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´╗┐Title: Into the Unknown - A Romance of South Africa
Author: Fletcher, Lawrence
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Into the Unknown - A Romance of South Africa" ***

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Into the Unknown, by Lawrence Fletcher.

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________
INTO THE UNKNOWN, BY LAWRENCE FLETCHER.

Into the Unknown--by Lawrence Fletcher



CHAPTER ONE.

THE GHOSTS' PASS.

"Well, old man, what do we do next?"  The speaker, a fine young fellow
of some five-and-twenty summers, reclining on the rough grass, with
clouds of tobacco-smoke filtering through his lips, looked the picture
of comfort, his appearance belying in every way the discontent expressed
in his tones as he smoked his pipe in the welcome shade of a giant rock,
which protected him and his two companions from the mid-day glare of a
South African sun.

Alfred Leigh, second son of Lord Drelincourt, was certainly a handsome
man: powerfully and somewhat heavily built, his physique looked perfect,
and, as he gradually and lazily raised his huge frame from the rough
grass, he appeared--what he was, in truth--a splendid specimen of
nineteenth-century humanity, upwards of six feet high, and in the
perfection of health and spirits; a fine, clear-cut face, with blue eyes
and a fair, close-cropped beard, completed a _tout ensemble_ which was
English to a degree.

The person addressed was evidently related to the speaker, for, though
darker than his companion, and by no means so striking in face or
figure, he still had fair hair, which curled crisply on a well-shaped
head, and keen blue eyes which seemed incessantly on the watch and were
well matched by a resolute mouth and chin, and a broad-shouldered frame
which promised strength from its perfect lines.  Dick Grenville,
_aetat._ thirty, and his cousin, Alf Leigh, were a pair which any three
ordinary mortals might well wish to be excused from taking on.

The third person--singular he certainly looked--was a magnificent
creature, a pure-blooded Zulu chief, descended from a race of warriors,
every line of his countenance grave and stern, with eyes that glistened
like fiery stars under a lowering cloud, the man having withal a general
"straightness" of appearance more easily detected than described.  A
"Keshla," or ringed man, some six feet three inches high, of enormously
powerful physique, armed with a murderous-looking club and a brace of
broad-bladed spears, and you have a faithful picture of Myzukulwa, the
Zulu friend of the two cousins.

The scene is magnificently striking, but grand with a loneliness awful
beyond description, for, so far as the eye can reach, the fervid sun
beats upon nothing but towering mountain-peaks, whose grey and rugged
summits pierce the fleecy heat-clouds, and seem to lose themselves in a
hopeless attempt to fathom the unspeakable majesty beyond.

"Do next, old fellow?"  The words came in cool, quiet tones.  "Well, if
I were you, Alf, I should convey my carcass out of the line of fire from
yonder rifle, which has been pointed at each of our persons in
succession during the last two minutes;" and Grenville, with the stem of
his pipe, indicated a spot some three hundred yards away, where his keen
eye had detected the browned barrel of a rifle projected through a
fissure in the rock; then, in quick, incisive tones, suiting the action
to the word, "Lie down, man!" and not a moment too soon, as an angry
rifle-bullet sang over his head and flattened against the rock.  In
another instant all three were ensconced behind a rocky projection, and
endeavouring to ascertain their unknown assailants' force.

Truly, an unpleasant place was this to be beleaguered in--little food,
still less water, and positively no cover to protect them in the event
of a night attack upon the position they occupied.  Grenville quietly
picked up the flattened bullet, eyed it curiously, and then handed it to
Myzukulwa with an interrogative look; the other scarcely glanced at the
missile and replied quietly, yet in singularly correct English, "Inkoos
(chief), that lead came from a very old gun, but it is a true one--the
Inkoos, my master, was too near it."

"Yes," responded Grenville, who had now quite taken command of matters,
"but we must find out how many of these rascals are lurking behind
yonder rocks with murder in their hearts."  So saying he coolly stepped
out into the open again, ostensibly to pick up his pipe, which lay on
the ground, but kept his eye warily fixed upon the expected point of
offence, and instantly dropped on his hands and knees as another bullet
whizzed over him.  Then he quietly rose to his feet, but with a beating
heart, for, if the rifle were a double-barrelled one, or if more than
the one marksman were lying hid, he was in deadly peril.  No shot
followed, however, and he calmly picked up his pipe and again sought
shelter with his companions.

"Now, chief," said Grenville, after a brief interval, "wait till I have
drawn the scoundrel's fire again, and then rush him," and, executing a
rapid movement round the rocky boulder which served the party as a
shelter, he once more provoked the fire of the hidden foe, delivered
with greater accuracy than before, the bullet grazing the skin of one
hand as he swung himself into cover, crying, "Now, Myzukulwa!" but the
fleet-footed Zulu was already half-way across the open space, going like
a sprint-runner, having started simultaneously with the flash of the
rifle.  In a moment more the cousins were after him, only to find, upon
reaching the rock, that there was no trace of the would-be assassin, and
that the Zulu was hopelessly at fault.  A little powder spilled upon a
stone showed where the man had been placed, and that was all.

Just then Grenville's quick eye "spotted" the barrel of a rifle slowly
rising a hundred yards away, out of a hollow in the ground,
imperceptible from where they stood; he instinctively pitched forward
his Winchester, and the two reports blended into one.  Leigh's hat flew
off his head, carried away by a bullet, and at the same instant
Myzukulwa again "rushed" the hidden marksman, only to find the work
done; and a gruesome sight it was.  There lay a fine-looking man,
stone-dead, with the blood welling out of a ghastly hole in his head,
the heavy shell-bullet doing frightful execution at such short range,
having fairly smashed his skull to pieces.

The Englishmen were very considerably taken aback at finding that their
assailant was as white-skinned as themselves; they had half expected to
find some loafing Hottentot or Kaffir, though the accuracy of the
shooting had already caused Grenville to doubt that the marksman could
be either of these, for, as a general rule, if a Kaffir aims at anything
a hundred yards from him he misses it nine times out of ten.  The dead
man was dressed in a deerskin costume, which caused the cousins to
remark that he looked like many a man they had seen when shooting
buffalo on the prairies of the Wild West.  His gun proved to be a long
flint-lock rifle of an obsolete type, but extremely well finished, and
it was the flash of the powder in the pan which had enabled Grenville to
anticipate the leaden messenger from this weapon.

Leigh, who was disposed to scoff at their present undertaking, which he
called "a wild-goose chase," gave it as his opinion that the miserable
man was some escaped convict who had gravitated up country, and who, no
doubt, imagined that the white men were in search of him with a native
tracker--anyway, it had been a very near thing with them, and nothing
but Grenville's unceasing watchfulness could have saved his cousin's
life, as it unquestionably had done, twice over.

Grenville listened in silence to Leigh's remarks, and then, turning
their backs on the mortal remains of their foe, they left him to the
eternal solitude of that vast and rocky wilderness.

Several hours of hard toil followed, during which they slowly and warily
ascended the Pass, without, however, seeing any further sign of life.
Stopping once to take a hurried mouthful of dried deer-flesh, the party
was soon again on its way, and reached the top of the Pass just before
sunset.  Beyond this point all possibility of advance in any direction
seemed at an end.  The mountains shot up towards the sky, based, as it
were, by a precipitous wall of rock, and flanked by mighty spurs, whose
peaks stood out, clear and sharp, some fifteen thousand feet above the
Pass, their barren and rugged sides almost beautified by the glow of the
setting sun.

The sterile appearance of the valley was, however, to some slight extent
relieved by a magnificent waterfall, which appeared to receive its
supply through a fissure in the wall of rock, whence it came sheer over
a beetling crag and fell from a height of at least one hundred feet into
a rocky basin at the very head of the Pass.

Grenville quickly bestowed his party in a small cave for the night, and
by the time they were comfortably domiciled the sun had set.  He then
mounted guard whilst the others slept, and three hours later, having
aroused the Zulu, he himself turned in for a much-needed rest.



CHAPTER TWO.

AN ANXIOUS DAY.

In the morning, after a meal of dried flesh and water--an appetising
repast at which Leigh grumbled considerably--the trio lighted their
pipes and went into council.

"Now then, Dick," said Alf Leigh, "as I, at all events, see no more of
those objectionable rifle-barrels round here, I'll repeat my question of
yesterday--What do we do next?"

"Ah! that's the point," responded Grenville.  "Now doesn't it strike you
as very odd, not to say significant, that we should be so murderously
assaulted precisely on the spot where our mission is supposed to
commence?  I am convinced that there is more in that attack than you
fancy.  However, here is the inscription which, as you know, we found
scratched with a pin-point on a slaty rock down the Pass yesterday--`_An
Englishman and his daughter imprisoned in the Hell at the top of this
Pass.  Help us, for the love of Heaven_.'  Well, as you also know, we
resolved to carry help to the unfortunates who make this pitiful appeal
to our honour as countrymen, or die in the attempt; and, by Jove, if you
ask me anything, we came perilously near doing the latter yesterday.  To
proceed, Myzukulwa here declares that there has been handed down for
generations in his tribe, legends of a strange and mighty people, who
frequent this pass by night only, who, on being followed, vanish into
thin air, and whose description answers accurately to the gentleman I
settled yesterday, with the one exception, easily accounted for, that
these people were said to have black faces."

"And a nice beginning we've made if, according to your idea, our friend
of yesterday was one of them," grumbled Leigh.

"Don't make any mistake, Alf," rejoined Grenville; "we shall gain
nothing by palaver; whoever sees the inside of their territory will
never again, with their consent, re-enter the outside world to give them
away.  This kingdom is an inscrutable mystery, enveloped in something
like a hundred miles of inaccessible rock and impassable mountain, and
upon the very threshold of it I feel convinced that we have now
arrived."

"Inkoos," said the great Zulu, "your words are wise, even as the wisdom
of my father's father.  For a thousand moons--ay, and for a thousand
before that--has this place been haunted, and the traditions of my
people ever warn us to beware of sleeping nigh to this falling water.
Many have done so, and have never again visited their kraals; I,
Myzukulwa, have alone done so and lived.  More, Inkoos; as I watched
yesternight I heard strange sounds, as though the spooks (ghosts) were
mourning over the dead one who lies below us."

"Hah!" said Grenville, starting suddenly to his feet, "we'll have
another look at that body," and, followed by his companions, he strode
away down the Pass, but, when the party reached the scene of the
previous day's rencontre, the lifeless remains were nowhere to be seen;
there was the hole, the rock crusted with coagulated blood, but not the
faintest trace of the body they had left behind them a dozen hours
before.  Clearly no beast of prey had been responsible for its
disappearance, for the man's gun and ammunition had also been removed.
A lengthy and careful examination of the surroundings revealed nothing;
all was barren rock, without a single sign of its having ever been
pressed by the foot of man, and, with most uncomfortable feelings, the
trio retraced their steps up the Pass, and reached the cave again, weary
and disheartened, as the sun went out with the rapidity peculiar to the
latitudes of Equatorial Africa, at once plunging everything into
darkness that might be felt.

Grenville's active mind was, however, at work upon the incidents of the
day, and he never rested until his party was safely housed in a cave
some hundred yards from the previous location.  This night all kept
watch; and well was it for them that they were on the alert, for, just
before the moon got up, the darkness of the Pass was suddenly cut, as if
by magic, with the flash of at least a score of rifles, fired so as to
fairly sweep their old resting-place.  Grenville and his companions
crouched down amongst the rocks, straining eyes and ears for sight or
sound of their murderously-inclined foes; but all was as still as death,
and at daybreak the Pass was again, to all appearance, utterly deserted,
only their old cave was strewn with flattened bullets, which had been
fired with murderous precision.

Grenville tried to get Myzukulwa's views upon the events of the night as
they smoked their pipes after breakfast, but the chief was unusually
reticent.  "Spooks," he said, "who shot as well as these did were
dangerous; nothing but a spook could shoot like that in the dark."
Leigh was for clearing out altogether; he was as plucky a fellow as ever
stepped, but this sort of thing was enough to shake any man's nerves.
That day was spent in a rigid search which literally left no stone
unturned; but the keenest scrutiny revealed no place of concealment and
no way into the mountain--over it none could go, for that towering wall
of rock would have defied anything short of an eagle's wings--and a
couple of hours before sunset the party set off again down the Pass.



CHAPTER THREE.

A LEAP IN THE DARK.

As the party sullenly descended the Pass, no one seemed in a
conversational mood, but Leigh noticed that his cousin took a very easy
pace, and urged them to feed well, just before the sun set.

No sooner was the darkness fairly upon them than Grenville turned short
in his tracks and quietly said, "I'm going back, Alf, and I'm going
through with this.  There's a secret up there, and I believe it's a
black one, and I've no intention of playing into the hands of these
rascals by running away."

"But, my dear boy," remonstrated Leigh, with a rueful face, "you don't
know your way into the mountain; you aren't a bird to fly over it, and
you'll only get yourself shot."

"I believe I do know my way into the mountain, and I hope I shan't get
shot; so come along, old fellow," replied his cousin.

Grumbling and arguing, Leigh turned to follow, and very soon Grenville
imposed the strictest silence upon his companions.

The darkness was now something almost tangible, but after walking--or,
rather, feeling--their way at a funereal pace for a couple of hours, the
murmur of the waterfall broke upon their ears, and the stars now
beginning to grow bright, greater caution than ever became necessary.
Soon the trio were flat on the ground, wriggling along like three
gigantic lizards over the rough, knobbly rocks, which called forth many
a subdued groan from poor Leigh.  The advance was, however, continued,
all obstacles to the contrary notwithstanding, and in another hour the
party lay securely hidden within a stone-throw of the waterfall.

A little later, becoming dissatisfied with his position, Grenville drew
his party back some fifty yards under the cover of a rock, and then
proceeded to act in a most singular manner.  Divesting himself of his
hat, jacket, and hunting-shirt, he slipped a brace of six-shooters into
his hip-pockets, and, directing Leigh and the Zulu to stay where they
where--unless they heard him blow a small whistle, which he always
carried--he left the pair wondering at his extraordinary movements, and
gradually and cautiously approached the Fall.  Arrived there, his
conduct became curious to a degree, for, lying flat on the rock, on the
very edge of the basin indeed, where the spray from the cataract fell in
a continuous and blinding shower, Grenville first commenced feeling
about inside the rush of the water at the very back of the Fall, and
finally buried himself, head and shoulders, in the water of the basin,
frequently raising his head to take breath.  After he had expended quite
ten minutes in this edifying manner, he gave a grunt indicative of
satisfaction, rose dripping wet, and retired into concealment behind the
nearest rock, watching the Fall like a lynx.

Soon his patience was well rewarded, for a wonderful and beautiful thing
happened.  In a single instant the Fall grew gloriously light and
beautiful, and the foaming, flashing surface of the water seemed by the
touch of some fairy wand transformed into a stupendous rainbow of
indescribable loveliness, as the changing lights appeared to come and go
through the driving rifts of steaming, gauze-like vapour.

Grenville smiled, and made himself, if possible, still smaller amongst
the stones; a slight splashing was heard, and in another moment the
light went out suddenly and the Fall resumed its normal appearance--a
white, angry-looking streak of sliding foam, clearly outlined against
the dark background of rock.  And now Grenville could see by the
starlight the forms of fully a dozen men who appeared to have sprung
from the earth; crouching down, he lay for some moments breathless and
motionless as the rocks beneath him, but, hearing no footsteps, and
cautiously raising his head, he found no one within his limited range of
vision.  Hazardous though the act was, Grenville crawled out,
snake-like, to the spot where he had seen the strange party take its
stand, and, by following the damp feel of the rock where wet footsteps
had passed, quickly satisfied himself that the enemy had proceeded down
the Pass.  Quietly rejoining his anxious friends, he led them back,
after a brief consultation, to the basin at the foot of the Fall, into
which each silently dropped in turn, and instantly vanished from sight.

A few moments later three dripping, panting forms stood whispering
together upon a rocky ledge, which was in fact the entrance to a vast
cave, by which, as Grenville had cleverly surmised, their assailants
passed through the base of the mountain-range and obtained access to
their mysterious country beyond.

The air, though dense with a heavy, noxious odour, was still very
refreshing to the party after their dive; but Grenville soon reminded
the others that they had no time to lose, and, warning them to look to
their arms, ammunition and matches, all of which had been most carefully
enveloped in mackintosh ground-sheets, himself proceeded to strike a
light.  Now the striking of a match is a very trifling affair at
ordinary times, but, with a dark and doubtless vast unknown before them,
each waited anxiously to see what the tiny flame would reveal.  One
brief instant it shed its feeble light upon their pallid faces, then, in
an endeavour to pierce the apparently limitless gloom, Grenville raised
the match above his head, and at that very moment there was a wild,
hissing rush, and the cavern stood revealed in a blinding glare of
light.  The match had evidently ignited by accident a reservoir of
natural gas, and this, in the shape of an enormous stream of fire, now
hung globe-like from a rift in the roof of rock, where it arched a score
of feet above their heads.

One glance was sufficient to tell the merest novice in such matters that
this cavern had at some distant date formed the channel of one of those
underground rivers by no means uncommon in Africa.  What had been the
bed of the stream was, however, filled in with earth, and was now to all
intents and purposes a very passable road, which, after mounting a short
hill that served in fact to keep back the water from the basin, ran
straight before them as far as the light could penetrate.

The first act of the whole party was to remove themselves from the
intense heat thrown out by the gas; their next, to draw their
pistol-cartridges and slip fresh ones into the chambers; and hardly was
this done when a startled exclamation, uttered just behind them, caused
all to turn hurriedly, only to find themselves confronted by a most
repulsive-looking white man, who stood dripping unpleasantly upon the
rocky ledge and regarding them with a scowling face.

The newcomer appeared altogether unarmed, and our friends promptly
rushed at him; but he incontinently turned tail, and dived out through
the entrance, followed like a flash of light by Myzukulwa.

The cousins waited in anxious suspense for close upon a minute, and then
the great Zulu silently appeared upon the rock and lay gasping for
breath.  Soon, however, regaining his wind--

"Inkoos," he said, "he was too quick for me; the coward ran away down
the pass; but first he fired his gun, and it was answered by another gun
a mile away."

It was quite clear that the man had been a sentinel near to their old
sleeping-place, and, seeing the Fall suddenly light up of its own
accord, had come down to examine the unusual phenomenon.

The three now fell to eagerly discussing their position.  If they were
holding the only entrance to the passage, they could with their
revolvers defy almost any number of men attacking through the water; but
if, on the other hand, there was more than one way of access to the
cave, or if another hostile body, attracted by the firing, should come
up the river Pass, our friends would be placed between the devil and the
deep sea with a vengeance.

Then, again, if the foe had any means of extinguishing the light from
outside, the trio would be entirely at their mercy.

This light was evidently a pure gas generated in the mountain, and used
by these strange people to light them to the entrance of the cave; but
how they extinguished it, and how without its help they followed their
subterranean road through the absolutely inky gloom, was a mystery to
the adventurers.

On looking about, however, they discovered a bundle of torches made of a
resinous woody fibre, and lighting one of these in the gas-flame,
Grenville proceeded to examine the road and see what cover, if any, it
might offer.  Hardly had he taken a dozen steps when a stream of water
poured through the fissure in the roof of rock, extinguishing the gas in
an instant.  Grenville quickly whispered to his friends to bring the
torches and follow him, as without proper light to shoot by it was
impossible for them to hold the entrance to the passage.  "Bring every
single torch you can find," he said, "and keep your eyes skinned for any
more lying about the road.  We'll keep these beggars in darkness if
possible; and once let us get to daylight, and we'll fight them if need
be."

And now by the light of one torch the party proceeded in single file at
a good speed, for the roadway was fair, and, when the first hill had
been climbed, proved decidedly on the down grade.  This surprised
Grenville, as he had been of opinion that the water had formerly come
from the inside of the cavern and emptied itself into the basin; the
reverse, however, had evidently been the case.

After they had travelled about half a mile, the road, to Grenville's
delight, twisted almost at a right angle--this would, of course, hide
the light from their pursuers--and directly after the turn had been
negotiated, Leigh called attention to a niche in the rock where several
more torches were found; these they promptly annexed, and the party
again hurried on, the air momentarily growing fresher and keener.

Truly this cavernous road was a strange and awesome affair; the roof
here and there vanished from human ken in utter and indescribable
blackness, but uniformly it hung some fifteen to twenty feet above their
heads, and had been worn quite smooth by the rapid action of water, but
was quickly becoming a vast bed of growing stalactites, which flashed
back the rays of the torch like a sparkling sea of vivid radiance set
with many-hued and lovely diadems.

After the party had accomplished quite five miles, Grenville suddenly
called a halt, whilst all listened intently for a moment, and then,
having first examined his matches, he extinguished the torch, and,
holding one another's hands, the trio crept cautiously forward.  Despite
all their care, however, in turning a corner some hundred yards further
they fairly walked into another sentinel, who promptly flew at their
throats, and for a full minute Pandemonium seemed let loose in the
bowels of the mountain.  Grenville, with his customary coolness, quickly
extricated himself from the scrimmage and struck a light, only to find
Leigh and an awkward-looking customer locked in a deadly grip.  The
draught here proved strong, and the match was blown out as soon as
lighted; but its flash showed the Zulu all he needed to know--enemy from
friend--and in another instant the sentinel lay a corpse, and Myzukulwa
was eulogising his war-club.  Quickly the party passed on, and in
another minute found themselves at the top of a massive stone stairway,
and again under the lovely canopy of heaven, with the welcome moon
shimmering down upon them in all the weird, glittering glory of an
Equatorial African midnight.

The scene revealed to them by the moonlight was inexpressibly beautiful
and magnificent; below them some hundred feet only the rolling veldt in
all its mysterious silence swept sheer away as far as the eye could
reach, whilst to the right and left towered the majestic spurs of the
mountain-range, their snowcapped crests gleaming white under the
brilliant moon, and rendered even more vivid by contrast with the awful
chasms which here and there rent the precipitous rocks with unfathomed
depths of yawning blackness.

No sign of any living creature could they see; yet each knew that it
would be sheer madness to strike out into the unknown veldt, without
water, almost without food, and with the knowledge that a few minutes,
more or less, would in all likelihood bring their pursuers to the head
of the stairway, whence, under such a clear light, the movements of
their party over the scrub would be distinctly visible for miles.  After
a brief colloquy, they descended the stairway and glided along the wall
of rock, stepping on the stones and keeping carefully in the shadow,
meantime seeking keen-eyed for a secure hiding-place adjacent to water.

Almost within gun-shot of the stairway, the party hit upon a narrow
canon in the rocks, into which they entered, and, posting Leigh as a
sentinel, Grenville consulted with Myzukulwa, and, after they had
whispered together for a few moments, the Zulu slipped out of the
opening and was instantly engulfed in the shadows of the mountain.
Taking up his position opposite his cousin, Grenville looked at his
watch and found it was after two o'clock in the morning; the pair then
proceeded carefully to wipe out their Winchester rifles, and each felt
happier when he lowered his gun with the magazine chock-full of
cartridges.  These rifles, though made on the Winchester pattern,
carried a heavy shell-bullet, and had proved themselves uncommonly
serviceable weapons amongst the heaviest game, and, as both men were
crack shots, any hostile person getting within range was likely to have
an unpleasantly hot time of it.  The Zulu alone carried no rifle, but he
had so far overcome the traditions of his race as to use a heavy service
revolver, whilst each of the cousins possessed a brace of Smith and
Wesson's six-shooters.  This and the knowledge that they had plenty of
ammunition, having only parted with their bearers two days before at the
foot of the Pass, was reassuring.  And now, as the pair awaited the
Zulu's return, a very curious and fearsome thing happened: the canon,
which, when they entered it, had been as dark as Erebus, was being
gradually lighted by the moon, and, as the silvery radiance illumined
the centre of the gulf, a guarded exclamation broke from the astonished
watchers as they saw that the canon terminated abruptly some two hundred
yards from them in a gigantic wall of apparently solid rock; yet from
the very centre of this mighty but otherwise commonplace mass looked out
a prodigious and perfect model of a human face, about five times the
size of life, complete in every detail, and most diabolical in its
expression; the eyes, from which streamed scintillating rays of fire,
appeared to be rigidly examining every nook and corner of the canon, and
the cousins, who felt somewhat creepy, almost involuntarily drew outside
the entrance and kept close in the shadow.

At this juncture a cloud crossed the moon, and it was at once evident
that the unearthly-looking figure borrowed no light from the heavenly
orb, for the exaggerated lineaments showed up as if cut with a sword of
fire out of the inky blackness of the chasm, and on its brow they could
now read, in English, the words:--

"The Eyes of the Holy Three are Unsleeping."

And each knew he was gazing upon the fateful and universally-hated
emblem of the false and filthy prophet of the Mormon creed.  The cloud
passed from the moon, and even as it did so, the light behind the
hideous face died out, and the wall of rock regained its normal
appearance, scarcely revealing to the straining eyes of the watchers
that the counterfeit presentment of the human head had ever existed,
save in their excited imaginations.

At this moment the Zulu rejoined the cousins, but as both eagerly
welcomed him, and were about to speak, another diversion occurred.  A
gleaming, rushing thread of living fire suddenly shot up from the
stairway and cut its way across the heavens, bursting at its extreme
height into a shower of blazing and meteoric stars; and hardly had its
radiance died out, than it was followed by a second and similar
messenger, which in its turn was succeeded by a third, and then all was
again as still as death.

"Three rockets," said Grenville, "meaning three enemies in the camp; so
look out for squalls.  Watch keenly where the answer comes from."  And
hardly had he spoken, when a single answering rocket was fired, probably
a score of miles away, across the veldt.



CHAPTER FOUR.

INTO THE UNKNOWN.

Grenville briefly detailed to the Zulu all they had seen in the canon,
eliciting many wondering comments from him as to the possible utility of
the figure in warfare, after which he gave them an account of his
reconnaissance.  Suffice it to say that he had rigidly examined the
adjacent rocks, and found several small fissures which appeared quite
practicable of defence, but had ultimately concluded their present
position to be the best, as they were free to strike out upon the veldt,
without--so far as he could judge--bringing themselves within range of
any likely rifle-posts.

On repassing the stairway, he had heard a subdued murmur of voices, and
guessed that their enemies were consulting over the body of the
sentinel, and had now realised that three men, already accountable for
the deaths of two of their comrades, were by this time at large
somewhere within the jealously-guarded precincts of their own secret
kingdom; and thinking that the sooner he regained his party the better,
Myzukulwa had returned at speed.

The Zulu proposed that their party should hold the canon against all
comers.  There was water to be had close by, he said, under cover of
their rifles; they had sufficient dried meat to last them for fully
three days, and in the meantime they could form an opinion of the number
and quality of their enemies.  Neither Grenville nor Leigh would,
however, consent to this plan of action, for they argued that if the
stupendous rock which bounded the canon was thin enough to admit of the
hideous facial transparency they had seen, it was also capable of being
pierced with loopholes, and a single marksman thus posted would make the
place untenable by their party.  Truth to tell, the unexplained horror
of that diabolical face was strong upon the cousins, and each was
anxious to be gone from its neighbourhood at all risks.

The Zulu continued to urge his view of the case, when his opposition was
very strangely disposed of.  The moonlight, which had all this time been
gradually leaving the canon, now crept along the nearer wall, and the
party perceived, to their dismay, a human figure, apparently watching
their movements; an instant more, and the waning light revealed a
gruesome spectacle which fairly froze their blood.  The man they had
seen was _dead--recently and ignominiously crucified_; and upon wooden
crosses, ranged at intervals along that awful wall, hung eight or ten
hideous skeletons, their naked bones gleaming white and inexpressibly
ghostly in the silvery moonlight; and on approaching these they found
over each individual horror identically the same inscription--"_By order
of the Holy Three_"--and realised that this was the Golgotha in which
the infamous Mormon Trinity quietly, yet with infinite cruelty, executed
their victims, whether innocent or otherwise.  Pausing before one
skeleton, Grenville pronounced it unmistakably that of a young woman,
and Leigh, usually unimpressionable, rapped out a string of oaths, and
vowed to pile a hecatomb of Mormon bodies to her manes.

This revelation sufficed even the Zulu, and after a short consultation
the party ate some food, and then struck out into the unknown, just as
the fading moonlight began to be merged into the ghostly mists of
approaching dawn, which, as they hung over the veldt, would effectually
conceal the movements of the trio from prying eyes.

By common consent the party kept away to the left of the direct line
supposed to lead to the Mormon stronghold as indicated by the single
answering rocket they had seen, and by putting their best foot foremost
trusted before the morning broke to find cover somewhere out of eye-shot
of the stairway, and in this they were successful beyond their fondest
hopes.

