Story of an African Farm | Olive Schreiner | Action & Adventure Fiction, General Fiction | 2/6

chapter one part seven of the story of an African farm by olive Shriner this LibriVox recording is in the public domain read by Sally McConnell in Betty's Bay South Africa in March 2010 he sits his trap may I come in I hope I do not disturb you my dear friends had been apart late one evening putting his nose in the cabin door where the German and his sunset finishing their supper it was not two months since he'd been installed a schoolmaster in tunt Sonny's household and he had grown mighty and more mighty day by day he visited the cabin no more sat close to tan sunny drinking coffee all the evening and walked about love Tilly with his hands under the coattails of the Germans black cloth and failed to see even a nigger who wished him a differential good morning it was therefore was no small surprise that the German perceived burner parts rid nose at his door walk in walk in he said joyfully boy boy see if this coffee lifts well none make a fire we have done supper but my dear friend said burn apart taking off his hat I came locked us up not from me a creature comforts but for an hour of brotherly intercourse with a kindred spirit the press of business and the weight of thought but they alone may sometimes prevent me from sharing the secrets of my bosom with him for whom I have so great a sympathy you perhaps wonder when I shall return the two pounds oh no no make a fire make a fire boy we will have a pot of hot coffee presently said the German rubbing his hands and looking about not knowing how best to show his pleasure at the unexpected visit for three weeks the Germans diffident good-evening had met with a stately bar but chill had burned a pot lifting itself higher daily and his shadow had not darkened the cabin doorway since he came to borrow the two pounds the German walked to the head of the bed and took down a blue bear the tongue their blue bags were a speciality of the Germans he kept above 50 stowed away in different corners of his room some filled with curious stones some with seeds that had been in his position 15 years some with rusty nails and bits of old harness in all a wonderful assortment that highly prized we have something here not so bad said the German smiling knowingly as he dived his hand into the bag and took out a handful of almonds and raisins I buy these for my chickens they increase in size but they still think the old man must have something nice for them and the old man well a big boy may have a sweet tooth sometimes may he not but I said the German chuckling at his own joke as he heaped the plate with almonds here is a stone to stones to crack them no late payment improvement well Adams Nutcracker AHA but I think we shall do we will not leave them and crack we will consume a few with our fashionable improvements here the German sat down on one side of the table Bern apart on the other each one with a couple of flat stones before him and the plate between them do not be afraid said the German do not be afraid I do not forget the boy at the fire I crack for him the bag is full why this is strange he said suddenly cracking open a large nut three kernels I have not observed that before this must be retained this is valuable he wrapped the nut gravely in paper and put it carefully in his waistcoat pocket valuable very valuable he said shaking his head ah my friend said Bern a pot what joy it is to be once more in your society the Germans eye glistened and burn apart seized his hand and squeezed it warmly they then proceeded to crack and eat after a while Bern apart said stuffing a handful of raisins into his mouth I was so deeply grieved my dear friend that you and tan sunny had some Slatter pleasantness this evening oh no nose hit the German it's right now a few sheep missing but I make it good myself I give my 12 sheep and work in the other 8 it is rather hard that you should have to make good the lost sheep sit burn apart it's no fault of yours who else said the German this is the case last evening I count the Sheep at the crop 20 are missing I asked the herd he tells me they are with the other flock he tells me so distinctly how can I think he lies this afternoon I can't the other flock sheep are not there I come back here the herd is gone the sheep are gone but I cannot know I will not believe he stole them said the German growing suddenly excited someone else but not he I know that boy I knew him three years he is a good boy I have seen him deeply affected on account of his soul and she would send the police off to him I say I would rather make the loss good myself I will not have it he has fled in fear I know his heart it was said the German with a little hesitation under my words that he first felt his need of a savior burn apart cracked some more almonds then said yearning and more as though he asked for the sake of having something to converse about than from any interest he felt in the subject and what has become of the herds wife the German was a lat again in a moment yes his wife she has a child six days old and tenth Sonny would turn her out into the fields this night that said the German rising that is what I call cruelty diabolical cruelty my solar boars that deed the man that could do such a thing I could run him through with a knife said the German his grey eyes flashing and his bushy black beard adding to the murderous fury of his aspect then suddenly subsiding he said but all is now well talent Sonny gives her word that the mage will remain for some days I go to a mullahs tomorrow to learn if the sheep may not be there if they are not then I return they are gone that is all I make it good tan sunny is a singular woman said burn a pot taking the tobacco bag the German fast him singular yes at the German but her heart is on her outside I have lived long years with her and I may say I have for her an affection which she returns I may say added the German with warmth I may say there is not one soul on this farm for whom I have not an affection all my friend said Bern apart when the grace of God is in our hearts is it not so with us all do we not love the very worm we tread upon and as we tread upon it do we know the distinctions of race or of sex or of color no love is so amazing so divine it fills my soul my life my all after a time he sank into a list fervent mood and remarked the colored female who waits upon tan sunny appears to be of a virtuous disposition an individual who virtuous said the German I have confidence in her there is that in her which is pure that which is noble the rich and high that walked this earth with lofty eyelids might exchange with her the German here got up to bring a coal for Bonaparte's back and they sat together talking for a while at length burn apart knocked the ashes out of his pack it is time that I took my departure dear friend he said but before I do so shall we not close this evening of sweet communion and brotherly intercourse by a few words of Prayer oh how good and how pleasant a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity it is like the dew upon the mountains of Herman for there the Lord bestowed a blessing even life forevermore stay and drink some coffee said the German no thank you my friend I have business that must be done tonight said Bern apart your dear son appears to have gone to sleep he is going to take the wagon to the mill tomorrow what a little man he is a boy but though the boy nodded before the fire he was not asleep and they all knelt down to pray when they rose from their knees Bonaparte extended his hand to order and patted him on the head good night my lad he said as you go to the mill tomorrow we shall not see you for some days good night goodbye the Lord bless and guide you and may he bring you back to us in safety to find us all as you have left us he laid some emphasis on the last words and you my dear friend he added turning with redoubled warmth to the German long long shall I look back to this evening as a time of refreshing from the prison's of the Lord as an hour of Blizzard intercourse with her brother in Jesus may such often return the Lord bless you he added with yet deeper fervor richly richly then he opened the door and vanished out into the darkness he loved burn apart as he stumbled over the stones if there isn't the rarest lot of fools on this farm that ever God Almighty stuck links to hee hee hee when the worms come out then the black birds feed ha ha ha then he drew himself up even when alone he lacked to pose with a certain dignity it was second nature to him he looked in at the kitchen door the Hottentot maid who acted as interpreter between tan sunny and himself was gone and tain't sunny herself was in bed never mind bond my boy he said as he walked round to his own room tomorrow we'll do a end of chapter 7 chapter 1 part 8 of the story of an African farm by olive Shriner this LibriVox recording is in the public domain read by Sally McConnell in Betty's Bay South Africa in March 2010 he catches the old bird at 4 o'clock the next afternoon the German rode across the plane returning from his search for the lost sheep he rode slowly for he had been in the saddle since sunrise and was somewhat weary and the heat of the afternoon made his horse sleepy as have picked its way slowly along the sandy road every now and then a great red spider would stopped out of the kuru on one side of the path and run across to the other but nothing else broke the still monotony presently behind one of the highest of the milk bushes that dotted the roadside the German caught sight of a calf a woman seated there evidently for such shadow as the milk Bush might have fought from the sloping rays of the Sun the German turned the horse's head out of the road it was not his way to pass a living creature without a word of greeting coming nearer he found it was no other than the wife of the abscond inc a third she had a baby tied on her back by a dirty strip of red blanket another strip hardly larger was twisted round her waist for the wrists her black body was naked she was a sullen ill looking woman with lips hideously protruding the German questioned her as to how she came there she muttered in broken Dutch that she had been turned away had she done evil she shook her head sullenly had she had food given her she grunted a negative and fanned the flies from her baby telling the woman to remain where she was he turned his horse's head to the road and rode off at a furious pace hard-hearted cruel oh my god is this the way is this chair yes yes yes ejaculated the old man as he rode on but presently his anger began to evaporate his horse's pace slackened and by the time he reached his own door he was nodding and smiling dismounting quickly he went to the great chest where his provisions were kept yeah he got out a little meal a little meal ease a few rusty cakes these he tied up in three blue handkerchiefs and putting them into a sail cloth bag he strung them over his shoulders then he looked circumspectly out at the