« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
Dame, it is my will that she grumbling to herself ; but there was should sleep where she now is,” Lady no disobeying this stately lady, no Marlowe answered. “I have women parleying with her. enough to attend on her. I left her When she was gone, stumping into at her evening prayers in the oratory. the distance, Lady Marlowe glided Go back to your maidens-sleep, all softly on alone across the moonlit
I am awake, watching, the court. Antonio followed her far off, guards are set, -do you hear me? like a stealing shadow, watched her Be gone to your bed.”
as she went towards the town gate, Dame Kate turned slowly away,
and then turned and fled another way.
(To be continued.)
OMAR IN AN AFRICAN VINEYARD.
It was a wicked book, the Parson Tradition could tell you the fate said, a book which no Christian man of that hawker. He died at the should read because it made you dis- diggings, years later, from a consumpcontented with your environment and tion of which he had believed himself rendered you callous to the natural radically cured. Riotous living, the consequences of your follies in this result of such constant perusal of the world and the next. So it lay up on Oriental philosopher who denied that the loft, a much soiled, dingy little he was a philosopher, had doubtless volume of widely spaced lines and accelerated his end; but nothing degrey, age-bleached covers, amidst a finite was known on that point, nor havoc of incompatible literature, with as to the antecedents of the young the little Treubner text of the META- hawker. And it was only by turning MORPHOSES and the stained, yellow over the files of the old COMMERCIAL leaves of the Lucretius, of which the ADVERTISER (now long since deParson only remembered one line : scended into that oblivion which over
takes all journals which do not Quæ quoniam rerum Naturam sola happen to possess a lengthy advertisegubernas.
ment list) that one could prove that No one knew how it had got there, Henry Everard Hendley, of Rathangan but tradition asserted in the Pastor's in the County of Kildare, had arrived household that a godless hawker (who in the colony, years before anyone sold Manchester calicoes of startling had heard of FitzGerald or dreamed hue to the Kaffir maids and bought of the diamonds in the country. in exchange ostrich-feathers from their That was the name in the little book, employers at a time when people were and underneath it, in an unmistakerushing to the river diggings in the ably feminine hand, and with the s north) had left it there, together formed like an f in the old style, with sundry other volumes of which were the words A present on his the same tradition could tell you the birthday from his devoted E. N. titles. There was a small Shakespeare First acquaintances with Omar are which, having found favour even in usually made in an armchair, with that fold of strict Calvinism, had been the philosopher on one's lap and a rebound in blue cloth, and now kissed glass of whiskey toddy on the table, the boards of Dutch theological tomes an environment, no doubt, which on the study shelves. There was an would have earned the whole-hearted equally diminutive Keats, with a part approval of Khayyam himself. With of the Endymion torn out and many a cheerful fire burning, and the sleet interlineations between the
driving against the window outside, There was & French volume, the introduction becomes immeasurwhich, being unintelligible to the ably pleasanter, and although the majority, tradition had invested with edition may not be the first, even more heathenish vices than it had though it may not be that of Fitzattached to FitzGerald.
Gerald, one becomes enamoured of the
new-comer before he has yet wan- round the poles of which showy purple dered farther than the cock crowing Lachrymæ Christi hung in large, and the fleeing of the stars ; that bloom-decked clusters. A wealth of is, provided one is of a disposition grenadellas twined over
over the wall, to merit the Parson's strictures and their dark blue and white flowers sympathise with the hawker and the showing clearly against the snowy unknown E. N.
whiteness of the house to which But this was a different meeting. they had attached themselves. Omar place. Outside, under a sky that was would have sat there, and made more cloudlessly blue and in an atmosphere quatrains, and drunk more wine, and that was freshened by a breeze just talked his cheery philosophy to the sufficient to stir the tops of the native brats who ran about half oleander bushes, outside in the scent naked playing with the ostrich chicks. of the maturing pontac leaves and Poor Henry Everard Hendley knew the undercurrent of softer odours the it differently. In his day it was breeze wafted from the riverside, the sedgegrown, most of it, though the little volume “curled round your vineyard was there and the dateheart like a clematis tendril ” as Aunt palm, and lower down, where the Keet (who read devotional books with water-furrow became a quagmire, a a fervour which had won her canoni. grove of plantains that used to bear sation rights) was wont to say when fruit with big stones in them. He was referring to her favourite Bogatzsky. a queer fellow, people still tell you, The smooth screen of the orange sauntering about the place in the twitrees and the long vineyard stretch- light and writing bulky letters which ing below, miles as it seemed of he took to the post-bag but never put serried, neatly pruned hanepoot sticks in though he addressed them carefully that bore luscious fruit in mid- and franked them with three penny February, had nothing very Oriental stamps. Some of the lines in the about them, it is true. The palm tree Omar he had underscored, he or lower down the garden gave an Eastern somebody else, and most of them touch to the scene ; but then it never were suggestive. bore dates and afforded but little shade against the hot summer sun, Oh, take the Cash-in-Hand and waive
the Rest so that even when steeped in Omar you could not quite fancy that it was the oasis spot where you could sit and was one, and below on the same page read FitzGerald and drink the sweet white wine (misnamed hock) which --in some
corner of the Hubbub uncle Ben Hugo manufactured, and
coucht sold for fifteen shillings the half aum
Make Game of that which makes as
much of Thee. on market-days. And yet the atmosphere was Omaresque, the environment such as he would have liked,
And there were many others. If he
had another translation one the sad-hearted, merry-voiced old tentmaker of Ispahan. Roses blew in the
could easily guess what he would
have put his pencil under. kitchen-garden, roses of which connoisseur could have told the kind for they had long since been bastard.
This world an unsubstantial pageant
deem; ised. A trellis work ran over them
All wise men know things are not what (eight feet high and more in places), they seem.
