Why did it take 12 years for more than 700 cultural relics to be returned to Italy to be exhibited?

发表于 2023-09-23 07:28:42 来源:Return to basics and return to true nature

him his letters. His coat was off, and he was doing one or two odd carpentering jobs. The time was about midday. Nobody was likely to interrupt him here.Something has come to my knowledge (went on the letter) which you, of all men, ought to be the one to investigate. To come to the point, there is some reason to suppose that poor Tom Carhayes may still be alive.You remember that Kafir on whose behalf you interfered when Jackson and a lot of fellows were giving him beans? He is my informant. He began by inquiring for you, and when I told him you were far away, and not likely to be up here again, he seemed disappointed, and said he wanted to do you a good turn for standing his friend on that occasion. He said he now knew who you were, and thought he could tell you something you would like to know.Well, I told him he had better unburden himself to me, and if his information seemed likely to be of use, he might depend upon me passing it on to you. This, at first, he didn’t seem to see—you know what a suspicious dog our black brother habitually is—and took himself off. But the secret seemed to weigh upon him, for, in a day or two, he turned up again, and then, in the course of a good deal of “dark talking,” he gave me to understand that Tom Carhayes was still alive; and, in fact, he knew where he was.Milne, you may just bet your boots I felt knocked all out of time. I hadn’t the least suspicion what the fellow was driving at, at first. Thought he was going to let out that he knew where old Kreli was hiding, or Hlangani, perhaps. So, you see, you must come up here at once, and look into the matter. I’ve arranged to send word to Xalasa —that’s the fellow’s name—to meet us at Anta’s Kloof directly you arrive.Don’t lose any time. Start the moment you get this. Of course I’ve kept the thing as dark as pitch; but there’s no knowing when an affair of this kind may not leak out and get into all the papers.

vengeance against the perpetrators, should he ever succeed in detecting them. He even went boldly to the principal Gaika chiefs and laid claim to compensation. But those magnates were the last men in the world to side with, or to help him. Some were excessively civil, others indifferent, but all disclaimed any responsibility in the matter.Bearing these facts in mind there was, we repeat, every excuse for Eanswyth’s anxiety. But suddenly a sigh of relief escaped her. The tramp of hoofs reaching her ears caused her to turn, and there, approaching the house from a wholly unexpected direction, came the two familiar mounted figures.Chapter Four.“Love Settling Unawares.”“Well, old girl, and how have you been getting through the day,” was Carhayes’ unceremonious greeting as he slid from his horse. Eustace turned away his head, and the faintest shadow of contempt flitted across his impassive countenance. Had this glorious creature stood in the same relationship towards himself he could no more have dreamed of addressing her as “old girl” than he could have of carving his name across the front of the silver altar which is exhibited once a year in the “Battistero” at Florence.“Pretty well, Tom,” she answered smilingly. “And you? I hope you haven’t been getting into any more mischief. Has he, Eustace.”“Well, I have, then,” rejoined Carhayes, grimly, for Eustace pretended not to hear. “What you’d call mischief, I suppose. Now what d’you think? I caught that schelm Goníwe having a buck-hunt—a buck-hunt, by Jove! right under my very nose; he and three other niggers. They’d got two dogs, good dogs too, and I couldn’t help admiring the way the schepsels put them on by relays, nor yet the fine shot they made at the buck with a kerrie. Well, I rode up and told them to clear out of the light because I intended to shoot their dogs. Would you believe it? they didn’t budge. Actually squared up to me.”“I hope you didn’t shoot their dogs,” said Eanswyth anxiously.“Didn’t I! one of ’em, that is. Do you think I’m the man to be bounced by Jack Kafir? Not much I’m not. I was bound to let daylight through the brute, and I did.”“Through the Kafir?” cried Eanswyth, in horror, turning pale.“Through both,” answered Carhayes, with a roar of laughter. “Through both, by Jove! Ask Eustace. He came up just in time to be in at the death. But, don’t get scared, old girl. I only ‘barked’ the nigger, and sent the dog to hunt bucks in some other world. I had to do it. Those chaps were four to one, you see, and shied Icerries at me. They had assegais, too.”“Oh, I don’t know what will happen to us one of these days!” she cried, in real distress. “As it is, I am uneasy every time you are out in the veldt.”“You needn’t be—no fear. Those chaps know me better than to attempt any tricks. They’re all bark—but when it comes to biting they funk off. That schelm I plugged to-day threatened no end of things; said I’d better have cut off my right hand first, because it was better to lose one’s hand than one’s mind—or some such bosh. But do you think I attach any importance to that? I laughed in the fellow’s face and told him the next time he fell foul of me he’d likely enough lose his life—and that would be worse still for him.”Eustace, listening to these remarks, frowned slightly. The selfish coarseness of his cousin in thus revealing the whole unfortunate episode, with the sure result of doubling this delicate woman’s anxiety whenever she should be left—as she so often was—alone, revolted him. Had he been Carhayes he would have kept his own counsel in the matter.“By the way, Tom,” said Eanswyth, “Goníwe hasn’t brought in his sheep yet, and it’s nearly dark.”“Not, eh?” was the almost shouted reply, accompanied by a

