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It was Sunday afternoon, the but if you think there is any neces19th December 1880, and I was sity for my going, I am ready to lounging in the verandah of my start at an hour's notice.” hotel in Pietermaritzburg, digesting And indeed, before I was halfthe invariable Sunday early dinner way to the Club, I found that I of the colony, when a friend, pas- had been taken at my word,—a sing by, stopped, and asked me if short note from the Adjutant-ĠenI had heard the news.
eral, asking me if I was prepared “Have not you heard it yet?” to start by the mail-cart that left he asked; "why, the Boers have for Newcastle next Tuesday morntaken Heidelberg, Joubert is Com- ing, to take command of the town mander-in-chief, and Paul Kruger and garrison of Standerton on the President of the South African Vaal river, some sixty miles within Republic, which they have pro- the Transvaal. Of course I was claimed."
ready-soldiers always are ready “Well, if it's true, that starts for active service and the next me," I thought, throwing away day had
day had an interview with Sir the stump of my cigar, and going George, when I received my inoff to the Club to hear the news structions. confirmed.
He was seated in his comfortable Some weeks before this, when study in Government House, the the first symptoms of the Boer re- roomy bay-window looking across bellion began to be heard of, I had the lawn to a group of semi-tropical seen the General, Sir G. Colley, trees; a water-colour picture of a and placed my services at his dis- skirmish in Ashantee over the fireposal.
place; a massive oak desk strewn “I don't want to go, sir," I had with papers and well-bound books; said; “of course, I dislike the a cosy arm-chair beside it, in which Transvaal more than I can say; he was sitting, and another for my
VOL. CXXX. —NO. DCCLXXXIX.