” Through Zulu Country. Its battlefields and people. “(1883)

Mitford, Bertram: Through Zulu Country. Its battlefields and people. (1883)


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In the following pages the Author cannot promise
a narrative of hairbreadth escape and thrilling
adventure, but simply an account of everyday
experiences during a trip through Zululand in
1882, undertaken with the object of making the
round of the battlefields in succession — ^which,
till then, had not been done by anybody — mix-
ing with the people, observing their character as
well as maimers and customs, and gathering their
opinion on the subject of the recent campaign
and other questions relating to themselves and
their national polity.

That the country, hitherto but little visited,
and previous to the late war scarcely known, is
an interesting one, and destined to become even


more so, there can be no doubt ; wherefore the
Author feels that no apology is needed for further
introducing it and its people to British readers.

He also takes this opportunity of tendering
grateful acknowledgments to the many friends
whose kind assistance so largely facihtated the
carrying out of his plans.

Loin)Oir : January 1883,




Southward Ho I — A floating population — ^A night down Channel
— Plymouth — Undesirable company — Delay — A sou’weeter
— ‘ A wet sheet and a flowing sea ‘ — A Constitutional under
difficulties — ^The Sea Demon — ^The Bay of Biscay — A smash 1


Madeira — A noisy lot — Diving boys — Funchal — ^Pleasures of
landing — A bazaar afloat — Tenerifie — ‘A life on the
ocean wave* — ^Fire practice — Church parade — The weekly
press — Crossing the Line — A callow Teuton— Some cheerful
reflections — ^Theatricals — Table Bay 18


Cape Town — A motley crowd — An inviting coast — Port Eliza-
beth — Crossing a ‘ bar ‘—East London — AKaffirarian railway
—St. John’s River 39


Durban — The Berea and Bay— ‘ Ramsammy ‘ — Musquitoes —
A mild practical joke— Pietermaritzburg — St. Savioui^s
Cathedral — Bishop Oolenso — Native idea of punctuality . 51




Off to the Border — Qrey Town — * Blue gums ‘ — Bush scenery—
The Tugela — An aquatic dilemma — Sunrise on the Biggars-
berg Heighfa — A model road — Rorke’s Drift, past and
present 65


Isandhlwana — St Vincent^s Mission — A coincidence — ^The Zulu

* at church ‘ — A yexed question — Bishop McKenzie 79


Meaning of ‘ Isandhlwana * — ^Zulu narratiyes of the battle 88


‘ Fugitiyes* Drift * — ^The saying of the Colours — Zulus ‘ at home ‘
— A noyel brew — On headgear — * The gilt off the ginger-
bread’ — A Rorke’s Drift hero — Ascent of Isandhlwana —
Relics — A grand monument 96


Hlubi — A trial-at-law — Natiye oratory — Sirayo*s stronghold —
The Ityotyozi yalley — A standstill and a snake — Visitors —
An important institution — ‘ Big tagati * — Where the Prince
was killed — Sabuza — A beggar — The Queen*s Cross — A
kindly tribute — An old story retold 100


The Upoko yalley — A rencontre — Traders and trade— Mehlo-
ka-zuln — The biter bit — Zulu honesty — A Briton and his
growl 128




An ‘ afternoon call ‘ — Kraal etiquette — Zulu hoapitalitj — Native
mode of slaughtering cattle — The story of a clever shot —
Zulu opinion of artillery — ‘ Ubwin-bai ‘ — Sirayo — General
feeling with regard to Cetywayo 139


A thunderstorm and a novel cistern — ‘ Airival of the mail ‘ —
A comfortahle night — Matyana^s kraal — Pastoral scene —
The last new thing in shields 162


Ewamagwaza — A desperate position and a tragic reminiscence
— The soldiers* grave — ^The valley of the Umhlatusi . .164


Etshowe — ^The fort — Pleasures of picket duty — Two * sells ‘ — A
retrospective glance — Imbombotyana hill — ‘In the Heavens’
A novelty in tattooing — ^Dabulamanzi — Another * beggar ‘ —
Derivation of * Etshowe ‘ 173


Battle of Inyezane — Scenery — An aggpressive customer — Inyoni
— A trading store — Johan Colenbrander — A tussle, and a
narrow escape — Mang^te — Qingindhlovu — A ride across
country and a ducking 186


Ncsndiiku — John Dunn — Administration of justice — Liquor
traffic — Sitimela — ‘ A stitch in time * — An eventful career —
Charioteering m excMs — ^Qihlana 196




Wild country — Sigcwelegcwele — A crack colonel of a crack
regiment — Etahowe again — A dlasertation on phenomena —
Inkwenkwe hill — Viunandaba — A chief ‘ at Home * — ‘ Hard
wood ‘ — A ‘ lively ‘ domicile — Novel weapons — ‘ Bring us
back the King ! ‘ 200


Cetywayo and the missionaries — Entonjaneni — Valley of the
White Umfolosi — A cool spot and a picture— Mahlahatini —
‘ Then and now’— Battle of Ulundi 222


A Zulu on Oatlings — Ulundi and Nodwengu — An unlucky
warrior — ^Tall haggling — Midnight at Ulundi — A Golgotha 238


Mfanawendhlela — A native dish — A jovial crew — Inhlazatje
and the Reudency — Moral suasion — ‘No thoroughfare’ —
Intaba’nkulu — Messengers — ‘Thunder in the air/ meta-
phorical and literal — On storms — A refugee— A pleasant
position and a night march under difficulties 24i5


An exhilarating scene — Hlobane — * Excelsior ‘ — Umbelini*s
fastness — A rout and a race for life — A talk on the mountain
side — A tragic spot 260


A ‘stick,’ but in the mud — * Dutch spoken here’ — ‘Philip
drunk’ — More rain — A Republican — Eambula — Zulu ac-
count of the battle — Relics — A cemetery in the wilderness —
Back to the border 271




A panorama — Zulu dances — A bushbuck ‘ drive ‘ — ^Natiye hunir
era — ^Return to Maritzburg— Afloat again …. 283


Cetywayo at * Oude Molen ‘ — ^The King on John Dunn — Former
position of Cetywayo— -Ncungcwane and the royal atten-
dants — Homewurd bound 298


Zululand under the Ulundi settlement — Restoration of Cety-
wayo-— Military system and tactics — Zulu opinion of the
Boers — Zulu character and physique — Religion and super-
stitions — Formation and appearance of the country — Climate
—Wild animals 307

CoKCLiTSioir 322


l8Ain)BLWANA ……. Fro7Uupieee

Where the Prince was Killed. To /ace p. 118

EzuLWiNi — Dabulamanzi’s Kraal . . „ 180

Site op Ulundi „ 226

Hlobane Mountain ,, 260



Southward Ho I — A floating population — A night down Channel —
Plymouth — ^Undesirable company — Delay — A Sou Veater— * A
wet sheet and a flowing sail ‘ — A Oonstitutional under difficul-
ties — ^The Sea Demon — The Bay of Biscay — ^A smash.

Eain, rain — nothing but rain ; skies dank and
misty, swathed in one vast curtain of yellowish grey ;
not a break anywhere, gloom and dampness all-
prevaiUng. Such is the state of things as I find
myself, at about noon on a day late in November,
one of a depressed-looking throng waiting to claim
their goods and chattels on the wharf at South-
ampton. We have all just emerged from the nine
o’clock train from Waterloo, the last in time to
enable us to catch the Cape mail steamer, and
most of us are bound for the sunny shores of
Southern Afric ; and meanwhile we stand shiver-
ing in the cold raw atmosphere, futilely wishing
those wretched jacks-in-office who rule the wharf


arrangements with a rod of iron would but hurry
uj) a Httle. But tlie wisest and only plan is to
keep cool — mentally, I mean — and take things
as tliey come. At last the necessary ceremonial is
comj)leted, and we arc passed out one by one, with
our luggage, on to tlie dripjnng quay, thence to
the steam tender which is to convey us on board ;
and we stand huddled in grou])s on the soakincr
deck, awnings and canvas l)ut ill keeping out the
continuous and heavy downpour.

There is the colonist returning with his family
after a stay in tlie old country, which, in his heart
of hearts, he is not at all sorry to see the last of;
there is the business man, whose interests maybe
necessitate a frequent run backwards and for-
wards, but who hopes one day to make his last
tri]) and cast anchor for good and all on this side.
Young ladies going to join their friends in the
colonies, or on missions whose objects are best
known to themselves. Invalids, a few are also
there — fleeing from the drear chills of an English
winter, or seeking eii permanence a more congenial
clime. Young Britain going out to try its luck in
fresh woods and pastures new, crowded out of the
old country perhaps, or in search of a more adven-
turous life. Many, of course, have friends seeing
them off, generally of more woful appearance than
the intending migrant. Nor must we forget the


inevitable sprinkling of mysterious looking gentle-
men who have * something to do with the Company ‘
— no one knows exactly what, or cares — and we
have a summary of our living freight, standing
with the luggage piled up in front amid wraps,
bundles, bird cages, bandboxes, and all the varied
articles of hand-impedimentum of a crowd of tra-
vellers. At last the moorings are cast off, and
away we go, plunging and tossing, into Southamp-
ton Water, the rain driving in upon us as we dash
along head to wind, and for a quarter of an hour
the sole object in life is to try and find a dry place
to stand in. Presently the masts and yards of a
big steamship appear through the mist, her black
hull looming up indistinctly as she heaves to the
swell, and in a few minutes we are alongside of
one of the Union Company’s best vessels. A
general scramble for light luggage, a rush on the
part of two or three fidgetty mortals for heavy,
and we are on board our floating home. All is
bustle — the forepart of the ship swarming with
emigrants moving to and fro Uke a disturbed ants’
nest ; a few of the saloon passengers are already
in possession, among them a number of Germans,
old and young — for the vessel has been to Ham-
burg before taking us up at Southampton. The
hatches are open, and the donkey engine is hard
at work lowering cases into the hold, our baggage



is hoisted on board in its turn, and finds its way to
our respective cabins — more bustle in hitting ofl
these, stewards rushing about, shore people get-
ting into everybody’s way, and generally picking
out the busiest men to ask a dozen questions of at
once. I take things very coolly, and everything
settles down in no time ; I find my berth, get my
luggage brought down, and there I am, snug for
the next month. But let us take a look round.
The cabin is a four berthed one ; there are the
bunks one above the other in two blocks, a couple
of washstands and looking-glasses, racks across the
ceihng for hats, parcels, &c., and a campstool ;
and, being an outside cabin, we are happy in the
possession of a port hole — no small advantage in
the tropics. I am fortunate in having but one
cabin mate, for it occurs to me that although three
persons may constitute a crowd in the Riot Act,
four in a nine foot space would constitute a very
considerable one : but we are only two, and are

And now the bell rings for luncheon, and I
begin to take stock of my fellow passengers,
though, as nearly all have friends seeing them off,
it is difficult to determine exactly who isn’t going
ashore. The question is cleared by the ringing of
the shore bell, and there is a general scramble up
the companion stairs ; the tender is just leaving,


nor will it come off again ; therefore, whoever does
not want to risk an involuntary trip to Plymouth
had better look sharp. The gangway is blocked ;
copious * good-byes ‘ are interchanged ; amid much
waving of handkerchiefs, and some rather husky
attempts at cheering, the tender casts off and we
are left to our own devices.

But the clank of the capstan and the first beat
of the propeller warns us that our voyage has
begun. The rain has ceased ; the clouds are
hanging in white jagged masses over the water,
and through the rifts here and there can be seen
the distant hills with their miles and miles of forest ;
but the dark hand of winter is upon that loveliest
of lovely landscapes, and everything wears a
drooping and dilapidated appearance. The big
ship moves steadily on, dropping down the calm
waters of the Solent, and many of our friends
begin to think a voyage is not such a dreadful
thing- after all ; but wait a bit. The high, pointed
cliffs of the Isle of Wight are towering above us,
and we glide smoothly along past the Needles ;
then a rocking motion becomes more and more
perceptible, and we rise and dip to the freshening
breeze as we pass out into the Channel.

And a darkening curtain descends upon the
sea ; Southampton has faded into mist behind ; a
light from the shoi-e gleams out redly ; the wash


of the waves on yonder beach mingles with the
murmur of the sah sea breeze, while the wailing
scream of gulls circhng around the chalk cliffs
rings weirdly through the twiUght, and each bold
headland looming up in the deepening shadows
stands forth like a watch-tower over the restless
waters. The passengers are standing about in
groups or pacing up and down in twos and threes,
many with dire misgivings as to the results of the
next hour. The dinner bell rings ; this is the test,
and thin will be the muster round the festive
board this evening. And so it turns out ; of the
few bold enough to make even so much as a show
at table, nearly half drop off and retire early from
the field. A handsome apartment is the saloon,
occupying the whole width of the vessel, and well
lighted with swinging lamps ; the three long tables
are duly garnished with ‘ fiddles,’ which, for the
benefit of the uninitiated, are not orchestral instru-
ments, but wooden frames fixed to the tables to
keep everything from slipping off in Uvely weather
such as we are now experiencing, for there is
plenty of motion, and we are rolling in brisk
fashion. Stewards stagger about deftly with the
dishes ; now and then a crash is heard as a new
hand comes to grief witli his load of crockery ;
your soup empties itself into your lap, and the
nuts destined for dessert incontinently forsake their


dishes and steeplechase up and down the table-

But dinner is got through somehow, and I
betake myself on deck. We are ploughing along
under a good head of steam, the masts and yards
sway beneath the starUt sky, the binnacle lights
throw a red glow around, and in the distance a
dark shadowed coast line is just discernible. No
less than the lights, the sounds are all of the sea ;
the splash of the waves, the shrill whistle of the
boatswain’s pipe, the clank of the engines and the
measured throb of the propeller, not to mention a
smothered groan of unmistakable portent which
now and then finds its way up through the open

Grouped under the bulwarks some of the
Germans are chorusing in their own tongue —
student staves and jolly Bacchanalian lays of the
Rhineland — by no means in bad time or tune. A
few passengers stand muffled in great-coats under
the lee of the companion, already beginning to
fraternise, and the fresh salt air speedily becomes
tainted with whiffs of the soothing weed : others
are sitting in the saloon writing as for dear life,
in order to send a last line of farewell ere we put
out from Plymouth to-morrow. But sea breezes
have a notoriously soporific effect ; the passengers
slip off below one by one, and I am left the sole


occupant of the deck. The saloon lights are ex-
tinguished, then the cabin ones, and all is silent,
save for the ceaseless clank of the engines, and a
long drawn cry as the watch is relieved.

The bright red eye of a hghthouse flashes full
upon us for a moment, as moving steadily round
it sweeps the gloom with its sharply defined ray,
and till far into the night I pace the quarter-deck,
watcliing the black coastline as we plunge on
through the phosphorus tipped waves. At last I
go below, and divesting in a trice, stow myself into
my appointed bunk, which, by the way, is a very
comfortable one, and the first evening aboard
ship is at an end.

Awaking, the vessel is motionless ; the beat of
the screw, and the rocking and swaying are con-
spicuous by their absence, and the weaker brethren
will have a few hours’ respite from their agonies,
for we are lying inside the Plymouth breakwater. I
bethink mo of having another hour or two on terra
firma^ but it is early yet : as luck will have it though,
a fishing lugger is lying alongside all ready, and
stepping on board lier the sail is hoisted, and we
slip along before a fresh breeze. The morning is
singularly mild for the time of year, but there is
every appearance of rain. We bowl along ; on the
riglit the Stadden heights command the entrance to
the Sound ; on the left the tree-fringed bluffs of


Mount Edgecumbe, and the little twin villages of
Kingsand and Cawsand with their square church
tower, nestling in a snug corner of the bay ; in front
the roofs and spires of Plymouth, whither we are
fast speeding. I land, and having ascertained the
time of the ship’s departure, proceed on my way.

Plymouth is a pleasant looking town enough,
but no town, or country either, could present aught
but a woful and depressing appearance under the
steady downpour which promptly set in ; nor was
that all, for the wind got up, and many a rainy
gust tore round the street corners, to the imminent
jeopardy of the unwary pedestrian’s umbrella.
In fact it was blowing half a gale by the time I
stood upon the deck of the steam tug Sir Francis
Drake at twelve o’clock — the latest hour by which
passengers must be on board — so warned the
Company’s agent. But although twelve was the
hour named for the departure of that useful craft,
yet one o’clock still found her securely moored to
the quay, for no ostensible reason, the mails being
already shipped. It rained steadily and in torrents ;
the sole shelter available, except the stifling hole
of a cabin, was that afforded by the projecting
parapet of the bridge, and I made tlie most
of it, in common with a closely packed multitude.
A large number of emigrants of the very roughest
class crowded the deck, giving free vent to their


impatience, in terms savouring more of force than
of nicety of diction ; and enlivening the passing
hour with songs, whose burden was the reverse of
artistic or refining, interspersing tlie intervals with
much Whitecliapel talk. It is unpleasant, very, to
be obliged to stand on end for any length of time
in a cramped position, shivering under a scanty
shelter, the slightest move in the hope of shifting
your wearisome attitude being rewarded by the
insinuation of a cold trickUng down your neck.
It is unpleasant, very, to find yourself wedged in
amongst rather a ruffianly crowd which is bawl-
ing its jargon into your ears. But the traveller
must look for unpleasantness as his daily portion,
notwithstanding which I could not repress a growl
of relief when, nearly two hours after coming on
to the tug, the moorings were cast loose and we
paddled off to the ship.

Although past the time at which we are adver-
tised to sail, there seem no indications of a start,
luncheon is going on below, and everything looks
pretty much as usual : the newly embarked emi-
grants * forrard ‘ are jostling and cursing over their
luggage, and I learn that we are to remain at
anchor till the gale goes down, which means that
there we shall be for the rest of that day, certainly
all the next, and probably the day after that.
However, it was of no use grumbling — there we


were and we must make the best of it. The short
winter afternoon faded into night, and so far from
the wind abating it blew with tenfold force ; in
fact, lying in my bunk listening to the howling of
the gale outside as it tore and whistled through
the shrouds, I thought it might be rather a good
thing than otherwise that we were riding quietly
at anchor in a safe haven.

In the morning, a two masted sailing vessel was
on the rocks under the Stadden cliffs, having been
driven ashore during the night, so violent was the
wind even in the Sound. There she lay, fast
wedged, and we could see the lifeboat and a steam
tug hovering about her during the greater part of
the day. Our chance of a start was small, for it
blew harder than ever, and we must make up our
minds for another day of it with what philosophy
we could. So we took things contentedly enough,
watching the white jets of surf as a huge wave
would strike the breakwater, and rebounding, rear
itself up to a great height, to fall with a roar and a
splash in a milky shower — and speculating as to
what success was likely to attend the efforts made
to float the * lame duck.’ Large gulls, driven in by
the tempestuous weather, soared and wheeled
beneath the grey angry sky in the gathering twi-
light. Companions in adversity had we, and plenty ;
one of the Orient Company’s big Australian liners.


outward bound like ourselves, and two or three
other large steamers. Smaller craft was there in
abundance, lying at anchor all round, and when
evening closed in, numerous mast lanterns cast
their twinkling reflection upon the waters, while
ever and anon as the driving scud cleared, the
lights of the distant town would glow redly in the
background ; the bells striking the hour clanged
forth, to be taken up by craft after craft, through-
out the whole flotilla ; dimly could one discern
huge masses of sea, dashing over the breakwater by
the ton, and the furious howling of the gale out-
side blended with the shrill ghosthke music of the
whistUng shrouds.

Morning broke bright and clear ; during the
night the gale had undergone a marked abatement,
and it was reported that we should very soon up
anchor. The big Australian was already on the
move ; by nine o’clock we had followed her ex-
ample and were steaming out round the break-
water, and the former victims began to find out
that they were not on their ‘ sea-legs ‘ yet ; that
lying in smooth water is one thing, facing the
remnant of a strong sou’-westerly gale another.
It certainly was rather hard on these that break-
fast should be deferred till we were well out of
harbour ; had they been set to face their dire
enemy, fortified with a substantial feed, many a


pang might have been spared them. Some went
so far as to hint that that august corporation, the
Union Steamship Company (Limited), studied
economy to an undue extent ; but great allowances
must be made for people to whom life will be a
sore and grievous burden for the next forty-eight
hours, and who are aware of the same.

Although the wind has gone down, the sea has
not, and is running mountains ; a stiff fresh breeze
is blowing up Channel, and we bound along, throw-
ing the spray in masses from our bows as we plunge
and rise to the huge green rollers which tower up
high overhead, as though about to thunder on the
deck, and then, surging beneath the keel, rush off
on the other side, curling their sharp crest into
white foam, roaring and hissing in disappointed
wrath. Sea birds are to be descried in all direc-
tions, from the large herring gull whose wings
ghsten in the sun as he wheels and darts to and
fro, mingling his shrill voice with the whistUng of
the wind, to the pretty httle ‘ Mother Carey’s
chickens ‘ of which several are steadily following
astern, dropping to pick up whatever may chance
to be thrown out of the cook’s galley. Now and
then we meet a homeward bound ship standing up
Channel under a spread of canvas, and a steamer
may be seen ploughing on her course, a line of
smoke drifting from her funnel like a dark plume.


We pass the two Eddystones — the old weather-
beaten one, which has done such good service in
its time, looking quite dwarfed and squat by the
tall and tapering shape of the new — and the waves
are dashing over their base. But the high coast
headlands are getting more and more indistinct ;
presently their faint outline is just visible, then
they fade altogether. So good-bye, Old England,
for we have looked our last upon you, and now for
the sunny South !

The passengers stand about in groups, or walk
up and down, in which accomplishment, by the way,
we have none of us yet attained perfection ; gene-
rally it resolves itself into a tentative and gingerly
endeavour to persuade ourselves and others that
we are quite at home pacing the reeling deck at
an angle of 45 ; in fact, that, if anything, we rather
prefer it — but it won’t do. Truly it is an amazing
sight to contemplate two persons in their eflTorts to
keep their feet under the circumstances ; presently
one staggers more violently than usual, loses his
balance, spasmodically clutches his companion, and
both go rolhng into the scuppers. Whereat a
great guffaw ascends from the lookers-on.

K you are of a sociable turn, it is not a bad
plan to try and forget the attacks of the sea-demon
in conversation; in short, not to think of him.
Not that this always holds good, though : often


have I watched an unfortunate, forming one of a
jovial group, and manfully battUng with the dire
qualms which surely and slowly are gaining the
mastery. But it is of no use ; paler and paler
grows the unhappy one, till at last he beats a sud-
den and precipitate retreat. * All up with him,’
says some one, and the fun goes on as before. If
any of my readers, on voyaging intent, are expect-
ing to hear of a cure for sea-sickness in these
pages they will be disappointed ; I never knew a
real one, though I have heard of many. But a
preventive is better, and I have always found the
following very simple one to answer. Firmly
persuade yourself that nothing is further from
your programme than that little excursion to the
side of the ship. Once on board, take your meals
as regularly as you would on shore ; but, except for
the purpose of taking them, do not go below : tlie
fresh sea-breeze is a powerful revivifier, and the
atmosphere ‘tween decks, with the port holes
closed the first two or three days of a passage, is
enough to overturn the strongest. Never mind if
it’s cold ; wrap up well, and walk about as much
as possible, and don’t go below at night till you
are perfectly certain of going to sleep the moment
you turn in. The great thing is to keep in the
open air as much as possible. But I will get back
to my narrative.



The following morning saw us well into tlie
Bay of Biscay. It was cold and raw ; the sky
seemed to meet the seething plain of great tum-
bUng leaden waves ; a grey mist swept the surface,
and heavy showers drove the few of us who had
ventured upon deck under the lee of the com-
panion, where we stood, trying to keep our footing,
for the ship was rolling heavily, and the decks wet
and slippery. A sudden and violent shock — some-
thing has given way ; it seems to me only like a
heavy sea striking one of the boats hanging in the
davits. Then the bell in the engine-room sounds,
and the vessel stops ; the captain and quarter-
master, with one or two of the officers, make their
way aft. Meanwhile, the sensation — not to say
alarm — ^has extended to the saloon passengers ;
the sea-sick ones discover that they are not nearly
so anxious to go to the bottom as they supposed,
but find their way up the companion stairs with
wondrous celerity. * Wliat is it ? ‘ ‘ Wliat’s gone
wrong ? ‘ &c. &c., is heard in more or less apprehen-
sive tones among the startled groups. I certainly
had no idea how little it took to create a scare on
board ship, for, in the present instance, neither has
the shaft broken nor the propeller, nor have any
of the port holes been staved in, but one of the
steering chains has snapped nearly opposite where
we were standing when the shock was first felt.


The after wheel is soon manned, while a posse of
the crew is told off to repair the broken chain ;
the engines are in motion again, and the good
ship is driving along through the mist and spray,
plunging over the restless watery plain, every beat
of the screw carrying us further and further from
Old England. However, it is not my intention to
chronicle each day’s events, but rather to give an
insight of Ufe on board an ocean-going steamer
so towards evening of the fifth day after leaving
Pljrmouth — four is the usual run, but ours being
an intermediate boat does not hurry herself —
we are standing in to Madeira, and skirt the rocky
coast ; its cliffs glowing in the sunset beams. Our
yards are braced, aU is taut and clear, and, by the
time we glide in and drop anchor in the roadstead
of Funchal, the shadows of night have fallen upon
land and water.



Madeira — A noiRy lot — Diving boys — Funcbal — Pleasures of landings
A bazaar afloat — Tenerifie — * A life on tbe ocean wave ‘ — Fire
practice — Cburch parade — Tbe weekly press — Crossing the line —
A callow Teuton — Some cheerful reflections — ^Tbeatricals — ^TabLe

Very refreshing to the eye, after five days of
tumbling sea, is Madeira ; its heights crowned with
waving groves ; its green slopes and luxuriant vege-
tation ; the quaint old foreign looking town spread-
ing along the edge of the bay, while dotted about on
the slope above, many a roof and white sun-baked
wall of a country villa peers through its thick
masses of trees. Strange tropical plants mingle
their bright plumage with trailing creepers which
festoon the garden walls overhanging the blue
waters, and a delightful balminess suggestive of
citron groves and spice and doUe far niente pervades
the air. In the present instance, however, we are
not to see the island at its best, and our arrival
after dark instead of by day is the subject of not
a little growUng among the passengers. But a
brilliant moon goes far towards making up for


I Its PEOPLE. t9

their fancied grievance, flooding sea and land with
silver light.

Everyone who has visited Madeira will re-
member what excitement is caused in the ab-
original breast by the arrival of the mail steamer.
Before the anchor was fairly down we were beset
by a legion of boats bobbing like corks alongside
of the big ship. Some were laden with wicker
chairs and tables, others with all sorts of articles
manufactured in the island — paper-knives, inlaid
boxes, lace, filagree work — giracrackery innumer-
able and indescribable. Then there were fruit
boats piled up with baskets of oranges, bananas,
loquots, &c. &c., and boats plying for hire; their
occupants all screaming and jabbering, josthng
and fighting to get nearest the ship. An aquatic
pandemonium. Then there are boats ftiU of half-
naked boy8 anxious to dive for silver: coppers
sink too rapidly, nor can they see them under
water — ^I once threw in a handful of half-pence,
but only two were found. Wonderfully quick are
these amphibious urchins after a sixpence or a
threepenny bit, catching it before it has sunk
many feet. The competition, too, is keen ; one
will seize the coin ahnost from another’s grasp,
whereupon the disappointed youth will haply lie
in wait for and duck his more fortunate rival on
rising to the surface. Nor can this one elude his


relentless pursuer, who hardly allows him to get his
head above water ; in fact, I have seen this carried
to an extent that would suffice to drown the ordi-
nary swimmer twice over. But it takes a great deal
to drown a Madeira diving-boy.

Awful thieves are these aquatic pedlars. An
arm through a port hole — should the stewards be
unwary enough to leave one open, which they
generally take good care not to do — as their boats
toss alongside, and a blanket, bolster, coat, hat,
anything seizable, speedily changes ownership.
Owing to this proclivity a show is made of keep-
ing them off the vessel, but there are too many
of them ; the sturdy quartermaster’s back turned,
they chmb up Uke monkeys, where there is
scarcely fingerhold much less foothold, and the
passengers, anxious to * deal,’ aid and abet them
m so doing. I saw the quartermaster drive one
fellow down the side as if repulsing a boarding
party, and looked over expecting to see him in
the water. Not a bit of it ; there he was,
scrambling quietly but rapidly into his boat,
whence he hurled a string of Portuguese invec-
tive at the contemptuous tar. Everyone buys a
wicker chair at Madeira ; I do likewise, not for the
above reason, but that the possession of the said
article of furniture adds materially to one’s com-
fort during the voyage, for you can’t drag the


ship benches and plant them at will about the
deck. Therefore, watching my opportunity — for
our captain has a prejudice against deck chairs,
and hitherto no vendors thereof have been al-
lowed on board — ^I proceed to drive a bargain
over the stem of the vessel. After some haggling
— no one ever yet effected a deal with a native
of Madeira without haggling — my contraband
seat is handed up, and I take steps for securing
the same.

But we must begin to think about landing,
and as the ship will not leave till nearly midnight
there is time to go ashore and look about a little.
Our party is made up and we have no difficulty
in getting a boat, each and all being extremely
anxious to have the pleasure of carrying us. So,
depositing ourselves in the stem sheets we tell
the fellows to shove off, which they seem not
to see the force of doing just yet, hoping to get
some more * fares.’ This we otjeot ta strongly,
there being as many of us as the boat will hold —
twice are we nearly capsized, and amid much
frantic gesticulation, and yelling and jabbering
enough to deafen one, we fight clear of the crowd
and are pulling for the beach. I have often
wondered that casualties are not of frequent
occurrence on these occasions ; everyone does his
level best to get into the boat at once, specially


the rougher sort from * forrard/ jostling and
crowding to any extent — and all this on the nar-
row gangway stair. The rascally boatmen, more-
over, are only too eager to carry as many as
possible, quite irrespective of any considerations
of safety. We land, and pushing through the
importunate host of loafers on the beach, take
our way up the town.

A queer old place is Funchal, with its narrow
stone-paved streets, and ugly but picturesque
buildings. Among these is the Cathedral ; I mean
it comes under the former adjective, for it certainly
is not picturesque. A visit to it is a game hardly
worth the candle, and on the steps you have
to run the gauntlet of a crowd of hapless fellow
mortals, clamorously soliciting alms by virtue of
sundry loathsome afflictions which they eagerly
thrust on your notice. No wheels rumble through
the steep, narrow streets ; rough, heavy sleds
drawn by oxen being the ordinary mode of
conveyance. The fruit market is well worth
a visit, and, if time allows, you may make an
expedition to the Convent, whose white walls, far
up the hill, you saw from the ship. There it is
that the lace is made which they were pestering
you on board to buy, and a fine view of the
town and bay is obtainable.

On this occasion we do none of these things.


but make our way to the English hotel ; where,
as we sit enjoying our cigars in the garden, five
nights after leaving the chill November winds
and fogs, the air still and balmy, and a glorioue
moon silvering the leaves overhead, it occurs
to me that our evening arrival is anything but
subject matter for a grievance. Time passes,
and we must get on board again, so picking up
some of our party on the way, we make for
the beach : once more we have to run the
gauntlet of a vodferous and ill-smelling crowd,
but there are plenty of us, and we are afloat
again without any trouble. Gruesome tales arc
told of stray traveUera at night being heavily
black-mailed before suflered to embark, or
belated ones having to pay through the nose
ere their scoundrels of boatmen would take
them on board. I can’t say that this kind of
thing has ever come within my actual experience —
and I have landed and come off again at night
and alone ; yet it is not altogether a safe experi-
ment. But in the present instance we ai’e more
than strong enough to hold our own.

On our return we found that the prohibition
had been removed, and the amphibious liawkera
had accordingly opened out and displayed their
wares. Articles of fancy work fearfully and
wonderfully made, Madeira lace, walking sticks,



photographs, queer little devices in shells, filagree
work, knicknacks of every description, lie spread
out on the deck, or arranged about on seats and
skylights. The whole afterpart of the ship is
crowded ; . limits of classification are in abeyance,
and the emigrant jostles the saloon passenger,
vying with him in his bargaining : the Portu-
guese are bawling out their stock in trade,
Jabberi„! «>d h4ling with their customer.,
and the row is simply deafening. The red gleam
of the lanterns falls upon a bustUng throng,
lighting up many an eager face; from that of
a rough specimen from *forrard’ bargaining
for a curiously wrought gold (?) ring, to that
of the lady passenger who has at last secured
the coveted piece of lace upon her own terms.
Yonder a group is examining with the air of
connoisseurs sundry grey parrots, whose con-
versational merits their olive-skinned proprietors
are extolUng with a volubihty not unworthy of
the objectionable birds themselves.

But the contents of the impromptu booths
become smaller and beautifully less, the howling
of their owners decreasing in proportion ; trade
hangs fire, and moreover it is midnight, and time
to weigh anchor. The shore bell rings, and the
vivacious Portuguese hurriedly pack up their
traps and bundle into the boats, to retire upon


their gains and await the arrival of the next mail.
The steam pipe roars ; the water is churned into
white foam astern as the big ship swings round
to her cable, which is fast being wound in. The
anchor is up, and we glide away from the roadstead ;
the revolution of the screw settles into a rapid
steady beat ; we stand on our southward course
over the moonlit sea, and by morning, Madeira,
with its rich verdure and picturesque heights,
its quaint town and clamorous aborigines, has
sunk from sight beneath the horizon.

Teneriffe is less than twenty-four hours’ run
from Madeira, and of course the nest thing is
to look out for the famous Peak : at lengtli
a clear cut outline looms through a mass of dark
cloud, and there it is, rearing up 13,000 feet
sheer out of the sea. It seems doubtful whether
we shall get a good view, but towards evening
the clouds melt away, and we pass beneath ; the
lofty enow-capped summit, gleamijig red in the
rays of the setting sun, towers to the sky. I
suppose there is no mountain in the world which
affords such a view of uninterrupted height ;
even the stupendous peaks of the Himalayas are
surrounded by others in gradation. But Teneriffe,
starting abruptly from the sea, labours under
no such scenic disadvantage ; reigning in solitary
etateliness over the vast ocean plain. I have


seen it white with snow nearly to the base, set
in the surrounding expanse of blue water ; to-day
as we pass there is only enough of snow on the
summit to convey an idea of its height.

Two hours later I stood on deck ; the sea
was perfectly calm, and the great ship standing
on her way steadily as a rock ; a golden moon
hung overhead, and the liquid surface seemed
all on fire. A cloud had enshrouded the mighty
Peak, and as we glided between it and the
surrounding islands, whose dark shapes wrapped
in shadowy gloom stood weirdly out into the
moonlit waters, it seemed as if we were vogueing
on an enchanted sea.

And now Tenerifie is left behind, each day
becomes more deliciously warm, the sea is as
calm as a lake, and everyone has settled down
into the usual routine of life on board ship, which,
though monotonous, is not without a certain
charm of its own. For under no other circum-
stances whatever do you feel so thoroughly
justified in taking life easily. You get up when
you like, and go to bed when you like; you
sit and read under the awning in the heat of
the day, you take quarter-deck walks and smoke
your cheroot in the cool of eve, and you enter
with zest into the hundred-and-one trifles which,
so insignificant in themselves, assume quite an


importance for the time being. The ‘speaking’
of a passing vessel, and sweepstaking on tlie daily
speed of your own, are events ; the Uvely interest
you take in so commonplace an occurrence as
tlie gambols of a shoal of porpoises surprisea
you when you come to look back upon it. If
fortunate in your fellow voyagers, you interchange
ideas on most subjects under heaven. In fact
you feel that you are not only allowed, but even
expected, to take life very easily, and the con-
sumption of the lightest of light hterature and
manifold cigars become actions not merely per-
missible but positively meritorious.

So it is with us. Even the frailest of sea-sick
mortals has now forgotten the onslaughts of the
terrible demon as we glide smoothly along through
the still waters which wear the blue-green trans-
parency of tropical latitudes. Windsails carry
draughts of refreshing air down through the
skylights, and Ught clothing has become the
correct thing.

The middle of the morning. It is already warm
enough to be uncomfortable, save within the shade,
but an awning covers the length of the quarter-deck.
The passengers sit and lie about in various attitudes
of listless ease ; in many a hand may be descried a
most reprehensible-looking ‘ yellow-back.” Others
are chatting or indulging in a mild game of which


pencils and paper form the chief ingredients*
Here and there a few ladies with some sort of work
in hand strive hard to appear industrious. Now
and then a rush is made for the side to look at a
shoal of * springers/ or a cloud of silvery flying-
fish skimming bird-like along the blue surface, which
albeit so still and placid, is teeming with life in its
quiet depths. Or perhaps the dark triangular fin
of a shark gUdes along, warning of the double
danger of faUing into those treacherous seas.
Yonder, abaft the line of demarcation — for a space
of a few feet in the stem has been turned into an
open-air smoking-room — sits a group of Germans,
each at the end of a long pipe, stolidly playing
cards ; while on the other side of the quarter-deck
a game of * bull,’ that mildest of ship sports, is
going on.

Prominent among all is the burly form of our
jovial skipper passing from group to group, his
bearded face beaming with merriment as, having
fired ofl* a parting joke, he moves on to give the
benefit of it to a fresh batch. Eight bells strike ;
the officers come aft and make their reports, and
the captain joins them as, sextant in hand, they take
the latitude. The more energetic of the passengers
move towards the companion stairs to ascertain
the run during the last twenty-four hours, which is
posted up daily at twelve o’clock. Presently the


luncheon bell rings and all make for the aaloon,
which wears a very different appearance to when
we last saw it. The seats are all occupied, the
‘ fiddles ‘ are conspicuous by their absence, and we
do not have to chng to the banisters, then to the
pniars of the saloon, as we spasmodically rush to
our places. No periodical smash of glass or
crockery, as an unpractised steward cannons against
his colleague in the passage, now makes itself
heard. No longer are the fronts of our waistcoats
anointed by our soup in our acrobatic efforts to
consume the same, nor do the contents of the
mustard pot and bitter beer mingle on the table-
cloth to pour their united forces into our lap.
None of these things happen now, they are among
events of the past (let us hope) ; to*day, at any rate,
we may absorb our soup in legitimate fashion, and
contemplate the proximity of Colman to Bass with
calm placidity, feeling certain that each will keep
within due bounds. Everyone is festive enough,
and apparently well contented with his or her lot
in life ; corks are popping, conversation and laughter
flow freely, as also do iced claret and soda water,
not to mention other beverages agreeable to
tropical climes. At the end of luncheon the fire-
bell rings. We who have been at sea before are
accustomed to it. in fact can generally tell within
a day when to expect it ; the others have been


warned, yet I think I can detect just a shade
of momentary scare on one or two faces, but only
momentary. Stewards skurry out of the saloon
with blankets in their hands, and we follow them
to see the fire parade. The crew tumbles up, the
donkey engine is in full swing, and hoses are
vigorously making play upon the impassive face
of old ocean. Every man is in his place, from the
commander to the cook’s boy ; the boats’ crews,
each under its appointed officer, are at their boats,
in which at the word of command some of them take
their places. Here the fire practice usually ends ;
the shrill whistle of the boatswain’s pipe rings out
above the clank of the donkey engine and the
hissing of the jets of water, the hoses are un-
screwed, the ship’s company is piped down, and all
is quiet as before. These practices are held once
a week, generally on Saturday.

Another great institution on board is the
Sunday parade, when all assemble on the quarter-
deck except those actually on duty. There are
the captain and officers in gala uniform, together
with the surgeon and engineers ; the crew, men
and boys, in their smart blue jackets and snowy
trousers ; stewards and firemen, the pallid faces of
these last showing in marked contrast to the
healthy brown complexions of the rest of the ship’s
company. The muster is called, and all answer to


^H their names ; then preparations are made for Divine
^H service. It is a lovely morning; the extra seats
^V with which the quarter-deck is furnished are soou
1 filled, many of the second class passengers and

emigrants turning out in their smartest attire,
j^l and there is quite a large congregation. A
^H passenger acts as organist at the piano, which has
j^ been hoisted on deck for the occasion, and at an

improvised rostrum draped in the Union Jack, the

» captain officiates, reading the office of Morning
Prayer and Litany, together with some prayers for
use at sea, in a clear ringing voice. A volunteer
choir groups round the piano, and the Canticles
and several hymns are sung ; in fact, the service is
very hearty and by no means a bad specimen of an
English service on board an English ship. Our
congregation joins lustily in the hymns, and the
familiar strains sound forth over the calm waters.

It is the rule on board the Union Company’s
vessels to hold service every Sunday morning. Of
course any number of persons are at Uberty to
hold it at other times, provided the arrangements
do not interfere with those of the ship, but only
the morning service is obligatory. If there is a
clergyman of the Church of England on board
he is almost invai’iably asked to officiate ; should
there not be one, however, the captain does so
himself. No difficulty is placed in the way of


ministers of other denominations holding services
for their co-religionists, provided they do not clash
with the due performance of the recognised one ;
and, whatever may be thought of this arrange-
ment, it appears to work well

Everyone is reconciled to life on board, and
those who at first were incUned to growl because
we would make the passage in twenty-three instead
of nineteen days, have subsided, and now say they
didn’t care on their own account, but only because
it seemed a pity that one of the Company’s best
boats should not make one of the best passages.
Such disinterestedness who could find it in their
hearts to doubt ? Time is got through, all doing
their best to make it pass pleasantly ; there are
games and races on deck in the cool part of the
day, singing in the saloon in the evening, and
sometimes the piano is hoisted up and the decks
cleared for a dance. One enterprising wight starts
a weekly newspaper with a fantastic title, which
speedily becomes popular, judging from the faces
of each group which may be seen discussing its
contents, no less than from the abundant inquiry
as to the next issue. News of the week and lead-
ing articles, correspondence and answers to queries,
and advertisements— even a * poet’s comer.’ It
becomes quite an institution. Another worthy of
artistic turn deems it his mission to portray all and


each of us as we sit, stand, or lie about the deck.
This feat is generally performed unknown to the
subject thereof, who is taken off in every attitude,
whether in the act of throwing a quoit, singing
a song, or even while indulging in an afternoon
siesta. But I am bound to say that with one or
two exceptions the representations bear to the
originals not the slightest resemblance whatever.
Theatricals are talked of — very much so ; unUke
most things much talked of, however, they are
destined to become a fact, and bold spirits may be
seen book in hand striving to get up their parts,
with a determination the more laudable by reason
of the state of the thermometer. Which thermo-
meter daily warns that we are fast approaching
the Equator.

The traditional festivity observed on crossing
* the line,’ with which Captain Marry at ‘s delight-
ful works have done so much to familiarise
non-seagoers, is becoming a thing of the past ; in
fact, as far as passenger steamers are concerned,
it may be said to have so become already. In
former years I once saw Neptune hold his court
with all due and accredited state on board a
mail steamer, and a very tidy sort of a row was
the result ; but the practice has now been done
away with, and rightly, so in this instance the
merrier s]nrits had to rest content with whatever



fun could be got out of the occasion. Of course
the venerable jest of sticking a hair across the
lens of a telescope and inviting the most gullible
of our CO- voyagers to inspect * the Une ‘ was
resorted to; and some of the Germans having
persuaded one of their number — a long-legged
-^culapius — that Neptune would be visible that
night, proceeded to devise and carry out a mild
practical joke at the expense of their credulous
compatriot. Reasonable time having been allowed
the victim to undress, a bucket of water was
held in readiness above his cabin window ; some-
thing fastened to a piece of string and lowered
over the side was made to tap against the same,
which opened, and a head protruded, its owner
expectnig to behold Neptune in all his glory.
The contents of the bucket, and the delighted
gufiaws of his countrymen, however, promptly
brought home to the mind of the unsuspecting
Teuton that the whole afiair was a mistake, and
the court of the scaly monarch a snare and a
delusion; for ere long he emerged from the
companion and proceeded to *chevvy’ his per-
secutors all over the ship. By which it will be
seen that even gentlemen from * Das Vaterland ‘
can wax playful on the high seas.

But we are spared the hottest of equatorial
weather, and the nights are not only tolerable


but even enjoyable; so we partly turn them into
day, and sit on deck into the small hours, chatting
and distilling the fragrant weed. And the great
ship stands steadily on over the lonely moonlit
sea, a broad path of livid piiosphorescence mark-
ing her track, straight as an arrow, far astern —
isolated, cut off from tlie world, with her crowded
human freight ; alone, the vast silent plain
stretching around dim and boundless. A sudden
leak, an explosion, a fire — that word which at sea
carries tenfold terror in ita four simple letters —
and where are we? What of the hundreds so
calmly sleeping below ? We are added to the
list of ‘ missing,’ the vast mysterious deep keeps
its own counsel, and our fate remains for ever
unsolved, unless perhaps a charred fragment of
wreckage or a few starving waifs are picked up
to tell the tale of awe. I suppose some such
thoughts as these must from time to time enter
into the calculations of every reflective traveller
as he paces the deserted deck at midnight, or,
leaning over the rudder, gazes into the brilliancy
of phosphorescent light beneath, now flashing in
fitful gleams, now showering out clusters of bright
floating stars as the ever-revolving screw cleaves
the luminous waters.

