|Chapter Title||MORE DIRECT EVIDENCE.|
|Newspaper Title||Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)|
|Trove Title||Freebench. A Tale of South African Life|
FREEBENCH; A TALE OF SOUTH AFRICAN LIFE.
BY COPIA FAKDI, S.C.L. (Author of" Twelve True Tale.tofthe Laic")
CHAPTER XXXV. MO BE DIRECT EVIDENCE.
The letter to the Commandant of the Transvaal Volunteers was written and sent; bat it was unnecessary, for the next post brought the following:— " Fort Burgers, January 24. " Madam—I do myself the honour to address yon as the wife of a brave companion in arms. Your husband, Mr. Holrojd, who was our courier, started from Lydenborg on the 13th, on his return journey to the camp, but did not arrive at hid proper time. Many days elapsed before we beard of him, which was not till the 22nd, when we took prisoner a man of Seknkani's tribe, who was riding on your hnsband's horse and saddle, and who stated that the owner was killed by some of the tribe at a certain spot which lay on a route he might have taken, and was undoubtedly dangerous. I knew the horse well, and the saddle had poor Holroyd's name on it. _ " I regret that I can only come to one conclusion, and that the first lines I have to address to the wife of my friend are to say that I have no hopes of his being alive. " It has been my fate to lament the loss of many a comrade, fallen upon distant fields; but there have been few for whom I have felt such personal attachment and respect as for Mr. Holroyd. " A few papers which he left in camp will be sent down by Mr. Arthur Smith, an invalided volunteer, who joins his family in your town and will give you further information. " I mingle my tears with yours, and have the honour to be, Madam, your obedient servant, " Conrad Von Schlicksiahn, "Commanding the S.A R. Volunteers " Phyllis was very much touched at receiving this letter, partly with grief, because her hopes were nearly ended, but also with pleasure at so honourable a testimonial, which she could not believe to emanate from a leader of banditti. She did not conceal her satisfaction from Smiley, and Smiley felt piqued that she should appear more pleased with a line from a stranger than with his own sedulous services. Arthur Smith, in due time, called with the papers, and sat down and had a long talk with Phyllis, who was never tired of listening to his many details of her husband's life, and of what they said and thought of him. And afterwards Smiley came and took down Mr. Smith's story, and an affidavit was prepared by a lawyer eDgaged by Smiley, and the Court was satisfied of Holroyd's death, and Phyllis was appointed to administer her late husband's estate and effects. She wrote home to her stepmother to tell her what had happened, and also to Mrs. HoLroya, but expressed no wish to return home. She was in a land of strangers, with scarce a friend, in debt, and wiihout auy prospect of gaining the means of subsistence: and yet she s<tid nothing of going to England. "\Vas it that she dreaded to occupy her former home along with the woman who had driven her out of it? Was she caught by the baneful fascinations of the garden of South Africa," which are said to allow none of its denizens to leave its shores without a desire to return to it ? Had her instinct revealed to her the amorous objects which Smiley concealed behind bis proffers of aid and sympathy, and did she look forward to lover's glances from his blinking eyes ? No; it was none of these things that prevented her utterance of a wish to return. The truth simply was. that—in spite of newspapers. opinions, letters, narratives of eyewitnesses, affidavits and orders of Court—there lurked under that head of curls a doubt as to the death of Harry. It did not shape itself into any distinct form; it did not lead to any definite resolution; it was sometimes stronger, sometimes fainter ; sometimes it would wholly disappear, but it always returned. So Phyllis lingered on at the Faircrafts and sought about, as well as she could, for a way to earn a living, but did not find one. And so the autumn drew to a close, and the temperate winter of Natal, the pleasantest season in the
world, would soon succeed. CHAPTER XXXVI. SMI LET PROPOSES TO THE HEIRESS EA.BLSTOWH. It was rot known that Smiley had had a little ran of luck in business, but somehow he had managed to pay the lawyers and to give a little sum to the Faircrafts from time to time on Phyllis's account, but without her knowledge. He had continued his visits at the house and had always found his victim gracious and grateful, though ignorant of the extent of her obligations. Her doubts as to her husband's death— doubts which she had not expressed in so many words, but which had shown themselves now and then in her enquiries—he was convinced were long set at rest. Not only had Massinger returned with a confirmation of what everybody else had said and thought, but the death of the leader bad broken up the force, and the tales told by those who had come back were such as to leave no room for hesitation even to a reason which