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The Story of an African Farm, vol. 1. Schreiner, Olive, 1855–1920.
page: 242


Now the pictures become continuous and connected. Material things still rule, but the spiritual and intellectual take their places.

In the dark night when we are afraid we pray and shut our eyes. We press our fingers very hard upon the lids, and see dark spots page: 243 moving round and round, and we know they are heads and wings of angels sent to take care of us, seen dimly in the dark as they move round our bed. It is very consoling.

In the day we learn our letters, and are troubled because we cannot see why k-n-o-w should be know, and p-s-a-l-m psalm. They tell us it is so because it is so. We are not satisfied; we hate to learn; we like better to build little stone houses. We can build them as we please, and know the reason for them.

Other joys too we have incomparably greater.

We are run through with a shudder of delight when in the red sand we come on one of those white wax-flowers that lie between their two green leaves flat on the sand. We hardly dare pick them, but we feel compelled to do so; and we smell and smell till the delight becomes almost pain. Afterwards we pull the green leaves softly into pieces to see the silk threads run across.

Beyond the “kopje” grow some dull-green, page: 244 hairy-leaved bushes. We are so small they meet over our head; and we sit among them, and talk to them, and kiss them, and they love us back.

One day we sit there and look up at the blue sky, and down at our fat little knees; and suddenly it strikes us, Who are we? This I, what is it? We try to look in upon ourselves, and ourself beats back upon ourself. Then we get up in great fear and run home as hard as we can. We can't tell any one what frightened us. We never quite lose that feeling of self again.