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furnish forth a good deathbed scene was a rise, a little rand, flowing out seldom goes naked of an excellent tra- from a tall kopje, grass and bush to dition. I have been at some pains to its crown, and at its skirts ran a wide discover the story of David Uyo; and spruit of clear water. The veldt waved though some or the greater part of it like a sea,-not nakedly and forlorn, may throw no further back than to but dotted with gray mimosa and big the vrouws of the dorp, it seems to me green dropsical aloes, that here and that they have done their part at least there showed a scarlet plume like a as well as David Uyo did his, and this flame. The country was thigh-deep in is the tale I gleaned.
grass and spoke of game; they When David was a young man the looked a springbok got up and fled. Boers were not yet scattered abroad So here they stayed. all over the veldt, and the farms lay David and his Kaffirs built the house, in to the dorps, and men saw one an- such a house as you see only when other every day.
the man who is to make his home in trouble with the Kaffirs at times, little it puts his hand to the building. Darisings and occasional murders, with vid knew but one architecture, that of the sacking and burning of home- the great hills and the sky, and when steads, and it was well to have the all was done, the house and its backmen within a couple of days' ride of ground clove together like a picture in the field-cornet, for purposes of defence a fit frame, the one enhancing the and retaliation. But when David mar- other, the two being one in perfection. ried all this weighed little with him. It was thatched, with deep eaves, and
“What need of neighbors ?” he said these made a cool stoep and cast shadto his young wife. “We have more ows on the windows; while the door need of land-good land and much of was red, and took the eye at once, as it. We will trek."
do the plumes of the aloes.
It was "It shall be as you will, David," an- not well devised,-to say so would be swered Christina. “I have no wish to lend David a credit not due to him; but yours, and neighbors are nothing but it occurred excellently. to me."
The next thing that occurred was a There was a pair of them, you see child, a son, and this set the pinnacle on -both Boers of the best, caring more their happiness. His arrival was the one for a good fire of their own than to see great event in many years, for the multhe smoke from another's chimney tiplication of David's flocks and herds soiling the sky. Within a week of was so well graduated, the growth of their agreement the
wagons were his prosperity so steady and of so even creaking towards the rising sun, and a process, that it tended rather to conthe whips were saluting the morning. tent than to joy. It was like having David and Christina fronted a new money rather than like getting it. In world together, and sought virgin soil. the same barefoot quiet their youth For a full month they journeyed out, left them, and the constant passing of and out-spanned at last, on a mellow days 'marked them, tenderly at first, evening, on their home.
and then more deeply. Their boy, "Could you live here, do you think, Trikkie, was a man and thinking of Christina ?” asked David, smiling, and marrying, when the consciousness of she smiled back at him and made no the leak in their lives stood up before other answer.
them. There was need for none, indeed, for They were sitting of an evening on no Boer could pass such a place. It the stoep, watching the sun go down and pull his ribbons after him, when ostrich chick, and was small enough Christina spoke.
for David to put in his pocket. He “David," she said, "yesterday was brought a new horizon with him and twenty-five years since our marriage. imposed it on his parents; he was, in We-we are growing old, David.” brief, a thing to make a deacon of a
She spoke with a falter, believing Jew peddlar. what she said. For though the blood Thereafter, life for David and Chrisis running strong and warm, and the tina was no longer a single phenome. eye is as clear as the heart is loyal, non, but a series of developments. It twenty-five years is a weary while to was like sailing in a greeably rough count back to one's youth.
water. No pensive mood could surDavid turned and looked at her. He vive the sight of mighty Trikkie gamsaw for a moment with her eyes-saw boling like a young bull in the comthat the tenseness of her girlhood had pany of Paul; nor could quiet hours vanished, and he was astonished. But impart a melancholy while the welkin he knew he was strong and hale, well rang with the voice of the kleintje bul. set-up and a good man to be friends lying the adoring Kaffirs. Where bewith, and as he gripped his knees, he fore life had glided, now it steeplefelt the tough muscle under his fingers, chased, taking its days bull-headed, and it restored him.
and Paul grew to the age of four as a "Christina," he said, seeing she was bamboo grows, in leaps. troubled, “it is the same with both of Then Trikkie, the huge, the hairy, us. You are not afraid to grow old the heavy-footed, the man who prided with me, little cousin ?"
himself on his ability to make circumShe came closer to him, but said stances, discovered, in a revealing flash, nothing. It was soon after that, and that he was, after all, a poor creature, a wonderful thing in its way, such as and that the brightest being on earth David had never heard of before, that was Katje Voss, whose people had setthere came to them another boy, a wee tled about thirty miles off-next door, rascal that shattered all the cobwebs as it were. Katje held views not enof twenty-five years, and gave Chris- tirely dissimilar, but she consented to tina something better to think of than marry him, and the big youth walked the footsteps of time.
