We crossed a low ridge which separates Guitron from the

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In about twenty minutes the bush below the back-window parted and the Kaffir slipped out. He grinned at me, and after a glance round, hopped very nimbly over the sill. Then he examined the window and pulled the curtains.

We crossed a low ridge which separates Guitron from the

'Is the outer door shut?' he asked in excellent English. 'Well, get me some hot water, and any spare clothes you may possess, Mr Crawfurd. I must get comfortable before we begin our indaba.* We've the night before us, so there's plenty of time. But get the house clear, and see that nobody disturbs me at my toilet. I am a modest man, and sensitive about my looks.' *Council.

We crossed a low ridge which separates Guitron from the

I brought him what he wanted, and looked on at an amazing transformation. Taking a phial from his bundle, he rubbed some liquid on his face and neck and hands, and got rid of the black colouring. His body and legs he left untouched, save that he covered them with shirt and trousers from my wardrobe. Then he pulled off a scaly wig, and showed beneath it a head of close-cropped grizzled hair. In ten minutes the old Kaffir had been transformed into an active soldierly-looking man of maybe fifty years. Mr Wardlaw stared as if he had seen a resurrection.

We crossed a low ridge which separates Guitron from the

'I had better introduce myself,' he said, when he had taken the edge off his thirst and hunger. 'My name is Arcoll, Captain James Arcoll. I am speaking to Mr Crawfurd, the storekeeper, and Mr Wardlaw, the schoolmaster, of Blaauwildebeestefontein. Where, by the way, is Mr Peter Japp? Drunk? Ah, yes, it was always his failing. The quorum, however, is complete without him.'

By this time it was about sunset, and I remember I cocked my ear to hear the drums beat. Captain Arcoll noticed the movement as he noticed all else. 'You're listening for the drums, but you won't hear them. That business is over here. To-night they beat in Swaziland and down into the Tonga border. Three days more, unless you and I, Mr Crawfurd, are extra smart, and they'll be hearing them in Durban.'

It was not till the lamp was lit, the fire burning well, and the house locked and shuttered, that Captain Arcoll began his tale.

'First,' he said, 'let me hear what you know. Colles told me that you were a keen fellow, and had wind of some mystery here. You wrote him about the way you were spied on, but I told him to take no notice. Your affair, Mr Crawfurd, had to wait on more urgent matters. Now, what do you think is happening?' I spoke very shortly, weighing my words, for I felt I was on trial before these bright eyes. 'I think that some kind of native rising is about to commence.'

'Ay,' he said dryly, 'you would, and your evidence would be the spying and drumming. Anything more?'



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