Qin Junjie and Kan Qingzi's spy drama "Faith" starts shooting, Qin Junjie learns to develop film for the drama

时间:2023-09-25 06:27:50来源:China Sailing and Windsurfing Association website 作者:Dadukou District

doorway was darkened and a head was thrust in—a black and dusty head, surmounted by the remnant of a ragged hat.“Morrow, missis!” said the owner of this get-up, holding out a scrap of paper folded into a note. Mrs Hoste opened it carelessly—then a sort of gasp escaped her, and her face grew white.“Where—where is your Baas!” she stammered.“La pa,” replied the native boy, pointing down the street.Flurried, and hardly knowing what she was about, Mrs Hoste started to follow the messenger. Eanswyth had gone to her room to remove her hat, fortunately.“Oh, Mr Shelton—is it true?” she cried breathlessly, coming right upon the sender of the missive, who was waiting at no great distance from the house. “Is it really true? Can it be? What awful news! Oh, it will kill her! What shall we do?”“Try and be calm, Mrs Hoste,” said Shelton gravely. “There is no doubt about its truth, I am sorry to say. It is fortunate you had not heard the first report of the affair which arrived here. All four of them were rumoured killed, I’m told. But—No, don’t be alarmed,” he added, hastily interrupting an impending outburst. “Your husband is quite safe, and will be here this evening. But poor Tom is killed—not a doubt about it—Milne too. And, now, will you break it to Mrs Carhayes? It must be done, you know. She may hear it by accident any moment; the whole place is talking about it, and just think what a shock that will be.”“Oh, I can’t. Don’t ask me. It will kill her.”“But, my dear lady, it must be done,” urged Shelton. “It is a most painful and heart-breaking necessity—but it is a necessity.”“Come and help me through with it, Mr Shelton,” pleaded Mrs Hoste piteously. “I shall never manage it alone.”Shelton was in a quandary. He knew Eanswyth fairly well, but he

affairs. He felt confused and relapsed into silence—puffing vigorously at his pipe.The silence was broken—broken in a startling manner. A terrified scream fell upon their ears—not very loud, but breathing unmistakable tones of mortal fear. Both men sprang to their feet.“Heavens!” cried the overseer. “That’s Mrs Carhayes—”But the other said not a word. In about a half a dozen steps he was through the sitting room and had gained the door which opened out of it. This was Eanswyth’s bedroom, whence the terrified cry had proceeded.“What is wrong, Eanswyth?” he cried, tapping at the door.It opened immediately. She stood there wrapped in a long loose dressing gown, the wealth of her splendid hair falling in masses. But her face was white as death, and the large eyes were dilated with such a pitiable expression of fear and distress, as he certainly had never beheld there.“What is it, my darling? What has frightened you so?” he said tenderly, moved to the core by this extraordinary manifestation of pitiable terror.She gave a quick flurried look over her shoulder. Then clutching his hands—and he noticed that hers were trembling and as cold as ice—she gasped:“Eustace—I have seen—him!”“Who—in Heaven’s name?”“Tom.”“Darling, you must have dreamt it. You have been allowing your thoughts to run too much on the subject and—”“No. It was no dream. I have not even been to bed yet,” sheinterrupted, speaking hurriedly. “I was sitting there, at the table, reading one of my little books. I just happened to look up and—O Eustace”—with a violent shudder—“I saw his face staring in at the window just as plainly as I can see you now.”Eustace followed her cowering glance. The window, black and uncurtained, looked out upon the veldt. There were shutters, but they were hardly ever closed. His first thought, having dismissed the nightmare theory, was that some loafer was hanging about, and seeing the lighted window had climbed up to look in. He said as much.“No. It was him,” she interrupted decisively. “There was no mistaking him. If it were the last word I breathed I should still say so. What does it mean? Oh, what does it mean?” she repeated in tones of the utmost distress.“Hush, hush, my dearest! Remember, Bentley will hear, and—”“There he is again!”The words broke forth in a shriek. Quickly Eustace glanced at the window. The squares of glass, black against the outer night, showed nothing in the shape of a human countenance. A large moth buzzed against them, and that was all.Her terror was so genuine, as with blanched face and starting eyes she glared upon the black glass, that ever so slight a thrill of superstitious dread shot through him in spite of himself.“Quick!” she gasped. “Quick! Go and look all round the house! I am not frightened to remain alone. Mr Bentley will stay with me. Go, quick!”The overseer, who had judiciously kept in the background, now came forward.“Certainly, Mrs Carhayes. Better come into this room and sit down for a bit. Why, you must have been mistaken,” he went on, cheerily placing a chair at the sitting room fire, and kicking up the nearly dead logs. “Nobody could get up at your window. Why, its about fifteen feet

