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one that kneeled between two big shrubs and wagged a little ram bell.
"What in hell is this?' demanded the doctor fiercely, seizing the bell.
"It is me,' answered a voice, and the Predikant rose to his feet. Be careful where you tread. There are things lying about your feet you had better not touch. Has it done her any good?'
"You stricken fool,' cried the doctor, 'do you know no better than to go rattling your blasted bells about the place to-night? You're mad, my
man-mad and inconvenient.'
"But is she better?' persisted the Predikant.
"I'll tell you in ten minutes,' replied the doctor. 'But if you make any more noise you'll kill her, mind that.'
"The Predikant went with him to the stoep, and stayed there while the doctor returned to the bedside. At the end of an interval he was out again, and took the husband by the arm.
"It's over,' he said. 'She's doing finely. Sleeping like a child. You can thank God now, Mynheer Mostert.'
"Here!' cried the doctor, startled. 'Draw the line somewhere, Predikant. That sort of thing won't do at all, you know.'
"Now let me see my wife,' said the Predikant; and after a while, when he had warned him very solemnly on the need for silence, the doctor took him in and showed him Paula, thin and shorn, sleeping with level breath. The Predikant looked on her with parted lips and clenched hands, and when he was outside again, he turned to the doctor.
"I value my soul,' he said simply. 'But it is worth it.'
"I haven't a notion what you are gibbering about,' answered the doctor, who had a glass in his hand. 'But there's long sleep and a dream-killer in this tumbler, and you've to drink it.'
"I need nothing,' said the Predikant, but at the doctor's urgency he drank the dose, and was soon in his bed and sleeping.
"Next day, when he was let in to Paula's bedside, she smiled and murmured at him, and nodded weakly when he spoke. The doctor warned him about
The Predikant stared at him noise. dumbly.
"Thank God, did you say?' he asked at last.
"And me,' answered the doctor, smiling.
"I do thank you,' answered the Predikant. I do thank you from my heart, doctor. But for the rest
"And here, with a voice as even as one who speaks on the traffic of every day, with a calm face, he poured forth an awful, a soul-wracking blasphemy.
"We've won her back,' he explained, and she's going to do well. But she has had a hard time, and there's no denying she is very weak and ill. So if you go back to your bellringing or any of those games you'll undo everything. She's to be kept quiet, do you hear?'
"I hear,' answered the Predikant. 'There shall be stillness. Not that it matters for all your words, but there shall be stillness.'
"I warn you,' retorted the doctor seriously, that it matters very much. You're off your axle, my friend, and I shall have to doctor you. But if I hear of any foolishness, Predikant or no Predikant, I'll have you locked up as sure as your name's Mostert.'
"He left him there, and started through the garden to his cart that stood in the road. On his way he stubbed his foot against something that lay on the earth-a great metal cup. He picked it up.
"I am not a heathen,' he said, as he brought it to the Predikant, and therefore a Communion cup is no more to me than a sardine-tin, when it is out of its place. I don't want to know what you were doing out here the other night, my friend; but you had better put this back in the Kerk before somebody misses it.'
"The Predikant took it from him, but said nothing.
"And look here,' went on the doctor, 'it was my skill and knowledge that saved your wife. Nothing else. Good-day.'
"As he drove off, he saw the Predikant still standing on the stoep, the great cup, stained here and there with earth, in his hand.
"From that hour Paula mended swiftly. Even the doctor was surprised at the manner in which health sped back to her, and the young roses returned to her cheeks.
"There's more than medicine in this,' he said one day. 'Do you know what it is, Predikant?'
"Yes,' said the Predikant.
"You do, eh! Well, it's clean young blood, my friend, and nothing else,' answered the doctor, watching him with a slight frown of shrewdness.
"The Predikant said nothing. For days there had been a kind of gloom on him, lit by a savage satisfaction in the betterment of his wife. His manner was like a midnight, in which a veld-fire glows far off. He had grown thinner, and his face was lean and grey, while in his eyes smouldered a spark that had no relation to joy or triumph.
"Clean young blood,' repeated the doctor. 'No miracles, if you please.' He thought, you see, he had divined the Predikant's secret. 'I'm a man of science,' he went on, and when I come across a miracle I'll shut up shop.'
"Paula, from her pillows, heard them with a little wonder, and she was not slow to see the trouble and change in her husband's haunted face. So that night, when he came to say good-night to her, she drew his hand down to her breast, and searched for the seed of his woe.
"You look so thin and ill, my dear,' she said gently. 'You have worried too much over me. You have paid too great a price for your wife.'
"She felt him tremble between her arms.
"A great one,' he answered, but not too great.'
"Not?' she smiled restfully, as he lifted his face from her bosom and looked into her eyes.
"Never too great a price for you,' he said. 'Never that.'
"My love!' she answered, and for a while they were silent together.
"Then she stirred. 'Do you know, John,' she said, 'that you and I have not prayed together since first this sickness took me? Shall we thank God together, now that He has willed to leave us our companionship for yet a space?'
