« AnteriorContinuar »
mourning, that inadvertently me, I cannot see much of them. spoke in muffled tones. The The main incident of the race band passes out of sight, pres- for troops of the garrison is, ently to be followed by the however, fairly apparent : a firing-party, white and scarlet, neck - and - neck struggle, and now beneath me, white hel. then a colossal foul near the mets, belts and slings, and post, with an inextricable scarlet coats. Their footfalls mingling of oars, and possibly coase on a subdued word of some exchange of lip. The command; wreath-bearers, and boats, however, are solid craft, one man carrying helmet and that once on a day have hung bayonet, fall out. Then all is from davits and been accusquiet, save for an uneasy tomed to rough usage. shuffling of boots on gravel. For the other races, when
A little later the slow tramp the bowings and bobbings of begins again, and now I look coxswains are out of harmony down on the helmet and bayonet with the swing of the oarsmen, wobbling rather pitifully on the I know that that event on the Union-jack, in company with a programme contains a note, few poor wreaths, as Thomas “A lady to steer”; and when Atkins is carried away on his there is an immense spurt and comrades' shoulders to his last some splashing at the beginning resting-place. Then, when clear of a race, and a deathly languor of the hospital precincts, the at its conclusion, I know it is a familiar and most mournful Lady's Four. I am told that march is heard, and that too afternoon teas are absolutely dies away as this brightly-clad incompatible with training. funeral procession passes out of Then the sun disappears sight, and its place is taken by abruptly over the ridge and a contrary stream of pleasure- casts my verandah into shade. seekers, some on horseback, During the afternoon he has some in dandies, some on foot. been rather intrusive, and has These are all flowing north- occasionally almost dislodged wards. That means that it is me. Still I regret his abrupt either to be a gymkhana or a departure, and the chill that regatta. Preferably the latter, his absence produces. Though for I can see more of it.
he is invisible to me, he yet Regatta it is, for the verandah shines through a jagged strath and tiers of seats in the club overlooking the farther end of boat-house, a mile away, are the lake, and pours his great already blossoming into bright shafts, like lime-light, on to the colours as they are occupied flats and into the boat-house, by gay frocks and sunshades. where all the fuss is and the There is life and movement to life. Then he goes for good, the eye if not the ear, and if the and the place soon puts on its band were not elsewhere em- night-array, jewelled with reployed I should just be able to flected stars in the water and hear it from my seat. There with many a twinkling light are many boat-races, but as they set 80 high and so steeply are all rowed nearly end on to above me that they too might
estill I make the chThought
almost be stars. “Night has a if the matter was one that had thousand eyes,” in sooth. The almost escaped him, “Well, tinkling bell of the Roman what say you to having it off ?” Catholic chapel hard by rings He had been using all his clever out the Angelus, and the day brains for long in order to keep is done.
it on, and really was as disapIt is at this time that Eileen pointed as I was. Not to be and her brothers, who have outdone, I reply, “Why, cerbeen herded indoors at sunset tainly; it will be a good ridto avoid the damp chills of dance of bad rubbish !” night, tune up their evening “Well, let's see — to-day's lays. These are drawn exclu- Tuesday—when shall we say?" sively and impartially from “The sooner the better." ‘Hymns Ancient and Modern' “To-morrow, then ?”. and from the light operas, “All right, Mr Phelps. Please the former very flat, the latter see that the tables are right." very stale, not to say unprofit. Well, it was to be quite a able. It is a sad trial, but the minor operation; still it span windows are closed.
itself out most profusely. "Perhaps you'd like to take Mr Phelps thought that the dressing off yourself, sir,” “these two tables” would do. says considerate Mr Phelps, So he placed them together end who is doing his night rounds. to end, threw a measuring eye “You'll hurt yourself less than over me, and found that they I shall — there, that's right. would do. One of them was Now for the hot water. There! my dinner-table. We keep no Hurting a little ? Ah, that'll operating tables in our estabsoon go. Good night, sir; you'll lishment. It is one of many find the morphia on the little deficiencies. And, dear me, table by your bed.” And so what a lot of preparations ! he departs, and leaves the world They recommenced at 6 o'clock to darkness and to me.
