"Any Boers over there?" asked one, pointing in the direction in which we were still heading.
And the incredible conclusion of the matter was that we were actually within their lines in another hour; saw them as large as life within a mile and a half on either side of us; and must every man of us have been taken prisoner had not every man but Connal refused to go one inch further, and had not the Boers themselves obviously suspected some subtle ruse as the only conceivable explanation of so madcap a manoeuvre.
There were trenches for us men, but no place of safety for our horses nearer than this long and narrow donga which ran from within our lines towards those of the Boers. So some of us galloped them thither, six-in-hand, amid the whine of shrapnel and the whistle of shot.
Connal insisted on having one end of the donga to himself, and of course his end is the one nearest the Boers. Well, then, he tells the other fellows to go to sleep at their end--I have it direct from one of them--and you bet they don't need a second invitation.
The news that came from South Africa was less reassuring, and Philip with anxiety saw that his shares had fallen to two; but Macalister was optimistic, the Boers
couldn't hold out much longer, and he was willing to bet a top-hat that Roberts would march into Johannesburg before the middle of April.
But, "/sutjes, sutjes/," as the Boers
say--I am sure I don't know how they spell it--softly does it.
I thought so--and an hour's ride from your farm lives a Boer
with four fingers only on his right hand.
- but after all, I was never really in danger, except the time when I carried the despatches for the colonel and rode straight into a Boer
Even the Bible--the Dutch Bible that Charles had brought back from the Boer
War--fell into position.
The difference, however, between the character of the Spaniard and that of the Dutch boer
is shown, by the former never asking his guest a single question beyond the strictest rule of politeness, whilst the honest Dutchman demands where he has been, where he is going, what is his business, and even how many brothers sisters, or children he may happen to have.
Bunster fled away in a cutter to Guvutu, where he signalized himself by beating up a young Englishman already crippled by a Boer
bullet through both hips.
The last great British war, the Boer
war, was over and forgotten, and the public had lost the fashion of expert military criticism.