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´╗┐Title: An I.D.B. in South Africa
Author: Vescelius-Sheldon, Louise
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 "An I.D.B. in South Africa" ***

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An I.D.B. in South Africa
By Louise Vescelius-Sheldon
Illustrations by G.E. Graves and Al Hencke
Published by John W. Lovell Company, New York.
This edition dated 1888.

An I.D.B. in South Africa, by Louise Vescelius-Sheldon.

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________
AN I.D.B. IN SOUTH AFRICA, BY LOUISE VESCELIUS-SHELDON.

CHAPTER ONE.

THE MARKED DIAMOND.

"Who is that beautiful woman in the box opposite us, Herr Schwatka?"

"Which one, Major?  There are two, if my eyes may be trusted."

"She with the dark hair?"

"That is Mrs Laure, and the gentleman is her husband, Donald Laure."

"What a beautiful creature, is she not?"

"Yes, beautiful indeed, as many of the Cape women are.  But the union of
European with African produces, in their descendants, beings endowed
with strange and inconsistent natures.  These two bloods mingle but will
not blend; more prominently are these idiosyncrasies developed where the
Zulu parentage can be traced, and naturally so, for the Zulus are the
most intelligent of all the African tribes.  Now they are all love,
tenderness, and devotion, ready to make any sacrifice for those on whom
their affections are placed; again revengeful, jealous, vindictive."

"But surely that woman has no African blood in her veins," said the
major.

"Yes," replied Schwatka, quietly; "but the fact is not generally known."

"What eyes!  I should like to know such a woman.  To analyse character
moulded in such a form would be a delightful study.  And the lady with
her, who may she be?" continued the major.

"Miss Kate Darcy, an American lady now visiting her brother, a director
in the Standard Diamond Mining Company.  These Americans, turn up
everywhere," and Schwatka lifted his shoulders with an expressive shrug.

"Then the gentleman with her is the brother, eh?" persistently continued
the major.

"No, that is Count Telfus, a large dealer in diamonds, said to have made
much money.  There goes the curtain."

The preceding conversation between Major Kildare and Herr Schwatka took
place in a box of the Theatre Royal on the Kimberley Diamond Fields.  As
Schwatka looked at Donald Laure, the latter glanced across the house;
their eyes met and a sign of recognition passed between them.  Presently
Mrs Laure turned, disclosing an exquisitely beautiful face, but one
apparently unconscious of the effect of its beauty.  Her height was
slightly below the average, and her form faultless.  Her short, black,
wavy hair adorned a small but beautifully-shaped head, crowning a
swan-like neck, encircled by a necklace of diamonds and rubies sparkling
like drops of dew.  Her toilet was conspicuous by its elegance--an
elegance that well became her unusual style.

Shortly before the end of the first act, while the attention of the
audience was riveted on the stage, a man quietly entered the Laure box,
and touching Count Telfus on the shoulder whispered a few words in his
ear.  The Count gave a sudden start, his face blanching perceptibly, but
with perfect composure of carriage he arose, and, excusing himself to
the ladies, retired from the box.  The stranger had entered unnoticed by
the other occupants, who were attentively listening to the music of the
opera, with the exception of Donald Laure, who had been an observer of
the proceeding.  As the curtain fell at the end of the act he followed
the Count.

Major Kildare, who had been interested in watching the face of Mrs
Laure, observed this scene in the box and drew Herr Schwatka's
attention.  The latter sprang to his feet, at the same time exclaiming,
in a voice low but audible to those in the immediate vicinity,
"Detectives."  Drawing the Major's arm through his, he led him out of
the theatre, into the cafe adjoining, where they found Count Telfus in
charge of two men of the detective force.  The Count stood silent in the
midst of the excited crowd that filled the room; but his pale face and
the nervous manner in which he bit on an unlighted cigar plainly showed
that he was suffering intensely.

"Count Telfus," said one of the detectives, "we have an order for your
arrest, and you must also permit us to search you.  We trust that we
have been misinformed, but a marked diamond has been traced to your
possession, and our orders are imperative."

"I have nothing about me not mine by a legitimate ownership," said the
Count, in a cold, clear voice, "and I will not submit to the outrage of
a personal search.  It is well known that I am a licensed diamond buyer;
here is the proof of it."  And he drew a paper from his pocket.

"That you are a licensed buyer is the greater reason why your dealings
should be honest," rejoined one of his captors, proceeding to search
him.  Even as he spoke he drew a large diamond from the Count's
vest-pocket.

"Fifteen years in the chain-gang," cried an ex-Judge who had bought many
a stone on the sly.

"Father Abraham!" exclaimed a sympathising Israelite, "how could he be
so careless with such a blazer."  Similar ejaculations rose from the
crowd around him.

In those bitter moments a despair like, death fell on Telfus; for his
life was blighted and his family name disgraced.  He did not see that
excited crowd of which he was the centre; he only saw, in his mind's
eye, his mother's face filled with an agony of shame.  And he heard,
with the acuteness that comes only in times of greatest distress, the
low contralto tones of a soulful voice floating from the stage of the
theatre within, and breathing out the words: "Farewell, farewell, my
dear, my happy home."

Alone he stood, bidding an inward farewell to his own home--condemned to
an infamous exposure.

His friends around him were powerless to aid, for the diamond had been
found on him.  "Sorry for you, old boy," said Dr Fox, an American, as
he wrung the hand above which the detectives put on the bracelets of the
law, which shutting with a click, struck on the Count's consciousness
like a knell of doom.  He gasped, and stifled a cry that rose to his
lips.  When his hands were secured, followed by a noisy crowd, he was
led to a Cape cart standing in front of the door.  He sank into the
seat, a brokenhearted man, his thoughts far away in that home in Paris,
which on the morrow would be filled with sorrow and anguish.

Suddenly arousing himself he asked to be taken to the telegraph office.
Arriving there they found it closed.

"Fortune favours me thus much," he thought; "the only news they will
receive will be that I am dead."

They reached the prison, and the Count was placed in a cell.

Before the sound of the jailer's footsteps had died away, the report of
a pistol told that Telfus had passed beyond the reach of human law.

CHAPTER TWO.

THE MYSTIC SIGN.

Within rifle-shot of the "ninth wonder of the world," the great
Kimberley Mine, stood a pretty one-story cottage nestling among a mass
of creepers that shaded a wide veranda.  The house, like many others on
the Fields, was constructed of corrugated iron, fastened to a framework
of wood.  Beams were laid on the ground; to these were fastened uprights
from four to six inches square.

In place of lath and plastered walls, thick building paper formed the
interior covering, leaving a space between the iron outside and the
paper within.

The interior of the cottage was in marked contrast with its outer
appearance.  A wide hall extended through the entire depth, with a door
at each end.  The walls were artistically hung with shields, assagais,
spears, and knob-kerries, and in either corner stood a large elephant's
tusk, mounted on a pedestal of ebony.

A small horned head of the beautiful blesse-bok hung over a door leading
into an apartment, the floor of which was covered with India matting,
over which was strewn karosses of rarest fur; a piano stood in one
corner, while costly furniture, rich lace, and satin hangings were
arranged with an artistic sense befitting the mistress of it all.

On a divan, the upholstering of which was hidden by a karosse of leopard
skins, reclined Dainty Laure, a woman on whom the South African suns had
shone for not more than twenty years.  The light, softened by amber
curtains, revealed an oval face, with features of that sensuous type
seen only in those born in the climes of the sun.  This clear,
olive-tinted face showed a love of ease and luxury, unless the blood
which seemed to sleep beneath its crystal veil should rouse to a
purpose, and make this being a dangerous and implacable enemy.

Her eyes were closed; one would have thought she slept, but for the
occasional motion of a fan of three ostrich feathers.  The reverie into
which she had fallen was broken by the striking of the clock.  The
pencilled eyebrows gave a little electric move, and the lids slowly
unveiled those dark languorous eyes, which seemed like hidden founts of
love.

So expressive was the play of those delicate eyelids that one forgot the
face in watching them, as they would droop and droop, and then slowly
open until the great, luminous orbs appeared, and seemed to dilate with
an infinite wonder, a sort of childlike fear combined with the look of a
caged wild animal.  This expression extended to the mouth, with its
budding lips over small, white teeth.  Should occasion come, she could
smile with her eyes, while her mouth looked cruel.

A white robe of fleecy lace clung round her form, and from the hem of
her garment peeped a ravishing little foot, encased in silken hose and
satin slipper of the same bronze hue.

Bracelets of dewdrop diamonds encircled her wrists, and with the rubies
and diamonds at throat and ear, completed a toilet which might have vied
with that of some semi-barbaric Eastern princess.

Such was the woman in whose veins ran the blood of European and African
races.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

In one of the numerous wars between the native tribes and English
soldiers in Africa, Captain Montgomery, pierced by an assegai, fell
wounded on the battle-field, and was left for dead.  For hours he lay
unconscious.  Toward night he awoke to a realisation of his perilous
situation, in the midst of a dense underbrush infested with reptiles and
wild beasts, to which he at any moment might fall a victim.  He
attempted to rise, but his stiffened limbs refused their office; thirst,
that ever-present demon of the wounded, parched his throat.

After many fruitless efforts he succeeded in rising to a sitting
posture, but the effort caused his brain to reel, and all again became a
blank.  For a short time he remained in this condition, when perfect
consciousness, like that which with vivid force precedes dissolution,
returned, and revealed standing before him an aged Zulu chief,
accompanied by an attendant.  The supreme moment of his life seemed to
have arrived, and with a final effort he summoned all his strength and
made a sign--the sign known to the elect of all nations.  The sign was
recognised--understood--by that savage in the wilderness.  There, in
that natural temple of the Father of all good, stood one to whom had
descended from the ages the mystic token of brotherhood.

At a signal the attendant Zulu bounded away, leaving the chief, who
gently placed the soldier's body in a less painful position.  The native
soon returned with three others, bringing a litter made of ox-hides, on
which, with slow and measured steps, they bore him to their kraal,
situated on a hillside, at the foot of which was a running stream.

He was taken to a hut and placed on a bed of soft, sweet-smelling
grasses covered with skins.  Tenderly the rude Africans moistened his
lips, removed his clothing, and bathed his wounds.  For hours he lay
unconscious; then a sigh welled from his breast, another and another.
Gently the attendants raised his head, and administered a cooling drink.

Soon a profuse perspiration covered his body, and the strained look of
pain gradually left his face.

The following day the chief, with his principal attendants, visited the
Englishman.  Forming a circle round his couch, they stood for several
moments gazing at the sufferer in profound silence; then, passing before
his pallet, they slowly filed out of the hut.

CHAPTER THREE.

CUPID'S ARROW IN AN AFRICAN FOREST.

For several days Captain Montgomery's condition was extremely critical,
but the careful nursing and devoted attention of the Izinyanga, or
native doctor, aided by his simple, yet efficient remedies, soon
restored the patient.

One morning he awoke quite free from pain, the fever broken, and with
that sense of restful languor that attends convalescence, pervading his
being.  As he lay in this condition, with his eyes half closed, he saw
standing in the opening of the hut a girl of perhaps sixteen years.

A leopard skin was thrown over her right shoulder, which, falling to the
knee, draped her form.  A necklace of strands of beads encircled her
throat.  Her arms and ankles were ornamented with bands of gold.  For a
moment she gazed on him, and then uttered to her two female attendants a
few words consisting of vowel sounds and sharp notes made by clicking
the tongue against the roof of the mouth.

On hearing her voice Montgomery widely opened his eyes, when, followed
by her women, the girl fled with a springing step like a frightened
deer.

Often, after that fleeting vision, during his waking moments would
Montgomery feel that those dusky eyes were gazing at him, and when he
lifted his own it would be to see her swiftly and silently moving away.

In a short time he was able to walk about in the cool shade of the great
forests of paardepis and saffron-wood, where he would at times see the
face of the Zulu princess peering out, like some dusky dryad, from
behind the hanging boughs, only to disappear, when detected, into the
depths of the wood.

After a few weeks had passed she grew less shy, and when he spoke to her
she would stand a few moments listening to the unknown tongue, whose
accents seemed to charm and draw her to the spot; but if he made a
motion as if to approach, she would vanish swiftly as a thought flies.

One morning when his health had become fully restored, the chief who had
rescued the captain in his hour of extremity, appeared, and by signs
made him understand that he was to follow him.  They proceeded to the
outer edge of the gloomy forest, where speaking a few words in Zuluese,
the native disappeared in the direction they had come.  Understanding
that the parting speech of his guide instructed him to continue in the
course he had pointed out, Montgomery pressed forward on his journey.
He had walked alone, perhaps an hour, when he was startled by the sight
of the Princess, emerging from the shade of a tall boxwood tree, leading
two horses.  She motioned him to take one, and as he leaped on its back,
she quickly mounted the other, and in a few moments they had passed away
from the scene forever.

These two beings were the ancestors of Dainty Laure.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Soon after his arrival in Cape Town, Donald Laure had met Dainty.  She
was little more than a child in years, but matured in form, and being
possessed of dangerous beauty was attractive to this impulsive Scotchman
from the cold North, where women of her radiant type are never seen.

From the first moment he saw her, he had only one thought, one idea,
which grew to a determined purpose, and that was, to possess her.  She
was a wild bird and knew little of the world's ways, and as he was the
first man who had laid siege to her heart he amused her, and she grew
more and more interested in him.

When a few weeks later he asked her to become his wife, she consented
with a half wonder, half delight; and when the marriage ceremony had
taken place, and they were on their way to Kimberley, she could scarcely
realise the fact that she was a wife; it was all so strange and sudden.

Four years after we find her dreaming on her divan, with nothing to do
in life but to dream.

CHAPTER FOUR.

THE UNWELCOME LETTER.

The morning following the events related in our first chapter, found
Kimberley in a high state of excitement.

Every man looked at his neighbour with a face like an interrogation
point, as if to ask, "Who next?"

The diamond market was crowded with men, gathered in groups, earnestly
discussing the _expose_, and the fatal denouement.

No one had stood higher in the esteem of the people than Count Telfus.

Among the first to engage in the diamond trade in Kimberley, he had
enjoyed the confidence of his associates, and, up to the day of his
arrest, no breath of suspicion had dimmed the lustre of his name.  It
was evident that the numerous thefts of precious stones by the Kafirs
had aroused the authorities to their highest endeavour, and no one knew
on whom the next bolt of discovery might fall.

With Telfus guilty, whose name might not be found on the list of
I.D.B.'s?

There were few among those engaged in this unlawful trade whose minds
were free from anxiety, for even the guiltless might find his name in
the Doomsday book as among the suspected.  When Donald reached home that
evening he found Dainty anxiously awaiting his return.  The excitement
caused by the arrest and death of Count Telfus had reached every class,
and the unusual stir among the domestics had filled her mind with dire
apprehensions.  She immediately inquired if there were any further
developments.

"The town is greatly excited.  Dr Fox has written to the Count's family
in Paris, that the Count was accidentally killed, but carefully avoided
any mention of the true cause of his death.  Poor Telfus!"

Dainty sighed, for the Count had been a frequent visitor, and his face
always brought sunshine into the house.

"Do you think he was guilty?"

"Rumour says the police sold a marked diamond to a Kafir for a song, and
then watched him.  By some strange fatality it fell into Telfus' hands."

He paused, and looking into her eyes, asked:

"What would you do, if some great trouble should come to you?"

"Trouble?  Surely no danger threatens us, Donald.  You alarm me, what
harm can come to us?"

He was about to speak, but checked himself, and turning on his heel,
hastily left the room.

Donald was naturally of a buoyant disposition, and extremely popular in
business and social circles: but of late he had grown moody and
taciturn, and there was a marked change in his demeanour toward Dainty.

She believed that her husband adored her, and if his preoccupied and
distracted manner sometimes raised a query in her mind, it was too
short-lived to warrant any serious thought, and she quickly banished it.
She was fond of her husband in a childlike, cooing way, and it was her
delight to wind her arms about his neck, and, with a gentle twittering
sound, like a dove caressing its mate, ask the question that every woman
asks (who is sure of the answer): "Do you love me?"--and wait to hear
the low, responsive sigh, or receive a fond embrace.  This unusual
question of Donald's alarmed her, and she stole softly into the
adjoining room where she found Donald nervously pacing the floor.

His face was pale and his eyes glistened with a hunted expression.
Laying her hand on his arm, she said:

"What is it that worries you, Donald?"  He started and stammered:
"Nothing--except a little business annoyance."

She saw a letter in his hand, bearing a foreign postmark, and gave it a
questioning glance, to which he replied:

"A letter I have received from Amsterdam.  There is a heavy decline in
the diamond market."

"Don't worry about that; you have now more than enough of this world's
goods to take care of yourself and your little wife as long as you
live," said Dainty, as she laughingly rubbed her cheek on his arm with
an action suggestive of a purring kitten.  Without looking up, she
continued:

"Why don't you take me to England?"

He shut his eyes, and bit his lips, but oblivious to his emotion she
went on.

"You have so often promised, and I so want a change.  I long to visit
the land you have told me of."

"Some day, my dear, you will see that great country of mine, but not
just now," rejoined Donald, gently.

"Ah, Donald, why do you always feed my curiosity with the shadow of
promises?"

