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vanish within the doors of her own house. Her hand had rested gently, willingly, in his. "I am so grateful!» she had said; «so will Maxwell be. We shall meet soon, and laugh over our troubles.>>
And then she was gone, and he was left standing a moment, bewildered.
Eleven? What had he to do?
Then he remembered his pair, and that he had promised to call for Letty at a certain house, and take her on to a late ball. The evening, in fact, instead of ending, was just beginning. He could have laughed as he got back into his cab.
MEANWHILE Marcella had sped through the outer hall into the inner, where one solitary light, still burning, made a rather desolate dark-in-light through the broad, pillared space. A door opened at the farther side. « Aldous! »
He came out, and she flew to him. He felt her trembling as she touched him. In ten words she told him something of what had happened. Then he saw the bandage round her temple. His countenance fell. She knew that he turned white, and loved him for it. How few things had power to move him so! He wanted to lead her back into his library, where he was at work; but she resisted.
"Let me go up to Annette,» she said. «The little wound-oh! it is not much, I know it is not much ought to be properly seen to. We will do it between us in a moment. Then come; I will send her down for you. I want to tell you.» But in her heart of hearts she was just a little afraid of telling him. What if an exaggerated version should get into the papers -if it should really do him harm-at this critical moment! She was always tormented by this dread-a dread born of long-past indiscretions and mistakes.
He acquiesced, but first he insisted on half leading, half carrying her up-stairs, and she permitted it, delighting in his strong arm.
Half an hour later she sent for him. The maid found him pacing up and down the hall, waiting.
When he entered her room she was lying on her sofa in a white wrapper of some silky stuff. The black lace had been drawn again round her head, and he saw nothing but a very pale face and her eager, timid eyestimid for no one in the world but him. As he caught sight of her, she produced in him that exquisite mingled impression of grace, passion, self-yielding, which in all its infinite variations and repetitions made up for him
the constant poem of her beauty. But, though she knew it, she glanced at him anxiously as he approached her. It had been to her a kind of luxury of feeling, in the few moments that she had been waiting for him, to cherish a little fear of him-of his displeasure.
«Now describe exactly what you have been doing," he said, sitting down by her with a troubled face and taking her hand, as soon as he had assured himself that the cut was slight and would leave no scar.
She told her tale, and was thrilled to see that he frowned. She laid her hand on his shoulder.
"It is the first public thing I have done without consulting you. I meant to have asked you yesterday, but we were both so busy. The meeting was got up rather hurriedly, and they pressed me to speak after all the arrangements were made.>>
«<<We are both of us too busy,» he said rather sadly; «we glance, and nod, and bustle by—>»
He did not finish the quotation, but she could. Her eyes scanned his face. «Do you think I ought to have avoided such a thing at such a time? Will it do harm? »
His brow cleared. He considered the matter.
<< I think you may expect some of the newspapers to make a good deal of it," he said, smiling.
And, in fact, his own inherited tastes and instincts were all chafed by her story. His wife-the wife of a cabinet minister-pleading for her husband's bill, or, as the enemy might say, for his political existence, with an East End meeting, and incidentally with the whole public; exposing herself, in a time of agitation, to the rowdyism and the stonethrowing that wait on such things! The notion set the fastidious Old World temper of the man all on edge; but he would never have dreamed of arguing the matter so with her. A sort of high chivalry forbade it. In marrying her he had not made a single conditionwould have suffered tortures rather than lay the smallest fetter upon her. In consequence, he had often been thought a weak, uxorious person; Maxwell knew that he was merely consistent. No sane man lays his heart at the feet of a Marcella without counting the cost.
She did not answer his last remark. But he saw that she was wistful and uneasy, and presently she laid her fingers lightly on his.
«Tell me if I am too much away from you too much occupied with other people.» He sighed the slightest sigh-but she winced.
«I had just an hour before dinner,» he said; «you were not here, and the house seemed very empty. I would have come down to fetch you, but there were some important papers to read before to-morrow.» A cabinet meeting was fixed, as she knew, for the following day. «Then, I have been making Saunders draw up a statement for the newspapers in answer to Watton's last attack, and it would have been a help to talk to you before we sent it off. Above all, if I had known of the meeting I should have begged you not to go. I ought to have warned you yesterday, for I knew that there was some ugly agitation developing down there. But I never thought of you as likely to face a mob. Will you please reflect»-he pressed her hand almost roughly against his lips -«that if that stone had been a little heavier, and flung a little straighter-» He paused. Á dew came to her eyes, a happy glow to her cheek. As for her, she was grateful to the stone that had raised such heartbeats.
