The family of the victim of a 21-year-old African-American pregnant woman shot dead by a US police officer criticized the police for serious abuse of power.

发表于 2023-09-22 04:25:21 来源:Return to basics and return to true nature

the hoof-stroke of a shod horse perchance stumbling on the rocky way should be borne to the quick, watchful ears of those they were following. At length, however, the brow of the ridge was gained, and there before them lay a rolling expanse of open country, yet not so open as Carhayes had predicted, for it was pretty thickly dotted with mimosa, and the grass was long, coarse, and tangled, rendering rapid riding dangerous in parts.Suddenly they came right upon a kraal nestling in a mimosa covered valley. Three old hags were seated against one of the beehive shaped huts, otherwise the place seemed quite deserted. No children were to be seen—not even a half-starved cur skulking around—and of men or cattle there was no sign. The spoor they were following had grown very indistinct, and here seemed to split up into several directions.The old women, frightful, toothless crones, all wrinkles and flaps, showed no signs of alarm at this unexpected appearance of the invading white men. On the contrary, they began to abuse them roundly in a shrill, quavering treble.“Macbeth in excelsis!” murmured Eustace at sight of them.“Stop that cackling, you old hell-cats!” said Carhayes with a growl like that of a savage dog, as he drew his revolver and pointed it right at them, a pantomime which they thoroughly understood, for their high-pitched abuse dropped to a most doleful howl. “Here, Eustace. You can patter the lingo better than any of us, and I haven’t the patience, damn it! Ask these old rag bags which way the fellows with the oxen took.”“We know nothing about men or oxen,” came the prompt and whimpering reply.“You do know. Tell us quickly!” repeated Eustace warningly.Sullenly the first disclaimer was reiterated.A furious expletive burst from Carhayes.“We can’t lose any more time being fooled by these infernal old hags!” he cried. “If they don’t tell us before I count five I’ll put a bullet

a different nature to those entertained by his cousin.“We can move the rest of the stock to Swaanepoel’s Hoek,” went on Carhayes. “Bentley will be only too glad to look after it for a consideration. Then for some real sport! Eustace, pass the grog to Hoste.”“That your Somerset East farm?” said the latter, filling his glass.“Yes. Not a bad place, either; only too stony.”“You’re a jolly lucky fellow to have a Somerset East farm to send your stock to,” rejoined Hoste. “I wish I had, I know. The few sheep I have left are hardly worth looking after. There are safe to be a lot of Dutchmen in laager with brandt-zick flocks, and ours will be covered with it by the time it’s all over. Same thing with cattle. Red water and lung sickness will clear them all out too.”“Well, we’ll lift a lot from old Kreli to make up for it,” said Carhayes. “By the way, Eustace. Talking of Kreli—he’s been summoned to meet the Governor and won’t go.”“H’m. Small wonder if he won’t. What was the upshot of his father, Hintza, being summoned to meet the Governor?”“Oh, you’re always harping on that old string,” said Carhayes impatiently. “Hang it all—as if a lot of red-blanket niggers are to be treated like civilised beings! It’s ridiculous, man. They’ve got to do as they are told, or they must be made to.”“That’s all very pretty, Tom. But the ‘making’ hasn’t begun yet. By the time it’s ended, we shall have a longish bill to pay—and a good many vacant chairs at various household tables. Fair play is fair play—even between our exalted selves and ‘a lot of red-blanket niggers.’”“Milne is right, Carhayes,” struck in Hoste. “Milne is right so far. Kafirs have got long memories, and I, for one, don’t blame old Kreli for snapping his fingers at the Governor. But I don’t agree with him that we haven’t treated him fairly on the whole. Hang it, what have they got tocomplain of?”“I don’t say they have anything in that line,” said Eustace. “My remark about treating them fairly was only in answer to what Tom suggested. Still, I think it a mistake to have located the Fingoes and Gcalékas next door to each other, with a mere artificial boundary between. It was safe to produce a shindy sooner or later.”Thus the ball of conversation rolled on. Carhayes, excited over the prospect of hostilities, took a glass or two of grog more than was good for him, and waxed extremely argumentative as they adjourned to the stoep for an al fresco smoke. So he and his guest began, continued, and ended the campaign according to a great diversity of plans, each highly satisfactory to its originators and proportionately disastrous to the dark-skinned enemy.In this conversation Eanswyth did not join. The sweet and soothing influences of the day just passed filled her mind—and all this noisy talk jarred upon her. To her also the prospect of the coming campaign was a welcome one. After the events of the last twenty-four hours to go on living as heretofore would be a terrible strain. Her newly awakened love for the one man was so overwhelming as to engender in her a proportionate feeling of aversion towards the other. It was a fearful position. The temporary separation involved by the campaign would be more than welcome. But separation from the one meant separation from the other. That was not welcome.And that other—what if he were to fall? He was so fearless—so foolhardy and confident. What if he undertook some insane mission and was treacherously murdered?—O Heaven—what would life be without him now? And a rush of tears brimmed to her eyes at the mere thought.Eustace, who had remained behind for a moment, to light his pipe, looked up and caught her glance.“I suppose I had better arrange to drive you over to Komgha to-morrow?” he said, aloud and in an ordinary voice. Outside the other two were talking and arguing at a great rate.