Donald watched her with an idolatrous look until she passed from the
room, and then with a groan sank into a chair, and buried his face in
his hands.  For a moment he sat in silence, then re-opened the letter.
It was dated "London" and the passage in it that he had read and
re-read, was this:

"The person you inquire about is in the city, and has learned--I know
not how--that you are in South Africa, and is determined to hunt you
down."

Striking a match, he set fire to the letter, and watched it slowly burn,
and crisply curl in his fingers.  He then threw it on the floor, and
crushed it with his foot, with the unspoken wish that this act could
blot out its menace from his memory.

Growing calmer he arose, and passing his hand over his face as if
putting on a mask, went out of the room to join his wife at dinner.

The dinner was served by a black dwarf named Bela, who in his fantastic
proportions resembled a heathen idol in bronze.

After they had eaten sometime in silence, Dainty asked.

"Are you going out this evening?"

"I must go to the club, but I will return early."

"I am often lonely, Donald, when I am left with only my thoughts for
company," said Dainty, somewhat mournfully.

"You must be lonely sometimes," replied Donald.  "Let us try a small
diversion.  Why not invite in a few friends for an evening?  Make out
your list, and send the invitations to-morrow.  Don't get the blues
while I am away," and kissing her, he hurried into the street.

CHAPTER FIVE.

IMPRESSIONS.

There are women who have no power of attraction until you meet them in
their homes, surrounded by evidences of an individuality which belies
your first impression.  Then for the first time you discover new traits
of character, and evidences of thought that fascinate and hold you; then
for the first time they surprise and delight you with their real selves.

Again, there are those who shine abroad, but darken their homes.  In the
chilling atmosphere surrounding them, no life can expand.  These women
are dwarfed souls.  Affecting the semblance, they know not the real.
The lifeless imitation of their surroundings betrays them, and chills
the sensibilities of their guests.

The wife of Donald Laure, was a woman whose surroundings seemed a part
of herself--a bright, light creature, glorifying the materialities about
her with a certain radiance, and none could enter her home without
feeling the charm that pervaded it.  With her warm heart and generous
impulses she seemed born but to make beholders happy.

She was, as yet, unconscious of the powers that lay dormant in her;
under her childlike exterior was a soul of which even her husband knew
nothing.  All her knowledge of the world was like the knowledge of a
maiden, far from its busy actualities.

She mused upon its wonders as they were presented to her mind by her
husband, but he would have been amazed at the panorama of her thoughts.

Greater amazement would have been his, had he known the strange truth of
which she herself was entirely oblivious, that the great pulsating power
of Love had not yet inspired her.  To be loved, caressed, cared for, had
so far made her content.  But, born of the English soldier and the
daughter of a savage warrior, there slumbered in her soul a possibility
of passion that needed only to be roused to burst into flame.

The life of excitement that society offers, brings little contentment to
a woman with Dainty's nature.  She only beats the bars raised by its
cold, formal laws, and sufficient unto herself, living a life within
that soothes, she becomes a fascinating siren to the energetic
nineteenth century man, who comes with his beliefs in materialism, and
his doubts of any goodness that he cannot prove.

Such a woman is to him a creature to be tested by his methods, and
broken on the wheels of his unfeeling Juggernaut of selfishness and
animalism.

Being a delightfully untutored, trusting soul, she is not looking for
this monster evil--self, that he has raised up and worships.  At first
attracted to him by a warmth of manner which has every appearance of
generosity, she at last becomes interested in him so deeply, that the
winning of her perfect trust, her whole heart, is an easy pastime,
undertaken at seemingly accidental moments, but in reality pursued as
steps in a long and carefully laid plan.

The evening set apart for receiving the "few friends" was a memorable
one.

Herr Schwatka, accompanied by Major Kildare, was the first to arrive.
Herr Schwatka was a tall, fair-haired Austrian, of distinguished
appearance, and engaging manners.  He was a cool-headed, strong-willed
materialist, to whom human nature was a congenial study, who never
allowed anything to thwart his purpose, and whose spirit of
determination dominated most of those with whom he came in contact.  To
him, women had been but playthings; he laughed at such an idea as the
grand passion--a figment of the brain for the misleading of boys!

As the two men entered the salon, Kildare, with all his English
coolness, started with surprise at the beauty of his surroundings.
Accustomed to the society which his rank as an officer in the British
army gave him, he had seen much that was rich and alluring in many
countries; but here, in an African desert, many hundred miles from the
sea, to find such taste and elegance displayed, was to him surprising.

The crimson and gold hangings reflected from mirrors in the opal light,
made a fitting background to a picture, in which stood as its central
figure, the Queen of this home, Dainty Laure--a highly gifted woman,
possessing that rarest of all gifts, perfect naturalness.  Donald,
standing by her side, presented the two gentlemen.

Had she been the daughter of a duke, she could not have done the honours
with more grace.

The European in Africa has a deep-seated antipathy to the faintest trace
of mixed blood.  Yet, as Herr Schwatka bowed to Mrs Laure in his
elegant way, he was conscious of receiving a pleasant impression
entirely new to him.

As for Major Kildare, he was altogether charmed with her, and speedily
opened conversation with the common-place question:

"Mrs Laure, how do you amuse yourself in this dusty town of Kimberley?"

"I do not amuse myself, but let what I see amuse me," replied Dainty.
"My horses and my dogs are company; everything that is beautiful pleases
me; I make friends of the pleasant people I meet, and avoid the unhappy
ones who carry their woes pictured on their faces."

"But what do you do for a confidential friend?  Woman must have them,
you know, and you hardly find any congenial woman here!"

"You forget Kate Darcy," replies Dainty.  "She is a being to admire.  I
look at no one else when Kate is by."

"Would it be wrong to be glad she is not here then?" said the major,
gallantly.

"I think you will be pleased to meet her, you cannot fail to admire
her," answered Dainty.  "She is not like me."

Herr Schwatka smiled at the last assertion.

"Do you expect us to admire her when she is not like you?"

Dainty looked at the Austrian with a little deprecatory smile, as she
said: "You will admire her for what she is, rather than what she is
not."

"It is pleasant to hear a woman praise a woman," said Herr Schwatka.
"All women do it sometimes, for they all must have some intimate whom
they can love, caress, and lavish themselves upon."

"Yes," said Dainty, "that may be true, but Kate is not the style of
woman you imagine.  She is strong and noble, though gentle withal--wait
till you meet her."

Herr Schwatka felt a warm thrill at the enthusiasm and loyalty of the
heart that loved its friends so wholly.

"It were well to gain you for a friend," he said.

CHAPTER SIX.

KATE.

The conversation was interrupted by the arrival of Miss Kate Darcy, and
Doctor Fox.  They were a very handsome couple, at least so thought Major
Kildare, for turning to Mrs Laure he said:

"I believe all you have said of your friend is true, and without the
slightest exaggeration."

As the guests continued to arrive, Dainty appeared radiantly happy.  At
a request for some music, Miss Darcy moved toward the piano.

"What shall I sing for you?"

"Make your own selection and that will be your best," said Dainty, as
she reclined in the depths of a chair, prepared to be captivated.  Herr
Schwatka took a seat at her side.  Kate touched the keys caressingly for
some minutes, striking a few chords here and there, with a little
running accompaniment between, which expressed her indecision of
selection, until finally striking a decided chord, she began, in a
perfectly modulated voice, to sing that recitative and aria by Handel,
commencing "Lascia ch'io pianga," incomparable for opportunity of
expression, and for revealing the artistic sense of the singer.  Sinking
from the triumphant strains into a soft pleading accent, she sang the
three stanzas with a pathos that moved her auditors to the depths of
their natures.

As she arose from the piano, there was a murmur of regret.

"Don't rise, Miss Darcy," said Dainty, pleadingly.  "Just think how
hungry appreciative South Africans are for good music.  We have never
heard such singing here before.  Please give us another selection."

Kate never indulged in affectations of reluctance, so resuming her seat,
she sang a plaintive old negro melody from the plantations of American
slavery, the only original music, some one has said, of which Americans
can boast.

Kate's face was singularly attractive.  Her eyes, inherited from an
Irish mother, were dark blue shaded by black eyelashes.  One might
criticise her features, for they were not perfect, and might examine her
dimpled face and say it was not pretty, yet it was so expressive, that a
stranger on being introduced to her, when she was in a happy mood, would
be fascinated, and think her altogether charming.

Major Kildare was attracted to Kate and completely captivated, when he
learned in the course of conversation that they had mutual friends in
his far away home, in merrie England.  But he was not privileged to
monopolise Miss Darcy, for others pressed around her, and Doctor Fox
stood ever in the background, perhaps discussing some mining operation
in the intricacies of which he was well versed, but never far from the
sound of her voice.  Having speculated in the gold and silver mines of
California and Colorado, and being possessed of that sixth sense with
which Americans are accredited, and which being evolved becomes, in a
few, the gift of invention, Doctor Fox had won, by his knowledge of
mining and his improvements in mining machinery, the favourable opinions
of the officers of the Diamond Mining Company in which he was a heavy
stockholder.

"Herr Schwatka," said Donald, "have you been down in the mine by the new
shaft?  It is now completed, and the cage is in perfect operation."

"I went down yesterday," replied Schwatka, "and I found it a wonder of
mining enterprise.  The ladies should visit it.  Would you not like to
go, Mrs Laure, and you, Miss Darcy?"

"We would be delighted; I will answer for both," said Kate, smilingly.

This evening was the beginning of a new era in the lives of these two
women, who had felt singularly drawn to each other.  Dainty realised
that she gathered forces new to her from Kate, while the latter was
fascinated by this beautiful wildling, who knew nothing of the great
world, which the other had but recently left behind her.

As Major Kildare left the house that evening with Herr Schwatka, he
enthusiastically remarked:

"By Jove! that Miss Darcy is a fine woman!"

Herr Schwatka took a pull at his cigar, and dreamily watched the rings
in the bright moonlight as they slowly curled up into the still air.  At
last he said:

"She is, indeed, but I feel a little afraid of those fair
`_Americaines_!'  I can't keep pace with them.  I met one in Vienna
during the Exposition, and she was a revelation.  Such a sight-seer!
Her mother was with her, but she could do very well without her.  If she
wanted to go out of an evening, and her mother was tired from her day's
peregrinations, that girl would say: `Go to bed, mamma; we are going to
the opera?' or whatever it might be.  And off we would go, without
protest from the submissive mamma.  It was some while before I could
comprehend her; her ways were so different from those of my own
countrywomen.  One evening while we were driving to a fete, emboldened
by her unreserved manner, I attempted a little lover-like caress.  You
should have seen the American then!  She sat as straight as a needle,
and was equally sharp.  `You and I are friends, aren't we?' she asked.

"`Doubtless,' I replied.

"`Well,' said she, `if you wish us to continue as such, don't attempt to
ditto that.  I have come to see Europe, and I haven't much time to
spare.  If we commence to make love, I won't see anything but you, and
as there is not the slightest possibility of your being the whole of
Europe to me, if you will just be my comrade, I shall like it better.'

"I shall never forget the satisfied expression that stole over her face,
as she folded her hands, and looked straight ahead with a gleam in her
eyes, and then turned the conversation in the easiest manner imaginable.
It amused me immensely, but I didn't repeat the little indiscretion,
and the few weeks she remained in Vienna were among the most delightful
ones of my life.  We were comrades, and I never understood till then how
a woman could be perfectly free in her manners, yet perfectly true to
her womanhood."

"By Jove!  Schwatka, it isn't often that you find your match," said the
major, laughing heartily, as they entered the "Queen's" Hotel.

That night the picture that only faded from the consciousness of Herr
Schwatka, to reappear in his dreams, was that of a graceful woman--the
wife of Donald Laure.

CHAPTER SEVEN.

THE STORY OF A SINGER.

What a charming creature is the enthusiastic talented girl, who is ever
trying to solve the riddle of life with a girl's avidity.  How earnestly
she follows the light on her pathway!  Sometimes deluded, but always in
earnest; even leaving the old roof-tree in the search for satisfaction,
often returning to it, weary and travel-stained, content to have one
little corner by the home fireside, where she finds more happiness and
rest in a day, than in her years of wandering and chasing butterflies.

It is the clear-eyed, far-seeing girl, with a singing voice, that can
thrill the hearts of her hearers, in whom we are now interested.

What a book could be written on the broken lives, the vanished hopes,
and the lost voices, of American girls in Europe!

There, where the life is alluring, and maestros paid in gold; where
Americans are looked upon as common prey by the Parisian shop-keeper,
the student finds that Art is long, and not only time, but gold is
fleeting.

There, many an enthusiastic girl possessed of ordinary talent, and led
away by vanity and the flattery of over-zealous friends, is found living
in a feverish belief in her ultimate success, and looking to her teacher
to promote her interests.

He is more often but a shark, ready to devour her, body and soul.  For
he panders to her belief in his charlatanry, and flatters her vanity,
until the money is nearly gone.  Not until then does she realise that no
one but herself has been deceived.

Her pride comes to her rescue, and with her voice still undeveloped, she
rushes hither and thither in her frantic endeavours to secure the
position she desires.

Friendless, moneyless, and alone: what can she do?

A singer's life is emphatically a mixture of fulfilled hopes and bitter
disappointments.

A famous teacher in Paris says to his pupils:

"Before starting out on your career, make for yourself two pockets; one
very large, and the other exceedingly small; the large one for the
snubs, and the small one for the money."

Talent is one thing, but management is another, and without the latter,
talent goes begging.  Art may become a classic in the hands of talent,
but the singer must depend largely upon the manager (often ungrammatical
of speech, and arbitrary of manner), if she would know practical success
and be known of the world.  Kate Darcy had both tact and talent, and the
gift of knowing how to use them.

Her childhood was passed in the atmosphere of the theatrical world in
New York City, where her father was a violinist, and earned his bread by
the sweep of his bow.

When yet a child, she developed great musical talent, and possessed that
rarest and most delightful of all voices, a rich contralto.

At fifteen the child was a rising artist, studying day and night, until,
at the age of seventeen, being graceful and well developed, she became a
leading contralto of an English Opera Company.  Her voice grew in
strength and richness, and with the growth of the voice came ambition to
study under the best masters.  That will-o'-the-wisp of art drew her on
to Italy, to prepare herself to enter the lists of fame and win a high
niche in the temple of song.

She felt that she could conquer anything.  She believed in herself--a
very necessary requisite for youth, when talented and ambitious.  There
were no "perhaps's" or "might be's" crystallised in the amber of her
belief.  She was vividly conscious that she possessed the great gift of
a rare voice, and did not doubt that somewhere in the world it would be
appreciated, and made to yield the wealth which Love always wants, in
order to bestow gifts and comforts on its beloved.

On her last appearance on the concert platform in her native city,
previous to her departure for Italy, she bore herself with such
unaffected simplicity, and seemed so earnest in her efforts, that
everyone felt like breathing a benediction for her future success; they
realised that the goal she aimed at was only to be reached by years of
labour, and by the patient pursuit of opportunities.

She sang several numbers, but nothing half so beautiful as the low,
entreating tones in which she breathed out "Kathleen Mavourneen."  As
the words rolled out, "It may be for years, and it may be forever," many
an eye filled with tears at the tender pathos in which she veiled the
uncertainties of the future.

Kate went to Italy with her mother (who had become a widow), and studied
under the direction of the great maestro, Lamperti.  She had but few
faults to overcome, but she applied herself unceasingly.  The voice is a
jealous mistress, and stands guard over every thought and action,
demanding high recompense from the being who possesses the power to
soothe or thrill a soul in darkness.  Any letting down the bars of stern
discipline of the intellect, finds that vigilant sentinel inquiring the
cause.

The ear of the lover becomes aware that the divine voice has lost its
love tones; those pure heaven-born messages come to him with a harsher
sound.  Then when the singer's thoughts have drifted into some dark
miasma, the sensitive instrument cannot attune itself in those dreamy
poisonous vapours, and the delicate string loses its perfect harmony.
The lover again wonders what powers of earth or air have taken
possession of that erstwhile melodious instrument, now, "like sweet
bells jangled and out of tune."

Thus it is if, from looking and listening, with hearing keen and heart
responsive, the eyes of the soul ever upward turned for inspiration (the
only attitude that makes the spirit by and by victorious), she ceases
for a moment, and, hearing the jingling of false bells, looks below; she
sees the reflection of the sun on some tinsel-robed, fair, but deluded
sister, and is attracted to her.  The delights of dissipation in the
society of thoughtless, undedicated companions allure her from the path
where gleams the pure, white light of art.  As she turns, thinking to
live only for a little hour with her companions, the gates of the
lighted realm, where few enter, close behind her.  When she has wandered
through the pleasures, which prove to be but the shadows of reality, the
temple of that beautifully-tuned and soul-inspiring instrument is a
wreck, and the angel-voice fled.  Such is the result of neglecting that
exacting sovereign, the goddess of music.

She demands the consecration of the whole self, in return for the prize
she offers.  And none realised it better than Kate.  So she gained the
excellence of real attainment.

