|Chapter Title||IN THE AMATOLAS.|
|Newspaper Title||Kyabram Union (Vic. : 1886 - 1894)|
|Trove Title||The Curse of Carne's Hold, a Tale of Adventure|
U S OF- .OARNE'S HOLD. A TAL'I OF ADVENTURE. BR G. A. MHrrY, fcor o "U aderD hka'li", s'With Clive olin India," ' A Caretr of IAIrse, Etc. CHAPTER XII. rat Tut .M.ATOLi. Tho corporal had already spread the news among the men of Ronald's intended enter prisee and they gave him a hearty cheer ao herodo off. thr. Nolan had advised himto koop the native who was going to fetch his horse back. " You won't want to walk into King Wil liamstown in that guise," he said; there fore, you had best put your uniform into the valise, and tll the man to meet you at any point you like--I should h ay the nearor to the bush the btter ; for if you succeed in getting the soung lady out of these rascals' clutches, yo mnay be pursued, and, if your horls is amhndy, lay succeed in getting her oway, when you wouil otherwise be soon overtaken." Stonald thankfully accepted the offer, for be saw that it might, indeed, be of vital importance to him to have his horse ready at hand? Wsth a lst wave of his hand he rode off, the chief and his six companions trottingalong 'aide.. Thu sun had set an hour when they reached " theaspot at which the chief had directed his twomfollowere to meet him. They had not yet Sarrived ti ' " lDo you think they will be sure to be able`to fid the placeo" Ronald asked the chief. "A Fingo never loses his way " the cldef replied. " in his way in the ark all same asday." o hif o ona In spite of the chiefs assurance, Ronald was dIdgotty and anxious. Ioe wrapoeda blanket round him, and walked restlessly utpaddown. It was nearly an hour before the chief, who, ._with his companios, hladthrownlhimeelfdown and lighted alipo, which pasosed from hand to h and,enaid sud enly : I" Onie mall come." Ro?nald listened intently, but could hear nothing.' A moment later a dark figure came Pireta at oncoquestioned him, and'alongcon. .. versation tookplace between them. ' S"What is he saying, chief ? What is he S"oying' Iounald broke in impatiently several times but itwas not until the man had finished that tie chief tarnslated. "'White girl alive, ines.; the othler two women alive, but not live lmn, torture them bad. Going to take the girl to Macombm ' "Thank God for that," Rlold exclaimed, fervently, for he had all day beet tormne?ed " with the fear that Maroy Armstrong might have mot with her fate directly she woe earned as rhenasre they goingto takoher i" " A lot of them go off to-night; go straight ato .Amatolas ; take her with'them.' "How many KretaP will there be any 'chance of attacinug them on the way?' The chief asked a question of his messeager. I: Hteaps of them," he said to Ronmld, for' the natives are incapable of countlng byond very low figures. " Too many ; no chance to anttack them omust follow behind. They ehow us the way." * "But how lowo know whereabouts tlhey wil 'comeout of thewood, Ireota It's miles long. While we are watching at one place, they may be off in another." "That's -so, inos ; no use to watch the wood. TWe must go to the. Great Fish River. Onlytwo places here they can ford it. Double Drift and Cornetjies Drilft, one hlour'e walk part., Put t half ohe place, half the other ; ten when they pass,o follow after and tend messengers to fetch upotheres." "That will do 'ery well, chief;" that's a capitol idea of yours. You are aura there's no other way they can go," "Heaps of ways," the chief said, "but those shortest ways-sure to go short ways so as to pass over ground quickly." "What are they going back for P" '" No bullock in bush, ncos, eaten up all the things roud,, want to go omo to kraals ; besides 'hear that'many white soldiers colme over sea to go to Amatolfs to fight." " Lowe fartm it to these fords P' S-. b oThro e hours march. We just start nohw. S, arsf sat oat soon. Get on horse agaitn.'' Ronald was not sorry to do so, for he felt -i that inthe dark he should run, a considerable r·-ixisklof laming himself agailnist stones or stomps, and min any case ihe would scratch 'himoself very severely with the thorns. . '. "Tell me, chief,"- he sad, when they had started, "' hoe did your- messenger" learn -- this, 'and what has 'become of your other -an F" " Not know about other man," the chief said. " Perhaps they caught him and killed mn; perhaps he is ldiding among them and dare not venture out. This man tell he go into forest and creep and crawl for alongtime, then at last he saw some Kal lrs come along, and Sso he followed them; so at last they oanme to Sthe place in the bush where there was a heap of .their fellows. They were all gathered round comething, andhe heard women crying very loud. Presently soms of the men went away,' and" he could seo what it- was two white women tied to trees.