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There were good reasons why on good roads, was two and a he did not wish to encounter half tons, the question of safe Boer officials, never so alert transport threatened to become and officious as during the a serious one in view of the six months that followed the poorness of the oxen and the Jameson Raid. The sleepiest age of the waggon, which, as field-cornet a woke to some- Johannes said, had been long thing approaching alacrity and enough on the road to know its activity at the sound of the own way over most of South voice of a travelling English- Africa. The roads over which man. Every saddle-bag was it would be dragged for two suspected of containing belated hundred miles differed only despatches from Rhodesia, and from the mountain and veld a loaded waggon afforded scope they traversed by being not for a search that would have absolutely impassable, and for shamed the most energetic the greater part of the way it Customs officer by its thorough- would need an expert to define ness. A strange Rooinek pass- them. ing through a remote district Hartley's heart failed him, had become a thing of terror, and visions of a premature and more than suspicion; and breakdown appalled, when toeven the guarantee of good wards sunset of the first day faith provided by the presence he espied the waggon outof an oprecht Burgher like spanned by the side of a good Johannes Smeer was hardly road. According to arrangea set-off against the preponder- ments, it should have been at ating weight of two Rooineks. least a day's trek farther on.

As to the fearsome cargo Smeer was fast asleep in the Hartley had little apprehen- tilt at the back of the waggon sion, unless investigations were when they rode up. Hartley conducted with saws and axes. angrily demanded to know the In outward appearance the reason for this snail's pace. headgear and the long steel The old man quietly explained drill were all they were sup- that he had dreamt the night posed to be, and only an en- before that the Rooineks had gineer or mining-man would deserted him, and he had renotice that the specifio gravity solved to wait until their presof the pine-wood timbers was ence belied the vision. rather above the average. And The trip was a thing of joy heavy, indeed, the load was. to Wilmot, new to the charm The gun itself was of small and novelty of waggon-travel, account, embedded in a block which few Englishmen fail to of timber that occupied little appreciate until custom and space; but the cartridges were necessity have robbed it of its a serious matter. They alone fascinations. He found a thrillweighed close on three tons ing, boyish delight in every without their wooden casings ; phase of the day's duties, and as the maximum load for a riding or walking by the side waggon and sixteen oxen, even of the waggon for miles, taking

were

in new life with the magnificent along the sides

sides of stony rarefied atmosphere, feeling the kopjes or

mountain - ranges, poetic and artistic in his im- across rivers whose shallowness pressionable nature stirred by was compensated for by perthe rugged grandeur of the pendicular banks, up which the scenery and the illimitable waggon had to be hauled and landscape, which grew less pushed by man and beast with monotonous and more varied an expenditure of effort that with every mile. In two days approached cruelty. For miles they had left the desert - like the route would be through a grass plains of the high veld, bit of country so delightfully and had entered a country that level that motion became a fitted more perfectly the ideas pleasure, the wheels sliding of South African scenery popų.

over the smooth long grass larised by artist and word with no impediment save an painter. It is true that the occasional ant - hill or grassmighty forests

repre- covered boulder. Then a long sented only by expanses of outspan would be the necessary bush veld whose trees would preface to a stormy passage barely conceal an ox, but viewed over rocks and gullies, along from the top of some ridge the sides of hills at an angle they fulfilled all the duties of that seemed to defy the laws a forest in landscape, with the of gravity, and which nothing added charm of being forbidden but a goat or a South African ground because of the reported waggon could attempt. Often presence of so many black a long and timber - shivering mambas, the most dreaded of pull, that left the oxen too African snakes.

