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of a sense of humor or disgust, had added “ Do you think the people would wish a little paragraph of his own.
them to come back ?” “We are also informed," wrote he,“ that “ There are some that had better not Lord Kitchener and Lord Methuen are come back," was the reply. wounded, Lord Roberts is a prisoner, Then I asked him if he had seen a boy and the rest of the English army have who had come all the way from America committed suicide!”
with a resolution of sympathy from some “How about Kruger and his advisers ?' ' school children. I asked. “What did they hope to gain ?” “Ya—that was funny."
He shrugged his shoulders (a Boer can We spoke of the Boer generals. Louis dodge a direct question like a Yankee) Botha, Erasmus and Lucas Meyer, were and looked at me keenly.
friends of his. “I suppose they had their hopes,” he “ Botha is a proud man,” said he.“ And answered.
now he wants terms. He knows he can“Foreign intervention ?”.
not win, but he wishes to save his name. “Ya, most certainly."
He does not want money. Erasmus is an “ And the gold?"
old-style Boer fighting general—not so “ They spent much trying to get that clever. Lucas Meyer I knew also well. intervention. There was an American, He had great influence at first, but Botha
is the best soldier the Boers have had.”
I have noticed a strange thing. The Boer always speaks of himself in the third person. He seldom uses ó we" or “us." He says, “ The Boers were over here,” or “Do you think the Boers will return?”
I do not think that there was ever a people so hard to understand. They are as elusive in character as they are on the field. One cannot guess their thoughts any more than one can anticipate their sudden movements.
Just an instance or two. There is a man here in town named De Korte, a recent judge and inspector of police under the Kruger rule; two days before the British entry he was doing his utmost to secure the removal of the prisoners at Waterval, although this was contrary to an agreement made with the captured English officers to the effect that if the unruly prisoners (who had been unfed for two days) were kept from breaking out, they
would not be removed. He actually LORD ROBERTS'S INDIAN GUARD
persuaded nine hundred to leave the a politician, who could tell you that,” he stockade and go under guard to the railadded. “And there were Irish, and French, way station. It was promised that they and Germans, and Hollanders—they got would be taken to neutral Portuguese most. There was some sent to England, territory and set free. They are now too. All the rest they took away, and paid under confinement at a place near Elandall their debts in paper—it is no good.” spruit—the promise was not kept. “But President Kruger ?”
Yet this man, in company with Louis “He hoped for miracles. He was da Souza, Burgomeister Potgieter, Smit, already the richest man in the Transvaal- the Railway Commissioner, Kleynhaus, the others had to make it all; they were Minister of Mines (also acting Treasurernot so rich."
General), Hans Minuar, Registrar of
Deeds, Waerda, Chief of Public Works, Most of the committee now hold posiLandrost Zeiler, Commandant Zeederberg, tions under the military and provisional and De Beer, Inspector of Offices, came governments. De Beer is an adviser, and out to meet Lord Roberts and surrender De Korte is at the head of the Boer the eagerly expectant town, De Korte police--for Boer policemen, with badges volunteering to lead them.
on their arms, still patrol the streets and Strange to say, Botha, with his few thou- assist the military. But there seems litule sand irreconcilables, was on the northern use for either ; the town might, to all outskirts. He had left but the morning appearance, be managed by one sleepy of our entry; a few shots had been fired constable. almost within sound of the Public Square. Sunnyside is a pretty little suburb of He had threatened to bombard the place Pretoria ; yet it is not exactly a suburb, but the moment the English entered—which a quarter of the town, and is only sepawas most inconsiderate, everything taken rated by a clear running brook, crossed, into account. So Lord Roberts held the except in one place where there is a real surrendering committee, and they sent a bridge, by drifts. It was here that Lord message to Botha. He withdrew some Roberts took up his headquarters—at the fourteen miles, and sent word that he British Residency; and nestling in back would fight to the last, elsewhere.
yards and down the tree-shrouded lanes All this was the strange undercurrent were the camps of his body-guard and of the peaceful scene, that did not show followers. in the least on the surface. There were There were tents and covered wagons, the cheering crowd, the tame Boers with pickets and camp-fires, everywhere among their irksome armaments, there was the the little villas. At night it looked more committee in frock coats and tall hats, like a gypsy encampment than the headthere were the watering-carts, the open quarters of an army. shops, the hospitable hotels—and English The town, patrolled every night and flags rising everywhere in the example of policed every day, showed no evidence of the one that lifted on the public buildings. any internal dissatisfaction. The GovIt is stranger than it was confusing. ernment, under the administration of General Maxwell, military governor, and filled, Of the nine men who started in one in its various branches, by appointees from week but three were successful. Three the staff or line, went on as smoothly as were captured and three turned back. clockwork. Outside the town troops were But yet, as before, Pretoria continued camped, holding the ridges and keys of quiet. There was no advance upon Leydenthe positions.
burg. It was only gradually that the effect There was some fighting and much of all this began to show. heavy skirmishing to the eastward of the There was a meaning in the whispering town, but of this I need not here write groups at the street corners. At the a detailed description. But a person liv- hotels that were frequented by officers ing within the precincts of the town could the corridors and bar-rooms, dining and perceive nothing of
billiard rooms, were the rough side of
thronged by foreignwarfare, and had not
looking people, who General Botha and
edged close to listen his few obstinate
and pick up scraps followers remained
of conversation. under arms, the
The undercurrent military restrictions
of suspicion, and might have been
hatred even, of the relaxed, and peace,
minority appeared with its attendant
on the surface. Exjoys and privileges,
aggerated rumors of would have been
all kinds filled the in full possession.
