleeding freely from a bullet hole in
the flank,
any moment.wasAndliable
thetowelcome
drop at bush was still a great way off-- so, too, was
the hour of darkness.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Meanwhile Eustace, spurring for dear life, realised to the bitter full that the
terrible event
himself, he had which, in spitedesired,
so ardently of could be of no benefit to him now. For he
knew
Nothingthatshort
he wasof adoomed.
miracle could save his life--which is to say, nothing could.
The very Behind,
enemies. earth seemed
around,to grow
in front, everywhere, those cat-like, sinuous forms
sprang up his
Suddenly as ifbridle
by magic.
was seized. A mass of warriors pressed around him,
assegaishis
pointed raised. Quick
revolver at as
thethought he and pressed the trigger; but the plunging
foremost,
of hisand
him, horse
thenearly unseated
ball whistled harmlessly over the Kafir's shoulder. At the same
timeweapon
the a blow from
on thehis wrist knocked
grasp. He saw the gleam of assegai points, the deadly
glareclosing
eyes of hatredin in the him.
upon sea ofThen
rolling
a tall warrior, springing like a leopard, struck
full at his heartassegai.
broad-bladed with a large,

It was
great
strength
in
The done
thenight
krantzesalike
head--Eustace
ofhas lightning.
powerful,
melted
overhanging
, andswayed
into
was Thein flash
muscular
dawn;
taken
the Hashi.
his
up
the
arm, ofdescended.
the
saddle,
and
dawn
At broad
echoed
the
into
and inblade
foot
toppled
sunrise.
of
Atoneswas
hard, in his
oneheavily
The
of
ofnumbing
hellish
these
first eyes.
torays The
krantzes
the
exultation
knock
are
earth.
just
on
liesfrom end to end
blow,
And
pealed
the
Dead? delivered
chest,
excited
motionless
again
No,
forth
ato
the with
asleep.
barbarian
sharp,
over
gild
fierce
figure
ofthe all
of the
------------------------------------------------------------------------
beginning crashing
Slumbering
death-shout
tops
wild
host.
a of
man.
veldt
pain
theas if he would never wake again.
CHAPTER TWENTY 90

There is a faint rustle in the thick bush which grows right up to the foot of the
krantz--a
or rustle
somebody as of something
forcing a way through--cautiously, stealthily approaching the
sleeper. The latter snores on.
The bushes part, and a man steps forth. For a moment he stands, noiselessly
contemplating
figure. Then hethe prostrate
emits a low, sardonic chuckle.

At the sound the sleeper springs up. In a twinkling he draws his revolver,
then rubs his eyes, and bursts into a
laugh.

"Don't make such a row, man," warns the new arrival. "The bush may be full
of niggers
We are in anow,
nicehunting
sort of afor us. whichever way you look at it."
hole,

"Oh, we'll get out of it somehow," is Hoste's sanguine reply. "When we got
separated
whether welast night,ever
should I didn't
see know
each other again, George. I suppose there's no
chance for the other two fellows?"
"Not a shadow of a chance. Both wiped out."

"H'm! Poor chaps," says Hoste seriously. "As for ourselves, here we are,
stranded without
between us; right even
at thea wrong
horse end of the country; hostile niggers all over the
shop, and
home. all our
Bright lookfellows gone
out, isn't it!"

"We are two fools," answers Payne sententiously.


CHAPTER TWENTY 91

CHAPTER TWENTY

FOUR.

A DARK RUMOUR IN KOMGHA.

There was rejoicing in many households when it became known in Komgha


that the
been Kaffrarian
ordered home,Rangers had was it greater than in that run conjointly by
but in none
Mrs HosteCarhayes.
Eanswyth and her family and

The satisfaction of the former took a characteristically exuberant form. The


good soul was
expressions of loud in her
delight. She never wearied of talking over the doughty deeds
of thattouseful
listen her itcorps;
might in fact,been
have to supposed that the whole success of the
campaign,
Colony itself,nayhad
the been
very secured
safety ofby thethe unparalleled gallantry of the said
Rangers
Hoste in in general and
particular. Thatofthe
thelatter
absent
had only effected his temporary
emancipation
favour from domestic
of the "tented thrall ina happy combination of resolution and
field" through
stratagem,
have she seemed
forgotten. He wasquite
a sorttoof hero now.

Eanswyth, for her part, received the news quietly enough, as was her wont.
Outwardly,
was silently,that is. Inwardly
thankfully happy. sheThe campaign was was over--
safe. he
In a few days he would be with her
again--safe. A glow of radiant gladness took possession of her heart. It
showed
eyes--even itselfin inherher face--her
voice. It did not escape several of their neighbours and
daily visitors,
among themselves who would
what a remark
lucky fellow Tom Carhayes was; at the same time
wondering
such a rough, what there couldspecimen
self-assertive be in of humanity to call forth such an
intensity of
beautiful love in so
a creature as refined
that sweet andwife of his--setting it down to two unlikes
being the
escape Mrs best mated.
Hoste, who,It did not
in pursuance of her former instinct, was disposed to
attribute
exuberantit as to the
its real
lattercause.
was in But
matters non-important, there was an under-vein
of caution running
disposition, and likethrough
a wise herwoman she held her tongue, even to her
neighbours and intimates.
Eanswyth had suffered during those weeks--had suffered terribly. She had
tried to schoolthe
calmness--to herself to
philosophy of the situation. Others had returned safe and
sound,men
were whyliving
not he? Why,her,
around there
old settlers, who had served through three
formernot
years, wars--campaigns lasting for arms, too, consisting of muzzle-loading
for months or weeks--their
weapons,
more daringagainst an enemy
and warlike than the Kafirs of to-day. These had come through
safe and sound, why not he?
Thus philosophising, she had striven not to think too much--to hope for the
best.border
that But there was little
settlement to enough
divert her in thoughts from the one great subject--apart
from thewas
subject factonthat that one tongue, in everybody's thoughts. She had found
everybody's
an reading
in interest with
in thethem two and
young girls, helping to improve their minds, and they,
generally
being bright,
children, had well-dispositioned
appreciated the process; had responded warmly to her efforts.
But in theall
wakeful, silent
sortsnight, restless
of grisly and would rise before her imagination, or she
pictures
of
Every
account
Kaffrarian
were
as
intelligence
establish
settlement,
would
blood-stained
would some
scrap
ofacome
start Rangers
kind
the
in
but
just
ofan
from battle
news
these
into
of
come
official
assegais
private
was
the
with
from
were
inbeautiful
frightful known
position
from
and
Shelton's
intelligence
the
so contradictory
dreamshideous
seat
the
toface
who
front
her
ofpatrol
war
of
as
were
hordes
department
and
Mrs
soon
she
and
in
not
Carhayes,
had
of
their
as
itsaverse
yet
ochre-painted
itstirring
caught
of
became
statements,
made
her
toifown
and
stretching
at
known
they
public
eagerly.
victorious
among
barbarians
and
confidentially
toproperty,
moreover
the
aShe
point
some
hadto
of
sweeping
doomed
shuddered
termination.
and
obtain
hinted
general
the
she Kafirs
began
sometimes
such
topublic.
whites
her
round
who
to
and
aEvery
suspect
asmile
piece
thrilled
She
hung
before;
standing
a mere
movement
had
ofof
around
that
welcome
over
for
handful
even
back
thethere
the
the
tried
to
ofof
back
the
to prepared to sell their lives dearly.
CHAPTER TWENTY 92

rascals were not above drawing pretty freely upon their imaginations for the
sake of the
clothes, sixpences,
or packets or cast-off
of coffee and sugar, with which their efforts were
invariably rewarded.
discontinued, Sorate
or at any thisceased
she to place any reliance on their stories.

