South African Sketches

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Chapman and Hall, Limited, 1887 - South Africa - 256 pages
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Page 110 - ... are pitched in a perfectly level field, — stretching, without a fence, far and wide, with only here and there a tree. Along one side of the field runs the bayou, behind its Levee. The water now brims up nearly to the edge of this Levee, though on the land side there must be a slope of six or eight feet from the top of the bank to the surface of the land. If an opening were made in the Levee, our camp would be instantly drowned by the rush of waters. Sloops and schooners of considerable tonnage...
Page 158 - We went along for some half-a-mile all right, when suddenly they stopped short again. Anthony began cursing, when I thought I heard the sound of wheels, and stopped him to listen. True enough, over to our right we heard the cracking of a whip, the cries of a driver, and the rumble of wheels coming fast towards us. ' There's a waggon coming,' said I ; ' you'd best draw to one side, or they'll run into us.
Page 253 - Poor little thing, how frightened and scratched she was ! " Tom had his Kaffir boy with him, the same who is with us now. He soon collected some dry sticks, and we lit a fire. It was impossible for me to walk back in the dark, and the ground was too rough for Tom to carry me, so we sat down to wait for daylight. It was not long in coming, and as soon as it was light we went back to the waggon. Tom said we had wandered quite five miles from it.
Page 159 - There's a waggon coming,' said I ; ' you'd best draw to one side, or they'll run into us.' ' It's off the road/ said Anthony. ' The road goes straight ahead, and the waggon's over here to our right.' " True enough it was, as our ears told us. It was coming along at a furious rate on a dark night, over stones, rocks, and bushes, where a man could hardly drive forty yards in the daytime, out of a walk, with out smashing something. ' Runaway, p'raps,
Page 161 - Wre went back to the cart. Anthony seemed very gloomy. We knew the reason, for we knew the old story about the Phantom Waggon. It is that it charges right down upon any cart, or vehicle of any kind it comes across. If no one challenges it, it smashes right into it, and all inside are doomed ; but if any one challenges, that man saves the others M at the expense of himself, for he is bound to die within a week.
Page 157 - ... his real name. Being all desirous of peace, and glad of this diversion, we eagerly pressed our man to unfold his tale. In the clamour of voices, that of the bagman, if indeed he was enunciating any retort to his adversary, was drowned, and in the calm of a restored harmony our Africander friendheld forth. I cannot guarantee that the following are the actual words he used. In fact, I am not acquainted with shorthand, and I did not attempt to take down his narrative as it fell from his lips, but...
Page 161 - I've heard of it often enough ; but never expected to see it.' We said that was nonsense, that the waggon had probably suddenly stopped, and we ran into the veldt to look for it ; but not a trace of it could we discover anywhere. We were coming back to where we had left Anthony with the cart, when a bright light suddenly shone out a little way off, and we saw a camp fire, with two men sitting by it. We ran towards it, thinking to clear up the mystery, when the two men got up, turned their ghastly...
Page 57 - Piet, who was lying underneath. The boy was living, but terribly wounded. We saw at once that there was no hope. Piet tried to smile as I bent over him, but succeeded but feebly. " I tell you some person go die this day,
Page 115 - ... wooden yoke appearing above the surface, turn it obliquely to the stream. At last the woman moves. She is stretching out her hand; she is saying something. Good Heaven ! What is it ? The roar of the flood drowns her words. See ! she has taken the child in her arms now. Where is the man — the husband? In my anxiety for the woman I had not given him a thought. The boy is standing near us, shivering on the bank. Coward ! if he had stuck to the leaders they might have been got through. Ah ! the...
Page 157 - I forget exactly what it was — the box damaged in going too quickly over a sluit, or something of that kind — and at nightfall we stopped at this very place, Patatas River, to patch it up. At about three next morning we started again. It was a bright starlight night, and bitterly cold. We wrapped ourselves in our karosses, and went off into a half-doze in the cart, being wakened up every now and then as we were swung from side to side when jolting over the stones and ruts. We were soon in the...

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