Why did it take 12 years for more than 700 cultural relics to be returned to Italy to be exhibited?

vehement and undisguised expletive at the expense of the defaulter. “He’s playing Harry—not a doubt about it. I’ll make an example of him this time. Rather! Hold on. Where’s my thickest sjambok?”(Sjambok: A whip, made out of a single piece of rhinoceros, or sea-cow hide, tapering at the point. It is generally in the shape of a riding-whip.)He dived into the house, and, deaf to his wife’s entreaties and expostulations, armed himself with the formidable rawhide whip in addition to his gun, and flinging the bridle once more across the horse’s neck, sprang into the saddle.“Coming, Eustace?” he cried.“No. I think not. The sheep can’t be far off, and you can easily bring them in, even if, as is not unlikely, Goníwe has sloped. Besides, I don’t think we ought to leave Eanswyth all alone.”With a spluttered exclamation of impatience, Carhayes clapped spurs to his horse and cantered away down the kloof to recover his sheep and execute summary vengeance upon their defective herd.“Do go after him, Eustace. Don’t think about me. I don’t in the least mind being left alone. Do go. You are the only one who can act as a check upon him, and I fear he will get himself—all of us—into some terrible scrape. I almost hope Goníwe has run away, for if Tom comes across him in his present humour he will half kill the boy.”“He won’t come across him. On that point you may set your mind quite at ease. He will have no opportunity of getting into hot water, and I certainly shan’t think of leaving you alone here to-night for the sake of salvaging a few sheep more or less. We must make up our minds to lose some, I’m afraid, but the bulk of them will be all right.”“Still, I wish you’d go,” she pursued anxiously. “What if Tom should meet with any Kafirs in the veldt and quarrel with them, as he is sure to do?”“He won’t meet any. There isn’t a chance of it. Look here, Eanswyth; Tom must take care of himself for once. I’m not going to leave you alone here now for the sake of fifty Toms.”“Why! Have you heard anything fresh?” she queried anxiously, detecting a veiled significance in his words.“Certainly not. Nothing at all. Haven’t been near Komgha for ten days, and haven’t seen anyone since. Now, I’ll just take my horse round to the stable and give him a feed—and be with you in a minute.”As a matter of fact, there was an arrière-pensée underlying his words. For Eustace had been pondering over Hlangani’s strangely worded threat. And it was a strangely worded one. “You had better have cut off your right hand... for it is better to lose a hand than one’s mind.” Carhayes had dismissed it contemptuously from his thoughts, but Eustace Milne, keen-witted, imaginative, had set to work to puzzle it out. Did the Gcaléka chief meditate some more subtle and hellish form of vengeance than the ordinary and commonplace one of mere blood for blood, and, if so, how did he purpose to carry it out? By striking at Carhayes through the one who was dearest to him? Surely. The words seemed to bear just this interpretation—and at the bare contemplation of a frightful danger hanging over Eanswyth, cool, even-minded Eustace Milne, felt the blood flow back to his heart. For he loved her.Yes, he loved her. This keen-witted, philosophical man of the world was madly in love with the beautiful wife of his middle-aged cousin. He loved her with all the raging abandonment of a strong nature that does nothing by halves; yet during nearly a year spent beneath the same roof —nearly a year of easy, pleasant, social intercourse—never by word or sign had he betrayed his secret—at least, so he imagined.But that no such blow should fall while he was alive, he resolved at all hazards. Why had he come there at all, was a question he had been asking himself for some time past? Why had he stayed, why did he stay? For the latter he hated and despised himself on account of his miserable weakness. But now it seemed that both were answered—that he had been brought there for a purpose—to protect her from the fearfulconsequences entailed by the blundering ferocity of him who should have been her first protector—to save her from some impending and terrible fate. Surely this was sufficient answer.Then a wild thrill set his pulses tingling—a thrill of joy, of fierce expectation set on foot by a single thought, the intense expectation of the gambler who sees fortune brought within his reach by the potential turn of chances already strong in his favour. They were on the eve of war. What might the chances of war not entail? Blind, blundering Tom Carhayes running his head, like a bull, at every stone wall—were not the chances of war increased tenfold against such a man as this? And then—and then —?No man could be more unfitted to hold possession of such a priceless treasure as this—argued the man who did not hold it.“Confess, Eanswyth, that you are very glad I didn’t take you at your word and go after Tom,” said Eustace, as they were sitting cosily at table.“Perhaps I am. I have been getting so dreadfully nervous and low spirited of late—so different to the strong-minded creature I used to be,” she said with a rueful smile. “I am becoming quite frightened to be left alone.”“Are you? Well, I think I can undertake to promise that you shall not be left alone again. One of us must always make a point of being around the house while the other is away. But look here, Eanswyth; I really think you oughtn’t to go on staying here at present. Why don’t you go down to the Colony and stay in one or other of the towns, or even at that other farm of Tom’s, until things are settled again?”“I won’t do that. And I’m really not in the least afraid for myself. I don’t believe the Kafirs would harm me.”“Then why are you nervous at being left alone?” was the very pertinent rejoinder.“Not on my own account. It is only that solitude gives me time to