door it was very bad to be discovered in the act of giving it made him read up to the roots of his old grizzled hair no one was about however so he rode off again beside the milk bush set the calf a woman still liked Hagar he thought thrust out by her mistress in the wilderness to die telling her to loosen a handkerchief from her head he poured into it the contents of his bag the woman tied it up in sullen silence he was try and get to the next farm said the German the woman shook her head she would sleep in the field the German reflected kafir women were accustomed to sleep in the open air but then the child was small and after so hot a day the night might be chilly that she would creep back to the huts at the homestead when the darkness favored her the Germans sagacity did not make evident to him he took off the old brown salt-and-pepper coat and held it out to her the woman received it in silence and laid it across her knee with that they will sleep warmly not so bad ha ha said the German and he rode her nodding his head in a manner that would have made any other man dizzy I wish he would not come back tonight said M her face wet with tears it will be just the same if he comes back tomorrow said Lindell the two girls sat on the step of the cabin waiting for the Germans returned Lindell shaded her eyes with her hand from the sunset blood there he comes she said whistling ah Jerusalem de sho nough so loud I can hear him here perhaps he has found the sheep found them said Lindell he would whistle just so if he knew he had to die tonight you look at the sunset eight chickens the German said as he came up at a smart canter oh yes that is beautiful he added as he dismounted pausing for a moment with his hand on the settle to look at the evening sky where the Sun shot up long flaming streaks between which and the eye thin yellow clouds floated hey you weep said the German as the girls ran up to him before they had time to reply the voice of sunny was heard you child of the child of the child of mcevers dog come yeah the German looked up he thought the Dutch woman come out to cool herself in the yard called to some misbehaving servant the old man looked round to see who it might be you old then amount of a praying German are you deaf son he stood before the steps of the kitchen upon them set the lean Hottentot upon the highest stood burn apart blinken's both hands folded under the tails of his coat and his eyes fixed on the sunset sky the German dropped the saddle on the ground bish bish bish who made this be he asked and walked towards the house very strange the girls followed him M still weeping Lindell with her face rather white and her eyes wide open and I have the heart of a devil did you say you could have run me through with a knife could you cried the Dutch woman I could not drive the car made away because I was afraid of you was I oh you miserable rag I loved you did I I would have liked to marry you would I would I would I cried the poor woman you can't stay on you docks for be near my house tomorrow morning when the Sun rises she gasped and my catheter will drag you through the sand they would do it gladly any of them for a bit of tobacco for all your pranks with them I am bewildered I am bewildered said the German standing before her and raising his hand to his furred eye I do not understand ask him ask him Craig can't Sonny pointing to burn a pot he knows you thought he could not make me understand but he did he did you old fool I know enough English for that you be here shout at the Dutch woman when the morning star rises and I will let my efforts take you out and drag you told it is not one bull lift in your own body that is not broken as finest but booty meat you own beggar all your eggs are not worth that they should be thrown out onto the ash heap cried the poor woman but I will have them for my sheep not one rotten roof of your old mare do you take with you I will have her oh all for my sheep that you have lost you godless thing the Boer woman wiped the moisture from her mouth with the palm of her hand the German turned to burn apart who still stood on the step absorbed in the beauty of the sunset do not address me do not approach me lost man said burn apart not moving his eye nor lowering his chin there is a crime from which all nature revolts there is a crime whose name is loosened to the human ear that crime is yours that crime is ingratitude this woman has been your benefactress on her farm you have lived after her sheep you have looked into her house you have been allowed to enter and hold divine service and honor of which you were never worthy and how have you rewarded her basely basely basely but it is all false lies and falsehood I must I will speak said the German suddenly looking round bewildered do I dream are you mad what may it be go dog cried the Dutch woman I would have been a rich woman this day if it had not been for your laziness praying with the kafirs behind the crown walls though you gathers dog but what then is the matter what may have happened since I left said the German turning to the Hottentot woman who sat on the step she was his friend she would tell him kindly the truth the woman answered by a loud ringing laughs give it him old missis give it him it was so nice to see the white men who had been master hunters Don the coloured woman laughed and threw a dozen mealy grains into her mouth to chew all anger and excitement faded from the old man's face he turned slowly away and walked on the little path to his cabin with his shoulders bent it was all dark before him he stumbled over the threshold of his own well-known door him sobbing bitterly would have followed him but the boar woman prevented her by a flood of speech which convulsed the cantata solo were its images come in said Linda lifting her small proud head let us go in we will not stay to hear such language she looked into the bore woman's eyes tain't sunny understood the meaning of the look if not the words she waddled after them and caught em by the arm she had struck Lindell once years before and had never done it again so she took him so he will defy me too will you you English man's ugliness she cried us with one hand she forced the child on and held her head tightly against her knee with the other she beat her first upon one cheek and then upon the other for one instant Linda looked on then she laid her small fingers on the bore woman's arm with the exertion of half its strength sunny might have flung the girl back upon the stones it was not the power of the slight fingers tightly though they pinched her broad wrists so tightly that a bid time the mops were still there but the bore woman looked into the clear eyes and at the quivering white lips and with a half surprised curse relaxed her hold the girl drew m's arm through her own move she said to burn apart who stood in the door and he burn apart the invincible in the hour of his triumph moved to give her place the Hottentot cease to laugh and an uncomfortable silence fell on all the three in the doorway once in their room em sat down on the floor and wailed bitterly Lindell lay on the bed with her arm drawn across her eyes very white and still cried em they won't let him take the gray mare and father has gone to the mill Oh perhaps they won't let us go and say goodbye to him I wish he would be quiet said little without moving does it give you such Felicity to let burn apart no he's hurting you we will ask no one it will be supper time soon listen and when you hear the chink of the knives and forks we will go out and see him M suppressed her sobs and listened intently kneeling at the door suddenly someone came to the window and put the shutter up who was that said Lindell starting the girl I suppose said him how early she is this evening but Lindell sprang from the bed and seized the handle of the door shaking it fiercely the door was locked on the outside she ground her teeth what's the matter asked him the room was in perfect darkness now nothing said Lindell quietly only they have locked us in she turned and went back to bed again but ere long M heard a sound of movement Lindell had climbed up into the window and with her fingers felt the woodwork that surrounded the pain it's slipping down the girl'd loosened the iron knob from the foot of the bedstead and climbing up again she broke with it every paym of glass in the window beginning of the top and ending at the bottom what are you doing asked em who heard the falling fragments her companion made no reply but leaned on every little crossbar which crept and gave way beneath her then she pressed with all her strength against the shutter she had talked the wooden buttons would give way but by the clinking sound she knew that the iron bar had been put across she was quite quiet for a time clambering down she took from the table a small one bladed pin knife with which she began to pick at the hardwood of the shutter what are you doing now asked him who had ceased crying in her wonder and had drawn near trying to make a hole was the short reply do you think you'll be able to know but I'm trying in an agony of suspense and waited for ten minutes Linda picked the hole was three eighths of an inch deep then the blade sprang into ten pieces what's her supper now asked him blubbering afresh nothing said Lindell bring me my knife gone a piece of paper and the matches wandering in fumbled about till she found them what are you gonna do with them she whispered burn down the window but with the whole house to take fire and burn down too yes but will it not be very wicked yes theory and I do not care she arranged the light gun carefully in the corner of the window with the chips of the frame about it there was only one match in the box she drew it carefully along the wall for a moment it burnt up blue and showed the tiny face with its glistening eyes she held it carefully to the paper for an instant it burnt up brightly then flickered and went out she blew the spark but had died also then she threw the paper onto the ground trod on it and went to her bid and began to undress em rushed to the door knocking against it wildly Oh Sonny Sonny oh let us out she cried oh no what are we to do Linda wiped a drop of blood off the lip she had bitten I am going to sleep she said if you like to sit there and how tall the morning dew perhaps you will find that it helps I never heard that howling helped anyone long after when M herself had gone to bed and was almost asleep Linda came and stood at her bedside yeah she said slipping a little pot of powder into her hand rub some onto your face does it not burn where she struck you then she quipped to her and bid long long after when M was rarely asleep she lay still awake and folded her hands on her little breast and muttered when that day comes and I am strong I will hate everything that has power and help everything that is weak and she bit her lip again the German looked out at the cabin door for the last time that night then he paced the room slowly and sighed then he drew out a pen and