She had heard from her husband once or twice, a mere rough scrawl of half a
dozen lines,
devoted and those that
to explaining chiefly
camp life--made up as it was of patrols and horse
guards and hunting
enemy--left no timeup forthe
any such trivial occupations as mere letter-writing.
She had letters
oftener, heard from Eustace
of great length, entertaining withal, but such as all the world
might
troubledread.
herBut
now,this
forinshe
no understood.
wise Eustace was far too cautious to intrust not
anything
read to sothat the world
uncertain mightof transit as was then at his disposal. Express-
a means
riders might
enemy in thebe cut off
course of by theprecarious and sometimes extremely perilous
their
mission; occasionally were cut off.
A few days now and she would see him again, would hear his voice, would
live
dailyinasthe delight
before. Ah,ofbut--how
his presence
was it to end? The old thought, put far away
into the background
heartache during thecame
of their separation, dull to the fore now. They would go back to
their home,
things wouldtobe Anta's Kloof,Ah,
as before. andbut would they? There lay the sting. Never--a
thousand
could nevertimes never.
be as theyThings
were. For now that her love for the one had been
awakened,
other? Not what hadkindly
even the she lefttoleration
for the of companionship which she had up till
then mistaken
sentiment for love.
perilously A to aversion had now taken the place of this. Alas
akin
and alas! How was it to end?
The return of the Kaffrarian Rangers became a matter of daily expectation.
Preparations
reception, were made
including for their
a banquet on a large scale. Still they came not.

Then an ugly report got wind in Komgha--whispered at first. A disaster had


befallen.
to Severalcorps
the expected men had
belonging
been killed. They had constituted a patrol, report
said--then
straying a shooting
from the mainparty
body. Anyway, they had been cut off by the enemy
and massacred
only to a man.
the Moordenaar's It was
Kop affair over again, people said.

Later the rumour began to boil down a little. Only four men had come to
grief as
main reported.
body They
to get up had left the
a bushbuck hunt on the banks of the Bashi. They must
have crossed
reason theprobably
or other, river for in
some
pursuance of their hunt; anyhow, they were
surprised
And by the Kafirs
the missing and Hoste,
men were killed. Payne, Carhayes, and Eustace Milne.

The rumour spread like wildfire. The excitement became prodigious. Men
stood in eager
corners, at the knots at the street each trying to appear as if he knew more
bars, everywhere,
about it than
claiming to behisa greater
fellows;authority
each upon the probabilities or improbabilities of
the case than
together. But all the wererest put on one point--that the errand of breaking the
agreed
news
the to those
duty of anybodymost concerned was And three of the unfortunate men were
but themselves.
married; alas--
widows, two ofbeing their wives--now
actually resident in the place, within a stone's throw, in
fact.whoever
by It was further
eventually agreed that,
performed, the longer this duty could be deferred the
better.
arrive anyFurther
moment. information
It would might
be as well to wait.
For
had
crossed
overwhelming
mortally
River
aRangers,
the
doubt,
survivors
bodies--which
once,
theforeffect
the
for
wounded
which
two
public
Bashi
the
no
nights
ofnumbers,
Rangers
had
hope
boiling
opinion
into
the
andturned
and
could
jackals
the
themselves
down
had
and
awas
Bomvana
day,
back
be
proceeded
after
sound
and
rumour
entertained
when
toother
aforced
search
terrible
in
country,
they
considerably--in
its
wild
straight
judgment.
to
for
were
ofrunning
lie
animals
as
their
them.
hidden
found
to
at first
the
escape.
The
fight
Further
might
scene
in
among
stated.
fact,
other
aHoste
half-starved
Inhave
of
information
by
fact,
They
two
the
the
one-half.
and
accounted
thick
their
men
conflict,
had
Payne
were
bush
fate
been
did
The
arrive,
four
attacked
had
condition
missing,
was
and
for meanwhile--they
escaped.
krantzes
though
placed
menthis
by
and
had
bytime
beyond
they
the
along
afrom
Their
set
strong
Kafirs
authentic,
did
out
the
the
horses
the
not
found
and
patrol
report
inBashi
shadow
discover
had
and
the
of
ofbeen
the
itof
CHAPTER TWENTY 93

spots, not very far apart, where both men had been slain, and in or near the
great fragments
were patches of of
dried-up blood men's clothing and other articles, including
the unfortunate
a new and
known patent
to have kind of to
belonged spur
Milne.

This was better. The killed had been reduced from four to two, the number of
widows
it from threeterrible.
was sufficiently to one. Both
Still, men had lived in their midst--one for many
years, the other
time--and for a shorter
were more or less well-known to all. This time the news was
genuine, forhad
themselves three of theinRangers
ridden with all particulars. The sensation created was
tremendous.
something toEverybody
say. had

"Tell you what it is, boys," a weather-beaten, grizzled old farmer was
saying--haranguing
on a gathering
thestoep of the hotel. "There'sofalways
idlers something of that sort happens every war.
careless. They Fellers
thinkget so darn
because Jack Kafir funks sixty men he's in just as big a
funk of six.
reckon, too, But
that he ain't. They
because they can't see no Kafirs that there ain't no Kafirs to
see. Jest as
watched if they
every weren't
blessed stepbein'
they take. No, if you go out in a big party to find
JackifKafir
but you goyououtwon't
in a find
smallhim,
one, he'll be dead sure to find you. You may jest
bet drinks
Did you say allyou'd
roundtake
on that. Hey? broke off the old fellow with a twinkle in
me, Bill?"
his eyeinasthe
crony hegroup.
caught that of a

"Haw, haw! No, I didn't, but I will though. Put a name to it, old Baas ."

"Well, I'll call it `French.' Three star for choice."

The liquid was duly brought and the old fellow, having disposed of two-
thirds at a gulp, resumed his
disquisition.

