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Chapter NumberXVI
Chapter TitleAN ANGEL.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197736418
Full Date1880-02-14
Page Number1
Corrections0
Word Count7755
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Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEvening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)
Trove TitleFreebench. A Tale of South African Life
article text

FREEBENCH ;

A TALE OF SOUTH AFRICAN LIFE.

CHAPTER XVI. AM ANGBL.

BY COPIA FAHBI, S.C.L. (Author of" Twelve True Tales of the Lair.")

Phyllis returned to the sick room just as a little flush of indignation faded from her cheeks, and went to work to set some food before the patient, but was feeling sadly inclined to fail u crying again, when once more Tambooti entered, and again pointing to the door, said:— " Sikaze, Missis; very much much-li!" Phyllis went to the door, and opened it to a yoang lady. " I have the pleasure of speaking to Mrs. Holroyd ?" said she. Phyllis bowed. " My name is Schneider," said she; " and I have ventured to visit you because I have heard of your husbaud's illness, and I am sometimes welcome in the house of sickness. They all know me here." True goodness—heaven be praised !—bears oa its face its own celestial commission, aud ueecis no pass-word or certificate; at least not to Deuple who are good themselves. "Iam a stranger here," said Phjllis, "ami that is why I have not known yon before: bat [ take it as kind of you to come." And the tvr psest-d together into tiie sitting-ro )uu. TLe foe r boy is not fit to talk to yet," siid Phyllie. uncoiiSeiou-ily imitatiog the dostcr; "but when he is better, yon shtll come aud see bim ; that is, if you do come, for I believe yon will rowe pgain."' " Yes, my dear young lady," said the vi-sitor I shall always come and see after you; bu; now do you understtnd about cooking proper food for him, aud how that he must hire is when he wants it r" Phyllis soon satisfied her guest tint, she was a clever cook, and then set tea aud some biscuits before her, aud made her test. " You have been visiting other people, aud are tired," said Phyllis. I see that you may be trusted with an invalid," said Miss Schneider. " Yes; mv brother is pastor here, and I am one of a Lodge of Good Templars, and we see that all the brotherhood have employment in health au<l care in sickness." " Theia, perhaps, in your brother's chapel." said Phyllis, " they will pray for my husbiod's recovery, although he is a stranger ?" " Yes, my dear, I am sure my brother will invite them to do so, and I shall heartily join them. And now that I have got to believe that you will be as good a nurse as you are a great, tall, good-looking girl, I sb^ll go away contented, and shall come again." And Phyllis blessed that woman as Bhe went out. She often came to see Phyllis again, and sometimes saw the patient as well. It was a long illness. Sometimes he was better and sometimes he was worse. And customers came and Phyllis had to deny them; aud the doctor came and Phyllis had to pay him; and then Harry got better, aud wanted more things to eat and wanted them oftener, and they cost a good deal of money, and Phyllis had to bay them. Phyllis, my darling," said Harry one day after a good sleep; how long have I been ill ?" " A month." " A month ? Is there any money left ?" " Yes, plenty; thirty or forty pounds, I should think." Oh, I must make haste and get well." Just then a little tap was heard at the other door, and Phyllis went out and stood face to face with Miss Schneider. " And how is the poor boy to-day ?" said she, smiling all over. Oh, he is nearly well. Come in and see him. And Phyllis went joyfully before her, and pointed with pride to Harry. The visitor greeted the patient, and talked to him gently and pleased him, and then she said:— " You have been ill a long time, and my brother's congregation have prayed for you every Sunday, and they will be so pleased that you are better." " Phyllis," said the invalid, " have they prayed for me anywhere else " Not that I know of. No one else has been here but Miss Schneider." Is to-day Saturday ?" No, Tuesday." "Ah! then, next Sasday I shall be quite well enough to go and return thanks." " You will do that?" said Miss Schneider. Then you will do like few others. Out of the ten lepers, you know, only one returned thanks." "I am not very religious," said Harry; " but I think the least a man can do is to treat his Maker with common civility, and to show some appreciation for the kindness of his own fellows." Well said!" said Miss Schneider: " stick to

