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the sky, but ready to swoop, keenscented and keen-visioned, upon any stray carrion. They have high feasting and a merry carnival when a wave of horse-sickness (that strange and fatal malady) has passed across the veldt, or the lung-sickness has decimated the oxen. In the heat of the day the ox-waggon stands idly by some public outspan, looking with its canvas tent like a stranded ship of the desert. The ox-waggon, with its labouring spans of sixteen or twenty oxen, is a familiar feature of the scenery. Certain public places are allotted in the veldt as outspans, and round these, in the lazy hours of midday, a motley
of Hottentot drivers, kurveyors (carriers), dogs and horses, are gathered together.
It is wonderful how plants and shrubs thrive here where a season of drought often prevails for many years in succession, and sends the trek-bokken 1 down in myriads from the north like locusts. Famine makes them collect in troops and migrate with a steady ravening instinct upon the more cultivated parts of the colony. Plants and animals have a terrible struggle for existence. Fortunately, nature has given to the desert plants long and succulent tubers reaching deep down in the earth, and the kengwe (water-melon) is a wonderful instance of a juicy vegetable flourishing in the midst of desolation. In the Kalihari it is the hope and stay of the adventurous traveller. There is a great redeeming feature about the desert life in its comparative healthiness. No steaming morasses, oozing with rank and rotting vegetation, carry disease and death with them, as in the low fever-haunted coast districts around Delagoa Bay. Even the germs of death seem to be
of the Cape Colony, is the northwest. It comes from the Kalihari, and howls over the plain with dull monotonous fury. It is always dry, but sometimes it feels as if it came from the mouth of a furnace charged with heat and electricity. A moist bit of paper when exposed to it momentarily seems to shrivel up. It is a thirsty and a thirst-giving tyrant blinding the eyes and chapping the lips. What benighted traveller in South Africa has not felt it, and listened to its dull roar and angry blustering? The loose corrugated-iron roof of
up country caravanserai can do little to keep it out, and sleep is rendered almost impossible. A strange sight too is the whirlwind of the veldt; not the sweeping tornado, but the miniature creation of the hour, the tiny disturbance of a still summer day. Its sign is a thin spiral column of dust collected from the well-worn track or road, and mounting up in eddying circles. Dried sticks and leaves, as well as dust, are forced to take part in this elfish gambol, and in contrast with the swooning silence of the noon it seems like a spirit of unrest, a sprite or fiend playing a merry prank and mocking the solemn monotony of the quivering radiating landscape, a strange fancy, a witty anomaly, a tempest in a calm, a rushing hurricane in a " doldrum”
space of earth. But the quaint morris-dance is soon over, the flaw expends itself, and the thin column of dust melts away imperceptibly in mid air, and silence broods again.
In the midst of this strange country an African Boer will often build his house and lead a pastoral life, the lord of all he surveys.
The glistening walls of his whitewashed house, the steely light from the corrugated iron roof above the stoop (verandah), the rude mimosa-fenced hut, with the inevitable dam of muddy and discoloured water, and the inevitable blue gum towering in lonely glory close by, are conspicuous objects in the wide karroo. He is leagues away from his
A not uncommon wind, especially in the northern and eastern districts
1 The springbok when migrating south in times of drought are so called : nothing then seems able to frighten or turn them from their course.
drop (village), which nestles in side. Suddenly the foundations of
distant kloof (valley), and a strict and terribly hard faith are he rarely sees his more fortunate broken up, and the uneducated mind neighbours who own mountain is hopelessly at loss to find solace. farm. If the rules of his Protestant The great lonely brooding veldt Church did not demand his presence presses with its solitude and barrenfour times a year at the kirk, to par- ness upon the scarcely awakened contake of the nacht-maal (or night-feast, science, and the result is despair, desoas the sacrament is there termed by lation, and utter scepticism. It is the them), he would be almost completely penalty Calvinism pays for its Pharisaic lost. In a certain grandeur of a rude burdens and joylessness. It is a notedesert description he reigns as the able fact that the Dutch Boer, when owner of broad acres and countless once freed from the terrors of his flocks of sheep and goats. But his lot Church, has no intellectual or spiritual is a hard and narrow one, as our idea prop to lean upon, and is completely of life and its many sympathies and anarchical. No poetry or history has wide interests go.