Katje was a dumpy Boer girl, Trikkie had been glorious enough in with a face all cream and roses, and a bis time, and was glorious enough still, figure that gave promise of much fat for the matter of that; but this was a hereafter. Christina had imagined creature with exceptional points, which other things, but the idea is a rickety neither David nor Christina-nor, to do structure and she yielded; while David him justice, Trikkie-could possibly had never considered such an emeroverlook. Trikkie had a voice like a gency, and consented heartily. Behind bell, and whiskers like the father of Trikkie's back he talked of grandchila family, and stood six foot two in his dren, and was exceedingly happy. naked feet, and lacked no excellence Then his dream-fabric tumbled about that a sturdy bachelor should possess. his ears. But the other, who was born to the Trikkie had ridden off to worship his name of Paul, lamented his arrival beloved, and David and Christina, as with a vociferous note of disappoint- was their wont, sat on the stoep. They ment in the world that was indescrib- watched the figure of their son out of ably endearing; had a head clothed in sight, and talked a while, and then down like the intimate garments of an lapsed into the silence of perfect companionship. The veldt was all about there.” A tenderness overwhelmed them, as silent and friendly as they, him, and he caught a great sob and and the distance was mellow with a put his arm about her. "All must be haze of heat. From the kraals came ready, little cousin. Time enough to at intervals the voice of little Paul in grieve afterwards—all our lives, Chrisfluent Kaffir; David smiled over his tina, all our lives!" pipe and nodded to his wife once when She put her hand on his breast. the boy's voice was raised in a shout. “All shall be ready, David,” she anChristina was sewing; her thoughts swered. “Trust me, David." were on Katje and were still vaguely He drove off, and she watched him hostile.
lash the horses down the hill and force of a sudden she heard David's pipe them at the drift-he, the man who clatter on the ground, and looked loved horses and knew them as he sharply round at him. He was star- knew his children. His children! She ing intently into void sky;
his fied into the house to do her office and brows were knitted and his face was to drink to the bottom of the cup the drawn; even as she turned he gave a bitterness of motherhood. A cool bed, hoarse cry.
linen, cold water and hot water, branShe rose quickly, but he rose too, and dy and milk, all the insignia of the valspoke to her in an unfamiliar voice. ley of the shadow did she put to hand,
"Go in,” he said. "Have all ready, and con over and adjust and think for our son has met with a mishap. upon, and then there was the waiting. He has fallen from his horse."
She waited on the stoep, burning and She gasped and stared at him, but tortured, boring at the horizon with could not speak.
dry eyes, and praying and hoping. A “Go and do it,” he said again, look- lifetime went in those hours, and the ing at her with hard eyes, and sudden- sun was slanting down before the road ly she saw, as by an inward light, that yielded, far and far away, a speck here was not madness, but truth. It that grew into a cart going slowly. spurred her.
By-and-by she was able to see her hus"I will do it,” she said swiftly. “But band driving, but nobody with him,you will go and bring him in ?"
only a rag or a garment that fluttered "At once," he replied, and was away from the side. Her mind snatched at to the shed for the cart. The Kaffirs it; was it-God! what was it? came running to inspan the horses, and David drove into the yard soberly; shrank from him as they worked. He she was at the stoep. was white through his tan, and he “All is ready,” she said in a low breathed loud. Little Paul saw him, voice. “Will you bring him in ?” and sat down on the ground and cried "Yes," he said; and she went inside quietly.
with her heart thrashing like a kickBefore David went his wife touched ing horse. him on the arm, and he turned. She David carried in his son in his arms; was white to the lips.
he was not yet past that. On the “David,” she said, and struggled white bed inside they laid him, and with her speech-“David.”
where his fair head touched the pillow "Well?” he answered with a preg- it dyed it red. Trikkie's face was nant calm.
white and blue, and his jaw hung "David, he is not-not dead ?"
oddly; but once he was within the "Not yet,” he answered; "but I can- door, some reinforcement of association not say how it will be when I get came to Christina, and she went about
her ministry purposefully and swiftly, a little comforted. At the back of her brain dwelt some idea such as this: here was her house, her home, there David, there Trikkie, here she, and where these were together Death could never make the fourth. The same thought sends a stricken child to its mother. David leant on the foot of the bed, his burning eyes on the face of his son, and his brows tortured with anxiety. Christina brought some drink in a cup and held it to the still lips of the young man.
“Drink, Trikkie,” she pleaded softly. “Drink, my kleintje. Only a drop, Trikkie, and the pain will fly away.”
She spoke as though he were yet a child, for a mother knows nothing of manhood when her son lies helpless. The arts that made him a man shall keep him a man; so she coaxed the closed eyes and the dumb mouth.
But Trikkie would not drink, heard nothing, gave no sign. Christina laid drenched cloths to his forehead, deftly cleansed and bandaged the gaping rent in the base of the skull whence the life whistled forth, and talked to ber boy all the while in the low crooning mother-voice. David never moved from the foot of the bed, and never loosed his drawn brows. In came little Paul silently and took his hand, but he never looked down, and the father and the child remained there throughout the languid afternoon.
