Puslapio vaizdai

He's an awfully grand old fellow, you know. I could never talk to him as I do to the boys. If he thinks it his duty to marry me, I don't know if I can help myself. Poor Uncle George! I've always called him (uncle) like his own nieces, who are all my friends. I never thought that I should be (poor-ing) Uncle George! But he can't have heard yet of Micky's marriage. Fancy his going down to the ranch to stay with Micky and that woman! And then for a girl like me to toss him aside, after such a journey and such kindness! I don't know how I shall ever have courage to do it. There are fine women in London who would jump at the chance of being Mrs. Harshaw-not Mrs. Micky, nor Mrs. Stephen, nor Mrs. Sidney, but Mrs. Harshaw, you understand?» I understood.

«And now," she said, producing the second letter, you will laugh! And you may!» The envelop contained a notification, in due form, of the arrival from New York, charges not paid, of some five hundred pounds of second-class freight consigned to Mrs. Harshaw, Harshaw's ranch, Glenn's Ferry (via Bisuka).

"These things belong to me,» said Kitty. I paid for them, at least. They cost me the last bit of money I had that was my own. Mrs. Percifer, who is so clever at managing, persuaded me I should need them directly on the ranch-curtains and rugs and china, and heaven knows what! She nearly killed me, dragging me about those enormous New York shops. She said it would be far and away cheaper and better to buy them there. I did n't mind about anything, I was so scared and homesick; I did whatever she said. She saw to getting them off, I suppose. That must have been her idea, directing them to Mrs. Harshaw. She thought there would be no Kitty Comyn, no me, when these got here. And there is n't; this is not the Kitty Comyn who left England-six weeks, is it?-or six years ago!

"How did the letter reach you?» I asked. We examined the envelop. It bore the postmark, not of Bisuka, but of Glenn's Ferry, which is the nearest post-office to the Harshaw ranch. Micky's wife had doubtless opened the letter, and Micky, perceiving where the error lay, had reinclosed, but some one else had directed it-the postmaster, probably, at his request-to Kitty, at our camp. That was rather a nice little touch in Micky, that last about the direction. Come, he is honest, at the least,» I said, "whether Mrs. Micky would have scrupled or not. She could claim the things if she chose.»>

«She is quite welcome,» said Kitty. «I don't know what in the world I shall do with them. There'll be boxes and bales and barrels enough to bury me and all my troubles. I might build me a funeral pyre!»>

We fell into each other's arms and screamed with laughter.

«Kitty, we'll have an auction,>> I cried. «There 's nothing succeeds like an auction out here. We'll sell the things at boom prices we'll sell everything.»>

«But the bride,» said Kitty; «you will have to keep the bride.» And without a moment's warning, from laughing till she wept, she began to weep in earnest. I have n't seen her cry so since she came to us, not even that miserable first night. She struggled with herself, and seemed dreadfully ashamed, and angry with me that I should have seen her cry. Did she suppose I thought she was crying because she was n't going to be a bride, after all?

«OH, Mrs. Daly, I feel so ill!» were Kitty's first words to me when I woke this morning. I looked her over and questioned her, and concluded that a sleepless night, with not very pleasant thoughts for company, might be held responsible for a good share of her wretchedness.

<< What were you lying awake about? Your new champion, Uncle George?» I asked her. She owned that it was. «Don't you see, Mrs. Daly, mama does n't leave room for the possibility of my refusing him. And if I do refuse him, he 'll simply take me back to England, and then, between him and mama, and all of them, I don't know what will happen.»

«Kitty,» I said, "no girl who has just escaped from one unhappy engagement is going to walk straight into another with her eyes wide open. I won't believe you could be so foolish as that.>>

«You don't understand,» she said, "what the pressure will be at home-in all love and kindness, of course. And you don't know Uncle George. He is so sure that I need him, he 'll force me to take him. He'll take me back to England in any case.»>

«And would you not like to go, Kitty?» « Ah, would n't I! But not in that way.» She sat up in her flannel camp-gown, and began to braid up her loosened hair. «Kitty, I commanded, «lie down. You are not to get up till luncheon.»>

"I have a plan,» she said, «and I must see Mr. Harshaw; he must help me carry it out. There is no one else who can.»>

«You have all day to see him in.»

