132 AT MOSETI'S BIDDING
and bleeding, and then, headed by Salmo, the party
made for the opening leading out of the inner circle.
Harold had Dorothy still folded in his arms ; but she
had now recovered, so, in order to facilitate their speed,
he put her down, and taking her hand, they rushed
through the gateway.
Scarce had they passed through, when numbers of
men ran out from the huts between the palisade and
the natural wall ; but they were already half through
the huts before the natives, still dazed with sleep,
realised what had occurred, and the fugitives had
almost reached the gateway in the natural wall before
they were seen. Then, with mad yells, on came their
Reaching the exit, the fugitives turned, but, before
Harold and Ivor could fire off their revolvers or Tosi
hurl an assegai, a strange thing happened. The entire
crowd of their pursuers stood still and lowered their
" Salmo," they yelled. " The spirit of Salmo has
come amongst us." They had caught sight of Salmo,
and as he made a step forward towards them the crowd
Tosi was not backward in taking advantage of this.
" Come," he said. " They think it is Salmo's ghost.
Let us go on ; Salmo will follow. They will discover
before long that it is not the ghost of Salmo, but he
himself, and then will they come after us."
So, half lifting, half carrying Dorothy along between
them, Ivor and Harold followed Tosi and Kakani, who
were quickly moving along the way whence Salmo had
brought them. Meanwhile the yells in the kraal had
subsided, and every minute was bringing them nearer
and nearer to safety.
Suddenly there was a loud renewal of the yells, and
then the fugitives knew that either Salmo's real identity
had been discovered, or else the natives had decided
at all hazards to recapture Dorothy and Kakani.
On and on sped the party, while nearer and nearer
WHEN THE FULL MOON ROSE 133
drew the sounds of the pursuing host. Now the first
declivity was reached, and down this they scrambled
hastily ; then down along the level where the native
had been killed they rushed, and, in a short time, they
reached the waterfall. But here a great horror awaited
them, for there, sitting in the bright light of the moon
before the waterfall, was a figure. Harold raised his
revolver and fired, but his arm was unsteady with the
speed at which he had come and the bullet went wide.
Ivor instantly raised his revolver, but just as his finger
pressed the trigger the figure rose and they saw it
" Come, come, no time," said Tosi, " they are almost
on us " ; and true enough, the yells all about the
mountain side some above where the party were
standing, some below, some on the right, and, in fact,
all round told that, unless their movements were
speedy, their position would soon be discovered.
Salmo dashed through the water into the tunnel
beyond, and with a few words to reassure Dorothy,
Harold took her hand and followed ; then he crept
in before her through the mud and slush to drier
ground, until at last the broader passage was reached,
and here Harold whispered to Dorothy that she might
"How can I thank you for this, Mr. Morton?"
Dorothy said, when at last she had sufficiently recovered
" By not thanking me at all, Miss Delton," he
answered. Then he aclded after a pause, " What a
fearful time you must have had ; but, thank God,
that is now well over, and I trust we will soon get free
and be able to hand you over safely to Mrs. Warren."
Then Ivor crept up, and, hearing Harold's voice
next to him, he too rose, and in another minute Tosi
and Kakani followed through into the tunnel.
"Well, we are all here," Harold said cheerfully.
" Yes ; and Tosi wants us to move on at once, so
let us get on."
134 AT MOSETI'S BIDDING
" Are we quite safe now, Mr. Risk ? " asked Dorothy.
"Hardly, Miss Delton. I wish I could assure you
that we were," he answered. "Still, we have got
through as bad a stage as I expect we shall ever
again be called upon to undergo. One blessing is,
that these tunnels are unknown to the natives ; but,
unfortunately, we have to come out into the open
after we leave this, and the great danger lies between
this and the opening of the next."
The party were meanwhile moving on, and soon
were descending the stone stairway, but, on reaching
the mouth, they heard voices outside. Not knowing
the place, Dorothy was naturally nervous, for the voices
seemed so near, and, as it was pitch dark inside, she
could not tell whether the owners of the voices might
not also be inside the cavern. But Harold felt the
tremor which passed through her body as she leant
against him, and he reassured her in a whisper that,
for the present, they were safe, as none except Salmo
knew of the existence of the passage in which they
were ; and he also told her that the entrance was
covered by a large bush, so that it was unlikely that
it would be discovered. Then they all listened intently
to the conversation which was going on outside.
