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z_- - p UL RATCLIFFE'S ADVENTURES.…

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z_- p UL RATCLIFFE'S ADVENTURES. A STORY OF WILD LIFE, —♦-— CHAPTmin. PAUL RATCLIETE'S story of his adventure mthebush oriymade our ears itch for more. The was still pouring in torrents; we could not _think of removing our tents until it had ceased. We had provisions enough for two or three days in store, but our fuel was getting short, for we had not only to keep up a fire within camp, hut it was necessary to have a con tinuous flame without during the night, to prevent; wild bulls and boars making an onslaught upon us. In the day time we should have been obliged to them if they had given battle to us but these animals often roam about at night; and slumbering it would have been no very pleasant thing tc have such enemies goading or tearing a y tentwith insufficient light to make the amends honourable. So we cast lots who should go in search of fuel, who should attend to the horses, ani who should remain at home to cook a sumptuous dinner from the carcase of the ox killed the day before. I was unfortunate in my draw, and, with five others, had to procure the fuel. We had not far to go before we reached a clump of trees, maay of whose boughs, half rotten, were soon feewn down and carried to camp but short as it took uS to do this we felt that we had accomplished a great task, for previoms to this rain there had been a long drought, and the frogs, toads, and lizards that seemed to revel in the moisture were something horrible to my uninitiated mind. The Oregons told us that all these animals were perfectly harmless, but we must take care we did not disturb a peculiar kitfd of adder, which: occasionally lay secreted uuier the turf, or under the roots of trees where there was shelter. When I heard this I trod my way in fear and trembling, for if there is anything in the world I have a horror of, it is the snake tribe. We got to our tent again without damage of any kind, except being wetted to the skin, and the exertion we had gone through in carrying on each oi our shoulder^" nearly a hundred weight of timber, had pretty nearly exhausted us. We soon, however, put on dry clothes, and fell to the meal prepared for us with an appetite of no common order. Our plan was to put the partly green wood on the large fire outside our tent, and when it was nearly reduced to charcoal place it on the stove we had within. After finishing our repast we took to grog and cigars, and each questioned Paul Ratoliffe about the personages amod in the adventure he had related to us. va Ah v d" replied, "I see I ought to have begun at the begirtL^jg1, and told you how I became acquainted with my friend Jot and others. To begin, as I ought to have done in the first instance, then, I must give you a brief account of my first journey to India At the earnest solicitation of my friend, Captain Winslow, of the ship Massasoit, I went with him to India. My old companion, Ben Gilroy, was with me. One bright morning, while lying at anchor in the Hoogly, below Calcutta, Winslow came down from the city in a lighter, and requested us to follow him into the cabin. Gentlemen," said he, with some uneasiness, when I urged you to accompany me to this far-off spot of earth, I supposed that I should return as soon as I could exchange my cargo; but I have received an offer which makes me hesitate. My ship is wanted for trade between here and Canton. The way is open, to me for a fortune." You mean the opium trade P said I. "A little upon the smuggling order," suggested Ben Gilroy. Winslow acknowledged that we were right. And you fear that we shall be disappointed if you do not return us to the United States ? "Exactly, gentlemen. I can get you a passage home by the way of England immediately; and in the course of two or three weeks an American ship may sail. Or, I «an Send you as far as Cape Town by the Frenchman that sails to-morrow." Hold on I" cried Ben. I think I can see some- thing." He went to his state-room, and soon returned with a letter in his hand. "Colonel," he said, addressing me, don t you re- member this letter from Harry Rusk P He and Andrew Jackson are in Southern Africa by this time or, at „ any rate, they will be there within a few, weeks., I I caught at the plan in a moment. To meet Harry and A-clv- in; Africa, and lead them up among the wilds of the Bechuanas, wooM be glorious. We assured Captain Winslow that his new movement would not trouble us in theieast. In fact, we liked it. We had only one favour to ask would he see if the captain of the French barque would leave us at Algoa Bay ? Certainly. Within an hour we lear-ned that the French- man had intended to go in that direction, so he could drop us "without any trouble at Algoa Bay. Before night all owe luggaago w aa transferred barque, and on the fallowing morning we dropped down the river, and set sail. We reached Algoa Bay without accident of any kind; and when we went on shore at Port Elizabeth we found our friends already there. They had arrived about a week before us, and were ready for any plan we had in view. We had all left home for the sole pur- pose of recreation; and the manner in which we had thus met seemed to invite us to follow up the lead of the circumstances that had so far favoured us. My own plan was, to take a tramp to the northward, be. yond the lands of the Bechuanas, up among the lions and the elephants—to see the sights, and meet with adventures. I had not to press my plan, for my com- panions fairly jumped at it. if I would lead off, they would follow right willingly. Ben Gilroy was with me formerly in Texas, and had been my companion for a long time. At the time of which I now write, Ben had grown exceedingly fat. lie weighed over two hundred pounds P-,ad Yet did not measure more than Rve feet eight m his hoots. A noble-hearted, brave, jolly fellow was old Ben. flarry F-usk was small of stature, with raven hair; a keen grey eye; and possessing thews ;and sinewa r the toughest material. He was a civil engineer by j profession; and