that they cannot work so hard upon this, treat them like

time:2023-12-07 05:43:19 source:Stately net author:family

Then I remembered the horses tied up in the bush. One of them I could get with perfect safety. I ran round the end of the store and into the thicket, keeping on soft grass to dull my tread. There, tied up to a merula tree, were two of the finest beasts I had seen in Africa. I selected the better, an Africander stallion of the blaauw-schimmel, or blue-roan type, which is famous for speed and endurance. Slipping his bridle from the branch, I led him a little way into the bush in the direction of the Rooirand.

that they cannot work so hard upon this, treat them like

Then I spoke to Colin. 'Home with you,' I said. 'Home, old man, as if you were running down a tsessebe.'* *A species of buck, famous for its speed.

that they cannot work so hard upon this, treat them like

The dog seemed puzzled. 'Home,' I said again, pointing west in the direction of the Berg. 'Home, you brute.'

that they cannot work so hard upon this, treat them like

And then he understood. He gave one low whine, and cast a reproachful eye on me and the blue roan. Then he turned, and with his head down set off with great lopes on the track of the road I had ridden in the morning.

A second later and I was in the saddle, riding hell-for-leather for the north.


For a mile or so I kept the bush, which was open and easy to ride through, and then turned into the path. The moon was high, and the world was all a dim dark green, with the track a golden ivory band before me. I had looked at my watch before I started, and seen that it was just after eight o'clock. I had a great horse under me, and less than thirty miles to cover. Midnight should see me at the cave. With the password I would gain admittance, and there would wait for Laputa and Henriques. Then, if my luck held, I should see the inner workings of the mystery which had puzzled me ever since the Kirkcaple shore. No doubt I should be roughly treated, tied up prisoner, and carried with the army when the march began. But till Inanda's Kraal my life was safe, and before that came the ford of the Letaba. Colin would carry my message to Arcoll, and at the Drift the tables would be turned on Laputa's men.

Looking back in cold blood, it seems the craziest chain of accidents to count on for preservation. A dozen possibilities might have shattered any link of it. The password might be wrong, or I might never get the length of those who knew it. The men in the cave might butcher me out of hand, or Laputa might think my behaviour a sufficient warrant for the breach of the solemnest vow. Colin might never get to Blaauwildebeestefontein, Laputa might change his route of march, or Arcoll's men might fail to hold the Drift. Indeed, the other day at Portincross I was so overcome by the recollection of the perils I had dared and God's goodness towards me that I built a new hall for the parish kirk as a token of gratitude.


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