that, and yoa may attain to a higher religion . than yoa think for.* .. ' ' " Yes, and Til paint a signboard for the chapel tad a notice-board about the hoars of service. Phyllis, jast get me that book of letters, and I will show Miss Schneider how I'll do it.". ",No. not now;*' said the, lady," bat I see you are very .good-hearted, and I will come again aud see the book, and yoa mast keep very qaiet for a day or two. And now 111 go away for today. But I shall come again, for I like yoa both very much." And she embraced Phyllis and left them. Bvery day Harry got better, and, when San day came, they got a little carriage and took him over to the chapel, asd, at the invitation of the minister, the people gave thanks on their knees for Harry's recovery; and Harry and Phyllis stood ap the while, aad the people were none the less pleased when they saw that he was a hands®me young man and she was a beautiful girl. The next day Harry wanted to potter about among his paints'anddo many wonderful things; bat Phyllis persuaded him not. bec&ase they had to go to take tea at the Manse. When the evening came they went to the Uanse, and the pastor and his sister were much pleased to see them, and so were the one or two friends whom they met. And after tea, as they all sat in tie verandah, the parsoc said bow thankfnl he was to see Harry recovered, though he had not known him before, and Hiss Schneider spoketothe same effect and the rest chimed in, and asked him what he was going'to do. I , l„ answer to what they Said, Harry made a j little quiet speech, riot at all in his usually, | He said he had little doabt that his was seat him for good and to make him trust more in God, and to show him that he might find friends where he thought he had none, and might have to become indebted to them, and also that his wife was a very good woman and was to be treated with tenderness and gratitude ; and, he ^dded, that he did not like to see men take their wives' services as a matter of right, and; for his pBrt, be felt he had been a burden anda nuisance to Phyllis for a month, and be meant to make up for it. " You bstedone with' the doctor now, have yoa riot, Mr. Holroyd?" asked Miss Schneider. Yes, I hope so," answered Harry. " Then perhaos yoa will allow me to give yoa some advice, quite gratuitously. I know this climate well. New-comers often catch the fever their first season, and when they do, they should have change of air at once. It would be folly for you to continue poring over your paints in an atmosphere proved to bis unwholesome. We shall be very sorry to lose yoa and yoar dear wife; bat yoa will either have to go np country to *he Free State or, what is better, to Natal." Phyllis said, "I think it is better for him to go at once." " I shall do as yoa tell me," said Hwry, « for I am bound to listen to people who are kind to produce the most startling effect for the grocer opposite. I have been arranging it all daring my illness. I was going to give the letters a striking appearance of solidity and depth by an apt arrangement of light and shade, end I flatter myself I lately novel. Then there is the illumination of the memorial to be presented to the "Committee of Public Safety," and that humbug Smiley, whom they' burned out, has actually subscribed to it. And then, as regards your brother's chapel, what you really require is" • " What we re&lly require " said Miss Schneider, " is that you should be a ?ood boy and do what is best for yourself and yoar wife. And while you a.n away I Jwill see after her, and, if you like, you can arrange .or me to send her down to a friend of mine in Natal, where she will live cheeper than here." And fO Harry and Phyllis went home to consider what was best to be done.

CHAPTER XVII.

THE SOOTH AFBICASF EXPLORATION COMPAKT The Diamond Fields, at the time of which I write, was the scene of a remarkable filibustering enlistment. A great namber of yoang men had be£n thrown out of employment by some of those freaks of trade ana fortune which often visit communities lifee that of Kimberley. It was not so much that the price of diamonds was low in the European market, or that African diamonds were thought less of than others, bat that all the stores of the town had become glutted after a period of unexampled prosperity, and the people were now suffering from the reaction consequent upon over-trading. And so the people of the South African Republic, whose seat was In the Transvaal, thought this was a good opportunity for raising troops to carry on a native war which the forces of their own illgoverned State were powerless to bring to a successful event. The territory of the Transvaal, which is a

