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-I SEASONABLE EXTRACTS ' FROM…

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SEASONABLE EXTRACTS FROM THE ANNUALS. I A MEMORABLE CHRISTMAS. Christmas Eve! Christmas Eve in the ancient city of Debron, and we are going "even unto Bethlehem to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity. It is high noonday as our little party leave The Friend," as the Arabs quaintly call Hebron, and start on their journey. The sky is an intense brilliant blue and the sun hot, but the air is very keen and the earth bare of vegetation. The donkeys are not of the strongest and require frequent rests, consequently progress is but slow. Sometimes the high road is left for a short cut, but little is gained thereby owing to the extreme roughness of the rocky paths. The landscape is very desolate. Bare brown hills stand right and left and in the far distance blue mountains. A few stunted bushes and a pool of water mark the foreground. An occasional goat- herd, or a stray jackal creeping amongst the grey rocks, are the only living things that break the monotony of the way. The silence is almost solemn and no one cares to break it, for is it not Christmas Eve and we are searing Bethlehem ? Even now the little white City of David comes in sight, crowning the hill and over- looking the surrounding country. The setting sun gilds each dome and tower, making it a city of gold as it stands above the deepening shadows in the valley. Far away to the right, beyond the Dead Sea, glow, roee pink, the Moab mountains, for all the land lies under the magic finger of sunset. Now the sweet chime of the Angelus from a distant church falls clear on the stillness, the shadows deepen, the glory fades, and we are in Bethlehem. Two hours later, standing on the housetop, we gaze down at the Shepherds' Plain far below. It is a glorious night. The deep, purple-blue sky is thick with stars, and a brilliant moon touches every rock and tree with silver. The air is bitterly cold. As yet the hush of the night is only broken by the dis- tant barking of a dog or the howl of a prowling jackal in the valley below. Time creeps on. It is near midnight. With a sudden clash every bell in the city peals out the old message: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Christmas morning in Bethlehem What a scene the little town presents! The wide mat ket-place is thronged with gaily-dressed people, nearly all Chris- tians. Merry voices fill the sunny air. Cul sennie wa intoom salemeen (every year may you be in peace) sounds on every side. Pilgrims, Chiefly Russians, come toiling in, travel-stained and dusty, but with a look of quiet peace on their weatJaer-beaten faces as if the one desire of their lives had at last reached fulfilment. The men are clad in long raLUgh coats and top-boots and carry a stout staff. They are generally bareheaded. The women's dress is very similar, only with the addition of a short skirt reaching to below the knees and a handkerchief tied over the head. They are mostly elderly, some old. The groups of Bethlehemites present a very dif- ferent appearance. The men are gorgeous in bright turbans and girdles, and smart jackets of various colours, and the women even more so, with their picturesque dress, consisting of a gown of blue and red stripe with long hanging sleeves and a square of embroidered red cloth on the chest. A little scarlet or blue jacket, beautifully worked in many coloured eilks, with sleeves reaching to the elbows, and the ancient and peculiar head-dress, worn by them only of all the women in Palestine, completes their cos- tume. This head-dress, which makes them appear very tall, is a high fez, with a row of coins sewn on the edge and chains of coins securing it under the chin and hanging round the neck. A long white veil covers all, falling gracefully over the shoulders. Sometimes the ends are loosely knotted in front. The women of Bethlehem are noted for their beauty and independence of character. They have a playful custom of running away from their husbands shortly after marriage and refusing to return until entreated to do so as a great favour to the unfor- tunate man, who is represented as almost starving owing to the desertion of the fair breadmaker, his bride! The crowd increases. People are chatting, laugh- ing and constantly moving, and the place is one blaze of colour. Threading our way through the closely-packed masses of holiday-makers, we cross the wide square and enter the ancient Church of the Nativity. The door is very low and narrow, built so to prevent. the insolent Moslem conqueror from riding into the ncred building on horseback and insulting the Chris- tians at worstti)). ° Passing the Turkish guards, stationed there to keep order, W it length stand in the old church built by St. Helena. It is said to be the oldest Christian place of worship in the world. Everything tells of age. The great building is bare save for the time-worn pitlars, cut from solid blocks of marble, and the curious old font. It is a fact not generally known that a part of the roof is supported by beams of solid English oak, brought from their distant forest