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being "very cheerful, very dry, very hungry"! But the end was near. Reports came, again from Pretoria, of the approach of a relief column, of a clever manœuvre of the garrison, when a hundred prisoners were taken, among them Kruger's grandson, and many killed; and excitement began to run high.
A hush of strained excitement was over England: every one was asking, "Is Mafeking relieved? we can't hear till Sunday." Flags were chased, guns got ready, cessions arranged - all waited. And when the morning of the 19th came, men woke to see the town flying with bunting, and a telegram in the morning paper that the siege had been abandoned, and that the relief column, with supplies, had entered Mafeking. Then burst out the long-pent-up enthusiasm the flags flew, the church bells pealed, guns boomed, processions marched out, and sober England took holiday. Spontaneously every house was decorated, every one wore the colours, children carried toy flags, carts sported more, ships sailing up channel had heard the news from the pilot and were dressed from "truck to taffrail," the City was invaded, and the Lord Mayor, from the steps of the Mansion House, made a speech to the crowds that yelled themselves hoarse in hearty joy and ecstasy for the victory of British pluck and valour.
The story of the relief is soon told. About the time that Lord Roberts began his march through the Free State a com
site column of 2300 men,
mostly mounted Colonial troops, under Colonel Mahon, 8th Hussars, was formed at Kimberley with great secrecy of purpose and direction. It was accompanied by four Royal Horse Artillery guns, Maxims, and the lightest possible transport, its appearance so timed as to synchronise with Lord Roberts' march, which would attract the enemy's attention elsewhere; and moved by forced marches on the west of the railway.
No opposition was met till Vryburg was passed, when a detour had to be made round Koodoosrand to avoid a Boer laager, from which the Boers attacked from an ambush in the dense bush, seven miles farther on, and a fierce struggle ensued ; but the Light Horse, assisted by the guns, after five hours' hard fighting dislodged the enemy, who fled in confusion, leaving about thirty dead on the field. On the 17th May, when the column was nine miles from Mafeking, it was again attacked by 1500 Boers; but Colonel Plumer having joined hands two days previously, together with a detachment of Canadian artillery, which had regained its place by forced marches on foot, they were again beaten off with heavy loss, to leave the way clear for Colonel Mahon to enter the town on the 18th May, having marched 120 miles in about five days. In the meantime General Hunter was moving by the railway with the muchneeded supplies.
So the relief of Mafeking was accomplished by Colonial men, after it had held out for
seven months by the pluck and resolute will of other Colonial men-many of them sons of the soil, whose birthright is South Africa-led to victory by an English soldier whose name to-day is on every tongue, -a man England is proud of, always with a smile to encourage or a word to inspire confidence; and we recognise that England need never fear for herself or her empire as long as out of those dim battalions of untried men that linger in the far beyond such men as Baden-Powell and those with him who held Mafeking can step out to guard and hold them.
The presence of a British army on the move, northwards, through the heart of the Free State, was soon known across the Drakensberg, and the uneasiness of the Boers in their snug trenches on the Biggarsberg was sufficient to pierce the screen they had drawn between themselves and General Buller on Sunday's river, where he had been resting and recovering for the last two months. The result of the march on the Vaal, if persevered in, would be to place Lord Roberts between the Boers in Natal and their base at Pretoria, when General Buller might be tempted to close in on their rear and push them before him into his hands. So, again, there was nothing for it but to relinquish those thirty miles of excellent trenchwork they had netted across the mountains in face of the Natal column, buoyed up with the pleasant certainty that the
old game of attack across the open against Mausers behind boulders would continue. But General Buller had bought his experience in that three months' hard fighting round Ladysmith, and had learned to see through tactics somewhat transparent. The Boers now found themselves in the same funnel into which they had forced us on the outbreak of the war; the passes over the Drakensberg on the west, Zululand on the east, were closed, leaving the only way out over Laing's Nek, which they must hurry up to secure before that troublesome "Bobs," as the signalman on Bulwana had sarcastically called him in the days when fighting the "rooineks" was only a series of picnics.
Acting in conjunction with Lord Roberts, General Buller, two days before the capture of Kroonstad, moved out in
easterly direction with 2nd infantry division, cavalry going round by Pomeroy to the foot of the ridge on which Helpmakaar stands, where they came in contact with some 2000 Boers intrenched on the summit, holding them there till the infantry came up to turn them out after a short resistance. Helpmakaar is but an uneven, boulder-strewn ridge, overlooking the Buffalo river, across which stands the historic rock of Isandhlwana, Rorke's Drift in the hollow between; and, if the Boers had had any heart left, was excellently suited to their tactics. Yet they fled in confusion, leaving behind a rearguard 1000 strong, and setting fire to the grass, here tall and
dry just now, the smoke in the face of mounted men making progress difficult. They rode through the burning veldt, however, to find the Boers awaiting attack in a strong natural position; but the flank turned, they fled once more. Lord Dundonald in pursuit had, during the day, to ride forty miles over a waterless country, most of the of the time through the smoke.