But to turn to livelier themes. I said that
tiieatricals were in process of elaboration, and


by the time everybody knows his or her part
fairly, an evening is fixed upon. Posters of por-
tentous dimensions and whimsical compilation
are struck off, and at the appointed time a tolerably
full * house ‘ has assembled. A stage has been
erected against the companion*; fronting this are
seats placed all down the quarter-deck, which,
being shut in with canvas on the open sides
of the awning, has quite the appearance of a large
marquee. Flags of all sorts are hung around,
their bright colours glowing in the hght of the
large ship lanterns. The front seats are reserved
for first class passengers, and by the time the
curtain draws up and the jovial skipper appears
on the stage to read the prologue, the quarter-
deck is crowded, for on these occasions the
passengers from * forrard ‘ receive a general
invitation to witness the performance. Plays on
board ship are always of the light comedy order,
and ours was no exception ; the acting was
spirited, and evoked roars of merriment. What
if one or two of the performers might be seen
rolling their eyes rather frequently and despair-
ingly in the direction of the prompter’s box?
What though that functionary — none other than
our blithe commander — could be discerned by
a select few through a chink in the curtains.


shaking with suppressed laughter to such an
extent as to be totally incapable of responding
to the mute appeal? What mattered it that
little hitches of this kind did occur — they only
added to the fun.

Sometimes the monotony of the voyage would
be broken by the speaking of a passing steamer,
either one of our own or of the rival Company ;
for we are far out of the beat of sailing vessels,
and have old Ocean quite to ourselves. The days
pass in their ordinary groove as we are nearing the
end of the voyage ; we have read all our own books
and all our neighbours’ too; the last number of
the newspaper has been issued, and those who are
going to leave the vessel at Cape Town are think-
ing of packing up. So the twenty-third morning
after starting from Plymouth, we wake to find that
the accustomed throb of the propeller has ceased,,
and to miss the vibration of the engines. We are
lying in Table Bay : yonder the masts of the ship-
ping in the docks make an effective foreground to
the town, behind which. Table Mountain rears its
wall of sheer rock to a height of 5,000 feet; on tlie
right is the pyramid-like Lion’s Head, on the left
the distant Paarl mountains, whose purple cones
loom through the haze. It is a splendid morning,
not a cloud in the sky ; and as we look out over


the blue bay dotted with Malay fishing boats, we
gaze upon a scene of fair beauty very refreshing to
the eye after three weeks of boundless sea.

At length the tide is high enough to admit of
entrance, so we up anchor and steam quietly into



Cape Town — A motley crowd — An invitiog coast — Port fHizabeth —
Croasiiig a ‘ Bar ‘ — East London— A Eafirarian railway — St. John s

Everyone arriving at Cape Town, even though not
for the first time, will scarcely fail to be struck —
as the steamer slowly makes her way through the
narrow entrance of the harbour — ^with the eager
crowd upon the jetty, impelled thither by as many
motives as there are elements in the throng.
There is the brisk merchant in his pith helmet
and sweeping puggaree. The senator in orthodox
white chimney-pot donned by virtue of his office,
but whose sunburnt countenance and loosely made
clothes proclaim him far more at home on some
up-country sheep or ostrich farm, rising with the
sun and turning in not long after the going down
of the same, than speechifying and being speechi-
fied to in CouncU or Assembly by night, and wan-
dering rather forlornly about the city by day.
There are idlers brought together by no other
motive than a ready pretext for whiUng away an


hour in witnessing the arrival of the Englisli mail.
Then there is a sprinkling of persons who have
come to meet friends or relatives. Yellow
skinned Malays are also there in plepty, their
picturesque Oriental dresses lending colour to the
diversely arrayed throng. Darker groups also —
Slaves,^ Mozambique negroes, and Kafirs from the
Eastern frontier, stand and squat about in the back-
ground. The decks are piled up with luggage :
those about to land are all eager to do so, though
not without a sneaking regret at leaving tlie old
ship which has brought them safely over, and there
is no end of hand-shaking and good-byes as people
are met by their friends, or are bid farewell to by
their fellow-passengers. The Malay cab-drivers
drawn up in line are yelling for fares, and a crowd
of loafers of every shade and colour is clamouring
for the privilege of carrying luggage which no one
wants carried. I wait till the excitement abates,
and hailing a hansom, drive quietly up into the
town, the central part of which is distant nearly
two miles from the docks.

Cape Town is by no means an agreeable city,
the beauty of its surroundings notwithstanding.
No one lives in it who can possibly live out of it ;

• The people emancipated from serfdom to the Dutch in the
earlier days of the Colony are btill so-called They are of St, Helena


Green Point, Mowbray, Wynberg, Constantia, and
other pleasant suburban retreats containing the
residences of the principal merchants and Govern-
ment officials, who come in by rail to their daily
avocations. Its streets are unpaved and very
dusty ; in fact, given a fair breeze, and the whole
place is enveloped in clouds of pungent red dust,
which, tearing round corners, sweep over the un-
wary pedestrian, speedily reducing him to a state
of helpless and frantic blindness. And there are
no side pavements. Should the freshly caught
Briton flatter himself that he has got upon one,
before he has progressed many yards he will find
it necessary either to retrace his confiding steps,
or to take a jump of perhaps five feet, for he is on
the ‘ stoep ‘ of a house, which ‘ stoeps ‘ line the
sides of the street where would be pavements in
any but a Dutch town. Then, too. Cape Town is
literally the abode of ‘ ancient and fishlike smells ‘ —
I will hardly go so far as to say as many as there
are streets in the town, but that there is an ex-
ceeding great variety to be encountered at every
turn I can unhesitatingly vouch. Among the ad-
vantages of the place there are good shops, and a
railway station with frequent trains, by which you
may make an expedition to the wine growing
neighbourhood or wherever your wandering fancy
may tend. Tram cars run along the principal


thoroughfares, and hansom cabs are plentiful, their
drivers, mostly Malays, though not so disinclined
to overreach the new importation as one might
wish, would yet compare very favourably with the
too often surly, insolent ruffians of the London cab-
stand. There is a good library and a fair museum ;
a theatre and skating rink, which last has, I
believe, shared tlie fate of its kind ; the Botanical
Gardens are pretty and well kept, and form a
pleasant lounge of an afternoon. And there is an
ugly Cathedral which, notwithstanding its dis-
couraging exterior, has services equal in musical
proficiency to most cathedrals in Britain. Hotel
accommodation, by the way, is very bad — a bed-
room to yourself being, as a rule, out of the
question ; in fact, you are in luck’s way if not
herded in with three or four other persons. On
the frontier one may look for that sort of thing,
and accept the situation with traveller’s equa-
nimity ; but in the metropolis of South Africa one
hardly expects to be * stabled.’

In short, Cape Town requires all its pleasant
surroundings to redeem it from being one of the
most unattractive places on the face of the earth.
Hardly a handsome building is to be met with
— all is ugly, Dutch, and squat; and when our
allotted two days have fled, and we are steaming out
of the harbour, I, for one^ am not loud in my regrets.


On we go, pitching head to the tumbling seas —
now that we have passed the ‘Cape of Storms,’
good-bye to the motionless cahn of the tropics —
giving a wide berth to the line of rugged cliffs
on our lee, for many a treacherous sunken reef
lies there. Yonder, in the gloaming, clouds of
whitewinged gulls are circling about the frown-
ing peak of Cape Hangklip and the surf breaks
with dull roar among the scarce hidden reefs at
its base. A desolate ironbound coast. On — past
Danger Point and Quoin Point, the scene of the
striking of the ill-fated Teuton} and evening has
sunk into the darkness of night before the low-
lying light of Agulhas gleams out over the sea.

Another day’s run, and we are at anchor in
Algoa Bay, entering late at night. But in the
morning there is no prospect of our getting
away soon, for it is Christmas Eve : the lighter-
men and beach-hands strike work early in the
day, and not half the cargo is landed yet. There
is no help for it ; work they will not, so all that
remains is to take things quietly, and to make up
our minds to spend Christmas on board, or go
ashore and do the same.

Port Elizabeth, the chief mercantile town of
the Eastern Province, though occupying an unin-

‘ Tbo Teitton itnicli on a rock 1
Cape Ilangklip, in August 1681, o’

tar Quoin Point, and fnundared off
IT ‘2&i penons perishing.


viting situation on a flat, dreary shore, at once
strikes the traveller as an improvement on the
metropolis in most respects. Large and sub-
stantial buildings grace the town ; you may walk
down the principal thoroughfares without un-
pleasant thoughts of typhoid intruding themselves,
and the place gives you the idea of being alto-
gether smarter and more go-ahead than its
western neighbour. Here the Dutch element is
in the minority, for Port Elizabeth is a town of
English creation ; but the German population is
large and fast increasing. I believe I am right
in saying that besides many of the principal
merchants, the majority of clerks and employes in
mercantile houses and stores are Germans; the
management of the hotels is mostly in German hands,
and the German club is every whit as pretentious
as its British neighbour. I can vouch for it that
you hear nearly as much German spoken in Port
Elizabeth as English, and the arrival of every mail
steamer floods the place with fresh Teutons.

A thoroughly busy town is the Liverpool of the
Eastern Province, as its burgesses love to style
it. Besides four or five mail steamers generally
anchored in the bay, there are plenty of sailing
vessels discharging cargo, and the beach is alive
with hundreds of black fellows wading out through
the surf to carry ashore the contents of the lighters


as they come in. During the wool season strings
of waggons piled high with their huge loads may
be seen wending along the streets, the whips of the
drivers cracking like rifle shots over the toiling
spans. In front of the stores bales of wool lie in
hundreds, all being marked and got under cover,
while the transport waggons are thick about the
streets, the oxen standing or lying down in their
yokes. Here and there is a burly frontiersman, Dutch
or English, who, scorning the (in his eyes) effeminate
fashions of towns, strides along in all the glory of
wideawake and corduroy, a * sjambok ‘ ^ dangUng
from his hirsute wrist. But everywhere dust and
scufl3e, everyone busy — Kafir and Malay, Jew and

There is a terminus at Port Elizabeth with a
couple of different lines of rail, by which you may
either make an expedition to Grahamstown, the
* City of the Settlers ‘ — far and away the prettiest
town in the Eastern Province — or you may run
out to Cradock or Graaff Reinet and inspect the
Boers and the boundless karoo ; but that will take

Not so very long ago landing was accompUshed
in Algoa Bay decidedly under diflGiculties — as also
was embarkation ; you were bundled with your
luggage into a whale boat, and had to pay pretty

* A rhinoceros hide whip, suspended to the wrist by a thong.


nearly anything the boatmen chose to ask for the
privilege. Now, all is changed ; steam launches
ply backwards and forwards, and the competition
is keen.

Our prognostications were realised : not until
the evening of the second day after Christmas did
we make a start, anchoring the following morning
in the roadstead of East London. And here I am
to leave the ship, for I intend remaining a few
days at that rising port before proceeding on to
Natal. Rather more than a month has gone by
since I first climbed on board at Southampton, and
now that I * shin ‘ down the side for the last time,
it is with an absurd and sneaking sensation of
regret. As the steam launch pushes off, I cannot
help thinking of my last landing at this progressive
port. Tlien, it was a case of crouching down
among a score of navvies in the stern of a surf-boat,
hardly able to move for fear of one’s head coming
in contact with the hawser. A huge green wall of
water towered overhead, and — swish ! — were we in
the boat or in the sea ? Before we had time to
take breath, a second roller curled and broke over
us with like result ; another, and another, as we
bumped two or three times on the bar, and then
rode smoothly into the mouth of the river. My
friends the navvies spouted forth salt water mingled
with blasphemy, and we landed. In fact, I was


literally thrown up on the shores of South Africa
without a dry stitch on me. Now, however, it is
a very different story ; the Kttle steam launch rides
the rollers like a duck, her screw whirling like
the cowl of a chimney ; not a drop of water
reaches us as we sit crowded on her well-raised
deck, and by the time we are bowling up the broad
river towards the Customs wharf, some of my
fellow-travellers think that crossing the redoubted
* bar ‘ is but a poor affair after all. But tempora

East London is a go-ahead place. Not many
years ago a very bad * hotel ‘ and a few German
shanties were the sole habitations on the east bank
of the Buffalo where is now Panmure, which
comprises the railway station and all the principal
places of business. The newness of the tenements
and the unfinished state of the streets bear witness
to the recent growth of the place ; but building is
going on briskly, and the town increasing in size and
standing. It is the port of British Kaffraria, but
like most South African ports, the ‘ bar ‘ formed
by the shallowness of the river and the constant
silting up of the sand, is an effectual impediment
to it ever possessing a good harbour. The road-
stead, too, is an unsafe one, and, during the south-
westerly gales. Heaven help the vessel that cannot
make a wide offing, for she will inevitably be


driven on the rocks and broken up among the
tremendous surf, which beats with terrific force
upon this dangerous coast.

I mentioned a railway at East London. Now a
KafTrarian train is not a rapid means of locomo-
tion; nevertheless it is infinitely preferable to
that detestable structure, tlie old passenger-cart,
which erewhile hammered you about the country
from place to place, if haply it did not pitch you
out and break your neck on the way. Railway
speed hardly averages fifteen miles per hour, but
then you do not have long to wait at the side
stations. Many of these consist of a mere roof
and platform in the middle of the * veldt ; ‘ ^ you
tell the guard beforehand where you want to get
down, and he stops the train at that particular
place. If you want to catch a train at one of these
sidings you simply stand on the platform and hail
it as you would a tram car. As the line is unfenced
and cattle frequently stray thereon, the engines
are provided with * cow-catchers,’ with the result
that, in many instances, it is ‘ bad for the coo.’ Nor
is the speed regular, for the train will crawl up a
long acclivity, hand over hand as it were, and tear
down the other side at breakneck pace — for all
the world like bicycle riding.

* ‘ Veldt * in South African parlance is ground uncultivated and
unenclosed. Bushy or open, stony or sjiooth, matten* not ; if unre-
claimed it is all ‘ veldt.’


Curious are some of the idiosyncrasies which
characterise the Union Company’s dealings in the
embarkation of passengers at East London. I
found that in addition to the regular fare to
Durban, which was high enough, I was expected to
pay IO5. for being put on board ship ; pretty much
as if on hailing a cab the driver were to demand an
extra 6d. for the use of the step : and whereas
the intending passenger pays 10^. for his transport
over the bar, anyone going out to the ship and
back for his own amusement is only charged 5*.
A rule of thumb which the uninitiated can hardly
aspire to fathom. Anyhow I find myself on board
a coasting steamer one morning, en route for

It is a beautiful day, and the sea is calm as a
mill pond as we skirt the Kaffrarian shore ; on,
past the Kei mouth and the fantastic ‘ Hole in the
Wall,’ a sudden break in a hne of perpendicular
rock ; fair to the eye are the green wooded heights
of Pondoland sleeping in the afternoon haze, but
the sun has set by the time we pass the mouth of
the St. John’s River, whose frowning portals of lofty
cliff are all the more imposing for being seen in the
gathering gloom of evening. In the morning I find
we are running close in to the Natal coast. It is
like going up a river ; the greensward slopes down
to the water’s edge — here and there a sugar planta-



tion with its low thatched dwellings surrounded
by mango trees and tall bamboo; but not until
midday do we round the Bluff and Durban lies
spread out in front like a panorama. The town on
the edge of the broad land-locked bay ; on the one
hand the high wooded * Berea,’ dotted with roofs
nestUng among the luxuriant growth, on the other
the bold Bluff with its tapering lighthouse. A
forest of masts belonging to the shipping small
enough to cross the bar, bristled just inside the
entrance, while the larger vessels lay at anchor in
the wide roadstead.

We watched the tug come off, fondly hoping
we should be enabled to land. Not a bit of it. She
took the mails on board, but, for some occult
reason, no passengers or luggage, and went her way ;
and although we dropped anchor shortly after
twelve, it was not until late in the afternoon that
the Company condescended to land us.



Durban — The Berea and Bay — ‘ Ramsammy * — Musqaitoes — A mild
practical joke — Pieter Maritzburg — St. Saviours Cathedral —
Biahop Colenso— Native idea of punctuality.

A LARGE and busy place is Durban. On arrival some-
thing seems at once to strike me as different to any
of the ports I have already touched at : it is warmer,
and there is a tropical character about everything,
from the atmosphere to the abundant vegetation
flourishing in the gardens and even in the streets.
The business part of the town is about two miles
from the * Point,’ where you land, but its straggling
outskirts reach right down to the sea. No strings
of heavy ox-waggons rumble through the broad
streets, the wheel transport being done by the
neater trolly, and the railway station is in the
centre of the town. There are tram cars running
between the upper end and the Point, and an omnibus
service to the Berea, where many of the wealthier
Durbanites reside, having their places of business in
the town. Plenty of life and stir is there in the
streets ; the picturesque dresses of the coolies lend



colour to the variously clad throng of humanity
moving to and fro, of which the Indian element
forms no small part, for * Eamsammy ‘ is quite an
institution in Natal. Here and there may be seen
a tall head-ringed native from some up-country
kraal, stalking disdainfully along, his kerries over
his shoulder, and a scanty ragged shirt donned for
the occasion flapping about his thighs as he strides
on, hardly noticing the red and yellow groups of
gaudily clad Orientals — turbaned men and ear-and-
nose-bangled women. Equestrians are plentiful,
and white coated and pith-helmeted sons of the soil,
mounted and on foot, are moving about on their
respective avocations.

From the Berea you get a good bird’s-eye view

of the town, with the broad bay and the Bluff* and

its lighthouse beyond ; seawards the vessels are

tossing at their anchorage, and you can make out

the white line of breakers on the bar. A pleasant

walk is the road along the top of the Berea, shaded

as it is by the remains of a virgin forest. Tall

trees issue from a mass of thick undergrowth, and,

in tangled network, monkey creepers twine from

the branches of the wild fig and acacia. Now a

break affords a view of the sea, and here and there,

half hidden among the tropical foliage of their

gardens, stand the bungalow-like houses of the

townspeople, who certainly show some taste in the


choice of so pleasant and airy a retreat. Not long
ago elephants crashed through the jungle on the
Berea, troops of monkeys disported themselves
among the tree-tops, and the roar of the lion and
the howl of the hyaena mingled in nightly concert.
Now it lias been partially cleared and built upon,
forming a favourite suburb of the town.

Very pleasant it is in the cool of the evening to
cross over to the Bluff or to row about the bay and
among the islands. Wooded hills close in the
view to landward, casting their shadows into the
glassy waters. A few boats are gliding to and fro,
their occupants, like yourself, enjoying the coolness.
Yonder the smooth lawns slope to the water’s edge,
which is ftinged with the drooping boughs of many

A decidedly pleasant place is Durban, yet there
are two things that would probably cause discom-
fort ta a new arrival — heat and musquitoes. The
former I did not mind, the latter I emphatically
did. The Durban musquito is eminently a respecter
of persons, for he always attaches himself to the latest
importation. He is objectionable enough in the day-
time, but at night he is to be seen — and felt — at
his worst. Of course your bed is provided with a
musquito curtain, and you flatter yourself that you
will enjoy a respite accordingly. Perhaps you will
— and I sincerely hope you will. But it may be


that your gauzy protection has sprung a leak, so
small that you fail to notice it ; your voracious foe,
however, does not so fail, and you wake in the night
with a confused sensation of being devoured ahve.
You are ready to swear that there wasn’t a ghost
of a musquito anywhere near your curtain when
you tucked it round so carefully, nor was there —
yet now the unprincipled insect is sounding his war
trumpet within two inches of your ear. You make
frantic * dabs ‘ at him in the darkness. Not a bit
of use ; just as you begin to congratulate yourself
upon his capture the hideous trumpet brays out
louder and more defiant than ever. Peradventure
you use strong language {anything is excusable
under musquito provocation) and lighting the
candle proceed to hunt the persecutor of your mid-
night peace, who, however, knows * a trick worth
two o’ that,’ and mockingly sails away to a dim and
exalted corner of the room. You give it up as a
bad job, and drawing down your curtain put out the
light and turn over, but not to sleep — oh no, — to
get through the small hours rending your tortured
carcase and wishing to Heaven it was morning and
— tub time.

Yes, Durban is a pleasant place, but its mus-
quitoes are open to objection.



Tlie aspect of the coast country in Nal;d is
more Indian than South African. The damp
enervating heat, the exuberant vegetation, the trees
and plants of tropical growth, from the mango and
banana to the tall waving bamboo, and the all-
pervading presence of ‘ Earasammy.’ AJ] the
agricultural and outdoor work is done by coolies.
On the sugar plantations and in the mills Indians
are employed. Instead of the beehive hut of the
aboriginal you come upon the low, thatched shanty
embowered in banana trees, standing in a patch of
garden ground where its gaudily clad and turbaned
proprietor may be seen assiduously digging, for lie is
great at cultivation. In fact the fruit and vegetable
market of Durban is almost entirely in Indian
hands, and you could imagine yourself in an
Eastern bazaar as you stroll through its shadowy
precincts, a delusion which at all events would not
be dispelled by the names depicted over the different
stalls where sit the various owners of such
euphonious appellations as ‘ Moonee Sammy ‘ or
‘ Ehamsetjce Baruckjee,’ with tiieir bangled and
nose-ringed better halves, presiding over an array
of loquots and bananas, mangoes and pines, not to
mention bottles of mysterious-looking compounds.
Go where you will, you meet ‘ Eamsammy ‘ ; as
hotel or club servant he is in great request, and
in private houses. Indian signalmen hold up their




green flags along the railway lines, and the open
trucks which do duty for third-class carriages are
crowded with chattering coolies. Colonists are to
be met with who look upon the importation of
these people in such numbers — the Indian popula-
tion is estimated at nearly 20,000 — as not an
unmixed good. But whereas the aboriginal of
Natal works when and where he thinks fit, just as
much or just as little as he pleases and no more,
coolie labour is always obtainable.

Eailways in Natal, like those in the Cape
Colony, are in Government hands instead of being
worked by companies ; that from Durban to
Maritzburg had then been not long completed ; it
is very winding, with a gradual ascent inland. A
few days before my transit along it, some individual
of a philanthropic turn of mind had picked out a
place where the line made a sharp curve round a
hollow formed by the steep sides of two hills, a sheer
drop of some hundreds of feet beneath, and amused
himself by driving several iron wedges into the
joints of the rails; the said wedges, projecting
several inches, were to have the effect of pitching
the whole train bodily into the ravine. Which
benevolent design, however, was doomed to frus-
tration, thanks to the vigilance of the engine driver,
who detected the danger and was able to stop the
train just in time. The amiable deviser of this


practical joke on a large scale had not up till then
been apprehended, nor ever would be in all proba-
bility. It struck me, in passing over it, that no
better spot could have been hit upon for the pur-
pose, and a very na’ity, awkward-looking place it

Pieter Maritzburg, or Maritzburg as it is com-
monly called, 19 named after Pieter Maritz, one of
the leaders of the emigrant Boers, its original
founders, and is situated in a wide basin closed
round on three sidea by lofty hills. It is the
capital of Natal and the seat of Government, A
pleasant looking place, with long, wide streets, the
city seems to nestle in a perfect forest of blue gums,
whose dark foliage constitutes an agreeable relief to
the ‘ hardness ‘ of roofs and chimneys, and many
of the houses stand back from the street in their

The native name for Maritzburg isMkunkundh-
lovu,^ which sonorous appellation, however, was not
bestowed upon it by reason of any attributes of its
own. At the time it was built Dingane reigned
king in Zululand, and his chief kraal rejoiced in
the name of Mkunkundhlovu ; wherefore it occurred
to the Natal natives, many of them Zulu refugees.

‘ The iiiuiie is (riven in Flolden’i Htgtory of Nnlal to menti ‘ the
nunliUnt; n^iw of the elephitnt,’ wbich eiactl; conrejs the idpa,
‘ MkuD-kTiri,’ ¦«<! ‘ it>dhlovu,” Blephsnt. One is apt lo confuse it with
‘ OingirwJhlnvH,’ but ihe lulter in quite ¦ differpnt word.



that by a parity of reasoning no better name could
be given to the capital, * the chief kraal ‘ of the
whites, and it was dubbed accordingly.

Maritzburg is a cheerful, lively place, with a
European population of about 5,000. It boasts
two Cathedrals, and is not badly off for institutions,
possessing a fairly good library and reading-room,
a club, and a couple of theatres, which last were
well filled nearly every night ; I had the privilege
of witnessing * Les Cloches de Comeville ‘ in one,
which, all drawbacks considered, was very fairly
put on. Then there is the polo-ground, where
spirited play may be seen, and the Botanical
Gardens, which on band afternoons become the
resort of the ilite and fashion of the city.

1 saw shops in Maritzburg as good as in English
provincial towns, and a great deal better than in
some ; the business streets are alive all day long
with traflSc and vehicles of every description, from
the huge buck-waggon with its long span of oxen
to the light American ‘ spider,’ wliich seems to be
as universally used in Natal as the Cape cart and
buggy in the old colony. Here, unlike Durban,
you see few coolies, but plenty of aboriginals,^ who

‘ There is a popular idea that the Natal natives are all neressarily
Zulus. As a matter of fact, the majority of them are nothing of the
kind, but are made up of all nations and kindreds— Bai’aa and Tongfls,
Fingoes and Risutos, &c. &o., with an admixture of Zulu here and
thsre. Not only are their manners and customs in many respects dii-


squat around in groups or march about the streets
in twos and threes on their various avocations.
Prominent among these are the white uniforms of
the native constables, for in Natal the guardians
of the peace are nearly all natives. There is one
of them — a fine, well-built fellow, in his loose white
jacket and knickerbockers edged with red braid,
and a rather formidable looking knob-kerrie in his
hand. Those in charge of hard labour gangs are
armed with assegais, which they can use pretty
effectively when occasion arises. Occasion — in
the shape of several runaway convicts — did arise
while I was there, and some of the would-be fugi-
tives fared badly at the hands of their sable guar-
dians, who let fly their spears with considerable

The mihtary element is strong in the capital,
and meets you at every turn, from the undress
uniform of yon mounted oflScer, pacing his horse
towards Government House or Fort Napier, to the
smart scarlet of Private Tommy Atkins, striding

ferent, but they do not even look like the real Zulus, who, on their part,
certainly refuse to own them, contemptuously terming them ‘ Ama-
kafula ‘— ‘ Kafirs.’

The word < Zulu ‘ means ‘ celestial * or ‘ supernal/ from ‘ Iziilu/ ‘ the

In the Umsinga and border districts most of the natives are real
Zulus, either refugees or the descendants of refugees, with little or
no fusion of other nationality : even these are looked down upon by
their warrior-brethren as ‘ Ama-kafula.’


briskly among the stream of variously coloured
humanity on the footway. Nor must we forget
the more sober uniform of the Natal mounted
poUceman, who is practically, if not theoreti-
cally, entitled to classification among persons and
things military; for, in addition to his arduous
patrol duties, when war breaks out, the Natal
Mounted Police is one of the first of the defensive
forces to be * all there ‘ and to the fore. As a matter
of fact, this useful corps did good service in the
Zulu campaign ; nor should it be forgotten that
among the handful which made the last stubborn
stand upon the * neck ‘ at Isandhlwana, falling in
a ring around their oflScers, were several of the
Natal Mounted Police.

I said there were two Cathedrals in Maritzburg.
One owns the sway of Dr. Colenso ; the other, St.
Saviour’s, is under the rule of Bishop Macrorie,
the diocesan of the Church of South Africa. This
last is a creditable looking edifice of red brick, with
a rose window in the west wall, which is on the
street ; the interior is well arranged and church-
like, and will seat about 600 people. I entered it
at service time ; it was in the early morning, and
there were comparatively few present. A well
raised and handsomely draped altar, upon which
two large candles were burning, stood against the
east wall, and the service, which had just begun.


was being performed by a priest in alb and vest-
ment, his attendant kneeling behind him on the
altar steps ; it was very quiet, and there was no
singing or music of any kind. At the later ser-
vices there was both ; they being in most respects
similar to those of our better ordered Cathedrals in
England, albeit room existed for ample improve-
ment in the singing.

One of ‘ the things to do ‘ on arriving in
Maritzburg is to go and hear Bishop Colenso. I
denied myself this privilege, however, but had the
pleasure of making the Bishop’s acquaintance.
The lively interest and active part taken by him in
all native matters is well known ; every question
arising in connection with such, whether within
colonial limits or far away beyond the Zulu
border, has a keen observer in the Bishop of
Natal. His opinions, however, find small favour
in the eyes of the colonists, who, rightly or
wrongly, are inclined to think that politics in
no wise form part of the episcopal sphere. But
whether agreeing with him or not, I believe most
of them are willing to credit Dr. Colenso with
sincerity, and a genuine desire to benefit the
native races. In aspect the Natal philanthropist
is tall and venerable, in manner quiet and affable :
looking at him one can more readily understand
the origin of his sobriquet among the natives,


in whose interests he is so zealous. * Sobantu/ from
* Uyisobantu/ * the Father of the People.’

Having interviewed agents and inspected
vehicles of every description, 1 at length find a
good strong tent- waggon in all respects suitable
for rough work, and promptly become possessor
of the same. The next requisite is a span of oxen
and a trustworthy driver and leader, and, for the
supply of these, I strike a bargain at so much a
day with a native headman. But I was destined
to learn by experience how deficient is the native
mind in respect of punctuality, for, upon the
day named, the promised team, with its attendant
satellites, was conspicuous by its absence, as also
on the morrow and the day after that. In short,
not until the sixth day was the requisite motive
power forthcoming. One side of the question was
not without its advantages, for by the delay I
escaped a series of violent thunderstorms, which,
it may be readily supposed, would have lent a far
from promising aspect to my start. Storms in
Natal during the summer months are of frequent
occurrence, violent and exceedingly dangerous.
Every house in Maritzburg is furnished with a
lightning conductor, in many instances with

At last the defaulting oxen put in an appear-


ance, a hardy little black span of twelve, all black
or black and white. Fani, the driver, is a slightly-
built good-humoured looking youth of about nine-
teen or twenty — not by any means sharp, but a
willing, honest fellow, in which respect the Natal
native is far beyond his brother of the Cape
frontier ; the leader, who rejoices in the name of
Mlamvu, is a smart boy of about sixteen, with an
ugly quizzical countenance. Capital fellows they
both proved.

We haste to load up the waggon, provisioning
it for several months. A couple of sacks of mealie-
meal for the * boys,’ ^ a bag of flour, a few tinned
articles, and a couple of sides of smoked bacon, a sack
of crushed mealies wherewith to supplement my
steed’s diurnal graze — for I had picked up a first-
rate Basuto pony, rather rough to look at, but
easy in his paces, and game for any amount of
work — a spade and pick, a waggon-jack and a
hatchet, a pot and kettle ; in short, the vehicle is
stocked with everything that is necessary, and a
little that is not.

But one thing yet is lacking to the completion
of the turn-out — a third * hand ‘ who can do a little
interpreting. Much disquietude has been caused
me by the scarcity of material in this line which

* All native servante in Natal are technically * boys/ irreppectiTe
of age.


Maritzburg could furnish. I try and induce
several likely-looking * boys ‘ to accompany me in
that capacity. One, though satisfactory enough as
to linguistic requirements, is, for some reason of
his own, unable to leave just then ; another, true
to the strain of traditional refugeeism in his com-
position, has misgivings as to the advisability of
venturing across the Zulu border ; a third is willing
enough to go, and handy in every other respect,
but — ^with little more knowledge of the British
tongue than of Sanscrit. And so on throughout
the wearisome chapter, till, tired of the whole con-
cern, and rather than go through any further
delay, I resolve to start in the hope of picking up
my interpreter at Grey Town, about forty miles on
the road.

Apart from the above little diflSculty, all seems
promising enough. Through the kindness of the
Administrator and other friends, I am furnished
with letters to the magistrates and oflScials along
my route. So all being ready, we inspan, one fine
sunny afternoon — crack ! crack ! goes the whip —
we move off; and the capital lying beneath, em-
bowered in its gardens and blue gum trees, dis-
appears as we mount the crest of the hill en route
for the border.



Off to the Border — Grey Town — * Blue g^ms ‘ — Bush scenery — The
Tugela — An aquatic dilemma — Sunrise on the Biggarsherg
Heights — A model road — Rorke^s Drift, past and present.

At first it seems rather slow work rolling tediously
along on a hot afternoon at the rate of three or
four miles an hour, but I soon fall into it and sit
on the waggon box, pipe in mouth, with all the
stoicism of an old * trekker.’ A short outspan
towards sundown, on again, and suddenly — for
there is little or no twilight in Southern Africa —
drops the curtain of night ; the stars shine out one
by one, the hills loom black against the liquid sky,
yonder a twinkUng light points to the whereabouts
of some homestead standing in its group of blue
gums, while here and there a distant grass fire glows
red upon the far horizon. All is still, save for
the whistle of a flight of plover, which startled from
the ground by the tramp of my horse’s feet, circle
overhead sounding their shrill pipes; while now
and then the rumble of the waggon as it crawb
slowly over the hills behind, or the harsh shout of



the driver to his span, comes faintly on the silence
of the night. Presently the sky brightens, the
outlines of the hille assume more definite shape,
the heavens are suffused with a gathering flush,
and a golden moon rises, gently flooding the open
sweeping landscape far and near. And now I hear
the murmur and plashing of a river ; the walls of
a few houses shimmer white in the moonlight ; I
have reached the Umgeni bridge, twelve miles
from Maritzburg, so dismounting I await the
arrival of the waggon and outspan for the night.
But it is a short rest. Long before sunrise we are
on the road again ; and avoiding the midday heat
and travelling by night and in the early morning,
we reach Grey Town the following day.

If asked what struck me as the most prominent
feature of Grey Town I should inevitably reply
* Blue gums,’ for the blue gum is everywhere — in
the gardens, along the streets, sheltering the home-
steads, dropped about the hillsides — Klines upon
lines of this useful and ornamental tree, giving
quite a snug appearance to the village, which other-
wise would stand bare and commonplace upon an
open plain. The native name for Grey Town is
Mkunkundhlovwane, * Little Maritzburg,’ being the
diminutive of their name for the capital, of which
the place looks like a minimised version. Put more
idiomatically it might be rendered * Maritzburg on
a small scale.’


But I must find my third ‘ hand.’ Here again,
however, all the old difEculties crop up. Plenty
of ‘ boya ‘ are ready to engage, but are de6nient in
the very first qualification ; others, again, who
would be just what I wanted, are out of the way
for the time being, nor does anyone know how or
where to get at them. At last, thanks to the kind
and valuable assistance of Mr. Mansel, the officer
in command of the Natal Mounted Police at Grey
Town, I succeed in securing the services of a likely-
looking ‘ boy ‘ with a sufficient knowledge of
English, and in other respects a quiet, good-
tempered, wiUing fellow. At early dawn we are
on the move, toiling slowly up the long hill away
from Grey Town, and by the time it begins to wax
unpleasantly warm we halt on a beautiful spot at
the entrance to ‘ the thorns.’ Audries, the Grey
Town ‘ boy,’ has fraternised with the driver and
leader — natives ‘chum ‘ very readily^and lias had
an opportunity of making himself useful, so that
when we inspan late in the afternoon, as the sun’s
raya begin to abate their fierceness, everything ia
aquare and promiaing for the trip.

And now the country, which hitherto has been
open and wholly destitute of bush, suddenly as-
sumes a very different aspect. Thick vegetation
covers the valley into which we are descending,
and far as the eye can reach the wooded slopes


stretch away, purple and dim in the afternoon
haze. Tlie road winds round t|je spurs in its
gradual descent, becoming wilder and more rugged.
On the one hand a mighty precipice rears its red
wall, pierced with holes and caves like so many
black spots upon its surface; there a mass of
gigantic crags piled against the sky-line Uke the
turrets of a stately castle ; further on, a huge rock
stands out in solitary ruggedness amid the sur-
roundings of the dark green busli. Birds of briUiant
plumage are winging in and out among the aloes
and mimosa trees ; the clear whistle of the spreuw ^
peals with many an echo from yon frowning cUff ;
while far away down the valley is heard the soft
* cooing • of hundreds of turtledoves. Nor is
insect life wanting ; the cicala’s constant chirp and
the whirr of a large winged locust, the gnat’s
shrill horn and the loud booming hum of a big
beetle — all blend harmoniously in the swell of
Nature’s evening chorus. Now we dip down
almost out o£ sight to cross the deep bed of a trick-
ling watercourse — up again, but everywhere moun-
tain and valley, towering cliff, bush- clad slope and
black ravine ; a panorama of Nature in her wildest
and most fantastic aspect. But hark ! the distant
barking of a dog and the low of cattle. Not even
these familiar sounds tell of approaching civilisa-

‘ A bird of the starling tribe.


tion, for picturesquely situated on yonder spur is a
native kraal, its beehive-shaped huts standing in
a circle round the cattle enclosure — meet abode of
savage man, in keeping with his wild surroundings.
Nearer and nearer dips the sun to the over-
hanging mountain tops, the outlines of the hills
start forth sharp and defined from the haze which
has hitherto toned them down, and the effects of
light and shade are perfect. Yonder a distant cliff
gleams Uke a wall of burnished bronze rising from
an emerald-covered slope, as the slanting beams
strike full upon its smooth surface ; another, which
hitherto has been all in the light, now falls back
into gloom, throwing its long black shadow beneath,
as though sullenly resenting the fickle desertion of
the glorious sun. And the night falls. Star after
star, with many a flashing constellation, quivers in
the vault above, and the Southern Cross shines
upon the lonely traveller like a candelabrum of
golden lamps. A nightjar rises and skims over-
head uttering its whirring note ; the bark of a
prowling jackal far away in the thorns is borne
upon the stillness ; every now and then a big
beetle, whizzing with loud hum through the warm
air, blunders into my face as I ride along ; fireflies
glint among the bushes in many a floating spark,
but not a sound or sight which tells of the presence
of man — the night side of Nature in her own soli-


tudes. Dismounting, I sit by the roadside in
the gloom and await the waggon. A large
hare sidles out of the bush and ambles con-
tentedly along the road ; true to the British
instinct of destructiveness I pick up a stone and
launch it at the unsuspecting quadruped, but my
improvised missile does not take effect, — and there
is the waggon coming round the bend, so resigning
my pony to Andries I climb on to the box. We
plod slowly but merrily along, for my retainers are
cheerful fellows, and sing, chat, and laugh with five-
hundred-lung power. A couple of hours more
and we are at the Mooi Eiver Drift, forming one of
a group of waggons there outspanned, whose fires
throw a red flickering glare on the surrounding
bush. It is late; so after tying the oxen to the
yokes, getting the kettle into play and disposing of
the contents of the same, my sable retinue rolls it-
self in its blanket and turns in, an example which
after our long ‘ trek ‘ I am not ill-disposed to follow,
and know no more till awoke to consciousness at
dawn by sundry forcible and time-honoured ejacu-
lations attendant upon inspanning, as my neighbours
of the previous night are making a start. We do
likewise, but before we reach the high ridge
between Mooi Eiver and the Tugela the sun has
been up some time and the result is not stimulating.
Once over the ridge the rest of the way is down


hill. A long straight bit of road, where we seem
poised, as on a ledge, over the valley beneath,
affords a magnificent view ; then the descent begins,
and bump, bump — a long slide— a lurch first to
this side theu to that — more bumping, and after
two hours or so of toilsome descent into a hot
valley we halt at the Tiigela Drift to recruit, if
haply one may find rest and shade in such a
sweltering hole.

Now there is on the Tugela at that point an
efficient pontoon, which, the drift being a re-
markably bad one, is usually in requisition. I,
having had a good deal of experience in crossing
South African rivers, ought to have known better ;
but thinking that the drift, though broad, waa
probably smooth and aliallow, went at it most
confidingly, voting the pontoon unnecessary in
the present instance. The result was melancholy.
In rolled the waggon pleasantly enough tiU nearly
in mid-stream — at that point more than 150
yards wide — and there suddenly stuck. The
water became deeper and deeper ; the current
running so strong tliat the leader could barely
keep his feet, and the whole turn – out was in,
imminent jeopardy of going down stream. In
vain we shouted and yelled ; in vain we plied
whip and thong upon the obdurate hides of the
recalcitrant team ; in vain we exhausted all the


forcible and suggestive phraseology in the voca-
bulary of the road, and began again ; there we
stuck. What was to be done? Turning back
was a physical impossibility, and the oxen began
to plunge and get more and more unmanageable,
for, bending back their heads in order to keep
their noses above the surface, the poor brutes were
half strangled by the yoke-straps. The water
was already flowing over the footboard ; an inch
deeper and the waggon would be flooded, which
meant that my supplies for the trip would be
seriously damaged, if not absolutely spoilt. In
despair I tried another plan. Could we but
keep the oxen quiet for a few moments, the short
rest might get us through provided the water
became no deeper. Again the whips crack like
pistol shots — a sudden pull, the oxen feel their
feet — another sudden and more violent tug, and
we roll out ; a couple of minutes more and we
are on the other side breathless and exhausted,
the steam ascending in clouds from the dripping
flanks of the panting span. But I there and then
register a vow that nothing on earth will induce
me again to tempt that execrable drift, unless the
water is very low indeed.

About eighteen miles beyond the Tugela
is the seat of magistracy for the border division
of Umsinga. Calling on the resident magistrate.


Mr. Fynn, I was most kindly received, and not
having yet been long enough on my travels to get
used to my own company, but quite long enough
to be rather tired of the same, I was able
thoroughly to enjoy spending an evening in
civihsed fashion with that hospitable official.
Pushing on again the following afternoon, we
halted at nightfall near the top of the Biggarsberg
ridge, expecting to make Eorke’s Drift the next

The moon is still shining brightly as we inspan
for an early start, and not until we are well on
the road do the stars begin to pale, but the
morning is cold and raw. As we ‘ trek ‘ along the
ridge a sight pecuUar to mountainous country
bursts upon the view. The road is clear, but a
hundred yai’ds or so to the right the ground falls
abruptly into a vast and unbroken mass of fleecy
cloud, white as driven snow. Presently a heavy
film of mist steals up from below, growing thicker
and thicker, till we are moving along through
the raw fog, and seem to enter again into darkness,
but not for long; as the sun rises the mist rolls
back, hanging in silver curtains over the sparkUng
ground, and many a tiny rainbow flashes its
prismatic hues as the sunbeams cleave the dewy
vapour. And now the sun is weU up ; the dense
masses of billowy cloud stretch away from one’s


very feet ; the road winds over a narrow neck as
through a gate, opening upon a fresh expanse of
country, which at present, however, is completely
veiled. The firmament is a beautifully clear
greenish-blue above the dazzling whiteness ; birds
are singing on all sides, and every blade of grass
gleams and sparkles with myriads of liquid

The whole valley of the Buffalo and the
countrj beyond the Zulu border is veiled in thick
impenetrable cloud, and Helpmakaar, for all
practical purposes, seems still under the influence
of the drowsy god. But I am in want of informa-
tion as to the road, so proceed summarily to knock
up one of the inhabitants, and learn that there
are two roads to Rorke’s Drift, both infamously
bad; in fact httle to choose between them, saVe
in point of distance, the shortest being twelve
miles, the other about twice as long. No huge
amount of inductive ratiocination being required
to perceive that twenty-four miles of iniquitously
bad road is worse than twelve of ditto, I elect
to take the shortest and chance it.

Helpmakaar,^ which it will be remembered
was an important depot during the Zulu war, is
on the main road to Newcastle, and is situated
on one of the highest ridges of the Biggarsberg,

‘ A Dutch word meaning * help each other.’


commanding a wide sweep of open country on
either aide. It consiata of three or four houses
and a few shanties, including an ‘ hotel,’ and
boasts a post office agency. The entrenchment
etiiJ remains — a solid-looking eartliwork surrounded
by a fosse ; close by b a little cemetery containing
the graves of those officers and men who suc-
cumbed to exposure and fatigue while at that
bleak station. Here, too, fled the fugitives from
Isandhlwana, and at last I felt that I was actually
on historic ground.

I said that the road thence to Eorke’s Drift
was infamously bad, and in saying so I have fallen
far short of adequately describing it. All was
well enough till the steep part of the descent
began, and then — huge stones, boulders, pebbles,
rocks large and rocks small, heaped one upon
another or lying strewn about ; the actual road-
way as uneven as a dry watercourse — bump,
bump, bump, the order of the day. Again and
again I thought the waggon must inevitably break
to pieces as the wheels on one side were poised
high in air, grinding over a huge stone, those on
the other crashing violently into a deep rut, and
the whole fabric literally twisting and writhing as
though it had life. But marvellous is the elasticity
of these vehicles ; 1 was nearly saying tliat india-
rubber was a joke thereto, for twenty times as


I rode along did I expect to see the whole
structure fairly wrenched asunder; however, we
reached the plain below with little more damage
than the starting of a bolt or two, and again I
breathed freely.