Perhaps some instinct told him not to please her in this way too much, for he rose and walked away a moment.
«There! Don't let 's think of it, or I shall turn tyrant after all, and plunge into (shalls and sha'n'ts! You know you carry two lives, and all the plans that either of us cares about, in your hand. You say that Tressady brought you home?»>
He turned, and looked at her. «Yes. Edward Watton brought him to the meeting.»
<< But he has been down to see you there several times before, as well as coming here?» «Oh, yes; almost every week since we met at Castle Luton.»
«It is curious," said Maxwell, thoughtfully; «for he will certainly vote steadily with Fontenoy all through. His election speeches pledged him head over ears.»
«Oh, of course he will vote,» said Marcella, moving a little uneasily; « but one cannot help trying to modify his way of looking at things. And his tone is changed.»>
camp in the East End at such a marked and critical moment was strange, to say the least of it. It must point, one would think, to some sudden and remarkable strength of personal influence.
Had she any real consciousness of the power she wielded? Once or twice, in the years since they had been married, Maxwell had watched this spell of his wife's at work, and had known a moment of trouble. «If I were the fellow she had talked and walked with so,» he had once said to himself, «I must have fallen in love with her had she been twenty times another man's wife!» Yet no harm had happened; he had only reproached himself for a gross mind, without daring to breathe a word to her.
And he dared not now. Besides, how absurd! The young man was just married, and, to Maxwell's absent, incurious eyes, the bride had seemed a lively, pretty little person enough. No doubt it was the nervous strain of his political life that made such fancies. possible to him. Let him not cumber her ears with them.
Then gradually, as he stood at her feet, the sight of her, breathing weakness, submission, loveliness, her eyes raised to his, banished every other thought from his happy heart, and drew him like a magnet.
Meanwhile she began to smile. He knelt down beside her, and she put both hands on his shoulders.
«Dear!» she said, half laughing and half crying, "I did speak so badly; you would have been ashamed of me. I could n't hold the meeting. I did n't persuade a soul. Lord Fontenoy's ladies had it all their own way. And first I was dreadfully sorry I could n't do such a thing decently-sorry because of one's vanity, and sorry because I could n't help you. And now I think I'm rather glad.>>
«Are you?» said Maxwell, dryly. «As for me, I'm enchanted! There!-so much penalty you shall have.»
She pressed his lips with her hand.
"Don't spoil my pretty speech. I am only glad because-because public life and public success make one stand separate-alone. I have gone far enough to know how it might be. A new passion would come in and creep through one like a poison. I should win you votes, and our hearts would burn dry. There! take me-scold me-despise me. I am a poor thing-but yours! >>
Maxwell stood at the foot of her sofa, considering, a host of perplexed and unwelcome notions flitting across his mind. In spite of his idealist absorption in his work, his political aims, and the one love of his life, he had the training of a man of the world, and could summon the shrewdness of one when he pleased. He had liked this young Tressady, for the first time, at Castle Luton, and had With such a humbleness might Diana have seen him fall under Marcella's charm with wooed her shepherd, stooping her goddess head some amusement. But this haunting of their to him on the Latmian steep.
(To be continued.)
Mary A. Ward.
IMPRESSIONS OF SOUTH AFRICA.
BY JAMES BRYCE, M. P.,
AUTHOR OF THE AMERICAN COMMONWEALTH,» «THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE,» ETC.
LACED in the center of the southern hemisphere, many thousands of miles from any other civilized community, and with a civilized population still extremely small in proportion to its vast area, South Africa has only just begun to excite the curiosity and interest of mankind. Twenty years ago even England seldom thought of her remote colony, except when some Kafir war compelled the despatch of imperial troops; and the rest of the world scarcely noted its existence. Now the discovery of extraordinary mineral wealth, a passionate struggle of races, and the possibility that the clashing interests of great nations may come to mingle in that struggle, have drawn all eyes to the southern extremity of the African continent-a continent the greater part of which was unexplored fifty years ago, and which even twenty-five years ago was an object of indifference to those European powers which have of late been so eagerly striving for a share in it.