Silently the daylight came travelling over the grey and weird expanse of
fog and veldt, lifting the wreaths of mist here and there--only, as it
seemed, to render them by contrast with its own brightness even more
opaque than ever; still our friends knew that at any moment the orb of
day might be expected to rise and completely disperse the fog banks
which afforded them such kindly shelter, and they were feeling
consequently anxious, when the Zulu suddenly exclaimed that there were
trees close by; and so it proved, for in another five minutes the trio
were effectually concealed in a broad belt of bush which appeared to
fringe a forest of considerable extent.

Hardly had our friends gained this welcome cover than they saw the
mountains, now some dozen miles away, appear suddenly through the gauzy
wreaths of vapour; it was as if an angel's hand had withdrawn the
intervening curtain of ghostly mist and revealed the wondrous scene in
all the glowing, flashing splendour of a tropic sunrise.  The mighty
spurs of the mountain seemed instinct with life and beauty, as the
clouds lifted and the glorious sunlight ran along their peaks and
glinted upon their scarped sides in changing tints of varied loveliness;
for but one moment was the picture seen, then the cloud fiend again
obtained the upper hand, and only the rolling veldt could be seen both
far and near.

The Zulu was now despatched upon another scouting expedition, and, after
an absence of half an hour, returned with the reassuring news that no
enemy was in sight in any direction.  The party then indulged in their
customary frugal breakfast of dried meat and water, into which last--in
consideration of the night's exposure--Grenville introduced a dash of
brandy from their carefully-husbanded store; then after enjoying their
one luxury--a good lazy smoke--the cousins settled down to sleep,
leaving Myzukulwa to keep watch, Grenville relieving him a few hours
later, as the trio had resolved--at all events, until they knew more
about the strange country they were operating in--to confine their
travels strictly to the night-time.

Towards evening Grenville climbed a huge tree in order to obtain a
general idea of their position, but came down without being very much
wiser; and it was finally determined to keep along the edge of the
veldt, utilising the shadow of the forest, so far as possible, as a
defence against prying eyes.

This programme was carefully adhered to, and when daylight came again
without further misadventure, it was a satisfaction to feel that they
had at all events placed another twenty miles between themselves and the
ghostly canon which Leigh had christened "Execution Dock."

On this morning all felt cold and tired, and would have given much for a
warm breakfast; but it was thought altogether inexpedient to light a
fire as yet.

After their usual sleep Grenville again ascended a tree, and came
quickly down with the news that smoke was rising from the bush a few
hundred yards off, and that he thought he could smell tobacco.  Each man
immediately seized his weapons, and in a trice the little party was
gliding stealthily forward in the direction indicated by Grenville.

Just as Myzukulwa, who formed the advance guard, was about to enter a
small clearing in the forest, he was arrested by the sound of a human
voice.  The tones were low and growling, but the speaker was still too
far off for them to hear his words, and at a sign from the Zulu the trio
were soon stealing snake-like through the bush, eager to see what was
going on.

A curious scene now presented itself.  In the very centre of an open
space some fifty or sixty yards in circumference--for it was an almost
complete natural circle fringed by trees and heavy bush--a white man was
sitting on a fallen log, a big pipe in his mouth and a long rifle across
his knees.  His face, which looked low and brutal, seemed to peer out
through a profusion of bushy beard and whiskers, and his manner of
speech was aggressive and objectionable.

Within ten yards of him, bound hand and foot to a sapling, stood another
white man, stripped naked to a waist cloth, yet looking, in spite of his
degradation and emaciation, a brave man and a gentleman, whilst his
style of address differed in a very marked degree from that of the
scoundrel before him.

As our friends noiselessly gained their coign of vantage, the prisoner
was speaking, and his voice, though clear, was so weak and low that the
trio had to strain their ears to catch his words.

"Abiram Levert," he said, "you have kept me bound to this tree for three
days and nights without food, you have given me water to prolong my
sufferings and keep me alive, and I tell you once and for all that your
devilish ingenuity is utterly thrown away upon me.  I am an Englishman,
and a man, moreover, who fears and trusts the God you daily blaspheme in
your false, infamous worship: and I warn you that no power on earth
shall force or induce me to consent to my daughter's union with such a
wretched piece of carrion as yourself, having already half a dozen
miserable so-called wives in your filthy harem.  I would undergo a
thousand horrible deaths sooner than agree to your proposals, and I pray
God that Dora may die rather than fall into such abominable hands."

The face of the Mormon assumed a positively Satanic aspect, and he
nervously fingered the lock of his rifle, but suddenly rose and laughed
a harsh discordant laugh, removed his pipe from his mouth, and
expectorated violently.  "All right, Jack Winfield," he growled.  "I
guess I can wait; another week of this will bring you to your senses;
and if it doesn't--why, I'll carry your pretty daughter off into the
woods, and then perhaps she'll be glad to form one of my establishment,
_if she can get the chance_," and the villain turned to walk away.

And now was enacted a singular drama--part tragedy, part comedy.

The cousins, with their rifles cocked, had been watching every action of
the Mormon so closely that they had quite forgotten their Zulu friend,
and just as the man who had been designated as Abiram Levert was about
to leave the glade and betake himself to the forest on the side farthest
from their hiding-place, to the utter astonishment of the watchers,
Myzukulwa coolly stepped out into the open and barred his passage in a
threatening manner.  Quick as thought the Mormon threw forward his
rifle, but before he could pull the trigger the active Zulu had struck
up his muzzle and the piece was harmlessly discharged in the air.

Myzukulwa promptly followed up his advantage, and aimed a thrust at his
enemy which would certainly have annihilated him, when his spear was
deftly turned aside by a similar weapon, from which it struck a
veritable shower of sparks, and the Zulu found himself fully employed in
protecting his own epidermis from the spear of a splendid-looking man,
who might easily have passed for one of his own people.

Taking advantage of this diversion in his favour, the cowardly Mormon
drew a murderous-looking hunting-knife, and, walking up to the Zulu,
prepared to strike him in the back.  The moment he raised the weapon,
however, Grenville's rifle vomited a sheet of flame through the bushes,
and Brother Abiram Levert bit the dust, with a heavy bullet through his
brain.

The cousins watched anxiously for a chance of disposing of Myzukulwa's
opponent in like manner, but the evolutions of the combatants were much
too complicated to admit of shooting one without very great risk to the
other.

The Zulu had forced his man inch by inch into the centre of the forest
glade, and the steely flashes of the spears were keen and vivid as the
lightning on a stormy night; all at once Myzukulwa, who had manoeuvred
so as to get the light into his opponent's eyes, made an advance which
Grenville knew to be a favourite and deadly point of his, and, on its
being most unexpectedly parried, bounded back with a cry of
astonishment, and stood quietly leaning on his spear, whilst his foe
gazed at him, for the space of a few seconds, in sheer wonder, and then,
concluding Myzukulwa had given in, prepared to finish him.  The great
Zulu, however, raised his hand, and, pointing to his foe, began a speech
which was both wild and curious:--

"Tell me, white men, what is life?  Is it not the breath of the Creator?
Does it come and go like the blushes on a maiden's cheek?  Is it the
shadow which comes to us at daybreak but to vanish with the setting sun?
Here have we no daybreak, nor can it be evening; yet, how then, in this
strange place of witchcraft, have I, Myzukulwa, the son of Isanusi, the
last of the ancient chieftains of the race of Undi, met face to face and
fought with my brother Amaxosa, the son of my own mother, he having been
slain in the Pass of the Spooks sixty long moons ago?"

The other man emitted a strange wild cry, gazed for a moment at
Myzukulwa as if spell-bound, and then the pair fell to embracing one
another, vociferating the while in the Zulu tongue, whilst Grenville,
who saw they had no more to fear from the new arrival, commenced
unbinding the white prisoner with many commiserating expressions.

"Who are you?" he asked Grenville.

"Englishmen who have come in answer to your entreaty for help," replied
Leigh.

"Thank God--oh! thank God," murmured the other, and then fainted dead
away in their arms.

A little water sprinkled on his face soon brought him to life again, and
he commenced to explain his position.

"My name," he began, "is John Winfield, and I--"

"Look here, old chap," cut in Leigh, "we've no time to hear your story
now; we can see you don't belong to this wretched Mormon herd, so just
swallow this drop of brandy whilst we strip yonder scoundrel and get you
something decent to put on, and we'll try to feed you by-and-by.  Dick,
what a good thing it was you took that fellow in the head; I drew a bead
on his ribs, and should have mauled his clothes horribly if you hadn't
fired first."

With the help of the Zulus the dead Mormon was quickly despoiled of his
apparel and Winfield rigged out in it, and by the time this was done,
the shadows were lengthening and Myzukulwa said his brother was ready to
take them to a place of safety, where they would find food, water, and
sleep.  Rapidly assenting to the plan, Grenville told the Zulus to lead
on, and leaving the denuded body of Brother Abiram without compunction,
they followed their new friend through the forest.

Plunging deeper and deeper into the bush, they found the country rough
and stony; the trees were of unusual growth, and matted with curious
creepers of the lichen species, whilst here and there tangled festoons
of parasites hung from tree to tree in the likeness of gigantic swinging
hammocks.  The party at length heard the welcome sound of running water,
and soon reached a small stream, into which, by direction of Amaxosa,
all entered, following its course upward for quite a mile, so as to
conceal every trace of their movements.  Then, instead of climbing the
bank, the active Zulu swung himself into a tree which overhung the
water, and, working his way along a stout branch, was followed one by
one by the entire party, all being thus enabled to drop on to some rocks
a dozen feet off, without leaving any marks behind them.  Another mile,
mainly over stony ground brought the party to a second small river, up
which they waded in like manner for some little distance, until they
found that it issued from a great hole in the side of a curious
ragged-looking cliff, which, erecting itself some hundred feet above
them, seemed entirely to bar further progress through the forest.

Through this entrance Amaxosa passed, beckoning to the party to follow;
and when the gloom began to grow deep some twenty yards from the outlet,
he spoke for the first time, addressing Grenville in fairly good
English, though he did not speak the language with the same fluency as
his brother.

"Let the Inkoosis strike lights, and Amaxosa will find his torch."

Grenville at once complied with this request, and when the match was
once alight the Zulu stepped forward a couple of yards, picked up his
torch from a ledge of rock, and having quickly ignited it, led the party
out of the water, up a passage some fifty feet long, and into a spacious
and lofty cavern, having the appearance of a vaulted room, with only one
outlet.



CHAPTER FIVE.

THE FORLORN HOPE.

In one corner of this vaulted room--for such it certainly looked--was
piled a stack of firewood, whilst several strips of dried flesh hung
invitingly against the wall, and three or four large stones lying handy
had evidently been used as seats by the former occupants of the cavern.

Amaxosa now proceeded to light a fire; but Grenville stopped him, just
as he was about to thrust his torch into a mass of dry wood and leaves,
urging the unwisdom of the proceeding.

"Let not the Inkoosis fear," replied the Zulu; "the smoke travels
through a hole in the roof of the cave and comes out through a heap of
reeds in an evil-smelling fever swamp on the high lands above, and which
no man will willingly approach; and if the smoke be seen, it will but be
taken for the evening mists rising from the marsh.  Besides all this,
the night is now dark outside; let the Inkoosis look--the words of
Amaxosa are true."

Grenville went down the passage and looked out, only to find that their
guide was perfectly right, and that night had indeed cast an unusually
black mantle of protection round them.

This being so, they enjoyed to the full a good warm feed, accompanied by
hot coffee from their own little store; and then placing Myzukulwa on
guard, a precaution which no fancied security would induce Grenville to
forego, the party lighted their pipes, and disposed themselves
comfortably round the fire to listen to Winfield's narrative.

This was short, but to the point.  He had been gold-prospecting near the
foot of the Pass with his party of seven men, his daughter also being
with him, and had been surprised one night by about threescore Mormons,
who at once murdered his men, but saved Winfield's life and his
daughter's because he offered a heavy ransom.

"You see, gentlemen," he said, "my little girl had been with me for five
years, and I had forgotten, God forgive me! that she was growing up into
a fine young woman.  I had been at my work for ten years, and between
gold and diamonds I had done so well that I'm afraid I thought of little
else.  I imagined I could buy these rascals off.  My daughter, I now
see, they kept for their own vile ends, and, unfortunately for me, they
soon found out that I was the very man they were short of in their
community, for, let me tell you, this secret territory of theirs is
literally bursting with mineral wealth of all kinds, which they have no
idea how to work.  Over and over again they have pressed me to join
their abominable brotherhood and become one of them, offering me instant
death as an alternative; but I knew I was much too useful to be killed
out of hand, and I laughed in their faces.  That blackguard Levert was
positively the first man who ever really tried to injure me, and he took
me by surprise when we were out on a prospecting trip--he had been
importuning me to give him my daughter in `marriage'! and I had
determined to shoot her dead before I would accede either to his or any
Mormon's wishes in that respect.

"Fortunately every woman is safe here for a full year, unless she
chooses to marry of her own accord, and after that time the consent of
her nearest relative is sufficient, whether the poor creature wills or
no.  Now we have been here just ten months, so have still some little
time before us--that is, if you gentlemen are, as I understand, willing
to assist me in liberating my little girl from the Novices' Convent in
the Mormon town which lies about a dozen miles from here."  And the poor
fellow looked at Grenville and Leigh with a half-inquiring and wholly
imploring expression on his face.

The cousins were deeply touched by Winfield's evident anxiety about his
daughter; neither, however, spoke--but both reached forward and warmly
shook hands with him, and as they did so Grenville saw the tears spring
to his eyes.  Rightly interpreting their silent sympathy, he went on--

"And now, gentlemen--"

"One moment, old fellow!" interjected Leigh; "this is Dick Grenville,
who `bosses our show,' as, I suppose, our unwelcome neighbours would
call it, and I am his lazy cousin Alfred Leigh; so do, for goodness'
sake, call us Leigh and Grenville, and drop that `gentlemen' palaver--it
sounds a bit off in a cavern, don't you know."

Winfield bowed to the cousins over this unceremonious and characteristic
introduction, and then again took up the thread of his story.

"I was going to say that I feel certain you are quite safe in trusting
yonder Zulu; he hated his brutal masters even more than I did, and I
suspect he only interfered to-day because he knew that if he did not do
so his own skin would pay the forfeit.  He once escaped, and was at
large for upwards of three months, and I suppose he must then have
unearthed this hiding-place.  He killed one of the guards who stood in
his way, and was to have been shot when retaken; but the Holy Three
relented at the last moment, on the score of his being such an excellent
hunter with native weapons--a great consideration with these people, as
the stock of ammunition which has sufficed them for fifty years is
getting rather low.  They got a dozen barrels of powder out of my little
camp, and thought they had found a treasure, but, unfortunately for
them, it was fine blasting powder, which blew half a dozen of their
rotten old shooting-irons to pieces, and opportunely hurried two of
their biggest ruffians into the nether world."

A discussion then ensued, in which Grenville closely questioned their
new ally, and received answers which gave him a very fair idea of their
present position and prospects, and confirmed him in the knowledge that
their party would never be permitted to leave the Mormon territory alive
if those gentry had their own way.  "Only one man," said Winfield, "ever
got away alive, and he, curiously enough, must have escaped two or three
days before you got in.  He was a very decent man, and a great agitator
for reform, and was consequently popular with many of the people, but
particularly obnoxious to the Holy Three and their immediate satellites,
the Avenging Angels."

Grenville obtained an accurate description of this fortunate (?)
individual, and had little difficulty in convincing Winfield that the
man in question--or, rather, all that remained of him--now hung rotting
ignominiously upon a cross near the great stone stairway.

"That explains their coolness over it all," said Winfield.  "I told the
guards that he would be back in two months' time with an army to reduce
them, but they only laughed, and said `they guessed their little country
was just about impregnable,' and they were glad to see the last of him,
for he was only a nuisance."

"Well," said Grenville at last, "the best thing you can do now you've
had a smoke and relieved your mind, Winfield, is to go to sleep, for you
stand much in need of rest after your long exposure and involuntary
fast.  I'll have a chat with the Zulus now, and, if they consent, I
propose to lie hidden here for a couple of days, so that you can get
your strength up.  So pray turn in at once--you too, Alf."  And leaving
the pair to make their rough beds of dried leaves, he joined the Zulus,
who were talking earnestly together in the doorway of the cavern.

Amaxosa was quite confident that their place of shelter was altogether
unknown to the Mormons, as they had never been able to find him until
one evil day when they had stumbled across him a score of miles from the
spot they now occupied.  Asked whether there was any way out of the
country, he said "No"; he had most thoroughly searched for a means of
exit, and had concluded that the white people were witch-finders, who
got in and out by flying over the mountains.

On being asked how he was brought in, he said he did not know, as he was
knocked senseless with a blow from the butt-end of a rifle before he was
captured, and had been expected to die for a week thereafter.  Myzukulwa
had told him the story of their entry into this wonderful country, and
he (Amaxosa) was "very willing to follow and to fight for such great and
wise white chiefs, and would be their man to the death."  Grenville then
bestowed some tobacco upon his new ally, and, after a hearty handshake,
sent both the brothers to lie down, whilst he himself took the first
watch, and cudgelled his brains as to the further movements of the whole
party.  Three hours later, when he knocked the ashes out of his pipe and
lay down to rest, after having seen Amaxosa on guard, and given him
strict orders that no fire was on any consideration to be alight during
the daytime, Grenville's mind was quite made up.

They must carry off Miss Winfield by a _coup de main_ in the course of
the next few days, occupying the interim in choosing out and victualling
one or two exceptionally strong positions between their present refuge
and the great stairway.  They must hold each of these as long as was
possible, falling back by degrees, and, after fighting their ultimate
position to the last gasp, endeavour to take the foe by surprise, and
circumvent--or, if needful, cut their way through--the guard, which, he
had no doubt, was already rigidly posted in the subterranean roadway,
and so regain the Pass and the outside world.

The plan was dangerous to a degree, but was in fact the only one which
offered the slightest chance of success; their own act had brought them
into this mysterious country, and nothing short of supreme audacity and
the most determined bravery could carry them out again.  Moreover,
Grenville was quite resolved not to go away empty-handed.  Granted that
the place really was, as Winfield had said, simply alive with gold, he
meant both Leigh and himself to have a lion's share--not that either was
greedy of fortune, but both, as younger sons of old families, had keenly
felt the snubs of wealth, and it would truly be a grand thing if they
could fill their pockets out of nature's inexhaustible stores.

Their present position, except by trenching advisedly upon their
supplies, was untenable for any length of time; this had come out in the
course of Grenville's questions to Amaxosa.

"Why," he had asked, "have we seen no game, not a living creature of any
kind, with the exception of a few birds, and yet you and the Inkoos
Winfield talk of hunting?"

"Because of the great black gulf and the dark River of Death," was the
answer; and Grenville had been given to understand that this wonderful
country was absolutely cut in two, from side to side, by a yawning
abyss, forty to fifty feet across, through which, some three hundred
feet below, flowed a sluggish and inky-looking stream of incalculable
depth, thoroughly meriting the Stygian name bestowed upon it.

This awful chasm, which intersected the country for over eighty miles,
was cleverly spanned in three places, equidistant about twenty miles, by
stout but narrow wooden bridges; and these were jealously-guarded night
and day, the nearest one to the present hiding-place of the party being
also the bridge most adjacent to the Mormon stronghold, which went by
the name of East Utah.  It was one of these bridge guards that Amaxosa
had slain in order to cross the gulf and, as he--poor fellow!--thought,
regain his freedom.

On further consideration, and after an early breakfast, the party
decided to change their quarters that very night, for, much to their
surprise, it proved that Amaxosa had stowed away, in a cave close by,
sufficient dried flesh to keep a small army going for months; this led
to inquiry, and it came out that an enterprising Mormon had obtained the
sanction of the Holy Three to conveying himself and his belongings
across the bridge and into the veldt, where he expected to find
excellent pasturage for his cattle, there being no animals of any kind
on the outer side of the chasm.  This herd the Zulu had looted most
successfully, without the Mormon having an idea where a round dozen of
his finest beasts had gone; and so disgusted was he thereat, that after
a trial of one month he again betook himself to the inner lands, _minus_
the pick of his herd.  The meat thus feloniously obtained, Amaxosa had
carefully dried and laid up--with most unusual forethought for one of
his colour--against a rainy day.

Just before sunset, therefore, the whole party, bearing as much dried
flesh as they could conveniently carry, took leave of their comfortable
shelter, and cautiously retraced their steps to the glade where Levert
had met his death, and where they found his body still lying, just as
they had left it.

It being no part of Grenville's new programme that the corpse should be
discovered as yet, it was hastily concealed; and then, rapidly passing
on, the party reached the open veldt just before sunset, rested there
until the moon rose, and two hours later were safely entrenched in a
spot which had previously impressed itself upon Grenville's retentive
memory as being singularly adapted for a sustained defence in the event
of a protracted siege.

Their new shelter consisted of a curious-looking table-topped rock,
quite fifty feet high and some thirty yards in length by about as many
in breadth.  From inside this rock flowed a small stream, which, as in
the case of the cave they had just deserted, obtained exit through a
rent about four feet wide in the massive wall of stone.  In the interior
of this rock, which was hollowed out into two separate caves of
singularly angular and distorted appearance, the water welled up cool,
fresh, and clear as crystal.  The floor was of sandy gravel, and the
rock, which was apparently of ironstone formation, had evidently been at
one time struck by lightning, and was rent in every direction, in such a
way as to leave most convenient loopholes for shooting through.

Altogether, it was a very strong place indeed, stood alone in a forest
glade with six hundred yards of clear ground on every side of it, the
only cover being low scrub; yet it was only one mile from the edge of
the veldt, and perhaps twenty from the great stairway.  Well
provisioned, and with such weapons as theirs to defend it, and having
regard to the fact that the place could only be entered by one man at a
time, it might well be considered absolutely impregnable.

Here the party rested for the night, keeping guard by turns, and
spending the whole of the next day in piling up firewood and timber
joists, by which they could ascend twenty feet above the level of the
outside ground, so as to scour the scrub, if needful, for any lurking
foes; and also in putting up a sort of earthwork inside the rock,
wherever the loopholes were too numerous to be required.

Night again put a welcome period to the labours of the party, and after
breakfast on the following morning Grenville called all together, told
them that the time for decided action had arrived, and unfolded his plan
of operations, as follows.

At sunset the two Zulus were to set out and travel all night, and by
dawn he calculated that they would--though taking a wide detour, to
avoid the risk of premature discovery--have had time to reach the
furthermost bridge across the great canon, and hide themselves amongst
the trees which at that point bordered the veldt.  Both men were to lie
carefully concealed there until shortly after sunset; but the moment it
was fairly dark they were to approach the bridge, and contrive to let
themselves be seen hanging about, as if desirous of crossing.  This
method of procedure would, Grenville felt sure, cause the guard great
uneasiness, and result in his firing the signal rockets, and calling up
the main body to effect the capture or destruction of the audacious foe.

Unless they were regularly set upon, the Zulus were not to indulge their
inclinations for fighting, but, once having seen the fiery signals
ascend, were to use the utmost despatch in regaining, by the most direct
route, the neighbourhood of the central bridge.  Here they were to await
the return of Grenville and his party, accompanied, if successful in
their attempt, by Miss Winfield, when the united body would make a
desperate effort to reach the Table Rock, or, if too hard pressed to
gain that desired haven, would find sanctuary in Amaxosa's cave.  If the
stratagem, however, took the Mormons in as completely as Grenville
expected, his own party would have a start of at least two hours, and
this would probably enable them to get right through to the rock.

The plan was undoubtedly clever, and one, moreover, which gave promise
of success; and having been discussed in all its details, it was
unanimously adopted.  The Zulus were recommended to rest and sleep all
day, and at sunset were despatched as arranged, the white men in the
meantime occupying themselves in completing, and if possible amplifying
still further, the natural defences of their rocky fortress.

The Zulus were armed, as usual, with their spears Myzukulwa willingly
relinquishing his revolver to Winfield, who had also possessed himself
of the rifle and ammunition of which the party had despoiled Abiram
Levert.

Grenville accompanied Myzukulwa and Amaxosa as far as the edge of the
veldt, and impressed upon them the desirability of deceiving the bridge
guard, if possible, as to the number of their persons; for, he
explained, "if the main body of Mormons see but two signal rockets, they
will suppose them to refer to Amaxosa and the Inkoos Winfield unarmed,
and will only send on a few men to capture them; whilst if three rockets
are fired, they will conclude at headquarters that it is our own party--
it being clearly their habit to send up a rocket for each foe sighted on
the outer veldt--and will send on all the men they have on the spot."
Then, wishing the brothers good luck, Grenville returned to the rock.
The night was passed quietly by the party, which was now again reduced
to its original, and, as Grenville said, fortunate number, Leigh adding
jocularly that he would back their "dauntless three" at long odds
against any Mormon trio in East Utah, the Holy Three preferred.

The next day was spent by the white men in examining their weapons with
anxious care, after which they rested and smoked, waiting with feverish
anxiety for the declining sun to set them on their way.  At last the
time came, and, after feeding well, the trio shook hands all round, and
started out upon their desperate enterprise, for such it most certainly
was.  Three men against the whole Mormon community, which numbered,
according to Winfield, probably a thousand able-bodied men, besides
women, children, and youths, and was by no means deficient in subtlety
of intellect.

The little party pushed forward in ominous silence, keeping carefully
under cover, and about three and a half hours later saw all securely
hidden in a patch of scrub which impinged upon the veldt a short mile
from the central bridge, whereupon, before the darkness fell, as it did
almost directly after their arrival, they could perceive _two_ sentinels
standing smoking and chatting together; and it was a saddening
reflection to the trio that these men, at present in the full enjoyment
of life, must of necessity die before the bridge would be free for their
own purposes.

The minutes dragged on their weary way with leaden feet, and Grenville's
watch marked half an hour after sundown, when a shout from the bridge
brought the whole party to its feet as one man, just in time to see a
rocket dissolve in mid air into myriads of lovely shooting stars.  A
score of seconds later this was followed by a second rocket, whilst
immediately afterwards, to Grenville's infinite delight, a third of
these shining messengers winged its fiery way across the heavens.

Over the silent veldt the Englishmen could hear the Mormon guards
talking in excited tones, but suddenly both parties gave vent to one
common cry of astonishment as a fourth rocket swiftly sailed up into the
azure vault, and was instantly succeeded by a fifth, after which perfect
stillness reigned for a full minute; then, all at once, a vivid streak
of fire shot up like a flaming arrow from the Mormon city, now
comparatively close at hand, and a moment later its many-hued stars were
vieing with the glittering constellations of the sky.  The answering
rocket had been fired, and the Avenging Angels were on their way.



CHAPTER SIX.

THE FIERY CROSS.

For fully fifteen minutes, which seemed so many hours, did the little
party wait, in order to allow the main body of the Mormon fraternity to
get well on their way in the direction of the eastern bridge; and then,
at a sign from Grenville, all cautiously worked their way forwards,
crawling at full length upon the grass, and soon finding themselves,
undiscovered, within fifty yards of the bridge which was now becoming
visible by the light of the moon.  Another short wait rendered all as
clear as day; yet the trio, hidden within pistol-shot of the sentinels,
remained altogether unseen by them, the men being evidently thrown off
their guard by the rockets fired from the eastern bridge.

And now Grenville and his friends coolly rose to their feet, and,
covering the Mormons with their rifles, commanded them to lay down their
arms.  The surprise was complete.  The sentinels, however, instantly
threw forward their guns; but ere the pieces had reached their level,
they both fell, Winfield and Leigh having each marked his man with
deadly accuracy.

Quickly taking possession of the guns and ammunition, which they hid in
the scrub some little way off, Grenville then placed the dead Mormons in
fairly upright postures, leaning over the outer edge of the bridge, as
if the men were looking at the water below, and conversing together.
This was simply an old Indian artifice, utilised in case any stray
watcher, attracted by the firing, should take a fancy to see if there
were guards on the bridge.  If a regular inspection were made, the
imposture would of course become evident at once; but at a reasonable
distance, and under the moonlight, the corpses might well pass muster
for living men.

Our friends soon cleared the two miles lying between the bridge and the
Convent in which Dora Winfield was imprisoned, and reached the spot
without falling in with a living soul.

This Convent proved to be a fine stone building of considerable size and
height, and Grenville saw at a glance that only stratagem could obtain
them an entrance into such a formidable-looking edifice, for nothing
short of cannon would have any effect upon the massive walls.

There was, however, no difficulty for them to contend with in the way of
gaining admission, Winfield having merely to give in his name through a
grating, in order to be permitted to visit his daughter.

The moment the door was opened, Grenville and Leigh, who had kept in the
background, quietly followed him in, revolvers in hand.

