Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Life in Afrikanderland as viewed by an Afrikander - A story of life in South Africa, based on truth
Author: CIOS
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "Life in Afrikanderland as viewed by an Afrikander - A story of life in South Africa, based on truth" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)



[Transcriber’s Note:

Text delimited by equal signs is bold.

Text delimited by underscores is italic.]



LIFE IN AFRIKANDERLAND



  LIFE IN AFRIKANDERLAND

  AS VIEWED BY AN AFRIKANDER

  A Story of Life in South Africa, based on Truth

  BY

  “CIOS”

  [Illustration]

  LONDON
  DIGBY, LONG & CO., PUBLISHERS
  18 BOUVERIE STREET, FLEET STREET, E.C.
  1897



PUBLISHER’S NOTE


In all times of stress and struggle, it is not from our friends and
supporters, but from our enemies and opponents, that we receive the
best and most practical instruction. If an evil or a peril exist,
it is surely best to know it; and if serious treason be hatching in
dark places, publicity may easily rob it of its main strength and
neutralise its virulence. Further, in order to rightly understand
racial conflicts--of all the most bitter--we must put ourselves in
our adversary’s place in order to arrive at just conclusions. We are
quite aware that in issuing this uncompromising attack upon British
supremacy in South Africa the writer is viewing everything from an
entirely anti-English standpoint, but surely it is of great practical
importance that we should be accurately informed as to the way in which
our adversaries regard us. More practical instruction can be obtained
thus than in any other manner. The intense hostility of the writer to
England is manifest, and a perusal of these pages is calculated to be
of real service to those to whom, as to ourselves, the solidarity and
permanence of the British Empire is a primary consideration.



Dedication


TO MY MOTHER DO I DEDICATE THIS WORK, WHO, I AM SURE, HAD SHE LIVED TO
READ IT, WOULD HAVE APPROVED THE SENTIMENTS EXPRESSED HEREIN, AND WOULD
HAVE THOROUGHLY SYMPATHISED WITH THE EARNEST OBJECT FOR WHICH THIS WORK
HAS BEEN WRITTEN, VIZ., THE ULTIMATE TRIUMPH OF TRUTH.

  CIOS.



PREFACE


TO THE READER,

Gentle Reader, I have written this story in the English language--a
language learned by me, as a foreign language, for the chief purpose of
placing before the English reading public a true and faithful version
of the character and life of an Afrikander. So many libels and false
stories have of late been spread in England and all over the world
about the Boers by enemies of the people inhabiting the Colonies and
States of South Africa, that I could not resist the temptation to write
something in which the truth and nothing but the truth would be told.
I have made the attempt; whether it is to be successful or not, the
reading public must decide.

In this story there is no plot (excepting the Great Complot). It is
simply a story of everyday life, with little or no embellishment. Yet I
trust the reader, in lands far away as well as those living here in my
own beloved native land, will find sufficient to interest him to lead
him on to the end of the book. At the least, there was subject-matter
enough to write about without going out of the paths of Truth. My only
difficulty was not to be led away by my subject and make this work too
large for a first attempt in literature.

The incidents and adventures related, as well as anecdotes by old
Burghers of the South African Republic, are all based upon truth,
and were learned by the writer from the parties themselves. The sad
death by lightning of poor Daniel is true, word for word, even to the
premonition he had of his death, and occurred only as late as the
beginning of this year (1896); and many will recognise the family as
described by the writer.

The writer has mostly made use of Christian names, as all the
characters used in this story are real and living; and it would serve
no purpose to publish real names, while substituted names would only be
misleading. Where politics have been drawn into the story, the reader
may rely upon the truth only having been told of events, as well as
prevailing opinions as expressed by representatives of the different
parties. The latter part of the book is largely devoted to the events
of the New Year (1896) which occurred near Krugersdorp, Johannesburg
and Pretoria, and its results as gathered by one who took note of
everything on the spot, and may be relied upon as being true in every
detail. If I have succeeded in convincing a portion of the public of
the truth, I shall rest well satisfied.

  THE AUTHOR.



CONTENTS


  BOOK I

  CHAP.                                                    PAGE

  I. A DEATH-BED SCENE                                        1

  II. BOYHOOD                                                 3

  III. A CONTROVERSY                                          4

  IV. INDEPENDENCE GAINED ONCE MORE--YOUTHFUL PATRIOTISM      5

  V. YOUTHFUL PRANKS                                         11

  VI. A CHARACTER SKETCH OF OUR HERO                         15

  VII. THOUGHTS AND FLOWERS                                  17

  VIII. STEP-CHILDREN                                        18

  IX. FAVOURITE HEROES                                       21

  X. OUT OF SCHOOL                                           22

  XI. HOPES                                                  23

  XII. THE TRANSVAAL IN PROSPECTIVE                          24

  XIII. THE NESTLING PREPARING FOR FLIGHT                    26

  XIV. COUSINS                                               28

  XV. THE RISING GENERATION                                  29

  XVI. THE APRON STRINGS CUT                                 30

  XVII. FIRST VIEW OF JOHANNESBURG                           32

  XVIII. PRETORIA AND ITS LIFE                               38

  XIX. A DEBATE                                              42

  XX. A HUNTING WE GO                                        46

  XXI. A BOER AND HIS FAMILY                                 48

  XXII. A TALK ON BEES                                       51

  XXIII. GOOD SHOTS                                          54

  XXIV. ANOTHER TRY                                          58

  XXV. A TERRIBLE THUNDER STORM                              61

  XXVI. ’TIS THE WILL OF GOD                                 65

  XXVII. A DANGEROUS FORD                                    66

  XXVIII. A CHANGE OF ROUTE                                  73

  XXIX. THE BUSH VELD                                        76

  XXX. ANECDOTES                                             78

  XXXI. LION STORIES                                         84

  XXXII. DANGERS OF THE CHASE                                86

  XXXIII. SCHRIKRIGHIED                                      93

  XXXIV. STUCK IN THE MUD                                    98


  BOOK II

  I. POLITICAL SUICIDE--HERESY                              106

  II. A GREENHORN                                           112

  III. GOLD BEYOND THE DREAM OF AVARICE--DESPISED           115

  IV. THE JEW                                               119

  V. THE JEW AGAIN--DISCOURAGED                             122

  VI. HISTORY _A LA_ RHODES                                 128

  VII. THE REPTILE PRESS OF SOUTH AFRICA                    133

  VIII. THE TRANSVAAL’S PRESIDENT AND FLAG INSULTED BY
          THE UITLANDERS                                    135

  IX. THE NATIONAL UNION MANIFESTO                          140

  X. A FISHING PARTY ON THE VAAL RIVER                      144

  XI. NEWS OF AN UNEXPECTED INVASION AND BREAK UP OF
          THE FISHING PARTY                                 149

  XII. OFF TO THE WAR--A NIGHT’S RIDE--TERRIBLE NEWS        155

  XIII. THE BATTLE OF DOORNKOP                              164

  XIV. PROBABLE DANGERS AVERTED BY DOORNKOP’S FIGHT         173

  XV. THE FIGHTING PREVIOUS TO DOORNKOP’S BATTLE            178

  XVI. JOHANNESBURG DURING THE CRISIS                       185

  XVII. THE FOLLY OF C. LEONARD AND HIS CLIQUE              191

  XVIII. PRETORIA DURING THE CRISIS                         194

  XIX. POSSIBILITIES AND PROBABILITIES                      199

  XX. JOHANNESBURG SURRENDERS UNCONDITIONALLY--HOME
          RULE FOR THE RAND                                 210

  XXI. THE CHARTERED PRESS AGAIN--JONAH!                    213

  XXII. OUT OF EVIL CAME GREAT GOOD TO THE TRANSVAAL        218

  XXIII. MIJNHEER MEYER CLAIMS HIS HORSE, ONLY TO GIVE
          IT UP AGAIN--THE SONG OF THE BOER                 226

  XXIV. IN THE MIDST OF LIFE WE ARE IN DEATH                230

  XXV. THERE IS MERCY, EVEN AT THE ELEVENTH HOUR, IF YE
          REPENT                                            236

  XXVI. STEVE MEETS A SYMPATHETIC BRITISHER--A
          RETROSPECT                                        242

  XXVII. A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE                             250

  XXVIII. LOVE AT LAST                                      269



LIFE IN AFRIKANDERLAND



BOOK I



CHAPTER I

A DEATH-BED SCENE


A death-bed is always a sad scene, but doubly so when it is that of
a parent surrounded by his or her children, and trebly so when those
children are young and helpless.

Let me introduce the reader to such a scene for a moment, for ’tis good
now and again to be drawn near to death, if only for a moment, for it
brings us face to face with the fleeting and uncertain nature of life,
and admonishes us to be prepared.

Behold, then, a pale weak figure, in a white draped, old-fashioned,
four-post bed; that figure is the figure of a dying man, that man the
father of three children, a boy and two girls, who are standing around
the bed clinging to their mother.

‘But if father is going away, where is he going to, mother?’ said
the boy, the eldest of the three. Alas! he did not realise what was
taking place. He had been told that his father was going away; but he
could not realise that he would see him no more on earth, and that he
would be left alone to fight the battle of life, with only a poor,
poverty-stricken mother to stand between him and starvation.

‘Dear Stephen, he is going to heaven. God has called him and he must
go.’

‘But may we not go with him, mother?’

‘No, my child, we may not go till God calls us.’

‘But when will He call us, mother?’

‘I do not know, dear; we must be prepared to go whenever He calls; it
may be to-morrow, or it may not be for years.’

‘But when shall we see father again, mother?’

‘When God calls us to heaven, too, dear.’

‘Come near, Stephen,’ his father called to him in weak and trembling
tones. ‘Steve, my son, I want to say a few words to you before I leave
you. First I want you to take care of your mother and sisters as much
as you can. Your mother will be weak and unprotected, and when you are
grown up, you must work and support her and your sisters as best you
can. Then I want you to promise to always fear God and look to Him
for aid in time of need, and serve Him to the best of your ability
in time of prosperity. And lastly, I want you always to be faithful
to your country and your people. Remember that here we are a vassal
race as yet. But thank God there are two bright spots in South Africa
where our people are free, and acknowledge only one King--God--the
King of kings. And if ever the time should come that you may be
able to aid in bringing our people nearer to being a one and united
people--free--under God’s guidance, do your best. Do you promise?’

‘Yes, father, I will do my best.’

‘I know, child, you can hardly understand these things yet, but when
you are older you will understand what I mean. Your mother will write
my request down for you, and when you are grown up and are a man, you
will understand. Now kiss me all of you. May God bless you and be a
father to you all. Amen.’



CHAPTER II

BOYHOOD


Seven years have passed, our young hero has grown considerably. He is
now twelve years of age. Behold him once more. He is kneeling near
to his mother and sisters. The mother is praying. ‘Oh, God,’ she
prays,‘have mercy on our dear people. Oh, Jesus, they are of our blood
and our race, and they have done no wrong as a people. Oh, Christ, they
have fled into the wilderness to worship Thee in quiet and in peace.
Oh, God, they have done naught but they have done it in Thy name. Oh,
Lord, they have struggled against famine and troubles untold. Oh,
Jesus, they have bled and fought against the heathen and Thou hast
always succoured them. When death faced them Thou saved them and said,
“Live, and be a _people_.” Oh, God, Thou wilt surely not desert them
now. Lord aid, even though victory seems impossible to human minds.
Thou art the God of battles, and to Thee all things are possible. Oh,
Lord, in Thee do we and they trust, now and evermore. Amen.’

They rise, and Steve goes up to his mother and stands leaning fondly
against her.

It is January 1881. It is the time of the Transvaal struggle for
independence and freedom.

Daily alarming telegrams arrive, and tear the hearts of relatives and
friends of the poor struggling immigrants in the Transvaal. The killed
and wounded of the Boers are always given in hundreds. We _now_ know
how lying these telegrams were. But the friends of the Boers did not
then know what was true or not.

Steve nestled near to his mother and said,--

‘But, mother, cannot we go and help our people in the Transvaal? Surely
it is not so far away but we can reach them, and fight by their side?
And,’ drawing himself up to his full height, ‘if needs be, we can die
with them.’

‘My dear, you are far too young to talk about fighting and dying in
battle; but it is impossible, even if you were old enough, to do so.
There is many and many a heart here that beats in unison with our race,
fighting for freedom in the Transvaal, and would gladly take up arms
for them. But, alas, we are bound hand and foot, and are surrounded
by the enemy. We cannot leave here a day’s march, but the English
Goverment will stop our people from going to help their friends in the
Transvaal. We are surrounded by enemies. No, child, we can only pray
and trust in God.’

‘And will God help them if we pray for them, mother?’

‘Yes, child, for their cause is just, and God always helps in a
righteous cause.’



CHAPTER III

A CONTROVERSY


‘Steve, you are talking nonsense.’

A group of boys were standing talking, warmly arguing about the
all-absorbing topic of the day--the Transvaal war.

‘I should like to know why I talk nonsense more than you?’

‘Why, you say that the Transvaal Boers can fight against England and
win. I should like to know how a few Boers can fight against England,
when we have already more soldiers on the Transvaal border than there
are Boers to fight, and there are as many more coming out from England,
with ever so many cannon. And when these arrive, what will your Boers
do then? You are talking nonsense, I say!’

‘I am not talking nonsense, for mother says that, if we pray to God to
help our people, He will surely do so, and then they will win; for God
is stronger than England and all the world besides.’

Steve’s opponent smiled derisively, as if he thought Steve was talking
nonsense worse than ever--as if people could swallow such childish
superstitions in the latter end of the nineteenth century, that God
fights the battles of nations; these things are too antiquated! But,
thought he to himself, I might as well fight it out with him on his own
ground, and with his own weapons, so he said,--

‘But, Steve, the English people will also pray; and why do you think
God would answer your people’s prayers more than the prayers of the
English?’

‘Because God only answers our prayers when we pray for a righteous
thing; and our people’s cause is righteous; the cause of the English is
unrighteous, for they seek to oppress a weaker people than themselves,
who have done them no harm.’

Steve’s simple faith in his mother’s teachings and in the promises of
his God, had given him the victory in this schoolboy controversy. His
opponent could only smile in a depreciating sort of way and walk off.



CHAPTER IV

INDEPENDENCE GAINED ONCE MORE--YOUTHFUL PATRIOTISM


Those were anxious times for all true South Africans--the time of the
Transvaal war of independence. At first, nothing but cooked telegrams
came, which made out that the Boers wherever met were being defeated.
But later the truth leaked out, as it is ever bound to do, viz., that
the Boers were wondrously victorious in every battle that had been
fought. The accounts of Bronkorstspruit, Laingsnek and Schuimhoogte
were received with mixed feelings in the town of G----n, in the Cape
Colony, where Steve and his mother lived. Mixed, in that they were
received by all Afrikanders and Republicans with joy and thanksgivings
to Him, to Whom alone they ascribed the victory of their brethren;
but with anger and almost with unbelief by the Imperialists. _They_
could not believe it, for how was it possible for those cowardly
(?) Boers (who, it had been predicted, would run away at the first
cannon shot), to defeat the thoroughly armed and disciplined troops of
England, why it is impossible! _They_ believed that such simple faith
as Steve’s _was_ childishness. But what was their consternation when
the disastrous news--to them--of Amajuba came, capped by the tidings
that peace had been concluded favourably to the Boers. They called
shame on England for at last recognising the injustice that they were
perpetrating on a quiet and peace-loving people.

Public opinion in England, and all over the world, had shown the
Imperial Government the error of their ways at last. They had to make
peace after being defeated, and promise the Boers their independence
back again. But the Imperial Government seemed to say, ‘Never mind the
defeat and shame, we will show the Boers a trick or two yet. We will
appoint a Royal Commission, and force a convention on the Boers to our
own liking, and they shall feel the Lion’s paw in another way.’

Yes, England was magnanimous (?) enough to _give_ (?) the Boers their
independence back, but not the independence that had been taken from
them.

Oh, no, English diplomats are not such fools! They took gold from the
Boers; they gave them brass in exchange. They took their independence,
independence in every sense of the word, from them; independence
without conditions, such as was recognised by the Sand River
Convention, but they gave back a false municipal independence, only a
shadow of the independence possessed before.

‘Bah!’ thought these English diplomats, ‘how will these ignorant
Boers know the difference?’ Alas, England, England, where was thy
boasted _honour_ and magnanimity then? Thou protector of the weak and
injured, remember there _is_ a God, Who weighs the nations, as well as
individuals; and the time may arrive, when thou mayest see that dread
hand-writing on the wall with those fatal words, ‘Mene, mene, Tekel,
Upharsin,--Thou hast been weighed, and thou hast been found wanting,
and thou shalt be swept from off the face of the earth. _Stop_--before
it is too late, and use the power and wealth that God has granted thee,
to a better purpose than that of enslaving and oppressing a weaker
people.’

’Twas a glad day for Steve when he stopped before the notice board of
the local paper one day and read the news of the Transvaal victory at
Amajuba, and that peace and freedom were promised to the people of his
father. He ran joyfully to his mother and cried out, ‘Mother, mother,
God has heard our prayers, the Transvaal has won, and our people are
_Free_.’

‘Is that true, my son?’

‘Yes, mother, I have just seen it on the notice board,’ and then Steve
told her all he had read on the board.

His mother, God-fearing and grateful, made him kneel at her side, and
poured out praises and thanksgivings to God Almighty, Who had thus
wrought a miracle to save His people.

Does England realise that the Boers are a God-fearing people, who have
never heard of materialism, Atheism and other blaspheming _isms_? still
less do they believe in such. No, they believe simply, and with the
faith of a child in God and His word:--‘If your faith is no larger than
a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say to that mountain “_Go_,” and it
_shall_ go, “_Come_,” and it shall come.’ The Boers had _faith_, and
they moved not mountains, but they moved--England.

While the war was still going on, and the ultimate end of the war was
yet uncertain, Steve, to show his patriotism, and to prove that he was
not ashamed to be called a Boer (which name was generally used by the
English as a name of contempt and reproach), got up an association
amongst all his young Afrikander friends. In this association there
was only one rule, and this rule was, that no member was to speak to
another member without using as a name of endearment the name ‘_Boer_.’
Each one was to be honoured when addressed by another member by being
called ‘Boer’; and for some time the English schoolmates of these young
patriots were surprised to hear remarks such as these, ‘Hillo, “Boer,”
are you going for a swim this afternoon,’ or, ‘I say, “Boer,” let us go
and have a feed of grapes at Tante (auntie) Sannie this evening.’ And
even to this day, when these young men are grown up and are scattered
over the country, when corresponding with each other, they are in the
habit of beginning their letters in this way,--

‘My dear old Boer. I received your last letter,’ etc., and they have
lived to see the name of Boers not only not to signify shame any
longer, but to be honoured by friends and foes.

Steve was over jealous of the good name of his people, and lost no
opportunity to stand up for them.

Our young hero had one staunch English friend, that is English in that
his parents were English, but he was Afrikander born, and he was an
Afrikander at heart. He was named Gus Turner. These two young friends
were standing together amongst a group of other boys one day arguing on
politics as usual. Why shouldn’t they?--their parents talked nothing
else all day.

A young man named Jim M’Murphy was speaking sneeringly. He was strongly
built, and considerably larger than Steve. He was saying,--

‘It is all humbug these Boers having beaten our soldiers. They are all
cowards!’

‘You lie!’ cried Steve in his anger; and before he knew what was going
to take place, he was sprawling on the ground, with a bloody nose from
an unexpected blow. But Steve was not the boy to accept punishment
unreturned, so he jumped up and hit his assailant on the eye, which
spoilt the sight of that eye for a day or two.

‘Well done, Steve,’ cried Gus; ‘do it again.’

But he had no time to do it again, for at that moment one of the
teachers appeared on the scene and put a stop to further fighting. But
M’Murphy had not done with him yet; a black eye was not to be taken
tamely by an Englishman from a Boer!

That night, when Steve went home from the evening preparation class at
school, he was surprised to see a crowd of street arabs outside the
school door. These youngsters were composed of Kaffirs, Hottentots,
and bastards of all colours. To explain their presence, we must state
that M’Murphy’s father kept a grocery store; among other good things,
he retailed sugar sticks. Jim M’Murphy was his fathers’ assistant when
not in school, and thus had full access to his father’s stock of sugar
sticks, and he used these sugar sticks as payment to his regiment of
young ragamuffins, who were to assist him in having his revenge on
Steve for the black eye given him. What he really intended doing with
Steve, when he had captured him, has never been revealed; but as soon
as Steve had walked a few paces from the school door, pushing his way
through the crowd with the assistance of Gus Turner, and wondering what
in the world was up to call such a crowd together, he felt his jacket
pulled violently from behind and heard M’Murphy’s voice calling out,--

‘Here he is.’ In a moment two or three more had hold of him before he
knew any evil was intended him. But when he saw how the wind lay, he
wrenched his arms free and struck out right and left, always seconded
by Gus Turner, who stuck to his friend like a man. But although Steve’s
arms were now free, M’Murphy still had hold of his jacket, and he
could not reach behind himself to strike at the coward behind his back.
But he was not at a loss yet. He spun round and round as fast as he
could, and here was M’Murphy revolving round him, standing straight out
behind Steve’s back, somewhat like the snake that had hold of Paddy’s
clothing when Paddy was running round the house.

Going round at the speed that Steve was spinning, even M’Murphy had to
let go! and the sudden cessation from his circular motion caused him
to lose his balance, and sent him squirming on the ground. M’Murphy’s
army was now closing up to take Steve and his companion prisoners by
force of numbers, when the teacher once more appeared on the scene,
being attracted by the noise, and scattered M’Murphy’s army (like chaff
before the wind) with his great knobby stick.

Steve and Gus took advantage of this diversion in their favour to clear
round the first corner, but soon found the whole crowd on their track
once more. There was nothing for it now but to run to avoid being
captured. But the enemy could run too, and half-a-dozen of the best
runners amongst the enemy were soon overtaking the two fugitives. The
foremost one was just laying hold of Steve’s coat, when Gus Turner
dropped down right in front of him, tripped him, and sent him head over
heels to the ground, and two more of the enemy, being just behind,
followed suit. But Gus was up again in a moment, and once more he and
Steve ran for it. Gaining a good few paces by the confusion caused
by the tripped enemy, Gus Turner’s home, which was the nearest, was
soon reached. Once protected by the shadow of his castle, and sure of
a safe retreat, the two fugitives stood at bay, and taking out their
catapults, a boy’s most offensive weapon, sent a shower of buckshot
into the ranks of the approaching enemy, who first halted in a crowd at
a short distance, but finding themselves thus bombarded by the hidden
battery of the two boys standing in the dark shadow, the enemy soon
scattered and dispersed, leaving Gus and Steve in possession of the
battlefield.



CHAPTER V

YOUTHFUL PRANKS


It is not our purpose to give a full history of the boyhood of our
hero. We would rather hurry on to give an account of his life as a
man. But we hope our readers will not think it tedious, if we give an
episode or two of his boyhood’s life, which will enable the reader the
better to understand and sympathise with him in his aspirations and
ambitions.

Steve was by no means a paragon of goodness at all times--no boy ever
is. He loved mischief as much as any other boy. We do not believe in
the perfect hero. Every boy and man, as well as girl and woman, has
his or her faults. Steve’s greatest fault was a keen sense of the
ludicrous, which often led him into mischief; besides he loved mischief
for its own sweet sake. He, one night, nearly had to sleep in the
lock-up through his mischievous pranks. He and a companion, thinking it
a pity not to make the best use of a fine moonlight night, proceeded
to prepare for a game of _snake_. To the reader, who has never had the
pleasure and excitement to play snake, I will explain how it is done.

A dark coloured strip of cloth is obtained in the shape and size of a
fine large healthy snake. To one end of this artificial snake the end
of a thin and almost invisible string is tied. The longer the string
the safer the operation is.

Well, Steve and his companion manufactured just such a snake. They laid
the snake on one side of the street in the regulation way. That is in
the shape a snake is supposed to delight in assuming, viz., curled up
in a zigzag form. Then they took the further end of the string to the
opposite side of the street, crept through a hole in the hedge, taking
their end of the string with them, and watched their opportunity.
Presently a man came down the street, walking jauntily along as if he
feared neither man nor devil; but as soon as he is in a line with the
snake the fun commences. The first thing our peaceful citizen is aware
of is a snake entangled with, and curling between, his legs, in a most
lively fashion (operated by the string of course). Who is going to
fight a snake of such a size in the uncertain moonlight, and unarmed
too? Not he! no fear! So the only result was a yell, a whoop, and a
mighty jump, and our peaceful citizen disappears round the first corner
with long record-beating strides, leaving the destruction of the snake
to the next comer. Of course, as soon as the victim is out of earshot,
Steve and his companion are holding their sides, laughing at the jolly
fun. The snake is soon replaced and the fun recommences. After sundry
victims had afforded copious fun to the mischievous operators, they
began to think it rather slow waiting for customers, so they started
walking up the street in search of the slow-coming victims. The fun was
lively and brisk for some time, but they reached the summit of their
enjoyment when they frightened a troop of servant girls, accompanied by
their beaux, out for a walk. The troop scattered all over the street,
howling, yelling and screaming, fit to wake the dead. They did wake
someone from his sleep, who was not quite dead yet--the night watchman.
Now this night watchman was not a bird to be caught by chaff twice.
_He_ had seen this trick before. He caught up the snake, and, following
the line up, soon came to the hiding youths. But if he thought that
he was going to gain promotion by catching these night-birds he was
mightily mistaken, for these slippery gents crushed their way through
the hedge lining the street into a garden, and climbing hedge after
hedge, from one garden into the other, until they came to another
street, easily escaped, and walked quietly home, minus their snake,
which had fallen into the hands of the watchman. Of course this spice
of danger made the fun all the greater.

Steve and his friends had one grand playground. It was on the edge of
the town on the river bank. There they would congregate of an afternoon
and indulge in all the different kinds of games dear to a boy’s heart.
Steve was one of the youngest of the boys who met here, and therefore
was not as yet initiated into all the crafts of the band. One night,
while playing cricket at this spot, Steve’s cousin and namesake--a boy
easily led astray and into mischief, vacillating and weak principled,
of which more will be seen further on--came to him, and, after leading
him on one side, said in English (which, the reader must understand, is
a foreign language to Steve, his mother’s tongue being Dutch, or rather
Afrikander, and he was only just beginning to learn English at school).

‘I say, Steve, do you want to smoke?’

‘Smoke? Smoke? What is that?’

‘Rook, rook!’ replied his cousin.

‘Oh, rook! I don’t know. Is it nice?’

‘Oh, yes; come and try.’

Of course the policy of his elder companions in asking Steve to join
them was to make him participate in their stealthy practice, and thus
incriminate him, to prevent him from getting them into trouble by
telling anyone about it, by which means their parents might come to
hear of it, which, of course, would mean severe punishment to them.
Steve’s cousin led him into a dense bush on the river bank, which he
had never explored as yet, therefore he was surprised to see his cousin
part the bushes and lead him into a large but thoroughly concealed
opening among the bushes. The overhanging branches made it a nearly
rainproof retreat. Here Steve found about half-a-dozen members of
the secret smoking club. After a look round, our hero was offered a
smoke, which he accepted, and was soon puffing away at--what does the
uninitiated reader think?--a piece of ratan, which was one of the
first stages in learning the art of smoking in this particular band;
the porous wood of the ratan, or cane, serving as a good conductor
of the smoke from the burning end. Of the whole band gathered here,
only one was advanced enough to indulge in the real article, viz.,
tobacco; the rest were all smoking one, or another, of the different
substitutes for tobacco known to the rising generation. I suppose the
manly reader who has been brought up in a proper and an enlightened
manner has learned to smoke with the usual cigarette, made up of
Turkish, or mixed tobacco. But these youths, sons of more or less poor
parents, being allowed no pocket money, had to satisfy themselves with
the best substitutes for tobacco they could discover; and they showed
a rare genius in discovering different cheap articles to serve their
purpose, amongst which were such things as pumpkin stalk, cane, leaves
of various trees, and various similar rubbish. All this is vulgar is it
not? Yet I can assure you it is not as bad as it sounds. It produces
plenty of the chief thing desired--smoke!

But to resume. Steve did not remain satisfied for many days with these
insipid and weak substitutes; so when his cousin, who was the only one
who smoked tobacco regularly, offered to allow him a few puffs at the
real thing, he accepted readily enough, and smoked like all novices
generally do, viz., smoked as if his life depended upon his finishing
the pipe as fast as possible. All went well until he had finished the
pipe, for while he was yet smoking, he had thought it not at all as
nasty as it had been described to him. But when he had put the pipe
down (which was made of two joints of reeds, one about an inch in
diameter serving as the bowl, and another one with a tiny opening
serving as the stem) he began to feel the effects. He felt as if the
world were whirling round and round on purpose to make him sick. He
made his way to some water the best way he could, plunged his head
therein and washed out his mouth, but nothing would take away that
awful feeling which most readers who are also smokers know to be the
effect of the first pipe of tobacco. It was only after having lain down
on the grass for an hour or so, with closed eyes, vowing innumerable
vows never to touch tobacco again, that he got well enough to go home,
amid the teasings and jokes of his companions. But I must state here
that Steve did not keep his vow never to touch tobacco again. Who does
not make these vows when learning to smoke, and who does not break
them? Steve tried again and again, and after having broken his pipe and
renewed his vow not to smoke again for some dozen times, he succeeded
at last in smoking without getting sick, and to-day he can smoke his
pipe against any man.



CHAPTER VI

A CHARACTER SKETCH OF OUR HERO


Steve was not fond of school. He liked studying and learning, but he
wanted to select his own studies, and hated to be forced to learn what
he did not wish to study. He was passionately fond of books, with
hardly any distinction. He would never allow a book to pass out of his
hand without first reading it, if he could help it. If he got hold
of a book he would read it. If he had no time, he would make time.
While walking in the street, he would be holding the book in front
of his nose, while carefully feeling his steps, or while taking his
hurried meals, or when other people were soundly sleeping at night,
and even in school he would find time to read; and read books, too,
which no teacher of any self-respect would have tolerated. But what
did Steve care for the opinion of his teacher as to what books he
should read? A book was a book to him, to be used and to be made the
most of possible. He would smuggle the book into school under his
coat, and while his teacher was thinking that Steve was studying his
lessons most diligently, that young man would be deeply interested in
some book of travels, or something of the kind. Not that Steve did not
learn his lessons. He did learn them, but it did not take him long to
do so; reading his task over once or twice was quite sufficient for
him to know as much of it as he cared to know. His object was not to
be at the top of his class. No, his nature was too retiring to allow
him to render himself as conspicuous as all that. If he did happen to
come up top by accident, he made his way down to the bottom again as
fast as he could. His friend, Gus Turner, was also fond of being at
the bottom of the class, but not from choice, but perforce because his
mental abilities did not allow him to get up higher, and he always did
his best to keep Steve near him, for he found Steve useful to prompt
him when his own knowledge of questions asked, failed him. Steve
always obliged his friend as best he could, both in supplying answers
as well as in keeping near him at the bottom of the class. One day he
was caught in the act. The teacher had come down with a question right
from the top of the class, and no one could answer the question asked,
until he had come to Steve, who thoughtlessly answered it correctly.
‘Go up top,’ said the teacher. But Steve quietly kept his seat. He was
not going to leave his friend at the bottom while he went to the top!
The teacher soon noticed this, and asked him why he did not go up.
He replied that he did not care to do so. ‘Go to the bottom then,’
commanded the angry teacher. Steve did so. What did he care? His friend
was at the bottom; he had been just above him, now he was just below
him. What difference did it make?

I have said that Steve was fond of reading; he was also fond of
_thinking_--day-dreaming. His great delight was, when he had the time
for it, as on Sundays, for instance, to go out for a walk into the
veld, and find a shady grassy spot on which to lie on his back, looking
up into the sky, to _think_--think about all sorts of things, past,
present, and future. He did not fear to try and think out problems
which had puzzled greater and more matured brains than his. There was
one great mystery to which his thoughts generally would come back again
and again. He could generally find some solution to all questions that
cropped up, but this particular one would not be solved, turn it over
as he would. This mystery was--_Space_.



CHAPTER VII

THOUGHTS AND FLOWERS


While thus lying on his back, gazing up into the bright South African
sky, with the sun seemingly floating as an atom in all the immensity
of space; and the sun he had learned in his books was ever so many
times larger than our earth, and yet it seemed only a speck in space.
‘Space, space, what is space? Where does it begin? Where does it end?’
And then he would fly on in imagination from world to world, from star
to star, from sun to sun, but his imagination could not find even a
probable ending for space. He had never read anything on the subject
to help him. He had never read any book in which he had seen what
others thought of the subject, so he had to puzzle his own poor brain,
eternally thinking, thinking ever on it. _Surely_, SURELY there must
be some answer to this problem. Surely there MUST be a beginning to
space as well as an end, otherwise how can it be, and yet it _cannot_
have beginning or end. He felt as if he should get mad trying to
think it out; and when he got so far as to feel his brain reeling in
endeavouring to pierce beyond the mystery of space, he would jump up
and shout and laugh, and run about looking for his favourite wild
flowers in order to forget this maddening thought, but it would come
back to him whenever he was alone and thinking.

Speaking about flowers--that was another of his passions. He was never
so happy as when tending his few flowers. He was famous for the beauty
of the wild flowers he generally gathered in the mountains when he had
time. He used to think a half-holiday well spent if he could take a
walk into the mountains to gather a beautiful bouquet of his favourite
wild flowers. As has been suggested before, he was of a retiring
nature, and greatly disliked crowds. At any festival in town, when
everybody, including his own family, would all eagerly gather together
to enjoy themselves by seeing and being seen, he would rather go for a
walk in the veld, where his thoughts were his only company--and good
company he always found them. Or he would find a comfortable nook and
read a book, during which occupation he would forget the rest of the
world and be happy.



CHAPTER VIII

STEP-CHILDREN


Steve’s mother had married again a few years after his father’s death.
She would have preferred remaining unmarried, as she considered it
would have been more faithful to the memory of her dead husband; but
she found herself too poor to educate her children unaided, and bring
them up as she would like to do. It was not a happy marriage, which is
usually the case where there are step-children to cause jealousy--the
more so when the step-parent is not of the best-natured and gentlest
character. Steve’s stepfather respected and, in his way, loved his
wife; but he disliked Steve, because that youngster was a manly and
proud little fellow, and rebelled against his stepfather when the
latter treated him unjustly, or ill-treated his little sisters: which
his stepfather often did, more out of spite to Steve than from any
other reason.

He used to make Steve work (out of school hours) in the garden, chop
wood, carry water, and, in fact, he invented work for the poor boy if
there was no work really wanting to be done. Poor Steve did all this
most patiently and dutifully, even though he lost his play hours;
for he did not really care much for the usual boyish games of his
companions. All he cared for was to secure a candle end to read his
beloved books by at night, when everybody else was sleeping, or to
take his walk into the veld on Sundays, after church time. Amidst the
beauties of Nature, which he loved with the love of a true child of
Nature, he was happy. He was patient and enduring amidst the petty
persecutions of his stepfather, for his mother’s sake, while it only
concerned himself. He did not even complain when his stepfather one
day found him stealing a glimpse into a new book which he had borrowed
from a friend and cruelly took it from him and cast it into the fire.
His stepfather could not have done him greater personal injury if he
had tried for a month to find the way. But Steve took it quietly and
patiently, even though it was a borrowed book and it would take some
of his few most-treasured books to satisfy his friend from whom he had
borrowed the volume. Steve was accustomed to these daily persecutions
from his stepfather.

But there were times when even his stepfather was awed into fear of
him--that was when Steve considered his sisters ill-treated. To give an
instance.

Steve’s mother had a son by her second husband, seven years old at this
time--a child who, perhaps, would have been a good boy if he had been
left to his mother’s care and training. But his father utterly spoiled
him by giving him his desires and wishes unstinted, no matter at what
sacrifice or how foolish those wishes were. If it was the most precious
article belonging to his stepbrother or sisters, if he asked for it,
he was to have it. Steve had long rebelled against this, especially
on behalf of his sisters, but always to no effect. In fact, he made
himself only the more hated by his stepfather. He did not dislike his
little half-brother; he wished to treat and love him as his mother’s
child, but the child’s father made this an impossibility for Steve,
through his continual injustice. The result was that the boy was
perfectly spoiled, and, whenever he saw his brother or sisters have
anything new, he used to cry for it until his father made them give it
up to him.

One evening the whole family was sitting round the table, waiting for
evening prayers, at which the mother always insisted that everyone
should be present. Steve’s sister, Dora, had that day secured at school
a pretty little picture book; she was sitting looking at this when her
little stepbrother, who was sitting next to her, snatched at the book
and tore a leaf. She, of course, pulled the book away from him, which
made the spoiled child set up a fearful howling. His father got up and
gave poor, innocent little Dora a severe slap on the cheek, which made
the poor child turn blue from pain in a moment. Steve could not stand
this. He was now sixteen years of age, and could not quietly see his
little sister treated in such a cruel and unjust way.

He rose, pale from anger, and, striking his fist on the table, which
made the different articles thereon jump again, said in a voice hard
and firm,--

‘By God, if you strike my sister again in that way, I shall kill you.
Do you hear?’ And his voice sounded and his expression looked so
threatening, that the coward (all blusterers are cowards) felt awed and
afraid. He had not the courage to brave Steve in his anger. He looked
down and did not say a word more.



CHAPTER IX

FAVOURITE HEROES


When Steve was fifteen years of age he was taken from school and placed
in an office at a small--very small--salary.

His education was not completed yet by far. He could read _well_,
write fairly well, of arithmetic he knew sufficient for the ordinary
wants of business life; his grammar was only sufficient to help him to
speak English fairly correctly, with a mistake only once in a while.
In orthography he was proficient enough to write a fairly well spelled
letter. In history he excelled--that was his favourite study, no matter
whose history it was. Bible, secular, English, Dutch, Italian, but
especially South African, French and American history, he studied;
the latter two because they were Republics, for he was a thorough
Republican, and wished to know everything about Republicanism.

He loved to read the story of Napoleon. He gloried in Napoleon’s
genius, in his wonderful victories. But he grieved over the follies
of the _Emperor_. The General Bonaparte, even the first Consul was
his admiration--but the Emperor was a monster to him. He could not
understand that a man, who had displayed such wonderful genius as
Napoleon had done, could make such foolish mistakes as Napoleon had
made as Emperor. He could not understand that such a man should care
for the empty pomps and vanities of a throne. To his mind Napoleon
would have been a _greater_ man by far if he had remained only a Consul
or President of the French _Republic_. Why a man who had done what he
had done for France, and who had striven to the end to live and work
only for the people, who wished to live for posterity as a man who had
won the _hearts_ of his people (such a man would be nobler and grander
by far than one like Napoleon proved in the end) had only used his
country and people to work for his own glory and vanity, puzzled Steve.

On the other hand, he considered George Washington by far a greater and
nobler man than Napoleon. For Washington had lived and fought _only_
for his country, and had proved to be nobly unselfish to the end. _The
States_, in his opinion, really did “lick creation” as a great and free
country.

The history of his own country he simply devoured. He never lost an
opportunity of getting hold of a book which treated in any way of South
Africa. If the book spoke favourably of his country and people, he
was pleased and happy. If the book libelled his country--as so many
books really do--he was grieved, but treated it with the contempt it
deserved, and took his revenge by extracting any information he found
in it.



CHAPTER X

OUT OF SCHOOL


As we stated in the last chapter, Steve was taken from school before
his education was at all fairly completed and placed in an office. This
was done against the wishes of his mother; but his stepfather said
he could not have him eating the roof off the house and live a lazy,
good-for-nothing life any longer--he must work and earn his living.

William Waitz (which was the name of Steve’s stepfather) wanted to make
a mechanic of the poor boy, but his mother, who understood his nature,
would not allow this. _She_ knew this was altogether against the wishes
and abilities of her son, and she insisted that he should be placed in
an office. Her influence--and a good woman’s influence, even on a bad
man, always makes itself felt--gained for Steve the victory, and he
was not placed with a mechanic, which he would have hated. He desired
opportunities to improve himself mentally, and how could he improve
himself so as a mason or brick-layer?

Steve knew his education was by no means complete, but he did not mind
leaving school, for he ardently desired to earn his own living and to
be independent; besides, he did not intend to leave off studying, only
now he could choose his own subjects for study. History--political and
natural--astronomy, geography, books on agriculture, horticulture,
tree culture, apiculture, all were welcome to him; he would as readily
read and study the one as the other, and on many a night, when his
stepfather sent him hungry and starving to bed as a punishment for
doing nothing in particular, he would console himself and forget his
hunger in reading some book or other. It was nothing unusual for him
to be caught by the daybreak stealing into his little room, his candle
still burning, and he deeply immersed in his book.



CHAPTER XI

HOPES


For the first couple of years Steve’s earnings all went into the
pockets of his stepfather. But during the third year Steve simply
refused to give up more than three-quarters of his salary, for his
father supplied him only with the barest necessities in clothing, and
he considered he was entitled to a small portion of his earnings to buy
such things as he wished for, such as books, etc.

The first thing Steve did, when he found himself absolute owner of a
portion of his earnings, was to subscribe to the local library, even
though he sadly wanted a new suit and a new pair of boots. But to be
able to select his own books to read from such a stock of books as the
library contained, he would have sacrificed almost anything.

He first of all inquired for all books dealing with his beloved South
Africa; and if he could find any dealing with the Transvaal or Orange
Free State, he was doubly happy. The Transvaal and the Free State were
to him as two shining stars in an otherwise dark sky; they were the two
states in which _his_ people were _free_. Ah! how he used to long to go
to the Transvaal and live where he could feel free, and say, ‘Here I
am a man, for here I can look everybody in the eyes and feel I am his
equal, and not subject to a foreign race,’ His plan was firmly made up
to go to the Transvaal as soon as ever he could manage to do so. The
time did arrive at last when he could go.



CHAPTER XII

THE TRANSVAAL IN PROSPECTIVE


Steve had always watched with absorbing interest the progress of events
in the Transvaal. He had seen with intense pity the struggle of the
Republican Government to make ends meet, and to prevent financial
ruin. But he always trusted that all would come right; and it was
with a joy almost greater than if his own fortune was in question
that he--at last--saw the rising fortunes of the South African
Republic. He saw the reported discoveries of gold at Barberton; which
already gave a great stimulus to commerce and trade; and then, as if
Providence had determined at last to make the Transvaal prosperous and
rich, far beyond the dreams of avarice, the grand discoveries at the
Witwatersrand followed those of Barberton, which in turn were augmented
by further discoveries all over the district. Miles of main reef were
traced out, companies with enormous capitals were promoted, and a time
of great prosperity and successful speculation followed. Fortunes were
made and lost in a week, a day, an hour. The Government revenues rose
by leaps and bounds, and they had no longer to almost beg for the loan
of a few thousands. Capitalists were only too eager to advance money on
such safe securities as could be offered.

Government officials, who before had to work for the love of country
and people only, now received their rewards; from the highest to the
lowest they were able to now receive their salaries at the end of the
month. And when the finances of the country were placed on a sound and
safe footing, the Volksraad did the right thing at the right time by
advancing salaries all round.

The reported rich finds, so marvellous and so rich at the
Witwatersrand, were soon noised all over the world; and people flocked
from all quarters of the globe to the goldfields. They came, saw, and
were satisfied--even as the Queen of Sheba was--that all the riches of
the Rand had not been reported to them.

A township was laid out and given a name--Johannesburg. Who has not
heard of it? Johannesburg became the ninth wonder of the world. It
rose, as if in one night, and became a great and well-built city, such
as can be found no where else in South Africa, and, in certain senses,
nowhere else in the world!

Beautiful buildings, strong and lasting, rose, as if by enchantment,
one after the other, proving that confidence was not wanting in the
stability of the goldfields.

Johannesburg differed greatly from other goldfields in other countries.
In Australia and California, when a goldfield was first rushed, tents
and tin shanties prevailed. Here, buildings in brick and stone were
prominent everywhere. In the former, law and order was noted for its
absence; here, everything was done most orderly and lawfully, which
showed once more the ability of the Boer Government to govern even such
a community, and that not by display of force. Comparatively few police
were kept; only sufficient for watching the individual criminal and
vagabond that even such a law-abiding goldfield will attract.

It was, and is, a marvel to many how order and law were kept and
administered by such a weak show of police. I believe it was simply the
conscious strength and stability of the Government which was felt, if
not seen, by all parties, combined by the promptness of the Government
to remove all just causes of complaints, and to give aid where aid was
required. No honest and just memorial was ever refused by Government.
The only request which could not be granted was the Franchise, the
justness and fairness of which is open to question, and appears
altogether in a different view when seen either by the one side or the
other. But of this we shall see more anon.



CHAPTER XIII

THE NESTLING PREPARING FOR FLIGHT


Well, Steve thought these things all tended to realise his dream of
becoming a Transvaaler.

One thing only troubled him; would it be right for him to desert his
mother and sisters? After long thinking, he decided to leave it to his
mother to decide for him, so he went to her and said,--

‘Mother, you know I have always wished to go to the Transvaal; you
know what my father said on his death-bed; that I must do all I can
to make our people one strong nation, and I can do more for them in a
country where they are free and independent. From there I can work as
if entrenched in a castle, and who knows, some time we might be able to
_free_ our people in this country too? But on the other hand, father
also said I must look after you and my sisters; do you think I ought to
stay here? do you think I can do more for you staying at home, or can I
do as much or more by going to the Transvaal, and work and try and make
enough money to be able to help you and my sisters in time of need?’

‘My son, the thought of losing you is dreadful, and that alone could
induce me to keep you here; but my love for you is above being selfish;
I can only wish for what is best for you, and if you think you can do
better in the Transvaal, let not the thought of me or your sisters,
keep you back. We can get on, and we shall write to you every week, and
if we need you, or aid from you, we shall not fail to let you know. I
would not thus give you up so easily, but I know your heart is set upon
going; I have expected it for a long time. I believe I can trust you
to keep your name and heart pure even thus far away from me; and God
will watch over you.’ She wept. Even though she appeared to give him
up so easily, to go far away from her, not to see him again, perhaps
for years, perhaps never again on earth, her heart was torn to the very
roots. But she was an unselfish mother, and would not sacrifice her
son’s well-being and future prospects to her love.

‘But, mother, will father be as good to you and sisters when I am away
as when I am here, for, without vanity, I may say I think he fears me
just enough to forbear from ill-treating my sisters, and when I am away
he may feel no such restraint.’

‘Better, I think,’ replied his mother, ‘for I really believe it is the
antagonism he feels for you that makes him bad-tempered and cruel
sometimes. I think if you are away, and ceased to irritate him, he will
be a better stepfather and wife to us.’

‘Mother, you have decided for me. I go as soon as I can hear of an
opening!’



CHAPTER XIV

COUSINS


Steve’s cousin and namesake had proceeded to the Transvaal some months
before this.

We have mentioned the young man before as Steve’s tutor in the art of
smoking. A few words as regards him will not be out of place here,
as we may hear, off and on, of his doings, as affecting Steve. We
have said before that he was a vacillating young man; a fact which he
showed in every act of his life. Years before he surprised Steve’s
constant young heart, during the Transvaal war of independence, by
declaring--while the issue was as yet uncertain--that the English would
give the Boers such a licking as they would never forget. He declared
the Boers were cowards. He was one of those that took up the saying,
that the Boers would run away at the first cannon shot. He changed his
mind when the Boers were successful. _Now_ he composed songs, in which
he celebrated the victory of the Republicans in glowing terms, and
abused the English tyrants enough to suit the taste of the most fiery
Republican. Such was his nature. He was inconstant to his friends, he
was inconstant to his sweethearts (mind the plural), he was inconstant
to himself!

Like all such natures, he was a braggart and boaster. When he was
amongst strangers he was a Crœsus in wealth, a king in power. Amongst
his friends, he had always seen and done things wonderful to relate.
But not one of them seemed ever to have the luck to be present
when he saw and did these things. But his acquaintances knew him,
and generally treated his stories with derision and contempt. Their
ironical questions and looks appeared to his vanity questions and looks
of belief and wonder.

He was not actually ill-natured or unkind. He had his tender spots.
Real pain and grief greatly affected him, and brought pity into his
heart, and at such times he was always amongst the first to render aid.
In this respect only he resembled Steve. In all else he was his direct
opposite. His vanity, love of boasting, and wish to thrust himself
into a prominent part of whatever was taking place, together with a
weakness to be on the side of the stronger party, was the bane of his
life. The worst of him was that he did not seem to realise the shame
and dishonour of deserting his party when it seemed to be on the losing
side and taking up with the stronger.

Steve hated these faults in his cousin, and tried to reason sense and
honour into him. But, being several years the junior of his cousin, his
opinions were considered as childish, and disregarded. So Steve could
only view his cousin’s backslidings with patience and grief; which he
did; as he was thrown into daily contact with his cousin through force
of circumstances. In one thing or another he had to do with him every
day, and really bore him a sort of cousinly affection, but this was
unaccompanied by any respect.



CHAPTER XV

THE RISING GENERATION


When Steve’s cousin left for the Transvaal a sort of correspondence was
kept up between them. Steve took advantage of this to write to his
cousin and ask him to look for a situation for him.

At this time, through the force of circumstances--the want of proper
schools, the struggle for existence against poverty, native troubles,
and other difficulties--the youth of the Transvaal were seldom
educated enough to take their proper places in the civil service
of their country, or in the commercial, law, or other offices, so
that the Government were forced to employ Hollanders, young educated
Afrikanders from the Cape Colony and elsewhere, in the civil service;
and merchants, as well as other employers, were forced to do the same,
the only difference being, that for Government service a knowledge of
official language--Dutch--was absolutely necessary for applicants,
while private offices were not always particular, especially commercial
offices. Hence the abuse the Government has had to suffer on account of
employing so many of their Hollander brothers. These disabilities on
the part of born Transvaalers are gradually disappearing through the
fostering care of Government. Schools are State-aided in an instituted
manner now, and young Transvaalers are continually entering Government
service more and more every day.



CHAPTER XVI

THE APRON STRINGS CUT


For the reason given in the last chapter, it did not take Steve’s
cousin long to find a good situation for him; and when Steve received
the letter in which his success was told, and bidding him come up
without a day’s delay, his joy was unbounded.

His preparations did not take long. By selling everything that he had
which he could not take with him, and scraping together every penny
he had, he just managed to get together sufficient to take him to
Pretoria--his final destination. Why linger over Steve’s leave-takings
from friends and relatives? why should we restrain him with our
presence when he bids good-bye to mother and sisters? why visit with
him for the last time the haunts of his childhood? Many of us do not
require to be told what took place, many of us have gone through it
ourselves, have cast a lingering look on a beloved walk, or favoured
spot, have given the last pressure to the hands of dear ones weeping,
have felt the choking sensation which prevents the voice from saying
the last word we fain would say, but must leave unsaid through emotion.

Steve was on his way to Eldorado; to the land of freedom and wealth; to
the land where were centred all his hopes and ambitions for the future.

It was the first time he had left home for longer than a week; but in
spite of his regrets to leave home, mother and sisters, he felt happy.
He left as if he was a man at last. Free. He was going to fight the
battle of life unaided; he asked for naught but a fair field and no
favour.

Ah, Nature looked doubly glorious that morning as he rode through the
surrounding hills and valleys and felt the genial sunshine and breathed
the pure free air.

We will not accompany him any farther. We will leave him travelling on
the top of the coach, enjoying his freedom and the beauties of Nature,
as viewed from his lofty perch, free to indulge in his day-dreams and
build his air castles unstinted for material; his rich imagination
supplied all. The future is his; we will meet him in Johannesburg.



CHAPTER XVII

FIRST VIEW OF JOHANNESBURG


A coach halts in front of the coaching office, Johannesburg, a young
man gets down and bustles about to secure his luggage, for here the
coaches change, a new one has to be taken for Pretoria.

Of course this young man is no other than Steve. He arranges for his
luggage to remain at the office until the Pretoria coach leaves, which
will not be until three o’clock in the afternoon; it is only 10 a.m.
now. He thinks the best thing he can do is to have a look round and see
as much as he can of the place while he has the opportunity. He turns
to a young man--whose acquaintance he has made during the journey on
the coach, and who was returning to Pretoria, after spending a short
holiday at the sea-coast--and said,--

‘I say, Harrison, what are you going to do while you wait for the
coach?’

‘I am sure I don’t know. Kill time as best I can, I suppose.’

‘Suppose you act as guide and mentor for me in viewing the place. You
know the place--I don’t--and you might take me to the places most worth
seeing during the few hours we have. Come, be charitable this once, and
help a green un.’

‘All right, old boy, I am always willing to be unselfish, and besides
it will do as well as anything else to kill time and keep me out of
mischief.’

He took Steve all over the principal streets to Hospital Hill, and
gave him a bird’s eye view of all the surrounding places; and a sight
worth seeing, too, it was to a young man that had just left a quiet
provincial town. It was all bustle and vigour wherever he looked.
It seemed as if there was an electric power in the air which forced
everyone to do and act; no lingering or looking backward here, on, on,
seems to be the watchword, or be left behind, to catch up never again.
Even Steve seemed to feel this mysterious influence stealing over him
as he stood gazing on the busy throng; he felt as if he would like to
rush into the midst of them and to push and elbow his way until he
was amongst the first, to stay there. For the moment Steve forgot his
natural inclination to be reserved and quiet; he felt as if he could
push and rush on with the best of them.

But other thoughts soon came crowding on; thoughts of pride and joy
that he at last had the privilege to see the place fully which was so
famous all over the world for its riches.

And this place belonged to his people--to the Afrikanders. Here they
were free, and the equal of other races. Here they had the right to
work out their own destiny. Ah, it was something to be proud of; this
youthful but mighty and growing city; these surrounding and undulating
plains, underneath whose green grass has lain concealed for ages past
untold wealth. Wealth which was laid and preserved by Providence for
the purpose of helping the people of his race to rescue their country
from poverty and financial ruin.

Ah, God has been good to us. He means it well with us. We have a right
to hope that he shall lead us on right to the end, if only we can
remain true to Him as a people.

He spoke something of the latter thought to his companion, who was an
Englishman, and who supposed Steve to be an Englishman too, from his
pure accent, as he had learned to speak English very well, and with
a purer English accent than is generally acquired by Afrikanders,
through being in daily contact in his six years of business life with
Englishmen. His companion replied,--

‘My dear fellow, do you think that this rich mining country will long
remain in the possession of the Boers? If you do you are mightily
mistaken. If the Boers do not themselves soon begin to see that they
are unable to keep all these Uitlanders in order, and ask the British
Government to take the government of the country over, then England
will take it over whether they consent or not?’

Steve felt a pang shoot through his heart.

‘But how can England take their freedom from them? They have once tried
to do so, and the Boers fought for their country and liberty and got it
back. How can England take it now again?’

‘My dear fellow, you must remember that at that time this country was
only a poor, worthless desert and England did not consider it worth
while fighting for?’

‘Take that for granted; but even then, do you think England would be so
unjust to take the country from the Boers again, just because it turns
out to be richer than she thought; that would be disgraceful.’

‘But England has, through her capitalists, thousands of pounds
sterling--and soon it will be millions--at stake in the goldfields of
the country; she is bound to look after the money her subjects have
placed in this country.’

