It was no time for the discipline which bids a servant eat of the crumbs from his master's table. For the hour, Kruger Bobs and he were friends, bound upon one and the same errand. With impartial hand, Weldon tore the paper across and divided its contents. He only regretted that convention had forbidden him the trick of smacking his lips in sign of relish. It would have been good to have the ability of Kruger Bobs to give audible token of his appreciation of Paddy's bounty.
Somewhat refreshed, he straightened in his saddle.
"Now be careful, Kruger Bobs. There are Boers in these hills," he warned his companion; "and it would never do for us to be sniped."
Kruger Bobs came close to his side.
"Dutchmans kill Kruger Bobs, no matter; kill Boss, no take despatch. Boss say to Kruger Bobs where de despatch. Kruger Bobs take him to Krugersdorp, if Boss die."
And Weldon shivered a little, as the silence dropped again.
The ridges were steeper now, and came in more swift succession, as the horsemen plodded wearily along the southern slope of the Rand. Piggie was breathing heavily; and Weldon, clinging to his saddle with the purely mechanical grip of the exhausted rider, halted again and again to rest the plucky little animal whose best was always his for the asking. Of his own condition he took no heed. It was all in the game. He would play the game out as long as he could; but his last move should be, as his first had been, strictly according to rule. Meanwhile, for two facts he was at a loss to account. Dawning was still hours distant. Nevertheless, the darkness before him was blotted and blurred with alternating waves of blue and gray. The veldt was empty; yet, above the roar of the rain around him, an odd purring sound was in his ears. Then everything lost itself in his determination not to allow the saddle to slip from between his tired knees.
He roused himself at the challenging voice of a picket.