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´╗┐Title: Jasper Lyle
Author: Ward, Harriet
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 "Jasper Lyle" ***

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Jasper Lyle
By Harriet Ward
Published by George Routledge and Co, Soho Square, London.
This edition dated 1851.

Jasper Lyle, by Harriet Ward.






People are beginning now-a-days to know where Kafirland is!

Verily they have paid dearly for their knowledge!

It is a beautiful land, with its open savannahs, its wooded glens, its
heathy mountains, its green and undulating parks--nature's plantations!
Pleasant to the eye is the sight of the colonists' sheltered farms,
surrounded by waving cornfields, and backed by noble mountains,
ascending in the distance, one above another, assuming every hue it is
possible to imagine, and finally blending their purple heights with
clouds all radiant with gold, or shaping themselves into canopies of
sombre colouring, and veiling the glories of heaven from the upturned
gaze of man.

But from these scenes the traveller may suddenly find himself translated
to the most sterile moors, stretching out in apparently illimitable
space, or bounded by bald rocks, which offer no "shadow from the heat,"
no "refuge from the storm."  In these tracts, the earth, resembling
lava, is bare of all but stones, except where some bright-flowering bulb
has struggled with its destiny, only to waste its beauty on the desert.
There is nothing living to be seen in these inhospitable regions, save
when the hungry travellers pause to "to kill and eat," and lo! as the
scent of blood rises in the atmosphere, a solitary speck hovers in the
sky, another, and another, and, like airy demons waiting for their prey,
the asphogels, the gigantic vultures of South Africa, keep watch over
the bivouac, in anticipation of the feast for which their instinct has
prepared them.

It was in the centre of an unsightly plain that three travellers were
arrested on their journey by one of those appalling storms which, in the
loveliest spots of Southern Africa, disenchant the mind, impressed with
the beauty of the wooded tracts, or the grandeur of even the solitary
wastes, with the sweet influence of balmy mornings, or the nights serene
and clear, sometimes shining more brilliantly than day.

All the morning symptoms in the air had warned the attendant of our
travellers, a knowing little bush man, of an approaching storm, and he
had urged his masters to advance with all the speed they could drive
into their patient and active steeds.  But the lightning soon played in
all its horrible brightness, piles of clouds like snow began to rise in
front; to the unpractised ear all was silent, but the bushman called a
halt, and dismounting, led the others with their horses behind a heap of

Thus partially screened, they awaited the mighty tempest.

The giant of the storm advanced as with a trumpet-blast from that part
of the horizon whence the lightning had telegraphed his approach.  He
came with a rushing sound resembling the passage of an invisible but
powerful host, the desert shook with the terror of his presence, the
clouds came slowly floating on, growing darker and darker, till their
hue was of a leaden aspect, and in a few moments, as with a roar of many
waters, the rains poured down their torrents, the winds whistled an
unearthly chorus to the plashing of the floods, the great stones rocked
and moaned, the thunder pealed, now muttering in ill-subdued wrath, and
now clattering overhead in ungovernable fury, then passing by to burst
its bolts on some far mountain-top, or on fair pasture-lands, where
cattle stood huddled together in terror and dismay.  There was silence
at length upon the plain.  "The earth trembled and was still," the
horses lifted their heads and snuffed up the refreshing air; the little
bushman groom, whom I shall describe by-and-by, drew the covers from the
saddles, and the two young men, his masters, shook themselves like dogs
on reaching land after a long swim.

"Well," said the younger, a man of slender frame, but not the less manly
in his appearance for that, "here is a precious specimen of an African

"Yes, my good fellow; you are able to judge of it now," replied his
companion, Major Frankfort, whose darkened complexion and tanned
gloveless hands proved his experience in the country, and who solaced
himself and his friend moderately with a _sopie_ (dram), from the flask
stuck in his leather waist-belt, to which other appendages were fixed.
Neither did he forget the shivering but smiling bushman, May.  The name
is not in keeping with this very original little groom, but he had been
so named not without reason.

These two travellers, Major Frankfort and Mr Ormsby, were officers of
an English regiment employed on the frontier of the British possessions
in South Africa, and had obtained leave of absence for the purpose of
journeying together on a shooting excursion beyond the Orange River.

The younger one had never seen any sport beyond his father's moors, and,
albeit rather indolent and luxurious of habit, he found himself tempted
to accompany Frankfort into the interior of the country, where he was
told that droves of large game, of manifold species, were to be seen
herding together on the mountain slopes and spacious plains to the

And now the sun burst forth, the clouds rolled away in heavy masses, the
plain stretched wider and wider in the clear expanse, and in the
distance the hills loomed large, till at length the peaks and tableland
stood out strongly defined against the sky.

The horses were well rubbed down and re-saddled, the travellers resumed
their route, and in another hour some signs of vegetation promised
comfort and repose.

Clumps of bush adorned either side of the road, the large starry
jessamine, the glowing geranium, the golden-blossomed green mimosa,
emitting a delightful odour from the bowers formed by nature's graceful
hand, were doubly agreeable to the eye that ached with gazing on a
barren space, and ere long the ripple of water sounded musically among
the trees; in another moment a clear stream delighted the eyes of men
and beasts.

Pleasant it was in that cool drift (ford) to feel the gentle gale
fanning the heated brow, pleasant to lift even the light felt hat from
the head, and halt beneath the over-arching boughs of willows and trees
of statelier growth, in which the monkeys chattered, frightening the
poor guanas from their hiding-places among the stones into the sanctuary
of the tall grasses and plants, prodigal of beauty in the deep solitude.

They crossed the stream, and after threading a defile thickly studded
with euphorbias and prickly-pear bushes, the honey-bird hovering about
them and striving to beguile them to those delicious nooks where bees
make their nests, and the coneys have colonies in the cliffs, they found
themselves upon another plain, dotted like a park with clumps of trees.
Here the bushman guide halted, and placing the open palm of his right
hand above the left, he measured the space between the sun and the
horizon, and, announcing that "it wanted one hour to sunset," gave his
horse the rein, and cantering on at a smarter pace than before, was
followed by his masters.

They soon came upon the track of waggon-wheels, next they found the
remains of fire and the _debris_ of a meal; at a little distance lay the
carcase of a poor ox, which had died probably from exhaustion, and round
it were assembled, in greedy conclave, what appeared to Ormsby's
unpractised eye a flock of sheep.  It was a company of vultures, seated
in a circle round their prey, and while some still ate, the rest,
unwilling or unable to move from the scene of the repast, kept close
order, and dosingly watched their hungry comrades with a ludicrously
stupified air.

Unwilling to disturb these scavengers of nature, the three horsemen
moved on, and soon looked down upon a valley, the quiet of which was
relieved by a farm-house of regular proportions; but the shingle roof,
bare white walls, and ill-tended garden had nothing picturesque about
them, although the valley was rich in corn, and a grove of fruit-trees
proved the capabilities of the soil; but these were planted without
taste or order.

Beyond, the scene was charmingly pastoral; a clear stream, a branch of
the river they had lately forded, wound through the vale, and from the
banks opposite the settlement was a gently-sloping hill, thickly wooded
in some parts.  On the open spaces cattle were browsing, unmindful of
the call of the Hottentot herds, too indolent to climb the steep and
drive them down.  The call was unheeded till it was accompanied by the
shrill whistle of a little Kafir boy, that whistle which acts like magic
on the cattle of South Africa; with one accord the creatures paused,
lifted up their heads to listen, and then the largest ox of the herd
turning to descend the hill, the rest wended their way after him to meet
these impish guards, while other herdsmen went to collect the great
flocks of sheep and goats, whose approach along the course of the river
was continuously audible enough to charm the most Arcadian taste and
ear.  The lowing of the cattle, the bleating of the smaller but more
numerous "creatures of the fold," the Kafir whistle, and the song and
laughter of the Hottentot girls, floated together in a sort of wild
harmony along the vale, and met the travellers in their descent; but not
the least agreeable part of the picture to the latter, was the sight of
their waggons drawn up upon a miniature prairie, or flat on the margin
of the stream, and the smoke, curling upwards from the bush, announced
the preparation for cookery, to which they were disposed to do ample
justice.  Their tents were pitched, they were evidently expected, and
the Hottentot courier, who had preceded them by a day, had done his
bidding and "made ready."

The hospitable Dutchman, the owner of the farm, was on the look-out for
them, for he stood leaning over his wicker gate and watching their

They cantered up, and replied to his "Good morrow,"--Frankfort
cordially, Ormsby with cold civility; but the Dutchman invited them
within, and Frankfort, feeling himself indebted for the permission to
_outspan_ (unyoke) on the farm-land, accepted the proffered attention,
much to Ormsby's disgust, for he was hungry, tired, and thoroughly
uncomfortable from the effects of the drenching he had got.

So was Major Frankfort; but these two men, though friends and
companions, were very different in habits and opinions.  Indeed, Ormsby,
had it been practicable, would gladly have faced about and given up that
expedition, so utterly annoyed was he with many _desagremens en route_;
indeed, he had been first induced to accompany Frankfort, because his
brother-officers had offended his manly pride by doubting his powers of
endurance on a _trek_ (journey) through the depopulated wilderness.

"You lazy dog, Ormsby," his colonel had observed to him one morning,
"how can _you_ talk of going up the country with Frankfort? he will
never make a sportsman of you,--you are always late for parade."

"I am never _last_, sir," replied the youngster to his commanding
officer, who happened that very day to have kept the parade waiting; a
thing commanding officers constantly do themselves, though they punish
their subordinates for the error.

"Humph!--You know nothing of sporting--you talk of the moors; why,
Frankfort has shot his five-and-twenty lions; besides, you would be
breakfasting at his dinner-hour, and grumbling that you have no cream
for your coffee as muddy as the water of the Fish River.  Tell us, now,
what time you got up this morning."

"I confess, that is rather a poser, sir; but I will ask my servant, if
you particularly desire to know," answered Ormsby, with a demure look,
which set some of the subs laughing.

"Can you tell when the sun rose?" asked Colonel J.

"No, sir," replied the saucy Ormsby, gravely; "he was up before I was."

It was the manner, not the matter, that made every one laugh, and
Ormsby, running his hand through his shining, but carelessly-arranged
hair, called to his servant to bring him his cigar-case, and the last
new novel he had received from England, in Hookham's box; then,
stretching himself at full length across a window-sill of the mess-room,
he took up a paper, declaring it was too hot for billiards; next he
ordered some pale ale, with which he solaced himself while he waited for
his novel and cigar, and having obtained these, began to long for

In great contrast to him was his friend Major Frankfort.  Though
possessed of attractions which would render many a man vain, Frankfort
was sadly insensible to the charms of a society in which he would have
been flattered and caressed.  The principal features in his character
were generosity, and its sister attribute, bravery; but there was withal
a certain reserve in his nature, which prevented him from being
appreciated, except by friends, and these were not numerous; for he was
neither a person to seek, or be sought--he was one who could not be
gratified by the commonplaces of every-day life.  His love of adventure
had its impulses, not in the excitement of the gay world, but in the
beauties, harmonies, and sublimities of nature.

The winter season had passed away without realising the expectation
formed by the colonists of a war with the savage tribes on their border,
and the months succeeding the rains were looked forward to by sportsmen
as a season of relief and enjoyments, after the _desagremens_ of a life
"under arms," without the excitement of "an enemy in sight."

How often it happens, especially in the naval and military professions,
that two men of totally opposite natures will become the most intimate
friends of the community to which they belong.  No two characters could
be more strongly contrasted than those of Edward Frankfort and Charles
Ormsby.  Characters may differ where natures may have attributes in

Frankfort was generous and brave, so was Ormsby; but the latter was
often more generous than just, for he had never been taught the value of
money or opinion, nor how to discriminate between the faults arising
from folly, or those originating in misfortune.  Equally brave with
Frankfort, he was hasty in his judgments and impetuous in his decisions,
forgetting that fool-hardiness is no proof of courage, and that valour
is not thought the less of for being coupled with discretion.  But,
unlike Frankfort, whose candour was never obtrusive, Ormsby's openness
of manner often degenerated into egotism.

Frankfort was careless of appearances as far as mere fashion went;
nevertheless, his attire was always suited to the occasion.  Ormsby,
while he affected to despise those outward adornings which render men
effeminate, and consequently despicable in the eyes of those they most
seek to please, displayed a certain affectation in the tie of the loose
cravat which showed to advantage the beauty of his throat; the straw hat
he wore in the morning lounge was coarse, but of becoming shape, and his
shooting-coat, or loose jacket, hung on his shoulders as they would have
hung on no other's.

Pretending to despise the uniform of the soldier, he "sported" a costume
as little like an officer's and as much like a settler's as possible;
but to see him enter a hall-room in all the pride of scarlet and gold,
it was clear that he thought himself the finest there.  So Colonel J
said; but Ormsby was perpetually vexing Colonel J, the most selfish of
men, the most exacting of commanding officers.

This dash of conceit, however, was rather becoming to one so handsome,
so agreeable, and so open-hearted; and Major Frankfort found himself
making allowances for the young sub's faults, and at last taking
sufficient interest in him to endeavour to correct them.  Early
indulgences made this a difficult matter; but Frankfort saw, that though
the surface was overrun with weeds and rubbish, there was something
below worth getting at.  Little rays of light gleamed up at times, and
showed that there was good ore in the mine.

Unaccustomed to bestow his regard too readily, Frankfort might never
have yielded to the outward attractions of this fine young man, but duty
brought them together, and Major Frankfort began to like Ormsby against
his will.  Happily for the latter, the influence of such a character as
Frankfort's was not thrown away upon him; for his nature, as I have
shown, was capable of excellent impulses.  These, like goodly fruits
brought from shade to sunlight, soon ripened into sentiments, which
might hereafter become principles; but the future must not be

And all this time we have kept them at the gate of the poor Dutchman's
desolate-looking garden.

Major Frankfort shook hands with Vanbloem, or rather Vanbloem shook
hands with Frankfort.  Ormsby did not understand such familiarity, but
he suffered it with a better grace than he would have done had some of
his brother-officers been by, and permitting May to lead off his horse,
followed the Dutchman to the entrance of his neglected-looking abode.

Vanbloem's wife was a mild-tempered woman, too indolent to scold the
lazy Hottentot girls sitting in the garden, or rather yard, of the
dwelling, awaiting the return of the herdsmen, and totally regardless of
their charges, the children, who, rejoicing in the dirt, were busily
employed, under the tuition of a little Fingo boy [see Note 1], in
moulding most unclassical representations of elands, rhinoceroses,
sea-cows, elephants, and various other denizens of the hunting-grounds.

The aspect of the principal apartment and only sitting-room of the house
did not strike the travellers as inviting, and to Ormsby, the
slaughtered sheep suspended from the roof, with his head downwards, and
dripping with blood, was particularly revolting; turning his back to it
in disgust, he found himself face to face with two enormous people, the
grandfather and grandmother of the family.  He might have doubted their
being alive, but for the pipe in the patriarch's mouth.  The ancient
dame sat almost immovable, but a slight tremor in the head indicated
palsy.  A teapot stood on a little table beside her, and with her feet
turned backwards round the legs of the chair, and her arms folded under
her apron, she looked as if she had dressed herself in the round-eared
cap and ample gown of _voerchitz_, a coarse print, manufactured in
England, for once and for aye, never to be changed.  A felt hat crowned
the white head of the old man, and with more courtesy than the Boer
usually exhibits, he lifted it from his brow, but replaced it ere he
shook hands with Major Frankfort, who offered his palm at once.  Two or
three heads of round-faced Dutch girls, Vanbloem's elder daughters,
peeped in from a door leading to a back room; they vanished with a
giggle, and then one, less shy than the rest, came forward and ventured
to offer the "tea-water."  This was declined with thanks; but unwilling
to treat the civilities of these poor people with coldness, Frankfort
promised to say "Good night" before he and his friend retired for the

They then proceeded to the outspan, and gave orders for the preparation
of their repast, while they bathed in the stream, yet warm from the
effects of the sun.

The pools under the alders were clear and deep.  How delicious it was to
cast aside the heavy coat, saturated as it had been with wet; how
refreshing to lave the weary limbs in the crystal bath!

Then what ample justice was done to the carbonatje (broiled mutton
steaks), and the stewed buck, and the "remove" of quail, to say nothing
of the glass of "warm stuff," when the sun went down and the cool breeze
came up the river.  Verily, our travellers enjoyed their repose on that
green bank with a greater zest than they could have done in a
well-appointed foam, after a more luxurious feast in this quiet-going,
"very comfortable" England.

It must be owned they had not a very military appearance, albeit they
are "armed and accoutred" for "the road."  Their jackets of drab duffle,
reaching to the hip, were rendered more useful than ornamental by the
capacious pockets; their felt hats were of that description long since
adopted by the patriarchal Boers of Southern Africa, and of late become
fashionable in England under the designation of "Jem Crows" and
"wide-awakes;" and the ostrich plume, wound round these, not only shaded
their brows from the fervid sun, but attracted the flies from their
faces, somewhat blistered by the alternations of heat and wind and rain.
Their trowsers of pliable brown leather stoutly resisted the thorns, or
rather spikes, of the mimosa bushes; their _veldt scoons_ (shoes) were
of the same material, but stronger, and fitted the foot as easily as a
glove; and their costume was rendered complete by the belt buckled round
the waist, from which was slung, besides the flask, a small pouch of
buckskin, containing gun-caps, a clasp-knife with numerous blades, and
various other articles necessary for the journey,--a pair of
long-barrelled pistols completing the equipment when starting for the
_trek_.  When riding without their waggons, they moved with a change of
linen in a small sabretache of tiger-skin, appended to the saddle, while
in a haversack was a good store of dried meat, hard-boiled eggs when
they were to be had, and biscuit; in short, sufficient, on a pinch, for
a good day's meal.

They rose to pay their adieux to Vanbloem and his family.  Frankfort was
unarmed, but Ormsby had by chance stuck in his belt his six-barrelled
pistol, then a great novelty in that far country.  Frankfort remarked
this on entering Vanbloem's gateway; but his companion explained that it
was not loaded, which was satisfactory, for the Dutch, though kindly
disposed towards English settlers, were no great friends to the
government, and, alas! there were not wanting men of a bad faction to
turn even a trifling action of this nature to bad account.

The glory of the sun had departed, but there was twilight, which makes
the summer day of the Cape so much longer and pleasanter than that of
the tropics.  The door of the great room at Vanbloem's stood wide open,
and the coarse, flaring, home-made candles shed their flickering rays on
a group assembled to look at the two Englishmen.  To the family party
were now added three or four Hottentot servant-girls, their woolly locks
concealed beneath bright-coloured _douks_ (head-kerchiefs).  They had a
smart air, for they were arrayed in flaunting colours.  Scarlet or
yellow bodices set off a striped or elaborately-patched petticoat, ample
in width and scanty in length, displaying ankles that fine ladies would
have coveted and feet proportionally minute.  A bevy of children, very
merry, very noisy, and very dirty, were chattering together at play, and
looking in at an open window, with the strong light falling on their
dusky forms, round which, their blankets loosely and gracefully draped,
were two Kafir herdsmen.  Their crisp hair, thicker than that of the
Hottentots, was elaborately _coiffe_, being stiffened with red clay;
round their well-shaped throats were necklaces of beads intermixed with
wolves' teeth, and sundry rude ornaments adopted as charms, having been
endued with certain magic powers by the witch doctors or rain-makers of
the tribe.  Their wrists were encircled by brazen bangles, and each
carried his snuffbox, a miniature tortoise-shell, with its long ivory
spoon appended by a brazen chain.

One of them was in the act of putting a spoonful of the mixture into his
mouth, when Ormsby walked up to him, and with great deliberation began
examining him with the same curiosity that a naturalist would have
evinced on seeing some newly-discovered animal.  Both Kafirs returned
his survey with a steady gaze.

In strong contrast to these sculptured and dignified-looking beings,
rose the noise of chattering among the other occupants of the house and
_stoep_ [the platform that runs along the front of all Dutch houses].
The old patriarch and his wife indeed maintained their usual
taciturnity, and sat just within the door, their chairs having been
moved there by their son, for the filial deference of the Dutch is

At last some of the Hottentots, who had retired to a corner of the
stoep, after a due examination of the travellers, began singing in a
soprano key; the men coming from the farm-yards and joining them in
deeper tones, all in perfect harmony, and some of the voices exceedingly

It was an old but popular air, one which had found its way, like an
angel's voice, across the waters, into the wilderness.  It was a hymn
sung to the tune of "Home, sweet Home!"

The sopranos were a little tremulous, to be sure, but true to time and
tune, and the bass voices gave solemnity to the chorus.

The associations it called up were strangely contrasted with the scene.
A rude dwelling, oddly peopled, standing in the midst of a wild garden,
ill-tended, but perfumed by orange-trees, waving their scented boughs in
the still air, while beyond, in dreamy profile, rose the boundary of
hills with the spacious silent landscape between; but the far mountains,
of brown and purple and pale blue, had faded utterly away into the
clouds of night.

"Home, sweet Home!"  Ormsby listened only to the air.  He was not one
accustomed to give way to those emotions of the soul which soften its
impulses and direct its thoughts to the gentlest and most hallowed ties
of earth; it must, indeed be confessed that he was too much inclined to
discourage such emotions and to quiz them, as it is called, in others;
but his heart, at this distance from the beloved and remembered faces
which had shone upon him at home, was disturbed by its reminiscences.

The air was identified with a lost sister, the pet of his boyhood.
There was a sudden vision of a long, narrow, day nursery, with many
windows looking out upon green uplands and rich waving woods, where the
fox-hounds used to meet; of another room, within, where old nurse Hetty
used to sit and sing to his consumptive little sister, who died

As he leaned against one of the rough pillars supporting a gable of the
building, his thoughts wandered back to those early days; vividly he
remembered that one on which his little favourite sister had been
carried away dead; with what terror had he watched the dark and
high-plumed hearse, with its fearful train of black carriages, all drawn
by solemn, heavy sable horses, waiting for the small coffin, to bear it
through the snow of the churchyard.  He remembered it was midwinter; the
ground and the trees and the hills and the roofs of the stables were all
white with snow; it powdered the harness of the coal-black horses, and
the carriages and hearse, as they wended their dreary way down the long
avenue of leafless trees, and through the lodge-gates and along the
road, till they were lost sight of below the slopes at the boundary of
the park.

He remembered hearing his younger brother begin to sing the familiar
tune, and nurse Hetty's dismay because she could not silence him, and
his mother, in her white dressing-gown, looking into the nursery with
eyes streaming with tears.

That air had long been forbidden in his father's house, and he had not
heard it for years till now.  Never had he been so nearly overcome by
tender recollections; he mastered his emotions by a strong effort, and
bowed civilly to Mrs Vanbloem's invitation to sit down.

The Kafirs had eyed him with some admiration, but were more attracted by
the appearance of Frankfort.  The Hottentot girls, having finished their
hymn, came in from the stoep and manifested their unqualified admiration
of his wavy chestnut hair, his brilliant eyes, and the gold chain that
peeked from the folds of his dress.  One gazed first at his glossy
locks, then felt her own scanty allowance of frizzled wool; another
cried, "good," "pretty," as she walked round him with a mixed expression
of surprise and delight, and the youngest of all laughed aloud,
exhibiting teeth finer than his own.

The Kafirs, having followed the Hottentot servants into the house,
seated themselves on the floor at a respectful distance.  Frankfort
begged Vanbloem to translate the remarks they were evidently making on
himself and his friend.  The handsome countenance and elegant figure of
Ormsby did not make so strong to impression on them as the more powerful
form of Frankfort, who was the taller of the two by some inches.  They
were, however, neither loud nor demonstrative, but eyeing him from head
to foot, they passed their deliberate commendations in their own
peculiar manner.  "Ma-wo!" had been the first exclamation of the younger
and more excitable Kafir, as the tall figure of Frankfort had cast its
shadow upon the wall, against which they leaned in indolent fashion, as
the travellers walked up the garden-path with Vanbloem--Ma-wo implying

The other had taken his observations at first in silence; but now he
observed to his companion, in a low musical voice, "Inkosi
enkulu!"--"That is a great captain."

"Eurci!" was the reply, when the other had satisfied himself that his
friend's judgment was correct.

Frankfort saw the eyes of both the Kafirs fixed upon him, and returned
their glances with such an expression of good-will, that they with one
accord held out two pair of hands, uttering the old imperative demand
peculiar to Kafirs, "Baseila,"--"Gift."

All savages are beggars, more or less; but the Kafir does not beg, he

Frankfort laughed, and took some sticks of tobacco from the vast pockets
of his duffle jacket, and would doubtless have been besieged for more,
but that the light flashing on the six-barrelled weapon in Ormsby's belt
drew the dark and gleaming eyes of the Kafirs upon him, and their
exclamations brought the rest of the household round him in a circle.

He drew the pistol from the belt to gratify the surprise and curiosity
of Vanbloem, who handed it to his father.  The patriarch had the
pleasure of exhibiting it to all, and so great was the astonishment and
admiration displayed, that Ormsby would have offered it to the farmer,
but Frankfort checked the generous intention.

The dissertation between the old man and his son was amusing; the
patriarch remarking that where the pistol might _wound six_, the _roer_,
the long gun of the Boers, _must_ kill all it aimed at.  The old man had
a hearty contempt for all new-fashioned implements of war, but his son
resigned the brilliantly-polished weapon with a sigh, which so touched
Frankfort, that he promised to select a single-barrelled pistol from his
collection of small-arms, and send it from the bivouac, as an offering
of good-will to the good-natured Boer.

Our sportsmen then took their leave, in spite of the kindly invitation
to sit down to the homely but plentiful table with the family of four
generations, beginning with the aged grandfather, and ending, for the
present, with the grandchild of Vanbloem, junior.

They found the waggons made snug for the night, and the cattle safely
fastened to the tressel-booms--poor things! they were liable to
molestation from wolves, close as they were to a thriving homestead.

May threw additional billets on the fire as his masters drew near--the
other attendants were fast asleep beneath the store-waggon, and
Frankfort and Ormsby prepared to luxuriate on the karosses spread within
their sleeping-tent, a species of pavilion, affixed to the ponderous
vehicle, their dwelling-place in rude weather, lined throughout with
baize, furnished with well-stuffed benches, and made complete with
sundry pockets, slings, straps, and thick curtains at either end.
Ormsby was sound asleep before Frankfort had inspected the preparations
for the start at dawn.  Having seen to the arrangements for replenishing
the fire for warming the coffee, having ascertained that the curtains
were closed against the invasion of an unexpected storm, that the arms
were secure--the horses safely picqueted, and the oxen safely _reimed_
(fastened with thongs of hide), he was just about to tie the last knot
of the tent-flap, when he fancied he heard some one breathing nearer to
him than any of the sleeping groups, as Ormsby had thoughtlessly
extinguished the light within the tent, and his low and steady breathing
proved his insensibility to sight or sound--Frankfort stooped down, and,
laying his ear to the ground, distinguished the pressure rather than the
sound of a step upon the short turf.

Without rising, he whispered from the tent, "May."

"Does the sir call?" asked the bushman, awakened in a moment, and
rolling himself down the mound, on which the store-waggon stood, to the

"Hush!" said Frankfort softly; "some one breathed close by."

May put his hand to his ear, but all was still, with the exception of an
occasional sigh from an over-tired ox or a muttered growl from one of
the dogs.  The ripple of the river tinkled pleasantly some yards off,
but not a breath of wind stirred the boughs.  The night was heavy,
though the stars were coming out, and it was impossible to say what
chance of discord existed among the elements.

May pricked up his ears like a little terrier, and Frankfort and he made
a reconnoitring tour round the bivouac; but nothing was to be seen.  The
bushman retired to his mat and Major Frankfort to his tent.

The Hottentots slept sound, the huge oxen uttered their periodical
sighs, the bats flitted about the tent, through which the moonlight
began to peep, and at intervals the whine of the wolf came up the valley
marring the silence, but too far off to disturb the sleepers and rouse
the dogs.  Frankfort gave a last glance at the Dutchman's farm.  It
looked exceedingly picturesque by that mellow light.  The whole scene
had an air of peace, little in character with the original possessors of
so lovely a soil.  Ah! there came the jackal's cry again, destroying the
illusion, and a responsive laugh followed, like mocking echoes from the
gibbering hyena.


Note 1.  The Fingoes are the remnant of some powerful nations, conquered
and enslaved by the Kafirs, whom they greatly resemble.



The little bushman, whom we have introduced as the attendant of our
English officers, must be more particularly described ere we advance in
a story in which he will frequently make his appearance.

The reader will consider his name--May--rather a misnomer for such a

He is about three feet and a half high; his head would be bald, but for
a few bead-like tufts of hair, scattered vaguely about the surface.  His
eyes are long, black, twinkling, and very merry, but his expression is
less cunning than that of the Hottentot physiognomy.  His nose! where is
it?  His mouth is wide, but his white teeth redeem this feature from its
ugliness; his skin is of the hue of pale gingerbread.

The countenance, however, is far from unpleasing; his voice is odd, with
occasional clicks in pronunciation, which May chooses to introduce,
notwithstanding his education.  The hands and feet are exquisitely
small, and the frame lithe and agile as a monkey's.  His costume is
copied from his masters; the materials are coarser, but the "wide-awake"
hath on him a more jaunty air, the feather a more "knowing" feel, and
this is fastened to the hat with a gilt bugle, the gift of some light
infantry officer, and much prized by May, who had managed to coax from
the same source an old red jacket, which he carries in the waggon-box,
and wears on Sundays when they halt in the wilderness.

May is a capital mimic, takes off various members of the Graham's Town
garrison, well-known as oddities; imitates with ludicrous gravity the
imposing air of the governor's brother, and elicits peals of laughter
from his Hottentot comrades, when, arrayed in Fitje's yellow petticoat,
he caricatures the dancing of an affected young lady, whom he has
watched through the windows of a ball-room.  But I must give you May's
origin, or you will wonder how this monkey came to see the world.

Behold a chain of mountains rising abruptly and with a bold sweep across
a most lovely wilderness.  From the colonial border these mountains look
exquisitely, but faintly blue, in the haze which hangs about them.  In
that busy colony how faint an idea can its inhabitants have of the wild
beings that dwell amid those distant solitary fastnesses.  In the
shelving rocks, in bowery nooks scented with the rich perfume of plants,
which in our land a queen would prize in her conservatory, beside the
clearest running waters, the little bushmen find their rest among the
coneys, the bright-eyed lizards, and the treacherous snakes; brilliant
birds flit round them as they lie at ease beneath umbrageous boughs or
in cool shady caves, shrouded by luxurious creepers; from the flexile
branches of the banian-trees the monkeys peer down upon what some would
consider almost their fellow-apes, and on the plains thousands of noble
animals in herds are enjoying the gifts of nature, "feeding in large
pastures."  An army of elephants is moving through the bush, on a
distant mountain; you cannot see them, but you can hear the loud
trumpet-cry of their leader giving warning of some intruder's stealthy
advance.  In the valley the lions are ranged like soldiers awaiting the
return of their scouts, and beyond, far beyond, just where the sunset
reveals a spot which has lain in the shade all day, behold the
advance-guard of the stately giraffe--two of them: the one with neck
outstretched and eye and ear keenly intent, now upon the plain, now on
the mountain-side, while his companion crops the fresh green herbage.  A
cloud crosses the sun, and the giraffes are seen no more; their
momentary appearance has drawn the bushmen-hunters from their haunts, to
gaze upon the shy and cautious animals.

There go the gnoos, tossing their manes, leaping, plunging, half in
play, yet dangerous even to their fellows; see how they wheel round,
advancing with eyes glaring through their shaggy forelocks.  A herd of
zebras are comparatively tune to these eager, restless things; but in
greater contrast to the gnoos are the heavy eilands, fat and sleek, fit
mark for the hunter's poisoned arrows.  There are ostriches, too,
stalking about; and nearer the bushmen's haunts, but wary of her
neighbours, the pauw, or the wild turkey of South Africa, has her brood;
far up in the air, between the clear sky and the fertile plain, rises
the secretary-bird, with the doomed snake in his beak.  The serpent
writhes in its new element, swinging to and fro; up! up! above the rocks
and sea, the bird swoops higher and higher to drop its prey upon a
table-rock; its back is broken.  Lie there, powerless, terrible, and
fatal, and doomed wretch, till your tormentor returns and finishes the
deed begun!

Sunset.  The plain is in a glow, except where the mountains cast a
shade, and this will deepen, as the shield of gold dips behind them.
The little honey-bird, which has been wandering in search of travellers
to coax them to the sweet nest it dare not itself invade, goes back
disappointed to await the morning splendour; the sprews, on wings of
green and yellow, go glancing past to their embowered rest; the homely
brown-looking canaries are silent in the golden-blossomed mimosa, the
English swallow trills her way back to the mission-house on the other
side the mountain range; the few goats possessed by the poor bushmen
return bleating to their rude fold, and ere long the wild beasts of the
forest and the valley will come boldly forth; the tiger from the dense
bush in which he has lain stealthily all day; then the jackal's cry will
startle the children lying on their miserable sheepskins, and the lion's
roar will answer it, rousing the echoes and terrifying the horses and
cattle of those who travel in the wilderness.

Such a scene as this presented itself one glowing evening many years ago
to the eye of a wayfarer, whose appearance with his pack-horse and
saddle-bags, and the somewhat lame condition of the animal he led, gave
proof that he had journeyed far and fast.  With home almost in sight, he
had outspanned his waggon in the valley, and ascending the hills had
found that darkness would overshadow his path ere the object he had in
view could be accomplished, if indeed it could be accomplished at all.
A mist was rising in white wreaths over the plain, till the vapour
became concentrated in a hazy shroud floating between the traveller and
his people below; his beasts were weary, and would probably fell if he
attempted the descent while yet it was light; besides, as I have said,
he had an object in view; so he sat down among the shrubs and rocks,
through which he had scrambled with some difficulty and much fatigue,
and began to ponder on what steps he must take to insure a safe bivouac
for himself and his jaded cattle during the night.

He was a good man, and would have had no personal fear even if he had
not been acquainted with the nature of the locality and its inhabitants;
but he had no mind to have his horses torn limb from limb by wild
beasts, and pitying them as their ears moved nervously backwards and
forwards, their eyeballs starting from their sockets, he regretted that
he had not delayed his expedition till the following morning.

There was no help for it now; the sinking horses looked piteously at
him, and he longed to take their saddles from their galled backs, but he
needed to look about him ere yet there was daylight: he regretted he had
not brought his waggon-driver with him, but always thinking of others,
he had overlooked his own necessities.  He grieved for his horses, not
for himself.

James Trail was the occupant of the mission-house, whither our English
swallow had trilled her contented way.  He was a childless widower, and,
bent on conquering his sorrow for his lost Mary by earnest attention to
his duties "in that path of life in which it had pleased God to call
him," he had made way for a married friend at his former station, and
with a few native herds, a faithful Hottentot servant, and a distant
relative, a trader in skins, ivory, horns, etc, had established a little
location in the lovely but uncivilised part of the country through which
he hoped to preach glad tidings of the Gospel; but the untameable race
of bushmen, whom he longed to attach to himself, looked at him from
their coverts like startled apes, and yelled, and shrieked, and
chattered, and once shot at him with their poisoned arrows, happily
without effect.

A trifling circumstance brought these mountain sprites to better terms.
One of a hunting-party was severely bitten by a puff-adder while
lingering behind his comrades, and Trail had discovered him, helpless
and terrified, and "like to die," by the side of a stream, to which he
had crawled with the vain wish to ford it.  The good Samaritan placed
his neighbour on his own beast, after applying a remedy he always
carried with him to the deadly wound; he took him home, and would have
kept him, but the wild creature had been a rover all his life, and
longed for liberty; as soon as he recovered, he fled to the hills to
join his fellows.  At times he would return, accompanied by a mate of
his own tribe.  One day he brought his children with him; another, two
or three wild hunters, clothed in fitting skins, sat down in front of
the mission-house, but would not draw near.  They waited for their share
of beads, their meal of mutton and bread and milk, and then scurried off
to their nooks to send down others.  Wretched creatures! these came in
the dead of night as thieves, and Trail, wearied with their
depredations, and grieved at his want of success among them, made such a
compact as he could, by means of signs, assisted by his knowledge of the
Dutch and Kafir languages.  On condition that they would permit his
flocks to feed in peace, he agreed to furnish them with game, Indian
corn, and beads.  The bushmen, knowing that if after this compact the
pastor's sheep were lessened in number, mutilated, or poisoned, their
messengers would be sent empty-handed from his door, each kept a
constant watch upon his neighbour, and this sort of truce had been kept
between Trail and the pigmies up to the time when the former was making
arrangements for a journey on business into the colony.

For a week previously to leaving his house to the trader's care with two
herds only, all, however, well provided with arms, the missionary had
seen and heard nothing of his wild neighbours, and learning from his
cousin, who had occasion to follow him, that they had not come down from
the mountains since his departure, our good minister resolved, when on
his homeward route, on penetrating the fastnesses which he had at first
visited with pious intentions, but from which he had been driven, in
such a fashion as would have made most men hesitate ere they set foot on
such dangerous ground again: he felt it was his duty to seek these

He would have made a fine picture, seated on a grey rock which jutted
out in an angle from the great mountain, which from base to summit, was
seven thousand feet above the level of the ocean.  The plain lay some
hundred feet below, but the haze obscured it from the view.  Trail felt
very solitary between the sky and this shroud-like vapour; he looked at
the poor brutes still panting beside him, and deliberated, as he took a
survey from the rock on which he was perched.

There was not a sound now; even that restless caller, the
whip-poor-will, was quiet.  On each side of the traveller was a
comparatively clear space, behind was a scarp of rock overhung with
trees.  Securing his horses, he relieved them of their saddles and
bridles, laid his saddle-bags against the rock, and having seen that the
animals had length of _reim_ (thong of leather) to give them room to
roll at full length upon the moist grass, he determined to climb higher
up in search of the little colony, whose condition he had long deplored.

Trail was a man of about three-and-thirty; the features were homely, but
the expression of the whole was highly benevolent; the frame was thin,
and could not be called graceful, but it was neither ungainly nor
vulgarly awkward; the eyes were large, and when lifted up, shone with a
pleasant, not a sparkling, light; the hair was thinning on the temples,
and the brow alone showed that by nature he was a man of a clear and
fair complexion.  The rest was bronzed by climate.

There he stood alone, alone in that magnificent solitude; the purpose
for which he had come faded for a time from his memory, a gust of wind
swept the mist away from the side of the hill to which he turned, and a
part of the valley "lay smiling before him;" a stream of sunlight shot
athwart it, and he saw the wild tenants of the wilderness, disporting
and luxuriating as I have described; another gust opened the landscape
wide, and as Trail's eye swept the scene, his heart was lifted up in
admiration.  He turned the angle of the hill again, but the plain was
hidden from his sight on that side, he could see nothing of his people
and the bivouac below.  He paused under a tall yellow-wood tree, and sat
down again, his heart melting at the thought of what? his loneliness!
His head rested on his hands, and he went back, back to his wedding-day
at home in England, in the old church.  There he stood, hand in hand
with Mary (his old playmate) at the altar: by her side his sister cried
bitterly, behind him her mother sobbed aloud, and the father's silence
was most eloquent, for the lips were firmly closed, and the eyes blinded
with tears.  Younger children gazed sorrowfully on--and then--there came
the last parting.  A ship in full sail, James and Mary Trail leaning
over the side of the vessel while she is lying-to at Spithead; a boat
below, from which many last gifts are handed up.  A little sister
weeping heavily, the mother with her face buried in her handkerchief, a
young brother hastily wiping his eyes with the back of his hand, an
elder sister trying to sooth the father, who "would not be comforted."

They are all again before him: the boat pushes off; the old man
stretches forth his hands, blessing the voyagers; the sister waves her
handkerchief, the brother his hat, the mother tries to rise, but cannot,
as the boat is swayed between the white-crested waves, which soon part
the little vessel from the gallant ship; the yards are swung round, the
boat has faded to a speck, the bows dash through the sparkling waters,
churches, forts, and towers of the old town Mary Trail has never left
before, glide away from her aching sight, and she lies down like a child
to cry in her bridegroom's sheltering arms.

And lo! there is a grave, the first grave hollowed in the mound on which
a little chapel stands between two hills in Africa.  There are others
near it now, and a deep-toned bell sends out its hallowed call across
the river, and up the kloof and on Sabbath days there is a gathering
from many homesteads; but Trail has left this peopled spot for another.
He visits it sometimes, and sits by Mary's grave, but he can no longer
bear it as a dwelling: nevertheless, he would have stayed there had
there not been one at hand to take charge of the district.

He had not long left this spot when I introduced him to the reader at
the early part of this chapter.  He rises, but not without effort: his
steeds are quietly enjoying the crisp herbage, and above, the baboons
are looking out from their hiding-places, and shouting aloud.  Trail
began to fancy his "little people" had caught sight of him, and were
calling to him from the rocks overhanging the platform on which he

He determined on seeking at once for some sheltered corner, where he
could kindle a fire, picquet his horses near him, and eat such provision
as he had brought, deferring his further search till dawn.  The
non-appearance of a single living being puzzled him, the more when he
discovered the remains of a fire, over which the wind had passed,
scattering the ashes.  It was evident that a meal of locusts had been
here cooked and eaten, probably some three or four days before.  Some
had been rejected, and some were mingled with corn lying amid the ashes.
A stray arrow or two was also to be found, and a bow, unstrung, rested
against a stone.  Whilst examining these evidences of human existence,
something rose heavily from a stunted bush: a huge asphogel, scared at
last from its lethargy, flapped its wings, rose slowly over Trail's
head, and floated down the mountain-side; another and another followed,
and our missionary felt assured that, dead or dying, some members of the
barbarian community were not far off.  He discovered a fearful group at
last.  It would be a sad task to describe the scene as it was depicted
by him to one who related the circumstances to me.  It was probable that
some part of the community had been absent on a hunting expedition when
the fatality occurred, which had destroyed three aged bushmen, four or
five women, old and young, all inconceivably hideous in death, and
several children.  One poor baby lay across its miserable mother's
bosom, apparently the victim of a snake, for the creature lay coiled up
beside the dead body, and a wretched little object had been mangled by
vultures at the entrance to the grot or cave into which the party had
apparently crawled to suffer and die together.

Trail had heard of whole families of bushmen dying from a surfeit of a
hearty meal of locusts,--from poisonous roots being mingled in their
cookery with the larvae of ants,--and of their sometimes falling victims
to the deadly enmity of some adverse tribes; but he saw it would be
dangerous as well as useless to penetrate the charnel-house further;
indeed he had taken as sharp a survey of the interior as the light
falling through a chasm would allow, and he shrunk from ascertaining
whether an inner cave existed.

Struck with horror, he had made up his mind to move some distance down
the mountain in spite of the coming darkness, when a feeble moan drew
his attention to a cleft in the rock, just at the entrance or mouth of
the cavern.

He knew it was the moan of a living being, and began to examine the
corner whence it proceeded, but all was in darkness; stretching out his
arm, he groped among the stones, and at length touched a clammy hand,
the fingers of which closed round his with a cold convulsive grasp.  He
drew the creature forth, and found it to be a little bushboy, probably
five or six years old.

It was our friend May.  He derived his name from the month in which he
had been brought into the Christian world, as Trail said.  Truly the
good man's laying his hand upon the little creature was a wondrous and
providential circumstance.  Poor, degraded, barbarous imp, thou wert a
frightful object; but the good minister looked on thee with the deep
anxiety and affection that those only feel who love their neighbour in
the true spirit of a Christian, and helpless and hideous as thou wert,
doubtless there were angels singing triumphantly through the golden
aisles of heaven as a herald on bright wings came among them with glad
tidings of a soul rescued from darkness.  It was thine, poor May, lying
lonely and desolate, and apparently forgotten, in that fearful darkness;
the day-star from on high was ready to shed its light upon thee, and
there was great rejoicing among the ministering spirits of the upper

We cannot trace the melancholy facts of the deaths alluded to to their
sources; nine or ten unredeemed souls had passed the outer threshold of
this world, to that mysterious region whence none return with a record;
but whether the cause arose from accidental poison, or by the agency of
vicious neighbours, Trail never ascertained.  How the imp May had
escaped appeared a miracle; mayhap he had been absent gathering honey or
digging for roots; the goats had disappeared, if there had ever been
any; there was sheep wool on the bushes, but there were no sheep, and
the missionary concluded that the hunters had probably returned after
the calamity had befallen their fellows, and, in superstitious dread of
the locality, had hurried to change their quarters without any closer
examination of the spot than they had been induced to make from
curiosity or rapacity.

Speculation was fruitless, useless; May was rescued, and Trail, carrying
him to the bushes where the horses were picqueted, gave him such
nourishment as he could.  It revived him, and as soon as he could manage
it, our traveller descended with his steed and the child to a convenient
spot, where he lit a fire at the opening of a natural alcove.  Here he
again fastened his horse to a tree, happy in having found a spot watered
by a rill, which trickled down a channel among the rocks, and spreading
his _veldt combass_, a large rug made of dressed sheepskins, upon the
sward, he laid his saddle beneath his head, and not far from him he did
not disdain to place the weary and frightened being, whose sleep was
soon as peaceful as a Christian child's within "a fair ancestral hall."

The night passed without further adventure, for Trail's sleep was light,
and he kept up the fire at his feet, so as to prevent the intrusion of
the wild beasts of the neighbourhood.  At dawn he found his _protege_
still sleeping; and by the time he had made further but unavailing
search for some living evidence of the sad spectacle he had beheld, the
mist had cleared away from the hill-side, and he descended with his
child of the wilderness to the bivouac, where he found his people in
some alarm and uncertainty about his safety.

To untravelled readers the idea of leaving the dead unburied among the
rocks and caves must appear rather unseemly, to say the least of it;
but, in the first place, Trail's party could not have accomplished such
an undertaking by themselves; and, in the next, leaving the waggon and
its contents together with the oxen, would have been madness.  Add to
this, the chances were that a horde of bushmen might return to the spot
unexpectedly, and there was dearly no alternative but to make the best
of the early part of the day; for, although the mission-house was only
nine miles distant, the way lay between narrow and rocky passes, wound
up the steepest acclivities, and was at times difficult to penetrate,
owing to intervening clumps of bush, connected by a tangled growth of

So the child was called May, in memory of the period of his rescue.  The
bewildered creature's language was utterly untranslatable; but, with the
keenness of perception so peculiar to his race, he soon learned to
express his wants in a curiously-mixed dialect of Hottentot, Dutch,
Kafir, and English, and this part of his education accomplished, Mr
Trail sent him to his friends at the larger mission station to be
trained into something like civilisation by good Mrs Cheslyn.

And now it may be told, in a few words, how May progressed in his
education; how he learned to sing hymns in a truer voice than the Kafir
children, whose notes, however, far surpassed his in melody; how he
loved to dance in the moonlight with the Fingo herds, when Mrs Cheslyn
thought they were all fast asleep in an old school-house, till their
unearthly chant brought Mr Cheslyn out among them; how when the truant
was punished, he would escape, stay away for days, and come back
afterwards with ostrich eggs; how he would sulk sometimes with his lips
out, and his eyes almost hid by the low frowning brow, run away again,
and again return; how he stood in awe of no one but Mr Trail; how, if
he was saucy to Ellen Cheslyn, it was for her sake he usually returned
from his wanderings; how he would watch her in the doorway, looking up
the road on those days when Mr Trail was expected; then as he caught a
glimpse of horse and rider, winding down the hill, he would ask her, in
Kafir, "Uza kangala nina? uza lunguzela nina apa?"--"What are you
looking for?  What are you peeping there for?"  Then, with a low
chuckle, he would spring over the _stoep_, topple head over heels down
the garden walk and through the gateway, and, with distorted limbs and
visage, hasten to give his friend and benefactor the "Good morrow,"
pointing back to the house to call attention to the watchful Ellen, and
then plunging into the thicket, laughing and singing, and as merry as a

May's life had been comparatively free from care.  True, an outburst
from the savage tribes of Kafirs, to whom Mr Trail had been a gentle
and a kind teacher, laid his station, Westleyfield, even with the dust.
It was burnt to ashes, and all his little property with it, but his
wife, Ellen, escaped with her husband and infant to a Dutch lazar, or
encampment.  May accompanied them, sometimes as nurse, sometimes as
caterer, with a knob-kierrie (club), knocking down a buck or a bird
occasionally, and cooking the same as opportunity offered.  So they
passed on afterwards to the colony; but May, lingering behind one day,
looking for corn, which he believed to be buried in what appeared to him
a deserted _kraal_, or hamlet of huts, was pounced upon by the enemy,
who would have despatched him at once, but that one, more humane than
the rest, listened to the poor bushman's appeal, that he might be
permitted to say his prayer.  After a brutal laugh from the wretches,
who boasted that "God Almighty was dead in their land," they consented.

This circumstance saved his life.  As May cast himself prostrate on the
earth, a little party of _roed batjes_ (red jackets), commanded by a
sergeant, who happened to be reconnoitring in the neighbourhood, and who
had crept along the banks of a river, suddenly reared their heads, above
the cliffs of the Keiskama.  There lay poor May, praying aloud, while
the savages danced round him, declaiming on the greatness of their
leader, on his bravery, his prowess, flight or ten Kafirs leaped and
howled about the helpless bushman, flourishing their knob-kierries,
shaking their assegais, and varying their war-cries with imitations of
the wild beasts, to which they compared their leader: "Behold," said
one, "he is a tiger!" and there was a chorus, accompanied by the vicious
whispering growl of the stealthy brute: "he is terrible as a lion,
keen-eyed as an eagle, wise as the serpent."  Then the chorus-master
roared and shook his assegai, while the rest made their spears shiver
like the wings of passing birds, and the hiss of the serpent was
followed by the wild shout of attack upon their victim.

"The _roed batjes_!" cried the chorus-master, and the soldiers sprung
into the midst of the enemy with a hearty English cheer: the Kafirs gave
a yell of fear and disappointment, and May jumped up to find himself
surrounded by men he felt to be his friends, though they were almost as
strange to him, as regarded their appearance, as the foes from whom he
was rescued.  He gave an answering yell of triumph in imitation of the
chorus-master, as he saw the latter, with his kaross flying in the wind,
stop, mount on a stone, and fling back an assegai, which quivered
through the air, and fell within a few inches of the sergeant's feet,
who drew it up from the ground as a trophy.

"Well," said the sergeant, turning May round and round, "you are a nice
little article, ain't you, to make such a confounded row about: and
where the--did you spring from, you small chap?"

"From Westleyfield, sir," answered the bushboy, in a very tolerable
English accent.

To be brief, he related his story, and followed the soldiers.  An old
officer of the corps placed him in the service of his family; and, on
their departure for England, May was handed over to some one else, and
from his last master had been recommended to our travellers, Frankfort
and Ormsby, as an intelligent guide and trusty servant.

He had never rested after his rescue till he traced out the Trails, who
had terrible misgivings about him; but they could not prevail upon him
to return to Westleyfield; their settled mode of life was by no means so
agreeable to him as the one he led with the troops.  He could seldom be
coaxed from head-quarters, the band acted upon him as a spell; but he
grew attached to Captain Frankfort before he became his servant, and
hung about the stable with the groom, who was happy to find his
recommendation of May confirmed in a way that satisfied the sportsman.
The English groom remained at head-quarters while trusty May went up the
country with Frankfort and Ormsby.

He had married in the colony, and made a bridal tour into the Winterberg
mountains with his wife--a Christian Hottentot gin with a dash of white
blood on her father's side, of which she was justly proud!--to introduce
her to his friends the Trails, and repeated his visit on the birth of
his child, when Mr Trail christened the creature Ellen, after his wife.
They did not return to Westleyfield; that station was handed over to
the charge of an older missionary, whose tall sons made almost a
garrison of defence among themselves.

May returned to the colony with Fitje and his child.  Fitje, like
himself, had been brought up among people from whom she had imbibed
habits of civilisation,--would I could say, industry! but this would be
contrary to the nature of the Hottentot, however utter idleness and vice
may be overcome by good example: but they worked when they were
penniless, and, in spite of indolent propensities, Fitje made a good and
tender mother, and a most kind wife.  She loved gossiping in the
sunshine, she could not resist a dance to the music of the drums and
fifes; but she did not smoke a pipe, she was an excellent washerwoman,
and she was a regular attendant at the Dutch chapel.  She had a
Hottentot taste for smart _douks_, but she never tasted Cape brandy; and
when May fell under Captain Frankfort's care, she was so proud, that she
would not associate with her earlier acquaintance.  She and May had a
little Kafir hut to themselves near Frankfort's garden, and the family
of the bushman, his merry-hearted wife and good-tempered baby, presented
a picture as agreeable to look at, in a moral point of view, as that of
any independent gentleman on earth.

I think we left him retiring to his mat under the store-waggon of the
sportsmen.  Fitje and the child slept beside him soundly, albeit at
midnight the moon's rays slanted right across their swarthy faces.


Morning in Kafirland!  The air is filled with delicious perfume.  The
toman is spinning about in the hazy atmosphere, the jackals are quietly
wending their way across the plains, looking back at times, in brute
wonderment, perhaps at that great sun; the spider has spread her silver
tissue across the pathways to ensnare the unwary; and

        "Jocund Day
  Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain's top."

What a carpet of green and gold, variegated with the scarlet
"monkey-foot," the lonely, trembling, drooping gladiola, the agapanthus,
the geranium, brilliantly red as the lip of fabled Venus; the wreath of
jessamine and myrtle, and laurel boughs, in which the birds are awaking
to a world lovely to them!

Ah, what exquisite things hath Nature in her bounty spread before the
heathen!  They cannot be counted, they dazzle the eye and set the heart
bounding in the plenitude of a pure, inartificial enjoyment.

The Dutchman's settlement was beginning to teem with signs of life.  The
gates of the kraals were thrown open, and sheep and goats and oxen were
blending their voices with the incessant, uneasy chorus of the dogs,
while the herds divided the multitude to lead them to their separate

The waggons of our party were already prepared to start; the hot coffee
had been thankfully enjoyed, the Kafirs paid in tobacco for their
offering of milk in tightly-woven baskets; and the Boer had come down to
say "thank you," for the pistol he had duly received.

Frankfort imparted to the Dutchman his suspicions, that some one had
been prowling about the bivouac in the early part of the night, but he
said it was unlikely; it was probably some cunning jackal, or a
herdsman's dog.  Frankfort could not help thinking it was some human
being, but Van Bloem said no.  May was already in advance of the
cavalcade, turning back now and then, with an impatient gesture at old
Piet, the chief waggon-driver, and Fitje, with her baby on her lap, and
gaily attired, is seated on the waggon-box of the largest vehicle, _en
grande dame_, being the only lady of the party.  Happy Fitje! no
rivals--the men of all degrees turn to thee with deference, thankful for
the aid of thy womanly skill, and cheered by thy merry laugh, albeit thy
mouth be none of the smallest.

"_Trek_!"  [Note 1]--what a shout!--"_Trek_!" the slash of the long whip
echoes many times, backwards, forwards, above, around, behind the
mountains and through the _kloofs_ (ravines).  May is waiting at the
turn of the winding road, half a mile off.  The train of men and
waggons, horses and dogs, moves slowly on, and the sportsmen ride gently
ahead.  But May keeps steadily in advance of all, and the dogs raise a
cry of joy as they catch sight of him when he pauses at the angle of a
hill, and stands there a minute or two, whistling as gleefully as though
he were "monarch of all he surveyed."


Note 1.  There can be no literal translation of this word of command,
but the oxen understand it well,--to them it means "advance," "on."



We must now turn from the inland valley, with its homestead, its
cornfields, and flocks, to a very different scene,--a scene at sea.

On the day when our friends Frankfort and Ormsby were introduced to my
reader with the tempest warring round them, as they stood shelterless
with May upon the open plain, a solitary ship neared the south-eastern
coast of the great continent of Africa.  The hurricane blew there with
frenzied violence; the fiends of the storm were howling aloft among the
shrouds, the canvass cracked and rattled till it split into ribbons, and
was whirled away to the winds; the rudder had been torn from its place,
the masts groaned and shrieked, the waters frothed up in fountains of
spray, and at intervals the heavy surges swept the decks like clouds,
enveloping the vessel, and bearing it down with a force it could ill

The sailors were hanging about the ship, but there were few on deck, and
none in the shrouds, for there they could not keep their footing.

There were troops on board; the dull roll of the drum made itself
audible at times, when there was a lull, and volleys of musketry mingled
their signals of distress with the screams of affrighted women and
children,--and, alas! alas!--with the oaths of terrible men,--for it was
a convict-ship.

There were but momentary glimpses of the shore as the lightning flashes
rent in twain the dark masses of vapour hanging about the gloomy
rock-bound coast.  The captain could only guess where he was, for the
vessel had been driving all the night, and the character of the cliffs
was his only guide now.  He saw there was no help for them if the ship
continued to lie with her head to the shore, and he believed that a
sand-bank at the yawning mouth of a river would engulph them, unless the
hand of Providence cast them to the westward of this, where, as he
supposed, the sands sloped from the cliffs, on the summit of which stood
a small fortified barrack, occupied by a slender garrison of British
troops, who would render such assistance as their means permitted in
saving the lives of such as might be fortunate enough to be cast adrift
upon the coast, or be enabled to reach it by rafts, or in the launch.

The convicts had all been freed from their shackles in the early part of
the night--as soon, in fact, as the desperate situation of the ship was
ascertained; but they were kept between decks till some plan of possible
relief could be devised.  Some sat moodily in the corners of the ship,
awaiting the day, in sullen, gloomy despondency.  Some blasphemed; some
laughed in bitterness of heart, exulting in the idea, that man's
vengeance had been set at nought by a stronger power;--whether for good
or evil, they did not consider.  Some jeered at the soldiers, who bore
the jeers with unswerving spirit; and some of the women, God help them!
jeered the loudest!  One, indeed,--who had deeply considered her
position, and repented,--prayed aloud, and some drew round her to
listen, but these were few; others cursed their doom.  One soldier's
wife, a young creature with an infant in her arms, leaned against a
riven mast, crying bitterly, while her husband tried in vain to comfort
her.  Immovable as images were most of those iron soldiers, except as
they answered to the voice of command; true, even in the jaws of death,
to their country and their profession, they heard the blasphemy and the
jeers and the ribaldry of the wretched beings they guarded, without
evincing the slightest emotion.  Between the volleys of musketry, a
heavy gun occasionally boomed out its signal of distress, but it was
only echoed back from the gaping rocks of the dangerous coast; again the
small-arms awakened no answer.

Silence,--a voice of command from the poop, and all hands are called to
lower the launch.  The ship had struck several times against the sand,
shivering, as though terrified at being so assailed.  The gangways were
guarded, and the convicts not permitted to pass.  Few, indeed, attempted
it, though all had been unmanacled; but discipline, in hours of
difficulty and danger, is generally more than a match for strength.

The launch was lowered with a will, by those who would have no right to
enter it.  It was appropriated, of course, to the women and children,
and those who were to have the charge of it were appointed by lot.

There was no confusion; those who drew planks turned calmly away, and
went to other duties, while the guardians of the launch marshalled its
passengers in funeral order, and they were cautiously lowered into it.

There were two officers in command of the convict guard; the elder was
married; his wife looked quite a child, she was barely eighteen.
Melancholy it was to see her clinging to her husband, and begging to be
left with him on that deck, which began already to open its seams, and
show the water boiling below.  She threw herself on her knees at last,
and implored him to let her die there with him.

"Marmaduke, my love, my husband, do not send me from you;" and, turning
to the captain, who gently implored her, for the sake of her unborn
infant, to endeavour to save herself, she replied, in a voice of
indescribable calmness, "Sir, those whom God has joined, let no man put
asunder; I will not leave my husband."

Then a boy midshipman came forward, and begged the officer to take _his_
place in the launch, but Captain Dorian would not leave his men; and now
everything was prepared to cut away the boat from the ship, and Mrs
Dorian stood firmly by her husband.

I have alluded to the knowledge, such as it was, that the captain had of
the coast they had been nearing for so considerable a time.  He was not
mistaken in his conjectures that they were within gun-range of a part of
the shore guarded by a garrison of British soldiers.

See a signal!--the clouds have been lifted by the merciful hand of
Providence; and, though the answering gun from the tower of the little
fort cannot be heard, in consequence of the wind setting in-shore, and
the elements outvying each other in noise at sea, the flash is
distinctly visible.  Captain Dorian persuades the poor young creature
that there is help close at hand; appeals to her in the character of a
soldier, who expects his wife to assist him in setting an example of
firmness; points out to her the selfishness of her wish to remain thus
unmanning him in his military duties; and, passive, stupified, at last,
she suffers him to carry her to the ship's side, and she takes her place
in the launch.

Dorian looked at her as she lifted her eyes in a wild way to him.  She
stretched out her hands, as if imploring him to call her back.  A
white-crested wave sweeps over her, and throws her down; she tries to
rise; she sees her husband with clasped hands praying for her; she waves
hers in reply, and Dorian is called away on duty.

He speaks coolly and decidedly; he gives the necessary orders to an old
sergeant, but is stopped by the screams of the unhappy women on the
deck, who are hoping that the launch may come back for them.  A strong
rope had been affixed to the ship, and it had been decided that this,
being also connected with the launch, should be fastened ashore by any
means that the will of Providence might offer.  The rope was strong, but
the rottenness of the ship's timbers was proved in a sudden and
appalling manner.  The poor soldiers had congregated in that part of the
vessel to which the rope had been made last.  I have already said that
the seams of the deck had opened, leaving here and there a large space;
still the captain, officers, and crew were in hopes that she would hold
together till she was driven on the sands, and by that time they
anticipated further help by means of the launch, the rope, and perhaps
some surf-boats, if the detachment possessed any, as was probable, from
the garrison being a depot for stores brought thither by coasters.

An awful crash took place; the great ship parted, and the poor anxious
watchers of the launch were precipitated into the foaming ocean.

The miserable convicts rushed upon what remained of the deck.  They
shouted, they sang, they chattered, they uttered ribald jests; they
climbed the rigging, and swung aloft.  It gave way under their feet.
Some seemed to revel in the freedom of the unchained air; they clustered
along the yards like bees.  Now the ship's bows are drawn into the
surge; now the shattered poop sinks beneath the waves; now the sea
overwhelms the decks, sweeping living aid inanimate things in its
vortex; and now, oh God! the great beams gape and yawn and part asunder,
and see the wretches are jammed in between; a mast is shivered, a block
falls, and strikes an old man down; his eyes burst from their sockets,
his head is bruised and battered, his limbs quiver, and his fingers are
convulsed.  The deck opens again; the bounding: sea bursts up, and draws
into its relentless jaws more than one victim!

The ship was fairly breaking up.  Some rushed to the forecastle, some
looked despairingly from the poop--Between the fore and after part there
was soon an impassable gulf.

At the scream, which drew the attention of Dorian and his sergeant from
the arrangements they were making, the former rushed to the poop.  He
saw the brave fellows who had been swept off struggling in the waters,
trying to regain the shattered vessel.  They perished every one of them!
At any other time he would have been stunned by the sight, but his eyes
are strained beyond it; fixed in an aching gaze upon the launch, he can
distinguish no one in her now; her passengers seem all huddled together:
he turns round on hearing the mast crashing over the ship's side; he is
shocked at the sight of the mutilated old man.  Again he turns; his eyes
seek the rocks, above which he has seen the flash of the signal-gun; he
fancies he hears the echoes rolling along the cliffs; he distinguishes
another momentary light; the launch is hidden between two watery
mountains, but she rises; he would give worlds to use a spy-glass, but
it is impossible; but he needs it not; he sees the launch again with
terrible distinctness.  She has turned over, she goes down!  He sees no
more; many of his gallant soldiers have perished in the boiling element
beneath him, and he springs forward in his despair to join his flair and
child-like wife.

They were found afterwards cast ashore, strange to say, not far from
each other; and the captain of the detachment, as commandant of the
fortress, read the funeral service over them with a faltering voice;
they sleep together in a grove of oaks.  The spot was chosen because the
trees that flourished there reminded passers-by of England.

Signals were now distinctly heard from the heights, and soldiers were
gathered on the cliffs watching the ill-starred convict-ship.  Oh, to
see the arms of the maddened wretches stretched towards the shore!
Some, like Captain Dorian, cast themselves in a frenzy upon the angry
waters; some strive to lash themselves to spars; another boat is
lowered, with provisions hastily thrown into it; three or four bold
spirits tempt the surges in the fragile bark, and it is swept towards
the river's mouth, is whirled round in the sparkling eddies, and

It is of one of these "bold spirits" I have to speak.

I have said that the convicts were relieved from their fetters as soon
as the vessel became unmanageable.

Sternly awaiting his fate in a dark corner of the labouring and bunting
ship, sat a man of some eight-and-twenty years of age; his arms were
clasped round a gun, and thus he steadied himself as well as he could.

Strangely indifferent he seemed to the howling of the winds, the
rattling of the cordage, the falling of spars, the crash of timbers, and
the imprecations of his fellow-convicts amid the scream of frightened
women.  At times he sneered at the frantic gestures of a soldier's wife,
who was sitting on the deck, with a baby on her lap, rocking herself to
and fro and bemoaning her hard fate, and that of her family, most
bitterly, at the same time directing her husband and children in certain
preparations for leaving the ship, if they should be so fortunate as to
succeed in doing so.  Her advice and admonitions were interlarded with
various expressions of terror, sorrow, affection, and anxiety.

"Oh, Micky O'Toole!  Och, wirasthrue, my darlint; sure when we played at
the same door-step as childer, I didn't think we'd come to this.  Och,
Larry, my child, the mother that owns you is breaking her heart.  Alice,
say your prayers, fast--say them fast, allannan; true for ye, my
darlints, this day we'll be in glory; pray up, Ally, pray up, Larry, the
saints be wid us.  Micky O'Toole, what did you do wid the little bundle
of cloth I put up to go ashore wid?  Oh, the vanity of me; sure didn't
the priest tell me I'd be punished for setting myself up wid a sunshade
(parasol), when you were made a corpular.  Ochon a rhee, my heart is

"They'll be missing us at the harvest, Micky; they'll be dancing widout
us, and we drowned--drowned.  Oh, Micky!"  A wailing cry from the baby
made its mother weep more bitterly, but still she occasionally recalled
her scattered wits to console her children.

Not far from Lee, the convict, was stretched, in a listless attitude, a
young man, who seemed little more than twenty years of age.  He also was
one of the condemned; but no one could have recognised him as a criminal
by his appearance, which was exceedingly prepossessing.  His thoughts
were apparently wandering; for though his countenance expressed awe,
there was resignation also.  He was looking for a better life than the
career mapped out before him as a felon.  In the great crisis taking
place, there was hope for him somewhere.  The wretched welcome any
change.  He awaited it passively.

But his heart was touched at sight of a penitent creature, who bewailed
her past errors in an agony of self-reproach, as she uttered the names
of father, mother, brothers, and sisters; at times exclaiming, "Oh
Jamie, Jamie, ye'll be sorry when ye hear of poor Jessie's end."

"Mother, mother!" was the last appeal of the unhappy young woman, as she
was washed away by the booming waves through a gap in the wreck.

But Lee saw not this; he was smiling at the scene between Mrs O'Toole
and her family.

Ere long he had unlashed the boat, assisted in throwing in provisions,
and, casting himself into the frail vessel with two other comrades,
committed himself to what he called chance.

At length the muskets ceased their roll, the drum its sullen round.  The
ship had struggled bravely; the fore and after parts sometimes jamming
each other, and then parting.  Both were now engulphed.  The death-cry
rose above the roar of the foam, and the noise of falling spars and
blocks; and sea-chests, ship furniture, all that had been carefully
gathered together by the hand of man, were cast into the ocean.

Now a man, lifted on the crest of a wave, saw his wife, and struggled to
reach her; but she was swept past him with her eyes glaring madly.  Now
a woman, with features all convulsed, snatched up some passing child,
and cast it from her when she found it was not her own.  Now the prow
neared the shore, and a young officer sprang from the bowsprit into the
sea; dizzy with the leap, he closed his eyes--and opened them--oh,
blessed hour!--in a tent pitched on the cliff for the reception of those
cast on the strand.

The detachment of English soldiers had assembled on the cliff at the
first signal of distress fired from the convict-ship.  They had waited
there from midnight until dawn, knowing by the nearer sound of the guns
and small-arms that she must be driving towards the shore; but they
could give no aid; they could only abide the issue patiently, and
meanwhile make such preparations as might possibly be useful.

The barrack they occupied was situated on the western bank of a river,
the entrance to which, in the present agitated state of the open ocean,
formed almost a Maelstrom.  As day dawned, and the convict-ship was seen
driven in-shore, it was evident to the lookers-on that she must go to
pieces; for fringing the shore was a narrow line of sharp and jagged
rock, and at the very edge of this the ship's bows were already beating.
Still it was doubtful on which side of the river she might be cast
ashore, or whether, indeed, she might pass the whirlpool foaming at its
mouth; for the ledge or shelf, over which the breakers burst with
increased violence every hour, extended across the opening, and made a
bar, which rendered it unnavigable.  On either side of the stream the
sands stretched for miles, and the ocean washed the shore with a hoarse
and endless roar; but not with such destructive powers as it did above
or below the river's mouth.  On the western side, especially, there was
more chance for the poor creatures struggling for their lives, inasmuch
as the sands beneath the cliffs were not of that shifting nature which
rendered anchorage impossible on the eastern limits; besides which,
whoever escaped drowning, by being flung upon the eastern bank, stood a
chance of having his brains dashed out by detached masses of rock that
had rolled from the cliffs, and were embedded in the shore.  Near the
mouth of the stream, indeed, many an incautious rider, on his way from
Kafirland, had been well-nigh overwhelmed by the quicksands.

Fortunately for those who had outlived the storm so far, the tide drew
the two divisions of the wreck, partially submerged as they were, on the
safer bank of the stream; the colonial side, in feet, of a river
dividing the territory of the British settlers from the "neutral ground"
of the savage inhabitants of the north-east.  It was found afterwards
that the two portions of the ill-fated ship had been connected by means
of various spars and cordage interlaced beneath the waters; but she had
not been many minutes fairly among the breakers ere she literally
crumbled to pieces, and scattered her timbers on the waters.

Out of three hundred souls, not more than eighty were saved.  Some swam
till their strength was exhausted, some gave themselves up to their fate
like the young soldier, who spread out his arms, closed his eyes, and
plunged from the poop to the sea; some clung to spars, boxes, tables,
hencoops, anything that came in their way.  All who reached the shore
received the hospitable care of the kind soldiers of the fort, and
afterwards pursued their different routes and destinies as Providence
directed, after preserving them for the fulfilment of its own wise and
grand purposes.

The boat which had been disengaged almost unperceived by Lee, and the
two other convicts, continued to buffet the waves most gallantly.  It
reached the entrance of the river--here the rowers used their strong
arms for a time in vain, and there seemed no other prospect than that of
being engulphed, when suddenly the boat rose, as if lifted in air, over
the bar of rocks I have described, and, shot into the stream, was sucked
into a kind of whirlpool, where it spun round like a top, filled and
went down for a few minutes, but came back to the surface empty.  Lee
was drawn down with his fellows; his eyes and ears filled, and his
senses failed him: he had an indistinct vision of the convulsed features
of the other two struggling below him, and of a gurgling sound from one
who tried to scream; but all afterwards was blank till he came to his
recollection stretched on a bed of sand, which ran inland from a creek
overhung with bush.

It was a considerable time before he could bring himself to understand
the reality of his position; but at length he rallied his intellect, and
sat up to look around him.

The storm still raged--not a vestige of the wreck was to be seen, and
the boat, broken in pieces, was lying high and dry between the rocks,
with which the bush was intersected; the body of one poor drowned wretch
was floating, all swollen and disfigured, in the creek.  Jasper Lee rose
by a sudden impulse, and scrambled as far from the sight as his cramped
and aching limbs would allow him; the stunted bush or scrub, by which he
tried to climb the cliffs, gave way in his hands, his feet slipped on
the streaming and slippery weeds; but he reached a ledge at last, and
taking "heart of grace," he scanned the prospect before him.

Evening was advancing, though as to when the sun was likely to withdraw
his influence from that hemisphere, it was impossible to say.  Sky and
ocean were blended together in a hue of lead, and the glancing wings of
sea-birds looked like gleams of silver light between the angry heavens
and the warring sea.  His eye fell only on the void expanse.  He had
cast himself down on an angle of the cliffs which jutted far out, and
during a momentary lull, the wind brought the sound of drums from the
garrison on the opposite shore.  He looked down immediately below, he
perceived some rotten pieces of timber floating by; he expected to see
some human creature still living, for many had lashed themselves to
spars and masts, and might yet be tossing about at the mercy of the
waves.  He stretched himself as far forward as he could, and looking to
the westward, where the light of day was lingering longer than
elsewhere, he distinctly saw groups of soldiers, engaged in assisting
those who had been cast ashore below the fort.

He fancied he heard voices, he looked down.  Immediately under his feet
there were, as it seemed, phantoms floating by; some dead, some with
agonised faces and beseeching hands lifted out of the white foam, and
one saw him--she was young and fair, with long tresses, all unbound,
clinging round her white throat and bosom; she seemed to give a gasp of
hope; he leaned over; hardened man as he was, he would have given much
to have saved her; the swell brought her nearer, she saw him; still she
herself tried with desperate energy to catch a ridge of rocks,--she
reached it, the heavy waters swung her forward with terrific violence,
the sweet face was lifted up again.  Lee was about to cast himself at
all hazards from his position, when a stream of blood darkened the white
spray, and the head of a shark came up, its huge jaws were filled with
the mangled and bleeding limbs of its victim, and the horrible
sea-monster drew its prey into an inlet where it had been driven by the

He buried his face in his hands, turned sick, and almost fainted; after
this he looked no more towards the sea, and ere long found himself
obliged, for safety's sake, to reconnoitre the locality in which he had
awoke to consciousness after so narrow an escape.

His condition was forlorn enough; his clothes hung in shreds upon him,
his hair was matted with brine, his body was sorely bruised, his hands
and feet lacerated; but it must be confessed, that, in spite of the
horrors he had witnessed, his spirits rose fresh and buoyant, as he
remembered that he was at liberty; though houseless, naked, cold,
hungry, and bleeding, it was not in his nature to despair.

He turned his eyes again to the westward, and on climbing higher, he
discovered the wall of the fort, with its tower in the angle and its
looped parapet.  Soldiers were still straggling up and down the cliff,
intent, as they had been for hours, on their humane efforts in saving
life, and the remnant of property which had been thrown ashore with the

"Ha!" muttered the convict, "I am on the right side of the river;
they've had their glasses out at the fort, no doubt; but they cannot
pass this, frothing as it does at the mouth, like a wild beast, for a
week to come.  Well, some will fancy themselves in luck when they get
within those four tall walls, and some may have their chains dangling
about their heels again; but this way of escaping death is not to my
taste.  I have work before me, I know; but what would life be without
any difficulties!  What a stupid life would Adam and Eve have led
without sin!  A true woman, Eve; disobedience gave the flavour to the
fruit!  Well, I have no objection to difficulties, and although I don't
abide by the trash that gives chapter and verse about first causes, I
know I have not been planted on this continent again for nothing.  It
must be owned, though, that I have had a precious welcome;" and, wiping
the blood from his temple, he sat down again, for he was somewhat
exhausted in body, though untiring in spirit.

The clouds fell lower and lower, and shed no more reflected light; a
pitchy darkness followed.  Lee gathered himself up between the bush and
the wet and slippery bank, and lay down to dream of a surging sea, of
pale beseeching faces and mangled bodies of young and beautiful women.
The tide was again rising, and he dared not descend, so he determined on
waiting till the dawn, and then commencing a search for the provisions
which had been put into the boat, and which he hoped he might find
attached to some fragment of her wreck, for they had been securely
lashed to one of the seats.

Towards midnight, as the tide receded, the fury of the tempest seemed to
abate, and just as day peeped with affrighted eye from the east, our
convict ventured from the shelf on which he had been uneasily stretched
during the hours of darkness.

A dense fog hung over the river; the wind came in gusts from the ocean,
and some of the trees above the cliffs were torn up by the roots and
cast midway among the stones and scrub.  The solitude was perfect to a
man in Lee's position, and the tide having left a spacious strand, he
let himself down from his covert, and began to make a search for the
necessaries of life.

The wreck of the boat was lying where he had seen it the preceding
evening, and, after a patient search, the hungry man discovered the
bundle of provisions.  It was saturated with wet, the rain fell around
in torrents, there was not a spot of ground on which real repose could
be sought; but Lee sat down and satisfied his wants with a relish
indescribably keen.

Let us take a view of him, resting on the dreary strand, having
refreshed himself with a moderate meal of biscuit and salt pork, the
latter, of course, uncooked, but to him most savoury.

In the prime of life, highly favoured in personal appearance, with the
spirit of intelligence lighting his clear grey eye, and with the stamp
of the better class upon his frame and countenance, how came he there--a

At this moment he was intent chiefly on one point: he was determined to
avoid all chance of further captivity or restraint.

As the fog was lifted from the river by the evening breeze, he felt the
necessity of keeping out of sight of any stragglers about the opposite
heights.  He inspected the bulky package of provisions: a bag of damaged
biscuits, some lumps of salt pork, a case of dried fruit--cabin
property--a canister of cocoa, and various other articles, which had
been hastily thrown into a bundle, and now adhered together like glue.

These stores were exceedingly precious to one in our adventurer's

But the clouds began to gather again; floods of rain poured their
torrents down the channels in the cliffs, and he determined without
delay, and unmindful of his fatigue, which he felt the more after his
meal, to seek a hiding-place which would be secure from intruders,
although there appeared little chance of any one intruding on his

All along that riverside deep indentations had been made below the
cliffs by the encroachments of the sea, and Lee was not long in
discovering a cave which penetrated far under them.  There was not much
time to lose in conveying the provisions to this covert ere the path was
rendered soft, and therefore dangerous, by the swell of the tide as it
turned again, and Lee was beginning to doubt the safety of the shelter,
when, on drawing his bag of provisions to seek stowage for it at the
furthest limits of the recess, he discovered that the chasm was deep and
wide, and lighted slantwise by an aperture many feet above the level of
the river.  His thirst had been heretofore allayed by the channel of
rain-water rippling down the face of the cliffs, and he was beginning to
doubt how he should be supplied in his retreat it compelled to remain
there anytime after such supplies should cease; when, to his
satisfaction, he convinced himself that a little stream, which trickled
into the cave through a crevice, had its source in one of those
bountiful and sweet springs so often discovered near the sea-shore, and
which, in spite of their brackish taste, are so exquisitely refreshing
to the exhausted traveller.

This was just one of those pieces of luck which often seem to rise in
aid of the vicious,--but we may not question the decrees of Providence.
God has his own reasons for letting the tares thrive for a time, though
the harvest of wheat be thin.

On the whole, Lee had reason to rejoice in having discovered such a
retreat for the present.  He had sufficient stores to support life for
some days; he was free, after his own ideas of freedom; space before
him, above, around, with nothing to guide him but his own free will; he
thought not of check or hazard, for no man held authority over him.

Misty, vague, dark, dreary, was his future; but it was not so utterly
lost in the darkness as it would have been to a stranger on that great
continent of Africa.

Contented at first with the comparative shelter he had so opportunely
discovered, he had seated himself on a stone, and surveyed the interior
of his domicile; but the various plans which floated about his busy
brain wanted gathering together and arranging, and he found himself ere
long overshadowed by the gloom of night.  Though his wits were sharp,
his body was weary, and growing stiff with cold.  The river murmured
hoarsely past the cave; the wind came in gusts through the crevices of
the rocks, and penetrated to the very marrow of his bones.  The outline
of the opposite bluff looked like the frowning profile of a giant, when
at intervals the clouds were parted by the broad flashes of lightning;
for the storm at times still wreaked its fury against the rugged coast.

Having collected the damp leaves of fallen trees together in a heap, the
convict made a very tolerable bed, throwing over them a long strip of
green baize, the table-cover of the cuddy, which had been appropriated
as a wrapper to the provisions.

The wind still kept up its "sound of mournful wailing," and whistled
through the gaps in the cave; the spray foamed within fifty yards of the
entrance; the thunder came back at times with a mutter frill of wrath,
and his clothes were still wet; but our convict was lulled to sleep by
the roaring of the mighty elements, which held their strife around his
place of refuge.