From the brow of the hill just before descend-
ing, Isandhlwana comes into view, standing out
in rugged boldness from the surrounding heights,
towering grim and dark in the summer haze like
a huge lion,^ but the glimpse is little more than
a momentary one, and is lost to sight as the road
makes a sudden dip. In front the Buffalo threads
along, past Eorke’s Drift and the Bashi valley,
and the open plain stretches away beyond the
Blood Eiver, far into the Transvaal territory. A
silent and desert expanse ; on the right a semi-
gloom, where the frowning cliffs overhanging the
Bashi valley cast their shadows ; not a sign of life
anywhere — a lonely and unprotected border.

It was late in the afternoon as we descended
to the plain. A couple of tall blue gums rising
above a shght eminence mark the site of the
famous post ; in front again appears the stern
shape of Isandhlwana, its precipitous wall clear
and distinct in the setting sun. Elding on I soon
reached the post. The post, did I say ? Few or
no traces of the old fortifications were to be seen,

^ From whatever point you look at it, Isandhlwana wears the shape
of a lion couchant.


but a large house was in course of construction,
the residence of Mr, Otto Witt, the Swedish mia-
sionary, whose name, it may be remembered, was
before the public at the beginning of the war.
Much carpentering and joining was going on in
the verandah ; outhouses stood around, hard by
was the chapel belonging to the Mission, but of
the defences not a trace. Save for the little ceme-
tery, where are lying the few who fell of that
handful of gallant defen ‘era, it would be difficult
to realise that one stood on the site of the most
brilhant feat of arms of our day. To the cemetery
I passed ; a modest burial ground enclosed by a
sod wall, the names of its silent denizens graven
on an obelisk in the midst.

The sun had sunk behind the western ridgea,
the shadows of evening were creeping over a
cloudless sky, and as I stood among the grass-
grown graves the events of that memorable night
seemed to rise up one by one. There was the
conical hill overhanging the post, round whose
base the enemy first appeared ; the ledge of rocka
a couple of hundred yards oIT, from which hia
sharp-shooters harassed our position till dislodged
by the heavy fire of our men. I said that all
traces of the fortifications had disappeared, yet
would imagination supply deficiencies ; the outer
and inner Hnes of defence, the site of the hospital —
and I seemed to see the terrific rush of the savage



hosts as they swarmed up to the breastwork, the
desperately determined faces of its defenders, the
smoke and crash of volleys, the lurid flames of
the burning hospital and the ghastly countenances
of its inmates as they are brought out one by one,
the gleam of a forest of blades in the red light.
Still could I hear the clash of assegai and shield
splintered by bayonet thrusts dealt with all the
fury of men fighting for their lives, the ‘ thud ‘
of falling bodies, the ringing shots, the reckless
British hurrah mingled with the fierce * Usiitu ‘ ^
peahng from 4,000 savage throats as again and
again the columns of maddened Zulu warriors
poured on to the attack — to use their own
metaphor — * seeing nothing but blood ! ‘

But my reverie is broken in upon by the sound
of wheels, and looking up I discover that the
waggon is close at hand, so betake myself forth-
with to the drift, which is nearly a quarter of a
mile distant from the post. I would fain cross
to-night, but am unacquainted with the idiosyn-
crasies of the said drift ; the oxen have had a long
day of it, and I have no fancy for a repetition
of the Tugela entertainment : moreover it is nearly
dark, so I conclude to outspan and defer crossing
till the morrow.

* The Zulu war cry.



iMmdhlwana — St Vincent’s Mission — A coincidence — ^The Zulu ‘ at
church ‘ — A vexed question — Bishop McKenaie.

MoRXD^G. The summer sun has dispersed the
chill folds of a heavy mist, and his clieering rays
fall upon as pleasant a scene as one could wish
to cast eye over. Across a charming bit of coun-
try does my first stage in Zululand lead, steep and
stony in parts, in others smooth and undulating,
but everywhere green and smiling, for these are
well-watered regions, and you cannot go far
without coming upon a spring or a stream of some
sort. On the right the Buffalo makes a bend
round the base of Shiyane, the conical bushy
mountain overlooking Eorke’s Drift, and a high
rugged range rises on the Natal side of the river —
in front Isandhlwana — on the left a long array of
precipitous rocks overhanging the beautiful valley
of the Bashi, and presently we cross the river of
that name; a shallow limpid stream bubbling
along over its sandy bottom. But signs of habita-


tion DOW begin to show ; a mealie patch here and
there, cattle grazing among the thorns, then
lai^er mealie gardens in which women are at work,
and on the hillside stands a well-to-do-looking
kraal. A fine athletic native trots past, hurling
his cheery greeting * Inkos ! ‘ (Chief) over his
shoulder as he runs. A picturesque object is he,
tall and lithe as a bronze Apollo ; a few fantastic
ornaments of bead work and hide constitute his
attire, a long reed snuff-box is stuck through the
lobe of his ear, and in his liand the inevitable knob-

At last we dip down into the valley through
which swept the right horn of the Zulu army to
cut off retreat bv the Eorke’s Drift road. A clear
stream is brawling along over rocks and stones,
birds are whistling among the aloes and mimosa
bushes, and in front the western cliff of Isandhl-
wana heaves high in air. I ride up the slope and
gain the * neck ‘ ; on the right is the small stony
hillock known as * Black’s Kopje,’ and Fugitives’
Track, a scarcely discernible path, leading away
from it into the thorns; the huge crag, now
towering immediately overhead, casts a long dark
shadow on the plain, whose stillness is only broken
by the hum of a passing insect or the cliirp of a
small bird in the grass, and amid the hush of the
summer afternoon all the associations of the spot


seem to crowd up thick and fast. There on the
right is a high cairn of stones, marking the spot
where Colonel Durnford, Lieutenant Scott, and the
Natal Carbineers made their last stand ; near this
a few graves, the remains of whose occupants are
partly uncovered through the wasting away of the
soil by raius ; lower down, an obelisk, a tombstone
or two, and mounds of earth mark tlie resting
places of more victims of that disastrous day, and a
little below the ‘ neck ‘ stands the iron cross erected
by the Bishop of Maritzbnrg on the occasion of
his holding a funeral service there,

I ride over the camp ground, and allhough
three years have elapsed, there is no lack of traces
of the melancholy struggle. In spite of a luxuriant
growth of herbage the circles where stood the rows
of tents are plainly discernible, whde strewn about
are tent pegs, cartridge cases, broken glass, bits of
rope, meat tins and sardine boxes pierced with
assegai stabs, shrivelled up pieces of shoe-leather.
and rubbish of every description } bones of horses
and oxen gleam white and ghastly, and here and
there in the grass one stumbles upon a half-buried
skeleton. From the back of the camp ground
rises a steep slope, covered with stones and
boulders, and culminating in the rocky wall which
rears itself to a height of four hundred feet above
the plain, A striking and remarkable mount is


Isandhlwana, not another hill around is there in
the least like it ; in fact the only one resembhng it
in any degree is the Zihlalu, between Ulundi and
Inhlazatye, which, however, is on a much larger
scale. I have akeady alluded to the hon-like
shape of Isandhlwana, and it is not a little curious
that it should also resemble the sphinx badge of
the 24th Regiment. I showed one of these badges,
picked up on the field, to a Zulu warrior who had
taken part in the battle, and drew his attention to
the coincidence. He gave a start and ejaculation
of astonishment, and shook his head in deprecation
of the ‘ uncanniness * of the whole proceeding.

St. Vincent’s Mission, the residence and head-
quarters of the Bishop of Zululand, stands on the
north side of the camp ground, at the foot of the
steep range over which the main body of the
enemy came — a substantial stone house, a few
huts, some strips of cultivated land, and a stone
enclosure or two for cattle and horses. There is
no regular * location,’ the only natives living on
the station being those employed in house or farm
work in connection therewith — a move in the right
direction, for anyone who has travelled in South
Africa will bear me out in saying that among the
tumble-down ill-built huts of mission and town
locations, dirt and squalor reign to an extent
unknown in the ordinary native kraals, which are,


as a rule, aingularly neat and tidy. The com-
munity at St. Vincent’s consisted of the Bishop and
his household, two clergymen and a lay school-
luaster, a farm overseer, and a few colonial boys
training for mission work — about a dozen Euro-
peans in all. Not by any meana a luxurious or
easy life is that of these missionaries. Frequent
services, kraal visitiug, school duties, and manual
labour in the field, all this keeps their time
thoroughly occupied from early morning till dark
and after. Nor is accommodation sumptuous ; one
of them had nothing more commodious for a
sleeping apartment and study than a small native
but, another had made a bedroom of the Bishop’s
travelling waggon. The mission house too is
plainly furnished, but his lordship is very mindful
of the apostolic injunction, and hospitality forms
a real item in the St. Vincent’s programme. The
Sunday services were many, and mostly in the Zulu
language; there was no church, but a room had
been fitted up to do duty for it, and at one end,
on a raised footpace, stood an altar, duly garnished
with a large cross and a pair of candlesticks. It
struck me that Bishop McKenzie in his alb and
chasuble looked far more episcopal than his
EngU-sh am/rh’es in the meaningless, balloon-
sleeved vesture so dear to the heart of the
Anglican prelate, and that the service was more


calculated to impress the heathen with a sense of
dignity and importance. There being no har-
monium, the singing was unaccompanied, and
when in the course of it a stray * click ‘ occurred,
the effect was not a little curious to uninitiated
ears. But I thought I had never heard a larguage
which suited the Divine Office better than this
sonorous and musical tongue. There was a service
specially for heathen, on whicli occ^asion the room
was well filled, mostly with men from kraals in
the neighbourhood, who listened attentively and
respectfully to the ‘ Umfundisi ; ‘ ^ whether they
really took in what was told them is quite another
thing, for it is no easy matter to convince the
shrewd, sceptical Zulu. lie will listen patiently
and courteously enough — for he has all the
instincts of a gentleman — while in his heart of
hearts he is thinking ‘ there is not much in it ; ‘ or
he will shake his head with a deprecatory smile,
which might be interpreted ‘ Umfundisi is a good

man, but .* While on the subject of missions

and missionaries, an idea seems to have got hold of
the rehgious world that the first thing to do with
a native is to clothe him — in fact, that until he
can be induced to wear breeclies his Christianity
is worth very little indeed. Let anyone doubting
this look at the first missionary periodical at

. . * 1 eacher or luissiuiinry.


hand : — ‘ The natives take readily to clothes ‘ —
‘the people are all asking for clothes’ — such are
the statements that will meet the eye, as if the
sudden development of a taste for tailoring among
a dark-akinned race in a sweltering climate was a
sure sign of grace. The Zulu in his normal garb
(which is far more decent than that of most
savages), his supple limbs modelled like those of a
bronze statue, striding along with head erect and
light elastic step, is a fine noble-looking fellow ;
clap a tweed suit and shirt collar upon him, not
omitting a chimney-pot hat, or even a wideawake,
and you turn him into an awkward ungainly
barbarian, looking: and feeling thoroughly ridi-
culous and uncomfortable. Wherefore the ques-
tion arises — Can these people be intended to wear
clothes ?

A practical difficulty which meets the mission-
ary at every turn is polygamy, a custom so deeply
rooted in the national institutions a^ to be an
almost insurmountable barrier to the spread of
Christianity. The Zulu gains in position and im-
portance according to the number of his wives, for
these represent value received for so many head of
cattle paid away, wliich in turn constitute riches ;
and over and above the actual loss of their labour
in the tillage of the soil, a man of position would
hardly undergo the ridicule and social degrada-


tion which the putting away of his women would
involve. Nor’ is it by any means sure that these
good ladies would take the matter quietly — and
* curtain influence ‘ counts for something even in
Zululand — the cant that has been talked about the
oppressed and down-trodden state of the women
notwithstanding, on which subject, by the way, it
struck me, during my progress through the country,
that they wore anything but a crushed appearance.
I heard the above diflSculty discussed by the
missionaries, who themselves seemed by no means
clear as to the solution of the question, but with
them I shall now leave it.

Bishop McKenzie is a tall, dark man in the
prime of life, and gifted with a strong voice and
good delivery. As to his energy there can be no
sort of doubt. He is at work from morning till
night at one thhig or another, and periodically
makes Visitation tours throughout his somewhat
extensive diocese ; at the time of my leaving
Zululand he was on the point of starting upon
one of these, to extend far away beyond the Swazi
country, a matter of several weeks. An isolated
life is this missionary life, unendurable for any
length of time save to those whose hearts are in
the work. To the hard-worked priest toiling in the
slums of our teeming cities the free air and sun-


shine, the great mountains and silent wastes of a
wild country, may seem a pleasant relief to turn
to. But I question whether the isolation would not
counterbalance other attractions and advantages
when put to the test.



Meaning of ‘ Isandhlwana * — Zulu narratives of the battle.

The site of the camp is along the eastern base of
Isandhlwana,* which rises immediately above it in
the rear ; fronting it the country is all open to
Isipezi mountain, some fourteen miles off, where
Lord Chelmsford was engaging Matyana at the
time of the attack. On the left, but at right angles
to Isandhlwana, which lies north and south, runs
the Nqutu range, over which the Zulu army first
appeared. At the foot of this range, about two
miles from camp, is a conical eminence where the
rocket battery was stationed. The actual scene of
operations, then, was an oblong plain about three
miles in extent, whence, in the event of defeat,
escape would only be possible by making for the

* The meaning of Isandhlwana, or more correctly Tsandhlwane, is
neither ‘ little hand/ nor ‘ little house/ nor any other of the hundred and
one interpretations which were devised at the time of the disaster, but
refers to a portion of bovine intestinal anatomy. The spelling of the
word which I shall observe throughout these pages will be that which is
now universally employed, though ‘ Isandhlwautf * is the more correct.
The pi-onunciation of the word is exactly according to its orthography,
evory letter being distinctly sounded.


river some miles off on the right, or by gaining the
Rorke’s Drift road over the ‘ neck ‘ in the rear.
The slope round the actual base of Isandhlwana
is steep and rugged, and intersected with deep
‘ dongas ‘ here and there, the rest of the plain
being fairly smooth.

The following narrative is that of a warrior of
the Umbonambi regiment, who was present at the
battle ; I give it as nearly as possible in his own
words : —

* Several days before the figlit we started from
Undini, eight regiments strong (about 25,000 men).
The King said, ” The white soldiers have crossed
into Zululand and are coming further in, soon
they will be here (at Undini) ; go and drive them
across Umzinyati (the Buffalo) right back into
Natal.” The imfi ^ was commanded by Tyingwayo ;
under him were Mavumengwane, Mundiila, and
Vumandaba, tlie hidxina (chief) of the Kandam-
pemvu regiment ; this regiment is also called
Umcityu, but Kandampemvu is the oldest name.
Matyana-ka-Mondisi was not present, nor was
Dabulamanzi. Untuswa, brotlier of Seketwayo, is
the indima of my regiment ; he took part in the
fight, so did Mehlo-ka-zulu and Sirayo’s other son.
The chief Sibepu also fought.

‘ A body of men under arms for any military or aggressive


* We were lying in the hills up there, when one
of our scouting parties came back followed by a
number of mounted men ; they were most of them
natives, but some were whites. They fired upon
us. Then the whole impi became very excited
and sprang up. When the horsemen saw how
numerous we were tliey began to retreat. We
formed up in rank and marched towards the camp.
At the top of the last hill we were met by more
horsemen, but we were too many for them and
they retreated. Here, where we are standing (my
informant’s kraal was situated close to the rocket
hill before mentioned), there were some parties of
soldiers in red coats who kept up a heavy fire upon
us as we came over. My regiment was here and lost
a lot of men ; they kept tumbhng over one upon
another. (The narrator became quite excited, and
indulged in much gesticulation, illustrating the
volleys by cracking his fingers like pistol-shots.)
Then the Ngobamakosi regiment, which formed the
left horn of the impiy extended and swept round on
the south of the rocket hill so as to outflank the
soldiers, who, seeing this, fell back and took cover
in that donga ^ (pointing to a donga which inter-

‘ These dongas are rifls in the ground caused by heavy rains, and
varying in depth from two to fifty feet. So suddenly do they occur
that where you thought all was smooth and unbroken, you find your-
self on the brink of a yawning chasm, which perhaps will necessitate
a detour of several miles.


sects the field about a mile from camp), and fired
upon us from there. By that time the Ngobama-
kosi liad got among the ” paraffin ” (rocketa) and
killed the horses, and were circling round so as to
ehut in the camp on the side of the river, but we
could not advance, the fire from the donga was
too heavy. The great indtmas were on the hill
over there (pointing to an eminence commanding
the north side of the camp, above where the mis-
sion-house now stands), and just below them a
number of soldiers were engagmg the Kandam-
pemvu regiment, which was being driven back, but
one of the sub-chiefs of the Kandampemvu ran
down from the hill and rallied them, calling out that
they would get the whole impi beaten and must
come on. Then they all shouted ” Usiitu ! ” and
waving their shields charged the soldiers with great
fury. The chief was shot through the forehead and
dropped down dead, but the Kandampemvu rushed
over his body and fell upon the soldiers, stabbing
them with their assegais and driving them right in
among the tents.

‘ My regiment and the Umpuuga formed the
centre of the impi. When the soldiers in the
donga saw that the Kandampemvu were getting
behind them, they retreated upon the camp, fii-uig
at us all the time. As they retreated we followed
them. I saw several white mea on horseback


galloping towards the ” neck,” which was the only-
point open ; then the Nokenke and Nodwengu
regiments, which had formed the right horn of the
im/?i, joined with the Ngobamakosi on the ” neck.”
After that there was so much smoke that I could
not see whether the white men had got through or
not. The tumult and the firing was wonderful ;
every warrior shouted ” Usiitu ! ” as he killed any-
one, and the sun got very dark,^ Uke night, with
the smoke. The English fought long and hard ;
there were so many of our people in front of me
that I did not get into the thick of the fight until
the end. The warriors called out that all the white
men had been killed, and then we began to plunder
the camp. The Undi and Udhloko regiments,
which had been in reserve, then went on ” kwa
Jim “^ to take the post there. We found ” tywala”^
in the camp, and some of our men got very drunk.
We were so hot and thirsty that we drank every-
thing liquid we found, without waiting to see what
it was. Some of them found some black stuff in
bottles (probably ink) ; it did not look good, so they
did not drink it ; but one or two who drank some

‘ He is referring to an annular eclipse^ which, it is not a little
curious, should have taken place while the frightful conflict was at its

‘ Literally, * at Jim’s.* Ilorke*s Drift is so called by the Zulus after
one * Jim * Rorke, who formerly lived there.

‘ Native beer. The word is also applied to ardent spirits or any
sort of intoxicating l)cvcrage.


paraffin oil, thinking it was ” tywala,” were poisoned.
We took as much plunder as we could carry, and
went away home to our kraals. We did not re-
assemble and march back to Ulundi.

‘ At first we had not intended attacking the
camp that day, as the moon was ” wrong ” (in an
unfavourable quarter — a superstition), but as the
whites had discovered our presence the hidunaa
said we had better go on. Only six regiments
took part in the fight — the Nodwengu, Nokenke,
Umbonambi, Umpunga, Kandampemvu, and
Ngobamakosi. The Uve is part of the Ngo-
bamakosi, and not a separate corps ; it is the
boys’ regiment.’

The above seems a plain unvarnished version
of those events of the day which came within
the narrator’s actual observation; the following
account is that of a Zulu belonging to the
Nokenke regiment, which, with the Nodwengu,
formed the right horn of the attacking force,
and operated at the back of Isandhlwana moun-
tain. The first portion of the narrative, as to
how the afiair began, tallies exactly with that of
the Umbonambi warrior, albeit the men were
unknown to each other, for I picked up this
story in a different part of the country. After
describing the earher movements, he went on : —


* While the Kandampemvu were driving back the
horsemen over the hill north of the camp, we
worked round behind Isandhlwana under cover of
the long grass and dongas, intending to join with
the Ngobamakosi on the ” neck” and sweep in upon
the camp. Then we saw white men beginning to
run away along the road ‘* kwa Jim ; ” many of these
were cut off and killed, down in the stream which
flows through the bottom of the valley. More and
more came over, some mounted and some on foot.
When they saw that the valley was full of our
warriors, they turned to the left and ran off along
the side of the hill towards Umzinyati (the Buffalo) ;
those who had not got horses were soon overtaken.
The Nodwengu pursued the mounted men, num-
bers of whom were killed among the thorns and
dongas, but I heard that some escaped. Our regi-
ment went over into the camp. The ground is high
and full of dongas and stones, and the soldiers did
not see us till we were right upon them. They
fought well — a lot of them got up on the steep
slope under the cliff behind the camp, and the
Zulus could not get at them at all ; they were shot
or bayoneted as fast as they came up. At last
the soldiers gave a shout and charged down upon
us. There was an induna ^ in front of them with a
long flashing sword, which he whirled round his
head as he ran — it must have been made of fire.

^ Supposed to be Captaio YouDghusband.


Wheugh ! (Here the 8peaker made an expressive
gesture of shading the eyes.) They killed them-
aelves by runniog down, for our people got above
them and quite surrounded them ; these, and a
group of white men on the ” neck,” were the last to

‘ The 8un turned black in the middle of the
battle ; we could still see it over us, or should
have thought we had been fighliug tUl evening.
Then we got into the camp, and there was a great
deal of smoke and firing. Afterwards the sun came
out bright again.’ — ‘ Were tliere any prisonera
taken ? ‘ I asked. — ‘ No ; all were killed on the
field, and at once ; no white men were tortured :
it is the Zulu custom to kill everyone on the spot ;
prisoners are never taken.’

There seems no reaaon for doubting this state-
ment, which may be taken as scattering to the
winds the nuraei-ous absurd and sensational ‘yarns’
which got about at the time, and are still credited.
Several Zulus whom I questioned on the subject
all agreed in saying that it was not the custom to
torture prisoners of war, though it was sometimes
done in cases of ‘ umtagati ‘ (witchcraft). Hence it
is comforting to know that our unfortunate

I countrymen who fell on that fatal day were spared
the most horrible side of savage warfare, and met
their deaths as soldiers, in the thick of battle, at the



‘Fugitives’ Drift’ — ^The saving of the Colours — Zulus *at Home’ —
A novel brew — On headgear — * The gilt off the gingerbread ‘ — A
Rorke’s Drift hero — Ascent of Isandhlwana — Kelics — A prand

One morning I started from Isandhlwana to explore
the line of retreat to ‘ Fugitives’ Drift/ as it is now
called, accompanied by one of the mission clergy,
who had kindly offered to act as guide. Riding
over the camp ground we crossed the waggon road
on the * neck,’ and struck into the narrow path
running along the base of ‘ Black’s Kopje ‘ down
into the ravine. Heaps of debris lay about — bones
and skulls of oxen, belt buckles, sardine tins,
shrivelled-up boots, the nails falling out of the
rotting soles, odds and ends of clothing, old
brushes — in fact, rubbish of all sorts ; while every
ten or twenty yards we would come upon sadder
traces of the flight in the shape of little heaps of
stones, through the interstices of which could be
seen the bones of some unfortunate buried under-
neath. The track is smooth enough for three or


four hundred yards, and then the trouble begins ;
as we get among the thorns the ground is seamed
with deep dongas yawning suddenly before us,
rendering riding anything but safe. Now we are on
the brink of one of these chasms; then the track
suddenly diverging, takes us along a narrow razor-
like ridge with a fall of some fifteen or twenty feet
on either side. I pictured to myself what long
odds were against a lot of men riding for their
lives over such gi’ound, all crowding upon each
other, and the savage enemy behind rushing in
among them with unearthly yells, driving the
maddened horses into the dongas and stabbing
their riders — and many seemed to have come to
grief here, judging from the traces. At the bottom
of one of these fissures lay the fragments of an
ammunition train, which had evidently taken a
r^ular ‘ header,’ the shattered skeletons of four
horses or mules in a heap together, and thinly
covered over with stones those of the two unfor-
tunates who presumably were with the team.
Among twisted-up ends of old straps and harness,
ammunition boxes sphntered and broken were
strewn. I found the rope handle of one of these
intact, and very hard I had to saw at it before I
could get it off, Pretty good this, aflev three years
of exposure to weather. On all sides were traces
and remains of the flight ; here and there one


would come upon significant heaps of earth or
stones, or a rag of clothing fluttering on a bush
just as it had been torn from some fugitive. After
crossing the stream at the bottom of the valley the
ground is open, but fearfully rough and stony, and
80 it continues the whole way. The bulk of those
who fled must have been killed within the first
couple of miles, according to the signs.

My companion had brought his gun, and a
covey of partridges rising in front of us, he made a
good right and left shot, dropping his brace ; but
owing to the length and thickness of the grass, we
could only find one of the birds, after much search-
ing. Then we put up three or four bucks, which,
however, kept religiously out of shot range, and
we had no rifle ; so the mission larder was defrauded

At length we reach the brow of the last steep,
and scramble down its rugged side. It is appallingly
hot, as the middle of a Februaiy day in South
Africa can be, and we have taken two hours and a
half to get here, for so stony is the ground that
we have been obliged to lead the horses nearly the
whole way. * Fugitives* Drift,’ strictly speaking,
is not a * drift ‘ at all ; probably no one ever rode
through it before the event from which it takes its
name, or ever will again. There is no gradual
descent to the river, which at this point runs deep


and wide, and is only got at by scrambling almost
headlong down a high, crumbling bank. The
crossing was made at the lower end of a long
reach ; in the middle of the water is a large stone,
to which MelviU was clinging when hia gallant
companion, deliberately throwing away his own
life, turned back to help him. Let us picture the
scene. The swift, swollen river flowing on with a
sullen roar ; the high wooded banks, whose tangled
undergrowth resounds with the song of birds, while
ever and anon the long-drawn whistle of a flight of
spreuws, their bright plumage flashing in the sun,
echoes from an overhanging elifl’. Opposite, a
long ravine, its aloe-covered sides sleeping in the
dim heat of the sultry midsummer day. Presently
an approaching clamour — louder and louder,
nearer and nearer — and a crowd of men comes
pouring over the brow of yon slope in wildest con-
fusion. Horses lose their footing on the rocky
steep and roll over, falling upon their riders, and
the dark forms of a thousand infuriated savages
are bounding in and out among the demoralised
mass, plying the deadly assegai : blades gleam
redly in the sun ; despairing death cries mingle
with the triumphant howls of the maddened bar-
barians, and the clifls, which, a moment before,
had softly echoed the peaceful song of birds, now


throw back, in thunderous reverberation, volley
upon volley of ringing shots.

A few, however, have got clear of that frantic
crowd. Look at those two, especially, who are
riding as if they had something more than their
lives to save : and so they have — the honour of
their regiment — ^its Colours. A plunge — the water
rises in jets around them, the falling drops mingling
with the plash of leaden hail. Now they are
through — no — one has disappeared. See, the
other turns back. Why does he not keep on, the
bulk of the peril is over now ? A few more steps
and he will be safe ; it is madness, deliberate mad-
ness, to throw away his life ; he can do no good
by it I Who shall say that all this and more — the
vision of home, a future career, a hundred hopes
and ambitions — does not flash across his mind at
this moment ? But he is a Briton and a soldier ;
a comrade is in danger, and the Colours must be
saved ; his own life is as nothing in the balance.
Again he disappears in that turbid, boiling flood.
See, the bank is lined with dark eager forms ; puffs
of smoke issue from many a point — ‘ ping,’ * ping,’
fall the vengeful bullets. Both are down. No,
they are up again, on the opposite shore, but they
have lost their horses and — the Colours. A fright-
ful yell wakes the echoes from the surrounding
heights as the fierce foemen dash into the river,


like bloodhounds, in pursuit. The two heroes toil
laboriously up a long ravine, but they are wounded
and exhausted ; their fleet foes gain upon them ; a
few hundred yards, a short struggle, and — another
brilliant page has been added to the glowing
annals of British deeds of arms. The two soldiers
he pierced through and through with many a
wound, aud the Colours ai’e lost ; but they have
done their best — their very best. And the current
rolls on its course beneath the great overhanging
silent cliiTa, and at evening time the low of cattle
wending down to drink, and the song and laughter
of Zulu girls coming from a neighbouring kraal to
fill their calabaslies, ai’e the only sounds that now
wake these sohtudes formerly rent by the din of
fierce and deadly strife.

About five hundred yards from the river, near
the upper end of the ravine, rest the two heroes,
beneath a stone cross on which is recorded their
names and the manner of their deaths.

Out way back lay tlirough a long bushy valley
to the left of the Fugitives’ Track, returning from
the river ; the heat was fearful, and our horses
were in a perfect bath as they stepped lazily along.
Presently something wliite lying among the grass
catches my eye ; it is a human skull, large and
well formed. How can it have come here, right
out of the hne of flight as we are ? Some poor


wretch who haa perhaps crept away to die in
Eolitude. Truly the region round about leandhl-
wana seems a very Golgotha.

But a reek of smoke rising above the bushes
points to habitation of some sort, and threading a
narrow path through some well cultivated mealie
fields, we ride up to a small kraal and dismount.
Two Zulus are sitting on the ground, one busy
polishing up the other’s head-ring ; a vessel of water
is by his side and a flat piece of wood in the
operator’s hand, and a few women and children
tumble out of the huts to peer at the ‘ abeliingu’
(white people). “We throw ourselves on the grass
and proceed to enter into conversation with the
two men : the Zulu is a genial soul and enjoys
nothing so mucli as a regular good gossip ; more-
over my companion was known to tliem. Cheery,
good-humoured fellows were these two, and chatted
away at a great rate, and presently, at a hint from
my companion, some ‘ tywala ‘ (native beer) was
brought U8. Now this beverage, which is made of
‘ amabele,’ a kind of millet, and sometimes of maize,
does not of necessity commend itself to the un-
initiated palate ; but when the cupbearer is a big
Zulu woman, most scantily clad, who, previous to
handing the bowl containing the hquor, squats
down in front and takes a preliminary sip, the un-
veiled Briton might excusably decline to slake


his thirat under the circumstances, and suddenly
discover that he is not so *dry’ as he fancied.
But if haply he has toiled along for hours in the
scorching atmosphere of the Buffalo valley on a
February day he will, I trow, think better of
it ; anyhow, under our judicious handhng the
modicum of ‘ tywala ‘ waxed smaller and beauti-
fully less, until the bottom of the bowl became
glaringly apparent. But whatever are the merits
or demerits of this barbaric brew, there can be no
doubt as to its refreshing properties in hot weather ;
to appreciate it, you must be genuinely thirsty,
for it is not at all the kind of stuff to drink in cold
blood. It is a very safe ‘ tipple,’ intoxication beiug
only contingent on the absorption of a far greater
quantity than any European would care to imbibe.
The practice of taking a sip before handing the
bowl to a guest, has, of course, its counterpart in
that of mediffival civilisation ; no Zulu would think
of omitting this form.

We lay there chatting for some time, the head-
ring pohshing going on the while. These head-
rings, worn by the married men only, are made of the
dark gum of the mimosa, and when well kept shine
like a newly blacked boot. They are about the
thickness of a man’s thumb, fitting close round the
top of the head just above the forehead ; as a rule
Zulus who wear the ring shave their heads.



The unmarried men let their hair grow naturally,
as also do the girls, unlike the Natal natives, who
twist and plait their wool into the most fantastic of
patterns and devices. Shortly before marriage the
Zulu women let the hair of the scalp grow, which,
when long enough, is worked into a conical shape
and anointed with red ochre till it shines and
sparkles like mica. Rather a becoming arrange-
ment is this topknot, doing away with the otherwise
roundheaded * niggerish ‘ appearance. The same
holds good of the ring.

While I was remarking upon the friendliness of
our entertainers, one of them rather took the gilt off
the gingerbread by asking for sixpence. My com-
panion pointed out to him that it was bad form to beg,
especially before an ‘ inkos ‘ who had come all the
way from England to see them, and the delinquent
tried hard to appear ashamed of himself. However,
I told him he must come and pay me a visit at the
waggon, next day if possible, and we could have a
big talk, which he promised to do, and as the sun
was low and it was cool again we started, parting
from our entertainers with mutual goodwill. It
was dusk when we got back to the Mission,
healthily tired after the day*s proceedings. Next
morning my Zulu friend, who answered to the
name of Jojo, appeared in due course. I found he
belonged to the Udhloko regiment, and had fought


at Rorke’s Drift, and was well posted up in the
whole question of the war. We had a long talk,
after which I handed him over to my ‘ boys ‘ to be
well fed, and having stowed away his full share of
mealie-meal and sundry jorums of black coffee —
to which invigorating decoction, by the way, the
natives are very partial — my visitor look his leave,
hugely complacent in the acquisition of some
‘ gwai ‘ ‘ and sundry knicknacks dear to the
barbaric heart.

StrolUng up to the Mission shortly afterwards
the first person I ran against was Master Jojo, who
grinned significantly, I remarked casually to my
companion of the day before,’ that that lighthearted
savage had lost no time in looking me up, and had
just made a pretty creditable feed. ‘Why,’ was
the reply, to my astonishment, ‘ he says he’s
starving, and hasn’t had anything to eat to-day.’
When tackled with such flagrant mendacity
the rascal was not a whit disconcerted : only
laughed, and said that having got a lot of good
things out of one ‘ inkos ‘ he thought he’d better
come and see what he could get out of the other.
The humbug I A fine specimen was this fellow,
tall, supple, and rather light coloured, with a
handsome good-humoured face, but, I suspect, a
great rogue.


I climbed to the summit of Isandhlwana, which
ascent is neither long or perilous, being at the
north end gradual and easy, albeit good exercise
for wind and limb. From the top a good sweeping
view is to be had, and the whole battlefield lies
spread out beneath like a map.

I suppose that for many years relics of the
conflict will keep on turning up — assegai heads,
buttons, and such like ; here and there a bullet is
to be found, and cartridge cases in plenty. Every
now and then you come across a heap of these, and
begin to speculate on how some poor fellow made
a long stand for it on this particular spot until his
ammunition failed. On closer inspection, however,
the illusion is dispelled, for about eight out of ten
of these cartridge cases have never been fired at
all, as you may see by the unexploded cap and the
marks of teeth where the enterprising savage has
torn open the case to extract the powder and ball.
I particularly noticed that none of these unexploded
cases were to be found on the outskirts of the
field, all there having been fired off* ; not until one
got upon the site of the actual camp did they
become plentiful, pointing, if anything, to the fact
that the fight in camp was hand to hand, our men
being rushed before they had time to fire many
shots, whereas those forming the outer lines of
defence would have had plenty. And the above


ciroumatance seems to make against the idea that
there was any faihire of ammunition. The heavier
missUes had also been emptied of their coutents,
and unexploded shells were plentiful enough ; a
number of these had been collected at the Mission,
some of them being put to such commonplace
uses as door weights and even candlesticks, while
others did duty as borders to little bits of garden

A few tombstones have been erected, mostly
just below the ‘ neck,’ rather as memorials than as
marking actual graves ; for, by the time the first
burying party visited the place, the bodies, with
very few exceptions, were past recognition. One
of these exceptions was Captain George Shepstone,
of the Natal Native Ilorse, whose grave is on
the slope beneath the western precipice — a pretty
sculptured cross enclosed by a low stone wall.
A grass fire had blackened and laid bare the whole
slope, but the fiames had left untouched the grass
inside the enclosure, which stood out, a green
spot, with its white cross in the centre, against
the surrounding blackness. But one monument is
shared alike by all. Towering above the sad and
fatal field, tlie lion-ahaped Isandhlwana rears its
rugged crest to the sky ; and, looking on that
stem defiant frontlet keeping its sUeut watch for
ever over our fallen countrymen, I could not but


realise how grand a monumental stone Nature had
provided, as though to shame the puny efforts of

And Isandhlwana’s stately eldest its vigil aye will keep,
Guarding our brethren’s peaceful rest, wrapt in their last long

Gigantic looms its ragged height crowned with a halo wreath,
As streams the pale moon’s silver light o’er the weird plain

Or at the close of scorching day, bathed in the summer mist,
Those iron walls by slanting ray of fading sunlight kissed ;
And the nigh third leaves his rocky nest with shrill and ghostly

As sinks afar in the purpling west the twilight’s last faint

When the deep thunder’s angry tone peals through the blackened

Vivid around that summit lone the flame-winged arrows fly,
And the storm wind with a frightened whirl scuds through the

troubled air —
Seeming defiance back to hurl from his huge frontlet bare,
There, in his towering grandeur piled, unmoved through calm

and storm.
Majestic o’er the lonely wild reigns that st«m lion-form.
And fitter monument ne’er crowned the fallen soldier’s grave,
Oft upon blazoned folds unwound floating o’er land and wave.
Emblem of Britain’s might renowned, here watching o’er her

brave. ^

^ From a poem b? the author, contributed to the Natal Met^cury
on the third anniversary of the battle.



Hlubi — A trial-*t-law- Native oratory — Sirayo’s stronghold — The
Ityotyozi valley — A standstill and a snake — Visitors — An im-
portant institution — * Big tagati ‘ — Where the Prince was killed
— Sabuza — A beggar — The Queen’s Cross — A kindly tribute — An
old story retold.

The scene of the Prince Imperiars death is about
twenty miles from Isandhlwana as the crow flies,
but by road nearly twice that distance ; and hav-
ing thoroughly ‘ done ‘ the great battlefield, and
the oxen being considerably set up by their long
rest, we inspanned early one morning and took the
road for the Ityotyozi valley. The first halt was
at St. Augustine’s, a mission station in charge of
the Rev. Charles Johnson, about thirteen miles
from Isandhlwana and four from Rorke’s Drift;
but a change of weather coming on, with violent
thunderstorms and heavy showers, I was detained
two or three days, which gave me an opportunity
of seeing EQubi, the chief of the district, whose
residence is close to the station.

At the termination of hostilities there was an


impression abroad that Zululand was to be kept
for the Zulus exclusively, and that no part thereof
would be taken from them under any pretence
whatever : whether a statement to that effect was
made by authority, my memory does not serve.
Anyhow, a large slice of the country was given to
this EQubi, who is not a Zulu at all, but the head
of a clan of Basutos living within the borders of
Natal, who did good service on our side during the
war. Whether another way might not have been
found of rewarding a friend and ally than giving
him territory to which he could have had no claim,
may be a fair question ; but, on the other hand,
looking at the arrangement as simply one of policy,
there can be no doubt as to the advantage of
placing the district comprising the scene of the
one great Zulu triumph, under an alien devoted to
British interest. As a matter of fact the two
border districts, from the Blood River to the
Tugela. mouth, are both ruled by chiefs whose
interests are unmistakably identical with our own.
A middle-aged man, rather stout, with an in-
telligent face, dressed in velveteen jacket, tweed
trousers, and flannel shirt, and with a general air of
native well-to-do-ness, such is the chief Hlubi. His
aspirations tend in the direction of comfort, for he
lives in a substantial stone house with a verandah,
and uses tables and chairs. Furthermore, he


drives his own trap, an American ‘ spider ‘ — albeit
given to loading up the same rather inordinately :
for to drive seven full-grown persons in a vehicle
constructed to seat four, u inordinate loading up.
At the time of my arrival the chief was engaged in
presiding over a ‘ trial-at-law,’ so after we had ex-
changed civUities, he left me to resume his judicial
seat. About fifty natives — Zulus and Basutos — were
squatted round in a circle, with the defendants,
aix in number, in the centre ; the ‘ court ‘ was held
in the open air, Hlubi being the only man who
affected a chair, the others sitting on the gi’ound
tailor-fashion. There appeared to be ‘ counsel ‘ on
both sides : seeing, however, that three individuals
would be talking all at once, both loud and fast —
and can’t a native talk — it struck me that the man
who would determine the rights and wrongs of the
case should be gifted with an extra judicial mind.
An indaba^ of this kind will often last for days.
Once a native orator is on his legs (metaphorically,
for the discussion is generally carried on squatting)
it must be a veiy powerful diversion indeed that
will arrest the stream of talk and gesture — the
gesture denunciatory or explanatory, the gesture
deprecatory or exultant, all play an important
part in aboriginal speech -maliing. And yet no

‘ Palaver. Tbp word is (Jbo used for
kind of tftlk.


one could brand that torrent of volubility with the
ignominious term ‘jabber,’ for there is a wonder-
ful grace about this pantomimic illustration — the
grace and ease of a born orator — while the smooth ,
even flow of words, no less than the readiness of
repartee, betokens a command of language which
our trained speakers might well envy. A native
is never at a loss ; never at a moment’s hesitation
for an expression wherewith to convey his mean-
ing : how poor and wanting in this respect is our
unmelodious English compared with his facile
tongue. But I suppose the man does not exist
who, once upon his legs, more dearly loves to hear
himself talk than the native of South Africa, be he
Zulu or Xosa, Tembu or Basuto, or be he who he

In the trial I witnessed, the defendants were
charged with resisting some of Bflubi’s police :
whether they were convicted or not I never heard.

Near St. Augustine’s is Sirayo’s ^ old stronghold,
the scene of the first skirmish after the troops
crossed into Zululand, and this I took occasion to
visit. About an hour’s ride brought us through
the green valley of the Bashi, and after several

^ Zulus cannot sound the letter ‘ r/ pronouncing it as ‘ h ; * yet in
their languafi^ it conveys something more than the ordinary sound of
‘ h/ more like ‘ch’ in the German word *ich.’ Thus it is pronounced
in ‘ Sirayo.’ Sometimes they pronounce it M/ as in their coined word
‘ umhu/iple/ umhrella.


tedious ditours to get round a mealie field or to
avoid a deep donga, we entered the steep stony
defile leading to the truculent old chieftain’s former
abode. The morning was dark and lowering, heavy
clouds completely veiling the krantzes (cliffs) and
hill tops, while a constant and insinuating drizzle
did its level best to render life exceedingly uncom-
fortable for the ambitiouB explorer. The site of
the kraal, which was easily found, is on a ridge, or
rather spur, overlooking the approaches from the
valley on either side ; the cattle enclosure stiil
stands, and is girt by a solid stone wall, around
which, and thickly overgrown with tangled weeds,
are the clay floors of the huts, being all that remain
of the same. On the other aide of the ravine, in the
rear, rises a huge wall of frowning cliff”, along
whose face clouds were driving in misty scud, the
crags looming out stern and forbidding in their
shadowy dimness ; and here, amid the stones and
clefts, Sirayo’s followers made a futile stand against
the hated invader.

A temporary lull in the downpour enabled us
to compass a fire and some breakfast, which im-
parted a surprisingly brighter tint to things in
general. Previously, what with the early start and
the long wet ride, I was rather weary, and felt
strongly sympathetic towards Nature in her ab-
horrence of a vacuum, which combination of dia-


comforts had set me wondering whether it was
worth while going through so much to gain so little,
as the charity boy is proverbially supposed to have
said when he came to the end of the alphabet.
The look-out, however, assumed a more cheerful
hue after breakfast, and I was inclined to explore
the rugged fastness in front, but the rain coming
on again harder than ever, it was manifest that no
good could be effected by slipping and tumbling
about among slimy boulders and long wet grass ;
accordingly, saddling up, we took the homeward

As soon as the weather fairly cleared we started,
and halting for the night on the heights near Itelezi,
descended early next morning into the Ityotyozi,
a clear stream whose sandy bed winds through
grassy bottoms, where the track was anything but
plain. Owing to its winding course the river has
to be crossed several times, which, the drifts being
nearly all more or less bad, is not an advantage.
I arrived at one of these to find the waggon stick-
ing fast, and the driver endeavouring, with a per-
sistency worthy of a better cause, to upset the
same. However, I was just in time to save its centre
of gravity and avert the catastrophe, and after ply-
ing spade and pick for a few minutes, the offending
wheel rolled reluctantly out of the hole, and we
were on the move again. The next event came in


the shape of a big puff adder lying in the inidtlle
of the road, which Fani deftly alew with his long
whip, looking hugely pleased with himself after the
successful accompliahment of this feat. In fact
he soon got hold of the idea that the destruction
of all the snakes in Zululand was his particular
mission, and, thereafter, whenever a serpent showed
itself anywhere near our line of march, he e’ffectually
‘ did for ‘ that unwary reptile.

The surrounding country was green and un-
dulating, and did not seem thickly populated,
though a few kraals were scattered about here
and there upon the plains. During the mid-day
halt some Zulus paid me a visit at the waggon ;
the gift of a little tobacco {which is not used for
smoking, but converted into snuff), and a few
trifles, placed us at once on the best of terms,
and they sat chatting away about the war and
their own pohtics of the day as familiarly as if
we had known each other all our lives.