"It's this way," he went on. "I'm as certain of it as if I'd seen it. Them oxen
were nothin'
trap. The Kafirsmorehadorbeen
less than a
watching the poor devils all along and jest sent the
oxen asthe
across a bait to It's
river. drawjestthem
what might have been expected, but I'm surprised
they hadn't
took more
so easily. sense
Hoste andthan to beespecially--not being a couple of
Payne
Britishers--"
"Here, I say, governor--stow all that for a yarn," growled one of a brace of
fresh-faced young Police
who were consuming troopers,
a modest "split" at a table and resented what they
thought was an imputation.
"Well, I don't mean no offence," returned the old fellow testily. "I only mean
that Britishers
experience ain't got the
us Colonial chaps has, and 'll go runnin' their heads into a trap
where we should know better."
"All the more credit to their pluck," interrupted another patriotically disposed
individual.
"Oh, shut up, Smith. Who the deuce is saying anything against their pluck?"
cried someone else.
"Well, I'm
do. sure
"Yes, II remember
Still, Milne's I wasn't,"
At least,
`blanket
when
think,"
perhaps
he went
friends'
said
first
noton thepaid
someone,
came
have original
altogether.
out.
with
And
him speaker.
He's
an
Milne
off
been "Tom
ill-natured
in aonly
here
coin Carhayes,
came
ahe
sneer--for
good
didn't
out
number
the now,
bargain
Eustace,
other
of like most men
is asWonder
years
day."
for.
'em plucky
lived--was,
"You
character
now--if
don't
nowinand awhat
callfellow asany
rather--and--"
hecan
them,
got
Tomhe
with
was
into everbeloved
Carhayes
thinks
not
our ways.
of a Britisher,
by everybody.
do you?" objected another man.
CHAPTER TWENTY 94

"Ah, poor chap," went on the old man. "Milne was rather too fond of the
Kafirsdown
much and Carhayes was now
on 'em. And a sight
thetoo
Kafirs have done for them both, without
fear, favour, or--"
"Tsh--tsh--tsh! Shut up, man alive, shut up!"

This was said in a low, warning whisper, and the speaker's sleeve was
violently plucked.
"Eh? What's the row?" he asked, turning in amazement.

"Why, that's her!" was the reply, more earnest than grammatical.

"Her? Who?"

"His wife, of course."

A Cape cart was driving by, containing two ladies and two young girls. Of
the former
other one was
Eanswyth. As Mrs
theyHoste,
passedthe
quite close to the speakers, Eanswyth turned
hersomeone
to head with a bow and
standing a smile
in front of the hotel. A dead, awkward silence fell upon
the group of talkers.
"I say. She didn't hear, did she?" stage-whispered the old man eagerly, when
the trap had gone by.
"She didn't look much as though she had--poor thing!" said another whom
the serene,
shining radiant
in that happiness
sweet face had not escaped.

"Poor thing, indeed," was the reply. "She ought to be told, though. But I
wouldn't
for be the man
fifty pounds. Why,tothey
do it,say
no--not
she can hardly eat or sleep since she heard
Tom Carhayes
she's so pleased.was
And coming back,Tom--where is he? Lying out there hacked
now, poor
into Kafirjerking
speaker, mince-meat."
his handAnd thedirection of the Transkei, stalked solemnly
in the stoep,
down thea steps
heaving of the sigh.
prodigious
CHAPTER TWENTY 95

CHAPTER TWENTY

FIVE.

"THE CURSE HAS COME UPON ME..."

The party in the Cape cart were returning from a drive out to Draaibosch, a
roadside
or innmiles
a dozen and along
canteenthesome
Kingten
Williamstown road. Two troops of Horse,
one of themthere
encamped Brathwaite's, were on their way homeward, and a goodly
the night before
collection of their
well-wishers friendsorand
had driven ridden over to see them start.

It was a lovely day, and the scene had been lively enough as the combined
troops--numbering
hundred horsemen, upwards
bronzed ofandtwo
war-worn, but "fit" and in the highest of
spirits,
filed offhad struck
upon theirtheir camp and
homeward way, cheering and being cheered
enthusiastically
enthusiasm, by theinlines
however, of spectators.
no wise shared byAngroups of Hlambi and Gaika
Kafirs from
locations, Ndimba's
who, or Sandili's
in all the savagery of their red paint and blankets, hung
around thesneers
scowling door of thetheir
upon canteen with
faces, the while bandying among themselves
many
exactlya expressive
deep-tonedof remark
amitynotor affection towards their white brethren. But for
this the latter cared not a jot.
"Hey, Johnny!" sang out a trooper, holding out a bundle of assegais towards
one ofpast,
rode the "see
aforesaid
these?groups
I tookas
'emhefrom one of Kreli's chaps, up yonder.
Plugged him through with a couple of
bullets first."

"Haw! haw!" guffawed another. "You fellows had better behave yourselves
or we
up shall
next. Tellbeold
coming tothat,
Sandili lookwith
you our love. Ta-ta, Johnny. So long!"

It was poor wit, and those at whom it was directed appreciated it at its proper
value.
that Theof
cloud scowl
darkdeepened
faces, andupon
a mutter of contempt and defiance rose from
more than
bottom one throat.
of their hearts Yet in the entertained a sufficiently wholesome
the savages
respect for those hardened, war-worn
sharpshooters.

Handkerchiefs waved and hats were flourished in the air, and amid
uproarious
mounted and paced
corps deafening
forth,cheers the
Brathwaite's Horse leading. And over and above
the clamour
voices andshouting.
and the tumult ofJack
the Armitage's bugle might be heard, wildly
emitting
which a shrill consent,
common and discordant melody,
amid roars of laughter, pronounced to be a cross
between
"Vat you the
goedNational
an trek Anthem
Ferreia and." [A popular old Boer song.]

Into the fun and frolic of the occasion Eanswyth entered with zest. She had
laughed
the until she nearly
hundred-and-one cried
comic over
little incidents inseparable from this scene of
universal
flights jollity.
of wit Even the
attempted boldest
during the multifold and promiscuous good-byes
interchanged
But it was thehad moved
light, her mirth.uncontrollable laughter of the heart.
effervescing,
Theunclouded
the
poetry
leading
arrived,
"Rangers
upon genial,
the
into
orroad
the
arrived?"
or
atcareless
sweeping
from
any
when
blue
rate
their
of
repeated
jests
within
an
the
plains,
respective
express
of
heavens,
athe
in
mile
even
reply
light-hearted
hurried
of
locations.
the
inthe
tothe
golden
Mrs
village.
on
redin
Hoste's
Her
crowd,
lines
sunlit
advance
"N-no,
heart
ofeager
air,
the
ochre-smeared
sang
to
not
there
good
announce
question,
yet.
within
seemed
humour
They
her
one
the
savages
can't
aon
asof be
every
vibrating
filing
once
turned
arrival
two
far
their
off,
acquaintances
men
more
along
face,
homeward.
of
though.
chord
the
have
the
found
the
corps
horses'
come
Three
narrow
ofits
joyous
Any
whom
byecho
in--Shelton
or
heads
nightfall.
tracks
hour
four
they
melody,
in were
now
her.
ofmet In
among
might
a bring
them."him . Why, by the time they reachedmight
homehave
he
CHAPTER TWENTY 96

"Oh, thanks, so much!" cried both the ladies, apparently equally eager. "We
had better
can. get on as soon as we
Good-day."

