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

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 206 pages of information about Campaign Pictures of the War in South Africa (1899-1900).
together and propelled by unseen mechanism.  When the circle got about the third the size of an ordinary cricket ground I saw what they were after.  A brace of hares had caught their eyes, and this was their method of capturing the fleet-footed, but stupid, “racers of the veldt.”  First one nigger and then another detached himself from the circle, and, darting in, had a shy at the quarry with whatever missile he had with him.  If he missed—­and a good many of them missed—­the speedy little bit of fur, he returned crestfallen to the circle again, amidst jeers and laughter from the rest.  The hares darted hither and thither in that ever narrowing circle of foes, until a couple of well-aimed shots, one with a rock as big as a cricket ball, and one with a tomahawk, laid them out, and they became the prize of the successful marksmen.  The nigger “boy” has to be paid one pound a week and his “scoff,” and, taking him all in all, in spite of his faults, which are many, I verily think he earns it.

CHARACTER SKETCHES IN CAMP.

THE SOLDIER PREACHER.

(Written at Enslin Battlefield.)

He was standing at eventide facing the rough and rugged heights of Enslin.  The crimson-tinted clouds that emblazoned the sky cast a ruddy radiance round his head and face, making him appear like one of those ancient martyrs one is apt to see on stained-glass windows in old-world churches in Rome or Venice.  His feet were firmly planted close to the graves of the British soldiers and sailors who had fallen when we beat the Boers and drove them back upon Modder River.

In one hand he held a little, well-worn Bible; his other hand was raised high above his close-cropped head, whilst his voice rang out on the sultry, storm-laden air like the clang of steel on steel: 

“Prepare ter meet yer God!”

No one who looked at the neat, strong figure arrayed in the plain khaki uniform of a private soldier, at the clean-shaven, square-jawed face, at the fearless grey-blue eyes, could doubt either his honesty or earnestness.  Courage was imprinted by Nature’s never-erring hand on every lineament of his Saxon features.  So might one of Cromwell’s stern-browed warriors have stood on the eve of Marston Moor.

“Prepare ter meet yer God!”

To the right of him the long lines of the tents spread upwards towards the kopje; to the left the veldt, with its wealth of grey-green grass, sown by the bounteous hand of the Great Harvester; all around him, excepting where the graves raised their red-brown furrows, rows of soldiers lounged, listing to the old, old story of man’s weakness and eternal shame, and Christ’s love and everlasting pity.  On the soldier preacher’s breast a long row of decorations gleamed, telling of honourable service to Queen and country.  Before a man could wear those ribbons he must have faced death as brave men face it on many a battlefield.  He

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