«Not all day, Mrs. Daly. He must be ready to start to-morrow. Uncle George will reach Bisuka on the fifteenth, not later. Cecil must meet him there, first, to prepare him for Micky's new arrangement, and second, to persuade him that he does not owe me an offer of marriage in consequence. Cecil will know how to manage it; he must know! I will not have any more of the Harshaws offering themselves as substitutes. It's passing strange if I cannot exist without them somehow.»

It struck me that the poor child's boast was a little premature, as she seemed to be making rather free use of one of the substitutes still, as a shield against the others; but it was of a piece with the rest of the comedy. I kept her in bed till she had had a cup of tea; afterward she slept a little, and about noon she dressed herself and gaveCecil his audience. But first, at her request, I had possessed him with the main facts and given him an inkling of what was expected of him. His face changed; he looked as he did after his steeplechase the day I saw him first,-except that he was cleaner,-grave, excited, and resolved. He had taken the bit in his teeth. When substitute meets substitute in a cause like this! I would have left them to have their little talk by themselves, but Kitty signified peremptorily that she wished me to stay, with a flushed, appealing look that softened the nervous tension of her manner.

«I would do anything on earth for you, Kitty,» Cecil said most gently and fervently; «but don't ask me to give advice-to Uncle George of all men-on a question of this kind -unless you will allow me to be perfectly frank.»

"It's a family question,» said Kitty, ignoring his proviso.

<<I think it would get to be a personal question very soon between Uncle George and me. No; I meddled in one family question not very long ago. »

"It's very strange,» said Kitty, restlessly, "if you can't help me out of this in some way. I cannot be so disrespectful to him, the dear old gentleman! I ought not to be put in such a position, or he either. How would you like it if it were your father? »

Cecil reddened handsomely at this home question. "I'd have a deuce of a time to stop him if he took the notion, you know; it's not exactly a son's or a nephew's business. There is only one way in which I can help you, Kitty. You must know that.»

He had struck a different key, and his face was all one blush to correspond with the

new note in his voice. I think I never saw a manlier, more generous warmth of ardor and humility, or listened to words so simple uttered in such telling tones.

<<What way is that?» asked Kitty, coldly. << Forgive me! I could tell him that you are engaged to me.»>

«That would be a nice way-to tell him a falsehood! I should hope I had been humiliated enough-»

She snatched her handkerchief from her belt and pressed it to her burning face. I rose again to go. «Sit still, pray!» she murmured.

"It need not be a falsehood, Kitty. Let it be anything you like. You may trust me not to take advantage. A nominal engagement, if you choose, just to meet this exigency; or->

«That would be cheating,» cried Kitty. «The cheat would bear a little harder on me than on any one else, I think.»>

«You are too good!» Kitty smiled disdainfully. «First you offer yourself to me as a cure, and now as a preventive.>>

«Kitty, I think you ought at least to take him seriously,» I remonstrated. «By all that 's sacred, you'll find it 's serious with me!» Cecil ejaculated.

« How

«Since when?» retorted Kitty. many weeks ago is it that I came out here by your contrivance to marry your cousin? Is that the way a man shows his seriousness? You sacrificed more to marry me to Micky than some men would to win a girl themselves.»

«I did, and for that very reason,» said


«I should like to see you prove it!» «Kitty, excuse me,» I interrupted. «I should like to ask Mr. Harshaw one question, if he does not mind. Do you happen to have that picture about you, Mr. Harshaw? »

I thought I was looking at him very kindly, not at all like an inquisitor, but his face was set and stern. I doubt if he perceived or looked for my intention.

«<<That picture, Mrs. Daly?» he repeated. «The photograph of a young lady that you jumped into the river to save-don't you remember?»