In the fullness of her joy, the clouded expression and hesitating speech
accompanying the informationhad
quite escaped Eanswyth--nor hadit struck her friend either. Then laughing
and chatting
spirits, in the
they had highest
driven pastofthe conversing groups upon the stoep of the hotel, as we have seen.

The trap had been outspanned, and the horses turned loose into
. Thethehousehold
veldt were about to sit
down to dinner. Suddenly the doorway was darkened and a head was thrust
in--a black and
surmounted dusty
by the head, of a ragged hat.
remnant

"Morrow, missis!" said the owner of this get-up, holding out a scrap of paper
folded into
opened a note. Mrs Hoste
it carelessly--then a sort of gasp escaped her, and her face grew
white.
"Where--where is your Baas !" she stammered.

"La pa," replied the native boy, pointing down the street.

Flurried, and hardly knowing what she was about, Mrs Hoste started to
followtothe
gone hermessenger. Eanswyth
room to remove hadfortunately.
her hat,

"Oh, Mr Shelton--is it true?" she cried breathlessly, coming right upon the
sender ofatthe
waiting no missive, who was
great distance from the house. "Is it really true? Can it be?
What awful
shall wenews!
do?"Oh, it will kill her!

"Try and be calm, Mrs Hoste," said Shelton gravely. "There is no doubt about
its truth, Iyou
fortunate am had
sorrynot
to heard
say. Itthe
is first report of the affair which arrived here.
All fourI'm
killed, of told.
themBut--No,
were rumoured
don't be alarmed," he added, hastily interrupting an
impending
husband outburst.
is quite safe,"Your
and will be here this evening. But poor Tom is killed--
not a doubt
And, now, willabout
youit--Milne
break it too.
to Mrs Carhayes? It must be done, you know. She
may hear the
moment; it bywhole
accident
placeany
is talking about it, and just think what a shock that
will be."
"Oh, I can't. Don't ask me. It will kill her."

"But, my dear lady,


be done,"
it must urged Shelton. "It is a most painful and heart-breaking necessity--
is a necessity." but it

"Come and help me through with it, Mr Shelton," pleaded Mrs Hoste
piteously. "I shall never manage it
alone."

Shelton was in a quandary. He knew Eanswyth fairly well, but he was by


nature
even,
simply
during
"What
She wasadoes
and retiring
the to
appalling.
holding
three
this man,
finddozen
mean?"
out ascrap
himself
Heawas trifle
paces
gaspedshy
saddled with
a well-to-do
of
which
pencilled
Eanswyth.sopaper,
it tookdelicate
man, them
"What toaand painful
withShelton's
`bad
wife
reach
news'
and
the
open anote,
task
family
front
is ofas
it?door, the
Please
which
his
hetell
breaking
own,
almost
places
He
post--with
me.
Mrswished
IHoste,
yet
can
withitof
wished
bear this
face
is
so
in
poor
to news
altogether
her
it."
he
of
be
Tom to
could
flurry
afeared her,
ghastly
Carhayes.
change
and
asthatwasgained
they
white, lips. For
livid
the in
stoep
and
thetrembling.
doorway stood a tall figure--erect, rigid as a
CHAPTER TWENTY 97

horror, had dropped as she went out. It only contained a couple of lines:

Dear Mrs Hoste:

There is very bad news to tell, which regards Mrs Carhayes. Please follow
the bearer at once.
Yours truly, Henry Shelton.

"Quick--what is it--the `bad news'? I can bear it--Quick--you are killing me,"
gasped
in a dryEanswyth,
whisper. speaking now

One look at his accomplice convinced Shelton that he would have to take the
whole matter into his own
hands.

"Try and be brave, Mrs Carhayes," he said gravely. "It concerns your
husband."
"Is he--is he--is it the worst!" she managed to get out.

"It is the worst," he answered simply, deeming it best to get it over as soon as
possible.
For a minute he seemed to have reason to congratulate himself on this idea.
Thefeatures
her rigid stony horrorgiving
relaxed, depicted
wayon
to a dazed, bewildered expression, as though
she shock,
the had borne
and the
wasfirst brunt down.
calming of

"Tell me!" she gasped at length. "How was it? When? Where?"

"It was across the Bashi. They were cut off by the Kafirs, and killed."

"`They'? Who--who else?"

Shelton wished the friendly earth would open beneath his feet then and there.

"Mrs Carhayes, pray be calm," he said unsteadily. "You have heard the worst,
remember--the
all. You cousin worst,
shared but
poornot
Tom's fate."

"Eustace?"

The word was framed, rather than uttered, by those livid and bloodless lips.
Yet head
his the listener caught it and bent
in assent.

She did not cry out; she did not swoon. Yet those who beheld her almost
wished
rather
above
expression
She
news
it!
blows
Still
And
had
she
was
ofshe
than had
take
them--her
asheard
did done
the
aterrible;
these
hammer,
ofnot
despair
the both--anything
blow
reflections
faint.
large
worst--the
the
her asstood
imprinted
She
second--
eyes
lips she
sank was
sparkling
even
worst,
death; doing.
therein
into
there
shaped
but
her
forth
in
black,
was
not
the She
dazed
the
from stood
all--her
such
doorway,
ghost
hopeless,
brain--
her
asof athere
informant
the
livid in
curdling
driven
living
smile.
two
andwhothe
death.
in, doorway--
bloodless
Ah,
had
the
as
witnessed
the
said.
very
itHad
were,
irony
Hadit
herit!
one
of tall
heart's
human form
countenance--and
prayed
on
she?
heard after
The
the
blood
they seeming
another
mockery
worst!
countenance
might
of the
Ah,
by
the
never
of to
lookers
the
the
it! tower
awful
again.
dull
The
mockery
behold
on
and
first
with
set
of
CHAPTER TWENTY 98

that dreadful shadow of a smile. Then, without a word, she turned and
walked to her room.
"Oh! I must go to her!" cried Mrs Hoste eagerly. "Oh, this is too fearful."

