is the cheapest. My host says that the two principal improve-

time:2023-12-07 05:39:41 source:Stately net author:nature

He groaned and writhed at my terms, but in the end accepted them. He wrote the letter, and I posted it. I had no pity for the old scamp, who had feathered his nest well. Small wonder that the firm's business was not as good as it might be, when Japp was giving most of his time to buying diamonds from native thieves. The secret put him in the power of any Kaffir who traded him a stone. No wonder he cringed to ruffians like 'Mwanga.

is the cheapest. My host says that the two principal improve-

The second thing I did was to shift my quarters. Mr Wardlaw had a spare room which he had offered me before, and now I accepted it. I wanted to be no more mixed up with Japp than I could help, for I did not know what villainy he might let me in for. Moreover, I carried Zeeta with me, being ashamed to leave her at the mercy of the old bully. Japp went up to the huts and hired a slattern to mind his house, and then drank heavily for three days to console himself.

is the cheapest. My host says that the two principal improve-

That night I sat smoking with Mr Wardlaw in his sitting- room, where a welcome fire burned, for the nights on the Berg were chilly. I remember the occasion well for the queer turn the conversation took. Wardlaw, as I have said, had been working like a slave at the Kaffir tongues. I talked a kind of Zulu well enough to make myself understood, and I could follow it when spoken; but he had real scholarship in the thing, and knew all about the grammar and the different dialects. Further, he had read a lot about native history, and was full of the doings of Tchaka and Mosilikatse and Moshesh, and the kings of old. Having little to do in the way of teaching, he had made up for it by reading omnivorously. He used to borrow books from the missionaries, and he must have spent half his salary in buying new ones.

is the cheapest. My host says that the two principal improve-

To-night as he sat and puffed in his armchair, he was full of stories about a fellow called Monomotapa. It seems he was a great black emperor whom the Portuguese discovered about the sixteenth century. He lived to the north in Mashonaland, and had a mountain full of gold. The Portuguese did not make much of him, but they got his son and turned him into a priest.

I told Wardlaw that he was most likely only a petty chief, whose exploits were magnified by distance, the same as the caciques in Mexico. But the schoolmaster would not accept this.

'He must have been a big man, Davie. You know that the old ruins in Rhodesia, called Zimbabwe, were long believed to be Phoenician in origin. I have a book here which tells all about them. But now it is believed that they were built by natives. I maintain that the men who could erect piles like that' - and he showed me a picture - 'were something more than petty chiefs.'

Presently the object of this conversation appeared. Mr Wardlaw thought that we were underrating the capacity of the native. This opinion was natural enough in a schoolmaster, but not in the precise form Wardlaw put it. It was not his intelligence which he thought we underrated, but his dangerousness. His reasons, shortly, were these: There were five or six of them to every white man; they were all, roughly speaking, of the same stock, with the same tribal beliefs; they had only just ceased being a warrior race, with a powerful military discipline; and, most important, they lived round the rim of the high-veld plateau, and if they combined could cut off the white man from the sea. I pointed out to him that it would only be a matter of time before we opened the road again. 'Ay,' he said, 'but think of what would happen before then. Think of the lonely farms and the little dorps wiped out of the map. It would be a second and bloodier Indian mutiny. 'I'm not saying it's likely,' he went on, 'but I maintain it's possible. Supposing a second Tchaka turned up, who could get the different tribes to work together. It wouldn't be so very hard to smuggle in arms. Think of the long, unwatched coast in Gazaland and Tongaland. If they got a leader with prestige enough to organize a crusade against the white man, I don't see what could prevent a rising.'

'We should get wind of it in time to crush it at the start,' I said.


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