The family of the victim of a 21-year-old African-American pregnant woman shot dead by a US police officer criticized the police for serious abuse of power.

“Yes, I would not forego that for anything,” she whispered. “But— leave me now, or I shall break down. Quick! I wish it.”One glance, straight into her eyes, and he obeyed. But that glance had said enough—had said more than many words could have done.“By the way, Tom,” said Eustace, joining the pair of wranglers outside. “What about Nteya? You were going to have him run in, you know.”“So! Well, you see, it’s this way: I got on that deal with Reid, first thing, and that drove the other out of my head. I had a job to find Reid, in the first place, but when you hear of a man willing to give a lumping big price for what you want to sell, that man’s worth some hunting for, I can tell you. So I let Nteya slide—until we reach the Gaika location. Then I’ll take it out of him, and a good many more of them too.”Next morning, shortly after sunrise, the contractor arrived to take delivery of the stock. So he and Carhayes were extremely busy, the latter too much so to be able to afford more than an off-hand and hurried farewell to his wife.But the same held not good of his cousin and partner. Indeed one would think that Eustace had no concern whatever in the sale for all the interest he took in it. Far more concerned was he to ensure that Eanswyth had every conceivable thing that might conduce to her comfort and convenience during her journeying to and sojourn in the settlement, than to satisfy himself that Contractor Reid, a canny Scot and a knowing file at a deal, should be allowed no loop-hole for climbing down from or getting behind his bargain.“I say, Milne,” cried Hoste, while the horses were being inspanned. “It’s rather slow work riding by one’s self. Let’s span in my horse as a leader, and drive unicorn. There’s room for my saddle if we tie it on behind—and I can get in the cart with you. More sociable like. See?”But Eustace didn’t see, or rather didn’t want to see. This was clearlya case of “two’s company, three’s a crowd.”Equally clearly was it a case wherein the third might be excused for omitting to apply the maxim.“There’s a goodish weight in the trap already,” he replied dubiously. But Eanswyth struck in:“We can make room for you, Mr Hoste. Certainly. And if we have the additional pull of your horse it will neutralise the additional weight.”Eustace said nothing. If Eanswyth’s mood had undergone something of a change since last night, that was only natural, he allowed. The arrangement was not to his liking. But then, of most arrangements in this tiresome world the same held good. With which reflection, being a philosopher, he consoled himself.There was not much sign of the disturbed state of the country during the first part of the drive. But later, as they drew nearer the settlement, an abandoned homestead—standing silent and deserted, its kraals empty and the place devoid of life, or a trek of sheep and cattle raising a cloud of dust in the distance, together with a waggon or two loaded with the families and household goods of those, like themselves, hastening from their more or less isolated positions to seek safety in numbers, spoke eloquently and with meaning. Now and again a small group of Kafirs would pass them on the road, and although unarmed, save for their ordinary kerries, there seemed a world of grim meaning in each dark face, a menace in the bold stare which did duty for the ordinarily civil, good-humoured greeting, as if the savages knew that their time was coming now.It was a splendid day, sunny and radiant. But there was an oppressiveness in the atmosphere which portended a change, and ever and anon came a low boom of thunder. An inky cloud was rising behind the Kabousie Heights, spreading wider and wider over the plains of Kafirland. A lurid haze subdued the sunshine, as the rumble of the approaching storm drew nearer and nearer, and the blue electric flashes played around the misty hilltops where the ill-omened war-fires hadgleamed two nights before. Even so, in like fashion, the brooding cloud of war swept down upon the land, darker and darker.

