A small white boy was standing near the fat lady, watching the proceedings with a critical eye. His dress was very primitive, and his home-made veldschoens were very large, but he was a healthy-looking boy.
‘Ma,’ he said at length, looking up into the fat lady’s face, ’I see something.’
This was rather a peculiar remark to make, because undoubtedly he must see something, not being blind.
‘Yes,’ returned his ‘ma,’ without taking her eyes off the mealie patch, ‘what do you see, son?’
‘I won’t tell you, ma.’
‘Ma’ paid no particular attention to this decision on the part of her small son, but he continued to look into his ‘ma’s’ face as if uncertain about something.
‘Ma, I won’t tell you what I see,’ he continued, coming up closer to the stout lady and catching hold of her hand.
‘Why won’t you tell me, son?’ asked ‘ma,’ looking down affectionately upon the white head of her boy.
‘Not until you promise me something, ma.’
‘Well, what must I promise you?’
The boy hesitated for a minute before replying. He had apparently grave doubts as to whether ‘ma’ would concede even if he did ask her.
‘Ma, I want to shoot Witbooi with my gun.’
Witbooi was a Kaffir umfaan, who had no particular liking for his young Baas.
‘I can’t promise you that until your pa comes home, Gert,’ said his ‘ma,’ patting him lovingly on the head, and at the same time lending her critical eye to the mealie business.
The boy left his mother’s side and walked away a few yards, evidently disgusted with unsympathetic ‘mas.’ Then, apparently changing his mind, he ran towards her again, and clung to her dress, meantime looking up in her face.
‘I’ll tell you, ma—I’ll tell you,’ he said laughingly.
‘That’s a good boy,’ said ‘ma,’ again patting him on the head.
‘I see waggons coming; that’s it!’ exclaimed the boy, running away playfully, and observing with evident satisfaction the look of surprise on his mother’s face, as if it atoned somewhat for the disappointment regarding the fate of Witbooi.