Ch. 4: The Premier

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applicants for work than they can use. It is one manager's cyn­ical belief that some of his most persistent repeaters are men who don't like too much of their wives' company and come to find refuge behind the fences. In any case, after a man has signed on two or three times running, and spent his period of nine months or whatever has been nominated in the bond that many times, the labor manager rather discourages another term. "I tell him to go home and visit his wife for a few months, and come back later if he wants to," he said. "I think they like the security of the life here. You get to know them pretty well after a while."
Finally we reached the house where the end produce of all this activity could be seen, in trays of diamonds undergoing sorting according to size and color. There were little pointes natives, big ones, in-between ones, yellow, amber, white, and blue—and, of course, a life-size model of the Cullinan, and again I thought sadly of what might happen to a stone that size, or anywhere near it, in the works of the Premier today. The fact is, though they consist of the hardest substance in the universe, diamonds are brittle and easily breakable if you hit them at just the right angle. This casts a lurid light on some of the stories of the early days of Kimberley, when one of the supposedly scientific tests of a doubtful stone was to give it a good swipe with a hammer. The diggers honestly believed that though quartz crystal would smash under this treatment, gen­uine diamond would not. Louis Cohen, who was Barney Bamato's first partner when they were both green boys, re­counted in his memoirs how on his first attempt at diamond buying he invested three of his very few pounds in a small
Ch. 4: The Premier Page of 303 Ch. 4: The Premier
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