Black Heart and White Heart

Black Heart and White Heart

BLACK HEART AND WHITE HEART H. RIDER HAGGARD BLACK HEART AND WHITE HEART A ZULU IDYLL CHAPTER I PHILIP HADDEN AND KING CETYWAYO At the date of our introduction to him Philip Hadden was a transport- rider and trader in "the Zulu." Still on the right side of forty in appearance he was singularly handsome; tall dark upright with keen eyes short-pointed beard curling hair and clear-cut features. His life had been varied and there were passages in it which he did not narrate even to his most intimate friends. He was of gentle birth however and it was said that he had received a public school and university education in England. At any rate he could quote the classics with aptitude on occasion an accomplishment which coupled with his refined voice and a bearing not altogether common in the wild places of the world had earned for him among his rough companions the /soubriquet/ of "The Prince." However these things may have been it is certain that he had emigrated to Natal under a cloud and equally certain that his relatives at home were content to take no further interest in his fortunes. During the fifteen or sixteen years which he had spent in or about the colony Hadden followed many trades and did no good at any of them. A clever man of agreeable and prepossessing manner he always found it easy to form friendships and to secure a fresh start in life. But by degrees the friends were seized with a vague distrust of him; and after a period of more or less application he himself would close the opening that he had made by a sudden disappearance from the locality leaving behind him a doubtful reputation and some bad debts. Before the beginning of this story of the most remarkable episodes in his life Philip Hadden was engaged for several years in transport- riding--that is in carrying goods on ox waggons from Durban or Maritzburg to various points in the interior. A difficulty such as had more than once confronted him in the course of his career led to his temporary abandonment of this means of earning a livelihood. On arriving at the little frontier town of Utrecht in the Transvaal in charge of two waggon loads of mixed goods consigned to a storekeeper there it was discovered that out of six cases of brandy five were missing from his waggon. Hadden explained the matter by throwing the blame upon his Kaffir "boys" but the storekeeper a rough-tongued man openly called him a thief and refused to pay the freight on any of the load. From words the two men came to blows knives were drawn and before anybody could interfere the storekeeper received a nasty wound in his side. That night without waiting till the matter could be inquired into by the landdrost or magistrate Hadden slipped away and trekked back into Natal as quickly as his oxen would travel. Feeling that even here he was not safe he left one of his waggons at Newcastle loaded up the other with Kaffir goods--such as blankets calico and hardware--and crossed into Zululand where in those days no sheriff's officer would be likely to follow him. Being well acquainted with the language and customs of the natives he did good trade with them and soon found himself possessed of some cash and a small herd of cattle which he received in exchange for his wares. Meanwhile news reached him that the man whom he had injured still vowed vengeance against him and was in communication with the authorities in Natal. These reasons making his return to civilisation undesirable for the moment and further business being impossible until he could receive a fresh supply of trade stuff Hadden like a wise man turned his thoughts to pleasure. Sending his cattle and waggon over the border to be left in charge of a native headman with whom he was friendly he went on foot to Ulundi to obtain permission from the king Cetywayo to hunt game in his country. Somewhat to his surprise the Indunas or headmen received him courteously--for Hadden's visit took place within a few months of the outbreak of the Zulu war in 1878 when Cetywayo was already showing unfriendliness to the English traders and others though why the king did so they knew not. On the occasion of his first and last interview with Cetywayo Hadden got a hint of the reason. It happened thus. On the second morning after his arrival at the royal kraal a messenger came to inform him that "the Elephant whose tread shook the earth" had signified that it was his pleasure to see him. Accordingly he was led through the thousands of huts and across the Great Place to the little enclosure where Cetywayo a royal-looking Zulu seated on a stool and wearing a kaross of leopard skins was holding an /indaba/ or conference surrounded by his counsellors. The Induna who had conducted him to the august presence went down upon his hands and knees and uttering the royal salute of /Bay?te/ crawled forward to announce that the white man was waiting. "Let him wait" said the king angrily; and turning he continued the discussion with his counsellors. Now as has been said Hadden thoroughly understood Zulu; and when from time to time the king raised his voice some of the words he spoke reached his ear. "What!" Cetywayo said to a wizened and aged man who seemed to be pleading with him earnestly; "am I a dog that these white hyenas should hunt me thus? Is not the land mine and was it not my father's before me? Are not the people mine to save or to slay? I tell you that I will stamp out these little white men; my /impis/ shall eat them up. I have said!" Again the withered aged man interposed evidently in the character of a peacemaker. Hadden could not hear his talk but he rose and pointed towards the sea while from his expressive gestures and sorrowful mien he seemed to be prophesying disaster should a certain course of action be followed. For a while the king listened to him then he sprang from his seat his eyes literally ablaze with rage. "Hearken" he cried to the counsellor; "I have guessed it for long and now I am sure of it. You are a traitor. You are Sompseu's[*] dog and the dog of the Natal Government and I will not keep another man's dog to bite me in my own house. Take him away!" [*] Sir Theophilus Shepstone's. A slight involuntary murmur rose from the ring of /indunas/ but the old man never flinched not even when the soldiers who presently would murder him came and seized him roughly. For a few seconds perhaps five he covered his face with the corner of the kaross he wore then he looked up and spoke to the king in a clear voice. "O King" he said "I am a very old man; as a youth I served under Chaka the Lion and I heard his dying prophecy of the coming of the white man. Then the white men came and I fought for Dingaan at the battle of the Blood River. They slew Dingaan and for many years I was the counsellor of Panda your father. I stood by you O King at the battle of the Tugela when its grey waters were turned to red with the blood of Umbulazi your brother and of the tens of thousands of his people. Afterwards I became your counsellor O King and I was with you when Sompseu set the crown upon your head and you made promises to Sompseu--promises that you have not kept. Now you are weary of me and it is well; for I am very old and doubtless my talk is foolish as it chances to the old. Yet I think that the prophecy of Chaka your great-uncle will come true and that the white men will prevail against you and that through them you shall find your death. I would that I might have stood in one more battle and fought for you O King since fight you will but the end which you choose is for me the best end. Sleep in peace O King and farewell. /Bay?te!/"[*] [*] The royal salute of the Zulus. For a space there was silence a silence of expectation while men waited to hear the tyrant reverse his judgment. But it did not please him to be merciful or the needs of policy outweighed his pity. "Take him away" he repeated. Then with a slow smile on his face and one word "Good-night" upon his lips supported by the arm of a soldier the old warrior and statesman shuffled forth to the place of death. ...