paper and sat down to write rubbing his old gray eyes with his knuckles before he began my chickens you did not come to say goodbye to the old man might you ah well there is a land where they part no more were Saints immortal rain I sit here alone and I think of you will you forget the old man when you wake tomorrow he will be far away the old horse is lazy but he has his stick to help him that his three legs he comes back one day with gold and diamonds when you welcome him well we shall see I go to meet Waldo he comes back with the wagon then he follows me poor boy God knows there is a land where all things are made right but that land is not here my little children serve the Savior give your hearts to him while you are yet young life is short nothing is mine otherwise I would say Lindell take my books in my stones now I say nothing the things are mine it is not righteous God knows but I am silent let it be but I feel it I must say I feel it do not cry too much for the old man he goes out to seek his fortune and comes back with it in a bag it may be I love my children do they think of me I am old Otto who goes out to seek his fortune oh it's having concluded this quaint production he put it where the children would find it the next morning and proceeded to prepare his bundle he never thought of entering a protest against the loss of his goods like a child he submitted and whipped he had been there 11 years and it was hard to go away he spread open on the bed a blue handkerchief and put on it one by one the things he thought most necessary unimportant out of a bag of curious seeds which he meant to plant some day an old German hymn book three mist shape and stones that he greatly valued a Bible a shirt and two handkerchiefs then there was room for nothing more he tied up the bundle tightly and put it on a chair by his bedside that is not much they cannot say I take too much he said looking at it he put his knotted stick behind it his blue tobacco bag in his short path and then inspected his coats he had to lift a moth-eaten overcoat and a black alpaca art at the elders he decided for the overcoat it was warm certainly but then he could carry it over his arm and only put it on when he met someone along the road it was more respectable in the black alpaca he hadn't the great coat over the back of the chair and stuffed a hard butt of roaster cake under the knot of the bundle and then his preparations were completed the Germans stood contemplating them with much satisfaction he had almost forgotten his sorrow at leaving in his pleasure of preparing suddenly he started an expression of intense pain passed over his face he drew back his left arm quickly and then pressed his right hand upon his breast ah the sudden pang again he said his face was white but it quickly regained its colour then the old man busied himself in putting everything right I will leave it neat they shall not say I did not leave it neat he said even the little bags of seeds on the mantelpiece he put in rose and dusted then he undressed and got into bed under his pillow was a little storybook he drew it forth to the old German a story was no story its events were as real and as important to himself as the matters of his own life he could not go away without knowing whether that wicked Earl relented and whether the Baron married a milena so he adjusted his spectacles and began to read occasionally as his feelings became too strongly move he ejaculated how I thought so that was a rogue I saw it before I knew it from the beginning more than half an hour had passed when he looked up to the silver watch at the top of his bed the March is long tomorrow this will not do he said taking off his spectacles and putting them carefully into the book to mark the place this will be good reading as I walk along tomorrow he added as he stuffed the book into the pocket of the great coat very good reading he nodded his head and lay down he thought a little of his own troubles a good deal of the two little girls he was leaving of the Earl of emelina of the Baron but he was soon asleep sleeping as peacefully as a little child upon whose innocent soul thorough and care cannot rest it was very quiet in the room the coals in the fireplace through a dull red light across the floor upon the red lands on the quilt eleven o'clock came and the room was very still when a came the glimmer had died out though the ashes were still warm and the room was very dark the gray mouse who had its hole under the toolbox came out and sat on sex in the corner then growing bolder the room was sewed up it climbed the chair at the bedside nibbled at the roaster cake took one bite quickly at the candle and then sat on its haunches listening it heard the even breathing of the old man and the steps of the hungry cafe dog during his last round in search of a bone or a skin that had been forgotten and it heard the white hen call out as the wild cat ran away with one of her brood and it heard the chicken cry then the gray mass went back to its hole under the toolbox and the room was quiet and two o'clock came by that time the night was grown dull and cloudy the wild cat had gone to its home on the copy the cafe dog had found a burn and lay knowing it an intense quiet reigned everywhere only in her room the bore woman tossed her great arms in her sleep for she dreamed that a dark shadow with outstretched wings fled slowly over her house and she moaned and shivered and the night was very still but quiet as all places were there was a quite peculiar quiet in the Germans room there you strained your ear most carefully you caught no sound of breathing he was not gone for the old coat still held on the chair the coat that was to be put on when he met anyone and the bundle and stick were ready for tomorrow's long march the old German himself later his black wavy hair just touched with gray thrown back upon the pillow the old face was lying there alone in the dock smiling like a child's oh so peacefully there is a stranger who's coming they say is worse than all the ills of life from whose presence we flee away trembling but he comes very tenderly sometimes and it seemed almost as though death had known and loved the old man so gently it touched him and how could it deal hardly with him the loving simple childlike old man so it's moved off the wrinkles that were in the old Ford and fixed the passing smile and sealed the eyes that they might not weep again and then the short sleep of time was melted into the long long sleep of eternity how has he grown so young in this one night they said when they found him in the morning yes dear old man to such as you time brings no age you die with the purity and innocence of your childhood upon you though you die in your gray hairs end of chapter 9 part 1 chapter 9 of the story of an African farm by olive Shriner this LibriVox recording is in the public domain read by Sally McConnell in Betty's Bay South Africa in March 2010 he sees a ghost Bonaparte stood on the ash heap he aspired across the plain a moving speck and he chucked his coattails up and down in expectancy of a scene the wagon came on slowly Waldo lay cold among the sexes at the back of the wagon the hand in his breast resting on the sheep-shearing machine it was finished now the rack thought had struck him the day before as he sat far for sleep watching the water go over the Miller wheel he muttered to himself with half-closed eyes tomorrow smooth the cogs tighten the screws a little show it to them then after a pause over the whole world the whole world mine that I have made he pressed the little wheels and pulleys in his pocket till they cracked presently his muttering became louder and fifty pounds a black hat for my dad a full undal a blue silk very light and one purple like the earth bills and white shoes he muttered on a box full full of books they should tell me all all all he added moving his fingers desiring ly why the crystals grow in such beautiful shapes why enlightening runs to the iron why black people are black while the sunlight makes things warm I shall read read read he muttered slowly then came over him suddenly what he called the presence of God a sense of a good strong something folding him round he smiled through his half-shut eyes our father my own father it is so sweet to feel you like the warm sunshine the Bibles and books cannot tell of you and all I feel you they are mixed with men's words but you his muttering sank into inaudible confusion till opening his eyes wide it struck him that the brown plain he looked at was the old home farm for half an hour they had been riding in it and he had not known it here asked the leader who sat nodding on the front of the wagon in the early morning sunlight they were within half a mile of the homestead it seemed to him that he had been gone from them all a year he fancied he could see Lindell standing on the brick wall to watch for him his father passing from one house to the other stopping to look he called aloud to the oxen for each one at home he had brought something for his father a piece of tobacco bought at the shop by the mill for Emma thimble for Lindell a beautiful flower dug out by the roots at a place where they had arts band for tent sunny a handkerchief when they drew near the house he threw the whip to the calf a leader and sprang from the side of the wagon to run on burn apart stopped him as he ran past the ash heap good morning my dear boy where are you running to so fast with your rosy cheeks the boy looked up at him glad even to see Bonaparte who I'm going to the cabin he said out of breath he won't find them in just now not your good old father sit burn pot where is he asked the lad there beyond the camp said burn a pod waving his hand or rhetorically towards the stonewalled ostrich camps what is he doing there ask the boy burn a pot patted him on the cheek kindly we could not keep him anymore it was too hot we've buried him my boy said burn apart touching with his finger the boy's cheek we couldn't keep him anymore if he laughed burn apart as the boy fled away along the low stone wall almost furtively as one in fear at five o'clock burn apart not before a box in the Germans room he was busily unpacking it it had been agreed upon between Sonny and himself that now the German was gone he burner pot was to be no longer schoolmaster but overseer of the farm in return for his past scholastic Labor's he had expressed himself willing to take position of the dead man's goods and room tain't Sonny hardly liked the arrangement she had a great deal more respect for the German dead than the German living and would rather his goods had been allowed to descend peacefully to his son for she was a firm believer in the chinks in the world above we're not only ears but eyes might be applied to see how things went on in this world below she never felt sure how far the spirit world might overlap this world of sense and as a rule prudently abstained from doing anything which might offend unseen auditors for this reason she abstained from ill using the