Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Shortly before the Englishman dies, he marries Tant’ Sannie, so that there will be someone to take care of his farm and his motherless daughter, Lyndall. Tant’ Sannie, a heavy, slow, and simple Boer woman, takes over the farm and the care of Lyndall and her cousin, Em. Most of the hard work is done by an old German, who lives with his young son in a small house nearby. The boy, Waldo, watches over the sheep and helps his father take charge of the black natives who do the heaviest work.
The farm lies in a dreary flat plain of red sand sparsely dotted with pale bushes. The sun always glitters in a blinding way on the zinc roofs of the buildings and on the stone walls of the enclosures for the animals. Life is monotonous and deadly. Tant’ Sannie sits in the farmhouse drinking coffee; the children play in a halfhearted way; young Waldo does his chores; and the German goes about seeing that things are as they should be.
Tant’ Sannie is asked by the Englishman to see that the two girls are educated, but she, believing only in the Bible, pays no attention to their demands for books. The two girls and Waldo find some old histories and study them when they can. Lyndall learns rapidly, for she is a quick, serious girl, fascinated especially by the story of Napoleon. Em is more quiet and reserved. Waldo is the strangest of the three. His father is deeply devout, with an innocent faith in the goodness of man and the mercy of God. He fills the...
(The entire section is 1479 words.)
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