Now and then he started up, as livid faces rose before him in his sleep;
and at last the excessive cold roused him, and he was thoroughly
awakened.  Darkness was around him, and the stream, flowing down its
channel, dripped over on to the stones, and plashed upon his almost
benumbed feet.  He crawled towards the aperture; there was a little
light, just enough to watch the tide, till, by its retrograde movement,
he was able to make a random guess at the "time o' night," or rather
morning.  Shivering and melancholy, he crouched, with his head upon his
knees, and, as his eye got accustomed to the outer atmosphere, he began
to see stars.  A body of clouds floated seawards, the wind veered about,
and he again perambulated the shore in search of something for fuel.
Day advanced, and he stumbled over a few cask-hoops; they were soaked
with wet; but with the help of a remnant of a well-pitched spar from the
wrecked boat, he determined on tiring to kindle a fire.  Flints were
searched for, and again Providence provided for his present wants.

He re-entered the recess; but, on consideration, deemed it prudent to
take some further steps for insuring his concealment.

The rocks had been so washed, while the tide was up, by the spray of the
surging river, that some of those which hung over the cave were
loosened.  It was a matter of skill and difficulty to separate even the
smaller ones from the earth in which they had been imbedded; but Lee was
a man of great personal strength, and, one block giving way, it bore
down with it a heap of sand and a tree, which had been uprooted, thus
undermining all that immediately surrounded it.  The whole mass fell in
front of the cavern.

There was not much time to lose, as the daylight might betray the
refugee; so making a passage for himself through the stones and rubbish
forming his barrier of defence, he re-entered his hiding-place, and set
to work to light a fire.

This was not easy; at one moment a stick would catch the flame, blaze
up, and disappoint him by dying so gradually away as to keep him hoping
to the last; at length the pitch grew hot.  He had uttered oaths enough
to bring the spirits of fire to his aid.  The smoke rose in little
columns, and made his eyes smart with pain; but he persevered till the
light danced upon the steaming and jagged walls, showing him his shadow,
monstrous and undefined.  The vapour found vent in the aperture opening
to seaward, through which the spray had ceased to drift; and ere long
some slices of ship's pork hissed on the glowing billets.  A soldier's
tin served as a kettle and drinking-cup, and Lee contrived to make
something like a cup of cocoa.  After such refreshment his blood flowed
more freely in his veins, and he once more lay down to rest, intending
to keep his wits about him though sleeping, and to replenish his fire,
with a cautious observance of the outer atmosphere from time to time;
for, although a turbid and swollen river intervened between him and the
colonial side of the country, he had no mind to be tracked, by the smoke
of his bivouac, by any wanderers, whether Europeans or natives.

He felt, indeed, tolerably secure; rightly judging that the Europeans on
the western bank would have enough to do on their own ground, and that
the few _whom he knew_ to be scattered to the north-eastward would be as
unlikely as the natives to hear of the wreck while the heavy rains
filled the rivers to overflowing and rendered the ground dangerous and
toilsome alike to riders and pedestrians.  If Kafirs did venture out on
foot, he knew enough of them to satisfy himself that their journeys
would be undertaken to some better purpose than loitering on the coast
without sure prospects of plunder.

He again lay down, and enjoyed that species of repose which gives ease
to the body without completely deadening the powers of the mind; and it
must be owned that his conscience was by no means so harassed by trouble
or remorse, as from his outward position one would think it must be.  In
his own estimation Lee was an ill-used, unfortunate man; and, as to the
latter, truth to tell, his reasons for thinking so were not altogether

He is a felon; but the circumstances which have brought him to his
present condition have met with extenuation from some: of this,

Hush! the earth is loosened without; Lee hears it faffing about the
entrance.  Some small stones come clattering down, and then there is

The strong man's heart beats, and he clutches the clasp-knife hanging
round his neck, and tries to open it, but his hand trembles; a strong
current of air rushes in, the fire flickers up, and the shadow of a
man's face is for an instant traced on the rocky side of the cave.

It is suddenly withdrawn.

Lee revolved the circumstances of his case in a few seconds.  He felt
sure it was a white man's shadow, even at that momentary glance; the
outline of the loose cap and prominent nose was unmistakeable.  It might
be a mend--a fellow-convict--a sailor; if the latter, Jack would die
rather than betray the fugitive.  But if it were any who might, after
all, turn informer, he would doubtless report that the cave was
tenanted, and bring down a file of soldiers upon him, unless the
clasp-knife settled the question, which it was not likely to do in its
rusty condition.  Lee's powers of body were a little impaired by the
perils he had undergone, and the exertions he had been obliged to make
in screening his hiding-place, as he hoped, from all observers.

But he was discovered, that was certain.

"Who comes there?" he cried, in a voice that shook more than he wished
to confess to himself.  "Enter, I am armed."

"Lee," hoarsely whispered a voice, issuing from lips within which the
teeth chattered audibly,--"It is I, Martin Gray."

"And where the devil did _you_ cast up from?" asked Lee, in no very
gracious voice, and sitting up with ears and eyes now wide open.

"I am starved, and miserable, and hungry," was Gray's reply, as he
scrambled through all impediments in his path, and crawling into the
cave, began unceremoniously to draw together the embers of the fire.

"Are there any more of you?" inquired Lee, hastily.

"Not one.  I have been skewered up in a hole ever since I was flung
ashore.  I got hitched on to the rudder of the boat when it broke away,
and except a few bumps, I was all right when I got driven in between the
rocks, and there I have been wedged for hours, for I dared not stir,
except in the dark, when I could find nothing.  I had no mind to be
caught by the soldiers up there on the hill, so I have been creeping
along under the rocks looking for luck in some shape or another, and
what should I see, but a glimpse of light from this quarter?  Friend or
foe, it was all the same to me; I resolved to take my chance, and here I

Martin Gray was the young man I have alluded to as lying passively on
the deck of the staggering ship--he had, like others, sprung into the
sea, to take his chance, and clinging to a spar, had been providentially
washed ashore.

Lee had had much opportunity of judging of Gray's character, which,
though not without good, wanted strength and resolution; he was less
wicked than unfortunate.  There was this difference between the two: Lee
would most probably, under any circumstances, have been ambitious,
selfish, and unsound in principle, while Gray, with better fortunes,
would have made a respectable member of society: warm of temperament, he
was docile of disposition; he was, in fact, the very person to be
influenced by a strong and determined mind, under circumstances like
those in which he was now cast.

In Lee's forlorn condition, he felt there was comfort in fellowship,
with so "safe a fellow as poor Gray," and he therefore set about
proffering hospitality to his guest with a good grace, especially
considering the limited extent of his larder.  The meat again hissed
upon the coals, the batch of damp biscuits was re-toasted, and Gray
brewed another cup of cocoa--what a treat it was!

If you have been shipwrecked, reader, as I have been, you will
understand this.

Gray having dried his torn clothes, and satisfied the inward cravings of
nature, not without warnings from Lee on the dangers of indigestion from
too hurried a meal after a long fast, which warnings were entirely
self-interested, recommended that the fire should be extinguished, lest
its smoke should betray their hiding-place at sunrise; "though, to tell
the truth," the young man added, "I am much more inclined to surrender
myself than to take my chance; for what is to become of us?"

"Surrender!" cried Lee; "what, with such a country before us as I know
this to be?  No, no, my lad, you'll not surrender; trust to me, there is
nothing to lose by taking our freedom, and what prospects are there
before us, if we give ourselves up?  You, for one, would be packed off
to New South Wales by the first opportunity.  As for me--I have said it
before--I had rather fall into the hands of God than those of man: here
is space enough for even my free spirit, and with a little caution, and
patience, and perseverance, I will take you into safe quarters for

Gray was too weary to enter upon further discussion, and the two
convicts stretching themselves side by side, the former was soon dead
asleep, while Lee lay meditating an infinite variety of plans.

"This youth is safe," soliloquised the host of the the cave; "he must be
taught to keep my counsel and his own, for although hereafter he may be
rather an incumbrance to me than of use, it will not do to let him go,--
he would betray me, to a certainty.  He has roughed it and seen service;
though he is not clever, he has lots of pluck; on the whole, perhaps, I
may make him useful, and it would be deuced lonely work to find my way
across the country without any help.  We must look about for arms; I saw
large pieces of the wreck drifting this way after the crazy old craft
went to pieces.

"I wish I had not seen that girl, though.  I cannot forget her; how the
blood bubbled up with the foam!

"The wind has changed, I suspect, but the river will be impassable to
those red-jackets for days to come; we must collect our traps together
without loss of time, and make ready for a start; I must do the amiable
to this lad; he is a soft-hearted youth, I know.


"That fellow Tanner, I wonder if he is still trafficking up there in the
kloof; he is an infernal rogue; I hope he won't turn informer--I think
not, though, for I could betray him, and he knows it."

He rapidly chalked out in his mind's eye a map of his plans, and as he
heard the wind again veering about to all points of the compass, and at
last return to its deadly quarter, from which it had breathed its fury
on the hapless ship, he rubbed his hands cheerfully together.  "Blow,
gentle gales," said he, and as Gray answered the apostrophe with a loud
snore, Lee laughed and lay down, taking care to appropriate to himself a
goodly portion of the green baize coverlet.  Ere long he, too, was in a
dreamless sleep.



It is time to give our reader some further insight into the
circumstances which had brought these two sleepers to their present
condition, for they will occupy a prominent and peculiar part in the

Although Gray is the last adventurer on the scene, I will give him the
precedence, since all that is necessary to relate concerning his
previous history may be comprised in the following sketch.

He was the foremost boy of the village school of M--, industrious,
high-spirited, and well-looking; he made slow but steady progress in his
education, and his pastor entertained fair hopes touching his future
prospects; but these hopes were suddenly overclouded by Gray's enlisting
into a company of artillery quartered at a neighbouring town.

Thus it fell out.  Let us go back to his earliest days, when he had been
accustomed to stop at his uncle's garden-gate to call for his cousin
Katy on his way to school.  She would come with her school-bag hanging
on her arm and singing down the walk as merry as a bird, and hand in
hand they would wend their way along the lane to the school-house, where
they parted at the porch with a tender but most innocent farewell, she
for the girls' class, he for the boys'.  On Sundays they stood side by
side round the pulpit to recite their catechism--often, however,
threatened with a separation, because Martin Gray _would_ prompt Katy.

On Sunday evenings in the summer prime they sat beneath the apple-trees
in the garden belonging to Martin's bereaved father, and on winter
nights it was cheering to see the light glowing on the walls and shining
through the cottage casements; for there were the three assembled round
the fire, Martin reading to earnest auditors.

A sorrowful evening hour it was for Katy, when her cousin parted with
her at her own door.  Love, and joy, and peace, all departed with him,
and she exchanged happiness for the misery of finding her father and
mother quarrelling after their return from the alehouse.  Morning would
chase away the sad thoughts the darkness had brought.  Morning brought
healing on its wings, for then Katy and Martin were again hand in hand,
singing through the lanes, and gathering primroses or crocuses on their
way to the school-house.

Then Katy "got a place;" her mother thought it a very fine thing indeed,
to have her daughter admitted as under-housemaid at the Hall.  Katy and
her cousin met at church on alternate Sundays, Katy growing smarter and
prettier in Martin's eyes every time he saw her; but he began to find
out that the dashing valets, who accompanied their showy masters to the
Hall, were freely permitted to join him and Katy in their summer evening
strolls.  He remonstrated.  Katy was clever and self-opinionated.  She
replied that she was not a school-girl; he quizzed the valets; she
observed they were _gentlemen_ to him, adding that Mrs White, the
housekeeper, thought she demeaned herself by keeping company with such
as he; he grew angry, Katy laughed at him, and one of her admirers,
passing by, hearing the laugh, paused, stepped up to her, learned the
cause of the merry peal, and walked off with her in triumph.

She looked in vain for Martin at church on the following Sunday; she
dawdled through the churchyard, and her friend, "My Lord Wellor's
valet," overtook her: he thought she was lingering for him.  She did not
drive him away, as she had discarded poor Martin Gray, with a laugh, but
she was evidently thinking of some one else.  With all his vanity, he
guessed as much, and quitted her to join some gay ladies'-maids, who
were flaunting along the meadow path.  Katy never noticed them, though
they watched her all across the meadow, out at the gate, up the lane to
the turnstile, where she stood for a while, but turned back, and so met
the giddy party again.

It was now her turn to feel the bitterness of laughter, when directed
against herself; for the prettiest of the party, a rival of hers in the
affections of Lewis the valet, cried out, "Well, Mistress Kate, were you
looking for your sweetheart, Martin Gray?  It is all of no use, my dear;
he is gone for a soldier."

"Gone for a soldier!"  Katy passed the giddy waiting-women and their
obsequious attendant, and hastened to the nursery garden of Martin's
father.  He was sitting alone beneath the apple boughs.  The pathway was
unswept, the clove pinks streeling over the neat box borders.  He looked
very sad, indeed.  "Uncle," said Katy, with white lips, "where is

"Gone for a soldier, Katy," replied the old gardener, striking his
gnarled oaken stick angrily on the gravel path.

"Oh, uncle!"  Katy burst into a passionate fit of weeping.

"It is no use crying now, Katy," said Gray, "it is too late;" and
rising, but not without difficulty, for he was an infirm man, "well
stricken in years," he walked towards the cottage, Katy following him
like a culprit.

The elder Gray did not close his door upon his pretty niece; in truth,
he could only suspect her as being the cause of his boy's departure, for
Martin had formed some military acquaintances latterly; but one of; his
son's last acts had been to collect some gifts, which this father knew
to be "keepsakes from Katy," and these were lying on the window-sill,
packed up and addressed to "Miss Katharine, at the Hall."

Martin had left; the cottage two days before with a sergeant of
artillery, who had long had designs of enlisting so fine a young man,
and from the adjoining town had addressed, a few lines to his father.
He spoke of his wish for other countries, of the Artillery service being
one of a superior character, as he considered, to the Line, and
anticipated great satisfaction at speedily embarking for Gibraltar; not
a word was said or Katy, not a single regret was expressed at the idea
of leaving his native village, and from the style of the letter, it was
very evident that it was written as a matter of duty to the old man--all
sorrow at quitting him was superseded by the anticipation of visiting
far lands.  The father laid the letter on the table, and observing, for
the first time, the parcel on the window-sill, he wiped the mist from
his spectacles, read the direction, and formed his opinion of Martin's
reasons for leaving home.

"Don't open it here, if you please," said old Gray, as he put the parcel
into his niece's hands.

He sat down in his accustomed corner; Katy placed herself in the tall,
old-fashioned arm-chair in front of the window, and Martin's dog, a
long-haired shaggy terrier, lay with its nose to the ground in an
attitude of expectation, which had doubtless been increased by the
entrance of Katy; as she had come, he thought his master must soon

There were various trifles belonging to the lad scattered about the room
and its walls.  The whip he used when he drove his father's cart into
town--Katy had often heard it _whish_ close to her ear as the tip of the
lash touched the smart blue ribbons of her bonnet, causing her to turn
round sooner than she had intended, though she had recognised the steady
"trot, trot," of the rough-coated aged pony long before.  A starling
hopped up and down its perch in a cage manufactured by young Gray, and
made its alternate appeals to "Katy" and "Martin."  Festoons of birds'
eggs hung over the neatly-carved wooden mantel-shelf, also the handiwork
of Martin Gray; and a few of his pencil sketches, of much promise, were
wafered against the clean white-washed walls.  His books were all in
their usual places on the shelves he had made for them; and the cat--
ungrateful creature--purred with unaltered complacency, as she sat on
the door-mat woven by the ready fingers of her young master, to whom
Katy had given her three years before.

Heartless Tibby!--she nodded and dozed, and blinked her green eyes at
the sunset, and washed her face with her white fore paws, just as she
had done two Sundays before, when Martin was calling to her in vain from
his seat beside his father under the apple-trees; but poor Grip was ill
at ease, whining from time to time as he looked at Katy, then at the old
man, at the open door, at puss--the selfish, the luxurious, the
apathetic, the antipodes of Grip himself.

Katy found, after sitting there some minutes, that her uncle could not
speak.  The very clock was silent, for it had not been wound up on
Saturday night; it had always been Martin's task to see to that.  She
went up to the old man, kissed him, and wished him good-bye.  He
suffered all this, and at last faltered out a few words intended to be
kind.  She looked back as she went out, but he said no more.

She never saw him again.

Next day the cottage door was closed.  Evening came, the old man was not
under the apple boughs as usual; the door was still closed.  Some
neighbours opened it, and entered the chamber; old Gray lay on his bed,
as if in a calm sleep--he was dead.

Deep in the night a step came up the gravel-walk of the garden; Grip
gave a low whine, the latch of the door was lifted, and Martin Gray
entered.  The unusual sight of a light at that still hour of village
repose had prepared him for sickness, and he trembled exceedingly as he
crossed the threshold.  Friends were sitting there; he gazed at them
with a bewildered stare, walked up to the bed, whither he was followed
by the watchers.  One of them, a kind old woman, laid her hand upon the
sheet that covered the body, but Martin whispered, in an unnatural tone,
"Lift it."

She uncovered the face of the dead, and Martin Gray fell fainting on his
father's breast.  They drew him into the garden, the soft summer air
revived him, and he sat down upon the door-step of his home overwhelmed
with grief.  In vain poor Grip licked the tears that fell through his
trembling fingers; in vain the faithful beast whined, and thrust his
nose into his young master's bosom; his sympathy was unheeded.

The youth got up, walked again into the house, looked once more at his
father, felt his brow, on which a few bright silver hairs were smoothly
and decently parted, kissed it, and, saying to the old woman, Margaret
Wilson, "You will take care of all," he gave a glance round the room,
his eye resting for a moment on his father's vacant seat and Katy's
high-backed chair, and then, shaking hands with two other kind-hearted
watchers, he passed out again; Grip watching him, and waiting vainly for
the whistle with which it had always been his master's wont to summon

The door closed, the latch fell, the step upon the gravel-walk receded
quickly, and Martin Gray was never seen again in M--save by one person.

He paid it one more visit though, after his return from Gibraltar.  His
journey to his native place was made sometimes on foot, sometimes by a
lift from a waggoner, or good-natured stage-coachman, who felt for the
weary traveller, with his knapsack on his back, and sometimes in those
barges which slip so lazily and pleasantly along the deep-winding
streams of England.

It was in one of the last conveyances that he found himself sailing
slowly up the river in which he had so often fished when a boy; it
looked narrower to him than it had done in his youth, but the
over-arching trees were taller and thicker than of old.  He recognised a
pool where he and Katy had drawn their pumpkin boats together; the alder
bushes shaded it now, and it looked cold and gloomy, for the sunlight
could not penetrate it.  As the barge neared the bank, he offered
payment to the bargemen, but they refused it--he sprung ashore, and
plunged into the thick coppice that formed part of the grounds of the
Hall where Katy used to be.  He came to an open space, near which stood
the ruins of an old keep, part of the ancient castle residence of the
first owners of the soil.  In early days, it appeared to him as
something grand and stupendous; now he was surprised to find the windows
and doorways so near him as he stood beneath the mound.

Having no mind to be recognised at once, he withdrew from the open
ground to the shrubberies, and choosing a sequestered spot where the
rooks were congregating in the old beeches, he sat down upon the leaves
which the winds of autumn had gathered together in a bank.

It was a lonely place, but from the hawthorn hedge which bounded it
there was a view of the meadows and farm-buildings belonging to the
landlord of the Hall; and he lay contemplating, with something of
pleasurable feelings, the variegated landscape of cornfields and green
uplands--the sweet scent of beans reminded him of those autumn meetings,
when the corn was carrying.  There was a cart, loaded with golden
sheaves, standing under the elms of the great meadow, and another coming
down an opposite hill, with laughing children on the top--their voices
rang distinctly across the fields; the sun was glittering on the bright
weather-cock of the church spire, and Martin Gray took up his knapsack,
which he had unstrapped from his tired shoulders, and resolved on
yielding to the impulse which tempted him, to join the reapers...
Voices in the lane close by!  There was a laugh, prolonged, and rather
loud, but musical and merry, if not cheerful, and two people advanced
arm-in-arm.  The forage-cap with its gold band, the blue surtout and
glittering scales upon the shoulders, bespoke the officer of artillery,
as Martin lightly concluded from the company quartered in the town; but
the other, the lady--

The _lady_!--a bonnet with bright-coloured ribbons--ah, Gray thought of
Katy's garish taste!--placed far back on the head, revealed a face
encircled with hair of that rich wavy brown only seen in England.  The
curls fell heavily upon the swelling bosom--the large dark and shining
eyes, the red lips, the brilliant cheek, were all of a character too
full and decided for Katy; and yet--Martin stole along the hedge,
keeping pace with these two people; the gentleman, young and showy, with
his cap set jauntily on his shapely head, and she, the woman--for
girlhood was passed, face and form were in their prime--was arrayed in
attire that ill agreed with Katy's condition.

But it was she--her large shawl slipped from her shoulders, and she
turned to gather up its gaudy folds; she spoke, laughed again, the white
teeth parted the scarlet lips, and Martin knew her.

He stopped, breathed shorter, and she passed on, after the shawl had
been adjusted, and the lover, or husband, had put aside the sunny hair
and kissed the smooth forehead of that laughing, beaming face.

Whether wife or mistress, Gray felt she was lost to him, and he sat down
again upon the bank of leaves, till the shadows of the old elms
stretched themselves out like giants on the meadow-grass, and the song
of the reapers mingled with the hum of voices in the village; then he
rose, buckled on his knapsack, and made his way through many
well-remembered paths, past the old school-house, to the garden-gate
opening upon his father's little property.

Again he trod the well-remembered path, again he lifted up the latch,
and, as he had hoped and expected, found old Margaret by the fire; age
made her feel the cold, though the glow of autumn was in the sky.

She recognised him at once, in spite of growing infirmities; perhaps it
was because, as she said, she had been expecting him, for she had saved
what rent she could afford to pay out of earnings from the garden, and
had it ready for him; but he set aside all questions of finance and
property, and sat down beside the old woman's spinning-wheel.

Something whined and moaned at the back-door.  Margaret rose, opened it,
and Grip crawled in.  He had waited, as it were, till his master came
before he _could_ die.  He dragged himself as well as he could along the
sanded floor, lay down at Martin's feet, licked his shoes, tried to
reach his hands, fell back, uttered a long, low whine of joy, and _died
upon the cottage hearth_.  Dame Margaret gave the history of Katy in a
few words.  She had been encouraged in her insatiable love of dress by
the housekeeper at the Hall, who had her own ends to gain by the setting
off of Katy's beauty; father and mother, brought to the lowest ebb of
vice by drink, quarrelled between themselves about unholy profits, and
their daughter finally exchanged her place at the Hall for a dwelling in
the town, close to the barracks.  She had no shame now, Dame Margaret
said, and Martin listened in bitter silence to the tale, and that night

He turned and looked at his old home from the garden-gate.  The light
shone through the casement and streamed in a glittering line along the
gravel path; the gentle breeze of autumn lifted the boughs of the trees
and murmured through the neighbouring woods; the hum of voices in the
village had died away, the "watch-dog's honest bark" breaking the
silence now and then, and there was but small stir in the long irregular
street as Martin passed through it.

No one observed him, though some were lingering about the old coach-inn,
expecting the one-pair-horse vehicle that travelled through it "up to
London."  He went on his way, avoiding all the pleasant lanes and paths,
through which he had walked in youth and sunshine, and reached a spot
where four cross-roads met.  He remembered the time when he and Katy
would tremble if benighted here, for the place was said to be haunted:
there was some old tradition of a suicide being buried beneath the tall
white hand-post, with a stake through his body, and not a villager would
pass this way alone after sunset.

But now Martin Gray sat down at the foot of the hand-post, in the
twilight, and hailed the coachman when he came up, much to the old
driver's surprise, as he drove along the road, whistling in solitude,
for not a creature was on the top of the vehicle.

Gray climbed up beside the coachman, and, looking back upon the village
from the summit of a hill, distinguished only a few twinkling lights;
but beyond it the windows of the great house shone resplendent:
doubtless it was filled with company, and poor Martin turned from such a
view with a heavy sigh.

The coachman tried, without success, to engage him in conversation, and
then lit his cigar, leaving his passenger to his own melancholy

I must give one or two more scenes in the life of Martin Gray ere I
again bring him forward in companionship with his fellow-convict.

One fair summer's day, a body of troops was embarking for foreign
service.  Among the rest was the company of Royal Artillery to which
Gray belonged, and the officer who had just assumed the command was no
other than the same Captain Trafford, whom he had seen walking with his
old love, Katy.  Three years had elapsed since that memorable evening
when Martin quitted his native village; but had he not then learned the
name of this officer, he would have recognised him at once.

The steamer which was to convey the detachments to the transport lay
alongside the quay of a great mercantile town in England.  There were
crowds standing alongside to wish their friends farewell.  A gay
regimental band had accompanied the troops, and they passed through the
throng, cheering as they marched.  There was not much delay in getting
the steamer underweigh; all the poor property the men possessed was
strapped upon their backs, and they were not long on board ere they
turned their faces to the shore to give a parting hurra!  There was a
struggle between the policemen and some of the crowd at the gangway, but
it was soon over, the people giving way.  The cheers rose from the deck,
there was an answering hearty shout, and the steamer dropped slowly down
along the quay side.

A woman had pressed onwards to take a last look; her cloak was dropping
from her shoulders, her bonnet hung at the back of her head; the rich
hair was cast back from her wan, thin face; her dress was torn,
disorderly, and soiled, but Martin Gray recognised her instantly.  It
was his lost love--his once bright-faced cousin Katy.

But she did not see him; and as he gazed with aching eyes and beating
heart upon her, he heard a comrade say, "That is the girl that followed
Captain Trafford all the way from London.  I heard him last night, when
I took the orderly-book to the inn, swearing at her, and telling her not
to follow him.  I was sorry for the poor thing, for she was so tired she
could hardly stand, and leaned against the wall, staring at him and
crying terribly; but he sent for a waiter and had her turned out.  She
gave me such a wild look as she passed me by, I shall never forget it;
but I could not help her, you know."

The crowd dispersed, but Gray saw a single figure standing alone at the
end of the quay, watching the steamer to the last.  She stretched out
her arms, leaned forward, and plunged into the water.

His involuntary scream brought others to his side, and the news soon
spread along the deck that a woman had drowned herself.  Some women had
approached nearer the after-part of the packet than was consistent with
the regulations, and openly coupled her name with Captain Trafford's.
He came forward, and, in a furious tone, sent them forward, and placed a
sentry on the spot they had invaded.

Some humane ladies of the party requested the captain of the steamer to
let them know the fate of the unfortunate young woman, and late at
night, as the ship's bows began to ruffle the waters, and her sails to
fill, a fisher wherry hailed her, and a note was sent on board.

It was speedily whispered about that Captain Trafford had been the cause
of the poor young creature's death, but there were no outward signs of
regret on his part; he was as brusque as ever among the women and
children when on duty between decks, and as intolerant and overbearing
as usual towards the men of his company.

They hated him cordially--they had always done so; but after the sad
incident I have recorded, their dislike increased.

Martin Gray buried his sorrow in his own breast.  None ever knew that
the unhappy girl who had cast herself despairingly into the waters was
his cousin.

Some trifling dereliction from duly on Gray's part brought a violent
reprimand from Captain Trafford.  The young soldier responded in a
strain equally excited, and the result was the imprisonment of Gray in a
solitary cell.

Some days after, Captain Trafford, being the offices on duty, visited
the prisoner.  The sentry at the adjoining guard awaited the officer's
return, and the sergeant, at length growing uneasy at the delay,
proceeded to the cell.

Trafford lay on the ground at Gray's feet.  He had evidently been
stunned by a blow, for he was insensible.

Gray made no defence, merely remarking, that he "had paid an old debt."

Had Captain Trafford died, the young soldier must have been hung; but
the former lived to give his evidence at the court-martial, the
sergeant's corroborated the captain's, and the prisoner pleaded guilty.

But ere the sentence of the court was ascertained, Gray, through some
sailor friends, managed to escape from prison, got on board a merchant
ship where hands were wanting, and worked his passage home.  He was
easily traced, was seized as a deserter, and the result of another trial
was transportation for life.


The convicts who had been rescued from the wreck by the soldiers of the
fort were of course handed over to the proper authorities in South

Some met with a merciful destiny, some continued their evil practices--
these were sent on their way.

The wreck of the _Trafalgar_ became matter of history in an age when
philanthropy, or the affectation of it, takes the lead in public.

"Ha!" said Lee to his companion, when they heard, some months after, of
the fate of felons like themselves, "what a fool you would have made of
yourself if you had given yourself up as you wished."

Poor Martin Gray would at the moment this was said have gladly changed
places with the hardest-worked convict in Norfolk Island.

But I must not anticipate my tale.

I have said that Lee had "rapidly chalked out in his mind's eye a map of
his plans."  These were rather facilitated in prospect by the unexpected
advent of a companion; and on rising the following morning, he drew out
such a sketch of his intended operations as induced Gray, of necessity,
to assent to them.

In the first place, he, Gray, knew Lee to be a desperate man, albeit
certain indulgences, the result of a morbid spirit of philanthropy--an
endemic peculiar to England--had been granted to the latter on board the
convict-ship; and he had thus, comparatively with the other voyagers,
been placed beyond complaint.  Secondly, there was only the alternative
of giving himself up as a deserter.  On the one hand, was infinite space
in a fine country, with strange promises from his comrade, a daring and
clever man; on the other, at best, a renewal of servitude under a yoke
he had been taught by a miserable fatality to dislike.

Their resolution once taken, they determined, with wise precaution, on
leaving no traces of concealment in a locality so dangerous by its
proximity to the military post; for, although the river to the westward
still remained impassable, and there was no likelihood of an invasion
from the eastward, it was not to be doubted that ere long the scene of
the wreck would prove of sufficient interest to bring some to the spot
in search of such plunder as the tide might cast up.  This territory,
held, in Kafir parlance, by "the sons of Congo," contained, besides the
kraals and pasture-lands of its chiefs and their people, a few traders'
huts, and three or four mission stations, all widely separated from each



Perseverance and the instinct of self-preservation will effect much
that, under ordinary circumstances, would be abandoned as impossible.
By working at night within the cave, and at dawn at the outer entrance,
they contrived to loosen heavy stones, and piled them together so
cleverly, that they felt sure that in a day or two all traces of their
hiding-place would be obliterated, especially if the surf increased.

Starting in the depth of a stormy night along the coast, at the imminent
risk of their lives, they resorted by day to the rocks, where they ate
such a portion of the provision they carried as served to keep up their
strength.  There was no scarcity of water, the heavens still poured
forth their floods; at times they were almost blinded by the rain, and
had not the heavy fogs occasionally rolled themselves up, they might
have perished.  For his own wise purposes, God chose to lead these two
men in safety through the storm, and on the third day of their journey
they entered a dense bush, crept along the bank of a stream, the
Inzonzana, forded it in safety, and, having waited till nightfall to
cross the open plains northwards, they about midnight entered a narrow
gorge or kloof, and lay down to sleep; nor did they wake till the sun,
for the first time since their _entree_ upon this stage of their
existence, came from his chambers unveiled, and rejoicing as a giant to
run his glorious course.

"We are all right now," said Lee, "and we may light a fire in this dip
under the cliff; we may wait again till night-time to pay a visit to my
friend up there," pointing to a mud hut on the slope of a mountain,
which Gray would not of himself have discovered.  "And so now to dinner;
there is a scrap of pork left; our smoke will not attract attention
here, so we may make ourselves comfortable; you will see fires in all
directions by-and-by."

And so it proved.  The swollen rivers had detained many a Kafir from a
thieving or hunting expedition; but Lee knew he was some distance from
any kraal of importance.  However, in case of any unexpected visit from
rovers, he selected the densest part of a thicket for their bivouac till

The sun went down, and the cool breeze, which stirred the surface of the
stream, fanned the travel-stained faces of the wanderers.  The sprews
and smaller finches, the canaries, the titmouses, and the blue birds and
the Cape chlories--a whole airy colony, in fact, of bright-winged
creatures--began to flit about the bush preparatory to taking their
pleasant pest among the myrtle boughs and dwarf lilacs, and soon woke
the adventurers, who had sought repose in that small Eden.

Gray sat up, and the scene had its influence on his mind, which was not
yet as a garden utterly laid waste and tare-sown.  Gentle thoughts stole
over him, and he longed for the wings of the doves crooning near him to
fly away and be at rest; but such thoughts became as a bottle in the
smoke when his companion awoke himself, and, rousing Gray by a rough
shake, bid him get up from the bed of dry leaves on which they had
reposed themselves with a comfort rare to their wearied frames.

Lee's mind was wide awake.  Now that he had readied a place of
comparative security, for he knew well where he was, which was more than
Gray did, he, Lee, almost wished that the latter had been drowned with
the other victims of the storm; but the wish was idle--there he was--his
fellow-convict, his comrade.  It would not do to lose sight of him; he
was at his mercy, for the deserter might earn his pardon by betraying
his companion.

As Lee considered these points, he did not by any means contemplate
getting rid of Gray by violent means.  How many men, from whose misdeeds
originate death and misfortune, shudder at the abstract idea of
slaughter in cold blood.

  "The breeze that stirs the stream,
  It knows not the depth below."

And the little bubbling spring, that rises with diamond brightness amid
the flowery turf, wots not of the desolation it may spread in its course
if unrestrained.

But Lee's career had been little checked in its evil nature; and I
question if Gray had been thoroughly disabled by rheumatism or fatigue,
whether his companion would have had any compunction in leaving him to
the mercy of stray Kafirs or wild beasts.

But, as matters stood, it was clear he must not be lost sight of; so
Lee, on hearing his companion complain of cramped limbs, made a virtue
of necessity, and bid him take courage, and follow him to the trader's

With some little difficulty they scrambled across the stones lying in
the bed of the gorge, through which a swift rivulet was rushing.  Had
there been water enough to drown Gray, and had he fallen into it _by
accident_, I know not how he might have fared.

But they reached the opposite slope dotted with granite heaps and mimosa
clumps, climbed the mountain steep, and traversed another path.  The
moon, like a blazing shield, rising above the distant mountains, lit the
plains, but the nearer hills were yet in deep shadow; and it was not
till the wanderers were in full advance upon the ill-tended garden
fronting the hut indicated by Lee, that they discovered, some paces from
them, what appeared a herd of cattle.  They drew back stealthily, for
Lee's experience of the country made him cautious, and sunk down in a
hollow beneath the thickest bush at hand.  Each held the other by the
arm; they scarcely breathed, and paused with fixed eyes and rigid limbs
for many minutes.

At length a rustling sound arose among that mysterious crowd, the
shivering noise of assegais announced its warlike calling, and a Fingo
chief marshalled his phalanx with their shields of bullock hides,
beneath which they had been resting till the rising of the moon.  Keen
watchers of their great mother, Nature, they had calculated to a nicety
the darkest nook for a shelter to rest beneath their shields preparatory
to their march at night.

It was clear they were on a mission of vengeance, for the few Kafirs,
whose fires had appeared during the day, were either too terrified to
leave their lairs, and give warning of an enemy's approach; or, what was
more probable, the band of warriors had moved unnoticed to the spot.

In perfect silence, and within the shadow of the hill, the chief put his
force in order; ere long they were on their march.

Not a sound was now heard upon the hill-side, but a measured tread of
distant feet was distinctly audible to the convicts, as, impatient of
delay, and, it must be owned, rather disheartened, they lay with their
ears to the ground listening to the receding footsteps of the Fingoes
along the edge of the ravine.

"What a life we are to lead in this savage country!" murmured Gray, who,
ill, weary, and unhappy, would have given worlds to have been at his
duty as a soldier again.

"Silence, fool! and follow me," was Lee's reply.

There was nothing for it but to obey.  They crept cautiously into the
garden fronting the trader's hut; it was a desolate piece of ground;
such plants as had once flourished were trodden to the earth; the door
was torn from its hinges, and there was light enough from the moon to
see that the interior had been rifled of some, if not all, of its

The two men sat down upon the earthen floor of the despoiled abode; the
one cursing, the other moaning in the anguish of pain and weariness of

A man's form suddenly came between them and the moonlight that shone
upon the opposite mountain.  A pistol clicked in their ears.

"Who have we here?" said a stern voice in English.  The convicts rose to
their feet, and in a moment all three men stood together in the clear
and radiant atmosphere.

But, to Lee's disappointment, the man, who had just issued from some
place of concealment near them, was not the person he had expected to
see, and on whose co-operation in his plans he relied, inasmuch as he,
Lee, had some claims on the trader's good-will; and, compelled by
circumstances to be prompt and truthful, he plainly admitted his
surprise and regret.  Then, without satisfying his interrogator as to
his identity or his comrade's, he inquired abruptly, "Where is Tanner?"

To this he received, instead of a reply, the unsatisfactory answer of
"What's that to you? and who the devil are you?"

The pistol was again elevated, but Lee coolly put it aside; and,
sensible that his desperate position could only be defended by hardy
measures--seeing, too, that the peremptory tone of his opponent was that
of a man whose privacy was not to be further invaded against his will,
answered in a steady tone:

"I am not a spy, you may trust us both; lead us into your cabin, or we
must climb higher up the hill to the hut where Tanner kept his powder in
old days.  If it is not standing now, there is a cave near it, and we
can light a fire there in safety.  My companion must have an hour's rest
and food, and we shall be secure enough there.  To tell you the truth,
we are both hungry, and have travelled far."

It was clear that the speaker knew the ground on which he stood and the
calling of the trader, who, to outward observers travelling the country,
carried on a harmless traffic in ostrich-feathers, skins, horns,
tobacco, snuff, and such comforts as civilisation in her slow march
through Kafirland had taught the use of to the natives.  Puzzled, and
rather disconcerted, he led the way to the hut.

It had a counter, shelves, weights and scales--all the accompaniments of
legitimate trade; but on striking a light, and holding it up, both
visitors and host were soon made aware of the devastated state at the
stores.  The shelves had been cleared of their blankets, the walls were
bare of all but the nails to which beads and bugles had been suspended
in tempting array; the tobacco had been swept from the counter, the
remnant of tobacco-pipes lay broken on the trampled floor, and scarce a
vestige remained of any portable wares.  A bunch of common candles
hanging in a corner had escaped the notice of the thieves.  One of these
the host took down, and, going into an inner room, returned with the
welcome intelligence that there was something yet left in the locker.

Either overlooking the entrance to this inner apartment, or having found
sufficient plunder to satisfy themselves, the thieves had here left all
intact.  The marauders had been Kafirs, who, not aware of the Fingoes'
proximity, had swept off all the property they could readily dislodge.

The Fingoes bore the odium of the theft, but they were only intent on
repossessing themselves of their own property.

A bed covered with skins stood at one end, a chest, a bench, and a
common table of yellow-wood at the other; a few household utensils
completed the furniture; the window was darkened by a rude shutter, and
the ashes of a wood fire were on the hearth.

Drawing a few sticks together from the scattered embers, the host, a man
of determined aspect, re-lit the fire, replenishing it with a billet of
wood, and in a short time the three men were seated together on the
ground with closed doors.  A repast of dried buck and some mouldy bread,
which did not look particularly inviting even to wayworn travellers, was
spread before them; and the large chest being removed, some clay, which
had been spread to give the surface the same appearance as the floor,
was cleared away, a heavy stone was lifted, and the master of the hut,
descending an aperture, brought up a tiny keg of Cape brandy, filled the
flask he carried in his huge pocket, and, replacing the keg, the stone,
the trap-floor, and the chest, handed a tin cupful of the burning liquid
first to Lee and then to Gray.

All this, of course, had not been done in silence.  The host, who called
himself Brennard, recounted how he had been absent on a trading
excursion for some days to Fort Beaufort, a garrison in the northern
part of the colony; how, on his return, his horses and oxen had fallen
lame, and he had left them at a brother-trader's station; how he had
talked homewards with a pack-ox carrying some of his stores--the ox was
now fastened to a stout oak far down the adjoining kloof; how he had
advanced to reconnoitre, having heard the Fingoes were on march against
Umgee's people, who had stolen Fingo cattle; and how, after watching the
phalanx advance upon their silent path to his own property, which they
despoiled sad left, he had been astonished to meet two white men on his
ground, one of whom was evidently no stranger there.

Gray remained contented as an auditor to a conversation begun by
Brennard in Dutch, and carried on by Lee, who admitted in English that
he had been in the country before, and that he had known Tanner, the
first trader on the station; but the dialogue was soon wholly carried on
in Dutch, which was incomprehensible to the deserter.  He learned,
however, that Tanner had been shot on the other side of the Kei in a
conflict with the tribes there.  Brennard, who had been his agent beyond
the Bashee, knowing that the head-quarters of the business needed
looking after, left a deputy on the coast, near the Umtata river, and
removed himself to the hut in the hills.

In a word, Brennard was a dealer in gunpowder, which he sold secretly to
the tribes on the English frontier; and the men on the coast were the
established consignees of arms from British artificers.

Lee, of course, soon enlightened Brennard on the subject of his former
acquaintance with Tanner; but how it first came about was a mystery to
the trader.  He was beginning to consider how he might sift this out,
and both convicts were on the point of reminding him that they should be
glad of some change of raiment, when a long low whistle, from the side
of the hut nearest the hill, interrupted their plan of operations, and
the trader, rising, prepared to leave the hut.

His pistol lay on the bench, Gray seized it.

"Put it down, Gray," said Lee; "I know my man now; besides, you fool, do
you suppose he would have left a loaded weapon behind him if he was
bringing an enemy upon us?  Put it down, I say," and he took it out of
the hand of the deserter, who, as his prospects opened before him, began
to deplore his state, and longed, with thoughts half-bewildered, to free
himself from the net he felt gradually closing round him.

Lee read mistrust, and what he called fear, in the face of his
unfortunate companion.  The mistrust was unmistakable, but the fear was
that which a heart, born as honest as human nature can be, feels when
involved in wrong-doing, from which there is no escape.

"Stay, Brennard," said Lee, indicating an assumption of confidence in
Gray.  "I suspect I know what that whistle means.  I have no secret from
my friend here," laying his hand on the shoulder of the deserter as he
spoke.  "I have told you as much as need be of my tale, and now let us
make a bargain--there is nothing like plain speaking in great
emergencies; and as I have a pretty strong notion that through your
information we might be handed over to the authorities, I do not mind
reminding you that we might do the same by you; and that while our fate
would only be re-transportation--for we have escaped from the wreck of
the _Trafalgar_--_perhaps_ yours would be a dance in the air.  Whether
the hut in the kloof is still in its old place, I cannot tell; but a
commando out here would soon rout out your stores, and either take you
prisoner, or set a price on your head.  At any rate, the game would be
up with you as a respectable British trader,"--Lee laughed
heartily--"and you would be at the mercy of the Kafirs or the Dutch,
into whatever territory you might wander."

He whom the convict so addressed was a man of powerful frame--
deep-chested, and rather short-armed, every limb proved strength; backed
by a couple of Kafirs, he might have despatched his visitors; but,
although a dealer in contraband stores, and accustomed to danger, and at
times to scenes of warfare, in which he was supposed to take a part
against the very population he helped to arm,--although, in fact, he,
like Lee, was a traitor, he would have hesitated at a deed of
cold-blooded murder on his own hearth.

In a word, no two men could have better understood each other than Lee,
the convict, and John Brennard, the trader of the Witches' Krantz
(Cliff).  As for Gray, he might truly be considered, what a late ruffian
was described to be, "the victim of circumstances,"--with wearied body
and aching heart, he sat by, a passive listener; passive, because he
_could_ not help himself.

The low whistle was repeated, and Brennard, opening the window-shutter,
responded in the tone of a wandering, hungry wolf: then the signal came
clear but slow, and with evident caution, and moving in am upward
direction, died away in some hollow of the hill.  Then Brennard, closing
the aperture carefully, proposed entering on a solemn compact with his
new acquaintances, to which they agreed.

Strange indeed is that species of oath, which binds bad men together,
and which may truly be considered as founded on a superstition, of which
the devil is the founder.  There are many to whom the nature of such an
oath is sacred, who will rob, murder, desolate the home of the
industrious and virtuous, and commit every crime which by that oath they
are bound to enter upon, in partnership with others as "blind of heart"
as themselves.  In these compacts, they swear by the Bible, thus
blasphemously making the word of God a witness and a guarantee for sin.
Aye, and such compacts have been kept inviolate, even at the gibbet's
foot, and beneath the bloody guillotine.

And, after all, what is an oath, in the opinion of a truly honest man?
A seal set upon the word of a villain, who only tells the truth because
the fear of punishment on earth compels him to do it.  He who lies to
God daily, would hardly hesitate to lie to man, but that he lets "I
dare, not wait upon I would," and trembles, like the Chinese and the
Kafir, not at commission of crime, but at the disgrace and punishment
which must follow its discovery.

They stood up, did those three desperate men, in the low and narrow
room; the owner of the wild domicile held the book in his hand, for
there was a Bible in the chest.  They opened the unholy compact with the
words "I swear."  As they spoke, their eyes were fixed distrustingly on
each other, not on Heaven, the witness they invoked, and Brennard was
proceeding to dictate a certain form, with its set phrases of "betrayal
of brotherhood," "rights of partnership," etc, when the whistle came
back from the krantz above, descended gradually down the hill-side,
paused, chirruped like a bird, a gay, innocent bird, and a low tap at
the door was followed by a voice of most musical sweetness.

"Vuka u zishukumise"--"Awake and be stirring," said the voice.  It was a

"Urga lungenalake?"--"Are you ready?" asked Brennard.

"Ewa--urga kuza ni nina?"--"Yes--when are you coming?"

"Dirge za"--"I am coming now," replied the trader.

On which another voice added, "Lexesha kaloku"--"Now is the time."

A quick but gentle sound of unshod feet patted past the window, there
was silence again in the outer air, and the three Englishmen resumed
their attitude; Brennard in the centre with the Bible--it had the names
of brothers and sisters beneath his own in the fly-leaf--he had kept it
by him in the wilderness--and the two others with their palms spread
open on the cover.  They went through the formula again, the oath was
sealed by a kiss upon the sacred record, sad it was restored to its
resting-place, whence it never emerged but on extreme occasions like the
present.  The fire was extinguished, and once more refreshing themselves
with a sip from the flask, the light was extinguished, and all three
passed out from the hut, the door was drawn to, as well as its
dilapidated condition would allow, and passing through the garden and
advancing a few yards to the right, they turned the profile of a hill,
descended a steep pathway leading to a dense bush, and in a few minutes
distinguished the hurried tread of naked feet upon the crisp leaves and
underwood; a group of women pattered through a narrow glade, and,
passing our adventurers in silence, led the way into the kloof.

Lee recognised the locality as he advanced, step by step, down a
declivity intersected with blocks of granite and tufts of scrub, or low
bush; the murmur of a rivulet making its way over the stones was
audible, and the distant cry of the jackal hailed the coming of the
night.  Here Lee remembered well to have rested on shooting excursions
in former days; here he had listened to many a tale of Tanner's, and he
could guess the exact spot for which they were bound--the three men in
advance, the Kafir girls in Indian file following.  So they proceeded,
till the darkness of the glen deepened, and putting aside a large alder,
they bent their heads, and found themselves beneath a magnificent
oak-tree, to a branch of which was fastened a large ox, black as Erebus.

Motionless and patient he stood with his heavy load upon his broad back,
for Brennard had intended returning to the spot sooner than
circumstances eventually permitted him, and he bent his head in loving
recognition of Amayeka, whose sweet voice welcomed her favourite.  The
unusual roughness of the weather had detained Brennard longer on his
expedition than usual, and Amayeka and her companions had kept their
watch day by day in the hills.

I know not a more perfect model of obedience and endurance than a Kafir
woman.  With the white man, she is never thoroughly tamed.  You may take
her under your care in childhood--you may accustom her to English
habits, dress, and religion; but once let her taste of freedom, and she
is like a bird on the wing again.  True, however, to the instincts of
her nature, she bows to the thraldom of her race, wields the pickaxe and
the hoe, submits cheerfully to her occupation of "hewer of wood and
drawer of water," yields obedience to her task-masters, abjures her
European costume, albeit she delights in a broidery of many-coloured
beads, and sits meekly silent when bartered for by a lover, who, as a
husband, makes her one of many slaves.

Such was Amayeka, who had been reared from the age of six years at a
missionary station, near the Caledon river; but from this she had been
withdrawn by her father Doda when she was fourteen, and during the
year--for she was now but fifteen, the prime of a Kafir maiden's life--
she had thrown off her European habits in every sense, retaining only
the language, which she spoke with the grace so peculiar to her nation
when educated.

I specify her age from general calculation; her father could only count
her years by connecting her birth with a period of great drought.

She and her companions, all older than herself, had been sent by Umlala,
a petty chief, to convoy the treasonable stores brought from the colony
in Brennard's wagon, and transferred to Zwartz's back, at a secret
station on the banks of Somerset River.  This done, a sagacious old
Kafir had led Zwartz through an intricate defile to Witches' Krantz, and
fastening him to the "trysting tree," returned as herdsman to the
trading wagon, with its span of draught-oxen, on the banks of Somerset
River.  For days these poor girls of Kafirland had sat watching the
changes of the atmosphere from the mountain slopes.  Their food was
parched corn and strips of _biltongue_ (meat dried in the sun), supplied
by a cleft in the rock, where they had long ago established a simple
larder.  Apples, from the banks of the Kei and the Gonube rivers, varied
their repast occasionally, and a large light basket of sour milk,
brought to them from a distant kraal, was a delicious addition.  They
were very merry; they laughed, they sang, sometimes hymns, taught them
by Amayeka; they danced, ate their frugal meals, and slept soundly,
pillowed on flowery turf, with heaven's own canopy of blue and gold
above them.  If the clouds rose, they withdrew to the caves in the
mountain-side, and these recesses were their shelter, when a scout come
to tell them that Jocqueenis' Fingoes were on a march into Dushani's
country, to "eat up" the son of Ixexa.  For, however quiet and unpeopled
the hills of Kafirland may appear, there are always scouts on the
look-out.  These tribes carry out the prophecy against the sons of
Ishmael, "their hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand
against them," hence they are ever on the watch.  But all this time our
adventurous group are waiting together in the glen.  Here Brennard
unslung his haversack from Zwartz's yoke, taking out of it such articles
of raiment as he chose to retain for his own use, bestowed it, with some
acceptable gear, on the convicts.  The flask of Cape brandy was added to
the stores, and to each was given a small double-barrelled pistol.  Thus
partially provided for, the three bade each other farewell, for it was
necessary to make as much way as they could before morning, and the
defile being threaded, some hours of repose might be obtained in a place
of security, to which their female guides would direct them.

Brennard, having watched the party as far as the rays of the moon
flickering through the tracery of the trees permitted, returned to his
domicile, there to accomplish such repairs as he could single-handed;
and this done, to return to Somerset River for his wagon, and forward
information to the authorities of the delinquency of the Fingo
marauders; but long before the trader had noted the outrage on paper,
the warriors had stalked through the enemy's kraal, and possessed
themselves of the cattle they called theirs, and crossing a stream about
nine miles to the north, soon chanted their song of triumph and defiance
from their own territory.

As the reader will readily infer, the compact to which I have alluded
involved a treaty of partnership between Brennard, Lee, and Gray, in the
secret traffic of arms and ammunition with the tribes to the north-east
of the Cape colony.  The deputies left by Brennard near the coast held a
situation of little danger, since there was no legal restriction on the
sale of arms; nevertheless, a certain caution was necessarily observed
in the transmission of such stores from Cape Town, lest the eyes of the
authorities should be opened to a fact, at present only suspected by the
non-commercial settlers.  The powder traffic, demanding greater care and
secrecy, was not so easily carried on, and it had long been obvious to
Brennard that it would be highly advantageous to establish an
intermediate agent between the Gonube and the Witches' Krantz, for the
disposal of the gunpowder, and the surer interchange of Kafir goods in

This offer Lee readily accepted, with a reservation that, if it suited
his purpose hereafter, he should proceed to the locations lately
established to the eastward by the disaffected Dutch.  As to Gray, a
spell seemed to bind him to such measures as Lee chose to propose.

I have shown that Lee had given Brennard only such details of his early
acquaintance with Tanner as he thought necessary, and the trader, as he
climbed the hill again, wondered, within himself, at the mysterious
influence which had thus suddenly been imposed upon him.  Who Lee was,
or what his position had been in Southern Africa in former days, he
could not tell.  All he knew was, that he was a runaway convict, that he
had been acquainted with Tanner, and that he had a thorough knowledge of
that part of the country, and of all the secret nooks for keeping
contraband stores.

Brennard also felt quite certain that Lee would not have admitted his
real condition as a runaway convict of the wreck of the _Trafalgar_, had
it not been an event of publicity which would elicit close inquiries;
and as there would, probably, be some survivors who had witnessed Lee's
escape in the boat, it would at least be conjectured that he had reached
_terra firma_ and made his way into the interior, where he might become
a dangerous assistant to the Dutch, who were known to welcome such
desperadoes to their gloomy councils.  In a word, Lee knew himself to be
a marked man, and, in such an exigency, there was nothing like binding a
useful coadjutor, like Brennard, by ties which, if broken by one, must
be the ruin of both.

When in the cave, after his preservation from shipwreck, Lee had shaped
out a somewhat crude plan for the future; he certainly entertained a
vision of self-aggrandisement, of leadership among the malcontent Boers,
of founding a settlement, and opening a career of rule; but a new
incentive to be "up and doing" presented itself unexpectedly before him,
and a fresh impetus was at once given to his desires of organising a
party among a people ripe for rebellion, by the perusal of a paragraph
in an English newspaper, of a comparatively late date, which Brennard
had brought with him from the interior, and given to Lee to beguile him
on the stealthy march, in company with the unwilling and melancholy
Gray, and the dusky maiden guides of Kafirland.

It was on the evening of the first day's march that the instincts of
ambition within the convict's breast assumed a new direction.

Through what deep and tangled footpaths did those patient maidens lead
the party!  A curious sight it was to Gray, a stranger in that far
country, as, lingering behind the rest, he watched the group wending its
slow way, now under the shadow of the great krantzes, now waiting for
him, beside some tiny stream, that shone like steel under the "Green
willows with the hanging boughs."

He could not run, and had he been able to do so, he knew not his way.
He could only guess by certain constellations, known in both
hemispheres, that he was journeying eastward, and he wandered on like a
man dreaming that a fiend has fixed an evil eye upon him, and beckons
him to a doom he cannot resist.  Gray felt that Lee never lost sight of

It was at night that their longest marches were made; but when the sun
came fairly up, the girls were generally able to point out the
established resting-places, where a commissariat of biltongue and Kafir
corn lay hid in some rocky storehouse.

In these halting-places all slept through the golden hours of noon, the
women at a prescribed distance.  There had been five at first starting,
and the party had been increased by three more joining them in a kloof,
almost impassable from the density of the bush.  Zwartz lay like a
guardian in the centre of his female friends; they petted and talked to
him at times, calling him all manner of endearing names, but Amayeka was
his best friend; and Gray, sorrowful and restless, reclined always
within arm's length of the wary Lee.

The latter was the first stirring.  It was a sultry afternoon on the
first day's march, and Lee took from the haversack the paper Brennard
had slipped into it at the Witches' Krantz.  The paragraph I have
alluded to was as follows:

"We regret to learn that the indisposition of our governor, Sir
Marmaduke Faulkner, still detains him in England, and that General Sir
John Manvers has been requested to take command of the frontier forces
at this critical period, when it is pretty well understood, by such as
choose to open their eyes to the fact, that the Kafirs are rife for war,
and that the Boers to the eastward are only waiting a favourable
opportunity to proclaim their disaffection.  Sir John may be daily
expected from Cape Town."

"So," said Lee, his chest heaving, his eye dilating, "_he_ is here!
Well, there will come a day when we shall stand face to face, openly, as
foes; I may fail of success, I may be beaten for want of a regular
force, but I _may_ be revenged--revenged;" and the tone in which he
uttered this aroused the sleeping deserter.

Lee held a parley with Gray, but did not enlighten him fully on the
subject of his enmity to the man who would soon be first in authority
over the wide territory through which they were roaming.  He gave him to
understand, however, that his final object was not to join a tribe of
savages in a fight against his countrymen; once well on the
north-eastward, there would be no difficulty in proceeding by degrees to
those settlements where many Dutch farmers lay bivouacked, with all
their poor household and farm property about them.

The character Lee had assumed for himself and friend was one which quite
suited his disposition, and would greatly facilitate his movements; the
Kafirs would welcome him as a trader, and pass him safely on as such;
while the Dutch would receive him as a confederate, and hail with
satisfaction so able an assistant as Gray, a deserter from the Royal

Night fell.  The Kafir girls re-adjusted Zwartz's burden; they
frequently lightened it by carrying skins of gunpowder on their heads,
which they did with perfect ease and grace, and Amayeka, uttering the
simple warning, "It is time," passed on, lingered on the hill-side to
point out the smoothest cattle-tracks to Gray, who, as his limbs
recovered their elasticity, tried to reconcile himself to his fate by
admitting the pleasant influence which the glittering eyes and brilliant
smile of Amayeka shed on his moody moments.

Having passed through many intricate defiles and glens of indescribable
beauty, they emerged, in about a fortnight from the first night march,
upon a more open country.  These plains were dotted with kraals, from
each of which some "Great man" came forth; Amayeka acted as interpreter.
A day was fixed for meeting in a secret spot, where a due exchange of
goods was to be made.  The wagons sent by the agent from the Gonube were
already, with hides and horns, waiting there, and these were to be
despatched by trusty convoy to the Witches' Krantz; Doda, the great
councillor or the principal chief, firmly believing that unless the
tribes kept to their agreement with Brennard, the latter would withhold
the supplies and betray the storehouses, or rather storehuts, which held
the arms and ammunition of Kafirland.

A stronger would not have distinguished these huts from others of the
hamlet, but day and night three dusky guards kept watch and ward around
than, for fear of treachery or fire.  These guards wove baskets, or
shaped out bullet-moulds, or bound the assegai blades to the slender
shafts; they did anything apparently but keep sentry over the domicile
they so cautiously protected.

On the twelfth day of the journey, having headed the Imkwali river and
traversed a plain, our travellers suddenly dipped between two hills, and
on ascending the last, found themselves in front of an amphitheatre,
over which Umlala's kraal and pasture-lands were spread.  It was the
chief residence of Umlala and his _hemraaden_, or councillors.

Behind this green space rose a range of purple heights; nearer to it,
and sheltering the village from the north, was a chain of low hills, and
the sides of these were dotted with thousands of beautiful cattle.  The
whole population of this territory was astir.  Over one slope a
hunting-party wound its way, below were children riding races on the
backs of oxen, far too sleek for such an exertion; girls were laughing
and talking together under the noble groups of trees, but the great mass
of Kafirs had gathered in a crowd in an angle of the kraal.  Amayeka, on
perceiving this, bid the convoy await till her father should be sent

Doda came, he having, as I have shown, already held communication with
Lee on the road, and he now invited him to the front of his hut until
Umlala should be ready to receive him.  Ere long, a summons arrived, and
Lee proceeded to a conference with Umlala.

The chief was seated on the ground, surrounded by several of his
hemraaden.  The subject of conversation had for many days touched upon
the preparations for war, which, for months had been secretly
progressing in Kafirland; and the intelligence which Amayeka brought,
and which Lee confirmed, was soon conveyed by Doda: he told Umlala that
the white men were making ready for battle.  Even now, it was said, the
white chiefs were beginning to count their red men by tens, for they
were many.

No immediate or noisy demonstration followed this announcement.  Umlala
sat, to all appearance, in deep thought, Doda waiting at his right hand
till it should please his chief to address him.

At last, having matured his thought, Umlala said, in a low and distinct

"Amakosa noburoti bona"--"The Amakosa are brave."

The crowd testified their satisfaction by a murmur of assent that rolled
through the assembly like the swell of an ocean wave.

"Our chief is wise," said Doda; "without him we are as the land in
drought--as a bundle of sticks scattered for want of a cord--as people
journeying on vast plains without a purpose, without landmarks.  It is
he who leads us from dark places, and sets our feet on open ground--we
are his children--hear him."

"Umlala," answered Amani, "is my mouth, let him speak."

"Our ears are open," said Doda, and sat down with an uneasy glance at

For Doda was peacefully inclined--that is to say, though war was in his
heart, he had tasted of the blessings of civilisation.  He had seen his
daughter, "sitting in the sun and eating honey," living under virtuous
influences, in peace and plenty, at the mission station, and it was with
inward reluctance that he had obeyed his chief in withdrawing her from
thence.  It would have been useless, as well as impolitic, to oppose his
sentiments openly to Umlala's inclinations, especially as of late the
malcontent Dutch had been tampering with the chiefs, and some mercenary
and unprincipled traders had profited by the aspect of affairs to
increase their traffic.

Amani rose.  He was the rain-maker, or witch doctor, of the tribe--one
of those wicked magicians of the country, who, taking advantage of the
Kafir belief in evil agency, manage, with extraordinary tact, to turn
the very changes of the elements to bad account.  By his cunning and
audacity, he had made such predictions and revelations as had obtained
for him paramount ascendancy over his chief, and consequently the whole
tribe.  Doda both despised and dreaded him.  He had missed him lately
for several days.  Amani was supposed to be in the retirement of the
hills, preparing charms and incantations for the ceremony they had
assembled to witness, the induction of the young warriors into their
calling.  But Doda, who had his scouts ever on the watch, felt sure that
the wizard had made a hurried march to some secret place of meeting with
Brennard, who would have given him the last colonial news; and, armed
with this, he could easily forestall Amayeka and her white confederates,
since Amani could travel faster and by nearer paths than they could
traverse in a body, and with Zwartz, encumbered with their contraband

It was soon clear that such was the case.

Amani began his address by saying, that Umlala's eyes were open.  Amani
himself had predicted mischief.  He had told his chief that the great
white captains were coming to speak to them with guns; but as for the
red men they had now on the borders of the colony, _they_ could be
counted in a day, they were _not_ many.  He called on the sons of Congo
to sound the war-cry from the highest mountain-top.

"Swear," said he, "by the bones of Congo's forefathers, to drive the
Amglezi to the sea which spits them up.  Behold, we will turn the
hail-storm of their fire to water--it shall be as water poured through a
broken calabash.  What right has the white man to put his foot before us
on our war-paths, when we choose to quarrel with the Gaikas about grass?
The bad people of Gaika steal from us--he shares the plunder--then we
take up arms against him--the white man comes, and tramples down our
corn; he begins the war, and will not let us rest in our huts, though
our fight with Gaika is no business of his.  Gaika calls himself the
white man's friend; he is a liar--he hates the white man--but likes to
sit where he will in the colony with his eyes open.  He stretches out
his hand, and the Amglezi fill it.  The Amglezi are fools, and believe
him.  He does not steal their cattle himself, but sits still upon the
hills, and sees it go by to the kloofs in the Amatolas; and quarrels
with us when he finds us there waiting to share the plunder that belongs
to all the land--our land--a land that will soon be dead to us, for
shall we reap the corn we have planted?  Gaika is a woman--he will not
fight us himself, but lifts up his voice, and cries aloud to the white
men, who come among us like locusts, and eat us up, and then pay Gaika
in beads and buttons for his treachery to his brothers.  Let the Amglezi
come--let them kill the last man of us--but let not Umlala's children
put their necks under the foot of Gaika.  Better to be dead lions in our
own kraals, than live dogs in the Amglezi's territory.  The white man
calls himself the protector of the Kafir tribes dwelling on the borders
of the country he has made his own; but we are oppressed by his
protection, and we will not have it; and we know, too, that some of the
Amglezi are with us in heart; for they tell us we are wronged, and bring
us arms and powder wherewith to regain our rights."

Doda thought within himself, "we pay for such stores;" but the thought
rested in his breast, for he dared not express it.

Amani proceeded, waving aloft an assegai, which quivered in the grasp of
his muscular palm:

"Awake, sons of Congo! shout from the mountain-tops! the valleys are
waiting to reply--we have sat still long enough.  Behold the children of
the foam will multiply, and come and drive us like monkeys into the
rocks.  Shall we consent to sit there in darkness?  Shall our young
warriors be mown down like early grass, or be driven into the sea like
ashes before the wind?  Shall our cattle be taken from us, to languish
in new pastures?  Shout, young warriors of Kafirland! shout, for the
elders of the tribe are women--their hearts grow white.  Our old women
would laugh at the old men, whose eyes are unclosed, but that their
hearts tremble as they think of the strong hand of the Umburghi.  Hark!
the young women of Kafirland, the daughters of Congo, call to us in our
sleep.  Answer them, and let the war-cry be echoed back from the Kei to
the Amatolas.  Let Gaika know that we are men.  Then shall he be
ashamed--then shall he uncover his face, and turn it towards us, and we
shall have light."

The Kafir girls, armed with assegais, and ranged in a double semicircle
behind the councillors, responded to this appeal with a shrill chorus,
their weapons rattling like the leaves of a forest in a gale of wind.
Amani ceased speaking, but they took up the strain.

"Busa Abantu u ba hlanganise"--"Sound the alarm! gather the people
together,"--they chanted over and over again in a tone of triumph and
defiance.  "Uya biswa go yithlo"--"You are called by your father."

"You are called, you are called," was repeated many times, till the
young hunters paused on the hill paths, and, looking down, waved their
muskets, for most of them were thus armed.  Some threw their assegais
and knob-kierries into the air, and cried, "Izapa, izapa"--"Come on!"
Six or seven women, the mothers of the kraal, stood round a skin
stretched on sticks to the tightness of a drum; this they began to beat,
now loud, now low, now in slow time, and now in quick, accompanying the
measure with their feet, and repeating the cry, "Sound the
alarm"--"Silathtekile"--"we are lost!"--the strange chorus rising,
swelling, dying away into a cry of wailing and despair, and again
filling the amphitheatre as it was taken up by the whole population of
the valley.

Suddenly some of the newly-elected young warriors, twenty in number,
stalked from a hut set a little apart from the others of the kraal, and
Lee was thoroughly startled by their appearance.  Whitened from head to
foot with a preparation of ashes and chalk, their ghastly hue contrasted
in a most extraordinary manner with the dusky colour of the rest of the
tribe, some of whom drew as near as custom permitted, and united in a
shout of welcome.

The faces of the youths were almost concealed by a thatched head-dress
of reeds, surmounted by two tall and slender leaves of the palmeet
plant; round their waists, and depending to their knees, were kilts of
the same texture as the head-gear; brass bangles shone upon their arms
and ankles, marking the exquisite contour of their limbs; and, shaking a
reed in his hand, for as yet they were not permitted to wield the
assegai, a youth advanced in pantomimic fashion.  At one moment he would
spring forward with a bound like a tiger's, the next he would glide
onward as a bird skims the surface of the earth; then rising suddenly,
he would execute a pirouette in a style that would establish the fame of
an opera dancer.  Anon he would balance himself on tiptoe like a
Mercury, then wheeling round, and again springing into the air, would
come down with an _aplomb_ that stirred the spectators to loud applause,
the men crying "It is good," the old women drumming loud and sharp in
the back-ground, the younger ones advancing, retreating, and chanting
shrilly to their accompaniment of rattling assegais; the spectators in
the distance adding their meed of admiration, their cries of applause
and encouragement echoing along the hills, and dying on the air, till
taken up and repeated by the herdsmen in the valleys.

Umlala had been too much excited to hold a parley even on the important
question of gunpowder traffic.

The chief and his councillors ceased to speak.  Doda led the white men
away, Amayeka following at a distance.  A hut was set apart for their
accommodation, and a huge steak, cut from an ox slaughtered in honour of
the young warriors' installation, was sent to them by Umlala, together
with some baskets of sour milk, and a good store of Indian corn.  The
bearer closed his message with the usual demand of _baseila_, which Lee
answered with an English oath, and Gray responded to by sending the
chief some tobacco.

As the night fell, the dark but shapely arm of Amayeka pushed aside the
wicker door of the hut, and set within it a small English saucepan
containing some fresh eggs, a little pipkin of clear water, a few grains
of salt--a great prize--and a cake made of coarsely-ground flour.  Gray
would have followed her to offer her thanks, but Lee restrained him at
the doorway.

Ere closing it for the night, they looked out.  The hills were silent,
but, between the summits and the sky, a scout at times appeared, moving
here and there in communication with others.  The watch-fires began to
glimmer, the cattle were settling in the kraals for the night, but the
hamlet was still astir, and the dull beating of the great primitive drum
went on.  The stars came out, the Southern Cross shed its light upon the
wild scene, and the young warriors still kept up their ghost-like dance
upon the dewy turf, one party relieving the other, as did the
singing-girls and elder women.

Long after the fire in the centre of the convicts' hut had been
extinguished, did both the inmates, stretched on karosses, try to
collect their somewhat scattered senses together.  Still the weary drum
beat on--still the shrill chorus rose and fell upon the clear night
wind, and at times the shout of some excited dancer pierced the air.
Lee, in wish, sent them to the infernal regions--whence, indeed, a
stranger might infer they came--and tried to frame plans connected with
the insurgent operations of the Dutch.  Gray strove to pray, but knew
not how--poor wretch!

"Ah," thought he, with a heavy sigh, "would I were once more a soldier,
and an honest man!"

And with this vain wish he fell asleep, and dreamed he was a little
child again, kneeling on the hearth beside his mother, and repeating to
her the simple prayer she used to teach him at eventide.



We left Frankfort and Ormsby with their cavalcade of wagons, horses, and
attendants, pursuing their way to the north-east.

I have no intention of giving you a detailed account of this part of
their expedition, since they are not presented to the reader in the
character of mere sportsmen--indeed such narratives belong to more
experienced hands than mine, albeit, ere their able works appeared, I
had collected a few anecdotes, which would now present no novelty.

May, the bushman guide, still headed the cavalcade, a unique
advance-guard, closely followed by two or three of the queerest-looking
mongrels possible, of which his favourite was a species of

A fine bloodhound kept close to Ormsby's horse's heels, never
condescending to join May and his scratch-pack, and scorning all offers
from the bushman's cuisine; the only symptom of toleration of inferior
caste shown by the aristocratic dog was a passive endurance of the
infant Ellen's caresses, when she crawled through the grass to Major
Frankfort's tent, into which the yellow face of the little imp no sooner
peered, than she was snatched up by her father, and carried back to
Fitje with a gentle rebuke.  "The sir was kind," May said, "and he would
not have him imposed upon."

In many ways this stunted creature of the wilderness displayed a
refinement of feeling not always met with among worldly beings, jealous
of infringing on the conventionalism of society--people who meet you
with "Unmeaning speech--exaggerated smile," and measure their civilities
by the length of your purse, or your position in fashionable life.

And are these less treacherous than the savage?  Verily, I believe that,
in spirit, they are just as deceitful.

But let us leave them, and return to our party.

There they go up the hill--May in advance with Spry and Punch, and
Floss.  The sun is blazing out, and our bushman winds his
bright-coloured _douk_ round his head, and tramps round the angle of a
jutting rock, staff in hand.  Before he does so, he looks back to see
how the cavalcade gets on, lights his pipe, and alternately smoking, and
singing, and whistling to his dogs, he proceeds leisurely along.  At
last, even he, of the active limbs and bronzed skin, begins to pant--his
shadow shows like a frog beneath his feet; tired as he is, he laughs at
it, spreads out his hands, whistles an opera air he has picked up from
some military band, and capers in the glowing light, till wearied, he
sits down on a block of granite, beneath a stunted bush, unslings his
three-string fiddle from his neck, and plays with great skill,
considering the means at hand, the rattling, saucy air of "Rory O'More."

And he was at it right merrily, when the first wagon, with its oxen
smoking and breathing heavily, reached the spot he had chosen as the
outspan, where a more solid breakfast was to be prepared than the one
that had been hastily snatched at dawn.

The country, although only about nine miles distant from the picturesque
locality on which our party had rested during the night, was now of a
totally different character; great plains, only relieved here and there
by low bush, or huge masses of stone, stretched out for miles before the
traveller's eye, and the noble natural parks through which they had
journeyed the preceding day were hidden from their view by the
undulations they had traversed.  In the distance, between the arid earth
and the glowing sky, at the edge of the horizon, stalked a company of
ostriches, apparently the only tenants of this great solitude.

There was something very grand, and even affecting, in the contemplation
of such a scene; at least, so thought Frankfort, whose heart expanded
under the impression produced by Nature in her state of lonely majesty.
Here she was not lovely, but sublime; the infinity of space, the
shadowless land, the unclouded sky--too dazzling for mortal eye to dwell
upon--the awful silence, all seemed more fully to betoken the eternal
presence of God, than in green places where shelter was at hand, and
where, therefore, the solitude was not so apparent, so vast.  The very
cries of wild beasts give life to the jungle--but here the human voice
broke abruptly on the stillness of the plains, as if it had no business
there, and Frankfort was thoroughly disenchanted of his sublime mood in
contemplating the almost awful expanse, as May scraped his fiddle ere he
laid it down to attend to Ormsby's inquiry as to "where his cigars had
been packed."

It must be owned, that Ormsby had no taste for the sublime or the
romantic; indeed, there are not many men in the world who would have
found food for contemplation in the desert scene before them; and as for
our young sub, I am forced to admit, that by the time he had smoked
three cigars, he began to wonder what he should do with himself when
breakfast was over.

Frankfort had stocked the wagon with many more luxuries on Ormsby's
account, than he would have thought of providing for himself; and the
meal, spread out on the shady side of the wagon, was by no means
despicable.  Excellent tea, devilled biscuits, cold tongue and honey, an
offering from Vanbloem, and added to these were savoury slices of
porcupines, a viand from which, in its raw state, Ormsby had turned away
in disgust, but to which, when cooked, he addressed himself with a keen

The panting oxen had been turned loose to seek what provender they could
among the tufts of grass on the sandy plain--the sun shone upon a _vley_
(pool), about a hundred yards from the outspan; the place had been
selected by May, because he knew there was no better bivouac for miles
in advance.  Like many other bright things, the pool shone with a
delusive lustre; it offered but a muddy draught to the thirsty
traveller--but drivers, _foreloupers_ (leaders of the draught cattle),
guides and oxen, plunged therein their parched lips, and drank
thankfully of the slimy waters...

"There is certainly nothing like judging of things by comparison,"
observed Frankfort, as, after a thorough enjoyment of his breakfast, he
laid his head on his saddle under a stunted bush, and, taking out a
book, prepared to indulge himself, as he called it, till it was time to
assist May in re-packing and preparing for advancing.

May trudged on with the dogs, and halted again in due time, in a similar
locality, where the solace Ormsby sought was another meal, combining
dinner and supper.  An omelette from the egg of an ostrich, whose nest
had been raked out of the sand by the keen and persevering May, was not
a bad wind-up to a refection of game; a cigar and coffee followed, and
while the ostriches were still stalking in the light, the wearied party
were glad to make ready for the night, and lay their limbs at rest.

For two succeeding days nothing occurred to distinguish the one from the
other; there were the same arid tracts, the same glaring bivouacs, the
chilly midnights and dewy dawns--the same porcupine breakfasts, venison
dinners, and omelette remove.

On the third day they found themselves on the borders of a river, rapid
and circuitous in its course, and fringed with bush, and here Ormsby, in
a fit of _ennui_, determined that May should get up a regular porcupine
hunt by moonlight--midnight was the time chosen.

Their tents were pitched on the riverside in expectation of remaining
there some days, for, calm as looked the current, May, from certain
indications, expected it to rise and swell beyond its bounds.  Besides,
here was shelter and pasturage for the tired cattle.

"So much for things by comparison again," said Frankfort, as he sat down
under a foe willow.  "Those who sleep in well-curtained beds this night
will hardly enjoy their rest as we shall do for the next three hours."

Ormsby's thoughts had been floating about in the clouds of his cigar,
the fifteenth since the morning; but as he cast the remainder of it from
his lips, he said, "Ah, all this may be very fine and sublime, as you
call it; but, for my part, I wish I were going to take my rest in the
orange-room at Ormsby Park."

The contrast of the orange-room at Ormsby Park with the willow drapery,
the starry roof and the silver moon walking demurely in the sky, at once
dragged Major Frankfort from the sublime to the ridiculous, and he burst
out laughing; but his mirth was checked by Ormsby whispering, "Hush,
there is some one in the bush near us; I heard a branch crack--it can be
none of our own people--they are all sitting together over the fire,
listening to that three-stringed lute of May's."

"Hush, there it is again!--some restless baboon, probably," remarked

"No, the bush here is not thick enough for them."

At this instant, May came from the fireside circle.  The night was so
clear that he recommended attacking the porcupine in his haunt at once,
and sleeping after the sport.  On being told that some one was hovering
about, he laid his ear to the ground, but could detect nothing.  Ormsby
reminded him that he had been under the impression, ever since they left
the Dutchman's valley, that some one was hovering about.  Had Frankfort
stated this opinion.  May would have put some faith in it; but he did
not like Ormsby.  The latter was perpetually scolding and ridiculing the
poor little bushman; and so, as the idea of the stealthy visitant
originated with the young subaltern, May chose to ignore it; but he
determined, nevertheless, on keeping a sharp look-out, and was as much
puzzled as his masters as to who the spy could be.

They were a tolerably large party; and, knowing the character of the
locality, and the tribes near it, he felt sure that the enemy, if enemy
it was, mustered in no force: so they set out on the porcupine hunt.

The bushman had already tracked out his victim for the sport.  The poor
little creature had set the dogs at defiance on being first discovered,
and kept them at bay till it managed to retreat to its hole.  So there
he was, poor fellow, with his ears, almost like a man's, stretched wide
open, listening for his expected besiegers; for, once disturbed, he was
thoroughly uneasy, and all his quills, though lying close to his body,
were ready to shoot out into a panoply for his defence when his castle
should be attacked.

May tried to get a peep at him in his hole, but he could only hear him
panting; so he fastened the bayonet, with which he had taken care to
provide himself to the long bamboo of old Piet's wagon whip.  It was
very sharp at the point; our bushman had taken care to cleanse it from
the rust it had imbibed in the damp ground, in which Ormsby had
occasionally planted it as a candlestick by his bedside.  Armed with
this weapon, and followed closely by the dogs, whom he encouraged and
exhorted in the queerest jargon that can be imagined, Frankfort and
Ormsby carrying sticks, he led the way along the banks of the river, and
soon reached the hiding-place of the poor little beast.  The dogs gave
tongue at once.  May, as I said, tried to get a peep at him, but he
could only hear him panting.

Floss soon got pricked in the nose, and retreated--only, however, to
return to the charge, and scratch and yelp in vain.  Spry and Punch kept
steady sentry, warily taking their opportunities of making an entrance.
At last the earth gave way, and the "wee beastie" emerged from his den,
with all his darts prepared for the charge.  His mouth was but a
mockery; he could not bite; so he turned his back again upon the foe,
and as they approached, opened out the weapons that nature had given him
to save himself.  These Ormsby believed would be shot out like arrows;
but, as May said, the _schelm_ (rogue) was too _slim_ (knowing) to part
with his arms entirely, adding, that "English man" was "too fond of
_making_ stories, and," with a sly smile, "too ready to believe them."

The creature, however, made his backward charge, again and again rolled
himself into a ball, with all his quills "on end," and after gathering
strength for another battle, fought his foes gallantly, till May,
fearing the dogs would make a meal of him, drove his bayonet into the
soft part of his body, and laid him dead upon the threshold of his home.

Ormsby was delighted with the novelty of the porcupine hunt on the edge
of that winding river, its waters flashing in the moonlight, and
clamouring along between the stones, or gurgling in little creeks of
mossy rock.  Here a bank stretched out into the stream, with a group of
willows hanging their tresses over their own inverted shadows; there the
grey cliffs were broadly reflected in the waters, and the frogs kept up
a perpetual though most unmusical chorus from the pools in the drift.
Up the stream the murmur was beginning to increase to a roar; and, in
some dread of the torrent suddenly swelling, May scrambled up the bank,
and shortened the way to the bivouac, where the wagons were drawn up in
great precision, and where all were sound asleep save Marmion, who
"bayed the moon" loudly at the approach of his master.

Ormsby, in horror of "creeping things," had latterly taken it into his
head to sleep in the wagon, instead of sharing the tent with Frankfort;
and still convinced that some one was hanging about the neighbourhood,
he determined to keep watch till dawn; but fatigued by his midnight
sport, he was soon overcome with drowsiness, and the bright African sun
was shining on his face, and May laughing quietly over him, as he woke
with a start, and seizing the bushman's hand, examined it intently, to
May's great amusement.  Frankfort, too, was looking in upon him, and
Marmion, with his fore paws on his master's chest, had his great eyes
fixed upon him lovingly.

"I have had the oddest dream," said Ormsby.  "I felt, as I fancied, a
hand clutch mine: I grasped it tightly; and when I thought I had got it
quite safe, I found the arm was gone, and only the hand, hard and cold,
was left in mine."

"And here it is, I suppose," said Frankfort, laughing, and taking up the
six-barrelled pistol, which Ormsby always placed beside him when lying
down at night.