Snuff-taking, by the way, constitutes an
eventful item in the Zulu day’s doings. It is in
no wise to be engaged in lightly or hurried over,
but must be attended with all the deliberate
ceremonial which so important an undertaking
demands. Is the would-be snuffer on his travels, —
he does not take his ‘pinch ‘ while walking along.
Oh no ! He sits down by the roadside, gravely


extracts his snuflfbox (either a bit of reed or a
long tube of polished horn with a stopper) from
the slit in the lobe of his ear where it is generally
kept — I suppose because pockets are unknown
conveniences to people the bulk of whose clothing
consists of Nature’s garb — pours a quantity of
its contents into his bone snuff-spoon, if he has
one, or into the hollow of his hand if he has not,
and by a series of ‘ pinches ‘ transfers every particle
of the pungent mixture to his nasal cavities.
Which operation completed, he sits for a few
minutes in placid enjoyment of the results of his
favourite indulgence ; then, replacing his snuffbox
in its auricular repository, starts on his way with
the air of a man who has satisfactorily discharged
a heavy responsibility towards himself and society
at large. Three or four old men taking snuff
together is a sight worth witnessing. The calm
gravity, the sublime indifference to all earthly
things depicted on each countenance during the
operation is a study in itself. The use of snuff
is not confined to age or sex, the women indeed
being as fond of it as their lords ; but the Zulus
have never taken to the pipe, though the Kafirs on
the Cape frontier, men and women alike, smoke
ferociously, as do also many of the Natal natives.

But to return to our visitors. My field glass
was a great source of diversion : they couldn’t


understaud how their own kraal, about a mile
off, could be brought by its means within a few
yards ; nor how, on reversing the glass, the same
object should appear far away on the horizon.
But the climax of astonishment was reached when,
unscrewing one of the ends, I used it as a burning
glass and ignited paper and dry grass, finisliing
by lighting my long pipe therewith. One venture-
some spirit went so far as to put his hand under
the lens after some persuasion, but promptly saw
good and sufficient reasons for withdrawing it,
whereat the others laughed him to scorn. Never-
theless they shook their heads and thought
that the man who could bring down fire from
the sun to light his pipe with must be very big
‘ tagati ‘* indeed.

I arrived on the scene of the Prince’s death
at sundown. An old man who was driving cattle
pointed out the spot, for the stone itself, being
in a hollow, is not visible until you are right
upon it. We outspanned about 500 yards from
the enclosure, and almost before the oxen were
clear of their yokes received a visit from the petty
chief Sabuza and a few of his followers — it was
on the site of this worthy’s former kraal that the
unfortunate Prince and his party were offsaddled

r anjthiiig that u mtconnj, correapondiug t
North Americaa Indisn term ‘p«it medirine.’


when attacked. Sabuza is a quiet, good-humoured
looking old customer, of sturdy build, and grey-
headed, but an inveterate * beggar ‘ withal. I
opened the proceedings by distributing * gwai ‘
(tobacco), and the Zulus, squatting down, prepared
for a talk.

* What had I got to sell ? ‘ they were anxious
to know. I explained that I was not a trader,
but had come up there to see them and their
country, and wanted to have a look at the Prince’s
monument. With a keen eye to the main chance,
Sabuza struck in that he expected people to pay
for the latter privilege, a notion which met with
huge ridicule from me. The old man was
evidently sensible of the ‘prestige attaching to him-
self and his neighbourhood by the possession of
such a * lion,’ and was resolved to make the most
of it. I asked him if he kept the place in good
order. * Yes, he had told the white inkosi ^ that
he would, and he did.’ After some more talk
they left, saying that it was late, and promising
to return in the morning. Soon after their de-
parture I strolled over to the monument. There
it stood, white and calm in the moonlight ; every
word graven upon the cross as plainly readable
as in broad daytime. I stepped within the silent

‘ Major Stabb and Colonel Bowker, on the occasion of the unveil-
ing of the monument.



enclosure ; all around spoke of stillness and peace,
as though I were standing on holy ground. And
Ityotyozi’s limpid waters rippled on over their
sandy bed, blending in tuneful murmur with the
rustle of long grass ever and anon stirred by a
faint zephyr; blackly loomed the hills against
the starlit sky, while a full moon hanging above
in the clear vault of night shed a flood of silver
radiance upon this quiet vale, where a promising
life was laid low and the destiny of a great empire
diverted. As I turned to leave the place a hght
twinkled redly forth from the dark hill side across
the valley, and the sound of distant voices and
laughter borne upon the night air seemed to
bring one back to the everyday world.

In the morning Sabuza duly put in an appear-
ance ; others came up in twos and threes, among
them my cattle-driving friend of the previous
evening, who rejoiced in the name of Mpunhla,
bringing with him some green mealies culled for
my special benefit. I have said that the old
chief was an inveterate beggar ; the reader will
judge whether he sustained that character when
I say there was hardly a thing tliat he didn’t ask
for. He opened fire at once, first insinuating that
I. ought to give him a blanket, then ventured to
suggest that a suit of clothes would add generally
to his personal appearance. I replied that if tliere


was one reason more than another why I should

have elected to be born a Zulu, that reason would

be to avoid the necessity of wearing clothes in

such weather as we were then experiencing.

* Wouldn’t I give him a shirt ? ‘— * No ; I didn’t

carry articles of clothing to give away, they took

up too much room in the waggon.’ He came

down in his demands at last to — a needle and

thread, but I was obdurate ; as long as he went

on begging he should get nothing. However,

I distributed some strips of coloured calico among

the assembly, which they proceeded to tie round

^Si . ” >^ their heads with unconcealed satisfaction. The

^ amount of gratification which, in Zululand, can

* be evoked by the bestowal of a few of the veriest

trifles is refreshing to witness. A couple of inches

of ordinary Boer tobacco places you on the

friendliest footing with the average Zulu ; give him

a red handkerchief and he is happy ; if you throw

in a few brass buttons his countenance will beam

with delight, while the donation of a coloured

umbrella, the gaudier the better, will make him

your debtor for life. I have more than once seen

a burly barbarian, in all the scantiness of his native

costume, striding along, as proud as Punch, beneath

a big umbrella striped with more than the colours

of the rainbow, and looking down from his fancied


elevation upon his less fortunate brethren who
were without the coveted ‘ shelter -stick.’ Lucifer
matches, too, are greatly prized, being almost un-
known except in the vicinity of a trading store.
The native way of kindling a fire is by the friction
of two bits of stick. A small hole is made in the
side of one, into which the pointed end of the
other is inserted and twirled quickly round be-
tween the hands until it smoulders and ignitea the

In company with Sabuza and two or three of
his men I explored the scene of the catastrophe.
Looking up the Ityotyozi valley, on the left is a
long bare range beginning with the Mililungwane,
two round-headed green hills. On the right the
ground slopes gradually down to the river, around
which are fertile low-lying bottoms planted over
with mealie fields ; one of these now covers the
site of Sabuza’s old kraal where the party was first
attacked. About a quarter of an acre of ground
is walled in, and there is a small inner enclosure
some twenty ft. by twelve ft., within which, at the
head of a kind of rough altar tomb of piled stones,
stands the ‘ Queen’s Cross ‘ upon a pedestal hewn
from a solid block of native marble. The original
wreath placed around the cross by the expedition,
though much faded, is still intact, and a few other


wreaths in more or less withered condition lay
about. The inscription, which I first read in the
moonUght, runs in this wise : —





























*With his face to the foe/ And now that the
red tide of war has rolled back from the land.


that foe 80 merciless and unsparing in battle la
foremost in honouring his memory. Fronting the
entrance of the enclosure a plank stands upright
in the ground on which is fixed a curiously
wrought brass crucifix, bearing a dedicatory le-
gend. The graves of the troopers of Beltington’a
Horse are behind the cross, and in the left-hand
corner of the enclosure stands the original rough
wooden tablet erected by the Royal Scots FusiUers;
the trees planted by the expedition are growing
up, and the place is kept in wonderfully good
order. It will be remembered that the monument
was formally handed over by Major Stabb, the
commander of the expedition, to Sabuza and his
clan, who promised to take care of it, and right
well has the old chief kept his word. When we
entered the enclosure the Zulus stood for a mo-
ment, one after another, and raising the right hand
above the head, gave the salute of honour — ‘Inkos! ‘
which ceremony they told me was always gone
through whenever they had occasion to visit the
place, A graceful and kindly tribute this, to the
memory of a fallen enemy. Who shall say that a
fimd of generosity does not lurk in tlie breasts of
these dark children of the wilds, whom we are
accustomed to look upon as a set of brutal, in-
human barbarians?

I was at some pains to get at the facts of the


whole affair, wliich, according to the story of
Sabuza and his followers, were these. The Zulus
who surprised the Prince numbered sixty men
belonging to the Ngobamakosi, Umbonambi, and
Nokenke regiments — a scouting party, in fact. The
presence of white men was reported by one of the
number, who, from a peak overlooking the valley,
directly opposite the scene of the catastrophe, had
seen the Prince’s party offsaddle at the kraal.
Thereupon the whole body moved stealthily down
a deep donga opening into the Ityotyozi ; gaining
the river they crept along beneath its high banks,
and advanced upon the unsuspecting group under
cover of the standing com. Those fatal ten
minutes I But for that disastrous delay the Prince
would have been alive now. The savages were
scarcely in position when the word was given to
mount, but fearing lest their prey should escape
them after all, they made the attack. A hurried
volley ; a wild shout ; and the rout was complete.
One of the troopers was unable to mount his horse,
that of the other was shot ; but the Prince still had
hold of his — ^a large grey — ^which plunged and
reared, becoming quite unmanageable. * We fired
again,’ said my informant, * and charged forward,
shouting ” Usiitu.” The big horse broke away, and
ran after the other white men who were riding off
j as fast as they could, round the slope. He fought




hard when we came up to him ; the scuffle with
the horse had brought him here (about 150 yards
from where the attack was made). The first man
to stab him was Xamanga; he belonged to the
Umbonambi regiment, and was afterwards killed
in the battle of Nodwengu,’ We did not know
at the time who the Prince really was, but
thought he was an EngUsh induna. His sword
was taken to Cetpvayo.’

The bones of the trooper’s horse were still lying
near where that of the Prince broke away, but
other traces of the sad affair were there none.
Although at first blush it would seem that had
the object of the party been to court surprise
and attack, no better spot could have been chosen,
yet the face of the country is so deceptive, having
all the appearance of being open and devoid of
cover, that those unacquainted with it might
more readily be taken in. As a matter of fact,
liowever, the long grass and numerous dongas
afford ample cover for a lurking foe, who, taking
advantage of the fields of standing corn and the
winding bed of the river, could advance unseen
upon almost any point, within an incredibly
short space of time.

At the close of the day’s proceedings old

‘ Oiniundi. Zulus always call it the bntll« of Nodwengu, because
fought neamrt the krul of that name.


Sabuza and his followers were rendered happy
by sundry donations, and I made a speech on a
small scale, saying I should tell the English
inkosi how well the monument was being looked
after, which announcement seemed greatly to
please them. I told Sabuza that I wanted to
leave at early dawn, and must have some one to
pilot me into the main road to Isipezi, as the
track was very indistinct and the country seamed
with fissures. He, however, said he would go
himself, and promised to be with me long before
sunrise. But when morning came there was no
sign of anyone ; so, not in the best of humours
at being *done,’ I gave orders to inspan, won-
dering how the deuce we should manage to find
the way, seeing that the grass was breast high
and there was no semblance of a track. How-
ever, before we had gone many hundred yards
Mpunhla put in an appearance, just in the nick of
time, too, for we were already beginning to go
wrong. He had seen me start, he said, and that
none of the people were with me ; it was not good
that an inkos should leave them without anyone to
show him the road ; accordingly, he had come after
me with that object, and lucky was it for me that
he did. I took quite a fancy to the old fellow —
so quiet and pleasant mannered, never asking for
anything, but very pleased if any little trifle was


given him. He told me that his fighting days were
over, but I could not help thinking that he would
have been a tough customer in his time, for he was
a finely made man yet. How carefully he steered
us through bad drifts and over the smoothest
ground — ^walking alongside for miles, chatting and
pointing out all the landmarks far and near, till,
after two hours’ travelling, we struck the road.
When, lo and behold ! who should come trotting up
but old Sabuza, trying to look as if he had piloted
us all the way. The old humbug !



The Upoko valley — A rencontre — Traders and trade — ^Mehlo-kapzulu
— ^The biter bit — Zulu honesty — A Briton and his growL

Towards evening we began to descend into the Upoko
valley. Hitherto the country had been open and
treeless, now it became more rugged ; large masses
of rock were littered about the undulating plains,
and a long bushy range of hills rose on the opposite
side of the valley. The open country, with its
rolling ‘ steppes ‘ of billowy grass tossing in the
breeze, has a certain charm of its own— even then
it must be seen with the sun upon it and the blue
sky overhead ; on a wet or cloudy day the effect is
depressing in the extreme — but the bush country
is more pleasing to the eye and more alive with all
the varieties of bird, beast, and insect. Just as we
reached the bottom of the valley another waggon
appeared on the crest of the hill in front, which
turned out to be that of a trader. The rencontre
of a waggon in that wild country where for days
I had not seen the face of a compatriot was Uke



speaking a ship on the lonely sea. We exchanged
civilities and agreed to outspan together and make
a night of it.

The trader is quite an institution in Zululand,
albeit there ia but scope for an extremely Umited
number. Loading up his waggon with articles
Ukely to be in request — such as blankets, knives,
umbrellas, Salampore cloth (a kind of blue gauzy
fabric much worn by the native women), tobacco,
snuff, beads, &c., the man crosses the border.
Perhaps he is fitted out by a storekeeper, in which
case he gets a percentage on the profits, or the
waggonload is entirely his own affair. He is away
two, three, or four months, according to tlie num-
ber of hie waggons, the success be meets with, or
the route by which he travels. It is indispensable
that he should be well acquainted tt-ith the native
language ; furthermore, he must be firm and busi-
nesslike in all his deahngs, for the Zulu is a hard
nail at a bargain, and will always try to get as
much and give as httle as he can. Hides, horns,
and live cattle generally form the staple articles of
barter ; coin of the realm being scarce, and but
little understood in Zululand. The habitual trader
is well known to the chiefs, whom he takes care to
propitiate with judicious gifts from time to time,
an important item in the programme. He goes
from kraal to kraal, living among the natives and


frequently on native fare. The best trader, too, is
the man who combines tact with courage and reso-
lution. For, although a traveller may pass through
the length and breadth of the land, and meet with
nothing but kind and civil treatment, with the
trader the case is different ; it is often considered
quite legitimate to overreach him if possible ; and
any potentate in whose bad books he happens to
figure may be inclined to make things warm for
him. The trip over, he returns to Natal, his wag-
gon emptied of the goods he carried up with him,
but, in their place, loaded with hides, buckskins,
horns, a little ivory perhaps — anything that will
find a market in the colony — and driving along
with him a choice herd of sleek Zulu cattle. All
of which he disposes of, either to buy a fresh load
and start off again, or to return to his farm ; for
some combine trading with their ordinary farming
pursuits, taking a periodical trip into Zululand ;
others again do nothing else, having stores estab-
lished in various parts of the country in addition to
their itinerary traffic.

While we were outspanning, I noticed a slight
stir among the ‘ boys,’ the name ‘ Mehlo-ka-zulu ‘
passing from mouth to mouth. Looking up, I saw
a tall, clean-limbed native coming towards us,
swinging his kerrie as he moved through the grass
with an easy gUding run, two or three rough



lurcher-like mongrels at hia heels. With the usual
greeting ‘ Saku bona ‘ ^ he sat down, panting after
his run, and began a brisk confabulation with the
trader. I looked with considerable interest at this
man, one of the principal factors in the bringing
on of the war. It may be worth while recapitu-
lating the circumstances. In July 78, six months
before the declaration of hostiUties, one of Sirayo’s
wives fled from her lord and master, and took
refiige in Natal. She was followed by a party
under the leadership of Mehlo-ka-zulu and Nkumbi-
ka-zulu, Sirayo’s eldest and second sons, recaptured
in the Umsinga division, brought back into
Zululand, and there put to death according to
Zidu law and custom. The old chief appears to
have been unfortunate in his domestic relations,
for, shortly after this, another of his spouses sud-
denly preferred Uving in Natal. Again Mehlo-ka-
zulu came forward to vindicate the honour of his
father’s house, and led another armed band across
the border ; the second recalcitrant wife was seized
and taken back to Zululand, where she met with
the same fate as the first. These little escapades,
however justifiable in Zulu eyes, were none the
less distinct violations of British territory, to
answer for which the persons of Sirayo’s two sons
and one of his brothers were demanded by the High
‘ IJterally ‘ I have Been jou.’


Commissioner. Had they been given up it is diffi-
cult to see what punishment could have been meted
out to them ; the slaughter of the women in both
instances having taken place in ZuMand was as
effectually beyond the cognisance of colonial courts
as if it had taken place in Siberia, no penalty being
provided by the criminal law of Natal for the
violation of territory. The war ended, Mehlo-
ka-zulu surrendered to the Secretary for Native
Affairs, and after a brief imprisonment at Maritzburg
was allowed to return home, as anyone who gave
the matter a moment’s thought might have fore-
seen would be the case.

Mehlo-ka-zulu is a fine, well-made man, of about
five or six-and-twenty, with an intelligent face and
brisk, lively manner. A sub-chief of the Ngoba-
makosi regiment and a good shot, he is much
looked up to by his younger compatriots as a
spirited and daring warrior, but among traders
and border men he enjoys the reputation of being
an irreclaimable scamp, and many a bit of sharp
practice is laid to his account, of which the follow-
ing story may serve as a specimen. I said that
Sirayo’s residence, previous to the war, was within
a few miles of the border, over which at that time
horses and cattle took to straying in rather an
unaccountable manner, to be sent back with a
heavy claim from Sirayo for damages to meaUe


gardens or something — frequently, too, never
returning at all, and, rightly or wrongly, the old
chieftain’s enterprising sons were credited with
these disappearances. Now it happened that a
border farmer lost a horse which he at length
ascertained to be at Sirayo’s kraal. Knowing his
man, he sent and offered Sirayo \l. if he would
find (?) the horse for him, to which the chief
agreed. Time, however, shpped by and the
animal was not forthcoming, but our friend Mehlo-
ka-zulu waa, and proceeded to inform the
aggrieved colonist that his father thought \l. too
little ; they could not get the people to turn out for
BO small a consideration ; and that he must give a
lot of things in addition, among which blankets
and ‘ squareface ‘ (Hollands gin) figured largely.
But while negotiations were in progress, one of
the farmer’s native servants contrived to let hia
master know that the missing quadruped was con-
cealed just across the river close at hand. Of
course he received instructions to go through
quietly and take it, which feat being successfully
accomplished, the naturally incensed settler turned
upon Mehlo-ka-zulu, telling him that as he had
promised Sirayo 1/. he would keep hia word, but
that he, Mehlo-ka-zulu, was an infernal scoundrel,
and, for the rest, the sooner he took himself off the
better. I beUeve there was nearly a battle royal


on the spot between the two, but be that as it
may, the wily savage must have returned to his
* native heath ‘ feeling wondrously small.

Whether growth in years, martial experiences,
or subsequent intercourse with Europeans have
diminished or eradicated scampish proclivities in
this young warrior I am unable to say ; one thing,
though, I can say, which is that his reception of me
when I visited him at his own kraal was all that
was courteous and friendly. However sharp in
his dealings the Zulu may be with trader or border
resident, my experience of him as a traveller is all
in his favour. More than once have I returned to
the waggon, after leaving it alone and improtected
for some hours, to find several natives squatting
round awaiting my return, pointing out to each
other such of its contents as were visible, which
contents they knew to consist of the very articles
most prized by themselves, yet not a thing was
touched. A fool, wasn’t I, for making the experi-
ment ? Granted ; but having made it, I like now
to look back upon such an instance of spontaneous
honesty on the part of these untaught barbarians
towards a stranger alone in their midst, as if they
had said, * He trusts us and so he may.’ If the
fact of the Zidu being given to sharp practice, even
at times bordering on rascality, in a bargain be
cited as nullifying his other good qualities, I


would simply ask if our own commercial mercury
is exceptionally exalted.

I believe that, save in actual war time, any
Englielimau may go all over Zululand alone and
unarmed with perfect safety, provided he is friendly
and courteous towards the natives ; in short, pro-
vided he behaves as a gentleman, and none more
readily detect any flaw in such behaviour than
they. But the ‘ Jack and ” baas ” ‘ ‘ style of inter-
course with the colonial natives does not go down
among the Zulus, who, if treated with ordinary
courtesy, are the last people to presume ; at least
8uch is my experience. Let this fact speak for
itself. I travelled through the greater part of the
country alone with my Natal ‘ boys,’ and not
one instance of distruet or hostility did I meet

To return to our camp. Bargaining was going
on in a spirited manner, apparently, from the
talking and gesticulation, and yards of Salampore
cloth were being unrolled and measured, doubtless
to deck the lithe figure of some swarthy nymph
whom the chief’s son contemplated adding to his
sufficiently liberal allowance of spouses. I was
anxious to enter into conversation with him when
the ‘ deal ‘ should be over, but meanwhile was
rummaging in my waggon for something or other.
‘ A Dutch word menuing ‘maater.’


On emerging thence I found he was gone, and
could descry his dusky form disappearing in the
fast falling shadows of evening — ^he probably elate
at having got on the blind side of the trader,
this worthy, on the other hand, chuckling over
having * made ‘ out of him. At the same time I
am under the impression that in matters of
ordinary trade — by ordinary trade I exclude fire-
arms and Hquor— the dealings are fair enough. If
the trader gets a wide profit, it must be remembered
that he undergoes considerable risk. His waggon
may come to grief, his oxen may sicken and die,
his servants may take it into their heads to desert
him, and so on. Then, too, he has to bring the
goods up there, and is working his waggon and
oxen ; moreover, he has to feed his servants and
pay them a high rate of wages, none the less so for
accompanying him across the somewhat dreaded
border. On the other hand, the articles in which
he deals, though of small value in Natal, are greatly
prized and sought after by the Zulus ; wherefore a
bargain which would border upon a swindle if
effected in the colony, is fair enough in Zululand,
taking into consideration the outlay and the risk.
Added to which, both parties are thoroughly well
able to look after their own interests.

These traders are a curious class, and my
friend was not the least curious of them. It


was a glorious moonlight night, and as we sat over
our fried rashera and black coffee, while our re-
spective retinues fraternised round their fire — for
be it ever so warm the natives always like a fire
to ait round at night — he poured out his grievances.
He had but a poor opinion of the Zulus as a people ;
they were liars, thieves, and braggarts, and I would
be sure to find it out before I had got much
further. Once when his servants had all deserted
him, they (the Zulus) had promised to find some
one to replace them and drive his waggon, but
instead of doing so had deliberately left him in the
lurch. Then, again, they were always bragging about
Isandhlwana; indeed, he had had a row with this
very Mehlo-ka-zulu on that account. I ventured
to remark that my experiences of them had been
favourable hitherto, and that having had plenty of
opportunities of pilfering from rae, yet they had
refrained from doing so.

*0h, that was all very well, but if I were only
to take stock of my goods and chattels I should
misB a lot of things.’

I did not, however, miss anything, then or at
any future time, but was ready to allow for the
grievances of a man who probably had an uphill
struggle for it in order to keep his family decently,
for he told me he had a wife and four children in
Natal. Doubtless, too, his experiences in Zulu


traffic had not been all plain sailing ; furthermore,
being an Englishman he must have his growl. We
sat up chatting over our pipes tOl the moon was
high overhead. When I awoke next morning my
friend the trader was gone, and I could make out
the white tent of his waggon moving along against
the green hillside some distance off. He was not
half a bad fellow at bottom, and I sincerely hope
he may have many and many a successful trip
under more favourable circumstances.



Ka ‘ ftftenioon e&ll ‘—Kraal etiquette — Zulu (lospitslity — Native mode
of Blaugbterin(r cattle— The story of a clever shot — Zulu opinion
of artillery — ‘ Ubain-bai ‘ — Sirayo — General feeling with regard
to Cetywayo.

SlBATo’s kraal lies, one of a group, on the banks of
the Upoko river, at the foot of a long round-topped
range of hiUa, and thither when the heat of the day
had aomewhat abated did Andries and I take our

Passing an old military camp, with its tent
marks and low crumbling earthwork, we crossed
the rocky bed of the stream. A couple of hundred
yards further we came upon a rather slovenly
collection of huts, and were received by the usual
pack of mongrels yapping around ; these having
been speedily and forcibly pacified I inquired for
the chief, and was told he was out but would be
back soon. As I did not want to miss seeing him,
I promised to call again in returning, and mean-
while adjourned to his son’s kraal, which was only
a few hundred yards off. Here I was more fortu-


nate, as I found Mehlo-ka-zulu at home. He was
seated against the fence of the cattle kraal under
the shade of a dried bullock hide fixed on a couple
of sticks above his head, and as we came up, the
barking of curs brought a number of faces belong,
ing to women and children to the doors of the
huts, to have a peep at ‘ umlungu ‘ (the white man),
a somewhat rare animal in those parts. Dismount-
ing I walked up to Mehlo-ka-zulu, and took a seat
on the ground by his side. ‘ Saku bona I ‘ said he,
with a pleased smile, evidently recognising me from
our meeting the evening before. I repUed in due
form, and began to start a conversation.

On visiting a kraal the etiquette observed is as
follows. You ride up ; the chief man, or anyone
else who receives you, looks you up and down for
a few moments and then greets you with * Saku
bona ‘ (literally * I have seen you ‘), to which you
reply * Yeh bo ‘ (Yes, indeed). He either asks you
to come into a hut then, or when you have stated
your business. The first question is nearly always,
* Where do you come from ? ‘ It is contrary to
etiquette to go into anyone’s hut armed or to hold
a weapon in your hand wjiile talking ; wherefore, if
you have a gun with you, you leave it outside, or
if the conversation is held in the open air you put
it down. The meaning of which is, of course, that
sitting with a weapon in your hand impUes distrust


of your host. It is also considered bad mannera
to go into or out of a hut backwards, or to stop
when half way through the door and go out again.
When food or drink is offered you it ia always
tasted first by your entertainer or some one belong-
ing to him ; you may, however, decline it without
giving offence, provided of course you do not
manifest any sign of disgust with regard to its pre-
paration, or the preliminary sip, if of a fastidious
turn. It is sufficient to aay you have only just
broken your fast, or have not acquiretl a liking for
sour milk or * tywala,’ or any reasonable excuse
will do. On taking your leave you say, ‘ Hlala
gahld ‘ (‘ Rest quietly,’ or ‘ nicely ‘), to which they
reply ‘Yeh bo, hamba gahl^’ (‘Yes, indeed; go
quietly’). I used generally to shake hands with
the chief men on arrival at a kraal ; it pleased them
immensely and placed matters on a friendly footing
at once.

When we had talked a little, Mehlo-ka-zulu
rising, proposed that we should adjourn to his hut.
Now my experience of the domicile of the Cape
frontier Kafir — its greasiness, smoke, and squalor —
I had not yet been into a Zulu hut — prompted me
instinctively to decline the proffered hospitality,
saying it was cooler outside ; a shocking fiction,
for it was something more than broihng as I sat
there, nor was the bullock’s skin large enough to


shelter me too. It wouldn’t do, however, I was
evidently expected to comply ; so, going on all
fours, crept through the aperture with the best
grace I could muster. Once inside I was agreeably
surprised ; instead of the * fugginess ‘ and grease
I had been resigning myself to, the atmosphere
was delightfully cool after the fierce heat of the
summer afternoon ; the hard clay floor was beauti-
fully polished and everything scrupulously clean.
A few mats lay about, and blankets rolled neatly
up and placed on one side. Several dangerous
looking assegais and kerries were arranged upon a
rack, while a * miitya ‘ of leopard skin, denoting the
rank of its wearer as a chiefs son and a warrior of
some standing, hung from a peg.

The * miitya ‘ is a kind of small square apron
worn by every Zulu, and generally constituting
his sole attire. Suspended from the loins it is in
two pieces, the one in front ordinarily made of
Zanzibar cats’ tails, the other consisting of a bit of
square hide, or in the case of chiefs and men of
rank, of leopard skin. This last, however, is worn
as part of the regimental dress in actual war time
or on the occasion of a review, at other times the
ordinary bit of hide. In cold weather — and it
can be cold in those parts during the winter
months or during a spell of rains, as I have already
found occasion to show — the Zulu wraps himself in


an ample green woollen blanket, for, though hardy
by constitution, he can shiver at times, and, more-
ovei’, is not indiflerent to the comforts of a bright
fire tmd a warm hut while the biting wind howls

The Zulu hut is a dome-shaped structure made
of dry grass woven into thatch and stretched upon
a framework of sticks, the outside being usually
covered with grass mats. The floor is of hard clay,
and, being continually polished with smooth round
stones, shines Uke glass ; a small hollow in the centre
constitutes the fireplace, and one or more poles,
according to the size of tlie hut, support the roof.
The structure is entered by a small arched aperture,
just large enough to enable a man to crawl through
on all fours, in front of which is a palisade, or
rather screen, of mat or wattle ; the original idea
of so small an entrance way being that of protec-
tion against wild beasts.

Handing me a wooden ‘ pillow ‘ ‘ for a seat,
Mehlo’ka-ziilu threw himself upon a mat and settled
himself comfortably for a talk. One of his wives
brought in a large calabash of ‘ tywala ‘ and a
bucket of clear spring water : with the latter all
the drinking vessels were carefully washed, then,
frothing up a calabash about a pint and a half in

‘ The sleeper recM with hig neck or cbeek upon this implement, to
ftvoid Ijing on or injuring his heul-ting,


capacity, my host handed it to me after the usual
courtesy sip, and filled a clay bowl for himself.
Andries and two or three men who had dropped
in making themselves happy with another jorum.

To my inquiries as to how he was getting on
since the war, Mehlo-ka-zulu repUed that it hadn’t
made much difference to him individually; his
father had been a powerful chief but now was
nobody, and had been driven out of his former
country. Still they managed to live.

* Did he regret having fought ? ‘

* No, he couldn’t exactly say that ; he was a
young man and wanted to prove himself a warrior.
He had been in all the principal engagements:
Isandhlwana, Kambiila, and Ulundi, and now he
wanted to ” sit still.” ‘

* Always ? ‘

* Well, that he couldn’t say either ; he liked a
fight now and then ; there was no mistake about it.
As to whether he had killed many men at Isandhl-
wana, he supposed he must have kiUed some one,
but there was a great deal of confusion.’

Now this answer was evasive, for I subsequently
heard that he had rather distinguished himself in
the battle in question. As a rule, however, no
Zulu will own to having actually killed anyone
with his own hand, thinking such admission would
be offensive ; and so far from being ready to brag


about their successes, I invariably found the reverse
tendency to prevail ; in fact, tough, wiry looking
warriors, just the most likely fellows to have played
the deuce among our ranks, are the very ones who
will most readily disclaim having kUled anyone in
battle. Who shall say there is not something chival-
rous in this consideration for an enemy’s feelings?

‘ Well, now, what did he think of Maritzl)urg ? ‘

‘ Not much ; ‘ and, with a smile full of meaning,
‘ how easy it would have been for an imjii to “eat
up ” the place and kill everybotly in it. They
could begin at Mkunkundhlovwane (Grey Town)
in the morning and finish with Mkunkundhlovu
(Maritzburg) in the evening.’ In fact he had, |)rc-
viously to seeing it, pictured the capital to himself
as far larger and more imposing than it really was.

I told him I had just seen the place where tiie
Prince was killed.

‘Yes, he remembered the affair, and was sorry
when he heard of it. That wasn’t the way to kill
a man, to creep up to him in the grass and shoot
him. Zulus ought to meet their enemies in the
open, in fair fight, as they did us at Isandhlwana,
and at Kambiila, and again at Nodwengn ; then so
much the worse for whoever was beaten, but the
way in which the Prince had been killed was not

There spoke the brave man and the warrior ;


and certainly the genuineness of his enunciation
seems borne out by the line of action practised by
the Zulus throughout the campaign.

Presently a large piece of beef was brought in,
which I was told it was intended I should take
away with me, whereat Andries’ eyes glistened as
he thought of many a succulent stew to be con-
cocted during the evening outspan. In fact it fed
my retinue for several days, but did not look
sufficiently inviting to tempt me, for the Zulus do
not bleed their meat after the manner of English
butchers, consequently it has a raw and uninviting
appearance, even when done to a turn. The way
in which they go to work is thus. The ox destined
for slaughter is driven into the cattle kraal with
several others ; a man then goes up to the doomed
animal, and with one swift and sure stroke plunges
an assegai into its heart — it falls, and they sit
round until it has ceased to move, when the work
of skinning and quartering begins. During which
process, by the way, the Zulus do not show in a
pleasant or prepossessing light ; indeed, a lot of
them round a freshly slaughtered beast remind one
of nothing so much as a herd of vultures. Some-
times the slaughterer makes a bad shot, missing
the vital part, in which case the animal not un-
frequently turns upon its would-be destroyer,
promptly clearing the enclosure of all human


occupants. I ouce saw a mau thus ‘chevvied ‘ by
a cow he had stabbed, and only escape being
gored and seriously injured by sheer nimbleness
and agility. Then they stood upon the wall and
flung assegais at the hapless bovine, till tliey
brought it down.

To return to my story. My entertainer was
delighted with the gift of a red handkerchief to
put on hia head, and some strings of blue and
white beads, which I afterwards saw him .distri-
buting among the ladies of his harem — he told me
he had ten spouses — and aa Sirayo had not
returned, I suggested we should go to the waggon,
and perhaps might find him there. Passing the
old camp mentioned above, Mehlu-ka-zulu stopped,
and began to ‘spin a yarn,’ When the troops
were there a skirmish took place between them
and some Zulus on the other side of the river ;
hut what he wanted to tell me was that while a
‘war -doctor’ was performing his incantations
there, a well-directed shell from the camp dropped
into the middle of the group, cutting the luckless
wizard clean in half.

He pointed out the spot, right away among the
thorns, nearly a mile off; and to this day they
bebeve that that shot was intended exclusively for
the ‘ doctor’s ‘ benefit .

The Zulus have a very wholesome dread of the


effectiveness of* Ubain-bai ‘ (cannon). As this is the
name by which artillery is known throughout the
country, it may not be amiss to give the origin of
the word, which is rather an amusing one.

Well, then, formerly at Maritzburg a gun was
fired at 8 a.m., the hour when all native servants
and labourers were expected to be at their work.
After a while the time of gunfire was altered to 9,
but * Jack,’ who has some idea of time, though
none of punctuality, still persisted in sticking to
the old hour, and from sheer force of habit would
go to his master for his daily task. The * baas,’
however, would put him off : * Don’t bother me
now, come by-and-by — when the gun fires ! ‘

* What does he say ? ‘ would be the inquiry
of an expectant group when their spokesman

* He says, ” Come by-and-by^ ‘

Directly the expected detonation was heard,
nearly every native throughout the city would
exclaim * Haow ! Ubain-bai I ‘ and betake himself
to his work. The expression stuck, and forth-
with the gun became * Ubain-bai ‘ among the
native population of Natal, extending thence to
Zululand. Some bold spirits liave asserted that
the expression owes its origin to the time that
elapses between the report and the bursting of the
shell. Not bad — but ratlier too deep and far-


fetched an iJea to take root so reatlily in the Zulu
mind, and there is no doubt about the former
being the real origin of the word.

Resuming our way, we soon came upon Sirayo
and a few followers, sitting down in the grass.
From what I had heard of the old chief — his deep-
rooted hostility to us before the war, and his anti-
English proclivities generally, I expected to see
a grim, scowling savage ; instead whereof, 1 be-
held an urbane, jovial -looking old Zulu advancing
to meet me with outstretcljed hand, and grinning
from ear to ear. Looking at him I tliought of the
West African potentate, described as in full dress
in a cocked hat and pair of .spurs. His South
African brother, however, was less aspiring, and
rejoiced in a head-ring and a pair of boots (of
course not omitting the inevitable ‘ miitya ‘), for
the pedal extremities of this worthy were cased in
a huge pair of bluchers, which, lie being a great
sufferer from gout, seemed about the worst line of
adornment he could have struck out in. The old
fellow lumbering along (he is enormously fat), with
a barbed assegai in his hand, and trying to look as
if he were not on hot bricks, cut a slightly ridicu-
lous figure. It did not require much persuasion
to induce him to turn back with us, and speedily
the whole group was squatting in front of the
waggon in high good humour.



I began by telling him I had been to look at
his old home near Eorke’s Drift.

* Yes/ he said, * he had been turned out of his
country, and was an outcast ; a new chief, Hlubi,
had been put in his place. He was an old man
now, and couldn’t go wandering about in search of
new locations ; all his cattle had been taken, and
he was quite poor, and glad to live quietly where
he could.’

* Did he know Mr. Johnson, the missionary ? ‘

* Oh, yes ; Johnson used to be his friend, now
he was Hlubi’s friend, and Hlubi had driven him
(Sirayo) out of his territory (the inference being
plain). Why didn’t we bring back Cetywayo?
What could we want to keep him for ? Had we
killed him ? ‘

I explained that the King was well cared for
in his captivity, but that as to the possibiUty of
his restoration I could tell them nothing, being
merely a private person.

* Well,’ said he, * give us back Cetywayo, and
the country will be happy again ; or, anyhow,
bring him so that we can only see that he is alive
and well.’

Sirayo was always a crony of the King’s, one
of his most trusted indunas in fact ; his son,
Mehlo – ka – zulu, being also a great favourite.
Wherever I went I found the same state of feeling ;


all the old chiefs loyally attached to the exiled
King, and desiring his return. Always the same
story : * Bring us back the King I ‘ This feeling is
also shared by the bulk of the people ; and when
ultimately I left the country it was with the im-
pression that Cetywayo was that day the most
popular man in Zululand.

After some more talk my visitors left, the chief
and his son happy in the acquisition of a big knife
apiece ; and a few trifles distributed among their
followers sent me up like a rocket in their estima-
tion. Poor old Sirayo, I could not help feeling
sorry for him, though I am bound to say that his
misfortunes were mainly brought upon his own
head by his anything but immaculate conduct in
general. But the war was over now, and resent-
ment had had time to cool. An outcast, where
formerly he had been powerful and respected ;
his cattle gone ; one of his sons killed in battle ;
an alien reigning in his stead ; his friend and bene-
factor a captive and an exile, and himself old,
sick, and broken-down. Yes, I think one could
afford to pity him.



A thunderstorm and a novel cistern — * Arrival of the mail ‘ — A com-
fortable night — Matyana’s kraal — Pastoral scene — ^The last new
thing in shields.

A LONG night * trek ‘ brought us into the main road
again, and at daybreak I started Andries off to
fetch the post from Isandhlwana (for there is a
post office agency at Rorke’s Drift, and the mail, in
the shape of a Zulu with a bag, runs to the
Bishop’s twice a week) about fifteen miles across
country, and then, making a short march, crossed
the Upoko, and outspanned to await his return,
which would hardly be before nightfall. Opposite
rose the cliffs and steep slopes of Isipezi mountain,
and on the right the coneof Inhlabamakosi; beneath,
a wild open valley, not a bush or tree to relieve
the general air of desolation ; a kraal or two,
with its cultivated mealie patch, and a few cattle
grazing around, were the only signs of life, and the
oppressiveness of a dull leaden day seemed rather
enhanced than dispelled by periodical showers of
rain, which imparted a steamy dampness to the


sultry atmosphere, Eyer aud auoii from the
westward came the muffled roar of distant thunder,
and more and more distinctly, lurid gleams were
forking amidst the inky blackness whicli hung like
a pall over the far landscape. I could see that,
unless the wind changed, we were in for a violent
thunderstorm, which in these open regions, on an
exposed hillside, with Utile or nothing to draw off
the force of the lightning, is not exactly a joke.
A brooding stillness had fallen upon everything
till it seemed that you might have heard a whisper
a mile off; the darkness spread, louder and louder
rolled up each thunder-peal, nearer and more vivid
flashed the lightning, and a spot or two of rain the
size of a crownpiece wanied that it was time to
make all snug, and promptly ; for already the
lightning was glinting weirdly along the huge dark
kranises (cliffs) of Isipezi, and fierce thunder tones
sounded forth loud and menacing, echoing each
long-drawn roll in a hundred rocky reverberations,
to die away sullenly among the distant heights.
Scarcely had we time to unhook the trek-chain
and fasten down the sail of the waggon-tent when
the storm burst in all its fury. Peal after peal in
deafening succession ; steely, vivid flashes, almost
scorching in their nearness, following so close
upon each other that everything seemed fairly
bathed in a sea of red and blue flame. Then a lull


— a few instants of deathly stillness, only broken
by the heavy patter of a rain-drop or two on the
waggon tent; it is dark as night, a silence that
may be felt. Crash ! bang ! — an appalling roar
— a dazzUng sheetiness, and the ground reels. Has
the earth been suddenly cleft in twain ? No, the
fluid has only struck something, probably a rock ;
it was a near shave though, and I don’t care how
few more such experiences I get. But the storm
seems to have exhausted its violence in that last
frightful crash, the thunderclaps, though frequent,
have lost verve^ down comes the rain, Uterally in
spouts, the danger is over, and the storm-king
rushes off with sullen roar along the ridge.

And now I have to turn attention to more
commonplace matters, for the waggon tent evinces
an unworthy desire to emulate the distinctive
features of a well-ordered sieve ; in plain English,
the canvas, having been so long dry, proceeds to
leak abominably. Basins, pannikins, mackin-
toshes, are all pressed into the service, but no — the
confounded thing breaks out in a fresh place, till
at last, sit where I will, a growing spout drops its
miserable trickle on to my longsuffering head.
Necessity, we are told, is the mother of invention,
wherefore, being blessed with two hats, I cave in
the crown of one which I cram on over the other,
and allow the water to trickle at its own sweet will


into the hollow thus formed. Fancy being driven
to making a cistern of your hat, and carrying the
said reservoir on your summit”! But you are driven
into queer straits in the wilds. However, this did
not last long, the leakage ceasing as soon as the
canvas became fairly saturated.

Fani and Mlamvu, wlio have been sitting huddled
up in their blankets, stolidly waiting for the storm
to pass, now turn out, but it is raining steadily,
and seems likely so to continue throughout the
night ; for there is not a break in the dull wrack
which envelopes the earth in its darkening shivery
folds, while the ground, which an hour ago was
hard as adamant, is now ankle deep in mire. No
chance of lighting a fire to-night, everything is
thoroughly saturated, so I turn in to the waggon
and make the best of it, which ends in my falling
off into a doze. Presently I wake up with a start.
It is pitch dark and raining heavily, the canvas
is lifted, and a round black head appears, bisected
by a double row of * ivories ‘ as its owner’s mouth
expands into the broadest of grins. It is Andries
with the post. A good fellow that ! Wliy should
he not, seeing what sort of a night it was going to
be, have turned snugly in at some kraal by the way-
side, and come on in the morning ? I could not
have blamed him. But no — he knew I wanted the
post, so trudged on for hours through the rain


and darkness in order that I might get it as soon
as possible. A good, faithful fellow ! And I sat
reading my letters by the dim light of a swinging
lantern in the waggon-tent, away in the wilds of
Zululand, pitchy darkness outside, and the rain
driving against the far from substantial shelter.
What a night it was ; with one of those sudden
changes peculiar to the much belauded South
African climate, it had become horribly cold,
everything in the way of bedding was wet, so I
had to sleep in my clothes, in a half-sitting
posture. Sleep did I say ? Not much of that ; it
was a case of shivering till dawn, and then a
* double ‘ up and down the miry road to infuse
a little circulation into my benumbed limbs.

Towards mid-day, the ground having dried
somewhat, we were on the move again, traversing
a wide expanse of open plain ; Ibabanango, a co-
nical mountain, towering up, over a thousand feet,
on the left. The day was cool, and the oxen
stepped out briskly. A few hours of steady travelling
brought us to the Umhlatusi : bumping down a
sudden and rough descent we crossed the river,
which at that point is easily fordable, and out-
spanned, but only for a short time, for the long
steep hill on the other side of the valley must be
left behind by nightfall, and the sun is beginning
to dip already. High up on the mountain side we


pass the principal kraal of the chief, Matyana-ka-
Mondisi, into which is being driven a Iierd of fine
cattle, whose sleek hides glisten in the setting
sun. It being late I give that worthy the go-by,
otherwise siionld liave stopped to have a talk with
hira. On reaching the brow of the ascent I look
back. Great hills, now purple in the fast fading
light, throw out their round, jutting spurs abruptly
into the valley, the big kraal beneath is alive with
animation, the shouts of the boys in the cattle en-
closure mingling with the deep voices of its occu-
pants, while now and again a resentful low rises
above the rest as some recalcitrant beast finds its
arrangements interfered with to suit those of its
owners. Far below, the river winds through the
valley Uke a streak of silver, and the grassy slopes
beyond are specked with the dappled hides of
many a herd wending its way to the kraals, dotted
about here and there ; the shout and whistle of
the drivers coming up clear upon the still air.
And the roseate glow in the west grows fainter and
fainter, melting into the purple and then the grey
of an evening sky ; stars peep fortli ; behind, the
towering peak of Ibabanango fades into gathering
gloom, and the hush of night sinks upon hill and
valley. Passing along the summit of the lofty
ridge we halt a little beyond Fort Evelyn.