The best way to understand the economic conditions and material resources of South Africa, as well as the political problems which now excite our interest, is first to understand the physical features of the country. They are very remarkable. Africa south of the Zambesi River consists, broadly speaking, of two regions. There is a strip of low land lying along the coast of the Indian Ocean-a strip only a few miles wide in the south, between Cape Town and East London, but gradually widening as it runs northward, till in the Portuguese territory north of Delagoa Bay it measures from fifty to one hundred and fifty miles across. Behind this strip, to the north and east of it, lies a great mass of high ground, rising from the Indian Ocean in hills and mountains from 4000 to 11,000 feet in height, but farther inland, at a distance of from forty to two hundred miles from the ocean, stretching out in a huge plateau elevated from 3000 to 5000 feet above sea-level, the more easterly part being the higher. The outer-that is, the southern and easternedge of this mass of high land is formed by a long chain of mountains, in most places higher
than the plateau itself. It has no general name, but the central part is called the Drakenberge or Kathlamba range. This chain receives on its seaward side, and thereby cuts off from the plateau within, the great part of the rains which come up from the Indian Ocean. Thus the plateau is much drier than the coast strip or the outer slopes of the mountains, and the westerly part of it, being farther from the rain-sending ocean, is drier than the easterly. Moreover, over all this country, except a small district around and north of Cape Town, the rains are summer rains, which fall in the months from November to February. Under the intense heat of the sun the country soon dries up, and for seven or eight months in the year it is parched and arid-much of it, as we shall see presently, little better than a desert.
This great and dominant physical fact-a low and comparatively well-watered coastbelt with a high and arid interior-has determined the character of South Africa in many ways. It explains the very remarkable fact that South Africa has, broadly speaking, no rivers. Those that run south and east from the mountains to the coast are short and rapid torrents after a storm, but at other times almost dry. In the interior there are, indeed, streams which, like the Orange River or the Limpopo, seem on the map to have long courses; but they have so little water during three fourths of the year as to be of no service for the purposes of navigation, while most of their tributaries shrink in the dry season to mere lines of pools, scarcely supplying drink to the cattle on their banks. This is one of the reasons why South Africa remained so long unexplored. People could not penetrate it by following waterways, as happened both in North and in South America; they were obliged to travel by ox-wagon, making only some twelve miles a day; and for the same reason the country is now forced to depend entirely upon railways for internal communication. There is not a stream fit to float anything drawing three feet of water.
Here is one result of the peculiar physical conditions I have described. Another, of no less moment, is the fact that the interior plateau gains from its height and its dryness a generally salubrious climate. The parts of the coast strip lying north of Durban, the ris
ing port of Natal, are unhealthy because infested by those malarial fevers which are the blight of Africa, and which, though worst after the wet season, are more or less pernicious all through the year. These fevers follow the streams up into the interior wherever the ground is low, and sometimes occur at a height of 3000 or even 3500 feet. But they are much less deadly the farther one gets from the coast, and above 4000 feet they seldom occur. The air of the plateau is so fresh, light, and invigorating that the heat even of midsummer is not severely felt, and sunstroke, so common and fatal in India, is not feared. This fact explains how the course of South African discovery has proceeded, and how it is the Dutch and the English, rather than the Portuguese, that have become the possessors of the rich interior.
In the early years of the sixteenth century, long before the first Dutch fort was erected at Cape Town, Portugal had planted her settlers at various points along the east coast, from Delagoa Bay to the Zambesi and Mozambique. They did some trading in gold and ivory
native tribes, but drawn on by finding everywhere a country in which Europeans could live and thrive; while the Portuguese, having long since lost the impulse of discovery and conquest, did no more than maintain their hold upon the coast, and allowed even the few forts they had established along the course of the Zambesi to crumble away.
