Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/192

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of Good Hope lay the country of the Kafirs, against whom the Boer settlers waged a war of extermination. All white men looked alike to these savage warriors, and it ill befell the ship that was cast away among them. There are scenes in the wreck of the Grosvenor, East Indiaman, lost on the Kafir coast in 1782, that are distinguished for haunting pathos and somber tragedy. It was a large ship's company, with a total number of one hundred and thirty-five men, women, and children, and no more than a dozen survivors succeeded in reaching the Dutch settlements after four months of terrible suffering.

All the rest were killed or died or were missing, and among those who vanished in the jungle were the captain and his party, with which were most of the women and children. There was no trace of these English women until a Colonel Gordon explored the country of the Kafir tribes in 1788, and there met a native who said that a white woman dwelt among his black people. "She had a child," related the informant, "which she frequently embraced, and wept bitterly."

Bad health compelled Colonel Gordon to return homeward, but he promised to reward the native if he would carry a letter to the white woman, and he accordingly wrote in French, Dutch, and English,