From Fort Evelyn to Kwamagwaza the country


is hilly and broken, and the road in consequence
very winding. Far down on the northern side lies
the valley of the White Umfolosi and the Mahla-
batini plain, the site of Ulundi and Nodwengu and
the other great kraals ; southward the wild broken
country stretches away to the Natal border, while
behind can be seen the distant head of Isandhlwana
peering up faint and blue on the horizon. A
pleasant landscape, open, sunny, and smiling. Herds
of cattle graze upon the hillsides, kraals are to be
seen everywhere, boldly perched upon a spur or
nestling in a sheltered valley, and mealie patches
show in greener contrast upon the sufficiently
verdant slopes ; for it is well watered is this fair
land, and the tall grass sways in billowy masses to
the breeze. No, there is notliing mediocre or tame
about the scene. The bold spurs fall abruptly in
sudden, well-nigh perpendicular slopes ; the
valleys, beginning in dark narrow ravines soon to
spread out and lose themselves in a broad smiling
plain, are picturesque with the fantastic dwelling-
places of their wild inhabitants ; and sharp outlines
of the mountain ranges, with here and there a
jagged peak, cleave the blue sky-line in the far
distance. Such is the panorama spread on either
side, as we sit in the shade of the waggon one fine
morning on a high ridge some fourteen miles
beyond Fort Evelyn.


But the sound of deep voices and the rattle of
assegai handles betoken new arrivals, and dropping
their weapons in the grass, three tall Zulus stride
up, and, with their open stately salute, ‘ Inkos,’
raising the right hand above the head, squat tliem-
selvea on the ground at my side. Let us look at
my visitors. Two of them are middle-aged men
from 5ft. 10 to 6ft. in height, broad and well-
proportioned, their countenances straight-featured
and bearded, with a good-humoured though dig-
nified expression, and splendid foreheads, their
shaven skulls encircled by the inevitable head-ring.
The third, though taller, is inferior to the others
in physique, but he is an umfane ‘ and does not
wear the ring.

Under the warming influence of a big pannikin
of black coffee and some ‘ gwai ‘ (tobacco) where-
with to replenish the polished horn snuffboxes
stuck through the lobes of their ears, my guests
are in no wise loth to descant upon their martial
experiences, or, indeed, upon any subject. The
two first belong to the Undi corps, the youngster
to the Ngobamakosi ; they had all fought at

‘ ‘Bay. Among the Zulus, no matter ivbat hia age, eveTT un-
married man is virtually a ‘ boy.’ When he marries he is allowed to
(Bii^a, lit; ‘flew’ (the bead-ring) a ad is thenceforth a man. Sioco
the removal of the marriage reatrietions, a large number of the joang
men have thus Irniga-eA, which they could not hare done perbapa
f<ir years unJor the old militxry «y«tpui.


Kambula, and one of the older men at Rorke’s
Drift. The general opinion in the army, they said,
was that Kambula camp should have been carried,
and certainly would have been, but that the regi-
ments forming the outflanking sides, the Ngobama-
kosi and Kandampemvu, were in such a hurry to
begin that they got on too far ahead of the rest,
thus affording the English an opportunity of
routing and disheartening them before the main
body came up.

‘ What did they think of the shells ? ‘
‘ ” Ubain-bai ? ” * ” Haow ! ” Didn’t like them
at all. First the warriors tried to dodge them, and
scattered when they saw them coming, till at last
oxi one occasion when a lot had dispersed from
where the missile was expected to fall, it astonished
them by dropping right in the thick of the group
that had just dodged it. Arms, and legs, and
heads flew in every direction,’ went on my in-
formant, with an expressive gesture. * This event
caused them to lose heart more than anything, as
they found they could not get out of the way of
the ” bain-bai ” so easily. At Sandhlwana the big
guns hardly fired at all, and even then, when
they did, they scarcely hit anyone.’

‘ But at Rorke’s Drift — there were no big
guns there, and the EngHsh could have stood

• See p. 148.


here (making my hand into a hollow) while the
Zulus were everywhere ; how is it you didn’t make
a better fight of it ? ‘

‘The soldiers were behind a schaans (breasts
work), and,’ added the narrator significantly,
showing all his ivories, ‘ they were in a corner.’

‘ But at Nodwengu there iras no schaans 1 ‘

‘ Then there were more big guns and more
Englishmen,’ was the reply ; ‘besides, the soldiers
had bits of roof iron ‘ which they held over their
heads as shields.’ I rather ridiculed this idea (one,
by the way, that has gained implicit credence
throughout Zululand — some even going so far as
to assert that they heard their bullets rain upon the
hypothetic bucklers), and pointed out the absurdity
of a column taking the field, armed with bits of

‘ Did they ever pick up any of these things
after a battle ? ‘

But aJl I coidd say was of no use, the warriors
only shook their heads as unconvinced as ever.

Then they began to talk about Cetywayo.
‘ Where was he ? ‘

‘Oh I he was all right,’ I replied, ‘and well
taken care of ; ‘ at which they seemed pleased.

‘ The Bheat* of comigBted iro
house!) rue tiled.

‘, with which most colonial


* Were they attached to him ? Was he a good
king ? ‘ I asked.

* Eh^ I kakulu ‘ (yes ; greatly) — this with em-
phasis ; * he was a good king, and beloved by all
the people/

* Didn’t he ” eat up ” * and kill a great many
people ? ‘

* No ; not many. A few were killed for umtagati
(witchcraft), but that was all right ; if he (the
speaker) were guilty of umtagati he would deserve
to be killed too. Yes ; Cetywayo was a good
king, and all the people were sorry he had been
taken away.’

I stood up and looked on the wide sweep of
rolling grassy slopes, over mountain and river,
valley and green plain sleeping in a glow of golden
sunshine, my visitors eyeing me narrowly. ‘A
grand country ! ‘ I said, ‘ a grand country I ” Sit
still ” ^ and keep it ; youVe lost your king, don’t
throw away your country too ! ‘

* Yeh-bo ! ‘ (yes, indeed) they exclaimed, as the
idea seemed to strike them; then, rising, tliey
saluted as before, ‘ Inkos ! ‘ and gathering up their
assegais, started off upon their way. Looking after
their erect, well-knit figures, I could not but think

* Idiom for seizing anyone’s cattle as fine or penalty.
^ ‘ Sitting still ‘ is the idiom for being at peace.


them fine fellows ; not a trace of resentment, no
rankling bitterness towards their conquerors ; the
war is a thing of the past, and themselves as cordial
and open towards the stranger as though it had
never been.




Rwamagwaza — A desperate podtion and a tragic reminueence — The
soldiers* graye— The vaUey of the Umhlatud.

The mission station at Kwamagwaza occupies a
pleasant position on the high ground overlooking
the valley of the Umhlatusi. Tall blue gums stand
in considerable profusion, being planted along the
ridges and overshadowing the station, and on the
steep slopes are large patches of cultivated land
sown with mealies and ‘ amabele.’ The huts are
scattered about in clusters, with here and there an
attempt at a square cottage, constructed of withes
cemented with clay, and commonly known as
‘ wattle and daub ; ‘ a window, perhaps, and a rudely
hung door finishing off the concern.

Kwamagwaza is a large station, but the people
located thereon did not by any means strike me
as representative Zulus ; indeed, there were Natal
natives and some unmistakable half-castes : many
of the tenements, too, were tumbledown and
squalid in the extreme. The old mission building,


as also the church, were in ruins, having been
burnt by the Zulus during the war, which can
hardly be wondered at, seeing that it would have
beeu folly on their part to leave buildings which
might be used against theiuBelvea, as waa the caae
at Etshowe. The station ia in charge of the Eev.
E. Eobertson, a veteran missionary long resident
in Zululand. I attended one of the services, part of
which was performed by a stalwart native cleric, who
also led the singing with five hundred-lung power ;
a good many people attended, the men being
placed on one side of the room, the women on the
other, and seemed to enter into the thing, the
singing especially. Near Kwamagwaza are the
graves of Lieutenant Scott-Douglas and Corporal
Cotter, who met their deaths there under the
following cu’cumstances.

On tlie afternoon of July 1, 1879, Lieutenant
Scott-Douglas and an orderly started from Fort
Evelyn on despatch duty to Fort Marshall. Whether
baffled by the darkness, overtaken by a mist, or com-
pelled to leave the road for the purpose of evading
stray parties of tlie enemy, nobody knows or ever
will know ; anyhow, they missed the way, arriving
at length at Kwamagwaza. There, it is supposed,
they remained, hiding in the ruins of the mission
buildings during the whole of the next day, owing
to the vicinity of hostile bands. Let ua imagine

1 66


the poBJtion of these unfortunate men. Far from
human aid, in the heart of an unknown and savage
country ; no friendly bush or rocks to conceal
their movements from the eagle glance of the
enemy’s scouts, who from many a commanding
eminence would sweep the bare treeless hills and
valleys ; forced to lie close in the daytime, and at
night hardly daring to move lest they should lose
themselves yet more. Only two — alone, lost and
without food — surrounded by ruthless foes with
the glance of tlie hawk and the movements of the
panther, what chance had they ? On the morning
of the 3rd ^ they evidently tried to retrace their
steps, starting back by the way they had come, but
not to go far. Cresting the ridge which runs right
across the station about half a mile from the ruins,
they were fated to fall in with a large body of
Zulus from the Empandhleni district who were on
their way to join the imjii at Ulundi. These im-
mediately gave chase. The doomed men fled for
about a mile along a spur, then, dismounting,
abandoned their horses and plunged into a deep
grassy ravine, presumably with the intention of
hiding. Fatal move ! — flight alone could have

‘ Subsequent inquirieg proved beyond doubt that they mat their
dektlis, not on the 3nd, &b was at first supposed, but on the 3rd ; for
the hand that killGd them did not reach Ulundi in time for the battle,
which took place on the 4th. Had it left Ewamagwaza on the Sid,
it could easi); hsfe done so.

Its battlefields and its people.

saved them, for what possible chauce had they of
baffling by conoealmeut those human bloodhounds
trained in all the signs and sounds of the wilderness,
able to track them by a displaced blade of grasa or
the disturbed note of a startled bird. On reaching
the bottom of the valley they appear to have
separated and taken different directions, for their
bodies when discovered were lying some distance
apart. I visited the spot where that of Lieutenant
Scott-Douglas was found ; a deep narrow ravine,
one side a sinooth round slope, the other covered
with mealies and taU grass, while through a Une of
tangled bush dotted with tree fern, plunging from
rock to rock, a mountain stream hurled its clear
waters down with a pleasant murmur ; and there,
beneatli the arching feathery fans of two spreading
tree ferns, the unfortunate officer met his death.
Standing there I could picture the whole scene.
The desolate ravine, ahve with grim dark figures
and flashing spears glancing through the long
grass — the hills echoing with exultant shouts as
nearer and surer those pitiless savage warriors
closed in upon their prey securely trapped in tliat
lonely defile — and the doomed Briton at bay, his
back to the hill, the branched canopy overhead
and the bounding watercourse at his feet. Thou
the wild ‘ Ueutu ‘ pealing in ferocioua triumph — a
sudden rush — and all is over. Whether exhausted

1 68


and worn out by hunger and the hard despairing
race for life, or in the hope tliat he would be
spared, it doea not appear that the unfortunate
oiEcer made much resistance. But tliat he died
facing his relentless foes there can be no doubt.

It was a clear, still evening ; the shadows were
already deepening in the valley, though the sur-
round ing hilltops were gilded by the glow of
sunset. I turned to leave the tragic spot, feeling
that a kind of solemnity and awe pervaded it, as
though faint voices from another world were
mingling with the metallic ring of the mountain
stream upon its stony bed and the weird piping of
a bird in the sedges. Murmur on, winds, in the
cool eventide ; fall, streamlet, with tuneful plunge
into your rocky cells; birds triU out your clear
notes through this mournful solitude, this vale of
death ; sing a requiem over the hapless stranger,
done to death, despairing and exhausted, and alone
in a far-off land — for these are the incidents that
render war a horrible thing, rather than the stirring
movements of a brilliant field, the fierce rush of
battle and the din and clamour of conflicting hosts,
the charge, and the ringing cheer of victory.

The remains of the two ill-fated ones rest be-
neath handsome tombstones erected by Sir G. H.
Scottr-Douglas, the lieutenant’s father. Upon an
eminence overlooking the sad spot stands the little


cemetery — a square enclosure bounded by a sod
Mall, along whose top is an embryo hedge of aloes
and Madagascar thorn. At the head of the tomb-
stones still stand the wooden crosses erected by
the troops when they performed the necessarily
rough and ready sepulture of their fellow soldiers,
and the whole is surrounded by a trench about
seven feet by six, outside of which the ground is
ploughed up for a width of several yards to guard
against any possibility of injury to the place from
grass fires. Three large cactus trees, visible from
far and near upon the smooth hill top, mark the
soldiers’ burial ground, which, by a curious turn
of fate, is also the old place of sepulture of a Zulu
chieftain named Usidwa.

From Kwamagwaza the rolling open country
continues ; the road winds along over hill and
ridge, commanding a view of the Umhlatusi valley,
the river now and then glimpsed below like a
silver streak, losing itself among the distant spurs,
beyond which, in darker blue, the Indian Ocean
contrasts with the paleness of the far horizon. On
past the mission station of St. Paul’s, down a nasty
bit of road falhng away from Inkwenkwe Hill, and
we are in the bush country again. Huge forest
trees rise above the mimosa and other bushes
fringing the road, among whose gnarled Hmbs may
here and there be descried a big neat of sticks, the


handiwork of one of the many species of large
birds of prey infesting these vrilds, while creepers
and parasites hang in festoons from the branches.
Birds are flitting about, waking the depths of the
wood with Uvely call or note of alarm ; monkeys
spring chattering from bough to bough ; and
poised high over the tree tops, floats the form of a
rakish-looking falcon whirling in steady circles be-
neath the blue vault, his keen eye upon the noisy
feathered denizens of the thicket, while a suspicious
rustle in the tangled grass is heard as some big
snake, startled by the creaking of wheels, slips ofl*
out of harm’s way. Behind rises the high ground
we have just come down from, intersected by many
a gloomy gorge with densely wooded sides and
black overhanging clifis — the home of the savage
leopard and prowling hyrona.

The Umhlatusi is a fine stream running in long
reaches over a gravelly bed ; its banks, well lined
with reeds, are suggestive of crocodiles — of whicli,
in fact, the river has its full share in common with
all the larger rivers of Zululand ; however, upon
that occasion we were not troubled by its saurian
inhabitants, who, under ordinary circumstances,
would fight shy of the noise and whip-cracking
attendant on the crossing of a waggon. They
generally prefer an easier method of circumventing


their prey, and woe to the hapless native who
should chance to be awept off his legs when the
river is at flood, or the unwary traveller thinking
to enjoy a refreshing swim on that smooth surface.
Calves and goats, and even children paddling too
near those quiet-looking reed beds, have been
seized, and dogs crossing the river sometimes dis-
appear under their masters’ very noses.

A grey scud working up across an already
gloomy sky, and a few large raindrops, seemed to
render a halt advisable before it got quite dark.
With the exception of a alight shower or two, the
rain kept off; but it was cloudy and lowering, and
seated there upon the waggon box until a late
hour, smoking my pipe and looking out into the
blackness, the subdued crunch of the tired oxen
minghng with the heavy breathing of my satelhtes,
who, head tucked up in blanket, were sleeping the
sleep of a good conscience, the effect was dismal
in the extreme. For now the voices of the wild
bush would lend their influences to the scene — the
weird call of a night-bird, the yelping bark of a
skulkmg jackal, the howl, or rather roar, of the
large striped hyaina,’ would ever and anon sound
from the pitchy darkness around my encampment,
while strange and ‘ uncanny ‘ noises echoed from
‘ The ‘ wolf of the SuutL African colonist,


the ravines and caves of the adjacent hillside. A
lonely and desolate place. Notwithstanding all of
which exhilarating surroundings I was ready to
sleep tolerably soundly by the time it became ex-
pedient to turn in, and the following day, cresting
the southern heights of the valley, left the bush
country behind and eventually reached Etshowe.



Et«ihowe — The fort — Pleasures of picket duty — Two ‘ sells ‘ — A retro-
spective Rlauce— Imbombolyiuift Lill— ‘ In the Heavens’ — A
novelty in tattooiog — Dabulftmanzi — Another ‘ beg’gar ‘ — Deriva-
tion of ‘ Etsbewe.’

Etshowe, or, as it was originally written, Efeowe,
is an open and commanding position on the brow
of the heights overlooking the coast country. The
first thing on arrival was to visit the old fort,
which I accordingly did, accompanied by the Rev.
Mr. Oftebro, the clergyman in charge of the
Norwegian mission there, which is one of the
oldest stations in the country.

The fort, then, consists of a substantial earth-
work, enclosing a space of two acres and a half;
it is oblong in shape, and surrounded by a ditch
some 12 feet by 10. Wliat with Catlings and
rocket tubes mounted at the corners of the earth-
work, and the fosse staked and wired, the place
was simply impregnable to a barbarous foe how-
ever intrepid, if unprovided with artillery. No
fierce rushes such ai whelmed the lines at Isandhl-


wana, and caused the fate of the Kambdla camp
to hang in the balance, could avail here ; for even
in the event of the enemy’s legions braving the
fearful storm of artillery and volley fire, and
surging up to the very walls, there was the gaping
ditch, wide and deep, with its threatening stakes
and wired network, and its kaponiers, whence a
few riflemen could play awful havoc among those
who thought to cross it. No ; the Zulus were wise
enough to see that the place was too much for
them, and refrained from attacking it ; yet to
this day they regard it with a kind of satisfaction,
as a standing tribute to their prowess.

But although no open attack was attempted,
the fort and all that went on there was watched
day and night. Zulu scouts would creep up
within a few yards of the earthwork, close enough,
as one of them told me, to hear the breathing of
the sentry on guard, and our outlying vedettes
were more than once surprised by the hthe and
crafty savage, who, worming his way noiselessly
through the long grass, left the unpractised Briton
but a poor chance, as the following incident, told
me by a Zulu who had fought throughout the
campaign, may serve to show. This bold warrior,
then, in company with seven other congenial
spirits, were amusing themselves one day stalking
a couple of men on picket duty, who sat quite


unconcernedly while their deadly foea were ad-
vancing neai-er and nearer upon them. ‘ While
they were talking,’ said my informant, ‘ we crept
on ; when they were silent we lay still as if dead.
We got within fifty yards of them, when others
came up from the fort ; we did not like the look
of these, so were obhged to go away again.” I
venture to say that those two will never know
what an escape they had. A peculiarly trying
and perilous duty is this outlying guard ; a couple
of men, or even more, placed by themselves, far
from the lines and surrounded by tall grass
through which the savages can crawl silently and
with ease. Little is it then to be wondered at that
the attacks upon vedettes were not always un-

Imbombotyana, the high cone upon which
the heUographing was carried on, overlooks the
position, and another mode of aggression adopted
by the Zulus was to fire upon the outposts from
this eminence. But a party of our men, stealing
a march on them in the night, got there first,
and, lying in wait, opened an unexpected and
effectual fire, mightily astonishing the enterprising
barbarian, and completely spoiling his fun. Then
the enemy would playfully pull up the stakes
which had been driven in at measured distances
round the fort to faciUtate accuracy of shooting


in case of attack ; a charge of djmamite, however,
placed at the foot of one of them exploding with
considerable damage, likewise put him out of
conceit with this new entertainment.

But a more pressing danger stared the garrison
in the face than anything threatened by the enemy.
The season was a wet one, exceptionally so in
fact, and here were close upon 1,500 men shut
up within an area of a couple of acres, without
shelter, and obliged to lie on the bare ground,
which in the daytime was trodden into sloppy
mire, at night reeking with pestilential exhalations.
This could have but one result. Men began to
sicken and die off, and on a steep slope in front
of the fort a little cemetery tells its own tale.
Beneath rough and simple, but in many instances
tastefully devised, wooden crosses, twenty-eight
men, rank and file, lie buried there, most of them,
from the inscriptions, quite young men ; and con-
sidering the bad and insufficient food, exposure
to unusually wet weather, and the inevitable un-
wholesomeness attendant upon the cii’cumstances,
the wonder is that the death return was not much

Looking at the fort now, one would think it
had been constructed twelve years ago rather
than three. Long grass trailing from the earth-
work almost conceals the ditch, whose brink is, in


places, so overgrown with brambles and rank
herbage as to constitute a source of danger to
the unwary explorer ; the buildings within, that
did duty for storehouses and hospitals, are in a
tumbledown state ; in fact, the whole enclosed
space presents a woful and ruinous appearance.
At one end is a clump of blue gums, but the
fruit trees planted by the missionaries were cut
down with a view to clearing the ground in and
around the fortification.

I said that heliographic communication with
the border was carried on from the summit of
Tmbombotyana, and no better point could have
been chosen, for it commands the whole of the
coast country. From the Etshowe side, Imbom-
botyana is rather an unimposing round-topped
eminence, but from its summit a splendid view
awaits, for the gi-ound suddenly falls away a
thousand feet, and besides the low coast country,
which hes spread out like a map, the eye may
wander at will from the Tugela bluiT to San Lucia
Bay ; from the broken mountains along the Natal
border to the Ingandhla range westward. Beneath,
a perfect picture is unfolded ; on every side hills
and mimoaa-clad vales watered by many a silver
stream; herds of cattle dot the slopes, and among
the symmetrical circular kraals may be seen
moving about the dark figures of their inhabitants,


whose voices and laughter are faintly borne up-
wards on the still air. In the distance two
hump-like hills rising mark the site of the Gin-
gindhlovu battlefield ; beyond, the ruins of Fort
Chelmsford ; and, like a speck, Dikileni, one of
the residences of the chief, John Dunn, stands
white against the plain, which rolls on till sepa-
rated by a belt of yellow sand and a streak of
shining surf from the deep blue of the ocean. A
floating haze, just sufficient to soften the golden
rays of a declining sun without impeding the
view, settles upon the landscape, and the scene is
a charming one.

Before leaving Etshowe I paid a visit to
Dabulamanzi, whose principal kraal is about six
miles off. This worthy, whose name came greatly
into prominence before the war, is one of Cetywayo’s
half-brothers. Wliy he should have been made
so much of it is difficult to understand, seeing
that he is not an induna in any sense, and
whatever lustre may be reflected on him is solely
due to his relationship with royalty, except
that everyone, having got hold of the name of one
man of rank, was determined to make the most
thereof. Accordingly, in Natal, Dabulamanzi was
forthwith constituted commander-in-chief of the
Zulu army, and its leader in every battle, quite
irrespective of such trivialities as time and place.


Aa a matter of fact he never held an actual
command at al], though a 8ort of precedence
was allowed him by virtue of his rant ; the real
commander-in-chief of the forces being Tyingwayo,
in some instances Mnyamane accompanying to
‘ watch the proceedings ‘ on behalf of the king.

Very picturesque are the kraals in the bush
country, and that of Dabulamanzi has the ad-
vantage of situation thrown in, lying as it does
at the foot of a range of round-topped hills, whose
pleasant slopes are relieved at intervals by the
dark forest trees of wooded ravines. Imagine
two large parallel circles of thorn fence or palisade
about seven feet high, the wide inner space being
the cattle enclosure, that between them con-
taining the dome-shaped huts. This one numbered
fourteen or fifteen tenements, and rejoiced in
the aspiring title of ‘ Ezulwini ‘ — ‘ in the Heavens.’
It struck me as a rather amusing coincidence
that his other kraal, down in the low-lying coast
country, should be called ‘ Eziko ‘ — ‘ in the fire.’ In
the open country, where there is little or no bush,
the kraals have but one enclosure, which is built
of stones, and round this, outside, stand the huts.

We met some Zulus on the way, carrying shields
and assegais ; one of them was marked about the
chest and shoulders aa if he had been tattooed
with Chinese white, which decoration, he said,


was the result of a rocket bum at Isandhlwana.
Two or three men were hanging about as I rode
up, one of whom went to inform the chief of my
arrival, presently returning to tell me to *walk
in,’ which I did, metaphorically, and creeping
through the low doorway stood in the presence
of the doughty * Divider of Waters/^ My lord
looked decidedly cool and comfortable, squatting
on a mat, without a rag of clothing but his
rnutya^ and the inevitable head-ring encircling
his shaven poll. Two of his sons, boys of about
ten or eleven, stopped in their play to stare at
urnlungu (the white man) as I entered. One side
of the hut was piled up with trunks ; and heaps
of rugs, topboots, brass candlesticks, lanterns,
and other odds and ends were lying about, the
whole suggestive of Isandhlwana loot.

Dabulamanzi is a fine-looking man of about
thirty-five, stoutly built and large-limbed like most
of his royal brethren. He is hght in colour even
for a Zulu, and has a high, intellectual forehead,
clear eyes, and handsome regular features, with
jet-black beard and moustache. But although a
handsome face, it is not altogether a prepossessing
one, for it wears a settled expression of insincerity
and cunning which would cause you to have little
doubt as to the deservedness of public opinion

* Meaning of * Dabulamanzi.’


about him if you had heard it, and if you had not,
readiness of belief when you should come to do so,
That opinion I have heard expressed by those who
knew the man, in two words, ‘a blackf^uard.’ With
missionary and trader alike he is in disrepute, and
many are the tales of sharp practice, if not down-
right rascality, which were told rae about him ; nor
is he popular among his countrymen,

We shook bands, and sitting down opposite the
chief, I produced a substantial piece of tobacco,
which was promptly transferred to his side of the
field. Then he told Andries to bring in my gun
— ^which, in accordance with Zulu etiquette, I
had left outside — as he wanted to look at it. He
examined it with the air of a connoisseur (the
fellow has the reputation of being a good shot),
bringing it to his shoulder, trying the hammers,
handling the weapon as if he could not bring him-
self to part with it. I well knew what was coming,
and sure enough soon it came.

‘ I must give him the gun.’

‘ No, no, that wouldn’t do at all. I had the
greater part of the country to go through yet, and
what should I do without a gun? Besides, what
would John Dunn, the great chief, say if I gave
away arms in his territory ? ‘ ‘ (which we were
then in).

‘ Ziilua are aoi allowKd to possi’Ss firearms.


He resigned it with a sigh. * Hadn’t I brought
him any clothes ? ‘

* No, they took up too much room.’

* Or some gin ?

* No, Uquor was not allowed to be given away
either, in John Dunn’s district.’ In short, the fellow
was an arrant * beggar ‘ ; to such an extent that
during the rest of the trip his name passed into a
standing joke and a byword among Andries and
his fellows, who, when any of my visitors waxed
importunate, would exclaim with emphasis, * Haow !
U Dabulamanzi I ‘ meaning to say, * Ah, there’s
Dabulamanzi I ‘ or * He must be Dabulamanzi I ‘

This practice of begging is by no means general
among the Zulus, indeed I found it rather the
exception than the rule. A good plan when you
have to do with anyone of importunate fame is to
try and * outbeg ‘ him ; in a word, to meet every
demand by a counter request, without the smallest
compunction. But, as I said before, the practice
is far from being universal, and where it prevails
is an abominable nuisance, for you can’t converse
freely and comfortably with a man whom you well
know to be all the time turning over in his own
mind what he shall ask you for next.

However, in this instance I had brought my
friend a few presents, and began by fishing out a
white felt hat with a striped cord round it. This


was accepted with a profusion of thanks, and he
proceeded to stick it on his head, thereby meta-
morphosing himself from rather a fine-looking
savage into a slouching ruffian — I never yet saw
the Zulu whom a hat of any sort suited. Having
sufficiently admired the effect in a looking-glass, he
told one of his small boys to put it away, in the
execution of which command I discerned, besides
a lot of coats and trousers, two more new wide-
awakes, and began to wish I had kept my ‘ tile ‘ for
the adornment and gratification of some more
‘ roofless ‘ potentate,

A few further gifts met with ready acceptance,
and then I thought my turn had come, so intimated
that I was capable of appreciating a knob-kerrie.

‘ No, he hadn’t got one.’

‘ Then what was that ? ‘ pointing to a bundle of
sticks in a corner, among which I fancied I coidd
detect a decent one.

‘ Oh, that wasn’t a good one.’

‘Good enough,’ said I, on the principle of
‘ half a loaf,’ ‘ and I wanted something whereby
to remember my visit.’

Seeing that I was determined to have it, he sent
one of the above mentioned urchins to clean it,
and handed it over with great empressement. I
have it to this day, together with better kerries
— and worse.


We talked a good deal about the war and sub-
sequent events, but I elicited nothing new in the
way of information or incident from Dabulamanzi,
who, like many other Zulus of rank, was reticent
in matters political to a degree bordering on the
suspicious — and after a couple of hours’ indaba
(talk) I left him.

The word ^Etshowe’ was a puzzler to the
British imderstanding when the place first became
notable. No one knew exactly how to write it,
still less to pronounce it. Some would write it

* Etshowe ‘ or * Echowa.’ Others, again, would
make it * Ekowe,’ and when so written the chances
were a hundred to one that the British pubUc
would thus pronounce it, to wit, with the * k ‘
hard. The fact being that the word was originally
written by the Norwegian missionaries, who spelt
it * EKowe,’ the accent over the * k ‘ giving to that
letter the sound of * tsh ‘ ; so the spelling which
most accurately conveys the pronunciation is

* Etsh6we ‘ — the last * e ‘ being short but sounded,
and to this I have adhered.

The derivation of the word is said to be this.
Coming up from the enervating heat of the low-
lying coast country and suddenly brought face to
face at this point with the fresh breezes that sweep
the high open regions, a native would exclaim, * Eh !
Tsh6we ! ‘ (an ejaculation of cold and shivering),


and wrap his blanket around him if he had one, or
start off into a run if he had not. Such a meaning,
though quaint and apparently far fetched, is never-
theless the probable one, for the first thing that
strikes you with regard to the place is its bleak
and windy situation.



Battle of Injresane— Scenery — An aggreaaive customer — ^Inyoni — A
trading store — Johan Oolenbrander — A tussle, and a narrow escape
— ^Mang^te — Gingindhloyu — A ride across country, and a ducking.

It was a glorious morning as we wound our way
down the military road, which, skirting the base of
Imbombotyana, zigzags along the ridges, and dip-
ping into a hollow, here and there, at length brings
you down into the bed of the Inyezane river. A
glorious morning, I say, for the newly risen sun
shone from a cloudless sky, and a curtain of mist
then lifting had studded the bushes with dewdrops
sparkling and flashing like myriads of diamonds.
Bright spreuws flitted among the thorns, sounding
their shrill but by no means discordant whistle,
and the air was musical with the low murmur of bees
winging in and out through the blossoming mimosas,
whose fragrant boughs, sweeping down over the
road, brushed the waggon tent as we passed under-
neath. But oh, how hot it was ! — by the time we
had rounded the Ombane spur and crossed the


Inyezane drift, I was nearly baked as I sat on the

This was the scene of the engagement with
Colonel Pearson’s column on the memorable
22nd January, being, in fact, the first pitched
battle of the campaign. While halted among the
thorns the column was attacked by an hnpi,
estimated at about four thousand strong, which after
half an hour’s severe skirmishing was routed with
considerable loss. Though at first sight the cir-
cumstance of being attacked in the bush might
seem to place the troops at a disadvantage, yet
as a matter of fact it was not so ; for the Zulus
could not show to such imposing efiect in point of
numbers, nor could they employ their usual out-
flanking tactics with anything like such force as in
the open. Hence the affair assumed the features of
a skirmish, and while the thick bush did not pre-
vent the artillery and rockets from operating with
effect, it precluded the possibihty of the sweeping
and formidable Zulu charge, at the same time
affording our men cover whence they could with
coolness and accuracy pick off the enemy. This
engagement is known to the Zulus as the battle of
Ombane (not Inyezane), from the Ombane spur
round the base of which it took place.

Beyond the Inyezane drift our way for miles
lies Qver a plain, densely wooded in parts, in others


open and park-like, sparsely inhabited too, for
kraals are few and far between, nor are there
cattle upon the meadow-like flats. Now and then
a buck is to be seen standing on the outskirts of
the bush, intently watching us ; birds of prey, too,
are plentiftd, from the small red falcon hovering
over the grass to the huge crested buzzard soaring
on dark spreading pinions above the tree tops. The
Amatikulu, a clear stream with reedy banks, is
crossed, and the dense bush closes up to the road,
which becomes a regular jungle path, the trees in
many places meeting overhead, their trunks lost
in a tangled impenetrable mass of creepers and
undergrowth. Strange looking trees, too, such as
I had not met with before. One of them bore a
fruit with a smooth rind about the size and colour
of a shaddock, which Andries assured me was ex-
cellent, but on tasting it I found it bitter as gall.
His palate and mine were evidently fashioned with
differing ideas of * excellence,’ though from the
face the rascal made when trying to devour it him-
self, I imagine it hardly suited him either.

Going along the bush road we disturbed the
meditations of a large cobra, who thereupon
showed fight. Again Fani was to the fore with
his long whip ; buoyed with the recollection of
like feats previously achieved he treated the
elevated crest and flashing eyes, the inflated hood


and sharp menacmg hiss, with lofty diadain, and by
a well directed ‘ whack ‘ put an end for ever to
the truculent reptile’s hopes and fears. Presently
the country became more liilly and open, the
domed thatches of huts gUmpsed here and there
among the bush betokened habitation again, and
we passed several Zulu kraals, the sinking sun
throwing a coppery gleam on the heads and
shoulders of some of their habitants, who had
turned out and were peering over their palisades
to watch us go by. Halting for the night at the
Umsundusi drift we arrived next morning after a
short trek at the Inyoui river, a small stream
whose mouth is a few miles north of that of the

There is a trading store at the Inyoni, but it
being Sunday, its occupant was yet between the
sheets indulging in a late sleep ; travellers, however,
are scarce in those parts, and it was not long before
he turned out to do the honours. Curious places
are tliese trading stores. Let the reader imagine
a rough and ready building, divided into two or
more partitions, round one of which runs a counter
duly furnished with weights and scales. On
shelves against the walls are arranged blankets,
Salampore cloth, coloured handkerchiefs, rolls of
tobacco, sheath knives, packages of beads, brass
buttons, looking-glasses — everything in which the


native mind delights ; while hanging from nails in
the roof beams are buckets, tin pannikins, three-
legged pots, cleavers, straps, hats, military surtouts,
umbrellas, and so forth. One of the partitions, over
and above its use for store purposes, will perhaps
be fitted with a rough table and used as dining
and sitting room, and if space be an object a mat-
tress will be spread on the bales of goods which do
duty as a sleeping bunk. At the Inyoni, however,
things were on a larger scale, and the storekeeper
had a sleeping apartment to himself

Being Sunday the store is closed, and we sit in
the shade smoking and discussing affairs in general.
Presently the trampling of hoofs announces the
approach of a party — two white men, and a native
on horseback and leading spare horses. The new
arrival is introduced to me as * Mr. Colenbrander,’
and I find myself shaking hands with a pleasant-
looking man of about thirty, every inch the
frontiersman, with dark beard and bronzed com-
plexion, and dressed in buckskin suit, with riding
boots and spurs ; a revolver in its holster is slung
round him, and a formidable clasp knife hangs
from his belt. The removal of his hat displays a
deep scar over the temple several inches in length,
pointing to what must have been a very awkward
and dangerous wound ; it is in fact the result of a
blow from a battleaxe received during an inter-


tribal foray some months previously. Separated
from his party, while pursuing the losing side, he
was endeavouring to ride down a fugitive, who
turned upon him and a severe hand to hand con-
flict ensued. The savage, expecting no quarter nor
deigning to ask it, fought with all the reckless
courage which characterises his race, and laid
about him lustily with his axe, then driving an
assegai into his adversary’s head he strove with all
his might to work it down into the brain ; Colen-
brander, however, seized his wrist, and for some
moments thus they struggled. But the Zulu warrior,
though a powerful man, was no match for the cool
pluck and determination of the European, and,
severely wounded in more places than one, Colen-
brander succeeded at last in killing his antagonist,
stabbing him to the heart with his own assegai.
This encounter added not a Httle to the reputa-
tion for pluck and resolution which he already

Johan Colenbrander is of Batavian origin ;
during the war he served as a volunteer in the
Corps of Guides with the coast column under
General Crealock, and took part in the battle of
Gingindhlovu. He is now estabhshed as a trader
in Sibepu’s country and is much trusted by that
chief, to whose place, some 150 miles further north,
he was journeying at the time of our meeting.


He is adviser and confidential agent to Sibepu, and
a man of some importance in Zululand.

We rode over to Mang^te, John Dunn’s prin-
cipal residence, the following day. It lies in a
hollow about two miles from the Tugela, and looks
quite a village ; besides the chief’s own dwelling, a
large comfortable- looking house with a verandah,
there are other tenements great and small, includ-
ing the ‘ office,’ gaol, &c., and the quarters of his
secretary, an EngUshman. There is also a school,
where a number of the chief’s daughters are being
educated under a European governess. Within
a couple of miles is St. Andrew’s Mission, one of
Bishop McKenzie’s stations; whereby it will appear
that John Dunn is not averse to tolerating mission-
aries as such, though sternly (and rightly) exclud-
ing the political missionary from his territory.

On reaching Mang^te I learnt that the chief
was not expected back for some time, being away
at his other place in the Umgoye mountains, which
was disappointing, as I wanted to make his acquaint-
ance. Therefore when Colenbrander proposed
that I should take a ride up there with him, as he
was going that way, it seemed the very solution of
the difficulty ; accordingly, starting the waggon off
on the backward track with orders to await my
arrival at Etshowe, I strapped a mackintosh on to
tlie saddle and was ready for a start.


A couple of hours’ easy riding — for it was hot
— brought us to the Araatikulu, some twenty milea
below where I had previously crossed, and after
watering our horses in the clear stream we held on.
Passing Fort Crealock — formerly a strong earth-
work Ijiit now deserted and in ruins, being, like all
the other ‘ forts ‘ built in the country, constructed
for purposes of temporary entrenchment only — on,
through fields of standing corn and pumpkin
patches, past a couple of shanties, where we halted
a few minutes while my companion exchanged
ciWUties and ‘ chaff’ with some very rough speci-
mens of Dutch humanity, and presently we turned
off the waggon track to visit the battlefield of
Gingindhlovu. As we rode slowly up the long
slope down which the horsemen charged the fleeing
Zulus, a white object ghstening among the grass
attracted my attention. It was a single skull, and
a fine large head it must have belonged to ; no
bones were to be seen around, nor while exploring
the field did we find any other refics of the en-
gagement — nothing but this one solitary skull.

Gingindhlovu struck me as one of the most God-
forsaken places I had ever seen. Standing within
the low crumbling earthwork I looked around.
To the north the ground stretched away for miles,
flat and open, dotted here and there with clumpa
of bush, to where a range of hills shut in the


view ; on the left front the Ombane spur, above
and beyond which rises Imbombotyana. From this
direction the attack was first made, the right horn
of the im’pi meanwhile, sweeping up on the other
side of the laager^ succeeded, by reason of the lay
of the ground, in getting within two hundred yards
of the entrenchment before being discovered. This
side was led by our friend Dabulamanzi on horse-
back, who, however, found it expedient to with-
draw, the riflemen making things altogether too
warm for him. The attacking force has been
estimated at about eleven thousand, and was under
the command of Sigcwelegcwele, the induna of the
Ngobamakosi regiment — Dabulamanzi being also
there on his own account. On the west side of
the earthwork lie buried the officers and men
who fell in the engagement, the grave of Colonel
Northey having a wooden cross over it painted

The sky had become overcast, and as we turned
to leave the place great inky clouds were gathering
up over the mountains to northward, and the long
low boom of distant thunder was ever and anon
borne across the still waste. When we had ridden
a little way I looked back — there stood the wooden
cross by the side of the crumbling earthwork,
gleaming white upon the bare dismal plain. A
lonely grave in a strange and lonely spot.


We passed the ruins of the old Gingindhlovu ^
kraal, and soon arrived at Dikileni, John Dunn’s
hallway house, where we would offsaddle for an
hour, then on again. TraveUing rapidly over
wide flat plains, we leave Fort Chelmsford away on
our left, and the Umgoye range rises nearer and
nearer in front ; but the weather is threatening,
and though only a few drops of rain have come
near us, heavy showers are faUing in the mountains
ahead. The ground gets more uneven, and
presently the rain comes down in earnest. Crossing
the Umlalasi we are fairly among the mountains,
winding in and out by narrow paths well known
to my companion and saving a considerable
distance. High round-topped hills, through whose
grassy valleys rivulets are bounding, their courses
marked by Unes of tree ferns and yellow- wood,
the bridle path carries us higher and higher, till at
length we crest the last ridge and arrive amidst
deluging torrents of rain at our destination.

‘ From ‘ Ginga/ ‘ roll/ in the sense of ‘ roll oyer/ and ‘ indhloTu/
‘ the elephant.’




Ncanduku — John Dunn — Administration of justice — ^Liquor traffic^
Sitimela — ‘ A stitch in time ‘ — An eventful career — Charioteering
tn excelM — Giblana,

A WILD and picturesque valley in the Umgoye
range, shut in by forest-clad hilltops and cleft by
a clear stream leaping from rock to rock in many
an eddying pool — on a spur overlooking this
stands Ncanduku,^ the mountain residence of the
chief, John Dunn. A single-storeyed house, with
verandah on two sides, dining and sitting rooms,
and plenty of bedrooms — a more comfortable
dwelling than the generality of frontier houses,
even within the colonial border. At the back are
the stables (for the chief is particular in matters of
horseflesh), offices, and other outbuildings, while in
front a fruit garden slopes down to the stream. A
large circular kraal Ues in a hollow just below the
house, and strips of cultivated land are laid out
along the river bed ; the place is well shaded, if

* Nca-indiikuy ‘ hit a stick/ in the sense of parrying a blow.


anything rather too closed in with trees. Such is

And now a word as to its owner, about wliom
I have from time to time been asked all manner of
absurd questions, even by those whom one might
have expected to know better. ‘ Didn’t he wear
the head-ring, or live in a hut, or dress in a blan-
ket ? ‘ and so on. John Dunn is a handsome, weU-
built man, about five feet eight in height, with
good forehead, regular features, and keen grey
eyes ; a closely cut iron-grey beard hides tlie lower
half of his bronzed, weather-tanned countenance,
and a look of determination and shrewdness is
discernible in every Hneament, So far from affect-
ing native costume, the chief was, if anything,
more neatly dressed than the average colonist, in
plain tweed suit and wideawake hat. In manner
he is quiet and unassuming, and no trace of self-
glorification or * bounce ‘ is there about him. He
has a reputation for reticence — a fault in the right
direction by the way, for his part is a trying and
difficult one, and the more uncommunicative he is
the better — doubtless owing Iiis success in great
measure to the fact that he knows how and when
to hold his tongue.

We met with a kind welcome, and towards
dark sat down to a well served and plentiful spread,
being waited on by a tall head-ringed man, who


moved noiselessly about with an aptness that any
civilised butler or club waiter might have envied.
We turned in somewhat early, for the chief, besides
being a man of temperate habits, is a practical
believer in the * early to bed, early to rise ‘ maxim,
and the next morning Colenbrander and I parted
company, he continuing his journey northward,
and I remaining a day or two longer at Ncandiiku.
I declined his invitation to join him in a sea-cow
shooting expedition in the winter, though if ever
I did launch out into that particular branch of
venerie, I should not wish for a better companion.
The territory under the sway of John Dunn
lies between the Tugela and Umhlatusi rivers, and
is about 100 miles in length, extending along the
border to within fifteen miles of Isandhlwana,
where it joins Hlubi’s district. So far as I could
judge, it appeared to be as orderly and well
governed as that of any other potentate, and a
great deal more so than those of some. Three
European * administrators ‘ or magistrates — one of
these, by the way, being the son of Mr. Oftebro, the
missionary at Etshowe — are stationed in difierent
parts of the country, whose business is to collect
hut tax and adjudicate upon petty cases, the more
serious ones being decided by the chief himself, to
whom of course lies the right of appeal in any.
Offences capitally punishable, such as murder, are


tried before a full court, constituted of all the
‘ administrators ‘ and native indunas, and presided
over by the chief, who is very attentive to all matters
connected with the administration of justice ; he
has an organised staff of native police under a
white inspector, and is frequently occupied the
whole day in hearing cases. The ‘ administrators ‘
receive a fixed yearly salary from the chief

A sore point with John Dunn was the possible
restoration of Cetywayo, whicli he looked upon as
a direct breach of faith with himself. It must be re-
membered that Sir Garnet Wolseley’s words on the
subject were exphcit when addressing the chiefs and
people at Ulundi on September 1, 1879. Said he,
‘ It is six years ago on this very day, September 1,
tliat Cetywayo was crowned king of the Zulus,
and only yesterday you yourselves saw him carried
away a prisoner, never to return again to Zulu-
land.’ Never to return again to Zululand — and on
that understanding, said John Dunn, he and the
other chiefs undertook the responsibilities of the
territories allotted to them. That was the basis
of the Ulundi settlement, the perpetual exile of
Cetywayo from Zululand ; and as long as the chiefs
appointed under that settlement observed the
provisions of their deed of appointment, it would
be a monstrous breach of faith on the part of the
Iiuiwrial Government to oust them.


