following the curvature of the suspending ropes, is made
Wardlaw nodded eagerly. The story was getting into ground that he knew about.
'The thing to remember is that all these little empires thought themselves the successors of Prester John. It took me a long time to find this out, and I have spent days in the best libraries in Europe over it. They all looked back to a great king in the north, whom they called by about twenty different names. They had forgotten about his Christianity, but they remembered that he was a conqueror.
'Well, to make a long story short, Monomotapa disappeared in time, and fresh tribes came down from the north, and pushed right down to Natal and the Cape. That is how the Zulus first appeared. They brought with them the story of Prester John, but by this time it had ceased to be a historical memory, and had become a religious cult. They worshipped a great Power who had been their ancestor, and the favourite Zulu word for him was Umkulunkulu. The belief was perverted into fifty different forms, but this was the central creed - that Umkulunkulu had been the father of the tribe, and was alive as a spirit to watch over them.
'They brought more than a creed with them. Somehow or other, some fetich had descended from Prester John by way of the Mazimba and Angoni and Makaranga. What it is I do not know, but it was always in the hands of the tribe which for the moment held the leadership. The great native wars of the sixteenth century, which you can read about in the Portuguese historians, were not for territory but for leadership, and mainly for the possession of this fetich. Anyhow, we know that the Zulus brought it down with them. They called it Ndhlondhlo, which means the Great Snake, but I don't suppose that it was any kind of snake. The snake was their totem, and they would naturally call their most sacred possession after it.
'Now I will tell you a thing that few know. You have heard of Tchaka. He was a sort of black Napoleon early in the last century, and he made the Zulus the paramount power in South Africa, slaughtering about two million souls to accomplish it. Well, he had the fetich, whatever it was, and it was believed that he owed his conquests to it. Mosilikatse tried to steal it, and that was why he had to fly to Matabeleland. But with Tchaka it disappeared. Dingaan did not have it, nor Panda, and Cetewayo never got it, though he searched the length and breadth of the country for it. It had gone out of existence, and with it the chance of a Kaffir empire.'
Captain Arcoll got up to light his pipe, and I noticed that his face was grave. He was not telling us this yarn for our amusement.
'So much for Prester John and his charm,' he said. 'Now I have to take up the history at a different point. In spite of risings here and there, and occasional rows, the Kaffirs have been quiet for the better part of half a century. It is no credit to us. They have had plenty of grievances, and we are no nearer understanding them than our fathers were. But they are scattered and divided. We have driven great wedges of white settlement into their territory, and we have taken away their arms. Still, they are six times as many as we are, and they have long memories, and a thoughtful man may wonder how long the peace will last. I have often asked myself that question, and till lately I used to reply, "For ever because they cannot find a leader with the proper authority, and they have no common cause to fight for." But a year or two ago I began to change my mind.
'It is my business to act as chief Intelligence officer among the natives. Well, one day, I came on the tracks of a curious person. He was a Christian minister called Laputa, and he was going among the tribes from Durban to the Zambesi as a roving evangelist. I found that he made an enormous impression, and yet the people I spoke to were chary of saying much about him. Presently I found that he preached more than the gospel. His word was "Africa for the Africans," and his chief point was that the natives had had a great empire in the past, and might have a great empire again. He used to tell the story of Prester John, with all kinds of embroidery of his own. You see, Prester John was a good argument for him, for he had been a Christian as well as a great potentate. 'For years there has been plenty of this talk in South Africa, chiefly among Christian Kaffirs. It is what they call "Ethiopianism," and American negroes are the chief apostles. For myself, I always thought the thing perfectly harmless. I don't care a fig whether the native missions break away from the parent churches in England and call themselves by fancy names. The more freedom they have in their religious life, the less they are likely to think about politics. But I soon found out that Laputa was none of your flabby educated negroes from America, and I began to watch him.
- rising, was gradually flooding the cave of the dragon.
- now. We no longer work blind. At the next meeting of the
- a conviction. You, however, will be convicted! You will
- After ail, though the clothes she wore were probably her
- He strove to peer about him, but the feeble ray of the
- if one could not observe unusual minds and learn from them?
- reading. I will show you how to use the signal if you need
- to mind your thoughts. Gendibal struck, not gently, and
- reason we have seen so many parrots lately; the cheucau
- How in the name of Seldon would a Hamish farmer get into
- The First Speaker finally said, in a mild way, as though
- This was an unusual Hamisher; he had never heard of one
- reason we have seen so many parrots lately; the cheucau
- had not the slightest idea of why one read books. For herself
- felt that the situation was not at crisis level-that the
- After all, no matter what she had read, there was no possible
- Max realized that he must lower his head if he would follow.
- She wore her dark hair in the braids that signified her
- yet, tonight. Let us get it over with and then pass on
- The proctor said, Number 4 is the only one available,
- their terrible ordeals in the untracked jungle to the south;
- it out clearly. There was the tiniest tendril disarrayed-an
- his mistress. She had tried to make her beautiful for him.
- sense her embarrassment and fright quite plainly and felt
- said that his boys were resting and gaining strength after
- note the functionaries who surrounded him, Lowlies whom
- It was against the letter of the law, but it would do no
- to go, and say not to go elseplace at all or I be thrown
- For three weeks Hanson had remained. During this time he
- on her part. My crime is that I have never labored to make
- some Hamish lout into being happy to marry her-and she
- she were making some sort of vague manipulations that would
- In three strides he found his foot splashing in water.
- Gendibal could no longer fight off the desire to know more.
- an instant trial, then. Let us have it tomorrow. Better
- he could see the order had penetrated, he let her go. He
- might have noticed the reduced numbers of his following.
- had not been asked, but he kept his face straight. He said,
- through the helpless minds of others. There was a code
- any single farmer on the University grounds without any
- and phlox that drew him to the perfumed air of the garden,
- source of more important information, involving others
- The First Speaker held up his hand. I don't blame you
- be some way of adjusting her desires to make her content
- away from our tents the large circle of lookers on. An
- For one fleeting moment, Gendibal wondered if he ought
- He said, in an attempt to be genial and soothing, So you
- votes including the First Speaker-or ten without him.
- Three or four inches of water now flooded the cave of the
- them and, very vaguely, to become learned. What it amounted