‘Let us put it plainly,’ said Stephen. ‘You have a house, I have a
thousand pounds; I wish to find a safe hiding-place for my money, I
think your house just the place; I hide it there, without your request
or permission. But, on after thoughts, I think my money would be much
safer if I had possession of the house instead of you. I arm myself; I
go to you and say, “You clear out of this, my money is not safe while
you remain in possession.” You refuse to go. I put a bullet through
your brain, carry you out, bury you, and take full possession. My money
is safe now, no more need be said--might is right. That is about how
you place the case.’

Harrison shrugged his shoulders, and replied doggedly,--

‘You do not understand these national affairs; it is otherwise than
with individual personal affairs,’

‘I hope I may never understand it, if it means dishonour,’ replied
Steve.

After this they wended their way to view a mine or two, from the
outside, as they felt they could not spare the time then to go inside
a mine. There was very little to be seen from the outside--a large
shed-like building, hauling gear over a seemingly bottomless pit,
surrounded by heaps of quartz and débris. Steve could hardly realise
that this apparently hard, common stone, called quartz, really
represented the great wealth of the mines. He had hoped to see, at
least, some visible gold, but he was disappointed. It was just hard,
flint-like stone, without a particle of yellow metal visible; and yet
he was assured the gold was extracted in paying quantities from this
stone.

After this they returned to town, to seek some refreshments, and came
to a large building in course of erection.

Steve saw a couple of children playing close by, under the scaffolding;
he took no particular note of them, but stood admiring the architecture
of the building.

Suddenly he heard a cry of horror behind him; he saw a gentleman and
lady standing with upheld hands, with a horror-struck and transfixed
expression, looking at the children near to him; he turned, and what he
saw sent a thrill of horror through him. He loved children, and would
rather bear pain himself a thousand times than see a child in pain,
wherefore he felt the danger of a child all the more. What he saw was
this: A little girl was standing under the scaffolding, innocently
looking at a beautiful doll another girl was carrying in the street,
without seeing the terrible danger that was threatening her. Above her
a tremendously heavy beam, which was securely tied at one end, was
slipping down on the opposite side, a workman was holding the dangerous
end. A rope was tied round it, and he was holding with all his might to
prevent its falling; but the weight was too much for him. He dared not
take breath to call out for help, the waste of the least breath, or the
least bit of strength taken from the effort of holding the beam, would
precipitate its fall. But it was slipping--slipping. ‘My God,’ thought
he, ‘will no one see and take away that child.’ Someone saw. The cry of
the mother of the child and the look of horror on her face had drawn
Steve’s attention to the danger. He saw all we have described in the
flash of an eye. Not a moment did he hesitate or think what he should
do. He never lost his presence of mind in danger. Like the arrow from a
bow, he flew right under the threatening beam, the fall of which meant
death to any living creature that might be under it. He seized the
child by the dress, and came out on the opposite side of the beam. He
felt a shock against his shoulder, as if some heavy object struck him.
He felt himself whirled round several times by the shock, and thrown
against the wall. The thunder, as of a falling mountain, sounded in
his ears. But he held the child firmly in his arms; she was safe. The
beam had fallen, if Steve had been a fraction of a second later, or the
beam had fallen a fraction of a second sooner, both he and the child
would have been crushed. As it was, it just grazed his shoulder. He was
unhurt save for a severe bruise on the shoulder.

Of course, a crowd collected in a moment. The mother and father had
rushed over from the opposite side of the street where they had been
standing. The mother was hugging and kissing the child; the father
was wringing the hand of Steve, with protestations of gratitude and
service. A re-action came for the mother; she felt faint and could
scarcely speak her gratitude to Steve. So her husband hurried her to a
carriage with the child, and going to Steve said,--

‘My friend, you have done a brave action; you have saved my child,
on whose life the happiness of my wife and myself depends. I am your
friend and debtor for life; here is my card. Let me see you this
afternoon, and if there is anything I can do for you, I trust you will
let me know it. I would not leave you now, but I must take my wife
home.’

‘Thank you, sir,’ replied Steve; he was thankful to be prevented from
saying more by being pushed and pulled away by the crowd.

He hurried to find his companion (who had seen and heard all), and said
to him, ‘Come on, Harrison; we have no time to lose, if we do not wish
to lose our coach!’

‘What, are you going away without accepting the invitation of your
new-found debtor? I would not, if I were you. He might do something
good for you. Let me see his card.’

On seeing the name on the card, he whistled in surprise.

‘I say, young fellow, your fortune is made; I wish I were you. Why,
man, the name on this card represents the most successful speculator
and company promoter on the Rand. Why, a tip from him is worth
thousands. Of course you will change your mind and let the coach take
care of itself, and go and see him as he requested.’

‘Of course not; I do not like this fuss and bother about nothing. I do
not wish to be paid for doing a humane action. Come on, let us be off,’
And in spite of his companion’s repeated advice not to lose such an
opportunity to make his way in the world, Steve boarded the coach and
left for Pretoria.

Quixotic? Yes, I suppose so. Unworthy the nineteenth century? No! I
think the nineteenth century is unworthy of such Quixotism. Such an act
is only worthy of the time of knight errantry, when men acted only for
the honour of the thing, and every deed was not valued in £ s. d. But
then Steve lived in that time in a sense--in a shell; his shell was
composed of books, in which such creeds are still taught and tolerated,
even though they are derided and laughed down in actual life--that is,
in ultra-civilised life, which really means ‘live for self, and self
only; nothing for nothing, and everything for _gold_.’ But Steve was
unacquainted with this creed as yet; let us hope that he will never
become the slave of such a creed.



CHAPTER XVIII

PRETORIA AND ITS LIFE


The writer of this has never admired the works of Rider Haggard; they
are too untrue--untrue to Nature and the probabilities of life, and
certainly untrue to facts, which are grossly exaggerated. But even in
winter a strayed swallow is seen in our country. On the barest plain
a tree is met occasionally, and in Haggard’s work I once came across
something with which I can cordially agree. It is long ago since I
read it, but it so surprised me that I have always remembered it. Yet
it is so long since I read it that I am not quite sure in which of his
works I saw it; but if I am not mistaken the thing is in _Jess_. The
passage I refer to is where he says that Pretoria is the prettiest
town in South Africa; and if Haggard thought so in the days when he
knew Pretoria, when the streets were swamps, covered with grass,
and it was a danger to venture out of doors after dark for fear of
breaking a limb in some concealed hole, when no better building--or
hardly better--than the house which Jess inhabited existed in the
town, what must we say of it now, when the streets have been rebuilt
(more or less), when beautiful buildings--the best and grandest in
South Africa--have been raised; merchant princes have erected palaces,
beautiful stores rival European houses, and Government has covered a
block of ground with a pile of buildings of which even Pretoria can be
proud. Even Nature herself has been improved upon, if I may be allowed
to say so. Plantations of trees have been planted, where formerly bare
plots of ground existed, beautifully laid out ornamental and flower
gardens enchant the vision. A block of tares, which grew only a crop
of grass formerly, is now laid out in a beautiful park, worthy the
name, with a large fish pond in the centre, and even a substantially
built bandstand has been added lately. All in all, Pretoria more than
deserves the name so often applied to it, ‘Pretty Pretoria’; it really
deserves to be called beautiful Pretoria.

No wonder, then, that Steve, who possessed a keenly appreciative eye
for the beautiful, was enchanted with the view which met his eye when
he entered Pretoria through the _poort_, from which emerges the road
leading into it from Johannesburg, and he felt--like so many others
have felt before and since--that once having seen Pretoria, a man may
travel the world over, but he would ever feel a longing to be back in
Pretoria. Many have felt this longing when in foreign lands, and have
come back. Steve found his cousin waiting for him at the halting-place,
and was soon introduced into his room at the quiet boarding-house,
which had been secured for him at his request.

After a few days spent in resting after travelling for days in a
cramped and crowded position, and becoming acquainted with the town in
which he had resolved to make his home, Steve took his place in the
office where he had secured the much-desired situation.

It did not take Steve long to get well into the mysteries of his work
and the good graces of his employer and fellow-clerks. What pleased
him most was that he came in daily contact with the Burghers of the
district, which gave him the opportunity he had desired, viz., of
studying the men whom he looked upon as heroes, in that they had dared
so much and suffered so much, and had come out of the ordeal safe and
victorious.

He found them distrustful at first, although kind and respectful. The
stranger you are to them, the more civilly and kindly you are treated,
but always with great reserve. But by studying them, and being always
friendly and cordial towards them, he soon gained their confidence,
and many was the pound of butter and biltong, varied now and then by
a dozen of eggs, a couple of fowls, and at Christmas time even a lamb,
that he received from them as tokens of friendship.

He found that the better they knew you, and the more they liked you,
the more they joked with you and teased you. They are very fond of
teasing, which has led foreigners to take them in earnest, and spread
all sorts of reports, repeating for fact what the Boers said when they
were only what is vulgarly but expressively called chaffing them. They
especially delighted in doing this to ‘green uns,’ but always with the
utmost good nature, and only when they liked such a ‘green un.’ They
would never do it to one whom they disliked or distrusted. By the good
grace and good nature with which Steve received all this banter, he
got to be greatly liked, and was soon considered as being quite one of
them, and was known to them far and wide. We shall see a great deal
more of them in connection with Steve’s adventures and life amongst
them, and shall delight to study their character with him with the view
of understanding better this much maligned people.

In this way Steve spent several years of quiet life. He applied himself
vigorously to his work, so that, as we have said, he soon gained the
confidence of his employers, and speedily obtained promotion and
increase of salary, which enabled him, while saving considerably, to
send many a present to his mother and sisters.

In the boarding-house where he lodged, he found quite a pleasant
party, composed of many nationalities, amongst whom he struck up many
friendships irrespective of language. He found himself a fellow-lodger
of his cousin; his former travelling companion, Harrison; another
Englishman, a colonial named Keith, and a young Afrikander named
Theron, who formed his particular circle of friends, and they generally
managed to be together when any excursion or picnic was undertaken.

Although, as we have said, he did not really _agree_ with his cousin,
he felt that in common gratitude towards him for having obtained a
situation for him, and as a duty due to cousinly affection, he was
bound to include him as one of his friends.

In the boarding-house, the boarders were in the habit of forming
themselves into a sort of free and easy debating society, for want of
better recreation in the long evenings. That is to say those who did
not care to spend their evenings in bar-rooms and billiard saloons,
which formed Pretoria’s principal places of amusement at this time.
Of course it goes without saying, that Steve kept clear as much as
possible of these places, for he was accustomed in his native town
to the idea that it was a disgrace for any self-respecting man or
youth to be seen going into a bar. What shocked him was for the first
time to see a girl serving drink in a bar, surrounded by a coarse and
blaspheming crowd of young men. To him women had always seemed as
creatures almost divine, too good to be touched without veneration.
He thought they should be worshipped at a distance, and that in their
presence the most choice and delicate language only should be used.
There he saw them treated roughly and disrespectfully, and even handled
as if they were only coarse, common, everyday human beings, and worst
of all they seemed to be pleased with such treatment, and even to
invite it by their actions.

‘Surely,’ thought he, ‘these girls must have mothers and fathers, who
grieve over their disgrace and degradation; and many of them must
have brothers--what must their feelings be to see their sisters in
such a position?’ And he would utter a silent prayer for God to keep
his sisters innocent and pure. Of course Steve’s horror of bars and
barmaids gradually lessened, and he afterwards even went so far as to
accept an invitation from a friend now and again to ‘Come and have
something cooling this hot weather,’ or, ‘something warming this cold
day?’ (for alcohol seems to have the power to cool on hot days and
_warm_ on cold days); but he never allowed himself to acquire the
habit of frequenting these places, and when he did enter them, he
always treated the barmaids with the utmost respect; for, said he, ‘The
question is not, whether they are ladies, but whether I am a gentleman.’

Through his always keeping from bad places, and only going to places
where he was sure respectability was guaranteed, he soon got into a
good circle of society in Pretoria. He was received and welcomed in
the best families, but his pride kept him from taking full advantage
of this. He was too poor to meet them on equal terms, and rather than
meet them as an inferior, even though it were only in purse, he would
rather not meet them at all, except in a casual way now and again. For
Steve was proud, and, what is more, he was proud of his pride. ‘For,’
said he, ‘if it were not for my pride, I would do many a wrong action
which now I am too proud to do.’ He was never too proud to do a good
action. He would stop and speak to the poorest beggar on the street if
he could do good by it. He would walk alongside of a poor, ill-dressed
person in the street, were his clothes ever so much patched; his hat so
old that it hung over his eyes; he would never think of his dress, if
it were a hard-working, honest man. But he was too proud to be seen in
the company of a well-dressed, idle, good-for-nothing, bar-frequenting,
prostitute-hunting man. He was too proud to speak or know a flighty,
forward woman. And who shall say that he was wrong?



CHAPTER XIX

A DEBATE


As we have said before, Steve and his fellow-boarders sometimes
constituted themselves into a sort of debating society, in which the
public questions of the day were generally discussed. Let us follow
Steve into the drawing-room, which he is just entering as a heated
debate is on.

‘Hullo, Keith, at it again as usual, running down the powers that be of
the land we live in,’ remarked Steve on entering. ‘What is the use of
knocking your head against a rock; for I tell you this Government is
as firmly established as a rock. Have you ever seen a big old mastiff
walking along the street, calm and self-contained, a troop of curs
following, barking and snapping at him, without the mastiff taking the
least notice of their noise or snaps. Well, Oom Paul is the mastiff,
the newspapers that abuse him and petty pot politicians (I hope the
shoe won’t fit you) are the curs; there you have my opinion.’

‘So you think it currish to stand up for your rights, and agitate for
it?’

‘By no means.’

‘What do you mean then?’

‘I think it currish to be perpetually barking and snapping at a man,
as so many of the Jingo imperialistic papers and private amateur
politicians are continually doing. You do not see it because you do not
wish to do so; but just watch the actions of the Government, no matter
_what_ they may do or decide upon doing, but it is reviled and cried
down. They may do something with the most honest intention of pleasing
the Uitlanders, but some sinister intention is found, or supposed to
be found, lurking behind it. No contract is given out for some public
work, no matter if the man be the best workman and has sent in the
lowest tender, but somebody is sure to have taken a bribe from the
contractor to work into his hands, and so with everything, just because
it is a Boer Government; any stick will do to beat a dog with, or--a
Boer official.’

‘Well, all the same, it is hard lines that an educated Englishman
should submit to laws made by ignorant, uneducated Boers; we won’t
submit to it. Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves, Britons never,
never will be slaves; there you have my opinion.’

‘My dear fellow, no one wants you to submit to it. I don’t believe you
got an invitation from the Boer Government to come here and live under
their laws. All you have to do is to submit to it or leave. No one will
prevent you or ask you to come back. I do not say this because I wish
to make myself nasty, but, in common fairness, you must consider what
is right. Here you come into a free Republic, inhabited by a quiet,
peace-loving, God-fearing people. They have obtained their country
after herculean struggles against enemies from within and without.
Again and again they had to fight for country and liberty, and at last
they seem to be safe, and wealth comes to them. Strangers from afar
come unto them. (Strangers, besides, who are of the people who have
persecuted and chased them from their old home, “into a new country,
and out again”; and still are they threatened by the Government
of these self-same strangers.) They share their wealth with these
strangers, they give these strangers the protection of their laws, on
an equal footing with themselves. But these gold-hunting strangers are
not satisfied with this. It is not enough for them to share with the
original owners of the soil--no, they want to be _masters_! And because
the owners of the soil will not walk quietly out of their country and
give everything up to the would-be usurpers, they are reviled, libelled
and abused. You are an Englishman, an Englishman’s boast is supposed
to be _love of “fair play,”_ where does your love of fair play come in
here?’

‘But if they wish to share with us, why do they not share the franchise
with us?’

‘That is it--you are asking for the handle of the knife. You know very
well that if the franchise is given to every Tom, Dick and Harry, the
Uitlanders will get hold of the handle, and if the Boers should try
to pull it out of their hands, they will cut their fingers. You are
asking them to simply commit political suicide. No, old man, a thing
obtained, as their liberty was obtained, will be more cherished than to
be thus lightly given up. Now, if your intentions were honest and fair
to the Boers, you would quietly wait your hour until the stipulated
time expires, when you may legally become a Burgher; and if the time
appears rather long, I have perfect confidence that, if the Uitlanders
will only show the Government that they wish to become peaceful,
law-abiding citizens of the Republic, anxious to advance the honour
and prosperity of the country of their adoption, which they can only
do by working with the Government, and ceasing to show their prejudice
to everything that is _Boer_, then I am sure the Government will soon
shorten the time of probation, and take them into the fold of full
burghership.’

‘Yes; but we are not going to humble ourselves and beg for a vote; no,
by Jingo! sooner than that, we will fight for it, and take by force
what is refused us when we ask for it. Besides, even though we are not
strong enough to take the Government by force, we only have to get up a
row, and start some sort of revolution, and ask the British Government
to step in, and of course England will say to your President, “You
cannot keep the peace, we will have to come and keep it for you,” and
the trick is done, _wacht een beetje_.’

Such reasoning disgusted Steve, as I am sure it would many an honest
and fair-thinking Englishman. However, he replied,--

‘All I can say is that, if England does this, her glory shall pass away
from her; such injustice will be tolerated by neither God nor man, and
England shall raise such a cry of shame as has never been heard before.
She shall feel something like the man who opened a hive of angry bees,
and when the bees are stinging and buzzing about his ears, she shall be
sorry she ever opened that hive. But I must say I have more faith in
the honour and justice of your countrymen than you seem to have.’

Such discussions as these were the order of the day, and the sample
given above may be taken as a fair example of the opinions of the two
parties in the country. We shall leave the debaters now, but on some
future occasion we shall take advantage of the privilege of historians
to visit them again.



CHAPTER XX

A HUNTING WE GO


After a few years stay in Pretoria, Steve and his four special friends
made up a party for a sort of picnic and shooting expedition combined.

They procured a roomy Cape cart and four horses, laid in a stock of
tinned provisions for three weeks, and started one sunny morning in
August.

It was a beautiful day, and our friends enjoyed the sunshine and fresh
air greatly, after their long confinement in town and office. Steve’s
cousin, as usual, took a leading part. He was driving. After a halt for
breakfast and again for dinner--which was doubly relished for being
partaken of in the open air--they went on at a good pace, so as to
arrive in time, before dark set in, at a certain farm, the owner of
which was known to Steve.

‘Well, I declare this is grand,’ remarked Steve as he lay back in
the cart, comfortably settled and puffing away contentedly at his
pipe. ‘I do enjoy driving at a good pace, with the wind fanning your
chin--oh--ah--her--goodness gracious, where are we going to? I must
remark here, and at once, that I _don’t_ enjoy a journey to the centre
of the earth, where you seem to be taking us, cousin mine. What in the
name of goodness do you mean by driving us in here?’

‘But I am in the path.’

‘My dear fellow, don’t you know that when you come to a place like
this, the farther you are out of the path the safer you are? Let
me instruct you now, once for all, that while you are driving this
company, when you come to a black-looking, soft, soapy, muddy hole like
this, turn out of the path, and cross where you see the longest grass,
and if a cart or waggon has never ridden there before so much the
better.’

For the benefit of the reader, who is unacquainted with Transvaal
roads, we will describe the sort of ‘black, soft, soapy, muddy hole,’
as Steve called it. In certain patches of the country stretches of a
black, soft soil are found, something like what, I imagine, an Irish
bog to be from descriptions that I have read of it. When rain has not
lately fallen, it is hard and firm enough, but where a stream runs
through it, _then_ you have to be careful. Those who know what they
are about, generally take good care to cross where no one else has
crossed before, and where grass is growing, where the grass itself
and its roots form a pretty safe bridge across. But where waggons or
carts have been in the habit of crossing, the grass and roots have been
cut up, down you go, horses and all, up to the nave and over. In just
such a hole our young hunters now found themselves. The horses were
up to their bellies in the soft mud, and could find no foothold to
work themselves and the cart out. The cart itself was simply floating
on the mud, the bottom of the cart lying like a boat on it, while a
little of it ran in and blackened the tan-coloured shooting boots of
the occupants. What were they to do now? To leave the cart meant a mud
bath, and such mud!--black, sticky, oily mud!

I am afraid they would have made up their minds to spend the night
in their uncomfortable position; but always when danger seems to be
greatest, help is near at hand.

Fortunately for them, they were in sight of the farmhouse where they
intended spending the night; and the kindly old Boer and his two sons
were soon seen coming along with half-a-dozen oxen yoked to a long
chain.

The chain was soon fastened to the harness of the leaders, which the
rescuers could just reach, and the oxen pulled out cart and horses. But
what a state they were in; the nice tan-coloured harness was painted
black as far as the mud reached, so were the horses and cart. But
fortunately night was coming on, and the entry of the visitors to the
_werf_ did not look so disreputable as it otherwise would have done.



CHAPTER XXI

A BOER AND HIS FAMILY


The farmhouse at which our young friends arrived in such an unclean
state, was a really fine villa, had only lately been built, and was as
comfortable and commodious as any town-built villa, and as good looking
too. A verandah surrounded the house, affording a shady seat at any
time of the day; a convenience which is greatly valued in this country,
especially in December and January, when it is too hot and close to
remain indoors with any sort of comfort.

The rooms inside were comfortably furnished, each spare bedroom being
provided with a feather bed, wash-hand stand, chest of drawers,
surmounted by a mirror, and a couple of chairs. Of course the bedroom
of the father and mother of the house was the bedroom _par excellence_,
and was furnished in style. The dining-room possessed an expanding
dining-table and a suite of morocco covered chairs, also mahogany
sideboard, and a few pictures--sea views--mounted in gilded frames,
adorned the walls.

But the room on which the most money and care had been lavished was the
sitting-room. An upright piano in one corner faced an American organ
in the opposite corner; a thick carpet covered the floor, on which was
distributed a satin-covered drawing-room suite and table to match; a
whatnot and book cabinet occupied the two corners not filled by piano
and organ; innumerable vases, ornaments and nick-nacks completed
the decorations, as far as the furniture was concerned. As to the
walls, they were reserved for the family portraits--grandfathers and
grandmothers, both paternal and maternal--fathers and mothers ditto;
and then came two grand life-size portraits of the present head of the
family and his wife, flanking a family group of the whole existing
family.

The house overlooked a fine valley, through which flowed a rivulet of
bright clear water, from which was irrigated the grand orchard and
ornamental trees which occupied the whole stretch of ground lying
between the rivulet and the house. This orchard was the pride and
care of the mother of the house, who was assisted by a ‘Cape boy’
(bastard), who in turn was assisted by two or three Kaffirs in the
care of the orchard. She had taken particular pride in ordering fruit
trees and vines of the best and latest varieties, as well as roses
and flowering shrubs and ornamental trees, such as her neighbours had
never seen before, from the Cape and Natal. Of course, the father of
the house had enough to do, even with the assistance of the sons, in
looking after the numerous lands lying lower down the fertile valley,
and then he had the care of the large herd of cattle and sheep grazing
on the surrounding hills; besides which cares, he had lately been busy
planting timber and fodder trees. Lately he even had to do without the
assistance of his two sons, as one was studying for some profession in
Edinburgh and the other at Bloemfontein, O. F. S., while he himself had
lately been elected a member of the Volksraad, and was thus obliged to
spend four months of the year in town, assisting at the council of the
nation.

This particular farmer had not always been so well off as now. When he
first married he had this farm--inherited from his father--a couple
of hundred sheep, a dozen or so of cows, a waggon, and one span of
oxen. He and his wife went to live on this farm with no capital
whatever to work this uncultivated and houseless farm. He set to work,
built a _hartebeest house_ (mud house), composed of three little
rooms--kitchen, dining-room and sitting-room combined, and a little
bedroom. Together they worked and economised, saving every penny they
could, made _kraals_, planted trees, sowed the lands, made irrigation
furrows, and tended their flock of sheep, until they got fairly well
off and saved enough even to buy another half farm adjoining theirs.

The discoveries of gold came, gold was found on the lately bought half
farm, and was sold for £20,000 cash, with a quantity of shares in the
company buying it. Thus prosperity came, and our former struggling,
hard-working Boer, who had to put his own shoulder to the wheel and
work hard himself, if he wanted anything done, could take matters easy
and enjoy himself.

What did he do now--live on the fat of the land and let others do the
work? No. Just here I want to point out a peculiarity which I have
noticed in our Dutch farmers in the Transvaal.

In the boom for gold farms, many a formerly struggling farmer has
suddenly found himself a rich man, selling his farm, or one of his
farms, for from £10,000 to £100,000 or more, and yet, amongst them all,
I do not know of one of them that has given up his former simple mode
of life and leads a retired easy life. They may build a larger, finer
and more comfortable house, furnish it better, be more lavish in their
hospitality, but their former occupation is never given up. Still they
sow their lands, still they tend their flocks, still the season’s yield
of wool is taken to town, and from the proceeds thereof the household
requirements are provided. A progressive farmer will spend some of
his thousands to improve his farms, his implements and his stock,
but his occupation is kept, with few exceptions. Even members of the
Government, who formerly farmed, keep their farms going, visiting them
now and then, even though they could not attend to them themselves.
Even so with the particular farmer we have been describing. His wealth
increased his responsibilities and cares, but in nowise decreased his
work.

We have given this description of a farmer of the wealthier classes;
we would give his name, but it would serve no purpose, it might only
displease him, as he, in common with most of his race, dislikes
publicity. Let it suffice that the description given is from life.



CHAPTER XXII

A TALK ON BEES


Steve and his friends were received with the greatest cordiality;
first, because Steve was known to the family and liked by them, and
secondly, because hospitality is natural--in fact, seems born in a
Boer. You will arrive at a farmhouse--poor or rich--you are one of the
so-called hated nation--a _rooi nek_ (nickname given to Englishmen
because their tender skin causes their necks to blister and turn red
in the hot South African sun, literally meaning ‘red nek’)--unknown;
at the door you meet a youngster just able to talk. You will dismount.
This premature young man will come up to you with an air of--_playing
the host_ about him, will take hold of your hand, give it a shake, and
say,--

‘Wil Oom nie afzaal nie?’ (Will uncle saddle off?)

Yes you will.

‘Well, then, uncle can walk just right in and have a cup of coffee; I
will see to the horse.’

Well, as I said, our young friends were well received, and soon found
themselves seated around a supper table, as well laid and as well
provisioned as man’s heart could desire in such a locality. Roast
beef, stewed guinea-fowl, leg of venison, stuffed with bacon and baked
vegetables, salads, etc., custard pudding, blanc mange, fresh butter,
cheese, etc., washed down with coffee, and such coffee as only a
_Tante_ knows how to brew, and that Java coffee too. After supper, the
party adjourned to the sitting-room, where they were soon followed by
the _Tante_, after she had seen to the servants getting their food, and
the remnants of the supper had been safely put away.

‘Now, Stephaans,’ said she to Steve, ‘you or your friends must come and
look at a bee-hive that a _winkelier_ (shopkeeper) made me buy in town
last week. It is one of those new-fangled patent things. Its inside is
full of pieces of wood--goodness only knows what for. They say it is
better than just an empty box for the bees. I don’t understand it. Do
you or any of your friends understand it?’

Now Steve saw a chance to distinguish himself in the way he liked
to do--by being useful. Apiarian books had been among his favourite
studies, so he knew all about it, having always kept one or more hives
for study and also for--honey.

‘Well, _Tante_, if you will send for the hive, I shall explain all
about it to you.’

The hive came, and Steve surprised even his companions by the learned
dissertation he gave on bees and bee-keeping. He surprised the simple
old gentleman and his lady almost into disbelief, when he told them
the queen was the mother of all the bees in the hive; that she was
only a fully developed female bee, reared from the self-same egg from
which the worker bee is raised, and that she is only made a queen by
over feeding and by giving her more space to grow out in in the cell.
That the drones, or, as they called them in Dutch, _water-carriers_,
are not water-carriers, but that they are, in fact, great, lazy,
good-for-nothing male bees, who love to live on what the females
earned in the fields, and absolutely refuse to do any work (as so many
of their sex, even in the human race, delight to do); that, in fact,
they were unable to do any work--not being built that way; but were
only called into existence to be husbands to the young queens, which
may be raised during the season for the purpose of sending out swarms,
and thus obey the command of the Creator when He said, ‘Go forth and
multiply.’

But their surprise reached its climax, when he told them that he
could make the bees manufacture a queen for themselves, should they
be queenless, by simply giving them eggs or larvæ to make her from;
that, in fact, he could force them to make as many queens to his order
as he liked by simple manipulation, and that he could thus make three
or four swarms of bees out of one in a season. He tried to explain to
them all this, and by explaining the why and the wherefore, he soon got
them to believe and understand him. He also showed them how to fix and
wire the wax foundation in the frames, and thus spare the poor bees
a lot of work; also told them how, by the use of an extractor, they
could extract all the honey from the combs without breaking the comb,
and thus save the bees the time and expense of wax to rebuild it. ‘All
you have to do is to replace the empty comb in the hive, when the bees
refill it.’

The Oom and Tante were especially pleased when it was explained to
them that by the use of the modern hive they were spared the cruel
necessity of destroying any of the young bees or brood, when taking the
honey out, or, as it is truthfully called, _robbing the hive_, and that
the honey reserved for the use of man was pure, without young bees or
pollen (bee bread).

From bee-keeping the conversation drifted to gardening, vegetable and
flower, as well as fruit culture, in all of which Steve was an adept.
He told the Tante of so many new modes of grafting and pruning, that
she exclaimed he talked like a book.

In this way it happened, that Steve gained the friendship and respect
of all the country people he came across. He could talk to them of
things they understood and which interested them--matters concerning
their everyday life.



CHAPTER XXIII

GOOD SHOTS


After a good night’s rest and a hearty breakfast, our friends once more
resumed their journey, being anxious to get farther away from town,
where there would be a greater probability of getting something to
shoot at.

About three o’clock in the afternoon they reached another acquaintance
of Steve’s, and were received with an almost effusive welcome.

The family consisted of Oom Ignatious, Tante Letta, Ignatious, junior,
eldest, Daniel, second eldest, and Lettie, junior.

Oom Ignatious (pronounced Ignaas) was a spare, slightly grey old man,
with a slight stoop in the shoulders, partly from hard work and partly
from a weak chest. He was a kindly old man, uneffusive, but always
had a smile and a kindly word for friend or enemy. He never lost his
temper--at least, not visibly, whatever his inward feelings might be;
when annoyed he hardly showed it. He always remained civil and kind,
but was ever firm and strong in upholding what he considered right.

Tante Letta was fat, fair, and forty. Her estimated weight was three
hundred pounds. She had never been weighed; when asked, she objected
on the ground that it was only desired to ‘_drijf de spot met mij_’
(to make a laughing-stock of me). But with all her weight she was a
good old soul. Everybody loved the old lady for her goodness. She could
never do enough for you to show her hospitable inclinations. She was
always bustling about, causing wonder and surprise to all how she
could remain on her feet all day in spite of her great weight. When
you did manage to persuade her to sit down and have a chat, she simply
charmed you with her kindly, smiling, fat, double-chinned face.

The two sons were both big giants of young men, straight as a die,
broad-shouldered, deep-chested, healthy-looking and strong, handsome
in face and figure, with curly light brown hair, clean-shaven cheeks,
but wearing light handsome moustaches. Finally, as to moral character,
they were their father and mother’s children in deed as well as name.
But little Lettie was the angel of the house. I can’t describe her with
sufficient power to place her before the reader as I knew her. I will
attempt, but I know it will be a failure, and will give the reader
only a bare idea of her looks. Tall, slender, with a graceful willowy
carriage, what a poem in her walk, in her every movement and look! What
sweetness in those large star-like eyes, gleaming like dark-coloured
diamonds under the long-lashed eyelids. The lines of the face, the
shape of nose and chin, I cannot describe, I simply give in; I know
not to what style it belonged; I only know they were--_Beautiful_.
The mouth I can and will describe. _It was made to kiss._ The long
hair was worn loose, and flowed in waves down to the waist in a
dark, massive cloud. The dress was a loose, simple gown, fitting the
form sufficiently close to show the perfections of the figure; smart
costumes would only mar such a figure.

Steve will never forget the walk he took alone with Lettie to the
flower garden that afternoon; to him she was the fairest flower that
ever he had seen.

Reader! to prevent any future disappointment, I must here state that
Lettie is not going to be the heroine of this story; that Steve is
not going to marry her, or even to fall madly in love with her. He
admired and liked her, but after this visit she passes out of his life;
we shall hear no more of her. I have tried to place her before the
reader as I still see her in my mind’s eye, as a type of the better
class of Boer girls, whose figure has not been spoiled by bad taste and
knowledge of dressing, and, alas, by hard work too. For many a poor
farmer is obliged to help himself with the labour of his girls for want
of servants; and thus their shoulders become bent through constant
stooping and hard work, and their figures spoiled and ruined.

I have been told of a certain farmer who ploughed, sowed and reaped
his lands with the aid of four girls; while one tended the sheep, one
the oxen, one led, and one drove the span of oxen pulling the waggon.
And thus he had to do all his work with only the assistance of his
daughters. He had been blessed with a troop of girls, and not one boy.
And as to native labour, since the gold mines are offering such high
wages, the poor farmer must consider himself lucky if he can get any
at all; while many cannot afford to pay a price sufficiently high to
keep their boys from going off to the gold mines. Thus it is that we
see so many ill-figured Boer girls. But for all that, I do believe that
amongst the Boer women are to be found some as handsome as any in the
world. The faint attempt at a description of Lettie is not drawn from
the imagination, but is exactly as she was known to the writer.

It was amongst this family that our party of hunters now found
themselves.

As I have said, they were welcomed most heartily, their horses were
soon stabled and themselves led into the house and refreshed with
coffee and cake.

Oom Ignatious, not having had the luck as yet to sell a gold farm,
had to content himself with a moderate-sized farmhouse of the old
Dutch style, mainly built by himself and friends. It consisted of a
dining-room, hall and sitting-room combined (nothing unusual), three
bedrooms--one bedroom for the old people, one for Lettie, and one for
the boys--and a kitchen--five altogether.

Oom Ignatious’s wealth consisted of his oxen and sheep and in what he
managed to raise from his lands, on all of which he contrived to live
comfortably without any waste or want, but without having much surplus
over at the end of the year.

When Oom Ignatious heard that they were out for the purpose of killing
something, he told Ignatious, junior, and Daniel to leave the work they
were at and show them the haunts of certain _oribe_ and steenbuck that
they knew of.

Our party of greenhorns failed to bag anything in spite of repeated
attempts. The young Boers showed them buck after buck quietly grazing
in the long grass, but, standing or running, our young friends missed
every shot. At last Keith said, ‘These young fellows are laughing at
us, the bucks are too far away, you can’t hit them at such a distance.’
The young Boers, who knew a few words of English, understood this,
but said never a word, and kept on making themselves as agreeable as
possible to Keith with their scant knowledge of English.

At last, they were on their homeward way, no game in their bags, when
suddenly Ignatious pulled Keith by the arm, enjoined silence, and
pointed to a distant rise in the level plain and said,--

‘Do you see that _oribe_ lying there against the butt?’

‘Where? I do not see anything but grass.’

‘There, don’t you see where I am pointing?’

‘No, old chappie, you do not come it over me, there is nothing there.’

‘Well, give me your gun.’ He had left his gun at home not to spoil the
sport of their guests.

Keith gave him the gun with the remark that it was only a waste of
ammunition. Ignatious knelt on one knee and rested his arm on the
other, took aim and fired, something bounded in the air at the spot
pointed out and fell down again and nothing more was seen. Ignatious
quietly handed Keith his gun back and led the way towards the spot.
Daniel was holding Steve’s gun in his hand admiring the workmanship
of it, when, as they approached the spot, a buck was seen running
from it. Everyone shouted, ‘There it goes,’ and ran in a slanting
direction as if to intercept it when a shot was heard. Once more the
buck bounding into the air several feet, fell down to rise no more. It
was Daniel who had fired this time and killed the buck on the run. They
went towards it, cut it up, took out the intestines and shouldered it,
when Ignatious said, ‘Now let us go and get the other one.’

‘Which one?’ said Keith.

‘Why, the one I shot.’

‘But this is the one you shot at?’

Ignatious laughed quietly and said,--

‘The one I shot will never run again; I shot him just behind the
shoulder.’

Keith stared at him and thought he was being fooled again, so did not
say anything more, but followed Ignatious, only to be led to a dead
_oribe_, shot dead through the heart--the bullet had penetrated the
buck just behind the shoulder, as Ignatious had said he intended it to
do.

Keith thought to himself, ‘I wish I could fire a shot like that, and be
as sure of it too. Why, it was three hundred yards away if it was one.’



CHAPTER XXIV

ANOTHER TRY


After a pleasant evening and a good supper, our party went to bed,
Steve and Theron occupying the bed of the old people, while Harrison,
Steve’s cousin and Keith took possession of the boys’ room; those
who were thus ejected, satisfying themselves with a _shake down_ on
the floor of the dining-room and kitchen respectively. At whatever
sacrifice, the guests must be made comfortable!

It had been arranged that the visitors should have another try at those
_oribe_, but this time under the guidance of the old man himself, as
the young men had arranged to leave after breakfast for the _kerk
plaats_ (farm on which a church is built, and where periodical services
are held).

They would have stayed to oblige their guests, but two fair ones
expected them there; the arrangement had been made to meet there, and
even the claims of hospitality could not induce them to disappoint two
loving hearts.

Everyone on a farm is too busy before breakfast to go shooting; the
sheep had to be counted out of the kraal and sent to the veld, cows
had to be milked, and all the work of the farm had to be set going and
to be seen to first; therefore the party could not leave till after
breakfast for the veld.

Ignatious and Daniel had to ride out to an outlying station before
starting for their own particular trip. After breakfast, Steve was
standing talking on the stoop to Lettie, waiting for his party to get
ready. Ignatious and Daniel had just saddled their horses, and were
saying good-bye to Steve and his party, as they would very likely be
still away when Ignatious and Daniel returned from the out station,
when they would immediately leave for the _kerk plaats_.

‘What fine fellows these brothers of yours are,’ remarked Steve to
Lettie. ‘You ought to be proud of them.’

‘So I am. I only hope that if ever I marry, I may get a man as good as
they are for a husband.’

‘Daniel is going to get married soon, is he not?’

‘Yes, within three months, probably. Do you think he looks sickly, or
unhealthy?’

‘No; on the contrary, I think he looks remarkably healthy and strong.
Why do you ask?’

‘Because, a few days ago, I came into his room; he was looking at the
photo of his intended; tears were in his eyes. I asked him, “What is
the matter?” He replied that he loved her so much, and that yet she
would never be his wife. “What! never your wife!” I said, “and you
are going to be married in a few months to her; what do you mean?” He
replied that _he felt it in his heart_; he did not know why, unless _he
should die before the time came_. And then he told me that I was to
take his Bible, if he should die, and his sweetheart his new hymn book,
and other things he told me to give to mother and father, as well as
something for Ignatious. The foolish boy, as if he were going to die so
soon; the idea is ridiculous; and yet, if he should die, I don’t know
what we should do without him.’

‘Oh, you need not fear for him, he is strong and healthy enough to
outlive us both.’

No more was said, and Steve did not think much of what was said,
but he had reason sooner than he could have thought, to recall this
conversation.

At last they started, and all hoped to have better luck than the day
before. Steve was a fairly good shot at a target, in fact he was (like
most South Africans) a born shot; but he had never had a chance to
practise rifle shooting at a distance at real game, but he was a good
hand at bird shooting with a shot-gun. Ever since he was a boy of
twelve, he used to scrape his pennies together to buy powder and shot,
and go pigeon-shooting with an old muzzle-loading shot-gun, which had
formerly belonged to his father, and a good hand he learned to be at
it by such practice. It was one of the few kinds of sport he enjoyed;
he loved shooting. For the above reasons, Steve longed to bring down a
real antelope of some kind, but he was doomed to disappointment. The
game was too shy, and kept at a distance, requiring a really good shot
to bring them down. Theron was the only one to kill that day. After a
long walk in the hot sun and among the trees, Theron succeeded, by
taking a good steady aim (and being told what sight to put on by Oom
Ignatious) at a buck standing broadside on, unaware of their presence,
in bringing it down. Oom Ignatious refused to shoot, as he said he did
not like to spoil their sport, but inwardly he thought that, after the
previous day’s occurrence--of which he had been told by Steve--it would
be too unkind to humiliate the poor young greenhorns by a display of
his accurate aim, for he knew that with him to shoot was to kill. The
sun was hot and heavy, thunder-clouds were beginning to rapidly cover
the sky, so it was determined to return home as fast as possible before
the heavy storm, which was surely coming on, broke on them.



CHAPTER XXV

A TERRIBLE THUNDER STORM


Reader, have you ever taken note of the signs of a heavy African
thunder storm coming on? Have you felt the awful depressing heat, which
seems to make the heart feel too faint and languid to beat? Have you
noted the awesome, mysterious twilight that seems to settle over the
earth? A moment everything appears to be alive and joyous; birds are
singing, cattle bellowing, all nature murmurs a pæan of gladness for
_life_. In another moment everything seems to hide itself and hush its
breath. Not a murmur is heard, not a leaf rustles, not a breath of
wind is felt. It is the calm before the storm. Now the suspense seems
to be agonising; it gets darker and darker. Suddenly the leaves seem
to rustle out of very fear, as if they longed to break the silence,
for they rustle, and yet not a breath of wind is felt. Then gradually
you hear an ever-increasing roar at a distance. My God! what a crash
is that! It is the first clap of thunder that breaks over your head,
seeming to strike near you, all around you; you feel that you are not
safe, you long for shelter, for company, for somebody to share your
terror. Such a thunder storm seems to make cowards of the bravest. It
is an invisible enemy; an irresistible danger seems to threaten you,
to surround you, to search you out, hide where you will. If you never
prayed before, you feel as if you would like to pray now. Deny it if
you will, hide it if you might, look as brave as you can, yet I tell
you you _do_ feel awed when the thunder of heaven seems to speak to you
with the voice of an angry God.

After that first clap, the silence is broken, the storm is on you. Clap
after clap of thunder strikes around you. The lightning seems to blind
you. The trees bend to the ground before the great force of rushing
air, and those that will not bend must break, and come crashing down,
crushing everything underneath them, and obstructing the paths and
roads.

The rain seems to come down, not in drops, nor in sheets either, but
in one continuous mass. You can hardly draw your breath because of the
wind and rain; and in a moment you find yourself wading in six inches,
ten inches, twelve inches of water on the level plain. Woe to the flock
of sheep that finds itself in the least hollow or depression between
two butts or rises of the rolling plain. They are drowned where a few
moments before they stood on dry veld, seemingly safe against any
flood. Such was the storm our friends found themselves in now. They
could do nothing but pull their hats over their eyes and plod and wade
wearily along. Wet to the skin in a moment, their clothes clinging most
uncomfortably to them, the house seeming to recede farther and farther
away as they struggled on; even the much-prized buck which Theron had
shot was dropped and left lying in the veld. Their only desire was to
get home; to get at least a roof between themselves and this terrible
thunder.

Thank God, it is passing over at last. It did not last long, but while
it did last it was terrible!

Now it gets lighter and lighter. The blue sky peeps out gradually
larger and larger on the western horizon--the direction from which the
storm had come--at last, even the sun comes out again. And everything
peeps forth again. The lambs begin to play, the calves gallop and
frolic about, the birds sing merrier than ever; and the trees--they can
only weep tears of joy that the cruel wind does not bend them down so
cruelly any more. Now the storm is raging towards the east, its distant
rumbling is heard, and the clouds look piled up in black and blue
masses in that direction.

Now our party is able to walk again; the water has gathered in the
hollows and rivulets. By choosing high ground, progress can be made.

They were nearing the house when they saw a man approaching towards
them in a slanting direction. What can be the matter with him? Surely
such a storm was sufficient to sober the most intoxicated man on earth?
And yet this fellow must be drunk. See how he staggers; sometimes he
drops on to his knees, and clasps his head between his hands, and even
at this distance they can hear him sob as if his heart was breaking. He
rises once more, sees them approaching now near by, he cries out aloud,
stretches his arms towards them in a supplicating manner. They hear
the agonising words escape from him. Oh, my brother? The old man turns
as pale as death. He recognises his eldest son, as did the rest. Oom
Ignatious rushes forward; he reaches his son just as he drops down in a
dead faint. His father lifts him, holds him in his lap, and cries,--

‘Oh, my son, my son, what has happened? Oh, my God, see how he is
scorched! Oh, horrible, his clothes are crumbling as if burnt; his skin
comes off. Oh, my God, have pity upon a poor father, and spare my son.’

The young man opens his eyes once more and murmurs, ‘My brother, my
brother,’

‘Where is your brother, Ignatious?’

‘Over there,’ he replied, pointing to a round hill commanding the rest
of the valley.

‘I’ll go to him,’ said the old man. ‘Is he hurt, too?’

‘No, father, you must not go. Steve will go with his friends. You must
go with me to mother to prepare her for the terrible tidings.’

‘What terrible tidings? Ignatious, that you are wounded?’ queried the
old man.

‘No, father. I am terribly scorched, but I may yet recover; but poor
Daniel--oh, my father, that I should live and he die when we were side
by side.’

‘What--dead!--dead!--my Daniel dead? You cannot know what you are
saying; you are delirious from your wounds.’

‘No, my dear father, I fear me he is dead. Take courage; you must be
strong and help us to comfort mother; come.’

The old man seemed to make a strong effort, rose and helped to raise
Ignatious.

‘You are right, my son. Your mother must be our first care; come.’

He begged Steve, with tears in his eyes, to go and find Daniel while he
went home with Ignatious, who could scarcely stand.

‘I will send a cart or waggon at once to bring him home, if you will
only wait there and do unto him as if he was your own dead brother.’

Steve and his four companions went, and what a sight met their eyes!



CHAPTER XXVI

’TIS THE WILL OF GOD


The hill on which they found themselves was the highest point of the
rolling plain. On it were scattered masses of ironstone. Whether there
was any kind of metal present in the soil of the hill, or whether it
was because it was the highest spot in the neighbourhood, Steve could
_not_ determine, but he later on learned that this was a favourite spot
for the lightning to strike down on.

What they saw was this--

Two horses, dead and all twisted up as if they had no bones in their
bodies, indescribably horrible to see. Entangled with one horse, a
man’s body was seen. When they lifted him up by the arms, his head
dropped backwards between the shoulders, as if his neck was composed
of only skin and soft flesh. His hat and most of his clothes were
carbonised, and his flesh, where exposed, was scorched and burnt in
crooked lines. But let us draw a curtain, ’tis God’s work; His ways are
inscrutable.

The body was conveyed, in a waggon (sent for the purpose), home.

When the body was carried into the house, the mother of the dead man
cast off all restraint and threw herself in a passion of weeping upon
the corpse, and had to be dragged away by main force from the awful
sight of the mutilated body of her son.

To cut a gruesome story short, the body was buried the following day at
midday. Steve and his companions came over from a neighbouring farm,
where they had gone the afternoon of the accident, as so many relatives
and friends had come to assist the bereaved family that they thought it
well to leave and relieve the house of the care of stranger guests.

Poor Ignatious was in a precarious condition; his life was despaired
of for some time. But he recovered in the end. But poor Tante Letta;
the shock was too much for her; she nearly followed her boy to the
grave, and was delirious for months afterwards. Oom Ignatious spanned
in his cart, on the doctor’s advice, and rode from neighbour to
neighbour for weeks, every day giving his wife change of scene and
faces. By this means, she gradually recovered a shadow of her health
and reason. But the beautiful motherly smile, which formerly dwelt
on her face, was gone for ever. She is now the tender care of little
Lettie, and is waiting patiently for the time when her God will call
for her, and take her to her beloved son. God comfort the poor old lady!



CHAPTER XXVII

A DANGEROUS FORD


The day of the funeral was Sunday. Steve and party took leave of the
sad household, and the following day went farther on.

Keith was moved by the kindness and godliness of the family he had
just left. ‘These Boers are not such a bad and uncivilised people as
they are made out to be by their enemies; in fact, I wish Englishmen
were more like them. What surprises me in them is their quiet, simple,
unboastful manner, and their extreme kindness to strangers such as I
am.’

‘You will find exceptions to every rule,’ Steve replied. ‘You will find
boasters and bad people amongst them as amongst all other peoples. But,
as a people, they are true Christians, leading a life as near as they
can to what their Bible teaches them their lives should be. Their Bible
is their law, and by that standard they act and judge all things. It
is true they have some prejudices, likes and dislikes, which is to be
deplored; but even in that they injure no man. They have the making of
a great people in them, and I am proud to be of their race.’

During the Monday, our friends moved on quietly, their conversation
was hushed, they spoke of serious matters; and the usual lively and
sportive conversation prevailing amongst a party of young men out by
themselves, was entirely absent.

The road they were travelling ran through a vast plain, black as night.
The fire, prevalent at this season, had burnt up every blade of grass.
The farmers usually burn the grass down just before the first summer
rains come on, so as to have the grass come out young and tender for
their flocks. And as soon as rain has fallen, and the grass is growing,
they move out of their winter quarters in the bush veld, and come back
to their houses on the high veld, which, during the winter, are left
under the care of, perhaps, one member of the family, or a native
servant whom they can trust, or is left to take care of itself.

The party travelled on all day, and came only at midday to a house,
where they could obtain a little soaked mealies for their horses. All
the other houses they had come to were deserted, as the families were
still in the bush veld, and they had been unable to procure a mouthful
of forage for their horses. They themselves were all right, for they
had a good stock of provisions, but the poor brutes were starving.

After the feed of mealies, the horses put a little spurt on again
during the afternoon, but soon the want of food again made itself felt.

The young men began to feel anxious. If the horses got no food, they
could not pull the cart; and to remain stuck in such a black and
uninhabited plain, with no shelter from the hot sun, would be decidedly
unpleasant.

They had been directed to a farm where they would find good people at
home, as well as forage for their horses and game for their guns, and
were pushing on to reach this place. But on this bare, black plain
many roads crossed and recrossed. It was a regular network of roads
running from farm to farm. They became confused as to which road they
should take and which leave. They soon realised the fact that they had
lost their road, and were going at random. The danger now began to get
serious. Their horses were dragging wearily along, and could scarcely
keep up a semblance of a trot, and would soon give in altogether. The
poor brutes had been in harness most of the day, and that on a mouthful
of mealies only. But what could they do? They must keep on to reach
shelter for themselves and food for the horses. Night is coming on;
’tis only twilight now, and twilight does not last longer than thirty
or forty minutes here. Soon they will be unable to see the road, and
will be forced to span out on this barren, inhospitable veld.

‘Hurrah! I see a light, and what is more, the dim outline of trees, and
I do believe a house,’ cried Steve.

‘But where the dickens is the road?’ cried his cousin. The road seemed
suddenly to disappear on the hard, unimpressionable soil. But all
jumped down and went in search of a road.

Going a little forward, they discovered that they were by no means out
of the difficulty yet. A river lay between them and the light, and
what is more no _drift_ was visible. The banks were steep, and no cart
could pass it, and a deep _zee koe gat_ (wallowing pools of sea-cows)
occupied the whole visible stretch of the river. They ran up against
the stream and soon came to what appeared to be a sort of _drift_. But
what a _drift_.

On examination they found it to be an old disused _drift_ or ford.
Wash-aways of one foot to a foot and a half crossed the steep road,
going down into the river. And in the river itself large round stones
three feet high lay piled up one against the other on the only place
where a cart might have passed. What were they to do now? No other
_drift_ seemed near. Stay there they could not, and darkness was
settling down on the land.

They stood looking in dismay at this _drift_. The opposite side was not
crossed by wash-aways, but seemed to be almost one large precipice in
itself. But still, with good horses, once there, they might be able to
mount it. But how to get there?

‘Well, I do not see the use of standing talking here; we cannot stay
here--cross we must--let us act!’ said Steve.

‘But we cannot cross here,’ cried Harrison. ‘The cart would be smashed!
So how can we act?’

‘I for one won’t drive through here; my life is not insured,’ said
Steve’s cousin.

‘And I would not remain on the cart if you did,’ said Keith.

‘Well, undo the leaders and lead them across. I shall drive the cart
over, but with the wheelers only. They seem to be steady and reliable,
and fairly lively yet,’ said Steve.

The others stared at him, but he remained cool and calm, as all great
natures do in the time of peril. He started undoing the leaders, as the
others seemed in doubt whether to take him at his word or not, led them
on one side, and handed them to Theron, who seemed the most collected
of the others.

He got on the cart, spoke firmly but kindly to the horses, took the
reins well and strongly in hand, as short as possible, and started
down the precipitous road. When he got to the first drop or wash-away
in the road, he made the horses climb down first, stopped them, then
moved them forward step by step, holding them hard in the mouth, until
the cart came on the edge of the drop. When the cart came to the edge,
it dropped down, but gently, as the horses at this moment, pulled back
firmly by Steve, pressed the wheels firmly against the side of the
little precipice, and thus broke the fall, bringing the cart down with
only a slight bump, without injuring it in the least.

In this way he climbed down all the dangerous drops, until he came to
the river itself.

Here the danger seemed greatest. How to get across those great, big,
round stones? But even across these he got, foot by foot, inch by inch,
making the horses pull the wheels out against the round sides of the
rocks, and back it down gently on the other side. Thus he went from
rock to rock. Sometimes the wheels jumped from rock to rock, when they
were near enough; sometimes the cart seemed on the point of tumbling
over into the _zee koe gat_ alongside, when one wheel was on top of
a rock and the other down between two others. But the worst of all
was the feet of the poor tired horses amongst these great, big, round
boulders. Sometimes one or the other would slip down on its knees,
only to be picked up gently by the firm hand at the reins; sometimes
their feet would stick fast between two rocks, but by moving only one
step at a time, and keeping his horses quiet, Steve found himself at
last in front of the steep wall on the other side. Now he fully saw
how steep it was, and, worst of all, it was heavy sand. Will the poor,
tired horses ever manage to get out of this hole? Should the horses
lose their footing or give in for a second, when half-way, the cart
would drag them down, and all would come down in a broken mass--horses
kicking, stones obstructing--and, perhaps, the whole would go down
into the _zee koe gat_, which would mean almost certain death to the
man finding himself entangled in this mass. But there is no time for
hesitating now. He is in, and must get out. It is nearly quite dark
now. After giving the horses a moment to breathe, he let go the reins,
shouted to them to go, and lashed them until they flew forward in
terror, right against the steep wall. Now they are half-way up--my God!
they are slipping in the sand! For a moment they seemed to go down. No!
up they go again. They pant and bend, but up they go; and at last, the
cart stands on level ground again.

Now only Steve discovers that he is pouring wet; the sweat is simply
running from him. He is trembling all over from excitement; his mouth
is parched. He steps down, quiets the horses, gets a drink from the
water canteen, and wipes the sweat from his eyes and is himself again.
He is soon joined by his companions, leading the two other horses. They
had been standing looking on as if paralysed. They expected to see the
cart sink into ruins every moment, and their admiration was unbounded
when they saw him guide the vehicle over obstacle after obstacle, safe
and sound. When they came up to him, they generously congratulated him,
in unmeasured terms, for his pluck and skill; and, to the end of their
trip, when they came to dangerous places (which was often enough), they
made him take the reins, to the disgust of his cousin.