"If you take my advice--it's better not! Not at present, at any rate," answered
Shelton.
the "Leavealone.
first shock her toAnd
get what
over a shock it is. Bereaved of husband and cousin
at one
was stroke.
almost And
like the cousin
a brother, wasn't he?"

"Yes," and the recollection of her recent suspicions swept in with a rush upon
the speaker's
her flurry andmind, deepening
distress. "Yes. That is--I mean--Yes, I believe she was very
fond it."
took of him. But how bravely she

"Rather too bravely," answered the other with a grave shake of the head. "I
only hopefor
too much theher--affect
strain mayher notbrain,
be I mean. Mrs Carhayes has more than the
average share of yet she strikes me as being a woman of extraordinarily
strong-mindedness,
strongbeen
have feeling. The shock
frightful, must she didn't scream or faint, the expression of
and although
her face
hope wastoone
never seethat
uponI devoutly
any face again. And now, good-bye for the present.
I'll call
she's around
getting on.later
Poorand hear how
thing!"

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The sun of her life had set--had gone down into black night--yet the warm
rays of the
glanced summer
through thesunshine
open window of her room, glowing down upon the wide outside
veldt
and upon the
distant sparkle of the blue sea. Never again would laughter issue from those
lips--yet the sound
light-hearted of peals of mirth was ever and anon borne from without.
chat and
The droning
afternoon hum of
air--the insects
clink in the
of horse-hoofs, the deep-toned conversation of
natives
these passingsounds
familiar near the
of window--all
everyday life found a faint and far-away echo in her
benumbed brain.
one heart was What, though
broken--the world went on just the same.

Stay! Was it but a few minutes ago that she passed out through that door
trillingof
airiest thesongs--but
cheerful fragments of thesince she picked up that fatal scrap of
a few minutes
paper,those
with and then
who stood
broughtface
hertonews
face which had laid her life in ruins! Only a few
minutes! Why, it seemedWas it a former state of existence that upon which
years--centuries--aeons.
she now
great andlooked
yawningback as across
gulf? Was she a now dead--and was this the place of
torment?
and ever! The
Howfire that burned
should forever
she quench the fire in her heart and brain?

There was a very stoniness about her grief as if the blow had petrified her.
She didinnot
couch herfling
agony herself upon the
of despair. No tears did she shed--better if she had. For
longlocked
and after she had gained
herself in aloneher sheroom
stood--stood upright--and finally when she
sought
as with athechair it was mechanically,
movement of a sleep walker. Her heart was broken--her life was
ended. He had for
only remained gone herfrom
to go her--it
to him.
And
words--spoken
each
to
gone
another.
thisthen,
other
from
she
And
darting
had
we
her,
then,
shall
responded
but
thatinindeed,
she
have
first
across
could
and
to"Amen."
there
her
expiate
last
nottortured
fell
blissful
goHow
itto
upon
athim.
brain,
some
soon
morning
her
Their
the
future
had
in fiery
gloom
love,
at
those
Anta's
time.
characters,
unlawful
words
ofWe
Kloof.
outer
shall
come
in
darkness.
came
"If
be
this
true.
we
made
the
are
recollection
doing
to
The
world,
There
suffer
judgment
wrong
was
could
noofnever
through
hope.
had
his own
fallen.
belove
ratified
Heforhad
in each other,"
through
and
CHAPTER TWENTY 99

CHAPTER TWENTY

SIX.

"AND THE SUMMER'S NIGHT IS A WINTER'S DAY."

For Eanswyth Carhayes the sun of life had indeed set.

The first numbing shock of the fearful news over, a period of even greater
agony
succeeded supervened.
in settingHe freewhothehadwholly unsuspected volcanic fires of her strong
and passionate
first nature-- him,
and only love--she wouldher never see again in life. If she had sinned in
yielding
surely shetowasa love that wasit unlawful,
expiating now. The punishment seemed greater than she
could bear.
She made no outcry--no wild demonstrations of grief. Her sorrow was too
real, too sacred,manifestations.
commonplace for any such But when she emerged from her first
retirement,
There it was as a about
was something walking thatghost.
strained and unnatural calm, something
which
She was overawed
as one walkingthose who saw the
outside it. world and its incidents. They feared for
her brain.
As the days slipped by, people wondered. It seemed strange that poor Tom
Carhayes
of inspiring should
such have
intense theaffection
faculty in anybody. No one suspected anything
more than the
easy-going most ordinary
attachment to exist ofbetween him and his wife, yet that the latter
was nowbut tooa broken-hearted
sadly obvious. woman Well, there must have been far more in the poor
fellow than
credited with, hesaid
had the
generally
popularbeen voice, and after all, those outside are not of
necessity
precise the best judges
relationship existingas to the
between two people. So sympathy for Eanswyth
was widespread and unfeigned.
Yet amid all her heart-torture, all her aching and hopeless sorrow, poor Tom's
fate
fact,hardly
had sheobtruded itself. of
been capable In a thorough and candid self-analysis she would
haverather
was been forced
a matter tofor
admit that it than otherwise, for under cover of it she
gratulation
was enabled to
heart-broken indulge
grief to theheruttermost. Apart from this, horrible as it may seem,
predominating
her dead husband was feeling
that toward
of intense bitterness and resentment. He it was
who
That had led the fool-hardiness
aggressive others into peril. of his, which had caused her many and many
a long hour of had
apprehension, uneasiness
betrayed andhim to a barbarous death, and with it that other.
The cruel
burst uponironyher. Heof it,
hadtoo, would himself in his very death--had broken her
avenged
heart.
Had Tom Carhayes been the only one to fall, it is probable that Eanswyth
would have mourned
genuine--we do not say him with
with durable--regret. It is possible that she might
have been
remorse at afflicted
the part she withhadacuteplayed. But now all thoughts of any such thing
faded completely
obliterated by the from her mind,
one overwhelming, stunning stroke which had left her life
in shadow until it should end.
Then the Rangers had returned, and from the two surviving actors in the
terrible
wit--shetragedy--Payne
learned the fulland Hoste, toIt was even as she had suspected--Tom's
particulars.
insane
into
fool-hardiness.
To
subsequently
the
what
rashness philosophic
idea was
from ofpronounced
bushbuck
nothing
Butand
first Eustace,
to more
somewhat
hunting
last. itThe
to
nor
knowing
beless
in
the
cynical
a than
small
most
thataPayne
her
trying
party
notvery
very
this
in
thing
life
an
cunningly
interview
enemy's
he
washad
bound
ever
baited
was
country,
up
gone
antrap--
in then
his--
venturing
all
how
himself
uncomfortable
through
"Is
The was
there
two
could
due
to
in
men
absolutely
across
be
his
toso
looked
his
life.
one,
easily
the
truculent
no
while
river
atled
hope?"
each
right
Hoste
away?
other.
Eanswyth
And thishadwassaid,
the in
bitterest
a hard,side
forced
of it.voice. have allowed
he
CHAPTER TWENTY 100

"Absolutely none, Mrs Carhayes," said Payne. "It would be sham kindness to
tell you was
Escape anything different. you see. Both their horses were killed and they
an impossibility,
themselves
Hoste and I were surrounded.
only got through by the skin of our teeth. If our horses had `gone
under'
all earlier
up with us,ittoo."
would have been

"But the--but they were not found, were they? They may have been taken
prisoners."
Again the two men looked at each other. Neither liked to give utterance to
what
Betterwas passing through
a hundredfold his mind. men were dead and at rest than helpless
the unfortunate
captives in the
exasperated andhands of savages.
merciless

"Kafirs never do take prisoners," said Payne after a pause. "At least, never in
the heat
And it isand
not excitement of battle. or Milne would give them a chance, poor
likely that Carhayes
chaps."
"You mean--?"