good deal larger than France, holds a population of abont 40,000 persons, chiefly Boers whose fathers, after leaving Cape Colony in disgust at British rule, and after setting up "The Republic of Natal," were sent by the British across the Vaal with liberty to form their own government there. This they did, and that government was afterwards recognised, in 1852, as the South African Republic. The Boers gradually spread over their newlyacquired country, where each occupied a largo tract of land varying from 6,000 to 100,000 acres. A Dutchman seldom bears to have a neighbour close to him; nevertheless there arose little towns here and there, with perhaps a score of houses in each. Pretoria, the seat ot" government, was a little more prerentious, and so was Potchefstroom, where, through the activity of a fe wEnglish and other Europeans,a sort of mercantile capital began to form itself. Here, in the Transvaal, the Boers lived after the manner of their kind. It WBS a pastoral life chiefly ; for they cultivated little. The household of the owner had to do most of the work, sometimes assisted by a Hottentot or half-caste or by a purchased or born slave, but seldom by a Kafir; for the cruelty of the Dutchman is repulsive to a noble race intolerant of slavery. And thus it was that little more land was'cultivated thau would supply the wants of the household The Boer's mode of living is by some travellers described sssimple, by others as primitive; while these, whom accident or necessity have made intimate with it, find it bestial and disgusting. The Boer of the Transvaal believes hiuiself to be oce of the chrsen people, aud e ills the Transvaal the promised land, aud likens his esivipe from British rule to the p:vsKage of the Israelites over the li(d Sea, while he looks upon t!u-. native inhabitants as Amalikites, who are either to be extern.inat-ed or reduced to bondage. Beyond his Bible and his Hymn-book, he h*i no literature, and (bejond what is got by a six ninths' visit of an itinerant teacher), his children have no education. The country was governed by a President elected for a term by popular vote. He appointed the oflicers of State who formed hia Executive Council; and the taxes were votoii slid the laws passed ,by a Parliament called a Volksraad, many members of which could hardly write their own names. At the time of which I write the President had lately returned from Europe, which he had visited in order to raise a loan to make a railway eastward from Pretoria to Dalagoa Bay. He had got subscriptions and decorations from Holland and promises of aid from Portugal, and all leoked weli for his project except one thing. While he was away his people had entered into a quarrel with Sekakuni, the chief of the warlike tribe which occupied a little territory, consisting of a series of mountain fastnesses on the extreme north of the Transvaal. The quarrel arose like quarrels with the natives generally do. About fifteen years before, in the time of the Unisquati, father of the present chief, a Boer got leave to depasture his cattle on the broad plains which lay between the right bank of the Steelpoort River and Middlesburg. He enjoyed the privilege for some while and gave a few cattle in acknowledgment. But 'soon he was joined by other Boers, who built huts for themselves or their herdsmen. _ They remained undisturbed during the reign of Unesqaati, and would perhaps have remained so for ever, had not the Boers reported the land to thfir government as having been bought of Unesquati. The moment Seicakuni, who had succeeded his father, heard of the Boers claiming the land as their own he turned them off. The government then demanded that he should become a Transvaal subject, which be refused, and upon this they proceeded to attack him in his mountain stronghold, which was admittedly quite outside the land in dispute. I may also add that the dispute was aggravated by the usual incident of the production of a deed by the Dutchmen, which was indignantly repudiated by the Kafirs, who protested that they~ had never seen it before, and had never parted with a circle of land a hundred miles in diameter for a score of cattle. The Boer is under a law called a Burgher Law, by virtue of which every citizen is obliged to turn out with horse and rifle at the command of the President of the State, and this republican force is called a " commando." The present commando started in two divisions from Pretoria, each division receiving accessions at the several provincial centres which it passed on the road to the scene of action, and they cambered about 4,000 men when they arrived at what was meant to be the seat of war. I do not mean to record the futile efforts of this force, or how they for dayB at the Steelpcort River, an easy prey'to the generous and disdainful native; how they quarrelled abont-- the choice and the authority of officers; how tbey protested against a court-martial being allowed to inflict any punishment beyond a fine of five pounds; or how, at last, indignant at the mere shadow of discipline, they broke up and esch sought his wagon with cries of "To home ! To home:" It was a humiliating spectacle; a set of Baotians humoured with the gift of republican institutions without the intelligence to profit by

<thnm. . It is Cor such lumps of clay that despots «ie created. - • - The men and wagons returned, each talcing the diqgnce' to heart about as much as the other, and the elders »f the. republic then conceived the idea of conquering the enemy by means of ,-wits and valour .not th»ir own. Among the motley population of the Diamond Fields thefe were many steady men out of employ who wanted pay and land, and many reckless ne'erdo-weels who would go anywhere, in search of adventure. They would offer .these .men six shillings a day and a farm of three thousand acres .when the enemy's land was conquered, with the right of mining for gold; and there was rich gold there! The hunter was to be paid with the skin on the bear's back! Skilfulrecruiting agents, were employed, aad one morning the Diamond, If em contained an advertisement to the following effect :— gOUTH AFRICAN EXPLORATION. A Society is being formed for the Civilization of South Africa, the development of its resoarces, and the occupation of its waste lands. The Society proposes, firat to direct its attention to a rich teact of country, where there is abundance of water and of wood; and the Society propoaea to divide the laud, when possession is obtained of it. among the members in farms of 3,000 acres each, With right of mining. Each member proposing to join is required to Snd_» carbine, revolver, and long knife,-andwill receive six shillings a day and rations out of the funds pf. the Society during {the oourae of the expedition and until be is pat in possessian of his farm. Offices, of the Society at Ulaaon's Store. Apply at any hour of the day. We are very badly off," said. Harry to Phyllis after reading her this advertisement; " but I think I shall do better by finding work than by joining these men in their adventures."