den Englishman's daughter and lease and for this reason she would rather the boy had had his father's goods but it was hard to refuse burn apart anything when she and he sat so happily together in the evening drinking coffee burn apart telling her in the broken Dutch he was fast learning how he adored fat women and what a splendid farmer he was so at 5 o'clock on this afternoon Bern apart Milton the Germans from somewhere here it is he said as he pecked the old clothes carefully out of the box and finding nothing packed them in again somewhere in this room it is and if it's here burn apart finds it he repeated you didn't stay here all these years without making a little pile somewhere my land you weren't such a fool as you looked earn no said burn apart he now walked about the room and diving his fingers in everywhere sticking them into the great crevices in the wall and frightening out the spiders wrapping them against the old plaster till it cracked and fill in pieces pairing up the chimney till the soot dropped on his bald head and blackened it he felt in little blue bags he tried to raise the half stone he shook each book till the old leaves fell down in Shara's on the floor it was getting dark and burn a pot stood with his finger on his nose reflecting finally he walked to the door behind which hung the trousers and waistcoat the dead man had last worn he had felt in them but hurriedly just after the funeral the day before he would examine them again sticking his fingers into the waistcoat pockets he found in one corner a hole pressing his hand through it between the lining in the cloth he presently came into contact with something burn apart drew it forth a small square parcel sewed up in sailcloth he gazed at it squeezed it it cracked as though full of banknotes he put it quickly in his own waistcoat pocket and peeped over the half-door to see if there was anyone coming there was nothing to be seen but the last rays of yellow sunset light painting the Carew bushes in the plain and shining on the ash heap where the fowls were picking he turned and sat down on the nearest chair and taking out his penknife ripped the parcel open the first thing that fell was a shower of yellow faded papers burn a pot opened them carefully one by one and smooth them out on his knee there was something very valuable to be hidden so carefully though the German characters he could not decipher when he came to the last one he felt there was something hard in it you've got it bond my boy you've got it he cried slipping his leg odd AG nearer to the door for the light was fading he opened the paper carefully there was nothing inside but a plain gold wedding ring better than nothing said burn apart trying to put it on his little finger which however proved too fat he took it off and set it down on the table before him and looked at it with his crosswise eyes when that auspicious are sunny he said shall have arrived when penting I shall lead the lighted by hymens torch to the connubial altar upon thy fair amaranthine finger my joyous bride shoulders ring repose thy fair body oh my girl shall burn apart possess his fingers in thy moneybags he therein too shall miss having given utterance to this flood of posy he sat lost in joyous reflection he therein too shall miss he repeated meditatively at this instant as burn apart swore and swore truly to the end of his life a slow and distinct rep was given on the crown of his bald head bonaparte started and looked up no rim or strap hanging down from the rafters above and not a human creature was near the door it was growing dark he did not like it he began to fold up the papers expeditiously he stretched out his hand for the ring the ring was gone gone although no human creature had entered the room gone or there no form had crossed the doorway gone he would not sleep there that was certain he stuffed the papers into his pocket as he did so three slow and distinct taps were given on the crown of his head burner parts jaw fell each separate joint lost its power he could not move he dared not rise his tongue lay loose in his mouth take or take Oh he goggled in this threat I don't want them take yea a resolute tug of the gray curls at the back of his head caused him to leap up yelling wildly was he to sit still paralyzed to be dragged away bodily to the devil with terrified shrieks he fled costing no glance behind when the dew was falling in the evening was dark a small figure moved towards the gate of the farthest ostrich camp driving a bird before it when the gate was opened in the bird driven in and the gate fastened it turned away but then suddenly paused near the stone wall is that you Waldo said Lindell hearing a sound the boy was sitting on the damp ground with his back to the wall he gave her no answer come she said bending over him I have been looking for you all day he mumbled something you've had nothing to eat I've put some supper in your room you must come home with me Waldo she took his hand and the boy rose slowly she made him take her arm and twisted her small fingers among his he must forget she whispered since it's happened I walk I talk I never sit still if we remember we cannot bring back the dead she lit her little fingers closer among his forgetting is the best thing he did not watch it coming she whispered presently that is the fretful thing to see it coming she shuddered I wanted to come so – me – why do you think I was driving that bird she added quickly that was hunts the bird that hates burn apart I let him out this afternoon I thought he would chase him and perhaps kill him the boy showed no sign of interest he did not catch him but put his head over the halfway door of your cabin and frightened him horribly he was there busy stealing your things perhaps he will leave him alone now but I wish the bird trodden on him they said they're immortal they reached the door of the cabin there is a candle and supper on the table you must eat she said authoritatively I cannot stay with you now list they find out about the bird he grasped her arm and brought his mouth close to her ear there is no God he almost hissed no God not anywhere she started not anywhere he grounded out between his teeth and she felt his hot breath on her cheek father you are mad she said drawing herself from him instinctively he loosened his grip and turned away from her also in truth is it not life's way we fight our little battles alone you yours I mine we must not help or find help when your life is most real to me you are mad when your agony is blackest I look at you and wonder friendship is good a strong stick but when the hour comes to lean hard it gives in the day of their bitterest need all souls are alone Lindell stood by him in the dark pityingly wonderingly as he walked to the door she came off to him eat your supper it will do you good she said she rubbed her cheek against his shoulder and then ran away in the front from the little wooly calf a girl was washing tunt Sonny's feet in a small tub and burn apart who sat on the wooden sofa was pulling off his shoes and stockings that his own feet might be washed also there were three candles burning in the room and he aunt aunt Sonny sat close together with the lean Hottentot not far off for when ghosts are about much lattice needed there is great strength in numbers Bonaparte had completely recovered from the effects of his frat in the afternoon and the numerous doses of brandy it had been necessary to administer to him to affect his restoration had put him into a singularly Pleasant and amiable mood that boy Waldo said burn apart rubbing his toes took himself off coolly this morning as soon as the wagon came and has not done a stiffer of work all day I'll not have that kind of thing now I'm master of this farm I hadn't thought made translated oh I expect he sorry that his father's dead said can't Sonny its nature you know I cried the whole morning when my father died one can always get another husband but one cannot get another father said can't Sonny costing a sidelong glance that burn apart burn apart expressed a wish to give water his orders for the next day's work and accordingly the little woolly-headed cafe was sent to call him after a considerable time the boy appeared and stood in the doorway if they had dressed him in one of the swallow-tailed coats and oiled his hair till the drops fell from it and it lays smooth as and elders on sacrament Sunday they would still have been something unenlightened as it was standing there in his strange old costume his hid presenting much the appearance of having been deeply rolled in sand his eyelids swollen the hair hanging over his furrowed and a dogged sullenness on his features he presented most the appearance of an ill-conditioned young Buffalo beloved Lord cried ton Sonny how he looks come in boy couldn't you come and say good day to me don't you want some supper he said he wanted nothing and turned his heavy eyes away from her there's a ghost being seen in your father's room said tain't Sonny you float afraid you can sleep in the kitchen I will sleep in our room said the boy slowly well you can't go now she said but be up early to take the Sheep the herd yes be up early my boy interrupted Bonaparte smiling I am to be master of this farm now and we shall be good friends I trust very good friends if you tried to do your duty My dear boy Waldo turned to go and burn apart looking benignly at the candle stretched out one unstopping foot over which Walder looking at nothing in particular fell with their heavy thud upon the floor dear me I hope you're not hurt my boy said burn a pot you will have many a harder thing than leather before you've gone through life he added consolingly as Waldo himself up the lien Hottentot laughed till the room rang again and tunt sunny tittered until her side's ached when he had gone the little maid began to Washburn apart sweet Oh No beloved look how he did for I can't think of it cried tunt sunny and she laughed again I always didn't know he was not right but this evening anyone could see it she added wiping the tears of mirth from her face his eyes were as wild as if the devil was in them he never was like other children the dear Lord knows if he doesn't walk alone for hours talking to himself if you sit in the room with him you can see his lips moving the whole time and if you talk to him twenty times he doesn't hear you daft eyes he's as mad as mad can be the repetition of the word mad conveyed meaning to burn aparts mind he lifts off peddling his toes in the water mad mad I know that kind of mad said burn a pot and I know the thing to give for it the front end of a little horse whip the tip nice thing takes it out said burn apart the Hottentot laughed and translated no more walking about and talking to themselves on this farm now said Bonaparte no more minding of sheep and reading of books at the same time the point of a horse whip is a little thing but I think he'll have a taste of it before long burner pot rubbed his hands and looked pleasantly across his nose and then