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or twelve fresh-coloured young farmers awaiting us, | Great Fish River. And our steeds were no less who all very cordially extended to me the right glad to be freed from their saddles, and though hand of fellowship-for never did I see so much kept in remembrance of their slavery by the halbandshaking among a mounted company. Each ters which bowed down their heads to the vicinity one then addressed himself energetically to the of their fore legs, they yet rolled joyfully on the work in hand, as if he grudged to waste a single grass, and then wandered contentedly off along the moment of the pleasure before him.
shade of the trees, to profit by the food that naAnd even had there been nothing more, the ture had plentifully provided for them. joyous sensations of the fresh morning breeze Hungry as a hunter" is an adage, and no wonrushing round your brow, as you rode rapidly on over der, if their appetites at all resemble those of the the springy turf and flowery heaths, would have party assembled round the outspread cloth, to see been delightful. But now there was joined to it what the beautiful Zerlina had provided for them. the sportsman's feeling of excitement, as he fol. For Hottentot-fig's Hollow being the nearest lowed in the rear of the eager dogs, and saw, far homestead, the banquet had come from thence. over the plain, his game, the beautiful and graceful But, fortunately, Zerlina was as hospitable as she antelope—the favourite game in South Africa - was fair—for we were hungry enough to have frisking and gamboling in his gladness, and relished anything. I really think a paen would erery now and then springing into the air with have been received with favour. one of those wondrous bounds which have gained Then commenced the second act of the drama, for him the appellation of springbok.
which by many, I could perceive, was had in preAnd it is the animal's very fleetness that gives ference to the first—that lazy, happy hour, wherein the chase its greatest charm. There you go rush sportsmen relate their past adventures, and allow ing, dashing, crashing on, leaping over ant-hills, a light to fall on the misadventures of their compassing by small boks unregarded, and looking panions. Every moment I expected my feat of coolly on the ostriches that, putting on their the morning to flash out, a source of inextinguishseven-league boots, speed from your sight, with fear able mirth; but my friends were more generous visibly shaking their whity-brown feathers. Posthan I thought, and I was allowed to laugh at the sessed with the same one idea, the dogs rush on, unhorsing of my companions, without their distearing, panting, and struggling over the uneven covering the grass on my own back. But the ground, unheeding the hares that start terrified great tie of quizzing set towards Louis Lee, the across their path, or the wild hen that feeds among owner of the bay Arabian-a present from a rich the grass. And before all goes the springbok, uncle in India, as everybody said, whom two days bounding lightly over the flat, as if he fancied the more were to see strutting about a neighbouring race was one of his own choosing, while every now farm, filling the important role of bridegroom. and then he leaps some fifteen or twenty feet into But Louis Lee took all their quizzing in good part : the air, and comes down again as lightly as if you their most ironical congratulations he would had not expected his four slender legs to be broken recive as sincere, their pretended envy of his by the concussion, and bounds on as before. happiness as true, and when they laughed at
But for all that it was trying work for all par- him, his laugh was the happiest and merriest of ties. The antelope felt weary, though he still all. His heart was so light that it danced in his sped swiftly on ;-the dogs felt weary, though bosom. they pressed eagerly on his rear; and the poor But if we were to win any laurels on our way Cape horses felt weary, though they struggled back, it was time we went to horse ; and sending horsefully on. But there was one among
the on three or four of our dark servitors to turn back party who soon distanced, not only us, but all save the steeds, each man stcod forward with his saddle two of the fleetest dogs. He was mounted on a at his feet, ready for service. In a few minutes splendid bay Arabian, and it was beautiful to they came hobbling up like a sorry troop, as, no watch the courser of the desert sweep lightly on, doubt, they were; but with true human disregard as if to him such speed was pastime.
other's feelings, each one seized upon his
to be discovered ; and at the end of an hour, it Two such victories had crowned our arms before became quite evident to me that the spirited the scorching noontide compelled us to take shel desert-steed had resolved to yield himself no longer ter, which we then did among the natural bowers to a life of slavery, but to break his bonds, and of a group of old acacias that formed part of the live in freedom among the glorious wilds, and that border of a jungle, stretching back as far as the three of his companions had followed in his hoof
prints. Lee said he expected to find his steed at and uttering a cry of agony the old man sank on home again, a proof how little he comprehended the ground. the Arab character ; but, poor fellow, he viewed I sprang forward to grasp my rifle. A knotall things just then through a rosy medium. kerrie whirled through the air-I felt a blow on the
However true might be his idea, as well as side of my head, -a horrible sensation of overthose of his companions, that their horses would whelming sickness -and nothing more. be found on the flat the following day, it was There was a hissing, and a crackling, and a needful to take the owners off in the meantime; crashing, and a bright light flashing through my and sadly did the strongest backed steeds among closed eyelids, and I opened them hastily. Above, us have cause to groan at the double burthen and all around me, flickered long, arrowy flames, imposed upon them. But then, as is usual in this like the outstretched tongues of fiery serpents, world, another part of the community had cause licking all things into fire. With a consused to rejoice; springboks leaped, and played, and sensation of danger, I started up. Beside me gambolled undisturbed along the flat, as we re- lay Franklin, silent and motionless, his long white turned.