affection had biassed. Yes; Von Schiickmann had been killed in an attack upon a krantz. As usual, he was in advance of his men, and just as he had mounted a boulder of granite, and was waving his sword to stimulate them to follow, a bullet pierced him in the chest, and he fell. Such was the news which the papers gave to the world; but they did not say, because they did not know, whose was the hand that directed the ballet. What I know, I shall not say; but only that he died doing his duty like an honest soldier, and though he had once been a rebel, and had since been dubbed a filibuster, he was spoken of with honour by all English soldiers of distinction. He perished unhonoured by the country for which he had fought, and the news of his fate was received with a howl of joy by the English community at the Goldfields, and even in Natal. His Natalian recruits returned one by one, ragged and penniless, and Smiley was rejoiced at the news they brought, and that Von Schiickmann, the campaign, the Volunteers, and the courier were now to be reckoned as things of the past. So, as Smiley meant to marry the heiress of Earlstowe, he thought it was now time to make a move. He therefore made up his mind what to say and do, and went up to the Faircrafts. Phyllis, dressed in deep mourning, received him with the grace and the gratitude which Bhe had always thown. He first began to interest her about himself. Ho was getting on a little better, and hoped in time to be well oS. She said bow pleased she was, because she knew he had spent money for her, and feared to be a burden on him; but she had written home for money, and hoped soon to repay him. He then told her that he had done more than she supposed, and, among ether things, had appeased Mrs. Faircraft, though he had not mentioned it; but that he begged she would think little of so trifling a service, since he did not allow his cash-book to control the dictates of his heart. "You have always been very kind, Mr. Smiley," she said; " and I have often prayed that you might prosper so that you might not be ruined by helping me before I could repay yon." And she leant upon her knees and bowed down her golden head and cried. Smiley thought that this was the time to open his parable. "Do not take it so much to heart, de« Madam," he said, blinking aa usual. " All that I possess is now and always at the service of one to whom my sentiments have been unchanged since the happier days when we first met." Phyllis raised her head and looked at him. " " I give you credit," he continued, " for more perception than to be ignorant that I still love you." " Oh!" cried Phyllis, rising with a gesture of impatience; "I see your meaning now! I see it all, and now yon have come te tell me of it. Ohhow dreadful. What have I done that I should bring this upon myself ?" And she began walking up and down the room. Her face was flushed, and ever? now and then she flung up her hands, iu one of which was the handkerchief which had wiped away her recent tears. " I certainly thought,', said Smiley, ruing, " that I was at last free to announce to a lady whom I had long known and had recently served the fact that my affectum for her was unchanged ; and I thought I might do so without being the victim of a burst of indignation which cuts me to the heart." Phyllis stood still and looked at him again. " Let us be plain," said she. "The object of your visit is to make love to me; is that so ?" "Well, Madam," said be, blinking his eyes and twitching his hands," I certainly thought I might at least be permitted" "Exactly," said Phyllis. "I understood so. But don't do it again. X have done nothing to encourage it, and I don't like it. And, what is more, I won't have it. You ought to have more oommou evoaa thou to suppose that, aftet being OF
tl e wife of Harry Holroyd, I could ever take to —to anybody else." "You will forgive me for saying," began Smiley "No I won't," broke in Phillis. "Iwon't hear another word. Don't mention the subject again. I am not angry with you, only with myself for being such a fool as not to see this before; but if you mention the subject again I shall be very angry. And now go away, if you please, and, if there is to be any business between us, you can write me a note or see me in the presence of a third person. And now I wish you good afternoon." And Phyllis walked out of the room and Fat down in the verandah at the rear of the house and left Smiley to get away as he could. He hesitated a moment as to whether he should follow her, and then he left the house, and_ blamed himself as he walked along for having leapt before he had got to the stile. Mrs. Faircraft, meanwhile, came ont to Phyllis to see what was the matter ; and Phyllis told her what had happened, and begged that Smiley might never be allowed to see her again. '•I think you do an injustice to Mr. Smiley," said the old lady. *' I have known him a long time; he is a very honourable man, and has been a sincere friend to you." " If be would not exhibit his sincere friendship by proposals which are both