A great many ungenerous things have been
said and written about John Dunn, mainly attribu-
table, I cannot but think, to jealousy of a man who
has made a position for himself and is reputed
wealthy. One of the commonest charges against
him is that of supplying the Zulus with firearms
previous to the war. Even if he did, was he alone
in this? Further, would those who make the
most outcry about it have refrained from doing
likewise, given the chance? I doubt it greatly.
And then one seems to remember hearing it pretty
frequently laid down as an axiom, that the natives
are more formidable when armed with their own
weapon, the assegai, than with firearms. If this be
so, how in the name of logic can anyone make a
grievance of their possessing firearms which they
are unable to use with precision, are likely to
cumber their movements in the field, and, better
still, cause them to deteriorate in and abandon the
use of their own weapon ?

Another reproach hurled at the chief is that he
has become ‘ a regular Zulu ‘ and is a polygamist.
If he prefers living in Zululand and occupying a
high position among its people to living in Natal,
a unit among his fellow-countrymen, it is purely
his own afiair : I can imagine a man who has led
a wild, roving life finding the position of chief,
among a brave and superior race like the Zulus,


one not unworthy of Ma ambition. His domestic
relations, again, are entirely his own concern ; he
lives in Zululand, not in European society; he does
not bring his wives with him when he visits the
colony, nor on these occasions can anyone cite a
single instance of his acting in a way unbecoming
the usages of civilised society-
Persons wishing to trade in the territory are
required to take out a licence, paying for the same
at a fixed rate per waggon, but all trafficking in
firearms or ardent spirits is strictly prohibited under
any circumstances.

I emphatically assert that on the ground of his
proscription of the liquor traffic alone, John Dunn
ia entitled to the thanks of all true philanthropists,
and whatever may be his shortcomings in other
respects, this would go far towards whitewashing
them. Look at Kafirland and the locations along
the Cape frontier, studded with canteens enjoying
an almost unrestricted right of sale — and what is
the state of the natives ? A thieving, filthy, imjiu-
dent, worthless set of vagabonds, a pest to their
unfortunate neighbourhoods, never reliable and
always discontented, spending all their earnings in
drink when they do condescend to work. I have
seen as many as a hundred Kafirs round one of
these canteens in a state of serai- and complete
intoxication ; and there they sit and drink, working


themselves into a sort of frenzy, till a word brings
about a blow, and a savage fight ensues. Cape
colonists complain that the Kafir becomes more
worthless and impudent every day, and wonder
thereat; yet not only the country but every
border town swarms with canteens, their walls red
with Kafir ochre.

Now let us turn to Zululand — and what a con-
trast ! Here are no canteens, and instead of the
slouching, drunken barbarian of the Cape border,
you find the well-made, intellectual-looking Zulu,
with his open greeting and cheery smile — a savage
also, but a fine savage, cleanly in his person and
dwelling, and honest withal, with whom, except in
actual time of wai*, the traveller and his belongings
may move about in safety, as I have already shown.
And the time will come, as ‘ British influence ‘
extends, when the country will be ‘ opened up,’
the trading store and canteen run hand in hand,
and the demoralisation of this splendid race will
begin. Then we shall liear people talking of how
the Zulus have ‘ deteriorated.’ Therefore, in pro-
hibiting the sale of intoxicating liquor in his terri-
tory, John Dunn is acting as a wise and far-seeing
ruler, and really doing more for the welfare of his
people than by building a legion of schools and

He has been accused of tyranny and wholesale


‘ eating-up,’ but it should be borne in mind that
savages must be ruled with a strong hand, half
measures being worse than none at all : further,
that the leaders of the King’s party, his relations
and others, were sullenly and but passively acquies-
cent in the settlement of the country, as indeed
they still are ; and if the chief was obliged to resort
to occasional acts of severity in order to maintain
his authority, there was every excuse for him.
Added to this must be considered the exaggeration
inseparable from nineteen out of twenty cases of
the kind, and in about the same proportion to them.
That of Sitimela is one in point.

About eighteen months ago, one Sitimela, by
birth a Tonga, but haihng from Natal, set up a
claim to the chieftainship of the Utetwa tribe, and
further, to the throne of Zululand itself. Having
collected a force, this ambitious gentleman made
a descent upon the territory of Umlandela, a next
door neighbour of John Dunn’s, who forthwith fled
to hira for assistance. The intervention of Mr.
Osbom, the British resident, was called in, but
that official’s powers being purely nominal he could
do nothing, and the matter was given over to the
chiefs, Dunn and Sibepu. Accordingly a force of
about 1,500 of Sibepu’s men, under Colenbrander,
and 2,000 of Dunn’s, led by the chief in person,
met Sitimela and his followers, attacked and routed


them with great loss, and burnt their military kraal.
Sitimela himself was either slain or managed to get
clean away, for he has not been heard of since, and
peace was restored. The affair was seized upon
with avidity by certain parties in Natal, stories of
atrocities were trumped up, and capital made out
of it by those interested in the King’s return and
others hostile to Dunn, who was accused of sanc-
tioning the massacre of women and children, and
encouraging his followers to commit acts of bar-
barity, and a small hullabaloo was raised. Of
course some excesses are inevitable in war between
savages, who in the flush of conquest are simply
unrestrainable, but there is no proof that the chief
was aware of any such until too late to prevent
them, even if he was at all. On the other hand,
I have been asaured on good authority that his
orders were the reverse of merciless. But a rising
which might have assumed the proportions of
a serious disturbance was effectually nipped in
the bud by the promptitude and energy of John

The chief has been severely handled by
colonial writers and speakers on account of his
attitude during the war — in fact denounced openly
as a traitor to his former friends. Now this is not
only unfair but ungrateful. Knowing every inch
of the country, thoroughly conversant as one of


themselves with the people and their ways, Dunn
with hia corps of Guides was able to be of the most
valuable service to our forces. Looked upon with
suspicion by the colonists as soon as he arrived in
Natal, and denounced as a Zulu spy ; his life in
danger as men’s minds were more and more worked
up by the ever developing uncertainty and excite-
ment attendant upon the war, what wonder that,
yielding to Lord Chelmsford’s earnest soUcitations,
he at length abandoned his attitude of neutrality
and took the field with us ? It waa a mistake,
perhaps ; indeed I cannot help thinking that had
he held out to the end as strictly neutral, his posi-
tion to-day would have been vastly stronger with
the Zulus themselves, and from a colonial point
unassailable. But, as he remarked rather bitterly
to me, his detractors never seemed to consider
what a difference it might have made to our arms
if he had thrown in his lot with Cetywayo and
brought European experience, combined with more
than Zulu shrewdness, to bear upon the enemy’s
councils of war. That the Zulu force was badly
handled, not so much in open fight as in neglecting
to seize its multifold opportunities of hai-assing our
movements, is obviously patent ; what a difference,
then, in the results of the campaign might have
been the presence of a cool, resolute, far-seeing
European at its head.


John Dunn’s history is briefly this. English by
birth, he arrived in Natal with his parents when
quite a boy, and early evinced a predilection for a
roving life. In 1856 civil w^ar broke out in Zulu-
land between Cetywayo, then heir to the throne,
and his brother Umbulazi, and Dunn, at that time
twenty-two years of age, was sent by the border
agent to assist the latter chieftain. The rival forces
met about four miles from the Tugela, close to
Mang^te, and a sanguinary battle took place, re-
sulting in the slaughter of Umbulazi, with a number
of his followers, and the total defeat of his army,
Dunn narrowly escaping by swimming the Tugela
and taking refuge in Natal.

In the course of hostilities, Cetywayo’s party
had seized some cattle belonging to white traders
under the pretext that these had helped Umbulazi,
and this bid fair to lead to complications. Again
Dunn came to the fore, volunteering to proceed to
Cetywayo’s residence and induce him to give up
the cattle. A risky experiment, deliberately to
place himself in the power of a savage ruler against
whom he had so recently fought. But he knew
his man ; Cety wayo’s ardour had had time to cool,
he saw that he had ‘ put his foot in it,’ and was
casting about for a means of getting out of the
difliculty with a good grace. Dunn’s arrival sup-
plied that means ; the cattle were restored, and


Cetywayo, remembermg the bravery displayed by
Dunn in battle, also admiring the cool daring of
the man who was not afraid to beard liim in his
own country after having fought against him as
an enemy, made overtures of alliance. Dunn was
induced to transfer his fortunes to Zululand, where
he soon made his mark as a hunter and trader ; he
was created an induna over a section, and lived as
such under Cetywayo until the commencement of
hostilities in 1879.

The weather was too rainy during my stay for
much going about. On one occasion the chief took
me for a drive in his American ‘ spider,’ and the
masterly way in which he steered that light but
thoroughly serviceable vehicle round the spurs and
along the steep grassy sides of the hills where there
wasn’t a vestige of a track, rather astonished me.
‘ What would an English coachman do if told to
drive here?’ said he. Certainly the feat looked a
formidable one, and yet we went swinging along
as if there had never been such a thing as a level
road. A younger brother of Cetywayo’s, Gihlana
by name, put in an appearance at Ncandiiku, but
there was nothing remarkable about him ; he has
a quiet, pleasing countenance, and, like the King,
is very dark coloured.

A strange and eventful life had been that of
my host, and, what with hunting stories and talking


over Zulu and other affairs, I found I had got
through three entertaming days by the time I took
the road again ; when, bidding farewell to the hos-
pitable chief, I started across country under the
pilotage of a guide he had provided for me, to
rejoin the waggon at Etshowe.



Wild country — Sigcwelegcwele — A crack colonel of a crack regiment
— Etshowe again — A dissertation on phenomena — Likwenkwe hill
— Vumandaba — A chief ‘ at Home ‘ — ^ Hard wood * — A ‘ liTely ‘
domicile — Novel weapons — * Bring us back the King ! *

Leaving Ncandiiku behind, we struck into a narrow
bridle path which wound in and out around the tops
of the hills, the forest-clad Umgoye range on the
right, while to the left a rolling and sparsely wooded
tract of country stretched far away past the Gin-
gindhlovu field to the Tugela. The day was cloudy
and cool, and my pony stepped out briskly ; my
guide, a tall, thin old Zulu, trotting cheerily along
in front. Here and there we came to a multitude
of diverging tracks, whereupon the old fellow
would suddenly go down on all fours, mmutely
examine the ground for a moment, and springing
up, point to one of the paths with his kerrie, ex-
claiming * Lo I ‘ (that), suiting the action to the
word by striding along it at a great pace. I was
fortunate to have him, for there were so many
tracks shooting ofi* in all sorts of directions, that I



should have been sadly at sea if alone. Nor would
a knowledge of bearings help much, for the way is
80 winding and circuitous, by reason of hills and
broken ground, that frequently you seem to be
heading right away from your destination instead
of towards it, and what is apparently the shortest
and most direct way leads you after a little while — –

Thoroughly savage and forbidding in aspect
was the region through which lay my route that
morning, and yet essentially picturesque. On every
side deep ravines, a line of black vegetation
marking the course of a stream dashing through
their depths, while perched on a hilltop here and
there, might be seen a large kraal, its pahsade of
thornbush, circular and symmetrical, forming a
dark crown upon the round green summit ; and as
we threaded the bridle path on the side of a well-
nigh perpendicular slope, literally poised over the
ravine hundreds of feet below, in our ears the
deafening rustle of the grassy sea swaying and
tossing in the breeze, the effect was certainly

Eight or ten miles of travelling brought us to
a couple of well-to do-looking kraals, one being
that of Gihlana, before mentioned, the other that
of Sigcwelegcwele, the induna of the Ngobamakosi
regiment, which is the crack corps of the army.


I was anxious to visit this magnate, t)Ut had a long
way to go that day and the weather was very
unsettled ; however, while debating in my mind
whether to go into the kraal or not, I saw a tall
Zulu advancing towards us from the drift of the
stream. From the deferential maimer in which
my guide addressed him, I suspected that this must
be none other than the owner of the euphonious
name himself, and so it turned out. He is a fine-
looking man, in the prime of life, tall and broad-
shouldered, and carried his shaven head as erest
as if it ought to wear a crown instead of a shiny
ring of mimosa gum — a good specimen of a savage
warrior ; and I thought that if the Ngobamakosi
could show many men Uke its chief, small wonder
at it being the crack corps. We exchanged the
‘ time of day,’ but not mucli more in the way of
indaba, and I held on my course. The Uralalasi at
that point boasts a remarkably bad drift, wherein,
my horse slipping, T came a nasty cropper, for-
tunately with no more result than a semi-ducking
and a bruised elbow. The old guide was active in
his commiseration, wrenching up Iiuge handfuls of
grass wherewith he sought to dry my soaked
‘ continuations,’ much in the way that one would
rub down a horse when grooming him. He
looked upon me as a special con-signment from the
chief, and as such to be carefully handled until I


should be delivered over at Etshowe in safety. As
we progressed I began to suspect that my pilot
was by no means so sure of the road as he professed
to be, and some curious turnings and awkward
crossings which he ran me into, further strengthened
the idea. However, we got over the worst and
most hilly part of the way without further accident,
and made a halt near the kraal of Sintwangu, the
king’s messenger, whom I had seen at the Inyoni.
I sent the old fellow across to try and get some
mealies or tywala^ but he came back saying that
Sintwangu was away, and the people at the kraal
had told him that food was scarce in the land and
they had none to spare ; so there was nothing for
it but to saddle up again and push on. Notwith-
standing this philosophical reflection I began to feel
very hungry and rather tired, which combination
of discomfort, taken in conjunction with my casualty
in the drift, had thrown me — shall I confess it ? —
into an exceedingly bad humour, culminating in the
certainty that my guide was steering at random, in
fact didn’t know much about the way — a conviction
I more than once endeavoured to force upon him,
but the old fellow was very good-natured over it
all — only laughed and shook his head, pointing to
the track more emphatically than ever. I thought
there was no end to the tortuosity of the bush
paths— for we had got into wooded country again


— now slipping and tumbling in the rocky bed of
a watercourse, now ducking my head to avoid
having my eyes scratched out by the long sharp
thorns of a sweeping mimosa bough, and was not
at all sorry when, late in the afternoon, after a
final climb, we found ourselves at Etshowe, and
there, about a mile oflf on the flat, stood the white
tent of the waggon.

My guide was well looked after, and started off
home again next morning in a most contented
frame of mind, brought about by the acquisition of
sundry articles of luxury and use precious in native

And now I had come through the lower part
of the country from end to end. Entering at
Eorke’s Drift, and taking the battlefields and places
of interest in their order, I had thoroughly * done ‘
Isandhlwana and the Fugitives’ Drift, Sirayo’s
stronghold, and the scene of the Prince Imperial’s
death in the Ityotyozi valley. I had inspected the
fort at Etshowe, and the Inyezane battlefield, had
made my way down to the residence of John Dunn
near the Tugela mouth, and then round by the
Gingindhlovu, Fort Crealock, and the Umgoye back
to Etshowe. I had seen the different phases of
country, wooded and open, and had had experi-
ence of all weathers. I had visited and been visited
by several of the chiefs and principal personages,


and had talked with all classes of the people. So
now I began the return march. As far as Kwa-
magwaza the way was the same ; from there I would
branch off, and passing Ulundi make my way to
the wild mountainous regions in the north.

Starting at daybreak from Etshowe, I intended
to cross the Umhlatnsi bush and get over the worst
part of the opposite ascent before night, but the
weather in front looked anything but promising.
From the brow of the ridge heavy showers could
be seen travelhng along the opposite lieights, com-
pletely hiding them every now and then in a thick
misty veil. Cui’ious effects are frequent in theseparts.
I have watched a aliower moving in a compact
solid-looking pillar, and standing within a hundred
yards of it as it swept by, felt no more of its effects
than a slight drizzle, as one might feel the spray of
a waterfall. I have stood for a couple of hours
watching a violent thunderstorm sweep over a
large tract, and within a mile of its inky curtain
and vivid flashes, the clear azure of the sky imme-
diately overhead was not obscured by a single
fragment of a cloud. A beautiful effect was that
produced by the change of position of a rainbow,
one end of the bow remaining stationary, while
the other described almost a semicircle on the
plain, moving swiftly round like the beam of a
revolving light in a fog. And the night side is


rich in phenomena ; meteors of wondrous beauty
are not infrequent, while shooting stars are bo
common that one hardly notices them.

Although the weather was dull and ominous,
by afternoon the clouds had all cleared off, the
sun poured his rays into the valley, keeping up its
reputation for intense heat, which, by the way, is
the usual characteristic of these deep bushy valleys.
At nightfall I halted beneath the Inkwenkwe hill,
whose round back loomed against the clear staiTy
heavens. A flame from the dying camp fire every
now and then cast a flickering glow upon the white
tent, sinking again into its dull red embers; the
drowsy talk of the ‘ boys ‘ lying rolled in their
blankets under the waggon ceased ; and the
distant cry of bird or beast, borne up from the
valley beneath, was the only sound which broke
tlie stillness.

Between the Inkwenkwe and Kwamagwaza
lives one of Cetywayo’a military chiefs, by name
Vumandaba, whom I had marked down for a visit;
30 under the guidance of a small boy who had
wandered to the waggon to see what he could pick
up, Andries and I started upon that mission. A
winding bridle path, steep and sUppery, brought
ua to the chief’s residence, which lies in a deep
valley — so deep and narrow as rigidly to exclude
anything in the shape of a current of air. A


Stifling hole ; although but a short distance from
the road, one might pass it again and again with-
out even suspecting the existence of habitation, so
uninviting and unlikely a place is it. The kraal is
not an imposing one by any means, and when we
arrived everything human seemed to be carefully
keeping out of the baking heat. A few draggle-
tailed cocks and hens were pecking about, and I
was rather astonished to see slinking among the
huts a common domestic cat, though a demoralised
and attenuated-looking specimen of the ^ familiar ‘
of the kitchen hearth.

Dismounting in front of the principal tenement
amid vociferous yapping from the usual contingent
of curs, I was told that Vumandaba would be glad
to see me, so, crawling through the aperture, stood
up in the hut. Coming suddenly into the gloomy
interior from the full glare of a midday sun, at
first I could see no one, but soon made out several
dark forms squatting in a semicircle, upright and
motionless, eyeing me in suspicious and inquiring
silence. The chief was sitting a little apart from
the others, and having narrowly scrutinised me for
a few moments, he broke the silence with the usual
greeting, * Saku bona ! ‘ to which I responded by
shaking hands, and sat down opposite him. The
Zulu has a mode of shaking hands peculiar to


himself ; it is not like the English way, but a good
honeat grip for all that. His fingers and thumb
ai-e kept quite rigid, but he lays hold of your hand
and shakes it with a will ; very different to the
dab of a flabby paw with which the Boer favours
you, leaving a seaeation on your palm, of contact
with a fish or a raw leg of mtitton. Vumandaba
is a tall, thin old man, with grizzled hair and beard,
a rugged countenance, and at first a not very pre-
possessing appearance ; he is a good specimen of
the high class Zulu, dignified in manner and speech,
and free from Dabulamanzi’s besettingsin — begging.
He was in great favour with Cetywayo, who created
him principal induna over the Kandampemvu
regiment, and also appointed hira ‘ cupbearer,’ his
duties being to attend upon the King and to taste
the food and drink before it was allowed to pass
the royal palate.

I said that Vumandaba’s appearance was not a
prepossessing one ; yet, when the first instincts of
native reserve had worn off, I found him a very
genial and pleasant old fellow. Not tlie least
pleasing feature about him were his feelings of
attachment and loyalty towards his late master.
He was full of Cetywayo, nearly his first question
being about the King and his welfare. ‘ Wliy
hadn’t we brought hira back? All the people wanted


him. When Lukuni^ (Sir Evelyn Wood) came to
Inhlazatye several moons ago they thought he was
bringing back Cetywayo, but instead he told them
that the King would not be restored. They were
disappointed ; they all wanted the King again.
Why had Lukuni come all the way from England
to tell them that ? / must get the King brought
back to them ; they wanted to see him. When I
returned home I must be sure and tell the Govern-
ment to send back Cotywayo.*

I hastened to explain that my mission in Zulu-
land was quite unofficial, and that, being only a
private person, I had no more influence for or
against the desired restoration than the most
insignificant inhabitant of their kraal. But it
was no use ; they only half believed me, for they
couldn’t understand anyone taking the trouble to
visit them and their country purely for the fun of
the thing. * Hadn’t I anything to do with Lukuni
or with Government ? * * Nothing whatever,* I
reiterated. I told the old chief, however, that I
could do this much for him — record his wishes for
the benefit of the public. Whereat he seemed

There was one exceedingly unpleasant side to

‘ ‘ Lukuni ‘ means literally ‘ hard wood/ and the sobriquet by
which the gallant General is known throughout Zululand is not only
a play upon his name, but a tribute to his reputation as a soldier in
native es’.imation.


my visit. Happening to glauce upwards I noticed
that the whole roof of the hut was alive with a
kind of trembling shimmer, reminding one of the
electric advertisements over shop doora. On closer
investigation I discovered that the roof was alive
with cockroaches, whose shiny backs were respon-
sible for the gbsteniug I had seen. They literally
swarmed, and though with some alacrity I left a
space between myself and the side of the hut against
which I had been leaning, yet every now and
then one of the cheerful insects would playfully
promenade along my ear, or two or three would
organise a steeplechase on the brim of ray wide-
awake. This was nasty, to say the least of it, but
when they took to dropping into the pots of tywala
which had been brought in for our delectation, it
was nastier. The old chief didn’t seem to care
though ; with the greatest sangfroid he would
insert his grass spoon, ladle out the offending insect,
and proceed to take a big drink on the spot, just
to show there was no ill feeling ; while I — well,
the day was piping hot, and one can’t afford to be
fastidious in the wilds — found it in my conscience
to follow his example. All the native huts, by the
way, are more or less overrun with cockroaches,
though in some of comparatively recent construction
there are hardly any ; Vumandaba’s abode, how-
ever, judging by the emoke-blackened rafters and


the superabundance of these crawling pests, must
have been a venerable tenement indeed.

The Kandampemvu regiment was in the thick
of the battle at Isandhlwana, and foremost in carry-
ing the camp, though it suffered severely in the
earUer stage of the conflict from the fire of the
outlying companies ; and now its chief told me how
stubbornly some of our soldiers had fought to the
last, many of them using their pocket- knives when
their bayonets were wrenched from them. Some
even astonished their savage enemies by a well-
directed * one, two ‘ straight from the shoulder,
flooring the too exultant warriors like nine-pins.
The Zulus could not understand how men could
use their hands as knob kerries, for the native is
quite a stranger to the art of fisticuffs. * A few of
the soldiers,’ said the chief, * shot a great deal with
” little guns ” (revolvers), but they didn’t shoot well.
For every man they killed, they fired a great many
shots without hitting anybody.’

One thing that sent Vumandaba up in my esti-
mation was that he did not begin by asking for
anything and everything. But although he did
not beg, he was greatly delighted with the gift of
a large knife and a few other things I had brought,
gripping my hand with fervent expressions of
thanks, which were duly echoed by the other men
in the hut ; for if you give anything to a chief.


his followers always shout out their thanks as
vigorously as though the donation were to each
and all of themselves. He made me a present of a
likely-looking knob-kerrie * to remember him by,’
which I have still — a most effective companion for
a dark road in a ruffianly neighbourhood. On
hearing I would pass Inhlazatye, he was very
anxious that I should see Mnyamane and the King’s
son Dinizulu, and as I was getting up to go, the
old chief laid his hand on my arm in his eagerness.
‘ Bring us back Cetywayo,’ he said ; ‘ we want to
see our King again. Bring him back ! ‘ I declare
I felt quite small for the moment, call it foolish
sentimentality who will. Many a time since have
I seemed to see the old man’s rugged, earnest face,
and to hear his emphatic tones — the loyal old
warrior — pleading for his fallen and exiled King.



Oetywtyo and the miasioiiariee— Entonjaneni — ^Valley of the Wliite
Umfoloei — A cool spot and a picture — ^Mahlabatini — * Then and
now ‘—Battle of Ulundi.

Hitherto I had been particularly fortunate, having
got along without breakdown or accident of any
sort, either to waggon or oxen, servants or self,
and now was back at Kwamagwaza. There I met
Dr. Oftebro, a Norwegian medical missionary, who
had been some time settled in the country and
was then living in the Mahlabatini basin, a few
miles from Ulundi. This gentleman — a relation,
by the way, of the missionary at Etshowe — ^was of
opinion that the war could not have been averted.
The Zulus, he said, especially the younger men,
were so inflated with martial ardour, so com-
pletely carried away by a sense of their own vast
superiority over any force that could be brought
against them, that there was absolutely no holding
them ; and they bragged openly and incessantly of
what they could and would do when the word
was given for them to march upon Natal. In fact.


a white man’s life was not safe in Ziiluland at the
time. The doctor had no very high opinion of
Cetywayo, whom he described as crafty and un-
reliable, infinitely inferior in character and probity
to his father Mpande,’ whose word could always
be depended upon.

By the way, I found that Cetywayo did not
stand well with the missionaries generally, which one
can readily understand ; for, apart from a certain
professional prejudice against a man who deliber-
ately and absolutely rejected their teachings, all
the traditions, interests, and predilections of a
savage ruler, or, indeed, of a civilised one, would
naturally bo in antagonism to the setting up of an
imferium in imperio among his subjects. That the
establishment of mission stations was regarded
distrustfully by Cetywayo on this account there
can be no doubt ; and if ‘ good ‘ and well-meaning
people would but think, they would see that a
heathen king was not necessarily a monster because
he opposed the ‘ spread of the Gospel,’ and
would, perhaps, write and talk a little less wild
nonsense on the subject. Even if the would-be
evangelisers are earnest, single-minded men, desirous
only of making converts from heathenism — as lam
willing to believe the missionaries in Zululand are —
the fact still remains that the whole of their
‘ Oomtuoalj known u PAodn,


teaching is contrary to tlie most rooted convictions
and time-honoured customs of the nation, upon
whom, after all, they are virtually forced nolens
volens. I say forced, because it is idle to suppose
that, prior to the war more than now, any Zulu
potentate would have dared actually to abolish
missions, however desirous he might be of doing
so. It is one thing for the missionary to take his
life in his hand and go among savages, simply
relying on his message and example for success ; it
is another thing for him to go into Zululand with
the full moral support of the British Government
at his back. I have no hostility towards mis-
sionaries as such — quite the contrary. But I do
think we should look at the question from both
sides ; remembering, too, that in his heathen state
the Zulu would not compare badly for morality
and honesty with the average Briton, man for man,
and that Christianity is not always exhibited to
him in a specially immaculate or attractive guise.
And it is a fact that no missionary’s life was ever
taken or even threatened in Zululand previous to
the war or since, though they may now and then
have undergone petty annoyances from this or that
individual chief

A midday halt some twelve miles from Kwa-
magwaza, a night trek, a long bumping down the
steep Entonjaneni hill, and we are among the


‘ thorns ‘ in the valley of the White Urafolosi. Stifling
hot is it here, even so early as 7 A.M., and as we move
along towards the river not a sign of humanity do we
see. No picturesque kraals dotting the hill sides ;
we meet no Zulus striding along the road flinging
their cheery greeting at us as they pass ; all is
deserted even as though the land were ‘ dead,’ as
the expressive native idiom for war-time has it.
Here and there a huge bird of prey springs away
from the topmost branches of a euphorbia, and,
spreading his broad wings, soars lazily off to flop
down upon a bough some two hundred yards
further and inspect the intruders ; or a buck starts
up suddenly amid the long grass, and before I can
get a shot at him, bounds off through the thick
bush which covers the valley on either hand.
Passing the old laager where the column was
lying four days before the battle, while messages
were exchanged between the King and Lord
Chelmsford, we come to the drift, which, though
wide, is shallow and good. We cross, and outspan on
the bank under the shade of the mimosas. It is a
lovely spot. In front the broad Umfolosi flows on
over its sands, between green banks fringed with
overhanging trees and dense reed patches, then,
making a sudden bend below the drift, it washes
the base of a long wall of red krantz whose cre-
viced face is festooned with mosses and trailing


ferns. The air is warm but not sultry, and vibrate
ever and anon with the strident screecli of a tree
cricket, while the call and whiatle of many a bird
sounds from the brake. Presently some Zuh
descend to the river on the other side, and b^in
cross ; the efTeet of their dark bodies against the
water, their coloured shields and gleaming assegais,
and the wild surrounding, with the background of
bush and blue sky, makes a perfect picture. Then
as the sun gets low, we inspan and trek on quietly,
to halt upon the scene of the great decisive battl
which was to break the Zulu power.

From the TJinfolosi drift, open and undulatinj
ground with patches of bush here and there. Wd]
cross a small watercourse or two, and about an hour’
travelling brings us to a grassy level, commanding
a view of the entire plain, from the river behind to
the ranges of hills which close it in like a basiiiij
Here on the right, about one hundred yards froi
the road, is the site of the Nodwengu kraal ; aboul
a mile on the other side of it is a huge circle
the grass, several hundred yards in diameter,
curious circle, apparently a belt of herbage
different growth, for it is darker than the green
slope on which it lies. That circle is all that
remains of the Ulundi kraal — the former residence
of the Zulu King. About a mile beyond this s
and at nearly even distances from each other,




be seen two more large circles, marking the site of
the miUtary kraals, Qikazi and Uralambongwenya,
the first being on the left and nearest the road.
The remaining two, Undakaombi and Bulawayo,
situate on the left of the road and not visible from
it, go to make up the six kraals constituting the
capital of Zululand. Whether by accident or
design they ai*e placed in threes, forming two

Travelling through the country I think one
hardly realises to the full the thoroughness of its
conquest. Kraals and meaUe fields all over the
place ; cattle grazing quietly and securely ; Zulus
passing to and fro, always cheerful and apparently
contented, and to hear them talk, moreover, does
not convey the idea of a conquered people. But
standing as I did that sunny afternoon contemplat-
ing the large sdent circles on the Mahlabatini
plain, formerly astir with busy Ufe — then it is that
the sense of change forces itself upon one.

Let us suppose an evening such as this. There
stand the huge kraals with their clustering rings
of dome-shaped huts, among which, here and there,
dark forms may be seen moving, while yonder a
number of women are coming from the stream,
calabash on head, in single file, stepping to the
time of a monotonous but not unmelodious chant.
The sun dips to the western hills ; sleek cattle are


wending along the green plain, conspicuous amonj
them the snowy whiteness of the royal herd ; the ]
barking of dogs and the shout and whistle of drivers j
mingling with the deep toned low of driven cattle. 1
For a short time all ia bustle and animation ; tbeQ j
the red fires tmnkle out here and there in the 1
fast gathering darkness ; a hush falls ; but those
silent and fantastic dweUings are teeming with j
human life — the pulsating heart of a warrior 1

But to-day how different is all this. Ton j
silent circles remain, sole relics of the savage
capital burnt and razed to the ground. Our shot ‘
and shell has well and effectually done its work.
Skulls and bones bleaching by hundreds in the
grassy bottoms, instead of the fierce and dauntless
savages who formerly peopled this place and
marched in serried battalions up to the very mouth
of the cannon, to be mown down like grass, but to J
fall as vaUant wai’riors, shouting their battle cry-
as true patriots defending their homes. No one I
can say that these were foemen unworthy of our \
steel, and now that resentment has had time to
cool, no one will grudge them due praise for a long
and stubborn defence of their country. But the
blood of thousands of their bravest has been ,
poured out like water, their King a captive and an |
exile — their former capital a scene of silence andj


desolation. Truly one feels that the greatness of
a nation lies buried here.

The following is so graphic an account of the
battle of Ulundi that I cannot refrain from quoting
it in full. It appeared in the ‘ Port Elizabeth Tele-
graph,” August 12, 1879.


‘ Some weeks have elapsed since I wrote to you
last, and during the mterval some stirring events
have come to pass. I must make a skip and come
down to July 2. On tliat day the two brigades of
the second division, having on the day previous
descended from the heights to the west of Ulundi,
began the march which brought them, in the
afternoon, to the banks of the White Umvolosi.
In the early morning, long before the sun was up,
Col. BuUer, that man of muscle and nerve, had
started with his irregular but serviceable cavalry
to take up a position on the west bank of the river,
and hold it nntil joined by the troops. At six
o’clock the column followed, the 90th leading. I
left at the time, and an hour’s ride brought me to
the cavalry. The mounted infantry, under Capt.
Brown, were away on a distant ridge to the left,
the Basutos, under Captain Cochrane, were ahead,
Eaaff’s Gangers were on the right, and D’Arcys


F.L.H., with Baker’s Horse, were in the centre.
Everything was quiet when I arrived, although
a few minutes before the men had distinctly heard
the war song of a Zulu regiment in motion.
Hearing fiom Capt. Elaine that this regiment could
be seen from the position held in front by the
BasutOB, I went furward and joined these gallant
auxiliaries. I found them all seated upon a small
kopje, and, together with their officers, looking
intently at the kraal of Nodwengu, distant from
there about four miles. They had been watching
the regiment whose chanting had been heard by
the volunteers behind. This regiment or regiments
HTimbered about 8,000, and came from a mihtary
kraal about five miles to the north-west of Nod-
wengu, and on the left of the Basutos. The Zulus
marched in companies, chanting their terrible war
song as they went, and very soon reached Nod-
wengu, into which they filed in splendid order.
From the kopje I had a good view of Undine,
which I take to mean a collection of the King’s
kraals. Below us, 800 yards off, flowed the wind-
ing Umvolosi, its western bank covered with a
thick growth of mimosa trees and aloes; just before
us, and a mile on the other side of the river, was
Bulawayo, one of the mihtary kraals ; to the right
of that, and 700 yards distant, was the mighty
circle of Nodwengu, with its ring of huts, fiv*;



deep ; to the east of the latter was another large
military kraal ; another one again on the right of
this, and between these two last, but nearer down,
was Ulundi, with the southern curve of the circle
alone showing on the top of a rise. It was not
long before I saw the regiment leave Nodwengu
and march for a kraal above it. In half-au-hour
I saw four regiments on the march from various
points to a kraal above Ulundi. In this they
formed up, and a formidable mass they appeared to
be ; almost filhng up all the available space in the
huge circle. Ulundi, you must remember, is 500
yards in diameter, and the other kraals are almost
as large. At 12 o’clock the formation broke up,
and the warriors poured out in three broad and
long black columns. They had been doctored, and
were ready to accept battle. However, no engage-
ment was to be fought that day. General Chelms-
ford would not cross the river, although the ground
on the other bank offered by far the best site for
a camp ; and the two laagers were formed up among
the thorn trees at a distance of some 700 yards from
the river drift.’

After describing at considerable length the
events of July 3, the narrator goes on :

‘Nest morning, ere yet the sun had risen, the
troops silently assembled. BuUer’s Irregulars crossed
the river and took up a position at the Bula-


wayo kraal. At 6 o’clock the infantry advanced.
Wood’s division leading. The Lancers brought
up the rear. The morning was bitmg, and a damp
mist hung over the river, but the troops walked
through the broad river as if they were tramping
along over a macadamised road. The march was
continued to the Bulawayo kraal, where the troops
were formed up in square, while the cavalry
advanced again as far as Nodwengu. General
Wood then rode forward and selected a spot to the
north-east of Nodwengu, and about 600 yards from
the nearest curve of the huts. This site was on
a ridge, and commanded a front on every side of
600 yards. While the troops were advancing to
take up a position here, the irregular cavalry
again moved onward. At this time the mist was
lifting, and the enemy could be seen on our right
and left advancing in loose and open order. I
went up to Baker’s Horse, who were ordered to
draw on the enemy from the north. Very soon I
saw the loose masses on the north form up in
companies, which soon covered a frontage of a
mile, with the right wing resting on a ridge above
the drift, and the left wing in the valley on the
north side. As Baker’s Horse advanced another
body of the enemy emerged from the hills still
further north, formed into line, and effected a
junction with the other line. There was then a


horae-shoe formation on the north, with the right
on one ridge and the left on another, and covering
a distance of some three miles. This long black
line swept steadily forward upon ub, and, as I
saw them come on, I thought the battle that day
would be a long and a terrible one. Baker’s Horse
advanced towards the left wing of this formation,
and as they neared the regiment on the left the
latter broke up, and the Zulus scattered in skir-
mishing order. Lieut. Parmenter then advanced
with about twenty men, and poured a volley
into the enemy at a distance of about 200 yards.
The cavalry then slowly retired. They had done
what was required. This had drawn on the enemy
in fine style, and as we galloped back to the square
the bullets were whizzing about us. Just before
Lieut. Parmenter made his daring advance 1 looked
around. Not a shot had been fired. The mist
was slowly lifting fi”om the hills, but still hung
above the river. The sun was flaming blood red
above the eastern hills. All was quiet ; an awful
stillness brooded over the valley, broken only by
the melodious singing of birds, a strange prelude
to thunder of cannon and rattle of musketry.
Nature seemed waiting for the terrible drama to
be so soon played out on that silent plain. Silent
and motionless for tliat breathless instant were
those who were to play at that drama. Below us


was the solid square of British soldiers, a small red
square, the centre of a vast black line formed by
15,000 savage warriors, who were here bearded in
their stronghold. Between the centre and the
black line were bodies of cavalry scattered, each
troop standing in line with front to the enemy. It
seems to us that the black line has but to tighten
and then, with a rush and a bound as it springs
into action, overwhelm that small body of British
soldiers. But there are terrors concealed in that
solid square that will shake the fiercest hearts and
boldest spirits among the Zulu thousands. See
that cloud of white smoke that suddenly sweeps
from a comer of the square! Hark to that
thunderous report ; hear the rushing of the shell
overhead I The battle has commenced ; the circle
is drawing in ; the cavalry are retreating ; the first
gun has been fired ; the shell breaks above the
heads of a regiment of hot young men advancing
at a run from the north, and as it breaks those
beneath scatter and rush back. If Cetywayo,
watching the battle from afar, sees that he must
quake. When men waver in the first rush there
is little hope for them. But still the circle narrows,
and now the cavalry are all within the four walls
of Uving men. Then the roar of battle begins
indeed. There is one continuous rattle of mus-
ketry all round the square, the thunder of guns.


the growling of the Gatlings, and the constant
whizzing of the bulleta overhead. The 94th and
21st form the rear ; the 58th and 13th face Nod-
wengu on the right ; the 80th are in front, and the
90th on the left. There are two guns at every
corner, and two guns in the centre of each side.
Young regiments are attacking the rear and left ;
married men on the right and front. The enemy-
makes the fiercest assault on the rear. On come
the young men in the face of the leaden hail
poured upon them by the 94th and 21st. These
regiments are as cool as if on parade, and they fire
in sections, obeying the orders of their officers as
to sighting and firing. They keep up a continual
firing, but yet the young warriors advance until
they are within one hundred yards. Now there is
a cry for the Gatlings, and the order is passed
down the line of the 90th to the 80th. Now the
enemy are within one hundred yards of the glisten-
ing bayonets ; and now they waver and look back.
It is all over with them. A thundering cheer from
volunteers and soldiers rises above the roar of
guns. The enemy turns and flies. Now is the
time for the Lancers. They leap into their saddles,
and the 21st open a way for them, but the General
thinks it is too early for a charge. Besides, the
married regiments are making it warm for the
13th and 58th. A few more volleys are fired, and


then the Lancers are permitted to go. They file
out and form up outside the 94th ; their tall lances
and fluttering pennons look like a forest. Now
they are ofi*, and are thundering after the dis-
heartened warriors. They sweep round from the
right of the 94th, and come out at the left of the
21st, and their track is marked by some 150 dead
and dying Zulus. And now the irregular cavalry
dash out. Baker’s Horse rushes up to the point it
reached in the morning, and chases the very regi-
ment it had drawn on. The Basutos gallop away
towards Ulundi, chasing one of Cetywayo’s picked
regiments beyond the King’s kraal and killing
some 50 warriors. And so with the other troops.
The battle has lasted but 40 minutes. We lost
16 killed and had about 40 wounded. Truly
the Zulus are bad shots, for a better target than
we presented they could not have wished for.
The enemy lost about 1,500, and 500 of these we
must put to the account of the cavalry, who, both
English and colonial, behaved splendidly. Half-
an-hour after Ulundi was in flames. It was a huge
kraal, with huts six deep, and in numbers sufiicient
to shelter 10,000 men. I went into Cetywayo’s
house (a three-roomed single-floored place, with
thatched roof, verandah, doors, and windows), but
there was nothing in it but some old rat traps
and three pieces of ivory, which fell to the lot


respectively of Commandant Baker, Lord^eresford
(who was first in the kraal), and Capt. Cochrane,
who fired the house. In an hour the six military
kraals on the plain were in flames and belching
forth dense volumes of smoke. That night the
Zulus sang a different song from that which they
had so menacingly wailed forth on the preceding
night. The battle was decided by the artillery
before the enemy came within range of the small
arms. The shrapnel took the dash out of the
attacking columns. The enemy’s strategy was
excellent, but its execution was bad. Cetywayo,
as I have said, watched the battle from afar in
company with Mnyamane and other chiefs. Dabu-
lamanzi was present at the fight.’



A Zulu on Gatlings — ^Ulundi and Nodwengu — An unlucky warrior —
Tall liaggling— Midnight at Ulundi^A Gblgotha.

My camp was pitched within thirty yards of
the site of the famous hollow square and about
four hundred from that of Nodwengu, and the
morning after arrival I started to explore the ruins
of Ulundi, under the guidance of an old Zulu who
had formerly been one of the head men of the
Undakaombi kraal. At the bottom of the slope I
dismounted to examine one or two of the skulls
lying about among the grass, some being remark-
ably large and well developed ones. I drew my
guide’s attention to this, as he stood curiously
watching me. The old man smiled rather mourn-
fully and shook his head. ‘ Yes,’ he said, ‘ we lost
some fine men — numbers of them. What could we
do against you EngUsh ? You stand still, and only
by turning something round ^ make the bodies of
our warriors fly to pieces ; legs here, arms there,
heads, everything. Whouw! — ^What can we do

‘ The Galling.



against that ? ‘ We resumed our way, and having
crossed the stream which threads in sedgy reaches
along the grassy bottom, stood upon the ruins of

Some idea as to the dimensions of the kraal
may be gleaned when I say that it takes full five
minutes of tolerably quick walking to cross it.
The floors of the huts still remain, with their fire-
places in the centre, but are thickly overgrown
with coarse herbage. At the upper end, near the
principal gateway, was Cetywayo’a residence, a
square tenement with glazed windows and a door ;
the other huts for his wives and attendants being
of the ordinary shape. I was keenly on the look-
out for rehcs, but could find none ; a few bits of
broken glass, remnants of ancient gin bottles, lay
about, and fragments of native pottery, which is
made of clay baked in the sun and very brittle
and crumbly. On the site of the King’s huts I
picked up some pieces of a clay bowl, a fragment
of an iron three-legged pot, and a smooth round
stone such as would be used for pohshing floors — a
duty it bad probably often performed on that of
the royal dwelling. Other relics more curious or
valuable there were none.

We pass on to Nodwengu. Here everything
wears a similar aspect, and the floors of the huts
clustering thickly together are covered with the


same rank overgrowth. Nodwengu is the next in
size and importance to Ulundi, and like it, a royal
residence, having been the abode of the last King,
Mpande, Cetywayo’s father. It is now the head-
quarters of the Nodwengu and Kandampemvu
regiments — Ulundi, as its name implies, being that
of the Undi, the royal corps.

By the time we have fully explored the two
homes of former royalty, the increasing force of a
blazing midday sun renders it expedient to return
to the shade of the waggon, where, as I lay in the
heat of the afternoon, taking it easy in company
with a long pipe, a passer by or two would sit
down for a few minutes’ chat, but people were not
so numerous in these parts as I should have
expected. One young Zulu, a light-hearted, talk-
ative fellow, sat there descanting by the hour on
things in general. He had been shot in the leg at
Isandhlwana soon after the fight commenced, and
had lain on the ground until two of his brothers
carried him out of harm’s way, so was not able to
see the end. I put in a suggestion to the efiect
that it was better to be shot through the leg at
the beginning of the fight than through the head
at the end of it, which aspect of the case seemed
vastly to tickle his imagination, for he went into a
fit of laughter and agreed emphatically with the
idea. I happening to mention that I was rather


on the look-out for curiosities, my friend produced
a beautiful Utile horn snuffbox, and wanted to
know if that was the kind of thing. I replied that
it was, whereupon he handed it over with a laugh,
saying I must take it to show the people in
England. He then asked if he should get me any
more like it, and on receiving an answer in the
affirmative he limped off down the road, returning
in about half-an-hour with a lot of snuffboxes,
bangles, spoons, and beadwork trifles, for which
be said I must give him things in exchange, as they
were not his own, and he couldn’t make me a
present of them as he did the first snuffbox. I
took over the lot, to our mutual satisfaction. Poor
fellow, he will carry a tangible reminder of that
bullet until his dying day.