On the 15th inst. General Buller occupied Dundee, to find that 2500 Boers had just left by train for Laing's Nek, the rest of the 7000 who had held the Biggarsberg retreating during the night, to fight small, delaying actions on the way. Following in pursuit, he reached Glencoe, to find that the enemy, with eleven guns, had left by train at dawn. So General Hildyard was spread along the railway, from Elandslaagte, to repair it; General Lyttelton in rear at Sunday's river; while General Buller with the 2nd division pushed on to Newcastle, which he entered unopposed on the evening of the 17th. Thus the Boer left was turned, and the defenders all along the line driven out in five days with insignificant loss by following a scheme suggested by commonsense. Our left had remained on Sunday's river south of Elandslaagte; the right, as a flying column, striking rapidly at the extreme eastern flank of the enemy's position, to hold him there till the main body came up to Dundee, where it threatened the most sensitive
point in Boer resistance. The roads were bad, mostly deep sand, drifts almost impassable; heavy guns had to be dragged; a large convoy followed; in front and flanks the rugged line of the Biggarsberg, scored with trenches and prepared artillery positions, commanded every inch of advance. Yet a simple
move to a flank carried our army round, victoriously, and sent the Boers scattering headlong in confusion. The American attaché's remark after Colenso, "Was there no way round?" was admirably illustrated.
From Newcastle Lord Dundonald with the cavalry pushed on to Laing's Nek, where he found the Boers disposed to stand after their demoralised flight, the 2nd infantry division following as far as the Ingogo. General Buller with the remainder of the column remained in Newcastle to await the arrival of stores delayed by the state of the line. So a short breathing-time was granted to the fugitives, and the army, nothing loath, settled down for a short rest after the steady march of the last nine days through those grim mountains, where two months ago death and starvation stalked supreme, to emerge into the sunlight of the open country in front, Buller, calm and inscrutable, those stern-faced men in khaki streaming after, content to follow a leader whom - in spite of varying fortune-they know and honour, whose place has been with them where the bullets flew thickest.
INDEX TO VOL. CLXVII.
Aasvogels, presence of, with the army in
ADDRESS AND ITS LESSONS, THE, 445.
Armstrong, Johnnie, of Gilnockie, the
Army Medical Department, the, reforms
Army Nursing Service, duties of the,
Army Service Corps, value of duties
Auckland, a visit to, 220 et seq.-the
Australian cricket in England, last
BALLAD OF FOULWEATHER JACK, 788.
Benighted Lands, an expedition into
Blackmore, R. D., place of, in literature,
for Lord Roberts' advance on, 293 et
863 et seq.
Boer domination in South Africa, neces-
Boer trenches, protection afforded by,
BRITANNIA, FLOREAT, 857.
British ascendancy in South Africa, the
British Colonies, the, present unity of
present requirements, 647 et seq.-
British soldiers, capture of, in South
Brown-Bess, shooting powers of the old,
Buchan, eleventh Earl of, early years of,
Buller, General, attempts of, to relieve
BULLETS, SHOT, SHELL, AND, 163.
Button's coffee-house, the habitués of,
CABLES, SUBMARINE, 355.
Carlisle, fifth Earl of, letters from George
Cavalry, importance of, in South African
Cavalry service, the, recent depreciation
Cider Cellars, suppers at the, 121.
COLD DAY IN MID-CANADA, A, 53.
CONSERVATIVES, A WORD TO, 288.
by the South African war, 316 et seq.,
COTTON CROP OF 1900, THE LOW NILE
Crimea, a visit to the, 45 et seq.
der river, 442-retreat of, 443-sur-
DEPARTMENT, THE INTELLIGENCE, 725.
Desertas, the, value of, as a telegraph-
DIARY OF A BOER BEFORE LADYSMITH,
Dick's Tavern, London, some celebrities
Donga, a South African, described, 299.
EPISODE OF THE INDIAN MUTINY, AN,
Evans's Tavern, London, the company
Expedition into the Benighted Lands,
FAITHFUL CITY, THE, 847.
Fiction, changes in popular taste with
FLAG, TRIBUTE TO THE, 507.
FOULWEATHER JACK, BALLad of, 788.
FROM A COUNTRY HOUSE IN NEW
FRONT, DEPARTURE OF A 2ND LIEU-
Froude, Mr J. A., friendly attitude of,
'George Selwyn, his Letters and his
Parliament, 26 et seq.-vote of censure
GOLDWIN SMITH, MR, SCOTLAND AND,
Goods traffic, congestion of, on British
Government of South Africa, the future,
Government, Radical attacks on the, in
GREAT SOLDIERS, TWO, 700.
tions as to the publications of the, 75.
Hurrah for the Life of a Sailor! Fifty