no smoke, furnaces, or great steam-engines, disturb the

rain and cloudyear2023-12-07 11:38:06 941 8

'So that's your game,' I said. 'I thought there was something funny about you, but I didn't know it was I.D.B. you were up to.'

no smoke, furnaces, or great steam-engines, disturb the

He looked as if he could kill me. For five minutes he cursed me with a perfection of phrase which I had thought beyond him. It was no I.D.B., he declared, but a pipe which 'Mwanga had discovered. 'In this kind of country?' I said, quoting his own words. 'Why, you might as well expect to find ocean pearls as diamonds. But scrape in the spruit if you like; you'll maybe find some garnets.'

no smoke, furnaces, or great steam-engines, disturb the

He choked down his wrath, and tried a new tack. 'What will you take to hold your tongue? I'll make you a rich man if you'll come in with me.' And then he started with offers which showed that he had been making a good thing out of the traffic.

no smoke, furnaces, or great steam-engines, disturb the

I stalked over to him, and took him by the shoulder. 'You old reprobate,' I roared, 'if you breathe such a proposal to me again, I'll tie you up like a sack and carry you to Pietersdorp.'

At this he broke down and wept maudlin tears, disgusting to witness. He said he was an old man who had always lived honestly, and it would break his heart if his grey hairs were to be disgraced. As he sat rocking himself with his hands over his face, I saw his wicked little eyes peering through the slits of his fingers to see what my next move would be.

'See here, Mr Japp,' I said, 'I'm not a police spy, and it's no business of mine to inform against you. I'm willing to keep you out of gaol, but it must be on my own conditions. The first is that you resign this job and clear out. You will write to Mr Colles a letter at my dictation, saying that you find the work too much for you. The second is that for the time you remain here the diamond business must utterly cease. If 'Mwanga or anybody like him comes inside the store, and if I get the slightest hint that you're back at the trade, in you go to Pietersdorp. I'm not going to have my name disgraced by being associated with you. The third condition is that when you leave this place you go clear away. If you come within twenty miles of Blaauwildebeestefontein and I find you, I will give you up.'

He groaned and writhed at my terms, but in the end accepted them. He wrote the letter, and I posted it. I had no pity for the old scamp, who had feathered his nest well. Small wonder that the firm's business was not as good as it might be, when Japp was giving most of his time to buying diamonds from native thieves. The secret put him in the power of any Kaffir who traded him a stone. No wonder he cringed to ruffians like 'Mwanga.

The second thing I did was to shift my quarters. Mr Wardlaw had a spare room which he had offered me before, and now I accepted it. I wanted to be no more mixed up with Japp than I could help, for I did not know what villainy he might let me in for. Moreover, I carried Zeeta with me, being ashamed to leave her at the mercy of the old bully. Japp went up to the huts and hired a slattern to mind his house, and then drank heavily for three days to console himself.



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