and the atmosphere quite clear. The thick and uniform covering

time:2023-12-07 05:50:12 source:Stately net author:news

That afternoon I again took Mr Wardlaw for a walk. It is an ingrained habit of mine that I never tell anyone more of a business than is practically necessary. For months I had kept all my knowledge to myself, and breathed not a word to a soul. But I thought it my duty to tell Wardlaw about the letter, to let him see that we were not forgotten. I am afraid it did not encourage his mind. Occult messages seemed to him only the last proof of a deadly danger encompassing us, and I could not shake his opinion.

and the atmosphere quite clear. The thick and uniform covering

We took the same road to the crown of the Berg, and I was confirmed in my suspicion that the woods were empty and the watchers gone. The place was as deserted as the bush at Umvelos'. When we reached the summit about sunset we waited anxiously for the sound of drums. It came, as we expected, louder and more menacing than before. Wardlaw stood pinching my arm as the great tattoo swept down the escarpment, and died away in the far mountains beyond the Olifants, Yet it no longer seemed to be a wall of sound, shutting us out from our kindred in the West. A message had pierced the wall. If the blesbok were changing ground, I believed that the hunters were calling out their hounds and getting ready for the chase.

and the atmosphere quite clear. The thick and uniform covering

CHAPTER VII CAPTAIN ARCOLL TELLS A TALE

and the atmosphere quite clear. The thick and uniform covering

It froze in the night, harder than was common on the Berg even in winter, and as I crossed the road next morning it was covered with rime. All my fears had gone, and my mind was strung high with expectation. Five pencilled words may seem a small thing to build hope on, but it was enough for me, and I went about my work in the store with a reasonably light heart. One of the first things I did was to take stock of our armoury. There were five sporting Mausers of a cheap make, one Mauser pistol, a Lee-Speed carbine, and a little nickel- plated revolver. There was also Japp's shot-gun, an old hammered breech-loader, as well as the gun I had brought out with me. There was a good supply of cartridges, including a stock for a .400 express which could not be found. I pocketed the revolver, and searched till I discovered a good sheath-knife. If fighting was in prospect I might as well look to my arms.

All the morning I sat among flour and sugar possessing my soul in as much patience as I could command. Nothing came down the white road from the west. The sun melted the rime; the flies came out and buzzed in the window; Japp got himself out of bed, brewed strong coffee, and went back to his slumbers. Presently it was dinner-time, and I went over to a silent meal with Wardlaw. When I returned I must have fallen asleep over a pipe, for the next thing I knew I was blinking drowsily at the patch of sun in the door, and listening for footsteps. In the dead stillness of the afternoon I thought I could discern a shuffling in the dust. I got up and looked out, and there, sure enough, was some one coming down the road.

But it was only a Kaffir, and a miserable-looking object at that. I had never seen such an anatomy. It was a very old man, bent almost double, and clad in a ragged shirt and a pair of foul khaki trousers. He carried an iron pot, and a few belongings were tied up in a dirty handkerchief. He must have been a dacha* smoker, for he coughed hideously, twisting his body with the paroxysms. I had seen the type before - the old broken-down native who had no kin to support him, and no tribe to shelter him. They wander about the roads, cooking their wretched meals by their little fires, till one morning they are found stiff under a bush. *Hemp.

The native gave me a good-day in Kaffir, then begged for tobacco or a handful of mealie-meal.

I asked him where he came from.

(Editor:news)

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