Qin Junjie and Kan Qingzi's spy drama

from the ground and there’s nothing lying about for them to step on. Not even a monkey could climb up there—though—wait. I did hear once of a case where a baboon, a wild one out of the veldt, climbed up on to the roof of a house and swung himself right into a room. I don’t say I believe it, though. It’s a little too much of a Dutchman’s yarn to be readily swallowed.”Thus the good-natured fellow rambled on, intent on cheering her up and diverting her thoughts. The rooms occupied by himself and his family were at the other end of the house and opened outside on the stoep, hence the sound of her terrified shriek had not reached them.Eustace, on investigation intent, had slipped round the outside of the house with the stealth and rapidity of a savage. But, as he had expected, there was no sign of the presence of any living thing. He put his ear to the ground and listened long and intently. Not a sound. No stealthy footfall broke the silence of the night.But as he crouched there in the darkness, with every nerve, every faculty at the highest tension, a horrible thought came upon him. What if Carhayes had really escaped—was really alive? Why should he not avow himself openly—why come prowling around like a midnight assassin? And then the answer suggested itself. Might it not be that his mind, unhinged by the experiences of his captivity, was filled with the one idea —to exact a deadly vengeance upon the wife who had so soon forgotten him? Such things had been, and to this man, watching there in the darkness, the idea was horrible enough.Stay! There was one way of placing the matter beyond all doubt. He remembered that the soil beneath Eanswyth’s window was loose dust—a trifle scratched about by the fowls, but would give forth the print of a human foot with almost the distinctness of snow.Quickly he moved to the spot. Striking a wax vesta, and then another, he peered eagerly at the ground. The atmosphere was quite still, and the matches flamed like a torch. His heart beat and his pulses quickened as he carefully examined the ground—then a feeling of intense relief came upon him. There was no sign of a human footprint.No living thing could have stood under that window, much less climbed up to it, without leaving its traces. There were no traces; ergo, no living thing had been there, and he did not believe in ghosts. The whole affair had been a hallucination on the part of Eanswyth. This was bad, in that it seemed to point to a weak state of health or an overloaded mind. But it was nothing like so bad as the awful misfortune involved by the reality would have been—at any rate, to him.He did not believe in ghosts, but the idea crossed his mind that so far as from allaying Eanswyth’s fears, the utter impossibility of any living being having approached her window without leaving spoor in the sandy, impressionable soil, would have rather the opposite tendency. Once the idea got firmly rooted in her mind that the dead had appeared to her there was no foreseeing the limits of the gravity of the results. And she had been rather depressed of late. Very anxiously he re-entered the house to report the utter futility of his search.“At all events we’ll soon make it impossible for you to get another schrek in the same way, Mrs Carhayes,” said the overseer cheerily. “We’ll fasten the shutters up.”It was long before the distressed, scared look faded from her eyes. “Eustace,” she said—Bentley having judiciously left them together for a while—“When you were—when I thought you dead—I wearied Heaven with prayers to allow me one glimpse of you again. I had no fear then, but now—O God! it is his spirit that I have seen.”He tried to soothe her, to reassure her, and in a measure succeeded. At last, to the surprise of himself and the overseer, she seemed to shake off her terror as suddenly as it had assailed her. She was very foolish, she declared. She would go to bed now, and not keep them up all night in that selfish manner. And she actually did—refusing all offers on the part of Eustace or the overseer to remain in the sitting room in order to be within call, or to patrol around the house for the rest of the night.“No,” she said, “I am ashamed of myself already. The shutters are fastened up and I shall keep plenty of light burning. I feel quite safe now.”It was late next morning when Eanswyth appeared. Thoroughly refreshed by a long, sound sleep, she had quite forgotten her fears. Only as darkness drew on again a restless uneasiness came over her, but again she seemed to throw it off with an effort. She seemed to have the faculty of pulling herself together by an effort of will—even as she had done that night beside the broken-down buggy, while listening for the approaching footsteps of their savage enemies in the darkness. To Eustace’s relief, however, nothing occurred to revive her uneasiness.But he himself, in his turn, was destined to receive a rude shock.Chapter Forty.A Letter from Hoste.There was no postal delivery at Swaanepoel’s Hoek, nor was there any regular day for sending for the mails. If anybody was driving or riding into Somerset East on business or pleasure, they would call at the post office and bring out whatever there was; or, if anything of greater or less importance was expected, a native servant would be despatched with a note to the postmaster.Bentley had just returned from the township, bringing with him a batch of letters. Several fell to Eustace’s share, all, more or less, of a business nature. All, save one—and before he opened this he recognised Hoste’s handwriting:My Dear Milne (it began): This is going to be an important communication. So, before you go any further, you had better get into some sequestered corner by yourself to read it, for it’s going to knock you out of time some, or I’m a Dutchman.“That’s a shrewd idea on the part of Hoste putting in that caution,” he said to himself. “I should never have credited the chap with so much gumption.”He was alone in the shearing-house when the overseer had handed