The mental wilder- made for him a spiritual heritage in ness is worse than the actual one. the country; the mind is at the mercy Until very recently, few books, news- of the physical surroundings, and bepapers, or literature of any kind, except, comes hardened and materialised. perhaps, an old family Bible which has
It will be gathered that life in the served as a register of births, deaths, veldt is hard enough to bear, except for and marriages, have graced the home the mind educated elsewhere which of a South African Boer in these can pause a little and brood over its up-country regions. The angel of de- contrasts. Nature, there, is often subsolation seemed to spread her wings lime in her aspects, especially at night. over the place, and man appeared will- It often happens that as the sun sets ing to go back to the primitive acorn- the desert wind dies down. Then, with eating epoch. The descendants of edu- a suddenness of which dwellers in cated Huguenot settlers forgot the northern climes have little conception, arts and education of their fore- the stars leap forth in myriads upon fathers. Perhaps they clung most to sky, the Milky Way spans the blue the Puritanism of their religious creed, vault with a twinkling zone of light, and viewed man and nature in the and soon, it may be, the great clear midst of the freest physical life imagi- queen of night rises up behind the nable with the narrowest theological mountain, and throws a silvery flood vision. Calvinism hardens men's upon the landscape, hiding its ugly hearts, especially in a black man's scars and rents and brown ruggedcountry. The strict disciples of pre- ness with a soft mantle. There are destinarianism have conceived of no no creeping mists or billowy clouds. bridge between the nature of black All is clear and still. Perhaps the and white. On this side the sheep and jackals and antelope are afoot, and on the other the goats, and a great the sharp short bark of the former gulf between the two now and here- and the belling of the bush-buck after. This lonely life has been reach us from the mountain side. The an evil thing for the Boers. It has night-owl hawks slowly and solemnly crystallised their conceptions, and by, and the kiwie utters aloft his made them bigots and zealots. Now well-known whistling cry, sharp and and then the old Covenanter's in- clear, like the curlew's note along the tensity of thought reveals itself in shores of the distant north. But the morbid speculations and imaginings terrors of the day have fled, and
peace as another kind of light dawns upon is over hut and kraal. the solitary farm-house, and echoes But turn from the deserts of the are heard of the great world out- interior to the bosch and forest
country of the south, and we find noblest of the thousand gladioli which a wonderful contrast. There, desola- cover the slopes in spring; here the tion; here, verdure; there, treeless arum raises its pure white petals wildernesses ; here, kloofs and hills up through the soft beds of maidencrowned with a wealth of trees; there, hair fern in the twilight of a deep one unvarying brightness staring upon and solemn combe; here the tree-ferns a parched and stony landscape; here, spread over the water-worn rocks their the broken shafts of light falling upon fan-shaped foliage, and here the yelemerald nooks; there, parched lands,
low-tree towers aloft like some grave dried watercourses, and a gaping, deep- and reverend ancestor of the forest, fissured veldt; here, streams and with flowing white beard of lichen brooklets, falling with pleasant sound gracing his gnarled and twisted past the undulating valleys till they limbs. He stands proudly and loftily, rush into the sea. From the Knysna like a monarch in the serene supeHeads and Plettenburg Bay, to the riority of strength, lording it well in Bluff at Natal, the coast-line for some these silent nooks, where the ruthless hundreds of miles is well-wooded and axe has not yet been heard. well-watered. It is in direct contrast A distinction has been drawn beto the low-lying, scrubby, and white- tween the forest properly so called sanded shores of the west coast, that and the bosch country. The extent stretch from Table Bay to the nearly of the latter is calculated at two waterless littoral of Walvisch Bay and million four hundred thousand acres. the German colony. It is on the east Along the south-east corner of the of South Africa, in the ranges of hills Cape the Addo Bush is best known. that culminate in the Quathlamba, The elephants still roam along these that we must look for the main water- tracts, and occasionally make mashed of the country. Parts of the rauding expeditions into gardens and Kaffrarian coast look from the sea mealie plots. In their inquisitive like English park scenery, with clumps zeal they have been known to tear up of trees scattered over a smiling land. the telegraph poles along the line that Beyond are the mountains, which seem runs from Port Elizabeth to Grahamsnearly always here to follow the line town. I have myself seen a herd of the coast, and give birth to those of them feeding quietly within easy numerous rivers which tumble hur
range of the railway. It is conriedly and noisily from their lofty venient, however, to speak of the sources through picturesque gorges “bush” and “forest” as if they meant into the Indian Ocean—such as the the same thing.