Why did it take 12 years for more than 700 cultural relics to be returned to Italy to be exhibited?

think. I am always imagining Tom coming to frightful grief in some form or other.”The other did not at once reply. He was balancing a knife meditatively on the edge of his plate, his fine features a perfect mask of impassibility. But in reality his thoughts ran black and bitter. It was all “Tom” and “Tom.” What the deuce had Tom done to deserve all this solicitude—and how was it appreciated by its fortunate object? Not a hair’s-breadth. Then, as she rose from the table and went out on the stoep to look out for any sign of the absent one’s return, Eustace was conscious of another turn of the spear in the wound. Why had he arrived on the scene of the fray that morning just in time to intervene? suggested his evil angel. The delay of a few minutes, and...“Would it do anything towards persuading you to adopt the more prudent course and leave here for a while, if I were to tell you that Josane was urging that very thing this morning?” said Eustace when she returned. The said Josane was a grizzled old Kafir who held the post of cattle-herd under the two cousins. He was a Gcaléka, and had fled from Kreli’s country some years previously, thereby narrowly escaping one of the varied and horrible forms of death by torture habitually meted out to those accused of his hypothetical offence—for he had been “smelt out” by a witch-doctor. He was therefore not likely to throw in his lot with his own countrymen against his white protectors, by whom he was looked upon as an intelligent and thoroughly trustworthy man, which indeed he was.“I don’t think it would,” she answered with a deprecatory smile. “I should be ten times more nervous if I were right away, and, as I said before, I don’t believe the Kafirs would do me the slightest harm.”Eustace, though he had every reason to suppose the contrary, said nothing as he rose from the table and began to fill his pipe. He was conscious of a wild thrill of delight at her steadfast refusal. What would life be worth here without that presence? Well, come what might, no harm should fall upon her, of that he made mental oath.Eanswyth, having superintended the clearing of the table by the twolittle Kafir girls who filled the rôle rather indifferent handmaidens, joined him on the stoep. It was a lovely night; warm and balmy. The dark vault above was so crowded with stars that they seemed to hang in golden patches.“Shall we walk a little way down the kloof and see if we can meet Tom,” she suggested.“A good idea. Just half a minute though. I want to get another pipe.”He went into his room, slipped a “bull-dog” revolver of heavy calibre into his pocket, and quickly rejoined her.Then as they walked side by side—they two, alone together in the darkness, alone in the sweet, soft beauty of the Southern night; alone, as it were, outside the very world; in a world apart where none might intrude; the rich shroud of darkness around them—Eustace began to wonder if he were really made of flesh and