Be of good cheer, and drink, and so ungrammatical and not strictly true,
shake off This vain illusion of a baseless dream.
perhaps, but somewhat of a vindica
tion for my large infidel. That might have been
South Africans would not apprepossibly. Khayyam would have read ciate Omar, if you were to translate his history easily and prescribed for
him into low Dutch and put footnotes him accordingly. Here, in this little to explain the historical allusions. Quaker-minded village, they under
Doubtless no one who cares for him stood him as little as they would
could appreciate him in such circumhave understood Omar himself.
stances. Willem Kloos writes exThe pontac is the king of vines, quisite sonnets, and Dr. Van Eeden is -in the foliage, not in the fruit. Its a poet to his finger-tips, but it is no grapes are small, sweet, currant-like. disparagement to them to say that Its leaves turn from yellow to red
they could not give us a translation as the summer decays, and the of Omar if they tried. Holland must first swallows fly northwards, and
needs take the Tentmaker's philosophy people begin to dig round the orange
in English or American, German or trees, growing brighter red and French, and it is the same with Africbrighter every day. On the hill-side anders. But apart from the difficulties they make a splendid show of colour,
of language there are others; and the which no one has ever tried to paint main one is this, that Omar and because you cannot put sunlight in a
Calvin are incompatibles, although picture, and without sunlight they the latter, with predestination and would seem mere blotches of colour,
foreordination writ large in his philoas if ochre had been strewn over the sophy, might have put in a claim for hill-side. Between the plants grows
kinship, and notwithstanding the fact yellow sorrel, luxuriantly rich, which
that I have heard the Persian quoted the children dig out and eat in sum
in the City Temple. mer time, or play at oxen with. To
But there were others in that vine. wards the outskirts of the vineyard, yarded village who were Omarists to where the garden gave up its civiliza
their hearts' core.
The Malay wagontion to the untrammelled wildness of painter was one, though, indeed, he the veld, without so much as a bamboo had never heard of the poet. The fence to guard it, startling crimson
natives in the pondoks were, blithely Watsonias blossomed in spring, redder idling their lives away as if they fully than the roses which had been watered agreed with Horace : by a Cæsar's blood. Yet they might have had human fertilisers. A Bush
Sapias, vina liques, et spatio brevi man's kraal once stood there, and
Spem longam receses. tribal fights took place on the hillslopes. Little Bennie, of the house The old shepherd by the riverside, of Hugo, found a skull there once, who had Bushman blood in him and which his father said was a dog-faced was proud of it, he too swore by baboon's, but which the village doctor Omar, though if you had questioned bought for a bag of lollipops to send him he would probably have replied, to the Cape Town Museum, where “ Who's he, oubaas ?” For they all now it is labelled Cranium of Khoi- followed his philosophy, they all lived Khoi, exhibiting characteristic parietal their day, and when eventide came depression. Presented by Dr. E. W. and they entered the Caravan for the Komfyt, from Paarl vineyard, -rather dawn of Nothing they did so quietly,
resignedly, with no unnecessary bed- ing the hymns of Moody and Sankey side ceremony.
Amadeus, the jet as accompaniment to the rhythmic black Hottentot who cut for the beat of their naked feet. Later on came stone such people as
were unfortu- the raisin making, when yards and nate enough to be be afflicted with yards of straw matting were put out that malady and simple enough to under the trees and the big bunches believe in his ancient methods, had of grapes, previously dipped in lye, his special proverbs which all his were spread to dry under the sun. neighbours used, and the trend of It was an ideal environment in which every one was Omarwards. “Dry to read FitzGerald. sticks are made to burn "-"What Bacon loved the smell of reddening did our good little Lord give you strawberry leaves, and Charles Lamb tears for but to weep?” -“People that of half faded laurels. They both will die so long as the hills shine suggest something morbid, something blue "-"You can't put a sweet of decay and death, which always potatoe together again when once present phases of beauty if one looks you've cut it"--and “Don't cry, we at them in a proper, Omarlike spirit. know all about it.” It was the philo- For me, give me the smell of the sere sophy they had found practical all leaves dropped from the Lombardy their lives long; it was one that suited poplars long before winter has come, them. Life in a location is not long before the pontacs have changed always what those who talk con- to red and flaring crimson.
It seems stantly of the habitual laziness and to mingle with the other odours, that sloth of the average Cape native make smell, with the aroma of the veld it out to be, for there is enough sad- around and the perfume of the drying ness to temper lightheartedness. It
grapes on the raisin floors.
It carries may be evanescent, not from itself with it the twitter of the red-breasted but because those upon whom it chaffinches in the mealie fields, and presses feel much the same as the the deep, gardenia-like scent of white Tentmaker did. Who, reading Omar orchids near the river-side. with love and understandiag, be- Omar in a Cape vineyard is Omar lieves that he preached the gospel of beatified, rendered more understandmocking at Death and Fate without able, more at one with the world an aching heart !
around, even though miles of custom In the grape season they came and and mires of prejudice separate the tendered their services, man, woman vineyard men from thoroughly underand location child. They ate hane- standing him.
The little paperpoot (of the quality which is nowadays covered book was a bibliophile's prize, exported hitherward carefully packed and the dealer from Port Elizabeth in corkdust) to their hearts' content who bought up rare editions would and drank must (a liquid which is have given much for it. To Henry supposed not to inebriate) till the Everard Hendley it had presented vineyard whirled round and round who knows what? To the Omarist them and the shining granite boulders in the vineyard it meant more than on the hill-top appeared to be ogres all the village library put together with wide opened jaws. In the cellars and bound in red morocco leather. the men-folk rolled up their trousers And this was strange, the Parson and trod the grapes under foot, sing- said, seeing it was a godless book.
C. L. L.