had carried his compass and signal- j flags through thousands of miles of the Western J solitudes. Harry was -the youngest of the party, as well as the smallest of frame; but a very important member did we find him after we reached, the wilder- ness. t Andrew oackson was a shrewd, calculating fellow, with a true heart and instincts. He had occu- pied the post of sutler with our army in the West, and had consequently seen something of life. It was while operating with my regiment on the frontier that I became acquainted with hitn; and from that time our friendship remaned unbroken. He was of middle age; of* medium size; with brown hair, and bluish grey eyes and possessing jpod powers of endurance. He was ome of the best horsemen 1 everaaw-. In short, we were four firm, fast friends;! and we were pledged to enjoy ourselves to the utmost, and to stand by each other through thick and thin. Surely there was prospect of sport ahead. And," suggested Andrew, with a calculating a0d Qf the head, if we get up where the ivory is we may make something." .) Ufen laughed. ) But I decided that Andrew was right. If we could make out adventures pay our expenses, the thing was worth looking after. We spent a week in looking around, and observing the manners iw-^ customs about us, and then we set at work to preph.re for our journey; Andrew was the man to purchase lhO thousand-and-one nick-nacks we needed, and while h and Ben remained in town to select our small_ Harry an(j j went into the country to purchase ow. j had already .bought a couple of horses; and Harry had done the same. And one thing more I had dine; I had hired, aprivate servant, and now I must tell about him. One morning, as I sat. in iay chamber writing a letter, the landlord poked in his head,, and informed me that a Caffre boy wished to see Presently the applicant stood before me. He w^s a bright-eyed, woolly-headed fellow, with a skin ,.Ii\f pure copper colour, and with far more top to his head than is usual with his race. He was about fifteen years of age; and though small of frame, yet the cat-like move- ment of his limbs betrayed that he did not lack strength nor energy. He said that he belonged to the northern tribe—the Zoolahs and that in a war with the Manibookis he had been taken prisoner, and carried off to be roasted and eaten. He made his escape from his captors by strangling his guard, and had been in Port Elizabeth two weekp., during which time he had been stopping with an old Englishman, who » was floon to leave for home. He had learned to speak English from one of his own people; and since he had been in the town he had so far perfected himself in the tongue that ,he spoke it quite fluently. He had heard that I was going away into the interior to hunt, and he had come tp r himaell as my private -se-- vant. If I liked him I might pay him what I thought he was worth, and if I did not like him I might set him adrift at any time. I wanted a servant; but I had calculated upon one with a little more age and experience than this appli- cant had. "Try me," begged the little fellow. There was a whole volume of argument, persuasion, and promise in that simple expression, and the look which accompanied it. He seemed to say that he would serve me to th extent of his life if I would take him and treat him well.. I told him I would take him, and he sank upon hia knees and kissed my hand. He would have kissed my foot if I had not prevented him. „ „ His name, as he pronounced it, was a sort of snappish grunt, and the nearest Christian ap- proach I could make to it was Dan. So I called him Dan, and he liked, the sound ot the new form better than he did the old. I went with him to the bazaar, where I bought him a pair of blue frocks, and some short drawers of the same colour. He asked for a sash, and I got him one of red cotton; and I also provided him with with two red cotton handkerchiefs. A good dagger—the blade of trusty steel, and the sheath of ox-hide- completed his outfit; and a happier fellow I never saw. And Dan went with Harry Bask and me to look after oxen. About fifteen miles back from the bay we came to a settlement of Boers, where cattle were plentiful. I found an old farmer, named Peter Marburg, who had fine oxen, and who offered to let me have what I wanted upon very reasonable terms. We spent the night with him, and on the following morning we went out to the pastares. Peter's pasture was a large one, containing some two thousand acres, and handsomely diversified with hill, plain, vale, and forest. About a mile from his house was a yard, or pen, nearly square, of some two or three acres in extent, enclosed by a stout, high fence of logs and brushwood. Six of the Boer's men were sent to gather the cattle, and before noon two hundred oxen had been driven into the pen., Now," said my host, if you wish to select you can do so. Nearly all of these will work in a yoke." They were mostly the small, red oxen, known as the Zuur-feldt—tough and hardy; and, when well broken and carefully handled, as serviceable as an ox can be. Harry went off in one direction, with Peter's head man, while I went in another with Peter himself. I had selected half a dozen animals, and was moving to- wards a group that stood near the centre of the enclo- sure, beneath a clump of trees, when a loud cry from one of the herdsmen startled me. "Run! run!" shouted Peter, at the top of his voice, and at the same time making for the fence. For your life, Mynheer Colonel! The mad hull the mad bull!" At first I stood stock-still, not kmowing what to make of this outcry; but I was not long in discover- ing the cause. Three men, who had kept us company for the purpose of marking and fettering the oxen which I had selected, were already clambering over the distant fence, while Mynheer, I*eter was making the best of his way in the same direction. Between myself and the fleeing Boer 1, saw the object of their terror—a huge black bull, foaming at the mouth, and tearing up the sod with his horns. I comprehended the trouble at onee. This bull had strayed into the enclosure unebserved, and was really