While on the subject, I was surprised at the
fewness of wounded men I fell in with during my
progress through the counti’y. Whether, owing
to rude surgery, numbers died whom the most
ordinary skill could easily have saved, I cannot
say, but considering that every man with whom I
conversed had taken part in one or more of the
battles, the fewness of those who had wounds to
show teas rather remarkable.

Presently some girls put in an appeai’ance, with
the object of bartering a mat to me in exchange
for some beads. I looked at the mat — it was a


good specimen of native work, and would do well
to hang a Zulu trophy against, when my travels
had been relegated to events of the past — and
decided to have it. But the way in which the
artless young creatures haggled was amazing. I
hadn’t the exact kind of beads they wanted, so
must give them about five times as many of
another kind ; and that wasn’t enough either ; I
must throw in half-a-dozen other things besides,
because I was an ‘ inkos,’ and they didn’t see a
white ‘ inkos ‘ every day, and so on. I let them
have their full fling, and then stated my terms.
More haggling, all talking at once, chattering and
laughing at the top of their voices ; but I got my
mat, and at my own price.

Our bargain concluded, they seemed sorry there
was nothing else to wrangle over, if only for an
excuse to make a Uttle more noise. Two of them
were daughters of the old man who had officiated
as guide in the morning ; another argument adduced
in favour of an extra donation, by the way. Many
of the Zulu girls are good looking ; tall and grace-
ful, with an exceedingly bright and pleasing ex-
pression ; and these two were no bad specimens of
their race, as they stood there, their Hthe brown
figures adorned with various coloured beads
fantastically worked. They made such a row,
however, chattering and screaming with laughter,


that I was not sorry to see the last of them, as
they went bounding away in the direction of the
paternal kraal.

A glorioiis night succeeds the heat of the day ;
one advantage of the South African climate is that
however hot the day, the night is nearly sure to be
at any rate bearably cool, This one is perfect ; the
air still and balmy without a suspicion of chilliness,
and not until after midnight can I make up my
mind to turn in, so take a late stroll round the
scene of die conflict. A grand moon in its third
quarter hangs overhead ; shadowy and indistinct
sleep the heights, bathed in a misty film, the sharp
outline of many a peak toned down by the soften-
ing light ; a faint murmur of plashing water is
just audible, where Umfolosi flows and ripples over
her sandy bed ; and ever and anon, from far away
along the bushy river bank, the howl of some
prowling beast is borne upon the night, I wander
on ; at every step skulls, gleaming white amid the
grass, grin to the moon with upturned face and
eyeless sockets. Yonder, shadowed forth in dark
contrast on the moonlit plain, lie the ruins of
Ulundi and Nodwengu, dim and mysterious, Uke
mystic tracings from the wand of some grim
wizard of the wilderneHs. A night bird skims
across the waste, its plaintive cry floating above
the weird circles like a strange lament over the


downfall of those who erewhile peopled these
soUtudes, and a slight breeze shudders through
the long grass like the whisperings of unearthly

I return to camp, the white tent of the waggon
ghstens like silver in the moonbeams, and a few
dull red embers in the dying fire glow amid the
ashes. Every Uving thing, biped and quadruped,
is buried in slumber, an example I haste to follow.



Mfanawendhlela — A native dish — A jovial crew — Inhlazatye and the
Residency — Moral suasion — *No thorough^iire’ — Intaba’nkulu —
Messengers — * Thunder in the air/ metaphorical and literal — On
storms — A refugee — A pleasant position, and a night march under

It is early morning as we move away from our
li ailing place and take the road for Inhlazatye,
which runs right past the kraal of Mfanawendhlela,
the chief of the Ulundi district, who tumbles out,
swathed in a green blanket, to prefer a modest
request for a bottle of gin. He is, however, doomed
to disappointment.

We cUmb the ridge, and the road winds along
the heights above the Mahlabatini plain ; there lie
the circles of the ruined kraals, the silver thread of
the river is now and again visible, and beyond, the
stone wall of the old laager ; while rising from the
wide valley, the En tonjaneni range cleaves the sky-
hne. Turning from this to the north-eastward a
view of the dark forests beyond the Black Umfo-
losi opens out. A few hours’ travelling, and we
reach a group of large kraals standing surrounded


by their mealie patches, and bearing every indica-
tion of well-to-do-ness. So unusual a sight as a
tent waggon and its team, and a Briton riding in
front of the same, was enough to cause quite a
commotion in the minds of the inhabitants, and
in less than no time half a dozen big Zulus came
running up, anxious to know who I was and all
about me ; as usual, taking me for a trader. They
pointed out a good place to outspan, and I told
them to come down presently and have a talk ; a
proposal they were ready enough to endorse, for, as
I said before, the Zulu is an inveterate gossip, and
given a good Ustener, will indulge his propensity
for indaha to any extent. Over and above which,
an idea is floating through his mind that there are
pickings to be got at the white man’s waggon, and
that on leaving the said structure he is extremely
likely to have acquired sundry trifles of more or
less value to himself.

These were exceedingly civil fellows. We had
not outspanned many minutes before a lot of
amasi^ was brought to us, sent by the head of
the kraal, who with two or three more came to see
what was going on. Others * dropped in,’ and
presently there were ten or a dozen stalwart bar-

‘ Curdled milk, which forms the staple article of Zulu diet. It is
eaten with mealies or ‘ amabele/ worked into a kind of paste. No
adult Zulu will touch fresh milk| which is looked upon as food only
fit for children.


bariaiia squatting round, talking and laugliing at
a great rate. I think there can hardly exiat a
more thoroughly good-humoured race than these
people ; they never seem out of spirits, alwaya
cheerful and lively, ready at a jeat too. And can’t
they laugh ? Anything in the shape of a joke will
elicit roars of merriment, spontaneous, hearty, and
unfeigned. I have seen a group of Zulus roll on
the ground and laugh till the tears ran down their
cheeks, at the antics and repartee of a native Joe
Miller. My visitors on the present occasion formed
no exception to the rule. They talked and sang,
and went through various manceuvres for my enter-
tainment, showing me how they made the charges
which proved so fatal to our troops. They would
rush forward about fifty yards, and imitating the
sound of a volley, drop flat amid the grass ; then
when the. firing was supposed to have slackened,
up they sprung, and assegai and shield in hand
charged like lightning upon the imaginary foe,
shouting ‘ Usiitu.’ It certainly gave one a very
fair idea of their mode of procedure in actual

I wanted to reach Inhlazatye that day — its
forest-clad sides were visible, rising up far in front —
80 as soon as the heat began to abate, prepared for
a start. When we had inspanned, the head man
made a speech, consisting, as usual under the cir-


cumstances, of expressions of good will, after which
the Zulus stood up, and with hand uplifted sang
out, * Inkos I Hambane gahl^ ! ‘ ^ their deep voices
making quite an imposing chorus. We parted the
best of friends, and saddling up I mounted and took
the road, leaving the waggon to follow.

A long, deep, desolate valley stretching ahead
for miles — a spectacle to rejoice the eyes of a lover
of the wild open scenery of Dartmoor and the like.
The hill sides treeless and brown, nothing to relieve
the wild monotony of the bare grassy slopes ; a
clear stream dashing over rocks and boulders ; the
jagged outUnes of the mountain ridges, prominent
above which rise the terraced slopes of the turret-
headed Zihlalu ; and the utter sense of solitude,
would, I repeat, form a paradise to the moorland
rambler. But to me there always seems something
dismal about this kind of thing. The stillness, the
absence of animal hfe, all has a sombre and depress-
ing influence, as of a place one would be glad to
get out of. Every now and then the track would
descend abruptly into a watercourse overhung with
precipitous rocks and aloes, just the place for an
ambuscade. A steady climb up a long steep bit of
road, and I am riding over wide elevated table-
lands ; behind, the towering head of Zihlalu, which
from this point bears a striking resemblance to the

* * Chief ! go in peace ! *


lion-shaped Isandlilwana, diminishes against the
evening sky, the wooded sides of Inhlazatye draw
nearer and nearer, and presently a light twinkles
from a group of huts at the base of the mountain.
It is the Residency.

Here a disappointment awaited, for the British
Resident, Mr. Osborn, whom I was anxious to see,
had left for Maxitzburg only that morning ; but I
met with a very kind welcome from his clerk, Mr.
Boast, who was in charge during the absence of
his chief. The Residency, which is structurally of
a significantly temporary nature, consisting in fact
of a few large Zulu huts, occupies a pleasant site
on the eastern slope of Inhlazatye, commanding a
wide sweep of hill and valley in front, while im-
mediately behind, the great mountain rears its
forest-clad sides and precipitous walls. Mr. Osborn
and his clerk were the only Europeans on the
place, a few native policemen and an interpreter
or two constituting the staff, under which circum-
stances it may readily be imagined that the sole
influence exercisable by Iler Majesty’s British
Resident in Zululand must be of the order known
as moral suasion. It may likewise be supposed
that, situated in the midst of a number of turbulent
and discontented chiefs and rival factions in a
chronic state of almost open warfare, among whom
the peace must be kept somehow, two Europeans,


backed by a few native constables, are in a some-
what precarious and difficult position. Such was
the state of Zululand and the position of its
Resident at the time of my progress through the

From the summit of Inhlazatye, ‘a wide plateau
some 6,000 feet above the sea level, there is a
grand view, the whole country lying mapped out
beneath. It is one of the highest points in Zulu-
land, and with Ibabanango constitutes quite a land-
mark for the greater part of the western iside —
either of which when visible would suffice to in-
dicate his bearings to anyone not wholly deficient
in bump of locality. Capital company was my
host, and as we sat of an evening — shall I confess
it ? — till late, over our pipes, he would entertain me
by the hour with anecdotes of Diamond Fields and
border interest. An isolated monotonous sort of
life must this Residency position be, but my friend
Mr. Boast seemed to take to it kindly. There
were horses to ride and plenty of bucks to be shot
in the mountains, whose grassy slopes also abounded
in partridges and quail ; it cost not much in the
way of living, and hfe could be taken in free and
easy fashion.

Very cheerless was the prospect as, after a stay
of three days at Inhlazatye, I turned out of one of
the huts at early dawn and climbed shiveringly


into the saddle, having started the waggon the
previous day. The air was chilly, heavy massea
of grey mist were driving along the face of the
clifl*, a general feeling of dampness and a lowering
sky seemed to portend rain, and amid so auspicious
an opening to another day, I turned my back on
the Residency and struck into the road which
skirts the northern side of the mountain. On the
one hand a mighty chff, whose dark wall frowned
overhead, on the other extensive fields of meaUes
and aritabele, with kraals in the distance ; but
being in about as exalted a state of spirits as the
gloomy surroundings and the weather would be
likely to produce, I hardly looked to the right
or to the left as my pony stepped along at a brisk
easy walk, till, going down into a drift to cross a
dry watercourse, my cogitations were suddenly
interrupted by a deep threatening sound, and above
the long grass on the opposite bank appeared a
formidable-looking head, surmounted by a pair of
sharp gleaming horns with a most suggestive
upward curve, the whole being the property of
a very fine and very savage-looking Zulu bull, who
stood there about ten yards in front, rolhng the
whites of his eyes, aud pawing the ground with all
the power and more than half the will to oppose
my progress ; for that the deep growUng sound
which he emitted was the bovine equivalent for


‘ no thoroughfare,’ neither I nor my steed enter-
tained the slightest doubt. Now I was not at all
in the humour to make a long detour just for the
sake of affording a little fun to my opponent, and
yet there the brute stood, lashing his chocolate-
coloured hide, ploughing up the earth with his
hoofs, and throwing his horns about in a manner
that meant volumes. What was to be done ? — my
most formidable weapon of offence or defence being
two thirds of a light riding switch. However,
* needs must, &c.;’ so turning a little out of the
track I passed about a dozen yards from my tyrant
without altering pace — in fact pretending to ignore
his existence. I don’t mean to say I felt happy in
my mind — the ground was open, not a semblance of
a bush round which to dodge him had he carried
out his amiable intentions to the full — all that
could be done was to take things quietly. I looked
round ; the brute was following at a walk, but
getting over the brow of a rise I clapped spurs and
— went ; so when my pursuer’s objectionable pro-
portions appeared against the sky line, I had put
such a distance between us as to have the laugh
entirely pn my own side.

After a ride of several hours I found the
waggon outspanned on a high ridge opposite
Intaba’nkulu, a long flat-topped mountain some
twenty miles from Inhlazatye. Some of the people


from neighbouring kraals paid me a visit, and sat
talking as usual about the war and Cetywayo ;
several had enuffboxea stuck in their ears, consist-
ing of revolver cartridge cases with stoppers,
which they said they had picked up at Isandhlwana.
In the middle of the day three Zulus carrying
bundles of assegais went by in rather a hurried
manner ; however, thinking to trade for an assegai
or two, I called out to them to atop. They came
up, but would hardly sit down. * What was the
news?’ I asked, seeing that something was in the
wind. They replied that Ndabuku had gone to
Maritzburg after the Resident, because Sibepu was
sending a force against him to ‘ eat him up.’ Then
gathering up their assegais they started off at a
rapid pace, saying they could not wait any

The above inteUigence, if true, most likely
pointed to a row, Ndabuku and Mnyamane being
the prime agitators and leaders of the King’s party,
as against Sibepu, John Dunn, and Uharau ; and the
fact of Ndabuku having gone into Natal would
show that something was brewing. I had noticed
a good deal of unrest among the people in different
parts of the country, and now I was in one of the
most disturbed centres.

But meanwhile the weather, which had bright-
ened up since the morning, again became gloomy


and threatening; a dark cloud working up from
the south-west, and a distant flash and faint roll of
thunder, warned me what to expect. Gradually a
black pall spread from the horizon till nearly over-
head ; from my elevated position I overlooked the
country for miles, and near and far huge dark
columns were moving along as heavy showers
swept over the plain. Louder and nearer came
each successive roll, and bright jets rent the inky
cloud into many a ragged edge. There is some-
thing very awe-inspiring about the approach of a
storm in these regions. The wildness of the sur-
roundings ; the boding stillness that falls upon all
nature ; the towering ruggedness of the mountains ;
the vastriess of the bare spreading plains, over
which the huge curtain, black as night, comes
sweeping up, like the slow and sure advance of
seme fell host from whose pursuit there is no
escape ; and the ground trembles beneath the
long, deep, threatening roll, and a scorching smell
fills the air as each blue steely jet strikes down into
the very earth. A crash which seems to spUt the
mountain tops asunder has scarcely time to die
away in reverberating roar among the crags, when
another, yet more startling in its appalling sudden-
ness, follows upon it, while the fluid plays around in
vivid streams ; and stunned and deafened by the
terrific din and well-nigh blinded by the dazzhng


glare, you feel as though enveloped va. a sheet of
electric flame.

We hastened to inspaii, thinking to avoid the
storm, or at any rate to get into a better place, but
had not gone far before it became necessary to
halt. There were some kraals lying on the plain,
nor was it long before one of their inhabitants
came to see who I was, and pointed out the way to
EOobane, saying I could get there next day. He
said that Uhamu ‘ had been ‘ eating up ‘ and killing
numbers of people all round Hlobane, and that the
Abaqulusi section, to which he (my informant)
belonged, had been driven out altogether, but he
had heard that some of them had gone back. He
didn’t seem to consider himself safe even there, for
although now in Tyingwayo’s territory, yet Tying*
wayo was a friend of Mnyamane, who was for the
King, and an hnpi might arrive from Uhamu at any
moment. However, I induced him to go a ”Ule
way with me, the track being somewhat indistinct,
and the storm having cleared away we started.
After about an hour’s travelling I parted with my
guide, and struck into the valley which skirts the
northern side of Intaba’nkulu.

‘ A half-brother of Cetywftyo’a, commonly, but erroneously, known
lu Oham, who came over Xo the BritUh side shortly sA«t tlie com-
meuceraeat of hostilitiea. He wa^ appointed uitder the Ulundi settle-
ment to a diatrict in Northern Zululand, but baa the reputation of
being rather a tyrant.


For a little while after sundown the sky kept
clear enough, and one could see the way, albeit
the same was very bad and swampy, but this was
not to last, for now heavy clouds began to work
up, speedily obscuring the moon. The track went
from bad to worse ; at times one would have to
stop and go on hands and knees, literally to ‘ nose ‘
out where it lay, and no sooner fairly on the move
again than the wheel would sink to the axle in a
mudhole. Outspanning was not to be thought of ;
we were in the middle of a regular swamp, and must
get through somehow ; but get through we must,
as to that there could be no mistake whatever. It
became darker and darker, above on either side
loomed the mountains, the harsh croaking of
innumerable reptiles sounded from the slimy
morass, while every now and then a ghostly blue
hght would flicker and disappear, to gleam out again
a few yards further. Splash, splash — on we went,
the ground wet and gUstening as we ploughed
through it ; not a yard of the way did any one of
us know, and it was a case of forging ahead and
trusting to Providence. Cheerful position ! A
dreary swamp towards midnight in a gloomy
defile in the heart of a wild country ; the track
scarce discernible, and a thunderstorm roUing up
behind, for by that time there was every promise
of a repetition of the midday entertainment. A


heavy shower or two would reduce the ground to
an impassable state, it might be for days. The
idea acted like a spur; we pushed on with re-
doubled energy. Now one wheel would plunge
into a hole, or both would stick fast in a narrow
but deep runnel, to be extracted therefrom with
much holloaing and cracking of whip ; then we
would get off the track, and only find it again with
some difficulty and considerable delay. But at
last the ground became firmer, the clouds parted
a little, and the moon shone out — the worst was
over, and after crossing a shallow river which ran
plashing and bubbling in the moonlight, we
camped for the rest of the night ; none too soon
either, for the rain came down smartly, and the
storm which had been following us now burst. But
thoroughly tired out, I dropped off to sleep in the
middle of it.

The next morning was cool, not to say chilly,
and though masses of cloud were hanging about
and drifting slowly apart, there seemed no proba-
bility of more rain. I found that we were in one
of those basin-like valleys which form a special
feature in that part of the country, and as the team
laboured slowly up the steep road I was able to take
in the scene of our nocturnal march ; then as we
ascended higher and higher Intaba’nkulu was left


We move along beneath the bush-clad heights
— one wooded peak standing out above the rest
against the sky — poised over many a circular
kraal with which the deep narrow valley below is
studded. Eivulets leap from rock to rock, bury-
ing themselves in the mossy recesses of their
funnel-like beds, to emerge with a dash and sparkle,
and plunge on laughing over their slippery stones ;
feathery tree ferns wave their fanlike boughs above
the path ; and at last we gain the ridge. A fresh
view opens out, and we look down upon the bare
treeless plains lying beneath the rugged precipitous
range comprising Zunguin and Hlobane of ill-
starred fame.



An exhilarating scene— Hlobane—’ Excelsior ‘— Umbelini’s fastness —
A rout and a race for life — A talk on the mountain side — A tragic

A WILD waste, flat and treeless ; grey clouds thickly
veil the sky, and the shades of evening are fast
gathering. In front, like a wall, rises the side of
a long hill ; no kraals or grazing herds upon its
dark slope lend life to its desolation ; no break
occurs in the hard, regular line of perpendicular
rock wherewith its summit is crowned — a stern and
forbidding height. This is Hlobane mountain.

We cross a reedy swamp lying in a hollow of
the plain, whose slimy pools resound with the
croaking of frogs and the splash of reptiles as they
plunge into the muddy depths, and wind along a
level flat. The marsh just left is the source of the
Black Umfolosi. Skirting the base of the Hlobane
we pass a high conical hill called Nyambi, which
rises on our left front, and by the time we are
camped opposite the ridge connecting Hlobane with
Entendeke, night has long since set in. The posi-



tion is a lonely one, and seems none the less so that
every yard we have traversed in order to reach it
has been terra incognita. Southward, among heavy
piles of clouds, Ughtning gleams are ever and
anon playing, the shadowy outline of Hlobane
looms above, while half-way up the Zimguin a
grass fire glows red against the pitchy blackness.

In the morning I find that there are several
kraals in the neighbourhood, some of whose occu-
pants are not slow to look me up, and I take the
opportunity of compassing a guide in order to
make tlie ascent. A young Zulu, who had taken
part in the fight, volunteers, and we start. Hlobane
rises to a height of about 1,000 feet from* the
plain ; its summit, some three miles in length, is
in the shape of an irregular lozenge, whose western
point connects by a high razor-like ridge with
Entendeke, a steep table topj)ed mountain. With
horses it can only be ascended on the eastern side,
to wit, that farthest from Kambiila, and at one
point on the soutlicrn, which I chose as being
nearest my camp.

What a climb it is I A narrow zigzag cattle
path hollowed into holes, or with huge stones to be
got over like so many steps in a flight of stairs.
And steep — it is like making the ascent of a high-
pitched roof. Eiding is out of the question most
of the way, so I resign my pony to Andries, who.


poor fellow, is puffing and blowing like a traction
engine. The guide, however, doesn’t seem to mind
it at all, skipping merrily from stone to stone, as if
swarming up a thousand feet of nearly perpen-
dicular ascent were the most enjoyable of recrea-
tions ; he grins and shows all his white teeth
gleefully, as from the top of a rock he surveys my
distressful and perspiring countenance, and chucks
me one of his kerries to aid my efforts. But
everything comes to an end, and so, eventually,
does our climb, and we find ourselves on the
summit, which is quite flat, with a stream of clear
water running right across it.

niobane is totally unhke any of the adjacent
mountains ; its steep slopes culminate in a belt of
sheer cUff round whose base rocks and boulders lie
piled in rugged confusion, giving the idea that at
some time or other the top of the mountain has
fallen away all round, as indeed must have been
the case. Many of these rocks are of enormous
size, and it was among the holes and caves formed
by them that the Zulus lay in wait for our men
when they stormed the mountain. Beneath the
southern cliff is the site of one of Umbelini’s
strongholds, mth part of the wall of the cattle
enclosure still standing, and from his eyrie-like
position that bold marauder commanded a view of
the tract below. From the eastern side I could


make out a white cross on the slope beneath, the
grave of some victun of the fetal day. All too
sadly frequent are these monuments in the wilder-

The Zulus whom I found at the waggon on
my return had all taken part in the fight, and
their account of it was briefly this : — ^About the
middle of the morning a British force arrived from
Kambiila camp and reconnoitred round the moun-
tain, looking for a place whereby to effect an ascent.
The Zulus at the top, consisting of Umbelini’s men
and the Abaqulusi (to which clan my informants
belonged) were carefully watching the horsemen,
and being pretty sure that the west side of the
mountain would be the one attacked, lost no time
in getting into position among the caves. It was
no use ; they shot one or two of the officers, but
the British pressed on, dislodging them, and, gaining
the summit, drove them into cover among the
rocks at the sides. They could not tell the time
about, for it was a rainy day and the sun not
visible, but it must have been late in the afternoon
when an impi appeared on the opposite hills.
When the Zulus on the mountain saw the irapi
they stole round behind the British so as to cut oflT
their retreat, whereupon these made for the western
point, and the Zulus charging in upon them from
behind, drove them towards Entendeke. I have


Baid that the latter was coaiiected with Hlobane
by a narrow ridge, but to reach this about a hun-
dred feet of steep precipitous ground has to be
got over — a regular drop — a place that no one
would dream of riding down in cold blood. Down
it, then, however, our men had to go, the savages
charging them with fierce shouts, terrifying to
madness the already frightened horses, many of
which, losing their foothold, rolled over and over
down the fearful dechvity. Other Zulus swarmed
round the bases of the western cUSs to cui off the
fugitives, who were flying in the utmost disorder,
some mounted, others on foot, and meanwhile that
terrible legion was sweeping across the plain,
thousands and thousands of relentless foes, ad-
vancing rapidly and surely, utterly to annihilate
the whole reconnoitrbig party. Many of these
were killed among the boulders on Hlobane,
others on the ridge, while others again, who were
unhorsed, were cut off on the plain beneath. The
fugitives, mounted and on foot, made for Kambiila
camp, distant across country some twelve or
fifteen miles. ‘A great many were killed,’ con-
cluded my informant, ‘ on the flats along the base
of the Zunguin, and not until dark did the pursuit

I asked them about Grandier, the Frenchman
who was supposed to have been captured during


the retreat from Hlobane, and to have escaped by
killing one of his guards while being taken to
Umbelini’s clan for execution. They said that a
white man had been taken prisoner and brought
to Ulundi ; that Cetywayo had questioned him,
and had then sent him back under an escort, with
orders that he should be let go near Hlobane, so
that he could find his way to the English camp, but
they knew nothing about the killing of the guard.
Their statement agreed with that of other Zulus
whom T interrogated on the subject in various
parts of the country.

There are improbabihties about the French-
man’s story which certainly seem to need ac-
counting for. His escape was avowedly made
during the halt after the first march, to wit, within
a few miles of Ulundi. But in that case it would
not take long for the surviving guard to return at
full speed and raise the country on the fugitive’s
heels, whose recapture would be but a question of
a very few hours. Then, again, from Ulundi to
the Zunguin, where Grandier was picked up, is a
Uttle matter of fifty miles as the crow flies, and a
good deal more by any known track ; further, it
is extremely rugged and mountainous, as the fore-
going pages may have served to show. How,
then, could this man, on foot and without food,
find his way across an unknown wilderness.


exposed, as lie would be, to the glance of Zulu
scouting parties patrolling the hills ? On the other
hand, it may fairly be asked what motive would
Cetywayo have for sparing the hfe of a prisoner —
an unusual act of leniency on the part of a savage
chief — exasperated too, as he would naturally be,
by the defeat of his forces at Kambiila and the
loss of hundreds of his best warriors. Unless it
were that the King had heard how some Zulu
prisoners had been tended by our surgeons, or,
with a desperate sense of his ultimate downfall
coming more and more home to him, thought by
this act of clemency to commend himself more
readily to our sympathies when his day came, and
take a step in the direction of agreeing with
his adversary quickly. Again, should Grandier’s
narrative be correct in every particular, it might
be that the survivor of the two men who guarded
him, fearing to go back and tell the King how ill
he had acquitted himself of his charge, had simply
made himself scarce and said nothing, which would
account for the Frenchman not being recaptured.
But whatever may be thought of the tale, the
Zulus all agree that the King’s orders were for
the release of the captive.

While camped beneath Hlobane I would fre-
quently roam about alone, exploring its rugged
fastnesses. One evening, when scrambling up an


exceptionally stony path, momentarily expecting
to be obliged to turn back, a sudden start and a
snort from my pony caused me to look up.
Within a few yards, leaning against a rock, stood a
couple of stalwart savages calmly watching me. I
saw that one of them carried an assegai with a
blade hke a small claymore, and, seeing, coveted
and resolved to have it if possible. I cUmbed to
where they stood; the warriors greeted me as
usual, * Inkos I ‘ and of course were anxio’.s to
know all about me. The one with the assegai was
a fine, tall fellow, with a cheery countenance and
hearty manner, and we speedily became friends ;
the other, dark, taciturn, and unprepossessing, I
didn’t much like the look of. But he of the
assegai did his companion’s share of indaba and
his own too. lie belonged to the Udhloko regi-
ment, and had been present at the attack on Eorke’s
Drift, which battle he proceeded to fight over
again for my enlightenment with an efiusiveness
and pantomimic accompaniment thoroughly Zulu ;
going into fits of laugliter over it, as though one of
the toughest struggles on record were the greatest
joke in the world. At a judicious moment I pro-
duced some * gwai,* which was received with
acclamation, even my saturnine friend’s dark
countenance expanding into a grin. Then taking
up the assegai I began to examine it, suggesting


that we should make an exchange, and throw-
ing out all sorts of inducements. Not a bit of it ;
the jovial warrior would about as soon think of
parting with hia head-ring — or hb head. He had
fought with that very weapon ‘ kwa Jim ‘ (Rorke’s
Drift) &c. &c ; no, he couldn’t give it away on
any account. It was a splendid specimen of a
spear, but on no terms could I obtain it.

The Sim had gone down, the hush of evening
had fallen upon the lone mountain side and upon
the dark forms of the two Zulus where they stood
among the grey rocks, while a few yards beneath,
my horse, saddled and bridled, was quietly crop-
ping the short grass which sprouted up between
the stones. And in thorough keeping with the
surroundings was the tall hthe figure of the savage
standing on the stony ledge in reUef against the
sky, and, as he narrated some incident, waving an
arm with graceful gesture over the panorama of
plain and mountain rolhng away into the far
distance. As we stood there in friendly converse,
representatives of the two nations, civilised and
barbarous, who had fought so fiercely and poured
each others blood hke water upon the rugged sides
of this very mountain, I longed for the hmner’s
art tliat I might place the scene upon canvas there
and then. The darkness crept on apace ; dimly
faded the cliffs above into shadowy gloom, and far


away upon the plain beneath, the tent of my
waggon was just visible like a white speck. And
now my friend who had done aU the talking
signified his intention of going home ; so picking
up his assegai he strode off with a cheery farewell,
followed by his companion. A light shone forth
on the mountain side a little way off, where, perched
eyrie-hke on a kind of ledge, stood a small kraal
consisting of three or four huts, and I could see
the brown figures of the two Zulus making their
way thither among the rocks and long grass.

Before leaving Hlobane I wanted thoroughly
to explore the hne of retreat, so starting the
waggon early one morning on the road to Kambiila,
I rode off alone with that intent. Skirting the
Entendeke I worked round to the western side and
began the ascent, which was very Uke that already
described, except that it made up in steepness for
not being so stony ; in some places the horse could
barely keep his feet, and I expected every moment
to see him roll over. On, higher and higher, up a
stony gully rendered slippery by the trickle of a
thread of water. Here I picked up an ordinary
metal button half embedded in the soil, but of
other relics I found none, though on the look-out
for them ; and at last after a toilsome and danger-
ous climb — even a sprained ankle in that out-of-
the-way place assumes serious proportions, and


precipices abound — I reached the top, and cantering
along its smooth level stood upon the narrow
ridge. Looking at the pilea of rocks and boulders
leading up to the summit of Hlobane, full well
could I realise the utter confusion which must
have characterised the rush of a crowd of horse-
men down that fearful place. Nor when they
gained the ridge would things be much better, for
over and above its narrowness and the almost
precipitous slopes on either side, it is stony to a
degree, and many a dangerous crevice lies hidden
away in the long grass. A cairn of loose stones
on the ridge marks the spot where the brave old
Dutch commandant, Piet TJys, fell.

Something of indescribable desolation seemed
to haunt the place, as though one were standing
alone outside the world. Heavy clouds were
gathering in the west, and the morning breeze came
in fitful puffs, singing through the long grass as
through the strings of a harp, then leaving a still-
ness as of death. Directly opposite towered
Zunguin’s lofty head, huge and sullen ; while the
northern slope of Hlobane fell in one bold sweep a
descent of more than a thousand feet, and the eye
wandered over savage ravines and frowning krant-
zes farther and farther to many a distant peak in
the Transvaal and Swaziland. Far away I could
see my waggon with its twelve black oxen, crawhng


along like a centipede, but not a sound came up to
that silent ledge, poised, as it were, between earth
and heaven, the abode of an almost supernatural
stillness. As I turned to follow the line of flight, I
thought how small were the odds in favour of those
who had to race for their lives, with the dark
sweeping mass moving so swiftly over the plain to
cut off their retreat. The summit of Entendeke is
smooth enough, which may have had something
to do with affording the fugitives a. start upon
beginning their hard race ; once over the brow the
trial begins. In cold blood the descent was diffi-
cult enough ; the sides were like glass, and one
would sUp and sUde perhaps a dozen yards before
able to pull up, at imminent peril of being shot
over one of the many precipices which break the
continuity of the slopes. But the idea of charging
blindly down at breakneck pace made one shudder.
At last I stood beneath, on Zunguin’s Neck, myself
and steed uninjured, but not half sorry to be down
again, and considerably out of breath after the
chmb and the descent.



A * stick/ but in the mud — ‘ Dutch spoken here ‘ — * Philip drunk * —
More rain — A Republican — Eambula — Zulu account of the battle
— Relics — A cemetery in the wilderness — ^Back to the border.

Kambula is, as before stated, about fifteen miles
from Hlobane across country, but by road nearly
double that distance. I ride along the base of the
desolate Zunguin range ; here and there a swamp
has to be crossed or a detour made to avoid a long
reach of water ; twice having cleared a deep
runnel my pony sinks to his knees on the brink in
the boggy, treacherous soil, nearly pitching me
over his head ; but the game little rascal scrambles
through — as what will a Basuto pony not scram-
ble through ? — and we hold on our way. Past
Seketwayo’s kraal, lying there at the base of the
mountain, which chief, though ruler of one of the
districts and a man of rank and lineage, is not an
interesting person, and to tell the truth I am get-
ting just a little anxious to take the homeward
track again ; wherefore I deny myself the pleasure


of looking him up, and keep straight on till 1 over-
take the waggon. That trusty vehicle, however,
is at a standstill, both front wheels sticking hard
and fast in a swampy runnel, while a little old Zulu
with an enormous assegai stands placidly contem-
plating the joint efforts of its three perspiring
guardians to effect an extraction. In vain does
Fani brandish his long whip and execute a series
of appalling * cracks,’ in vain does Mlamvu tug
doggedly and despairingly at the leading * touw,’
in vain do Fani and Andries combine in callincr
down dire maledictions on the homed heads of

* Windvogel,’ and ‘ Bckvel,’ and * Kwaaiman,’ and

* Mof,’ and threaten those longsuffering animals
with magnified extermination — they, in common
with their brethren in the yoke, are doing their
level best and can do no more — the wheels remain
fast embedded in the black sticky earth. Unlash-
ing the spade and pick, we dig away furiously for
a space, thus affording a short rest to the panting

span as well as smoothing tlie way. Crack, crack

goes the whip ; we yell frantically in chorus ; * a
long, long pull, and a strong, strong pull,’ the
machine sways and jolts, and emerges uninjured ;
the little old Zulu, thinking there is no more
to be seen, trots off on his way, and we resume

But now we arc getting into the ‘Disputed


Territory,” and signs of Dutcli vicinity may be
detected in the phraseology of the natives. The
old familiar greeting, ‘Inkos!’ ringing oul, with
the poetry of the wilderness about it, changes to
the comraon-place and low-sounding ‘ Moro Baas ‘
(Good morning. Master) ; now and then ‘ Ja ‘ takes
the place of the emphatic ‘ Eh^ ! ‘ and enterprising
individuals even try their hand at Dutch colloquy.
We pass between several kraals ; outside of one
stands a ramshackle cart containing the wares of
some half-caste Dutch trader, the benefiinal results
of whose mission soon manifest themselves in the
shape of a couple of tall, savage-looking Zulus,
both extremely drunk, who reel up to the waggon
boisterously demanding all sorts of things. With
the greatest difSculty do we keep them from tum-
bling under the wheels as they stagger alongside,
and at last, to get rid of them, I chuck them a box
of matches, which has the desired effect, and, quite
pleased, the fellows roll back to their kraal, to absorb
more alcohol and probably to finish by breaking
each other’s heads and those of their neighbours —
unfortunately, not the trader’s.

We out.’fpanned that night at what is known as
the Old Hunting Eoad. A grey mist had settled

‘ K strip of country on tbeTransvaal border, between Ibe Pongolo
ntid the BInod River, claimed by the Boere, but awarded to Ibe Zulus
by ihn Boundary (lommisBion whichsatM Rorke’s Drift :n February


down upon the land, and a chill wind blew in vio-
lent gusts ; the firewood, having been wetted by a
shower during the day, declined to ignite ; then,
to crown all, with scarcely any warning a violent
thunderstorm broke over us, and in ten minutes’
time every pot and kettle was in requisition to
catch the leakages through the waggon tent : fire
being out of the question in the drenching rain
which ploughed up the road into a very morass.

Morning dawned on the far from cheerful
scene ; the rain had ceased, but heavy fog still
hung in masses about the hills ; there was no sign
of the sun, and it behoved us to wait for the ground
to dry a Uttle before resuming progress. While
sitting on the waggon box smoking the pipe of
patience, I descried a horseman coming up the road
— travellers had hitherto been like the proverbial
angelic visitations, few and far between, where-
fore I inspected this one witli some curiosity as he
reined in. He was a rather respectable-looking
Dutchman, grey bearded and chimney-pot hatted ;
moreover spoke EngUsh well. Now the Boer as a
rule is modest in the display of hnguistic attain-
ments even if possessed of any, in fact does not
attempt the English tongue unless lie be — to use a
nautical phrase — ‘ three sheets in the wind ; ‘ even
then his performance is an indifferent one. But in
this instance my friend was eminently sober, and


talked the Queen’s English rather fluently. I
began to suspect I had to do with some Transvaal
magnate, the more so that he seemed anxious to
get upon the topic of the late rebellion, saying that
he had fought on the side of * the Eepublic.’

‘ Didn’t I think the whole affair had been a
great mistake ? ‘

‘ Yes, I rather thought it had.’

At this my friend became quite animated, and
after some more talk on the subject, appealingly
asked whether I was of opinion that we should be
any the better for the possession of the Transvaal.
I stood up and looked round for a minute upon
the bare, treeless wastes, the desolate ranges and
dark sad peaks northward, and was able con-
scientiously to reply in the negative. Whereat my
interlocutor seemed puzzled whether to look dis-
appointed or pleased ; I think the former sentiment
predominated, for he almost immediately took his
leave. He told me his name, which I have for-
gotten, but it was not one of any note.

The rop,d being dry enough for a move, a short
trek brought us to Kambiila, where we outspanned
within a hundred yards of the old fort.

I said that the surroundings were dismal, and
verily nothing could have been more cheerless than
the outlook, as, swathed in a mackintosh, I explored
the site of the fort and laager amid a chilling and



continuous drizzle. But its unexhilarating entour-
age notwithstanding, Kambula camp was about
the best for defensive purposes I had seen in Zulu-
land. It consisted of two laagers and a fort —
forming an obtuse-angled triangle, the three posi-
tions being from two to three hundred yards apart.
The fort occupied the highest and central point of
the ridge, the two laagers being situated one on
each side in such wise that they commanded a slope
all round. The front is the worst side, as the
ground falls suddenly away at a distance of about
three hundred yards from the position ; in the rear
is a long gradual slope. About a mile off, a deso-
late range of hills shuts in the view on the right
front, but to the left the country is open and un-
dulating, and it was from this direction that the
impi first appeared. Intense must have been the
expectation and excitement among the defenders
as, for hours before the attack, they watched the
dark masses deploying over the plain, marching
steadily on, no thought of wavering in their fell
purpose. And still they kept appearing, column
after column, till the earth was black ; and our
men would soon have an opportunity of avenging
the previous day’s disaster, or — not one would live
to bear away the. tale of this ; for in the event of
defeat no mercy need be looked for from yon cloud
of threatening savages sweeping along, stern and


intrepid, to annihilate the hated invader. On
they came, chanting a war-song in vaunt of what
they had done at Isandhlwana and would do

And throughout that long afternoon araid the
smoke and din ; the screech of shell and rattle of
volleys ; the deep-toned war-shout mingling with
the scarcely less wild British cheer ; the thunder-
ous tread of the charging myriads as again and
again they surged up the incline, again and again
to fall back leaving the gory slope strewn with
writhing bodies — throughout that long afternoon
the fate of our countrymen hung in the balance.
But what could savages, however brave and well
organised, effect against such a position, so
staunchly defended, and with all the latest appli-
ances, too, of nineteenth century warfare. They
wavered and fled, and the previous day’s disaster
was amply wiped out by the utter dispersion of
the flower of the martial strength of Zululand,
which, leaving more than 1,000 of its bravest
warriors dead around the British camp, must now
go back to its King shamed and defeated, by that
very circumstance warning him of his approaching

The following is the narrative of a warrior of
the Tulwana regiment, a division of the Undi : —

‘ Two days before the affair at Hlobane wc


started from Undini ; the King himself arranged
the plan of attack and position of the regiments.
When we arrived near Hlobane we heard firing
and saw a number of white men fighting with the
Abaqulusi on the mountain. They retreated as
we advanced, but a great many were killed. We
slept that night at Hlobane, marching on KambiUa
the next day. The regiments were the Undi,
Udhloko, Nokenke, Umpunga, Nodwengu, Kan-
dampemvu (Umcityu), Umbonambi, and Ngoba-
makosi; this last led the right “horn.” The
izinduna present were Tyingwayo, Mnyamane,
Sirayo, Mavumengwane, Mundiila and Matyana-ka-
Mondisi ; they watched the fight from a hill (about
three miles ofi*). When we got near the camp
some liorsemen came out to meet us. Then the
Ngobamakosi rushed after them ; they retreated,
and the Ngobamakosi in following them got quite
separated from the main body of the impi. Then
the Kandampemvu on the other side rushed on,
too — there was a rivalry between the Kandam-
pemvu and the Ngobamakosi as to who should be
first in camp, so they both got on ahead, and by
the time we came up to attack in front they were
exhausted and almost beaten. The Undi managed
to get into the cattle-laager, but were driven out
again.* We could not stand against the fire and
had to retreat ; the two regiments forming the


‘* horns ” were quite exhausted and useless, and we
could not properly surround the position.

‘ We were in smaller force than at Isandhlwana,
but were sure of being able to ” eat up ” the
English ; as it is we should have done so, had not
the Ngobamakosi and the Kandampemvu acted
like fools. The King was very angry when we
went back ; he said we were born warriors, and
yet allowed ourselves to be defeated in every
battle, and soon the English would come and take
him. We lost far more men at Kambiila than at

The tumbledown wall and crumbling earthwork
of the fort still crests the mound : of the two
laagers one is overgrown with a crop of meaUes,
the other is plainly to be traced by the tent marks
and scattered debris. I picked up an old gun-
barrel, and a button-cleaner belonging to the 13th
Regiment ; bullets, too, and plenty of exploded
cartridge cases lay about. On the north of the
camp is a little cemetery where rest the remains
of those who fell ; the central monument, a stone
cross, standing a conspicuous object against the
surrounding waste. This enclosure is under the
care of an old Zulu, who showed me his credentials
from Sir Evelyn Wood, and was anxious for me to
inspect the place and report well thereon. As a


matter of fact it was in very good order : in one
corner the remnant of recent showers still lay,
which, when I pointed out, the old fellow started
off there and then for a spade and proceeded to
cut a drain through the sod wall. Further down
the slope, three or four dark spots of a different
growth show the places of sepulture of the Zulu
dead, who were buried in hundreds after the battle.

And now, having thoroughly explored the camp
and its surroundings, I find there is nothing more
to be done but to start for home ; and, as I said
before, Kambiila is not an exhilarating spot.
Wherefore we inspan and roll into the road again,
having made the round of the country and * done ‘
all the battlefields in succession, of which this is
the last.

Very few days now will bring us to the border ;
the spirits of my ‘ boys ‘ rise ; even the oxen seem
to know they are bound for home, and step out
briskly as we hold steadily on over a bare desolate
waste where the great hills with their rock-
crowned summits are sleeping in their sohtude.
On past Bemba’s Kop and along the Blood river,
and away to the left rises the Munhla hill ; then,
as we near Itelezi, the square huts, flocks of goats,
and mounted natives show that we are among
Hlubi’s Basutos. Then, one morning we halt on
the Emponjane ridge. There, in front, some twelve


miles off, rise tlie blue gum trees at Eorke’s Drift
house, beneath the Shiyane hill ; while nearer, are
the buildings of St. Augustine’s Mission and Hlubi’s
domicile. A cheer breaks from my trusty followers,
who are elate at the prospect of being speedily at
home again ; nor am I disinclined to sympathise, for
we have had a good spell of the rough and tumble
of daily travel, and a Uttle rest and civilisation will
not come amiss.

We reach St, Augustine’s in the afternoon :
bidding farewell to the hospitable missionary, I
start the waggon with orders to outspan on the
other aide of Eorke’s Drift, while I lide round by
Isandldwana to pick up the post — if haply there
be any — and take leave of the Bishop and his
community, to whom, in memory of much kind-
ness and of pleasant days, I here take the opportu-
nity of wishing all success.

The following day I cross the Buflalo and am
in Natal a^ain ; and as we move along the border
on the road to Helpmakaar (a different one this
time), and the evening sun throws his beams full
upon the rocky face of Isaudhlwana, which is fading
smaller and smaller behind us, and hghts up with
a golden lustre the broad rolling plains and the
winding river, I must plead guilty to experiencing
a tinge of regret that never again shall I wander
through that fair land — never again hold pleasant


converse with its warrior denizens, so intrepid in
defence of their country, so kindly and open-
hearted now that the dark cloud of war has lifted
and the red wave has flowed on.