homes by one of our Crusading Kings when the sacred edifice needed repair. Beaching the end of the church we follow a steady stream of pilgrim* down a steep flight of steps to the grotto. Here, by the dim light of the lamps hanging over it, we see the huge silver star marking the spot where, the priests say, The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." The whose of the cave and grotto form part of the IOlid rock on which the old church is built. It is one of the few sacred rites over which there is little or no dispute. Here in all probability the ancient khan or inn stood, and the rocky caves were used, as they are commonly used throughout the land to- day, for sheltering cattle in the winter. It is an equally common practice for the poorer classes to sleep under the same humble roof, side by side with the beasts of the stall." The walls are hung here and there with lamps and gaudy pictures. Pilgrims come and go. Most of them kneel down, pray, and reverently kiss the star before leaving the sacred place. In the dim shadow of a recess on one side stands a Moslem soldier, the glitter of whose steel bayonet rivals the softer gleam of the silver star. Thus War stands present day and night at the very birthplace of the Prince of Peace 1 On leaving the grotto we are taken to some small chapels where special services for the Feast of the Nativity are being £ toid. In one a whole school of young girls with some gentle-faced Sisters of Charity are kneeling, apparently quite undisturbed in their devotions by the constant passing to and fro of visitors.—A. M., in Sunday at Home. PANTOMIMES. There are two kinds of pantomimes^—there is the grand pantomime that tries to be funny, and the funny (?) pantomime that tries to be grand. We will first of all say something ibout the grand pantomime. Our masculine parent books seats for us weeks before the holidays, and keeps the tickets safe until the night we are to go, when he will forget wbpre< be put them. He will begin by saying that he remem- bers giving them to mamma, but mamma assures him that she has never seen them. He will then declare -that someone has hidden them, pr. that the house- maid has thrown them away, or burnt them. At last someone asks him what clothes he wore when he booked the seats. After a great deal of arguing, he 'thinks he were his light overcoat (which has been put in camphor for the winter), and when it is found the tickets also are found in one of the pockets. The tickets found, a start is made (there should be isix to go to a grand pantomime—papa, mamma, Jack, ■age twtIntj, who is sure to miss the train, Mary, age eighteen. Will, age fourteen, and Baby, age eleven). But before half the journey is over someone is sure "to ask who has got the opera glasses, and just as sure -as one ash that question so sure ia it that every one 3taa forgotten them. But let ns pass on to the panto., as it is called in "these days of telegrams and motors, when one has not time to use long words. On arriving, the tickets torn by a cross-breed between a footman and 4t railway guard, who hands them on to a glorified sort of parlourmaid, who, ill her turn, will find the right numbers, knock down half-a-dozen un- comfortable seats, give away programmes; and expect at least a shilling. A large orchestra is playing selections best known to the organ-grinder. Loud choruses are shouted from the gallery, and a fragrance of Spanish and Jaffa fruit arises from the pit. Gradually the music quickens, a bell rings, the gas goes out, the curtain n the show has commenced. Now, the panto, is always the it does not matter at all about the name. First there is the wicked fairy in red fire, who threatens everyone and everything, followed by the good faUT with lights fumed up, who declares war against him. Secondly, there are two funny men (one dressed a8 a woman), who sing topical songs with everlasting encore verses. Thirdly, a ballet. Fourthly, a procession^ which is cheered, clapped, hiss«d,or hooted, as that different representatives march down the centre of the stage; a song or two by the leading boy and girl aleepy sort of transformation scene; an a silly harlequinade, finished off with the National Anthem, a rush to get outside and home, when watches are stolen, and last trams and tempers lost. There is not much to be said about the funny panto, except that the funniness is quite uninten- tional. Time is precious, but, nevertheless, go to jour local theatre, and there you will see a funny JPantoainM.