blood after all. The pent-up force of his self-contained and concentrated nature was in sore danger of breaking its barriers, of pouring forth the fires and molten lava raging within—and to do so would be ruin—utter, endless, irretrievable ruin to any hopes which he might have ventured to form.He could see every feature of that sweet, patrician face in the starlight. The even, musical tones of that exquisitely modulated voice, within a yard of his ears, fairly maddened him. The rich, balmy zephyrs of the African night breathed around; the chirrup of the cricket, and now and again the deep-throated booming croak of a bull-frog from an adjacent vlei emphasising its stillness. Again those wild, raging fires surged up to the surface. “Eanswyth, I love you—love you—worship you—adore you! Apart from you, life is worse than a blank! Who, what, is the dull, sodden, senseless lout who now stands between us? Forget him, darling, and be all heaven and earth to me!” The words blazed through his brain in letters of flame. He could hardly feel sure he had not actually uttered them.“What is the matter, Eustace? I have asked you a question three times, and you haven’t answered me.”

Why did it take 12 years for more than 700 cultural relics to be returned to Italy to be exhibited?

“I really beg your pardon. I—I—suppose I was thinking of something else. Do you mind asking it again?”The strange harshness of his voice struck her. It was well for him— well for both of them—that the friendly darkness stood him in such good stead.“I asked you, how far do you think Tom would have to ride before finding the sheep?”“Tom” again! He fairly set his teeth. “Well into the Gaika location,” was the savage reply that rose to his lips. But he checked it unuttered.“Oh, not very far,” he answered. “You see, sheep are slow-moving brutes and difficult to drive, especially in the dark. He’ll turn up soon, never fear.”“What is that? Look! Listen!” she exclaimed suddenly, laying a hand upon his arm.The loom of the mountains was blackly visible in the starlight. Away in the distance, apparently in the very heart of them, there suddenly shown forth a lurid glow. The V-shaped scarp of the slopes stood dully in relief against the glare, which was as that of a furnace. At the same time there floated forth upon the night a strange, weird chorus—a wild, long-drawn eerie melody, half chant, half howl, faint and distant, but yet distinct, though many miles away.“What can they be up to at the location, Eustace? Can it be that they have risen already?” ejaculated Eanswyth, turning pale in the starlight.The reddening glare intensified, the fierce, wild cadence shrilled forth, now in dirge-like wail, now in swelling notes of demon-like and merciless exultation. There was a faint, muffled roar as of distant thunder —a clamour as of fiends holding high revel—and still the wild chorus gathered in volume, hideous in its blood-chilling menace, as it cleft the dark stillness of the night.“Oh, let us turn back!” cried Eanswyth. “There is something horrible