CHAPTER XVm.

A LETTER FBOH HOKH AMD A JOCHHHT UP COCHTHT.

While they were talking, as tbey sat in their verandah, the phion Jack ni ran up at the Post-Office,and, struggling through the crowd'of Kafirs at the window, Harry obtained two letters for Phyllis. One was from her stepmother, saying that Mr. Warden was very ill, and the other from Mrs. Holroyd with a remittance of £20. This was not a sum sufficient to make a difference in their plans, though it might aid them; and so it was resolved that Harry should travel through the Dutch towns in the Orange Free State, in-search of some suitable arena' for any one, of his. varied practical accomplishments. So he bought a horse and packed np a few tools in a little leather wallet, which he had made to fit the back of his saddle, and rolled up his clothes in a canvas covering, which backled on in front. And then, accoutred with a revolver in his fcelt and a knife in his boot, and while Tambooti the Kafir held the horse, Harry approached to say farewell to his bride, from whom he had never been separated since he led her to the altar. I shall not describe the parting of this tender pair. But after a long talk and many kisses Phyllis looked bim fall in the face and said, " Do not be afraid that I shall be down-hearted ; I always remember that God protects us while we do our duty, and do you never forget it." And then Harry mounted and rode off, and Phyllis and Tambooti watched him till he was out of sight, and then Phyllis went indoors and (tied, and Tambooti sat down in the verandah and sang a iittle song to himself, how that the white man rode off on a horse, a horse with a star on its forehead, and a white stocking on its near hind leg, and how that his wife was left behind, and she had eyes like the blue of heaven, and hair like a ripe field of maize. Scon afterwards Phyllis laid her great curly head on the breast of Miss Schneider and Bobbed ; but only for a minute, and then the two walked up together to the manse. Sweet soother of the suffering, kind physician to the sick, bright beacon to the sinful and weak—here I bid you farewell; but if I were a sculptor making a monument to Beneficence, it is the form of Schneider that I would immortalize in marble.

OHAPTER XIX.

HABHY HOLROTD EECEIVBS AH OFFEB OF MARRIAGE.

Beyond a line or two, written from a town at which he stayed, Phyllis heard little from her husband till nearly six weeks had elapsed, and then she received the following letter:— . " Greyfontein, January 2,1877. " My dearest Wife—I am now three or four hundred miles from you, but the farther I am off the more I think of you. " I have suffered a good deal from my ignorance of Dutch, but have bought a grammar aud dictionary, and am getting on. I see plenty of ways for making money by odd jobs : but no place for settling down. " I have seldom slept at an inn, because there