- The Kaffirs had stripped them and cut their flesh in many Splaces. They die very soon, perhalps to-night Sor to-morrow morning. Then he erawl up and lay in the bushes, very close, and listen to -talr. He heard that to-nighlt heap partygo away to Amatolas and take white woman as . present to Macomo ; then other Kaflirs come •nd they, lie down all about, and he did ,not dare move out till. the light go Saway. Then he crawl through the bushes a .oodpiece; then he gOt up and ran to bring ttho news.", "He hLas done very well," Ronald' said; "tellhim he shall -be well rewarded. Now - I. think he' might as- well go to the .camp and tell the officer there from me that two of the white women have been killed; but that the other has been taken away, as SIhoped she would be, and that I am going after her." S-, "Messago no use," the chief said, after n moment's thought; " better take him with us, Saybbe useful by and by; maywant to send Smessage." . -' "Perhaps it will be as well," Ronald : agreed ; :" and the message was of no real irm Speortanco." After three hours'fast travelling, the natives g'ing at a run, in spite of the darkness of the bight, and Ronald leaving the reins loose and trusting to his horse to feel his way, they ,came to the river; after making a nar row examinatlion of the bank, the chief pro. nounced tihe ford to be a quarter of a mlle - lower down, and in a few minutes they came on the-spot where a road crossed the river. " I think this is tho way thleyare mostlikely to take," the chief said, when they hadl crossedi the stream. "Country more broken this way, and furtheri from towns, not so much chance of enoeting soldiers. You and I and four man will stay hero ; three men go on to othler ford, then if they crose there, send one man to tell es;. the other two follow them and sos which w Way they go:" -"Do you know the Amnatolee at all, chief P" " Not know him, incos; never been there; travel all about these parts in last war, but Siover go up to Aceatolas." " Then, of course, yeou do not know at all 'where M~acemo's "kraa is ?" " Not know him at all. We follow c.en, sure enough we get there." The three men had not alorted above five minutes, when the chief said in a low tone: " Thep are coming," and gave an order to eeo of his men, who at once set out at the top - mfhs sped to overtake the others and brng It was nearly ten minutes before Ronnld could hear the slightest sound, then he became conscious of i low murmur of voices in theair, suda minute ortwo later there was a sphthinhg of water at the ford, fifty yairds from tho spot where they had lain down u r a bush. Oe of the natives lied, at Ierota'o orders, taken the Jesrse away, the chief telling him to go half a mile off, as were it to paw the ground sud .acnly, or make asiy noise, theattentlon of the -Yaftin, if witles heating, would bo instantly Darkas the night was, the figures of those - cocsing the 'vater could be dimly snade out, andRonald judlged there niust he folly three handred of them. After the firnt few had assed they raioe along in such a close y that he was uableo to make out 'whathor there wras a female aeonig them. The n.numbers of the afftirs eufIiced to lshow him there was Iio chalico whliatorir of effecliet a xscae of Mary Aristroneg while surrouiidcd by no largeo a bdy. As soon as aill hld croseed, two of the Fingoes .ellovowed close upon their traccs; five minutes afterwards another started, aoid scarcely hid ieu Sgone whes the three iien who hs ad bean sent the other ford retunieid with the messeeger whlibad recalled them. They loft at short i 'trvals after each other, anid tlieni toiiiidd nonuted his lhorse, which had now beeu fetched rap, and followed with fireti. "There is no fear of our missing them,. AU rhgi rceode
" No fear of that, incos ; that star over there ihisies over theAmatolas, theygo straight for it ; besides the twomeubehind them canheur them talking. If they turn off one'come back to tell us." 13uttheydid not turn off, but kept on for hours in a straight undoviating line, travelling atafastwalk. Ronald Mervyn kept wonder-t ,ing how Mary Armstrong was bc·aring up. Shen "was a strong, activo girl, accustomed to plenty of exercise, and at ordin .ry times could doubt tesshavr walked a long distance, but the events of the day, thu Eudden attack upon the wag gons, her capture by the Kallirs, her uncer tainty s to the fate of her f.ther, the harrow.. intortures of her compnioas, wichehshleslpro: Ibalybeen oompelled to witcss, andthebopeles. neasof her ownfato,might well have broken her down. IHe was sure that the Kaftlres would compel her to walk as long as she could drag her limbs along, but as she was destinedas a present to their chief, they might, when she could go no further, carry