the three laughed together grimly and Waldo in his cabin crouched in the dark in a corner with his knees drawn up to his chin end of part one chapter 9 chapter 1 part 10 of the story of an African farm by olive Shriner this LibriVox recording is in the public domain read by Sally McConnell in Betty's Bay South Africa in March 2010 he shows his teeth dos sat down among the Karoo bushes one yellow ear drawn over his wicked little eye ready to flap away any adventurous fly that might settle on his nose around him in the morning sunlight fed the Sheep behind him lay his master polishing his machine he found much comfort in handling it that morning a dozen philosophical essays or angelically attuned songs for the consolation of the bereaved could never have been to him what that little sheep shearing machine was that day after struggling to see the unseeable growing drunk with the endeavor to span the infinite and rising before the inscrutable mystery it is a renovating relief to turn to some simple feelable wearable substance – something which had a smell in the color which may be handled and turned over this way and that whether there be or be not a Hereafter whether there be any use in calling aloud to the unseen power whether there be an unseen power to call to whatever be the true nature of the I who call and of the objects around me whatever be our meaning our internal essence our cause and in a certain order of minds death and the agony of loss inevitably awaken the wild desire at other times smothered to look into these things whatever be the nature of that which the limits of the human intellect build up on every hand this thing is certain a knife will cut wood and one cobbed wheel will turn another this is sure Waldo found an immeasurable satisfaction in the handling of his machine but dust winked and blinked and thought it all fully monotonous up there on the flat and presently dropped asleep sitting bolt upright suddenly his eyes opened wide something was coming from the direction of the homestead winking his eyes and looking intently he perceived it was the gray mare now das had wondered much oblate what had become of her master seeing she carried someone on her back he now came to his own conclusion and began to move his tail violently up and down presently he pricked up one ear and let the other hang his tail became motionless and the expression of his mouth was one of decided disapproval bordering on scorn he wrinkled his lips up on each side into little lines the sand was soft and the gray mare came on so noiselessly that the boy heard nothing to burn apart dismounted then das got up and moved back a step he did not approve of Bern aparts appearance his costume in truth was of a unique kind it was a combination of the Town and Country the tales of his black cloth coat were pinned up behind to keep them from rubbing he had on a pair of moleskin trousers and leather gaiters and in his hand he carried a little whip of Renault Souris hide waldo started and looked up had there been a moment's time he would have dug a hole in the sand with his hands and buried his treasure it was only a toy of wood but he loved it as one of necessity loves what has been borne of him whether of the flesh or spirit when cold eyes have looked at it the feathers are rubbed off our butterfly's wing forever what have you here my lad said Bern apart standing by him and pointing with the end of his whip to the middly of wheels and hinges the boy muttered something inaudible and half spread his hand over the thing but this seems to be a very ingenious little machine said Bern apart seating himself on the antique and ending down over it with deep interest what is it for my lad shearing sheep it is a very nice little machine said burn apart how does it work now I've never seen anything so ingenious there was never a parent who heard deception in the voice that praised his child his firstborn here was one who liked the thing that had been created in him he forgot everything he showed how the shares would work with a little guidance how the sheep would be held and the will fall into the trough a flush burst over his face as he spoke I tell you what my lad said burn apart emphatically when the explanation was finished we must get you a patent your fortune is made in three years time there'll be not a farm in this colony where it isn't working you're a genius that's what you are said burn apart rising if it were made larger said the boy raising his eyes it would work more smoothly do you think there would be anyone in this colony would be able to make it I'm sure they would said burn a pot and if not why I'll do my best for you I'll send it to England it must be done somehow how long have you worked at it nine months said the boy oh it is such a nice little machine said burn apart one can't help feeling an interest in it there is only one little improvement one very little improvement I should like to make burn apart put his foot on the machine and crushed it into the sand the boy looked up into his face looks better now said Bonaparte doesn't it if we can't have it made in England we'll send it to America goodbye Tata he added you're a great genius a born genius My dear boy there's no doubt about it he mounted the gray mare and rode off the dog watched his retreat with cynical satisfaction but his master lay on the ground with his head on his arms in the sand and the little wheels and chips of wood lay on the ground around him the dog jumped onto his back and slept at the black curls till finding that no notice was taken he walked off to play with a black beetle the beetle was hard at work trying to roll home a great ball of dung it had been collecting all the morning but dust broke the ball and ate the beetles hind legs and NIM bit off its head and it was all play and no one could tell what had had lived and worked for a striving and a striving and an ending in nothing end of chapter one part 10 chapter 1 part 11 of the story of an African farm by olive Shriner this LibriVox recording is in the public domain read by Sally McConnell in Betty's Bay South Africa in March 2010 he snaps I have found something in the loft said M – Waldo who was listlessly piling cakes of fuel on the crawl wall a week after it is a box of books that belonged to my father we thought aunt Sonny had burnt them the boy put down the cake he was raising and looked at her I don't think they're very nice not stories she added but you could go and take any you like so saying she took up the plate in which she had brought his breakfast and walked off to the house after that the boy worked quickly the pile of fuel burn apart had ordered him to Peck was on the wall in half an hour he then went to throw salt on the skins laid out to dry finding the pot empty he went to the loft to refill it burn apart blinken's whose door opened at the foot of the ladder saw the boy go up and stood in the doorway waiting for his return he wanted his boots black dose finding he could not follow his master up there on bars said patiently at the foot of the ladder presently he looked up longingly but no one appeared then burn apart looked up also and began to call but there was no answer what could the boy be doing The Loft was an unknown land to burn apart he had often wondered what was up there he lacked to know what was in all locked up places and out-of-the-way corners but he was afraid to climb the ladder so Bonaparte looked up and in the name of all that was tantalizing questioned what the boy did up there the loft was used only as a lumber room what could the fellow find up there to keep him so long could the poor woman have beheld Wilder at that instant any lingering dark which might have remained in her mind as to the boys sanity would instantly have vanished for having filled the salt pot he proceeded to look for the box of books among the rubbish that filled the loft under a pile of sex he found it a rough packing case nailed up but with one loose plank he lifted that and saw the even backs of a row of books he knelt down before the box and ran his hand along its rough edges as if to assure himself of its existence he stuck his hand in among the books and pulled up to he felt them thrust his fingers in among the leaves and crumpled them a little as a lover feels the hair of his mistress the fellow bloated over his treasure he had had a dozen books in the course of his life now here was a mine of them opened at his feet after a while he began to read the titles and now and again opened a book and read a sentence but he was too excited to catch the meanings distinctly at last he came to a dull Brown volume he read the name opened it in the centre and where he opened began to read was a chapter on property that he fell upon communism Fourier ISM said Simon ism in a work on political economy he read down one page and turned over to the next he read down that without changing his posture by an inch he read the next and the next kneeling up all a while with the book in his hand and his lips parted all he read he did not fully understand the thoughts were new to him but this was the fellow startled joy in the book the thoughts were his they belonged to him he had never felt them before but they were his he laughed silently and internally with the still intensity of triumphant joy so then all thinking creatures did not send up the one cry as thou dear Lord has created things in the beginning so are they now so ought they to be so will they be world without end and it doesn't concern us what they are are men there were meant not only copies and stones were calling at imperatively what are we and how can we here understand us and know us but to whom even the old old relations between man and man and the customs of the ages called and could not be made still and forgotten the boys heavy body quivered with excitement so he was not alone not alone he could not quite have told anyone why he was so glad and this warmth had come to him his cheeks were burning no wonder that Bonaparte called in vain and dust put his paws on the ladder and whined till three-quarters of an hour had passed at last the boy put the book in his breast and buttoned it tightly to him he took up the salt pot and went to the top of the letter burn apart with his hands folded under his coattails looked up when he appeared and accosted him he had been rather a long time up there my lad he said as the boy descended with a tremulous haste most unlike his ordinary slow movement you can't hear me calling I suppose burn a pot whisked the tails of his coat up and down as he looked at him he burn apart blinken's had eyes which were very far seeing he looked at the pot it was rather a small pot to have taken three-quarters of an R in the filling he looked at the face it was flushed and yet tain't Sonny kept no wine he had not been drinking his eyes were wide open and bright he had not been sleeping there was no girl up there he had not been making love burn apart looked at him sagaciously what would account for the marvellous change in the