After a brilliant career of seven years, she wearied of incessant
travel, and longed to make her home in some quiet corner, away from the
sound and whirl of the great busy world, and yet near enough to its
heartbeats to feel the pulsation.  She found such a spot near London,
where she took her old mother, for whom she had an idolatrous love, and
where she hoped to enjoy her life in semi-seclusion for a season.  She
furnished her gem of a house with rare taste, and filled it with
souvenirs of the world she had conquered.  There her mother fell ill,
and demanded, in her nervous, irritable state, in which she would allow
the service of no other nurse, constant, care from Kate.

Often when Kate returned home late at night from some concert where she
had been the idol of the hour, she would sit and hold her mother in her
arms until the cold night air had chilled her to the very bone, for the
invalid could not endure a fire in the room.  No murmur fell from Kate's
lips, and when the dear sufferer succumbed to the disease and passed
quietly away, her grief was overwhelming.

But joy trod on the heel of sorrow.  A presence had come into her life
which grew to be a part of it.

He was one whom everybody admired; a man of culture and refinement, an
able musical critic and no mean musician.

He had won her heart, and they were soon to plight their vows sit the
marriage altar.  Some weeks after her mother's death, he departed one
morning for Paris, with her kiss on his lips.  In a few hours came the
news that a channel steamer had collided and gone down with all on
board.  Her lover was among them!

In a week's time she had left London for the Continent; six months
later, she was seen again in the gay world of Paris: but her face was
white and wan, and her spirit broken.

Her musical studies were kept up, but her heart was not in her work; and
when one night she appeared at the Theatre des Italiens, and received an
ovation, she broke down at the end of the phrase, with stage fright.
Without ambition to rise above this misfortune, she left the stage, her
career ended.

A few weeks later, impelled by a craving for new sights and
surroundings, and a desire for rest far from the scenes of her triumphs
and disasters, she arrived in Africa.

CHAPTER EIGHT.

HORSES AND RIDERS.

Donald Laure grew more and more morose; some grief was silently preying
on his mind.  He could not sleep, and often walked the floor of his room
during the weary hours of the night.

He became at last so restless that he sought the society of a nature
stronger than his own.  This society he found in the company of
Schwatka, who was now a daily visitor at the house.

Dainty observed his altered appearance, but was unable to fathom its
cause.

As his manner grew more and more restrained toward her, she
unconsciously turned to Schwatka, whose equable temperament seemed to
invite her confidence and her friendship.

Gradually the Austrian made himself a necessary factor in the lives of
both husband and wife, and he was her constant attendant in her rides
and drives over the veldt.

All this time Dainty was only conscious that his presence made her
supremely happy.  He was always thoughtful of her welfare, always doing
little acts of kindness, which, for the first time in his life, were
spontaneous.

She was a refreshing rest to his blase, worldly nature.  When a man who
has become selfish, and therefore cruel, in satisfying his own vanity,
and pandering to his own appetites, meets with a fresh, guileless soul
like Dainty's, he is at once enthralled, and, whether he admits it even
to himself, sets about winning a new toy.

Herr Schwatka's new delight was a constant surprise to him; and as he
drew out forces in her nature, of whose latent existence he had been
ignorant, she more and more revealed charming little traits of
character, which had been hidden from Donald.

She loved to ride, and heretofore Donald had always gladly accompanied
her in these equestrian pleasures.  But as solitude wrapped him up more
and more, Schwatka began to take the place at her side.  As soon as the
outskirts of the town were reached, she would give rein to her horse,
and together they would speed over the veldt.  The colour came to her
cheeks, and a sparkle to her eye, which made her look like an houri in
the rosy morn.

Kate Darcy's early morning ride was also her chief delight.  Seated on
her horse "Beauty," she would leave the camp locked in slumber, and
scamper across the barren waste of country, to greet the first rays of
the rising sun.  Fearless and independent in all her actions, she had
learned to rely on her own judgment, and to adapt herself to her
surroundings.  On several occasions she had seen a couple of equestrians
appear on the horizon; and as the outline of their forms became visible,
and she recognised Herr Schwatka and Dainty, with a word her horse would
shoot away in an opposite direction.  She knew human nature, and
perceived that the Austrian was gaining a mental ascendency over her
friend.  Was this to be the beginning of the too-oft repeated story of
mistaken love?  If so she would avoid seeing a human spider weave his
web at that beautiful hour of the day.  So she would shake off a
sensation of depression, and, in love with dear old Mother Nature, free
as air she would bound away, until they were lost to view; only so
restored to mental quiet.  With swift and graceful motions, "Beauty"
flew across the shrubless plain, and when she talked to him caressingly,
he would shake his head and lift his ears with as much expression in
them as in a coquette's eyes, and dash forward with a sense of
untrammelled delight.

As "Beauty" leaped ditches and hillocks, Kate would laugh aloud with the
spirit of freedom which filled her; that spirit which fills the air of
old Africa, with its spiky topped mountains and its barbaric elements,
which exploration, civilisation, and Christianity have not conquered.
The sleeping barbarian within wakens more or less in every human heart,
attuned to nature, when in Africa.

At times, the hollowness and baubles of civilisation, with its art and
science, its looms, wheels, and fiery engines, its conventionalities and
restrictions, contrasted with the sun-baths, health, and ignorance of
disease, in the Zulu mind, with its contented pastoral existence, its
adherence to the laws of morality, virtue, and cleanliness, suggests the
question: "What is gained by civilisation?"

On his arrival in England, old King Cetewayo innocently asked:

"When Queen Victoria has all this, why does she want my poor little
corner of the earth?"

Herr Schwatka could have won hearts in his Vienna home, as food for his
vanity.  Why did he want to mesmerise this little creature?  Why must he
bring into her life the gewgaws of civilisation, the tales of wonderful
cities where she would be happy, and shine like a meteor in a heaven of
celestial beauties?

Could he, with his mesmeric mentality, which would at times rouse her to
such a pitch that her spirit would become restless almost to agony,
could he offer her the tranquillity of a life which would fold its wings
in happy security from hidden enemies, and lull her to rest, safe from
the cruel shafts of the tongues rooted in the mouths of those hideous
moral volcanoes who, with the gusts of their smiles and flatteries,
would overturn and wreck her innocent life?

Men sometimes act as if they believed themselves to be gods.

Few men live up to the reflection of their real selves.  Few men are
godlike; therefore, few are happy.

CHAPTER NINE.

POKER AND PHILOSOPHY.

There were few Americans on the Fields, scarcely a score, but you heard
from each one of them, as an individual, and soon learned on what
footing you must meet him.  Were he a gentleman from the "States," if
you had not heard of that country, he had, and could give you
information about it, from its present commander-in-chief to the one who
in early days first held aloft the screaming eagle--that invincible
bird!--a man like himself in one particular--he could not tell a lie.
That is to say, if you dared to doubt his word, you could immediately
have a chance to choose your weapons.

He was celebrated for his talent in forming stock companies, then
running up the price of shares and quietly selling out; after which,
intimating that he needed a vacation, he would return to the States,
leaving the bubble to burst after his departure.

Sometimes he was known as a physician who, with his patent medicines,
pretended to successfully combat those African fevers which English
flesh is heir to; or a surgeon of skill, with instruments acknowledged
to be as keen as Damascus blades, compared with those with which his
English professional brother was "handicapped."

He was not less renowned for playing a beautiful hand at the (so-called)
American national game of Poker, and for teaching some highly
intellectual emissary of Duke of This and Lord That, who had come out to
speculate for their Serene Highnesses, how neatly the game could be
played, provided they took a few lessons, and paid well for them.

Among the few Americans on the Fields none stood higher in public favour
than the really skilful surgeon, Dr Fox, who took a deep interest in
all public matters.

Dr Fox was sitting in his office puffing at his briar-wood, and
thinking of--nothing; a subject which he made it a point to reflect on
daily, at least one hour of his sixteen waking ones.

He had knocked around the world a good deal, and now, among people from
everywhere, was "settled" for the time at Kimberley.  Strange as it may
seem, it was no less a fact, that right here amidst the most intense
excitement of an easily excited population he had suddenly stumbled
across a thought.  That thought was not to think: here where everybody
was thinking and thinking, he thought of the thought--not to think.  To
give his brain a rest, he stopped thinking in the very midst of a deep
thought.  Great scheme!

This idea came to him something in this wise.  He had been walking until
he became very tired.  Wanting to rest, and not being near a convenient
hotel, or at home, or in any place where he could go to bed, he sat
down, pulled out his pipe, lit it, and smoked.  As he smoked he thought;
he had not yet learned how not to think.

"My body rests while sitting: I do not always go to sleep to rest.  Why
not sit down for an hour, and think of nothing, and rest my brain by
vacancy, instead of sleep?"

He did so.  While resting his body by keeping still, he rested his brain
by not thinking.  When the hour expired he said to himself:

"To think constantly on one subject, will relax our hold on it.  Given a
subject we think and think on it, until all the grip of the brain is
lost.  I'll give the grey matter a rest."

On this evening, his hour for meditating on nothing was interrupted by a
visit from Herr Schwatka and Major Kildare.

"Good evening, Doctor."

"Good evening, gentlemen; glad to see you.  Cool night this, after such
a hot day.  These African nights are glorious.  Step inside," and the
doctor led the way to his private room.  "Now, with your permission, I
will mix you a concoction, the secret of which I learned in New York;
'tis a nectar fit for--men," and turning to the sideboard loaded with
lemons, spices, and cooling beverages, he commenced to prepare the
summer drink whose delights he had extolled.

"Do you know," said Kildare, "I have not tasted a drop of palatable
water since I've been on the Fields?"

"I have had many encounters with the water question, and have subdued,
but not yet conquered it.  I had a barrel brought from the Dam
yesterday.  The brownish liquid you see in that jar is some of it.
Don't look so disgusted, Major, the little water you will drink in the
compound I am mixing has been filtered through that Faitje of powdered
charcoal," and the doctor pointed to a bag suspended from the ceiling of
an adjoining room.

Major Kildare was a retired English officer, who had been sent, as Agent
of his Grace the Duke of Graberg, to purchase from the unsuspecting
Boers, at nominal sums, their Transvaal farms on which he knew there was
gold.  Many of these farms were valueless stone mountains, but if His
Grace the Duke allowed his name to appear at the head of the great South
African gold mining company, it must be a good thing to invest in.

The Agent had an original idea--so he thought--as to the way a certain
game of cards should be played, suggested by an American Diplomat at the
Court of Saint James, from whom he had taken several expensive lessons.

He unfolded his scheme to the two gentlemen present, and proposed a
practical exhibition of his science.  Dr Fox, having limited the game
to eleven o'clock, at which hour he had an appointment with two other
M.D.'s, for an important consultation, consented, and then proceeded to
become initiated in the mysteries of the game of Poker, as taught by an
Englishman, and in endeavouring to graduate in it, lost several large
sums of money.  The three played until Herr Schwatka protested that he
was no match for the other two, and withdrew from the game.

The Yankee Doctor soon began to exhibit signs of having known--perhaps
in some pre-historic existence which he was just beginning to remember--
something of how the game should be played himself.

"Doctor," said Schwatka, "if I could develop so great a talent as you
have, in so short a time, at a game you seemed to know but little of, I
should stop giving medicine for a living."

"Ah! would you," replied the doctor.  "I rarely do give medicine.  Five
out of every ten physicians give their patients medicine simply to
follow traditions.  The friend of my boyhood, old Dr Snow, used to say,
that giving medicine to a patient, is like going into a dark room where
your friend is in mortal combat with an enemy.  All is dark, not a ray
of light to distinguish friend from foe.  You raise a club and strike in
the location of the struggle.  If you miss your friend and hit his foe,
your friend is saved!"

"The deal is with you, Doctor."

"Excuse me for talking shop, though you'll have to charge that to Herr
Schwatka," said the doctor, dealing.  "How many cards, Major?"

"Two."

"I'll chance one."

"What is it that makes people sick?" continued Schwatka.

"It is often fear that makes people ill.  They fear this and fear that;
their thoughts dwell upon a dread disease, or they apprehend some danger
in business affairs, until their thoughts are so saturated with the
dread, that it is impossible to escape from it."

"This looks good for a pound," put in the major.

"I'll see that and raise you five," said the doctor.

"I'll see that five and go you five better," said Kildare.

"I'll see that and raise you ten," returned the doctor.

"Call you, Doctor.  You can't scare me with a bob-tail flush."  The
doctor threw his cards in the pack.  The major smiled as he raked in the
stakes, and asked the doctor to continue on his theory.

"Many men," he observed, "of supposed integrity on the Fields, are
illicit diamond buyers.  They are constantly haunted by the fear of
detection, and they will try to deceive themselves into the belief that
the dread that is eating them up is some liver or stomach trouble, and
they come to the doctor for relief.  That they are tracked by this
invisible foe no further proof is needed than the fact that last year
six of our leading business men committed suicide.  Fear is a ghost
which stalks to and fro over the earth, forever haunting the
imaginations of men."

"Raise you a fiver," called the major.

"See that, and ten better," replied the doctor.

"Call you, doctor."

"Queens."

"Never bet on the women, Doctor; Kings."

"Heavy betting for so light a hand," remarked Herr Schwatka.

"I've won a thousand with a smaller.  It's sand, not cards, that wins at
Poker.  Half past ten!--as I have to be present at an interesting
surgical operation, within the next hour, I think we had better
discontinue our game."

CHAPTER TEN.

AN EXPLOSION OR TWO.

"We have time for a game or two yet, Doctor, and let us make it a
Jack-pot," said the major.

"All right.  I'll open it for a pound," said the doctor, looking at two
cards.

"How many cards will you have?"

"I'll stand pat."

"I'll take three."

"Major, I think these are worth a fiver."

"Mine are worth ten."

"Well, let me see.  I'll see that ten and raise you twenty."

"Kilters won't work in a Jack-pot.  I think you're bluffing with that
pat hand."

"It will only cost you twenty pounds more to find out."

"I'll see that twenty and raise you fifty," said the major.

"There is your fifty, and one hundred on top.  Now your curiosity may be
more expensive.  I think it will take all that to make me even,"
rejoined the doctor.  The Englishman hesitated, and raised it another
hundred.

"Well, here goes; I'll call you.  I don't like high play among friends,
Major.  What have you got?"

The major dropped three kings and two aces.  The doctor showed four
sixes.

"I thought you played with sand, and not with cards, Doctor," remarked
the major, sarcastically.

"They are both useful in the game of poker," replied the doctor as he
tipped back in his chair.

The major's face showed signs of annoyance, but with a forced calmness
he said:

"It is early yet; shall we not continue?"

"I think we have played long enough for one sitting," responded the
doctor.  "It is eleven now; recollect my consultation.  I trust you may
have better luck next time."

"I hardly think it quite square to quit, and I so heavy a loser."

"I am not accustomed to having my squareness questioned, Major.  My
record here and elsewhere shows no entry of unfair play; but we will not
continue this line of conversation.  Gentlemen, you are my guests."

"Herr Schwatka is your friend, and mine.  He shall settle the question,"
continued the major, turning to Schwatka.

"I beg you, gentlemen," said Schwatka, "to arrange this matter without
any quarrel."

"Herr Schwatka," said the doctor, slowly, "there will be no quarrel.  It
takes two to make one, and I shall not be a party.  I merely say, that
long play, and high play, tends to mar friendship, and we cannot afford
to be other than friends."

"Dr Fox, I regret that I have met a card sharper, instead of a
gentleman," cried the major, choking with rage.

"Major, do not lose your temper so cheaply.  Name your loss and I will
return the sum to you."

The brow of Kildare clouded as black as night, and he fiercely
exclaimed:

"Do you mean to insult me, sir?  I am no beggar to ask alms.  You add
insult to injury, and shall answer for it."

He and Schwatka had risen to their feet during this heated colloquy.
The doctor alone remained seated.

Leaning his arm on the table he said, in a low and firm voice:

"Major, you and I cannot afford to fight.  All know you are a brave man.
Your courage, as the world interprets that sentiment, no one would
question."

The quiet, unimpassioned tone of Dr Fox seemed to subdue the fiery
major, who resumed his seat as the doctor proceeded: "My definition of
the word `courage' differs widely from the general acceptation of its
meaning.  Why does the commander of a regiment rush to the front, and
lead his men to the charge?  Paradoxical as it may seem, fear, fear is
the impelling force; fear lest he be thought a coward.  I have looked
down the barrel of a shot-gun, in a country where men go gunning for
men, as you do for chance hits at fledgelings at the game of poker."

Here the doctor rose, and proceeded to the sideboard; as he mixed a
drink, he continued:

"I am alone in the world, with no family ties.  You have a wife and
family.  Would it he a heroic act for me to accept a challenge from you
and perchance kill you?  No, Major, I confess I am too much of a coward
to meet the anguished looks of those whom my hand had widowed and
orphaned.  If you will drop in here any evening, I shall be pleased to
give you the opportunity of getting even."

Before Kildare could reply, a terrific roar and cannonading smote the
air.  The three men gazed in silence at each other, with astonishment
depicted on their faces.  As the cannonading continued, they rushed to
the door, and there in the bright moonlight perceived a column of smoke
rising to the height of near a thousand feet.

Looking at it, Schwatka exclaimed: "The unexpected is constantly
occurring in this town.  Earthquakes shake the mine, causing the reef to
fall, thereby covering up valuable ground which must be laboriously
unearthed again.  Explosions in the mines follow on the heels of some
accident caused by machinery giving way, and so it goes on, _ad
infinitum_.  What's this last infernal noise about, I wonder?"

