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" She never asks how my fortunes fare,
Nor wonders how full my purse is ;
And I tell her my wildwood verses.
“ She has not a gem she can call her own,
But I rest on a sheepfold hurdle, And, out of the daffodils newly blown,
Entwine her a golden girdle.
“ And soon I shall have for my nut-sweet girl,
When the May boughs are adorning
A new necklace, night and morning.
“ When shortly we catch the cuckoo's call,
We shall clap our hands to hear him ; For, let whom they may his gibes appall,
This April Fool don't fear him."
Then a wind-cloud, hued like a ringdove's neck,
Made the rain run helter-skelter ;
And I crouched in the ditch for shelter.
But he whistled his love, and he waved his cap,
And the bells all rang together. “ Just fancy !” he cried, " to care one rap
For the whims of wind or weatber !
Through all the seasons I keep my youth,
Which is more than you town-folk do, sir. Now, which is the April Fool, in sooth ?
Do you think it is I, -or you, sir ?”
Then the rain ceased slashing on branch and pool,
And swift came the sunshine, after ;
SOME VERY NOBLE SAVAGES.
BY LIEUTENANT-COLONEL H. KNOLLYS, R.A.
" For the Right which needs assistance,
a craggy pathway, and in a cranky little 'Gainst the Wrong which needs resistance,"
boat ferry us across the broad river, silent, is a plea which may appropriately be urged swift, and tepid as it splashes over our in behalf of the inhabitants of a remote hands. The fireflies are sparkling through corner in our world-wide empire_Zulu- the hot inky atmosphere, the ball-frogs land. Though not much larger than startle us with their bellowing, the thunWales, it possesses a potentiality for the der is rolling with an incessant awful roar, development of resources which may ulti- and, as bewildered, I pant up the precipice mately render it one of the foremost dis- on the other side, a savage seizes my wrist tricts on the face of the earth in point of with a vice-like yet kindly grasp, and leads wealth and population ; and above all, it me like a prisoner to our haven of rest, a may be regarded as a test place for the small tin wayfarer's tenement. justice and wisdom, or the converse, of We are now in Zululand proper, within our dealings with the natives of Sonth the area of the military operations of Africa. My stay in the country was short, 1879, and even the few days I spent here, and my direct experience was consequently far from the presence of all save three or limited ; and yet-should I not say, there- four white men, and surrounded by a Zulu fore ?—my fresh impressions may not be population, gave me some glimmer of naundeserving of attention, by the same tive habits, of native character, and of the reasoning which assigns a special value to idiosyncrasies of the locality. True, this a woman's first thoughts, or to a wine- was subsequently confirmed or corrected taster's instantaneous verdict ?
by further experience, but for simplicity's One evening toward the close of 1890, sake I here introduce some of my first imaccompanied by a brother officer, I am pressions. speeding along the fifty miles of roughly One day having heedlessly left my small outlined track leading from Veralam, the kit spread over the floor of my lean-to outNatal railway terminus, to the Zulu fron- side room, I find on my return, two hours tier. Our vehicle, the red, two-wheeled, after, about thirty Zulu men and women “V.R.” mail-cart, so familiar in the pre- of all ages crowded about the open door, cincts of St. Martin's-le-Grand, seems many staring with curiosity at the collecoddly out of place in these wilds, which, tion of Aannel shirts and other clothing, save for small clusters, at long intervals, boots, knife, tobacco, and money. of European little tin erections, and for a Any one of these naked savages might few Kafir kraals, are absolutely uninhabit- with impunity have helped himself to any ed. Our luggage is quite nominal in of these articles, which would bave been a amount—we have been even obliged to perfect treasure to him. But the idea commit to the transport of an ox-wagon a never seemed to have entered their heads friendly Christmas plum-pudding intrusted not the smallest trifle was missing. to us at Maritzburg as a poetical souvenir Genuine untainted Zulus are too noble to to an English sojourner at Eshowe. Our be thieves. They exult in the possession four balf-broken horses, lashed by our of a flannel shirt, they fully appreciate the reckless half-breed driver, lay themselves gift of a shilling ; but their native code of out like greyhounds at a desperate gallop, honor forbids pilfering, and property is far which at tiines takes away our breath, and more safe in their midst than were it demakes us cling to our cart for dear limb posited in a first-class English hotel, or and life. Then, with scant notice, night subjected to the inquisition of the landlady closes in pitch-dark, and we find ourselves of a first-class London lodging. At interstanding on the steep heights overhanging vals the natives came to the store to purthe Tugela river, discarded by our driver, chase blankets, or sugar, or some other and utterly at a loss as to our next pro- requirement of their simple lives ; but the ceeding. But some five or six savages sud- law here effectually restrains Europeans denly and unexpectedly start up out of the from selling to them those two articles darkness, sign to us to follow them down which elsewhere are unscrupulously traded,
