The poor women and children were indeed to be pitied, but we had no sympathy with the men who fled in the winter with their cattle to the Boschveld, and now sought our protection, though they had never fought themselves. The flight with the cattle was necessary, as the enemy would otherwise have exterminated them, but many of the men took advantage of the necessity, and sometimes three or four strong, sturdy men went with one waggon, where one man would have been ample.
BATTLE OF CHRISSIESMEER—REUNION WITH GENERAL BEYERS
I will not describe our retreat, as nothing of importance occurred. We were constantly on the alert to move before the cunning French entrapped us within the circle that he was trying to draw around us.
At Trichardsfontein Malherbe and I had to go in search of our horses, which had strayed, so we were separated from our commando for some days. When we found our horses we went to Ermelo, and stayed there until the enemy were so close upon us that General Louis Botha, who happened to be at Ermelo, and knew of our arrival, sent to say that we must leave the town. We then joined his force and rode to Spion Kop.
‘In the land of the blind the one-eyed is king!’ Even so it was with Spion Kop of the Hoogeveld Ermelo. During the three years of my University life in that distant little country that stands by us now so well in our need, I often climbed a hill about the size of Spion Kop. That hill is famed for its height throughout the whole country, and bears the formidable name of ‘the Amersfoort Mountain.’