Sanskrit version of the seeds of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
went the brute’s head, and, lo, in a twinkling horse and man were rolling on the ground, and the bull galloped away unimpeded.Roars of laughter arose from the discomfited one’s comrades, which did not decrease as they watched the savage brute in the distance charging one of the retreating Kafirs, who seemed almost as much disconcerted by this new enemy as he had been by the missiles of his human foes. Finally both disappeared within the bush.“Hurt, old man?” cried Hoste, riding up as the fallen one found his feet again, and stood rubbing his shoulder and looking rather dazed with the shock. The horse had already struggled up. Fortunately for it, the bull’s horns were short and blunt, and it seemed none the worse for the tumble.“No. Had a devil of a shake-up, though. A bottle of doctor’s stuff’s a fool to it.”“Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast—sings the poet. In this case it hadn’t,” said Eustace. “Those ancients must have been awful liars. Eh, Armitage?”“You bet. Hallo! Where’s my old post-horn?” he went on, looking round for his instrument, which he discovered about a dozen yards off, unharmed, save for a slight dent. Putting it to his lips he blew a frightful fanfare.“I say, Jack, you’ll have the old bull back again,” said Brathwaite. “Better shut up. He’s dead nuts on that old trumpet of yours. And now, the farther we get into the open, the better. We mustn’t camp anywhere that’ll give Johnny Kafir a chance of cutting out the cattle again.”“We’ve done a good day’s work, anyhow,” said Shelton. “This isn’t half a bad haul—and it’s fairly decent stock for Kafir stock.”“Kafir stock be damned!” growled Carhayes. “Whatever is decent among it is stolen stock, you bet. Not much sleep for any of us to-night, boys. We shall mostly all have to keep our eyes skinned, if we are to take
Then, as their glances sought the earth again, a quick whistle of amazement escaped Shelton. It found a ready echo in a startled ejaculation from the others.“Where is he?”For the place occupied by the unfortunate lunatic knew him no more. He had disappeared.For a second they stared blankly into each others’ faces, then all four moved forward instinctively.He had been sitting idly, vacantly, perfectly quietly staring into space. In the height of their conversation they had given little heed to his presence. Well, he could not go far, for his legs were so secured as to preclude him making steps of ordinary length.The place was bushy, but not very thickly so. Spreading out they entered the scrub by the only side on which he could have disappeared.“There he is!” cried Hoste suddenly, when they had gone about fifty yards.Slinking along in a crouching attitude, slipping from bush to bush, they spied the poor fellow. That was all right. There would be no difficulty now.No difficulty? Was there not? As soon as he saw that he was discovered he began to run—to run like a buck. And then, to their consternation, they perceived that his legs were free. By some means or other he had contrived, with a lunatic’s stealthy cunning, to cut the reim which had secured them. They could see the severed ends flapping as he ran.“Well, we’ve got to catch him, poor chap, so here goes,” said Hoste, starting with all his might in pursuit.But the maniac wormed in and out of the bushes with marvellous rapidity. Shelton had tripped and come a headlong cropper, and Hostewas becoming blown, but they seemed to get no nearer. Suddenly the bush came to an end. Beyond lay a gradual acclivity, open and grassy, ending abruptly in air.“Heavens!” cried Eustace in a tone of horror. “The krantz!”His tones found an echo in those of his companions. The precipice in front was a continuation of the lofty perpendicular cliff which fell away from the front of their halting place. Any one who should go over that giddy brink would leave no sort of shadow of uncertainty as to his fate. They stopped in their pursuit.“Tom!” cried Eustace persuasively, “Come back, old chap. It’s going to rain like fits in a minute. You’ll be much snugger at the camp.”The lunatic, now half-way across the open, stopped at the voice and stood listening. Then he ran forward again, but at a decreased pace. Heavens! He was only twenty yards from the brink. His pursuers were more than twice that distance behind. Any move forward would inevitably have the effect of driving him over.“What are we to do?” gasped Hoste, exhausted by the mingled exertion and excitement.“We had better leave him alone, and watch him from where he can’t see us,” was Eustace’s reply.The poor fellow had now gained the very brink. Then he turned, but his pursuers had deftly concealed themselves behind a small bush which opportunely grew in the midst of the open. His hands were still tied fast, and the gag was in his mouth. If only they could have reached him.He stood for a moment, balanced on the edge of the abyss, looking into it. Then he turned again. There was a horrible leer of triumphant insanity upon the distorted face as his gaze failed to discover the presence of anybody likely to prove hostile.The thunder rolled out heavily from overhead, and the figure of the maniac stood in bold relief against the leaden sky, photographed in black