—C. Hubert Wolff, in The Captain Anrfswi Number, THE AFFAIR OF THE GRAIN-WAGGON. General Moltke was writing at a deal plain table. Before him papers were arranged,in most scrupulous order, like columns in an infantry review. L' Moltke was tall and spare, with a slight stodp <»r crumple in his shoulders. His face was lit by wonderful blue-grey eyes, which made men shiver as they looked on him. He wrote his name on dispatch, death-warrant, oe pardon, with the same hard mouth and unfaltering hand. And. as he wrote, save for the scratching of the quill, there reigned among his officers an almost painful stillness. At last he signed to a young officer and spoke to him. Captain Hertz, he said, you will take ten men to the village of Grimont by the Fortress of St. Privatt. Food supplies were secreted when the peasantry were driven in on Metz. The provisions are not discovered. Therefore you will destroy the village. And at any r sk and any cost you will return to this camp by daybreak. It was midnight when Hertz shouted among the tents for volunteers, and every man of his company turned out. The ten selected were small in build and fleet of foot, and in the highest marching order they swung along the road. Taking every inch of cover that offered, they made their way by degrees to the village of Grimont, which is but a mile from the guns of St. Privatt. Suddenly, as they marched through the woods surrounding the monastery of Grimont, came the sounds of shoutings and sharp words of command. Hastily running forward, Hertz found, in the midst of his piquet, a French peasant in sabots and blue blouse — kicking, wriggling, and protesting. "Another for the grain, Herr Captain," they said. What's to be done with him ?" All the way from Metz, it seemed, he had driven in his light waggon, thinking to find Grimont, which, covered by the guns of St. Privatt, was reckoned neutral ground, deserted and abandoned. Well, youngster," asked Hertz, what is your concern with war?" I came, Monsieur, for our last load of grain, for we have little to eat. And I bring a letter for Captain von Hertz of Lord Moltke's staff." My name," said the captain quickly. He took the letter, and wonderingly broke the seal. He read: I am here in Metz, where I was sent away from you to school; and I am injured by your dreadful shells. They shall I shall not get better. If only you might come to me to-night for one minute—to say good-bye.Oh, come to me, dear, do At the Market School.—YVONNE." With this little note a past came back to him. Two years ago, on a holiday, he had stayed in a curb's house near Paris, and he had loved his neighbour's daughter. And he recalled that last hopeless even- ing when he had waited so long at their trysting-place. and she never came—waiting only at last to find under a stone, where they used to stand, the few miserable words: They have found it all out, and are sending me away. I am so wretched.—YVONNE." And now she was dying in Metz. The town was only two miles distant. Why should he not see her? In a hard professional career she was the one tender memory. To-morrow was the bombardment of Metz, and it would be too late. At once he thought of the grain-waggon stacked ready with the food the besieged were most in need of. Why shouldn't he drive through in that boy's c'o!.es ? He should be back, at most, in two—three hours. The soldiers were away in the wood and, signing the boy to follow, he made his way to the monastery, and lighted a candle in the Abbott's Hall. Then he ordered the boy to strip, and he tremblingly obeyed. In a bundle he rolled his uniform under a stone slab. Both were slight in build, and he looked the peasant to perfection. In the pockets he concealed his Adam revolver, and the little dagger he always carried to ward off the human vultures—were he wounded. Then he locked the door, and went out into the night. He found the cart where the soldiers had left it, and he unchained the wheels and climbed into the seat. His road lay clear ahead through the wood of Grimont to the main gate of Metz. The moon had climbed to its height as he broke again into the open, sheer under the guns of the Fortress of St. Privatt. He saw its grim walls and towers black against the.white moonlight. Warning to stop were hurled at him from the bastions- But he stood up-in his seat, and, waving "his whip, roared It is grain I bring—grain for the Governor of Metz!" Cheers answered from the bastions, waking the echoes of the night: Bravo I bravo-! Pass frfend and good fortune." He whipped his ponier, and *aeed along the high road and he came to the outposts of Bazaine's army. There were drums and shoutings in the darkness as he approached, and rifle-balls whistled past him and buried J&emselveaiin the close-stacked cart. Then, in answering alarm, boomed the big gun of the first tower rousing the garrison in their night- watches, and the bugle of the advance guard sounded the alert. A piquet surrounded him, roughly rearing his ponies to the halt. A soldier sprang on the near-shaft to grapple with him. Hertz stood to meet him. He hooked his driving reins over his left arm, and lashed his right fist straight jjwtween the Frenchman's eyes. The man fell between the horses and shrieked as he felt the trampling hoofs. Then from a lantern the light fell on the familiar blue blquse. The tpen fell back. c Who the dickens are you," eaid their officer, and what have you got in that cart ?" For reply Hertz shook the reins and the ponies sprang forward. It is grain—grain for the Governor," he shouted. Stand away, I say, for his Excellency is hungry." They were now close by the walla and to the magic word grain" the main gate swung out and the ponies bolted into the market-place. Ten hands stayed them, and men cried and clamoured and ges- ticulated and carried the German on their shoulders as a hero and a