exhausted to wince when the Golosh, thechristianised Kafir, cruel thirty-foot lash cut their was of the party, and his réper- flanks, would be terminated toire of gruesome stories of dire abruptly by a donga,ma yawnconflicts between man and beast ing gash in the earth that was extensive. For a native extended a mile or more to whose best years had been right and left. Sometimes spent on a mission - station in there was no alternative but one of the most civilised parts a return over the track passed of Cape Colony, he had a sur- with so much pain and effort, prising acquaintance with the or a flank movement along the life of the wilds, and many an edge of the donga-dangerous explorer would have given much and exhausting. to have seen half the fearsome Old Smeer, Boer-like, had at creatures which, in defiance of first insisted that he knew the the laws of geographical distri- road, having heard it described bution, had obliged Golosh with by farmers who had made the sight of their manners and pilgrimage to the low veld, and customs.

on the whole his memory of Day after day the waggon their instructions served him grated or rumbled slowly on well. But the rains of a wet over undulating veld, up or summer had obliterated most

VOL CLXXVIII.—NO. MLXXVII.

the

o laye oede ahoad tof a day hundrede for a wachim

ut to rea be twined to remo that could and

of the landmarks, and as few ensberg through a pass that the Boers had yet trekked in this stoutest Voortrekker deemed direction, there came a time impregnable. To him the when Smeer had to confess lowering of a waggon five that he had lost his bearings, hundred feet down & slope, and advised a halt of a day which he described as smooth while he rode ahead to spy out as the roof of a house, was the lay of the land. He re- child's play. turned next day with satisfac- Wilmot watched with fascition writ large on his otherwise nated interest the process of inexpressive face, and announced making the wheels immovable a heroic resolve. He had dis- with strips of raw-hide called covered the track, but to reach reims,—the veld-man's rope,it one of two things had to be twine, and wire combined ; done-either they must retrace helped to remove some of the their weary way some twenty smaller articles that could not miles, or the waggon must be be thoroughly secured ; and tied up and lowered from the with beating heart saw the edge of the high plateau where oxen taken out and the heavy they had halted into the valley waggon directed sideways over below.

the cliff. It ran for twenty When the plan was explained yards with its own momentum, to Wilmot he stood aghast. then brought up in a hollow. The side of the hill it was All hands ran to the rescue, proposed to launch the waggon laid a course diagonally down down sloped at an angle varying the side, and another space was between thirty-five and forty- cleared. The next lap was five degrees. It was largely finished on the top of a boulder, covered with grass, but the many and much labour and ingenugullies, projecting ridges, and ity were needed to bring the huge boulders seemed to offer waggon into position for the insuperable obstacles. To an next run; but half an hour's Englishman the proposal ap- work did it, and then began a peared madness; but the craft series of slides, some smooth of a Boer transport rider is a and gentle, others a succession thing of marvel, that may only of shocks, bumps, and threats be witnessed and described by of capsize. Again and again those whose probity and char Wilmot saw the unwieldy mass acter stand assured. Johannes dashing on to destruction on a Smeer had ridden transport in boulder; but a skilful deflection the days when Kimberley was of the pole or disselboom, that young, and the rates stood at stood out like a bowsprit or thirty shillings the hundred- outrigger, had the effect of a weight, and were not too high. touch on the tiller of a sailing This same old waggon had boat, and steered the craft into bumped up the Gibraltar, from smooth water. Within an hour which the Devil's Kantoor looks the waggon was awaiting the down on Barberton, and Smeer arrival of the oxen, which had had steered it across the Drak- been taken down by a track

hat required of the wagunt hills ago

habing of dir could not brought of Be

that required as careful negoti- until their documents had been ation as that of the waggon. verified, and with all his cour

The climbing of difficult hills age Hartley feared the conwas a sight Wilmot could not sequences of having his name endure, because of the suffer- brought prominently under the ing inflicted upon the patient, notice of Boer officialdom. It meek-eyed oxen. Frequently had taken too great an interest a couple of hours would be ex- in him of late. pended in getting the waggon On the tenth day of the up a hundred yards of steep trek the expected happened. incline by a process of zig- They came upon an elderly zagging that would have been Boer who, with his family easy but for the process of and cattle, was trekking to turning the sixty yards of his winter farm. His waggon oxen on the trek chain: more was outspanned a few miles than half the load had to to the right, on the road be removed before the ascent that Hartley would have been could be attempted, and labori. travelling, but that it led ously dragged up piece by through a dorp he was anxious piece. But the new track dis- to avoid. covered by Smeer got grad- The Boer pulled up fifty ually better, and the time- and yards from the party, and sat temper-exhausting mountain- in the saddle reconnoitring. eering became less frequent. After a time he cautiously

Occasionally Wilmot and advanced, announced that he Hartley rode off the track a was Van Enter of the Ermelo few miles to put up a buck district, and put the customor bustard and guinea - fowl, ary questions to the travellers. that relieved the monotony of Smeer acted as spokesman. the eternal tinned meats. But Instead of allaying suspicion, Hartley was not in favour of the old man's presence had the these excursions : he was fear- opposite effect. Van Enter ful of encountering some wan- could understand a party of dering party of Boers, whose ignorant Rooineks travelling suspicions might be excited off the road, but it puzzled and cause delay, while they him to find such a blunder communicated with the dis- made by a Boer like Johannes trict field-cornet. Hartley had Smeer, and with Afrikander thoughtfully provided himself directness he put his suspicion with a prospector's licence in into words. With tactless proper form; but it was more bluntness Smeer confessed that than probable that the field. the Rooinek had chosen the cornet would not be able to route, as he did not want to read it, and would insist on his pass through dorps. right to prevent progress until Hartley heard the foolish an interpreter had been found. statement, and drew on his The Johannesburg papers had resourcefulness promptly. lately recorded cases of trav- “I have gone off the road to ellers being detained many days find the elandsboontje (elandsof the andmarks and us few sberg through a pass that the Boers had yet rekked in this stoutest Voortrekker deemei direction, there carne a time impregnable. To him the when Smeer had to confess lowering of waggon fire that he had lost kris bearings. bundred feet down a slope. and adviseri u bait of a tay which he described as smooth while he rote ahead to say out as the roof of a house, was the lay of the land. He ce child's play. turned next day with satisfac Wilmot watched with fascition writ large on his otherwise nated interest the process of inespressiveface, and announced making the wheels immovable a hieroie resolve. He had tis- with strips of raw-hide called covered the track, but to reach reims,—the veld-man's rope,it one of two things had to be twine, and wire combined; tone-either they must retrace helped to remove some of the their weary way some twenty smaller articles that could not miles, or the waggon must be be thoroughly secured ; and tied up and loweredt from the with beating heart saw the edge of the high plateau where axen taken out and the heavy they had halted into the valley waggon directed sideways over below.

the cliff. It ran for twenty When the plan was explained yards with its own momentum, to Wilmot he stood aghast. then brought up in a hollow. The side of the hill it was Al hands ran to the reseue, proposed to launch the waggon laid a course diagonally down down sloped at an angle varying the side, and another space was between thirty-five and forty- cleared. The next lap was five degrees. It was largely finished on the top of a boulder, covered with grass, but the many and much labour and ingenugullies, projecting ridges, and ity were needed to bring the huge boulders seemed to offer waggon into position for the insuperable obstacles. To an next run; but half an hour's Englishman the proposal ap- work did it, and then began a peared madness; but the craft series of slides, some smooth of a Boer transport rider is a and gentle, others a succession thing of marvel, that may only of shocks, bumps, and threats be witnessed and described by of capsize. Again and again those whose probity and char- Wilmot saw the unwieldy mass acter stand assured. Johannes dashing on to destruction on a Smeer had ridden transport in boulder; but a skilful deflection the days when Kimberley was of the pole or disselboom, that young, and the rates stood at stood out like a bowsprit or thirty shillings the hundred- outrigger, had the effect of a weight, and were not too high. touch on the tiller of a sailing This same old waggon had boat, and steered the craft into bumped up the Gibraltar, from smooth water. Within an hour which the Devil's Kantoor looks the waggon was awaiting the down on Barberton, and Smeer arrival of the oxen, which had had steered it across the Drak- been taken down by & track

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