There was, however, but a slight disturbance, as it proved that the
Convent was tenanted solely by womankind.  The Superior, a
matronly-looking dame, was summoned, and remonstrated with Winfield,
whom she, of course, knew, as he had been in the habit of paying regular
visits to his daughter.

"If you insist," she said, "I must perforce give up your daughter, but
you know well that neither you nor these misguided young men can ever
escape from our mysterious country.  Remember, _the eyes of the Holy
Three are unsleeping_."

"Excuse me, madam," said Grenville with a quiet laugh, "but we have no
time for parley.  Our minds are made up; and if you will kindly produce
Miss Winfield, we will be gone.  Your miserable Trinity may serve to
frighten women, but it has no terrors for honest men."  Then turning to
Leigh, "Alf, guard this door; and if anyone--man, woman, or child--
attempts on any pretext to leave this building, see that that creature
dies, or remember that our own lives will pay the forfeit."

At this the Superior lost her temper, and commenced to harangue
Grenville in no measured terms; but he put her on one side without
further ado, and when the woman found that these men intended to search
every cell till they found Miss Winfield, she soon led them to that
young lady's apartment, which proved to consist of a small prison-like
chamber, furnished only with a shabby bed and one wooden chair.  The
poor girl, who sat reading by a rushlight, flew joyfully into her
father's arms and fairly wept with delight at the thought of being free
once more.  Winfield introduced her to Grenville, and after briefly
thanking him with a kindly smile for his share in her release, she
expressed herself equally eager with themselves to get away from the
Convent and its environs.

After a hasty introduction to Leigh, all passed out into the moonlight,
Grenville locking the door from the outside, and taking possession of
the key, hoping thereby to prevent the inmates of the Convent from
prematurely giving the alarm.

As Miss Winfield followed the hasty strides of her father in the
direction of the bridge, Alf Leigh walked by her side, conversing with
her in low tones, and secretly wondering how her father could have been
so careless as to risk such a treasure in the wilds of Africa.

He saw at a glance that Dora Winfield was a lady, and as thoroughly
lovely a specimen, moreover, as one could find in a day's journey
through England.  Her hair was of a lustrous golden hue, she had fine
blue eyes, and a face which was singularly winning and beautiful, but
which yet possessed an expression of self-reliance that in no way
detracted from her charming countenance.  Her voice was sweet and well
modulated; and altogether she was a most lovable little person--at
least, so thought Alfred Leigh from the vantage ground of his six feet
two inches.

Dora Winfield was, however, no ordinary woman--she was quite five feet
eight inches in height, and fortunately for herself and the all-night
journey she had in prospect, possessed a well-knit figure and a
constitution hardened by years of travel with her father, in the pursuit
of his somewhat hazardous occupations.

Leigh was delighted to find her a quiet, modest young girl, whose tone
had evidently been in no way lowered by her contact with the rough
diamonds of advanced civilisation in the South African bush.

The girl had, indeed, been well-trained by a good mother, and after the
death of that beloved relative had been so wrapped up in her father, of
whom she was passionately fond, that she had never experienced any
desire to mix with the outside world, of which Leigh soon discovered
that she knew absolutely nothing.

As the party drew near the bridge, Leigh whispered a few words to his
cousin, who at once moved on ahead, and, finding the bridge just as they
had left it, coolly tipped the two lifeless sentinels over the parapet
into the water, and a sullen plunge which reached Leigh's ears as he
approached with his fair companion told him that she would be spared the
ghastly sight of those two livid corpses acting such a hollow, hideous
mockery.

As the party crossed the bridge, Leigh laughingly observed that it was
more like going home from a nineteenth-century dinner than leading the
forlorn hope they had looked for.

Hardly were the words out of his mouth than a rocket again shot up from
the Mormon stronghold and described an arc over their heads, and,
turning to look behind them, all saw a singular spectacle.

From the roof of the Novices' Convent shone a small _cross of fire_,
and, even as they looked, this signal was answered by the startlingly
sudden appearance of an enormous emblem of similar shape posted upon the
very top of a steep hill just behind the town.

By this time the sky had darkened considerably, the lustre of both moon
and stars were dimmed by driving belts of angry-looking scud, which shut
out both the town and the hill behind it, and gave this extraordinary
signal an altogether terrible effect.  Soon the cross upon the Convent
died out, but the one upon the mountain-top continued to glow more
fiercely than ever, hanging as it seemed between earth and heaven,
instinct with a wondrous radiant brilliancy.  All at once the light died
out, as suddenly as it had appeared; but rocket after rocket ascended
from East Utah, still following the direction of the bridge, conveying
to the whole Mormon community, with the help of the fiery cross, the
fact of an escape from the Convent, and indicating that the fugitives
were flying by the central bridge.

Grenville afterwards ascertained that these crosses were made of a pure
crystal cut in slabs from the mountain-side, and were lighted by the
same natural gas which had startled him in the subterranean road.

After watching the Eastern heavens for some moments Grenville turned to
his cousin and said--

"I don't half like it, Alf; the main body is already on its return
journey, or an answering rocket would have been fired from the eastern
bridge.  You must push on with Miss Winfield and her father, and try to
make the Table Rock.  I think we are in for a storm, but never mind that
I will stay by the bridge and stop any stragglers from pursuing; if you
come across the Zulus, send one to me and take the other one on with
you.  Now be off, there's a good fellow," as Leigh was about to argue
the point.

"God bless you, dear old man!" burst from the other, as he wrung
Grenville's hand and turned away, for he knew that his cousin was facing
almost certain death to effectually cover their retreat; and but for
Dora Winfield's sake he would have insisted upon taking his own share of
the danger, as usual.

Another moment and Grenville was alone upon the bridge, the gathering
gloom around him, and the weird whispering veldt stretching out behind,
whilst beneath him the River of Death seemed to murmur hoarsely along
its eerie and unwilling course.

All at once he became aware of a figure, apparently on horseback,
approaching at full speed, and, challenging loudly, commanded the
advancing equestrian to halt on pain of instant death.

The horse was reined up less than a score of yards from the bridge, and
to Grenville's astonishment a sweet girlish voice cried out, "Oh! do
please let me pass, I want to go with Dora."

Just then the moon shone out again for a brief space, and Grenville saw
a lovely young girl, her luxuriant dark hair blown about her like a
curtain by the wind, sitting on the back of an animal which he at once
recognised as a quagga, and looking at him imploringly.

"Who are you?" he at length found voice to ask.

"I?" said the little creature, drawing herself up proudly, "I am the
Rose of Sharon, queen of the Mormons by right of birth, but kept in the
Convent prison by the wicked men who call themselves the Holy Three."
Then, in pleading tones, "You have a kind face, do let me join dear
Dora; you would surely not separate the Rose of Sharon from the Lily of
the Valley."

The girl was not more than eighteen years of age, and shut up from
almost all human intercourse as she had been for many years, her manners
were almost childlike, whilst her form was so _petite_ that Grenville
might well be excused for taking her, as he had at first done, for a
child of fourteen.

Catching the head of her strange mount, he quietly led her across the
bridge, telling the young lady which direction to take in order to come
up with her friend, and being much relieved to learn from her that this
quagga was an altogether unique specimen in East Utah, as he had feared
that the Mormons might have a cavalry troop so mounted, and this would
complicate matters fearfully so far as his own party was concerned.

In a few seconds the hoof-strokes of her strange pony died out upon the
veldt, and Grenville was once more alone with a mighty struggle before
him, but with an additional reason to nerve his arm in the voluntary
presence of this fair creature pleading for protection from the common
foe.

This, however, was no time for sentiment, and the moon again making her
appearance, Grenville looked carefully to his weapons and prepared to
make the best defence in his power, determined that no Mormon should
cross the bridge except over his dead body.  The sky had partly cleared
in front of him, and he was relieved to notice this, as his only chance
of a prolonged resistance was to put in accurate shooting at a range
quite beyond that of the Mormons' rifles; behind him over the veldt the
clouds stretched away to the horizon black as ink and ominous in their
sudden death-like quietude.

In the distance he could see the outline of the Convent and the lights
actively twinkling in the Mormon town, then some three miles to the
eastward the sky-line was broken by a stream of fire, as a rocket sailed
up on its errand of inquiry, and was answered almost simultaneously by a
like vivid messenger despatched from the Mormon stronghold in the
direction of the bridge.



CHAPTER SEVEN.

"IN YON STRAIT PATH A THOUSAND MAY WELL BE STOPPED BY THREE."

And now, as Grenville listened intently, he could distinguish the tramp
of a body of armed men approaching, and with a beating heart he kneeled
down upon the bridge, projecting his rifle over the wooden parapet to
steady it; and when the Mormon band, upwards of one hundred strong, came
into view, debouching from the trees a quarter of a mile away, he, to
their utter astonishment, challenged them in the most audacious fashion:

"Halt, or I fire!"

All the reply to this was a shout of derision, and the entire party
commenced a jog-trot over the space which intervened between the trees
and the bridge.

Grenville allowed the leaders to get within about three hundred and
fifty yards, then his rifle vomited its deadly contents, and two
Mormons, running one behind the other, bit the dust.  With an angry cry
the remainder pressed forward, intent on vengeance; but again and again,
to their complete astonishment and utter consternation, did the unerring
messengers from the bridge speed forth upon their fatal mission, and by
the time the crowd had arrived within a hundred yards of Grenville's
position, seventeen men lay dead or dying upon the veldt, and he had
still five shots left in his magazine.  These were coolly but hastily
despatched, and Grenville had the fierce gratification of knowing, in
that supreme moment, that not a single cartridge had been thrown
away--_every bullet had had at least one deadly billet_.  Now, however,
the Mormons commenced to use their guns, and though the bridge in some
degree protected Grenville, still his head was exposed, and he could
hear the musket balls whistling past him.

So close were his opponents now that he could distinctly see their
faces, and his keen eye instantly detected a wavering movement upon
their part; and realising that they ignorantly ascribed an unlimited
number of shots to his strange and infernal weapon, he at once opened
fire with his revolvers; and after two more men had fallen to the first
three discharges, the attacking party broke up altogether, and simply
scrambled into cover at top speed, whilst our hero--for such we may now
fairly call him--heaved a sigh of relief, and proceeded with the utmost
care to reload his rifle.

Then followed a desultory guerilla sort of warfare, the Mormons trying
to creep into shooting range lying full length upon the grass, and this
stratagem, owing to the number of dead bodies lying about, was
comparatively easy work.  Twice Grenville had narrow escapes of falling
a victim to these crouching marksmen, one shot actually grazing his left
ear and drawing blood; but not one of these individuals ever got a
chance of a second shot, the list of killed and wounded soon totalling
twenty-five, such difference was there between old-time guns and a
modern engine of warfare placed in a single pair of cool and skilful
hands.

Looking at his watch, Grenville found that his party had now had a start
of just one hour; but he felt that to be on the safe side they ought to
have another thirty minutes.  Moreover, he well knew that the instant he
moved from his present position to try and escape, the Mormon herd
concealed amongst the trees five hundred yards away would make a
unanimous rush at him.

Presently, the situation becoming monotonous, he sallied out into the
open and began collecting the arms and ammunition of such of the dead
men as lay in closest proximity to the bridge.  The Mormons fired an
angry volley, without effect; and after securing half a score of
muskets, he was about to return to the bridge, when he espied what
looked remarkably like a keg of gunpowder lying on the grass some fifty
yards nearer to the Mormon position.  Quietly walking forward, he took
possession of this amidst a hail of bullets, all of which, however, fell
wide of the mark, and "spotting" the flash of one gun he replied in
kind, his shot being answered by the death-shriek, accompanied rather
than echoed by a yell of vengeance.

Grenville carefully carried off his treasure, feeling considerably
easier in his mind, as it was now competent for him to blow up the
bridge, and thus secure his retreat; but the Mormons, who thoroughly
understood his intentions, instantly resumed the offensive, with the
object of keeping him otherwise fully employed.

Hastily hiding the keg of powder in the scrub on the outer side of the
chasm, Grenville returned to his post, and made another determined
effort to check the advance of the enemy, feeling that every additional
minute gained for his friends was of incalculable value.

The Mormons, however, had learned a lesson by their dearly-bought
experience, and instead of again advancing in one compact body, now
spread out their force and endeavoured to "rush" our hero from several
points at one and the same time, and so spoil the accuracy of his
shooting.

Unfortunately for them Grenville was much too keen to be taken in by
such a simple artifice, for seeing that all their varied lines of
advance must finally converge upon his own position, he coolly withheld
his fire until a considerable number of his foes had joined forces
within two hundred yards of the bridge, and then poured it in with
frightful effect, the heavy shell-bullets committing terrible execution
at such short range.

The Mormons, however, kept on doggedly, and by the time that a score of
them had arrived within a hundred yards of him, Grenville's rifle was
empty.

Rapidly slipping cartridges into the magazine of his Winchester, he at
the same time warily watched the advancing foe, and when one pulled up
and raised his rifle, Grenville instantly dropped him.

Unfortunately, he had but had time to get in five cartridges, and when
five men were accounted for, and the rest quietly, but in a determined
manner, pulled up within fifty yards of him, and raised their rifles, he
was conscious of a sudden sinking of the heart.

Grenville continued, nevertheless, to ply his six-shooters, and the
instant the Mormon leader gave the word to his platoon to fire, threw
himself forward on his face with the speed of light, escaping by a
miracle almost unharmed.

Springing quickly to his feet, he deliberately emptied the remaining
chambers of his revolvers into the approaching Mormons at point-blank
range, as they rushed forward with their guns clubbed, and then, seizing
his own rifle by the muzzle, he swung the weapon round his head and
prepared to sell his life dearly.

Though bleeding from a wound in the shoulder and one in the fleshy part
of the neck, Grenville felt little the worse, as the last-named had
fortunately failed to touch the artery.

As he stood bravely waiting the onslaught of his remaining foes, our
hero was dimly conscious that the air was growing dark and very still,
and that the storm clouds were creeping up again in ponderous and
wicked-looking masses; but ere he had time to reflect on the probable
result of this, the Mormons flew at him like hounds on a stag at bay.
Blow after blow was given and received, our hero at length getting in a
sweep with his weapon that drove one opponent headlong into the awful
chasm beneath, into which he fell with a horrid shriek.  This blow,
however, cost Grenville a nasty knock on the side of the head, and as
his enemies redoubled their violence, he felt that the end was very
near; the bridge, the sky, the veldt, were turning round and round with
him, and he realised that his spirit was indeed about to speed its
eternal flight; and now, as he made one glorious final effort to
maintain his post, a glittering streak of steel whizzed past his face,
and the nearest foe fell backwards, grasping in the death agony at the
razor edge of the Zulu spear imbedded in his throat, whilst, almost
simultaneously, a second of the attacking party was despatched to the
shades by a similar weapon from another hand, and poor Grenville's
sinking heart was cheered by the war-cry of Amaxosa and the cool voice
of his brother Myzukulwa--

"Let the Inkoos load his rifle," said the latter, "and leave these low
people to us."

The remaining assailants now turned tail and fairly ran for it.  Too
late!  As well might they seek to outstrip the wind as to escape from
the fleet-footed Zulus, and in less than two minutes every man was on
the ground with his life-blood welling from the awful gashes inflicted
by the broad-bladed spears of the savage conquerors, who stood chanting
a rude note of victory.

Grenville reloaded all his weapons, and after indulging in a nip of
brandy, felt more like himself again, though considerably knocked about,
and a perfect mass of bruises upon the arms and shoulders.  Amaxosa now
approached, and saluting him gravely and deferentially, delivered
himself as follows:--

"The Inkoos, my father, is indeed a great and very mighty warrior.  In
one short hour he has slain in fair fight more men than Amaxosa has
killed in his whole lifetime; but my father is wounded and very weary
after so great a fight, and it is meet that he should now follow on the
track of the Lily of the Valley and the Inkoosis to the great black rock
and the spring of sweet water; and when these evil men, my old masters,
the wicked witch-finders, seek to follow on the road, then it shall come
to pass that my father's faithful war-dogs, the sons of Undi, shall slay
them, and if perchance they should by force of numbers overcome the
children of my race, then in the evening of his life will my father, the
lion-hearted chief, sometime remember Myzukulwa and Amaxosa, the sons of
Isanusi, who fought and died for him on the narrow bridge which spans
the River of Death.  Let my father's ears receive the words of the voice
of his son, for they are good words."

Grenville, who was deeply touched by the devotion of the Zulus, shook
hands warmly with them and thanked them for their timely aid, which had
undoubtedly saved his life, but steadfastly declined to desert them or
to yield the post of honour.

"Unless my rifle is here to keep the rascals out of range," he said to
Amaxosa, "you would soon fall to their guns; a brave man, my friend, is
no more proof against a bullet than is a coward."

"Fear not their bullets, Inkoos," was the quick reply; "the
witch-finders will shoot no more to-night, the rain will stop them."
And even as the Zulu spoke, the clouds over their heads, which had
gradually grown denser and more threatening, were rent asunder by a
vivid flame of fire which for one brief instant revealed the whole
countryside in a dazzling, blinding glare of lurid light and then
vanished into darkness which might be felt, and which was rendered still
more awful by the terrific peals of thunder, loud as the trump of doom,
which shook the earth and appeared to rend the very vault of heaven
itself; the hellish clamour being returned in varying and deafening
tones by every rugged rock and echoing glen in the mountain-range, till
the whole craggy chaos quivered with the conflicting reverberations.

Flash succeeded flash in rapid succession, until the sultry air seemed
instinct with blazing levin brands, whilst the forked streams of arrowy
fire darted hither and thither, as if impelled by the hand of a giant.

Then all of a sudden came the tropic rain.  Rain!  It was simply a vast
steaming sheet of vaporish water, which in one instant blotted out the
landscape, flooded the veldt, and sent the sullen sluggish River of
Death roaring down its active course, where it enlivened the rocks with
hoarse and angry murmurings, and clothed the sides of the dreadful chasm
with weird and ghostly echoes.

Grenville now suggested to his followers that it would be a good
opportunity to blow up the bridge, before the powder, which they were
protecting to the best of their somewhat limited ability, began to get
damp; but when Amaxosa understood this wish, he replied--

"Why should my father destroy the bridge?  Let him withdraw it, and keep
the witch-finders on the other side.  Amaxosa thought he wished to kill
them all to-night."

On being questioned, the Zulu explained that these bridges all hinged on
pivots which worked on the outer side of the river; this, he said, was
to enable the Holy Three and their immediate satellites to effectually
prevent any spying upon their movements when they undertook their
murderous errands either inside or outside their own country.

"Good!" said Grenville; "the evil deeds of these scoundrels will recoil
upon their own heads."  And in a few moments more, with the help of the
Zulus, the bridge was open and lying flush with their own side of the
river, and Grenville and his two sable friends were stealing away with
cautious steps, carefully carrying the powder and a score of Mormon
guns.

Ere the party had reached the fringe of bush less than a mile away, the
rain ceased, as suddenly as it had come on, the moon again shed her soft
and beauteous radiance on mountain, veldt, and forest, sparkling in
every direction with lovely raindrops, which glistened as if all Nature
were smiling through her happy bridal tears.  As the little party
entered the scrub a wild, angry shout was wafted to their ears, and
across the rolling veldt, and beyond the now protecting chasm, the
Mormons could be seen ranging up and down, like bloodthirsty tigers
baulked of their hard-won prey.



CHAPTER EIGHT.

A NIGHT ATTACK.

Being perfectly secure from Mormon interference--at all events, for the
moment--Grenville and the two Zulus proceeded somewhat leisurely on
their way to the rock, for, truth to tell, all three were suffering from
both hunger and fatigue, and their one single consolation consisted of a
good smoke.

And now, as they gradually knocked off the weary miles which lay between
the central river and the great rock, Grenville heard the details of the
Zulu expedition to the eastern bridge.

These active children of the veldt had made a very wide detour during
the first night, and safely reached the desired shelter of the timber
about an hour before dawn, and had watched and slept by turns all day,
having first satisfied themselves that no large force of the enemy was
near at hand.  On the bridge they found two guards instead of one,
which, as they said, "made their hearts glad, as the fight would be a
fair one," for the astute Myzukulwa had determined that _at least three
rockets should go up_, by hook or by crook.  Instead, therefore, of
alarming the sentinels by showing their persons at dusk, they came upon
the miserable men in the most approved Zulu fashion, and settled them
out of hand, without even giving them the chance of firing a shot.

The pair had then coolly sat down and talked, debating how many rockets
to fire, and had ultimately concluded that Amaxosa, who was quite _au
fait_ with the method of sending up these aerial messengers, should
despatch _five_, and thus cause the Mormons to believe that Winfield and
the escaped Zulu had joined themselves to the audacious invaders of
their secret kingdom.

No sooner was this operation satisfactorily performed than the brothers
prepared to set out for the central bridge, when they were all at once
assailed by five or six Mormons, who had sprung from somewhere close at
hand, and a desperate battle of course ensued.  One of the attacking
party, in trying to shoot Myzukulwa, had kindly missed that worthy and
"potted" one of his own friends, and in less time than it takes to tell,
three of the enemy were dead and the others retreating at full speed;
but not knowing how many more might be lying hid, the Zulus for a wonder
concluded discretion to be the better part of valour, and after turning
off the bridge had come at a slinging trot all the way to Grenville's
position, which, as we have already seen, they reached just in the very
nick of time.

When the trio had put in nearly two hours' solid work, poor Grenville
grew faint with fatigue, exposure, and loss of blood.  The grey ghostly
mists of dawn were now hanging over the party on every side; but, as far
as Amaxosa could judge, they were still an hour's journey from the rock,
and as the Mormons might have sent a fast detachment by the western
bridge, it behoved our friends to lose no time.

For some way the faithful Zulus, themselves nearly dead beat, half
supported, half carried Grenville, only to find, when they spoke to him,
that he was fast asleep on his feet; laying him gently down, the pair
looked at each other as if wondering what to do, when suddenly a
colossal figure seemed to burst out of the mist and dash right down upon
them at full speed; in one instant the Zulus sprang over their fallen
chief and raised their spears to meet the foe, but all at once Myzukulwa
lowered his weapon quietly.  "Ow!  Inkoos," he said.  "Ow!"

The new arrival was Alf Leigh, riding the quagga, which had shortly
before carried the lovely Rose of Sharon.  Seeing his cousin's
motionless and bloodstained body, he threw himself off the animal and
fell on his knees beside it.  "Dick!  Dick! my poor old Dick--dead!
dead! dead!  Oh, God! oh, God! what shall I do?  Would I had died for
thee, my dear old Dick!"

"Stay, Inkoos," said Amaxosa gently.  "My father the lion-hearted chief
is not dead; he does but sleep the sleep of the wounded and the weary.
At yonder bridge, by the dark River of Death, did the sons of Undi find
their father, the mighty warrior, surrounded by heaps upon heaps of dead
and dying men, and also by men yet living who thirsted for his blood;
but his faithful war-dogs chased away these evil ones; even as the chaff
they flew before the fierce wind; but they were not, for the sons of
Undi slew them.  And but now, as you came, had we laid the Inkoos our
father on the grass, for he sleeps a sleep of weariness, of cold, of
hunger, and of blood; and we, his weary children, are too worn to carry
him; yet if the Inkoos will take our father on the horse, we will aid
him gladly."

And so the noble fellows did; and Leigh, with fervent thanks to Heaven
for the miraculous escape of his beloved cousin, lifted him on to the
quagga, and held him there with Myzukulwa's help, whilst Amaxosa took
the animal's head, and led the way at a quiet pace--not, however, before
Leigh had first refreshed the Zulus with a strong nip of brandy.

At last they reached the rock, just as the sun rose, and laid the still
unconscious Grenville down to have his rest out, whilst the Zulus flung
their tired bodies down and were instantly asleep.

When our hero at last awoke, feeling stiff, sore, and very hungry, he
stared about him in sheer astonishment, and wondered whether he still
dreamed.  He had no recollection of having reached the rock, yet he knew
he was inside it, and quickly realised that he must have been in some
way carried there.

To rest was soothing, but the pangs of hunger were gnawing his very
vitals, and heaving a weary sigh he made a movement to rise.  At this
moment a small white hand was laid upon his shoulder, and a sweet voice,
which he at once recognised, said in tones of playful command, "Lie
still, sir; I can't afford to let you become an invalid."

"Ah! young lady," he said, "and how is the Rose of Sharon this morning,
and did her curious-looking pony bring her safely here?"

"Thank you, I am very well," replied the young girl, coming round to the
other side of the cavern and looking down upon him as he leaned lazily
on one elbow; "only it isn't morning, but four o'clock in the afternoon;
and don't you mock at my little horse--you would never have got here but
for him.  There now, don't talk any more.  Just lie down again and I'll
bring you some food, which Dora is getting ready;" but as Rose turned
away Miss Winfield herself entered with a big plateful of boiled fish,
the best food, she said, they could offer him at present.

Both girls looked fresh and hearty, and neat as new pins, much to
Grenville's surprise, for the storm of the night before was calculated
to have ruined every garment they possessed.

Whilst he ate greedily, the girls explained that the storm had hardly
touched them until near the rock itself, and by dint of making the poor
quagga carry double burden they had practically arrived in shelter
before any serious harm was done.

"Very hard on the animal, Mr Grenville, I can assure you," said Dora;
"two of Rose wouldn't have mattered so much, you know, but when I got on
his back I felt certain I could hear him groan.  When the poor little
beastie got here he thought, I suppose, that he could rest, but the
moment the storm began to clear off Mr Leigh insisted on mounting him
and riding away to look for you.  He found you lying so fast asleep that
he took you for dead, and the Zulus were at their wits' end, not knowing
what to do, so you were mounted and brought here in a state of
unconsciousness."

"Well done, Alf," said Grenville; "it was a risky thing to set out by
himself in this country so mounted and on such a night, but he always
was a plucky fellow.  Where is everybody, Miss Winfield?"

"My father and the Zulus have gone to Amaxosa's cave to bring up the
rest of the dried meat at nightfall, and have taken the quagga with
them, and your cousin is here to look after Rose and myself."

"And a very good judge, too," said Grenville, noticing that the fair
girl blushed when she named his cousin; "but Miss Winfield--"

"Won't you call me Dora?" said the girl; "Mr Leigh does."

"With pleasure," said Grenville heartily, "provided you will play fairly
and call me Dick."

This was agreed upon, as also that Rose and himself should be equally
intimate for the future.

"You see," explained Miss Winfield, "we have been called Sister Rose and
Sister Dora so long, that surnames sound odd to us, and I really think
they are somewhat out of place in the African bush."

"Well, Dora, I was about to say," resumed Grenville, "that I have
enjoyed the fish very much, and am extremely glad to know that we can
procure such a valuable addition to our scanty bill of fare; but haven't
you been unwise to light a fire in the daytime?  Believe me, these
Mormon bloodhounds are to be feared, and we are by no means out of the
wood yet."

Both girls laughed, and then quoth Rose: "You forget I am a Mormon
bloodhound, sir, and that this is my country; and let me tell you we own
many strange and wonderful things--amongst them, a boiling spring, which
bubbles up close to the rock, if you know where to find it, and therein
we have cooked all our food.  Seriously, I must thank you very, very
much for helping me yesterday, and let me add that all the annals of our
race contain no instance of such determined bravery and devoted heroism
as you exhibited at the bridge last night.  You saved me from death or
worse than death, at the hands of the detested Holy Three; and when the
time comes, remember that the Mormon queen will pay you life for life."
And with the tears starting from her fine eyes this strange girl swept
imperially away, followed almost immediately by Dora, after she had
first instructed Grenville to sleep again, which he did, dreaming
alternately of fair-haired and dark-browed maidens, and Mormons
thirsting for his blood.

All that night Grenville again slept soundly, and when he awoke in the
morning he was quite his own man again, much to the relief of all
concerned.

His first act was to make several necessary provisions for the comfort
of the young ladies, after which he again inspected the defences of the
rock with a dissatisfied air.

"What's the matter with the place, Dick?" said Leigh; "it's
impregnable."

"Not a bit of it, Alf," was the reply; "if they attack any night before
the moon rises, they can shoot us through our own loopholes like rats in
a cage."

"I never thought of that," said Leigh, pulling a long face; and having
called the rest of the fighting brigade into council, this serious
difficulty was discussed at considerable length, but the only, and to
Grenville unsatisfactory, conclusion arrived at was to lay on the ground
after nightfall a number of small fires made of resinous wood, and
connected with the rock by trains of powder.  The Zulus were to patrol
the neighbourhood from dusk until moonrise, and give notice of any
hostile approach, when the trains would be fired and the beacons
lighted, to enable the besieged to shoot accurately.  This scheme had
weak points about it which disturbed Grenville, who now knew the
fighting qualities of the Mormons.  Still he could suggest nothing
better, and could only hope their enemies would altogether fail to
discover the present position of the devoted little band.  Scouting
parties had several times been seen outlying on the adjacent veldt, but
it was only after the lapse of three full days that Myzukulwa found a
Mormon skulking in the woods, and clearly watching their movements: him
he slew, but it was evident that the man was only an advance guard, for
that very night, as soon as darkness set in, both scouts gave the danger
signal within a few moments of each other, and as soon as they had
regained the rock, Grenville lighted the fires, and sent his marksmen to
the loopholes.