Cecil smiled slightly, and glanced at Kitty. «Did I say it was a photograph of a lady?» «No; you did not. But do you deny that it was?»

«Certainly not, Mrs. Daly. I have the picture with me; I always have it.»

"And do you think that looks like seriousness? To be making such protestations to one girl with the portrait of another in your

coat pocket? We have none of us forgotten, I think, that little conversation by the river.»

He saw my intention now, and thanked me with a radiant look. «Here is the picture, Mrs. Daly. Whose portrait did you think it was? Surely you might have known, Kitty! This is the girl I wanted years ago, and have wanted ever since; but she belonged to another man, and the man was my friend. I tried to save that man from insulting her and dishonoring himself, because I thought she loved him. Or, if he could n't be saved, I wanted to expose him and save her. And I risked my own honor to do it, and a great fool I was for my pains. But this is the last time I shall make a fool of myself for your sake, Kitty.»

I rose now in earnest, and I would not be stayed. In point of fact, nobody tried to stay me. Kitty was looking at her own face with eyes as dim as the little water-stained photograph she held. And Cecil was on his knees beside her, whispering: «I stole it from Micky's room at the ranch. That was no place for it, anyhow. May I not have one of my own, Kitty? »

I think he will get one-of his own Kitty.

OUR rival schemer, Mr. Norman Fleet, has arrived, and electrical transmission has shaken hands with compressed air. The millennium must be on the way, for never did two men

want so nearly the same thing, and yet agree to take each what the other does not need.

Mr. Fleet does not want the earth,» either, nor all the waters thereof; but the most astonishing thing is, he does n't want the Snow Bank! He not only does n't want it himself, but is perfectly willing that Tom should have it. In fact, do what we will, it seems to be impossible for us to tread on the tail of that young man's coat. But having heard a little bird whisper that he is in love, and successfully so, I am not so surprised at his amiability. Neither am I altogether unprepared, if the little bird's whisper be true, for the fact that Miss Malcolm is becoming reconciled to Tom's designs upon her beloved scenery. For the sake of consistency, and that pure devotion to the Beautiful, so rare in this sordid age, I could have wished that she had not weakened so suddenly; but for Tom's sake I am very glad. She is clay in the hands of the potter, now that she knows my husband does not want «all the water,» and that his success does not mean the failure of Mr. Norman Fleet.

Harshaw will take the Snow Bank scheme when he takes Kitty back to London. If he promotes it, I tell Tom, after the fashion in which he boomed » Kitty's marriage to his cousin, we 're not likely to see either him or the Snow Bank again. But «Harshaw is all right,» Tom says; and I believe that the luck is with him.


Mary Hallock Foote.





ITHERTO the most interesting features in the history of South Africa have been the relations to one another of the races that originally inhabited or have recently occupied it, and the most difficult problems which its future presents arise from the relations of these races. Three races are native, four are European. The cases of contact or conflict between European and aboriginal races, which have been numerous during the last four centuries, include those where the native race, though perhaps numerous, is comparatively weak, and unable to assimilate European civilization, or to thrive under European rule (a rule which has often been harsh), or even to survive in the presence of a European population occupying its coun

VOL. LII.-31.

try; those where Europeans have conquered a country already filled by a more or less civilized population, which is so numerous and so prolific as to maintain itself in their presence; and those in which the native race is numerous and strong enough to maintain itself in the face of Europeans, while, on the other hand, there is plenty of room left for a large European population to press in. This is what has happened in South Africa; the Dutch and the English settlers do not mix their blood with that of the natives. So far as can be predicted, both whites and natives will go on increasing, but not blending. We shall presently see how grave are the problems to which this fact must in the future give rise.