patriot. But he Red from them all and came to Yvonne's home. The drawn blinds told their tale. It was all too late. Yvonne was dead. At last as he turned his face once more towards the market-place it oc- curred to him to read again the letter which for him had meant so much. In the bottom of the envelope was a slip of paper, which before in his hurry he had missed. It was obviously written later than the first, and was in small hurried characters. It ran: "Metz is to be given up to you to-morrow. I want to warn you. When Lord Moltke enters the City Hall with his officers, the students here mean to make an explosion. Do-do-not enter with him. Good-bye, good-bye, if I do not see you any more." The letter was startling news. The bombardment, soon to commence was needless; for the city was to capitulate. He knew he had committed grave indis- cretion but his discoveries, he felt, would win him pardon, glory—if only he could get back in time. He looked about him. Already, though scarcely daylight, the streets were full of people. Shouts greeted him as he mounted his now on- loaded cart. They thought he was going for more grain. In the mists of the morning he made his way through Bazaine's army. Unremarked he reached the last French piquet. He saw them by the roadside shivering in that cold hour before full dawn. At that moment he heard the alert sounded again from the walls of Metz, and at the same time shots were fired from the bastion by the main gate. The peasant boy, it must be, had escaped and reported the loss of th& cart. Ahead, he saw the piqued fling themselves in cordon across the road. They brought their chasse- pots to their shoulders and roared to Hertz to halt. But the Prussian, lashing his ponies to the charge, flew forward as the bullets from the first discharge sung past him. Mad with pain, the animals scat- tered the cordon chaff-wise, and broke into the open. He had reached the spread of neutral ground between the two armies; and he stood erect m that miserable, ramshackle cart and screamed aloud in the dawning light. At last, the tension was ended, Grimont was a field of white cinders only the stone walls of the monastery were standing. He dragged his uniform from its hiding-place; and dressed with care. Then he made the best of his way towards the main body of his army. fie came straight to-the bouse of the headquarter's staff. The bugles were sounding the reveille it was six o'clock. There was an omitious silence as he entered the long room. Moltke was seated as before; the same simple blue coat and-epaulettes; the same keen, tiro- less face; the same everlasting blue official paper. At his opportunity Hertz stood out, saluted, and recounted his story; varnishing nothing; omitting nothing begging nothing. He told of his love and of his temptation; of the coming capitulation; of the plot against the general's life; and of his adven- turous rides to and fro. He asked no mercy; he offered no excuse. He spoke as a soldier to his com- mander, and saluted and stepped back. There was a rising hum of admiration as Herta finished his narrative. But Count Moltke wrote steadily the while on the eternal blue paper. It is gjwtdeed," said General Blumenthal quite audibly, ui should give him a cross.' Moltke started to his feet, his whife face quivering with anr. by my honour, general," he cried, the fiinperor shall give no crosses to those who outrage my orders, desert their duty, and flaunt in my eyes the army slaws." Thfcn taming to a staff- officer he said qmetly. Captain Hertz, of the 50th Regiment, i* Under arrest; as a deserter. He will be shot to-day at sunset. The warrant is here, it was signed an hour since—at daybreak."—jr. p. Blake, M Peargoh's Weticlv Extra Christmas Number. A CHARMED LIFE. The night was still enough, but piled-up masses of black clouds obscured a weakly moon, and there were only now and their uncertain gleams of glimmering light. There was no fog, nor any sign of any. The captain slept in his room, and on deck the steamer was utterly deserted, Only through the black dark- ness she still bounded on, her furnaces roaring, and the black trail of smoke leaving a long clear track behind her. It seemed as though everyone were sleeping on board the steamer except those who fed her fires below and the grim, silent, figure who stood in the wheel-house. Mr. Sabin, the reputed millionaire, shrewd, sharp, and important, muffled up with rugs, was reclining in a deck chair, drawn up in the shadow of the long boat. He was already beginning to regret that he le had attached any importance at all to the warning given him by him by his fellow-voyageur, Mrs. Wat- son,'to avoid his cabin that night if he would save his life. It wanted only an hour or so of dawn. All night long he had sat there in view of the door of his deck cabin and shivered. To sleep had been impossible, his dozing was only fitful and unrestful. His hands were thrust deep down into the pockets of his overcoat—the revolver had long ago slipped from his cold fingers. More than once he had made up his mind to abandon his watch, to enter his room, and chance what might happen. And then suddenly there came what he had been waiting