Story of an African Farm | Olive Schreiner | Action & Adventure Fiction, General Fiction | 1/6

preface and glossary of the story of an African farm this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit read by Sally McConnell in Betty's Bay South Africa in February 2010 the story of an African farm by aka Ralph ayan olive Shriner preface I have to thank cordially the public and my critics for the reception they have given this little book dealing with a subject that is far removed from the round of English daily life it of necessity lacks the charm that hangs about the ideal representation of familiar things and its reception has therefore been the more kindly a word of explanation is necessary to strangers appear on the scene and some had fancied that in the second they have again the first who returns in a new guys why this should be we cannot tell unless there is a feeling that a man should not appear upon the scene and then disappear leaving behind him no more substantial trace than a mere book that he should return later on as husband or lover to fill some more important part than that of the mere stimulator of thought human life may be painted according to two methods there is the stage method according to that each character is duly marshaled at first and ticketed we know with an immutable certainty that at the right crises each one will reappear and act as part and when the curtain falls all will stand before it bowing there is a sense of satisfaction in this and of completeness but there is another method the method of the life we all lead here nothing can be prophesied there is a strange coming and going of feet men appear act and react upon each other and pass away when the crisis comes the man who would fit it does not return when the curve fools no one is ready when the footlights are brightest they are blown out and what the name of the play is no one knows if there sits a spectator who knows he sits so high that the players in The Gaslight cannot hear his breathing life may be painted according to either method but the methods are different the canons of criticism that bear upon the one cut cruelly upon the other it has been suggested by a kind critic that he would rather have liked the little book if it had been a history of wild adventure of cattle driven into inaccessible cron sirs by Bushman of encounters with ravening lions and hairbreadth escapes this could not be such works are best written in Piccadilly or in the Strand there the gifts of the creative imagination untrammeled by contact with in effect may spread their wings but should one sit down to paint the scenes among which he has grown he will find that the facts creep in upon him those brilliant phases and shapes which the imagination sees in far-off lands are not for him to portray sadly he must squeeze the colour from his brush and dip it into the gray pigments around him he must paint what lies before him our iron we must see the first images which the external world costs upon the dock mirror of his mind or must hear the first words which awaken the sleeping powers of thought and stand by his earliest efforts if we would understand the prejudices the habits and the passions that will rule his life the entire man is so to speak to be found in the cradle of the child Alexis the povel end of preface glossary several Dutch and colonial words occurring in this work the subjoined glossary is given explaining the principle for note 8 in digestion but a key a little cur of low-degree biltong dried meat in span to harness copy a sunbonnet kuru the wide sandy plains in some parts of South Africa caribou bushes the bushes that take the place of grass on these Plains cartel the wooden bed fastened in an ox wagon copy a small hillock or little hid crawl the space surrounded by a stone wall or hedged with thorn branches into which sheep or cattle are driven at night Millie's Indian corn Liaquat a small weasel Lac animal may boss preserved and dried apricots nochmal the Lord's Supper up span 2n harness or a place in the field where one unhonest pretty parson the rim leather rope flared bad flirt a dry watercourse spook a ghost stamp block a wooden block hollowed out in which melee is a place to be pounded before cooking up sitting in boar courtship the man and girl are supposed to sit up together the whole night felts gone shoes of undressed leather end of glossary chapter one part one of the story of an African farm this LibriVox recording is in the public domain read by Sally McConnell in Betty's Bay South Africa in February 2010 shadows from child lash for watch the full African moon poured down its lack from the blue sky into the wide lonely Plain the dry sandy earth with its coating of stunted kuru bushes a few inches high the low hills that skirted the plain the milk bushes with their long finger like leaves all were touched by a weird and an almost oppressive Beauty as they lay in the white light in one spot only was the solemn monotony of the broken plain near the center a small solitary copy rose alone it lay there a heap of Rondon stones piled one upon another as over some giants grave here and there a few Tufts of grass or small succulent plants had sprung up among its stones and on the very summit a clump of prickly pears lifted their phony arms and reflected as from mirrors the moonlight and their broad fleshy leaves at the foot of a copy lay the homestead first the stonewalled sheep crawls and kapha hats beyond them the dwelling house a square red brick building with thatched roof even on its bare red walls and the wooden ladder that led up to the loft the moonlight cost a kind of dreamy beauty and quite if they realized the low brick wall that ran before the house and which enclosed a bare patch of sand and two straggling sunflowers on the zinc roof of the great open wagon house on the roofs of the art buildings that jutted from its side the moonlight glinted with a quite peculiar brightness till it seemed that every rib in the middle was of burnished silver sleep ruled everywhere and the homestead was not less quiet than the solitary plain in the farmhouse on her great wooden bedstead tain't sunny the bore woman rolled heavily in her sleep she had gone to bed as she always did in her clothes and the night was warm and the wrong clothes and she dreamed bad dreams not of the ghosts and devils that sir haunted her waking thoughts nor of her second husband the consumptive Englishman whose grave lay away beyond the ostrich camps no of her first the young were but only of the sheep's trotters she had eaten for supper that night she dreamed that one stuck fast in her throat and she rolled her huge form from side to side and slaughtered horribly in the next room where the maid had forgotten to close the shutter the white moonlight fell in in the flood and made it light as day there were two small bids against the wall in one layer yellow-haired child with a low forward in the face of frickles but the loving moonlight had defects here as elsewhere insured only the innocent face of a child in its first sweet sleep the figure in the companion bid belonged of right to the moonlight for it was of quite elfin like beauty the child had dropped her cover on the floor and the moonlight looked in at the naked little limbs presently she opened her eyes and looked at the moonlight that was bathing her M she called to the sleeper and the other bid but received no answer then she drew the cover from the floor turned her pillow and pulling the sheet over her head went to sleep again only in one of the art buildings that shuttered from the wagon house there was someone who was not asleep the room was dark door and shutter were closed not a ray of light entered anywhere the German overseer to whom the room belonged lay sleeping soundly on his bed in the corner his great arms folded and his bushy grand black beard rising and falling on his breast but one in the room was not asleep two large eyes looked about in the darkness and two small hands were smoothing the patchwork quilt the boy who slept in a box under the window had just wakened from his first sleep he drew the quilt up to his chin so the little peon above it but a great head of silky black curls and the two black eyes he stared about in the darkness nothing was visible not even the outline of one worm-eaten rafter nor of the deal table on which lay the Bible from which his father had read before they went to bed no one could tell where the toolbox was and where the fireplace there was something very impressive to the child in the complete darkness at the head of his father's bed hang a great silver hunting watch its ticked loudly the boy listen to it and began mechanically to count tick one two three four he lost count presently and only listened tick tick tick it never waited it went on inexorably and every time it ticked a man died he raised himself a little on his elbow and listened he wished it would leave off how many times had a ticked since he came to lie down a thousand times a million times perhaps he tried to count again and set up to listen bitter dying dying dying said the watch dying dying dying he heard it distinctly where were they going to all those people he lay down quickly and pulled the cover up over his head but presently the silky curls reappeared dying dying dying said the watch dying dying dying he thought of the words his father had read that evening for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many there be which go in thereat many many many said the watch because Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life and few there be that find it whew whew whew said the watch the boy lay with his eyes wide open he saw before him a long stream of people a great dark multitude that moved in one direction then they came to the edge of the world and went over he saw them passing on before him and there was nothing that could stop them he thought of how that stream had rolled on through all the long ages of the past how the old Greeks and Romans had gone over the countless millions of China and India they were going over now since he had come to bed harmony had gone and the watch said eternity eternity eternity stop him stop them cried the child and all the while watch kept ticking on just like God's will have never changes though alters you may do what you please great beads of perspiration stood on the boys furrowed he climbed out of bed and lay with his face turned to the mud floor Oh God god save them he cried in agony only some only a few only for each moment I'm praying here one he folded his little hands upon his head God God save him he grumbled on the floor oh the long long ages of the past in which they had gone over oh the long long future in which they would pass away Oh God the long long long eternity which has no end the child wept and crypt closer to the ground the sacrifice the farm by daylight was not as the farm by moonlight the plane was a weary flat of loose red sand that cracked beneath the trend like tinder and showed the red earth everywhere here and there a milk bush lifted its pale colored rods and in every direction the ants and beetles ran about in the blazing sand the red walls of the farmhouse the zinc roofs of the art buildings the stone walls of the crawls all reflected the fierce sunlight till the eye and blenched no tree or shrub was to be seen far or near the two sunflowers that stood before the door art stared by the Sun drooped their brazen faces to the