Well now, at last they could go to the house they had seen at a
distance. It is true it is dark and no road visible, but the light
still shone and invited them on; and after such a _drift_ crossed,
surely they can find their way across the level plain, even though it
be dark. Steve led the way on foot, and soon they found themselves in
front of the house they had seen.

But their hopes appeared dashed to the ground again.

‘Seems to me this is a poor show, and it strikes me we will have to
camp outside after all.’

They had come to the poorest of poor houses. A low, small mud house. It
must be one of the poorest farmers in the district.

The barking of the dogs had brought the inmates out of the house by
this time. The following dialogue took place.

‘Good evening, Oom.’ (Steve spoke).

‘Good evening, Neef.’ (Nephew).

‘Who lives here, Oom.’

‘I do!’

‘May I ask Oom’s name?’

‘Certainly, young man; my name is Zarl Venter.’

‘Will Oom have a shelter for us to-night.’

‘Young friend, I have never turned a stranger away from my door, even
though I am poor; and hope I never will. If you are satisfied with the
best we have, which is not much, you are welcome.’

‘Thank you, Oom; we have food, but we should like a shelter as it looks
like rain, and a little food and shelter for our horses.’

‘Food and shelter for yourselves, I have already told you you are
welcome to the best we have. As to your horses, I have no stable, but
those big trees are as good as any stable if it does not rain very
much. As to forage, my son has a little; you must ask him.’

‘We will pay him for it, uncle.’

‘Speak to him yourselves.’

The horses were soon tied up and fed, and our young men found
themselves in a low room, barely furnished, with a few chairs and a
table. Supper was on the table, and consisted of coffee and bread _ad
lib_, nothing more.

The young fellows stared at each other. They were hungry, and only
bread and coffee. True, it was nice, fresh, delicious home-made bread;
but bread and coffee was no supper for a hungry townsman. True they
had plenty of nice tinned meats and fish on the cart, but on its being
suggested in a whisper to Steve by his cousin, he shook his head. He
had no wish to humiliate the poor old people by bringing food to their
table, after they had offered them the best they had. So after their
frugal meal, they retired to bed. They slept on the bed of the old
couple themselves; who, as Oom Ignatious and his wife had done, slept
on the floor to accommodate their stranger guests. The son had a little
nest of his own, but one too poor to offer to these city folks.

The four had to make themselves as comfortable as they could on the
large double bed of the old people, by lying crosswise. At any rate,
the bed was perfectly clean.



CHAPTER XXVIII

A CHANGE OF ROUTE


The party rose early next morning, fed the horses, and held a
consultation. They learned that they had passed the farmhouse to which
they had been directed, far to the right. They were told by Oom Zarl
Venter that they would find very few people at home on their present
course, as in that direction nearly everybody was in the bush veld with
their cattle.

‘But if you want game, why don’t you go to the bush veld. There you
will find lots of game as well as people.’

‘But it is too far away from here.’

‘Not at all, you can be in the bush veld to-morrow if you choose, tired
as your horses are.’

He further told them that they might go as far as Mijnheer Stienberg’s
place, just this side of Kameelpoort, and the following day pass
through Kameelpoort, when they would be in the outskirts of the bush
veld, and just in the right place for pheasants and partridge shooting.

‘But is there no place half-way between this and Mijnheer Stienberg’s
place where we might obtain forage for our horses?’ asked Steve.

‘Yes, there is a place. Old Silas Prinsloo lives there--but--’ and the
old man smiled, ‘he is very _Kwaai_’ (bad-humoured).

‘Too _Kwaai_ to sell us some forage for our horses?’

‘Well, you see, some _Smouses_ cheated the old man several times, and
if you are taken for _Smouses_ (traders or hawkers), you must look out
and get out of his way; and he seems to suspect all strangers with a
cart laden as yours is for _Smouses_.’

‘Well, we will try at all events,’ said Steve.

They set out, well directed as to which roads to take and which to
leave; and after the previous day’s predicament, took good care to go
right.

After several hours’ travelling, they arrived at a house which, from
the description they had heard, they correctly surmised to belong to
Oom Silas Prinsloo. They halted in front of the door. An old man with
a stern countenance was leaning over the bottom half of the door,
surveying them with a threatening and severe cast of countenance. He
did not speak.

‘Good-day, Mijnheer!’ began Steve.

‘Good day!’

‘Who lives here, Mijnheer?’

‘What has that got to do with you?’ severely.

‘Oh, nothing, Mijnheer. Only I thought Mijnheer Silas Prinsloo must be
living here, who, I have been told, would be kind enough to sell us
some forage for our horses.’

‘I don’t keep forage for every cheating Jew of a _Smouse_ who may come
to cheat me. You had better go; I don’t want to buy anything, and my
dogs are very _Kwaai_ (fierce).’

‘We are not _Smouses_, Mijnheer, we are going to the bush veld for a
little shooting and want to buy a few bundles of oats for our poor
tired horses.’

‘And what may your name be?’ he asked, still suspecting.

‘Stephaans Joubert, Mijnheer.’

‘From where do you come?’

‘From Pretoria.’

‘Where were you born?’

‘At G----, Cape Colony.’

‘At G----, Cape Colony? That is where _my_ parents come from, and my
great grandmother was a Joubert. We must be related then, surely?’

The ice was broken, the old man came out, shook hands, accepted
Keith’s tobacco pouch, filled his pipe, and assisted to outspan the
horses, led the way to the stable, and, hey presto! the horses were
contentedly chewing plenty of good oats. The party was invited into
the house and coffee brought forth, while poor Steve had for a full
long hour to explain the genealogy of his house, and hear that of
the host explained; and the old man succeeded in explaining how they
were related. Steve did not exactly understand the conversation, but
from the old man’s use of words, such as cousin in the third and
fourth degree ‘to my grandmother,’ and so forth, he thought it must
be somewhere in Noah’s time that the relationship commenced. However,
as the pretended relationship helped to feed the horses, he did
not complain. After an hour’s good feed, the horses were once more
inspanned, and, much to Steve’s relief, his new-found relative was left
behind, in spite of urgent appeals from the said relative to spend the
day there.

They arrived early in the afternoon at Mijnheer Stienberg’s, and were
well received by the family. The old man and his wife were emigrants
themselves from the Cape Colony, and belonged to the most progressive
class of farmers. A good governess was kept for the boys and girls, and
the farm work was carried on progressively and at a good profit.

The young men enjoyed a real pleasant social evening with the governess
and the girls, who were all good musicians and had splendid voices. The
young fellows, who all liked music, joined them in several songs, but
enjoyed most to lie back in their easy-chairs and listen to the fresh
voices of the girls singing Dutch and English ballads and hymns. Thus
they occupied themselves until a late hour, after which they went to
bed and enjoyed a good night’s sleep. An early start was made the next
day, for all were anxious now to reach the bush veld.



CHAPTER XXIX

THE BUSH VELD


After half-an-hour’s travel, Kameelpoort was reached, and on emerging
on the other side, our friends found stretched out before them hills
and valleys covered by trees and bushes. It seemed to them, as they
stood high above these valleys and hills, that the earth appeared to
sink lower and lower the farther northward they looked. It was really
so. They were standing on a range of hills separating the high from
the low veld. The high veld is a bare, undulating plain, covered with
grass only. The low veld is covered with bush and trees, ranging from
low dwarf bushes to the high majestic yellow wood, and other large
varieties of trees. The farther north you go, the lower you descend,
and the warmer it becomes, so that in mid-winter you have a mild
pleasant climate, but in summer only natives and game can exist.

Under the trees and in the open glades a high, sweet grass
grows--splendid feeding for cattle and sheep in winter. Thus it is that
all farmers do not consider themselves well off before they have a farm
or two on the high veld for summer, and a farm in the bush veld for
winter pasturage.

After descending into the valley before them, our party reached a
stream where were encamped about ten families of farmers, some of whom
Steve knew. The usual welcome was accorded them.

We shall describe the winter quarters of one of these families, which
are all alike more or less, some better some worse.

If the family has two full tent waggons, so much the better, then they
have two bedrooms ready. In each a comfortable _Kartel_ (bedstead
without legs) is tied, and a feather bed made on it.

Between the two waggons, one or two tents are stretched, one serving as
another bedroom, and the other as a dining-room.

In front of the tents and waggons an enclosure is made of marsh or
river reeds. In the enclosure thus formed, a floor of mud and cow dung
is laid, which makes a smooth, hard floor. On one side of the enclosure
a fireplace is made, being a circle large enough to contain all the
pots of the family, enclosed by a ridge of mud three or four inches
high, to keep fire and ashes within bounds. This is the kitchen, and
also the sitting-room of an evening, when all would gather round the
fire, and the events of the day would be talked over. This enclosure is
always kept neat and clean.

Steve and his party found a good company of sportsmen in the community
here encamped. As it was still early, a party was got up to go
shooting. They started about four o’clock.

A good bag was made. We shall relate only one incident of the
afternoon. Steve found himself with the boaster of the company; he was
named William. His stories of his skill in shooting were marvellous.
Steve was considered by him as a greenhorn, and thus a suitable party
to be stuffed with yarns of miraculous shots that he--William--had
at various times made. Steve listened quietly and thought he should
like to see a few of these accurate shots. They arranged to shoot turn
by turn. The guns were all shot-guns, as they were only out after
partridge, koraan and pheasants.

The first of the two to shoot was William. He got a fine shot at
two pheasants, as they hid themselves behind a tuft of grass, or
thought they did, for they were still plainly visible. William fired
and--missed. Of course it was an accident, something the matter with
the gun. Steve’s turn came next; and a good turn he got. They came to
a pool of water; walking quietly up, four koraan were seen standing in
a line. William whispered to Steve to let him fire, as Steve was sure
to miss, and he would guarantee to bring down, at least, two. Without
answering, Steve took aim and fired--and killed all four.

William boasted no more after that in the presence of Steve.



CHAPTER XXX

ANECDOTES


Steve and William returned home to find the rest of the party gathered
in consultation. Keith had strayed from his companion and guide, and
could nowhere be found.

He had gone in chase of a lot of guinea-fowl, and had disappeared
in the bush, and could not be found again. He was searched for, and
shouted for, but in vain.

The present consultation was to arrange plans to go in search of him.
Steve and William, on their arrival, were told of the situation,
and immediate preparation was made for a search-party, composed of
all the males in the encampment. They started westward, and after
half-an-hour’s brisk walking, and continued shouting and bell-ringing,
they heard a gun fired to the north. It was agreed among all present
that it was a signal of distress from Keith. A reply shot was fired to
let him know they were near. The result was a continuous fire of shots
from the direction in which the first shot had been heard.

‘Oh, he is all right,’ said Harrison; ‘he is having a grand old time
amongst the guinea-fowl. He is not lost after all, he has only been
following the guinea-fowl up, and, I suppose, he has succeeded in
driving them into a corner at last, and is killing them one by one at
his leisure; at least, that seems to be the case from the number of
shots he is firing.’

All laughed, for they understood this to be a joke at Keith’s expense,
for, of course all knew those shots were meant to guide them to the
lost man, and were by no means fired at guinea-fowl.

Although a reply shot was fired now and again to let Keith know that
help was coming, he seemed to be determined to let them know where he
was, for he kept on firing, apparently as fast as he could pull out
empty cartridge cases and put full ones in again.

Guided in this way, they soon came up to the place where Keith was
standing. When they came up he looked thoroughly disgusted with himself
and everybody else. But he felt _awfully_ glad, as he afterwards
expressed it, to see them. He confessed to having really been afraid to
spend the night in the bush; nameless terrors came before his mental
vision, and, said he, ‘If I felt so dreadfully lonely and afraid, when
I knew I could not be far away from the camp, what must one’s feeling
be to be really _lost_ in the bush? It must be awful--ugh!’

‘But how did you manage to lose yourself?’ asked someone.

‘Well, you can’t understand it before you get lost yourself; I
always thought I would never lose my bearings, wherever and however
situated I might find myself. But when I had given up the chase of the
guinea-fowl, and I wanted to retrace my steps, I could not for the life
of me determine which way I had come. I was not sure which way the camp
lay, and as the sun had gone down, I could not say which side was north
or south. I climbed a confounded thorn tree, and after I had perforated
myself with thorns, and got as high as I could, I was rewarded for my
pains by seeing the tops of other thorn trees, and nothing else. I
got down and ran in the direction in which I thought the camp might
lie, and after running a distance I thought it must lie in another
direction, so I kept running in one direction and another. I was so
excited that the sweat was pouring off me in streams. At last I was so
tired that I thought I had better sit down and rest, and on a little
calm reflection, I saw that I was a fool for running about in this
way, and that I was only tiring myself, and probably running farther
and farther away from the tents, so I sat down and waited.’

‘But I say, Keith,’ chimed in Harrison, ‘how many cartridges have you
left in your belt?’

‘Not one; why do you ask?’

‘And how many guinea-fowl have you killed?’

‘You go and bury yourself!’ retorted Keith, who saw whither Harrison
was leading him, and that he was trying to raise the laugh against him.

The party returned to the camps, and after a hearty supper of venison,
_storm jagers_ (dough nuts) and fresh butter, Keith got his spirits
back, and joined in the laugh against himself for losing himself so
easily; it was considered a good joke by the Boers, who could find
their way in the darkest night in the bush and never get lost.

After supper, pipes were lighted, and all the men folks (as well as
some of the younger women folks) of the whole encampment gathered
around the large fire in one of the largest enclosures to indulge in
chat and anecdote. The fire was glorious. Timber was plentiful. Once
the fire was burning well, two or three tree stumps were put on, and
the fire would keep burning on this solid mass of fuel till next day.

This gathering just suited Steve. He had been in such gatherings
before, and loved to hear the anecdotes of the hunting field, as well
as the battlefield, told by grey-headed men around the fire of an
evening.

After one tale and another had been told by individuals of the junior
members, Steve turned to one of the seniors, who was known to be on
intimate terms with President Kruger, and said,--

‘I suppose even the President was fond of hunting in his younger days,
Oom Simon?’

‘Yes, he was a noted lion hunter; I have heard a story or two of his
doings as a lion hunter, but I have never asked him about the truth of
it, so you need not believe it, but I will relate it to you.

‘The first was when he and another man were suddenly attacked by a
lion one day. They were both unarmed, as they did not expect to find
lions or dangerous beasts of prey in the vicinity. The President had
his hunting-knife on his hip, and that was all. Suddenly they nearly
stepped on a lion lying in the tall grass; the lion sprang up, and
before he could get out of the way, the President’s companion found
himself under the lion, with the teeth of the brute closing in his
shoulder.

‘The President sprang to his companion’s assistance, drew his knife,
seized the lion by the throat, and stabbed him in the heart two or
three times. The lion then let go his hold, and fell dead.’

‘But, uncle, is not that almost an impossible thing to do, to seize a
lion by the throat and stab him to death.’

‘Under ordinary circumstances it would be almost impossible, but you
must know that when a lion bites into the flesh of his victim and
feels the warm blood in his mouth, he seems to enjoy it so much that
he always closes his eyes for a few moments, and lies perfectly quiet
to enjoy himself. If you think _that_ impossible, you might think this
still more so. The President had one day walked far ahead of his waggon
in the hunting field. He had again left his heavy gun in the waggon.
He was standing on a rise, waiting for the waggon--coming on far
behind--and resting, when he saw two lions, a male and female, coming
on full speed towards him from an opposite direction to the waggon.
They were charging direct on him, the lion in front, the lioness some
distance behind. The President saw it was no time to show funk and
run. To run away on foot meant death. He did the best thing he could
under the circumstances. He stood up and faced the charging lion, and
looked him firmly and fiercely in the eyes. The lion came within a few
paces of him, then stopped, looked him in the eyes for a moment or two,
hesitated for a second, then turned and ran away with his tail between
his legs. The lioness, who had by this time come up, looked after her
flying mate in surprise, seemingly wondering at his giving his prey up
so easily. Then she looked at the President in a searching way, as if
she sought for the danger which had driven her mate away. She caught
the menacing eye of the President, stood spell-bound for a moment as if
mesmerised, then turned and followed her lord and master.’

‘Well, I can well believe that, for I have often heard that the
President possessed the power of mesmerism in a natural way, although
he only seems to exercise it in an unconscious way. And I believe that
if a man does possess such a power, he ought to, with his wonderful
firmness of will, amounting almost to obstinacy.’

‘No, I do not think he is obstinate,’ replied Oom Simon, ‘but he never
determines upon anything unless he is firmly convinced that it is the
right thing to do; and then, when once his mind is made up as to what
is right or wrong, he stands by his opinions to the end, even if he
falls by them.’

‘He must be a religious and serious old man,’ remarked Steve in a way,
as if he wished to draw out old Simon. ‘He never jokes or laughs, it
appears to me.’

‘That is because, I suppose, you only see him in public. If you see him
in private amongst his friends, especially when travelling, he is very
fond of his joke. He _is_ certainly very religious, he fears his God,
and is a true Christian. But he loves a joke nevertheless.’

‘I remember once we were travelling together. We were amusing ourselves
with conundrums; at last the President said,--

‘“I will give you a riddle now. There is a kraal built of high stone
walls. A troop of asses wish to get into that kraal, for the lions are
roaring around them, and safety is to be found in the kraal. How will
they get in? Over the wall they cannot; and through the gate they may
not go. How are they to get inside?” said he, turning to old Mijnheer
van Heerden, a member of our party.

‘“I know not?” replied Mijnheer van Heerden.

‘“Then you are as stupid as the asses themselves, for they knew not how
to get in either.” Of course Mijnheer van Heerden had to join in the
laugh too. He was nicely caught, ha! ha! ha!’

‘Talking of being nicely caught?’ said Oom Hendrik, another senior
of the party. ‘I once knew a wild fellow who always liked to play
practical jokes. His name was Petrus. One day he met a minister,
looking gentle, meek and mild, and also a little green, but looks are
sometimes deceptive, as you will see. He went up to the minister and
said to him, “Mijnheer, do you practice as well as preach the Bible?”’

‘“I hope so, my friend,”’ was the reply.

‘“The Bible says, ‘If a man should strike you on the left cheek, turn
to him the right cheek, that he may strike that also.’” And he gave the
minister a good slap on the left cheek. The minister quietly turned the
right cheek to him; he was a little disconcerted at this, but struck it
in a half-hearted sort of way, and said, “Yes, I see you do practice as
well as preach.” But it was the turn of the minister now, who said,--

‘“Yes, but wait a bit, my friend, the Bible also says, ‘That by the
same measure that ye shall measure others with shall ye also be
measured by.’” And the minister took his coat off, and set to, and gave
Petrus the best thrashing he ever had in his life.’



CHAPTER XXXI

LION STORIES


Steve saw that the conversation was drifting out of the desired
channel, so he turned to Oom Simon again, and said,--

‘But did you ever have a narrow escape from a lion, Oom Simon?’

‘Well, I had a narrow escape once of being thoroughly frightened. We
had been out for a lion hunt during the day. We found one, or rather
he found us, for the first we saw of him was when he was mounted on
the back of one of our horses. He had bounded out of a clump of marsh
reeds, and sprung right on top of the horse, fastening his teeth in the
neck of my poor hunting horse. We shot him. I gave him a bullet behind
the shoulder, from the left, and my brother one through the loins from
the right. We skinned him, and took the skin to camp.

‘That night I was standing near the enclosure, when one of the boys
suddenly threw the lion’s skin close to the dogs standing near to me.
The dogs must have thought it was a live lion. They howled and growled
as they usually do when a lion is near. And one of them, as big as the
lion himself, was so frightened that he ran against me in the dark. It
was so dark I could not see, and I thought it must be the lion himself.
I can tell you it took my breath away, I got such a _schrik_ (sudden
fright), and it was some moments before I was sure there was no lion
between my legs, but only a dog.’

‘I got a bigger _schrik_ than that one day,’ said Oom Klaas, another
old man, who had been quiet up till now. ‘I had shot a red buck one
day. I hung him up a tree, in the bush, and went for the waggon to take
the game to the camp. I came back with the waggon following at some
distance, having left my gun at the waggon, as I had only a short time
before left the spot, and did not expect any lions to be there so
soon. Judge of my surprise, when I came within sight of my game, to see
two lions pulling at it. They saw me, and one ran to the right. I crept
round the bushes in an opposite direction. I was continually looking
round in the direction towards which I had seen one of the lions go,
expecting the other one would follow in the same direction, so I did
not look in front of me, but always behind, in order to see him if he
should charge me from behind. Suddenly something ran up right against
me, throwing me right on my back. In a flash I saw it was the other
lion, with the red buck in his mouth; he had gone round by the other
way, and thus came upon me in this unexpected way; fortunately he had
the buck in his mouth. So that he saw me as little as I saw him, thus
the result--that we collided in this unexpected way. I can tell you I
did get a _schrik_. I could just shout, _Haai you schelm_, as I lay
upon my back. But fortunately for me his mouth was occupied in holding
the red buck, and so he could not bite, and when the shock came, he
was as much surprised and frightened as I was. He dropped the buck and
fled.’

There was amongst the company an old man, named Oom Frans (I omit all
family names as these reminiscences are all true; and giving fictitious
names will serve no purpose). This old man had gone through many
vicissitudes. One day he was felling a tree. It was very heavy. The
tree fell and caught four of his fingers in such a way that withdrawing
them was impossible. He had only one companion with him. Nobody else
was within two days’ journey. His companion could not move the tree
stump a hair’s breadth. What to do now? He got out his knife and asked
his friend to cut the fingers off. But the man had not the nerve to
do so, and refused his friend’s entreaties to amputate the fingers.
Oom Frans got wild; he lost his temper at such womanishness. He took
the knife and cut his own fingers off himself. It was his right hand.
The writer has often shaken that stump of a hand, and wondered at the
nerve displayed by the old man in cutting off four of his own fingers
with an ordinary pocket knife.

This old man now quietly said,--

‘I once had a narrow escape from a lion. It is many years ago now--’

Here Oom Hendrik interrupted him by saying,--

‘No, Neef Frans, these young fellows are keeping us out of our sleep,
and we old folks get up early. Stephaans and his friends are going
to stay over to-morrow, I suppose, as Stephaans himself has had too
good success with the koraan to leave them without another try, and I
expect Mijnheer Keith would like to be revenged on those guinea-fowl.
So you had better postpone your story, or we shall have no adventures
to tell them to-morrow night. Good-night, all friends,’ and off walked
the old chap, followed by the rest of the party, who had all been
feeling rather sleepy during the last half-hour; for I can recommend to
whoever may read this no better remedy for insomnia than a tramp after
guinea-fowl, or after a lost chum in the bush.



CHAPTER XXXII

DANGERS OF THE CHASE


The party took full advantage of their further delay the following day,
and a fairly successful bag was made.

In the afternoon all the farmers who could manage to get away from the
cares of their folds joined them. Each of the visitors had one or more
guides, some of the junior farmers acting as such, so as to prevent any
more straying or getting lost. A point was agreed upon where all would
meet at a certain hour to compare notes.

The programme was carried out in full. They all met, and after a rest
had been taken, and success or non-success had been communicated, they
all left together to return to the camp.

Suddenly they came upon two men lying under a tree. At a distance they
took it to be two men sleeping in the veld, but on approaching it
was seen that they were lying in too uncomfortable a position to be
sleeping.

An investigation was made, when it was found that they were dead.

It was an old man of about fifty years of age and a young man of about
twenty years. There was a family resemblance, which hardly left a doubt
of their being father and son.

‘How can this have happened?’ remarked an old man, closely examining
the corpses. ‘It can hardly be murder, as I find no wound in them; it
might rather be poison, for see how discoloured their faces look. What
could they have been eating to poison themselves?’

‘They have been eating kambaroo, father,’ said a young man. ‘See, there
is half a bulb lying next to them.’

‘That is not kambaroo,’ returned the old man, examining the bulb. ‘This
is a poisonous bulb. Nobody who knows kambaroo would eat this bulb for
it. The poor fellows must have heard of it, or known it very slightly,
to make such a sad mistake. I wonder who they are!’

‘I know them, father.’ said the young man. ‘I found the nine sheep we
lost last week at their tent. The sheep had got mixed with theirs in
the veld. They are strangers from the high veld, and nobody knows them
here. Their tent is about an hour’s ride on horseback from here.’

‘Poor fellows, I am very sorry for them and their families. Koos, you
and Jan go and span in the cart and take them to their tent; and let
the _veld cornet_ know. If you can do anything for the poor families,
do so, and if necessary, you can stay there till to-morrow and assist
to get ready for the funeral. We shall all come over to-morrow to see
what can be done to help the widow and orphans.’

This was done, and the party returned to the tents saddened at the
sight; and the old patriarchs took the opportunity to point out to the
younger men how transient and uncertain life is, and that it behoved
them to be prepared at all times to meet their God.

Supper was partaken of silently and soberly. At the usual evening
service, which few of our genuine old Boers ever omit, an earnest
prayer was offered up for those who had that day been made fatherless
and husbandless.

After supper, when sitting round the fire, smoking, and drinking
coffee, the spirits of the party seemed to rise sufficiently for Steve
to remind Oom Frans of his interrupted story of the night before.

‘I do not mind telling you the story, Stephaans,’ replied the old man,
‘but remember we must have no unseemly hilarity after having met death
face to face only a few hours ago.

‘Well, as I said, it is now many years ago, when one night the lions
attacked our camp and carried away a full-grown bullock. The next day
we went in search of them. The grass was very high, and we did not see
them until we came right upon them. There were eight of them. I was in
front of our party, and when I sighted the lions, their leader was in
the act of springing towards me. I fired at him as he jumped, and it
turned out afterwards that it was a most lucky shot, as I had shot his
lower jaw bone away. But the shot did not stop his tremendous spring,
and he came down on top of me. I can tell you I have seen some heavy
bullocks in my time, but I felt, as I lay under that lion, that he must
weigh more than any two bullocks put together; he felt so awfully heavy
as he lay on me full weight, as if he meant to crush me for disabling
his biting instrument. But I did not know then that I had shot his jaw
away, so I expected every moment to feel his dreadful teeth closing in
on my flesh. But I felt glad when I heard several shots, and the lion
rolled off me in his death agony. Thank God that his jaw _was_ shot
away. We shot all eight of those lions that day; and our cattle had
peaceful nights for a long time after.’

‘A lion may be dangerous, especially when wounded or hungry,’ said Oom
Koos, another member of the community. ‘But you have always at least a
chance of disabling a lion when he is charging you. The most dangerous
animal, however, when infuriated, is a black rhinoceros. There is no
stopping the direct charge of a black rhinoceros. The most accurate
shot from the front hardly affects him; and woe betide the man who is
charged by him, even a horse can scarcely keep away from him in the
bush.

‘I saw a black rhinoceros once kill a man. We were tracking the
rhinoceros in the bush, and had separated for the chase, when suddenly
I heard a rushing sound in the bush near by, and a cry for help. I ran
as fast as I could towards the spot, and from behind a stout tree, I
saw the maddened animal actually dancing on his victim. Poor Neef Piet,
he was almost too shattered and soft to pick up for burial; he had a
sad death. I shot the beast dead, but too late.’

‘It is true a black rhinoceros is dangerous when wounded, or out of
temper,’ said Oom Hendrik, ‘and a wounded or hungry lion is to be
avoided. It is also a fact that a tiger is to be dreaded more than the
last two, for he is agile and quick, and no coward like the lion. I
will bet that the President will never stare a tiger out of face; for
he gives no time, he simply charges right out, and almost before you
see him. But even a tiger will hardly attack a man after he has once
sprung at him and missed, unless wounded, in which case--look out. I
have more than once fallen down flat when a tiger sprang at me, when he
would go right over me, and then he will just run on, and never think
of renewing his attack. But even this trick requires skill and very
quick movement. I once saw a Hottentot perform this trick. He was not
quick enough. The tiger caught hold of him with his claws, just above
the eyebrows, as he ducked, and tore his scalp right over his head, so
that it hung like a cap behind him. We re-covered his bald pate with
the scalp, and sewed it on, after which it grew on splendidly, leaving
just a slight mark where it had been torn.

‘Well, I say these animals are all dangerous; but I always managed
to escape them safe and sound in my wanderings and different hunting
trips, either by killing them, or managing to discourage them from
following me, or avoiding them somehow.

‘But has any one of you ever been chased by a wounded wildebeest? I
have been; and you may believe me, I would rather face any living
creature on earth than a beast like that again. It happened in this
way. We had sighted a troop of wildebeest one afternoon early. There
were four of us. We rode down upon them and fired. I had killed one of
them, when I saw a fine bull with the best pair of horns I had ever
seen on the head of a wildebeest before. I desired those horns, and
when the herd separated, I followed this particular bull. The rest
of the party each followed a beast of his choice, thus we were soon
separated.

‘I had not followed my fine bull long when I got a chance for a shot,
and wounded him. It was a bad shot. I had wounded him in the shoulder,
just sufficiently to draw blood without disabling him in the least. I
rode off to one side so as to avoid the charge which I knew would come.
I looked back, and saw the bull was in full chase of me. I realised my
danger. It was not the first time I had shot wildebeest. I put my horse
to the highest pace I dared amongst the bushes and trees, but the bull
seemed to be able to turn much quicker amongst the trees than my horse
could. I saw my only chance was to make for the open country. I did so,
and when I had once gained the open veld I soon gained upon my pursuer.
I congratulated myself upon being now safe, and was thinking it time
to halt again and take a shot at the bull, who was coming on at full
speed, two hundred yards behind--for a wildebeest _never_ gives up a
chase while his enemy is still in sight once he has his temper up--when
my horse trod in a hole, and threw me over his head as he fell. I fell,
but was uninjured. I ran towards the horse to try and pick him up, as
he still struggled on the ground, lying upon his left side, when I saw
at a glance that his leg was broken. My gun had flown out of hand, and
I could not see it anywhere as the grass was rather tall.

‘What to do now? Not a tree near, and the bull was only seventy yards
away. I could see his blazing eyes as he came on towards me. His
horns, which had tempted me so, seemed poised ready to toss me up
into the air, as only a wildebeest knows how. At this moment I saw a
porcupine hole not far away. It seemed large enough to hold me, and,
even though it was not deep, it would suffice, so long as I could keep
out of reach of those terrible horns. I sprang towards the hole and
crept into it. It was just large enough for me to lie in it, with my
head pressed into a hole a little deeper at one end and my feet into a
similar one at the other end. The hole seemed to have been originally
two holes, with the intervening wall broken down, but not so deep as
the two original holes. Into these two holes I hung with my head and
feet, while my body was resting on the wall between, which was broken
down just deep enough to leave my body slightly below the surface of
the surrounding ground. The wildebeest bull was on me. I heard him
snorting and tramping about where my horse was lying, and by the fall
of a heavy body which I heard, I judged that he had completed the ruin
of my hunting horse by tossing him. Now I heard him come towards me. I
felt his hot breath on my back. What will he do now? I knew I was out
of reach of his horns. Will he have sense enough to tread on me, and
thus revenge himself by breaking my back? No; he knew a trick worth
two of that it seemed. What do you think he did? He started licking me.
Any harm in that? Have you ever seen the tongue of a wildebeest? It is
as rough as a rasp, and as hard as a horn. At first I did not think
much of his scratching my back with his horny tongue, but he had soon
worn through my shirt, which was the only upper garment I had on at the
time. Oh Lord! what a sensation it was when first his tongue reached my
bare body; it was terrible. But you can easily feel what it was like by
taking a coarse rasp and rasping your bare body. My God, I shall never
forget that quarter-of-an-hour’s torture I endured that day. It felt as
if he was tearing pieces of flesh out of my bare back. Soon the blood
was streaming down my sides, and the blood seemed to make him madder
than ever. Every time he tore his tongue through my lacerated flesh a
shiver of horror and pain passed through my body. I prayed to God as I
had never prayed before to let me die. When the horror and pain became
too much for me to bear, I fainted. If I had not fainted I suppose I
would either have died or gone mad. When I came to myself I was lying
on my side; somebody was pouring water over me and down my throat. My
companions had looked for me, had discovered my horse and the maddened
bull, and shot the latter. They found me in the hole where the bull had
been standing engaged in his fiendish work. They thought I was dead.
But I recovered, and lived to dread the sight of a wildebeest. I have
the horns of that brute still to-day at home. I have been offered £15
for them as they are such a splendid pair, but I will never sell them,
and I will never risk a single-handed fight with a wildebeest bull
again.’

Steve and his companions felt their hair almost stand on end as they
listened to the horrible tale.

‘You were one of our party that day, _Neef Frederick_,’ said the old
man, turning to a companion. ‘Have I spoken the truth?’

‘That you have, Neef; I could take my oath on it,’ was the reply.
‘And what is more, I one day saw my uncle killed by just such another
wildebeest. We also had a chase after an old bull. We were three. We
shot and wounded him. He turned and stood at bay, and chased my poor
old uncle, and as he was in a line with my uncle from us we dared not
fire for fear of hitting my uncle. In a moment he came up to the old
man, as his horse was not very good, and rather slow. He caught the
horse with his horn between the hind legs, and tossed him forwards,
hind legs in the air. As the horse was tossed forward my uncle
dropped backwards, and was caught upon the horn of the bull. The horn
penetrated just under his chin, in an upward direction, passing out on
the top of his head. When we came up we shot the bull. But my uncle was
a dead man!’

After a little further conversation on the peculiarities of game and
their habits, the party broke up, and all retired to bed.



CHAPTER XXXIII

SCHRIKRIGHIED


An early start was made the next day to proceed on their trip, as the
plan was not to stay at any one place more than two days so as to
enable them to see as many places and people as possible.

Early in the afternoon they arrived at the camping place of a party of
transport riders, who were spending a month in the bush veld to recruit
their worn-out draught oxen. They were a rough-and-ready lot, but a
merry and entertaining party withal.

They were very hospitable and kind, taking the young holiday-makers to
the best coverts for birds and game. But what amused Steve most of all
was that one of the party was one who _schriked_.

Before proceeding, I must explain what is meant by this word.

The dictionary translates _schrik_ to mean fright, dread, terror,
horror. But this hardly explains what is meant by the term here.
Here it is meant to represent a combination of ticklishness and
_schrikishness_, if I may be allowed to use the words in such a manner.

In South Africa, one often meets with persons who are thus affected
in various stages. Some need to be touched under the arms, when they
will shout out as loud as you like, and jump as high as you please.
Some will be affected in the same way by being shown certain animals
or insects, composing their particular dread, such as a spider, a frog
or mouse. To others you need but to suddenly mention their particular
objects of dread to make them act as if they were mad.

To others, again, the worst of all--after having once startled them and
put them on the _qui vive_, you may stand at any safe distance, and
in a sudden, sharp, commanding tone, order them to do or say what you
please, and they simply cannot resist doing as you say.

This disease, as one may call it, is generally acquired by being over
tickled in your youth, or receiving a bad fright, as the reader may
gather from the recitals of the victims themselves further on. To some
people it is a serious burden to be thus affected, as the amusement
caused by their doing all sorts of ludicrous things at the will of
everyone, tempts everybody to make them _schrik_, and the continual
shock to the system causes them to tremble all over, and to feel an
excess of nervousness not at all conducive to good health. The writer
has known a strong healthy young man thus affected, to faint on being
tickled under the arms while being held down.

Steve delighted in these comical persons, who _would_ be so stupid as
to do what you tell them, or say out loud what you whispered to them,
simply out of _schrik_. But he always took care not to make an abuse of
the amusement; for as soon as he saw his victim getting too excited, he
would soothe him and spare him further for the time being.

The victim in this particular instance was named _Piet_. They were
sitting having their dinner. Each was holding his mug of coffee in one
hand; the kettle was empty; no more coffee to be had unless the kettle
was first boiled. One of the transport riders looks round and winks,
and says suddenly,--

‘Piet, throw that mug away.’ Away goes the mug, coffee and all.

Steve sees how the land lies, and joins in the laugh, seeing some fun
ahead.

After Piet’s cup had been replenished by getting a portion from each of
the other cups, he thought, ‘Now I shall be able to finish my meal,’
when he received the command, ‘Jump up, Piet.’ He jumped up as ordered,
dropping both cup and food this time. He stood looking comically and
disgustedly at his nice venison steak lying in the ashes, while the
others were splitting their sides with laughing. Steve, of course,
laughed as much as anyone else, and more so--it _was_ so foolish to
throw your food away like that.

After once more sharing food and drink with the others, he was allowed
to finish his meal. After dinner, some Kaffir women came to the camp
to sell _stamp mealies_ (shelled maize). Some were bought and Piet was
requested to pay. He took out his purse, opened it, and took out a
shilling to pay the girl, when

‘Give her the purse,’ came the order.

‘_De, de_’ (here, here), cried poor Piet, forcing the purse full of
silver into the hands of the astonished black lady.

He was allowed to take back his purse, put it in his pocket, when once
more came the order,--

‘Shake hands with her.’ He seized the black girl’s hand and shook it
heartily, only to drop it in disgust, and call for soap, muttering
something about, ‘This is too much, shaking hands with the dirty,
greasy thing; soap will hardly wash the stinking grease off my hand
again.’ The others were lying on their backs shaking with laughter,
and holding their sides. The black woman had never been so astonished.
Never had a white man offered to shake hands with her before.

‘Take off your hat to the lady,’ once more heard Piet. He took off his
hat and made a profound bow to the staring sable woman. The next moment
he took off his hat again and tramped upon it, as if the hat was to be
blamed for being lifted in greeting to a nigger.

He was allowed to take a breath now, as the others felt it would be
fatal for them to laugh any more. Steve felt as if his cheeks would
never take their normal position again; they had been stretched out of
position so much from laughing.

Presently the oxen came in to be kraaled for the night. _Speelman_--an
old Hottentot--the herder, came up to the fire to be rationed.

Steve and his party had not seen Speelman before, as he had been in
the veld all day herding the cattle. He was a short, pot-bellied
old sinner, with a round bullet head, and a face, all wrinkles,
which seemed as if made of elastic when he drew it into his broad,
hypocritical smile, as he came towards Baas Piet and asked for some
_baccy_.

Piet took out his _span_ of tobacco, cut off a few inches, and handed
it to Speelman, when one of his friends named Daniel shouted _slang_
(snake).

Speelman bounded into the air, and made Piet _schrik_ too as he came
down again, and catching hold of Piet round the body, hung there,
kicking and howling. ‘Help, baas, help, _slang, slang_.’ And as he hung
and kicked, Piet struggled and shouted, the one seemed as excited and
frightened as the other.

The scene was too much for mortal man to stand. Steve fell on the
ground, and rolled about on the grass as he laughed. He had to close
his eyes. He felt, if he looked longer on the ludicrous scene, he would
break something; his sides had already been abnormally strained. When
he opened his eyes, Piet and Speelman were arguing the matter out.

‘If you hang to me again with those dirty paws of yours I shall kick
you.’ Piet was saying in disgust.

‘But, baas, how can I help it, when Baas Daniel frightened me so?
Please give me some other tobacco, baas; mine fell, and I can’t find
it,’ he said supplicatingly.

‘Ask Baas Daniel; he made you lose yours, and now he can give you some
other.’

‘Oh, please, Baas Daniel, give poor old Speelman some other tobacco, I
have had nothing to smoke all the afternoon.’ said the old hypocrite,
as he went and stood in front of Daniel. Piet saw his opportunity was
come for revenge. He shouted,--

‘Speelman, kiss Baas Daniel.’

Speelman rushed forward and caught hold of Daniel, and tried his level
best to approach his already smacking lips to the lips of Daniel. The
woods rang with the roars of laughter as the young fellows saw the
biter bitten in this unexpected manner. Daniel caught hold of Speelman
by the throat, and even then he had great difficulty to keep the dirty
smacking lips of the Hottentot away from his, for Speelman had again,
for the second time, heard Piet’s command to ‘kiss Baas Daniel.’ At
last Daniel succeeded by main force to throw the Hottentot away from
him.

At first Daniel was inclined to resent the trick played on him by
Piet, but he was told that he had done as much to Piet, or nearly so,
in causing Piet to shake hands with the Kaffir woman; and he had to
acknowledge the truth of it and join in the laugh against himself.

When Steve recovered from his last fit of laughter, he called Speelman
to him, emptied his pouch in his hand, and said,--

‘Now, Speelman, tell me what makes you so disrespectful to your baas as
to try and kiss him?’

‘I can’t help it, baas, I am so _schriking_. When I am told to do
anything, I do it.’

‘But what makes you do so?’

‘Baas, when I was a boy I one day fell asleep under a tree. When I
awoke, a snake was partly coiled round my neck, and part of it was
coiled on my breast; and when I saw and felt it, I _schriked_ so I
thought I should die. I jumped up and tore the snake from me, and ran
away as fast as I could, until I was so tired I could run no more.
After that, baas, if you only say _snake_ to me, you can make me do
whatever you like.’

‘Snake,’ called out Steve’s cousin at this moment.

‘Where? Where? Where?’ shouted Speelman, dancing and jumping about.

‘Stand on your head,’ shouted Keith. He hardly expected his order to be
executed, and was surprised to see Speelman fall down and stand on his
head, kicking his heels in the air, while he shouted, _Slang, slang_
(snake, snake).

Steve now interposed, and said that they had had enough fun out of
Speelman for once. They ought to let him rest now and take breath.

The rest of the evening was spent in yarning and storytelling
generally, after which all went to bed.



CHAPTER XXXIV

STUCK IN THE MUD


The following day, Steve and his three companions had good sport
amongst the guinea-fowl and other birds.

The transport riders had left early in the morning, each with a good
load of firewood for the Pretoria market, as their month of inactivity
was at an end, and they had once more to begin work. It had been agreed
that the party with the cart should start about ten o’clock from the
night’s camping place, after having had a turn at the guinea-fowl,
etc., and as the waggons started at seven, the cart would catch up
with them somewhere about noon, when they could once more have dinner
together.

As agreed so done. Steve and his companions came speeding towards the
drift, beyond which, it had been agreed, the waggons would outspan, and
get dinner ready. As they came nearer, they heard an uproar of oxwhips
clapping, and men shouting. When they arrived on the scene they saw
that one of the waggons was _stuck_ in the drift.

All the other waggons had crossed safely, but the last one, the most
heavily laden, and having the weakest span of oxen, had sunk deep in
the mud of the drift. The water was no more than two feet deep, but the
mud was nearly as deep in itself.

The occupants of the cart saw at a glance that there was no chance
for them to pass while the waggon occupied the narrow drift. They,
therefore, left Harrison in charge of the cart, and went forward to
see how matters proceeded. They found the waggon sunk to the nave in
the mud. The oxen were panting and struggling to pull through the mud.
Their leader was pulled hither and thither as they swayed to and fro in
their efforts to pull out. The men, half naked, were struggling about
in the water, talking to the oxen, and clapping their whips. But in
vain, the waggon would not budge an inch.

The youngsters from town thought this struggling about in the water
trying to extricate a waggon stuck in the mud fine fun, so they took
off their clothes, and joined the party of transport riders in the
water.

Steve and his friends soon discovered that the pleasantest part of the
fun was to sit, perched on top of the waggon, and watch the efforts of
the others to urge the oxen forward.

There was a lull. Another span of oxen had been sent for to hook on
in front. Speelman, who had been the liveliest in his efforts to get
forward, was standing alongside of the hind oxen. He was almost naked,
having just a remnant of a shirt on. He looked like a dusky mermaid of
the waters, he moved so rapidly about; he was now under the oxen, now
right under the trek chain; he seemed to be everywhere.

‘I say, Speelman, did you see any snakes this morning?’ asked Steve.

‘No, baas, don’t want to see ’em,’ said Speelman, suspiciously looking
about him, as if he expected to see snakes in the water.

‘Jump on the ox,’ cried Keith; and in a second Speelman was astride of
the kicking bullock.

‘Stand on your head in the water,’ cried Keith again, not expecting to
be obeyed in this. But Speelman ducked into the water, head foremost,
and only the tips of his legs were seen above water, kicking furiously.

‘You shouldn’t do that,’ said Steve, laughing. ‘It is dangerous; he
might get drowned.’

He remained down so long, and the kicking became so furious, that Steve
became anxious. He shouted to him to get up, but Speelman could not
hear him.

‘By Jove! his head must be sticking in the mud,’ he cried, and jumping
down, he seized Speelman by the legs and pulled him up. Assisted by
Keith from the waggon, the poor old Hottentot was dragged on to the
seat of the waggon. The poor old fellow presented a most comical face
when pulled up. He was drawing in great breaths, to get his steam up
again, while he spat the black mud out of his mouth. His whole head,
eyes, ears and all were thickly coated with the black, sticky mud,
while his pepper corn hair had disappeared under a coating of the same
black, smooth pomade. It appears that his head really _did_ stick in
the mud.

‘You must not do that again, baas; poor old Speelman would have been
drowned if the baas had not pulled him out,’ said he to Keith.

As to Keith, he and his companions had been too frightened to laugh
at this exhibition of Speelman’s funniosities. He gave Speelman
half-a-crown, and told him to go and wash the mud out of his mouth at
the canteen beyond the drift. At this moment the extra span of oxen
arrived, was attached to the front of the regular span, and with a
_Trek, trek, haai you schelm, vat zou blik schottel_, the waggon moved
forward, and was soon outspanned with the rest on the other side of the
drift. The cart followed over, and soon the whole party was partaking
of the regular bush veld fare--venison steak, leg of venison, broiled
guinea-fowl, and _storm jagers_ (dough cakes).

Speelman followed the advice given him by Baas Keith, and after having
imbibed a pint of peach brandy, was as merry as a cricket, and was none
the worse for his immersion, except, perhaps, that he was a little more
pot-bellied than usual from the quantity of water he had drunk while
standing on his head in the drift.

After dinner, Steve and his party took leave of the transport riders
with mutual expressions of good will and hopes of meeting again.

In this way they proceeded from camp to camp. Many parties of farmers
were met wintering with their herds in the bush veld; and all they had
to do was to decide at which encampment they would outspan, or at which
they would spend the night, which was mostly decided by the party of
farmers who could give the most favourable report as to the game in
their neighbourhood.

They had various success. One day, perhaps, they had the best of sport,
the next day, perhaps, they failed in bringing down a single head of
game. But on the whole, they were perfectly satisfied with their trip.
We shall relate only one more incident of their holiday trip. It was
the last day; that evening they hoped to sleep in Pretoria again. They
were speeding along merrily. It was still forenoon, and Pretoria was
hardly four hours distant, so they had no doubt of reaching home before
night. It had rained severely the day before along the track of country
on which they were then travelling. Suddenly they turned into the main
road from the warm baths, and now they had reason to regret the rain of
the day before--they were in the famous _turf veld_.

They had not proceeded far before the turf began to tell severely on
the pace of the horses. At first they slackened their speed only a
little, but soon they were going at barely more than a walk. The sticky
black soil was coating the wheels to such a degree that the spokes
gradually became nearer and nearer to each other, until the wheels
had no spokes, but became a solid mass of black turf. All that the
travellers could do was to halt and scrape off the worst part of the
mud, when for a time they were able to go on again at a slightly better
pace. Full advantage was taken of any unbroken veld, where the heavy
waggons had not yet cut up the soil into furrows and ridges of soft
black soil. But these patches were scarce, as every driver of waggon or
cart generally turns out of the beaten track into the grass alongside,
and in course of time the quarter or half mile strip of country, which
is supposed to be left unfenced along all roads as feeding ground for
trekking herds, becomes so cut up that very little choice is left the
traveller as to where he shall steer his weary beasts.

The young men were wearily and dejectedly plodding along, dismounting
now and again to scrape the wheels, when they came to a waggon standing
in the middle of the road--deserted. The oxen were still inspanned
and seemed waiting for their owner. No fear of their running away;
how could they? Their own feet were invisible, a round mass of black
_turf_--twice the usual size of ox feet--was all that was visible
where their feet ought to be, while the wheels of the waggon seemed
to be made of solid chunks of mud--no spokes, no rims, no naves being
visible.

‘Well, this is funny,’ remarked Harrison; ‘a waggon without owner.
There is something wrong here; nobody would leave their waggon
inspanned like this--untended.’

‘Yes, it is queer,’ answered Steve. ‘But I fancy there is the owner
coming on,’ said he, pointing to a man visible in the road about half a
mile farther on.

‘It may be the owner, but he is not coming, but standing, evidently
waiting for the party I see farther on.’

‘Why, the nearest one is a woman,’ said Keith, ‘the other one is a man;
but I wonder what is the matter with them? They both remain standing on
one spot, but they are gesticulating like mad.’

They soon approached the first party they had seen. IT _was_ a woman.
She was an elderly old lady, very stout in the beams, and one would
have thought, even under ordinary circumstances, she must find it
difficult to walk any distance. She appeared to be standing on two
lumps of turf, but--they were sticking to her feet. Every step she
took increased the size of the lump, until at last she was obliged to
stop, she could drag her burden (which, unlike that of Christian, was
attached to her feet) along no more.

‘Well, I’m blessed if it is not old Mrs M’Kwaire,’ cried Steve.

‘And who may she be?’ queried Keith.

‘Why, she is Mrs M’Kwaire,’ he replied, laughing. ‘She is an old lady
of Dutch extraction, married to an old Irishman, both characters in
their way--very comical and amusing as a rule; it is most amusing to
set old M’Kwaire’s tongue a-wagging by mentioning _Home Rule_. If you
once start him, you may go away for half-an-hour and come back to find
him still talking to some imaginary antagonist about Home Rule and the
wrongs of Ireland.’

‘Hillo, Tante, why don’t you ride on the waggon?’ cried out Steve, as
they stopped alongside of her.

‘That is what I would like to do,’ she replied, ‘but that foolish
Pat would get down to pick up a yoke skey lying in the road, when he
remained _stuck_, and, as the oxen would not stop, I, like another
fool, got down to help him while the oxen walked on with the waggon to
where it is now standing. And now I am sticking between Pat and the
waggon; I can’t get to him, he cannot get to me, and neither of us can
get to the waggon.’

The young fellows could not help bursting into loud roars of laughter
at the ludicrousness of the scene. They halted as near to the old lady
as possible, and helped her on to their cart and drove on to where Pat
was standing, talking and swearing all the time.

‘Well, old _Stick-in-the-mud_,’ cried Keith, ‘it seems the mountain
_won’t_ come to Mahomet, and Mahomet _can’t_ go to the mountain; what
does Mahomet intend doing now?’ All laughed at this sally.

‘Begorrah, sor, ye niver would lave a pore old mon ’ere.’

‘No, I am afraid that would be another wrong to old Oireland. Well,
Pat, if Ireland can get out of her troubles as easily as you, I would
advise you to get back to her, and stand for the first election of
president, king, or emperor, whatever your new constitution would call
your chief ruler. I think you stand a good chance.’

‘Come along, Keith, that is enough for one day, you are getting too
humorously clever,’ said Steve. ‘Give us your hand, Pat, and jump up if
you can.’

But Pat could not jump. He had to be dragged into the cart, and was
thus able to sit down and scrape his feet clean again.

Pat and Mrs Pat were driven back to their waggon, and left behind to
proceed to their farm, while the party in the cart proceeded on their
way to Pretoria, where they arrived just as darkness was closing in.

‘There is one thing I would like to remark now that we are home
again,’ remarked Keith. ‘And it is just this. I have been converted.
I had always been impressed with the idea that the Boers are half
savage, exclusive, inhospitable and unkind to strangers, especially to
Englishmen. I have seen my error. I do not believe there is a country
in the world where one would receive such kindness, consideration and
hospitality as we have received during our trip. I for one reckon
myself as the friend and champion of all Boers from to-day.’

‘You are right,’ said Harrison. ‘When we started, I hardly believed
Steve’s promise of hospitality from all and sundry, and fully expected
to have rough times of it, and I have been agreeably disappointed at
the kindness shown us by all.’



BOOK II



CHAPTER I

POLITICAL SUICIDE--HERESY


The day after their return, Steve heard faint rumours of a certain
conference which had been held in Pretoria the last few days in
reference to territories lying beyond the northern borders of the South
African Republic. He had been too busy attending to accumulated work
to take much notice, or to inquire about it. But now it was evening
and after dinner, and he was comfortably seated in an arm-chair in
the sitting-room of his boarding-house. He was listening to the usual
after-dinner debate on current topics.

‘What is that you are saying about the Transvaal signing its own death
warrant, Thomson?’ he asked.

‘I say that the Transvaal signs its own death warrant in agreeing to
waive any rights they may have northward or westward of their present
boundary. It means that they are now definitely enclosed by British
territory with the exception of the strip of border which adjoins
Portuguese territory.’

‘And what consideration is promised the Transvaal as compensation for
committing political and national suicide in this way?’ inquired Steve.

‘Oh, they have some verbal promise to the effect that they will be
allowed to annex Swaziland _later_ on, and some faint hope is held out
to them to be allowed some day to secure a seaport in Amatongaland.’

‘But if they have Swaziland and Amatongaland beyond, right up to the
sea, thus securing a seaport, how can they be enclosed? That means that
they would be less enclosed than they are now by British territory,’

‘Ha, ha!’ laughed Thomson. ‘Do you think they will ever get it? No,
my dear fellow, I am sorry to disappoint you, but a verbal promise
does not count in diplomacy. Swaziland they may get--perhaps--but a
seaport--never. It was only a bait held out to the stupid Boers. The
bait will be drawn in gradually, until the Boers are enticed into the
trap laid for them, when even the bait will be taken from them, and
they will be starved out in the trap, until, like a starved and trapped
lion, they will have to submit. The joke of the whole thing is that
Hofmeyr, the head of the Colonial Afrikander Bond, has been used by
Rhodes to accomplish his object.’

‘Yes, you are right. But it is not a joke, it is disgraceful,
shameful, to be bitten thus by your own dogs. I wonder that a man like
Hofmeyr--who is supposed to be a patriotic Afrikander--cannot see what
he is assisting to do. Can’t he see that he is assisting Rhodes to
kill all the national vitality of the Afrikander race in South Africa?
Does he not know that round the independence of the Transvaal revolves
the whole hope of Afrikander national existence? Is he blind, or is
he a traitor? I used to be proud of the Afrikander Bond, but now I am
beginning to be ashamed of them, when they support a man like Rhodes.
A man who works, firstly, for self-aggrandizement, and secondly, of
course, for Imperialism.’

All the Englishmen present laughed at Steve’s earnestness and
bitterness against Hofmeyr for working thus against the Transvaal. But
they were accustomed to his earnest patriotism, and respected him for
it.

‘Well, old boy, it may be that Hofmeyr has been squared by Rhodes; who
knows? Rhodes is known for his squaring propensities. Or it may be that
Hofmeyr is wiser than you, and has seen that it is foolish to kick
against the pricks, and that it is better to belong to the glorious
British Empire, with its traditions of military power and glory, its
traditions of wealth in gold and literature.’

‘It may be so,’ replied Steve; ‘but as a leading Afrikander, I would
rather hope and believe that he is only blind, and that some day his
eyes will be opened, and that he shall see Rhodes as he is. As to
cornering the Transvaal, let them go on. Only I would warn our enemies
that though we are a quiet and peace-loving people, preferring to till
the land and herd our cattle to fighting, yet I say I warn Rhodes and
his clique that an Afrikander at bay is fiercer and more dangerous than
any tiger or lion at bay, so let them look out.’

‘But, Steve, why are you such an intense Republican? why will you not
be satisfied to live under the English flag? Then you would have the
right to call upon the whole British Empire to protect you. Then you
would be a member of the greatest nation on earth. Then you can say, “I
am a subject to a queen upon whose dominions the sun never sets.” Is
not that better than to have a second-rate republic, with no traditions
older than say twenty years; with hardly any literature at all; what
more would you have than I have said you would have as a British
subject?’