This movement was only executed just in time, for about three score
Mormons were already half-way across the open glade.  For another
hundred yards they advanced steadily, under a murderous fire, and then
gave way, and fled back to their covers, leaving upwards of a dozen men
on the ground, having failed in getting within range to fire a single
shot from their own guns.

"Alf," said Grenville, "this won't do at all: three of our shots were
thrown away, for on three several occasions we both took the same man;
you keep the left advance in hand and I'll take care of the right."

Winfield, who had loaded all the captured Mormon guns, was anxious to
join in the fray, but the enemy was of course quite out of his reach,
and the two Zulus were fairly itching to use their spears, where they
stood guarding the entrance to the cave.

Again the Mormons tried a rush, and again were driven back by the deadly
hail of bullets from the repeating rifles, and quickly retreating into
the woods, all grew still as death.  And but for the corpses strewn
about the sward no one would have imagined that a fierce and bloody
fight was even now in progress.

Half an hour passed, and dashing the butt of his rifle on the ground,
Grenville swore roundly.

"Just what I expected; the cunning rascals are waiting till yonder
beacons are burnt out, and then they'll rush us."

"Can't we mend the fires?" anxiously suggested Leigh; "we've plenty of
fuel."

"No, old man, they've got a rifle hidden in the grass less than 100
yards from every fire.  Just watch, and you'll see.  Yonder scoundrel is
500 yards if he is an inch, but I'll see if I can't rouse the snake out
of that."

A careful sight preceded the report, and the concealed Mormon bounded
from his hiding-place, with a bullet through his shoulder, only to be
shot dead before he could move another yard.

A cry of astonishment broke from the forest--the range of the English
rifles exceeded all they had feared or believed.

And now fire after fire died out, and Grenville commanded his little
party to take up certain positions, where they would be more or less
screened, and also confided the two girls to a perfectly safe corner,
and then waited the result, straining his eyes through the darkness to
catch a glimpse of the foe, as he felt sure the Mormon crowd must now be
on their way across the open space and speeding towards the rock.

Just at this critical moment the beleaguered party was relieved, and at
the same time fairly astonished by an extraordinary occurrence.
Half-way between the rock and the fringe of forest the ashes of one fire
had been quietly smouldering for some moments, after all the other
beacons were clean burnt out; and now, as all listened intently,
expecting to hear the cautious tread of the approaching foe, a curious
rumbling sound was heard, and a single instant later a liquid column of
fire suddenly burst from the ground, shooting up to the height of thirty
or forty feet, where it uniformly hung like a gigantic fountain of
living flame, whose waves, as they reached the ground, scorched the
grass and rolled irresistibly towards the forest like a sea of blazing
boiling lava.

The fire had burnt through the earth's crust and ignited a vast
reservoir of petroleum, which now sprang heavenwards in a vivid pillar
of lurid light, plainly revealing every stick and stone for fully half a
mile around the rock.

All this Grenville realised as it were by instinct; but there was no
time to observe the extraordinary natural phenomenon, for the whole
Mormon army appeared to be rushing across the open glade within two
hundred and fifty yards of the rock.

The fire of the besieged was close and deadly; and though upwards of
twenty men fell to rise no more, whilst another score or two turned tail
and incontinently fled into cover, still some ten in number, braver than
their comrades, gained the rock and attempted to enter, only to fall a
useless sacrifice to the spears of the Zulus and the revolvers of Leigh
and Winfield.

Thus closed the Mormon attack on the rocky fortress of the little band.

Careful watch was kept all night, but at dawn not a living soul was to
be seen, and ascending the rock Grenville soon found that the entire
party had gone clean away, leaving only their dead and their shame.

He had at first feared that the molten stream of fire would ignite the
forest; this, however, was prevented by the river near the rock, into
which the boiling oil poured, and was carried harmlessly away,
incalculable wealth thus being wasted hourly before their very eyes.



CHAPTER NINE.

MINING AND COUNTER-MINING.

The party at the rock now passed some little time in quiet and
comparative comfort.  They were not in any way molested, and though
strict watch was kept both by night and day, the Mormons never ventured
near their position, despite the fact that the oil well had apparently
exhausted itself.  This, however, caused Grenville no serious
uneasiness, for Winfield had found that by superficially boring the
ground near to the rock, he could easily get at and ignite several
similar reservoirs of inflammable oil.

It was nevertheless patent that their enemies had quite determined they
should not leave the country, for from the commanding height of a
neighbouring tree Grenville constantly saw large parties carefully
patrolling the wide stretch of veldt lying between the rock and the
great subterranean roadway, by which the little party hoped to escape.

And now, having nothing else to do, Grenville turned his mind to the
acquisition of wealth, and soon had Winfield at his favourite
occupation, aided by Leigh and himself, whilst the Zulus kept watch and
ward, and the young girls enjoyed to the full their newly-acquired and
delicious sense of freedom.

A neighbouring stream proved to be prodigiously rich in alluvial
deposits of gold, and at the end of a week of hard work, the mining
party found themselves possessed of close upon sixty pounds weight of
the precious metal, mainly in small nuggets.  In one pocket alone, which
fell to the lot of Leigh, _twelve pounds of gold was found and taken out
in less than as many minutes_, the bed of the river being a regular Tom
Tiddler's ground.

The method of procedure adopted by Winfield was somewhat curious, yet
withal, extremely simple.  Starting about two miles above their shelter,
which was as far afield as the party dared to go, he followed the course
of the stream down to, and even for some little distance beyond, the
rock, and wherever he came across an eddy formed by the stones, placed a
little flag on the bank to mark the spot; then damming up the narrow
stream with rocks and fallen trees, he temporarily turned its course
into an adjacent hollow in the ground, and set his party to work in the
river-bed, on the spots where the eddies, as indicated by the flags, had
formerly disported themselves.

The results were pleasing beyond their wildest anticipations, and in
less than a fortnight the little river was again running peacefully
along its former course, and our friends had acquired gold to the value
of _nearly twenty-five thousand pounds sterling_--as much, in fact, as
they could well carry.  Only the Zulus looked on stolidly, and
internally wondered how such a mighty warrior as "the Inkoos their
father" could trouble his head about the "shining yellow sand."
Winfield told the cousins that the mountains in which the stream had its
source had always, amongst miners, borne the reputation of a veritable
El Dorado, but the insuperable difficulty--indeed, impossibility--of
access from the outside world had rendered it the reverse of likely that
Nature's stores--at least in this place--would ever be rifled by the
rude hand of man.

"When the alluvial workings pan out like this," he said, "what must the
fountain head be!  A wretched old Kaffir once told me that he had seen
an entire mountain of solid gold in these parts, and, i' faith, I begin
to believe that he was not telling such a colossal he as I at the time
gave him credit for.  If we could only carry the stuff away, I would
risk a good deal to get at the spot; but as it is, we have quite as much
as the quagga can well carry, and if we ever succeed in getting through
again to the cave under the waterfall, it will puzzle us to raise either
the animal or the gold up to the surface."

These days of restful peace were, however, suddenly and rudely disturbed
by an accidental discovery, which once again brought home to our friends
the cunning and unscrupulous nature of the fiendish enemies with whom
they had to deal.

Amaxosa, with the perversity of a native, had always insisted--all
danger to the contrary notwithstanding--in sleeping outside the house of
rock, in a sort of hollow in the scrub which he had dignified by the
name of "bed"; but one night, just as Grenville was comfortably dozing
off to sleep, whilst Myzukulwa kept watch, a hand was placed on his
shoulder, and the voice of Amaxosa whispered, "Let my father rise and
follow me; there is danger and witchcraft afoot."

Springing to his feet, Grenville instantly joined the Zulus outside the
cave, and heard strange and terrible tidings.  It appeared that Amaxosa,
when on the point of falling asleep in his "bed," had been disturbed by
singular noises, which apparently issued from the very bowels of the
earth.  Concluding, however, that the "spout of fire" was again about to
burst out, he had paid but little attention, until the stroke of some
iron instrument upon a rock and the muffled sound of a human voice had
brought him to his senses in an instant.

Following the Zulu to the place indicated, Grenville listened for some
little time, and clearly heard the sounds of mining underground, with
now and then a word evidently of command or direction, the purport of
which it was, however, impossible to guess, the voices being too deeply
buried to admit of the words being heard.

After a moment of paralysed stupor Grenville realised the extent of the
frightful danger to which his party was exposed by this diabolical plot.
The Mormons _were undermining their position, and in a few hours
would blow them sky high with Winfield's blasting powder_.

Hastily, returning to the rock he awoke Leigh and Winfield, and
explained matters, calling forth ejaculations of dismay from both men.

"In four or at most five hours," said Grenville, "they will be under
this spot, and unless we are clear away, Heaven help us; but on the
other hand you may be certain that the forest is full of these outlying
devils ready to cut off our escape."

After a short but excited argument it was determined to try and
_counter-mine the foe_, and starting to their feet the little party set
to work to dig through their own floor with the home-made picks and
shovels which they had used when seeking for gold.

All worked like blacks, and soon sank a hole forty feet deep in the soft
yet firm clayey sand, and then commenced tunnelling, still, however,
tending downwards.  The labour was enormous and the heat stifling; still
the stake, beyond all price, was the life and liberty of the whole
party; and when the tunnel had been unceasingly bored for three hours
Grenville pronounced it long enough, and ordered his party to strike
work.  He then carried down the keg of powder taken at the central
bridge, which proved to contain about thirty pounds, and the contents of
which were found to be in capital condition.

Then sending all back into the cave with instructions to awake the
girls, pack the gold on the quagga, and prepare for a running fight to
Amaxosa's Cave, in the not improbable event of the rock being
demolished, he returned to his burrow, bored the keg and laid a thick
train of powder for thirty feet along the tunnel.

Then came a long anxious wait; but when our hero had been alone for
nearly forty minutes, he at last heard the sound of a pick.

Gliding back to his friends, he found them ready for a start, and after
seeing all outside in a safe place well on the leeside of the rock, he
again crept into the tunnel.  Here he waited for some little time in a
fever of anxiety.  He could distinctly hear the Mormons now, almost
above him, and was in deadly fear lest the floor between their tunnel
and his, should give way, when all would be lost.  This, however, did
not happen, for their enemies, overlooking the fact that the ground
outside sank gradually towards the rock, and boring their shaft on the
level, had approached dangerously near the upper crust of the earth.

At last the time came, and hearing the foe well above his position, and
guessing by the sound of their voices that they were discussing the
advisability of executing their diabolical scheme, our hero coolly
stepped back some thirty feet, placed a light to his train, and as he
saw the fire spurt forward along the sinuous inky-looking line of
powder, darted out of his burrow, and reached the exit from the rock as
the whole place seemed to be rent and torn by an ear-splitting report,
and the outside air, which was for one brief moment lighted by the awful
glare of the explosion, resumed its normal blackness, the silence of
which was instantly broken by the groans of agony from the mutilated and
dying Mormons, who had indeed been hoisted with their own petard.
Quickly calling his party back to the rock, which, to his delight, was
uninjured, Grenville directed Amaxosa to fire one of the oil wells,
feeling sure that a Mormon rush would now be made under the impression
that the audacious little band of invaders had perished.

Scarcely was this done than a small army of Mormons debouched from the
woods at a run.  Grenville let them get within three hundred yards of
the rock, and then his party opened fire, knocking the astonished
cowards over like ninepins, and in less than ten minutes the blazing
pillar of fire showed only the open glade, strewn thickly with corpses,
its sickly glare revealing also a mighty gaping rent in the ground, from
which smoke still issued, looking as if Nature had herself prepared a
Stygian grave for the dishonoured dead.

Seeing that all fear of another attack was over for the present, the
little party thankfully regained the shelter of the rock, in order to
discuss at their leisure the probable result of the latest Mormon
disaster; and in a very short time the tired and hungry quintette of
miners were enjoying a hearty breakfast, if a meal served at about three
in the morning merits such a denomination.

The men were all so utterly worn out that the girls, upon their own
earnest entreaty, were for once allowed to keep guard whilst the
fighting brigade took their much-needed repose.  Grenville felt that the
watch was a mere matter of form, and so the result proved, for it was
ten in the morning before he was awakened by the soft hand of Rose, who
came with the astounding news that a Mormon had appeared on the edge of
the forest belt, where he now stood waving a white flag, and signifying
his desire to communicate with the besieged.

In a moment all had shaken off their sleep, and every man was standing
at his loophole rifle in hand, the two girls being also directed to
project the muzzles of two guns through the loops, whilst Grenville,
from outside, guarded the opening to the rock.

Picking up his rifle, Grenville passed through the aperture, and waved
his white handkerchief to the messenger as a sign to him to advance.
This he did with a cautious mien, stopping altogether, however, when he
had got half-way to the rock, and beckoning our friend to come and meet
him.  Seeing that the man was quite out of range of the rifles of his
comrades, who were, no doubt, outlying in the bush, Grenville thought
the proposal not unreasonable, and first, in a low voice, cautioning his
little garrison to keep a watchful eye on the clearing in their rear, he
strode boldly forward until he found himself within a few paces of the
Mormon chief, for such he unmistakably was.  A handsome man with an
evil-looking face, and restless eyes, which seemed to avoid your own by
instinct.  A fine powerful fellow too, not much under six feet, and
armed with a sword, a musket, and a brace of pistols.

The pair looked at each other for a few seconds, and then the Mormon
reached out his hand with an affable smile, but Grenville contemptuously
rejected his offered courtesy, saying coolly--

"No offence, my friend, but it will be time enough to indulge in
handshaking when we understand each other better."

Fire flashed from the Mormon's eyes at this affront, for such he
evidently considered it; he, however, suppressed all outward exhibition
of feeling, and replied in English, as pure as Grenville's own--

"You are right, sir!  Now to business.  I believe I am addressing the
leader of your party, which is composed of brave men, and has given us a
great deal of trouble."

"You may consider me the head of my party," replied Grenville.

"Well, sir, I am here by command of the Holy Three, and now propose,
before matters go beyond the possibility of arrangement, that we should
become allies.  If you and your friends will take the oaths of our
fraternity, you shall receive high personal rank in the nation, and
yourself and friends will be liberally endowed with wives, with lands
and cattle; Winfield the Englishman, and also the black man Amaxosa,
must die by our laws, which they have transgressed; the Rose of Sharon
becomes my property as Commander of the Forces, and the Lily of the
Valley will fall to the lot of the Holy Three.  All these munificent
offers must be accepted before sundown, or--his voice growing hard and
stern as it had hitherto been winning and courteous--Englishman you die,
you all die like dogs, without the hope of help or mercy.  I am but the
mouthpiece of the Holy Three; they have spoken, and they will not
repent."

For fully half a minute Grenville looked the Mormon in the face, and
gave no answer; he could not trust himself to speak.

Then in tones of thunder he uttered the one word.  "Go!"

"And my answer?" snarled the Mormon.

"Tell your wretched Trinity that what Richard Grenville gets, he keeps
with a strong hand, and that the English rifles which have already
decimated the cowardly Mormon nation, will very shortly sweep the Holy
Three themselves from the face of the earth.  Go!  I have spoken."

The Mormon's face worked convulsively, and his hand made a movement
towards the pistols in his belt, but at that instant he happened to
glance towards the rock, and saw the fervid sun glinting on the browned
barrels of three rifles, whose muzzles were pointed directly at him, and
shaking his fist at Grenville he retreated, hissing out, "Englishman, we
shall meet again--beware!"

To which Grenville answered coolly, "The sooner the better, my friend;
and when we do, look out for yourself--that's all I have to say."  He
then coolly retook his way to the rock, which he reached just as the
Mormon regained the forest.

To the male portion of his friends Grenville gave the purport of the
Mormon message, together with his answer, Leigh swearing by all that was
holy that he would never quit the country until the insult from the
Mormon Trinity to Miss Winfield was wiped out in rivers of blood.

Winfield ruminated upon the message for some time, then turning to
Grenville, he said, "Look here, my boy, just let me advise you, in
Yankee parlance, to keep your eyes skinned.  That fellow who spoke to
you just now--Radford Custance by name--is one of the hottest-tempered
men I have ever met with in the course of my whole life; he twice kept
his temper with you to-day under intense provocation, and let me tell
you that that's record for him, and I infer from it that the scoundrels
have got a trump card to play; what it can be, Heaven alone knows."

"Look here, Dick," said Leigh, "things have got to such a pass that I
for one should like to see the English flag over us--can't we
manufacture one?"  At first the idea seemed rather foolish, but after
consideration, Grenville could not but feel that his cousin was right,
and with the help of the ladies, who produced all sorts of curious and
unexpected odds and ends, as well as needles and thread, and assisted by
the loan of several handkerchiefs, a rude Saint George's ensign was
contrived, and soon floated on the summit of the rock, over the heads of
the little party, who saluted its appearance with three hearty cheers,
and a volley from their rifles, Grenville, as they did so, taking
possession of the country in the Queen's name, with a laughing apology
to the Rose of Sharon.  This act was answered almost instantly by a
salvo from the enemy, and a flag was hoisted on the very top of a huge
tree, some six hundred yards away.  This ensign was a curious
production--a dead black ground, ornamented with three horrible-looking
eyes, and having also a motto sewn upon it in white letters, which
proved to be their usual legend about the eyes of their unsleeping
Trinity.  Taking a careful sight, Leigh sent a shell-bullet from his
Winchester clean through the flag, in which it tore a hole about a foot
long, entirely destroying the effect of the basilisk-looking eyes.  Upon
this, the symbol was at once run down, and did not again make its
appearance.



CHAPTER TEN.

"ALL HOPE ABANDON, YE WHO ENTER HERE."

Throughout that day perfect quiet prevailed, but Grenville, uneasy, he
knew not why, and unable to get Winfield's warning out of his mind, took
his sleep early in the evening, and determined himself to keep watch
until dawn.

For hours he strained every faculty, but could neither see nor hear
anything to cause him anxiety, and when the moon rose he felt much
relieved, but after patrolling carefully round the rock he at length
heard a curious sound he could not account for, so mounted up to the
top, from whence he could see far and wide under the bright moonlight.
The rock, as already said, was situated in a hollow, with belts of trees
on almost every hand, one exception being on the side furthest from the
veldt, consequently nearest to the Western range, and from this quarter
a wide channel of rocks seemed to run for miles in the direction of the
mountains.  To Grenville it had the appearance of a roadway upon which
giants had, here and there, flung heaps of stones and enormous masses of
rock in the wildest confusion.  Winfield, however, had pronounced it to
be a quartz river, pregnant with gold beyond the dreams of avarice.
Machinery would, however, he had said, be required to work the ore
profitably, so that it was extremely improbable the locality would ever
be disturbed.  Grenville had more than once, in the last few minutes,
been rendered uneasy by a distant sighing, soughing noise, such as is
caused by wind among fir-trees, and as there was not a breath of air
stirring, it was partly the anxious feeling generated by this unknown
and uncanny sound which had caused him to ascend the rock.

Even from this coign of vantage he could see nothing alarming; all
around and beneath him, bush and veldt and forest, lay sleeping
peacefully under the lovely radiance of the African moon.

Still unable to conquer, yet secretly despising, the presentiments which
oppressed him, Grenville raised a small silver whistle to his lips and
blew a low call upon it, and in a few moments later was joined by
Amaxosa, who stalked forth from his lair at the first sound made by his
chief indicative of a wish to see him.

Grenville directed his attention to the curious sound, and for some
little time the Zulu strained both sight and hearing, but could offer no
suggestion as to the cause of the unusual noise.  Our hero then sent him
to fetch Winfield, who, when he came, listened intently for one brief
instant and then wrung his hands in despair.

"My God!" he cried, "those hellish scoundrels have burst the rocky side
of the great mountain lake and let loose thousands of tons of water, and
in an hour's time, or less, we shall be drowned out like rats!  Whatever
shall we do?"

"Go quickly," said Grenville: "awake everyone pack the quagga with the
gold and all the food we can carry.  We must be gone in ten minutes.  We
are down in a hole here, and this place will be a lake in less than no
time if you are correct as to the volume of water up yonder."

"There can, I regret to say, be no doubt about it," replied Winfield.
"I have seen the place myself, and I feel certain that they have done as
I say."

"You are quite right," rejoined Grenville.  "I heard distant explosions
once or twice this evening, but thought nothing of them, only
congratulating myself, like a fool, at the waste of gunpowder which was
going on."  Then, turning to Amaxosa, "Now, what does my brother, the
Chief of the Sons of Undi, advise?"

The Zulu thought for a few moments, and then made answer.  "Let my
father with all the party make a big push for the great stairway; there
will be but few guards there, and we will slay them and escape from this
fearful country by the dark rood through the mountains; and if the evil
ones be too many for my father's sons, we can but take to the hills
beyond the stairway until the water be gone, for it will surely pour
itself into the River of Death until there be none remaining, and go far
away to the great salt sea from which my father came."

"Thou art a shrewd man as well as a brave one," said Grenville, shaking
the gratified Zulu by the hand; and instantly descending the rock, they
rejoined the others, who were now quite ready, and telling all to follow
him and look out sharply for the enemy, our hero, to the surprise of
all, led off at a quick pace in the direction of the very danger they
sought to escape.

Grenville, however, showed his wisdom by this action, for he thus kept
the rock between his party and any prying eyes, and he well knew that
large bodies of the foe would be posted on or near the veldt adjacent to
the rock, expecting the party--if they were fortunate enough to detect
the approach of the water before it overwhelmed them--to make a
desperate effort to cut their way through to the stairway.  This
knowledge had decided Grenville to make a detour, which he successfully
did, and the party gained the open veldt some miles further on, without
their escape from the rock having been observed by the enemy, and were
soon pushing across this rolling prairie, with the terrific sound of the
advancing water in their ears, and hoping to gain the stairway without
having been perceived.

Vain hope!--when, after some hours of unmolested and ceaseless travel,
the little band arrived within earshot of the stairway, a blazing thread
of light shot upwards to the sky, and the hissing of a second rocket was
heard preparing to take its aerial flight.  The Mormon in charge of this
incautiously showed himself for one second, and promptly received
Leigh's bullet through his brain; and then, without waiting for orders,
the active Zulus rushed up the steps and broke into the cavern, uttering
their fearful war-cries, and a moment later were joined by Grenville and
Leigh, and an awful battle took place between these four and seven
heavily-armed Mormons.  Fortunately a torch was burning, and, equally
happily, the Zulus had taken the men by surprise and given them no time
to prime the pans of their rifles; but even as the cousins entered the
cave two men were diligently performing this interesting occupation, and
instantly went down with revolver bullets through them.  In a couple of
minutes the Mormons were all disposed of, the only casualties being a
pistol bullet through Myzukulwa's shoulder, which had fortunately not
injured the bone, and a nasty slash from a cutlass which Leigh had
received on his left arm.  Quickly the whole party passed up the
cavernous road, again taking the precaution to carry away all the
torches, and congratulating themselves upon the complete and unexpected
success of their plan; for Winfield, with the help of Rose--to whom the
beast was sincerely attached--had actually got the quagga up the
staircase, when suddenly Grenville called a halt, listened carefully,
and then turned to the others with the horror of a living death
imprinted upon every line of his face.

"Back!" he said, and his voice sounded but a hoarse, dreadful whisper;
"back, all of you, quick; _the lake has broken out on both sides of the
mountain, and the water is racing down, our road, and will be here
directly_!"  With a cry of agony, Winfield seized his daughter by one
hand, Leigh grasped the other, and all ran for the stairway, which
fortunately was not far off; and having once seen the women safely down,
and directed them to hurry on towards the Eastern Mountains with Leigh
and Winfield, Grenville and the Zulus, after infinite trouble, succeeded
in pushing and pulling master quagga on to _terra firma_ once more, and
they then put their best foot foremost, and rejoined their companions.

Soon gaining the shelter of the forest and the rising land, they watched
carefully, and could see across the veldt a Mormon host speeding forward
to the stairway, in answer to the rocket's message, and not far behind
them was a dull, angry line, which Winfield pronounced to be the
advancing water.  The band, which numbered some twenty men, was
evidently uneasy at its near approach, and anxious to gain the stairway,
and now, even as they reached their desired haven, an awful thing
happened, and the wicked certainly did fall hopelessly into his own net
for once--there was a rushing, roaring sound, and then, with a
thundering boom, the torrent came sweeping through the mouth of the
cavern in hundreds of tons of water at one awful burst, hung for a short
second, as it seemed, in mid air, and then plunged down in one mighty,
irresistible volume right upon the luckless Mormons, who were instantly
lost to human ken, and in less time than it takes to tell, the two
forces of water had combined, and the veldt far and near was blotted out
in one vast rolling, tumbling sea of agitated foam, upon which nothing
could be seen save here and there a corpse bobbing up and down as it
took its gradual and apparently unwilling course towards the River of
Death.

After searching for some little time our friends discovered a cave about
a mile from the great stairway, into which they thankfully entered; and
after setting a watch, though the precaution seemed a useless one, lay
down to sleep.  The rest of the night passed uneventfully; and when the
sun again shone out, the eye rested only upon what was seemingly a vast
and wandering waste of waters, for a thick steaming mist, which was
already rising from the surface of this suddenly-created inland sea,
caused one's range of vision to be limited to a few miles.

One thing, however, our friends did notice, which filled them with
dismay.  Grenville had calculated that as soon as the volume of water
was quite exhausted in the natural reservoir on the mountains, their way
through the subterranean road would be clear, and they would have a long
start and be able to get clean through the River Pass before ever their
enemies had a chance of moving from their own side of the chasm.  Now
all hope of escape seemed to be cut off, for the mighty rush of water
falling from the subterranean road had entirely demolished the great
stairway, not a single step of which they could now see, and it was
obviously impossible for them to ascend several hundred feet of a
precipitous wall of solid rock, which was what they would now have to do
in order to regain the rood.

After two days had been spent hopelessly and aimlessly in the cavern,
the water was observed to abate as fast as it had risen, and on the
third day the veldt could again be seen in every direction, steaming in
a most unpleasant manner under the rays of a vertical sun.  Our friends
were, however, well situated at some height above the plain, and Amaxosa
spent that day in prospecting for a safer hiding-place, which he found
about three miles off, along the mountain-side, and which consisted of a
three-roomed cave, quite two hundred feet above the veldt, in a
commanding position, approached only by narrow paths, a wall of solid
rock behind, and blessed with an ample supply of water.  Grenville
unhesitatingly approved of the place as a temporary residence, and
thither the party removed at nightfall.

The following morning smiled down upon East Utah in all its revived
loveliness--the veldt looked greener and fresher for its wholesale bath,
and a newcomer would certainly have had no idea of the awful tragedies
which had recently been enacted in this country, where all looked so
quiet and peaceful.

On this morning a band of Mormons, some fifty in number, arrived at the
great stairway, and appeared struck dumb by its destruction, for they
ran about gesticulating madly, and wringing their hands over the great
blocks of stone cast hither and thither about the adjacent veldt.  It
was, however, evident, as Grenville had foreseen, that they did not
believe the enemy had left the country by the roadway.  The river had
broken through too soon after the rockets had been fired to admit of any
possibility of their escape in that direction.  The only doubt they
entertained was if the invaders had really been drowned and their
bodies, together with those of their own ill-fated comrades, carried
away by the River of Death.

The Mormons now examined the neighbourhood, with a keen scrutiny which
let nothing escape unquestioned; but, having foreseen this search,
Grenville had acted with the utmost caution, and no trace of their
movements had been left behind, so that he was not in the least
surprised when the Mormons--who were, he observed, led by Radford
Custance--turned their backs on the stairway early in the afternoon, and
set off across the veldt in the direction of their town.

On the day following, our friends went into council.  Their position was
fast becoming a dangerous one; food was running out and none coming in,
and it was evident that unless steps were taken to replenish their
larder at an early date, starvation must overtake them in the very midst
of plenty, for on the eastern side of the mountains the streams were
small, and so far had not even produced fish, which would have helped to
eke out their stores.

After a long and earnest consultation it was decided to beard the lion
in his den--in other words, Grenville and Amaxosa were detailed to cross
the river, penetrate into the enemy's country, and there endeavour to
find in the rear of East Utah a strong position, which they, surrounded
by plenty, could defend until they fairly wore the Mormons out and
compelled them to make peace and let the party go.

