Pakistan Navy Chief of Staff visits two shipyards in Shanghai and Wuhan

发表于 2023-09-30 11:17:45 来源:Return to basics and return to true nature

No living thing could have stood under that window, much less climbed up to it, without leaving its traces. There were no traces; ergo, no living thing had been there, and he did not believe in ghosts. The whole affair had been a hallucination on the part of Eanswyth. This was bad, in that it seemed to point to a weak state of health or an overloaded mind. But it was nothing like so bad as the awful misfortune involved by the reality would have been—at any rate, to him.He did not believe in ghosts, but the idea crossed his mind that so far as from allaying Eanswyth’s fears, the utter impossibility of any living being having approached her window without leaving spoor in the sandy, impressionable soil, would have rather the opposite tendency. Once the idea got firmly rooted in her mind that the dead had appeared to her there was no foreseeing the limits of the gravity of the results. And she had been rather depressed of late. Very anxiously he re-entered the house to report the utter futility of his search.“At all events we’ll soon make it impossible for you to get another schrek in the same way, Mrs Carhayes,” said the overseer cheerily. “We’ll fasten the shutters up.”It was long before the distressed, scared look faded from her eyes. “Eustace,” she said—Bentley having judiciously left them together for a while—“When you were—when I thought you dead—I wearied Heaven with prayers to allow me one glimpse of you again. I had no fear then, but now—O God! it is his spirit that I have seen.”He tried to soothe her, to reassure her, and in a measure succeeded. At last, to the surprise of himself and the overseer, she seemed to shake off her terror as suddenly as it had assailed her. She was very foolish, she declared. She would go to bed now, and not keep them up all night in that selfish manner. And she actually did—refusing all offers on the part of Eustace or the overseer to remain in the sitting room in order to be within call, or to patrol around the house for the rest of the night.“No,” she said, “I am ashamed of myself already. The shutters are fastened up and I shall keep plenty of light burning. I feel quite safe now.”

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Pakistan Navy Chief of Staff visits two shipyards in Shanghai and Wuhan

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Pakistan Navy Chief of Staff visits two shipyards in Shanghai and Wuhan

intervals, several circular clumps of bush. One of these conceals a spectator. The latter is seated on horseback in the very midst of the scrub, his feet dangling loosely in the stirrups, his hand closed tightly and rather suggestively round the breech of a double gun—rifle and smooth bore—which rests across the pommel of his saddle. There is a frown upon his face, as, himself completely hidden, he watches intently the progress of the sport. It is evident that he is more interested than pleased.For Tom Carhayes is the owner of this Kaffrarian stock run. In that part of Kaffraria, game is exceedingly scarce, owing to the presence of a redundant native population. Tom Carhayes is an ardent sportsman and spares no effort to protect and restore the game upon his farm. Yet here is a Kafir running down a buck under his very nose. Small wonder that he feels furious.“That scoundrel Goníwe!” he mutters between his set teeth. “I’ll put a bullet through his cur, and lick the nigger himself within an inch of his life!”The offence is an aggravated one. Not only is the act of poaching a very capital crime in his eyes, but the perpetrator ought to be at that moment at least three miles away, herding about eleven hundred of his master’s sheep. These he has left to take care of themselves while he indulges in an illicit buck-hunt. Small wonder indeed that his said master, at no time a good-tempered man, vows to make a condign example of him.The buck has nearly gained the crest of the ridge. Once over it his chances are good. The pursuing hound, running more by sight than by scent, may easily be foiled, by a sudden turn to right or left, and a double or two. The dog is a long way behind now, and the spectator has to rise in his stirrups to command a view of the situation. Fifty yards more and the quarry will be over the ridge and in comparative safety.But from just that distance above there suddenly darts forth another dog—a white one. It has sprung from a patch of bush similar to that which conceals the spectator. The buck, thoroughly demoralised by the advent of this new enemy, executes a rapid double, and thus pressedback into the very jaws of its first pursuer has no alternative but to head up the valley as fast as its legs can carry it.But the new hound is fresh, and in fact a better dog than the first one. He presses the quarry very close and needs not the encouraging shouts of his master, who has leaped forth from his concealment immediately upon unleashing him. For a few moments the pace is even, then it decreases. The buck seemed doomed.And, indeed, such is the case anyhow. For, held in waiting at a given point, ready to be let slip if necessary, is a third dog. Such is the Kafir method of hunting. The best dog ever whelped is not quite equal, either in speed or staying power, to running down a full-grown buck in the open veldt, but by adopting the above means of hunting in relays, the chance are equalised. To be more accurate, the quarry has no chance at all.On speeds the chase; the new dog, a tall white grey-hound of surprising endurance and speed, gaining rapidly; the other, lashed into a final spurt by the spirit of emulation, not far behind. The two Kafirs, stimulating their hounds with yells of encouragement, are straining every nerve to be in at the death.The buck—terror and demoralisation in its soft, lustrous eyes—is heading straight for the spectator’s hiding place. The latter raises his piece, with the intention of sending a bullet through the first dog as soon as it shall come abreast of his position; the shot barrel will finish off the other.But he does not fire. The fact is, the man is simply shaking with rage. Grinding his teeth, he recognises his utter inability to hit a haystack at that moment, let alone a swiftly coursing grey-hound.The chase sweeps by within seventy yards of his position—buck, dog, and Kafirs. Then another diversion occurs.Two more natives rise, apparently out of the ground itself. One of these, poising himself erect with a peculiar springy, quivering motion, holds his kerrie ready to hurl. The buck is barely thirty yards distant, and