May shook his head very solemnly, and then begged the "Masters" to
follow him, and he would show them who had lifted the pistol.

The bushman led them through a mass of tangled underwood, to a copse all
interlaced with wreaths of starry jessamine and wild convolvulus, and
softly putting aside a geranium-bush, entered the covert, followed by
the others.

Bending low, and creeping after him, they found themselves soon in the
centre of the thicket, surprised to see scattered about fragments of
bread and meat, and some broken bottles; in short, these were the
_debris_ of a meal eaten on the spot.

Lifting up a bough, May showed them a young Kafir stretched on the
grass, and wrapped in profound repose; near him were three assegais.  He
lay with his head supported by his dusky arm, his dark and
finely-moulded limbs offering a study for the sculptor.  But the frame
looked worn, and his hair, long neglected, was of its natural hue,
instead of a dull red, from the clay usually employed in adorning it.

Frankfort and Ormsby did not at once recognise the young Kafir servant,
Zoonah, whom they had seen at the Dutchman's farm, but May informed them
who the sleeper was.

Frankfort, surprised at the bushman's want of caution, placed his
forefinger on his lips to enjoin silence.

May pointed to an empty bottle near the Kafir, and, taking it up, turned
it upside down with a knowing wink, as he proved that it was empty.

"But," said Ormsby, "when the rascal wakes he will be off; and, as he
has been lurking about for no good, we had better secure him; he would
soon outrun the dogs.  Some fellows would shoot him, and serve him
right; he would murder us if he dare."

"No, master, no," replied May; "a Kafir won't kill you to get nothing by
you; he would, if he could, sell your skin; but he don't want to make a
row for nothing; it's all different when his blood is up.  The dog has
been hanging about our _spoor_ (track) ready to steal all he can get,
and he's making his way to his own people to tell them, perhaps, that
there ain't red men enough in the country to keep it.  Master Ormsby
said this himself to Vanbloem, and I heard this fellow tell the other
Kafir, who does not understand English."

"By George!" exclaimed Ormsby, "who would have thought the rascal was
`so wide awake;' but will his people believe him?"

"He's been sent into the country," said May, "as a spy, to take service,
and find out all he can by lurking about the towns, and picking up news
at canteens or shop-doors; and then he has come to the farm to keep his
eye upon the cattle, and listen to every word that passes between the
farmers and missionaries and travellers.  His people will believe him
fast enough, for they've been making ready for war these six months.
Vanbloem's Hottentots told me they had lost cattle lately, but could not
account for it.  This vagabond has been at the bottom of it, depend upon

And May contemplated the sleeper as he would a mischievous animal;
shaking his fist and making hideous grimaces over him.

"He will be up and at you, you little fool," whispered Frankfort,
surprised at the death-like repose of the Kafir, who scarcely seemed to

"He can't rise, master," replied May, with a low laugh; "first of all,
he's drunk, for I left some brandy in the bottle I pretended to throw
away; and next, see the snake-bite in his leg: `No need to tie him up,'
said I, when I saw that.  Ah, the schelm! here's the top joint of his
finger chopped off--he belongs to some of old Mawani's people.  Mawani
wouldn't let the Gaika Nazelu marry his daughter, so Nazelu attacked his
kraal ten years ago, and marked all the boys this way, after killing the
men, or cutting off their ears and hands."

Frankfort and Ormsby shuddered as they discovered the snake-bite in the
bend of Zoonah a knee, who, all unconscious and stupified, still slept
on, in spite of May's chattering and caperings round him.

Ormsby drew back with a start as the bushman lifted the reptile, which
he had discovered, with its back broken, but with some remains of life,
for it reared itself up, and fixed its filmy eyes on the young officer's
face; but Frankfort stepped briskly forward, and crushed its head.

Instinct roused the Kafir from his heavy slumber as May waved his
assegai over him; but stupified, and sensible only of intense pain, he
sunk back with a sullen air, keeping, however, a steady gaze on May.

_This page only partly readable; about an inch down the right, missing_.

"Poor wretch!" said Frankfort, "he must not, if we can help him.  I have
the cure of snake-bites; May, fetch the medicine-chest in my wagon."

May took the proffered key, from which a shrill whistle ere he went in
search of which, however, he put less faith tha Fitje's _coctions_ of
herbs, which she had prepare as soon as she, good-hearted little that
the young Kafir had been wounded tile.  Plenty of healing roots and herb
the spot--for God often plants the ai snakes most abound--and very soon
t and his wife were at their task of huma ing Zoonah's wound; May, while
i bestowing on his patient a variety of ep Hottentot, Dutch, English,
and Kafir la.

The savage understood the reality though it was not in his nature to
trac or respond to its sympathies by gratitude gloom was on his
countenance at having thus, like a wild beast, in the hunters submitted
to the surgery; and, the t dressed, raised himself against the tru and
stared from one to the other of the him.

"May," said Ormsby, who held a hand, "what has made the rascal follow

Zoonah, who understood English, knew, cast his eyes upon the turf, and
bushman's translation of the question.

After duly considering the answer h and accepting the cigar, he answered
in language--

"Zoonah is the white man's dog, they journey in the same path."

To which assertion May added in "lies."

_Problem ends here_.

"Ask him," said Frankfort, "why he followed stealthily."

"Because I was alone, and thought the Hottentots would kill me," said

"He lies," added May.

"Where are you going?"

"To my people--I left my heart in the bush,"--meaning his wife.

"Why did you leave Vanbloem?"

"He sent me away."

"Why did you try to steal arms from the master's wagon?"

"I do not understand you."

Zoonah's stolid air convinced Frankfort, too, that it was of no use to
question him.  It was evident that May was right--he was a spy on his
way to his own chief's kraal, and, as the bushman observed, it was
useless to waste words upon a liar.

"He's born liar--he'll die liar; he's born blackguard, and he'll die

And, with this last truly English vituperative, May left the thicket,
and went to prepare his master's breakfast.

He had tied up the dogs and kept watch himself all night, lying in the
long grass between Frankfort's tent and Ormsby's wagon, and had seen
Zoonah, just as the moon was waning, winding himself along in snake
fashion, till he reached the young officer's sleeping-place, in which he
was wont to spend part of the day, reading and smoking, with "pistol,
sword, and carbine," slung above him.

Doubtless, Zoonah had long had his attention fixed on these particular
objects, and allowing the cavalcade to pass the open plains, had come up
with it as soon as it was fairly bivouacked in the embowered nook
selected by May.  Here he awaited his opportunity to plunder.

But Kafirs have a dread of what they cannot see--a house, a tent, or a
wagon, may always, they believe, contain some mysterious agency of evil,
and hence, on Ormsby's instinctively clutching the pistol the Kafir
dropped it in terror, which was increased by a movement of May's.  The
wily bushman, though, had no mind to throw the Kafir off his guard; the
roar of the river proved that it was impassable; in the rear were the
inhospitable plains of sand, the Kafir must ere this have exhausted such
provision as he could have carried from Vanbloem's, and would therefore
not go far; and, in a word, May resolved not to alarm the little camp
until obliged to do so.

The result was, that Zoonah traced his way to the thicket where the
bushman had left a decoy, in the shape of scattered bread and meat, and
an apparently empty bottle.

"I watched that bush yesterday evening," said May, when explaining his
devices to Frankfort; "for though I laughed at Master Ormsby, it's
always right to be `primed and loaded.'  Well, I watched that bush
closely, because, whenever the birds lighted on it, they flew away and
would not stop a minute.  Some came there to roost in their nests--but
no, off they went, came back again, and then away--`Ah!' says May, `some
one _spenning_ (lurking, hiding) there, I know;' so I was glad to see
Master Ormsby tie Marmion to his wagon, while we were hunting the
porcupine, and I told old Piet to lie between that and the tent, where I
made a good fire.  This schelm little thought we went off so far; but I
gave Fitje the long pistol ready loaded, and told her to fire it, if she
was frightened--but she was not," added May quietly, "and lay down as
soon as she heard the dogs coming home with us.  I tied them up as soon
as I had fed them, and so now, if the sir pleases, I'll reim the

"Reim the prisoner?" said Ormsby; "what does he mean?"

"Tie him to the wagon wheel, master," answered May, "and keep him there,
till we can get rid of him handsomely."

Probably, May's ideas about getting handsomely rid of Zoonah were rather
vague; at any rate, he had no idea of trusting him in the smallest
degree, and he was greatly astonished when Frankfort observed, "Nay,
nay, we won't bind him; he looks half-starved.

"Poor wretch; we may make him earn his living by being useful--it is no
business of ours if he chooses to leave Vanbloem, we cannot send him
back--he is but a savage, and we must be kind to him."

"Right, master," replied May, after grave consideration; "but he's a
thief, as well as a liar, so take care."

So saying, they left Zoonah in the leafy covert.

May put no trust in Zoonah, and such was Fitje's dread of him, that she
would not lie down to rest, unless her husband laid his gun beside him.

The sportsmen decided on crossing the river as soon as it was fordable;
and Zoonah, rejoicing in contributions of tobacco, cigars, and
provisions, was happy, after Kafir fashion, lying on the soft turf, and
contemplating, with a longing eye, the cattle he professed to guard, but
hoped to steal from the men who had saved his life, and now fed him, and
treated him with kindness.

Although May heartily despised Zoonah, he was always in good humour with
him; for there is nothing in nature more cheery and good-humoured,
though hot-tempered and keenly alive to injury, than a bushman, caught
young, and tamed and educated by real Christian people.

Three or four evenings after the incident described, as Frankfort and
Ormsby sat by the river, after the last meal of the day, anxiously
comparing the depth of water with a certain mark they had drawn on a
jutting rock, their attention was diverted by an earnest "talk" going on
between May and Zoonah.

The latter was deriding May's idea of _Umtiko_ (God).  Zoonah, finding
disguise was useless, now conversed in excellent English.  May's
suppositions were right.  He had been educated at Shiloh; but the care
bestowed on a Kafir seldom answers the humane purpose intended.  Savage
he is, and savage he will he, unless, indeed, the age of miracles is not
past and gone.

"You say that Umtiko is good," said Zoonah; "how do you _know_ it?"

May pointed out the benefits we derive from God.

"How do you know they come from him?  Did you ever see him?"

"He is invisible."

"If he is so good and so glorious, why does he not show himself?  The
teachers are always telling us about God; but first, a Kafir never
believes what he does not see, and next, the teachers say that all men
are liars; how, then, can they expect _us_ to believe _them_?"

"But the teachers do not tell you this without proof."

"Where _is_ the proof?"

"In the beautiful world, where all things are given for our good, and
where the wicked are unhappy."

"Who do you call wicked?"

"Those who commit sin," replied May.

"Sin!" said Zoonah, after examining the ground,--"sin means pleasing
one's self."

Before May could answer, Zoonah went on: "You cannot believe in the
existence of what you cannot see."

"You do not see the wind," interposed May.  Zoonah went on in his own
language, May translating sentence by sentence.

"You cannot take the word of one man, whom you have never seen _nor
heard_," answered the cunning Kafir, "against the wishes of all men.
The invisible God you talk of says, `Obey me, and do nothing that
pleases yourself.'  The visible man says, `Enjoy earth, and all that
belongs to it, and be happy.'  On one side is a _chance_ of another
world if we punish ourselves in this; on the other is pleasure, ease,
and our own will, under laws made for man by man.  You English have a
woman chief; even she never sees the God you speak of.  You know not
even whether he is black or white."

At this point, Ormsby, who had drawn near, burst into a thoughtless and
irreverent laugh, and Zoonah, at this, satisfied that he had the best of
the argument, rose, and wrapping his kaross around him, ascended the
bank, and followed the cattle to the outspan.

The east was faintly streaked with a crimson line next day, when May
came to rouse the sleeping Ormsby, and call him to an early breakfast,
which he had prepared, that the sportsmen might cross the river, which
at last was fordable for men and horses, although the depth of mud in
its bed rendered it impassable for wagons.  It was possible to carry
over such provisions as would last them till they reached the Orange
River, where final arrangements would be made for treking at once into
the depths of the long-desired hunting-grounds.

The idea of change pleased Ormsby, and he readily assisted in the
necessary preparations.  With his usual want of foresight and
discretion, he had begun to make a pet of Zoonah; and, forgetting how
dependent he and Frankfort were on the integrity and sagacity of May,
amused himself with the idea that the latter was jealous; but the
kind-hearted bushman was utterly unconscious of this, and worked away
with his usual aptitude and good humour, keeping, too, a close eye on
Zoonah's movements when the cattle came in at sunset.

And now, to Frankfort's surprise, May permitted the Kafir to assist him
in making up sundry packages for the trek over the river, soon to be
carried on their own heads as they swam the stream; for May was ever
humane, and strove to lighten the weights on the pack-horses.

Two leather bags were soon filled.  Zoonah's dark eyes glistened at the
goodly store scattered about the ground,--canisters of powder, a pocket
looking-glass, bundles of cigars, and manifold articles delightful to a
Kafir's sight; he gladly helped in the task of tying up the bags, and
after adjusting one on May's head, and lifting one to his own, he
proceeded with the Bushman to the edge of the stream.  The rest of the
cavalcade were to cross the river whenever they could do so with safety;
and Frankfort, ascertaining that all was ready, took his horse well in
hand, and plunged into the clear and rapid current, Ormsby following.
By Frankfort's desire, May was to attend as guide and groom, and on
second thoughts, he consented to let Zoonah follow, deeming it unwise to
leave him with the cattle.

Both sportsmen's horses breasted the torrent gallantly.  Ormsby,
despising May's injunctions, had nearly floundered in a sea-cow's hole;
but the opposite bank was safely reached, and both gentlemen,
dismounting to rest their panting steeds, sat down to watch the transit
of May, Zoonah, and the dogs.

The bushman and Kafir, side by side, were already midway between the
banks, and, in thorough good-fellowship, exhibited their skill and
daring in buffeting the element through which the horses had passed with
less ease.

Frankfort watched the race--for such it seemed--with some anxiety, for
it called forth equal strength and courage on the part of both the
swimmers.  Ormsby laughed heartily at the "dodges" each took to
circumvent the other, when suddenly, as if caught by the current, Zoonah
was whirled round and round, sunk, rose again, keeping his burden safe
supported by one hand, and in another moment struck boldly out with the
right arm and vanished, to the horror of Frankfort, who gave him up for
lost, and the dismay of Ormsby, who had seen Zoonah pack many articles
of which he stood in need.

May swam gravely on, paying little heed, beyond a grin, at Zoonah's
disappearance; and even Frankfort reproached him severely for
triumphing, as he believed, in his own sagacity, at Ormsby's expense.

"I told the sir," said the bushman, when he recovered breath on landing,
"that Zoonah was thief as well as liar, but Master Ormsby only laughed."

"You should not have intrusted him with a package of such value to us
just now," said Frankfort.

"I obey Master Ormsby," answered May, beginning to shiver.

"Go and get some dry clothing on you," said Frankfort; and May rose to
do as he was bid, first laying the package, untouched by wet, at
Ormsby's feet.

The latter kicked it from him with an oath.

"It is all right, sir," said the bushman, patiently lifting it up again;
"all your powder and other things quite safe.  I let Zoonah pack 'em up,
but changed the bags, while Fitje gave him his sopie; he's got a lot of
rubbish packed up in the other.  I thought it best to let him go.  I
knew he would, as soon as he thought he had got something worth taking.
Ah! the schelm, he'll swim for the next hour.  I should like to see him
open his prize;" and Frankfort and Ormsby laughed as heartily as May

On, still on.  Each succeeding day drew our travellers far from the
settlements of the English colonists, and Ormsby, by degrees, began to
try and reconcile himself to an expedition from which there was no fair
means of retreating.

Soon the broad and refreshing waters of the glorious Orange River, lying
in lake-like beauty between its richly-wooded borders--the graceful
shelter of the fine trees that grew luxuriantly near its banks--the
murmuring sound of distant falls--the delicious lounge on the smooth
turf, selected as the halting-place for at least a week, that horses and
cattle, as well as men, might repose, were all enchanting to our
sportsmen, to whom the scene was as new as agreeable.

The Orange River forded, our sportsmen at length looked down upon the
"happy hunting-grounds."  But it was not now as in the time when Mr
Trail rescued May from the dwellings in the rocks.

As the white man's footprints had advanced, the game had retreated to
the deeper solitudes of the wilderness.  Herds of gnoos and bucks
occasionally swept across the plains, and May pointed out a drift where
lions sometimes came down to drink; but there were no companies of these
kings of the desert--no sentinel giraffes--no midnight echoes from the
trumpet-signal of wandering elephants.

It was a grand panorama, and as, while May off-saddled, our sportsmen
cast themselves on the grass of a natural platform overhanging the
scene, a fine buck started out of a bush, and passed them by with head
erect, eyeballs strained, and limbs quivering with terror and dismay.
The rifles of both sportsmen were brought to the shoulder at one
instant, and in another, the beautiful animal was stretched upon the
turf, dying the plants, which enamelled it, in blood.

The horses secured, away went May--greedy fellow--to kindle a fire;
Frankfort and Ormsby took out their _couteaux de chasse_, and the
former, ere he drew his blade across the neck of the creature, paused
with some compunction at having killed his game with so little credit to
himself as a sportsman, two rifle-balls having lodged in the head of the
buck when only a few feet from his destroyers.

He paused, I say, and, casting his eyes upon the valley, drew Ormsby's
attention to various species of smaller game, which, roused from their
coverts by the crack of the rifles, were speeding in hot haste across
the plain; gnoos, zebras, and bucks of manifold kind, all at once gave
life to the green valley far below the travellers' reach; and Frankfort
had scarcely had time to point them out, when a noble lion, with
eyeballs of flame and mane erect, sprung at a single bound from his
covert in the cliff above, and, in silent majesty, placed his huge paw
upon the neck of the slaughtered deer, his gleaming orbs fixed in steady
gaze on the astonished countenance of Frankfort.

He uttered no sound--the lashing of his tail against his sides was the
only proof this magnificent lord of the manor gave of his displeasure at
the intrusion of poachers on his territory.  His frown was terrific, and
said plainly, "This is my property by royal right, and here I stand to
defend it."

How long this scene lasted was never computed by the sportsmen--
Frankfort always admitted that they left the lion master of the field,
and declared that Ormsby was as ready as he to dive into a bush and
climb a path they would not have attempted "under ordinary

Not long after this adventure their plans and prospects assumed a
totally different aspect to what they had anticipated; a simple incident
proved the straw that turned the balance, and caused them to turn their
backs upon an expedition to which one, at least, had looked forward with
the prospect of a year's sport and travel.

At dawn, one roseate morning, a yell from the dogs awoke May in time to
discover a poor little porcupine scuffling back to his hole.  Up jumped
Ormsby, who would not wait for May's attack with a short assegai, which
he had at hand; lifting his foot, he laid the quarry sprawling on the
ground, but not before the animal had driven one of his natural weapons
into the thoughtless young man's foot; darting the quill, sharp as a
needle, with all his force, the creature left it two inches deep in the
instep, and would have returned to the attack, but that May, with a
stirrup-leather, laid the enemy dead.

Ormsby sat down upon a block of granite, in great agony, and the
bushman, after a deliberate survey of the jeopardised limb, remarking,
with a gravity that startled even Frankfort, that "the sir must lose
either his leg or his boot," opened his clasp-knife, and skilfully and
deliberately cut the boot open, then applying his fine but useful teeth
to the quill, he tugged at it bravely, and drew it out with a jerk.  A
clear jet of blood bubbled up from the wound, and Ormsby fainted with
the pain.

The inflammation which followed was so great as to preclude the
possibility of riding far, and as, fortunately, the wagons were only
five miles in the rear, Frankfort deemed it wisest to return to them at
once, as he well knew Piet would not move in haste.

Everything was as they had left it two days previously, although the
obstinate old wagoner had been told to follow as soon as the sore-footed
oxen had recovered, and they were now fit for their work.  There sat
Fitje, stitching at her patchwork petticoat; there lay the herd-boys
beside the green-bordered vley; and there sat old Piet, in the glow of
sunlight, smoking his pipe.



Ormsby was thoroughly discomfited by his accident, and his impatience,
and unwillingness to apply the remedies prescribed by Fitje, duly
aggravated the inflammation: he would walk, he would bathe, and at last
was fairly laid prostrate for two or three days.

Utterly disgusted, and intensely pained by the jolting of the wagon, he
listened one morning with complacency to May's information, that there
was a Dutchman's farm at the foot of a long, low hill in front.  The sun
shone down upon the settlement, which at that distance looked fair and
pleasant; but May said it was but a desolate place within, for the
master was heart-sore.  He had lost five sons in the last war; he had
but few cattle left; and whenever he began to till the land, he was told
by his neighbours--there were none within twelve miles--that it was not
safe to stay.  The bushman had heard this two months ago from the Boer
himself at Beaufort, when he came there, in his perplexity, to consult
his fellow-colonists.

Frankfort immediately thought of helping this poor man in some way, and
the cavalcade directed its progress towards the farm; but on reaching
it, they found it abandoned--"Silent all and lone."  The house was
empty, the doors and windows open, the garden desolate.

Both sportsmen agreed, that if this abandonment of the location was the
result of a rumour of war, it was high time for them to think of
rejoining their regiment instead of pursuing their expedition.  Ormsby
would fain have had the cavalcade halt here for the night; but May
informing them that, if they would consent to advance three miles
further, they would find a halting-place within only two hours' distance
of the settlement of Annerley, a property belonging to a retired British
officer, Frankfort decided on moving on.

The party proceeded slowly forward, the character of the country
changing at every step.  The bush grew thinner; wide undulating plains,
dotted with ant-heaps, and here and there a dump of dwarf mimosas, were
spread before the traveller's eye; and as the last rays of light gleamed
in dying glory on the waste, several dark objects were descried moving
in a body at speed.

Frankfort, by the aid of the telescope he carried, fancied he recognised
European horsemen.  A slight indentation of the ground hid them from his
sight for a minute or two, and as they reached the elevation, the wide
hat, ostrich feather, long _roer_ (gun)--in short, the whole guerilla
air, bespoke the Dutch border colonists of South-Eastern Africa.

At sight of the wagons, the party came galloping down the slope, and
approaching Frankfort in breathless haste, announced that the new
British commander of the forces, Sir John Manvers, had issued a
manifesto desiring the chiefs of the Gaika and T'Slambie tribes to meet
him in the neighbourhood of the garrison of Fort Beaufort, on the Kat
River, on a certain day; that the chiefs had hesitated, asking for more
time, to consult their councillors, which time was, of course, to be
employed in making ready; that the war-cry had already faintly issued
from the Gaikas, who only waited for the gathering of the tribes to
shout it aloud from the Amatola mountains; and that, as soon as the
warriors could be organised, an attack would be made upon the colonists.

This mounted troop of stout and determined Burghers had been despatched,
by the commandant of a frontier outpost, to warn the farmers in the
north eastern districts of their danger; and, being loyal to the
Government, were proceeding, as far as they dared, to sound the alarm
among all the landholders who were considered to be discontented, but as
yet were not avowedly disaffected.  These were expected to join a
Burgher force, ready for action, if called upon; while the farmers near
the colony were advised to put their homesteads in a state of defence;
and if this was difficult, from want of hands, or faulty position, to
establish _lagers_ (bivouacs), and bring their families together, for
the sake of security.

It was further stated, that the rivers were rising, and the enemy
congregating along the bush-lined banks of the Fish River, ready to
pounce on stray cattle or hapless travellers; the troops were mustering
in the different garrisons, the new commander-in-chief was at Graham's
Town, ships with stores and reinforcements were daily expected at Algoa
Bay, and the greatest cause for anxiety was the uncertain state of
affairs among the Dutch beyond the Orange River.  These, it was
supposed, had been fully conciliated by the visit of the late governor,
whose health had suffered from his fatiguing exertions in negotiating
with the rebellious Boers in person.  By these able negotiations peace
had been established, and redress officially promised; but, strange to
say, the arrival of Sir John Manvers had been the signal for another
outbreak, and while Kafirland was up on one side of the Orange River,
the Boers were inspanning their oxen on the other, and preparing
sullenly to trek, roer in hand, and with wives, children, and all their
property in a train, headed by one Vander Roy, a clever fellow, and as
ambitious as he was determined and persevering.  Having delivered this
news, and refreshed themselves with sopies of French brandy, the young
Burghers touched their hats, the officers bent over their horses' necks,
and were off at a hand-gallop.

Ormsby had laid aside his novel at the approach of the riders, and
leaped out of the wagon to hear the news.  At the prospect of war he
sent up his hat into the air with a shout, and telling May to
"up-saddle," would have mounted his horse, and insisted on at once
riding forward to Graham's Town.

He made no allowance for difficulties; he thought not of swelling
rivers, of a lurking enemy, ready to seize upon the horses of
unprotected travellers; he would have taken May and one of the
wagon-drivers with him, and left Frankfort on the instant; for the
latter, though brave, was not rash, and had no idea of such a mad
project as leaving the cavalcade behind, and starting headlong on a
journey of two hundred miles, with horses quite unfit for it.  Besides,
he did not expect May to leave both wife and child to the tender mercies
of the dogged Piet; and in short, to Ormsby's infinite disgust, he was
told that haste was out of the question: they must make what way they
could to Annerley, and there act upon the intelligence with such means
as circumstances afforded.  If fresh horses could be procured, a couple
of armed guides would be sufficient, and the cavalcade of wagons and
attendants could, for the present, remain behind; besides which
difficulties, Ormsby's foot was too much inflamed to permit him to ride.
On what small hinges do great doors turn!

Evening fell, heavy and gloomy; the atmosphere was loaded with an
unpleasant vapour.  As night drew on, the exhalations floated above the
earth in thin white mist, and as this increased, the travellers could
scarcely see a foot in advance.  The road, or rather track, was
grass-grown, the wheels sunk into the sward, and moved noiselessly
along; there was no echo of the horses' feet upon the turf, and as if
the stillness or nature had effect upon the party, not a word was
uttered.  Altogether, the vehicles, with their white canvass coverings,
the impish foreloupers, the attendant guides, and the riders, who kept
close to the two foremost wagons for fear of losing their way, all
gliding silently through the shroud-like vapour, might have served as an
illustration of one of the scenes in that delicious romance of "Undine."
They looked as if they must vanish and melt in the snow-white cloud,
wreathing itself closer and closer round them at every step.

May was wide awake; his keen eyes were riveted to the ground, watching
the slight undulations made by occasional wanderers in the wilderness,
and if his eye failed him, he knelt down, groped about the path, and
having found it, led the way beside the foremost forelouper.  Poor,
patient, honest May! how Ormsby muttered his discontent at thee for
being "encumbered" with thy wife and child!  How unthinking was he of
thy daily aid!

The dwelling for which they were bound, and to which May was so
carefully guiding them through the mist, along the almost trackless
waste, had been and was, for aught the bushman knew to the contrary, the
residence of an Englishman, who had been an officer.  If still there,
they would ascertain from him, "whose word," May said, "was true," the
real condition of the country.  If war had been openly proclaimed by the
English general, Frankfort admitted it would be madness to proceed, and
run the risk of being detained upon the banks of those densely-wooded

Ormsby, like all self-opinionated, inexperienced men, would not admit
the necessity of bending to circumstances; he was for advancing "in the
teeth of the enemy.  They would know better than shoot down, like dogs,
a couple of English officers.  He should like to bag a leash of Kafirs
amazingly.  He should send home a skull for his old governor's library.
He hoped there would be war with all his heart.  He longed to knock over
some of those black tinkers."

Frankfort listened quietly, smiling inwardly at the idea of Ormsby in
the bush in the rainy season, sleeping with his head in a pool of water,
and breakfasting on a hard biscuit and a cup of muddy coffee, without
milk or sugar; but he kept his communings to himself, and was not sorry
when he saw lights twinkling through the mist.  They looked distant; he
put his horse into a canter, and in a few minutes was greeted by the
"deep-mouthed welcome" of the dogs of the settlement,

Presently a door opened, but the lights were withdrawn; the butt-end of
a musket rang on the stone step, and a gentlemanly voice uttered the
words "Who comes here?"

"Friends," said Frankfort.

"Friends," repeated the voice aloud; the lights re-appeared, a group of
people filled the open doorway, and the owner of the mansion--for it was
a substantial building of stone--descended the steps, and advancing to
the gate, a Hottentot servant following with a lantern, held out both
his hands, saying, "Welcome; excuse our caution, friends and countrymen,
but it behaves us to be wary; for although the open plains are stretched
before us, we have a suspicious kloof to our right, and a chain of hills
to our left, which may contain some objectionable neighbours.  The
mistiness of the night prevented our discovering the character of your
cavalcade, nor could we distinguish the usual crack of wagon-whips."

And no wonder; for the driver of the foremost vehicle was sound asleep,
though sitting bolt-upright upon his box, and to Frankfort's
discomfiture, and May's terror, Piet had not come up.  May had collected
the whole party together at a great vley some two miles off, and then
finding that Piet would not be foremost in the van, had moved to the
front as guide.

As it was supposed, however, that he would arrive ere long, though poor
May had certain misgivings on the subject, Frankfort and Ormsby gladly
accepted Mr Daveney's welcome, and followed him through, what appeared
to them, a garden, for trees bent over the pathway, and the air was
burdened with perfume.

Ascending the steps of the house, their host stood at the threshold, and
welcomed them again, ushering them, as he did so, into a large
sitting-room, which, though dimly lighted, was evidently furnished with
some attention to taste and comfort.  "We are cautious, you see, in the
wilderness," said the host, and ringing a small hand-bell, he bade an
old Griqua, who answered the summons, bring more light, desiring him
further to inform the ladies, that the visitors were friends, and to
"send Erasmus for the gentlemen's saddle-bags."

Frankfort and Ormsby surveyed their host with that interest which only
travellers in the desert can feel on opening communion with a countryman
and brother-soldier, for Mr Daveney stood avowed "a soldier every inch
of him."  The erect carriage, and the kindly, but decided, tone of voice
in which he issued his simple orders, proclaimed his profession at once.
Of the middle height, of strong but slender frame, his life had
doubtless been one of activity and observation: the high, thoughtful
brow was divested of its early curls, but the well-shaped head was still
partially adorned with crisp grey locks; the eye was blue as heaven, and
shone with an honest light; the teeth were perfect, and of that hue
indicating a sound constitution; a grey moustache shaded the upper lip,
but, smiling as he spoke, a most agreeable impression was conveyed by
the contrast of these white and even teeth with the sunburnt face,
marked not so much by care, as with those lines which evince a deep
sense of man's duties to himself and others.  The close observer will
often recognise the difference between the restless attributes of
anxiety and the calm thoughtfulness of a mind sensible of its powers and
intent on its responsibilities.  He makes the discrimination almost
imperceptibly to himself, but is not the less guided by the impulse
arising from it; and thus Frankfort took the proffered hand of his host
with a feeling of interest he seldom accorded to strangers, and
responding to the light of the honest eye and hospitable smile, said, as
he lifted his hat with the grace of a soldier and a gentleman, yet with
his own frank and unaffected manner, "We are officers of the Eighty --th
regiment; this is my friend Ormsby, and I am Captain Frankfort."

A door leading to an inner apartment opened, and a lady, followed by the
Griqua servant, bearing lights, entered, and admitting that she had been
somewhat agitated, "not alarmed," by the unexpected arrival of the
party, added, that supper would be served up with as little delay as

There followed soon a young lady--yes, a young lady in the wilderness,
and the stamp of a gentlewoman was on her and on her mother.  No
adventitious ornaments of dress, or the absence of them, can give or
take away this stamp; be it in the desert, or the court, the English
gentlewoman, in humble garb or courtly robe, needs no herald to proclaim
her position.

Mother and daughter, in their simple costume of sober hue, were received
by our two wanderers with all the courtesy they would have paid "To
high-born dames in old ancestral halls."

Ormsby was most agreeably surprised.  Miss Daveney was of a charming
height, had fine hair, a gentle voice and winning manner, with a little
dash of coquetry, which in girlhood, as the result of innocence, is so
bewitching.  She admitted, that her alarm had been great, for the news
from the colony was startling; her father, as the magistrate of the
district, held a situation of difficulty and responsibility; the Kafirs
had long been anxious for war, and within a few days, Mr Daveney had
been informed, on good authority, that the Dutch in the upper part of
the colony would not respond to the manifesto calling on them to assist
in the defence of the colony: "in short," said she--clasping her pretty
hands together, in an attitude of thankfulness, as she lifted her clear
eyes, honest as her father's, to Ormsby--"we really have been in some
perplexity, and nothing could be more opportune than your arrival.  I
confess, I had some dread of remaining in the wilderness--yet, what are
we to do?  My father must not desert his post; never were visitors more

And Ormsby fancied--vain Ormsby!--that though the welcome was intended
for both travellers, the smile was especially bestowed on him, and a
very piquant smile it was.

But, dear reader, this pretty, animated Marion Daveney is not my
heroine; she is a fair, ingenuous creature, with sunny hair, and shining
eyes, and fawnlike step; but methinks you will be more interested in
Eleanor, who has not yet descended to meet the guests.

Seated at the window of her little bed-room, she had sat looking out
upon the misty night, forgetting that she was alone, and that darkness
had fallen round her.  It suited the mood of her stricken heart, veiled
within the shadows that had been cast upon it, and doomed to remain
there, as it seemed to her, for ever.  Dim visions of childhood free
from care, passed bird-like among flowers and sunlight, rose at times,
and, like blue specks in a stormy sky, only made the clouds look heavier
and nearer for the contrast.

She rose, paced the chamber, re-seated herself strove to gain courage to
join the family group--for she loved to please her father--but sunk down
at the idea of encountering strange faces.

"The thraldom is over," said she, "the chain is broken; but the mark of
the fetter has burnt in its brand upon the heart.  As spots upon the
green hills are seared for ever by the lightning's blast, so is the
blight upon my soul.  Oh, youth, youth!--in some so verdant and so
fair--why has mine been scathed so ruthlessly?"

She heard a step approaching, and, hurrying to the window-sill, appeared
to be looking out.  The step was her father's, and, recognising that,
she opened the door.

By the light he held, he looked sorrowfully at that young pale face.

"My love," he said, "strangers have arrived, who will probably be with
us some days; do you think you can summon resolution to come among us?"

"My dear father, I will do anything you wish," said the daughter; but,
as she spoke, she burst into a passion of tears.

The father closed the door, and sat down with his arm round his weeping

Her youth--she was barely twenty--her sable garb, her beautiful hair
bound simply round her head, in token of mourning, instead of falling on
her bosom in its natural heavy ringlets--her sobs, emanating from the
depths of an aching heart, presented such a picture of desolation as
would have moved a stranger.  Her father could only take her to his
breast, and clasp her there, as though he would say, "Lie here, my
stricken one, and be at peace."

She understood him, for she loved him, she respected him, and she was
anxious, as she said, to do anything he wished.  The overburdened heart
gained relief after this outburst of sorrow, and, rising, she said--

"Give me half an hour, father, and I will be with you.  I am not
selfish, as you know."

She kissed him, lit the candle on her dressing-table, and began to make
such preparations for her appearance as would prevent any remarks on her
agitated face and trembling frame, except in so far as might arise from
the arrival of the strangers under circumstances of excitement and

Some idea of Mrs Daveney's character in early life may be gathered from
a letter written to a friend in England some five or six years after she
had settled with her husband at Annerley--so, from certain associations,
she had named the residence--which, once but a mere farm, was now a
capacious and picturesque dwelling.

"You will remember," says she in this letter, "my resolution to marry
for love; you ignored my principle of matrimonial life being all the
happier for mutual struggles, helpfulness one towards another; you
laughed at the idea of care and trouble being stronger ties between man
and wife than hours linked with flowers.  Do you remember quizzing my
fanciful notion of the evergreen cypress-wreath and the faded
rose-garland?  Nay, you often said I was too anxious for distinction,
for any kind of _eclat_, to marry _only_ for love.  You know my story,
my orphaned state, my dependence--no, not dependence--my reliance for
protection on my kind aunt, and my departure from England.  Hither I
came; I was honest in my first communication to you; I told you that the
admiration of the world had charms for me, which every pretty woman must
understand.  You scoffed at my world, and I--how I laughed at yours!--
Lighted rooms, conventional forms, worldly tactics, the same circles
revolving and re-revolving--Dinner-parties, where the host and hostess
sat revelling, not in the society of friends, but in the display of
plate, and cookery, and servants--Morning drives through interminable
streets, or between tall hedges, or monotonous parks--Evening visits
among crowds, where mothers came anxious to outdo their auctioneering
compeers in displaying their daughters tricked out for conquest, and
where daughters vied with each other in deceiving the world, by trying
to look as if they cared nothing about it; and where men sneered at
women, and boasted of being too knowing to be caught even with a gilded
hook.  _My_ world, I told you, should be where self was not upon the
surface, as in yours; where Nature reigned supreme, and where earth was
peopled with men and women in whom thought was brought into action by

"And the opening chapter of my career in Southern Africa! how you
laughed at that, though in all good humour, because you were prosperous
at the time.  Ah, what a brilliant colouring does the rainbow of hope
cast on all it falls upon!

"There was no contempt in your gratulations at my _success_ on my first
appearance at a colonial _fete_, got up for my especial presentation.
Ah, Emily!  I often think of that day.  My dear, single-minded aunt, and
her husband, who had begun by being soldier, and turned merchant in
prosperous times; how pleased were they at introducing their niece,
fresh from England, while to me, life in Southern Africa seemed
delicious after the thraldom of school in murky old London.  Bands of
military music, young and gallant gentlemen, all struggling for the
ladies' favour, a horse to ride, the prettiest that money could buy, and
Captain Daveney beside me, who _would_ teach me.  Ah, what a day that
was!  I remember it well, Emily--the repast spread on the green-sward
beneath a spreading oak; the champagne cooling in a nook, where clear
waters rippled over the stones; conversation by the river's side; then
the saddling our steeds by the careful hands of courteous cavaliers; the
canter home by moonlight, Daveney keeping his place beside me all the
time.  We assembled at my uncle's house, and refreshed ourselves with
coffee; then we danced, resting in the verandah, all festooned with
vines and roses; then we strolled under the quince hedge in the bright
garden, and parted with smiles, gaily anticipating the morrow.

"To you, with the wreath of strawberry-leaves floating before you, how
trifling, how shallow did all this appear! and how summarily, Emily, you
closed our correspondence with that daring quotation, in reference to my
contentment, and that you said I thought it `Better to reign in hell
than serve in heaven.'

"The Court, the ball, the Opera, jewels, dress, carriages, horses, fine
houses, tribes of servants bowing down for hire, hundreds of
_acquaintances_, and no _friends_--these were your heaven, dear friend.
Duchess in perspective though you be, you will own some day that these
are but as a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.

"I married Daveney--then came the solitary outpost; but love triumphed.

"My English maid left me, to marry a man who now drives a pair of bays,
and I was fain to help myself.  After this came the bustle and
excitement of an anticipated campaign, and we were encamped upon the
plains of Africa.  Ah, Emily! you never experienced the hearty
good-will, the earnest kindness that such circumstances draw forth.

"Fear there was at times, not for myself, but for my husband; but, thank
God! war was averted.  Still, the idea of our common danger drew us
closer to each other, and the child born in that encampment, amid the
din of arms and clang of bugles, was dearer to us than others while it
lived.  It died, poor babe, and I have now two daughters, of whose
welfare you shall hear, when you desire."



The kind uncle referred to by Mrs Daveney was imprudent enough to
speculate, and lost a large sum; but, wiser or better-principled than
most men who gamble, he forswore speculation for ever, and retired to
England, to live on the residue of his property.  It had been his
intention to apportion his wife's niece on winding up his affairs; but
ready money in colonial commerce was at that time a dream, and as he had
fine available land in one of the most flourishing districts of the
colony, he proposed that Captain Daveney should leave the army, and take
possession of the land, which was excellent.  A magistracy fell vacant
at this time, and, by Mr Morland's influence, was offered to Daveney.

Thus the alternative was offered the soldier, of a plentiful estate,
with an excellent house, built indeed on the ashes of a former
homestead, and to be held by force of arms, but all preferable, as it
appeared to Mr Morland, to life with a regiment at home.  The corps was
on the eve of embarkation, his wife on the eve of her confinement, and,
within a month of the offer, Daveney had "made his book" in his corps,
and, with a goodly stock of furniture from the kind merchant's store, he
bade adieu to his brother-officers, and _trekked_ from the town to the

He promised his soldier friends he would see them all again before they
marched, and so he did, but from a distance.  On the morning that the
Forty --th were to start from Graham's Town, he reached the hill
overlooking the green parade-ground at Fort England.  The men were
hurrying from quarters, oxen were yoking to the baggage-wagons--men and
officers were fully accoutred--they fell into the ranks--he could see
some of them looking up the road--were they watching for him?  The
regiment formed column, the band struck up "The girl I left behind me,"
and Daveney's old comrades turned their backs upon him.

He sat motionless on his horse, watching, with a swelling heart, the
long cavalcade of troops and baggage.  He could see it all passing
through the wide streets of the great straggling African town.  People
came running from their houses, waving their hands in token of farewell;
Daveney heard the soldiers cheer, and then, with something more like a
sob than a sigh, he turned his horse's head homewards, led it slowly
down the steep irregular pathway, let it browse upon the sweet green
pasturage, and sat down to shed a flood of tears.

Still he felt he had acted, as far as he could judge, for the best.  A
career of trust and command was before him.  He was to think for others
as well as himself.  He was in possession of house, land, and cattle.
He was to be umpire, in a large district, between the great powers of
might and right.  He stood with ten talents in his hand, for which he
was to be responsible.

A certain spasm shot through his wife's heart, as well as his own, when
the old uniform was laid aside for ever--the sword hung up, the number
cut from the forage-cap; but within her mind lay, deeper than in his,
the germ and elements of an unrecognised ambition.  Had she been born to
power at home, she would have exercised it with the same lofty bearing
with which, on one occasion, in her husband's absence on duty, she had
set her house in array to receive a troop of savages, who had been seen
stalking, brand and assegai in hand, through the passes of the district.

The letter we have quoted was but a girlish effusion.  Still, the shrewd
woman of the world, the embryo Duchess, read her friend and playmate
aright when, on laying down this epistle from a soldier's wife, she
remarked to a friend who had heard its contents, "Africa will suit
Eleanor Daveney.  In England she could neither be seen nor heard above
her compeers.  I know her better than she knows herself.  She is just
one of those who profess self-abnegation in their desire to be placed in
a sphere of usefulness, but whose enthusiasm would fall to the ground
without the excitement of success or applause."

"There is some good sense, though, and much good feeling," observed the
other lady, "in all Eleanor says, and, without intending it, she has
placed her husband in a pleasant light.  I should think he was just the
man to appreciate the good sense, and turn the warmth of heart to wise

"Yes, I dare say," replied Eleanor's friend, with an absent air, as she
walked to the window, overlooking Piccadilly, and watched the restless
thoroughfare through her eye-glass.  Then a carriage, in most perfect
taste, drove up, a portly man, with a hook nose and rubicund visage,
descended, and the Duchess-elect forgot Mrs Daveney's existence for
many years, till her cousin Frankfort, by a letter, revived for a short
time the old association.

But let future events develop the characters I have faintly sketched.
Supper is ready in the eating-room, and Mr Daveney, as we shall for the
future style him, having introduced his guests to his tiny
dressing-room, where they refreshed themselves with clean water and a
slight change of dress, taps at the door and waits to usher them to his
hospitable board.

The sportsmen gladly acceded, and followed him to the dining-room, where
Mrs Daveney and two daughters awaited them.

Frankfort's eye rested at once upon the pale face of Eleanor, the elder
of these daughters.  He recognised the high thoughtful forehead of the
father, but the long grey eye, with dark lashes, resembled her mother's,
so did the lip, that had narrowly escaped being scornful; and, though
strongly resembling her mother, the features of the youthful face were
soft.  But much older than that young fair face was the expression it
wore,--_wore_, for it was not natural to it.  Was it the result of
mournful experiences?  Yes, surely so, thought Frankfort, as Mr Daveney
took his daughter's hand, and placing her beside himself, introduced her
to his guests.

She looked up, and bending gracefully to both gentlemen, her eyes and
Frankfort's met.  Oh, the mysterious charm cast on the traveller from
the depths of those earnest, melancholy orbs!

Ormsby soon found that both sisters had been, in Cape Town, Marion
within the last twelve months, visiting some friends of her father, who
were enjoying the Cape climate after the sultry sun of India.  He was
fully prepared to admire his fair neighbour's bright eyes, and at the
same time enjoy the repast spread before him; it was plentiful, savoury,
and far from inelegant.  Before the host was that first-rate Irish dish,
a cold shoulder of corned mutton, garnished with fresh, green, crisp
parsley; on lifting the cover from the side-dishes, a fragrant steam
arose, that warmed a hungry man's heart as he inhaled it.  In one was a
fine cucumber, scooped hollow, and then stuffed with seasoned meat, and
stewed in rich sauce.  In another smoked a famous Dutch _plat_, called
_La partje_, square inches of mutton, skewered on little sticks, dipped
in sauce, made of tomatoes and capsicums and eschalots if none better
offers, and toasted over a wood fire.  A third contained a pile of rice,
white as snow; the next a _rechauffe_ of ox-tail curry; added to these
were potatoes, baked with their jackets on in the ashes, roasted
_meelies_ (Indian corn), so delicious when young, grated biltongue,
excellent butter, some delicious rolls, a household loaf on a trencher,
with a knife beside it, whereof the handle was of polished horn from the
head of the African gemsbok; then there was such preserved quince, and
marmalade, as a Scotchman's soul would have delighted in, to say nothing
of poached eggs, brought in hot after all had sat down.  It was all like
magic to the travellers, and had they seen the old Malay in the kitchen,
with his mysterious contrivances, which no European cook would
condescend to understand, they would have been still more astonished.
He was an old creature, who had lived with the Morlands, and then
followed the Daveneys to the wilderness, where he had his own way, and
sent forth all manner of savoury dishes from a huge fireplace, without a
grate, before which he was seated all day, issuing his orders to an
assistant imp, something like May.

There were no fine wines, no foaming English ale, but the Cape Madeira
made good beverage, mixed with water; and there was an old-fashioned
silver service before Mrs Daveney, from which she distilled coffee
clear as amber, and steaming milk; the table-linen was white as an
African sun can bleach it, and the light from two tall wax candles,
mantled in the cherry-patterned delf.  The ladies took some coffee, in
compliment to their guests--what trifles place people at ease with one
another.  Their light supper was long since over; but Mr Daveney, who
had been busy about his farm defences all day, enjoyed his meal the more
for the companionship of brother-soldiers.

At the sound of Eleanor's voice, Ormsby, who had paid no attention to
her appearance beyond a bow, glanced across the table, and, with his
usual air of nonchalance, put aside the light on his left hand, that he
might have a better view of the speaker; and having satisfied himself
that the pale cheek and braided hair of the one sister was less
attractive to him than the radiant smile and sunny ringlets of the
other, he helped himself to the smoking _La partje_, and prepared to do
full justice to the good cheer he so little expected to find in the

Frankfort, as he looked round upon this family group, entered with deep
interest into Mr Daveney's anecdotes of sport and peril--his anxieties
for the present, his projects for the future.  They went back together
to the crowded homes of England, its pallid manufacturing children, its
cities with dark buildings jammed together, its thronged populace,
toiling; toiling on, with heaven's sunlight bricked out; its gigantic
schemes,--some successful, blazing up and illuminating the world; some,
like rockets, aiming at the sky, and falling in smoke upon the great
ocean of eternity; some lying in gloom, with hopeless projectors, whose
thoughts were to be seized and worked out by men who could and _would_
be heard.  They talked too, of the struggle of the better classes to
"keep up appearances," to "get their sons on," and their daughters
"settled;" they, who had scarcely wherewithal to buy food and raiment,--
while here was a fair, plentiful country lying waste--a savage
hunting-ground--space for thousands--a wild and lovely country, awaiting
the hand of civilisation to make it prosperous and peaceful for all.

Frankfort could see that to touch on domestic questions was tender
ground.  His host turned the tide of conversation to the troubles of the
colony, its grand resources; and Mrs Daveney, as she listened to the
conversation, at times joining in it, said earnestly to Frankfort, how
she wished that such as he might stand up in the council-chambers of
England, and plead the cause of the colonist of Southern Africa.  But
Eleanor only joined in the discussion with a smile or a sigh, as her
father's reference to past events demanded.  Still, Frankfort read the
heart, as he looked into those deep eyes, and pondered afterwards on
trifling things, which would have escaped a man not enthralled with
their expression of deep melancholy.

The meal ended, the ladies retired to a table, on which books and work
had been scattered in some confusion on the arrival of the sportsmen and
their wagons.  The cloth was withdrawn from the polished oaken table; a
little kettle, with its spirit-lamp, was glowing beside Mr Daveney, and
he was about to blew some mulled Pontac, the rich red wine of the Cape,
when Frankfort begged to withdraw, in order to make inquiries concerning
the absent Piet.

Some unusual sounds without had already caught the ear of the master of
the dwelling.  The dogs were growing restless in the yards; the people
were astir in the outbuildings; and at the moment that Daveney and
Frankfort rose together to go out and reconnoitre, Ormsby comfortably
establishing himself in a camp arm-chair, brought from his wagon, the
door was thrown open, and May rushed in; terror was in his face, the
passage behind him was filled with servants, and, gasping for breath, he
exclaimed--"Master, good Master Frankfort, come out and see, come out
and listen; the fires are lighted on the hills; but that is not all--
open your ears, and hear the war-cry on the mountains.  Oh! master,"
cried the poor bushman, in a voice of despair, "what shall I do?--my
wife! my little child!"

Mrs Daveney stood up, silent, but appalled; Marion's cheek faded to the
hue of death; Eleanor went up to her father, and put her arm through

"My dear," said he, "you must summon all your presence of mind, for I
must go."

"I know it, father, but tell us what you would have us do; the house is
already defensible"--the windows had been partially bricked up for some
days, in consequence of intelligence from the towns--"but you must
appoint us our places, if you are obliged to leave us."

"Your mother," said Mr Daveney, "has had my instructions these three
days; she has an able coadjutor in you; but Marion is faint-hearted, I
am afraid."

Excellent arrangements had indeed been made, in preparation for defence,
if besieged by the savages, which Mr Daveney could not think was
probable, from various circumstances.

The enemy had got so much plunder lately, that he considered they could
scarcely have disposed of it with sufficient security to enable them to
go openly to war.  He had many other arguments against a sudden attack;
but he was an old soldier, who knew that _there is nothing so likely to
keep a foe away as to be always ready to receive him_.  Furthermore, he
never disdained advice, or scoffed at information, and he had lately
heard of immense stores of ammunition finding their way into Kafirland
in a manner incredible to him, but perfectly intelligible to the reader.

The house, then, had been duly set in order.  Arms and ammunition were
stored in a large closet adjoining the dining-room; small bags, filled
with sand, were ready to be placed against all apertures left to give
light; a room had been prepared by Mrs Daveney for the wounded, a table
spread with lint, tourniquets, and various salves and styptics;
provisions had been collected together in a store-room, where also stood
several barrels of water; and, in short, it would be quite possible to
hold out against assailants for many days.

Unfortunately, the cattle, horses, and sheep were unprotected; the stone
wall and blockhouses, begun some weeks back, were yet unfinished.  The
plan was admirable, but, owing to want of hands, required much time to
carry it out.

But I must defer my description of these buildings till a future
occasion.  May disappeared in the same frantic way he had entered, and
the master of the house having, with quiet decision, repeated his
instructions to his principal servants, and succeeded in calming his
younger daughter's terrors, proceeded to the _stoep_ of the house,
cautioning the inmates about displaying lights, and followed by his
daughter Eleanor.

On emerging from the house, a scene was presented, so brilliant, yet so
terrific, as to mock the efforts of my poor pen in describing it.  In a
few minutes the whole household were drawn together by one impulse in
the verandah; all the servants clustered in a group at the foot of the

The plains which the travellers had journeyed over had to them been
invisible till now, that they were fairly lit up for miles round.  The
mountains, stretching, as I have observed, from the left of the
homestead, and extending in a south-westerly direction, were enwreathed
with fire, clearly defining their shape and altitude against the glowing
sky.  Some rose proudly to the heavens; some formed a dark but distinct
foreground; some were covered, others only dotted with burning bush,
and, from the most distant peak, crowned with its diadem of basaltic
rock, to the nearest acclivity, sloping seawards, these wreaths of vivid
flame blazed with steady splendour, illuminating acres of trackless
country.  From the mountain-tops in the back-ground, great tongues of
flame shot up from time to time, lit the air for a few minutes, and
raided into darkness; anon, some answering light gleamed out from a
distant height, and so disappeared; thus, in all directions, these
luminous telegraphs sparkled and died away, while on the plains, at no
great distance from the settlement, a shimmer here and there proved that
the savages were astir in all directions.

Mr and Mrs Daveney stood together, and held a parley; their guests
surprised at the steady reasoning of the lady, no less than at the close
calculations of the host.

"These fires," said Mrs Daveney, "are the forerunners of an open
declaration of war; but I doubt their attacking the settlement,
especially to-night, for the scouts ere this will have told the tale of
a reinforcement at Annerley; you have been tracked hither."

"The drought of this year has been nothing considerable," remarked her
husband, "and therefore I am inclined to attach some importance to these
illuminations, which are common at this period, when the earth is
parched, and the Kafirs improve the vegetation by burning the old grass
out of the pasture.  Still, as there has been no public proclamation of
war--I, as a magistrate, must have received notice of it if there had
been--I can scarcely believe these to be signals of open defiance to our
authorities, however the enemy may translate them between themselves."

"Ah! father," interposed Eleanor Daveney, who had wound her arm round
the trembling Marion's waist, "the rivers may have risen, the
post-riders may be shot, or their despatches seized."

"Right, Eleanor--we know not what intelligence these luminous telegraphs
may convey from the Fish River to the Kei, while our poor heralds lie
dead in the bush.  We may be thankful," continued the host, bowing to
Frankfort and Ormsby, "for our gallant reinforcement.  Marion, are you a
soldier's daughter, and afraid?"

The light--for it was clear as day beyond the house, the verandah
shading the group out partially--fell on the upturned face of the
frightened girl.

"Not only for myself," said his daughter; "what would become of hundreds
in the district if you fell in a conflict with these savages?"

Her father put aside the ringlets from her brow and kissed her.  "Let us
hope for the best," said he.  "If these demonstrations be hostile,
troops from the garrisons must be on the march; the colony is ill
prepared for war, and the Dutch farmers, to say the least, are
uncertain; but, if once the word to arm is given, thousands of brave and
ready burghers will be up and stirring; for, however incredulous the
authorities may have been, the settler has slept with arms in hand: and
now, let us hold a council of war."

So saying, he opened a door leading from the stoep to the eating-room,
and, desiring Griqua Adam to arm the trustiest herds, and place them as
sentinels in the kraals and angles of the outbuildings, he sat down with
his family and guests to confer as speedily as might be on the present

What it was immediately necessary to guard against was the stealthy
advance of the enemy on the right; certain duties were also assigned to
the ladies; poor Marion's white lips sadly belied the readiness with
which she obeyed her father in telling off percussion-caps by dozens.
To be sure, Ormsby seated himself beside her to assist her in the task,
and the calmness of her mother and elder sister was her best incentive
to courage.

A strange sight it would have been to English eyes to see Mrs Daveney
and her elder daughter bringing the muskets from the store-room, Mr
Daveney and Frankfort piling them in readiness for those whom Griqua
Adam had summoned to receive them in a trellised passage at the back of
the dining-room.

In a few minutes a very fair plan of operations was sketched out for the
instruction especially of the two officers, each having a particular
post allotted him.

Poor May, who had been patiently sitting on the stoep awaiting his
master's decision, at last tapped in despair at the door, which Mr
Daveney, a little disconcerted by the interruption, opened.

"Ah! sir," said the poor bushman, "I am heart-sore for my wife and
child; they must be in danger, for these schelms are all round us.  Come
out, sir, once more.  Oh! master," observing Frankfort advancing, "the
_vrouw_ and the _kiut_ will be murdered;" and thereupon poor May--
merry-hearted, honest, hopeful, keen-witted May--sat down upon the
ground, and cried like a child.

"Something must be done, certainly, for this poor fellow," said Mr
Daveney; "let us at once arm the people, and steal out cautiously to

Advancing to the right of the mansion, the two gentlemen looked up
towards the kloof; it was in profound darkness; but, on the krantz above
it, the dark figures of Kafirs, looking more like, demons than human
beings, were seen flitting about, and leaping from ledge to ledge of the
rocky precipices with firebrands in their hands.  Below the _stoep_ some
of the Hottentots and Fingo servants of the farm, stood watching these
creatures, and calculating the meaning of every movement with a coolness
that gave Frankfort great confidence in their courage and sagacity.

The distant signals still shot up at intervals like sky-rockets, and, as
May affirmed, were evidently questions and answers passing between the
Gaika and T'Slambie tribes.

"See there," observed Mr Daveney; "at the very farthest ridge is a
gleam like a star, this is but a link in the chain which began in some
far valley within the frontier line, and is passing from hill to hill to
the distant bluffs overhanging the sea near the Kei."

The servants were assembling in the trellised passage to wait their
master's orders, the ladies and Ormsby were still busied in the
dining-room, and Frankfort was intent on May's entreaties that a party
might be sent under his guidance in search of Piet's wagon, when the
deep stillness of the night was broken by a cry so unearthly, so shrill,
yet so strangely prolonged, that all stood still to listen.

It was the war-cry of Kafirland!

It came from the farthest mountain-tops, advanced as though a voice,
trumpet-tongued, passed over the hills, descended to the plains, rose
again, the echoes following it.  Fainter, fainter, it dies away at last
into a wailing cry, only to be repeated at the starting point, taken up,
passed on as before, and sent again wailing through the great solitudes
from the Amatolas to the ocean.

Silence, dread and profound, fell upon many tenants of the mansion in
that appalling hour.  Mr Daveney and his guest re-entered the
dining-room--Eleanor had sunk upon a chair to receive her falling sister
in her arms, Marion's face was buried in her sister's lap; Mrs Daveney,
in the act of giving a musket to the Griqua, stood transfixed with awe,
for she well knew what that unearthly cry portended, and Ormsby had
opened the door leading to the trellised passage, and stood there with
the servants drawn up awaiting the orders of their master.

We read of the heroines of old, who armed their heroes for the battle,
or went forth commanding armies; but it is not to such as these our
hearts yield the tribute of earnest admiration: that calm fortitude,
which stands in better stead than the daring elicited by excitement--
that dignified resignation, which prepares itself to meet danger--that
self-abnegation, which sets aside all difference of opinion, and unites
with all ranks of life in the common cause of defence, is worth all the
sudden impulses of bravery which history has immortalised.  The records
of our colonies would furnish forth subject-matter for many a bard; but
they want, so to speak, dramatic colouring, though one would think the
terrific scenes of blazing homesteads and blood-stained hearths were not
without what reporters would call "effect."  Verily, our English
settlers' wives, with their patient, work-a-day endurance, would need
the pen of a Goldsmith or a Crabbe to set them in their proper light.

Eleanor Daveney would have made a charming foreground for such a picture
as men like these have loved to draw.

Mrs Daveney issued orders in conjunction with her husband, apportioned
to each man his store of ammunition, loosed to the priming of the
muskets in the hands of the herd-boys, who were more accustomed to the
assegai and the knob-kierrie than to our firearms; but Eleanor, while
she soothed her more excitable sister's fears, had a word of
encouragement for every one; and, rousing Marion, bid her accompany her
to the stoep, and comfort the women, who were there huddled together in
mute terror.

Poor May, who, in the extremity of danger to the household, could not
obtain a hearing, now rushed past the sisters like a madman, and,
springing over the gateway, sped out into the wilderness.  They could
hear the terrier yelping at his heels ever so far, and Frankfort,
thoroughly dismayed at the idea, at once gave his faithful bushman up
for lost.

Eleanor had some comfort for him.

"These defiances from the hills," said she, "are so decided, that there
is no doubt the assegai hangs over our heads by a single hair; still the
object of these creatures is plunder.  When they attack the settlement,
it will be in a quiet guise.  If May keeps his wits about him as he
used--as he used to do--he will find his way uninterrupted."

"Ah!" said Frankfort, "you have seen my friend May before?"

Eleanor hesitated, but only for a moment, and replied--

"Yes, we remember him when quite a boy."

Candour evidently prevailed over a seeming reluctance to refer to the
past; and yet there was nothing singular in Eleanor Daveney's
remembrance of May, who had been employed from childhood about the
English quarters and locations.  It was simply her sudden pause,
hesitation, and hurried tone in admitting the truth, which had attracted
Frankfort's notice.

Ormsby, on hearing the bushman had sped into the wilderness, grew
furious with Piet, and wished Frankfort had taken his advice in
forbidding Fitje's accompanying her husband.  Frankfort reproached
himself for not riding in the rear of the cavalcade, and keeping the
party together, but time was too precious for unavailing regret; it was
deemed prudent to close and secure the front of the dwelling, Eleanor
consoling Marion by reminding her that, for the present, the war-cry of
Kafirland was their best personal security, since "you know," said she,
"that unlike the honest faces of civilised lands, the Kafir comes not
with beating drum and flying standard; and the settler of South Africa
is safest when face to face with his wicked neighbour.  Yet," added
Eleanor, "why should I call the Kafir wicked?--it is not for me to

Again there arose that shrill, terrific war-cry.  Marion shuddered, and
wound her arms round her sister's slender waist.

"Poor wretches!" said Eleanor, lifting her mournful eyes to
heaven--"poor misguided beings!" and, clasping her hands, her lips moved
in inaudible prayer.

Frankfort watched her as she implored Heaven in behalf of the unhappy
savages, and could not help contrasting her mild courage with her
mother's authoritative air of resolution and her sister's utter
helplessness and terror.

All night long the little garrison of Annerley stood to its arms, the
sentinels immovable at the outposts, Daveney and Frankfort going the
rounds at intervals, Ormsby in command of the party guarding the
rearward premises, his head-quarters being the trellised passage, from
which he occasionally looked in upon the ladies.  He had been
particularly requested by his host to act under the directions of the
old Griqua, who had been a soldier in the Cape Corps, and whose
experience was invaluable; and, what was more than Frankfort had
expected, Ormsby had the good sense to see this, and acknowledge it.

Daveney, albeit far from easy as to the safety of his family, would not
permit his domestic troubles to interfere with his duties as master of a

Once, when on his rounds with Frankfort, he looked in upon the group,
and asked how all went on.  Marmion had made his way into the
sitting-room, and stretched himself at Eleanor's feet, with his black
muzzle to the ground, and ears and eyes wide open, keeping watch and
ward over the group.  Marion lay on a couch, her head pillowed on her
sister's arm, and fast asleep, her ringlets hanging, all dishevelled,
round her, and Mrs Daveney's anxious gaze was riveted on a loop-hole
looking eastward, watching with weary heart the long-coming of the dawn.

So wore on the night.  The fires on the hills died away; the gorgeous
sun, opening his gates of glory, came forth to dispel the smoke and
vapours that obscured the distant mountains and floated over the plains;
the night sentinels were relieved, and other watches set; the house was
put in order for the morning refreshment, so much needed; the herdsmen,
well armed, led the cattle to the open ground fronting the settlement,
and the ladies retired to their own apartments for a while.

Frankfort then expressed his deep anxiety about the missing members of
his train; but as it was considered by his host highly imprudent to
reduce the force of the garrison under present circumstances, there was
nothing for it but to leave May to his known sagacity, and hope that old
Piet had not brought himself and others into danger through his
obstinacy and imprudence; for there was no denying that the vley
indicated by May as the outspan was flanked on one side by a dense bush,
a notorious haunt of Kafirs.

Our two sportsmen were ushered by Mr Daveney into a tolerably-sized
apartment, divided by a wooden partition running little more than half
way to the roof.  Everything was in the most homely style, but
exquisitely neat.  In each domicile was a small camp bedstead, table,
chair, and chest of drawers, all manufactured by their ingenious host.
Sheepskin mats were spread on the earthen floor, and the walls,
originally white-washed, were gaily papered with manifold prints and
engravings from some of those publications which, for the last fifteen
years, have taken England and her customs through the length and breadth
of the earth.  The windows were, of course, partially screened by
brickwork; but the sun pierced one of the loops, and shed its rays on
the picture of a popular _danseuse_.  Frankfort would have smiled at the
associations called forth by such an anomaly, but his heart misgave him
about his faithful servant, and though he lay down, he could not rest,
and he longed to start in search of May; but that would have been
absurdly imprudent.

At noon the cattle herds came running in, to say that horsemen were in
sight; and Daveney, on examining the defile behind the settlement,
descried, to his great satisfaction, a party of burghers, headed by an
escort of Cape cavalry.

In five minutes they were at the gate, the state of their steeds
indicating sharp riding.  Daveney stood with open doors ready to receive
them, and the officer in command dismounted, and presented an official

It announced that the Commander-in-Chief, Sir John Manvers, had reached
the frontier; that, deeming it prudent to await his reinforcements, he
had projected a meeting with the Kafir chiefs at the base of the Amatola
range; that, for the present, open hostilities were suspended; that the
Eighty --th had been selected, as the weaker corps, for garrison duty.
Daveney was instructed to put the district under his authority on the
_qui vive_, and to send the General such intelligence as he could
gather.  It was anticipated that the meeting in Kafirland would not tend
to a peaceful result, as Sir John had to propose terms most distasteful
to the tribes, who had long been bent on war.  "And so," said Captain
Ledyard, coolly dusting his boots on the steps, and looking round on the
unfinished defences, "the sooner you throw up your outworks, Daveney,
the better."  Captain Ledyard had, from his bivouac at night, witnessed
the warlike demonstrations on the hills, and pronounced them as evincing
the resolution of the war party in Kafirland.  It was very natural to
believe that the Kafir scouts had seen his fires, and carried the
intelligence to the chiefs, that troops were on the march.  The warriors
had therefore evidently delayed offensive operations till it, was
ascertained whether more were following.

"You are too well accustomed," said Ledyard, "to guard against stealthy
attacks, to require any caution on that head; but it is amazing to think
how these devils have supplied themselves with ammunition.  Within six
or seven months, they must have completely stored their magazines
afresh.  I see, too"--and here the colonial soldier's experienced eye
scanned the defences of the homestead--"that your house is roofed with
zinc; but I do not like the glen in the rear.  It is well named the
`Devil's Kloof.'  However, you did not choose the site of your farm
yourself, my good brother-soldier, and you will make the best of it, and
give your enemy a good peppering from the loops."

So saying, he entered the house, where he was introduced to the two
officers, who, on hearing that their regiment was the one selected for
garrison duty, resolved on not rejoining it at present.  It was clear
they could be useful to their host, and had more chance of smelling
gunpowder where they were than if they returned to their corps.

Such refreshment as the times allowed was spread in the darkened
eating-room for Captain Ledyard, while his followers bivouacked in
front, and a sheep was killed, skinned, cut up, and eaten, within half
an hour after the arrival of these welcome visitors.

As they were to halt till the cool of the evening, Mr Daveney proposed
that poor May's footsteps should be traced, while the sturdy burghers,
resting on their arms, kept guard over his people; so, with a knowing
old Hottentot, and two Fingoes, the latter on foot, the host and
Frankfort well mounted, pistols in their belts, and rifles slung ready
for use, started for the vley, where Piet had lingered on the midnight



Anxious as Frankfort was concerning the fate of his attendants, thoughts
of his host's daughter Eleanor _would_ rise as he rode silently beside
Mr Daveney on the expedition in search of Piet the obstinate.

Within the last twenty-four hours of his existence a new chapter had
been opened before him in his book of fate--it was not his own inditing.
Frankfort, although not the man to be attracted by a mere pretty,
interesting face, had been taken by surprise in the desert.  He had
never been a trifler in those showy circles in which Ormsby was wont to
flutter; he loved books, reflection, and but for his sporting tastes and
military talent might have been considered by his brother-officers a
"slow man."  Albeit courteous by nature and education to the gentler
sex, and less uncharitable towards its failings than many more favoured
than himself, he never could bring himself to "philander," as Ormsby
designated flirting, for which the latter had a cruel capacity.

But this sorrowful, gentle-looking being would have drawn Frankfort to
her side anywhere--so he thought.

Certainly, the circumstances attending the introduction of our
travellers to this family had brought out features in the character of
all, which placed them in a strong light before the young men, who
naturally yielded to the influence of the fair daughters of the
wilderness.  Ormsby was attracted at once by the merry-eyed Marion;
Frankfort's contemplative mind dwelt on the care-worn face and dignified
calmness in the midst of dangers displayed by Eleanor; and now, as he
rode beside her father, he found himself going back to the first moment
of meeting, and counting, as it were, every link in the chain that he
felt had been silently, but surely, cast around him.

Her quiet courage, her steady reasoning, her unconsciousness of display
as she stood amid the clatter of arms, the centre of a group of uncouth
creatures, so strongly contrasted with herself, as they received the
weapons of death from her hands; the mysterious sadness that superseded
all other feeling, clouding her young brow, and influencing the very
tones of her voice as she addressed words of comfort and encouragement
to her sister, who, like all volatile people, had been struck down at
once by terror--all those attributes, so rare in woman, or so seldom
developed--(perhaps for want of opportunity--that is a mighty word,
though all men may not know it)--would have impressed Frankfort, had the
possessor of them been the plainest woman in the world.

So he fancied.  But was any man ever yet attracted _at once_ by a plain
woman, simply _because_ she displayed courage, tenderness, or was
visibly unhappy?

Trace the cause to what source you please, our reflective, reasonable
Frankfort could not banish Eleanor from his thoughts; and he found
himself replying vaguely to some of her father's remarks, till the
latter, as he put his horse into a canter, observed--

"This creature, you see, is perfectly trained; he is seldom ridden by
any one but my daughter Eleanor, who is an excellent horsewoman."

"Ah! he is Miss Daveney's favourite, is he?" said Frankfort, struck for
the first time with the graceful action of the animal.

"My daughter _Eleanor's_," said Mr Daveney--"Mrs Lyle's."

"Mrs Lyle!  I was not aware"--and a sudden glow suffused the manly face
unused to blushing--"that--that the young lady was married."

"She is a widow," answered Mr Daveney; and then he abruptly changed the
subject, as, settling his reins, he directed Frankfort's attention to a
wild pass on the left, in which he had once had an adventure with

Married! a widow! so young!  Frankfort was astonished--yet what was it
to him?--His host evidently thought so too; for, having set him right as
to his daughter's position, he began talking on other matters.

Mr Daveney pointed out many a covert, whence, he said, probably some
dark spirits were looking down on them, but unwilling to show themselves
on the open plains.  They soon sighted the vley; but it was necessary to
be cautious in approaching it, in consequence of the dense bush with
which it was partially bordered.

The keen-eyed old Hottentot gave it as his opinion, that no body of
Kafirs was concealed within, as the birds were swaying in the branches
of the taller trees, and the ground showed no sign of fresh _spoor_
(track, footmarks).  From the spot at which the party halted, only a
portion of the vley was visible, and Mr Daveney was beginning to
consider at which point they were to commence their reconnoitring
operations, when Ormsby's bloodhound dashed into the copse, and came
back whining and importunate.

Both gentlemen dismounted, gave their horses to the Fingoes, and,
despite the caution of the Hottentot, followed the beast into the bush,
their arms ready.  Klaas, seeing this, entered it with them; the dog
leaped in, and the three creeping after him on hands and knees, Mr
Daveney put aside a bough, and within a yard discovered Piet lying on
his face--dead.

They turned him over; he had been stabbed in the chest by an assegai,
and had doubtless crawled into the thicket to die, for a bloody track
crimsoned the green leaves beyond him.

But where were May and Fitje and the child?  Klaas scrambled through the
copse as fast as he could, and the others, shocked at the sight, drew
back instinctively.

On emerging from the bush, they found one Fingo with their horses, who
informed them that his comrade had discovered the wagon, or rather the
remains of it, for it had been set fire to.  On reaching the side of the
vley where the shattered vehicle lay, they were all greatly relieved at
hearing May's voice issuing, apparently, from the depths of the earth,
and next his head appeared above ground, then Fitje's, and, at last, the
impish, roguish, yellow countenance of the child.

Kafirs had been concealed in the bush beside the vley the preceding
night.  Piet owed his death to his obstinacy.  Jealous of May's
authority, he had dawdled behind in spite of Fitje's entreaties to keep
close to the other wagons; the more anxious she became, the more dogged
was he; and, laying the long whip across the roof of the wagon, he
folded his arms, and left the oxen to crawl as they liked along the
pathless waste.  Fitje resigned herself to circumstances with true
Hottentot philosophy, and, tying down her _douk_, wrapped her patchwork
petticoat over her child, and lay down within the vehicle to sleep.  All
at once she heard a groan; something rolled off the box and obstructed
the fore-wheel, she looked out into the waste, and three dark figures
gibbered at her in the mist.  She thought she was dreaming, but she soon
_felt_ she was not; a strong arm dragged her out, and flung her on the
ground, and she saw her child lifted up, about to be impaled most
likely, when one of the men, whom she discovered to be Kafirs, flung it
from him, remarking, "it was a girl, and not worth killing."

Poor Fitje snatched it up, and remembering that, while outspanning at
the vley, May had indicated a certain spot as a pit-fall for wild
beasts, she crawled thither with all speed, while the savages were
intent on rifling the wagon.  She crept into the welcome covert--there
was the skeleton of a wolf in the pit; but "misery makes us acquainted
with strange bedfellows," and so poor Fitje thought little of her
ghastly neighbour, but lay in dread of being dragged out, stifling poor
Ellen's screams as well as she could, till the glad sound of Spry's
shrill bark told her help was near.

She sat up, listened in agony, lest the enemy should still be lurking
about; the wagon was yet burning, and her fears increased as she
remembered that one of the packages especially commended to her care was
a case of gunpowder.  Careful May, however, always in doubt or dudgeon
about Piet the obstinate, had that very morning removed it to safer
keeping; but for this precaution, it would have fallen into the hands of
the enemy, or, by exploding, destroyed the lives of all near it.

She took heart on hearing May's low whistle near her, for he soon
guessed the hiding-place of his keen-witted _vrouw_, and, descending
beside her, set her fears at rest.

The ladies of the household were standing at the gateway, watching for
the return of the party with no little anxiety.  The distance was short,
the plains open, and commanded by a mound behind the settlement, on
which a vidette had been placed; but still, after the shock their nerves
had sustained the night before, they trembled for the safety of the
reconnoitring party as soon as it was out of sight.  No reason will
subdue a woman's fears for others, and Captain Ledyard talked in vain.
They listened anxiously for shots, and felt certain the vidette could
not reach Mr Daveney's people in time, if attacked, never thinking of
their own critical position in such a case.  Marion--bright-eyed
Marion--saw them first.  "Safe, mother, safe; and there is a little
creature on foot with the Fingoes, and a woman, and--" she gazed
intently on the coming horsemen, whose pace was slackened for poor
Fitje's sake--"oh, mother!  Eleanor! some one is leading a horse, and--"
she clasped her hands together in a convulsion of terror--"something is
slung across it--a human creature--a man--he must be dead!"

Captain Ledyard shaded his eyes from the sun, and said nothing; Mrs
Daveney stood tranquil, but with lips white and quivering; Eleanor
opened the gateway, and stepped out to have a clearer view across the

"I see my father," said she, "in advance--I know the horse's pace."

"Thank God!" exclaimed Mrs Daveney; Marion burst into an hysterical fit
of weeping upon Eleanor's bosom; and, this great terror removed from
their overcharged hearts, there was space for more rational thoughts.

"It may be the unhappy driver Piet," said Eleanor, and as she looked
again, she recognised Frankfort with her father.  He took a handkerchief
from his breast, and waved it.  It was a good sign, she felt, and as
soon as the pedestrians were within safe range of the settlement--for
they had to pass the mouth of the kloof--Daveney and his guests galloped
forward.  Eleanor's conjecture, as the reader guesses, was right.  The
old Hottentot had laid the body of the murdered man across his horse,
and brought it to the settlement.

Frankfort was still in some doubt as to the fate of one of the
foreloupers, but May had a notion "the little _bavian_ (monkey) had
escaped;" and, on taking the horses to their stables, sure enough there
was the imp, leaning idly and unconcernedly against a gate, with a hunch
of bread in his hand, and a broad grin on his black shining face.

At sunset, the herdsmen having dug a grave, May and Griqua Adam buried
the miserable old Piet, and piled some stones above him, to save his
remains from the wolves; but when the farm-servants ventured out next
morning, they found the grave had been rifled, and, by chance, casting
their eyes, in the course of the day, on a jutting krantz, lit by the
sun, they discovered the wretched creature's body impaled on a scathed
oak, round which the asphogels were sweeping, eager for their hateful

In a day or two, some of the farmers of the district arrived, bringing
with them their families, and proposing to establish a bivouac on the
plains.  This Mr Daveney at once acceded to; but, deprecating the
system of leaving the homesteads as lurking-places for the enemy, he
laid his own plans of defence before the colonists, who, satisfied that
their women and children would be under safe guardianship with the
little force the magistrate could organise, consented to return to the
principal farms, and garrison them at once.  "Hurrah!" cried a sturdy
young settler, with a complexion bronzed from its original English hue
to the swarthy colour of the Hottentot; "I said we ought to make a stand
for the credit of Old England.  I never saw the mother-country, as you
call her, but I have a respect for her, and I take it, the crack of a
few Brummagem rifles will stop the mouths of these yelling devils long
before she takes the trouble to send us soldiers.  Well, I suppose she
intends it for a compliment, and thinks we are able to take care of
ourselves; and so we are."  He stooped from his saddle to receive a
parting token from a pretty creature, who had been making her toilette,
after the trek, in a cumbrous but cozy old wagon, and who, though
sunburnt, looked as fresh as any girl on a fair-day in England.  There
were tears gathering in her eyes, but she brushed them away, and bidding
"God speed him," with an attempt at a smile, dropped the curtains of the
vehicle, as he galloped in hot haste after his companions, far in front,
with Mr Daveney at their head.

For Frankfort, well instructed by his host, and tolerably experienced in
the warlike character of the enemy he had to guard against, was left in
command of the settlement for the present; in a week Daveney's
magisterial duties in the district would terminate, and he would return
with safe escort.

These had scarcely departed, ere the good missionary, Mr Trail, arrived
with his wife and children, and begged for room to outspan; but Mr
Daveney's dwelling was of India-rubber quality, for a room was offered
to the Trails, and they accepted it; but, occupying the wagon by night,
this apartment was appropriated by Mr Trail for school purposes; and
the night after the magistrate's departure, as Frankfort and Ormsby were
returning from their superintendence of the outworks, they were taken by
surprise at the sound of the Evening Hymn chanted in good harmony by
some thirty voices.

Frankfort instinctively lifted his hat from his head; Ormsby remained
covered; there was silence, then the door opened, and a motley
assemblage walked forth decorously: there was the broad-chested,
square-faced Dutch vrouw, and her children, sturdy as herself; the
Hottentot and Bechuana serving-girls, in flaunting _douks_; two or three
Kafir children, who said their fathers were in the bush; some
Englishwomen, wives of the district farmers, and their children,
blue-eyed and fair-haired, like their Saxon ancestors.  Then came
Eleanor, Marion, and Mrs Trail; and lastly Mr Trail, with two little
bright-faced creatures hanging at his skirts.  No, not lastly, for May
and Fitje, and their merry-eyed infant, brought up the rear.

As the ladies stepped into the trellised passage, Ormsby raised his hat
and bowed--Frankfort said nothing; but he thought how one-half the world
did homage to the creature, forgetting the Creator.  Ormsby followed
Marion into the house.  Frankfort waited to address Mr Trail, with
whose reputation he was well acquainted; but he was prevented in his
purpose by hearing Eleanor say to the missionary, "You will come to me,
then, in five minutes.  I have much to tell you.  You can scarcely feel
sorrow; but you will certainly be shocked."

She stopped suddenly, seeing Frankfort standing at her side; a glow,
like sunset upon snow, mantled on her marble cheek, her eyes fell to the
ground, and her embarrassment was only relieved by the sound of Mrs
Daveney's voice calling to her to come and assist in some household

Mr Trail apparently did not notice what I have related; he gave his
attention at once to Frankfort, who was desirous of having all the
defences completed before the host's return.

