The patriot to whom he referred, mounted on an attenuated mule, and escorted by a Sergeant and six men of the B.S.A., under the superintendence of a large pink officer of the Staff, was at that moment being conducted at a sharp trot out of the lines, to meet a smallish waggon pulled by a span of four that was being brought down from Tweipans by half a dozen Boers in weathered tan-cord and velveteen, battered pot-hats and ragged shooting-jackets, carrying very carefully-tended rifles, mounted on well-fed, wiry little horses, and accompanied by a White Flag.
"Korah, Dathan, and Abiram," suggested Davis, who, as a Bible Baptist, had a fund of Scripture knowledge upon which he occasionally drew, "with their families and their pavilions and all their substance...." "Av Cora was there," said Kildare, "she was disguised as a Dutchman, for sorrow an' oi I clapped on any human baste that was not a square-buttocked Boer in tan-cord throusers.
He touched the cheap Panama, and swung theatrically round on his heel. Between him and the saloon-door there was a solid barricade of heavy Dutch bodies, in moleskin, tan-cord, and greasy homespun, topped by lowering Dutch faces. Brawny right hands that could have choked the reedy crow out of the little bantam gamecock, clenched in the baggy pockets of old shooting-jackets.
Then a short young Corporal, who had been leaning back in an angle of the earthwork, hugging his sharp knees and staring at nothing in particular with pale-coloured, ugly, honest eyes, grew painfully crimson through his crust of sun-tan and grime, and said something that made the lean bodies in ragged, filthy tan-cord and dilapidated khâki, or torn and muddy tweed, slew round upon the unclean straw on which they squatted.
Smoots Beste was about to grumble, but he changed his mind, and took the letter, buttoning it up in the flapped pocket of his tan-cord jacket, and the long whip cracked like a revolver as the lash hissed out over the backs of the wincing oxen, and the white tilt rocked over the veld, heading to the nor'-west. "When will the Dutchy be back, boss?" asked the woman, with a knowing look.