Pakistan Navy Chief of Staff visits two shipyards in Shanghai and Wuhan

going like the wind.“Whigge—woof!” The hard stick hurls through the air—aimed nearly as far ahead of the quarry as the latter is distant from the marksman. There is a splintering crash, and a shrill, horrid scream—then a reddish brown shape, writhing and rolling in agony upon the ground. The aim of the savage has been true. All four of the buck’s legs are snapped and shattered like pipe-stems.The two hounds hurl themselves upon the struggling carcase, their savage snarls mingling with the sickening, half-human yell emitted by the terrified and tortured steinbok. The four Kafirs gather round their prey.“Suka inja!” (“Get out, dog!”) cries one of them brutally, giving the white dog a dig in the ribs with the butt-end of his kerrie, and putting the wretched buck out of its agony by a blow on the head with the same. The hound, with a snarling yelp, springs away from the carcase, and lies down beside his fellow. Their flanks are heaving and panting after the run, and their lolling tongues and glaring eyes turn hungrily toward the expected prey. Their savage masters, squatted around, are resting after their exertions, chatting in a deep bass hum. To the concealed spectator the sight is simply maddening. He judges the time for swooping down upon the delinquents has arrived.Were he wise he would elect to leave them alone entirely, and would withdraw quietly without betraying his presence. He might indeed derive some modicum of satisfaction by subsequently sjambokking the defaulting Goníwe for deserting his post, though the wisdom of that act of consolation may be doubted. But a thoroughly angry man is seldom wise, and Tom Carhayes forms no exception to the general rule. With a savage curse he breaks from his cover and rides furiously down upon the offending group.But if he imagines his unlooked for arrival is going to strike terror to the hearts of those daring and impudent poachers, he soon becomes alive to his mistake. Two of them, including his own herd, are already standing. The others make no attempt to rise from their careless and squatting posture. All contemplate him with absolute unconcern, and the