This disturbance was beyond the understanding of those men, who had
forgotten all their differences of the evening, in gazing at that
strange and monstrous cloud rising in the air, and hanging over them
with threatening aspect, as if it would descend upon the town and
destroy it.

As the noise continued, they went out into the compound, and walked in
the direction of the sound.

The midnight hour is devoted to blasting in the mines, but it was not
yet midnight.  Hastening on their way to the scene of the cannonading, a
man approached, leading Mrs Laure's favourite servant, Bela.  He was
covered with blood, and, holding his hand to his face, moaned piteously.
The doctor perceived that the boy's face had been terribly torn by a
flying missile.

"What is the cause of all this noise?" asked the doctor.

"The powder magazines are blown up," replied the man.

"Which ones?"

"The whole thirty."

"What do you say?  Not thirty tons of dynamite?"

"Yes, together with the gelatine and the cartridges.  You needn't go any
further, this boy needs your attention.  I will leave him in your care,
Doctor, and return to the scene of the disaster."

"I will go with you," said Kildare.  Dr Fox, accompanied by Herr
Schwatka, returned to his office with Bela.  On examining the boy, the
doctor found it necessary to use his surgical skill on the boy's eye,
which had been torn from its socket.

"Well, Bela," said Schwatka, "this is a sorry piece of business, but as
one of your most interesting characteristics is lack of beauty, your
value may be enhanced by the loss of an optic!  Your mistress will be
sorry to lose you, for she could not endure to see you around her
disfigured in this way."  He left Bela with the doctor, and sauntered
out.  After Schwatka had gone, Dr Fox gazed some time at Bela, then sat
down and wrote a letter to a London oculist, ready for that day's
English mail, ordering a glass eye for Bela, to be sent to him
immediately.

"Yes," mused the doctor, "I can place an artificial eye in that socket,
that will make you again presentable," and taking the boy by the hand,
accompanied him to the hospital, and placed him in charge of those
self-sacrificing women, who devote their lives to the alleviation of
human pain, utterly forgetful of self, in the divine love which shines
through them.

Although Bela was called "boy" by many, he was nearly forty years of
age.  It is the custom of the white men to call the blacks "boys," in
speaking to them.

Bela was a "Bosjesman" or Bushman, with features of the negro type, and
short crispy black hair.  He was about four feet in height, being one of
a race of pigmies, now nearly extinct.  They are the oldest race known
in Africa.  Though living in the midst of foreign tribes of warriors of
large stature, their traditions tell of a mighty nation who dwelt in
caves and holes in the ground, who were great elephant hunters, and who
used poisoned arrows in warfare.

CHAPTER ELEVEN.

A VISIT TO A DIAMOND MINE.

As Dainty Laure and Kate Darcy stood on the edge of the Kimberley Mine,
it was with a feeling of awe that Kate looked down into its depths
filled with Kafirs and their white overseers, and saw those endless
cable wires extending from the brink to the bottom of the mine.  The
huge buckets resembled spiders at work, ascending until they reached the
edge of the bowl, when they would drop their spoils into cars which
stood waiting for them, and which in turn would crawl off and away to
the "floor," where they deposited their load, leaving the spiders to
return to their task in the bottom of the mine.

On the arrival of Donald, Schwatka, and the ladies at the Company's
office, they were conducted to the brink of the shaft sunk by a
countryman of Kate's, which was the first successful attempt made in
that direction.

Entering an elevator about six feet square, which was waiting to receive
them, they slowly descended to the depth of two hundred feet.  The earth
had been probed to three times that depth, but the shaft had not as yet
been sunk deeper.  From the bottom of the shaft was a tunnel reaching to
the mine, a distance of two hundred feet.  It seemed like looking
through an inverted telescope.

In this tunnel was laid a tramway, on which cars were constantly going
to and from the mine.

They walked through the tunnel until an opening was reached, then
stepped out on a ledge, and found themselves in the mine, on the
precious blue soil; with hundreds of Kafirs working below, under the
inspection of overseers, who would occasionally draw a gem from under
the spade of one of the delvers.  From there they looked upward to the
sun, glaring hot and bright over them, and then to the brink of the
mine, where men seemed like small boys moving about.

It was a strange sensation to stand and gaze around on this
comparatively recent discovery, and contemplate what had been
accomplished, and reflect on the strange chance that had unearthed so
much magnificent wealth.

"Mr Laure, how has this bed of diamonds been formed?" asked Miss Darcy.

"The mine is thought to be the `pipe' of an extinct volcano, and it is
supposed that the diamondiferous soil containing garnets, ironstone,
crystals, and diamonds, has been thrown up by the action of the great
heat of this volcano," replied Donald, "and there seems to be no end of
the glorious riches of this bed of diamonds."

"Well," continued Kate, "it is difficult to realise that this monster
pit has been hewn out in so short a time by man.  Nothing daunts him in
his frantic search for wealth."

"Those white men you see are overseers.  Each overseer has from ten to
fifteen Kafirs under his eye, to see that they do not conceal diamonds,
as they turn over the `blue stuff' as we call it," said Schwatka.
"Notwithstanding the utmost watchfulness, they contrive to steal and
secrete the gems about their persons in inconceivable ways.  As an
incentive to his vigilance each overseer is given a portion of the
profits on all diamonds found under his watchful eyes.  An overseer
picked up the Porter Rhodes diamond, and his share of the profits made
him a wealthy man."

"Do these overseers detect many Kafirs in the act of stealing?"

"No, Miss Darcy.  A Kafir's countenance is so immovable, that it is
unreadable.  Looking right at the overseer he will work a diamond in
between his toes, and thus convey it out of the mine.  He eludes the
keenest vigilance by concealing the gems in his woolly hair, and under
his tongue, and even by swallowing them.  A stray dog will receive into
his shaggy back, a valuable stone, and carry it around with him, until
relieved of it by the Kafir."

"The working of the mine must be attended with great expense, and these
natives must seem like vampires to the claim-holders," said Kate.

"That is true.  Two years ago there were one million carats of diamonds
taken out of the Kimberley Mine, while those of Dutoits Pan and
Bultfontein yielded no less than seven hundred thousand carats.  About
one quarter of this enormous product was stolen by the Kafirs employed
in the mines, and sold by them to the I.D.B.'s, who are often respected
and licensed diamond buyers.  The large number of jewels stolen by the
blacks while working in the mines has led the Government to make
stringent laws to regulate their purchase and sale."

"How do these Kafirs know to whom to sell their booty?" asked Kate.

"Most of the natives who work in the mines have friends in service in
the town; and it is through their assistance that they dispose of the
stolen diamonds.  These house servants form the acquaintance of some
illicit diamond buyer, or I.D.B., as he is pithily called, to whom they
sell the precious stones.  There is a fascination to some men engaged in
this traffic which far excels that of any other species of gambling.  If
they win, they leave for Europe comparatively rich men in a few years,
but they run such risks of detection that it makes life unbearable to a
man troubled with a conscience."

"Are the diamonds from this soil as fine as those taken from the
Brazilian mines?"

"That is a question that is raised by many, but there is no doubt that
the South African or Cape diamond is as pure and brilliant as any from
Brazil.  Most of the crown jewels of Europe, renowned for their history
no less than their intrinsic worth, came from India.  The Koh-i-noor was
owned by an East Indian chief, five thousand years ago.  The Indian
mines were eclipsed by the Brazilian, which in their turn have yielded
to the fame of those of South Africa--the largest in the world."

CHAPTER TWELVE.

STROLLING AMONG RICHES.

As Kate watched the Kafirs fill the buckets with the diamondiferous
soil, she understood the fascination which kept men tarrying in that hot
climate, hoping that some lucky turn of the pick or spade might unearth
for them a fortune.

While they were standing on the ledge of blue stuff extending from the
tunnel, Donald moved a short distance from them when a stone fell at his
feet.  It was thrown in such a manner, that he knew it was not
accidental.  His countenance never changed, and he stood perfectly still
for several minutes, then strolled leisurely back to the mouth of the
tunnel.  As he did so, a Kafir's voice in a low tone said: "Ba-a-as!"

Donald wheeled, and there in a dark angle of the excavation where it led
into an inner chamber, stood a native who had been pushing the cars
through the tunnel as the party entered it.

He held up between his thumb and finger something white, like a large
lump of alum.  Donald stood a few seconds with his hands in his pockets,
eyeing him intently, then took a few steps, looked down the tunnel and
listened attentively for any sound in the opposite direction; the next
moment he had made three strides toward the boy and taken the diamond
from his hand, when two shadows fell across his pathway.  He glanced up
and beheld Dainty and Schwatka.  He closed his hand over the gem and put
it in his pocket.  The two men looked at each other without speaking,
and then as Herr Schwatka's eyes filled with a fine scorn they fell on
Dainty, and there was an instantaneous change of expression in them,
which he concealed by turning his face.  Speaking in a bantering tone,
he said:

"Donald prefers darkness to light!  I think, Mrs Laure, that if he does
not regain his sunny disposition, you will have to take him away from
the camp for a vacation."

Dainty had observed the look which passed between her husband and
Schwatka, but did not understand its meaning.

She had not perceived the diamond in Donald's hand, for she had been
picking her way to the entrance of the tunnel, and had approached it
with her eyes cast down, until her companion came to a standstill.

She understood the meaning of that look later.  How often a cloud passes
over us surcharged with power, to which we are indifferent, until it is
revealed to us by some lightning flash of memory.

The Kafir had immediately taken hold of his car, and wheeled it into an
inner chamber, but not before Dainty had noted that he was a Fingo boy,
who often came to the house on errands for Donald.  The beads, earrings,
and ornaments with which the natives adorn themselves, and also the
style of wearing the hair, distinguish one tribe of Kafirs from another;
and these peculiarities were well known to Dainty.

As Miss Darcy joined them, they returned to the shaft, entered the
elevator, and soon arrived at the Company's office.

The day's "wash-up" of the diamonds was next seen, and the assorting of
them on the "sorting" table (which is very agreeable work to those who
are looking for a prize--and find it, but a little tedious if the
labours result in failure) was gone through, and some fine brilliants
found.

It was about five o'clock in the afternoon on their return home that
they strolled through the diamond market, a street of one-story houses
built of corrugated iron, with the interiors very simply finished.  They
visited the offices of several diamond buyers, representing Parisian,
English, Viennese, and Holland houses in this branch of trade.  They
were of all nations, those of Jewish origin predominating, and the
visitors were received with the utmost courtesy.

The contents of their safes, stored with precious stones awaiting the
departure of the English mail, packets of gems containing from ten to
one hundred carats weight, were freely exhibited; and Kate almost wished
that she too might enter the fascinating trade of buying and selling
diamonds.

Proceeding on their way to the hotel, they passed through the market
square which was strewn with the merchandise of the country.  It was
difficult to say whether the mine they had recently left was even as
interesting as the exhibit of wealth lying before them, brought from a
great distance in the interior; that delightful unknown country, with
its lions, leopards, ivory, and impregnable strongholds of savage chiefs
and adventurous traders.

The life of this latter class is as interesting to contemplate as are
the fruits of their labour and skill.  They go into the strange country
where the 'Tse fly stings their horses to death, and where they must
fight the still more deadly fevers.  If they survive and manage to crawl
out yellow and wan, the fervid life still holds out its charms for them,
and they return to it again with the same eagerness; the voice of
adventure drowns the admonitory tones of ease and safety.

On the corner of the market square, sat a Coolie woman, about thirty
years of age, of diminutive form.  In her native costume of many
bright-hued silk handkerchiefs draped around her limbs, neck, and head,
with the gold ring hanging from the nose, the earrings surrounding the
entire outer edge of the ear, bracelets, anklets, and armlets, she
presented a perfect type of this semi-barbaric country.

Sitting there beside her basket of oranges and melons, she fitted like a
mosaic into the strange scene before them.

A little farther on was a trader's wagon, about fourteen feet long, and
four and a half feet wide, piled high with skins of the leopard, silver
jackal, tiger, hyena, and rare black fox.  These skins, or karosses, as
they are called, were as soft to the touch as a velvet robe, and had
none of that hard thickness which characterise the cured skins of our
wild animals.  The natives are experts in the curing of these skins, and
deliver them to the traders sewed together as neatly as a Parisian
kid-glove, with thread made from the sinews of wild animals.

As they strolled along, the next objects which attracted their attention
were the large-sized oxen with their enormously long and graceful horns.

These animals are the especial pride of the Boer farmer, who cares more
for his span of sixteen handsomely-matched oxen than for any other
object, animate or inanimate, on his farm.  The particular cattle which
attracted their notice were beautifully spotted black and white, with
hides shining like satin.  As Kate approached one of them, and reached
out her hand, she could not touch the line of his back-bone, even when
standing on tip-toe.

They stood there, huge creatures, with their horns towering in the air.

They would have made a fortune for the brush of a Bonheur.

It can hardly excite wonder that such animals gain so much affection.
The trader's wagon to which they were yoked was loaded with ivory tusks,
valuable furs, ostrich feathers, and other rich and singular
merchandise.  One feather, a yard long and half a yard wide from tip to
tip, passed into Kate's possession.  It was a plume no less beautiful
than rare.

"These feathers," said Kate, regarding the gift with admiration, "do not
look like the flossy, saucy, flirty things which appear on ladies' hats,
strewing coquettish shadows over the face.  They resemble those ugly
awkward trailing bits of vanity which weep from their hats after a heavy
rain, when they have neglected to carry that everyday English article of
dress, an umbrella!  They are as ugly as the bird from which they are
plucked, until some unconscionable merchant brings the tempting
merchandise to town, and places it in the hands of the milliner.  Then
the great play of `My Milliner's Bill' is enacted, husbands and fathers
are ruined by its representation, while the women, pretty pieces of
vanity, get free tickets to the show."

CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

A MORNING RIDE.

One bright summer's morning in the latter part of November, as Dr Fox
was on his way to visit a patient living in Dutoits Pan, he turned his
horses' heads into the street where lived Miss Kate Darcy.

As he neared the house of his countrywoman, in whom he had recently come
to take a deep interest, she appeared descending the steps of the
verandah which surrounded the house.  He spoke to his horses, and they
increased their speed, reaching the curbstone as Miss Darcy opened the
gate.

"Good-morning, Miss Darcy," said he, "out for a walk?  Would that I were
also walking!"

Kate looked up brightly and smiled.  "Good-morning," said she, "would
that I were also riding!"

Dr Fox's eyes held a gleam of pleasure, and springing lightly from the
carriage, said, "I shall admit of no retreat after that.  I am going to
Dutoits Pan, and you must go with me."

Kate readily entered the carriage, the doctor seated himself by her
side, and the horses sped away.

"Is there not a sort of indefinable recognition of approach and
presence, by which we may sometimes become aware of the proximity of
people before seeing them?" began the doctor.  "I was thinking of you as
I rode along, and here you are!"

Kate did not say that she had also thought of the doctor that morning.
She only replied:

"Yes, I think there is often something of that sort.  And recognition
goes farther, too.  We may often see a man's invisible soul,
paradoxically speaking, against his will, and without desire.  There is
something, too, about a person that radiates, as it were, and
unconsciously to himself and others affects those with whom he comes in
contact.  I suppose it affects sometimes from afar, as I did you this
morning."

Dr Fox looked at Kate curiously.

"You are a novelty in this part of the world," he said.  "I suppose no
other woman this side an ocean voyage could talk like that."

"That may be true," said Kate, unaffectedly.  "Women about here are not
thinkers along certain lines.  But I have a belief that moral and
spiritual atmosphere has an extent and influence of which we little
dream."

There was silence for a moment.  Then, with a quick transition, Kate
again spoke:

"Isn't this glorious?  I am never happier than when I am behind fine
horses, riding over a good road."

"I think, then, I see the way to giving you happiness," said the doctor,
"and at the same time getting a good deal for myself.  You seem like a
bit of my native land again."

"Of the earth, earthy?" queried Kate.

"How can you!" cried the doctor, "but you are the first American woman I
have seen in two years, and you are tremendously Yankee."

"Pray, what is tremendously Yankee?" asked Kate.

"Oh, delightfully individual! that is a trait of our countrymen--yours
and mine.  One sees it in you when you cross the floor, or do any other
everyday thing.  You could not conceal your nationality."

"We do not try to conceal what we take pride in.  I am proud of being an
American.  Dear old America, I have not seen it in five years."

"So long?  What have you been doing?"

"I have had a career," said Kate, quietly.

"Tell me about your career," said the doctor.  "I have lived here two
years, as you know.  When you have tarried so long, you will want to
know, as deeply as you can, the first congenial spirit that comes to
Africa and finds you."

"What, two long years in Africa!  Nothing could induce me to stay in
such a land so long."

"The improbable, even the seemingly impossible things, often come to
pass, Miss Darcy.  Now, please, are you going to tell me about your
career?"

"It won't be long."

"What--your career?"

"No--the story of it.  There was a good deal of career.  While I was
living it, it seemed as if there would never be any end to it, and I
often wished for any other life but that.  It came to an end only a few
months ago.  It seems like a dream of centuries."

