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twelve feet long; we can thus stab the Matabili as they attempt to climb up, and can reach them, whilst their short assagies cannot come near us. They have no guns; so that we have no fear of being hit by them if we stand on our breastwork.'

"That is a good thought, Hans,' replied Victor; 'we will have four of these, then if we break one we can each have another. Oh! if we had only a hundred bullets each, and enough powder for them, we would fight a hundred of these treacherous rascals.'

“We must do what we can with the means we have,' answered Hans. “Now I will go and cut the bamboo, then we shall be all ready.'

It was only with great difficulty that Hans descended from the block on which he had taken up his position, he then cut some straight, strong canes which grew to a great height near the marshy bottom of the ravine; and returning with these, he found that to ascend the perpendicular face of the rock was exceedingly difficult, and whilst thus climbing with both hands occupied, he knew that a determined man above with a long lance, such as he could construct from the bamboo and blades of the assagies, could defy a dozen men at a time, and stab them as they ascended. This conviction gave

him additional hope that he might either destroy his enemy, or be able to hold his position until relief came, that was, if Bernhard had succeeded in reaching the Lager. If Bernhard has,' said Hans. Ah ! all depends on good Bernhard now.'

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The day slowly passed away, though the whole four were engaged in superintending or executing the de-, fences. Katrine was able to give assistance in tying up cartridges and in holding the canes whilst Hans fastened the iron blades to their ends : thus Victor was at liberty to make the defences more secure.

From the experience which Hans had gained in ascending the rock, he knew that there was only one place where an enemy could ascend, and thus if the narrow causeway could be defended, he saw no means for the Matabili to approach him.

'Two to a hundred are long odds, though,' said Hans to Victor; 'but we can only die at last, and our last fight shall be a good one. We can do no more, I think, so now suppose we sleep for two hours; we are safe till sunset, and I don't think we shall be attacked before daybreak to-morrow. Katrine and her sister can be trusted to keep watch, and we shall be stronger for sleep.'

It was some time after sundown when Victor was called by Katrine.

'I can trust my eyes by day, Victor,' said the Dutch maiden, but I don't think I am fit to keep guard by night. An enemy might be too cunning or too quick for me.'

That is true, Katie,' replied Victor : "you had better sleep now, and I will take care no enemy comes to us. Have you heard any strange sounds since sunset ?'

“Yes, many,' said Katrine : “there are lions about, and I think hyenas have already scented death near here,



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for I heard some savage animals fighting below here; but I think only animals have been about us.'

We may have a great fight to-morrow, Katie,' said Victor : “the enemy may be fifty to one against us.'

A brave man from the Vaderland like Hans and you would scarcely like to fight at less odds, Victor. If you are hard pressed I can use one of those spears, and I can pull a trigger too; but we can trust to you two. See how strong this place is, too,' continued Katrine: \a child might hold this against an army.'

'If you had been down-hearted, Katie, I should have fought, but it would have been doggedly and downheartedly; now that you are so hopeful, I shall fight cheerfully and confidently. Good-night, Katie, and thank you for your support.'

Victor took up a sheltered position under the rocks, where the dew could not fall upon him, and commenced his lonely watch. Strange thoughts crossed his brain as he there sat for hours : one was the readiness with which he surrendered a fair chance of life for the sake of two Dutch girls whom he knew but slightly. It is odd,' he thought, ‘for were it not for their slow feet, Hans and I could easily escape the whole body of the Matabili, and in a race for life we could shoot down the fleetest, and run from the slowest. It is a strange tie that binds a strong man to a weak woman, for tie it is. I, who never yet loved a woman, would sooner die in defending Katie than escape at her expense; and yet, were she captured, her fate would only be to become one among a hundred

The Calm before the Storm.



wives of Moselekatse. To-morrow's sun will not set, I expect, without deciding her fate, and that of Hans and myself.'

The night had half passed when Hans, having, as he termed it, 'finished all his sleep,' came out of his cave and told Victor to take his rest. • If I hear the slightest noise that indicates an enemy, I will signal to you,' said Hans ; 'for it may be that at day-break we may have an attack. Sleep whilst you can, though : our aim is always better after a good rest.'

The calm of the previous day had been succeeded by a fresh breeze, which was blowing from the westward, and thus Hans could not depend so much on discovering the approach of an enemy by the sound which he would make in moving through the underwood in the ravines. He was thus particularly anxious and watchful in order to guard against a surprise.

The darkness of night had been succeeded by the grey twilight of morning, and Hans had neither seen nor heard any thing to cause him fresh alarm. As the daylight increased he strained his eyes to examine every suspicious-looking object, in his endeavour to discover an enemy. The mist, which for a time hung about the streams and in the kloofs, prevented him from seeing distinctly over the surrounding plains, and thus before the sun rose the view was not very distinct.

Whilst he examined the distant plains and rising ground his eye was suddenly attracted by what seemed an object moving near the edge of the rock close to

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him. So momentary was the view he obtained that he was not certain the waving of a branch in the wind might not be the cause. He was, however, too keen a sportsman not to know that it is by paying attention to these glimpses of objects that the best chances are frequently obtained, and thus with his gun in readiness he remained motionless under the shadow of the rock, whilst he watched the grass near the edge moment after he saw the head of a Matabili slowly raised above the edge of the rock, and then the man, as though believing he could effect a surprise, endeavoured to pull himself up to the level plateau. Hans saw the chance that offered, so, instantly grasping the long bamboo lance, he charged the Matabili with such speed, that though the man saw him coming, yet he could neither raise himself to the rock nor get down quick enough to avoid the deadly thrust which Hans made at him. The man, pierced through the chest, fell

to a Matabili who was following him, and the two dashed headlong to the ground, some thirty feet below. A yell of rage and disappointment was uttered by a hundred savages, until now concealed in the ravines below. The noise they thus made was the first intimation that Victor or the two girls had that their enemies had arrived. The three rushed from their respective caves at this unearthly yell, and Victor eagerly inquiring of Hans the cause, received a hasty explanation, whilst the blood-stained lance was an earnest of its success as a weapon to restrain invaders.


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