are so few, and have usually to put up at farmhouses. I repair the Dutchmen's wagon tents and mend the locks of their gnus, and clean the clocks, and when it is only a small job I don't charge anything, bat thank them for their hospitality. They don't call me verdommde Kiwehvian i), because I am civil and good-looking. I have made several coffins. A Dutchman is nevfr happy without one. He keeps his clothes or his groceries in it. last week I had to measure a whole family for coffins, Mynheer and his vran, three buxom girls, two big sons, and all the kinders. The youngest was only three yeais old. " ' What! a coffin for this one ?' I said. "' Yes,' "said the Dutchman; ' I treat all my children alike. You can make it a little bigger, if jou please, to allow for growing; and, if she grows out of it., why it will do for another one.' So I made all the coffins. The Dutchman found the wood. It was ten days' work, and I had £10 for it. It's lucky I brought a few tools with me. I can't tell you what a deal of thought I had to give to the first one. I had never ma^e such a thing before. A week ago I found my horse was getting knocked np when I was still a long way from any town, so I turned off the tiatk and rode up to a farmhouse. An old Boer and his daughter were the only occupants, and they received me and my horse well. They told me all about the size of the farm, and the number of cattle on it, aud how that they had the present house built aud left the old one, which stood near, deserted, after the fashion of Boers. The house was very neat and I complimented the youug Udy upou it, ami speke of her sewing machine, which stwod iu the room. It was broken, she said, and *he suffered much inconvenience iu coosequeure, but when a clever Englishman came tint w.iy she would have it mended. " After dinner I took it to pieces, and set it right. I cleaned it all thoroughly and oiled it. and she clapped htr hands with delight, and brought me a piece of calico, and I worked it. Her father came in and thanked me, and said:— " * I see you are one of the clever Englishmen, and perhaps you can mend the cupboard and put up a plate-rack to help my daughter, and I will pay you fc-r it.' " I told him that the pleasure of his company, and the entertainment of myself and my beast, was sufficient remuneration to me for any little service I might render. " The next day I began the work, using such pieces of wood as I found, and it took two days to finish. Father and daughter were both pleased, and the old gentleman begged me zo stay there all my life. He said a man could only live in one place, and I might as well live there as anywhere else. I thanked him, and said I was in search of work, and wanted to settle, and that I should only spend one day more at his honse. He seemed to regard this as a mere expression of politeness. After breakfast, on the morning of the fifth day, I saddled np and waited till long past the time when the old man was in the habit of returning from his ride, till at length, being tired of waiting, I took my leave of the daughter. I begged her to express my thanks to her father for his hospitality, and my regret that I could not render them in person; and then off I rode. " I had ridden aboat ten miles through a country without a sign of inhabitants, except a few distant cattle, and the monotonous scenery and my own thoughts were beginning to produce a sense of loneliness, and almost of fear, when I heard the sound of a horse galloping behind me. I turned, and saw a horseman well mounted, and following me on the road. Was this a traveller who, suffering like myself from the pains of solitude, was seeking to overtake me for the sake of company ? or was it a Dutchman, who wished to pick & quarrel with me, and charge me with some offence'{ " I began to fancy myself being tried for some impossible crime before a besotted land-drost, and after a protracted investigation only emerging into freedom to find myself without my horse or any of my belongings. Snch things had often before happened to other Englishmen who were traversing this Bceotia, so why not to me? " I clapped spurs to my horse, and urged him to a gallop. After about a mile and a half I reined up. A slight undulation prevented my seeing my pursuer; but my ear caught the sound cf his horse-hoofs, and it was clear that when I had put my horse to a gallop he had given the spur to his. He was as close to me as ever, and, what was worse, he was pursaing me. " I felt that my fears were justified, and my only safety lay in flight; so I put my horse once more to a gallop, and kept him at that pace till he began to show signs of fatigue. I then pulled up, and breathed him again, and looking roand saw about a mile and a half behind me the Dutchman—for I had made ap my mind it was a Dutchman. " Bat what was he doing with his hand ? Not plying-the whip; for the sound of the hoofs was not quickened. I watched his gesture carefully as he approached. He was waving his hand to beckon me. Bat the more he wanted to catch me the less I wanted to be caught; so