Qin Junjie and Kan Qingzi's spy drama

him his letters. His coat was off, and he was doing one or two odd carpentering jobs. The time was about midday. Nobody was likely to interrupt him here.Something has come to my knowledge (went on the letter) which you, of all men, ought to be the one to investigate. To come to the point, there is some reason to suppose that poor Tom Carhayes may still be alive.You remember that Kafir on whose behalf you interfered when Jackson and a lot of fellows were giving him beans? He is my informant. He began by inquiring for you, and when I told him you were far away, and not likely to be up here again, he seemed disappointed, and said he wanted to do you a good turn for standing his friend on that occasion. He said he now knew who you were, and thought he could tell you something you would like to know.Well, I told him he had better unburden himself to me, and if his information seemed likely to be of use, he might depend upon me passing it on to you. This, at first, he didn’t seem to see—you know what a suspicious dog our black brother habitually is—and took himself off. But the secret seemed to weigh upon him, for, in a day or two, he turned up again, and then, in the course of a good deal of “dark talking,” he gave me to understand that Tom Carhayes was still alive; and, in fact, he knew where he was.Milne, you may just bet your boots I felt knocked all out of time. I hadn’t the least suspicion what the fellow was driving at, at first. Thought he was going to let out that he knew where old Kreli was hiding, or Hlangani, perhaps. So, you see, you must come up here at once, and look into the matter. I’ve arranged to send word to Xalasa —that’s the fellow’s name—to meet us at Anta’s Kloof directly you arrive.Don’t lose any time. Start the moment you get this. Of course I’ve kept the thing as dark as pitch; but there’s no knowing when an affair of this kind may not leak out and get into all the papers.Kind regards to Mrs Carhayes—and keep this from her at present.Yours ever, Percy F. Hoste.Carefully Eustace read through every word of this communication; then, beginning again, he read it through a second time.“This requires some thinking out,” he said to himself. Then taking up the letter he went out in search of some retired spot where it would be absolutely impossible that he should be interrupted.Wandering mechanically he found himself on the very spot where they had investigated the silver box together. That would do. No one would think of looking for him there.He took out the letter and again studied every word of it carefully. There was no getting behind its contents: they were too plain in their fatal simplicity. And there was an inherent probability about the potentiality hinted at. He would certainly start at once to investigate the affair. Better to know the worst at any rate. And then how heartily he cursed the Kafir’s obtrusive gratitude, wishing a thousand-fold that he had left that sable bird of ill-omen at the mercy of his chastisers. However, if there was any truth in the story, it was bound to have come to light sooner or later in any case—perhaps better now, before the mischief wrought was irreparable. But if it should turn out to be true—what then? Good-bye to this beautiful and idyllic dream in which they two had been living during all these months past. Good-bye to a life’s happiness: to the bright golden vista they had been gazing into together. Why had he not closed with Hlangani’s hideous proposal long ago? Was it too late even now?The man suffered agonies as he sat there, realising his shattered hopes—the fair and priceless structure of his life’s happiness levelled to the earth like a house of cards. Like Lucifer fallen from Paradise he felt ready for anything.