hair dabbled in blood, and his features pale and My stay at Hottentot-fig's Hollow was now corpse-like. In an instant I remembered all — drawing to a close; yet I agreed to prolong it for Tyamie's coming, Frauklin's wound, and the blow a day or two until after the return of Timpson, which had stunned without wounding me, and who, with Charles Franklin, was going to escort from which even then my head seemed whirling the beautiful Zerlina to a neighbouring farm, some round like a boat in the Maelstrom. twenty miles distant, where she was to play the But my head was clear enough to comprehend that part of bridesmaid at Louis Lee's wedding, and to remain here was death ; so, shouldering the body where her companions were invited guests—as, of my companion, I staggered with it out into the indeed, I was myself; but I hate weddings, they open air. But I was still too bewildered to underare apt to be infectious. So I staid behind at stand what more could be done; and during the Hottentot-fig's Hollow.
short time that remained until daylight, I sat The moonless night soon closed in, and Farmer silent before the blazing house, between the motion, Franklin and I sat alone with the candles. He less form of its master, and the stiff stark bodies was rarely a man of many words, but now, either of two farm servants, who had been assegaied our solitude, or else the errand on which his when they rushed to our assistance. daughter was bound, opened his lips, and he told At length the red light of the flames ceased to me the history of his love and marriage. It was flicker on the surrounding hills, and to glance on strange to see him sitting there, rough, rugged, the glossy leaves of the Hottentot figs that gave and homely, while he told me the long by-gone tale the Hollow its name; and the grey dawn broke on of his hopes and fears, his quarrels and reconcilia- the farmer's homestead a heap of ashes. Then tions, and above all of the love and the devotion of the servants crept out timidly from the bush, where the fair gentle being who had been a true helpmeet they had fled on the arrival of the Black Knight to him, who had been the one star in his sky and his companions. And then Franklin's wound, when adversity was round him, the bright angel of which was in the shoulder-and though it had bled his home when the world smiled upon him, and of much, was not dangerous—was dressed, and my whom there remained nothing now save memory, jumbled senses began to re-arrange themselves. and a grass-grown grave beneath the Babylonian There was no doubting the motive of the Black Willows.
Knight's visit. Like the villain knights of old, he I listened him with interest, never once had come to bear away by force the bride whose connecting him in thought with the tale he told, hand he could not otherwise obtain; and well until he spoke of the shadow her death had cast it was for the beautiful Zerliua that she had gone upon his life
and then the rough man's voice to place the orange-flower wreath on another fair faltered, and his dull eye filled with tears; and head, or she would then have been on her way to then I recognised him as the lover and the Kaffirland. husband.
Higli, evidently, had swelled the tide of the Then we sauk into silence --my host, probably, Black Knight's grief and anger on discovering wrapped in the past, I pondering on the unknown that his fair prize had escaped him, so high that, future. At length, a rustling sound on the stoep as some mitigation of bis anguish, he and his folroused us from our reveries, and then there was a lowers bad swept off every horse, sheep, and ox the loud knocking at the door. Franklin hastened to farmer had—it might have been merely as gages open it. Without, wrapped in his leopard-skin d'amour. And by way of lighting his departure, mantle, stood the stalwart form of his recent guest. he had fired the rooftree that had given him the Black Knight, grasping in his right hand a shelter. quivering assegai. Behind him was a cloud blacker It was about the middle of the second day after, than night, whence shot forth the lightning of that a party of horsemen, among whom were not flashing eyes.