.1 rubbed my horse's noee with some brandy and water, and gathered ap my reins and essayed aajOQier gallop. ' k I ran saw, however, that this eould not last long.- My hone made one or' two attempts at a stumble, and I was sure that -neither spur nor rein could keep him np maoh .longer. So I brought him to a waUcjuuLh^aato reflect. " I was fifteen miles from a, town, and in a solitary place, and unable to«seapemy pursuer. There was nothing left for it, therefore, bat to let him catch me, unless, indeed, I turned roand to face him. This I adopted as the more . gracious course, and, «• X did so, it suddenly occurred to me that the wlitade of thespot was by no means unfavourable to the most vigorous self-defence, and, moreover, it would not be bqrd to- make the Datchmaa qaite as mach afraid of me as ever I had been of bim. "He approached at thes&me steady gallop which he had all along maintained.- Aa he came nearer, I saw that he was not hn^ing any: weapon, and was comforting myself with the thought that an easy movement would enable me to. bring my revolver to bear on him, when to my horror I recognised in my panner my host of the last four days; the man who invited me to be his. guest foe ever! "I feU intensely ashamed, though I did not eaacUy know why. and had acaraely got over thps ieelisg when, as £ rode s lew ctepc towards him, he addressed me, and when we had shaken hands, the following conversation took place: "Boer—'Why did yoa ride away from me 7 IH. H.—'Why didyon ride after me?' Boer.—f. Why did yoa leave without saying good-bye to m e . " H. H.—' Because thafeime had come for my going, as X bad told yon. Bud as yoa were not at home I ieft a .message for yoa with -yoar daughter, expressing my thanks for yoar hospitality—thanks which yoa will allow me now to repeat to yo« in person.' " Boer. —' Bnt you did «ot bid cood-bve to my daughter i" "H. H.—' Indeed X did, when Ileftthat message for you.' " Boer.—' And what did «he do P' " H. H.—' Why, sheaaid good-bye to me, to be sore.' "Boer.—'Did she not weep ?' ? H. H.—' I am thankful to say she did not.' " Boer.—' Then she should have wept.' ''Why? " Boer.—> Why 1 indeed. A handsome yoang Englishman like yon to ask me why! Come! Yoar nation are not so alow of perception as oar. young Boers. . Can you not tee that I meant yon to marry my daughter'{ Did I not say yoa : ehouldlive in my house for ever; and what else did that mean ? Yon may not. .have - .mach money perhaps; bnt, when we see intelligence and talent, we don't look for money. Yoa will soon be able to make a fortune when I put you in the way. Son shall have l»»if the cattle, and TB^y shall TUO over all the land, and I will keep the other half, and they shall ran over all the land also; and yoa can do np the old house and X will live in the new one, or, for that matter, you and my .daughter shall have the new one, and you may de up the old one for me. Your hone is tired; but mine is still the nearest house, so come back with me!' " H. H.—' No ; I have received your hospitality and have felt a liking for you, and have done my best to render you one or two little services; but I have never made love to your daughter.' "Boer.—'Dunderhead that yoa are! Is not that the very thing I am complaining of ? What is the matter with my daughter? Is she not handsome ?' " H. H.—' Yes; very good-looking indeed; but I am in love with another woman.' " Boer.—' Ah, another weman! Whew. (A long panse.) Is she rich ?' " H. EL—' On the contrary, poor.' Boer.—* And yon are poor, too. Is she. then beaatifal ?' " H H—'Very.' "Boer.—'Now tell me what thisbe&utiful woman is like " Here, my dear Phyllis, I fell into English, for I could speak Dutch no longer. I could not say enough in it to express my meaning. The old Dutchman understood a good deal more of onr language than he pretended to; and so, what with much action and freqaent repetition. I made him understand me.' "Have yon seen pictures of Paradise?" I said " She is like the angels there. She is tall and of a comely figure. Her hair is an arbour of brown and golden carls; her head and neck were formed as a model for a sculptor; her voice is as the songs of birds, and all her movements are grace. In short, she is in feature, form, and colour, such as is the Goddesi of Beauty when she comes to our northern island to show herself to men." The Dutchman listened - with interest as recounted the charms of my beloved, and stood looking at me for some time when I hid doue. At length he spoke. "Mark my words, young man," he said with more deliberation and gravity than usual, mark my words. If the woman is as beaatifal as you say, you will find, when you return from

your travels, that she will have ceased to think ef you as a lover. And then if my daughter has not got a husband yoa can come back and marry her." And the Dutchman shook me by the hand and gathered up his reins and rode home. I turned my horse's head mechanically and walked slowly on the long journey before me. But, instead of being relieved from the oppression of what I had believed to be danger, I found myself confronted by a new menace of fate, and felt as if each step of my jaded beast was leading me away from happiness. God grant, my dear Phyllis, that it may not be true that when I return from my travels you will have ceated to regard as a lover your ever devoted.—HAERY HOLROTD."

CHAPTER XX.

PRYIXI8 LEAVES FOE KATAL AND MEETS SMILEY. It was now time for Phyllis to leave the store the rent of which was expensive, and to sell the things in it and to go where a woman could live cheaper than at Kimberley. It was not an uncommon thing for a newcomer to leave his wife ard go up-country in Eearch of a place in which to settle; bnt it was an uncommon thing to see a bride of conspicuous beauty living alone and without occupation in a store m a main thoroughfare. Her beauty was at once recognised by ail who saw her, and got quickly noised abroad among many who had not bad that good fortune. Her circumstances also were pretty well known through the gossip of Tambooti and by the various other metva which carry such news to the ears of thrse whom it does cot concern. This was a trouble to her. The junior pnrtner in the firm of Aaron & Aswogel offered her iu the most flattering terms the leading pi ice in the ladies' department of their large establishment. Mr. Solomon, who kept the large canteen, honoured her with the offer of a barmaid's place, in which her companion would be Miss de la Place—a lady of good family, and in which the vacancy had occurred by the demission of Mis* Van Winkel, whose uncle had held an impoi tant post under the Government of the ol.l colony. These and Similar offers, after communicating them to Miss Schneider, Phyllis declined, and resolved to go to Natal and to let her husband know that she had gone. "I will give you an introduction," said Miss Schneider, " to my friend Mrs. Faircraft, whom I commend to you as an honourable, though by no means a very shrewd or worldly wise person. I think you may live with her if you please. And now give me an order to the postmaster to get your letters and forward them." Phyllis did this; and then, embracing her friend and benefactress, took her seat in a wagon hound for Harrismith. Tambooti packed up his mats and clothes and carried his sticks and went jumping and singing on his way to hiB kraal, whence he would go to meet his mistress at Pietermaritzbnrg. Phyllis's was a long journey, differing in no important particular from most longr journeys made in a wagon drawn by bullocks across an uninteresting country. At Harrismith poor Phyllis had half a mind to enquire after her husband in case he should have passed through there, and she began to learn by heart a description of him which she kept altering at each rehearsal, because she had not made him handsome enough. She also remembered the colour and height of his horse and the star on his forehead, but coald not remember on which foot was the white stocking. There was little time, however, to carry this plan into execution unless she meant to miss the post-cart, which started the next day. So, booking her luggage to go by wagon, she went off to the post-cart office with a little bag, a shawl, and a macintosh.