‘We would be FREE!’ was Steve’s curt reply.

‘Free! what is the good of being free in a country like this? As I have
said, you can only hope to have a second-rate republic, the population
of which at best is but a mongrel race.’

‘A mongrel race!’ echoed Steve. ‘We _are_ a mixed race, if you like,
but a mixture of the best blood of Europe. In our veins run the best
blood of France, Holland and Germany. We are descended from heroes;
our forefathers have been heroes ever since they left their ancestral
homes in Europe for religion and principle: and we are heroes to-day,
struggling, as we are, for national existence and freedom, and that
against the mightiest empire on earth, as you describe it; but justice
and right must prevail in the end. A mongrel race, you say? A race, I
say, that has the grandest future before them of any race upon earth.
Look at them; toiling sons of Nature! Do they not remind you of the
rough diamonds dug out in Kimberley? hardy, strong, persevering,
unpretending, but God-fearing as they are. Look at the few of them
that have received the least bit of polish. Do they not shine enough
to blind your eyes as you look upon them? Wait till they have all been
polished and rubbed into shape, and then you will see what a race of
men God has raised in this wilderness?’ Steve’s eyes were shining
with enthusiasm. He seemed to see in imagination the future he was
describing.

‘You have made out a very good case for your people as a nation, Steve,
but what will you do with all the Englishmen in South Africa if it
should become an Afrikander republic, as you seem to wish and hope?
Will you drive them out of the country, or will you let them live an
Uitlander race for ever here, as this Government is doing now? Will you
exclude them from your future great South African nation?’

‘Decidedly not. We should be only too pleased to have them unite with
us. I don’t know why they should remain Imperialistic for ever. In
America they did not remain so! _There_ they have united with other
nationalities; why should they not do so here? Anyone who desires to
become an Afrikander, be he English, Dutch, German, French, or even
Russian by birth, all we should wish of them will be to have one object
with us in promoting the happiness and peace of Republican South
Africa.’

‘In short, they may be of whatever European nationality they like, but
they must be for _Republicanism_?’

‘Even so!’

‘Now, Steve, you have defeated me at all points, I am almost bound
to confess. It is a glorious object towards which you are tending,
viz., a great and free _united South Africa_. But why does not your
Government, whom you defend so much, make some beginning towards a
union of the races by granting the franchise to all Uitlanders in this
State?’

‘Because the time has not come yet. To grant the franchise now to
everyone would be simply killing our future great nation in its
infancy. Grant the franchise now to all strangers (of which the great
majority are English), and in a year’s time this country will be
governed, either as an English republic, with capitalistic rulers,
or as an English colony, neither of which are desirable, you will
grant--from our standpoint. While, if we had South Africa united as
a republic, there would be no obstacle in the way of granting the
franchise to everybody, as the main object would be attained then, and
we would be strong enough to hold our own against any party of either
foreigners, Imperialists or capitalists who may seek to overthrow us
again.’

‘Even there I must say you are right; I am almost inclined to become
an Afrikander already. Now I am afraid you will not be able to answer
my next question as well. You may think it immaterial, but I think
it of great importance, that a people and a country should possess a
literature of its own. What have you to say to that?’

‘Of course we cannot pretend to possess a varied and extended
literature like England has. There can be no question of rivalry as
yet. But we are not altogether without a literature of our own. We
have our own patriotic songs, and even poems. We have a few authors,
too, of whom we need not be ashamed, chief amongst these we count Mrs
Cornwright Schreiner, whose thoughtful book is read all the world
over. Then we have the literature of our mother countries--Holland,
France and Germany. We love to read the stories which tell of the
vicissitudes of our forefathers in their own countries. We even take a
sort of sad delight in reading of the persecutions our ancestors had
to undergo for their religious opinions; persecutions which led either
to the scaffold, or to banishment. Then, as I have said, we have the
literature of Holland and other countries which has been translated
into our language. We read all historical, religious, secular poetry
or prose; all is grist to our mill, we only seek knowledge, and as
we are thoroughly cosmopolitan, we care not from whose experience or
knowledge, we can learn.

‘Then we have hope of future advancement in this line. Rome was not
built in a day, and you cannot expect us to be the only exception
to the rule, that it takes time to perfect all things. As education
advances, and we begin to feel more and more that we are a people of
some account, our national abilities will develop, and we may expect to
gradually advance towards perfection in all things, such as national
administration, education, literature, etc. Give us time!’

‘Well, I am glad to see that you are honest enough to acknowledge your
defects, as well as to extol your virtues and natural abilities. I
certainly grant the material for developement is there. It was only a
week ago I saw a manuscript poem, which was written by a brick-maker,
a poor Boer, who, unkempt, ill-clothed and unshaved, appeared to me
as if he were incapable of stringing two thoughts together, and yet,
as far as I could understand the short poem, which was written in the
_Taal_, was admirable and forcible enough, though crude and rough in
expression. I fancy if such a fellow had received a fair education he
would have done something.’

‘Talking about natural abilities,’ remarked Theron, ‘I saw a couple of
gravestones, made by one Joubert of this district, at his farm, the
other day. It was made from a design in a book of patterns supplied to
him by a friend. It was simply splendid! The angels, vines and flowers,
as shown in the pattern, were brought out in grand relief and were most
accurately delineated. I do not think the most skilled artisan could
improve on it. Then there were a few others made from designs of his
own, composed of flowers, ferns and other natural objects, all in the
best of taste and design, and in perfect proportion. This man had never
been taught sculpture, engraving or any of the kindred arts; it was
simply his own natural taste and ability cropping out.’

‘Yes,’ remarked another one, ‘I have often wondered at the skill
of some Boers, as shown in the manufacture of various articles of
furniture and nick-nacks generally. They seem to do it all without
being taught or shown.’

‘What surprises me more than all,’ remarked Harrison, ‘is the
oratorical powers displayed by some of these uneducated Boers. I
attended a sitting of the Volksraad the other day, and the speeches
were simply grand. The earnestness and pointed argument, as well as
the connected phrasing, was most surprising from men who had received
no more education than how to read their Bible and to crudely write an
ordinary letter. Then I attended a funeral a short time ago, at which
a leading member of the Volksraad gave a funeral oration as well as a
really good sermon; and, listening to him, I could hardly believe that
I was not listening to a learned and perfectly educated minister of the
Gospel.’

‘You have only to read some of the letters on public questions, such as
often appear in the Dutch papers, written by them, to get some idea of
the natural abilities of the unlearned Boer,’ remarked Steve, rising
and leaving the room, as he was tired and wanted to go to bed.



CHAPTER II

A GREENHORN


Twelve months passed after this--uneventfully, so far as Steve’s
private life was concerned. But at this time he had an attack of
malarial fever, which left him weak and pale. He decided to take a
week’s holiday, and spend it at the farm of an old farmer who had often
asked him to pay him a visit.

After a couple of days’ stay at this farm, he found his health and
strength coming back to him. On the third day of his stay, he went for
a walk, accompanied by Fritz, the son of his host, and a Hollander who
had only just arrived the day before to take up the position of tutor
in the family of the old farmer.

Fritz was a merry, mischievous young fellow of eighteen; and as he
was considered old enough to assist his father in looking after the
farm, he was not a pupil of the new teacher, and therefore considered
himself at liberty to make as much fun of the _green_ Hollander as
opportunity offered. During the walk above mentioned, Fritz had taken
the opportunity to begin _Mijnheer van der Tromp’s education_, as he
termed it.

‘How is he going to educate the children while _his_ education is being
neglected?’ was his question, in answer to his father’s remonstrances.

He began the Hollander’s education by marching him through the orchard,
in Steve’s company, and giving him the names of the different kinds of
fruit and vegetables--all wrong, of course.

‘Do you see this tree, mijnheer? It is the sweet potato tree,’--it was
a peach.

‘Oh, you don’t say so! Do sweet potatoes grow on such a tall tree? I
should like to taste some of them when they are ripe.’

‘And this is a pine apple tree,’ remarked Fritz, pointing out a fine
banana bush.

‘How wonderful Nature is,’ soliloquised the poor city bred Hollander.
‘Everything in Nature has its peculiar wonders, and is made by God with
its own peculiar habits.’

‘And this tree, teacher, which you see is full of beautiful yellow
ripe fruit, is our South African fig?’ continued Fritz, now drawing
the attention of the teacher to a fine specimen of the prickly pear.
(Turkish _fig_ is the Dutch name for it literally translated.)

‘What, are these figs? and are they fit for eating now?’ asked Mijnheer
van der Tromp.

‘Oh, yes, teacher, and I can assure you they are delicious eating too,’
replied Fritz, turning away and walking on. Of course Fritz knew what
was going to happen. Steve had walked on a few paces, as he was afraid
he would be unable to contain his laughter if he listened any longer to
Fritz’s fooling; so the poor Hollander was perfectly at the mercy of
Fritz, as Steve did not overhear the information just given about the
prickly pear.

The first intimation Steve had of what was going on was when he heard
suppressed laughter behind him. He looked round, and at what he saw he
thought that both his companions must have taken leave of their senses.
Fritz was red in the face from laughing, as he lay on the grass,
throwing his hands and feet about in the air like the four arms of a
windmill. He seemed to be absolutely mad.

As to the poor Hollander, his actions were almost indescribable. He was
standing, holding his arms out full length, fingers extended, while his
head was held out forward, with his capacious mouth open to its full
extent, and an expression of agony was depicted upon his countenance,
while he was uttering such inarticulate sounds as a man could utter
while holding his mouth open without moving tongue or lips. What had
happened was this. The Hollander, as soon as Fritz’s back was turned,
had seized one of the most tempting looking prickly pears, and had
taken a hasty bite out of it. The result was that the inside of his
mouth was covered with hundreds of the minute needle-pointed thorns.
Only those who have felt the irritating pain of a prickly pear thorn
in the mouth can understand the torture poor Van der Tromp had to
endure. Steve led him home, where he was seated on a low stool for
hours following, while the members of the family took turns to hunt the
thorns out of his mouth.

But prickly pear thorns are not picked out of a man’s mouth in one
day, especially after they have been planted there in such a wholesale
manner, as was the case with Van der Tromp. For days after those thorns
_would_ intrude themselves upon the attention of the teacher. Every
time he would make sure that not a single thorn was left in his mouth.
But suddenly, every half hour or so, while Van der Tromp was eating,
singing, or speaking, an expression of agony would pass over his
countenance as another of those little demon thorns would make itself
felt. And then every other occupation would be suspended while that
little thorn was being hunted for.

Of course, Fritz did not think, or expect, his little joke to turn
out such a serious matter for the poor teacher. The most he hoped for
was that the teacher would pluck the prickly pear, and thus feel the
thorns. He never thought that Van der Tromp would _bite_ the fruit.
When he saw the agony of Van der Tromp, he was genuinely sorry, and
apologised most humbly, but I am afraid he was never forgiven.



CHAPTER III

GOLD BEYOND THE DREAM OF AVARICE--DESPISED


The following day Steve and Fritz went for another walk, farther this
time, but alone. Van der Tromp was still occupied in digging out
prickly pear thorns.

During the night a heavy thunder storm had raged; the air was pure and
fresh, so that the young men walked far out into the veld, as they
enjoyed the bright face Nature had put on after the storm.

When they had walked some distance, they met a herder herding some
sheep belonging to Fritz’s father. He came up to them, and showed Fritz
a bar of metal two feet long and about one inch in diameter, more or
less, as it was of irregular thickness.

‘See, baas, what a nice piece of brass I found. The rain of last night
had washed it clean, so that I saw it shining amongst the rocks.’

Steve took it from him and examined it closely, and felt the weight of
it.

‘Where did you get this, boy?’ he asked.

‘I found it sticking to two rocks, baas. Each end of it was fast on to
a rock, so that it was a sort of little bridge between the two pieces
of rock.’

‘Come and show me and Baas Fritz the place.’

The boy went on ahead to show the place as requested.

‘Do you think it is gold, Steve?’ asked Fritz.

‘I am sure of its being gold. There must be lots of it, too, if it can
be picked up in this way,’ was the answer.

The boy stopped and pointed to some rocks which were lying in the cleft
of a low hill. The cleft was a little rivulet when it rained, as the
sides of the hill sloped down to it, thus causing all the water to run
towards it, and so form a temporary stream.

The boy pointed to two masses of quartz forming the two banks of the
cleft or ravine. He showed them the marks where he had broken off the
bar of gold.

The young men examined the masses of rock or quartz closely. Steve
took a large stone and knocked two small pieces off the quartz, and
looked at the freshly-broken surface. It was interlaced with gold! They
examined an outcrop of quartz further on, and found it to be as rich as
the other. Fully twenty-five per cent. of the quartz seemed to be gold.

Fritz had whispered to Steve not to let the boy know what it was. He
had to put forth great self-control to restrain his excitement.

They turned quietly back and walked home.

‘I say, Fritz, this means that you are going to be one of the richest
men in the country. There is not another such mine of gold in the world
as this one is going to be.’

‘Wait and hear what the old man says about it first,’ said Fritz.

‘What do you mean?’ asked Steve.

‘Wait,’ was the laconic reply.

They arrived home and found the old man superintending the planting of
some _shade_ trees near the house. They went up to him, and showed him
the bar of gold discovered by the boy.

‘See, father, what April found,’ said Fritz.

‘What is it?’

‘Gold,’ said Steve.

The old man stood looking at them for fully a minute, then asked for an
explanation. He was told all that had taken place.

He did not say a word, but Steve could see that he was by no means
pleased. In the evening, when the herds were all safely in the kraal,
Steve, Fritz and the old farmer were sitting on the stoep smoking. In
front of the stoep half-a-dozen cows and heifers were standing. The old
man had ordered them to be driven out of the herd, and to await his
further orders.

April the herder, and discoverer of gold, was sent for. He came.

‘April,’ said the farmer, ‘I believe your time is up at the end of the
week?’

‘Yes, baas.’

‘Do you intend going home then?’

‘Yes, baas!’

‘I owe you three heifers for your time of service, do I not?’

‘Yes, baas!’

‘Well, there are six. Three in payment for your service, and three if
you will leave to-morrow morning early without saying a word to anyone,
and I want you never to come on my farm again. You must also promise
me never to tell anybody about the copper you found on the stone
to-day. Do you promise?’

The Kaffir was amazed. To receive double his salary, and to go
before his time was up, with an order never to return again, was
incomprehensible to him. However, he gave the promise required, and
left.

Steve could hardly make out the drift of the old man. He simply stared
in surprise at his host.

‘Now, Stephaans, I want you also to promise me never to tell anyone of
the gold on my farm, unless I give you permission to do so.’

‘Of course, Oom Hans, if it will spoil your chance of getting a good
price for the mineral rights, I will say nothing about it. But what is
the good of keeping it secret? You ought to make it known as much as
possible, then you will be able to get the highest offer.’

‘Stephaans, you do not seem to understand. I do not want to sell the
mineral rights of my farm, nor the farm itself. I only wish to live
quietly and at peace on my farm.’

‘But why so, Oom Hans? Consider the price you could get for a farm with
quartz on it like this?’ said Steve, taking out a piece of the quartz
he had put in his pocket in the morning. ‘You could buy a dozen other
farms for the money, and have still enough left to live on to the end
of your days.’

‘I do not want any more riches than I have. I have enough to live on,
and enough to leave my children when the Lord should take me away. Why
should I sell my farm? My father and mother lived and died here. They
are buried here, and here I wish to be buried when I die. It is not
good for us to have too much of the riches of the world.’

‘But, Oom Hans, God has placed the gold there to be used, and it would
be sinful to leave it there, buried under ground, or the Lord might
say to you when the time of reckoning comes, “I have given you so
many talents of gold to work with, and to do good with, and to win
other talents with; but ye buried it under ground and used it not as
I directed ye, ye bad and unfaithful servant, go forth into the outer
darkness.” Consider, Oom Hans?’

The old man shook his head.

‘No, Stephaans, we do not see the matter in the same light. When I feel
that the Lord wishes me to leave my farm, and let the gold be dug, I
will tear from my heart the love I have for my home and my birthplace,
and leave it. But I do not feel so yet. No one will lose by it; I shall
be the only loser; but the loss I consider gain, so long as I can keep
my home unpolluted by the drunken, the profane, the blasphemer, the
canteen-keeper. These you know are always to be found where gold is
being dug.’

And no amount of arguing or talking on the part of Steve could induce
the conservative old farmer to change his views. He again made Steve
promise not to tell of the gold, lest the Government should take the
bit in its own mouth and proclaim his farm as public gold diggings.



CHAPTER IV

THE JEW


The following day Steve’s host had decided to go to Johannesburg to
arrange about the sale of some slaughter bullocks. He invited Steve
to go with him and act as interpreter. Steve said he should enjoy the
drive, and went.

After business was concluded, Steve and Oom Hans were seated at a table
in a _café_, partaking of some refreshments. On the opposite side of
the table were seated two Jews, discussing some samples of quartz
before them.

At last one of the Jews turned towards Oom Hans, with the usual
insinuating familiar manner of the Jew and said,--

‘Mijnheer, don’t you tink dis quartz is goot? Dere ought to pe lots of
gold in it?’

Oom Hans indulged in his usual quiet, good-natured laugh, and, turning
to Steve, said,--

‘Let us make the hearts of these Jews ache a little. Show them a piece
of the quartz you put in your pocket, but (aside) mind you don’t tell
them our names or where we live?’

Steve smilingly took out a piece of quartz--it was by no means the
best, and handed it to the Jews, and asked,--

‘What do you think of that?’

The Jews took the quartz, looked at it, and nearly jumped out of their
boots from excitement when they saw the richness of the quartz.

They laughed, they shouted, they danced. They called for coffee, tea,
lemonade, and a dish full of the nicest cake in the establishment, and
placed it before the strangers, who carried _such_ samples of quartz
about them.

‘_Eet, mijnheer, drink, mijnheer, ons zal betaal_’--‘eat and drink
master, we will pay.’

When they had quieted down, the Jews came and seated themselves near to
Steve and Oom Hans, and started pumping operations.

‘Is dis quartz from your farram, mijnheer?’

‘Yes,’ was the uncompromising reply.

‘Where do you lif, mijnheer?’

‘In the Transvaal?’

‘Yes; put where? What district?’

‘Oh, in one of the districts?’ was the laughing rejoinder.

‘Near what town, mijnheer?’

‘Oh, within a thousand miles of Johannesburg?’

The Jews laughed as if this was a very good joke. They were confident
of getting round this stupid old Boer.

‘Will mijnheer not have a drink--whisky, prandy, or gin, whatever you
like?’

‘No, thank you. We do not drink strong drink,’ interfered Steve. They
had not touched the refreshments supplied by the Jews.

‘What is mijnheer’s name?’ continued Jew No. 2.

‘Hans?’

‘Yes; put Hans what?--your family name, I mean?’

‘Oh, just Hans; that is enough for you,’ said Oom Hans, laughing. The
eagerness of the Jews amused him.

‘Well, look here, Mijnheer Hans, what will you take for your farm?’

‘Nothing?’

‘What!’

‘Nothing?’

‘What do you mean?’

‘I don’t want to sell it!’

‘Not at any price? I will give you a big price for it.’

‘No; I do not want to sell at any price.’

‘Not for a hundred tousand pound? two hundred tousand pound? five
hundred tousand pound? Come, if you show me a reef like that quartz
on your farm, I shall give you one million pounds. Don’t say no,
mijnheer--_Ten hundred tousand pounds?_’

‘No, I don’t want your money.’

‘You tink I have no money! Come to the bank, I will show you. You tink
you get more from annuder man. I tell you one million pound very much
monies. Ask the young man!’ pointing to Steve.

‘No, I don’t want your money. Come, Stephaans, let us go.’

The Jew ran towards the door and said,--

‘Don’t go yet, Mijnheer Hans. I give you what you ask; you make your
own price. Or I tell you what, you keep your farm, you just tell me
where it is, you show me the place that sample comes from, and I will
give you five tousand pound--ten tousand pound,’ eagerly added the
Jew, visions of a rich prospector’s mijnpacht floating before his eyes.

Oom Hans was getting tired of this, as well as annoyed at the Jew’s
perseverance. He must get rid of him.

‘I will think of it, and let you know to-morrow,’ he said.

‘Where shall I see you?’

‘If I want to do business with you, I will come here at ten o’clock
to-morrow,’ was the non-committal reply.

Steve and Oom Hans went to the boarding-house, where they had secured a
room. They noticed that the Jews followed them, and after having seen
them into the boarding-house, left again, apparently satisfied that
they could lay their hands on the old Boer when they wanted him. But
they counted without their host. The old man paid his bill before going
to bed; and when the sun rose, he and Steve were far on their way home.



CHAPTER V

THE JEW AGAIN--DISCOURAGED


Steve was once more in Pretoria. He had been for a week back in work,
when one evening, as he was walking leisurely home from business, he
heard an eager exclamation of joy behind him. The next moment his arm
was firmly caught hold of, and he heard a Jewish voice, not quite
unfamiliar, saying,--

‘Oh, mine tarling poy, how I have looked for you; oh, praise pe to
father Abraham, I have found you.’

Steve’s hand was snatched up eagerly and joyfully shaken. It was one of
the Jews they had met in Johannesburg.

‘Oh, how I have looked for you, mine frint. I have made two horses
tie, so I have rode them, to find you, and your honest old frint. Come,
come, let us go into this bar and have a bottle of fiz.’

‘No, thank you, I do not take wine or spirits, and I have no time
now to talk to you,’ replied Steve, annoyed at the scene the Jew was
creating in the street, causing the passing people to stand and stare
at the vehement joy of the Jew.

‘But, my frint, I must speak to you, I can’t let you go now, after
looking so long for you; I tell you I have been everywhere trying to
find you, from the day I saw you in Johannesburg. Oh, no, I will not
let you go; you must speak to me, I have much to tell you.’

Steve saw it was no use trying to get rid of the Jew in this way.

‘Come to my room, and do not talk so loud in the street,’ said he,
walking rapidly on, the Jew sticking to him like a leech.

‘Now, quick, what do you want from me?’ said Steve, as he handed the
Jew a seat in his room.

‘Oh, come, you know I want to puy de gold farm of your friend--what’s
his name?’ said the Jew, thinking to catch Steve off his guard.

‘Never mind his name now. As regards buying his farm, he has already
declined doing business with you. Why do you pester me now about a
thing that is settled?’

‘Oh, he will sell to me, I shall give lots of money, only tell me where
I can find him, that is all I ask of you?’

‘I certainly shall not tell you where to find him, so you might as well
go home.’

‘Look here, young man, you are not rich, I will make you rich if you
will only bring me to the farm, so that I can speak to him myself. I
will give you one tousand pounds for only telling me the man’s name and
address.’

The Jew mostly spoke with a fairly good accent, but whenever he got
excited, he dropped into his Jewish accent.

‘I shall _not_ give you his name and address, not for a thousand pounds
or more,’ was Steve’s reply. The Jew looked surprised, but he thought
Steve must be _sticking_ out for a better offer.

‘I shall give you two thousand pounds, only for a name and address,’ he
bid again.

Steve shook his head.

‘Young man, don’t tread your fortune under feet; you will never get
such an opportunity again; I shall make you a good final offer now.
Give me the name and address, tell me where you got that sample of
quartz from, and I shall give you _five thousand pound_, and if I
secure it, I shall give you _ten thousand pound_, now is your chance,
take it.’

Steve smiled at the persistence of the Jew. He sat thinking for a
minute or two, while the Jew sat watching him eagerly. At last he
said,--

‘I will tell you what I will do. I shall go out to-morrow and see the
gentleman. I will do my best with him. If I can persuade him to see
you, I will tell you so the day after to-morrow; if you can succeed to
buy the farm from him, I will accept your offer, if not, then I do not
want your money. Good night.’

The Jew saw that he would get nothing more from Steve, but he left
perfectly satisfied apparently.

Steve obtained leave of absence for the following day that same
evening. The following morning he left early on horseback.

Several times while riding on he fancied he heard hoof-strokes behind
him, but the country was undulating, and covered with patches of trees,
so that he could see a very little of the road behind him; besides, he
did not attach much importance to the fact.

When he arrived at the farm of Oom Hans, he immediately told him all
the Jew had said and done. Oom Hans was annoyed that the Jew should
have discovered Steve, and preached a little sermon to himself for
having indulged in what he considered at the time a little harmless
pleasantry. But he could not help laughing that the Jew should have
been hunting for him so long and so earnestly.

‘Well, Steve, if you think it hard on you that your promise to me
prevents you from accepting the Jew’s offer of five thousand pounds for
my name and address, I will release you from your promise; tell him my
name and address, but I warn you I will make it hot for him should he
come here.’

‘Oom Hans, I hope you do not think so badly of me as to think I would
break my promise to you for five thousand pounds. No, I will never tell
the Jew unless you change your mind as to the selling of the farm;
besides, it would be very dishonest to take the Jew’s money, if I know
that he will get nothing for it.’

At this moment a knock was heard at the door.

Oom Hans looked out of the window to see who it was. He turned to
Steve, with anger on his face, and said,--

‘So, then, you come to me like a hypocrite, and pretend that you come
to ask my permission to give the Jew my address, while all the time you
had the Jew waiting for you outside.’

‘What do you mean, Oom Hans?’

‘Come and look for yourself.’

Steve looked, and there the Jew was standing on the stoep, waiting for
an answer to his knock. Steve remembered the hoof-strokes he had heard
behind him. He saw that the Jew had been watching and following him.

‘Oom Hans, I give you my word of honour that what I told you was the
truth, and that I know nothing of the Jew’s being here, except that I
think the knave has been following me without my knowledge.’

Steve’s voice and manner conveyed the truth of what he was saying to
Oom Hans. He was believed. This made the old man all the angrier with
the Jew.

He went to the door, opened it, and looked at the Jew. The Jew flew
towards him with open arms, and an angelic smile of affection on his
face.

‘Oh, mine frint, how I have wished for you,’ and the Jew went on in a
flow of affectionate terms.

Oom Hans coldly waved him off, and said, ‘Wait a moment.’ He went in
again, closing the door after him. He went to a shelf, took down a
rusty old elephant gun, as large as a young cannon. He poured about a
quarter of loose gunpowder down the capacious barrel, rammed down half
a newspaper by way of a plug, and went out again, putting on as severe
a face as he could.

Steve came out now and took Oom Hans by the arm, saying,--

‘For God’s sake, Oom, don’t shoot the man!’

‘Be quiet, you fool!’ roared Oom Hans, and turning round, he winked at
Steve, giving him a momentary smile to reassure him. Steve saw that it
was only going to be a farce, and not a tragedy, as he at first feared.

Oom Hans now turned to the trembling Jew, who stood quaking with
clasped hands, afraid to run, and afraid to stay.

‘My God, these Boers are terrible when angry,’ he muttered.

‘What do you say?’ roared Oom Hans.

‘I say, sir, that the Boers are the best people in the world, and that
the English are dogs.’

‘Say that again, and I shall send a bullet through you in a moment. The
English, sir, are our friends, while they live at peace with us, so be
careful what you say.’

‘The English are a good people, sir. Oh, yes, they will always be the
best friends of the Boers.’

‘Silence, you dog! You say that because you are afraid of my gun. Now,
look here, is that your horse there?’

‘Yes, sir, I will make you a present of him, if you want him.’

‘Silence! I will count ten to give you time to get on your horse, and
ten to get out of gunshot, after that I fire.’

‘Oh, but, sir, I come to do pisness; I bring you lots of monies. Just
listen one word.’

‘One!’

‘One word only, sir,’ said the Jew, tears running down his eyes.

‘Two!’

The Jew began to retreat, still praying for an interview.

‘Three!’

The Jew was now running.

‘Ten!’ he heard shouted at him, as he mounted his horse. He waited no
more after that, he used spur and whip to urge his horse forward. He
thought that he had gone but a short distance, when he heard a report
like the report of a cannon behind him.

‘Oh, father Abraham, receive my soul,’ he prayed, ‘for I must be hit; a
Boer never misses.’

He was surprised to feel no pain or wound.

‘Now, I must race, before he can load again,’ he muttered, applying
spur and whip with fresh energy, as he lay forward on the neck of the
horse.

When Steve and Oom Hans recovered from their fit of laughter, into
which they had fallen at the sight of the Jew’s fear of a charge of
loose gunpowder, they saw the Jew disappearing on a rise about a
mile away, his arm still rising and falling as he lashed his horse
furiously. The Jew must have done the distance from the farm to
Pretoria in record time that day, as he was seen by several people on
the road, riding his horse at full speed, looking back every minute to
see if he was pursued.

He was never seen on that farm again.



CHAPTER VI

HISTORY _A LA_ RHODES


We shall pass on now to more stirring times in the life of Steve, who
has grown into a strong young man of twenty-seven years of age now. He
has always borne in mind the dying words of his father, and has never
neglected his weekly letter to his mother and sisters, or his monthly
contribution towards their house-keeping at home. He had kept that part
of his promise to his father to the best of his ability. As to the
patriotic promise his father had obtained from him, that was hardly
ever out of his thoughts. Walking in the quiet suburban walks in which
he delighted, the thought of his country and his race was ever with
him. If he could not sleep at night, the same thoughts occupied his
mind. And many a plan did he think out--only to reject--as to how his
people could be raised up to a higher level as a nation, or how they
were to be united in all the states and colonies, as a free and united
people.

He had watched the political events in South Africa closely. He saw
that the Republics were slowly being driven into a corner by the great
Imperialistic amalgamator.

He fancied that he could see how Rhodes was using the Afrikander Bond
of the Cape Colony to manufacture a rope, which was intended to be used
eventually to strangle their own hopes of national existence.

There was only one doubt in his mind. Was Rhodes working for
Imperialism on behalf of the British Empire? or was he so flattered
by being called the _South African Napoleon_, that he wanted to
really earn that name, and to build up a new empire, with himself as
emperor? However, whichever of the two was intended by Rhodes, both
must be resisted to the death. We neither desire to be a united British
colony, nor a united South African Empire. We wish to be a united
South African Republic. Such were Steve’s thoughts on the matter. But
everything seemed to be tending towards a crisis. He felt that the time
was not far distant when it would be decided whether a great new nation
would be formed in South Africa by the fusion of the races, or whether
South Africa would be put down, and kept down as a vassal state, for,
perhaps, another decade, or maybe two decades. He never doubted that in
the end South Africa would fulfil its destiny, and become a great Free
country.

Steve had watched with pain how the Republics were robbed of all just
claims for northern extension, through delusive promises of eastern
extension towards the sea-coast. He had seen the formation of the
British South African Chartered Company; only another name, he said,
for an anti-Boer company.

He had seen how this company had dispossessed Afrikander holders of
concessions in Mashonaland. How this company had robbed and deprived
poor Lobengula of country and life on the shallow pretence of Matabele
aggression in Mashonaland. Ah, if a _Boer_ republic had done what
the Chartered Company did in Matabeleland, how they would have been
reviled, how they would have been abused. New names would have been
invented to call the Boers by, as the English language had already been
exhausted on them when they defended their own country. How the Boers
were called murderers, slaveholders, and God knows what more, when
they subdued two rebellious chiefs in Zoutpansberg in the interest of
law and order. After having treated those two chiefs with the greatest
consideration and kindness, both before and after their subjection,
the Boer haters invented lies and deeds of cruelty never perpetrated
in order to blacken the name of Boer before the world. But Rhodes and
his followers were called ‘Napoleons,’ ‘heroes,’ and all sorts of
high-sounding names, for doing what no Christian man in the world
ought to have countenanced--shooting down naked human beings, armed
partly with comparatively harmless assegais, or in their hands harmless
rifles, in hundreds and thousands, with Satanic inventions of machine
guns. Ah, God! how long wilt thou permit the strong to murder the weak?
All those hundreds and thousands of poor innocent human beings were
murdered or driven starving from their homes, for the sole reason to
make a dividendless company pay dividends--Civilisation? The sooner
such civilisation is swept from off the earth the better it would be
for humanity in general. It must be remembered that these Matabeles
were not rebels, but were fighting in defence of their own country,
which up to then had been free and independent.

Steve saw how the Chartered Company was not yet satisfied. They must
have Khama’s land too. Poor Khama went to England to ask the Great
White Queen for protection, for he had had a terrible object lesson
in Lobengula, and knew what his fate would be. Khama had a partial
success. He was at least safeguarded against total extinction by the
Chartered Company.

The attention of the Chartered Company was now given to the rich and
free republic--the Transvaal--with whom England held treaties of peace
and amnesty. But what does that matter to a Chartered Company, or to a
Rhodes, a Jameson?--we shall see!

Steve saw how all the injustice done to the Afrikander race by England
at Slachtersnek, in Natal, at Boomplaats, Kimberley, and during all the
existence of the Transvaal as a Dutch Afrikander State, was finally
capped by the English in annexing Amatongaland.

Where does the injustice come in?

We have already seen how, through Mr Hofmeyr and others, the Transvaal
was promised the incorporation of Swaziland with the Transvaal, and
a passage to the sea through Amatongaland, on condition that the
Transvaal gave up all rights towards northern expansion.

Transvaal subjects had obtained concessions in Mashonaland previously
to those obtained by the agents of Rhodes. The Transvaal kept its
promise. Transvaal subjects were forced, by a proclamation issued by
the President, to stop a trek towards Manacaland to take possession
of country in that territory, ceded to them by its legal owners; and
Rhodes and company were left in undisturbed possession. How was the
agreement fulfilled by the other side? Only after long, patient and
persevering waiting the Transvaal was at last reluctantly allowed to
incorporate Swaziland in a half-hearted sort of way. But--

The Transvaal had obtained the cession of Amatongaland from its legal
owners--the chiefs of the tribes living there. When the Transvaal asked
England to ratify the annexation of Amatongaland, according to the
agreement made with said chiefs, England refused, on the plea that, if
it should be decided later on that Swaziland should fall to British
rule, Swaziland would be inaccessible to England, as it is almost
surrounded by Transvaal territory, and that Amatongaland was the only
passage open to Swaziland for England in such a case. However, the
Transvaal was given to understand that its claim was _legitimate_; and
that, in case Swaziland was ceded to it, there would be no difficulty
raised to its expansion towards the sea _via_ Amatongaland.

When Swaziland was given up to the Transvaal, because England could
hardly do otherwise, as Swaziland belonged to the Transvaal by all the
rules of nations--Swaziland really belonged to the Transvaal, was part
and parcel of its territories, lying as it does within its borders,
having been kept out of it as a protection (?) for the natives by
treaty with England. Well, what did England do when the Transvaal at
last had possession of Swaziland? Did she say to the South African
Republic, ‘Now you have Swaziland, you might as well realise your
_legitimate_ desires for a seaport; you had better have Amatongaland
too, as it means so much to you, and is really worthless to us.’ Did
she say that? _One morning the Government of the South African Republic
awoke to find that Amatongaland had been annexed by England on the
quiet._

The Transvaal had received no previous notice from England of her
unjust intentions in Amatongaland, no--such a deed could hardly bear
the light of day to fall upon it before it was an accomplished fact;
once accomplished, possession is nine points of the law.

South Africa was shocked at such a deed. The Transvaal protested.
The Orange Free State protested. Even Natal and the Cape Colonial
Government were ashamed of the deed, and disowned all knowledge of it.

Steve had taken note of all this and more.

He had seen how England had unwarrantably interfered in a question
which did not concern her in the least. The Transvaal had closed
certain drifts between itself and the Orange Free State--mind you
not between the Transvaal and British territory--it was a matter of
policy to meet the machinations of the Cape Colonial Government under
Rhodes, who were trying to strangle the railways of the Transvaal by
ox-waggon competition. England interfered, and told the Transvaal that
its Government had no right to close those drifts--why? Because England
says so, of course! The Transvaal--once more to show its desire for
peace--_opened those drifts_.

We have only touched some of the main points South African history for
the last few years, so that we may be understood as the story proceeds.



CHAPTER VII

THE REPTILE PRESS OF SOUTH AFRICA


There was one thing which Steve had long noticed, viz., that there
could be no doubt of the existence of an organisation formed for the
purpose of _killing_ the Transvaal as a republic.

This organisation seemed to have taken for a motto,--

‘If you want to kill a dog, give him a bad name, and nobody will object
to your killing him.’

To achieve this dirty work, newspapers were started in Pretoria,
Johannesburg, and all over South Africa. Only one line of conduct
seemed to have been laid down for the editors of these newspapers,
viz.,--Paint the Government of the South African Republic and Boers
generally with the blackest verbal paint you can invent; the editor who
can invent the most lies and write the dirtiest libels on the Transvaal
and on Boers that editor shall receive the greatest reward.

This programme was well followed.

The amalgamator of mines and countries had chosen his men well.

These editors must be in the possession of dictionaries unknown to
the rest of the world. Dictionaries with an alphabetical list of all
the bad names ever invented, with the addition of some specially
invented for the occasion. The writers for the papers belonging to
the organisation for _painting Boers black_ seemed to have a special
mode of writing their articles. A string of bad names is selected, and
manufactured into some tale of Boer cruelty, duplicity, dishonesty, or
something of the sort.

This story would be published and taken up by the various papers
belonging to the organisation, and any other paper in foreign lands
which might be misinformed enough to believe such stories. How England
and the rest of the world would be shocked with these tales. How
well-meaning people in distant England would cry shame at these
savage (?), cruel (?), and dishonest (?) Boers. Ah! this cowardly,
strike-a-man-behind-his-back, blacken-a-dog’s-name-and-then-kill-him,
Boer-hating, anti-freedom, anti-republican organisation knew well
that England can yet boast of millions of honest, fair-minded and
well-meaning people, who would not allow a free, peace-loving and
God-fearing people to be trampled under foot by a speculating,
company-mongering, Matabele-exterminating organisation. For this
reason, the Boer must first be blackened, his name must be made to
stink in the nostrils of the English and European public. It must
be made to appear a great deed of chivalry to exterminate these
_women-killing_ (?), slave-dealing (?). Uitlander-oppressing (?) Boers.

But the sequel has shown that there is a just Heaven above, who
watches over countries, empires, republics and peoples as well as over
individuals. The machinations of these plotters were made to fall back
upon their own heads by a just God. They were made to fall into their
own pits, dug for others. Read on and see.

Although evidently directed from Cape Town, the operations of the
organisation were centred in Johannesburg, as being the place where
the materials to be used for their purposes--_the Uitlanders_--were
most plentiful, and, also being in the heart of the Boer Republic, they
could strike more to the purpose.

Every pretext was made use of to find fault with Boers and Boer
government. Let them come across a God-fearing, religious Boer, and he
is described as a hypocritical, sanctimonious, double-faced knave. If,
on the contrary, a Boer is met who moves with the surrounding world,
speculates, goes to entertainments, or takes a drink at a bar, he again
is called a drunken, cheating, parasitical, half-civilised scoundrel.

Again, should the Government take righteous umbrage at haughty
and unjust demands from their particular party, and refuse them,
the Government is called a tyrannical, autocratic and oppressive
government. Should the Government again consider a request fair and
just, or tenable in any way, and grant it, then they are jeered at, now
they are beginning to be afraid and are obliged to give way. Or, again,
it was granted through favouritism, or through bribery. Such was the
one-sided criticism indulged in.

Familiarity brings contempt. The Government got to be so accustomed to
this one-sided abuse, that they really treated it with the contempt it
deserved. This gave courage to the black libellers.

Constant droppings will wear away a stone. The constant hacking and
pegging away at the Government began to take effect on the Uitlander
public. They began to believe it, saying, ‘Where there is smoke
there must surely be fire?’ At least such was the effect on the
least-informed portion of the Uitlander population.

The first visible and material victory obtained by the organisation was
the FLAG INCIDENT.



CHAPTER VIII

THE TRANSVAAL’S PRESIDENT AND FLAG INSULTED BY THE UITLANDERS


The President of the South African Republic is obliged by law to visit
outlying districts as much as possible, in rotation, to ascertain the
views, grievances and wants of the public.

The turn of Johannesburg came to receive such a visit. The President
went there in order to give the public an opportunity to state to him
personally what they wanted in the way of improvements generally. If
they had any wants or grievances to be redressed, now was their time
to say so, and obtain their desires as far as was just and fair. Was
this done?

No! When the President mounted the public platform, he was received
with groans and hootings. Paid roughs caused a disturbance, which was
taken up by the lower element amongst the crowd, and the President had
to escape as best he could from the dastardly roughs, who would not
have scrupled to lay their hands upon his person. The sacred, beloved
flag of the Republic was torn down and rent to shreds.

_This was the way Johannesburg sought redress for their grievances._

The loyal public were righteously enraged, and had it not been for the
conciliatory speeches of the President later on, the Burghers would not
have rested until due revenge had been taken for the dishonour done the
chief of their Republic and their flag.

But the Government refused to punish the scoundrels; they hoped to win
the Uitlanders over by gentleness and forbearance.

The next grand opportunity for the organisation to revile the
Government and the people came with the Malaboch war.

A petty chief rebelled, causing general disorder in the Zoutpansberg
district, and setting a bad example to the thousands and tens of
thousands of natives living in the district. Malaboch had to be subdued
and made to obey the laws of the land or the whole native population
would soon have been in rebellion. This was done.

Steve went as a volunteer on the expedition (he having privately
got the field cornet to commandeer him). He saw with surprise with
what consideration the rebels were treated. They were regarded as a
civilised nation; and repeated offers of mercy were made them if they
would submit. An invitation was sent them to send out their women and
children for safety, which was done, thereby prolonging the siege of
the native stronghold, as the provisions held out so much longer.

After the submission of the tribe, they were treated with all kindness.
They were conducted to Pretoria and well provided for.

To prevent a repetition of the rebellion, and of their retaking
possession of their former almost inaccessible stronghold, the native
tribe was broken up (as per precedent established by the English
administration in former years), and homes given them elsewhere.

The result of all this was that the Government was abused more than
ever before. It was affirmed that the grossest cruelties had been
perpetrated on the poor, innocent natives; the Boers made slaves of the
natives, etc., etc.

The most ridiculous statement of all was that the Boers ravished the
native women! Anybody knowing a Boer would know how impossible this
is! A Boer shrinks from touching the hands of the dirty, oily, reeking
native; how much more would he shrink from _embracing_ a native woman!

As we have said, Steve had been to the Malaboch war himself. He had
seen for himself the treatment accorded the natives, and the lying
statements published all over the world made him shiver with disgust
and anger.

The following year, with the Magoeba campaign, the same thing was
repeated all over. The causes were the same, the effects were the same.
Sir E. Ashmead Bartlette and others of his stamp (either deceiving,
or being deceived by others here) made ridiculous and untruthful
statements in the House of Commons, in public speeches, or in the daily
papers. All this was the result of the wire-pulling, worked by the
secret organisation for ‘painting Boers black.’

Finally, another grand opportunity came for a general carnival of abuse
and lies against the Government of the country--the festivities in
connection with the opening of the Delagoa Railway.

Not that we mean to state that these were the only times when the
Government was abused and libelled; daily opportunities were found
to distort facts; an anthill was made into a mountain; a good deed
into one of the blackest imaginable. And when no facts could be found
to distort, something was invented by some fiendish imagination. But
the festivities offered a grand opportunity for exaggerations and
distortions.

The Government was made to spend thousands of pounds sterling on
favourites, contracts for decorations were given to favourite
Hollanders, money was wasted, the Volksraad vote was greatly exceeded,
and goodness knows what besides. It is too sickening to enter into all
the petty lying faults that were found.

In this way the Government and people of the country had daily to
tamely and quietly hear themselves belittled and besmeared with the
lying libels of their foes; it was all patiently and quietly borne;
they wished for peace, and were always conciliating. This was taken by
the opposition as signifying fear and conscious weakness.

Matters went on in this way until December 1895 was reached. Steve was
watching the approaching clouds. He could hear the distant thunder. He
could see that a storm was coming, gathering force as it approached. A
crisis was at hand.

It was coming sooner than he could have wished. He knew it was coming,
but he would have liked it to have come a few years later, when the
Afrikander race, at the rate they were strengthening now, would be
considerably stronger and more able to cope with their opponents. But
let it come. We shall do our best to conquer, and if it is God’s will
that we should come out victorious, all praise be to Him. And if it be
His will, WE SHALL be victorious! If it be His will that we should be
conquered, His will be done; we can but die.

The secret organisation had lately taken more visible and definite
form. First, a National Union was formed by a few in the secret. The
innocent Uitlander public were led by the nose. When a meeting was
convened by the self-elected leaders of the so-called Union, the
public were only too glad to attend a meeting where some excitement
was promised them. They went to hear the inspired spoutings of their
self-elected leaders, and cheered where they were expected to do so, or
listened indifferently to eloquent advocates, speculators, etc. Many
of them were surprised to be told that they really had any grievances.
They had always thought they were better off in this country than they
had been in their own land; here they earned good wages, paid little
or no taxes, and were left alone and in peace; while in their own
countries, they earned very little, of which little they had to pay a
large percentage in taxes and rates of one kind or another.

But these learned men say we have grievances; they ought to know! And
if we really have any wrongs to be redressed, the sooner it is done the
better; so hurrah for these philanthropic (?) gentlemen who are going
to redress our wrongs. They say we ought to have the franchise, so the
franchise we will have, and so on.

It went uphill, it is true; the agents of the organisation found great
difficulty to get the public mind wound up to the right pitch, and when
they did succeed for an hour or so to get an enthusiastic audience
together, it only lasted for that brief hour.

But even for this want of enduring enthusiasm a remedy was found,
viz., a committee was appointed who were supposed to represent the
Uitlander population, who made up in themselves for all want of public
enthusiasm. Gold could do a great deal; besides, the head of the
organisation knew the art of _buying_ enthusiasm.

For a time the National Union took a spurt, kept alive by inflaming
speeches and circulars; but as soon as a little boom in shares took
place, the public would have nothing to do with politics, and again and
again the committee found the Union to consist of _themselves_. This
would never do; the objects of the Union would never be attained if
something was not done soon.

The plans of the parent organisation were nearing completion. Soon
it was rumoured that the president of the Union and other members of
the secret organisation were preparing to issue a manifesto, by which
means they hoped to once more wind up public opinion, and to inflame
the hotter Boer haters to the fullest extent. When once the public were
excited enough, a meeting would be held, where revolutionary proposals
would be made by certain agents, which, it was hoped, would be taken up
and supported by the public. This was December 1895.



CHAPTER IX

THE NATIONAL UNION MANIFESTO


It is Christmas 1895.

Peace on earth, good-will to all men is supposed to prevail at this
season; not so with the enemies of the country.

The President was away on one of his yearly visits to outlying
districts. He would return on Boxing Day, expecting everybody to be
indulging in the usual festivities of the season.

Alas! it is not so in a certain building in Johannesburg. A group
of men are exulting over a document. It is a proof of the famous
National Union Manifesto, issued by the chairman of the Union; issued
in the name of the Uitlander population, without their consent. On
their own responsibility, the chairman of the Union and a few of his
fellow-conspirators issued a manifesto with the full and deliberate
intention of causing a civil war in South Africa, a war of races--a
war, the result of which, and the ending of which, no man could
surmise.

Steve went to the station on Boxing Day to see the President arrive
by train from his tour. As he was standing talking to an acquaintance
about the air of mystery and expectancy on the faces of most people in
the crowd, he heard a newsboy crying,--

‘_The Star! The Star! National Union Manifesto!_’

‘Hillo! I might as well buy a copy and see what they have to say,’
he remarked, calling the boy and buying a paper. He read it with the
closest attention.

The manifesto was composed of several newspaper columns of close
printing.

What struck Steve was that, of all the grievances detailed in the
manifesto, only one was really worth complaining about, viz., the want
of franchise. All the rest were open to difference of opinion, or did
not exist at all. After a great deal had been said on one subject or
another, a list of ten wants was given:--

Firstly.--‘The establishment of _this_ Republic as a true Republic,’
I wonder if the compiler of the manifesto is an Irishman. He wants a
republic to be made a republic; he wants a cow to be turned into a cow;
a horse into a horse; a mule into a mule. Why he ought to know that if
he _is_ a mule, a mule he is.

Secondly.--‘A Grondwet or constitution is wanted, which shall be framed
by competent persons.’ Who? The committee of the National Union, I
suppose! No more need be said.

Thirdly.--‘An equitable franchise law, and fair representation.’ This
is the only real grievance that the Union could complain of. But
then a poor man sometimes complains because another man is rich and
possessed of more than his share of this world’s goods. The rich man
had patiently worked for and acquired his wealth, the poor man will
not work and will not wait for his time to come to make his ‘pile.’
Let the Uitlander bide his time patiently and earn the right to obtain
the franchise, and obtain it he will in the end. We all wish for the
franchise and hope to get it by proving to the Government that we
wish it well and not harm. But who is going to impoverish himself to
enrich his neighbour? Who, when attacked by an enemy, is going to
hand over his own revolver to be shot with? That is what the National
Union has proved itself to be up to now--_enemies_ pure and simple of
the Government. Let them show more good-will, more conciliation, more
honest friendship, and they may expect more consideration from the
Government.

Fourthly.--‘Equality of the Dutch and English language is demanded.’
This is a Dutch republic, founded by the Dutch, civilised and reclaimed
by the Dutch. Dutch is the official language of the country. The
English language is given all consideration in courts of law and public
offices. English is spoken freely everywhere, in courts of law or other
offices of administration. The law is winked at as regards enforcing
the use of Dutch. More cannot be claimed at present. If the English
language wins its way into further favour no one is going to grumble.

Fifthly.--‘Responsibility to the legislature of the heads of the great
departments.’ That is going to come without the aid of the National
Union!

Sixthly.--‘Removal of religious disabilities.’ The law of the country
allows every man to worship and think as he pleases. Only, the holders
of office and public officials must be Protestants. _The Transvaal
Burghers are mostly descended from Huguenots!_

Seventhly.--‘Independence of the courts of justice, with adequate and
secured remuneration of the judges.’ Even so, we all want that, and are
thankful to say ‘we have it.’

Eighthly.--‘Liberal and comprehensive education.’ The State has been
striving and aiming towards this laudable object for years, and is
striving for it still. Improvements in the department of education are
made yearly, and, let us hope, will be continued to be made.

Ninthly.--‘Improved civil service and provisions for a pension fund’
is asked. I wonder if the members of the National Union committee had
an eye for their own future prospects when they asked for this. Of
course they were going to be provided for in the way of offices in the
improved government and civil service, and they naturally wished to
make provision for their pensions.

Tenthly.--‘Free trade in South African products.’ Free trade is an old
question, and need not be discussed here. If it suits one party it does
not suit another, and the products of the State must be protected.

Something like the above were the mental comments of Steve as
he read the ‘Ten Wants’ of the Union. He saw no harm in the
ventilating of their wants by the Union, if it is done peacefully and
constitutionally, but the implied threat which appears in the question
‘How shall we get it?’--that is where he sees the spirit of the
manifesto. There is no reason why they should not get all, or nearly
all, they ask, if they ask for it in the right way. It all depends
upon what they decide to do to get it whether they get it or no; under
_threats_ they will _not_ get it.

The meeting to be held on the 6th January 1896 had to decide.

At last the train with the President on board steams into the station.
A line is formed from the saloon carriage to the President’s private
carriage, and the Transvaal ‘Grand Old Man’ steps forth, hat in
hand, bowing right and left. As Steve gazes upon that firm, calm and
strong countenance, all doubt as to the future prospects of his race
disappear. With _such_ a man as their leader, victory must attend
them. He gazes with exultation upon Paul Kruger; he had often seen
the President before, but he looked upon him with renewed interest
after reading that bouncing manifesto; and as he looked, he fancied
he saw before him a stormy sea, the billows roar, the winds blow, and
amidst all a strong, firm, upright rock receiving the dashing waves and
howling winds against its sides, unmoved. Such was the impression Paul
Kruger gave Steve that afternoon. The _simile_ was not out of place;
the storm was gathering. _Will Paul Kruger remain firm?_



CHAPTER X

A FISHING PARTY ON THE VAAL RIVER


From the time of publication of the National Union Manifesto, a cloud
seemed to hang over the country. On every street corner and under every
verandah where two or three were gathered together, politics were being
spoken of. What is going to happen? Was Johannesburg really going to
take the bit in its own teeth and go its own way, or was it all only
big talk and a case of the Union playing the bogey man to frighten the
Government into submission and into giving way to their demands. There
_were_ a few fiery-minded youths in Pretoria who talked big of the
mighty things the Uitlanders were going to do. They were armed; they
had twenty Maxims, cannons and small arms in plenty; they were going to
remove the Boer Government and raise a government of their own, etc.,
etc.

But the majority of the Uitlanders living in Pretoria expressed their
intention to stand by the present Government. They were not going
to have either the Imperial Government again, or a government of
capitalists. The former had made too many mistakes in South Africa
already to be desired; besides, are we not men, cannot we work out
our own salvation? As to the latter, enough of that has been seen in
Europe, America and Kimberley. No, we are satisfied with the present
Government, and with the improvements we know that we shall get soon.
The Government received daily assurances from leading Pretoria men of
staunch support in case of need. Even in Johannesburg, the Government
was not in want of many thousands of Uitlander friends.

One hardy old Scotchman, interviewed by a countryman lately arrived,
in answer to the question as to what his intentions were in case of
disturbances, replied by pointing to a gun standing in a corner and
saying,--

‘You see that gun? Well that gun and myself are at the service of Oom
Paul whenever he wants us. I am not going to see such an unrighteous
thing as deposing a just and kind Government by a lot of capitalists
and other knaves.’

Steve, amongst many others, never for a moment supposed that any
disturbance or breach of the peace would take place before the 6th
January, which was the date appointed by the National Union for their
great meeting, when they would decide upon future action. How was
he or the general public (mostly concerned) to know of the secret
preparations (whispered of, but not believed) made by the conspirators
to let the dogs of war--and that civil war--loose on or before the
date appointed? How was he or they to know that preparations were far
advanced for the invasion of the Transvaal by Chartered troops? The
different Governments concerned did not know of it; how could private
individuals know?

So Steve and his friends made preparations for a fishing party during
the New Year holidays on the Vaal River.

Accordingly, Saturday night saw Steve and his friends embarked on the
Cape train _en route_ for the Vaal River. They were going by rail as
far as Vereeniging, from which place they had made arrangements to
leave by a mule waggon, which they had chartered for the week. Arrived
at the border town, they loaded their tent and provisions on the mule
waggon, expecting to have a quiet but enjoyable picnic on the banks
of the Vaal. The site for their camp was chosen about eighteen miles
west from Vereeniging, as they wished to be away from the bustle of
town life for the few days of rest. Sunday afternoon saw the party
comfortably settled on a pretty spot on the river’s bank. A few
beautiful trees supplied them with the necessary shade from the heat of
the sun.

Sunday afternoon and evening were spent in quiet rest, after the
necessary operations of fixing up camp were over.

Monday morning early, fishing was begun in earnest. A fairly successful
day was spent on the river bank. Towards sundown the party returned to
camp.

After coffee had been made and partaken of, Steve proposed that they
should go to the little country store, lying about half-a-mile away.

‘It will be a nice little walk before supper,’ he remarked, ‘and,
besides, we might hear some news from the shopkeeper, as he is the
post-agent here.’ His proposal was accepted, and the party strolled
forth. Arrived at the store, they found the proprietor to be one Nande.
This Nande was an Afrikander born, but an English educated young
man; handsome, stout, and well spoken, but slightly deaf. As to his
character, that will be sufficiently gathered from his conversation and
acts.