The voices proceeded from two natives, whose loud
panting gave evidence to the fact that they had been
running and climbing hard.
" Whoa," said one, " but the spirit can run. It ran and
jumped like a baboon, and then disappeared altogether.
Truly it was the spirit of Salmo, for I saw it near me,
and I knew Salmo in life and it was he. But of the
others : were they, too, spirits ? "
" No," answered the other. " They were not spirits,
for I saw them as they stood behind Salmo at the
entrance of the kraal, and they were white."
" But how then came they on the mountain ? " asked
the first. " None but Salmo knew the secret way,
and he is dead, and spirits do not show the secrets
of their forefathers to strangers."
WHEN THE FULL MOON ROSE 135
" Ay," again rejoined the other ; " but the spirit of
Salmo hated the chief and the tribe for was the spirit's
body not killed by the people of this, his own tribe?
Yet will we search for those white men and the great
black man with them, and the two women whom they
have taken away from the kraal, and, when we find
them, then shall we kill them one by one."
So on went the conversation for some minutes
longer, and then having apparently rested long enough,
the men moved off to join the other searchers on the
mountain, whose voices rang out clearly from different
Salmo waited for a few minutes, and then he
crept through the bush, closely followed by the
On they moved, as swiftly as the rough nature
of their way would permit them. Now stopping for
a minute and creeping silently behind some bush, as
they heard voices near to them ; then on again. The
mountain seemed teeming with people, for from all
around they could hear voices.
Once they were in very great danger, for they
suddenly rounded a corner, and there under a bush
sat two forms, only very dimly discernible in the
shadow. Tosi was, fortunately, in advance; and as
Salmo, who was immediately behind him, heard
the voices, he stopped suddenly, and those behind
him had perforce to stop too, for the pathway was
The two men on the ground looked up, but in the
shadows they only saw Tosi's figure.
" Well, have you found them ? " asked one, with a
" No," answered Tosi. " But who can catch spirits ?
If we are not careful, more of us will meet with
death. I have brought with me not less than five
others, and yet here I find two men alone. Come,
move from the pathway, for it is but narrow, and I
fain would pass quickly from these parts. For near
136 AT MOSETl'S BIDDING
this spot has the spirit of Salmo often been seen to
The two men, glad of some excuse, moved off, and
Tosi followed slowly, so that the distance between
them might be widened.
So on they walked until they neared the part where
the secret path was crossed by the path leading to the
various sentry stations, and here, some fifty yards
ahead of them, the two natives were seen to turn
Once past the place where Takosa had been killed,
and they would be in comparative safety. They were
now on it, and Tosi moved on to the place where
the sentry had been, so as to allow the others to
pass before him on to the ledge ; and as they did
so, Tosi noticed that the two men who had turned
off here were now returning to the spot.
As they descried him, one of them, taking him to be
Takosa, called out, " Takosa, from whence come
you now ? We have scarce passed the place where you
stand, and you were not there."
They were now not ten paces away, and Tosi had
to answer something.
" All is well ; I only stepped aside as I heard
you coming, for I feared lest it might be the
" Whoa ! " cried out both men, stopping suddenly ;
while one continued, "That is not the voice of my
brother Takosa. Come, let us see the impostor " ;
and bounding forward, they came on.
But Tosi knew that if he stayed longer detection
would inevitably follow, so with a shout to warn
the others in advance, he sprang away and along
the narrow ledge, the two men following closely
with loud yells, crying out to the other searchers
that they had found the fugitives.
Meanwhile, the others had pressed on, and \verc
already nearly on the second ledge when the shouts
behind them, which were taken up on all sides and
WHEN THE FULL MOON ROSE 137
above and below, told them that they were discovered
so they hurried on as hard as they could.
Tosi flew along after them ; but the two behind him
were fresh, whereas he was tired out with his long
journey, and they were gaining upon him. Moreover,
they had been joined by some others, while from above
rocks and stones were being hurled.
