THE WAR OF THE CLEAN SPEAR
When Sihamba arose next day, Suzanne asked her if the home of her people, the Umpondwana, was a great mountain faced round with slab-sided precipices and having ridges on its eastern face like to the thumb and fingers of a hand, with a stream of water gushing from between the thumb and first finger, upon the banks of which grew flat-topped trees with thick green leaves and white flowers.
Sihamba stared at her, saying:
“Such is the place indeed, and there are no trees like to those you speak of to be found anywhere else. The maidens use the flowers of them to adorn their hair, and from the leaves is made a salve that is very good for wounds. But, say, Swallow, who told you about the mountain Umpondwana that is so far away, since I never described it to you?”
“Nobody told me,” she answered, and she repeated the vision to her, or as much of it as she wished.
Sihamba listened, and when the tale was done she nodded her little head, saying:
“So even you white people have something of the power which has been given to us Kaffir witch-doctors from the beginning. Without a doubt your spirit spoke to the spirit of your husband last night and I am glad of it, for now, although you are apart from each other, the hearts of both of you will be rested. Now also I am sure that we must go to my people and live among them for so long as may be appointed, seeing that there and nowhere else you and the Baas Kenzie will come together again.”
“I had sooner go back to the stead,” sighed Suzanne.
“That cannot be, Swallow, for it is not fated, and for the rest, if you meet, what does it matter where you meet?”
That morning Suzanne, mounted upon the great schimmel, which by now had almost recovered from his weariness, although he was still somewhat stiff, and followed by Sihamba and Zinti riding the horse and the mule, passed up and down before Sigwe’s regiments that saluted her as chieftainess. Then amongst much wailing of women and children, the impi started northward, Suzanne, preceded only by scouts and a guard to feel the way, riding in front of it that she might escape the dust raised by so many feet and the hoofs of the great herd of oxen that were driven along to serve as food for the soldiers.
For fourteen days’ journey they travelled thus, and during that time nothing of note happened to them, except that twelve men and Sihamba’s brown mule were lost in crossing a flooded river, whereof there were many in their path. The country through which they passed was populated by Kaffirs, but these tribes were too small and scattered to attempt to oppose so large an army, nor did the men of Sigwe do them any mischief beyond taking such grain and meal as they required for food.