"You must have been very young when you began, for you--"

"Don't look all those centuries, eh?" said Kate, laughingly.  "Why, I am
twenty-eight."  She then gave him an outline of her life, with the
heartache left out.  Although Kate was of an ardent imaginative
temperament, she never sentimentally dwelt on her griefs.

By this time they had reached their destination.  The call was short,
the doctor taking little time to listen to the recounting of aches and
pains.  He braced his hypochondriacal patient up, by telling him that he
was far better than he had expected to find him, and before the invalid
could relapse, the doctor had gone.  But the man was better, of course,
for had not the doctor told him so?

"You have returned quickly," said Kate.  "Is your patient better?"

"The patient?  Oh yes, he's all right.  I will bring my galvanic battery
with me next time, and just give him a little homoeopathic earthquake.
Don't let us talk about these sick people.  You don't look as if sick
subjects would be appropriate to your thoughts or conversation."

CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

AN UNEXPECTED DECLARATION.

"I have never had time to think of being sick myself, or to think of
myself in any way.  I used to worry over every thing, and strove to
gather sufficient force in one day to last a week, but the effort was
useless.  I now realise that I am not doing this living.  I am being
lived.  There is much rest to me in that thought."

"You speak in riddles," said the doctor, "how can an unimaginative
fellow like me solve the mystery of `I am being lived?'"

"It is not a riddle, and it is not for the imaginative," said Kate.  "It
is reality of which I speak.  We talk of the burden of life.  But life
is not a burden.  If you look about at the over-burdened world you will
find that its people are weighed down with loads of their own
accumulation.  Apprehension, fretfulness, discontent--a thousand
things--dissipate the strength and happiness of mortals.  I have come to
believe that individual life, as it was given from the hand of God, is a
fulness--not a strife.  The familiar old figure of speech, `Life is a
river,' expresses it to me, and the river just flows along and takes all
the goodly, streams that flow into it all the length of its course.  So
it grows and is filled, not filling itself."

"But don't you see, Miss Darcy, that the river must also take all the
bad that flows into it."

"But don't _you_ see," asked Kate, "that pursuing its course to the
great ocean it purifies and brings to sparkling clearness _all_ that
comes to it.  That is always the result of patient and cheerful
acceptance."

It is in unexpected places and at unexpected times that we most often
find ourselves speaking of heart-experiences, and spiritual beliefs and
attainments.  To Dr Fox this was a rare occasion.  In the life he had
known since he had left his native shores, the questions of the hour
arising for the earnest thinker had not been presented to him.  Like
other men away from the influence of home and intelligent high-toned
womanhood, he had drifted into careless modes of thought.

The ease that comes from a happy-go-lucky philosophy is not the peace
that comes of trust.  Dr Fox felt this with a startling clearness.
Through the woman by his side came the white, searching light of a pure
soul within, shining upon his own and revealing the barrenness of life
without earnestness.  How had she reached her spiritual altitude amid
the ambitions and crushing disappointments of her past?

"Miss Darcy," said the doctor, "you are one of the rare beings who see
only the good in every thing.  You seem to know no other force.  This
may do for women, but how can men, with grosser natures, come into such
a wide place?"

Kate looked at her companion with brave, open eyes, and she longed to
impart her own earnestness to him.  Every good woman is a natural moral
reformer.

"Why," said Kate, "do men leave women lonely on spiritual heights?  The
men, too, are gods if they did but know it.  Shall women have all the
riches and delights of inward content?  To live in harmony with our
source means perfect health, and the attainment of our heart's desire,
for then there can be no friction, no uncontrollable conditions.  Why
should not men without scepticism or half-heartedness accept and know
the truth?"

"But you see, Miss Darcy, men would become dreamers, not workers.  I
fear we must leave the angel-side of existence to you, only stipulating
that you do not fly away from us entirely."

"That is the trouble with a man," said Kate, "he calls the strongest
force in the world a dream.  As for the women flying away--don't think
it.  They love to stay where they can keep the men in sight."

She laughed.  Laughter and tears were always close by with Kate.

"I believe," she continued, "most men think that thoughts of this sort
are to be saved for the occupying of eternal years.  Whereas Eternity
always was, and now is.  We are living in the Eternal Now."

"You think that men and women could be companions in this thought?"
queried the doctor.

"I do.  To be companions in the married or unmarried state, is just the
rarest happiness in the world, but we are demanding it.  It is the
desire of the heart, and we will have it.  Man stands for Love.  Woman
for Intelligence, Intuition.  The Woman, no matter how intellectual, is
ever craving for Love, ever seeking it.  When Love on the one hand, and
Intelligence and Intuition on the other, meet in this belief in the one
Force, and recognise in each other the desire of their hearts and cry
out, `I have found you,' the two become one--Spirit."

"Why do you say `Man is Love?'  I have always thought he represented
Intelligence."

"Is not Cupid a boy?" replied Kate saucily.

The doctor touched the horses with the whip, and they sped along the
road.  There was silence for a few moments, when Kate broke it by
saying:

"I shall remember this ride with pleasure, Doctor, as it will probably
be the last one I shall take with you before my departure for other
scenes."

The reins fell idly on the doctor's lap, and the horses dropped into a
walk.  Horses have a trick of accommodating themselves to the moods of
their drivers.

The doctor's face lost its look of enthusiasm.

"When do you go, and where do you go?" he asked.

"I want to leave the Fields during the hot Christmas holidays, and have
arranged to go to that pretty little spot not far away--Bloemfontein."

"I am sorry you are going away," said the doctor, "but I should be
sorrier if it were further from Kimberley.  It seems a short time since
you came here."

"Short stays make long friends," said Kate.

"Then I shall come and make short stays," exclaimed the doctor, with a
return to something like gaiety.

"Do--" said Kate.  "I mean do come.  I don't mean make short stays!"

"Of course you will return to Kimberley?"

"I hardly think I shall," replied Kate.

"Is there nothing that I can say that could induce you to return?"  The
doctor said this with an accent on the personal pronoun "I."

Kate did not think for a moment that it meant anything more than
gallantry, but something: in the tone of his voice made her look into
his face.  The doctor was looking at her in that manly way of his, and
she answered his look, with one as sweetly womanly, but hesitated to
frame any words, for the right ones would not come.  Where now was
Kate's fluency of speech?  He laid his hand over hers, resting passively
in her lap, and said:

"Pardon me for revealing my feelings toward you.  Don't speak now.  I
cannot expect you to come to my quick conclusions in a matter like this.
Kate, you are my ideal woman.  Only that man who has daily before him
his ideal for inspiration can hope to attain his highest manhood.  When
I make a farewell call upon you before my trip to England, tell me if I
have gone farther than you can go with me."

Kate sat in a twilight happiness and her lips were dumb.  She could
neither encourage nor deny.  Her past was before her.  She remembered
the time when she had laid her young heart on the altar of an early
love.  Could it be possible she could find happiness in the love of
another?  Should she take into the joyousness of her existence, won by
submission and an exalted spiritual life, a new relationship?

The doctor's manner showed neither embarrassment nor anxiety.  He had
the assurance of a nature that knows what it wants--as the satisfaction
of love, and that can say, "I want you for my wife.  Come!" intending to
take no denial.  Then the woman, contented in his love, is willing to
say, "I will love, honour, and obey," for her yoke is the yoke of love,
and her burden light, because she is evenly yoked.  He was sure that he
could make Kate Darcy happy.  It should be her own fault if he did not.
A vision of such a home as could be counted by thousands in his own
happy land was before him.  If this woman had drank of the elixir of
life, she should by her companionship share her cup with him.  By her
own story she had grown younger with years.  She should share her
perfected youth with him.

This was a strange couple.  Not a wand more of the mysteries of life and
love escaped them.  They talked as though they were henceforth sane on
all subjects.  The horses once more became swift.  It is well that
horses, if they can hear and comprehend, cannot talk.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN.

AN ABRUPT AWAKENING.

"Fingo boy here, Ba-a-as," said a Coolie servant, as he entered the room
where Laure was sitting, on the third day after the visit to the mine.

"Where is he?"

"In kitchen."

A cloud darkened Laure's face; after a moment's hesitation he told the
Coolie to send the boy to him.  The Fingo boy, who had handed the
diamond to Laure in the tunnel, entered the room, and standing near the
door waited for him to speak.

"Well, Fingo," said Laure, in a pleasant tone of voice, "you are around
early this morning--shut the door.  What can I do for you?"

"Come to see bout dat big, white diamond."

"Ah, yes; now how much shall I give you for it?  It has a flaw in it,
you know."

"Let Fingo boy see.  Kafir want see hole in diamond."

"I haven't it about me.  It isn't safe to have such a stone around.  I
may never have a chance to sell it," said Laure, firmly, looking at the
Kafir.

"Dat good stone, Ba-a-as.  Bring big money.  Mus' have money fo' dat."

"What have you done with all the money I have given you, Fingo?"

"Me save him.  Me buy cows, pony."

"It won't do for you to have so much gold about you.  Detectives will
get you and put you in the chain-gang."

"Me hide it--way off.  Nobody find it!"

"Well how much shall I give you for it?"

"Hunder pound."

"Too much.  It isn't worth it.  I'll give you eighty, or you may come
to-morrow and I'll give it back to you," said Laure, who was pretty
certain that the Kafir would hardly dare hunt for a buyer, as many a
buyer, though an illicit one, would bring him before the authorities and
compel him to disgorge, simply to throw the detectives off the scent in
regard to himself.  The Fingo hesitated for a moment or two, and then
accepted the offer.

"Going back to work to-day?" asked Laure.

"No!  Me go way soon as me sell 'nother big white diamond me hab.  Me
buy wife, get big Kraal.  Hab plenty ox, cow, pony."

"You have a wife now, haven't you?"

"Me hab two, three, four wife bime bye," replied the Kafir as he held up
four fingers.  "Me know pretty Kafir girl: hoe corn; pound mealies--
cook.  Me work no more.  Hunt blesse-bok; ride pony; smoke dagga; hab
good time!"

"Yes, that is right, Fingo, you must leave the Fields.  I will have the
money for you, and will meet you at--or, stay.  I will put it under the
rock where you got the last.  But mind, don't stay round here much
longer, or the police will get you--do you hear?"

"Kafir no fool, Ba-a-as Laure.  He jes' go home to his Kraal.  No work
more," and the Kafir left the room.

That evening Laure and Schwatka were sitting talking in the library,
when Dainty unexpectedly approached the room.  A fragment of their
conversation reached her, and as the full meaning of the words she heard
burst upon her, she stood speechless, half hidden in the folds of the
curtained doorway.

"Laure, how dare you carry on this illicit trade of buying diamonds of
the Kafirs?  Don't you fear that they will give you away to the
detectives?"  Schwatka was saying.

"I suppose I am in danger of being trapped, but I am pretty sure of the
Fingo who sells me the blazers."

"You know you are safe, as far as I am concerned," replied Schwatka.  "I
am thinking what your wife would do, if you should be caught, through
the treachery of this Fingo.  You can never tell what they will not do
for money."

"That's true, but I rather think my luck won't go back on me.  I don't
mind telling you, that I happen to know that this Fingo has a big
diamond that I want, but he asks too much money for it--I tell you it's
a beauty.  These Kafirs are getting too knowing for us fellows; they are
too well aware of the exact value of the diamonds, and we have to go
slow with them."

"There are too many risks in that trade to attract me.  I say, Laure,
how do you expect to sell that diamond if you get it?"

"I shall probably keep it, until I go to Europe.  The idea that an
illicit or stolen diamond sells there for half its value, is nonsense.
In Amsterdam, the great European market, a diamond sells according to
its weight and purity.  Its intrinsic worth is all that the buyer or
seller thinks of.  Look at this gem."

As Donald said this, he turned and caught sight of Dainty standing in
the doorway.  She looked from one to the other.  Donald cast his eyes
guiltily down, unable to meet the glances of the woman he loved; while
Schwatka sat looking up into her face with his own all aglow, and in an
attitude that suggested the ardent lover eager to shield her from
trouble.

As her eyes at last rested on Herr Schwatka, in a dazed sort of way, her
heart gave one bound and went out to him.

Though daily she had met the Austrian who had so often sought for
opportunities to be near her, though daily her interest had become
greater, and her pleasure in his presence increased, though sometimes
she had felt dissatisfaction as she compared her husband with him whom
she called her friend--yet, not until this sudden revelation terrified
her, as a sense of its danger came over her, did she realise her actual
feelings.

Silently turning, in a half-blinded way, she left the room.  For a
moment she was dazed.  Then the peril of the situation flashed through
her mind.  Her alert, savage blood was roused at last, and from that
moment she lost her indolent, indifferent manner.  Never for one moment
was she forgetful of the situation.

At any moment the officers of the law might be on their track.  Both she
and Donald were henceforth bound to Herr Schwatka.  One by love--the
other by fear.  Even the generosity of Schwatka, should he conceal
Donald's felony, made her sick at heart--for discovered, each was a
partner in the other's guilt.

Her sleep, once so peaceful, was fitful and disturbed.  She asked of
neither an explanation.

What to do, to whom to turn, between her love, her duty, and her fears,
was like an ever-present nightmare.

She had awakened to a new life; her eyes, that until now were soft,
blazed with a fire that had never before been kindled in them.  Emotions
new to her had taken possession of her mind.  Herr Schwatka came
frequently, as before, and, with more eagerness than she had ever looked
for Donald, she looked for him.

Strange were the mental experiences of Herr Schwatka.  He saw what he
desired to see, that her heart was his.  But not with the triumph he
would have known had he not fallen into his own trap.

Schwatka, who had coolly won more hearts than he ever took pains to
count, was enthralled by the power of Dainty.

He felt he could not harm her, though he felt he could not lose her.  By
the power of his love he read every passing thought as it flitted over
her face; and he would willingly have risked all his hope and happiness
in other things, could he but possess the life of this woman--like a
lamb in her helplessness, like a young lioness in her love of freedom,
and in her rebellion against the chafing of distasteful bonds.

As the days passed, her restlessness of spirit increased.  At last the
fire began to consume the material body.  She grew thin, a hectic flush
tinged her cheek.  Her eyes, like great burning lamps, looked out upon
the world with an unsatisfied expression pitiful to behold.  For a time
these new emotions escaped the notice of Donald, but when she began to
droop, and he perceived what he feared might be some malady, he resorted
to Dr Fox with real anxiety.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

THE FAMILY PHYSICIAN.

On entering the doctor's office, Laure found him examining Bela's eye,
or rather the part of the face that once contained that valuable organ.

"How do, Doctor," said Laure; "how are you, Bela?  Now that you are
well, why do you not return to your mistress?"

"Missy don't want see Bela now he got only one eye."

"We'll see about that," said Dr Fox.  "Glad you came in, Laure.  I was
about experimenting on the boy's eye.  We'll see if we can't send you
back to your mistress with a new optic!"

As he said this he lifted Bela's eyelid, and in another second the boy
stood before the men with two eyes in his head, though one was but a
glass eye.

"Hello!" said Laure, "what hinders you now from going home to your
mistress?  You are nearly as good-looking as you ever were!  By the way,
Doctor I wish you would drop in and see Mrs Laure.  She does not look
well."

"Sorry to hear that," said the doctor.  "I will call there this morning
and take Bela with me."  The two men exchanged a few more words and then
parted.  Some hours later Bela, accompanied by the doctor, entered his
old home dressed in a most fantastic costume, and expressed, in his
peculiar way, the greatest joy at seeing his mistress, who was well
pleased to receive him again.  She greeted the doctor cordially, and was
curious about this new eye of Bela's.

"How did you ever do it?" she asked.

Pleased to see her interested, the doctor slipped the shell that so
skilfully simulated the destroyed organ of sight, and showed her how it
was inserted.

"It is easy enough.  You could do it yourself," said he.

Dainty felt a childish desire to try.  She had none of that horror of
mutilation that most delicate women have, for her life had made her
familiar with the sight of physical afflictions.  The doctor, though he
secretly wondered at her curiosity, was willing to indulge it, and
Dainty soon found that she could actually adjust a glass eye herself.

Bela was dismissed, and her look of interest gave place to one of
weariness.  "Well, Mrs Laure, what is the reason I have not seen you
riding of late?"

The blood flew to her cheeks, for she felt that the doctor was reading
her heart.  With the desire that every woman has to guard her dearest
secret, she said:

"Donald imagines I am threatened with fever.  It is nothing but a
feeling of homesickness.  To be sure my heart beats so at times that it
nearly chokes me, but I think it will soon pass away.  I have been
coaxing Mr Laure to take me away from the Fields.  I think if I were
near the old ocean once more my health would return."

The doctor listened to her voice, but he only heard her mental words.
The words she framed with her lips did not conceal the cause of her
distress.  We think to deceive the world when we talk to cover our
feelings, but how rarely do we succeed with the good and true.  The soul
sits in the silence.  Its influences are silent influences, and its
voice soft and gentle.  So, as it is attuned to stillness, it hears
other soul voices when in harmony with it, and it discerns the truth
with unerring judgment.

Dr Fox had diagnosed mental struggles until it had become second nature
to him to read the thoughts of his patients.  He had also been keenly
alive to the infatuation of Herr Schwatka for Mrs Laure, and when she
alluded to a weakness of the heart, he asked:

"Have you anything on your mind that worries you?"  She caught her
breath for a second, and the doctor read in her hesitancy the true
answer, though she replied:

"Oh, no."