Qin Junjie and Kan Qingzi's spy drama

Great was Eanswyth’s consternation and astonishment when he

announced the necessity of making a start that afternoon.“The time will soon pass,” he said. “It is a horrible nuisance, darling, but there is no help for it. The thing is too important. The fact is, something has come to light—something which may settle that delayed administration business at once.”It might, indeed, but in a way very different to that which he intended to convey. But she was satisfied.“Do not remain away from me a moment longer than you can help, Eustace, my life!” she had whispered to him during the last farewell, she having walked a few hundred yards with him in order to see the last of him. “Remember, I shall only exist—not live—during these next few days. This is the first time you have been away from me since—since that awful time.”Then had come the sweet, clinging, agonising tenderness of parting. Eanswyth, having watched him out of sight, returned slowly to the house, while he, starting upon his strange venture, was thinking in the bitterness of his soul how—when—they would meet again. His heart was heavy with a sense of coming evil, and as he rode along his thoughts would recur again and again to the apparition which had so terrified Eanswyth a few nights ago. Was it the product of a hallucination on her part after all, or was it the manifestation of some strange and dual phase of Nature, warning of the ill that was to come? He felt almost inclined to admit the latter.Chapter Forty One.Xalasa’s Revelation.“You ought to consider yourself uncommonly fortunate, Milne,” said Hoste, as the two men drew near Anta’s Kloof. “You are the only one of the lot of us not burnt out.”“That’s a good deal thanks to Josane,” replied Eustace, as the houseback to him vividly the witch-doctress’s words, “They who look upon ‘The Home of the Serpents’ are seen no more in life.” Well did he understand them now.“The man whom you seek,” was the grave reply. “He whom the people call Umlilwane.”An ejaculation of horror again greeted the Kafir’s words. This awful travesty, this wreck of humanity, that this should be Tom Carhayes! It was scarcely credible. What a fate! Better had he met his death, even amid torture, at the time they had supposed, than be spared for such an end as this.Then amid the deep silence and consternation of pity which this lugubrious and lamentable discovery evoked, there followed an intense, a burning desire for vengeance upon the perpetrators of this outrage; and this feeling found its first vent in words. Josane shook his head.“It might be done,” he muttered. “It might be done. Are you prepared to spend several days in here, Amakosi?”This was introducing a new feature into the affair—the fact being that each of the three white men was labouring under a consuming desire to find himself outside the horrible hole once more—again beneath the broad light of day. It was in very dubious tones, therefore, that Shelton solicited an explanation.“Even a maniac must eat and drink,” answered Josane. “Those who keep Umlilwane here do not wish him to die—”“You mean that some one comes here periodically to bring him food?”“Ewa.”“But it may not be the persons who put him here; only some one sent by them,” they objected.“This place is not known to all the Gcaléka nation,” said Josane.

“There are but two persons known to me who would dare to come within a distance of it. Those are Ngcenika, the witch-doctress, and Hlangani, who is half a witch-doctor himself.”“By lying in wait for them we might capture or shoot one or both of them when they come to bring the poor devil his food, eh, Josane?” said Shelton. “When are they likely to come?”“It may not be for days. But there is another side to that plan. What if they should have discovered that we are in here and decide to lie in wait for us?”“Oh, by Jove! That certainly is a reverse side to the medal,” cried Hoste, with a long whistle of dismay. And indeed the idea of two such formidable enemies as the redoubted Gcaléka warrior and the ferocious witch-doctress lurking in such wise as to hold them entirely at their mercy was not a pleasant one. There was hardly a yard of the way where one determined adversary, cunningly ambushed, would not hold their lives in his hand. No. Any scheme for exacting reprisals had better keep until they were once more in the light of day. The sooner they rescued their unfortunate friend and got quit of the place the better.And even here they had their work fully cut out for them. How were they to get at the wretched maniac? The idea of descending into that horrible pit was not an alluring one; and, apart from this, what sort of reception would they meet with from its occupant? That the latter regarded them in anything but a friendly light was manifest. How, then, were they ever to convey to the unfortunate creature that their object was the reverse of hostile? Tom Carhayes was well-known to be a man of great physical power. Tom Carr hayes—a gibbering, mouthing lunatic—a furious demoniac—no wonder they shrank from approaching him.“Silence! Darken the light!”The words, quick, low, peremptory—proceeded from Josane. In an instant Eustace obeyed. The slide of the lantern was turned.“I listen—I hear,” went on the Kafir in the same quick whisper. “Thereare steps approaching.”Every ear was strained to the uttermost. Standing in the pitchy blackness and on the brink of that awful pit, no one dared move so much as a foot.And now a faint and far-away sound came floating through the darkness; a strange sound, as of the soft bass of voices from the distant spirit-world wailing weirdly along the ghostly walls of the tunnel. It seemed, too, that ever so faint a light was melting the gloom in the distance. The effect was indescribable in its awesomeness. The listeners held their very breath.“Up here,” whispered Josane, referring to the shaft already mentioned. “No! show no light—not a glimmer. Hold on to each other’s shoulder—you, Ixeshane, hold on to mine—Quick—Hamba-ké.” (Go on.)This precaution, dictated by the double motive of keeping together in the darkness, and also to avoid any one of the party accidentally falling into the pit—being observed, the Kafir led the way some little distance within the shaft.“Heavens!” whispered Hoste. “What about the snakes? Supposing we tread on one?”In the excitement of the moment this consideration had been quite overlooked. Now it struck dismay into the minds of the three white men. To walk along in pitch darkness in a narrow tunnel which you know to be infested with deadly serpents, with more than an even chance of treading upon one of the noisome reptiles at every step, is a position which assuredly needs a powerful deal of excitement to carry it through.“Au! Flash one beam of light in front, Ixeshane,” whispered the guide. “Not behind—for your life, not behind!”Eustace complied, carefully shading the sides of the light with the flaps of his coat. It revealed that the cave here widened slightly, but made a curve. It further revealed no sign of the most dreaded enemy of the