boy coming down the letter from the boy going up the letter one thing there was did not tain't Sonny keep in the loft bill tongs and nice smoked sausages there must be something nice to eat up there aha that was it burner pot was so interested in carrying out his chain of inductive reasoning that he quite forgot to have his boots black he watched the boys shuffle off with the salt pot under his arm then he stood in his doorway and raised his eyes to the quiet blue sky and audibly propounded this riddle to himself what is the connection between the naked back of a certain boy with a great coat on and a salt pot under his arm and the tip of a horse with answer no connection at present but there will be soon Bonaparte was so pleased with the celli of his wit that he chuckled a little and went to lie down on his bed there was bread baking that afternoon and there was a fire lighted in the brick oven behind the house and tain't Sonny had lift the great wooden old bird chair in which he passed her life and waddled out to look at it not far off was waldo who having thrown a pail of food into the pigsty now leaned over the sod wall looking at the pigs half of the sty was dry but the lower half was a pool of mud on the edge of which the mother Sol lay with closed eyes hurt in little ones sucking the father pig knee-deep in the mud stood running his snot into a rotten pumpkin and wriggling his curled tail waldo wondered dreamily as he stared why they were pleasant to look at taken singly they were not beautiful taking together they were was it not because there was a certain harmony about them the old sow was suited to the little pigs a little pigs to their mother the old bore to the rotten pumpkin and all to the mud they suggested the thought of nothing that should be added of nothing that should be taken away and he wondered on vaguely was not that the secret of all beauty that you look on so he stood dreaming and leaned further and further over the sod wall and looked at the pigs all this time burn apart blinken's was sloping down from the house in an aimless sort of way but he kept one eye fixed on the pigsty and each gyration brought him nearer to it Waldo stood like a thing asleep when burner pot came close up to him in the old days when a small boy playing in an Irish Street gutter he Bonaparte had been familiarly known amongst his comrades under the title of tripping bin this from the rare ease and dexterity with which by merely projecting his foot he could precipitate any unfortunate companion onto the crown of his head years had elapsed and tripping Ben had become Bonaparte but the old gift was in him still he came close to the pigsty all the defunct memories of his boyhood returned on him in a flood as within a drug movement he inserted his leg between Waldo in the war and sent him over into the pigsty the little pigs were startled at the strange intruder and ran behind their mother who sniffed at him tunt sunny smote her hands together and laughed but Bonaparte was far from joining her lost in reverie he gazed at the distant horizon the sudden reversal of hidden feet had thrown out the volume that Waldo carried in his breast burner pot picked it up and began to inspect it as the boy climbed slowly over the wall he would have walked off sullenly but he wanted his book and waited till it should be given him hah said burn apart raising his eyes from the leaves of the book which he was examining I hope your coat has not been injured it is of an elegant cut an heirloom I presume from your paternal grandfather it looks nice now Oh Lord oh Lord cried Sonny laughing and holding her sides how the child looks as though he thought the mud would never wash off Oh Lord I shall die you burn a part of a funniest man I ever saw burned apart blinken's was now carefully inspecting the volume he had picked up among the subjects on which the darkness of his underst had been enlightened during his youth political economy had not been won he was not there for very clear as to what the nature of the book might be and as the name of the writer je s mill might for anything he knew to the contrary have belonged to a venerable member of the British and foreign Bible society it by no means threw light upon the question he was not in any way sure that political economy had nothing to do with the cheapest way of procuring clothing for the Army and Navy which would be certainly both a political and economical subject but burn apart soon came to a conclusion as to the nature of the book in its contents by the application of a simple rule now largely acted upon but which becoming universal would save much thought and valuable time it is of marvellous simplicity of infinite utility of universal applicability it may easily be committed to memory and runs thus whenever you come into contact with any book person or opinion of which you absolutely comprehend nothing declare that book person or opinion to be immoral thus better–it the 2 / 8 against it strongly insist that any man or woman harboring it is a fool or a knave or both carefully abstained from studying it do all that in new lies to annihilate that book person or opinion acting on this rule so wide in its comprehensiveness so beautifully simple in its working burn apart approached ants sunny with the book in his hand waldo came a step nearer eyeing it like a dog whose young has fallen into evil hands this book said bonaparte is not a fit and proper study for a young and immature mind can't Sonny did not understand a word and said what this book said burn apart bringing down his finger with energy on the cover this book is slur slur Davo Darvill tain't sunny perceived from the gravity of this countenance that it was no laughing matter from the words slur and Darvill she understood that the book was evil and had some connection with the prince who pulls the wires of evil over the whole earth where did you get this book she said turning her twinkling little eyes on Waldo I wish that my legs may be as still as an Englishman if it isn't one of your father's he had more sense than all the cappers in capital and for all that he pretended to be so good all those years and to live without a wife because he was thinking of the one that was dead as though ten dead wives could make up for one fat one with arms and legs cried tant sunny snorting it was not my father's book said the boys savagely I got it from your lot my loved my book how dare you cried tain't sunny it was Em's father's she gave it to me he muttered more sullenly give it here what is the name of it what is it about she asked putting her finger upon the title burn apart understood political economy he said slowly dear look said thump sunny cannot one hear from the very son what an ungodly book it is one can hardly say the name haven't we got curses enough on this farm asked tain't sunny eloquently my best important marine Earle am dying of nobody knows what and the short pole car costing her two calves and the Sheep eaten up with a scab and the drought and is this a time to bring ungodly things about the place to cool down the Veterans of Almighty God to punish us more didn't Minister tell me when I was confirmed not to read any book except my Bible and hymn book that the devil is in all the rest and I never have read any other book said sunny with virtuous energy and I never we'll go there so that the fate of his book was sealed and turned sullenly on his heel so you will not stay to hear what I say cried tain't sunny there take your political ET domine your divorce book she cried flinging the book at his head with much energy it merely touched his furrowed on one side and fell to the ground go on she cried I know you are going to talk to yourself people who talk to themselves always talk to the devil go and tell him all about it go on run cried tongues sunny but the boy neither quick nor slackened his pace and passed sullenly round the back of the wagon house books have been thrown at other heads before and since that summer afternoon by hands more white and delicate than those of the boar woman but whether the result of the process has been in any case wholly satisfactory may be questioned we love that with a particular tenderness we trigger it with a peculiar care it has for us quite a fictitious value for which we have suffered if we may not carry it anywhere else we will carry it in our hearts and always to the end burn apart Lincoln's went to pick up the volume now loosened from its cover while tain't Sonny pushed the stumps of wood farther into the oven burner Park came close to her tapped the book knowingly nodded and looked at the fire tent Sonny comprehended and taking the volume from his hand threw it into the back of the oven it lay upon the heap of coals smoked flared and blazed and the political economy was no more gone out of existence like many another poor heretic of flesh and blood burn apart grinned and to watch the process brought his face Sonia the oven door that the white hair on his eyebrows got singed he then inquired if there were any more books left in the loft learning that there were he made science indicative of taking up arm falls and flinging him into the fire but tain't Sonny was dubious the deceased Englishman had all his personal effects specially to his child it was all very well for Bonaparte to talk of burning the books he had had his hair spiritually pulled and she had no wish to repeat his experience she shook her head Bonaparte was displeased but then a happy thought occurred to him he suggested that the key of the loft should henceforth be put in his own safe care and keeping no one gaining possession of it without his permission to this stunt Sonny readily assented and the two walked lovingly to the house to look for it end of chapter 1 part 11 chapter 1 part 12 of the story of an African farm by olive Shriner this LibriVox recording is in the public domain read by Sally McConnell in Betty's Bay South Africa in March 2010 he fights burner pop lincoln's was riding home on the gray mare he had written up that afternoon partly for the benefit of his health partly to maintain his character as overseer of the farm as he rode on slowly he thoughtfully touched the ears of the grey mare with his whip no bond my boy he had risked himself don't propose you can't marry for 4 years on account of the will then why propose wheedle her tweedle her teedle her but don't let her make sure of you when a woman said burn apart sagely resting his finger against the side of his nose when a woman is sure of you she does what she lacks with you but when she isn't you do what you like with her and i said burn apart here he drew the horse up suddenly and looked he was now close to the house and leaning over the pigsty wore in company with him who was showing her the pigs was a strange female figure it was the first visitor that had appeared on the farm since his arrival and he looked at her with interest she was a Tulpa G girl of 15 weighing a hundred and fifty pounds with baggy pendulous cheeks and upturned nose she strikingly