for all this while—a soft footfall along the deck: someone was mB!r;'ng their way now from the gangway to the door of his cabin. The frown on his forehead deepened; he leaned stealthily forward watching and listening intently. Surely that was the rustling of a silken gown, that gleam of white behind the funnel was the fluttering of a woman's skirt. Suddenly he saw her distinctly. She was wearing a long white dressing-gown, and noiseless slippers of some kind. Her face was very pale, and her eyes seemed fixed and dilated. Once, twice she looked nervously behind her, then she paused before the door of his cabin, hesitated for a moment, and finally passed over the threshold. Mr. Sabin, who had been about to spring forward, paused. After all, perhaps, he was safer where he was. There was a full minute during which nothing hap- pened. Mr. Sabin, who had now thoroughly re- gained his composure, lingered in the shadow of the boat prepared to wait upon the course of events, but a man's footstep this time fell softly upon the deck. Someone had emerged from the gangway, and was crossing towards his room. Mr. Sabin peered cau- tiously through the twilight. It was Mr. Watson, of New York (the mysterious man who passed as the husband of the lady who had warned him) partially dressed, with a revolver flashing in his hand. Then Mr. Sabin perceired the full wisdom of having re- mained where he was. Under the shadow of the boat he drew a little nearer to the door of the cabin. There was absolute silence within. What they were doing he could not imagine, but the place was in absolute darkness. Thoroughly awake now, he crouched within a few feet of the door, listening intently.. Once he fancied that he could hear a voice, it seemed to him that a hand was groping along the wall for the knob of the electric light. Then the door was softly opened, and the woman came out. She stood for a moment lean- ing a little forward, listening intently, ready to make her retreat immediately she was assured that the coast was clear She was a little pale, but in a stray gleam of moonlight Mr. Sabin fancied that he caught a glimpse of a smile upon her parted lips. There was a whisper from behind her shoulder; she answered in a German monosyllable. Then, apparently satis- fied that she was unobserved, she stepped out, and, flitting round the funnel, disappeared down the gang- way. Mr. Sabin made no attempt to stop her or to disclose his presence. His fingers had closed now upon his revolver-he was waiting for the man. The minutes crept on-nothing happened. Then a hand softly closed the window looking out upon the deck, immediately afterwards the door was pushed open and Mr. Watson, with a handkerchief to his mouth, stepped out. He stood perfectly still, listening for a moment. Then he was on the poirt of stealing away, when a hand fell suddenly upon his shoulder. He was face to face with Mr. Sabin. He started back with a slight but vehement guttural interjection. His hand stole down towards his pocket, but the shining argument in Mr. Sabin's hand was irresistible. Step back into that room, Mr. Watson; I want to speak to you." He hesitated. Mr. Sabin, reaching across aim, opened the door of the cabin. Immediately they were assailed with the fumes of a strange, sickly odour! Mr. Sabin laughed softly, but a little bitterly. A very old-fashioned device," he murmured: "I gave you credit for more ingenuity, my friend. Come, I have opened the window and the door, you see! Let us step inside. There will be sufficient fresh air." Mr. Watson was evidently disinclined to make the effort. He glanced covertly up the deck, and seemed to be preparing himself for a rush. Again that little argument of steel and the grim look on Mr. Sabin's face prevailed. They both crossed the threshold. The odour, though powerful, was almost nullified by the rushing of the salt wind through the open window and door which Mr. Sabin had fixed open with a catch. Reaching out his hand he pulled out a little brass hook—the room was immediately lit with, the soft glare of the electric light. Mr. Sabin, having assured himself that his com- panion's revolver was safely bestowed in his hip pocket, and could not be reached without warning, glanced carefully around his cabin. He looked first towards the bed and smiled. His little device, then, had succeeded. The rue which he hacj rolled up under the sheets into the shape of a human form, was undisturbed. In the absence of a light Mr. Watson had evidently taken for granted that the man whom he had sought to destroy was really in the room. The two men suddenly exchanged glances, and Mr. Sabin smiled at the other's look of dismay. "It was not like you," be said, gently; "it was really very clumsy, indeed, to take for granted my presence here. I have great faith in you and you methods, my friend, but do you think that it would have been altogether wise for me to have slept hero alone with unfastened door-under the circum- stances ?