sand and the little psychedelic insects cried aloud among the stones of the copy the bore woman seen by daylight was even less lovely than when in bed she rolled and dreamed she sat on a chair in the great front room with her feet on a wooden stove and wiped her flat face with the corner of her apron and drank coffee and in kept us Ward weather was damned this lovely – by daylight was the dead Englishman's child her little stepdaughter upon whose freckles and low wrinkled furrowed the sunlight had no mercy Lindell the child said to her little orphan cousin who sat with her on the floor threading beads how is it your beads never fall off your needle I try said the little one gravely moistening her tiny finger that is why the overseer seen by a daylight was a huge German wearing a shabby suit and with a childish habit of running his hands and nodding his head prodigiously when pleased at anything he stood out at the crawls in the Blazing Sun explaining to to Kepha boys the approaching end of the world the boys as they cut the cakes of dung winked at each other and worked as slowly as they possibly could but the German never saw it away beyond the copy waldo his son herded the ewes and lambs a small and dusty herd powdered all over from head to foot with red sand wearing a ragged coat and shoes of undressed leather through whose holes the toes looked at his hat was too large and had sunk down to his eyes concealing completely the silky black curls it was a curious small figure his flock gave him a little trouble it was too hot for them to move far they gathered round every little milk bush as though they hope to find shade and stood there motionless in clubs he himself crept under a shelving rock that laid before the copy stretched himself on his stomach and waved his dilapidated little shoes in the air soon from the blue bag where he kept his dinner he produced a fragment of slate and arithmetic and a pencil proceeding to put down a son with Solomon earnest demeanor he began to add it up aloud 6 + 2 is 8 + 4 is 12 + 2 is 14 and 4 is 18 here he paused and 4 is 18 and 4 is 18 the last was very much drawled slowly the pencil slipped from his fingers and the slate followed it into the sand for a while he lay motionless then began muttering to himself folded his little arms laid his head down upon them and might have been asleep but for the muttering sound that from time to time proceeded from him a curious old you came to sniff at him but it was long before he raised his head when he did he looked at the far-off Hills with his heavy eyes ye shall receive ye shall receive tchau tchau tchau he muttered he sat up them slowly the darkness and heaviness melted from his face it became radiant midday had come now and the sun's rays were poured on vertically the earth throbbed before the eye the boy stood up quickly and cleared a small space from the bushes which covered it looking carefully he found twelve small stones of somewhat the same size kneeling down he arranged them carefully on the cleared space in a square pile in the shape like an altar then he walked to the bag where his dinner was kept in it was a mutton chop and a large slice of brown bread the boy took him out and turned the bread over in his hand deeply considering it finally he threw it away and walked to the altar with the meat and laid it down on the stones close by in the red sand he knelt down sure never since the beginning of the world was there so ragged and so small a priest he took off his great hat and placed it solemnly on the ground then his eyes and folded his hands he prayed aloud o God my father I have made thee a sacrifice I have only tuppence so I cannot buy a lamb if the lambs were mine I would give thee one but now I have only this meat it is my dinner meat please my father send fire down from heaven to burn it thou hast said whoever shall say unto this mountain be thou cast into the sea nothing doubting it shall be done I ask for the sake of Jesus Christ our min he knelt down with his face upon the ground and he filled out his hands upon his curls the fierce Sun pulled down its heat upon his head and upon his altar when he looked up he knew what he should see the glory of God for fear his very heart stood still his breath came heavily he was half suffocated he dared not look up then at last he raised himself above him was the quiet blue sky about him the red earth there were the clumps of silent use and his altar that was all he looked up nothing broke the intense stillness of the blue overhead he looked round in astonishment then he bowed down again and this time longer than before when he raised himself the second time or was unaltered only the Sun had melted the fret of the little mutton chop and it ran down upon the stones then the third time he bowed himself when at last he looked up some ants had come to the meat on the altar he stood up and drove them away then he put his hat on his hot curls and sat in the shade he clasped his hands about his knees he set to watch what would come to pass the glory of the Lord God Almighty he knew he should see it my dear God is trying me he said and he sat there through the fierce heat of the afternoon still he watched and waited when the Sun began to slip and when it neared the horizon and the Sheep began to cast long shadows across the kuru he still sat there he hoped when the first rays touched the hills till the Sun dipped behind them and was gone then he called his use together and broke down the altar and threw the meat far far away into the yield he walked home behind his flock his heart was heavy he reasoned so God cannot lie I had faith no fire came I am like Cain I am NOT his he will not hear my prayer God hates me the boy's heart was heavy when he reached the crawl gate the two girls met him come said the yellow head em let us play coop there is still time before it gets dark you waldo go and hide on the copy Lindell and I will shut eyes here and we will not look the girls hid their faces on the stone wall of the sheep crawl and the boy clambered halfway up the copy he crouched down between two stones and gave the call just then the milk heard came walking out of the cow crawl with two pails he was an ill-looking kefir ha thought the boy perhaps he will die tonight and go to hell if I must pray for him I must pray then he thought where am I going to and he prayed desperately ah this is not right at all little M said peeping between the stones and finding him in a very curious posture what are you doing Waldo it is not the play you know you should run out when we came to the white stone oh you do not play nicely I I will play nicely now said the boy coming out and standing sheepishly before him I I only forgot I will play now he has been to sleep said frickle dim no said beautiful little Lindo looking curiously at him he's been crying she never made a mistake the confession one night two years after the boy sat alone on the copy he had crept softly from his father's room and come there he often did because when he prayed or cried aloud his father might awaken hear him and none knew his great sorrow and none knew his grief but he himself and he buried them deep in his heart he turned up the brim of his great hat and looked at the moon but most of the leaves of the prickly pear that grew just before him they glinted and glinted and glinted just like his own heart cold so hard and very wicked his physical heart had pain also it seemed full of little bits of glass that hurt he had sat there for half an hour and he dared not go back to the class house he felt horribly lonely there was not one thing so wicked as he in all the world and he knew it he folded his arms and began to cry not allowed he sobbed without making any sound and his tears left scorched marks where they fell he could not pray he had prayed night and day for so many months and tonight he could not pray when he lived off crying he held his aching head with his brown hands if one might have gone up to him and touched him kindly poor ugly little thing perhaps his heart was almost broken with his swollen eyes he sat there on a flat stone at the very top of the copy and the tree with every one of its wicked leaves blinked and blinked and blinked at him presently he began to cry again and then stopped his crying to look at it he was quiet for a long while then he knelt up slowly and bent forward there was a secret he had carried in his heart for a year he had not dared to look at it he had not whispered to himself but for a year he had carried it I hate God he said the wind took the words away and ran away with them among the stones and through the leaves of the prickly pear he thought it died away halfway down the copy he had told it now I love Jesus Christ but I hate God the wind carried away that sound as it had done the first then he got up and buttoned his old coat about him he knew he was certainly lost now he did not care if half the world were to be lost why not he – he would not pray for mercy anymore bitter so bitter – no certainly it was ended now bitter sir he began scrambling down the sides of the copy to go home but oh the loneliness the agonized pain for that night and four nights on nights to come the anguish that sleeps all day on the heart like a heavy worm and wakes up at night to feed there are some of us who in after years say to fate now deal us your hardest blow give us what you will but let us never again suffer as we suffered when we were children the Bob in the era of childhood suffering is this it's intense loneliness it's intense ignorance end of chapter one part one chapter one part two of the story of an African farm by olive Shriner this LibriVox recording is in the public domain read by Sally McConnell plans and Bushman paintings at last came the year of the great drought the year of 1862 from end to end of the land the earth cried for water man and beast turned their eyes to the pitiless sky that lack the roof of Sun brazen oven arched overhead on the farm day after day month after month the water in the dams fell lower and lower the Sheep died in the fields the cattle scarcely able to crawl tottered as they moved from spot to spot in search of food week after week month after month the Sun looked down from the cloudless sky till the Karoo bushes were leafless sticks broken into the earth and the earth itself was naked and bare and only the milk bushes lack old hags pointed their shriveled fingers heaven woods praying for the rain that never came it was on an afternoon of a long day in that thirsty summer that on the side of the copy farthest from the homestead the two girls set they were somewhat grown since the days when they played hide-and-seek there but there were mere children still their dress was of dark coarse stuff their common blue pinafores reached to their ankles and on their feet they wore homemade felts gone they sat under a shelving rock on the surface of which were visible some old Bushman paintings their red and black pigments having been preserved through long years from wind and rain by the overhanging ledge grotesque oxen elephants rhinoceroses and a one horned beast such as no man ever has seen or ever shall the girl sat with their backs to the paintings in their laps were a few fern and ice plant leaves which by didn't have much searching there had gathered under the rocks em took off her big brown copy and began vigorously to fan her red face with it but her companion bent low over the leaves in her lap and at