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Yankee Girls in Zulu Land 



» • • • 



Press of J. J. Little & Co. 
Astor Place, New York. 

New Yokk City, Nov. — , 18— 
My Dear Children : 

Your Affectionate Mother. 
P. S. George wants to know what has set 
you thinking of going to South Africa, where 


Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

there are only Zulus and missionaries. Of 
courfte if the physipian orders it for Frank's 
health, you know what is best. 
* * m « ♦ * 


Well, it liad rained, and snowed, 
and '■ fogged " for six months during the year 
we were in London, and we had seen the 
sun only on ten separate days during that 
period. The doctor ordered a change of 
climate for Frank, to a land of heat and sun- 
shine, and advised us to go to South Africa, 
that land of " Zulus and missionaries." 
The old strain ran through my head, 

From India's coral strands. 
Where Afric's sunny tountain?," etc.. 

4 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

and as anything that suggested sunshine, 
even if it were in a diluted state, was 
what we wanted, we considered that a 
health excursion to the antipodes was 
worth a trial, if it wrought the desired 

There lived in the house with us an Afri- 
can lady who had recently come " home " 
for a trip to see the wonders of a civilized 
world. You must not imagine that by Afri- 
can I mean a Zulu or a Kafir or Hottentot. 
Oh, dear, no ! The lady in question was as 
white as we, and very much more fashion- 
able. She never tired of expatiating on the 
glories of her country, its marvelous fer- 
tility, its thousands of miles of grasslands, its 
myriads of birds of dazzling plumage and be- 
witching song, its flocks of sheep, flocks so 
large that even their owners could only ap- 
proximately count their numbers, its mighty 
rivers, and above all, its immense wealth in 
gold and diamonds. Then the hospitality 
of the farmers, the way in which they wel- 
comed strangers and treated them to the 
best of everything, was quite beyond the con- 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 5 

ception of any one who "had not visited this 
wonderful country. 

These descriptions, tallying with the doc- 
tor's directions, decided us, and having count- 
ed up our pounds, shillings, and pence, we 
made adieus, packed our Saratogas, and took 
passage on board the mail steamer Trojan^ 
Captain Lamar, sailing from the London 

We had left ourselves so very little time to 
make our final arrangements that, as soon as 
the cab started, there commenced a running 
fire of questions. 

" Did you pack the gloves in the big box ? " 

" Did you put the thin dresses on top, for 
we shall want them in the tropics," etc , when 
all of a sudden Louise sprang up with a gasp 
and a shout : 

" Stop the cab ! stop the cab ! " 

" What for ? " 

" Stop the cab, I say ! " 

*' She must be ill," we cried. 

** Stop the cab ! " and an unharmonious 
trio immediately assailed the ears of the 
driver : " Stop the cab ! " 

6 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

The cab stopped. ** What's up anyhow ? " 
inquired the London Jehu. 

"I have left my diary on the dressing- 
table ! " 

4: 4c 4c 4c He 

If any of you have kept a diary you will 
understand the dread horror that overwhelmed 
us all at this awful announcement : one gasp, 
one moment of terrible silence, and then — 
action. . " I must go back for it at once. 
You go on. I will take a hansom and gallop 
all the way. If I miss the boat, I will catch 
you at Dartmouth. I would sooner die than 
have that diary read ! Hi, driver ! Mon- 
tague Place, Kensington ! A half-sovereign if 
you drive as fast as you can. " Bang ! slam ! 
a rush ! a roar ! and Louise is whirled away 
in the hansom cab, with the white horse and 
the dashing-looking driver, with a flower in 
his button-hole. How the horse flew ! What 
short cuts the driver took, darting across street- 
corners, shaving lamp-posts and imperiling 
the lives of small boys and old women selling 
apples, as only a London hansom-cab driver 
can ! Everybody turns around as the white 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

horse with the short tail, dragging the cab 
with its pale-faced occupant, dashes down the 
street, through the squares, across the park, 
round the crescent, where the policeman looks 
almost inclined to stop it, until he sees the 
anxious look of the girl inside ; up the terrace, 
down two more streets, and finally, with a 
clatter, rattle, bang, a plunge and a bump, 
horse, cab, and " fare " come to a stand-still at 
Montague Place. The door is thrown^open by 
the servant-girl. " Have you seen a red- 
covered book with a brass lock that I left on 
the dressing-table in my room ? " 

" No, miss. " 

" Very well, where is Mrs. Oh ! there 

you are ! Oh ! please, have you seen a brass 
book with a red lock, that I left on the — 
Why, there it is in your hand ! Oh, thank 
you ever so much ! I know you were going 
to bring it to me. Good-bye ! I shall be 
just in time. 

" London Docks ! Cabman, quick ! Catch 
the Trojan before she leaves." " All right, 
miss ! " A twist, a plunge, a flick with the 
whip, and the bob-tailed nag is half-way down 

Yankee Girls i 

Oxford Street before the astonished landlady 
can realize the fact that her chance of find- 

ing out all the secrets of Miss Louise is goni 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 9 

Meanwhile Eva and Frank are anxiously 
awaiting her arrival on board the ship : they 
have visited their state-room and seen their 
luggage carefully stored away, and are now 
left with nothing to do but speculate as to 
the result of Louise's expedition. Presently 
the clanging of the bell on the bridge gives 
warning that the warps are to be cast off, there 
is a rush to the gangway of the weeping friends 
of the passengers, and the hoarse cry passes 
along the quay : " Ease her off gently there ! 
Forward ! Stand by the cast-off ! " The 
two girls are almost in despair, and have re- 
signed themselves to the possible postpone- 
ment of the journey, for Louise's catching the 
boat at Dartmouth seems to them only a bare 
possibility ; when the people idling on the 
quay suddenly part from side to side, and a 
hansom cab with the self-same short-tailed 
" white " horse and knowing-looking driver 
dash triumphantly up the gangway, already in 
course of being drawn from the ship, and de- 
posit the diary ( for that seems to be for the 
moment of the most importance) and Louise 
into the arms of the quartermaster. Blessings 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

on that London hansom cab, its horse, and 
knowing driver. They had nobly done their 
duty and at 1 1.29, one minute before the ship 
casts off to drop down the river, the three 
sisters with the recovered diary are safe on 
board the si 

Moral : Don't keep a diary. 



Soon after nightfall the lights along the 

coast began to fade slowly out of sight, at 

length entirely disappearing, and we were left 

in our little world bounded by the bulwarks 

of the ship, with the ocean on all sides, and 

the star-studded heaven above, sailing out 

to that "summer voyage of the world," as it 

called. Certainly to us the recollection of it 

like a long, happy summer's dream, passed 

ider the bluest of skies by day, and the 

12 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

brightest of stars by night. On the sixth day 
after leaving Dartmouth (a long passage, we 
were told) we sighted the beautiful Island of 
Madeira. The weather had cleared, the air 
was deliciously fresh and balmy, the sea calm, 
and every one on deck to view the purple 
cloud slowly rising from the sea, which, they 
informed us, was Madeira. 

Gradually the cloud assumed shape, then 
deeper shadows appeared here and there, till 
at last we could discern the graceful uplands, 
the mountain island, and the fantastically 
formed rocks strewn along the coast, with the 
sea breaking into foam on the picturesque 

For half an hour we skirted along the coast, 
seeing no other signs of human habitation 
than an occasional hut among the bowlders 
on the cliffs, until, rounding a point, we came 
suddenly upon the beautiful village of Fun- 
chal, which is built on the beach of a roman- 
tic bay, with the verdant hills rising in grassy 
terraces in every direction. Low, white stone 
buildings peeped out from small forests, and 
the air was soft and balmy as it gently fanned 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 13 

the cheek, giving one a delicious sense of rest 
and warmth, only to be felt and appreciated 
on the borders of the tropics after a cold, 
damp, cheerless English winter. Scarcely 
had we dropped anchor ere the deck of the 
ship was swarming with men and women from 
the shore, offering for sale native work of 
every description, wicker basket chairs, sofas, 
tables, inlaid work-boxes, feather flowers, par- 
rots, canaries, such lovely embroidery, and, 
what was most acceptable to many of us, the 
varied fruits of the island. Whilst feasting 
ourselves with bananas, mangoes, oranges, etc., 
we had an opportunity of observing the strange 
jumble of humanity on our decks, and sur- 
rounding the ship in row-boats of all sizes and 
shapes. Scores of half-nude, dark-skinned 
boys were in the boats chattering and tempt- 
ing passengers to throw coins into the water 
for them to dive after, and the amount of 
dexterity they displayed in diving after a six- 
pence, catching it before it had sunk apparent- 
ly more than five or six feet, sometimes bring- 
ing it up between their toes, was truly remark- 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

On the deck everything was noise and 
confusion ; the sailors at work unloading cargo 
were hustling the swarthy half-breed Portu- 
guese peddlers out of their way, while they, 
with one eye on their customers and another 

on their wares (for Mr. Jack Tar is not at all 
particular about throwing overboard anything 
that happens to be in his way), were chatter- 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 15 

ing away in a polyglot tongue half English and 
half Portuguese, praising their own goods and 
depreciating their neighbors*. 

They will take generally before they leave 
the ship less than one-half what they ask for 
their goods when they first come aboard, and 
we noticed that passengers who had been to 
Madeira before did not attempt to make a 
bargain until the vessel was just about to 
start. As we were to remain at anchor five 
or six hours we wished to take a run on shore, 
and, together with a married lady and her 
husband, chartered one of the queer cheese- 
box-looking boats for the expedition. 

All appears delightfully clear while in the 
distance : the convent on the slope, and the 
green hill itself, form an agreeable back- 
ground ; but ashore the prospect changed, and 
the streets turned out to be narrow and dirty, 
with the exception of the principal boulevard, 
which runs up from the beach toward the 

The queer-looking covered conveyances 
with runners like a sled and drawn by two 
undersized oxen, not larger than calves, ar- 

i6 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

rested our attention, and we regretted our in- 
ability to take a jaunt in one up the hill to the 
convent, which had been spoken of as the 
most interesting place on the island, where 
the beautiful embroidery is made; but our 
time was limited, and we could only make a 
hasty tour of a few narrow, unheal thy- loo king 
streets lined with trees of dense foliage, sip 

s of Madeira wine, so bad in quality it 
nearly choked us, and then return to our 

During the ramble we entered a large, 
ancient cathedral, that must have been built 
ages ago, whose decorations were well worth 
more than the hasty glance we gave it. We 
passed on to some shops where we found 
costly hand-made laces. One lace shawl 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 17 

which we bought could be rolled up in a ball 
in one hand without any injury to the fabric. 
As we hurried down to the beach we passed 
several invalids, lying in hammocks swung on 
upright poles at head and feet and protected 
from the sun's rays by awnings ; these were 
carried by servants, and in this gentle manner 
they enjoyed the air and saw the sights offered 
on the beach without much fatigue. 

What an English graveyard the Island of 
Madeira is ! It is sad to see the feeble crea- 
tures there with the deluded idea that Madei- 
ra will give health to their tired lungs. It 
may in a few cases, as some plants will flour- 
ish in the climate that will kill others; but 
no one can see the purple cloud slowly settle 
over the island and envelop it at sunset, as we 
did, and believe that in that damp atmos- 
phere, that island home, the consumptive can 
be cured of the deadly disease. He must go 
farther south and inland to that dry, sunny up- 
land country, with its dewless nights and hot, 
sunny days, where health and new life blood 
have filled the veins of many who would have 
been along with the others in the English 

1 8 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

graveyard of Madeira, if that had been their 

Arrived on board, we found everything in 
readiness for departure, and, having cleared 
the decks of the parrots and their owners, 
the anchor was weighed, the decks washed of 
the debris caused by the peddlers, and with 
the ship's head pointing south, we steamed 
away from Madeira. 

sanly jiiDJiotonous, and our 
voyage, though most enjoyable, did not 
difEer from others in this respect. There 
were the usual athletic sports for the gentle- 
men, and occasional concerts in the evening, 
when one or another of the amateurs would 
cause considerable amusement by his nervous- 
ness. One young gentleman, who had volun- 
teered to sing "After the Opera is Over," 

20 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

found himself when he started to sing minus 
the words, the tune, or any idea of how to ex- 
tricate himself. He sang "Aftah the op'ra 
is ov*ah ! Aftah the op'ra is done ! Aftah 
the op*ra is ov'ah ! No — oh — confound it ! 
— I sang that befo — ah ! Aftah the op'ra is 
ov'ah ! After the op'ra is ov'ah — ah — is done. 
Aftah the op'ra — No — what is it ? " Then he 
softly hummed over to himself two or three 
times, and then, "After the op'ra is ov'ah ! 
We swells — we swells — of the — we swells of 
the op'ra is ov'ah ! Oh, doothe take it, I 
must have a brandy and sodah. Excuse 
me. " And he suddenly disappeared in a 
deck cabin immediately behind the piano, 
but as he was serenaded so frequently after- 
ward by those who were anxious he should 
learn the air, there is very little doubt that he 
will ever forget it. The nights were very 
oppressive when crossing the equator, and the 
gentlemen would take up their rugs and sleep 
so pleasantly on deck, whilst the female pas- 
sengers would pass sleepless, hot nights below 
in the close state-room. But one bright night 
one of the heavy showers which come and go 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

so suddenly in the tropics, without a note of 
warning, came sweeping down and inundated 
the sleepers, who rame clattering and chatter- 

ing, wet through, down the saloon stairsatthree 
o'clock in the morning, calling to the stewards 
for creature comforts and dry blankets and 
disturbing every one of the passengers who 

22 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

had managed to defy the stifling closeness of 
the state-rooms and get to sleep. 

There were a number of young men in the 
second-class saloon who were going out to the 
diamond and gold fields to seek their fortunes. 
These were continually bothering the mer- 
chants and diggers who had been out before 
for any particulars of the country they could 
give them. One of these latter gentlemen, 
talking about their eager inquiries one day at 
table, told an amusing story of a previous 
voyage he had made, which is good enough 
to bear repeating. He said he was on his 
way out two or three years before, when the 
diamond fields had only recently been opened 
up, and the ship was full of eager adventurers 
going out to seek their fortunes on the fields. 
Among the passengers in the saloon was a 
wealthy digger who had been home on a 
business trip, and who, having a strong ap- 
preciation of the ridiculous, was continually 
amusing himself by giving the most grotesque 
accounts of the life on the fields, and the 
many ways in which fortunes had been found 
or made. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 23 

It chanced that the ship was short of hands, 
and the captain and chief engineer were in great 
straits to get the coal properly " trimmed, " 
or broken up for the furnaces, the few avail- 
able stokers being in constant requisition at 
the fires. One day our facetious friend pro- 
posed to lay a friendly wager with the captain 
that he would, before the next day was out, 
have half the passengers in the fore cabin vol- 
unteering to break up coal. 

He strolled down into the engine room that 
afternoon, taking care to choose a time when 
a number of the embryo diggers were loitering 
about, and carelessly taking up a piece of coal 
he suddenly started and said : " Good gra- 
cious, engineer, where did this coal come 
from ? " The engineer, who was in the plot, 
said : " Some we brought from Cape Town to 
last for return trip." * * I thought so. Why this 
is the very same coal in which the diamonds 
are always found on the fields." " No ! " said 
the engineer. " Yes," repeated our friend, 
" and I will give you a sovereign to let me over- 
haul the next lot of coal you get out of the 
bumpers." " Oh, for the matter of that," said 

24 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

the engineer, " you are welcome to go over the 
whole lot ; it is all in great lumps and isn't 
trimmed yet." " All right, lend me a coal 
hammer, " and into the bunker stepped our 
joker, followed by the interested gaze of a 
score of the emigrants. In less than a quarter 
of an hour he emerged with five or six rough 
dian)onds in his hand. " Well, boys," said 
he, " that isn't bad work for the time, is it ? 
Now, I don't care to go working about in a 
ship's coal bunkers. Besides, I don't care for 
the stuff. That coal wants breaking up ; go 
and get permission of the captain to let you 
do it, and I'll wager half of you will be rich 
before you arrive at Cape Town." 

No sooner said than done. Permission 
was granted, and, in less time than it takes to 
tell it, fifteen or twenty of the diamond seek- 
ers were hard at work banging at the coal, 
and straining their eyes in vain for the dia- 
monds which seemed so easy to find. But 
their quest was fruitless, and the joker kept 
them at it by telling them they did not break 
the coal properly, that it had to be broken 
across the grain, and so on. Every bit of coal 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 25 

the ship required for her voyage was soon 
beautifully trimmed for the fires, and no dia- 
monds found. 


The voyage from Madeira to the Cape was 
simply delightful. A fortnight, during which 
we had crossed the equator through the heat 
of the tropics, had elapsed, when we found 
ourselves one morning at dawn of day ap- 
proaching the rocky and precipitous shores of 
the Island of St. Helena. It had a most rug- 
ged appearance, which was heightened by its 
lonely position, the island rising almost per- 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 27 

pendicularly on all sides, in some places of to 
the height of one thousand to twelve hundred 
feet Our steamer was to remain several 
hours, and many of the passengers took- ad- 
vantage of the delay to go ashore and see the 
spot made so famous as the scene of exile of 
Napoleon. The entrance to the island is 
guarded by natural walls of stone towering 
above the steamer, and looking so stern and 
cruel. A feeling of desolation was on us as 
we walked up the one narrow, deserted street, 
with its filthy, repulsive-looking inhabitants 
of dusky colored men and women. This 
spot was once all life and glitter with the 
pride of the English Navy, when St. Helena 
was the port for the finest of British vessels to 
harbor in, on their way to India by the Cape ; 
but all that glory belongs now to history. 
What a terrible sense of desolation must 
have filled that great man's heart in his rock- 
bound prison, where escape was impossible ; 
his jail possessed but one gateway, and that 
led into the boundless ocean. 

We chartered some cadaverous frameworks 
which some dirty little boys assured us were 

28 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

horses. Getting into a clattering vehicle, we 
were taken to Longwood, for six years the 
home of the weary exile. 'Tis a long, low 


building, very prettily situated at the head of 
a lovely valley in the center of the island. 

His tomb lies lower down the glen. As 
we stood there, we could not but think of the 
other tomb in Paris, with its gilded dome, 
vying with the surrounding pinnacles to reach 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 29 

high heaven. I remember one sunny day in 
Paris entering this temple ; the sun was 
streaming through the yellow stained-glass 
windows upon the marble pillars in the rear 
of the building, making them appear like col- 
umns of gold ; everything seemed to be 
praising the life of their great hero. 

Quite different, this, his resting-place. On 
this misty morning at St. Helena, as I stood 
in the grand silence beside this simple tomb, 
which seemed to tell the story of this weary- 
hearted man, I felt that no one could doubt, 
after visiting this spot, that Napoleon believed 
in a Higher Ripler, a Superior Being ; other- 
wise his own hand would have cut short his 
dreary existence. 

This visit of a few hours' duration was 
sufficient to cast a gloom over us So, pick- 
ing a few leaves from the grave, we came 
down to the shore again, and the dear old ship 
seemed like a kind heart waiting to receive 
us, and cheer away our loneliness. 

We still had an hour to spare, and several 
of our party decided to ascend '* Jacob's 
ladder," by which name is known along flight 

3© Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

of steps reaching from the beach to the 
heights, said to be the longest stairway in the 
world. The barracks are built on the cliff, 
and an English garrison is stationed there. 
We climbed these hundreds of steps and 
walked on to the parade ground, where the 
men were drilling ; as soon as the officer in 
command spied us he seemed to lose his 
presence of mind, and the end man in the 
line turned one eye over his shoulder to see 
what was the matter, so did the next man ; in 
time it was a funny sight to see the body of 
the whole line of men in position, but all 
heads turned to see the visitors. The sentry 
stationed there welcomed us with an expres- 
sion of delight. Poor fellow ! he said that 
they had received no mail for sixty days, the 
steamers calling at the island only at long in- 
tervals. When asked if it was not a dreary 
life, he shook his head and looked out to sea 
with moistened eyes, more eloquent than any 
words in expressing the monotony of the 

I have heard of a man who, wanting to see 
the world, enlisted in an English regiment. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 31 

and was stationed on the island of St. Helena 
for fourteen years. 

As we were leaving the island one of the 
little nondescripts came laughing past, and 
in the most workmanlike manner picked my 
pocket of its purse. He was caught before 
he could get away, when he cried bitterly, not 
so much, apparently, at being detected as for 
not being allowed to keep his ill-gotten gains. 

Here is a spot for one whose soul is yearn- 
ing for untried missionary fields. The in- 
terior of the island is said to be beautiful, 
flowers and foliage growing in great luxuri- 

Leaving St. Helena, we sailed southeast in 
a straight course for Table Bay ; for two 
days after leaving the island, our table was 
decorated with fresh tropical flowers and 
fruits in great variety. We here felt the in- 
fluence of the heavy ground swell, which the 
sailors say is a peculiarity of those latitudes, 
and has given rise to the burden of a sailor's 
song, " Rolling Down to St. Helena." 

At sunrise of the twenty-eighth day after 
leaving London, having passed through the 

32 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

"summer voyage of the world," we sighted 
the long, flat-topped mountain which has* 
given its name to the bay that lies at its foot. 

When we first sighted it, it appeared like 
a huge solitary rock standing in the midst of 
the ocean, but as we gradually steamed up to 
the arms of Table Bay, which opens to the 
northwest, the town nestling at the foot of 
the mountain became visible, and as we 
brought up to allow the port captain and 
health officer to come on board, the scene 
came more clearly into view. The mountains 
outlined clearly against the sky, the mauve 
and golden-tinted clouds, the deep blue 
water of the bay, edged with a white and 
curving shore of singular beauty, surmounted 
by bold, rocky mountain ranges, combined 
to form one of the most striking views we 
had ever seen. 

We will never lose the impression of South 
African scenery received that morning. We 
had bidden farewell to the smoky fogs of 
London, and had changed them for a coun- 
try that was rich and brilliant, where the 
atmosphere was surprisingly bright and 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 33 

clear, and the scenery bold, spacious, and 

The long range of mountains which com- 
pletely separates the Peninsula of the Cape of 
Good Hope from the mainland, though at a 
distance of seventy miles, stood out with a 
sharply defined outline in the morning air, 
the ravines, water courses, and terraced 
heights appearing with almost supernatural 
clearness. The characteristic beauty of light, 
which distinguishes South Africa, was seen in 
the full and even splendor with which every 
object, near and remote, became visible. 
Small bowlders, cavernous hollows in the 
rocks, patches of brush at the head of the 
kloofs, at an elevation of two thousand feet, 
could be seen without difficulty. We gazed 
spellbound at the distant mountain, seem- 
ingly so near that we could have seen a hu- 
man figure were it climbing the heights, or 
heard a human voice if it broke the silence 
of the kloofs. And it was not until the re- 
volving of the screw warned us that we were 
to enter the docks that we awoke from the 
reverie into which the first view of the coun- 

34 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

try had thrown us. Hastening below, we 
made preparations for leaving the ship which 
had been our home for four pleasant, all too 
fleeting weeks, and on emerging on deck we 
found the vessel had already entered the 
well-built stone docks, and was then being 
made fast to the quay. Shaking hands-with 
Captain Lamar and our other friends on 
the ship whom we should meet later on in 
our journey up the country, we told the 
Malay porter where to find our belongings 
amongst the luggage of the two hundred pas- 
sengers aboard, took one last look at the good 
ship, walked down the gangway, and found 
ourselves fairly on South African soil, ten 
thousand miles from the " Old Folks at 


One of the first things that attracted our 
attention on landing was the motley appear- 
ance of the people on the quay. 

There were the Europeans, some in black 
frock coat and pot hat — a ridiculous costume 
for a hot climate — others more sensibly clad 

36 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

in white linen suits and pith helmets. But 
when we turned to the colored people who 
formed the larger proportion of the loiterers, 
we found ourselves at a loss to say how many 
different nationalities they represented, and 
certainly did not know which to pick out as 
the representatives of the native African. 

They were of all colors and all garbs, from 
the simple costume of rags which distinguishes 
the Hottentot loafer to the gorgeous silk 
robes of the Malay priest. It was not till we 
had been in the colony some time that we 
were able to distinguish from one another 
the Kaftr and the negro from the west coast 
and the Hottentot and the Malay. 

Havmg passed our baggage through the 
custom-house at the entrance to the dock, 
we took a cab, a regular London hansom 
with a Malay driver, and drove along a white 
dusty road to the town, distant a mile from 
the docks. As is the case on going behind 
the scenes of a theater, much of the beauty 
that had impressed us from the sea disap- 
peared when we came to the town itself. 
The houses, which had looked spotlessly white 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 37 

and very pretty from the steamer, we found 
to be little, old-fashioned, square, tumble- 
down edifices, evidently some of the original 
Dutch homesteads. 

Presently, however, we came to a handsome 
street of fine stores, and an imposing railroad 
station, and, rounding the market scjuare, a 
large rectangular piece of open land in the 
middle of the town, drove up to the Royal 
Hotel, where we were received by the pro- 
prietor and wife, who were Cxermans, and 
made very comfortable. As soon as we had 
rested, Eva and I sallied forth to view the 

Our first impression of Cape Town, with 
its sixty thousand inhabitants, black and 
white, was that it was composed principally 
of old-fashioned Dutch houses with indi- 
vidual steps, so that the pedestrian had the 
choice of either dancing up and down the 
steps or walking in the middle of the road. 
We found that although the older houses 
preponderated, there were several streets of 
handsome residences. The streets were 
actually dirtier than those of New York. 

^S Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

The principal business streets run parallel 
with each other from the sea to the mount- 
ain, and are crossed at right angles by nar- 
rower streets. 

On Adderley Street, which is the Broad- 
way of Cape Town, are the elegant Standard 
Bank Building, the Commercial Exchange 
and Reading-room, and, at the further end, 
the large Dutch Reformed Church, which is 
the church found in every town in Africa. 
There are many other imposing buildings, 
beautifully decorated and built with all the 
modern improvements architecture can offer. 
Adjoining Adderley Street is St. George's 
Street, with the towering St. George's Cathe- 
dral rising at the end of the street ; here are 
to be found the Post-ofifice, club houses, 
banks, and the leading newspaper office, the 
Cape Times. Branching off of these streets, 
the old-fashioned Dutch mansions of the 
early settlers may be seen. 