Evening cool was growing up when Trikkie opened his eyes. Christina was wetting towels for bandages, and her back was towards him, but she knew instantly and came swiftly to his side. David leaned forward breathlessly, and little Paul cried out with the grip of his hand. They saw a waver of recognition in Trikkie's eyes, a fond light, and it seemed that his lips moved. Christina laid her ear to them.
Trikkie. Nothing more. An hour after he was cold, and David was alone on the stoep, questioning pitiless skies and groping for God, while Christina knelt beside the bed within and wept blood from her soul.
They buried Trikkie in a little kraal on the hillside, and David made the coffin. When he nailed down the lid he was an old man; when the first red clod rung on it, he felt that life had emptied itself. When they were back in the house again, Christina turned to him.
"You knew," she said, in a strange voice_“You knew, but you could not save him." And she laughed aloud. David covered his face with his hands and groaned, but the next instant Christina's arms were about him.
Yet of their old life, before the deluge of grief, too much was happy to be all swamped. Time softened the ruggedness of their wound somewhat, and a day came when all the world was no longer black. Little Paul helped them much, for what had once been Trikkie's was now his, and as he grew before their eyes,
his young strength and beauty were a balm to them. David was much abroad in the lands now, for he was growing mealies and rapidly becoming a rich man; and as he rode off in the morning, and rode in at sundown, his new gravity of mind and mien broke up to the youngster who jumped at the stirrup with shouts and laughter and demanded to ride on the saddle-bow. At intervals, also, Paul laid claim to a gun, to spurs, to a watch, to all the things that go in procession across a child's horizon, and Christina was not proof against the impulse to smile at him.
It is not to be thought, of course, that the shock of foreknowledge, of omnipotent vision, had left David scathless. Though the other details of the tragedy shared his memory, and elbowed the terrifying sense of revela
tion, he would find himself now and and the horse was his big roan. The again peering at the future, straining pace at which he rode was winding up to foresee, as a sailor bores at a fog- the distance, and the hoofs no longer bank. Then he would catch himself, tap-tapped, but
insistently. and start back shuddering to the in- There was war, then; it could be nothstant matters about him. Eventuali- ing else. Her category of calamities ties he could meet, but in their season was brief; and war and the death of and hand to hand, afar off they mas- her dear ones nearly exhausted it. tered him. Christina, too, dwelt on it David galloped the last furlongs with at seasons; but, by some process of her a tightened rein, and froth snowed woman's mind, it was less dreadful to from the bit. He pulled up in the ber than to David: she, too, could yard and slipped from the saddle. dream at times.
Christina saw again on his face the One day she was at work within the white stricken look and the furrowed house, and Paul ran in and out. She frown that had stared on Trikkie's spoke to him once about introducing death. David stood with the bridle in
evil-smelling water-tortoise; be his hand and the horse's muzzle against went forth to exploit it in the yard. his arm and looked around. He saw From time to time his shrill voice Christina coming towards him with reached her; then the frayed edges of quick steps, and little Paul, abanDavid's black trousers of ceremony en- doning the skellpot, running to greet gaged her, to the exclusion of all else. him. He staggered and drew his hand Between the scissors and the needle, across his forehead. at last, there stole on her ear a faint Christina had trouble to make him tap-tap-such a sound as water drop- speak. ping on to a board makes. It left her “A dream," he kept saying, "an evil unconscious for a while, and then grew dream." a little louder, with a note of vehe- "A lying dream,” suggested Chrismence. At last she looked up and lis- tina anxiously. tened. Tap, tap, it went, and she “Yes," he hastened to add, "a lying sprang from her chair and went to the dream." stoep and looked out along the road. "About-about little Paul?" was her Far off on the hillside was a horse, timid question. ridden furiously on the downward David was silent for a while, and road, and though dwarfed by the miles, then answered. "I saw him dead," he she could see the rider flogging and his replied with a shudder. "God! I saw urgent crouch over the horse's withers. it as plain as I saw him a moment ago It was a picture of mad speed, of ter- in the kraal." ror and violence, and struck her with a They heard the child's gleeful shout chill. Were the Kaffirs risen ? she the same instant. "I've got you! I've queried. Was there war abroad? Was
got you!" he cried from without. this mad rider her husband?
"He has a water-tortoise,” explained The last question struck her sharply, Christina with a smile. "Paul," she and she glanced about. Little Paul called aloud, “come indoors." was sitting on a stone, plaguing the "Ja," shouted the child, and they water-tortoise with a stick, and speak- heard him run up the steps of the ing to himself and it. The sight reas- stoep. sured her, and she viewed the rider “Look," he said, standing at the door, again with equanimity. But now she "I found this in the grass. What sort was able to place him: it was David, is it, father?"