offensive and ridiculous it would be more appreciated," said Phyllis." " My dear young lady," said Mrs. Faircraft, sitting down beside her guest," I begin to think yon are veiy proud and self-willed. You know I am a poor woman, and could not have kept 3 ou so long if Mr. Smiley had not paid for you. You owe him a great debt of gratitude." " My gratitude," said Phyllis, is my own affair. You wonld not have kept me here in the past but for Mr. Smiley, and I oresume you don't feel inclined to do so for the future ?" Mrs. Faircraft hesitated. " Speak out, Mrs. Faircraft," said Phyllis "ltt ns be plain." " Well, you know my circumstances," said the landlady, at length; " with the best heart in the world I could not keep you for long without payment, and"— "And ycu look to Mr. Smiley for it," said Phyllis. "Just so; then my course is plain." And she rose to return to her room. " How do you mean your course is plain ?" said Mrs. Faircraft, following her; " pray do not do any thine; rash. Do not break with Mr. Smiley, do not" "Break with Mr. Smiley, woman! When he only aids me in view of a marriage, which is distasteful and loathsome to me, I think it is high time to break with him. And what interest have you, pray, in my receiving a new lover before I am even sure of my husband's death ? and such a man as Smiley, too! Oh, it would be quite laughable, if I were not so wretched!" " I am sorry to say you have too much pride, Mrs. Holroyd," said Mrs. Faircraft with an affectionate sneer; " you will be humbler byand-by." "Yes," said Phyllis, with her eyes flashing with anger; "I've too much pride to submit to your dictation or to his charity. And, whatever pride I have, it is not your business to humble it. If you want to humble anybody's pride, humble your own pride; never mind abont mine." And Phyllis put on her hat and jacket and went into the street to carry out a resolution which she had formed. CHAPTER XXXVII. EltTLET WASTS TO BE PAID. Phyllis went straight to Mrs. Lovelace, a lady whose aoquarataoce she had already made, and who kept a large school. Phyllis had already asked Mrs. Lovelace to take her as a governess, and had told her as much of her circumstances as was necessary. She now told her the rest. " I want vou to take me as a servant only." paid Phyllis, " and I want no wages, only my board and lodging. I have got clothes enough." Mrs. Lovelace was a good-natured woman, and kcesv something of the world. " Contrive to stay where you are for a few days," said she, " and come to me in five days' time. Meanwhile, who was the lawyer who managed the business about the administration r 1 " " Mr. Smiley's lawyer, Mr. Wright Parry." " Never mind about his being Mr. Smiley's lawyer," said the lady ; " you could not go to a betier. I think it is time you took advice. Mention my name to him, and tell him everything." And Phyllis went homeward quite happy at having so heroically, as she thought, freed herself from her obligations to Smiley. The amount of independence she had exerted, and the feelings which had been aroused within her, were too much for her, and for a long time delayed sleep, and it was late the next morning when Tambooti brought her her breakfast and two letters One was a letter from her stepmother saying that things bad not been settled, but enclosing a remittance of £20; and the other, which was from Smiley, was as follows:— " My dear Madam — Nothing but absolute
necessity induces me to inform you that I find myself much crippled in my business by the money which I have laid out on your maintenance. A bill which I had drawn on a person generally regarded as solvent has been returned on my hands dishonoured, and I have immediate need of all that is due to me. Will you, therefore, oblige me by providing for the amounts which I have advanced, of which I enclose an account, or by paying them out of the first resources that come to your hand ? " Yon, who know with what feelings towards you I have striven to render you these little services, may imagine with what distress these lines are written by your unfortunate and ever sincerely attached " Lttke Smiley." Then followed an account of about £80 owing to the writer, including the amount he had paid to the lawyer. Phyllis was disgusted with the letter; but still, viewed in a business aspect, the position seemed to her perfectly simple. She owed £80, and she had just received £20. She would at once pay that amount in reduction of the debt, but would go to Mr. Parry, the lawyer, and get it done through him. So she dressed herself and went out, wondering what sort of man was this Mr. Parry, and collecting her thoughts so as to put things before him in an intelligible way; for Phyllis thought other women great fools in business, and did not wish to be like them. CHAPTER XXXVIII. SEKrKTWl'S MESSAGE. Phyllis had not gone far when she met a tall fair young man, who struck her as being more like a Frenchman than an Englishman, and who raised his hat respectfully and saluted her. " Pardon me, Madam," said he; " but have I the pleasure of speaking