"I will leave you a few powders, though a change of scene would do you
more good than any medicine I might prescribe.  You need to get out and
away from accustomed places.  You are stagnating.  Your mind is
travelling in a circle, and your thoughts dwell too much on yourself,
which always produces an unsatisfactory mental, as well as physical
condition.  I sometimes advise my lady patients, when they are the
subject of their own thoughts, to think of me.  A crusty old bachelor is
so radical a change, and so hard a subject that it has succeeded
admirably in curing some of them, who only needed variety."  This last
remark brought a smile to Dainty's face.

"Yet I advise them not to overdo the remedy lest they think too much of
me.  I am extremely cautious, Mrs Laure."

Dainty smiled again.  Sentiment and the doctor seemed so absurd a
combination to her.  He was kind-hearted, but to think of him as an
awakener of love--Ah! love brought to her mind another.  She blushed,
stopped, and _thought of the doctor_.  It was a good remedy.  He was
looking at her.  She felt a mixture of discomfort and a desire to tell
him how great was her heartache.  Had he asked her her secret, she would
have told him.  He divined her confidential mood, but asked nothing.  It
is sometimes wise to be ignorant.  If the family physician should
divulge the secrets of the inner life of the social sphere in which he
moves, what a shattered world would we live in!  The life of a hermit
would at once hold irresistible charms for many.

What an innocent and ignorant violator of social and marital laws was
Dainty!  But ignorance and innocence are not as beautiful qualities as
knowledge and purity.  With the former, life is but drifting; with the
latter, it is anchored to a rock.

The doctor realised that Dainty was drifting.  He had seen many another
woman drift, only to be broken against the rocks on bleak unknown
shores; later he had seen the wreck washed up lying on the sands of
life, exposed to the gaze of the gaping curiosity-seeker, and to his
careless comments.  Would this beautiful creature, wounded almost to
death, be another wreck noted by pitying angels, and filling a sorrowful
page in the book of Time?  Not if he could help guide her.  Ah! if our
impulses are in the direction of the good, we know not how soon we may
be given the opportunity to guide a frail bark clear of some threatening
rock, into smiling waters, and under summer skies!  The doctor's
opportunity came sooner than he anticipated.

"I will call in again, Mrs Laure," said he, rising.  "I have to see a
patient a few hours' ride from here, and on my return, will tell Mr
Laure that he must take you to England.  I am expecting to go home for a
short trip this summer, I need a change, too.  One gets rusty living in
Africa without a sight of other lands."

He took her little hand in his, gave it a quick, firm, friendly grasp,
that seemed to say: "I know all about your trouble.  Everything will
come out all right."  Aloud he said: "You must stop thinking about
yourself," and left the house.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.

"YOU HAVE MADE ME YOUR PRISONER."

Dainty, left alone, smiled in mockery.  "Stop thinking!"  As if she
could!

She was innocent of any intentional wrong toward her husband, but oh!
that world, that real world of hers--her thoughts.

Even in the midst of her self-upbraiding, her rebel thoughts would break
loose, and reach out toward the man she loved.  It was the ecstasy of a
Heaven, blended with the agony of a Hell.

The shuttle of love that winds and weaves an unseen thread, had bound
her heart in bond so firm, that to break it seemed like breaking the
thread of life.  Would that she could see how near the fate stood that
would cut that thread!  She felt that the new love which had sprung to a
giant's strength within her heart, was doing cruel injustice to the
loyal heart of her husband.  She wished to be true to herself, and that
meant true to Donald.  Was he not truth itself to her?  But she had no
strength to fight against the power which Schwatka exerted over her, and
thoughts of him held her prisoner as she lay on her divan moaning like a
helpless wounded doe.

At this moment Herr Schwatka entered the room.  As he approached, their
eyes met in one long look, and as if mesmerised, their lips met in a
kiss that annihilated time and space, and that for Dainty rent asunder
all other bonds.  Centuries of time were lived in that one kiss.  She
had been long married, but not until now was she mated.

At last time began again to beat out to the lovers those seconds and
moments of which they had been too oblivious.

"Dainty," said he, "I can no longer endure to see you bear toward
another the relation of--wife.  I came to-day to tell you that I leave
Kimberley within twenty-four hours.  I know that I have been a coward to
remain here and see you suffer for my sake, but the strength of love has
been my weakness, and has chained me to your side.  My beloved, life
without you is worth to me not a puff of smoke; if I remain here longer
I shall become a dangerous enemy to your husband.  He stands between you
and me; therefore I go away.  Absence sometimes brings forgetfulness.
The memory of your dearly beautiful face, of your soulful eyes--ah!
What shall I do!--I cannot, I cannot tear myself from you!"

He sank on his knees by her side, and laid his head on her shoulder, a
man given over to the longings of a great love, without hope therein.

She was now the stronger of the two.  How often do we see the dumb
animal side, in the strongest nature, assert itself when it lays its
head on the heart of a frail woman for comfort.

What is that power which enchains men and women for a season when death
itself would be preferable to the bitter sweetness which fills the soul.
The heart never entirely recovers, though by and by the pain is a dull
heavy sorrow as for a loved one buried long ago?  We pity ourselves
then, to think that it is possible for us to so change.

Dainty could not move hand or foot, her eyes looked as if tears lay
behind in the veiled depths, in sacred sympathy with the soul, in the
throes of an agony which few are capable of understanding.

Great beads of perspiration stood on her brow; she tried to speak, but
ended in an incoherent whisper.  Her lover recognised the suffering of
her soul, akin to his own, and wiped the cold dews away with a holy
touch.  There was no flaming consuming passion in his touch.  How
strange was this in a nature like Herr Schwatka's!  It was one of the
marvels of love that it could purify the impulses and purposes of such a
man, not used to live above the moral plane of the careless man of the
world.  He might easily have wrought ruin in the life of this
unsophisticated woman, who could not, in one remove from savage
ancestry, grow away from the tendency of love to follow its own,
regardless of consequences.  So had her mother done.  Raising herself,
and looking him steadfastly in the eyes, she slowly said, in an earnest
whisper: "If you go, I go with you."

"No, no, Dainty, I love you too truly to let you live to repent anything
for my sake.  Donald will not return to you until evening.  I must go
while I have any manliness left, or we will both live to repent it."

There was silence for a few moments, and then he hesitatingly said:

"I want to make a confession, sweetheart, that will help to ease my
pain."  He stopped and his bosom heaved with emotion.  "It is that--I
was fascinated by you, and your untamed ways, so different from what I
had ever known, and I thought you would be a pastime to me.  See what
misery my wrong has wrought to both.  You are the one woman in the world
stronger than I, who thought myself invincible.  You have made me your
prisoner."

Anger against her fate began to rise within her heart, and strange
thoughts surged and swelled through her throbbing brain.  She spoke with
wild determination:

"Listen.  Donald is keeping some great secret from me, and although he
has no suspicion of the love existing between you and me, his life is as
separated from mine as if we were living in different continents.  My
life is my own, and if you leave me, I follow."

"No, no, my beloved," cried Schwatka.

Dainty continued in the same voice:

"You cannot change me now.  Bela," calling to her servant, "have the
horses harnessed to the cart at once, I am going for a drive.  Now,"
turning to Schwatka, "leave me.  I have not the strength to bear your
presence longer.  I shall be at the meeting of the roads," naming a spot
about five hours distant, "and will meet you there."

"No, no," said he, mournfully but firmly.  "Here I bid you farewell."
He laid his hand on her shoulder.  "When you cease to think of me as a
lover, hold my memory kindly as your saviour."

His hand fell from her shoulder slowly down her beautiful arm, till it
reached the little firmly-knit hand, which he held a prisoner for a few
seconds, then tenderly raised to his lips.  In another moment he had
gone.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN.

A FRIEND IN DEED.

Not for a moment was Dainty's determination shaken by the action of
Schwatka.  So full of magnetic fire she had never been disciplined to
control; had love been sooner enkindled, she would but sooner have
leaped into its flame, whether it meant warmth or destruction.  Many
women of her nature, live and die ignorant of love.  Are they more blest
for the ignorance?

Turning to her dressing-case, in which were her diamonds and costly
jewels, she looked at them, and in another moment she replaced the
casket.  She rapidly dressed for the journey, and ordered Bela to pack a
small trunk with necessary and sufficient apparel, and take it to the
Cape cart waiting at the door.  These things were quickly done by the
silent, swiftly-moving Bushman.

Trembling with excitement she followed the Bushman, and got into the
cart.  As they drove away, she gave one backward glance at the home
where she had lived so peacefully with Donald.  Nerving herself, she
bade Bela hasten.  When they had reached the edge of the town, she
seized the reins, and with a strength born of excitement, urged the
horses on with a frenzy that caused Bela to give his mistress a look of
wonder.

Her thoughts had been too long busy with her work to think of anything
further, until now, with the motion of the revolving wheels, and the
speeding horses, a sense of liberty took possession of her.

She was free!  Away over the veldt she flew, the horses seeming to
become imbued with the spirit of their mistress, which gave impulse to
their fast-flying feet.  This sense of freedom was a reaction from the
sense of captivity, of late so strongly upon her.

Two hours or more flew by, before she gave a thought to the scenes
through which she was passing.  A weary waste of sandy, desert road; a
treeless veldt covered sparsely with a coarse grass; a dreary farmhouse
in the distance surrounded by a few trees, was a joyless picture to look
upon.

Bela sat silent, watching the horses and the flying cart, but immovable
as a statue.  When the native becomes attached to his mistress, he
accepts everything from the "Inkosa" whom he regards as a queen.
Dainty's strength was ebbing fast, but with superhuman effort she
rallied all her energies, and, when she saw a horseman in the distance,
called to her aid her most languorous and indifferent manner, reined in
her rapid steeds and handed the reins to Bela.  As the man drew near, to
her dismay she recognised Dr Fox, who was returning from his patient.
As he rode up to the cart, an expression of amazement spread over his
face.  When he stopped his horse to speak to her, she ordered Bela to
stop, also.

"Good afternoon, Mrs Laure.  You have greatly improved since I saw you
this morning.  I scarcely thought you well enough to venture so long a
drive.  Is it health or pleasure you seek?"

Dainty was as white as the dead are.  She trembled before this man's
honest way of asking questions.  Her strength, until now fed by
excitement, left her, and her tongue refused to move, though her lips
parted in the effort.

The agony that convulsed her frame was depicted on her face, and she
shook like one with ague.  What should she say?  The doctor perceived
that here was some awful crisis.  He rose to the occasion.

"Do not speak.  Try to calm yourself," said he.  Dismounting, he took
Bela's place in the cart, and putting his horse in the Bushman's
keeping, told him to follow them to town.  He then gathered up the reins
and wheeled the horses homeward.  They were no sooner turned, than
Dainty, unable to support herself, dropped her head on the doctor's
shoulder.

"Mrs Laure, I see that you are in distress.  I ask you nothing, every
woman in trouble is my sister.  That's right, let those wells in your
eyes run dry.  It would have done you good if they had run over many
days earlier."  To himself the doctor continued:

"We men have a great deal to answer for.  Will we never learn to spare
the beautiful butterflies whose lives we so wantonly break?  If women
only knew men, as men know each other, there would be more missionary
work done before marriage.  In fact home missionaries do not appreciate
their opportunities, for most of us are heathens!"

The doctor slackened the reins, and the horses their pace, as they were
ascending a hill, at the summit of which he saw a cart driven by
Schwatka rapidly approaching.  The doctor's grey eyes shot fire, his
mouth set firmly under his brown moustache, and giving the horse a sharp
cut with the whip, he passed Schwatka with a jovial, "How are you?" that
had a ring in it that sounded like "Check!"

Dainty half rose, gave one little heartbroken moan, and sunk back into
the corner of the seat.  The doctor drove home as quickly as possible,
and they were soon at the house, which Dainty had but lately left,
expecting never to return.  He gently lifted her out of the cart and
carried her into the house.  His presence was soothing to her spirit,
and before he left the house she was wrapped in a sound sleep.  She
needed rest, for her day was not ended.

CHAPTER NINETEEN.

DETECTIVES.

At dinner that evening, Donald's mind was fortunately too preoccupied to
note the haggard face of the little woman sitting opposite.  They were
scarcely seated, when from the window she saw two men come into the yard
and enter the kitchen.  Turning she whispered one word:

"Detectives!"

Dainty had no suspicion of his having diamonds on his person, until he
dropped his knife, and sat pale and nerveless.  Leaping from her seat,
she flew to his side, thrust her hand into one pocket and another, until
she drew forth a large diamond.  In another second she was standing in
the middle of the room.  What should she do with it?  Where should she
hide it, from those sharp-eyed hunters?  There was no spot in the room
that would not be searched.

There was a rent in the wall paper through which she felt tempted to
slip it!  The seconds were flying.  In another moment those men would
open that door and all would be lost!  She could almost have annihilated
time and space, so greatly was her mentality strained and quickened.  In
turning to look once more, with a sickening despair striking her vitals,
her glance fell on Bela, standing perfectly rigid with terror.

Quick as thought she flew to the Bushman, and placing her finger on his
eye, lifted the lid, took out that glass eye, slipped the diamond in,
and returned the eye to its place.  Then turning to her husband,
panting, she whispered:

"Where did you get that diamond?"  He collected his scattered senses and
feebly answered:

"The Fingo boy."  She sank on her chair a seemingly indifferent,
indolent houri, as the door flew open and the detectives entered.

"Good afternoon, gentlemen," said Dainty in a steady voice, but with a
questioning look, as if she wondered at the strange hour and abrupt
entrance of visitors.

"Sorry to disturb your dinner, madam," said one of the men, "but we have
traced a marked diamond here; and must search for it."

"Why do you search here?" said Donald, haughtily.

"Hush, Donald!  I suppose nothing we could say would hinder them," said
Dainty, calmly.

Her coolness and her smile won the evident admiration of the men for a
moment; but yet brusquely spoke one of them:

"Nothing, madam," and immediately the search began.  Again Donald spoke:

"Gentlemen, I have no diamonds about me."

"Perhaps not, sir!  But it is our business to make sure of it," said one
detective as he deftly began a personal search.

Nothing coming to light, they seemed puzzled, for they had bribed the
Fingo boy that day to sell the diamond to Donald, and knowing he had
bought it within the hour, thought to find it on him.  Then they
ransacked the house.  Carpets were torn up and furniture ripped open.

They even thrust their hands through the rent in the wall paper and felt
on the ground below; but their search was fruitless.

They next closely inspected Dainty, her hair was combed, and her
clothing handled unceremoniously by one man, while the other took Donald
into custody.  So sure were they that he had the diamond, that when the
gem could not be found on the man or the premises, they had no
hesitation in arresting him, and stationing the police to watch the
house.  But it was not so well watched, as to prevent that keen bright
woman from eluding their vigilance.

Bela stood like a stone image with his one eye fastened on his mistress,
and the other eye holding the honour or disgrace of her husband.
Nothing could have made him disclose the secret.

As the officers left the house with Donald, her every sense was alert,
and ready to spring to action.

What to do next?  The diamond was safe.  She must find that Fingo boy
who had sold Donald the diamond, and put him out of the way.  With the
keener sense which she possessed as a birth right, with that black blood
in her veins, her woman's wit came to her assistance, and she resolved
to foil the bloodhounds of the law.

She remembered a suit she had prepared as a gift to a favourite Malay
boy.  It hung in her closet, not yet bestowed upon its future owner.
With feverish haste she secured it, and dressed herself in it.  The soft
gay handkerchief she tied around her head, and over this placed the hat.
She had smiled at the odd costume when she had first made it ready, but
she did not smile now, nor at her appearance in it.  She only felt joy
in the disguise.

Now--how to pass the guards!

It was desperate business.  She called Bela--trusty fellow!  He must
help.  The Bushman started at sight of her, and only the voice assured
him it was really she.

"Bela," said she, "I must get away for a while and you must help me.  Do
you go out to the gate, and when the guards stop you, keep them as long
as you can.  I will run another way and try to get out of sight.  They
will send you back, of course."

The Bushman started on his mission.  Dainty watched him concealed in the
shadow of the house.  The guards stopped him as she had thought.  It was
growing rapidly dark.  She heard the authoritative voices of the guards,
and the stupid answers of Bela.  Dashing at right angles from the scene,
she scaled the fence unobserved, and rapidly left the unsuspecting
guards trying to convince Bela that it would not do.  When he finally
submitted, the outwitted officers congratulated themselves on their
vigilance.  So was the first step accomplished!

Now to find her stalwart driver and order her cart and horses.  She had
gone scarce one hundred yards when, to her unspeakable joy and surprise,
she found the servant going toward home.  It was with difficulty she
made him know his mistress; ordering him to meet her at a particular
spot, she hurried on.

Rapidly passing to the Kafir location, where she felt she should find
the Fingo, she walked fearlessly into the first hut.  Hut after hut was
visited, and inquiries, made of one and another inmate in her awakened
savage mood, and in the native language, as to where the boy lay.

As she shook each sleeping body, the very manner of her action, and the
tone of frenzy in which she addressed them, so impressed them, that they
answered whether they would or not.  She walked on and on, until the
last hut, the farthest from probable detection was reached, and there,
lying between two other Kafirs, she found him.