The place seemed to have been converted into a
veritable pandemonium with the yells of the people
around and the crash of rocks hurled from above,
which happily could do but little harm, for the cliff
above the ledge overhung it somewhat.
At length, however, Tosi reached the main body
of his party, and they were now less than ten yards
away from the mouth of the tunnel. Ivor Risk was the
last, and just as Tosi came up with him an assegai struck
the faithful native, and he dropped down into the
precipice without a yell. Ivor was horror-stricken, and
a feeling of deep regret came over him at the loss of one
who had always been a good friend to him ; but this
was not the time for thought, and just then he saw two
naked forms creeping along the ledge towards him,
silently but swiftly.
" For God's sake make haste," he yelled to those in
front. But his warning was unnecessary, for already
Miss Delton and Kakani had been pushed through the
opening, and Salmo followed.
Harold was halfway through when he saw Ivor
stagger, and he only just saved him from falling by
putting out his arm. Then, raising his revolver, he fired
two shots in quick succession, and two more bodies fell
over into the depths below.
Ivor had an assegai sticking in his side, and without
waiting to move it Harold lifted him in, assisted by Salmo.
Then Salmo leant out and replaced the stone, and at last
they were all in safety. All excepting Tosi. Harold
immediately endeavoured to withdraw the assegai from
between Ivor's shoulders ; but as he leant over his old
friend he saw at a glance that nothing he could do
138 AT MOSETI'S BIDDING
would avail, for Ivor was fast breathing his last.
The spear had penetrated almost through him,
and in its passage must have wounded his lung.
Harold, when he realised that Ivor was dying, felt
benumbed with sorrow, greater than any he had ever
THE FOUR WHO RETURNED
O not wait for me, Harold ; but take Miss Delton
into safety," Ivor said, as he lay on the ground,
with his head supported in Harold's arms.
Harold whispered in his ear that there was no danger
for a while, for it was scarcely likely that the natives
would attempt to follow at once. Firstly they would
have to enter through the narrow aperture, and one
man standing inside could defend the position against
thousands without much danger to himself. Ivor
looked relieved, and he murmured his thanks as Miss
Delton bent over him and endeavoured to stop the flow
of blood from the great hole in his side.
The scene was indeed a terrible one, and one which
both Harold and Dorothy knew they would carry with
them to their last days.
By the flickering light of the torch that Salmo had
lit on entering the tunnel, Harold and Dorothy saw
each other looking sad and anxious ; while Ivor, with a
look of patient and manful resignation, gazed at each
alternately between the short gasps by which he was
At last the gasps became shorter and fainter, and
those looking on saw that the end was very near. Then
Dorothy bent her head lower, and, with the tears
streaming from her eyes, she kissed the dying man.
A smile flitted gently across his face, and, putting
out his hand, he took hers in his, and with the
140 AT MOSETI'S BIDDING
other he took Harold's disengaged hand, and then with
a sigh he fell backward.
Salmo and Kakani rose and came forward, and took
Ivor's lifeless form out of Harold's arms.
" Go," said Kakani ; " Salmo and I will follow along
the passage after we have buried him whom you two
love as a brother. Stay now no longer, but go."
" Yes, Miss Delton, let us go ; we can do no more
here, and I am anxious 'to get you away to safety.
Listen ! " and he held up his hand. " Yes," he con-
tinued, " they are outside, and are trying to get the
stone away. Come."
Just then the stone was rolled away, and simultane-
ously a head and a pair of black shoulders appeared ;
but with a yell and a leap Salmo had bounded forward,
and, like a flash, down came his knobstick crashing
into the brains of the intruder, and knocking the body
back through the aperture and down into the depths
of the abyss below.
Harold and Dorothy heard a chorus of yells from
the outside, and then they waited for no more, but re-
treated back down the passage.
On they walked and crept, as space permitted, resting
sometimes for a moment, and then on again. At length,
tired out, they reached one of the recesses, and here
they halted for a while to rest and to wait for the
Long they waited here, and as Harold noted by
his watch that the hour lengthened into two hours
and was approaching the third, he became very anxious,
and wanted to go back to hear if the natives were still
endeavouring to get through.
But Dorothy clung to his arm. " No, do not go," she
half-sobbingly said. " Stay with me ! Salmo can keep
the passage. I cannot bear the thought of you
risking your life again."