They are situated in the midst of beautiful 
grounds overrun with tropical vines and flow- 
ers. Near by are the charming modern 
English villas and cottages. But the most 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 39 

beautiful and admired suburban houses are 
to be found at Rondebosch, Wynberg, and 
Constantia, on the east side of Table Mount- 
ain, connected by railway with Cape Town ; 
they lie at an elevation from the town and 
are delightfully cool during the summer 
months. A drive through the groves of grand 
old pine and oak trees, with a glimpse of 
mountain, precipice and sea, beautiful houses 
on terraced heights, with vineyards beyond, 
is a delightful event ; these features make 
it a veritable paradise, not imagined by the 
English traveler ; instead of hot, dry, sandy 
Africa, we have here majestic scenery, dense 
forests with a wild beauty of their own, and 
an atmosphere so clear that every object is 
distinctly revealed. There is a quaint old 
castle down by the sea, originally erected by 
the Dutch, who founded the town about 1650. 
It is square and podgy, like the pictures we 
have seen of its founders. The Dutch built 
many forts along the base of the mountain, 
possibly to keep off the wild beasts that used 
to prowl about the back windows of His Ex- 
cellency, the Governor ; these forts lie in ruins. 

4© Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

At the upper end of the town are the Pub- 
lic Gardens, a kind of half park, half Botani- 
cal Gardens, and a very pleasant, shady, 
sleepy, restful place it is, in which to spend 
an hour on a hot afternoon. There is also a 
capital museum, full of curiosities, and a 
handsome public library, containing over 
forty thousand volumes and all the leading 
English periodicals of the day. 

The House of Parliament is a fine build- 
ing, and the legislators are Dutch, English, 
Scotch, Irish, everything but American. 
The Government house is situated in the 
midst of beautiful grounds facing the Botani- 
cal Gardens, and is a long, low building cover- 
ing much ground. We attended an afternoon 
reception there. The guests, after being pre- 
sented to the Governor and his wife, passed 
through the rooms into the large, park-like 
grounds, where some of the musicians of a 
Highland regiment, dressed in the Scotch 
dress, were playing on the bagpipes. Some 
people call it music ; it may be music in the 

A second military band was stationed in 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 41 

another part of the grounds. The gathering 
was a distinguished one ; the ladies displayed 
great taste in their toilets, making the scene 
appear quite like an English garden party. 
But the interest of the traveler is not in the 
pale-faced colonist, but in the dusky, many- 
hued, colored inhabitants. 

The Malays, although originally coming 
from the Malay Peninsula in Asia, are natives 
of Cape Town and have been there for sev- 
eral generations, being the descendants of 
the former slaves of the Dutch East India 
Company and its servants. They seem to 
have retained all their national character- 
istics and are as distinct from the Hottentot 
and the Kafirs as is the white man. They 
are peculiarly a feature of Cape Town, being 
seldom met elsewhere in the country, except 
in small numbers at Port Elizabeth ; they 
have adopted Dutch, the language of the old 
colonists, as their tongue, are generally strict 
Mohammedans and sober, clever mechanics. 
They are as noticeable in the town as on the 
quay. The picturesque, dusky-colored Malay 
woman, with her really beautiful features, her 

42 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

rich-colored, full skirts hanging straight from 
the waist, and containing from fifteen to 
eighteen yards of material, and her bright 

red, yellow and variegated silk handkerchiefs 
tied aroand the head and shoulders, looks 
like a gorgeous balloon sailing down the 
street in the wind. The balloon, however. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 43 

is kept to earth by wooden sandals, held 
to the foot by a wooden peg between the 
big and second toes, which make a clattering 
noise as she walks along the street. 

She is generally loaded down with gold 
and silver ornaments ; her whole person is 
scrupulously neat and clean. The Malay wo- 
men are the washerwomen and upper servants 
of the household. 

The men dress in blue cloth coat and 
trousers, colored vests, a bright-hued hand- 
kerchief around the neck, and a huge straw 
hat. They drive cabs, sell fruit and fish, and 
are waiters at hotel tables. The opinion 
they have of themselves is not to be crushed 
out by anything a colonist may have to say 
to them, and it is best for the new-comer to 
let them alone. 

Then the Mohammedan grandee is interest- 
ing, with his finely chiseled features and tall 
form robed in a long, colored, embroidered 
silk and satin gown of great value, whilst 
round his head, wound in graceful folds, is 
a so ft white scarf of the finest cambric. The 
costume of the coolie woman from India, who 

44 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

sells fruit, is a picture ; it consists of bright- 
hued handkerchiefs draped in the shape of a 
divided skirt on her small figure, a low-necked, 
sleeveless waist, over which is thrown a velvet 
low-necked, sleeveless jacket, cut short under 
the arms, trimmed with golden braid and 
dangling ornaments. Her small bare ankles 
are ornamented with solid silver anklets ; 
bangles are on her arms above the elbow ; 
there is a gold ring through the nose, and 
earrings around the edges of the ears. The 
rings adorn a dusky face, which has eyes that 
reflect the warmth of the atmosphere and is 
crowned by a wealth of jet-black hair, glossy 
as the raven's wing. The whole makes a 
picture for the painter's brush. 

The holy woman who has made a pilgrim- 
age to Mecca is seen with her head and face 
covered, leaving only the eyes free to gaze 
upon the things of the world. These odd 
people, through their contrast to the quiet 
Dutchman, make the town look as if in holi- 
day attire. 


No matter in which direction one goes, 
the great Table Mountain, at the foot of 
which Cape Town is built, makes its pres- 
ence/.?/^. You cannot look along a street 
without seeing it ; it is the first object that 
meets the gaze on rising and the last impres- 
sion the drowsy brain relinquishes at night. 
It is a fine old mountain, rising sheer from the 
sea in an almost perpendicular wall above the 

46 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

first slope on which the town is built to a 
height of 3,852 feet. Its summit is cut off 
perfectly square, thus suggesting its name. It 
is four miles long and is very often crowned 
with a huge white cloud that slowly rises like 
a vapor from the other side, and theil grad- 
ually settles over the top of the mountain, 
hanging Uke a tablecloth on it. 

This always brings with it a storm of wind 
and sand or rain that can be heard shrieking 
and tearing down the mountain-side, while 
the town lies in sultry heat and silence. 
This cloud is almost like a barometer to the 
residents. When asked if there will be a 
storm, the questioned one will quietly look 
at Table Mountain and will tell you the 
strength of the storm that may be coming 
by the size of the tablecloth on the mount- 

It rises and falls like a veil of steam. The 
moon clearly defining the outline of the 
mountain with its vapor-covered summits on 
glorious nights with the bluest of skies above, 
the wind thundering down its sides, scream- 
ing and filling the ear with strange sounds, 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 47 

and the sea rolling in and breaking at its 
base, make a grand scene. 

Imagine the tremendous surface this al- 
most vertical mountain-side presents to the 
ocean, four miles long and three-quarters 
of a mile high. How the heart of an Ameri- 
can manufacturer would sigh if he saw it, to 
think of such a " stand " being unutilized for 
advertising purposes ! 

The mountain is flanked on the north by 
a peculiarly formed hill, shaped like a crouch- 
ing lion, the lion's head, 2, 100 feet high, which 
is nearest the sea, being used for a signal sta- 
tion. On the southwest extremity is the Devil's 
Peak, an ugly-looking spiky-topped mountain, 
with an elevation of 3,300 feet. The sides of 
the lion's head and the base of the mountain 
are covered thickly with the '*' silver-tree," 
only found here and in Natal. The leaves 
of this tree are three inches long and one 
inch wide, and are like an exquisite piece of 
silver-colored satin, with a white, hairy sur- 
face. Only a few short weeks had elapsed 
since we left the cold, wintry shores of Eng- 
land, and here in December the flowers were 

48 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

growing in abundance around us ; for a very 
small outlay we converted our room into 
a conservatory. 

The number and diversity of the flowers, 
both wild and cultivated, that thrive in the 
colony is unlimited, but alas ! the perfume 
is so faint as to be almost imperceptible. We 
had huge bunches of roses of all shades, vy- 
ing in beauty with the very finest of their 
species to be found anywhere, but almost en- 
tirely scentless. The plants of South Africa 
are of great beauty and fill the conservatories 
of Europe. This southwestern region is the 
home of the Cape flora. Orchids innumer- 
able abound on the streams of Table Mount- 
ain and the Hottentot Holland Mountain, 
thirty miles inland. Some of the enthusiastic 
collectors we had met in England would 
surely have been made happy by the privilege 
of classifying them. There are said to be 
350 species of beautiful heather in this region, 
at times making the whole mountain-side 
look like a warm-hued carpet. There are 
geraniums, asters of all sorts, heliotropes, 
lobelias, and so many sorts and varieties of 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 49 

lovely twining vines and beautiful ferns that 
I give up all hope of ever recording one-half 
of them. 

During the winter months of May, June, 
July, and August rain falls, and from Janu- 
ary to April it is very dry. The climate is 
warm and moist to an almost sub-tropical 
extent, owing to the currents of the Indian 
Ocean, so that flowers are to be found the 
year round. The lovely " Lily of the Nile " 
is so common as to be designated by the less 
euphonious name of "Pig Lily." 

During a few days in the month of Decem- 
ber the heat was intolerable, but not more so 
than the summer heat of New York ; and it 
did not last long. It was a dry heat with 
generally a breeze stirring, and then the 
nights were cool and lovely beyond descrip- 
tion. In the dryness of the climate is to be 
found the reason of its giving such comfort to 
the invalid. There is immunity from ague 
or bronchitis. But the invalid suffering from 
pulmonary disease must not think that Cape 
Town is going to cure his tired lungs, but 
must hasten on up country, where the great 

5o Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

physician Nature receives him and restores 
him healed to his loved ones at home. 

There are three climates to choose from in 
Africa : the coast climate with more or less 
moisture ; a midland climate, cooler and 
drier ; and a mountain climate drier still, 
with a bracing atmosphere. 

The hotel, although as good as any in the 
colony, would be considered a very ordinary 
one in America. The smells exhaled on all 
sides from the blacks who wait on you and 
from the ditches over which you take your 
constitutional walk, the sand, filled with fleas 
that make you occasional visits unless grease 
and ointment are used freely on the body, 
these are the chief annoyances offered the 
health-seeker ; but the colonist will tell you 
they are nothing as an offset to the " great 
and glorious climate," and he is right. 

Before the end of the first week we came 
to the conclusion that South Africa was 
charming. We were hasty in thus conclud- 
ing, for, in truth, the scenery in and around 
Cape Town gives the new-comer an impres- 
sion of the country which subsequent experi- 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 51 

ences of sandy plains and barren hills fail 
to justify. We were invited to visit the 
home of a wine merchant, who owned the 
most extensive vineyards at Constantia, some 
distance from town, reached partially by 
train. From the train you go then by car- 

riage, through delightfully shady roads, to the 
cool, rambling old house. 

In the rear were the vaults, in which were 
many hogsheads full of wine made from 
the grapes grown on the place. The grapes 
of CoDstantia are said by some enthusiastic 

52 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

visitors to be the finest in the world ; they 
are certainly most luscious, and the wine 
really delicious. They grow on low bushes 
about two and a half feet high and are simi- 
lar to our California grapes, though, if possi- 
ble, even more palatable. 

The manufacture of wine is the principal 
industry of the suburbs of Cape Town. Pon- 
tak and Cape Sherry, the native sweet wines 
are the favorite beverages and within the 
reach of the purse of all classes. In the 
garden was a beautiful flowering vine, and as 
we stood admiring it Eva spied what appeared 
to be a lizard on one of the tendrils ; it was 
about two and a half inches in length, with 
a long, flexible tail and funny little bulging 
eyes which seemed to act independently of 
one another, turning in any direction, up, 
down, in front or behind. As we watched it, it 
crawled on to a green leaf, and gradually be- 
gan to assume the same tint as the leaf itself ; 
at last the little creature, from being of a 
light brown hue, became almost invisible, so 
thoroughly had it assumed the shade and 
tone of the surrounding foliage. Suddenly 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 


it shot out a long tongue, apparently longer 
than itself, and " snaked " (the word expresses 
the action) a fly that had incautiously ap- 
proached loo near. It was our first intro- 
duction to the chameleon, and we watched it 
with wondering interest during the afternoon. 
After remaining three weeks in Cape Town, 
we found that the changes of temperature 
caused by the southeasters retarded Frank's 
recovery, and we hastened our departure for 
the upland region. 


Pearls and diamonds are words that have 
a charm in themselves. Not only do they 
represent exceedingly beautiful things, but 
the words themselves are pretty. The dia- 
mond fields of South Africa, the " ninth won- 
der of the world," lay within a few days" 
journey of us in the interior of the country. 

\Vc left the Royal Hotel, with its attentive 
laitdlord and lady, one hot morning late in 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 55 

December, and boarded the train that would 
take us up into the country about three hun- 
dred miles, where the coach would receive 
us and carry us on to Kimberley, the dia- 
mond fields. The railroad was well con- 
structed, and passed over mountains with 
steep grades, through wild scenery, one thou- 
sand feet above the level of the sea. 

As we neared " Beaufort " the scenery be- 
gan to change gradually, and before night 
the view from the car windows presented a 
scorched desert-like prairie, with not a parti- 
cle of vegetation except parched little bushes 
resembling the sage brush of our Western 

The horizon was bounded on all sides by 
ranges of forbidding mountains, which feature 
is one marked characteristic of African scen- 
ery generally, there being no spot, we believe, 
in the country where mountains are not seen 
on every side. Our car was provided with 
a primitive contrivance for sleeping, consist- 
ing of a kind of hammock which was stowed 
away under the seat during the day and at 
night was adjusted into slots in the wall of 

56 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

the car ; drawing the blinds and shading the 
lamp at the top of the car with its own little 
curtain, we laid ourselves down to sleep. In 
the morning the same prospect met our view 
that we had bidden good-night to the even- 
ing before, and the prospect continued the 
same until we reached Beaufort. About 
nine o'clock we stopped at a way-station for 
breakfast ; then on again all day we journeyed 
through the same deserted country, which is 
called the *^ Karoo." Nothing was growing 
on it but the monotonous bush, and there 
was not a house in sight ; by midday our 
eyes ached from looking so long at the same 
objects. We might have been crossing the 
Great Sahara Desert. At five o'clock in 
the evening the train, which had kept up 
one tantalizing " dawdle " all day, began 
to slacken speed and blow the whistle, 
and we almost hoped that we were about to 
have an accident or a break-down, or any- 
thing, indeed, to break the dismal monotony. 
But the locomotive only slackened its speed to 
a crawl and puffed up with great importance 
to a low shed with the word "Booking 

Yankee Girh in Zulu Zand. 57 

Office " painted over the door. We found we 
had arrived in Beaufort, which proved to be 
a pretty village with two or three hotels. 

From here our heavy baggage was sent on 
by ox-wagon, as sixty pounds is allowed to 


each passenger on the coach, all over that 
amount costing thirty-five cents a pound. 

The next morning at five o'clock the coach 
which was to carry us to. the fields drew up 
to the door of the hotel. It proved to be 
one of the original coaches which had been 
used to cross our American Continent, and 
had been pushed by the iron horse from our 

58 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

Western prairies and imported by the enter- 
prising Cobb & Co., well known both there 
and in Australia. It was found to be ad- 
mirably adapted for the rough South African 

Eight handsome horses were inspanned, 
and two Malay drivers, one to handle the 
long whip, were seated on the box ; our lug- 
gage was fastened on behind with reins. 
When the fifteen passengers, including our- 
selves, were seated, with a wild eldritch shriek 
from the driver, a yell from his assistant and 
a crack of his whip, which sounded like a 
rifle shot, the Kafir boy who held the leaders 
sprang aside, the eight horses leaped forward 
into the air, then tore away, plunging to this 
side and then the other, shaving the corner 
with the hind wheel which made the crazy 
old coach lurch like a ship in a gale, and 
broke into a wild gallop, soon leaving Beau- 
fort West far behind. 

For some time after leaving the town our 
way lay over a long level plain reaching on 
all sides far into the distance ; the curtains 
were soon lowered to keep us from being 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 59 

stifled by the penetrating, choking, powdery 

The horses had started off^ as if fully de- 
termined to make Kimberley before nightfall, 
but had now settled down into a good swing- 
ing trot, jolting us from side to side, one 
moment banging our heads against the sides 
of the coach, the next throwing us violently 
against our neighbors, until attempts to get 
into a comfortable position were given up as 
hopeless. The journey up country was a grad- 
ual ascent, for the interior of South Africa is 
a succession of elevated plateaus, rising from 
the sea in terraces, marked by mountain 
chains, until the plateaus culminate in the 
vast plains of the Orange Free State and the 
Transvaal, which are some 6,000 feet above 
the sea. In climbing a steep hill the male 
passengers were often unceremoniously or- 
dered out of the vehicle by the half-caste 
driver and compelled to walk to the summit. 

Our experience of farmhouse meals, which 
were taken en routes was anything but agree- 
able, but it taught the lesson never to travel 
through such a country again, no matter how 

6o Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

short the journey, without carrying a hamper, 
even if it cost a shiUing a pound for extra 

At one of these resting-places where we 
changed horses, we paid one dollar for a cup 
of coffee and a sour sandwich. At times 
there was absolutely nothing to eat ; then 
again a palatable dinner would be ready, but 
on such dirty linen and served with gravy so 
full of flies that it was impossible to eat it. 

None of the other passengers seemed to 
have learned the lesson of bringing hampers 
of food with them, although most of them 
had passed over the same road many times. 
With all the discomforts of traveling the 
people of Africa are great travelers, two or 
three hundred miles by coach or cart being 
considered no great journey. 

Very little life or attempt at cultivation 
was to be seen on the road Occasionally we 
came across a herd of cattle grazing, and the 
sheep seemed to have learned to eat stones, 
so little of anything else was there for them 
to feed upon. The open country is univer- 
sally designated by the Dutch word ^^ Veldt'' 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 6i 

translatable as **open field,'' which it is in 
the best or the worst sense of the term. 

At seven in the evening we arrived at a 
farmhouse, completely tired out with the con- 
tinual bumping and jolting we had been sub- 
jected to all day, and felt strongly tempted 
to remain there for the next coach to pass 
through, but finding we should have to re- 
main a week, preferred to take the jolting 
to remaining seven long, hot days in that 
spot. At daybreak next morning the loud 
banging at the door, and the notes of the 
driver's bugle outside, warned us that the 
coach was ready to start ; it seemed that 
five minutes had not elapsed since we fell 
asleep, we were so tired. 

Climbing sleepily into the coach and yawn- 
ing in chorus with our fellow-passengers, the 
driver shouted " right," the boys let go the 
heads of the leaders, and off we went to the 
shrill notes of the driver's horn in the still, 
cold, morning air. We slumbered uneasily 
for an hour after our start, waking up with 
a painful start as some one's elbow would 
insinuate itself into his neighbor's side, at any 

62 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

extra jolt of the coach. We really did not 
care if we never reached Kimberley, pro- 
vided the coach would only stop for two 
or three hours to let us finish our sleep. 
The sun came out and warmed up the flies 
that had left us in the first half hours of our 
Journey. These completed what the jolting 
had commenced and everybody was soon wide 
awake. Late in the day we stopped to change 
horses at a farmhouse, the owner of which 
was a typical Dutch woman weighing three 
hundred pounds. She sat in her chair from 
morning until night, everything she needed 
being brought to her ; her daughter assisted 
her from her chair to her bed, which was the 
only exercise she had all day. She was not 
the sole representative of her kind that we 
saw in the country. 

The second night we were climbing into 
the upland region, where the nights grew 
colder, requiring heavy, warm wraps, the stars 
shone like fiery gems, and threw a white, 
weird light over the country, in which not a 
sound could be heard but the rumble of our 
wheels and the cries of our Jehus. Frank bore 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 63 

the journey as well as any of the rest of us, 
and her condition of health spoke volumes 
for the climate. 

The third night the coach rumbled quickly 
over a pine bridge spanning the Orange 
River, the river being about half a mile wide 
at this point ; when once across we were in 
Griqua Land West, the land of diamonds ! — 
but still one hundred miles away from Kim- 

One more day and night on the road 
through very heavy sand, and we reached the 
Medder or Mud River, a considerable stream 
with very deep and precipitous banks, down 
and through which we rumbled with much 
difficulty, giving the wielder of the '*whip*' 
plenty of work to get us over. Toward 
the afternoon we began to see unmistakable 
signs of our nearing a large settlement. 

We passed some two hundred wagons with 
their long teams of laboring oxen, while 
wayside stores became more plentiful and 
closer together. 

At four o'clock we drove up to the Queen's 
Hotel, where we alighted, tired and travel- 


I CAN hardly hope to give any idea of our 
first impression of Kimberley, The town 
consists entirely of stores and dwelling-houses, 
covered sotne times with coarse canvas, but 
more generally with corrugated iron. One 
cannot help being very much astonished when 
one considers that every scrap of wood, can- 
vas, and iron has been imported from Eng- 
land or America, and brought six hundred 
miles in an ox-wagon through a country little 
removed from a desert. 

The "Queen's Hotel" was the resort of 
most of the better class of diggers and dia- 

66 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

mond merchants in the camp. A noisy crowd 
of fine-looking men usually filled the long, low 
dining-room at meal-times, a large number 
bearing the unmistakable stamp of the Jewish 
race, nearly all of them being representatives 
of the diamond trade in London and on the 
Continent. On the evening of our arrival 
several acquaintances we had made on board 
the steamer coming out to the Cape called 
on us, and they seemed like the faces of old 
friends ; through them we were made ac- 
quainted with the Kimberleyites. 

For the first few days we could do nothing 
but wonder at the extraordinary energy and 
resource that men's brains can display when 
incited thereto by the hope of wealth. The 
town is unlike any other place in the world, 
and looked at first sight as though it had 
been built in a night, being more like a huge 
encampment than a town. It is usually 
spoken of by the residents as " the camp," 
and they use the expression of going "up 
camp " or " down camp " just as >ve would 
say " up town " or " down town." The day 
after our arrival we paid a visit to the mine, 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 67 

and were rewarded by a sight of the very 
biggest hole in the world, covering between 
twenty-five and thirty acres, shaped like a 
huge bowl, and over four hundred feet deep. 

The first diamond in South Africa was 
found in 1867 by one of the children of a 
Dutch farmer named Jacobs, who had it in 
his possession for months, in perfect ignor- 
ance of its value, before the accidental calling 
of a traveler, Mr. Van Nierkirk. Mr. Van 
Nierkirk sent it at once to an eminent geolo- 
gist. Dr. Atherstone, of Grahamstown, who dis- 
covered the fact that indeed it was a diamond. 

Natives and Europeans began to search, 
and the result was that several other dia- 
monds were very soon found, and the hopes 
of the Cape Colony, which at that time was 
in a bankrupt condition, began to revive. 

The first diamonds were found in the 
bowlders and under the Vaal River, so that it 
was not until 1872 that the diggings at Du- 
toitspar and Kimberley attracted any atten- 
tion. But they very soon eclipsed the old dig- 
gings, and the present town sprang up around 
the claim. For some time the claims were 

68 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

kept distinct from one another, but as they 
dug lower and lower, it was found impossible 
to retain the roads separating the claims, so 
the whole was thrown into one large mine. 

The diamondiferous soil is quarried out 
below by Kafirs and deposited in great iron 
buckets which run on standing wire ropes, 
and are hauled up by steam to the receiving 
boxes on the brink of the mine. Everywhere 
is activity and bustle, and a loud hum comes up 
out of that vast hole from three or four thou- 
sand human beings engaged at work below. 

The men themselves look like so many 
flies as they dig away at the blue soil, and the 
thousands of wire ropes extending from every 
claim to the depositing boxes round the edge 
have the appearance of a huge spider's web, 
while the buckets perpetually descending 
empty and ascending full might well repre- 
sent the giant spiders. 

The mine having recently been worked by 
companies owning large blocks of ground, 
there could still be traced the individual 
claims of the original diggers, some carried 
down to a great depth and others left stand- 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 69 

ing like square turrets with the ground all dug 
away round them. 

The effect is weird in the extreme, and it 
does not require any very great stretch of 
fancy to imagine these isolated claims to be 
the battlemented castles of the gnomes who 
inhabit the underground regions. As we 
were gazing down the mine, the whistles 
from the engine-houses began simultaneously 
to shriek out the signal that it was time for 
men to cease working and come up from the 
mine for dinner. 

The buckets ascended for the last time 
and stood still ; the tiny ants at work below 
threw down their picks and shovels and be- 
gan to toil up the sides of the hole. Gradual- 
ly they grew larger and larger till the ants 
became moles, till the moles looked like 
rabbits, then larger till the rabbits became 
boys, and finally emerged full-grown men. 

They were principally Kafirs, with very 
little clothing beyond a cloth round their 
loins ; some sported old red military jackets, 
and the appearance of their bare black legs 
beneath was comical in the extreme. Every 

JO Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

thineen or fourteen Kafirs at work in the 
mine have a white overseer, to prevent as 
much as possible that wholesale robbery 
which goes on amongst them. 

One would think they would find it rather 
hard to steal, and still more difficult to con- 
ceal a diamond on their naked persons under 
the eye of the overseer ; but, despite all pre- 
cautions, they do steal a vast number of 
stones, picking them up and carrying them 
away in their mouths or between their toes. 

The largest diamonds are usually unearthed 
in the mines before the stuff is washed, and 
an overseer must keep his eyes well open, for 
he cannot be sure of the honesty of any one 
of his " boys." 


JDiAMONDS are mostly found in a hard, 
bhiish-green rock which has to be blasted, 
the safest time for doing this being the noon or 
midnight hour- The noise of it sounds like an 
enemy bombarding the camp. We stood on 
the edge of the mine and saw a solitary man 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 73 

down below, who looked as big as a rabbit, 
light a fuse and then run from it for his life, 
when, with a report like a thousand cannons, 
the earth rose two hundred feet in the air 
and then fell to ground again, probably drop- 
ping a Koh-i-noor on a neighboring claim. 