The family of the victim of a 21-year-old African-American pregnant woman shot dead by a US police officer criticized the police for serious abuse of power.

Chapter Fourteen.A Curtain Secret.The settlement of Komgha—called after an infinitesimal stream of that name—was, like most frontier townships, an utterly insignificant place. It consisted of a few straggling blocks of houses plumped down apparently without rhyme or reason in the middle of the veldt, which here was open and undulating. It boasted a few stores and canteens, a couple of institutions termed by courtesy “hotels,” an exceedingly ugly church, and a well-kept cricket ground. To the eastward rose the Kei Hills, the only picturesque element about the place, prominent among these the flat, table-topped summit of Moordenaar’s Kop, (Dutch, “Murderer’s Peak”) a tragical spot so named on account of the surprise and massacre of a party of officers who had incautiously ventured up there in small force during one of the previous wars. The village was virtually the headquarters of the Frontier Armed and Mounted Police, the substantial square barracks, which harboured the artillery troop of that useful force, crowning the hill nearly a mile away, and there was generally another troop or two quartered around the place. The main road from King Williamstown to the Transkeian territories ran through the village.At the period of our story, however, there was no lack of life or stir about the normally sleepy little place, for it was in process of transformation into a huge laager or armed camp. Waggons were coming in from several directions—laden mostly with the families and household goods of fleeing settlers, and the sharp crack of whips and the harsh yells of their drivers rose high above the general turmoil. Men were bustling to and fro, bent upon nothing in particular and looking as though each and all carried the fate of a nation in his pockets, or standing, in knots at street corners, discussing the situation, each perchance with a little less knowledge than his neighbour. All sorts of wild rumours were in the air, the least of which was that every white in the Transkei had been massacred, and that Kreli was marching upon Komgha at the head of the whole Gcaléka army.Mrs Hoste, with her two young daughters, were at the door as the party drove up. They received Eanswyth very cordially.“At last—at last! Why, we have been looking out for you for the last hour. I declare, I began to think you had stayed too long at Anta’s Kloof, and the Kafirs had taken you prisoner or something. How do you do, Mr Milne? But—come in. We are going to have a dreadful storm in a minute. Mercy on us! What a flash!”The blue, steely gleam was followed by a roll of thunder, long, loud, reverberating. There was a patter upon the zinc roof. A few raindrops, nearly as large as saucers, splashed around, and then, almost before the two men could get into their waterproof coats, the rain descended with a roar and a rush, in such a deluge that they could hardly see to outspan the trap.“Allamaghtaag! but that’s a fine rain,” cried Hoste, with a farmer’s appreciation, as he swung himself free of his dripping mackintosh in the little veranda.“Especially for those who are under canvas,” said Eustace with a significant glance at a group of tents pitched upon the plain just outside the village. For the surrounding veldt had been turned into something like a sea, and a miniature torrent roared down every depression in the ground.“Well, Mr Milne,” cried Mrs Hoste, from the head of the table, as the two men entered. “Its past three o’clock and dinner has been ready since half-past one. We quite expected you then.”“Which, being interpreted, means that I must prepare for the worst,” was the rejoinder. “Never mind. I dare say we shan’t starve. Well, and what’s the latest absurdity in the way of news?”“Just what I was going to ask you. You’re hand-in-glove with all the Kafir chiefs. You ought to be able to give us all the news.”Eustace smiled to himself. He could tell them a few things that would