The one passes Bashee, Umzimkulu, and Umzimvubu. easily and naturally into the other.
In the Cape Colony itself perhaps The taller trees merit the grander the best piece of forest scenery is name, and, unfortunately for South found in the Knysna district, close Africa, there are comparatively so few. under the blue ranges of the Outeniqua of them, if we compare their number Mountains, which bear the name of with the inexhaustible forest wealth the ancient Hottentot clan. Unfor- of Canada and New Zealand. The tunately there is comparatively little Cape woods are, however, of great real forest in the Cape Colony. Out value; there is the Cape box-wood, of the whole two hundred thousand worth, it is said, a penny per cubic square miles of surface, only two inch for engraving purposes ; the hundred and thirty thousand acres in sneeze-wood, with its bitter taste like the Cape are covered by the primaval the green-heart, firm and strong and forest. To the traveller wearied with proof against insects and rot; there the open country these forest glades is the African oak, called by the name are inexpressibly grateful. Here is of stink-wood, and the yellow-wood the home of the tall Knysna lily, the of the yew class, and termed the
pine of South Africa. The assegai- round the troop with fell design of wood is best known as the wood from seizing and carrying off a young one, which the Kaffir tribes make the shafts which, with the indiscretion of youth, of their lances. But in the Knysna has roamed away from the protecforest the smaller trees are countless tion of the mannikin baboon, the in number. Perhaps the two most natural guardian of the troop. The striking are the yellow-wood and the antelope here are different from those wild horse-chestnut. The first is a of the veldt. Instead of the little splendid tree, with beautiful foliage, steinbok and springbok, we find and may claim royal honours. The the bush-buck and the blue-buck. chestnut, with its snow-white blossoms Often, as we turn round the bole of raised above the evergreen shrubs of some tree, we can hear the sudden the forest, is a notable feature of the snort of alarm the blue-buck raises on landscape.
the approach of man. He is the The bosch or forest country is, in- smallest and most beautiful, and also deed, different from the veldt. Let the most inquisitive, of all the African a traveller, who has expended his antelope. Tarry long enough by the money and energies on the exploration spot from which you have roused him, of the interior plateaux, try a short and you will see him coming back, trip to the southern belt of forest creeping slily on a reconnoitring expewhich stretches from the Knysna to dition, with his beautiful lustrous eyes. Humansdorp. He will find a decent The elephants and buffaloes are the road cut by convict labour right primitive engineers of this country; through the heart of the forest and without their broad well-trampled country that lies between the Long paths the sportsman would have little Kloof and the sea.
He will pass
chance of getting at his game in the along a hundred miles of noble and thick deep scrub. romantic scenery.