"No!' he said quietly. "Dear!' She was surprised. 'I was asking you to thank God with me. "He nodded. 'I heard you, but it serves no purpose. God forgot us, Paula.'
"His eyes were like coals gleaming hotly. 'I prayed,' he cried, and yet you slipped farther from me and nearer the grave. I strewed my soul in supplication, and there was talk of winding-sheets. And then, in the keen hour of decision, when you tilted in the balance, I sought elsewhere for aid; and while I defiled all holiness, ere yet I had finished the business, comes to me that doctor and tells me all is well. What think you of that,
"She had heard him with no breaking of the little smile that lay on her lips-the little all-forgiving smile that is the heritage of mothers,-and now that he was done she smiled still.
"I remember the old tales,' she answered. 'How does the witch call the devil, John? Water in the Communion cup, bread and blood and earth-is that it? and two circles-two, is it?'
"Three,' he corrected.
laughed soothingly. 'You poor muddled boy,' she murmured. 'Do you prize me so much, John? Poor John. You must let me be wise for both of us, John. I am not afraid of the devil, at all events.'
"Nor I,' he answered, 'so long as you are well.'
"But I am getting well now,' she answered. And I do want you to pray with me, dear. Put your head down, dear, and let me whisper to you.'
"She soothed him gently and sweetly, buttressing his weakness with her love. How can I know what she said or what he answered? She wrought upon him with the kind arts God gives a woman to pay her for being a woman, and soon she had softened something of the miserable madness that possessed him, and he kneeled beside the bed, sobbing rendingly, and prayed. Her hand lay on his head, and after a while, when the violence had passed by, he was taken with a serene peace.
"He bade her good-night, tenderly.
"Good-night,' she answered, 'and, John-I would that I could give you half of what you would have given for me.'
"As he went out at the door he saw her face smiling at him, with a great warmth of love and pity transfiguring it.
"Next morning, when the doctor came, he stayed near an hour in her room, and then came to the Predikant.
'Just tell me,' he said to
"Ah, yes; three.' She him, 'just tell me straight and
short, what you did to your wife last night.'
"The Predikant told him in a few words what had passed between them, while the doctor watched him and curled his lip.
"Exactly,' he said, when the Predikant had done. 'Quite what I should have guarded against in you.
you may go to your wife as
"It was so. She died in his arms in half an hour, with the little smile of baffled motherhood yet on her lips."
Katje clenched her hands and looked out to the veld in Now silence.
"After all," said the Vrouw the youngest of fourteen Grobelaar weightily, "a coward is but one with keener eyes than his fellows. No young man fears a ghost till it is dark, but the coward sees the stars in the daytime, like a man at the bottom of a well, and ghosts walk all about him. "A coward should always be a married man," she added. "You may say, Katje, that it is hard on the woman. It is what I would expect of you. But when you have experience of wifehood you will come to the knowledge that it is the man's character which counts, and it is the woman's part to make up his deficiencies. With what men learn by practising on their wives, the world has been made. "If you would cease to cackle in that silly fashion I would tell you of Andreas van Wyck, the coward a tale that is known to few. Well, then!
"He was a bushveld Boer, farming cattle on good land, not a day's ride from the Tiger River. His wife, Anna, was of the de Villiers stock from the borders of the Free State, a commandant's daughter, and
children. They both people of a type common enough. Andreas was to all seeming just such a Burgher as a hundred others who have grown rich quietly, never heard of outside their own districts, yet as worthy as others whom every one nods to at Nachtmaal. Anna, too, was of an everyday pattern, a short plump woman, with a rosy solemn face and pleasant eyes-a sound Boer woman, who could carry out her saddle, catch her horse and You mount him without help. see, in her big family, the elders were all men, and most had seen service against the Kafirs, and a girl there won esteem not by fallals and little tripping graces, but by usefulness and courage and good fellowship. She saw Andreas first when he was visiting mother's aunt in her neighbourhood. There was shooting at a target, for a prize of an English saddle, and no one has ever said of him that he was not a wonderful shot. He carried off the prize easily, against all the Boers of those
"They drove from Anna's home to Andreas' farm on the bushveld in a Cape cart with two horses, and sat close under the hood while the veld about them was lashed with the first rains of December. It was no time for a journey by road, but in those days the country was not checkered with railway lines as it is now, and Anna had nothing to say against a trifle of hardship. For miles about them the rolling country of the Free State was veiled with a haze of rain, and the wind drove it in sheets here and there, till the horses the staggered against it, and the drum of the storm on the hood of the cart was awesome and mournful. Towards afternoon, after a long, slow trek, they came down the slope towards Buys' Drift, and Andreas pulled his horses up at the edge of the water.
"She drew the whip across the horses' quarters, and in a minute they were in the river, while Andreas sat marvelling.
"You understand that it was first necessary to move upstream to a point in the midIdle of the river. She steadied the horses with a taut hold on the reins, for her young wrists were strong as iron, and spoke to them cheerily as the flood leaped against their chests, and they stood and hesitated. The rain drove in their faces viciously: Andreas, his face sheltered by the wide brim of his hat, had to rub away the water again and again in order to see; but Anna knit her brows and en