The family of the victim of a 21-year-old African-American pregnant woman shot dead by a US police officer criticized the police for serious abuse of power.

astonish them considerably, if he chose. But he did not choose.“We’ll loaf round the village presently,” said Hoste. “Likely enough we’ll hear something then.”“Likely enough it’ll be about as reliable as usual,” said Eustace. “What was the last report? Kreli and the Gcaléka army encamped at the Kei Drift—be here in two hours?”“It’s all very well to laugh,” said Mrs Hoste. “But what if we were attacked some fine night?”“There isn’t the ghost of a chance of it. Especially with all these wondrous fortifications about.”“I wish I thought you were serious. It would be a relief to me if I could think so.”“Pray do think so, Mrs Hoste. There is no sort of chance of this place being attacked; so make your mind easy.”“What do you think of our crib, Milne?” struck in Hoste.“It seems snug enough. Not palatial, but good enough for all purposes. You were lucky to light upon it.”“Rather. There isn’t so much as the corner of a rat hole to be had in the whole place now. But, it’s knocked off raining,” as a bright gleam of sunlight shot into the room. “Only a thunder-shower. We seem to have done dinner. Let’s go out and pick up the latest lie. By the way, you don’t want to go home again to-night, Milne? We can give you a shake-down on the sofa.”“The fact is I don’t. To-morrow will do just as well, and then I suppose I’ll have to trek with the stock down to Swaanepoel’s Hoek, while Tom, thirsting for death or glory, fills up that tally slick he was telling us about last night.”“But don’t you intend to volunteer for the front, like the rest?” asked

Mrs Hoste in astonishment.“No. Not at present, anyway. I’ve no quarrel with Jack Kafir; rather the reverse. I own I should like to see the campaign, but I couldn’t do that without drawing trigger, and that’s just what I’d rather avoid, except in a case of absolute necessity.”It might have been imagination, but Eustace fancied he could detect a look of intense relief pass over Eanswyth’s features as he announced his desire to avoid the scene of hostilities. Yet with so many eyes upon him—upon them both—he would not look directly at her. Such is the effect of an arrière-pensée. Two days ago he would not have been careful to study appearances. But a good deal can happen in two days, notably the establishment of a thorough understanding between two persons.“We’ll go round to Pagel’s first,” said Hoste, as the two men strolled forth. “If rumour has taken shape at all, likely as not it’s there we shall pick it up.”They soon reached the hotel. The bar and smoking-room were crammed with men—and smoke; men mostly of the farming class; men with large, sinewy hands, and habited partially or entirely in corduroy. There was a very Babel of tongues, for pretty nearly every man was talking at once, mostly on the all-absorbing topic. Some were indulging in chaff and loud laughter, and a few, we regret to say, were exceedingly unsteady on their pins.Rumour, our two friends found, had taken shape, and the great item of news which everybody was discussing had received the imprimatur of official announcement. There had been a fight between the Gcalékas and the Fingoes, and a body of Mounted Police, interfering on behalf of the latter, had been defeated and forced to retire with the loss of a sub-inspector and half a dozen men. This had happened in the Idutywa Reserve two days previously.Grave news, was the unanimous verdict. Grave news that the enemy should have triumphed in the very first engagement. Another such“Why, what’s the row with you, old chap!” said Carhayes one day in his bluff, off-hand manner. “Sick and sorry that we can’t scare up another fight, eh?”“Milne’s conscience is hitting him hard over the number of his ‘blanket friends’ he has shot already. Ha, ha!” cut in another man, with an asinine guffaw.The Kaffrarian Rangers were ordered home. The order reached them in their camp on the Bashi, and forthwith they acted upon it. No preparations delayed the setting out of such a light-marching-order corps. Accordingly the breakfasts were cooked and eaten, the camp was struck, and the whole troop started upon its homeward way.“I say, Hoste!” said Carhayes, while they were breakfasting on boiled mealies and ration beef. “What do you say to a shoot before we leave this? We are bound to get a bushbuck ram or two in some of these kloofs.”“Haven’t you shot away enough cartridges yet, Tom?” laughed Hoste. “Still I think we might try for a buck if only for a change after the niggers; besides, we can eat the buck, which is part of the change. I’m on. What do you say, Payne? Will you cut in?”“What do I say? I say it’s the most damn idiotic idea I ever heard mooted,” answered Payne sententiously. “Still—I’ll cut in.”“All right. We’ll have some sport then!” said Carhayes. “You’ll come, too, Eustace? That’s right,” as Eustace nodded assent. “That’ll make four of us—we don’t want any more,” he went on. “We can just hunt down the river bank for two or three hours, and catch up the troop in camp to-night. We are bound to get some sport.”“Likely so are the niggers,” murmured the more prudent Payne.The commander of the troop, when applied to, made no decided objection to the above scheme. There was, as we have said, no discipline in the ordinary sense of the word, the offices of command being

