Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

A Maori Maid


page 399


In South Africa, unknown to each other, are two remittance men.

One is seated in a low drinking shanty in Johannesburg.

The place is lit with flaring lights, and reeks with tobacco smoke and stale liquor. Men of all shades of the shady side of men are sitting at the tables, or lounging near the counter.

The saloon is one of the lowest hells of its kind. The characters that frequent it are of the sort that make it what it is.

Of them, by common consent, the foul-mouthed, blasphemous, half-tipsy wretch in the far corner, drinking and gambling, is reckoned as one of the very worst. Men, neither honest nor particular in their associates, draw back from mixing too closely with him.

He is a marked man.

He comes from Australia some say, from New Zealand others declare.

He draws a remittance from England.

He is a criminal, and has been in jail for more than one crime.

Some day he will doubtless be hanged.

Once he was a gentleman.

Once he was Cyril Anderson.

The other remittance man lives on the outskirts of Cape Town over towards Constantia.

He is an old, old man, bent and feeble.

page 400

He is sitting in the shade of a pretty garden smoking. A white-haired lady is by his side and near to them is a younger woman. They are all three watching a man playing and romping with a couple of little children.

Years ago the old man came, few knew from whence, with his wife and daughters.

The old man was a father then. He is a grandfather now.

In the drawing-room over the fireplace hangs a large picture of a young woman.

She is a great London lady, the grandchildren have been told, of high title and station, and great wealth, and as good as she is exquisitely beautiful. The three photographs on the mantelpiece are of her little daughter and two little boys.

The settlers, who have learnt to love the silent, gentle, old man, say that he has two Deities.

One is his God.

The other is the original of that large picture.

And the old man and The Right Honourable Sir Archibald Deverell, sometime to be Premier of England most people say, have, and not curiously perhaps, an identical religion.

Both worship God and the same woman.

And both are therefore good men, for the man cannot but be white in the ways of the world whose faith is in God and a good woman.

The End.