The Project Gutenberg eBook, Cinderella in the South, by Arthur Shearly Cripps
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Title: Cinderella in the South Twenty-Five South African Tales
Author: Arthur Shearly Cripps
Release Date: October 5, 2007 [eBook #22886]
Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CINDERELLA IN THE SOUTH***
E-text prepared by Charles Klingman
CINDERELLA IN THE SOUTH
New York Agents
Longmans, Green & Co.
Fourth Avenue and 30th Street
CINDERELLA IN THE SOUTH
South African Tales
ARTHUR SHEARLY CRIPPS
Author of 'Faerylands Forlorn,'
'Lyra Evangelistica,' Etc.
B. H. Blackwell, Broad Street
To C. H. CRIPPS
FRIEND AND KINSMAN.
Grace me these veld spoils rude with name of thine!
Mine's been the luck not thine these long years now
To tread the veld. What other use had'st thou,
Hunter and Horseman, made of chances mine!
Nor horns nor heads have I to give to thee,
Yet spoils of sorts veld spoils I bring with me.
A. S. C.
October 11th, 1917.
THE THING THAT HATH BEEN
NEW LIGHT ON AN OLD CHAMPION
FUEL OF FIRE
'LA BELLE DAME'
THE SCENTED TOWN
THE PLACE OF PILGRIMAGE
THE LEPER WINDOWS
THE BURNT OFFERING
EIGHTY-EIGHT IN LAVENDER
THE DOUBLE CABIN
A CREDIT BALANCE
MAN'S AIRY NOTIONS
A LION IN THE WAY
AS TREES WALKING
THE BLACK DEATH
AN OLD-WORLD SCRUPLE
FOR HIS COUNTRY'S GOOD
LE ROI EST MORT
THE RIDING OF THE RED HORSE
THREE AND AFRICA
OUR LADY OF THE LAKE
[AFRICA AND HER SISTERS.]
Some fifteen years now I have been her guest,
For all this land's hers, tho' she does not reign.
She's but a ward, at what late age she'll gain
Her freedom and her kingdom, it were best
To risk no surmise rash. E'en now she's drest
Sometimes in skins. Give her ground-nuts and grain,
Cattle and thatch'd hut, then she'll not complain,
She's happier-hearted than her Sisters blest.
Her Sisters blest! Of them what shall I say?
I like them better when they keep away,
And toil in their own lands, not loll in hers.
They use her ill. She's not so old as they.
She drudges for them. But her youth confers
A charm on her they've lost these many years.
THE THING THAT HATH BEEN
What's the good of him?' said the bar-tender to me. 'If he could tell us how the Ruins came he might be worth a forty-pound cheque every month, or at least a twenty one. But he can't.'
We were discussing the new appointment of a Government Curator at the Mabgwe Ruins. I approved it, the bar-tender did not. I pleaded that he was a bit exacting, that the Curator had a very cold scent to puzzle out, and that he had tried plodding about from ruins to ruins, moling and sapping and mining, not to speak of writing to the Rhodesian Press. Afterwards I shouldered my knapsack, sought counsel with my carriers as to ways and means, crossed the river and took the Ruins road. A motor-car hurtled past me when I was within two miles. Its driver had been pointed out to me as a Jo'burg magnate; his passengers I did not know, but I was soon to know them. I was the first to reach the Ruins after all; for their arrival time being one o'clock, and their halting-place a hotel. Civilization demanded that they should lunch there.
I drank from the fair water by the temple's western approach, and sat down to smoke under a tree in the precincts. The big cone of the main tower was just in sight. I had seen the walls before, and was in no analytical mood; synthesis was enough for me. I took in with my delighted eyes a roofless dome worthy to be a temple of some sort, even if it were not, a blue roof that bettered mere human aspiration, debris testifying to earthly incompleteness, a broken column with its memento mori all these were simmering in my vision and my judgment. I half dozed until the voices of the lunchers began to interest me. They were doing the rounds rather hastily, lunch having cut into their time, so short at its very best.
A Church dignitary from our own territory was with them. He introduced himself to me, and he also introduced an engineer. He was a patriotic Rhodesian, that dignitary, and denounced McIver, who had dared to assign to the Ruins a native origin.
'Such nonsense!' he said. 'Believe me, my dear sir, I know the natives, and I know the natives never built these walls. Poor creatures; they want firm handling, don't they? They're always in want of bossing-up. But as for this display of art, they haven't it in them, and they never had.'
The engineer did not seem interested in what was said, or in what I answered. He was a man of few words. He went off to the eastern wall, whither we followed him. I found him poking about there with a stick. The Jo'burg charioteer was soon fussing along, hurrying on tea-time. 'He didn't want to get a dose of fever this trip,' he said. He had heard about our unhealthy season up north, and the month was now April. He wanted to be back by sunset. So it came to pass that his party went off to tea with but side-glances at the hill-fastness.
'I'm neither a baboon nor a nigger,' said their host, when I proposed that he should go up. After all, it was good-natured of him to motor the dignitary out, I considered. He himself affected no sort of interest in antiquities, and the dignified antiquarian under his care was so wearily keen. I went to tea with them, postponing my reveries to camping time and night. It was not until we were eating guavas at the end of our meal that the engineer came in. Then the Jo'burger told him to hurry up, and went off to cherish his car. As to the engineer, his scanty tea-time was not left in peace. The dignitary lectured him on the true and patriotic theory of Ophir, on Astarte's worship, and Solomon's gold. He answered very little, but he hinted that there were difficulties. His lecturer glowed, and appealed to the Curator, who had just come in, bent and shaken with fever. Unhappily, yet happily for me, he trod on