half-concealed and contemptuous grin spread across the broad countenance of his retainer in no wise tends to allay his fury.“What the devil are you doing here, Goníwe?” he cries. “Get away back to your flock at once, or I’ll tan your hide to ribbons. Here. Get out of the light you two—I’m going to shoot that dog—unless you want the charge through yourselves instead.”This speech, delivered half in Boer Dutch, half in the Xosa language, has a startling effect. The other two Kafirs spring suddenly to their feet, and all four close up in a line in front of the speaker, so as to stand between him and their dogs. Their demeanour is insolent and threatening to the last degree.“Whau ’mlúngu!” (“Ho! white man!”) cries the man whose successful throw has brought down the quarry—a barbarian of herculean stature and with an evil, sinister cast of countenance. “Shoot away, ’mlúngu! But it will not be only a dog that will die.”The purport of this menace is unmistakable. The speaker even advances a step, shifting, as he does so, his assegais from his right hand to his left—leaving the former free to wield an ugly looking kerrie. His fellow-countrymen seem equally ready for action.Carhayes is beside himself with fury. To be defied and bearded like this on his own land, and by four black scoundrels whom he has caught red-handed in the act of killing his own game! The position is intolerable. But through his well-nigh uncontrollable wrath there runs a vein of caution.Were he to act upon his first impulse and shoot the offending hound, he would have but one charge left. The Kafirs would be upon him before he could draw trigger. They evidently mean mischief, and they are four to one. Two of them are armed with assegais and all four carry—in their hands the scarcely less formidable weapon—the ordinary hard-wood kerrie. Moreover, were he to come off victorious at the price of shooting one of them dead, the act would entail very ugly consequences, for although the frontier was practically in little short of a state of war, it wasthat he was exhausting himself in a series of bull-dog springs similar to those prompted by his frenzy on first discovering themselves. At each of these futile outbursts the two mocking fiends shouted and roared with laughter. But they little knew how near they were laughing for the last time. Three rifles were covering them at a distance of fifty yards—three rifles in the hands of men who were dead shots, and whose hearts were bursting with silent fury. Josane, seeing this, took occasion to whisper under cover of the lunatic’s frenzied howls:“The time is not yet. The witch-doctress is for me—for me. I will lure her in here, and when I give the word—but not before—shoot Hlangani. The witch-doctress is for me.”The identity of the two figures was distinct in the light. The hideous sorceress, though reft of most of the horrid accessories and adornments of her order, yet looked cruel and repulsive as a very fiend—fitting figure to harmonise with the Styx-like gloom of the scene. The huge form of the warrior loomed truly gigantic in the sickly lantern light. “Ho, Umlilwane, thou dog of dogs!” went on the latter. “Art thou growing tired of thy cool retreat? Are not the serpents good companions? Haul Thou wert a fool to part so readily with thy mind. After so many moons of converse with the serpents, thou shouldst have been a mighty soothsayer—a mighty diviner —by now. How long did it take thee to lose thy mind? But a single day? But a day and a night? That was quick! Ho, ho!” And the great taunting laugh was echoed by the shriller cackle of the female fiend.“Thou wert a mighty man with thy fists, a mighty man with thy gun, O Umlilwane!” went on the savage, his mocking tones now sinking to those of devilish hatred. “But now thou art no longer a man—no longer a man. Au! What were my words to thee? ‘Thou hadst better have cut off thy right hand before shedding the blood of Hlangani for it is better to lose a hand than one’s mind.’ What thinkest thou now of Hlangani’s revenge? Hi!”How plain now to one of the listeners were those sombre words, over whose meaning he had so anxiously pondered. This, then, was the fearful vengeance promised by the Gcaléka warrior. And for many months his wretched victim had lain here a raving maniac—had lain here

in a darkness as of the very pit of hell—had lain among noisome serpents —among crawling horrors untold—small wonder his reason had given way after a single night of such, as his tormentor had just declared. Small wonder that he had indeed lost his mind!A fiendish yell burst from the maniac. Suddenly a great serpent was thrown upward from the pit. Petrified with horror, the watchers saw its thick, writhing form fly through the air and light on the witch-doctress’s shoulder. With a shrill laugh the hag merely seized the wriggling, squirming reptile, which, with crest waving, was hissing like a fury, and hurled it back into the pit again. What sort of devil’s influence was protecting these people, that they could handle the most deadly reptiles with absolute impunity? Were they, indeed, under some demoniac spell? To one, however, among the white spectators, the real solution of the mystery may have suggested itself.“Here are thy bones, dog,” resumed the great barbarian, throwing what looked like a half-filled sack into the hole. “Here is thy drink,” and he lowered a large calabash at the end of a string. “Eat, drink, and keep up thy strength. Perhaps one day I may turn thee loose again. Who knows! Then when thy people see thee coming they will cry: ‘Here comes Hlangani’s Revenge.’ And they will fly from thee in terror, as from the approach of a fell disease.”The watchers looked at each other. These last words, coupled with the act of throwing down the food, seemed to point to the speedy conclusion of the visit. They could hear the miserable victim mumbling and crunching what sounded like literally bones, and growling like a dog. But Hlangani went on.“Wouldst thou not rather have gone to feed the black ants, or have died the death of the red-hot stones, Umlilwane? Thou wouldst be at rest now. And now thou hast only just begun to live—alone in the darkness— alone with the serpents—a man whose mind is gone. Thou wilt never see the light of day again. Whau! The sun is shining like gold outside. And thy wife, Umlilwane—thy beautiful wife—tall and graceful, like the stem of the budding umbona (Maize)—dost thou never think of her? Ha! There is another who does—another who does. I have seen him—I have seenthem both—him and thy beautiful wife—”Eustace had nudged Josane in such wise as to make that individual understand that the curtain must be rung down on this scene—and that at once. Simultaneously the “yap” of a puppy dog burst forth almost beneath his feet. Its effect upon the pair at the pit’s brink was electric.“Yau!” cried Ngcenika, turning toward the sound. “The little dog has followed me in after all. Ah, the little brute. I will make him taste the stick!”“Or throw him down to Umlilwane,” laughed her companion. “He will do for him to play with, two dogs together. Mawo!”Again the “yap” was heard, now several times in rapid succession. So perfect was the imitation that the watchers themselves were for a moment taken in.“Iza, inja! Injane, izapa!” (“Come, dog! Little dog—come here!”) cried the witch-doctress coaxingly, advancing into the lateral gallery, holding her lantern in front of her. Josane, with his mouth to the ground was emitting a perfect chorus of yaps.“Now,” he whispered, under cover of the echoes produced, as the width of the gallery left a clear chance at Hlangani, without endangering the witch-doctress. “Remember—the female beast, Ngcenika, is for me. Shoot Hlangani—Now!”Scarce had the word left his mouth than the shots crashed forth simultaneously.Chapter Forty Six.The End of the Witch-Doctress.To convey anything like an adequate idea of what followed is well-nigh impossible. The stunning, deafening roar of the volley in that narrow space was as though the very earth had exploded from its foundations.