elective. Besides, they were under orders to return straight home, which was practically disbandment. So, while not forbidding the undertaking, he pointed out to those concerned that it might involve serious risk to themselves; in a word, was rather a crack-brained idea.“Just what I said,” remarked Payne laconically, lighting his pipe.“Then why do you go, old chap?” asked one of the bystanders with a laugh.“That’s just what I don’t know myself,” was the reply, delivered so tranquilly and deliberately as to evoke a general roar.The camp had been pitched upon high ground overlooking the valley of the Bashi, which ran beneath between rugged bush-clad banks. So the troop set forth on its homeward way, while our four friends, turning their horses’ heads in the opposite direction, struck downward into the thick bush along the river bank.Chapter Twenty Two.“We are Four Fools.”For upwards of two hours they forced their way through the thick scrub, but success did not crown their efforts—did not even wait upon the same. Once or twice a rustle and a scamper in front announced that something had got up and broken away, but whatever it was, owing to the thickness of the bush and the celerity with which it made itself scarce, not one of the hunters could determine—being unable so much as to catch a glimpse of the quarry. At length, wearied with their failure to obtain sport under abnormal difficulties, they gained the edge of the river, and there, upon a patch of smooth greensward beneath the cool shade of a cliff, they decided to off-saddle and have a snack.“By Jove!” exclaimed Hoste, looking complacently around. “This is a lovely spot for a picnic. But wouldn’t John Kafir have us in a hole just, if he were to come upon us now?”“We are four fools,” said Payne sententiously.“We are,” growled Carhayes. “You never said a truer word than that. Four damned fools to think we’d get a shot at anything in a strip of cursed country we’ve been chevying niggers up and down for the last six weeks. And as the idea was mine, I suppose I’m the champion fool of the lot,” he added with a savage laugh. “We haven’t fired a shot this blessed morning, and have had all our trouble for nothing.”This was not precisely the reflection that Payne’s words were intended to convey. But he said nothing.“I’m not sure we have had our trouble for nothing,” put in Eustace. “It’s grand country, anyhow.”It was. Magnificent and romantic scenery surrounded them; huge perpendicular krantzes towering up many hundreds of feet; piles upon piles of broken rocks and boulders, wherein the luxuriant and tangled vegetation had profusely taken root; great rifts and ravines, covered with dense black forest, and the swift murmuring current of the river joining its music with the piping of birds from rock and brake.But the remark was productive of a growl only from Carhayes. He had not come out to look at scenery. They had had enough and to spare of that during the campaign. He had come out to get a shot at a buck, and hadn’t got it.Pipes were lighted, and the quartette lounged luxuriously upon the sward. The frowning grandeur of the towering heights, the golden glow of the sunlight upon the tree-tops, the soft, sensuous warmth of the summer air, the hum of insects, and the plashing murmur of the river, unconsciously affected all four—even grumbling, dissatisfied Tom Carhayes.“Whisht!” said Payne suddenly, holding up his hand to enjoin silence, and starting from his lounging attitude. The others were prompt to follow his example.