There are somewhat poorer and smaller 
mines at Dutortspan, Bulfontein, and old de 
Boers, all comprised within a radius of three 
and a half miles, and the cab-carts plying for 
hire in the streets have no lack of custom in 
carrying people from mine to mine. 

Most of the property in the mines is now 
owned by companies, individual claim-hold- 
ers finding that it paid them better to con- 
solidate than struggle with the immense work- 
ing expenses of a single claim, surrounded 
by blocks owned by wealthy companies. 
When the companies first formed, there was 
some wild speculation with the stock, and 
several fortunes were made and lost in a few 
days by amateur stock speculators. We were 
invited to inspect the washing-ground of one 
of the large companies, and very interesting 
we found it. The blue ground is taken as it 

74 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

comes up from the mine to a plot of ground 
rented for the purpose, called a depositing 
floor, and, after being dumped down in heaps, 
is spread out on the ground in large, coarse 
lumps, just as it leaves the pick and shovel 
of the miner. Water is then liberally poured 
over it and it is left for two or three days to 
the action of the atmosphere ; at the end of 
that time it loses its rock-like appearance and 
shows itself to be a conglomerate of pebbles, 
ironstone, and carbon. 

It is then thrown against coarse sieves to 
separate the larger stones, which are flung 
aside, and is afterward taken to the washing- 
machine. This consists of a circular iron 
tub, rather shallow and some ten or twelve 
feet in diameter, in which are fixed from the 
center six or eight rakes, with long teeth six 
inches apart, which are kept perpetually re- 
volving by a small steam-engine, or by a 
whim worked by horses or mules. 

Water is kept flowing into the tub through 
one opening, as the diamondiferous soil is 
worked in through another. The revolution 
of the rakes causes a thorough disintegration 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 75 

of the stuff, the lighter portion of which is 
forced over the upper edge, carried away by 
the engine, and thrown on the refuse heap. 
After sixty or eighty loads have been passed 
through the machine, the rakes are lifted up 
and the contents of the box carefully taken 
out. It will be at once understood that only 
the heaviest portions of the precious soil, and 
therefore the diamonds, if there are any, have 
been left in the machine, the lighter parts 
having been washed over the upper edge of 
the box. 

' When taken out, the residue, which con- 
sists of nothing but heavy ironstone and car- 
bon in a pure state and crystals of various 
hues, is carefully sifted through sieves of dif- 
ferent degrees of fineness, sometimes placed 
one under the other in a cradle and thorough- 
ly rocked. Then, when every trace of foreign 
matter has been carefully removed, a dex- 
trous turn of the hand, as the sieve with its 
contents is held in a tub of water, brings 
the diamonds, garnets, and the heavier lumps 
of ironstone into a little heap in the very cen- 
ter, so that when the sieve is reversed on the 


Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

1 pine sorting-table they lie together. 
The white, alum-like appearance of the rough 
diamond contrasts strongly with the rich- 
hued garnets, with which the surrounding 

lifackncss of carbon and ironstone is studded. 
Il is only by practice that one is enabled to 
tell at sight what is a diamond ; the sieve 
ajjpeared to be full of them, but we were 
told they were only crystals, which could 

Yamk^£ Girls I'm ZmIh L*imL 77 

easily be detected from diamonds by taking 
one between the teeth : the diamond resists 
their action, but the crystal cnimbles away. 
Thousands upon thousands of garnets most 
exquisite in color are found in even- sieve- 
ful, but they are thrown aside contemptuous- 
ly, being almost valueless. 

We were allowed the fascinating pleasure 
of sorting over a sieveful of the pebbly-like 
residuum of the washing- box, and I can give 
no idea of the feeling of excitement that 
came over us as we pored over the table, 
each armed with a triangular piece of zinc 
for raking over the stones. 

We found several diamonds, and felt like 
breaking the tenth commandment as they 
were calmly pocketed by the manager of the 
" floor," but were each somewhat consoled 
by the present of a small diamond as a souve- 
nir of the day's wash-up. 

No one would believe from the appearance 
of a rough diamond, looking like nothing so 
much as a piece of alum, that it could ever 
be cut into a beautiful, fiery gem. 

Of course the expenses of a company own- 

78 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

ing a block of claims are enormous, and a 
large number of stones have to be found be- 
fore the margin for a dividend arrives. From 
the opening of the mine in 1871 to the end 
of 1885 the yield of diamonds amounted to 
$100,000,000. The Kimberley mine pro- 
duces almost twice as much as the three other 
mines combined. The expense and difficulty 
of reaching the diamond field in the early 
days kept away the rowdy element to be 
found in our Western mines. 

Such diggers as have remained on the field 
since the "early days" seem never to be 
tired of talking of the life they then led as 
the happiest they have ever known. Then, 
each would peg out his claim and go to 
work therein with pick and shovel, depend- 
ing scarcely at all upon the uncertain help of 
the lazy Kafir, but with his own strong arm 
attacked the hard, pebbly soil in which the 
diamond was imprisoned, and in a primitive 
way " washed " the soil for diamonds. They 
are not to be picked up walking through the 
streets or over the " floors " where the soil 
lies becoming pulverized by sun and rain. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 79 

They hide away and peep out sometimes after 
several cartloads have been washed through 
the machine. 

The days have gone forever when a lucky 
blow of the pick, or a fortunate turn of the 
spade, might result in a prize worth a fortune 
to the finder. Now there are no poor man's 
diggings, and one must possess great wealth 
before he attempts to seek the diamond in 
its rocky bed The time when a poor man 
could go to the fields and possibly make 
a fortune in the first week of his stay has 
passed away. 

The mines are now drifting into the hands 
of a few large companies, and everybody is 
looking to the Transvaal, with its budding 
gold fields, as the scene of the next South 
African Eldorado. 



So interesting and novel was the life at 
the fields, that although in many respects our 
surroundings and mode of living were rough 
and primitive, there was a charm about it 
that atoned for most of its shortcomings. 

After much difficulty, soon after our arrival 
we succeeded in finding a small house, which 
we rented, as being more comfortable and 
affording greater privacy than a hotel. We 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 8i 

fortunately obtained an excellent house- 
keeper, a worthy Scotchwoman, whose hus- 
band was engaged as overseer in the mine for 
one of the companies. 

Our house contained one large room, with 
four other very tiny ones opening out of it. 
The kitchen was, after the manner of South 
Africa, situated away from the house, at one 
corner of the large plot of ground which 
surrounded the house. 

The roof and walls were, like its neighbors, 
of corrugated iron, and a spacious verandah 
encircled it ; a high rush fence which in- 
closed the compound served to keep out in- 
truders and prevent the curious gaze of any 
inquisitive passer-by. 

Here we led a happy life, with Frank im- 
proving in health every day of her existence. 
Our rent was $125 a month. Wood was $75 
a wagon-load : it had been known as high 
as $200, but coal, having been found in the 
immediate vicinity, had been brought into the 
market by some of the more enterprising of 
the farmers and had taken the place of wood 

for fuel in the furnaces. 

82 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

Edibles were reasonable, considering the 
place, excepting vegetables. On one occa- 
sion when we wished to have a particularly 
tempting, large cauliflower we paid %2 for it. 
This did not enter into our menu very often 
of course, for we decided to like other 
things not so necessarily expensive, until we 
two (or three) might find a Koh-i-noor. 

There were two cafes, one kept by an 
American and the other by French people, 
where one could be served, at a reasonable 
price, with a meal that could vie in variety, 
delicacy, and culinary perfection with the 
first-class restaurants in London or New York. 
After eating one of these meals it was strange 
to go out into the crowded thoroughfare and 
hire a cart and drive four or {\y^ miles in a 
country in which one might imagine one's self 
in the middle of the Sahara Desert. Surely 
one could but say that Kimberley is one of 
the wonders of the world. 

The domestic servants are of a different 
kind to those working in the mine, who are 
usually raw Kafirs from the interior. The 
Kafirs generally remain only long enough to 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 83 

save sufficient money to buy a gun or a few 
head of cattle and return to their kraals. 
There they trade off their cattle for a wife, 
and then she does all the work for her hus- 
band, whilst he sits down the remainder of 
his days and tires himself out in watching her 
do thie work, till the soil, and do everything 
else, telling her the while pretty stories of his 
adventures, and how he loves her, she think- 
ing it only an honor to work and slave for 
such a brave boy as hers ! 

These Kafirs are continually arriving, com- 
ing from long distances, walking sometimes 
as far as 1,500 miles in the interior ; but the 
household servants are different ; they are a 
heterogeneous mixture of Malays from Cape 
Town and Kafirs and the imported coolies 
from Natal. It is difficult to say which makes 
the worst servant ; at any rate, we found, no 
matter from which race we selected our help, 
it was never safe to leave anything of value, 
at all portable, within their reach. 

Ladies are quite a rarity on the fields, 
few of the married diggers of merchants car- 
ing to subject their wives to the discomforts 

84 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

of the life and the unreliable domestic help. 
Consequently they remain at home in Europe 
or in the more civilized towns of the Cape 
Colony or Natal. The few married ladies 
resident on the fields are very social, and 
helped much toward making our stay a pleas- 
ant one. 

On the evenings when we were " at home," 
the capacity of our one reception-room would 
be tested to its fullest extent. There was al- 
ways some subject for conversation, some 
startling event continually occurring to form 
a theme for discussion. 

Now it was the breaking out of the Basuto 
War, with the report concerning the regiment 
of mounted irregulars to be raised in the 
camp for active service ; then again a stone of 
more than usual size and brilliancy had been 
discovered ; or some illicit diamond buyer 
had been " trapped " by the detectives. This 
latter topic was always of absorbing interest 
to the digger or merchant. 

It is the illicit diamond buyer, or as they 
term it, tout courts I. D. B., who has been the 
sharpest thorn in the digger's side. He it is 

Yankee Girls in ZmIu L-imJ. 


■stWK.ifirs who are 
employed in the mines to 
slf al, and Ihen secretly buys 
of them the stolen gems. The 
tempt aiion to become |>os- 
sessed for §400 of a stone 

clearly wortli $4.- 
000 is very great, 
and occasionally 
even a detective is 
found by his associate 

) be engaged in the 

illicit trade. It is illegal Co own a diamond 

86 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

unless one is a claim-holder or a licensed 
buyer. If a private individual wishes to pur- 
chase a stone or two for himself, he must 
first obtain a permit from the authori- 

These precautions will be seen to be neces- 
sary, because the value of the diamond, its 
portability, the facility with which it can be 
concealed, and the uncertainty regarding its 
existence make it a source of temptation to 
dishonesty among all classes. It is therefore 
against the law for any one, even if a licensed 
buyer, to purchase a diamond from any one 
not a claim-holder, unless he can produce 
his permit. 

The law has become so stringent and the 
detective force so active that terror has 
stricken the hearts of the I. D. B.'s, for it is 
now a matter of fifteen years' hard labor to 
be convicted of buying a stolen diamond. 
Before this stringent law was passed, many 
went away rich in a few years who could not 
have possibly made " their pile " in any le- 
gitimate business in that length of time. 
Men who have been suspected for years, but 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 87 

have managed to evade detection, have been 
pounced upon by detectives at most unex- 
pected moments ; but the temptation is so 
strong that, despite the penalty, the practice 
still goes on, but to a smaller extent than be- 

It was astonishing to find out how often the 
culprit turned out. to be a man in a good and 
responsible position, and often the very men 
who were the loudest in the denunciation of 
the crime were themselves practicing it. We 
were in a cafe one evening when there was a 
sudden hush, followed by a startled buzz of 
conversation, and we heard the name of a 
well-known man followed by the word " de- 
tectives." A man standing near who was 
suspected of carrying on the same trade 
became suddenly pale and bit uneasily on his 
cigar, and with a careless laugh said, " Serves 
him right,'* in a tone of voice which spoke 
louder than words, " What a fool not to be 
more careful ! *' Before we left the camp 
that same man was working in convict 

Detectives themselves have been tempted 

88 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

to dabble in the trade, and have been trapped, 
and are now working in convict dress by the 
side of the men they have helped to hunt 
down. This fascinating tradie of gems offers 
great temptations to the weak-willed, and it 
takes a certain amount of bull-dog courage, 
combined with caution and patience, to con- 
tinue in this dangerous business. 

On mail days great envelopes of diamonds 
are sent to London. Some of these packages 
contain flawless diamonds ; others smoky dia- 
monds used in machinery for polishing and 
cutting the stones ; others again would con- 
tain stones of all colors, sizes, and purity. 
One day we handled some packages of spot- 
less gems that the broker had been months 
collecting ; they were beautiful indeed. One 
package, worth many thousands of dollars, 
contained yellow diamonds, selected stones 
in size, color, and purity. Those of yellow 
tinge are bought and worn by the East In- 

The pure white stone is of more value than 
the yellow because not so plentiful. It is a 
strange fact that these diamond merchants 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 89 

seldom wear diamond jewelry ; they prefer 
rubies or corals to the too common gem, the 

The famous Porter Rhodes diamond was 
found, it is said, by one of his overseers. A 
director of one of the companies called one 
morning and I opened the door to him ; he 
assured himself that no one could overhear 
us before handing me an envelope within 
which lay this great, pure white diamond, 
which only some millionaire with plenty of 
ready money can afford to be the possessor 
of. I felt highly complimented when told 
I was the first lady who had had the diamond 
in her hand, and there was no need for won- 
der at his caution, for no one would care to 
let it be known he had such a prize about 

It looks like a large lump of alum with a 
light like white satin through it, and weighs 
150 carats. 

Mr. Rhodes placed it on exhibition later 
on for the benefit of the hospital, and $5 
admission fee was charged to merely have a 
peep at it. It made some of the old diggers 

90 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

who had been working for years so sick at 
heart, that they did not feel like work for a 
week afterward. It is said that when Mr. 
Porter Rhodes had an audience with Her 
Majesty, the Queen of England, to exhibit 
the diamond, he had been told that he must 
not contradict her. But when she remarked 
she did not think it as large as the Koh-i-noor, 
he could not endure that, even from a crowned 
head, and said : " It is larger ! '* His pride, 
however, is not to be wondered at, for I be- 
lieve Mr. Porter Rhodes is the only Mr, 
who can boast of owning one of the few big 
diamonds in the world. 

Some enterprising ladies own Scotch carts, 
which they send to the wash-ups in which their 
husbands and brothers are interested, and get 
the small pebbly refuse that has been hastily 
looked over at the sorting table. This is 
brought to the house and sorted over by them 
more carefully for the tiny diamonds that 
have been overlooked in the haste of sorting 
out larger prizes. A few of the ladies dressed 
themselves on the money they made at this 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

It tires the back and eyes, to be sure, but 
not any more than other woman's work. 



The diamond fields of South Africa, though 
of recent discovery, have eclipsed all others 
in the world, both in richness and extent. 
One of the first diamonds found, worth $i 25,- 
000, named the " Star of South Africa," is 
owned by the Countess of Dudley, its weight 
being 46^ carats. The color of the Kim- 
berley diamonds makes them much mote 
valuable than those of Dutoitspan or Bulfon- 
tin. Those found in the latter mines are larger, 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 93 

but yellow or slightly colored ; all the mines 
seem inexhaustible. The largest diamond 
ever found in South Africa came from the 
Dutoitspan mine in 1885 and weighed 404 
carats, but was spotted and of a yellowish 
tinge. Every man interested in these mines 
expects and hopes daily to **go one better.'* 

American products are liked, our carriages 
and heavy wagons wearing better in the hot, 
dry climate than those of English manufact- 
ure. Corn comes from home to these shores 
in ship-loads, and the American light and 
strong furniture is liked. 

Mark Twain's and Bret Harte's writings 
are universally read, and the South Africans 
say that all they need to open up the country's 
interests is about " twenty-five ship-loads of 
live Yankees." 

Some of the houses are furnished beauti- 
fully with American furniture. One lady's 
bedroom I entered had blue silk and lace 
coverlet and hangings to an elegant black 
walnut bed, marble-topped dressing bureau, 
and the remainder of the room furnished in 
keeping ; but there is no satisfaction in fur- 

94 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

nishing a house richly or dressing elaborately, 
on account of the great dust storms. They 
come up suddenly, without the slightest warn- 
ing, obscuring the light of day. Solid moving 
columns of red sand, resembling water-spouts, 
are whirled round and round and blow like a 
tornado over the town. These sand storms 
are quite a feature of Kimberley and a very 
disagreeable one, but they clear the air of any 
pestilence. The climate, though scorchingly 
hot during the middle of the day, is other- 
wise a very pleasant and healthy one. 

A low camp fever is prevalent during the 
summer months, but it comes more from the 
defective sanitary arrangements than from 
any fault of the climate. Women and children 
succumb to this African fever very quickly 
in the hot summer, when the air quivers with 
the heat; the only hope of recovery is in tieing 
taken away immediately from " the camp " to 
Blocurfontin, a beautiful town in the Orange 
Free State, or to breathe the sea air. The 
nights everywhere in South Africa away from 
the immediate coast line are invariably cool, 
no matter how hot it has been during the 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 95 

day, so that one can always obtain a comfort- 
able night's rest. But that delightful twilight 
hour, so much enjoyed at home, is not known 
here, the sinking of the sun being followed 
immediately by darkness. 

A beautiful black Newfoundland dog 
attached itself to us, and was as faithful a 
body guard as any human being, for when 
once outside the door at night, no one dared 
to come within his reach, and when we went 
out of an evening he was locked in to guard 
the house. 

One evening on returning home from a 
social gathering we found the lock had been 
broken, the act evidently the work of a white 
man bent on robbery during our absence ; 
but Hector's growls had frightened him away. 
We had no fears after that of its being attempt- 
ed again, but we reckoned without our host. 
One evening, a week later, we made prepara- 
tions to go out, but as soon as Hector saw us 
putting on our wraps, he watched his oppor- 
tunity and slipped out. No coaxing could 
bring him back, and so he followed our cart. 
This time the burglars did not hurry about 


Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

their work, but made a most leisurely exam- 
ination and overhauling of our belongings. 
We letuTned to a house 
; which was a scene of the 

trunk was empty, 
with its contents 
piled up on the 
floor ; every 
pocket in dress 

and cloak turned inside out, and all jewelry 
and souvenirs that had not been locked up in 
the safe, of course, gone. We did not let it 
frighten us, for, after notifying the police, we 
shut and barricaded the doors and sat up till 
dawn ; but there is no use denying the fact 
that if a mouse had made its appearance we 
should have screamed. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 97 

Many balls are held during the cool winter 
evenings, a few of which we attended ; one; 
conducted under the auspices of the ubiqui- 
tous Free Masons, was held in the Iron 
Theater building, and a very brilliant affair it 
was. There were four hundred and fifty in- 
vitations, of course many more gentlemen 
than ladies being present, but it was interest- 
ing to see what an elegant company assem- 
bled so many hundreds of miles from the 
nearest point of civilization. Many of the 
ladies were attired in London or Parisian im- 
ported costumes of satin and lace ; some of 
the wives and daughters of the wealthier resi- 
dents being literally ablaze with diamonds, 
the result of their husbands', or fathers', own 
pick and shovel, which they had had cut and 
set during one of their numerous trips to 
Europe. It was when returning from this 
ball at three o'clock in the morning that we 
first visited the mine by moonlight, and it 
may be said without hesitation that such an- 
other sight cannot be found in any other 
part of the world. 

The moon and stars seem to shine with a 


98 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

brighter light in the magnificently clear at- 
mosphere than they do in our northern hemi- 
sphere, and the ghastly shadows cast by the 
immense perpendicular and horizontal ex- 
cavations in the mine gave a weird look to a 
scene the impression of which can never be 
effaced. The moonlit chasm resembled a 
vast deserted city that had slowly crumbled 
into ruins. 

Another interesting feature of Kimberley 
is the arrival of the interior traders' wagon 
trains, for every wagon is full of precious and 
various wealth, the result of a long, risky ven- 
ture. Not infrequently the costly wares are 
sold by auction, in the morning market, and 
the tusks, teeth, skins, horns and feathers are 
spread out upon the ground as if they were 
no better than field stuff or garden produce. 

It is no uncommon thing to see wagon 
cargoes worth $50,000 exhibited for sale in 
this unceremonious way, amidst a crowd of 
onlookers, some of whom look almost as wild 
as the animals which produced the barbaric 
spoils, and as black as coal. Professional 
hunters also bring the result of their trips. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 99 

though the labor of getting together the skins 
and ivory is yearly becoming greater, as the 
game is driven farther and farther north. No 
doubt the rapid increase in the value of farm 
produce will tend to lessen the inducements 
to hunting. Civilization and barbarism are 
such mixed quantities in this land that it 
seems as if the former will never conquer the 

The inhabitants of Kimberley, numbering 
20,000 whites, are determined to make a fine 
city of it. The old one-storyiron and canvas 
houses were being moved aside for larger and 
finer dwelling-houses. 

Capital was being invested in water-works 
which would bring the water in pipes from 
the Vaal River, some seventeen miles away. 
Government was putting up stone buildings 
for post-office and telegraph offices. Churches 
were towering up above the surrounding 
dwelling-houses and stores. A club-house, 
the finest in the country, was built at a cost 
of $90,000, and they still keep on improving 
the stj^ets, which extend over twenty miles. 
There are some very fine jewelry stores and 

J J J 

-.'*-' J 

100 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

dry goods houses, as attractive as any in 
American cities of double its population. An 
air of activity pervades the place. Thirty- 
two electric Brush lights, of two thousand 
candle power, light up the city. 

Wishing to see how far civilization had 
crept into the interior and also to breathe the 
wonderful air of the Transvaal for a little 
while, we left our house in charge of our 
worthy housekeeper and drove away from the 
coach office early one bright summer's morn- 



We were told that the Transvaal Repub- 
lic was an entirely inland territory ; nowhere 
does it touch the sea, from which its nearest 
point is quite one hundred miles. It extends 
from the Vaal River to the Limpopo, and 
from the same river and the colony of 
Griqua Land West (the diamond fields) on 
the west to the Zulu country and Portuguese 
settlements on the east. It is exceedingly 
healthy, lying from 6,000 to 7,000 feet above 

I02 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

the sea level. Our road for some distance 
after leaving Kimberley was through thick 
sand ; indeed, Kimberley seems to lie in the 
center of a veritable sea of sand, sometimes 
so loose and deep that to go through it is 
like wading through deep snow. The coach 
required constant changing of its six horses 
at stables en route to make any progress. 

On the second day from the Fields we 
passed through the village of Bloemhof, the 
first place after leaving Kimberley. It is 
quite a pretty little spot, the only street being 
wide and clean, with tolerably well-kept grass- 
plots on either side of the road. It formed an 
agreeable contrast to Clerksdorp, a wretched 
hamlet we reached the following day, where 
the hotel (save the mark !) boasted one room 
and parlor, with an individual in charge who 
was collectively clerk, proprietor, waiter, bar- 
tender, and chambermaid. 

As we neared Potchefstrom there was an 
agreeable change in the appearance of the 
country, the characteristics of the lower veldt, 
which were alternately a plain and a mountain 
pass in unvarying succession, giving place to 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 103 

a park-like landscape, forming the most de- 
lightful of prospects. 

The country was everywhere beautifully 
fresh and green, the monotony of grassland 
being varied with clumps of thorn bushes and 
stunted trees. The variety of thorn is almost 
endless, from the beautiful, fragrant, flow- 
ered " mimosa " to the prickly pear, and the 
suggestively named " wracht een beeche^' or 
" wait a bit ** bramble. Three days* and 
three nights' almost constant traveling brought 
us to Potchefstrom, and there, a thousand 
miles from Cape Town, we were obliged to 
confess that we had reached the prettiest vil- 
lage in the country. 

Alighting at the Blue Post Hotel, we were 
received in a manner which almost made us 
doubt the existence of such places as we had 
passed through on our way. 

We were shown to a very nice room, and 
sat down to as good a dinner as the heart of 
a tired American girl could desire. 

The worthy hostess, Mrs. Jenkinson, a 
ruddy- faced, buxom Englishwoman, who 
seemed to bring with her all the freshness of 

I04 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

her native Devonshire, made us most comfort- 
able during our visit ; her kindness was appre- 

ciated, coming, as it did, after the extortions 

of the grasping hovel-keepers of the roadside. 

The town itself is hke a large orchard, so 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 105 

abundant are the fruit trees. Every street is 
a boulevard of orange and peach trees, which 
here grow side by side. The very hedgerows 
are figs and quinces, while everywhere may 
be seen grapevines, lemons, shaddocks, and 
bananas. Between the sidewalk and the 
street is a well-kept grass-plot, with a stream 
of clear water running in the midst of it, a 
veritable rarity in South Africa. The Mooi 
(Dutch for "' beautiful ") River takes a horse- 
shoe curve round the village, which is built 
on a slope. The furrows which hold the 
water are led from the upper to the lower 
bend, and thus a perpetual stream passes 
through the town. Eight mills were situated 
at the entrance of the town, and several more 
were in course of erection. 

We met an American gentleman, Mr. C , 

who had made a considerable fortune in the 
Gold Fields, and who was conducting one of 
the mills ; this he had fitted with machinery 
brought from the Philadelphia Exhibition. 
His wife was a pleasant-faced, cheerful little 
woman, whose history, as it was told us, 
sounded like a romance. He had first met 

io6 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

her at Pilgrim's Rest Gold Fields, where she 
had gone from Natal with her two brothers. 
She, following their example, had pegged out 
a claim. She had hired natives, had worked 
at it herself, and had turned out more gold 
than either of her brothers. 

We began to hear the most alarming rumors 
of the disaffection of the Dutch Boers with 
the Government. Several prominent farmers 
had called a large meeting, at which it was 
unanimously voted to pay no taxes to the 
hated '* Englanders." Such startling stories 
began to be circulated about the attitude of 
the country people that we hastened to gather 
up our skirts and get on to and out of Pre- 
toria before the threatened rising took place. 

