Their horses were wiry little animals enough, and, if put to it, could show a very pretty pace. They fed and watered them now preparatory to their start. On the whole they were sanguine.
Then came a surprise. As they were making their own meal they heard from outside a voice hailing them in English. Harold rushed to the door and returned shortly with Piet Bok. The old man looked anxious, and hurried forward to shake Brenda by the hand.
“Thank the dear Lord you are safe,” he said with emotion. “I feared it might be otherwise–that you had fallen into that man’s snare.”
“Then it was a snare!” cried Brenda, at this confirmation of her own feelings. “Tell us, Mynheer Bok, what was his plan?”
“Ach! is it not to tell it you and save you from it I am here?” He rubbed his hands. “I will show Van Zwieten that 佛山夜生活 others can be slim as he. Beloved Lord, he is the seed of Satan, that man.”
“He took away the guards, but he has left us the two revolvers and a couple of mounts all ready saddled.”
“Quite so; and he is to send a messenger soon, is he not, to lead you to the British camp?”
“Believe him not. That messenger will not lead you to your camp, but to an ambuscade of Boers headed by Van Zwieten himself. Then your husband here will be shot and you will be carried off.”
“The scoundrel! The double-dyed villain! But why all this, mynheer? We were in his power already.”
“No, you were not. You must understand that I have power with the burghers; yes, and I told them your story, and they were amazed at the wickedness of this man, and he was told to go out from amongst us lest the dear Lord should send evil on the host. Then 佛山桑拿按摩论坛交流区 he said he would desist from his wicked schemes and send you on to Pretoria to be dealt with by the President. But I overheard his conversation with the messenger whom he intends to send to you, and I know his plan. You are to be carried off, as I have told you, and in durance vile kept until the war is over. Your husband will be shot, probably by Van Zwieten himself. But of all this he will say not a word to the burghers, and thus he will maintain his place amongst them. You see why he does not act openly?
“I see,” said Brenda, her color rising. “Now what are we to do?”
“Come with me at once,” said Piet Bok. “I will lead you by another route to your outposts, and so shall we thwart this son of the pit. But you must come at once, there is not a moment to lose.”
“But the messenger?”
“Of course we do not wait for him. It would 佛山桑拿js电话 mean death to you or to him.”
“Right you are, then; let’s get off straight away. It’s getting dark already.”
“Ach, yes! that is well. Come along, then.”
Their trust in the old man was implicit. He had always proved a friend hitherto. The sun was setting in floods of gold over the mountain-tops as they rode down the path which descended to the veldt. Heavy rains had rendered the ground sodden. Piet Bok headed for a point in the hills where he said there was a pass other than the one in which Van Zwieten was waiting. Unluckily, as they started across the veldt, they saw a horseman coming toward them at full speed.
“The messenger!” cried Brenda. “What are we to do now, mynheer?”
The old man unslung his gun. “Kill him,” he said quietly, “else he will ride on and tell Van Zwieten. If he sees me with you he will guess the 佛山桑拿部长qq truth. It is well known in laager that I am the enemy of Van Zwieten.”
“Must he really be killed?” asked Brenda, with a shudder. It was terrible to her that this man should be shot in cold blood.
“It is his life or mine, dear,” said her husband, pulling out his revolver to be ready if Piet Bok should fail.
But the approaching Boer was not going to trust himself at close quarters. He circled round them and held out a white flag in token of friendship. Harold laughed grimly as he recognized the old trick. Piet Bok sighted, and fired. But the fellow flung himself flat down on his horse’s neck and the shot missed him.
He rode off with a defiant whoop. A big Dutch oath escaped from the lips of Piet Bok, and he caught Brenda’s horse by the bridle.
“We must ride for it,” he said. “The man recognized me, and you too. He will hasten 佛山桑拿会所一条龙 back to Van Zwieten, and they will be after us in no time. We must make for the hills.”
“How can I thank you, Bok?” said Harold, gratefully.
“Almighty, that is right! you spared my boy 佛山桑拿按摩全套价格 Hans.”
By this time the messenger was a mere speck on the horizon. He was riding like the wind to take this news to his chief.
The three fugitives made a straight line for the pass, urging their horses to their best. The sun had dropped behind the mountains and the shadows were gathering fast on the veldt. For several hours they tore on until they reached the mouth of the pass. There they pulled up to give themselves and their animals breath.
“I think we can count ourselves safe now,” said Piet Bok, wiping his brow. “But we must push on through the pass. At the other side let us hope we shall come up with your men.”
The track was narrow 佛山夜生活qq群 and winding and full of mud, which fouled the horses and made the climbing doubly hard. It was quite dark there, but Piet knew every inch of the path, and rode on ahead fearless and confident. 佛山桑拿部长电话 In about an hour they emerged. There were the lights of the British camp twinkling a mile and a half away.
As they commenced the descent they heard a shot ring out, and Brenda gave a cry of dismay. Piet Bok had
fallen from his saddle.
“Ride, ride for your lives!” cried the old man. “He has come round by the other pass.”
And so it was. Van Zwieten, instead of following at their rear, had pushed through the other pass and had cut them off. But he had made one mistake. He had allowed them to get out of the pass on to the higher ground instead of cutting them off from the camp. As shot followed shot, Harold caught Brenda’s horse by the bridle. Headlong they tore down toward the plain.
The light, or rather the dark, was all against the pursuers. They gave up firing and made to overtake them. But the sound of the muskets had already been heard in the camp, and they could hear the bugles ringing out. Whether the brave old Boer who had saved them was dead or not they did not know. It was beyond their power to aid him. They urged their horses on and on, for in their speed lay the only hope of escape.
“Courage, Brenda!” cried Harold. “Stick to it; they’ve heard the firing in camp.”
“I will, dear–I will.”
Then her husband looked round, and an exclamation of mingled relief and triumph came from him. They had given up the chase.
“They’ve had enough of it, hurrah!” he cried.
They were now within a short distance of the camp, and could hear the commands being given consequent on what evidently had been taken for the commencement of a surprise on the part of the Boers. Those behind them had turned and fled now in the opposite direction–all of them save Van Zwieten.