It was no easy matter to enclose hastily a number of scattered
outbuildings, occupying nearly two acres of ground.  The wagons formed a
capital breastwork for the front of the dwelling, already tolerably
secure; the orchard and garden-ground flanking the rear were surrounded
by hedgework of the prickly mimosa, forming a kind of abati [Note 1], in
which picked men were to be placed as checks on the enemy's advance; the
stables, cattle, and sheep kraals, separated from the dwelling by a
miniature vineyard, were as yet scarcely defensible--the stone wall, as
I have before related, being stopped in its progress for want of hands.
But now a redoubt was in speedy progress, the entrances being protected
at night by piles of thorn-bushes; and the vineyard having in peaceful
days been irrigated by a mountain rill, there was abundance of water;
there was a chance of the supply being cut off by the cunning foe, but
tanks and barrels were to be filled, which Mr Trail doubted not would
last as long as water was required; for the plan of the defence was so
admirable, that it was scarcely probable the Kafirs would make an open
assault; still the cattle were a great temptation, and foraging parties
were daily bringing in fresh captures.

"But," said Mr Trail, pulling out his watch, "I must leave you now,
sir, and at nine o'clock I propose assembling the family, and closing
the day with thanksgiving to the Almighty for the mercies with which He
surrounds us.  We shall meet again then, I trust;" and leaving Frankfort
in the vineyard, the missionary returned to the house.

What could this interview between Eleanor and Mr Trail mean?  "Pshaw,"
thought Frankfort, "what is it to me?" and then the mantling cheek, the
quivering lip, the trembling hand, on which he had discovered the mystic
ring guarded by a circlet--a gilded snake--came between him and his
reason, and he paced the green retreat, regardless of the fading day,
till the moon rose high and clear, and the path was traced with the
graceful pattern of the vine foliage.

Something glittered in the path, he picked it up; the moonlit atmosphere
of South Africa is so brilliant that the smallest handwriting is
legible; but what he lifted was a miniature of a lovely child.  There
was nothing but the head, bending, as it were, from orient clouds; the
face was angelic, the lips rosy and smiling, the waving hair like
threads of gold in sunlight, the eyes with the pencilled brow
unmistakable.  Was it a brother, sister, or child of Eleanor?  He looked
at the back, and on an enamel ground was inscribed: "My Harry, born
April 18--died March 18--."

"Eheu!  Eheu!  Eheu!"

He put it carefully up.  The bell, hanging in a large mulberry-tree,
under which the household assembled on Sundays to worship that God whose
presence lights the desert, was now struck by Griqua Adam, on returning
through the vineyard, reminded "the Sir," that "prayer-time was come;"
and Frankfort, re-entering the trellised passage, joined the family and
household servants on their way to what Ormsby already nicknamed the
conventicle, where Mr Trail awaited them with the Bible open at the
thirty-seventh Psalm.

Frankfort was quite accustomed to hear men like Mr Trail called
"swaddlers," "humbugs," nay, terms were applied to them such as no
woman's pen can record; but though he felt what sorry representatives of
their societies some of these teachers of God's solemn will had been, he
was not one to censure the mass for the misdoings of the few; and
therefore, soldier though he was, his heart was moved as he looked on
the reader's calm, benevolent face, and heard him proclaim, in mild but
fervent tones, that "the meek-spirited shall possess the earth;" and
even Ormsby's eye glowed with something of enthusiasm as the missionary
lifted up his voice at the closing verse, "And the Lord shall help them,
and deliver them; he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them,
because they put their trust in him."

Frankfort could not help glancing towards Eleanor.  She seemed
unconscious of any one's presence: verily, if by nature she was intended
for loftier purposes, some deep sorrow had stricken her, and she was of
a surety belonging to the "meek-spirited of the earth."  Large tears
were stealing slowly and silently down that young and faded face, and
fell in diamond drops unheeded on her sable garb; there were others
weeping in that place of prayer besides herself but these sorrowed not
without hope.  If she had hope, it was evidently not of this earth; and
Frankfort was more convinced of this every hour he passed in her
presence, a presence felt more than he liked to acknowledge to himself,
for she had evidently not a thought to bestow on him.

Her mother's eyes were fixed upon her; Mrs Daveney was seated beside
the reader, Eleanor in a corner where there fell but little light.
Still the watchful gaze seemed to pierce the mourner's very soul, and
Frankfort, a keen observer of countenance, read in that mother's eye
anxiety, tenderness, yet something of reproach.

"Let us join in prayer," said the teacher, and, for the first time since
he had left England, Ormsby found himself kneeling in a home

He could not follow the teacher,--he was back again in the old dim
library, a little boy, at his mother's side, with his hand clasped in
hers.  Perhaps at this very hour [there is little variation of time
between Europe and South Africa] they were all assembled there,--master,
mistress, children, servants on whose heads Time had shed his snow, even
where they had then stood,--while the soldier son was wandering in
distant countries.

But Frankfort forgot even Eleanor as he listened to the eloquent voice
of Mr Trail.  The prayer opened with that fine verse from the ninth
Psalm, "Arise, O Lord, let not man prevail; let the heathen be judged in
thy right.  Put them in fear, O Lord, that the nations may know
themselves to be but men;" and at the close of it he added, "And it is
for you too, my friends, to know yourselves to be but men.  It is the
arm of the Lord that shall prevail, and not an arm of flesh.  We know, O
God, that thou wilt help us; but in His name who commands us to love our
enemies, to do good to them that despitefully entreat us, we beseech
thee to remove these blinded heathen from the blackness and the darkness
with which it has pleased thee to surround them.  We know that they
would have our blood poured out like water, but do thou of thy mercy
teach us to subdue our hearts, as well as our enemies, and in the spirit
that bids us turn our cheek to the smiter, teach us charity to our
benighted brethren.  Would, O Lord, that it might please thee to quench
the burning brand, and bury the war-spear in the earth for ever; but if
such be not thy will, go forth with our armies, Lord; make them strong
in faith, that in the name of the Lord they may do valiantly.  We know
that thy cause must prevail; that the banner of the Cross, though it be
dyed in blood, must be planted wheresoever thy gospel shall be carried.
Help us then in this fierce strife, this mortal conflict for God and for
the right; and, even as thou wert a cloud by day and a fire by night to
the Israelites of old, be with us in this wilderness.  Once more, O
Lord, once more, have mercy on our foes, and teach us from the depths of
our hearts to say in the words of Him who died that we might live,
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

It was the sentiment, the tone, the fervency, and the simplicity, which
gave eloquence to this appeal, and Frankfort loved to join in the hymn
that closed the service, all standing; but, alas! habit has more to do
with human nature than the theory of right.  The solemn song rose from
lips accustomed to the holy duty, and if Ormsby had little heed of what
was passing, his friend at least felt that there were things to be
searched for and known, whereof his philosophy had not yet dreamt,--
those mysteries of good and evil which all the metaphysics in the world
can never penetrate, if the true light be wanting on the path that leads
to them.

The blessing was invoked, the little congregation rose, and Frankfort's
thoughts were earthwards again as he remembered the miniature.

There was no doubt in his mind to whom it belonged.  But to whom should
he restore it?  He was following Mrs Daveney into the sitting-room,
intending to place it in her hands, when Mr Trail drew him back.

"A little accident has happened," said the missionary; "one of my
wagon-boxes broke in the hurry of our rough journey, and in transferring
the contents through the vineyard to the house--"

Frankfort drew the miniature forth, and said, "Is this your property?"

"It is one of the articles I have missed," replied Mr Trail; "I am
truly glad it is found."  As he spoke, Eleanor approached, and seeing
the miniature handed from one gentleman to the other, looked eagerly in
the missionary's face, as though inquiring the meaning of what was
passing.  Mr Trail drew her arm through his, and led her away, leaving
Frankfort mystified.

He had been told this fair, melancholy creature was a widow.  It was
clear she had been a mother, and she was now probably mourning the
recent death of her child; but why were these, apparently, secret or
forbidden themes?

Then he reasoned as usual,--what was it to him?  He was a stranger,--and
yet he could not be considered entirely such under present
circumstances, and how much, too, Mr Daveney had intrusted to him!

He waited for some minutes, hoping Mr Trail would return, and accompany
him in his night rounds.  He stepped into the verandah: the plains were
bathed in moonlight.  The inmates of the wagons were retiring to their
rest; only here and there a light glimmered, or the feeble voice of an
infant and some mother's murmured lullaby wailed through the stillness
of the night; but Mr Trail and Eleanor were pacing the stoep in such
earnest conversation, that they did not perceive Frankfort, who withdrew
to his nightly duty.

The cattle had been secured by Griqua Adam, the gates were closed, the
sentinels posted, and the outworks were nearly completed.  Mr Daveney
was expected home on the morrow.


Note 1.  Abati consists of trees with their branches shortened and
sharpened at the ends, and they serve as a chevaux-de-frize on an



Noontide in Kafirland! what a glow!  A bold but popular authoress was
severely rated lately for the passage, "made twilight undulate."  Truly,
in an African noon the atmosphere flickers like water.

Not a sound, save the great bee, as large as a beetle, going whooming,
whooming, among the doricas and convolvuluses screening the verandah.
The locusts, all emerald and scarlet and gold, lie motionless in the
pomegranate hedges.  The cattle stand panting in the plains, too much
exhausted to feed.  The Hottentots are enjoying the sun in their own
way, either fast asleep, with their yellow faces turned upward to the
dazzling sky, or sitting smoking in the glare; and the dogs seek shady
corners, and breathe last and hard, with their pink tongues hanging out
of their parched mouths.

On the reinforcement of the Annerley garrison, the Kafirs had deemed it
prudent to "sit still" in the hills.  Doubtless, too, they were awaiting
the issue of the grand meeting in the Amatola valley.  A certain feeling
of security for the present drew the inmates of the dwelling-house
together in various occupations.  The ladies resumed their feminine
employments, and the mornings were passed in the entrance-hall, which,
like those of most South African residences, was fitted up as a family

It was a pretty cool retreat in general, but this morning the air was so
sultry, that every one felt listless--every one but Mr Trail, and he
was busy, as usual, in his school.  The hum of the children's voices was
audible in the hall.  Marion said it made her quite sleepy to listen to
it; she threw down her pencil.  Ormsby sat looking at her over his book,
as he pretended to read, lounging in his camp chair.  Mrs Daveney was
writing; but now and then she would raise her eyes to her youngest
daughter, and glance from her to Ormsby.  It was evident that the young
officer's attentions to Marion were observed by the mother.  Eleanor and
Mrs Trail were sorting books and work for the school, the Bechuana
teacher standing by, looking, as Ormsby said, provokingly cool.

Frankfort sat with a book in his hand also, but attentively noting all
that was passing.

He was beginning to feel a little uneasy respecting Marion, and the
thoughtless flirt, Ormsby--the girl so innocent, so fair, and barely
seventeen.  He observed, too, that her sister, at times, looked
anxiously towards these young people, who always contrived to be side by
side, interested in some particular object or topic.

Mrs Daveney finished her despatch, closed her desk, and begging Marion
to follow her, left the room.  Marion pouted, but obeyed; Ormsby
retreated to solace himself with a cigar.  Mrs Trail was sent for by
her husband, the Bechuana girl carried off the books and work, and
Frankfort and Eleanor were left alone.

Frankfort was a man unaccustomed to violent emotions, and, as we have
shown, not usually susceptible of sudden impressions; besides which, he
had acquired a habit of reasoning with himself, when other men would
have been too selfish to see the necessity of it; but all the reasoning
in the world now would not subdue the throbbing of his pulses as the
young widow's dress swept past him on her way to the door.

Mr Daveney was expected that night; the anxious daughter was dreading a

"Ah!" said she, shading her eyes as she looked towards the hills, "this
bright day portends mischief, I fear.  God grant my father may reach
home by sunset."

A hot blast of air poured through the doorway.  She closed it, and sat
down within a few feet of Frankfort.  He felt she was on the point of
addressing him, and saw, by her embarrassed air, that what she was going
to say was not mere commonplace.

"Major Frankfort," said she, after a short pause, "I am glad to have
this opportunity of addressing a few words to you on a matter of deep
concern to me.  I am not going to speak of myself--my history cannot
interest you, although it must be clear to you that I am a joyless
creature--but I, claiming a right to judge and act for those I love,
because sorrowful experience has aged me more than years beyond them--I
venture to ask for a proof of your friendship, albeit we have been
acquainted little more than one week--" She hesitated--Frankfort looked
at her, her eyes were cast down, the tears were beginning to steal from
under the drooping lids; he could not speak, his heart was so full of
pity, and yet there were doubts mingled with this pity--was there any
self-reproach added to the bitterness of the anguish that oppressed that
stricken heart?

He was thinking only of Eleanor, while she was intent on interesting him
in her sister's welfare--she brushed away the tears.

"Ah!" said she, "how self stands between us and the impulses of good!
Here I have come, with the resolution to do my duty to my sister, and I
am alluding to my own vain regrets for what can never be amended--it is
of Marion I would speak, Major Frankfort.  Your friend Mr Ormsby is
evidently a man of the world, who sees no harm in devoting himself to
any young creature who may take his fancy far the time.  Will you pardon
my reminding you, that if you have observed this, it must suggest itself
to you--it must clearly be your--your duty, to speak to him?  Alas,
alas!" added she, "I scarcely know how to address you on this most
painful subject; men are so apt to impute evil motives to women, whose
principles are honest, whose minds would be pure, but for the heavy
lessons learned from the other sex.  Ah!" continued she, covering her
face with her hands to hide the blushes that crimsoned it, "can I trust
you--will you help me?  Save my sister, my darling Marion,--save her
from the misery of a blighted heart.  Oh, think, Major Frankfort, how
terrible a doom it is to dwell in the desert, with but the record of a


"You would understand me better if you knew all--you would appreciate my
earnestness, my anxiety to shield my sister from a deadly sorrow, ere it
be too late.  Ah!" she cried, clasping her hands, and speaking with more
energy than she had hitherto displayed, "if you should set down what I
say to wrong account--if you _should_ misunderstand me!--"

"Believe me, Mrs Lyle," answered Frankfort, with great
emotion,--"believe me, when I say that, from the depths of my soul, I
understand you."

He lifted his eyes to her face as he spoke.  At the mention of her name,
"Mrs Lyle," something like a spasm passed across her features, and he
saw her slender fingers close convulsively together.  His words admitted
of opposite interpretations, but the deep sympathy expressed in that
frank and earnest face was too manifest to be doubted for an instant.
Eleanor's eyes drooped beneath the melting gaze that fixed itself upon
them.  It was long since she had received such silent but expressive
homage.  She thought but little of it after the first instant of
surprise.  She put no trust in man.

The deep blush passed away, and left the cheek as cold and statue-like
as ever.  She went on speaking of her sister.  "It may seem," she
continued, "that I am assuming my mother's prerogative in opening this
subject; but I wish to spare both her and my father pain and anxiety
during this period of public harass and responsibility, and therefore,
relying on, or rather treating to, your generosity, I hope I may depend
on you to remonstrate with Mr Ormsby on his show of devotion to my
sister, since it can mean nothing."

"But," said Frankfort, "is it fair to speak of it as a _show_ of
devotion?  Your sister is one who would command admiration in any
circle.  She is so charmingly fresh and innocent--so unlike the young
ladies who, as you say, would be pure in heart but for the heavy lessons
taught them by our sex, that, putting beauty out of the question, my
friend would be happy indeed in winning the affections of such a being
as she appears to be."

"As she _appears_ to be!  Oh, wise and cautious that you are!--more
merciful though than he, _you_ would not seek at first sight to win a
prize, believing it to be pure gold, and then reject it, because, on
nearer view, you discovered the dross of human weakness!"  She spoke
with a bitterness which Frankfort felt was foreign to her gentle nature.
He had not been for ten days domesticated with this sorrow-laden woman
without discovering, in those trifles which mark the character, how
tender, how feminine she was!  She ceased to speak--but he could not
withdraw his gaze from her earnest, mournful face.  Every word, every
look, betokened the strangest associations of worldly experience with
the simplicity of a naturally trusting heart.  The nervous trepidation,
the modest blush, the sweet, faltering voice, how deeply were they
contrasted with the resolute way in which she urged her right of
sisterly guardianship, and the opinions she permitted to escape her
lips, albeit unused to rebuke, or to the expression of ungentle

By what silver cords are we often drawn unconsciously towards each
other!  Frankfort, for aught Eleanor considered, might have been one of
those who thought ill of the female sex because he had received its
favours; Eleanor, for aught Frankfort _knew_, might be playing a part.
A mere man of the world would have suspected her of laying a scheme to
ensnare Ormsby for her sister's sake, whilst willing to attract himself;
but both were single-minded, honest-hearted people.  The woman's heart
was full of anxiety, and she longed for help from a strong and steady
hand; she met with an open palm, and she accepted its assistance in all
confidence and security.

They parted, Frankfort promising to put the matter in a serious light
before his thoughtless friend, Eleanor thanking him for her sister's
sake, and totally unconscious of the spell she was gradually weaving
round the hitherto untouched heart of the thoughtful, high-souled

He knew the weight of his influence with Ormsby.  That night, after Mr
Daveney's return, Eleanor looked from her window into the avenue,
between the mansion and the gateway.  Two figures were pacing beneath
the over-arching trees.  Now they stopped and talked; now the slighter
of the two left the other, with an angry gesture, then returned; now
they were linked, arm in arm, and approached nearer the house.

Eleanor had left her light in her sister's room, and Marion was calling
to her to say "Good night;" she was full of a ride next day.  "How
charming, after being shut up so long!  Papa even thought these might be
peace with Kafirland, after all.  Some of the chiefs had sent him
messengers, with flags of truce, and at any rate the open plains would
be safe, and they should have a gallant escort, and--"

Marion was rattling on, as she sat before her glass, brushing her bright
hair, which hung in great luxuriance over her white dressing-gown; but
hearing no reply from Eleanor, she turned round, and saw her sister,
with her head leaning on her hand, in her old abstracted way: jumping
up, she ran to her, and casting her arms--how dazzlingly fair they
looked against that sable robe!--round Eleanor's neck, she exclaimed,
"Sweet sister mine, how selfish I must seem; but I am so happy!--and
you--ah! you only answer me with your tears; but, my own darling, you
must not refuse to be comforted--you _must_ not."  And she kissed the
high, thoughtful brow of the pale, sad face she loved.

"Comfort, Marion! dear, bright-faced, light-hearted sister!--earth can
give me no comfort, no consolation; but I love you--I love _you_;" and
she took Marion to her bosom, and kissed her tenderly.  "Consolation and
comfort are yet to come.  Doubtless they _will_ come, but they have not
been granted me yet.  Ah!  `Sunbeam,'" she added, calling her by the
name a Kafir chieftain had applied to Marion--"`Sunbeam,' may no clouds
overshadow you!"

She longed--oh! how she longed--to warn Marion of the thorns and rugged
ways of the path which looked so fair, with Love beckoning in the
distance, and smiling at the feet that stumbled in striving to reach his
temple, in which were many altars--some of triumph, most of sacrifice;
but she had not the heart to rend aside the veil.

She gathered up her sister's radiant tresses, kissed again the rosy
cheek, and withdrew to her own little room.  The moon shone through the
latticed windows, chequering the objects it illuminated: she
extinguished her light, and looked out into the avenue.  Frankfort and
Ormsby were still there.  On the right and left were the wagons: the
_lager_ consisted of some twenty people on either side, but all was
noiseless, save the pacing of a solitary sentinel, who waited for
Frankfort to go the midnight rounds.  The latter hurried up the avenue,
and bid the man proceed, saying he would follow; and then she heard the
two officers exchange a friendly "Good night."

"Remember," said Frankfort.

"I will," replied Ormsby; "you are right, and I am wrong, my good
fellow."  The rest was lost to Eleanor, who retired from the window.

Another blazing day!  Mrs Daveney established herself with Marion and
Mrs Trail in the cool dining-room; Eleanor was assisting Mr Trail in
the school; Frankfort was displaying his success in engineering to his
host, and was planning work for Ormsby and himself.

Marion was more listless than usual, laying down her work--sad, stupid
work it was--coarse frock-making for those "wretched little
Hottentots"--and lifting up the dark moreen blinds to see if
thunder-clouds were gathering.  "No; there were streaks in the sky like
great white plumes, there would be a breeze in the evening, and she
should have her ride."

"Sit down, Marion," said Mrs Daveney, rather impatiently; "how restless
you are! it is impossible to write while you are wandering about the

Marion sat down, her cheeks in a glow, and stitched away in nervous
haste.  Her mother noted all this.

At the early dinner all the party met again.  There was some change of
seats, in consequence of Mr Daveney resuming his accustomed place at
his table.  Mrs Daveney's keen eye remarked that Ormsby was not at
Marion's side as usual, and then, to her surprise, she saw a glance of
intelligence pass between Frankfort and Eleanor.

She recognised the meaning of this at once.

The ride was again talked of, and Mr Daveney yielded to Marion's
entreaty "only for an hour's canter in the cool of the day."  Eleanor
consented to go; that decided her father.

You will have discovered, dear reader--I am always inclined to like my
reader--that Mrs Daveney was a woman likely to be a little jealous of
her own authority.  It was fortunate that her husband was content to
_share_ his with her, otherwise there would have been struggles for the
real and the fancied prerogative, in which the high-spirited woman would
have surely conquered.  She was certain that Eleanor had opened her mind
to Frankfort on the subject of Ormsby's devotion to Marion, and she felt
angry at being, as she considered, forestalled in her prerogative; and
Eleanor, you know, had some compunction in the matter too.

You will have discovered, too, that between the mother and elder
daughter there was not that tenderness, of manner at least, which
existed between Mrs Daveney and Marion.  Eleanor had been born during
the illness of that best-beloved being, who had entered the world when
dangers beset his parents--poor little quiet thing! she was set aside at
once, that this fragile creature might, if possible, be saved.  He died;
and then there came, as consolation, the bright-eyed, rosy-lipped

But with the father, the gentle, dark-haired Eleanor had made her steady
way, and kept it.  She grew up, to use a trite simile, like a violet in
the shade.  No one thought anything of that colourless oval face, those
dove-like eyes, that intelligent brow shaded by heavy curls.  There was
no promise in the thin, small figure; the gentle voice was seldom heard;
the smile not often seen; and it was with considerable satisfaction that
Mrs Daveney consented to let the delicate, drooping girl accompany her
father on a visit to the Governor's wife at Cape Town.

The said Governor's wife, Lady Annabel Fairfax, was a relative of Mr
Daveney's.  She had loved him in her youth, but he had never known
_that_; and now she welcomed his gentle daughter with that deep
tenderness which pure-hearted women feel for the children of those on
whom their first affections have been bestowed.

But we shall have to refer to this part of Eleanor's history by-and-by.

While she rides, her mother is pacing the verandah with Mr Trail.  Good
Mr Trail, he is soothing that ruffled spirit, deprecating its jealousy
of authority in trifles; he analyses Mrs Daveney's motives, he sifts
them like wheat before her very face, and he condenses, in the
"half-hour's talk," almost the history of her moral life since her
marriage.  He is a very old friend; he has been associated with her in
her husband's district for years; he has seen her children grow up, and
he loves them.

He loves Eleanor best, though: we naturally feel most for those we pity.

And Eleanor--she is riding side-by-side with Major Frankfort.  Ah, take
heed, Frankfort--she has, as yet, no thought of thee!

It was like a picture of a hunting-party in old times.  Eleanor revived
to new life on horseback, and her bright bay steed rejoiced in the
precious burden he bore.  She took the lead with Frankfort, leaving her
father with Marion and Ormsby.  Poor Ormsby, he deserved some credit for
letting Frankfort arrange the reins for Marion; but the rosy lips were
pouting, the eyes reproachfully turned towards him, and he could not
resist the temptation of joining her in the avenue when her father fell
back to see that the escort following them was well armed.

Start not, reader, at the notion of ladies riding for pleasure with
armed escorts in a heathen land.  Many a time and oft have I traversed
these enamelled plains, too much exhilarated with the grandeur of the
scene to think of danger.

Eleanor, in her dark riding-habit, fitting so as admirably to display
the graceful shape and easy attitude of the rider, a large, simple straw
hat shading the face, over which, under the influence of the refreshing
breeze, a hue like the inside of a delicate shell was stealing, was a
delightful picture to Frankfort, who had often longed to draw her from
the shade she always sought; and Marion, in a riding-dress like her
sister's, but with an ostrich plume wound round her hat, resembled one
of those saucy dames, who "went a hunting" in the merry days of vicious,
pleasant, witty Charles the Second.

They scarce drew rein for four miles.  There was no spoor of Kafirs, the
hills were silent, and there were herds of bucks gathered on the plains.
The tribes were evidently sitting ominously still.

The Trails and Mrs Daveney were watching at the gateway when the riders
came in sight.  Those left behind were always anxious till the wanderers
came back again, in these uncertain days.

The time of truce was passed by the settlers in the district in "making
ready" for the expectant foe--in Kafirland the people were collecting
cattle, arms, and ammunition.  It was the lull that precedes the storm,
and the community at Annerley knew it.  All there calmly but resolutely
awaited the crisis.  The women, children, and old men, occupying the
wagon bivouac, were fain to be content with the news they received
occasionally from their friends at their homesteads; the Trails kept the
even tenor of their way in the school, and among the humble people of
the settlement; and Ormsby, unable to restrain his passion for Marion,
was in a serious dilemma between his wish to remain and Frankfort's
advice to him to rejoin his regiment at once, if he was not in earnest.

"In earnest, my good fellow!" exclaimed the incorrigible flirt; "you
don't suppose I am in earnest, do you?"

"Then, if you are not in earnest, according to the world's acceptance of
the term," replied Frankfort, "you should go.  If you remain under such
circumstances, I can neither consider you as a man of honour nor an
honourable man."

Ormsby was selfish, as you know; but he had a great respect for
Frankfort, who, without making a fuss about being a "man of honour,"
_was_ an honourable man.  Ah, reader! there is a wide difference between
the two, as perhaps you have found before now.

That evening Ormsby went to Mr Daveney, and solicited leave to pay his
addresses to his daughter Marion.

Mr Daveney desired time to think; but, at any rate, refused to hear of
a definite engagement until the young soldier had reconsidered the
subject, and written home to his father for "consent and approbation."
Nay, the honest-hearted settler--Mr Daveney and his wife often referred
to themselves as settlers--would have had the young man return to his
regiment without delay, that he might try the test of time and absence,
before Marion was even consulted; but despatches suddenly arrived,
bringing accounts of the result of the great meeting with the chiefs,
who, contrary to their usual practice, breathed nothing but war and
defiance in the very teeth of the authorities.  It was clear, the
borders of the colony could not be passed with any chance of safety.
There seemed no alternative now but to await the reiteration of the
war-cry, and stand to arms from Port Elizabeth to Natal.  The Dutch in
the upper districts refused their aid in the Colonial cause, and the
Kafirs chuckled at hearing that the _Amahulu_ and the _Amaglezi_--(the
Boers and the English)--were "barking at each other like dogs."

The little episode of which Marion was the heroine had been the means of
bringing Eleanor and Frankfort into nearer communion than during the
first week of their acquaintance.  The young widow's gravity of manner
was little changed, but the deep melancholy was gradually giving way
before the influence of a mind that opened its stores chiefly for her.
She did not talk more than usual, but she listened, and Frankfort felt
he had gained a vantage-ground.

He kept it, too.  Like Scheherazade in the "Arabian Nights," he always
contrived, when he quitted this fair, sad creature's side, to leave
something for her mind to rest upon; some subject which she would wish
resumed.  I am wrong in using the word "contrived"--that was not
Frankfort's "way"--but the interest Eleanor took in all that he so
pleasantly and intelligently discussed invested it with an additional
charm to himself.

Meanwhile, father, mother, friends, looked on, and hoped that a light
was dawning on the horizon of Eleanor's clouded life, and they rejoiced.
They had no doubt of Frankfort's honesty of purpose.  His bearing and
his sentiments were alike frank, just, kind, manly, and single-minded.
He was not blindly, passionately in love with the soft voice and
mournful eyes that had certainly at first enchained his attention--
bewitched him, as some would have it--but he was most deeply interested
in the young widow; anxious to penetrate the cloud of sorrow that even
in his presence shaded her brow, and, as he reluctantly admitted to
himself, created a gulf between her and him, which he only _hoped_ to
remove or pass over.  Every night, as he paced the avenue after the
sentinels were posted, did he resolve on openly addressing Mr Daveney
on the subject of his widowed daughter's position; but the resolve faded
into air, when he reconsidered what had passed between himself and
Eleanor in the day.  He had two weighty reasons for pausing.  He was by
no means sure of Eleanor's sentiments towards himself, and he had a
dread, though this he was unwilling to acknowledge, in his own mind, of
lifting the veil of mystery with which he _felt_ more than he _knew_ she
was invested.

But as soon as he did gain courage to sound the depths of his own heart,
he recognised the duty he owed to her, to her family, especially his
gracious, generous host, and to himself; and he resolved that another
sun should not set till the question, on which he felt whole years of
happiness must depend, was decided.

The dew was on the leaves and the sun high in the east, when Eleanor
Lyle came through the cool hall into the glowing verandah on the morning
when Frankfort had at last resolved on requesting an interview with her

He had a very strong idea that she liked him.  She was one who had
evidently suffered from the treachery or the evil humour of man;
everything she said or did was tinged with some fatal remembrance.  She
shrunk from the sound of the name she bore; she could not believe in
Ormsby's faith; she did not openly ignore all honourable feelings in the
other sex, but she clearly set no store by men's promises to women.  She
did not volunteer these strong opinions--they were drawn from her; but
Frankfort soon discovered that it was he only who could elicit them.
Yes, she most certainly liked him--she had a good opinion of him, too,
he fancied; he had tested it at times in his own quiet way.

They met together in the verandah this fine, warm, balmy, dewy morning,
while the world was pleasantly astir.  Children creeping out of the
wagon bivouacs with "shining morning faces;" herd-boys coming by the
house with baskets of meelies and fine burnished English tins of milk;
graceful Fingo girls, with fresh-gathered pumpkins and cool green
water-melons on their heads; Mrs Trail's Bechuana nursemaid and ruddy
children--such contrasts to their dusky Abigail--loaded with heather,
lilac, pink, and white, and purple; and then there swung out from the
old mulberry-tree in the vineyard the call to prayers in the school.
The people from the wagons hurried off; the front garden and avenue were
deserted; there was not a sound but the whooming of a great bee that was
always rifling the doricas and invading the roses and convolvuluses,
till the "morning hymn" swelled on the warm, still air in solemn chorus,
and true, though unstudied, harmony.

They descended the steps, and sought the shade of the avenue.  It was
flanked on either side by a little nursery of trees; there was a good
deal of low bramble and brushwood, which made almost a labyrinth of the
ground; but there was a shady spot beside a silver thread of water that
stole from the rill irrigating the vineyard, and Frankfort and Eleanor
were bent on gathering water-cresses for breakfast.  I doubt if people
not interested in each other would have thought of taking all this
trouble for a few green leaves; but these two went about it as if they
had laid out for themselves a serious employment.

It was a delicious nook.  Eleanor had even laughed at the scramble she
had had in reaching it, and sat down heated and fatigued with her
descent of the bank, down which Frankfort might have made an excuse to
lift her if he had so pleased--he would have been pleased to do so--but
he did not; there was such a divine purity about this young and graceful
and subdued being, that, had he been in a desert with her, he would,
have felt that it was she who drew the barrier between them, which he
dared not pass.

All this may seem very anomalous when you think how Frankfort dreaded to
lift the veil between them; but, remember, his doubts were the issue of
lonely reflective hours in Eleanor's presence.  He grieved at the secret
sorrow that oppressed her, and bound with its heavy fetters the joyous
impulses of youth.

How handsome he looked as he cast himself on the green-sward beside the
little rill, his hat laid aside, his open, honest countenance brightened
with enjoyment at the radiance of the morning and the fragrant beauty of
this green retreat, with the shy retiring Eleanor actually smiling in
his face, as he fanned her with the broad green leaves of arums growing
in the shining watercourse.  Ah, it was the honesty of that face that
made it so handsome!  Eleanor was not one to be attracted by mere
statuesque beauty--she had forsworn love for ever--she was anticipating
peace in this abjuration of love, when the kindly eyes and approving
smile of this true-hearted soldier beamed on her with an effect like
sunlight on the hills in Kafirland, scathed by the lightning.  There are
patches on which no green grass will ever again grow--desolate spots in
the great oasis; but these are overlooked as the herald of a new day
touches them with his glory, and casts all that is unsightly into shade.

Gems of dew glittered on the mossy bank--flowers, rainbow-hued, were
opening their chalices to the genial influence of day--a magnificent
corallodendrum spread its scarlet-tufted boughs over a low rustic bench,
and they seated themselves together under this fine canopy.  Eleanor had
desired a little Fingo boy to follow her with a basket for the cresses--
Frankfort thought he obeyed his mistress much too soon.

She had taken off the large straw hat--Frankfort held it for her; her
fine hair was slightly disordered; there was a light in her eye, a
colour in her cheek, her lover--we must call him such now--had never
seen before.  That young face, that candid smile--nay, the smile
sometimes broke into a low musical laugh.  Ah! could, the demon of
self-reproach be lurking beneath all this bewitching feminine charm?

Frankfort felt that the time must soon come when he should ask her for
her history.  He had resolved to learn it from herself.  He longed to
pour balm into the wounded heart; he was growing hourly less _afraid_ of
hearing the truth.  He was just, too,--he felt that no offer of
confidence could be made to him till he solicited it.

He would do so now.  She sent her little dusky page to the rill and rose
to follow him.  She was tying on her hat, when a slender chain
encircling her throat caught in the strings, and she unwittingly drew it
from her bosom.  Frankfort saw suspended to it the miniature he had
found in the vineyard.

He felt emboldened,--he ventured to touch it.

She made no remonstrance, but with a deep sigh would have replaced it.

Frankfort held it fast.  His hand did not shake, but his heart beat.

How often does a sudden impulse bring to a crisis what has cost us many
hours of forethought! and how often--oh! how often!--does the one great
event of a life hinge upon some trifle unforeseen!  A look, a word, an
unexpected meeting, will often remove the doubts and agonies of years,
when but for what we call _accident_, there might have been no meeting,
no blessed exchange of look or word.

Frankfort felt that this was a crisis in his life.

"Eleanor," said he, "whose child was this?"

"Mine, Major Frankfort," she replied, "mine; he died, and--" she broke
into a passion of tears.  He drew close to her--she suffered him to take
her hand.  All his doubts faded at sight of those fast-falling tears,--
those sobs of agony.

"Not now, not yet," said she; "the bitterness of death is past; but you
have touched a chord which has vibrated through my soul, and I must have
time to recover my trembling senses."

She took the arm offered her; they returned by an open pathway to the
house, the little Fingo following, carrying his basket piled full of
fresh and glittering leaves, and in his arms a quantity of arums, the
large water-lilies of South Africa.

Mrs Daveney and Marion were in the entrance-rooms.  Since Ormsby's
avowal of his attachment, Marion was more constantly at her mother's
side.  I have shown you how Mr Trail had exerted his influence over
Mrs Daveney for good; how his words, like the dew from heaven, falling
on good seed, had revived her best impulses, and removed the tares of
false pride and self-glorification from her heart.  Ah, kind, useful
man, there be many that the world calls "as good as thee;" but there are
_ways_ of ministering God's word, "the small rain upon the tender herb,"
refreshing the soil, not tearing it up and sweeping it away in the
torrent of over-zeal and self-righteousness.  It is such as Mr Trail
who pioneer the way for the timid, and keep the ground for the weak.
Verily, it is the meek-spirited who possess the earth; they consider the
evil of their own nature in reproving others, and obtain concessions to
their humility which would be denied to their assumption of supremacy.

How dark and unfathomable are the depths of our own hearts, till the
Day-star from on high sheds its divine ray on our souls, and teaches us
to guide others by conquering ourselves!

But it strikes me you may think me prosy,--too fond of dissecting
people's motives.  Pardon me, it is my way, my fault, my habit,--excuse
it if it does not suit you, and pass on.

"Ah!" cries the worldly-minded reader, "by Eleanor's tact and candour, a
very delicate point has been settled; confidence has been established
among all; Ormsby declares he never should have known his own mind if he
had not been brought to the point; he was never so happy in his life."

In a word, you will exclaim, "All's well that ends well."  Certainly,
that is one of the secrets of self-gratulation and content in this
work-a-day world.

But do not jump at conclusions--we are not near the end of our story

Mrs Daveney saw traces of tears in Eleanor's eyes.  She glanced at
Frankfort, and observed that his face was fall of serious thought; but,
albeit Marion had always been the favourite, so to speak, the mother had
every confidence in Eleanor.  How often mothers _love_ one child best,
but trust another most!

Mr Trail had brought this mother and eldest daughter nearer to each
other than they had been for years; and Mrs Daveney anticipated
Eleanor's confidence ere the morning passed.  The latter did not appear
at the breakfast-table, and the kind, anxious father went to satisfy
himself that she was not ill.

There was a shade of anxiety on his brow, and as he passed his wife, on
leaving the table at the call of some farm-servant, he whispered to her
that Eleanor wished to see her.

The result of their conference was the resolution on Eleanor's part,
with the sanction of father and mother, to "tell Major Frankfort the
history of the miniature, and more if he desired it."

Light broke on Eleanor as her mother reminded her of many trifling
incidents, plainly manifesting Frankfort's partiality for her.  These,
connected with what had lately passed between the young widow and the
generous, candid soldier, left no doubt an her mind of the nature of his
regard for her.  She began to weigh every look; she suddenly remembered
he had addressed her as "Eleanor,"--she had been too much startled by
the unexpected allusion to her lost darting to think of anything but the
revival of the bitter pang.

Then Frankfort's violent emotion was so at variance with his usual
delicacy.  She was half-frightened to believe that he loved her.  They
had spent three weeks together under the same roof.  It might truly be
said that the light of a new day had _dawned_ upon her, so insensibly
had Frankfort's influence stolen over her, and sweetened an existence,
of late so wretched and forlorn.


To have seen the settlement of Annerley, in the early part of March,
18--, you would have thought, had you known nothing of the terrible
elements gathering silently around, that Mercy and Peace had met
together, that Righteousness and Truth had kissed each other.

"In the deep noontide, in the sunset's hush," the children's voices
chimed together in the busy school; mothers and sisters plied their
needles in the shady, trellised passage; the cattle herds grew careless,
and dozed away the dreamy day; the ladies of the family party suffered
themselves to hope that the dove with the olive branch was winging her
way from the mountain haunts of the unhappy heathen.  Ormsby was hourly
profiting by his association with his energetic, intelligent,
active-minded host.  The "maxims" he had been accustomed to laugh at as
"Frankfort's platitudes" were household words here.  The fresh, innocent
mind of Marion was a new and beautiful study, and he was a little, a
very little, afraid of Mrs Daveney.  He was not quite sure that he
liked her--she was evidently inclined to keep him in order, and then she
was "dreadfully clever."

So complete was the quiet reigning in this beautiful wilderness, that
even Mr Daveney began to think the chiefs had held council, and
determined on prolonging the truce, owing to the lateness of the season,
the corn being yet unripe in the districts between the Buffalo and
Keiskama rivers.  The two officers were awaiting his expected despatch
to rejoin their regiments, if ordered to do so, as they had considered
it right, on so long and unforeseen detention, to "report" their
whereabouts to their commanding officer.

You will think it all very novel-like and romantic to have brought these
delightful, handsome, intelligent officers into the wilderness, and
established them there with an obliging mamma, and a soldierlike host,
and two charming daughters--you will consider it all perfectly correct
in romance, but not quite so true to nature.  Ah! if you had seen the
world at home and abroad as I have done, dear reader, you would have
discovered that romance and reality are much more nearly allied than
untravelled folks imagine.  I assure you, the picture of the Annerley
settlement is not exaggerated, though I admit that the family I have
selected to introduce to you is not of common stamp, even in England;
but there is plenty of space for more of them in Southern Africa, and
there is so little room in England, that vice jostles against virtue,
and often has the best of it.

Frankfort and Eleanor were again seated on the rustic bench, beneath the
scarlet-tufted corallodendrum.  He could not doubt any longer that he
had at least touched her heart--how deep the impression was, he could
not tell.  In her manner to him she was like a child, all joyousness; at
times smiling, almost gay, and occasionally confiding, but as yet not so
in matters connected with herself.  Sometimes she would half promise to
"talk of herself" to him; then the time came, and something would
intervene.  If he had shrunk from asking her previous history, she
dreaded to tell it.  She said so, but added, for his comfort--"Fear not,
dear Major Frankfort; you may pity me as unfortunate, and contemn me as
weak, but you will not have occasion to condemn.  I am only a wronged,
deceived, and, for a long time, most unhappy woman; and if you should
despise me for my misfortunes, which you may do"--she put her hand on
his lips, as he was about to interrupt her--"you will not love me less,
though you may not choose me for your wife."

He took her hand in his, and pressed it with a fervency, eloquent but

"Ah!" said she, shuddering, "it is so long since I was happy, that,
albeit _you_ present the cup, I hold it to my lips, trembling lest it

She took the miniature of her boy from her bosom.  Frankfort bent over
her, and gazed upon the angel face, dimmed with the young mother's
tears; but though she wept, it was not with that passionate anguish he
had witnessed before.  He drew her to him--he ventured to kiss away
those slow-falling tears--he had told her that morning that he loved

"Tell me," at last whispered Frankfort, trembling and cold with
suspense, "who was this child's father?"

"I could not nerve myself to tell you my sad story," replied Eleanor.
"I have written it.  My father will give it you this evening, I own I
shrunk from this tearing open of the records of the past.  There are
some passages from which you will turn perhaps in dismay.  You will
discover, what you may have already suspected, that I have loved and
been deceived; but you have yet to decide whether I am a fitting bride
for you.  I confess I have no hope."

Frankfort withdrew his hand from Eleanor's.  He paced the walk in great

She waited till he approached her again.  "Pity me," said she, rising.
"Ah! it has been a terrible task to make this revelation to you.  Do me
justice--I did not seek to win _you_.  I had abjured love for ever; but
you came; you were kind; I listened; a new emotion stirred my heart,
unlike the wild passion which once brought me to the depths of despair,
and now, God help me! _you_, too, may forsake me."

She was weeping.  "Tell me," he again whispered, "is there any
self-reproach?--any shame?  Ah, Eleanor!  I must know--any--"

"Disgrace!" you would say, interrupted Eleanor.

Her lover answered her not a word, but stood waiting her reply.  The
strong, tall man shook like an aspen-tree.

"You will learn all," said Eleanor, "in the packet I have left for you
with my father.  I leave it to you to decide whether we may meet again."

The light of day was fading.  Side by side, they returned towards the
house; but not a word did either speak.  They went round by the
vineyard; they stood at the gateway leading to the trellised passage.
Frankfort opened it, and Eleanor would have passed him by.

He drew her back.  "Shall we meet again, Eleanor?" said he.

"Alas!" she answered, "I fear _you_ will decide otherwise."  And he--his
_heart_ answered her in the spirit, if not in the words, of Moore's
beautiful song:

  "I know not and care not if guilt's in that heart,
  I but know that I love thee, whatever thou art!"

Ah, reader! you will be glad to know, for I cannot help telling you,
that Eleanor, though _disgraced_, was not _guilty_, save in the act, and
that I do not defend, of marrying one for whom she had no real

The inmates of Annerley have retired to their rest.  The whole household
seems hushed in the deepest repose; but Frankfort is seated with a
packet before him, which he longs, yet dreads, to open.

He tears the seal away, and the sight of Eleanor Lyle's handwriting
makes his heart beat--he can hear it in the silence of the midnight

But we must first see how sped the convicts.



It was in the month of December, 18--, that Lee and Martin Gray
established themselves as traders at Umlala's kraal, in Kafirland.  The
reader has been given to understand that Lee had no intention of
domesticating himself with the savages, albeit he adapted himself at
once to the customs of the tribe, persuading the chief and his
councillors that he had been induced to join them from a desire to
better his condition, as well as aid and advise them in their plans and
operations against the colony.  He was too well acquainted with the
Kafir character to attempt to impose on them by professing disinterested
motives, for on these he knew they would place no reliance; but by
fixing himself as a trader among them, he could in the first place bide
his time for carrying out his intentions of joining the Dutch; and while
doing so, lay up a fund for future pecuniary wants or emergencies.  To
Brennard it was his interest to be a faithful agent.  To do Lee justice,
he had no thought of fraud in money matters, and from the traders to the
eastward he easily gathered intelligence of the Dutch farmers'
movements, from the districts of Natal, and beyond the Draakberg, to an
appointed spot between the branches of the Orange River, where a general
gathering of emigrant Boers was to take place previous to treking in a
body to Orichstad, a settlement beyond the 25th degree of south
latitude, and therefore considered by them as not subject to the British

With an air of good faith, he opened a correspondence in cipher with
Brennard, who, at his suggestion, placed an agent on the Stormberg
mountains, and thus increased his contraband traffic by disposing of
arms and ammunition to the Boers, who, assisted by these traitors, grew
sanguine in their hopes and determined in their preparations.  So blind,
indeed, was the colonial government to the real state of affairs, that
wagons containing guns actually passed the outskirts of the frontier
garrisons, on their way to the Modder and Bilt River settlements, while
smaller arms were landed at the Umtata, and conveyed to a depot at the
foot of the northern extremity of the Stormberg mountains.

The Dutch soon felt the influence of a master mind at work.  A secret
communication was set on foot between Lee and the rebel leader; but Lee
was cautious in his policy, since, to be suspected by the Kafirs as
anything but a trader, would be to draw down attention from the
missionaries, who were, when permitted, in communication with the tribes
most distant from the colony.  Those within the border were becoming
every day more lawless.  It was said by some of these teachers, in after
times, that they had had an idea of some men of suspicious character
living among Umlala's people; but having no tangible proof of their
existence, having only the word of Kafir spies to depend on, they could
take no steps in the matter, either by offering advice to the Kafirs,
near whom the poor missionaries and their families were living in dread
and peril of their lives, or by giving information to the authorities,
who were too remote to act.

Lee liked the life he led; the form of government so favourable to the
doctrine that "might is right," though tempered in some measure by
general opinion, in which he succeeded in gaining a voice; the total
absence of all moral discipline except as regarded women, with whom Lee,
as he said, had no mind to trouble himself--a life of ease, yet of
excitement, the spacious and beautiful country, all conspired to render
his temporary location desirable; but while he thus rested on his arms,
his mind was ceaselessly at work.

With that shrewdness which stands bad men in stead of deeper knowledge,
Lee had long penetrated the weaker outworks, so to speak, of Gray's
heart; keenly susceptible, of facile mind, and imbued with a vanity as
natural to men as to women, he had easily yielded to the gentle
influences and watchful solicitude of Amayeka.  Lee at once profited by
this "fancy," as he called it, to turn it to his own account, and used
every means to encourage it.

Desirous of personal conference with the Dutch agent at the station in
the Stormberg, he had no mind to be attended in such expeditions by
Gray; yet he knew well that without some counter-charm, the deserter, on
being left to himself, would at once appeal, through the missionaries,
to the mercy of the British Government.  True, there was the oath which
had bound the three traders together in solemn compact, but paramount to
all other considerations was Gray's horror of his own treachery and
disloyalty as a soldier.  However desirous he might be of keeping the
compact, as regarded Brennard and Lee, inviolate, the issue of Gray's
surrender would be keen inquiry, and consequently a fatal result to the
chief convict's schemes.  Like a good man's neglected garden, the
surface of the young deserter's character presented a wilderness of
weeds and briars, but below were seeds long sown, some dead, but some
struggling, with every capability of fruition, when the soil should fall
under the hand of the labourer.  All considerations, Lee felt, would
vanish before the wish to retrieve the past, to become, in Gray's own
words, "an honest man again."

Evening time in Kafirland!  The sun has all day long been glowing on the
river, lighting it up like burnished steel; the trees motionless, the
birds on listless wing, screening themselves within the shady boughs.
Now the mountain peaks are blending their purple summits with a crimson
sky, and the last rays of light deck the clouds in the west as with a
glory!  Lo! it fades, and the heavens are veiled with a mantle of pale
grey; the stream begins to murmur, responsive to the breeze that stirs
its waters; the birds congregate in the balmy air before seeking their
rest; the countless herds more slowly homeward, panting for the
refreshment of cool water brooks; and the women, some singly, some in
parties in single file, trip across the plains to draw water, as is
their custom at eventide.  The picture reminds one of what one reads of
in the patriarchal days.

Lee and Gray sat upon a bank that sloped to the river, a tributary of
the Great Kei--would you had a map, dear reader, to trace the country I
would fain describe.  Peals of laughter stirred the air.  Beneath the
over-arching boughs a crowd of dusky Nereides were taking their evening
bath, swimming, diving, pulling each other in sport below the surface of
the stream, swinging from branch to branch with amazing activity and
grace, and tossing up fountains of spray on the elder women, who stood
silently filling their calabashes at the clear pools between the stones
at the drift.

"Amayeka, Amayeka, izapa, izapa (come hither)," cried two or three of
the younger girls, as Amayeka, apparently unconscious of the gathering
below, and with slow step, vacant air, and pitcher on her head, moved
along the opposite bank, followed by her little attendant, a tiny
meercat, which I have hitherto forgotten to mention.

It is the wisest-looking little thing you can imagine, is this meercat
of South Africa.  Its keen, restless black eye looks right into your
own, and asks questions as plainly almost as speech could do.  It has a
way of setting itself up bolt-upright, and turning its head from one
object to another with the most inquisitive air, and adapts itself to
the habits of its owners in a manner perfectly marvellous.  I remember
one which, though not very young when taken near the Orange River,
became domesticated like a dog, and was far more sociable than a cat.  I
think I see it now, sitting at a garden-gate facing a parade-ground, on
which, at stated hours of the day, troops were wont to exercise.  As the
warning bugle sounded, it took up its position; when the regiment fell
in, the meercat placed itself in front of the line; when the men
marched, the little beast advanced in front of the column, halted with
the troops, and when they were again in line, sat down before them, and
watched the commanding officer with a knowing air quite indescribable.
At the close of a drill it would head the band to the limits of the
ground; and when all were dismissed, would return to the house.  In the
cold weather, if suspicious of any visitors, it would roll itself into a
ball, and squeeze itself into some corner, where it could not easily be
reached; but it loved best to sit before the fire, with its paws on the
fender, surveying the family group, of which it was the pet, with its
sharp twinkling eyes, and bending its ears knowingly to every
unaccustomed sound.

Such too was the creature that trotted beside Amayeka, now and then
seating itself before her, and glancing from its mistress to the nymphs
in the river, as if to remind her she was called; but she went on, deaf
to the cry "Izapa;" and Gray watched her till she disappeared behind a
tuft of trees overhanging the upper drift.  Soon afterwards Lee joined
some young warriors, with whom he had been engaged all the morning in
firing at a mark, and who now summoned him to their employment of
casting bullets at a fire under the rocks; Gray rose also, and descended
by the bank.

Amayeka was seated by the river's brink, with the meercat at her feet;
twilight lingered long, and the young moon shed its first ray of silver
on the water, when a loose stone rolled past her; there was a light
tread, a rustle in the branches of a long-tressed weeping willow, and
Gray's hand fell on her shoulder.

But in a copse above lay the wizard Amani, with his elements of
witchcraft gathered round him--strips of skin from the golden back of
the deadly puff-adder, the hood of a cobra capello, some poisonous roots
steeped in gall, the forefinger of a dead Fingo herdsman, and the skull
of a Hottentot, in which last he was busily mixing up these ghastly
charms with a cement of blood and clay.

He had long had some notion of Amayeka's intercourse with the younger
convict, or trader, as Amani, like the rest of his tribe, supposed the
deserter to be, and he now gloated at his discovery.

Of the two, he hated Lee the most, for he could discriminate between the
energy of the one and the passive sorrow stamped on the countenance of
the other.  Then Doda was an object of special abhorrence; for Doda,
when he could, pleaded the white man's cause.  Amayeka, from her
acquirements, invested her father with a power he would not otherwise
have possessed; by her intelligence the wizard often found his plans
forestalled, his prophecies doubted; but he had besides a deeper source
of hatred against her, for a true Kafir she was not.  Through her veins
ran the blood of white forefathers; her ancestress was one of those
unfortunates who had been stranded at the Umbeesam River when the
_Grosvenor_ was wrecked.

To her lineage Amayeka owed her soft, though short, and wavy hair, her
complexion of fairer hue than is usual among the Amakosa race, her
delicately-chiselled outline of feature, and her falling shoulders.  Her
limbs I have described as exquisitely moulded, and the voice musically

But although pleased to refer to her white ancestress, whom she faintly
remembered, shrunk, bronzed, withered with age, and degraded to the
state of a savage, Amayeka's habits were those of the wild tribe to
which she belonged; but tender-hearted, with something about her of the
English attribute gratitude, unknown amongst Kafirs, some of those old
associations, whose roots lie deepest in the human heart, had led her to
take an interest in Lee and Gray when she first heard their voices in
the midnight solitude of the Witches' Krantz.  Lee's ungracious manner
soon repelled her; but Gray's dependence on her good offices as guide
drew her towards him; and now, kindred, tribe, allegiance, all were
forgotten in her passion for her white lover.

They sat together in silence for some moments, Amayeka resting her head
on Gray's shoulder, her dusky locks mingling with his brown hair, which
had grown long during his exile, and would have given to his countenance
an air of effeminacy, but for the moustache shading his upper lip.

Horrible wizard! what a contrast to these youthful beings must thou have
presented, leaning thy clay-painted face from its green covert!
Gall-bladders, jackals' tails, and the polished teeth of monkeys,
wolves, and tigers, made the head inconceivably hideous; and the great
eyes glittering in the dusk would have startled the lovers had they
looked up.

But they had no thought beyond their own vague destinies.  The shades of
night deepened, they could hear the girls and children chanting
monotonously on their way to the kraals, the stream rippled past them
unheeded, the guanas plashing merrily among the little pools, and the
meercat nestled closer to Amayeka's feet.

"They say, Amayeka," whispered Gray, "that war is proclaimed in the
colony, and that soldiers are marching towards the Kei."

"Oute!"  ("Hear!") said Amayeka, who often used this Kafir prefix.  "The
white man's word to kill has not yet gone forth.  The red soldiers are
scattered through the bush.  The Amakosas sleep with an open eye, but
are not yet up.  Soon a voice will be heard on the mountains, and
answered from the valleys, and the war-cry will fill the land."

There was a pause.

"Amayeka," said Gray, "what will you do when your tribe is roused?  You
cannot stay here.  You must fly."

"And leave you?" asked Amayeka, in a tone indescribably mournful.

"I love you, Amayeka; you must fly with me."

"You love me, Martin, you love me!" repeated the Kafir girl, in distinct
and sweetly-toned English, as if she had just acquired a knowledge of
the value attached to the language, because her lover understood her at
once; and then she went on in an innocent, childish way: "Ukutanda,
diyatanda, diyatandiva, diyakutanda"--"To love, I love, I am loved, I
will love;" and laughing gleefully at applying an old lesson to a
purpose hitherto unthought of she forgot the war-cry--the red soldiers--
she began to teach Gray the lesson, and when he had repeated it over and
over again, to her infinite satisfaction, she tried to look into his
countenance by the dusky light, and laughed softly.

"But, Amayeka," said Gray again, "tell me, will you go with me from this
wild tribe of yours?"

"Go!" said Amayeka, her low laugh turned into a sigh--"And whither?
Leave the land, and my people to sit in the ashes!  Cowards only fly
from a burning kraal; the brave stand by to quench the flame, and help
the ruined."

"But the red soldiers are my countrymen," said Gray; "you would not have
me fight them!"

Amayeka tried to understand her lover's notions of treachery; but the
question resolved itself into these simple words--"Ah! you must not go;
you belong to us now."

The deserter groaned.

She took his hand, bent her head upon it, and kissed it with mute

They sat in silence till night fell, and a pale shimmer on the stream
only served to make the darkness more palpable.  But Amani's eyes still
glared upon them fiercely, and he hated them with a deeper bitterness
than ever.

They rose together, and walked leisurely by the waterside.

The wizard left his covert, and, gliding along the bank above, peeped
over it occasionally to watch them.  Sometimes they stopped on their way
and whispered.  He could hear Amayeka's voice falter, and he cursed her
knowledge of the white man's language.  Once, just where the moon's rays
glinted, they stood, and Amani could see in Amayeka's hands something
glittering.  He recognised it as a steel chain, which he had observed
round Gray's neck, with a knife of many blades suspended by it.  How
often he had coveted it!  He heard the knife drop; Gray was unconscious
of its fall.  The Kafir girl picked it up, and gave it to her lover.
Little thought Amayeka of the great need in which that knife would help
her within a few hours.

At the lower drift Amayeka crossed the stream.  Gray watched her over;
took a keen glance up and down, little dreaming that Amani was watching
him from a wolf-hole ten yards off; and then a low chirrup, like the cry
of the quail, announced that all was safe in the copse Amayeka had
entered.  Gray then traversed the stones of the ford.

Ere long, Amani could see them emerge singly from the covert, Amayeka
taking one path, for it was not too dark for Kafir eyes to distinguish
the outline of a woman's form, with the little meercat trotting after
her; her lover went another way, and then the wizard, profiting by a
cloud which overshadowed the moon's silver rim for a minute or two,
stepped stealthily across; and, biding his time, sought his hut, and
retiring therein, closed the matted entrance, and began to chant his
demoniacal incantations, to the great awe of the people assembled round
their fires at the doors of their dwellings.

Gray found Lee supping on broiled meat, and one of poor Amayeka's
coarse, sweet cakes; and Lee, after rallying the deserter on his
passion, informed him that he proposed next day to start for the foot of
the mountains with Doda, who had got leave from Umlala to guide the
"White Brother" to the trading station.

Gray was passive in the strong man's hand.  If he ever attempted
remonstrance with his master--for such he felt the elder convict to be--
the latter invariably denounced him as too weak to be vicious, swearing
he would be a knave if he dared.  As to escape from such thraldom, he
could see none; and on the other side of the picture was Amayeka, the
only creature on earth whom he loved, or who loved him.  Honourable
servitude was beyond his reach at present, and in the mean time he was
pledged to Amayeka--vaguely--but still pledged.  To her he owed all the
comforts of his present sad existence, and she had many ways and means
of ministering to them; he was bound to her by the ties of gratitude as
well as of affection; he pitied her, and he believed, moreover, that if
he left her, she must die--die perhaps by torture!

He sat down in the hut among the ashes of the dying fire.  Lee could not
see his comrade's face, for it was buried in his hands, bowed upon his
knees; but the young man's frame shook like an aspen-tree; and oh! the
bitter agony of the voice that cried aloud, "God have mercy on me!"

Surely the good angels then shedding their influence on the desolate
being dictated that solemn and heart-rending appeal, and then heralded
the cry to heaven!

Lee looked at the deserter with some contempt, but uttered no harsh
word.  He contented himself with sketching out a plan for Gray's
guidance on the arrival of trading messengers between the Umzimvooboo
and the Witches' Krantz; delivered to his charge a letter in cipher, to
be forwarded to Brennard, explaining the necessity of his visit to the
Stormberg, on trading "thoughts intent," and transmitting a receipt
connected with certain monetary transactions.  He also mentioned his
intention of returning to Umlala's kraal within a given time, and then,
in serio-comic phraseology, proceeded to inform Gray that, on rejoining
him, he should make a barter with the chief for "a few Kafir wives."

"Don't be frightened, my lad," continued the reckless convict; "I assure
you I have no intention of interfering with you, though I must own to a
little regard for your girl on account of her white blood.  Not that I
owe the country I came from anything but a curse; but she is a deuced
deal better-looking for her straight nose and smooth hair.  The girl has
good points, and I have shared the luck if I have not the love, for she
makes good cakes, and can wash and mend my clothes as well as any
Englishwoman.  I should think, too, she was not to be had cheap; but you
can afford to give a good lot of cattle for her, eh!" and Lee went on
jeering, and puffing _dagha_ [the wild hemp, the seeds of which possess
much of the stupefying powers of opium] out of a long wooden pipe, till
Gray was too stupified with the vapour to resent the brutality of his
companion, who having, at the opening of the conversation, drawn from
the deserter all that he could touching his position with Amayeka,
suggested finally, with apparent good faith, that in the event of any
great crisis suddenly taking place among Umlala's people, the lovers
should make their way to a spot, to be selected by Doda, in the road to
the Stormberg.  Doda, however, was to imagine the rendezvous was only
for Lee and Gray, and under no circumstances to be enlightened as to the
part Amayeka was to take in this episode of the young deserter's life.

Gray was awoke the next morning by the light streaming in through the
hut door, which was ajar.  He had been late in falling asleep, and was
heavy, and disinclined to rise for the day; but he looked out,--the huts
were yet closed, the cattle still in the kraals; there was profound
silence on the plain,--the sun had just gilded the eastern heights.

Gray closed the door, which had not been carefully drawn to by Lee, who
had evidently, without rousing his comrade, departed on his journey; for
the "traps" he had set in order to take with him had disappeared.  Gray
cast himself down in a sort of sullen despair, and weary thoughts of
past and future disturbed his aching brain.

Ere long the whole hamlet woke up; the cattle came lowing from the
folds, the dogs were giving tongue, the women and girls were astir,
preparing for the hard labours of the day, building huts, hewing wood,
and tilling the ground.  Several youths were assembled on the plain,
some to start on a hunting expedition, some on marauding parties, for
much fine cattle had been brought in the preceding evening by a foraging
band, and was being paraded before Umlala, that he might feast his eyes
on the prize.  The sight was a strong temptation to the young men to try
their luck in an adjoining kloof, where it was expected some colonial
cattle had been driven by a neighbouring tribe, ready to swear to the
British authorities that they were alike guiltless and ignorant in the
matter, though in treaty with Umlala to share the stolen property with
him if he would shelter it.

But all these preparations were brought to a standstill by the
unexpected appearance of the wizard Amani, whose great clay-painted face
first emerged from the low entrance of his hut; he crawled out of it,
and stood upright, waving an assegai with his brawny arm.  The people
stood still at sight of this awful apparition, for he was arrayed in the
hideous costume peculiar to these wretches when it is their will and
pleasure to call a solemn assembly of the tribe for the purpose of
publicly denouncing some unhappy creature, whom it is their interest, or
their inclination, to bring to a fearful punishment, by death or

The cattle-drivers went on leisurely with their herds towards the
pasture-grounds, but sat down on a near hill-side, to see what would
follow.  They were mostly boys, and were not of sufficient importance to
have incurred the wizard's displeasure.  The women laid their implements
of labour at their feet, and their children clung to them with vague
dread; the old men trembled as Amani stalked past them, and the youths
parted right and left to let him go by.  Amayeka, who had been up and
out before the rest, and had half-crossed the plain with a bundle of
sticks on her head, dropped her burden in great terror, and stood
paralysed, for she had her misgivings.  The meercat seated himself
beside her, and glanced his keen black eyes rapidly to and fro; hers
were fixed on Amani, who, advancing to Umlala's hut, the largest in the
Kraal [Note 1], drew the chief's attention to him by a frightful yell.

I have already given you some notion of his aspect, with its savage
head-gear.  A kaross of lion's skin was slung about his short but
powerful frame, the mane forming a ruff round his huge bull-neck.  The
kaross was fastened on the right shoulder, leaving the arm free.  With
this he continued to wave the assegai, its tip of highly-polished iron,
and the brazen bangles on the wrist, glinting in the morning sunshine,
so brilliant in the Kafir summer-time.  The drapery was short enough to
display the legs, which, unlike the limbs of a Kafir, were thick and
unshapely, and ornamented, like the arms, with bangles of burnished
brass; strings of beads, of various colours, and mingled with necklaces
of animals' teeth, garnished his throat, and round his waist, where the
kaross opened, was discernible an elastic brazen belt, from which
dangled a catskin pouch, a small tortoise-shell and spoon appended for
taking snuff, a pipe of tambootie wood, hard almost as iron, and a
variety of other articles, an English coin, an old buckle, etc.

To the head-dress I have before described, were now added two long
feathers of the beautiful Kafir crane; these being drawn upward by the
breeze, resembled horns, and gave the wizard an appearance more
demoniacal than can be conceived.

He had doubtless been smoking dagha all the night.  His eyes glared with
unnatural light, his lips were parted, his white teeth gleaming between
when he uttered his unearthly cry; and as he advanced, his movements
became more excited; and finally, with a tremendous leap in the air, he
dropped as from a height before Umlala, and writhed and gibbered like
some wretch possessed of a devil.

The chief councillors gathered the people of the Kraal in a great circle
fronting Umlala's dwelling, which was distinguished from the rest by its
size.  Most of the principal members of the tribe had gone towards the
colony as plunderers or spies, or were scattered through the hills and
valleys as scouts and messengers; the circle, therefore, was less
extensive than usual,--still there was a gathering of some three hundred
human beings.

There were none among these startled creatures who would not willingly
have fled had they dared, but they knew flight or resistance were alike
useless, and they maintained an impressive silence, while Umlala took
his seat on the ground in the space within the circle, Amani on his
right hand, though slightly in the rear, and a chief councillor on his
left, preserving the same respectful distance.

This dread silence of the crowd was only broken by an occasional bitter
laugh or wrathful exclamation from the wizard, who, having some days
before been summoned by Umlala to prescribe for some trifling ailment,
had taken care that the medicine given, a preparation of herbs, should
not remedy the disease, but increase it.  Umlala, however, had almost
forgotten his ailment in his exultation over the cattle brought him by
his foraging party.  The wizard was determined on reminding him of it,
and came to tell him now who had bewitched him, first as regarded his
health, and secondly his judgment, which Amani pronounced at fault, from
Umlala having permitted Doda to attend the white man on a journey.
"Whither was the white man going?  Did Umlala know his purpose?  The
white man's face was white, but his heart was black, and what but a spy
could be the boy left behind?"

Gray, on hearing an unusual stir, crept from his domicile, which
bordered a ravine, and, plunging into a tangled copse, made his way
unnoticed to a little tuft of orange-trees on the site of an old
missionary station, whence he determined on reconnoitring what was going
on.  He had a just horror of Amani as an impostor, but he had no
conception of the power he derived from his misdirected abilities, for
Amani was one of the shrewdest of his race, and possessed an evil
influence over his chief.

Gray could see the whole face of the plain, and every figure in the
semicircle spread out at his feet.  He scanned it rapidly and uneasily,
and, to his infinite dismay, discovered Amayeka.  The grove in which he
sat was one of the lovers' trysting-places; and, though the early
morning was not a safe time for meeting, he had hoped to find her there,
or within a short distance from it.

An undefinable feeling of horror stole over him; but he had sufficient
presence of mind to pause and watch the proceedings.  Whatever might be
the result, he mourned his wretched position, not entirely for his own
sake--indeed at this moment self was farthest from his thoughts.  But
what could this strange meeting portend?  Mischief, he knew; but who was
to be the victim?  Naturally his alarm was connected with the unhappy
girl, who had been his only friend of late.  Her father was absent, her
mother had years before vanished from the face of the earth, that is,
perished in the bush, whither she had been carried in severe sickness,
and left there to die or be devoured by the wild beasts roaming there,--
it was never ascertained which.  After a lapse of time, some scattered
bones were found, but these were left to whiten and fall to dust.

Gray climbed the tallest orange-tree, and looked down from its
clustering boughs.  He could not distinguish Amayeka's features, but her
head drooped, her arms hung listlessly down, and at her side, in the
begging attitude so peculiar to these tiny brutes, sat the meercat, as
if beseeching pity.

She looked so friendless, so helpless, yet so far above the other girls,
who, forgetting their terror in excitement, were chattering and whirling
about near her, that Gray could hardly resist his impulse to descend the
hill, cross the glen, and hurry to the scene of action; but he had had
sufficient experience of Kafir habits to feel that he could do no good
by rushing into the midst of the excited assembly.

Indistinct sounds reached him, and he could see the people were every
moment becoming more earnest as they watched the wizard, who continued
to rock himself to and fro, gibbering and screeching.  At length Amani
suddenly sprang up, and rolled his fierce orbs round the circle.

Miserable victims of a power, which owns no law, a superstition based on
cruelty and vice!  How many quailed before the assegai as it was again
waved aloft!  Unhappy wretch! who risked thy life to bring the poor
settlers' cattle to thy selfish chieftain's kraal, dost thou think thou
art discovered--doomed--because thou hast secreted in a wooded glen part
of the plunder for thyself wherewith to buy thy wife?  Thou boy warrior,
of the strong arm and supple limbs, in form like a young Apollo, does
the fearful wizard know, too, that thou hast fixed thy will upon the
child of one of his foes, for he has many?  Thou girl of a laughing eye
and merry voice, does thy blood turn cold as thou rememberest the day
when, resting from thy tillage in the meelie garden, thou didst mock the
wizard, forgetting those were near thee who would seek his favour by
betraying thee?  Aged woman, with palsied head and shrivelled features,
almost blind, too, but not deaf, art thou dreading his vengeance,
because thou call'st to mind that he, by whose rude couch thou hast been
watching all the night, and striving to aid in pain and sickness with
thy poor herbal medicines, is one whom Amani hates?  Thou mother, with a
baby on thy shoulder, why are thy lips compressed, thy brow with anguish
stamped?  Dost thou quail at thought of thy tall son, who is betrothed
to Umlala's daughter, the child of that Gaika wife, whose feet the great
chief gashed and crippled, searing the gory wounds with red-hot
assegais, because Amani, the wizard, denounced her as untrue?


Such scenes as these had at times been partially detailed to Gray, but
he had had no evidence of their reality.

The crowd, in their eager fear, spread out like a fan, as though each
member meditated an escape; but a loud summons from the principal
councillor drew them round their chief, and all doubts were soon
dispelled as to the real victim of the day.

Amani, having held his incantations over the Hottentot's skull and its
contents, dipped the assegai therein, and, drawing it out dripping with
the fiendish potion, began to wave it slowly before him.  Tormentor that
he was! he pointed it for a minute or two at the trembling girlish
mimic.  Did he know of her delinquency?  She bore the ordeal with the
insensibility of a statue, and the wizard passed her by.  Some, utterly
unconscious of offence, were inwardly startled when they found the
sharp-bladed weapon within an inch of their breasts; but their dignity
never forsook them.  Each awaited his fate with outwardly unshaken
nerves, and then watched the weapon as it passed them by to tantalise or
condemn another victim.

All this could be distinctly seen by Gray.  He was breathless--cold dews
poured down his face--his teeth chattered with horror and suspense--he
covered his face with his hands.  A shout!--was it of exultation?--
pierced the air, and penetrated his very brain.  He looked again,

Amayeka was in the hands of two fiendish women, witch-doctresses,
confederates with Amani.  The circle was broken--the throng were
gathered closely together.  Amani was standing up, gibbering and
declaiming to the nearest listeners.  Gray could distinguish a shrill
scream from Amayeka.

Once again he bent his gaze upon the frightful picture.

Amani's glittering wand was again in motion, the witches were tearing
open Amayeka's dress, the bead bodice, of which she had been so proud,
was scattered in shreds on the ground; and oh, unhappy Gray! behold the
proof--the witness in Amani's accusation.  They draw from the depths of
her bosom, appended to a bit of reim secured round her waist, the steel
chain thou gavest her last night!

He comprehended all instantly, dropped from his leafy covert, leaped
into the ravine, and, scrambling through bush and briar, rushed across
the plain, and overtook the hags as they were bearing off their victim
to a fire in a hollow behind Umlala's great hut.

Shocked, frightened, bewildered, unarmed, still he followed with the
crowd.  He could hear Amayeka's cries of agony, and the poor meercat
seeing him stopped, awaiting his white friend's approach with an eye of
wonderment and fear.

Once only the eye of Gray met Amayeka's; as the unhappy girl was dragged
to the bottom of the hollow, she caught a glimpse of her lover on the
mound above.  She made a desperate struggle to shake off her
persecutors; but had she succeeded, not one of the tribe--partly from
superstition, partly from dread of the consequences to themselves--dared
have lifted a finger to assist her.

Gray was frantic.  He rushed back to Umlala, and the white man threw
himself at the feet of the brutal savage.  He lifted up his hands in
humble supplication.

Umlala sat motionless.  Not even his eye gave sign that he saw the
supplicator; and Amani grinned silently like a demon at his fallen foe.
No response, no token of regret; all was stolid indifference on the
chief's part; and, ere long, he rose.  The wizard shook his assegai in
Gray's face, and crying, in a loud voice, "Y-enzainhlela i be
banzie"--"Make a path: let it be wide," the throng in front parted to
the right and left, the chief moved deliberately onward, Amani at his
ear talking rapidly, and to Gray almost incoherently, although he had
acquired enough of the language to know that the wizard was intent on
keeping Umlala to the dreadful purpose for which the tribe had been
summoned together.

All at once two strong women seized Gray from behind, and held him
tight.  Amayeka saw that, for he heard her shriek.  Had they no mercy,
these wretches?  Were they women?  Was he to be immolated with Amayeka?
They dragged him down the green slope, slippery with dew, that shone in
diamond drops upon flowers of rainbow hues.  He heard the fire roaring,
and saw boy devils at their impish work.  They had bound poor Amayeka's
slender wrists with hard thongs of hide, and were trying to get the
bangles over her hands.  Had they not succeeded, they would have hacked
off the limbs in their impatience to possess themselves of these gauds,
so precious to them.

She ceased her cries, poor thing, and lay exhausted on the green-sward,
while some of the women, who were foremost in the horrible work,
prepared to stretch her out with the soles of her feet towards the
flames, already greedy of their prey.

Gray called to her; she made a violent attempt to release herself, but
in vain; and he, in his fury, shaking off the Amazons who held him,
sprang forward, and would have either attempted to rescue the victim, or
insisted on sharing her fearful death; when screams of affright and
gestures indicative of warning drew the attention of the people on the
plain to the herdsmen on the nearest hill.  Some were hastily gathering
the cattle together, while others pointed in the direction of Eiland's
glen, an outlet of the ravine which almost encircled the Kraal.

Some alarming object was evidently in sight; but what it was could not
be distinguished by the people in the hollow.

They were soon enlightened.  A group of Europeans on horseback emerged
from a wooded glen, a branch of the ravine running between two hills to
the north-west.  As they reached the summit of the gorge, and halted
between earth and sky, the shining morning light showed them to be
heavily-armed, and fully accoutred for a _trek_; but their horses,
though rough, were fresh; and if they were from a distance, they had
evidently been resting somewhere within an easy ride of the Kraal.  The
party swept down the hill at a brisk pace, plunged into the ravine, and
were out of sight for a moment.  The next, with arms unslung and ready
poised, they galloped in close column, in number about thirty, across
the open space, to the mound overlooking the hollow, in which the fire
had been lit, and where Gray now knelt, releasing, with his good English
knife, poor Amayeka from her dreadful fate.

Yet, white men though they were, the unexpected visitants of the Kraal
did not pause in their course to notice the unfortunate lovers, but
dashed on towards the ravine, where they perceived the cattle and their
drivers.  The Kafirs, on first observing the farmer's approach, had
whistled off their plunder towards this dense bush, but had not
succeeded in collecting the herd sufficiently close to the only gap
through which such a body of men and beasts could pass in haste.

Women and children fled into nooks and corners; some found their way to
their huts, and the herdsmen on the hills rushed into the adjacent
kloofs and valleys.  The tribe being, as I have observed, much reduced
in numbers, the thirty stout farmers were more than a match for the
thieves who had cleared their homesteads.  Umlala, paralysed with fear
and surprise--for visits from the settlers were, on account of his
remote position from the colony, very unusual,--had hastened to conceal
himself in a mimosa thicket; and Amani was quaking in a wolf-hole, his
favourite retreat in intrigue or danger.

The Kafirs were unprovided with their firearms, some were even without
their assegais.  A volley of musketry from the settlers sent them
screeching into the glen; and a Hottentot guide, catching a glimpse of
Amani's head-gear, recognised him as a wizard, and shot him like a wild
beast in his hole.

The cattle, responding to the call of their rightful owners, soon fell
quietly into order, and were driven off with no further opposition than
a few assegais thrown at random; the enemy calling out to the invaders,
from the safe side of the ravine, "Take care of them; we will come for
them before the hills grow white,"--alluding to the snow on the mountain

To this the colonists turned an indifferent ear, and, forbidding the
guide to fire again, put their horses to speed, galloped round and round
the herd of cattle, whistling, hallooing, and encouraging them forward,
for no time was to be lost, as it was not unlikely that the armed Kafir
scouts in the valleys might pounce upon them, unawares, by certain short
cuts between the hills.

In the bustle and excitement attending the recovery of their property,
the farmers had, as I have shown, paid but little attention to the
singular situation of the young deserter and the Kafir girl; but, after
securing the cattle _en masse_, five or six of the most daring cantered
to the little eminence in rear of Umlala's hut, and discovered Amayeka
stretched on the grass alone.  She had fainted, and Gray had left her to
procure some water to moisten her parched lips, and was hastening at
full speed from a vley in the hollow to tell his miserable tale to the
white men.

He could see them from the vley, but they, wholly intent on rescuing the
girl--whom, indeed, they were inclined to consider one of the Griqua
race, from her soft hair and regular features--were in too great haste
and too much excited to await the appearance of a white man, who had
vanished, as they supposed, with the rest of the throng, leaving the
wretched victim of superstition and fraud to escape as she could, or lie
powerless till her tormentors returned.

At the impulse of the moment, a young Boer--the party consisted of Dutch
farmers from the Stormberg, who, worn out in trying to obtain redress
for accumulated grievances, had taken the law in their own hands--bent
from his horse, and, lifting the light, insensible form of Amayeka to
his saddle, bore her off.

Another, reckless of danger, lingered to seize a brand from the still
burning embers, and, following his comrade with the flaming stick, cast
it at random on the roof of a particularly well-built hut, and joined
his companions.  They sped on, their cheers and laughter rousing the
mocking echoes as they retraced their steps up to the mouth of the
gorge, whence they had descended on the Kraal.

What made Gray draw back, and fly with extraordinary speed towards the
river?  What made him shout the Kafir cry "Izapa!  Izapa!" to the women
and children still occupying the ground?

They looked out from the low doors of their huts, and saw in an instant
the cause of his warning.

It was one of the huts containing ammunition which had caught fire from
the random brand.

They tried to fly, but some were too late!

The cattle herds on the hills set up a terrific yell, which made the
colonists look back from the elevation they had just reached.  Gray had
crossed the stream, and was at a safe distance from the scene ere the
fire touched the flooring of the hut in which the gunpowder was buried.
He turned to take a last look of the plain; the poor little meercat was
sitting, in its old posture, at the door of Amayeka's hut, just where
the sunlight fell brightest,--a rumbling noise, like the muttering of
distant thunder, woke the neighbouring echoes; the wind, which was
beginning to gather from all quarters, caught the burning embers, and
scattered them in all directions--several huts took fire--the unhappy
women and children scoured over the plain, hardly knowing where to go in
their blind terror.  Some, as I have said, lingering about their
dwellings to save their miserable property, and unconscious of the
imminence of the peril, paid the penalty of their ignorance; for finally
a great tongue of flame shot upwards, a loud explosion shook the earth,
and from the mountain ridge Gray beheld the whole Kraal on fire.

He could not help feeling, since he had every hope of Amayeka's safety,
a glow of exultation, as he beheld the destruction of the scene of his
late sorrows, and waved his hand in token of a glad farewell to some
people huddled together and watching him from the upper drift: horrified
as he was at the issue of the day's events, he was so utterly disgusted
at the part both women and children had taken in the torture scene, that
he could not pity them as he might have done before it took place.

He resolved at all hazards on delivering himself into the hands of the
colonists, and pressed forward to a tuft of trees crowning the apex of
the hill.

Shading his eyes from the glare of the sun, he gazed intently into the
valley on the other side.  It was a scene of perfect repose.  There were
no groups of cattle to give life to the picture, these had long vanished
from the open locations to the dark ravines of Kafirland; the Kraal
filling the centre of the valley was deserted, and not even a _pauw_, or
secretary-bird, was to be seen stalking solemnly along in the glow.

It was useless to descend the steep at random; he continued to scan the
paths with careful eye.  Suddenly he thought he saw the little band of
horsemen, with the cattle in front, wending their way on the side of a
hill, beneath a krantz of granite.  He was not sure of this till they
reached the sharp bluff or angle of the mountain range; they turned it,
and he was left alone in the wilderness.


Note 1.  Kraal indicates a hamlet of huts, as well as a solitary
dwelling: I have endeavoured to distinguish the one from the other by
prefixing a large K to the former.




But Frankfort is sitting in the hush of midnight--before him lies the
manuscript.  It is addressed to "Major Frankfort."


When the heart is very full, it is difficult to know how or where to
begin a recital, which it is due to you as well as to myself to lay
before you.  It would harass you, nay, I think it would make your heart
ache, were you to know, before reading it, all the pangs it has cost me
to write this.

