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effort. He relieved the horse terest; and the last cruel stroke of his weight as gently as he had been administered by the could by allowing himself to only woman for whom he had sink waist-deep into the ooze, cherished a pure affection. She and left the frightened creature deemed him a sordid murderer, to its own resources.
and had ordered him from her tended his arms sideways, and presence! Truly the effort to threw the weight of his body live cleanly was as fruitless as towards the bank, just visible his struggles against the allin the dim light. There were conquering sludge.
It was about six inches of water over- time for effort to cease, and lying the sludge, and he knew why not now? He could at its suffocating power was more least die without reproach upon to be feared than the spume his physical courage, of which and spray of a tempest-tossed he had a strong man's pride, sea. He paused for a minute for the world-his world-well to recover breath and balance, knew that a giant was but a and to withdraw his legs from babe in the embrace of the bog; the suction that was pulling and though there might be them into the partial vacuum slur on the swimmer drowned caused by the plunging in the stream or the fighter struggles of the horse. While outfought, there could be no he rested, the whole of the disgrace, no suggestion of events of the past few weeks feebleness, in losing a battle flashed through
through his brain, wherein the odds were clearly and sequently, as the terrifically unequal. Drowning, incidents of a lifetime are said he had heard, was a painless to present themselves to a death even to the strongest. drowning
Crowning He turned as if to throw them all came the soul-chilling himself back into the hungry thought this was a befitting ooze. A glance at the horse end to his life's struggle with showed its head was higher Fate. His plans and schemes, and nearer the bank. Mechanhis honesty of purpose, the few ically he extended his hand to less reputable actions of his give it an encouraging flick. career, had all ended in the The animal responded with morass of misunderstanding another effort and floundered and unjust suspicion. The towards a bed of reeds. Hartrobust soul-cleanness that had ley threw himself forward as if prevented 'him making wealth to catch at the trailing reins. by devious methods had been His hands came in contact accounted to him for folly ; his with some reeds that held hatred of sham and fraud, firmly. Cautiously, and withthat had impelled him to tell out jerk or violent strain, he the truth of the worthlessness drew his body through the of enterprises in which he had pasty mud till he could grasp been employed, had been set with both hands a tussock. against him
covert The action brought his chin motive that prefaced self-in- down to the level of the water,
and the fetid exhalation of ages with a parting pat he marched of decay half suffocated him. to M Queen's quarters. To escape it, he constricted his The old man sat up in bed, body and threw it forward by blinking at the lamp held in relaxing the tension of his front of his face. He looked muscles. He felt his knee Hartley slowly up and down. press something less yielding; “Man, but the royal road to then an elbow was arrested as wealth is vara dirty one. it sank. He had struck a What's it mean, Dick?” he patch of ground compact with said. the roots of the reeds. Next "Means that you've got to minute he was on the bank turn out, find the whisky, and with the reins in his grasp. cook some water. I'm a bit
“My luck is in. I'll see this wet and cold.” through yet,” he said aloud. When Hartley had got into
As he stiffly, and with much some of Adam's clothes, and effort, climbed into the slimy refreshed himself with a scratch saddle, a gentle breeze passed meal and whisky, he gave the over the veld, bringing with old man the story of the exit the far-away pounding of pedition, keeping back no jot horse's hoofs. It came from or tittle. the point to which he was “And the end of it is,” he riding when he made the said, when he had finished the plunge into the vlei.
He narration, “that I have come turned on his tracks towards back a wreck. I am being the main road. He knew his hunted for murder, I have lost objective now Krugersdorp Clarie, I have got to leave the was sleeping three miles in country if I can, and all I have front, and the Resurgam was to show is this." He indicated eight miles to the south.
the sjambok, which, secured to It was midnight when Hart- his wrist by a thong Afriley rode into the native com- kander fashion, had come safely pound at the Resurgam. A through. native in a drunken sleep lay Weel, Dick, I'm not going in the centre of the yard. to remind you how dead I was Hartley dismounted near him, against the business. You've tore off the dirty blanket that only muddled it, as you have partly covered the sleeper, and everything you've handled with it proceeded to rub down since I knew you. The great the mud-coated horse. Then thing is to get you away, for, he led him into one of the Dick, murder is bad enough, unoccupied Kafir sleeping- but high treason is an awful boxes, went to the building matter. How much did you say where the Kafir mealies were the diainonds were worth?” stored, filled a big cooking- “About a couple of thoupot, and placed it before the sand. animal.
“Weel, it's not so bad. I “If ever
a horse earned a shall not tak' all that I am feed, it's you,” he said, and entitled to, for I never built
on it, knowing you so well, any the worse
will Dick; but bargain's she?" bargain, and I'm not out o' the Hartley turned round fiercely. wood mysel yet. You must
up, you blitherer. get away away to Natal.
You I'll — cannot carry stolen diamonds “All right, Dick; you're unKimberley way, for that means commonly sensitive. Love going out by Cape Town. It affairs always change a man must be Natal or Delagoa.” till he's married, then he's past
Hartley sat moodily looking change. But you must get at the fire.
If these Smeer “It's rough, Adam, that I youngsters are on your track, should have missed fire. It's they'll have the Government bad enough to know one is a on you in no time. You must failure, but it's awful to be get through before they pick thought of as a murderer," he up your spoor.” said, not regarding Adam's
Hartley got up. matter-of-fact attitude.