It was a desperate venture; and when our heroes set out at nightfall the
Rose of Sharon wept piteously, saying she never expected to see poor
Dick again; and Leigh and Winfield, who were left in charge along with
Myzukulwa, wrung Grenville's hand in silence, and also felt the tears
starting to their eyes.

The parting between the Zulus was a characteristic one.

"Let my brother," said Amaxosa, "remember that the great chief our
father will look to the sons of Undi for the safety of the gentle Rose
of Sharon and the lovely Lily of the Valley.  Amaxosa will bring back
his father, or will die with him."

And so the pair set out, instructing those they left behind, to have no
uneasiness about them, as it was likely they would be gone at least ten
days.

Pushing steadily on all night and lying hidden all day, Grenville and
Amaxosa reached the neighbourhood of the eastern bridge just after dawn
on the second morning, and crept up as close as they dared under cover
of the heavy fog, which hung like a curtain upon the veldt.  When the
sun's welcome rays had cleared away the mists, the pair saw, to their
surprise, that the eastern bridge was still open, and lying flush with
their own side of the chasm, just as the Zulus had left it weeks ago.
The Mormons had evidently been too busy to pay any attention to that
part of their country, and had considered care in that direction
unnecessary whilst they knew the foe to be fifty miles away upon the
western mountains.

This was in some degree unsatisfactory; for if our friends turned the
bridge and crossed, as they were obliged to do, and the locality was
visited by the Mormons in the interim, they would of course realise
immediately that the obnoxious little band was still at large, and had,
moreover, had the audacity to cross the river.  This was an awkward
position; yet there appeared to be nothing else for it, and Grenville
lay down to sleep at four in the afternoon, determined, at all hazards,
to proceed that night.  On being awakened at dusk, however, Amaxosa had
good news for him.  About an hour ago, he said, several of the
"witch-finders" had arrived by the outside of the veldt, and, turning on
the bridge, had crossed over, laughing and talking.  They were
apparently in splendid spirits, and, having left two men to guard the
bridge, had pressed on at a good speed in the direction of East Utah.

This simplified matters a little, and our friends were arranging in what
manner they should rush the guards, so as to avoid the possibility of
their getting at the rocket apparatus, when the quick-eared Zulu
announced the approach of another party by the eastern veldt.  The moon
was now rising, and the pair ought to be gone before the advent of the
new arrivals; but the guards, having also heard the approach of their
comrades, were on the alert, and the only thing to do was to lie quiet
and watch their opportunity.



CHAPTER ELEVEN.

THE DEATH-SHOT.

Gradually the band approached, and at last joined forces with the
guards, and, to Grenville's horror, he now saw that the whole of his own
party were prisoners, with their hands bound behind them; and by the
clear moonlight he could see that his cousin's head was bandaged, whilst
Winfield's arm was in a sling.  A second look, and he noticed that one
person was missing, and that was Myzukulwa.  Grenville could have sworn
he had seen the Zulu an instant before, and glancing at his companion,
he heard his low expressive "Ow!" and in another moment Myzukulwa
presented himself before them with his hands tied.  He was promptly cut
loose and armed with a spear and one of Grenville's revolvers; but at
that moment his escape was discovered, and a tremendous commotion took
place, Radford Custance commanding the guards to open the bridge again,
so that the fugitive could not cross.  He then walked up to the helpless
Leigh, pointed that worthy's own rifle at his head, and threatened to
blow his brains out unless he told where the Zulu had gone.  Leigh
briefly replied that he neither knew nor cared, upon which the other
brutally struck him in the face with his fist.  It was the cowardly
bully's last act Grenville's rifle leaped to his shoulder, a stream of
fire divided the bushes, and the Mormon leader staggered back with the
life-blood spirting from a ragged hole in his breast.

Then ensued a scene of horror and carnage.  The Zulus uttered their
terrible war-cry, and dashed into the fight, followed by Grenville,
after he had first picked off five more of the enemy.  Amaxosa had
quickly freed Leigh, and put his revolver into his hands; and in less
time than it takes to tell, Winfield was at liberty and hurrying the
girls into the bushes, whilst the others were fighting desperately.

Here Grenville's old coolness stood him in good stead.  He never gave a
single Mormon the chance to prime the pan of his musket; and having
emptied his own rifle, he flung it down, and betook himself to Leigh's
weapon.  It was the old story--the cowardly Mormons, finding themselves
reduced to six, became demoralised, lost their heads, broke, and fled;
but the Winchester effectually put a stop to that game, and in less than
ten minutes from the commencement of the fight, the re-united friends
were in undisputed possession of the ground.

A hasty explanation ensued, from which it appeared that the Mormons had
stolen upon their position in the grey dawn, while Winfield was on
guard.  The poor fellow fairly broke down when Grenville questioned him
sharply, and said they seemed to have sprung from the earth, and that he
never heard them till they actually had their hands on him.  He
attempted to make a defence, and in the scuffle was shot through the
wrist, whilst Leigh was knocked senseless with the butt of a rifle, and
Myzukulwa overpowered by a dozen men, two of whom, however, he killed
with his war-club.  The Mormons had kept up a forced march through the
heat of the day, and the two girls were more dead than alive.
Grenville, therefore, turned on the bridge again and got all across,
telling the Zulus to bring along such arms as they could find, as well
as the case of rockets from the bridge, as he foresaw that when the
runners who had gone on ahead found that the main body did not appear in
due time, they would return to see what had happened.

Three miles from the bridge a strong position was selected upon the
hill-side, and hardly had the party settled down than Amaxosa, who had
left them at the bridge, rejoined them with some choice cuts from a fine
young deer which he had killed; and getting well amongst the rocks, a
fire was lighted, and all thoroughly enjoyed the first meal of fresh
meat which had passed their lips for at least a month.

And now, having refreshed the inner man, the girls went off to sleep in
a little cave close by, whilst Leigh and Winfield, who were both
wounded, kept watch, and Grenville and the two Zulus made their way back
to the bridge.  Here Grenville coolly took up his post as if he were the
guard, ordering the Zulus to lie down behind the timbers.

His calculations had been nicely made, for in less than a quarter of an
hour four Mormons came up at a run, and walked blindly into the trap,
and, without a shot being fired, were all disposed of--two falling into
the chasm and the two others being accounted for by the Zulus.  Rapidly
rejoining his party, Grenville awakened the women and insisted upon
their proceeding, which they did cautiously and with weary feet all
night long.  Just before the dawn our friends reached a position of
which Amaxosa had told Grenville, and which the latter saw with delight
was simply impregnable, and was, according to the Zulu, in the heart of
the very best centre of the game resorts of East Utah.

To reach this desired spot the party had to ascend a steep narrow path
for upwards of a hundred feet, and this brought them on to a grassy
plateau some fifty yards square, the back of it being formed by the
rocks, which towered away thousands of feet above their heads, and
seemed to soar into the very heavens.  The base, however, was pierced
with several caves, in one of which was a tiny spring of water.  The
place was in fact like the huge grass-laid initial step of some giant
stairway leading up the precipitous face of the mountain.

Amaxosa led away the quagga and hid it in a safe locality, where he
thought it improbable the beast would be found, where it had food and
water, and was walled in with a zareba of thorn-bushes--anyway, it must
take its chance with the rest of them.

When the Zulu reappeared he brought a small deer on his shoulders, and
indifferent now whether they were seen or not, the party cooked an
excellent breakfast, which was duly appreciated, and then all, with the
exception of Grenville, lay down to sleep.  Upon his iron constitution
the effect of the night's work was simply nil, and as he had slept the
previous afternoon he was fortunately still comparatively fresh.

Grenville now examined the new position of his party with increased
care, and found that he could wholly approve of it.  The place was
admirably adapted for a sustained defence, so long as they had food; and
as the game runs were, according to Amaxosa, less than three hundred
yards away direct to a small stream, and as there was no scrub that
would afford the enemy any cover against their rifles operating from
such a height, he could only repeat to himself that the plateau was
impregnable.  Here neither fire, water, nor gunpowder could touch them,
and the Mormon Three would have to devise some further hellish and
wonderful scheme before they got the little band into their power again.

On inquiry it had turned out that someone at the cave near the stairway
had incautiously knocked the tobacco ash out of his pipe into the little
stream, and that the fragrant weed, absolutely still smoking, had been
carried down the hill-side out on to the veldt, under the very noses of
the astonished Mormon band, who, unknown to Leigh and his party, were
camping out below to watch the neighbourhood.  The rest, of course, had
been a mere matter of careful advance and complete surprise.

In this quiet spot the party remained unmolested and apparently
undiscovered for a full week, in which they not only recruited their
health, but amply replenished their store of meat.  On the eighth day,
however, a change took place, for a small band of Mormons, evidently on
a hunting expedition, espied our friends, gazed wildly at them for some
little time, and then took to their heels in the direction of East Utah,
whilst the party on the plateau prepared their arms.

In about three hours' time the Mormon host appeared, sure enough, and
drew a semicircle round the position, keeping about six hundred yards
off; then coolly set to to pitch a large tent, upon which their standard
was erected, and instantly replied to by the Saint George's ensign of
the beleaguered party.

Leigh was anxious to try his hand at the Mormon flag again, but
Grenville would not permit it.  "No, Alf," he said; "I've an idea that
that tent is meant for the infernal Mormon Trinity; and if it is, we'll
make them wish they'd planted it elsewhere; the impudent beggars
evidently fancy they are clean out of range."

Soon, however, a little diversion occurred; there happened to be only
one spring available in this neighbourhood, and towards this water,
which lay a shade over three hundred yards from the plateau, a Mormon
now took his way, carrying a large water-ewer.  When he neared the
spring Grenville fired a couple of shots across him and shouted to him
to keep away; the man, however, was obstinate, and this resulted in his
getting himself shot.  Then another pluckily tried the game, running as
fast as he could, but was also knocked over.  Lastly, the cowardly
Mormons, relying on the gallantry of their foes, chased a wretched woman
out to obtain the precious fluid.  She filled the vessel, then, looking
at the rock and seeing Grenville's rifle raised, set down the water and
fell on her knees, lifting her hands to the plateau in an agony of
entreaty.  This was just what Grenville wanted, and the next instant his
bullet struck the water-vessel, which it shattered into fragments, and
the woman hastily rushed back to her people, who vented their anger in
shouts, curses, and gesticulations.

"They'll get water at night," said Leigh; "is it worth wasting powder on
them, Dick?"

"I think so, Alf; for if we can only anger them into making an attack
and coming into easy range, we'll treat them to another dose such as we
gave them at the Table Rock."

The Mormons, however, were not to be drawn, and when darkness came down,
they had made no further hostile movement.  The Zulus now begged leave
to slip down to the spring with their spears, and before they had been
gone many minutes a fearful shriek was heard, announcing the death of
another Mormon.  A discharge of fire-arms followed, and by the flashes
of the guns those on the plateau could see that a number of Mormons were
quickly falling back to their own encampment, and upon these Grenville
and Leigh opened fire with their Winchesters, doing considerable
execution.

The Zulus were soon back again, bringing three more rifles and
ammunition, of which they had forcibly despoiled the late owners.

Soon after this the moon rose, and the little party on the plateau found
that the war was only about to begin according to the Mormon
calculations.

The great tent was fully lighted up, and near to it the defenders of the
rock could see what looked like a stand of arms.  On this head they were
quickly undeceived, for all at once a rocket rose from its rest and came
directly at their position, striking the wall above their heads and
falling upon the plateau, where it hissed about quite harmlessly, but
alarmed the girls very much indeed.

Grenville ordered them into the cave, and had all the ammunition
carefully stored away, and before half-a-dozen of these fiery messengers
had reached them, sent two or three of the Mormons' own bridge signal
rockets into the very midst of the mob, the last one setting fire to the
tent and causing several people--presumably the wondrous Holy Three and
their iniquitous satellites--to scuttle about in a most undignified
fashion.

The little band then sent a few shell-bullets into the enemy's camp,
where it was evident they caused fearful damage and confusion, the whole
crowd promptly rushing off until they were nearly a mile distant from
the Rock.

Our friends now lay down to rest again, as if nothing had happened,
Grenville still keeping guard.  The night passed away, however, without
further disturbance, and when morning came, there was not a single enemy
in sight.

After breakfast Winfield elected to go hunting with Amaxosa; his wrist
was now practically well, he said, and he felt as if a little exercise
would do him good.  Grenville, whilst lazily smoking his pipe, was
watching the motions of the pair, who were endeavouring, a quarter of a
mile away, to stalk several head of game, when he sprang to his feet
with a hurried exclamation of fear, and seizing his rifle, pitched it
forward, and apparently taking aim at Winfield, fired quickly.  Even as
he did so a puff of white smoke shot up, apparently from the ground,
within forty yards of Winfield's position, and throwing up his hands he
fell prone upon his face.  The Zulu promptly sprang forward, and lifting
the body in his arms commenced to carry it away, whilst two more shots
spirted out from the ground, both fortunately being wide of the mark.

In another instant Leigh was down the rugged path and helping Amaxosa to
carry Winfield up to the plateau.  Grenville anxiously came forward as
they reached their destination and laid down their ghastly burden.  "Is
he dead?" he asked in broken tones.

"Not quite, my father," replied the Zulu, "but he cannot live, the evil
men have shot him through the chest."  Winfield, as Amaxosa said this,
opened his eyes, coughed up some blood, then faintly asked for water;
and after receiving this, spoke very feebly to Grenville.

"Thank you for trying to save me, but you were a second too late this
time--you have saved my life so often, and I hoped to live to save
yours; and now let me say good-bye to Dora, for I am going, going fast;"
and again he coughed up great streams of blood.

Leigh broke the awful calamity as gently as possible to the poor girl,
and a moment later she sat with her father's head upon her knee, with
the scalding tears running pitifully down her cheeks, and in her heart
the awful knowledge that in a few short minutes she would lose the only
parent she had, and who was dear to her beyond anything else upon earth.

The end was coming fast; poor Winfield could only whisper, "If you ever
get away from here, go home to England, my darling.  Oh! how shall I
leave you in the hands of strangers.  Gentlemen, God be with you as you
are kind to my friendless little girl."

"Not friendless, old fellow," said Leigh, kneeling beside him.
"Winfield, will you give Dora to me?  I love her very dearly."

The poor fellow gazed fixedly at Leigh, then at his daughter, who smiled
through her tears at him who had so boldly claimed her without even
having asked her consent to the bargain.  Leigh held out his hand.

"Won't you say yes, darling?"

"Oh! yes, yes," she sobbed, taking his hand for one brief instant.

Winfield smiled feebly.

"God bless you both, my children;" then with a wild choking cry, "Dora,
my child, where are you?  All grows dark with me, and I go--I go to her
I love.  Yes, my own sweet wife, I come--at last;" and choked by another
awful rush of blood, poor Jack Winfield fell dead.

Who can describe the anguish of the poor orphan girl?  Her father had
for years been all in all to her, and the love which had lately sprung
up in her heart towards Alf Leigh was still too young to act as a
consolation to her; in this dread moment she felt as if the world for
her was at an end.

Gently and tenderly her lover led her away, whispering words of comfort,
and handed her over to Rose, who was weeping mournfully in concert; then
leaving the girls sobbing in each other's arms, he returned to the
others, to find the body covered with the British ensign, and Grenville
sternly examining the locality from which the death-shot had been fired.

"Alf," he said, "they have burrowed a hole in the ground, put up an
earthwork overhead, and thrown three rifles into it.  One is dead, and
now you shall see Jack Winfield avenged."  As he spoke a rocket directed
by Amaxosa was fired straight into the cover chosen by the enemy, which
in one second more was enveloped in a sheet of flame, the foolish
Mormons having built it amongst the dried grass.  Unable to stand the
heat and smoke, both marksmen made a dash for life, but were tumbled
over by the cousins before they had run a dozen yards.



CHAPTER TWELVE.

STORMED AT WITH SHOT AND SHELL.

The next few days passed slowly and sadly on the plateau.  Winfield was
quietly buried close by, his grave being concealed from view, as it was
most desirable that the Mormons should be kept in ignorance of the fact
that the little band had lost a man.

The gloom of Winfield's untimely death hung over all, and it was all
Leigh could do to keep poor Dora from breaking down entirely; and when
the Mormons, a week later, made a desperate attack on the plateau, it
was a relief to the party to feel that the call for prompt and unanimous
action had taken them out of their thoughts, and brought them back to
their old ways of living and working.

The attempt of the Mormons proved utterly futile, as the main body never
even succeeded in getting within shooting distance of Grenville's party;
and after some twenty of their bravest men had been sent to the shades
to swell their already awful list of casualties they sullenly drew off
and troubled our friends no more for a considerable period.

On the occasion of this attack Dora Winfield developed unexpected
qualities.  She calmly came forward, insisted on having Leigh's rifle,
and used it with a coolness and precision that astonished no one more
than the Zulu Amaxosa.  "Ow," he said, "the lovely Lily of the Valley
has slain two of the witch-finders.  See! my brother, there they lie
kicking like wounded oxen--ow! my sister, it is good."  Her face was set
like a flint; and when the Mormons fell back, she returned the weapon to
Leigh, expressing the hope that she might yet have a chance of avenging
her father's death by shooting at least one of the Holy Three.

All this time the Rose of Sharon was comporting herself very quietly,
and though he knew it not, a passionate love was growing up in her heart
towards Grenville.  To Dora only was this revealed.  "I would die for a
kind word from him," she said.

"Rose, you mustn't say that," remonstrated Miss Winfield; "poor Dick is
very kind to everybody, but he has such a weight of responsibility on
his shoulders you can't expect him to think of love-making; only let us
get clear of this horrible country, and I'm sure he will soon see what a
lovely little woman my dear sister Rose can be.  I think, too, he has
some great scheme on hand, for of late he has asked me very many
questions I have been unable to answer with regard to the Mormon city;
and it was only yesterday that I referred him to you, dear, for
information; so I daresay he will soon want you for a private
conference;" and Dora slily pinched the cheek of the blushing girl.

It fell out exactly as Miss Winfield had said, for that very evening
Grenville led Rose apart, and sitting down beside her, began to question
her very closely with regard to the position, defences, public offices,
and so forth, of East Utah--particularly asking in what portion of the
city the Holy Three resided.

As Grenville catechised her he wondered at the eager comprehensive
answers, and the blushing face of the young girl, particularly when he
thanked her warmly for the information, and noted the tears which
started to her eyes.  Still, it never occurred to the stupid fellow that
this lovely flower of the wilderness had lost her heart to him.
Grenville was, as a matter of fact, one of those unimpressionable men
who rarely fall in love, unless moved by some mighty and overmastering
passion.  All his life he had made honour and fame his mistress.  The
path of glory looked none the less inviting to his intrepid soul,
because he well know that sooner or later it would, in all probability,
lead to a premature and bloody grave.  He was fond of saying that he
knew no grander record in English history than that of the famous
warrior of the Elizabethan period whose name he bore, and though he was
unrelated to him he should consider it sacrilege to mar in any way a
name which would be written in the annals of England in golden letters
as long as the nation existed.

Miss Winfield, moreover, was right.  Grenville had a deep-laid scheme
which was just now hatching in his fertile brain, and what this superbly
audacious project was, will presently appear.  Do not, however, gentle
reader, go away with the idea that Dick Grenville, for the sake of a
little cheap glory, bought perhaps with his life-blood, was willing to
sacrifice all his friends.  Far from it; his scheme meant salvation to
them, and to his Mormon foes destruction and death in their most awful
forms.

Grenville's next move was to turn Amaxosa inside out by a simple method
of cross-questioning, which was yet complete enough in its results to
satisfy even an astute detective.

One of the points he was particularly anxious about was the presence of
Game in this curious country.  Grenville had now recognised almost every
known species of deer, yet had seen no destructive beasts, such as
lions; nor was there, Amaxosa assured him, a single one in the place,
nor yet an elephant, though he had once trapped and killed a rhinoceros.
Eager questions with regard to this latter animal resulted in the Zulu
going off next day and returning late in the evening with the rhinoceros
hide, which was the very thing Grenville wanted.  Putting this up at
twenty yards, he fired two or three of the Mormon muskets at it, the
balls all failing to penetrate its horny thickness, and in a short time
he had contrived a regular suit of clumsy armour out of the hide--armour
which, he felt sure, would prove absolutely bullet-proof, unless hit in
the seams where he had had to shave it to a mere skin in order to unite
the edges with cord.

However, to return to the subject of the deer.  Amaxosa declared that
the animals were not in any way preserved.  On the contrary, the Mormons
killed them off freely; but he had always noticed that in the driest
season the herds seemed to increase; it was also at the latter end of
the dry season he had settled the rhinoceros, and this season was now
rapidly drawing to a close--in fact in six weeks, at the outside, the
rains would begin.

Over this information Grenville puzzled his brains for days without
coming to any satisfactory conclusion.  His own opinion coincided with
Amaxosa's, and from the vantage ground of the plateau he carefully
watched the animals feeding, and on several days noted entirely new
classes arriving.  Did these beasts migrate from some other
feeding-ground in East Utah, or had they some means of entrance into the
country as yet unknown to man and undiscovered even by such keen
instinct as that of the Zulu chief?

Amaxosa reiterated his assurance that he had searched every foot of the
country for a way of escape, and had never found one.  Still,
remembering that the Zulu had never hit upon the subterranean roadway,
Grenville thought it possible that some other exit might exist without
him having any knowledge of it.

Putting aside this important subject for the nonce, however, our hero's
mind reverted to his pet scheme, and to the best methods of carrying it
out he now directed all his faculties.

Night after night, accompanied by Amaxosa, did Grenville creep up to the
walls--ay, into the very streets of East Utah--until its ways and
buildings were as familiar to him as were the streets of fashionable
London.  The Zulu accompanied his chief in utter wonder, but his
splendid training withheld him from asking any explanation--indeed, if
"his Father" had asked him to jump into the River of Death he would have
complied without hesitation, such power can a brave and fearless leader
wield over the heart of any true follower, be he white or black.

Dawn after dawn saw the pair cautiously retaking their devious way to
the plateau, comforting the anxious watchers there, who heaved a sigh of
relief on being assured of the safe return of the wanderers.

Devious their way certainly was, for the pair invariably went and came
along the course of a river which they struck a few miles from the town,
through which it ran and emptied itself into the River of Death.  By
means of this small stream they were able to pass the walls unseen and
obtain access to the very heart of the city.

One morning, however, soon after Grenville had lain down to rest, being
exhausted with the labours of the night, he was awakened by Leigh, with
the news that the Mormons were again approaching in force; and on taking
up his position on the plateau our hero found that the enemy had brought
with them a new engine of warfare in the shape of an enormous catapult
somewhat after the ancient Roman style, but worked with india-rubber
springs, the country being of course alive with rubber-trees.  The
operators, moreover, were securely ensconced behind a sheet and roof of
the same product, the thickness of which must have been immense, as the
rifle-bullets of the little party had evidently not the remotest effect
upon it.  This curious-looking half-house on wheels was moved forward by
its defenders to within fifty feet of the rock, and after some little
time had elapsed the engine correctly pitched its first missile right
upon the plateau, where, to the horror and consternation of our friends,
it revealed itself fuming and hissing, in the shape of _an explosive
shell_.  "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise;" still, the
sight of that infernal bomb must have roused suspicions as to its
capacity for evil in even the ignorant mind of Amaxosa, and he could
read a confirmation of some unknown horror in the countenances of his
friends.  Coolly stepping forward, he took up the shell in his powerful
hands, and with a mighty effort threw it, with the fuse still smoking,
right on to the top of the covered catapult, where it spontaneously
exploded with a fearful roar, tearing the entire engine to pieces and
killing its miserable occupants.  The Mormon band, watching at a
distance to see their foes destroyed, at once made a stampede in the
direction of the town, and disappeared from view.

On descending to the plain it was found that the catapult had been
worked by five men, all of whom were fairly cut to pieces; and lying
close by, Grenville discovered two more shells with fuses attached.
These bombs were evidently home-made, being simply a lead casing filled
with powder and ball, and ignited by a long fuse.  They might, however,
come in most useful in case of a concentrated Mormon attack upon the
plateau; so these instruments of destruction were carefully stowed away
in one of the smaller caves, and Grenville was again able to betake
himself to his prematurely-disturbed slumbers.

The effect of this last attempt was, however, an added determination
upon his part to read the whole Mormon community--and particularly, if
it were possible, the Holy Three--such a salutary lesson as would
forcibly and unpleasantly bring them to their senses, and teach them for
the future to leave our friends severely alone, if it did not indeed
deprive them of all power to render any future attack upon their
position otherwise than sheer waste of human life without the very
faintest hope of success.

As yet Grenville had not given anyone upon the plateau an inkling of the
deadly project which his fertile brain had matured, and the putting into
operation of which was only hastened by the latest ingenious and
vindictive though futile effort of the enemy.

On that afternoon, being anxious to draw a small plan of the city for
the purpose of defining his exact intentions to the party, Grenville
applied to everyone for a scrap of paper on which to work his diagram.
No one was, however, possessed of the desired commodity.  All at once
Leigh recollected that he had a Bank of England note for one hundred
pounds in his purse, and this was forthwith produced, and was the
outcome of a curious statement.

Taking the note with a laugh, Grenville laid it out upon a rock to
remove the creases, and then proceeded to delineate with pencil upon its
back his _modus operandi_.

Rose, however, suddenly exclaimed, "Oh! how did you get that?"

"Get what?" asked Leigh, mystified.

"That wonderful paper money which belongs to the Holy Three."

"Holy Three be hanged," replied Leigh.  "I got it from my bankers,
Rose."

The young girl was then questioned, and stated that amongst the
treasures of the Community was a box which had formerly belonged to her
father, and of which she had been deprived by the Holy Three; and this
receptacle was, she averred, filled with this paper money, which her
grandfather had, her father said, obtained in exchange for gold dust.

"Why then, Rose, you are an heiress," said Grenville, laughing, "and we
must get you back your inheritance."

"I don't want it," said the impulsive girl; "I will give it to you if
you can get it, Dick; but don't run any risks, I implore you."

Wondering inwardly where the old Mormon could have found the opportunity
of converting his gold into English bank paper, Grenville resumed his
operations, and for the instruction of Leigh drew on the back of the
note a small plan of East Utah and its principal streets and offices,
and then in an undertone said a few words to his cousin which made the
other turn pale with fear and dread.

"The scheme is a grand one, Dick," he at length gasped out; "but even if
it succeeds, I don't see how you personally can possibly make your
escape from the town.  Don't risk it, old man," he pleaded; "we can't
afford to lose you.  And if you got caught, what am I to do?  I shall
never be able to keep these scoundrels off, or get Dora and Rose out of
the country with only the Zulus to help me."

"Now, Alf," replied Grenville, "you know I always make my mind up
beforehand, so it's no use you arguing; besides, I really think I can
escape from the place.  Remember, the confusion created will amount to a
positive wholesale panic, and a man less or more in the streets will
never be noticed.  Moreover, if the plan succeeds, it will mean at all
events practical immunity from interference in the future, and will
probably result in our finding an exit from the country.  Of this I am
determined--either I will find a way out or I will make one."

In vain Leigh urged his view of the question--our hero had indeed come
to a determination, and met all opposition, remonstrance, and entreaty
with the same inflexible resolve.

His cousin next pleaded to be permitted to share the danger, but neither
would Grenville allow this.

"I will," he said, "risk no one's life or liberty except my own upon
such a fearfully hazardous expedition.  I intend that Amaxosa shall
accompany me inside the walls, to carry my heavy armour; and when once I
have reached my destination, he will return to you.  And remember, Alf,
that if I happen to be taken or killed before or, possibly indeed, after
the execution of my project, the Mormons will at once deliver a
tremendous attack upon your position.  Keep them off as long as you can
with the rifles--for I shall leave you mine, as also my revolvers--and
then when they are massed together and absolutely climbing the rock,
light those infernal machines of theirs and throw them into the crowd.
Let the fuses burn at least thirty seconds before you throw them down,
though; and I guess you won't have much more trouble with the Mormons.
And if you, or I, or both fail, God help us, old man."

"You don't mean to tell me you are going unarmed amongst those devils,
who are raging for your blood?" remonstrated Leigh.

"Not a bit of it," was the reply; "I'm going to take that heavy revolver
of Myzukulwa's.  If needful, it will come in handy as a club after it is
emptied.  Besides, my game this time is not fighting, but hiding and
then running; and I am specially anxious that should I have the ill-luck
to fall into their hands, they may not along with me obtain any of our
own modern weapons of warfare.  Had I not had the luck to drop Radford
Custance before he had time to hand your Winchester over to the
community, we should all have gone under a month ago.  Let me tell you,
these fellows are not bad shots--remember the man who nearly dropped us
in the Pass; and above all, don't forget poor Winfield's end."