An old diary lies before me--old to me, who have lived through so much
since I penned the first page, three years ago.  I remember that I
opened it to begin my task of journalist at a little road-side inn at
the close of the first day's journey from home.  I was going, with my
father, to visit Lady Amabel Fairfax, at Cape Town.  I was sorry to
leave home and my young sister.  I was sorry to think that, for the
first time in my life, I should not say "Good night" to my mother.

On the other hand, I was pleased at the prospect of staying with Lady
Amabel; and, although my mother had made the most careful arrangements
for me, I fancied she cared less at my leaving her than I did.  At that
time, I think she loved Marion best.

Yet, I need not dwell on this point--I turn to another leaf.

Lady Amabel!  I see her now--graceful, handsome, and so kind--awaiting
our arrival in a large, luxuriant drawing-room at Government House.

It was night when I met her for the first time.  Tired with a voyage of
many days along the coast, I received her cordial embrace with a
comparatively cold return, as she came forward in the hall.  A gong was
sounding in the garden.  Through an open door, we beheld a vista of
rooms, and servants lighting them.  Lady Amabel desired her maid to
conduct me to my apartment.  She had contrived many little elegancies of
dress for me, and my toilette was soon made.  I was late, and had to
descend the wide staircase alone.  My feet trembled as I heard some one
following, and a young man, in the dress of an aide-de-camp, came
clattering past me; he had the grace to wait at the foot of the stairs
and bow.

His face was as honest in its expression as yours.  He apologised for
"rattling by me," with the most graceful air of humility.  He was quite
sure I _must_ be Miss Daveney--he _hoped_ so--we were to be inmates of
the same house; for he was the Governor's nephew, Clarence Fairfax.
Would I take his arm?  I should be the best apology in the world if any
guests had arrived.  He was the Aide-de-Camp in Waiting; it was his duty
to receive the visitors, and there were two great officials expected--a
Governor-General from India, and a foreign Prince in command of a
squadron of the navy.

I put my arm through his without answering.  I was completely frightened
at the idea of the gay crowd I was to encounter.  The hall was
brilliantly lighted, and filled with servants.  A door was thrown open
before us.  I shook from head to foot with nervous agitation.  Clarence
Fairfax pressed my arm, to reassure me; he declared his alarm lest I
should fall.  I own I was dazzled.  The chandeliers, blazing with the
light of myriads of wax candles, the tall mirrors reflecting them again
and again; the variety of uniforms--staff, infantry, cavalry, engineers,
artillery; officers in the costume of the French, Spanish, American, and
Portuguese navies; the magnificent-looking General from India, his empty
sleeve looped at his breast, that breast covered with orders; the young,
bashful, sailor-Prince, fair-haired, blushing like a girl, yet with a
certain lofty consciousness of rank about him that would have marked him
from the rest of the officers had he been without the ribbon and the
star; the buzz of voices of various nations; the ladies in brilliant
dresses; the air redolent of perfumes, breathing through the windows
opening to the garden;--all appeared to me beautiful, but unreal, after
my desert life.  I felt as Cinderella must have done when she found
herself transported by the fairy into the lighted palace; and truly he,
on whose arm I rested trembling, was like a prince of fairy tale to me!

A tall, slight figure, in the uniform of a general officer, with many
decorations, advanced.  His piercing eye flashed for an instant on his
nephew, who had delayed his appearance beyond the hour of reception; but
the expression changed on seeing me.  He took me from Clarence,
observing, with a slight asperity of tone, that he was, "as usual, very
late;" and led me to Lady Amabel, who stood in the centre of the
apartment, the blaze of the chandelier illuminating her elegant form
robed in white, her graceful head encircled with an emerald wreath of

To add to the illusion of the scene, the music of an exquisite band
came, blended with the perfume of roses, through the open windows.  A
beautiful arm was extended to me; Lady Amabel pressed my palm between
her soft jewelled fingers; and Clarence Fairfax came up with clasped
hands, and in mock despair at his uncle's reprimand, at being "late, as

There was a little stir, a rustle of silks and plumes, and I, in my
innocence, was looking about, longing to see my father, that I might be
near him at the dinner-table.  The sailor-Prince advanced, and gave, his
arm to Lady Amabel; she looked round ere dropping mine; a spur was
entangled in my dress; there was a little laugh; Clarence Fairfax
disengaged himself from "my tails," he said, and then, with a somewhat
saucy ease of manner for first acquaintanceship, he drew my hand under
his arm, and led me after the crowd, already half way through the

"So, Lady Amabel is a relation of Mr Daveney's!" said he--"that is
charming--there is a kind of cousinship between us.  Nay, don't look so
demure, you chill me, and I intend that we shall be the best friends in
the world.  Let us make that bargain."

He was so tall, he had to bend low to look into my face, which was
covered with confusion; for I was unaccustomed to such familiarity.  It
took me by surprise; but, ah! the fatal air which men assume when they
would please--those earnest looks, those low-pleading whispers.  I
forgot to look for my father, and seated myself on Clarence's right hand
at the foot of the table.  A magnificent bouquet of flowers almost hid
Lady Amabel from my view, my eyes were bewildered with the blaze of
candelabra and silver covers, and the uniforms of scarlet, and gold, and
blue, mingled with the lighter hues of women's dresses; but, at length,
I met the eye of Lady Amabel: she smiled, nodded, indicated by a gesture
to my father that I was in my proper place, and by one to me that she
was satisfied; and, indeed, so was I.

Sir Adrian Fairfax's attention was thus called to us--he looked at his
nephew and laughed; we were the last to be seated.  "Incorrigible
Clarence," cried the General, shaking his head; "lingering behind--again
late.  Too bad, too bad."

"Do you see that showy woman opposite my uncle?" whispered Clarence
Fairfax to me.

I glanced across the table, and replied in the affirmative.

"She is the wife of an official, and falls to my lot generally.  I
escaped her to-night.  See, my uncle is smiling; he knows why I
lingered; he excuses me, of course.  You are my apology."

"I must take Major Fairfax's part," said the Indian Governor: "he may be
late for dinner, General, but he is always first in the field, you

"And the last," replied Sir Adrian, laughing; "you see I have the best
of the argument after all.  Fairfax, the soup will be cold."

Everything that passed at the dinner-table on that memorable day is
noted in my diary.  I have not looked over it for three years.  I need
scarcely do so now; for, as I write, the tide of memory swells high, and
trifles rise to the surface.

There was a ball that evening at Government House.  Sir Adrian brought
the young sailor-Prince to me.  Clarence Fairfax stepped aside with a
look of despair, which I took to be real.  The first dance over, he came
to claim me in right of "cousinship," he said.  His countenance was
radiant with smiles as he led me away.  We whirled off in a valse,
talking gaily all the time; he looking down into my eyes, and I
forgetful of the crowd around me, till I heard some one remark, "What a
perfect dancer! so airy--so unstudied!"  "A relation of Lady
Amabel's?"--"Yes."  "From England?"--"Oh, no!--an officer's daughter."
"Not pretty, is she?"--"Rather."  "Good gracious, do you think
so?"--"Interesting--Fairfax is taken."  Giddy with the exercise, I
stopped unwittingly close to the speakers--two or three showy girls and
their partners.  The band changed the air to a rapid measure, and I was
again borne off as on wings.  Breathless and exhilarated, we reached the
door of an ante-room; Clarence thought it was unoccupied, and led me in.

Ah, conscience!  The bloom of a youthful heart once touched, it sees
evil in what it once deemed innocent!

I was accustomed to dance, to valse, to be associated occasionally with
gentlemen, so why did my heart bound as I met my father and Lady
Amabel?--and why was it relieved on seeing them pass by with only a
smile of pleased recognition?

The Governor from India fell into conversation at the doorway; Lady
Amabel looked back, and said, "Take care, Clarence, of the draught from
that window;" and left us sitting on a couch alone.  Her shawl was
thrown across it.  Fairfax drew it round me.

I had been prepared to admire this gallant young soldier--"first and
last in battle."  He had lately been wounded in a pirate fight while
cruising with naval friends off the western coast of Africa; his sleeve,
open from the wrist to the shoulder, showed that his sword-arm had been
disabled.  It was a stirring tale--a young captain struck down; the next
in command weakened by fever; the ships lashed yard-arm and yard-arm; a
swarm of frantic beings, who knew that to yield was to die; and a band
of British sailors with a boy lieutenant at their head.

The rover's crew cheered the boarders as they advanced, the boy
lieutenant fell, but Clarence sprang into his place, and led the sailors
on.  He had observed the battened hatchways, had heard the yells of the
miserable captives in the forecastle of the brig, and whilst the battle
raged, had directed the carpenter how to release the crowd of victims.
His coolness turned the fortune of the day; the hatchway burst open, the
wretched slaves, emaciated, starving as they were, mingled with the
English crew, and, elated with, the hope of liberty, sprang upon the
pirates, and cast them into the sea.  The victory was decided in a
moment.  Clarence Fairfax shared the honours of the day, and gave his
prize-money to the rescued slaves.

I begged him to tell me this tale himself.  He did so, with apparent
reluctance; but the relation dazzled and enchanted me.  I was bewildered
with his beauty, his air, his charmed words.

While thus happily engaged, he talking and I listening, the servants
entered, and throwing open a large window, an exquisite _coup-d'oeil_
was presented.  A marquee, lined with brilliant flags, and lighted with
transparent lamps, stretched away into the spacious gardens.  Tables
were scattered about covered with refreshments, all arranged with
exquisite taste; tropical fruits and flowers decorating the feast in
elegant profusion and variety.  He started up.  "I am forgetting my
duty," said he, "in lingering so pleasantly with you.  Ah! here comes
your father.  See, he is following Sir Adrian and Lady Westerhaven, and
is escorting the official lady who always falls to my lot.  You have yet
to learn, you sweet innocent lily of the desert, that the conventional
forms of colonial society are even more absurd than those of England.
Ah, thank heaven! your father has passed us by."

But he was mistaken; the showy, shining woman leaning on my father, who
had been darting keen and earnest glances into every corner of the room,
suddenly exclaimed, with a touch of bitterness I could not then
understand, "Now, Mr Daveney, who would have thought to have found your
daughter here?  Quite safe, you see; but shy, very shy, on this her
first appearance in public--thank you; but I believe it will be
etiquette to resign your arm.  Captain Fairfax, it may not be your
_pleasure_, but I believe it is your _duty_, to take me to the
supper-room to-night."

He looked at me, at this remark, and smiled; but evidently feared the
scrutiny of the lady, for he assumed a demure look, which, in spite of
my vexation, made me laugh, as he led the offended one to the marquee.

I followed with my father, who expressed his uneasiness at my long
absence from the ball-room.  I dare say some fathers would have been
angry; but he had been so long a stranger to the "conventionalities," as
Clarence called the forms of society, that he did not see any
impropriety in my lingering with my partner in an empty ante-room, and
only feared I might have felt overcome with the heat and the crowd.

How often men strive to argue women out of a due observation of
"conventionalities" which militate against their schemes, and next
contemn their victims for ignoring what they, the men, have taught them
to despise!

I think I see that bold, bad woman, Mrs Rashleigh, now.  Her black eyes
and hair contrasted strongly with her brilliant cheeks and lips.  Beside
me, she was tall, and as she looked down upon me, she seemed to sneer.
Jewels glittered on her unveiled bosom, her handsome hands and arms were
covered with ornaments, a tiara of diamonds crowned her brow, from which
the hair was widely parted, giving her face an unwomanly look; her voice
was loud and dauntless, her laugh rung unpleasantly upon the ear.

And yet this bold, meretricious woman evidently held sway over the young
and graceful aide-de-camp on whose arm she rested, looking into his eyes
with that audacious stare, from which some men,--you, for instance,--
would shrink.

Mrs Rashleigh was evidently rallying him about me.  Then Lady Amabel
came up to her.  What a contrast between the two,--Lady Amabel was fair,
gentle, feminine, and not what the world calls clever; but the pure mind
shone out of her soft eyes, and made her low voice musical.  She said
something civil to her guest, and took my father and myself away with
her to a little room, where a few choice friends were gathered round Sir

I saw no more of Clarence that night, but retired to my bed to dream of
fairy halls, and diamond palaces, and enchanted princes; and throughout
the dream there hung about me an odious female genius, whose wand turned
all I touched to ashes.  I awoke, terrified at the thunder she had
invoked upon _my_ head in her jealous anger.  I could not help laughing,
as, in the bad fairy's thunder, I recognised the parting salute of the
young foreign sailor-Prince.

I descended next morning, listless, unrested.  Sir Adrian, my father,
and Clarence Fairfax, were at the breakfast-table, and an aide-de-camp
came in at an opposite door, as I entered.  Lady Amabel was in her room.
I took my seat by my father.  The usual salutations passed; Clarence
recognised me by one of his brilliant smiles.

"Oh!  Miss Daveney," observed Sir Adrian, "you were the envy of all the
women last night."

The colour rushed into my face.

"Why so, sir?"  I asked.

"You monopolised the young Prince for the first dance.  Mrs
Vanderlacken expected to be taken out."

"And," remarked Captain W, the other aide-de-camp, "Mrs Rashleigh was
taken in; for she has established Fairfax as her _cavalier servant_, and
he hung back last night."

Involuntarily I looked at Clarence.

"Ah!" remarked Sir Adrian, who was a thorough man of the world, "she is
a little too old for you, Fairfax; she owns to three-and-thirty."

"I thought," said I, surprised into volunteering a remark, "that Mrs
Rashleigh's husband was alive."

They burst into a fit of laughter at my _naivete_.

I believe my father had every hope, from my innocence of character, that
my _sejour_ at Cape Town would do me no harm.  Lady Amabel was, as he
knew, one of the most amiable of human beings; it was you who remarked
that my father is one who has "made the most of human experiences, but
is unlearned in those of society;" thus, he had been accustomed to see
me associated with those young men who visited at our house whenever a
commando brought them near Annerley; but society gathered within the
home circle is widely different from that of a gay official residence,
especially where the host is a man of the world, and the hostess facile,
attractive, and unused to exercise her judgment.

My father returned home, and I was left especially under Lady Amabel's
care.  I spent my mornings with her.  At luncheon the arrangements were
made for riding or driving in the afternoon.

Clarence Fairfax trained a beautiful Arab of Sir Adrian's for me; it was
he who taught me to ride!

You have been at Cape Town.  Do you recollect that dusty road to
Newlands, and the delicious change from that space to those long
avenues,--those shady aisles?

It seems but yesterday that Clarence and I were sauntering there--he
with his hand upon my rein, laughing at my conscious dread of Lady
Amabel's displeasure at our lingering, while the General and herself
were far ahead, fading in the vista.


We spent the summer months at Newlands.  Do you remember one of those
shaded paths between the quince and pomegranate hedges? the tall
mountain rising like a giant between the sun and this quiet retreat.
Here Lady Amabel and I used to bring our work, and sketch-books; and
here Sir Adrian protested he always found Fairfax half an hour after the
horses were ordered for the business visit to the town.  The General
complained that his aide-de-camp was more idle than ever; and Lady
Amabel would shake her head at me, and then at Clarence, with a gentle
smile of deprecation at us all.

She had set her heart upon marrying me to Clarence Fairfax.  She did not
tell me so, but I discovered it, albeit her tact veiled her intentions
from all but one besides myself.  This was not Clarence; it was Mrs

The moment Lady Amabel had formed this "pretty plus," as she afterwards
called it, she did just what a woman of refined mind would do.  She took
care, lest the world should sully my fair name with the breath of
scandal.  Had she been a manoeuvrer, she could not have done more to
draw Clarence nearer to me.  She kept me more by her side than she had
done; she drew back when we sauntered in the ride; she made excuses to
separate us if we sat too long together; and, in short, often disturbed
Clarence's equanimity.  He was of a passionate temper, though not rough
in disposition; but I had never seen his disposition tried in
essentials.  I had yet to discover in him the foundation of
selfishness--vanity.  Ah! why am I anticipating?  Major Frankfort, I did
not anticipate or reason, while writing the first pages of the journal
to which I have to refer in addressing this hurried scrawl to you.

Not far from the house at Newlands is a beautiful grove.  You approach
it by a labyrinth of lemon glades and silver trees--you remember those
silver trees, always whispering on the scented air that pervades those
Arcadian woods.  The grove crowns a natural mound within a miniature
forest, a clear stream ripples below, and falls musically over the
rocks, making a natural cascade.  In the hottest days of December a soft
breeze murmurs through this grove, and stirs this shining stream.  Lady
Amabel would retire here with me in the blazing hours of noon, and
Clarence would follow us, with servants bearing baskets of fruit and the
light wines of Constantia.

Lady Amabel was always happy with us in this lovely spot.  Clarence and
I named it the Fountain of Nigeria; he had been there, and said it
resembled it.  I think I hear Lady Amabel's gentle laugh at my unsteady
steps in descending, assisted by her nephew, to cool the wine in the
stream, and gather lemon and pomegranate blossoms to decorate the sylvan
feast; and then my frightened air at being left below, unable to return
without his help, which he so loved to give!  I recollect one day a
large party "tracking us out," as Clarence said, and Lady Amabel's
vexation at our nook being invaded.  She was the _chaperone_ again, and
drew my arm under hers at once.

We could hear the voices of the party before they reached us.  I
recognised one, Mrs Rashleigh's; she was in advance of all, dressed
with extravagant taste, painted, veiled, and redolent of perfumes.

There was the old bitter tone in her mode of rallying "Fairfax," on
being "_Lady Amabel's aide-de-camp_;" and, having paid her compliments
with what I thought an impertinent air, she led off Clarence.  I could
see them strolling together between the tall pomegranate hedges.  Unlike
the conversations between Clarence and myself, it seemed that she was
the talker, and he the listener; for the sun falling where they stopped
for many minutes in the walk, I could distinctly perceive her gestures,
while he appeared silent and grave.

But, while remarking this curious proceeding, I heard a young Dutch lady
say to another, "Mrs Rashleigh and Captain Fairfax are quarrelling--did
you hear that she was enraged with him at the last ball?"

"Oh, yes; and they say he has not been at her house since the Governor
has been at Newlands--hush!"

They discovered I was near them, and were silent.

I heard remarks of the same nature from others of the party; but Lady
Amabel was engaged with a group of children round the fruit-table.  She
had released me from her kind _surveillance_ on seeing Mrs Rashleigh
lead off her nephew.  She had only designated Clarence as "her nephew"
since my advent at Government House.

I fear you may think these puerilities, dear Major Frankfort.  I will
turn over three or four leaves of this childish journal.


One day, Lady Amabel was slightly indisposed; I carried my work-frame to
her morning-room.  The General and all his staff had ridden to Cape Town
to meet some foreign official.  She begged me to take my walk in the
grounds, and I left her.

It was one of those dreamy days, such as we have lately had here.  The
birds and insects dropped their wings in the boughs.  I hastened through
the pathways, glowing with the sun, and sought the "Grove of Egeria."  I
went, singing to myself that pretty bit of Handel,

  "Where'er you walk, cool gales shall fan the glade;
  Trees where you sit shall crowd into a shade."

It was in harmony with the scene--all was calm--the glare of the heavens
could not penetrate there--and I sauntered leisurely on, enjoying the
solitude, and sat down beneath the branches of a noble plane-tree.
Suddenly I heard a sound of horses' feet; I thought it was some one
passing along the high road hidden by the plantations; the sound drew
nearer; I looked through a long green vista--it was Clarence Fairfax,
followed by his groom; he looked up as he approached.  I was standing in
a natural arch, with the light streaming down through an opening above.
I never thought of drawing back, as I ought to have done, for Lady
Amabel would have objected to our meeting in this retired spot.
Clarence saw me, waved his forage-cap, and, springing from his horse,
threw the reins to the groom.

He was in the grove in an instant, and at my feet, as I reclined,
trembling with emotion, under the plane-tree boughs.


Ah!  Major Frankfort, had you heard his gentle words, his expressions of
pleasure at meeting me alone--the contrasts he drew between other girls
and me; had you seen his smile, as he held my hand in his, and looked
upon me!--you would not have doubted that he loved me.

But he terrified me by desiring--ah! he was very imperative--that I
would say nothing to Lady Amabel of this meeting.

I would have retreated from the grove, but he seized me by the hand, and
entreated me to listen to his reasons for _delay_.

Woe is me!  I did listen to this once--_only this once_.

One might write volumes on such a text; but I was firm in not consenting
to another meeting.  I had been brought up in the few of doing wrong.

I trembled when I met Lady Amabel in the hall; she was tying on her
bonnet, and coming to meet me.

"Did you see Clarence?" she asked; "his horses have just gone round to
the stable."

Before I could reply, I heard the tread of a spurred and booted heel
upon the threshold of the hall-door; Lady Amabel took it for granted
Clarence had just dismounted, for she inquired if the General and
Captain Walton were following him.

No; Clarence had left them "up to their knees in foolscap" in a
government office.

I escaped to my room, shut the door, and began to think.


Those were two wretched hours, which I spent alone on the 18th of
January, 18--.  I pleaded, with truth, the lady's excuse for not driving
with Lady Amabel to meet Sir Adrian.  She took Clarence Fairfax with her
in the carriage.

It was dusk when they returned, and a britzska full of visitors followed
the General's equipage.  I was at the head of the stairs, when I heard
Mrs Rashleigh's voice; the servants were lighting the lamps.  I looked
over the banisters, she and two or three other ladies were coming up to
arrange their toilette before dinner.

Clarence stood at the foot of the stairs; he was laughing at some bold
sally of Mrs Rashleigh's, for he said, "for shame."

She had a brilliant bouquet in her hand; she tapped him on the cheek,
and he, catching the beautiful hand, drew off the glove, and kissed it.

I rushed back to my dim chamber.


All this was painfully incomprehensible to me.  I was totally ignorant
of the character of a male flirt--I set down Mrs Rashleigh as a
friend!--a dashing, impudent woman, but only a friend--thirty-two years
old, as she acknowledged, and every one said she was at least
thirty-five, to me at sixteen she appeared old; Clarence Fairfax was

I dare say that the intimacy of these two people would have been a
mystery to you; and yet, ere this, you may have learned how mischievous
is the influence which a bold, meretricious, experienced woman, whose
chief study has been to please the other sex, gains by perseverance over
a vain young man.

Clarence Fairfax loved me as well as he was capable of loving anything
besides himself; but he was enthralled by this daring being--he was
afraid of her.  Ah! you may doubt; but history tells us how vain and
indolent men have quailed before vicious women.  She even exercised a
sort of mysterious power over gentle Lady Amabel.  The latter had an
instinctive, feminine dread of Mrs Rashleigh's sarcastic laugh and
audacious stare.

As for Sir Adrian, she amused him.  She was a dashing rider, too; she
had given it up for some years, but returned to it on being tempted to
try Zara, my well-trained Arab.  God forgive me for my suspicions--it
acquired some dangerous tricks under her tutoring; she used to boast of
her talent for the _manege_, and scandalised the decorous Dutch ladies,
who, she said, were jealous of her, by riding with the General and his
staff about the square at a grand review.

Lady Amabel was beginning to penetrate the cause of my fits of
dejection, when unexpected news from the military posts startled both
her and myself.

The war-cry had rung from the mountains in Kafirland.  Vividly do I
remember the night on which this intelligence reached Cape Town.  The
whole of the authorities, with many members of their families, had
assembled, amid a crowd of pleasure-loving people, on board a fine
English frigate, to celebrate a national festival.  Gay groups were
scattered about the decks, awaiting the arrival of Sir Adrian and his
party.  I was happy that evening, and stepped on the deck, leaning on
Clarence's arm.  How kind, how tender had been his manner, as he almost
lifted me from the barge to the gangway of the noble ship!  As people
are said, in the last hours of existence, to review minutely every
incident of their lives, so could I once retrace the most trifling
details of this brilliant and enchanting fete.  As I recall it now, I
remember everything--the wreaths, the flags of all the great nations of
the world; the glittering arms interspersed among the laurels, and the
effect of the soft light from the battle-lanterns disposed along the
poop; innumerable lamps shedding their radiance through the draperies of
scarlet and amber, purple, green, and white, and blue; the crowds of
laughing dancers; the imposing array of military and naval uniforms and


Ah, fatal gift of beauty!


How long it was before I could cease to think of Clarence on that night,
his plumed hat in his hand!  How often did his gay laugh haunt me, like
a mockery, in the silence of the night!  His countenance beamed like an
angel's, as it leant down to mine, and his whispered accents touched my
very soul amid the din of the giddy throng.

Arms clattered on the deck, as the Governor, Sir Adrian, acknowledged
the salute from the guard of honour; the stirring air of "God save the
King" pealed from the band on the poop; the crowd parted right and left,
and the Admiral came forward to receive us.  Having paid his
compliments, Admiral B gave the order, in a good-humoured voice, to
"clear the decks for action"--dance-music floated from unseen musicians;
the officers selected their partners, and Clarence Fairfax led me to the
head of the quadrille.

Mrs Rashleigh placed herself opposite to us, with Captain Walton; she
was fanning herself, and was evidently much excited and agitated.  I
felt she was my evil genius for the night at least.

There was a fiendish light in her eye, but Clarence either did not or
_would_ not observe it, and he was in such spirits, that their influence
for a time was irresistible.

We were laughing merrily together as Mrs Rashleigh sailed past us in
the quadrille.

"Have you heard the news?" said she, addressing Clarence--she seldom
deigned to recognise me except by an insolent bow.

"News?--no."  And the young aide-de-camp led me back to my place.
"There's a man-of-war just coming in," said he; "she has been making
signals to the station on the hills; what news can she bring?"

The sun had long set, and the man-of-war dropped her anchor in silence;
it was soon whispered that she had brought news from the south-eastern
coast; and besides this, some excitement prevailed in consequence of her
having had a desperate affray with pirates off the coast of Madagascar,
and she had been looked for with much anxiety and interest, rumours of
the action having reached us some days before?

There was silence.  It was so profound, that we could distinguish the
plash of the oars.  The flag-lieutenant descended the gangway to meet
the commander of the sloop, and attending him to the deck, presented him
to Admiral D.  After the usual compliments had passed, Captain Leslie
requested to be introduced at once to the Governor, for whom he had
brought important despatches.

Mrs Rashleigh came up at once to Clarence Fairfax; but looking at _me_,
observed abruptly, "We must bid adieu to balls and fetes immediately.
The Governor and his suite will have to start for the frontier without
delay.  You will be charmed, I am sure, to take the field again, Major
Fairfax,"--here she addressed herself to him;--"for you must be tired of
lounging at pianos and superintending embroidery.  Don't faint, Miss
Daveney; you are as white as death, I vow.  He will come back again;
aides-de-camp never get shot, especially in Kafirland."

It is a fearful thing for a young heart to feel the germ of dislike
springing in its depths; and, alas!  I began to hate this woman.

Clarence looked round for some one to whose care he could commit me.  "I
must go," he said, "to my uncle at once."  I instinctively moved away
with him.  We left Mrs Rashleigh standing alone.  Every one was
crowding towards the poop to hear the news.  Lady Amabel had fainted.

The next few hours are vaguely sketched upon the tablets of my mind--day
was dawning, as we descended the carpeted steps of the gangway to depart
for the shore.  I tottered into the barge, Clarence Fairfax supported me
in his arms, and Lady Amabel was reclining on a seat, with Sir Adrian
attempting to comfort her.  Mrs Rashleigh was waiting for the Admiral's
cutter to convey her to land.  I could not reconcile her levity with the
idea of her regard for Clarence.  She was on the last step of the
gangway, and leaning down, she looked under the canopy of the barge:
"Pray, tell Lady Amabel," said she to me, with a mocking smile, "that
she must not alarm herself; it will be quite a question of _words_ on
the frontier, and we shall soon return.  I have made up my mind to
accompany Mr Rashleigh, who goes with the Governor.  We shall have a
charming party; good night."

Clarence muttered something between his teeth.  I laid my head on his
shoulder, and sobbed bitterly.  I forgot Lady Amabel and Sir Adrian;
indeed they were intent on their own regrets and responsibilities.
Clarence pressed me to his heart, and parting the curls from my brow,
kissed me for the first and last time.

Oh! that stir in the household in the early morning the dread
preparation for war--weapons lying on the gilded tables; holsters flung
across the banisters; servants hurrying hither and thither with saddlery
and accoutrements; the impatient chargers pawing in the stable-yard, as
if they steady "snuffed the battle afar off;" orderlies dashing to the
open doorways on foaming horses; and impatient voices issuing commands
to the startled underlings!

I rose early and went below; my heart sickened at these evidences of
immediate departure.  I returned to my sleeping apartment.  It loosed
into the beautiful view of the approach to the house from my
dressing-room.  I could hear the clatter of horses' feet in the stables,
and grooms and soldiers laughing, enjoying the prospect of the journey,
and perhaps war.  It was early day.  How lovely is nature at her
_reveille_ in this soft climate!  She was waking in the garden to the
matin songs of birds; she was lifting her veil on the mountain-top, and
unfurling her crimson banner in the sky to herald the coming of the sun.

But with me all was gloom.  That Clarence Fairfax loved me, in his
impetuous way, I _believed_,--alas!  I did not know; but the future was
a dark abyss.  He was going--going into danger.  All the horrible
histories I had been told of death at savage hands rose before me.  The
hour or two passed in sleep during the night had been haunted with
bloody spectres.  I saw that brow stained with gore, those eyes which
had beamed on me with merry light closed for ever.  Gracious heaven!  I
had dreamt of torture, agony, and shame, with my beloved Clarence in the
foreground of the picture.

Up and down, up and down those two rooms I paced, shivering on that
sunny morning with dread, dismay, and doubt.  Tears came--they poured in
torrents over my face.  I caught sight of it in the large mirror--it was
pitiable to behold.  I wept the more at the sight of my miserable and
altered countenance.  How sad is self-pity!  It is so long since I have
recalled these wretched moments of existence, that I can dwell upon them
now more as a vividly-remembered dream than as actual facts.  I give
you, dear friend, more details than you may like to have, but I think
you have a right to watch the phases through which my mind passed under
the influence of that absorbing earthly passion.

Yes, it was a mere earthly passion; but many wiser than I have been
bewildered and enchained by exceeding beauty, a dazzling smile, a
winning manner, a perfect form, and a reputation distinguished among men
for gallant and generous actions--generous, you know, in the worldly
acceptation of the term.

Besides, while with me, Clarence was wholly mine; if I might judge by
manner, hanging over my embroidery frame while Lady Amabel was writing;

Ah!  I have said enough of this.  He was to leave me now.  Would he die?
Would he return? or, if he did, would he return true to me, and _tell
me that he_ loved me?

You see, under all this strong current of love for him, there were
doubts.  I hardly recognised them; but they existed nevertheless.  I had
heard him laugh at "love-stricken damsels," left by men who had been
publicly engaged to them.  I recollected his boasting, of giving advice
to a young officer, who had gone "a great deal too far," to get sick
leave, and sail for England by the first ship.  The young man did not
take this advice; he stayed, married, and Clarence called him "a
fool."--Yes, these doubts rose to the surface of my mind, and then--

I heard his voice in the front of the house.  I lifted the blind of the
dressing-room window, and saw him: he looked harassed, he had been up
all night.  He was on horseback, and fully accoutred.  Oh! was he
departing?  I dropped the blind; next I heard the rattle of spurs and
sword; he had dismounted.

I wiped the tears from my eyes, and ran down to the garden by a back
staircase.  Clarence had some deer there in a little paddock.  I walked
mechanically along a grape-walk to the inclosure: the pretty things knew
me, for I visited them every day; they put their faces through the
railings, and licked my hands.  Nelly--he had named one after me--
trotted up and down impatiently; she was watching for her master.  I
suppose he thought that I should be with his favourites; for, ere long,
he came through the grape-walk.  I hastened to meet him--for agitation
and distress overcame my reserve--and we walked up and down the arcade

He entreated me not to forget him, said he should be wretched till he
returned, and a hundred tender things besides; but I could see that the
change from garrison life to active service was exciting to him: he had
no idea of temporising with savages, he said; he hoped Sir Adrian would
settle the question by "speaking to the Kafirs," as they said
themselves, "with guns."  Oh! it would only be a month's affair.  They
were to ride five hundred miles a week till they reached the seat of
war; and then, he added, with a gay air, "think how much faster we shall
ride back."

We met Sir Adrian in the garden; he had been looking for Clarence.  The
Governor was too full of public affairs and his own domestic anxiety to
say much to me.  A young girl of seventeen, in the full bloom of mirth
and beauty, was an agreeable object to him in a ball-room, but he was
wont to laugh, like Clarence, at "sorrow-stricken damsels;" he saw I had
been weeping, but could enter little into my misery; he uttered some
courteous expressions of regret at leaving me to the dulness of Cape
Town in the absence of officials; and with more show of feeling than I
had seen him exhibit, said, "You will take care of Lady Amabel, my dear
Miss Daveney; I am consoled in these hurried moments of departure at the
idea of leaving her with so sweet a companion."

"You must make breakfast for us this morning," added he, giving me his
arm, and leading me through the verandah to the room where the repast
was spread.

I sat down passively in the chair Sir Adrian placed for me, and did the
honours of the breakfast to the Governor, his staff, and two or three
civil functionaries.

Mr Rashleigh was there--obsequious, prosy, and judicial: he was alike
despised and disliked in private life; but he was "Sir Adrian's right
hand at Cape Town;" was _au fait_ at the working of the difficult
machinery of government from one end of the colony to the other; and, as
I afterwards heard, kept up a sort of civil treaty with Mrs Rashleigh,
who had never loved him, but who had a thorough sense of the advantages
she derived from her position as his wife, surrounded by the appliances,
and, what she considered, the state of official life.  She had ample
evidence against him to procure a divorce if she chose it; but such a
proceeding would have been the ruin of both.  She had the art to conceal
her most glaring errors from the world, and rumours were afloat of
stormy debates between this worldly, unprincipled pair: he remonstrating
on her extravagance, she defying him, by threatening him with an
_esclandre_ that would have deprived him of his high appointment.

You may believe that such rumours never reached Sir Adrian and Lady
Amabel.  It is "expedient" to overlook the most glaring errors of
powerful and useful men.  Probably, if any one had endeavoured to
enlighten Sir Adrian, the latter would have deprecated the information
as intrusive.  No; every one believed Mr and Mrs Rashleigh to be
unprincipled people; but they had a fine house, gave elegant
entertainments, were on the best terms with the first authorities
through every successive government, never worried others with their
quarrels; on the contrary, were perfectly civil to each other in public;
and, although the lady was said to be extravagant, she paid her debts.

I am telling you what, probably, you may have heard of these baneful
people; for it is not very long since circumstances came to light which
would never have been known had the Rashleighs continued prosperous; but
the day came when the world did not care what it believed against them,
and then their very errors were exaggerated--if that were possible--but
I must not be uncharitable.  How true that remark of Sir Thomas More--I
forget the exact words--you quoted them the other day--that "our faults
we engraven on marble--our virtues traced in the dust!"

The gentlemen hurried over their breakfast, and Sir Adrian retired with
Mr Rashleigh.  How I longed to rise and escape through the window into
the garden! but it was impracticable, and there I remained for upwards
of an hour, with a heart bursting with grief, while my face was
condemned to wear a calm appearance.  Doubtless, "Fairfax's flirtation
with little Miss Daveney" had been talked of at many of these men's
tables; but they were all too much interested in the important events
pending to give a thought to the shy, melancholy little figure, sitting
with her back to the light, and dispensing tea and coffee as fast as the
servants could hand round the silver salvers.

Oh! weak of heart and weak of mind that I was in those days!--But am I
the wiser for the past?

I trust so; I pray it may prove good for me that I have been afflicted,
and that, like the land desolated apparently by the dark waters of the
Nile, my soul may be purified and strengthened by the floods that have
gone over my soul, and that the receding tide may leave all refreshed,
hopeful, and serene.

Oh! the solitude of a great mansion which for weeks has been ringing
with sounds of dancers' feet, of laughter, and of song.  The large
vacant rooms, the tall mirrors, reflecting in all directions one
insignificant little object!  I went wandering about the apartments at
Government House the greater part of that morning.  Lady Amabel was in
bed, exhausted by a succession of fainting-fits.  The sudden
announcement of the evil tidings had scared her weak nerves, and Sir
Adrian's speedy departure had prostrated her.  They had scarcely been
sundered for twenty years, save in some short brilliant campaigns in
India.  No one seemed to dread actual danger to the General's person in
his present expedition; but I had heard something of the foe he was
about to encounter, and I knew what _might_ be.

Clarence Fairfax and I parted amid a bevy of officials.  We shook hands
like commonplace acquaintances.  The other members of the staff came
rattling in through the open doors.  All was hurry at the last; I ran up
to my dressing-room window, and watched the assemblage of people who had
come to make their parting bow to the popular Governor.

Horses, men, equipages were crowded together; Sir Adrian appeared--there
was a hearty shout--the grooms and orderlies brought up the chargers,
they were rowing and fretting with impatience.  My pretty Zara was led
by a dragoon, to be ridden only occasionally.  The General and staff
were soon in their saddles--the crowd gave way--Sir Adrian waved his
hat--the aides-de-camp bowed right and left, and the cavalcade proceeded
at a rapid pace down the street.  In ten minutes not a trace was left of
this gallant array.  The Rashleighs were to follow the Governor in the
afternoon.  They drove up to the door of Government House in their
travelling equipage, saddle and sumpter horses following.  Lady Amabel
could not see them--I would not; but from my dressing-room, where I sat
trying to draw, I could hear Mrs Rashleigh's imperative voice.  I
looked through the Venetian blinds for an instant, and turned away, sick
at heart.

It was evening before Lady Amabel and I met.  How vast the room looked
as we two sat at dinner, with a lamp shining on a table usually crowded
with guests.  Next day we departed for Newlands.

Sweet, gentle, kind Lady Amabel.  She had, as I have told you, begun to
penetrate the cause of my occasional dejection: occasional--for there
were times when I had no doubt of Clarence Fairfax's attachment.  But
she had her misgivings about Mrs Rashleigh, whom she spoke of once or
twice as a "dangerous woman;" and this was a strong expression for Lady
Amabel.  She now drew from me a part of "Love's sad history," and
expressed her regrets at Clarence's departure without opening his mind
to her.  In many ways she betrayed uneasiness at the idea of Mrs
Rashleigh's determination to follow the authorities to the frontier.

How solitary now to me were those long, green vistas at Newlands!  The
fountain of Egeria had its own peculiar melancholy charm, and many early
morning hours were passed in these bowers, consecrated in memory to love
and happiness.

Letters soon arrived, bringing us hopeful intelligence of peace with
Kafirland; but an immense press of business was likely to detain Sir
Adrian for some time.  He even talked of a journey to Natal, on the
northeastern coast; but, the fear of absolute and immediate danger
removed, visitors poured in to offer their congratulations, for Lady
Amabel had endeared herself to many.

The despatches contained a note for me.  I put it aside till I could
open it in solitude.  It was full of kindness, and I was comparatively

On the other hand, I was doomed to hear of fetes and balls got up to
celebrate Sir Adrian's arrival at Graham's Town, the capital of the
frontier.  Mrs Rashleigh was doing the honours of his house; her
husband and herself were its inmates, and I could detect many a lurking
smile on the lips of keen-witted, ill-natured visitors, as they listened
to the relation of these "facts and scraps" to Lady Amabel.

Some relations of Sir Adrian's happened at this time to take up their
abode at the Cape.  They called at Newlands, and introduced a young man,
who had come from England with them, and who brought letters of special
introduction to the Governor.

Lady Amabel was indisposed, and I received the guests; they remained to
luncheon.  Lady Amabel sent to request that they, with _Mr Lyle_, would
remain to dinner.  They could not accept the invitation, but Mr Lyle
did, and was left _tete-a-tete_ with me.

Handsome, original, and clever, he certainly beguiled away those hours
more agreeably than I had expected.  He spent the evening with Lady
Amabel and myself.  She liked him; she said he was "not _too_ clever for
us," in our unsettled, agitated state, for we were only _hoping_ for
peace; and she gave him a general invitation to our country residence,
to which she had also asked her relatives during their _sejour_ at the
Cape.  Unaccustomed to thoroughly "private life," Lady Amabel was happy
to throw her house open again to society.  We had no fetes or
dinner-parties; we were not gay, but we were cheerful, for every week
brought us more hopeful intelligence from the seat of war.  I heard less
of Mrs Rashleigh and Clarence Fairfax, and believed his excuses for
short and hurried notes to me.  The interchange of these notes was not
quite right; but, although kind, they contained no warm expressions of
regard.  Lady Amabel considered them harmless, because Clarence signed
himself a "Faithful Cousin."  I suppose she had not the heart to forbid
what she saw gave me so much pleasure.  He was, he said, "overwhelmed
with office work."

Mr Lyle had been sent from England to join a force quartered at Natal,
but with especial credentials to the Governor, to whom he enclosed them.
He shortly received instruction to remain at Cape Town for the present,
Sir Adrian anticipating an opportunity of naming him for a staff

He visited us almost daily.  Lady Amabel was charmed with his
attentions.  He was ever ready to bring us good news, and on the arrival
of despatches would gallop out to Newlands to be the first herald of the

I have told you that the first impression he made was agreeable--but as
for marriage!--

He treated me with a certain air of respect, which, I confess, pleased
me exceedingly.  He seemed more for my favour than Lady Amabel's.  There
was a peculiar kind of cleverness, too, in his conversation, which was
new--it was that of _educated ability_; but he had an original way of
discussing questions, and, through the respectful reserve he maintained
towards me, I could discover a lurking talent for sarcasm, not
ill-natured, but irresistibly amusing.  He entertained Lady Amabel very
much with his "quiet impertinences," as she called them, and "drew out"
her colonial visitors to an extent they never dreamt of.  I own that I
was a little mystified; it was some time before I could discover the
difference between jest and earnest in this character.

Lady Amabel, as I have told you, though elegant and charming, was an
idler; she missed Mr Lyle extremely, when some days passed without a
visit from him.  It never struck me, till enlightened by his own
subsequent revelations, that he withdrew himself from us occasionally in
order to be recalled--an absence of two or three days was sure to be
followed by a note of invitation to dine at Newlands--and then he came
with news, private and political.  His credentials had introduced him to
the principal families at Cape Town, and he was already well received
among them.

He had the talent of adapting himself to the habits and tastes of all
classes and both sexes; he could talk politics with officials, and was
often asked by Lady Amabel to assist her in entertaining such persons as
she had friendly reasons for inviting to Newlands.  She thought him a
little spoiled, for it did not always suit his mood to talk.  She did
not discover, nor did I at the time, her own error in spoiling him

He turned all kind Lady Amabel's foibles to his own account.

No two characters could be more opposite than Lyle's and Clarence
Fairfax's, and yet both had certain attributes in common; both were
brave and daring, but Clarence had less moral courage than Lyle--both
loved to conquer, but the one wanted perseverance, and would yield to
passion while success was doubtful.  I could recall many circumstances
which would explain these contrasts in the two characters.  Clarence
Fairfax, in his resolution to conquer a horse, closed the contest by
shooting it dead in the face of his grooms.  Lyle seized the reins of
one of Sir Adrian's fiery steeds, and, mounting it when excited to fury,
fought with it resolutely, till it quailed beneath his hand, and then
galloped it for miles against its will, till it was thoroughly tamed.

People had seen these two men play billiards, and remarked the dashing
impetuosity of the one, and the cool, calculating game of the other; the
one winning by quiet determination.

Both Lyle and Fairfax sketched well; the first filled his portfolio with
wild scenes from storms at sea or battle-pieces, roughly done, but full
of spirit--there were also innumerable caricatures--so true as scarcely
to be caricatures; Clarence was a graceful artist.  Neither liked
reading, for reading's sake; but Clarence could quote many a passage
from Moore's and Byron's softest poems, while Lyle was more at home with
"Thalaba" or "Cain;" but liked better, he said, to shape his opinions
from his own observation than from books.



Rumour began, with bold and busy tongue, to talk more openly of
"scandalous reports" from the frontier concerning Mrs Rashleigh.  Lady
Amabel, always charitable, put them down to the account of a little
"natural bitterness" on the part of weak, jealous people, who might
depend on Mrs Rashleigh's influence for invitations to the official
parties; but I heard otherwise, and from no other than Mr Lyle.  So
far, he said, from people being desirous of the _entree_ at Sir Adrian's
official residence at Graham's Town, many persons objected to meet Mrs
Rashleigh, whose conduct with Fairfax had become notorious.  Lyle
mentioned Clarence as though he was utterly unconscious of my interest
in him, and added, that he knew him slightly--they had been at
Westminster together.  He did not tell me that Clarence and he had been
foes in one of those shocking stand-up fights so common in English
schools.  Lyle had conquered Clarence, and the latter did not resent the
issue of what was declared a fair fight; but the former never forgot
that, though victory was his, there were few to cheer _him_, while the
vanquished boy was surrounded by friends.

In short, with many tastes and talents in common, these two men were
totally different.

Clarence was accustomed to talk to me chiefly of himself.  I began to
think of this, as Lyle did homage to talents which he discovered I
possessed.  Still there were the doubts about jest and earnest.  Every
day I found out how difficult it was to understand the character of men.
Lyle became more marked in his attentions as the time drew near for Sir
Adrian's return; and I--I must confess that I was surprised at having
borne Clarence's absence with patience.

I had had my hours of sorrow and anxiety nevertheless.  The dread of a
war was dissipated soon after the Governor and his troops had left Cape
Town; but diplomatic matters detained them for three months.  During
that period I never left Lady Amabel; but Lyle made himself acquainted
with all the domestic history of Sir Adrian's proceedings, laughed at
the scandal about Mrs Rashleigh and Fairfax, but did not doubt it,--it
was too well authenticated; and when he discovered that my countenance
was clouded with dismay, affected bitter regret at having wounded my
feelings; but smiled incredulously at the idea of my entertaining a
serious passion for that young _roue_.

He did not dwell on this.  He knew that in a disposition like mine love
reigned triumphant over pride.

Woe is me!  I knew so too.

I have tried to detail some of the characteristics of this
deeply-designing man; but you would rather have them passed over, and I
shrink from the recital.  He was determined on retrieving a tottering
reputation by an alliance with any one whose friends or fortune might
arrest the progress of ruin and disgrace; I was the victim he singled
out.  My thoughts were far apart from his designs.

I was like a city besieged, with the enemy smiling before me in friendly
array, watching to stalk into the gates, awaiting the arrival of a
faithless ally.


Lady Amabel and I were at Newlands, expecting tidings from the frontier,
and prepared to return to Cape Town to receive Sir Adrian.  I was
awakened early one morning by the distant sound of guns--it was a
salute--it must be the Governor and his suite; they were expected to
return by sea.  I threw on my dressing-gown, and ran to Lady Amabel's

I met her in the passage; she was all joy.  I trembled with agitation,
pleasure, and dread.

The carriage drove round within half an hour, and we hastened into Cape
Town.  The bells were ringing, the ships in the harbour were decorated
with flags.  Crowds lined the streets; the Governor had landed, and was
detained on the shore by a congratulatory deputation.  We were received
by the throng with loud hurrahs.  Peace had been proclaimed, and
treaties established, which people believed would be satisfactory.
Triumphal arches had been raised within a few hours.  On we dashed.  We
reached Government House just as the guard of honour passed us after
receiving Sir Adrian.  Every one looked joyous; the mansion resounded
again with cheerful voices.

"Here they come!  Here they come!"  Carriage-wheels approached.  Lady
Amabel and I ran into the hall.  She threw herself upon her husband's
breast.  Captain Walton and the military secretary advanced to shake
hands with me.  They were laughing--quite happy to have escaped the
toils of an inglorious warfare.  I could not speak.

Lady Amabel greeted them, and looking round, said, "But where is my
nephew?  Where is Clarence Fairfax?"

And they both answered with another laugh, which Captain Walton checked
suddenly, as he caught a glimpse of my frightened face.  "Oh! he is
quite safe, and very--happy," said the secretary.  "Well," said Captain
Walton; "he is coming back overland with the Rashleighs."

"Yes," observed Sir Adrian, in a tone, partly of sarcasm and partly of
displeasure; "and he had much better have returned with us.  I am by no
means satisfied with this arrangement of _Mrs Rashleigh's_."

I was most bitterly disappointed.

Shame to me, I had nearly forgotten to ask after the welfare of my
family.  I addressed some agitated questions to Captain Walton, who told
me all were well.

He had always been kind in his manner to me, and could readily guess the
meaning of my melancholy face.  My arm trembled on his as we proceeded
to the breakfast-room together--that same room where Clarence Fairfax
and I had parted in a crowd.


I would fain pass over much that followed.  I received a letter from my
father.  He had heard somewhat of Clarence Fairfax's "conspicuous
attentions to me."  He feared Lady Amabel had been "too indulgent."
Fairfax was the very person to "charm a young girl's senses," but he
hoped they were not overcome by a fine form and a bewitching manner.  My
dear father thought too well of me to suppose that I was enthralled by
this lively, dashing, handsome young aide-de-camp, who was, to say
truth, at the feet of a lady whose reputation had suffered from her
carelessness.  Every one indeed spoke of Fairfax as a male coquette.

You see, dear friend, my father would not assume that I was "seriously
enthralled;" he was not with me to judge for himself.  You shall read
his letter some day.  You will see that though he tried to treat this
matter lightly, it weighed upon his mind; he was bent on having me home
again.  "My darling," he says, at the close of this letter, "write to me
at once; you have never mentioned this affair, which others speak of so
carelessly, and your silence makes me anxious.  In my anxiety I asked
your sister if you alluded to Captain Fairfax in your communications
with her, but she tells me no.  My love, I long to have you with me
again.  Captain Walton admitted to me that you were looking ill.  He is
most kind, and enters into my anxieties.  He was unwilling, I could see,
to commit Fairfax.  In a word, dearest Eleanor, he has more respect for
Fairfax than that infatuated young man has for himself..."

Then followed directions for my return, under the care of friends about
to leave Cape Town for the eastward settlements.  They delayed their
departure, and I was detained, to Lady Amabel's satisfaction, for she
had become attached to me.  But, albeit firm in her attachments, she was
a person, as you may have discovered, ever open to fresh impressions.
She was as unsuspicious of evil as I was.

Mr Lyle had made his way, and stood in high favour when Sir Adrian

He was presented, and joined the circle at dinner that day; he took his
station at my side--I was sadly abstracted--he was in his most agreeable
vein, and drew me from myself, as usual.

I know, dear friend, you will wonder that the letter I received from
home was from _my father_.  I had always belonged more to him than my
mother.  Marion, you know, was the favourite in her babyhood; and it was
my fault, perhaps, as well as my misfortune, that I was always reserved
to my mother.  I well recollect her once expressing impatience at that
reserve; but I never could shake it off; it exists, as you know, to this
day.  A sensitive child, once repelled, seldom makes another advance,
and I have told you that I entered the world just as the best-beloved
one was fading from it.  My mother had less thought naturally for me
than him.  I turned to my father--his arms were open, and I rested

You have been a member of our family circle for some weeks now;
otherwise, how could I bring myself to cast a shade of reproach on my
mother, for whom you have so high a respect?  Ah! _you_ will not set it
down to wrong account.


You see I linger in my wretched history.

I look again into my journal. 16th March.  "Clarence has returned; at
times dejected; at times excited; he is totally unlike his former self.
We are at Newlands again.  All these scenes and objects associated with
happier hours!  They bring but bitterness to me.  I never approach the
fountain of Egeria...  When I hear the sound of horses' feet in those
long avenues, I fly--I am ill--I cannot rest--and oh, this crowd! how it
oppresses me!  How I long for a friend to whom I could impart my sorrow.
Oh, for advice!--Dear father! would that I were at home and by thy
side.  Mother, you would take your stricken daughter to your arms.
Though weak and ill, how strong within me is the power of suffering..."


You say, Major Frankfort, that you love me; I believe you; you will love
me ever, for you will ever pity me; and so, knowing what your heart will
feel on reading this, I will not _shed_ all my miserable thoughts of
this period upon paper.

All this time Lyle was intent upon his purpose.  He _felt_ my fate was
in his hands.

He took up a new position.

I was sitting one morning in Lady Amabel's boudoir.  A servant ushered
in Mr Lyle.  He started back; "It was Lady Amabel he came to see," he

I begged him to be seated, and rose to go for her.

He detained me gently.

How specious he was--how blind was I!  He had "been studying me for
weeks;" from the first moment we met, he "had been deeply interested in
me.  He had perceived the shade that an early sorrow had cast round me,
and had come to ask Lady Amabel if there was no hope for _him_; he would
not press the question on me now, it would be unkind."

I believed that he felt for me from his soul; that he _would_ have
"given worlds for a _look_ which would bid him not quite despair; but
this was not the time to assail me.  He knew I had pride; it was blinded
now, but the mist would clear away, the scales would fall from my eyes.
I should do him justice; he grieved that the world should have dared to
tamper with my name--."  He quite frightened me as he said this.  I was
oppressed with a sense of bitterness and wrong, against which I was
powerless; but here was one who seemed disposed to do me justice.  I
wished to do right.  Lady Amabel would have been all kindness had I
unburdened my full heart to her, but she would not have understood me;
she would have proposed a ride or a drive, or a fete, or might have sent
for Clarence, to scold him.  Ah me!  I had not a friend at hand who
could give me good advice; and here sat this clever experienced,
silver-tongued man, offering me his sympathy, and teaching me to believe
he was the only one near me who could feel for me--who had, in fact, any
real regard for me; and this regard was offered so humbly that I had not
a word to say against the expression of it.  On the one hand was
Clarence Fairfax, reckless of my affection, ignoring it indeed, and, as
Lyle remarked, with indignation he protested he could not suppress,
"insulting me publicly, by doing homage before my face to a shameless
woman, whose triumph was the greater in that she had drawn this
infatuated young man from one so lovely and pure-hearted as myself."

My tears rained down upon the work-table on which he leaned,
contemplating me with an expression of compassion new to me, yet not

I began to think I had found a friend.

More company on that evening!  I longed to return to the quiet of home;
but unavoidable delays kept me back.  We were to leave Newlands for Cape
Town next day.  An irresistible impulse seized me--I stole out at dusk,
to take a last look at the Grove.  I walked swiftly through the avenues,
ascended the mound, and went to our old accustomed seat under the

The darkness and the silence that prevailed were in accordance with the
gloom that hung over my soul.

At last I bade adieu for ever to this spot, so painfully dear to me.  I
descended to the avenue.  A tall figure approached me--it was Lyle's--"I
thought," said he, "that I should find you here; but be not alarmed, I
shall not return with you.  I recognised your figure leaving the house,
and came to prepare you for meeting with Mrs Rashleigh to-night; she is
to be among the guests.  Lady Amabel's position with regard to this
woman is most difficult--but a crisis is at hand; Fairfax is completely
in her toils--an _esclandre_ must take place soon.  I beseech you do not
add to this bad woman's triumph to-night by that heart-broken demeanour
which you have lately worn.  Ah!  Miss Daveney, I shall look for your
_entree_ with an anxious eye and beating heart.  Pardon my presumption
in thus intruding on you, but my interest in your happiness must be my

He took my hand in his, but dropped it immediately, with a sigh; and,
lifting his hat, disappeared in an avenue.

I went to Lady Amabel's dressing-room.  I had not the courage to enter
the saloons alone.  I need not have been afraid.  Clarence was not there
when I joined the circle; but I felt as if all the guests were looking
at me.  I condemned myself for the next few hours to wear "That falsest
of false things, a mask of smiles."


Lyle's eye met mine--it seemed to haunt me.


It was an _alfresco_ fete.  The heat of the season was over, but the
nights were soft and mild.  One of the long arcades was enclosed, and
lit with variegated lamps; a brilliant moon illuminated the lime-groves;
every arrangement was made to conduce to the splendour and pleasure of
the scene.

I could not stand up to dance.  My knees trembled, my teeth chattered,
and I felt my lips turn pale as Clarence Fairfax drew near with Mrs
Rashleigh.  I could not look at her; she was laughing and talking in her
usual bold strain, and answering for Clarence questions that were
addressed to himself.  He saw me not, though he cast himself beside me
on the couch--his sash streamed over my dress, his sword rested against
my hand, his spur touched my foot.  I withdrew it quickly, and moved
aside; he begged my pardon for incommoding me.  I turned to him to bow,
and the crimson tide flushed that fine face.  He started up nervously.
Mrs Rashleigh rose, too, took his arm, and led him off.  She named me
to him in my hearing.  I heard him say, "Hush!  Anna, for mercy's sake;
don't remind me of my misdeed."

"Anna!"--they were indeed on very familiar terms.

She was robed imperially that evening, and looked wonderfully youthful.
Whispers passed from lip to lip, as she and Clarence passed up the
apartment, and went out into the lime-grove.  Others were following
them.  I sat, trying to talk to Lyle, and smiling vacantly at the polite
recognitions of some of the guests.

Lady Amabel came up to me.  "My dear child," said she, "you look quite
ill--come into the air.  Mr Lyle, give Miss Daveney your arm."

But I begged to withdraw for a little while, and Lady Amabel excused me.

The library was the only room unoccupied on this festal night.  A single
lamp stood on the table.  The windows of this room opened to that dark
walk overshadowed by the mountain.  Here there were no illuminations--no
crowd of dancers.  I extinguished the lamp, and sat down by the open

Two figures were walking slowly up and down the avenue.  They stepped a
few paces beyond the shadow of the mountain, into the moonlit path.  It
was Mrs Rashleigh and Clarence Fairfax.  She was talking vehemently; he
was entreating her to be calm.

I sat, transfixed; had a voice from the grave summoned me, I could not
have obeyed.

She was reproaching him for some imagined neglect.  He told her that she
fancied it.  Now her tones were those of passion, vehement and
imperious; he implored her, for her own sake, to restrain her wrath.

It is impossible to relate to you all I saw and heard, as, statue-like,
I leaned against the window--bitter imprecations were heaped on my own
head.  Clarence would have burst from her at this, but she cast herself
upon his bosom, and clung there, pouring forth the most passionate
expressions of love and regret.  "Would he desert her?  She should die!
She only lived in his presence.  He saw her gay and brilliant in
society--Oh! if he knew the dark hours she passed without him."

They moved slowly, close by the window; she was talking to him, with her
head resting on his shoulder.  She was speaking of her husband--
complaining of him--for Clarence uttered his name in an angry tone, and
then whispering, "My poor Anna! and you suffered this for me!" folded
her in his arms, and embraced her wildly.

They were within a yard of me, and I dared not move.  Icy cold were my
hands, clasped together; my eyeballs burned and throbbed, but no tears
came to their relief.  I seemed to realise the sensation that Niobe must
have felt on being turned to stone.

They leaned against the window--some one approached--they started, and
were moving on, when the angry voice of the outraged Mr Rashleigh
arrested the steps of the guilty pair.  The wretched woman screamed
aloud, and clung to Clarence, who, on Mr Rashleigh raising his hand to
strike him, received a blow on the arm he had lifted to ward it.

It was Lyle who had thus brought about this terrible _esclandre_, though
of this no one then was aware.  It was he who, as the crowd moved to a
refreshment tent, had put a slip of paper into Mr Rashleigh's hands,
warning him of his wife's delinquency, and the scorn in which he was
held for his contemptible indifference to her shamelessness.  He was
informed of her whereabouts at that instant.

Mr Rashleigh opened this document in the sight of many persons; its
tone of contempt galled him to the quick, and, forgetting all
consequences but the desire of revenge, he rushed at once to the scene
of his disgrace.


I fainted--some one lifted me from the floor.  It was Lyle--he carried
me into Lady Amabel's boudoir; she was there, walking nervously up and
down.  She received me with tears.  Lyle withdrew.  I felt grateful for
his sympathy, and the kind and delicate manner in which he had expressed



I saw Clarence Fairfax but once again.

The exposure which had taken place separated the Rashleighs for ever.
Challenges were interchanged between the gentlemen at the same hour.

The selfish woman who had thus brought disgrace on her husband, herself,
and the man she had infatuated by her art, lost all prudence in her
ungovernable state of excitement, and wrote a passionate appeal, from
her retirement near Newlands, entreating Captain Fairfax to see her once
again.  But Sir Adrian had placed his nephew under arrest.  Mrs
Rashleigh had the hardihood to endeavour to force her way into his
quarters by night; she was repelled from the door at the point of the
bayonet, the sentry having due orders to prevent the ingress of such a
visitor.  In vain she implored, in vain she stormed.

Captain Walton kept watch upon his brother aide-de-camp within, and
would not let him yield to the temptress.

Clarence resigned his appointment on his uncle's staff, and was ordered
to England forthwith.

Lady Amabel and I were in the library with Sir Adrian when his nephew
entered to take his leave.  It was before official hours, and such a
meeting was wholly unexpected on our part, nor perhaps had he
anticipated it.

Lady Amabel could not pass him by; her heart was full--her eyes swimming
with tears as he caught her hand.

"Dear aunt," said he, "_you_ will wish me well."

"Sit down, Amabel; sit down, Miss Daveney," said Sir Adrian.

"Yes, Clarence, they will both wish you well; I do, from my soul; I take
some blame to myself in this wretched business; but what is done cannot
be undone.  You have been the victim of that wretched, worthless being,
whom it would be an insult to name here.  Sit down, my lad, amongst us
again; we are all deucedly sorry to part with you; when we meet again,
you will be all the wiser for this business, I hope.  I hardly like to
let you go, but I suppose I must.  I shall not get on at all well
without you, my dear boy.  Confound that devil.

"Well, Amabel, it is enough to make any one swear; for, now that she is
fairly down, every one comes forward to say that she ought to have been
banished from society long ago.  I don't pity her one bit," continued
the General, rising and pacing the chamber; "but I am heartily vexed to
think she has seduced my sister's son, and in this affair _she_ is the
seducer, not Clarence."

"Oh! sir, I deserve more reproaches than you dream of," replied his
nephew.  "I cannot stay; I unworthy of any kindness or consideration.
Aunt, God bless you."

Lady Amabel was sobbing audibly.

I stood mute and tearless.

Something like "Good-bye" was whispered.  I looked up in that face, once
so ingenuous, so happy.  The laughing eyes were clouded with melancholy;
the saucy curled lip pale and compressed; the tall, graceful form
trembling with emotion.  Not one word could I utter.  My fingers closed
upon his shaking hand for an instant.  I withdrew them.  He had pressed
them so tightly in his nervous agony, that the indentation of a little
ring I wore drew blood.

"Poor child! poor child!" said Sir Adrian, very kindly--a sudden thought
about me causing him to stop and look fixedly at my sad countenance; "I
pity you, too, from my heart.  Amabel, this has been a sad business; it
has moved me more than I like to own."

I looked up--Clarence Fairfax was gone!

The vacant appointment of aide-de-camp was offered to Mr Lyle; I
applauded his delicacy when he told me he could not accept it under the
circumstance of Clarence's disgrace.

I rather quailed, though, at that term, "disgrace," applied to "poor
Clarence," as Lady Amabel began to designate him as soon as he departed.

Another staff appointment fell vacant in the frontier districts.  Lyle
applied for and obtained it.

He was happy, he said, in the prospect of being associated with me
hereafter, but did not press his suit.

It was not long before I followed him to the upper districts of South

Lady Amabel and I parted with sorrow; she had been ever kind to me; her
very errors were those of a tender-hearted, loving woman, and what would
it have booted me had she been strong-minded and resolute?  Clarence
Fairfax's nature was fickle--I will add no more.

My journey homeward was a melancholy one; my friends were kind--you know
them--Mrs and Miss C--; but I retired within myself, and they had the
good taste not to weary me with their sympathy.

On the last day of our journey we halted on the banks of a rapid river;
night fell, and we were about to close the wagons and seek repose, when
we heard voices on the opposite bank.  Your little bushman May was one
of our drivers--he had been in our service before, and came to tell me
that he recognised my father's voice.  I ran from my tent to the brink
of the river; it was dark, and the rushing of the waters among the
stones in the ford prevented my distinguishing any other sound; at last
I heard my father nailing us--he was in the middle of the stream--he
came nearer--some one accompanied him--two horsemen rode up the bank--my
father and--Lyle!


I had not been two days at home before I discovered that Lyle had
established himself in my mother's favour--he was quite a person
calculated to make a decided impression on her imagination--for,
sensible, well-principled, and firm-minded, as she is, you know she is
highly excitable and imaginative.  The late _emeute_ in Kafirland had
brought my father from Annerley to B--, a small town largely garrisoned.
Here Lyle held his appointment--here my father was now acting in a high
official capacity in the absence of one of the authorities; both were
thus brought together professionally.  Lyle necessarily had the _entree_
of our house.

Original in design, prompt to act, and of a determined spirit, Lyle was
a most useful coadjutor to my father.  His quickness of perception
taught him at once all the assailable points, so to speak, in my
mother's character, appealing to her judgment frequently in Government
matters; and, although doing this apparently in jest, constantly abiding
by her propositions.  It was fortunate that her experience in the colony
was such as to make her advice really available, and this artful man
turned it to full account publicly and privately.  He knew well how to
please my father, who had not at first been inclined towards him as my
mother was; whenever the former gave him credit for good policy, he
would refer him to Mrs Daveney as the suggester of the plan; my mother
would disclaim the suggestion, but would confess that Lyle had appealed
to her ere he began to work it.

At a time when this beautiful colony was on the verge of ruin from the
commotions subsisting between the various races of inhabitants, you may
well believe that men of comprehensive mind and dauntless courage were
invaluable to the Government.  My father and Lyle, both personally known
to Sir Adrian, were constantly selected by him for the most difficult
and dangerous services; and it is due to the latter to admit, that he
was ever ready for the severer duties of the field, entreating my father
to consider how much more valuable was the life of the one than the

The soldiers adored him; in his capacity as a staff-officer he was not
expected to volunteer heading large bodies of the settlers, accompanying
commandos into Kafirland; but he did so with a spirit and efficiency
that materially assisted the Government agents in their measures with
the chiefs.  He shared the fatigues and privations of those he
commanded, he was ever first in a foray, and he was such an excellent
sportsman, that his return with a foraging party was always welcomed by
the hungry wanderers in the bush.

Were this man still living, dear friend, I could not dwell on these
details; but, assured of his death, I have been able to review much of
my past life more calmly than I could ever suppose would be possible.

This clever, handsome, resolute man had, as I afterwards found,
resolved, in the first period of our acquaintance, on making me his
wife--you will wonder why,--since there was little love on his part, and
my poor heart was bleeding from a sense of wrong at the hands of one I
had loved.  But I began to be ashamed of my girlish passion, verily not
without reason.

Nevertheless, youth receives such impressions readily, fake though they
be, and afterwards the heart shudders at the bare remembrance of what it
suffered in its bewilderment of a first passion; the experience taught
by such a sorrow is very bitter, and can never be forgotten.

I cannot bear to detail the artful schemes by which this man persuaded
my father at first to listen to his proposals for me; but, on my
assurance that I loved him not, Lyle was forbidden to press his suit
farther, at any rate for a time.

Thus he was not dismissed finally; he declared himself grievously
mortified, and, obtaining leave of absence during a lull in the
political storms that had threatened to desolate the country, departed
on a sporting expedition.

He returned in three months laden with the spoils of the chase, and
designated the White _Somtsen_, or, in the Kafir language, a mighty

He again renewed his suit.

Woe is me!  I could see that my father and my mother were not agreed in
this matter; the latter openly reproached me for my weakness in adhering
to my first love--she appealed to my pride.

Alas, alas! my friend, I own that I had been wanting in that--I admitted
my error, and deplored it.

She spoke of the family reputation being sullied by the union of my name
with that of Clarence Fairfax and the miserable Mrs Rashleigh.

I could not see it in the light she did, but I wept sorely when she
alluded to the mortification it had caused her _and my father_; she
emphasised the last two words of this sentence.

She dwelt on a difference of opinion now existing between her and my
father--"it might estrange them seriously."

I trembled, and began to waver in my resolution.

She said that the _esclandre_ had been injurious to my sister's
prospects in life.

I feared that I had been more to blame than I had believed.

I said "the world was very hard."

"Very," replied my mother--"so hard, that your imprudence has been
visited on all of us.  I have been blamed for launching you into the
gaieties of life at Cape Town, with all its incidental temptations.
Marion is pointed out as the sister of `that flirt, Miss Daveney, Mrs
Rashleigh's rival;' and your father reproaches himself for not remaining
with you when he discovered that Lady Amabel Fairfax had lost rather
than gained in strength of character--"

I could have said, "Ah! mother, how do you learn what the world says of
us?--who dares tell _you_ these things?"  I was not aware then that
Lyle, in his own specious, deprecatory way, was her informant, directly
or indirectly--"grieving to set such unpleasant truths before her, but
deeming it his duty to do so."

You will wonder that a clever woman like my mother did not see through
this systematic deceit; but she was bitterly annoyed at the issue of
Clarence Fairfax's attentions to me; she fancied herself pointed at by
the finger of pity--you know how sensitive she is on this point--and she
was impatient at my belief that Clarence had loved me.  "Had he ever
told me so seriously?  Was I blind enough to believe him in earnest?  He
had never loved me; his regard, such as it was, was contemptible."

More, much more, she said--I admitted that Clarence had never been my
acknowledged lover; but--

"Are there no looks, mute, but most eloquent?"

I confessed that he was fickle--"And vain?"--"Yes."  "And selfish, and
heartless, and unprincipled!"

I could not answer these allegations--I dared not say he had been the
victim of a vicious woman, years older than himself, and deeply versed
in intrigue.  I had once ventured to speak in this strain, and had drawn
forth words of scorn and anger, which my mother afterwards repented
using, but which I ever dreaded to evoke again.

But the climax of Lyle's art lay in an incident I shall record.

My father and I were riding one day, sauntering through a kloof, when we
were overtaken by him.  At the end of this kloof was a branch of a rapid
stream.  Here it was deep and dangerous; but my horse and I knew the
ford well--Lyle rode a little behind me.  In the middle of the stream my
horse began to plunge among the stones--my father was a few yards in
advance; he could not easily turn to my aid, owing to the strength of
the current--I was alarmed, yet tried to restrain the animal, but he
plunged the more; Lyle, with his powerful arm, drew me from my saddle,
and bore me before him safely across the drift--my horse was swept
down--it is the same old grey we pet sometimes; he was found two days
after, hanging to a branch by his bridle, having found a footing on the

Can you conceive a man afterwards boasting of this trick?  It was Lyle
who had made the animal plunge that he might rescue me, and thus place
me under a supposed obligation for my life!


My mother insisted on my going into society--she was doubtless right;
but you know what society consists of in a great garrison,--a few
ladies, crowds of gentlemen, and some women, whose friendship is far
from desirable; I believe some of the latter were unsparing in their
scandalous chronicles of Cape Town, when Mrs Rashleigh and I were both
made subjects of remark.  The girl of seventeen, the daughter of a
representative of authority, and of a mother whose abilities and lofty
aspirations rendered her an object of fear and dislike with many, was
not likely to be dealt with gently by these idle, frivolous, uneducated
women; the story of Miss Daveney's "_liaison_" with Captain Fairfax lost
nothing in such hands; and although most of our earliest friends stood
by us through good report and evil report, these were not many, and it
was evident that the faith of some was shaken.  Lyle took care that my
father and mother should see this--he alluded to it with indignation,
and avowed himself more devoted than ever--

"My _mither_ urged me sair, my _father_ could na speak, But he looked in
my face--"

I asked for time--I sincerely believed that I had banished Clarence from
my heart, if not from my mind.  I accustomed myself to receive Lyle's
attentions; they were offered, though not offensively, in the sight of
other men, and in an evil hour for all, I yielded.

I admired Lyle--I admired his courage, his abilities, his apparently
independent spirit, his resolution; I was perpetually told that his
perseverance deserved reward.

I married him, believing that I felt a regard and admiration for him,
which would ripen into affection.  How much it has already cost me to
set down these details, these reasons, or excuses--if you think the last
word the truest--for consenting to a union which has blighted so many
years of my young life!


I have him before me now.  I hear the solemn adjuration of the minister
of God, as we stood before the altar of the little church of B--: "I
require and charge you both, as ye will answer at the dreadful day of
judgment when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if
either of you know any impediment, why ye may not be lawfully joined
together in Matrimony, ye do now confess it."  I looked up at the tall,
powerful man standing beside me.  Never shall I forget his countenance--
his features were suffused with a leaden hue, which faded to a deadly
pallor, his lips were colourless, and he leaned against the altar-rails
for support; but he recovered himself by a strong effort, and repeated
the responses distinctly, though in a low time, and with his eyes fixed
on the ground.

We retired for a time to a beautiful village near the sea.  I soon
noticed that my husband was moody, silent, but not unkind.  I tried to
please him; I fancied that I must be a dull companion for one so clever.

We had been married about two months, when I discovered that my husband
was expecting letters from England; he was evidently anxious about
these.  And why?  He had described himself to my family as being without
a single relation on earth, except the uncle from whom he had brought
recommendatory letters; he had made a fair settlement on me, and my
father had placed before him a due account of his finances and my
prospects.  My father was then a wealthy landholder in Albany; but,
unfortunately, he had placed the greater part of his savings in one of
those great banking-houses in India, which failed so suddenly as to ruin

My family had returned to Annerley, and my husband and I had just taken
up our abode at B--, when the fatal news of my father's heavy loss
reached us.

I had already had some experience of Lyle's violence of temper on his
resuming his official duties: there are some men, you know, whose
tempers are more violent than hasty, who can curb their passions when
obliged to bend before a superior power, and whose wrath finds vent for
itself at home; but I was unprepared for the storm that burst on my
devoted head at the announcement by letter of our pecuniary misfortunes.

He accused my father of wilfully deceiving him; he bestowed the most
revolting epithets on my mother, and laughed bitterly at my having
believed he could love "such a pale-faced, forsaken, meek-spirited
little idiot for herself alone."

But you would not have me repeat all the degrading and terrible
imprecations that fell from his lips.

My first thought was of the pain this sad state of things would cause my
father and mother.

In the course of a few days my father, rode over to see us.  It was, at
first, Lyle's policy to appear on the best possible terms with me.  He
had no intention of openly disgracing himself, and it was also very
plain that he was in deep anxiety about news from England.

My father received letters from Sir Adrian.  Here is an extract from
one:--"What will you think, my dear Daveney, when I tell you that this
Lyle, whom we have received in our homes, proves to be nothing more than
a swindler?  I have discovered that, not only in England, but at the
Cape, he has persuaded various persons to back bills to a considerable
amount; he has not a sixpence beyond his commission, which he will be
obliged to sell immediately.  I have written him a letter on the
subject; and for your sake, my dear Daveney, I do hope the affair will
be managed as quietly as possible.  I inclose a few lines from Amabel,
who is deeply distressed for your daughter.  We have all been grievously
deceived; and I consider that the credentials he brought me from various
military friends should never have been accorded to this young man, who,
though professing to be a reformed character, was not to be depended
upon.  The person to whom he has been chiefly indebted for letters of
introduction granted them under peculiar circumstances, and in the hopes
that this handsome, plausible, clever vagabond would mend his ways: he
is young enough; but, I am sorry to say, I have proofs of his being
thoroughly depraved."

Sir Adrian did not know the worst.  The documents which Lyle had laid
before my father, previous to our marriage, were forgeries.

You will wonder, since there was clearly no regard for me from beginning
to end, why I was selected as a victim by this being, who, as you will
learn some day, _had_ been unfortunate.  It was from his lips I heard
the unwelcome truths: there was little time before him to obtain a sure
footing in South Africa in an honourable position, ere bills, endorsed
by men whom he had succeeded in duping, would become due.  Subtle of
purpose, he easily gained such information touching the young _protege_
of Lady Amabel Fairfax, as made him think it worth his while to lay
siege to me.  Lady Amabel was just the facile, guileless, unsuspecting
woman to whom it was easy to gain access, and this once accomplished, he
readily found favour with me--it would not have done to deliberate; and,
furthermore, I was the only girl, with whom he was intimately
associated, whose means were accredited.  My father was known to possess
a considerable sum of money, and a fine landed property.  Lyle contrived
to have a correspondence with my father touching settlements; the latter
little knew that every line he wrote was sent to England to reassure

He had a deep-laid scheme, too, relative to my young sister, had I
failed him.  Time, time, was all he wanted; and by sending home the
correspondence on my father's part, he succeeded in persuading some of
his dupes to renew the bills, offering high interest for this.

Will you believe it, when ruined in character and fortune, it was his
pleasure to lay bare these schemes before me?

For some time after he had abjured his military career, it was his
policy to keep up an outward show of kindness to me: he actually
succeeded in making some think he was an ill-used man; and when those
who were charitable enough to believe him more unfortunate than vicious
would invite us to their houses; he would insist on my going.  If I
remonstrated, heaven help me!  He is dead, and I forgive him all his
trespasses: were he living, I could not confess to any man that he has
sometimes taken me by the hair of my head, and swung me round the
apartment, till, terrified, dizzy, and blind, I have fainted.


We had a wicked servant too, a Malay woman, who hated me, and who was
readily persuaded into spreading a report that I was ill-tempered.

My poor father managed, in spite of difficulties, to make us an
allowance that would have been amply sufficient for our wants had my
husband been a reasonable being; but a man utterly devoid of principle,
and angrily deploring the ruin he has brought upon himself, is _not_ a
reasonable being.  My wretched partner for life grew frantic at last
with rage and disappointment when Sir Adrian Fairfax found it necessary
to denounce him as a swindler; for, some of the better class of
merchants, deceived by his plausibility, were disposed to trust him; and
he had the hardihood to expect that Sir Adrian, for the sake of my
family, would place him in a situation, with certain emoluments, at the
request of the most influential men connected with the commerce and the
diplomacy of the Cape Colony.


Much that I have last noted down has been drawn from communications
passing between my father, Sir Adrian, and some other gentlemen, who
were anxious, if possible, to save Lyle from utter ruin.

His reputation was irretrievably gone; but they would still have given
him, if they could, the means of existence.  Sir Adrian, however, could
not in honour permit this; and I was beginning to consider where we
should hide our heads, at any rate till after my infant's birth, when
one morning I discovered that the little money we had had in the house
had been taken from my desk.  My husband had departed.  Whither, it was
not easy to say.

We traced him into Kafirland.  I sought the shelter of my father's
house.  My mother opened her arms to receive me.  You see her sometimes
look reproachingly upon me.  She derives such unmitigated relief at the
idea of my release from bondage by the death of my miserable husband,
that she grows angry at times because I mourn the wasted years I have
passed, and have no heart to meet the future.

I had remained three months at Annerley, often in dread of my husband's
return, but beginning to hope that a letter which my father had
despatched to him, through a trader, would induce him to accede to a
legal separation.  Alas! it seemed to me that it only reminded him that
he held in his hands the power of tormenting me.


I was one evening walking up and down the trellised passage, pondering
mournfully on my future prospects, when the author of all my misery
appeared before me.  He was scarcely recognisable at first.  His
complexion was bronzed, his beard and whiskers, enormously grown, gave
him a ferocious appearance, and his costume was more like that of a
buccaneer than anything else.  He carried pistols in his belt, and on my
screaming as he seized my hand, he drew one of the weapons out, and, in
sheer recklessness, discharged it.  The ball entered the thatched roof;
the noise attracted my father from the vineyard.

The scene that ensued baffles description.  My father drew me towards
him.  Lyle held the pistol, with one barrel yet undischarged, close to
my head.  My father released me in dismay, and stood helpless, it had
been useless to attempt to thrust the weapon aside--"Advance a finger,
stir a foot," said Lyle, "and I fire.  She is my wife; you gave her to
me, and a precious bargain I have got.  I will keep her while it suits
me, and when I am inclined to go roving again, I will send her back.
Call _me_ swindler!--it was _you_ who took _me_ in with your promises.
Liar and scoundrel that you are, you had _no_ funds in India, but you
had a mind to palm off upon me what Fairfax had cast off!--and yet you
were not so keen in this matter as your wife.  Ah! start, if you will,
but keep your distance, and send some one for this frightened fool's
kit.  You are rightly served; I will take care that you shall pay me for
keeping this daughter of yours, that was to have so fair a fortune."

The servants, attracted by the noise, gathered round us.  My father
would fain have drawn Lyle away, to prevent so public an exposure.
Little May was in our service at that time--he had a _kierrie_ (stick),
and, springing up, struck the pistol out of my persecutor's hand.

It was impossible, however, to come to terms with him.  All that my
father could obtain from him was a Respite till a wagon could be
prepared for travelling, and some arrangement made for occupying a small
farm near B--.  It was not far from Mr Trail's mission station, and
within a mile or two of a little military outpost.

You were speaking of Mimosa Drift the other day.  You know the desert
solitude of that beautiful spot.  Ah! what terrible hours have I passed
among the alders overhanging that hoarsely-murmuring river!

For there I would retire to weep, sometimes; there I would hide myself
from my husband in his hours of wrath.

