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Through Veld and Forest An African Story   By: (1851-1922)

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Through Veld and Forest, by Harry Collingwood.

The hero of the story is Edward Laurence, an 18 year old living on a farm in South Africa. The date is in the earlier part of the nineteenth century. The boy is sent off on a shopping expedition which will take several days, but when he gets back he finds that there has been an attack on the farm, his father and mother are dead, and all the stock has been taken away. He goes to the neighbouring farm, and finds that the same applies there, except that he realises that the young 12 year old daughter, Nell, has been taken away alive. Edward's father had always spent the profits on improving the breeding stock, so Edward has very little money in hand. He goes to a town where he has friends, and one of them advises him to spend what he has on setting up an expedition to the north, where he may be able to get enough ivory and hides to make a good profit. And, it is suggested, he may even be able to get gold, silver and diamonds.

Edward sets up this expedition, and sets off. We will not spoil the story for you except to say that he spends some time on the way with a witch doctor, who is able to conjure up for him a vision of where little Nell is. His adventures thereafter are many and various, and some of them are hair's breadth escapes from very dangerous situations.

Collingwood is a superb writer, with a magnificent power of description, so it is a very nice book to read or listen to.




The blazing midsummer sun of South Africa had sunk to within a hand's breadth of the ridge of the southern spur of the Tandjes Berg, softly outlined in blue some forty miles distant on the western horizon, when I, Edward Laurence, having taken a long afternoon ride round the farm to assure myself that the sheep were being properly looked after, arrived within a mile of my home the long, white, one storey thatched house picturesquely perched yonder on a mound which formed one of the southern spurs of the Great Winter Berg.

The house which, together with the farm of two thousand five hundred and sixty acres, was known as Bella Vista was the property of my father, Henry Laurence, ex colonel of the th King's Own Regiment of Dragoon Guards; and he had purchased it some fifteen years prior to the date upon which this story opens, having been so severely wounded during the battle of Waterloo as to necessitate his retirement from the army. His retirement, of course, left him without an occupation; and as he was then still quite a young man, being only thirty three years of age, as soon as he had recovered from his wounds so far as recovery then seemed possible he began to cast about for something to do. It was at this juncture that he made the acquaintance of a Miss Violet McKinnon, the lovely daughter of an impecunious Scottish laird, and fell desperately in love with her; and as my father happened to be a strikingly handsome and attractive man his affection was speedily returned, and marriage quickly followed. To marry under such circumstances was perhaps something of an imprudence, for my father had nothing but his pension, while his bride sixteen years his junior had nothing but her trousseau; but the pair turned a deaf ear to all advice and remonstrance, with the result just mentioned, when of course it became more imperatively necessary than ever for the ex colonel to discover some means of earning a living, especially as I was born within a year of the date of the marriage. The state of his health demanded that the occupation chosen should enable him to live an outdoor life: and farming at once naturally suggested itself.

Then, in the nick of time, he made the acquaintance of a Mr William Arbuckle, a friend of his father in law, and a South African sheep farmer, home for a holiday; and this man strongly urged him to emigrate to South Africa and take up sheep farming... Continue reading book >>

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