Stories by English Authors in Africa
"Nine carets ef it's a blessed one."
"Scale 'im, an' ye'll find he's a half better. Clear es a bottle o' gin, an' flawless es
the pope! Tommy Dartmoor, ye're in luck, s' welp me never ef ye ain't, an' that's a
brilliant yer can show the polis an' not get time fer."
Tommy Dartmoor, who owed his surname to a crown establishment within the
restraining walls of which he had once enjoyed a temporary residence, growled
out a recommendation to "stow that," and then added, "Boys, we'll wet this. Trek
Forthwith a crowd of dirty, tanned diggers turned their heads in the direction of
Gustav Werstein's American Bar, and walked toward it as briskly as the heat and
their weariness would admit of. The Israelite saw them coming, straightened
himself out of the half-doze in which he had passed the baking afternoon,
stopped down the tobacco in the porcelain bowl of his long-stemmed pipe with
stumpy forefinger, and, twisting a cork off his corkscrew, stood in readiness.
"Name yer pizons, boys, an' get outside 'em, wishin' all good luck to R'yal
Straight; R'yal Straight bein' the name o' this yer stone given by Thomas D.
Hesquire, original diskiverer an' present perprietor."
The orders were given,--bass at five shillings a bottle, champagne (nee
gooseberry) at five pounds, Cape smoke at two shillings per two fingers,--and, at
a given signal, there was an inarticulate roar from dusty throats, an inversion of
tumblers over thirsty mouths, and a second inversion over the ground to show
that all the contents had disappeared.
Satan, the one cat and only domestic pet of the camp, saw that there was a
general treat going on, and bustling up for his drink took a can of condensed milk
at six shillings. Other diggers came trooping in as the news spread, and Tommy
Dartmoor, who was rapidly becoming mellow, for he drank half a tumbler of raw
whisky with every one who nodded to him, stood them refreshments galore, while
the greasy Jew began to see visions of his adopted fatherland in the near
So the Kaffirs, except those who had supplies of their own, kept sober and
peaceful, while the higher order of the human race at Big Stone Hole, after the
manner of their kind, began to squabble. It was natural for them to do so,
perhaps, for the weather was so hot, and the liquors, for the most part, more so;
and under these circumstances men do not always cast about them long for a
casus belli. One or two minor brawls opened the ball, and Herr Gustav, scenting