“You're right, Adam. Dick • “If you're thought of as a Hartley has got to run away murderer, Dick, you canna say for the first time in his life. you're a failure. Murderers There are some things too big are the only popular heroes to fight, and this is one of them. who
never forgotten. You have got to trust me till I Every Englishman knows all get clear. I'm going to pay about Dick Turpin and Eugene off everybody, but I've no cash. Aram, but not one in a million You must let me have a few knows or cares who invented pounds on this stone." He laid chloroform or matches. Every on the table the stone that had Johnny - come - lately on the been part of poor old Smeer's Rand can tell you the story of share. the murder of Honey and whom Adam took it up and exthey suspect, but ask 'em who amined it, then laid it down. discovered the main reef or the “No, Dick, I'll no ha'it. I'm cyanide process. Dick, man, afraid of 'em. They carry a you'll be known in the Trans- curse. Keep it yoursel', and if vaal generations after they've you get through—and I ha' my forgotten who it was made a doots—you'll send me as much seven-pennyweight proposition o' the proceeds as you can spare. pay, and founded the B. K. What is the least you could Syndicate. Mind you, Dick, manage with?” I'm only speaking sarcastically; “Fifteen pounds." I don't want to hurt
feel- “Man, but it's an awful lot ings, but, as you say, it's an o' money to let go wi' no chance awful thing to be thought a o' seeing again. Mak’ it ten, murderer, whether you're one Dick." or not. I'm sorry about the “Make it ten," Dick angirl, though I've never swered. The restraint he disher. But she's only a Boer played in the face of a reflecgirl, Dick; she won't think tion that formerly would have
roused him to passion, was the fules say or think,” Adam remeasure of the depth of his marked when Hartley repeated dejection and abasement. his regret and sense of shame
Adam went to his room and in having to run away. disrobed. His bank
“Yes, Adam; it's a pity I hollow belt he wore next his was not born a Scotsman,” he skin. He returned, and care- retorted. fully counted out nine sov- “Weel, perhaps it is; but ereigns and two halves. He you've got the satisfaction o' picked up one of the halves knowing you're geographically and pocketed it.
A Yorkshire“I'll keep this, Dick; it's man I regard, Dick, as the much easier to remember odd outcrop and surface indication amounts."
that shows the good things Hartley smiled feebly, but that are to be found if you made no comment.
drive a tunnel far enough north “I'll lie down for a few to strike a Scotsman. I think hours while my clothes dry, you've nous enough to pull then I'll ride to some station through, an' ye
best on the Pretoria line and book wishes, Dick, though our partthrough to Middelburg, then nerships ha'not paid dividends. on to Delagoa."
You'll write if you get through, Hartley was astir and had and send the money by a draft saddled up by six o'clock. on the Netherlands Bank. It's The two men had a farewell cheaper.” drink together.
Hartley rode easily for sev“You must cheer up, Dick, eral miles. He did not wish to for you've a lot to do to get get too soon behind the ridge through. Man, but if you had that screened a certain clump some o' my pheelosophy you'd of tall eucalyptus - trees, for pay little attention to what Rietspruit lay just beyond.
CHAPTER XVIII.—THE RECLUSE.
Within a few miles of the dare venture to present as an spot where the Tropic of Cap- actuality its picture, forthemost ricorn intersects the 30th de- generous critic would be bound gree of longitude lies a flat to suspect that imagination valley that the few English- rather than fact had produced men who have seen it agree in it. All that is most picturdescribing as incomparable in esque and graceful in South its perfect beauty. Within African scenery seems to have the thirty square miles that been collected between those comprise its area are gathered mountain walls, leaving no all those essentials which com- room for aught that can sugbine to realise a picture of gest the prosaic and barren. nature so extravagantly rich No name has yet been given it in varied detail that no painter by the natives; and even the
map-makers have left it a rical order, tone by their rich blank, as if to acknowledge dark verdure the glaring green it as the untrodden neutral of the intervening grass. A ground between the territories narrow silver band of river, of the rival chiefs Magatien unmarred by intrusive rock or and Ramagoep.
sandy patch, meanders smoothly The floor of the valley is a between edges of reed and plateau many hundred feet willow, to widen into a graceabove the mountain · ranges ful elliptical lake, dotted with visible from its northern end, emerald isles of waving reeds. where the rocky walls open out It is a fair, peaceful scene of like the legs of a pair of com- subtropical beauty that passes and embrace a segment man look without of the horizon bathed in shim- delight. mering sunshine during the Graham Wilmot looked hours that follow noon, and down on it from the crest of packed in masses of fleecy the ridge that formed the cloud during those that pre- eastern wall, and after feasting cede it.
his eyes on the first sign of a About the centre of the white man's presence that he valley plain stands a cluster of had seen for many days, he beehive huts that the most looked around for a path by casual spectator would immedi- which he could descend to the ately recognise as being vastly valley five hundred feet below. superior to those of an ordinary The mountain - sides were very kraal. Closer inspection would steep, covered with bush and reveal the finished touch of a scrubby trees unknown to him, white man's hand; for though and cut into gullies deep and the structures are of ordinary dangerous - looking.
He was native work, the externals show weak and exhausted, and bore a care and tidiness unknown in the appearance of a man who any native kraal. The centre had toiled long and laboriously hut is larger than the others, through tangled bush and over and possesses two features that rugged rock. His coat and at once mark its European shirt were in streaming rags, origin. It has a window and and even the stout ridingdoor of regulation shape and breeches and leather gaiters construction. Flower - beds, showed signs of stress; while arranged in accurate recti- his hands and face, and much linear lines which no African of his arms, that could be seen native has ever been able to through the torn coat and plan, surround the huts, and at shirt, had numerous scratches varying distances are
on which the blood had harous cultivated plots, all dis- dened. tinguished by a regularity of He walked painfully along shape never seen in Kafir culti- the ridge till he found an acvation ; while groves of orange, cessible spot, and began to lemon, and peach trees, dis- descend. In a few minutes he posed in not too rigid geomet- had entered a dense thorn