her. He groaned at his helplessness to aid her, and had he not had a perfect faith in the cunning of his companions,andin their abilityto follow hor up wherever hshe was taken, he would have been inclined to take the mad stop of charging right il among the Kaflirs, upon the one chance of snatchigo her up and carrying her off from among them. Rlonald Mervyn of the Capo Riifls was a very different man from Captni M~ervyn of thl Borderers. The terrible event that had caused him to throw up his commission - and leave the country had in other respol'ts been of great advantage... He bad for years beeoon haunted by the fear of madness, and whenever ho felt low and out of spirits this fear of in sanity had almosat overpowered him. The trial had cured him of tlihe;. i, he had convinced himself that chad he inherited 'the slilhtest taint of the curse of the Carnes, he would havo gone mad while awaiting his trianl; that he had kept his head perfect under such circumstauces seemed to him an absolute proof that he was te sane ase other men, and honteforth he hanished the fear that so long haunted him: ' t It was in tiutli that fear which had held hint back solong from entering into a formal engage ment with his cousin Margargaret. Hoelooked upon it as an absolutely settled thinig that they would bemarried some day, but had alnost uncon sciously shrunk from making that day a deft nits one; and although for a moment iae had burst into a fit of wild anger at being, as he considered, thrown aside, he had since acknow ledged to himself that Margaret's decision had beea a wise one, and that it was better thatthey two should not have wed. He had always been blessed with goodpirite, except atthe times.when the fit of depresion seized him; but since he hod beeoon at the Cape and boon on active duty, these fits of dopres sion had entirely. passed away, and his un varying good temper under all circumstances had often been the subject of.remark among his comrades. As lie rode along that night, he acknowledged, what lie had never before admitted to himself that he loved MaryArm strong. The admission was a bitter rather than a pleasant one. ' I shall never marry now," he had saidtohis mother, at his last interview with her. " No wife or child of mine shall- ever hear it whispered that her husband or father was ia murderor. Unlossthis cloud is some day lifted -and how it can' be Hoeaven only knows-I must go through the world altno, and so he thought still. It might be that as Harry Blunot lie might settle down in the colony and never be recognised; but hlie would always have the fear that at any moment some officer he had known, some man of. his regiment, some oemi grant from his country, might recognise him, and that the news would be passed round that Harry Blunt was the Captain Morvyn who escaped only from want of legal prooffrom being hung as the murderer of his cousin. " I didn't think I was such a fool," he mut tered to himself, " as to bo caught by a pretty face. However, it will mrak no difference. She will never knowit. If her father recovers, which is doubtful, she will go back with him to the old country. If not, sithe will go back alone, for without friends or relatives she cannot stay hero, and she will never dream that the sergeant of -the Cape Rifies, who had the luck twice to save her life-that is if I do save it-was fool enough to fall in lovewith her." r An hour before morning one of the Fingoes came back from the front with the news that the Ktffirs had turned off into a kloof, and .were golngto halt there.. The party soon col lected, and. retired to a clump of. trees it mile back., ,One of -themrnwas ordered to" act as sentry nearthe kloof, and-. bring backword at once should' any movement 'take place. The roest of the party upon reaching the shelter of the trees threw hemssolves upon the ground and were soon fast asleep; oven Ronald, anxious as he wbes,remaining awake but a fwrrminutesafter the others. The sun was high before they awoke. As they were' eating their breakfast the sentry returned, aid nnother was despatched to take his place. The man reported that lie lid seer orheard nothing of the Kadlrs, but that four of them were placed on the watch near the kloof. Kreta led IRonald to the edge of the wood, and pointing to a jgged range of hills in the dis tahoe, said: " Amatolas !" " How far are they away, Kret P"c " Si hours' fast walking," the chief said. " Theyget tofootof hills to-night. If Macomo's kraul onvwero -this side, they may get there; If not, they 'wait and. rest a; bit, ai?d then go on. No need travel to-night. When they get to hills, they; know very well no white soldier there.". " 'Whathad we better do, do you think F" S" There are plenty of-men always on look out-sure to be some on.hills. I will