#29 – Back to the store

Alice Jardine was having a cup of tea when Jamie walked into the kitchen. Her face
lighted up when she saw him. “Jamie! Oh, thank God you’re back safely!” She took in his
disheveled appearance and flushed face. “It didn’t go well, did it? Never you mind. Have a
nice cup of tea with me, dear, and you’ll feel better.”
Without a word, Jamie reached into his pocket and pulled out a large diamond. He
placed it in Mrs. Jardine’s hand.
“I’ve kept my promise,” Jamie said.
She stared at the stone for a long time, and her blue eyes became
moist. “No, Jamie. No.” Her voice was very soft. “I don’t want it. Don’t you see,
child? It would spoil everything___”
When Jamie McGregor returned to Klipdrift, he did it in style. He traded one of his
smaller diamonds for a horse and carriage, and made a careful note of what he had spent,
so that his partner would not be cheated. The trip back to Klipdrift was easy and
comfortable, and when Jamie thought of the hell he had gone through on this same
journey, he was filled with a sense of wonder. That’s the difference between the rich and
the poor, he thought. The poor walk; the rich ride in carriages.
He gave the horse a small flick of the whip and rode on contentedly through the
darkening veld.
Klipdrift had not changed, but Jamie McGregor had. People stared as he rode into town
and stopped in front of Van der Merwe’s general store. It was not just the expensive horse
and carriage that drew the attention of the passers-by; it was the air of jubilation about the
young man. They had seen it before in other prospectors who had struck it rich, and it
always filled them with a renewed sense of hope for themselves. They stood back and
watched as Jamie jumped out of the carriage.
The same large black man was there. Jamie grinned at him “Hello! I’m back.”
Banda tied the reins to a hitching post without comment and went inside the store. Jamie
followed him.


Copyright © 1982 by Sheldon Literary Trust

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2 Comments Add yours

    1. Bhagyashri says:

      Thanks for that expression!

      Liked by 1 person

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