only the wedding guests, but the new made bride“ Tyamie!" exclaimed Franklin in surprise. groom himself, as well as your humble servant, A thrust with his uplifted weapon was the reply, might have been seen cantering rapidly across the
Kaffirland plateaus, towards the castle of the , had mistaken some other for his. Did I know robber knight, who had so uncourteously revenged Kechamie, that lying chief, who was so jealous of his rejection. At length we came in sight of his Tyamie's good reputation ? stronghold, which was not particularly imposing in No; I could not boast his acquaintance. appearance, resembling a collection of gigantic ant- Then Kechamie it must be; their faces were alike hills, more than any other object in creation. as their hearts were different. Tyamie's heart Among them sauntered the Kaffir ladies---some of was full of love to the white race in general, and whom, attired in robes of somewhat cleaner sheep. Farmer Franklin's family--he said nothing about skin, were evidently the wives of Tyamie, and in the beautiful Zerlina-in particular. In vain I tended by him to be the sister wives of the beauti. persisted and swore to the truth of my accusations ; ful Zerlina. But their lorty position did not the Black Knight out-talked me and out-swore me, appear to have elated them with pride—that love and in the end I was worsted and retired from the of greatness—for these aristocratic dames were to lists, leaving the Black Knight triumphant on the be seen passing slowly along, with erect forms field of his innocence. and stately carriage, bearing on their heads rusb But he was not to bow us off so easily. Frankbaskets filled with water or milk, or hoeing the lin's beeves and horses had been tracked to maize that they in after days should bruise and Tyamie's stronghold, and he must produce, replace, bake. Verily, these ladies did not eat the bread or track them onward to some other chieftain's of idleness.
gloomy keep Halting before the castle gate, the officer in Like a prudent politician he chose the middle command of the military party accompanying us course-he found it pleasanter and easier for demanded speech of the Black Knight himself, a himself. But, alas, for his vassals! What a grace readily accorded. But with an assurance hurrying and skurrying there was among the inequal to that of the vilest of the knights whose habitants of the giant ant bills ! what a driving history bas come down to us, he not only denied over the country of cattle that ran as if they all knowledge of the cattle we had tracked to his guessed that something blacker than usual would kraal, but even asserted that he had not been at catch the hindmost! Hottentot-fig's Hollow
all on the occasion men- Somewhat undignified were the Black Knight's tioned—no, on that night there had been a great complaints of the injustice—in his peculiar case-feast at Tyamie's kraal, and the chief-sated with of the law to which he yielded, swearing by all the mediæval dainty of half-cooked beef—was the oaths in Kaffirland, that neither hoof, nor horn, honouring with bis presence a Kaffir ball, and all nor hide of Farmer Franklin's was in his posseshis people were at home enjoying themselves as sion. harmlessly as so many black lambs.
Assuredly these were not Farmer Franklin's All the mischief must evidently be the work of carefully bred live stock that slowly assembled on others who sought to ruin him in the estimation of the flat. Neither, for that matter, were they his dear friends the English--for he would submit Tyamie's. I thought myself they were the chargers to be eaten up by his countrymen sooner than take and commissariat of Falstaff's ragged regiment; one hoof from the colony. I felt
a queer sensa- but, no, they were the wretched possessions of tion at this off-band allusion to Kaffir banquetting, some of Tyamie's followers, whom he “eat up” on but some one explained away my qualms oddly this occasion, in the true fashion of Kafir chiefenough, by the intimation that the bandit chief tainship, to spare his own ample flocks and herds; before us had just been “ eating up” poor Franklin, and we turned away, driving before us the most according to the savage term for his recent losses. disreputable collection of lean kine, wasted sheep, So I recovered to listen to Tyamie's eloquent and bony horses, that ever disgraced green hills defence.
and grassy slopes; leaving behind us, I fear, heavy By his own account of himself—and of course hearts among the Kaffir damsels, whose rations of he knew best—there never was a more innocent thick milk we had stopped. man; and far from being the villain knight I had We had gone a very little way from the Kaffir mistaken him for, he was ready to fall a victim to castle, and the bridegroom was still vociferously false accusations, and the wicked schemes of marshalling our unruly charge, when a loud whinnie designing men. How pathetically, too, he deplored sounded over the plain. the misfortunes of Franklin-the white haired old “My Arab!” cried Lee, turning in his saddle. man who had been so kind to him! Tyamie We all turned, also, to see the gallant desert grieved like a son to hear of his sufferings ! steed struggling to free himself from his Kaffir
“Why, Tyamie !" I exclaimed, for a moment captors. His master's voice had been heard and forgetting his innocence, "you were yourself the recognised, and the sagacious creature had broken man to strike bim. I saw you do it!"