After a few trifling purchases had been made in the store, as a sort of
introduction, Steve inquired if he had heard any news from Pretoria or
Johannesburg to-day.

‘Oh, yes, I have heard news, and if it is true, I shall be jolly glad;
it will show these miserable Boers that the British people are not to
be trifled with. I hear that Jameson has entered the Transvaal with
eight hundred troopers, and is marching on to Johannesburg at full
speed; it is only a rumour as yet, I heard it at the station this
afternoon.’

At the first few words Steve trembled with agitation and apprehension
for the Transvaal, for, if this was true, it really meant war with
Great Britain, for Jameson and his men were really British troops. But
a moment’s reflection showed him how improbable such a thing must be.
He could not believe England capable of such perfidy. The Transvaal
was at peace with England, and had done absolutely nothing to provoke
an invasion, or even a talk of an invasion from England. Besides, the
last decade of the nineteenth century was not a time when one civilised
country invades another, unprovoked and without rhyme or reason. No,
the wish was only father to the thought, it was not to be believed for
a moment. But what struck Steve with disgust was that this young man,
who looked like an Afrikander, appeared to wish for such an invasion,
and seemed to glory in the very idea of it.

‘May I ask what your name is, sir?’ he said, turning to the storekeeper.

‘My name is Nande.’

‘But that is a pure Afrikander name.’

‘So it is. I was born in the Cape Colony, and have been in the
Transvaal now for five years.’

‘But why do you speak as if you wished for the downfall of our
Afrikander Republic?’

‘Because I do not think it right that we should be governed by these
Boers any longer. Why, they refused to give me a situation just because
I could not write Hollander-Dutch; they rather gave it to a Hollander
than to an Afrikander.’

‘I think that shows their good sense,’ replied Steve; ‘if you had
learned your mother tongue as well as you did English, they would not
have refused you.’

‘Well, I only hope that Jameson and the Uitlanders will succeed in
chucking the whole lot out, then a man who has received an English
education will be able to get a Government situation too. I hope to see
the British flag flying once more over the Transvaal in a week or so.’

‘Hurrah for Jameson and the British flag!’ cried Steve’s cousin.

This young man had been in the habit of running the English down ever
since he had come to the Transvaal, because he thought it good policy,
but now that he believed the English were going to be victorious, he
thought it was high time to put on his Anglo-Saxon coat and go with
the winning party. It is all very well to be an Afrikander while
Afrikanderism is popular, and while Afrikanders hold the handle of the
knife. But now it seems England is going to wrest the handle out of the
hands of the Boers, so ‘British I will be now,’ was his philosophy--ugh!

Keith and Harrison did not say a word; they seemed to be stricken dumb
at what they heard.

‘Oh, so you are taking a fit of Anglo-mania, too, now--you--cur,
you--dog, you coward.’

‘And I am a Britisher too, and I also say Hurrah for Jameson,’ cried
Nande.

Steve stood with clenched hands, pale as death.

‘And I say that the man who turns his coat and stands away from his
countrymen in their time of need is worse than a _dog_, is worse than a
Kaffir, for even a Kaffir will stand by his people in time of need. You
are both dogs--_curs_, and worse than curs, you mongrel Afrikanders.’

‘Look here, young man, you must be careful what you say; you must
remember we are four against you alone; we will soon take your gas out
of you,’ said Nande.

‘Come on then all of you. One true Afrikander can always _down_
half-a-dozen cowardly curs like you. I do not believe a hundred like
you would have the pluck to tackle one single Boer. Come on, I am ready
for you.’

He stood with his back against the wall, with clenched fists, fierce
set face, and gleaming eyes.

Nande snatched an axe handle standing near, and crying to the other
three to ‘come on and let us silence this miserable Boer,’ he walked in
a threatening way to within three paces of Steve. Steve stood calmly
but determinedly awaiting the attack. When Nande stopped three paces in
front of him, Steve looked him full in the eyes. Nande could not stand
that look; he trembled with fear, and looking away, he turned to the
others and said,--

‘Are you fellows not going to help me to give this Boer a good
thrashing?’

Keith and Harrison looked contemptuously at him, the former remarking
that,--

‘If any help were required, we would certainly give it to Steve. _He_
is a _man_. You are a cowardly renegade. I would be ashamed of you, if
you really were an Englishman.’

‘Thank God there are very few Afrikanders such as these two,’ said
Steve. ‘It would be a bad lookout for us if there were many such.’

‘You are right, Steve,’ said Harrison. ‘They are about the only two I
have ever met. I wish I had the privilege to be a born Afrikander. I
would not thus turn renegade, but would be only too happy to fight for
my country; and, by God, if this is true about Jameson, I _will_ fight
for them. If Englishmen can act as treacherously as this, then I shall
disown my own country and become a true citizen of this, my adopted
country; that, at least, would not be turning renegade, for I should be
fighting for the country I live in.’

‘And so say I, too,’ said Keith.

Nande, seeing how the land lay, and the mistake he had made when he
expected to be supported by the young Englishmen, backed out, and
retreated behind his counter.

The party now left, and returned to their camp with Steve’s cousin
slinking on behind them. He kept out of Steve’s way for the rest of the
evening, as he saw that he was in the minority now, and that was not a
_rôle_ he delighted in playing.



CHAPTER XI

NEWS OF AN UNEXPECTED INVASION AND BREAK UP OF THE FISHING PARTY


The next day fishing was resumed. Steve did not attach much credence
to Nande’s story of Jameson’s invasion, so he was not much disturbed
about it. He thought he had plenty of time to enjoy his little holiday
and to be back home by the 6th January, when he would be able to watch
events and be at hand in case his services were needed to defend his
country.

What a surprise awaited him!

As the party returned about midday to camp for lunch, they found
a young man there who had just drawn rein for a moment to let his
sweating horse breathe, and get a drink of water for himself.

‘Hillo! Whither away in such a hurry?’ hailed Steve in a hospitable
way. ‘Stay and have lunch with us.’

‘I dare not. I am in a great hurry. Have you heard the news?’

‘No; what is it?’

‘Jameson has invaded Transvaal territory, and is marching on to
Johannesburg.’

‘My God! is it true after all?’

‘Only too true. I am postmaster and telegraphist at H----, and I have
just received a wire from headquarters to let the field cornet know
at once, with orders for him to _commandeer_ every available Burgher
without a moment’s delay. They are to guard the borders against
any further invasion from any other direction. The Burghers from
Potchefstroom, Rustenburg and Krugersdorp are ordered to intercept
Jameson and to capture him before he enters Johannesburg.’

‘May I know your name, sir?’ asked Steve.

‘Certainly; my name is A----n.’

‘But that is a British name, is it not?’

‘It is; but I am colonial born, and I consider myself an Afrikander,
and I am going to stand by the Afrikanders to the bitter end. My God!
do you think I will stand by and see our Republic invaded in such a
treacherous manner, and not do all in my power to resist it? I am not
obliged to bear dispatches in this way, but for such a cause I would do
a great deal more.’

‘I am proud to shake hands with you, sir,’ said Steve, suiting the
action to the word. ‘With such men as you to stand by us, our future is
assured.’

‘I am glad to see you’re one of us, sir, and hope to meet you again in
more peaceful times; in the meanwhile, now my horse has had a breathing
spell, I must hurry on.’

‘One moment, sir,’ said Steve. ‘I want to leave at once for the scene
of action. Which is the best way, do you think, to reach it?’

‘I suppose, to take train as far as you can, and where you find
yourself stopped, to get a horse (the best way you can), and go on
horseback until you reach the place where fighting is going on.’

‘Thank you, sir. Good-bye, and God speed the Republican cause.’

‘Amen, good-bye, and good luck.’

Steve was intensely excited, his breath came in short, quick gasps. He
turned to Keith and Harrison, saying,--

‘Look here, you chaps, I do not know what you intend doing, but I can’t
stay here another hour, I must get away without a moment’s unnecessary
delay.’

‘But, Steve, what could you do if you did go? One man more or less will
make no difference. Stay and let us finish our fishing. Time enough to
go fighting when we have to go back and our holiday is over.’

Steve shook his head, saying,--

‘No, old man, if everybody were to say that, and want to enjoy their
New Year festivities before responding to their country’s call, then
Jameson would have an easy march to Johannesburg. No, I must go. The
only question is, How? Will you fellows go too, or will you stay and
let me have the mule waggon to the station, then I can send it back to
you, and you can stay here and have the full benefit of your holiday.’

‘No, Steve, if go you must, I go too,’ said Keith.

‘And I will go too. If there is going to be excitement on, we might
as well be at hand and see what is going on?’ said Harrison. ‘As to
fighting, I do not yet know what I shall do personally, but one thing
I am sure of, I am not going to fight against the Boers. If they have
to be suppressed, I will take no hand in it, while I may yet decide to
fight with them; for if they are really invaded in this back-handed,
treacherous way, the sympathy of all right-minded people ought to go
with them.’

‘Well, if we are to go, the sooner the better,’ said Keith, responding
kindly to Steve’s wishes.

The driver was called, and told to get the mules and inspan at once,
while the rest of the party busied themselves in getting everything
packed and ready for their departure.

Steve’s cousin was not consulted as to his willingness to leave or
not; he was in the minority and had to accept the decision arrived
at; he was sulking on one side, refusing to render assistance in the
preparations for leaving. He was undecided what to do; he was not quite
sure yet whether the Boers were going to lose or not, so he thought he
would keep quiet a little longer, and see in which way matters tended.
No notice was taken of him by the others.

In a short time the driver’s assistant arrived with a message to the
effect that the mules were lost and must have strayed away. The driver
had gone farther to search for them. Steve was in despair.

‘My God!’ he cried, ‘what have I done that this should come to me?
Would that I had never left Pretoria, then I might at least have been
able to do something.’

‘Keith, come with me like a good fellow and help me to bribe Nande into
selling or hiring me a horse. I _must_ get away.’

‘I will go with pleasure, Steve; but I am afraid that after last
night’s scene, Nande will by no means be eager to render you a favour.’

They went, but in vain. Nande was still feeling very sore at the
straightforward words of Steve, and refused absolutely to let him have
a horse on any terms whatever. Steve offered to pay any price, but in
vain. He attempted threats, but Nande was strong in the knowledge that
in this case, law was on his side, and that Steve could not force him
to give up his horse.

‘Well, Keith, old man, I am going to walk. Good-bye, and thank you for
your kindness.’

Keith remonstrated in vain, telling him to wait until the mules were
found, and that he could never arrive in time to catch the train if he
walked, but Steve was mad with excitement. He felt that inaction was
impossible; he must do something, and with one handshake he started
on his way on foot. He walked fast and long. It soon began to rain,
but he walked blindly on, on and on. ‘I must get on. If my people must
fight for liberty I must be with them.’ He did not heed the water
running into his shoes or streaming down his clothing. The road was
very indistinct; the water was running over it, so that he was not sure
always whether he was on the road or not. It was getting dark. Surely
he ought to have reached the station by this time. He had walked six
long hours, and he must have covered more than eighteen miles now.
Where can the town be? He could barely walk now, he was so tired and so
wet, but on and on he struggled. The strongest human passion possessed
him: the passion of outraged patriotism. At last he saw a small
building in front of him; it was only a small place, but he hoped to
find somebody from whom he might inquire his whereabouts. He did find a
man there.

‘Will you please tell me where I am, sir. I am afraid I have lost my
way. I want to go to Vereeniging.’

‘Why, sir, you are walking away from Vereeniging. You are about
twenty-five miles from the station now. Where are you coming from?’

‘I left about one o’clock from Nande’s Store on the Vaal River. I am
afraid I must have taken the wrong road.’

‘Yes, you must have taken the left instead of the right hand road, a
few miles after you left Nande.’

‘My God! what shall I do now?’

‘Where do you wish to go to?’

‘I want to reach Johannesburg or Krugersdorp as soon as possible.’

‘Well, you are at least twenty miles nearer your destination now than
when you left Nande, so your time is not altogether lost.’

‘Sir, will you not do me a great favour by selling or hiring me a
horse, or tell me where I can get one near by; it is most important
that I should lose no time.’

‘I am very sorry, but I have no horse; you might get one three miles
away, where there is a Boer farm. They have several horses; but come
in and have a cup of coffee first. You are wet and cold. I will give
you some of my dry clothing to put on in exchange for your wet ones. It
would be death for you to keep those wet clothes on.’

Steve accepted with pleasure. He was wet, tired and hungry. He had had
nothing to eat since breakfast, as the news received at lunch time
had taken away all idea of eating. He entered, had a cup of coffee
with a dry biscuit, changed his clothes, and, in spite of his host’s
invitation to spend the night there, departed.

‘No thank you, sir. I thank you for your kindness to me, a stranger. If
at any time you come to Pretoria, here is my card. If I can return your
kindness, please let me know.’

He proceeded in the direction pointed out to him and soon arrived at
the Boer farm. It was a well-appointed substantial building, and it was
evident that well-to-do people lived there, so no doubt he would be
able to get a horse.



CHAPTER XII

OFF TO THE WAR--A NIGHT’S RIDE--TERRIBLE NEWS


When about two hundred yards away from the house, Steve came across an
old bushman with a pail of milk in his hands, evidently coming from the
cattle kraals.

‘Naand, baas.’ (Good evening, baas).

‘Good evening, my boy. Who lives here?’

‘Baas Meyer lives here, baas.’

‘Is your baas in?’ Steve asked.

‘No, my baas left with his two sons this afternoon, on commando. They
say the English are coming to take the country again, and my baas left
to fight the English.’

‘Who is at home now?’

‘Only the _nooi_ (mistress) and her daughter.’

‘What is your name?’

‘Jankie, baas.’

‘Well, Jankie, here are two shillings for you.’

Steve thought it best to make friends where he could.

‘Thank you, thank you, baas,’ said the bushman, receiving the coin and
slipping it into his mouth.

‘Look here, Jankie, is there a good riding horse in the stable?’

‘Only young Baas Willim’s horse, on which he goes courting.’

‘Is it a good horse, Jankie?’

‘I have never seen a better one, baas; it is a black stallion. He never
gets _flamed_ (never gives in).’

‘That is just the horse I want, Jankie. Do you think your mistress will
lend him to me to go and fight the English?’

‘I am afraid not, baas. Young Baas Willim never allows anyone besides
himself to ride that horse; but come in and ask the _nooi_.’

Steve went up to the house and knocked. The door was opened by a
pretty, fair-haired girl, evidently the daughter of the house. He was
shown into the sitting-room, the good and well-appointed furniture of
which again indicated the wealth of the owners.

Steve asked to see Mijf Meyer. She soon appeared, and without much
beating about the bush, Steve stated what he required.

‘Madam, I was on a picnic on the Vaal River. There I heard that the
English were again invading the country. I want to go and fight against
our enemies, but I have no horse to go from here. Will you lend me one?’

‘No, sir; you look too much like an Englishman yourself to go and fight
against the English. Why do you shame your face, just like the _rooi
nekke_. No, sir, I know your people’s tricks too well to be caught by
you. If a real Afrikander wants a horse to fight the English, he can
have all we have, but you look like one who is more likely to help our
enemies than to fight for us. I don’t know you.’

Steve explained and expostulated, begged and threatened, in vain. The
old lady believed him to be a spy and enemy. His looks were against
him; and in any case he was a stranger to her; and an Afrikander has
never been known to tramp about in city clothes like his looking for a
horse; she would neither sell nor lend.

Steve saw that he was distrusted, and that further pleading was in
vain. He turned to leave, when the girl came up to him, saying,--

‘Sir, you must excuse my mother, but we cannot risk giving an enemy
a horse to fight against our own people. Perhaps you know how the
Uitlanders have been threatening us lately; my father and brothers are
even now on their way to fight against the English, who want to take
our country from us again. But if you want food, or anything else, you
are welcome.’

Steve thanked her, and told her he could not blame them for distrusting
a stranger. ‘But,’ with tears in his eyes, ‘I do so long to be in the
fight. I would dearly like to strike a blow for our liberty against
our enemies, and now I am so tired I can’t walk much farther, and time
is passing by. Oh, that I could find a horse.’

He walked out; he was in despair. The tears were running fast down his
face, and he was ashamed to let the girl see him weep.

Steve did not walk more than a hundred yards away from the house when
he sank down on the ground in a passion of tears and despair.

‘Oh, what have I done that I should be caged like this? My countrymen
are perhaps even now struggling for life and liberty, and here I am
in the open veld, without a horse or means of reaching the commando
in time. Oh, my God, send me aid, help me to get away. Oh, God, I
would give all I have for a horse to-night. Jesus, thou hast so often
answered my prayers before, answer me now, when I ask for a horse to
go and fight against our enemy.’ He shook with a passion of tears and
intense earnestness as he prayed in his despair. Steve had great faith
in prayer, and when all else failed, he believed that God would not
fail him. As he prayed thus, a feeling of comfort and relief came over
him; he fancied he heard a voice say, ‘Fear not, my son, thy prayer is
heard.’ The next moment he felt a touch on his arm; a pale face looked
into his eyes. Steve saw that it was the girl he had just left. She was
weeping now, too; a great faith in him was shining in her face.

‘Oh, forgive us for mistrusting you; I see now that you are one of us.
I stood looking after you, I saw you were in trouble, and when I saw
you drop down here, I came to see what was the matter with you, and I
heard all you said in your grief and despair. Come with me, God has
heard your prayer.’

Steve was surprised at this turn of affairs. He followed the girl. She
led him to the stable and lighted a lantern. In the lantern-light Steve
saw a beautiful black stallion standing. He thought to himself that
Jankie had not said too much for young Baas Willim’s courting horse.
The girl showed him a saddle and bridle hanging on a peg against the
wall, and bid him put on the saddle.

‘But what will your mother say?’ he asked.

‘I will answer for everything. It is for our dear country and liberty
you want the horse. If mother believed in you as I do now, she would
never have refused you. Be quick now.’

Steve looked at her for a moment, but he reflected it was for a great
and noble cause, moreover it was urgent, so he hesitated no longer. The
horse was soon saddled and led out of the stable. He took the girl by
the hand and said,--

‘God bless you for your goodness. I hope I may earn your good opinion
in the struggle we are going to have. I will try not to disgrace your
brother’s horse. Good-bye, and God bless you,’ and with a hearty
handshake he jumped on the horse.

‘Wait a moment,’ the girl called. ‘Which way are you going?’

‘I don’t know.’

‘I would advise you to go in the same direction our Burghers went
to-day. Take that road,’ pointing in a northerly direction, ‘keep to
the main road, and you are sure to meet with some of the Burghers going
to the commando. They all expect the fighting to take place somewhere
between Johannesburg and Krugersdorp, so you had better inquire your
way to Krugersdorp first.’

‘Thank you. Good-bye.’

‘Good-bye, and good luck.’

Steve let go the rein, and the stallion, nothing loth, shot forward
like an arrow. But Steve was a good horseman, he knew he had far to go,
and a horse, however good, is yet not a machine, therefore the strength
of the horse must be economised. He soon got the stallion to settle
down to a good, easy, comfortable pace at the rate of six miles an hour.

As Steve sat on his pleasant, comfortable seat, with his horse going
as easy as a spring carriage, he had much time for thought. It was a
beautiful but weird moonlight night. Thin, long streaks of mare’s-tail
clouds stretched across the sky, and Steve fancied he saw all sorts of
fantastical shapes in those clouds. He remembered the old superstition
that, when such clouds filled the sky, somebody was dying? Who was
dying? Was it, perhaps, his countrymen, who, surprised by the sneaking
enemy, had been overcome and murdered? Who knows? Perhaps a few score
Burghers only had met the enemy, and had been overcome. The postmaster
of H---- had told them that Jameson had Maxims and field-pieces; and
what could a hundred or two hundred Burghers do, armed only with
rifles, if they were to meet Jameson and his eight hundred freebooters?

When such thoughts came to Steve, he would unconsciously urge on his
horse. ‘On--forward--who knows, every man may mean the straw which
might break the camel’s back. Even I may do something which might turn
the tide of battle.’

With such and other thoughts Steve rode on. He saddled off three
different times for an hour before day broke, to give his horse a
rest and to allow him to crop the grass along the road. Even this he
grudged; he wanted to go on, always on, but prudence taught him to go
slowly if he wanted to keep on going. Steve saw that he really rode an
exceptional horse. When day broke, with the little rest he had had, the
horse seemed almost quite fresh.

When day came, Steve began to come up with straggling parties of
Burghers, who were moving forward as rapidly as their different modes
of travelling permitted. He questioned some of them.

‘Your horse does not seem to be going very good, uncle.’

‘No, he is not of the best; he can keep on, but he can’t go very fast.
If he could go as fast as the rest, I should not be so far behind. All
the best horses are in front. The order of our field cornet is for
every man to go as fast as he can; never mind those who stay behind.
You see there is no time to wait. Those who can ride fast must go ahead
and keep the enemy busy until we come up.’

He next came to a party of six young men, dressed in holiday attire,
but on foot.

‘Hillo, _neefs_ (cousins), are you off to the war too?’

‘You bet we are; you won’t catch us staying behind.’

‘But how is it that you have no horses; you do not seem too poor to
possess horses.’

‘No, but we were too far from home to go for our horses. We had come by
ox-waggon to spend New Year’s Day at Oom Paulus Stichling’s, and when
we heard that the English had invaded our country again we just set off
on foot, and let Jameson just wait till we come there we will show him,
_waar David de wortels gegrawen het_.’

Steve met many more such parties who had been spending their New
Year’s holiday from home, and who had left just as they were to go
and meet the enemy. All the mounted Burghers he met were mostly of
the very poorest, who could not afford horses of the best speed, and
were consequently left behind. As Steve saw that the order of the day
was for every man to go as fast as he could, and never mind those who
stayed behind, he thought he could do no better than follow suit;
consequently, he did not stand on any ceremony, but rode on as fast as
he thought prudent, leaving one party after the other behind him.

About midday, he came to a small copse of trees, which he thought just
the place to saddle off for a good rest for his horse and himself,
as he felt a little tired by this time, and as he was somewhat more
reassured now, and the excitement he had felt was a little worn off; he
also began to feel a little sleepy. He decided to knee-halter his horse
and sleep for an hour, after which he would again proceed. As he was
taking the saddle off, he thought he heard voices a little deeper in
the copse. He knee-haltered his horse and went to see who was there.
He saw two boys of about twelve years of age, gun in hand, sitting
eating slices of bread and butter.

‘Well, sonnies, and where are you off to?’

‘Going to fight Jameson.’

‘_What?_’

‘Are you deaf, uncle? We are going to fight Jameson.’

‘Does your pa know that you are going to the war?’

‘Oh, no, our parents are all away; my father and his (nodding towards
his companion) are both gone to the war. They left us to look after the
house, but as soon as they were gone, we each took a gun and followed;
_we_ are not going to stay at home while the old people fight, ha! ha!’

‘Well you are the right kind of Afrikanders, you are no cowards; the
English will never take our country while our young men have such
patriotism,’ and Steve felt proud to shake hands with these youngsters;
he saw that in such a spirit lay the strength of his nation.

The boys, with the usual spirit of Afrikander hospitality, offered to
share their bread and butter with Steve. He gladly accepted a slice,
as he had eaten nothing since the evening before, when he had had a
biscuit and a cup of coffee with the stranger.

After the boys had finished their dinner, they shouldered their guns
and resumed their journey, while Steve laid himself down on the grass
and fell asleep. When he woke, he saw that he had slept an hour and a
half. He hastily saddled his horse and rode on. The horse seemed to
have taken full advantage of Steve’s long sleep, as he seemed quite
refreshed again. Steve could not but congratulate himself again and
again as he saw what great enduring powers the horse possessed.

At dusk our hero arrived at a wayside hotel. His horse was now
thoroughly tired. He saw that he would have to stay here several hours,
unless he wanted his horse to give in. His first inquiry was for
forage, which luckily was to be had in any quantity at a big price.

After having seen his horse well fed and rubbed down, Steve went into
the house and asked for some supper. Some cold meat, bread, butter and
coffee was placed before him, and he made as good a meal of it as could
be expected.

After supper, he asked for a room to lie down for a few hours. He was
shown a room not very clean and neat; still a tired man could at least
rest in it; besides, beggars could not be choosers.

But before lying down, Steve went out to once more see his horse
supplied with forage. As he was superintending the cutting up of the
oat sheaves, the proprietor--whom he had not yet seen--came up to him.
After a few introductory remarks between them, his host asked him in
English where he was going.

He replied in the same language, with as pure an accent as the
Englishman’s own, that he was going to Krugersdorp.

‘Have you heard the glorious news?’ asked the host.

‘No; what is it?’

‘The Boers and Jameson have met, and Jameson has defeated the Boers,
killing three hundred of them.’

Steve turned pale in the dark. He could hardly speak at first. At last
he managed to say,--

‘How do you know this?’

‘I have just come back from our post-office, where I had been to get
some news. I there met a man who had left the battlefield at noon; it
was near Krugersdorp; he had been riding post-haste to carry despatches
somewhere. He says it was an awful sight to see it. Jameson’s troops
were simply mowing the Boers down with Maxims and Nordenfelds. The
Boers had no Maxims or field-pieces, and could simply do nothing with
their rifles against the troopers.’

‘But who is this despatch rider? Can his story be believed?’

‘Oh, as to that, there can be no doubt of it, he is one of Jameson’s
own officers; his name is Captain Thatcher, so it must be true. It is
a glorious day for Englishmen. Amajuba has been wiped out at last,
and the English flag shall now once more fly over the Transvaal.’ He
thought he was speaking to an Englishman. Steve answered not a word.
He walked away. He felt he could not restrain himself much longer in
this man’s presence. He walked blindly away towards the open veld. It
was moonlight, but he saw nothing about him. He could only see in his
mind’s eye, on an open plain, a battlefield, and on this battlefield he
could see hundreds of his beloved countrymen lying--dead--murdered--by
the freebooters. Oh, what a fearful sight. What homes are rendered
desolate to-night in this country? Can it be true? Alas, I am afraid
it is only too true. Jameson’s troops are well prepared and armed.
Those terrible Maxims _mowed_ down thousands of Matabeles in the same
way, and our poor Burghers were unprepared. There was no time for them
to wait for cannon and Maxims to come up; they had to try and stop
Jameson’s advance as best they could, before he entered Johannesburg;
and, unprepared as they were, they fell into the terrible death-trap
laid for them.

‘Oh, my God, why hast Thou permitted this? What hast Thy people done
that Thou should desert them now in their hour of need? Oh, God of
Mercy, have mercy on Thy people. Jesus, it can surely not be Thy will
that these murdering, grasping, gold-worshipping, godless freebooters
should slay Thy people in this way. Oh, Father in Heaven, it is surely
Thy will--nay, it _is_ Thy will, that we should become a people, a
nation, FREE and UNITED. God, Thou hast shown it in the past; Thou
hast led them on step by step, day by day, year by year, and Thou hast
always given them glorious victory in their greatest time of peril.
Thou hast ever been their salvation; wilt Thou desert them now? Nay,
Thou art not a God who does anything by half; Thou wilt not leave Thy
work incomplete. Oh, God of Battles, show Thine wondrous power once
more, and save Thy people yet.’

With what earnestness did Steve pray. He prayed and wrestled with God
as he had never prayed or wrestled before. When he left his landlord
he was faint with grief; great sobs of woe welled up from his very
heart; but now his faith in God once more brought comfort and hope. He
believed that God would not desert his people.

He went to a stream which he heard rippling near by, pulled off his
clothes and had a moonlight bath, after which he felt so much refreshed
that he thought he could sleep now. Going to his room, he once more
uttered a prayer for help and guidance, and fell peacefully asleep,
trusting all to his God.

He was awake at earliest daybreak, and, after rousing his landlord to
pay his bill, he resumed his journey.



CHAPTER XIII

THE BATTLE OF DOORNKOP


Steve’s horse went bravely on, but with slackened speed. We will not
follow his further journey too closely; he met many people, all telling
different tales as to the fortunes of war. One confirmed Captain
Thatcher’s tale, while others totally denied it.

Steve now found himself in the vicinity of Krugersdorp. It was
Thursday, the third day since he had left his friends on the banks of
the Vaal. He had travelled about one hundred and fifty miles or more
during the forty-eight hours since he had left them.

He was riding along as fast as his horse would go; for he knew he was
reaching his journey’s end, and he could restrain his impatience no
longer. He saw a man galloping towards him in a slanting direction,
which would take him towards Krugersdorp. As the man approached near
enough, he recognised him to be a newspaper reporter whom he had known
in Pretoria.

He stopped the reporter and inquired eagerly for news.

‘Oh! the Burghers are holding their own bravely. Since yesterday they
have kept Jameson dancing about, trying to force his way through to
Johannesburg, but in vain; Jameson can’t get any nearer Johannesburg.
The Burghers are gradually enclosing him, and soon they will have him
and his freebooters at their mercy.’

‘Thank God! but how many Burghers have been killed?’

‘Up to now, two or three at the most, and as many wounded, while
Jameson has lost heavily all along.’

‘What? You are fooling me!’

‘Why?’

‘Last night I heard a report, spread by one Captain Thatcher, a
despatch rider of Jameson’s, that three hundred Boers were killed, and
that Jameson had beaten the Boers.’

‘It is a d----d lie!’ was the impolite but emphatic denial. ‘You can
take my word for it that not more than two or three Boers are killed,
and one was killed by accident in the dark by his own people, while the
Boers have never been beaten yet by Jameson; on the contrary, the Boers
have held Jameson in check all along, and have only been waiting for
reinforcements and their artillery to carry Jameson and his troopers by
storm.’

The reporter here stopped, and sat looking at Steve open-mouthed. The
antics of this young man were really amusing, to say the least of it.
He had rolled off his horse, and was now lying on his back, kicking his
feet in the air, and now he was capering about on the grass, throwing
summersault upon summersault, all the while shouting and laughing like
one possessed.

‘I say, Joubert, stop that; are you mad? Get on your horse and go on; I
have no time to look after a lunatic now, or to take you to the lunatic
asylum.’

‘I beg your pardon, old man; I had to do it, or I should really have
gone mad from joy, but I am better now,’ said Steve, remounting his
horse. ‘Where are you going to?’ he asked of the reporter.

‘Oh, I am off to town to send news to the _Pretoria Press_, which I
represent here. And what do you intend doing?’

‘I wish to join one of our commandos; where shall I find one?’

‘If you will go to the top of that rise there, you will see the whole
position. When I came over it, the Burghers were retreating from the
railway cutting (which they had occupied during the night) towards that
very ridge. I think they intend taking possession of it and the drift,
so as to finally stop the progress of the Chartered troops. Good-bye; I
must be off to send particulars of our position to our paper. Take care
of yourself and keep out of the way of the Maxims.’

What gratitude filled the heart of Steve now when he knew that Captain
Thatcher’s story was all lies and invention.

It went beyond Steve’s comprehension what object any man could have
in telling such deliberate lies. This Captain Thatcher ought to have
known that what he was saying was all lies, and that ultimately his
want of veracity was bound to be discovered. Steve could find only
one explanation, and that was that such a person tells lies simply
for the love of the thing, and for the temporary notoriety that such
sensational tales may bring. Some people have a way of manufacturing
their news according to the demand of their audiences. If the audience
were composed of Government haters and Jameson sympathisers the
news was made to suit their wishes, while if it were friends of the
Government, the contrary rule was observed.

When Steve came to the top of the height he saw a party of Burghers
coming directly towards him. At a distance he perceived a large troop
of men coming in apparent pursuit of the Burghers. These latter he
correctly took to be Jameson’s filibusters.

‘Thank God! I have arrived in time to fight with my countrymen for life
or--death. And if it is to lose, I would a thousand times rather die
than live!’ thought Steve to himself.

Where he was standing on the rise or ridge, a reef was cropping out,
throwing out projections of rocks, which formed splendid natural
fortifications, giving good protection against the fire of an enemy
coming in the direction from which Jameson was coming.

The Burghers seemed to be retiring from the enemy--_so were_ they. The
fire from Jameson’s Maxims and long-range field-pieces could not be
resisted on the open veld, for which reason they were retiring towards
the aforesaid out-croppings, where Steve was standing. When they
arrived on the spot, Steve discovered the field cornet in command of
the Burghers to be an old acquaintance and friend of his. It did not
take Steve more than a minute to explain matters, and to be provided
with a spare rifle and a belt of ammunition.

The Burghers now took up their position amongst the rocks (which were
situated exactly on the sky line of the ridge mostly, thus giving
them the command of the approaches to the drift through which Jameson
must pass if he passed the Burghers at all) and prepared to oppose
the passage of the enemy. Jameson came on now--Maxims, field-pieces
and all; his force was variously estimated from five hundred to eight
hundred men. His troops were forcing onwards towards the drift.

Opposing his passage to the drift were eighty-seven Burghers (this
is correct, as near as possible; there may have been a difference of
one or two, more or less--but rather less) disposed in the following
manner:--

In the first patch of rocks, two hundred yards from the road,
twenty-five men occupied a position; farther on fifteen men were
disposed a little nearer to the drift, but in a line with the aforesaid
twenty-five men; still nearer to the drift seven men were lying in
wait. Beyond the drift, about seven hundred yards away, forty Burghers
occupied a small kopje. These forty men could only fire at long range
on the enemy, as the long range field-pieces of the enemy prevented
their leaving their shelter. The seven and fifteen men mentioned had
to do most of the fighting, and had to stand the hottest fire, as the
Maxims were playing almost continually on their position, but they were
nobly supported by the twenty-five men stationed a little higher up.
Jameson’s passage to the drift was soon stopped by the heavy fire of
the Burghers, his men were dropping continually. He was obliged to give
up all idea of crossing, and took possession of a farmhouse, a cattle
kraal and stone-walled land. His Maxims and field-pieces were protected
partially by the stone wall of the land. The majority of troops took
possession of the kraal and the house. The men in possession of the
kraal and house found themselves directly opposed to the twenty-five
men on the ridge. The Maxims directed their fire mostly on the parties
of fifteen and seven, who were directly opposite them. The field-pieces
directed the full force of their fire on the forty Burghers occupying
the kopje beyond the drift, who were seven hundred yards away, while
the party of twenty-five was about two hundred yards from the kraal
and house occupied by the enemy, and the parties of fifteen and seven,
who were near to each other, were about one hundred yards from the
troopers, and four hundred yards from the Maxims. More Burghers,
amounting to over one thousand, were certainly in the neighbourhood of
the battlefield, but were too far away to take part in the fight, and
those occupying the positions above described were the only Burghers
fighting--actually fighting, I mean--against Jameson at the battle of
Doornkop. Steve found himself amongst the party of fifteen described
as being opposed to the Maxims.

It was a terrible ordeal for those twenty-two men lying flat behind the
rocks. The Maxim bullets literally rained on them, and, unprotected by
the rocks, every soul of that little band would have been wiped out in
a few moments.

Steve heard (in fact, felt) a continuous patter against the rock in
front of him. It seemed to him as if a whole battery of Maxims were
firing at that particular rock. The chips of rock and sand were raining
upon him, thrown up by the bullets. Luckily his rock was just large
enough to protect him against the heavy and continuous fire. Once he
just peeped over a little dent in the rock, took aim and fired, when
_whew_ came a bullet right through his hat. Next moment his body must
have moved slightly outside the line protected by the rock, when he
felt a stinging sensation at his hip, a bullet had just grazed him.
He got several more through his clothing in this way, as he moved and
wormed himself about to take aim to fire. Luckily the Maxims could
not fire all over at once, and while they fired at one party the
other party would take advantage of the diversion in their favour
to rain well-aimed shots on the enemy, and when a Burgher fired he
reckoned upon one enemy being the less, either wounded or killed. For
a Transvaal Boer never wastes ammunition; he never fires unless he is
sure of his aim. A pang of pity went through Steve’s heart as he saw
the poor troopers of Jameson dropping down one after the other; he felt
that, although they were guilty of a great wrong to his country, still
they were human, and to be hurled into eternity while participating in
such a cowardly, back-handed blow against a people who had looked upon
them as friends, and not as foes, was awful. And while aiming his rifle
as accurately as he could, he murmured a prayer for the souls of those
that he was helping to send to the judgment seat of God, but--in
self-defence, in defence of country and national existence.

When first the fight began, Steve had felt the trembling, half fear,
half suspense and excitement, usually experienced by the soldier on
first facing the fire of battle. But soon he felt as calm and cool as
if he were taking part in a target practice.

‘By Heaven, but these English can fight better than I thought,’
remarked a Burgher on the left of Steve. ‘I have never known them to
fight so bravely before; I will give them credit for that.’

‘Yes, they do fight bravely,’ replied an old man next to him. ‘I never
saw a brave fight such as this in 1881; but you must remember they have
had their training in South Africa.’

‘True,’ was the reply.

At this moment Steve heard a groan on his right. Turning round, he saw
a young fellow lying in such a position, that he perceived at once
he must be wounded. He rolled himself towards the wounded man, took
his head upon his knees and spoke to him, but received no answer. On
examination he saw that he had been shot through the head. It was poor
M’Donald, who, although shot through the brain, lived ten days longer,
and then died, when he received an honoured funeral.

Steve helped to carry the wounded man down the opposite side of the
ridge into safety, where he was left with one more wounded Burgher, in
a small deserted house, in the care of two men. Steve then returned to
his place, and resumed his share in the fierce fight.

The battle was raging fierce and hot. The cannon of the Chartered
troops roared hoarsely above the rattle of small arms; while the
continuous rat-a-tat-tat-tat of the Maxims was also to be distinguished
from the more irregular and less incessant cracking of the rifles.
A heavy cloud of smoke was floating above, concealing the sun as if
it wished to hide the murderous work from the sight of Heaven. The
slaughter amongst the Chartered troops was terrible. One detachment
after another bravely charged the position of the Burghers, under the
protection of their Maxims; but it was in vain, the heavy and accurate
fire of the Burghers forced them to retire with great loss every time;
and the Chartered troopers were only too glad to regain their shelter.

In spite of his pity for them, Steve’s heart throbbed with a joy almost
savage in its intensity when he saw the troopers giving way all along
the line. They seemed to look for some point of safety towards which
they might fly. But ’tis a vain hope. Look towards whatever side they
will, they could see Burghers in the distance awaiting them. _They were
thoroughly hemmed in._

Steve saw all this and realised the position in which Jameson must find
himself. He tried to place himself in Jameson’s position in imagination.

‘What should I do if I were to find myself in such a hole of my
own making? Should I surrender and take my chance of getting out
alive? Could I expect to get out alive in case I surrendered? No! A
filibustering murderer can expect nothing but death. Death would be
my sentence, by _Human Laws_, by _Moral Law_, by God’s Law. I could
not even expect a word of mercy from England. She has disowned me and
my expedition, and I have disobeyed her. _No_, rather than give in
now, after having ventured so much and risked so much to obtain my aim
(whatever that may be), I would rather fight to the end and obtain that
sympathy and that martyrdom that the grave always brings. That would
be something, at least, while to surrender _now_ would mean eternal
disgrace, trouble unending, and perhaps death on the scaffold.

But Jameson must have thought otherwise, as we shall see. He was either
too cowardly to die such a death, or he must have known beforehand that
external aid (of which Steve did not know then) would be rendered him.
He must have known (maybe it was promised him in case of failure) that
the full weight of Chartered influences and Chartered capital would be
exerted in his favour.

While Steve was thus meditating, as he surveyed the field of battle
and Jameson’s hopeless condition, the battle was still proceeding as
fiercely as ever. Turn and twist as they would, the Chartered troops
found that the Boer bullets followed them everywhere.

Suddenly a cheer was raised by the Burghers. Steve looked to see the
reason for this, and saw, directed by the joyful looks of the Burghers,
the State artillery taking up a position on a distant rise.

The artillery had arrived at last, but too late. At this moment a white
flag was hoisted by the Chartered troops. It had been asserted by some
that the Burghers fired a volley after the white flag was hoisted. It
is partly true. The flag was hoisted by the troopers directly facing
Steve’s party of Burghers. The white flag was out of sight of the
twenty-five Burghers stationed higher up, as the rocks hid the lower
end of Jameson’s line from their view. Therefore a few shots were fired
by them the moment after the flag was hoisted. But the shouts of their
companions who saw the flag apprised them of the fact, when, of course,
they immediately ceased firing.

The Burghers now left their shelter and came out, walking and riding
towards Jameson’s position. Jameson’s troopers deployed, so as to place
themselves between the Burghers and their own Maxims and cannon.

The field cornet now ordered a Burgher named P. Nagel to go and see
‘what the English wanted.’ He went, and returned with a request from
Jameson to be allowed to return over the border. He (Jameson) was
informed that his request was impossible, as he had had the opportunity
given him to return before any fighting took place, and he failed to
take advantage of it, but that a meeting of officers would be called
together at once to further consider his request.

In the meanwhile Commandant Cronje, who was with the Burghers beyond
the drift, sent to Jameson to know whether he surrendered, being
unaware of the messenger sent by the field cornet, and whose report had
been submitted to Commandant Polgieter of Krugersdorp. Jameson replied
to Commandant Cronje’s message with an offer to surrender if the
lives of himself and men were guaranteed, whereupon Commandant Cronje
informed Jameson that if he laid down his arms and would promise to pay
the expenses of the Government of the South African Republic, that he
would guarantee the lives of himself and men _until handed over to the
Commandant-General, when the Krijgsraad would further decide upon his
case_. More, he had no authority to promise. He gave Jameson thirty
minutes to consider and accept. _Jameson accepted._



CHAPTER XIV

PROBABLE DANGERS AVERTED BY DOORNKOP’S FIGHT


A short time later, Commandant Malan arriving on the scene, inquired
as to what the terms of surrender were. After being informed as to
the promise given Jameson to safely deliver him into the hands of the
Commandant-General, he made a member of the Burgher party, who spoke
English well, to distinctly make Jameson understand that the lives of
himself and men were guaranteed only while on the field of battle and
while on their passage to Pretoria, when the proper authorities would
further decide as to their ultimate fate.

Of course these conditions could hardly be called conditions, except
the conditions extracted from Jameson, that they would lay down their
arms and pay all expenses; and even that followed as a natural result
on defeat. While the promise given by the commandant, that his life
would be safe-guarded while in transit to Pretoria was also but a
natural result of civilised warfare (if fighting a filibustering
murdering foe could be called civilised warfare), and would have
followed in any case, promise or no promise. But the promise was given,
as Jameson and his officers seemed to fear the anger of the justly
incensed Burghers.

When the white flag was hoisted by the Chartered troopers, the Burghers
were distrustful. They reasoned thus: ‘These people are not to be
trusted. They came into our country in a treacherous manner. They
slunk in when they thought we were off our guard. Now, having acted
once in a treacherous manner, are they not capable of acting so again?
Is it not their object to draw us out of our position and shelter,
and then to cut us down with their Maxims and cannon? No, before we
expose ourselves, we must be assured of their honest surrender; and
someone must first go and see what they want. Who will go?’ Without a
moment’s hesitation Steve jumped on the nearest horse, and rode full
speed towards the Chartered troopers. On looking round, he saw he was
followed by half-a-dozen more young fellows of the Burgher force. So he
was one of the first to speak to the invaders after the white flag was
hoisted.

Another incident, tragic in its result, took place after the surrender
of the Chartered arms. A young, inexperienced Burgher was curiously
handling and examining one of the magazine rifles, forming part of
the spoils of war, when, somehow or other, the _thing_ went off, and
wounded a fellow-Burgher, standing in front of him. The poor fellow
died from the wound.

That careless young man got the severest reprimand from his commandant
that ever he had in his life before; but being able to satisfactorily
prove that it was an accident, he was not punished. But he seemed
sufficiently punished by the thought that he had caused the death of a
companion. He seemed to take the disgrace, and the death of the victim
much to heart, and hardly spoke for days after. He wept when he left
the commandant’s tent.

Jameson’s men received the best attention possible, even on the field
of battle. Those who had provisions shared with them; and afterwards
they were taken to Krugersdorp, where they were treated more like
guests than prisoners. Of course any attempt at escape was guarded
against.

Jameson and officers were forwarded to Pretoria without unnecessary
delay. Jameson seemed especially sad and broken-hearted. Who knows what
hopes were dashed to the ground? Who knows his thoughts when he entered
the territory of a State at peace with his own country, into which he
was carrying the torch of civil war, murder and famine? It was like
taking a lighted torch into a powder magazine. He knew that his advent
meant ‘war to the knife’--to the bitter end; and the more success he
had at first, the more disastrous must the end be. Had he reached
Johannesburg, who could foresee where the bloodshed would have ended?
And the thousands of innocent, peaceable citizens of Johannesburg must
have suffered, and did suffer, with the guilty. All to satisfy the love
of power, glory, and lust of gold of a few unscrupulous men. But be
assured, O reader, that, if man does not punish them, a higher power
_will_.

Whatever Jameson’s reward for success was to have been, president
(?), governor (?), administrator (?), or prime minister to the modern
Emperor Napoleon, I do not know. This I do know, he seemed to recognise
that all was lost, that all the grand dreams of power and gold dreamt
by him and his fellow-conspirators had vanished into mist; for he never
spoke a word but--wept. Would that he had wept tears of repentance at
the bloodshed, the distress and heartburnings he had caused, instead
of weeping for failure. Or would that he had wept tears of joy that he
had failed to set the Powers of the world fighting a terrible war; a
war such as Napoleon even never saw. A war that would have changed the
destinies of many a nation on earth. A war that would have changed the
map of the world, to what extent no one can say. _What an escape._

Small things have world-wide effects. The battle of Doornkop saved the
world many a battle. Why? Because if Jameson had not been defeated, and
had not surrendered, and had reached Johannesburg, Johannesburg would
have taken courage. The strong would have been stronger, the wavering
would have wavered no more, even the peacefully inclined would have
been peaceful no more. The rebellion would have been an accomplished
fact. The proclamation, proclaiming the provisional government, instead
of being secretly destroyed, and put out of type, would have been
proclaimed. Civil war would have raged. England would have stepped in
and interfered. And although the South African Republic did NOT ask
for European aid, Europe _would have_ interfered. France, Germany,
Russia and (believe it if you will or not)--the sister Republic--the
United States. The chance would have been too good for these powers
to lose the opportunity to give effect to their growing jealousy of
the increasing colonial wealth and power of England. The whispered
coalition between France, Germany and Russia (which only died out
because _the fuel on which it was fed gave up_, viz., the fear or hope
that England would take up the part of the rebels and go against the
Boer Government) would have been proclaimed and given effect to. What
would have been the result? We can only surmise.

However, one of two things would have happened. England would have been
raised to a higher pinnacle of power than she ever occupied before;
or--the breaking up of the British Empire.

Well, analyse England’s position.

England was _gloriously isolated_, as a certain Canadian politician
termed it.

Germany was against her.

Germany of course meant _the_ Triple Alliance.

France and Russia could not be depended upon.

The United States of America had set her foot down against English
pretensions in Venezuela.

Europe was against England! Turkey? No need to say anything about
Turkey? Everybody knows the situation there at the time America was
against England. Upon whom could England reckon in her time of need?
Her colonies? Her colonies will need to be protected by her, instead
of rendering any aid! Herself? Could Great Britain and Ireland reckon
upon HERSELF? How about Ireland? Has England any right to depend upon
Irish aid in time of need? The contrary rather! No, Great Britain could
reckon upon Great Britain, but not upon Great Britain _and Ireland_;
nor Greater Britain either!

And as to South Africa (remember we are considering the extreme case).
England thus situated could not bring much force to bear upon South
Africa. And how would South Africa stand in such a case? Of course,
with such a provocation, the Transvaal and Free State would stand
together, that is taken for granted without argument--that has been
proved. But what about the Cape Colony? Nine tenths of the population
of the Cape Colony and Natal are Afrikanders. Those Afrikanders would
have seen that THEIR TIME HAD ARRIVED. No more need be said, except
that a united South Africa would have been realized at last, _and a
Republican united South Africa_. Of course, there are those who will
call this reasoning _all moonshine_. There are those who call England’s
isolation _glorious_. There are those who consider England capable of
fighting the united world, and still being victorious. Well, let them
think so. Let them put their head in the sand, like the ostrich, and
refuse to read the signs of the times. It is good for _such_ British
subjects that they are not at the head of the British Government.
It is fortunate for the British Empire that they have men in their
ministry like Chamberlain. _He_ saw the breakers ahead; and like a
good steersman, kept clear of the rocks. _He_ saw that it was better
to make friends of a quiet, peace-loving nation rather than foes. It
is true he has made a mistake now and then; but he is only human, and
almost unhuman like, he acknowledged his mistakes, more credit to him.
Let him continue to maintain peace, by being just and fair, and he may
reckon upon making friends, instead of foes, of the great Afrikander
nation that is being built up in South Africa.



CHAPTER XV

THE FIGHTING PREVIOUS TO DOORNKOP’S BATTLE


Steve inquired from his friend the field cornet for particulars of the
fight previous to his arrival. We give the words of the field cornet
_verbatim_:--

‘Fighting began yesterday. We were only a small party of Burghers at
first, and could hardly expect to defeat Jameson on the open veld, so
we harassed him as much as possible, to delay him until reinforcements
arrived. But we had to remain at a distance most of the time, as we
had only rifles to fight with, and they had Maxims, which carried much
farther than our Martinis, not to speak of their field-pieces. But
later on in the day we reached a strong position. We were directly in
Jameson’s road. He had to conquer us before he could pass on towards
Johannesburg _via_ Krugersdorp. But we were quite confident that our
position was inaccessible to the enemy. We had selected a _rise_,
crested with rocks, offering good shelter against the enemy’s fire.
Below the rise, and between us and the enemy, was a spruit, spreading
out into a marsh. Through this marshy spruit the enemy had to pass
before reaching our position. Beyond the marsh the enemy took up a
position with their cannon and Maxims, sending out three detachments
to charge us. One party of about eighty troopers charged our centre,
through the usual drift of the spruit, while the other two detachments
charged our left and right wings respectively. At this moment our
ammunition was giving in. We had anxiously been awaiting an ammunition
train, which we had been informed had been despatched from Pretoria
for our use. Half-an-hour before the enemy prepared to charge, a
messenger had arrived from Krugersdorp to inform us of the arrival of
the ammunition train there, with a promise that a trolley loaded with
the required ammunition would soon follow. Now, just at the moment
when the enemy were leaving their own position to charge us, and when
we most needed it, the much-longed-for ammunition trolley arrived upon
the scene. An old man, with several others, was standing on the trolley
handing packets of cartridges down, when a shell from the enemy fell
right on top of the ammunition trolley between the group handing the
cartridges down, and burst. Marvellous to relate, the shell did no
injury to the ammunition, nor was anyone hurt.

‘“A miracle! a miracle, brothers!” cried the old man. “God is with us,
let us fight and conquer; God has given them into our hands.” The face
of the old patriarch glowed with faith as he spoke.

‘This seemed to give us all fresh courage and enthusiasm, and as the
enemy came charging in their three divisions we repelled them with
great loss to themselves. The right and left divisions of the enemy
were simply forced to retire in disorder, leaving several of their
comrades on the veld. The centre detachment of the enemy succeeded in
reaching the drift of the spruit, but the Burgher fire was too hot
for them; a part of them fled back and succeeded in rejoining their
main force, but seven of them were left wounded on the road, and, as
we afterwards ascertained, nineteen of them took cover amongst the
tall grass of the marsh, and lay in the mud and water until their
main force retired from the scene towards evening, when we took the
above-mentioned nineteen troopers prisoners. Poor fellows, they were in
a sorry plight; they had been lying under water and mud all the time,
with only their noses and mouths out of water for breathing.

‘As I said, the main force saw that they could not force our position,
and retired, cutting across the veld with the hope of avoiding us; but
while the majority of us remained to guard the road at the drift, about
one hundred of us kept abreast of Jameson’s force, so as to prevent
them from slipping through.

‘We saw Jameson was heading towards the railway cutting, so we raced
on ahead and took possession of the cutting, using the embankment as a
breastwork, and again brought the invaders to a full stop. As it was
getting dark now, Jameson encamped for the night, out of rifle shot
from the embankment; but he was near enough to keep on shelling our
position, off and on, during the night. But as we were well protected
by our embankment, no harm was done.

‘During the night, a sad accident happened.

‘The son of Commandant Cronje, who was rather too venturesome, had
crossed the railway cutting and was riding about on the other side. We
could not recognise him in the dark. We thought it was a spy from the
enemy. We called out three times, “Who goes there?” but received no
reply. Whether he did not hear us, I cannot say; some of our men fired
and he fell, severely wounded. It is a sad thing that, out of five of
our Burghers who have been killed, two have been killed by our own
men, besides the one wounded just now by that careless young man. And
another, I hear, has been killed to-day by our own men. He was near to
the enemy, and as his dress was somewhat similar to Jameson’s troopers,
he was fired at and killed; and our men only found out their mistake
when too late.

‘Well, to resume, when day broke, Jameson once more earnestly set to
work, trying to beat us back from the embankment, but in vain. We
drove him along the line, always keeping him back and preventing him
from crossing. But while he kept us busy, he sent some of his heavy
field-pieces on ahead, which crossed over before we saw their dodge, as
we were busy repelling charge after charge from Jameson’s troopers. As
he was able to sweep our side of the embankment now, we had to leave
Jameson in possession of the line. We now resolved once more to retire,
and go on ahead to cut Jameson off at some other convenient place.
Jameson was now on the road to Doornkop, and in possession of the road.
It was vain for us to attempt stopping him on the open road, as he had
the advantage of numbers, as well as having cannon and Maxims against
our rifles. We resolved to cut across the veld towards the drift at
Brinks’ farm, which Jameson must cross to reach Krugersdorp, unless
he took the other road, on which our commando was waiting for him.
We raced across the veld and arrived here, finding you in possession
already. The rest you know yourself.’

‘Yes, but you say one hundred of you left the main commando to watch
Jameson as he was dodging about; what has become of those hundred men?
There are only eighty-seven here on the battlefield, besides those who
came after the battle was over. What has become of the rest?’

‘Well, you see, as we raced across the veld to cut Jameson off here,
those who had the weakest horses were left behind, and they, in their
turn, were again cut off by Jameson’s men, and they had to go a
roundabout way to reach us. I see they have arrived now, but too late
to take part in the fight.’

Steve thanked his friend for the information, and resumed his
investigations elsewhere.

Steve was detailed to assist in guarding the prisoners, and as he spoke
English well, he questioned them and got much information from them.

One of them told him that he had been lying in a slight depression of
the ground during the fight. He said,--

‘I thought that, if I lay flat, the Boers could never hit me, as a
slight hollow seemed to afford me all the protection I needed. But the
bullets kept striking right in front of my eyes, and the ground seemed
to be wearing down more and more in front of me, so that the bullets,
instead of passing over me, threatened to soon pass through me. I
had a hatchet, which I used to deepen my little hollow as fast as my
protection was being shot away. Thus, by hugging the ground closely, I
managed to escape safe and sound to the end.’

Many of them told tales of marvellous escapes from the unerring aim of
the Burghers, as well as unheard-of hiding-places used by them during
the battle.

They told of how they had to leave dead and wounded, the day before;
Jameson seeming to think that the dead might bury its own dead!--he
only cared for the living.