At the end of three most enjoyable weeks 
in Potchefstrom we again took seats in the 
coach, and after one hundred miles of jolt- 
ing, bumping, and general discomfort, arrived 
at Pretoria, then the seat of the English Gov- 
ernment, and now the capital of the Repub- 
lic. On the way we passed the sources of 
the Limpopo River, and at a place called 
Wonderfontein were shown a remarkable 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 


phenomenon. The water, which runs in a 
clear, tolerably rapid stream, suddenly disap- 
pears into the sand, and appears again a con- 
siderable distance further on, as bright and 
clear as though its progress had never been 
interrupted. There are also gold diggings on 
the road ; a rush had bten made to them 
some time previous to our arrival, but they 
had now been nearly abandoned, and a stray 
prospector or two were the sole remaining 
signs of the presence of the metal. 


Pretoria presented quite a lively appear- 
ance when we first saw it. The presence of 
the British military, with their bright uni- 
forms, gave a gay appearance to the town. 
The playing of the band every evening on 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 109 

the market square was an agreeable event, 
but one could not help remarking the sullen 
looks of the few Boers who were loitering 
about, and the lowering glances they from 
time to time directed toward the detested 
" red-coats." There were many churches 
and a number of stores. Although the town 
was not as pretty as Potchefstrom, the sur- 
rounding country district was exceedingly 
rich and fertile. 

The northern portions of the districts, being 
warmer and at a lower elevation than the rest, 
could produce, besides the various cereals, 
tot)acco, indigo, and the orange tree, the sugar- 
cane, coffee, cotton, and the different kinds 
of tropical and semi-tropical products. 

The people of Pretoria and Potchefstrom, 
to whom we expressed our admiration of the 
country, told us we should go to Rustenberg, 
distant about sixty miles from Pretoria, which 
place they declared to be a veritable paradise. 
All the temperate and most of the tropical 
plants and fruits were to be seen there side 
by side, the whole country around presenting 
the appearance of a garden. 

no Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

The gold fields are situated in and about 
Leydenberg, a town two hundred and twenty- 
five miles northwest of Pretoria, where con- 
siderable gold had been found, although the 
gold-bearing tract was declared by prospectors 
to be " patchy." 

Since the fields had first been discovered 
various rushes had taken place, resulting, as 
such rushes do, in various fortunes for the 
rushers, some coming away on foot, bringing 
their worldly wealth in their blankets and tin 
pans, and others bringing theirs in carts, which 
were loaded with the precious metal. 

Our hotel proprietor had been one of the 
unfortunates. He said the prospects in the 
gold fields had never been great, and were 
then daily diminishing. *^ Gold, " he said, 
" there is, but not in payable quantities ; it is 
too patchy. One man will wash out ten or 
fifteen dollars' worth in a week, while the 
claims around him will not come near paying 
expenses. Sometimes a large nugget is found, 
as, for instance, the one recently exhibited in 
Durham, weighing 214 ounces. Young men 
frantically rush to see such a nugget, and 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, iii 

immediately imagining the country is covered 
with gold, are eager to leave a good situation 
and go to the fields. 

" Deceived humanity ! Let them be wise 
men for only five minutes, and ask themselves 
how much did that nugget cost the finder, 
and how many didn't find the nugget at all ? 
I possess a quantity of gold that cost me ninety 
dollars the ounce, whereas the market value 
is from fifteen to twenty dollars the ounce. 
I am neither an Australian nor Californian 
miner, but, having always been in partnership 
with the latter, I have had the benefit of 
their experience, and I claim to be a practi- 
cal miner. Labor is scarce. Kafirs are paid 
four dollars a month (they now receive much 
more) and have the usual diet, mealie meal, 
which is fifteen dollars a sack and sometimes 
twenty-five. No," said he, "prosperity is 
the exception, and the great cry is. How can 
I get away from here ? " 

The attitude of the Boers had become more 
and more menacing during our short stay in 
Pretoria, and it seemed prudent to retire 
whilst we could. So giving up with a sigh all 

112 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

our half- formed resolutions to see the wild 
country and enjoy the glorious climate where 
the regaining of health was a certainty, we 
packed ourselves away in the down coach. 
The easiest way to ride with comfort in a 
coach is to imagine one's self India-rubber. 
Don't sit too firmly on the seat, but sway 
about with the motion of the coach until you 
can't imagine yourself India-rubber any more. 
By the time the body is numb and pretty 
nearly paralyzed, the coach stops, and on 
trying to descend the limbs refuse to act. 
But the India-rubber idea has rested the 
body in some measure. The farms we passed 
on our way down were deserted, all the occu- 
pants having trekked to Potchefstrom to at- 
tend a monster meeting fixed for the following 
week. There had been heavy rains, and we 
crossed several streams which had changed 
into rivers since our journey up. One, the 
Yorksey, which was only just fordable, had 
been but a stagnant puddle when we passed 
it before. 

Just calling in on our kind hostess, Mrs. 
Jenkinson, in Potchefstrom, and taking a last 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 113 

look at the beautiful orchard-like village, so 
soon to become a terrible scene of bloodshed 
and slaughter, we continued on our way 
without incident other than the usual discom- 
forts attendant on a South African coach ride. 
At several points in the roads we passed 
groups of Kafirs going to the diamond fields, 
and other groups returning from them, and it 
was amusing to note the prosperous appear- 
ance of the latter compared with the half- 
naked, destitute condition of their brethren 
going in the opposite direction. Most of 
them carried huge bundles on their heads, and 
it was funny to see the strange medley of 
articles some were carrying home as curiosi- 
ties. Two of them carried ragged umbrellas, 
with scarcely a shred of material on their 
skeleton frames. They seemed to fancy 
bright tin pails and pannikins ; and a new 
white flannel blanket, with several bright- 
colored stripes decorating the ends, was an 
indispensable article in the kit of every one 
of them. 

We passed through Clerksdorp and Bloem- 

hof, as on our journey up, arriving in Kim- 


114 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

berley on the fourth morning, travel-stained 
and weary, and most heartily sick of Messrs. 
Cobb & Co.'s coaches. Apart from the trav- 
eling we had enjoyed our trip very much, 
having seen the most interesting country in 
South Africa. Although the poor Transvaal 
seems to be doomed to years of political 
trouble before it can become truly prosper- 
ous, it is imdoubtedly, with its undeveloped 
mineral wealth, its rich soil, the game which 
abounds there for the hunter, and, above all, 
with its glorious climate, the country of the 
future of South Africa. The farmers seem 
to want rousing ; they lack ambition. Large 
tracts of country, capable of producing almost 
anything, lie dormant, waiting for employ- 
ment. The best thing that can happen to 
the country is the successful opening up of 
some paying gold fields. This would bring 
many men of the right sort to the country, 
men with energy and determination, and 
above all, some healthy ambition. To the 
stranger newly arrived in the country the 
people seem lazy and listless, but after a 
year's residence there this same listlessness 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 115 

gradually begins to steal over the new-comer. 
He then greets the latest comer, who is ener- 
getic and indifferent to heat, with the re- 
mark : " Wait till you have been out here 
as long as I, and see how you will like it 

Experts believe the mineral wealth of the 
Transvaal to be enormous. The diversity 
and variety of the minerals found there is 
unsurpassed. It has lead, cobalt, silver, plum- 
bago, saltpeter, sulphur, iron, the best coal, 
and above all, gold ! Echoes reach the ear 
of a story that there are signs on the western 
coasts, and not far distant, of the mines of 
Ophir. One also hears of an impregnable 
country beyond, and of a tribe kindred to the 
Basutos, ruled by the great chief " Sekukuni." 
Everything one hears in Africa that is weird 
and strange one easily believes. 

As a grazing country the Transvaal is by 
far the best in South Africa. Sheep, cattle 
and horses thrive there, and certain districts 
are especially suited to one or another class 
of live-stock. It is in some parts well wooded, 
particularly in the north, while its producing 

ii6 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

capabilities are practically unlimited. When 
traffic can be easily extended to Delagoa 
Bay, it is confidently expected great changes 
will take place. 

It remains to be seen whether the Boer, 
left to himself, is capable of self-government 
with progress. Will he utilize the advantages 
of his country, or will he rest from genera- 
tion to generation in stagnant content, com- 
forting himself with the maxim ; " What was 
good enough for my father is good enough 
for me." 



We found our motherly old housekeeper 
awaiting our arrival with everything fresh 
and clean throughout the house, and we 
were glad once more to be " at home." The 
ten months of our life in "the camp" had 
been full of interest and pleasure, and its 
sun's rays had given health to the invalid. 
But such a desert region of country could have 
no attraction for any one but the specula- 

ii8 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

tor. After a thoroughly good rest we turned 
our thoughts toward the first stage of our re- 

Frank had gained so wonderfully in health 
that we thought a change to the coast would 
do no harm. If harm did come, however, 
we could return, for we were decided to re- 
main in the country until she had regained 
her health. It seems that human beings be- 
long more to the vegetable than to the animal 
kingdom. They are like plants that flourish 
if they are put in the right soil, and grow in 
the climate best suited to them. The damp, 
heavy air of London, that necessitated exer- 
cise and food, was delightful to Eva and me, 
whilst Frank pined away under it as if she 
were breathing a deadly poison. 

At the beginning of the new year we pre- 
pared to go by coach the usual way to Gra- 
hamstown, the principal town in the eastern 
province of the Cape Colony, and the point 
of our destination. In a few days our furni- 
ture was disposed of, our housekeeper dis- 
missed, and we took our places in the coach 
to leave, and bade good-by to Kimberley 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 119 

and many kind friends we had made. For 
seven months it had not rained, but rumors 
of heavy rains had reached us a few weeks 
before our departure, and we feared we 
should find impassable the river we should 
have to cross on our way to Fauresmith, near 
which ** Jagersfontein " (the new diamond 
fields) is situated. The roads we found in no 
better condition than those in the colony, 
and the coach threw us about and jolted us 
against one another and the sides in the old 
familiar way. 

On arriving at the bank of the river, we 
found it was rushing down like a torrent, and 
almost level with the top of the precipitous 
banks, some sixty feet high. At another 
time we should have found the river at the 
foot of these banks, meandering along in an 
easily forded stream. The only contrivance 
for crossing, provided for such an emergency 
as the rising of the river, was a stout wire 
rope stretched from bank to bank, upon 
which was swung a common pine box of fair 
dimensions, but full of gaping holes, and 
looking, in itself, by no means capable of 

I20 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

sustaining the weight of a healthy body. 
But it was the only possible mode of transit, 
so, screwing our courage to the sticking point, 
we prepared to cross. The box could only 
accommodate one individual at a time. So 
Eva stepped in to face the danger of the pas- 
sage alone. One portmanteau was carried 
over with each passenger. How the heart 
beat as the Kafirs on the other side com- 
menced to haul on the pulley lines attached 
to the frail machine. 

We watched Eva with breathless interest 
as she was slowly pulled along in jerks, now 
and then coming to a dead standstill and 
dangling over that swollen stream, whilst the 
haulers rested before taking a fresh grasp of 
the lines ; pulling a few seconds, then rest- 
ing a few seconds, leaving the subject to dan- 
gle over the torrent with the heart thumping 
wildly. The rest of us followed in due course. 
As the opposite bank was reached, and we 
were lifted on to terra firma, the hand of that 
black man was clutched with as much fer- 
vency as we had ever grasped the hand of 
our dearest friend. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Lan^, 121 

Having landed, we got into a coach which 
was waiting to receive us. By night we 
reached Koffyfontein, a small village which 
had sprung up around what was supposed to 
be another diamond mine. Although a good 
deal of money had been invested in the 
neighborhood, we did not hear of any for- 
tunes having been made. We traveled all 
the next day, traversing a level plain well 
covered with grass and swarming with game. 
We often passed large herds of spring-bok, 
which started off with their graceful, springing 
gallop at sight of the coach. When we ar- 
rived at Fauresmith late in the afternoon we 
were tired indeed ! The town has become 
prominent since the diamond mine at Jagers- 
fontein (distant about four miles) has been 
opened. It is a long, straggling village with 
an unpronounceable Dutch name. Soon 
after our arrival the town was visited by a 
thunder-storm, which broke upon the hills 
round about us with terrific force, preceded 
by that deathly stillness and darkness which 
is so very ominous. Africa can deal out 
wonderful thunder and lightning. The light- 

122 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

ning flashes incessantly, and seems to strike 
something every time it descends, the air 
quivers with electricity, and the atmosphere 
constantly changes from purple to gold. For 
any one who enjoys seeing a thunder-storm, 
Africa meets all requirements. The rain fell 
in torrents, but in an hour passed away, leav- 
ing the early evening cool and delightful. 

We took a stroll to the banks of the river, 
which had swollen into a torrent, and was 
sweeping down over rocks and bowlders. A 
number of Kafirs, who had been working in 
the town, stood gazing dismally at it, whilst 
their wives and children looked on from 
across the stream. Several diggers from Jag- 
ersfontein, formerly of Kimberley, were stop- 
ping at the wretched hotel we were obliged 
to stop at. The mine is in a more workable 
condition than that at Kimberley, but not so 
large, and with ground not so rich, but the 
stones found there are said by the miners of 
Jagersfontein to be whiter and purer than 
any others. The mine produces about $250,- 
000 worth annually. The diggers complain 
as bitterly against their foe, the I. D. B., as 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

their Kimberley brothers. The penalty at- 
tached to the crime in the Orange Free State, 

where the mine is situated, is greater than in 
Kimberley, but the detective system is not as 
complete. There is less risk of conviction, 

124 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

therefore, but the diggers have formed a de- 
tective system amongst themselves, and woe 
to the man who falls into their clutches ! It 
is estimated that from one-fourth to one-fifth 
of the diamonds found in the mines never 
reach their rightful owners. 

At dawn of the next day we continued on 
our journey, passing through the village of 
Phillopolis, once the principal place of the 
native tribe of the Griquas. It is a typical 
Dutch village, ill built, and in every way in- 
significant and uninviting. Close by the vil- 
lage is a very large Kafir kraal. As we passed 
it many came out to see the coach go by. A 
few hours later we crossed one of the bridges 
which span the Orange River, and were again 
in the Cape Colony. We passed through 
Colesberg, a village of considerable size, and 
the center of a large sheep and ostrich-farm- 
ing country. A thriving wool-washing estab- 
lishment is situated there. Wool is the most 
important production of the farming indus- 
try of Cape Colony, but the best farmers in 
sheep-raismg are not among the native Dutch, 
but among the English, German, and Scotch 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 125 

emigrants. I never saw Boer women knit- 
ting ; the Boer women, in fact, seem to have 
little capacity for the kind of work peculiar 
to women in other civilized countries. From 
Colesberg we traveled through an uninviting 
country, usually a plain, studded here and 
there with isolated hills, and having very little 
timber. We reached Grahamstown in the 
cool of the evening of the next day, alight- 
ing at the Masonic Hotel. 


On the day following our arrival at Gra- 
ham stown the thermometer stood at one hun- 
dred and thirty degrees. The air fairly quiv- 
ered with the intensity of the heat, and al- 
though nowhere in South Africa can the song 
of birds be heard, our ears were tired with 
the sound of busy insect life. The continu- 
ous hum made by the myriads of locusts and 
other insects in the trees sounded like the 
buzzing of a saw-mill with twenty or thirty 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 127 

great circular saws in full swing. The cli- 
mate of Grahamstown is considered almost 
perfect for the English invalid. Frequent 
rains in summer make the heat endurable ; 
the winter is drier than at Port Elizabeth. 

It is called the " City of Churches," for 
many fine churches and a cathedral make the 
town interesting. The houses are in the midst 
of beautiful grounds filled with trees of dense 
foliage and with rare plants. The people are 
very social, and a fine class of English ; the 
descendants of the early settlers are to be 
met with here. They are very kind, and 
make the life of the invalid endurable, if not 
pleasant. To be ill and alone in the midst 
of unsympathetic neighbors is certainly worse 
than to linger a hopeless invalid amongst lov- 
ing friends. The society of Grahamstown 
tries to welcome the stranger ; and male visi- 
tors find amusement in hunting in the sur- 
rounding district, where game is plentiful. 
It is a fact that many English youths who 
have been threatened with hereditary con- 
sumption have gone to Grahamstown and 
made it their home for several years, and 

128 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

then returned to their island home, a wonder 
to all their friends. 

British settlers of 1820 took root in this 
district around Grahamstown. This settle- 
ment is one of the most important events 
that ever happened in the history of the col- 
ony, and is a standing example of the utility 
of intelligently assisted emigration. The 
whole country at that time was in great 
trouble on account of a series of terrible 
Kafir wars, and, just before the importation 
of the new blood, the district in and around 
Grahamstown, which was then a military post, 
named in honor of its commander, had been 
swept by a marauding tribe of Griquas. 

The town is the seat of an episcopate, and 
has numerous churches, banks and public 
buildings. It has also a large military bar- 
racks, now no longer occupied. It is a great 
place for church controversy. The portly 
figure and priestly countenance of the "Dean 
of Grahamstown " belongs as much to the 
history of the place as his own cathedral 
spire. We were invited after service one 
Sunday evening to supper at the Deanery, 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 129 

where we met the Dean's wife, and some 
pleasant people. The house was a large, one- 
story building, comfortably furnished. As 
we all sat around the well-provided table, 
chatting merrily, we noticed the Dean did 
not talk much, but was listening with a very 
interested countenance. Sitting in his big 
chair, his feet stretched under the table, and 
the tips of his fingers in his trousers pockets, 
he looked with his round face, round features, 
and rotund figure, and his half-shut but sharp 
eyes peering out through his gold-rimmed 
spectacles, a picture of contentment. At 
last, with a little sniff peculiar to him, he 
said : " Now let me hear you talk Amer- 
ican." Imagine our astonishment at his re- 
quest, to which we replied with a merry peal 
of laughter. Because we were not speaking 
with a rasping Yankee twang, and " guessing," 
and " reckoning," he began to doubt whether 
we were Americans. No man could enjoy a 
joke or anything funny more than the good- 
natured Dean, but I don't think he was con- 
vinced that we were speaking our native 

language during our visit to him. 

130 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

The " twang " of the Yankee girl, though 
frequently a matter of jest, is, I notice, when 

connected with the Yankee dollar, very much 
sought after by many of the world's so-called 
great ones, who are very ready to exchange 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 131 

old family plate, ruined castles, and historical 
deeds of valor, and thus become easily rec- 
onciled to the " twang " once so laughed at. 

At the hotel we met a gentleman and his 
wife, whose acquaintance we had made on 
our arrival in the country. They had re- 
cently bought an ostrich farm, some thirty 
miles from the town, and pressed us warmly 
to pay them a visit, which invitation we were 
delighted to accept. They proposed bring- 
ing the ox wagon from the farm to take us 
out. The wagon arrived, and our 'friends 
had prepared it for our use, neglecting noth- 
ing to make our ride as easy and comfort- 
able as possible. The colored boy, with a tre- 
mendous crack of the long whip and shouting 
" T-r-ek," started the long train of sixteen 
oxen into a slow walk along the town road. 
When we got into the country on the hilly 
road, where ruts were many, we all got out 
and walked. Our road lay through a thick, 
thorny wood, and along by steep, rocky cliffs, 
upon which we could see and hear hundreds 
of monkeys leaping from rock to rock, chat- 
tering and screaming. They seemed greatly 

132 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

frightened at us, and yet fascinated, for they 
would run along the face of the cliff ahead 
of the slowly toiling oxen, keeping up a 
startled clatter, and peering at us from be- 
hind stones or branches of trees. We had 
started late in the afternoon, and before we 
reached the farmhouse at which we were to 
stop for the night the moon had risen, and 
dense black shadows and silvery streaks of 
light were thrown ghost-like before our path. 
After reaching the house we sat up till late, 
watching the beauty of the moonht scene. 


Next morning we resumed our journey, 
and after five hours' trek, made most enjoy- 
able by the mode of traveling and the rugged 
beauty of the scenery, we arrived at " Grass- 
lands," the home of our friends. The house 
was of one story, well built and roomy, and 
being on a rise, commanded a fine view of the 
wild, uninhabited surrounding country. Our 
host was a handsome, high-spirited English- 

134 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

man, with a little English child-wife, a dainty 
little piece of humanity. 

As the young wife leaned against the ve- 
randa talking to us in her pink calico dress, 
broad-brimmed straw, hat trimmed with a bit 
of lace, and a spray of jessamine she had 
pulled from the vine covering the front of the 
house, she did not look much like one to live 
where wild monkeys chatter in the trees, and 
savage beasts come within rifle range of the 
front door. 

Our friend was engaged in ostrich farming, 
and many of these queer-looking bipeds, with 
their long necks and floating feathers, the 
beauty of which is certainly wasted on their 
own backs, were wandering around the house. 
It had been an addition to our stock of in- 
formation to learn in the Cape Colony that 
ostrich feathers were as much the product of 
regulated human labor as wool, mohair, or 
silk. We had always supposed ostrich feath- 
ers to be procured by hunters, and had in 
mind stories of their tactics in the chase of 
the fleet-footed bird. We learned that Cape 
farmers buy and sell ostriches as they do 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 135 

sheep, and fence their flock in, stable them, 
and grow crops for them. The eggs are not 
yet considered as belonging to the Cape dairy, 
and are not sent to market with bread and 
cheese. They are too precious for consump- 
tion, and too valuable even to be left for 
hatching to the rude methods of nature. 
The act of laying has not yet been dispensed 
with, but as soon as the eggs have been laid 
the nest is discarded, the parents are " locked 
out," and the mechanical certainties of the 
incubator are substituted for parental instinct 
and affection. We were glad to learn, for the 
sake of our cherished traditions, that this 
farming was only of comparatively recent 
date, a domesticated ostrich being fifteen or 
twenty years ago unknown. There are now 
150,000 of these domesticated birds in the 
Cape Colony, giving employment to not less 
than $8,000,000 capital. 

Our host informed us that the rearing of 
ostriches was an extremely difficult operation, 
as the bird itself, although devouring every- 
thing that comes in its way, from a steel fork 
to a lemon, is very delicate, and liable to in- 

136 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

jury in all sorts of ways. They are housed 
at night in circular kraals, surrounded by a 
low rush fence, the ostrich, despite his fleet- 
ness and strength of legs, being unable to 
mount or jump over any obstacle, and turned 
out during the day into the veldt in charge of 
a herd. 

An ostrich can give a mighty kick, suffi- 
cient to break a man's leg, but you may easily 
choke him by throwing your arms around his 
neck. The bird can then do nothing, for he 
has no strength in his wings to beat his enemy 
off, and is only able to use his formidable legs, 
like a horse, backward. Still, he is an awk- 
ward enemy to engage, for it requires some 
courage to rush up to a bird and embrace 
him until help arrives, or until you succeed 
in choking him. Despite the strength of his 
legs they are easily broken if the bird acci- 
dentally strikes them against any obstruction, 
such as a hanging bramble or a wire fence. 
He must be carefully watched to prevent 
such accidents, and it is also necessary to 
drive him away from any food likely to dis- 
agree with him. The feathers are sometimes 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 137 

plucked, and sometimes separated from the 
body by a sharp curved knife, each feather 
being taken separately. To do this the farmer 
drives them into a small inclosure, where 
there is little room to move about, and insin- 
uates himself in among them, selecting such 
feathers as have arrived at maturity, and 
leaving the others to grow. The bird has a 
fresh crop of feathers every year, and as the 
prime feathers are very valuable, it may easily 
be believed that a lucky breeder finds the 
occupation a very profitable one. 

The prettiest sight to see on an ostrich 
farm is the nursery, where, in a large room, 
in inclement weather, a score or more of little 
chicks are attended by a black boy, whom 
they follow everywhere. 

Many farmers are unfortunate and meet 
with accidents, and thus lose heavily. Some- 
times the soil is unfitted to grow the herbage 
necessary for the ostriches' food, and there 
are many accidents they are liable to, such 
as dangers from prowling jackals or from se- 
vere storms. Then there are tigers and vul- 
tures to be guarded against. It will thus bie 

138 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

seen that the ostrich farmer's life is not neces- 
sarily a happy one. Our stay at Grasslands 

was made very pleasant by Mr. M and 

his wife. What with picnics in the wild 
surrounding country day after day, musical 
evenings on the moonlit lawn, a week passed 
away before we knew it. 

It was here we noticed Frank had some- 
thing on her mind which she wished to com- 
municate to us. We said nothing to assist 
her, although we had a strong suspicion of 
what was coming. One morning she began : 
"Well, I want to tell you something." She 
didn't get any further, for we interrupted with 
" Oh, we know ; you are going to marry Mr. 

A , whom you met on the diamond fields 

last- year, and we are to dance at the wed- 
ding. Didn't you think any one suspected ? 
Why, my dear, it was very plain to us that he 
was to be your future husband long before 
you thought so yourself ! '* After we had 
congratulated her, we inquired how soon the 
event was to take place. She proposed hav- 
ing the wedding from the cathedral at Gra- 
hamstown, as we had many warm friends 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 


living there. So the matter was settled for 
the time being. 

One evening a musical friend of our host, 
a gentleman from Port Elizabeth, and a vio- 
linist of no mean order, joined our circle, and 

s listening to his music. After 

choice selections, he 
began to play some of the songs of the farm 
Kafirs, who were listening about in numbers. 
They had learned to sing at their Sunday- 
schools in the town such hymns as " Hold 
the Fort," etc., and took up the airs and 

140 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

began to sing, after their manner, in a chant- 
ing drone. Soon the sound of their own 
voices and the strains of the violin wrought 
them up to a high pitch of excitement, and 
they began to walk around us in a circle, 
keeping time with their hands, feet and head. 
Before long the musician, who had a touch 
of the grotesque in his humor, placed himself 
at the head of the procession. The music 
grew faster and faster, and the monotonous 
tramp of the Kafirs quickened gradually into 
a wild war dance. The scene which followed 
baffles description ; there was the musician 
scraping away like an infernal Paganini, pro- 
ducing tones from his fiddle that seemed to 
excite the Kafirs to a pitch of frenzy. We 
joined in the singing, and sang at the top of 
our voices, while the black men, dancing, 
whirling, shouting, and gesticulating, grew 
wilder and wilder in their antics. The music 
suddenly ceasing, they sank exhausted to the 
ground. It was a weird scene in the moon- 
light, and one we shall long remember. 