CHAPTER XXI.

THE PYTHOM PREPARING HIS HEAL.

There were only two seats vacant, and a gentleman bad been hesitating about taking the other one. He did not seem to have made up his mind. So, at least, said the man at the office who took Phyllis's fare. Six weedy-looking nags were being harnessed by wiry, half-naked Kafirs to a dingey dog-cart with tall, thick, muddy wheels. Phyllis stood looking at them and prepared to take her seat. "Hulloa, Blinkeyes, old man!" shouted a voice behind her; " left Her Majesty's Hotel, eh ? Paid your reckoning and looking out for private lodgings " Blinkeyes!" It was a name she had heard before, and she was trying to remember when and where, as, turning round, she encountered Mr. Luke Smiley. " How do you de. Miss Warden ?"' said he, whether by accident or design ; " I beg your pardon, I should have said Mrs. Holroyd. And how is it that you are alone r"' Phyllis told him that her husband, having fallen ill at the Diamond Fields, had gone npcountry in search of a healthier place in which to settle, and that she had resolved to live in Natal till he should join her or send for her.

"I should hardly have expected him to leave you so suddenly on that account," said Smile /, "especially without speaking a word to mi, whose experience of the coon try was wholly at h^ service.*" • •« Bat that £xperieB0B harnet sufficed toguids Jfu to success yourself, has it?" said Phyllis. i" It has not, iridedd.'T 3aid Smiley, blinking a»d twitching; " but l at all. events, wnjoy the good fortune to-day of being. afeJlow-paaaenger wftha lady whom X respect, andewhp «ught not tt^be wholly unfriended on such a joucney as tins.". ['.Now, then, take yoar seats; time's np?* «yd the coachman ; and Phyllis was put fin bmdse»t,ia^S^niley sat beside her. - iTa-ra-ra! went the horn, aj«d off went th» horses. -There had been a shower, BO the dost did cot impede conversation. pmiley thought it was desirable to explain *oine recent misfortunes which had befiUlea him, and which he thought Phyllis, mast have heard of along with ail the rest of the world, aqd .of which she would certainly be pat in m'nt if jshe understood the allusion to " Her M«jp*<y> Hotel," so rudely ottered in the ion yard ak Hacrismith. ^ OiccamatanoFS have ranch changed with me,''said he, "since the h»ppy days when, in thle enjoyment ofwealthund friends, I met yoa at the ball at Solopsbcry and Afterwards visited at yoar father's st Earlstowe." " I have" heard- of yoar- misfortunes," sail Phyllis, "ABD ihsve zegretted our inability to relieve them. But why are yoa lesjrisg th» Diamond Fields ?*' " X have consulted the fern who still acknowledge a poor man as theirIriend," said he; '-and they advised me to leave the place as soon as my imprisonment-was over." "Imprisonment!" ... ''Yesdid yoa not hear of it f* No. indeed. Have yoa been, doing anything wrong.?* ; .••!•. f Wot atalL I was only imprisoned to await my trial on a charge of .which I was innocent, I was acquitted; but my removal from business and the expenses of my defence have been too much for me just as I was starting afresh," f Bat what were you accn Phyllis timidly. of?" asked " Of illicit diamond buying. Yoa know there is bow a law against baying diamonds unless yoti have a licence to buy. -I did not hay diamonds, and had not the monBy to do*o,*s evecr -one knew. Bat there werecsrt&in people whom it would not suit to .see me lift my head again at the Fields, as I bid fair soon to do ; and ao they set a trap for me which had often ns> seeded before, bat fortunately failed on.this ocsasipo. However, it has answered their purpose by clearing; me oat." "I don't see." said Phyllis, "how any trap could succeed in making a man bay a diamond who had not the means of doing so ?" "The way they do it," said Smiley," it this. A coloured man comes to your office with m diamond in his band and 410. in his pocket, and looks cautiously round and shots the door. He engages yoa in conversation for about five minutes: At last he asks if yoa will bay a diamond, and yon refuse. A noise withoat then distracts your attention, and the man takes that opportunity of leaving the diamond in the place, wrapped up in paper. You would not know there was a diamond there even , if yoar eye lit upon the paper. The man then walks out with the £10 in his hand, and is immediately seized and brought ia again. ' Where is the diamond ?' the policeman asks. The man. after much show of fear and reluctance, points to the place where he has toft it, and then the policeman takes you into custody, and yea are brought before a Magistrate, and the policeman and the coloured man both swear that, in answer to the question, 'Where is the diamond?' yoa were the first to point sat where it lay." "And was this what they did with yju?" asked Phyllis. "Yes; and I was committed for trial, bat thanks to my innocence and the experience of the Jury and the wits of my counsel, I was rescued from my fate." "What a fearfully wicked country!" exclaimed Phyllis. " My dear Mis. Holroyd," said Smiley with an unctuous solemnity which was oommon with him, "thereis wickedness everywhere. Throughout the world mankind is depraved. Nurtured as yoa have been in an honourable and virtuous house, you have remained in happy, ignorance ef the evil desires and infernal passions which actuate men and women. And I regret that you* should now be placed in a position where, with no father or husband to protest you, a knowledge of snch things becomes neoessary for yoar own safety." "But yoa do not mean that there are oeople who would do sueh things in the plaoe to which we are going?" " My dear Madam, people who will do such things are everywhere; and that is one reason why I am pleased to be at hand in case the gaidsnceofa friend should be needed daring the absence of yoar husband. No doubt his