When the Dutch fixed their first post at Cape Town, in 1652, with no thought either of colonization or of conquest, but for the sake of having gardens which could supply fresh vegetables to the scurvy-stricken crews of their ships sailing to the East, they found three native races inhabiting the country. One of these, the Bushmen, though few in numbers, were widely scattered over the whole of South Africa. They were nomads of almost the lowest kind, with a marvelous faculty for tracking and trapping wild animals, but neither owning cattle nor tilling the soil, with scarcely even a tribal organization, no religion, and a language consisting of a succession of clicks. Unable to accustom themselves to civilized life, driven out of some districts by the settlers, and in others no longer able to find support, owing to the extinction of game, they are now almost extinct, though a few are still left in the deserts of the Kalahari and northern Bechuanaland. Before many years the only trace of their existence will be in the remarkable drawings of animals with which they delighted to cover the smooth surfaces of rocks. These drawings, which are found all the way from the Zambesi to the Cape, and from Manicaland to the Atlantic, are executed in red and yellow pigments, and are often full of spirit and character.

The second race was that which the Dutch called Hottentot. They were of a reddish or yellowish black hue, taller than the Bushmen, but with squat and seldom muscular figuresa thoughtless, cheerful, easy-going people, who roved hither and thither with their flocks and herds as they could find pasture. They were decidedly superior to the Bushmen, whom they hated, but quite unable to withstand Europeans, and their numbers rapidly declined, partly from the loss of their best grazing-grounds, but largely, also, through epidemic diseases, and especially smallpox, which ships, touching on their way from India, brought into the country. They are now, as a distinct race, almost extinct in the Colony, though a good deal of their blood has passed into the mixed black population of Cape Town and its neighborhood-a population the other elements of which are Malays and west-coast negroes, the descendants of slaves imported in the last century. Farther north, on the south side of the Orange River, and beyond it in Namagualand, small tribes cognate to the Hottentots still wander over the dreary plains.

Very different from these weak Bushmen and Hottentots was, and is, the third native

race, those who are called Bantu (a word meaning «people ») by themselves and Kafirs by Europeans. The word Kafir is Arabic, and means an infidel (literally «one who denies»). It is applied by Mussulmans not merely to these South Africans, but to other heathen; as, for instance, by the Afghans to the idolaters of Kafiristan, in the Hindu-Kush Mountains. The Portuguese probably took the name from the Arabs, whom they found already settled on the east coast. These Bantu tribes-if we may class those as Bantus who speak languages of what is called the Bantu type-fill all East Africa from the regions of the Upper Nile southward. Those who dwell south of the Zambesi are generally strong and well-made men, sometimes as black as a Gulf of Guinea negro, sometimes verging on a brown tint; and though they have the woolly hair and thick lips generally characteristic of the negro, individuals are often found among them whose cast of features suggests an admixture of Semitic blood. They are more prolific than the Hottentots, as well as physically stronger and better made, and they were further advanced in the arts of life. Some of the tribes dug out and worked iron and copper; all of them used iron. Their chief wealth lay in their cattle; horses they did not possess, but where the land was fit for tillage they cultivated it. They had no religion, except in a sort of magic, and that worship of the ghosts of ancestors which seems to be the most widely diffused of all human superstitions. Instead of a priesthood, there were wizards or medicine-men, often powerful as the denouncers of those whom the chief wished to put to death. Intellectually they were very much upon the level of the native races of West Africa. Like them, they had songs and popular tales, some of which much resembled those that have been collected among the negroes of the Southern States of America by the ingenious author of «Uncle Remus,» the hare usually taking the place of his rabbit, and outwitting the stronger beasts.1 Like them, they were organized in tribes, under chiefs, who in some cases enjoyed an almost absolute power, and in others were little more than leaders, obliged to consult and fall in with the wishes of their followers. Respect was generally paid to birth, and there existed a kind of law, consisting of customs handed down by tradition. All the tribes were accustomed to war, and,

1 Several collections of Kafir folklore exist: the latest being the interesting «Contes Populaires des Bassoutos,» of Mr. E. Jacottet, a Swiss scholar, stationed as a missionary in Basutoland.

indeed, lived in a state of almost perpetual we have, however, suggest that it was some intertribal hostility.