last took up a nice plant leaf and fastened it on to the front of her blue pinafore with a pin diamonds must look as these drops do she said carefully bending over the leaf and crushing one crystal drop with her delicate little nail when I she said and grown-up I shall wear real diamonds exactly like these in my hair her companion opened her eyes and wrinkled her low forehead where will you find them Lindell the stones are only crystals that we picked up yesterday old Otto says so and you think that I'm going to stay here always the lip trembled scornfully Oh gnosis her companion I suppose someday we shall go somewhere but now we're only 12 when we cannot marry until we're seventeen four years five that's a long time to wait and we might not have diamonds if we did marry and you think that I'm going to stay here until then well where are you going asked her companion the girl crushed an ice plant leaf between her fingers can't Sonny is a miserable old woman she said your father married her when he was dying because he thought she would take better care of the farm and of us than an English woman he said we be taught and sent to school now she saves every farthing for herself buys us not even one old book she does not use us why because she's afraid of your father's ghost only this morning she told her Hottentot but she would have beaten you from breaking the plate but that three nights ago she heard a rustling and a grunting behind the pantry door and knew it was your father coming to spook her she is a miserable old woman said the girl throwing the leaf from her but I intend to go to school and if she won't let you I shall make her how the child took not the slightest notice of the last question and folded her small arms across her knees but why do you want to go Lindell there is nothing helps in this world said the child slowly but to be very wise and to know everything to be clever but I should not like to go to school persisted the small freckled face and you do not need to when you are seventeen this bore woman will go you will have this farm and everything that is upon it for your own but I said Lindell will have nothing I must learn Oh Lindell I'll give you some of my sheep said in with a sudden burst of pitying generosity I do not want your sheep said the girl slowly I want things of my own when I'm grown up she added the flush on her delicate features deepening it every word there will be nothing that I do not know I shall be rich very rich and I shall wear not only for the best but every day a pure fat silk and little rosebuds like the lady in tun Sunny's bedroom and my petticoats will be embroidered not only at the bottom but all through the lady in tan Sunny's bedroom was a gorgeous creature from a fashion sheet which the Boer woman somewhere obtaining had pasted up at the foot of her bed to be profoundly admired by the children it would be very nice said him but it seemed a dream of quite to transcendent to glory ever to be realized at this Inn there appeared at the foot of the copy two figures the one a dog white and sleek one yellow ear hanging down over its left eye the other his master a lad of fourteen and no other than the boy Waldo grown into a heavy sloshing youth of fourteen the doc mounted the copy quickly his master followed slowly he wore an aged jacket much too large for him and rolled up at the wrists and as of old a pair of dilapidated pelts Coons and a felt hat he stood before the two girls at last what have you been doing today ask Linda lifting her eyes to his face looking off to use and lambs below the dam yeah he said holding out his hand awkwardly I brought them for you there were a few green blades of tender grass where did you find them on the dam wall she fastened them beside the leaf on her blue pinafore they look nice there said the boy awkwardly rubbing his great hands and watching her yes but the pinafore spoils it all it's not pretty he looked at it closely yes the squares are ugly but it looks nice upon you beautiful he now stood silent before them his great hands hanging loosely at either side someone has come today he mumbled off suddenly when the idea struck him who asked both girls an Englishman on foot what does he look like asked him I did not notice but he has a very large nose said the boy slowly he asked the way to the house did he tell you his name yes burn apart Lincoln's Bonaparte CID him why that is like the real hottentots Hunt's plays on the van burn apart Bonaparte my wife is sick in the middle of the week but Sunday's not I give her rice and beans for soup it is a funny name there was a living man called Bonaparte once said she of the great eyes oh yes I know said the pork prophet whom the Lions ate I am always so sorry for him her companion cost a quiet glance upon her he was the greatest man who ever lived she said the man I lack best and what did he do asked him conscious that she had made a mistake and that her prophet was not the man he was one man only one said her little companion slowly yet all the people in the world feared him he was not born great he was common as we are yet he was master of the world at last once he was only a little child then he was a leftenant then he was a general then he was an emperor when he said a thing to himself he never forgot it he waited and waited and waited and it came at last he must have been very happy said him I do not know said Lindell but he had what he said he would have and that is better than being happy he was their master and all the people were white with fear of him they joined together to fight him he was one and there were many and they got him down at last they were like the wild cats when their teeth are fast and a great dog like cowardly wild cats said the child they would not let him go they were many he was only one they sent him to an island in the sea a lonely island and kept him there fast he was one man and they were many and they were terrified at him it was glorious said the child and what then said him then he was learned there in that island with men to watch him always said her companion slowly and quietly and in the long lonely nuts he used to lie awake and think of the things he had done in the old days and the things he would do if they let him go again in the day when he walked near the shore it seemed to him that the sea all around him was a cold chain about his body pressing him to death and then said him much interested he died there in that island he never got away it's rather a nice story sit in but the end is sad it is a terrible hateful ending said the little teller of the story leaning forward on her folded arms and the worst is it's true I have noticed added the child very deliberately that it is only the made-up stories that end nicely the true ones all in so as she spoke the boy's dark heavy eyes rested on her face you have read it have you not he nodded yes but the brown history tells only what he did not what he thought it is in the brown history that I rid of him said the girl but I know what he thought books do not tell everything no said the boy slowly drawing nearer to her and sitting down at her feet what you want to know they never tell then the children fell into silence till dusk the dog growing and easy at its long continuous slipped at one and the other and his master broke forth suddenly if they could talk if they could tell us now he said moving his hand out over the surrounding objects then we would know something this copy if it could tell us how it came here the physical geography says he went on most rapidly and confusedly that what are dry lands now were once lakes and what I think is this these lower hills were once the shores of a lake this copy is some of the stones that were at the bottom rolled together by the water but there is this how did the water come to make one heap here alone in the center of the plain it was a ponderous question no one volunteered an answer when I was little said the boy I always looked at it and wondered and I thought a great giant was buried under it now I know the water must have done it but ha it is very wonderful did one little stone come first and stuck the others as they rolled said the boy with earnestness in a low voice more as speaking to himself than to them Oh Walder God put the little copy here said him with solemnity but how did he put it here by wanting but how did the wanting bring it here because it did the last words were uttered with the air of one who produces a clinching argument what effect it had on the questioner was not evident for he made no reply and turned away from her drawing closer to lindell's feet he said after a while in a low voice Lindell has it ever seemed to you that the stones worth talking with you sometimes he added in a yet lower turn I lie under there with my sheep and it seems that the stones are really speaking speaking of the old things of the time when the strange fishes and animals lived that are turned into stone now and the lakes were here and then at the time when the little Bushmen lived here so small and so ugly and used to sleep in the wild dog holes and in the sluice and eat snakes and shoot the Bucks with their poisoned arrows it was one of them one of those wild Bushman that painted those said the boy nodding towards the pictures one who was different from the rest he did not know why but he wanted to make something so he made these he worked hard very hard to find the juice to make the paint and then he found this place where the rocks hang over and he painted them to us they are only strange things that make us laugh but to him they were very beautiful the children had turned round and looked at the pictures he used to kneel here naked painting painting painting and he wondered that the things he made himself said the boy rising and moving his hand in deep excitement now the boys have shot them all so that we shall never see a yellow face peeping out among the stones he paused the dreamy look coming over his face and the wild Bucks have gone and those days and we are here but we will be gone soon and only the Sterns will lie on here looking at everything like they look now I know that it is I who am thinking the fellow added slowly but it seems as though it were they who were talking has it ever seemed thirty Lindell no it never seemed so to me she answered the Sun had dipped now below the hills and the boy suddenly remembering the ewes and lambs started to his feet let us go to the hostel see who has come said M as the boy shuffled away to rejoin his flock while dosh ran at his heels snapping at the ends of the torn trousers as they fluttered in the wind end of part 1 chapter 2 chapter one part three of story of an African farm by Olaf Shriner this LibriVox recording is in the public domain read by Sally McConnell I was a stranger and ye took me in as the two girls rounded the side of the copy an unusual scene presented itself a large group was gathered at the back door of the homestead on the doorstep stood the bore woman a hand on each hip her face red and fiery her head nodding fiercely at her feet sat the yellow Hottentot made her satellite and around stood the black calf a maids with blankets twisted round their half-naked figures to who stamped Neely's on the wooden block felled the great stampers in their hands and stared stupidly at the object of attraction it was certainly not to look at the old German overseer who stood in the centre of the group that they had all gathered together his