"I see, nothing can move you," groaned poor Leigh.

"No earthly consideration will induce me to forego the attempt, Alf,"
was the quick reply; "so help me, instead of seeking to divert me from
the end I have in view; and above all do not mention my project to the
girls.  It will be time enough for them to hear it when the result is a
matter of history."



CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

GUY FAWKES REDIVIVUS.

All the following day Grenville rested and slept, and when the night
closed in he saw with growing satisfaction that there was likely to be a
heavy storm, and this in itself indicated the probable advent of the
rainy season at no very distant date.

Not wishing to be delayed in any way, he set out early with Amaxosa, and
by midnight, when the storm broke, had arrived within pistol-shot of the
town.

By this time everywhere had grown dark as pitch, and looking up,
Grenville saw that all the stars had disappeared, whilst at that very
moment the surrounding landscape as well as the town stood revealed in a
blinding glare of lightning, instantly succeeded by a terrific clap of
thunder.

Quickly gaining the cover of the walls, Grenville hastily donned his
protective armour, exchanged weapons with the Zulu, much to that
worthy's astonishment, and then armed exactly as he had intended to be,
and with a dozen spare cartridges in his pocket, commanded Amaxosa to
return to the plateau as fast as he possibly could.

The indignation of the Zulu knew no bounds.

"Why," he said, "does my father distrust his faithful war-dog?  Does he
fear that when the time of danger comes his son will not be there?  Has
my father forgotten how the children of the Undi fought for him at the
narrow crossing by the River of Death, has he forgotten the battle of
the rock, the fight in the great black cavern, or the mighty struggle at
the eastern bridge, where the red blood flowed in streams?  Does he not
remember how Amaxosa bore away the body of the Inkoos Winfield when he
had fallen by the bullets of the witch-finders, or how, with his own
hand and the box of lightning (Anglice bombshell), he slew five men and
destroyed their moving castle?  Why does the Inkoos, my father, doubt
me?  Amaxosa the son of Undi has but one heart, which beats true with
the heart of his father; and the poor Zulu war-dog has but one body, but
it would fain stand between the great white chief and the death he seeks
to meet."

Grenville was sincerely moved by this impassioned burst of feeling,
exhibited by a man usually so dignified and self-contained, and it took
him quite ten minutes before he could convince the chief of the wisdom
of his plan; but when he had at last succeeded, and somewhat pacified
his friend by accepting the loan of his war-club, the Zulu raised
himself to his full height, and shaking his spear at the city, delivered
himself thus:--

"Beware, witch-finders--beware, ye evil men!  Touch but one hair upon
the head of my father, the great white chief, beloved of his faithful
children, and the sons of the Undi will rip open every fighting man in
your accursed land."

Then, grasping Grenville's hand, he stalked moodily away, and the last
our friend saw of him, by the help of a vivid flash of lightning, was as
he slowly entered the cover half a mile off, walking in a heavy and
dejected manner, with his head sunk upon his breast.

And now our hero proceeded to effect his entry into the city; for if the
rain came on, as it usually does in these latitudes, in the form of a
vast sheet of water, the little river might become too much swollen for
him to obtain his usual safe and easy access.

Had he been able to count upon the night being as dark as it proved to
be, and had the lightning not been so much in evidence, Grenville would
gladly have taken the Zulu with him; but he well knew that where a white
man might possibly pass undetected amongst a half-paralysed and wholly
terror-stricken mob of his own colour, the black skin of his faithful
friend would at once draw down upon him stern and unfailing punishment,
or rather retribution.

The thunder now sounded like one uninterrupted roll of heavy artillery,
and the utter blackness of the atmosphere was cut by the almost
incessant flashes of lightning, which, to our hero's discomfiture, kept
the whole countryside in a constant and brilliant state of illumination.

Creeping carefully on, Grenville soon gained the welcome shadow of the
houses, and at this moment the storm broke with added fury, the wind
howling as if all the fiends of hell were let loose, and, sweeping along
the earth, carried with it a perfect avalanche of stones, leaves, and
branches.  Blast followed blast, and crash succeeded crash, until, with
a shock like an earthquake, two large buildings suddenly gave way and
came to the ground like houses of cards, crushing their wretched inmates
under their ruins, and drawing half of East Utah to the scene of the
calamity.

Silently gliding away like the spirit of evil, Grenville at last
approached the public offices of the town, which consisted of a large
rough building pierced with one small door below, at the rear, and
entered from the front by a handsome flight of steps through a portal of
commanding appearance.

Towards the back door, however, Grenville directed his tortuous course,
constantly hiding, yet cautiously and continuously approaching, until,
hidden by a stone buttress, he stood within a dozen feet of the little
door, and within half that distance of the guard pacing up and down
before it with his musket on his shoulder, and from time to time casting
uneasy glances at the sky.  Waiting for the next flash, Grenville sprang
upon the sentry and felled him like a log with a blow from Amaxosa's
war-club, and with a second blow from the same weapon burst open the
door and dragged the man's body inside.

The first drops of rain now began to fall, and in another moment the
water was coming down in sheets, and Grenville knew that for some
minutes at least, the absence of the sentry was likely to remain
unperceived.

Striking a light, he found himself in a sort of low cellar, and seeing
another door before him, he burst this in, and, to his complete
satisfaction, found himself exactly where he had hoped to be, yet feared
the possibility of penetrating.  There before his eyes lay piled up
barrel upon barrel of what--wine?  No, gentle reader.  Richard
Grenville's desperate scheme was now realised beyond his fondest hopes,
and he stood _in the powder magazine_ of East Utah.

Grenville lost no time, but knocking in the heads of a number of barrels
with his club, he filled his hat with powder, and laid a thick train
across the ground to the outer door; this operation, however, took some
little time, for it had unfortunately to be performed entirely in the
dark; and when our friend thought he had reached the door he was
considerably taken aback to find he was pouring powder on the dead face
of the hapless sentinel.  Quietly striking a match, Grenville with the
utmost caution inspected his work.  He found the train perfect, and was
about to leave the place, when a low horrified exclamation caused him to
turn, and find himself confronted by several Mormons.

These men were not slow to see through his intentions, and with an awful
yell rushed out of the place, and tried to close the door upon him.
Grenville was, however, too quick for them, braining one man, who fell
across the door and blocked it open.

The street beyond, he saw, was already alive with his foes, who were
rushing away from him in every direction, and dashing outside he fired
his revolver into the train and flew along the street towards the river.
For one instant the success of the plot hung upon a thread, and that
thread was the dead sentinel His death in point of fact almost saved the
Mormons from the fearful calamity which was now rushing madly upon them.

The miserable man's blood had trickled along the floor and damped the
powder, which fizzed and sputtered in the gory stream, and for one brief
instant seemed to be extinguished; then a single spark caught the dry
material beyond the tiny crimson rivulet, the serpentine flame spurted
across the rooms in one lightning flash of fire, and in the next moment
East Utah was shaken to its foundations by the explosion of fifty
barrels of gunpowder, which rent the earth and seemed to dwarf into
utter insignificance the thunder of the heavens, which still pealed and
crashed overhead.

For the succeeding moments nothing could be heard but the crash of
falling houses, accompanied rather than succeeded by the awful cry of
"Fire!  Fire!"  And almost immediately the whole city, or rather what
was left of it, could be plainly seen in the fearful conflagration which
broke out.

Fortunate was it for the hapless Mormons that that night of terror was a
night of storm, for had the tropic rain not stood their friend, every
soul in the place would have been left houseless and homeless; as it
was, however, the sheets of water which were teeming down, soon
extinguished the fires on every side, and the city once more settled
down into ominous and tangible darkness.

The author of all this ruin was meantime speeding in the direction of
the river, but as he turned the last corner, only a hundred yards from
the water, he ran right into a mob of Mormons, to whom a vivid flash of
lightning revealed his hated and now well-known personality.  With a
hoarse cry like the angry roar of wild beasts they went at him, looking
for an easy victory, but planting his back against the wall Grenville
used his revolver freely, laughing in their faces as they discharged at
him gun after gun at point-blank range without penetrating his singular
armour.  Then, taking advantage of the darkness which succeeded an
unusually brilliant flash of lightning, he charged through them, killing
two or three with his war-club, and then dived boldly into the stream,
which was now boiling down its angry course towards the River of Death.
Thither Grenville dared not go; against the stream he found it
impossible to swim; so, rather than be drowned like a dog, he sprang out
of the water and again faced his enemies, determination in his
countenance, strength and activity in every nerve of his body, but
without a shadow of hope in his heart.  Once more getting to the wall,
Grenville fought desperately with his club, killing man after man, and
then, when he felt himself getting weak, pitched his revolver into the
river and again prepared for a final charge.  At this moment, however, a
cowardly Mormon who had gained an adjacent roof, dropped a great piece
of rock full upon our hero's defenceless head, and he fell to the earth
stunned and unconscious.

When Grenville regained his senses, he found himself pinioned hand and
foot, and lying in a great hall, which was thickly packed with Mormons
of both sexes.

Anxious to get an idea of his position he did not immediately open his
eyes, but he was keenly watched, and detecting him in the act of trying
to look through his half-open eyelids, Grenville's guards brutally
jerked him on to his feet, one of them calling out, "The prisoner has
come to, your Holiness."  Pulling himself together, though feeling very
weak, our friend saw he was gazing down upon a perfect sea of faces, and
this multitude, as soon as he stood up, gave vent to one common roar of
vengeance and execration.

Coolly turning his back upon them with a gesture of ineffable contempt,
Grenville found himself face to face with the Mormon Trinity, and for a
few moments the Holy Three gazed wonderingly upon this man who had
penetrated their secret kingdom, worsted and defeated them at every
turn, held them up to the ridicule of their own people, slaughtered at
least one-fourth of the whole nation, and finally had, single-handed,
almost entirely destroyed their town, and at one fell swoop wrested from
their grasp the precious gunpowder which was to have sustained and
defended them for many years to come.

On his part, Grenville was quietly saying to himself that these three
men were very much what he had expected them to prove.

There was one venerable old man, with snowy white hair; his age must
have been quite eighty years, and his countenance, though stern, had a
certain appearance of benevolence upon it.  The next man--his son beyond
a doubt--was possessed of all his father's bad features without any of
the good; taken all through, he had a cruel face and one which was,
moreover, weak and vacillating, as well as sinister and sensual.  The
third member of this singular triumvirate was an enormous fellow,
standing at least six feet three, and broad in proportion, a repulsive
countenance, with villainy, murder, and rapine written upon every line
of it--a man with the face of a satyr and the manners of a bear.  Such
was Ishmael Warden, the latter day Saint who clearly dominated the
Mormon Trinity in East Utah.

For fully a minute Grenville waited the pleasure of his captors, and
then the oldest member of the Trinity addressed him.

"What is your name, prisoner?" he asked.

"Richard Grenville, a subject of her Britannic Majesty," was the answer,
given in clear and contemptuous tones.

"You are accused of the crime of wilful murder, and will be tried in
three days.  Guards, remove prisoner."

"And," bellowed the Satyr, "if he should escape, remember your life goes
for his."

Grenville was then dragged away by his captors, who threw him into a
damp underground cell, apparently cut out of the rock.  Here, without
food, water, or light, they left him, and, fastening the door upon him,
placed an armed sentry outside.

As he was led away from the Common Hall, Grenville had noticed that the
night had become clear and fine again, and through the grated door he
could see the rays of silvery moonlight, and thought regretfully to
himself that it was now shimmering down upon the plateau in all its
radiant glory, and lighting up the anxious faces of the friends waiting
for one who would return to them no more.

He thoroughly realised his awful position.  The Mormon prophet's words
meant that in three days' time Richard Grenville would be but dust and
ashes, and that fearless and generous spirit of his would have returned
to the God who gave it.

Even so, he had played for a desperate stake and won, but the victory
was to be paid for with his life; a light price, it seemed to him, in
return for the practical destruction of the Mormon town and the perfect
future security of his own friends.

Grenville tried to engage the guard in conversation, but the surly brute
began to whistle a tune instead of replying.  Our hero then laid himself
down on the rocky floor, and worn out with fatigue, and still weak from
the effects of the blow he had received, slept soundly, until he was
aroused by the entrance of the guard in the morning, with breakfast for
him, which, it need hardly be said, was most acceptable.

The door was left open whilst Grenville ate, and the guard, who had been
relieved by an officer, supported by two subordinates, seemed to be
quite a different class of man from the surly warrior of the previous
night.  The new sentinel, in fact, commenced to chaff Grenville while he
ate, saying that he was surprised that a man of his ability, who had
killed so many people, should have allowed himself to be floored with a
stone; but our friend laughingly responded that he never was remarkable
for being thick-headed.

He then asked the officer when and how he was to depart this life.

"Oh!" said the other, "don't be in a hurry, we've hardly begun to like
you yet."

And in this manner he fenced with all the questions put to him.

"And now," said the Mormon, when Grenville had finished eating, "I am
commissioned to place these irons upon your hands and feet if you choose
to be at liberty in the Square here; but you are to have the option of
staying in this black hole of a prison if you prefer it."

Grenville gladly accepted the alternative of being fettered, thinking he
might as well see as much of the sun as he could while he had the
chance.

The day passed quietly enough; he was well fed and carefully guarded,
but the men round him seemed decent people, and not at all of the
bullying type.

Just about tea-time, as Grenville was sitting listlessly thinking, the
dull boom of a distant explosion broke upon his ear.  The guards stood
still, gazed inquiringly at one another, and at that moment another
smothered report followed.

Seeing Grenville smile, one of the men turned to him quickly, and asked
him what the joke was.

"Why," replied he, "I was just wondering, when I heard the first
explosion, how many of the men you sent against my friends this morning
would come back alive; but when I heard the second one, I came to the
satisfactory conclusion that not one of them would ever see East Utah
again."

The guard looked angry for a moment, but then smiled and said, "You are
a bold man; however, we shall see."

Soon after, Grenville was hurried away to his prison, and that night he
heard wailing and lamentations in the city, and knew that he had guessed
the truth, that another fearful calamity had befallen the Mormons, and
that his friends at the plateau were now practically safe from further
molestation.



CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

DARK DAYS.

Leaving poor Grenville in his dismal prison, we must now return for the
time being to our friends at the plateau.

Despite the awful storm which followed Grenville's departure, Leigh and
Myzukulwa kept diligent guard, for both were determined that they would
never again be caught napping.  One of Grenville's last instructions to
Leigh had been to keep a double watch every night, and to at once get an
enormous pile of thorn-bushes up to the plateau, "when," said he, "you
can make a _chevaux de frise_ at the top of the path, which will keep
the whole Mormon nation fully employed whilst you shoot them."

In the very height of the storm the watchers, by a flash of lightning,
saw a figure approaching their position, and Leigh at once challenged,
but received no reply.  The next flash, however, showed him that the
nocturnal wanderer was Amaxosa.  The chief stalked up the path, shook
himself like a great dog, and then, without saying a single word,
entered the cave, deposited Grenville's weapons on the floor, and lay
down by the fire.

Now, however, this extraordinary and unexplained return penetrated the
reserve of even the well-trained Myzukulwa, who, after waiting in a
state of suppressed excitement for some moments to give his brother time
to speak, at length burst out with a torrent of questions.

"Since when has a child of the Undi learned to desert his chief?  Thou
didst go out into the dark night but a few short hours ago with my
father, the great and mighty warrior; where is my father now?  Myzukulwa
asks thee.  Is he perchance dead?  Then will I, Myzukulwa, the son of
Isanusi, follow on after the spirit of my father, and cry, `Behold, my
father, thy faithful war-dog of the race of Undi.  Turn thine eyes, my
father, towards Zululand, and wait for thy son Myzukulwa, who follows
after thee, and is thy man to the death, ay, and ever after.'"

And the splendid fellow sprang to his feet, took his spears in hand as
if ready to set out, and fixed his eyes, glowing with inquiry and fierce
determination, full upon his brother.

For a short space Amaxosa answered not, then his words came low and
sadly:--

"The great white chief my father has chased away from his side his
faithful dog, and the heart of Amaxosa is sad, my brother, and his
breast heavy with fear that the evil men, the witch-finders, being so
many, will overcome my father and prevail against him."

Then he broke out into a sort of funereal wail which made Leigh's blood
run cold, it sounded so like ill-omened prophecy.

"Ow, my father, why hast thou left me?  The stormy night is wet and
cold, but the hand of death is colder--colder, and the mists of the
grave are still more wet and deadly.  Let my father call his sons to
him, and they will follow along the dark and fearsome path that leads to
the hereafter.  Inkoos, the heart of Amaxosa is split in twain, and he
fears the unknown evil which will befall the mighty chief he loves."

Leigh was about to answer the Zulu, when all of a sudden the heavens and
earth seemed to meet in one vivid blinding sheet of flame, and as the
astonished watchers held their breath, the very, mountains were shaken
to their pro-Adamite foundations, by the explosion of the magazines in
East Utah.

For a moment the countenance of Amaxosa brightened, and turning to
Myzukulwa, as the flames in the Mormon town shot up towards the sky,
"See, my brother," he cried, "the great chief our father has destroyed
the wicked witch-finders, and set fire to their kraals.  Oh that we, his
sons, might be at his side to slay the evil ones who yet are left alive!
Great is the chief, our father; let us also die the deaths of mighty
warriors, and let our last end be even as his."

The girls now rushed in, affrighted by the explosion, and asked if the
thunder had torn the mountain in two.

Leigh briefly explained the position, when his betrothed, who saw his
anxious face, looked very grave, and poor Rose burst into tears and
threw herself into Dora's arms, crying, to Leigh's astonishment, "Oh! my
darling, my darling, I have indeed lost you for ever!"

The grim Zulu Amaxosa turned to Leigh as Rose was led away by Dora,
saying, "It is even so, Inkoos; the Flower of East Utah is laid low, for
she loved my father, even as his sons loved him, and my heart is very
sad for her."  And then changing his manner to the old warlike tones,
"And now let the Inkoos, my master, say what he wishes the sons of Undi
to do.  The storm is breaking, and if perchance my father has escaped
from the evil men he will be here by daybreak; but whether he be here or
no, the remnant of yon witch-finders will attempt to take our kraal
before the sun is again at rest.  Let my master open his ears that he
may hear my words.  With these bushes we will build a wall of thorns,
which no living man can force--it must be placed below the rock, not
upon it--and it shall be that when the whole army of devils are gathered
in one place to uproot the bushes, then will the Inkoos my master
command the sons of Undi, who will cast upon these low people the
lightning-boxes--surely they are bewitched--which will tear them in
pieces, even as they would have destroyed ourselves when last they came;
and if any shall yet be left alive after the lightning of the thunder,
then the spears in the right hands of my master's servants shall slay
them; so will the faithful sons of my father, the great and mighty
lion-hearted chief, revenge his death and make smooth his path to the
shades as he views the bleeding, senseless bodies of his evil-minded
foes."

After some little discussion Leigh accepted this cunning scheme in its
entirety, subject, of course, to the approval of his cousin should he
return.

The night wore on, and the grey dawn broke upon East Utah smiling and
lovely as ever, but the poor watchers upon the rock sat haggard and
anxious, for he whom they loved and waited for came not.

Almost broken-hearted, Leigh at last laid himself down and slept an
uneasy and troubled sleep, from which he was awakened by the welcome
news that the enemy was close at hand and advancing in considerable
force.  Welcome the news indeed was, for every man and woman upon that
rocky shelf felt that at that moment they had but one object in life--
vengeance of the most awful character for the death of him they loved
beyond all earthly considerations.

Disregarding the deadly fire of the Winchesters, which thinned their
numbers in every direction, the Mormons marched on, a solemn silent
mass.  At one hundred yards they began to fire their guns, but did no
execution of any kind; and now the party above fairly hailed bullets
upon them from rifles, revolvers, and from the Mormons' own captured
guns, and the ground was thickly strewn with dead and dying men.

Volley after volley the attacking party fired, till at last their
salvoes dwindled down to a few sputtering shots, and then ceased
entirely.  _The Mormons had exhausted their last kernel of powder_, and
now prepared to storm the plateau, sword in hand.

The matter fell out exactly as Amaxosa had foreseen, and when a full
hundred of the enemy were busy with their swords trying to cut into the
zareba, the Zulus plunged the two shells into the mass of living men,
which was promptly transformed into an awful heap of bleeding, groaning,
human pulp.  A few wounded men tried to limp away, but the Zulus were
down the rock almost as soon as the shells, and of one hundred and fifty
men who had left the Mormon town that morning, not one returned to tell
the awful tale of shame and woe.

The wounded were soon put out of pain by the unconcerned Zulus, who then
brought up to the plateau a perfect mountain of weapons in the shape of
guns, spears, swords, and knives, all the time chanting victorious notes
over their fallen enemies, and adjuring their father, the mighty chief,
to smile upon his children.

As Leigh had supposed, the Mormons had entirely exhausted their powder
before they made the final charge which proved so fatal to themselves--
not a single grain of powder could be found in any of their flasks.
Thus ended another attempt of the Mormons upon the plateau; they had, as
Grenville had foreseen, no more stomach for such desperate work as this,
at present.

As soon as night fell, Amaxosa set out for East Utah, armed with
Grenville's revolvers, and determined if possible to discover what had
happened to his beloved chief.

Obtaining access to the town, as before, by the river, which was now
reduced to its normal state, he prowled about in the shade, running
awful risks, but hearing and seeing nothing, and was just about to leave
the place in despair, when observing a number of Mormons approaching, he
shrank back into a dark alley between two houses.

The band he sought to avoid was met at this point--in fact, directly
opposite to his hiding-place--by a detachment travelling in the opposite
direction, both parties stopping and entering into conversation.

The Zulu watched them like a lynx, but what was his astonishment and
even delight to behold the master whom he had believed to be dead,
standing amongst his enemies; with great chains upon his hands and feet,
it is true, yet still alive and well, and preserving upon his face the
impress of that habitual coolness and determined bravery which had so
won upon the heart of this untutored savage.

With longing eyes Amaxosa gazed upon his friend, but he was a shrewd man
as well as a courageous one, and he foresaw that any attempt at a rescue
could at this moment have no good result, but rather the reverse.

Just as the two bands parted, Grenville was forced up against the wall,
and quick as lightning the Zulu shot out his hand and dropped a small
pistol into his friend's coat-pocket.  So neatly was the action
performed that our hero, who had been roused out of his sleep, and led
away to be interviewed, he was told, by the Holy Three, did not know
what had happened, thinking he had only knocked his side against a
corner; but on moving his hand directly after, his forearm struck
something heavy, and carefully feeling in his pocket, his fingers closed
like a vice on his own favourite Derringer, and in an instant he
realised that he had stood within a foot or two of his devoted Zulu
friend without knowing it.  Cautiously hiding the pistol in his breast,
where his chained hands could more easily reach it, he found himself
once more ushered into the presence of the Mormon Trinity.

As soon as the guards had retired, which they did at a sign from the
Mormon prophet, the triumvirate commenced to question Grenville upon the
number of his friends, the quantity of their ammunition, the range of
their weapons, and so forth.

To all these reiterated inquiries he made no answer save an amused
smile.

Then Brother Ishmael Warden, as usual, lost his temper.

"Dog of an Englishman!" he thundered, "answer or you die."

"Death," was the cutting reply, "is the home which welcomes brave men,
the shadow which frightens cowards.  Our rifles are more than sufficient
to sweep from the face of the earth the few men your nation has left."

The Prophet now interposed, and, to Grenville's amused disgust, offered
him life and magnificent terms if he would throw in his lot with them
and conform to their laws, bringing his party and his weapons with them.

To all these offers he had but one answer:--

"I am the conqueror, you the conquered--it is for me to offer terms, not
for you; and if I must die, why the sooner the better; but merely to
save my life I will never consent to herd with murderers, thieves, and
vagabonds.  Listen, you three misguided men.  Here are the terms Richard
Grenville dictates, and think well ere you refuse them:--This country is
now the property of her Most Gracious Majesty Victoria, Queen of Great
Britain and Ireland and Empress of India.  You, the so-called Holy
Three, will at once abdicate and give up your power to the young girl
known as the Rose of Sharon, Queen of the Mormon people by hereditary
right, returning to her all her moneys, lands, and property feloniously
retained by you.  To me, and to my party, as your conquerors, you will
pay twenty thousand ounces of gold, and provide us with bearers for
same, and guides out of the country forthwith.  I have spoken."

Suddenly Warden sprang to his feet, fairly foaming at the mouth--

"Here!" he yelled, "is your passport out of the country and direct to
hell!" and levelling a pistol at Grenville's head, he fired.  The bullet
missed our hero by a hair's breadth--indeed, it grazed the side of his
face--but the very next second Brother Ishmael Warden, the most
universally-hated member of the Mormon Trinity, fell to the ground with
a bullet through his heart, and Grenville coolly threw his pistol down,
saying as he did so--

"The fellow was a dog, and like a dog he died;" then he quietly looked
his remaining judges in the face, and waited their action.

Father and son had sprung to their feet in fear upon seeing Grenville in
possession of a weapon, but they now quietly sat down again, and his
keen eye noted that upon the face of the old man there sat an expression
of indifference, whilst the younger man obviously eyed the corpse of his
late colleague with unconcealed relief, and looked at our hero with
absolute approbation.  Another circumstance, however, was significant to
Grenville, and he had not failed to notice it; this was the fact that
the guards could be heard pacing up and down outside the room, never
seeming the least disturbed by the pistol-shots.  It was, therefore,
clear that murder in the presence of the Holy Three was far from being
uncommon; indeed, when some minutes later the men entered, by order, to
take him away, even before they observed the body of their late tyrant,
Grenville saw looks of astonishment cast upon him.

And now an honour as unexpected as it was unsought was offered to the
young Englishman, for father and son, having held a private conference,
the elder man turned to Grenville, and in brief but distinct language
offered him the seat of the man he had just killed, together with all
its emoluments.

"Nay, my son," said he, as our friend was about to speak, "take time to
think before you give your answer.  I much wish to save you alive, but
our laws are as the laws of the Medes and Persians, and by them the Holy
Three, who have power of life and death, are obliged to condemn you, and
you are too young to die.  In the one way indicated we can save you.
Live, then, and become the prop of our Holy State."

"Sir," replied Grenville, moved by the kindly manner of the patriarch as
no threats would ever have moved him, "I appreciate your kind wishes,
and God forbid I should insult the beard of a man old enough to be my
grandsire, but I regard your faith and your own exalted office here with
utter abhorrence and loathing.  I have a most healthy contempt for your
laws and your nation, and having the courage of my opinions I prefer to
die for them."

The old prophet eyed him sadly for a moment; then his face grew stem,
and drawing himself up proudly, "'Tis well," he said, "ere long, foolish
headstrong youth, thou wilt regret thine impetuosity.  At sundown, three
days hence, you die by the rifle--farewell."  Then touching a small
gong, "Guards, remove the prisoner;" and as he noted the looks of the
officer directed at Warden's corpse lying in a pool of blood, "Brother
Harper, remove this body, and see that the Saints are notified of the
decease of a member of the Holy Trinity, and the necessity of choosing
out one of the elect to supply his place."

The officer merely bowed, and the guard then removed Grenville; but as
soon as they got outside the officer turned to his prisoner, asking
eagerly, "Did you kill yonder fiend?"

"I did," replied our hero coolly, "and I'm sure I never killed a greater
scoundrel in all my life."

In reply the officer seized Grenville's hand and shook it heartily.
"You are a plucky fellow," he said; "if you _have_ killed about half our
people, you've prevented that scoundrel from making away with the other
half.  Tell me, did you shoot Radford Custance?"

"I did," was the stern reply; "the coward struck a man who had his hands
tied."

"Well," rejoined the other, "taken all through we owe you a debt of
gratitude.  It's a shame to shoot you; but what must be--must be, you
know."

"Quite so," responded Grenville, cheerfully, "don't let us fall out over
that; I see the necessity, I have done my work, and I am ready to go.
But look here, my friend; your prophet--very nice old chap he is, too--
told me I was to die by the rifle.  Now as you've no powder, how will
you work it?  Shall I give you a line to my people asking them to let
you have a flask of your own powder for the occasion?"

"See here," replied the officer, "I owe you some information, and as you
are to die I don't mind telling you we have just twelve charges of
powder left in the whole community, and as you've used up all the rest
we've decided to give you the benefit of what little we have left--it's
a great compliment, let me tell you."

Thus laughing and talking they drew near the prison; but though
Grenville had engaged in conversation with the Mormon, he had
nevertheless been straining every faculty to try and discover the
whereabouts of his Zulu friend.  Nowhere, however, could he see him or
detect any sign of his presence.