going on to-night. I really am quite frightened now. That hideous noise! It terrifies me!”Well it might. The deep-toned thunder note within the burning heart of the volcano is of terrible import, for it portends fire and ruin and widespread death. There were those who were then sitting on the verge of a volcano—a mere handful in the midst of a vast, teeming population of fierce and truculent savages. Well might that weird chorus strike dismay into the hearts of its hearers, for it was the preliminary rumble of the coming storm—the battle-song of the warlike and now hostile Gaika clans.could do to keep on his feet at all. Still his new character must be kept up, and the night air was cool and invigorating. But just as he was about to step forth with the others, his arms were suddenly forced behind him and quickly and securely bound. There was no time for resistance, even had he entertained the idea of offering any, which he had not.“Am I a fool, Hlangani?” he said. “Do I imagine that I, unarmed and alone, can escape from about two hundred armed warriors, think you? Why, then, this precaution?”“It is night,” replied the chief laconically.It was night, but it was bright moonlight. The Kafirs were marching in no particular order, very much at ease in fact, and as he walked, surrounded by a strong body guard, he could form some idea of the strength of the band. This numbered at least a couple of hundred, he estimated; but the full strength of the party which had so disastrously surprised them must have consisted of nearly twice that number. Then he questioned them concerning the fate of his comrades. For answer they grinned significantly, going through a pantomimic form of slaying a prostrate enemy with assegais.“All killed?” said Eustace, incredulously.“No. Only the one who is with you,” was the answer. “But the other two will be dead by this time. Their horses were used up, and our people are sure to have overtaken them long before they got to the river. Au umlúngu!” went on the speaker, “Were you all mad, you four poor whites, that you thought to come into the country of the Great Chief, Sarili, the Chief Paramount, and eat the cattle of his children?”“But this is not his country. It belongs to Moni, the chief of the Amabomvane.”“Not his country. Ha!” echoed the listeners, wagging their heads in disdain. “Not his country! The white man’s ‘charm’ may be potent, but it has rendered him mad.”

“Ho, Sarili—father!” chorused the warriors, launching out into an impromptu song in honour of the might and virtues of their chief. “Sarili— lord! The Great, Great One! The deadly snake! The mighty buffalo bull, scattering the enemy’s hosts with the thunder of his charge! The fierce tiger, lying in wait to spring! Give us thy white enemies that we may devour them alive. Ha—ah!”The last ejaculation was thundered out in a prolonged, unanimous roar, and inspired by the fierce rhythm of the chant, the warriors with one accord formed up into columns, and the dark serried ranks, marching through the night, swelling the wild war-song, beating time with sticks, the quivering rattle of assegai hafts mingling with the thunderous tread of hundreds of feet, and the gleam of the moonlight upon weapons and rolling eyeballs, went to form a picture of indescribable grandeur and awe.Again and again surged forth the weird rhythm:Ho, Sarili, son of Hintza!Great Chief of the House of Gcaléka! Great Father of the children of Xosa! Strong lion, devourer of the whites!Great serpent, striking dead thine enemies! Give us thy white enemiesthat we may hew them into small pieces.Ha - Ah! Great Chief! whose kraals overflow with fatness! Great Chief! whose cornfields wave to feed a people! Warrior of warriors,whom weapons surround like the trees of a forest! We return to thee drunk with the blood of thine enemies. “Há - há - há!”With each wild roar, shouted in unison at the end of each of these impromptu strophes, the barbarians immediately surrounding him would turn to Eustace and flash their blades in his face, brandishing their weapons in pantomimic representation of carving him to pieces. This to one less versed in their habits and character would have been to the last degree terrifying, bound and at their mercy as he was. But it inspired inhim but little alarm. They were merely letting off steam. Whatever his fate might eventually be, his time had not yet come, and this he knew.After a great deal more of this sort of thing, they began to get tired of their martial display. The chanting ceased and the singers subsided once more into their normal state of free and easy jollity. They laughed and poked fun among themselves, and let off a good deal of chaff at the expense of their prisoner. And this metamorphosis was not a little curious. The fierce, ruthless expression, blazing with racial antipathy, depicted on each dark countenance during that wild and headlong chase for blood, had disappeared, giving way to one that was actually pleasing, the normal light-hearted demeanour of a keen-witted and kindly natured people. Yet the chances of the prisoner’s life being eventually spared were infinitesimal.