* Mr. Watson admitted his error with a gleam in his dark eyes, which Mr. Sabin accepted as an addi- tional warning. Your little device," he continued, raising an un- stopped flask from the table by the side of tho bed, is otherwise excellent, and I feel that I owe you many thanks for arranging a death that should be painless. You might have made other plans which would have been not only more clumsy, but which might have cost me a considerable amount of per- sonal inconvenience and discomfort. Your arrange- ments, I see, were altogether excellent. You arranged for my-er-extermination asleep or awake. If awake, the little visit which your charming wife had just paid here was to have provided you at once with-a motive for the crime, and a distinctly mitigat- ing circumstance. That was very ingenious. Pardon my lighting a cigarette, these fumes are a little power- ful. Then if I were aleep and had not been awakened by the time you arrived-well. it was to be a drug! Supposing, my dear Mr. Watson, you do me the favour of emptying this little flask into the sea." Mr. Watson obeyed promptly. There were several points in his favour to be gained by the destruction of this evidence of his unsuccessful attempt. As he crossed the deck holding the little bottle at arm's length from him, a delicate white vapour could be distinctly seen rising from the bottle and vanishing into the air. There was a little hiss like the hiss of a snake as it touched the water, and a spot of white froth marked the place where it sank. 44 Much too strong," Mr. Sabin murmured. A sad waste of a very valuable drug, my friend. Now will you please come inside with me. We must have a little chat. But first kindly stand quite stiH for one moment. I There is no particular reason why 1 should run any risk. I am going to take that revolver from your pocket and throw it overboard." Mr. Watson's first instinct was evidently one of resistance. Then suddenly he felt the cold muzzle of a revolver upon his forehead. If you move," Mr. Sabin said quietly, "you are à dead man. My best policy would be to kill you I Am foolish not to do it. But I hate violence. You are safe if you do as I tell you." Mr. Watson recognised the fact that his companion was in earnest. He stood quite still and watched his revolver describe a semicircle in the darkness and a fall with a little splash in the water. Then he fol- lowed Mr. Sabin into his cabin.-From the Christmas Supple.nent to the Windsor Magazine Mysterious Mr. Sabin. HOW OUR FOREFATHERS DINED ON CHRISTMAS DAY. In the days of our forefathers, Christmas Day was that on which not only relations assembled, but the baronial hall was filled with retainers of every degree, "keeping* their Christmas holiday I all partook of the bounty of their lord, which was bestowed with no sparing hand. Besides the pon- j derous baron of beef, roasted kid, venison pasties, and innumerable other good things, the festive board was graced by a peacock, which according to a manuscript in the possession of the Royal Seciety, was roasted; after which the feathers were replaced by a skilled .Prttste. This manuscript says Let hym (the peacock) cool awhile, and take and towe hym in hys skyn, and gild his combe -tud so serve hym I for the last cours." COLENBRAxN DER AND THE ZULU AN INCIDENT OF THE LAST WAR. Colenbrander headed off three men trying to make for the river, and shot two of them from the saddle. He had to keep circling about them all the time, as a moment's halt involved the risk of their taking pot-shots at him, and at close range they proved themselves excellent marksmen. The third man he galloped down, as he wished to take him alive to Usibebo; feeling sure, from his knowledge of native usage and dialect, that he would be able to prevail upon him to speak and divulge the number of the forces and the names of the regi.nents arrayed against the northern King. This man, in view of what followed, deserves a somewhat detailed descrip- tion. He was apparently about twenty-six years of age; ibotit Colenbrander's own height—that is, õft. 6in.—but much heavier, and possessed of a wellrbuilt frame, corded all over with muscle. He was bull-necked and bull-headed, with a protruding, broad forehead, high cheek-bones, big eyes, droop- ing jaw, and a magnificent set of ivories. Like all Kaffirs, he had a well-greased skin, which meant no catching hold of him. For decoration he wore a cock's feather stuck in his head, to show that he was on the warpath, and a tunic which had once been worn by a soldier of the 60th Rifles. It had been taken as spoil from one of the battlefields during the recent campaign. He was an Induna's son aud a great warrior, as was afterwards ascertained; but, at the moment, Colenbrander was less intent on these details than the fact that he was riding down a heavy, ugly, sinister-looking Zulu, with great thighs and biceps, who bade fair to prove an awkward customer to tackle. The two had got into a ravine, and were quite alone there were several of Colenbrander's boys round about, killing and getting killed on their own account among the stones, but none were in view. The Zulu had been manoeuvred round a rock on to a bit of a steep slope in the ravine, and could not get away. as, which ever side he tried to dodge, Colen- brander turned and blocked him, till at last he stood still, quite close to the white man, who, of course, could