Through it came the shivering crash of glass, as Hlangani’s lantern fell into the pit, but whether its owner followed it or not could not be determined through the overpowering din. Still holding the lantern, the hideous witch-doctress was seen through the sulphurous smoke, standing there as one turned to stone—then like lightning, a dark, lithe body sprang through the spectators and with a growl like that of a wild beast leaped upon the bewildered Ngcenika. There was the gleam of an assegai in the air—then darkness and the shatter of glass. The lantern fell from the sorceress’ hand.“Turn on the light, Milne; quick!” cried the other two.“I’m trying to, but the infernal thing won’t work. The slide’s jammed—Oh!”For he was swept off his feet. Two heavy bodies rolled over him— striving, cursing, struggling, stabbing—then half stumbled, half rolled away into the gloom beyond.The others bethought them of their candles, which, up till now, had been kept unused. Quickly two of them were produced and lighted.The din of the scuffle seemed to be receding further and further; nor in the faint and flickering impression cast upon the cavernous gloom by the light of the candles could anything be seen of the combatants. But that the scuffle was a hard and fierce one was evident from the sounds.Just then Eustace succeeded in opening the lantern slide, and now they were able to advance boldly in the strong disk of light. The latter revealed the object of their search.Rolling over and over each other were two dark bodies, one now uppermost, now the other. Both seemed equally matched; even if in point of sheer physical strength the advantage did not lie slightly with the witch-doctress, for Josane, though wiry and active, was a good deal older than he looked. Each firmly gripped the other’s right wrist, for the purpose of preventing the use of the broad-bladed, murderous assegai with which the right hand of each was armed. Victory would lie with whoever couldhold out the longest.As soon as the light fell upon the two struggling bodies, the witch-doctress threw all her energies into afresh and violent effort. She seemed to divine that the new arrivals would refrain from shooting at her for fear of injuring Josane. So she redoubled her struggles and kicked and bit and tore like one possessed.“Keep her in that position a moment, Josane,” sung out Hoste. “I’ll put a hunk of lead through the devil’s carcase. There—so!”But it was not to be. With a supreme effort she wrenched her wrist free from her opponent’s grasp, and turning with the rapidity of a cat, leaped out of sight in the darkness. But a moment later she stumbled over a boulder and sprawled headlong. Before she could rise her pursuer was upon her and had stabbed her twice through the body with his assegai.“Ha! Spawn of a Fingo dog!” cried Josane, his voice assuming a fierce, throaty growl in the delirious satiety of his vengeance. “I am Josane—whom thou wouldst have thrown to the serpents, as thou didst this white man—ha! whom thou wouldst have given alive to feed the black ants, as thou didst Vudana, my kinsman. Ha! I am Josane, who was eaten up at thy accursed bidding. Ha! But I lived for revenge and it has come. Ha! How does this feel?—and this?—and this?”With each ejaculation “ha!” he had plunged his assegai into the writhing body of the prostrate witch-doctress. To the white men his aspect was that of a fiend—standing there in the cavernous gloom, his eyes rolling in frenzy—literally digging with his spear into the body of his vanquished enemy, out of which the red blood was squirting in a dozen great jets. Not until the corpse had entirely ceased to move did he cease his furious stabs.“The hell-hag is dead!” he cried, as he at length turned to leave. “The hell-hag is dead,” he repeated, turning the words into a fierce chant of exultation. “The hell-hag bleeds, and my revenge is sweet. Ha! Revenge is brighter than the sun in the heavens, for it is red, blood red. Ha! Mine


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