salt-and-pepper suit grizzly black beard and gray eyes were as familiar to everyone on the farm as the red Gables of the homestead itself but beside him stood the stranger and on him all eyes were fixed ever and anon the newcomer cast a glance over his pendulous red nose to the spot where the poor woman stood and smiled faintly I'm not a child cried the Boer woman in locate Dutch and I wasn't born yesterday no by the Lord no you can't take me in my mother didn't wean me on Monday one wink of my eye and I see the whole thing I'll have no tramps sleeping on my farm cried ton Sonny blowing no by the devil no not though he had sixty times six the red noses there the German overseer mildly interposed that the man was not a tramp but a highly respectable individual whose horse had died by an accident three days before don't tell me cried the Boer woman the man isn't born I can take me in if he'd had money wouldn't he have bought a horse me are thieves liars murderers Rome's priests seducers I see the devil in his nose cried tons sunny shaking her fist at him and to come walking into the house of this wolf child and shaking hands as though he came on walks back no no oh no no the stranger took off his hat at all better chimney pot and disclosed a bald head at the back of which was a little fringe of curled right there and he bobbed to tan sunny what does she remark my friend he inquired turning his crosswise looking eyes on the old German well are the Dutch you know that do not like people who walk in this country my dear friend said the stranger laying his hand on the Germans on I should have bought myself another horse but crossing five days ago a full River and lost my purse a purse with five hundred pounds in it I spent five days on the bank of the river trying to find it couldn't paid a calf a nine pounds to go in and look for it at the risk of his life couldn't find it the German would have translated this information but the poor woman gave no ear no no he goes tonight see how he looks at me a poor unprotected female if he wrongs me used to do nyet cried France sunny I think said the German in an undertone if you didn't look at her quite so much it might be advisable she she might imagine that you liked her too well in fact I certainly my dear friend certainly said the stranger I shall not look at her saying thus he turned his nose upon a small kefir of two years old that small son of ham became instantly so terrified that he fled to his mother's blanket for protection howling horribly upon this the newcomer fixed his eyes principally on the stamp block folding his hands on the head of his cane his boots were broken but he still had the cane of a gentleman you vagabond say Englishman said tant sunny looking straight at him this was a near approach to plain English but the man contemplated the block abstractedly wholly unconscious that any antagonism was being displayed towards him he might not be a Scotchman or anything of that kind might you suggested the German it is the English that she hates my dear friend said the stranger I am Irish every inch of me father Irish mother Irish I'm not a drop of English blood in my veins and you might not be married my tube / sister the German if you had a wife and children up Dutch people do not like those who are not married ah said the stranger looking tenderly at the block I have a dear wife and three sweet little children two lovely girls and a noble boy this information having been conveyed to the bore woman she after some further conversation appeared slightly modified but remained firm to her conviction that the man's designs were evil for dear Lord she cried all Englishmen are ugly but was there ever such a red rag nose thing with broken boots and crooked eyes before take him to your room she cried to the gym but all the sudden he does I lay at your door the German having told him how matters were arranged the stranger made a profound vow to tonsure me and followed his host who led the way to his own little room I thought she would come to her better self soon the German said joyously that sunny is not wholly bad far from it far then seeing his companion crossed a furtive glance at him which he took for one of surprise he added quickly oh yes yes we are all a primitive people here not very lofty we deal not in titles everyone is Tonto and warm aunt and uncle this may be my room he said opening the door it is rough the room is rough not a palace not quite but it may be bitter than the fields a little bitter he said glancing round at his companion come in come in there is something to eat a mouthful not the fair of emperors or kings but we do not starve here not yet he said rubbing his hands together and looking round with the pleased half nervous smile on his old face my friend my dear friend said the stranger seizing him by the hand may the Lord bless you the Lord bless you and reward you the god of the father's and the stranger but for you I would this match have slipped in the fields with the dews of heaven upon my head let that evening Lindell came down to the cabin with the Germans rations through the tiny square window the light streamed forth and without knocking she raised the latch and entered there was a fire burning on the heart and it cost its ruddy glow over the little room with its worm-eaten rafters and mud floor and broken whitewashed walls a curious little place filled with all manner of articles next to the fire was a great toolbox beyond that the little bookshelf with its well-worn books beyond that in the corner a heap of filled and empty grain bags from the rafters hung down straps Grimm's old boots bits of harness and a string of onions the bid was in another corner covered by a patchwork quilt of faded red lands and divided from the rest of the room by a blue curtain nor drawn back on the mantel shelf was an endless assortment of little bags and stones and on the wall hung a map of South Germany with a red line drawn through it to show where the German had wandered this place was the one home the girls had known for many a year the house wept and sunny lived and ruled was a place to sleep in to eat him not to be happy in it was in vain she told them they were grown too old to go there every morning and evening found them there were there not too many golden memories hanging about the old place for them to leave it long winter nights when they had sat around the fire and roasted potatoes and asked riddles and the old man had told of the little German village where fifty years before a little German boy had plated snowballs and had carried home the knitted stockings of a little girl who afterwards became worlders mother did they not seem to see the German peasant girls walking about with their wooden shoes and yellow braided hair and the little children eating their suppers out of little wooden bowls when the good mothers called them in to have their milk and potatoes and where they're not yet bitter times than these noon like that's when they robbed about the door with the old men get more a child than any of them and laughed till the old roof of the wagon house rang or best of all were there not warm dark starlit nights when they sat together on the doorstep holding each other's hands singing German hymns their voices rising clear in the still night air so the German would draw away his hand suddenly to act quickly a tear the children must not see would they not sit looking up at the stars and talking of them of the dear Southern Cross red fiery Mars Orion with its belt and the seven mysterious sisters and falters speculating over them and how old are they who dwelt in them and the old German would say that perhaps the souls we loved lived in them there in that little twinkling point was perhaps the little girl who stockings he had carried her and the children would look up at it lovingly and call it uncle Otto's star then they would fall to deeper speculations of the times and seasons wherein the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll and the stars shall fall as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs and there shall be time no longer when the son of man shall come in all his glory and all his holy angels with him in lower and lower turns they would talk till at last they fill into whispers then they would wish good night softly and walk home hushed and quiet tonight when Linda looked in Waldo set before the fire watching a pot which simmered there with his slate and pencil in his hand his father sat at the table buried in the columns of a three weeks old newspaper and the stranger lay stretched on the bed in the corner fast asleep his mouth opened his great limbs stretched out loosely the token in much weariness the girl put the Russians down upon the table snuffed the candle and stood looking at the figure on the bed uncle utter she said presently laying her hand down on the newspaper and causing the old German to look up over his glasses how long did that man say he had been walking since this morning poor fella a gentleman not accustomed to walking horse died poor fella said the German pushing out his lip and glancing commiseratingly over his spectacles in the direction of the bed where the stranger lay with his flabby double chin and broken boots through which the flesh shun and do you believe him uncle Otto believe him why of course I do he himself told me the story three times distinctly if said the girl slowly he had walked for only one day his boots would not have looked so and if if said the German starting up in his chair irritated that anyone should dance such irrefragable evidence if what he told me himself look how he lies there added the German pathetically well not full filler we have something for him there pointing with his full finger over his shoulder to the saucepan that stood on the fire we are not cooks not French cooks not quite but it's drinkable drinkable I think better than nothing I think he added nodding his head in a drop and manner that evinced his high estimation of the contents of the saucepan and his profound satisfaction there in fish fish my chicken he said as Lindell tapped her little foot up and down on the floor fish fish mad chicken you'll wake him he moved the candle so that his own head might intervene between it and the sleepers face and smoothing his newspaper he adjusted his spectacles to read the child's gray black eyes rested on the figure on the bed then turned to the German then rested on the figure again I think he's a liar good night uncle Otto she said slowly turning to the door long after she had gone the German folded his paper up methodically and put it in his pocket the stranger had not awakened to partake of the soup and his son had fallen asleep on the ground taking two white sheep skins from the heap of sex in the corner the old man doubled them up and lifting the boy's head gently from the slate on which it rested placed the skins beneath it poor Lambie poor Sammy he said tenderly petting the great rough bear like head tie is he he threw an overcoat across the boys feet and lifted the saucepan from the fire there was no place for the old man could comfortably lie down himself so he resumed his seat opening a match worn Bible he began to read and as he read pleasant thoughts and visions thronged on him I was a stranger and he took me in here it'd he turned again to the bed for the sleeper Lynn I was a stranger very tenderly the old man looked at him he saw not the bloated body nor the evil