have shot him easy any time in the preceding ten minutes. Colenbrander was in the saddle, but, owing to his enemy being almost on top of the slope, and the former's horse a pace or two down, their bodies were almost on a level. The disconcerted raider had his battle-axe and one long-bladed assegia in his hands. He swung his battle-axe abont idly, but in a manner that boded mischief, and kept his eyes on his foe, who, though he had hisrifle (a sporting Martini) at full cock, rest- ing over his arm, could not disarm the quarry now he had ridden him to a standstill; and none of the "boys," who should have supported their leader, turned up to help him out. All the time, Colenbrander was getting colder and colder, till at last he felt he could not shoot him—it would be too cold-blooded. He thought to himself: "I can't take my eyes off him with those weapons in his hands, for fear he'll go for me;, and to kill him would be cold-blooded murder," so, using the language he knew so. well, he said: "Drop those weapons, or 111 have to shoot you No the man answered. If I drop my weapons, you'll kill me I" No, I won't; .1 only want to take you to talk to Usibebo." Then Usibebo will kill me if I am taken to him," was the answer, given with an assurance springing from a knowledge of native warfare, in which— unless white intervention is forthcoming—quarter is seldom given or any degree of mercy shown. If you'll drop your weapons and come with me to Usibebo. I'll see to it that no harm comes to you I" Colenbrander rejoined; but the man still said No," and still continued to swing his battle-axe to and fro, much as a vicious horse switches his tail when his ears are laid back, the white of his eyes showing, and his whole being concentrated on the wish to make things unpleasant. Colenbrander incautiously took his eyes off the savage for a moment, and glanced up to see if he could discern any of his "boys" coming to his assistance; and that moment the Zulu—who had been all the time completely at the white man's mercy, had the latter chosen to shoot—struck a murderous blow at his head with the battle-axe. Colenbrander must. have seen the shadow of it, for half instinctively he threw up his left arm, on which the gun-barrel rested, to Tend the blow; but in the act of so doing, his finger must involuntarily have pulled the trigger, for the rifle went off, the bullet harmlessly cutting the air. The wooden shaft of the axe broke against his arm, but the blade cut through the brim of his felt hat, silk pugaree, and the side of his head, in front of the ear, laying open his cheek to the bone. The force of the blow halfstiinned him, and he fell off his horse and down the rocky slope among the stones, where, for some seconds, he lay, feeling half dead, and unable to make an eflort to get to his feet. In falling, he had tried to save himself with his gun-stock, and partially succeeded, but the stock broke off short with the force of the impact. He had still the barrel, with the lock attached, in his hand, and could have used it as a pistol, had the idea occurred to him in time. But the Zulu grasped his assegai, and rushed at him, and so he had to decide on the instant whether he would try to get up and rup away, or try to shove a cartridge into the gun-or use the barrel as a club. But even had Colenbrander been on his feet he would have had no chance of getting away—booted and spurred as he was-among the loose stones and when he tried to struggle to his feet he failed. It all bad to be decided in a flash. As the Zulu sprang forward to stab, aiming at a point between the base of the neck and the collar- bone, whence the blade would have penetrated to the heart, Colenbrander clubbed the rifle-barrel and struck at man and descending assegai for his life. The blow must have swept the point a bit aside, as it only struck the collar-bone, and, glancing off, slipped down under the tunic, gashing breast and chest to the hips, where it stuck fast in the cart- ridge-belt. Colenbrander immediately seized hold of the shaft of the assegai with both hands, knowing that as the Zulu tried to draw it out to stab him again, he must, of necessity, pull him on to his feet. The Zulu tried to wriggle the weapon into his oppo- nent's body, but failed, owing to the latter's iron grip on the stick; then, in making a tremendous effort to pull it out, he pulled the white man on to his feet. Both men-who fought with the grim silence of bulldogs, having other use for their breath than shouting—now had hold of the shaft of the assegai, which had come out of the tunic, the two pairs of hands touching, and being tightly clenched on the slender stick. But as the Zulu had the upper grip, he tried to force the assegai downward, so as to stab the other, who was at the point end straining every nerve to frustrate the attempt, and at the same time trying to break the weapon where the iron joined the wood so that he could use the blade as a dagger. Both men were covered with Colenbrander's blood; two severed veins in the side of his head were bleeding in different directions, and sq, blinding him that he could only see out of one eye; and as he presently commenced to