" trek” ox
and which are the curses of the South Mealies are the chief food of the Kafirs, African race — firearms, including gun. but they rejoice at an occasional opporpowder, and spirits. The former restric- tunity of feasting off a tough tion is rigidly enforced, both wholesale —no matter if it has died from natural and retail, and has done much to diminish causes—albeit their glimmering of religious the recklessness of bloodshed which is the superstition forbids them the use of animal invariable characteristic of all savage food. They loathe fish as we should loathe tribes. Even when I landed at Durban eating a snake ; but, on the other hand, an official instantly snatched up my gun, their fancies for certain tit-bits run in a and ere I could recover it I had fully to curious direction. One afternoon a spray satisfy the civil custom-house superintend- of glittering green foliage is brought to ent as to my identity and bona fides. At me, from whence are depending the most Pietermaritzburg I succeeded in obtaining enormous caterpillars I have ever seen in a small quantity of powder only through my life, as thick as my thumb, and twice the special order of a magistrate, to whom as long, -fat green fellows, studded with I was called on to declare that I required small sparkling scales. The little Zulu girl it merely for sporting purposes. The from whom they had been obtained wept amount so authorized is limited, I believe, because we had taken away her food." to 10 lb. in twelve months to one appli- 1 flatly declined to try a caterpillar or two, cant. Unhappily the law is occasionally whereupon a native eagerly selects a couple evaded by the criminal greed of whites, of the finest, pinches off their
tails, manipchiefly from the Cape Colony, some of ulates glove-fashion the wriggling creatures whom occupy a high social status, and one with the other, frizzles them before who have succeeded in baffling the utmost the fire, and finally daintily devours the efforts of the Natal authorities, and in es- nauseous morsel, with the lingering enjoytablishing a regular traffic through a secret ment of an English schoolboy eating a fine route called “the Gun Runner's Pass.” fresh strawberry.
As regards the prohibition of the sale Close at hand was “ Bond's Drift,” the of liquor to the natives, even anti-total ab- ferry across the Tugela connecting the stinence opinions inust rejoice that the law Natal and Zululand roads ; and here I enis here generally successful, though of countered an occasional Enropean teamster, course it is evaded in some out-of-the-way or a farmer, or a ferryman, or a Governplaces by miscreants who, for the sake of ment messenger, or a doctor, of whom a few sovereigns, perpetrate an evil-doing three or four are dotted about, at distances perhaps as great as is within the power of of thirty or forty miles apart. They form man to commit. Let it be remembered a pleasing contrast to the loafing specimens that with savages drink means, not detri- of the same class in the more populous ment, but downright destruction and parts of South Africa, who seem to assume death. In the Transvaal they are permit- that a worthless fellow in England is in. ted to buy, at almost a nominal price, as stantly levelled up to a valuable member of much as they please. They toss it down a colony the moment he disembarks. like water, and the slaughtering results are These Zululand strays, however rough in appalling. Never once during my sojourn dress and off hand in address, are frein Zululand did I see a drunken savage ; quently stamped with certain characterisand possibly this atmosphere of general tics of gentlemen, leading to the deduction sobriety may have influenced even the that they have been drafted from a far European hard drinkers. Total abstinence higher community than their present avoadvocates may be interested in hearing that cations would imply, and that they are proprietors of drinking-stores declare the bravely battling against adverse fortune. I amount of ginger-ale consumed has of late caine across a strange specimen of an agent become amazing, even among white labor- for an American life insurance company, ers toiling under the glare of an almost who, with an amusingly scanty equipment tropical sun.*
in his saddle-bags, was riding hundreds of
miles through these wilds on the chance of * Though wandering from my subject, I can. not forbear mentioning that, during the re- a bag of oatmeal, which, stirred up in small cent intense Cape heat, the gunner parties quantities in water, is eagerly drunk, effectemployed in the formidable labor of mounting ually quenches thirst, and affords a singular 23-ion guns have daily taken out with them amount of support.