I may here state that the Government sent parties on the route
travelled to bury the dead and succour the deserted wounded. Some of
these last had undergone terrible sufferings--wounded, unprotected,
unsheltered, deserted by their friends, they lay on the veld; but
Jameson has enough to answer for already--over this we shall draw a
veil and say no more.

Another told how he was one of several who had been sent from
Johannesburg to join Jameson beyond the border. They had been engaged
to fight Kaffirs. When they were told that they were going to march to
Johannesburg, many deserted. These latter were Afrikanders of the right
sort, and declined to fight their own countrymen.

‘Even I would have deserted if I had had the chance, but I was too
closely watched,’ remarked his informant.

‘But could these Afrikanders, who meant the Transvaal well, not send
a telegram to warn the Government of their danger and of Jameson’s
intentions?’

‘No; why we could not even write a letter to our relatives unless it
was submitted to the officers to first read it.’

‘When did you first learn your true destination?’

‘When Jameson and other officers addressed us, and told us that we were
going to assist men, women and children at the Rand, who were in danger
of their lives. He told us that we were going to assist in upholding
British supremacy in South Africa, and that he was sure not a shot
would be fired; also, that the Boers would not be molested.

‘He asked for volunteers, but no one moved until ordered to do so.
Great promises were made to us. We were promised £1000 and a farm each
if successful, besides other considerations. I am afraid we have lost
that farm and £1000,’ he concluded smilingly.

Another one informed Steve how Jameson had been preparing for months
back for his raid into the Transvaal.

‘We were not supposed to know what the great preparations were made
for; it was stated by our leaders that we were going to fight some
native chief, but many of us had our suspicions. There was too much
mystery and private conference amongst the officers. I for one had my
suspicions, and it has exactly turned out as I expected. I am only
surprised that your Government did not suspect what was going on. Why,
all along our route we found buildings erected, containing stores,
forage and food for ourselves, and even fresh horses. All this must
have taken time to prepare. Always in due time we found one of these
stores, containing food and forage.’

‘But how is it that I hear your leader wrote, in reply to the protest
of the Commandant of Marico against his entry into the country, that he
came in reply to a request for help from leading men in Johannesburg to
protect life and property, and to help them to obtain certain political
rights, for which they had asked a week ago. He also gave you and
others to understand that he was going to Johannesburg to protect women
and children against goodness knows what. Now the only danger that
Johannesburg and its inhabitants may be in might be because they have
been in a revolutionary state for the last few days. How could Jameson
have known months ago that this would be the case, if he has been
preparing himself for months?’

‘Oh, you must be innocent! Do you believe, or do you think we ever
believed this story about protecting women and children. Look here! I
am a man of the world, and I know when two and two make four. I have
kept my eyes and ears open, and I have found out a thing or two, and
you may believe me when I say that the whole thing is a deep laid plot
to dispossess your Government of all responsibility of the government
of the Transvaal. You must know that Johannesburg is altogether too
rich to be left in the possession of the Boers, and certain wealthy and
avaricious persons in England, Cape Town and Johannesburg have formed
a great plot to get possession of your country. You may thank your
stars that you have defeated us; if you had allowed us to once enter
Johannesburg, I think Paul Kruger and his people would have been lost,
and instead of Paul Kruger, Cecil Rhodes would have been your chief,
and I pity your people if Cecil Rhodes had them in his power; he would
rule them with a rod of iron.’

‘Thank God, Cecil Rhodes is not all-powerful,’ said Steve; ‘even the
power of a millionaire and diamond king is limited, and I hope that
after this, the eyes of the Colonial Afrikander Bond will be opened,
and that his power will be more limited still?’

‘Do your people then know that he is at the head of all this plot and
revolution?’

‘We do not know yet positively, but we suspect a great deal, and will
know all soon, I expect.’

Steve was very tired that evening, but he saw that many Burghers had
had a very hard struggle to arrive in time, and that most of them had
slept even less than he had done the last few days, and not one of
them complained, or tried to shirk duty, therefore he volunteered for
guard duty or anything else that he might be required for. He was then
appointed to be one of the guards escorting the officers to Pretoria.



CHAPTER XVI

JOHANNESBURG DURING THE CRISIS


Let us take a look at what Johannesburg and Pretoria has been doing
during the time Steve had been away from home.

Ever since the publication of the famous National Union Manifesto,
Johannesburg had been in a state of turmoil and excitement. At
first everything was said in whispers, and all revolutionary acts
and preparations were done in stealth; only the Press belonging to
the anti-Boer organisation kept up its usual vituperations of the
Government, in addition to revolutionary articles well calculated to
incite the population to a rebellious state. There seemed to be some
electric depression in the atmosphere. Everybody seemed to distrust his
neighbour, especially the guilty plotters seemed to dread detection.
But soon speech and action became bolder, as it was seen the Government
was disinclined to take any strong measures. The policy of the
Government seemed to have been one of gentleness and conciliation. All
the Government officials had received orders to avoid giving offence,
or to do aught to incite the populace, or cause a disturbance of the
peace; particular stress was laid on the order to avoid making a show
of armed force, either of police or armed Burghers.

This was taken as a confession of weakness on the part of the
Government by the revolutionists, and it was resolved to follow up the
apparent advantage gained. Open enlistment now went on. Every scamp,
ex-prisoner, burglar or vagabond who was willing to take up arms, was
enlisted.

But now the weakness of the revolutionists became apparent. When it
came to fighting nobody wanted to fight. The thousands of English
miners upon whom the capitalistic schemers had reckoned, failed them.
These miners were sensible men, and wise in their generation. They
argued in this way:

‘Why should we fight? We have nothing to fight for; we have everything
we can wish for; we are living in a labourers’ paradise; we are as
free as we have never been in our own country; we are prosperous,
and pay only 18s. 6d. a year in taxes--that is when we choose to do
so. What do we care about the franchise, we are in this country to
make money, and we are making it hand over fist. We did not come here
to engage in political strife, or to fight the battles of scheming
and plotting capitalists who would reward us when once they are in
power, by combining against us, and bringing us down to the low level
in which our brethren in Europe and America have been brought by
capitalists. No, Messrs Cecil Rhodes, Phillips, Leonard, Farrar and
company will have to fight their own battles, _we_ are not going to
pull the chestnuts out of the fire for them, and then be kicked for our
pains--_dead off_!’ Thus the honest Cornishmen and other miners argued.
But all the same these miners were patriotic enough, or maybe they did
not feel interest in the subject enough to take any active part in the
strife at all; be the reason what it may, they refused to take the part
of either side, and many of them left the country altogether for the
time being. We think, if any were required, this was argument enough,
that the real working men, _the people_ (who are generally the first to
revolutionise, where revolution is wanted), refused absolutely to have
anything to do with this so-called revolution. Not only did they refuse
to fight gratuitously, but when the option was given them, either to
take up arms or to clear, they chose the latter alternative. This, we
say, was argument enough to show that the revolution--so-called--was
simply a capitalistic plot, created with mercenary motives.

The leaders--self-elected--of the National Union had assumed another
name by this time; they now called themselves the ‘Reform Committee’--a
name which was to become notorious indeed all the world over a little
later on. To gain as much influence as possible both with the outside
world as with the local populace, they added to themselves the names
of most of the leading men of the Rand. Many of the latter, although
members of the Reform Committee, and advertised as such, were innocent
of any evil intentions. Some refused absolutely to figure as members,
while others consented to their names being used when assured by the
original conspirators that nothing unconstitutional would be done,
and that they would only agitate for certain concessions from the
Government. These deluded persons of course had to suffer for their
weakness later on.

What to do now? The populace refuses to fight. The Reform Committee
resolved to carry on the revolution by the means of GOLD. This is the
golden city. We are all gold kings, we will let our gold fight our
battles, and when everything is gained, we shall get our gold back a
thousandfold. Thus they argued, and the result was, _one pound sterling
a day_ was offered to any and everybody who would take up arms and
fight against the Government.

It is true a few corps--small corps, too--were raised without pay,
but with the avowed object only to protect life and property and
not to fight against the Government. It seems the conspirators had
foreseen this apathy or want of interest on the part of the populace
in their artificial revolution, for which reason they had arranged
the Jameson Raid. Whoever had first thought of this arrangement,
viz., Jameson’s Raid? Was it the Reform Committee, or was it the arch
conspirator himself? Certain it is, it was a short-sighted policy, for
Jameson’s failure, as we shall see, ruined all their hopes. But we
are inclined towards the belief that, although the Reform Committee
sent the invitation to Jameson, it was done by the suggestion of the
arch conspirator himself--Rhodes. Of course the chief conspirators on
the Rand, the originators of the so-called revolution, were nothing
but the agents of their chief in Cape Town, and all they did and
suggested (it must be taken for granted) emanated from their leader.
And we can understand his policy. If he had left the whole conduct of
the affair to the Johannesburg Committee, they might take the bit in
their mouth, and strike out for themselves, and leave him out in the
cold, once success was assured. They might disown him, and take all
the fruits of success for themselves, and possession being ten points
of the law in such a case, he would be nicely sold. To guard against
this, he must have decided to have a force of his own on the spot at
any cost, by which means he hoped to hold the trump cards, in case his
friends tried to play him false. And his fears were not unfounded by
any means, as the majority of the conspirators who joined later, and
especially those who were not in all the secrets of the organisation,
were in favour of retaining the republican form of government in the
event of success. This was evidenced by the fact that the Committee
felt themselves compelled to confess to only wishing for a reformed
Republic, and not for any other form of government. This was even
carried so far that (whether in good faith or not we cannot say) the
Transvaal flag was hoisted on the Gold Fields Office, the headquarters
of the Reform Committee. This must have caused gnashing of teeth in the
private cabinet of a certain prime minister in the Cape Colony when he
received the news, and even his faithful agents on the Rand must have
felt terrified and troubled when they saw the prize slipping through
their fingers. What account will they be able to give to their lord and
master of their stewardship in case of failure? One only hope was left
them--Jameson. If Jameson came they would work together harmoniously,
and together subdue and conquer the Boer, after which it would be
time enough, and opportunity enough, with the aid of Jameson and his
victorious troopers, to enforce _their_ views and objects on the people
of the Rand.

The eyes of all the conspirators were now fixed on Jameson.

It seems Jameson had started a little too ‘previous.’ Something had
gone wrong. What that something was has not as yet been revealed.
However, Jameson’s premature advance precipitated matters. Everything
was hurried forward. Guns and ammunition were dragged forth to the
light of day from the places of concealment, where they had lain since
being smuggled into the country during full six months. Enlistment
at one pound sterling a day went merrily on. Twenty shillings a day
for being drilled and carrying guns about in a martial way was not
to be refused by the riff-raff, and even those who did not care to
fight at first accepted the pay and enlisted for the sake of the pay.
Drilling and enlisting went on openly in the streets of Johannesburg,
and the Government, who still hoped for better counsels to prevail,
and was anxious to avoid needless bloodshed, instructed the officials
to withdraw the police altogether, to avoid a collision with the
newly-enlisted soldiers.

The public of Johannesburg, who were indifferent and apathetic before,
on the news of Jameson’s advance became enthusiastic. Here was a
_hero_; and who does not delight in worshipping a hero? Those who were
neutral and indifferent before, were neutral no longer. Those who were
enthusiastic before became more so now. _Here was a hero to worship._
The few women who had not fled the pestilence of war, took up the
cry, ‘A hero! A hero!’ Poor women, they could not afford to pay their
passage from Johannesburg to fly the horrors to come, but they could
still manage to find a gay bonnet and a showy dress to wear to welcome
their new hero. Every garden was robbed to obtain flowers to strew
the path of Jameson and his brave troopers with blossoms. ‘Jameson is
coming! Jameson is coming! and will soon be here; out and meet him!’
The balconies were covered with spectators; the streets were crowded
with enthusiastic men and women, all to welcome their hero. ‘He is
coming. Did not our self-elected leaders declare that he had forced his
way through the Boers against tremendous odds, and that he would soon
be here? Nay, have not our own brave pound-a-day troops gone out to
meet him and bring him in in triumph. Ladies, hold your bouquets ready
to cast before his feet as he passes; men, keep your throats clear to
cheer.’

‘Ah, here he comes! here he comes! Hurrah! No, it is our men leading;
he is sure to be behind them. But see how their horses sweat; they
must have ridden hard. Where is Jameson? Where is Jameson? Alas! their
hero was but clay. They had failed him. He had tried not to fail them,
but fate was stronger; justice and right were against him; while they
were waiting to give him a glorious and triumphal welcome, he was a
prisoner. On inquiry, it was found that the brave (?) Johannesburg
troops, who had gone forth to aid Jameson, had seen a few Burghers in
the distance, and thinking prudence the better part of valour, had
retired.

Amidst all this revolutionary turmoil, the friends of the Government
in the city of gold kept calm and cool. For the Government had yet
many thousands of friends in this city. But they were quiet and calm.
They had offered their full assistance to the representatives of
the Government, but had been requested to keep quiet and cool--they
would be called upon only when it became necessary, not before. It is
believed that the Government possessed friends and strength sufficient
in Johannesburg alone (without calling in the aid of any outside
Burghers) to crush the rebellion. But the Government wished to avoid a
collision and the consequent bloodshed as long as peace was possible,
and if a stronger force was displayed around Johannesburg and Pretoria
than was necessary, it was only to guard against outside interference,
as well as to show Johannesburg the folly of its ways of seeking reform
by force. This display of force was one of the chief factors which
brought about a peaceful ending to the revolution.



CHAPTER XVII

THE FOLLY OF C. LEONARD AND HIS CLIQUE


Johannesburg, or rather the Reform Committee pretending to represent
Johannesburg, did many inexplicable things during these few days of
excitement.

The Reform Committee had sent a letter to Jameson (as per agreement?)
requesting his aid to obtain their demands, as is proved by the letter
Jameson had received, signed by five of the leading members of the
Reform Committee. The Reform Committee had promised Jameson (so he
declared) to send two thousand men to aid him in pushing his way
through to Johannesburg. But what did these brave reformers do--these
followers of Mirabeau, Rousseau, and who knows, perhaps, Marat? When
Jameson was on his way, as per agreement with them, to fight with
them, and for them, these reformers (?) sent a deputation to Pretoria
and concluded an armistice with the Government, by which they bound
themselves not to do anything to break the peace, or to give the
Government cause to send a force against them for a stipulated time.
A very laudable thing, and tending towards a peaceful solution, you
would think. Quite so; only why did they not do so before? Why did they
first entice Jameson to place himself in peril, and in danger of life
on their behalf, and then utterly desert him. This much can be said
on behalf of Jameson, and is freely acknowledged by the Boers, that
he at least was no coward, and kept his part of the agreement, even
though it was in an ignoble cause; but it only proves that there _is_
sometimes honour among thieves, even though the honour was all on one
side here.

How can the action of the Reform Committee be explained? I am afraid
it can be explained no more than the action of C. Leonard (the leader
and president of the conspirators on the Rand) can be explained.
His cowardly action seemed to have given a very bad example to his
fellow-conspirators, and utterly demoralised them. What did he do?
He threw the fat into the fire by the issue of his famous manifesto,
and when he had succeeded in thoroughly rousing the public and
the Government, and when Jameson was on his way, in answer to his
invitation to come and aid him and his gang in their nefarious work--in
short, when he saw the moment of danger had come, like a cur, he put
his tail between his legs and fled the country, leaving his friends to
get out of their position of danger, where he had helped to place them,
as best they may. When Leonard had fled, the rest of the conspirators
seemed to realise the danger of their little game of bluff. They had
hoped, as one of their members had said months before, that the Boer
Government would _funk_ it (excuse the slang), and give them all they
demanded.

_Fools!_

They had been living amongst the Boers for so long, and ought to
have known that, while there was life, no Boer would give up the
much-treasured and dearly-bought liberty of the nation.

Strange that these reformers (?) should have run their noses against a
wall, without first making sure that the wall would give way without
hurting their precious noses. But now, when the mischief was done,
they seemed to realise _their_ danger, and began to stop and consider.
Now, when Jameson was fighting for life or death in their cause. Now,
when thousands of poor women and children had fled from the scene in
destitution and want. Now, when the veld along the Vaal and beyond was
covered with these destitute, unprotected, unsheltered, barely-clothed
and starving women and children, and were depending for daily bread
on the very Boers whom the Reform Committee were trying to destroy.
Now, when many a home was in mourning and woe for loved ones lost at
that terrible railway accident at Glencoe, when a train, loaded with
fugitives from the Rand, was wrecked, causing the death of many a
mother, a father, a child, or some other loved one, while many a one
lived to bear some terrible mark of the accident for life. Now, when
the whole country was in commotion and disorder by their action. Now,
when the powers of Europe were glaring in distrust at each other, ready
to spring at each other’s throat, and cause endless war and bloodshed.
Now, when (worst of all for South Africa) a bitter and insatiable race
hatred has been started anew in the whole of South Africa. Now only, I
say, the few scheming, plotting and unscrupulous persons who had caused
all this, began to bethink themselves, and now only, because they began
to see that their own precious hides were beginning to be in danger,
and followed in the footsteps of their leader, C. Leonard. They may
plead that they stopped to avoid further bloodshed; but why have they
started shedding blood at all? Why first invite a foreign force to
invade the country on their behalf, and then desert their accomplices?

No, all excuse is vain, they knew exactly what they were doing when
they began their guilty plots to rob a nation of freedom and country;
and they knew (unless they were idiots, and fit inmates for the lunatic
asylum) what to expect. The only sensible thing the Reform Committee
ever did was, when Jameson was a prisoner and the whole mess was
spoiled, to accept defeat and lay down their arms. (I am not referring
to the time when they concluded the armistice, while Jameson’s fate was
undecided, but the following week, when they laid down their arms, as
we shall see farther on).

But the great guilt of the Reform Committee lay in their ever having
taken up arms, and in ever having plotted to light the torch of civil
war, with no other object than to throw the South African Republic into
the arms of Rhodes. As to the professed object of the revolution and
the demands contained in the manifesto, we shall take occasion a little
farther on to show how much--or how little--cause there was for the
taking up of arms.



CHAPTER XVIII

PRETORIA DURING THE CRISIS


Pretoria, as became the capital of the State, followed in the footsteps
of the Government, and kept calm and cool during all this bustle
and uproar in Johannesburg. It is true there were a few hot-headed,
ignorant young men (late arrivals mostly) who talked big amongst
themselves, and said that the time had come for England to step in and
again take possession of the Transvaal; but it was noticed that these
young men either kept out of the way of, or were very quiet in the
presence of, the Burghers or Afrikanders generally. But the majority
of, in fact nearly all, the inhabitants of Pretoria were very orderly
and quiet. There were those who in their inmost hearts wished for
Jameson’s and Johannesburg’s success, and even said so at first; but
as soon as information of Jameson’s defeat was received, even these
became Government supporters and sympathisers--at least so they said
(?). But from the first the leading inhabitants and public men gave
the Government to understand that all their influence would be given
to support law and order; and on the arrival of the news that the
country was being invaded by Chartered troops, the inhabitants held a
meeting, at the suggestion of a leading citizen, and resolved to form
themselves into a vigilant corps, to protect life and keep order. This
was done. Every man of whatsoever nationality became a member of the
corps, and did duty night and day, patrolling the streets and vicinity
of the town. All this was done under the orders and with the assistance
of the authorities, thus showing the good understanding between the
Government and the inhabitants of Pretoria.

The Jingo papers, or rather those belonging to the association
mentioned before, waxed bolder and bolder, as they saw the evident
danger of the State. The Johannesburg papers, antagonistic to the
Government, seemed to think that the Government would be unable to
punish them now or hereafter, and preached almost open sedition; and a
certain Pretoria paper was by no means far behind in this respect.

The rebels were encouraged to persevere, and those who refused to join
the malcontents, were incited to join. The Government was abused and
reviled more than before. According to these papers, the chances of
the Boers to defend themselves were _nil_; while the success of the
invaders and rebels was assured. With what courage these papers spoke
up _now_, for they rightly considered that the Government had no time
to waste looking after them, or punishing sedition preached in their
columns.

But what a change came over these papers when Jameson was in prison
with his officers and men and the Reform Committee had surrendered
unconditionally? Now there was no abuse. Now the _dirty_ Boers were
heard of no more. But everything was ‘_our_ Government,’ ‘_our_
Burghers,’ the ‘_powerholders_,’ all said and written in a most
respectful manner; while in the place of the threats uttered a few
days before, now nothing was heard but a plea for _mercy_. The papers
were filled with articles pointing out to the Government what grand
and unprecedented opportunities of displaying their wonted mercy
presented itself. Truly it was a sudden and even ludicrous change of
face, causing many a smile of amusement on the face of the impartial
observer. But this amiability did not last long. As soon as things
quieted down, and the anger of the Burghers had subsided, these
cowardly libellers resumed their dirty work, as we shall have occasion
to observe farther on. Those who happened to be in Pretoria when the
news arrived on the Monday that Jameson was invading the country
at the head of eight hundred Chartered troopers, will remember how
unexpected and hardly credited the news was. It was so unexpected, and
even improbable, that few could be found to believe the news--even
the Government, it is said, would not believe the news wired to them
from their own officials at Marico--that ‘Jameson was marching on to
Johannesburg, and that he refused to turn back.’ The Government wired
for confirmation of the news; and it was so definitely confirmed that
the authorities were forced to believe it and take the necessary action.

And now the grand military system of the country was displayed to full
advantage. On the Monday afternoon information was received of the
invasion. Every Burgher was living peacefully and unsuspectingly on his
farm, without the least idea that his country was in danger, or that
a foreign foe had already invaded the country. And yet, forty hours
after the information was received at Pretoria, a commando had already
intercepted Jameson’s force, and had forced him to turn from his
contemplated course, and in three days he was surrounded and compelled
to surrender ignominiously.

Even this was eclipsed by the further mobilisation of the Burghers,
for, before the week was ended, eight thousand Burghers were in
the neighbourhood of Johannesburg awaiting the orders of the
Commandant-General to attack, in case the rebellion was pushed, while
in and around Pretoria a like number or more were encamped.

The excitement for the next few days was intense; every moment seemed
fraught with the gravest results. News from the seat of war was
anxiously awaited. The office of _The Press_, which seemed to be the
best informed of what was going on, was besieged day and night for
news. The wildest reports were flying around, and when reliable news
did come, one hardly knew whether to believe it or not.

An amusing incident was noticed during the day when news from
Krugersdorp was most intensely desired.

Some boys, who seemed to have grasped the situation with juvenile
sagacity, got hold of a pile of blank sheets of paper of the size
and shape generally used by newspapers on which to issue special and
extraordinary telegrams during the day. These special telegrams were
eagerly awaited, and even fought for, by the public during these days
of excitement. These youngsters had noticed this, and with their
blank sheets of paper in their hand, walked about _à la_ newspaper
boys, shouting, ‘News from the war. One hundred people killed. Great
slaughter amongst the enemy,’ or anything else they could think of to
excite the people.

To give a single instance of the result. A dignified, portly and very
conscious young man was strolling down Church Street. But, in spite
of his dignity, black suit, shining boots, and bell topper hat, even
he forgot himself sufficiently for a moment to eagerly run after one
of these boys and snatch one of these supposed special telegrams from
him. Several bystanders, who had already been caught themselves by
the youngsters, were watching the scene with amusement. The dignified
young man, after having secured the much-desired telegram (?), walked
composedly to one side of the sidewalk, settled his eyeglasses
carefully on his nose, and prepared to read the startling news, as
declared by the amateur newspaper boys. Those who were watching the
party in question saw a look of astonishment upon the expressive
countenance of the Pretoria dude, followed by an expression of intense
disgust and anger, as, on looking after the laughing youngsters, he
saw them put their hands in front of their noses in a most impressive
manner. Of course everybody laughed, while the young man looked as if
he would like to punish the boys with his walking-stick. But, on second
thoughts, he seemed to think that it would be too undignified, and
instead, walked away, expressing his disgust at the laughter of the
bystanders by the haughty erectness of his head.

While everybody was anxious and excited, the Government seemed never to
lose the calm even tenor of its ways. Amidst the greatest danger and
anxiety, the President and Commandant-General never for a single moment
lost confidence in their ability to uphold their position, or to defend
their country against the threatening danger.

Even when the Middleburg commando asked the President to proclaim
martial law, the President remained calm and moderate, and told his
Burghers that there was no necessity for such extreme measures,
and that all that was necessary could be done without unduly
inconveniencing the public.

After all the excitement and anxiety on the part of the public, the
reader can imagine what a relief it was to hear of the surrender of
Jameson and his band of _Freebooters_. It was as if a heavy burden had
rolled off the minds of the public. Those few who did not wish it,
would not believe in Jameson’s surrender, and would only acknowledge
the fact when they saw the invaders brought into Pretoria as prisoners.
But these were only a few--enemies to the country, to liberty and
justice. They were of the class of humanity (?) who would sacrifice
everything to attain their own selfish wishes, or to satisfy their
unjust prejudice.



CHAPTER XIX

POSSIBILITIES AND PROBABILITIES


Steve and the rest of the guard hurried their prisoners forward towards
Pretoria, as they feared a rescue. Rumours of such a rescue were not
wanting. During the night the guard received information that a party
of rebels had left Johannesburg, presumably to rescue Jameson. Proper
precautions were taken, but it proved unnecessary. Johannesburg had
evidently had enough of fighting (?).

Many stories have been circulated of the bravery (?) of the
Johannesburg soldiers. It is told how bands of volunteers left the
golden city with the avowed object of teaching the Boers a lesson, and
of relieving or rescuing Jameson. But it is also told how these martial
bands did not proceed far beyond the suburbs of the town, having seen
what to their terror-stricken eyes appeared to be parties of Boers, but
what proved later on to have been either troops of their own cattle or
parties from their own city.

However, the prisoners were all safely brought into Pretoria, without
any attempt at rescue. The men were encamped on the racecourse about
a quarter-of-a-mile out of town, under guard, while the officers were
kept in safer quarters in what is locally known as _The Government
Hotel_, and there they were kept until the authorities had decided what
should be done with them, and until they were ultimately sent by rail
to the Natal border and handed over to the Imperial Authorities.

Steve was now once more at home. He was surprised, even though he
expected something of the sort, to see the squares and outskirts of
Pretoria covered with the tents and waggons of the various commandos,
and his heart swelled with pride and joy as he viewed the brave men,
who at a moment’s notice had left all and hurried in answer to the call
of duty to defend country and liberty.

He took frequent walks out amongst the various commandos, and made many
friends amongst the Burghers, unknown to him up to now. He found them,
unless excited by remarks of recent events, in a happy and frolicsome
mood. ‘Just like a troop of happy children out for a holiday,’ as he
remarked to a friend. The Burgher out on commando is always full of
fun and frolic when off duty or guard. Various games of skill and
strength are indulged in during the day, while the evenings are spent
in reminiscences of the past: stories of Kaffir campaigns, of the war
against England, and of the hunting field, passes round. The younger
men would sit and listen attentively and respectfully as their elders
related adventures, dangers and difficulties experienced during the
early years of the _voortrekkers_. The old men would feel young again
as they told of the dangers of the chase; of how they hunted the
elephant, the lion, the buffalo, the rhinoceros, in the days when such
game roamed the country in plenty, and could be found almost without
searching for. How the young men regretted their ill-fortune, which
caused them to be born too late to participate in such stirring times.
How they wished that they might have lived fifty years ago instead
of in these tame, prosaic days, when one had to take a three months’
journey to see a rhinoceros or a lion, and when an elephant could only
be seen in a circus show.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is Monday night, 6th of January 1896. It is the night when the great
National Union meeting should have been held under the chairmanship
of Charles Leonard. The meeting is being held, but only a committee
meeting; but alas and alack Charles Leonard is not here to take the
chair. Charles Leonard is in Cape Town. Poor Charles Leonard. The body
may have been willing, but the heart was _too_ faint. Such is ever
the fate of braggarts. While danger is yet far away, great deeds are
talked of--then the braggart is a hero; and, alas for human credulity,
the braggart will always find those who will believe in him. It is
not everybody who can read the heart of man in his face, or from his
tongue, and, least of all, the _public_. How easily the PUBLIC--the
_people_--as a whole, will allow a boasting, a glib-tongued, plausible
braggart to lead them by the nose. How disgusting it is for a student
of human nature to see a man thus lead a crowd of credulous people to
believe in him, to make a hero of him, to accept his statements for
gospel, and all because the man has a plausible appearance and can TALK.

Johannesburg for a time believed in Charles Leonard!

Now the National Union Committee, self-styled _Reform Committee_, by
others called the _deformed_ Committee, was holding a meeting--to do
what? To decide upon what they should do in reply to President Kruger’s
ultimatum, in which they were given twenty-four hours to lay down their
arms and surrender unconditionally.

But the meeting is strictly private; it is not for the public to hear
the bitter recriminations amongst the Committee because of blunders and
mistakes of the few leaders, nor the regrets of those who had allowed
themselves to be flattered into joining a movement which, in their
hearts, they knew to be wrong and condemnable; therefore we shall not
report the proceedings, but content ourselves that we shall know the
result of their deliberations soon, within twenty-four hours.

After Steve had safely conducted the prisoners into their place of
confinement, his first act was to report himself as ready for duty, in
case of need, to his own field cornet, after which he went home, had a
bath, and a good sleep before tea-time.

The members of the amateur debating society are gathered together once
more. The debate goes on every night now. The burning questions of
the day are eagerly discussed, and everyone present airs his views of
what _ought_ to be done, what _he_ would do if he had the control of
affairs. Truly the amount of wisdom (?) wasted in this manner is really
alarming. It is a pity that the wisdom, knowledge and statescraft
exhausted in this private and useless manner could not be bottled
up and labelled, to be used as occasion requires. Such bottled-up
knowledge may even become a marketable commodity, if some great
inventor would only find out how it is to be preserved. Edison might
take the hint one of these days.

How easy it would make it for public men and statesmen to buy a little
wisdom on certain subjects, especially when in a dilemma. How easy it
would be, say, for Mr Chamberlain to buy a bottle of wisdom on ‘Home
Rule for the Rand,’ or for President Cleveland on ‘Venezuela Affairs,’
or for President Kruger on ‘How to deal with the Uitlanders,’ or for
Charles Leonard on ‘The safest way to play the game of doubling on the
hounds,’ or for Rhodes on ‘How to make the Afrikander Bond an Imperial
bond (to make him Emperor?),’ or even on ‘How to make Rhodesia pay.’ So
many uses could be found for such bottled wisdom and knowledge.

Of course, I know that books and papers generally serve as bottles to
contain and preserve much of this same wisdom and knowledge, but so
much of it goes to waste, so few have the opportunity or means to so
preserve their own knowledge.

We will at least preserve a little of the knowledge and statescraft
exuded at this evening’s conversation in the sitting-room of Steve’s
boarding-house. It will, at least, serve to show the tendency of public
feeling during this time, when public feeling ran high.

‘Hillo, Steve! Well, I am hanged! is it yourself or your spirit I see?
Well, at least, your hand feels mortal enough.’ It was Harrison who
spoke, shaking Steve heartily by the hand.

‘Well, I _am_ glad to see you chaps again,’ said Steve, as he shook
hands all round, ‘and you too, Keith, old fellow? When did you return,
I did not expect to see you here before to-morrow.’

‘Oh, when you were gone, we did not seem to enjoy ourselves, so we
returned; we have been here since Friday.’

‘You are very flattering to pretend that you value my company so
much. Of course, you were curious to know what was going on here, and
therefore you returned,’ said Steve, laughing.

‘Well, I suppose you are partly right; we could hardly stay there
quietly in the veld without news, while we knew that history was
being made at the rate of a hundred miles an hour, and as you had
_skedaddled_, we soon followed suit, only we came in an orderly and
comfortable way, and did not start on _shank’s_ pony as you did,’
replied Keith.

‘I suppose you returned by the way you went. Well, I think every man
to his taste. I wanted to be in at the death; you preferred a more
quiet, neutral position. I don’t blame you; every man must do as his
conscience tells him.’

‘And how did you fare, Steve? You might give us a relation of your
adventures,’ begged Harrison.

Steve gave a rough outline of his adventures since he left the party
on the Vaal River, and when he told them that he was present at, and
participated in, the Battle of Doornkop, he was plied with questions
from all sides, to which he replied as best and as modestly as he could.

‘How many Boers were there against Jameson, Joubert?’ queried a late
arrival (who was also a professed Boer hater), named Hastings. Steve
had noticed his antagonism towards the Government of the country, and
was not at all well disposed towards him.

‘Well, if you wish to know how many Boers were or are against Jameson,
I could not tell you exactly; but if I had a copy of the last census
papers I might be able to give you some idea of the number. If it will
help you, however, I may tell you that _every_ Boer or Afrikander (as
we call them) in South Africa is against Jameson.’

The others present laughed at this little sally of Steve’s.

‘Of course, you know, I don’t mean who is against him in principle,
I mean how many Boers (or Afrikanders as you prefer to call them)
_fought_ against Jameson.’

‘Oh, why did you not say so then? Well, I will draw it as mild as
possible,’ said Steve, with some sarcasm, which he could hardly
conceal, ‘so as to save your feelings; for if I were to give you the
exact number, you would not believe me and would think I was trying to
bluff you. Well, there were no more than one hundred Boers actually
fighting against Jameson and his band at the Battle of Doornkop.’

‘Bah! you must think I am a green ’un. Do you think I will believe that
one hundred Boers could defeat eight hundred drilled English troops,
and armed with artillery too? Tell it to the marines.’

‘Oh, so you _do_ call them English troops?’ asked Steve.

‘Well, of course, they are not Imperial troops actually, but they are
mostly Englishmen, and have been drilled and disciplined by English
officers, and on the English principle, but are not British troops.’

‘Oh, I see, that means, of course, that if they had succeeded, and had
subjugated the Transvaal with the assistance of Johannesburg, they
would have been English or even Imperial troops, and would have been
honoured and owned by England; now that they have been defeated, of
course, they are only an irresponsible band of British subjects, for
whom and whose deeds nobody is responsible. I have even heard that some
Englishmen assert that Jameson’s men are really mostly Afrikanders,
that is because they have been defeated.’

‘But, Steve,’ said Harrison, ‘do you really mean to say that one
hundred Boers actually defeated Jameson?’

‘I will swear that no _more_ than one hundred Boers took part in the
Battle of Doornkop; that would be on the safe side, for I _know_ that
there were less,’ said Steve. ‘Of course, there were nearly or fully a
thousand Burghers in the vicinity of Krugersdorp, but they were all too
far away to take part in the fight. Some parties of them were guarding
the various roads, so that if Jameson did escape at Doornkop he would
have been pulled up at some other spot. Others again were watching the
road to Johannesburg, so that if Johannesburg _did_ send any help to
Jameson, _they_ would have had somebody to look after them before they
could join forces with the invaders. And lastly, as a matter of fact,
a party of Burghers was preparing to take Jameson by storm, and was
only prevented from doing so by Jameson’s hoisting the white flag and
surrendering.’

‘Very interesting and spicy indeed,’ remarked Hastings in an ironical,
unbelieving way.

‘Yes, indeed, and in spite of the spice, hardly to the taste of some
people,’ retorted Steve.

‘Well, your Government has managed to overcome Jameson, as I believe,
by force of numbers, and because Jameson’s men were starved, fatigued
and out of ammunition; but it remains to be seen whether the same game
can be played with Johannesburg, which is prepared and well armed and
provisioned. That will be a nut too hard for your Government’s knuckles
to crack.’

‘To answer your first assertion first. I have already stated that
Jameson really had the force of numbers at Doornkop. As to being
starved, they had, as I happen to know from their own men, plenty of
provisions, and found at regular intervals buildings placed there for
the purpose, in which provisions in plenty for man and horse were
found. In fact, one man told me they found tables laid ready and laden
with food; they had only to sit down and eat. As to fatigue, the
majority of the Burghers travelled as far in half the time as Jameson’s
troopers did, and that without preparation and without much provision.
The assertion that the Chartered troops were out of ammunition when
they surrendered is the most foolish of all; for I can tell you that
the Government took a rich booty in ammunition alone. In fact, more
ammunition was taken from Jameson, than the Boers possessed when they
began the war against England in 1880.’

‘I don’t believe it,’ asserted Hastings.

‘Well, I can say this much, if Steve says it is so, and that he saw it
himself, I will believe it, for I have never known him to tell a lie,’
said Keith.

‘I don’t believe Steve _can_ tell a lie,’ approved Harrison.

Steve went on, as if he was unconscious of the interruption. He never
lost his temper.

‘As to Johannesburg, I am not a betting man, but I am willing to go
a little bet that Johannesburg won’t fight. If Johannesburg cared to
face the Burgher forces, she would hardly have allowed Jameson to be
defeated and captured without at least an effort to rescue and assist
him. No, my boy, Johannesburg has no fighting men. It is all bluff. Of
course, there are a few brave men in Johannesburg, who, for a righteous
cause, would certainly be able to give a good account of themselves.
But brave men would hardly consent to be lead by a Leonard or such as
he. No. I will tell you the position in a few words.

‘The great amalgamator wanted to amalgamate the Transvaal and Rhodesia
for the sake of the Rand goldfields. The plan of campaign was to send a
few men to the Rand to preach rebellion and revolution.

‘The next thing would be to strengthen the Rand people by sending
outside help, for the Rand by itself could do but little, and, besides,
would not always be willing to do exactly as ordered by their would-be
leaders. The best outside help at hand was obtainable from Rhodesia; by
sending troops from Rhodesia, which really is British territory, would
embroil England in the matter, and thus England would be forced to
take a hand in the game. It was hoped that if England once took a hand
in the game, she would play to suit the cards of her only great privy
councillor in South Africa. Now the outside help has been nipped in the
bud and England is disowning the whole plot (of course it having failed
so far). Thus Johannesburg is isolated and divided amongst themselves,
one party being for revolution, one party being for the present
Government. Do you see any chance for the Reform Committee to continue
their foolish plot? Say, now, for instance, they did persist in trying
their strength against the Government. In a week the Government would
lay Johannesburg in ruins, or if the Government wanted to be merciful
and spare the innocents in the town, in three months they would be
starved out if they were not driven to surrender by thirst long before
then. No, Johannesburg could stand neither a siege nor an attack from
the Burghers. Their only hope for success (England) has failed them.’

‘How do you know that England may not even yet take a hand in the game
on her own account? The Transvaal is a blot on the face of the South
African map as far as England is concerned, and it has been believed
all along that England has only been waiting for an excuse to step in
and once more take possession of the country.’

‘Well, I do not believe England will try such a trick. Firstly, because
I believe England as a power and Englishmen as a nation have yet some
honour left. Secondly, even if England did wish to forget honour and
treaty obligations, not to speak of right, justice and the right of
nations. I say, even if England did wish to do so, I believe she _dare_
not do so. She dares not, because the glaring injustice would arouse
the world against her. It would be an injustice more glaring than
the Armenian atrocities even, for from the Turks everybody expects
injustice, oppression and cruelty, while from England one would expect
at least common justice. From England one would expect that she would
recognise her own treaties, for England is supposed to be, and has
always been believed to be, a highly civilised power. England is a
Christian country, and England is governed on Christian principles.
Should England forget her old traditions of fairplay, justice and
honour, the rest of the world would pull her up much sharper than they
would Turkey.

‘Then leaving out the rest of the world, England would have her hands
fairly full in South Africa alone, should she enter upon such an
unjust war. If she fights the Transvaal under present circumstances,
she would have to fight the Free State, which has already called
out a portion of her Burghers to be ready in case of emergency. She
would have to fight the entire Afrikander nation in South Africa,
including many Uitlanders, or people of foreign birth, and even many
Englishman of long residence in South Africa who have learned to value
self-government and deprecate Downing Street Government.’

‘Why, _do_ you believe for a moment that the whole Afrikander nation
could beat England?’

‘I believe that if England were FREE, and willing to put out her full
strength against the Afrikander nation, that she would conquer in the
end, for every Afrikander Burgher killed would leave a vacancy in their
ranks; while, if one British soldier is killed, two could always be
found to take his place. But even if England is able to put out her
full might against us, it would be a long and bloody struggle. For
every Burgher killed three or four British soldiers would bite the
dust. In his native land, and amongst his native hills and mountains,
the Boer can take long odds against himself. Then the fight will be
on land and not on the sea, where England is supreme. Then again the
Boers will always choose their own battlefield, and you ought to know
by this time that a Boer knows how to choose a battlefield to his
own advantage. The British forces would only be attacked where their
superior numbers and arms would be of no advantage. In short, it would
be a warfare on the guerrilla system, in which the Boers excel all
other nations, and by the time England had conquered the Afrikanders
(if she did conquer them), which will only be when at least half of
them have been killed; by the time she had conquered them, I say,
thousands, if not tens of thousands, of English soldiers will have
perished in the South African veld by the bullet or by starvation.
Now, I come to the chief reason why England does not _dare_ to
undertake such an unjust war, or rather I should say, why the English
_Government_ does not dare to do so: And that is because the British
people, being a free people, with a voice in their own Government,
would never allow their Government to undertake such a cruel--to
both sides--and unjust war, and have thousands of their soldiers and
relatives killed, all to please a few grasping millionaires such as
Rhodes and Beit, or a few conspiring, speculating attorneys, etc., who
wish to obtain power as well as riches.’

Steve became quite eloquent in his earnestness.

‘Do you think, then, that England will leave everything to the Boers
to do as they think fit? Will she, do you think, allow your Government
to shoot down her subjects in Johannesburg, without giving them aid?
or if Johannesburg surrenders to the ultimatum, unconditionally, would
England allow the Boers to shoot the Reform Committee as rebels, which
would probably be done if nothing was done to prevent it?’

‘If it were done, it would only be what they deserve. But it will
_not_ be done, at least, not without a fair trial. You may be sure the
Government is not going to do anything rash, and sacrifice all the
advantages they have obtained. Everything will be done legally and
according to the laws of the country.’

‘It remains to be seen,’ said Hastings, walking out whistling, giving
Steve to understand that he had had enough argument for once.



CHAPTER XX

JOHANNESBURG SURRENDERS UNCONDITIONALLY--HOME RULE FOR THE RAND


The following day being Tuesday and the day during which the
Johannesburg malcontents would decide whether they would surrender or
fight, everybody was on the tenter hooks of expectation and anxiety to
know what would be decided.

The High Commissioner, who had been in Pretoria since Saturday the
4th January, had recommended the Reform Committee to surrender to the
Government, as it was useless for them to attempt a struggle. Sir
Jacobus de Wet, the British agent, had advised the British subjects to
return to ways of peace and order.

The Reform Committee might have wished to proceed to extremes, but they
saw that they had not a leg to stand upon. No more outside help could
be hoped for. The High Commissioner had acted honourably and in good
faith to the Government of the South African Republic, and in the only
way he could act without sacrificing British honour. He had assured the
malcontents that they could not expect British aid if they went beyond
the pale of the law.

Being unable to obtain outside help, and as even the majority of
Johannesburg refused to fight except those who received one pound
sterling a day, the Reform Committee did the only thing left them to
do, and surrendered unconditionally to the Government.

Of course they did not acknowledge that they surrendered because they
could not do anything else, and because they knew that with Jameson’s
defeat their whole plot had failed. No, they only surrendered to please
the High Commissioner, and as they would not fight (to please the High
Commissioner), they declared that they expected the High Commissioner
to fight for them and obtain for them their demands. In fact, they
shifted the whole responsibility of past, present and future on to the
High Commissioner, and consequently on to the Imperial Government. When
Steve heard of the surrender he threw up his hat and shouted hurrah,
and ran to the telegraph office and sent the following telegram to his
mother:--

    ‘DEAR MOTHER,--Johannesburg has surrendered unconditionally.
    South Africa may reckon on some years of peace again; no fear of
    further disturbances.’

Foolish Steve. He did not think that England _would_ interfere after
all and keep the country in a state of unrest and uncertainty for
months after, through holding out hopes to the discontented that she
would force the Government to accede to their demands.

This uncertainty was kept up for months, and this uncertainty obtains
to this very day when I write this (15th April 1896). England took
it upon herself, after everybody thought that all was settled, and
after the President had already promised certain privileges to the
discontented, to dictate to the South African Republic what she should
do and what she should not do, and this in contradiction to the London
Convention, which she had only just declared she would uphold in its
entirety.

It is true that Mr Chamberlain sent what he called friendly advice
only, but everybody knew that it was intended to be taken as a demand.
And how was this advice sent?

Mr Chamberlain, Secretary of State for the Colonies, drew up a long
despatch in which he raked up long forgotten incidents of South African
history. He reminded President Kruger of past friendliness shown by
England to the Transvaal and Afrikanders. But he forgot to mention one
incident of the overwhelming number of times that England had acted in
an unfriendly and even unjust manner. He reminded the Government of
the South African Republic that England had shown mercy in Bechuanaland
to certain Afrikanders who had resisted English pretensions there. But
Mr Chamberlain forgot to mention Slachtersnek, where Boers were hung
like felons on a gallows for resisting England. He forgot to mention
Boomplaats, where Boers again were shot--murdered--for fighting for
their own country and for hard-earned freedom.

Mr Chamberlain did not remind President Kruger that the Government of
the South African Republic was in possession of a certain document (for
which Piet Retief and forty of his comrades gave their lives) by which
they could prove that Natal belongs to the Boers by every just claim
and by every law of nations.

Mr Chamberlain did not remind President Kruger that England took from
the Free State Boers the richest diamond mine in the world, and, out
of a remnant of shame, forced the Free State to take £90,000 for the
Kimberley diamond mines--£90,000 for what is worth £90,000,000. But if
it was worth 90 pence, every country has the right to keep what it has,
without being forced to sell it. Alas no, Mr Chamberlain was not shamed
into telling President Kruger that England had persecuted and oppressed
the Boers for the last ninety years; he did not ask the President to
heap coals of fire on the heads of the British nation by showing the
magnanimity to the British subjects that Britain refused the Boers.

Mr Chamberlain capped his despatch by _advising_ (?) President Kruger
to give Johannesburg a variety of _Home Rule_. Alas, the inconsistency
of man. Mr Chamberlain, who is a Unionist, and opponent of Home Rule
for Ireland, advises the South African Republic to give Home Rule to
Johannesburg.

Johannesburg is a town in the heart of the South African Republic,
inhabited by a mining community of all nationalities in the world, a
large proportion of whom are British subjects. And for the sake of the
British subjects in Johannesburg the district is to be isolated and
Home Rule given to it, while Ireland is a country inhabited by a great
nation, who are living in their own native land, and who are kept down
by force of arms. To this nation, unjustly conquered by England long
ago, and kept under ever after only by England’s military strength, to
this nation Home Rule is refused by Mr Chamberlain and his party. By
what moral right can Mr Chamberlain demand, or even advise, the South
African Republic to grant Home Rule to Johannesburg? I have heard
somewhere a very useful adage, ‘Sweep in front of your own door before
you sweep in front of your neighbour’s door.’ Very homely, but to the
point, and really I would recommend it to Mr Chamberlain’s study.

This interference in our internal affairs by Mr Chamberlain, or rather
this advice as to our internal affairs by Mr Chamberlain, would have
been received with gratitude and thanks, if it had been given, as
advice _ought_ to be given, viz., privately and confidentially, but
Mr Chamberlain was playing to the Jingo gallery. In truth, it was not
meant for honest advice, it was done to please the friends of the
Chartered Company, and to do this more effectually Mr Chamberlain, in
contradiction to all diplomatic usages and etiquette, published his
_advice_ (?) to President Kruger in London before despatching the same
to its destination.

We shall show farther on how this _advice_ (?) was received in Pretoria.



CHAPTER XXI

THE CHARTERED PRESS AGAIN--JONAH!


And who were the people for whom Mr Chamberlain was asking Home Rule?
For people who ever since they entered the country have openly
abused the Government, have tried in every way to abuse the freedom
and liberty they enjoy in this country, by libelling and traducing
the people and Government of the country. People who stood up in open
rebellion against the Government, people who did not scruple to call
in a band of foreign freebooters to help them to raise an unjust
revolution. A people whose leaders openly declared that they had thirty
thousand rifles to carry on the rebellion, and when they had solemnly
promised to give up all arms gave up two thousand five hundred. Who
did those leaders deceive? Did they deceive their followers when they
declared they possessed thirty thousand rifles? or did they deceive the
Government when they declared they possessed only two thousand five
hundred?

These people had come to the Transvaal to make money. They had made
fabulous fortunes out of Transvaal soil. And to show their gratitude
to the Government of the country, who had fostered them and protected
their industry, and had done everything possible to please them and
prosper them, they evinced their gratitude by maturing the vilest
plot known to history to overthrow this Government. This much for the
rebels. On the other hand, the people for whom Mr Chamberlain asked
Home Rule, ridiculed his proposal and would have no more of his home
rule than they wanted of Downing Street rule. Those who were not
satisfied with the Boer rule simply wanted to rule themselves, not
only in Johannesburg, but the whole country. If they could not get the
franchise, by which they could get to rule the whole country, then they
would not have any rule at all other than they have now.

Then what would Mr Chamberlain do with the large proportion, if not
the majority, of the inhabitants of Johannesburg, who are, and have
always been satisfied with the present Government. _They_ would have
no other Government than their own legitimate Government. But the
whole proposal is so ridiculous that it would be foolish to discuss it
further here. We shall proceed with our story. The utter ridiculousness
of giving Home Rule to Johannesburg must be apparent to everyone who
knows the state of affairs, and those who do not know have only to read
this story to the end and they will see for themselves what the Jingo
element in Johannesburg is composed of.

Now as regards the reception of Mr Chamberlain’s Home Rule Despatch. We
have already stated that the _people_ of Johannesburg ridiculed it. But
the Jingoes received it with joy.

‘Now at last,’ thought they, ‘England is committed; and either the
South African Republic must knuckle under and do as the Secretary of
State demands, or--fight Great Britain; once more “Rule Britannia” is
sung with gusto. Mr Chamberlain has restarted, or very nearly so, the
gassing and warlike talk of Jingoism. It will not be his fault if the
peace is not broken once more.’

Now what will the Government of the South African Republic do? Will it
brave the anger of the British Lion? or will it knuckle down and beg?

No! Once more the calm, manly and firm old man, the President of the
Transvaal, stands to his guns, and fearlessly sends the Secretary of
State for the Colonies of Great Britain a dignified, friendly, but
_firm_ reply, in which the assertions of Mr Chamberlain are fairly
refuted, and the right of England to interfere in the internal affairs
of the South African Republic totally and distinctly denied.

At last the Jingoes rejoice, and many a firm friend of the Republic
holds his breath in anticipation of disaster to its liberties. The
President has thrown down the gauntlet, and England cannot but take it
up and force the Transvaal at the point of the bayonet to accede to its
unjust demands, or maybe to take away its freedom from the Transvaal
altogether. Many began to make their preparations anew for the great
struggle they thought they saw inevitable. But what was the surprise
to many, disappointment to some, and joy to others, when the cables
brought the news that England had quietly and tamely received President
Kruger’s lesson in etiquette to Mr Chamberlain, and calm request to
‘mind your own business.’ Such was indeed the case, for Mr Chamberlain
declared, in the House of Commons, that he had no intention to press
the acceptance of his _suggestion_ on President Kruger. Once more PEACE
seemed possible and probable. Once more the rival factions argued their
various contentions with a calmer and more dignified spirit. Only the
Chartered Press in South Africa and in England raged louder and louder
as peace became probable. It seemed as if Mr Rhodes was aware that the
only hope he had for his actions to be passed over or condoned was in
war--war at any price, was consequently the cry of the Chartered Press.
For if war with Great Britain brought to a successful issue Mr Rhodes’
scheme, viz., the suppression of the Transvaal Republic, then Mr Rhodes
might reasonably hope that no inquiry would be held as to what part
he had in the plot. Such an inquiry must be averted at any price if
possible; for such an inquiry meant that light will be thrown on many
a dark deed and conspiracy in the past life of the arch conspirator
and his partners and subordinates. Such an inquiry would show that
the trusted high official, Privy Councillor to the Queen, and Prime
Minister of an important British colony, managing director of a large
territory (ruled under a British Charter), had betrayed his trust in
every case, and had brought dishonour upon his Queen and country; and
would bring to the light of day the names of partners in the plot,
never suspected, or, if suspected, only whispered as yet.

To avert such an inquiry then, all the influence of _gold_, power,
position and birth, of Rhodes and his friends were brought to bear on
newspapers, great and small; on Government officials, and even the
ministry in power in England, to avert the dreaded inquiry--honour and
truth even were sacrificed. Mr Rhodes totally denied all complicity in
the plot--at first. But in spite of his denial, all his actions proved
his guilt. His consciousness of guilt forced him to at once resign his
premiership of the Cape Colony. Then he slunk off to England to avoid
the reproachful looks of his betrayed fellow-ministers, and trusting
friends, and also to set in motion his hireling Press in England, to
defend or to justify, by hook or crook, his actions, and patch up his
wrecked reputation. But even in England his guilty conscience would not
let him rest; again he slunk off to the wilderness of Rhodesia that
time. But to avoid meeting his duped friends in Cape Town again, he
went _via_ the Red Sea this time. But the steamer that bore him refused
to carry such political guilt, and cast him like a Jonah forth to
proceed as best he might. Arrived in Rhodesia again, his advent seemed
to be the signal for a native rebellion; a rebellion which is raging
to this day (30th June 1896), and the consequences of which no one
can foresee, except that there seems to be a probability of many more
innocents being lost, in addition to the hundreds already lost, in the
struggle against the natives by the inhabitants--a struggle that was
caused solely through Mr Rhodes allowing the police forces, which ought
to have protected the country, to be sent on a filibustering expedition
against a friendly neighbour--a neighbour who, after being attacked in
a cowardly and dastardly way by the Chartered Company, offered to fight
the company’s battles against the Matabele out of sheer generosity and
pity for the innocent inhabitants; but more of this anon.

Mr Rhodes’ absence in Rhodesia did not prevent his agents from
continuing the newspaper fight against the Transvaal Government and
people. Mr Rhodes’ actions were excused in a hundred different ways.
Some denied his complicity in the plot altogether; while others, forced
to admit his guilt, said he did it to lay bare some fancied plot
between the Transvaal and Germany. In short, so many contradictory
excuses emanated from the Rhodesian Press and party that one excuse
confounded the other; but every impartial observer could see that
these excuses, one and all, were rotten to the core. There being no
defence that would stand the light of day, the Chartered combination of
hireling newspapers, headed by the _Times_ of London, saw that all they
could do was to abuse the other side, viz., the enemies of Mr Rhodes
and his company, and thus find an excuse in the bad (?) administration
of the South African Republic Government, giving forth that Mr Rhodes
sought to bring a better (?) government into existence in the Transvaal.

To obtain their object, viz., the old one of blackening the people of
the Transvaal and its Government, no expense of either money or truth
was spared. But they overreached themselves. The more they _lied_
the more their lies were exposed and proved to be untrue. To-day the
_Times_ would publish some telegram from Johannesburg, telling of
some imaginary wrong perpetrated by the Transvaal Government, but the
next day the assertion would be disproved by some authority not to be
denied. In short, so apparent was the untruth of their statements,
that the public soon learned to discredit all statements coming from
newspapers known to be Chartered. Even Mr Chamberlain felt constrained
to warn the public to accept with caution these interested wires from
Johannesburg.

We shall see farther on how the Transvaal Government triumphed against
all these truth-ignoring libellers.