feel faint, his grip somewhat relaxed, and the! assegai was drawn violently through his hands, cutting tnem, though, fortunately, not deeply. The Zulu, once again complete master of his own weapon, raised it above his head with both hands, preparatory to stabbing downwards with all his force. But in the same instant Colenbrander locked' his arms round his opponent's body with a fearful strain, so that they were breast against breast, and so fended the Mow with his head. The point cut right on to his skull. Three times more did the 1 Zulu make desperate efforts to stab him through the shoulders or back, and each time Colenbrander fended with his head and took the blow on his skull, which soon presented a horrible appearance. Fortunately, the Zulus are very bad at wrestling, while Colenbrander was good at this,, as at most athletic pastimes. Had it been otherwise, his- chances would have been small, his vidversarv., being much the stronger and heavier map. Owing to the faintness and loss of blood, Colen- brander knew he could not hold out much longer, and, collecting all his energies for one supreme effort, he succeeded in; tripping hi» man, and not only came down on top of bin), but was able so to lever his feet and shoulder against some stones that he could not be shaken off; ana thei} he gripped the Zulu by the throat until the savage rolled op. the whites of his eyes. In one of their many struggles previous to this Colenbrander had managed to thrust his enemy once slightly in the chest with the assegai; and now, get- ting off him, he took the weapon-for..it was a matter of life and death, to himself to kill the man wlien things had come to this pas.-tnd drove it, as he lay there, into his left side, thinking it would find his heart. As a matter of fact? however, the blad,e only cut through the rifleman's tuijic which the Zulu wore, and then passed under and between his back and the ground. ? < Having done this, Colenbrander Scrambled dizzily to his feet and looked for a moment at his prostrate foe as he lay on the ground gasping and shamming death. Then he went over to his horse, which, partly because of fatigue, had standing there quietly all the time—the only spectator of this Homeric combat. Colenbrander was veiy anxious to get out of that ravine, for fear more of the eneqpy might be lurking about, and, besides, he wanted tq get to water, which be had seen before the fight begV*- He gathered up his reins loosely, put his left foof in the stirrup, and was in the act <>f throwing his l*g across th.e saddle, with the whole of. his back exposed to what be thought was a dying £ ulu. when he suddenly felt the burning sting of an assegai beiag ^riy^p into the '¡fo/: ::Ü4A i i.'{,4.1"1.¡#»:1' l J back of his neck at the base of the skulL He knew 1 at once there was but one thing to do, and, letting all go, he dropped over the other side of the horse on to his hands and knees. The next moment the Zulu was upon him, trying to cut through his neck as they struggled together on the ground almost under the horse's belly. Then, from that day to this, Johann Colenbrander could not remember what happened next. The madness and blind exhilaration of battle which comes to some natures must have gripped him, and he must have attacked with the irresistible onset of the hurt lion or the man battling for dear life. He remembers nothing until he found himself struggling with his adversary breast to breast, both on their feet, his arms locked around the Zulu, pinning the latter's arms to his side. Colenbrander had the assegai in his hands, and was trying to drive it into the man's back. But the point of the weapon had got bent, and would not penetrate the Zulu's tunic, and while Colenbrander was endeavouring to cut through the stout cloth with the edge, the Zulu was doing all he knew to bite him. At last Colenbrander succeeded in driving the weapon home; the Zulu fell backward—as a man would fall backward on a sword—dragging his adversary with him, and the assegai, driving right through the native's body, would have impailed the pair of them together as they went down, had it not been that the now much- bent pointturned against the white man's stout mole- skin tunic. The life-and-death struggle was at last at an end. The victor, after waiting for a moment to recover breath, with difficulty freed himself from the death grip of the vanquished. Then he clambered—he hardly knew how—on to his horse but had only ridden a few yards when he met two of his boys," who should have been with him, but had been doing some fighting on their own account among the stones. Ah!" they said, when they saw their leader, and a shocking spectacle he presented. What is the matter ? How bad you look, Johann! Have you had a fall?" "Yes," he replied, feebly, I've had a fall. Come and look at the place where I fell 1" The two turned back with him, and when they came to the gruesome scene of the fight, they put their clenched hands to their mouths, in the manner of the natives, and uttered low sounds of astonish- ment;—Christmas Number of the Wide World Maga- zine.

THE BOYHOOD OF RUDYARD KIPLING.

[No title]

EPITOME OF NEWS.

- IREADINGS FOR THE YOUNGJ