Swallow: a tale of the great trek eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 319 pages of information about Swallow.
upon us—­so one may as well choose him one fancies, and Jan was my fancy, though why he should have been I am sure I do not know.  Well, if he had any wits left he would speak up and tell what a blessing I have been to him, and how often my good sense has supplied the lack of his, and how I forgave him, yes, and helped him out of the scrape when he made a fool of himself with—­but I will not write of that, for it makes me angry, and as likely as not I should throw something at him before I had finished, which he would not understand.

[*] It is customary among the Boers for the suitor to sit up alone at night with the object of his choice.  Should the lady favour him, she lights long candles, but if he does not please her she produces “ends,” signifying thereby that she prefers his room to his company.—­Author.

No, no; I do not regret it, and, what is more, when my man dies I shall not be long behind him.  Ah! they may talk, all these wise young people; but, after all, what is there better for a woman than to love some man, the good and the bad of him together, to bear his children and to share his sorrows, and to try to make him a little better and a little less selfish and unfortunate than he would have been alone?  Poor men!  Without us women their lot would be hard indeed, and how they will get on in heaven, where they are not allowed to marry, is more than I can guess.

So we married, and within a year our daughter was born and christened by the family name of Suzanne after me, though almost from her cradle the Kaffirs called her “Swallow,” I am not sure why.  She was a very beautiful child from the first, and she was the only one, for I was ill at her birth and never had any more children.  The other women with their coveys of eight and ten and twelve used to condole with me about this, and get a sharp answer for their pains.  I had one which always shut their mouths, but I won’t ask the girl here to set it down.  An only daughter was enough for me, I said, and if it wasn’t I shouldn’t have told them so, for the truth is that it is best to take these things as we find them, and whether it be one or ten, to declare that that is just as we would wish it.  I know that when we were on the great trek and I saw the kinderchies of others dying of starvation, or massacred in dozens by the Kaffir devils, ah! then I was glad that we had no more children.  Heartaches enough my ewe lamb Suzanne gave me during those bitter years when she was lost.  And when she died, having lived out her life just before her husband, Ralph Kenzie, went on commando with his son to the Zulu war, whither her death drove him, ah! then it ached for the last time.  When next my heart aches it shall be with joy to find them both in Heaven.

CHAPTER II

HOW SUZANNE FOUND RALPH KENZIE

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Swallow: a tale of the great trek from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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