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their rifles, and obviously relieved to find that the Rooinek was not waiting to give battle. They waited while coffee was prepared.

"Which way has he gone?" they asked.

"He is making for Mafeking," said Piet. "The road is good for you but bad for him. His horse is done up."

Two hours after Hartley had departed eastward, his pursuers started in the opposite direction.

hold, Hendrika's instructions by a neighbour, all carrying for the alarming of the Smeers had miscarried. She had shouted to the Kafirs from the kitchen door, but was not disposed to risk her dainty shoes by going outside to see that her orders were executed. The recipient of them had passed them on to the drowsy kitchen-boy, who had in turn shifted responsibility to a third, who did not act till he heard the voice of Baas Piet rousing Toli. Then he watched the saddling up, and returned to his blankets, where he would have remained had not Mrs de Villiers, vrouw - like, demanded full details as to the horses and messengers sent. When she learned the facts, she squandered valuable minutes in abusing Piet and Hendrika, and visited the natives' hut, where her tongue and sjambok soon had things stirring.

Old Piet remained on the stoep till the sounds of hoofs satisfied him that the chase was off the scent. He slipped quietly into his daughter's room.


'Sleep well, haartje," he whispered, kissing her; "your old father has sent justice on a wrong spoor."

"Justice, father? Justice will always be on the wrong spoor while it follows him."

And she buried her sobs in

Within an hour the two married sons of the dead Smeer arrived, accompanied the pillow.

(To be continued.)




ON Monday, January 23, the whole civilised world was horrified with the story of the slaughter of innocent Russian petitioners in front of the Winter Palace and in the streets of St Petersburg. This terrible occurrence, so unexpected in its advent and so far-reaching in its effects, may be signalised as the first real and definite internal demonstration that Russia was the least successful belligerent in the great struggle in the Far East. the Far East. There had already been indications that the country, internally writhing, was struggling to express its dissatisfaction in a policy which had brought upon it the present tribulation; was resenting the grip of war taxation, relentless in its greed for money and manhood. There had been naval riots at Sebastopol; mobilisation difficulties; and even a mysterious affair at the blessing of the Neva. Each of these, judged in the sequence of events, might well have been classed as the protest of an unwilling people. But on January 22 the climax was reached. From that day the struggle in the Far East became an unpopular and disastrous war, forced upon a discontented and powerless people for the purpose of justifying a foreign policy in which

the nation as a whole had no sympathy. But although we allow this now, it is more than probable that if there had been no war-if the people of Russia had not felt the flail of disaster and the pinch of war privation

they would have acquiesced willingly and enthusiastically in the expansion of their empire in the East. And even if the war had been successful there would have been few Russian mouths opened against the Grand Ducal campaign of aggrandisement. This is only natural; for it has to be a great policy, and a magnificent, that will stand the strain of unsuccessful war. The working heads of the bureaucracy in Russia were well aware of all this. Therefore, when Kuropatkin's crowning effort in the autumn was turned into a miserable defeat on the Sha-ho, every effort was made on the part of the Russian Government to reinforce the army in the field, so that by the spring it might be able to stem the course of Japan's success and to turn defeat into victory. Their ears were not deaf to the grumbles of dissatisfaction which reached them from every corner of the empire. Wherever they had mobilised for sea or land, the secret reports were the same. Libau, Revel, Odessa, Sebastopol, War

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Lord Brooke, who, in the matter of military data, seems to be the most reliable of all the correspondents who accepted the hospitality of the Russian Staff, says in his book that "by the 19th of December, exactly two months after the battle of the Sha-ho, 85,000 reservists without impedimenta had been received, and fresh troops were coming from Europe in an endless stream." According to this authority, the Russian army by the middle of December was as strong as it had been before it undertook the battle of the Sha-ho; while a month later the same authority estimated that the force under General Kuropatkin was some 400,000 strong, and had about 2000 guns. All stores had been replenished, and the branch railway lines from Mukden to the Sha-ho were finished. In short, all the arrangements for the battle were complete. Ever since the beginning of January St Petersburg had been urging Kuropatkin to let slip no opportunity which might be turned into a victory. The staff of St Petersburg still clung to the

heresy that the Russian soldier held a superiority over his enemy during a Manchurian winter. They viewed the various indications of unrest with apprehension, little recking the many circumstances of supply and system which governed his actions, and continued to urge Kuropatkin to take the initiative. When, however, the whole country boiled over after the disgraceful tyranny demonstrated on that Sunday in St Petersburg, the authorities were desperate. They ceased to urge the General in the field, but deliberately ordered him at once to save the situation at home, either by the salve of a great victory or the counter-irritant of another desperate disaster.


Just as these demands came the season softened a little. A wave of wintry mildness swept across the Manchurian plains. To all intents and purposes Kuropatkin ready. He had only been waiting on the weather. The opportunity had arrived. The Russians were now holding an extremely long front; Kuropatkin's left was thrown back in the hilly country forming the watershed of the Sha-ho, in order to cover Fu-shun from a flank attack. His centre practically followed the line of the Sha-ho as far as the railway. From Lu-sheng-pu the line of the Russian defence curved backwards towards the Hun-ho at Chan-tan-ho-nan. The Russian right rested on the

1 An Eye-Witness in Manchuria. By Lord Brooke, Reuter's Correspondent. London Eveleigh Nash.


scientific means of inter-communication. To a great extent the Japanese did the same, but they were also careful to prepare a second and even a third line of defence within an easy distance of their front, so that if the great army of brave men which Kuropatkin was concentrating in front of them should, by force of numbers, be able to drive them from the first line, the Russians, spent and halting from the effort which had given them success, would find that no less an effort was required to make good the Japanese second line, and, in sequence, the third. The Russians, too, had prepared against misadventure, but their position was forty miles to the rear of Mukden, and was designed rather to arrest disaster than to form a point d'appui for a violent counter - stroke. This difference in military appreciation was to be demonstrated both at the battle of Hei-koutai and at Mukden.

plain of the Liau-ho, somewhere railroads, telephones, and all on the Hsin-min-ting road. This flank was watched by a cavalry division under Mischenko and Kosobosky. In all, this was a front of sixty to seventy miles. It must not be thought that the Sha-ho was a military obstacle. It was neither deep nor fast enough, except when in heavy flood, to be reckoned as a barrier. At the present season, frozen hard, it indicated the line of country which commended itself to Kuropatkin's sappers as defensible. The 2nd Manchurian Army, which was now commanded by Gripenberg, held the plain between the Hun-ho and the railway. Koulbars commanded the centre, while the 1st Manchurian Army, consisting of the Siberian Army Corps, held Kuropatkin's eastern front in the hills under the command of Linievitch, the veteran commander during the Boxer trouble, who had recently been brought to Mukden from commanding the garrison at Vladivostok. The Japanese positions to a very considerable extent conformed to those of the Russian. In fact, in many places the outposts were so close together that it was possible to see from the Russian line the smoke from the cigarettes of the Japanese off-duty pickets. But behind the parallel chains of fortified positions which kept these two armies in touch, two industrious and independent principalities seemed to have sprung up. The Russians showed great mechanical skill in connecting up the wings of their great army with light

There are several indications which tend to show that Kuropatkin at Mukden still believed that although the Japanesebred soldier might be better than the mujik in the hills, yet his own grey-coated regiments would defeat the diminutive Oriental upon the plain. From the very commencement of the campaign, as far as he could judge, the Japanese had always made for the highest hill-tops in order to give effect to their turning movements. Reflecting upon the very painful experience which he had bought, the Russian General no doubt came

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