next morning with an interI will husband my resources, mittent stream of satellites, i.e., the morphia and the three bearing every conceivable article hours' sleep it represents, and connected directly or indirectly will woo slumber unaided till with limb-carving: lastly, a midnight: and then the blessed large chest, marked in omindrug! She will carry me on ous black, “Emergency box,” till 3 A.M., and with luck, only staggered in and was dumped. a little luck, and if Carlo does My private wire informed me not bark, till 4 A.M., and the that it contained apparatus for remainder of the night will starting a heart that would soon pass till the dawn-bird not beat under chloroformreturns thanks for the begin. mine was beating quite fastning of another day, and I or lungs that in moments of mine for the ending of another anæsthetical slackness refused night.
to breathe. Also there were
vessels various; towels, plenty; The Tormentor remarked sponges, a large selection ; hotquite parenthetically, and as water, gallons of it; instru
ments, cases full of them, all D'you think you could get opened and displaying their Mrs O'Hara to put it away wares. Some of the latter, in- somewhere ?” deed, were enjoying a tepid “Well, I'll see what I can antiseptic bath, lying under do, sir," says Mr Phelps, water in basins, and glittering grimly. He does not like Mrs most murderously at me. O'Hara. The parrot nuisance
Unlike the condemned man, was abated, and though it I was not even allowed any may look cowardly shifting it breakfast. Perhaps also I was on to the poor liver case, yet it not very hungry. Mr Phelps must be remembered that he was happy in a subdued sym- was quite safe and bed-ridden pathetic way. Operations are in an upper storey and well so few and practice so valuable, out of range of Johnnie's rifle. and when one of the former I was not. comes your way, a man must The Carlo nuisance was also make the most of it.
abated in a similar manner. The Tormentor dropped And on a day I stood up to in; several other tormentors resume once more my little dropped in, and at last all place in the world, the world was ready.
that had been going on and A voice was calling me by on all these weeks, leaving me name; far, far away—then halted unprofitably by the way. nearer and more peremptorily side, losing time, losing station. -“Wake up, wake up!” So So much lee-way had to be I woke.
made good. And yet - this “Why, I thought you were was a heartening thought never coming round.”
perhaps, something depended “Is it off ?”
on the uses that had been “Yes, it's off.”
made of adversity. For those “Thank goodness!”
also serve who only stand and A week's close confinement wait. prevented further observations And how I had looked forfrom my verandah, but the ward to this day of release! dawn-bird never failed me, nor And here it had arrived; and did the O'Haras.
was not I now rejoicing at “Do you think Mrs O'Hara leaving these surroundings is very fond of that screaming reminiscent of nothing but parrot?” I asked Mr Phelps. weary days and sleepless
"I'm sure, sir, I don't know nights ? Yes, I was glad. why she keeps the plaguey And yet no, I was more than bird."
a little sorry. For I was about “How's the abscess-on-the to leave behind me certain liver ?” I query: we allude to friends in adversity, therefore ourselves by our ailments. good friends—my verandah;
“Ah, sir, bad—very bad. the prospect from it; my two No sleep; and temperature trees; the tits; last, but by not down for days."
no means least, that uncon“I expect that parrot dis- scious comforter, my dawnturbs him a lot at night. bird.
RICHARD HARTLEY, PROSPECTOR.
BY DOUGLAS BLACKBURN.
CHAPTER XII.—ON TREK.
