The Story of an African Farm

by Olive Schreiner

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Part 1: Chapter 2 Summary

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The year is 1862, and the homestead is plagued by drought. Em and Lyndall are sitting on a rock, holding bits of vegetation, and Lyndall dreams about wearing real diamonds one day. The girls discuss marriage and education, and Lyndall insists that she will make Tant’ Sannie send her to school and be rich and have beautiful things when she grows up. Em does not want to go, but Lyndall reminds her that when she turns seventeen, she will own the farm.

Waldo and his dog, Doss, approach the girls, and the boy gives Lyndall some blades of grass and a compliment. Waldo also brings news that a stranger has come, an Englishman by the name of Bonaparte Blenkins. The man’s name leads to a discussion of Napoleon Bonaparte, whom Lyndall admires for his perseverance and intelligence. The children discuss books and how they do not tell everything, especially what people really want to know. Lyndall insists that she knows what Napoleon was thinking and feeling anyway.

Waldo reflects on what the land around them would tell them if it could speak. He wants to know how it developed, and he tells the girls that sometimes the stones talk to him and tell him about the Bushmen that painted the ancient pictures long before the Boers came and shot them all.

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