picking up a chance subscriber. Enter- intrusted to them certain measures and prise could hardly go further.
messages consequent on his approaching My companion was desirous of visiting death—he had left a young wife in Engthe grave of a relation who bad died in land—and added in dying accents, with a this neighborhood during the Zulu war; dying smile : “ Now I must make a last and one sweltering morning we betake quotation, and I do not think you fellows ourselves to Fort Pearson, seven miles dis- will chaff me this time—Dulce et detant, where once were concentrated so coruin est pro patriâ mori'”—and so slept much national attention and so many pri- into the dawn of that eternal day which vate sorrows, but now lost in a weird soli- fools call death. tude which is almost oppressive. We
Musing in profound reverie on the found the old earthworks easily enough, coincidence which had brought the halfand their very outline spoke volumes. No forgotten story face to face with my formulated scarps, bastions, or banquettes : chance visit to the subject's solitary grave merely a gradation of rough parapets in the wilds of South Africa, I am startled hastily thrown up under the stress of peril, almost out of my skin by a deep organand trending one above the other toward sound, “ Ha-a.a, elbow. A Zulu the
apex of the highest hills. Our enemy had noiselessly crept up to me, and utterwas numerous as the hosts of Sennacherib, ing this wonted note of respectful greetbut unskilled as the ancient Britons ; and ing, with his right hand raised high over truly an antiquarian Oldbuck might declare his head in salute, and his left graspiug the rude trace an intrenchment of some an assegai and a knob-kerry, he stood prehistoric nation until deceived by a motionless and splendidly stalwart, like a Zulu's declaration, “ I mind the bigging carved statue of the ideal noble savage. of it.”
Pointing to a brass badge on his arm, inLong and fruitless, however, was our scribed" Zulu Tugela Patrol," in token search for the grave, during which we of amity, he made signs that he could only just escaped treading on a monstrous show us another resting-place of our counreptile-until at last we hap upon a small trymen, and led us to a second enclosure “God's acre" enclosed with barbed fence as ncat as the first, where I counted sixty ing, and marked by an exceptionally tall, graves of British soldiers, and where the gaunt euphorbia tree-a species of giant frequency of “died from fever" was a cactus. Though the spot is covered with more melancholy record than “ killed in beautifully tangled growth, it is in the action." same condition of careful delimitation as Game is plentiful in parts of Zululand, when left by the survivors eleven years but circumstances prevented my undertak. ago.
Conspicuous among thirteen ing any shooting expeditions. I can only graves, marked by simple wooden crosses, state that about the Tngela veldt are is a plain white tombstone, whereon we abundance of partridges and quail in searead that Captain Wynne, R.E., here son, alligators are numerous in the river, died of fever in 1879, and the text, “I and monkeys swarm in the woods. I believe in the resurrection of the body.” witnessed the exceedingly revolting sight Stay ; here are some more words blurred of the skinning of four of our “poor reby sun and climate : “ Dulce et decorum lations,” the slaughter of which is only est pro patriâ mori”—and there flashes just saved from being wanton cruelty in across my recollection the pathetic circum- that their pelts are not entirely without stances I had heard many years ago value. specially accounting for this quotation The facilities for locomotion in England from Horace.
-where at Clapham we are “ right for In the midst of the toil, the sickness, Earlscourt and Kensington ; change here and the fighting of the campaign, Wynne for Constantinople and Jericho," obused to elicit the friendly chaff of his scures in the minds of stay-at-homes the comrades by his persistency in classical constant and foremost difficulty of accomquotations. One day he too was stricken plishing point to point distances in savage by that fatal malaria which played such countries. Very gladly, therefore, do we havoc among our inen.