mad. The fever of his blood might have been eaused by disease —by some venomous, bite—and it might have been only anger. At all events he was mad—crasy mad, and seemed bent upon most terrible mischief. When he ploughed his horns into the ground he bad dis- covered that those whom he pursued had escaped him; and, as he gazed around through the cloud of dirt, his eye rested upon me; and with a roar that made the solid earth tremble, he plunged towards me. I was taken at a disadvantage. The bull, was between me and the nearest point of fence, and to escape in any other direction seemed impossible. I looked for a tree, but did not see one which I thought I could reach. The only weapon which I had about me was a pistol, and to havo used that would have been simple madness. I looked for HaTry-just one instantaneous look-and saw him by the fence in a far-off comer. I fancied that I could see the terror in his face, and that I could mark the quivering of his frame, as he viewed my situation. Bum run I heard same one cry. It might have been very good advice under some other circum- stances, but it was entirely useless to me now. I might rua, but the bull could run too fast for me. i Twenty rifles might have been discharged at the infuriate beast without effect, and yet I would have given half a lifetime for my trusty rifle at that moment. An age was crowded into a few short seconds. The bull was dashing towards me, and I had not yet moved. I was not weak-I do not think I was frightened—I was fairly stunned. There was chanoe for thought, for "there seemed no possible chance of safety. To stand these and await the coming of the monster appeared as favourable as any move 1 could make. It may have been six seconds that I stood thus. Six seconds is a short space of time under ordinary circumstances; but you who have held a watch upon the speed of a flying horse have learned to realise how much may be gained or lost in a single second of time. Six secoiads had passed perhaps more—and the ball was within half a dozen rods of me. His great swart breast was dripping with foam; his eyes glared like balls of fire; and at each leap he made the distance frightfully less. At the moment when I was calculating my chances, of escaping the brute by dodging him, something flashed past me, and a voice sounding ia my ears, tell- ing me to stand still. It was my Caffre boy, Dan. He had glided directly in front of me, and was waving his fiery red. handkerchief above his head. In an instamt the bull changed his course. The flaunting handker- chief of fiery hue, completely distracted his attention from me; and Se now dashed on towards the boy. I felt a momentary relief, but the relief was, not pleasurable. It seemed to me that Dan had offered himself a sacrifice. But the question was to be quickly solved. As the boy ran past me, he kept on a few rods, and then turned and faced the beast. I caught the expression of the lad's faee, and I thought I could discover something more than resignation in his look. ~.eJ?oy Put his handkerchief into his bosom, and laced the ball, while I, now trembling at every joint, expected to sea him crushed to death in a very few seconds. On dashed the bull, roaring and plunging, with his frightful horns aimed at his intended victim. The boy stood upon tiptoe, with his form slightly bent, and as the bull almost touched him he gave a sudden leap, upon one side, and fell flat upon his bally. The animal passed him, and went some twenty yards beyond before he eouiId stop. Seconds were then like lifetimes. Dan started to his feet, gave his kandker- chief one more flauntn the air, and then, sprang towards a small tree which stood not far away. I might have made for this tree in the first place, only, beforb, the tree had been between mealâd the bull, and he might have reached it before I could. Dan gained the tree, however, arid was quickly resting upon-a branch some ten leec from the ground. Now-waa the time when I could save myself by flight: but I waa chained to the spot wherel stood. The tree was a very small one, and I looked to see the monster bear it down at the first onset. It could not be-other- wise. The slim trunk even bent beneath the weight of the lad; and it would require but a moiety the bull?8 tremendous force to snap it down like a reed. 0ne77tw<?-three bounds, and the mad beast was upon the tree. He seemed to know that the frail sapling could offer no tough resistance, and a snort of defiance escaped him as he bent his head to the work, -tia. What a thrill went through me when I saw the boy drop upon the back of the infuriate monster. Me leaped down like a cat, and strode the bull at the shoulders. I saw his stout dagger flash in the sunlight, and In another moment the keen blade had been d_riven deep into the spine of the brute, directly behind the point where the spinal process enters the skull. He struck m the exact spot where the life is seated, ana the huge beast fell dead in an instant. I hurried up to the spot just as the boy was wiping his dagger, and in the excess of my gratitude and admi- ration I fairly caught him in my arms. I've killed a good many cattle in that way," he said, after I had set him free: but this is the first time I ever perched upon a mad ball." I asked him if he had planned all this when he flew past me. He said he had. I then asked him if he had not feared for the result. He replied that he was sure of his mark when once upon the bull's back, and the chances of reaching that back were very good." At all events," he said, with a peculiar twist of his lithe body, "my chances of success were much better than yours could have been if I had not some." I I discovered that my boy servant was devoted to me. and from that moment I loved him. He felt the influence of my love and I know1 that he would have, died for me at any time. Once, at least, he had saved my life so I had reason to bless the hour that sent him to me. And now, after a. little breathing time, I will tell you how your friend Jot was engaged. i;ToMe continued) v.i. {.» •- 1

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