But these fits of insane rage became unendurable; and one night, after I
had been struck to the earth, I had the presence of mind to lie as if
insensible.  The single Bechuana servant we had, terrified at the scene
of violence she witnessed, rushed away in the darkness of the night to
the little fort, where, on the commanding officer being informed of what
was passing in our wretched home, he immediately set off with assistance
to the rescue.

But I had flown--Lyle was there, raging like a wild beast from room to
room; he was armed, too, and the officer was not sorry that the
threatening language and gestures of my husband were such as to justify
his taking him by force to the outpost.  Thinking it wise to avoid
public exposure, he released his prisoner next day.

The night was pitchy dark when I crawled to Mimosa Drift, and sat down
by the riverside to recover my scattered senses.  My feet were bare and
bleeding, a shawl, hastily snatched up, covered my night-dress, and my
hair streamed over my shoulders.  I had been dragged from my bed to look
for some ammunition which had been left out, and which I had
unfortunately put away in my ignorance of my husband's intentions to go
out shooting at dawn.  Tired, frightened, and confused, I could not
remember where I had put it for safety; discovering it at last, he found
that it had got damp from the rain dripping through the thatch, and I
paid the penalty of my thoughtlessness.

He left me, as I have stated, lying apparently insensible on the ground.
How I had strength to rise I know not, but I felt my way through the
house and garden.  Nettles and briars blistered my feet as I sped across
the plain.  The wind was howling between the hills; great masses of
cloud were floating like palls in the lead-coloured atmosphere above;
below all was gloom, except when bright forked tongues of lightning
descended before me, showing every stone, every insect, in my path; a
shower of light struck the earth, and spread into a sheet of flame, that
ran past me, and seemed to set the ground on fire.  My shawl was caught
by the blast--I was drawn back--I fancied it was my tormentor--I
shrieked aloud, and the tempest answered me from the hollows in the
mountains; large drops of rain began to fall heavily upon my face--the
thunder roared--I never thought of turning; on I sped, wild with fear.
The drift sheltered me from the strength of the blast for a minute; the
wolves and jackals were screaming to each other from their
hiding-places; the hyenas gibbered and mocked at me, with their sneering
laugh; the bats wheeled on the air whithersoever it drew them--their
cold wings swept at times across my burning cheek--the murmur of the
river increased to a tumult.  I dreaded being seized unawares, and,
springing into the stream, forded it, heaven knows how, in safety.

I must have lost my way, for, after wandering about for hours, I came at
dawn to the foot of one of those sudden elevations which almost baffle
human strength in ascending them.  The tempest had subsided, but the
rain shaded the heavens as with a veil.  I ascended the mound with much
toil, but could see nothing but bald rocks, and shrubs beaten by the
torrent.  I sat down upon a stone, shivering with cold and fear, and
wept as I had not done for months.

The clouds lifted at last, and showed me more distinctly my utter
loneliness.  God sent help.  I heard a sheep-bell tinkle, and guessed
rightly that I was not far from Mr Trail's mission station.  I followed
the welcome sound, and soon recognised the plentiful gardens sloping to
the road.  I crawled up the acclivity.  Day was banishing the Genius of
the Storm as I approached the gate.  The windows of the school-house
were open, and the servants of the household were assembled there in
prayer.  The "Amen" swelled like the murmur of an ocean wave; the voices
of the worshippers rose in the matin hymn, and, overcome with
exhaustion, and the transition from terror to peace, I fell insensible
at the threshold of the mission-house.



I recovered myself in the arms of kind Mrs Trail.  Oh! the repose of a
quiet darkened room after such a night!  My friend laid me on her bed,
and, giving me a sedative, left me to the rest I so much needed.

But fearful dreams pursued me, and I was awoke by angry voices beneath
my window.

Too weak to move, my sense of hearing was too acute to mistake one of
those voices; Lyle was demanding me from Mr Trail, the latter refused
to "deliver me up;" and my enraged husband, seeing, I suppose, that it
would be in vain to do battle in the mission-garden, where the herds had
gathered to defend their master, if need required, departed, threatening
and cursing as he went.

Mrs Trail came to me--I could only weep and moan in her arms; by night
I was so extremely ill, that an express was despatched for my father.

And in this hour of dire distress and perplexity my boy was born.  Truly
he was baptised in tears.  He was so weak and delicate, that we feared
he would die.  I leaned over him in jealous terror as Mr Trail bestowed
the Christian name of Francis upon him--I named him after my father.

But, like those flowers which unfold their loveliness amid the storms of
the desert, he flourished in spite of the evil influences surrounding

I was constantly persecuted by the desperate man to whom I was chained
by the law.  My fears were now for my boy; if I should lose him!  Ah!
what long, miserable watches have I kept by night over his little bed!

Although I knew that, by legal course, I could be torn from my home, I
yearned once more for my father's sheltering arms.  My mother learned,
too late, at what a cost I had obliged her, and came for me herself.

We were obliged to travel by night, and with an armed party; we well
knew that, as far as law went, Lyle was empowered to bear me off through
the desert; but my father was resolved to risk all to secure me from
wrong and insult, until he could persuade Lyle to agree to a legal

But, while this was pending, Lyle's pleasure was to sue my father from
time to time for "harbouring his wife."

At this time a rumour reached my father that Lyle had another wife
living, but we all shrunk from such additional exposure.  The
kind-hearted commandant of the military outpost, near Mimosa Drift, took
advantage of this rumour to threatens Lyle with an investigation; and
doubtless Sir Adrian would have released me from legal bondage pending
the necessary inquiries.  The issue would only have involved us in
deeper disgrace, for we have since ascertained that Lyle, by means of
false representations--forgery has been hinted at--had inveigled a girl,
with some money, into a mock marriage, and had deserted her, after
dissipating her property.

Be this as it may, we deemed it best to ignore the rumour; but it had
its effect on Lyle, who again retired into Kafirland.

My friends at Fort Wellington entreated me to visit them for a while,
and though my father and mother were unwilling that I should leave them,
and my very dread of the neighbourhood made me hesitate, I consented at
last, considering how much my father's constant anxiety at sight of me
weighed against his zeal in his official capacity.

Certainly there was a greater feeling of security for me in the little
fortress.  Sentinels at the gates, and these closed at night, I could go
to rest, with my boy on my arm, certain that, under Providence, no rude
hand could awaken me, and tear him from my bosom.  Long used to lonely
midnight vigils, I would start up sometimes frightened from my sleep by
what seemed an angry voice, and then would fall back on my pillow,
relieved by the sound of the sentinel's measured footsteps, and the loud
clear cry of "All's well!"

I could have been comparatively happy here, for, although unsettled and
miserable at first, Mrs Lorton was an active, intelligent, cheerful
woman; and I was delighted to share with her the task of instructing her
little family.

Anxious to relieve my parents, in their present reduced circumstances,
from the burden of maintaining myself and my boy, I entered with some
zest upon my new duties, and each morning found me the centre of a
little group of children, with books, work and music; and, to add to
this feeling of repose, we ascertained that my husband had shaken the
dust of Africa from his feet, and departed for England.

But he left me his curse, and it pleased Providence that it should be

My boy was suddenly stricken with fever--you know how impossible it is
in the desert to obtain timely medical aid.  When the surgeon from a
distant garrison arrived, it was too late to save my precious treasure.

He lay upon his little bed, moaning as he moved his aching head from
side to side, his pretty curls all strewed about his pillow.  The
children _would_ come to him--he recognised them at times; then the
large blue eye would grow dim--the angel face would flush and pale by
turns--the lips would murmur indistinct sounds, and he would grasp my
hand convulsively--"Water, water," was his perpetual cry--a
burning-thirst tormented him.  One of his young playmates held the cup
to him, my darling drank from it, and tried to raise his weary head and
bow his thanks, but sunk back with a cry of anguish.


The few sands in the hour-glass of that little life ran slowly out; the
light from the beautiful eyes shone into mine like rays of hope.  The
children gazed tearfully upon their "pretty Frank;" he would try to
smile, and once he spoke.  "Mamma," he whispered, "you will be sorry for
poor little Francy--kiss me, mamma; I love you."  I bent down--my hot
tears fell upon his face--he felt them not--my little flower faded so
gently away, that we knew not the moment his spirit departed.


My cup of sorrow was full to the brim.--With anguish too deep for tears,
I performed the last offices of love for my darling.  I would fain have
followed him to his grave in the burying-ground near the fortress; often
it seems to me now that there only could I find rest.


But this is sinful--I should rather pray that my sorrows may be my
blessings in futurity.  Mr Trail came to me with his gentle words of
peace and consolation, but my rebellious heart refused all comfort.


I _would_ see my darling's little coffin borne from the fortress.  I sat
at a window that overlooked the gateway, and watched the simple
procession with a heart so still, that it seemed turned to stone in its
agony.  My eyes were fixed and tearless, I dreaded the last look of that
coffin which held all my hopes.


I am a soldier's daughter--but I could take no pride, for the sake of my
darling, in the last honours that were paid his little corpse--as it
passed the gate, the guard of the Fifty --st regiment turned out and
presented arms to the coffin.  At this simple but characteristic
compliment to my dead child, the well-springs of my full heart
overflowed, and I burst into tears.

The procession passed through thee gateway, the soldiers retired to the
guard-house, the single sentry kept his measured beat, and I, in my
desolation, cast myself upon my bed and cried aloud, "What _have_ I
done, what _have_ I done, to be so afflicted by the hand of God?"

"Say, rather, _chastened_," said Mrs Lorton.  "Ah!  Eleanor, believe
me, that those whom the Lord never sees fit to chasten are not to be
envied, as you, in your present sorrow, would believe."

The little miniature you have seen of my Francis was taken from life by
Mrs Lorton; it fell into Mr Trail's hands through the loss of a box
when I was travelling; it has, you see, twice escaped destruction.

I returned to Annerley, broken-hearted.  It was our winter--a desolate
one, memorable in the annals of the colony for its storms and floods.

Oh! how long it was before the cold wind and rain, which I heard beating
against the windows, ceased to send a shudder through my heart, for fear
they should injure my poor little lost snowdrop.  I had dreaded leaving
Fort Wellington, yet, what a trial it was there--to see the vacant place
in the nursery, and the unused playthings, carefully put away by Mrs
Lorton, but sometimes drawn out by stealth, that I might weep over them!

These last lines of the manuscript are almost illegible, from the tears
that had fallen on them.

Frankfort's eyes were dim.

How shall I tell you the rest?  The unhappy being who was bound to me by
my wretched fate disappeared, as I have said.  For more than two years
we heard nothing of him.  At last, we learned that he was at the head of
one of those factious parties in England, calling themselves patriots,
who stir the people up to discontent by disseminating false principles
among them.  He was to be heard of in the different manufacturing
districts, rousing the lower classes, and, as he himself said, "teaching
them what they wanted:" thus he drew the weaver from his poor hearth, to
send him back more discontented and unsettled than ever; the farmer from
the market, to set him against his landlord, whom hitherto he had loved;
the mechanic from his work, which afterwards he had no heart to finish;
the reaper from the sunny fields, and the boy from his home, to destroy
its influences if good, to foster them if evil; and those who listened
went from him dissatisfied with themselves, and with "war in their
hearts" towards their fellow-men.

In a word, you well knew the name of Jasper Lee, he who was convicted
for a conspiracy against the Government.  He was my husband!--the name
of Lee was an assumed one.

Within six months we have received authentic intelligence of his death,
and I am personally disenthralled of my heavy chain, but I bear its
marks--my head has been bowed to earth by this galling yoke, and I shall
feel that your decree will be just when you renounce me for ever.

I am thankful that, at last, I _can_ recognise the hand of God in all
the suffering I have undergone.  Do you remember my requesting an
interview once with Mr Trail?--you stood by and saw my confusion on
discovering you.  Ah!  I cannot tell you the consolation I have derived
from that good man.

You will believe me fully, when I say that the idea of obtaining your
love never entered my head--it will soothe me in my most lonely and
melancholy hours to think that you considered me worthy of it.

I have written this sad record somewhat roughly--I fear, too, somewhat
incoherently; much that must have wearied you might have been omitted,
and yet, much remains untold.  Alas! you have had to learn not so much
the history of my _sorrow_, as of my _disgrace_.

Yes, _disgrace_--my misfortunes have been greater than my faults, yet,
in justice to others, I would not have you account me blameless.  I
believe, if I had the courage at first to tell my mother that I never
could love Lyle as I ought to do, she would not have urged me to marry
him.  But I was passive in her hands--indeed, I was bewildered.

I cannot tell you what it has cost me to write this.  While others
sleep, my brain aches with conflicting emotions.  I pace my room again;
I take up my pen, scrawl a few lines, then erase them, and again
commence my restless walk.

Sometimes, overcome with hours of anxiety and unrest, I try to sleep,
but my thoughts sway to and fro like a sea, and I fall into that
visionary state between waking and sleeping, when the real and the
imaginary are so blended together, that no effort of our own can
separate them.  Lo, then, I see you for a moment, standing upon a
sun-lit shore, with arms outstretched towards me, then dark clouds arise
between us, I strive to reach the strand; but heavy booming waves
engulph and toss me to and fro, and next my husband's face looks up from
the surge, and his horrible laugh awakens me.


When I heard of his death, deploring it as I did for his sake, since I
fear he had no time for repentance, I did dream that fresh hopes _might_
spring from such an event--hopes of security and peace in the bosom of
my own family.

Alas! having known you, I feel all the bitterness of my lot with double

But what an apprenticeship I have served to anguish!  In time I may
learn to bear even your loss, and shall find consolation in the _memory_
of your regard.


I cannot revise what I have written, though I dread lest what I have
said may impress you with a sense of my inferiority.

I have asked myself this question often--"Will he despise or pity me?"
Both, perhaps.  Your reason will induce something of contempt--but your
_heart_ will teach you to pity the unfortunate Eleanor.

There were many erasures in the manuscript; it was unlike the ladies'
love-letters described as written in "fair Italian characters," but
albeit the style was irregular, the writer's purpose was clear and

In her feelings towards Frankfort, she evidently "let I dare not, wait
upon I would."  His was just the heart to appreciate the candour and the
delicacy of sentiment betrayed rather than displayed in this record of
human weakness, suffering, and wrong.  I have shown you that he was a
man accustomed, to _use_ his reason.  It must be owned that he had never
found this so difficult to do as now: he was thoroughly unselfish; but
he had a mother and sisters--how would _they_ look on such connection?
Would it be wise to draw.  Eleanor, from the retirement of her father's
home?  Facile, easily impressed, would she, were she even free from the
marks of her galling fetters, be suited to him as a companion for life,
or rather could _he_ make her happy?  Then he asked himself why this
question of suitability had not presented itself to his mind before now.

It was fortunate for Eleanor that the question resolved itself to this.
His own position, his mother, sisters, family connections, all became
secondary considerations before the one grand hope of brightening this
joyless creature's career...  Frankfort wrote Eleanor a few lines, as
follows:--"I thank you for the last line of your letter--`Your _heart_
will teach you to pity the unfortunate Eleanor.'  For both our sakes,
let us pause one day ere we allude again to the terrible recital I have
passed the night in reading.

"It may seem cruel to say so little, but day is dawning.  You know how
averse I am to decide suddenly on momentous points.  Ere long the family
will be assembled for prayer; we shall meet there; till then, adieu,
dear Eleanor."

Eleanor found this note on her dressing-table.  She dwelt most upon the
three last words.

She was first in the school-room, Mr Trail followed, and the household
worshippers were soon collected.  As Eleanor was leaving the room,
Frankfort drew near.  They shook hands.  It was a friendly greeting on
his part; she bent her head and walked slowly by, he did not follow.

In after-life Frankfort would look back on that day as the most
momentous in his existence--even more so than that terrible one on

But, what am I doing?  Anticipating what it is not yet time you should
know, my reader.

He was absent the greater part of the day, meditating in the solitude of
the hills.  The little settlement lay below the mountain slope where he
sat.  It was a busy, happy, thriving place; the sunlight fell on
richly-cultivated lands and herds of fine cattle, the vineyard was
filled with workers; Marian and Ormsby were there laughing, he wreathing
her brow with a garland of grapes and vine-leaves--she looked like a
Bacchante; their voices in gay harmony floated up the green hill-side;
women and children were seated in shady nooks at work and at play; the
Trails and Mr and Mrs Daveney were walking up and down the avenue in
earnest conversation.

In contrast to this scene of employment and cheerfulness, was Eleanor
reclining beneath the corallodendrum tree in the sequestered spot where
she and Frankfort had held their last meeting.

She was in a deep reverie; her head rested on her hand--her looks were
bent upon the ground.  Frankfort could see her distinctly from where he
sat; they were only severed from each other by the ravine through which
sang the rill that irrigated the vineyard.

And was it in his power to shed light and life on the pathway of this
desolate young creature?

Motionless she sat as a statue, little dreaming that he, whose image had
filled her thoughts, was so near.

With all her philosophy, inborn, and lately taught by Mr Trail, she
could not help considering her lot a severe one; but she called to mind
the good minister's reply, on her observing, in the words of the
Psalmist, "I thought to understand this, but it was too hard for me."

"Yes," he had said, "too hard for _us_ to understand; but look to the
words that follow: `until I went into the sanctuary of God, then
understood! the end of these things.'"

She rose and resolved on seeking the good teacher; but ere she had moved
many paces along the turf, Frankfort stood beside her.

Love, charity, and tenderness of heart had triumphed over all selfish
considerations; the power of this patient, suffering, wronged creature
happy superseded all other sentiments.

The power of making others happy!  How few estimate this divine and
lofty attribute as they should!  How few understand or prize the
possession of it!

Again Eleanor and Frankfort met together beside the little fountain,
which glittered like silver in the emerald glass; day was declining ere
they thought of moving.  They had sat, hand clasped in hand, their
hearts too full for utterance save in whispers, till the shadow of the
corallodendrums lengthened on the sward.

They rose to return to the house.

"Let us go to my father and mother," said Eleanor,

Hark, a sound!--something whirred past them, and descended so swiftly
that they saw nothing till the long, slender shaft of an assegai
quivered upright in the ground, within a few paces of their feet.  May,
who had, unobserved by them, been gathering water-cresses immediately
below the Devil's Kloof, started up before them.  He had not from the
hollow observed them; the three stood for a minute or two utterly

Frankfort drew the weapon out in haste, and hurried Eleanor to the
house; they met Marion and Ormsby, mirthful as ever.

"We were going to look for you," said Ormsby, with a sly smile; but a
glance at Frankfort told of serious matter.

On reaching the house, and relating what had occurred, Mrs Daveney
congratulated Frankfort on having escaped danger from lurkers in the
hills during his morning saunter with his rifle, which, by the way, he
had forgotten to use.  Lights were brought.  Mr Daveney said little,
but took the assegai in hand to examine it.

There were some letters scratched on its polished blade; they gathered
round to look.  On the one side was inscribed the year "18--;" Mrs
Daveney held the lamp nearer; on the other, deeply and freshly indented,
were two words--

The date was barely a month old.  Oh! that shriek! those appalled faces!

Mr Daveney took his insensible daughter Eleanor in his arms, and
carried her away; her mother covered her face with her hands.  They had
no doubt _now_ who was the agitator in Kafirland.

Before sunset a scout came in, breathlessly announcing that slender
wreaths of smoke were beginning to curl up on the points of the hills,
and that a Kafir herald, with a feather at his ankle, had been seen by
the herds stealing up a pathway from the kloof.  Some of these herds had
probably followed him, for there were deserters among the farm-servants.

"Then," said Mrs Daveney, "this is the surest sign of an attack, if we
wanted no other evidence of mischief.  And now, God help us!"  She
withdrew with Marion.

At midnight the watch-fires sparkled on the mountains, and along the
more distant ridges the war-cry sounded faintly; but before morning
dawned it rang out, loud, prolonged, and clear, and the settlers at
Annerley knew that Kafirland was "up."



Meanwhile, guided by Doda, Lee, or, as we may now call him, Lyle,
threaded his way through some of those innumerable defiles which,
cleaving the great mountains of the Amakosa country in twain, afford
covert for many a marauding party with its cattle; and, having passed
the Zonga River, the two wanderers sat down to rest in a "murky glen,"
impervious to the sun.

At the time when the people at Umlala's Kraal were intent on torturing
the unhappy Amayeka, Lyle and Doda were quietly preparing to refresh
themselves with such provision as they had brought with them, and both
were not a little startled at hearing the branches in the jungle giving
way before some footsteps.  There was a crash close to them; two horns
emerged from the speck boom, or elephant bush, the head of a huge ox
became visible, the body followed, and then two dusky figures.  These
were our old friend Zoonah and a thieving comrade.  The animal had been
abstracted from a kloof, where a herd of stolen cattle had been
concealed, and the worthy pair had sought this solitary spot with intent
to slaughter the beast, and keep holiday as long as it lasted.

The apparition of a white man, seated beside Doda, elicited from them
the usual exclamation of "Ma-wo!" but the party very soon understood
each other, and the three Kafirs having _reimed_ the poor creature, they
proceeded to destroy it after their own fashion, which I should be sorry
to describe.  Suffice it to say, that the wretched animal, being secured
beyond all power of resistance, was deprived of its tongue by the most
cruel process, and its skin subjected to the assegai ere it was fairly

Of late years the Kafirs have abandoned this shocking mode of slaughter;
but some of them, when beyond the influence of the white man, or of
their less, savage chiefs, will occasionally adhere to the old custom.

Lyle gave up all idea of proceeding on his journey that day; he knew his
friends too well to suppose they would separate with such a feast before
them.  It is just to him to say that he turned with horror and disgust
from the quivering body of the poor ox, and would have ended its agony
by shooting it, had it been prudent to use firearms.

The three Kafirs--Doda, Zoonah, and Lulu--applied themselves to the
plentiful meal before them with a gusto indescribable, and then lay down
to sleep.  Lyle would have travelled on alone, but this was
impracticable, as the only paths that could be safely traversed were new
to him; so he was fain to stretch himself on the grass, and reconsider
his plans, which could not be matured till he came face to face with his
desperate colleagues, the disaffected Boers.  Zoonah was to be
questioned as to what he knew of colonial matters, for Doda informed
Lyle that he was a well-known spy; but greediness and sloth are the
principal characteristics of the Kafir, and till these inclinations were
satisfied, nothing could be elicited.  Lyle knew that; so, giving way to
weariness himself, he, too, fell asleep.

But for this, the noise of the explosion at Umlala's Kraal might have
reached them.

They slept on through the hour of noon, till the sun, reaching its
meridian, pierced even the dense jungle with a ray or two of light, and
Lyle rose, and would have rejoiced much in a cool bath, had there been a
stream near; but the torrent that in the rainy season roared and tumbled
over the rocks in the middle of the kloof was almost dry; he could only
lave his face and hands in the pools, but even this was refreshing.

The three Kafirs were talking together as he ascended the bank, and Doda
related to him the tradition of the Sunless Kloof.

It was here that the first white man had been seen by the Amakosas.  "He
came," said Doda, "from there," pointing westward.  "The tribes whom
this wild rider--for he was on horseback--passed on the way were too
much terrified to stop him--the covering on his head was supposed to be
part of it, but when he lifted it, it caused still greater surprise.  He
was seen to get off his horse at one time, and the people followed the
spoor.  They had never seen shoes then; and the print of his feet, so
different to our own, made them believe he was not formed like
ourselves.  He carried in his hand a long hollow weapon, from which
there came forth fire, smoke, and thunder; and the horse, being an
animal never before seen by Kafirs, caused deeper dread.  The natives
shunned him as a being not of earth.  Some killed cattle on his
approach, and placed it in his way as a peace-offering, and, in return,
he would leave beads and tobacco beside it.  Some honoured him as a
wizard; from him the `Wizard's Glen' takes its name, for his footprints
were discovered there one day.  He had nearly reached the sea, when
Narini's people, believing him to be some unnatural animal, determined
to kill him, and, watching him from the rocks, hunted him down, and
assegaied him.  Since then, men have said that he was one of a tribe of
white people, who had been sent by their chief to the country beyond
Shiloh: almost all were murdered.  Some found their way back by the
Winterberg, but this one must have intended, to seek the Zooluh country,
where it was known that a race with white skins, but hair dark as the
crow's wing, exchanged beads for slaves."  [The Portuguese settled on
the south-east coast.]

Doda ceased to speak, and Zoonah and Lulu commenced singing a wild air,
the first words of which were intended to imitate the clatter of a
horse's hoof.

  "Ite cata, cata mawooka,
  Na injormane."

  "Clatter clatter, he is going;
  He goes with a horse, he goes with speed."

Over and over again they repeated this inharmonious, monotonous "Ite
cata, cata mawooka," and then drew the embers of the fire together, and
prepared to set to work anew upon some fresh steaks of meat.

So, sleeping, and eating, and talking alternately, these savages passed
the day in the Sunless Kloof.  Lyle was content to wait till nightfall
ere he advanced, and as he was able to understand much of the language
of these children of the wilderness, he listened not without interest to
a conversation between Doda and Lulu, the latter never having been
located, like Doda and Zoonah, among the missionaries.  He had lately,
however, paid, a visit to one of the larger frontier towns, where he had
heard an account of a criminal's execution; he had not seen it himself,
and therefore was sceptical.

"I do not doubt," said Doda, "for I have been told by the teacher that
the English always kill a murderer."  [The literal translation is, "one
murders another."]

"And I," remarked Zoonah, "have conversed with people who have described
the manner in which they kill them by hanging them with string by the
neck on poles."

Lulu, after thinking for some minutes, observed, "The English must have
more people than they can manage?"

"Why do you say so?" asked Doda, who, being the elder, took the lead in
the conversation.

"Because I see no end to be answered in killing him; it is surely
sufficient that the one already dead should die.  Killing his murderer
will not raise him to life again, neither will it benefit his family:
besides, it is depriving the chief of one man more."

Zoonah interposed, "The English say that the murderer must be made to
feel what the dead man felt--that was, to die."

"But what help," asked Lulu, who, though the least educated, was the
shrewdest of the three in argument,--"what help is that to the living?
Why do they not _eat him up_ [a Kafir phrase for ruining any one by
confiscation of his property], and let him live?"

Zoonah spoke, in a low, deep voice, "Where _is_ the dead?"

"_No_ more!" replied Doda; "he has ceased to be."

"Then," asked Lulu, "how will he know his murderer has been killed or
eaten up?--he is not there to see him."

"What need," asked Zoonah, "for him to know he is no more?"

"It would compensate his heart for the loss of his body," replied Lulu.

"But," said Doda, "we have nothing more to do with his heart--his body
is gone--he is no longer a man."

There was a long pause.

Doda was the first to break silence.  "When," said he, "I inquire of my
own heart, one view of the case makes me on the side of the English
lawgivers.  We know the two principals in a murder are the murderer and
the murdered.  The last has left this world, so we cannot call for his
evidence.  The murderer denies all about it.  The English say, God made
man; to destroy what God made is _ukwapula umsila_, to break His
representative.  It is clearly a case beyond the jurisdiction of man.
It can only be understood and disposed of by the maker of the _dead
thing_; and on these grounds it seems reasonable that the murderer
should be sent the same path that he caused the other to go, in order
that _they may meet and he judged before God_."

"I see what you say," answered Lulu, after due deliberation; "it is too
strong for me.  Do the English do this from such views?  They can talk:
they do talk--but one cannot always believe them.  His argument is good.
My heart is satisfied; I have heard.  My heart is satisfied with your
words.  Nevertheless, I do not comprehend--"

And Lulu withdrew to ponder in silence on this argument.

After this, Lyle bid Doda question Zoonah on all that he had seen in his
late perambulations "to and fro" upon the earth.

Zoonah complied partially, but omitted the episode of his being
discovered by May, and outwitted also by the bushman.

He described the two sportsmen, and the cavalcade with which they were
attended; and added, that they had retraced their steps, and had joined
the bivouac at Annerley, which was known by all the Kafir scouts to be
the rendezvous for the women and children of the district farmers.  The
scouts, of course, were in constant communication with some of the
Annerley herdsmen, who, as was shown in the last chapter, were spies,
ready to desert at the right moment.  One of these had, some weeks
previously to the open demonstrations of enmity in the frontier
districts, on overhearing Mr Daveney announce to a farmer that England
was sending troops, quitted the settlement, travelled 160 miles without
sleep, and, after delivering his message, dropped dead at the feet of
his chief.  All Kafirland now was ripe for war, the tribes were
gathering in the hill, and the watch-fires beginning to smoke.

Zoonah, in his turn, put manifold queries to Doda.  The former said his
path was uncertain; his "feet were towards Umlala's Kraal, but his face
turned away sometimes."  He asked, also, about Amani's proceedings.
Amani was his bitter foe.  Lulu was bound for the settlements in the
Annerley district, to look for plunder.  Was Amayeka at Umlala's Kraal?
He must get cattle to offer Doda, for his daughter.  He thought he
should go with Lulu; he must come to Doda with full hands, to ask for
Amayeka.  How many bullocks would Doda want for her--the girl with the
shining hair?

And then there was the usual subtle bartering argument between the two

Meanwhile, a thought had struck Lyle.  Taking one of Zoonah's assegais
from the bundle, he scratched with his clasp-knife his name and a
certain date on the blade of the weapon.  Zoonah, who could elicit no
decided answers from Doda, leaned over the convict's shoulder.

He had seen books; indeed, as a boy, in a former war, he had, with
others, cut them up as wadding for muskets, but could not read.
Nevertheless, he knew that letters were, as he called them, "silent

Lulu came too, and sat down beside Lyle--"Was he bewitching Zoonah's

Zoonah grasped the weapon, and would have drawn it away.

Lyle explained to him, in a mingled jargon, that the words _were_
mystical, but not intended to injure _him_.  "Take it," he said, "to
Daveney's Great Place, Annerley.  Be like the asphogels.  Watch them,
but let them not see you till the time comes to cast the weapon before
them.  You know that Daveney is your enemy.  Doda knows that I am the
friend of the Amakosas.  I have brought you guns and powder.  I have
made a path between you and the Dutch.  The Dutch hate the English more
than you do now.  There are people in my country, beyond the great
waters, who know that the English colonists are great liars.  Can the
white chiefs sent hither ever carry their threats as far they declare
they will?  No.  You know that when they have laid schemes to drive you
from your lands, a word comes to them across the foaming vley, and they
are forced to eat their own words.--Your chiefs have many to speak for
them in my country.  I have been one of your mouths there.  I was here
long ago, when the son of Umlala's great wife was no taller than that
mimosa: when I went back to my land, I spoke in council.  I said you
were under the feet of the English here; that you were not permitted to
sit still in green places in your own territory; that you only wanted
grazing-ground and patches of land to grow corn in; but that instead of
rewarding you for refusing to help the Boers against the English, we
have suffered your cattle and your land to be taken from you.  You see,
too, that the Boers are angry.  They have cause.  You and they were as
two gnoos fighting for plunder.  One gnoo comes first, and possesses
himself of the prey; another follows, and would seize it.  Up stalks the
lion, he parts the combatants, seizes the plunder, and takes it to
himself.  What should the gnoos do?  They should unite, go to war with
the lion, take the plunder from him and share it.  The land is large
enough for all; but when you would have justice, the lion puts his paw
beyond his own boundary, shakes his mane, his eyeballs burn and roll
like flames, he roars, and the very trees of the forest tremble at the
sound.  Up, then, Amakosas, and at this roaring, ravaging lion.  Quarrel
not among yourselves; the musket and the flint, and the powder and the
bullet, are all good when used together; apart, what are they?

"Drive these greedy white men to the sea.  The Boers are already treking
towards those great solitudes where the sun rises; divide this glorious
country among you, and make a place along the shore for white men to
come and traffic, bringing you beads, and blankets, and knives, and
brandy, and all those good things which white men love best, but which
they tell you, when they preach, that God has no delight in, and

Lyle went on much further in this strain, standing up, and declaiming in
a strange dialect with increasing spirit.  The these Kafirs seated
themselves at his feet, and listened attentively to his specious
reasoning.  He informed them that he was going among the Boers: that
they too would make a stand for their rights; that there were more men
like himself in the land intent on seeing justice done to all; and that
if the Kafirs were overcame by numbers in the forthcoming onset, they
had but to fall back to the sources of the white Kei, and mingle their
war-cry with the thunder of the Storm mountains.  There the Boers would
answer them, and, ere long, the Zooluhs would echo it back, and bring
their hosts to join them in the onslaught.  The Zooluhs and the
Amatembus, the Amapondas and the Amakosas, should be brothers; they came
from the same father originally, they were brandies of the same tree.
The Zooluhs were worthy to be the brothers of the Amakosas, for they
were brave.  What a day it would be for Kafirland when they should chant
the same war-song, when, the Fingoes should be their dogs again.  The
Fingoes, who, like the Zooluhs and Amakosas, had once been a great
nation, but who had lost their name, had no longer a place to sit, and
were fain to do the white man's bidding now, and work!  Lyle laughed
scornfully, and there was a low chuckle among the three Kafirs.

He pursued the theme skilfully, and if he did not persuade the three men
to believe him implicitly, he succeeded in stirring up their hearts to
join hopefully in the coming strife.  In proof of his allegations
against his countrymen, he reminded them of what a Kafir chief, who had
visited England, had told them--how he had been brought before a council
[the Committee of the House of Commons], and questioned, and how even
women had stood up and pleaded that their land should be restored.

They were fully aware, too, of the difficulties which many a "cruel
white Governor" had met with in trying to oppress those whom he was sent
to protect--how strong had been the words of those who spoke in their
favour.  They, the Kafirs, had heard of and seen English papers.  They
could not read them, but they knew that, like the Kafir watch-fires,
they were silent messengers.  They had heard the teachers read from
books.  Who asked the teachers to come?  What good did they do?  They
drew the people away from their chiefs: they would break up
chieftainship in Kafirland.

The shades of evening were beginning to gather over the glen, and the
sky above was like a spangled banner of deep blue.  Lyle was determined
to proceed that evening, and brought his speech to a close by bidding
Zoonah take the mystic assegai to Annerley, and having, when opportunity
offered, cast it where it could not fail to be observed, warned him to
note carefully, by means of household spies, the effect that would be
produced on the whole family at the sight of the inscription on the
blade.  Lyle had already been in communication with Brennard regarding
the present position and circumstances of the Daveney family, and
Zoonah's information, gathered from various sources, confirmed him in
the idea that the two young officers, now domesticated at Annerley,
were, whether in earnest or not, on most agreeable terms with the whole
family, especially with the younger ladies.

He knew every inch of ground about that settlement,--he could realise
the whole scene;--he learned that the place had been made very
defensible, and that a block-house was in progress.  It was clear that
the magistrate intended to hold out vigorously against all attacks; but
there was much cattle, said Zoonah, most of which had been seized on
commandoes, and the chiefs were outrageous at being deprived of their
property, for Zoonah did not call it plunder.

Lyle knew his ground in thus sowing the seed of evil in a small way.  A
white man standing up, and venturing opinions among a tribe of Kafirs,
would meet with argument from some, contradiction from others dissent
from most, distrust from all; but these three men would soon be on
different routes.  Two were accredited scouts in Kafirland; wherever
they went they were asked, "What news?" then they sat down, and
"talked;" thus what he had said would spread gradually, but surely, and
doubtless gain in importance.

He had already become popular at Umlala's Kraal; the trade in muskets,
gunpowder, tobacco, and Cape brandy had been brisker under his guidance
than it had ever been.  He was an athletic man, a rider, a swimmer, a
perfect marksman, and had once beat a Kafir in hurling the assegai.

He was wont to respond cheerfully to the cry of "Baseila;" would join in
the games even of the boy warriors--this was the very class to
conciliate; and with his fearless air, his reckless laugh, and withal a
certain deferential manner to the chief, Lyle had contrived, to make
himself much at home with the tribe: while poor Gray was looked upon
with some distrust and much contempt; his step was slow, his whole air
cast down and melancholy, and the women and the youths, had some
suspicion of his passion for Amayeka; but Lyle was his friend,
outwardly, that was clear; and as the whole population must suffer by
quarrelling with the traders, Gray's presence was endured.  The children
liked him, for however abstracted or dejected he might be, he had always
a smile for them, and the mothers thanked him for this.  The Kafir women
love their children as long as the latter are helpless, but cast them
aside when, they become adults, and able to live by their own exertions.

Lyle's authoritative manner had due weight with the three Kafirs; the ox
was divided into portions, and each man took a goodly piece with him.
Lyle and Doda started ere the Southern Cross began to bend and tell the
midnight hour had passed.  Zoonah and Lulu bent their course westward,
and idling as they went, resting here and talking there, lurking about
the settlements, and helping the Kafir women whom they met in their
commissariat arrangements for the ensuing periods of strife; they
separated in the Buffalo Mountains, Lulu to join the warriors in the
Amatolas, Zoonah to keep watch in the Devil's Kloof.

You have seen the result of Lyle's plan.  The herdsmen at Annerley, who
fled into the wilderness at the sound of the war-cry, caught sight of
Zoonah at sunrise next morning, when he was skimming along a distant
ridge, and recognising him, by the feather at his ankle, to be a special
messenger, waved their karosses.  He waited for them; they had not
deserted empty-handed.  Two fine heifers were driven before them, and
dropping into a neighbouring kloof on the shady side of a mountain, they
all met together to hold a parley, and fare sumptuously on one of the
slaughtered animals.

The detention in the "Sunless Kloof" was so far fortunate, that it
prevented Lyle and Doda from encountering the young Dutch burghers
bearing off.  Amayeka, and, by a strange coincidence, Gray, in his
uncertain route, passed during the day within two miles of them; his
course, however, lay more to the westward, for he no longer cared to
conceal himself: but, as his ill-luck would have it, he was overtaken by
his fellow-convict two days after, on the northern bank of the Kabousie

Weak from hunger, he had been obliged to keep to the more fruitful
spots, and had subsisted on roots, Kei apples, and a little Kafir corn,
gathered from deserted gardens.  Utterly disheartened, he again yielded
passively to his fate, and told the tale of the events which had driven
him forth as a wanderer again.

After this, the three pushed forward night after night, and in the
course of a few days, the heavy clouds that had veiled the horizon
cleared off, and they found themselves within a few hours' journey of
the Stormberg Mountains.

Gray's narration of the events which had been the cause of his leaving
Umlala's Kraal did not particularly move Lyle or Doda; if the latter had
any suspicion of the deserter's regard for his daughter, he did not
betray it.  Until a Kafir is excited by incidents passing before him, he
never displays any decided emotion; hating Amani, he was more inclined
to be enraged with him for his condemnation of Amayeka, than anxious for
his daughter's fate.  In the hands of white men, he felt certain enough
of her safety to take the matter coolly, suggesting that he was now
among the Boers in the Stormberg; and, under this impression, he tramped
steadily on, staff in hand, and, with a loose assegai, ready to bring
down any game that might cross the path.

Lyle, on learning the destruction of the ammunition, congratulated
himself on having settled all monetary transactions ere he started.  The
articles of barter exchanged by the Kafirs for the gunpowder were all
well on their way to the Witches' Krantz, and the only point now on
which he was ill at ease, was Gray's faint-heartedness, as he termed it.

"What would you do?" said Lyle, as, side by side, the two Englishmen
followed Doda through the tangled pathways intersecting the small
plains, covered with fine pasturage, and watered by numerous streams
proceeding from the Stormberg,--"what would you do? declare yourself a
runaway convict, a deserter from the Royal Artillery?  My good fellow,
you are the man the Boers want--they have got guns, as you know, but few
to handle them--you will meet some old comrades, though, I have no
doubt, up in those hills."

Then Gray spoke the first resolute words he had uttered for a long time.

"If," said he, "you think I will work a gun against my own countrymen,
you are mistaken.  You may call me fool, coward, if you will--I may be
branded, shot as a deserter but I will not die a traitor!"

Lyle gave a long, low, contemptuous whistle, and then burst into a
laugh.  "What do you call a traitor?" he asked: "to my mind, he is a man
who enlists in a good cause, and then, without rhyme or reason, or for
some vicious purpose, turns against it.  Why, they condemned me to
transportation as a traitor, because I took the side of justice and the
oppressed.  It is more manly to fight for the weak than for the strong.
Talk of might against right in this country--I should like to know who
are the rightful owners of it--why, those little nations, the bushmen.
As for justice, she may well be painted blind, for the strongest arm
turns for scale, and she can't see to help herself.  It is the same
everywhere.  We left the Government in England riding rough-shod over
the poor starving devils, and when the worms began to turn, the law, as
they call it, crushed them with its iron heel.  The lion of England is a
mighty fine fellow to boast of, but wherever he stalks, he leaves the
traces of his bloody paws.  They are beginning to find this out at home.
Home!--it is no home to us."  Gray heaved a deep sigh.  "They are
getting sick of being taxed for those hired assassins, the soldiers.  I
was one of those to show the people what they were taxed for--to pay men
for shooting them like dogs, if they complained of wrong.  I did not
conceal from them that I had been a soldier myself and I pointed out the
slavery of such a condition.  I was licenced to talk of what I had been.
I might have been pulled up and shown up, for I had got into a few
scrapes from want of money; but this would have dragged forward some
respectable names, so justice was deaf, as well as blind, on this
question, and Jasper Lee was only talked of as a Chartist leader.  The
real traitors to the cause were those who sat safely at their desks in
dusty offices, and made promises which gained them popularity at the
time, but which they never intended to perform.  One wrote, `If Jasper
Lee leaves the B--D--dock in a felon's van, it shall be over a hurdle of
Chartists' bodies.'  Another, that if I `did not walk a free man from my
gaol--free by the verdict of a British jury--thousands of armed citizens
were ready to fling back the defiance I should hurl from the felon's
dock.'  One party `resolved,' that the vessel carrying off Jasper Lee,
as a convict, should have to cleave its way through an ocean of Chartist
blood,--`and,' shouted another from a platform at a hill-side meeting in
one of the manufacturing districts, `so long as I live, the manacle will
not be forged that will encircle the heel, or the scissors that will cut
a hair from the head of Jasper Lee, the felon.'

"I did not take all the epistles I received for gospel, but I did reckon
on a rescue.  The miserable mob, however, terrified at the sight of the
soldiers, quailed before an unloaded gun; but at last they began to show
fight with brickbats.  There was barely time to read the Riot Act--ha,
ha! how the old mayor's hand trembled that held it, when a charge of
cavalry came down the street and drove the poor devils right and left.
We were the victims of treachery.  Some of our pretended friends had
been bribed, turned informers, and went over to the enemy.  These were
the traitors and deserters; they have pocketed the price of blood, and
are at work again, no doubt, like spiders in their dark, gloomy offices,
making false promises, deluding the people into the assemblies they
convoke, only to bring the troops upon them, and then reap their reward
for betraying their victims."

In this strain Lyle proceeded; Gray paid but little heed to his
sophistry--his mind was intent on casting aside the thraldom under which
he writhed; but fate seemed against him.

And Amayeka, what was to become of her?  Lyle next pointed out the
advantages of the prospect before them.  It was by no means certain, he
said, that the Boers must necessarily fight against the English
government; it was well-known that Vander Roey had gone to the
Commander-in-Chief to hold a conference; it was not improbable that
terms would be made, and that a territory would be given to the Dutch
settlers, where they might exercise their own laws.

"Here," said Lyle, "we may find a place of rest, for, unless something
is to be gained by it, I am not inclined for war for fighting's sake."

This was, as the reader may divine, untrue; but he adapted his expressed
opinions to the tone of Gray's mind at the moment.

"So, for the present, my lad, make your mind easy; you cannot get away
from this if you would, and you would not if you could, for your dusky
lady-love is, without doubt, yonder in the hills, and no bad refuge
neither.  By Jove, this is a fine country--ha!  Doda told me it was a
noble pasture-land for horses, and see, the mountain-sides are dotted
with them; and here is a troop of jolly young Boers.  Now remember, once
for all, my lad," continued Lyle, clutching Gray suddenly by the
arm--"let me tell you to put a good face on the matter.  As to getting
these people just now to listen to your history, and give you a guide or
an escort to take you back--you young fool!--to fight against them, it
is of no use.  All your reasoning would be as useless as whistling jigs
to milestones--all your wrath like the grimaces, and the sputtering, and
the swearing of the bushmen at a storm of thunder and lightning.  So now
say `good morrow' to these young fellows with the best face you can."

A party of youths rode up as Lyle spoke; the latter informed them, in
tolerable Dutch, that he was the trader whom Brennard had located at
Umlala's Kraal, and, as he had no intention of at once avowing himself
willing to be enrolled as a rebel, he affected to have started from the
Kraal with mere prospects of traffic.  He then related what had occurred
since his departure, and Gray listened with a beating heart to the reply
made to Lyle on his inquiring whether a Kafir girl had been brought to
the mountains by the young men of the foraging party.

"Yes; but they had earned her over the hills to the Boers' large
encampment, where she would be taken care of by some of the women."

With this information Gray and Doda were obliged to be content.  The
young Dutchmen informed Lyle that the ammunition was on the
south-western side of the mountains, where it was carefully stored in
some of the bushmen's caves, long abandoned by their first tenants,
until Vander Roey sent intelligence of the result of his conference with
the Commander-in-Chief, Vander Roey's wife was in charge of it, and,
under her directions, instalments of gunpowder were daily forwarded on
pack-oxen and horses, the passes of the mountains being impracticable
for wagons.

The young Boers having turned their horses' heads in the direction of
the mountains, the convicts and Doda accompanied them to the temporary
bivouac, where Vander Roey's wife held sway in the absence of her
husband.  The three were left among the scattered tents and wagon-tilts
of the few families congregated together in the sequestered spot, while
the riders hastened to Mrs Vander Roey to inform her of the new
arrivals in the camp.  Lyle and Gray were soon summoned by the lady, who
advanced to the door of the cave to receive them, and ask their

She was a woman apparently five or six and twenty years of age, though
probably she was much less.  She was not what might be termed a true
specimen of the Boeress in Southern Africa, but was, in colonial
parlance, an Africander, of French extraction, her father belonging to
the race who established themselves at the Cape after the revocation of
the edict of Nantes; and her mother, although the wife of a Boer, had a
alight touch of dark blood in her veins.  To these circumstances, which,
in the eyes of the community to which she belonged, were objectionable,
she owed her raven hair, drawn back from the temples, and bound round
her head in classic fashion.  The forehead was low, but well formed; the
eyes long, dark, and fringed with black lashes, that softened their
fiery expression; the nose aquiline, with the delicate nostril
indicative of Indian blood; the mouth scarlet-lipped, and radiant with
pearly teeth; her figure, above the middle height, and gracefully, if
not perfectly, shaped, was set off by the dress, which, albeit coarse
and rough, was picturesque; a petticoat of bright-coloured _voerchitz_,
a bodice of the same material, but of different pattern, over which was
thrown a rich silk handkerchief of orange hue--a gift from Cape Town;
loose sleeves, reaching a little below the elbow of a beautiful arm;
cotton stockings, passing fine, and _veldt scoons_, of better make than
was common among her people, fitted to a tolerable foot and slender
ankle.  Such was the attire of Mrs, or, as she chose to call herself,
Madame Vander Roey; and, as she came forward, the rays of the setting
sun illuminated her figure, and set off the manifold hues of her costume
in a very striking manner.  Even the attention of the listless deserter
was arrested by the vision of this showy dame, who, with a pistol in her
belt, her arms folded across the orange handkerchief her head thrown
back, and her flashing eyes bent eagerly on Lyle, awaited their approach
in front of her rude but picturesque domicile.  She opened the
conversation by the direct inquiry addressed to Lyle in Dutch, of "Where
do you come from, and what is your business?"

Lyle replied, with equal decision of tone,

"I am the trader from Umlala's Kraal; I have been, in communication with
Vander Roey for more than six weeks."

"Vander Roey has been absent nearly a month, but I did not wish Umlala's
people to know this; the scouts were told he was ill, and have received
the ammunition; some of it I have stored, some has been sent over the
mountains.  Are you here only as traders, and who is this boy?"

She scanned the dejected-looking Gray with something like glances of

"Doda, good morrow; you are to be trusted, because you would gain
nothing by betraying us.  Go, you will find meat cooking at those fires
in the hollow.  Who, I say, is this boy?"

"A deserter from the service of my king," answered Gray, "and a
miserable creature."

Lyle would have spoken; Madame Vander Roey forestalled him, by asking in
English, "And what is your business here?  Do you come as friend or

"As neither," replied Gray; "but I am a most unfortunate young man."

"Neither friend nor enemy!" said Madame Vander Roey, elevating her
dark-pencilled eyebrows; "then why come you here at all?"

Lyle, seeing that Gray had resolved on making a true statement of past
occurrences, suddenly exclaimed, "At least accept me as your friend; I
am one of those who have been banished by my country for taking part
with the ill-used, the poor, and the weak--in a word, we are convicts,
who escaped lately from the wreck of the _Trafalgar_, and from the
moment that I set foot on shore, I resolved to seek Vander Roey, whose
fame has spread to England--aye, and to the land of his forefathers, to
Holland; but of this we can speak hereafter.  We have been travelling
for some days on foot, are weary and hungry, and long for the rest and
refreshment which we believe you will give us.  This lad will come to
his senses by-and-by; if he does not," added the elder convict, with a
bitter laugh--one of those laughs which Eleanor could not distinguish
between jest and earnest--"we most teach him the use of his wits."

Gray knew it was vain to remonstrate with his evil genius.  Madame
Vander Roey invited both the travellers into her retreat, and Gray
passively followed Lyle and the lady into the bushmen's cave, her
present dwelling-place.



It was, like most of these retreats, a deep recess in the rocks.  The
walls were ornamented with grotesque drawings, poorly executed in
coloured clay, of men and animals, the figures of the former more
resembling apes than men.  The ground--for flooring there was none, save
a carpet woven by Nature's tasteful hand--was partially covered with
mats and skins, and the furniture consisted of a rickety camp-table and
two or three broken stools.  A long roer and a pair of large pistols
were slung against the scarp of rock at the back of the recess, and the
place was faintly illuminated by a primitive kind of lamp--a calabash
filled with sheep-tail oil--from the centre of which rose a rush wick.
The coolness of this retreat,--for the sun's rays never penetrated
therein,--was delicious, after passing so many days in the open air
during the hottest period of the South African summer.

The lamp only emitted sufficient light to make darkness visible to the
travellers' unaccustomed eyes.  On their entrance, they heard voices,
and Lyle stumbling over some object on the ground, there rose up Madame
Vander Roey's attendant pages, Lynx and Frolic, two small bushboy imps;
they uttered a little screech at sight of the new-comers, and were
tumbling out of the cave, when their mistress called them back and
issued some orders, desiring them to send Hans, the Hottentot.  She then
lit another lamp, and thereupon they discerned another object in the
corner of the recess.

This was the aged father of Madame Vander Roey, a venerable Boer, with
snowy hair and a long silvery beard.  His seat was an old arm-chair,
which his daughter had rendered more comfortable and sightly by throwing
over it a kaross made of the silver jackal's akin.  His dress was of the
usual coarse duffle, a good deal worn, and a crutch beside him indicated
infirmity of body.  His mind appeared less enervated than his limbs, and
he bowed with an air of great courtesy to the new-comers, evincing no
surprise at the appearance of strangers.

He shook his head mournfully, and inquired of his daughter if they were
English; she replied in the affirmative, and added that they were

His first thought was hospitable; he reminded her that they must need
refreshment; he next begged them to be seated, and inquired whence they

Madame Vander Roey said that this question must be deferred for a while,
and left the dwelling to see that food was provided for the evening

The old Boer, Du Plessis, began to talk in soliloquising fashion as soon
as he was left with Lyle and Gray; the latter reclining listlessly
against the painted rock, the former with his full grey eye fixed
intently on Du Plessis.

"Has my daughter's husband returned?" asked the patriarch; but, instead
of waiting for an answer, he went back to memories seventy years old,
when he was a youth and his father a landowner in the lower districts of
the Cape.  He repeated the usual tale of complaint.  "They robbed us,"
said he, speaking of the kafirs.  "We offered our humble petitions to
the great men at Cape Town, and asked for help; but, while we waited,
leaning upon promises--broken reeds!--our enemies swept away our
possessions, stole or mutilated our cattle and sheep, and left us poor.
Then we learned with great sorrow that some of our fellow-burghers were
against us, and time was lost in disproving this, and our enemies
laughed at us; therefore we sent messengers to their honours in Cape
Town, and said, `As we possess little, we pray you let us go and live in
peace upon the Sneeuwberg, where, if you will permit us to remain, we
will pay you rent; there is quiet there and much game; indeed, we need a
supply of food, for many of us now have not a hundred sheep and five
cattle.  Let us go then with our small flocks and our wives and our
little ones.'  So then we waited, and could get no certain answer, and
our great men advised us to go, and we went sorrowfully, and sent again
messengers to implore forgiveness of their honours if we had done amiss
in _trekking_, and prayed the Lord would bestow His grace upon them,
that they might select a fitting person to arrange all disputes between

"We fared ill with the bushmen: if we went out to kill sea-cows, these
robbers would follow us, or plunder our homes in our absence, or shoot
at us with their poisoned arrows.  So we grew more and more
impoverished, and a generation passed away while we were waiting for
help; and so, not being able to hold out against the robbers, we
abandoned our places again."

Here Madame Vander Roey returned to make such preparations as the times
permitted for setting the supper-table in array; her father went
wandering on.

"Next," said he, "they took away our slaves.  We had been told by good
teachers that slavery was bad, that we had no right to traffic in human
flesh; but we could not understand anything at first except that we were
left without servants, and with pieces of paper in our hands, which we
were told were money-bills, but that we must go to Cape Town to get them
cashed, and so we did; but we had many hundreds of miles to go.  Some
trekked away with their slaves altogether, but my father inclined to the
Government, and accepted what they called compensation, and I went with
him to Cape Town, and we were glad to sell our bills for what we could
get from the merchants, and when we came back we found our farms
uncultivated, our cattle gone, and our wives and children very
miserable; so, you see, my white brothers, we have come step by step
further and further and further, and I am heart-sore, and would fain
listen to the word that my son Vander Roey shall bring; for I had rather
die in peace with all men and with my face turned to the west, than with
anger in my heart."

Hans brought in, on some sticks, some slices of broiled gnoo, and there
was a rusty tin dish, filled with rice and _carbonatje_; the savoury
steam was grateful to the senses of even the melancholy Gray, and some
coarse but sweet bread and a calabash of Cape brandy being added to the
refection, the adventurers did full justice to their hostess's
hospitable display.

The bald rocks of Asphogels' Kop, a peak distinguished from the other
heights of the Stormberg by this name, were shining like snow in the
rays of the newly-risen silver moon, when Lynx and Frolic put their
impish faces into the cave, and announced that Vander Roey and his
escort were in sight of the Donder Berg, for a fire was blazing on the

The old Boer crossed his hands on his breast, closed his eyes, and his
lips moved, as Gray supposed, in prayer.  The deserter sat down beside
the aged Du Plessis; Madame Vander Roey, accompanied by Lyle, left the
cave.  On emerging from it, into the clear moonlit air, the latter saw
that the whole bivouac was astir; there were some forty men and eight or
nine women, several children, and a motley assembly of Hottentots,
half-castes, and bushmen.  These gathered together in a group near
Madame Vander Roey, and the beads of approaching men and horses soon
appeared above the long waving grass of the little plain, on which the
encampment was spread in somewhat disorderly fashion.

The equestrian party came up leisurely, after the manner of those who
bring no cheerful or decided tidings.  The atmosphere was clear and
light as that of day.

Madame Vander Roey said, in a low voice, to Lyle, "There is no good

And so it proved.  Vander Roey had not even bees admitted to an
interview with Sir John Manvers; indeed, there was little time for
treating with any one; for, as we have shown, the brand and the spear
were abroad, and the colonists were looking with anxious eyes for the
"sea-wagons from across the broad waters," and their freights of "red

The captain of the bivouac, Lodewyk, a boater, with a race almost
covered with hair, arms bared to the elbow, but garnished, Kafir
fashion, with bangles of brass, and a ring of ivory, a large straw hat
on his head, and equipped with leather trowsers, girded with a belt
containing immense pistols, and carrying besides an elephant gun,
stepped forwards as Vander Roey swung himself from his jaded horse, and
said, in a loud, distinct voice, in the Dutch language,

"Vander Roey, is it peace or war with our white brothers?"

"War," replied the Boer leader, abruptly, and strode on without greeting
his wife, who followed him to the cave.

"War!" shouted Lodewyk--"War!" echoed Lyle; and Lodewyk, recognising the
trader, whom he had had dealings with of late, turned to Lyle, and
offered his hand.

Lyle grasped it.

"Let us smoke a pipe of tobacco together," said Lodewyk, and the two men
strolled off towards the habitation of the latter; it was a domicile,
half hut, half tent, formed of withered boughs and skins, and screened
from the east by a scarp of rock, on which many a grotesque and
unnatural-looking creature was depicted in yellow ochre and
different-coloured chalks.

Circumstances conspired to induce Lyle to develop his plans and purposes
sooner than he had first intended; there was something in the bearing of
Lodewyk that chimed in with his own feverish desire to be up and doing;
and, on the other hand, Lodewyk had been attracted by the hearty,
dare-devil style in which the Englishman had flung up his hat, in the
moonlight, and shouted "War! war! to the knife!"

They talked fair into the night, as they reclined on a bank facing the
habitation of the Vander Roeys.  Gray had joined them, and lay fast
asleep, his head pillowed by a stone.

The people in the bivouac, through which the cry of "War!" had rung till
the voices that uttered it were hoarse, were all busied in preparing for
the march at early day across the mountains, the chief having resolved
to move to the plains, where the majority of the Boers and their
families were awaiting his decision to _trek_ or return.

The women were as busy as the men, collecting the few draught-oxen they
possessed, and yoking them to the wagons with their own hands, that
there might be no delay; and stalking in silence from group to group,
and wagon to wagon, but chiefly intent on superintending the packing of
all the gunpowder that remained, on the backs of the beasts of burden,
might be seen Vander Roey, with his broad-flapped hat and dark ostrich
plume, towering in height above his fellows, and issuing his orders, in
a tone of lofty command.

Within the cave, Madame Vander Roey was making preparations for the
journey, her father watching her movements with a sad, bewildered dr.

"Peace or war!" muttered the old man.  "How many years have I been
wandering without rest for the sole of my foot, without a roof to
shelter these grey hairs?  My son Vander Roey, let it be peace till I
die.  Whither would you take me?  The mountains will sunder me from my
dead--my buried wife--my three brave sons, all lying in one grave,
killed within a month.  I can see from these plains the blue peaks of
the hills beneath which they lie.  Let me, too, rest here, within sight
of those blue hills!

"There has been strife too long, always strife.  Let there be peace till
I die!--peace! peace!"

And so the old man muttered on, his daughter proceeding with her
preparations, and now and then remonstrating with him kindly, and
begging him to rest as long as he could on the couch she had spread for
him, and so arranged that it could be lifted like a litter.  In this,
with a light wagon-tilt, the aged patriarch was to be borne over the
mountains on the morrow.

Ere the night had passed, three men rode into the camp; these were
Brennard and two young Boers of Vander Roey's party.  The former had
resolved to join the rebels, and due greetings passed between him and
Lyle.  Poor Gray, shuddered at the web gathering round him, but there
was no escape.  He was resolved, however, to keep to the one resolution
he had formed during his miserable sojourn among strangers--he would not
fight against his sovereign's troops, come what might.

He could recollect many a loyal saying of his father's; as a child, he
had been taught to "fear God and honour the King."  In spite of the sway
his passions had obtained over him, he remembered the lesson; and now,
in spite of difficulties and danger, he determined to keep his fealty to
his liege.  Alas! many a soldier who forgets God abides by his
allegiance to man!

Brennard confirmed all that Lyle had been striving to impress on
Lodewyk.  He swore that Holland had protested against the conduct of the
English Government towards the unfortunate white Africans; that help
would be sent to Natal, near which the Boers might establish a
government of their own, backed by the mother-country; that France was
favourably disposed towards the descendants of her sons.  They might
hear through the papers that France was perfectly peaceful; but it was
not so--the people of France would dance over a mine till it sprung and
destroyed them--they were deaf to all warnings; the rising Powers had
already begun to think of the colonial possessions of England, and their
unsatisfactory state.  As for the colony, now was the time to make ready
for war.  The troops, although they fended the Kafirs would be easily
beaten, would be thoroughly harassed--"used up"--before reinforcements
could arrive.  Every one knew that Sir John Manvers, the present
commander of the forces, was an irresolute, sullen, haughty man, anxious
for the arrival of the new Governor, who was reported to be Sir Adrian
Fairfax.  Every one knew, too, what Sir Adrian was; he had said that he
compassionated the Boers, but was bound to carry out the orders of
Government, and _must_ shoot them as rebels if they attempted to show
fight.  What had they--these poor, unhappy white Africans--gained by
passive endurance of ill?  In England, men were already standing up for
a fresh Charter on their own ground--but what did the Boers want?  Only
space to feed their cattle, permission to exercise their own laws,
without interfering with the English--and this was not to be granted.
Would they submit like dogs?  At any rate, was it not worth while to
_try_ for freedom?

Vander Roey followed up this tirade by informing those who had not
accompanied him to the British settlements, that he had been turned from
Sir John Manvers's door like a dog.  "He sent me word," said he, "that
he had not time to listen to me.  His messenger was a youth with
careless mien.  I opened my lips to speak, but he heeded me not.  I
could hear voices, and see lights through the doorways, and the young
man passed away, leaving me to be shown out of the house by a servant.
I walked by the front of the mansion; the man who `had not time to see
me' was receiving guests in a large lighted room.  The windows were
open, and I stood in the garden, grinding my teeth with rage.  I strode
out of the light into the darkness; my horse stood patiently at the
great gates of that fine house.  He hung his head; he was worn with hard
riding--he had a sorry look--the sentry, standing under the lamp, was
laughing at his miserable plight.  I mounted him, dashed through the
town, and never drew rein till I reached a river, the waters whereof
bubbled and foamed, and I was forced to stop to give the good beast
rest.  We lay down side by side to sleep, and when I awoke, poor `Starry
Night' was dead!

"I had to carry my saddle many a mile before I came up with my people;
they asked me few questions, but saw that hope was lost--so now for

"War! war!"--it was not _shouted_ now, but passed from lip to lip, as
the chief occupants of the bivouac continued their preparations for the
early journey.  Only the children and a few of the elder people were
asleep in the open ground, for the tents and other wretched contrivances
for covering were struck, and all the poor property of these unhappy
wanderers packed for the march.

"War! war!" was the dogged watchword of sullen men without.  Du Plessis
sat up on his couch of skins.  "Peace! peace! let there be peace!" he
murmured.  His daughter laid him gently down on his rude pillow, a
saddle, and, before taking an hour's rest herself, stepped out beyond
the cave to see how the people sped in loading, under Vander Roey's
superintendence, the patient beasts of burden.

Lo! a brilliant lunar rainbow spanned, with its broad, illuminated arch,
the little plain over which the houseless people were scattered.  "See,"
said Madame Vander Roey to her husband,--"see the sign of peace God
sends us.  Ah!  I begin to feel myself but a woman; _must_ you lift your
hand against our white brethren?"

"We are aliens," replied Vander Roey, sullenly.  "We have no white
brethren but those who will echo our cry of war."

Madame Vander Roey re-entered the cavern, and, casting herself on a pile
of dried leaves, was soon asleep.

Oh! the contrast of that shining arch, which God had set in the heavens,
and the restless, feverish scene below; horses neighing, bad men
swearing, children wakening from their uneasy asleep, and screaming in
vague terror, women foremost in urging men to up-saddle and trek.
Lodewyk, Brennard, and Lyle, strong in nerve and limb, forswore sleep
till they should pass the mountain ridge which shut out the western
plains from their sight.  Gray lay betwixt sleeping and waking, and as
he watched the hues of the rainbow blend one within the other till they
faded into mist and veiled the beauty of the moon, an old fancy revived
within him--a child's fancy--"that the rainbow takes its shape and hues
from the gathered tears of Heaven," and is set in the clouds by angel
heralds, as a token between God and man of a covenant of peace.

The clouds which, like sheeted ghosts, hung about the sides of the
Stormberg mountains, melted into drizzling showers, and met the party
commanded by Vander Roey, in its journey up the steep and stony

First rode Vander Roey, his flapped hat and sweeping feather drawn down
to his eyebrows.  A little apart from him, watching his leader's
countenance with keen and anxious glance, strode the wild hunter on
foot, staff in hand, a handkerchief bound round his head, and this
surmounted by a coarse, weather-beaten straw hat.  Close behind were
Brennard, Lyle, and Lodewyk.  The former was a sworn ally of Vander
Roey--he, too, had been a deserter.  Lyle, introduced as his friend, had
found a ready welcome, but as yet had had no opportunity of close
discussion with Vander Roey; and poor Gray was mounted on a somewhat
tired steed; but this signified little, as the acclivity was
impracticable for a hurried journey; and, besides this, the feeble and
infirm of the party could only proceed at a certain pace.  Very few
wagons accompanied the procession, and these halted often, that the
smoking oxen might take fresh breath for the desperate task before them.
Now a wagon was lifted almost edgeways on a huge block of stone, now it
came down with a crash that threatened dislocation to every joint of the
creaking mass; sometimes the poor animals, in utter despair at the sight
of the almost perpendicular track, dashed at it at headlong speed,
halted suddenly, and were almost dragged back by the weight of the huge
vehicle in the rear; or, if they did succeed in gaining a ridge,
overlooking a hollow in the mountain-side, would plunge recklessly on,
and come down _en masse_, jumbled together in a confused heap.

But, apparently absorbed in thought, sullen, angry, smarting under a
keen sense of wrong and disappointment, the leader expressed no
impatience at the delays occasioned by the feebleness or incapacity of
the most useless followers of the cavalcade.  He made no reply when told
that a halt must be called, for the sake of some sickly family, wasted
with fever, from lying long in the open bivouac, or some patriarch of
the tribe, head of three or four generations, who could not walk, was
not strong enough to sit his horse, or whose rheumatic limbs needed a
respite from the jolting of the wagon.  Moodily silent, he sat upon his
powerful horse, which he had kept fresh for the work before him, and
apart from his fellow-men, save that Lodewyk and Brennard occasionally
conferred with him.  At last Lyle made his way slightly in advance, and,
turning his horse's head to the westward, surveyed the panorama lying
before him.  They were on a ridge of table-rock near the summit of the
lowest mountain, over which their path lay, and here it was intended
they should outspan for an hour or two, and make a meal of some of the
poor sheep, which with great difficulty had been driven up the steep by
the bushboys, Lynx and Frolic.

Lyle's powerful frame, bronzed but handsome face, the very air with
which he carried his rifle, his attitude on horseback,--in fact, his
whole bearing, as he smiled cordially on Vander Roey, attracted the
latter at once to his colleague.  The two riders brought their horses
together, neck and neck, and watched the party winding up the steep.

In rear of all was old Du Plessis on a litter.  The mists had cleared
away, the rays of the sun illuminated the hills above them with a glory,
the clouds were tinged with flame.  Nature breathed gently on the rocky
soil, and as the aged Boer sat up in his primitive palanquin, the tilt
partially drawn back, the balmy breeze lifted his white hair, and seemed
to refresh him.  His daughter rode close by, reining in, with no small
skill, a horse of the same shape and power as her husband's, but with
some attempt at smartness about his harness; the saddle was a man's, but
she had learned to ride in the civilised districts, and with the left
stirrup shortened, and the right one brought over to the near side, she
contrived to sit with comfort and considerable grace; but the head-gear
was unsightly,--a gingham bonnet, shaped like a wagon-tilt, almost
concealed her face, yet from the depths of this miniature tunnel flashed
out the dark and brilliant eyes; but when these turned upon her father,
their radiance softened to a tender light.

As Vander Roey and Lyle sat conversing in short pithy sentences on the
subject of oppression, the former believing Lyle's indignation to be as
patriotic and disinterested as his own, the latter somewhat discomposed
at finding Vander Roey as shrewd, resolute, and intelligent as himself,
and withal comparatively honest of purpose, though blind in judgment,
they both watched the last division, consisting of the chief Boer's
wife, the litter, its bearers, and some of the younger people of the

All at once, Madame Vander Roey dropped her reins, clasped her hands,
sprung from her horse, and cast herself on her knees beside the couch of
her father, then looking upward, beckoned her husband to her; her bonnet
railing off, disclosed an anguished countenance.  Vander Roey
dismounted, and leading his horse, descended the few hundred yards, that
lay between him and his wife.  Lyle followed, and the little crowd,
halting on the hill-side, looked down upon the litter and the attendant

Du Plessis had raised himself with a strength unusual to him; an
unnatural light filled his eyes; his voice, though not loud, was firm
and clear.  The air was so still, that the gentle breeze wafted his
words to those above.  Those who could, drew as near as they could do
with due respect to his immediate relatives.

"My children," said the old man, "draw near.  Let me bless you before I
die.  I thank my God that he gives me light at the last.  I shall die
within sight of those dark purple hills, whose feet are washed by those
pleasant streams beside which I dwelt through many a long, long year.
There my forefathers came, pitched their tents, and tarried for four
generations.  There they sowed, there they reaped, there they were
despoiled, but abided patiently for help that never came.  My children,
I would fain have you still wait for help; the race is not to the swift,
nor the battle to the strong; God will take his own time to make the
crooked pathways straight, and the rough places plain; think well before
you lift your hand against your white brethren."

Old memories seemed to flit in shadows before the eye of the dying
"white African settler;" it looked into the past.  A sudden flush
crimsoned the ashy cheek, and the eyes shone with tears.

Folding his trembling and withered hands together, he gave himself up to
thoughts of bygone days; the cheek paled again, but the tears of
weakness rolled slowly down, and bedewed the old rough jacket.  He was
back again at the foot of those hills, purpling in the glory of the
morning sun, but green and fresh in his memory even now.  He mentioned
father, mother, brothers, sisters, wife, all gone; all lying beneath the
sod near a ruined chapel.  Of all his people, his daughter was the last
one; his sons' bones had bleached unburied in the waste.

Sometimes swiftly, sometimes slowly, he spoke of the days when the white
men of Africa were all united: "But now," said he, "our white brethren--
where are they?  Some tell us they are sorry.  We were friends once.  We
ate bread together, we smoked our pipes together at sunset.  We had no
thought of strife--strife--strife.  Peace, peace"--the wings of the
angel of death swooped down, and overshadowed his recollection.  A gleam
of light irradiated his face for a few minutes, he raised himself higher
on his couch, the wind parted the snowy hair on his majestic brow, his
gaze was fixed westward, his arms were stretched towards the mountain
ridges of his first home, his daughter clasped his hands in hers, he
bowed his white head upon her breast, she uttered a loud cry, Vander
Roey stooped to support the patriarch, but he was dead to human
sympathy.  The sable wings of Azrael had overshadowed him, and his soul
passed away, while his outward vision was fixed longingly and lovingly
upon those mountain ridges which he was never more to tread in youth or
age, in sorrow or in joy.


They buried him decently upon the lone hill-side.

Few of the married families were without their Bibles; and he, who stood
next in age to Du Plessis, said a prayer over the open grave.  While
they were occupied in closing it with safe blocks of stone, a mother
gathered a little flock around her, and read them a chapter suited to
the occasion.  Madame Vander Roey sat beside her, weeping bitterly; the
men stood apart in groups.  Some had been impressed with the old man's
last words, "Peace, peace."

But as in all disorganised communities the strong and evil spirit of
man's nature prevails over the good, there were not wanting women, as
well as men, to step forward and urge even the incident of old Du
Plessis' death as an incentive to carry out the purpose of wrath and of
revenge.  He, the aged, the virtuous, the banished patriarch!--who had
driven him into the wilderness to die, but his white brother, another
Cain?  Were they to submit to the will of these jealous, bad white
brethren, who permitted the savage Kafir the exercise of his diabolical
laws, his heathen rites, and denied the poor Dutch colonist the use of
his own moral laws?  Who had first robbed them of their slaves, and then
pretended to make them compensation for depriving them of what was
theirs by purchase?  Had not Du Plessis himself urged the obligation of
making a sacrifice, because it was disgraceful to white men to trade in
human flesh?  What reward had he gained?  His cattle had been swept
away, his sons shot down by the Kafirs, his home devastated; he had met
with no pity or redress, and he had died sorrow-stricken amid the
mountains of the storm.

And to add to these grievances, men had belied them, and were still
belying them, in England.  The traders, now with them, had brought them
the evil sayings of wicked or ignorant Englishmen, who proclaimed to the
world that the Boer was cruel and rapacious, never satisfied with the
land he had pillaged from the Hottentots, but committing unequalled
cruelties against them, entering their countries with commandoes,
despoiling them of their cattle, devastating their villages; but men
were among them now who knew how false these allegations were; that the
commandoes, wherein many a life was lost, were undertaken to recover
their own goods stolen from them by the thieving Hottentots, the
bushmen, and Kafirs, who had no villages, except hamlets of huts built
by the hands of women, their beasts of burden; a noble race were these
to be indulged and pitied by enlightened men of the greatest nation in
the world...

"Peace.  Yes, they would have peace; but the waters of many a river must
be turned into blood first ere this would be.  On, on! to the land of
promise, the land flowing with milk and honey, where they should have
their own rules, and the judge and the criminal speak one language face
to face!"

So spoke Lodewyk, the hunter, standing between, and at all times
appealing by gesture to Brennard and Lyle.  Alas! the sentiments he
uttered had been strengthened by the agency of these two desperate men.

Gray sat moodily apart from all, resigned doggedly to the fate that
awaited him, but resolute in his intent to die, rather than fight
against "his own."


Day was dying in glory on the hills Du Plessis loved, ere all the rites
of sepulture were concluded, and as the moon came up calm, serene, and
radiant, the sky cloudless, the elements at peace, the band of pilgrims
halted on the mountain ridge, and, turning their faces towards the homes
of their forefathers, sang their beautiful paraphrase of the 137th
Psalm, "By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept;" and as the last
low notes floated dirge-like over the patriarch's new-made grave, they
descended the eastward side of the mountains, and held their silent
course during the night, halting at daylight, when many an eager,
carious gaze was turned to scenes hitherto unexplored by these
wanderers.  As the mists lifted, a strong gleam of sunlight shot down
upon a spot in the centre of a wide-spreading, treeless plain.  Some men
of the party advanced and fired a volley from their roers.  A thick
wreath of smoke intercepted the glory of the sun's rays, and the signal
was responded to.  As the eye became accustomed to the glare, a large
bivouac, dotted with tents, wagons, oxen, sheep, horses, and men, became
distinctly visible.  Soon a little body of horsemen were seen skimming
the plains, and ere long the salute of their uplifted hats was answered
by a similar movement on the part of Vander Roey's determined band.



How sped they at Annerley, when the war-cry rang loud and clear in the
silence of that night in Kafirland?

Daveney and Ormsby were pacing the stoep in silence; Frankfort sat
within the entrance-chamber, his head buried in his hands.

That unearthly cry was a relief to his paralysed heart: he started up,
his host and Ormsby lifted the latch of the door as he put his hand upon
it to go forth.  Mrs Daveney and Marion stood by the bedside of the
unfortunate Eleanor, who, pale and motionless as marble, lay insensible
to the yells of the savages on the hills, or the voices of the poor
settlers under the windows.

Mr Daveney was too good a soldier to be absolutely surprised; but so
stealthy had been the Kafirs in their movements, that not even a distant
scout had been seen for many days.

They were near at hand now, however: the mountains far and near shone
with the fiery telegraphs of the warrior tribes.  The master of the
house summoned his people to arms, and bade the women and children come
from the wagons to the interior of the building.  It has been shown that
the settlement was backed by hills, intersected with gullies or kloofs;
one of these, by which Zoonah had approached, was wide and dense: it
will also be remembered that redoubts had been thrown up; but the space
enclosed was so vast that there were barely sufficient hands to defend
all points in rear.  The front was well protected by a fortification of
wagons, drawn up in line with great precision; from these wagons the
settlers were able to check the enemy in his advance; and a small
six-pounder, brought in former days from an abandoned fort, filled the
gap between the steps and the avenue.

In rear of the house, within the trellised passage, was a little _corps
de reserve_ of young men and matrons, the latter being in charge of
spare ammunition, and provided each with a brace of pistols, which they
had earned the use of by experience.  It was of course certain that the
Kafirs would make their first attack on the cattle, and as the herdsmen
at sunset were driving in the animals from their pastures, the enemy
poured down the hills in hundreds; by this cunning manoeuvre they at
once cut off the communication between the settlement and the cattle
herds; indeed the latter, of whom some were Kafirs, mostly deserted, the
Hottentots flying off to conceal themselves where they could--they were
not worth following while plunder was to be got; so the poor cows and
oxen and bleating sheep were driven off by the detachment of the enemy
told off for the purpose, and the others advanced, their dark faces
reddened with ochre, their crane plumes waving, and their assegais and
muskets ready poised for the onslaught.

Mr Daveney had adopted the wise precaution of dividing his flocks and
herds, only sending half to pasture at a time; for, with so large a
population to feed, and at such a distance from any emporium of
provisions, it was necessary to husband the stock with peculiar care.
Thus the kraals in rear of the vineyard were tolerably well filled at
present, and the chief object now would be to keep the enemy at bay,
lest he should carry the redoubt, and rush in upon the cattle.

But few shots had been exchanged between the herdsmen and the Kafirs;
but, as the marauders carried off the plunder in triumph, a chief
appeared, clad in leopard skin, and riding a noble white charger.
Advancing at a smart canter, he was cheered by the cry of
"Izapa,"--"Come on"--from the hill-sides, and, followed by those who had
assisted in capturing the cattle, he passed the left of the buildings,
turned sharp with his face towards the kraals, and bade his people
advance; they did so, made a dash at the redoubt, were suffered to set
foot on the top, and were received with a rattling volley of musketry,
which tumbled them within the defences sooner than they had bargained
for.  A shout of laughter rose from the Annerley garrison, a yell of
defiance burst from the savages.

Then the chief on the white charger drew back, rallied his forces,
paused for the reinforcements which rushed down the hills in all
directions, lighting their brands at the fires as they passed, and
having formed them in a phalanx, of which he was the centre, the mass
pressed forward, shouting their wild war-cry, and brandishing aloft
their weapons of steel and flame.  The blaze on the mountain slope gave
all this a demoniacal aspect; the horrible screams, the excited, rampant
gestures of the Kafirs, the dropping fire of musketry from Annerley, and
the occasional hearty English cheer answering the war-cry, all combined
to make as terrific a scene as the most imaginative eye or ear could

As yet the enemy reserved his fire.

Two women stood suddenly face to face in the entrance-room of the house.

"My sister, my little sister!" shrieked the girl.

"My child, my child!" gasped out the elder.

"I left her beside you sleeping in the wagon," said the girl.

"I woke frightened," said the pale mother, "and thought you had taken
her--you did, you did--where is she?"

"I laid her beside you," again answered the girl.

The elder one burst through the group that crowded the room, and put her
hand to the door-latch.  Ormsby stood sentry there.  "No one can pass,"
said he; "the house is closed while the enemy advances."  The woman
raised her hands imploringly, her lips moved, and she had just power to
articulate the words, "My child!"  Ormsby's heart had been softened by
gentle companionship--he opened the door, the pale woman rushed upon the
stoep, flew down the steps--soon they heard her laughing hysterically;
"Let me in, let me in," she cried.  Ormsby opened the door again, and
she entered, bearing her infant in her arms.  Something followed her
overhead; a sharp whizz made all draw back; the door was slammed to, but
not before a bullet had buried itself in the wall beyond--the little
child pointing to the splintering bricks, with a merry laugh.

Then the occupants of Annerley knew that the enemy encircled the
settlement; the shots soon began to answer each other swift and sharp.

That part of the building which was commanded by the hill in the rear
was defended by a wall of earth some twelve feet high; fortunately, the
hill sloped abruptly and was lower than the rest, so that there was no
great range for assegais, and the enemy's shots were fired at random--
they told, however, among the cattle, and the chief on the white horse,
watching his opportunity, made a dash at a side gate, and succeeded in
forcing an entrance to the kraals between the vineyard and the redoubt.
The confusion that followed is indescribable; the settlers fearing to
fire on the besiegers, lest they should kill the cattle; the beasts
lowing, the sheep bleating, horses flying about wild and terrified, and
the Kafirs yelling, whistling, shouting, and goading the frantic animals
forward with their weapons, till they fairly succeeded in clearing the
stock-yard, the spectators on the ridges above dancing about between the
fires, and mocking at the poor settlers, four of whom had fallen,
severely, if not mortally, wounded.

