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Leventy miles front of sin In all,
plain of the Liau-ho, somewhere railroads, telephones, and all on the Hsin-min -ting road. scientific means of inter-comThis flank was watched by a munication. To a great extent cavalry division under Mis- the Japanese did the same, but chenko and Kosobosky. In all, they were also careful to prethis was a front of sixty to pare a second and even a third seventy miles. It must not be line of defence within an easy thought that the Sha-ho was distance of their front, so that a military obstacle. It was if the great army of brave men neither deep nor fast enough, which Kuropatkin was conexcept when in heavy flood, to centrating in front of them be reckoned as a barrier. At should, by force of numbers, be the present season, frozen hard, able to drive them from the it indicated the line of country first line, the Russians, spent which commended itself to and halting from the effort Kuropatkin's sappers as de- which had given them success, fensible. The 2nd Manchurian would find that no less an effort Army, which was now com- was required to make good the manded by Gripenberg, held Japanese second line, and, in the plain between the Hun-ho sequence, the third. The Rusand the railway. Koulbars com- sians, too, had prepared against manded the centre, while the misadventure, but their position 1st Manchurian Army, consist was forty miles to the rear of ing of the Siberian Army Corps, Mukden, and was designed held Kuropatkin's eastern front rather to arrest disaster than in the hills under the command to form a point d'appui for a of Linievitch, the veteran com- violent counter-stroke. This mander during the Boxer difference in military appreciatrouble, who had recently been tion was to be demonstrated brought to Mukden from com- both at the battle of Hei-koumanding the garrison at Vladi- tai and at Mukden. vostok. The Japanese positions There are several indications to a very considerable extent which tend to show that Kuroconformed to those of the Rus- patkin at Mukden still believed sian. In fact, in many places the that although the Japaneseoutposts were so close together bred soldier might be better that it was possible to see than the mujik in the hills, yet from the Russian line the smoke his own grey-coated regiments from the cigarettes of the would defeat the diminutive Japanese off-duty pickets. But Oriental upon the plain. From behind the parallel chains of the very commencement of the fortified positions which kept campaign, as far as he could these two armies in touch, two judge, the Japanese had always industrious and independent made for the highest hill-tops principalities seemed to have in order to give effect to their sprung up. The Russians turning movements. Reflecting showed great mechanical skill upon the very painful experiin connecting up the wings of ence which he had bought, the their great army with light Russian General no doubt came
to the conclusion that the Jap- is no doubt, however, that the anese had shunned the plain premises of this attempt against because they felt their inferior- Oyama's flank were, at the outity on the level. This thought set, conducted with considerable was set fast in his mind when skill—that is to say, they were he designed the abortive opera- conducted with secrecy, and tions at Hei-kou-tai, and after secrecy in war is synonymous that disaster it was this belief with skill. which caused him to mass On the night of the 23rd the 20,000 of his reserves at Fu- Russians' second army, conshun as a counterpoise to the sisting of the 8th and 10th combined movement which he Army Corps, plus Stackelapprehended Kawamura and berg's Siberians, concentrated Kuroki would make against his between Chang-tan and Tu-tileft flank. It must be allowed, fang on the Hsin-min-ting-Liauhowever, that the development yang road, about twenty-five of the final closure of the battle miles south-west of Mukden, of Hei - kou - tai is an enigma and five miles to the rear of even to this moment. The mili- the defences on the Hun-ho. tary student can understand The weather still remained favthe object of Gripenberg's orig- ourable, as far as a Manchurian inal movement,-his desire to winter can be favourable for turn the Japanese on the flank military operations. On the on which he believed their mili- night of the 24th Gripenberg tary resistance to be the weak- moved his army southwards, est. One can even understand and crossed the frozen Hun in his selecting European troops, two places, at Han-chiao-pu and for the most part unblooded, to Chi-tai-tzu. Having made the engage upon this enterprise passage of the river at dayover the frozen plains. Also, break, the Russian brigades it is easy to understand why, formed for attack, and were as a matter of precaution, the launched against an echelon of well - tried 1st Siberian Army fortified posts, which furnished Corps under General Stackel- the Japanese left. Of these berg was withdrawn from the the San-de-pu position was the left, and sent to stiffen the new most important. It is essential phalanxes from European Rus- that the military reader should sia. The order which the mut- at this moment fix in his mind inous and sore-headed Gripen- the character of the terrain in berg claims to have in his pos- which the fighting took place. session, in which Kuropatkin 'The Times' of February 4 asks him to unmask the situa. has given the following extion of the chief masses of the pressive picture :Japanese force beyond the Sha. “San-de-pu, like all the other nuho, is also easy of comprehen- merous villages around, is a collection sion. But, beyond this point, of farmsteads, with a caravanserai for there is little that the student
+ winter travellers. Each farmhouse
is surrounded by high walls of sunor historian can unravel or con- dried bricks. well plaster scientiously understand. There loam, mixed with chopped straw.
