So I drank, and together we waited for the dawn in that place where we stood the ropes in our hand. A little after third cockcrow we heard the feet of horses and gun wheels very far off, and so soon as the light came a shell burst on the threshold of the house, and the roof of the verandah that was thatched fell in and blazed before the windows. And I said, "What of the wounded Boer-log within?"
Nothing troubled him but the memory of what had passed, and an abject fear of its return. "Gallo canente, spes redit, Aegris salus refunditur, Lapsis fides revertitur," as they sang of old in Portugal in the Morning Office. But to him that good hour of cockcrow, and the changes of the dawn, had brought panic, and lasting doubt, and such terror as he still shook to think of.
Over the cradle a woman was bending, clad in long, white garments, and singing a low lullaby, and as she raised her pale face, behold! it was that of the dead Kunigunda. The nurse could neither shriek nor faint; as though fascinated, she watched the wraith nursing her child, until at cockcrow Kunigunda vanished. In trembling tones the nurse related what she had seen to Franz and Amina.
"Ah! ah!" screamed Natasha, rolling her eyes with horror. "Yes? And how... did he speak?" "Yes, like a man. Everything quite all right, and he began persuading her; and she should have kept him talking till cockcrow, but she got frightened, just got frightened and hid her face in her hands. Then he caught her up. It was lucky the maids ran in just then..."
But why talk I, when no one hath MINE ears! It is still an hour too early for me here. Mine own forerunner am I among this people, mine own cockcrow in dark lanes. But THEIR hour cometh! And there cometh also mine! Hourly do they become smaller, poorer, unfruitfuller, poor herbs! poor earth!
Perhaps, however, by these generalisms of abuse the sex gains: they prevent personal and individual details; and no society of French gentlemen avoids mentioning in public the name of a woman more scrupulously than do the misogynist Moslems. After a conversazione of two hours my visitors depart, and we lose no time for we must rise at cockcrow in spreading our mats round the common room.
The villagers agreed to meet the next morning. At cockcrow the next day the elder brother went to the other's house and woke him up and said "Brother, this is a bad business; you have called in the villagers and they will certainly fine us both for quarrelling; it would be much better for us to save the money and spend it on a pig; then we and our families could have a feast."
At cockcrow they set off again, but instead of cracking her nuts as she used to do, this time Kate plucked the feathers off and cooked the birdie. Soon there arose a very savoury smell. "Oh!" said the sick prince, "I wish I had a bite of that birdie," so Kate gave him a bite of the birdie, and he rose up on his elbow.
At cockcrow the next morning the two ojhas brought the two tubers and put them down at the end of the village street, and then went to the house where the sick woman lived and awoke the inmates, and they borrowed a pot of water and some vermilion and an old winnowing fan and then they all went to the place where the tubers had been left, and the ojhas made the patient sit on the winnowing fan facing the east and painted her with vermilion; then they waved pig's dung round her head and tied the two tubers round her neck and told her to walk up and down the village street three times; and that would remove the spell that was on her.
Cockcrow, ducks quacking, the lowing of the cow, the swelling melody of wild birds these were the sounds that filled her waking ears.