They will get richer, more powerful, and more enterprising, because of the necessity of waking themselves up to keep abreast of the times; but wealth and power, and the buzz and rattle of machinery and commerce do not always mean happiness. During the afternoon the narrow kuruma road merges into a broad, newly made macadam, as fine a piece of road as I have seen the whole world round.
And now to bed, though I must just read my account of our day in the forest. Darling girl, may I dream of thee. We laid our mines without trouble at 5 a.m. this morning, though at midnight we had a most unpleasant experience. I was asleep, as it was my morning watch, when I was awakened by the harsh rattle of the diving alarms.
The tread of the soldiers and the rattle of their weapons awoke the echoes and seemed to put an end to Marche-a-Terre's indecision. "Perhaps I can save her," he said, "if you make her stay in the house. And mind," he added, "whatever happens, you must stay with her and keep silence; if not, no safety." "I promise it," she replied in terror.
I therefore watched the golden fence very narrowly as we hastened towards it. But in a moment my sight failed: lances, spears, halberds, and partisans began unexpectedly to rattle and quiver; and the strange movement ended in all the points sinking towards each other just as if two ancient hosts, armed with pikes, were about to charge.
The life, vigour, and swing of movement of these few minutes when we first came under fire was magnificent, the cavalry wheeling and circling, infantry deploying, the rattle of the artillery waggons, the cracking of the drivers' whips on the backs of the straining, struggling horses, the rending sound of the shells in the air like the tearing of a great canvas mainsail; the loud report when a shell exploded, or the dull thud when they simply buried themselves in the veldt.
"With the first shot the Wells-Fargo gents they was game as goats both of 'em slides offen the coach an' takes to shootin'. The guns is makin' a high old rattle of it, an' I'm hopin' the hold-up won't get to over-shootin' an' drill me, when the first casooalty occurs. One of the Wells-Fargo sports gets a bullet plumb through his frame, an' is dead an' out in the crack of a whip.
He hoped he wasn't in for another attack of quinsy sore throat. But why lie to himself? The truth was, he wanted to cry and he wanted to laugh at the same time, and the impulses were crossed in his windpipe. He shook his watch like a child's rattle, to be sure it was still running. Barbara did not disappoint her father. On the contrary, she was perhaps more deeply moved than he at their meeting.
Binns says the old Mussulman was also an inveterate hater of unbelievers, and that the old fellow's bones would fairly rattle in his coffin were he conscious that a family of Christians are now actually occupying the house he built with such careful regard for the Mussulman's ideas of a material heaven, with trees and fountains and black-eyed houris.
Men are brawling and talking loud about politics, opera-girls, horse-racing, the atrocious tyranny of the committee: bearing this sacred secret about him, he enters into this brawl. Talk away, each louder than the other. Rattle and crack jokes. Laugh and tell your wild stories.
"We don't put on style down here," said the old captain to him at the first meal, and in a voice that made the dishes rattle, "but we're right glad to see ye, and we'll give ye some fun if the wind holds out. Be ye fond o' fishin'?"