Our stay at Grasslands came to an end all 
too soon, and we looked long and lingeringly 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 141 

at familiar objects as we were driven back to 
town in Mr. M 's handsome Cape cart be- 
hind a dashing span of horses. 



Soon after our return to Grahamstown we 
put the finishing touches to everything we 
had left undone toward making the wedding 
a joyous occasion. The bride's white satin 
dress and veil were made by the hands of a 
competent dressmaker. There was a dress 
for Eva, as chief bridesmaid, which consisted 
of soft trailing drapery, and one for me, who 
was to take a place in the organ loft, and sing 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 143 

on the occasion. The day arrived, bright 
and smiling. The wedding bells pealed from 
the tower of the cathedral. The " sympa- 
thizing '* and well-wishing friends were gath- 
ered within when the bridal party arrived. 
The knot was tied, and as the bells pealed 
forth the bride passed out on her husband's 
arm ; an old crone stood in the door and 
showered blessings on her. 

As soon as congratulations were over, the 
wedding breakfast eaten, and the usual rice 
and lucky slipper flung after them, they took 
the train for a short vacation in a mountain 
hotel on the Zuurberg, whilst we bade good- 
by to friends around us, and flew away the 
same night to the sea at Port Elizabeth, five 
hours distant by rail. 

Our rooms in the Hotel Palmerston over- 
looked the open bay and the long pier or 
jetty, which runs out some two hundred yards 
into the sea, and is a favorite promenade for 
the townspeople. This made an ever-chang- 
ing picture before us, and our hearts were 
stirred by the sight of our Stars and Stripes 
floating at the peak of two barks lying at 

144 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

anchor in Algoa Bay. Port Elizabeth, with 
its twenty-five thousand inhabitants, seemed 
different in many respects from any of the 
towns we had visited. It is a thriving, active, 
bustling town, with many handsome stores 
and buildings, three or four banks, a public 
library, which is in the Town Hall, a building 
that would grace any metropolis, and several 
churches of various denominations. 

A public park, built on the hill, is one of 
the especial prides of the place, the original 
site having been a stony waste, and all the 
soil having been brought from the valley back 
of the town. In fact, the whole city stands 
on a barren, sandy cliff, the business portions 
lying along the beach, and the residences 
stretching away up the face of the cliff to 
" the hill/' There is a strong rivalry existing 
between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town as 
to which shall have the lion's share of the 
importing trade of the colony. The former 
is more advantageously situated for the in- 
terior trade, but unfortunately has no docks 
for shipping, and is exposed to the prevailing 
southeast gales. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 145 

Great sums of money have been spent in 
the construction of a breakwater, which it 
was fondly hoped would form a refuge for 
ships during the heavy storms. But before it 
could be finished it proved itself useless, for 
the sand would " silt up " on the lee side, 
until it threatened to form a wide strip of 
beach between the landing place and the sea. 
All goods are landed by means, of lighters, 
which are either unloaded at the jetty, or are 
driven on shore as near as practicable, and 
moored head and stern, when their contents 
are taken out by Kafirs, who, stripped almost 
naked, wade out in twos and threes, and 
carry the bales and cases on their heads. 
Sometimes a heavy wave comes in, throw- 
ing them off their feet, and causing precious 
freight to fall into the water and be broken 
to fragments. The merchant who deals in 
perishable articles thus runs great risks. 

A number of large warehouses lie close to 
the water's edge, where all goods, as soon as 
landed, are received, to be sent up the coun- 
try by ox wagon or mule train. This will be 
done by the railway on its completion. A 

146 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

sea wall has been built a mile along the shore 
southwest of the jetty, and forms, in fine 
weather, a most delightful promenade, but, 

being away from the fashionable quarter of 
the town, is seldom patronized by the swells. 
There are a large number of German resi- 
dents representing foreign houses in Port 
Elizabeth, who form a society of their own. 
They have built for themselves a fine club 
house in gray stone, costing many thousands 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 


of dollars, which would do honor to any Con- 
tinental city, and have some handsome resi- 

" Society " in Port Elizabeth endeavors to 
be very select. We attended several social 
gatherings, and found the citizens, as a rule, 
large-hearted, hospitable people, always glad 
to give a hearty and warm reception to the 
stranger within their gates. 


One of the most interesring objects in 
Port E is the Donkin Memorial, a pyra- 
midal monument erected on the first ledge 
of the hill by Sir Thomas Donkin to the 
memory of his wife Elizabeth, who died off 
this point on ship-board while on her way 
from India, and after whom the town is 

A signal station is built by the side of 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 149 

the brick pyramid, and the fine open stretch 
of green turf which surrounds it and over- 
looks the sea forms a pleasant promenade at 
all seasons of the year. There are several 
well-edited newspapers, the Herald being the 
most enterprising and the leading one, ex- 
celling in matter and printing any of the 
Cape Town journals, excepting the Cape 
Times^ edited by the genial and popular Mr. 
Murray. Although Port Elizabeth has not 
the fine harbor and docks of Cape Town 
or the beautiful suburban surroundings, still 
a more energetic spirit exists in the business 
community, and the style of entertaining is 
on a far more liberal scale than in the latter 

As in most South African towns, a place 
is set aside for the black people at the upper 
end of the town. 

There they live, coming down to the 
stores and beach in the morning, and return- 
ing to their respective kraals at night. Sev- 
eral tribes are represented among them, and 
they form separate kraals, keeping themselves 
as distinct as though they were of a different 

150 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

species, although it would trouble most peo- 
ple to tell the difference between a Gaika 
and a Fingo, or a Zulu. 

The Fingoes, who have in all the Kafir 
wars been the white man's ally, are cordially 
hated by the other Kafirs, who fight with 
them continually. The quarrel on one oc- 
casion during the latter part of our stay 
assumed such a threatening aspect that the 
town was alarmed for the consequences. 
For nearly a week not a Kafir came to the 
town, and it was rumored that the Gaikas 
had grievously routed the Fingoes and were 
preparing to make a night raid on the town 
to massacre the inhabitants. It was at a 
time when the whole country was disturbed, 
there being two or three tribes at war with 
the colonists on the eastern borders. The 
report was then easily credited, and every 
available measure was taken for the protec- 
tion of the inhabitants and to prevent sur- 
prise, the local volunteer corps being under 
arms for several days. 

One Sunday night we in the town could 
hear them singing their peculiar war chant, 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 151 

and such wonderful precision have they in 
time that the mighty chorus from the thou- 
sands of voices came down to us like the 
beating of a great heart. The effect of their 
deep melodious voices, as they rolled out on 
the moonlit midnight air in a great wave 
of sound, was weird and fearsome to a degree. 
We could not tell whether their fury might 
not rise to such a pitch as to send them 
rushing down upon us like naked fiends, 
yelling, stabbing, and spearing. But they 
seemed to be satisfied with a little blood- 
shed among themselves, and the Gaikas and 
Fingoes, after a few days, resumed their work 
on the beach and in the store side by 

But the alarm brought home to the colo- 
nists the danger existing in their midst. The 
black population outnumbers the white 
throughout the colony by almost six to one. 
In the town it is quite three to one, and a 
general uprising under an intelligent head 
could not but result in the total annihilation 
of every white face in the country. The 
colonists never seem to think such a con- 

Yankee Girls i 

tingency likely, relying on the internal dis- 
sensions between the different tribes and 

the moral force the white man seems to pos- 
sess over the untutored black man. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 153 

After remaining in Port Elizabeth seven 
months, we held a family conclave and came 
to the conclusion that we did not wish to 
leave the country until we had tried the cli- 
mate of the Orange Free State, which we had 
heard lauded to the skies. So we bade adieu 
to Port Elizabeth, thinking it a very pleasant 
place to visit, and taking a parting look at the 
sea, we were whirled away to Grahamstown. 
From here we left by railroad for Cradock, 
a town some sixty miles east. Like Gra- 
hamstown, Cradock is the center of a large 
wool-gathering district, and . is laid out in 
boulevards and watered streets. It is sit- 
uated on the Great Fish River, over which 
there is a fine stone bridge. It is at least 
forty feet above the surface of the water, 
which, at the time of our visit, flowed slowly 
between its arches in a sluggish stream, some 
fifty feet wide. Several years ago, after heavy 
rains up country, the river became suddenly 
so fierce, rapid, and swollen that the whole 
structure, solid as it was, was swept away by 
the first wave, which is described as ad- 
vancing, with little or no warning, like a solid 

154 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

wall of water, fifty feet high. There is a 
Dutch Reformed Church, a well-built Town 
Hall, and a few houses and stores, with a 
population of three to four thousand inhabit- 

We had experienced so many discomforts 
in our previous journeys by coach that we 
resolved here to have no more of it. So we 
provided ourselves with a comfortable and 
roomy Cape cart and four strong horses to 
make the journey up country, and we were 
prepared for once to take things easy. When 
traveling by coach one has no alternative be- 
tween pressing right on, or waiting over in 
a dreary village for a week, until the next 
coach passes through. But with your own 
cart you can do as you like, going or staying, 
as pleases the fancy. 

Passing some of the villages we had been 
through by coach, in a few days we had 
reached the Orange Free State, more fre- 
quently called simply "Free State." Our 
introduction to this thinly populated upland 
region was not calculated to put us in the 
best of humors, either with the country or our 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 155 

tired selves. We remained long enough to 
find out there were many things of interest 
about it. The Free State is embraced within 
the boundaries of the Vaal and Orange Rivers, 
and was first settled by the Dutch farmers, 
who had emigrated from the Cape Colony ; 

the farms are very large, and by no means all 

About nine o'clock one night we stopped 
to give our horses a rest at a miserable house 
built of mud bricks. On either side of the 
door was a small window, in one of which 

156 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

was a sputtering candle. The house was oc- 
cupied by Dutch people, but as it did not 
look sufficiently inviting to tempt me out of 
my seat even for a change, some coffee was 
brought out by a daughter of the family, a 
girl of sixteen. In the moonlight her face 
was very pleasing, and on asking her a ques- 
tion she answered in such pure English that 
we asked where she learned to speak so cor- 
rectly. She replied that she had learned at 
the English school in Bloemfontein, called the 
" Home," belonging to the Church of England. 
She was so bright and chatty, yet modest 
withal, and her surroundings so wretched and 
uninviting, that I thought the educational in- 
stitutions of B must be something su- 
perior to those usually found in the colony, 
which, on further knowledge, proved to be 

When we reached the brow of the hill over- 
looking the town of Bloemfontein, we saw 
with pleasure, under the bright moonlight, 
the town filled with fine trees and gardens. 
As we drove through we passed large build- 
ings of both church and state which would 

Yankee GirU in Zulu Land. 157 

not be excelled in any town of the United 
States of double the sizt 


We at last reached a cool, inviting-looking 
hotel, and we thoroughly enjoyed that well- 
served dinner laid before us on clean linen 
and bright silver, the delicious viands seem- 
ing all the better for our temporary depriva- 
tion. If any one troubled with dyspepsia 
should travel for three months through Africa, 
and live as the people do, never hurrying, and 

Yankee Git Is in Zulu Land. 159 

occasionally getting a jolting in a long coach 
ride, his would soon be a forgotten malady. 

Bloemfontein, being the seat of government, 
is by far the largest, best, and most impor- 
tant town in the Free State. It is a very 
pretty town, well planted with trees, the 
streets wide, the houses well built, and an 
air of cleanliness pervading everything. It 
nestles at the base of a long, low mountain, 
one of a range of hills that fade away in the 
distance and form a pretty picture in the red 
and golden tints thrown by the rays of the 
setting sun. It looks like a pretty toy town. 

Many of the leading men both here and 
elsewhere through the country are Germans, 
and excellent colonists they make. To be 
sure, we found a number of adventurers of 
the same nationality of a totally different 
sort, agitators and demagogues. There are, 
indeed, many who say that it is owing to the 
German element in the Transvaal that the 
dissensions existing in the countr}* are di- 
rectly owing. But the greater number are 
good citizens, readily adopting the country 
and state in which they live as their own, and 

i6o Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

training up their children to protect its in- 
terests. An enterprising German is the lead- 
ing dry goods merchant in this upper coun- 
try. His storerooms were stocked with mer- 
chandise, from hardware to the finest laces. 
His home was in the midst of well-kept 
grounds, laid out like a park, in which were 
planted many Australian gum trees. These 
are trees which, with a little care, grow 
thriftily and to a great height wherever they 
are planted in Africa. 

On one of our drives in the neighboring 
country we drove to the farm of the merchant, 
and chanced to meet him there. He had 
planted hundreds of young trees on his large 
farm, mere saplings. We remarked, " Why 
do you pay so much attention to the planting 
of these slips of trees ? They grow so slowly 
they will never give much shade during the 
lifetime of any of us." "Well, well," he 
replied, " the children of the next generation 

may come out here from B and enjoy 

their picnics under the trees I have planted 
for them." We found the same spirit among 
most of the German land-owners. They 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, i6i 

propose for the sake of their children to 
make no mistakes. 

Among the first settlers were German mis- 
sionaries, who have in time amassed wealth 
and founded schools, built churches, and 
assisted in making the laws of this successful 
little republic. The town is largely given 
over to educational and religious establish- 
ments. The English Episcopal and Roman 
Catholic churches have each a bishopric and 
a cathedral. The former is very active, 
particular attention being paid to the college 
and schools attached to it. One of the in- 
stitutions connected with the English church 
is the " Home," carried on by the sisters of 
the church, who come from England to assist 
in the schools and hospitals, most of them 
being ladies of fortune and culture. The 
good that has been effected through them 
and their institutions cannot be computed by 
figures. They dress like the French sisters 
of the Roman Catholic Church. Although 
every nov and then one of them marries, as 
a rule they do not marry. They live lives 
of strict self-denial. 

1 62 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

The Roman Catholic Church is a large 
structure, with a convent and school attached. 
We listened to an excellent sermon here 
during the visit of the Bishop, and heard 
some good music, as the tenor brother had a 
fine voice, and traveled, it was said, with the 
Bishop. The nuns' voices were very sweet, 
one especially having such a sad, plaintive 
tone that it made the listener wish to see the 
face hidden behind the grating. 

Many English visitors go to Bloemfontein 
for the benefit of their health, but they do 
not look so robust nor gain strength as 
quickly as persons who have been six months 
in the Transvaal. The fine climate of that 
country, if sought in time, is almost a certain 
cure for any lung disease or asthmatic 
trouble. The dry climate of this upland 
region cannot be too highly extolled, and the 
best way to gain the full benefit of it is to 
try the primitive mode of traveling by ox- 
wagon. This, however, should be done as 
comfortably as possible, and during the dry 
season. The hotels in Bloemfontein and the 
Transvaal are so superior in point of comfort 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 163 

and table to those in the colony that they 
are greatly appreciated by the tired invalid. 
Our hotel parlor had a fine Brussels carpet 
on the floor, tinted walls, comfortable and 
handsome furniture, a Bimsmead piano, and 
lace curtains. 

During the several hot months we were 
there we. had an opportunity of studying the 
characteristics of the Dutch Boer, who is met 
with in this part of the country in his primi- 
tive state. The Africander Boer is usually a 
tall, lanky, narrow-chested individual, with 
black hair, straggling beard and whiskers, 
cautious, suspicious, and undemonstrative, 
his countenance expressing little imagination 
and his body great physical endurance. He 
is never quarrelsome if it can be avoided ; he 
is as shrewd at a bargain as any Scotchman, 
and in all his dealings displays an odd mix- 
ture of cunning and credulity. His contra- 
dictory history, however, makes it difficult to 
determine whether he is a brave man or the 

He is usually dressed in a yellow cord 
jacket, vest and trousers, with a flannel shirt, 

and veldt schoen (low shoes of untanned 
leather with no heels), the whole sunnounted 
by a. broad- brimmed slouch hat with a green 

lining. When he wishes to be particularly 
fine, as, foi: instance, when he goes a-court- 
ing, he sticks an ostrich feather in his hat, 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 


squeezes his long feet into a pair of patent 
leather congress gaiters, and encases his legs 
in showy leather leggings. He then mounts 
a horse that " kafi-spids," gets into a new 
saddle with a sheepskin saddle cloth, and im- 
agines himself just lovely ' 


I'Mif Un);u;)go is the queerest jumble of 
IHiu-h, Kalir, and colonial war shouts, which, 
»hct» s(vkfn by a fluent Dutchman, sounds 
tiK'n." tiic the UMring of strong linen than 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 167 

anything else. It certainly is a fine language 
with which to urge on the drooping spirits 
of a tired team of oxen. As a class the 
Boers are extremely strict in religious ob- 
servances. The periodical '* Nachtmaal,** 
literally ** night meal " or "sacrament," held 
every three months at the large and fine 
Dutch church, they attend faithfully. 

The farmers will pack their whole families 
into a wagon, and leaving the homestead to 
take care of itself, will " trek *' into town, 
where some of them will occupy little clay 
houses of two rooms, or camp outside until 
the services are over, when they will " in- 
span " and return home. They always take 
advantage of these visits to do their shopping. 
At such times the stores wake up and put 
out their smartest calicoes and their yellow- 
est saddles with which to tempt the wary 
Boer and Boeress. It is interesting to enter 
the village at night where a Nachtmaal is to 
be held next day. There is almost a second 
village of tent-covered wagons all around it. 
The various fires have each a group of men 
and women sitting round it, while in the 

1 68 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

shadows lie the slumbering oxen and chatter- 
ing "boys." 

After remaining at the hotel until we were 
tired of hotel life, we secured board at a 
farmhouse about two hours' ride from Bloem- 

The owner of this farm worked incessantly 
to improve his several thousand acres, which 
included some very fine land. The land 
showed what industry can do by simply 
keeping on day after day. The farmer had 
no white help which could be depended on ; 
there were many Kafirs, but none he could 
rely on. 

Water is the great need, and although, by 
digging deep enough anywhere through the 
country, water is reached, not a single wind- 
mill did we see in factory or on farm to aid in 
pumping water. For months the dry season 
prevails, and our farmer, in order to be in- 
dependent in his water supply for his many 
cattle, sheep, and Angora goats and ostriches, 
had thrown up banks of earth around three 
large dams. 

The wife was a large, comfortable woman, 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 169 

the mother of six children, the eldest thirteen 
years of age ; when she sat down to rest they 
seemed to swarm over her, but they did not 
ruffle her temper any more than so many 
flies. She superintended and sometimes 
cooked all the meals ; fourteen people often 
sat down to dinner, and three courses were 
served, usually by hideous Hottentot girls, 
dressed in bright calico dresses, colored beads, 
and ribbons. These girls, dressed thus, con- 
sider themselves irresistible. The Kafir serv- 
ants have to be told each day what to do ; 
they have no memory for the simplest house- 
hold duties. Their huts are some distance 
from the house, and if a notion seizes them 
to go to a wedding or a funeral, or to have a 
gossip with some stray Kafir, they will not 
come near the house, and the wife does the 
work alone. It was a wonder how she got 
through her work so easily, for she supplied 

a hotel in B , which had thirty boarders, 

with butter, made the children's every-day 
clothes, besides attending to many other 
household duties. Yet she was no light- 
footed woman, but had an avoirdupois of two 

lyo Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

hundred and fifty pounds, which is not an 
unusual weight for an Africander woman of 
thirty years. 

When coming into the house on a visit, 
whether one is acquainted or not, it is the 
custom to shake hands with every white per- 
son present. An English acquaintance drove 
to the farm to call upon us, and in thought- 
lessness left without walking to the bam to 
shake hands with the farmer. The farmer 
was so indignant at this affront that nothing 
would make him overlook it. We shook many 
a hard and horny hand of traders who passed 
that way and remained to a meal. Some of 
these never looked up from their food or 
made a remark until they took their depart- 
ure, when they shook hands again and uttered 
some unintelligible Dutch word. 

By living with such thrifty and pleasant 
people as this farmer and wife one learns 
what patience means with dumb, lazy servants, 
and how much can be accomplished by keep- 
ing steadily at work, doing little at a time. 
That is the way in which the Dutch people 
have made a success of their little republic. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 171 

They are satisfied with small things, and 
move slowly. It thus happens that few mis- 
takes occur in their governmental affairs, and 
that there are few bank failures and conse- 
quent suicides. 

Their ancestors must have been splendid 
fellows, for their deeds proclaim it. But 
long years of inactivity and the habits of in- 
termarriage have weakened the race sadly. 
The descendants of the men who were fore- 
most in every land are now content to sit on 
the same farm from generation to generation, 
caring for nothing, and having no ambition 
beyond raising a larger family than their 

The "vrouws," or wives, are either very 
thiif and bony, or tall and " massive." They 
dress in black, full skirts that skip the ground 
when they walk, and black poke bonnets with 
thick veils, which preserve the complexion 
from tan and freckle. They have really fine 
complexions. One farmer near Bloemfontein 
boasts of a family of twenty-three children, 
all by one wife. Fancy all the cousins and 
the aunts in the next generation ! There will 

172 Yankee Girls in Zttlu Land. 

certainly be many marriages among these 
cousins. So mucli has there been of this 
habit of marrying in families that one fre- 
quently, especially in the older parts of the 
Cape Colony, finds whole districts where every 
farmer has the same surname, and is only 
distinguished by his given name. These so 

quickly give out that the good people are 
forced to adopt the old-fashioned way of 
coining surnames, and a man is known as 
Hans Meyer, C's son, or Pieler Van Dyk, 
Karl's son, and so on. 

But there is a reverse side to the picture. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 


We meet some fine men among the Boers, 
President John Brand being as fine a speci- 
men of a pioneer statesman as any one would 
wish to find. The government of the re- 
public consists of the President and the Leg- 
islature, called the Volksraad, elected every 
four years. 


The President, who had been elected so 
often that the office promised, so far as he 
was concerned, to be a perpetual one, is a 
hearty, genial gentleman, beloved by all who 
know him. He is a native of Cape Town, 
and received his education in England. The 
welfare of the little republic, over which he 
has so long and so wisely ruled, is the dearest 
object of his heart. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 175 

We met the President and his wife, who in- 
vited us to call at their residence, a large 
two-story "White House," as it is called, sur- 
rounded by extensive grounds in the prettiest 
spot on the outskirts of the town. We were 
told by residents that our visit would be 
very formal, but it did not prove to be so. 
We found them both most charming and affa- 
ble people. A luncheon of delicacies and 
choice fruits from their own orchard was laid 
for us, and Mrs. Brand, or " Lady Brand," as 
she is more generally called, was so bright 
and witty that an hour passed away very 
pleasantly. She is a large, striking-looking 
woman of noble features, and with a mind 
capable of assisting her husband in matters 
of state. Her best sympathies are with her 
people, and no one deplores more than she 
the lamentable ignorance to be found in 
the remote districts. It rests with the people 
themselves to remove this ignorance ; excel- 
lent boarding-schools, both government and 
private, are established in every village 
throughput the country. She has unbounded 
confidence in the capabilities of the Dutch to 

176 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

govern themselves. Certainly, if the r;ountry 
can produce more such people as her noble 
husband and herself, they will have no diffi- 
culty in finding a leader. 

The President seemed greatly interested in 
us as being Americans, and asked us question 
after question about our customs and form 
of government. A special session of the 
Volksraad was called while we were in the 
town, to discuss the condition of the Trans- 
vaal, which was now in open revolt, and we 
had an opportunity of seeing the representa- 
tive men of the country. They came to town 
in all sorts of vehicles, European and Ameri- 
can carriages, Cape carts and ox wagons. The 
many vehicles, all drawn by handsomely 
matched horses, made the town very bright 
and gay. 

The men who gathered together were, 
many of them, aliens by birth, but all showed 
signs of more than average intelligence. The 
question they had come to discuss, viz., what 
should be the attitude of their country in the 
present state of affairs in the Transvaal, was 
important, for the people of that territory 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 177 

were united to them by many ties. News 
was brought by post cart that the Boers in 
the Transvaal, who had long wished to govern 
themselves, had risen up against English rule, 
had come riding into Potchefstrom from all 
the country around, and had taken possession 
of the town. There we were in the midst of 
people closely related to the Transvaal, which 
was but a few days' ride from us. 

As news came that Pretoria, so isolated, 
was in a state of siege, and that English 
troops were coming out as fast as the steamers 
could bring them to put down the Boer re- 
bellion, things began to look interesting. In 
addition to the troubles in the Transvaal, the 
Cape Colony was also embroiled in a war 
with the Basutos, a warlike tribe occupying a 
large tract of country east of the Free State. 
What with war with the Basutos on the one 
side of us, and the Boers on the other, South 
Africa was not precisely a country to which 
one felt the Millennium would soon come. 

Fighting against the natives, either Zulu or 

Basuto, is an entirely different kind of warfare 

from meeting the deadly aim of the Boer on 

17S Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

his own soil. In this dry, cruel country, with 
its natural fastnesses and dry river beds, the 
Boer from his boyhood wanders, gun in hand, 

trained to handle it as easily as the English 
soldier handles his cane when not on duty. 
When news came in that every officer of a 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 179 

fine English company of brave fellows had 
been shot, picked off like birds on a fence, a 
wave of horror swept over the hearts of those 
friendly to the British flag. The English 
troops went on nothing daunted, and when 
fighting on one of the heights were beating 
their foe, who was turning to flee. At this 
critical moment they discovered that their 
leader had neglected to bring sufficient am- 
munition up the mountain side. When the 
Boers saw the situation, and rushed back 
upon them, the brave English fellows, in their 
desperation, picked up stones and threw them 
at their foe, and then, rather than be taken 
prisoners, jumped down a declivity of a 
hundred feet to effect their escape. 