to Mrs. Holroyd ?" PhylliB said that was her name. " Your husband was lately serving among the volunteers as courier ?" " He was," said Phyllis, turning paler. *' I am directed to bring you a message about your husband". " Oh, tell me he is alive!" cried Phyllis. And she grasped him with her hands on both his arms, and looked him earnestly in the face. " You shall be satisfied," said he; " but you must pay great attention to my message, and to the advice with which it is accompanied. It is this :—Your husband is safe at the kraal of Umapaslela. He is a guest and not a prisoner." «' Thank God!" said Phyllis. "I thought so." And she sank down upon the pathway by the road-side. " Now attend to the advice I give you," said the young man, stooping over her. " Attend!" " Go on!" said she. " You must not mention what I have said, or take any active steps for his recovery, otherwise you will jeopardise him with the Datch, who will treat him as a deserter if they catch him. Leave him to come home his own way. You hear me? I must go." I hear you and will follow your advice," said Phyllis; " but you must not go yet. Here is a pencil. Write the name of the Chief!" " Write it yourself," said he, - as I spell it to you. It is in the north of the Transvaal." And she wrote, letter by letter after him, and then said the word as he turned to go. " Wait!" said she rising ; " one word more! —Take my thanks!—take my blessing!—take the Lord's blessing for being the messenger ef peace and happiness to a friendless and suffering woman.'" And Phyllis walked on with a beaming face and elastic step, scarcely knowing whither she went. (After a few minutes of this ecstasy, however, she began to reflect. She was fully impressed with the genuineness and the truth of the message which she had received, and all the more so as it accorded with the vague belief to which her mind had again and again recurred. She now knew where her husband was. She was to tell^no one, lest it should endanger him. But it did not follow that she was to make no use of the information. She might act on it as long as she held her tongue. The only -my to do this was to go after him in person. Yes; this she would do. She would travel alone to Uma* paalela's kraal, and fetch away her husband. She would change her same so as not to direct suspicion to the man of whom die was in search, and, if needed, she would walk or beg her way to the Ohiefs hut. The money which she had would take her far on her journey; nay, might suffice _for the whole of it. She owed that money to Smiley, it was true; but she owed a deeper obligation to her husband. And if only Harzy were by her side once more, Smiley and all the rest of her troubles would be swept away. Se she went to the Bank and cashed the draft for £20, and afterwards took her place in the Newcastle post-cart, which was to start the next day. Coming away from the coach-office she met Smiley. Would it not be better, she thought, to speak to him. She was under an obligation to him; he was suffering under difficulties occasioned by the services he had rendered her, and the barest courtesy demanded that
1 she should answer his letter. would be a good time for doing so; and, moreover, ahe might tell him that her husband was alive, without disclosing his whereabouts, and thus put an end to those approaches which were so distasteful. Smiley saluted her and she stopped. She said she was sorry that he was in difficulties owing to her, but he should not have paid so much money without telling her. She had np idea that her debt to him was so large; bnt she would pay it. _" I had never intended," said Smiley, with & sigh, "that our relations should be those of creditor and debtor. But I suppose I most bear my misfortunes as best I can. If you only knew" And here Smiley, in the very middle of the Market-square, covered his eves with his handkerchief, and stood sobbing in front of Phyllis. " Now, at all events," thought she, " it ii necessary to tell him that Harry is alive." u I think it right to let you know," she said, " that I have sure information that my husband is alive, and I am going to fetch him back." " Alive!" he exclaimed in a very different voids, and, removing the handkerchief, looked her full in the face without a sign of a tear in his eyes. " Alive!