resembled tan Sonny inform and feature but her sleepy good eyes left the twinkle that dwelt in the bore woman's small orbs she was attired in a bright green print or brass rings in her ears and glass beads round her neck and was sucking the tips of her large finger as she looked at the pigs who is that that has come asked burn apart when he stood drinking his coffee in the front room why my knees to be sure said tain't Sonny the Hottentot made translating she's the only daughter of my only brother Paul and she's come to visit me she'll be a nice mouthful to the man that can get her Edit on Sonny her father's got 2,000 pounds in the green wagon box under his bed and the form and five thousand sheep and god almighty knows how many goats and horses they locked in cars in midwinter and the young men are after her like flies about a bowl of milk she says she means to get married in four months but she doesn't yet know to who it was so with me when I was young said ton Sonny I've set up with a young man four and five nights a week and they will come riding again as soon as ever they knew that the time's up that the Englishman made me agree not to marry in the Boer woman smoked complacently where are you going to Austin Sonny presently seeing that burn apart Rose ha I'm just going to the crawls I'll be in to supper said burn apart nevertheless when he reached his own door he stopped and turned in there soon after he stood before the little glass arrayed in his best white shirt with a little tux and shaving himself he had on his very best trousers and had heavily oiled the little fringe at the back of his head which however refused to become darker but what distressed him most was his nose it was very red he rubbed his finger and thumb on the all and put a little whitewash on it but finding it rather made matters worse he rubbed it off again then he looked carefully into his own eyes they certainly were a little pulled down at the outer corners which gave them the appearance of looking crosswise but then they were a nice blue so he put on his best coat took up his stick and went out to supper feeling on the whole well satisfied aren't said Khurana to taunt sunny win that night they lay together in the great wooden bed why does the Englishman sigh so when he looks at me ha said ton Sonny who was half asleep but suddenly started wide-awake it's because he thinks you look like me I tell you tirana said ton Sonny the man is mad with love of me I told him the other night I couldn't marry told em was 16 or I'd lose all the sheep her father left me and he talked about Jack working seven years and seven years again for his wife and of course he meant me Sid hunt Sonny pompously but he won't get me so easily as he thinks you have to ask more than once Oh said Khurana who was a lumpish girl and not much given to talking but presently she added aren't why does the Englishman always knock against a person when he passes them that is because you are always in the way said ton Sonny but aren't said Khurana presently I think he's very ugly she said tain't Sonny it's only because we're not accustomed to such noses in this country in his country he says all the people have such notice and they're ready your nose is the higher you are hears of the family of the Queen Victoria you know said tain't Sonny wakening up with her subject and he doesn't think anything of Governors and church elders and such people they are nothing to him when his aunt with the dropsy dies he'll have enough money to buy all the farms in this district Oh said Khurana that certainly made a difference yes little Sonny and he's only 41 though you'd take him to be 60 and he told me last night of the real reason of his baldness tan Sonny then proceeded to relate how at 18 years of age burn a pot had quoted a fair young lady how a deadly rival jealous of his verdant locks his golden flowing hair had with a damnable and insinuating deception made him a present of a pot of pomatum how applying it in the evening on rising in the morning he found his pillow strewn with the golden locks and looking into the glass beheld the shining and smooth expense which henceforth he must bear the few remaining hairs were turned to a silvery whiteness and the young lady married his rival and said can't Sonny solemnly if it had not been for the grace of God and reading of the Psalms he said he would have killed himself he says he could kill himself quite easily if he wants to marry a woman and she won't Ola Verret said Khurana and then they went to sleep everyone was lost in sleep soon but from the window of the cabin the light streamed forth it came from a dumb fire over which Waldo sat brooding hour off to our he sat there now and again throwing a fresh lump of fuel onto the fire which burnt up bravely and then sank into a great bed of red coals which reflected themselves in the boy's eyes as he sat there brooding brooding brooding at last when the fire was blazing at its brightest he rose suddenly and walked slowly to a beam from which an ox rim hung listening it he ran a noose in one end and then doubled it round his arm mine mine I have a right he muttered and then something Lada if I fall and am killed so much the bitter he opened the door and went out into the starlight he walked with his eyes bent upon the ground but overhead it was one of those brilliant some nights when every space so small that your hand might cover it shows fifty cold white points and the Milky Way is a belt of sharp frosted silver he passed the door we're bonaparte lee dreaming of tirana and her wealth and he mounted the ladder steps from those he clambered with some difficulty onto the roof of the house it was of a old rotten thatch with a ridge of white plaster and it crumbled away under his feet at every step he trod as heavily as he could so much the better if he fell he knelt down when he got to the far gable and began to fasten his rimmed the crumbling bricks below was the little window of the loft with one end of the rim tied round the gable the other end round his waist how easy to slide down to it and to open it through one of the broken panes and go in and to fill his arms with books and to clamber up again they had burnt one book he would have 20 every man's hand was against him his should be against every man's no one would help him he would help himself he lifted the blank damp hair from his net furrowed and looked round to cool his hot face then he saw what a regal night it was he not silently and looked up a thousand eyes were looking down at him bright and so cold there was a laughing irony in them so hot so bitter so angry poor little mortal he was ashamed he folded his arms and set on the ridge of the roof looking up at them so hot so bitter so angry it was as though a cold hand had been laid upon his throbbing furrowed and slowly they began to fade and grow dim can't sunny in the burnt book burn apart in the broken machine the box in the loft he himself sitting there how small they all became even the grave over yonder those stars that shone on up above so quietly they had seen a thousand such little existences a thousand such little existences fat just so fiercely flare up just so brightly and go out and they the old old stars shone on forever so hot so angry poor little soul they said the rim slipped from his fingers he sat with his arms folded looking up we said the stars have seen the earth when it was young we have seen small things creep out upon its surface small things that prayed and loved and cried very loudly and then crept under it again but we said the stars are as old as the unknown he leaned his chin against the palm of his hand and looked up at them so long he sat there that brat stars set and new ones rose and yet he sat on then at last he stood up and began to loosen the rim from the gable what did it matter about the books the lust and the desire for them had died out if they're pleased to keep them from him they might what matter it was a very little thing why hate and struggle and fight let it be as it would he twisted the rim around his arm and walked back along the ridge of the house by this time burn apart blinken's had finished his dream of Khurana and as he turned himself round for a fresh dose he heard the steps descending the ladder his first impulse was to draw the blanket over his head and his legs under him and to shut but recollecting that the door was locked in the window carefully bolted he allowed his head slowly to crop out among the blankets and listened intently who so ever it might be there was no danger of getting at him so he clambered out of bed and going on tiptoe to the door applied his eye to the keyhole there was nothing to be seen so walking to the window he brought his face as close to the glass as his nose would allow there was a figure just discernible the lad was not trying to walk softly and the heavy shuffling of the well-known felts guns could be clearly heard through the closed window as they crossed the stones in the yard burn apart listened till they had died away around the corner of the wagon house and feeling that his bare legs were getting cold he jumped back into bed again what do you keep up in your loft inquired burn a part of the bore woman the next evening pointing upwards and elucidating his meaning by the addition of such Dutch words as he knew for the lien Hottentot was gone home dried skins said the bore woman and into bottles and boxes and sex and soap you don't keep any of your provisions there sugar now said burn a pot pointing to the sugar basin and then up at the loft tain't sunny shook her head only salt and dried peaches dried peaches hey said burn a pot shut the door my dear child shut it tight he called out to em who stood in the dining room then he leaned over the elbow of the sofa and brought his face as close as possible to the poor woman's and made signs of eating then he said something she did not comprehend then said Waldo Waldo Waldo pointing up to the loft and made signs of eating again now an inkling of us meaning dawned on the boil woman's mind to make it clearer he moved his legs after the manner of one going up a ladder appeared to be opening a door masticated vigorously said peaches peaches peaches and appeared to be coming gone the letter it was now evident to ton Sonny that Waldo had been in her loft and eaten her peaches to exemplify his own share in the proceedings burn a pot lay down on the sofa and shutting his eyes tightly said night night night then he sat up wildly appearing to be intently listening mimicked with his feet one coming down a ladder and looked at tunt Sonny this clearly showed half rised in the night he had discovered the theft he must have been a grateful to eat my peaches said tan Sonny they are full of mites as a sheepskin and as hard as stones burn apart fumbling in his pocket did not even hear her remark and took up from his coattail a little horse with nicely rolled up burn a pot winked at the little rhinoceros horse whip at the bore woman and then at the door shall we call