I quote a descriptive account of the en- 
gagement at " Lange's Nek " from the special 
war correspondent of the Natal Witness : 

" No unfair means were taken by the Boers 
yesterday. We attempted to take the hill, 
and in our endeavors to reach the summit 
they repulsed us. This is the whole thing in 
a nutshell ; men who were in the engage- 
ment stated that the Boers had entrenched 

i8o Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

themselves, and this is more than probable 
when it is considered that natural trenches 
must abound in the positions they occupied. 
It was also represented that they had numbers 
of Kafir allies to assist them. This may or 
may not be true. I was posted near the 
cannon, and although I had a magnificent 
view from that point, I observed no Kafir 
force whatever. It is perfectly true that 
many of the Boers used fowling-pieces loaded 
with buckshot, and they did fearful damage 
in wounding men, but whether this can be 
regarded as unfair when rockets are used on 
our side, I leave any one to decide. Mere 
words are tame to express the manner in 
which the gallant 58th behaved on this occa- 
sion. Their conduct throughout, even against 
overwhelming odds, and the knowledge ac- 
quired too late of the enemy's position being 
impregnable, left nothing to be desired. 

** The attempt to eulogize these men seems 
like mockery*; their deeds speak for them 
far more eloquently than words can. So 
true and deadly was the Boer aim that Col- 
onel Deane, in command of the 58th, fell 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, i8i 

almost immediately upon fire being opened. 
Officers and men were shot down in every 
direction. Every volley of the Boers carried 
its fearful freight too true, and thinned our 
already meager force. Still they held on to 
the last, hoping against hope, and dying 
martyrs. Every man on the field yesterday 
was more than a soldier — he was a hero. 
The word * Retreat ! * was at last given, but 
oh, what a retreat ! Men walking over their 
dead comrades' bodies, ever and anon another 
addition being made to those already down 
— wounded men imploring that their rifles 
should not be thrown into the enemy's 

" The sight was grand, but awful, and those 
who witnessed the engagement at Lange's 
Nek yesterday are likely to carry the impres- 
sion to their graves. Had it not been for the 
shells, which unquestionably created great 
havoc among the Boer ranks at this period, 
few, very few, of the 58th would have sur- 
vived that day. On reaching the foot of the 
hill the 60th Rifles were drawn up to pro- 
tect their retreat, and, if possible, induce the 

1 82 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

enemy to follow up. The Boers, however, 
retired to their position under cover of a 

This was what the fighting was like ; it 
seemed more like a massacre of the gallant 
Englishmen than a battle. But what seemed 
most astonishing to the English population 
was that these quiet, peaceful people, who 
nobody thought would fight, rose up in a 
day as one man, without any such purpose 
being known to the English ! 

The colony of South Africa is always in a 
flourishing condition when war breaks out. 
Then English gold and foreign speculators 
come to its shores ; everything is at fever 
heat ; towns are built and beautified. After- 
ward comes the reaction ; the breath of life 
and vigor dies out, leaving the colony hope- 
lessly in debt. The colony then remains a 
drain upon the exchequer of England, which 
pays out thousands of pounds for the war 
" epidemics " that every few years break 
out between the native and the English, or 
the Boer and the English. 

These wars yield nothing in return to Eng- 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

land but mourning hearts at home for brave 
sons who he buried under African soil. 


Before leaving Bloeinfontein we met two 
fellow iiassengers of purs on the Trojan. 
They were brothers, and one was so ill that 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 185 

we never expected to see him again in this 
life, when lo ! here he was the picture of 
health, entirely owing, he said, to the won- 
derful effects of the climate. By living and 
traveling for over six months in an ox 
wagon, he declared he had taken a new lease 
of life. Despite the fact of our lives having 
been insured in America, we thought that a 
new lease would be a comfortable thing to 
have by us. So we made up our minds to 
try the experiment. 

It was not an easy thing to find a wagon 
which we could hire for the trip, but fort- 
une favored us. Mr. A met an English 

friend, Mr. Heeler, from Pretoria, who had, 
like many others, managed to escape with 
his portable property and his wagon before 
the Boers beleaguered the town. He was 
undecided what to do until the difficul- 
ties were over, and soon consented, in con- 
sideration of a fair daily hire, to place his 
wagon and span of sixteen oxen at our dis- 

We provided ourselves with serviceable 
clothing, and were each measured by the 

1 86 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

local cobbler for a pair of strong, thick, laced 
shoes. But when the boy brought them in, 
we gazed at them for a moment, and then 
politely told him that some mistake must 
have been made, for none of our family 
wore number eight ! They were mon- 

But we were to leave the following day, 
and had to take them. We stuffed the toes 
and overlapped the leather when tying them 
up. We found, before we had been many 
days on the road, that our cowhide boots 
could brave anything, and were infinitely 
better for what we wanted than a stylish, 
neatly fitting shoe. 

Laying in provisions for the wagon was 
like victualing a ship for a voyage. We 
laughed at the formidable list of canned 

goods that Mr. A had provided for our 

journey. " Good gracious ! " we cried, " we 
can never eat all that ; " but he assured us we 
should, and added that he expected to keep 
us provided with fresh meat with his gun 
and an occasional sheep bought from some 
Boer farmer. He had, however, to provide 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 187 

against failure in both expectations. Game 
might be scarce, and there are some Boers 
who will not sell anything to an English- 

Our wagon was twenty-three feet from end 
to end, and four feet and a half wide. With 
some willow wands and heavy wagon sail 
an excellent tent was made, thoroughly water- 
proof, and divided with a canvas partition 
into two compartments. Our trunks were 
packed on the floor, over which the beds were 
suspended on a cartel formed from laced 
strips of raw ox-hide. 

Our stores were packed in boxes, which 
were securely fastened around and under the 
wagon, together with kettles, pans, and dishes 
of enameled iron. A folding-table, several 
camp-stools and chairs completed our equip- 
ments, and on a muddy but sunshiny day we 
left our hotel, bidding good-by to our friends, 
and climbed on to our perches on the cartel. 
Four black boys, a maid, and two dogs 
formed our establishment. One of the large 
boys took the trek tow, a loose rein on the 
horns of the two leading oxen, and another 

Yankee Girls i 

the long-handled, long-thonged whip. There 
was a wild yell and a screech from them all, 

and the oxen started forward with a lurch 
that threatened to dislodge every article we 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Lana, 189 

had taken such pains to secure. The wagon 
slowly rose out of the muddy bed into which 
it had sunk during the past week's rain, and 
getting into the road, moved at a brisk pace 

Still brisk as it was the pace was only a 
walk. We thought we should never make 
the two or three hundred miles to Queens- 
town, at that pace, by the route we should 
take. We learned, however, that though slow 
it was sure. A team of oxen intelligently 
driven, and rested at proper intervals, will 
make thirty miles a day, week after week, 
over any sort of country, a rate of traveling 
that horses cannot exceed when the distance 
is long. At the end of three hours the oxen 
were outspanned to graze and the boys pre- 
pared our midday meal. The tablecloth was 
laid, and that tablecloth was the chief source 
of our solicitude throughout the trip. Oh the 
delight of that first meal ! everything tasted 
so sweet. Were we not free, free as air, the 
sky and limitless veldt the ceiling, walls, and 
floor of our dining-room, with not a creature 
in sight ? Our caterer had forgotten nothing 

190 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

that was necessary to make our meals model 

After an hour and a half the oxen were 
slowly driven up to the wagon and each one 
took his own proper place, seeming to know 
his own yoke. We trekked on over the same 
level plain, but as evening drew near the sky 
assumed a threatening aspect, and it was 
thought prudent to outspan and tie up in 
order to prepare for the reception of the im- 
pending storm. Before the yokes were re- 
moved the rain came pouring down in tor- 
rents. The boys dug a trench around the 
wagon under which they got for shelter, while 
we, safe under our water-proof tent, peered 
out from time to time at the storm raging 
around us. 

Presently lightning began to flash and the 
thunder to roar, while the rain came down in 
sheets, seeming to transform the open country 
into a vast lake. Oh, those dreadful African 
thunder-storms ! We thought we should never 
see worse storms than those of our Western 
prairies, but they were infants in strength 
compared to those in Africa. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 191 

The storm grew fiercer and fiercer, and the 
lightning seemed to come from the heavens 
in all directions in molten streams of fire. 
The road was full of ironstone, a peculiarity 
of the uplands of Africa ; this seemed to at- 
tract the lightning, and the air appeared to 
be full of fire, accompanied by an ear-pierc- 
ing crackling and booming that shook the 
earth. The atmosphere was black, and the 
darkness was intensified by the continual 
flashes, when suddenly there was a crash and 
a deafening roar that made us think the 
heavens had fallen. Stunned for a moment 
we each looked at the other, expecting that 
the wagon had been struck, and a great stir 
and lowing among the trembling oxen in- 
creased our fears. 

We sat for half an hour listening to the 
thunder muttering fainter and fainter as it 
rolled away in the distance. The voice of 

A summoned us from the tent. To our 

surprise we found the sky clear and no trace 
of the storm in the heavens, but an inky 
cloud disappearing far away on the horizon. 
About fifty yards ahead of the wagon was a 

19Z YamJtee Girh in Zmim Lt^ti. 

Ui^c hok m ihc rood that bad been loni nc; 
bf ihc inrj tA that tbundeiboh vhkli had s 
IcrHried tu. 


These African thunder-storms occur at 
different seasons in different localities, and 
everywhere they are terrible. They do more 
harm by their violence than the rain which 
accompanies them does good. During their 
continuance (fortunately they never last long) 
the water comes down in veritable sheets, 

194 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

rushing down slopes and mountain-sides in a 
resistless flood, swelling rivers in a few mo- 
ments from ditches into torrents. 

A storm in the mountains at times fills the 
streams leading out from them to such an 
extent that with scarcely any warning the 
waters come tumbling down in cataracts, the 
rivers rising to a height of forty feet in as 
many minutes. A friend of ours with his part- 
ner had been trading for years in the Zambesi 
country, and was bringing down a large quan- 
tity of, furs, feathers, and ivory to the colo- 
nial market. On reaching the banks of a 
little river, remarking that it was running some- 
what swifter than usual, they entered it with 
their wagon, without any thought of danger. 

Suddenly, as they reached the middle, the 
waters came rolling down with a roar like 
Niagara, sweeping away the results of two 
years' labor in a moment ; they barely escaped 
with their lives. We asked our friend what 
he did at the time. *' Why," said he, " we 
tried to express the situation in words, but 
we could not do it justice, so we just sat 
down on two ant-hills, laughing at one an- 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 195 

other and our luck." Several similar cases 
occurred during our stay in the upland coun- 
try, A coach with four passengers was swept 
away in a moment while fording a swelling 
river at night, the driver only escaping. 



The boys were soon at work coaxing up a 
fire, with the help of some dry wood we had 
in the wagon, and coffee was made. The 
meal was rather dismal, for night had fallen, 
and the boys were looking anxiously at the 

196 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

condition of the road, and the hopeless state 
of the wagon wheels, which had sunk into 
the sloppy turf almost up to the hubs. There 
was no use trying to go on that night, so put- 
ting out our swinging lantern, we lay down 
to sleep. 

At daylight we were awakened by the jolt- 
ing of the wagon, and found that our body- 
guard had inspanned, and, having dug us out 
of the muddy prison, had succeeded in get- 
ting us under way. Hastily making our toilets 
with difficulty, we were thrown from side to 
side of the wagon at every lurch ; we jumped 
out and walked, finding the exercise prefer- 
able to the jarring of the vehicle. Indeed, 
we walked most of the journey, and were 
better foi: it. Enjoying an excellent break- 
fast, which again put us in good spirits, we 
were beginning to think we should have a 
clear day, but another spell of rain at ten 
o'clock came on. It continued raining all 
day, with short intervals of sunshine. These 
were taken advantage of to make short treks. 

At four o'clock, as we were sitting in the 
fore part of our chariot looking out at the 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 197 

drizzling rain, the front wheels slowly sank 
and nearly disappeared in a deep mud hole, 
bringing the steaming oxen to a full stop. 
In vain the driver cracked his long whip and 
yelled ; we were hopelessly stuck. I was 
sitting in front when the accident occurred, 
and jumped out, landing in a deep mud 
hole. We slept that night at an angle of 
nearly forty-five degrees, and when morning 
broke it was welcome, as it brought with it 
some bright sunshine and prospect of clear- 
ing weather. 

It took five hours and the effort of the 
combined lungs of the party upon the oxen, 
together with the inventive genius and ex- 
perience of all the members of our staff, to 
get us out of that mud hole. They out- 
spanned and inspanned three times before 
the wagon stirred, and a hole had been dug 
big enough to bury us all in before the wheels 
were released. At last, with a whoop and a 
yell and a groan, it was hoisted out of its 
oozy prison and drawn onto the veldt, when 
the oxen were outspanned and breakfast was 

198 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

During several successive days, while trav- 
eling in the Orange Free State, we passed 
hundreds of huge ant-hills. One might say 
there are villages of these ; they are formed 
together in thousands, they disappear for a 
space, and are again met with. Some of 
them measure ten feet and more in circum- 
ference, and are between three and four feet 
high, and are filled with black and yellow 
ants. The clay becomes hard from the sun's 
rays. An ox-wagon driver hews out an ant- 
hill forming an oven, in which he cooks his 
bread, the clay burning like a slow fire, and 
with an intense heat. 

From this time on the weather was de- 
lightful ; with the exception of one thunder- 
storm it continued so during the six weeks 
we remained in the wagon. We soon forgot 
the unpleasant experiences of the first few 
days. In forty-eight hours the sun had dried 
the road, so that traveling was comparatively 
easy, and we passed over the level plain, ar- 
riving in Smithfield on the fifth morning after 
leaving Bloemfontein, where we outspanned 
on a plateau adjoining the village. We here 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 199 

met with a lady friend from the diamond 
fields, who invited us to visit her for a 
few days ; but we had now become attached 
to our gypsy life, and preferred our own fire- 

Smith fie Id is a fair- si zed village of the 
usual Free State kind, possessing a few fine 
churches, a few streets of one-story roomy 
houses, and several stores. When our tented 
home began to move along the road away 
from the village we trudged alongside of it 
as happy and healthy as school-girls, and 
feeling as free from restraint as the birds. 


Three miles from Smithfield we came to 
the banks of the Caledon River, which we 
found greatly swollen by the rains, and did 
not consider prudent to cross until two of the 
boys had waded through. The water came 
up above their waists, and we climbed into 
our places, and descended the steep bank 
leading to the drift (or ford). It requires 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 201 

management and considerable shouting and 
activity on the part of the wagon drivers to 
cross a river. The bank is always precipi- 
tous, and the break has to be screwed up 
hard to make the descent, and released im- 
mediately the water is reached. At times 
the oxen stick in the middle of the drift, 
which is often rocky and full of great bowl- 
ders, and it is difficult to get them on. 

When we reached the bottom of the slope, 
the leading oxen were already in the middle 
of the stream, with the water nearly over 
their backs. With a plunge the wagon took 
the water, and we were glad to find that the 
drift had a tolerably firm, sandy foundation, 
so that we were not tumbled about much. 
The leaders were now half way up the oppo- 
site bank, and the driver, mounting the foot- 
board in front of the wagon, gave one of his 
banshee howls and a simultaneous crack of 
his whip over the heads of the team. This 
started them into a trot, and the impetus was 
not lost until we were all high and dry on 
the farther bank. 

The water had come up to the floor of the 

202 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

wagon, but for only a moment, so that nothing 
was injured. The only casualty sustained 
was the loss of a bright tin pail which had 
been floated off its hook, and went sailing 
down with a jaunty air to the tune, " Won't 
have to work any more. " 

After crossing the river we branched off 
considerably to the right. Our way lay for 
some distance along the banks of the river, 
and the country was thickly studded with 
stunted thorn and furze bushes. Some doves, 
which always abound in these thorn bushes, 
were shot, and they formed a most welcome 
addition to our dinner that day. Outspan- 
ning nearly all the hot afternoon, we made a 
long trek in the lovely moonlight until nearly 
twelve o'clock before "tying up." This is a 
plan always adopted by transport riders, the 
wagon drivers who make it their business to 
carry goods from town to town. They lie to 
nearly all day, and travel late in the afternoon 
and night, finding, by following this plan, that 
their oxen can get through more work and 
keep in better condition. 

The Hottentot and Kafir boys who lead 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 203 

them seem to be able to see in the dark. 
They will lead the oxen, without stopping, 
over dangerous roads where it is pitch dark. 
The wagon was often in motion before we 
awoke, but so accustomed had we become to 
the jolting of our bed that it did not wake 
us from our deep sleep. When we awoke we 
would find breakfast prepared in a pleasant, 
grassy country, and the fire blazing merrily. 
It is not to be wondered at that the Kafirs 
are such happy, contented mortals, for the 
sun, of which they get so much, gives more 
iife and vitality than any medicine. One 
afternoon the boys sighted a herd of spring- 
bok some distance away in the veldt. They 
were feeding in a depression in the plain 
about seven hundred yards away, and our 
hunter, sighting his rifle, carefully rested it 
on an ant-hill. At the sound of the rifle the 
whole troop started away with a bound, break- 
ing into a gallop and disappearing in a cloud 
of dust far off in the veldt, leaving one of 
them lying on the ground with his feet in the 
air. But he was only wounded, and before 
the boys reached him he struggled to his feet 

Z04 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

and tried to limp off. Down went the rifle- 
man on his knee, there was a moment of 
suspense and another report, and the buck 
was bowled over with a bullet in his neck. 
He was brought to the wagon in triumph, and 


slung by his feet underneath, we girls being 
as much excited as if a tiger had been slain. 
Moving on one morning before daylight, 
and crossing a fine bridge over the Orange 
River, our oxen were unyoked hard by a 
number of transport wagons. When we ar- 
rived the transport riders and their boys were 
all asleep, but as day wore on they began to 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 205 

get about, and came over to our wagon, 
mightily curious to know who we were, where 
we were going, where we lived, and highly 
amused at the idea of any one traveling in an 
ox wagon for pleasure. 


We soon settled down to the routine of 
our ox-wagon life, and very pleasant we 
found it. When the boys would outspan and 
get things in readiness for meals, our hunger 
from the open-air life would be so great that 
we could scarcely wait while they made the 
fire for coffee. Like all South African travel- 
ers, we consumed a prodigious quantity of 
coffee. Besides drinking it at every meal, it 
would be prepared several times during the 
day, as we wanted it 

The Dutch people drink it morning, noon, 
and night, keeping it always on the fire for 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 207 

their Dutch friends who pass near them. 
The manner in which coffee is made in the 
veldt is : first to boil the water in the kettle, 
then pour it on the coffee ready in another 
kettle ; it is then passed back and forth a 
few times and the coffee is made ; a few 
drops of cold water poured into the kettle will 
soon settle the grounds. We found the Dutch 
coffee very good. 

Our meals consisted of buck meat, cooked 
in all sorts of ways, and sometimes a pair of 
doves or partridges ; we had our canned 
goods to fall back upon, and we had also the 
vegetables of the country, which were carried 
in the wagon. We lived most contentedly. 
One day we suffered greatly from want of 
water. We traveled many hours, hoping to 
find a stream and fill the water-cans. 

A Kafir will find a spring of water in places 
where a white man would never think of 
looking for it, but that day there was no water 
to be found, and we positively suffered from 
thirst. The sun beat down on us all fiercer 
than ever, it seemed, and it was not till late 
in the afternoon that we came to a small 

2o8 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

muddy stream. The mud did not frighten 
us, and we hurried the boys into making the 

One of our boys had been in the jail at 
Smithfield, for some petty misdemeanor, and 
was discharged in order that he might come 
with our staff. He was a raw Kafir about four- 
teen years of age, with a comical, laughing 
face, which peered up at us oddly as he sat on 
the foot-board of the wagon. He had a funny 
little squeaking voice which at times would 
play him tricks ; when apparently about to 
come forth in a manly roar, it would suddenly 
result in a shrill, piping sound, which would 
throw all the servants into fits of laughter. 
He used to perch himself surreptitiously on 
the disselboem, against the orders of "the 
baas," in the cool of the evening, as we jolted 
along in the moonlight, and croon out in 
Kafir, awfully out of tune, " Sweet bye and 
bye," a favorite song of the Sunday-school 
Kafirs. The missionaries* service with the 
Kafir, it may be said, is mostly a service of 
song. We soon became tired of his one 
tune, and sang it for him correctly ; but he 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 209 

evidently considered that our musical educa- 
tion had been neglected, for directly we had 
finished he started again, singing it in his 
own way. 

On very hot days we used to contrive an 
awning on the shady side of the wagon, under 
which we would sit and read or make lazy 
attempts at sewing. But the silence of the 
stilly veldt, broken only by the hum of some 
buzzing insect, would more often put us to 
sleep. If our existence was not one of con- 
tentment, then there is no such thing. We 
became enamoured of the life and had no 
desire to hasten on our journey. Some of the 
happiest days of our lives were spent during 
this trip, free from society, anxiety, and pro- 
priety. There was no one to dress for, nor 
to come suddenly upon us and disturb our 
calm existence. When three girls make up 
their minds to be contented under all diffi- 
culties, difficulties disappear. They can make 
their surroundings pretty and can make the 
rough fare attractive. If they have been 
blessed with a good mother, who has trained 
them for domestic life, they know how to con- 


2IO Yankee Girls in Zuhi Land, 

trive little accessories which will give a relish 
to the plainest fare. 

Little trouble was experienced with our 
servants. They were always laughing and 
looking at our mode of life with the interest 
of a big dog ; they were ludicrously stupid, 
but they were never sulky or impudent. Our 
wagon owner and servants slept on the ground 
wrapped in blankets or " karosses," infinitely 
preferring that to sleeping on a cartel under 
the wagon. When we suggested snakes, they 
only laughed. These fur robes or " ka- 
rosses " are light, and when thrown on the 
ground prevent the ants from reaching those 
asleep on them. They are brought from the 
interior, beyond the Zambesi River, by the 
traders. They are beautifully sewed together 
by the natives, with thread made from the 
sinews of wild animals. These furs are beau- 
tiful, being the skins of leopard, silver fox, 
jackal, and wolf, and many other animals. 
They are very comfortable for traveling on 
cool nights. 

This peaceful region is filled with reptiles and 
wild animals, but we saw very few of them. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 211 

Our boys would often hold wayside recep- 
tions for natives in twos and threes, coming 
from goodness knows where, and others, ap- 
pearing from the shadows beyond, would 
surround them, talking rapidly in vowels 
and strange sounds, and looking on hungrily 
at the meals being prepared. 

As we outspanned near by a farm during 
the journey, a farm Kafir, with a look and 
bearing of a prince of the soil, dressed to the 
knees in a coffee sack, with holes made for 
arms and head, approached. He stood talk- 
ing to the boys in an attitude of utter grace. 
His calm scrutiny of us all was very amusing ; 
just as observing and curious as any city- 
bred man. He went over to the cactus hedge 
and cut a pailful of cactus apples. We 
could not handle one without having our 
hands pierced with hundreds of the little 
briers found on them. This Kafir sharpened 
the end of a long stick, and then stuck it into 
an apple, and after dexterously peeling it 
with a sharp knife, he offered it to us, as if 
it had been a bonbon. We were very thirsty 
and we found these cactus apples delicious. 

313 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

The boys had two dogs with them. One, 
" Satan," a forbidding- looking brute, was the 
remains of what had been a fine Russian 
water dog, but life in Africa had not agreed 
with either his appearance or temper. He 
was a disagreeable brute, but after a time got 
amiable enough to approach the wagon. Poor 

little " Stumpy," the other dog, was the queer- 
est, quaintest little mongrel that ever Uved. 
He would wriggle his little body most ab- 
surdly in vain attempts to wag the apology for 
a tail which had given him his name. If we 
took any notice of him, he would go mad 
with delight. He did not know whether to 
bark, or jump, or gallop, or dance, or stand on 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 213 

his head, and he would try to do them all at 

One lazy, hot afternoon Eva and I made 
a wager as to which of us could coax Stumpy 
to come to her ; we went in opposite direc- 
tions and called him. The poor little dog's 
pitiable embarrassment as to which he should 
follow, his evident dread of losing either or 
both his friends by favoring one or neither, 
was very funny. He would go a little way 
to Eva, then back to me, then stop, then to 
Eva, then to me, until finally, after attempt- 
ing to split himself into halves and go to both, 
he gave it up in despair, and just lay down 
midway between us and howled, refusing at 
last to attempt, what so many men have failed 
to do, to please two women at the same time. 


Leaving the Orange River at BethuHe 
Bridge, we continued on the main road till 
the morning, when we struck off in a north- 
easterly direction for Ahival North, which 
was reached in a few days. The town is 
built close to the Orange River, and promises 
to be a place of much importance, being on 
the high road between all eastern ports of 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 215 

the Free State, the diamond fields, and the 
interior. It is a pretty town, a great number 
of the houses having gardens around them 
filled with trees. 

We stayed here for a few days, and recom- 
menced our journey down the country, soon 
exchanging the plains of the Free State and 
northern districts for the alternate mountain 
passes and stretches of open karoo of the 
middle veldt. Passing through the hamlet 
of Jamestown, with its one store and few 
straggling houses, we entered the mountain 
passes which cross the Stromberg range. 
Soon after entering the first rocky defile we 
encountered another violent thunder-storm, 
which, though unattended by the disagreeable 
features of our first one, delayed us over a 
day. We traveled on through the hills, pass- 
ing through Dordrecht, a place which bears 
the reputation of being the coldest place in 
the country. 

It is a straggling village of about eight hun- 
dred inhabitants, with a few stores and two or 
three churches. A resident remarked to us, 
as he pointed with pride to the village, " I have 

Yankee Girls t 

lived here for seventeen years, and seen this 
place grow up around me," in a similar tone 
of voice to that in which we had heard old 

Chicagoans say the same thing. Hut there 
was a difference in the size of the villages ! 

The town lies on the northern slope of the 
Strom herg, and we had several days' mountain 
traveling after we left it. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 217 

An impression the traveler receives in 
South Africa, more especially in the mount- 
ain regions, is one of ghostly stillness. The 
wild, rocky hills rear themselves up all around, 
and often there is not a breath of wind stir- 
ring to break the awful quiet. Sometimes 
this silence is oppressive, and it is a relief to 
hear even the hideous chattering of a monkey 
or the unmusical cackle of a Kafir's laugh. 
The giant mountains in the background seem 
to look down reproachfully at the traveler for 
invading their solitudes, while the dark ra- 
vines and deep clefts, in their rocky sides, 
suggest all sorts of nameless horrors. 