—and where ?" " It is unnecessary to mention the place," the said, half-Alarmed at his sudden change. " But not in this colony ?" he asked. _ " No," said Phyllis ; " I shall have to make a little journey to meet him." " You have given me no means of judging of the trustworthiness of your information," said Smiley. " That is unnecessary," said she; u but Z thought it right to communicate it to you, con- : sidtring what you have done for me." " You are very deep, Mrs. Holroyd," said Smiley, looking out into the horizon with a sigh; " very deep and very cruel. You allow an old lover to spend his last mite for you; you drive him bankrupt, first in money and then in love, and you crown all by starting a fictitious resurrection of the husband who deserted you, in order that, as a married woman, you may evade your obligations. But you shall not always trifle with me thus." And Smiley, etill sighing as if he were affected to sorrow by the wickedness of human nature, walked slowly away. Phyllis stood erect as, with her face flushed and her eye flashing with indignation, she looked at the receding figure. " Hypocrite ! scoundrel! apprentice of Satan!" she cried; " may your master reward you!" CHAPTER XXXIX. FHTIXIS STARTS FOE TTMAPASLKLA'g KRAAL. She returned home to Mrs. Faircraft's. I am going away for a little while," she said to Tambooti. "-Here is a little money for you; wait here for me." " Missis not go with Umcimelo ?" (Blinkeyes) said Tambooti. " Umcimelo—no; certainly not; bat why P" " Umcimelo very much bad man. When Missis- cry, Umcimelo laugh. Missis sit in verandah and cry, Umcimelo come. He cry too; then he go away and laugh. Tambooti see him." Here Tambooti so thoroughly mimicked 'Smiley walking along rubbing his hands and blinking, that Phyllis, sad as she was, burst out laughing. " One other day newspaper come; Umcimelo laugh. Tambooti see him. Then Tambooti see Missis read newspaper and cry. Umcimelo very much bad man. Tambooti see." " Boss is not dead, Tambooti," said Phyllis. " Whu! whu!" said Tambooti, executing a little dance. " Boss come back to Missis, and get very much big stick, and hit Umcimelo, and make him dieWhu! whu! very muchli, Missis." And off he went dancing and singing to himself. It was a cold arid crisp morning the next day, anci the cider colonists were going about in greatccats, as Phyllis went down to the postcart, followed by Tambooti, who carried her shawl and little bag, very much under the prescribed limit of 12 lb. in weight. The inn-yard presented a lively scene while the six horses were being put to, and Phyllis was reminded of her own country when, the passengers having taken their seats, the horn sounded and the team went off to the post-office at a lively trot. While tbe post-office Kafira were putting in the bags, a young gentleman came up to Phyllis as she sat in the post-cart. " Mrs. Holroyd, I believe " That/' said she, " is my name." "It is my duty to arrest you at the suit of Mr. Luke Smiley. Here is the writ. Allow me to band you down." Phyllis alighted mechanically, looking very pale. " I wish you quite to understand me," said the Sheriff's officer; "you are not charged with any offence; you are merely prevented from leaving the colony till you give security for the debt." " Am I to go to prison " Yes; till you give security, or till the Court
discharges you from arrest. If you wish to see your lawyer you can do so." " I wish to go to Mr. Wright Parry's," said Phyllis. " He is in D'Urban attending a trial, and will not be back for two days," said the officer. " Then I will go to gaol at onre," said she. " I suppose I may have a carriage, and may call at my lodgings fofc my clethes ?" " It will he the best way," said the officer. " We'll come over to the Grown and get one." And they got a carriage, and drove to Mrs. Faircraft's; but she claimed a lien on the clothes, and would not let Phyllis have them. So she went to the gaol with only her bag and shawl. The Sheriff's officer promised that the lawyer should come up directly he returned, and the gaoler, who was a kind-hearted man, told;Phyllia she should have her meals with his family acd be made quite comfortable. It was the doctor, however, and not the lawyer that had to be seat for to see Phyllis, for she lay on her bed helpless with fever. CHAPTER XL. DISCHARGED FROM THE KAFIB HOSPITAL. Dpring long days and nights of stiffness and pain did Harry lie on his couch of sheepskins while his legand thigh were buried. They rubbed grease into his muscles of his back and sides,but still the inability to turn was almost maddening. Tbe Kafirs would come and talk to him for hours, and would listen as be talked of his wife and showed them the picture which his mother had flung round his neck as he went up the side of the Lochinvar Oastle. After two months, the same old man who had buried him came and gently removed the earth from above the thigh and felt the bone. He was satisfied that the union was complete, and then he unburied the foot. Then others came, and lifted up the patient en to the floorof the hot and gave mm other matf that he might gradually use himself to a recumbent attitude. The attempt at a changed position was at first agony, and it was a fortnight more before movement became easy. Even then, the healed iimb was weak and shrunken. When he could move well, however, Harry went to the Ghief and thanked him, and asked for the guns to mend. For three weeks the convalescent worked hard at mending guns, and had a hut given him and a cow and many sheep, and was made a member of the tribe. His limb had now gained strength, and he exchanged his cow and his •sheep for a horse, and bade farewell to the Ghief and his tribe and set oat with his despatches — which had never been taken from him — on his southward journey. He had been