sendtwo men after them, and they creep and ecawl through the bushos;'? find out the way, ant bring news to me, then when they come back we will start." - " But we must, boethere in the evening," Ronaldsaid ;- " we must be there, chief ; do youhear?" . "." "Yes, ines ; but it seems to me that it do no pood to throw our lives away. If you say go, kreta will go too ; -but if es elled, the. girl will be killed too, and no good that that Kleta can see ; if we go in day time, we Killed, suro enough. Not possibla to get into Amatolas without being seoon, all grse and smooth land at foot of hill. On hill,, some places trees, thero we manage very well ; some open spaces thero'they see us." : r ' " I don't wish to throwour lives away, chief. If I wanted to throw my own ,away, I have no right to sacrifice yours andyour men's; but scouts on the look-out would surely take us at a distance as' a party of ,their own men returning from somo . plundering exptedi lion, probably as part of the party ahead who had hung back for some purpose on the road." . "Great may kraals, great many people in Amatolas," the chief said; !' sure to meet some one. They begin to ask qucstions, they ceI ver soon we not Kaitrs ; they see with half an eye yout not Kaffir ; might pass at niglt very well, but no pase in day. But per raps we have time, iucos. Chiefs wander about,, hold council and meet each other ; perhaps aceame not at home, very like he away when ohey got there." , 'Pray bodtit may beo so," Ronald said, E oindgly. "I[t haOms the only hope we el ?rta, I put myKself t your hands.. You know 'much more about it then I do. As you say, owe smhall do no good to hises Arstroog be throweing a\'tay oucr lives, teliroore I put asido my own plans and trust'toyou." " I no may we can savo her, einos, btifio ran evwill. Youmakesureofthat." The tcri night took themr to the foot of the ills, and when the Kafltra hadited, the chief I rdered two of his monto make a circuit round he hills and conical themselves hi the wood tefore morning broke, so thatwhon the Kafltrs moved on they ould at once follow them without having to cross in daylight the grassy elopes of the foot hills. Minute instructions were given to both as to following the kafllr party, the ordrbeinigthat i oitrf o them could poune upon a olitery kaoitr iWe was to etun liim with his kinobkerry, end force him sehen he recovered, to' give mnformation as to the diealinc, diroction, and road to Nacomo's kraMl, and that hi was then to be aeoegaid at once. Feeling that Itouald might not altoge lier approve of tlis lastitem, for Ies was isevare bat toe white mare hiud what he considored a I ilhl" objection to unnecessary bloodehed, Kreto, otructions he had given to the spies, did ciot think it ncceasary to detail this portion of them. " hlero shall wc stay during the 'day P" toeaht inquired of him. " The nouotry seems i perfectly hat and unibrkere ; tletirloolk-outweill eoi us a long way olF." " Yea, incos ; not do to stop hero. 'Wosund eorsobackto first bush, ard tell man to bring mira every nrighlt to bottom of the hill, or if he rio os froni a diatanic cominig dowin the hill eithi iallrs after us,. to coree to cueot Cs. 'VO lie down hero till reorninrg, look-out on hillnay ceo us, "but Kanfifr at foot of lill no see us. I 'hoeewhun they go on, we go one too, as you said, and follow as far as flrstwood ; look-out think we belong to big party ; thene we Iddo there till miJ ox my inecs come back. I told them we should le at edge of wood, and he is tomakosignals as he ealko along. Woe willi
push on as fur as we cans, so that we don't come upon krmel.' That will do verywoll indeed," Ronald said, " for every inch that we can got nearer to Ida come's kraal is so nuch gained." He removed the pisiol from his holsters, snd fastened thea to his bolt, putting them so far back that they were completely hldden by the blanket he wore over his shoulders, and then ,yent with the party some little distance back, and lay down till morning. Almost as sool as it was daybreak, the Ftmgo who was on the watch ansnounced that the Karaire were movring, and the little party at once followed. The tKaid r hid disatpeared among the woeds, high up on the hill side, when they began to ascend th groans slope. Tlhey had no doubt that they were observed by tihe ?atfirs' watehoen. but they proceeded' bollr, feeling eaure that it would be suppoed .that they belouhed to the prarty ahead of them. The patli through the ferme was a narrow one, and they moved along in single file., Ono of the party went fithy yards ahead,' walking autiously, and evidently listoning intently, the others proceedSing noiselessly, pretatrd to bound into the forest directly the smaneahad gave'tho signal that anyono was approaching. I'or upwards of at mile they kept their way, the grould risihng cotinually ; thnI they eoachled a 'pot whore a deep valley fell away at their oeet. It divided into; several branclhes, and wreaths of smoke could be seen curling up hrough the trees at a number of paints. Similar indications of kraals could be sons everywhere uposn tse hill side, and Kretoeook " No asm go further. Heaps of .?aftrs all about.. Muost wait noes. .