Tigers, or rather leopards, abound in these 
mountains, but are seldom seen except by 
the solitary farmers living in the hills, who 
are in perpetual warfare with these savage 
destroyers of their flocks. One morning we 
found a romantic glen on the side of the 
mountain, full of rare ferns, and with a beau- 
tiful stream of water dripping and echoing as 
it gushed out from the rocks. It was a lovely 
day, and we took our karosses and rugs to 
the spot, and picnicked there. We carried 

2i8 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

along ** Nicholas Nickleby " to read aloud. 
Since that day I always associate the Cheery- 
ble Brothers with ferns, and think of Dothe- 
boys Hall as built on top of a precipitous 
mountain, with a smiling, sunshiny valley lying 
at its feet. 

The nights were very cold in the Strom- 
berg, and we required all the rugs and 
karosses we had to keep us warm at night, 
sunrise nearly always showing everything 
around us, from the tent of the wagon to 
the blankets of the slumbering boys, covered 
with a white hoar frost. 

Our wagoner told us an experience of a 
cold night in the Free State. He said : " In 
the middle of June, two years ago, my partner 
Jim and myself started from Bloemfontein 
for Pretoria. As the shooting was good on 
that road and walking cheap, we decided to 
go on foot, taking with us a couple of boys 
to carry our traps, which were not very ex- 
tensive, consisting, in fact, of a change of 
linen, or rather flannels, a pair of blankets 
each, the cooking utensils, and a spare gun. 
We had for our companion a young man 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 219 

whom we had met in Bloemfontein a few 
days previous to our departure, a young 
Scotchman but lately arrived in the country. 
As he wanted to go to Pretoria he proposed 
to join us. The nights during the winter are 
very cold on the elevated plateaus of the 
Free State and the Transvaal. 

** Though the midday sun is almost as warm 
as in summer, one needs to be well provided 
with covering if they propose passing the 
night on the veldt. To give some idea of 
the cold of the plains at night, I may tell you 
that a few winters ago several natives, mem- 
bers of a tribe called the Knob Noses, who 
were on their way to the fields, were frozen 
stiff and stark on the road from Pretoria to 
Potchef Strom. The road we followed was 
a fair sample of most of the Free State roads, 
a tolerably straight path across an uninter- 
esting, unwooded, undulating plain. Start- 
ing about two o'clock in the afternoon, we 
walked briskly with occasional halts for coffee 
until about ten o'clock at night, when the 
moon shone at its full, and we decided to 
turn in for the night. The wind was already 

220 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

blowing pretty fresh, and we looked about 
for the place in the veldt where the ant-hills 
were thickest so we might set fire to two of 
them to heat our kettles, and to keep us warm 
during the night. After having had a cup of 
coffee, and sat round the fire until we were 
all thoroughly warmed, Jim and I slipped ofif 
our boots, and putting them under our heads 
for pillows, pulled our blankets over our 
heads and feet, and were soon fast asleep, of 
course imagining that Mac would do the 
same. About two o'clock, when the night 
was at its coldest, we were awakened by a 
dreadful groaning, and emerging from our 
coverings were astonished to see Mac huddled 
upon the ground with nothing over him but 
a rubber overcoat, shivering, chattering, and 
moaning piteously. The fire was out, an icy 
wind was sweeping around the veldt. * Good 
gracious, Mac, what is the matter ; where are 
your blankets?' *I d-d-didn't bring any,' 
chattered the unfortunate youth. * Didn't 
bring any ; then what on earth was that big 
bundle the Kafir was carrying ? ' * That is 
my b-best clothes,' moaned the sufferer. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 221 

" We were soon up and bundled the poor 
fellow into our blankets, and waking the boys 
we made up a roaring fire, and thawed him 
back to life. The next day, on arriving at 
Winberg, you should have seen Mac rushing 
into the first store, and regardless of ' siller,' 
buy two of the thickest blankets to be had. 
This man had never before slept outside four 
walls in his life, and bad imagined that any 
place in Africa must needs be suffocatingly 
hot at all times. 

"I don't think he made the same mistake 


While making some purchases at a way- 
side store, we had an insight into the life of 
a wayside storekeeper. We found it, instead 
of monotonous, full of interest The busi- 
ness requires technical knowledge enough to 
run a block of stores in a city. 

He must be prepared to supply his cus- 
tomers with anything and everything they 
may ask for ; he must be at home in extolling 
the best points of a plow, a gun, or a piece 
of calico ; must know the market price of 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 223 

every sort of produce the farmer is likely to 
bring in for sale or barter, and be well in- 
formed in the current news of the day. He 
must possess an unlimited knowledge, as well 
as stock of liquors ; for the Boer, who is ab- 
stemious, as a rule, always expects the man 
who supplies him with his " voerchitz " and 
his coffee to provide him also with plenty of 
stimulants. He must know where to place 
his hands on any article wanted, and be as 
ready to buy your cart and horses, or span of 
oxen, as to sell you a can of sardines or a 
yard of tape. 

When a Boer comes into town, or visits the 
wayside " Negotic Winkel " (store), he usu- 
ally makes a day of it, sometimes accompanied 
by his wife and daughters, who assume, in 
honor of the occasion, their purple and fine 
linen in the shape of a " kappie " (sunbonnet), 
and the newest print gown. They will come 
in at six in the morning and remain till dusk, 
pricing articles whose value they always de- 
preciate, now and then buying, but more 
often not, eating the while a prodigious quan- 
tity of candy ** Lakkers," and assuming for 

214 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

the time an air of proprietorship in the es- 
tablishment. This is intensely annoying to 
the shopkeeper, who, however, always seems 
to be possessed of an inexhaustible fund of 
good humor, and to be ready at any time 
to exchange elephantine witticisms with his 

Boer customers. In their wordy conflicts 
they are politic enough to allow their opponent 
to get the best of it. 

At dusk Dom Piet and Taute Meitje (every 
one is uncle or aunt) prepare to leave. 

There is much hand-shaking with every- 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 225 

body, acquaintance or stranger, who are 
standing about at the time. The worthy 
couple then climb into their Cape cart, or 
spring wagon, and drive off home, where they 
vegetate until the low condition of the do- 
mestic stores compels them again to visit the 
store, or until a Nachtmaal is announced at 
the nearest church. The profits of such a 
store are very large, and, as a rule, amply 
sufficient to compensate the proprietor, often 
a man who has received his business training 
in a large wholesale house in England or 
Germany, for his eight or nine years of exile. 
He has the opportunity, living as he does in 
the midst of the farmers, of taking advantage 
of the many speculations which the fluctua- 
tions in the market prices of wool, skins, 
feathers, etc., offer. 

The most successful of these shopkeepers 
are Jews ; they seem to have a happy knack 
of acquiring the jaw-breaking patois of the 
country, an indispensable accomplishment to 
any one wishing to have successful dealing 
with the Boers. 

We were now nearing the end of our ox- 

Yankee Girls t 

wagon journey, but were not at all glad it 
was so. 

We had got fond of this careless, lazy life 
we had been leading so many weeks ; the 
very oxen we had come to know by their 
names of " BlesboV," " Witful," " Kafir," etc. 
As we neared Queenstown we found our- 
selves getting anxious about their welfare, 
trekking slowly, and making frequent and 
long outspans. When at last we found our- 
selves on a common, close to Queenstown, it 
was with regret we said good-by to our six 
weeks' life in an ox wagon. 


We went to the Central Hotel. On the 
second day after our arrival, the wife of a 
physician of the town called and invited us 
to dine with them on the following day, 
Sunday. We did so and made the acquaint- 
ance of the excellent Doctor and his little 

228 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

family of interesting children. She then in- 
vited us to make her house our home during 
our stay, and overwhelmed us with kind- 

Unless you have been in a strange land, 
away from kindred and all who know your 
people, you can never know the deep happi- 
ness it gives to meet with kindness from an 
utter stranger, as this charming woman was, , 
and to be invited to a home as lovely as hers. 
After the annoyances and inconveniences 
of the wretched inns, or hotels, as they 
were called, to find such open-hearted hos- 
pitality was like meeting with kindred in a 
desert land. 

Most of the inhabitants of Queenstown are 
English or Scotch, there being fewer Dutch 
or Germans there than in any of the other 
towns we had visited. There are a number 
of fine churches and schools, with several 
newspapers and banks. The ladies of the 
place are especially social, and dress hand- 
somely. The railway, which had been fin- 
ished to the port of East London two years 
previous to our arrival, seemed to have given 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 229 

an impetus to trade, and it was confidently 
hoped by the burghers would increase rap- 
idly the prosperity of the district. 

After enjoying a refreshing 'season of home 
life, we said good-by to our new found 
friends and then left Queenstown by rail. 
Traveling by rail seemed to us almost a 
novelty after our late ox-wagon trip, and we 
could not help contrasting the new style 
with the old, not all to the disadvantage of 
the latter, for we could not forget the de- 
lightful sleepiness of our inland voyage. We 
had a twelve hours' ride before we arrived at 
King Williamstown, the road passing through 
a very pretty country, pleasantly wooded, and 
varied by many deep and romantic kloofs. 
We were thoroughly tired of the stuffy " com- 
partment " before we reached our destina- 

We went to an hotel, where our wants 
were well cared for by a pretty little landlady 
whose husband was of a most jealous dispo- 
sition. The town is in a region of country 
where there have been many Kafir wars. 
The military stationed there keep the place 

230 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

awake. It is the fifth town in point of im- 
portance in the colony. 

During our stay in Africa we had taken 
many opportunities to practice horse-back 
riding, and had learned the supreme delight 
there is in a firm seat in the saddle on the 
back of a well- trained, swift-footed horse. 
This exercise is especially enjoyable in Af- 
rica, where walking is unpleasant in the hot 
sun. One day we were invited to join in a 
paper chase, to a spot distant ten or twelve 
miles from town. 

We were assured of being furnished with 
suitable " mounts," so we accepted without 
hesitation. There was a sprinkling of uni- 
forms and a few civilians, and there were sev- 
eral ladies besides ourselves. There were 
also parties in Cape carts who followed the 
hunt by road. A cart driven by a rifleman 
in uniform was to convey refreshments for 
our party to the place of rendezvous. Pres- 
ently the fox rode off well mounted. 

The " scent " was slung over his shoulder 
in a capacious canvas bag. Time was taken 
and he was soon clattering down the road. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 231 

the music of the horse's hoofs being accom-. 
panied by a ringing bugle blast sounded by 
one of our enthusiastic huntsmen. He was 
to have ten minutes start, and the interval 
was taken advantage of by most of our party 
to see that girths were tight and bridle 
reins in order. Our escort had placed us in 

good position to get away with the first 
rush, and when " time " was called, we were 
well down the road in front of the ruck. It 
had been arranged beforehand that the fox 
should keep to the road for a mile before 
making across the country ; so at first the 
whole field were well together clattering and 
rattling down the hill at a pace so swift that 

232 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

good care was demanded on the part of the 
* riders to keep the horses from coming into 

Down the slope, through the shallow stream 
running across the road in the hollow, up the 
rise on the further side, and away along a 
level flat on the crest of the hill, till many of 
the young fellows in uniform were shouting 
from sheer exuberance of spirits. We found 
ourselves borne along at a gait that sent the 
blood flying through our veins. The day was 
fine, a fresh breeze, which swept across the 
veldt, agreeably tempering the rays of the 
sun, which at that hour is decidedly hot. 
Small particles of the paper lying along the 
road and the bushes that fringed it served to 
stimulate our exertions, and the whole caval- 
cade kept merrily on till we came to the point 
where a large patch of paper, lying in the 
center of the road, warned us that the chase 
had turned off. 

Here the larger part of the field deserted 
us, preferring to keep along the road, which 
led in a tolerably direct line to the rendez- 
vous, and take their chances of sighting the 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 233 

hunt from occasional vantage grounds. But 
all the more ardent sportsmen scorned to take 
advantage of the highway when the scent led 
them away from it, and twenty or more elected 
to follow thfe fox. 

The paper led us for a mile or more along 
the upper edge of a deep kloof, which looked 
dark and forbidding as we gazed down into its 
depths, seeing only the tops of the trees, with 
which it was literally crammed. The scent 
had been cast with a generous hand, and we 
rushed along, feeling intoxicated with the ex- 
hilarating exercise and the glorious air. All 
at once our leader reined in his horse, and we 
saw the trail had suddenly taken a sharp turn 
to the right, crossing a small stream, and dis- 
appearing over the brow of a hill on the op- 
posite side. 


With a slight feeling of nervousness we 
turned our horses' heads to the water, and 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 235 

hearing our friend's voice calling " Let him 
have his head," we shut our eyes, and one 
after another went at it — oh ! Our horses 
were over and galloping up the opposite slope, 
we hardly believing that we had actually 
" jumped a river." So soon as we were over 
we looked back to see how it fared with the 
rest, and were almost disappointed to see 
that every one cleared the stream. We had 
half hoped to see something like the familiar 
pictures, in which half the men are in the 
water, some of the horses balking, others just 
dragging themselves out on the bank, while 
in the distance we, the triumphant leaders, 
were skimming along with the strength of the 
wind. Our friend laughed, and said that if 
we "lasted " long enough we should see 
plenty of them spilled before the end of the 

The pace had told on the horses, and be- 
fore we had reached the top of the hill most 
of us were willing to comply with the silent 
advice of our gray-headed cavalier, and 
pull up our panting horses for a breather. 
What a delicious gallop it had been, but it 

236 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

was not over yet. After resting for a few 
minutes at the top of the rise we started off 
again with fresh enthusiasm, a little steadier, 
perhaps, than when we left home. One of 
our party had a fall over his horse's head, the 
animal putting his foot into an ant-bear hole, 

one of the little treacherous caves which we 
seemed to find everywhere. 

Our little party, however, remained intact, 
and we soon reached the timber, in which 
considerable caution was necessary in follow- 
ing the scent through the stragghng bushes. 
Our escort dismounted to find the likeliest 
and clearest path through, our quarry, with 
the true foxy cunning, having laid the trail 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 237 

in just those places best calculated to 
bother a horseman. Fortunately the ob- 
struction was not very wide, and we emerged 
on the other side, where we were cheered 
by a sight of the fox, nearly two miles 

A yell from our party, intended to be a 
view halloo, greeted him, and brought the 
stragglers crashing through the bushes at a 
great rate of speed. Off we started again, 
now leaping a ditch or scrambling through a 
slute, now crashing through bushes and 
stumbling over ant-hills. At last, however, 
we were forced to give up all hope of again 
sighting the fox, and philosophically jogged 
along the trail until we found our quarry 
lying in the shade of two gigantic gum trees, 
which, being a well-known landmark, had 
been fixed upon as the goal. 

Feeling very tired after the excitement of 
the long race, we were glad to jump off our 
horses and find comfortable seats on the grass. 
Soon the roadsters began to arrive singly, and 
in twos and threes, and after a while our pic- 
nic basket was unpacked. We were glad to 

238 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

be able to prove the truth of the saying, '* as 
hungry as a hunter." We spent the remainder 
of the day under the trees, listening to the 
stories our military friends had to tell us of 
their experience in the neighborhood during 
the late Kafir war. We were in the Perie 
bush, which had been a stronghold of San- 
dillis' men for months in 1878, and many a 
colonist was killed before the savages were 
dislodged. We rode home quietly in the 
cool of the evening, very stiff from our morn- 
ing scamper, but feeling that we had laid in 
a stock of ozone which would last a long 

There are some very fine botanical gardens 
in King Williamstown, always kept in order 
and most delightfully placed along the banks 
of the Buffalo River, beside which the town 
is built. On returning at sunset one after- 
noon from these gardens, we were walking in 
front of four well-dressed Kafirs, evidently 
living in domestic service in the town. They 
were two men and two women. Suddenly 
they struck up a wild melody which thrilled 
us as we listened ; one voice took up the 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 239 

melody, then the second voice joined in, then 
the third and fourth, until the song swelled 
into a triumphant hymn ; the soprano seemed 
to be singing an octave higher than an ordi- 
nary soprano voice, but it was merely the pe- 
culiar timbre of the voice which made it sound 
so. The bass rolled out like an organ peal, 
and when the singers turned away from us 
to go up the hill, keeping on in their wild 
** hallelujahs," we could scarcely keep from 
following them. 

The only music that can give an idea of it 
is to be heard in some of the strains " Aida " 
has to sing. Verdi seems to have thoroughly 
caught the spirit of these dusky-colored peo- 
ple, which is a closed book to most of the 
white race. 

Perhaps one of the reasons of the failure of 
many of the missionaries in their work among 
this peculiar people is, that it takes a many- 
sided man to comprehend a race whose traits 
are entirely different from his own. As a 
rule, the men sent out to Africa as mis- 
sionaries are not many-sided, nor do they 
possess that to them most necessary of all 

240 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

giits, a practical knowledge of humaD 1 



After remaining a few weeks in King Wil- 
liamstown we had a longing to see the ocean, 
and accordingly, one evening, took the train 
for East London, two hours distant by rail, 
and fell asleep that night to the sound of the 
waves rolling up on the shore. The next day 

24 2 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

we went down the steep hill-side to the beach, 
and played with the pebbles and pretty sea- 
shells, as happily as children with their 
wooden spades and pails. When the tide is 
out the rocks are strewn with wrecks, one of 
which we climbed upon, and let the spray of 
the waves dash upon us. 

East London is rather a misnomer, for by 
that term people mean Panmure, which is 
built on the opposite bank of the Buffalo to 
the old town of East London; but Panmure, 
having grown up and eclipsed its elder brother, 
the old name seems to cling to it, and East 
London, the larger and more important town 
of the two, is indicated. It is very pictur- 
esquely situated. The Buffalo River finds its 
way to the sea at this point, between exces- 
sively high and bountifully wooded banks. 
East London proper is erected on the western 
point of the junction of the river with the 
ocean, while Panmure looks down upon it 
from the higher elevation of the eastern bank. 

The town is rather scattered, but rejoices 
in some of the most energetic and pushing 
colonists in the country. They are trying 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 243 

hard to bring their town into the front rank 
of colonial towns, and are spending vast sums 
of money in the attempt to make a harbor of 
the mouth of the river, at present barred with 
sand. A breakwater was in course of erec- 
tion by convict labor, which is confidently 
expected to do great things for the port, but 
so far there is no communication between the 
shipping and the shore but by means of 
lighters and steam launches. 

There are three or four highly prosperous 
rowing clubs in Panmure, and our hotel pro- 
prietor, being a member of one, we were 
enabled to spend several delightful days in 
exploring the romantic banks and creeks of 
the Buffalo, which here resembles our own 
Hudson in picturesque loveliness. We re- 
mained three very pleasant weeks in East 
London enjoying the sea, and, after debating 
the question, we decided to go to Natal. 

Our thoughts had been turned toward that 
colony for some time, as we had heard much 
of the beauty of the country. It is necessary 
to make the voyage by sea, for, although 
Natal touches the Cape Colony along the 

Z44 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

boundary line of one hundred and fifty miles 
or more, there is little or no regular land 
communication, the Cape districts adjacent 
to Natal being still peopled by natives as yet 
but little removed from barbarism. There 

is no highway from one colony to the other, 
and coniniunitaliim is almost entirely by sea. 
The (KiTt of Kast London liears the unen- 
viable distinction of being for more than half 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 245 

the days in the year almost unapproachable. 
The roadstead is quite open, there being no 
bay of any kind, and the coast facing south- 
east, it is exposed to the full fury of the worst 
gales known in these latitudes, the South- 
easters. On a hot summer's day we boarded 
the tender which was to take us only to the 
steamer. We were warned by the residents 
that it was rough outside the " bar,*' but we 
could scarcely believe them as we looked out 
on the placid waters of the estuary. We 
were soon convinced, however, for as soon as 
the little steamboat began to feel the swell 
which at all times surges over the sandy bar, 
she tossed and danced about in a manner 
which made us wish we had not started for 

But we were in for it now, so covering our- 
selves completely with our rubber coats we 
did not fear the spray and surf that dashed 
completely over our little vessel as she blus- 
tered and fought her way, inch by inch, 
against the mighty rollers that seemed to rear 
up to drive us back. After several minutes 
of this we cleared the bubbling surf that 

246 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

boiled over the bar, and found ourselves in 
the long rolling swell of a heavy sea, which, 
if as dangerous, was not quite so unpleasant. 
We arrived alongside the steamer, which 
appeared to us, on our erratic little craft, to be 
as steady as a rock, so large and stately did 
she seem. We were told we should have to 
be hoisted on board in a basket, as there was 
no possibility of our approaching near enough 
to the vessel's side to get up by the usual 
companion ladder. 

A huge basket was slung down, suspended 
from the immense derrick on the ship's deck, 
and into this we were unceremoniously packed, 
two at a time. Then we were quickly hauled 
up, our dignity suffering in the way we were 
" dumped " down on the deck like jugs of 
molasses, or Falstaff going to the wash. We 
smoothed our ruffled plumage with the con- 
solation that we were '* doing " South Africa, 
though it seemed to us at the time that the 
reverse was the case. 

It was too dark when we left East Lond6n 
to see anything of the coast, but on coming 
on deck the next morning wfe found the seen- 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 247 

ery before our eyes. The coast from west to 
northeast is very little broken, and presents a 
uniform rocky shore, but the scenery is really 
beautiful. Hundreds of small streams, and 
one or two larger ones, empty themselves into 
the sea on the Kafrarian coast, and the kloofs 
through which they find their way to the 
ocean are veritable fairy glens in loveliness. 
The steamer here kept close to the shore, so 
everything was seen with distinctness. 

The wonderful clearness of the atmosphere 
made every bold wrinkle on the face of the 
cliffs, the direction of the water courses, every 
curve of the kloof to be clearly discovered. 
One feature of the country with which we 
had become familiar was here conspicuous 
by its absence. No mountains of great alti- 
tude could be seen, the great ranges which 
run right round the coast line with one un- 
broken wall here receding so far from the sea 
as to be beyond the reach of our vision even 
in that rich and brilliant light. We passed 
Mazeppa Bay, the scene of so many wrecks 
that it has become famous, the great Kei 
River and many points of historical interest. 

248 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

The captain told us that this entire coast 
was for a long time laid down on the charts 
nearly a degree too far west, which was, no 
doubt, the cause of the numerous marine dis- 
asters that have occurred among its breakers. 
Next day we sighted the mouth of the St. 
John's River, of which place hopes are enter- 
tained that it will one day be made a practi- 
cable harbor. There is a small settlement 
here, and a station for the mounted police. 
From here we began to see many charming 
houses dotted along the shores. 

The beauty of the country has tempted a 
great number of Europeans to pitch their tents 
here. Major-General Bissett, who has written 
several interesting histories of the Kafir wars, 
has built himself a house not far from St. 
John's, which, with the surrounding estate, 
has every appearance of being a delightful 
spot to retire to from the busy world. 

It was a Christmas day, I497, that the 
great Portuguese voyager, Vasco da Gama, 
first sighted the headlands and bluffs of Natal, 
and it was on Christmas day nearly four hun- 
dred years after (it is strange how history re- 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 249 

peats itself) that we Yankee girls landed in 
Durban ! 



Durban lies in a landlocked harbor about 
three and one-half miles long, and about six 
hundred yards wide. At the entrance it is — 
O South African Nemesis 1 — obstructed by 
a sand-bar which modern engineering science, 
fighting against nature, has failed to remove. 
The sand, however, is shifting, and at times 
vessels drawing twelve to fourteen feet of 
water can enter the harbor and come up to 
the wharf of the city. We were soon trans- 
ported to the steam launch that awaited us, 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 251 

and, passing under the shadow of the great 
giant bluff which terminates the southern 
arm of the entrance to the harbor, crossed 
the bar, and landed on the quay. 

The day was intensely hot, by far the hot- 
test we had experienced since our arrival in 
the country. The landing wharves and cus- 
tom-house are situated at the extremity of 
the northern arm of the harbor, and we had 
a drive of nearly a mile to reach the town. 
It was soon evident to us that we were in a 
different country from that we had just left. 
Natal is essentially an English colony, and 
bears a much closer resemblance to Australia 
than the Cape Colony, with its mixed Euro- 
pean and African population. 

The town of Durban consists of a long, 
straggling main street, which is about two 
miles in length, containing many very hand- 
some stores, with a few cross streets to keep 
the longer ones in countenance. Few of 
the business men live in the town, most of 
them having residences on the Berea, a beau- 
tiful hill which overlooks the town two miles 
distant, on which the handsome houses of 

252 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

the citizens are seen rising in well laid out 
terraces facing the town and the sea. The 
entire hill-side is thickly interspersed with 
lovely foliage trees. The public park on the 
Berea is full of the most beautiful flowering 
trees and creepers, while so prodigal is nature 
in this favored climate that the very paths 
are bordered by pine plants and orange trees ; 
bananas, shaddocks, and other luscious fruits 
hanging in rich profusion everywhere. 

The weather was so inviting that we spent 
most of the time out of doors. One of the 
first things that attracts the visitor's attention 
on arrival in the country is the black man, 
from the Hindoo Coolie to the powerful Zulu. 
The chief native tribe of Natal is the Zulu, 
whose records form an important part of co- 
lonial history. They are physically magnifi- 
cent, tall, broad-chested, with coal black skin 
that shines like satin, and a walk that shows 
strength and power. 

They are decidedly intelligent, but have a 
strong objection to giving their services readily 
and continuously for any sort of work, and 
are to be found in domestic service in the 

Yankee Girls »« Zu/u Land. 253 

towns, on the beach and wharves ; but one 
seldom sees any of them in the field. 
The heart of Zulu Land lies within a few 


hours' ride from Durban. Though the coun- 
try is crowded with native Africans, field 
labor is difficnlt, nearly impossible to obtain 

254 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

on any permanent arrangement, a trouble 
which forms another complication in the al- 
ready sufficiently intricate problem of native 
labor. As a consequence, the colonists have 
been forced to import Coolies, so far with 
a most satisfactory result. All, or nearly all 
the labor on the estates is performed by im- 
ported Hindoo Coolies. 

