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Monday, 18 July 2011

Willem Prinsloo's Peach Brandy.

Herman Charles Bosman wrote about people in the Groot Marico, "back velders", South Africa's equivalent of the Hilly Billy's of Appalachia.

 Map of the Groot Marico region.

Quote: "There is no other place I know that is so heavy with atmosphere and darkly impregnated with that stuff of life that bears the authentic stamp of South Africa." 
Herman Charles Bosman.
I believed, as I got on my horse, and set off down the Government Road, with my hat rakishly on one side, that I would be the best-dressed young man at that dance.
It was getting on towards sunset when I arrived at the foot of *Abjaterskop, which I had to skirt in order to reach Willem Prinsloo's farm nestling in the hollow behind the hills. I felt, as I rode, that it was stupid for a man to live in a part that was reputed to be haunted. The trees grew taller and denser, as they always do on rising ground. And they also grew a lot darker.
All over the place were queer, heavy shadows. I didn't like the look of them. I remembered stories I had heard of the witches of Abjaterskop, and what they did to travellers who lost their way in the dark. It seemed an easy thing to loose your way among those tall trees. Accordingly I spurred my horse on to a gallop, to get out of this gloomy region as quickly as possible. After all, a horse is sensitive about things like ghosts and witches, and it was my duty to see that my horse was not frightened unnecessarily. Especially as a cold wind sprang up through the *poort, and once or twice it sounded as though an evil voice were calling my name. I started riding fast then. But a few moments later I realised the position. It was Fritz Pretorius galloping along behind me.
 "What's was your hurry?" Fritz asked when I had slowed down to allow his overtaking me.
"I wished to get through those trees before it got too dark," I answered, "I didn't want my horse to get frightened."
 "I suppose that's why you were riding with your arms round his neck," Fritz observed, " to soothe him."
I did not reply. But what I noticed was that Fritz was also very stylishly dressed. True, I beat him as far as shirt and boots went, but he was dressed in a new grey suit, with his socks pulled up over the bottoms of his trousers. He also had a handkerchief which he ostentatiously  took out of his pocket several times.
 Of course, I couldn't be jealous of a person like Fritz Pretorius. I was only annoyed at the thought that he was making himself ridiculous by going to a party with an outlandish thing like a handkerchief.
Excerpt from the Short story Willem Prinsloo's Peach Brandy, by Herman Charles Bosman.
 *Abjaterskop:  Name of a hill.
*Poort: Pass

  This is one of the few places where you will still find a manual telephone exchange. Maybe the only place on the Planet?

1 comment:

Desiree said...

Absolutely love HC Bosman's stories!