J. Hart J. C. M.J
with the interior, and they ascended the Zambesi for several hundred miles. But the pestilential strip of flat ground which lay between the coast and the plateau damped their desires, and threw obstacles in the way of their advance. They did little to explore and nothing to civilize the interior. Three centuries passed, during which our knowledge of South Central Africa was scarcely extended; and it was not till some sixty years ago that the Dutch Boers in their slow wagons passed northeastward from Cape Colony to the spots where Bloemfontein and Pretoria now stand; not till 1854-56 that David Livingstone made his way through Bechuanaland to the Victoria Falls of the Zambesi and to the Atlantic coast at Loanda; not till 1889 that the vast territories which lie between the Transvaal Republic and Lake Tanganyika began to be occupied by the Mashonaland pioneers. All these farmers, explorers, and mining prospectors came up over the high plateau from the extreme southernmost end of Africa, checked from time to time by the warlike
That the inhabitants of Cape Colony should have been so long in awakening to the value of the interior is itself to be traced to the physical character of the land they had occupied. Immediately behind the mountains which border the coast to the north and east of the original settlement about Cape Town the country is extremely arid and unattractive. Southwest of Graaf Reinet (see map) there is a tract called the Karroo (the name is Hottentot, meaning «dry »), which extends some three hundred miles east and west, and about one hundred and fifty north and south. This tract is from 2500 to 3500 feet above sealevel. It has a rainfall seldom exceeding five inches in the year, and is therefore totally without running water. Parts of it are mountainous, parts level, but it is everywhere destitute of herbage and of trees, though pretty thickly covered with small thorny shrubs and bushes. The exquisite brilliancy of the air, the warmth of the days and the coldness of the nights, remind one who crosses it of the deserts of western America between the
Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, though the soil is much less alkaline, and the so-called "sage-brush » plants characteristic of an alkaline soil are absent. North of the Karroo a similar and still larger region, equally arid, equally barren, and in most places equally elevated, stretches away to the banks of, and even beyond, the Orange River, passing into the deserts of Damaraland and of western Bechuanaland. The dreariness of this Karroo country long discouraged colonization, and still interposes a vast expanse of very thinly peopled country between the agricultural tracts near Cape Town and the comparatively well-watered lands far to the northeast. It is not all sheer desert, for large parts of it bear small succulent plants which furnish good feed for sheep, though it takes five or six acres to keep one sheep. Villages have sprung up here and there, to some of which consumptive patients have been drawn by the extraordinary purity and invigorating quality of the air; minerals have been discovered, and in some few spots are worked with success; and in the level ground the soil is usually so rich that nothing but water is needed to enable it to produce abundant crops. The expense of finding or storing water for the purposes of tillage is, however, virtually prohibitive; so this immense region of some 120,000 square miles, far larger than Great Britain, and nearly as large as the State of Montana, remains and is likely long to remain useless except for the pasturage of sheep and goats: and the number of live stock it can support, although considerable in the aggregate, is very small when compared with the immense
plateau already described is nearly all available either for pasture or for agriculture. But as this part of Africa is that which has for us at present the greatest interest, since it is the part most recently occupied by Europeans, and the part around which the waves of political strife are now beating, it deserves a somewhat fuller description.
The eastern half of the plateau consists of three territories. Two of them are Dutch republics (though a minority of the population speak Dutch). The third includes the country intrusted by Great Britain to the administration of the British South Africa Company.
One of these republics-the Orange Free State-is very nearly as large as England, and just as large as the State of New York. It lies from 4000 to 5000 feet above the sea, and is mostly level, with some low ranges of hills. The surface is bare of wood, except in a few sheltered spots along the streams, but is well covered with herbage. The air is pure and bracing, much like that of Colorado or Wyoming. There are, happily, no blizzards; but violent thunder-storms are not uncommon, and the hailstones-I have seen them bigger than pigeon's eggs-which fall during such storms sometimes kill the smaller animals and even men. To the inhabitants and their government I shall return in a subsequent article. Here it is enough to remark that there are very few of them-only 77,000 whites and about 130,000 natives. Though much of the country is well fitted for agriculture, it is almost entirely occupied by huge grazing-farms; and as such a farm needs and supports only a few men, the population continues to grow but slowly.
Fully one third of the whole surface of South Africa consists of this sort of wilder- Northeast of the Orange Free State lies ness, which includes nearly all of German the South African Republic, which we know West Africa and of the British territories better under the name of the Transvaal State. between the Orange River and Lake Ngami. It is about two thirds the size of France, and The rest of the country is better fitted for larger than Arizona, but has in this vast terhuman life and labor. Along the coast of the ritory only about 170,000 whites, some three Indian Ocean eastward from Cape Town to fourths of whom are in the small gold-mining Durban there is rain enough for tillage; and district of the Witwatersrand. It is a very northward from Durban to the Portuguese high country, much of it above 5000 feet, port of Beira, though the frequency of mala- Johannesburg, the capital of the Rand disria makes the low grounds unhealthy for Eu- trict, is 5500 above the sea,—and these high ropeans, native labor can take full advantage parts are healthy, for the summer heats are of a sufficient rainfall and a soil in many tempered by easterly breezes and by copious places fertile. Inland, both on the seaward rains. On the east and north, where the slopes of the great Kathlamba mountain- country sinks toward the ocean and the valley range and in the long valleys which traverse of the river Limpopo, there is a good deal of it, there is plenty of pasture, and almost the fever, though drainage and cultivation may whole of the land is stocked with cattle or be expected to improve the conditions of sheep, or with ostriches. Still farther in- health. Like the Orange Free State, the land, the eastern half of the great central Transvaal is primarily a pasture-land; it is