There is a spot To describe the berg or mountain by a stream called the Groot Rivier, scenery
of South Africa is not so easy close by the sea, on the shores of though it is sufficiently distinctive. Plettenburg Bay, where I spent some The highest peaks are in the northdelightful weeks. Sea, river, and hill
east of the Cape Colony and along here meet in noble rivalry. It is the the Drakenburg range, but nowhere ideal home for a naturalist and a do they reach the line of perpetual lover of wild scenery. The sights and
The Compassberg is about sounds of nature are far different eight thousand feet, and as we travel from those of the open veldt. The westward the elevation decreases cunning loeri, with his bright bronze- until we reach the Kamiesberg and coloured plumage flashing in the sun, Roggeveldt Mountains. Two distinct loves here to dart and hide among the series of ranges are traceable on the lichen-covered boughs, making the hill- map of South Africa. One series side reverberate with his quaint, gut beginning from Quathlamba, and tural cooing. The lachter-bird, from
The lachter-bird, from forming the chief watershed of the his perch high up, makes the welkin Orange River, is the retaining wall, ring with his merry peal, and the as it were, of the interior plateau. troops of little Cape canaries twitter The second line includes a well-marked and warble along in the boughs below. range from the Zuurberg and the The spreo, a well-known member of Winterhoek to the Cedar Mountains. the Sturnidæ, whistles loudly from It is nearly parallel to the first, and the beetling krantz (cliffs) not unlike our forms a distinct plateau. Along the English starling. Now and then the coast there are a series of subsidiary gruff “haw haw” of the baboons and less continuous ranges, less marked reach us from a distance. Perhaps in character. Corresponding with these the crafty Cape leopard is prowling elevations there is a variety of climate
and scenery. It is obvious that a the sheltering forests and woods. In traveller in search of climate can suit Basutoland, the Switzerland of South himself, either along the moister and Africa, the hills are steep and isolated, more genial tracts of the coast, or on with fat, rolling plateaux on their the high bracing uplands of the inner summits, affording splendid refuge for plateaux. The mountains themselves the Basuto clans, who hold such strong. present an endless diversity, from the holds as Thaba Bosigo against the Outeniqua and Zitzihama chain, with white man,--and no one can grudge its verdure-clad feet in the southern these savages their strongholds. ocean, to the more barren and denuded Table Mountain has suffered less peaks of the Drakenburg.
from denudation, perhaps, than these In the western corner on the Cape mountains of the interior. The pine peninsula is the well-known Table woods and silver - trees protect its Mountain. As it is the most remark- sides, and the vineyards of Constantia able so it is the most luxuriant and give it an aspect of cultivated repose beautiful of all South African moun- which no other South African moun. tains. The high rolling uplands of the tain can boast. The best time to Zuurberg and Boschburg are inspirit- climb Table Mountain is in the spring ing enough to the traveller who cares or autumn. There is little danger to explore them; the narrow gorges connected with the feat if care is and defiles of the Hex river valley are taken not to make the ascent when grand and romantic; the solitudes of the south-easter threatens to envelop the Cold Bokkeveldt have a certain its brow with the well-known “tablewild charm of their own, as their cloth.” The neighbouring range of ragged outlines stand boldly up in the Hottentot's Holland, across the waters African light; more picturesque per- of False Bay, will tell us when this haps, and rounder in their form, are mist is coming, for at first a dark line the wooded ranges of Formosa catch- is seen far out to sea in the south, ing the sea-mists from the ocean on which creeps up little by little, wrapthe south ; the view, again, from the ping up one summit after another in Drakenburg over the broad valleys of its fleecy folds. But once on the flat Natal is sublime in its sweeping mag- crown of Table Mountain, or the nitude-a view that the old voertrekkers pinnacle of The Devil's Peak, on a (pioneers) caught an early glimpse of clear day the pedestrian is well rewhen they left the Free State and warded. To the north and west the migrated to the east, and sought to great spaces of the South Atlantic touch the sea and gain a harbour; stretch with a far-reaching horizon. but there is nothing in them all to its swelling billows quivering and equal the prospect from the lofty flashing in the sunlight, and reduced pinnacles of Table Mountain, which by distance to the size, apparently, of guards, sentinel-like, the metropolis the smallest ripple. Here, long before of South Africa. From a height of the signal-man on the lower eminence three thousand five hundred and of the Lion's Rump can see it, may eighty-two feet the eye can command be detected a thin line of smoke down a goodly sweep when the African sun in the blue distance where sea and shines bright and clear, and the white sky seem to meet, floating and driftbillowy mists of the south-easter ing to the leeward from some oceanhave rolled away. In the thunder- going steamer that is nearing her swept regions of the interior the bourne at last in Table Bay after her jagged and serrated outlines of the long battle with wind and wave for mountains are of a peculiarly hard six thousand miles from the shores of looking character. Derudation has old England. True it is that the sea worn down and scarred their faces, now seems a peaceful lake, and the and men have stripped their sides of ship an easy, pleasant-looking craft No. 324.-- VOL. LIV.