Next morning we reach Helpmakaar without
event. One more glimpse of the Zulu border, and
we descend the heights of the Biggarsberg to Um-



A panorama — Zulu dances — A bushbuck * drive * — Native hunters —

Return to Maritzburg — Afloat again.

Being in Zululand for purposes of travel I did
not lay myself out at all for sport, having no dogs
for bird shooting, and bush-hunting necessitates a
regular ‘ drive,’ which takes time and a little
trouble to organise ; but I had an opportunity of
seeing something in this line before ending my
wanderings, for a border friend was kind enough
to get up a bushbuck hunt on my account. He
had several trading stores planted along the bor-
der, and to one of these we were to proceed, having
sent up everything requisite and necessary for
making a night of it.

Behold us then, four in all, mounted and ready
for a start ; and before the sun has time to make
his power felt, we are cantering along the grassy
flats towards the mountains. Our horses pick their
way gingerly across a broad slab of slippery rock,
over which the water, trickling, falls into a clear
pool fringed with delicate mosses and sparkling


ferns, and we enter a steep winding bush-path :
mimosa branches with their sharp thorns sweep
across the saddle, aloes stand about the hill side
like black sentinels, and from the plumed eu-
phorbia the turtle-dove suddenly stops her melo-
dious * cooing ‘ to dash away in a flutter of alarm
at tlie advent of the — shall I say it ? — somewhat
noisy group now breaking in upon the sleepy
stillness of Nature. We come to a native kraal in
a Uttle hollow, whose inhabitants with their curs
turn out to inspect us. ‘ Now then, you fellows,’
sings out my friend, ‘ tumble out and go on up
and help drive ; we’ve sent up a cow for you to
kill to-night when it’s all over.’ * Yeh-bo’nkos ! ‘
they reply vociferously, for the prospect of a good
bush hunt culminating in beef and jollification is
more than the aboriginal mind can resist ; so,
diving into the huts, the jovial barbarians soon
reappear with assegais and shields, and, with their
curs at their heels, start off gleefully for the scene
of operations. We pass other kraals, whose
occupants are already on the move and preparing
to follow in the ruck ; more and more stony be-
comes the path, and steeper withal, till at last we
have to dismount and lead our steeds. But we
will pause here for a moment and look around.
There is the Biggarsberg range, at whose base the
roofs of the public offices and Sand Spruit buildings


show out against the plain. Yonder, the huge
cone of El^nge towers above the surrounding
heights ; far beneath, the Tugela is winding like a
serpent through its deep wild valley ; and many a
lofty mountain heaves its bare head to the sky,
its wooded sides falling in abrupt sweeps, to lose
themselves in the vast sea of forest, which, undu-
lating in mighty waves of slope and ra\-ine, now
gentle, now bold and forbidding, stretches, far as
the eye can reach, into misty dimness. Here a
huge krantz rears its frowning wall; there a mighty
rock, which, detaching itself from some overhanging
cliff, has rolled down, and now lies firmly embedded
in the midst of the bush. Here and there, in a
small cleared space, stands a native kraal with its
quaint rircle of huts ; and the eye ranges at will,
far and wide, over the roll of mountain and valley
and plain to the lofty peaks of distant Kahlamba
looming in shadowy outline through the soft haze.
And standing thus in the golden sunshine and warm
air, it strikes me that a more gloriously magnificent
panorama would he difficult to find.

But forward — so cresting the brow of the
height we turn our backs upon the splendid scene
and gallop over the wide grassy plains opening out
in front, along which at intervals may be seen a
line of natives in twos and threes, mounted and
afoot, all making in the same direction. Another


hour’s ride and we draw up at a small rough-
looking building standing at the head of a valley,
affording a picturesque peep of the Tugela winding
through the bush beneath ; while immediately
around, the broad green leaves and waving plumes
of standing com rustle in the breeze. This is the
place of rendezvous. The house, which is a trading
store, has two rooms, one being fitted up with
counter, shelves, &c., such as I have already
described earlier in this narrative ; the other
apparently doing duty as kitchen, larder, and bed-
room put together, for the half of a buck hangs in
front of the fireplace, and a * stretcher * stands
against the wall on one side of the apartment.

We dismount ; crowds of natives are standing,
sitting, and lolling about in every conceivable
attitude, talking, chattering, and laughing, in fact
kicking up an indescribable and deafening shindy ;
dogs sneak in and out, getting into everyone’s way
and being kicked and yelling accordingly. Plenty
of these are there, by the way ; curs black, brown,
and grey ; curs white and curs brindled ; in short,
curs of every shade and colour. The Zulu dogs
are mostly a kind of greyhound or lurcher ; in the
bush they will run down anything previously
wounded, but for speed are nowhere.

I am introduced to the chief, a stout pleasant-
looking man rejoicing in the name of Maw^le, with


whom my friend seems to be on the best possible
terms. Presently an unmistakable sound is heard,
and lo, a fresh body of natives, some fifty strong,
appears, marching in a square and singing a war
song ; the suppressed fierceness of the strange
wild chant forming a perfect accompaniment to
the rattle of assegais and shields and the measured
tread of many feet. They file into the open space,
stand motionless for a moment, and at a sign
from their leader fall out and disperse.

But it is too soon to start yet, and to while
away the time the natives get up a dance. They
stand in a semicircle several ranks deep, with their
shields and knob-kerries, the master of ceremonies
with his small white shield in front. He gives the
signal ; a kind of weird quartet is heard in the ranks,
first very softly, then taken up by one after an-
other, but still softly, all keeping time with their
feet ; presently it grows louder and louder, and the
whole crowd seems labouring under the intensest
of suppressed excitement. They turn themselves
half round, first to this side, then to that, but
never budging an inch from their places, and the
earth shakes beneath the thunder of their feet as
they bring them to the ground like one man.
They clash their knob-kerries and shields together ;
they roar like wild beasts ; but never for a moment
do you lose the modulation of the fantastic


harmony, the rhythm of the strange, fierce, thrill-
ing chant to which you feel yourself unconsciously
beating time ; and an irresistible longing comes
over you to seize a kerrie, throw yourself into the
rout, and stamp and howl with the best of them.

The ground is quivering beneath the tread of
many feet, eyeballs gleam and start from their
sockets, the clash of knob-kerries and shields is
deafening, the hill tops echo back the savage fury
of the unearthly chant, the excitement is wrought
to the highest pitch, when — ihe master of cere-
monies gives a slight signal, and the whole of that
frenzied crowd becomes still and motionless as
statues. A few minutes of rest, of panting and
blowing after the violent exertion, and the sign is
given. Again the * choragi ‘ lead off, the crowd
takes up another song, and the fun waxes fast and
furious till tlie word goes forth to prepare for a
start. Assegais and kerries are collected, among
much clatter ; dogs, nosing out their owners, fall in
behind them ; and all move off. Some of the Zulus
form up into companies and march for the scene
of operations humming a hunting song ; others go
off by twos and threes to their assigned places, and
mounting our horses we make for where we shall
get the best chance of a shot and see most of the
drive, for the natives have no idea of our having
all the sport to ourselves.


A short rii^e brings us to a grassy ‘ neck ; ‘ in
front lies a wide bush-covered valley, and round
the hillside on our right a growing clamour points
to the approach of the beaters. Far away on the
other side of the bush can be seen the dark forma
of the native hunters drawing in their line and
working up towards us, while eager groups stand
ready with assegai and kerrie. A rush, a shout,
and a prolonged yell from the curs — a buck is up
and away, and we can trace his course by the
agitation among the bush beneath as he springa
through it. Those who have rifles — it is too far
for shot guns — make for a point commanding an
open space which the quarry must cross. Bang,
bang I — a cloud of dust flies round the startled
antelope ; it was a near shave. Bang I — again the
dust rises behind him, but he ia in the thick bnsh,
and safe ; and a string of dogs, black, brown, and
grey, crosses the open, yelhng like fiends, on his
track. But the sight of quarry has roused the
latent instinct of destruction in Briton and native
alike, and we are all tenfold on the qai vwe. The .
hunt sweeps on ; hark ! — a warning shout. Look at
those two Zulus down there, how they Usten for a
moment and run forward noiselessly as shadows.
They stand, eyeballs starting and nostrils dilated,
in an attitude of intense expectancy, still, motion-
less like bronze statues, one foot advanced, head


and shoulders bent forward in a panther-like
crouch, in the right hand a long tapering ass^ai.
Nearer and nearer comes the crashing of the under-
wood, the bushes part, and a graceful form leaps
lightly into the glade within a few yards of them.
It is a young bushbuck ram, and the sun glints on
the points of his shiny black horns and lustrous
eye as he catches sight of his human foes, and, with
a frightened start, leaps off at a tangent. Well
for him that he does, or he would at this moment
be lying transfixed in his death throes, for the
murderous spear grazes his shoulder as he turns,
and the blade sticks quivering in the ground.
Zip ! — another assegai flashes through the air, and
the ill-fated antelope plunges and rolls over and
over. The two Zulus raise an exultant whoop, but
no, not yet ; he is up again, and whisking his white
tail defiantly, bounds safe into the friendly bush.
But he is hard hit and will not go far. Dogs are
called, and the two Zulus, stooping to pick up the
gore-stained assegai, dash into the bush on the
heels of the pack. A yell — a chorus of clamour — a
scream — as the bloodthirsty curs throw themselves
upon their quarry, and the successful hunters,
rushing up, rescue it from the mauling of their
fangs and raise the wild death sliout, which is
taken up and echoed from a hundred throats.


Hitherto the beaters have had all the fun to
themselves, but as the rout moves on a shot is
heard in the thick of the bush, and one of our party
has given a good account of something. And now
we are riding along the brink of a mighty preci-
pice ; a rugged peak towers above ; beneatli, the
forest trees rear their heads against the cliff, and
the slope falls away into the broad valley. A
wilder or more picturesque scene would not easily
be found. On all sides the great mountains are
sleeping in the golden Hght of the waning after-
noon ; far below, the Tugela winds and twists on
its serpentine course ; but the solemn stillness of
Nature on a grand scale is rudely broken in upon,
for the whole valley is alive with gHsteuing dark
forms flashing through the verdure, and mingling
with the baying of their hounds the shouts of the
savages are borne on the quiet air.

No bad place for a full view of the hunt is
the brow of this same cliff. Extended for about a
mile through the bush beneath, a line of Zulus is
sweeping on, and we can spy the many-coloured
hides of their dogs zig-zagging about in the grass.
See, there i.-* a rush towards one spot ; a buck is
away and the whole pack stringing after him.
Spear after spear is hurled, and yet he keeps on ;
we can still follow Ids flight and make out his


white * plume.* But he has his work cut out for
him before he can clear that fatal circle, for look !
there is another group of dark hunters lying in
wait. He sees it too, and literally flies past.
Assegais gleam for a moment in a perfect shower,
and — the white tuft no longer flits through the
bushes. The game Uttle antelope Ues on the
ground a brown, kicking heap, and the pack comes
pouring open-mouthed on to the carcase ; snapping
and snarUng and tumbling over each other in their
eagerness to seize it. Again the loud death-whoop
peals through the valley, but before its echoes
have died away among the rocks and krantzes,
another shout announces the starting of fresh
quarry. Thoroughly roused now, only eager for
something to slay, they press forward, and the
ground is alive with the dark forms of excited
savages pouring like ants through the green bush,
as some of those high up on the mountain side
succeed by a whistle and a yell in slightly turning
the buck’s course so as to bring him nearer to the
party beneath ; but he has a good start and
evidently intends to make the most of it. A few
assegais are launched at him, but he is out of
‘ throw ‘ even for the most powerful and dexterous
arm, and they fall harmlessly short. A clamour
from the dogs as they rush off on his track, but,
blunderheaded brutes, they have been such a long


while thinking about it that he can afford to laugh
at the lot ; besides, he is unscathed and they
haven’t a chance. So away he goes, and we can
see him ‘ ricochettiug ‘ along, a mere speck, far
down there by the river, eluding hia fate thia time,
to meet with it by assegai or bullet in a future
‘ drive,’ or haply to fall a prey to some prowling
leopard on the moonlit river-bank in the hush of
the still, warm night.

So intent am I watching the progress of the
liunt, that I hardly notice a browu shape bounding
across an open space at the foot of the cliff, or
only take it for one of the Zulu dogs ranging
on his own account. It is a buck though, and I
only awake to the fact when too late for a shot ;
but another of the party, more wary, ha.s delivered
the contents of both barrels just as the animal is
disappearing among the scrub. Effectively, too,
as again that wild shout proclaims, the stricken
antelope running blindly into the clutches of a
group of beaters. But the afternoon is waning ;
it is exceedingly hot, and the natives are beginning
to have had enough. We, too, are rather dis-
appointed at the sport not being livelier, for scarce
half a dozen shots have been fired by our party,
all told. But for my part I am easily consoled
with the thought that not for the satisfaction of
bringing down the whole ‘ bag ‘ to my own gun


would I have missed such an opportunity of
watching the affair from beginning to end, and
seeing the natives hunt in their own fashion.

And now it is all over ; the Zulus come strag-
gling up from the valley in long lines, and, gather-
ing on the brow of the cliff, pause for a short rest
before starting homewards. We count head — four
bushbucks and a rock rabbit constitute the spoil ;
might have been worse considering that the day
was somewhat advanced when we began. I sup-
pose I ought to say that I shot something; the
fact, however, remains unmistakably that I did
not ; indeed I had no opportunity of so much as
letting off my gun, barring the chance just detailed.
But, as before stated, I had a splendid view of
the whole affair.

We ride slowly back; the natives straggle
across the veldt^ chattering volubly over the events
of the afternoon. While we are offsaddling at
the store, the weird rhythm of a savage song is
heard, drawing nearer and nearer. The Zulus are
bringing in the spoils of the hunt ; the peculiar
shivering sound of the loose bundles of assegais
which they carry (Uke no other sound I ever
heard) mingles with the regulated tramp of feet,
and the dark column marches into the open space ;
the perspiration pouring down the ghstening hides
of the native hunters, as depositing their weapons


they throw themselves wearily on the ground for
a rest.

But they will be lively enough soon, for the
cow which liaa been promised them is even now
being driven up to meet her fate. Slie is young
and wild ; so wild, indeed, that none of them quite
like going near enough to slay her in their own
fashion, and one of our party takes a shot with his
rifle, missing a vital part and only wounding her,
for the animal is thoroughly frightened, and will
not be persuaded to stand still for a single moment ;
but the shot starts her off galloping wildly over the
plain. With a yell the Zulus dash away in pur-
suit, forming a wide ring gradually narrowing
round the doomed beast, who runs hither and
thither. At last, lowering her head, she breaks
through the circle with a fierce growhng noise, as,
shaking her pointed horns and throwing the foam
from her mouth, she charges her pursuers, who
scatter for a moment, and, closing up again, start
swiftly upon her track. At length an assegai flung
by a powerful arm buries its sharp blade in her
heart, and the poor brute, rolling over and over,
expires with a hollow moan. The savages throw
themselves on the carcase like a set of vultures,
and the work of butchery begins. It ia not a
pleasant sight tliough ; moreover, one man, rejoic-
ing in the possession of a knife, perhaps gets ou


quicker than his fellow who is armed only with an
assegai, whereupon they quarrel, and the whole lot
are fighting and tearing, gesticulating and scream-
ing — making an unholy and indescribable din ; so
we leave them to themselves.

Supper over, we proceed to make merry by
way of finishing up the undertaking, and the walls
of tlie old shanty ring to the chorus of * John Peel ‘
and other ditties of world-wide and uproarious
fame ; and when such of us as are vocalists have
exhausted our stock-in-trade and everyone has
bawled himself hoarse, some of the natives — who
by this have devoured the unfortunate cow, I was
going to say even to the skin and horns — are got
in and go through their fantastic dance to the
accompaniment of a wild war song. The shindy
at last becomes deafening, and having had enough
of it we eject them; then, rolling ourselves in
blankets, turn in beneath the counter of the store
— to sleep, if haply we may.

Next morning we return to Sand Spruit, and
once more the veldt is black with natives who have
borne part in the chase and are now on the way
home again. An example it behoves me to follow,
so taking leave of my brethren of the hunt I inspan
and resume the even tenour of my way. Umsinga
is left far behind, we cross the Tugela — this time
on the pontoon — and wind up the steep rocky


road, to halt on the top of the high ridge over-
looking Mooi river. And, next day, as we descend,
my thoughts go back to that hot sunny morning
we toiled up this very bit of road months before,
then starting on a new expedition, every yard in
front terra incognita. To-day it seems very much
cognita does that large tract of country over which
I have wandered and am now leaving behind, and
yet I am not lialf sorry to return to civilisation ;
albeit my trip, with all its ups and downs, has
been far from wearisome and replete with interest
throughout. Crossing the Mooi river we wind
through the wild and beautiful valley, and event-
ually reach Grey Town, where I part with Audries,
my right hand man, and plod quietly on with the
other two. Then, having covered the .forty miles
of road between that place and Maritzburg, I ride
into the capital one fine afternoon, travel-stained
and externally the worse for wear, flannel-shirted
and corduroyed, with countenance fiercely tanned
and blistered by much exposure to the gentle rays
of a South African sun — in short, looking an awful
ruffian — but more thoroughly ‘ fit ‘ and in ruder
health than ever before in my life.

A week or two to rest and sell off, a run down
to Durban by rail, a few days there, then a bumping
over the ‘ bar,’ and I am once more on board ship —
but, reader, I have not done with you just yet.



Cetywayo at * Oude Molen ‘ — ^The King on John Dunn — Former posi-
tion of Cety wajo — Ncungcwane and the royal attendants — Home-
ward bound.

Last, but not least, was my visit to Cetywayo, at
the Cape. Armed with a pass from the Secretary
for Native Affairs, without which no one is ad-
mitted, I took the train out to Mowbray and made
my way to * Oude Molen,’ otherwise described as
the * State Prisoners* Location,’ where the ex-
monarch of Zululand was in durance. About half
an hour’s walk by a very roundabout way brought
me to the place, a building looking as if it might
have been a Dutch farmhouse, with stabUng and
outhouses, but devoid of trees, and standing in the
midst of the open flat.

There was no lack of visitors to the ex-King ;
since the restrictions on seeing him were removed,
every day, nearly, one or more parties would
arrive at Oude Molen. Having awaited the de-
parture of one of these, I sent in my card to the
interpreter, Mr. Dunn, and was admitted. In a
front room destitute of furniture but a few chairs.


sat the once redoubted potentate, a large, quiet-
looking man of between fifty and sixty, dressed in
a suit of light tweed, with a yellow embroidered
smoking cap on his head. Cetywayo is darker
than most Zulus, and has a broad, intelligent face,
with good eyes and pleasing expression — on the
whole a well-looking man, dignified and courteous
in manner, as are nearly all Zulus of rank, and
though of large proportions, not corpulent or un-
wieldy. The Zulu royal family is proverbial
among the nation for statelinesa of carriage, and
the King is no exception, holding himself very
erect, with his head slightly thrown back, as
though accustomed to look upon those around
him as inferiors.

He shook hands, saying he was glad to see me,
but learning that I had just returned from Zulu-
land, his face became quite animated over the
prospect of hearing about all his old friends and
subjects, and through the courtesy of Mr. Dunn,
Cetywayo’s official interpreter, we were able to
have a long chat.

‘ It was good,’ said the King ; ‘ where had I
been, and whom had I talked to?’

I began from the very first, and he listened
attentively, putting in a remark here and there,
and keeping up a running commentary throughout.
He seemed intimately acquainted with every foot of


the ground I had been over, and would stop me to
tell some little anecdote connected with any par-
ticular spot, or would give the personal or family
history of some one I happened to name. Every
now and then his eyes twinkled, and a broad smile
would light up his countenance as he related some
comic incident regarding the person or persons
under discussion. Which goes to show that over
and above an intimate acquaintance with his
country and people, Cetywayo possesses a strong
vein of humour.

At that time the idea of the English visit had
been given up, and the unfortunate King was in a
state of dire depression. * Why wouldn’t we send
him back to his country? He would always be
friends with the English.’ I ventured to hint at
his future policy in the event of restoration ; be-
sides, how could we depose the chiefs we had set
up in his place? He replied that all Zululand,
chiefs and people alike, would hail his return ;
those who didn’t want to live under him could
leave the country ; he would not punish any of
them for having taken part against him hitherto,
but if they refused to return to their allegiance,
they must leave his country.

I suggested that some of them might be unpre-
pared to acquiesce in so sweeping a change in their
fortunes — John Dunn and Sibepu for instance.


‘ As for John Diinn {he said), he had no follow-
ing ; a hundred or two of Natal natives. All the
Zulus of hia clan belonged to him (Cetywayo), also
hie wives and cattle, and they would all leave John
Dunn and come back to him ; but he didn’t want
them. John Dunn might take all his wives and all
his cattle and leave the country.’ This waa hai-dly
a satisfactory answer — evidently the King was not
benevolently disposed towards his former ally.

On tlie subject of his restoration he was very
sore. ‘ Why didn’t we allow him to go to England
and plead his own cause ? We promised to do so at
first and then put him off again. Why should we
not send him back to ZuJuIand ? We had taken
him away because, we said, he killed his people, and
now we had set up chiefs who did far more killing
than he (Cetywayo) had ever done. Look at
Uhamu, how he had been ” eating up ” and killing
the Abaqulusi. I had been to Hlobane and must
know all about it. Did I know how many people
Uhamu had killed P ‘

I replied that I did not, for certain.

‘ Eight hundred or a thousand,’ said the King.

I expressed incredulity as to it being anything
like that number, but he stuck to it — over eight
hundred people had been kUled by Uhamu ; he
(Cetywayo) knew it for certain, and could tell me
the actual names of many of the victims. When


I passed BQobane I could hardly have seen any
people about. On this point, however, I was able
to set him right, for the kraals in that neighbour-
hood were all occupied.

Knowing well how a story gains in process of
transmission among these people, much after the
manner of the proverbial snowball, especially if
self-interest leans to the side of exaggeration, I
remained unconvinced ; for although, from all
accounts, Uhamu had been * washing his spears *
pretty freely, I don’t believe that as a matter of
fact his victims were much more than a tenti of
the number estimated by Cetywayo.

I had brought with me some photographs of
the King’s attendants, in which he took great
interest, giving me their names and family history,
together with those of his women, whom I ex-
pressed a wish to see. Accordingly, they having
received due notice, I was shown into the next
room, where I found the ladies of the royal house-
hold, four in number, who, however, did not strike
me as being anything out of the common. They
were large, tall women, with a hard, not to say
sulky, expression, though under the circumstances
one could scarcely expect them to look cheerful.
Each had her Uttle stock of manufactures spread
out on the floor, bead work, grass spoons, &c., for
which, by tlie way, they demanded full price. I


selected a couple of the grasa spoons, paying three
shillings a piece for the same — I could have got
them for a tenth of the value in Zululand, but
royalty has its privileges — and rejoicing their
hearts with a tin of snuff”, I returned to their

Elsewhere in these pages I recorded my con-
viction that during his exile Cetywayo was about
the moat popular mau in Ztdidand, and now I
thought I quite saw the reason of this popularity.
He has a dignified presence, looking every inch a
king ; a genial and engaging manner, and now and
then his face would be lighted up with a pleasing,
good-humoured smile, giving one the impression
that he is a man of natural kindliness of lieart.
That a savage ruler — ay, and a civilised one for
that matter — enjojing absolute despotism, should
not, under the impulses of sudden passion or
undoubted self-interest, be led into the perpetra-
tion of occasional acts of cruelty or severity, would
be too much to expect of fallen human nature.
But what I do say, judging from all I heard and
saw, is that Cetywayo is not an ill-dispositioned
man, of which, by the way, this fact is not a little
significant, that the only one of the Zulu kings who
‘ died in his bed ‘ was Mpande, Cetywayo’s father
and predecessor ; and although for some time pre-
vious to that event Cetywayo’s power and influence


had been steadily increasing, yet he showed no
eagerness for his father’s death nor made any
attempt to accelerate the same. Since his own
accession times have become more difficult and
dangerous every year, and what with Boer aggres-
sion on the one side and Natalian coldness and
distrust on the other, it may readily be understood
that the position of the Zulu King was not exactly
a bed of roses. But that he was animated with a
real desire for the welfare of his people and
naturally inclined for peace, I have ceased to enter-
tain any doubt. And now, as time goes on and the
public at large is beginning to take a dispassionate
view of the affair, I believe I am right in saying
that an increasing opinion is growing up that he
was largely the victim of surrounding circum-
stances, and tliat his downfall was not entirely due
to his own delinquencies or mistakes. Of one
thing I am confident, however ; that many and
many a potentate could be found with whom
Cetywayo would compare far from unfavour-

I took leave of the King, who expressed himself
glad to have seen me and to have heard all about
Zululand and his old friends. Some day perhaps,
he said, I sliould be coming to see him in his
own country (a hope that he would eventually be
restored kept cropping up throughout his conver-


sation) ; then he could receive me better, and
meanwhile I must be his friend and think well of

Passing from the ‘ royal audience ‘ I looked
in upon the attendants, the principal of whom,
Ncungcwane, an elderly man with grizzled hair, is
a relation of the King ; most of them being men
of rank and fine specimens of their race. Poor
fellows, how different they looked, huddling gloomy
and taciturn round the fire as the chill evening of
a Cape winter day drew in, to the cheerful, lively,
good-humoured people I had left in the sunshine
and free air on the green hills and plains of Zululand.
They brightened up considerably on hearing that I
had just been into their old haunts and among
their countrymen, and it seemed to me quite like
old times standing there, surrounded by the ringed
heads and kindly dark faces. But it was too late
for much indaba^ so dividing a canister of snuff
amongst the group, I departed and made my way
back to the station.

Another twenty-four hours and I am on the
deck of the homeward-bound mail steamer, having
trodden South African soil for the last time. The
steam is up, the shore-bell rings, hurried ‘ good-
byes ‘ are exchanged, the swarming decks clear by
magic of three fourths of their living freight, and
amid a cheer from the crowd on the jetty the great



ship moves off into the blue waters of Table Bay.
We pass Eobben Island with its Ughthouse ; fainter
and indistinct grows the rocky wall of Table
Mountain till it fades into the gloom of night, and
we stand forth upon our course over the wide
ocean — en route for Old England.



Zululand under the Ulundi settlement — Restoration of Cetywayo —
Military system and tactics — Zulu opinion of the Boers — Zulu
character and physique — Religion and superstitions — Formation
and appearance of the country — Climate — Wild animals.

Passing reference has been made in these pages to a
feeling of unrest prevailing among the Zulus. As a
matter of fact the country at that time, though to all
appearances quiet and peaceful, was not really so ;
for beneath the outward calm lay a strong feeling
of discontent, but one degree removed from open
agitation and actual outbreak.

The results of what is known as the Ulundi
settlement had begun to make themselves felt.
The chiefs set up under that settlement being, with
few exceptions, absolute nobodies, were held in
scant honour, and were practically of but small
power in the land. Of those exceptions Uhamu
had earned the contempt of his countrymen by his
defection from their cause; Hlubi was an alien, and
never had any claim to the allegiance of a single



Zulu ; leaving Tyingwayo, Sibepu, and John Dunn.
Powerful indunas like Mnyamane, who, by the
way, has the reputation of being the shrewdest
man in Zululand, were left out in the cold at the
time of the settlement of the country, and no
notice was taken of any of the Eng’s brothers.
Small matter of surprise, then, is it that these
worthies, supremely dissatisfied, should sedulously
gather round them the disaffected, and hatch plots
for the restoration of Cetywayo, with whom had
departed their own former glory and prestige.
Whether there would have been so much outcry
for the royal restoration had the country been
portioned out between Mnyamane and four or five
other influential indunas is fair subject for con-
jecture ; I myself am inclined to think there would
not. But under the Ulundi settlement the popu-
lation soon became divided into two hostile camps,
sullenly watching each other with an ill-will they
were at no pains to conceal — the Usiitu faction,
with Mnyamane and Ndabuku, Cetywayo’s brother,
at its head, on the one hand ; on the other Sibepu,
John Dunn, and Uhamu for the maintenance of
the Ulundi scheme ; while the remaining chiefs
either stood neutral and trimmed between the
rival parties, or attached themselves to the one or
the other according as self-interest prompted.
But the differing interests did more than sit and



growl at each other. Sibepu would threaten
Ndabuku, and, under colour of a row about some
cattle (always a fruitful source of quarrel in Zulu-
land), Mnyamane would make a raid upon Sibepu,
who, of course, would retaliate: meanwhile Uhamu
amused himself by ‘ eating up ‘ a clan of the
Abaqulusi in liis own territory. The British Eesi-
dent, having no force at his disposal, could effect
little or nothing towards the adjustment of these
and other small differences ; and everyone appeared
to do pretty much as he chose. All seemed
tending, and that not slowly, ui the direction of a
general blaze.

Then came a lull, A large Zulu deputation
started for Maritzburg, and, although it rather
ignominiously returned, yet the circumstance of
the people having an opportunity of even partially
making known their grievance formed, in a
measure, a safety-valve. Moreover, the idea of
Cetywayo’s restoration had been entertained, soon
to take tangible shape in his visit to England.
Then the ‘ royalist ‘ chiefs in Zululand knew that
the desired restoration was but a question of time,
and that nothing would be gained meanwhile by
turbulence and rebeUion,

And now that the King’s rule has been re-
established, whether the looked-for result — to wit,
the re establishment of peace and contentment — is


attained, must depend largely on the policy of the
future. That policy it is not within the province
of these pages to discuss. Suffice it to say, that
Cetywayo himself has no right to be dissatisfied
with the terms of his restoration or with the
territory allotted to him, the latter being far the
greater portion of his former dominion, the whole
of which by Zulu law of conquest belongs to us.
He could not expect to be put into precisely the
same position as before, after the expenditure of
blood and treasure we had made in order to remove
him from that position, and it must be borne in
mind tliat he was not himself entirely free from
blame in the matter of the late war ; wherefore, in
all reason, not to say wisdom, he and his people
should ‘ let well alone ‘ and be thankful.

Formerly looked up to as the despotic liead of
the most invincible and dreaded of all the native
races, Cetywayo has lived to see his rule over-
thrown, his formidable armies scattered like chafi’,
and himself carried off to languish in tedious and,
to one of his temperament, soul-wearing captivity,
only to be emancipated by suing at the very feet
of the Power whom in the heyday of his renown
he thought to resist. May we not infer that a
man of his shrewdness and sagacity will utilise the
experience he has gained — in short, will have learnt
a lesson.


The military system was set up by Tyaka (or
Chaka), under wliose influence the Zulus sprung
from the small iosignificant race they were at the
beginning of the present century, into a nation of
warriors. Tliey carried on an aggressive warfare
with the neighbouring tribes, extending their con-
quests far and wide: the assegai and the torch were
never at rest, and their name became a terror and
a scourge. Already was the Zulu army a mighty
and formidable engine when Dingane, Tyaka’s
successor, was brought into colUsion with the emi-
grant Boers in 1838. Sanguinary conflicts with
tlie latter, as also t!ie civil war which resulted in
the assassination of Dingane and the succession of
Mpande (Panda), Cetywayo’s father, had somewhat
cooled their martial ardour; and under the rule of
this King — a man of mild temper and easy-going
habits — a long period of peace ensued, broken only
by an occasional raid upon border tribes and the
outbreak in 1856 pursuant on the feud between
Cetywayo and his brother Umbulazi.

But the army, though unemployed, was not
disbanded. Nearly the whole nation was enrolled
in regiments according to age, and tlie mihtary
system and tradition remained unbroken. As a
matter of fact, enrolment was not compulsory,
though one of those customs which are stronger
than law : it was open to anyone to decline to join


tlie army, but once enlisted, implicit obedience was
exacted. Each regiment had its induna and its
subalterns, with a commander-in chief over the
whole, and there was a wonderful esprit de corps
throughout: indeed to such an extent did this
prevail, that a fight was imminent between any
two or more regiments on the occasion of a great
national gathering, though all petty differences
were sunk in the glory of marching against a
common foe.

The tactics employed with such terrible effect
against our troops are identical with those of tlie
armies of Tyaka and Dingane ; the outflanking
and surrounding, the fierce, resistless, overwhelm-
ing rush, and the merciless destruction in the hour
of victory of every living thing. But in one respect
the mode of procedure has undergone a change.
Tyaka led his warriors in person ; now the induna
in command posts himself on a hill whence he can
overlook the scene of operations, with his staff
around him ; for there is a regular staff system con-
sisting mainly of the head indunas of each of the
various regiments, who, as a rule, are only a kind
of * honorary ‘ colonel — the sub-chiefs doing all
the actual work. If he sees fit, he despatches one
or more of these down to communicate his plans
or to effect a rally should there be signs of wavering
at any particular point. In the event of defeat the


greater imiunas lose no time in exemplifying the
latter half of an old proverb — in a word, they run
away and live to fight another day, or rather to
see that their subordinates fight. But although
the martial spirit is still alive in Zululand — every
man will tell you with some pride to what regiment
he belongs — cohesion has been completely destroyed
by the many differing and rival interests which have
cropped up within the last three years, and to re-
organise the army on the old lines would be to-day
next to an impossibility. I say to-day, because, as
before stated, the events of the future must depend
on the policy of the future.

One fine quality which the Zulus possess is a
readiness to forgive and forget. They bear no
malice, and, considering that, whether rightly or
wrongly, we invaded their country, slaughtered
thousands of their best warriors, burnt their
kraals, carried off their king, and reduced them —
the most powerful nation in Southern Africa — to
the condition of a conquered race, it is surprising
how little resentment is entertained towards us.
They say it was all the * fortune of war,’ * it is past,
and there’s an end of it,’ and they welcome the
Englishman wherever he goes with the same
cheerful and hearty greeting.

But this goodwill in no wise extends to their
Transvaal neighbours, whom they hold in abhor-


rence. The very mention of the Boers would evoke
strong expressions of contempt and detestation, and
wlien pressed for a reason it was everywhere the
same story. * They are mean, and liars — always
on the look-out to steal our land.’ One chief told
me he would like nothing better than to be allowed
to lead an impi against the Amahuna (Boers).

* But,’ I objected, just to see what he would say,

* don’t you know that they defeated %i8 at Majuba ? *

‘ Yes,’ was the reply, * but the English could
have eaten them up afterwards if they had chosen.
We defeated the English at Isandhlwana, but where
are we now? So it would have been with the

This was looking at the affair in its proper
light, which I found the Zulus did as a rule ; not
being at all inclined to rate Dutch prowess any
higher because it had proved too much for us
under certain circumstances.

The Zulu character has been greatly misrepre-
sented. We have been accustomed to look upon
this unfortunate nation as a horde of fierce un-
tameable barbarians whose every thought is of
war ; rapine and massacre its summum bonum of
existence, and among whom the most ordinary
virtues are unknown — and upon its king as a
tyrannical despot and a monster of cruelty. Li-
stead, what do we find? A quiet, kindly, light-


hearted race ; sober, cleanly, and honest — loyally
attached, too, to its exiled King, supposed to be
such a detestable tyrant. It would be idle, of
course, not to expect occasional turbulence and
disquietude among a brave, warlike people with
great miUtary traditions, but I maintain that the
Zulu is by nature of a quiet and kindly disposition,
not wanting in generosity, and good-humoured to
a degree ; in short, far from being a mere brutal
savage. He has his faults indeed, and if merciless
and cruel in the madness and exultation of victory,
at any rate it is the bUnd ferocity of the wild beast
whose rage is satiated with the death of an enemy,
not the refined barbarity of the Red Indian or
the Oriental delighting in the prolonged torments
of his victim.

The physique of the Zulus has been much ex-
aggerated. They are by no means the brawny
athletes of popular notion and illustrated periodi-
cal, it being, in fact, the rarest thing to find a man
with any extraordinary development of biceps ; as
a rule they are smooth-Umbed rather than other-
wise, though tall and well built. But they make
up for muscular deficiency by a wonderful supple-
ness and agility, being Uthe and active as wild cats,
and with a hardihood and constitution of iron.
And they are fine-looking — in many instances
handsome — men, with erect, graceful carriage and


considerable dignity of aspect. You never, for
instance, see a Zulu with head sunk on his chest,
or bandy-legged, or with a stoop in the shoulders.
As adversaries, man for man they are not more
formidable than any other race ; it is the moral
effect — on themselves no less than on their enemies
— of the trained and disciplined regiments, the
honour and glory of which, in a measure, each
man feels to be centred in himself; the mighty
army in all its savage panoply, and the great
traditions at its back — this is what renders the
Zulu attack so terrific and irresistible.

As regards religion the Zulus may be said to
hold no definite belief whatever. They have no
temples, no idols or gods of any kind, no priests or
altars, and no recognised or national cult. They
have a hazy belief in a Supreme Being whom they
call ‘ Nkulu’nkulu,’ ‘ the Great Great One,’ and a
vague tradition about creation ; otherwise they are
given to superstition of various kinds. You never
meet a single Zulu abroad at night, very rarely any
at all ; if forced then to travel they go in a body.
What they are afraid of they hardly know ; goblins
are supposed to be disporting themselves whom
it is well not to meet ; wherefore they do their
journeying by day. I had a considerable amount
of night travelling, but not one instance can I
recollect of meeting a Zulu on the road an hour


after dark. Nor would they stay, if talking to me
at sundown, unless their kraal was very near indeed,
and only then if it was a bright moonlight even-

They are great believers in witchcraft and the
power of the evil eye. If any one is seized with
an illness at all out of the common, it is tagati
(witchcraft), and the izanusi (doctors) perform
their incantations over the hapless patient by way
of exorcising the evil spirit ; for which ‘ professional
attendance ‘ the rascals take care that they are
well remunerated. In the event of a chief or man
of rank being afflicted, a ‘ smelling out ‘ takes
place, and after much ceremonial, which has been
too often described to need reiteration here, the
soothsayers, singling out some obnoxious person,
denounce him as the offender ; whereupon his cattle
and goods are confiscated, and he and his family are
fortunate if allowed to escape with their lives.
That tyrannical quackery of this kind should be
thus deeply rooted in the minds of a people other-
wise so shrewd is simply amazing. They firmly
believed in the inspiration of the izamisi, and
although no man knew but what his turn would
come next, yet they all acquiesced in the practice
of * smelling out ‘. as a national institution wherein
nothing could shake their faith.

Signs and omens play an important part in


their scheme. Phenomena in the heavens, unusual
meteorological occurrences, the flight of a parti-
cular bird, and a hundred other trifles constitute
omens of greater or less importance, to explain
which the * spirits ‘ must be consulted and sacrifices
— ^generally of cattle — ofiered upon the graves of
departed chiefs. Of a future state they have little
if any idea, and, as before mentioned, they have a
vague beUef in the Deity, but of definite religion or
recognised cult the Zulus have none.

The formation of the country is capricious in
the extreme ; elevated and smooth table-lands
suddenly alternating with broad valleys and lofty
mountains, and where least expected yawn deep
rifts. It is not a well wooded region on the whole.
Bush abounds in more or less profusion in the
basins formed by the valleys of the greater rivers
and in the tropical heat of the low-lying coast
lands, but the lai’ger portion of the country is
open and treeless. A fine pasture land and well
watered, but the broad plains and rounded slopes,
waving with tall luxuriant grass, seem rather fitted
for grazing than for purposes of cultivation.

What may be the hidden resources of the
country I can only conjecture. Coal is talked of,
and I did happen to hear significant hints about
gold being found in such and such a place ; as lo
its existence I have no doubt, wliether in quantities


sufficient to prove remunerative is another thing.
Some of the rivers have every appearance of being
auriferous, notably the Ityotyozi, which flows over
a fine sandy bed, through an alluvial soil studded
with quartz. A prospecting party visited this river
about a year after the war, but the results not
being encouraging the undertaking was abandoned.

In the matter of climate, though warm in sum-
mer, it is far from unhealthy, and the nights are
delicious. In the low-lying coast country the heat
is great, and has all the damp, enervating feeling of
tropical latitudes, to which maybe due the circum-
stance of the natives on the high open * steppes ‘ of
northern and western Zululand being far superior
in physique and character to their brethren of the
coast. The winter months, May, June, and July,
are exceedingly cold ; keen, biting winds sweep
across the treeless wastes, and snow and sleet are
of no infrequent occurrence.

Of wild animals and birds the greater variety is
met with in the bush country. The rhebok and
stembok are to be shot on the open undulating
plains, which also abound in quail, with here and
there a sprinkling of partridges. The pauw and
the koorhaan — both * leery ‘ birds — whom you may
stalk at early morn in the long soaking grass till
wet to the skin, but not by a foot can you diminish
that reprehensible fifty yards which is to bring you


within range, and your quarry, tired at length of
dragging you through the penetrating dew, heaves
up its great carcase and flaps ofi* with a peevish
yell. The crane, with his blue slaty plumage, stalks
solemnly about ; and the plover circles overhead
in the gloaming, sounding his shrill pipe. Spreuws
whistle among the krantzes, the dainty sugar-bird ^
dips his long needle-like bill into the red tubes of
the aloe blossoms, and the reed beds and bushes
overhanging river or water-hole are alive with the
twittering of clouds of yellow * finks ‘ whose pendu-
lous nests sway and dip in the breeze. Birds of
prey, too, from the huge cinereous vulture and the
crested eagle to the little red kestrel, soar above
the waste.

The bark of the bushbuck echoes throucrh
black, wooded ravines among whose caves and
frowning krantzes the savage leopard makes his
home ; monkeys skip amid the gnarled boughs of
the yellow-wood trees ; jackals share the ground
burrows with the ant bear and the porcupine, and
the large striped hyaena howls along the river bank
in the moonlight. The dark forests of Ingome
still afford cover to the beautiful koodoo with his
long spiral horns, and their wild recesses are not
guiltless of lions. Northward the lonely lagoons
around San Lucia Bay resound with the splash

* A species of humming bird.


and snort of the hippopotamus, and in the reed-
fringed pools and quiet depths of the larger rivers
dwell the crocodile and iguana. Of serpents, the
cobra, the puff adder, and the mamba are the most
dangerous, but except in certain localities are not
common enough to constitute any real source of

Hardly a land that one would visit in quest of
sport — albeit with dogs and appliances a keen
sportsman who laid himself out therefor would
not do badly in this line — to the traveller it is full
of interest. The inhabitants are an intelligent and
kindly disposed race; above all, the climate is
healthy, and anybody desiring a complete change
and a few months of life in the open air, might do
worse than follow my example and go * Through
the Zulu Country.’



The weather is fine and the sea calm, and no event
worth noticing breaks the even monotony of the
voyage, which is similar in most respects to that
described in the opening chapters of this narrative.
In due course we pass beneath the lofty peak of
Teneriffe ; Madeira, with its noisy crowd of peddling
natives, is left behind, and ploughing through the
now calm waters of the dreaded Bay we drop
anchor in Plymouth Sound.

^iut how diflerent is the scene to when we last
were here. Then, the fierce sou’westerly gale
tearing through the leafless trees and lashing up
the chill, leaden waters. Now, the golden glory of
a summer evening falls upon green pasture land
and luxuriant woods fringing down to the water’s
edge ; the sinking sun spai’kles upon the dancing
waves and darts his last beams afar upon the
snowy wings of some stately ship standing up

Very pleasant to look upon is that fair Devon-
shire coast, as having landed the mails we weigh
anchor again for Southampton. Very pleasant.


with its green meadows and golden comlands, and
its villages nestling in the bays ; while each bold
headland stretches out towards you as though in
welcome. The night falls and the red eye of a
lighthouse gleams out upon the darkening sea, rival-
ling the starry lamps which appear one by one in
the dim vault overhead. A few more hours of
quiet, and then — presto — I am transported, as by
the wave of a magic wand, from the lone, silent
heart of a savage country into the din and turmoil
of the metropolis of the world.

Reader, the best of friends must part, nor are
you and I exceptions to the inexorable rule. We
have been together in many wanderings, and if the
perusal of these pages has enabled you to pass an
agreeable hour or awakened your interest in
persons and places hitherto unthought of, they
will not have been written in vain.

LOHDOir I pHXirniD bt






I Patemoder Spiare^




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*«* Can also be had in a variety of other


Tennyson’s Songs Set to Music \yf
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IS (id.

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WAY [A,) Af.A.—THE Odes of Horace
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KER {David) — The Boy Slave in
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38 A List of Kegan Paul, Trench, <2f Go’s Pidlzcaiions,

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STOCKTON (Frank R.)—A Jolly Fel-
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STORR [Francis) and TURNER {Howes),
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STRETTON {ffesba\—l>KYm Lloyd’s
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Sunnyland Stories. By the Author of
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Tales from Ariosto Re-told fok
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WHITAKER (/Tivwif^)— Christy’s In-
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I ThrooQfi th« Zulu country


3 6105 041 552 519

Stanford University Libraries
Stanford, California

tUtnrii tbis book on or before d«te du.


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