- - - r " iEven iLonald, senious as he was to go on, felt that it would be risking too much to proeeod. ThPo kraels werea so numerous that its soon ah ,they got into thesralley l y.t would be b sure to run into ona ; unild,i tporaover,othd' spti .would' forrinto nimnny, bKanclesahdand it would be ins.' possible for them toseiywhlichof these the party ahead had taken.- They wont into the wood some little- distance aid-lay'dowe, one being loeft ont tie watch in the .bash close to tse road. Tile hours passed slowly whilo they waited the roturs of one ' of the men who hadbeen posted before daylight in the owood, and who were to follow close upon the footsteps of ?tlie afitrs.' It was ' o'clock, before the- look; oat by the path returned with one of. these Fingocs. HIe said a faw words to the chief, and although Ronald could not understand him he saw by tie expression of Krota'sface that the noews was satisfactory. " Girl got to Macomo's kraal," the chiefsamd. "btcomo not tleree-rono to Sanditti. 1a come laokto-night. Most likely goet drunk and not come back till to-morrow. Maomo drink very muclh," "All the battor," Ronaldsaid. "Thank God we have got a few hours before us.". Thie man guae a narratios of Ils proccodinugs to Kreta, who translated them to Ronald. Directly the tKailra had passed the point whore he and his comrado were hidden, they came out of the bush and followedr closely behind them, somotimes dropping behind a little so its to be quite out of sight if any of 1 them should look round, and thal, going on aster unstil they could get a glitpse of them, so ns to be sure that they were going in the right direction. Tisey had passed through several kraals. Before tley came to each of those the men had waited a little, and had then gone on at a run, as if aLxious to catch up the main body. Theyhlad thus'avoided questioning. Three hours' eallesintook them to rMacomo's kraal, and they huing about there until they had found out that Maommo was akwae, having gone off early to pay a visit to Sandilli. Kreota did not translate his followers' description of the manner in which this information had boon obtained, and tRosald, supposing that they had gathered it from thle lips of the Kallmre, asked no questions. As soon as they had learned what they wanted to know, ono of them haden romained in hiding near the village, and the other had returned with tie newsa. He had been nosrly twice an long ,oming bhok oa ho was going, tas this tn heo had been obliged to make a circut so as to pass round each of the kraaunls and so to avoid being questioned. t "Dfd he sea the young lady " t Ronald asked; " and how wassho looking o" Yes, he had soon her as they passed his am bush the first thing in the morning. She looked, very owhite and tired, but leoe was ralking. She was not bourld in any way. 'hat was all he could tell hil. hi " How soon can we go on, chief P" Ronald asked impatiently. " You e0, it is thre hours marcldng rovea if we go btraight through.", - , - " Canu go now," the ohief said. " Now we know where Maconio'r "kraal' is we non go .° straligt through the bush.;" " 'r' They rwent, back to the path.. The i go, pointed "to the exact position among the hills where Macou o'se krael was. Thor weroe two intermediate ridges to be crossed, butloonald did not doubt* the Fingo's power to follow a nearly direct line to thie spot. "' Now," the chief said, " you follow lose t behind me. 'evcr miod wabere you ore going. Do not look at the trees or the rooks or asy. thing, but tread in my footsteps. Remember if. you tread on r twig or make tie least sound perhapa someone notice it. May be noticed anyhow. Follows upon the watch may se us moving through tle -trees overhead, but must risk that ; but only don't make noise." Ronald' promised to obey the chief's instrun. tions, and the party a'ain leaving the patha tookt ecirth way toughth e trees straight douwn into the 'vally. At thres they came to such precipitos places thatthey were forced to make detours to got down them. One of the menu low went ahead, the' rut following at such a t distance that they could just keep himn insight through the tree. F?om time to time he d changed his course, as he heard noises or the ound of voicesthat told him he was approach- t nog a' raal. Attihnasthey cano across patches of open grouns. When' it was impossible to t rvotd' these they made no attempt to