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“ And will you say to her Hartley never goes back on his that she must marry me?” word? Do you take me for a
“I will tell her she must do Boer verneuker? No wonder so if she can like you, and you you thought I had sold you
at can help her to do that by Pretoria. I tell
I shall doing what I say."
keep every part of my agree“Mr Hartley, I will take ment. I shall pay him his five my Bible oath to anything you hundred, and out of my share, wish."
mind you." “That's all right, Johannes. Wilmot became profusely Now about your friends. How apologetic and penitent, but much do they want?”
Hartley was long in being “Nothing. I said nothing soothed. He had been badly to them, for I did not know hurt on his most sensitive about the cartridges till my point, and declined all Kafirs told me when I came planation. He
called up back yesterday. Ach, Mr Smeer. “ Johannes, do you Hartley, but I am slim," and think I mean what I have the old man leant against the said to you ?” he demanded. waggon and laughed a shrill “Why, surely, Mr Hartley, falsetto.
you always speak true words." “Then they don't know any. He looked from one to the thing at all?"
other, wonderingly. “I have no friends, man. “I want my friend here to Van Enter told me where I bear witness, so that if anyshould find an old waggon left thing should happen to me in a marsh about eight hours he will know what I have from here, and I found it; and promised.” I am going to take my boys He repeated in English the and bring the wheel away,” and terms of his undertaking to he laughed long and loudly. Smeer.
“So you have verneuked “Now swear that you'll see me ?"
that I carry out my promise,” Smeer could not speak. He and he framed the customary simply nodded assent, and con oath familiar to Afrikanders. tinued to let out his piercing Wilmot repeated it with his staccato shrieks.
right hand raised. “Are you “With all his cunning he satisfied now?” Hartley asked. has overreached himself,
“Quite, but there was Wilmot's remark when Hartley necessity for this." told him the story.
“You made the necessity. “How?"
You see other people trust “He has no security.” me.” Hartley lit his pipe in
Next moment he regretted the usual bungling style, and his speech. Hartley turned on walked away to cool down. him furiously.
Half an hour was occupied “No security! Damn you, in the process. Then he came is that still your idea of me? up to where Wilmot was lying Don't you know that Dick under the waggon, and, squat
ting beside him, gave him an have taken all this risk and account of the trip to the trouble on an off-chance ? No, kraal.
sir, you may believe it or not, “It's all right,” said he. but I would rather take the “'Mpfeu is drinking heavily, bare word of a raw Kafir in but his induna, Bulalie, is a business like this than the keeping a strong hand over sworn declaration of any white affairs of state, and will see man I know.” Hartley an. us through."
swered with a fierceness that "Did you see the diamonds ?" completely decided Wilmot Wilmot inquired eagerly. that he would not again give
Hartley looked hard at him. expression to any doubts he
“Man, but you are a doubt might have. He watched with ing Thomas ! Yes, I saw the mingled admiration and asdiamonds, though I didn't ask tonishment the bold and unto. What is more, I have hesitating manner in which selected those I want, and I Hartley displayed to the inreckon there are twenty thou- duna the evidence of the keepsand pounds' worth, or I am no ing of his part of the bargain. judge of stones.”
Smeer took the three Kafirs "I suppose there is no fear for the wheel early next morn. of the old savage going back ing, and returned with it before on his bargain - refusing to noon the following day. The pay when he has got the journey was resumed that evengun?” Wilmot put the ques- ing by the light of the moon, tion hesitatingly.
and for the first time for a “Do you think I should week Wilmot slept peacefully.
(To be continued.)
At the turn of the road I like pose perhaps, upon the swung round in my saddle and duty still to be done. I was waved a hand to the justices of riding alone through the illimthe peace. They waved back, itable bush, that only a tick or and one of them shouted some two backwards of eternity's thing They appeared as a clock had painting made up of broad- booted tread nor an iron-shod brimmed hats,
hats, beards, and hoof-track. Conjuring to myflourished arms,
shut in self the sensation that I was framework whose one side was the first man to plunge into the bark wall of the bush pub: the heart of this fickle continthe top of the frame was the ent, it did not take long, you bark roof of the verandah, may be sure, until I was being while the other side & followed by mighty herds of gnarled verandah - post, — the cattle all my own; great tracts whole picture softly shrouded of the land were mine ; by the in tobacco-smoke and the deep- side of a deep mirageous lagoon ening twilight. Good fellows, there sprang up a deep mirageall in the prime of life then, ous homestead, creeper-covered, they are well on the downhill and, yes,-though I knew she track by now. As I write this would never leave England for I wave my hand to them again this rough life, though for across the years. They had aught I knew she was wife perhaps stretched their con and mother now,-I had taken sciences somewhat to send hap- all these great possessions, I pily on his road a youngster would take her too, and I who had taken their thoughts pictured her mirageously there back to England for a couple on the deep verandah, looking of hours; but I know that their out, waiting for me. . . . My justice would have been even- horse stumbled badly, and the handed and English enough in mirage melted from me and any cause that mattered at flew to its home among the all.