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Here was the gate where they had stood feeding the great birds, idly chatting about nothing in particular, and yet how full were both their hearts even then. And that long sweet embrace so startlingly interrupted! Ah! what a day that had been! One day out of a whole lifetime. Standing here on this doubly hallowed spot, it seems to her that an eternity of unutterable wretchedness would not be too great a price to pay for just that one day over again. But he is gone. Whether their love had been the most sacred that ever blessed the lot of mortal here below, or the unhallowed, inexorably forbidden thing it really is, matters nothing now. Death has decided, and from his arbitration there is no appeal.She throws herself upon the sward: there in the shade of the mimosa trees where they had sat together. All Nature is calm and at peace, and, with the withdrawal of man, the wild creatures of the earth seem to have reclaimed their own. A little duiker buck steps daintily along beneath the thorn fence of the ostrich camp, and the grating, metallic cackle of the wild guinea-fowl is followed by the appearance of quite a large covey of those fine game birds, pecking away, though ever with an air of confirmed distrust, within two score yards of the pale, silent mourner, seated there. The half-whistling, half-twanging note of the yellow thrush mingles with the melodious call of a pair of blue cranes stalking along in the grass, and above the drowsy, measured hum of bees storing sweetness from the flowering aloes, there arises the heavier boom of some great scarabaeus winging his way in blundering, aimless fashion athwart the balmy and sensuous evening air.The sun sinks to the western ridge—the voices of animal and insect
life swell in harmonious chorus, louder and louder, in that last hour of parting day. His golden beams, now horizontal, sweep the broad and rolling plains in a sea of fire, throwing out the rounded spurs of the Kabousie Hills into so many waves of vivid green. Then the flaming chariot of day is gone.And in the unearthly hush of the roseate afterglow, that pale, heart-broken mourner wends her way home. Home! An empty house, where the echo of a footfall sounds ghostly and startling; an abode peopled with reminiscences of the dead—meet companionship for a dead and empty heart.Never so dead—never so empty—as this evening. Never since the first moment of receiving the awful news has she felt so utterly crushed, so soul-weary as here to-night. “How was it all to end?” had been their oft-spoken thought—here on this very spot. The answer had come now. Death had supplied it. But—how was this to end?The glories of departing day were breaking forth into ever varying splendours. The spurs of the mountain range, now green, now gold, assumed a rich purple against the flaming red of the sky. The deepening afterglow flushed and quivered, as the scintillating eyes of heaven sprang forth into the arching vault—not one by one, but in whole groups. Then the pearly shades of twilight and the cool, moist fragrance of the falling night.Why was the earth so wondrously lovely—why should eyes rest upon such semi-divine splendour while the heart was aching and bursting? was the unspoken cry that went up from that heart-weary mourner standing there alone gazing forth into the depths of the star-gemmed night.Stay! What is that tongue of flame suddenly leaping forth into the darkness? Another and another—and lo! by magic, from a score of lofty heights, red fires are gushing upward into the black and velvety gloom, and as the ominous beacons gather in flaming volume roaring up to a great height, the lurid glow of the dark firmament is reflected dully upon the slumbering plains.A weird, far-away chorus floats upon the stillness, now rising, now falling. Its boding import there is no mistaking. It is the gathering cry of a barbarian host. The Gaika location is up in arms. Heavens! What is to become of this delicate woman here, alone and unprotected, exposed to the full brunt of a savage rising—and all that it means?Eanswyth is standing on the stoep, her eyes fixed upon the appalling phenomenon, but in their glance is no shadow of fear. Death has no terrors for her now; at peril she can afford to laugh. Her lips are even curving into a sweet, sad smile.“Just as it was that night,” she exclaims. “The parallel is complete. Blaze on red signals of death—and when destruction does break forth let it begin with me! I will wait for it, welcome it, for I walk in shadow now— will welcome it here on this spot where we stood that sweet and blessed night—here where our hearts first met—here where mine is breaking now!”Her voice dies away in a sob. She sinks to the ground. The distant glare of the war-fires of the savages falls fully upon that prostrate figure lying there in the abandonment of woe. It lights up a very sacrifice. The rough stones of the stoep are those of an altar—the sacrifice a broken heart.“Here is where we stood that night together,” she murmurs, pressing her lips to the hard, cold stones. “It is just as it was then. Oh, my love— my love, come back to me! Come back—even from the cold grave!”“Eanswyth!”The word is breathed in a low, unsteady voice. Every drop of blood within her turns to ice. It is answered at last, her oft-repeated prayer. She is about to behold him. Does she not shrink from it? Not by a hair’s-breadth.“Let me see you, my love,” she murmurs softly, not daring to move lest the spell should be broken. “Where—where are you?”