rosse them secretly, as they knew that the sharp eyes of the sentries on the hill top could look down f on them.. They, therefore, walked at a quiet pace, talkinug md gesticulating to each sther as they wont, on that they mighthe taken for a party going from one kraal to another. It was l o'clock in the evening, and the sun had' sot some timen when they approached the e kraal of Macomo. o ' It waspa good-sized'villago, and differed little from the ordinary Kaflir kraals except that two k or three of the luts were largo and behive t shaped. Thore was a good deal of noise going an n n dthe vilage ; grat res were burning, and round these numbers of the 'KafIlrs were dancting, representing by. their action the con. ' diet in which they had beeh engaged and the .j slang ter of their enemies. Te women weres di standing round, keeping up a monotonous song, to the rhythm of wldch the men wore dancting. 'At the chief's order, two of his men went je boldly forward into the village. Avoiding theis circles of light round the fires they moved care. ;essly about, catchling scraps of oenversation t hero and there. In ten minutes they returuoed w to the party, who wore hiding a hundred yards rc itse w whowoman is in the womna's hut, snet to that of Maesmo." "' Are there inv guards at the door P" Ronald ined. The chief put thc question. " No, nb guards bad - alon placed there. h thoro wore many seomen in tho hut.' There was as fear of her escpe.' Besides, if she got out where could shego to I" "Well neo , iscs, what are woto do P" the hlsief asked. "eohbavebrought youhere, and us sow we are reedy toale if yeou tell us. What Ic you think we do next P" ., W Wait a bit, Meets, I 'must thibk it over." E Indeed Ronald laid-bcen thinkingall day. "e r hod considered it probable that Mary A- nn strong would be placed- iathe hut of one of the i chief's wives. Th' first question was how to rommnusicate with her. It was aelnostcertidn that either some of tie women would sit up sal sight or that sentries would bo placed at ths ,,or. Probably the former. The Kaflrs had made a long journoy and had now doubtless been gorginsg themse'h-es with meat. ' They tis would bo disuinlined to watch, and would con. eider their responsibility 'at on end when tloy he lad ianded her over to' the women. It was he almost cemain that Mary herself'would he sleep after her fatigue of the last three dayso ;, yen the prospect of the 'terrible fate beforeher •ould scarsc sufllce to kcp her awake." r s "Do you think tar women wililit up with "Two or thro of them sure," Krcto re- a alicd, tt " My plan In this, Krota •it may net sue- he teed, butt can thsik of so other. In thel first dlco, I will go hito the kraal. I wil wait ntil there is no ouasear lthb door, then Iwlil s aioop med say in a Ibud voice, so that she may na seer, that she is -to keep awake at snigit. c fIneomo's women are none of 'thesm lieely to enderntesd Ensglihh snd blefor they ruse out toI 0o what it is I shall be gone. If thley tell the ele they have heard a stralge voice speakineg se enkssownseworls they will be laughed at, or at osta search will be made theaugh thel raal, o nd of eourse notlehig will be founsd. T'len, to- he eiglht, chief, when everythingsl io stillI proposa m tlat three of yoea shall crawl waith me reto the real. 'Wlene see aet to tie doer of the hlut you e • ill draw aside the hide that will heon ning ne ever it and peep in, Ifonlytwowomeu are hettyg liytn fire in tile centre, two of you tas rilleraewlin as noisolessly no possible. I knowr di ,hat you can crawl so that the sharpest nor cae aot hear you. Of course, if there are three, se
three of you w?', o in ; if two, two only. YOn will cranwl p behind tiht wornr'g adduly seize then by the throat and gag and bind them. Then you will beckon to heyoung lady to follow 3oo. She will know fromn my warning that you are friende. If she has a light dress on, throw a dark blunuet round her, for maty of the KafItr will go on feasting all night and mglht oes her in tge lightof the fire. '?lon I will harry her away, and your man follow ti so as to slop the Tulrle a momant and give us tints to got laut the bushoes if ws ur stni." ",rata 1ill go himself,'" tlhe hioef said, " with two of hi younug men. Do you not think, ainso; that there is danger o your calling oaut P". - - " hot inucli danger. I think, Kreu. They will not draun of a white man being here, in the heart of the Amaotolat. I thinkthere is less danger in it than' -that the girl might cry out itf she was roused.from her slee by men whom she did not know. She might think that it was Iacomo comeliome.!' . Kreta agreed in this opinion. " I'will go down at once." 