The sugar-cane is largely cultivated on the 
coast line, the climate being almost, if not 
quite, tropical, and the vegetation to be seen 
by the roadside and on the distant hills is 
more like what we expect to find in Africa 
than the more temperate products of the old 
colony. The climate of Natal is one of the 
boasts of the inhabitants. It is nearer the 
tropics than the Cape, but the mean temper- 
ature is little above that in the more southerly 
colony ; the winter is bright, with deliciously 
mild, cool evenings and nights, while the 
summer heat is softened by a clouded sky 
and frequent rains. 

Almost anything seems to grow in this 
genial land, and many of the colonists, ap- 
parently more enterprising than their brethren 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 255 

in the older colony, have extensively laid out 
and cultivated farms. We spent a week at 
Malvern, twelve miles from Durban, where a 
Yorkshire gentleman, who had considerable 
practical experience in scientific gardening in 
England, and had traveled extensively in 
America, had turned his little farm into a 
perfect paradise. There is hardly anything 
edible in the way of fruit or vegetable, or 
beautiful in flower, that is not growing in 
profusion and to perfection in his grounds or 
glass-houses. In addition to acres of straw- 
berries, pines, oranges, etc., there were several 
hundred vines of the Catawba grape, with 
which he intended to experiment in wine- 
making. He was confident of success, and 
certain that the manufacture of wine would 
be one of the future great industries of the 

A number of very prosperous companies, 
with their own estates, mills, and machinery, 
are engaged in the manufacture of sugar, 
molasses and rum, while many private specu- 
lators raise, in addition to the sugar-cane and 
coffee, tea and rice, and some experiments 

256 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

have been made with cotton. Some Parsee 
merchants have been attracted there from Cal- 
cutta, and in the quarter of the town where 
they chiefly reside the surroundings are such 
as would make a stranger think he was in the 
back streets of an Indian town. The Coolies 
make excellent cooks and capital nurses. 

The processions of the idolatrous Coolies 
are a most interesting sight. We witnessed 
one of these parades which they seem so 
fond of making. 

They were dressed and made up in all 
sorts of fantastic ways, carrying extraordinary 
models, all made of paper, of palaces, wild 
animals, etc., which they burn amid great 
shoutings and beatings of tom-toms at the end 
of the day's rejoicings. Their chief idol was 
carried in the center of an escort of gor- 
geously attired priests, while round it were 
carried smaller ones. Fifty to one hundred 
grotesquely attired Coolies were yelling, danc- 
ing, and throwing somersaults, during the 
beating of the tom-toms and the general up- 

The intelligent-looking Zulu, who, despite 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 257 

his philosophical appearance, I fear is not one 
whit more enlightened, stood still and looked 
gravely on. Such novel scenes as these, and 
the beauty of the surrounding country made 
our stay very interesting. 

The northwestern boundary of the colony 
is the great Drakensbergen, which mountains 
are more properly the edge of the great 
stretch to the table-land situated in the center 
of the continent. The aspects of this great 
precipice along its whole length are grand 
and romantic, and as the land at its foot does 
not subside to the sea by easy levels. Natal is 
picturesque everywhere. The midland dis- 
tricts have in many parts the look of the En- 
glish downs ; they are rolling sweeps of grass. 
The coast lines are singularly beautiful, with 
their round bosses, rich in bush and glade, 
while the shore presents a bold outline, with 
projecting bluffs thickly covered with jungle, 
and long stretches of lands broken by rocky 
floors and reef, on which the surf of the In- 
dian Ocean majestically breaks. 

A favorite trip for the town's people is to 
take a boat and cross the lagoon to the bluff, 

258 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

where the scenery is highly romantic both at 
the base of the great headland and inland. 
A forest of fine trees lies a little beyond the 
bluif, and here the sportsman may find bush 
buck, a large description of antelope, in 
plenty, besides smaller varieties in any num- 
ber, and may also make the acquaintance of 
boa constrictors, python and puff adders, or 
disturb the slumbers of a leopard or black 
mamba before he returns home. Of all the 
snake stories that were told us in Africa, those 
of Mr. Cato, our American Consul, were the 
best. He was one of the first settlers in Dur- 
ban. Of course when the country was as wild 
as it once was, snakes had a chance they don't 
get nowadays, and made the best of their op- 
portunities. A colonel in the English regi- 
ment stationed there, a very popular and 
handsome fellow, went hunting during our 
stay, and in alighting from his horse in the 
tall Zulu grass, stepped on a deadly puff 
adder, which raised its ugly hooded head and 
stung him. In an hour he was a corpse. 

The personal experiences of nearly every 
resident were not so interesting as they were 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 259 

thrilling. One gentleman, who occupied a 
position of trust, and whose word could be 
depended upon, told us a snake story which 
I do not believe was exaggerated. He was 
alone in his house one night, and was awak- 
ened from a deep sleep by a peculiar sound. 
He listened, and soon had a feeling that a 
snake was crawling through a knot-hole in the 
bare floor. He lay nearly paralyzed, the per- 
spiration oozing out all over his body until, 
with an effort, he sprang up and over the foot 
of his bed, and rushed into the next room. 
He struck a light, and returned to see if there 
was any ground for his fright, and found a 
long, deadly puff adder lying on his bed 
which he had so lately vacated. We heard 
other stories just as horrid ; it was a fasci- 
nating subject. 

After remaining in Durban several weeks 
we prepared to visit the capital, Pieter Mar- 
itzberg, a town forty miles distant. It is con- 
nected with Durban by a railroad, which is 
being extended to the Transvaal border, and 
thence into the interior. The region on the 
right of the road from Durban to Maritzberg, 

afio Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

after Pinetown.a town midway between them, 
has been passed, is remarkable for its fantas- 
tic assemblage of sugar-loaf hills. 


The first glimpse we had of Pieter Maritz- 
berg was very pleasing. A spirit of freedom 
and sociability pervaded the very air. 

Several banks, newspaper and Government 
offices had fine, imposing buildings. The 
town is surrounded by beautiful hills and 
lovely drives. Here the camellia trees grew 
to the height of twenty feet, bearing their 
crimson and white, scentless flowers. Flowers 
grew in profusion without any coaxing, and 

262 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

the winter days were like those of our early 

Owners of the handsome houses had some 
satisfaction in beautifying the grounds sur- 
rounding them, as everything planted tried 
to bloom at its best. The cactus plant, with 
its brilliant flower and rugged leaves, formed 
hedges, whilst vines clambered over lovejy^ 
little villas that smilingly looked out at the 

The hotel was pleasanter than any we had 
been in. Soon after our arrival we were fort- 
unate in finding several large rooms comfort- 
ably furnished, where we lived in health and 
happiness. The restaurant near by supplied 
our table in our own dining-room, and Coolie 
boys waited on us. The service of the boys 
in a warm climate like Natal was a great re- 
lief. Our young Coolie, David, who attended 
to the household duties, was the prettiest boy 
in Maritzberg, but this was not to be wondered 
at after seeing his mother. Unlike the usual 
small, childlike Coolie woman, she was tall, 
with beautiful dark eyes, waving raven black 
hair, and dimpled cheeks ; over her head and 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 263 

shoulders hung carelessly and in graceful 
folds the yellow handkerchief. How I wished 
I had the talent to sketch her as she stood, 
for " our special artist " was not there at that 

Another characteristic thing we had to ac- 
custom ourselves to was our washerman, A 
black man would come and get the bundle of 
soiled clothes, and take it down to the river ; 
he and his wife would stand in the water by 
a big flat rock, and with a stone proceed to 
pound the dirt out of our linen. We had a 
few dozen or so of garments returned, with 
laces bedraggled and holes knocked through 
the delicate fabrics. It was necessary to call 
in a sewing woman to make up a bolt of linen 
for new garments ; but our experience was 
gained and paid for. 

As we intended to make this visit to Natal 
our farewell to South Africa, we spent much 
of our time in extensive rides to various parts 
of the country. We owned six horses and a 
light running two-seated Cape cart that served 
to make our excursions into the surrounding 
country delightful. Our leaders were famous 

264 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

hurdle racers. Our wheelers were famous 
for having been used by the Empress Eugenie 
during her sad visit to Zulu Land. 

She came in her loneliness to visit the spot 
where her noble son, the Prince Imperial, 
had fallen, pierced through by the cruel as- 
segies of the Zulus, who had surprised him in 
the tall Zulu grass when hunting. He fought 
single handed, and returned backwards to 
his horse. When found dead it was proved 
on examination that he had met death bravely, 
having received every wound with his face to 
his black foe. 

We started one fine morning for a drive to 
some famous falls several miles distant from 
Maritzberg. It took half an hour to climb 
the long town hill, and we were on the down- 
ward grade when the brake of our cart broke. 
The horses were soon on a run down the 
steep, rocky road, and it seemed as if nothing 
could save us from being mixed up with the 
horses' heels. No one uttered a word, but we 
soon saw that our only hope lay in keeping 
the horses in hand. The long whip whistled 
over their heads and struck the leaders a 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 265 

sharp cut, for upon those two horses depended 
everything ; if they would only leap and 
jump away from their flying companions in 
the rear we were safe. The dear creatures 
seemed to know what had occurred, and they 
just lifted their beautiful heads and fairly 
skimmed the earth, going as far to one side of 
the road as they could, and then across to 
the other side, thus keeping the cart from 
rolling down upon them. Not more than ten 
minutes elapsed • from the time we started 
on that downward grade until we reached 
the level road. Here a wheel came off, and 
down we all went, and the horses came to a 
standstill. We were only too glad to come 
to a halt, no matter how sudden. 

On our return journey we met two native 
witch doctors, with their peculiar musical in- 
struments in the shape of a mandolin, and 
made by their own hands. Mr. Watson, editor 
of the Natal Witness, was of our party, and re- 
quested them, in their own language, to dance 
for us, which they did, playing on their in- 
struments and keeping perfect time with head 
and feet, and certain undulations of the body. 

266 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

The faces of the dancers grew more and more 
serious as the dance proceeded. 

Walking along the street one day I observed 
a tall Zulu approaching, dressed to his knees 
in a sleeveless shirt. He stood about six feet 
high, and carried a knob cane. As he ap- 
proached the very earth seemed to shake 
under his powerful tread, and as he passed 
and breathed out an " umph," " umph, ' at 
each step, a cold chill went all through me, 
and I felt for the first time that the strongest 
pale-face was a mere child compared to this 
mighty black man. His physical force was 
so great that, as he passed, I felt as if my 
spirit had been overthrown by a wave of 

The very social people we met in Maritz- 
berg aided us in making excursions full of 
interest. We were afforded opportunities for 
visiting some Zulu kraals, and in that way 
gained much knowledge of this remarkable 

Near one kraal lay three women on the 
ground, basking in the sun. Their dress con- 
sisted of the skins of a few small wild ani- 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 267 

mals hanging from their waists, whilst strings 
of beads, glass and metal adorned neck, waist, 
and ankle. During the time we stood watch- 
ing them they spoke a few words, consisting 
of vocal sounds and clicking the tongue against 
the roof of the mouth; but they never moved 
hand or foot, and rarely winked as they gazed 
at us. A stay in Africa would give to a 
sculptor ample opportunity for study from 
superb models. We might easily have imag- 
ined, as we stood looking at them, with their 
rounded necks and limbs glancing in the sun- 
light, that we were gazing on statuary in 
bronze. Cunning little naked children, with 
rounded little limbs and big swelled stomachs, 
peculiar to these children, were playing round 
them, but they are such timid creatures that 
as we approached they crept into the hole of 
their hut on all-fours. 

The known records of the race date back 
to 18 10 and a famous warlike chief Chaka, 
who led his men to victory against both black 
and white, enslaving the former and driving 
Dutch and English back of the Drakensberg 
and to the sea. There are many students of 

268 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

native history who assert that the Zulus were 
originally from Northern Africa, and had 
fought their way through opposing tribes, 
down to the country they now hold, which 
teems with game, and is rich in gold and 
minerals. There are even those who say 
that they are the offshoot of an outlying 
tribe of the ancient Egyptians. This, how- 
ever, must be merely conjecture, and, if the 
report contains a grain of truth, the early 
Egyptians have considerably altered in their 
physical and mental peculiarities during their 
three or four thousand years of travel through 
the equatorial regions. 

These Zulus, however, are exceptionally 
brave, and fight, as the colonists will testify, 
like fanatics or fiends. 

Their old military chief, " Chaka,*' who 
fifty years ago was the warrior chief of Zulu 
Land, was justly named the Napoleon of 
South Africa. From a common soldier in 
the ranks of Dingenayo, he rose to be chief, 
and was the first to organize the Zulus into 
regiments, breaking up the old tribal system, 
and training them to the severest discipline. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 269 

With but few exceptions his warriors were 
not allowed to marry, and were trained only 
for mihtary conquest. The result was, that 
when they did burst over the land, and at- 
tacked the peaceful tribes in Natal, which at 
that time numbered about a million, these 
Zulu warriors reduced them to a mere flock 
of twenty thousand souls hiding in the moun- 
tain clefts. 


It is not to be wondered at that Chaka's 
grandson, Cetawayo, led his people to victory 
through so many wars, until the Zulu is 
called now by other tribes the " Invincihle." 
When a regiment returns from the field with- 
out bringing a certain number of trophies, or 
having achieved a great victory, it is publicly 
disgraced in the presence of the whole army, 
its leader put to death, and the regiment dis- 
banded, to be distributed among other and 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 271 

more proved companies. In their kraals 
their laws are equally stringent, and the col- 
onists declare that until the white man went 
among the Zulus, lying and thieving and im- 
morality were unknown. They are polyga- 
mists. A man may not marry a wife till he 
has proved his valor on the field, can pay her 
parents for her, and can show to the satisfac- 
tion of his chief that he is able to support 
her. Any infidelity on the part of a wife is 
punished immediately with death. 

The Zulu war, although three years had 
elapsed since that event, was still the chief 
topic of conversation at the time of our visit. 
It was a subject the good people of Natal 
seemed never tired of dilating upon, nor were 
we unwilling listeners. Many of the narra- 
tors recount their own personal adventures 
whilst serving at the front as volunteers, and 
there was hardly one but had lost some dear 
friend or near relative during the fierce and 
bloody struggle with the savage tribe. We 
had many a chat with eye-witnesses of the 
terrible field of Isandhlwana, where 800 
soldiers were slaughtered by the Zulus, and 

273 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

fearful were the tales they told of the ghastly 
scene. Lord Chelmsford's forces returned 
to camp on the evening of the day of the 

massacre, and the troops had to bivouac 
among the mutilated corpses of their com- 
rades, fearing at any moment that the now 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 273 

dreaded enemy might return. Imagine the 
sickening situation of having to seek repose 
in the very midst of the fast decomposing 
bodies of their comrades. Some went raving 

The Zulus are mighty hunters, and sports- 
men are glad to get the assistance of any of 
their number when they make up a hunting 
expedition. One day we had quite a hunt- 
ing adventure. Some friends had organized 
a day's bush hunting, and invited us to join 
them. We accepted their invitation so far as 
to join them at luncheon. 

The spot fixed on was over twenty miles 
distant from Maritzberg. We started at five 
o'clock, provided with a span of four horses 
and a fine Cape cart, in which there was 
plenty of room for ourselves and our con- 
tribution to the luncheon. Our team bowled 
us along in fine style, after a pull over the 
town hill, which is four miles to the top, to 
the village of Hornick, where we stayed at 
the hotel for breakfast. 

There is a remarkably fine fall of water at 
this place. The Umgeni River falls over a 


274 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

high precipice, and although for the greater 
part of the year it is only an insignificant 
stream, the immense leap the waters take 
over the rocky bowlders makes a very im- 
posing sight. Having plenty of time before 
us, we spent nearly an hour beside the cata- 
ract, watching the clouds of spray and mist 
which issued from the lower basin. After 
the horses had been seen to, we started off, 
very soon diverging from the main road, and 
traversed a country covered with tall grass, 
which suggested "snakes." At last, at half 
past ten o'clock, we reached our destination, 
on the outskirts of what appeared to us an 
extensive forest. 

We soon had the good things we had 
brought with us transferred from the cart to 
a grassy knoll, and our charioteer outspan- 
ning and knee-haltering the horses, let them 
wander away and graze. After having made 
all our preparations, we sat down on a fallen 
log, and looked around us. It was a beauti- 
ful spot ; in the deep green forest convol- 
vuli and other flowering creepers had formed 
themselves into fantastic arches, more lovely 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 275 

than art could fabricate. The silence of the 
secluded spot was broken by the notes of 
many birds, some of them almost meriting 
the name of songsters, while the air was full 
of the buzzing hum of insects. The cry of 
the partridge issued from the underbrush, and 
the voice of the lowrie and hornbill could 
be heard, while the rocks and branches over- 
head resounded with the bark of baboons 
and the chatterings of monkeys. 

Whilst we were dreamily listening to the 
forest chorus, we thought we could distin- 
guish above it distant shouts of men, and we 
stood up wondering if our hunters had mis- 
taken the hour, or had driven up by hunger 
nearly two hours before their time, when 
bang ! bang ! went a gun, less than fifty 
yards away from us. Almost simultaneously 
a magnificent bush buck burst through the 
thicket, breaking down everything before 
him. For an instant he stopped short, gaz- 
ing at us, while we, spellbound, could only 
mutely return his stare ; suddenly turning 
off at right angles, he bounded through our 
luncheon already spread on the grass, scat- 

276 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

tering the comestibles, crockery, and glass- 
ware in every direction. 

Just as he disappeared in the opposite 
bush, ten or twelve Zulus, brandishing asse- 
gaies and knob-kerries, with a pack of howl- 
ing and yelping dogs at their heels, sprang 
out from the underwood in hot pursuit. In 
the rear came our sporting friends, looking 
almost as savage as their Kafir allies, crash- 
ing through the thorn bushes, seemingly as 
oblivious of the scratches they were receiving 
as they evidently were of our presence. As 
they came opposite us, one of them dropped 
on his knee, and, taking rapid aim at some 
object we could not see, fired. 

The shouts of the savages immediately 
announced that the antelope was down. We 
all rushed in the direction of the spot where 
the barking and the yelping of the dogs 
told us the noble animal was fighting with 
his tormentors, and, scampering helter-skelter 
through the bushes, arrived on the field of 
battle. The buck was down, and almost 
hidden by the dogs which hung around him, 
growling and worrying, while over him in a 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 277 

superb attitude stood one of the savages, 
whose gory knife bore evidence of its having 
inflicted the coup de grace. 

The other Kafirs soon drove the dogs 
away, and we retired to our al fresco dining 
hall, before they should proceed with any 
unromantic skinning and dismembering. We 
had our revenge on the buck for upsetting 
our banquet, for he appeared on the table 
again later on, but on a dish, and very nicely 
he tasted. 


The late Bishop Colenso, famous for his 
disputations on the Old Testament and also 
as an arithmetician, was greatly beloved 
among the Zulus. They went to the bishop 
as to a friend for counsel in political matters, 
when they would not listen to the governor 
or any British official. His body when car- 
ried to the grave was followed by thousands 
of bis savage friends. Many of them had 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 279 

never been in a town before, but came to 
attend the funeral of the teacher they loved 
so well. The sight of the half -naked and 
wild-looking mourners was a very striking 
one. We started early one pleasant Sabbath 
morning for Edendale, a missionary station 
about ten miles from Maritzberg. As we 
were sitting under the trees enjoying the 
lovely day, there arose from the chapel near 
by a sound of voices singing one of Sankey's 
sacred songs in the Kafir language. 

It seemed as if we were now hearing it 
sung with all its true pathos for the first time. 
The voices of the women, pitched in a very 
high key, wailed it out on the air, whilst the 
men's voices rolled out like the swell of a rich 
but subdued organ, in pedal tones, and all 
breathed now soft, now low, in singularly 
perfect time. We then strolled up to the 
church, and listened to a sermon by a mis- 
sionary, which was translated by a black man 
at his side. 

The houses, with farms attached, of these 
people, which we passed in walking through 
the settlement, were similar to the homes of 

28o Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

the industrious civilized American negro. 
Very little encouragement on mission work 
could be gained from our colonial friends. 
Many cases were cited by them to prove 
that the religious beliefs of the white man 
do not throw any whiter rays of new light 
upon the barbaric mind than it already has. 
A chief of one of the tribes in the vicinity 
of Queenstown went to England, where he 
received a good education, and it was ex- 
pected that he would return to his people 
with advanced thoughts. But he returned 
to his blanket. 

Then again we knew of a very exceptional 
case, where the son of a great chief went to 
England, and educated himself for mission^ 
ary work, including the study of medicine, 
and returning to his own people did great 
good. This man, Thyo Soga, as he was 
called, married in Scotland a Scotch lady, 
whose sister we met on the fields. She said 
that there never was a finer gentleman, or a 
kinder husband, either black or white, ever 
born than Thyo Soga. 

He built a church and mission school, 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 281 

and worked among his people until stricken 
down with consumption. 
. The Kafir is a perfectly healthy being 
until he puts on clothing and lives like the 
white man ; then the dread disease con- 
sumption, clutches him and he succumbs. 
The well-laid-out reservation of the Presby- 
terian Mission at Grahamstown, with its neat 
houses kept by the natives, would seem to 
prove that they can be industrious and civil- 
ized, if reached after in the right spirit. 
Many of the Kafir churches that are met with 
through the country are self-supporting, and 
attended by neatly dressed and seemingly 
very devout congregations. There was much 
more social life in Maritzberg than in any 
other South African town. The ladies rode 
horseback a great deal, many of them being 
fine riders. The fashionable landau, dog 
cart, and basket carriage were constantly 
met with. 

We occasionally visited the theater, where 
a company of fine artists from across the seas 
were giving a season of English operas, as 
well mounted and sung as we had seen the 

282 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

same works in London. On command night, 
when the governor and his staff of officers 
would be present in the boxes, and the audi- 
ence in full dress, the house presented a 
brilliant appearance. The theater is not as 
fine a building as the one in Durban ; the 
latter was built at a great expense, and was 
the finest in the country. 

Many English, Scotch and Dutch residents 
in Maritzberg, combined with the military 
stationed there, made the town lively. It 
was a place in which we should have liked to 
have pitched our tent for a longer period of 
time. But after several months of life as in- 
timate as we could expect to have in a for- 
eign land, we turned our thoughts to our 
home in America, that could never be re- 
placed in our hearts, and left Maritzberg for 
Durban. It was a bright spring day in Sep- 
tember when, having packed our belongings 
and souvenirs, we stepped on board the 
steam tug at Durban which was to take us and 
several friends over the bar to the steamer. 
The sea and the weather seemed to have en- 
tered into a conspiracy to put on their most 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 283 

alluring dress to do honor to the departing 
strangers, and we steamed across the bar, the 
little steam launch puffing and smoking as 
who should say, " Aha ! you're going to 
America, aren't you ? — you've got some fine 
steamers there, haven't you ? — but look, see 
how busy I am, what a noise I make, and how 
recklessly I brave the dangers of the sand bar, 
which those big fellows outside dare not 
tackle. " 

All animate and inanimate nature seemed 
to smile on us and bid us God speed, and as 
we climbed up the ladder that led up the side 
of the good ship Asiatic^ and emerged on her 
deck, we registered a vow to return some day 
to the land of sand and sunshine. 

Soon after our arrival on board the bell 
sounded for strangers to leave the ship, and 
the time came to say good-by to the good 
friends who had accompanied us on board. 
Leave-taking had become a familiar occu- 
pation with us, but yet we never seemed 
to overcome the misty feeling in the eyes 
when the time caftie to say the one word 
" Good-by." 

284 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land, 

The steamer left her moorings at four 
o'clock, and soon the bluff, and the many 
points around it which we had explored, 
faded away far astern, the stars came out, and 
the old well-known thump of the steamer's 
engine began to make us realize that we were 
going Home. 

The voyage around the coast has been 
already described. At Port Elizabeth we 
were transhipped into the palatial mail 
steamer Moor, in which we were to make the 
journey to England. From the steamship 
we had a splendid view of the town of Port 
Elizabeth, built as it is on the hill, which rises 
quite from the beach. Almost every house 
could be seen distinctly, and every walk and 
spot that had become so pleasantly familiar 
to us, during our stay, we could trace without 
the aid of a glass. 

We learned that the railroad to Kimber- 
ley had been finished. There is now no limit 
to the ambition of the inhabitants of Port 
Elizabeth. On the way to Cape Town we 
called at Mossel Bay, a picturesque little sea- 
port lying midway between Algoa and Table 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 


Bays. Georgetown, thirty-six miles away, is 
the prettiest place in the Cape Colony. The 
Kinyena Forest, which stretches away to the 
bay, is one of the few really large forests in 

South Africa. In it elephants and rhinoceri 
still roam, and buffaloes, leopards, and every 
variety of antelope are found, while from its 
thickets come most of the hard-wood lumber 

286 Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 

used for the wagon-making districts of the 

After six days* steaming from Durban we 
put into Cape Town docks, and the mighty 
Table Mountain once more frowned down on 
us. We wandered for the last time through 
the town. We called on many of the ac- 
cjuaintances we had made on our first arrival 
in the country. We had been followed with 
much interest on our travels. 

How our journeys came back to us, and 
the many happy months passed in South 
Africa as we saw the purple cloud we knew 
was the last glimpse we should have of Table 
Mountain or South Africa slowly fading 
away. The voyage to England resembled 
all other similar voyages in its pleasurable 

At last, after five years' almost incessant 
travel, we arrived in Southampton with the 
satisfactory feeling that we had accomplished 
the object of our voyage. Our expedition to 
the Antipodes in search of health was a suc- 
cess. Our invalid was returning home a 
healthy, happy, contented wife. 

Yankee Girls in Zulu Land. 


What was there for us to ask for more ? 

We left the ship at Southampton and went 
on by rail, and soon the familiar smoky fog 
which overhangs the monster London re- 
ceived us. 

Here our journey ends, for London and 
New York nowadays are only "across the 


I i