of the snow: yet the mountains which are covered by snow

time:2023-12-07 04:38:44 source:Stately net author:knowledge

The store at Umvelos' stood as I had left it. There was the sjambok I had forgotten still lying on the window sill. I unlocked the door, and a stifling smell of new paint came out to meet me. Inside there was nothing but the chairs and benches, and in a corner the pots and pans I had left against my next visit. I unlocked the cupboard and got out a few stores, opened the windows of the bedroom next door, and flung my kaross on the cartel which did duty as bed. Then I went out to find Laputa standing patiently in the sunshine.

of the snow: yet the mountains which are covered by snow

I showed him the outhouse where I had said he might sleep. It was the largest room in the store, but wholly unfurnished. A pile of barrels and packing-cases stood in the corner, and there was enough sacking to make a sort of bed.

of the snow: yet the mountains which are covered by snow

'I am going to make tea,' I said. 'If you have come far you would maybe like a cup?' He thanked me, and I made a fire in the grate and put on the kettle to boil. Then I set on the table biscuits, and sardines, and a pot of jam. It was my business now to play the fool, and I believe I succeeded to admiration in the part. I blush to-day to think of the stuff I talked. First I made him sit on a chair opposite me, a thing no white man in the country would have done. Then I told him affectionately that I liked natives, that they were fine fellows and better men than the dirty whites round about. I explained that I was fresh from England, and believed in equal rights for all men, white or coloured. God forgive me, but I think I said I hoped to see the day when Africa would belong once more to its rightful masters.

of the snow: yet the mountains which are covered by snow

He heard me with an impassive face, his grave eyes studying every line of me. I am bound to add that he made a hearty meal, and drank three cups of strong tea of my brewing. I gave him a cigar, one of a lot I had got from a Dutch farmer who was experimenting with their manufacture - and all the while I babbled of myself and my opinions. He must have thought me half-witted, and indeed before long I began to be of the same opinion myself. I told him that I meant to sleep the night here, and go back in the morning to Blaauwildebeestefontein, and then to Pietersdorp for stores. By-and-by I could see that he had ceased to pay any attention to what I said. I was clearly set down in his mind as a fool. Instead he kept looking at Colin, who was lying blinking in the doorway, one wary eye cocked on the stranger.

'You have a fine dog,' he observed.

'Yes,' I agreed, with one final effort of mendacity, 'he's fine to look at, but he has no grit in him. Any mongrel from a kraal can make him turn tail. Besides, he is a born fool and can't find his way home. I'm thinking of getting rid of him.'

Laputa rose and his eye fell on the dog's back. I could see that he saw the lie of his coat, and that he did not agree with me.

'The food was welcome, Baas,' he said. 'If you will listen to me I can repay hospitality with advice. You are a stranger here. Trouble comes, and if you are wise you will go back to the Berg.'


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