face of the man but as it were under deep disguise and fleshly concealment the form lived long years of creaming had made very real to him Jesus lover and it is given to us weak and sinful frail and erring to serve thee to take me in he said softly as he rose from his seat full of joy he began to pace the little room now and again as he walked he sang the lines of a German him or muttered broken words of Prayer the little room was full of light it appeared to the German that Christ was very near him and that at almost any moment the thin mist of earthly darkness that crowded his human eyes might be withdrawn and that made manifest of which the friends at Hamas beholding it said it is the Lord again and yet again through the long hours of that night as the old man walked he looked up to the roof of this little room with its blackened rafters and yet saw them not his rough bearded face was illuminated with a radiant gladness and the night was not shorter to the dreaming sleepers then to him whose waking dreams brought heaven near so quickly the night fled but he looked up with surprise when at for a cup the first gray streaks of summer dawn showed themselves through the little window then the old man turned to rake together the few coals that lay under the ashes and his son turning on the sheepskins muttered sleepily to know if it were time to rise lie still lie still I would only make a fire said the old man have you been up all night asked the boy yes but it has been short very short sleep again my chicken it see attorney and he went up to fetch more fuel end of part 1 chapter 3 chapter 1 part 4 of the story of an African farm by olive Shriner this LibriVox recording is in the public domain read by Sally McConnell blessed is he that believeth burn APOD blinken's sat on the side of the bed he had wonderfully revived since the day before held his head high talked in a full sonorous voice and ate greedily of all the van's offered him at his side was a basin of soup from which he took a deep draught now and again as he watched the fingers of the german who sat on the mud floor before him mending the bottom of a chair presently he looked up where in the afternoon sunshine a few half grown ostriches might be seen wandering listlessly about and then he looked in again at the little whitewashed room and at Lindell who sat in the doorway looking at a book then he raised his chin and tried to adjust an imaginary shirt-collar finding none he smoothed the little gray fringe at the back of his head and began you were a student of history I perceived my friend from the study of these volumes that last scattered about this apartment this fact has been made evident to me well a little perhaps it may be said the German meekly being a student of history then said burn apart raising himself loftily you will doubtless have heard of my great of my celebrated kinsman napoleon bonaparte yes yes said the German looking up I sir said Bonaparte was born at this hour on an April afternoon three and fifty years ago the nurse sir she was the same who attended when the Duke of Sutherland was born brought me to my mother there is only one name for this child she said he has the nose of his great kinsman and sober napot blinken's became my name bonaparte blinken's yes sir said burn a pot there is a stream on my maternal side that connects me with a stream on his maternal side the German made a sound of astonishment the connection said Bonaparte is one which could not be easily comprehended by one unaccustomed to the study of aristocratic pedigrees but the connection is closed is it possible said the German posing in his work with much interest in astonishment napoleon an Irishman yes said burn apart on the mother's side and that is how we are related there wasn't a man to beat him said burn apart stretching himself not a man except the Duke of Wellington and it's a strange coincidence added burn apart bending forward but he was a connexion of mine his nephew the Duke of Wellington's nephew married a cousin of mine she was a woman see her at one of the court balls amber setting daisies in her hair worth going a hundred miles to look at her often see her there myself sir the German moved the leather thongs in a knot and thought of the strange visitors of human life which might bring the kinsman of Dukes and Empress to his humble room fell apart appeared lost among old memories ah that Duke of Wellington's nephew he broke fall suddenly Mini's the jerk I've had with him often came to visit me at Bern a pothole Grand Place I had then Park Conservatory servants he had only one fault that Duke of Wellington's nephew said Bern apart observing that the German was deeply interested in every word he was a coward what you might call a coward you've never been in Russia I suppose said Bern a pot fixing his crosswise looking eyes on the Germans face no no said the old man humbly France England Germany a little in this country it's all I've travelled I my friend said Bern apart have been in every country in the world and speak every civilized language excepting only Dutch in German I wrote a book of my travels noteworthy incidents publisher got it cheated me out of it great Rascals those publishers upon one occasion the Duke of Wellington's nephew and I were traveling in Russia all of a sudden one of the horses dropped down dead as a doornail there we were cold night snow four feet thick great forest one horse not being able to move sledge night coming on wolves three says the Duke of Wellington's nephew spree do you call it says I look out there sticking out under a bush was nothing less than the nose of a bear the Duke of Wellington's nephew was up a tree like a shot I stood quietly on the ground as cool as I am at the moment loaded my gun and climbed up the tree there was only one bar bond said the Duke of Wellington's nephew you'd better sit in front all right said I but keep your gun ready there are more coming he'd got his face buried in my back how many are there said he for said I how many are there now sin he ate said I how many are there now said he 10 said I 10 12 said he and Dan goes his gun really I said what have you done we're dead men now burn my old fellow said he I couldn't help it my hands trembled sir whoa I said turning around and seizing his hands well he my dear lad goodbye I'm not afraid to die my legs are long they're hanged on the first bear that comes and I don't hit him it goes my foot when he takes it I shall give you my gun and go you may yet be saved but till I tell Maryann that I thought of her that I prayed for her could pay old fellow said he god bless you said I by this time the Bears were sitting in the circle all round the tree yes said burn a pot impressively fixing his eyes on the German a regular exact circle the marks of their tails were left in the snow and I measured it afterwards a drawing master couldn't have done better it was that saved me if they had rushed on me at once poor bond would never have been there to tell the story but they came on sir systematically one by one all the wrists sat on their tails and waited the first pillar came up and I shot him the second fellow I shot him the third I shot him at last the tenth Kim he was the biggest of all the leader you may say well I said give me your hand my fingers are stiff with the cold there's only one bullet left I shall miss him while he's eating me you get down and take your gun and live dear friend live to remember the man who gave his life for you by that time the bear was at me I felt his paw on my trousers Oh Bonnie Bonnie said the Duke of Wellington's nephew but her just took my gun and put the muzzle to the Bears ear over he fell did burn a pot blinken's waited to observe what effect his story had made then he took out a dirty white handkerchief and stroked his furrowed and more especially his eyes it always affects me to relate that adventure he remarked returning the handkerchief to his pocket in gratitude base file in gratitude is recalled by it that man that man who but for me would have perished in the pathless wilds of Russia that man in the hour of my adversity forsook me the German looked up yes said Bern a pot I had money I had lands I said to my wife there is Africa a struggling country they want capital they want men of talent they want men of ability to open up that land let us go I bought eight thousand pounds worth of machinery we're knowing plowing reaping machines I loaded a ship with them next steamer I came out wife children or got to the Cape where is the ship with the things lost gone to the bottom and the box with the money lost nothing saved my wife wrote to the Duke of Wellington's nephew I didn't wish her to she did it without my knowledge what did the man whose life I saved do did he send me thirty thousand pounds say burn apart my brother here is a crumb no he sent me nothing my wife said right i said maryann no while these hands have power to work no while this frame has power to endure no never shall it be said that burn apart blinken's asked of any man the man's noble independence touched the German your case is hard yes that is hard said the German shaking his head Bonaparte took another draught of the soup leaned back against the pillars and sighed deeply I think he said after a while rousing himself I shall now wonder in the benign air and taste the gentle cool of evening the stiffness hovers over me yet exercise is beneficial so saying he adjusted his hat carefully on the bald crown of his head and moved to the door after he had gone the German side again over his work Oh Lord so it is ah he thought of the ingratitude of the world Uncle Otto said the child in the doorway did you ever hear of ten bears sitting on their tails in a circle well not of tin exactly but bears do a tech travelers every day it's nothing unheard-of said the German a man of such courage too terrible experience that and how do we know that the story is true uncle Otto the Germans are was roused that is what I do hate he cried no what is true how do you know that anything is true because you are told sir if we begin to question everything proof proof proof what will we have to believe left how do you know the angel opened the prison door for Peter except that Peter said sir how do you know that God talked to Moses except that Moses wrote it that is what I hate the girl at her bras perhaps her thoughts made a longer journey than the German dreamed of for mock you the old dream little how their words and lives of text and studies to the generation that shall succeed them not what we are taught but what we see makes us and the child gathers the food on which the adult feeds to the end when the German looked up next there was a look of supreme satisfaction in the little mouth and the beautiful eyes what dust see chicken he asked the child said nothing and that agonizing shriek was born on the afternoon breeze Oh God my god I am cute cried the voice of Bern apart as he with wide open mouth and shaking flesh fell into the room followed by a half grown ostrich who put its head in at the door opened it speak at him and went away shut the book shut that door as he value my laugh shut the door cried burn a pot sinking into a chair his face blue and white with a greenish 'no Sabath the mouth oh friend he said tremulously eternity has looked me in the face my last shred hang upon a cord the valley of the shadow of death said burn apart ceasing the germans arm theater yes said the german who had