Of the history of South Africa before the Europeans came virtually nothing is known. The recollections of savages seldom go back further than three or four generations; and these Bantu peoples know nothing of their past beyond vague traditions that they came from the North. When the Portuguese settled on the east coast they found Kafir tribes established there from Natal northward, though there is reason to believe that large tracts in the interior, such as Basutoland and the Orange Free State, now occupied by Bantu tribes, were then wandered over by Bushmen only. One gleam of light, and one only, struggles through the darkness that covers the earlier times-the times which some one has called those of prehistoric history in South Africa. It would seem that, at some far distant date, a people more civilized than any of the present Kafir tribes had penetrated into the region we now call Mashonaland, and had maintained itself there for a considerable period. Remains of gold-workings are found in many parts of that country, and even as far as the southwestern part of Matabeleland-remains which show that mining must have been carried on, by primitive methods, no doubt, but still upon a scale larger than we can well deem within the capabilities of the Kafir tribes as we now see them. There are, moreover, in these regions, and usually not far from some old gold-working, pieces of ancient building executed with a neatness and finish, as well as with an attempt at artistic effect, which are entirely absent from the rough walls, sometimes of loose stones, sometimes plastered with mud, which the Kafirs build to-day. These old buildings are, with one exception, bits of wall inclosing forts or residences. They are constructed of small blocks of the granite of the country, carefully trimmed to be of one size, and are usually ornamented with a simple pattern, such as the so-called «herringbone pattern. The one exception is to be found in the ruins of Zimbabwe, in southern Mashonaland. Here a wall thirty feet high, and from six to twelve or fourteen feet thick, incloses a large elliptical space, filled with other buildings, some of which apparently were intended for the purposes of worship. There are no inscriptions of any kind, and few objects, except some rudely carved heads of birds, to supply any indication as to the ethnological affinities of the people who erected this building, or as to the nature of their worship. Such indications as

form of nature worship, including the worship of the sun. We know from other sources (including the Egyptian monuments and the Old Testament) that there was from very early times a trade between the Red Sea and some part of East Africa; and as we know also that the worship of natural forces and of the sun prevailed among the early Semites, the view that the builders of Zimbabwe were of Arab or some other Semitic stock, is at least highly plausible. Two things are quite clear to every one who examines the ruins, and compares them with the smaller fragments of ancient building already mentioned. Those who built Zimbabwe were a race much superior to the Bantu tribes, whose mud huts are now to be found not far from these still strong and solid walls; and those other remains scattered through the country were either the work of that same superior race, or, at any rate, were built in imitation of their style and under the influence they had left. But whether this race was driven out, or peaceably withdrew, or became by degrees absorbed and lost in the surrounding Bantu population, we have no data for conjecture. If they came from Arabia they must have come more than twelve centuries ago, before the days of Mohammed; for they were evidently not Mussulmans, and it is just as easy to suppose that they came in the days of Solomon, fifteen centuries earlier.

It is this mystery which makes the ruins of Zimbabwe, the solitary archæological curiosity of South Africa, so impressive. The ruins are not grand, nor are they beautiful. They are simple almost to rudeness. It is the loneliness of the landscape where they stand, and still more the complete darkness which surrounds their origin, their object, and their history, that gives to them their unique interest.

For us the curtain rises upon the Kafir peoples when the Dutch settlers, spreading slowly eastward from the neighborhood of the Cape, came into contact, and presently into conflict, with them. Hostilities first broke out in 1779, and in the century that followed there are reckoned no fewer than nine Kafir wars. The natives fought with a fierceness comparable to that of North American Indians; and though less skilled in the arts of ambush and surprise, they were not less swift in their movements, or less fearless in meeting death. Had the policy of the colonial government been firmer and more consistent, much fighting and suffering might have been saved; yet some of its errors were due to a desire to deal gently with the natives,

« AnkstesnisTęsti »