'Ronald said; "they're making such a noise that it is unlikely auyonre otaido the hut would hiarme, how evorloud I spoke, *hile if I waiteduntl it got qumoter, In migiht be heard: Take my rile, reta, and-one of the pistols ; I wanut to carry nothing extra with me, in rase I have to make a sudden bolt for it" - -. - ary rmstrong-was lying apparently un noticed by th walol of the hut, while a ndozen women were ohattering.round the fire in the centre. Suddenly she slarted; for from thel door, which oas but three fet. high,' there came a loud, clear voice, " Mary Arestrong, do not sleep to-night. .Rescueis at hand.-' The women started to their feet, with'a cry of alarm at theeo minterious sounds, and stood "gazing at .the entrauc.; then theroe :was .a clnamour of toigus, ilaind} jroisutly one of them,. older than the ret, wa.lkad to the hnti .co and looked a t. > .: - - S"There is n6o h , she sid; lookifig round, and the -greater part of thewomen at once rushed out. The conduct of the women convinced Mary. Armotrong that.shs .was not in a dream." uid. that aho load roally heard the woras. Who could have spoken them, .or what rescue could roeach her P This she could not inmagino ; but shue. had sufficient self.pos. session to roaumo her reclining position from which she had half risean, and to close her ayes as if sound aslcep. A minute later, one of the woumen aplteared with a blazing. brand, and held it closa to her oyes. • "The girl is asleep," she said in Kallir, which LMary understood perfectly, " what can have been the words we hoardP" " It must liars been an evil spirit," another woman said; " who elso -can havo spoken in an unknlown tongue to no a" There was a good deal of hubbub in the kroal when thie womon told their story; some of the men took up their wsapono and searched thovillage and'the surrounding bushes, but tilhe gretter portion altogether disbelieved the story. Whoever hoeard of a spirit talking in an un known tongue to.alot of woman? If he had wanted to say anything to them he would have spoken so that they could undertand. It must leave been sono man who had drunk too much, and who hollowed in at the door to startle' them; and so gradually the din suebsided, the man returned to the dance, and the women to their huts. Had Mary Armstrong boeen in opirits to enjoy it she would have been amused at thelia various propositions started by the women to account for the voice he had heard : not one of them approached the truth, for it did not occur to them as oven possible that a white man should" have penetrated the Amatolas to Macomo's kraal. CHAPTER xIII. Ronald, with I?Kota and two of his men, now crept down to the very cogo of the bushes at a spot where they could command a view of thea entrance to the hut. " For aloer time female figures came in and out, and it was not until long past midnight that they saw the last fomale figure disappearinside and the skindrawnacross the entrance. " How long shall we give them, .Krta ?" " In an hour KrOta will go on," the chief said ; " but better to' give two hours for all to be fast Asleep." In about an hour, Ronald, who had bieon half lying on the ground with his head on his hands, looked round and found that the chief had stolen away. IIe sat up and watched the int intently. iho fires were burning low nows although m:iny of the Itffirs wdre sitting round them ; but there was still light enough for him, looking intently, to have seen a figure moving along. Once or twico hoe thoult: ho saw a dark shadow on the ground- close. to the hut, but he was not sure, and was still'gazing intently when there was a touch on the shoulder, and looking round he saw the chief beside him. . . " Two women watch," he said, " others all quiet. Give a little timo longer to naako sure that all are asleep, then we go on." It seemed to Ronald fullytwo hours,nalthough: it was less than one, before Kratangain touched him. "Time to go, incos," heo said. " You go down with me to the hut, but not quite close. Krota brinig girl to you. You bhottr not go. Krota walk mroe quietly than wlhto man." Itonald gave lids consent, though reluctantly, but lie felt that it was right the .Fiingo, who was risking his life for his sake, lhouldcarry out his plano in his own -way. -Krota ordered one of his men "to rejoin hie companions, and with the others advanced towards the vii. logeo. -" When within forty yards of the hut he touched Itonald and whispered to him to ro mainthore. Then he and his' compnion'lay 1 down onthe ground, and without thoslightest sound thatiRonald could detect, disappeared in the darknoe. - Ronald stood with" hisa re- I volver in his hand; ready at may moment to springforward aind throw" himsctf uponthoeI Kofiirs. - : , Mary Armstrong lay awake with -every faculty upon the stretch. ': Where the - succur was. to. come from, or, how, she. could not imagine ; :but it was evident, at least, that some white