affection for you will prompt him to return early to your side; bnt, till then, I trust that the misfortunes which have deprived me of so mach, will still leave me unimpaired the privilege of rendering an occasional service to a lady whom I have known in better days ?" Phyllis was a little touched, and, moreover, felt herself very muchalone,and began to think of her home and -of her first ball and of the visit of her cousins and Smiley. " I am not sufficiently imbued," she answered, "with the cold-heartedness of the world to reject the kindness of a fellow-creature on account of misfortunes which give him a greater claim to my regard. X am going to the Faircrafts. Miss Schneider has introduced me to them." " The very people," said he," whom I should have recommended. I knew them at the Dia-. mond Fields, where they were highly respected, and I shall have mach pleasure in resuming the acquaintance." Phyllis seemed contented, and Smiley thought he had done enough for that day; so he turned the conversation upon indifferent subjects. He had no strong immediate motive for making love to the lady. Still he felt that there was every possibility of her husband losing his Hfe in some of his wanderings, especially if he were tempted, as was very likely, to join the. Transvaal volunteers in the hope of a farm in the gold-bearing land of Sekukuni. And it was always to be borne in mind, if an evil fate should befall Holroyd, that the man who married bis widow would marry the heiress of Earlstowe —a prospect which, in the present state of Smiley's finances, it woald not be pradent to shut out. It would never de, he thought, to speak of her husband's absence in a way which would put the wife in arms in bis favoar; bat a gentle hint that Holroyd ought to be by his wife's side would sow a seed chat might produce fruit hereafter in case vbe young man's absence should be prolonged. In having inspired a mistrust of the world in general, and in having followed it up by a touching reference to his sufferings and a proffer of his services, Mr. Smiley felt that he bad hit the happy mean. He had evoked a suitable response from a generous nature and had done his duty to himself, and so he turned the conversation to the scenery. Every day during that long jonrney did - Smiley sit by the side of Phyllis, and his conversation was always respectful and never distasteful. When they alighted for a meal, aud when tbey put np for the night, he had rendered her many little services withoat any show of over-assiduity. He was the only pisseuger who did so; for the others, satisfited that he was looking after the lady, were only too content each to look after himself. There was nothing coarse aboat Smilley; he was always polite and always the same. There . was, in short, a negative agreeableness which Phyllis did not dislike, and she, at last, became so used to the little attentions which he paid her that she would be likely to teel the absence of them when the journey shonld be over. And this was precisely the effect which Smiley intended to produce. And so at last they came to Pietermaritzburg and stopped at the Post-Office, and Smiley helped Phyllis to get down, and walked with her to the Faircrafts.