told of the fate of Von Schiickmann and of the expedition, and ma4e_ up his mind to deliver his despatches at Pretoria. He made his journey by slow stages, both for the sake of himself and of his horse, and at every step he thought of Phyllis and of how she fared, and whether he should find her in Nata , and, if so, could it be possible that the Dutchman's prophecy would come true, and he would no more be expected as a lover ? Trio uniform procured him rations for himself and his beast as he went along, and at length he arrived at Pretoria, handed his despatches to the State Secretary, and asked for his pay. Only a month's pay was given him, and he was told he had earned no more. He complained to the President, who said the Treasury was empty at present, but the balance should be forwarded. Upon hearing of this, the Secretary threatened to charge Harry with deserting to the enemy. Cursing the Dutchman's ingratitude, and looking carefully to his revolver, Harry at once saddled up, and, ten minutes after, was making the best of his way to the frontier of Natal. It was a long ride of 120 miles, and he was ill-mounted. All the more reason for losing no time. He rode unmolested the first day; but about noon of the second day be found himself pursued. Four Dutchmen, apparently well mounted, were after him. He had still twenty-five miles to go to reach the frontier, and so he pat spars to his horse, trusting to chance to offer him some position in which he might defend himself, and heping to overtake some Englishman's wagon. CHAPTER XII. TUB EJDE AKD TH8 BBSCUB. For five miles Harry rode on, and his pursuers were sensibly gaining on him, and he was beginning to fear that he should be obliged to resort to his revolver after all, when he saw before him a party of about twenty-five horsemen beginning to off-saddle, and two waeons, whose cattle were outspanned. What was more, the mea were soldiers. What would they be? It was not the remains of Von Schlickmann's force, who, moreover, wonld have nothing to do iu those parts, and he was not aware of any other body of Dutchmen who wore uniform, as these men did. While be was hesitating, he noticed something unusual, and which he would have regarded as impossible. It was the Union Jack floating ftem a flagstaff on oae of the wagoas, Eg took
courage and galloped up to the wagons, and soon found himopif among twenty-five of the Natal MonntedftiPoIIce, who were escorting to Pretoria SiiJTheophilus Shepstone, Her Majesty's Special Commissioner with reference to the affairs of the Transvaal. Harry raised his hand in friendship as he rode in among them:— " Filibuster?" asked one of the men. " Yes; I am the conrier," said Harry; " I did my duty till I was attacked, and broke my thigh, and then Umpaslela's Kafirs took me to his kraal and cored me. Then I found onr leader dead and onr force disbanded, so I went to Pretoria, and handed np my despatches; bat the Dutchmen struck off my pay, and these fellows who are coming after me are trying to take me for desertion." " Off-saddle, lad, and feed your horse, and mess with us," said Bob Kitchin, a big Yorkshireman. " Yon won't allow these leUows to take me, I suppose ?" asked Harry. " Not if you don't allow it yourself," said Bob. Presently the Dutchmen rode np. They came after a deserter, they said, who now stood before them, and they had a warrant to take him. " All right, lads " said Kitchin; " here he is, and now take your horses and feed them, and sit down to your victuals along with your prisoner." The Dutchmen accepted the invitation, which, indeed, no one who knew them woold have expected them to refuse. Bob Kitchin soon became very friendly with the one who seemed to be the leader, and there were evidently a good many pleasant reminiscences in common between them, which was probably the reason why Bob shared with his guest the contents of a good-sized flask. It was rather a fidgetty meal for Harry, whose nerves_ had hardly recovered their accustomed tone since his recent illness. He entered into conversation, however, with his entertainers as well as he could about Von Schlickmann's force and his own adventures. He also gleaned from the police that the official whom they were escorting was believed to be clothed with pawer to take possession of the Transvaal in the name of the Queen, with the consent of the people or of the Volkraal, and that the 3rd Buffs were near the border, prepared to march in, if required. When the dinner was about half over the police wagon was in-spanned and sent on. The Dutchmen looked round suspiciously, but Bob at once explained that they were in the habit of sending their wagon on so as not to lose time. At length dinner was over, and the police began to pack up their things. " Better saddle your horse, prisoner," said Bob Kitchin to Harry, "in order to be able to accompany these gentlemen. Here, Siddons, go with the prisoner and see his horse saddled up." " You dont want me to be taken—do you, Siddons?" said Hurry. " No; not by a Dutchman," said Siddons; " not so long as Bob