Stories By English Authors In Africa
1st World Library - Literary Society
Publication date: September 2004
Digital Book format: PDF (Adobe DRM)
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Do I know why Tom Donahue is called "Lucky Tom"? Yes, I do; and that is more than one in ten of those who call him so can say. I have knocked about a deal in my time, and seen some strange sights, but none stranger than the way in which Tom gained that sobriquet, and his fortune with it. For I was with him at the time. Tell it? Oh, certainly; but it is a longish story and a very strange one; so fill up your glass again, and light another cigar, while I try to reel it off. Yes, a very strange one; beats some fairy stories I have heard; but it's true, sir, every word of it. There are men alive at Cape Colony now who'll remember it and confirm what I say. Many a time has the tale been told round the fire in Boers' cabins from Orange state to Griqualand; yes, and out in the bush and at the diamond-fields too. I'm roughish now, sir; but I was entered at the Middle Temple once, and studied for the bar. Tom - worse luck! - was one of my fellow-students; and a wildish time we had of it, until at last our finances ran short, and we were compelled to give up our so-called stud-ies, and look about for some part of the world where two young fellows with strong arms and sound consti-tutions might make their mark. In those days the tide of emigration had scarcely begun to set in toward Africa, and so we thought our best chance would be down at Cape Colony. Well ,- to make a long story short ,- we set sail, and were deposited in Cape Town with less than five pounds in our pockets; and there we parted. We each tried our hands at many things, and had ups and downs; but when, at the end of three years, chance led each of us up-country and we met again, we were, I regret to say, in almost as bad a plight as when we started.