" No, darling, then I will not go," he answered ; and
then, suddenly, he realised what he had said, and felt
ashamed of his conduct.
THE FOUR WHO RETURNED 14!
How dared he take advantage of the girl's position
and the circumstances under which they were both
placed, in order to make love to her by using such
endearing terms. He felt sure that she cared for him ;
yet, up to the present they had only been friends,
and after all, he had known her only a very short
time. He looked up at her, but her face in the dim
light of the torch showed no surprise, so that the
" I beg your pardon " died away unspoken on his lips,
and he hoped that she had not heard the word. She
was still crying quietly at the thought of Risk's death.
It seemed so sad to her, and she could not help re-
proaching herself for having been the cause of bringing
the boys to her assistance.
" Had I not left that note on the bush, they would
probably not have known where to follow, and after
a few days' search they would have returned to Itsobi,"
she thought. But then again the thought came, that
had she not left the note, they would have wandered
about the country, searching for a clue which they
might never have got, and would probably have fallen
in with stray bands of Kafirs, and then both would
have been killed.
Harold saw that she was engrossed in thought, but
for a long time he was unwilling to intrude upon her
meditations ; but at length he asked her what she was
thinking about, and as she answered him he said,
" Never again blame yourself ; but remember that,
when we set out from Itsobi that night, we both swore
that we would neither of us return unless you were
with us or in perfect safety, and we also agreed to
each other that no matter what happened to either of
us, whether captured or wounded or killed, the other
would think only of your safety."
Long they sat speaking thus to each other, until
at length, close at hand, they heard a sound which
indicated to them that some one was approaching.
Harold cocked his revolver and sat watching the
tunnel mouth, ready to fire should the head which was
142 AT MOSETI'S BIDDING
to appear be neither Salmo's or Kakani's ; but, a
moment after, he returned his revolver to his pocket as
Kakani crept through, and, gaining the recess, stood
" What has delayed you so long, Kakani ? " Harold
asked ; and she told him that for a long time after they
had left Salmo had been engaged guarding the entrance,
and he had knocked down scores as they came, one
by one. Then, when there had been a cessation of the
attack, Salmo had cautiously peered out of the open-
ing, and saw that there were no more men on the
track ; so, placing her to watch, he had buried Ivor's
Scarce had he done this when Kakani saw numbers
were coming along the track, one by one, and in a
moment Salmo was again busy, braining and pushing
men out of the tunnel mouth and down the precipice.
How many he had served thus Kakani could not
tell, but there were scores at least Why they were
so persistent, and why they did not take warning
from the fates of those who went and who fell before
them, she knew ; for from the scraps of conversation
which they shouted to each other outside, she had
gathered that the chief had sent these men to follow
the fugitives, and had warned them, that unless the
two women were brought back, dead or alive, they
would each be put to death by means of the most
terrible torture. Hence, rather than return to suffer
agonies, they willingly faced certain death.
At length, all those who had been sent by Moseti
lay in a mangled heap at the foot of the precipice, and
then Salmo had indicated to Kakani to follow Harold
and Dorothy, and handed her the few papers and little
odds and ends which he had taken from Ivor's pockets.
Then he sat down upon a stone at the tunnel mouth,
and, with his knobstick across his knees, remained
as if waiting for fresh attacks.
Harold took the papers and other things from
Kakani and put them in his pocket, and then, as
THE FOUR WHO RETURNED 143
Kakani stated that she had rested sufficiently, they
set off again.
They moved slowly and rested frequently, found
at length, after many hours, they emerged into the
great cave where Salmo lived. Harold arranged with
Kakani that he and she would watch the entrance
leading into the cave from the tunnel in turns, for
he feared lest Salmo might be overpowered at the
other end, in which case he knew that they would
It was arranged that Harold should take first watch ;
but before taking up his post he fetched wood from
the cavern above and lit a fire, whereat he prepared
some food from Salmo's stores of dried meat. Then,
having made fairly comfortable sleeping places for
Kakani and Dorothy, the three sat round the fire near
to the tunnel mouth, so that they might watch it
while they ate.