On seeing the prisoner into his cell, the officer again shook hands, and
Grenville, with the intention of giving information to his friend if he
were lying hidden close by, called out, "You'll come and see me
to-morrow, won't you?  I'm to be shot at sundown on Friday, you know; so
you'll have to entertain me until then."

"With pleasure," was the laughing rejoinder.  "Good-night!"

Grenville's precaution was well taken, for it so happened that Amaxosa
had at that instant arrived within earshot of his friend's words, which
he heard with a grunt of satisfaction, as he had feared that after
causing the death of Warden--of which act he had been an unseen and
exultant witness--his chief would have been executed at daybreak.

The audacity and self-abandonment of the Zulu on this night had been
simply magnificent.  He had fearlessly climbed to the window of the room
in which he believed Grenville to be, and had watched every movement of
friend and enemy with eyes like coals of fire; and ill would it have
fared with the two remaining members of the Mormon Trinity had they
attempted any further violence against their prisoner.

As it was, Amaxosa had watched the movements of the patriarch, and
having seen him, after the departure of his colleague, open a strong box
and take out a lot of papers similar to that which his friend, the Rose
of Sharon, had recognised as her own, he had quietly slipped in, brained
the venerable "witch-finder," and walked off with his possessions,
coolly setting the house on fire before he departed, as silently as he
had come.  And now his fingers itched to slay the man who held the key
to his friend's prison, but knowing that in a few minutes the whole
place would be agog with the fire, and the death of the prophet, he
decided to postpone his operations until the following night.  "His
father" knew he had been at his side, and Amaxosa was content.

Hardly had Grenville laid himself down to sleep than his prison door was
torn open, and he found himself the centre of a raging mob of human
beings, all clamouring for his life; and had his friend the officer not
been at his side, our hero would have been lynched forthwith.  Finding
out at last that he was in some way accused of causing the death of the
Mormon Patriarch, Grenville asked to be permitted to speak; and when
silence had been obtained he briefly and succinctly related the night's
events to the crowd--omitting of course the presence of the Zulu--and
added meaningly, "You say your prophet has been murdered and the
treasures of the Holy Three stolen.  Believe me, I would never lift my
hand against an old man who could not defend himself--I murder not, nor
do I rob.  With whomsoever you find the treasure, let him die; but do
not attempt to sully my good name, which is all that is left to me now."

Finally, after the officer had harangued the crowd, he succeeded in
getting rid of them; and congratulating Grenville on his escape, he
again took his leave, when our friend once more laid himself down--not,
however, to sleep at once, but to reflect on the events of the night.

Truth to tell, he was inclined to ascribe the murder and robbery of the
Patriarch to one of the Mormon's own people, for though he knew Amaxosa
hated the triumvirate with a bitter hatred, yet he, strange to say, was
not given to "looting" in any shape or form; and Grenville was wholly at
a loss to understand, moreover, how the Zulu could possibly have
obtained access to the treasure chamber of the Mormon leader.  In any
case, he felt that whether Amaxosa was or was not responsible for the
affair, he personally had lost a friend at Court, but that the Mormon
community had at the same time been deprived of their best and wisest
head.

Clearly there was nothing for the prisoner to do but to watch and wait.
He had made up his mind to die, but with sublime confidence in his
friends he felt certain that some effort would be made to save him, and
he was fully determined that when the attempt came off, it should at
least not fail from lack of readiness on his part.



CHAPTER FIFTEEN.

IN DURANCE VILE.

As Leigh and his betrothed sat talking by the fire that night, and
keeping watch until Amaxosa's return, they were surprised to see the sky
suddenly lighten in the distance, and finally to observe great sheets of
flame springing up in the direction of East Utah.  These, however, soon
died out, for, as it happened, the Mormon prophet's house stood entirely
apart from the other buildings in the town, and so burnt itself out
harmlessly in a very short space of time.

In due course the Zulu arrived, and gave them in detail the events of
the night, cheering the heavy hearts of Grenville's friends by a full
account of his every word and action, and delighting poor little Rose,
who had joined the party, by his recital of the scene in the Trinitarian
room, where the man she secretly adored, had so courageously insisted
upon her own hereditary rights, and then, though heavily ironed, had
slain her pet abomination in the shape of Ishmael Warden.

A greater surprise was, however, in store for the young girl when
Amaxosa coolly handed over to her the bundle of papers, telling how he
had disposed of "the ancient and cunning man of the witch-finders," and
brought away the property which he knew belonged to his "little sister,
the Flower of East Utah."

The papers in question, which Rose perfectly recollected as having been
her father's, consisted of a memorandum of contents, in which was folded
what proved to be an immense bundle of paper money of almost all
nations, the bulk, however, being Bank of England notes; and if the
statement of account which enveloped these was correct, the entire value
amounted to something like 150,000 pounds sterling.

The young girl received the congratulations of her friends very
indifferently, being of course wholly ignorant of the value of money,
only saying that if she thought the Mormons would give Grenville up in
exchange for the papers, she would send them back at once, but that she
knew that with the exception of the Holy Three, no one in East Utah ever
appeared to attach the slightest importance to the valuable documents.

After Leigh had consigned Rose's fortune to a safe place all retired to
rest, with the exception of Myzukulwa, who kept guard until daybreak.
When breakfast had been disposed of, a council was called, into which
the girls were, for once, admitted, and Amaxosa submitted a plan which
he had formed, and which had for its object the release of Grenville
that very night.

Dangerous it certainly was, and superbly audacious, but, nevertheless,
extremely simple.  All the Zulu proposed to do was to obtain access to
the town in the usual way--by the river-bed, that is--and leaving
Myzukulwa to watch outside the walls, he himself would steal in and kill
the guard, unlock his friend's prison, and spirit him away, and so by a
forced march to the plateau.  With regard to arms, he declined to take
any except his own and his brother's; the risk of their falling into
Mormon hands was too great; but it was agreed that the pair should carry
half a dozen of the Mormons' guns ready loaded, and hide these in the
bush on their way down, so as to be handy at about half distance if
required.  It was, of course, very desirable that Grenville should be
provided with his own weapons; but still, should these fall into the
hands of the enemy, the destruction of the little band on the rock would
become a mere question of time, and Leigh well knew that his cousin
would be the very last to counsel him to run such a fearful risk on his
account.

The plan, which seemed feasible enough, was discussed in every detail,
and all, with apparently one exception, felt sanguine of its success.
That exception was the Zulu Myzukulwa.  Not that he had anything to urge
against the scheme, but he seemed dull, distrait, and cautious, and
would only express his _hope_ that it might succeed, and that "the sight
of the great chief, his father, might make his heart glad before he
died."

In the afternoon the brothers lay down to sleep, and as Leigh sat and
watched them, and smoked his pipe, he could not help thinking that any
of the miserable Mormons who got in their way that night would have a
rough time of it.  At sunset he awoke the pair, and after they had
indulged in a hearty meal, hands were shaken all round, and the Zulus,
slipping down from the plateau, were instantly swallowed up in the eerie
shadows of the veldt and mountain, and proceeded on their way to East
Utah, followed by the prayers and good wishes of their friends upon the
rock.

We must now return to poor Grenville, who had spent the day, as usual,
surrounded by his guards, and occupied with the all-absorbing topic
provided by the death of two members of their Trinity.  Our friend
learned that the Mormons would have been very awkwardly placed had the
prophet before he died not given instructions to issue the necessary
proclamation of the death of his colleague Warden, and the consequent
need for the appointment of some member of the community in his place.
Had this not happened, it was more than probable that the last surviving
representative of the Trinity would have arrogated supreme power to
himself, and declined to co-operate with anyone else, and he being as
universally despised, as his father had been respected and as Ishmael
Warden had been hated, a revolution would in all probability have
resulted, by which the remnant of the latter day Saints would have
suffered more severely than ever.  To his friend the officer Grenville
could not help remarking that he was surprised to find a people so
intelligent as the Saints allowing themselves to be guided and led by
the nose by their false prophets through the medium of their
superstitious fancies.

The officer, however, grew quite stern, and ordered him not to
blaspheme; then unbending again, "Come," said he, "you are to die, so I
don't mind convincing you before you go of the genuineness of the power
conferred upon our Holy Three;" and leading Grenville along, still in
chains, he brought him to the top of the hill overlooking the city, and
upon which stood the signal of the Fiery Cross, fixed above a curious
pepper-box-shaped wooden house.

Entering the door, the Mormon signed to Grenville to follow him, which
our hero did, wondering to find himself in a darkened room containing a
tables surrounded by wooden seats, upon one of which last his guide,
whispering in awe-struck tones, instructed him to place himself.

This done, the Mormon gave muttered utterance to a doggerel rhyme of
some kind, the words of which Grenville could not catch, but which was
evidently supposed to act the part of a spell or incantation; he then
pressed a knob in the woodwork, which admitted a dim religious sort of
light through some aperture apparently in the roof, and reverently
withdrawing a cloth from the table, motioned to Grenville to look
thereon.  This he did, and had much ado to restrain his laughter at the
utter simplicity of the fraud thus foisted--as a holy revelation--upon
grown and intelligent men.

The place our friend sat in was _neither more nor less than a very
poorly contrived "camera obscura_," such as can be seen in so many
seaside and other places of holiday resort any day of the week.

Here it was that the Mormon rulers sat, carefully watching and noting
all that went on in East Utah during the day, returning to the town at
night-time and oracularly relating to their superstitious subjects all
that had taken place in their absence.  This, however, was not quite
sufficient to satisfy some of the more inquiring spirits among the
saints, and the Mormons found themselves obliged to resort to _prophecy_
concerning men and things in general; and however awful these
predictions were--and awful they certainly became when Ishmael Warden
was elected a member of the triumvirate--_they never failed to prove
correct_, the prophets took good care of that.

The guard soon withdrew his "holy wonders" from the unhallowed gaze of
the Gentile before him, and when outside again heaved a breath of
relief, asking our friend in solemn yet triumphant tones what he thought
of that.  This was really too much for Grenville, and he burst out
laughing in his companion's face.

The Mormon eyed him with evident doubt as to his sanity, but Grenville
noticed that he was careful to drink in every word of the explanation of
the "mystery" subsequently given to him by this strange and
well-informed prisoner.

Our friend really began to like the man, and could not refrain from
looking sadly at him, knowing but too well that the Mormon was so
closely involved in his own fate that he would be the first to fall when
the attempt, which he felt certain his own friends would make to release
him, came off.

The officer, noticing these looks of his prisoner, asked him if he were
thinking of the near approach of his death.

"No," replied he in a melancholy tone, "I was but regretting the
certainty that you yourself would die before I should."

"What," said the other mockingly, "are you too a false prophet?"

"Would to God I might be in this case," said Grenville, holding out his
hand to his jailer; "but I fear it is truth I speak.  Never mind; you
are a brave man--and what is written, is written for you and for me; so
don't let us trouble our heads about it till the time comes."

The pair soon gained the town, and Grenville heard his friend the guard
call a number of his companions together and detail all the prisoner had
said with respect to their "holy wonder;" and after that first one and
then another would ask him, himself, leading questions on the government
of his own country, England, and so forth; and it struck our hero
forcibly that had he but a week or two before him he might, in spite of
the old prophet's precaution, get up a very pretty little insurrection
against the mystic Holy Three.

He did go so far as to say that if the Mormons were men they had only
one course open to them, and that was to dethrone the wretched impostor
who was now at their head, and re-instate their beautiful queen, the
"Rose of Sharon," the Flower of East Utah, in her hereditary rights; and
he noticed that these words seemed to find favour among the guards,
though no reply was made to the remark.

Grenville next endeavoured to find out if the community had some
concealed way out of their secret territory.  This end he attained by
chaffing them about knocking down with their own hands their only ladder
of communication with the outside world.  The men, however, were
perfectly frank, and at once admitted that they had done so, giving him
likewise details of the work of reconstructing the stairway, which was
to be commenced as soon as the invaders were satisfactorily disposed of.

Asked how they accounted for the continued supply of game, the Mormons
said they could not account for it at all; but their prophets had told
them that the good gifts of Heaven should be thankfully accepted, and
not refused simply because the eyes of blinded mortals could not detect
the precise manner of their arrival.  A very strict inquiry had
nevertheless been made into the matter, and a body of men appointed to
scour the country in every direction, with the view of ascertaining if
there were any other way of ingress into the territory; but after two
months of careful searching the band had returned with the news that
they were absolutely walled in on every side by impenetrable and
inaccessible rocks and mountains.

Grenville was, however, by no means satisfied with this statement, as,
all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, his common-sense told him
that the herds of game must have some way of getting in at certain
seasons of the year or the animals would long ago have been
exterminated.  Still, cudgel his brains as he would, no solution of the
difficulty presented itself to him.



CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH.

And now night once more descended upon East Utah, and the prisoner knew
that he had one day less to live.  Still, he kept up heart and remained
on the _qui vive_ for any opportunity of escape; and this at last
presented itself, as he had feared and yet hoped, through the medium of
his friend the officer.

The Mormons had again withdrawn the night guard, taking only the
precaution of leaving Grenville's irons on him even while in prison, and
the officer, having said good-night and locked him in, quietly took his
way home; but he never reached it, for in another ten seconds his brains
were strewn about the roadway, his corpse thrown into the river, and
Amaxosa, possessed of the key, had opened the prison and was shaking
hands with his chief.  He was, however, much taken aback at finding his
friend in chains; still, neither hesitated to plunge into the water,
which of course drowned the clanking of the irons, and both were soon
outside the walls, receiving the suppressed congratulations of
Myzukulwa.

Progress now proved very slow indeed, owing to our hero's fettered
state, and after a mile had been compassed in the water, unavailing
efforts were made to break or loosen the chains; then, seeing that much
valuable time was being lost, Amaxosa went ahead at a run to fetch the
quagga, whilst his brother assisted Grenville in his slow progress
towards liberty.

Never before had restraint appeared so irksome to our friend.  It was
certainly probable that he was considered safe in his prison for the
night; but, on the other hand, should the prophet wish to talk with
him--a not unusual occurrence, as we have seen--at night, or should the
officer be missed by his friends, a search would of course be
instituted, the hue and cry raised, and knowing that he would strike out
for the plateau, the Mormons would immediately pursue him at speed.
Grenville fairly groaned at the thought of being again recaught in
consequence of their miserable and cowardly cunning in keeping him so
heavily ironed.

In East Utah it fell out precisely as the fugitive had feared; the
officer was wanted, searched for, and, as he could not be found, his
prisoner was next looked up; then finding the bird flown, the community
at once determined that treachery had been at work, and an hour after
Grenville's escape fifty men were on his trail, vowing deadly vengeance
upon their recreant officer, whilst he, poor soul!--or, rather, all that
remained of him--was bobbing up and down in the River of Death as it
glided sullenly along its course, carrying to the vast and wandering
ocean the message of the peaceful sky.  When not quite half-way to the
plateau, and just as the fugitive pair reached a narrow forest track
where bush and timber was piled up like an enormous tangled wall on
either side, the Mormons overtook them, and Myzukulwa faced round as a
noble stag turns at bay, and determined to "die in silence, biting hard
amidst the dying hounds."

The moon streamed in at the entrance to the forest path and shone full
on his magnificent warlike figure, his stern forbidding face, and his
glittering spear, and for a moment the Mormons, being without fire-arms,
hung in the wind.  Seeing this, the Zulu shook hands with Grenville.
"Let my father escape," he said; "he cannot fight with his hands tied,
and his faithful son, the child of the Undi, will stop this path--ay,
and pile it up with the dead bodies of these evil dogs, even as my
father slew them in hundreds by the dark River of Death; and when the
whole nation of these cunning witch-finders is dead, and my father is
free to come and go as he will, then let him think of his son Myzukulwa,
the son of Isanusi, and take away his body from these low people, and
bury him with his face towards the land of the people of the Undi.  I
have spoken;" and giving Grenville a long and yearning look, which made
the tears start to his eyes, the Zulu turned to face the foe, and,
uttering his awful war-cry, struck down two of the Mormons who had
approached within reach of his spear.

Man after man went down, but coming at the splendid fellow so many at
the time with their long spears, the cowards continually wounded him,
and Grenville, who stood by, grinding his teeth in impotent rage, at
last had the pain of seeing his faithful friend borne to the ground,
fairly overpowered by numbers.  Again springing to his feet, however,
the Zulu dashed up to the leader of the party, who was none other than
the last remaining member of the Holy Trinity, stabbed him to the heart,
and with a cry of victory fell dead across the corpse of the foe, his
life-blood welling out through a hundred gaping wounds, and the dead
bodies of upwards of a dozen Mormons bearing ghastly testimony to the
fact that Myzukulwa, the son of Undi, had died even as he had lived, as
a warrior, magnificently brave and fearless, as a friend faithful unto
death.  Peace be with him!

The Mormons, having disposed of Myzukulwa, ordered Grenville to follow
them back to East Utah, which he did, first kneeling down and taking
from round the dead chief's neck a curious amulet which he always wore,
and which Grenville transferred to his own.

One of the guards, more inquisitive than the rest, asked why he did
this, and our friend boldly answered, "I'm not dead yet, you know; and
if I do get away, I swear to you I will kill a man of you for every drop
of blood that it has taken fifty of you cowards to draw from yonder
brave and true-hearted man."

For a time his captors preserved impassive silence, only hurrying him
along as fast as he could move whilst hampered by his fetters, and then
at length he was asked "what had become of the traitor."

"What traitor?" asked Grenville.

"What traitor? why, your late guard of course."

"Mormon," was the stern answer, "I might by admitting the truth of your
suspicion strengthen the position of my friends in your eyes, but I
cannot dishonour the memory of the brave and upright dead.  Your
officer's corpse will be found in the River of Death, whither the hand
of the Zulu sent him.  He was far and away the best man you had, and his
loss is an infinitely greater one to your community than that of the
wretched Prophet, as you call him, whose corpse you are at so much
trouble to carry now."

When at length the party reached East Utah, Grenville was at once
re-introduced to his prison, which was guarded by a patrol of ten men,
who were kept on duty for the remainder of the time of his imprisonment,
with drawn swords in their hands--such terror had the warlike address of
the little party at the plateau struck into the craven souls of the
Mormons; indeed, so much afraid were they of losing their prisoner that
a grave consultation was held as to whether he should not be killed at
once, to prevent any further risk arising from his escape.  This,
however, they dared not do without the consent of the whole nation, the
Trinity having ceased to exist; and for the sake of saving one day it
was of course foolish to think of convoking a general assembly of the
Saints.



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.

VAE VICTIS!

For the rest of the night Grenville lay racked with mental agony.
Before another dawn came stealing over the Eastern Mountains he was to
die a violent death; still, the thought of that did not trouble him
nearly so much as the loss of his faithful Zulu friend.  The fact that
he himself had been unable to lift one finger to assist Myzukulwa
against the common foe was gall and wormwood to Grenville.  Again and
again he pictured to himself the anguish of those at the plateau when
they learned not only of the entire failure of the plot for his own
release, and the consequent necessity of abandoning him to his fate, but
also of the death of one of their trusty defenders.  Had the Mormons
been now aware that Winfield was dead, Grenville felt sure they would
have delivered an immediate and probably overwhelming attack upon the
spot occupied by the little band of invaders; and he could find it in
his heart to wish that a few more explosive shells had fallen into the
hands of his party, whose position would then have been impregnable.

Soon after dawn the prisoner fell into a troubled sleep, from which he
soon awoke to find himself crying and moaning bitterly.  Directly after
this, however, nature re-asserted her claims, and he slept long and
peacefully, dreaming that all had ended quite satisfactorily, and that
he, poor fellow, was at liberty.  When aroused to eat his breakfast,
this impression was strong upon him, and he astounded the guards by
asking if the order for his release had come down.

They first smiled, and then said significantly that _he must not expect
that before sundown_.

Grenville then asked where he was to be executed, and was told about a
dozen miles from East Utah, near to the western bridge.

"Why there?" he inquired.

"Oh! only because our graveyard is there, and we first bury the Holy
Three," was the answer, which certainly appeared the reverse of
reassuring.

"Will you bury me when dead?" asked the prisoner, who seemed to take a
gruesome interest in all the details of his own fate.

"Of course we shall," replied a guard; "what did you think we'd do?"

"I was afraid you'd crucify me like those poor devils near the great
stairway; and I didn't enjoy the idea," was the reply.

The men looked wonderingly at one another, and, as Grenville thought,
with awed faces, as if asking what new and unknown horror this was; but
not one of them had a word to say.

The prisoner now inquiring who in East Utah was at the head of affairs,
was soon apprised of the fact that it was Ishmael Warden's own brother,
a man as much feared and hated for his cruel villainies as that worthy
himself had been.  Clearly there was no mercy to be looked for from him,
and one of the guards, who appeared well disposed to Grenville, told him
as much.

"I see," replied he.  "Well, if he is such a scoundrel as it's easy to
see you think him, I hope my friends will wipe him out for you at an
early opportunity.  I'd make another attack on the plateau if I were
you, and get Brother Warden to take a front place and try the quality of
those excellent bomb-shells of ours.  A little knowledge is a dangerous
thing, my friend; I should never have tried on such an unsportsmanlike
game, unless you had first treated me to it, and the result just serves
you right."

In the afternoon Grenville was led out; his fetters, much to his
delight, were taken off; and, escorted by a guard of a hundred men, he
was marched away to the place of execution.

Arrived there, the prisoner found it to be a perfectly level forest
glade about half a mile across--open sward in the centre, with the
forest fringing it on all sides but one.  The one remaining side was,
however, guarded by the dreadful River of Death, which at this point
flowed with a slow hoarse murmur between rugged cliffs which, nearly
three hundred feet above, seemed to brood over the stream as it glided
beneath.  If it be an accepted fact that still waters run deep, then the
depth of the River (the chasm being some thirty feet across) must at
this point have been considerable; whilst, to add to the dreary
solemnity of the place, the dark shadows of the trees in the background
seemed to keep friendly and untiring watch over the graves of the Mormon
dead.

On looking round him, Grenville came to the conclusion that positively
the entire community of both sexes had assembled in this forest glade,
partly to swell the funeral cortege of the Holy Three, and partly, no
doubt, drawn by curiosity, or by vengeful feelings, to see the very last
of himself personally.

Of the burial rites our friend saw but little, as his guards kept the
unbelieving Gentile at a respectful distance from the remains of the
holy dead; but the moment the funeral was over, there arose from the
whole of that vast crowd one mighty earth-shaking yell for vengeance on
the common foe.  Men, women, and children alike lent their voices to
this fearful cry; and well, in sooth, they might, for there were few
families in the comparatively small community of the latter day Saints
which had not recently been rendered houses of mourning by one action or
another of the prisoner or his friends.

On hearing the cry of the people thirsting for his blood, Grenville
started; then, drawing himself up proudly, he took a long farewell
glance at the setting sun, the distant mountains, the dense dark forest,
and the green and rolling veldt, and then, walking to the spot indicated
by his guards, the prisoner folded his arms across his breast and faced
his executioners with haughty contempt in every line of his expressive
and handsome countenance.

Just as the last few rifles which alone remained loaded in East Utah
were about to be discharged at him, at one dozen paces, he suddenly held
up his hand, and his clear voice went ringing across the veldt and into
the silent forest glades.

"I, a subject of her Britannic Majesty, Queen Victoria, hereby protest
against this murderous outrage committed against the English flag, under
which I and my friends have fought since our entry into this country."

Again there was a death-like silence, almost instantly broken by the
incisive words of command--

"Ready!  Present!"

Grenville now gazed unflinchingly right into the muzzles of the rifles;
an unearthly calm had come over him, and briefly, yet earnestly,
commending his soul to God, he waited the fatal word, blind and deaf to
all else but the rifles, which seemed to exercise a curious fascination
upon him.

Then, just as he heard the final word of command, "Fire!" he was
conscious of a shriek, and someone seized him round the neck, threw
their person upon his breast, and endeavoured to drag him down.

Too late!  Ah, God, too late!  The fatal tubes vomited a sheet of angry
flame; the deadly messengers sped forth upon their cruel errand; and a
body, lately instinct with life and health, lay writhing on the
greensward, gasping in the death agony.

But whose body?  Bewildered and confused, called back to life when he
believed himself already dead, Grenville bent over the person who had so
nobly and uselessly given a precious life for him, and uttered a wild
and bitter cry of anguish as he recognised the lovely Rose of Sharon.
Dropping on his knees, he raised the apparently inanimate corpse in his
arms, crying--

"Rose!  Rose! speak to me, my darling."

And instantly her eyes opened, and a sweet and radiantly lovely smile
seemed to break up the stony countenance before him--to chase away the
very shadows of death and leave her face even as that of an angel.

"Dick, dear Dick," she panted, "I have saved you.  Kiss me, my own dear
love, and--good-bye."

And even as poor Grenville bent over her the sweet young girl's face
stiffened; there was one brief spasm, and all was over.

Dust to dust, ashes to ashes, and the spirit to God who gave it.  Weep
on, brave heart, thou shalt go to her, but she shall not come back to
thee.  Yet, even so it is well, and hereafter thou shalt know that for
thee and for her all roads lead alike to peace and rest.

Reverently Grenville kissed the marble forehead of this loveliest flower
of East Utah, and then drew himself up, facing his judge and
executioners; and dashing the scalding tears from his eyes, he threw
back his head, and his face became as the face of an angry lion, whilst
his voice rang over the darkening plain and echoed amongst the forest's
secret aisles.

"Cowards and traitors," he cried, "villains who shoot and crucify their
womenkind, Richard Grenville is not dead yet--nor will he die until
every craven soul in East Utah has died miserably.  Ay! for every drop
of blood shed by yonder innocent girl ye shall die a thousand horrid and
fearful deaths.  I swear it, by the Eternal God above us."

Then, dashing from the spot, he threw himself upon the quagga, which
Rose had left close by, and, riding up to Brother Warden, struck him a
heavy blow across the face with his open hand, and next, as the whole
Mormon nation went at him, sent his strange mount flying down the veldt,
and headed directly for the yawning chasm.

A wild astonished cry broke from the crowd behind the escaped prisoner
as they saw him urge the quagga to speed, and put it fairly at the awful
leap before it.  The gallant little brute seemed to know what was
expected of it, and went at the chasm with the most unflinching pluck.
In the rays of the setting sun man and horse could for one moment be
seen outlined against the sky, and for a brief instant there was a dead
silence, broken by one tremendous shout, "Over--he's over!"

No! one more struggle, gallant brute--one more effort, brave Grenville!
Alas! it was not to be.

The quagga reached the further bank with its fore hoofs, sank gradually
back, and, in spite of all its rider could do, was sliding down, down
into the yawning gulf, when Grenville flung himself from its back,
grasping at a bush which overhung the edge of the precipice, and in
another second the sure-footed, nimble little animal was trotting away
over the veldt, unharmed.

But Grenville?  Alas! it was hopeless; he felt the bush tearing out by
its roots, and realised in one bitter instant that Rose's sublime
sacrifice had been all in vain.  At this moment he swung face outwards,
and in the gathering gloom confronted his enemies on the opposite side
of the chasm.  Unrelenting to the last, he shook his fist at them in
grim defiance, and the next instant the Mormons saw his body cutting the
air feet downwards as it passed with the speed of lightning the three
hundred feet which lay between it and the awful horror of destruction
below.  Just then the sun went out, and plunged everything into utter
tangible darkness.



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN.

MORE DARK DAYS.

We must now return perforce to the little party at the plateau, and
observe the actions of its members which led up to the awful denouement
portrayed in the preceding chapter.  After the departure of the Zulus,
Leigh had spent a dreadful night of it, the suspense and anxiety of
these long silent hours almost driving him mad.

It was the last cast of the dice, and he well knew that if his beloved
cousin was not rescued now, he never would be, for the failure of one
such audacious attempt as this would put the Mormons strictly on their
guard, and any further trials would simply lead to battle and murder and
sudden death for all his party.

His state, therefore, may be better imagined than described, when
Amaxosa returned alone in the grey dawn with lagging steps and dejected
mien, and without even raising his head to look Leigh in the face,
quietly said, "All is lost, Inkoos."  Then with an exceeding bitter cry,
"Alas! my father, why did I leave thee?  Alas! my brother, the people of
the Undi has lost its leader, the oak-tree has lost its strongest
branch, and I, Amaxosa, am the last surviving chief of the ancient race.
Ow, my brother, why didst thou leave me?  Thou, Myzukulwa, the chief of
the Undi, wast a man after my own heart; thou wast swifter than an
eagle, and stronger than a lion.  Pride of the Undi, why hast thou left
us?  Thou art gone, my brother, though thy glory has been even as the
sun in his noonday brightness; who that saw thee yesternight would have
believed that thou couldst thus have died?  Yet hast thou fallen like a
warrior, and thrice one hundred foes of the evil men, the witch-finders,
have gone before to do thee service and to clear thy path to the shades.
The face of the sun is hidden by storm clouds, and the heart of Amaxosa
is very heavy.  Pride of the Undi, how art thou fallen!"