closed the lower half of the door and stood much concerned behind the stranger you have had a fright I never knew so young a bird to chase before but they will take dislikes to certain people I sent a boy away once because a bird would chase him oh dear dear when I looked around said burn apart the rhythm yawning cavity was above me and the reprehensible pole raised to strike me my nerves said burn apart suddenly growing faint always delicate highly strung or broken broken you could not give a little wine a little brandy my friend there German hurried away to the bookshelf and took from behind the books a small bottle half of whose contents he poured into a cup burner pot drained it eagerly how do you feel now asked the German looking at him with much sympathy a little slightly bitter the German went out to pick up the battered chimney pot which had fallen before the door I am sorry you got the fright the birds are bad things till you know them he sits sympathetically as he put the hat done my friend said burn apart holding out his hand I forgive you do not be disturbed whatever the consequences I forgive you I know I believe it was with no ill intent you allowed me to go out give me your hand I have no ill feeling none you are very kind said the German taking the extended hand and feeling suddenly convinced that he was receiving magnanimous forgiveness for some great injury you are very kind don't mention it said burn a pot he knocked out the crown of his caved and old hat placed it on the table before him leaned his elbows on the table and his face in his hands and contemplated it ah my old friend he does apostrophized the head you have served me long you have served me faithfully but the last day has come Nevermore shall you be born on the head of your master Nevermore shall you protect his broth from the burning rays of summer or the cutting winds of winter henceforth bareheaded must go your master goodbye goodbye old hat at the end of this affecting appeal the German rose he went to the box at the foot of his bed out of it he took a black hat which had evidently been seldom worn and carefully preserved it's not exactly what you may have been accustomed to he said nervously putting it down beside the better chimney pot but it might be of some use a protection to the head you know my friend said burner pot you are not following my advice you are allowing yourself to be reproached on my account do not make yourself unhappy no I shall go bareheaded no no no said the German energetically I have used for the Hat none at all it is shut up in the box then I will take it my friend it is a comfort to one's own mind when you have unintentionally injured anyone to make reparation I know the feeling the hatch may not be of that refined cut at which the old one was but it will serve yes it will serve thank you said burn a pot adjusting it on his head and then replacing it on the table hi Shirley I don now and take a little repose he added I much fear my appetite for supper will be lost I hope not I hope not sit the German reseating himself at his work and looking much concerned as burner pot stretched himself on the bed and turned the end of the patchwork quilt over his feet you must not think to make your departure not for many days said the German presently tain't sunny gives her consent and my friend said Bern apart closing his eyes sadly you are kind but we're it not the tomorrow's the Sabbath weakened trembling as a lie here I would proceed on my way I must seek work idleness but for a day is painful work labor that is the secret of all true happiness he doubled the pillow under his head and watched how the German drew the leather thongs in and out after a while Lindell silently put her book on the Shelf and went home and the German stood up and began to mix some water and meal for Esther cakes as he stirred them with his hands he said I always make a double supply on Saturday night the hands are then free as the thoughts for Sunday the Blessed Sabbath said burn pot there was a pause burn apart twisted his eyes without moving his head to see if supper were already on the fire he must surely miss the administration of the Lord's word in this desolate spot andddd burner pot o howl of iodine HUS and the place where thine honour dwelleth well we do yes said the German but we do our best we meet together and I will I say a few words and perhaps they are not wholly lost not quite strange coincidence said burn apart my plan always was the same was in the Free State once solitary farm one neighbor every Sunday I called together friend and neighbor child and servant and said rejoice with me that we may serve the Lord and then I addressed them are those were blessed times said burn a pot would they might return the German stirred at the cakes and stirred and stirred and stirred he could give the stranger his bed he could give the stranger his hat and he could give the stranger his brandy but his Sunday service after a good while he said I might speak to tan Sonny I might arrange you might take the service in my place if it my friend said burn a pot it would give me the profoundest felicity the most unbounded satisfaction but in these worn-out habiliment in these deteriorated garments it would not be possible it would not be fitting that I should officiate in service of one whom for respect we shall not name no my friend I will remain here and while you are assembling yourselves together in the presence of the Lord I in my solitude will think of and pray for you know I will remain here it was a touching picture the solitary man there praying for them the German cleared his hands from the meal and went to the chest from which he had taken the black hat after a little careful feeling about he produced a black cloth coat trousers and a waistcoat which he laid on the table smiling knowingly they were of new shining cloth worn twice a year when he went to the town to nut more he looked with great pride at the coat as he unfolded it and held it up it is not the latest fashion perhaps nor a Westend cut not exactly but it might do it might serve at a push try it on try it on he said his old gray eyes twinkling with pride burner pot stood up and tried on the coat it fitted admirably the waistcoat could be made to button by ripping up the back and the trousers were perfect but below with the ragged boots the German was not disconcerted going to the beam where a pair of top boots hung he took them off dusted them carefully and put them down before burn apart the old eyes now fairly brimmed over with sparkling enjoyment I've only worn them once they might serve they might be endured burn apart drew them on and stood upright his head almost touching the beans the German looked at him with profound admiration it was wonderful what a difference feathers made in the bird end of chapter 1 part 4 chapter 1 part 5 of the story of an African farm by Oliver Shriner this LibriVox recording is in the public domain read by Sally McConnell Sunday services service number 1 the boy Waldo kissed the pages of his book and looked up far over the flats lay the copy a mere speck the sheep wandered quietly from Bush to Bush the stillness of the early Sunday arrested everywhere and the air was fresh he looked down at his book on its page a black insect crept he lifted it off with his finger then he leaned on his elbow watching its quivering antennae and strange movements smiling even you he was but shall not die even you he loves even you he will fold in his arms when he takes everything and makes it perfect and happy when the thing had gone he smoothed the leaves of his Bible somewhat caressingly the leaves of that book had dropped blood for him once they had taken the brightness out of his childhood from between them had sprung the visions that had clung about him and made not horrible add alike thoughts had lifted their heads had shot forked tongues at him asking mockingly strange trivial questions that he could not answer miserable why did the women in mark see only one angel and the women in Luke too could a story be told in opposite ways and birth be true could it could it then again is there nothing always rattle nothing always wrong could jail the wife of Heber the cannot put her hand to the nail and her right hand to the Workmen's hammer and could the Spirit of the Lord chant pians over loud pens high pians sit in the Book of the Lord and no voice cry out it was a mean and dastardly sin to lie and kill the trusting in their sleep could the friend of God marry his own sister and he beloved and the man who does it every day goes to hell to hell was there nothing always right or always wrong those leaves have dropped blood for him once they had made his heart heavy and cold they had dropped his childhood of his gladness now his fingers moved over them caressingly my father God knows my father knows he said we cannot understand he knows after a while he whispered smiling I heard your voice this morning when my eyes were not yet open I felt you near me my father why do you love me sir his face was illuminated in the last four months the old Christian has gone from me I know you are good I know you love everything I know I know I know I could not have borne it any more not any more he laughed softly and all the while I was so miserable you were looking at me and loving me and I never knew it but I know it now I feel it said the boy and he laughed loo I feel it he laughed after a while he began partly to sing partly to chant the disconnected verses of hymns those which spoke his gladness many times over the Sheep with their senseless eyes turned to look at him as he sang at last he lapsed into quiet then as the boy lay there staring at the bush and sand he saw a vision he had crossed over the river of death and walked on the other Bank in the Lord's land of Beulah his feet sank into the dark grass and he walked alone then far over the fields he saw a figure coming across the dark green grass at first he thought it must be one of the angels but as it came nearer he began to feel what it was and it came closer closer to him and then the voice said come and he knew surely who it was he ran to the deer feet and touched them with his hands yes he held them fast he lay down beside them when he looked up the face was over him and the glorious eyes were loving him and they too were there alone together he laughed with a deep laugh then started up like one suddenly awakened from sleep oh god he cried I cannot wait I cannot wait I want to die I want to see him I want to touch him let me die he folded his hands trembling how can I wait for so long for long long years perhaps I want to die to see him I will die any death oh let me come weeping he barred himself and quivered from head to foot after a long while he lifted his head yes I will wait I will wait but not long do not let it be very long Jesus King I want you oh I want you soon soon he said still staring across the plane with his tearful eyes service number two in the front room of the farmhouse set ton sunny in her elbow chair in her hand was her great brass clasped him book round her neck was a clean white handkerchief under her feet was a wooden stove they are to set Eman Lindell in clean pinafores and new shoes there too was the spruce Hottentot in a starched white Cappy and her husband on the other side of the door with his wool oiled and very much combed out and staring at his new leather boots the cafe servants were not there because tan