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Stories, Dreams and Allegories. Schreiner, Olive, 1855–1920.
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page: 56

IN THE YEAR NINETEEN HUNDRED AND FOUR

If you look for the little farm‐house among the ridges you will not find it there to‐day.

The English soldiers burnt it down. You can only see where the farm‐house once stood, because the stramonia and weeds grow high and very strong there; and where the ploughed lands were you can only tell, page: 57 because the veld never grows quite the same on land that has once been ploughed. Only a brown patch among the long grass on the ridge shows where the kraals and huts once were.

In a country house in the north of England the owner has upon his wall an old flint‐lock gun. He takes it down to show his friends. It is a small thing he picked up in the war in South Africa, he says. It must be at least eighty years old and is very valuable. He shows how curiously it is constructed; he says it must have been kept in such perfect repair by continual polishing for the steel shines as if it were silver. He does not tell that he took it from the wall of the little mud house before he burnt it down.

It was the grandfather’s gun, which the women had kept polished on the wall.

In a London drawing‐room the descendant of a long line of titled forefathers entertains her guests. It is a fair‐room, and all that money can buy to make life soft and beautiful is there.

On the carpet stands a little dark wooden stoof. When one of her guests notices it, she says it is a small curiosity which her son brought home to her from South Africa when he was out in the war there; and how good it was of him to think of her when he was away in the back country. And when they ask what it is, she says it is a thing Boer women have as a footstool and to keep their feet warm; and she shows page: 58 the hole at the side where they put the coals in, and the little holes at the top where the heat comes out.

And the other woman puts her foot out and rests it on the stool just to try how it feels, and drawls “How f‐u‐n‐n‐y!”

It is grandmother’s stoof, that the child used to sit on.

The wagon chest was found and broken open just before the thatch caught fire, by three private soldiers, and they divided the money between them; one spent his share in drink, another had his stolen from him, but the third sent his home to England to a girl in the East End of London. With part of it she bought a gold brooch and ear‐rings, and the rest she saved to buy a silk wedding‐dress when he came home.

A syndicate of Jews in Johannesburg and London have bought the farm. They purchased it from the English Government, because they think to find gold on it. They have purchased it and paid for it ... but they do not possess it.

Only the men who lie in their quiet graves upon the hill‐side, who lived on it, and loved it, possess it; and the piles of stones above them, from among the long waving grasses, keep watch over the land.

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