CHAPTER XXII

OUT OF EVIL CAME GREAT GOOD TO THE TRANSVAAL


Verily, never was the saying realised to a fuller extent, that ‘out
of evil cometh good,’ than was the case with the Transvaal after the
events of January 1896. On New Year’s Day Stephen Joubert thought that
never was his country and people in greater peril than they then were.
And even though he hoped and trusted that they would at least escape
the extreme peril of national suppression and total loss of freedom,
yet he dared hardly hope that this great evil would bring forth great
good. He hardly hoped for the Transvaal to retain the full prestige and
strength that she possessed before the crisis. How great must his joy
now be, in common with his fellow-countrymen, to find his country’s
power, prestige and good name doubled and trebled since New Year’s Day.
First of all, he read with joy the cables announcing that his country
possessed the sympathy and goodwill of all the nations of the civilised
world. He saw that Germany, France and Russia, especially the former,
were determined to see the Transvaal’s independence maintained. He saw
that the German Emperor sent a cable of congratulation to President
Kruger that left no doubt of his opinion. Indeed, his opinion was
expressed so plainly that England feared German interference, and sent
a flying squadron to Delagoa Bay, to prevent Germany from landing
troops at that port to aid the Transvaal--_a fool’s errand_.

Transvaal never asked for German or any European aid!

After the Transvaal Government had foregone its just right of punishing
Jameson and his men, and had most magnanimously given them up to
the British Government to be punished according to British law, the
Transvaal acquired a new (?) virtue in the opinion of the world. The
enemies of the Boers had always described them to be of a savage and
cruel nature. Now the world saw a practical demonstration of the fact
that the Boers were Christians! Christians as well in deed as in name.
For they had shown mercy to those who had refused mercy to them and
theirs. But even this act of mercy was not recognised by the enemies
of the Republic. Motives of policy were ascribed to this act by the
Chartered Press. Not even all those who were the recipients of this
mercy were grateful for the mercy received. One of them wrote to the
papers that the President had no alternative but to spare their lives,
as they had not surrendered unconditionally, but that their lives
had been promised on the field of battle. We have already shown that
their lives were only safeguarded until handed over to the Government
in Pretoria, and that the Government would then decide as to their
ultimate fate. But even if it were granted that their lives had been
promised in full, their liberties were still in the hands of the
Transvaal Government, and for that liberty, which they had forfeited,
they might at least have shown some gratitude. But gratitude does not
seem to be part of the constitution of filibusters, even when the
filibusters are of good birth and position.

However, if all the prisoners were not grateful, and did not recognise
the mercy shown, the world did. Even the Queen of England gave her
subjects a lesson in gratitude by thanking President Kruger for the
mercy shown to the prisoners. The South African Republic had taken
another step higher in the estimation of the world.

Steve now saw his countrymen holding the happy reputation of being
patriotic, brave, fearless and merciful. Soon he saw his Government
slowly acquiring a greater reputation still--that of possessing great
diplomatic skill. Mr Chamberlain is supposed to be one of the most
skilful of statesmen and diplomatists, and yet it soon became apparent
to the world that he had found his match in President Kruger. It
was like a skilful game of cards. It is true that President Kruger
possessed the better hand, but it is also true that he played his cards
with marvellous skill and precision, while it cannot be denied that Mr
Chamberlain weakened his hand considerably by several false moves.

Mr Chamberlain has one grand excuse for his want of success so far to
outwit President Kruger, and that is that President Kruger is working
in a just and holy cause, while Mr Chamberlain is trying to uphold an
unjust cause. He is trying to paint the rotten sepulchre of a chartered
company white, and to prevent the rottenness within from being exposed.
He is trying to save from the storm a house built upon the sand; while
the house President Kruger is shielding is built upon a rock, the Rock
of Ages.

When the Governor of Natal congratulated the President upon the mercy
he had shown his foes, the President replied that the South African
Republic was governed upon Christian principles--and so it is, thank
God.

We have shown that the world gave the Transvaal its due when it
recognised the mercy shown to Jameson and his men. How much more did
the world applaud the President when the territories of the Chartered
Company, being ravished by a native rebellion, he offered to allow his
Burghers to go and help Rhodesia in its moment of danger; verily that
was heaping coals of living fire upon the heads of Rhodes and company,
especially as many Burghers were eager and willing to go and assist,
and did not go only because their offer was not accepted. We can hardly
blame the High Commissioner for not accepting the Presidents offer, for
it would hardly tend to uphold England’s vaunted supremacy in South
Africa if the Boers had to succour British territory from the Matabele;
but the people of Rhodesia suffered for the refusal, and is suffering
still.

But even though his offer was refused, President Kruger moved his
country a step higher in the world’s estimation. One would almost have
thought that the Transvaal could have afforded to rest upon the laurels
gained during the first few months of the year, but the greatest of all
was yet to come. After Johannesburg’s surrender, the Reform Committee
were arrested and arraigned for trial. The Government possessed such
overwhelming evidences of guilt that the prisoners considered that
there was nothing left for them but to plead _guilty_--the four leaders
to ‘_High Treason_,’ and the rest to minor offences. The four leaders
were sentenced to death by an impartial judge, specially sworn in, to
ensure having a non-political and disinterested man upon the bench, and
the rest were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, £2000 fine, and
three years’ banishment.

It is needless to enter into the world-wide interest taken in the trial
and its results. It is needless to enter farther into the justice of
the sentences. It is sufficient to state that all fair-minded men had
to acknowledge that the sentence was deserved, and yet the day after
sentence was pronounced, the Executive Council commuted the death
sentences, followed later by giving all the prisoners their liberties
after the various fines had been paid. Was ever such clemency shown
by human government? Would such mercy have been shown by any other
government for such offences? We doubt it.

We regret to say that even after this, the enemies of the Transvaal
did not cease even yet to attempt doing it harm. But the Transvaal
can afford to treat these--as a mastiff treats the barkings of
curs--with contempt. It is sufficient that the Transvaal has seized its
opportunity, and by the blessing of God has turned the evil intended
her, into good.

The world has heard President Kruger’s reply to the deputation of
mayors from all South Africa. When the deputation came to thank the
President for the magnanimity shown to the prisoners, he replied by
laying his hand on a Bible and saying,--

‘I recognise no rule or law for my deeds and works but what is
contained in this book.’

The world now knows the policy of the Transvaal--England knows it, let
her respect it.

It is no wonder that Mr Stead, the bitter enemy of the Transvaal, and
the friend of Rhodes and his company, has to acknowledge that President
Kruger had diplomatically scored against his enemies every time. It
could not be otherwise. For not only, as we have shown, was the cause
of the Transvaal just, but President Kruger had received his first
lessons in diplomacy from English statesmen, and had learned to be
careful how he exposed his policy when dealing with English diplomats.
It must be remembered that Mr Kruger was already vice-president of
the Transvaal when English statesmen unjustly annexed the country. Mr
Kruger was also a member of the triumvirate who allowed themselves to
be duped into a peace in 1881 (after having been victorious in every
battle), by which England retained the suzerainty of the Transvaal,
which was only got rid of in the London Convention of 1884. No wonder
if President Kruger refused to accept an unconditional invitation to
visit England to confer with Mr Chamberlain on matters which only
concerned the internal government of the Transvaal. Once caught,
twice shy! President Kruger already saw the cloven foot of the 1881
Convention reappear, when Mr Chamberlain advised him to weaken his
Government by giving Home Rule to Johannesburg; and when this failed,
to offer to safeguard the South African Republic from all attacks
against its independence from British or foreign territory on certain
conditions, viz., on the franchise being given to all Uitlanders.
We have already seen the President’s reply to the Home Rule scheme.
To the offer of England’s promised safeguard on condition that the
Uitlanders were given the franchise, the President replied that ‘the
Transvaal was already safeguarded against attack from British territory
by international law. And as regards safeguarding the Republic against
other foreign powers, the Transvaal had never asked to be thus
safeguarded’--Scored again! It would require volumes to detail all the
events of the invasion of the Republic, or the results of the crisis
of 1896, or the various good results of the Government’s wise policy
of firmness, combined with gentleness and mercy. Yet we cannot end this
chapter without referring to the greatest good of all that came to
South Africa out of the intended evil. We refer to the great _Spirit of
Unity_ that came to the Afrikander nation of South Africa. Never was
such glorious unity of purpose, of opinion and feeling, seen in South
Africa. From the Cape to the Zambesi the holy spirit of patriotism and
unity was awakened and displayed in beautiful colours of fellow feeling
and love of country and people. Never was truer word spoken than
when a man of position exclaimed in Pretoria, on receipt of the news
of Jameson’s defeat: ‘To-day the nation of South Africa is reborn.’
Afrikander national feeling was reborn indeed, never to die again. The
most bitter political opponents of President Kruger in the country
became his most staunch supporters. All party feelings were forgotten
and forgiven. All territorial or trade jealousies between states and
colonies were cast aside. One cry of shame went up against the plotters
from town to town, from state to state, from colony to colony. And the
people of South Africa became as one man.

It cannot be denied that there were certain Imperial Jingoes who
belonged to the same faction as the plotters, and who sided with the
filibusters and rebels. But these were in the small minority, and are
hardly to be recognised, except where they showed forth in their true
colours, as when they hooted their own governor in Maritzburg for
having upheld his country’s honour when in Pretoria, and expressed
his regret to President Kruger that Englishmen should have acted in
such a dishonourable way. Or again, when a party of young roughs in
the Cape Colony seized upon a single unarmed young Burgher, because
he defended his adopted country, and tarred and feathered him. Such
methods of expressing their feelings and opinions only served to prove
the badness of their cause. But on the other hand, we have the great
proof of sympathy and goodwill expressed to the Transvaal by all its
most peaceful and honourable men. Even in Johannesburg most men of
South African birth, of Dutch or English parentage, supported the
Government. And in Pretoria and other towns, the Government received
the unqualified support and sympathy of nearly every citizen of
respectability, Burgher or not.

Then again we have the practical proof of sympathy shown by the Free
State! Without a moment’s delay the Free State called up her Burghers,
and marched them up to the Transvaal borders, ready to assist her
sister Republic in case of need. Every Free Stater was as ready as any
Transvaaler to risk his life to uphold Republicanism in South Africa.
Then again we have the warm sympathy expressed for the Transvaal at
public meetings at such places as Graaff Reinet, and the Paarl in the
Cape Colony. Sympathy which was ready to take practical form at any
moment if needed. Then we must not forget to mention that Steve was
agreeably disappointed in Mr Hofmeyr, the leader of the Afrikander
party in the Cape Colony. He, with many others, had seen with regret
Mr Hofmeyr assisting Mr Rhodes to undermine the aspirations of the
Republic towards northern and western expansion. But now it was seen
that Mr Hofmeyr, in common with many others, had only been deceived and
infatuated by Rhodes. Therefore Steve, in common with all Afrikanders,
was pleased when Mr Hofmeyr expressed such warm sympathy with the
Transvaal, both before and after the crisis was decided. Truly times
of adversity bring to light who are friends and who are foes. The
trouble of the Transvaal during the first half of the year not only
showed the world her true strength, the true feelings of the Burghers,
the patriotism, love of liberty, the bravery and magnanimity of the
Afrikander race, but it also exploded a long existing idea, viz., that
the Boers are a half-savage, bloodthirsty, and cruel race. For it
was seen that when sentence of death was impartially, legally, and
rightfully passed on the enemies of the country and liberties of its
people, they, the Burghers, were the first to petition their Government
to be merciful.



CHAPTER XXIII

MIJNHEER MEYER CLAIMS HIS HORSE, ONLY TO GIVE IT UP AGAIN--THE SONG OF
THE BOER


During the last few chapters we have almost lost sight of our hero’s
daily life. But it must not be forgotten that we are not writing a
mere romance, but are recording a narrative of real life, earnest and
real. Nor must it be forgotten or lost sight of, that the real object
of the work is to tell of the hopes of future national existence, of
the patriotism and love of people and country of a young Afrikander
brought up from his youth with the idea that his race is struggling
for a place amongst the nations of the world, and that he must do all
in his power to further that object. Therefore, we have during the
last few chapters told of the struggles of his countrymen towards
that object, in which he so greatly sympathised, and of his thoughts
and opinions on those struggles. We have been simply recording his
thoughts, his joys for victories won and troubles overcome and avoided
by his race. The story of his country is his own story. We shall resume
the thread of his own life where we left it off, having brought the
political question of the day that so much interested him up to date.
After Steve had sent off the telegram to his mother informing her that
Johannesburg had surrendered, he thought he could do no better than
to take his horse (or rather Mijnheer Meyer’s horse) out for a little
exercise, especially as the horse had been having a good rest, and had
been well fed since his arrival at Pretoria. While Steve was riding
proudly along the streets of Pretoria on the beautiful stallion, the
thought which had troubled him before reoccurred to him again. How was
he going to return the horse to its owner? He had made inquiries as to
the whereabouts of Mijnheer Meyer, but owing to his speedy departure
from Krugersdorp with the prisoners of war, he had been unable to find
the gentleman in question, as the commando with which Mijnheer Meyer
served remained in that neighbourhood.

Suddenly Steve heard an exclamation of surprise.

‘_Alle magty Kerel_, where did you get that horse?’

Steve saw that this question was addressed to him, and he also felt
that it was a most awkward question to be asked. He could not answer
the question, so he asked another.

‘Why do you ask, sir?’

‘Because it seems to me I know the horse,’ was the reply of the man,
who was a fine-looking, good-natured, elderly man. At his side walked a
stalwart, broad-shouldered young man, who seemed strong enough to fell
any ox with a blow of his hard fist. This young man seemed to gaze on
the horse with great interest.

‘Sir, if you know the horse, you can perhaps tell me where I can find
its owner, as I wish to return him his property,’ said Steve.

‘Well, you won’t have far to go to find his owner, for here is the
owner himself,’ said the old man, pointing to his companion, who it was
apparent at first sight must be his son.

‘Perhaps you will allow me to ask your name, sir?’ said Steve,
suspiciously.

‘I am Meyer,’ was the reply.

Steve did not answer until he had dismounted, when he walked up to the
young man with the reins on his arm, and said,--

‘Mijnheer Meyer, I hope you will forgive me, but I came in possession
of your horse under most peculiar circumstances; I trust you will
accept my explanation and allow me to pay for the use of your horse,
and any other reasonable expense incurred, or to be incurred.’ And
Steve told in a few words how he had come in possession of the horse.

The old man and his son did not say much, but asked Steve if he had
been in time to see any of the fighting; to which Steve replied by
telling them that he had taken part in the fight at Doornkop.

‘Can you prove this?’

‘Yes, sir, easily; as it happens that the field-cornet under whom I
served is near by, if you will take a short walk with me I will take
you to him.’ This was done in silence. Steve introduced Mijnheer
Meyer to the field-cornet, and at the request of the former left them
together.

After ten minutes’ talk to the field-cornet and a short conference
between the old man and his son, they walked up to Steve, when the old
man took Steve by the hand, and warmly shaking it, said,--

‘Mijnheer Joubert, my son feels happy that his horse should have served
to bring such a brave young fellow to the assistance of his country.
Your field-cornet has told me how bravely you fought at Doornkop, and
we have had a letter from my daughter in which she told me how, and
why, she had lent you the horse. You have done well, and my son thinks
you have taken such good care of the horse, judging by appearances,
and that you ride him so well, that he wishes you to keep him as a
remembrance of Doornkop.’

‘But, sir, that would be too much kindness on his part, much as I have
learnt to love the noble animal. I cannot consent to rob him of the
best horse in Pretoria.’

‘Never mind, he shall not lose by it: I shall see to that; I have one
as good as this, which he shall have,’ replied the old man, in a way
which showed Steve that to refuse would be taken as an insult.

‘I accept your kind offer on one condition,’ replied Steve, turning
to the smiling young man, ‘and that is, that you will accept this
little offer in token of my gratitude,’ and he took off his only
extravagance--his gold watch and chain--and handed it to the young man,
who received it as graciously as he had given his horse.

Steve was indeed glad to be the owner of the beautiful horse, all the
more so as he had learned to love the animal that had borne him so
enduringly and so swiftly, and had given him his heart’s desire--the
opportunity to strike a blow for his country.

Mijnheer Meyer and his son stayed for a week in Pretoria, during which
they and Steve were almost inseparable, as a great friendship had
arisen between the young men, and the old man had learned to love Steve
as a son.

But soon the order came for all Burghers to return home: amongst
others, Mijnheer Meyer and his son--as only a guard of a few score
Burghers was to be retained for a little while longer; and a temporary
parting came for the new-found friends.

I can conclude this chapter in no more fitting way than by quoting
here--

THE SONG OF THE BOER

        O’er hill and o’er dale,
        O’er mountain and vale
            Went a cry:
        ‘For our dear country’s right,
        Ye must arm for the fight,
            To do or to die!’

        And ev’ry man heard,
        And straight booted and spurred
    To war ’gainst the ‘Queen of the Sea’;
        ‘For our children and wives
        We will lay down our lives,
    Or live to be FREE--to be Free!’

        CHORUS.--Then ride! ride! ride!
              The Asvogel screams o’er the lea,
                  And to-night I may rest,
                  With his beak in my breast,
              While my children may orphans be.

        With cannon and drum,
        The invader hath come
            In his might;
        But our courage ne’er fails,
        Nor no heart ever quails
            At the perilous sight.

        Now the roar of the battle
        And musketry’s rattle
    Goes up to the vault of the sky;
        While the plain gleameth red
        With the blood of the dead,
    And the blood of those doomed to die.

        CHORUS--

    But the God of Battles had fought on our side,
        And our country so loved is free;
    For the strength of His arm doth with us abide,
        And we thank Him on bended knee.

    He hath scattered our foes in the pride of their ways,
        And shielded the lowly Boer;
    To Him be the glory, to Him be the praise
        For ever and ever more.

        CHORUS.--Then ride! ride! ride!
            For my loved ones are waiting for me,
                And to-night I shall bide
                With my vrouw by my side,
            And my little ones round my knee.[1]

[1] The above is a composition of Mr Luscombe Searelle’s, which was
published in _The Press_ of Pretoria some time ago, and is taken over
from that paper.



CHAPTER XXIV

IN THE MIDST OF LIFE WE ARE IN DEATH


After peace was once more partially restored, our hero resolved to
pay Johannesburg a visit and see how the _City of Gold_ looked after
its effort to amuse itself, _à la_ South America, with an abortive
revolution. It was not until Tuesday, the 18th February, that he was
able to carry out his resolve--the evening of which day found him
comfortably dining at a leading Rand hotel.

Steve found excitement, although cooled to a great extent, still
running high. Arguments, pro and con, on late events were still the
chief, if not the only, conversation indulged in during leisure moments.

It was after dinner, in the smoking-room, that our hero found himself
in the midst of a party of men hotly discussing politics. The
conversation was led by a colonial, who was taking the part of the
Government, and a Jingo of the first water, who was as hotly defending
the freebooters and rebels.

‘It is no use talking,’ said the latter, who was burdened with the
name of Bock; ‘the Boers will ultimately have to go under. They are in
the minority; they are illiterate; they are only half civilised! They
are _Boors_, and it is presumptuous to hold that they will continue to
rule this country--still less that they will ever rule South Africa!
Englishmen are bound to _chuck_ them out in the end.’

‘Anyone can see that you are using the hackneyed arguments of the
Jingoistic enemies of the Government, and that you are not speaking
from your own knowledge or experience, but from what you have read in
Jingo papers. It is true the Boers are illiterate, or the majority of
them are; but it is also true that those few who have had the benefit
of education have proved that the Afrikander is as capable to learn,
and as susceptible to education, as any race in the world. As to
civilisation--they are more civilised, as civilisation is taught in the
Christian code, than many of their European contemporaries.’

‘If you call Bible reading and psalm singing, civilisation, I won’t
argue the matter with you; in any case, they are bound to bend before
the English race, sooner or later.’

‘By your faith shall ye be saved!’ interposed Steve.

‘By which you mean, sir?’ inquired Bock.

‘I mean that the Boers do not believe that salvation lies in superior
learning, in high civilisation, or in superiority of numbers or arms,
but in right and justice and the blessing of God?’

‘Cant!’ was the sneering reply of Bock.

‘You may call it _cant_ if you like. But it was such _cant_ that gave
Dingaan and his twelve thousand warriors into the hands of five hundred
Boers. It was such cant that enabled the Boers to carry on the war of
independence against mighty England to a successful issue. It was such
_cant_ that brought the elaborate plots of Rhodes, Jameson and the
Johannesburg revolutionists to utter failure. It will be such cant that
will make South Africa a free and united Republic, in which all the
races of the world shall live free and united! The Boers believe in the
efficacy of prayer: they believe that by prayer and through faith they
can move mountains, and--England itself.’

‘Bah! do you believe in such nonsense? Do you really believe that you
have only to ask God, if God there be, for anything you want, from a
needle to an anchor, to receive it?’

‘I certainly believe that God _is_, and that if we ask we shall
receive, if it be good for us, and if we ask in faith. I also believe
that blasphemy and unbelief shall be punished,’ said Steve, reprovingly.

‘Rot!’ was the irreverent reply of Bock. ‘I do not believe that there
is such a thing as God, beyond the godliness there is in Nature. There
is no such thing as a God that answers prayer, or punishes blasphemy.’

‘I am sorry for you,’ was Steve’s gentle reply; ‘for the day shall
come when you shall _know_ that there is a God of Wrath, who punishes
blasphemy as well as a God of Love, who answers prayer.’

Bock answered with a roaring and mocking laugh, and said, ‘Well, I
shall prove to you that there is no such God as you worship. _If there
be a God, Who punishes blasphemy, I call upon Him to strike me dead,
now or within forty-eight hours._ There, I have thrown the gauntlet
down, let your God pick it up. I have given Him time enough to do it
in.’

Steve answered by jumping up from his seat and running towards the
door, where he stood looking at Bock with terror in his face.

‘What is the matter with you now?’ inquired Bock, laughing.

‘I fear me that God may take you at your word, and in your doom include
me, for being in such evil company. For your soul’s sake speak not
thus, but at least treat your Maker with reverence.’

Even the others present were shocked at Bock’s blasphemy, and seemed to
share the fear of Steve to be punished for being in the same room with
such a tempter of God; for they now rose and strolled out of the room,
leaving Bock alone.

The following day Steve went for a long and extended stroll. He was
surprised to see--all considered--the bustle and life still to be seen
in the streets of Johannesburg; and he could hardly believe that he was
walking in a city whose revolutionary state, a few weeks previously,
was the talk of the world. He had no doubt that business men and the
mining interest were still feeling the effects of the crisis severely;
but the crowds in the streets seemed to hurry and bustle, with the
usual intentness in their own missions in life incident to a large and
busy city.

Steve had lunch at some restaurant, and then journeyed towards Auckland
Park; and after a lengthy stroll about, was thinking of returning, and
hailed a passing cab to do so, when he felt the earth tremble under
him, and the glass of a house opposite fell crashing to the ground, and
a noise as of distant thunder or artillery was heard.

‘Is it an earthquake, or Johannesburg fighting in earnest at last?’
Steve asked himself. He jumped into the cab, and told the driver to
drive his best. A cloud of smoke was now seen ascending the sky;
and after a few minutes a party in a cab was hailed and asked for
information, as they seemed to be coming from the direction of the
smoke. The driver replied that he ‘expected some magazine had blown up,
as a stone had fallen from the sky a few yards from his cab.’

On reaching town, Steve was informed that a tremendous explosion of
dynamite had taken place at Vrededorp. Evidence of the severity of the
explosion was not wanting, as everywhere smashed windows were seen,
and on nearing the scene of the explosion, the signs of damage done
increased at every pace. All along the road our hero’s heart bled to
see the number of wounded being conveyed to the hospital. But, on
approaching the scene of the catastrophe itself, Steve felt sick and
faint at the signs of death about him. He got out of the cab, and told
the driver to put the cab at the service of the wounded, and look to
him for payment when done. He himself assisted to place two of the
wounded on his cab, and forgetting his natural repulsion at the sight
of human blood and gaping wounds, set to work assisting in the labour
of rescue.

‘My God! it is too horrible,’ he murmured, as he saw a severed head
lying alone and ghastly here, with · set and staring eyes. It reminded
him of his thoughts, in times past, of what the day of doom must be
like. It seemed to him, as he found a human arm here, a leg, a hand, a
head, or some portion of a body, there, that these portions of human
bodies were waiting to be re-united to their other parts. He ran about,
as if in a fever, and as if he would avoid seeing these terrible
emblems of death lying about. Spade in hand, he would now assist in
following a limb protruding from the mass of debris, lying on the brink
of the vast hole that had been made by the explosion, after which task
had been done, he would rush down to the bottom of the hole itself,
and there again work and dig till the sweat poured from his face. After
he could find no more rescue work here to be done, (so many others
being busy in the same task that there was hardly room for all), he
rushed towards the many fallen houses, fallen upon the inmates, where
there was work enough for all. Oh, what a sight! A sight, once seen,
never to be forgotten, if you live for a thousand years! Here is lying
a dead mother, clasping her dead child to her cold breast. Here are
a mother and three children, all found dead in one room. Here is a
father, mad because of his grief, holding his dead child in his arms
while moaning over his dead wife--dead, all dead--_death_ here, _death_
there, DEATH everywhere! How the men worked! Affliction makes us all
of a kin. Not one skulked. Everyone was doing his best to rescue the
wounded from the wrecks of once happy homes. No thought of politics
here; no racial distinctions thought of. Here, in this great affliction
all were of one race--the human race. Dutch and English work together
like brothers. An Englishman rescues and handles a child of Dutch
parents as tenderly as if it were his own. A Dutchman pulls out of
the ruins a ‘rooinek,’ and supports his head as tenderly as if it was
his own father, while he holds the restoring cup to his lips. When
God wishes our hearts to be softened towards each other, he sends us
affliction.

While the work of rescue is still going on, others, moved with pity at
the sight of homeless and friendless ones not killed or wounded, begin
to subscribe of their plenty, so that these may be provided for--a
movement that was responded to most liberally from all South Africa,
so that, at least, those who were left behind were provided for. Steve
worked hard as long as he could, but at midnight he gave place to fresh
ones who came up, as he was now thoroughly knocked up, and went to his
hotel to get a few hours rest.



CHAPTER XXV

THERE IS MERCY, EVEN AT THE ELEVENTH HOUR, IF YE REPENT


Early next morning, at five o’clock, Steve was again at the scene of
disaster. Gangs of men were still busy looking for dead and wounded.

Steve was told that the hospital was full to overflowing, and that the
Wanderers’ Hall had also been formed into a temporary hospital, and
was also nearly full of wounded. As Steve was walking from one ruin to
another, seeking for likely places where aid may be required, he came
to a mass of ruins. As he stood, looking thoughtfully and sadly at a
home, only one day before tenanted by, perhaps, a happy family, now
lying in a heap of debris, its inmates no one knows where--perhaps sick
and wounded to death--perhaps _dead!_ he heard a moan of despair.

‘Who is there?’

Only another mournful moan for a reply.

Steve walked towards the sound, and came to a dog--a mongrel, wounded
and crippled.

He was moved to pity to see the look of entreaty, almost human, in
the eyes of the dog. It seemed to ask his aid. Steve lifted the dog
tenderly, and carried it to a pool of water near by. But the dog would
not drink, it only whined, and, wagging its tail, crawled back to the
spot where found, looking still, with its entreating eyes, towards
Steve. Steve was puzzled at its action, and followed it back to the
spot. The dog gave a few feeble scratches at the debris on which it
lay. A beam of mental light seemed almost to dazzle Steve, as it
occurred to him that the dog wanted him to search for some loved master
or mistress. He lost not a moment to begin, and further aid soon coming
up, ere long they succeeded in laying open what seemed to be the ruins
of a dining-room. Under a heavy beam they found a dead woman with a
spoon in her hand, having, apparently, been occupied in feeding a child
of about six months, who was lying, apparently unhurt, under an arch
formed by the falling timbers. The child was sleeping, and, from the
signs of tears on its cheeks, Steve judged that it had cried itself to
sleep. Poor child! it had escaped by a miracle. Who knows what work
this child was born to accomplish? When scores of strong men and women
perished, this weak babe of six months lived. God, apparently, has
work for it to do before it may die. Perhaps, when Steve is old and
trembling, this child, saved so miraculously, may be accomplishing its
destined work, and doing something that shall benefit the whole human
race, and causing its name to be inscribed on the list of imperishable
names.

The joy of the dog seemed almost human when it saw the wakened child,
crowing as if nothing had happened. Steve waited to see that the child
was safely handed to the care of a kind and motherly-looking woman, and
then returned to his hotel for breakfast. At breakfast Steve learned,
with pleasure, that the President and other members of the Government
were on their way to Johannesburg to visit the scene of disaster. He
resolved to go to the station to see the arrival of the Presidential
party.

A great crowd was waiting at the station to welcome the man, who, a
little more than a month ago, would have been hooted and jeered at, if
not murdered, if he had ventured to visit Johannesburg unattended, as
he was doing now. But the generous and humane actions of the President,
during the last month, had prepared the way for the conciliation which
was now to take place; drawn towards each other, as both parties
were, by common sympathy at this moment of mutual loss and suffering.
Here, across the dead and wounded of Burgher and Uitlander, the
representatives of both parties shook hands, and forgot for the time,
if not for ever, their political differences.

The President and many of the most prominent men of Pretoria, who were
of the party, were driven through the destroyed township. They then
drove to the improvised hospital at the Wanderers. The President showed
visible emotion as he viewed the many wounded. The tears were seen to
force their way down the face of the man, who, in times of greatest
danger, showed no fear or emotion. But such is ever the way with great
and noble men. When danger threatens themselves, they know no fear or
pain; but when others suffer, they know how to sympathise and feel for
them.

With deep emotion, His Honour thanked the people of Johannesburg for
the sympathy and practical aid they had given to the wounded, and
promised that the Government should not forget to do their share in
succouring the needy ones who had suffered loss of parents or friends.

His Honour then reminded the suffering wounded that there was a
Great Physician on high, Who would heal all their wounds, bodily and
spiritually, if they would only ask Him.

His Honour was presented by an address from the Relief Committee,
thanking him for the practical sympathy shown to Johannesburg in this
visit, to which the President replied in suitable terms.

After a visit to the room upstairs, where some fifteen orphaned
children were housed, and some kindly words of consolation and advice
to the children, His Honour visited the permanent hospital, which was
also crowded with wounded.

As Steve was following in the rear of the Presidential party, his
sleeve was pulled by one of the attendants, who informed him that one
of the wounded patients, who had seen him passing, earnestly requested
to speak to him.

Steve readily consented, wondering who of the wounded could know him.

Following the attendant, Steve found himself before a mattress, on
which a man was lying, whose face was so mutilated that he could not
decide whether he knew the man or not. He knelt down, and taking the
hand of the wounded man in his own, gently asked him what he could do
for him.

‘Do you not know me, Joubert?’ the man faintly asked.

As Steve looked at him inquiringly, without seeming to remember him, he
said,--

‘Do you not remember Tuesday evening?’

The voice of the man, faint as it was, seemed now to recall to Steve
the scene of two evenings before, when a mortal man denied the
existence of his Maker, and dared God to strike him dead, if indeed God
there was.

‘My God, hast thou indeed taken this man at his word, and shown sinful
man Thy might? Bock, Bock, why did you ever deny your God, and bring
yourself to this?’

‘Why, indeed? Joubert, for God’s sake, for the sake of the God you
worship, tell me what I must do to escape from the wrath to come? You
said truly there is a God of Wrath as well as a God of love. Teach me
to escape the God of Wrath and find the God of Love, before it is too
late! for now I know that there is a God of Wrath! He has found me
indeed. Oh, God, it is terrible--terrible! The darkness surrounds me.
Give me light? Give me light?’

Steve was shocked and grieved inexpressibly at this scene. He murmured
a prayer for guidance how to aid this erring soul.

‘Bock, old man, your sin was terrible. But God has already shown you
some of His great love; for it can only be out of love and mercy that
you were not killed outright, and were given the opportunity to still
live and repent. If you truly repent, there is still mercy for you,
even now!’

‘Oh, is there, is there? Oh, God, how can I know that there is still
grace for me?’

Steve motioned for the attendant to come to him, and asked him if there
was a Bible to be had. He was handed a copy of the New Testament, which
he opened, and asked Bock if he might read him a chapter out of it,
to prove to him that there was still grace for him. The poor wounded
man gratefully accepted, and Steve read to him the beautiful story of
the repentant sinner on the Cross, at the side of Jesus. Greedily the
dying man listened to this true story of the Cross, which he had often
heard and read in his youth, without appreciating the wealth of mercy
and hope there was in it. When he heard the answer Jesus gave to the
repentant sinner: ‘Soon shall ye enter with me into the kingdom of
Heaven,’ hope once more came to him, and a faint beam of joy seemed to
light up his wounded face.

When Steve had finished, he said gently to Bock,--

‘Do you believe now that there is hope?’

‘Yes, oh, yes. Won’t you pray for me? God will hear your prayer; you
are so good to me.’

‘God loves to hear the sinner pray. We are all sinners; I as well as
you. I will pray; but you must also pray.’

And Steve, kneeling as he was before the dying man, lifted up his voice
and prayed. His prayer began in supplication, but, as he prayed, he
seemed to feel that God had already answered, for he ended his prayer
in thanksgiving, thanking God that another sinner had been gathered to
His fold.

When Steve opened his eyes he saw that a great change had come over
the face of the dying man. A beautiful smile dwelt on the mutilated
countenance of the repented sinner, while a far-away look shone in his
eyes, as if he already saw beyond this world.

‘Thank you, Joubert, thank you. God will reward you. I thank thee,
O Lord, that Thou hast heard me, even now, and hast pardoned me my
great sin. Hark! how beautifully they sing; surely ’tis angel voices
sounding so sweet. Ah! that is music indeed. What are they singing?
“Glory be to God and the Lamb, for a sinner saved! Amen, Amen.”’

As he uttered the last word he seemed to fall gently asleep--it was
the last long sleep, from which he shall only wake at the sound of the
trumpet, calling him to the judgment seat of the God he had denied in
life, but found in death.

Steve knelt long before the dead man in prayer, in earnest thought.
He could not help thinking how many of those killed in this terrible
disaster were as unprepared to die as was this man; and how few of them
had the opportunity given them to repent before they died.

After a while, the nurse, finding a spare moment, came to see how her
patient was progressing. When she saw that he was dead, she remarked to
Steve that she was not surprised, for the doctor had said that he could
not live; his injuries being too severe.

Steve asked if she knew anything of how Bock happened to be in the
accident. She replied that she only knew what Bock himself had told
her a few hours previously, viz., that he had gone to the scene of the
accident on business. That it was the first time he had ever gone in
that direction. That he was standing at the door of a tall building,
inquiring his way, when suddenly it seemed to him as if the earth was
turning upside down, and as if the house in front of him was tumbling
over on to him. That was all he remembered until he came back to
consciousness in the hospital.

After the funeral of the dead man was over, Steve took the first train
back to Pretoria, sad at heart at the scenes of suffering and death he
had witnessed.



CHAPTER XXVI

STEVE MEETS A SYMPATHETIC BRITISHER--A RETROSPECT


Another month went by. The political turmoil still went on. Every day
seemed to bring new probabilities forth. One day peace seemed assured;
the following day some despatch, or public speech of the British
minister’s, seemed to threaten the Transvaal with war. Meanwhile,
the Government, with President Kruger at its head, went steadily on,
pursuing its policy of conciliation and mercy, combined with great
firmness where its rights were concerned. But, in spite of the many
diplomatic victories gained by the Government, and the sympathy
shown towards it by all the world, including many prominent British
statesmen, yet the attitude of the Imperial Government seemed to be
as if seeking a quarrel with the Transvaal. Consequently, it is not
to be wondered at that the Transvaal Government was quietly preparing
to defend itself. Whispers went about of large quantities of arms and
ammunition being imported. Every field-cornet had orders to see that
his men were all properly armed and ready to be called up, in case of
need.

In the Free State the Government was giving full attention to the
question of fully arming every Burgher. Even here President Kruger had
won a great victory without lifting a finger, for a new President had
been elected--a President heart and soul for the Afrikander cause; a
President working for a closer union of the two Republics, which meant
almost doubling the strength of the Afrikander nation. What is more,
everyone felt that the Free State had a man for a President who was
thoroughly unselfish. A man whose sole ambition seemed to be to live
for land and people. A man who would not hesitate to give up his own
ambition and position if it would benefit his country. May he long
be spared to his people. In Cape Colony it was whispered that the
Afrikanders were quietly arming and preparing for the struggle, should
it come; determined, should the opportunity occur, to strike a blow for
liberty.

But England seemed to realise the volcano on which she stood;
the fire, which she would light, should she unjustly attack the
Transvaal--and--desisted.

Steve received an invitation one day from a prominent townsman to a
small dinner-party, to meet some friends.

Steve was placed at table between a Scotchman and an Englishman. After
some conversation on general topics, the Scotchman, who seemed to be a
kindly, genial old man, turned to Steve and said,--

‘It is so strange to me that I have met no Boers yet, and here I am in
the capital of the land of the Boers. I have been six hours in Pretoria
now, and during all that time I have seen no one whom I could recognise
as a Boer from the descriptions I have heard and read of them.’

Steve smiled and said,--

‘What is your conception of a Boer? By what description would you
recognise him?’

‘Oh, I would easily recognise one if I were to see one. Shall I
describe to you what my idea of a Boer is, from reading and hearing
him described? Here you are, then. I will begin from the top. Dirty
slouch hat; long, greasy, unkempt hair; tangled and untrimmed beard;
sly, crafty eyes; a sensual and unclean mouth; dirty and unwashed face;
dirty, baggy, ragged clothing; if any shirt at all--dirty; if any
shoes at all--made of untanned leather. In short, a _Boer_ is a man
uncivilised, untaught, untamed.’

This was said in such an innocent, inoffensive way that Steve took no
offence, but only laughed heartily, as if at a good joke.

‘Now, what are you laughing at? Do you mean to say my description
is not true? If so, then you must blame those who have written the
different descriptions from which I have gathered my ideal of a Boer.’

‘Pardon me, sir; but are you the only stranger in Jerusalem? Where are
you from?’

‘I am from Glasgow, Scotland, at your service,’ was the smiling and
good-natured reply.

‘But how long have you been out of Glasgow?’

‘Not quite a month. I arrived here to-day, and I came straight here.’

‘But surely, on your way from the coast, you must have met many a Boer?’

‘No, I did not; but I suppose it is because I came straight on to
Pretoria after leaving the steamer.’

‘Well, sir, you have a few things to learn yet, for I am afraid you
will have to journey far to meet your ideal of a Boer. He does not
exist.’

‘Well, I shall see. I suppose I will come across one or more during my
stay.’

Steve could not suppress another hearty laugh; but as he saw that the
kind-looking old man seemed hurt at his mirth, he hastened to say,--

‘Excuse me, sir; it amused me to hear you say that you would recognise
a Boer when you saw one, and immediately after express a hope that you
would see one or more during your stay. Why, don’t you know that half
the guests round this table are what you call Boers, or, rather, what
we call them as a nation--Afrikanders?’

‘Well, I am--blessed! Do you mean they are born Boers, or are they
naturalised Uitlanders?’

‘No, sir; born and bred in the Transvaal or Cape Colony. That one there
was born in the Cape Colony; this one to the left was born and grew
up on a farm in Waterberg; this gentleman just opposite us made his
living by farming, until he became a Government official; that one to
his right is an attorney, whose father was a true old Boer of the old
school.’

‘Well, who would have thought it! One never gets too old to learn. It
is lucky for me that they did not overhear me.’

‘It would not matter if they did. We Afrikanders are accustomed to be
misunderstood and underrated.’

‘What do you mean by saying “_we Afrikanders_?” Surely _you_ are an
Englishman; your speech betrays you.’

‘I am as true an Afrikander as Oom Paul himself; may I be as good a one
as he is.’

‘You an Afrikander? _You_ a Boer? Surely, sir, you are trying to make
fun of me?’

‘No, sir; we Afrikanders know how to respect our elders. I mean what I
say. I have never been out of South Africa.’

‘Well, well, the world is full of deceit and lies! and when I go back
to Scotland I shall tell the people of our country what a Boer really
is. But this gives me just the opportunity I wished for. I wanted so
much to have a talk with a Boer, but was afraid that I would not find
one who could understand me. I want you to give me an idea of what the
real feelings of your people are on the situation in South Africa, and
of the events of the past few months. I came out to see and hear for
myself what the Transvaal and its people are like; and you, I can see,
are an educated man, and just the one to give me the information I
want. Are you willing to speak to me on the subject?’

‘With the greatest of pleasure, sir. We ask for nothing better than to
be better known and better understood; therefore I am willing to give
you all the information you want.’

‘Well, then, if you will be so kind, give me, in a few words, the
events which led up to the present situation.’

‘To begin from the very beginning: you know, sir, that South Africa
was first colonised by the Dutch. To the Dutch was added a sprinkling,
later on, of French Huguenots, also a little seasoning of German
blood. These three nationalities readily united, and formed a sturdy
race of hunters and farmers. A farmer in Dutch is a _Boer_; hence the
name Boer, which really means the occupation and not the nationality
of the race. Living a life of seclusion and simplicity on their farms,
the one great characteristic of this people came to be their love of
their Bible and their love of freedom. This was bred in them from their
youth, and their faith is rather to die than to lose either. When the
English came, they would or could in no wise understand or appreciate
this race of simple, quiet and peace-loving people. Their love of
peace was taken for cowardice. This at first led the English to feel
contempt for the Boers. This naturally bred antagonism between the two
races, which effectually prevented any fusion of the two nationalities.
Then, also, the English wished to place the blacks on an equal footing
with the whites. This led to further antagonism; for the Boers, while
treating the blacks kindly and humanely, do not believe that blacks
and whites were intended to be on an equal footing in this world. They
contend that even the Bible teaches that the children of Ham shall be
servants to the children of his brethren. In a dispute on this matter,
a Boer and some of his relatives resisted the law, and were shot in the
act, while several others were hanged at _Slachtersnek_ for the same
offence. This settled the matter. The Boers saw they were the weakest;
so they determined to leave their dearly-loved country and seek for a
land in the wilderness, where they would be at rest, and the English
cease from troubling them.

‘The first country they took possession of in the interior was what
is now the Free State, and, soon after, Natal was occupied. In both
of these territories they had to fight many a bloody battle with the
fierce Zulus and other native tribes before they could live at peace.
But no sooner were they settled, and had built homes and ploughed
lands, than once more England followed them up, and forced them to
‘clear’ out after a short struggle. This happened in the Free State,
as well as Natal. The Boers now _trekked_ in earnest to the Transvaal.

‘The Transvaal at this time was almost inaccessible to an English army,
because of the distance from the coast in which it lay; therefore the
Boers were not only able to hold their own, but also to harass the
English in the neighbouring Colonies so as to force England to solemnly
recognise their independence at the Sand River Convention. After the
Sand River Convention, the Boers lived at peace with England for
many years. But they still had to struggle on against native tribes,
poverty, and the internal dissensions usual to a nation in its infancy
and in course of formation. At last a time came when the hardy Boers
were sorely pressed, what with no market for their produce, a President
not in sympathy with their simple ways and manners, and native wars. In
the meanwhile England, or rather certain Jingoistic Englishmen, began
to see what a mistake was made when England allowed an independent
state to grow up on the borders of its own possessions in South Africa,
the more so as England had already been forced by avarice to do an
unjust act to the Free State, by forcing that independent State to
give up its most valuable possession--the diamond fields--for a paltry
consideration. And gold having begun to be discovered in the Transvaal,
it seemed to be the best policy to take full possession of the
Transvaal before further discoveries of gold took place, which might
necessitate the same course of action which was pursued in the case of
the diamond fields. Besides, a trick of that kind does not generally
succeed twice; therefore something new must be tried this time, and
the best plan would be to take possession of the whole country on some
pretext or other. When an excuse is sought to do an unjust thing, such
an excuse is easily found. Now that the Boers were so hard pressed,
what could be more in conformity with England’s usual policy of succour
and protection of weak countries than relieving the Boers of any
further trouble of forming their State on a firm basis by annexing
the Transvaal? This was done in a manner unworthy the traditions of a
country like England.

‘Sir Theophilus Shepstone, England’s tool and emissary, sent a letter
to the Transvaal Government, in which he requested a conference to
discuss certain matters in which the States and Colonies of South
Africa were alike interested, amongst which was the threatening
attitude of the natives in the Transvaal, stating, in a passing sort of
way, that he was bringing an escort of a few gentlemen and twenty-five
border policemen from Natal; and as he was sure that there would be no
objection to his coming, he would not wait for a reply, but would start
at once.

‘Of course no reasonable objection could be made to his coming, so
he was received in a friendly manner. What was the surprise of the
Government when Sir Theophilus, after a pretext of discussing matters,
formally annexed the land in the name of the Queen? Of course protest
was made, but no heed was given to it. What were the Boers to do?
They had no wish to fight mighty England; so it was decided to try
all peaceful ways to endeavour to get their beloved country back.
Deputation after deputation was sent to England, praying the Queen to
give back their own. But it was all in vain. England would not easily
give up territory once obtained.

‘At last, at a great meeting of the people, it was decided to fight,
and, if need be, _die_, for their independence. War was declared. The
result all the world knows. The Boers fought bravely and fairly, and
through God’s blessing, the cause of justice was victorious. England,
after the loss of several battles, professed to see the justice of the
claims of the Boers at last. A truce was called, and England promised
to accede to the wishes of the Transvaalers on terms to be decided at a
convention to be held at Pretoria. The Boers were disbanded and sent
home rejoicing at having achieved their independence. The convention
was held. But alas for England’s good name, now that the Boers had gone
home and had once more settled peaceably to their occupations, she
would not give up all she had taken. She had taken the Transvaal as an
entirely free and independent country. Now, after her latest promises,
she would not give back more than a shadow of that former independence
possessed by the Transvaal. England must retain the suzerainty of the
country, with a right of veto on the foreign policy of the country. The
Boers loved peace. They accepted these terms, hardly realising what
a yoke they placed upon their necks in so doing. After some years it
was seen that the country could not be _free_ while England retained
the suzerainty of the Transvaal. The British Government was approached
on the subject. A new convention was drawn up in 1884 and agreed to,
by which the suzerainty was withdrawn. Now came a time of prosperity
to the country. Gold was discovered in various places. Wealth poured
into the country. A large population of Englishmen grew up in the
gold-digging centres. Once more an Ahab desired to possess the vineyard
of his neighbour. Not content with reaping the fruits thereof, the
Englishmen living on the goldfields wished to have full possession of
the whole country. Agitation and conspiracy was rife. The result has
been seen in the events of the first few days of January of this year.
Although these events have been distorted shamefully, yet you must know
enough to glean the true facts of the case from what you have heard.’

‘Although you have put it in a very few words, yet you have put it so
plainly that you have enlightened me on many points which were dark to
me before. Past events, as stated by you, make the crime against your
country even blacker than it appeared to be before. But what about
the complaints of ill treatment and oppression laid by the Uitlanders
against your Government?’

‘Oh, that is easily disproved. But I see signs of the company
dispersing. I am afraid we have paid our host and his guests a poor
compliment by keeping our conversation all to ourselves. But if you
will do me the honour to come to my quarters to-morrow evening and
have a cup of tea or something stronger, if you prefer, with me, then
I shall show you a very capable article from some English paper, which
was taken over from the paper in question by _The Press_. This article,
by facts and figures, disproves the Uitlander grievances much more
capably than I could do offhand. What do you say?’

‘With pleasure. I should like nothing better than to continue our
conversation when we have more leisure. You may expect me. At what hour
shall we say? Will seven o’clock do?’

‘Finely; that is settled then.’

After this the conversation on politics was dropped, and Steve and his
new acquaintance joined in the general conversation.



CHAPTER XXVII

A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE


The following evening found Steve’s new acquaintance, true to his
promise, seated at a table with our hero, partaking of a cup of tea and
biscuits. After tea, Steve brought forth a box of his favourite Dutch
cigars. The genial old Scotchman did not wait long to press Steve to
continue their conversation of the night before, which seemed greatly
to interest him. So, both being comfortably seated in a couple of
easy-chairs, Steve proceeded to read the cutting of which he had spoken
the night before, and we shall make no apology for reproducing it,
as it will prove of interest to those readers who have heard of the
_Uitlander_ grievances (?) but have never heard the other side of the
matter.

As you will see, it is a letter written to the editor of the _London
Daily Chronicle_ and taken over by the _Pretoria Press_. This is it:--

       *       *       *       *       *

‘The following important and timely communication on Transvaal affairs
has been addressed to the editor of the London _Daily Chronicle_ and
appears in the leading journal under date the 1st inst: When the
_Times_ in one and the same issue, that of the 27th inst., publishes
among the telegrams that most remarkable letter from Mr Schreiner,
late Attorney-General to the Cape Colony under Mr Rhodes, on the cause
of the attempted rebellion at Johannesburg, and publishes under the
head of “The Colonies,” the statement that it was “the intolerably bad
administration of President Kruger’s Government,” I think it is the
duty of those who know what they are writing about to set the public at
rest as to what were and what were not the real causes.

‘For the _Times_ it should have been enough that the

  FIRM AND ENTHUSIASTIC ADMIRER

and follower of Mr Cecil Rhodes, his trusted Attorney-General in two
Administrations, distinctly and almost brutally, three weeks after the
rebellion, when in possession of all the facts--facts which we shall
know in all their detail in three weeks time--declares the rebellion to
have been “due to a body of commercial speculators, the machinations
of the Chartered Company, to a minute but powerful body of speculators
in concert with financial plotters outside,” and much more to the same
purpose. Mr Schreiner has nothing to say about the intolerably bad
administration of President Kruger having been the cause, and he would
not have been slow to put this reason forward if he in conscience could
have done so. But

  THE MANIFESTO OF MR CHARLES LEONARD

says so. Yes, and it is about the manifesto that I wish to set the
public right once and for all; and my claim to write on this subject is
not to be disputed, as the oldest continual resident at Johannesburg,
from its very inception until six months ago, intimately conversant
with men and with measures during the whole of that period. There is
no doubt much to be blamed in the past and much to be improved in the
future. I am not a defender of the Kruger _régime à outrance_; but the
faults that have been committed and the omissions that are laid to its
charge are the natural consequence of the rapid and

  VIOLENT TRANSITION

from a State devoted to pastoral pursuits to the most intense mining
and industrial pursuits, invaded by the plutocracy. But neither the
faults nor the omissions are such as to have at any time, or in any
country, justified even armed resistance.

‘Never was the like of such a manifesto put forward as a justification
of rebellion, and the length of it--four closely-printed newspaper
columns--is in itself its condemnation. If the leaders had a cause,
the justice of which required such wordy explanations, they had no
just cause to put before their followers. In the most serious charges,
the misappropriation of Government moneys, we have terms like “it is
stated,” “it is said,” “we hear,” “we believe,” and scandal which was

  FORGOTTEN SEVEN YEARS AGO

is raked up to justify recent events.

‘The reasons brought forward in the lengthy manifesto can be
conveniently divided under two heads--material ones; corruption,
mal-administration, and the fiscal policy strangling the mining
industry; and political: one is the government of the country by a
small faction of Hollanders, the language grievance, the educational
grievance, and the franchise grievance.

‘To begin with the first section. I cannot deny that the enormous
temptations held out to some subordinate officials by men who, having
in an incredibly short time acquired immense wealth, and who drowned
every scruple in their desire to increase the same, have caused these
men to fall; but from intimate knowledge I deny that corruption in the
Transvaal

  EXTENDS TO THE HIGHEST OFFICIALS

or to any appreciable number of officials. I ask, however, Mr Editor,
whether the financial system which has brought corruption in its train
into the Transvaal can be allowed in its turn to appeal to English
sympathy and to put forward this corruption as a justification for
placing the lives of thousands of peaceable men, women and children
to the hazard of the sword? If Pretoria has been tempted, it is
Johannesburg which has held out the tempting hand.

‘The next point is, that the Government by granting concessions and
monopolies, and by its fiscal policy, is endeavouring to strangle the
mining industry. Now, it is a fact, though perhaps a curious one, that
most of these

  CONCESSIONS HAVE BEEN GRANTED

to the Ecksteins, the Neumanns, and their friends; and that, although
these interests have often been clever enough to obtain them ostensibly
in some other name, they actually hold the largest interest in them,
viz., the water and lighting concessions in Pretoria, the tram
concession in Johannesburg, the cement, iron, National Bank and Mint
concessions in Pretoria. These same interests advanced the Government
a few years ago £50,000 for the object of purchasing Swaziland
concessions. It was stipulated by them that these moneys should be
repaid as soon as Swaziland was incorporated with the Transvaal, and
that as a bonus they should receive the water, lighting, and tram
concessions in all the principal towns in the Transvaal. The

  DYNAMITE CONCESSIONS

is the next point of attack, and even in this they had a share. The
statement is made, that this Government monopoly imposes upon the
mining industry an intolerable burden, insomuch as the Government
having the right to charge 90s. a case for dynamite, it can be supplied
at 30s. I go into the figures of this business, because there is here
a concrete case, from which your readers can judge for themselves the
credibility of other statements in the manifesto. The Government does
not charge 90s. but 85s. per case, and I cannot give a more convincing
proof that it cannot be supplied at 30s., than the fact that the De
Beers Company, a powerful financial and monopolistic company, where
there is no charge incurred for storage, distribution _del credere_,
etc., pays more than 60s. per case delivered in Kimberley.

‘Add to that price--Additional railage to Johannesburg, storage,
distribution over an area of forty miles of reef and over a hundred
companies, _del credere_ and collection commission, besides some import

  DUES TO THE TRANSVAAL,

and it becomes clear what use has been made of the Government monopoly
in powder and explosives for purposes of agitation. To give an even
more graphic illustration. I extract from the last annual report of the
Crown Reef Company (the only company in which the use of explosives is
separately accounted for), the fact that out of a total working cost of
30s. 2⅜d. per ton, the actual cost of all explosives was 1s. 2½d.
per ton; the unbearable burden justifying revolution!

‘Now, as to the other taxation said to strangle the mines. There is no
country in which the personal taxes are lighter. I challenge anyone,
be he the richest or poorest, to show me that he pays more than £5
per annum of personal taxes in the Transvaal. And as for direct taxes
levied on the mines, I just extract from the

  LAST ANNUAL REPORT

to hand the following:--

‘Crown Reef Gold Mining Company produced last year in gold £420,106,
19s. 6d., has distributed last year in profits £96,912, 2s. 5d., has
paid to the Government for rents, licences, and all other rights and
privileges last year £1191, 9s. 10d.

‘Robinson Gold Mining Company produced last year in gold £651,928, 5s.
3d., has distributed last year in profits £346,628, 12s. 6d., has paid
to the Government for rents, rates, and licences £395, 11s. 8d.

‘New Chimes Gold Mining Company produced £93,013, 15s. 11d.; paid
profits, £32,485, 16s. 3d.; paid rates and licences, lumped in the
balance-sheet together with insurance premiums, £664, 16s. 5d.

‘The Transvaal Coal Trust produced 266,945 tons of coal last year; all
Government taxation amounted to £53, 1s.

‘The Consolidated Land and Exploration Company, of which the Ecksteins
are the largest holders, owns over 250 farms of about 6000 acres each;
all the taxes, including absentee tax, amounted to £722, 2s. 6d. last
year.