Sonny held they were descended from apes and needed no salvation but the rest were gathered for the Sunday service and waited the officiator meanwhile burn apart in the German approached Armand on burner Park resplendent in the black cloth clothes a spotless shirt and a spotless collar the German in the old salt and pepper costing shy glances of admiration at his companion at the front door Bonaparte removed his hat with much dignity raised his shirt-collar and entered to the center table he walked put his hat solemnly down by the big Bible and barred his head herbart in silent prayer the Boer woman looked at the Hottentot and the Hottentot looked at the Boer woman there was one thing on earth for which tan Sonny had a profound reverence which exercised a subduing influence over her which made her for the time a bitter woman that thing was new shining black cloth it made her think of the predicate it made her think of the elders who sat in the top view of the church on Sundays with the hair so nicely oiled so holy and respectable with their little swallow-tailed coats it made her think of heaven where everything was so holy and respectable and nobody walked and called and the Littlest Angel had a black tail coat she wished she hadn't called him a thief in a Roman Catholic she hoped the German hadn't told him she wondered where those clothes were when he came in rags to her door there was no doubt he was a very respectable man a gentleman the German began to read him at the end of each land Bonaparte groaned and twice at the end of every verse the poor woman had often heard of persons groaning during prayers to add a certain point in see and finish to them old young Thunder Linda her mother's brother always did it after he was converted and she would have looked upon it as no especial sign of grace in anyone but grown at him time she was startled she wondered if he remembered that she shook her fist in his face this was a man of God they not done to pray the bore woman weighed 250 pounds and could not kneel she sat in her chair and peeped between her crossed fingers of the stranger's back she could not understand what he said but he was in earnest he shook the chair by the back rail till it made quite a little dust on the mud floor when they rose from their knees Bonaparte solemnly seated himself in the chair and opened the Bible he blew his nose pulled up his shirt-collar smoothed the leaves stretched down his capacious waistcoat blew his nose again looked solemnly round the room then began all Liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone which is the second death having read this portion of Scripture Bonaparte paused impressively and looked all around the room I shall not my dear friends he said long detain you much of our precious time has already fled blissfully from us in the voice of Thanksgiving in the tongue of praise a few a very few words are all I shall address to you and may they be as a rod of an dividing the burns from the marrow and the marrow from the burns in the first place what is a liar the question was put so pointedly and followed by a pause so profound that even the Hottentot man lifts off looking at his boots and opened his eyes though he understood not a word I repeat said burn apart what is a liar the sensation was intense the attention of the audience was riveted have you any of you ever seen a liar my dear friends there was a still longer pause I hope not I truly hope not but I will tell you what a liar is I knew a liar once a little boy who lived in Cape Town in Short Market Street his mother and I sat together one day dis coursing about our souls here Sampson that his mother burned by six months of me boss from the Malay around the corner when he came back she said how much have you got five he said he was afraid if he said six and a half she'd asked for some and my friends that was a lie behalf of a me boss stuck in his throat and he died and was buried and where did the soul of that little liar go to my friends it went to the lake of fire and brimstone this brings me to the second point of my discourse what is a lake of fire and brimstone I will tell you my friends said burn apart condescendingly the imagination unaided cannot conceive it but by the help of the Lord I will put it before your mind's eye I was traveling in Italy once on a time I came to a city called Rome a vast city and near it is a mountain which spits forth fire its name is Etna now there was a man in that city of Rome who had not the fear of God before his eyes and he loved a woman the woman died and he walked up that mountain spitting fire and when he got to the top he threw himself in at the hole that is there the next day I went up I was not afraid the Lord preserves his servants and in their hands they shall bear thee up lest at any time thou fall into a volcano it was a dark night when I got there but in the fear of the Lord I walked to the edge of the yawning abyss and looked in that sight that sat my friends is impressed upon my most indelible memory I looked down into the lurid depths upon an incandescent lake and melted fire a seething sea the billows rolled from side to side and on their fiery crisps tossed the white skeleton of the suicide the heat had burnt the flesh off the bones they lay as a light pork upon the melted fiery waves once kiloton hand was raised upwards the finger pointing to heaven the other with outstretched finger pointing down words as though it would say I go below but you burn apart may saw above I gazed I stood entranced at that instant there was a crack in the lurid lake it swelled expanded and the skeleton of the suicide disappeared to be seen no more by mortal I hear again burner pot rested and then continued the lake of melted stone rose in the crater it swelled higher and higher at the side it streamed forth at the top I had presence of mind near me was a rock I stood upon it the fiery torrent was vomited out and streamed on either side of me and through that long and terrible night I stood there alone upon that rock the glowing fiery lava on every hand a monument of the long-suffering and tinder Providence of the Lord who spared me that I might this day testify in your ears of him now my dear friends let us deduce the lessons that are to be learned from this narrative firstly let us never commit suicide that man is a fool my friends that man is insane my friends who would leave this earth my friends here are Joy's innumerable such as it hath not entered into the heart of a man to understand my friends here are clothes my friends here are bids my friends here is delicious food my friends our precious bodies would given to us to love to cherish oh let us do so oh let us never hurt them but care for them and love them my friends everyone was impressed and burn apart proceeded secondly let us not love too much if that young man had not loved that young woman he would not have jumped into Mount Etna the good men of old never did sir was Jeremiah ever in love or Ezekiel or was there or even any of the minor prophets no then why should we be thousands our that lick at this moment who would say it was love that brought us here oh let us think always of our own Souls first a charge to keep I have a god to glorify and never dying soul to save and fit it for the sky o beloved friends remember the little boy and the me boss remember the young girl and the young man remember the lake the fire in the brimstone remember the suicide skeleton on the pitchy billows of Mount Etna remember the voice of warning that has this day sounded in your ears and what I say to you I say to all watch may the Lord at his blessing hear the Bible closed with a tremendous thud can't Sonny loosened the white handkerchief about her neck and wiped her eyes and the colored girl seeing her do so sniffled they did not understand the discourse which made it the more affecting their hung over it that inscrutable charm which hovers forever for the human intellect over the incomprehensible and shadowy when the last hymn was sung the German conducted the officiator toot and Sonny who graciously extended her hand and offered coffee and seat on the sofa leaving him there the German hurried away to see how the little plum pudding he had left at home was advancing and tain't Sonny remarked that it was a hot day burn apart gathered her meaning as she found herself with the end of her apron he bowed low in acquiescence a long silence followed tain't Sonny spoke again burn apart gave her no ear his eye was fixed on a small miniature on the opposite wall which represented tan Sonny as she had appeared on the day before her confirmation 15 years before attired in green muslin suddenly he started to his feet walked up to the picture and took his stand before it long and wistfully he gazed into its features it was easy to see that he was deeply moved with a sudden movement as though no longer able to restrain himself he seized the picture loosened it from its nail and held it close his eyes at length turning to the ball woman he said in a voice of deep emotion you will have trust dear madam excuses exhibition of my feelings but this this little picture recalls to me my first and best beloved my dear departed wife who is now a saint in heaven can't Sonny could not understand but the Hottentot maid who had taken her seat on the floor beside her mistress translated the English into Dutch as far as she was able oh my first beloved he added looking tenderly down at the picture o the beloved the beautiful lineaments my angel wife this is surely a sister of yours madam he added fixing his eyes on tan Sonny the Dutch woman blushed shook her head and pointed to herself carefully intently burn apart looked from the picture in his hand to tan Sonny's features and from the features back to the picture then slowly a light broke over his countenance he looked up it became a smile he looked back at the miniature his whole countenance was effulgence ha yes I see it now he cried turning his delighted gaze onto the boar woman eyes mouth nose chin the very expression he cried how is it possible I did not notice it before take another cup of coffee said Tam Sonny put some sugar in Burma pot hang the picture tenderly up and was turning to take the cup from her hand when the German appeared to say that the pudding was ready and the meat on the table he's a god-fearing man and one who knows how to behave himself said the ball woman as he went out at the door if he is ugly did not the Lord make him and are we to laugh at the Lord's handiwork it is better to be ugly and good tempera tea and bad though of course it's nice when one is both certainly looking complacently at the picture on the wall in the afternoon the German and burn apart set before the door of the cabin both smoked incomplete silenced burn a part of the book in his hands and his eyes half-closed the German puffing vigorously and glancing up now and again at the serene blue sky overhead supposing you you in fact made the remark to me burst forth the German suddenly that you were looking for a situation burn a pot opened his mouth wide and sent a stream of smoke through his lips now supposing said the German merely supposing of course that someone someone in fact should make an offer to you say to become schoolmaster on their farm and teach two little children two little girls perhaps and would give you forty pounds a year would you accept it just supposing of course well my dear friend said burn a pot that would