Supper being ended, the two tired women laid
themselves down upon their rude beds of straw, and
soon slept as if on the softest down. The night passed
on uneventfully, and after Harold had awakened
Kakani, he too slept soundly and undisturbed.
THE LAST OF SALMO
question which troubled Harold the next day,
J. when he awoke and thought out the position of
the party of which he formed the head, was whether it
were better to remain in the cavern for a day or two
longer, or whether to proceed at once to Itsobi. If
they remained in the cavern they would suffer from
hunger, for the stock of provisions had been almost
exhausted by the two meals they had already taken,
and there was now scarcely sufficient left for another
meal. Then, again, he feared that, should they emerge
from the cave, they might fall again into the hands of
those whom he knew would be scouring the country for
miles around in search of them, and he knew, too, that
if retaken there would be no hope of escape. At last,
after casting the matter about in his mind, he deter-
mined to wait until Salmo should arrive.
It was now over twelve hours since they had left
Salmo, and Harold was puzzled to know what had
detained him so long.
If Salmo had successfully held the mouth of the
cavern, surely the natives would before now have given
up the attempt in view of the impossibility of entering
it. Then, again, if this had been so, surely Salmo would
have seen that the attempt had been abandoned and
would have followed the party.
Should, however, the attempt not have been aban-
doned, then certainly Salmo would have been overcome
by now ; for no human being if indeed Salmo were
THE LAST OF SALMO 145
one could withstand a continuous attack by hundreds
for so many hours, especially after the trying work
which he had undergone for hours previous to the time
when he first took his stand inside the mouth of the
cave to defend it against intruders. And if overcome
by sleep, or if injured or killed, the attackers would
have entered the cave, and would long ere this have
arrived at the other end of the passage ; but up to now
no sign or sound had been made.
Harold sat meditatively on a rock at the tunnel
mouth, watching quietly and thinking out these things ;
but hour after hour passed, and still no sign. Dorothy
and Kakani were meanwhile attending to the fire, and
busying themselves with whatever their hands could find
to do in order to keep themselves from despondency, as
well as to provide comfort for themselves and Harold,
in case it should be necessary to remain in the cave
for any length of time.
Suddenly Harold heard a slight sound in the tunnel,
as if somebody were coming through it, and in an
instant he had his revolver pointed at the gap ready
to fire should it not be Salmo who appeared ; but just
as suddenly he dropped his arm, as, by the flickering
light of the fire, he saw Salmo's head emerge.
So quietly did Salmo enter that it was not until he
stood erect before the tunnel mouth that Dorothy and
Kakani, looking up, saw him. Harold would fain have
signalled to them to keep away, for Salmo presented a
sight awful to behold ; but scarcely did they descry the
figure than they crossed over and stood beside Harold.
Salmo was bleeding profusely from many wounds
all over his face and body. Across his left cheek, from
below his temple to his jaw, was a terrible open scar ;
his right eye was closed and his right arm hung limp at
his side, while across his chest there was a deep cut, and
in his side a large hole. But more terrible than all, in
his uninjured hand, clutched by the hair, were the heads
of two of the natives, their tongues protruding from their
mouths and their eyes glaring.
146 AT MOSETI'S BIDDING
At this horrible sight Harold almost turned ill, and
Dorothy shrank away and buried her face in her hands.
Kakani drew her away to the farthest corner, that she
might no longer look at the dreadful sights.
For a few moments Salmo stood thus ; then, uttering
a loud gurgle, he raised the heads in the air and
dashed them down on the floor before him, making the
blood splutter on the nearest walls, and even on Harold.
Then, still gurgling fiercely, he sprang about madly,
and rolled along the floor, and Harold knew that he
Scarcely had Harold come to this conclusion when,
with a gurgle still louder then any sound he had
previously made, Salmo rose once more to his feet,
and stood still for a moment, eying Harold with his one
remaining eye, which flashed fire ; then with three
bounds he crossed to the spot where the water
roared through the floor into the depths below, turned
round, and as Harold bounded forward to save him,
for he now saw his intention, he leaped forward once
more and disappeared for ever into the terrible abyss.
Harold's first fear was lest the others had seen this
tragedy enacted, but upon turning round, he saw with
relief that they were not looking in that direction,
and as the roaring of the waters was so great he knew