loose from the kraal where they had imprisoned Had I possessed a particle of proper feeling, I him, and was now fighting against the ring of should have been conscience-stricken by Tyamie's Kaffirs that strove to hem him in. But with a indignant resutation of the charge. But with chi- tremendous leap he sprang over their extended valrous magnanimity he excused me—all Kaffir arms, and came flying over the plain to join us. faces were so alike in the eyes of white men, I The conqueror was received with a triumphant
nuzzah, that might have been heard for miles over Meanwhile, poor Lee was breathing painfully out the echoing flat. And then we again addressed the last few sobbing breaths of the life which bad ourselves to our return, taking back with us the bitherto been so joyous, and upon which a long valuable prize that, with the view of improving future of bliss seemed opening. But now he would each shining hour, the Black Knight had snatched never more look on the face he loved, or clasp the from the edge of the jungle, while he was lying in hand he had so lately won. wait for a propitious moment to bear off the “ Poor Ellen!” he said, sadly, “remind her of beautiful Zerlina from Hottentot-fig's Hollow. that world beyond the grave, where those who love
Acting in the capacity of herds, our progress are never parted.”. was, of course, slow ; and it was nearly evening And with a single sigh the awful parting of when we reached the jungle-filled valley of the body and soul was over, and we stood beside the Fish River. But a broad enough path had been unconscious form that had lately been the most cut in it to permit the passage of our horned com. animated and joyous of us all. We raised him panions, and very cautiously and leisurely they reverently, and placed him on the Arab steed whose began to descend it, while we followed patiently return bad cost his master so dearly, and took our in the rear.
way slowly and sadly back-not to Hottentots-fig's The party were just entering within the belt of Hollow, but to Timpson's place, where the bush, when a cry of agony rang shrilly out behind Franklins now were. us, followed by a heavy fall. We all rushed back Sadly and silently we bore him in, and in alarmed surprise, to see the joyous young laid him on the rude settle in the hall, at the same bridegroom lying bleeding on the ground, with an moment that the young bride sprang joyously assegai quivering in his side.
forward. One glance was enough, and with a wild Sorrowfully we gathered round him, and they scream she fell senseless upon him ; and it was were tender, though unskilful, hands that sought hours ere they roused the widowed bride to the to draw out the barbed weapon, and dress his consciousness that her dream of happiness was wound, while others scoured the surrounding bush already past. It was a cruel kindness-far better for the perpetrator. There was no need to ask let the flower fade with the tree round which it had to whom was owing this fresh calamity—the name twined. of him who had already wrought us so much evil And now my tale so lightly begun is sadly was in every heart; but the advancing evening, and ended; but such is human life, and that this is not the almost impenetrable jungle favoured the its least true chapter, poor Ellen Lee's tears have miscreant, and not a trace of him was discovered. told.
“Sir, we had talk."-Dr. Johnson.
“The honourablest part of talk is to give the occasion ; and then to moderate again, and pass to somewhat else, "-Lord Baoon.
dear old soul understood no note of music, could INTERLOCUTORS. Skyblue (who is given to metaphysical not tell Rule Britannia from the Old Hundredth, and
ballooning). Granite (who believes in gravitation and was accustomed to get vervous when my violin. solid pudding).
string used to snap, saying, “My dear boy, why SCENE. The interior of a railway.carriage, Sydenham- will you screw it up so bigh? I am sure that'll
bound. Skyblue, solus at first, lying rolled up in a contemplative ball. Afterwards, enter
do." You, Sir, know as much of me as my mother
did of the fiddle. The “natur of the critter is Granite (all radiant): Wbat, Skyblue! I'm the law in both cases, and it is supreme. I think glad we've met.
because Skyblue : I don't reciprocate. Plainly, I'm / "G. : So do I, when I think you're a fool for sorry. I wanted to think what I should put in your pains ; but, at all events, you needn't think Tangled Talk” this month.
when you're out for pleasure. G.: Never call me a hard fellow any more, S. : There you are wrong again. I belicve you Skyblue, after that. I've a great mind to punch admire rapid travelling ? your head first, and get into another carriage after- G.: Surely. It saves time, which is money. wards. Why should you be always thinking ? You $. : Well, do you know I am sometimes disposed think a great deal too much. Look at me, Sir; I to regret the excessive speed of modern locomotion. should be ashamed of your hatchet face.
The time spent in travelling is so precious that I S.: You put me in mind of my mother. The could wish it longer,
G.: Precious! It seems to me all wasted. I maids you sce at windows, doing little tasks of want to go to a particular place. I leave my dusting, putting to rights, and so on, appear to home or my office to do it—it's as plain as a pike- fall into more gracefully statuesque attitudes than staff that the sooner I get there the better. the milliners' girls you see farther on your road,
S.: On the contrary, it is far from plain. The setting out the shop fronts ? travelling interval between place and place often G. : I cannot say I ever did. I should doubt proves anything but a blank period in the inner the fact. life.
