Monday, June 27, 2011

Quote of the Day

The three girls were lying on a flat rock overhanging the river. The hot African sun warmed their backs, below them the clear waters of the Umlambonja rushed by, round them towered the great mountains of the Drakensberg, the Horns, the Bell, the Cathedral Peak and opposite them the Baboon Rock: well-named, for the girls had often seen an old baboon crouching in just such a way on the mountain slopes while the flightier members of his family played around him. There were no houses in this remote spot among the mountains, only the hotel hidden in a fold of the hills, and, up and down the valley, the  native kraals with their round thatched huts like old-fashioned bee-hives. The sky was a deep and cloudless blue, nothing disturbed the stillness and the peace except the noisy brawling of the stream below, and far across the valley, a native boy on a Basuto pony was threading his way up a tiny mountain path.
Things were not quite so peaceful with the girls, who had other things on their minds besides the beauty of the mountains. They stared moodily at their sister Elizabeth, who was sun-bathing on the other side of the river, and at the young man who was sitting hunched beside her, his hands round his ankles, his chin on his knees. He was staring moodily at Elizabeth too. Sisters! Jennifer thought. The young ones aren't so bad, she thought, glancing at Jill and Tina, because mostly they do what they're told - eventually. But the ones old enough to get married give you nothing but trouble. "We'll have to prod her on," she said aloud.
"I should think so,"said Jill. "She could have been married twenty times over by now. I could have been a bridesmaid ages ago."

From THE MATCHMAKERS, Jane Shaw's only short story set in South Africa, published in 1959.