an impalpable powder; the process of washing removes all

time:2023-12-07 05:32:29 source:Stately net author:computer

They recognized the horse, and fell back with a salute. Had I but known it, the beast was famed from the Zambesi to the Cape. It was their king's own charger I rode, and who dared question such a warrant? I heard the word pass through the bush, and all down the road I got the salute. In that moment I fervently thanked my stars that I had got away first, for there would have been no coming second for me.

an impalpable powder; the process of washing removes all

At the cliff-foot I found a double line of warriors who had the appearance of a royal guard, for all were tall men with leopard-skin cloaks. Their rifle-barrels glinted in the moon- light, and the sight sent a cold shiver down my back. Above them, among the scrub and along the lower slopes of the kranzes, I could see further lines with the same gleaming weapons. The Place of the Snake was in strong hands that night.

an impalpable powder; the process of washing removes all

I dismounted and called for a man to take my horse. Two of the guards stepped forward in silence and took the bridle. This left the track to the cave open, and with as stiff a back as I could command, but a sadly fluttering heart, I marched through the ranks.

an impalpable powder; the process of washing removes all

The path was lined with guards, all silent and rigid as graven images. As I stumbled over the stones I felt that my appearance scarcely fitted the dignity of a royal messenger. Among those splendid men-at-arms I shambled along in old breeches and leggings, hatless, with a dirty face, dishevelled hair, and a torn flannel shirt. My mind was no better than my body, for now that I had arrived I found my courage gone. Had it been possible I would have turned tail and fled, but the boats were burned behind me, and I had no choice. I cursed my rash folly, and wondered at my exhilaration of an hour ago. I was going into the black mysterious darkness, peopled by ten thousand cruel foes. My knees rubbed against each other, and I thought that no man had ever been in more deadly danger.

At the entrance to the gorge the guards ceased and I went on alone. Here there was no moonlight, and I had to feel my way by the sides. I moved very slowly, wondering how soon I should find the end my folly demanded. The heat of the ride had gone, and I remember feeling my shirt hang clammily on my shoulders.

Suddenly a hand was laid on my breast, and a voice demanded, 'The word?'

Then unseen hands took both my arms, and I was led farther into the darkness. My hopes revived for a second. The

password had proved true, and at any rate I should enter the cave.


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