“How do you know that Swart Piet sent the man?” asked Jan.
She laughed and said: “Surely that was easy to guess; it is my business to twine little threads into a rope.”
Again he turned to go and again came back to speak to her.
“Sihamba,” he said, “I have seen you talking to that man before. I remember the scar upon his face.”
“The scar upon his face you may remember,” she answered, “but you have not seen us talking together, for until this hour we never met.”
“I can swear it,” he said angrily. “I remember the straw hat, the shape of the man’s bundle, the line where the shadow fell upon his foot, and the tic-bird that came and sat near you. I remember it all.”
“Surely, Father of Swallow,” Sihamba replied, eyeing him oddly, “you talk of what you have just seen.”
“No, no,” he said, “I saw it years ago.”
“Where?” she asked, staring at him.
He started and uttered some quick words. “I know now,” he said. “I saw it in your eyes the other day.”
“Yes,” she answered quietly, “I think that, if anywhere, you saw it in my eyes, since the coming of this messenger is the first of all the great things that are to happen to the Swallow and to those who live in her nest. I do not know the things; still, it may happen that another who has Vision may see them in the glass of my eyes.”
WHAT THE COW SHOWED ZINTI
Twelve days passed, and one morning when I went out to feed the chickens, I saw the red Kaffir with the scar on his face seated beyond the stoep taking snuff.
“What is it?” I asked.
“A letter,” he answered, giving me a paper.
I took it into the house, where the others were gathered for breakfast, and as before Ralph read it. It was to this effect:
“Well-beloved Heer Botmar,—I have received your honoured letter, and I think that the unchristian spirit which it shows cannot be pleasing to our Lord. Still, as I seek peace and not war, I take no offence, nor shall I come near your place to provoke the shedding of the blood of men. I love your daughter, but if she rejects me for another, I have nothing more to say, except that I hope she may be happy in the life she has chosen. For me, I am leaving this part of the country, and if you, Heer Botmar, like to buy my farm, I shall be happy to sell it to you at a fair price; or perhaps the Heer Kenzie will buy it to live on after he is married; if so, he can write to me by this messenger. Farewell.”
Now, when they heard this letter, the others looked more happy; but for my part I shook my head, seeing guile in it, since the tone of it was too humble for Swart Piet. There was no answer to it, and the messenger went away, but not, as I learned, before he had seen Sihamba. It seems that the medicine which she gave him had cured his child, for which he was so grateful that he drove her down a cow in payment, a fine beast, but very wild, for handling was strange to it; moreover, it had been but just separated from its calf. Still, although she questioned him closely, the man would tell Sihamba but little of the place where he lived, and nothing of the road to it.