Campaign Pictures of the War in South Africa (1899-1900) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 246 pages of information about Campaign Pictures of the War in South Africa (1899-1900).

Even “Tommy” knows this, and on a cold day will call a big Zulu servant by a name which implies that the Zulu’s father and mother were never legally married.  The Zulu will only smile dismally, and tell “Tommy” that he will pray for the salvation of his soul.  Three days later, when the air is dancing in the heat-rays, if Mr. Atkins, emboldened by former success, repeats the speech, the Zulu will rise and confront him with blazing eyes, showing at the same time a wide range of beautiful white teeth, set in a savage snarl, and give Mr. Atkins a choice of titles which it would be hard to improve upon even in a Dublin dockyard, and he will not be slow to back his mouth with his hands should the argument become pressing, as more than one of her Majesty’s lieges have found out to their deep and lasting humiliation.

When a combination of rain and religion has depressed him the nigger servant is one of the most abject-looking mortals that ever wore clothes, and makes as sad a spectacle as a farmyard fowl on a front fence in a thunderstorm.  But he must not be judged altogether by his appearance on such occasions.  He can be loyal to his “boss,” and when fit and well he will fight when roused as a devil might fight for the soul of a deacon.  He loves to ride or drive a horse, but he is not fond of horses, as I understand the term.  He has no idea of making a pet of his charge.  A horse is to him merely something to get about upon, and he cannot understand our fondness for our equine friends.  I have noticed the same trait in the Boer character.  To a Boer a horse is usually merely a means of transit from spot to spot; not a comrade, not a companion.  I was not astonished to find this feeling amongst the niggers, because I have noticed it among the natives in every colony in Australia, and even amongst such inveterate horsemen as the Sioux Indians of America and the Maories of New Zealand; but I was surprised to note how little sympathy existed between the Boer and his equine helper.

The nigger servant is a sporting sort of party, and never loses an opportunity to indulge his tastes in this direction.  I had an excellent chance the other day to note how fond he is of a bit of hunting.  We had camped before sundown in a rather picturesque position, and I was watching the effect of the declining sun on the gloomy kopjes, when I noticed a commotion in all the camps, in front, at the rear, and on both flanks.  In ten seconds every nigger in the whole camp had deserted his work and was frantically dashing out on to the veldt.  They uttered shrill cries as they ran, and every man had some sort of weapon in his hand, either a tomahawk, a billet of wood, or a rock.  With marvellous celerity they formed a huge circle, though what they were after was a puzzle to me.  I fancied for awhile that one of their number must have run “amuck,” and the rest meant to send him to slumber.  Quickly they narrowed the circle, the whole body of them moving as if linked

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Campaign Pictures of the War in South Africa (1899-1900) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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