"Quite," dryly. The young trooper watched him a moment, and then added: "Did you have trouble with M'Basch?" "He tried to make trouble. He is a dangerous native." "And you gave him a lesson?" "I burnt his kraal." "Whew!..." and Stanley gave a low whistle.
The day's march had been thirteen miles, and we were requested by our guide, Shooli, to halt for the night, as there was no water for a considerable distance to the south. I immediately employed the soldiers in the construction of a cattle kraal, lest the prowling Umiro should endeavour to scare the animals during the night.
In their hurry to escape from the desolate scene at the kraal, Von Bloom had not thought of bringing a supply in the wagon a sad oversight, in a country like South Africa, where springs are so rare, and running streams so uncertain. A sad oversight indeed, as they now learnt for long before night they were all crying out for water all were equally suffering from the pangs of thirst.
Also they are much larger, and surrounded by a verandah about six feet wide, beautifully paved with powdered lime trodden hard. All along each side of this wide pathway that pierces the kraal were ranged hundreds of women, brought out by curiosity to look at us. These women, for a native race, are exceedingly handsome. They are tall and graceful, and their figures are wonderfully fine.
Now assuming a tremendous assumption! that by all this he really is providing security for the future, what conscious direct, personal satisfaction in the present does the onerous programme actually yield? I admit that it yields the primitive satisfaction of keeping body and soul together. But a Hottentot in a kraal gets the same satisfaction at less expense.
I asked her why she wept thus, and she answered that the shadow of evil lay upon her heart, for she was sure that if I left her at the king's kraal, when I returned again I should find neither her nor Nada, my child, nor Umslopogaas, who was named my son, and whom I loved as a son, still in the land of life.
Here Chaka sat down at the end of the rift, pondering. Presently he looked up and saw a vast multitude of men, women, and children, who wound like a snake across the plain beneath towards the kraal Gibamaxegu. "I think, Mopo," said the king, "that by the colour of their shields, yonder should be the Langeni tribe thine own people, Mopo." "It is my people, O King," I answered.
"Of the buffalo with the split horn, of which Zikali told you. What else?" Now, I fear I used strong language about the buffalo with the split horn, a beast in which I declared I had no belief whatsoever, either with or without its accessories of dried river-beds and water-holes. "If all this old woman's talk has made you afraid, however," I added, "you can stop at the kraal with Mameena."
Good night to you, Watcher-by-Night with the white heart and the strange destiny, good night to you, and try not to think too hardly of the old Kafir cheat who just now is called 'Opener-of-Roads. My servant waits without to lead you to your hut, and if you wish to be back at Umbezi's kraal by nightfall to-morrow, you will do well to start ere sunrise, since, as you found in coming, Saduko, although he may be a fool, is a very good walker, and you do not like to be left behind, Macumazahn, do you?"
Thence we advanced slowly, as the broken path required, through thickets of wild henna to the kraal occupied by Beuh's family. At a distance we were descried by an old acquaintance, Fahi, who straightways began to dance like a little Polyphemus, his shock-wig waving in the air: plentiful potations of milk again delayed my companions, who were now laying in a four days' stock.