No attention being paid to the order, he fired, and Hintza fell, wounded in the left leg. Leaping up in a moment, he resumed his flight, when Southey fired again, and once more the chief was hit and pitched forward, but rose instantly and gained the cover of the thicket which lined the bank of the river.
This was done, and they continued to move forward till eight o'clock in the morning, observing as they went the spoor of numerous herds of cattle that had been driven in that direction quite recently. The men, being tired, were then halted for refreshment. At this point Hintza became particularly uneasy at the vigilance with which he was watched.
There was ground for uneasiness and much caution in all this, for those who knew Hintza best were wont to say that he possessed in a high degree all the vices of the savage ingratitude, avarice, cunning, and cruelty, and his treatment of the traders and missionaries under his protection, as well as his secret encouragement of the border chiefs, fully bore out their opinion.
The Xabecca river was seen in front with a few Kafir huts on its banks. Here the chief set off at full speed in the direction of the huts. Colonel Smith and three of the guides pursued. The latter were quickly left behind, but the Colonel, being well mounted, kept up with the fugitive. Spurring on with violence, he soon overtook him. "Stop, Hintza!" he shouted.
Hintza looked round with a smile of derision, and the Colonel, hurling the other pistol at him, struck him on the back of the head. The blow was ineffectual. Hintza rode on; the troops followed as they best could. They were now nearing the huts. At length, making a desperate effort, the Colonel dashed close up to the chief.
The deceitful chief was thus ready in his acquiescence, simply because he had no intention whatever of fulfilling his engagements. To blind his white enemies the more effectually, he himself offered to remain in the camp as a hostage, with his followers. This seemingly gracious conduct won for Hintza so much confidence that orders were immediately given to evacuate his territory.
Hintza began to retreat and plunder British traders who were residing in his territory under his pledged protection, and at length a trader named Purcell was murdered near the chief's kraal and his store robbed.
For one instant the Dutchman, supposing it impossible to escape detection, was on the point of springing on the savage, but on second thoughts he resolved to take his chance. Even if Hintza did discover him, he felt sure of being able to leap up in time to ward off his first stab. Fortunately the Kafir was too much engrossed with his thoughts.
Even while he was talking with them, crowds of the bloodstained savages were returning from the colony, laden with the spoils of the white man, and driving thousands of his sheep and cattle before them. In these circumstances, Stephen resolved to make the best of his way back to Salem. On telling this to Hintza, that chief from some cause that he could not understand, again offered to escort him.
They had reached a streamlet and encamped, when one of the guides reported to him that two Kafirs, with five head of cattle, were near the camp, and that Hintza, on the plea that they would be afraid to approach, had sent one of his people to bring them in.