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Diamond Dyke The Lone Farm on the Veldt - Story of South African Adventure   By: (1831-1909)

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Diamond Dyke, by George Manville Fenn.

A most authentic seeming book about the difficulties a pair of young Britons faced when they went to South Africa, and set up an ostrich farm in the dry and largely empty veldt. They had a married couple of the locals to help them, and of these the man wasn't much use. They also had a most sagacious dog, who figures largely in the story. One of the enemies they had to face was lions.

One day they found they needed more stores, so young Dyke, barely sixteen years of age, has to go on a six or seven day journey to the farm of the nearest honest storekeeper, a fat old German, seventy years of age. On the way back there is a serious delay due to a flash flood which took several days to clear. But when they get back they find that the older brother is seriously ill of an African fever. The local people had been sure he would die, and were preparing to move in and take what stock there was. But young Dyke nurses his brother back to health. A little later the old German turns up at the farm, and makes a discovery which would change the fortunes of the brothers for ever.

A very gripping story in the best Fenn style, very hard to put down. It makes an excellent audiobook, of about seven hours' duration.





No answer.

"Hi! Dyke!"

The lad addressed did not turn his head, but walked straight on, with the dwarf karroo bushes crackling and snapping under his feet, while at each call he gave an angry kick out, sending the dry red sand flying.

He was making for the kopje or head of bald granite which rose high out of the level plain where, save in patches, there was hardly a tree to be seen for amongst these piled up masses of glittering stone, lay deep moist crevices in which were shade and trickling water, the great blessings of a dry and thirsty desert.

"Hi! Do you hear, Dyke?" came again, shouted by a big athletic looking young man, in flannels and a broad brimmed Panama hat, and he gave his thick brown beard an angry tug as he spoke.

"Oh yes, I hear," muttered the lad; "I can hear you, old Joe. He's got away again, and I shan't come. A stupid headed, vicious, long legged beast, that's what he is."

"Hi!" roared the young man, as he stood in front of an ugly corrugated iron shed, dignified by the name of house, from which the white wash, laid thickly over the grey zinc galvanising to ward off the rays of the blinding Afric sun, had peeled away here and there in patches.

Some attempts had been made to take off the square, desolate ugliness of the building by planting a patch of garden surrounded by posts and wire; but they were not very successful, for, as a rule, things would not grow for want of water.

Vandyke Emson the Dyke shouted at had been the gardener, and so long as he toiled hard, fetching water from the granite kopje springs, a quarter of a mile away, and tended the roots he put in the virgin soil, they rushed up out of the ground; but, as he reasonably said, he couldn't do everything, and if he omitted to play Aquarius for twenty four hours, there were the plants that looked so flourishing yesterday shrivelled to nothing. He had planted creepers to run all over the sides and roof, but the sun made the corrugated iron red hot the boy's exaggerated figure of speech, but so hot that you could not keep your hand upon the roof or wall and the creepers found the temperature too much for their constitution, and they rapidly turned to hay. Then he trained up tomatoes, which grew at express speed so long as they were watered, formed splendid fruit, were left to themselves a couple of days, and then followed suit with the creepers. Joseph Emson smiled behind his great beard, and said they were a success because the tomatoes were cooked ready for use; but Dyke said it was another failure, because they were just as good raw, and he did not like to eat his fruit as vegetables cooked in a frying pan covered with white wash... Continue reading book >>

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