With superhuman strength she dragged him out.  By this time her fury had
reached such a pitch that, to be rid of her clutch was like shaking off
the claws of a wild cat.

Hurrying him forward in breathless haste, she reached the place where
the cart stood waiting.  Hustling him into it, she held him with her
woman's hands while the driver tied him securely down.  Then, seizing
the reins, she ordered her servant to wait her return, and drove swiftly
away.

She pierced the dark with savage instinct for there was no road to guide
her.  The dangerous holes with which the veldt is studded did not lie in
her path.

Her anger rose as the horses sped along.  To her excited nerves their
rapid pace was too slow, and she whipped them into a wild galop all the
way, for she must be home before sun up.

Her fury was intense, and she would turn to the Fingo cowering in the
corner of the seat, in a sort of mad way, that made him shrink with
terror.  Every time she looked at him she would urge her horses to
additional speed by lashings of the whip, until they were nearly as mad
as their mistress.

CHAPTER TWENTY.

ONE OF EVE'S DAUGHTERS.

At last, in the dead of night, she reached the house of an Afrikander
whom she had once befriended, and on whom she could rely.  Him she
awakened by blowing a bugle which had lain at her feet.--He came out to
her, and listened to the strange tale which she hastily repeated, with
the usual unmoved countenance of the Afrikander.  He was ready enough to
help her to dispose of her terror-stricken prisoner.  These Cape people
have a way of their own of disposing of anything disagreeable, which
strikes the stranger as peculiar, but effective.

Obeying her orders, he took him to a lonely hut, and chained him fast.
It was the Fingo's fate to remain there until danger to Donald was past.
When she saw that the captive was where he could do her husband no
harm, she handed a purse to the Afrikander and turned her horses' heads
homeward, with a sense of relief.

Her fury had abated, but not her courage.  Alone, and fearless, she
returned over the veldt, until, exhausted, she arrived on the outskirts
of the town, just as the day was dawning, and descended from her cart,
leaving it in the hands of her tireless waiting servant.  She then
turned homeward, now on foot.  The fatigue of the watch had relaxed the
vigilance of the guard, and they expected nothing from beyond the
premises.  So by care she was able to regain the shadow of the house and
to make safe entrance.

Closing the door, the graceful Malay became transformed into a tearful,
trembling, exhausted woman.  She doffed her male attire, donned a soft,
silken, clinging robe, and sunk on a couch with a feeling of utter
weakness.  Fate, she thought, had overtaken her, and she felt herself
hopelessly entangled in the intricacies of Donald's possible disaster.
But she had shown her devotion as a wife, in her wild and dangerous
midnight ride.  Why had she ever met Donald?  Why had she not been left
to live her uneventful life?  "Oh," she sighed, "to hide in the depths
of some great forest and there lie down in peace to die."  Then her
thoughts reverted to Schwatka, who was seldom out of her mind.  Donald
with his hidden secret had estranged her.  When we are no longer worthy
of confidence, we lose confidence in others.

A remnant of the old self that had been Donald's--her pride in his good
name was still left.  In secreting the diamond, she sought to shield her
husband's name from disgrace.  Beyond this pride, the rest was
indifference, and nothing henceforth could kindle any warmer flame,
while the new fires of another love burned at such a white heat, that
they threatened to consume the temple in which their altars stood.

The mental strain of the last twenty-four hours had completely
prostrated her.  Soon all became a blank, and she lay for hours
unconscious; when she awoke her brain slowly resumed its action.  She
passed her hand wearily over her head.  Where was she?  What was it?
Ah, yes.  She remembered, and rang for Bela.  He did not answer the
call.  Calling a second time, and receiving no response, she sat up,
lost in thought.

What was the immediate work before her?  To find Bela must be her first
act, for he had the diamond!  She ran out of the room into the next and
searched everywhere, thinking he must be in hiding.  Calling again, and
receiving no answer, she realised that there was not a servant on the
place.

Action was now a luxury.  Real danger was in the air.  If nothing could
be proved against her husband, when would he return?

With all these thoughts surging through her brain, it seemed as if her
head would burst.  As she tottered back toward the bedroom, the door
opened, and she swooned in Donald's arms.

Donald saw that she had been passing through some terrible agony.  He
groaned and covered her face with kisses, as he laid her gently on the
couch and applied restoratives.  When she regained consciousness, her
eyes fell on Donald.  She turned her head away from him with a weary
motion.  Here were two people chained to each other by the bond of
marriage, but whose ways lay far apart.  Love held Donald captive, while
fate bound Dainty to Donald.

Suddenly she rose from her couch, and began to tell him of her night
ride.  As she continued, he looked at her in amazement.  Her self
sufficiency, her fearlessness, under the utterly listless manner in
which she told it all, made her seem like a new being to him.

Woman needs but to taste the fruit of the tree of knowledge, to become
an epicure.  Dainty had been wandering in the fields of Paradise with an
Adam who was not Donald, and Donald would no more be her companion,
though he might stay by her side.

"If Bela does not return to-day, we must leave the country, unless you
are willing to work in convict dress."

He sank lower in his chair, before replying in a scarce audible voice:

"Where shall we go?"

She looked at him in amazement as she said:

"To England, of course.  Where else should you go?"  He kept his hand
over his eyes as he replied:

"I had thought we might wish to go to Australia."

"Australia!  Why there, instead of England?  Do you not care to see your
native land?"

"Oh, yes," said Donald, hurriedly, "only I did not know as you--you
cared to go to England in winter."

This seemed to satisfy Dainty, who wearily closed her eyes and said:

"It matters little to me whether it is summer or winter, so long as I
get away from here."  She said no more, but lay unmoved with eyes
closed.  Donald moodily watched her.  Presently he saw that she slept
the sleep of exhaustion.

CHAPTER TWENTY ONE.

ON THE HEIGHTS.

Bloemfontein, the beautiful.  Have you seen Bloemfontein?  No?  Well you
must do so before you leave Africa.  In this lovely place, its streets
shaded by trees, whose luxurious foliage is kept in perennial verdure by
purling streams, had Kate Darcy chosen a resting-place.  What a change
from the dirty, dusty, noisy Fields, with streets filled with hungry
worshippers of Mammon, to this crystallised mirage, for one would
scarcely realise that so beautiful a garden could rise out of a desert,
except in imagination.

Here in the midst of a garden of roses, encircled by a hedge of cactus,
stood the house in which Kate Darcy had chosen to make her home for the
nonce.  Its owner, a wealthy Hollander, who had come out as a
missionary, and availed himself of the opportunities of trade with great
success, was now visiting Europe with his family.  The house was
luxuriously furnished, and a Scotchwoman, as housekeeper, watched over
all the barbaric creatures--servants on the place.

One morning, a few weeks after her arrival, Kate was listlessly swinging
in a hammock shaded by a fig-tree, when Margaret appeared, saying:

"A gentleman to see you, Miss Darcy."

"Who is it, Margaret?"

"Here is his card."

As Kate read the name of C.A. Fox--Kimberley, she said:

"Show him the way to the garden, Margaret.  I will receive him here."

When the doctor reached the veranda that overlooked this charming spot,
he stood lost in admiration.  Before him was the woman he had dreamed
of, thought of, loved--since the hour he first met her.  Never before
had he seen so beautiful, so idyllic a picture.  She looked sweet and
restful under the trees, with the sunlight striking the trembling leaves
which threw playful shadows over her face.

At his approach, she rose from her hammock to greet him.  Taking both
her hands in his, and looking into her eyes, as if he would read her
inmost thoughts, he said: "I hope that you are glad to see me?"

"Indeed I am," said Kate, heartily.  "I was beginning to feel a little
secret restlessness, and a desire for the society of a congenial soul.
What good angel has brought you to Bloemfontein?  Ah, I know," she
continued, for the doctor seemed for once in his life at a loss for
words; "the angel of mercy.  Some poor stricken sufferer has heard of
your skill and sent for you.  Is it a case for the surgeon, or
physician?"

"I have not fully diagnosed the case."

"It is not a hopeless one, I trust?" said Kate.

"I fear it is."

"Let us hope that with your skill, aided by kind Providence, all will be
well."

"I will say Amen, to that, but, as it is a case for the metaphysician, I
fear I shall lose the patient."

"Ah, Doctor! and you whose happy cures are so frequently the result of
mental action.  By the way, is the patient one of your own sex?"

"Yes; and therein lies the danger."

With one accord they began to walk slowly over the grounds.  As they
walked, they talked, and in the midst of their talk, they would cease to
walk; standing still to enjoy some thought of the moment, and then begin
to pace over the green sward.

"I thought, Miss Darcy, that I would leave the Fields during the hot
Christmas season, and visit you."

"You have done quite right.  We will try to entertain you as best we
know how.  Instead of the usual Christmas turkey with its accompanying
cranberry sauce, we will serve up to you some of those delightful dishes
our Coolie cook knows so well how to prepare, with a feast of rare
fruit, such as I think you have never tasted."

"I see you think of the inner man?"

"Why, certainly!  You, like the rest of your brothers, love to be well
fed.  You see that I wish you to be amiable while you are here.
Experience has taught me that a good dinner makes a man much better
company than he would be without it."

"Miss Darcy, I think your presence would always make a man feel at his
best."

"Tut!  Tut! what nonsense.  I am more of a philosopher than you.  There
is nothing equal to a good dinner to make a man feel at peace with all
the world."

"How are you off for servants?"

"I have not the slightest idea how many Margaret has on her staff.  When
meal time comes around, there will be a quorum or more Kafirs around the
kitchen door.  Always enough to come to a decision on the merits of the
cook, cuisine, and condiments.  They are an amusing study.  They come in
all sorts of garbs: in blankets, old military jackets once owned by some
brave Englishman, and a variety of garments too absurd to mention.  One
Kafir came with a stovepipe hat turned upside down, so that he could
have carried all his worldly possessions in it if he had wished to do
so.  The hat was held on his head by fastening a string to each side of
the rim, and tying them under his chin.  In addition to that he had on a
paper collar, and a pair of old pantaloons half way up to his knees.  He
had a knob-kerrie in his hand, and walked much as a Broadway dandy would
walk."

"Miss Darcy," said the doctor, laughingly, "you should fill a
sketch-book with all these strange characters you see.  Your powers of
observation are so developed that you perceive things which others would
pass blindly over."

"I have not the slightest talent for sketching.  These scenes will have
to remain imprinted on the photographic tablet of my memory."

"I trust your housekeeper suits you?"

"Margaret is all one could ask for, and such an honest body.  I know she
doesn't `pretty much'!"

"One could not truthfully say that she is handsome!  You are perfectly
safe while she is your body-guard.  Has she raised that moustache since
you met her?"

Kate laughed merrily, for Margaret always reminded her of an old mouser.
It seemed as if she never could have been young, and her clothes had a
home-made-in-a-hurry sort of look about them.  But Margaret filled her
niche in the world.

"Let us take a drive before dinner," said Kate, "and let me show you
through this beautiful little town of ours, which we think compares
favourably with those havens of rest around Cape Town.  You must have
seen at the hotel the Englishmen, who are enjoying poor health, and
losing their old dreaded belief in consumption."

"I did, and found them agreeable company.  You have pleasant
neighbours?"

"I don't know.  I should be sorry to find that I have not, so I do not
try to gratify any curiosity I may have on the subject."

They had reached the house, and Kate, having given orders for the horses
to be harnessed to the Victoria, excused herself for a few moments.
When she returned she wore a plain cream-coloured cashmere dress.  A
wide-brimmed Leghorn hat, with drooping feathers, sat gracefully on her
head.

After driving through the miniature city, with its imposing banks,
churches, House of Parliament, and handsome residences, they struck the
road leading along the edge of a line of hills that overshadowed the
town, passing several neatly-kept vineyards.  For an hour they kept up a
running fire of conversation on every topic except the one nearest their
hearts; then the doctor turned the horses, and the spirited creatures
put their noses down and enjoyed the run home over the hard, smooth
road, as much as did the occupants of the carriage behind them.  Dinner
was ready when they reached the house, and they sat a long time chatting
over the viands before them, unmindful of everything outside those four
walls.  After dinner the garden was again visited, and Kate swung idly
in her hammock, while the doctor sat near by and told her the news of
the Kimberley world.  A cool breeze sprang up at sunset, and the moon
rose in all her silvery glory.

They were both content.  The day had brought its full amount of
happiness, and was one to be kept in memory.

CHAPTER TWENTY TWO.

PINNING LEAVES TOGETHER.

"I have been thinking that you have found that home of loveliness and
utter delight, which you so charmingly described during our last ride
together in Kimberley."

"And have you not forgotten what I said?" asked Kate, looking up at the
sky.

"I remember every word I ever heard you utter."

"I shall be very careful what I say after this."

"Not on my account, I beg?  I like to hear you think aloud as you do,
for your words have so stirred my own thoughts, Miss Darcy, that I have
been anxious to hear you talk again."

Kate swung more and more slowly with eyes half closed, like one
indulging in a dream.

"Tell me," continued the doctor, looking down into her face, "are you
perfectly happy within yourself.  Have you no longing for the society of
others, and is this idle life of yours all that you wish for?"

Kate could not answer this man lightly, she felt that if she were false
to him in the slightest degree, she would become less womanly in her
own, as well as his eyes.  Avoiding his glance, she answered:

"The idle life I am leading is a life full of thought.  My mind is
constantly absorbing everything I see.  All these strange creatures
around me are a study.  I have not been as idle as you think during my
stay in Bloemfontein.  I have been pinning some leaves together."

"Pinning leaves together!  Am I among those leaves?"

"Yes, but I have turned your particular leaf, with a few others, down
for future reference."

"What will you do with the remaining leaves?"

"They will be left pinned.  I do not wish to re-read the past.  I need
all my strength and thought for the ever-present now."

"Do you mean to say, that you do not intend giving any backward
glances?"

"All that is not pleasant I have shut away in those leaves."

"Then I may infer that the leaf you have turned down for reference, has
something agreeable written there?"

Kate made no reply.

"To be but a leaf in your book, brings a sense of delight to me.  Pray
let me know if I am fast in the binding, or whether I am liable to
become lost, strayed, or stolen.  Sometimes I feel as if I were all
three," said the doctor, with an earnestness in his voice, that made the
blood fly to Kate's cheeks.  Yet evading his real meaning, she said,
with mock pity:

"Poor fellow!  That is homesickness.  Homesickness is a very unpleasant
feeling."

"Especially if you have no home, but are merely existing?"

"Don't you call Kimberley home?"

"Did you ever meet anyone there who did?" asked the doctor.

"Now that I think of it I never did.  Why is it?"

"Because to live simply to make money, is only existence.  I do not
think I shall remain there much longer.  I expect to sail for England
shortly."

"To remain there?"

"That depends!" and the doctor watched her face with its varying
expression.  Kate covered her face with her hand, for a few moments.
When she looked up again the doctor asked:

"Of what were you thinking?"

"Of something in the past.  Of course it was a pleasant thought."

"I wish that I were woven in that past life of yours."

"I don't think we would have been as good friends as we are now."

"Why do you think that?"

"Well," said Kate, slowly, "I glided over the surface of life then, and
did not appreciate half there was to be found in it.  I realise now,
that it is a great, a grand thing to live."

"And you make others think the same thought when they come near you."

"Ah! if I could have that power, what a rich woman I would be.  What
knowledge I would have, and what good I could do."

"Don't say `if,'" Kate felt the doctor's eyes looking down upon her, as
he spoke, and knew that he was deeply moved as he continued:

"I think I am a nobler man since I first met you.  Your thoughts have
been a refreshing draught to my thirsty soul.  The divine womanhood in
you has at last awakened my true self."

"Then my coming has done some good; I am content."

The doctor stood with his hand behind him.  Attitude and form expressing
the nobility of manhood, as he looked at this queen of his heart.
Drawing a long breath he said: "I am not in a mood to talk platitudes,
for my life has now become an earnest endeavour.  I would rather you
would wound me, than to endure another day of suspense such as I have
passed through since you left me.  Words are but clumsy vehicles to bear
the expression of my feelings for you.  You seem to be a part of
myself--my spirit-mate.  Kate, my beloved, come to me; let me call you--
wife!"

As he said this he made a step forward, and grasped the hammock,
trembling from head to foot.  Kate remained silent, while the doctor
stood with his hand still on the hammock patiently waiting her reply.

Kate was pale to her lips, as she replied: "My friend, I will be as
truthful to you, as one soul can be to another; and I think you will
understand me.  I am happier now than I have ever been, in my life.  I
am at peace with myself.  To say that I am perfectly happy, would be to
say what no one yet has said truly; but it is a question, a very serious
one with me, whether marriage would bring me greater happiness than I
now know."

"Would not this love I bear for you make you happier?  God did not place
you in my pathway without a purpose."

"That is true.  But let us be sure that this love is not a fancy!"

"A fancy!  Have you no feeling for me deeper than you give to a mere
friend?"

"Yes."

"Thank God!" and the doctor raised his eyes, then let them fall upon her
face with an adoring look.

"But I cannot make you understand, that I would spare you suffering
later on.  Let me tell you.  Love, to me, means perfect trust.  I could
never stoop to find out if you ever deceived me.  If I did, love would
die out of me that instant, and then how dreary my life would be.  I
don't want to be wretched through any mistaken fancy.  When I surrender,
it must bring me what I long for--Contentment."