Chapter Twenty Eight.The Silver Box.Throughout the night their march continued. Towards dawn, however, a short halt was made, to no one more welcome than to the captive himself; the fact being that poor Eustace was deadly tired, and, but for the expediency of keeping up his character for invulnerability, would have requested the chief, as a favour, to allow him some rest before then. As it was, however, he was glad of the opportunity; but, although he had not tasted food since the previous midday, he could not eat. He felt feverish and ill.Day was breaking as the party resumed its way. And now the features of the country had undergone an entire change. The wide, sweeping, mimosa-dotted dales had been left behind—had given place to wild forest country, whose rugged grandeur of desolation increased with every step. Great rocks overhung each dark ravine, and the trunks of hoary yellow-wood trees, from whose gigantic and spreading limbs depended lichens and monkey ropes, showed through the cool semi-gloom like the massive columns of cathedral aisles. An undergrowth of dense bush hemmed in the narrow, winding path they were pursuing, and its tangled depths were ever and anon resonant with the piping whistle of birds, and the shrill, startled chatter of monkeys swinging aloft among the tree-tops, skipping away from bough to bough with marvellous alacrity. Once a sharp hiss was heard in front, causing the foremost of the party to halt abruptly, with a volley of excited ejaculations, as a huge rinkhaals, lying in the middle of the narrow track, slowly unwound his black coils, and, with hood inflated, raised his head in the air as if challenging his human foes. But these, by dint of shouting and beating the ground with sticks, induced him to move off—for, chiefly from motives of superstition, Kafirs will not kill a snake if they can possibly help it—and the hideous reptile was heard lazily rustling his way through the jungle in his retreat.They had been toiling up the steep, rugged side of a ravine. Suddenly an exclamation of astonishment from those in front, who hadalready gained the ridge, brought up the rest of the party at redoubled speed.“Hau! Istiméle!” (The steamer) echoed several, as the cause of the prevailing astonishment met their eyes.The ridge was of some elevation. Beyond the succession of forest-clad valleys and rock-crowned divides lay a broad expanse of blue sea, and away near the offing stretched a long line of dark smoke. Eustace could make out the masts and funnel of a large steamer, steering to the eastward.And what a sense of contrast did the sight awaken in his mind. The vessel was probably one of the Union Company’s mail steamships, coasting round to Natal. How plainly he would conjure up the scene upon her decks, the passengers striving to while away the tediousness of their floating captivity with chess and draughts—the latter of divers kinds—with books and tobacco, with chat and flirtation; whereas, here he was, at no very great distance either, undergoing, in this savage wilderness, a captivity which was terribly real—a prisoner of war among a tribe of sullen and partially crushed barbarians, with almost certain death, as a sacrifice to their slain compatriots, staring him in the face, and a strong probability of that death being a cruel and lingering one withal. And the pure rays of the newly risen sun shone forth joyously upon that blue surface, and a whiff of strong salt air seemed borne in upon them from the bosom of the wide, free ocean.For some minutes the Kafirs stood, talking, laughing like children as they gazed upon the long, low form of the distant steamship, concerning which many of their quaint remarks and conjectures would have been amusing enough at any other time. And, as if anything was wanting to keep him alive to the peril of his position, Hlangani, stepping to the prisoner’s side, observed:“The time has come to blind you, Ixeshane.”The words were grim enough in all conscience—frightful enough to more than justify the start which Eustace could not repress, as he turned


Copyright © 2016 Powered by Why did it take 12 years for more than 700 cultural relics to be returned to Italy to be exhibited?,Return to basics and return to true nature   sitemap