S.: You need not doubt it. Violent effort is G.: Don't be a fool. I see a twinkle in your opposed to gracefulness, but the most striking eye, while you're talking.
aspects of beauty in the human form are caught 8.: Yes; I don't like special vocabularies. But when it is in free, unstrained action ; action that my meaning is earnest enough. Released from im- developes without distorting or suggesting fatigue. mediate occupation, shut up from it indeed, the Milliners' girls are too often pale, sickly, small. blood suffering just a gentle fillip from the motion chested, stunted things ; apologies for women, not of the carriage (whatever it may be), and perhaps women. So are half your drawing-room misses. some faint unmeasurable suggestions of infinity G. : You amaze me, Skyblue! You don't mean arising from the perpetual change of the eye's to tell me you like a masculine woman—you, whose point of view as we proceed, I fancy we may head is full of all sorts of gimcrackery and moon. often find our travelling hours “religious hours” shine from morning till night ? in no ignoble sense. Unimportuned by the trifles S.: Why, no; but I like a woman to have which ordinarily call on her to “spill herself, as something breezy about her looks. The Diana has Emerson puts it, the better soul seems instinctively always a charm for me. The Medicean Venus has to keep a sweet, solemn state at such times, and always something repulsive; not merely from her calmly entertain the angel-guests whom her “ pur. sensuousness, but from her quiescence. She should blind, opaque flunkeys,” the senses, drive from her have more life in her. outer-gates, when she is busy with what she calls G. : You're a sad Pagan, as I've often told you. her daily duty—she only gives the dusty thing that If I were not an out-and-out Protestant, I would fine name in her sublime despair at the incongrui- taunt you with the confessed beauty of the Madonna ties of her lot-Daty, and~"Jernigan, Jernigan! type. bring me my garters !”-immortality, and—“My S.: You need not do anything of the kind; I dear, I wish you'd brush my hat ; I'm in such a am quite sensible of it. But there you have the hurry.” Now, when the soul rides “a-cock- saintly element added to the repose ; and the horse," she knows she is like the prophet's coffin, repose, too, is that of the mother, when her travail neither on terra firma nor off it, that she is between is overpast and gone ; not a rest unbought, heaven and earth; and she takes advantage of the unhealthy, undevote. There is repose in sleep, situation to mock at the old serpent hissing down and if it be healthy—that is, if it have followed below, and coquette with the elder seraphim. naturally upon fatigue—it is beautiful, either in
G. (who has listened with exemplary patience, for reality or in representation ; but other things being which he is hereby rewarded with a public record of equal, the beauty of a sleeping face will depend the fact): Suppose you've got the toothache, or an upon the suggestions of life which underlie" the old woman with sandwiches, or apples, or shrimps, unconscious placidity of the moment. or rum shrub in a phial, sits just opposite—what G. : Well, let us keep to women. I am a then ?
practical man. I think a woman cannot be too S.: Toothache's bad. Old woman indifferent. quiet. The soul is not at the mercy of an old woman
S.: I think she can be a great deal too quiet. with shrimps, who is merely a fellow passenger. I am glad you mentioned the Madonna ; because You're ten times worse ; but for all your undeniable it reminds me to say that, whereas European physiognomy, I am at this moment in the third manhood has almost wholly recovered from the heaven.
false print left upon it by the Romanist ideal, with G. (laconically) : Keep there. I'm in a railway its monasticism and quietism, European womanhood carriage. (4 pause of silence ; after which G. who has been slower in resuming its natural mould and knows I's. æsthetic leanings and is bent on mischief, shape. There is too much of the Madonna, or again interrupts his meditations) : I say, Skyblue ! rather the nun, about your female ideal, which is look at the window of that house! Ah, you're too that of the multitude. The modern model woman
Such a pretty servant maid arranging is an indoor creature ; she measures her growth by a blind. Quite a houri for your third heaven, if her relations to Heaven, or her relations to men, you could only have enskied her.
alternately. There is no healthy self-assertion S. (with a twinkle in the eye which discloses at about her. Christianity, acting upon Teutonic once his appreciation of the move, and his forgive- sentiment, has done much to raise woman; but the ness of it): Sorry I missed a sight which has made present standard is romantic rather than natural, you poetical. Did you ever notice, Granite, in and is wanting in sustained dignity. I miss the going to town on the omnibus from " Laburnum grandeur which, in the ideal of classicism, clings to Villas," early in the morning, that the servaut the virgin, or the chaste matron.