"They would fight hard to the bitter end--would sell their lives dearly. I am
afraidI you
wish must
could sayface the worst.
otherwise, but I can't. Eh, Hoste?"

The latter nodded. He had very willingly allowed the other to do all the
talking.
end Then,
sooner as all thingsWigmore
or later--even come to Street--so
an eventually did this trying
interview.
"I say, George. That just was a bad quarter of an hour," said Hoste, as the two
companions-in-arms
themselves once morefound in their favourite element--the open air, to wit. "I don't
want totimes
many go through it again
in a lifetime. If ever there was `broken heart,' writ large in any
woman's
Mrs face, itI believe
Carhayes. is on that of poor
she'll never get over it."

Payne, who had shown himself far from unfeeling during the above-
mentioned
remark as atrying
directinterview,
challenge regarded this cynicism of his nature.
to the ingrained

"You don't, eh?" he replied. "Well, I don't want to seem brutal, Hoste, but I
predict`broken
same she'll be patching
heart' up effective
in most that style at some other fellow's expense,
before the regulation
over. They two years
all do it. Lend us yourare'bacco pouch."

Hoste said nothing. But for that little corner of the curtain of her suspicions
which
first his wife
night had lifted arrival,
of Eanswyth's on the he might have been three parts inclined to
agree
stood,with his friend. As things
he wasn't.

But could they at that moment have seen the subject of their conversation, it
is possible
and cynicalthat even
Payne the shelly
might have felt shaken in his so glibly expressed opinion.
In
sat,the
softseclusion of hertoroom
tears coming she of the hitherto dry and burning eyes as she
the relief
pressed
heart,
time to her
ofa the
little lips,
bit
disaster, forehead,
of cold
and and
which and
tarnished metal.
her recent It washad
visitors thejust
broken
givenspur
her.which
And
Eustace
over
pouring had
thisout been
lasther
sorrywearing
whole sheatwas
the
relicsoul--sorrowing as one who had no hope.
CHAPTER TWENTY 101

CHAPTER TWENTY

SEVEN.

THE SHIELD OF HER LOVE.

When Eustace Milne fell from his saddle to the earth, the savage who had
stabbedup
follow him,
theand
blow,who was about
started to a loud shout of astonishment and
back with
dismay.
It arrested the others. They paused as they stood. It arrested assegai blades
quivering
fallen man'sto body.
bury themselves in the
It arrested murderous knob-kerries whistling in the air
ready to
fallen descend
man's andThey
brains. crashstood,
out the
those maddened, bloodthirsty barbarians,
paralysed,
with petrified,
one voice their as they took up
compatriot's dismayed shout.

"Au! Umtagati! Mawo !" [Ha! Witchcraft! A wonder!]

They crowded round the prostrate body, but none would touch it. The blow
had
handbeen dealt
which hadhard
dealtand fair,than
more by aone such blow before, and always with
deadly effect. Yet the wound did not
bleed.

The dealer of it stood, contemplating his assegai, with looks of amazement,


of alarm.
great Instead
broad blade of
updriving its in the yielding body of his victim, and feeling
to the hilt
the hand,
his warm the
blood gush
point hadforth upon
encountered something hard, with the effect of
administering
arm, quitethea shock
so great was to the
force of wrist andand the resistance. And the point of
blow
theleast
at spear
anblade
inch.had snapped off by

"Witchcraft!" they cried again. "He is dead, and yet he does not bleed. Mawo !"

He was. Not a movement stirred his limbs; not a breath heaved his chest ever
so faintly.
parted, wereThe
aslips,
lividslightly
as the features.

For a few moments they stood contemplating their victim in speechless


amazement.
less credulous Then
thanone, more daring
his fellows, or forward as if about to plunge his
reached
assegai
The restinto
hung thebreathlessly
motionless watching
body. the result of the experiment. But before
it could
deep be carried
tones into effectvoice
of a peremptory the suspended the uplifted weapon. Every head
turned,
make way andfor
thethe
circle
newparted
arrival.to

He was a tall, muscular Kafir, as straight as a dart, and carried his head with
an air
the of command
marked deference which,
shownwith
him, bespoke him a man of considerable rank.
His bronzedwere
proportions and sinewy
plentifully adorned with fantastic ornaments of beadwork
and cow-tails,
headpiece and he wore
of monkey a
skin surmounted by the long waving plumes of the blue
Without
slight
without
By
leaving
this
crane. start
time
it
touching
a to
word
andtheir
theexclamation
he
numbers
it,
advance
advanced,
the place
of
guards,
of
the
where
and,
astonishment
latter
the
bending
the
had
Kafirs
assegai
augmented.
over
escaped
swarmed
had
the prostrate
struck.
him,
Having
backthen,
There
bybody,
given
twos
recovering
it was,
and
up the
scrutinised
himself,
visible
jacket--yet
"Au!
chase
threes
showedHe
of
totothat
he
the
does
where
all,
no
the
carefully
other
something
anot
sign
dead
clean
thebleed!
two
of
gathering
man's
cut
examined,
blood.
whites,
unusual
He
infeatures.
the
does
crowd
or
cord
was
notAgoing
bleed!"
on.ejaculated the crowd again.
CHAPTER TWENTY 102

The chief drew a knife from his girdle and bent once more over the prostrate
form. But
present his purpose one,
a bloodthirsty was not at only held the broad blade across the livid
for he
lips.
it ThenThe
keenly. raising it he
bright scrutinised
steel was ever so slightly dimmed.