depend on circumstances money is no consideration with me for my wife I have made provision for the next year my health is broken could I meet a place where a gentleman would be treated as a gentleman I would accept it however small the remuneration with me said burn apart money is no consideration well said the German when he had taken a with or two from his pack I think I shall go up and see tan sunny a little I go up often on Sunday afternoon to have a general conversation to see her you know nothing nothing particular you know the old man put his book into his pocket and walked up to the farmhouse with a peculiarly knowing and delighted expression of countenance he doesn't suspect what I'm going to do soliloquized the German hasn't the least idea a nice surprise for him the man whom he had lifted his doorway winked at the retreating figure with a wink that was not to be described end of chapter 1 part 5 chapter 1 part 6 of the story of an African farm I Olive Shriner this LibriVox recording is in the public domain read by Sally McConnell burn apart blinken's makes his nest Oh what is the matter asked Waldo stopping at the foot of the ladder with a load of skins on his back that he was carrying up to the loft through the open door in the Gable little M was visible her feet dangling from the high bench on which she set the room once a storm had been divided by a row of mealie bags into two parts the back being Bonaparte's bedroom the front his schoolroom Linda made him angry said the girl tearfully and he has given me the 14th of John to learn he says he will teach me to behave myself when Lindell troubles him what did she do post the boy you see he said him hopelessly turning the leaves whenever he talks she looks out at the door as though she did not hear him today she asked him what the signs of the zodiac were and he said he was surprised that she should ask him it was not a fit and proper thing for little girls to talk about then she asked him who Copernicus was and he said he was one of the Emperor's of Rome who burned the Christians in a golden Pig and the worms ate him up while he was still alive I don't know why said implanted Lea but she just put her books under her arm and walked out and she will never come to his school again she says and she always does what she says and now I must sit here every day alone SID him the great tears dropping softly perhaps touch sunny will send him away said the boy and his mumbling way trying to comfort her no SID him shaking her head no last night when the little Hottentot maid was washing her feet he told her he lacked such feet and that fat woman was so nice to him and she said I must always put him pure cream in his coffee now No he'll never go away SID M dolorous Li the boy put down his skins and fumbled in his pocket and produced a small piece of paper containing something he stuck it out towards her there take it for you he said this was by way of comfort M opened it and found a small bit of gum a commodity prized by the children but the great tears dropped down slowly onto it Waldo was distressed he had cried so much in his morsel of life that tears and another seemed to burn him if he said stepping in awkwardly and standing by the table if he will not cry I will tell you something a secret what is that asked him instantly becoming decidedly better you will tell it to no human being no he bent nearer to her and with deep solemnity said I have made a machine M opened her eyes yes a machine for sheep-shearing it is almost done said the boy there is only one thing that is not right yet but it will be soon when you think and think and think all night and all day it comes at last he added mysteriously where is it yeah I always carry it here said the boy putting his hand to his breast where a bulging art was visible this is a model when it is done they will have to make a large one show it to me the boy shook his head no not till it is done I cannot let any human-being see it to Lin it is a beautiful secret hidden and the boy shuffled out to pick up his skins that evening father and son sat in the cabin eating their supper the father sighed deeply sometimes perhaps he thought how long a time it was since burner pot had visited the cabin but his son was in that land in which size have no part it is a question whether it were not bitter to be the shabbiest of fools and know the way up the little stair of imagination to the land of dreams then the wisest of men who see nothing that the eyes do not show and feel nothing at the hand do not touch the boy shoot his brown bread and drank his coffee but in truth he saw only his machine finished that last something found out and added he saw it as it worked with beautiful smoothness and over and above as he chewed his bread and drank his coffee there was that delightful consciousness of something bending over him and loving him it would not have been bitter in one of the courts of heaven where all the walls are set with rows of the king of glories amethyst and milk white pearls then there eating his supper in that little room as they sat in silence there was a knock at the door when it opened the small woolly head of a little nigga shared itself she was a messenger from tunt sunny the German was wanted at once at the homestead putting on his hat with both hands he hurried off the kitchen was in darkness but in the pantry beyond can't sunny and her maids were assembled a calf ago who had been grinding pepper between two stones knelt on the floor the lean Hottentot stood with the brass candlestick in her hand and touched sunny near the shelf with a hand on each hip was evidently listening intently as were her companions what may it be cried the old German in astonishment the room beyond the pantry was the storeroom through the thin wooden partition there arose at that instant evidently from some creature ensconced there a prolonged and prodigious howl followed by a succession of violent blows against the partition wall the German seized the churn stick and was about to rush round the house when the boar woman impressively laid her hand upon his arm that is his head said tell Sonny that is his head but what might it be asked the German looking from one to the other churn stick in hand a low hollow bellow prevented reply and the voice of Bonaparte lifted itself on high Maria my angel my wife isn't a dreadful said tain't sunny as the blows were repeated fiercely he has got a letter his wife is dead she must go and comfort him said ton Sonny at last and I will go with you it would not be the thing for me to go alone me Who am only 33 and he is our unmarried man now CID touch sunny blushing and smoothing out her apron upon this they all tribe drowned the Hassan company the Hottentot made carrying the light can't sunny in the German following and the calf ago bringing up the rear Oh said can't Sonny I seen now it wasn't wickedness made him do without his wife so long only necessity at the door she motioned to the German to in turned followed him closely on the stretcher behind the sex burner partly on his face his head pressed into her pillar his legs kicking gently the bore woman sat on a box at the foot of the bed the German stood with folded hands looking on we must all die said ton Sonny it lost it is the dear Lords will hearing her voice burn apart turned himself onto his back it is very hard said ton Sonny I know for I have lost two husbands burn apart looked up into the Germans face Oh what does she say speak to me words of comfort the German repeated ten Sonny's remark oh I I also to deal wives whom I shall never see any more cried burn a pot flinging himself back upon the bed he howled till the tarantulas who lived between the rafters and his egg Ruth felt the unusual vibration and looked at with their wicked bright eyes to see what was going on tempt sunnyside the Hottentot made side the calf ago who looked in at the door put her hand over her mouth and said whoa whoa you must trust in the Lord said Ted Sonny he can give you more than you have lost I do I do he cried but oh I have no wife I have no wife tenth son he was much affected and came and stood near bed ask him if he won't have a little pup nice fine flower but there is some boiling on the kitchen fire the German made the proposal but the widower waved his hand know nothing shall pass my lips I should be suffocated no no speak not of food to me pop and a little brandy in said tent sunny coaxingly Bern apart caught the word perhaps perhaps if I struggled with myself for the sake of my duties I might imbibe a few drops he said looking with quivering lip into the Germans face I must do my duty must I not Tansen he gave the order and the girl went for the path I know how it was when my first husband died they could do nothing with me the Boer woman said till I had eaten a sheep strata and honey and a little roaster cake I know burner pot set up on the bed with his legs stretched out in front of him and a hand on each knee blubbering softly oh she was a woman you are very kind to try and comfort me but she was my wife for a woman that is my wife I could live for the woman that is my wife I could die for a woman that is my wife I could oh that sweet word wife when will rest upon my lips again when his feelings had subsided a little he raised the corners of his turned-on mouth and spoke to the German with flabby lips do you think she understands me Oh tell her every word that she may know I thanked her at that instant the girl reappeared with a basin of steaming gruel and a black bottle tant's Annie poured some of its contents into the basin stirred at will and came to the bed oh I can't I can't I shall die I shall die said Bern apart putting his hands to his side come just a little said tain't sunny coaxing me just a drop it's too thick it's too thick I should choke tain't sunny added from the contents of the bottle and held out a spoonful burn apart opened his mouth like a little bird waiting for a worm and held it open as she dipped again and again into the pub ah this will do your heart good said tain't sunny in whose mind the relative functions of heart and stomach were exceedingly ill-defined when the basin was emptied the violence of his grief was much as waged he looked at tunt sunny with gentle tears tell him said the bore woman that I hope he will sleep well and that the Lord will comfort him as the Lord only can bless you dear friend god bless you said burn apart when the door was safely shut on the German the Hottentot in the Dutch woman he got off the bed and washed away the soap he had rubbed on his eyelids bond he said slapping his head you're the cutest lad I ever came across if you don't turn out the old hymns and prayers and pummel the ragged coat and get your arms round the fat ones waist and a wedding ring on her finger then you are not to burn a pot but you are burn apart but you're a fine boy making with pleasing reflection he pulled off his trousers and got into bed cheerfully end of chapter 1 part 6

Michael Martin

1 Response

  1. Story of an African Farm | Olive Schreiner | Action & Adventure Fiction, General Fiction | 1/6

    0: [00:00:00] – 00 – Preface and Glossary

    1: [00:06:25] – 01 – Chapter 1, Part 1

    2: [00:27:04] – 02 – Chapter 1, Part 2

    3: [00:42:41] – 03 – Chapter 1, Part 3

    4: [00:58:30] – 04 – Chapter 1, Part 4

    5: [01:19:01] – 05 – Chapter 1, Part 5

    6: [01:40:23] – 06 – Chapter 1, Part 6

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