and I are friends. He hates 'em." " I am badly mounted," said Harry; "had I not better take one of the Dutchmen's horses?" " You should have thought o' that before, my boy," said Siddons ; " yours has had a good feed —he has, and theirs has not taken much—they haven't, 'cause why, we cut up some onions, and sprinkled 'em among their fodder. They'll soon get faint if they travel further—they will. ^And you'll have four miles start, my boy, 'cause I've put away their saddles in the bottom of our wagon, and they'll have gone two miles afore the Dutchmen get 'em, and then there's two miles back, and then Bob's made one of 'em drunk, which we'd ha' made 'em all drunk, if there'd been more stuff; but, any way, there isn't more than three sober—there isn't, and I think Bob's handicapped 'em very fair—he has." » Hulloa! where are our saddles?" cried one of the Dutchmen. "Ah! where are our saddles?" echoed the others. It took some time to find out thvt they had gone on in the wagon. " Two fetch the saddles, and the other two guard the prisoner. " No," said Bob Kitchin; " you don't guard anybody here, though you are welcome to stop as long as you like. Here, my boy," continued Bob, turning to Harry; " I can't allow you to be here apy longer. Here's the warrant for your apprehension, which my friend dropped after he'd got well into the 'three-star Hennessy'— (here Bob winked loudly)—and you've got four miles start and a revolver, and only twenty miles to ride, so I think you know what to do." And Bob shook Harry by the hand as he rode off. Whether the Dutchmen were detained by a fruitless endeavonr to satisfy Bob that they had a lawful warrant, or whether their horses broke down, or both, I know not; but it was not till Harry was crossing the Buffalo into Natal, that two shots were fired at him, neither of which took effect. At Newcastle Harry sold his horse, and took bis teat in the post-cart for Pietermaritzburg. CHAPTER XIH. EH COCET—REUNITED AT LAST.
_ It was about half-past 12 when the post-cart drove up to the post-office, and Harry alighted with no luggage to carry but his blanket. The Court, which sat nnder the same roof with the post-office, had just then adjourned, and judges, jurymen, advocates, parties, and witnesses were coming out to get their lunch. Harry walked towards a turnstile which he saw in front of bim, but just as he was going through he saw two ladies on the otlierjepis and waited for them to pass first, when, to • his astonishment, the younger one, who was dressed in black, bounded forward towards bim. it was Phyllis. He had never expected to 6ee her in black, and so he was taken by surprise. " Harry, my own Harry," she cried, and she ran to the turnstile and threw her arms round his neck. Harry dropped his blanket and warmly returned her embrace. "You are come at last!" she said; "but Harry, darling, I knew you would, I always knew you were alive." "Alive! of course I was; laid up with a fracture of the osfemaris : I beg your pardon, I mean the thigh bone" "And is it cured now, my poor lad," said Phyllis tenderly." " Cured, pf course it is, splendid union; limb straight as a die; bnried it in the ground; simplest thing in the world; patient Wf entombed for two months in an agonizing distortion; first-rate fellows those Kafirs." " At Umpaslel'as kraal ?" asked Phyllis. " Yes; but how in the world did you know." " Allow me to introduce myself," said MJS. Lovelace, coming forward. " Oh, dear me, how very thoughtless of me," said Phyllis; " this lady has been my friend in all my trouble." " Trouble ?" exclaimed Harry. "Allow me to explain," said Mrs. Lovelace, "and let us come to Mr. Parry's office at once, as the action is in course of trial." "The action?" said Harry, astonished. And Mrs. Lovelace and Phyllis explained to bim between them. " There's Mr. Parry going away to lunch; run and catch him," said the elder lady. "Hulloa! Hi! Mr. Parry!" said Holroyd; "are you counsel for Mrs. Holroyd ? I am her husband. Let's go and have lunch together. I want to talk about the case." " Her husband!" said the lawyer ; " why, where have you come from ?" "From the Transvaal," said Harry; "just come in by post-cart; the simplest thing in the world; everybody must come from somewhere, you know!" "But you were killed by the Kafirs long ago," said the lawyer, " and your wife has administered to your effects." " Blazes!" said Harry. " Yes, certainly," said the other; " I drew the affidavit myself and got her appointed." " All right!" said Harry, " pin me to another affidavit and apply for a revocation ol the grant another day—simplest thing in the world—but let's have some lunch now and talk about the case." " All right," said Parry, laughing, " come along." They lunched together, and Harry was at first much troubled at losing sight of his wife again even for a moment; but he soon rejoined her in Court, whither presently the judge and jury and the reEt of the dramatis persona were beginning to assemble, Including Mr. Leftpoint, the counsel on the other side, and his client, Mr. Smiley.