The Angels Weep, стр. 182

"I didn't really think you would, "Craig admitted." "Comrade Minister," Janine spoke for the first time, "I asked for this appointment because I believe that there are special circumstances in this case. Mr. Mellow has been crippled for life, and his only possession is this vessel." "Doctor Carpenter, he is fortunate. The forests and wilderness of this land are thickly sown with the unmarked graves of young men and women who gave more than Mr. Mellow for freedom.

You should have a better reason than that." "I think I have," Janine said softly. "Comrade Minister, you and I have met before."

"Your face is familiar to me," Tungata agreed. "But I do not recall.-" "It was at night, in the forest beside the wreckage of an aircraft-" She saw the flare of recognition in those brooding smoky eyes. They seemed to bore into her very soul. Terror came at her again in suffocating overwhelming waves, she felt the earth sway giddily under her feet, and his face filled all her vision. It took all that remained of her strength and courage to speak again.

"You won a land, but in doing so, have you lost for ever your humanity?" She saw the shift in that dark hypnotic gaze, the almost imperceptible softening of his mouth. Then Tungata Zebiwe looked down at his own powerful hands on the white blotter before him.

"You are a persuasive advocate, Doctor Carpenter," he said quietly. He picked up the gold pen from the desk set and wrote briefly on the monogrammed pad. He tore off the sheet and stood up. He came around the desk and towards Janine.

"In war there are atrocities committed even by decent men," he said quietly. "War makes monsters of us all. I thank you for reminding me of my own humanity." He handed her the sheet of paper.

"Take that to the exchange control director," he told her. "You will have your permit." "Thank you, Sam." Craig looked up at him, and Tungata stooped over him and embraced him briefly but ardently. "Go in peace, old friend, he said, in Sindebele, and then straightened up.

"Get him out of here, Doctor Carpenter, before he unmans me completely," Tungata Zebiwe ordered harshly, and strode to the wide sash-windows.

He stared out across the green lawns until he heard the double doors close behind him, then he sighed softly and went back to his desk.

"It's strange to think that that is the same view of Africa as Robyn and Zouga Ballantyne had in 1860 when they arrived in the slaving clipper Huron." Craig pointed back over the stern at the great massif of Table Mountain standing perpetual guard over the southernmost tip of a continent, wreathed in the silver clouds that spilled over her weathered brow of stark rock. Around the foot of the mountain, like a necklace around the throat, were strung the white buildings with their windows shining in the early sunlight like ten thousand beacon fires.

"This is where it all began, my family's great African adventure, and this is where it all ends." "It's an end," Janine agreed quietly.

"But it's also a new beginning." She was standing in the stern, with one hand on the back stay for balance.

She wore a thin tee-shirt and blue denim pants with the legs hacked off short, exposing her long brown legs. During the months of final fitting-out of the yacht, in the basin of the Royal Cape Yacht Club, she had put herself on a strict diet. no wine, no gin and no white food. Her waist had fined down, and the buttocks that peeked out from under the ragged bottoms of her pants were round and tight and hard once again.

She had cut her hair as short as a boy's and the salt sea air had made it curl tightly against her scalp. The sun had darkened her face and burned away the blemishes around the corners of her mouth and across her chin. Now she revolved slowly, taking in the wide horizon ahead of them. "It's so big, Craig,"she said, "aren't you scared?" "Scared as hell," he grinned up at her. "I am not certain whether our next landfall will be South America or India, but it's exciting also." "I'll make us a mug of cocoa," she said. "I hate this drying-out period."

"It's your own rule to have no liquor on board you'll have to wait until South America or India, or whatever." She ducked down into the saloon, but before she reached the galley the radio above the chart-table squawked.

"Zulu Romeo Foxtrot. This is Cape Town marine radio. Come in, please." "Jan, that's us. Take it," Craig yelled. "Someone at the yacht club saying goodbye, probably." "Cape Town marine radio, this is Zulu Romeo Foxtrot. Let's go to Channel 10." "Is that the yacht Bawu?"

The operator's voice was clear and undistorted, for they were still on line of sight to the antenna above the harbour.

"Affirmative. This is Bawu." "We have a radio-gram for you. Are you ready to copy?" "Go ahead, Cape Town." "Message reads. "For Craig Mellow regarding your typescript A Falcon Flies STOP we wish to publish and offer advance of $5,000 against 12V, per cent royalties on world rights STOP reply soonest congratulations from Pick chairman William Heinemann Publishers London."" "Craig," Janine shrieked from below.

"Did you hear? Did you hear that?" He could not answer her. His hands were frozen to the wheel and he was staring directly ahead over Bawu's bows as they rose and fell gently across the distant blue horizon of the Atlantic Ocean.

Two days out, the gale came out of the south-east without any warning. It laid Bawu over until solid T green water came in over the rail and swept Janine out of the cockpit. Only her safety-line saved her, and Craig struggled for ten minutes to get her back on board, while the yacht paid off madly before the wind and the jib sail burst with a crash like cannonshot.

The gale lasted five days and five nights, during which time there seemed to be no clear dividing line between mad wind and wild water.

They lived in a deafening cacophony Of sound as the gale played on Bawu's hull like a crazed violinist, and the Atlantic grey-beards marched down upon them in majestic succession. They lived with the cold in their bones, soaked to the skin, and with their hands white and wrinkled like those of a drowned man, and the soft skin torn by harsh nylon sheets and stiff unyielding sails. Once in a while they snatched a dry biscuit or a mouthful of cold congealed beans, and washed it down with plain water, then crawled back on deck again. They slept in turns for a few minutes at a time on top of the bundled wet sails that had been stuffed down the companionway into the saloon.