But the storm was weathered safely; the temperature grew cooler as the ship stretched away to the South, and after a generally prosperous voyage the steamer dropped anchor in Port Natal roadstead.
The Wedge of gold.
The voyagers were glad enough to stand once more on the solid earth. It had been twenty-one days since they had left London.
Quickly as they could they made arrangements for a journey inland. They chartered conveyances to go to the end of the road and sent forward to the capital to charter a train of riding and pack animals, with a full corps of attendants, to meet them where they had to take the trail. They employed, moreover, a civil engineer and a half-dozen frontiersmen, Boers and Kaffirs, who knew the country well.
Studying their maps and the description supplied them by the former owner of the mine, they calculated the mine was distant some 250 miles, and that it would require some thirty-five days to make the examination and return to D’Umber, the town on Port Natal Roadstead.
Sedgwick had written daily to his bride, sending the letters from every port called at.
Now he wrote her that it would probably be forty days before he could forward her another letter.
When everything was ready they started on their trip. The men were all Boers and Kaffirs, except the engineer; all strong, good-natured men, but the least bit suspicious of their employers. They had come in an English ship, wore English clothing, and if their English accent was not quite up to the standard the natives could not make the distinction.
They examined Jordan’s saddle with a great deal of curiosity, as it was, with the rest of the luggage, put upon the wagon. One of them, in broken English, asked about it; where in England he found it.
He laughingly answered that they could not make any such saddle in England; that it was a Mexican saddle. Then the Boer wanted to know if he were a Mexican.
“Not by a blamed sight,” said Jordan. “Do I look like er greaser?”
The Boer looked at him helplessly.
“Did you never har of ther United States?” asked Jordan.
The Boer shook his head. “Never har of America and Americans?” Jordan asked.
The Boer smiled. He had heard of Americans, and asked eagerly if Jordan and his friend came from America.
“Yo’ may bet yo’r everlastin’ broken Dutch diaphram that we did,” said Jordan, at which the Boer hurried to tell his companions that the two strangers were not English, notwithstanding their clothing.
The first eight days of the journey, the travelers found excellent roads, and averaged twenty-seven miles a day. They did not go by the capital, but turned off to the left.