human race.Here, then, it was decided to lie in wait. The lights carried by those approaching would hardly reach them here, and they could lurk almost concealed, sheltered by the formation of the tunnel.The flash from Eustace’s lantern had been but momentary. And now, as they crouched in the inky gloom, the sense of expectation became painful in its intensity. Nearer and nearer floated the wailing chant, and soon the lurking listeners were able to recognise it as identical with the wild, heathenish rune intoned by their guide—the weird, mysterious invocation of the Serpent.“Harm us not, O Snake of snakes! Do us no hurtO Inyeka ’Nkúlu!”The sonorous, open vowels rolled forth in long-drawn cadence, chanted by two voices—both blending in wonderful harmony. Then a cloud of nebulous light filled up the entrance to their present hiding place, hovering above the fearful hell-pit where the maniac was imprisoned, throwing the brink into distinct relief.The watchers held their very breath. The song had ceased. Suddenly there was a flash of light in their eyes, as from a lantern.Two dark figures were standing on the brink of the hole. Each carried a lantern, one of those strong, tin-rimmed concerns used by transport-riders for hanging in their waggon-tents. There was no lack of light now.“Ho, Umlilwane!” cried a deep, bass voice, which rumbled in hoarse echoes beneath the domed roof, while the speaker held his lantern out over the pit. “Ho, Umlilwane! It is the dog’s feeding time again. We have brought the dog his bones. Ho, ho!”The wretched maniac who, until now, had kept silence, here broke forth again into his diabolical howls. By the sound the watchers could tellthat he was exhausting himself in a series of bull-dog springs similar to those prompted by his frenzy on first discovering themselves. At each of these futile outbursts the two mocking fiends shouted and roared with laughter. But they little knew how near they were laughing for the last time. Three rifles were covering them at a distance of fifty yards—three rifles in the hands of men who were dead shots, and whose hearts were bursting with silent fury. Josane, seeing this, took occasion to whisper under cover of the lunatic’s frenzied howls:“The time is not yet. The witch-doctress is for me—for me. I will lure her in here, and when I give the word—but not before—shoot Hlangani. The witch-doctress is for me.”The identity of the two figures was distinct in the light. The hideous sorceress, though reft of most of the horrid accessories and adornments of her order, yet looked cruel and repulsive as a very fiend—fitting figure to harmonise with the Styx-like gloom of the scene. The huge form of the warrior loomed truly gigantic in the sickly lantern light. “Ho, Umlilwane, thou dog of dogs!” went on the latter. “Art thou growing tired of thy cool retreat? Are not the serpents good companions? Haul Thou wert a fool to part so readily with thy mind. After so many moons of converse with the serpents, thou shouldst have been a mighty soothsayer—a mighty diviner —by now. How long did it take thee to lose thy mind? But a single day? But a day and a night? That was quick! Ho, ho!” And the great taunting laugh was echoed by the shriller cackle of the female fiend.“Thou wert a mighty man with thy fists, a mighty man with thy gun, O Umlilwane!” went on the savage, his mocking tones now sinking to those of devilish hatred. “But now thou art no longer a man—no longer a man. Au! What were my words to thee? ‘Thou hadst better have cut off thy right hand before shedding the blood of Hlangani for it is better to lose a hand than one’s mind.’ What thinkest thou now of Hlangani’s revenge? Hi!”How plain now to one of the listeners were those sombre words, over whose meaning he had so anxiously pondered. This, then, was the fearful vengeance promised by the Gcaléka warrior. And for many months his wretched victim had lain here a raving maniac—had lain here