May was flitting about, perfectly reckless of the flying bullets, and
when the Kafirs cheered their comrades, he would wait for a pause, and
then set up a laugh of derision, crying out, "Shoot higher, shoot
higher;" while, in fact, the balls were whizzing many feet above the
heads of those at whom they were aimed.  Now May would crouch behind the
redoubt, single out his man, get him in a certain position, where the
fires glaring on brim lit him up as a mark, and then, with an original
remark, a grin, and a gibber, would bring him down, draw a long breath,
cut a caper, and anon, lying at frill length, would load his musket in
the dark, and go to work again, _con amore_.

The enemy in front meanwhile were busy in trying to dislodge the poor
farm-people, who had tied their _span_ (team) oxen to their wagons, and
drew closer every moment to the building.  Frankfort stood on the stoep
directing the defence, and striving, by keeping the Kafirs at bay, to
prevent bloodshed as far as possible; but the chief on the white horse,
having seen the cattle from the kraals safely whistled off, resolved, in
the true spirit of rapacity, to have more, and, with a phalanx of his
warriors, advanced at a rapid pace up the avenue.

Then Frankfort, standing on the upper step of the stoep, said, in a
clear, calm, but most decided tone--

"Man the gun."

And four men, who had been trained to the deadly exercise, took their

The firing from the wagons ceased; in the rear all was comparatively
still, for the enemy was resting on his arms, and the settlers were
carrying in their wounded.  The Kafirs, unprepared for the reception it
was deemed necessary to greet them with, came up, quivering their
assegais, and shouting their war-cry.  In their imagination, the
settlers were paralysed--they were within seven hundred yards of the

"Fire!" said Frankfort.

The word rose strong and clear above the savage chorus.

A dazzling flash!--a wreath of smoke--a roar--a sharp sound of a ball
cleaving the air, and the dark mass of human beings burst asunder like a
splintered oak.

The shrieks of startled men rose to the sky, that, lurid as the vaults
of the infernal regions, burned fiercely overhead, and the
compassionate-hearted Frankfort shuddered at the shout of exultation
uttered by the settlers as they saw the havoc the discharge of the gun
had effected, and the dispersion of the enemy in front.

It may be imagined that Daveney's mind had been so disturbed by the
renewal of anxiety about his daughter, as to render him scarcely fit to
meet the emergencies of the hour; hence the surprise of the
cattle-kraals, an advantage the Kafirs fortunately cared not to improve,
since they quitted their ground as soon as they had collected the stock.
The aperture was immediately closed and manned with steady hands, and,
as the besieged were beginning to suffer from the enemy on the hills,
and the water irrigating the vineyard was discovered to be cut off, the
magistrate deemed it advisable to draw the rear guard within the house;
the front was not likely to be attacked again, the gun occasionally
making play along the avenue.

Among the defences, Daveney had erected a small block-house, or square
tower of stone; this was well provisioned, and contained the principal
stores of ammunition.  This building was now under the command of Mr
Trail, who, with some of the younger hands, kept the enemy in check from
attacking the trellis-work uniting the vineyard with the house.
Bitterly, indeed, did the good man deplore the necessity for action; but
there was no alternative, and he calmly directed the movements of his
subordinates in keeping off the Kafirs, who drew near with lighted
brands.  The house, built of stone and roofed with zinc, would have
withstood an attack by fire; but the destruction of property and
inconvenience attending the ignition of the outworks would have been
very serious.

To this block-house Mr Daveney determined to remove his still
insensible daughter as soon as a lull in the siege permitted it; and the
chief attraction being withdrawn, it was likely the enemy would retire
for a time; indeed he would probably have done so before; but the
destruction, at a single blow, of so many of the band, elicited a thirst
for revenge, which the abler warriors declared their intention of
satisfying, swearing, by the bones of the great chief Gwanga, that they
would "eat up" the white man's kraal, and trample the inmates to dust!

Banishing for the time his own domestic anxieties, Daveney went from man
to man of his little garrison, and, returning with them from the redoubt
to the house, concentrated his rearward force, and, drawing up a body of
men in line, poured forth a heavy volley of musketry just as the enemy,
having rushed down the hills, had succeeded again in reaching the top of
the parapet.  This daunted the Kafirs considerably, and they drew off in
skirmishing order, dragging their dead and wounded with them; and thus
encumbered, the rage of the fight moderated, and the settlers had time
to wipe the smoke and blood from their faces, take breath, and refresh
themselves with some water, which Mrs Trail, aided by Fitje, served out
to them as carefully as if it had been wine; for she believed, like
others, that this was but the beginning of a long season of tumult and

Mr Daveney ascended the staircase leading to his daughter's apartment;
he carried no light, for day was approaching.  A shadow flitted by,
noiseless and swift, and he heard the latch of a side door, which had
been unbarred, lifted quickly, and the door cautiously closed.  He
thought little of it; but, on mustering the attendants, it was
discovered that little Sana, Eleanor's especial _protegee_, was missing.
She was Zoonah's sister, and, having been present at the scene which
followed the examination of the assegai, had, in the confusion,
possessed herself of the weapon, and, gliding along a vegetable garden
flanking one end of the house, soon escaped to a kloof in the hills;
and, ascertaining Zoonah's route from some of the scouts, followed his
footsteps for two days, when she came up with him on the banks of a
river, whence they could perceive, on a distant elevation, an encampment
of British troops.  She related the issue of Zoonah's manoeuvre, and he
departed, and told Lyle, as will be shown, how his mission had


Poor Eleanor!

"She lay upon her pillow, pale," her cheek ashy white, and cold as clay.
The expression of utter hopelessness is seldom blended with that of
terror, for the grave of Hope is generally that of Fear also.  But this
poor young creature seemed to have been singled out by Fortune as a
worthy victim for her angry caprices in every phase.  Yes, utterly
despairing, she lay moaning softly, like a child that can scarce
comprehend its pain; but the large eye, usually so soft and downcast,
now shone with a wild lustre, and glanced rapidly and uneasily around.
Even her father's tread alarmed her--her lips quivered with affright,
and she gazed long at him before she could quite believe it was he.

Marion was sobbing, as though her overcharged heart would burst.  Mr
Daveney took Eleanor's cold hand within his agitated palm.  She tried to
smile in his face; it was the saddest smile you can imagine.  Mrs
Daveney, overwhelmed with anxiety on her husband's account, had, on
Eleanor's recovering from her death-like trance, descended to the
trellised passage, and there watched the progress of the siege, till, on
the wounded being brought in, she had shared with Mrs Trail and Fitje
their duties towards them; poor Fitje running out at times to call May,
that she might employ him within--May sometimes answering her summons,
but oftener disobeying.

There were no cases requiring surgical skill--alas! those whose wounds
had disabled their limbs lay dead within the redoubt, speared by the
assegai of the relentless savage.  Three had fallen, never to rise
again, and within the house rose the wailing sounds of "lamentation and
mourning and woe!"  They reached the upper apartments.  Eleanor's senses
were awakened at the cry of sorrow from the women.

She spoke for the first time.

"The world seems filled with grief," said she, and then looked vacantly
from her father's face to Marion's, and back again, with an air of sad

Mr Daveney took his stricken daughter in his arms; Marion followed.
Mrs Daveney waited for them at the foot of the stairs.  Loud cries of
anguish burst upon them.  Children were sitting on the floor, weeping
for lost fathers or brothers.  A woman had fainted, and her baby tried
in vain to rouse her.

May drew a little cordon round the father and daughters, as they hurried
to the block-house, for shots were still interchanging between the
besieged and the besiegers, and Mrs Daveney, vacating her office in
favour of the matrons who had borne their part in the strife, followed
with Mrs Trail and Fitje, the latter carrying her sleeping infant in
her arms.

The grey light of morning was streaming through the loops of the little
tower.  The enemy was evidently on the retreat, and firing as he
retired; and Mr Daveney, having seen Eleanor again laid upon a couch,
and gradually awakening to the consciousness of her mother's presence,
returned to the dwelling to restore order, as far as he could, among the
mourners, the wounded, and the untiring, fighting members of the

Ormsby's first inquiry was for Eleanor--next for Marion; Ormsby was
becoming accustomed to think of others before himself.  Frankfort, for
the first time since the beginning of the siege, cast himself on the
sofa, and, after several minutes' deliberation, inquired of Mr Daveney
whether he thought it likely that the troops had taken the field.

"I have not the slightest doubt of it," replied the magistrate; "the
demonstrations we have witnessed to-night are the result of information
from the tribes to the westward that the army is on the march; it will
not be long now before the expresses reach us,--that is, if the savages
do not cut them off.  Sir John Manvers is new to this country; I hope he
will be guided by good advisers, and send strong escorts with his

"The escorts will of course return to the camps," observed Frankfort
inquiringly, "or will they proceed further?"

"I shall take advantage of the first arrival," answered his host, "to
communicate with some of the farms in the district; but," he added,
anticipating Frankfort's intentions, "they will return hither with all
possible speed after delivering their dispatches."

"Then," said Frankfort, rising, and clasping his host's hand warmly in
his own, "it will be time for me to go; if my regiment is not in the
field, I doubt not Sir John Manvers will permit me to accompany his
force as a volunteer; or I may be useful to him in heading a band of

All he could say in addition was, "I fear I shall ever remember Annerley
too well.  You will, I hope, sometimes think of me as linked to you by
being a sharer of the calamity that haunts your house."

Only the commonplace remarks of life passed afterwards between these two
good men.

Mr Daveney admitted that this was clearly his duty as a soldier.

Three weary days dragged their slow length along ere the expresses
arrived.  The Kafirs had occupied the immediate frontier in such
multitudes, that no small force could move; but now, having plundered
the settlements, and disposed of their prey to their hearts' content,
they had dispersed, and spread themselves along the bushy banks of the
great Fish River, waiting their opportunities of crossing into the
colony, which, had they known their own strength, they might have
devastated from the Fish River to the sea.

The dead were decently laid out beneath the mulberry-tree, the bell
swinging heavily in the oppressive air of a sultry autumn day.  Here the
mourners gathered round to take a last look of the uncoffined corpses of
the brave.  The household, with few exceptions, assembled to listen to
the prayer and exhortation pronounced by the good missionary, for the
pressure of circumstances would not admit of their lingering over the
grave, which was to contain all three.  Then the comrades of the poor,
sacrificed settlers, with muskets reversed, formed in funeral order
round the bearers, and Mr Daveney having taken his place as chief
mourner, the sorrowful procession wended its way to the ground which had
been purchased for a chapel; and there, in sad and hurried fashion, the
deep, deep grave was filled.

It was well, indeed, that the master of Annerley had provisioned his
little fortress, the inmates of which amounted to forty persons, the
greater proportion women and children.  The defenders of the wagon
barricades had saved their span-oxen, but it would have been imprudent
to kill these unless driven to the necessity, as, without oxen, how were
they to travel, if obliged to desert the settlement?

Daveney himself contemplated removing his family as soon as
circumstances would permit; for, although the buildings were safe, a sad
scene of devastation presented itself when day dawned upon it, after the
terrors of the night attack--broken palisades, scattered thorn-bushes,
the earth torn and bloody with the fearful struggles of men and beasts,
the vineyard laid waste and trampled, assegais half buried in heaps of
rubbish, and sheep that had been stabbed, and left to die, running
hither and thither, mutilated, and bleating piteously.  The pretty
trellis-work was battered to pieces, and the walls defaced with

The enemy had taken his departure towards the colony, but this was only
suspected, till the fourth day, when the expresses from Sir John
Manvers's camp brought news of his whereabouts.

Then the younger men of the garrison sallied forth to the known
fastnesses for cattle, and brought back a few foot-sore beasts, which
had strayed from the rest; and the good host held a consultation with
Mr Trail, on the re-organisation of the little band under a stout old
settler, no longer able to ride, but quite capable of defending a post.

Marion looked from the loops of the block-house, and saw the departure
of her lover and Frankfort with an aching heart.  It was known beyond
doubt that the Kafirs were mustering in the mountains; it was fully
believed that there must be an action; and even this, with such an
enemy, in such a country, could not be decisive.

She consoled herself by contrasting her own lot with that of her
unfortunate sister.  Frankfort had not trusted himself to a last
interview with Eleanor; Ormsby's adieu had been as tender to her as to
her sister.  Buoyant of spirit as he was, he yet could not help
admitting that the aspect of affairs was very grave.

Marion watched the two young men and their heavily-armed escort as they
traversed the plain through a slanting shower of rain, so determined,
that the space between the sky and earth looked as if it was ruled
slantwise with thick leaden lines.  She could not see them long for the
storm, and she was descending from her look-out to her sister's bedside,
when she heard May, who was on the top of the block-house, exclaim,
"More riders--more news!"

A dozen men galloped from the eastward at speed.  They brought the
welcome intelligence that Sir Adrian Fairfax had arrived at the mouth of
the Buffalo River with reinforcements from Cape Town, and that the
burghers from the upper districts had rallied round Sir John Manvers.

"Hurrah!" cried May, "we've got the Kafirs in a calabash;" and May was
right--the warriors were in the mountains between the forces of the two
generals; but the cattle, the great source of contention, was far
eastward, under the charge of a chief professedly friendly to England.

Mr Daveney hastened to send Sir Adrian a dispatch announcing his
suspicions of Lyle's confederacy with the rebel Boers, but suggested
that the idea should not be mooted for the present.


The roar of cannon and the sharp rattle of musketry proclaimed to the
settlers at Annerley, on the 18th of March, that the colonial forces to
the westward were engaged with the Kafir warriors.

It thundered on till night; then the fiery telegraphs were lit again
upon the mountain ridges--silence fell--heaven and earth grew dark
again.  Morning came, the sun struggled with flying mists, and again the
echoes from shot and shell and musket reverberated from kloof to kloof,
and filled the hearts of the listeners with terror and dismay.

The little bushman kept watch upon the top of the block-house from dawn
till sunset, and Marion shared his vigil for hours.  They were strongly
contrasted, were those two beings, both fashioned by God's wise hand.
The girl young, blooming, sunny-haired, and graceful; the bushman
stunted, ugly, and uncouth; nevertheless, they had many thoughts and
feelings in common.

Another day was passing, and still the battle raged; but in the
afternoon there was a lull.  The very elements were still, and a soft
rain descended gently.

Still May and Marion kept watch together.

"Express!" shouted May.

Marion's lips were closed rigidly, her teeth chattered within; she knew
not how she reached the lower apartment: her father had left it; the
door stood open; the riders galloped in by the trampled vineyard paths.

"They are beaten, of course?" said Mr Daveney to the captain of the

"Beaten, but not conquered," replied the latter gravely; "and we have

Marion, statue-like, appeared at her father's side.

"A hundred men and five officers," continued the burgher captain.

"We had friends in the action," said Mr Daveney, trying to be firm.
"Can you tell us if they are safe?"

"Their names, sir?"

"Frankfort and Ormsby."

"I have the list of officers killed and wounded," said the man; and
first he looked in his hat, next he fumbled in his capacious pockets,
then he turned his haversack round,--it was not there; examined his
pouch--"No; he was afraid he had lost it."  How little could he
understand the agonised suspense of Marion.

He took off his wide-flapped hat again.

"See under the feather," said May.

The bushman's quick eye had detected a paper stuck in the string
encircling the hat; it was the list.  May snatched it from him, and
handed it to Mr Daveney.

Neither Ormsby's nor Frankfort's name was there.

Marion burst into tears of gratitude and excitement.

The burgher spoke truth when he said the enemy was beaten, but not
conquered.  May said there were holes in the calabash, and so it was;
the warrior bands were broken, but they infested the colony in all
directions, walking in and out of it as it pleased them, by manifold
kloofs and passes untrod by settlers.

It was Sir John Manvers's division which had been engaged.  Sir Adrian
was still to the eastward, preparing to march beyond the Orange River;
the messages of defiance addressed to Sir John Manvers were referred to

The master of Annerley, in utter dread of Lyle's reappearance at no
distant period, determined on retiring, as soon as possible, to the
lower and more civilised districts of the Cape Colony; and Mrs Daveney,
eagerly according with his plan, prepared at once for the journey, which
was to be undertaken as opportunities offered of travelling with

Meanwhile comforting letters were received from Ormsby.  Frankfort had
joined Sir Adrian's force.  Eleanor tried to rouse herself to exertion,
and the day arrived when the family was to quit Annerley for ever.

May, to his infinite joy, was, with Fitje and his child, to accompany
the Daveneys.

"Be not heart-sore, missis," said he to Eleanor; "when the night gets
darkest, day is nearest;" and taking the long whip from Griqua Adam, he
gave the signal for departure by a loud sharp crack, that echoed like
twenty whips up the kloof.

The colonists, men, women, and children, with Mr and Mrs Trail, stood
at the gate of the avenue.  Some begged to say "Good-bye" to the young
"missis," and the curtains of the wagon were drawn aside for a minute;
but those who caught sight of Eleanor turned away frightened and
sorrowful at her ghastly looks, and begged the rest not to trouble her.

Her mother was beside her.  Eleanor's head was pillowed on her
sympathising bosom.  Truly did that mother deplore her own blind,
obstinate folly in trusting her unfortunate daughter's happiness to that
which, had she chosen to look deeply into it, she would have seen was
but a chance of well-doing after all.

Oh! how many are there who _will_ work for themselves, instead of
waiting for Providence's gracious helping hand.

Mr Daveney and Marion were on horseback.

The people pressed forward to say "Farewell."  Father and daughter had a
hand for each, and one blue-eyed, fair-haired child would be lifted up
to be kissed.

"Ah!" said an Englishwoman, "bless Miss Marion! she has no pride."

"Troth, an ye'r wrong," interposed an Irish one.  "Sure it's herself
that has the real pride--the pride of the lady, that knows she does not
demean herself by showing the good-will to all God's creatures."

The little procession moved slowly and silently across the grassy plain.
The people at Annerley watched it till the glittering bayonets of the
escort were lost in the haze; and when "the master" was fairly out of
sight, Markland, the old settler, put the house in order, and assumed
the command.

Daveney had planned his line of march intending to avoid Sir John
Manvers's camp; but, on the third day's journey, the sound of harmonious
voices swelling in chorus struck on the surprised ears of the party.  A
deep glen lay just below; the cavalcade halted; they could see nothing,
for the cliffs overhung the gorge.  The sounds drew near--'twas an old
Scotch air, very martial and stirring, especially in that deep solitude.
In front was an opening, an outlet from the glen.  Mr Daveney and
Marion rode forward, and looked down.

Soldiers singing on a march!  Reader, did you ever hear it?  Ah, it is
worth a world of fine, well-taught, scientific melodies!  You should
have seen them in this mountain-pass.  They were Highlanders, not
kilted, but they wore the "tartan trews."

Beating time with steady tread to the noble chorus, they passed below
the cliff from which Daveney and his daughter Marion watched them.
Truly this had a singular effect in that ravine, so like a Scottish
glen, with mountains looming far and near, and--oh! rare in Southern
Africa--a waterfall tumbling and foaming over hoary rocks.

Softly it rose and fell upon the air, again burst forth in full harmony
as the glen widened, and died away in the shade where the pathway
narrowed between tall hills.

All was still once more, save the murmur of the waterfall.  The Daveneys
took their station for the night.  The escort formed its cordon round
the little bivouac, and May directed the lighting of the fires and
preparations for the usual sunset meal.

Midnight--Daveney held that watch himself.

"Who goes there?"

"Friends," answered a voice--it was Ormsby's.  He was in command of a
company of soldiers.  Sir John Manvers was extending his force.  The
Daveneys found themselves unexpectedly within the lines of the British



I have said that the salute of the horsemen who advanced to meet Vander
Roey's band was answered by a corresponding movement from the latter.
Each party moved along its path in stern silence.  They met at the foot
of the lull, and then palm met palm, as though sealing a sullen but
determined compact.

Vander Roey's countenance proclaimed evil tidings.  No one liked to ask
him questions; besides, the very advance of the pilgrims over the hills
was a signal that hope was lost.  Lodewyk was the spokesman, while
Vander Roey and his wife rode forward with Vanbloem, a son of the
settler introduced in the early chapters of this work.  He was young,
active, brave, and clever.  Each of these two men had much to tell the

Lodewyk strode on declaiming--Vander Roey told again how he had been
turned from Sir John Manvers's door with scorn.

The colonists had sympathised with him at the insult, but what could
they do?  All hope of redress of grievances was over, and no better time
could be chosen for _trekking_.  The troops were marching towards
Kafirland.  Sir John was as bewildered as a bird in a mist.  Here were
men--pointing to Lyle and Brennard--who could tell them that the eyes of
England, and France, and Holland were upon them.  Lyle was a patriot,
had suffered in the cause of patriotism; he had been cast upon the
shores of Africa for a great purpose.  They already knew the services
that Brennard had rendered them; well, Lyle had been an able colleague--
his plans had proved his ability; through his means arms and ammunition
had been safely conveyed through various branches of the colony; every
Boer was armed, every honest man was roused to a just sense of his
forlorn and degraded position; but the time had come--if they were
permitted to go in peace, well and good; if not--

"Ah! if not," said Lodewyk's brother, "we will dress ourselves in
thunder, and mark a boundary-line for ourselves with blood."

They reached the bivouac: it was more wretched than the last.  The
plains were saturated with water from the heavy rains which had
prevailed on the eastern flats.  There were but few tents or
wagon-tilts, and these were ragged and damp, serving as poor coverings
to the sickly, shivering wretches beneath.

Lyle's first salutation from a sallow man, who sat making a coffin for
his wife and baby, was, "Welcome to the place of graves."  He passed on;
some squalid children in rags were stirring up a pool of stagnant water
to find frogs; an agueish woman with parched lips remonstrated with them
for troubling the waters; she wished to slake her thirst.  Two women
were grinding corn between stones, others looked greedily on.  There was
neither milk nor bread.  Some wretched sheep, lately brought in by a
foraging party, awaited their doom--they had been earned at great cost;
three men lay dying of their wounds; in truth, it was a sorry sight.

Poor Gray was more disheartened than ever.  The Boers had begun to look
upon him with a suspicious eye; it was evident he was not a volunteer.
He felt that he was despised, and his heart died within him.  He sat
down upon an old pack-saddle; he looked so weary, so dejected, that
young Vanbloem's wife took pity on him.  She was an Englishwoman.  She
spoke kindly to him in his own language.  The deserter could have wept,
but for very shame.

"Come hither," said she, "you poor young Englishman; has your country
done you any wrong, that you should turn rebel?  You look miserable
enough in mind and body, but I can give you something for your heart to
rest upon,--see here."

She raised a canvass screen, and showed him Amayeka fast asleep.
Amayeka had found a kind heart, and trusted it.

Gray's face shone with sudden light.

Anne Vanbloem dropped the screen: "There," said she; "it is good for you
to know she is safe; be satisfied with that for the present."

Poor Amayeka!  Vanbloem was the man who had rescued her from the
torture, and his wife "had compassion on her."

Gray would have given much to have poured out his heart to the young
Dutchman; but Vander Roey's disastrous mission and its results had
fanned the flame of rebellion to such a height, that no one could expect
to meet with a hearing who was not resolved on freedom, or on fighting
for it; besides, Gray knew that his confession might draw on him the
imputation of cowardice, and then--alas for resolution!--here was
Amayeka, the only being on earth who truly loved him.

Doda was as philosophical on discovering that his daughter was in safe
hands as he would have been had he heard that she had died by torture.
In the latter case, he would have excused his apparent want of feeling
by alleging that grief was useless--a Kafir has as little idea of
gratuitous sorrow as gratuitous labour.

Brennard expected that Zoonah would bring them news from the colony, and
it was resolved in council that, on the arrival of the scouts from
different points, if the intelligence of each agreed with the other, the
bivouac should be entirely broken up.

Vander Roey had brought some supplies with him, and parties were formed
to obtain provisions from the hunting-grounds.  In these expeditions
Gray redeemed his character for skill and courage, albeit he was no
longer strong and lithe of limb as he had been.

He saw little of Amayeka.  Anne Vanbloem had her own plans about her,
and changed the subject whenever Gray alluded to her.  He saw, however,
that the young Boeress meant kindly, and was obliged to content himself
with that idea.

Anne and Gray were left together one afternoon; he had been assisting
her in carrying goods from her tent to the wagons, which were to move
towards the Modder River on the morrow with various stores and a strong
escort of the Boers, Vander Roey's object being to advance gradually
beyond the colony, and to give battle, if driven to such an alternative,
in a position of which he knew the advantages.  Thus the elder men,
women, children, goods, and arms, were sent off from time to time by
small divisions.  The Kafir scouts, and five or six more traders from
the British settlements, were anxiously expected; and, although the
Boers did not contemplate success on the side of the savages in the
present strife in Kafirland, they knew that the warfare would be such as
to harass the troops, and keep them employed for a considerable time.
In the mean time he despatched his message of defiance to Sir John

"It is very clear, young man," remarked Anne Vanbloem, "that your heart
is not in this business."

"I am a miserable creature," replied the poor young deserter; "my heart
is, indeed, quite opposed to the treachery I am called upon to join in."

"And mine also," said Anne; "I do not see my way; but, by God's help,
Vanbloem shall have no part in this war."

It may be believed that Lyle improved every hour of his new acquaintance
with Vander Roey.  He ascertained from the chief that the great body of
the Dutch had formed a settlement near a river, which, it was necessary
to cross ere the English could satisfy themselves of the existence of
the great Salt Lake.  The Boers and aborigines had explored this part
long ago [Note 1]; but men of science professed themselves unbelievers
on this point.  Lyle showed his colleagues the advantage of such a
position, and stirred up the rest of the unfortunate wanderers into the
belief that it would be as unavailing as cowardly to yield without a
struggle.  Rumours had reached Lyle and Brennard of the prospect of Sir
Adrian Fairfax's return to South Africa, but they determined on keeping
this to themselves.


The scouts came in, Zoonah among them; Lyle took the latter aside, and
learned from him how he had hovered about the neighbourhood of Annerley,
holding daily parleys with his little sister--the traitress!--how she
had brought him back the assegai, and related the issue of its

"Ha! ha!" thought Lyle, laughing bitterly; "they know now that I am not
at the bottom of the sea, as they hoped."

The reports of the scouts encouraged some and daunted others.

On the one hand, Sir John Manvers was harassed by the Kafirs--on the
other, Sir Adrian's sudden appearance in the heart of the country struck
terror into the minds of the less resolute.

The season of dewy mornings and bitter nights was fast approaching,
sickness was increasing in the camp; Lyle, Brennard--all the English
traitors, in fact--urged Vander Roey to retire to the north-eastward
without delay.  With his usual policy, the former had contrived to send
forward a member from almost every family, and thus all had an interest
in falling into a position where they might make a stand against the
British forces.

The chill dawn of an April morning saw the bivouac again broken up, and
by noon the plain was vacant.

Vanbloem rode in the rear with a heavy heart--he was beginning hourly to
repent; Gray was beside him.  Each knew what was passing in the other's
mind, but neither spoke.

It was midnight; the wanderers had halted at the foot of a bill on the
site of an old mission station--part of the house still remained.  The
rain fell in torrents, a few stunted bushes were all that afforded
shelter to the poor pilgrims of the desert.

Gray heard his name called.

It was Vanbloem--he came for help; he had removed his wife into the
dilapidated building--Amayeka was with her; ere long he hoped to behold
his first-born; but he was in dismay at the sudden pain and peril of
Anne, who, hurried by the journey, and terrified at the prospect of her
husband leaving her, had been brought sooner into her trouble than she

Gray assisted Vanbloem in removing certain comforts from his wagon to
the deserted mission-garden; Amayeka came out under the dripping trees,
and received them from her master's hand, for the poor girl was now in
the capacity of a domestic.

God was gracious.  Vanbloem held a living girl in his arms ere the night
had passed; but it was impossible for his wife to be removed, and he
would not leave her desolate.

How Lyle cursed the woman!

"Oh!" thought Gray, "that I might stay with them, and wait my doom from
the hands of my countrymen."

He liked Vanbloem; he had told him his history, and now proposed
remaining with him, and stating to Vander Roey his resolution not to
turn traitor.

"And," said Vanbloem, "what reply do you expect?"

"Perhaps," said Gray, very quietly, "he may order me to be shot on the

Vanbloem looked at the young deserter.  "You are no coward," thought he.
"You are wrong," he continued, speaking aloud; "he would not shoot you,
but they would brand you with a coward's name.  I pity you from my soul.
May God have compassion on you, and help you!  I see the finger of
Providence in what has just occurred to myself.  I will remain in the
desert with my wife and Amayeka."

Gray led the young Dutchman to a retired spot, and poured forth his
whole soul to him.

"I leave Amayeka," said he, "to you and your kind English wife; tell her
never to forget poor Gray, the deserter."

Vander Roey felt that Vanbloem would never join his band again.  They
parted friends, however, the latter resolving, if opportunity required
it, to act as intercessor between the Government and his countrymen.

Sir Adrian was indeed utterly confounded at hearing that Lyle was alive,
at liberty, and at work in such a field.  His career from the time he
had left the Cape had been, as I have shown, short and mischievous.  He
had been foremost as a Chartist leader, had organised bodies of men in
Wales and Cornwall; but had, at a fortunate moment for his country and
the people he had misled, been seized by the Government, tried, found
guilty, and transported, ere the wretched men under him had recovered
their breath, after their frantic but useless demonstrations.

Well, there was enough work before Sir Adrian for the cleverest and most
active of governors.  In front were thousands of savages at war with
troops and colonists; to the north-eastward, with a space between of 400
miles, through a difficult country, was a sullen, determined enemy, well
prepared with arms and ammunition, bent alike on revenge and the
establishment of privileges "dearer to these Boers than life."

Mr Daveney soon found that it would be madness to attempt proceeding
with his family to the more civilised districts.  He therefore contented
himself by forming a little encampment of his own, some fifteen miles
from Sir John Manvers's.  Major Frankfort, having received an offer of
active employment from Sir Adrian, had joined the division on the banks
of the Buffalo River.  Ormsby was in command of a detachment of his own
corps, under Sir John.

Here we must leave our friends for a short time.  The good master of
Annerley set to work upon the erection of a temporary dwelling, round
which was drawn a _cordon militaire_.  His advice and assistance would
have been of the utmost advantage to Sir John Manvers, but
circumstances, which shall hereafter be explained, prevented their
holding any but necessary communications with each other, and no
alternative was left the General but to harass his savage antagonists
till they were compelled to sue for peace.

Meanwhile many Boers in the lower districts, hearing that Vander Roey
was on his way to join those who had already _trekked_ beyond the
boundary, deserted their farms and bivouacs, and on coming up with him
learned that he had resolved on halting in a position where he might
give battle to the British forces, or pause in security till the
helpless part of the community had reached a more habitable tract of

It was to Gray a melancholy thing to hear so many English voices among
those who came, day by day, into the rebel camp.  Most of these were
deserters like himself; but, unlike him, alas! they entered with zest
into the prospect of battle with their fellow-subjects.

It was June, but not like that balmy month in England.  All day long a
blinding shower of snow had been falling; it was bitterly cold, and a
cruel north-east wind drove the storm before the Dutch videttes of
Vander Roey's camp, who, posted on a stony ridge, kept the look-out for
a reconnoitring party, long expected.

Night drew on; rain and sleet veiled the prospect; the videttes
descended the ridge, and joined their comrades round the great bonfire,
which was no easy matter to keep up, from the scarcity of wood.

Wrapped in their heavy coats, with hats flapped over their brows, their
arms at hand, the red light of their pipes irradiating their bearded and
swarthy faces, the rebels listened to the alternate tirades of Lyle and

It was these two connoisseurs in human nature who had taken care that
there should be plenty of tobacco among the stores of the bivouac.  The
Boers they knew would make the better listeners for this solace.

It was a scene fit for a painter of the wild and picturesque.  Rising
abruptly in front was the stony ridge, the outline dimly marked against
the murky sky; two or three ragged tents and as many wagons were drawn
close to the fire, which, from time to time, emitting its fitful light,
shone on none but angry or anxious faces.

Vander Roey paced restlessly up and down between his wife's wagon and
the fire.  Madame Vander Roey was the only woman in the bivouac.  She
sat with the curtains of the wagon drawn aside, listening for the
approach of expected horsemen.  The wind had died away, and the sleet
continued to fall noiselessly.  The silence of nature was alone
disturbed by Lyle's voice declaiming, and by an occasional challenge
from sentinels.  The two little bushboys, Lynx and Frolic, wrapped in
skins and coiled up under the wagon, peered with their sharp eyes into
the mist.

"Here they come," said Lynx.  Frolic laid his ear to the earth,
satisfied himself that horses' feet were beating the ground at a
distance, and announced the fact to his mistress, who called Vander

He was already by her side.

"Who comes there?"

"Who goes there?" shouted sentinel number one; it was repeated by number
two, and in an instant the rebels were on their feet.

"Who comes there?"

"Friends!" and about a dozen horsemen galloped in hot haste down the
stony acclivity.

The foremost threw himself from his horse: it was Hermanus the
stutterer; the light from the fire shone upon his face; in his endeavour
to speak, he made hideous grimaces.  Lynx and Frolic laughed.  Lyle
kicked the one aside, and struck Lynx such a blow with his rifle, that
the boy was stunned for a few minutes, but recovered to gibber and
curse--he had learned to swear in English.

The riders brought word that Sir Adrian was on his way to attack the
rebels, if they were unwilling to listen to terms.  The Kafirs were
coaxed into quietude for a while, that Sir John Manvers might follow the
Governor, if necessary, with a _corps de reserve_; it was clear that all
other political questions were to be laid aside, that a heavy blow might
be struck against the Boers.

Vander Roey had never anticipated the sudden appearance of Sir Adrian
and his troops in the heart of the country, nevertheless there seemed
nothing for it now but to fight or surrender, and the cunning English
traitors implicated in the rebellion, men who had nothing to lose,
persuaded him, through Lyle and Brennard, that to yield at once would be
to draw on themselves greater odium, and as heavy a penalty as though
they resisted the law to the death.

"Let it," said Lyle, addressing Vander Roey, in the presence of his
wife, "be only a feint of resistance, if you will, but do not, after all
your proclamations and messages to that insolent General, throw down
your arms as soon as you face the troops; they will laugh, at you,
despise you, and you will deserve to be beaten like a dog."

Vander Roey could not help reminding Lyle, that it was he who had
dictated his very last "message" to Sir John Manvers, to the effect
that, "as Sir John, had not written to Vander Roey, the latter should
answer him as he chose, and that his determination now was to fight, to
conquer, or to die."

Lyle laughed scornfully, raising his voice, and thus gathering a crowd
round him, while Madame Vander Roey, undaunted, but anxious, watched her
husband's countenance by the light of the wagon lantern.

"It is well for you to talk thus," said Hermanus the stutterer, who,
once set going, could talk glibly; "you may run away in the scuffle, and
you know you cannot escape justice if we yield--you are speaking in
favour of your own interests.  I say it is folly to fight now,--make a

"Never," shouted Vander Roey, suddenly kindling with anger, as he
remembered his contemptuous, dismissal from Sir John Manvers's
residence.  "Fight or fly,--which shall it be, my friends?  Speak, for
before daylight we must be up and doing."

He raised his lofty figure to its utmost height and looked round, his
wife leaned anxiously over his shoulder; the lantern, swinging to and
fro, showed the expression on the face of each; hers was anxious, yet
fearless; his brows were knit, his eyes flashed, and he added, "Let the
majority decide; remember my watchword is still `War--war to the

The English traitors sent up their hats in the air, and cheered the
leader, and all the young Boers did the same.  Our convict had taken
care that not a youth should leave the force; within a circle of two
miles behind the strong ridge there were four hundred good men and true,
between the ages of twenty-five and thirty; the whole force amounted to
eight hundred, and few of the oldest had reached the age of fifty.

Lyle turned to congratulate Madame Vander Roey on her husband's
decision; the curtains of her wagon were closed--he lifted a corner, her
head, covered with her scarlet handkerchief, was almost buried in the
cushions of her bed; by the light of the lantern he could see her whole
frame was shaking with emotion, and stifled groans issued from her lips.

He dropped the screen with a sneer; "She will come to her senses
by-and-by," muttered he; and he was right.  At dawn, in spite of a wind
which cut like razors, she was busied with Hermanus and others at the
stores hidden in the rocks.

Lyle and Brennard took charge of the "Cape Smoke," and served out to
every man his _sopie_.  The _spirits_ of the bivouac were never suffered
to flag.

The horsemen had been sent on with all speed to the larger encampment of
Boers, Vander Roey's party being in front, to defend and keep possession
of the strong ridge, along which, at intervals, the few guns the rebels
possessed had been ranged.  To the guns were attached the number of men
necessary to work them.  Gray had yielded passively enough to Lyle's
orders on the subject, but that very apathy made the latter more
suspicious of his victim.  Unnoticed by the deserter, he watched him
narrowly, and, all-daring and subtle as he was, felt baffled in his
conjectures as to the probable issue of Gray's forced enlistment in the
rebels' cause.

The position taken up by Vander Roey was the strongest in the whole
country, being a succession of hills covered with large loose stones.
In his front rose the ridge, surmounted by a natural rampart, rendered
more complete by the art of deserters from the corps of Sappers and
Miners.  In the rear was a stream, lined with rushes and long reeds,
fordable to those well acquainted with its depths, but offering no easy
passage to British infantry.  The line of fire extended a full mile.

At dawn of day, the videttes reported the appearance of a mounted
reconnoitring party from the enemy's force, and within half an hour
every man was at his post; Gray taking his place at the gun he was to

Lift aside the curtain of that wagon, reader, and see within, a woman
kneeling and praying in an agony.  Ah! how many there are, who dare
unseen dangers, who even meet the reality of peril with flashing eye, a
fevered cheek, and brow unblenched, but who, in the dread pause between
plan and action, quail at the loud beating of their own hearts!

For months, Madame Vander Roey had looked forward to some such moment as
this--she was accustomed to scenes of danger, she had been present at
those strifes in cattle-lifting which are the common occurrences of a
South African settler's life; but this sudden call to arms against men,
whom her father had been wont to term his "white brethren," rang on her
ear like a knell, and a presentiment of evil overpowered her for the

Still she was persuaded that her husband was right, and she knelt down
and implored help and mercy from Him who is "the Father of the

Reassured after her devotions, she assumed the costume she had lately
worn in camp, and leaving the wagon, untied her horse from the wheel,
saddled and bridled it herself, and mounting it without assistance, rode
along the foot of the hill, inspecting the defences with a steady eye
and considerable judgment.

Her dress was simple enough, a long stuff petticoat serving her for a
habit, her face being shaded by a large straw hat, with the ostrich
feather depending from it.  It was typical of the times, was that
drooping plume, soiled and saturated as it was with the cold mist of
that sad morning.  Her horse, handsome, fleet, and with that easy action
so peculiar to the mountain steeds of Africa, looked somewhat the worse
for scanty rations; and her face, once so radiant with health and joy,
wore a look of intense anxiety, as, on hearing a murmur among the Boers,
she glanced in the direction indicated by their gestures, and saw her
husband heading the large force which he had gone forth to meet, and
descending the low ridge on the other side of the stream.  It was
traversed in silence, and, hurrying forward somewhat irregularly, they
spread out in extended order.

In twenty minutes each had his station assigned him.  Madame Vander Roey
dismounted, and took hers beside her husband, to the right of the
granite rampart.  Gray stood as steady as the rock that screened him.
Brennard assumed the command of the left wing.  Lyle occupied the centre
of the line, where there was a slight bend, and thus he was enabled to
watch both flanks, and keep a close eye on Gray, to whom, as he fell
into his place, he addressed a few words.

"Gray," said Lyle, "do you intend to do your duty?"

"By God's help, I will," was the reply of the young deserter, in a tone
of confidence quite unexpected by the Mephistophiles of the wilderness.

The latter looked at him, sneered, but was satisfied; and then, with his
head bent below the ridge, scrambled over stone and scrub, reached his
post, and there knelt down, his rifle ready for work, and his eye fixed
on the line of march by which the troops were expected.

But rain and sleet still occasionally veiled the prospect in vapour.
The report of the videttes was questioned in its accuracy by some, and
each man strove to pierce the mist, and give the first warning of the
enemy's advance.

A death-like silence reigned throughout that expectant company.

At length the clouds slowly and almost imperceptibly lifted, and here
and there some new feature in the scene developed itself--a solitary
bush, the carcass of an ox, or a grave covered with stones--and,
finally, two mounted men, soldiers of the Cape cavalry, moving leisurely
forward, and, as May would have said, evidently _spenning_.

"By heavens!" exclaimed Lyle, "they see us, and have turned to report.
Confound that fellow Gray, he has run out the gun too far, and these
Totties [Hottentots; particularly those of the Cape corps] have
distinguished its black muzzle among the grey rocks."


It needed no oaths to confirm the truth of his statement--the
reconnoitrers had faced to the rear so suddenly, that there seemed but
little doubt as to the cause of the movement, and a few minutes decided

As the sun came up, the veil of mist was rent in twain, and fully
disclosed to view a small body of English troops, under the command of
Sir Adrian Fairfax.  Lyle unslung his spy-glass, took a deliberate view
of the encampment, and, closing the telescope in haste, exclaimed,
"Every tent is struck--the advance-guard is on the march."

The word passed to the right and left.

Vander Roey, white as death, but steady as ever, glanced his eye, now
along the line, now forward, now in the rear.  His spies had evidently
been mistaken as to the strength of the force; and now reason whispered
him that his chance of success was small, but he had much dependence on
his position.  It was perfect in every way, whereas the British forces
were on open, stony ground; they were new to the locality, and well worn
with a march of thirty miles, which they must have made within twelve

But, as the troops advanced, it appeared that a manoeuvre of Lyle's had
answered his purpose for the present.  To the extreme right, where a
road cut the ridge in two, he had placed several men, who were only to
affect concealment.  It was to this point that the attention of the
advance-guard was evidently directed, for, instead of making a forward
movement, they took an oblique path, intent on attacking the detached
party to their left, who were fully prepared to retreat within a narrow
gorge, capable of containing some twenty men, and defended by a gun
placed at the opening.

Poor Gray was guiltless of running out his piece of ordnance, as Lyle
imagined--the error lay with a less practised hand, but the circumstance
turned the fortune of the hour; for the Boers, misled by the diagonal
march of the soldiers, were somewhat off their guard, and, in imagined
security, watched the forces of the Government.

It was curious and painful to Gray to hear the cool way in which the
deserters of the party made their observations on the scene before them.

"Ha!" said one, who knelt beside him, gazing intently through a fissure
in the rock, "they have got up a company of the old Ninety --th; that
rascal Zoonah said they were to remain in garrison."--An oath or two
filled the space--"they know this part of the country."--"Matthews and
Wilton, and you, Jem Blaine, you belonged to it."--"How they march!"
said Jem Blaine; "they are as fresh as when I saw them at drill at
Graham's Town;"--and the last oath was uttered heartily, and in thorough
good humour, as a strange touch of pride in his old corps brought the
red colour to his hard brown cheek.  "By --, there's my old captain,
Frankfort.  Well done, grenadiers; well done, old fellows--step out.
Look sharp, Frankfort.  Oh!  I see he is a staff man.  God bless you,
old fellow; if you had not been on leave when I had my last lark, I
should have been marching with you now.  You would have recommended me
to mercy;" and then Jem Blaine sat down, turned his back upon the
fissure, and would look no more.

Standing up, leaning on his long roer, his hat at his feet, and great
drops of perspiration on his broad forehead, Vander Roey followed the
troops with his eye.  The mist had not yet quite cleared off, but he
could distinguish the rear of the division.  He saw that the force was
small, but well chosen, but he said nothing.

"They have no artillery," said a young Boer.

Vander Roey made no reply, but watched his wife, who was looking through
a telescope beyond the division.

In another moment Madame Vander Roey exclaimed, "They have artillery; I
see a gun advancing."

She handed the telescope to her husband.

First came the division, consisting of infantry and a small body of Cape
cavalry.  The Boers had gained heart at sight of this little force, and
Vander Roey took it as a sign of the Governor's contempt of his enemy;
still he could scarcely believe that the great Sir Adrian Fairfax would
head a mere handful of men; and, therefore, he did not exult
prematurely.  "Were this the only force," said he to his wife, "we
should powder them to dust in an hour."

But it was not the only force.  The mists hanging to the westward still
screened the barren landscape far in rear of the troops, but ere the
latter had moved half a mile across the broken plain, there emerged, as
from the clouds, four "coal-black steeds," of great power.  These drew a
deadly weapon, and, following them, were two slender pieces of ordnance,
the nature of which was incomprehensible to the unfortunate Dutch, who
soon, however, learned what a rocket could do from their English
opponents.  Added to these was a strong body of infantry, and a troop of
cavalry, protecting the artillery.

Vander Roey's courage and presence of mind did not forsake him.  He saw
at once the advantage to be gained by the false move the enemy was
making.  His plan was to attack him on the broken ground, up which the
infantry must move in skirmishing order, in the endeavour to dislodge
the Boers on the left.

It seemed clear that the General had no idea of the strength of the
rebel forces, and, believing that infantry would rout them out, was bent
on bringing the wretched men to terms without using the artillery or
charging with his cavalry.

But while nearly a mile distant from the stony ramparts, that looked so
still and lifeless, Sir Adrian called a halt.  Lyle watched him
narrowly; the General conversed for a few minutes with Frankfort, who
next rode into the ranks, and brought with him some old sergeants of the
corps.  It was evident that a council of war was held; it lasted but a
few minutes, yet time was thus given for the artillery to advance.
Still it was considerably in rear of the front division, and Lyle was
slightly baffled in his conjectures.

Brennard would have had Vander Roey open out his guns upon the infantry
as they drew near the rebels' right flank, but at this instant Vander
Roey hesitated, and the opportunity was lost.  Had the rebel chief
followed this advice, he might have conquered, and retired far to the
north-east; but his heart failed him at the thought of dealing death
from a masked battery on the soldiers.

Probably he would have felt differently had Sir John Manvers headed the
enemy, and Lyle, in that case, would have urged a death-blow without

Steadily, although the ground was more broken at every step, the British
infantry pursued their march; slowly after them moved the cavalry and

"See," exclaimed Madame Vander Roey, who no longer needed a telescope,
"they march still, but there is some stir among them.  The tall man on
the _skimmel_ (sorrel) horse is flying backwards and forwards from the
ranks to the General, from the General to the ranks, and now he gallops
to the rear with orders; the artillery halt again, and the skimmel rider
dashes back in spite of stones and stunted bush."

The troops suddenly halted, their bayonets glittered in the morning sun
as they changed their position, and they paused for an instant within
gun-range of both ridges.

This was the moment Vander Roey had anticipated; piles of loose stones
still lay between the two divisions of the British forces; the ground
was scarcely practicable for cavalry or artillery.  At this juncture the
rebel chief turned to the rugged valley in the rear, and lifting his hat
from his feet, waved it three times.  Five hundred rebels started up
from among the reeds and rushes of the river, from behind the great
stones, and from the natural caverns at the base of the hills.  In rear
of the left battery sprung up a hundred others.  The summit of each
ridge was carefully manned with the deserters, some from the artillery,
some from the line, all armed with roers; and mingled with these were
many traders and wandering thieves.

Sir Adrian's consultation with the old soldiers of the Ninety --th had
caused him first to pause, and next to alter his movement.  These
experienced fellows had detected first the muzzle of Gray's six-pounder,
next a Boer's hat, which, albeit nearly the colour of the stone near
which the head leaned, was easily discerned by accustomed eyes.  These
two indications were quite sufficient to point out the real position of
the rebels, and Sir Adrian changed his route accordingly.

"Sit there till I come for you," said Vander Roey to his wife, taking
her by the arm, and placing her in a hollow some feet below the rampart,
with a gun above her; he leaned over her, placed his hand on her
shoulder, looked sorrowfully into her face, and uttering in a tender
tone the words "Poor wife, poor wife!" dashed down the hill, sprung on
his horse at the foot of the ridge, and galloped to the front of the
rebel band.

Some of the Boers, like Vander Roey, were mounted, but many were on
foot.  The latter were speedily and silently formed into parties
commanded by the horsemen.  Each division was still screened by the
ridge, and Vander Roey's plan was to rush out upon the enemy when he
should have begun to mount the acclivity.  The larger division of the
British troops remained halted, and it was plain that Sir Adrian had no
idea of the strength of the rebel forces.

But the General learned his mistake soon enough.  Scarcely had the
infantry advanced many paces up the steep and rugged hills, ere, with a
shout of defiance, the rebel Dutch dashed out from their ambush.  The
road between the ridges was narrow.  Horse and foot made a simultaneous
charge, and pouring the fire from their long roers right and left with
unerring aim, laid many a gallant fellow low.

Staggered at the unexpected appearance of five hundred men in a body,
uncertain too of the numbers concealed behind the formidable rampart
above, the infantry drew back.  Sir Adrian galloped forward, a bullet
took the peak from his forage-cap, he met the retiring infantry: he saw
the madness of attempting to charge on such ground, and gave orders to
retreat beyond gun-range till the artillery should come up, and be put
in position.

Lyle laughed aloud.

The Boers, having expended their fire, retired before the infantry had
time to return it with any kind of precision; five of the Dutch,
however, lay stretched in their blood, and many came back wounded.

The scene now, with the exception of the dead and wounded scattered
about, presented the same appearance as at first--the British troops
forming for the advance, the ridges silent, and apparently unpeopled.

Madame Vander Roey, implicitly obedient to her husband's orders, sat
where he had placed her, and with eyes of stone watched the sharp angle
at the base of the ridge.  The Boers came back in masses.  She saw not
Vander Roey; he was the very last, and then he turned and fired a
parting shot at one gallant soldier who had lingered in rear of his
company, and who paid the penalty of his imprudence--the roer's bullet
laid him dead among the rocks.

Having thus crippled the infantry, a great point was gained, for foot
soldiers were the only people who could work in such a position; and as
for the artillery, the ground was equally against that, or cavalry,
following up what it might begin.  So thought the Dutch; "but," thought
Lyle and Gray and some twenty others, "they have never seen rocket

"How d--d passive that fellow Gray looks," said Lyle to Brennard, as the
latter, during the awful pause, held a parley with his colleague.

"I never could make him out," replied Brennard, indifferently.  "I think
the fellow is half a fool."

"He is no knave, certainly," said Lyle, contemptuously.

The British force now began to move, in that determined way which proved
it was in earnest, and having reached the points whence the artillery
could work against the enemy, again halted.

Lyle saw that the humane Sir Adrian was still awaiting a signal for
peace, and what was his horror, his rage, when he saw Gray rise from his
kneeling position, and leap on the rough parapet before him.  There
stood the young deserter, unarmed, erect, motionless, undaunted.

Then Lyle, furious beyond control, raised his rifle, and fired; the ball
struck the poor youth, who fell forward, and rolled down the face of the
ridge into a rocky hollow, his blood marking his descent.

"Frankfort," said Sir Adrian, "what can be the meaning of that?"

"I cannot tell, Sir," replied Major Frankfort; "the man who so suddenly
rose to our view was either a coward and panic-stricken, or a traitor to
the cause he has enlisted in."

"I rather think," said Sir Adrian, "he is some poor victim enlisted
against his will, who chose to die rather than fight against us.  He
must have been sure that either we or his own party would have shot him
after such a manoeuvre."

And then, too much occupied to give a second thought to the unfortunate
young man, Sir Adrian proceeded to inspect his force.

But Lyle's shot was received by Brennard as a signal, and forthwith he
poured forth a volley from his flank.  That to the left of the troops,
and the right of the Boers, followed his example; but they miscalculated
their distance, and did little mischief; it was returned, however, by a
hearty salute of grape-shot, which, however, did little harm among the
Dutch.  Screened from their opponents, they affected to treat it with
contempt, and Vander Roey, having dismounted and joined the line above,
took off his hat, and gave an exalting cheer.

Then Lyle, and the gunners under him, made the great gun roar, as Lynx
and Frolic described it, sitting at their mistress's feet, and laughing
impishly at the deadly game playing before them.

A sharp tongue of flame, and then a great volume of smoke, burst from a
gap in the ridge, and the ball, moving swiftly through the air, fell
into the very centre of the troops, and made a vacant space, where it

The broken ground, the masked battery, the uncounted enemy, all were
forgotten in the moment of indignation which followed this assault.  Sir
Adrian waved his cap, and advanced with his staff, but not too rapidly,
giving time for the guns to work their way.  The infantry proceeded in
extended order.  Another tongue of flame, another volume of smoke,
threatened more mischief; but at this the force quickened its pace
marvellously, and the ball fell harmlessly in the rear.

"Down the Trongate, my boys!" shouted an old grenadier of the Ninety --
th,--the regiment was composed chiefly of Renfrewshire-men--"down the
Trongate!"  [Note 2] and away went the brave fellows over the rocky
plain as steadily as though moving at the double along the peaceful
streets of the old town of Glasgow.

This experienced little body of tried men, led by a cool-headed officer,
were directed to their extreme left, where, it will be remembered, Lyle
had placed a small party, which, by affecting concealment, was to divert
the attention of the troops.  In rear of this, it will also be
remembered, was a gun fixed in the narrow jaws of a gorge.  If a passage
could be made over this ridge into the gorge, the gun, which was
immovably fixed in the rocks, could be brought to bear upon the rebels

On the first grand movement of the troops, this smaller rampart was
abandoned to a very small force, and as there were no guns to spare, was
defended by roers and rifles.  British soldiers, however, were not to be
daunted even by these unerring weapons; unencumbered by their knapsacks,
in lieu of which Sir Adrian had ordered them to substitute light
haversacks, they persevered in spite of the dropping fire which slightly
thinned their ranks, and gradually working their way through the stones
and scrub, took possession of the _rossjies_ (ridge), and speedily
dislodging the besieged, scrambled down towards the gorge, and poured
such a volley of musketry into it, as made the poor defenders of the
pass cast their arms from them, and cry aloud for quarter.

The gun was instantly taken in hand, and, not without difficulty,
brought to bear upon the right flank of the rebels in the rear, several
of the Boers being detained in the gorge by the guard of the Ninety --
th, who knew that, without this precaution, the roers and rifles above
would pour their fire upon them.

Lyle, standing in the bend of the rossjies, saw by this manoeuvre of the
old soldiers that all chance of defence was lost, and at once rushed
towards Vander Roey, and advised him to meet the forces on the plain.

The manoeuvre would have answered, had the Boers been organised for
battle face to face with the foe; but the plan of operations had been to
begin on the defensive, and retire behind a succession of these
rossjies, till they reached a river impassable save at a ford difficult
to pass except by practised men.

It was not long before Madame Vander Roey found herself the only tenant
of the stony hill; the battery was deserted, but below were ranged a
party of Boers, who, contriving to keep out of sight or the soldiers in
the gorge, stepped out one by one, and, taking with sad precision, shot
several.  This insolence the Ninety --th attempted to return by firing
the gun, but the ball fell innocently among the stones in the valley.

Again a Boer advanced, and lifted his roer--it was Hermanus the
stutterer, one of the most determined--but this time the soldiers were
beforehand with him; ere he had time to lift his roer, he was stretched
bleeding on the stones.


Madame Vander Roey watched the action from the very edge of the parapet.

Amid the din, the smoke, the groans of dying men and horses--a strange
adjunct in that picture of strife and agony--was the figure of the
rebel's wife; her long skirt falling far below her feet over the rocks,
giving her the appearance of supernatural height, her head uncovered,
and all her sable tresses streaming in the wind.

Many a stout heart quailed at first view of this singular apparition, as
the sun, opening his crimson chambers behind it, threw out the tall form
in bold relief between the rocks and sky.

On either side of her were crouched her impish pages, Lynx and Frolic,
immovable and unappalled, as she was apparently.

But, ah! that woman's heart was beating as her eyes followed the plumed
hat, which towered above the rest, and was always foremost.

The Boers had now all dismounted, and were fighting hand to hand, muzzle
to muzzle, with the troops.  Even the guns could not work, for the
artillerymen had been the first to fall, and the rockets had had no
opportunity for use.


But there is a lull in the strife; Madame Vander Roey sees her husband
fall--he is seized, not by the enemy--but Brennard flings the wounded
chief across his swift steed, mounts it, and, with his burden bleeding
before him, gallops furiously to the rear.

"Vander Roey has fled!--has fled!--has fled!" passes from mouth to mouth
among the rebel ranks--they break asunder, fall into disorder, and
retreat.  In vain Lyle attempts to rally them--he sees that he must run
like the rest, or fail into the hands of a governor from whom he must
expect justice rather than mercy.

But he is cool, as usual, selects the swiftest horse at hand, gallops a
few paces through a shower of bullets, turns, faces the troops, takes
aim with his rifle, and brings down the man next Frankfort--he marked
this "fellow on the staff" for his prey--again retreats--again pauses
between the ridges to fire, and finally dashes like lightning beyond the
range of the gun in the gorge.

The poor rebels, caught in that trap, became at once prisoners of war;
they surrendered unconditionally, and were sent to the rear with the

The British troops pursue, the guns are limbered up, and dragged through
the rocky pass; the Boers succeed in crossing first the stream, and next
the stony neck beyond, and Lyle again posts a strong line of defence
along another natural rampart; but Sir Adrian is better prepared now for
the attack.

A long streak of light shoots upward from the river's brink, and,
breaking far forward towards the sky into a thousand golden drops, falls
among the fugitives, scattering them apart, and strewing the rough
ground with bleeding corpses!

Madame Vander Roey had turned to watch the retreat of her husband; she
tried to descend the ridge, but her heart sickened and her limbs failed
her; she sunk, terror-stricken and shocked, upon the stone where her
husband had bid her wait for him.

She was found there that afternoon.  Lynx and Frolic brought some old
soldiers of the Ninety --th up the slope; they spoke in Dutch, and
begged her to go with them to the wagons in the rear; but she told them
her husband had bid her wait for him there.

But he never came; the kind soldiers brought her provisions, but she
would accept nothing at their hands.

She sat there through the day, still watching the combatants, as the
English pursued the Dutch from ridge to ridge.

The sun went down amid the vapours that rose from the conflict; night
fell moody and dark; the din of battle was succeeded by the whistling of
the wind through the rocky passes; the sleet began to drive; the dress
of the miserable watcher was saturated with damp, but she was reckless
of bodily discomfort.  The mind, for many months wound up to a pitch
beyond its powers, gave way, "started aside like a broken bow," and,
helpless and "infirm of purpose," she continued to keep the vigil till
nature was exhausted, and she fell insensible upon the cold earth.

She awoke to consciousness under the kind hands of an English surgeon;
she was lying on a couch in a comfortable marquee, Anne Vanbloem and
Amayeka were watching beside her--a baby slept on Anne's lap--Amayeka,
mournful but very quiet, sat sewing at the opening of the tent.  Madame
Vander Roey could see far out upon the plain; she pressed her hand to
her eyes, looked again, collected her scattered memories, and recognised
the position of a former bivouac; it was occupied now by the tents and
wagons of the English.  Soldiers were lying on the ground, or passing to
and fro, or engaged in merry games, or singing beside the scanty fires.
The air came in cold, but dry and balmy; it gave her strength to rise
and look around, and to question Anne.

And then she learned that Vander Roey was dead.

She waited many minutes before she uttered any remark, and then she

"Did they take him prisoner?"

"No," replied Madame Vanbloem; "he died of his wounds among his own

"It is well!" said the widow, and, turning her face from the light, she
never spoke again.


Note 1.  The lake lately discovered is said to have long been known to
the Dutch.  Pretorius, the rebel Boer, will not allow travellers to pass
through his settlements to explore the locality.

Note 2.  A story is told of the regiment, which was composed of many men
from Glasgow.  Being checked in their charge in battle, an old soldier
cried out, "Down the Gallowgate, my boys," and away they dashed.



From the head-quarters of Sir Adrian Fairfax, I most transport you, my
reader, to one of the most lonely and romantic districts in Southern
Africa, where Sir John Manvers, with the second division of the army,
had pitched his camp.  Stretching in a south-easterly direction rose the
green Chumie Mountains, their verdure contrasted occasionally with bold
grey columns of rock; beyond these again, the Amatolas blended their
purple heights with the roseate clouds; northward, the Winterberg range
formed a barrier between the colony and Tambookieland, where dwelt the
"royal race" of the Kafirs, and, towering to the sky like a gigantic
elephant, with a howdah on its back, the Great Winterberg, nine thousand
feet high, lifted its lofty head, crowned with a diadem of snow.

On a fair green plain, the clear stream of the Kat running through the
midst, were ranged with beautiful precision the white tents of the
little army, which had been at first employed against the Kafir
warriors, and afterwards held in reserve, lest the Dutch should rally in
their strongholds.  But Vander Roey's fate had been the death-blow to
all further opposition for the present, and the troops were only waiting
Sir Adrian's return from the Orange River to disperse, provided the
aspect of affairs was peaceful.

It promised to be so, for the Kafirs were considerably dismayed at the
news of the severe loss the Boers had suffered, in spite of their
unerring roers and strong position, and now promised submission with the
meekness of the dove and the wiliness of the serpent!

Sir Adrian's detention arose from delay in diplomatic measures.  Several
prisoners were yet to be disposed of.  The principal traitor, Lyle,
still eluded discovery, but a price was set upon his head.

On the outskirts of this encampment, just where the bright waters of the
Kat River and the Mancazana meet, were scattered over a few acres of
ground some temporary dwellings.  Simple and rudely fashioned as they
were, these thatched tenements looked exceedingly picturesque among the
natural groves overshadowing them.  The walls were white-washed, the
little windows neatly glazed, and the verandahed fronts were gracefully
wreathed with the wild creepers that grew about in profusion.

These dwellings, albeit not quite proof against the storms that often
sweep in terrific grandeur through this lovely region, were
comparatively luxurious, contrasted with the poor shelter of the tent or
marquee, and one, divided far apart from the rest by a _banquette_ of
earth, would have made apparently a sufficiently pleasant summer
dwelling in England.

Mr Daveney finding it impracticable to reach the lower districts in
safety, and earnestly requested by Sir Adrian Fairfax to accept an
appointment of trust and responsibility, if only for a time, had taken
up his abode here.  The whole fabric had been run up within six weeks,
despite untoward weather; a few days of sunshine made the little
habitation of wattle, clay, thatch, and whitewash fit for the reception
of his family.  The ladies occupied one bed-room, a small office served
the Commissioner--for such was Mr Daveney's new appointment--for a
reception and sleeping apartment.  The common sitting-room opened as
usual from the verandah, and the simple cookery was carried on by the
old Malay in the hollow of a tall rock, backing the premises.  A couple
of tents added materially to the accommodation and comfort of the

The intense anxiety of Eleanor's mind had produced a low fever, which
kept the unfortunate young creature on her couch--wasted to a shadow,
she lay beneath a little casement, her only rest snatches of fitful
sleep, her only enjoyment the fresh air, that brought sweet odours with
it from the heath-clad hills.  Her mother and sister watched day and
night by turns beside her.  The Trails were again their neighbours, and
were a great solace to the afflicted invalid.

"It is a sad strait for one so young to come to," said Eleanor to Mr
Trail one day, "to wish to die."

"Sad, indeed," replied the good missionary; "sad, because so sinful."

"Ah, me!" said the sufferer, "this suspense is killing me--is it not
natural that I should long to be where the tears will be wiped from off
all faces?"

"Patience, Eleanor, patience," whispered Mr Trail.  "God has His own
means of bestowing happiness; you _have_ been sorely tried, my poor
child; but you are young, a long future may lie before you."

And the invalid lifted up her large luminous eyes to Heaven with the
most hopeless expression of despair.

Hark! horses are galloping past the dwelling--the rattle of
accoutrements announces that soldiers are on their way.  They soon go
by; there are but few--it must be an express.

And the question passes along the tented line, "Is Lee taken?"

"Not yet; but the dispatches from Sir Adrian relate that a clue is
obtained to his discovery."

In a word, Hermanus the stutterer, who, rebel as he was, hated English
traitors, succeeded in persuading his comrades that Lee and Brennard had
never had any view but self-aggrandisement.  It was therefore resolved
in council to purchase their own pardon by delivering up the trader and
the convict.  Poor Gray had been carried off with the wounded to the
hospital tent, and found to be seriously, though not mortally, hurt.  He
had not an enemy among the Boers; but it was proved that he had
consented to serve a gun, and despite the decided step he had taken to
avoid firing upon his countrymen, there was no evidence to show whether
the act was the result of panic, or repentance.

He was, however, not to be condemned without a further hearing, when
more evidence could be collected, and was sent to Sir John Manvers's
division, with other convalescents, after the action.

Perfectly passive and resigned to his impending fate, the young deserter
met with compassion and solace at the kind hands of Mr Trail, who
obtained permission to lodge him in his own little dwelling.  Gray was,
however, ironed whenever he passed the threshold; but, in spite of his
bonds, the poor lad confessed himself happier than he had been for

Marion and Ormsby were, as in happier times, sitting, side by side,
under the willows that bent over the rushing waters of the two rivers.
They were not many paces from the house, and hearing the tramp of
horses' feet, hastened to learn the news brought by the express.

As they passed Mr Trail's cottage, they saw Gray walking up and down,
as he was permitted to do at certain hours of the day, between two

Marion shuddered at sight of the manacled limbs of this slight,
handsome, and frank-hearted looking youth.  He had been the associate of
Lyle!  She was turning from him with a feeling of dislike, when his poor
attempt to salute her with his fettered hands disarmed the sentiment and
filled her heart with pity.

She passed on with her lover, and on entering the house, they learned
from Mrs Daveney that the express had brought private letters from Sir
Adrian to Sir John Manvers and Mr Daveney.

The latter was at this moment sent for by the General commanding the

Sir John Manvers's marquee stood in the centre of the "canvas city,"
distinguished from all similar habitations by its superior size and the
greater space of ground allotted to it.  The marquee was closed, two
sentinels were pacing silently up and down before it; the still aspect
of the domicile strongly contrasted with the life and stir of the
encampment, which, as usual in hours of peace, presented an agreeable
and busy scene.

The afternoon sun shone brightly on the gleaming waters of the winding
river, groups of soldiers dotted its banks, some sitting, talking
quietly together, some wrestling, some running, some cutting wood to
replenish the cooking fires.  Among these were intermingled the dusky
forms of of Kafir men and women, the latter with long bundles of sticks,
accurately poised on their heads, which they had brought to exchange for
tobacco, or money where it could be got.  Intermingled with these
scattered and motley groups might be seen the tall, manly form of the
young English settler, the diminutive shape of the lithe-limbed
Hottentot, the swarthy Griqua, and the grave Dutch colonist, and
collected in knots, or waiting apart in twos and threes, in grave
communion, were the officers of the division.

I have spoken of this division as a little army; in truth, it might so
be called, for on either side, parted from the encampment by a little
wilderness of mimosas, were the lagers and bivouacs of the native
levies, in all amounting with the regular troops to 3,000 men, who were
waiting the decision of Sir Adrian Fairfax to be disbanded.

Daveney walked through the encampment, neither looking to the right nor
the left, but not unobserved by the officers, who, heartily tired of the
inactivity without the excitement of the field, were longing to return
to quarters, and anxiously looked for news of all descriptions.

The General, Sir John Manvers, was not popular with those he commanded.
Cold, abstracted, haughty, self-opinionated, he was a striking evidence
of that mischievous system of _interest_, which, like a destructive
insect in a noble structure, injures and often destroys the whole.

Sir John had been appointed commander of the forces in Southern Africa
and temporary governor, not because he had served his country, not
because his judgment, his experience, his temper, or his principles
fitted him for the deep responsibility he assumed, but because he was
the brother-in-law of a man who had long held sway in the House of
Commons, and whose silence or vote could determine a question of vital
importance to certain landed proprietors of rank and power.

Sir John was provided for, and the bill was passed.

But a very short essay in the management of affairs served to prove that
the General was not the diplomatist for the Cape colony, with its
extraordinary mixture of tribes, its extended and complicated interests,
its untried population, its vague lines of demarcation between the
varied races occupying the pasture-grounds; and on the first substantial
information of the prospect of a war, one member of the Ministry
fortunately recollected that a former one had proved expensive, and that
Sir Adrian Fairfax had been the man who succeeded in bringing it to a
close.  But Sir John Manvers could not be dismissed without a saving
clause in the document that gave him his _conge_; by this clause he was
offered a more agreeable and more lucrative government in a less
troublesome country.  With this arrangement he was perfectly satisfied.

Thus it was desirable for all parties to bring the warfare to a close;
but Sir Adrian was a conscientious man, who did the duty he was paid to
do, and would not hurry over proceedings involving great results.

Sir John Manvers was chafed at the delay, and angry because Sir Adrian
would not take himself the office of Governor, and thus relieve the
former from his duties.  With a delicacy as graceful as it was politic,
Sir Adrian delayed his installation as Governor till peace should be
proclaimed, contenting himself with the command of the principal
division of the army.

But, on hearing from Mr Daveney that Lyle was one of the principal
instigators to mischief, he deeply regretted the arrangement he had
made.  It was, however, too late to alter his plan without compromising
his character for consistency.

On looking through the list of killed appended to the humble memorial of
the conquered Boers, it must be owned that a feeling of disappointment
arose in the breast of the General, all humane as he was, and he could
not conceal his uneasiness from his secretary, Frankfort, when he was
officially informed of Lyle's whereabouts, and of the convict's
intention to rally the Boers, and cause further trouble to the

But Daveney is wending his way across the camp-ground to Sir John
Manvers's marquee.

He held in his hand a letter, which he was requested by Sir Adrian to
place in Sir John's hands, when the latter should have been duly
prepared for its reception.  Sir Adrian felt that the Commissioner was
one of the few men in the world whom he could trust with the unthankful

Sir John Manvers bowed coldly on the entrance of Daveney, and pointing
to an open note before him, said, in a tone of vexation, "That note is
from Sir Adrian Fairfax; I confess its contents are beyond my
comprehension, and I am utterly at a loss to know, sir, why my friend
has thought it necessary to make you the medium of communication to me,
instead of addressing me on a point which he chooses to invest with

Sir John Manvers had been accustomed to see men bend at once to his
haughty, imperious manner; but this was not the case now.  Daveney bowed
with due deference to the General, but the mild blue eye of our good
friend expressed sincere compassion for the man, as he replied, "I
grieve indeed, sir, to be made the medium of communication on a subject
which will cause you not only surprise, but unmitigated pain.  Sir, I
must beg you to be prepared for exceedingly unwelcome intelligence."

The last words were uttered less blandly than at first, for the proud
General sat with his arms folded and wrath darkening his brow, as the
Commissioner stood before him; but the latter was too kind at heart to
be overcome by the arrogant bearing of one who he knew must suffer
bitterly ere they parted, and checking the indignation incident on Sir
John's arrogant bearing, he said gently, "I admit that I am in your
eyes, sir, unduly honoured; but Sir Adrian Fairfax is my friend as well
as yours, and he has chosen that I should impart to you personally what
he dreads to write."

"Dread, sir! what do you mean?  Speak out; what is there that _you_ can
tell me to make me shrink from hearing it?" and the stern man rose and
stood up with an air of defiance and contempt, as his eyes gleamed from
beneath his bent brows upon the kind countenance of the Commissioner.
"Speak, sir!" he continued, "I command you."

"This communication," replied Daveney, quietly, placing Sir Adrian's
letter on the table, "is private, as you perceive; this," laying a
larger document before the General, "is official.  In the last, Sir
Adrian informs you, that a man of the name of Lee has been, with one or
two others, the chief confederate of the rebel chief Vander Roey, has
assisted the Boers in every way by facilitating the trade in gunpowder,
and is now on his way to the Singpoo River, where he purposes
establishing a settlement, and defying the laws of the colonial

Here the Commissioner paused.

"Well, sir!" said Sir John; "and again I desire to know why this
communication is not forwarded to me directly, instead of through you."

"Sir," replied Daveney, "I had imagined that my name was not altogether
unknown to you."  A sudden flush suffused even the bald forehead of the
General; but he recovered himself instantly, and coldly remarked, "I had
not forgotten it, but you will excuse my saying that the reminiscence is
not agreeable to me, and expressing at the same time my perplexity at
your referring to private matters when employed--very strangely, it
seems to me--on official business you must excuse my requesting you to
speak to the purpose for which you came."

"The real name of the offender," replied the Commissioner, "is
communicated in the private letter; he is a convict, who was supposed to
have been wrecked in the _Trafalgar_, but who was wonderfully saved with
the deserter Gray, and succeeded in reaching the Amaponda country, spent
some months among Umlala's people, encouraging them in sedition,
trafficking in brandy and gunpowder, and at last made his way to Vander
Roey to fan the flame of rebellion among the Dutch."

Mr Daveney had summoned resolution to convey the above intelligence
with perfect calmness, and as he spoke he clearly perceived the inward
working of the heart he probed, despite the struggle against the display
of outward suffering.

As he referred to the "private letter," Sir John Manvers re-seated
himself, but forbore to take up the document, although his hand was
impulsively stretched out to take it.  At the mention of the wreck of
the _Trafalgar_, the handsome face of the proud General was again deeply
suffused--the flush passed away, leaving a livid ring round the eyes and
mouth, and when the Commissioner ceased to speak, the countenance before
him, with its ashy lips and stony orbs, more resembled that of a corpse
than a living being.

The stern man moved his head with the rigidity of a figure worked by
springs--he waved his hand, indicating a wish to be left alone, but
Daveney did not stir.  Hat in hand, he still stood contemplating with an
air of earnest sympathy the unfortunate Sir John Manvers--_the father of
Jasper Lyle--the convict--the rebel--the doomed traitor_!

Several minutes elapsed, mind and body seemed equally prostrated; but
Sir John's senses had not forsaken him, he had still the _capacity to
suffer_.  His right hand lay fixed as marble on the table beside the
fatal letter, the nails were blue from the stagnant blood within, his
chest heaved with stifled sighs, the stony orbs grew bloodshot, the
ghastly features were convulsed.

He fought manfully, desperately, against nature, and conquered.  He
rose, and trembling violently, Daveney was prepared to see him fall; but
although he tottered, he kept his ground.

Still he could not speak.  A watch ticking on the camp-table sounded
like Time passing with a heavy tread; the din of the camp was but a
murmur in the distance, but it seemed strangely distinct.  So did the
sentry's foot on the grass.  How close he was; a canvas screen only
separated the suffering General from the careless happy soldier.  A
chorus rose clear and joyous from the banks of the river, and laughter,
shrill and boisterous, pierced the air.

All these accustomed sounds now jarred harshly on the Commissioner's
ear, as before him stood the stern, cold, haughty man, suddenly assailed
by trouble, his ride tottering in the dust.  He, the centre of this busy
crowd, had not a friend to whom he could turn for support or
consolation.  In the kind Daveney's breast he might have met with
sympathy, but his was a nature which resented pity.  Again he bade the
Commissioner depart, and the latter, regretful and anxious, retired,
leaving the unhappy man to the solitude of his marquee.


The sun was setting, the camp-ground was dotted with fires, the games
were over, but the laughter and the song continued as the soldiers
lounged over their evening meal.  The herd-boys were driving the flocks
and cattle over the heathy uplands, and Marion, Ormsby, and Mr Trail
stood at the rude gate of the new-made garden, watching the
Commissioner's approach from the lines.

He was so intent on what had passed between the General and himself,
that he forgot to ask the usual question, "How is my darling?" but he
was reminded of her by Marion telling him that her sister had fallen
into a deep and quiet sleep, and that the medical attendant foretold
improvement from the moisture which already bedewed her tense brow and
wasted hands.

At midnight Daveney looked forth upon the hushed camp-ground.  The
stillness was only broken by the occasional challenge between the
watchful sentinels, and but one light burnt strong and clear in the vast
and tented field; it was in the General's marquee.

Before daybreak the Commissioner, accompanied by Mr Trail, and followed
by May, reconnoitred the location in which he had placed his dwelling.
Perfect silence reigned throughout, but still that light shone steadily.

Oh! to have lifted the canvassed screen of that pavilion, and seen
therein a strong man and a proud, pacing, pacing, to and fro, to and
fro, with arms lightly folded across his chest, striving to stifle the
emotions which rose and fell like a heavy tide, as his thoughts dragged
him back, and forced him to look upon the wasted, the irredeemable past!

And the laughing sun came forth from his gorgeous eastern throne, and
poured his beams alike upon the sleeping soldier and the waking General,
and it mocked the light of the poor lamp even as the things of heaven
mock all things of earth!

Both the public and the private despatch from Sir Adrian Fairfax to Sir
John Manvers lay open on the camp-table.

The first simply contained the official information respecting Lee; the
second was as follows:--

"My dear Sir John,--

"I have requested my good friend Daveney, the present Commissioner for
the Gaika tribes, to prepare you for intelligence which it gives me
unmitigated pain to write.  My resolution not to accept the post of
Governor till my work here was done was founded on the best principles;
but I regret it now for your sake, since as you will have learned,
before opening this, the man Lee, named in my official despatch, 10th
May, 18--, is no other than Jasper Lyle.  At present his identity is
known only to the Daveneys, their immediate friends, and myself, and I
see no way of your avoiding personal contact or correspondence with him,
unless you resolve to throw over publicly the reins of government to me.
Would to heaven, my dear friend, that this man had perished among the
unfortunate passengers of the _Trafalgar_, or that he had fallen in the
encounter with the Dutch at the stony ridges!  My chief desire now is to
hear that he has got clear into the upper districts; but unhappily he
has made enemies among the people he affects to assist, and I am told
they are determined to yield him up to me.  In such a case, as a
soldier, you know I have no alternative.

"In a word, my dear Sir John, my mind would be greatly relieved at
hearing that either you or he had quitted the colony.  Pardon language
that appears uncourteous; my pen fails in expressing as it ought all
that I feel, all that I am ready to do in any way in which I may serve
you at this lamentable crisis.

"With great regard, and assuring you of my earnest regret at this
unfortunate and unlooked-for result of the late action against the
misguided Boers,

"I beg you to believe me most truly yours,

"Adrian Fairfax."

"To Sir John Manvers, Bart, K.C.B."


"Known only to the Daveneys, their immediate friends, and myself!"  Sir
John Manvers stopped from time to time in his circumscribed walk, and
read and re-read these odious and degrading words frequently during the
night, and as the sun poured his beams athwart the sickly lamp, he held
the letter to the flame, and finally casting the blackened paper to the
ground, crushed the ashes beneath his boot.

"So so--I am a gazing-stock for the Daveneys and their immediate
friends,--that soft-voiced, cautious missionary, that idler Ormsby, that
Frankfort, who writes such d--d laconic memoranda, that are in reality
orders!  I am a mark for bad men's scorn and good men's pity.  _Good_
men!  What constitutes a good man?  Is he one whom the devil has not
been _permitted_ to tempt?--_permitted_ to tempt, mark that!

"That one fatal error of my life.  Was it my misfortune or my crime that
the citadel of my heart was weak, and that I could not drive out the
Tempter, who had been permitted to besiege and enter it?

"I am utterly confounded--which way shall I turn?--There seems but one

He took up a pistol which lay, loaded only with powder, on the table.
With this he was wont to summon his valet, who occupied a tent too
distant to distinguish any other call.

Had it been loaded with ball, he might have lifted it to his head.  He
cast it impatiently from him; the trigger caught in his watch-chain, and
the weapon went off.  The valet, who stood with his master's coffee at
hand, entered the marquee almost immediately.

The General instinctively turned his back upon his servant; the latter,
accustomed to execute his duties without observation and without,
thanks, placed the little tray, with its small silver service, on the
table, and stood waiting further orders.

"You may go," said the General, in his usual voice; and the valet

It is indeed strange how a mind torn for hours by conflicting emotions
can in a moment, when pressed by necessity, bring itself to act in the
most trifling occurrences of life; reaction once produced, the brain
partially recovers its tone.

The morning light, the sound of the stirring _reveille_, its bugle
echoes answering each other from kloof to kloof, the rattle of
accoutrements, and the roll of the martial drums, with their shrill
accompaniments, the fifes, awoke the little world around.

Day is well represented as scattering roses in her path, for she brings
much comfort to the wretched, whose wretchedness is not all of their own
making.  Amid the multitude who wake to the sunlight, some kind hand may
be stretched out to those who suffer.  Hope is ever moving among the
crowd, but her mirror, remember, turns its bright face only to the
repentant--the truly repentant--to those who lift up their hearts to an
offended God, and pray that they may sin no more.  Those who suffer
remorse, and dread only the world's contempt, have no part in the bright
promises of Hope; and all the freshness and the fragrance that life
offers to the humbly sorrowful falls to dust and ashes before the breath
of pride, which trembles before man, but seeks to defy the very laws

Yes; Sir John Manvers repented him truly of his former sin, not because
he feared God, but because he dreaded man's scorn and pity.

Reader, do we not see this day by day?

Sir John Manvers's destruction of Sir Adrian Fairfax's letter was
perfectly characteristic of the man.  It was a written record against
him, therefore it should perish; and could he have seen all those who
were initiated in his secret perish likewise, he would have gone forth
to the world apparently unmoved, or with satisfaction so predominant as
to smother all remorseful sentiments.