air. “Botha was on Much suffering and
the outside of town hardship could have
with six thousand been avoided.
men.” He was conBut a strange con
stantly being supdition of affairs ex
plied, it was said, isted. For ten days
with news and inPretoria was abso
formation. Conspirlutely cut off from
acies were uncommunication with
earthed, and men the south. General
who were profiting De Wet, that bold
by the British occuand hardy leader,
pation, and had had revived his
taken the oath of forces in the Free
neutrality, were State. The long
found to be conline of railway, prac
cerned in these. tically unguarded,
Others who should had been broken
have been neutrals in several places.
because of their naNewly constructed GENERAL LOUIS BOTHA
tionality and birth bridges had been
were found to be destroyed, convoys had been taken, wires involved also in the plottings of the Boers. had been cut, and misguided and wanton The continuance of the struggle, fosmischief, that could have no possible tered for what reason no one who knew bearing on the result, was rife.
the real situation could fathom, brought People in London were much better hardships in its train. The military rule informed of the condition of affairs than became more strict. A feeling of vague we were in Pretoria. With the lines de suspicion and mistrust awoke between stroyed, the correspondents had resorted to the soldiery and townsfolk. Stringent precarious despatch-riding, and as much methods became necessary; horses were as £,30 was offered for carrying despatches needed; the remounts on their way up through to the rail-head at Kroonstad. from the south were prevented from arriving by the mischief-makers in the Free State.
There was a resort perforce to Boer methods, even for the protection of the town itself. Every horse in town was commandeered. Those who could show reason why they should retain their property were given licenses to own and permits to drive in the streets. The rest were all taken and properly paid for.
The line was repaired almost as quickly as it was destroyed, but it was strange how the falsity of the apparent situation added to the trouble. A few hundred yeomanry were captured somewhere along the railway line. It caused no dismay at
A TYPICAL BOER SCOUT headquarters in peaceful Sunnyside. It was an irritation, as was and feared more than any that the Engthe destruction of some two thousand lish army had produced. mail-pouches, and the capture of winter Had his approach been universally clothing destined for the First Division. known, there would have been a large
But it set some of the people talking crowd to greet him in the Plaza. As it harder. The leniency and trustfulness, the was, but few knew of his coming, but invitation implied and extended to join in there was a cheer as soon as he was recogand help," all hands together," was unap- nized. preciated, and so the conditions grew stillA citizen of English appearance disharder. With the two capitals in Eng- mounted from a bicycle, and, pressing lish possession, and both Governments in through the crowd, shook him by the hand. flight, there appeared to rise the desire I was close enough to overhear the conto foster a forlorn hope.
versation. Baden-Powell's coming from Mafeking “We've waited for you here a long was but a ripple. The man who refused time, Colonel,” he said. “May I shake to be downed or daunted, who had jumped hands with you?” from a clever Colonel with ambitions to “Certainly,” said the General, laugha Major-General by the sheer force of ingly. “I thought I'd get here some dogged determination and a cheerful heart, time.” rode into town almost unheralded.
With that he and his escort galloped In fact, until he had met the guard sent along through the street on their way to out to meet him, he had ridden almost meet the Field-Marshal at Sunnyside. alone; but five or six men accompanied There were hearty greetings when they him from Rustenburg.
met. A shake of the hand, and they I shall never forget my first glimpse of repaired to the Residency for luncheon. him outside of town. Somehow, he At every corner the two men who had looked un-English. He wore no straps won most renown in the war were subor ribbons. In appearance he looked the jected to heavy camera fire. As they Western cavalry leader who might have dismounted they had to submit to a volley fought in our own frontier wars. Here of machine-photography; and I suspect, was the man that the real Boer admired long before this is in print, the publics of
the London music halls have seen the ernment, as represented by the military Field-Marshal and the keen-eyed, thin- authorities, had taken a high hand in refaced man with the cowboy hat, with the gard to the position assumed and the part well-known “ Denver poke "in the crown, played by the Transvaal Hollander and come strolling down across the canvas German in the war from its beginning, screen.
particularly by the Government railways, He stayed but a day, and went back to which were managed and controlled by join his command at Rustenburg, and foreigners, and which represented almost before long much more will have been solely Dutch interests. They were antagheard of him. But I shall not forget onistic to British influence and combated another glimpse I had of “B.-P.," as his British control. friends call him, at the Pretoria Club. At the outset they had absolutely re
He came in quietly for a few minutes fused to assist in any way, and in the and reached a corner with some friends. south of the Transvaal the situation had Englishmen are neither demonstrative nor been met in a manner dictated by neces. effusive in their greetings. Those who sity. Engine-drivers and railway em
knew him went up and spoke to him. ployees who had refused to work were But there was no reception or ovation. compelled to. That is the flat truth of it. He seemed to enjoy his drink like an Armed guards stood by them to see that ordinary person ; indulged in some con- they did their work. They were “commanversation that was apparently amusing- deered” for the public good and safety. for he has the saving grace of the ambi. The antagonism previously dictated by tious man who will grow to larger things, the management of the monopoly became unconsciousness and a sense of humor. a serious thing. The Transvaal burgher It is safe to wager that should Baden- who had laid down his arms and honestly Powell make mistakes or meet with mis- wished to go back to his farm drifted out fortunes, his popularity will never wane. of the question. A serious problem arose But to return to Pretoria, for my pen has in Pretoria itself, a problem that would carried me into generalities.
have been obviated had there been an offiIt was known for a long time, but the cial recognition of English rights as a concensor absolutely refused to allow it to be quering and therefore paramount power by published abroad, that the English Gov- the government that had left for the hills.