man was here, and was working for .her. She listened intently to every sound, with-her eyes wide open, staring at -the two i women who .ware cooking mealies in the fireo and keopingup a low muurmured talk. She had a not ovna hope that they would sleep.. She h knew that the natives constantly sit up a talking and folsting until daylight is close at hmad,and an they had extra motives for gilanco, she was aure that they would keep Suddenly-e-o suddenly that' she carcly kinew what had happened, the two 'womena disappeared from her sight.: A hand had a grasped each tightly by the throat, another tI hand had seized the hair, and with a sharpa jerk pulled the head on one side, breaking this neck mn a nmoment, a common mode among the Kalfir of putting anyone to death. .The whole thing did not occupy a moment, and .as the' women disappeared from her eight, two natives rose to their feetandlooked round. Convinced h that this was the succour promised her, she sat b up. One of the natives put his ingers upon i his lipo to indicate tho nieemusity of silence; y and beckoned for her to rise and come to him. When she did so he wrapped ft her in a dark blanket and led hor. to the door. IHe pushed aside the hanging. and c wllt out. r - . Mary followed close.behind him. He now put the blanket over her head and lifted her in hib arms. A momentary dread seized her est this might he an emissary of some other chief who had sent him to carry off Ma. 0 como's new captive, but the thought of the Englioh wordi reassured hef, and -at ny rate, if it w o here so, r position could not posaibly" b-e worse than on' the d return of Tacomo the nost morning.- S he wa~ncarried a short'distance, then she hardher bearer sayinEnglsh : " Come along. Itko hera bitfurther. Too close to T£afir still." . .: Y SShe was carried on for some distance: Then there was a stop, and she was placed on lier g fest. Then the blanket was retonoved froni her head, and a moment lnter a dark flguro sL?ed- i her hand; - - -. " Thank God, we have got you out, Misse Armstroug.' " - •The revulsion of feeling at hearing her -ow tongue was so great that she .as not capabled of sponkihig,andshowould havo fallenhad she 0 not been daspedin tha erintof, thep'areoai who addrossod her.. Her surprios at feeling that o the arms that encircled ler were bare roused- a her. - - - - t " Who are you, sir P" she askeid, trembling. h "I am Sergeant Blunt, Mios Armsotrong. No wonder you did not know ma.' I m got up in r notiv fashion. You manu trust you-ceolf with " Oh; yes, yr" tl girl'sobbed. "I kiinoaw ti Scan.. You save myd llfe once before. How did. ou cote hero And, oh, canyoutell me any towrs ahbout oty father ?" :- - -a " Hois hurt, Mims Armstrong, but I have every hopo he will ecovor. - Now you mustt he strong, for we munest be mileafromnheroefor ft morning. Cau you walk ?" . "Oh, yes, I can wallr'any distance,!' the girl said. " Yesterday it seemed to me that Icould not walk an inoeh further woro it to save my i life, and thley had to canrry me the last mile or tJiobuhu now I feelatrong enough to walk any ft " She can walk at pent, chief' Ronald sld . Lotus get forwarl at once.'
'They wore now on the pathway leoading down to thu kr?orl. 'Tiho chie took the lead, telling Mary Armstrong to takehold of his blanket and follow clooe behind him. whlile Ronald followod on her heols, the otherFingoes kopin?gin tho rear. The darkneos beneath the troee was denlo, and it was somne time before Rlonald could make out even the outline of the ligures bofore him. oefore up proicihng a kre?l a halt was made and one of the Fingoe- went on ahbuoi to sos if the fires were out and all natives inside their bute. Several times, although all the human beings were nsleep, the scout returned sayiug that they could not pass through the krual, fur the dogs had scented hirm and growled fiorcely, and would sot up such a barking when the party paused as to bring all the village outto see who t was the matter. . Theii long lenours that weo fllanltoneuough thlrough tIhe Ica h cc! uylight, but at uight were almost impossibleo, had to maclde. Ecachl tamu .this had to Ie done, Kretaliftod Mary Arina strong and carrioed her, and she lIhd noty become so exhausted thalt she was unable oven to protest. ILomald would hav r'carried her himsolf but he felt that it woulh bh worsu than nueleua to attomrt to do so ; thlouth uno icum biored he had thle greatest difhiculty ic nuoiiing his way througlcih'hi bushes ; he scratoiod ani torehis fleshl teribly. but the ohiof eeco's d to be posscmed of the eyes of a but, a:rd glided through them, searocly moving a- twig as hie pacsoad After goinb on for upwards of threo Loue tho hief stopped. "It will be gettoig light oon ; we must hlde her now; anuunot get urther-till to-nmorrow night." :