Gambar halaman

ady to kithere are so ro- to Salvo

dred y soeking ritain have ates

are ready to kill right and left counsels, England will stand to secure it. There are a popu- by them. lace in the North who are re- Those Englishmen who wish solved not to have separation, to salve their consciences for and are ready to die to prevent not standing by them always it. This seems & situation insist that the so-called loyalty which does not lend itself to of Ulstermen is oonditional loyeasy solution. Not so, thinks alty-that is, loyalty on their the Labour Party, a depatation own terms. That may be so. of which went over to the dis. There are few things, if any, tressful country lately to find a absolute in this world, not even, remedy for all her wood and as we have been discovering this remedy, whioh the states- lately, those very real things, men of Great Britain have been time and space. It would be vainly soeking for seven hun- strange then if the Ulstermen's dred years, it discovered in loyalty were absolute; but, 80 seven days—and yet Mr Win- far as my experience has gone, ston Churobill says the Labour the only condition they attach Party is not fit to govern! to it is that if they are loyal The remedy was simplioity to Englishmen, Englishmen itself, in faot as simple as the must be loyal to them. It deputation : it was just to dig. doos not seem on the face of arm the police and withdraw it an altogether unreasonable the soldiers and let the people condition, and certainly it is settle their troubles themselves. one the breach of which will Before this remedy was well be bitterly resented: there is announced the leading men of no resentment so passionate as both the Loyalists and Nation that of a betrayed friend. And alists were denouncing the it so happens that once upon a English Government for not time the Ulsterman thought be providing sufficient foroes to had been betrayed by England. prevent their followers killing That was in the middle of the one another!

eighteenth century, when he It is always an honest and was being evioted from the usually a wise polioy for a na- farms which his fathers had tion to stand by its friends. In won from the wilderness, and the oase of Ireland it seems also was being persecuted for beto be England's only possible longing to that religion which polioy. All sane Englishmen his fathers had died to proteot. see that separation is impos- The effeot of that betrayal on sible: geography, which no bis loyalty was afterwards polioy can alter, prevents it. shown in the Irish Rebellion The Irishmen opposed to separ- and the Amerioan Revolution, ation are the Protestant popu. In the Irish Rebellion of 1798, lace of the North, who are the the Ulstermen for the first time only friends in Ireland of Eng. joined the Southerners in a land and the Empire. If there fnrious insurreotion against be any wisdom, not to mention England. It will be England's honesty, still left in English fault if it is not the last time,

Bottle thiors alone and just toortbro



bwoop down in squalls that gloomy spoor

As we moved into the nothing less than & wall of lagoon, up some tributary of rook, and the next we would which we expected to find the eddy into the centre of the headquarters of an almost lost stream. exploring and prospeoting Aroused from & spell of party, a gust of wind - one gloomy spooulation by the temof those sudden equalls that perature of the rain which swoop down in Ootober from beat down through the neck. the rooky peaks of the moun. band of my shirt, I went below tains in the Nigerian hinter- and put on a rainproof coat. land — sent the launch over The little vessel was pitobing until her gunwale lay flush uneasily, but answering will. with the water. I seized the ingly to the helm in the bande railing of the bridge and of the pilot; as I opened the watohed the blurring of the door a sudden pitoh pulled it mirror of water beneath us as out of my hands and sent it the ripple of air passed across crashing back against my it, distorting my features as berth-rail, causing me to start they lay on its hitherto plaoid as if shot. surface. With the dalling of In accepting leadership of the water and blotting out of the relief expedition, I had my own refleotion, vanished done violence to some misgivthe last reminder of the mood ings as to my ability to accomof kindness which the torpid plish the objeot of the expediair of Nigeria can sometimes tion, and to take seniority over be said to possess. The only 80 many men who were old suggestion left was menace. enough to be my father; the

Fieroe little wavelets beat youngest among them could in impotent fury against the have given me fifteen years at side of the launch, or ourled least, but the duties of my under her forepart as she lifted party seemed light, and besides, her angry disdaining little as the foreman of the party head above them. The flying said, I was “an edicated olouds stooped lower until they bloke." hid the head of the mount The members of the main from our view, and sent the party described themselves as "boys" soudding below. young and untrained. Seeing

We proceeded down a mono- this, I daren't describe myself tonous creek with our Nubia at all. The Agent - General pilot shouting instructions to on the coast, in urging me his crew through the gather to accept the leadersbip, bad ing mist; one moment we told me that my presence seemed to be running into would exercise an influence


monomeeniority codi

over them and stand as a don't take oharge until we guarantee that all was above land.” board at headquarters, as it The oaptain approached, and was from there I oame. I suggested the firing of a gun.

I had no good reason to The oaptain gave the order, believe that the party was in and as it exploded it produced trouble. I knew little about an extraordinary effoot among its oomposition beyond what the hills, and then merged into had been told me by the Agent- a sound that spread far aoross General before leaving Lagos, the country, and seemed to an who had added, that possibly imaginative mind to be tumthe leader was a man of theory bling over itself in roverberatrather than action, and might ing waves in its efforts to get have chosen to confide the away from its starting-point. oharge of one party to a man Our gruff old captain was named Oxley who was, added gazing straight ahead, with the Agent, "greatly distin- his glasses to his eyes. guished at college in athletio “See anything?” I asked. sports." Of course there was “Yes," he replied, "seems to material for speculation in be something putting off in a this official opinion, that a sub- oanoe." I knew well how to ordinate member of the party look for it, and yet it was some was considered as good a man moments before I could discern at the praotioal side of things the black spook in the midst as his chief, and at first of the immense wilderness; it thoughts it suggested & pog was set near the foot of a oliff sible division of interests and whioh looked like the forefoot effort, but it did not necessarily of an immense oload-weighted indioate a hitob in the opera- hill whioh lay behind it; the tions of the expedition.