Hartley felt sick, and made manner of a man who heard an no reply. .
excuse he could not accept. “Yes, where is Wilmot?-he His stolid, stupid face had inwill tell the truth.”
credulity and obstinate scepti· Hendrika had entered the cism stamped upon it. “You room, and stood by the side of had better go away,” he her mother. She was in an said. His passive, quietelaborate dressing-gown, whose loving nature revolted at embellishment she had con- everything violent. He hated cealed and marred by throwing a scene, and would rather an old shawl over her head and allow a malefactor to escape shoulders. She stood an em- than have the trouble and bodiment of inartistic incon- exertion of arresting him. gruity,—delicate lace and rib- “Run away before the bon, ragged and dirty woollen. Smeers come : they are wait
“Why did you make Wilmot ing for you,” he repeated. bury Johannes ?” she de- Hartley started as if stung. manded. “We know, - you “Run away! By God, no! dared not look on him. It is not for all the police in the always 80 with murderers. Transvaal,” he shouted, standHave you murdered Wilmot? ing up and facing the group Where is he? Why does he defiantly. “Where's Clarie? not come to bear out your You may believe I'm a murlies ?”
derer, but she does not." Hartley relit his pipe. The “Go away,” Piet repeated questioning of the girl unnerved petulantly and paralysed him. His cour- “It's your house, Piet, but age was oozing. He wanted I don't go until Clarie tells to be brave and conceal noth- me to.” ing, but he hesitated to make At that moment there was a the answer that he felt must flash of white at the door. condemn him irretrievably. Clarie, with a wrapper thrown Where was Wilmot? He hon- round her, her long brown hair estly did not know, but dare streaming over her shoulders, not confess it, much less could her face white as her robe and he put his suspicions into her dark eyes gleaming feverwords. To impute treachery ishly, glided noiselessly into the to his friend while he himself room. She walked swiftly up was under grave suspicion to Hartley, and pointing to the would be the act of a coward. door that opened upon the
“You cannot answer,” came stoep, said in a tone strangely the voice of Hendrika. “You at variance with her usual know you have murdered him. subdued and gentle speechI can feel it. Father, send a “Go,—go at once!” Kafir for Frickkie and Jan Hartley stood dazed and Smeer: they are on the farm, irresolute. and must catch this schelm.” . “But, Clarie, why should I
Old Piet spoke at last. He go if I am innocent ?” had been listening with the “Go!” she repeated, and she
put her hand on his arm as if “Don't cry, haartje,” he said to force him.
soothingly. “Why did you tell He looked at her for a space. him you thought him a mur
“I'll go if you believe me a derer? I know you don't. murderer.”
But it looks black against “I do, go.”
him." “You do?” He asked the Clarie controlled herself with question with lingering, doubt- an effort. “It does look ful emphasis.
black," she said. “That's “I do,-go away.”
why I drove him away.” He picked up the sjambok “But do you think he murthat he had laid on the table, dered Smeer?” gave one long stupefied look “I should have sent him at the white-robed, trembling away just the same.” figure, put on his hat, and “Then you don't think him passed into the darkness with- bad.” out a word.
She shook her head. Clarie stood, statuesque, till “You are a strange girl, the door had closed behind Clarie. Why did you say you him, then threw herself on to believed him guilty ?” the sofa and burst into “Father, you don't underhysterical sobs.
stand Dick. You heard him Mrs de Villiers walked over say he would not go but for and stood by her. “That is me. If I had told him I your Rooinek lover, eh? - a thought him innocent, he would murderer; and you send him have stayed to be caught that a way that he may not be he might justify my faith in caught. But he will be. him; but I know he would have Hendrika, tell Toli to ride fast no chance. They would conto Frickkie Smeer. Quick! I vict him easily. It broke my can hear he is going that way.” heart to say it, but it was the
Hendrika left by the kitchen, only way, -I know him so and her mother followed. As well.” And she broke again she disappeared, a little figure into sobs, while little Lisbeth in a dishevelled night - dress lavished wet kisses and old came furtively into the room Piet awkwardly stroked her and climbed on to the sofa, hair, muttering, “ Haartje, where she nestled beside the haartje!” weeping woman. It was little Clarie had summed the inLisbeth.
cident accurately when she Old Piet sat at the table said she knew Hartley so well. watching the child fondling Her strangely unexpected deand kissing her sister. Pres- nunciation of the man was the ently he got up, slouched to outcome of a woman's instinct the sofa, and sat down. Clarie and impulse. She had heard lay with her back to him, her her sister's threat to send for face buried in a cushion. Her the sons of the dead Smeer, father gently pulled one hand and knew well that it portended away.
disaster for Hartley. "Days be