Still they did not know all.

The real secret lay dormant in a little dark nook in one of the remotest
corners of Cornwall, and was inscribed in letters, now somewhat browned
by time, in a huge old volume, a parish register, kept as securely as if
the clergyman's whole welfare depended on the safety of its contents, in
a dim oak-wainscoted Vestry-room of a dilapidated church.

In a leaf of that register might be read these words, among the
Marriages solemnised in the parish of G--, county of Cornwall.

"John Lyle and Mary L--, residing at G--.

"In the presence of us, etc, etc."

By this time, dear reader, you will have given up all hopes of learning
the early part of Sir John Manvers's history from himself.  He was not
the man to indite a record of his sin, or "folly," as he would probably
have termed it, even to his friend Sir Adrian Fairfax.  I shall
therefore relate as succinctly as possible those events connected with
his opening career which influenced him through life, and finally
brought him to the strait in which he stands so miserably before you.

His first prospects were uncheering.  His father held a small curacy in
Devonshire, and the circumstance of this poor curate marrying the
daughter of a baronet, in whose household he held the appointment of
chaplain, instead of leading to prosperous results, was the means of
impeding his progress in the Church.  The union was cursed with the deep
and undying resentment of the lady's father, and the poor curate
struggled on till the grave gave him that rest which earth had denied
the living.

The wife he had chosen was not worthy of him.  She had married him from
pique, and when he felt the world's frowns most keenly, she told him so.
But she did not often remind him of the wrong she had "done herself."
Cold, sullen, impatient of misfortune, and angry with him whose fault
had been in loving her too well, she nursed her wrath in silence.  But
it was stamped upon her haughty brow, her dilated nostril, her curled
lip.  She lived upon it!  She looked upon the whole world as her enemy;
but the world did not think her worth quarrelling with--some called her
"poor Mrs Lyle."

"Poor Mrs Lyle!  Who made me so?" she would say; and then, because her
Christian husband met her scorn without retort, she would utter some
bitter word, indicative of contempt, and relapse again into gloom.

But the iron entered into _his_ soul.  He died, leaving her with a son,
who had little knowledge of his father, save that his mother spoke of
him as the author of all her misfortunes.

The child did not understand this.  All he could recollect of his father
was the good man's deathbed--the thin hands held out to wife and child--
and pale lips parting, and blessing them that had mocked him; for the
boy had been taught to laugh his father to scorn.

An elder brother allowed Mrs Lyle a small annuity.  She accepted it,
grumbling, because it was scanty; but the baronetcy was not rich, and
the brother did more for the sister than she deserved, for she had
always been ungracious.

Her son, although he resembled her, was not happy in her society; he was
glad when he went to school, and he found companions there who drew out
his better qualities; at sixteen his uncle desired that he should be
sent as a private pupil to a clergyman; at seventeen he lost his mother;
and at twenty, his uncle being also dead, he found himself without a
profession, and with two thousand pounds, a remnant of his mother's
fortune, for patrimony.

One being in the world loved this proud and gloomy boy--she was the
daughter of the Cornish clergyman whose pupil he had been.  She was not
beautiful, but there was a graceful gaiety about her which relieved him
from himself.  The principles of this poor motherless creature were not
what her father imagined them to be; indeed, he was too learned to have
much knowledge of human nature; but when he discovered the result of
Lyle's intimacy with his daughter, the old man's grief and terror were

The sight of those white hairs bent to the dust with shame and sorrow,
was more than Lyle could bear--he, who had never known the strength of a
parent's love, was overcome.  He married his victim--married her on her
deathbed: for, five hours afterwards he was a widower, and the father of
a son--the convict, Jasper Lyle.

The poor old clergyman wrote the record himself in the parish register,
and died the day after.  By one of those fatalities which for a time are
permitted, to arrest the course of truth's clear stream, the medical
attendant and the nurse, who were the only people present at this
melancholy bridal, were laid together in the narrow churchyard of the
remote village, and the poor boy was committed to the care of a woman,
who, so long as she was regularly paid, was content to let him share her
scanty living with her own children.  This woman believed the boy to be
young Lyle's natural son, for her husband was a new-comer in the
village, and neither of them could read, nor had they any acquaintances
there.  After a while they left it, and carried young Jasper to London.
The stipend paid for him was unexpectedly raised to what was to them a
considerable annuity.

The baronetcy of Manvers, for want of male heirs, passed to the female
line, and, at the age of five-and-twenty, John Lyle found himself, by an
unlooked-for concurrence of circumstances, Sir John Manvers, with but a
slender income for his position.

Interest, however, got him a commission, though he was beyond the
regulated age--interest placed him on the staff of the Lord Lieutenant
of Ireland, and he, whose destinies had once appeared of no account, was
now the admired favourite of a showy court, for such might then be
termed the official residence of the Duke of L--, in Dublin.  His tall,
aristocratic form, his grave beauty, his proud reserve, attracted the
attention of the elegant and witty Duchess of L--, and her admiration
stamped him with a _prestige_ surprising even to himself.

His past love! what was it now to him?--a dream-one, however, to which
he looked back with uneasiness, for was there not a living witness of
this "fantasy?"  Every day, every hour, deepened the gulf between him
and the dark paths of his young life.  He had never made a friend.  No
one stood at hand to whom he might unburden his soul, and each
succeeding week found him placed more irrevocably in a false position.
He was looked upon as a rising man, poor in patrimony, but sure to force
his way to better things.

While he was halting between two opinions, a familiar face suddenly
carried him back to the old parsonage, and its dim and silent groves.

Although we may not have been intimate with an early associate, our
hearts are strangely stirred at sight of one with whom we have been in
communion under circumstances different or distant from those in which
we again meet.

Something of pleasure lit up Sir John's intelligent eye as he recognised
the open countenance of Sir Adrian Fairfax, who was younger than
himself, and whom he had known during the last few months of his
residence at the vicarage; they were the first months of love--months in
which life had been presented to him in its happiest phase.

But while the proud mind was debating which ought to be the first to
speak, a vision stood between the two which riveted the gaze of both,
and turned the current of young Manvers's thoughts.

It was the Lady Amabel, who in all the purity of beautiful and innocent
sixteen, suddenly appeared--the lily of the dazzling parterre.  She
leaned on the arm of the Duke of L--, and moved up the room to the dais,
on which the Duchess was seated with the handsome and favourite

But love is ever at cross purposes.  The heart of this gentle being
stirred not, the eye was not illumined, as the young and handsome
baronet bent over her.  She smiled when Sir Adrian came to greet her;
but he, at whose approach she blushed and trembled like a rose at
morning prime, was Daveney, then a young ensign, without a prospect in
the world save that to which blind fortune might lead him.

But the reader has seen that Daveney thought not of his gentle cousin.
Both were much together in the early part of that brilliant Dublin
season: but the young soldier changed his quarters--some said he
withdrew purposely from the light of those eyes, that tempted him to
love one whom it would be ruin to marry--some, that he was blind--some,
that he was heartless; no matter--they were sundered.

Meanwhile Sir John's heart was chilled towards one in whom he might have
found a friend; and when some months afterwards he saw that Lady Amabel
suffered Sir Adrian to talk to her for hours, the circumstance widened
the gulf.

Later, at the age of eight-and-twenty, Manvers became associated in
Ireland with the sweet and gracious being who eventually became his
wife.  She had wealth, connection, talent, and, above all, the most
amiable disposition.  The grave, austere young soldier was drawn
imperceptibly towards this happy, ardent being.  She shone upon him like
sunlight upon snow--she was like a beam from heaven gilding the darkest
recesses of a mine.

He might have told her all.  Many a time he was disposed to throw
himself at her feet, and disclose his early history; but her father--it
was from her mother she derived the stamp of aristocracy--was a
_parvenu_.  Manvers dreaded, to lose this first real love, this darling
of his heart and albeit she would have gone with him to the desert, he
knew full well that his title and military interest, weighed heavily in
his favour with the father.

He kept his secret, and married the heiress; and, in the course of time,
he had almost forgot the very existence of his eldest born, when one day
he received a letter from the woman Watson, informing him that his son
had run away from her home; the boy, she said, must have been led
astray, and she hoped to trace him.  The annuity must be paid as usual.
She doubted not he would be found, in same of the haunts of the
metropolis, and she would inform Sir John as soon as she received
tidings of the boy.

Upon this, after some hours' deliberation, Sir John Manvers wrote to
Mrs Watson, and, making it a condition that she should never again
address him on the subject of this miserable child, he settled an
annuity of two hundred a year on this woman and her husband for the
boy's maintenance, till of age, if he returned and reached the age of
one-and-twenty.  At the age of one-and-twenty some other steps were to
be considered.

Sir John believed that the Watsons had some reason for endeavouring to
overreach him, but it was not so in this instance; the child really was

The man Watson would have pocketed the annuity without acting further in
the matter.  Mrs Watson was "used to the child," and "had a liking for
him;" so she did her best to discover him, but for a long time without
success.  Her husband kept back part of the sum allowed, and she
afterwards learned that he bribed some infamous people to keep young
Jasper out of the way of his nurse, who, though without firm principles,
was not bad-hearted.

Sir John soon began to hope--God forgive him!--that he should hear no
more of the poor boy cast upon the troubled waters of the world.  In
those days there were no railways, nor electric telegraphs, nor police;
sin prospered much more secretly than it does now.  Even now the little
church in Cornwall lies remote from populous places, for no _iron road_
can penetrate through the rugged defiles that lead to it.

Oh! that men would consider the future, and calculate even the chances
of the evils which may accumulate from the commission of one solitary

We are inclined to pity the youth, who in the poor curate's daughter
found relief after the gloomy days spent at home, and surely for him
whose heart was softened at the sight of the father's anguish them were
hopes of better things; but his besetting demon was pride--pride
fostered by his mother.  Oh mothers! do you deeply weigh your
responsibilities?--do you remember that it is to your hands the virgin
soil of the garden foils for culture?

And lo! see what a strait this pride brought him to at last!  And is it
not always so?  Are we not perpetually punished by the very instruments
we have ourselves employed for evil?  Do we not constantly stumble at
the pit we have digged to serve our own purposes?

Pride made Sir John Manvers hesitate ere he recognised Sir Adrian
Fairfax in the lighted saloons of Dublin Castle; he would have been his
friend, but the opportunity was lost; and, though in after-years the
incidents of their profession brought them nearer to each other, it then
was too late to remedy the evil.

When a man is embarked in a bad scheme, he is at no loss for reasons, or
rather excuses, for persevering in mischief; and Sir John Manvers,
becoming day by day more accustomed to look on the sin he had committed
as an error which could not be repaired, at last satisfied himself with
the notion, that to place his son in his true position would be to
entail irremediable sorrow on his household, and in nowise benefit the
unfortunate Jasper.

Jasper!--what could have induced him to permit the child to be called
after his grandfather, that poor, imbecile, wretched old curate?

Still, who was likely to search through an old parish register, and, in
doing so, who would stop to inquire into the identity of John Lyle and
his wife Mary and their son Jasper?

The very devils, we are told, "believe and tremble;" but how
short-sighted are men, who only calculate on human chances!

No; there was little chance of the old yellow-leaved parish register of
Tremorna ever being brought in evidence against him; and, besides, where
_was_ this boy--this Jasper?

Nurse Watson at length traced the child at last to some den of iniquity
in the heart of London.  She had a woman's heart--it yearned to Jasper--
he was a fine, manly child; and when she had relieved him of his soiled
habiliments, and purified his strong young limbs with water, she was
pleased with herself at having rescued this gentleman's son from filth
and vice.

She had, it is true, no fixed principles; but she had benefited by this
child.  She and her husband and children were living in ease and plenty
on the money paid for him; and she believed that, in spite of what he
had said, his father would rejoice at hearing that the lost sheep was
found and in safe keeping.

She sought Sir John at his house in one of the squares; she was
ungraciously received by his confidential valet, who would not give her
admittance to his master.  She was of a passionate and determined
temper, and, enraged at the imperative tone of the saucy London menial,
she told him, in plain terms, that as he would not let her see Sir John,
whom she had watched into the house a few minutes before, he might carry
the message himself, and tell him that "Jasper was found."

Her voice was raised, her cheeks were crimson, her eyes flashed at the
cool impertinence of Sir John's "gentleman," and at this juncture a lady
descended the staircase and crossed the hall.

Lady Manvers, for it was she, stopped at once; and instead of retiring,
as some fine ladies would have done, or ordering the angry woman from
the hall, she walked quietly up to Mrs Watson, and with a look of
reproof to the valet, whose temper she knew, said, "My good woman, what
is the matter, and who is Jasper?"

The voice, the calm sweet face, the graceful air of the gentle
questioner, disarmed the wrath of the irritated woman; but she was at a
loss what to say.  She stammered, looked confused; the valet's
self-satisfied mien provoked her, and, in a word, Lady Manvers was very
soon made aware that her husband had a secret which it was not his
intention to share with her.

Lady Manvers trembled exceedingly, but not with anger.  No; after a
short time she was able to question herself as to what it would be her
duty to do.  She led Mrs Watson into her dressing-room, and bid her
wait there till sent for; but Lady Manvers asked her no questions.  No;
this high-minded, generous lady went at once to her husband.

She would scarcely have believed the truth from his own lips.  She was
so proud of him, she would as soon have dreamt of his making her his
wife while another claimant to that title lived, as of his having an
heir to his estate unknown to her, the mother of his beautiful boy, his
darling Gerard.

Sir John was utterly startled and thrown off his guard, as his wife, in
her softest accent, but with her clear honest eyes fixed on his, asked
him to "trust her with the secret which the woman Watson would not
tell?"  Who was Jasper?  Who was Mrs Watson?  Surely, if there was
concealment, there must be something wrong; or did dear John think she,
his own Nina, did not love him as she ought to do?  Oh! if he had a
sorrow or anxiety, might she not share it?  If the sin of an early day
hung heavy on his mind, would he not let her bear the burden with him?

And a hundred other such persuasive things she said, hanging on his
shoulder, with her sweet face lifted imploringly to his moody

He bade her wait till evening for his reply; but she would not.  She
drew from him that Jasper was his son; but, he added, she was never to
ask him about the boy's unfortunate and ruined mother.

So the father tacitly stamped the brand of illegitimacy on the brow of
his first-born; and the innocent woman he now deceived thanked him for
such concessions as he had made, and resolved, without asking further
permission, to send for Jasper.

But when Mrs Watson reached home, he had again absconded; and of this
she did not fail to inform Lady Manvers, whose gentleness had won her

The idea of this unfortunate child of ten years old, her husband's son,
wandering from haunt to haunt of iniquity, was a source of perpetual
anxiety to Lady Manvers.  She drove from one magistrate's house to
another, trying to discover the little recreant.  She dreaded
compromising her husband, yet was resolved on doing her duty.  She met
with nothing but courtesy and kindness, but all seemed unavailing; and
she was beginning to despair, when, on the eve of departing for
Scotland, where Sir John's regiment was quartered, her attention was
riveted by a paragraph in the newspaper, which she could not help
connecting with the object of her search.

It was an extract from the minutes of a magistrate's court.  A little
boy, "apparently between ten and eleven years," had been brought before
a magistrate, having been found among thieves and pickpockets in some
disorderly meeting.

The evidence presented a sorry picture.

There stood the child in the dock.

The magistrate, a man esteemed for his benevolence, examined the little
prisoner attentively ere he questioned him.  At length the good man
said,--"How old are you, my boy?"  The child did not answer.  The
magistrate put the question again.  No reply.

"Do you know," said Mr M--, "how old you are?"

"No," said the boy, his head bent down.

"Have you been brought here before?"

"No."  Here a constable intimated that this was not true.

"It seems," said Mr M--, "that you _have_ been brought here before.
Why do you say no?  Do you know that is a falsehood?"

"No:" still the same dogged look.

"Have you any parents?"


"Who do you belong to?"

"No one."

"Do you know what a lie is?"


"Do you know that it is wrong to steal?"


"Did you never hear of the Commandments?"


"Do you know the name of God?"


The kind-hearted magistrate stopped in these interrogatories, and laying
down his pen, leaned forward; sorrow shaded his benevolent face as he
said,--"My poor boy, what _do_ you know?"  [This scene is taken from a
record in the _Times_ newspaper of 1850.]

These were the first words of kindness which had ever been spoken to
Jasper Lyle in his life, for he was the little prisoner; for though Mrs
Watson had, as she expressed, "a liking for him," she was rough-spoken
to her own children, whom she always _ordered_, never _asked_, to do her

The unfortunate child lifted his face to Mr M--, and looked
half-wonderingly at it.  The mode of speech was evidently beyond his
comprehension: he looked round at his evil associates, older by years in
crime than he was, and laughed.

The magistrate had the young prisoner removed from the dock, and taken
to his own house.

Lady Manvers ordered her carriage as soon as she had finished reading
this paragraph.  She drove, without delay, to Mrs Watson's at Lambeth,
and then hastened to Mr M--'s.

She found him at home, and told her mission with her accustomed grace
and tact.  Mr M--rose from his chair, opened the door of his library,
and led from an inner room a handsome boy, who, accustomed to resist,
would have run back, and even now drew his curly locks against his large
speaking eyes, and strove to shut out the sight of her who stood before
him as an angel of compassion.

Mrs Watson was summoned, and as Jasper recognised her, he dropped the
magistrate's hand, and went to the woman; but there was no demonstration
of tenderness on the part of either, and Lady Manvers, agitated and
dismayed, burst into tears.

When Sir John Manvers found that his wife had actually stood face to
face with his first-born son, he felt the reality of the secret buried
in the old Cornish church.

The departure for Scotland was delayed for some days.  He spent many
hours in his library, affecting to be engaged in business with his
agent; but oh! the tortures he suffered!  Now he would go to Nina, and
confess all.  He opened the door; a merry voice echoed from the stairs,
his boy Gerard came bounding down, crying "Papa, papa."  Sir John closed
the door abruptly; the boy cast his whip upon the ground and sat down
weeping on the mat.  He had never been denied admittance before; but his
father's countenance had frightened him; he dared not lift his hand to
the lock, but he did not move; he sat there sobbing as if his little
heart would break.

And the father sat within; he had no tears, but his youngest son's
honest sobs struck to his heart.

He heard his wife come down the staircase; he heard her carry off the
weeping Gerard.  The child went sobbing up the stairs on its mother's
shoulder, and Sir John felt that she would not intrude upon his privacy
at a juncture when old associations were so seriously revived.

Ah! how could that pure-minded, high-souled woman understand or believe
in his remorse?

Remorse without repentance!


Sir John Manvers easily taught his amiable wife to believe that she
having succeeded in persuading him to adopt his son and provide for him,
her mission was over; still Lady Manvers entreated that she might
continue to interest herself in the boy, till he became accustomed to
his new sphere of existence.  She sought out an excellent clergyman at
Clapham, who took a limited number of pupils; she candidly admitted the
chief points in Jasper's story, she anticipated for the good man much
trouble and discouragement, she prepared him for the worst.  He tried
his best with the child, but he had not strength either of mind or body
to cope with young Jasper.

The boy passed from one master to another, till a resolute man was found
to take charge of him as a Westminster scholar, when he battled through
life in Dean's Yard, Westminster, for twelve months; headed a conspiracy
against the assistant-masters, and would have been expelled, but that
his "uncle," as Sir John was reputed to be, had interest enough to
withdraw him privately, and finally to get him a commission.

It was Jasper Lyle's luck to be ordered at once to join his regiment in
India.  He opened his military career before a fortress which
surrendered to the British arms.  The banner planted on the battlements
was a rag dripping with gore.  The young ensign was mentioned honourably
in general orders, and for a time the laurel wreath of fame acted as a
talisman in checking evil principles; but ill weeds are hard to
eradicate, and he would have been disgraced for debt; _had debt in the
army been disgraceful_.  Sir John found himself answerable for bills
which his son had chosen to draw on his father's bankers, and an angry
correspondence took place, in which the baronet threatened to leave the
young man to the consequences of his folly and dishonesty.

And at every fresh revival of error, Lady Manvers pleaded for the
recreant, who each time promised fair; for his connection with the upper
classes of society had taught him to dread the ills of poverty.

Although he had been first made to believe that he was a distant
relation of Sir John's, he soon ascertained, through Mrs Watson, the
real position he held in Lady Manvers's eyes.  Of his true condition he
could not dream.  He was specious enough to keep his ground with his
father's gentle wife, and so, alternately in disgrace with the former,
and in treaty with the latter as a mediator, he contrived to keep his
commission and to satisfy his creditors.

An opportunity for an exchange to a regiment at the Cape occurred during
the government of Sir Adrian Fairfax, and Sir John Manvers, anxious to
rid himself even for a period of Jasper's presence, addressed a
confidential letter to Sir Adrian, with whom of late years he had become
more intimately acquainted, through the friendship existing between Lady
Amabel and Lady Manvers, and introducing the reprobate to him as "the
issue of an unfortunate connection," asked his Excellency's patronage.

Lyle had capital credentials as a soldier; his _domestic_ principles
were but lightly touched upon.  He had been "rather wild," was "careless
in expenditure," etc.  Sir John trusted that under Sir Adrian's kind
patronage he would "become steady;" in a word, the kind Sir Adrian, on
reading the letters of introduction forwarded to him by Lady Amabel, on
Lyle's arrival at Cape Town was more inclined to pity than condemn the
young man, and accordingly wrote, as we have seen, to his wife,
requesting her to receive the new-comer with hospitality.

From the period of his arrival at Newlands to his departure from the
colony, the reader has watched young Lyle's career.  Afterwards ruined
in fortune, overcome by his evil passions, possessed, so to speak, by a
devil, he abjured all allegiance to his country's laws.  Branded as a
swindler, he resolved on making a new road for himself in the great
wilderness of life, where bad men think that the race is to the swift
and the battle to the strong.  The details of that career need not be
enlarged upon.  Lyle himself related to Gray how the disciples of his
evil creed treated him: they abandoned him as recklessly as he would
have abandoned them.

Tried and convicted of seditious leadership at a time when other nations
were shaken to their centre by the thunders of republican eloquence, he
was condemned to transportation for life, and Sir John Manvers, striving
to suppress the whispers of conscience, reconciled himself to the issue
of events by hoping that he had "done the State some service" in
substituting for this vicious heir to his title and estate the docile
yet manly Gerard.

Ah! he _would_ not, he dared not, look into first causes.

News came home of the loss of the _Trafalgar_; a list of survivors and
of those drowned accompanied the official notification of the event.
Sir John Manvers was absent from his wife when informed of the dreadful
tidings.  He shut himself up for some days, and people looked at him
when he emerged from his solitude, and whispers went about--"What a
shock Sir John Manvers had sustained in the death of his nephew, or, as
people believed him to be, his son, for whom he had formerly done so
much, but who was so incorrigibly vicious."

Next Sir John took steps to ascertain, through Sir Adrian Fairfax, all
the particulars of Jasper's marriage with Eleanor Daveney.  He had heard
of the birth of a son, and he received with breathless thankfulness of
heart the tidings of poor little Francis Lyle's death.

He tried to wash his brain of these awful realities; he at times
rejoiced in some of the pleasantest things that life could give--a
lovely wife, with the sweetest temper and the firmest principles, graced
his hearth; beautiful children made his lofty halls musical with
laughter; many partings and meetings had endeared him more and more to
that beloved wife, those noble-looking children.  He was in the prime of
life, and had won many laurels; but he was restless, eager for command,
impatient of solitude, yet reserved and abstracted in society.

He could not keep away the dread remorse that haunted him.  All the
sophistry in the world could not veil the sin he had committed against
the helpless, unoffending infant, the melancholy legacy of his
ill-starred Mary.  True, he had a strange facility of suppressing deadly
memories by the aspirations of some new ambition; but there were times
when, like our fallen parents at noon-day in the garden, he "heard the
voice of God," and was "afraid."

But all the remorse, all the repentance in the world, could not compel
the sea to "give up her dead;" and, if the strict performance of his
duty to his family and his country could have made atonement for his
early crime, God would have had compassion on the sinner.  But God
requires another kind of repentance, another atonement, than that
existing between man and his brother.  The thief on the cross was
justified and pardoned at the last moment; but albeit the justification
and the atonement sufficed to save, he acknowledged the justice of this
world's condemnation.

There was nothing of this in all Sir John Manvers's regrets for the
past.  He trembled at the warning voice that pierced the worldly din
surrounding him, or disturbed the repose he sought; but he did not say
with David, "Against Thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy

And so it is ever with sin prosperous; there may be warnings, there may
be misgivings, there may be heavy regrets for the ill we have done our
neighbour; but there is not that depth of remorse which bids us cast
ourselves before God for pardon and for grace to "lead a new life."

Still, long association with an amiable woman and an innocent family had
softened the heart of Sir John Manvers, and he would have given worlds
that he had never been tempted.

The command at the Cape of Good Hope was offered to him soon after the
loss of the _Trafalgar_; his acceptance of it was requested as a favour,
since every one knew it was eventually designed for Sir Adrian Fairfax,
then absent in India.  Change of any kind was agreeable to Sir John, who
was weary of a country gentleman's life at home, and whose finances
would be advantageously recruited by a measure which would lead to
something better.  He parted from his family with the less regret, that,
on obtaining a better appointment, they were to join him.

But when Mr Daveney presented himself before this proud General, with
the information that the wretched prodigal was not only alive, but would
ere long be brought forth to be tried for his life as a traitor, Sir
John Manvers beheld the truth in all its hideous nakedness.

"Better, oh better, had the sea engulfed him!" exclaimed the sinful
father, in the solitude of his tent, "than that my hand should sign his

Sir John Manvers uttered these words as he heard the sentry again
challenge some invader of his privacy.  He re-seated himself in his
easy-chair, tried to quell the anguished thoughts that surged within his
breast, and turned, with apparent calmness, to his aide-de-camp, who,
putting aside the canvas screen, stepped into the General's presence,
and laid before him a packet of letters brought in by another express.



It was a bright autumn day in Kafirland.  Eleanor was borne out into the
garden.  They laid her on a couch on the sunny side of the cottage; the
lime-trees and acacias met over her head.  May had shaped them into a
bower; they were the remains of a grove planted on the spot by some poor
colonist, who had been long since driven by the savage from his
homestead.  The cheek of the invalid had resumed its marble hue, the
eyes shone less brightly, the fever had abated.

The morning was delicious,--it reminded one of June in England; the
canaries were singing their last summer melodies, and the swallows
trilled their farewell lays to Kafirland.  Below the willow bank, the
stream murmured with a sound that pleased the ear and refreshed the

Eleanor had been told by her father that her husband had again eluded
justice.  By a tacit agreement, the convict's name was never referred
to.  All hoped alike that he would never more occupy a prominent
position in the world, and the patient wife, daily praying for strength
to support her in her trials, daily grew more resigned.

She longed to get away to some quiet nook, and be at rest.

She leaned on her mother's bosom--Mrs Daveney was devoted to this sad
daughter now.  A faint colour tinged the sufferer's wan cheek, the soft
air lifted the dark braids from the temples: how tense they were!  What
a picture of desolation she presented--that young, intelligent,
graceful, desolate being!

Mr Trail was reading, His wife working, the little Trails were watching
the antics of May, who was dancing for their amusement, after making
herds of clay oxen for them.  Marion and Ormsby were walking up and
down, talking earnestly, for both had grown more serious of late; and
Mr Daveney was superintending the irrigation of his garden, when the
quietude of the party was disturbed by a message summoning Mr Trail to
his cottage, which, it will be remembered, was only separated by a lane
from the Daveneys' home.

Presently there was a clatter of arms, and the steady tread of soldiers;
then the guard passed by--it soon re-appeared, bringing with them the
young prisoner Gray.

Mr Trail walked by his side.  The party passed close to the garden
fence--Gray, though handcuffed, contrived to salute the compassionate
people, who had in many ways softened the miseries of his confinement.

On the afternoon of that day, it was understood that the evidence on the
court-martial was entirely against him--that his showing himself to the
troops was pronounced the effect of terror and panic, and that it was
proved he had lived for months among the Kafirs and Boers, trafficking
in gunpowder with the former, and assisting the latter in their
preparations for treking and for war.  There was little time given for
the defence.  The accused could only affirm on oath that he had
constantly remonstrated with Lyle on the course they were both pursuing,
while, on the other hand, a Dutch prisoner related Gray's reply to his
fellow-convict, when the latter desired him to "do his duty."

Poor Gray also admitted that he might have made an effort to remain with
Vanbloem, when the latter fell to the rear with his wife, but he also
urged, that by doing so he might have involved the young Dutchman in
serious trouble.  In short, he had no sound ground or defence to
present, and the court-martial closed, after sitting four days.  The
finding was approved, and the sentence ere long promulgated.  The poor
youth was condemned to be shot as a deserter and a rebel.

Mr Trail was with him soon after this was made known to him.  He bowed
his head in silent submission to the laws of his country, and requested
the good missionary to come to him that evening, when he should be glad
to impart his last wishes to him.  "That done," said the poor youth, "I
will turn my back to the things of earth, and give all my thoughts to

And, as the sun went down, Mr Trail went again to the condemned man,
who was now a solitary prisoner, strongly guarded.  They talked far into
the night.  Poor Amayeka! thou wert foremost in the thoughts of thine
ill-starred young soldier-love.  He gave Mr Trail some tokens of
affection and kindness for the friends of his early youth, "if they
still lived;" but for Amayeka, he entreated the missionary's care of her
welfare, "that she might know there was a future, where the tears shall
be wiped from off all faces."

No further intelligence of Lyle--or Lee, as he was denominated
officially--reached the British camps.  The last accounts of Sir Adrian
Fairfax referred to his being deep in diplomatic business with the
conquered Dutch beyond the Orange River; and, save the anticipated
execution of Gray, matters remained in abeyance with Sir John Manvers's
division until the two Generals should meet, to hold a parley with the
Kafir chiefs and people; for, although subdued for a time, these
restless savages would not "sit still"--the great array of forces
scattered over the face of the land kept them in check; but though their
words were "sweeter than honey in the honeycomb, and smoother than oil,"
there was war in their hearts.

Mr Daveney had long asserted this to Sir John Manvers, who, jealous of
all interference from the Commissioner, and haughtily reserved alike in
communicating or receiving opinions, especially from him, made no
serious objections to the return homeward of some of his best burgher
captains.  Troops and colonists rested on their arms, and the usual
amusements of camp life were entered into with all the avidity of
excitement-loving soldiers.

Poor Gray had now but three days to live.  Mr Trail could not help
thinking, that if all the circumstances of the case were related to Sir
Adrian Fairfax, that kind General might mitigate the sentence.  The
missionary had drawn the young deserter's history from him, and every
word he spoke increased the good man's interest, and made him long to
rescue the youth from an ignominious death.

Even the eyes of the president of the court-martial, Colonel Graham,
were observed to fill with tears when the question was asked of the

"How old are you?"

And Gray replied, "I am twenty-two to-day."

His air was so different to the reckless, daring manner of men hardened
in crime, and every one felt the force of the words he uttered in his

"I acknowledge my crimes," he said; "but I have been very unfortunate."

His open countenance when his eyes were raised, for shame and sorrow
usually weighed them down; his slight boyish frame, attenuated by
illness; his air of deep humility--humility without fear--for every
question was answered unhesitatingly and honestly; the gentle way in
which he met the accusations of the chief witness against him, a man who
hoped to purchase his own freedom by the blood of his fellow creature;
and the straightforward manner in which he related his history from the
time he and Lyle had been cast ashore from the _Trafalgar_, taking more
blame to himself in the matter of gunpowder traffic; than he deserved,
were all adjuncts in his favour with the honourable court; but, alas!
there was the damning evidence to prove the life he had lived for the
last six months, and nothing to confirm his assertion that he deprecated
his occupation or position.

Under present circumstances, Gray was not permitted to occupy his little
chamber in the kind missionary's cottage; but Ormsby--no longer the
thoughtless, selfish Ormsby--gave up his hut to the poor young prisoner,
who, patient and resigned, sat within, looking through the open door
upon the distant plains of Kafirland.

He was fettered, and safely guarded by sentries, who would fain have
avoided their sad duty.

Mr Trail sat beside him--the Bible he had been reading was closed upon
his knee--the two were silent now--"thoughts too deep for words" filled
the breasts of both.  The missionary's eyes were overflowing with a
sorrow he could not repress, and the tears fell drop by drop upon his
sleeve.--The deserter took no notice of this; he continued to gaze upon
the plains.  Between him and the great space beyond was spread the
camp-ground--the troops with glittering arms--the sturdy burghers
scattered in somewhat disorderly fashion--the Fingo warriors dancing
their untiring dance and chanting their war-song.  But he noted not this
stir--his interests were no longer of earth--his eyes were lifted above
those vacant green plains to those "aisles of light," beyond which men
have a vague idea that God dwells in heaven.

At the foot of the camp-ground the waters of the two rivers spread east
and west; eastward the stream widened considerably, foaming and tumbling
over gigantic blocks of stone; westward the current was comparatively
smooth and shallow; precipitous banks, intersected with kloofs, formed
the boundary on the opposite side, the cliffs overhanging the eastward
being densely-wooded.

The ground above these cliffs sloped up to a long green ridge, sharply
defined against the clear breezy sky of a Cape autumn day.  The young
prisoner's eye swept this ridge with a purposeless look; but the
sentries who watched him, following that look, were surprised to
perceive several men on horseback with one in the midst, whom they soon
discovered to be unarmed and bound upon the saddle he bestrode.  This
body of men inclined to the bank leading to the smoother waters of the
river, dipped suddenly into a gorge, and did not reappear till they
ascended the slight declivity at the extremity of the encampment.  The
horses, somewhat jaded, flagged in their pace till they came in full
sight of the troops, when the party, some fifty strong, cantered to the
guard-house, demanding to see the commanding officer of the troops, to
whom they desired to deliver up Lee the convict.

Bound in limb, but with the dauntless spirit blazing in his eye, Jasper
was led into the guard-house, and there, surrounded by his captors and
the soldiers, awaited the arrival of the officer who was to receive him.

Colonel Graham was directed to dispose of the contumacious rebel for the
present--no words passed between this officer and the prisoner.  The
elder Boer of the party delivered him to British authority, and claimed
the reward, which was to be applied to kindly purposes among the
sufferers by the war; and Lyle was conducted to a cell, rudely but
strongly built, adjoining the guard-house.  It contained a bench, a
table, an iron bedstead with a straw pallet, and was but faintly lighted
by a narrow slit high up in the thick stone wall.  An iron ring in this
wall showed that, if necessary, the prisoner could be chained to his
desolate abode.

All that could be seen from this narrow chamber was the blue vault of
heaven, with sometimes a bird careering freely in the clear ether.

The door swung heavily behind Jasper Lyle as he entered the cell--we
must leave him there for the present.  No one visited him for some
hours--the chained eagle was left to beat its wings against its cage.

It was on the afternoon of this very day that an advance-guard of
cavalry emerged from a glen heading the encampment, and announced that
Sir Adrian Fairfax was at hand; the little knots of officers, dotted
about the ground, canvassing the various reports which had lately
floated about concerning the convict so unexpectedly delivered up to
British authority, dispersed instantly.  The bugles gave warning to fall
in, and Sir Adrian, attended by his staff, and followed by a small body
of troops, rode at a sharp pace into the square, where all, save Sir
John Manvers, were in readiness to receive him.

It may be imagined that rumour's busy tongue had not been still as
regarded Jasper Lyle, for it began to be known that Lee was not the real
name of the man who had made himself so notorious beyond the borders of
the colony.

It was first ascertained that this rebel had been in South Africa
before; then, some one remembered having heard of a so-called nephew,
but, in reality, as it was said, a natural son of Sir John Manvers, who
had given him an infinity of trouble, but who had been reported lost off
the Cape of Good Hope; in short, one link after another was furnished to
complete a chain on which to hang something very like the truth.

But the Daveneys were unconscious of the curiosity and interest they
excited.  Eleanor as yet knew nothing of what had taken place, and
Marion, although she felt acutely, was consoled by Ormsby's generosity.

Mr Daveney parted these two young people, and led Ormsby away to Mr
Trail's cottage.

There, in the presence of the missionary, the Commissioner proposed to
release the young man from his engagement with his daughter.

"You see the strait we are in," said Daveney; "there is no shutting our
eyes to the fact that my wretched son-in-law must die the death of a
traitor.  You must not ally yourself to the sister-in-law of a

"It is my Marion's misfortune, not her fault, that she is so allied,"
replied Ormsby.  "I love her, and she loves me, and we will not be

Mr Daveney's mind felt somewhat lightened of its weight of anxiety on
seeing his old friend Sir Adrian Fairfax.  He did not believe, for an
instant, that, by any circumstances, Lyle could be absolved from
punishment; but a vague hope filled his breast that the convict's life
would be spared.  Stern and cold and unfeeling as Sir John Manvers had
been in his communications with him, the mild-tempered Daveney
experienced the deepest compassion towards the father of such a son.

But what if he had known that that son was the legitimate first-born of
the baronet?

And how had Sir John received the fatal news that his ill-starred son
Jasper was a fettered prisoner within a few hundred yards of his own

On the day after hearing who this Lee really was, he had sent for
Colonel Graham, who stood next in command, and desired that whenever the
convict should be brought into the encampment, Colonel Graham should be
ready to receive him, without reference to the higher authority.  He
dreaded lest a panic should seize him on suddenly hearing of Jasper's
unwelcome approach.

Accustomed to his cold manner, his aide-de-camp had, on the convict's
arrival, placed before Sir John the document from Colonel Graham
reporting the outlaw's capture.

"You may go, sir," said Sir John, on receiving this dire intelligence;
and he did not lift the paper, on which he recognised the handwriting,
until the canvas screen dropped between him and the young officer.

He opened it and tried to read it through; the letters swam before his
eyes, they turned blood-red, they blazed like characters of fire, the
paper fell to the ground, and for the first time in his life the strong
man fainted away.

A very few minutes sufficed for the hasty review Sir Adrian took of the
assembled forces, and profiting by Colonel Graham's offer of his
marquee, he retired thither, and sent at once for Mr Daveney.

Frankfort, who, with the General, awaited the Commissioner, wrung the
hand of his friend in silence, and all four entering the tent, where
some refreshment had been hastily spread, Colonel Graham informed Sir
Adrian of the apprehension of the rebel convict.

Frankfort was a stranger to the old colonel, who was fortunately too
much occupied with matters of duty to notice the death-like hue which
suddenly overspread the young man's face.  At a signal from Sir Adrian,
Mr Daveney drew Frankfort into the air, but he turned from the sight of
the busy camp.  At this moment the Commissioner's attention was
attracted towards a little cavalcade of a couple of wagons drawn by
mules, and attended by a mounted escort of one of the town levies: it
passed the guard-house, and was directed by a soldier to the dwelling of
Mr Trail.

Anon, a messenger hastened across the square, and announced the arrival
of Lady Amabel Fairfax.  The messenger was fortunately Ormsby, who knew
by Frankfort's expression of horror and surprise, that he had learned
the tidings of the day.  Daveney hurried off; neither of the young men
spoke.  They strode on till a thicket shut the camp from their sight,
and, descending a bank, cast themselves on the turf.

"Where is Eleanor?" asked Frankfort.

"Do you see those willows?" said Ormsby, pointing up the little rivulet;
"the tops of them wave just below her window.  She has been almost dead,
but is better and more resigned, for she thinks--"

"That he is still dead?" said Frankfort; and, in the bitterness of his
heart, he added, "Would to Heaven he were!"  The next moment he prayed
God to forgive him, and, burying his face in his hands, groaned aloud.

"She believes," replied Ormsby, "that he has again escaped."

"Lady Amabel arrived!" exclaimed Sir Adrian, in great surprise, as Mr
Trail entered Colonel Graham's tent with the information.

"Arrived--impossible! have you seen her?"

"I have, sir."

"Now, then, thank Heaven," said Sir Adrian! "had I known yesterday that
my wife was travelling, I should have been less able for the work I had
before me.  Mr Trail, it may be well to inform you that, in spite of
this calm, which apparently pervades the whole of Kafirland, the Gaika
warriors are assembling in the mountains, and my trusty Fingoes have
warned me that they are meditating an attack on the camp.  I have long
had the idea that Sir John Manvers was not so prepared for mischief as
myself and I hastened hither; but I have distributed my forces I hope
advantageously; and although we may not keep the enemy out altogether,
we may check his advance, and meet it with caution.  It is time that I
conferred with Sir John: it is strange that I should have received no
message from him."

The three gentlemen left the marquee.  Colonel Graham bent his way to
the tents of his regiment; the other two directed their steps to the
canvas pavilion.  A military surgeon met them at the door--dismay was
painted on his face.

General Manvers lay as dead upon his camp bedstead--his jaw dropped, his
cheek sunken, his eyes glaring and fixed.  He had been found in this
state by his servant.  The document relative to Lyle was crushed between
his fingers.

While Sir Adrian stood beside this rigid object of despair, the eyelids
quivered, a faint sigh stole from the blue parted lips, and some low
words were breathed, not uttered, but Sir Adrian distinguished them.

"My son! my son!--my first-born!  Save my miserable son Jasper!"

The sudden surprise of seeing Sir Adrian Fairfax caused the unfortunate
man to start up; he was bewildered--looked first at one, and then at the
other, of the two kind men who leaned over him.  The surgeon was utterly
in the dark as to the cause of this sudden seizure.

Greatly disturbed at what he saw, deeply anxious about his wife, and
keenly alive to the responsibilities of his command, Sir Adrian was
anxious to withdraw, but Sir John held him firmly by the hand.

"Fairfax," said the latter, "I _must_ speak with you alone."

The interview lasted but a few minutes.  Dr E--, who had only retired
to a tent close at hand, was speedily summoned again.  "I am obliged,
you see, Dr E--," said Sir Adrian, "to leave this unfortunate
gentleman.  I fear he will disclose to you much of a history which it
will shock you to hear, but I leave him, I know, in honourable hands,
and his valet is faithful.  The sentries had better be removed beyond
ear-shot of the marquee.  You are aware that there are symptoms of a
warlike nature among the Gaikas in those hills; but, come what may, you
must not leave Sir John.  Delirium, I have little doubt, will supervene,
for he is fearfully excited, and, alas! there is no earthly comfort for
him.  In a word, the convict who has been brought within our lines
to-day is his son."

The good surgeon stood confounded.  Low moans struck on his ear--then a
bitter cry; he had only time to send for the valet and a trusty sergeant
before the patient was wild with delirium.

Miserable man! we must leave him; his pride is humbled to the dust--he
weeps aloud, and implore his servant to intercede, to pray for his son,
his first-born son.

Sir Adrian Fairfax did not seek his wife till he had made a minute
inspection of the defences of the camp.  He entered the guard-house.  A
thrill of anguish pierced his very soul at sight of the heavily-barred
door of the convict's cell.  All was still within.

The day was more than half spent ere the general had time to greet the
Lady Amabel.  Mr Trail's cottage was appropriated to her use, but the
kind and gracious woman had found her way to Eleanor's little
white-washed room.  Still equipped in her riding-dress, she reclined on
cushions spread upon the floor.

She looked like some fair lily, beaten by the storm.  Her riding-hat was
laid aside, and her hair, still beautiful, hung disordered about her
face, which had lost in loveliness of outline, but had preserved all its
grace and sweetness of expression.

She silenced her husband's tender reproof at having undertaken such a
journey without his knowledge or permission.  "Permission, dear love!"
said she; "I did not ask for what I knew you would not grant, and it has
been my great pleasure to surprise you in this beautiful desert.
Besides," she added, with a grave face, "truth to tell, I hastened my
journey in consequence of news gathered by the way by my trusty Klaas,
the Hottentot.

"Preferring my travelling accommodation to the discomforts of the little
village inn at B--, where we halted last night, thirty miles from this,
I sent Klaas to the mission station, for Mr M--, who I knew would give
my people milk and vegetables; but Klaas, hearing on his way that Mr
M--was absent, descended towards a Kafir Kraal in the valley.  You know
how cautious he is--he never trusts a Kafir in time of peace, so he
crawled on his hands and knees to a bush crowning a height, where he
stopped to reconnoitre.  He was horror-stricken, when, on looking down
upon the location, he saw two murdered Englishmen lying among the stones
and thorn-bushes, and, at a little distance from them, sat a council of
Kafirs.  He waited till it grew dusk, and then crept down to listen to
their conversation.  He brought me back the fearful intelligence, that
all the Kafir servants in the colony are to be mustered this day, by the
Gaika warriors, in the mountains.--Ah!  I see," exclaimed Lady Amabel,
looking from her husband to the Commissioner, "that this is no news to
you.  Gracious Heaven! is it possible that these fearful savages are
likely to come down upon us?  Oh!  Adrian, Adrian!  I am glad I have

"There spoke the true soldier's wife," said the General; "but I trust we
are too well prepared, for the enemy to approach our lines; they may
harass us in many ways.  They have already, I understand, swept off our
cattle from the hills."

But all day long the wary foe, from his mountain fastnesses, watched the
proceedings in the British camp.  All idea of attacking it was given up
for the present, and, at the close of day, several Kafirs, graceful,
gentle, dignified, and smiling, came to offer milk and corn and wood for

Lady Amabel, who had never seen these wild beings before, looked from
the garden at the dusky groups mingling with the soldiery, and could
scarcely be persuaded that these were the people meditating a fiery
onset with the burning brand and the gleaming assegai upon the camp they
entered like messengers of peace.

Men and women, however, were armed with the weapons used by their race
of old.

Despite this fair seeming on the part of the Gaika Kafirs, every
preparation was made for their reception in hostile array.  All day long
scouts had been seen skimming along the ridges; much of the cattle
belonging to the burgher camps had been carried off, and here and there
glimmered a telegraphic fire.

No member of Mr Daveney's household retired to rest: the night was
spent much as I have described one on a similar occasion at Annerley.
Still there was a certain feeling of security in being surrounded by a
large, well-disciplined garrison, _well prepared_.

Wearied with her journey, and attired in a loose morning robe; Lady
Amabel reclined on a camp chair; Eleanor was seated on the cushions at
her feet, and both had dropped into an uneasy slumber, when they were
awakened by the echoes of the morning gun.

No sign of scouts upon the ridges, no smoke from dying signal-fires; all
was still, calm, and peaceful in the outer world.  The heavens shone
serene and clear, the sun careered in brightness along the hills, and
the busy camp was soon astir.

And so passed another day.  Kafir men and women and children again came
among the soldiery, bartering and chattering and laughing; you would,
indeed, have thought they were the "pastoral and peaceful race"
described by some deluded men.

The door of Gray's hut was closed that day, and none saw him but Mr

Midnight went by; the camp was hushed in deep repose, though the ear at
intervals was startled by the challenge of a sentry, or the rattle of
muskets, as the officers on duty went their rounds, and, fatigued with
the excitement and harass of the previous hours, most of the community,
except the watchful sentinels, were hushed in sleep.  Even Sir John
Manvers's delirium had yielded to the anodynes administered, and he lay
stupified and still, watched by Dr E--and his servant.

But Eleanor, who had longed to be alone, and who was too wretched to
fear for herself, sat with the Book of Consolation before her, in her
little chamber.  The sofa-bed was undisturbed, her light burnt low, and
she had just unfastened her hair to bind it up again ere she lay down to
rest, when the flame of her candle flickered in a sudden current of air.
In the room were two tiny windows, scarcely two feet square, at right
angles with each other.  That to the east was uncurtained and was
lighted by the coming dawn; she looked up at the one opposite to her; it
was open, and a face filled it as a picture would fill a frame.

It was the face of her husband--and the large full eyes were fixed upon
her in a fashion that riveted her own as though attracted by a
rattle-snake.  They had not met since that fearful night when, with
throbbing heart and bleeding feet, Eleanor had rushed from her home to
the sanctuary of the mission station.

Each looked in silence at the other.  Only a minute passed away, there
was a low growl from the hound Marmion, a foot pressed the ground below
the eastern window, and the dread presence vanished.

She heard the willow boughs breaking, Ormsby's dog barked furiously,
hurried footsteps again passed her window, and before she had strength
to rise, Fitje with Ellen in her arms crept quietly into the room.

Voices sounded through the cottage, in the garden,--the dog's angry bark
retreated up the ravine, the whole camp was roused, and the cry went
along the lines--"The prisoner has escaped."

With his usual tact and presence of mind, though death stared him in the
face, Jasper Lyle had contrived to conciliate the young sergeant on
guard so far, that the latter did not turn a deaf ear to the man who,
though he knew him to be a rebel, he believed to be brave and
adventurous.  Lyle asked but few questions, and these in a careless way.
He ascertained that Sir John Manvers was "like to die, he was so ill;"
that Sir Adrian was in command, and that the family of the Commissioner,
Mr Daveney, was living in a cottage within five hundred yards of the

Sir John Manvers ill--delirious!  Had the blow told?  Sir Adrian in
command!  He was the last man to punish by death, if it was possible to
avoid such an extremity.  Life might be spared, but there would be no
more freedom for Jasper Lyle.  Gray convicted--condemned!--how, then,
could he expect favour?  Something like a spasm of remorse touched his
heart as he thought of the young deserter.  His wife!--was she so near?

There are moments in the lives of evil men over which good angels hold
their sway.  Gray and Eleanor!--were they not his victims?  He would
fain have said a good word for one,--a strange desire arose to see the

He had not been an hour in his prison ere his quick eye had descried a
possible means of escape.

The walls were of stone, the roof of shingles, the loop-hole a mere
narrow slit high up in the wall.  Lyle drew his bedstead near it, he
stood up and looked out; he could see the southern plains and part of
the encampment, he could hear the reliefs passing too and fro; he
listened and distinguished the parole, "Albany."  He rubbed his hands
with glee, he examined the loop-hole, and discovered that no
coping-stone supported the roof.  A bar of iron from his bedstead would
remove the shingle overhanging the loop.

He sat down upon the bedstead in a desponding attitude.  When the
sergeant entered with the afternoon meal, the prisoner was weeping.

Fortune favoured Lyle.  The sun set in heavy clouds, torrents of rain
began to fall, the sentry who paced below the loop-hole retired to his
box in the angle of the building, the thunder roared, the lightning
flashed, and the convict worked amid the din of the elements.  Every now
and then he listened at the door; in the pauses of the storm he could
hear the sleepers in the guardroom breathing hard; he went to work
again, the roof had rotted from the effects of the rainy season, it gave
way, and Lyle raised his head through the aperture.

In another instant he had slid down the wall, and was on the turf.

The sentry was within a few paces of him, but the wind, coming from an
opposite direction, blew the blinding rain in the soldier's face.  He
was wide awake, though, and, on finding something was astir not far off,
uttered the usual query, "Who goes there?"  The steady reply of
"Friend," and the countersign "Albany," were sufficient; the sentry
imagined it was some officer passing from one tent to another; the
convict plunged below the bank in rear of the guardroom, which was on a
line with the Daveneys' cottage; and, scrambling on till he came to the
group of willows, sprang into the garden, and saw before him a window.
A light shone through the muslin curtain.

It readily yielded to his touch; he looked in--his pale,
sorrowful-looking wife was before him.

What a contrast with the turmoils through which he had passed, with the
wild uncertainty which made his bosom throb, was the sight of this
grave, sad, innocent woman, alone in the stillness of dawn, with her
Bible beside her!

It was so totally unlike what he had experienced since he had first
known her, that he was softened, though confounded, at the sight.  He
wanted words; he felt as if he could have said something kind, but did
not know how.

Ah! the scorched and fiery ground of the sinful man's mind hath no
resting-place for the angel's foot.  The good spirit halted on the
threshold; nevertheless, Jasper wore a look unusual to him, and when it
had passed away, it haunted Eleanor like a vision.  Her memory of it was
touched with something like compassion, and it was well that it was so.

The cry was raised, "The prisoner has escaped."

The morning broke cold and chill, and the vapours hung about the hills,
as the little force of Cape cavalry and its infantry supports were
mustered, ere they started on the _spoor_ of the convict, with orders
also to reconnoitre the ground haunted by the enemy.  It was May who had
discovered the _spoor_.

Devoted to the Daveneys, and especially attached to Eleanor, he had
built for himself a little pent-house, a _lean-to_, beneath the eastern
window of her room.  In this he, and Fitje, and Ellen, and Ormsby's
gallant hound--May's friend and playmate--all slept at night.  May was
always ready to accompany the Commissioner in his rounds; he was at hand
any moment during the twenty-four hours; he was as watchful as the
hound.  Although he had never enlightened Fitje on the subject of
Eleanor's miserable connection with Lyle, he had followed her through
her whole history, and a vague sense of dread for her sake hung about
him as soon as he learned that her tormentor had re-appeared in the
shape of Lee the convict.

On the night in question, May, like a true bushman, was too much
disconcerted by the commotion in the elements to sleep.  He never could
banish the idea, entertained by his race, that evil spirits were working
mischief in the stormy air; and he had just turned round upon his mat,
comforted by the streaks of daylight penetrating the shed, when his
quick ear detected a foot-fall to which he was unaccustomed--

"By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes," thought
May, in words not unlike the text; and, creeping from the shed, he saw a
tall, dark form between him and the white wall of the cottage.

Lyle's ear, almost as keen as May's, was disturbed by the bushman's
movement, stealthy as it was; the next instant the hound sprung out.
The convict swung himself down the bank by the bough of one of the
willows, and, lifting a stone, cast it with such sure aim at poor
Marmion, that he fell lame on the spot.  Still the beast managed to
follow him up the ravine, and May tracked the steps from bush to bush
till Marmion sank down whining piteously, and holding his bleeding limb
up with an imploring look that May could not resist.

He returned to the house, informed his master of the route taken by the
convict, and honour left no alternative to Mr Daveney but to report it
to the commanding officer of the party of soldiery about to start in
search of him.

It was the fate of Frankfort and Ormsby to be of this party; but
whatever they felt on the occasion was not expressed between them.
Doubtless each had the same wish--never again to behold the miserable
being, who spread sorrow and dismay wherever he went.

But the advanced guard of gallant Fingoes has entered the defile; the
troops proceed with cautious steps and muskets loaded, for,
peradventure, many a dusky head is peering out from behind the green
tufts and rocky masses that make the way so steep and toilsome.

The sun poured a flood of golden light upon a scene so fair, that it
should have been peopled by beings as guileless as our first parents
when tenants of Eden.  It was an open tongue of land stretching from the
kloof through which the troops had passed, and planted by the graceful
hand of nature with those clumps of bush which give to African scenery
the air of a noble park.  On the one side a mountain, wooded from the
base to the summit, rose majestically to the clouds, all golden-tinted
with the radiance of the east; on the other rose a krantz, abrupt and
rugged, the white rocks standing out in strong relief from the dark
foliage of the yellow-wood trees, among which the monkeys were
chattering, and swinging by their long tails from bough to bough.  The
foot of this grand barrier was watered by a stream clear and still,
being gathered into pools between the rocks; and over the shining waters
hung groups of willows, weighed down by the oblong nests of those pretty
birds which most dread the snake, sure denizen of the loveliest nooks in
Southern Africa.

There were cattle drinking at the stream, and these were unattended by
their guards, as usual.  It was this circumstance which made the
Hottentot soldiers in advance halt, and keenly examine the locality.

A slight elevation concealed part of this little prairie from the
soldiers, who, with May and three or four Fingoes, plunged into some
intervening bush to reconnoitre.  Those in rear dropped behind the
embowered rocks, and kept strict silence till ordered by the commanding
officer, Frankfort, to advance upon the enemy, who was soon discovered.

Half way down the slope stood a noble grove of trees; interspersed among
these were several Kafir women and boys, all carrying assegais and
knob-kierries, and all in a state of excitement; for, although silent,
they were dancing in their strange way upon the flowery turf, and waving
their weapons aloft with wild gesticulations.  A few aged Kafirs
contemplated the scene with manifest satisfaction, but grinned a
noiseless applause; and far down were gathered some sixty or seventy
Kafirs, ranged in a semicircle round a stately oak.  They had been
sitting in council, and rose at the very instant Frankfort's eye fell
upon them.

They were, however, unconscious of being overlooked; they stood up, cast
aside their karosses, and began to dance a solemn measure, which soon
changed to the wildest gestures.  They leaped high in the air, swung
themselves round and round, brandished their spears, and presently a low
hum of voices ascended the bank, and swelled into a chorus.

A great pile of sticks was gathered round this tree, and Frankfort began
to believe that they were performing some heathenish rite, when a sharp,
clear whistle issued from a clump of euphorbias and mimosas on the
right, and a yell from the women proclaimed that the soldiers were

It was not ground on which Kafirs would make a stand under any
circumstances, and it was not their policy to fire the first shot.  They
began to retire slowly, as if peaceably disposed, and retreated to the
krantz; but, as they went, the boys cast their knob-kierries at the
oak-tree, and raised a shout of defiance to the troops, who showed
themselves on the green ridge.  Finally, the savages collected in a body
near the pools, and, casting back a shower of assegais, disappeared with
their cattle among the yellow-wood trees.

The echoes of that savage yell rang far and wide, but a dead silence
ensued; the Cape cavalry galloped down the slope, and poured a volley of
musketry amid the trees and cliffs; they were answered by the shrill
war-cry of Kafirland, and in a few minutes they beheld the savages and
their cattle on a ledge of rocks far beyond the white man's reach.  The
savages uttered one derisive shout, and vanished.

It was useless to attempt to follow them.  The first signal of defiance
was given, there was no further doubt of hostility; but the troops were
left upon the lovely prairie without an enemy.

Many a gallant fellow lay bleeding on the flowery turf; Ormsby was
stretched beside one of the pools, the blood poured from an
assegai-wound in his side; his soft shining hair was matted with gore
from another in the temple.

A horrible object presented itself to the troops as they faced about,
carrying their wounded up the slope; it was the figure of a white man
bound with thongs to the oak, round which the faggots had been piled,
but happily not ignited.  The arms were stretched out, and fastened to
two wide-spreading branches of the noble tree; the feet rested on the
sticks, which it had been intended should blaze beneath them, and there
were the marks of heavy blows upon the fine athletic limbs; the face was
distorted, the eyes glared in their sockets, and the body was
transpierced by assegais.

The Kafirs, athirst for blood, afraid to attack the camps, had gone
roaming about for days seeking whom they might devour.  Here, in this
lovely and sequestered spot, a group of Gaikas had halted with their
cattle; a solitary white man suddenly appeared among them--he was alone,
unarmed--miserable wretch that he was!--he was in search of freedom in
the beautiful desert.  They rushed upon him, seized him, and, pinioning
his arms, fastened him to the tree, and sat down before him to
deliberate how he should die by their ruthless hands.

Reader, he understood their language!

He heard them, and was powerless.

They were all of one opinion.--

He should be killed by slow torture!

But how?

And then they talked together, and the victim, for the first time in his
life, called on God to have mercy upon him, the sinner.

And Zoonah was there--Zoonah, who, in early youth, had been fostered and
kindly trained by white men, and taught who God was, and how all the
beautiful and pleasant gifts of earth came from God--and Zoonah mocked
him, and cried aloud--

"Is your God black or white?"

Then all was still again, and it was decided how he should die; and they
took their assegais, and drew a red circle round his throat, and sat
down to see the beginning of their work, sharpening their weapons, and
bidding the young boys take good aim at the quivering and bleeding form
with their knob-kierries.  Some of the women came, and looked shyly at
him at first, and so went away, and danced and returned; and it was at
this period of the tragic drama that a girl caught sight of a carbine in
the bush above, and shrieked her warning--

"The soldiers!--the soldiers!--and the Fingo dogs!"

They fled, but left their victim no chance of life from his fellow-men.

Jasper Lyle was quite dead when they unbound him from the oak, down the
bark of which the blood streamed from his mangled limbs.

It was riven by lightning afterwards, and, till Mr Trail had it cut
down, stood all white and ghastly, an unsightly memento of the convict's
awful death.

The hour fixed for Gray's execution passed by--the world was already
dead to him; but had Mr Trail, the kind, the thoughtful, the unselfish,
forgotten him?

How clear are the heavens! how serene and still! how balmy the autumnal
breeze of Kafirland.

Hark to the sullen roar of artillery close at hand!  It shakes the
darkened hut of the poor prisoner.

Cries of anger and defiance disturb the silence of the majestic hills;
men rush by with clattering arms.

The dusky host has gathered on the mountain slopes; they hover about in
clouds.  Gray recognises the well-known challenge, "Izapa!" it is
answered by a volley of musketry.  Again the deep-mouthed guns open wide
their fiery throats, and a hearty English cheer announces that shot and
shell have told upon the savage foe.

But the wild war-cry rings out shrill and strong again; it draws nearer,
and is answered by the Fingoes.

Gray could see but little from the aperture of his hut.  He noticed
though that the Kafirs, emboldened by their superiority of numbers, came
muzzle to muzzle with the infantry; they grappled with the soldiers,
they snapped their reed-like assegais in two and gave back stab for
stab; they gibbered, they leaped, they dropped as if dead into the bush,
only to rise the next moment and wound their adversaries in the back;
they came bounding down the hills in fresh bodies, among which the
British artillery soon began to make havoc; but, for those that fell,
numbers started from behind the rocks and shrubs, and dashed forward to
the onslaught.

They stepped into the open ground.  Up rose the warlike Fingoes from
beneath their shields!  Their spears glittered in the glowing sun; the
mass extended, it spread east and west, and they advanced to the charge.

Slave and master meet in the deadly strife!  How the dark eyes of each
glare with vengeance and detestation! but the Fingoes not only know the
warfare of their enemy, they also fight with the skill and coolness of
the British.  They will die rather than yield, for they feel that to
surrender were worse than death.

And they do conquer, before the outlying picquets posted in the mountain
glens, by the experienced orders of Sir Adrian Fairfax, emerge from
their ambush to meet the retiring warriors.

It was a deadly struggle.  The Kafirs, beaten back from the encampment,
hoped to find safe shelter in their strongholds; but Sir Adrian's policy
was as deep as their own.  He, too, had had his spies scattered through
the land; and albeit these specious savages had sworn to sit still--had
humbled themselves like dogs, and sworn by the bones of their dead
chiefs to keep faith, he knew that when they professed most they meant
least; and, on being informed that Sir John Manvers's large force was
scattered, and that some of the burghers had anticipated their
dispersion, and were about to depart, he hurried his march, after
closing his treaties with the Boers, whom he contrived also to
conciliate, and made such an admirable disposition of his troops that
the Kafirs were deceived completely.

The soldiers, dispersed among the kloofs, appeared to the Gaikas to be
making roads and hewing wood: they little knew that, at a certain sound
of the bugle, they would be up and ready at any hour of the day or

Hundreds of the enemy were left dead, after the action, near Sir John
Manvers's camp: and, alas! many a family in England, whose best
sympathies had been enlisted in favour of this "ill-used race," "driven
from their land"--"a peaceful, inoffensive people, asking only grass for
their cattle," mourned the loss of a gallant son or brother shot down or
assegaied by these cunning and untameable beings.

And all day long, and through the dark night, the wailing cry of women
mourning for their dead resounded in the mountains, and, lo! from the
British camp the triumphant chorus of the Fingoes answered it.

The enemy were beaten, and councils were held, and the warriors crawled
to the feet of their "white Father," and prayed to be forgiven as little

But melancholy experience teaches us the value of a Kafir's word!

A little pyramid marks the spot where, on the evening of that fatal day,
a funeral party of British soldiers dug a grave for the comrades who had
fallen in the fray.

There are other monuments around it, for a town stands now where long
lines of tents dotted the green-sward, and a church is rising in the
midst.  Within it is a grand monument to the memory of Sir John Manvers,
who died ere the body of his murdered son was brought into the

Divided in their lives, are they united in eternity?

Within the encampment there were no great signs of the struggle which
had taken place on the preceding day.  On the contrary, there was an
unusual stillness about it, for short and conclusive as had been the
battle, the heavy wings of Death had cast a dark shadow on the scene,
which had its influence on all.  The cottages were closed, there were no
people at work in the gardens, men spoke apart and in whispers, and,
though morning was in her prime, a stillness like that of night

Presently, there came forth from the tents soldiers fully accoutred;
then their officers; next Sir Adrian Fairfax and his staff.  All wore
the same grave aspect.

But the brilliant uniforms, the glittering arms, the waving plumes, made
a dazzling array, as the troops fell in and formed three sides of a

Nine or ten men stepped out from the rest.

Beyond the soldiery, were the Fingo warriors, seated on the turf; and a
few Kafir women and children looked from the hills upon the scene, which
they could not understand, for, with arms bound, and head uncovered,
there walked into the square a young man, whose whole air and aspect
bespoke him anything but a malefactor--a rebel doomed to die: it was

Mr Trail was with him.  The prisoner advanced with steady step, but the
flush of shame overspread his face, as he felt that the gaze of hundreds
was fixed upon him.  He would have read sincere and sorrowful pity in
that gaze, had he seen it, but his eyes were fixed upon the ground.

Anon, there swelled upon the air that solemn march for the dead that
thrills to the very soul when we hear it.  The sudden burst of the drum
startled the prisoner, and he looked up.  He saw his coffin borne before
him; he moved on mechanically to the time of the wailing music; he
passed the long lines of soldiers; he did not lose his presence of mind.
As he drew near Sir Adrian Fairfax, he raised his eyes for an instant,
and lifting his fettered hands, bowed on them.  Frankfort's heart beat
with the dread of being overcome to tears; Colonel Graham brushed the
drops away from his eyes, and one young soldier fainted in the ranks.

All at last was ready; the drum ceased to beat.

The prisoner's eyes were bound; it was observed that he cast one long,
lingering look upon the bright and lovely scenes around him, ere this
was done.

He wished to take a last look of earth!

He was told that some moments would be allowed him for prayer at the
last.  He pressed Mr Trail's hands within his own, and the good
minister left him.

The lightest whisper might have been heard while the prisoner was
absorbed in prayer.  He never moved when the firing party knelt down,
although their arms and accoutrements broke the silence sharply.  The
officer in command of this party uttered the word, "Ready!" in a voice
so clear that it penetrated to the farthest in the ranks.

Did Gray hear it?  None could tell.

"Present!"--he heard that, for he lifted his head and dropped his hands
before him, awaiting the fiery shower of musketry.

Still, not a movement in those disciplined ranks!


It was another voice that spoke.

The General had bid the party wait his order to fire, and, lest any
fatal error should occur, had warned the men, that he should step before
them to address the prisoner.--"Remember," said Sir Adrian, "if you do
not strictly adhere to my orders, you will shoot me."

None but the firing party and Mr Trail were prepared for this pause in
the ceremonial.


Gray remained kneeling, but bent his head in recognition of the voice
addressing him.

"The offence of which you were found guilty on the --th of--should have
been punished yesterday by death; but the events of that day delayed
your doom.  Extenuating circumstances induced your merciful judges to
reconsider your case, and finally to accept your own assertions as
evidence in your favour.  God is the judge of your word, whether true or
false.  In the name then of Him, who loves mercy better than sacrifice,
I entreat you to redeem your past errors by a deep repentance.
Prisoner, rise!--you are pardoned!"

Some one removed the bandage from Gray's eyes--the light dazzled them--
he could see nothing; but, though faint and powerless, he knew it was in
Mr Trail's kind arms that he reclined.

He heard the clattering arms of the dispersing soldiers, and the drums
and fifes beating merry time in marching off the ground, but he felt
utterly unable to help himself.  He was lifted up--he fainted as they
carried him away, and on reviving, found himself in the little room he
had occupied in Mr Trail's cottage.

But it was strangely metamorphosed--a carpet covered the hitherto matted
floor, snowy curtains shaded the small windows, there were books on the
table, and a glass with wild flowers, and, beside the sofa on which he
leaned, stood a lady tall and fair, who looked to him like some
ministering angel.

It was Lady Amabel Fairfax.

Peace was proclaimed in Kafirland--peace for a time.

There were busy artificers on the camp-ground; fortifications were in
progress, and traders were opening their stores.  Everything gave
promise of establishing a thriving town; wagons were winding down the
green slopes of the western hills, and fine herds of cattle and flocks
of sheep and goats were passing through on their way to fresh

A cumbrous and old-fashioned, but comfortable, English carriage with
four fine horses stood at the gate of the Daveneys' cottage.  Ormsby,
somewhat wasted by his wounds--happily the one on the temple, was but a
cut from a passing assegai--led Lady Amabel to her equipage, and Mr
Daveney followed, leading Eleanor in deep mourning.  Major Frankfort
stood at the gate with Sir Adrian; he gave his hand to Lady Amabel--she
felt it tremble.

He could not see Eleanor's face, it was closely veiled; they had never
met since that fearful night at Annerley, but now she held her hand out
to him.  He heard her utter the word "Farewell."

Sir Adrian shook hands with him, and Lady Amabel leaned forward to say
"God bless you."

But Frankfort answered not a word.

"Farewell."  In after-years, in the deep solitude of midnight, on the
sea, in the still noon of summer days in English woods, where he loved
to cast himself beneath the umbrageous oaks, and dream of Kafirland,
that soft and sorrowful voice still whispered "Farewell."

Lady Amabel retired with her young and mourning guest to the shades of
Newlands.  Eleanor never accompanied her friend to the busy scenes of
Government House.  Her father and mother soon established themselves in
a lovely spot within a day's journey of Cape Town, and here she hoped to
find that seclusion and repose, which she had vainly sought before.

Marion and Ormsby were married, and embarked for England; soon
afterwards, Lady Amabel and Eleanor bade them adieu, as they stepped
into the boat awaiting them in the treacherous waters of Table Bay; poor
Marion's cheeks were flooded with tears.

Eleanor was calm and pale, but it seemed now as though she never could

Lady Amabel longed to see some change in her demeanour, but nothing
seemed to move her.  The evening after her sister's departure she sat so
still within the embrasure of a window, that her kind friend thought she
must be asleep; but no, the large mournful orbs were fixed on the
darkening heavens in which the sentinel stars were mustering their
radiant hosts.  Her thoughts were not of earth--they were with her angel
boy--her lost Francis--that link between herself and the mysterious
world, of which we know nothing, save that there is no sin there, and
therefore no sorrow.

The dwelling purchased and improved by the Daveneys commanded a
magnificent view of the sea.

Eleanor sat in one of her mournful reveries, as was usual with her at
eventide.  In the daytime she resolutely employed herself--mechanically,
if possible.  She never sang now, but she would play whole pages of
difficult music, then work in the garden; walking, or riding for miles
with her father, filled up the afternoons; but the evening time was
truly the dark hour with her.  She loved best to be alone at this time.

So there she sat, her book dropped listlessly on her knee, and her
melancholy gaze fastened on the shining waters of the moonlit ocean,
that washed the rocky boundary of the grounds she had helped to fashion
and to plant with orange-groves.

Her father and mother were in an adjoining room; she heard a door open,
and some one, not of the household, spoke in a low voice; but she
recognised it--it was May's.

She went to meet him, and give him welcome; the poor little bushman
cried and laughed with joy.

And Fitje came, and Ellen, and they sat down in the doorway, and said
they would stay, if they might.  May was going to Cape Town, and would
come back again, and be gardener and groom, and everything, if Daveney
would have him.

"Going to Cape Town?"

"Yes, with Master--Master Frankfort."  They were travelling by land from
Algoa Bay, and had come to see the Knysna River, and May had a letter
for the _Bass_.  It contained an inclosure.

Eleanor retreated into the other room.


Eleanor's Note to Frankfort.

"Most generous Friend,--

"I love you too well to take undue advantage of your kindness.  Return
to England; there, earlier and happier impressions may be revived; and
although I would not have you forget me, think only of the unfortunate
Eleanor as one whose hopes are fixed on Heaven.



The Trails, weary with the repeated aggressions on their property in
Kafirland, came nearer the civilised districts of the Cape; they
established a mission and a school within a few miles of the Knysna
River.  A young assistant of Mr Trail's attracted the notice of all the
farmers' daughters around, but he paid no heed, did "that handsome young
teacher," to the bright glances aimed at him.  He seldom entered the
houses of the richer settlers, except in cases of sickness, when Mr
Trail was absent from home.

The Vanbloems had returned to an old family farm, which they had
deserted in the hopes of bettering themselves by seeking "larger
pastures;" they were wiser than their rebellious brethren, for, instead
of flying beyond the boundary, they retreated to their original
settlement, and contented themselves with less land but surer ground.  I
speak of the elder Vanbloem, with whom Frankfort and Ormsby made
acquaintance in their first days of travelling.

Gray--for he was the young teacher--had resolved one day on asking Mr
Trail to make some inquiries of Amayeka, albeit he dreaded the issue of
such inquiry.

Poor Amayeka!--Surely the younger Vanbloem's had not deserted her; but
she might have been taken from them by violence.

That day old Vanbloem came to tell Mr Trail that his son's wagon was
outspanned in a valley an hour's ride from the station; he and some
neighbours were going to meet him, would Mr Trail go too?

The party passed the mission station that evening; there were horsemen
and wagons, quite a cavalcade--for some one from every family had gone
out to welcome the new-comers, returning to the land of their

It was dusk when Mr Trail returned home; Gray started on hearing his
master's voice.

"Master"--so he called the missionary--"master, are there bad tidings?--
has she survived the fury of her people?"

"Come hither, Gray," said Mr Trail; "Amayeka is here."

Meek and trembling, poor Amayeka had seated herself on the lowest step
of the stoep; her head was bent low, and her cloak drawn around her.

"Amayeka," said Mr Trail, "rise, and come in."

She shook her head, and crouched lower.

"Master," whispered she, "I am ashamed--"

"Amayeka," said another voice beside her.

Mr Trail had prepared her to meet her lover.

He left them together.


Next day a group entered the chapel of the mission station; it was said
there was to be a wedding--a strange wedding; the young English teacher
was to be married to a Kafir girl--it was quite true.

At first the settlers in the neighbourhood turned away their heads when
the young teacher and his dusky wife passed them by; but Amayeka was so
humble, so industrious, so neat, what could be said against her?

Mrs Trail helped her to establish a school.  To look into her room on
Sabbath nights, and see her the centre of a crowd of children, would do
your heart good.  She is no longer young--at thirty the women of her
race are old--but her voice is musical and girlish as ever; and were you
to hear her and her husband leading the Evening Hymn, you would never
recognise, in the grave and neatly-dressed catechist and his wife, the
young unhappy pair whom I once introduced to you sitting forlorn and
wretched by the riverside in Kafirland, with the eyes of the Wizard
Amani glaring at them from his ambush.


Ormsby's patrimony was large; his family at first were disposed to
receive his wife with hauteur--they were among that class of English
owls who fancy themselves eagles, especially in their own county.

Ormsby took possession of his fine estate, and left the army, glad that
he had been a soldier for many reasons; but, above all, because he had
thus been given the means of finding a fair and happy-tempered wife in
Kafirland.  He made his sisters welcome to Ormsby Park, and they
confessed, among their country friends, that she was to be "tolerated."

Frankfort's cousin, the Duchess, the former friend of Mrs Daveney,
begged to be introduced to young Mrs Ormsby at a ball, and asked
affectionately about her mother's welfare.  The Duchess was childless,
had led "the most monotonous life in the world;" she was dying to hear
of Kafirland.

"Did the people there live on the white men they killed in war time? and
how was it that Marion was so fair, and would Mr and Mrs Daveney ever
come to England again?" etc.

"Yes; Marion expected them to spend a year with her, and, after that,
they would return; for her father and mother had many interests and
occupations in Southern Africa which they would not wish to give up."

"Interests and occupations!"--the Duchess yawned, and begged Mr Ormsby
to find her carriage, and "was glad the ball was over; but it was marked
by one pleasant fact, that of meeting Marion, the daughter of her old

They shook hands cordially.

"Who on earth is the Duchess of M--shaking hands with so heartily?" said
the member's wife.

"Mrs Ormsby, of Ormsby Park."

"Oh! yes; the uncle is dead, and has left young Ormsby seven thousand a
year, has he not?"

"Nine, they say," replied the other speaker.

"Dear me, how fortunate!--his wife is pretty, rather; I should like to
know her."

Summer was dying in all her pomp, the woods of Ormsby were arrayed in
their mantles of green and gold and crimson and rich brown; the shadows
from the old oaks were lengthening on the grass, when the lodge-gates
were thrown open to admit the carriage which had been sent to Portsmouth
to meet the voyagers from Kafirland.

A touch of the old ambitious feeling thrilled through Mrs Daveney's
heart, as the elegant equipage swept along the noble aisles of
horse-chestnut trees and beeches, through which the mansion, with
windows illuminated by the setting sun, showed fair and stately.

But Eleanor's face was opposite, revealing its mournful history of past
suffering.  It had lost its look of anxiety, and something like pleasure
shone in the large dark orbs as they caught sight of Marion's home, and
her sister and husband, with Marmion between them, in the open doorway,
waving their handkerchiefs.

Who thought that, instead of an embowered porch, rudely built and
thatched with rushes, they now met beneath the stately colonnade of a
noble mansion!

Oh! those precious meetings, when the sea has long divided us.


The cultivated lands of England! the fields crowded with reapers! the
heavily-laden wains--women and youths and children singing along the
roads, as if rejoicing in the plentiful harvest; the noble woods,
stretching afar, and glowing in the mellow light of autumn!--all
contributed to bring repose to Eleanor's soul.  She lived a new life--
she seemed to begin a new career in a new world.  Here she was indeed at
peace--no fearful storms, no savage war-cry, no dread of an enemy
stalking in and making desolate the hearth!  The space between her and
the past seemed suddenly widened.

Sir Adrian and Lady Amabel were of the party; there were no strangers--
neighbours there were none within five miles.

The events of former years were scarcely ever alluded to; Marion's twins
were painfully like their little cousin buried in the African desert;
but no one spoke of him.  The children lived almost in Eleanor's room.

One evening, after she had gone upstairs to dress for dinner, these
little creatures detained her till the second bell rang.  Her hair was
hanging over her dressing-gown, and, finding that she could not possibly
be in time, she ran to Marion to say she would join the little circle at

"Marion!  Marion!"--but Marion had gone.  Ormsby's study door was open;
there was a light within!  She called to him--no answer.

The children ran up to her; they threw the door wide open; two
wax-lights were burning on the table, and before the fire stood

And for the first time for many long years Eleanor uttered a cry of joy.

She forgot that she was in her dressing-gown, that her hair hung
disordered about her, that the children were half-frightened at the
sight of a stranger.

Frankfort opened his arms again to her--

"Never again to part, Eleanor," said he.

"Never, never," she answered.

He strained her to his breast, and her tears of unutterable joy mingled
with his kisses.


"Nurse--nurse Abbot, here is Aunty crying, and a strange gentleman
kissing her.  Oh! nurse, do come here."

But nurse Abbot drew the twins from the corridor into their nursery, and
kept them there as long as she thought proper.


When Colonel Frankfort had been married a year or two, people who had
been mystified about Mrs Lyle's widowhood forgot everything but that
she was the sweetest and gentlest and most, lowly-mannered lady they had
ever seen.  The old air of melancholy was so habitual to her, she would
have been less charming without it.  The sisters were near neighbours
during half the year, and for one month in their lives were united with
all their South African friends; for the Daveneys paid another visit to
England, and the Trails accompanied them.  May and Fitje and Ellen were
on the establishment; Mr Trail had brought them home as honest and rare
specimens of what Christianity had done for South Africa.  Gray and
Amayeka--we never _can_ call her Mrs Gray--were left in charge of
school and pupils, and did their duty well in the good teacher's

Sir Adrian Fairfax himself examined the register in the old church in
Cornwall, and finding that the death of the curate's daughter preceded
Sir John Manvers's second marriage, he never revealed the sad history of
Sir John's earlier years.

Not long since, I saw two charming pictures of the sisters in the
exhibition of the Royal Academy.  They were in the characters of Day and
Night.  I recognised them, though they were not mentioned by name in the
catalogue.  Marion stood in the sunlight, with a smile on her face and
the glow of summer on her azure scarf.  Eleanor was seated in the shade
of twilight, with the sea in the distance, and a star rising over her
head and irradiating her pale and thoughtful brow.

Were her thoughts wandering over those shining depths to the wilderness
where her boy lay buried far from any kindred?

I heard a deep sigh behind me as I stood contemplating these sweet
portraits.  I turned, and recognised in the somewhat roue-looking young
man behind me Clarence Fairfax.  A celebrated _danseuse_ of the day hung
upon his arm, but she was too much occupied with another admirer to
notice his abstracted gaze.

I hope Eleanor did not meet this idol of her former fancy.  I saw her
five minutes after with her husband and sister.  Her veil was down, and
I could only hear the music of her gentle and cordial salutation.  And
then, as exciting intelligence from Southern Africa was filling the
papers of the day, she asked, "Is there any news from Kafirland?"


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