him Waldo Waldo he said tant Sonny nodded and giggled there was something so exceed humorous and the idea that he was going to beat the boy though for her own part she did not see that the peaches were worth it when the kaffir maid came with the washtub she was sent to summon Waldo and burn a pot doubled up the little whip and put it in his pocket then he drew himself up and prepared to act his important part with becoming gravity soon Waldo stood in the door and took off his hat come in come in my lad said burn a pot and shut the door behind the boy came in and stood before them you need not be so afraid child sit down Sonny I was a child myself once it's no great harm if you have taken a few burn a pot perceived that her remark was not in keeping with the nature of the proceedings and of the little drama he intended to act posting out his lips and waving his hand he solemnly addressed the boy Waldo it grieves me beyond expression to have to summon you for so painful a purpose but it is at the imperative call of duty which I dare not evade I do not state that frank and unreserved confession will obviate the necessity of chastisement which if Rick was it shall be fully administered but the nature of that chastisement may be mitigated by free and humble confession Waldo answer me as you would your own father in whose place I now stand to you have you or have you not did you or did you not eat of the peaches in the loft say you took them say you took them then he won't be to much said the Dutch woman good-naturedly getting a little sorry for him the boy raised his eyes slowly and then fixed them vacantly upon her then suddenly his face grew dark with blood so you haven't got anything to say to us my lad said Verne apart momentarily forgetting his dignity and bending forward with a little snow but what I mean is just this my lad when it takes a boy three-quarters of an hour to fill a salt pot and when at three o'clock in the morning he goes knocking about the doors of the loft it's natural to suppose there's mischief in it it's certain there is mischief in it and where there's mischief in it must be taken out CID burn apart running into the boys face then feeling that he had fallen from a high gravity with which was as spice to the pudding in the flavor of the whole little crotchety he drew himself up Waldo he said confessed to me instantly and without reserve that you ate the peaches the boy's face was white now his eyes were on the ground his hands doggedly clasped before him what you do not intend to answer the boy looked up at them once from under his bent eyebrows and then looked down again the creature looks as if all the Devils in hell were in it cried tant Sonny see you took them boy young things will be young things I was older than you and I used to eat biltong in my mother's loft and get all the little niggers whipped for it say you took them but the boy said nothing I think a little solitary confinement might perhaps be beneficial said burn apart it will enable you Waldo to reflect on the enormity of the sin you have committed against our Father in heaven and you may also think of the submission you owe to those who are older and wiser than you are and whose Duty it is to check and correct you saying this burner pot stood up and took down the key of the fuel house which hang on a nail against the wall walk on my boy said burn a pot pointing to the door and as he followed him out he drew his mouth expressively on one side and made the lash of the little horse whip stick out of his pocket and shake up and on can't Sonny felt half sorry for the lad but she could not help laughing it was always so funny when one was going to have a whipping and it would do him good anyhow he would forget all about it when the places were healed had not she been beaten many times and been all the bitter for it burn apart took up a lighted candle that had been left burning on the kitchen table and told the boy to walk before him they went to the fuel house it was a little stone erection that jutted up from the side of the wagon house it was low and about a window and the Dryad done was piled in one corner and the coffee mill stood in another fastened on the top of a short post about three feet high burner pot took the padlock off the rough door walk-in my lad he said Waldo obeyed sullenly one place to him was as much the same as another he had no objection to being locked up burn apart followed him in and closed the door carefully he put the light down on the heap of dung in the corner and quietly introduced his hand under his coattails and drew slowly from his pocket the end of a rope which he concealed behind him I'm very sorry exceedingly sorry Waldo my lad that you should have acted in this manner it grieves me said burn apart he moved ran towards the boys back he hardly liked the look in the fellow's eyes that he stood there motionless if he should spring on him so he drew the Rope out very carefully and shifted round to the wooden post there was a slip knot in one end of the rope and a sudden movement drew the boys hands to his back and past at random it was an instance work to drag it twice round the wooden post then Bonaparte was safe for a moment the boys struggled to free himself then he knew that he was powerless and stood still horses that kick must have their legs tied said burn apart as he passed the other end of the rope from the boys knees and now my dear Waldo taking the part of his pocket I am going to beat you he paused for a moment it was perfectly quiet they could hear each other's breath chase on my son while there is hope said burn apart and let not thy soul spare for his crying those are God's words I shall act as a father to you Waldo I think we had better have your naked back he took out his penknife and slit the shirt down from the shoulder to the waist now said Bonaparte I hope the Lord will bless and sanctify to you what I am going to do to you the first cut ran from the shoulder across the middle of the back the second fell exactly in the same place a shudder passed through the boys frame nice say said Bonaparte peeping round into his face speaking with the lisp as though to a very little child not a but the eyes were black and lustreless and seemed not to see him when he had given 16 burn apart paused in his work to wipe a little drop of blood from his whip cold eh what makes you shiver so perhaps you would like to pull up your shirt but I've not quite done yet when he had finished he whacked the whip again and put it back in his pocket he cut the rope through with his penknife and then took up the light you don't seem to have found your tongue yet forgotten how to cry said burn apart petting him on the cheek the boy looked up at him not sullenly not angrily there was a wild fitful terror in the eyes burn apart made haste to go out and shut the door and leave him alone in the darkness he himself was afraid of that look it was almost morning waldo lay with his face upon the ground at the foot of the fuel heap there was a round hole near the top of the door where a knot of wood had fallen out and a stream of grey light came in through it Hart was going to end at last nothing lasts forever not even the night how was it he had never thought of that before when all that long dark night he had been very strong had never been tired never felt pain had run on and on up and down up and down he had not dared to stand still and he had not known it would end he had been so strong that when he struck his head with all his force upon the stern wall it did not stun nor pain him only made him laugh that was a dreadful night when he clasped his hands frantically and prayed Oh God my beautiful God my sweet God once only once let me feel you near me tonight he could not feel him he prayed aloud very loud and he got no answer when he listened it was all quiet like when the priests of Baal cried aloud to their God Oh Baal hear us Oh ba hear us but ball was gone a-hunting that was a long wild night and wild thoughts came and went in it but they left their marks behind them forever for as years cannot pass without leaving their traces behind them now there can nights into which are forced the thoughts and suffering of years and now the dawn was coming in at last he was very tired he shivered and tried to draw the shirt up over his shoulders they were getting stiff he had never known they were cut in the night he looked up at the white light that came in through the hole at the top of the door and shuddered then he turned his face back to the ground and slipped again some hours later Bonaparte came towards the fuel house with a lump of bread in his hand he opened the door one peered in then entered and touched the pillow with his boot seeing that he breathed heavily though he did not roz burn a pot through the bread down on the ground he was alive that was one thing he bent over him and carefully scratched open one of the cuts with a nail of his forefinger examining with much interest his last night's work he would have to count his sheep himself that day the boy was literally cut up he locked the door and went away again Oh Lindo said in entering the dining room and bathed in tears that afternoon I had been begging Bonaparte to let him out and he worked the more you baked the more he will not Sid Lindell she was cutting out aprons on the table oh but I think it's late and I think they want to kill him said am weeping bitterly and finding that no more consolation was to be gained from her cousin she went off blubbering I wonder you can cut out aprons when Waldo's shut up like that for ten minutes after she was gone Lindell worked on quietly then she folded up her stuff rolled it tightly together and stood before the closed door of the sitting room with her hands cursed Lee clasped a flush rose to her face she opened the door quickly and walked in went to the nail on which the key of the fuel room hung burn apart intense sunny sat there and saw her what do you want they asked together this key she said holding it up and looking at them do you mean to her planet said hunt sunny in Dutch why don't you stop her oz burn apart in English why don't you take it from her said hunt sunny so they looked at each other talking while Lindell walked to the fuel house with the key her under lip bitten in water she said as she helped him to stand up and twisted his arm about her waist to support him we will not be children always we will have the power to some day she kissed his naked shoulder with her soft little mouth it was all the comfort her young soul could give him end of chapter 1 part 12

Michael Martin

1 Response

  1. Story of an African Farm | Olive Schreiner | Action & Adventure Fiction, General Fiction | 2/6

    7: [00:00:00] – 07 – Chapter 1, Part 7

    8: [00:10:47] – 08 – Chapter 1, Part 8

    9: [00:35:58] – 09 – Chapter 1, Part 9

    10: [00:55:05] – 10 – Chapter 1, Part 10

    11: [01:02:34] – 11 – Chapter 1, Part 11

    12: [01:21:12] – 12 – Chapter 1, Part 12

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