"Ha!" he exclaimed in a tone of satisfaction, rising to his feet after repeating


the operation.
orders, Then
with the hethat
result issued hisEustace was lifted on to a stout blanket, and
poor
afour men,apiece
corner advancing, shouldered
and thus, with their living burden in their midst, the whole
band moved away down the kloof.
After about two hours' marching, during which the country grew wilder and
more wooded, they
water-hole--one of ahalted
chain at
ofaseveral in the otherwise dried-up bed of a
stream.
the Eustace
ground, and,was gentlyaround
squatting lowered to his bearers began to watch him with a
him,
great
he wasand gatheringtocuriosity,
beginning forof returning life.
show signs

At a rapid signal from the chief, water was fetched from the hole and his
brow andhis
through face bathed.
frame and A tremor
a sigh ran him. Then he opened his eyes.
escaped

"Hau!" exclaimed the Kafirs, bending eagerly forward.

At sight of the ring of dark faces gazing upon him in the gathering dusk,
Eustace
start. raised
Then, his head with
as recollection a slightto him, he sank wearily back. His head
returned
was aching,
split. too,be
He would asfortunate
if it would
if the blow which had deprived him of
consciousness
of the brain. did not end in concussion

With the return of consciousness came a feeling of intense gratification that


ahesuperfluous
was still alive. This may
statement, yetseem
not. Many a man waking to the consciousness
thatpower
the he wasofa fierce
helpless
andcaptive in barbarians, has prayed with all his soul for
ruthless
the mercy
death, and of
hasa done
swift so
andwith
certain
a grim and terrible earnestness. Not so, however,
Eustace
somethingMilne. Hefor
to live had
now. While there was life there was hope. He was not
going to throw away a single
chance.

To this end, then, he lay perfectly still, closing his eyes again, for he wanted
to think,and
aching to clear his terribly
beclouded brain. And while thus lying, seemingly unconscious,
his ears
of his caughtconversation--caught
captors' the subdued hum the whispered burden of their
superstitious
turn misgivings, and he resolved to
them to account.

"It is a powerful `charm,'" one of them was saying. "We ought to find it--to
take it away from him."
"We had better not meddle with it," was the reply. "Wait and see. It may not
bemay.
it too powerful
We shall for Ngcenika, or
see."

"Ha! Ngcenika--the great prophetess. Ewa, ewa !" [Yes--yes] exclaimed several.
A powerful
The
sinewy
Yet
Checking
And
could
how
uplifted
then
hardly
grasp:
had
as
ancharm?
the
assegai,
he
refrain
impulse
then
escaped?
truththe
Ngcenika,
from
the
burst
toblow--straight
raise
great
The
leaping
upon
his
stroke
leaping
thehim,
hand
to
prophetess?
his
had
at
such
barbarian,
tofeet
his
been
hisaheart.
then
heart,
thrill
straight,
What
grinning
and
Itof
heall
did
new-born
there.
expanded
came
strong,
they
inThe
bloodthirsty
back
mean.
and
hope
his
silver
lo
surely
chest
Then
radiated
him
box--
it
dawned
glee
now.
directed.
ever
pang,
throughout
Eanswyth's
as
soasthe
slightly.
upon
of
Heweapon
ahis
gift
had
stab
him
being
at
No
felt
or
parting--this
asquivered
sharp,
cut.
the
in
thatacontact.
He
flash.
he
pricking
was
in hisunwounded. But how?
CHAPTER TWENTY 103

was what had interposed between him and certain death! The silver box--with
its that
of contents,
sweetthe representation
face, those last lines, tear stained, "warm from her hand and
heart,"
was whatas she
had herself haddeadly
turned the put it--this
stroke which should have cleft his heart in
twain. What an omen!
A "charm," they had called it--a powerful "charm." Ha! that must be his cue.
Would it prove
Ngcenika? theytoo
hadpotent for
conjectured. The name was familiar to him as owned by
aKreli's
shadowyprincipal witch-doctress,
personage withal, and known to few, if any, of the whites, and
therefore
above thecredited
average.with powers
Certain it was that her influence at that time was great.

More than ever now had he his cue, for he could guess his destination. They
were taking
place him to the hiding
of the Paramount Chief, and with the thorough knowledge he possessed
of his opportunity
some captors, the presenting
chance of itself seemed a fairly good one. But, above all,
he must keep upNeither
invulnerability. his character forpain must wring from him the faintest
peril nor
indication of weakness.
In furtherance of this idea--the racking, splitting pain in his head
notwithstanding--he
deliberately around as satthough
up andjust
looked
awakening from an ordinary sleep. He
noticed awondering
swarthy, start run round the circle of
countenances. As he did so, his glance fell upon one that
was familiar to him.
"Hau, Ixeshane!" cried its owner, stepping forth from the circle. "You have come a
longof
the ghost way to visit us!"
a mocking and
smile lurked round the speaker's mouth.

"That is so, Hlangani. Here--tell one of them to dip that half-full of water at
the hole."
from He hadand
his pocket drawn
heldaout
flask
the metal cup. One of the Kafirs took it and
proceeded to execute
without a word. Then,his request
adding some spirit to the water, he drank it off, and
half-filling the
brandy--he cup again--with
handed raw
it to the chief. Hlangani drained it at a single gulp.

"Silungile !" [Good] he said briefly, then stood wailing as if to see what the other would
say next.
Eustace returned theCalmly
flask to his pocket. But he said nothing.

After about an hour's halt the band arose, and, gathering up their weapons impedimenta
as
and such
they scanty the Kafirs prepared to start.
possessed,

"Can you walk, Ixeshane?" said the chief.

"Certainly," was the reply. His head was splitting and it was all he could do to
keepcharacter
new on his feetmust at all.
be Still
kepthisup, and the night air was cool and invigorating.
But
forthjust
withasthe
he was
others,about
his to
armsstepwere suddenly forced behind him and quickly
andtime
no securely bound. There
for resistance, evenwashad he entertained the idea of offering any, which
he had not.
"Am I a fool, Hlangani?" he said. "Do I imagine that I, unarmed and alone,
can escape
hundred fromwarriors,
armed about two think you? Why, then, this precaution?"
It was
in
band.
disastrously
concerning
fact,This
night,
andnumbered
the
as
surprised
but
hefate
itwalked,
was
ofatthem
his
bright
least
surrounded
comrades.
must
amoonlight.
couple
have
For
by
of
consisted
answer
ahundred,
The
strong
Kafirs
they
of
body
he
nearly
were
estimated;
grinned
guard,
twice
marching
significantly,
hethat
but
could
the
in
number.
no
form
full
"It slaying
particular
some
strength
Then
going
of
"Alliskilled?"
night,"
he
idea
through
of
questioned
order,
aof
the
prostrate
replied
said
the
aparty
pantomimic
very
strength
Eustace,
them
the
which
enemy
muchchief
ofincredulously.
had
atthe
with
form
laconically.
ease
soassegais.
CHAPTER TWENTY 104

"No. Only the one who is with you," was the answer. "But the other two will
be deadwere
horses by this time.
used up, Their
and our people are sure to have overtaken them long Au
before they went
umlungu!" got toonthe
theriver.
speaker, "Were you all mad, you four poor whites, that you
country ofthought to come
the Great Chief,into the the Chief Paramount, and eat the cattle of
Sarili,
his children?"
"But this is not his country. It belongs to Moni, the chief of the
Amabomvane."
"Not his country. Ha!" echoed the listeners, wagging their heads in disdain.
"Not hismay
`charm' country! The white
be potent, but itman's
has rendered him mad."