A WEEK after Wilmot left place at the shady corner of Pretoria jail he was on the the stoep, to which he had first stage in the Great Trek. engineered her rather adroitly. The plan of campaign necessi. He began by taking her hand, tated a visit to Smeer's farm and in rather formal language to procure riding-horses, and a said good-bye call at Rietspruit. “Good-bye, Clarie. It may The journey from Krugersdorp be a long time before we see to the farm was made by Cape one another again, but- " cart, an expensive but con- There came a pause, which venient mode of travel. Hart- Clarie filled with an interrogaley carried with him a parcel of tive “Yes ?” literature for Clarie, selected This was not in the original with a little more care than scheme, and the pause conusual, thanks to the guidance tinued. Perhaps it was more of Wilmot, and sundry trifles, eloquent in its significance than appreciated by the feminine the words that should have mind, intended as peace-offer- come, but refused to shape. ings to Mrs de Villiers and “I shall miss you very much,” Hendrika. According to Boer Clarie said to help him. It was etiquette, their acceptance his turn to say “Yes ?” “I do might be regarded as a pledge hope this business you are on on the part of the recipients to will turn out nicely.” treat Clarie better. The same “You may well wish that, etiquette required that Clarie because you have an interest should not be included in the in it.” Hartley was right off distribution of gifts, but Hart- the track, and began to ley knew that the books would flounder. be prized far above anything “I?” else. He made his offering to “Yes ; you're in on the the enemy with some trepida- ground-floor, and, if it pans tion, but was rendered happy out as well as the indications by the enthusiasm with which promise, I'm going to do the it was received.
right thing, because, you see, He had with considerable you've had a good deal to do effort composed a little farewell with it." speech to Clarie, but when the Clarie expressed her surprise moment came for delivering it and incredulity. he was overwhelmed with an “Yes," Hartley went on, awkward shyness and loss of growing bolder, though his memory. The parting took original speech had quite evap
orated. “I look on you as the eh ? Good-bye, and don't let Syndicate. Syndicates stay at the old woman worry you.” home and encourage the pro- They shook hands quietly. spector, and of course you'll The rest of the family, who had get the lion's share — Syndi- been bidding a demonstrative cates always do.”
farewell to Wilmot, closed in “But I thought they stood too thickly for the continuance in halves with the prospector of confidential relations be-sometimes,” she laughed, pre- tween Clarie and Hartley, and serving the simile.
the shaking of twenty hands “Yes, sometimes, when they had to be got through. are honest. I'm going to let The trek which the two ad. you stand in halves—at any venturers had now begun was, rate, you shall have the chance apart from the risk entailed by -when I come back.”
its illicit nature, more than The femininely womanly as- ordinarily hazardous. It inserted itself.
volved a slow and circuitous “When you come back you journey of about two hundred will look at the thing differ- miles—probably more, if need ently — especially if it has of extra caution took them off turned out well.”
the direct route; all of it, after “So you are like Wilmot: the first fifty miles, through a you think I would turn on a region nearly as virgin and friend." He spoke bitterly difficult of access as it was in
"I don't understand you. the days of the Voortrekkers, How can you turn on me? -for although the map showed I only mean that when you that every yard was marked as come back, if successful, you pocupied, the farms were mostly will have no need to trouble such in name only. Much of about me; you will be going the country they would have away from the land-at least, to pass through was known as that is what I understood from low veld and bush veld, and your talk the other day.” was occupied only in the winter
“I didn't mean it that way. by high-veld Boers, who brought Look here, Clarie, I'm not good their cattle here to escape the at arguing with women; I get rigours of the southerly latimixed and foolish. What I tudes. Very few had houses, mean about that halving busi- the entire family living in the ness—but it's no good talking waggon, or, at best, in a few of halving till you've got some- tents or grass huts erected by thing to halve. Wait till I their Kafir servants. The few come back, will you ?”
dorps that lay on the line of She laughed.
march Hartley purposed avoid“What else can I do? You ing as much as possible, relying don't suppose I can wander upon the isolated Kafir tradabout like you? I shall never ing-stores, kept by enterprising leave the farm.”
Europeans, mostly Russian “That's what I wanted to Jews, for the replenishing of talk about; but it will keep, his commissariat.