‘Now for the


  INDIRECT TAXATION.

All machinery for mining purposes is subject to only 1½ per cent.
import dues; the term machinery is stretched by the Government to its
uttermost possibilities to meet the mining industry, and it is made to
include f.i. sheet lead, cyanide, etc. All other articles not specially
rated are subject to an _ad valorem_ duty of 7½ per cent., the Cape
Colonists pay an _ad valorem_ duty of 12 per cent. Specially rated
articles affecting the white miners, such as tea, coffee, butter, rice,
soap, sugar, are in most cases subject to lower, and in no instance to
higher, duties than in the Cape Colony, f.i.

       CAPE COLONY.                TRANSVAAL.

  Butter, 3d. per lb.           5s. 0d. per 100 lb.
  Cheese, 3d.    ”              5s. 0d.     ”
  Coffee, 12s. 6d. per 100 lb.  2s. 6d.     ”
  Rice,    3s. 6d.     ”        1s. 6d.     ”
  Soap,    4s. 2d.     ”        5s. 0d.     ”
  Sugar,   6s. 3d.     ”        3s. 6d.     ”
  Tea,         8d. per lb.      5s. 0d.     ”
  Guns,    £1 per barrel.      10s. 0d. per barrel.

‘The article maize,

  THE PRINCIPAL FOOD

of the Kaffirs, pays in the Cape Colony 2s. per 100 lb., and in the
Transvaal 2s. per 100. Periodically, through droughts, locusts, or
other causes, prices for this commodity rise rapidly, often from 10s.
6d. to 26s. 6d. per bag, variations which are only slightly affected by
the import duty. Nevertheless, the Government has in every instance of
excessive prices abated the duty for the time being.

‘The only other tax affecting the mining industry is the Pass Money
of 1s. per month per native; and the moneys resulting therefrom are
handed by the Government to the Johannesburg Hospital, an excellent
institution, exclusively established for the use of Johannesburg and
its mines.

‘I think every reasonable mind will absolve the Government from the
charge of endeavouring to strangle the mining industry.

‘And now as to

  THE CHARGES CALLED POLITICAL,

Hollanders, I take it, are as much Uitlanders as is Mr Phillips or
any other Englishman; they have this one advantage, that they speak
the language of the country, while 95 out of every 100 English in the
Transvaal decline to acquire it. But what are the facts? The President
and all the members of the Executive are South African born, so is the
Minister of Mines, so is the Treasurer-General, the Auditor-General,
the Postmaster, the Surveyor-General, so is the Commandant-General, the
Chief of Police; so was, until three months ago, the Attorney-General,
so is the Mining Commissioner of Johannesburg, and so are all the
Landdrosts (equal to your magistrates) throughout the country, with one
exception only. Of the judges of the High Court two are South African
born, two Hollanders, and one Scotch.

‘The only other official of high standing who comes from Holland is

  THE STATE SECRETARY,

Dr Leyds, and that he is an extremely able and distinguished man his
worst enemies will allow.

‘A census taken throughout the Civil Service has shown that
eighty-three per cent. are South African born, and seventeen per cent.
Uitlanders. Naturally, the latter are selected from those who can speak
the language of the country.

‘Before I come to the other three grievances, I must set right the
grossly exaggerated figures which are given in the English Press as
affecting the population in the Transvaal.

‘Mr Rhodes, in his cabled letter to the New York _World_, gives them as
100,000 English against 14,000 Boers! Now the

  ACTUAL FIGURES

from quite recent compilations are:--

    Total inhabitants,                        226,028

  Of which Transvaal born,            150,308

  And Uitlanders of all nationalities, 75,720
                                       ------
  Of these again are English,          41,275

  And of all other nationalities,
    including those from Cape
    Colony and Natal,                  34,445

‘These figures, which are correct, make the absurdity of the political
claim clear, but more clear still if you deduct from the 75,720
Uitlanders the 60,000 who dwell at Johannesburg and its mining
district; if you eliminate that one town from the total, you have
the Boers numbering ten to one against the Uitlanders throughout the
country. And would you have a country ruled in language, franchise and
education by one mining town.

‘To prove the correctness of the above statement you have only to
consider that there are on the

  MILITARY REGISTER

over 25,000 Boers. Every one of them is married, and most of them have
children, the average being over four children, which gives the 150,000
souls.

‘Of these fully two-thirds do not understand English. It is reasonable
then to claim that the official language, that official documents,
shall be the language spoken by two-thirds of the people, or do the
women and children count for nothing? But although the official
language by law is Dutch there is not a single Government office in
which there is not English or German spoken to those who cannot speak
Dutch. In the Courts in the witness-box the judges frequently shut
their eyes to the use of the English language, and in the lower Courts
English is invariably spoken by English litigants.

‘Also as to the education the manifesto makes gross misstatements.
Though the State schools are, of course, Dutch, and the ordinary
State-aided schools are Dutch, the

  GOVERNMENT HAS ALWAYS AGREED

to give to all English schools exactly the same aid as to the latter,
provided they will gradually, in the higher classes, introduce the
State language, so that in the lowest classes only English is spoken,
while in the highest class Dutch is to be the medium. The Germans in
Johannesburg have and pay for their own school, the English claim to
have their schools, in which, as Mr Lionel Phillips expressed it in
his speech, Dutch may be taught, perhaps, if there was a “little time
left,” maintained at Government expense.

‘And now to the last point, that of the franchise. That a _settled_ and
_loyal_ population cannot for ever be refused a reasonable voting power
I am the last to deny. But is the Johannesburg population settled and
loyal? Can you wonder that the Boers have their grave doubts? Where are
all the men from the Transvaal who have made their fortunes there? The
Beits, Taylors, Neumann, Bailey, the English, Barnato, Dunnings, and
all the others? Do they throw in their lot with the Transvaal? Not at
all; they live in London; spend their money there, regard themselves as
English, and do not want to be anything. The very same men who now

  CLAMOUR WITH BAYONETS

fixed for the franchise, cover the addresses presented to the High
Commissioner when he comes into the Transvaal with thousands of
signatures as “Her Majesty’s most loyal subjects.” Can you wonder at
the Boer if he cannot conceive the dual loyalty which claims to swear
allegiance to the Transvaal without abandoning that to England?

‘Can you wonder if he points to the doings of 1896 as his justification
for the refusal to grant the franchise indiscriminately, points to
the men who have called in the enemy, the Chartered Company, into
the country, and under the dastardly pretext, too, that the Boer was
threatening to murder women and children, when the Boers were quietly
at their farms, while Johannesburg had for the last six months been
arming its thousands of men with smuggled rifles and guns?

‘Can you seriously

  WONDER AT THE BOER,

who knows only one loyalty to his country, that of leaving wife and
child, plough and land, aye, and his life, too, in the defence of the
independence of his beloved land? And are these qualities held so cheap
in this nineteenth century that stock-jobbers and adventurers and their
legal advisers may safely sneer at them and find the approval of the
great English nation? I trust not.

‘Is the decision of peace or war of continents to be left in these
hands? is what I would like to know as

  ‘A TRANSVAAL UITLANDER OF
  TEN YEARS’ STANDING.’

  ‘_Jan. 31._’

After Steve had finished reading the extract, he sat looking at his
guest thoughtfully for a moment, who seemed buried in thought. After a
while, the visitor turned to his host and said,--

‘Are those facts given in that letter based on truth?’

‘Mainly so; the only fault is that he is too mild; he could put it much
stronger in favour of the Government, without exaggeration.’

‘Humph, this is a different tale entirely from the one told in
Leonard’s manifesto; and from what I have seen and learned here, I am
inclined to believe this one in preference to the other one. But let us
take it for granted that this one is correct, and leave the question of
the past alone for a moment, I want you to look into the future for a
few moments, and tell me what do you and your countrymen look forward
to as the probable future of South Africa?’

‘There are various views held. There are those who wish for peace at
any price, and who would be content to leave matters as they are, viz.,
to keep what we have, and let England keep what she has. But this will
only last while England allows us to peacefully keep possession of our
country. But, should England press us, these would join the other party
without a moment’s hesitation.’

‘And what are the views of the other party?’

‘Well, it has never been defined. It is merely a leaven permeating
the thoughts, words and deeds of the party. It is a strong patriotic
feeling in the breast of every true and thoughtful Afrikander, a desire
to build up a strong and united South African nation and a strong and
united South Africa.’

‘And how do you propose to bring this desirable union to fruition?’

‘As far as I have been able to think it out, it can only come to pass
in two ways.’

‘And those two ways are?’

‘Either to fight for it, or to get it peacefully. If we can get it
peacefully, it would do England more good than harm. England must have
seen that the universal desire of all South Africans of any merit,
English or Dutch, are tending towards Republicanism. It is true that
there has been a great deal of friction between English and Dutch in
the past, but the events of this year have brought over nearly all of
the English _South African born_ people of the colonies to the same
view that has all along been held by the Dutch, viz., that the Imperial
factor serves only to keep this friction alive, and that when South
Africa is entirely free that this, race hatred will die out, and that,
instead of having, as at present, an Imperial and a Republican party,
we shall only have the more desirable Liberal and Conservative parties,
both parties possessing Englishmen as well as Dutchmen amongst their
members. As I have said, South African Englishmen have recognised this
fact, and all thoughtful South African Englishmen are beginning to
desire a Republican South Africa as much as the Dutch. Now, if England
is wise enough to recognise this fact, and wise enough to act upon it
in time, she has only one thing to do, viz., to call a meeting, or
congress, of leading politicians from all the states and colonies of
South Africa. And this is what she should propose:--

‘If I give up the whole of South Africa to you, to form an entirely
independent South Africa, will you,

‘Firstly, give me the same commercial benefits I now enjoy?

‘Secondly.--Will you give my ships, commercial as well as ships of war,
the same shelter and protection as well as the same coaling facilities
in times of peace or war as now enjoyed by them?

‘Thirdly.--Will you enter in solemn treaty to be England’s friends in
both peace and war?

‘Fourthly.--Will you guarantee that you shall never allow yourself to
be annexed by any other power?

‘Fifthly.--Will you give me the most favoured nation treaty in all
respects, which would amount to England enjoying the same benefits as
now without any of the responsibilities or worries she now has, and
what would South Africa reply to such a proposal?

‘They would be only too glad to obtain their independence and freedom
while remaining at peace with and the friend of England, and they would
accept with joy?’

‘But should England refuse to give the whole of South Africa their
freedom on these or any other terms, what would then happen? Do you
think that you would deliberately fight for it?’

‘Yes.’

‘Do you mean to say that the whole of, or any part of, South Africa
would rise up against England and demand that she should vacate South
Africa or--fight?’

‘No, these things do not happen in that way, as a rule. It will simply
happen that one of these days, in the course of the petty persecutions
against the two Dutch representatives, which is always going on to
a greater or less extent, that the Republicans will put their foot
down and refuse to accede to some unjust demand made on them by some
Jingoistic British minister, the consequence of which would be a war,
the end of which would be a united South African Republic, with or
without foreign aid. Either that would happen, or--the utter extinction
of the Boers.’

‘Do you think the last is at all likely to happen?’

‘If it is God’s will, _then_ it will, otherwise not?’

‘Quite true! but from a worldly point of view, what are the
probabilities of the South Africans winning their independence?’

‘A Joshua will arise, who will unite the different races and peoples by
a common sympathy. He will cause the two contending parties or races to
trust him--he will form a link uniting the two together. Once united
with a common desire of Freedom and Independence, and a leader worthy
to be trusted by all, the battle will be more than half won. With the
people of South Africa once united, they can resist any army that
England may send against them. England’s power lies in her navy. The
South Africans won’t go to seek her on the sea to fight her. They will
simply wait for any and every army sent against them on land, and by
various means, which comes to those fighting for liberty, will demolish
those armies. They will simply keep out of the way of the ironclads
when necessary, and keep on holding the land for years if need be,
until out of sheer weariness England shall grant them peace. This is
should they have no further aid than their own people. But should one
or more European or American powers take up their cause, the end will
be sooner and more easily obtained.’

‘Would you or your Government then call in European aid?’

‘I could not say what might or might not happen, but I do not think it
improbable that aid might come unasked, and should we find ourselves
hard pressed, we might find ourselves simply forced to accept foreign
aid.’

‘And do you think there is really much chance of a Joshua fulfilling
the Herculean task of uniting the various races of South Africa.’

‘It would not be such a Herculean task after all. The thing is almost
half done; the events of this year have almost completed the task; it
only wants the right man to complete it entirely. What we want is a
man who would be trusted by all parties--a man who would do everything
unselfishly, who would leave _self_ out of the question entirely,
and whose only desire would be to advance the interest of _land_ and
_people_.’

‘And do you think there is any probability of such a man being found?’

‘I have great hopes. The material for great and noble men is plentiful
in South Africa. I believe when the want is felt for such a man by the
people, the man will be found.’

‘I can see you have thought much on the subject. If you had the choice
of the two means of obtaining your independence, which would you
choose?’

‘I would certainly choose the peaceful one. For then the country would
not receive the great check to progress which she would receive after
such a terrible war, as would be the result in case we fought against
England. Once we have obtained our independence by fighting for it,
our prestige as a people would be far greater than when obtained by
peaceful means. But besides the bloodshed and material losses after
such a war, we should for many years have England for an enemy, and
we would still have a small party of Jingoistic Imperialists in the
country. While, should we obtain our independence peacefully, we would
have England for a friend and the Imperialist in South Africa would not
feel the bitter hatred against the Republicans as was the case when
the Transvaal had obtained her independence after fighting for it. A
hatred, the evil effects of which are felt to this day.’

‘Yes, you are quite right. I think, both for the sake of South Africa
and England, it would be far better if the problem were solved
peacefully. England would be no worse off than she now is if she were
to give up the country on the terms proposed by you; while you would
have the satisfaction of being independent. As to the race hatred felt
after war, history has shown its evil effects--witness France and
Germany.’

‘And I do not see why this peaceful solution should not be obtained.
The only obstacle is the misrepresentation of South Africans by parties
interested. And then we have people who declare that the Dutch in South
Africa must be extinguished, politically, at least, at any sacrifice,
even that of principle.’

‘Yes, I understand. You refer to the Jameson Raid and those concerned
in it. But I hardly condemn the raiders as much as I do those who
approved it, who should know better. I can tell you I feel ashamed of
being a Britisher when I read, for instance, Alfred Austin’s poem. It
is a shame that a man who implies such _want_ of principle should hold
the position of Poet Laureate to the British Crown.’

Steve smiled and said,--

‘That reminds me that I have another extract which I would like to show
you. It is a parody on Austin’s poem, published by the Orange Free
State _Express_.’

‘I should like to see it?’

‘It ought to be read together, so if you will allow me, I will read you
Austin’s poem first, and then the parody. Listen:--


  ‘JAMESON’S RIDE’

  ALFRED AUSTIN

    ‘Wrong! Is it wrong? Well, may be:
      But I’m going, boys, all the same.
    Do they think me a Burgher’s baby,
      To be scared by a scolding name?
    They may argue, and prate, and order;
      Go, tell them to save their breath:
    Then, over the Transvaal border,
      And gallop for life or death!

    ‘Let lawyers and statesmen addle
      Their pates over points of law:
    If sound be our sword, and saddle,
      And gun-gear, who cares one straw?
    When men of our own blood pray us
      To ride to their kinsfolk’s aid,
    Not Heaven itself shall stay us
      From the rescue they call a raid.

    ‘“There are girls in the Gold Reef City,
      There are mothers and children too!
    And they cry, ‘Hurry up! for pity!’
      So what can a brave man do?
    If even we win, they’ll blame us;
      If we fail, they will howl and hiss.
    But there’s many a man lives famous
      For daring a wrong like this!”

    ‘So we forded and galloped forward,
      As hard as our beasts could pelt,
    First eastward, then trending nor’ward,
      Right over the rolling veld;
    Till we came on the Burghers lying
      In a hollow with hills behind,
    And their bullets came hissing, flying
      Like hail on an Arctic wind!

    ‘Right sweet is the marksman’s rattle,
      And sweeter the cannon’s roar,
    But ’tis bitterly bad to battle,
      Beleaguered, and one to four.
    I can tell you, it wasn’t a trifle
      To swarm over Krugersdorp glen,
    As they plied us with round and rifle,
      And ploughed us, again--and again.

    ‘Then we made for the Gold Reef City,
      Retreating, but not in rout.
    They had called to us, “Quick! for pity!”
      And he said, “They will sally out.”
    They will hear us and come. “Who doubts it?”
      But how if they don’t, what then?
    Well, worry no more about it,
      “But fight to the death, like men.”

    ‘Not a soul had supped or slumbered
      Since the Borderland stream was cleft;
    But we fought, ever more outnumbered,
      Till we had not a cartridge left.
    We’re not very soft or tender,
      Or given to weep for woe,
    But it breaks one to have to s’render
      One’s sword to the strongest foe.

    ‘I suppose we were wrong, we were madmen,
      Still I think at the Judgment Day,
    When God sifts the good from the bad man,
      There’ll be something more to say.
    We were wrong, but we aren’t half sorry,
      And, as one of the baffled band,
    I would rather have had that foray
      Than the crushings of all the Rand.’

‘Now listen to the parody, here it is:--


JAMESON’S RAID

    Wrong is it? Most wickedly wrong!
      That treacherous raid, some call _ride_,
    Of Jameson, Maxims, and rover throng;
      Though _noblemen_ rode by his side.
    They may argue, and hunt for excuses,
      To prove their intention was good,
    Common sense now it is that accuses
      And proclaims their intention was _loot_.

    Let lawyers and statesmen ponder,
      To prove that their action was right;
    Van den Berg, MacDonald, Van Tonder,
      Lost their lives in the wantonest fight.
    When the jobbers wrote secretly, ‘help us’
      ‘In our scramble for more and more gold,’
    Jameson’s answer it ought to have been thus:
      ‘British honour I’m bound to uphold.’

    There are babes in the Gold Reef City,
      There are boys and maidens and wives,
    And the cowards, that knew no pity,
      Imperilled those innocent lives.
    Had they done what their duty demanded,
      We would never have heard of the raid;
    Had but counsels of prudence commanded,
      Constitutional ways were their aid.

    But Jameson’s band scampered forward,
      As hard as their horses could pelt,
    First eastward, then westward, then nor’ward,
      Meandering over the veld,
    Till the sons of the land they invaded
      With courage, the offspring of right,
    The usurpers with bullets persuaded
      They had to surrender or fight.

    There was heard the dread Maxim’s rattle
      And thundering cannon’s loud roar,
    But Jameson found in this battle
      His match in the Transvaal Boer.
    I can tell you it wasn’t a trifle,
      That search for a hole to creep through
    While the Boers plied unerring the rifle,
      Taught the raiders to die or to do.

    They made tracks for the Gold Reef City,
      Expecting their jobber friends out,
    But those cowards, whom brave men pity,
      Had noticed their plot ‘up the spout.’
    They distinctly could hear the guns rattle,
      They could help. Did they ever try?
    No. They left their poor dupes to do battle,
      To be driven about, and to die.

    The raiders had supped, drank and slumbered,
      And were fully prepared for the fray;
    They knew that they were not outnumbered,
      But their conscience caused them dismay.
    They’re not very considerate or tender,
      But their hearts sunk down to the boot,
    And they had to accept a surrender
      In lieu of gold, glory and loot.

    I’m sure they were wrong--worse than madmen,
      And I think at the Judgment Day,
    When God sifts the good from the bad men,
      For themselves they’ll have little to say.
    They were wrong, but they are not sorry,
      They’ve caused innocent blood to flow,
    And the men who joined such a foray,
      Unrepentant, to Satan must go.

    GERT DIKKOP.

Basterland, Feb. 1896.

After Steve had finished reading, the smiling and laughter-loving
Scotchman burst into a hearty laugh.

‘Very good; very good indeed; ha, ha!’ he laughed. ‘I should like to
see Austin’s face if he should read this; ha, ha! It certainly has the
merit of _truth_ which Austin’s poem lacks.’

After some further conversation Steve’s guest left him, giving him a
hearty invitation to dine with him the following day.



CHAPTER XXVIII

LOVE AT LAST


We have endeavoured to keep romance and love stories out of this book.
We have nearly succeeded, but in order to complete our work, we find
that love will intrude itself, if it is only in the last chapter. It
is not our fault, we have done our best, but our hero, like all other
heroes, has gone and done it. He fell in love. With whom? Why, my
dear reader, it cannot be difficult to guess. We have not introduced
many ladies into our story. We have only introduced two who would or
could be a fit mate to our young friend. The first one was the sister
of the poor young fellow who was killed by lightning. But we honestly
declared, from the moment of introducing her, that Steve was not
going to fall in love with her. So there is only one left. We have
not tried to deceive the reader in the least. When we knew that Steve
was not going to fall in love, we told the kind and indulgent reader
so honestly. We did not deceive the reader, but Steve deceived us.
He never told us that he was going to fall in love. When we heard of
it, it was an accomplished fact. It happened in this way. Steve got a
fortnight’s holiday. What was he to do? He thought for a moment, then
jumped up and said aloud, astonishing his friends who were with him at
the time.

‘Oh, I have it, a good idea!’

‘A good idea?’ queried Keith. ‘Where did you get it from?’

‘Never mind; I am going to act up to it, too. I have a standing
invitation from the Mijnheer Meyer to pay him a visit, and I think I
cannot do better than give Black Prince a sight of his old home again.’

There now, gentle reader, the cat is out of the bag; you know now with
whom Steve fell in love surely.

And Steve did act up to his _idea_. He took Black Prince to see his
old home again. When he arrived at the door of the well-appointed
farmhouse, he did not see anyone about. He dismounted and knocked at
the door. The door was opened by--no, not Miss Meyer, but Jankie, the
old Hottentot, who was Steve’s first acquaintance on the farm. _He_
did not recognise Steve.

‘Is the baas in?’

‘No, sir, but the young missus is in. The old baas and the old missus
have driven over to Baas Rautenbach’s farm, but will be back this
evening. The two young baases are also out, but will be back to-morrow.’

Steve felt a little embarrassment when he heard that only Miss Meyer
was in. However, he decided to make the best of it until the old man
returned.

‘Tell the young _nooi_ that I would like to see her.’

‘Yes, sir. Will you come into the sitting-room? I will tell the _nooi_
that you are waiting there.’

Steve walked in, and had hardly sat down when he saw a vision of beauty
walk into the room, which surprised him, as it was most unexpected.
He had only seen Miss Meyer before, when greatly agitated, and when
the light was faint and indistinct. Now that he saw her in the bright
daylight, he saw a young girl, with a sweet, smiling face, in whose
bright eyes shone the light of great intelligence; she was tastefully
but simply dressed. Her form and face appeared to him simply perfect.
Her long light hair was hanging in a wavy mass down her shoulders,
while a halo of sunny tresses surrounded her glorious forehead. But
what pleased and attracted him most was the _Soul_ he saw shining
through her expressive countenance.

‘Surely this is the sweetest creature that ever I saw,’ was the thought
that flashed through his brain during the moment that elapsed before
she spoke. He was standing with the light on his back. She came up and
tried to make out his face, but seemed puzzled.

‘Can I do anything for you, sir? My father is not in now, but will
return this afternoon. Shall I tell the boy to put your horse in the
stable?’

‘If you will be so kind, I shall be much obliged to you, Miss Meyer.
Poor creature, he is a bit tired; it is a long time since I have ridden
him so far,’ he said, smiling.

As Steve spoke, she looked at him inquiringly, as if she half
recognised him but was afraid to make a mistake. She turned to the door
and told Jankie to take the horse round to the stable, then came back
and asked in the usual Afrikander way,--

‘May I ask who you are, sir?’

‘Don’t you know me, Miss Meyer?’

‘I thought I did, but I am not quite sure. When I look into your eyes
and hear your voice, I am almost sure I know you, but that beard
confuses me. The one I take you for had no beard when last I saw him.’

‘No, Miss Meyer, I had no beard then; but since that day I have never
shaved, because your mother thought me an enemy because my face was
shaved.’

‘So you really are--’

‘I am the one that was in grief and despair, and to whom an angel came
and touched me on the shoulder and said, “God has heard your prayer.”
That angel came in your form, and gave me the most beautiful and best
horse in the country, when I would have given my all for the ugliest
old moke to be had.’

‘Oh, Mr Joubert, is it really you then? I thought it was you the moment
I saw you, but, as I said, the beard confused me. I am so glad to see
you again. My father has long expected you, as he said you had promised
to pay us a visit. But don’t call me an angel again; I am all flesh and
blood, and prone to sin, and you will tempt me to become proud if you
thus flatter me, and pride is sinful.’ And as she spoke the blood she
spoke of flushed rosily in her face, as if to prove her assertion of
being flesh and blood.

What need to say more. The thing was done. Each felt drawn to each.
Each felt that each had met a kindred spirit, and each soon felt that
each loved each other; and when Jankie came in half-an-hour later to
tell his _Nonnie_ that Master Willim’s black stallion had come back,
he found the two talking and smiling as if they had known each other
for years. When old Mijnheer Meyer came home, he gave Steve a princely
welcome, and the old lady, in spite of her former distrust of him, soon
learned to love him as a son; the more so as he had grown a beard since
last she had seen him. She detested a man who shaved.

And when Master William came home, he gladly renewed his former
friendship with Steve, while his younger brother rivalled him in his
attentions to their guest.

Before Steve’s holiday was over, everything had been decided upon. They
were to be married in a month’s time. The month was to enable Steve to
give his employers a month’s notice to leave, as old Mijnheer Meyer had
given him and his betrothed the Pretoria farm belonging to the family.

       *       *       *       *       *

The wedding was over. Steve took his beautiful young bride for a trip
to his old home in G----, to see his mother and sisters. His mother was
greatly pleased that her son had taken such a good and beautiful young
wife.

As Steve received, as the wedding portion of his wife, a farm, with
house, furniture and everything complete, and as his wife, like all
daughters of well-to-do farmers, possessed her own flock of sheep,
her own little herd of cows and bullocks, besides horses, etc., Steve
found himself a fairly well-to-do young farmer. He now felt himself
in the position to indulge to his heart’s content in the pleasures of
tree-planting, gardening, farming and bee-keeping, which had always
been his special hobby.

With a good and beautiful wife, a well-stocked farm, and by selling
the greater portion of his mining shares--a good capital to work his
farm--Steve has every promise of a happy and prosperous life before
him. What his future _will_ be we cannot say. With his intense love of
country, he is sure to go in for politics, and with the freedom he now
enjoys as an independent farmer, he will have leisure enough to enter
into the political arena. If the opportunity offers, he is sure to do
something for his country yet, and the reader may yet hear of him again
as a leader of his people. We shall bid him and the reader now good-bye.


THE END


  LONDON: DIGBY, LONG & CO., PUBLISHERS,
  18 Bouverie Street, Fleet Street, E.C.



  _OCTOBER 1897_



  _SUPPLEMENTARY LIST_


  DIGBY, LONG & CO.’S

  NEW NOVELS, STORIES, Etc.


IN ONE VOLUME, Price 6s.


By Sarah Tytler.

=THE AMERICAN COUSINS.=

    By the Author of “Lady Jean’s Vagaries,” “Citoyenne Jacqueline,”
    etc. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Ready._


By Belton Otterburn.

=UNRELATED TWINS.=

    By the Author of “He would be an Officer,” “Jilted,” etc. Crown
    8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Second Edition._


By Val Nightingale.

=THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER.=

    By the Author of “The World on Wheels.” Crown 8vo, cloth,
    6s.--_Second Edition._


By S. E. Hall.

=SYBIL FAIRLEIGH.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Second Edition._


By Florence Marryat.

=IN THE NAME OF LIBERTY.=

    By the Author of “The Beautiful Soul,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth,
    6s.--_Third Edition._


By Mrs Alice M. Diehl.

=A LAST THROW.=

    By the Author of “A Woman’s Cross,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth,
    6s.--_Third Edition._


By G. Beresford Fitz Gerald.

=A FLEETING SHOW.=

    By the Author of “An Odd Career,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth,
    6s.--_Second Edition._


By Rupert Alexander.

=THE VICAR OF ST NICHOLAS’.=

    By the Author of “Ballyronan.” Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_In
    October._


By Pierre Le Clercq.

=CONCERNING CHARLES ROYDANT.=

    By the Author of “The Love Story,” “Illusion”, etc. Crown 8vo,
    cloth, 6s.--_In October._


By George Crampton.

=EL CARMEN.= A Romance of the River Plate.

    With a spirited Frontispiece by HARINGTON BIRD. Crown 8vo, cloth,
    6s.--_In October._


By Albert Lee.

=THE BLACK DISC.= A Story of the Conquest of Granada.

    With a Frontispiece by HARINGTON BIRD. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_In
    October._


By Wilhelm Hauff.

=MARIE OF LICHTENSTEIN.= A Tale of Love and War.

    From the German of Wilhelm Hauff. By R. J. CRAIG. With a
    Frontispiece. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_In October._


By Edith M. Page.

=A MATRIMONIAL FREAK.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_In October._


By J. Gordon Phillips.

=FLORA MACDONALD.=

    By the Author of “James Macpherson,” “Cora Linn,” etc. Crown 8vo,
    cloth, 6s.--_In October._


By A. J. Rose-Soley.

=MANOUPA.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_In October._


By Belton Otterburn.

=NURSE ADELAIDE.=

    By the Author of “Unrelated Twins.” Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_In
    November._


By Robey F. Eldridge.

=THE KESTYNS OF CATHER CASTLE.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Second Edition._


By Capt. Charles Clark.

=MY YARNS OF SEA FOAM AND GOLD DUST.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Second Edition._


By John Bridge.

=DINNER FOR THIRTEEN.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Now Ready._


By Jean de la Brète.

    =FATE’S FETTERS.= Translated from the French by Mrs F.
    HOPER-DIXON. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.


By Clement A. Mendham.

=A TROTH OF TEARS.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s. With a Frontispiece.--_Now Ready._


By Hattil Foll.

=MAJOR CARLILE.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Ready._


By Rupert Alexander.

=BALLYRONAN.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Now Ready._


By Reginald St Barbe.

=FRANCESCA HALSTEAD.= A Tale of San Remo.

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Second Edition._

  “Francesca is a beautifully drawn portrait, tender, graceful,
  and woman-like.”--_Glasgow Herald._


By Alfred Smythe.

=A NEW FAUST.= Crown 8vo,


    cloth, 6s.--_Second Edition._

  “Told vividly and with spirit. Stephanie is charming ...
  intensely exciting.”--_Pall Mall Gazette._


By Mrs Florence Severne.

=THE DOWAGER’S DETERMINATION.=

    By the Author of “The Pillar House,” “In the Meshes,” etc. Crown
    8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Second Edition._

  “A powerful story. The authoress manages her incidents with
  skill and grace.”--_Pall Mall Gazette._


By John Ferriss Causton.

=A MODERN JUDAS.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Now Ready._


By Mrs Alice M. Diehl.

=A WOMAN’S CROSS.=

    By the Author of “The Garden of Eden,” “Passion’s Puppets,” “A
    Modern Helen.” Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Second Edition._

  “Far above the average of modern novels, and should
  undoubtedly be inquired for and read.”--_St James’s Budget._


By J. E. Muddock.

=WITHOUT FAITH OR FEAR.=

    The Story of a Soul. By the Author of “Stripped of the Tinsel,”
    etc. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Second Edition._

  “An absorbing narrative. Will be read with interest. It
  possesses great charm of narrative and grace of literary
  style.”--_The Daily Telegraph._


By May St Claire (Mrs Gannaway Atkins).

=A STORMY PAST.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Second Edition._

  “A wholesome story of a romantic order, and will be read with
  pleasure and profit.”--_Western Daily Mercury._


By David Worthington.

=EQUAL SHARES.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.

  “Told with spirit and ingenuity ... very cleverly
  sketched.”--_Pall Mall Gazette._


By the Princess de Bourg.

=THE AMERICAN HEIRESS.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Second Edition._

  ⁂ _Published simultaneously in London and New York._

  “One of the most delightful female characters in recent
  fiction; Kitty Fauntleroy is, indeed, a creation. The story
  is a refreshingly healthy one.”--_Aberdeen Press._


By Bertha M. M. Miniken.

=AN ENGLISH WIFE.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Second Edition._

  “A pleasant story, animated by a pure and healthy spirit. The
  tale is told with great feeling.”--_Observer._


By Robert Rees (Alfred Neobard Palmer).

=OWEN TANAT.=

    A Story of Welsh Life. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Mid-November._


By Kathleen Behenna.

=SIDARTHA.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Second Edition._

  “There is certainly no lack of incident in Miss Behenna’s
  maiden effort, and Edgar Poe himself could not have given us
  a more weird conception than the bewitchment of poor Doris
  ... the power of the hidden terror is described with a quiet
  force that is very striking.”--_Pall Mall Gazette._


By Eric Wyndham.

=REVELATION.= A Romance. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_In November._


By Violet Tweedale.

=WHAT SHALL IT PROFIT A MAN?=

    By the Author of “And They Two,” “Unsolved Mysteries,” etc. Crown
    8vo, cloth, 6s.--_In November._


By Evan May.

=A NEW NOVEL.=

    By the Author of “Much in a Name.” Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_In
    November._


IN ONE VOLUME, Price 3s. 6d.


By Fergus Hume.

=CLAUDE DUVAL OF NINETY-FIVE.=

    By the Author of “The Masquerade Mystery,” “A Marriage Mystery,”
    etc. Crown 8vo, pictorial cloth, 3s. 6d.

    ⁂ _Published simultaneously in London and New York on the 15th
    September._


By Frank Hart.

=WHEN PASSIONS RULE.= Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.--_Just out._


By Richard Penny.

=SCENES FROM MILITARY LIFE.=

    Crown 8vo, pictorial cloth, 3s. 6d. Cover design by RICHARD
    SIMKIN.--_Just out._


By Mina Sandeman.

=THE WORSHIP OF LUCIFER.=

    By the Author of “The Rosy Cross and Other Psychical Tales.”
    Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.--_Ready._


By Mina Sandeman.

=SIR GASPARD’S AFFINITY.=

    By the Author of “The Worship of Lucifer.” Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s.
    6d.


By Mrs Charles E. Terrot.

=OUR PAYING GUESTS, and Other Stories.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.


By Andrew Deir.

=WHEN A MAIDEN MARRIES.=

    By the Author of “A Man in the Fjords.” Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.


By Emily M. Bryant.

=NORMA.=

    A School Tale. Fully Illustrated. Crown 8vo, pictorial cloth, 3s.
    6d.


By Tivoli.

=A SHORT INNINGS.=

    A Public School Episode. By the Author of “Une Culotte,” etc.
    Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d. With a Frontispiece.--_Second Edition._


By J. H. Swingler.

=CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.--_Second Edition._


By Mrs E. Lynn Linton.

=’TWIXT CUP AND LIP.=

    By the Author of “Patricia Kemball,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s.
    6d.--_Third Edition._


Grant Allen’s Successful Book.

=THE DESIRE OF THE EYES.=

    By the Author of “The Woman Who Did,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s.
    6d.--_Ninth Edition._

=ACROSS THE ZODIAC.=

    A Story of Adventure. In pictorial cloth, with a Frontispiece,
    crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.--_Second Edition._

  “One of the best books of the year. The idea has been well
  worked out, and the Author goes far beyond any of Jules
  Verne’s imitators in the audacity he displays.”--_The Morning
  Post._

  “Marvellous incidents in a narrative abounding in
  sensation.”--_The Daily Telegraph._


By Fergus Hume.

=A MARRIAGE MYSTERY.=

    By the Author of “The Masquerade Mystery,” etc. Crown 8vo,
    pictorial cloth, 3s. 6d.--_Third Edition._

  “The book is a tortuous and mazy tale of mystery, very
  ingenious in throwing the reader off the scent while luring
  him on through a cleverly woven web of mystery, which is only
  unravelled in the very last chapter.”--_St James’s Budget._


By Dr Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N.

=THE ROSE OF ALLANDALE.=

    By the Author of “289 R: the Story of a Double Life,” “The
    Mystery of a Millionaire’s Grave,” etc., etc. Crown 8vo, cloth,
    3s. 6d.--_Second Edition._


By the Hon. Ernest Pomeroy.

=SKETCHES FOR SCAMPS.=

    Crown 8vo, pictorial cloth, 3s. 6d.

  “Several of the ‘sketches’ are full of raciness and humour,
  and a keen appreciation of character.”--_St James’s Gazette._

  “One cannot help laughing heartily over it.”--_Literary
  World._


By A. E. Aldington.

=THE QUEEN’S PREFERMENT.=

    A Historical Romance. With original Drawings by H. A. PAYNE.
    Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.--_Second Edition._

  “An historical story, short and brisk. The picture is
  worked up with vivacity and vigour, and not without some
  command of language and picturesque effects. The story
  is quick and stirring. The illustrations are purposely
  quaint.”--_Athenæum._


By an Exponent.

=CHRYSTAL, THE NEWEST OF WOMEN.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.--_Third Edition._

  Chrystal, with her many questionings, her high courage, her
  candour, her truthfulness, and her quaint originality, is
  charming. Rarely, if ever, has such a close analysis of a
  child’s character, and that child a girl, been given.


By Henry Grimshawe.

=Dr FORENTI.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.

  “The interest is evenly maintained throughout. It is
  not wanting in exciting incident, concisely and well
  described.”--_Birmingham Daily Gazette._


By H. J. Chaytor.

=THE LIGHT OF THE EYE.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.--_Just out._


By Cios.

=LIFE IN AFRIKANDERLAND AS VIEWED BY AN AFRIKANDER.=

    A Story of Life in South Africa, based on Truth. Crown 8vo,
    cloth, 3s. 6d.


IN ONE VOLUME, Price 2s. 6d.


By Jean Delaire.

=PRO PATRIA.=

    A small sketch on a vast subject. Illustrated throughout with
    Drawings by ALFRED TOUCHEMOLIN. Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d.--_Now
    Ready._


By W. Carter Platts.

=THE TUTTLEBURY TALES.=

    By the Angling Editor of the “Yorkshire Weekly Post.” Crown 8vo,
    pictorial cloth, 2s. 6d.--_Third Edition._

  “The rollicking good humour is irresistible.”--_Pall Mall
  Gazette._

  “These lively episodes will be the source of hearty
  laughter.”--_Globe._

  “Mr Platts reminds us of the American humorist, Max
  Adeler. He is not an imitator but his fun is of the same
  kind, farcical of course, but unstrained and laughter
  compelling.”--_The Spectator._

  “Very amusing. Irresistibly comic. There is not a dull line
  from start to finish.”--_St James’s Budget._

  “Mr Carter Platts is the Max Adeler of the present
  generation. If one looks about for another writer of the same
  hilarious kind, he is not to be found.”--_Yorkshire Post._


By Joseph Ashton.

=INMATES OF THE MANSION.=

    Crown 8vo, pictorial cloth, 2s. 6d. Beautifully illustrated.

  “An allegorical subject, and will be found most readable
  for youths, who will learn a lesson in glancing through its
  pages.”--_The Daily Telegraph._


By Chieton Chalmers.

=THE INSEPARABLES.=

    A Book for Boys. Crown 8vo, pictorial cloth, fully illustrated,
    2s. 6d.

  “High above the average of school stories. There is a strong
  dramatic interest in the narrative of the disgracing of
  Lionel Middleton on a charge of which he was innocent that
  will appeal to every school boy’s heart. It is really a
  first-rate story.”--_Pall Mall Gazette._


By Nemo.

    =A MERE PUG.= The Romance of a Dog. Crown 8vo, pictorial cloth,
    2s. 6d.--_A New Edition._ Illustrated by A. BAUERLE.

  “This pretty story of the adventures of a pug dog ... there
  are few books of the season that could have been more
  heartily recommended for children.”--_The Standard._



Digby’s Popular Novel Series


    In Crown 8vo, price 2s. 6d. per Vol. Each book contains about
    320 pp., printed on superior paper, from new type, and bound in
    uniform handsome cloth, gilt lettered. These novels have met with
    marked success in the more expensive form.

  _Those marked with an * may be had in picture boards at 2s._


NEW ADDITIONS TO THE SERIES.


By Dora Russell.

A MAN’S PRIVILEGE.


By Fergus Hume.

THE MASQUERADE MYSTERY.


By Arabella Kenealy.

THE HONOURABLE MRS SPOOR.


By J. E. Muddock.

STRIPPED OF THE TINSEL.


By Annie Thomas.

A LOVER OF THE DAY.


By Jean Middlemass.

HUSH MONEY.


By Mrs Robert Jocelyn.

JUANITA CARRINGTON.


_OTHER VOLUMES IN THE SERIES._


By Arabella Kenealy.

=* Some Men are Such Gentlemen.=--_Fifth Edition._

=* Dr Janet of Harley Street.=--_Seventh Edition._


By Florence Marryat.

=The Beautiful Soul.=--_Second Edition._


By Dora Russell.

=The Other Bond.=--_Second Edition._

=* A Hidden Chain.=--_Third Edition._


By L. T. Meade.

=A Life for a Love.=--_Second Edition._


By Jean Middlemass.

=* The Mystery of Clement Dunraven.=--_Second Edition._


By Hume Nisbet.

=* The Jolly Roger.= Illustrated by Author.--_Fifth Edition._

=Her Loving Slave.=--_Second Edition._


By Annie Thomas.

=False Pretences.=--_Second Edition._


By Hilton Hill.

=* His Egyptian Wife.= Picture Boards only.--_Seventh Edition._

  ⁂ _Other Works in the same Series in due course._



IN ONE VOLUME, Price 1s. 6d. and 1s.


By Cosmo Hamilton.


=FURROWS.=

    By the Author of “Which is Absurd.” Long 12mo, pictorial cloth,
    1s. 6d.


By Hillary Deccan.

=WHERE BILLOWS BREAK.=

    By the Author of “Light in the Offing.” Crown 8vo, cloth, 1s. 6d.


By Aldyth Ingram.

=SMIRCHED.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 1s. 6d.


By F. H. Hudson.

=THE VAGARIES OF LOVE.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 1s. 6d.


By Violet Tweedale.

=UNSOLVED MYSTERIES.=

    By the Author of “And They Two,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth, 1s.
    6d.--_Second Edition._


By Gratiana Darrell.

=THE HAUNTED LOOKING GLASS.=

    Crown 8vo, pictorial cloth, 1s. 6d.--_With a Frontispiece._


By Frances England.

=SMALL CONCERNS.=

    Long 12mo, 1s.--_Just out._


By Bernard Wentworth.

=THE MASTER OF HULLINGHAM MANOR.=

    Crown 8vo, paper cover, 1s.--_Just out._


By Neville Marion.

=SWEET SCENTED GRASS.=

    Long 12mo, paper cover, 1s.--_Just out._


By Blake Lamond.

=SPORTING ADVENTURES OF MONSIEUR LOLOTTE.=

    By the Author of “The Two Dunmores,” etc. Crown 8vo, paper cover,
    1s.--_Just out._


By Katharine Renell.

=SHIBBOLETH.=

    Crown 8vo, paper cover, 1s.--_Just out._


By D. C. Parkinson.

=PENARTH.=

    Crown 8vo, paper cover, 1s.--_Just out._


By Rita Russell.

=IN A WEB OF GOLD.=

    Crown 8vo, paper cover, 1s.--_Just out._


By Lillie Crane.

=THE DIAMOND BANGLE.=

    By the Author of “My Lady Dimple.” Crown 8vo, paper cover,
    1s.--_Just out._


By M. P. Guimaraens.

    =PORTUGUESE RITA.= Long 12mo, paper cover, 1s.



Roof Roofer’s Sensational Novels

Price 1s. each; Post free, 1s. 2d.


  =LOVE ONLY LENT.=        “Mr Roofer is undoubtedly clever
                           ... his smart and witty style.”--_The
                           Daily Chronicle._

  =THE TWIN DIANAS.=       “He knows life, the feverish set-on-edge
                           existence of the Wall Street
  =TWO MOTHERS OF ONE.=    money-maker, and the select, silver-lined
                           life of Fashionable New York.”--_Dundee
                           Advertiser._

  =PRETTYBAD ROGERS.=      “Clever when he treats of finance.”--_Morning
                           Post._



Miscellaneous


=THE BIRDS OF OUR COUNTRY. By H. E. Stewart, B.A.=

    With Illustrations by ARCHIBALD THORBURN, J. GIACOMELLI, G. E.
    LODGE, K. KEYL, R. KRETSCHMER, etc. Crown 8vo. Pictorial cloth,
    gilt top, 3s. 6d., over 400 pages.--_Now Ready._

  In bringing this work before the public two things are
  essential to its success--firstly, the conviction that such
  a book is needed, and secondly, that the Author is possessed
  of the information required for its production. With regard
  to the first of these:--The price of nearly all the standard
  works on ornithology places them beyond the reach of the
  young naturalist, and the information contained in the few
  cheap books, which at present exist, is in many instances
  scanty. The aim of the Author has been to place in the young
  collector’s hand, at a popular price, a comprehensive account
  of every bird which is likely to be met with in the British
  Isles. The work is illustrated throughout.

  _Illustrated Prospectus post free._


_A BEAUTIFUL GIFT BOOK._

=WIT, WISDOM AND FOLLY.= Pen and Pencil Flashes.

    =By J. Villin Marmery.= Author of “Progress of Science,” “Manual
    of the History of Art,” etc. With 100 Original Illustrations by
    ALFRED TOUCHEMOLIN, Author of “Strasbourg Militaire.” Demy 8vo,
    superior binding, 6s.

  An _Édition de Luxe_, in Royal 8vo, printed on hand-made
  paper, and limited to 100 copies, bound in red leather, gilt
  top, is also issued, price 21s. net.

  “A pleasant volume of chatty anecdotes. Bright and piquant.
  Mr Marmery’s book ought to be a treasure to the confirmed
  diner-out.”--_The Standard (Leader)._

  “One of the most entertaining collections of anecdotes. The
  illustrations consist in daintily-drawn headpieces to the
  various chapters. The present collection of anecdotes is
  better than most.”--_Westminster Budget._


New Work by Caroline Gearey.

=TWO FRENCH QUEENS.=

    Elizabeth of Valois--Marguerite of Valois. By the Author of “In
    Other Lands,” “Three Empresses.” With Portraits, crown 8vo,
    cloth, 6s.--_Second Edition._

  “We have the very highest opinion of Miss Gearey’s powers,
  and unconditionally recommend her book.”--_Glasgow Daily
  Mail._

  “Miss Gearey has once more given us a charming collection of
  historical biographies, compiled with care and written with
  taste and true womanly feeling.”--_Birmingham Gazette._


IS NATURAL SELECTION THE CREATOR OF SPECIES?

    =By Duncan Graham.= Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.

  This work is a library of reference on the most controversial
  subjects of the day, and in it Darwin and his theories are
  analytically tested, and the whole of the teleological
  argument is set forth with much lucidity. The merit of this
  work is that it is a compendium of the subject of Evolution,
  and in itself a small theological encyclopædia made popular.


By Robert Woolward (“Old Woolward”).

=NIGH ON SIXTY YEARS AT SEA.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s. With Portrait.--_Second Edition._

  “Very entertaining reading. Captain Woolward writes sensibly
  and straight-forwardly, and tells his story with the
  frankness of an old salt. He has a keen sense of humour, and
  his stories are endless and very entertaining.”--_The Times._


By John Bradshaw.

=NORWAY, ITS FJORDS, FJELDS AND FOSSES.=

    Crown 8vo, pictorial cloth, 3s. 6d.

  “A book which every tourist may well buy.”--_Daily Chronicle._

  “The work is much more than a guide book, and it is certainly
  that and an excellent one. It is a history as well of
  the country, and contains a series of admirably arranged
  tours.”--_Leeds Mercury._


By Josiah Crooklands.

=THE ITALIANS OF TO-DAY.=

    Translated from the French of RENÉ BAZIN. Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s.
    6d.

  “By those who would study more closely the political and
  social aspects of Italian life to-day, Mr Crooklands’s
  translation should be accorded a hearty welcome and an
  attentive perusal.”--_Public Opinion._

  “M. René Bazin is a writer whose style we have often
  praised.”--_The Athenæum._


By William F. Regan.

=BOER AND UITLANDER.=

    The True History of Late Events in South Africa. Crown 8vo,
    cloth, 3s. 6d. With Copyright Portraits, Map, etc.--_Fifth
    Edition._

  Mr GLADSTONE writes:--“I thank you very much for your work,
  and rejoice that by means of it public attention will be
  called to all the circumstances connected with the origin and
  history of the Transvaal, which possess so strong a claim
  upon our equitable consideration.”

  “The writer should be able to speak with authority, for he
  is none other than Mr W. F. Regan, the well-known South
  African financier, whose name has been a good deal before
  the public in connection with the events following upon the
  ‘Raid.’”--_Glasgow Herald._


By Margaret Newton.

=GLIMPSES OF LIFE IN BERMUDA AND THE TROPICS.=

    With 42 Illustrations by the Author. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.--_Now
    Ready._


    =THE NINETEENTH CENTURY IN FRANCE; or, Selections from the best
    Modern French Literary Works, with English Translations.= By PAUL
    CHAUVET, B.A., of the Paris University. In 2 Vols. Vol. I. The
    Poets:--Lamartine, Hugo, Musset. Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.--_In
    November._


By Percy Russell.

=THE AUTHOR’S MANUAL.=

    With Prefatory Remarks by Mr GLADSTONE. Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.
    net. (_Ninth and Cheaper Edition._) With Portrait.

  “... Mr Russell’s book is a very complete manual and guide
  for journalist and author. It is not a merely practical
  work--it is literary and appreciative of literature in its
  best sense; ... we have little else but praise for the
  volume.”--_Westminster Review._

BY THE SAME.

=A GUIDE TO BRITISH AND AMERICAN NOVELS.=

    From the Earliest Period to the end of 1894. By the Author
    of “The Author’s Manual,” etc. Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.
    net.--_Second Edition carefully revised._

  “Mr Russell’s familiarity with every form of novel is
  amazing, and his summaries of plots and comments thereon are
  as brief and lucid as they are various.”--_Spectator._


By B. Schwarzbach,

M.D. (Wurzburg); L.F.P.S. (Glasgow).

    =CONSUMPTION--HOW TO AVOID IT, AND WEAK EYES.= Two Lectures.
    Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d.



Poetry and the Drama


By Kathleen Behenna.

=THE HISTORY OF A SOUL.=

    Beautifully printed on Hand-made Paper. Demy 8vo, artistic cloth,
    gilt edges, 5s. net.


By Frederick J. Johnston-Smith.

=THE CAPTAIN OF THE DOLPHIN AND OTHER POEMS OF THE SEA.=

    Crown 8vo, art linen, gilt top, 3s. 6d. net.


By Cecilia Elizabeth Meetkerke.

=FRAGMENTS FROM VICTOR HUGO’S LEGENDS AND LYRICS.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 7s. 6d.


By C. Potter.

=CANTOS FROM THE DIVINA COMMEDIA OF DANTE.=

    Translated into English Verse. A New and Enlarged Edition. Crown
    8vo, cloth, 6s. net.

=BRIGHT THOUGHTS.=

    Text Book for Every Day of the Church’s Year. Poetry by LOUISA
    BROCKMAN. Author of “Mizpah,” “Sursum Corda,” “Love Did It,”
    “Neighbours,” Etc. Introduction by Rev. C. A. HEIGHTLEY, M.A.,
    Vicar of Holy Trinity, Anerley, S.E. Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d.


By Henry Osborne, M.A.

=THE PALACE OF DELIGHTS AND OTHER POEMS.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d. net.


By the late Ernest G. Henty and E. A. Starkey.

=AUSTRALIAN IDYLLS AND BUSH RHYMES.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d. net.


By Leonard Williams.

=BALLADS AND SONGS OF SPAIN.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d. net.


By Walter Thead.

=THE STORY OF JEPHTHAH AND OTHER POEMS.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d. net.


By E. Derry.

=SOPHONISBA; OR, THE PRISONER OF ALBA AND OTHER POEMS.=

    By the Author of “Lays of the Scottish Highlands.” Crown 8vo,
    cloth, 3s. 6d. net.


By Alexander Buckler.

    =WORD SKETCHES IN WINDSOR.= Foolscap 8vo, art linen, 2s. 6d.


By Isaac Willcocks, M.R.C.S.

    =THE MAGIC KEY.= A Fairy Drama in Four Acts. By the Author of
    “Pixy.” Crown 8vo, cloth, 1s. 6d.


By E. M. Beresford.

    =SONGS AND SHADOWS.= Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d. net.


By Evan T. Keane.

=A MOORLAND BROOK AND OTHER POEMS.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d. net.


By J. R. Simms.

=NOTES ON THE WAY, IN VERSE.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 5s. net.


By M. S.

=ROMANCE OF A ROSE.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 5s. net.


By Augustus Ralli.

=THE ENCHANTED RIVER AND OTHER POEMS.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d. net.


By Dudley Charles Bushby.

=THE ROYAL SHEPERDESS AND OTHER POEMS.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d. net.


By Ellen H. Ebbs.

=THE INNER LIGHT AND OTHER POEMS.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 1s. 6d. net.


By Maria Greer.

=A VISION’S VOICE AND OTHER POEMS.=

    Foolscap 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d. net.


By Swithin Saint Swithaine.

=A DIVAN OF THE DALES AND OTHER POEMS.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 5s. net.


By George Ashmore Roberts.

=PENCIL RHYMES AND POETRY.=

    Crown 8vo, paper cover, 1s. 6d.


By Frederic W. Coulter.

=ENGLAND’S GLORY.=

    Foolscap 8vo, art linen, gilt top, 1s. 6d. net.


By Charles Rathbone Low.

=THE EPIC OF OLYMPUS.=

    Crown 8vo, cloth, 5s. net.


By William J. Tate.

=RUBY BLYTHE AND OTHER POEMS.=

    Foolscap 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d. net.


⁂ _The annual and complete Catalogue of Novels, Travels, Biographies,
Poems, etc., with a critical or descriptive notice of each, will be
ready in the Autumn._


LONDON: DIGBY, LONG & CO., Publishers

18 Bouverie Street, Fleet Street, E.C.


“As we have said more than once, Messrs DIGBY, LONG & CO. have
earned for themselves a reputation as publishers of high-class
fiction.”--NEWCASTLE DAILY CHRONICLE.

“This well-known firm of London Publishers are at present exhibiting
even more than their normal activity in supplying the public with
attractive works of fiction.”--DUBLIN FREEMAN’S JOURNAL.

“Several novels of that very pleasant type come from the office of
Messrs DIGBY, LONG & CO., excellently bound, well printed, and neatly
finished.”--NOTTINGHAM DAILY GUARDIAN.

“We can heartily compliment Messrs DIGBY, LONG & CO. upon the uniform
excellence of workmanship displayed in the production of their
publications.”--BRIGHTON GUARDIAN.

“... Its generally good get-up which it shares with all Messrs DIGBY,
LONG & CO.’S issues.”--SUN.

y“Got up in handsome style that marks the publications of this
Firm.”--LLOYD’S NEWSPAPER.

“Messrs DIGBY, LONG & CO. have already earned for themselves a
reputation by the excellent workmanship displayed by them in the
publication of their novels.”--WEEKLY SUN.


[Transcriber’s Note:

Obvious printer errors corrected silently.

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Life in Afrikanderland as viewed by an Afrikander - A story of life in South Africa, based on truth" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home