dreams, where it will live I was riding a horse bor. always, for dreams are deathrowed from a cattle station less. that lay about half-way be It was almost dark : as I tween the court-house and the pulled my horse to his feet sheep-camp. Roughly, I had again I peered down at the fifty miles to ride to get to this track. I knew at once, but place, and I had brought no would not believe; so getting food with me; for I had started quickly to the ground, I made away in a 'too great jubilation quite certain, and while doing at my success in court, mixed so came into possession of much with an overwhelming sense of the same feeling that a man rushing, in a somewhat hero- must have who babs up and
VOL CLXXVIII.—NO. MLXXVII.
down in mid-ocean and sees There was no track. the stern-lights of his steamer utterly and hopelessly lost in growing steadily smaller. I the bush-bushed, as the bushwas off the road and travelling man calls it. on a small bridle-track, with I knew that there were men no knowledge as to how long who rode at night guiding I had been doing so.
themselves by the stars : for With subsequent years of ex- me, even if I had known how perience my bump of locality to pick my stars and keep to never arrived at any great them, I had no idea under what dimensions : at that time it particular constellation lay the must have been no bump, but station I was making for. I a depression. I dragged my knew that there were men who horse round to examine the rode by instinot,-men who, as track behind him, dragged him the phrase goes, “you could back again to look at it in not bush,” for having once been front; then, lest the road to a place, they could, if need should be on one side or the were, go to it again through other and close by, I led him black darkness years afterfirst to one side and then to wards from an utterly different the other. Suddenly my heart point of the compass. I would dropped into the pit of my have bartered away whole kingstomach, and I felt as if the doms that night for one spark only friend left to me on earth of this instinct whereby to light had been stricken dead at my a candle in
brain that would side, for it came to me as such guide me back to the lost road. a blow that I had turned round I pulled myself together, sat so often that, fool that I was, I down upon a log, filled my pipe, didn't even know from which and lit it. With
first reasondirection I had come along the ing moment came the sting of bridle-track. In a foolish panic the tardy knowledge that had I I threw myself into the saddle done this when I first found and plunged off into the night, myself wrong I should in all swept along by the lost feeling probability have been right in all its first sharp uncompre- again a few minutes afterhending agony: to be still, to wards. I remembered one of think, to reason, was for the the old shepherds saying it: time impossible. Presently I “Soon as ever yer know yer got down again. The little don't know, pull out yer pipe bridle - track with its last
last and ’ave a draw.” My smoke slender thread of hope that I only rammed home the comwas running it the right way pleteness of my impotence. I had slipped from under me in might start off at any degree the darkness. I remembered of a circle drawn around my that a little way back my horse feet, then, even if I could keep had shied to the left: I dragged straight, it was 359 chances to him to the right, peering at the one that I went in the wrong ground, farther on, and peered direction, which of course was again, still a little farther. an exaggeration ; but at the
time it seemed the sum-total with all speed had become an of all I had learnt in about obsession. I still saw myself thirteen years of schooling—of arriving within a reasonable 80 much use in the wilderness time, reporting what I had is an expensive education. done, and getting commenda
The horse, meanwhile, had tion for it. I was itching to nibbled all the grass he could make Rarman grateful to me; get without tightening the that was to be my triumph. rein, and began to pull at it
It couldn't be that this with irritating little jerks that scheme should fall to pieces he might get farther afield. because of
minutes' Once more, as it had done in dreaming. I laughed; of course the matter of the sheep-dog, not, there would be luck. To the rage of impotence fell upon stay where I was would be to me like a flash,-let only those go mad again ; I must take the throw stones who have known 360th chance. Out loud I made these things and kept an even an elaborately worded apology temper. I jumped to my feet, to the horse, took him into my and the poor beast raised his counsel, and told him finally head and looked at me with that I was going to leave the just surprise enough to cook matter in his hands, or, strictly one ear.
speaking, to his feet. Climbing “Horses have gone straight to the saddle again, I threw home for a thousand miles," I the reins on his neck, and said, and at the word I struck touched him with the spurs. him with my fist full force According to most horse-stories, upon the mouth;
"you I thought he would at any rate won't for a single night. take me to water; I was beI'm hard put to it, put to it, ginning to get thirsty. .. d'yer hear? . I must get After riding for what seemed back to the sheep, you brute, about an hour, the horse sudyou know that; . . . you could denly stopped dead, and pretake me, you won't.'
sently, as a tired beast often At each of the words you will, turned his head round and see italicised here I kicked him touched my right leg, as who cruelly in the ribs, for after the should say, “About time you first blow my fingers refused to got off, isn't it?” shut, and were as full of pain I looked round at the trees, as though they were all broken. then down at the ground. I have been sorry for this ever There was something unsince, and shall be for the rest cannily, nay, aggressively and of my life. It is no defence, damnably familiar about the but I have seen worse things place. It seemed as if this done by men who have been tiny plot of the bushland that greatly and justly loved, and I was looking down at were a to whom no amount of power face, and that the face was would bring one touch of smiling up at me sardonically cruelty.
in the light of the newly risen To get back to the sheep half moon. For a moment I