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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-12-17 15:00:55
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One of these, Mr. Osborn, who afterwards was appointed Resident in Zululand, was so disturbed by what he knew was coming that, after a good deal of reflection he wrote a solemn warning of what would occur to the troops if their plan of advance was persisted in, which warning he sent to Lord Chelmsford through the officer commanding at Pretoria. It was never even acknowledged. I think that I saw this letter, or, if I did not not, Osborn told me all about it.

I returned to my headquarters here only last night, having been on a strip to meet the Empress at Landmanns Drift, Buffalo River. She was very good and kind to me and I saw a great deal of her; indeed I was the only one not belonging to her suite who was spoken to at all by her. She sent for me twice daily and conversed freely on different topics. Brigadier-General Wood, who has charge of her, received me with open arms, which slightly surprised me after the paper war I carried on with him in Pretoria. He seems to be a very good fellow.

I write this from the heart of Zululand, where I hold the office of British Resident. My duties are chiefly to supervise the action of the thirteen chiefs to whom the country has been given, their government and the way they fulfil the treaty obligations. I am entirely on my own responsibility and have to do just as appears right to me. And a proper responsibility I find it. Indeed it is no joke. I am not hard worked, but my brain is continually on the stretch to prevent the wily Zulu getting the better of me. Any mistake might cause endless complications. My pay is 1300 pounds, and a suitable Residency is to be built at once for me by the Government. I correspond only with the High Commissioner direct. I had not forgotten you when the appointment was made, but there was nothing at all beyond an ordinary clerkship which I could offer you, and this was certainly not in your line. There is however a good prospect of something worth having turning up in six months from this, and then you will hear from me again. Between us I have to report in extenso on the whole question connected with Zululand and the additional officers required to assist me in managing, for the Secretary of State’s consideration, but this I will do only after I have been three months in the country, and tomorrow the first month will expire. I think however you will not like it here — too lonely, and you should not come if you could get anything else. You can form no idea of my grandness here — in the eyes of the chiefs and people I am a great king. They are submissive and civil to a degree. Almost every day a fine fat ox is presented to me for my dinner that day by some Zulu swell that comes to pay his respects, and hundreds come up to my camp daily with Bayete” salutes thundered forth so as to make the hills ring again. Most of the chiefs and headmen knew me personally when I was a border magistrate, and others by repute, so that I am not quite a stranger to them.

August 2, 1883.

Have a try,” I suggested, and in the end those brave fellows did try and succeeded, knowing the tide and the current and where each rock was hidden beneath the surface. They got aboard us, somewhere forward, or one of them did. Presently he came running aft, a big blue-eyed man whose great beard seemed to bristle with terror.

I set out for the shore husbanding my strength and got among the huge rollers, fighting my way inch by inch against the tide or undertow. I went under once and struggled up again. I went under a second time, and, rising, once more faced that dreadful undertow. I was nearly done, and seemed to make no progress at all. My brother Arthur was within hailing distance of me, and I thought of calling to him. Then — for my mind kept quite clear all this time — I reflected that as there was no one within sight to whom he could go or shout for assistance, he would certainly try to help me himself, with the result that we should both be drowned. So I held my tongue and fought on. Just as everything was coming to an end — for the breakers broke over me continually — my foot struck upon something, I suppose it was a point of rock, and on this something I rested a while. Then, waiting a favourable opportunity, I made a last desperate effort and struggled to the shore, where I fell down exhausted.

The Civil Service in the Transvaal offers no inducement for young men of ambition or ability, and hence farming if properly conducted affords a far better prospect to those willing and able to work.

Mr. R. Haggard no doubt has heard of the sad circumstances which caused so hurried a departure from Rome. Since arriving here many unavoidable duties have completely taken up the Empress’s time.


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