"Ho, Sarili--father!" chorused the warriors, launching out into an impromptu


song in of
virtues honour of the "Sarili--lord!
their chief. might and The Great, Great One! The deadly snake!
The mightythebuffalo
scattering enemy'sbull,
hosts with the thunder of his charge! The fierce tiger,
lying in wait
thy white to spring!
enemies Give
that we mayus devour them alive. Ha--ah!"

The last ejaculation was thundered out in a prolonged, unanimous roar, and
inspired
the chant,bythe
thewarriors
fierce rhythm
with oneof accord formed up into columns, and the dark
serried
the ranks,
night, marching
swelling through
the wild war-song, beating time with sticks, the quivering
rattle of assegai
with the thunderoushaftstread
mingling
of hundreds of feet, and the gleam of the moonlight
upon weapons
eyeballs, went toandform
rolling
a picture of indescribable grandeur and awe.

Again and again surged forth the weird rhythm:

Ho, Sarili, son of Hintza! Great Chief of the House of Gcaleka! Great Father
of thedevourer
lion, childrenof ofthe
Xosa! Strong
whites! Great serpent, striking dead thine enemies! Give
us thyhew
may white enemies
them that pieces.
into small we Ha--Ah! Great Chief! whose kraals
overflow
whose with fatness!
cornfields wave Great
to feedChief!
a people! Warrior of warriors, whom weapons
surround
forest! Welike the trees
return to theeofdrunk
a with the blood of thine enemies. "Ha--ha--
ha!"
With each wild roar, shouted in unison at the end of each of these impromptu
strophes, the surrounding
immediately barbarians him would turn to Eustace and flash their blades in
his face, brandishing
weapons in pantomimic theirrepresentation of carving him to pieces. This to one
less versedwould
character in their habits
have beenandto the last degree terrifying, bound and at their
mercy
him butaslittle
he was.
alarm.ButThey
it inspired in
were merely letting off steam. Whatever his fate
might
not yeteventually
come, andbe, thishis
hetime
knew.had

After a great deal more of this sort of thing, they began to get tired of their
martial and
ceased display. The chanting
the singers subsided once more into their normal state of free and
easy jollity.
poked They laughed
fun among themselves,and and let off a good deal of chaff at the expense
of their prisoner.was
metamorphosis Andnot this
a little curious. The fierce, ruthless expression,
blazing
on each with
dark racial antipathy,
countenance depicted
during that wild and headlong chase for blood, had
disappeared,
that
Yet the giving
waschances
actually way
ofpleasing,
the tothe
onenormal
prisoner's light-hearted
life being eventuallydemeanour of a keen-
spared were
witted and kindly natured people.
infinitesimal.
CHAPTER TWENTY 105

CHAPTER TWENTY

EIGHT.

THE SILVER BOX.

Throughout the night their march continued. Towards dawn, however, a short
halt was made,
welcome than totothe
no captive
one more himself; the fact being that poor Eustace was
deadly tired,ofand,
expediency but for
keeping upthe
his character for invulnerability, would have
requested
allow him the
somechief,
restas a favour,
before then.toAs it was, however, he was glad of the
opportunity;
tasted but, the
food since although
previoushe had not he could not eat. He felt feverish and
midday,
ill.
Day was breaking as the party resumed its way. And now the features of the
country
change. had
The undergone
wide, sweeping,an entire
mimosa-dotted dales had been left behind--had
given place
country, to wild
whose forest
rugged grandeur of desolation increased with every step.
Great rocks
ravine, overhung
and the trunks of each darkyellow-wood trees, from whose gigantic and
hoary
spreading
and monkey limbs depended
ropes, showedlichens
through the cool semi-gloom like the massive
columns of cathedral
undergrowth of denseaisles. An
bush hemmed in the narrow, winding path they were
pursuing,
were ever and
and its
anontangled depths
resonant with the piping whistle of birds, and the shrill,
startled chatter
swinging of monkeys
aloft among the tree-tops, skipping away from bough to bough with
marvellous
sharp alacrity.
hiss was heardOnce a causing the foremost of the party to halt
in front,
abruptly, withasa avolley
ejaculations, huge of excited
, lying
rinkhaals
in the middle of the narrow track, slowly unwound his black coils,
and, with hood inflated, raised his head in the air as if challenging his human
foes. But and
shouting these, by dint
beating theofground with sticks, induced him to move off--for,
chiefly from Kafirs
superstition, motiveswill of not kill a snake if they can possibly help it--and the
hideous his
rustling reptile
waywas heardthe
through lazily
jungle in his retreat.

They had been toiling up the steep, rugged side of a ravine. Suddenly an
exclamation
those in front,ofwho
astonishment
had alreadyfrom
gained the ridge, brought up the rest of the
party at redoubled speed.
"Hau! Istimele !" [The steamer] echoed several, as the cause of the prevailing astonishment
met their eyes.
The ridge was of some elevation. Beyond the succession of forest-clad
valleysexpanse
broad and rock-crowned
of blue sea,divides
and awaylaynear
a the offing stretched a long line of
darkthe
out smoke.
mastsEustace could
and funnel of make
a large steamer, steering to the eastward.

And what a sense of contrast did the sight awaken in his mind. The vessel
was probably
Company's mailonesteamships,
of the Union coasting round to Natal. How plainly he would
conjurethe
decks, uppassengers
the scene upon her to while away the tediousness of their floating
striving
captivity with latter
draughts--the chessofanddivers kinds-- with books and tobacco, with chat and
flirtation; whereas,
no very great hereeither,
distance he was, at
undergoing, in this savage wilderness, a
prisoner
sacrifice
and
surface,
For
the
amusing
distant
some
lingering
and
of
to
enough
minutes
steamship,
war
their
a one
whiff
among
slain
at
withal.
the
any
of compatriots,
concerning
Kafirs
strong
aother
tribe
And
captivity which was terribly real--a stood,
time.
salt
of
the sullen
which
pure
air
And,
staring
talking,
seemed
rays
and
as
many
him
ifpartially
laughing
ofanything
borne
the
of
in their
the
newly
incrushed
like
face,
upon
quaint
was
risen
children
and
wanting
them
barbarians,
remarks
sun
a strong
from
as
shone
tothey
and
keep
the
with
almost
probability
forth
bo