“Where our hearts first met—there they meet again. Look up, my sweet one. I am here.”She does look up. In the red and boding glare of those ominous war-fires she sees him as she saw him that night. She springs to her feet— and a loud and thrilling cry goes forth upon the darkness.“Eustace—Eustace! Oh, my love! Spirit or flesh—you shall not leave me! At last—at last!”Chapter Thirty Four.From Death and—to Death.She realised it at length—realised that this was no visitant from the spirit-world conjured up in answer to her impassioned prayer, but her lover himself, alive and unharmed. She had thrown herself upon his breast, and clung to him with all her strength, sobbing passionately— clung to him as if even then afraid that he might vanish as suddenly as he had appeared.“My love, my love,” he murmured in that low magnetic tone which she knew so well, and which thrilled her to the heart’s core. “Calm those poor nerves, my darling, and rest on the sweetness of our meeting. We met—our hearts met first on this very spot. Now they meet once more, never again to part.”Still her feeling was too strong for words; she could only cling to him in silence, while he covered her face and soft hair with kisses. A moment ago she was mourning him as dead, was burying her heart in his unknown and far-away grave, and lo, as by magic, he stood before her, and she was safe in his embrace. A moment ago life was one long vista of blank, agonising grief; now the joys of heaven itself might pale before the unutterable bliss of this meeting.Unlawful or not as their love might be, there was something solemn, almost sacred, in its intense reality. The myriad eyes of heaven lookeddown from the dark vault above, and the sullen redness of the war-fires flashing from the distant heights shed a dull, threatening glow upon those two, standing there locked in each other’s embrace. Then once more the wild, weird war-cry of the savage hosts swelled forth upon the night. It was an awesome and fearful background to this picture of renewed life and bliss.Such a reunion can best be left to the imagination, for it will bear no detailment.“Why did you draw my very heart out of me like this, Eustace, my life?” she said at last, raising her head. “When they told me you were dead I knew it would not be long before I joined you. I could not have endured this living death much longer.”There were those who pronounced Eanswyth Carhayes to be the most beautiful woman they had ever beheld—who had started with amazement at such an apparition on an out-of-the-way Kaffrarian farm. A grand creature, they declared, but a trifle too cold. They would have marvelled that they had ever passed such a verdict could they but have seen her now, her splendid eyes burning into those of her lover in the starlight as she went on:“You are longing to ask what I am doing here in this place all alone and at such a time. This. I came here as to a sanctuary: a sacred spot which enshrined all the dearest memories of you. Here in silence and in solitude I could conjure up visions of you—could see you walking beside me as on that last day we spent together. Here I could kneel and kiss the floor, the very earth which your feet had trod; and—O Eustace, my very life, it was a riven and a shattered heart I offered up daily—hourly—at the shrine of your dear memory.”Her tones thrilled upon his ear. Never had life held such a delirious, intoxicating moment. To the cool, philosophical, strong-nerved man it seemed as if his very senses were slipping away from him under the thrilling love-tones of this stately, beautiful creature nestling within his arms. Again their lips met—met as they had met that first time—met as if they were never again to part.