Hartford stared at the calligrapher's drawing, then exclaimed. "Of course! A bow and arrow."
The record of an irritable man seeking the impossible is not to be dwelt upon too closely. During his search for the boys?? school that has yet to exist, Oswald gave way to some unhappy impulses; he made himself distressing and exasperating to quite a number of people. From the first his attitude to scholastic agents was hostile and uncharitable. His appearance made them nervous and defensive from the outset, more particularly the fierce cocking of his hat and the red intensity of his eye. He came in like an accusation rather than an application.
His first return to England not only gave him a futile dream of Dolly to keep him clean and fastidious in Africa, but restored his waning belief in an orderly world. Seen from that distant point, the conflicts in Africa fell into a proper perspective as the froth and confusion before the launching of a new and unprecedented peace. Africa had been a black stew of lust, bloodshed and disease since the beginnings of history. These latter days were but the last flare-up of an ancient disorder before the net of the law and the roads and railways, the net of the hospitals and microscopes and anthropologists, caught and tamed and studied and mastered the black continent. He got his official recognition and went back to join this new British agent, Mr. Harry Johnston, in Nyasaland and see a kind of order establish itself and grow more orderly and secure, over the human confusion round and about the Shire Highlands. He found in his chief, who presently became Commissioner and Administrator (with a uniform rather like an Admiral??s for state occasions), a man after his own heart, with the same unquenchable faith in the new learning of science and the same belief in the better future that opened before mankind. The Commissioner, a little animated, talkative man of tireless interest and countless interests, reciprocated Oswald??s liking. In Central Africa one is either too busy or too tired and ill to 41do much talking, but there were one or two evenings when Oswald was alone with his chief and they could exchange views. Johnston had a modern religious philosophy that saw God chiefly through the valiant hearts of men; he made Oswald read Winwood Reade??s Martyrdom of Man, which had become, so to speak, his own theological point of departure. It was a book of sombre optimism productive of a kind of dark hopefulness????provided we stick it????that accorded well with the midday twilight of the Congo forests into which Oswald was presently sent. It marched with much that Oswald had been thinking out for himself. It did not so much tell him new things as crystallize his own thoughts.
But now, as I lean o’er the crumbling side,
“Whew! I bet there’s going to be a whole lot of excitement around here to the square inch before long,” muttered Amos. “I’m going to whoop it up good and hearty too, when the row begins. The more noise we make the bigger will be the scare, it strikes me.”
“No, mon ami, but you are, as always, in a mental fog.”
Stumbling into his platform den, half dead with hunger and fatigue, the dog sought his bed of leaves. And there he feasted, rather than ate. For never before had he known such a meal. And when the last edible morsel of 163it was gorged, he snuggled happily down in his nest and slept.
It was about three o’clock when we arrived at the little station of Elmer’s Dale. From there a five-mile drive brought us to a small grey stone building in the midst of the rugged moors.
Fanatic? Well, yes, if to be indifferent to the opinion of other people and to be absolutely sure of yourself is to be fanatical. Certainly, she was strange and grim and relentless. And yet one could not doubt her tenderness, her deep sympathy, her devotion to humanity. Yes, a strange woman, but perhaps not so very strange. The qualities I saw in her are common qualities; the difference between her and others was simply that she possessed those qualities in an unusual degree.
Doc on the other hand was quite vivacious, cheered by his third-round draw with Jandorf.
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