"Come to me, Kate, and trust me!  I am not here without being certain
that our lives can be made of use and joy to each other, for I love you.
I love you.  I have been smothering my feelings so long, that it is now
a relief to tell you of it," and the doctor took one of her hands in
his, and held it firmly.

"Tell me, Kate, is marriage distasteful to you?"

"Not my ideal of the true married state.  When I look at my married
friends, and see among them so many lovely women wretched, and unable to
solve the problem of happiness, I pray that my life may escape like
miserable failure."

CHAPTER TWENTY THREE.

WHAT SHALL THEY DO WITH IT?

"Explain to me your ideal of married life?"

"It is one of joy and happiness and of usefulness to our neighbours as
well as ourselves.  I have come to the conclusion that the restlessness
in married people, which leads to divorces, springs entirely from
selfishness.  As for me, I want henceforth to make my life one of use to
every one that comes near me.  Every one is given at least one talent
for use; not to hide and hoard away.  Except for its new duties and
relations, married life has no higher ideals than single life.  The same
earnest unselfish principles should actuate us in whatever sphere we are
called.  We must shut our eyes to everything but the good in those who
seek us, and so call out the best there is in them.  That is the great
secret of happiness.  Encourage a soul to grow, and it will soar far
beyond its highest fancies."

"Kate! you voice the feelings of my best nature.  The life of a
conscientious physician is only one of use to his neighbour.  How might
we, equally devoted to humanity and usefulness, work together.  If you
could but trust yourself to me, we could surely do much good in our
lives, one in heart and purpose.  Do not fear to trust yourself in my
keeping.  I know the responsibility of holding a woman's happiness in
keeping, and I would hardly let my first betrayal of any trust be a
treachery to the wife of my choice."

Kate looked long and earnestly at the brilliant stars, that hung from
the blue curtain of night.  She seemed to drink of an inspiring force,
and her eyes matched the brilliancy of the heavenly orbs, as she looked
into his, that were so strong and true.  In a clear voice she said:

"I am yours in trust."

The next instant she was gathered in his arms, and held there, while his
lips pressed her brow.  It would have seemed like mockery to have spoken
at such a moment.  Words are needless when Love sits enthroned.  Then it
is that heart speaks to heart.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Miss Darcy?"

"Yes, Margaret."

"May I speak with you a moment?"

"Well, what is it?" and Kate approached Margaret, who stood a little
distance from the lovers.

"A strange creature is here who wishes to see you."

"See me?  Is it a man or woman?"

"He looks like a Bushman."

"What can a Bushman want of me?" said Kate, walking toward the house.
In the still night air, the doctor had heard every word, and now
followed her.  He found Bela talking rapidly to her in clicks and vowel
sounds, with his hand held over his eyes.

When Kate saw the doctor she laughingly said:

"He sounds like a cricket!  Can you understand the jargon?"

At sight of the doctor, Bela acted like one insane with delight.  He
clapped his hands and kept time with his feet, while his body swayed in
strange undulating motions.

"Let us go into the house, Miss Darcy," and making a motion to the
Bushman to follow, they entered the salon.  The doctor sat down, and
Bela stood and told his story.  As he proceeded the doctor's face was a
study to Kate, who knew from its expression that something very strange
had occurred.

In a few moments putting his fingers to Bela's eyes, he lifted the lid
and slipped the glass eye from under it.  As he did so, the concealed
diamond fell into his hand.

"Great Scott!" exclaimed the doctor.

Bela chuckled, and began to clap his hands and express delight in his
usual way.  Kate gave one look, and sank into a chair.  They sat for a
moment looking at each other, in stupefaction.  Then Kate asked:

"What does it all mean?"

"It means that Donald Laure has been arrested on suspicion of being an
I.D.B. and this creature has been a faithful servant to Mrs Laure.  You
may go outside and wait for me, Bela."  When the Bushman had gone, the
doctor continued: "Knowing you were a friend to his mistress, he has run
from the Fields to you, without stopping, carrying the diamond in his
eye!  These natives are wonderfully astute, and Bela knowing that as you
were living in the Orange Free State out of the pale of the law of
Griqua Land West, the land of diamonds, if he could deliver this diamond
into your keeping, he would be safe, and every one else connected with
it."

"What would I have done with the diamond?  Mercy! how glad I am that you
are here."

"Already, Kate, I am of use to you?  I am very glad indeed, for your
sake, that I am here."

"What will you do with it?"

"Well, I shall consider the matter.  It is late, and I must now go to my
hotel.  I will think it over and tell you my decision in the morning.
This has been a memorable day in my existence, but it must end, more's
the pity.

  "Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow,
  That I shall say good night, 'till it be morrow,"

quoted the doctor, as he left her alone.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next morning they were eager to see each other, for this was the
dawn of their new life, and their faces reflected the radiance of the
glory of the light on their horizon.  Yet their talk was not of
themselves but of Bela and the diamond.

"I have been busy this morning attending to this matter.  Bela has
disappeared!  I find he was last seen at sunrise, on the road leading up
into the interior of the country.  He must have been nearly frightened
to death over the scene with the detectives and his mistress, and
afterwards by a little encounter with the guards at the gate.  He
probably fears even me at present, thinking that I may hand him over to
the authorities, and so injure Laure.  These natives have some of the
wisdom supposed to be bestowed only upon their masters."

"What will you do with the gem?"

"I have telegraphed to Kimberley to find if Donald Laure is there.  The
disappearance of Bela with the diamond may cause Donald to change his
plans."

As they sat talking a telegram was brought in by Margaret.  Its contents
follow:

"Donald Laure and wife have left Kimberley for England."

The doctor sat thinking with a puzzled expression on his countenance.

"Surprises multiply, Kate.  What shall we now do with the diamond?  I do
not know to whom it belongs, and do not wish to do anybody an injury by
sending it to the authorities.  They would at once telegraph to England
and have Donald Laure seized on his arrival in that country."

"What do men do with their diamonds, when they want to get them out of
their way?"

"Oh, they bury them, or send them to England by mail."

"Why don't you do that?"

"Do what?"

"Send it by mail to your banker in England, addressed to Donald Laure,
care of yourself, so it will be in safe hands, then you can give him an
order for it when you find out his address."

"Well, Kate!  That is good Yankee invention.  You will be as good as a
lawyer in adjusting all weighty matters that may arise in our lives.  It
is just the thing to do.  Who says a woman's quick invention isn't worth
more than the step-ladder man uses when he tries to climb to the heights
of success through his reason?"

"Then you will do that?"

"It is the only thing to do.  I will send it off before I leave to-day.
We have only a few hours to ourselves before I start on my journey down
the country to the sea, where I will take the steamer which will carry
me to England in twenty days.  I am a happier man, Kate, than I expected
to be on that journey.  When I came to Bloemfontein it did not seem as
if I were worthy to approach and ask you to give yourself into my
keeping."

"Love makes one feel unworthy of the object upon which it sets its
affections.  But our recompense for this personal sense of unfitness is
the glory we gain in the eyes of our beloved.  Perhaps an average struck
between the humility of love on one side and the exaggeration of love on
the other, will give a fair estimate of the reality."

The doctor smiled at Kate's grave conclusion, and taking both her hands
in his, laid them over his heart which beat so truly, and on which she
knew she could rest and gather to herself strength.  In another hour he
was on his way to the coast.

CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR.

"HOW WILL IT END?"

What a civiliser is the railroad, preceded by the missionary, and
followed by the speculator!

How changed is the country, since the time when the journey from
Kimberley to the coast was made by ox-wagon, by stagecoach, or Cape
cart, with its Malay driver and Hottentot guard, with a possible
passenger hurrying to the sea to catch the English steamer.

Here the Kafir, with his coating of blue clay, once wound his way over
the path worn by his ancestors, through the Karoo, across the sluit, the
swamp, over the Kopje, telegraphing his approach by that soft,
melodious, far-reaching cry peculiar to himself, on his pilgrimage to
the great ocean, his goal.  Not until certain sacred rites were carried
into effect and he was cleansed in the great waters, was he considered a
man by his tribe, and his approach to a kraal was but the signal for the
younger women to hide themselves.

Strange creatures, and stranger customs, that are as strictly adhered
to, as were the Mosaic laws of old, which in some respects they
resemble.  The scientist in the country finds the native life a weird,
never-ending mystery, and the iron horse seems a trespasser.

In these days the traveller lounges in a luxurious Pullman coach, which
in thirty hours hurries to the coast at Port Elizabeth, across sandy
plains, and treeless mountains, passing slowly and gracefully over the
"Good Hope" bridge, over a thousand feet in length, built upon nine
arches that span the Orange River, a treacherous stream fifty-five feet
below the rail, rushing onward to that omnivorous mouth, the Sea.
During a few months of the year the upland rivers come rolling down like
cataracts, over huge boulders, and dragging great gnarled trees with
them, as if they were no more than a feather's weight; thus leaving the
riverbeds dry during the remaining months of the year, or with a mere
brooklet trickling along between wide yawning walls of clay.

On reaching Port Elizabeth, that enterprising city of Cape Colony, Dr
Fox proceeded immediately to the long jetty, built well out into the
sea, and there boarded a tug that lay alongside, and was soon steaming
out to the "Arab," riding at anchor in Algoa Bay.

Many passengers were aboard, a number having come from Natal, and their
faces expressed satisfaction at the prospect of a visit home to England.

Soon the heart of the great "Arab" began to beat, and the pulsations
could be heard and felt by the passengers sitting on its deck watching
the sunlight reflected on the wooded shores of the African coast, that
seemed to glide by, while the "Arab" stood still.

A few days at sea seems a very long time, and social reserve drops off
with the taking of the log.  The seats arranged at table, the constant
personal association in the confines of the ship, together with the
hundred of incidents that arise during a long voyage, soon reveal the
characters of fellow passengers.  If there is congeniality the voyage
comes to an end almost too soon.

There is no life that can tell of its romances and its heart-burnings
like the life at sea.

A man's soul must be living indeed in a cold atmosphere, that can be so
gently rocked in such a richly carved and gilded cradle as one of those
Southern steamers, and not find sentiment growing in his soul.
Especially if he is fortunate to meet there what may appear to be an
affinity.

On reaching Cape Town the following day, and entering the stone dock,
the doctor disembarked to pay a flying visit to the Eden-like suburbs,
where the houses, covered with passion-flowers, growing in wild
profusion and surrounded by orchids, peep out, overlooking the beautiful
waters of Table Bay.  With the mauve-tinted, golden-rimmed mountains
lying in the distance, it is a veritable paradise in which to hide one's
self away from the world.

Taking a hansom and returning to the steamer, the doctor stood on deck
watching the sailors depositing the luggage in the hold, and thinking
what that voyage might mean in the lives of many of the passengers.

As this thought sprang up, he looked toward the dock, and saw three
persons in tourist garb, hastily approaching the gangplank, then in
course of being hauled on deck.

Their faces were familiar.  They were Donald and Dainty Laure, with Herr
Schwatka, and they came hastily on board, and disappeared in the deck
cabins allotted to them.

This was the beginning of a new act, not anticipated by the doctor, in
the drama of which, so far, he had been a spectator.

"What will be the end of it?" was his mental query.

Here in the Southern hemisphere, with the clearly defined outline of
majestic scenery, the great "Arab" again began slowly to swing away from
her moorings out into the boundless ocean, soon to glide over its bosom,
as swiftly as a swan in its native lake.

Hardly a ripple disturbed the waters, and the air kissed the cheek like
the touch of an angel's wing.

Here, where "The heavens are telling the glory of God," and the Southern
Cross and the eye of night throw out a light unequalled in our Northern
hemisphere, to simply live is a delight.

That great deck seemed unnecessary for those quiet waters, but there are
times when the sea changes its moods with a suddenness like that of
Southern storms in the upland regions of Africa, where the whirlwinds of
dust come with unexpected fury.  Those tropical winds, on both land and
sea, are treacherous and capricious.

To attempt to describe a sea-voyage from Africa to England, through the
summer voyage of the world, is like attempting to describe a dream that
had been one long, sweet draught of perfect happiness, where the spirit
seemed to go wherever it willed, and was in company with people with
whom it felt in harmony.

There are usually musicians, or accomplished people aboard, who have no
thought of hiding their light under a bushel, but who cheerfully
contribute to the entertainment of their fellow passengers.

To Dainty Laure what would not this experience have been, had her heart
been at rest.  But she looked at the new world with strange experiences
distracting her soul, and the unwonted surroundings made her condition
but more pitiful.

Unable to control the harassing conditions of her life, she was like a
sick, suffering creature denied the quiet and rest needed for recovery.
In her full strength, and with her former capacity for enjoyment, she
would have taken a child's delight in change.

But now, removed from her accustomed places, kept by circumstances from
putting her trust for the future where her heart prompted, and unable to
feel toward Donald the reliance of love, she was never at rest.

Often she would sit long by the side of the doctor, not saying a word.
He was the one man she knew well whose presence satisfied her.  The
doctor never questioned her, for the agony of her spirit was written on
her face, which grew sadder day by day.  She knew not how to wear a
mask.

CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE.

THE END OF THE VOYAGE.

But Dainty was not the only uneasy passenger among our acquaintances;
Donald was no less discomfited.  The knowledge of his past embittered
even his love for Dainty--a love to which he was true.  And yet, when in
any way we wrong the loved, are we true?  No--rather false.  For real
love will deny itself for the sake of the beloved.

He had no suspicion of the tender feelings that existed between his
friend and the woman he called wife.  The hidden entanglements of his
own life blinded him to all other convictions.  What solitary lives were
these two living!  Watched and harassed, they were not as happy as the
hard-worked, gasping stoker, who came up from below, like a Vulcan from
his fiery forge, to get a breath of the stifling equatorial air.

One hot, lazy afternoon, just after tiffin, Donald and Herr Schwatka
were walking on deck, when the latter asked:

"What has become of Kildare?"

"Oh, he has set his scheme afloat, and is sailing along.  The great gold
mining company is now in popular favour.  By the by, he compliments the
doctor on being the best Poker player, but one, on the Fields."

"And what may be the name of his superior?"

"Why, Major Kildare, of course.  He thinks Doctor Fox the best fellow in
the country.  I suppose you know that the Major accepted his invitation
to call and take his revenge, and won back all his money, and
immediately went out on the market and bought the finest tiger skin he
could find, and hung it in his office.  So that is why there is one man
in Africa better than the doctor in playing the little game of Poker."

"That is a matter of opinion," said Schwatka, sarcastically; as he
strolled away, Donald joined the doctor, who was sitting on deck by
Dainty's side, and offered him a cigar.  The day was lovely.  Not a
ripple disturbed the surface of the ocean.

"Laure," said the doctor, "do you know what became of that diamond which
the detectives couldn't find, and which was hidden in the Bushman's
eye?"

Donald's cigar fell from his mouth, and he seemed to shrivel up in his
chair.  "If you don't," continued the doctor, as coolly as if he had
asked the time of day, "I do."

"You!" gasped Donald.

"Yes.  I believe it is in a mail bag on board this very steamer."

"Impossible!" ejaculated Donald.

"Not at all.  In fact, quite probable," said the doctor, showing him the
postal order, and then related his interview with Bela.

Donald was stunned, and when the doctor handed him the order for
recovery of the package on his arrival in London, the circumstance did
not tend to restore calm.

Donald hesitated at first, but his fingers finally closed over the bit
of paper that made him again owner of the diamond.  After looking it
over, he turned to Dainty and said:

"I think the diamond belongs to you.  If it were not now on its way to
England through your influence, I would not be sitting here.  I will
endorse this order, so that you will own the diamond."

He did so, and eventually the gem came into the possession of Dainty.

Late in the afternoon of the nineteenth day out, the steamer anchored in
the bay of Plymouth.  A tender, with relatives and friends of the
passengers aboard, came out to meet and take them ashore.

In the gathering gloom the faces of those on board the "Arab" were not
discernible, but the outline of the forms of three people could be seen,
standing silently apart from the crowd at the gangway.  Names were
called out, and greeted with hearty, joyous words of recognition.  Many
stood waiting to disembark as soon as the signal was given.  Suddenly a
voice called out:

"If Mr Donald Laure is on board, he will please land here, as his wife,
from Scotland, is waiting to receive him!"

Not a sound was heard from those on deck.  All stood as silent as ghosts
in the gathering mist.

On hearing those words, Herr Schwatka looked at Dainty, who stood rooted
to the spot, and putting his arm around her supported her firmly and
tenderly, as he uttered three words:

"Mine at last!"

Donald turned to Dainty with a face like death, but only to see her led
away from him upheld by the arm of Herr Schwatka.  With a slow step,
like that of a man walking to his doom, he disappeared down the
gangplank to meet the "wife from Scotland!"

We know not for what race we are preparing.  Fate holds the leading
horses in her hands.  But sooner or later we must drive.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

In a certain copy of the "Bloemfontein Gazette" is the following notice.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

MARRIED.

Fox-Darcy.--At the residence of the bride's brother, Kimberley, South
Africa, May 22, 18--Miss Kate Darcy and C.A. Fox, M.D.  New York City
papers please copy.





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