“What’s the row, George?” whispered Hoste below his breath. “Hear anything?”For answer Payne waved his hand again and went on listening intently.Up the sunlit river came a sound—a sound audible to all now, a sound familiar to all—the tread of hoofs upon the stones, of unshod hoofs. Mingling with this were other sounds—the low murmur of human voices. Water, as everybody knows, is a great conductor of sound. Though more than half a mile distant, they recognised the deep tones and inflections of Kafir voices, whose owners were evidently coming down to the river on the same side as themselves.From their resting place the river ran in a long, straight reach. Peering cautiously through the bushes, they were able to command this. Almost immediately several large oxen, with great branching horns, emerged from the forest, and, entering the water, splashed through to the other side. They were followed by their drivers, three naked Kafirs, who plunged into the river in their wake, holding their assegais high over their heads, for the water came fully breast-high. They could even hear the rattle of the assegai hafts as the savages climbed up the opposite bank, laughing like children as they shook the water drops from their sleek, well-greased skins. They counted thirteen head of cattle.“A baker’s dozen, by Jove! Stolen, of course,” whispered Hoste. “Allamaghtaag! if only we had known of that before we might have gone to voer-ly (Waylay) that drift, for it must be a drift. We might have bagged all three niggers and trundled the oxen back to camp. A full span, save three. Suppose they’ve eaten the rest. That’ll be one apiece—the schelms!”“It isn’t altogether too late now,” said Carhayes. “I smell some fun ahead. Let them get up over the rise, and then we’ll go down and look if their spoor seems worth following.”“And what if they are only the advance guard of a lot more?” suggested Hoste.“They are not,” was the confident reply. “There are too few beasts and too few niggers. I tell you there’s some fun sticking out for us.”Quickly the horses were saddled. A high, bushy ridge precluded all chance of their presence being discovered by the three marauders as soon as the latter had crossed the river, and it certainly had not been discovered before. Then, having allowed sufficient time to elapse, they forded the river and rode forward on the other side, so as to converge on the spoor leading up from the drift below.“Here it is—as plain as mud,” said Carhayes, bending over in his saddle to examine the ground, which, dry and sandy, showed the hoof-prints and footmarks so plainly that a child might have followed them. “They are well over the rise by now, and the way isn’t so rough as I expected. Our plan is to make straight for the top of the hill. We can’t get up much quicker than they can, I’m afraid, unless we want to blow our horses, which we don’t. But once we are up there we shall find it all open veldt, and all we’ve got to do is to ride them down in the open, shoot the niggers, and head the stock back for the river again. Anyone propose an amendment to that resolution?”“We are four fools,” said Payne laconically, knocking the ashes out of his pipe and pocketing that useful implement.“Ja! That’s so,” said Carhayes, joining heartily in the laugh which greeted this remark. “And now, boys, are we on for the fun, that’s the question?”“We just are,” cried Hoste, whose dare-devil recklessness was akin to that of Carhayes. The other two acquiesced silently, but as they caught each other’s glance, a curious satirical twinkle lurked in the eyes of both men.“A case of the tail wagging the dog,” presently whispered Payne to Eustace. “Two wise men led by two fools!”The track, rough and stony, took longer to follow than they had expected. Moreover they had to exercise extreme care, lest the clink of


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