After a few avail ourselves of the opportunity of a hours, feeling that his end was at hand, four-muled cart to convey us to Eshowe, he sent for some of his brother officers, thirty miles in the interior of Zululand.
Our route, the sole one within an exten- perience of natives, there is nothing dirty sive area of country, is little more than a or disgusting ; the Zulus are singularly track, unmetalled, unfenced, and un- cleanly in their habits. The unlighted drained. Yet the amount of labor which interior is sombre and pungent with the the Colonial Government has wisely be- smoke, for which no exit is provided, of stowed on it has been considerable. Here the cooking fuel ; but the few household and there a slight cutting or an elementary goods are neatly arranged. The floor, embankment has been effected, the big- hardened with the invaluable mixture of gest of the big boulders have been shoved mud-and-water, is tidily swept, and there aside, and the most advantageous curves is not a sign of nasty débris within or up and down the nearly mountainous without. The native mind is characterized heights have been rudely indicated. By by a curious incapacity to imagine any this rough-and ready method of civiliza- shape beyond a circle, and consequently tion, communication, hitherto impractica- the kraals are enclosed in an annulus, with ble, has been opened up, and has facili- a flimsy outside fencing and an inside tated the introduction into a barbarous paling where the cattle are penned. Each country of the blessings--I admit the group forms the headquarters of a family, curses likewise-of the nineteenth cen- comprising perhaps two or three generatury. In the Transvaal and the Orange tions. Free State I saw no instances on a parallel A Kafir provides himself with two or scale of this beneficent road-making. more wives, each of whom insists on bav
The general aspect of the Zulu country ing her separate tenement ; and though it is that of evenly rolling mountains, occa- is stated that the husband maintains strict sionally dotted with brilliant red-sand discipline in his little harem, traits of patches, and generally covered with rich
woman nature assert themselves with perturf, which is beautiful in its emerald sistent irrepressibility. Here is a dignigreen during the rainy season, but which fied-looking savage stalking in front ; close in course of time produces a sense of at his heels steps his tall young wife, with monotony in the horizon. Yet, wben we the perfect grace of women accustomed to come to details, we find under our very carry pitchers of water on their beads, and eyes plenty to charm. In the lower lands with all the haughty coquetry of conscious the view is relieved by innumerable thorn- beauty ; far bebind trudges the poor
old bushes—a source of treasure to the natives, mate of early years, ugly, bowed, and as constituting their only fuel. The twist- broken, and seeming mutely to implore ing water-courses—there are no navigable forbearance from her successful rival. rivers—mark out streaks of lovely though The maternal instinct appears to be more rank vegetation, where are mingled tall strongly developed among the Zulus than grasses, enormous ferns, waving palms, is usual with savages. The women toil in graceful bamboos, and gaunt euphorbias ; the sun or walk for miles with infants and out of the tangled masses start many carefully slung behind their backs. I nobrilliantly plamaged birds, which, how- ticed in one small settlement a multitude ever, are songless, in disadvantageous con- of eighty or ninety mothers assembled for trast to the sober-hued prima donnas of the enforced vaccination of children, and our English copses.
although a tax of 6d. per head is levied, Zululand is not a fishing country, and the natives recognize the blessings of the the numerous stagnant pools are only ten- process with an intelligent gratitude which anted by coarse fish, scarcely worth catch- would put Leicester to shame. The chating. Here and there are plots seldom tering, the petting, and pride of this black more than half an acre in extent of luxuri- baby-show very amusing ; their ant mealies, cultivated by women, to whom charges were singularly bright and forthe Zulus habitually relegate field labor. ward ; but, characteristically of savages, More curious than aught else are the kraals this precocious development is suddenly -clusters of ten or twelve bee-hive-shaped arrested at an early age. Would that I wattle-and-daub dwellings, without win- could speak their language ! It is of dow or chimney, and for a door a mere Italian harmony, and so easily acquired aperture through which the inhabitants that most of the English officers have can just manage to crawl. Peer inside, picked up a smattering of it. however, and, contrary to the usual ex- liarity is three sorts of curious clicks