Allan and the Holy Flower

H. Rider Haggard
Allan and the Holy Flower

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Title: Allan and the Holy Flower
Author: H. Rider Haggard
Release Date: February, 2004 [EBook #5174] [Yes, we are more than

one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on May 29,
Edition: 10
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

First Published 1915.
Etext prepared by John Bickers, [email protected] and Dagny,
[email protected]



I do not suppose that anyone who knows the name of Allan Quatermain
would be likely to associate it with flowers, and especially with 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 fashion of
those in love.
Well, Charles Scroope turned up in Durban, which was but a poor place
then, and there we met in the bar of the Royal Hotel.
"If you want to kill big game," I heard some one say, who it was I
really forget, "there's the man to show you how to do it--Hunter
Quatermain; the best shot in Africa and one of the finest fellows, too."
I sat still, smoking my pipe and pretending to hear nothing. It is
awkward to listen to oneself being praised, and I was always a shy man.

Then after a whispered colloquy Mr. Scroope was brought forward and
introduced to me. I bowed as nicely as I could and ran my eye over him.
He was a tall young man with dark eyes and a rather romantic aspect
(that was due to his love affair), but I came to the conclusion that I
liked the cut of his jib. When he spoke, that conclusion was affirmed. I
always think there is a great deal in a voice;
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