The Zulu then sat himself down, with his face between his knees, and
never moved until the girls, who had been awakened by his arrival, put
in their hurried appearance and tearfully begged him to tell them all.

Pulling himself together, the Zulu related the events of the night,
adding his own account of his arrival at the glade with the quagga, only
to find Myzukulwa lying in a great lake of gore, surrounded by the
Mormons he had killed.

Leaving the animal tied to a tree, he had hurried after the party, but
could not overtake it; he had, however, seen Grenville's returning
footprints on the grass, and knew he had been retaken and carried off to
the Mormon stronghold, whence it would be hopeless to again try and
rescue him.

Amaxosa had then returned and buried his brother, taking good care to
leave the Mormons lying where they had fallen; and having performed the
last kind offices to his dead, he had at once returned to the plateau
with the news.

"Did my cousin not foresee the possibility of his recapture?" asked
Leigh.

"Ay, Inkoos, that did he, and I now see that he even feared it; he told
me to say to you that, if need be, you would do well to try and make
more lightning-boxes (bomb-shells), as he thought another attempt would
be made on this strong place when he was dead.  Much more, therefore,
will it be made now that the cunning men, the witch-finders, know of the
death of the chief, my brother.  Let the Inkoos, then, follow my
father's advice, for it is very good."

"But what of him?" asked Leigh angrily; "are we to desert him and leave
him to die like a dog?"

"Inkoos," was the ominous answer, "do thou but say the word, and Amaxosa
goes willingly to die with his father; but if he leaves the rock, then
will the Rose and the Lily fall into the hands of these evil men, and
thou Inkoos wilt be but as we are, even amongst the dark and misty
shadows of the long-forgotten past."

Rose listened to all this, and more, with flashing eyes, and heard the
Zulu say that at sundown that night the man she loved would die, and die
without knowing that she loved him; and she stole away to her little
cave again, and sat down to cudgel her poor little brains for a way to
save him.

That day had been indeed a day of utter prostration and misery to those
at the plateau, but early in the afternoon Leigh had resolved at all
hazards to go into ambush near the Mormon town, taking Amaxosa with him,
in the hope that they might cause confusion amongst the executioners by
a well-directed and unexpected attack, and thus give his cousin one more
chance for life and liberty.

Of course this plan necessitated leaving the plateau to the females; but
Dora Winfield, armed with a Winchester repeater rifle, was considerably
more formidable than she looked, and it was the reverse of likely that
any attack would be made until Grenville had been finally disposed of.

Leigh and his faithful friend had accordingly lain in wait all evening,
a quarter of a mile from the town, at the unusual quiet of which they
wondered, and had of course seen nothing, and returned to the plateau
broken-hearted, late at night, only to find Miss Winfield nearly
distracted, and to receive the dreadful news that Rose was missing.

The girl had stolen quietly away, leaving behind her the package of
valuables, on which was written in pencil, in a school-girl's hand, "For
dear Dick, with Rose's last and dearest wishes."

The poor girl's infatuation for his cousin was already known to Leigh,
through the medium of his betrothed, and he now quite broke down; his
sorrow, however, was nothing to the lamentations of the warlike Zulu at
this fresh and overpowering calamity.  "Ow! my little sister," he cried,
"why host thou left thy brother?  Thou wast to me the chiefest among ten
thousand friends?  Alas, alas, for the lovely flower of Utah!"

Slipping down the rock, Amaxosa quickly followed the young girl's
tracks, and soon ran out of sight, only to return shortly after with the
news that she had evidently taken the quagga, and ridden off at speed
towards the far west.

The perceptions of this sweet little woman had been keener than the
affectionate cousin's, keener than the crafty Zulu warrior's; all her
faculties had been sharpened by intense and self-denying love, and
instinctively guessing that the Mormon burial-ground would also form the
place of execution, thither she had driven her strange mount as fast as
she could ride him, arriving, as we have seen, just in the nick of time
to save Grenville's life for the moment, at the cost of her own.

Quite at a loss to understand what object Rose could have had in taking
the direction she had done, the party prepared to spend a wretched
night, and just before midnight Amaxosa pointed out to Grenville that
the Mormon city, which had lain in utter darkness all evening, was
brilliantly lighted up, and very shortly a merry peal of bells came
floating like music across the veldt, carrying woe and weeping to our
friends, for they realised that this was a paean of triumph over their
own departed comrade, and probably also over the capture of poor little
Rose.

Early in the morning--in fact, by grey dawn--the Zulu was down the rock,
building an enormously thick zareba of thorn-bushes, to be fixed on top
of the plateau to constitute an additional, and by no means despicable,
defence.

The day passed in anxious watching, and in attempts to make shells as
suggested by Grenville, and that night Amaxosa actually again entered
the Mormon town, and, keeping practically under water all the time,
learned the whole crushing story of the disaster to both the friends he
loved.

There was now nothing left, he said, but to revenge them, and on
regaining the plateau, he was, along with Leigh and Dora Winfield,
discussing what best to do next, when suddenly casting his eyes into the
darkness by his side, the courageous Zulu, to Leigh's utter astonishment
and consternation, uttered a frightful yell and rushed away to hide in
the sleeping cave, whilst at that instant his beloved and lamented
cousin Grenville calmly strode into the firelight, with the body of Rose
in his arms, and, placing his precious burden tenderly on the rock,
turned and offered Leigh his hand; but the other, with a stifled
exclamation of joy, threw himself on Grenville's neck, whilst Miss
Winfield sobbed on his shoulder, and Amaxosa, who had recovered his
equanimity, timidly grasped the outstretched hand of "his father," and
finding, as he said, that it was indeed the great white chief himself,
and no spook--for he had a great objection to spooks (ghosts)--he fairly
danced a war-dance, only moderating his exuberance to utter further
laments over the body of poor Rose.



CHAPTER NINETEEN.

RETRIBUTION.

Grenville was so obviously suffering from hunger, fatigue, and exposure,
that his friends, eager as they were to question him, forebore, for his
appearance was such--especially the corpse-like hue of his face--that
Amaxosa might well be excused from being startled into believing him a
ghost.  Finishing the welcome food placed before him, Grenville went to
sleep with the last morsel between his teeth, and would have fallen
forward into the fire had the watchful Zulu not interposed his ready
arm.

And now, with their hero amongst them, it was astonishing what a change
had come over the little party.  All were once again positively
cheerful, in spite of the depressing effect produced by the sight of
poor little Rose's body, which had been laid by itself in one of the
caves.

The mere fact that Grenville's active and energetic personality was
again present with them was such a relief that all slept peacefully, and
at breakfast next morning the re-united ones were, Leigh said, even
hopeful of their ultimate success.

Grenville smiled peculiarly, but merely told them that he had been in
the water for the whole of one night, and had almost died of exposure;
but, though weak and ill, had managed to scramble up the cliffs by a
rocky path, and had eventually regained the glade, where he had found
poor Rose's body lying among the tombs.  How he had ever reached the
plateau in his half-dying condition, still carrying his ghastly burden,
was a miracle; but it was one of the finest traits in his character,
which went to prove what a combination of pluck and determination the
man was.

Leigh noted, too, that his countenance was harder now, and looked older;
and knowing his cousin as he did, he felt certain that he had even now
conceived a fearful vengeance, which nothing short of the cold hand of
death would prevent him wreaking upon the wretched Mormons.

Stern though Grenville was, he fairly broke down and sobbed when Dora
brought him Rose's packet, addressed to himself.  "Ay," he said at last,
"I will accept it, for her sake; and woe to every Mormon I come across,
in any part of the world, now or hereafter.  Dearly shall the whole
accursed brood pay me for the loss of her who loved me so devotedly and
gave her life to save me."

That day Grenville kept all employed in baking huge clay balls, which he
filled with powder, balls, stones, and _debris_ of all sorts--these
being the best obtainable substitutes for hand-grenades.

"They will," he said to Leigh, "not meddle with us just yet; the attack
will, I expect, come off in three or four days' time, the interim being
employed in the manufacture of more infernal machines--but without
gunpowder this time, for they haven't a grain of it left, thanks to the
success of my gunpowder plot."

The result proved that he was right, and on the second night Grenville
led Amaxosa on one side, and held a long and private conference with
him--interrupted now and then, as Leigh and his betrothed could hear, by
genuine bursts of astonishment from the Zulu.  "Ow!" they heard him say,
"ow, my father, thou art indeed a wise and cunning man, and I, Amaxosa,
am thy faithful son."  But when the conference terminated, and Grenville
quietly opened the breast of his shirt, and withdrew the charm he had
taken from Myzukulwa's neck, handing it to the Zulu, the chief's delight
knew no bounds, and he poured forth in fluent and sonorous Zulu the
thanks of the whole people of the Undi for the preservation of this
mighty token, which belonged only to the chiefs of his own most ancient
house, and which established his own precedence and seniority in the
nation beyond the possibility of a doubt, and had indeed "made his heart
very glad."

What, however, was the surprise of Leigh and Dora when Amaxosa, after
shaking hands cordially with Grenville, gravely saluted them both, took
his weapons, and disappeared down the face of the rock.  Nor would our
friend answer any of their eager questions, merely telling them that the
Zulu had gone upon an errand which, though fraught with some little
danger, should, he thought, be easily and speedily executed; and if it
were so, would, he believed, result, not only in the speedy release from
East Utah of the whole party, but in the most fearful vengeance upon the
Mormons for the death of poor Rose, whom they had reverently buried that
very day.

"Our only difficulty," said he, in conclusion, "will be to hold the
plateau long enough to let Amaxosa execute his part of my scheme
perfectly; but I could not spare him before, and he will make all the
haste he can--so we must do our best."

The men kept watch by turns until dawn, and then both slept whilst Dora
kept guard for a couple of hours; and after all had breakfasted, the
Mormons were seen approaching in a compact mass, which, as Grenville
estimated, must contain the whole nation; and at this he, to his
cousin's surprise, expressed his satisfaction.

Our friend now descended to artifice, blackening his face and hands with
burnt wood, in order to pass at a distance for one of the Zulus, as he
had no wish at present to reveal his own dreaded identity to the enemy.

As soon as the masses got within a thousand yards, the repeaters opened
fire, killing the Mormons at a longer range than they had ever before
been treated to; still, however, the advance was steadily persevered in,
and Grenville soon saw at least five hundred Mormons established within
three hundred yards of his position, and almost entirely protected from
his fire by immense rubber half-houses on wheels, which gradually,
though continually, approached nearer and nearer to the rock.  Watching
these carefully, it soon appeared that the game was to get the shelter
close up to the plateau and then charge up the path in an irresistible
stream.  The plan was well devised, but the thorn-bushes of Amaxosa
ruined it, and the twenty picked Mormons who tried the first rush
perished miserably to a man.

The shooting of the besieged was beautifully accurate, for, in no fear
of their fire being returned, they were able to expose their persons at
will, and aim with murderous precision.

Now, however, two houses were planted at one time, and as two men, even
with Winchesters and posted behind a zareba, are rather short odds to
cope with forty, Grenville washed his face, got ready a shell, and, as
the Mormons charged, coolly stepped up to the very verge of the rock,
and threw the lighted bomb amongst them.  None who heard the awful yell
of terror which went up from these miserable and superstitious men could
ever forget it, and the whole Mormon army echoed the name of Grenville
in a shout which almost drowned the thundering and deadly explosion of
the first shell.  For such decidedly amateur handiwork, the missile
acted very well indeed and between its results and the Winchesters,
which Dora and Leigh plied unceasingly, not half a dozen men survived
the second charge.

A lull followed, but at three o'clock in the afternoon the foe again
moved up, and fought with increased vigour and renewed cunning.  A
dashing charge carried three men out of ten up to the first line of
thorn-bushes, into which they each slipped a lighted torch; and though
all were instantly picked off by the rifles, their work was done, for in
less than ten minutes the bushes were destroyed by fire, and an attempt
to destroy the second line in the same way followed, but failed
ignominiously, owing to the magnificent shooting of the beleaguered
party.

Cunning, nevertheless, matched science, and by putting on rushes of
thirty, forty, and even fifty men, the three lines of bushes were
destroyed, the last charge alone costing the foe forty men, of whom more
than a half were destroyed by one of Grenville's bombs.  Now, however,
there was but the last line of bush which fringed the plateau, and with
a terrific shout a full hundred Mormons rushed up the path and made for
this, whilst the defenders rained shot and shell upon them.  Still, what
could two men and one woman do?  Nearly forty men fell, but the bushes
blazed; and now the whole Mormon army drew together at the foot of the
slope, prepared to charge the moment the fire died out.

The cousins shook hands, and Grenville once again casting a longing
glance down the valley, and at the now sinking sun, set his teeth, and
prepared to die hard.

See, they come!  Now to it, good rifles.  Handsomely done, Leigh; shell
after shell, brave Grenville.  Ha! there goes Warden with a bullet
through his brain.  Well aimed, Dora Winfield!  That shot has settled
many an old score of thy dear father's.

Alas! alas! all is lost.  They are up--they touch the very plateau, when
Grenville again drives them back with a terrific charge, crying
out--"Hurrah, old man; bear up another moment--look yonder."  Leigh
looks, and so do the Mormons, and with one accord they turn and fly down
the rock--and why?  Out yonder, under the setting sun, what do they
see?--what do they hear?

Woe! woe! woe! to the Mormon host, for up the valley, at a long slinging
trot, comes the crack regiment of the famous warriors of the Undi, led
on to the charge by Amaxosa, the chief of their ancient house.  The
Saints form up in square against the rocks, heedless of their white foes
above, as they try to meet the resistless charge of the Zulu impi, and
stem the awful torrent which rolls up in a dark compact tide and flings
itself upon them, even as the surf dashes itself against, against, up,
up--ay, and right over the rocky shore.  Then the awful battle-shout of
the Undi is raised, and before the sun sets red in the western sky the
entire Mormon army has been annihilated, and the victorious Zulu chief
is grasping the hand of his "great white father," whom he introduces to
his brother-officers as the man who originated this mighty scheme of
stern retribution and wholesale slaughter.

The Zulus respectfully take Grenville's hand in turn, and gathering
round our hero--whose magnificent exploits their chief has related to
them, and whom they worship in consideration of the hundreds of bodies
piled up on the slopes of the plateau--they give a tremendous shout, and
announce that he has been elected their brother and a perpetual chief of
the Sons of the Undi, and that his name henceforth amongst them will be
"T'chaka, the great white father of his faithful people."

As the little party of friends sat over their fire at the plateau that
night, whilst their sable allies kept watch below, Grenville told the
whole thrilling story of his plunge into the River of Death.

Being a practised diver and swimmer, he had gone into the gulf feet
foremost; but dropping from such a fearful height, and knowing that the
water was low, owing to its being the very end of the dry season, he had
expected to be killed by being dashed against the rocks below the
surface; fortunately for him, however, that portion of the chasm which
he had selected for his awful leap, chanced to overhang a deep still
pool, into which Grenville had dropped, and from which he had emerged
almost unharmed; but, being immediately carried away by the river, he
had, in the darkness, received several nasty knocks which almost
deprived him of his senses.  When he had been in the water for upwards
of an hour, silently floating along with the stream, as he could nowhere
find foothold upon the slippery sides of the cliff, our hero detected
the current quickening; soon the stream grew faster and noisier, and all
at once he noticed that he was no longer able to see the sky above, but
_was drifting along underground_.  In the awful horror of that moment
Grenville almost went mad.  He commenced a mighty and useless struggle
against the resistless current, but found himself borne along like a
feather.

Just, however, as he was losing hope, he struck first his foot, and then
his knee, against something hard, and dropping into an upright posture
found that he had been, all the time, attempting to swim in less than
three feet of water, which just here ran like a mill-race.

Groping about, our friend at last succeeded in getting on a rock half
out of the water, and hung there for hours, with his person benumbed
from head to foot, and his senses paralysed.  "He had," he said, "come
to the conclusion that nothing could be worse than his present position,
and that he might as well drift wherever the stream chose to take him,"
when all at once he noticed the dark, swift waters changing colour, and
with a cry of joy recognised the fact that instead of being absolutely
underground, he was only shut in by immense cliffs, thickly wooded to
their very summits, and which all but entirely excluded the glad light
of day; and day it was, the sun was up, and soon sent his welcome shafts
of light streaming through the interlaced branches overhead, lighting
the gloomy chasm in dim and ghostly fashion.

Pulling himself together, Grenville slipped back into the water, and,
plucky fellow that he was, waded down the stream for about two hours,
"having," he said, "a hazy notion that he was doing the right thing by
instinct."

At the end of this time he entered a tunnel, and having groped his way
along it for about a mile, had almost decided to turn back, when he
suddenly passed an angle, and again saw daylight glimmering in the
distance.  All this time the water kept a uniform depth of about twelve
inches only, and was thick with a curious kind of subaqueous weed, which
gave him the impression that he was walking on soft damp moss.

Finally he reached the end of the tunnel, and was about to emergo into
open daylight, when his hurried footsteps were arrested by the sound of
a human voice speaking in the Zulu tongue.

Creeping cautiously nearer to the entrance, Grenville found that the
sound proceeded from two men, whom he at once recognised by their
general "get-up" as warriors of the Undi; and listening to the
conversation which ensued, he learned that a large portion of the tribe
was outlying in that district, and had decided to camp for some days in
their present position and prosecute hunting operations before the wet
season set in.

For another hour Grenville waited, not daring to introduce himself to
the Zulus, and, as soon as the pair moved away, stole out and found
himself in a lovely valley, which, as he had anticipated, sprang almost
directly from the mountain-range, and along which the River of Death,
now glimmering bright and lovely in the sunshine, flowed on towards the
sea.  He had escaped from East Utah, _and was on the outer side of the
mountains_.

Picking some wild gourds, he filled his empty stomach with these, and
then quickly retraced his steps through the tunnel, feeling certain now
that in some way he could ascend the cliffs and regain East Utah, as it
was clear the herds of game were able to do so.  The event proved that
he was right, for less than a mile up the glen he discovered a steep,
narrow, but well-trodden pathway to the higher inside lands, and finally
reached the plateau as we have seen, bringing with him the body of poor
little Rose.



CHAPTER TWENTY.

THE LAST OF THE MORMONS.

On the following morning Grenville was admitted to an Indaba (council)
with the chiefs of the Undi, and learned that Amaxosa had induced them
to come through the "great black hole" by promising them endless
plunder; and they now waited, they said, for their "great white father"
to lead them to the Mormon town.

At this juncture our friend had fearful evidence of the difficulty of
controlling the savage instincts of these wild natives.  Their one
desire was to put all that remained alive of the Mormons--man, woman,
and child--to a cruel death; but this Grenville would not hear of, and
the discussion waxed so hot that it was only with infinite difficulty he
restrained their lust for slaughter, and obtained a promise from the
chiefs that if a wholesale and unconditional surrender and capitulation
was made they would spare every soul now left alive in East Utah; but
the Mormons must leave the country within two days, and should receive
safe conduct through the Undi territory.  Of their goods and chattels
they might take whatever Grenville saw fit to let them have, but the
country should be the property of the Zulus, under "their Mother, the
Great White Queen; and in it their father, the great and wise white
chief, the renowned and invincible warrior, would ever find a home in
the hearts of his faithful children, and hands ready and willing to help
him in his battles with the cunning witch-finders, or other low people
against whom he might wish to make war."

The end of all this was that Grenville and Amaxosa, accompanied by a
score of active Zulus, went down to the Mormon town next day--the
intervening time being occupied in burying the dead, to prevent the
place from becoming plague-stricken, an idea abhorrent to the Europeans
when they remembered that in a peaceful corner close by their dear
ones--Winfield and Rose--slept their eternal sleep under the protecting
shadow of the great trees, where the little brook, which yesterday ran
red with rivers of human blood, now sang its peaceful lullaby, and
threaded its sinuous course through the forest and out into the rolling
veldt, looking like a tiny riband of moving glistening silver.

On arriving within eye-shot of the town, Grenville was surprised to
notice an unusual quiet about the place; and on hailing the place to
surrender, received no reply.

Apprehensive of a surprise, the band gradually approached and cautiously
entered the town, only to find it untenanted by a living soul.

The Mormons had evidently taken flight hurriedly, fearing the vengeance
of Grenville and his Zulu allies, for the streets were strewed with
their household goods in every direction; and on further examination it
proved that the whole community had crossed the river by the central
bridge, which they had closed against pursuers, and had betaken
themselves to the great stairway with multitudinous ladders.

On discovering this voluntary capitulation, Grenville gave a sigh of
relief, for he had feared lest some overt act of imprudence on the part
of the Mormons should draw down upon them prompt and unsparing vengeance
on the part of his bloodthirsty allies, when he well knew that man,
woman, and child would have gone down "in one red slaughter blent."

The main body was soon called up, and that night, for the first time for
many months, our friends slept with a genuine roof over their heads.

The Zulus, under the direction of Amaxosa, sacked the town, taking all
they wanted, but bringing to Grenville all the gold they came across,
which was to be the share of his party--and a very fair quantity they
found, too--and as there was still some little time before the setting
in of the rains, Grenville and his cousin visited the river near their
old Table Rock, and going higher up the stream found it, as poor
Winfield had predicted, a veritable El Dorado.

"You see, Alf," said Grenville, "you're going back to England, and you
mean to be married; and take my word for it, old chap, you'll get a
dusting from your governor for getting spliced without his consent.  Not
that I would advise you otherwise; you've got a sweet little woman for a
wife, and may God bless you both; but remember that every thousand
pounds you can take home with you will lessen the old man's wrath, so
take my advice and carry in a decent `pile.'"

For ten days the cousins toiled, whilst Dora Winfield resided with them
in their old quarters at the rock; and when the time came for them to
say farewell to East Utah, they had amassed an enormous quantity of the
precious metal, for which their friend Amaxosa gladly provided bearers.

Grenville said a last farewell to the grave of the girl who had loved
him so well, and turned away with an aching void in his breast.  The
grand self-sacrifice of this poor young creature had stirred his noble
nature to its very depths, and had he a hundred lives he would willingly
have relinquished them all to bring her back again to her place, which,
alas! would henceforth know her no more.  As he moved dejectedly on
towards the western bridge, a hand was laid upon his arm, and the voice
of Amaxosa softly said, "Will my father turn aside and do the final
honours to him who loved him, and who died for him?"

Without a word Grenville turned and followed the chief, only to find, in
the very centre of the Mormon town, the body of Myzukulwa--or, rather,
what was left of it--placed upon a funeral pyre, surrounded by a hundred
of the chiefs and headmen of his tribe.

Seeing he was expected to say something, Grenville stepped forward, and
laying his hand upon the cold brow of the dead warrior, he said--

"Amaxosa, my brother, children of the ancient race of Undi, my faithful
sons, here you behold all that remains of him who was the bravest man in
a nation where all are warriors and mighty men of renown.  As he lived,
so he died, with his face to the foe, and his victorious foot upon their
stricken necks.  My brothers, let us live as he lived, so that when our
time comes we may die even as he died--ever faithful to the death--
Myzukulwa, the son of Isanusi, the son of Undi."

Not another word was spoken; the warriors filed slowly past the corpse,
and the last man lighted the funeral pyre as all left the town, leaving
it in lonesome possession of the ashes of the mighty and unforgotten
dead; but looking back some time later, Grenville saw that Zulu artifice
had evidently set fire to the town in several quarters at once, for East
Utah lay behind him one mass of smoke and flame, forming a glorious
monument to the memory of the departed chief whom such a fiery couch for
his final sleep befitted to a degree.

The descent into the bed of the river was accomplished with difficulty,
but once down, the party--Dora mounted on the quagga--pushed steadily
forward and reached the outer world just before the sun set, all heaving
a sincere sigh of relief on finding East Utah at lost shut out from
view, and belonging only to the memories of the bitter past and the
shadows of the hereafter.

Grenville that night asked Amaxosa how he accounted for the herds of
game going through the water and all along the dark tunnel.  For reply
the chief signed to our friend to follow him.  Gliding to the
river-brink, they sought cover, and soon Grenville by the light of the
moon saw several head of game enter the water and apparently commence
_to browse there_, and he at once realised what was going on as the
animals, feeding on the mosslike weeds which floated on the surface,
gradually entered the tunnel and disappeared from view.

In this way they were undoubtedly led through the mountain, and on
arriving at the further side, with their appetites satisfied by the
luscious moss, did not care to face the tunnel, but took the first way
that presented itself up to the daylight.  How Amaxosa's rhinoceros had
ever got through was a marvel to all, but he had probably accomplished
the journey during an abnormally low state of the river.

Next morning Grenville and his friends set out for Natal, taking with
them their bearers, and bidding an affectionate good-bye to Amaxosa.

The chief was too much affected to speak; and when Dora Winfield clasped
a gold bracelet of her own round his sinewy wrist as a keepsake, he
fairly broke down, and with a final wave of his hand turned dejectedly
away, following the last of his men back into the tunnel.

Little did the cowardly Mormons imagine that this wild and savage
spirit, which for years had brooked their blows, their curses, and their
ignominious service, would one day rise and crush them out of
remembrance, and hold undisputed sway in their own kingdom, which would
henceforth know them no more.



CHAPTER TWENTY ONE.

"VALE, ME AMA!"

The rest of our story is soon told.

Grenville and his companions, after numberless hardships, owing to the
unprecedentedly heavy rains, at last reached Natal, where our friend had
the satisfaction of acting as best man at his cousin's wedding.

A full notice of this interesting event was published in the Local Press
by some enterprising reporter.  On the following day, a few hours after
the issue of the sheet in question, Grenville, who was sitting
listlessly smoking in the hotel, was surprised by the advent of a smart,
dapper-looking little man, who asked him if he was the "gentleman known
as Mr Alfred Leigh."

"No," replied Grenville; "do you really want my cousin?--for he's a
newly-married man, you know."

"Yes, sir, I do want him," said the little man, bowing deferentially,
"and he will wish to see me.  Can you introduce me?"

"Certainly," said Grenville, rising lazily.  "Whom shall I announce?"

"My name is Driffield, of the firm of Masterton and Driffield,
solicitors," was the reply.

Leading the new arrival to Leigh's private sitting-room, Grenville
circumspectly knocked at the door, and entering said, "My cousin, Mr
Driffield.--Alf, Mr Driffield, who is a lawyer, is anxious to meet you,
and says you will be glad to see him."

"You misunderstood me, sir," said the little lawyer; "I observed that
your cousin would wish to see me.  The news I bring you, sir, is both
bad and good--bad, because your father and your brother are both dead;
good, because I have to congratulate you upon your accession to the
peerage, Lord Drelincourt."

Poor Alf! it was indeed cruel news to strike him at the very
commencement of his wedded happiness; but his wife slipped her soft arms
round his neck, and the lawyer considerately withdrew, Grenville
whispering to him to wait his return in the smoke-room.

In few words Leigh told his cousin to find out all the solicitor had to
communicate, and to do what he thought best; and then Grenville left him
alone with his sorrow and his new-made wife.

The lawyer had little to tell.  Lord Drelincourt and his son had been
killed in a railway accident in Ireland, and advertisements had been
inserted in all the South African papers for the missing heir to the
title, as his wanderings had been traced as far as Natal.

Grenville was favourably impressed with the little man, who hurried away
to cable his lordship's London solicitors, promising to return that
evening, which he did, and made himself so useful that before the new
Lord Drelincourt's departure for England he was made happy with a very
handsome cheque.

Grenville next took passages by the Union Company's steamer _Tartar_,
and saw his cousin and his bride safely off two days after, the former
in possession of a bill of lading for gold dust to the value of _a
quarter of a million sterling_.

Words cannot describe poor Leigh's distress when he found that his
cousin had no intention of accompanying them to the Old Country.

"Dick, you're not going back to waste your life over her grave and
amongst savages?  Don't do it, old man," pleaded his cousin.

"Not I, Alf--I'm not made of that kind of stuff.  If I do anything with
reference to the matter, it will be in the direction of visiting Salt
Lake City and exterminating the whole cursed Mormon breed.  I cannot yet
coop myself up in trim civilised England--I long for the keen breath of
the mountain air and for the wide sweep of veldt as it spreads its
expanse before me in all the weird mystery of the moonlight.  No, dear
old chap; you have someone else to take care of you now; but when you
want Dick Grenville, you know you've only to ask for him.  Adieu, Alf;
good-bye, Sister Dora.  God bless you both!  Vale, me ama!"

The End.





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