great wastes of barren 'earth A oall from the pilot at the in which it stood enhanood its holm aroused me from my insignifioanoe. I went forward reverie, and some one touched to the forecastle deok where me on the shoulder.

the members of the party were “This is where we land, sir; standing. the oaptain advises lying to A few minutes passed, and for the night.”

the canoe turned out to be In faot, we were now near manned by & solitary native the source of the river; it fisherman, who ran his banoe meandered on for another mile towards the bank upon observ. or two, bat then suddenly dried ing us, and sorambling ashore, up or was lost in the arid sank his oanoe by the edge lands, and certainly the sound of the water, and retreated ings had shown that there inland. wasn't sufficient depth of That night at “chop" we water to take our craft any were disturbed by a ory from farther with safety.

the watoh on deok of “Who's “We'll follow the captain's there ?” followed by a reply instruotions," I replied. “I which we couldn't distinguish.

Last weer as walthough three

Tumbling ap on dook we were ing the overdue party. The surprised to hear proceeding soramble up the mount took from our port quarter the us nearly half the morningunmistakable notes of the the going was comparatively European voice, mingled with easy, but we stopped for ob& slight touch of another so. servations several times; at oent which blended with it, last we reached the summit, which though now seeming or as near as would do for familiar to my ear, just as our parpose. Although we quiokly lost itself to my perweren't more than three oeption.

thousand feet above the river “What was that?” oalled level, yet we were 80 rethe oaptain.

moto from the world that our “Couldn't say, sir. I only sense of isolation was com. oaught the words old shap."" plete: the inhabited world lay

“You've been asleep." at our feet, but we stood on .

As the watohman oommenced different planet removed from his denial of the insinuation, it by undreamt-of space; the once again the ory broke out. turmoil of the elements about This time I distinotly heard as intensified the indescribable the words “old chap" myself. majesty of that stupendous

Ho's right enough," I re- reach. Over the higher footplied, “but they come from a hills to the north-east piled a great distance-seems to be donse oopper-ooloured haze more than one shouting." a dust-storm from the plaine

The captain's face lit up. for already the sun had comIt's an eoho," he oried, “and pletely dried the ground after we're probably nearer to the the previous night's drenchparty than we imagine; get a ing, but to the east we simply megaphone,” he called to the gazed into space itself. I watoh, “and send a hail—then never knew until then wbat fire the gan."

space meant; I stood on an After the echoes of the gun overhanging pinnacle of rook, had died away, we listened and by looking straight ahead intently for an answer, but seemed to be as far away from strain our ears as we would, the earth as I was from the not as much as a whisper dis- sky. turbed the air.

Our journey to the bill Next morning we were up proved abortive; we didn't with the sun, and after break- even oatch sight of the fisher. fast got out the launch's gig man of the previous evening, and polled ashore, making for although we could see farther the foot of the bill that sloped than any man was capable from the water's edge. After a of travelling in the between short scrutiny we began the times. Upon our return to ascent, with the object of the launch we held a consulta. thoroughly soanning the sur- tion, and decided to go in search rounding country from its of the exploring party immedi. summit in the hope of looat- ately. The rainy season was just over, and with the excep- digging for tin. Next morntion of a few small tornadoes ing we parted with our extra we didn't expeot much in that carriers. About the third line. Our first course of aotion hour's maroh we saw the last was to retreat to the lagoon of them as they were lost to which we had forsaken the pre- view in the waist-high brush. vious day, as we weren't oertain Most of us were now complainhow long the river which we ing of sore eyes as a result of were then in would hold suffi- the constant staring at the oient water for flotation, and dreary unchanging ground; we had no wish to get stranded the blinding hot sun shone in oase of a drop in its level. upon the partioles of sand

The following day, the which refleoted into our eyes Assayer, one of the machine. like the light from a burnished operators, and myself, with mirror, and after the cool green thirty oarriers and three hardy shade of the forest creeks.we little horses, started due east; found it very trying. along with these we took a About the fifth day there further thirty carriers to do was a general improvement in the rough and heavy work of our eyes, and the first soreness the first few days' maroh, in- wore off. We expected to tending to send them baok come across signs of the party upon the third day, so leaving towards the seventh day, or our main party of ten nearly as the eighth at latest. That fresh as when we started. day saw a betterment in our

The first day's maroh wasn't eyes, but not in our tempers. more than ton miles, as none of All that afternoon I noticed a us were in fit oondition for surliness amongst the carriers, great exertions after our long which I first of all attributed oramping in the limited space to the loss of their companions; of the launch; that night's next day was like the last, camp fire was of dried brush- only worse; early and all as it wood whioh lay in profusion was in the progress of the everywhere. The next night expedition, things began to camp was pitohed after cover- aggame a killing monotony. ing about fifteen miles, and A deep brooding silence oamo our fire was the same as our over the carriers, and they first night, as wood was still seemed to take the spirit of plentiful.

the place to their very bearts. By the third night we were Upon the sixth day the sun & good forty miles into the rose as usual in her early heart of semi-arid country with morning copper garment, very little timber; oooasionally gradually changing to her we came aorogs water, just midday blinding gold. By suffioient to meet our needs; midday the obsession of the it was of a very braokish trail began to master our flavour, slightly tinctured with senses, and towards the afteralkali, and had colleoted in old noon, in one spell of stillness pits made by the natives when which could almost be felt, a

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »