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´╗┐Title: Yankee Girls in Zulu Land
Author: Vescelius-Sheldon, Louise
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Yankee Girls in Zulu Land" ***

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Yankee Girls in Zulu Land
By Louise Vescelius-Sheldon
Illustrations by G.E. Graves
Published by Worthington Co, New York.
This edition dated 1888.

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, by Louise Vescelius-Sheldon.

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________
YANKEE GIRLS IN ZULU LAND, BY LOUISE VESCELIUS-SHELDON.

CHAPTER ONE.

New York City, _November_, 18--.

My Dear Children:

Your Affectionate Mother.

P.S. George wants to know what has set you thinking of going to South
Africa, where there are only Zulus and missionaries.  Of course if the
physician orders it for Frank's health, you know what is best.

CHAPTER TWO.

Well, it had rained, and snowed, and "fogged" for six months during the
year we were in London, and we had seen the sun only on ten separate
days during that period.  The doctor ordered a change of climate for
Frank, to a land of heat and sunshine, and advised us to go to South
Africa, that land of "Zulus and missionaries."

The old strain ran through my head, "From Greenland's icy mountains,
From India's coral strands, Where Afric's sunny fountains," etc, and as
anything that suggested sunshine, even if it were in a diluted state,
was what we wanted, we considered that a health excursion to the
antipodes was worth a trial, if it wrought the desired effect.

There lived in the house with us an African lady who had recently come
"home" for a trip to see the wonders of a civilised world.  You must not
imagine that by African I mean a Zulu or a Kafir or Hottentot.  Oh,
dear, no!  The lady in question was as white as we, and very much more
fashionable.  She never tired of expatiating on the glories of her
country, its marvellous fertility, its thousands of miles of grasslands,
its myriads of birds of dazzling plumage and bewitching song, its flocks
of sheep, flocks so large that even their owners could only
approximately count their numbers, its mighty rivers, and above all, its
immense wealth in gold and diamonds.  Then the hospitality of the
farmers, the way in which they welcomed strangers and treated them to
the best of everything, was quite beyond the conception of any one who
had not visited this wonderful country.

These descriptions, tallying with the doctor's directions, decided us,
and having counted up our pounds, shillings, and pence, we made adieus,
packed our Saratogas, and took passage on board the mail steamer
_Trojan_, Captain Lamar, sailing from the London Docks.

We had left ourselves so very little time to make our final arrangements
that, as soon as the cab started, there commenced a running fire of
questions.

"Did you pack the gloves in the big box?"

"Did you put the thin dresses on top, for we shall want them in the
tropics," etc, when all of a sudden Louise sprang up with a gasp and a
shout:

"Stop the cab! stop the cab!"

"What for?"

"Stop the cab, I say!"

"She must be ill," we cried.  "Stop the cab!" and an unharmonious trio
immediately assailed the ears of the driver: "Stop the cab!"

The cab stopped.  "What's up anyhow?" inquired the London Jehu.

"I have left my diary on the dressing-table!"

------------------------------------------------------------------------

If any of you have kept a diary you will understand the dread horror
that overwhelmed us all at this awful announcement: one gasp, one moment
of terrible silence, and then--action.  "I must go back for it at once.
You go on.  I will take a hansom and gallop all the way.  If I miss the
boat, I will catch you at Dartmouth.  I would sooner die than have that
diary read!  Hi, driver!  Montague Place, Kensington!  A half-sovereign
if you drive as fast as you can."  Bang! slam! a rush! a roar! and
Louise is whirled away in the hansom cab, with the white-horse and the
dashing-looking driver, with a flower in his button-hole.  How the horse
flew!  What short cuts the driver took, darting across street-corners,
shaving lamp-posts and imperilling the lives of small boys and old women
selling apples, as only a London hansom-cab driver can!  Everybody turns
around as the white horse with the short tail, dragging the cab with its
pale-faced occupant, dashes down the street, through the squares, across
the park, round the crescent, where the policeman looks almost inclined
to stop it, until he sees the anxious look of the girl inside; up the
terrace, down two more streets, and finally, with a clatter, rattle,
bang, a plunge and a bump, horse, cab, and "fare" come to a standstill
at Montague Place.  The door is thrown open by the servant-girl.  "Have
you seen a red-covered book with a brass lock that I left on the
dressing-table in my room?"

"No, miss."

"Very well, where is Mrs--Oh! there you are!  Oh! please, have you seen
a brass book with a red lock, that I left on the--Why, there it is in
your hand!  Oh, thank you ever so much!  I know you were going to bring
it to me.  Good-bye!  I shall be just in time.

"London Docks!  Cabman, quick!  Catch the _Trojan_ before she leaves."
"All right, miss!"  A twist, a plunge, a flick with the whip, and the
bob-tailed nag is half-way down Oxford Street before the astonished
landlady can realise the fact that her chance of finding out all the
secrets of Miss Louise is gone forever.

Meanwhile Eva and Frank are anxiously awaiting her arrival on board the
ship: they have visited their state-room and seen their luggage
carefully stored away, and are now left with nothing to do but speculate
as to the result of Louise's expedition.  Presently the clanging of the
bell on the bridge gives warning that the warps are to be cast off,
there is a rush to the gangway of the weeping friends of the passengers,
and the hoarse cry passes along the quay: "Ease her off gently there!
Forward!  Stand by the cast-off!"  The two girls are almost in despair,
and have resigned themselves to the possible postponement of the
journey, for Louise's catching the boat at Dartmouth seems to them only
a bare possibility; when the people idling on the quay suddenly part
from side to side, and a hansom cab with the self-same short-tailed
"white" horse and knowing-looking driver dash triumphantly up the
gangway, already in course of being drawn from the ship, and deposit the
diary (for that seems to be for the moment of the most importance) and
Louise into the arms of the quartermaster.  Blessings on that London
hansom cab, its horse, and knowing driver.  They had nobly done their
duty and at 11:29, one minute before the ship casts off to drop down the
river, the three sisters with the recovered diary are safe on board the
steamer.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Moral: Don't keep a diary.

CHAPTER THREE.

Soon after nightfall the lights along the coast began to fade slowly out
of sight, at length entirely disappearing, and we were left in our
little world bounded by the bulwarks of the ship, with the ocean on all
sides, and the star-studded heaven above, sailing out into that "summer
voyage of the world," as it is called.  Certainly to us the recollection
of it is like a long, happy summer's dream, passed under the bluest of
skies by day, and the brightest of stars by night.  On the sixth day
after leaving Dartmouth (a long passage, we were told) we sighted the
beautiful Island of Madeira.  The weather had cleared, the air was
deliciously fresh and balmy, the sea calm; and every one on deck to view
the purple cloud slowly rising from the sea, which, they informed us,
was Madeira.

Gradually the cloud assumed shape, then deeper shadows appeared here and
there, till at last we could discern the graceful uplands, the mountain
island, and the fantastically formed rocks strewn along the coast, with
the sea breaking into foam on the picturesque beach.

For half an hour we skirted along the coast, seeing no other signs of
human habitation than an occasional hut among the boulders on the
cliffs, until, rounding a point, we came suddenly upon the beautiful
village of Funchal, which is built on the beach of a romantic bay, with
the verdant hills rising in grassy terraces in every direction.  Low,
white stone buildings peeped out from small forests, and the air was
soft and balmy as it gently fanned the cheek, giving one a delicious
sense of rest and warmth, only to be felt and appreciated on the borders
of the tropics after a cold, damp, cheerless English winter.  Scarcely
had we dropped anchor ere the deck of the ship was swarming with men and
women from the shore, offering for sale native work of every
description, wicker basket chairs, sofas, tables, inlaid work-boxes,
feather flowers, parrots, canaries, such lovely embroidery, and, what
was most acceptable to many of us, the varied fruits of the island.
Whilst feasting ourselves with bananas, mangoes, oranges, etc, we had an
opportunity of observing the strange jumble of humanity on our decks,
and surrounding the ship in row-boats of all sizes and shapes.  Scores
of half-nude, dark-skinned boys were in the boats chattering and
tempting passengers to throw coins into the water for them to dive
after, and the amount of dexterity they displayed in diving after a
sixpence, catching it before it had sunk apparently more than five or
six feet, sometimes bringing it up between their toes, was truly
remarkable.

On the deck everything was noise and confusion; the sailors at work
unloading cargo were hustling the swarthy half-breed Portuguese peddlers
out of their way, while they, with one eye on their customers and
another on their wares (for Mr Jack Tar is not at all particular about
throwing overboard anything that happens to be in his way), were
chattering away in a polyglot tongue half English and half Portuguese,
praising their own goods and deprecating their neighbours'.

They will take generally before they leave the ship less than one-half
what they ask for their goods when they first come aboard, and we
noticed that passengers who had been to Madeira before did not attempt
to make a bargain until the vessel was just about to start.  As we were
to remain at anchor five or six hours we wished to take a run on shore,
and, together with a married lady and her husband, chartered one of the
queer cheese-box-looking boats for the expedition.

All appears delightfully clear while in the distance: the convent on the
slope, and the green hill itself, form an agreeable background; but
ashore the prospect changed, and the streets turned out to be narrow and
dirty, with the exception of the principal boulevard, which runs up from
the beach toward the hill.

The queer-looking covered conveyances with runners like a sled and drawn
by two undersized oxen, not larger than calves, arrested our attention,
and we regretted our inability to take a jaunt in one up the hill to the
convent, which had been spoken of as the most interesting place on the
island, where the beautiful embroidery is made; but our time was
limited, and we could only make a hasty tour of a few narrow,
unhealthy-looking streets lined with trees of dense foliage, sip a glass
of Madeira wine, so bad in quality it nearly choked us, and then return
to our boats.

During the ramble we entered a large, ancient cathedral, that must have
been built ages ago, whose decorations were well worth more than the
hasty glance we gave it.  We passed on to some shops where we found
costly hand-made laces.  One lace shawl which we bought could be rolled
up in a ball in one hand without any injury to the fabric.  As we
hurried down to the beach we passed several invalids, lying in hammocks
swung on upright poles at head and feet and protected from the sun's
rays by awnings; these were carried by servants, and in this gentle
manner they enjoyed the air and saw the sights offered on the beach
without much fatigue.

What an English graveyard the Island of Madeira is!  It is sad to see
the feeble creatures there with the deluded idea that Madeira will give
health to their tired lungs.  It may in a few cases, as some plants will
flourish in the climate that will kill others; but no one can see the
purple cloud slowly settle over the island and envelop it at sunset, as
we did, and believe that in that damp atmosphere, that island home, the
consumptive can be cured of the deadly disease.  He must go farther
south and inland to that dry, sunny upland country, with its dewless
nights and hot, sunny days, where health and new life blood have filled
the veins of many who would have been along with the others in the
English graveyard of Madeira, if that had been their home.

Arrived on board, we found everything in readiness for departure, and,
having cleared the decks of the parrots and their owners, the anchor was
weighed, the decks washed of the debris caused by the peddlers, and with
the ship's head pointing south, we steamed away from Madeira.

CHAPTER FOUR.

Life at sea is necessarily monotonous, and our voyage, though most
enjoyable, did not differ from others in this respect.  There were the
usual athletic sports for the gentlemen, and occasional concerts in the
evening, when one or another of the amateurs would cause considerable
amusement by his nervousness.  One young gentleman, who had volunteered
to sing "After the Opera is Over," found himself when he started to sing
minus the words, the tune, or any idea of how to extricate himself.  He
sang "Aftah the op'ra is ov'ah!  Aftah the op'ra is done!  Aftah the
op'ra is ov'ah!  No--oh--confound it!--I sang that befo--ah!  Aftah the
op'ra is ov'ah!  After the op'ra is ov'ah--ah--is done.  Aftah the
op'ra--No--what is it?"  Then he softly hummed over to himself two or
three times, and then, "After the op'ra is ov'ah!  We swells--we
swells--of the--we swells of the op'ra is ov'ah!  Oh, doothe take it, I
must have a brandy and sodah.  Excuse me."  And he suddenly disappeared
in a deck cabin immediately behind the piano, but as he was serenaded so
frequently afterward by those who were anxious he should learn the air,
there is very little doubt that he will ever forget it.  The nights were
very oppressive when crossing the equator, and the gentlemen would take
up their rugs and sleep so pleasantly on deck, whilst the female
passengers would pass sleepless, hot nights below in the close
state-room.  But one bright night one of the heavy showers which come
and go so suddenly in the tropics, without a note of warning, came
sweeping down and inundated the sleepers, who came clattering and
chattering, wet through, down the saloon stairs at three o'clock in the
morning, calling to the stewards for creature comforts and dry blankets
and disturbing every one of the passengers who had managed to defy the
stifling closeness of the state-rooms and get to sleep.

There were a number of young men in the second-class saloon who were
going out to the diamond and gold fields to seek their fortunes.  These
were continually bothering the merchants and diggers who had been out
before for any particulars of the country they could give them.  One of
these latter gentlemen, talking about their eager inquiries one day at
table, told an amusing story of a previous voyage he had made, which is
good enough to bear repeating.  He said he was on his way out two or
three years before, when the diamond fields had only recently been
opened up, and the ship was full of eager adventurers going out to seek
their fortunes on the fields.  Among the passengers in the saloon was a
wealthy digger who had been home on a business trip, and who, having a
strong appreciation of the ridiculous, was continually amusing himself
by giving the most grotesque accounts of the life on the fields, and the
many ways in which fortunes had been found or made.

It chanced that the ship was short of hands, and the captain and chief
engineer were in great straits to get the coal properly "trimmed," or
broken up for the furnaces, the few available stokers being in constant
requisition at the fires.  One day our facetious friend proposed to lay
a friendly wager with the captain that he would, before the next day was
out, have half the passengers in the fore cabin volunteering to break up
coal.

He strolled down into the engine room that afternoon, taking care to
choose a time when a number of the embryo diggers were loitering about,
and carelessly taking up a piece of coal he suddenly started and said:
"Good gracious, engineer, where did this coal come from?"  The engineer,
who was in the plot, said: "Some we brought from Cape Town to last for
return trip."  "I thought so.  Why this is the very same coal in which
the diamonds are always found on the fields."

"No!" said the engineer.  "Yes," repeated our friend, "and I will give
you a sovereign to let me overhaul the next lot of coal you get out of
the bumpers."

"Oh, for the matter of that," said the engineer, "you are welcome to go
over the whole lot; it is all in great lumps and isn't trimmed yet."

"All right, lend me a coal hammer," and into the bunker stepped our
joker, followed by the interested gaze of a score of the emigrants.  In
less than a quarter of an hour he emerged with five or six rough
diamonds in his hand.  "Well, boys," said he, "that isn't bad work for
the time, is it?  Now, I don't care to go working about in a ship's coal
bunkers.  Besides, I don't care for the stuff.  That coal wants breaking
up; go and get permission of the captain to let you do it, and I'll
wager half of you will be rich before you arrive at Cape Town."

No sooner said than done.  Permission was granted, and, in less time
than it takes to tell it, fifteen or twenty of the diamond seekers were
hard at work banging at the coal, and straining their eyes in vain for
the diamonds which seemed so easy to find.  But their quest was
fruitless, and the joker kept them at it by telling them they did not
break the coal properly, that it had to be broken across the grain, and
so on.  Every bit of coal the ship required for her voyage was soon
beautifully trimmed for the fires, and no diamonds found.

CHAPTER FIVE.

The voyage from Madeira to the Cape was simply delightful.  A fortnight,
during which we had crossed the equator through the heat of the tropics,
had elapsed, when we found ourselves one morning at dawn of day
approaching the rocky and precipitous shores of the Island of Saint
Helena.  It had a most rugged appearance, which was heightened by its
lonely position, the island rising almost perpendicularly on all sides,
in some places of to the height of one thousand to twelve hundred feet.
Our steamer was to remain several hours, and many of the passengers took
advantage of the delay to go ashore and see the spot made so famous as
the scene of exile of Napoleon.  The entrance to the island is guarded
by natural walls of stone towering above the steamer, and looking so
stern and cruel.  A feeling of desolation was on us as we walked up the
one narrow, deserted street, with its filthy, repulsive-looking
inhabitants of dusky-coloured men and women.  This spot was once all
life and glitter with the pride of the British Navy, when Saint Helena
was the port for the finest of British vessels to harbour in, on their
way to India by the Cape but all that glory belongs now to history.
What a terrible sense of desolation must have filled that great man's
heart in his rock-bound prison, where escape was impossible; his jail
possessed but one gateway, and that led into the boundless ocean.

We chartered some cadaverous frameworks which some dirty little boys
assured us were horses.  Getting into a clattering vehicle, we were
taken to Longwood, for six years the home of the weary exile.  'Tis a
long, low building, very prettily situated at the head of a lovely
valley in the centre of the island.

His tomb lies lower down the glen.  As we stood there, we could not but
think of the other tomb in Paris, with its gilded dome, vying with the
surrounding pinnacles to reach high heaven.  I remember one sunny day in
Paris entering this temple; the sun was streaming through the yellow
stained-glass windows upon the marble pillars in the rear of the
building, making them appear like columns of gold; everything seemed to
be praising the life of their great hero.

Quite different, this, his resting-place.  On this misty morning at
Saint Helena, as I stood in the grand silence beside this simple tomb,
which seemed to tell the story of this weary-hearted man, I felt that no
one could doubt, after visiting this spot, that Napoleon believed in a
Higher Ruler, a Superior Being; otherwise his own hand would have cut
short his dreary existence.

This visit of a few hours' duration was sufficient to cast a gloom over
us.  So, picking a few leaves from the grave, we came down to the shore
again, and the dear old ship seemed like a kind heart waiting to receive
us, and cheer away our loneliness.

We still had an hour to spare, and several of our party decided to
ascend "Jacob's ladder," by which name is known a long flight of steps
reaching from the beach to the heights, said to be the longest stairway
in the world.  The barracks are built on the cliff, and an English
garrison is stationed there.  We climbed these hundreds of steps and
walked on to the parade ground, where the men were drilling; as soon as
the officer in command spied us he seemed to lose his presence of mind,
and the end man in the line turned one eye over his shoulder to see what
was the matter, so did the next man; in time it was a funny sight to see
the body of the whole line of men in position, but all heads turned to
see the visitors.  The sentry stationed there welcomed us with an
expression of delight.  Poor fellow! he said that they had received no
mail for sixty days, the steamers calling at the island only at long
intervals.  When asked if it was not a dreary life, he shook his head
and looked out to sea with moistened eyes, more eloquent than any words
in expressing the monotony of the existence.

I have heard of a man who, wanting to see the world, enlisted in an
English regiment, and was stationed on the island of Saint Helena for
fourteen years.

As we were leaving the island one of the little nondescripts came
laughing past, and in the most workmanlike manner picked my pocket of
its purse.  He was caught before he could get away, when he cried
bitterly, not so much, apparently, at being detected as for not being
allowed to keep his ill-gotten gains.

Here is a spot for one whose soul is yearning for untried missionary
fields.  The interior of the island is said to be beautiful, flowers and
foliage growing in great luxuriance.

Leaving Saint Helena, we sailed southeast in a straight course for Table
Bay; for two days after leaving the island, our table was decorated with
fresh tropical flowers and fruits in great variety.  We here felt the
influence of the heavy ground swell, which the sailors say is a
peculiarity of those latitudes, and has given rise to the burden of a
sailor's song, "Rolling Down to Saint Helena."

At sunrise of the twenty-eighth day after leaving London, having passed
through the "summer voyage of the world," we sighted the long,
flat-topped mountain which has given its name to the bay that lies at
its foot.

When we first sighted it, it appeared like a huge solitary rock standing
in the midst of the ocean, but as we gradually steamed up to the arms of
Table Bay, which opens to the north-west, the town nestling at the foot
of the mountain became visible, and as we brought up to allow the port
captain and health officer to come on board, the scene came more clearly
into view.  The mountains outlined clearly against the sky, the mauve
and golden-tinted clouds, the deep blue water of the bay, edged with a
white and curving shore of singular beauty, surmounted by bold, rocky
mountain ranges, combined to form one of the most striking views we had
ever seen.

We will never lose the impression of South African scenery received that
morning.  We had bidden farewell to the smoky fogs of London, and had
changed them for a country that was rich and brilliant, where the
atmosphere was surprisingly bright and clear, and the scenery bold,
spacious, and grand.

The long range of mountains which completely separates the Peninsula of
the Cape of Good Hope from the mainland, though at a distance of seventy
miles, stood out with a sharply defined outline in the morning air, the
ravines, water courses, and terraced heights appearing with almost
supernatural clearness.  The characteristic beauty of light, which
distinguishes South Africa, was seen in the full and even splendour with
which every object, near and remote, became visible.  Small boulders,
cavernous hollows in the rocks, patches of brush at the head of the
kloofs, at an elevation of two thousand feet, could be seen without
difficulty.  We gazed spellbound at the distant mountain, seemingly so
near that we could have seen a human figure were it climbing the
heights, or heard a human voice if it broke the silence of the kloofs.
And it was not until the revolving of the screw warned us that we were
to enter the docks that we awoke from the reverie into which the first
view of the country had thrown us.  Hastening below, we made
preparations for leaving the ship which had been our home for four
pleasant, all too fleeting weeks, and on emerging on deck we found the
vessel had already entered the well-built stone docks, and was then
being made fast to the quay.  Shaking hands with Captain Lamar and our
other friends on the ship whom we should meet later on in our journey up
the country, we told the Malay porter where to find our belongings
amongst the luggage of the two hundred passengers aboard, took one last
look at the good ship, walked down the gangway, and found ourselves
fairly on South African soil, ten thousand miles from the "Old Folks at
Home."

CHAPTER SIX.

One of the first things that attracted our attention on landing was the
motley appearance of the people on the quay.

There were the Europeans, some in black frock coat and pot hat--a
ridiculous costume for a hot climate--others more sensibly clad in white
linen suits and pith helmets.  But when we turned to the coloured people
who formed the larger proportion of the loiterers, we found ourselves at
a loss to say how many different nationalities they represented, and
certainly did not know which to pick out as the representatives of the
native African.

They were of all colours and all garbs, from the simple costume of rags
which distinguishes the Hottentot loafer to the gorgeous silk robes of
the Malay priest.  It was not till we had been in the colony some time
that we were able to distinguish from one another the Kafir and the
negro from the west coast and the Hottentot and the Malay.

Having passed our baggage through the custom-house at the entrance to
the dock, we took a cab, a regular London hansom with a Malay driver,
and drove along a white dusty road to the town, distant a mile from the
docks.  As is the case on going behind the scenes of a theatre, much of
the beauty that had impressed us from the sea disappeared when we came
to the town itself.  The houses, which had looked spotlessly white and
very pretty from the steamer, we found to be little, old-fashioned,
square, tumbledown edifices, evidently some of the original Dutch
homesteads.

Presently, however, we came to a handsome street of fine stores, and an
imposing railroad station, and, rounding the market square, a large
rectangular piece of open land in the middle of the town, drove up to
the Royal Hotel, where we were received by the proprietor and wife, who
were Germans, and made very comfortable.  As soon as we had rested, Eva
and I sallied forth to view the town.

Our first impression of Cape Town, with its sixty thousand inhabitants,
black and white, was that it was composed principally of old-fashioned
Dutch houses with individual steps, so that the pedestrian had the
choice of either dancing up and down the steps or walking in the middle
of the road.  We found that although the older houses preponderated,
there were several streets of handsome residences.  The streets were
actually dirtier than those of New York.

The principal business streets run parallel with each other from the sea
to the mountain, and are crossed at right angles by narrower streets.

On Adderley Street, which is the Broadway of Cape Town, are the elegant
Standard Bank Building, the Commercial Exchange and Reading-room, and,
at the further end, the large Dutch Reformed Church, which is the church
found in every town in Africa.  There are many other imposing buildings,
beautifully decorated and built with all the modern improvements
architecture can offer.  Adjoining Adderley Street is Saint George's
Street, with the towering Saint George's Cathedral rising at the end of
the street; here are to be found the Post-office, club-houses, banks,
and the leading newspaper office, the Cape _Times_.  Branching off of
these streets, the old-fashioned Dutch mansions of the early settlers
may be seen.

They are situated in the midst of beautiful grounds overrun with
tropical vines and flowers.  Near by are the charming modern English
villas and cottages.  But the most beautiful and admired suburban houses
are to be found at Rondebosch, Wynberg, and Constantia, on the east side
of Table Mountain, connected by railway with Cape Town; they lie at an
elevation from the town and are delightfully cool during the summer
months.  A drive through the groves of grand old pine and oak trees,
with a glimpse of mountain, precipice and sea, beautiful houses on
terraced heights, with vineyards beyond, is a delightful event; these
features make it a veritable paradise, not imagined by the English
traveller; instead of hot, dry, sandy Africa, we have here majestic
scenery, dense forests with a wild beauty of their own, and an
atmosphere so clear that every object is distinctly revealed.  There is
a quaint old castle down by the sea, originally erected by the Dutch,
who founded the town about 1650.  It is square and podgy, like the
pictures we have seen of its founders.  The Dutch built many forts along
the base of the mountain, possibly to keep off the wild beasts that used
to prowl about the back windows of His Excellency, the Governor; these
forts lie in ruins.

At the upper end of the town are the Public Gardens, a kind of half
park, half Botanical Gardens, and a very pleasant, shady, sleepy,
restful place it is, in which to spend an hour on a hot afternoon.
There is also a capital museum, full of curiosities, and a handsome
public library, containing over forty thousand volumes and all the
leading English periodicals of the day.

The House of Parliament is a fine building, and the legislators are
Dutch, English, Scotch, Irish, everything but American.  The Government
house is situated in the midst of beautiful grounds facing the Botanical
Gardens, and is a long, low building covering much ground.  We attended
an afternoon reception there.  The guests, after being presented to the
Governor and his wife, passed through the rooms into the large,
park-like grounds, where some of the musicians of a Highland regiment,
dressed in the Scotch dress, were playing on the bagpipes.  Some people
call it music; it may be music in the Highlands.

A second military band was stationed in another part of the grounds.
The gathering was a distinguished one; the ladies displayed great taste
in their toilets, making the scene appear quite like an English garden
party.  But the interest of the traveller is not in the pale-faced
colonist, but in the dusky, many-hued, coloured inhabitants.

The Malays, although originally coming from the Malay Peninsula in Asia,
are natives of Cape Town and have been there for several generations,
being the descendants of the former slaves of the Dutch East India
Company and its servants.  They seem to have retained all their national
characteristics and are as distinct from the Hottentot and the Kafirs as
is the white man.  They are peculiarly a feature of Cape Town, being
seldom met elsewhere in the country, except in small numbers at Port
Elizabeth; they have adopted Dutch, the language of the old colonists,
as their tongue, are generally strict Mohammedans and sober, clever
mechanics.  They are as noticeable in the town as on the quay.  The
picturesque, dusky-coloured Malay woman, with her really beautiful
features, her rich-coloured, full skirts hanging straight from the
waist, and containing from fifteen to eighteen yards of material, and
her bright red, yellow and variegated silk handkerchiefs tied around the
head and shoulders, looks like a gorgeous balloon sailing down the
street in the wind.  The balloon, however, is kept to earth by wooden
sandals, held to the foot by a wooden peg between the big and second
toes, which make a clattering noise as she walks along the street.

She is generally loaded down with gold and silver ornaments; her whole
person is scrupulously neat and clean.  The Malay women are the
washerwomen and upper servants of the household.

The men dress in blue cloth coat and trousers, coloured vests, a
bright-hued handkerchief around the neck, and a huge straw hat.  They
drive cabs, sell fruit and fish, and are waiters at hotel tables.  The
opinion they have of themselves is not to be crushed out by anything a
colonist may have to say to them, and it is best for the newcomer to let
them alone.

Then the Mohammedan grandee is interesting, with his finely chiselled
features and tall form robed in a long, coloured, embroidered silk and
satin gown of great value, whilst round his head, wound in graceful
folds, is a soft white scarf of the finest cambric.  The costume of the
coolie woman from India, who sells fruit, is a picture; it consists of
bright-hued handkerchiefs draped in the shape of a divided skirt on her
small figure, a low-necked, sleeveless waist, over which is thrown a
velvet low-necked, sleeveless jacket, cut short under the arms, trimmed
with golden braid and dangling ornaments.  Her small bare ankles are
ornamented with solid silver anklets; bangles are on her arms above the
elbow; there is a gold ring through the nose, and earrings around the
edges of the ears.  The rings adorn a dusky face, which has eyes that
reflect the warmth of the atmosphere and is crowned by a wealth of
jet-black hair, glossy as the raven's wing.  The whole makes a picture
for the painter's brush.

The holy woman who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca is seen with her head
and face covered, leaving only the eyes free to gaze upon the things of
the world.  These odd people, through their contrast to the quiet
Dutchman, make the town look as if in holiday attire.

CHAPTER SEVEN.

No matter in which direction one goes, the great Table Mountain, at the
foot of which Cape Town is built, makes its presence _felt_.  You cannot
look along a street without seeing it; it is the first object that meets
the gaze on rising and the last impression the drowsy brain relinquishes
at night.  It is a fine old mountain, rising sheer from the sea in an
almost perpendicular wall above the first slope on which the town is
built to a height of 3,852 feet.  Its summit is cut off perfectly
square, thus suggesting its name.  It is four miles long and is very
often crowned with a huge white cloud that slowly rises like a vapour
from the other side, and then gradually settles over the top of the
mountain, hanging like a tablecloth on it.

This always brings with it a storm of wind and sand or rain that can be
heard shrieking and tearing down the mountain-side, while the town lies
in sultry heat and silence.  This cloud is almost like a barometer to
the residents.  When asked if there will be a storm, the questioned one
will quietly look at Table Mountain and will tell you the strength of
the storm that may be coming by the size of the tablecloth on the
mountain.

It rises and falls like a veil of steam.  The moon clearly defining the
outline of the mountain with its vapour-covered summits on glorious
nights with the bluest of skies above, the wind thundering down its
sides, screaming and filling the ear with strange sounds, and the sea
rolling in and breaking at its base, make a grand scene.

Imagine the tremendous surface this almost vertical mountain-side
presents to the ocean, four miles long and three-quarters of a mile
high.  How the heart of an American manufacturer would sigh if he saw
it, to think of such a "stand" being unutilised for advertising
purposes!

The mountain is flanked on the north by a peculiarly formed hill, shaped
like a crouching lion, the lion's head, 2,100 feet high, which is
nearest the sea, being used for a signal station.  On the southwest
extremity is the Devil's Peak, an ugly-looking spiky-topped mountain,
with an elevation of 3,300 feet.  The sides of the lion's head and the
base of the mountain are covered thickly with the "silver-tree," only
found here and in Natal.  The leaves of this tree are three inches long
and one inch wide, and are like an exquisite piece of silver-coloured
satin, with a white, hairy surface.  Only a few short weeks had elapsed
since we left the cold, wintry shores of England, and here in December
the flowers were growing in abundance around us; for a very small outlay
we converted our room into a conservatory.

The number and diversity of the flowers, both wild and cultivated, that
thrive in the colony is unlimited, but alas! the perfume is so faint as
to be almost imperceptible.  We had huge bunches of roses of all shades,
vying in beauty with the very finest of their species to be found
anywhere, but almost entirely scentless.  The plants of South Africa are
of great beauty and fill the conservatories of Europe.  This
southwestern region is the home of the Cape flora.  Orchids innumerable
abound on the streams of Table Mountain and the Hottentot Holland
Mountain, thirty miles inland.  Some of the enthusiastic collectors we
had met in England would surely have been made happy by the privilege of
classifying them.  There are said to be 350 species of beautiful heather
in this region, at times making the whole mountain-side look like a
warm-hued carpet.  There are geraniums, asters of all sorts,
heliotropes, lobelias, and so many sorts and varieties of lovely twining
vines and beautiful ferns that I give up all hope of ever recording
one-half of them.

During the winter months of May, June, July, and August rain falls, and
from January to April it is very dry.  The climate is warm and moist to
an almost sub-tropical extent, owing to the currents of the Indian
Ocean, so that flowers are to be found the year round.  The lovely "Lily
of the Nile" is so common as to be designated by the less euphonious
name of "Pig Lily."

During a few days in the month of December the heat was intolerable, but
not more so than the summer heat of New York; and it did not last long.
It was a dry heat with generally a breeze stirring, and then the nights
were cool and lovely beyond description.  In the dryness of the climate
is to be found the reason of its giving such comfort to the invalid.
There is immunity from ague or bronchitis.  But the invalid suffering
from pulmonary disease must not think that Cape Town is going to cure
his tired lungs, but must hasten on up country, where the great
physician Nature receives him and restores him healed to his loved ones
at home.

There are three climates to choose from in Africa: the coast climate
with more or less moisture; a midland climate, cooler and drier; and a
mountain climate drier still, with a bracing atmosphere.

The hotel, although as good as any in the colony, would be considered a
very ordinary one in America.  The smells exhaled on all sides from the
blacks who wait on you and from the ditches over which you take your
constitutional walk, the sand, filled with fleas that make you
occasional visits unless grease and ointment are used freely on the
body, these are the chief annoyances offered the health-seeker; but the
colonist will tell you they are nothing as an offset to the "great and
glorious climate," and he is right.

Before the end of the first week we came to the conclusion that South
Africa was charming.  We were hasty in thus concluding, for, in truth,
the scenery in and around Cape Town gives the newcomer an impression of
the country which subsequent experiences of sandy plains and barren
hills fail to justify.  We were invited to visit the home of a wine
merchant, who owned the most extensive vineyards at Constantia, some
distance from town, reached partially by train.  From the train you go
then by carriage, through delightfully shady roads, to the cool,
rambling old house.

In the rear were the vaults, in which were many hogsheads full of wine
made from the grapes grown on the place.  The grapes of Constantia are
said by some enthusiastic visitors to be the finest in the world; they
are certainly most luscious, and the wine really delicious.  They grow
on low bushes about two and a half feet high and are similar to our
California grapes, though, if possible, even more palatable.

The manufacture of wine is the principal industry of the suburbs of Cape
Town.  Pontak and Cape Sherry, the native sweet wines are the favourite
beverages and within the reach of the purse of all classes.  In the
garden was a beautiful flowering vine, and as we stood admiring it Eva
spied what appeared to be a lizard on one of the tendrils; it was about
two and a half inches in length, with a long, flexible tail and funny
little bulging eyes which seemed to act independently of one another,
turning in any direction, up, down, in front or behind.  As we watched
it, it crawled on to a green leaf, and gradually began to assume the
same tint as the leaf itself; at last the little creature, from being of
a light brown hue, became almost invisible, so thoroughly had it assumed
the shade and tone of the surrounding foliage.  Suddenly it shot out a
long tongue, apparently longer than itself, and "snaked" (the word
expresses the action) a fly that had incautiously approached too near.
It was our first introduction to the chameleon, and we watched it with
wondering interest during the afternoon.

After remaining three weeks in Cape Town, we found that the changes of
temperature caused by the south-easters retarded Frank's recovery, and
we hastened our departure for the upland region.

CHAPTER EIGHT.

Pearls and diamonds are words that have a charm in themselves.  Not only
do they represent exceedingly beautiful things, but the words themselves
are pretty.  The diamond fields of South Africa, the "ninth wonder of
the world," lay within a few days' journey of us in the interior of the
country.

We left the Royal Hotel, with its attentive landlord and lady, one hot
morning late in December, and boarded the train that would take us up
into the country about three hundred miles, where the coach would
receive us and carry us on to Kimberley, the diamond fields.  The
railroad was well constructed, and passed over mountains with steep
grades, through wild scenery, one thousand feet above the level of the
sea.

As we neared "Beaufort" the scenery began to change gradually, and
before night the view from the car windows presented a scorched
desert-like prairie, with not a particle of vegetation except parched
little bushes resembling the sage brush of our Western plains.

The horizon was bounded on all sides by ranges of forbidding mountains,
which feature is one marked characteristic of African scenery generally,
there being no spot, we believe, in the country where mountains are not
seen on every side.  Our car was provided with a primitive contrivance
for sleeping, consisting of a kind of hammock which was stowed away
under the seat during the day and at night was adjusted into slots in
the wall of the car; drawing the blinds and shading the lamp at the top
of the car with its own little curtain, we laid ourselves down to sleep.
In the morning the same prospect met our view that we had bidden
good-night to the evening before, and the prospect continued the same
until we reached Beaufort.  About nine o'clock we stopped at a
way-station for breakfast; then on again all day we journeyed through
the same deserted country, which is called the "Karoo."  Nothing was
growing on it but the monotonous bush, and there was not a house in
sight; by midday our eyes ached from looking so long at the same
objects.  We might have been crossing the Great Sahara Desert.  At five
o'clock in the evening the train, which had kept up one tantalising
"dawdle" all day, began to slacken speed and blow the whistle, and we
almost hoped that we were about to have an accident or a break-down, or
anything, indeed, to break the dismal monotony.  But the locomotive only
slackened its speed to a crawl and puffed up with great importance to a
low shed with the word "Booking Office" painted over the door.  We found
we had arrived in Beaufort, which proved to be a pretty village with two
or three hotels.

From here our heavy baggage was sent on by ox-wagon, as sixty pounds is
allowed to each passenger on the coach, all over that amount costing
thirty-five cents a pound.

The next morning at five o'clock the coach which was to carry us to the
fields drew up to the door of the hotel.  It proved to be one of the
original coaches which had been used to cross our American Continent,
and had been pushed by the iron horse from our Western prairies and
imported by the enterprising Cobb and Co, well known both there and in
Australia.  It was found to be admirably adapted for the rough South
African roads.

Eight handsome horses were inspanned, and two Malay drivers, one to
handle the long whip, were seated on the box; our luggage was fastened
on behind with reins.  When the fifteen passengers, including ourselves,
were seated, with a wild eldritch shriek from the driver, a yell from
his assistant and a crack of his whip, which sounded like a rifle shot,
the Kafir boy who held the leaders sprang aside, the eight horses leaped
forward into the air, then tore away, plunging to this side and then the
other, shaving the corner with the hind wheel which made the crazy old
coach lurch like a ship in a gale, and broke into a wild gallop, soon
leaving Beaufort West far behind.

For some time after leaving the town our way lay over a long level plain
reaching on all sides far into the distance; the curtains were soon
lowered to keep us from being stifled by the penetrating, choking,
powdery sand.

The horses had started off as if fully determined to make Kimberley
before nightfall, but had now settled down into a good swinging trot,
jolting us from side to side, one moment banging our heads against the
sides of the coach, the next throwing us violently against our
neighbours, until attempts to get into a comfortable position were given
up as hopeless.  The journey up country was a gradual ascent, for the
interior of South Africa is a succession of elevated plateaus, rising
from the sea in terraces, marked by mountain chains, until the plateaus
culminate in the vast plains of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal,
which are some 6,000 feet above the sea.  In climbing a steep hill the
male passengers were often unceremoniously ordered out of the vehicle by
the half-caste driver and compelled to walk to the summit.

Our experience of farmhouse meals, which were taken _en route_, was
anything but agreeable, but it taught the lesson never to travel through
such a country again, no matter how short the journey, without carrying
a hamper, even if it cost a shilling a pound for extra luggage.

At one of these resting-places where we changed horses, we paid one
dollar for a cup of coffee and a sour sandwich.  At times there was
absolutely nothing to eat; then again a palatable dinner would be ready,
but on such dirty linen and served with gravy so full of flies that it
was impossible to eat it.

None of the other passengers seemed to have learned the lesson of
bringing hampers of food with them, although most of them had passed
over the same road many times.  With all the discomforts of travelling
the people of Africa are great travellers, two or three hundred miles by
coach or cart being considered no great journey.

Very little life or attempt at cultivation was to be seen on the road
Occasionally we came across a herd of cattle grazing, and the sheep
seemed to have learned to eat stones, so little of anything else was
there for them to feed upon.  The open country is universally designated
by the Dutch word "_Veldt_" translatable as "open field," which it is in
the best or the worst sense of the term.

At seven in the evening we arrived at a farmhouse, completely tired out
with the continual bumping and jolting we had been subjected to all day,
and felt strongly tempted to remain there for the next coach to pass
through, but finding we should have to remain a week, preferred to take
the jolting to remaining seven long, hot days in that spot.  At daybreak
next morning the loud banging at the door, and the notes of the driver's
bugle outside, warned us that the coach was ready to start; it seemed
that five minutes had not elapsed since we fell asleep, we were so
tired.

Climbing sleepily into the coach and yawning in chorus with our
fellow-passengers, the driver shouted "right," the boys let go the heads
of the leaders, and off we went to the shrill notes of the driver's horn
in the still, cold, morning air.  We slumbered uneasily for an hour
after our start, waking up with a painful start as some one's elbow
would insinuate itself into his neighbour's side, at any extra jolt of
the coach.  We really did not care if we never reached Kimberley,
provided the coach would only stop for two or three hours to let us
finish our sleep.  The sun came out and warmed up the flies that had
left us in the first half hours of our journey.  These completed what
the jolting had commenced and everybody was soon wide awake.  Late in
the day we stopped to change horses at a farmhouse, the owner of which
was a typical Dutch woman weighing three hundred pounds.  She sat in her
chair from morning until night, everything she needed being brought to
her; her daughter assisted her from her chair to her bed, which was the
only exercise she had all day.  She was not the sole representative of
her kind that we saw in the country.

The second night we were climbing into the upland region, where the
nights grew colder, requiring heavy, warm wraps, the stars shone like
fiery gems, and threw a white, weird light over the country, in which
not a sound could be heard but the rumble of our wheels and the cries of
our Jehus.  Frank bore the journey as well as any of the rest of us, and
her condition of health spoke volumes for the climate.

The third night the coach rumbled quickly over a pine bridge spanning
the Orange River, the river being about half a mile wide at this point;
when once across we were in Griqua Land West, the land of diamonds!--but
still one hundred miles away from Kimberley.

One more day and night on the road through very heavy sand, and we
reached the Medder or Mud River, a considerable stream with very deep
and precipitous bank's, down and through which we rumbled with much
difficulty, giving the wielder of the "whip" plenty of work to get us
over.  Toward the afternoon we began to see unmistakable signs of our
nearing a large settlement.

We passed some two hundred wagons with their long teams of labouring
oxen, while wayside stores became more plentiful and closer together.

At four o'clock we drove up to the Queen's Hotel, where we alighted,
tired and travel-stained, heartily glad to get to the end of our
journey.

CHAPTER NINE.

I can hardly hope to give any idea of our first impression of Kimberley.
The town consists entirely of stores and dwelling-houses, covered
sometimes with coarse canvas, but more generally with corrugated iron.
One cannot help being very much astonished when one considers that every
scrap of wood, canvas, and iron has been imported from England or
America, and brought six hundred miles in an ox-wagon through a country
little removed from a desert.

The "Queen's Hotel" was the resort of most of the better class of
diggers and diamond merchants in the camp.  A noisy crowd of
fine-looking men usually filled the long, low dining-room at meal-times,
a large number bearing the unmistakable stamp of the Jewish race, nearly
all of them being representatives of the diamond trade in London and on
the Continent.  On the evening of our arrival several acquaintances we
had made on board the steamer coming out to the Cape called on us, and
they seemed like the faces of old friends; through them we were made
acquainted with the Kimberleyites.

For the first few days we could do nothing but wonder at the
extraordinary energy and resource that men's brains can display when
incited thereto by the hope of wealth.  The town is unlike any other
place in the world, and looked at first sight as though it had been
built in a night, being more like a huge encampment than a town.  It is
usually spoken of by the residents as "the camp," and they use the
expression of going "up camp" or "down camp" just as we would say "up
town" or "down town."  The day after our arrival we paid a visit to the
mine, and were rewarded by a sight of the very biggest hole in the
world, covering between twenty-five and thirty acres, shaped like a huge
bowl, and over four hundred feet deep.

The first diamond in South Africa was found in 1867 by one of the
children of a Dutch farmer named Jacobs, who had it in his possession
for months, in perfect ignorance of its value, before the accidental
calling of a traveller, Mr Van Nierkirk.  Mr Van Nierkirk sent it at
once to an eminent geologist, Dr Atherstone, of Grahamstown, who
discovered the fact that indeed it was a diamond.

Natives and Europeans began to search, and the result was that several
other diamonds were very soon found, and the hopes of the Cape Colony,
which at that time was in a bankrupt condition, began to revive.

The first diamonds were found in the boulders and under the Vaal River,
so that it was not until 1872 that the diggings at Dutoitspar and
Kimberley attracted any attention.  But they very soon eclipsed the old
diggings, and the present town sprang up around the claim.  For some
time the claims were kept distinct from one another, but as they dug
lower and lower, it was found impossible to retain the roads separating
the claims, so the whole was thrown into one large mine.

The diamondiferous soil is quarried out below by Kafirs and deposited in
great iron buckets which run on standing wire ropes, and are hauled up
by steam to the receiving boxes on the brink of the mine.  Everywhere is
activity and bustle, and a loud hum comes up out of that vast hole from
three or four thousand human beings engaged at work below.

The men themselves look like so many flies as they dig away at the blue
soil, and the thousands of wire ropes extending from every claim to the
depositing boxes round the edge have the appearance of a huge spider's
web, while the buckets perpetually descending empty and ascending full
might well represent the giant spiders.

The mine having recently been worked by companies owning large blocks of
ground, there could still be traced the individual claims of the
original diggers, some carried down to a great depth and others left
standing like square turrets with the ground all dug away round them.

The effect is weird in the extreme, and it does not require any very
great stretch of fancy to imagine these isolated claims to be the
battlemented castles of the gnomes who inhabit the underground regions.
As we were gazing down the mine, the whistles from the engine-houses
began simultaneously to shriek out the signal that it was time for men
to cease working and come up from the mine for dinner.

The buckets ascended for the last time and stood still; the tiny ants at
work below threw down their picks and shovels and began to toil up the
sides of the hole.  Gradually they grew larger and larger till the ants
became moles, till the moles looked like rabbits, then larger till the
rabbits became boys, and finally emerged full-grown men.

They were principally Kafirs, with very little clothing beyond a cloth
round their loins; some sported old red military jackets, and the
appearance of their bare black legs beneath was comical in the extreme.
Every thirteen or fourteen Kafirs at work in the mine have a white
overseer, to prevent as much as possible that wholesale robbery which
goes on amongst them.

One would think they would find it rather hard to steal, and still more
difficult to conceal a diamond on their naked persons under the eye of
the overseer; but, despite all precautions, they do steal a vast number
of stones, picking them up and carrying them away in their mouths or
between their toes.

The largest diamonds are usually unearthed in the mines before the stuff
is washed, and an overseer must keep his eyes well open, for he cannot
be sure of the honesty of any one of his "boys."

CHAPTER TEN.

Diamonds are mostly found in a hard, bluish-green rock which has to be
blasted, the safest time for doing this being the noon or midnight hour.
The noise of it sounds like an enemy bombarding the camp.  We stood on
the edge of the mine and saw a solitary man down below, who looked as
big as a rabbit, light a fuse and then run from it for his life, when,
with a report like a thousand cannons, the earth rose two hundred feet
in the air and then fell to ground again, probably dropping a Koh-i-noor
on a neighbouring claim.

There are somewhat poorer and smaller mines at Dutortspan, Bulfontein,
and old de Boers, all comprised within a radius of three and a half
miles, and the cab-carts plying for hire in the streets have no lack of
custom in carrying people from mine to mine.

Most of the property in the mines is now owned by companies, individual
claim-holders finding that it paid them better to consolidate than
struggle with the immense working expenses of a single claim, surrounded
by blocks owned by wealthy companies.  When the companies first formed,
there was some wild speculation with the stock, and several fortunes
were made and lost in a few days by amateur stock speculators.  We were
invited to inspect the washing-ground of one of the large companies, and
very interesting we found it.  The blue ground is taken as it comes up
from the mine to a plot of ground rented for the purpose, called a
depositing floor, and, after being dumped down in heaps, is spread out
on the ground in large, coarse lumps, just as it leaves the pick and
shovel of the miner.  Water is then liberally poured over it and it is
left for two or three days to the action of the atmosphere; at the end
of that time it loses its rock-like appearance and shows itself to be a
conglomerate of pebbles, ironstone, and carbon.

It is then thrown against coarse sieves to separate the larger stones,
which are flung aside, and is afterward taken to the washing-machine.
This consists of a circular iron tub, rather shallow and some ten or
twelve feet in diameter, in which are fixed from the centre six or eight
rakes, with long teeth six inches apart, which are kept perpetually
revolving by a small steam-engine, or by a whim worked by horses or
mules.

Water is kept flowing into the tub through one opening, as the
diamondiferous soil is worked in through another.  The revolution of the
rakes causes a thorough disintegration of the stuff, the lighter portion
of which is forced over the upper edge, carried away by the engine, and
thrown on the refuse heap.  After sixty or eighty loads have been passed
through the machine, the rakes are lifted up and the contents of the box
carefully taken out.  It will be at once understood that only the
heaviest portions of the precious soil, and therefore the diamonds, if
there are any, have been left in the machine, the lighter parts having
been washed over the upper edge of the box.

When taken out, the residue, which consists of nothing but heavy
ironstone and carbon in a pure state and crystals of various hues, is
carefully sifted through sieves of different degrees of fineness,
sometimes placed one under the other in a cradle and thoroughly rocked.
Then, when every trace of foreign matter has been carefully removed, a
dextrous turn of the hand, as the sieve with its contents is held in a
tub of water, brings the diamonds, garnets, and the heavier lumps of
ironstone into a little heap in the very centre, so that when the sieve
is reversed on the common pine sorting-table they lie together.  The
white, alum-like appearance of the rough diamond contrasts strongly with
the rich-hued garnets, with which the surrounding blackness of carbon
and ironstone is studded.  It is only by practice that one is enabled to
tell at sight what _is_ a diamond; the sieve appeared to be full of
them, but we were told they were only crystals, which could easily be
detected from diamonds by taking one between the teeth; the diamond
resists their action, but the crystal crumbles away.  Thousands upon
thousands of garnets roost exquisite in colour are found in every
sieveful, but they are thrown aside contemptuously, being almost
valueless.

We were allowed the fascinating pleasure of sorting over a sieveful of
the pebbly-like residuum of the washing-box, and I can give no idea of
the feeling of excitement that came over us as we pored over the table,
each armed with a triangular piece of zinc for raking over the stones.

We found several diamonds, and felt like breaking the tenth commandment
as they were calmly pocketed by the manager of the "floor," but were
each somewhat consoled by the present of a small diamond as a souvenir
of the day's wash-up.

No one would believe from the appearance of a rough diamond, looking
like nothing so much as a piece of alum, that it could ever be cut into
a beautiful, fiery gem.

Of course the expenses of a company owning a block of claims are
enormous, and a large number of stones have to be found before the
margin for a dividend arrives.  From the opening of the mine in 1871 to
the end of 1885 the yield of diamonds amounted to 100,000,000 dollars.
The Kimberley mine produces almost twice as much as the three other
mines combined.  The expense and difficulty of reaching the diamond
field in the early days kept away the rowdy element to be found in our
Western mines.

Such diggers as have remained on the field since the "early days" seem
never to be tired of talking of the life they then led as the happiest
they have ever known.  Then, each would peg out his claim and go to work
therein with pick and shovel, depending scarcely at all upon the
uncertain help of the lazy Kafir, but with his own strong arm attacked
the hard, pebbly soil in which the diamond was imprisoned, and in a
primitive way "washed" the soil for diamonds.  They are not to be picked
up walking through the streets or over the "floors" where the soil lies
becoming pulverised by sun and rain.  They hide away and peep out
sometimes after several cartloads have been washed through the machine.

The days have gone forever when a lucky blow of the pick, or a fortunate
turn of the spade, might result in a prize worth a fortune to the
finder.  Now there are no poor man's diggings, and one must possess
great wealth before he attempts to seek the diamond in its rocky bed.
The time when a poor man could go to the fields and possibly make a
fortune in the first week of his stay, has passed away.

The mines are now drifting into the hands of a few large companies, and
everybody is looking to the Transvaal, with its budding gold fields, as
the scene of the next South African Eldorado.

CHAPTER ELEVEN.

So interesting and novel was the life at the fields, that although in
many respects our surroundings and mode of living were rough and
primitive, there was a charm about it that atoned for most of its
shortcomings.

After much difficulty, soon after our arrival we succeeded in finding a
small house, which we rented, as being more comfortable and affording
greater privacy than a hotel.  We fortunately obtained an excellent
housekeeper, a worthy Scotchwoman, whose husband was engaged as overseer
in the mine for one of the companies.

Our house contained one large room, with four other very tiny ones
opening out of it.  The kitchen was, after the manner of South Africa,
situated away from the house, at one corner of the large plot of ground
which surrounded the house.

The roof and walls were, like its neighbours, of corrugated iron, and a
spacious verandah encircled it; a high rush fence which inclosed the
compound served to keep out intruders and prevent the curious gaze of
any inquisitive passer-by.

Here we led a happy life, with Frank improving in health every day of
her existence.  Our rent was 125 dollars a month.  Wood was 75 dollars a
wagon-load: it had been known as high as 200 dollars, but coal, having
been found in the immediate vicinity, had been brought into the market
by some of the more enterprising of the farmers and had taken the place
of wood for fuel in the furnaces.

Edibles were reasonable, considering the place, excepting vegetables.
On one occasion when we wished to have a particularly tempting, large
cauliflower we paid 2 dollars for it.  This did not enter into our menu
very often of course, for we decided to like other things not so
necessarily expensive, until we two (or three) might find a Koh-i-noor.

There were two cafes, one kept by an American and the other by French
people, where one could be served, at a reasonable price, with a meal
that could vie in variety, delicacy, and culinary perfection with the
first-class restaurants in London or New York.  After eating one of
these meals it was strange to go out into the crowded thoroughfare and
hire a cart and drive four or five miles in a country in which one might
imagine one's self in the middle of the Sahara Desert.  Surely one could
but say that Kimberley _is_ one of the wonders of the world.

The domestic servants are of a different kind to those working in the
mine, who are usually raw Kafirs from the interior.  The Kafirs
generally remain only long enough to save sufficient money to buy a gun
or a few head of cattle and return to their kraals.  There they trade
off their cattle for a wife, and then she does all the work for her
husband, whilst he sits down the remainder of his days and tires himself
out in watching her do the work, till the soil, and do everything else,
telling her the while pretty stories of his adventures, and how he loves
her, she thinking it only an honour to work and slave for such a brave
boy as hers!

These Kafirs are continually arriving, coming from long distances,
walking sometimes as far as 1,500 miles in the interior; but the
household servants are different; they are a heterogeneous mixture of
Malays from Cape Town and Kafirs and the imported coolies from Natal.
It is difficult to say which makes the worst servant; at any rate, we
found, no matter from which race we selected our help, it was never safe
to leave anything of value, at all portable, within their reach.

Ladies are quite a rarity on the fields, few of the married diggers of
merchants caring to subject their wives to the discomforts of the life
and the unreliable domestic help.  Consequently they remain at home in
Europe or in the more civilised towns of the Cape Colony or Natal.  The
few married ladies resident on the fields are very social, and helped
much toward making our stay a pleasant one.

On the evenings when we were "at home," the capacity of our one
reception-room would be tested to its fullest extent.  There was always
some subject for conversation, some startling event continually
occurring to form a theme for discussion.

Now it was the breaking out of the Basuto War, with the report
concerning the regiment of mounted irregulars to be raised in the camp
for active service; then again a stone of more than usual size and
brilliancy had been discovered; or some illicit diamond buyer had been
"trapped" by the detectives.  This latter topic was always of absorbing
interest to the digger or merchant.

It is the illicit diamond buyer, or as they term it, _tout court_,
I.D.B., who has been the sharpest thorn in the digger's side.  He it is
who incites the Kafirs who are employed in the mines to steal, and then
secretly buys of them the stolen gems.  The temptation to become
possessed for 400 dollars of a stone clearly worth 4,000 dollars is very
great, and occasionally even a detective is found by his associate to be
engaged in the illicit trade.  It is illegal to own a diamond unless one
is a claim-holder or a licensed buyer.  If a private individual wishes
to purchase a stone or two for himself, he must first obtain a permit
from the authorities.

These precautions will be seen to be necessary, because the value of the
diamond, its portability, the facility with which it can be concealed,
and the uncertainty regarding its existence make it a source of
temptation to dishonesty among all classes.  It is therefore against the
law for any one, even if a licensed buyer, to purchase a diamond from
any one not a claim-holder, unless he can produce his permit.

The law has become so stringent and the detective force so active that
terror has stricken the hearts of the I.D.B.s, for it is now a matter of
fifteen years' hard labour to be convicted of buying a stolen diamond.
Before this stringent law was passed, many went away rich in a few years
who could not have possibly made "their pile" in any legitimate business
in that length of time.  Men who have been suspected for years, but have
managed to evade detection, have been pounced upon by detectives at most
unexpected moments; but the temptation is so strong that, despite the
penalty, the practice still goes on, but to a smaller extent than
before.

It was astonishing to find out how often the culprit turned out to be a
man in a good and responsible position, and often the very men who were
the loudest in the denunciation of the crime were themselves practising
it.  We were in a cafe one evening when there was a sudden hush,
followed by a startled buzz of conversation, and we heard the name of a
well-known man followed by the word "detectives."  A man standing near
who was suspected of carrying on the same trade became suddenly pale and
bit uneasily on his cigar, and with a careless laugh said, "Serves him
right," in a tone of voice which spoke louder than words, "What a fool
not to be more careful!"  Before we left the camp that same man was
working in convict dress.

Detectives themselves have been tempted to dabble in the trade, and have
been trapped, and are now working in convict dress by the side of the
men they have helped to hunt down.  This fascinating trade of gems
offers great temptations to the weak-willed, and it takes a certain
amount of bull-dog courage, combined with caution and patience, to
continue in this dangerous business.

On mail days great envelopes of diamonds are sent to London.  Some of
these packages contain flawless diamonds; others smoky diamonds used in
machinery for polishing and cutting the stones; others again would
contain stones of all colours, sizes, and purity.  One day we handled
some packages of spotless gems that the broker had been months
collecting; they were beautiful indeed.  One package, worth many
thousands of dollars, contained yellow diamonds, selected stones in
size, colour, and purity.  Those of yellow tinge are bought and worn by
the East Indians.

The pure white stone is of more value than the yellow because not so
plentiful.  It is a strange fact that these diamond merchants seldom
wear diamond jewellery; they prefer rubies or corals to the too common
gem, the diamond.

The famous Porter Rhodes diamond was found, it is said, by one of his
overseers.  A director of one of the companies called one morning and I
opened the door to him; he assured himself that no one could overhear us
before handing me an envelope within which lay this great, pure white
diamond, which only some millionaire with plenty of ready money can
afford to be the possessor of.  I felt highly complimented when told I
was the first lady who had had the diamond in her hand, and there was no
need for wonder at his caution, for no one would care to let it be known
he had such a prize about him.

It looks like a large lump of alum with a light like white satin through
it, and weighs 150 carats.

Mr Rhodes placed it on exhibition later on for the benefit of the
hospital, and 5 dollars admission fee was charged to merely have a peep
at it.  It made some of the old diggers who had been working for years
so sick at heart, that they did not feel like work for a week afterward:
It is said that when Mr Porter Rhodes had an audience with Her Majesty,
the Queen of England, to exhibit the diamond, he had been told that he
must not contradict her.  But when she remarked she did not think it as
large as the Koh-i-noor, he could not endure that, even from a crowned
head, and said: "It is larger!"  His pride, however, is not to be
wondered at, for I believe Mr Porter Rhodes is the only _Mr._ who can
boast of owning one of the few big diamonds in the world.

Some enterprising ladies own Scotch carts, which they send to the
wash-ups in which their husbands and brothers are interested, and get
the small pebbly refuse that has been hastily looked over at the
sorting-table.  This is brought to the house and sorted over by them
more carefully for the tiny diamonds that have been overlooked in the
haste of sorting out larger prizes.  A few of the ladies dressed
themselves on the money they made at this work.

It tires the back and eyes, to be sure, but not any more than other
woman's work.

CHAPTER TWELVE.

The diamond fields of South Africa, though of recent discovery, have
eclipsed all others in the world, both in richness and extent.  One of
the first diamonds found, worth 125,000 dollars, named the "Star of
South Africa," is owned by the Countess of Dudley, its weight being 46.5
carats.  The colour of the Kimberley diamonds makes them much more
valuable than those of Dutoitspan or Bulfontein.  Those found in the
latter mines are larger, but yellow or slightly coloured; all the mines
seem inexhaustible.  The largest diamond ever found in South Africa came
from the Dutoitspan mine in 1885 and weighed 404 carats, but was spotted
and of a yellowish tinge.  Every man interested in these mines expects
and hopes daily to "go one better."

American products are liked, our carriages and heavy wagons wearing
better in the hot, dry climate than those of English manufacture.  Corn
comes from home to these shores in ship-loads, and the American light
and strong furniture is liked.

Mark Twain's and Bret Harte's writings are universally read, and the
South Africans say that all they need to open up the country's interests
is about "twenty-five ship-loads of live Yankees."

Some of the houses are furnished beautifully with American furniture.
One lady's bedroom I entered had blue silk and lace coverlet and
hangings to an elegant black walnut bed, marble-topped dressing bureau,
and the remainder of the room furnished in keeping; but there is no
satisfaction in furnishing a house richly or dressing elaborately, on
account of the great dust storms.  They come up suddenly, without the
slightest warning, obscuring the light of day.  Solid moving columns of
red sand, resembling water-spouts, are whirled round and round and blow
like a tornado over the town.  These sand storms are quite a feature of
Kimberley and a very disagreeable one, but they clear the air of any
pestilence.  The climate, though scorchingly hot during the middle of
the day, is otherwise a very pleasant and healthy one.

A low camp fever is prevalent during the summer months, but it comes
more from the defective sanitary arrangements than from any fault of the
climate.  Women and children succumb to this African fever very quickly
in the hot summer, when the air quivers with the heat; the only hope of
recovery is in being taken away immediately from "the camp" to
Bloourfontin, a beautiful town in the Orange Free State, or to breathe
the sea air.  The nights everywhere in South Africa away from the
immediate coast line are invariably cool, no matter how hot it has been
during the day, so that one can always obtain a comfortable night's
rest.  But that delightful twilight hour, so much enjoyed at home, is
not known here, the sinking of the sun being followed immediately by
darkness.

A beautiful black Newfoundland dog attached itself to us, and was as
faithful a body guard as any human being, for when once outside the door
at night, no one dared to come within his reach, and when we went out of
an evening he was locked in to guard the house.

One evening on returning home from a social gathering we found the lock
had been broken, the act evidently the work of a white man bent on
robbery during our absence; but Hector's growls had frightened him away.
We had no fears after that of its being attempted again, but we
reckoned without our host.  One evening, a week later, we made
preparations to go out, but as soon as Hector saw us putting on our
wraps, he watched his opportunity and slipped out.  No coaxing could
bring him back, and so he followed our cart.  This time the burglars did
not hurry about their work, but made a most leisurely examination and
overhauling of our belongings.

We returned to a house which was a scene of the greatest confusion.
Every trunk was empty, with its contents piled up on the floor; every
pocket in dress and cloak turned inside out, and all jewellery and
souvenirs that had not been locked up in the safe, of course, gone.  We
did not let it frighten us, for, after notifying the police, we shut and
barricaded the doors and sat up till dawn; but there is no use denying
the fact that if a mouse had made its appearance we should have
screamed.

Many balls are held during the cool winter evenings, a few of which we
attended; one, conducted under the auspices of the ubiquitous
Freemasons, was held in the Iron Theatre building, and a very brilliant
affair it was.  There were four hundred and fifty invitations, of course
many more gentlemen than ladies being present, but it was interesting to
see what an elegant company assembled so many hundreds of miles from the
nearest point of civilisation.  Many of the ladies were attired in
London or Parisian imported costumes of satin and lace; some of the
wives and daughters of the wealthier residents being literally ablaze
with diamonds, the result of their husbands', or fathers', own pick and
shovel, which they had had cut and set during one of their numerous
trips to Europe.  It was when returning from this ball at three o'clock
in the morning that we first visited the mine by moonlight, and it may
be said without hesitation that such another sight cannot be found in
any other part of the world.

The moon and stars seem to shine with a brighter light in the
magnificently clear atmosphere than they do in our northern hemisphere,
and the ghastly shadows cast by the immense perpendicular and horizontal
excavations in the mine gave a weird look to a scene the impression of
which can never be effaced.  The moonlit chasm resembled a vast deserted
city that had slowly crumbled into ruins.

Another interesting feature of Kimberley is the arrival of the interior
traders' wagon trains, for every wagon is full of precious and various
wealth, the result of a long, risky venture.  Not infrequently the
costly wares are sold by auction, in the morning market, and the tusks,
teeth, skins, horns and feathers are spread out upon the ground as if
they were no better than field stuff or garden produce.

It is no uncommon thing to see wagon cargoes worth 50,000 dollars
exhibited for sale in this unceremonious way, amidst a crowd of
onlookers, some of whom look almost as wild as the animals which
produced the barbaric spoils, and as black as coal.  Professional
hunters also bring the result of their trips, though the labour of
getting together the skins and ivory is yearly becoming greater, as the
game is driven farther and farther north.  No doubt the rapid increase
in the value of farm produce will tend to lessen the inducements to
hunting.  Civilisation and barbarism are such mixed quantities in this
land that it seems as if the former will never conquer the latter.

The inhabitants of Kimberley, numbering 20,000 whites, are determined to
make a fine city of it.  The old one-storey iron and canvas houses were
being moved aside for larger and finer dwelling-houses.

Capital was being invested in water-works which would bring the water in
pipes from the Vaal River, some seventeen miles away.  Government was
putting up stone buildings for post-office and telegraph offices.
Churches were towering up above the surrounding dwelling-houses and
stores.  A club-house, the finest in the country, was built at a cost of
90,000 dollars, and they still keep on improving the streets, which
extend over twenty miles.  There are some very fine jewellery stores and
dry goods houses, as attractive as any in American cities of double its
population.  An air of activity pervades the place.  Thirty-two electric
Brush lights, of two thousand candle power, light up the city.

Wishing to see how far civilisation had crept into the interior and also
to breathe the wonderful air of the Transvaal for a little while, we
left our house in charge of our worthy housekeeper and drove away from
the coach office early one bright summer's morning.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

We were told that the Transvaal Republic was an entirely inland
territory; nowhere does it touch the sea, from which its nearest point
is quite one hundred miles.  It extends from the Vaal River to the
Limpopo, and from the same river and the colony of Griqua Land West (the
diamond fields) on the west to the Zulu country and Portuguese
settlements on the east.  It is exceedingly healthy, lying from 6,000 to
7,000 feet above the sea level.  Our road for some distance after
leaving Kimberley was through thick sand; indeed, Kimberley seems to lie
in the centre of a veritable sea of sand, sometimes so loose and deep
that to go through it is like wading through deep snow.  The coach
required constant changing of its six horses at stables _en route_ to
make any progress.

On the second day from the Fields we passed through the village of
Bloemhof, the first place after leaving Kimberley.  It is quite a pretty
little spot, the only street being wide and clean, with tolerably
well-kept grass-plots on either side of the road.  It formed an
agreeable contrast to Clerksdorp, a wretched hamlet we reached the
following day, where the hotel (save the mark!) boasted one room and
parlour, with an individual in charge who was collectively clerk,
proprietor, waiter, bartender, and chambermaid.

As we neared Potchefstrom there was an agreeable change in the
appearance of the country, the characteristics of the lower veldt, which
were alternately a plain and a mountain pass in unvarying succession,
giving place to a park-like landscape, forming the most delightful of
prospects.

The country was everywhere beautifully fresh and green, the monotony of
grassland being varied with clumps of thorn bushes and stunted trees.
The variety of thorn is almost endless, from the beautiful, fragrant,
flowered "mimosa" to the prickly pear, and the suggestively named
"_wacht een beetje_" or "wait a bit" bramble.  Three days' and three
nights' almost constant travelling brought us to Potchefstrom, and
there, a thousand miles from Cape Town, we were obliged to confess that
we had reached _the_ prettiest village in the country.

Alighting at the Blue Post Hotel, we were received in a manner which
almost made us doubt the existence of such places as we had passed
through on our way.

We were shown to a very nice room, and sat down to as good a dinner as
the heart of a tired American girl could desire.

The worthy hostess, Mrs Jenkinson, a ruddy-faced, buxom Englishwoman,
who seemed to bring with her all the freshness of her native Devonshire,
made us most comfortable during our visit; her kindness was appreciated,
coming, as it did, after the extortions of the grasping hovel-keepers of
the roadside.  The town itself is like a large orchard, so abundant are
the fruit trees.  Every street is a boulevard of orange and peach trees,
which here grow side by side.  The very hedgerows are figs and quinces,
while everywhere may be seen grapevines, lemons, shaddocks, and bananas.
Between the sidewalk and the street is a well-kept grass-plot, with a
stream of clear water running in the midst of it, a veritable rarity in
South Africa.  The Mooi (Dutch for "beautiful") River takes a horseshoe
curve round the village, which is built on a slope.  The furrows which
hold the water are led from the upper to the lower bend, and thus a
perpetual stream passes through the town.  Eight mills were situated at
the entrance of the town, and several more were in course of erection.

We met an American gentleman, Mr C--, who had made a considerable
fortune in the Gold Fields, and who was conducting one of the mills;
this he had fitted with machinery brought from the--Philadelphia
Exhibition.  His wife was a pleasant-faced, cheerful little woman, whose
history, as it was told us, sounded like a romance.  He had first met
her at Pilgrim's Rest Gold Fields, where she had gone from Natal with
her two brothers.  She, following their example, had pegged out a claim.
She had hired natives, had worked at it herself, and had turned out
more gold than either of her brothers.

We began to hear the most alarming rumours of the disaffection of the
Dutch Boers with the Government.  Several prominent farmers had called a
large meeting, at which it was unanimously voted to pay no taxes to the
hated "Englanders."  Such startling stories began to be circulated about
the attitude of the country people that we hastened to gather up our
skirts and get on to and out of Pretoria before the threatened rising
took place.

At the end of three most enjoyable weeks in Potchefstrom we again took
seats in the coach, and after one hundred miles of jolting, bumping, and
general discomfort, arrived at Pretoria, then the seat of the English
Government, and now the capital of the Republic.  On the way we passed
the sources of the Limpopo River, and at a place called Wonderfontein
were shown a remarkable phenomenon.  The water, which runs in a clear,
tolerably rapid stream, suddenly disappears into the sand, and appears
again a considerable distance further on, as bright and clear as though
its progress had never been interrupted.  There are also gold diggings
on the road; a rush had been made to them some time previous to our
arrival, but they had now been nearly abandoned, and a stray prospector
or two were the sole remaining signs of the presence of the metal.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

Pretoria presented quite a lively appearance when we first saw it.  The
presence of the British military, with their bright uniforms, gave a gay
appearance to the town.  The playing of the band every evening on the
market square was an agreeable event, but one could not help remarking
the sullen looks of the few Boers who were loitering about, and the
lowering glances they from time to time directed toward the detested
"red-coats."  There were many churches and a number of stores.  Although
the town was not as pretty as Potchefstrom, the surrounding country
district was exceedingly rich and fertile.

The northern portions of the districts, being warmer and at a lower
elevation than the rest, could produce, besides the various cereals,
tobacco, indigo, and the orange tree, the sugarcane, coffee, cotton, and
the different kinds of tropical and semi-tropical products.

The people of Pretoria and Potchefstrom, to whom we expressed our
admiration of the country, told us we should go to Rustenberg, distant
about sixty miles from Pretoria, which place they declared to be a
veritable paradise.  All the temperate and most of the tropical plants
and fruits were to be seen there side by side, the whole country around
presenting the appearance of a garden.

The gold fields are situated in and about Leydenberg, a town two hundred
and twenty-five miles north-west of Pretoria, where considerable gold
had been found, although the gold-bearing tract was declared by
prospectors to be "patchy."

Since the fields had first been discovered various rushes had taken
place, resulting, as such rushes do, in various fortunes for the
rushers, some coming away on foot, bringing their worldly wealth in
their blankets and tin pans, and others bringing theirs in carts, which
were loaded with the precious metal.

Our hotel proprietor had been one of the unfortunates.  He said the
prospects in the gold fields had never been great, and were then daily
diminishing.  "Gold," he said, "there is, but not in payable quantities;
it is too patchy.  One man will wash out ten or fifteen dollars' worth
in a week, while the claims around him will not come near paying
expenses.  Sometimes a large nugget is found, as, for instance, the one
recently exhibited in Durham, weighing 214 ounces.  Young men
frantically rush to see such a nugget, and immediately imagining the
country is covered with gold, are eager to leave a good situation and go
to the fields.

"Deceived humanity!  Let them be wise men for only five minutes, and ask
themselves how much did that nugget cost the finder, and how many didn't
find the nugget at all?  I possess a quantity of gold that cost me
ninety dollars the ounce, whereas the market value is from fifteen to
twenty dollars the ounce.  I am neither an Australian nor Californian
miner, but, having always been in partnership with the latter, I have
had the benefit of their experience, and I claim to be a practical
miner.  Labour is scarce.  Kafirs are paid four dollars a month (they
now receive much more) and have the usual diet, mealie meal, which is
fifteen dollars a sack and sometimes twenty-five.  No," said he,
"prosperity is the exception, and the great cry is.  How can I get away
from here?"

The attitude of the Boers had become more and more menacing during our
short stay in Pretoria, and it seemed prudent to retire whilst we could.
So giving up with a sigh all our half-formed resolutions to see the
wild country and enjoy the glorious climate where the regaining of
health was a certainty, we packed ourselves away in the down coach.  The
easiest way to ride with comfort in a coach is to imagine one's self
India-rubber.  Don't sit too firmly on the seat, but sway about with the
motion of the coach until you can't imagine yourself India-rubber any
more.  By the time the body is numb and pretty nearly paralysed, the
coach stops, and on trying to descend the limbs refuse to act.  But the
India-rubber idea has rested the body in some measure.  The farms we
passed on our way down were deserted, all the occupants having trekked
to Potchefstrom to attend a monster meeting fixed for the following
week.  There had been heavy rains, and we crossed several streams which
had changed into rivers since our journey up.  One, the Yorksey, which
was only just fordable, had been but a stagnant puddle when we passed it
before.

Just calling in on our kind hostess, Mrs Jenkinson, in Potchefstrom,
and taking a last look at the beautiful orchard-like village, so soon to
become a terrible scene of bloodshed and slaughter, we continued on our
way without incident other than the usual discomforts attendant on a
South African coach ride.  At several points in the roads we passed
groups of Kafirs going to the diamond fields, and other groups returning
from them, and it was amusing to note the prosperous appearance of the
latter compared with the half-naked, destitute condition of their
brethren going in the opposite direction.  Most of them carried huge
bundles on their heads, and it was funny to see the strange medley of
articles some were carrying home as curiosities.  Two of them carried
ragged umbrellas, with scarcely a shred of material on their skeleton
frames.  They seemed to fancy bright tin pails and pannikins; and a new
white flannel blanket, with several bright-coloured stripes decorating
the ends, was an indispensable article in the kit of every one of them.

We passed through Clerksdorp and Bloemhof, as on our journey up,
arriving in Kimberley on the fourth morning, travel-stained and weary,
and most heartily sick of Messrs. Cobb and Co's coaches.  Apart from the
travelling we had enjoyed our trip very much, having seen the most
interesting country in South Africa.  Although the poor Transvaal seems
to be doomed to years of political trouble before it can become truly
prosperous, it is undoubtedly, with its undeveloped mineral wealth, its
rich soil, the game which abounds there for the hunter, and, above all,
with its glorious climate, the country of the future of South Africa.
The farmers seem to want rousing; they lack ambition.  Large tracts of
country, capable of producing almost anything, lie dormant, waiting for
employment.  The best thing that can happen to the country is the
successful opening up of some paying gold fields.  This would bring many
men of the right sort to the country, men with energy and determination,
and above all, some healthy ambition.  To the stranger newly arrived in
the country the people seem lazy and listless, but after a year's
residence there this same listlessness gradually begins to steal over
the newcomer.  He then greets the latest comer, who is energetic and
indifferent to heat, with the remark: "Wait till you have been out here
as long as I, and see how you will like it then."

Experts believe the mineral wealth of the Transvaal to be enormous.  The
diversity and variety of the minerals found there is unsurpassed.  It
has lead, cobalt, silver, plumbago, saltpetre, sulphur, iron, the best
coal, and above all, gold!  Echoes reach the ear of a story that there
are signs on the western coasts, and not far distant, of the mines of
Ophir.  One also hears of an impregnable country beyond, and of a tribe
kindred to the Basutos, ruled by the great chief "Sekukuni."  Everything
one hears in Africa that is weird and strange one easily believes.

As a grazing country the Transvaal is by far the best in South Africa.
Sheep, cattle and horses thrive there, and certain districts are
especially suited to one or another class of live-stock.  It is in some
parts well wooded, particularly in the north, while its producing
capabilities are practically unlimited.  When traffic can be easily
extended to Delagoa Bay, it is confidently expected great changes will
take place.

It remains to be seen whether the Boer, left to himself, is capable of
self-government with progress.  Will he utilise the advantages of his
country, or will he rest from generation to generation in stagnant
content, comforting himself with the maxim: "What was good enough for my
father is good enough for me."

CHAPTER FIFTEEN.

We found our motherly old housekeeper awaiting our arrival with
everything fresh and clean throughout the house, and we were glad once
more to be "at home."  The ten months of our life in "the camp" had been
full of interest and pleasure, and its sun's rays had given health to
the invalid.  But such a desert region of country could have no
attraction for any one but the speculator.  After a thoroughly good rest
we turned our thoughts toward the first stage of our return.

Frank had gained so wonderfully in health that we thought a change to
the coast would do no harm.  If harm did come, however, we could return,
for we were decided to remain in the country until she had regained her
health.  It seems that human beings belong more to the vegetable than to
the animal kingdom.  They are like plants that flourish if they are put
in the right soil, and grow in the climate best suited to them.  The
damp, heavy air of London, that necessitated exercise and food, was
delightful to Eva and me, whilst Frank pined away under it as if she
were breathing a deadly poison.

At the beginning of the new year we prepared to go by coach the usual
way to Grahamstown, the principal town in the eastern province of the
Cape Colony, and the point of our destination.  In a few days our
furniture was disposed of, our housekeeper dismissed, and we took our
places in the coach to leave, and bade good-by to Kimberley and many
kind friends we had made.  For seven months it had not rained, but
rumours of heavy rains had reached us a few weeks before our departure,
and we feared we should find impassable the river we should have to
cross on our way to Fauresmith, near which "Jagersfontein" (the new
diamond fields) is situated.  The roads we found in no better condition
than those in the colony, and the coach threw us about and jolted us
against one another and the sides in the old familiar way.

On arriving at the bank of the river, we found it was rushing down like
a torrent, and almost level with the top of the precipitous banks, some
sixty feet high.  At another time we should have found the river at the
foot of these banks, meandering along in an easily forded stream.  The
only contrivance for crossing, provided for such an emergency as the
rising of the river, was a stout wire rope stretched from bank to bank,
upon which was swung a common pine box of fair dimensions, but full of
gaping holes, and looking, in itself, by no means capable of sustaining
the weight of a healthy body.  But it was the only possible mode of
transit, so, screwing our courage to the sticking point, we prepared to
cross.  The box could only accommodate one individual at a time.  So Eva
stepped in to face the danger of the passage alone.  One portmanteau was
carried over with each passenger.  How the heart beat as the Kafirs on
the other side commenced to haul on the pulley lines attached to the
frail machine.

We watched Eva with breathless interest as she was slowly pulled along
in jerks, now and then coming to a dead standstill and dangling over
that swollen stream, whilst the haulers rested before taking a fresh
grasp of the lines; pulling a few seconds, then resting a few seconds,
leaving the subject to dangle over the torrent with the heart thumping
wildly.  The rest of us followed in due course.  As the opposite bank
was reached, and we were lifted on to _terra firma_, the hand of that
black man was clutched with as much fervency as we had ever grasped the
hand of our dearest friend.

Having landed, we got into a coach which was waiting, to receive us.  By
night we reached Koffyfontein, a small village which had sprung up
around what was supposed to be another diamond mine.  Although a good
deal of money had been invested in the neighbourhood, we did not hear of
any fortunes having been made.  We travelled all the next day,
traversing a level plain well covered with grass and swarming with game.
We often passed large herds of spring-bok, which started off with their
graceful, springing gallop at sight of the coach.  When we arrived at
Fauresmith late in the afternoon we were tired indeed!  The town has
become prominent since the diamond mine at Jagersfontein (distant about
four miles) has been opened.  It is a long, straggling village with an
unpronounceable Dutch name.  Soon after our arrival the town was visited
by a thunderstorm, which broke upon the hills round about us with
terrific force, preceded by that deathly stillness and darkness which is
so very ominous.  Africa can deal out wonderful thunder and lightning.
The lightning flashes incessantly, and seems to strike something every
time it descends, the air quivers with electricity, and the atmosphere
constantly changes from purple to gold.  For any one who enjoys seeing a
thunderstorm, Africa meets all requirements.  The rain fell in torrents,
but in an hour passed away, leaving the early evening cool and
delightful.

We took a stroll to the banks of the river, which had swollen into a
torrent, and was sweeping down over rocks and boulders.  A number of
Kafirs, who had been working in the town, stood gazing dismally at it,
whilst their wives and children looked on from across the stream.
Several diggers from Jagersfontein, formerly of Kimberley, were stopping
at the wretched hotel we were obliged to stop at.  The mine is in a more
workable condition than that at Kimberley, but not so large, and with
ground not so rich, but the stones found there are said by the miners of
Jagersfontein to be whiter and purer than any others.  The mine produces
about 250,000 dollars worth annually.  The diggers complain as bitterly
against their foe, the I.D.B., as their Kimberley brothers.  The penalty
attached to the crime in the Orange Free State, where the mine is
situated, is greater than in Kimberley, but the detective system is not
as complete.  There is less risk of conviction, therefore, but the
diggers have formed a detective system amongst themselves, and woe to
the man who falls into their clutches!  It is estimated that from
one-fourth to one-fifth of the diamonds found in the mines never reach
their rightful owners.

At dawn of the next day we continued on our journey, passing through the
village of Phillopolis, once the principal place of the native tribe of
the Griquas.  It is a typical Dutch village, ill built, and in every way
insignificant and uninviting.  Close by the village is a very large
Kafir kraal.  As we passed it many came out to see the coach go by.  A
few hours later we crossed one of the bridges which span the Orange
River, and were again in the Cape Colony.  We passed through Colesberg,
a village of considerable size, and the centre of a large sheep and
ostrich-farming country.  A thriving wool-washing establishment is
situated there.  Wool is the most important production of the farming
industry of Cape Colony, but the best farmers in sheep-raising are not
among the native Dutch, but among the English, German, and Scotch
emigrants.  I never saw Boer women knitting; the Boer women, in fact,
seem to have little capacity for the kind of work peculiar to women in
other civilised countries.  From Colesberg we travelled through an
uninviting country, usually a plain, studded, here and there with
isolated hills, and having very little timber.  We reached Grahamstown
in the cool of the evening of the next day, alighting at the Masonic
Hotel.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

On the day following our arrival at Grahamstown the thermometer stood at
one hundred and thirty degrees.  The air fairly quivered with the
intensity of the heat, and although nowhere in South Africa can the song
of birds be heard, our ears were tired with the sound of busy insect
life.  The continuous hum made by the myriads of locusts and other
insects in the trees sounded like the buzzing of a saw-mill with twenty
or thirty great circular saws in full swing.  The climate of Grahamstown
is considered almost perfect for the English invalid.  Frequent rains in
summer make the heat endurable; the winter is drier than at Port
Elizabeth.

It is called the "City of Churches," for many fine churches and a
cathedral make the town interesting.  The houses are in the midst of
beautiful grounds filled with trees of dense foliage and with rare
plants.  The people are very social, and a fine class of English the
descendants of the early settlers are to be met with here.  They are
very kind, and make the life of the invalid endurable, if not pleasant.
To be ill and alone in the midst of unsympathetic neighbours is
certainly worse than to linger a hopeless invalid amongst loving
friends.  The society of Grahamstown tries to welcome the stranger; and
male visitors find amusement in hunting in the surrounding district,
where game is plentiful.  It is a fact that many English youths who have
been threatened with hereditary consumption have gone to Grahamstown and
made it their home for several years, and then returned to their island
home, a wonder to all their friends.

British settlers of 1820 took root in this district around Grahamstown.
This settlement is one of the most important events that ever happened
in the history of the colony, and is a standing example of the utility
of intelligently assisted emigration.  The whole country at that time
was in great trouble on account of a series of terrible Kafir wars, and,
just before the importation of the new blood, the district in and around
Grahamstown, which was then a military post, named in honour of its
commander, had been swept by a marauding tribe of Griquas.

The town is the seat of an episcopate, and has numerous churches, banks
and public buildings.  It has also a large military barracks, now no
longer occupied.  It is a great place for church controversy.  The
portly figure and priestly countenance of the "Dean of Grahamstown"
belongs as much to the history of the place as his own cathedral spire.
We were invited after service one Sunday evening to supper at the
Deanery, where we met the Dean's wife, and some pleasant people.  The
house was a large, one-storey building, comfortably furnished.  As we
all sat around the well-provided table, chatting merrily, we noticed the
Dean did not talk much, but was listening with a very interested
countenance.  Sitting in his big chair, his feet stretched under the
table, and the tips of his fingers in his trousers pockets, he looked
with his round face, round features, and rotund figure, and his
half-shut but sharp eyes peering out through his gold-rimmed spectacles,
a picture of contentment.  At last, with a little sniff peculiar to him,
he said: "Now let me hear you talk American."  Imagine our astonishment
at his request, to which we replied with a merry peal of laughter.
Because we were not speaking with a rasping Yankee twang, and
"guessing," and "reckoning," he began to doubt whether we were
Americans.  No man could enjoy a joke or anything funny more than the
good-natured Dean, but I don't think he was convinced that we were
speaking our native language during our visit to him.

The "twang" of the Yankee girl, though frequently a matter of jest, is,
I notice, when connected with the Yankee dollar, very much sought after
by many of the world's so-called great ones, who are very ready to
exchange old family plate, ruined castles, and historical deeds of
valour, and thus become easily reconciled to the "twang" once so laughed
at.

At the hotel we met a gentleman and his wife, whose acquaintance we had
made on our arrival in the country.  They had recently bought an ostrich
farm, some thirty miles from the town, and pressed us warmly to pay them
a visit, which invitation we were delighted to accept.  They proposed
bringing the ox-wagon from the farm to take us out.  The wagon arrived,
and our friends had prepared it for our use, neglecting nothing to make
our ride as easy and comfortable as possible.  The coloured boy, with a
tremendous crack of the long whip and shouting "T-r-ek," started the
long train of sixteen oxen into a slow walk along, the town road.  When
we got into the country on the hilly road, where ruts were many, we all
got out and walked.  Our road lay through a thick, thorny wood, and
along by steep, rocky cliffs, upon which we could see and hear hundreds
of monkeys leaping from rock to rock, chattering and screaming.  They
seemed greatly frightened at us, and yet fascinated, for they would run
along the face of the cliff ahead of the slowly toiling oxen, keeping up
a startled clatter, and peering at us from behind stones or branches of
trees.  We had started late in the afternoon, and before we reached the
farmhouse at which we were to stop for the night the moon had risen, and
dense black shadows and silvery streaks of light were thrown ghost-like
before our path.  After reaching the house we sat up till late, watching
the beauty of the moonlit scene.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.

Next morning we resumed our journey, and after five hours' trek, made
most enjoyable by the mode of travelling and the rugged beauty of the
scenery, we arrived at "Grasslands," the home of our friends.  The house
was of one-storey, well built and roomy, and being on a rise, commanded
a fine view of the wild, uninhabited surrounding country.  Our host was
a handsome, high-spirited Englishman, with a little English child-wife,
a dainty little piece of humanity.

As the young wife leaned against the veranda talking to us in her pink
calico dress, broad-brimmed straw hat trimmed with a bit of lace, and a
spray of jessamine she had pulled from the vine covering the front of
the house, she did not look much like one to live where wild monkeys
chatter in the trees, and savage beasts come within rifle range of the
front door.

Our friend was engaged in ostrich-farming, and many of these
queer-looking bipeds, with their long necks and floating feathers, the
beauty of which is certainly wasted on their own backs, were wandering
around the house.  It had been an addition to our stock of information
to learn in the Cape Colony that ostrich feathers were as much the
product of regulated human labour as wool, mohair, or silk.  We had
always supposed ostrich feathers to be procured by hunters, and had in
mind stories of their tactics in the chase of the fleet-footed bird.  We
learned that Cape farmers buy and sell ostriches as they do sheep, and
fence their flock in, stable them, and grow crops for them.  The eggs
are not yet considered as belonging to the Cape dairy, and are not sent
to market with bread and cheese.  They are too precious for consumption,
and too valuable even to be left for hatching to the rude methods of
nature.  The act of laying has not yet been dispensed with, but as soon
as the eggs have been laid the nest is discarded, the parents are
"locked out," and the mechanical certainties of the incubator are
substituted for parental instinct and affection.  We were glad to learn,
for the sake of our cherished traditions, that this farming was only of
comparatively recent date, a domesticated ostrich being fifteen or
twenty years ago unknown.  There are now 150,000 of these domesticated
birds in the Cape Colony, giving employment to not less than 8,000,000
dollars capital.

Our host informed us that the rearing of ostriches was an extremely
difficult operation, as the bird itself, although devouring everything
that comes in its way, from a steel fork to a lemon, is very delicate,
and liable to injury in all sorts of ways.  They are housed at night in
circular kraals, surrounded by a low rush fence, the ostrich, despite
his fleetness and strength of legs, being unable to mount or jump over
any obstacle, and turned out during the day into the veldt in charge of
a herd.

An ostrich can give a mighty kick, sufficient to break a man's leg, but
you may easily choke him by throwing your arms around his neck.  The
bird can then do nothing, for he has no strength in his wings to beat
his enemy off, and is only able to use his formidable legs, like a
horse, backward.  Still, he is an awkward enemy to engage, for it
requires some courage to rush up to a bird and embrace him until help
arrives, or until you succeed in choking him.  Despite the strength of
his legs they are easily broken if the bird accidentally strikes them
against any obstruction, such as a hanging bramble or a wire fence.  He
must be carefully watched to prevent such accidents, and it is also
necessary to drive him away from any food likely to disagree with him.
The feathers are sometimes plucked, and sometimes separated from the
body by a sharp curved knife, each feather being taken separately.  To
do this the fanner drives them into a small inclosure, where there is
little room to move about, and insinuates himself in among them,
selecting such feathers as have arrived at maturity, and leaving the
others to grow.  The bird has a fresh crop of feathers every year, and
as the prime feathers are very valuable, it may easily be believed that
a lucky breeder finds the occupation a very profitable one.

The prettiest sight to see on an ostrich farm is the nursery, where, in
a large room, in inclement weather, a score or more of little chicks are
attended by a black boy, whom they follow everywhere.

Many farmers are unfortunate and meet with accidents, and thus lose
heavily.  Sometimes the soil is unfitted to grow the herbage necessary
for the ostriches' food, and there are many accidents they are liable
to, such as dangers from prowling jackals or from severe storms.  Then
there are tigers and vultures to be guarded against.  It will thus be
seen that the ostrich farmer's life is not necessarily a happy one.  Our
stay at Grasslands was made very pleasant by Mr M--and his wife.  What
with picnics in the wild surrounding country day after day, musical
evenings on the moonlit lawn, a week passed away before we knew it.

It was here we noticed Frank had something on her mind which she wished
to communicate to us.  We said nothing to assist her, although we had a
strong suspicion of what was coming.  One morning she began: "Well, I
want to tell you something."  She didn't get any further, for we
interrupted with "Oh, we know; you are going to marry Mr A--, whom you
met on the diamond fields last year, and we are to dance at the wedding.
Didn't you think any one suspected?  Why, my dear, it was very plain to
us that he was to be your future husband long before you thought so
yourself!"  After we had congratulated her, we inquired how soon the
event was to take place.  She proposed having the wedding from the
cathedral at Grahamstown, as we had many warm friends living there.  So
the matter was settled for the time being.

One evening a musical friend of our host, a gentleman from Port
Elizabeth, and a violinist of no mean order, joined our circle, and we
sat for hours listening to his music.  After treating us to some choice
selections, he began to play some of the songs of the farm Kafirs, who
were listening about in numbers.  They had learned to sing at their
Sunday-schools in the town such hymns as "Hold the Fort," etc, and took
up the airs and began to sing, after their manner, in a chanting drone.
Soon the sound of their own voices and the strains of the violin wrought
them up to a high pitch of excitement, and they began to walk around us
in a circle, keeping time with their hands, feet and head.  Before long
the musician, who had a touch of the grotesque in his humour, placed
himself at the head of the procession.  The music grew faster and
faster, and the monotonous tramp of the Kafirs quickened gradually into
a wild war dance.  The scene which followed baffles description; there
was the musician scraping away like an infernal Paganini, producing
tones from his fiddle that seemed to excite the Kafirs to a pitch of
frenzy.  We joined in the singing, and sang at the top of our voices,
while the black men, dancing, whirling, shouting, and gesticulating,
grew wilder and wilder in their antics.  The music suddenly ceasing,
they sank exhausted to the ground.  It was a weird scene in the
moonlight, and one we shall long remember.

Our stay at Grasslands came to an end all too soon, and we looked long
and lingeringly at familiar objects as we were driven back to town in
Mr M--'s handsome Cape cart behind a dashing span of horses.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN.

Soon after our return to Grahamstown we put the finishing touches to
everything we had left undone toward making the wedding a joyous
occasion.  The bride's white satin dress and veil were made by the hands
of a competent dressmaker.  There was a dress for Eva, as chief
bridesmaid, which consisted of soft trailing drapery, and one for me,
who was to take a place in the organ loft, and sing on the occasion.
The day arrived, bright and smiling.  The wedding bells pealed from the
tower of the cathedral.  The "sympathising" and well-wishing friends
were gathered within when the bridal party arrived.  The knot was tied,
and as the bells pealed forth the bride passed out on her husband's arm;
an old crone stood in the door and showered blessings on her.

As soon as congratulations were over, the wedding breakfast eaten, and
the usual rice and lucky slipper flung after them, they took the train
for a short vacation in a mountain hotel on the Zuurberg, whilst we bade
good-by to friends around us, and flew away the same night to the sea at
Port Elizabeth, five hours distant by rail.

Our rooms in the Hotel Palmerston overlooked the open bay and the long
pier or jetty, which runs out some two hundred yards into the sea, and
is a favourite promenade for the townspeople.  This made an
ever-changing picture before us, and our hearts were stirred by the
sight of our Stars and Stripes floating at the peak of two barks lying
at anchor in Algoa Bay.  Port Elizabeth, with its twenty-five thousand
inhabitants, seemed different in many respects from any of the towns we
had visited.  It is a thriving, active, bustling town, with many
handsome stores and buildings, three or four banks, a public library,
which is in the Town Hall, a building that would grace any metropolis,
and several churches of various denominations.

A public park, built on the hill, is one of the especial prides of the
place, the original site having been a stony waste, and all the soil
having been brought from the valley back of the town.  In fact, the
whole city stands on a barren, sandy cliff, the business portions lying
along the beach, and the residences stretching away up the face of the
cliff to "the hill."  There is a strong rivalry existing between Port
Elizabeth and Cape Town as to which shall have the lion's share of the
importing trade of the colony.  The former is more advantageously
situated for the interior trade, but unfortunately has no docks for
shipping, and is exposed to the prevailing southeast gales.

Great sums of money have been spent in the construction of a breakwater,
which it was fondly hoped would form a refuge for ships during the heavy
storms.  But before it could be finished it proved itself useless, for
the sand would "silt up" on the lee side, until it threatened to form a
wide strip of beach between the landing place and the sea.  All goods
are landed by means of lighters, which are either unloaded at the jetty,
or are driven on shore as near as practicable, and moored head and
stern, when their contents are taken out by Kafirs, who, stripped almost
naked, wade out in twos and threes, and carry the bales and cases on
their heads.  Sometimes a heavy wave comes in, throwing them off their
feet, and causing precious freight to fall into the water and be broken
to fragments.  The merchant who deals in perishable articles thus runs
great risks.

A number of large warehouses lie close to the water's edge, where all
goods, as soon as landed, are received, to be sent up the country by
ox-wagon or mule train.  This will be done by the railway on its
completion.  A sea wall has been built a mile along the shore southwest
of the jetty, and forms, in fine weather, a most delightful promenade,
but, being away from the fashionable quarter of the town, is seldom
patronised by the swells.

There are a large number of German residents representing foreign houses
in Port Elizabeth, who form a society of their own.  They have built for
themselves a fine club-house in grey stone, costing many thousands of
dollars, which would do honour to any Continental city, and have some
handsome residences.

"Society" in Port Elizabeth endeavours to be very select.  We attended
several social gatherings, and found the citizens, as a rule,
large-hearted, hospitable people, always glad to give a hearty and warm
reception to the stranger within their gates.

CHAPTER NINETEEN.

One of the most interesting objects in Port E--is the Donkin Memorial, a
pyramidal monument erected on the first ledge of the hill by Sir Thomas
Donkin to the memory of his wife Elizabeth, who died off this point on
ship-board while on her way from India, and after whom the town is
named.

A signal station is built by the side of the brick pyramid, and the fine
open stretch of green turf which surrounds it and overlooks the sea
forms a pleasant promenade at all seasons of the year.  There are
several well-edited newspapers, the _Herald_ being the most enterprising
and the leading one, excelling in matter and printing any of the Cape
Town journals, excepting the _Cape Times_, edited by the genial and
popular Mr Murray.  Although Port Elizabeth has not the fine harbour
and docks of Cape Town or the beautiful suburban surroundings, still a
more energetic spirit exists in the business community, and the style of
entertaining is on a far more liberal scale than in the latter place.

As in most South African towns, a place is set aside for the black
people at the upper end of the town.

There they live, coming down to the stores and beach in the morning, and
returning to their respective kraals at night.  Several tribes are
represented among them, and they form separate kraals, keeping
themselves as distinct as though they were of a different species,
although it would trouble most people to tell the difference between a
Gaika and a Fingo, or a Zulu.

The Fingoes, who have in all the Kafir wars been the white man's ally,
are cordially hated by the other Kafirs, who fight with them
continually.  The quarrel on one occasion during the latter part of our
stay assumed such a threatening aspect that the town was alarmed for the
consequences.  For nearly a week not a Kafir came to the town, and it
was rumoured that the Gaikas had grievously routed the Fingoes and were
preparing to make a night raid on the town to massacre the inhabitants.
It was at a time when the whole country was disturbed, there being two
or three tribes at war with the colonists on the eastern borders.  The
report was then easily credited, and every available measure was taken
for the protection of the inhabitants and to prevent surprise, the local
volunteer corps being under arms for several days.

One Sunday night we in the town could hear them singing their peculiar
war chant, and such wonderful precision have they in time that the
mighty chorus from the thousands of voices came down to us like the
beating of a great heart.  The effect of their deep melodious voices, as
they rolled out on the moonlit midnight air in a great wave of sound,
was weird and fearsome to a degree.  We could not tell whether their
fury might not rise to such a pitch as to send them rushing down upon us
like naked fiends, yelling, stabbing, and spearing.  But they seemed to
be satisfied with a little bloodshed among themselves, and the Gaikas
and Fingoes, after a few days, resumed their work on the beach and in
the store side by side.

But the alarm brought home to the colonists the danger existing in their
midst.  The black population outnumbers the white throughout the colony
by almost six to one.  In the town it is quite three to one, and a
general uprising under an intelligent head could not but result in the
total annihilation of every white face in the country.  The colonists
never seem to think such a contingency likely, relying on the internal
dissensions between the different tribes and the moral force the white
man seems to possess over the untutored black man.

After remaining in Port Elizabeth seven months, we held a family
conclave and came to the conclusion that we did not wish to leave the
country until we had tried the climate of the Orange Free State, which
we had heard lauded to the skies.  So we bade adieu to Port Elizabeth,
thinking it a very pleasant place to visit, and taking a parting look at
the sea, we were whirled away to Grahamstown.  From here we left by
railroad for Cradock, a town some sixty miles east.  Like Grahamstown,
Cradock is the centre of a large wool-gathering district, and is laid
out in boulevards and watered streets.  It is situated on the Great Fish
River, over which there is a fine stone bridge.  It is at least forty
feet above the surface of the water, which, at the time of our visit,
flowed slowly between its arches in a sluggish stream, some fifty feet
wide.  Several years ago, after heavy rains up country, the river became
suddenly so fierce, rapid, and swollen that the whole structure, solid
as it was, was swept away by the first wave, which is described as
advancing, with little or no warning, like a solid wall of water, fifty
feet high.  There is a Dutch Reformed Church, a well-built Town Hall,
and a few houses and stores, with a population of three to four thousand
inhabitants.

We had experienced so many discomforts in our previous journeys by coach
that we resolved here to have no more of it.  So we provided ourselves
with a comfortable and roomy Cape cart and four strong horses to make
the journey up country, and we were prepared for once to take things
easy.  When travelling by coach one has no alternative between pressing
right on, or waiting over in a dreary village for a week, until the next
coach passes through.  But with your own cart you can do as you like,
going or staying, as pleases the fancy.

Passing some of the villages we had been through by coach, in a few days
we had reached the Orange Free State, more frequently called simply
"Free State."  Our introduction to this thinly populated upland region
was not calculated to put us in the best of humours, either with the
country or our tired selves.  We remained long enough to find out there
were many things of interest about it.  The Free State is embraced
within the boundaries of the Vaal and Orange Rivers, and was first
settled by the Dutch farmers, who had emigrated from the Cape Colony;
the farms are very large, and by no means all occupied.

About nine o'clock one night we stopped to give our horses a rest at a
miserable house built of mud bricks.  On either side of the door was a
small window, in one of which was a sputtering candle.  The house was
occupied by Dutch people, but as it did not look sufficiently inviting
to tempt me out of my seat even for a change, some coffee was brought
out by a daughter of the family; a girl of sixteen.  In the moonlight
her face was very pleasing, and on asking her a question she answered in
such pure English that we asked where she learned to speak so correctly.
She replied that she had learned at the English school in Bloemfontein,
called the "Home," belonging to the Church of England.  She was so
bright and chatty, yet modest withal, and her surroundings so wretched
and uninviting, that I thought the educational institutions of B--must
be something superior to those usually found in the colony, which, on
further knowledge, proved to be true.

When we reached the brow of the hill overlooking the town of
Bloemfontein, we saw with pleasure, under the bright moonlight, the town
filled with fine trees and gardens.  As we drove through we passed large
buildings of both church and state which would not be excelled in any
town of the United States of double the size.

CHAPTER TWENTY.

We at last reached a cool, inviting-looking hotel, and we thoroughly
enjoyed that well-served dinner laid before us on clean linen and bright
silver, the delicious viands seeming all the better for our temporary
deprivation.  If any one troubled with dyspepsia should travel for three
months through Africa, and live as the people do, never hurrying, and
occasionally getting a jolting in a long coach ride, his would soon be a
forgotten malady.

Bloemfontein, being the seat of government, is by far the largest, best,
and most important town in the Free State.  It is a very pretty town,
well planted with trees, the streets wide, the houses well built, and an
air of cleanliness pervading everything.  It nestles at the base of a
long, low mountain, one of a range of hills that fade away in the
distance and form a pretty picture in the red and golden tints thrown by
the rays of the setting sun.  It looks like a pretty toy town.

Many of the leading men both here and elsewhere through the country are
Germans, and excellent colonists they make.  To be sure, we found a
number of adventurers of the same nationality of a totally different
sort, agitators and demagogues.  There are, indeed, many who say that it
is owing to the German element in the Transvaal that the dissensions
existing in the country are directly owing.  But the greater number are
good citizens, readily adopting the country and state in which they live
as their own, and training up their children to protect its interests.
An enterprising German is the leading dry goods merchant in this upper
country.  His storerooms were stocked with merchandise, from hardware to
the finest laces.  His home was in the midst of well-kept grounds, laid
out like a park, in which were planted many Australian gum trees.  These
are trees which, with a little care, grow thriftily and to a great
height wherever they are planted in Africa.

On one of our drives in the neighbouring country we drove to the farm of
the merchant, and chanced to meet him there.  He had planted hundreds of
young trees on his large farm, mere saplings.  We remarked, "Why do you
pay so much attention to the planting of these slips of trees?  They
grow so slowly they will never give much shade during the lifetime of
any of us."

"Well, well," he replied, "the children of the next generation may come
out here from B--and enjoy their picnics under the trees I have planted
for them."  We found the same spirit among most of the German
land-owners.  They propose for the sake of their children to make no
mistakes.

Among the first settlers were German missionaries, who have in time
amassed wealth and founded schools, built churches, and assisted in
making the laws of this successful little republic.  The town is largely
given over to educational and religious establishments.  The English
Episcopal and Roman Catholic churches have each a bishopric and a
cathedral.  The former is very active, particular attention being paid
to the college and schools attached to it.  One of the institutions
connected with the English church is the "Home," carried on by the
sisters of the church, who come from England to assist in the schools
and hospitals, most of them being ladies of fortune and culture.  The
good that has been effected through them and their institutions cannot
be computed by figures.  They dress like the French sisters of the Roman
Catholic Church.  Although every now and then one of them marries, as a
rule they do not marry.  They live lives of strict self-denial.

The Roman Catholic Church is a large structure, with a convent and
school attached.  We listened to an excellent sermon here during the
visit of the Bishop, and heard some good music, as the tenor brother had
a fine voice, and travelled, it was said, with the Bishop.  The nuns'
voices were very sweet, one especially having such a sad, plaintive tone
that it made the listener wish to see the face hidden behind the
grating.

Many English visitors go to Bloemfontein for the benefit of their
health, but they do not look so robust nor gain strength as quickly as
persons who have been six months in the Transvaal.  The fine climate of
that country, if sought in time, is almost a certain cure for any lung
disease or asthmatic trouble.  The dry climate of this upland region
cannot be too highly extolled, and the best way to gain the full benefit
of it is to try the primitive mode of travelling by ox-wagon.  This,
however, should be done as comfortably as possible, and during the dry
season.  The hotels in Bloemfontein and the Transvaal are so superior in
point of comfort and table to those in the colony that they are greatly
appreciated by the tired invalid.  Our hotel parlour had a fine Brussels
carpet on the floor, tinted walls, comfortable and handsome furniture, a
Bimsmead piano, and lace curtains.

During the several hot months we were there we had an opportunity of
studying the characteristics of the Dutch Boer, who is met with in this
part of the country in his primitive state.  The Africander Boer is
usually a tall, lanky, narrow-chested individual, with black hair,
straggling beard and whiskers, cautious, suspicious, and
undemonstrative, his countenance expressing little imagination and his
body great physical endurance.  He is never quarrelsome if it can be
avoided; he is as shrewd at a bargain as any Scotchman, and in all his
dealings displays an odd mixture of cunning and credulity.  His
contradictory history, however, makes it difficult to determine whether
he is a brave man or the reverse.

He is usually dressed in a yellow cord jacket, vest and trousers, with a
flannel shirt, and veldt _schoen_ (low shoes of untanned leather with no
heels), the whole surmounted by a broad-brimmed slouch hat with a green
lining.  When he wishes to be particularly fine, as, for instance, when
he goes a-courting, he sticks an ostrich feather in his hat, squeezes
his long feet into a pair of patent leather congress gaiters, and
encases his legs in showy leather leggings.  He then mounts a horse that
"_kop-spiels_," gets into a new saddle with a sheepskin saddle cloth,
and imagines himself just lovely!

CHAPTER TWENTY ONE.

The language is the queerest jumble of Dutch, Kafir, and colonial war
shouts, which, when spoken by a fluent Dutchman, sounds more like the
tearing of strong linen than anything else.  It certainly is a fine
language with which to urge on the drooping spirits of a tired team of
oxen.  As a class the Boers are extremely strict in religious
observances.  The periodical "Nachtmaal," literally "night meal" or
"sacrament," held every three months at the large and fine Dutch church,
they attend faithfully.

The farmers will pack their whole families into a wagon, and leaving the
homestead to take care of itself, will "trek" into town, where some of
them will occupy little clay houses of two rooms, or camp outside until
the services are over, when they will "in-span" and return home.  They
always take advantage of these visits to do their shopping.  At such
times the stores wake up and put out their smartest calicoes and their
yellowest saddles with which to tempt the wary Boer and Boeress.  It is
interesting to enter the village at night where a Nachtmaal is to be
held next day.  There is almost a second village of tent-covered wagons
all around it.  The various fires have each a group of men and women
sitting round it, while in the shadows lie the slumbering oxen and
chattering "boys."

After remaining at the hotel until we were tired of hotel life, we
secured board at a farmhouse about two hours' ride from Bloemfontein.

The owner of this farm worked incessantly to improve his several
thousand acres, which included some very fine land.  The land showed
what industry can do by simply keeping on day after day.  The farmer had
no white help which could be depended on; there were many Kafirs, but
none he could rely on.

Water is the great need, and although, by digging deep enough anywhere
through the country, water is reached, not a single windmill did we see
in factory or on farm to aid in pumping water.  For months the dry
season prevails, and our farmer, in order to be independent in his water
supply for his many cattle, sheep, and Angora goats and ostriches, had
thrown up banks of earth around three large dams.

The wife was a large, comfortable woman, the mother of six children, the
eldest thirteen years of age; when she sat down to rest they seemed to
swarm over her, but they did not ruffle her temper any more than so many
flies.  She superintended and sometimes cooked all the meals; fourteen
people often sat down to dinner, and three courses were served, usually
by hideous Hottentot girls, dressed in bright calico dresses, coloured
beads, and ribbons.  These girls, dressed thus, consider themselves
irresistible.  The Kafir servants have to be told each day what to do;
they have no memory for the simplest household duties.  Their huts are
some distance from the house, and if a notion seizes them to go to a
wedding or a funeral, or to have a gossip with some stray Kafir, they
will not come near the house, and the wife does the work alone.  It was
a wonder how she got through her work so easily, for she supplied a
hotel in B--, which had thirty boarders, with butter, made the
children's every-day clothes, besides attending to many other household
duties.  Yet she was no light-footed woman, but had an avoirdupois of
two hundred and fifty pounds, which is not an unusual weight for an
Africander woman of thirty years.

When coming into the house on a visit, whether one is acquainted or not,
it is the custom to shake hands with every white person present.  An
English acquaintance drove to the farm to call upon us, and in
thoughtlessness left without walking to the barn to shake hands with the
farmer.  The farmer was so indignant at this affront that nothing would
make him overlook it.  We shook many a hard and horny hand of traders
who passed that way and remained to a meal.  Some of these never looked
up from their food or made a remark until they took their departure,
when they shook hands again and uttered some unintelligible Dutch word.

By living with such thrifty and pleasant people as this farmer and wife
one learns what patience means with dumb, lazy servants, and how much
can be accomplished by keeping steadily at work, doing little at a time.
That is the way in which the Dutch people have made a success of their
little republic.  They are satisfied with small things, and move slowly.
It thus happens that few mistakes occur in their governmental affairs,
and that there are few bank failures and consequent suicides.

Their ancestors must have been splendid fellows, for their deeds
proclaim it.  But long years of inactivity and the habits of
intermarriage have weakened the race sadly.  The descendants of the men
who were foremost in every land are now content to sit on the same farm
from generation to generation, caring for nothing, and having no
ambition beyond raising a larger family than their neighbour.

The "vrouws," or wives, are either very thin and bony, or tall and
"massive."  They dress in black, full skirts that skip the ground when
they walk, and black poke bonnets with thick veils, which preserve the
complexion from tan and freckle.  They have really fine complexions.
One farmer near Bloemfontein boasts of a family of twenty-three
children, all by one wife.  Fancy all the cousins and the aunts in the
next generation!  There will certainly be many marriages among these
cousins.  So much has there been of this habit of marrying in families
that one frequently, especially in the older parts of the Cape Colony,
finds whole districts where every farmer has the same surname, and is
only distinguished by his given name.  These so quickly give out that
the good people are forced to adopt the old-fashioned way of coining
surnames, and a man is known as Hans Meyer, C's son, or Pieter Van Dyk,
Karl's son, and so on.

But there is a reverse side to the picture.  We meet some fine men among
the Boers, President John Brand being as fine a specimen of a pioneer
statesman as any one would wish to find.  The government of the republic
consists of the President and the Legislature, called the Volksraad,
elected every four years.

CHAPTER TWENTY TWO.

The President, who had been elected so often that the office promised,
so far as he was concerned, to be a perpetual one, is a hearty, genial
gentleman, beloved by all who know him.  He is a native of Cape Town,
and received his education in England.  The welfare of the little
republic, over which he has so long and so wisely ruled, is the dearest
object of his heart.

We met the President and his wife, who invited us to call at their
residence, a large, two-storey "White House," as it is called,
surrounded by extensive grounds in the prettiest spot on the outskirts
of the town.  We were told by residents that our visit would be very
formal, but it did not prove to be so.  We found them both most charming
and affable people.  A luncheon of delicacies and choice fruits from
their own orchard was laid for us, and Mrs Brand, or "Lady Brand," as
she is more generally called, was so bright and witty that an hour
passed away very pleasantly.  She is a large, striking-looking woman of
noble features, and with a mind capable of assisting her husband in
matters of state.  Her best sympathies are with her people, and no one
deplores more than she the lamentable ignorance to be found in the
remote districts.  It rests with the people themselves to remove this
ignorance; excellent boarding-schools, both government and private, are
established in every village throughout the country.  She has unbounded
confidence in the capabilities of the Dutch to govern themselves.
Certainly, if the country can produce more such people as her noble
husband and herself, they will have no difficulty in finding a leader.

The President seemed greatly interested in us as being Americans, and
asked us question after question about our customs and form of
government.  A special session of the Volksraad was called while we were
in the town, to discuss the condition of the Transvaal, which was now in
open revolt, and we had an opportunity of seeing the representative men
of the country.  They came to town in all sorts of vehicles, European
and American carriages, Cape carts and ox-wagons.  The many vehicles,
all drawn by handsomely matched horses, made the town very bright and
gay.

The men who gathered together were, many of them, aliens by birth, but
all showed signs of more than average intelligence.  The question they
had come to discuss, viz, what should be the attitude of their country
in the present state of affairs in the Transvaal, was important, for the
people of that territory were united to them by many ties.  News was
brought by post cart that the Boers in the Transvaal, who had long
wished to govern themselves, had risen up against English rule, had come
riding into Potchefstrom from all the country around, and had taken
possession of the town.  There we were in the midst of people closely
related to the Transvaal, which was but a few days' ride from us.

As news came that Pretoria, so isolated, was in a state of siege, and
that English troops were coming out as fast as the steamers could bring
them to put down the Boer rebellion, things began to look interesting.
In addition to the troubles in the Transvaal, the Cape Colony was also
embroiled in a war with the Basutos, a warlike tribe occupying a large
tract of country east of the Free State.  What with war with the Basutos
on the one side of us, and the Boers on the other, South Africa was not
precisely a country to which one felt the Millennium would soon come.

Fighting against the natives, either Zulu or Basuto, is an entirely
different kind of warfare from meeting the deadly aim of the Boer on his
own soil.  In this dry, cruel country, with its natural fastnesses and
dry river beds, the Boer from his boyhood wanders, gun in hand, trained
to handle it as easily as the English soldier handles his cane when not
on duty.  When news came in that every officer of a fine English company
of brave fellows had been shot, picked off like birds on a fence, a wave
of horror swept over the hearts of those friendly to the British flag.
The English troops went on nothing daunted, and when fighting on one of
the heights were beating their foe, who was turning to flee.  At this
critical moment they discovered that their leader had neglected to bring
sufficient ammunition up the mountain-side.  When the Boers saw the
situation, and rushed back upon them, the brave English fellows, in
their desperation, picked up stones and threw them at their foe, and
then, rather than be taken prisoners, jumped down a declivity of a
hundred feet to effect their escape.

I quote a descriptive account of the engagement at "Lange's Nek" from
the special war correspondent of the Natal _Witness_:--

  "No unfair means were taken by the Boers yesterday.  We attempted to
  take the hill, and in our endeavours to reach the summit they repulsed
  us.  This is the whole thing in a nutshell; men who were in the
  engagement stated that the Boers had entrenched themselves, and this
  is more than probable when it is considered that natural trenches must
  abound in the positions they occupied.  It was also represented that
  they had numbers of Kafir allies to assist them.  This may or may not
  be true.  I was posted near the cannon, and although I had a
  magnificent view from that point, I observed no Kafir force whatever.
  It is perfectly true that many of the Boers used fowling-pieces loaded
  with buckshot, and they did fearful damage in wounding men, but
  whether this can be regarded as unfair when rockets are used on our
  side, I leave any one to decide.  Mere words are tame to express the
  manner in which the gallant 58th behaved on this occasion.  Their
  conduct throughout, even against overwhelming odds, and the knowledge
  acquired too late of the enemy's position being impregnable, left
  nothing to be desired.

  "The attempt to eulogise these men seems like mockery; their deeds
  speak for them far more eloquently than words can.  So true and deadly
  was the Boer aim that Colonel Deane, in command of the 58th, fell
  almost immediately upon fire being opened.  Officers and men were shot
  down in every direction.  Every volley of the Boers carried its
  fearful freight too true, and thinned our already meagre force.  Still
  they held on to the last, hoping against hope, and dying martyrs.
  Every man on the field yesterday was more than a soldier--he was a
  hero.  The word `Retreat!' was at last given, but oh, what a retreat!
  Men walking over their dead comrades' bodies, ever and anon another
  addition being made to those already down--wounded men imploring that
  their rifles should not be thrown into the enemy's hands.

  "The sight was grand, but awful, and those who witnessed the
  engagement at Lange's Nek yesterday are likely to carry the impression
  to their graves.  Had it not been for the shells, which unquestionably
  created great havoc among the Boer ranks at this period, few, very
  few, of the 58th would have survived that day.  On reaching the foot
  of the hill the 60th Rifles were drawn up to protect their retreat,
  and, if possible, induce the enemy to follow up.  The Boers, however,
  retired to their position under cover of a ravine."

This was what the fighting was like; it seemed more like a massacre of
the gallant Englishmen than a battle.  But what seemed most astonishing
to the English population was that these quiet, peaceful people, who
nobody thought would fight, rose up in a day as one man, without any
such purpose being known to the English!

The colony of South Africa is always in a flourishing condition when war
breaks out.  Then English gold and foreign speculators come to its
shores; everything is at fever heat; towns are built and beautified.
Afterward comes the reaction; the breath of life and vigour dies out,
leaving the colony hopelessly in debt.  The colony then remains a drain
upon the exchequer of England, which pays out thousands of pounds for
the war "epidemics" that every few years break out between the native
and the English, or the Boer and the English.

These wars yield nothing in return to England but mourning hearts at
home for brave sons who lie buried under African soil.

CHAPTER TWENTY THREE.

Before leaving Bloemfontein we met two fellow passengers of ours on the
_Trojan_.  They were brothers, and one was so ill that we never expected
to see him again in this life, when lo! here he was the picture of
health, entirely owing, he said, to the wonderful effects of the
climate.  By living and travelling for over six months in an ox-wagon,
he declared, he had taken a new lease of life.  Despite the fact of our
lives having been insured in America, we thought that a new lease would
be a comfortable thing to have by us.  So we made up our minds to try
the experiment.

It was not an easy thing to find a wagon which we could hire for the
trip, but fortune favoured us.  Mr A--met an English friend, Mr
Heeler, from Pretoria, who had, like many others, managed to escape with
his portable property and his wagon before the Boers beleaguered the
town.  He was undecided what to do until the difficulties were over, and
soon consented, in consideration of a fair daily hire, to place his
wagon and span of sixteen oxen at our disposal.

We provided ourselves with serviceable clothing, and were each measured
by the local cobbler for a pair of strong, thick, laced shoes.  But when
the boy brought them in, we gazed at them for a moment, and then
politely told him that some mistake must have been made, for none of our
family wore number eight!  They were monstrous.

But we were to leave the following day, and had to take them.  We
stuffed the toes and overlapped the leather when tying them up.  We
found, before we had been many days on the road, that our cowhide boots
could brave anything, and were infinitely better for what we wanted than
a stylish, neatly fitting shoe.

Laying in provisions for the wagon was like victualling a ship for a
voyage.  We laughed at the formidable list of canned goods that Mr A--
had provided for our journey.  "Good gracious!" we cried, "we can never
eat all that;" but he assured us we should, and added that he expected
to keep us provided with fresh meat with his gun and an occasional sheep
bought from some Boer farmer.  He had, however, to provide against
failure in both expectations.  Game might be scarce, and there are some
Boers who will not sell anything to an Englishman.

Our wagon was twenty-three feet from end to end, and four feet and a
half wide.  With some willow wands and heavy wagon sail an excellent
tent was made, thoroughly waterproof, and divided with a canvas
partition into two compartments.  Our trunks were packed on the floor,
over which the beds were suspended on a cartel formed from laced strips
of raw ox-hide.

Our stores were packed in boxes, which were securely fastened around and
under the wagon, together with kettles, pans, and dishes of enamelled
iron.  A folding-table, several camp-stools and chairs completed our
equipments, and on a muddy but sunshiny day we left our hotel, bidding
good-by to our friends, and climbed on to our perches on the cartel.
Four black boys, a maid, and two dogs formed our establishment.  One of
the large boys took the trek tow, a loose rein on the horns of the two
leading oxen, and another the long-handled, long-thonged whip.  There
was a wild yell and a screech from them all, and the oxen started
forward with a lurch that threatened to dislodge every article we had
taken such pains to secure.  The wagon slowly rose out of the muddy bed
into which it had sunk during the past week's rain, and getting into the
road, moved at a brisk pace along.

Still brisk as it was the pace was only a walk.  We thought we should
never make the two or three hundred miles to Queenstown, at that pace,
by the route we should take.  We learned, however, that though slow it
was sure.  A team of oxen intelligently driven, and rested at proper
intervals, will make thirty miles a day, week after week, over any sort
of country, a rate of travelling that horses cannot exceed when the
distance is long.  At the end of three hours the oxen were outspanned to
graze and the boys prepared our midday meal.  The tablecloth was laid,
and that tablecloth was the chief source of our solicitude throughout
the trip.  Oh the delight of that first meal! everything tasted so
sweet.  Were we not free, free as air, the sky and limitless veldt the
ceiling, walls, and floor of our dining-room, with not a creature in
sight?  Our caterer had forgotten nothing that was necessary to make our
meals model entertainments.

After an hour and a half the oxen were slowly driven up to the wagon and
each one took his own proper place, seeming to know his own yoke.  We
trekked on over the same level plain, but as evening drew near the sky
assumed a threatening aspect, and it was thought prudent to outspan and
tie up in order to prepare for the reception of the impending storm.
Before the yokes were removed the rain came pouring down in torrents.
The boys dug a trench around the wagon under which they got for shelter,
while we, safe under our waterproof tent, peered out from time to time
at the storm raging around us.

Presently lightning began to flash and the thunder to roar, while the
rain came down in sheets, seeming to transform the open country into a
vast lake.  Oh, those dreadful African thunderstorms!  We thought _We_
should never see worse storms than those of our Western prairies, but
they were infants in strength compared to those in Africa.

The storm grew fiercer and fiercer, and the lightning seemed to come
from the heavens in all directions in molten streams of fire.  The road
was full of ironstone, a peculiarity of the uplands of Africa; this
seemed to attract the lightning, and the air appeared to be full of
fire, accompanied by an ear-piercing crackling and booming that shook
the earth.  The atmosphere was black, and the darkness was intensified
by the continual flashes, when suddenly there was a crash and a
deafening roar that made us think the heavens had fallen.  Stunned for a
moment we each looked at the other, expecting that the wagon had been
struck, and a great stir and lowing among the trembling oxen increased
our fears.

We sat for half an hour listening to the thunder muttering fainter and
fainter as it rolled away in the distance.  The voice of A--summoned us
from the tent.  To our surprise we found the sky clear and no trace of
the storm in the heavens, but an inky cloud disappearing far away on the
horizon.  About fifty yards ahead of the wagon was a large hole in the
road that had been torn up by the fury of that thunderbolt which had so
terrified us.

CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR.

These African thunderstorms occur at different seasons in different
localities, and everywhere they are terrible.  They do more harm by
their violence than the rain which accompanies them does good.  During
their continuance (fortunately they never last long) the water comes
down in veritable sheets, rushing down slopes and mountain-sides in a
resistless flood, swelling rivers in a few moments from ditches into
torrents.

A storm in the mountains at times fills the streams leading out from
them to such an extent that with scarcely any warning the waters come
tumbling down in cataracts, the rivers rising to a height of forty feet
in as many minutes.  A friend of ours with his partner had been trading
for years in the Zambesi country, and was bringing down a large quantity
of furs, feathers, and ivory to the colonial market.  On reaching the
banks of a little river, remarking that it was running somewhat swifter
than usual, they entered it with their wagon, without any thought of
danger.

Suddenly, as they reached the middle, the waters came rolling down with
a roar like Niagara, sweeping away the results of two years' labour in a
moment; they barely escaped with their lives.  We asked our friend what
he did at the time.  "Why," said he, "we tried to express the situation
in words, but we could not do it justice, so we just sat down on two
ant-hills, laughing at one another and our luck."  Several similar cases
occurred during our stay in the upland country.  A coach with four
passengers was swept away in a moment while fording a swelling river at
night, the driver only escaping.

The boys were soon at work coaxing up a fire, with the help of some dry
wood we had in the wagon, and coffee was made.  The meal was rather
dismal, for night had fallen, and the boys were looking anxiously at the
condition of the road, and the hopeless state of the wagon wheels, which
had sunk into the sloppy turf almost up to the hubs.  There was no use
trying to go on that night, so putting out our swinging lantern, we lay
down to sleep.

At daylight we were awakened by the jolting of the wagon, and found that
our bodyguard had inspanned, and, having dug us out of the muddy prison,
had succeeded in getting us under way.  Hastily making our toilets with
difficulty, we were thrown from side to side of the wagon at every
lurch; we jumped out and walked, finding the exercise preferable to the
jarring of the vehicle.  Indeed, we walked most of the journey, and were
better for it.  Enjoying an excellent breakfast, which again put us in
good spirits, we were beginning to think we should have a clear day, but
another spell of rain at ten o'clock came on.  It continued raining all
day, with short intervals of sunshine.  These were taken advantage of to
make short treks.

At four o'clock, as we were sitting in the fore part of our chariot
looking out at the drizzling rain, the front wheels slowly sank and
nearly disappeared in a deep mud hole, bringing the steaming oxen to a
full stop.  In vain the driver cracked his long whip and yelled; we were
hopelessly stuck.  I was sitting in front when the accident occurred,
and jumped out, landing in a deep mud hole.  We slept that night at an
angle of nearly forty-five degrees, and when morning broke it was
welcome, as it brought with it some bright sunshine and prospect of
clearing weather.

It took five hours and the effort of the combined lungs of the party
upon the oxen, together with the inventive genius and experience of all
the members of our staff, to get us out of that mud hole.  They
outspanned and inspanned three times before the wagon stirred, and a
hole had been dug big enough to bury us all in before the wheels were
released.  At last, with a whoop and a yell and a groan, it was hoisted
out of its oozy prison and drawn onto the veldt, when the oxen were
outspanned and breakfast was eaten.

During several successive days, while travelling in the Orange Free
State, we passed hundreds of huge ant-hills.  One might say there are
villages of these; they are formed together in thousands, they disappear
for a space, and are again met with.  Some of them measure ten feet and
more in circumference, and are between three and four feet high, and are
filled with black and yellow ants.  The clay becomes hard from the sun's
rays.  An ox-wagon driver hews out an ant-hill forming an oven, in which
he cooks his bread, the clay burning like a slow fire, and with an
intense heat.

From this time on the weather was delightful; with the exception of one
thunderstorm it continued so during the six weeks we remained in the
wagon.  We soon forgot the unpleasant experiences of the first few days.
In forty-eight hours the sun had dried the road, so that travelling was
comparatively easy, and we passed over the level plain, arriving in
Smithfield on the fifth morning after leaving Bloemfontein, where we
outspanned on a plateau adjoining the village.  We here met with a lady
friend from the diamond fields, who invited us to visit her for a few
days; but we had now become attached to our gypsy life, and preferred
our own fireside.

Smithfield is a fair-sized village of the usual Free State kind,
possessing a few fine churches, a few streets of one-storey roomy
houses, and several stores.  When our tented home began to move along
the road away from the village we trudged alongside of it as happy and
healthy as school-girls, and feeling as free from restraint as the
birds.

CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE.

Three miles from Smithfield we came to the banks of the Caledon River,
which we found greatly swollen by the rains, and did not consider
prudent to cross until two of the boys had waded through.  The water
came up above their waists, and we climbed into our places, and
descended the steep bank leading to the drift (or ford).  It requires
management and considerable shouting and activity on the part of the
wagon drivers to cross a river.  The bank is always precipitous, and the
break has to be screwed up hard to make the descent, and released
immediately the water is reached.  At times the oxen stick in the middle
of the drift, which is often rocky and full of great boulders, and it is
difficult to get them on.

When we reached the bottom of the slope, the leading oxen were already
in the middle of the stream, with the water nearly over their backs.
With a plunge the wagon took the water, and we were glad to find that
the drift had a tolerably firm, sandy foundation, so that we were not
tumbled about much.  The leaders were now half-way up the opposite bank,
and the driver, mounting the footboard in front of the wagon, gave one
of his banshee howls and a simultaneous crack of his whip over the heads
of the team.  This started them into a trot, and the impetus was not
lost until we were all high and dry on the farther bank.

The water had come up to the floor of the wagon, but for only a moment,
so that nothing was injured.  The only casualty sustained was the loss
of a bright tin pail which had been floated off its hook, and went
sailing down with a jaunty air to the tune, "Won't have to work any
more."

After crossing the river we branched off considerably to the right.  Our
way lay for some distance along the banks of the river, and the country
was thickly studded with stunted thorn and furze bushes.  Some doves,
which always abound in these thorn bushes, were shot, and they formed a
most welcome addition to our dinner that day.  Outspanning nearly all
the hot afternoon, we made a long trek in the lovely moonlight until
nearly twelve o'clock before "tying up."  This is a plan always adopted
by transport riders, the wagon drivers who make it their business to
carry goods from town to town.  They lie to nearly all day, and travel
late in the afternoon and night, finding, by following this plan, that
their oxen can get through more work and keep in better condition.

The Hottentot and Kafir boys who lead them seem to be able to see in the
dark.  They will lead the oxen, without stopping, over dangerous roads
where it is pitch dark.  The wagon was often in motion before we awoke,
but so accustomed had we become to the jolting of our bed that it did
not wake us from our deep sleep.  When we awoke we would find breakfast
prepared in a pleasant, grassy country, and the fire blazing merrily.

It is not to be wondered at that the Kafirs are such happy, contented
mortals, for the sun, of which they get so much, gives more life and
vitality than any medicine.  One afternoon the boys sighted a herd of
spring-bok some distance away in the veldt.  They were feeding in a
depression in the plain about seven hundred yards away, and our hunter,
sighting his rifle, carefully rested it on an ant-hill.  At the sound of
the rifle the whole troop started away with a bound, breaking into a
gallop and disappearing in a cloud of dust far off in the veldt, leaving
one of them lying on the ground with his feet in the air.  But he was
only wounded, and before the boys reached him he struggled to his feet
and tried to limp off.  Down went the rifleman on his knee, there was a
moment of suspense and another report, and the buck was bowled over with
a bullet in his neck.  He was brought to the wagon in triumph, and slung
by his feet underneath, we girls being as much excited as if a tiger had
been slain.

Moving on one morning before daylight, and crossing a fine bridge over
the Orange River, our oxen were unyoked hard by a number of transport
wagons.  When we arrived the transport riders and their boys were all
asleep, but as day wore on they began to get about, and came over to our
wagon, mightily curious to know who we were, where we were going, where
we lived, and highly amused at the idea of any one travelling in an
ox-wagon for pleasure.

CHAPTER TWENTY SIX.

We soon settled down to the routine of our ox-wagon life, and very
pleasant we found it.  When the boys would outspan and get things in
readiness for meals, our hunger from the open-air life would be so great
that we could scarcely wait while they made the fire for coffee.  Like
all South African travellers, we consumed a prodigious quantity of
coffee.  Besides drinking it at every meal, it would be prepared several
times during the day, as we wanted it.

The Dutch people drink it morning, noon, and night, keeping it always on
the fire for their Dutch friends who pass near them.  The manner in
which coffee is made in the veldt is: first to boil the water in the
kettle, then pour it on the coffee ready in another kettle; it is then
passed back and forth a few times and the coffee is made; a few drops of
cold water poured into the kettle will soon settle the grounds.  We
found the Dutch coffee very good.

Our meals consisted of buck meat, cooked in all sorts of ways, and
sometimes a pair of doves or partridges; we had our canned goods to fall
back upon, and we had also the vegetables of the country, which were
carried in the wagon.  We lived most contentedly.  One day we suffered
greatly from want of water.  We travelled many hours, hoping to find a
stream and fill the water-cans.

A Kafir will find a spring of water in places where a white man would
never think of looking for it, but that day there was no water to be
found, and we positively suffered from thirst.  The sun beat down on us
all fiercer than ever, it seemed, and it was not till late in the
afternoon that we came to a small muddy stream.  The mud did not
frighten us, and we hurried the boys into making the coffee.

One of our boys had been in the jail at Smithfield, for some petty
misdemeanour, and was discharged in order that he might come with our
staff.  He was a raw Kafir about fourteen years of age, with a comical,
laughing face, which peered up at us oddly as he sat on the footboard of
the wagon.  He had a funny little squeaking voice which at times would
play him tricks; when apparently about to come forth in a manly roar, it
would suddenly result in a shrill, piping sound, which would throw all
the servants into fits of laughter.  He used to perch himself
surreptitiously on the disselboem, against the orders of "the baas," in
the cool of the evening, as we jolted along in the moonlight, and croon
out in Kafir, awfully out of tune, "Sweet bye and bye," a favourite song
of the Sunday-school Kafirs.  The missionaries' service with the Kafir,
it may be said, is mostly a service of song.  We soon became tired of
his one tune, and sang it for him correctly; but he evidently considered
that our musical education had been neglected, for directly we had
finished he started again, singing it in his own way.

On very hot days we used to contrive an awning on the shady side of the
wagon, under which we would sit and read or make lazy attempts at
sewing.  But the silence of the stilly veldt, broken only by the hum of
some buzzing insect, would more often put us to sleep.  If our existence
was not one of contentment, then there is no such thing.  We became
enamoured of the life and had no desire to hasten on our journey.  Some
of the happiest days of our lives were spent during this trip, free from
society, anxiety, and propriety.  There was no one to dress for, nor to
come suddenly upon us and disturb our calm existence.  When three girls
make up their minds to be contented under all difficulties, difficulties
disappear.  They can make their surroundings pretty and can make the
rough fare attractive.  If they have been blessed with a good mother,
who has trained them for domestic life, they know how to contrive little
accessories which will give a relish to the plainest fare.

Little trouble was experienced with our servants.  They were always
laughing and looking at our mode of life with the interest of a big dog;
they were ludicrously stupid, but they were never sulky or impudent.
Our wagon owner and servants slept on the ground wrapped in blankets or
"karosses," infinitely preferring that to sleeping on a cartel under the
wagon.  When we suggested snakes, they only laughed.  These fur robes or
"karosses" are light, and when thrown on the ground prevent the ants
from reaching those asleep on them.  They are brought from the interior,
beyond the Zambesi River, by the traders.  They are beautifully sewed
together by the natives, with thread made from the sinews of wild
animals.  These furs are beautiful, being the skins of leopard, silver
fox, jackal, and wolf, and many other animals.  They are very
comfortable for travelling on cool nights.

This peaceful region is filled with reptiles and wild animals, but we
saw very few of them.

Our boys would often hold wayside receptions for natives in twos and
threes, coming from goodness knows where, and others, appearing from the
shadows beyond, would surround them, talking rapidly in vowels and
strange sounds, and looking on hungrily at the meals being prepared.

As we outspanned near by a farm during the journey, a farm Kafir, with a
look and bearing of a prince of the soil, dressed to the knees in a
coffee sack, with holes made for arms and head, approached.  He stood
talking to the boys in an attitude of utter grace.  His calm scrutiny of
us all was very amusing; just as observing and curious as any city-bred
man.  He went over to the cactus hedge and cut a pailful of cactus
apples.  We could not handle one without having our hands pierced with
hundreds of the little briers found on them.  This Kafir sharpened the
end of a long stick, and then stuck it into an apple, and after
dexterously peeling it with a sharp knife, he offered it to us, as if it
had been a bonbon.  We were very thirsty, and we found these cactus
apples delicious.

The boys had two dogs with them.  One, "Satan," a forbidding-looking
brute, was the remains of what had been a fine Russian water dog, but
life in Africa had not agreed with either his appearance or temper.  He
was a disagreeable brute, but after a time got amiable enough to
approach the wagon.  Poor little "Stumpy," the other dog, was the
queerest, quaintest little mongrel that ever lived.  He would wriggle
his little body most absurdly in vain attempts to wag the apology for a
tail which had given him his name.  If we took any notice of him, he
would go mad with delight.  He did not know whether to bark, or jump, or
gallop, or dance, or stand on his head, and he would try to do them all
at once.

One lazy, hot afternoon Eva and I made a wager as to which of us could
coax Stumpy to come to her; we went in opposite directions and called
him.  The poor little dog's pitiable embarrassment as to which he should
follow, his evident dread of losing either or both his friends by
favouring one or neither, was very funny.  He would go a little way to
Eva, then back to me, then stop, then to Eva, then to me, until finally,
after attempting to split himself into halves and go to both, he gave it
up in despair, and just lay down midway between us and howled, refusing
at last to attempt, what so many men have failed to do, to please two
women at the same time.

CHAPTER TWENTY SEVEN.

Leaving the Orange River at Bethulie Bridge, we continued on the main
road till the morning, when we struck off in a northeasterly direction
for Ahival North, which was reached in a few days.  The town is built
close to the Orange River, and promises to be a place of much
importance, being on the high road between all eastern ports of the Free
State, the diamond fields, and the interior.  It is a pretty town, a
great number of the houses having gardens around them filled with trees.

We stayed here for a few days, and recommenced our journey down the
country, soon exchanging the plains of the Free State and northern
districts for the alternate mountain passes and stretches of open karoo
of the middle veldt.  Passing through the hamlet of Jamestown, with its
one store and few straggling houses, we entered the mountain passes
which cross the Stromberg range.  Soon after entering the first rocky
defile we encountered another violent thunderstorm, which, though
unattended by the disagreeable features of our first one, delayed us
over a day.  We travelled on through the hills, passing through
Dordrecht, a place which bears the reputation of being the coldest place
in the country.

It is a straggling village of about eight hundred inhabitants, with a
few stores and two or three churches.  A resident remarked to us, as he
pointed with pride to the village, "I have lived here for seventeen
years, and seen this place grow up around me," in a similar tone of
voice to that in which we had heard old Chicagoans say the same thing.
But there was a difference in the size of the villages!

The town lies on the northern slope of the Stromberg, and we had several
days' mountain travelling after we left it.

An impression the traveller receives in South Africa, more especially in
the mountain regions, is one of ghostly stillness.  The wild, rocky
hills rear themselves up all around, and often there is not a breath of
wind stirring to break the awful quiet.  Sometimes this silence is
oppressive, and it is a relief to hear even the hideous chattering of a
monkey or the unmusical cackle of a Kafir's laugh.  The giant mountains
in the background seem to look down reproachfully at the traveller for
invading their solitudes, while the dark ravines and deep clefts, in
their rocky sides, suggest all sorts of nameless horrors.

Tigers, or rather leopards, abound in these mountains, but are seldom
seen except by the solitary farmers living in the hills, who are in
perpetual warfare with these savage destroyers of their flocks.  One
morning we found a romantic glen on the side of the mountain, full of
rare ferns, and with a beautiful stream of water dripping and echoing as
it gushed out from the rocks.  It was a lovely day, and we took our
karosses and rugs to the spot, and picnicked there.  We carried along
"Nicholas Nickleby" to read aloud.  Since that day I always associate
the Cheeryble Brothers with ferns, and think of Do-the-boys Hall as
built on top of a precipitous mountain, with a smiling, sunshiny valley
lying at its feet.

The nights were very cold in the Stromberg, and we required all the rugs
and karosses we had to keep us warm at night, sunrise nearly always
showing everything around us, from the tent of the wagon to the blankets
of the slumbering boys, covered with a white hoar frost.

Our wagoner told us an experience of a cold night in the Free State.  He
said: "In the middle of June, two years ago, my partner Jim and myself
started from Bloemfontein for Pretoria.  As the shooting was good on
that road and walking cheap, we decided to go on foot, taking with us a
couple of boys to carry our traps, which were not very extensive,
consisting, in fact, of a change of linen, or rather flannels, a pair of
blankets each, the cooking utensils, and a spare gun.  We had for our
companion a young man whom we had met in Bloemfontein a few days
previous to our departure, a young Scotchman but lately arrived in the
country.  As he wanted to go to Pretoria he proposed to join us.  The
nights during the winter are very cold on the elevated plateaus of the
Free State and the Transvaal.

"Though the midday sun is almost as warm as in summer, one needs to be
well provided with covering if they propose passing the night on the
veldt.  To give some idea of the cold of the plains at night, I may tell
you that a few winters ago several natives, members of a tribe called
the Knob Noses, who were on their way to the fields, were frozen stiff
and stark on the road from Pretoria to Potchefstrom.  The road we
followed was a fair sample of most of the Free State roads, a tolerably
straight path across an uninteresting, unwooded, undulating plain.
Starting about two o'clock in the afternoon, we walked briskly with
occasional halts for coffee until about ten o'clock at night, when the
moon shone at its full, and we decided to turn in for the night.  The
wind was already blowing pretty fresh, and we looked about for the place
in the veldt where the ant-hills were thickest so we might set fire to
two of them to heat our kettles, and to keep us warm during the night.
After having had a cup of coffee, and sat round the fire until we were
all thoroughly warmed, Jim and I slipped off our boots, and putting them
under our heads for pillows, pulled our blankets over our heads and
feet, and were soon fast asleep, of course imagining that Mac would do
the same.  About two o'clock, when the night was at its coldest, we were
awakened by a dreadful groaning, and emerging from our coverings were
astonished to see Mac huddled upon the ground with nothing over him but
a _rubber overcoat_, shivering, chattering, and moaning piteously.  The
fire was out, an icy wind was sweeping around the veldt.  `Good
gracious, Mac, what is the matter; where are your blankets?'  `I
d-d-didn't bring any,' chattered the unfortunate youth.  `Didn't bring
any; then what on earth was that big bundle the Kafir was carrying?'
`That is my b-best clothes,' moaned the sufferer.

"We were soon up and bundled the poor fellow into our blankets, and
waking the boys we made up a roaring fire, and thawed him back to life.
The next day, on arriving at Wynberg, you should have seen Mac rushing
into the first store, and regardless of `siller,' buy two of the
thickest blankets to be had.  This man had never before slept outside
four walls in his life, and had imagined that any place in Africa must
needs be suffocatingly hot at all times.

"I don't think he made the same mistake again."

CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT.

While making some purchases at a wayside store, we had an insight into
the life of a wayside storekeeper.  We found it, instead of monotonous,
full of interest.  The business requires technical knowledge enough to
run a block of stores in a city.

He must be prepared to supply his customers with anything and everything
they may ask for; he must be at home in extolling the best points of a
plough, a gun, or a piece of calico; must know the market price of every
sort of produce the farmer is likely to bring in for sale or barter, and
be well informed in the current news of the day.  He must possess an
unlimited knowledge, as well as stock of liquors; for the Boer, who is
abstemious, as a rule, always expects the man who supplies him with his
"voerchitz" and his coffee to provide him also with plenty of
stimulants.  He must know where to place his hands on any article
wanted, and be as ready to buy your cart and horses, or span of oxen, as
to sell you a can of sardines or a yard of tape.

When a Boer comes into town, or visits the wayside "Negotic Winkel"
(store), he usually makes a day of it, sometimes accompanied by his wife
and daughters, who assume, in honour of the occasion, their purple and
fine linen in the shape of a "kappie" (sunbonnet), and the newest print
gown.  They will come in at six in the morning and remain till dusk,
pricing articles whose value they always depreciate, now and then
buying, but more often not, eating the while a prodigious quantity of
candy "Lakkers," and assuming for the time an air of proprietorship in
the establishment.  This is intensely annoying to the shopkeeper, who,
however, always seems to be possessed of an inexhaustible fund of good
humour, and to be ready at any time to exchange elephantine witticisms
with his Boer customers.  In their wordy conflicts they are politic
enough to allow their opponent to get the best of it.

At dusk Dom Piet and Taute Meitje (every one is uncle or aunt) prepare
to leave.

There is much hand-shaking with everybody, acquaintance or stranger, who
are standing about at the time.  The worthy couple then climb into their
Cape cart, or spring wagon, and drive off home, where they vegetate
until the low condition of the domestic stores compels them again to
visit the store, or until a Nachtmaal is announced at the nearest
church.  The profits of such a store are very large, and, as a rule,
amply sufficient to compensate the proprietor, often a man who has
received his business training in a large wholesale house in England or
Germany, for his eight or nine years of exile.  He has the opportunity,
living as he does in the midst of the farmers, of taking advantage of
the many speculations which the fluctuations in the market prices of
wool, skins, feathers, etc, offer.

The most successful of these shopkeepers are Jews; they seem to have a
happy knack of acquiring the jaw-breaking patois of the country, an
indispensable accomplishment to any one wishing to have successful
dealing with the Boers.

We were now nearing the end of our ox-wagon journey, but were not at all
glad it was so.

We had got fond of this careless, lazy life we had been leading so many
weeks; the very oxen we had come to know by their names of "Blesbok,"
"Witful," "Kafir," etc.  As we neared Queenstown we found ourselves
getting anxious about their welfare, trekking slowly, and making
frequent and long outspans.  When at last we found ourselves on a
common, close to Queenstown, it was with regret we said good-by to our
six weeks' life in an ox-wagon.

CHAPTER TWENTY NINE.

We went to the Central Hotel.  On the second day after our arrival, the
wife of a physician of the town called and invited us to dine with them
on the following day, Sunday.  We did so and made the acquaintance of
the excellent Doctor and his little family of interesting children.  She
then invited us to make her house our home during our stay, and
overwhelmed us with kindness.

Unless you have been in a strange land, away from kindred and all who
know your people, you can never know the deep happiness it gives to meet
with kindness from an utter stranger, as this charming woman was, and to
be invited to a home as lovely as hers.  After the annoyances and
inconveniences of the wretched inns, or hotels, as they were called, to
find such open-hearted hospitality was like meeting with kindred in a
desert land.

Most of the inhabitants of Queenstown are English or Scotch, there being
fewer Dutch or Germans there than in any of the other towns we had
visited.  There are a number of fine churches and schools, with several
newspapers and banks.  The ladies of the place are especially social,
and dress handsomely.  The railway, which had been finished to the port
of East London two years previous to our arrival, seemed to have given
an impetus to trade, and it was confidently hoped by the burghers would
increase rapidly the prosperity of the district.

After enjoying a refreshing season of home life, we said good-by to our
new found friends and then left Queenstown by rail.  Travelling by rail
seemed to us almost a novelty after our late ox-wagon trip, and we could
not help contrasting the new style with the old, not _all_ to the
disadvantage of the latter, for we could not forget the delightful
sleepiness of our inland voyage.  We had a twelve hours' ride before we
arrived at King Williamstown, the road passing through a very pretty
country, pleasantly wooded, and varied by many deep and romantic kloofs.
We were thoroughly tired of the stuffy "compartment" before we reached
our destination.

We went to an hotel, where our wants were well cared for by a pretty
little landlady whose husband was of a most jealous disposition.  The
town is in a region of country where there have been many Kafir wars.
The military stationed there keep the place awake.  It is the fifth town
in point of importance in the colony.

During our stay in Africa we had taken many opportunities to practice
horseback riding, and had learned the supreme delight there is in a firm
seat in the saddle on the back of a well-trained, swift-footed horse.
This exercise is especially enjoyable in Africa, where walking is
unpleasant in the hot sun.  One day we were invited to join in a paper
chase, to a spot distant ten or twelve miles from town.

We were assured of being furnished with suitable "mounts," so we
accepted without hesitation.  There was a sprinkling of uniforms and a
few civilians, and there were several ladies besides ourselves.  There
were also parties in Cape carts who followed the hunt by road.  A cart
driven by a rifleman in uniform was to convey refreshments for our party
to the place of rendezvous.  Presently the fox rode off well mounted.

The "scent" was slung over his shoulder in a capacious canvas bag.  Time
was taken and he was soon clattering down the road, the music of the
horse's hoofs being accompanied by a ringing bugle blast sounded by one
of our enthusiastic huntsmen.  He was to have ten minutes start, and the
interval was taken advantage of by most of our party to see that girths
were tight and bridle reins in order.  Our escort had placed us in good
position to get away with the first rush, and when "time" was called, we
were well down the road in front of the ruck.  It had been arranged
beforehand that the fox should keep to the road for a mile before making
across the country; so at first the whole field were well together
clattering and rattling down the hill at a pace so swift that good care
was demanded on the part of the riders to keep the horses from coming
into collision.

Down the slope, through the shallow stream running across the road in
the hollow, up the rise on the further side, and away along a level flat
on the crest of the hill, till many of the young fellows in uniform were
shouting from sheer exuberance of spirits.  We found ourselves borne
along at a gait that sent the blood flying through our veins.  The day
was fine, a fresh breeze, which swept across the veldt, agreeably
tempering the rays of the sun, which at that hour is decidedly hot.
Small particles of the paper lying along the road and the bushes that
fringed it served to stimulate our exertions, and the whole cavalcade
kept merrily on till we came to the point where a large patch of paper,
lying in the centre of the road, warned us that the chase had turned
off.

Here the larger part of the field deserted us, preferring to keep along
the road, which led in a tolerably direct line to the rendezvous, and
take their chances of sighting the hunt from occasional vantage grounds.
But all the more ardent sportsmen scorned to take advantage of the
highway when the scent led them away from it, and twenty or more elected
to follow the fox.

The paper led us for a mile or more along the upper edge of a deep
kloof, which looked dark and forbidding as we gazed down into its
depths, seeing only the tops of the trees, with which it was literally
crammed.  The scent had been cast with a generous hand, and we rushed
along, feeling intoxicated with the exhilarating exercise and the
glorious air.  All at once our leader reined in his horse, and we saw
the trail had suddenly taken a sharp turn to the right, crossing a small
stream, and disappearing over the brow of a hill on the opposite side.

CHAPTER THIRTY.

With a slight feeling of nervousness we turned our horses' heads to the
water, and hearing our friend's voice calling "Let him have his head,"
we shut our eyes, and one after another went at it--oh!  Our horses were
over and galloping up the opposite slope, we hardly believing that we
had actually "jumped a river."  So soon as we were over we looked back
to see how it fared with the rest, and were almost disappointed to see
that every one cleared the stream.  We had half hoped to see something
like the familiar pictures, in which half the men are in the water, some
of the horses balking, others just dragging themselves out on the bank,
while in the distance we, the triumphant leaders, were skimming along
with the strength of the wind.  Our friend laughed, and said that if we
"lasted" long enough we should see plenty of them spilled before the end
of the hunt.

The pace had told on the horses, and before we had reached the top of
the hill most of us were willing to comply with the silent advice of our
grey-headed cavalier, and pull up our panting horses for a breather.
What a delicious gallop it had been, but it was not over yet.  After
resting for a few minutes at the top of the rise we started off again
with fresh enthusiasm, a little steadier, perhaps, than when we left
home.  One of our party had a fall over his horse's head, the animal
putting his foot into an ant-bear hole, one of the little treacherous
caves which we seemed to find everywhere.

Our little party, however, remained intact, and we soon reached the
timber, in which considerable caution was necessary in following the
scent through the straggling bushes.  Our escort dismounted to find the
likeliest and clearest path through, our quarry, with the true foxy
cunning, having laid the trail in just those places best calculated to
bother a horseman.  Fortunately the obstruction was not very wide, and
we emerged on the other side, where we were cheered by a sight of the
fox, nearly two miles off.

A yell from our party, intended to be a view halloo, greeted him, and
brought the stragglers crashing through the bushes at a great rate of
speed.  Off we started again, now leaping a ditch or scrambling through
a sluit, now crashing through bushes and stumbling over ant-hills.  At
last, however, we were forced to give up all hope of again sighting the
fox, and philosophically jogged along the trail until we found our
quarry lying in the shade of two gigantic gum trees, which, being a
well-known landmark, had been fixed upon as the goal.

Feeling very tired after the excitement of the long race, we were glad
to jump off our horses and find comfortable seats on the grass.  Soon
the roadsters began to arrive singly, and in twos and threes, and after
a while our picnic basket was unpacked.  We were glad to be able to
prove the truth of the saying, "as hungry as a hunter."  We spent the
remainder of the day under the trees, listening to the stories our
military friends had to tell us of their experience in the neighbourhood
during the late Kafir war.  We were in the Perie bush, which had been a
stronghold of Sandillis' men for months in 1878, and many a colonist was
killed before the savages were dislodged.  We rode home quietly in the
cool of the evening, very stiff from our morning scamper, but feeling
that we had laid in a stock of ozone which would last a long while.

There are some very fine botanical gardens in King Williamstown, always
kept in order and most delightfully placed along the banks of the
Buffalo River, beside which the town is built.  On returning at sunset
one afternoon from these gardens, we were walking in front of four
well-dressed Kafirs, evidently living in domestic service in the town.
They were two men and two women.  Suddenly they struck up a wild melody
which thrilled us as we listened; one voice took up the melody, then the
second voice joined in, then the third and fourth, until the song
swelled into a triumphant hymn; the soprano seemed to be singing an
octave higher than an ordinary soprano voice, but it was merely the
peculiar timbre of the voice which made it sound so.  The bass rolled
out like an organ peal, and when the singers turned away from us to go
up the hill, keeping on in their wild "hallelujahs," we could scarcely
keep from following them.

The only music that can give an idea of it is to be heard in some of the
strains "Aida" has to sing.  Verdi seems to have thoroughly caught the
spirit of these dusky-coloured people, which is a closed book to most of
the white race.

Perhaps one of the reasons of the failure of many of the missionaries in
their work among this peculiar people is, that it takes a many-sided man
to comprehend a race whose traits are entirely different from his own.
As a rule, the men sent out to Africa as missionaries are _not_
many-sided, nor do they possess that to them most necessary of all
gifts, a _practical_ knowledge of human nature.

CHAPTER THIRTY ONE.

After remaining a few weeks in King Williamstown we had a longing to see
the ocean, and accordingly, one evening, took the train for East London,
two hours distant by rail, and fell asleep that night to the sound of
the waves rolling up on the shore.  The next day we went down the steep
hill-side to the beach, and played with the pebbles and pretty
sea-shells, as happily as children with their wooden spades and pails.
When the tide is out the rocks are strewn with wrecks, one of which we
climbed upon, and let the spray of the waves dash upon us.

East London is rather a misnomer, for by that term people mean Panmure,
which is built on the opposite bank of the Buffalo to the old town of
East London; but Panmure, having grown up and eclipsed its elder
brother, the old name seems to cling to it, and East London, the larger
and more important town of the two, is indicated.  It is very
picturesquely situated.  The Buffalo River finds its way to the sea at
this point, between excessively high and bountifully wooded banks.  East
London proper is erected on the western point of the junction of the
river with the ocean, while Panmure looks down upon it from the higher
elevation of the eastern bank.

The town is rather scattered, but rejoices in some of the most energetic
and pushing colonists in the country.  They are trying hard to bring
their town into the front rank of colonial towns, and are spending vast
sums of money in the attempt to make a harbour of the mouth of the
river, at present barred with sand.  A breakwater was in course of
erection by convict labour, which is confidently expected to do great
things for the port, but so far there is no communication between the
shipping and the shore but by means of lighters and steam launches.

There are three or four highly prosperous rowing clubs in Panmure, and
our hotel proprietor, being a member of one, we were enabled to spend
several delightful days in exploring the romantic banks and creeks of
the Buffalo, which here resembles our own Hudson in picturesque
loveliness.  We remained three very pleasant weeks in East London
enjoying the sea, and, after debating the question, we decided to go to
Natal.

Our thoughts had been turned toward that colony for some time, as we had
heard much of the beauty of the country.  It is necessary to make the
voyage by sea, for, although Natal touches the Cape Colony along the
boundary line of one hundred and fifty miles or more, there is little or
no regular land communication, the Cape districts adjacent to Natal
being still peopled by natives as yet but little removed from barbarism.
There is no highway from one colony to the other, and communication is
almost entirely by sea.

The port of East London bears the unenviable distinction of being for
more than half the days in the year almost unapproachable.  The
roadstead is quite open, there being no bay of any kind, and the coast
facing southeast, it is exposed to the full fury of the worst gales
known in these latitudes, the _South-easters_.  On a hot summer's day we
boarded the tender which was to take us only to the steamer.  We were
warned by the residents that it was rough outside the "bar," but we
could scarcely believe them as we looked out on the placid waters of the
estuary.  We were soon convinced, however, for as soon as the little
steamboat began to feel the swell which at all times surges over the
sandy bar, she tossed and danced about in a manner which made us wish we
had not started for Natal.

But we were in for it now, so covering ourselves completely with our
rubber coats we did not fear the spray and surf that dashed completely
over our little vessel as she blustered and fought her way, inch by
inch, against the mighty rollers that seemed to rear up to drive us
back.  After several minutes of this we cleared the bubbling surf that
boiled over the bar, and found ourselves in the long rolling swell of a
heavy sea, which, if as dangerous, was not quite so unpleasant.  We
arrived alongside the steamer, which appeared to us, on our erratic
little craft, to be as steady as a rock, so large and stately did she
seem.  We were told we should have to be hoisted on board in a basket,
as there was no possibility of our approaching near enough to the
vessel's side to get up by the usual companion ladder.

A huge basket was slung down, suspended from the immense derrick on the
ship's deck, and into this we were unceremoniously packed, two at a
time.  Then we were quickly hauled up, our dignity suffering in the way
we were "dumped" down on the deck like jugs of molasses, or Falstaff
going to the wash.  We smoothed our ruffled plumage with the consolation
that we were "doing" South Africa, though it seemed to us at the time
that the reverse was the case.

It was too dark when we left East London to see anything of the coast,
but on coming on deck the next morning we found the scenery before our
eyes.  The coast from west to north-east is very little broken, and
presents a uniform rocky shore, but the scenery is really beautiful.
Hundreds of small streams, and one or two larger ones, empty themselves
into the sea on the Kafrarian coast, and the kloofs through which they
find their way to the ocean are veritable fairy glens in loveliness.
The steamer here kept close to the shore, so everything was seen with
distinctness.

The wonderful clearness of the atmosphere made every bold wrinkle on the
face of the cliffs, the direction of the water courses, every curve of
the kloof to be clearly discovered.  One feature of the country with
which we had become familiar was here conspicuous by its absence.  No
mountains of great altitude could be seen, the great ranges which run
right round the coast line with one unbroken wall here receding so far
from the sea as to be beyond the reach of our vision even in that rich
and brilliant light.  We passed Mazeppa Bay, the scene of so many wrecks
that it has become famous, the great Kei River and many points of
historical interest.

The captain told us that this entire coast was for a long time laid down
on the charts nearly a degree too far west, which was, no doubt, the
cause of the numerous marine disasters that have occurred among its
breakers.  Next day we sighted the mouth of the Saint John's River, of
which place hopes are entertained that it will one day be made a
practicable harbour.  There is a small settlement here, and a station
for the mounted police.  From here we began to see many charming houses
dotted along the shores.

The beauty of the country has tempted a great number of Europeans to
pitch their tents here.  Major-General Bissett, who has written several
interesting histories of the Kafir wars, has built himself a house not
far from Saint John's, which, with the surrounding estate, has every
appearance of being a delightful spot to retire to from the busy world.

It was a Christmas day, 1497, that the great Portuguese voyager, Vasco
da Gama, first sighted the headlands and bluffs of Natal, and it was on
Christmas day nearly four hundred years after (it is strange how history
repeats itself) that we Yankee girls landed in Durban!

CHAPTER THIRTY TWO.

Durban lies in a landlocked harbour about three and one-half miles long,
and about six hundred yards wide.  At the entrance it is--O South
African Nemesis!--obstructed by a sand-bar which modern engineering
science, fighting against nature, has failed to remove.  The sand,
however, is shifting, and at times vessels drawing twelve to fourteen
feet of water can enter the harbour and come up to the wharf of the
city.  We were soon transported to the steam launch that awaited us,
and, passing under the shadow of the great giant bluff which terminates
the southern arm of the entrance to the harbour, crossed the bar, and
landed on the quay.

The day was intensely hot, by far the hottest we had experienced since
our arrival in the country.  The landing wharves and custom-house are
situated at the extremity of the northern arm of the harbour, and we had
a drive of nearly a mile to reach the town.  It was soon evident to us
that we were in a different country from that we had just left.  Natal
is essentially an English colony, and bears a much closer resemblance to
Australia than the Cape Colony, with its mixed European and African
population.

The town of Durban consists of a long, straggling main street, which is
about two miles in length, containing many very handsome stores, with a
few cross streets to keep the longer ones in countenance.  Few of the
business men live in the town, most of them having residences on the
Berea, a beautiful hill which overlooks the town two miles distant, on
which the handsome houses of the citizens are seen rising in well laid
out terraces facing the town and the sea.  The entire hill-side is
thickly interspersed with lovely foliage trees.  The public park on the
Berea is full of the most beautiful flowering trees and creepers, while
so prodigal is nature in this favoured climate that the very paths are
bordered by pine plants and orange trees; bananas, shaddocks, and other
luscious fruits hanging in rich profusion everywhere.

The weather was so inviting that we spent most of the time out of doors.
One of the first things that attracts the visitor's attention on
arrival in the country is the black man, from the Hindoo Coolie to the
powerful Zulu.  The chief native tribe of Natal is the Zulu, whose
records form an important part of colonial history.  They are physically
magnificent, tall, broad-chested, with coal black skin that shines like
satin, and a walk that shows strength and power.

They are decidedly intelligent, but have a strong objection to giving
their services readily and continuously for any sort of work, and are to
be found in domestic service in the towns, on the beach and wharves; but
one seldom sees any of them in the field.

The heart of Zulu Land lies within a few hours' ride from Durban.
Though the country is crowded with native Africans, field labour is
difficult, nearly impossible to obtain on any permanent arrangement, a
trouble which forms another complication in the already sufficiently
intricate problem of native labour.  As a consequence, the colonists
have been forced to import Coolies, so far with a most satisfactory
result.  All, or nearly all the labour on the estates is performed by
imported Hindoo Coolies.

The sugarcane is largely cultivated on the coast line, the climate being
almost, if not quite, tropical, and the vegetation to be seen by the
roadside and on the distant hills is more like what we expect to find in
Africa than the more temperate products of the old colony.  The climate
of Natal is one of the boasts of the inhabitants.  It is nearer the
tropics than the Cape, but the mean temperature is little above that in
the more southerly colony; the winter is bright, with deliciously mild,
cool evenings and nights, while the summer heat is softened by a clouded
sky and frequent rains.

Almost anything seems to grow in this genial land, and many of the
colonists, apparently more enterprising than their brethren in the older
colony, have extensively laid out and cultivated farms.  We spent a week
at Malvern, twelve miles from Durban, where a Yorkshire gentleman, who
had considerable practical experience in scientific gardening in
England, and had travelled extensively in America, had turned his little
farm into a perfect paradise.  There is hardly anything edible in the
way of fruit or vegetable, or beautiful in flower, that is not growing
in profusion and to perfection in his grounds or glass-houses.  In
addition to acres of strawberries, pines, oranges, etc, there were
several hundred vines of the Catawba grape, with which he intended to
experiment in wine-making.  He was confident of success, and certain
that the manufacture of wine would be one of the future great industries
of the country.

A number of very prosperous companies, with their own estates, mills,
and machinery, are engaged in the manufacture of sugar, molasses and
rum, while many private speculators raise, in addition to the sugarcane
and coffee, tea and rice, and some experiments have been made with
cotton.  Some Parsee merchants have been attracted there from Calcutta,
and in the quarter of the town where they chiefly reside the
surroundings are such as would make a stranger think he was in the back
streets of an Indian town.  The Coolies make excellent cooks and capital
nurses.

The processions of the idolatrous Coolies are a most interesting sight.
We witnessed one of these parades which they seem so fond of making.

They were dressed and made up in all sorts of fantastic ways, carrying
extraordinary models, all made of paper, of palaces, wild animals, etc,
which they burn amid great shoutings and beatings of tom-toms at the end
of the day's rejoicings.  Their chief idol was carried in the centre of
an escort of gorgeously attired priests, while round it were carried
smaller ones.  Fifty to one hundred grotesquely attired Coolies were
yelling, dancing, and throwing somersaults, during the beating of the
tom-toms and the general uproar.

The intelligent-looking Zulu, who, despite his philosophical appearance,
I fear is not one whit more enlightened, stood still and looked gravely
on.  Such novel scenes as these, and the beauty of the surrounding
country made our stay very interesting.

The northwestern boundary of the colony is the great Drakensbergen,
which mountains are more properly the edge of the great stretch to the
table-land situated in the centre of the continent.  The aspects of this
great precipice along its whole length are grand and romantic, and as
the land at its foot does not subside to the sea by easy levels, Natal
is picturesque everywhere.  The midland districts have in many parts the
look of the English downs; they are rolling sweeps of grass.  The coast
lines are singularly beautiful, with their round bosses, rich in bush
and glade, while the shore presents a bold outline, with projecting
bluffs thickly covered with jungle, and long stretches of lands broken
by rocky floors and reef, on which the surf of the Indian Ocean
majestically breaks.

A favourite trip for the town's people is to take a boat and cross the
lagoon to the bluff, where the scenery is highly romantic both at the
base of the great headland and inland.  A forest of fine trees lies a
little beyond the bluff, and here the sportsman may find bush buck, a
large description of antelope, in plenty, besides smaller varieties in
any number, and may also make the acquaintance of boa constrictors,
python and puff adders, or disturb the slumbers of a leopard or black
mamba before he returns home.  Of all the snake stories that were told
us in Africa, those of Mr Cato, our American Consul, were the best.  He
was one of the first settlers in Durban.  Of course when the country was
as wild as it once was, snakes had a chance they don't get nowadays, and
made the best of their opportunities.  A colonel in the English regiment
stationed there, a very popular and handsome fellow, went hunting during
our stay, and in alighting from his horse in the tall Zulu grass,
stepped on a deadly puff adder, which raised its ugly hooded head and
stung him.  In an hour he was a corpse.

The personal experiences of nearly every resident were not so
interesting as they were thrilling.  One gentleman, who occupied a
position of trust, and whose word could be depended upon, told us a
snake story which I do not believe was exaggerated.  He was alone in his
house one night, and was awakened from a deep sleep by a peculiar sound.
He listened, and soon had a feeling that a snake was crawling through a
knot-hole in the bare floor.  He lay nearly paralysed, the perspiration
oozing out all over his body until, with an effort, he sprang up and
over the foot of his bed, and rushed into the next room.  He struck a
light, and returned to see if there was any ground for his fright, and
found a long, deadly puff adder lying on his bed which he had so lately
vacated.  We heard other stories just as horrid; it was a fascinating
subject.

After remaining in Durban several weeks we prepared to visit the
capital, Pieter Maritzberg, a town forty miles distant.  It is connected
with Durban by a railroad, which is being extended to the Transvaal
border, and thence into the interior.  The region on the right of the
road from Durban to Maritzberg, after Pinetown, a town midway between
them, has been passed, is remarkable for its fantastic assemblage of
sugar-loaf hills.

CHAPTER THIRTY THREE.

The first glimpse we had of Pieter Maritzberg was very pleasing.  A
spirit of freedom and sociability pervaded the very air.

Several banks, newspaper and Government offices had fine, imposing
buildings.  The town is surrounded by beautiful hills and lovely drives.
Here the camellia trees grew to the height of twenty feet, bearing
their crimson and white, scentless flowers.  Flowers grew in profusion
without any coaxing, and the winter days were like those of our early
spring.

Owners of the handsome houses had some satisfaction in beautifying the
grounds surrounding them, as everything planted tried to bloom at its
best.  The cactus plant, with its brilliant flower and rugged leaves,
formed hedges, whilst vines clambered over lovely little villas that
smilingly looked out at the passer-by.

The hotel was pleasanter than any we had been in.  Soon after our
arrival we were fortunate in finding several large rooms comfortably
furnished, where we lived in health and happiness.  The restaurant near
by supplied our table in our own dining-room, and Coolie boys waited on
us.  The service of the boys in a warm climate like Natal was a great
relief.  Our young Coolie, David, who attended to the household duties,
was the prettiest boy in Maritzberg, but this was not to be wondered at
after seeing his mother.  Unlike the usual small, childlike Coolie
woman, she was tall, with beautiful dark eyes, waving raven black hair,
and dimpled cheeks; over her head and shoulders hung carelessly and in
graceful folds the yellow handkerchief.  How I wished I had the talent
to sketch her as she stood, for "our special artist" was not there at
that moment.

Another characteristic thing we had to accustom ourselves to was our
_washerman_.  A black man would come and get the bundle of soiled
clothes, and take it down to the river; he and his wife would stand in
the water by a big flat rock, and with a stone proceed to pound the dirt
out of our linen.  We had a few dozen or so of garments returned, with
laces bedraggled and holes knocked through the delicate fabrics.  It was
necessary to call in a sewing woman to make up a bolt of linen for new
garments; but our experience was gained and paid for.

As we intended to make this visit to Natal our farewell to South Africa,
we spent much of our time in extensive rides to various parts of the
country.  We owned six horses and a light running two-seated Cape cart
that served to make our excursions into the surrounding country
delightful.  Our leaders were famous hurdle racers.  Our wheelers were
famous for having been used by the Empress Eugenie during her sad visit
to Zulu Land.

She came in her loneliness to visit the spot where her noble son, the
Prince Imperial, had fallen, pierced through by the cruel assegais of
the Zulus, who had surprised him in the tall Zulu grass when hunting.
He fought single handed, and returned backwards to his horse.  When
found dead it was proved on examination that he had met death bravely,
having received every wound with his face to his black foe.

We started one fine morning for a drive to some famous falls several
miles distant from Maritzberg.  It took half an hour to climb the long
town hill, and we were on the downward grade when the brake of our cart
broke.  The horses were soon on a run down the steep, rocky road, and it
seemed as if nothing could save us from being mixed up with the horses'
heels.  No one uttered a word, but we soon saw that our only hope lay in
keeping the horses in hand.  The long whip whistled over their heads and
struck the leaders a sharp cut, for upon those two horses depended
everything; if they would only leap and jump away from their flying
companions in the rear we were safe.  The dear creatures seemed to know
what had occurred, and they just lifted their beautiful heads and fairly
skimmed the earth, going as far to one side of the road as they could,
and then across to the other side, thus keeping the cart from rolling
down upon them.  Not more than ten minutes elapsed from the time we
started on that downward grade until we reached the level road.  Here a
wheel came off, and down we all went, and the horses came to a
standstill.  We were only too glad to come to a halt, no matter how
sudden.

On our return journey we met two native witch doctors, with their
peculiar musical instruments in the shape of a mandolin, and made by
their own hands.  Mr Watson, editor of the Natal _Witness_, was of our
party, and requested them, in their own language, to dance for us, which
they did, playing on their instruments and keeping perfect time with
head and feet, and certain undulations of the body.  The faces of the
dancers grew more and more serious as the dance proceeded.

Walking along the street one day I observed a tall Zulu approaching,
dressed to his knees in a sleeveless shirt.  He stood about six feet
high, and carried a knob cane.  As he approached the very earth seemed
to shake under his powerful tread, and as he passed and breathed out an
"umph," "umph," at each step, a cold chill went all through me, and I
felt for the first time that the strongest pale-face was a mere child
compared to this mighty black man.  His physical force was so great
that, as he passed, I felt as if my spirit had been overthrown by a wave
of power.

The very social people we met in Maritzberg aided us in making
excursions full of interest.  We were afforded opportunities for
visiting some Zulu kraals, and in that way gained much knowledge of this
remarkable people.

Near one kraal lay three women on the ground, basking in the sun.  Their
dress consisted of the skins of a few small wild animals hanging from
their waists, whilst strings of beads, glass and metal adorned neck,
waist, and ankle.  During the time we stood watching them they spoke a
few words, consisting of vocal sounds and clicking the tongue against
the roof of the mouth; but they never moved hand or foot, and rarely
winked as they gazed at us.  A stay in Africa would give to a sculptor
ample opportunity for study from superb models.  We might easily have
imagined, as we stood looking at them, with their rounded necks and
limbs glancing in the sunlight, that we were gazing on statuary in
bronze.  Cunning little naked children, with rounded little limbs and
big swelled stomachs, peculiar to these children, were playing round
them, but they are such timid creatures that as we approached they crept
into the hole of their hut on all-fours.

The known records of the race date back to 1810 and a famous warlike
chief Chaka, who led his men to victory against both black and white,
enslaving the former and driving Dutch and English back of the
Drakensberg and to the sea.  There are many students of native history
who assert that the Zulus were originally from Northern Africa, and had
fought their way through opposing tribes, down to the country they now
hold, which teems with game, and is rich in gold and minerals.  There
are even those who say that they are the offshoot of an outlying tribe
of the ancient Egyptians.  This, however, must be merely conjecture,
and, if the report contains a grain of truth, the early Egyptians have
considerably altered in their physical and mental peculiarities during
their three or four thousand years of travel through the equatorial
regions.

These Zulus, however, are exceptionally brave, and fight, as the
colonists will testify, like fanatics or fiends.

Their old military chief, "Chaka," who fifty years ago was the warrior
chief of Zulu Land, was justly named the Napoleon of South Africa.  From
a common soldier in the ranks of Dingenayo, he rose to be chief, and was
the first to organise the Zulus into regiments, breaking up the old
tribal system, and training them to the severest discipline.  With but
few exceptions his warriors were not allowed to marry, and were trained
only for military conquest.  The result was, that when they did burst
over the land, and attacked the peaceful tribes in Natal, which at that
time numbered about a million, these Zulu warriors reduced them to a
mere flock of twenty thousand souls hiding in the mountain clefts.

CHAPTER THIRTY FOUR.

It is not to be wondered at that Chaka's grandson, Cetawayo, led his
people to victory through so many wars, until the Zulu is called now by
other tribes the "Invincible."  When a regiment returns from the field
without bringing a certain number of trophies, or having achieved a
great victory, it is publicly disgraced in the presence of the whole
army, its leader put to death, and the regiment disbanded, to be
distributed among other and more proved companies.  In their kraals
their laws are equally stringent, and the colonists declare that until
the white man went among the Zulus, lying and thieving and immorality
were unknown.  They are polygamists.  A man may not marry a wife till he
has proved his valour on the field, can pay her parents for her, and can
show to the satisfaction of his chief that he is able to support her.
Any infidelity on the part of a wife is punished immediately with death.

The Zulu war, although three years had elapsed since that event, was
still the chief topic of conversation at the time of our visit.  It was
a subject the good people of Natal seemed never tired of dilating upon,
nor were we unwilling listeners.  Many of the narrators recount their
own personal adventures whilst serving at the front as volunteers, and
there was hardly one but had lost some dear friend or near relative
during the fierce and bloody struggle with the savage tribe.  We had
many a chat with eye-witnesses of the terrible field of Isandhlwana,
where 800 soldiers were slaughtered by the Zulus, and fearful were the
tales they told of the ghastly scene.  Lord Chelmsford's forces returned
to camp on the evening of the day of the massacre, and the troops had to
bivouac among the mutilated corpses of their comrades, fearing at any
moment that the now dreaded enemy might return.  Imagine the sickening
situation of having to seek repose in the very midst of the fast
decomposing bodies of their comrades.  Some went raving mad.

The Zulus are mighty hunters, and sportsmen are glad to get the
assistance of any of their number when they make up a hunting
expedition.  One day we had quite a hunting adventure.  Some friends had
organised a day's bush hunting, and invited us to join them.  We
accepted their invitation so far as to join them at luncheon.

The spot fixed on was over twenty miles distant from Maritzberg.  We
started at five o'clock, provided with a span of four horses and a fine
Cape cart, in which there was plenty of room for ourselves and our
contribution to the luncheon.  Our team bowled us along in fine style,
after a pull over the town hill, which is four miles to the top, to the
village of Hornick, where we stayed at the hotel for breakfast.

There is a remarkably fine fall of water at this place.  The Umgeni
River falls over a high precipice, and although for the greater part of
the year it is only an insignificant stream, the immense leap the waters
take over the rocky boulders makes a very imposing sight.  Having plenty
of time before us, we spent nearly an hour beside the cataract, watching
the clouds of spray and mist which issued from the lower basin.  After
the horses had been seen to, we started off, very soon diverging from
the main road, and traversed a country covered with tall grass, which
suggested "snakes."  At last, at half past ten o'clock, we reached our
destination, on the outskirts of what appeared to us an extensive
forest.

We soon had the good things we had brought with us transferred from the
cart to a grassy knoll, and our charioteer outspanning and
knee-haltering the horses, let them wander away and graze.  After having
made all our preparations, we sat down on a fallen log, and looked
around us.  It was a beautiful spot; in the deep green forest convolvuli
and other flowering creepers had formed themselves into fantastic
arches, more lovely than art could fabricate.  The silence of the
secluded spot was broken by the notes of many birds, some of them almost
meriting the name of songsters, while the air was full of the buzzing
hum of insects.  The cry of the partridge issued from the underbrush,
and the voice of the lowrie and hornbill could be heard, while the rocks
and branches overhead resounded with the bark of baboons and the
chatterings of monkeys.

Whilst we were dreamily listening to the forest chorus, we thought we
could distinguish above it distant shouts of men, and we stood up
wondering if our hunters had mistaken the hour, or had driven up by
hunger nearly two hours before their time, when bang! bang! went a gun,
less than fifty yards away from us.  Almost simultaneously a magnificent
bush buck burst through the thicket, breaking down everything before
him.  For an instant he stopped short, gazing at us, while we,
spellbound, could only mutely return his stare; suddenly turning off at
right angles, he bounded through our luncheon already spread on the
grass, scattering the comestibles, crockery, and glassware in every
direction.

Just as he disappeared in the opposite bush, ten or twelve Zulus,
brandishing assegais and knob-kerries, with a pack of howling and
yelping dogs at their heels, sprang out from the underwood in hot
pursuit.  In the rear came our sporting friends, looking almost as
savage as their Kafir allies, crashing through the thorn bushes,
seemingly as oblivious of the scratches they were receiving as they
evidently were of our presence.  As they came opposite us, one of them
dropped on his knee, and, taking rapid aim at some object we could not
see, fired.

The shouts of the savages immediately announced that the antelope was
down.  We all rushed in the direction of the spot where the barking and
the yelping of the dogs told us the noble animal was fighting with his
tormentors, and, scampering helter-skelter through the bushes, arrived
on the field of battle.  The buck was down, and almost hidden by the
dogs which hung around him, growling and worrying, while over him in a
superb attitude stood one of the savages, whose gory knife bore evidence
of its having inflicted the _coup de grace_.

The other Kafirs soon drove the dogs away, and we retired to our _al
fresco_ dining hall, before they should proceed with any unromantic
skinning and dismembering.  We had our revenge on the buck for upsetting
our banquet, for he appeared on the table again later on, but on a
_dish_, and very nicely he tasted.

CHAPTER THIRTY FIVE.

The late Bishop Colenso, famous for his disputations on the Old
Testament and also as an arithmetician, was greatly beloved among the
Zulus.  They went to the bishop as to a friend for counsel in political
matters, when they would not listen to the governor or any British
official.  His body when carried to the grave was followed by thousands
of his savage friends.  Many of them had never been in a town before,
but came to attend the funeral of the teacher they loved so well.  The
sight of the half-naked and wild-looking mourners was a very striking
one.  We started early one pleasant Sabbath morning for Edendale, a
missionary station about ten miles from Maritzberg.  As we were sitting
under the trees enjoying the lovely day, there arose from the chapel
near by a sound of voices singing one of Sankey's sacred songs in the
Kafir language.

It seemed as if we were now hearing it sung with all its true pathos for
the first time.  The voices of the women, pitched in a very high key,
wailed it out on the air, whilst the men's voices rolled out like the
swell of a rich but subdued organ, in pedal tones, and all breathed now
soft, now low, in singularly perfect time.  We then strolled up to the
church, and listened to a sermon by a missionary, which was translated
by a black man at his side.

The houses, with farms attached, of these people, which we passed in
walking through the settlement, were similar to the homes of the
industrious civilised American negro.  Very little encouragement on
mission work could be gained from our colonial friends.  Many cases were
cited by them to prove that the religious beliefs of the white man do
not throw any whiter rays of new light upon the barbaric mind than it
already has.  A chief of one of the tribes in the vicinity of Queenstown
went to England, where he received a good education, and it was expected
that he would return to his people with advanced, thoughts.  But he
returned to his blanket.

Then again we knew of a very exceptional case, where the son of a great
chief went to England, and educated himself for missionary work,
including the study of medicine, and returning to his own people did
great good.  This man, Thyo Soga, as he was called, married in Scotland
a Scotch lady, whose sister we met on the fields.  She said that there
never was a finer gentleman, or a kinder husband, either black or white,
ever born than Thyo Soga.

He built a church and mission school, and worked among his people until
stricken down with consumption.

The Kafir is a perfectly healthy being until he puts on clothing and
lives like the white man; then the dread disease consumption, clutches
him and he succumbs.  The well-laid-out reservation of the Presbyterian
Mission at Grahamstown, with its neat houses kept by the natives, would
seem to prove that they can be industrious and civilised, if reached
after in the right spirit.  Many of the Kafir churches that are met with
through the country are self-supporting, and attended by neatly dressed
and seemingly very devout congregations.  There was much more social
life in Maritzberg than in any other South African town.  The ladies
rode horseback a great deal, many of them being fine riders.  The
fashionable landau, dog cart, and basket carriage were constantly met
with.

We occasionally visited the theatre, where a company of fine artists
from across the seas were giving a season of English operas, as well
mounted and sung as we had seen the same works in London.  On command
night, when the governor and his staff of officers would be present in
the boxes, and the audience in full dress, the house presented a
brilliant appearance.  The theatre is not as fine a building as the one
in Durban; the latter was built at a great expense, and was the finest
in the country.

Many English, Scotch and Dutch residents in Maritzberg, combined with
the military stationed there, made the town lively.  It was a place in
which we should have liked to have pitched our tent for a longer period
of time.  But after several months of life as intimate as we could
expect to have in a foreign land, we turned our thoughts to our home in
America, that could never be replaced in our hearts, and left Maritzberg
for Durban.  It was a bright spring day in September when, having packed
our belongings and souvenirs, we stepped on board the steam tug at
Durban which was to take us and several friends over the bar to the
steamer.  The sea and the weather seemed to have entered into a
conspiracy to put on their most alluring dress to do honour to the
departing strangers, and we steamed across the bar, the little steam
launch puffing and smoking as who should say, "Aha! you're going to
America, aren't you?--you've got some fine steamers there, haven't
you?--but look, see how busy I am, what a noise I make, and how
recklessly I brave the dangers of the sand-bar, which those big fellows
outside dare not tackle."

All animate and inanimate nature seemed to smile on us and bid us God
speed, and as we climbed up the ladder that led up the side of the good
ship _Asiatic_, and emerged on her deck, we registered a vow to return
some day to the land of sand and sunshine.

Soon after our arrival on board the bell sounded for strangers to leave
the ship, and the time came to say good-by to the good friends who had
accompanied us on board.  Leave-taking had become a familiar occupation
with us, but yet we never seemed to overcome the misty feeling in the
eyes when the time came to say the one word "Good-bye."

The steamer left her moorings at four o'clock, and soon the bluff, and
the many points around it which we had explored, faded away far astern,
the stars came out, and the old well-known thump of the steamer's engine
began to make us realise that we were going Home.

The voyage around the coast has been already described.  At Fort
Elizabeth we were transhipped into the palatial mail steamer _Moor_, in
which we were to make the journey to England.  From the steamship we had
a splendid view of the town of Port Elizabeth, built as it is on the
hill, which rises quite from the beach.  Almost every house could be
seen distinctly, and every walk and spot that had become so pleasantly
familiar to us, during our stay, we could trace without the aid of a
glass.

We learned that the railroad to Kimberley had been finished.  There is
now no limit to the ambition of the inhabitants of Port Elizabeth.  On
the way to Cape Town we called at Mossel Bay, a picturesque little
seaport lying midway between Algoa and Table Bays.  Georgetown,
thirty-six miles away, is the prettiest place in the Cape Colony.  The
Kinyena Forest, which stretches away to the bay, is one of the few
really large forests in South Africa.  In it elephants and rhinoceri
still roam, and buffaloes, leopards, and every variety of antelope are
found, while from its thickets come most of the hard-wood lumber used
for the wagon-making districts of the colony.

After six days' steaming from Durban we put into Cape Town docks, and
the mighty Table Mountain once more frowned down on us.  We wandered for
the last time through the town.  We called on many of the acquaintances
we had made on our first arrival in the country.  We had been followed
with much interest on our travels.

How our journeys came back to us, and the many happy months passed in
South Africa as we saw the purple cloud we knew was the last glimpse we
should have of Table Mountain or South Africa slowly fading away.  The
voyage to England resembled all other similar voyages in its pleasurable
monotony.

At last, after five years' almost incessant travel, we arrived in
Southampton with the satisfactory feeling that we had accomplished the
object of our voyage.  Our expedition to the Antipodes in search of
health was a success.  Our invalid was returning home a healthy, happy,
contented wife.  What was there for us to ask for more?

We left the ship at Southampton and went on by rail, and soon the
familiar smoky fog which overhangs the monster London received us.

Here our journey ends, for London and New York nowadays are only "across
the way."





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