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Allan and the Holy Flower by H. Rider (Henry Rider) Haggard
page 2 of 422 (00%)
orchids. Yet as it happens it was once my lot to take part in an
orchid hunt of so remarkable a character that I think its details
should not be lost. At least I will set them down, and if in the after
days anyone cares to publish them, well--he is at liberty to do so.

It was in the year--oh! never mind the year, it was a long while ago
when I was much younger, that I went on a hunting expedition to the
north of the Limpopo River which borders the Transvaal. My companion
was a gentleman of the name of Scroope, Charles Scroope. He had come
out to Durban from England in search of sport. At least, that was one
of his reasons. The other was a lady whom I will call Miss Margaret
Manners, though that was not her name.

It seems that these two were engaged to be married, and really
attached to each other. Unfortunately, however, they quarrelled
violently about another gentlemen with whom Miss Manners danced four
consecutive dances, including two that were promised to her fiancé at
a Hunt ball in Essex, where they all lived. Explanations, or rather
argument, followed. Mr. Scroope said that he would not tolerate such
conduct. Miss Manners replied that she would not be dictated to; she
was her own mistress and meant to remain so. Mr. Scroope exclaimed
that she might so far as he was concerned. She answered that she never
wished to see his face again. He declared with emphasis that she never
should and that he was going to Africa to shoot elephants.

What is more, he went, starting from his Essex home the next day
without leaving any address. As it transpired afterwards, long
afterwards, had he waited till the post came in he would have received
a letter that might have changed his plans. But they were high-
spirited young people, both of them, and played the fool after the
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