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).
must have known the agonies of thirst, the dull dead pain of sleepless nights and midnight marches, the tireless watching at the sentry’s post, and the onward rush of armed men up heights almost unscalable.  On Egypt’s sun-scorched plains he must have faced the mad onslaughts of the Dervish hosts, and rallied with the men who held the lines at Abu Klea Wells, where gallant Burnaby was slain.  The hills of Afghanistan must have re-echoed to his tread, else why the green and crimson ribbon that mingled with the rest?  His eyes had flashed along the advancing lines of charging impi, led by Zulu chiefs.  Yet never had they flashed with braver light than now, when, facing that half-mocking, half-reckless crowd, he cried: 

“Prepare ter meet yer God!”

Rough as the thrust of a broken bayonet was his speech, unskilled in rhetoric his tongue, his periods unrounded as flying fragments of shrapnel shell; yet all who listened knew that every word came from the speaker’s soul, from the magazine of truth.  Some London slum had been his cradle, the gutters of the great city the only University his feet had known, the costers’ dialect was native to his tongue; yet no smug Churchman crowned with the laurels of the schools could so have stirred the blood of those wild lads, fresh from the boundless bush and lawless mining camps beneath Australian suns.

“Prepare ter meet yer God!”

And even as he spoke we, who listened, plainly heard the rolling thunder of our guns as they spoke in sterner tones to the nation’s foes from Modder River.  It was no new figure that the soldier preacher placed before us.  It was the same indignant Christ that swept the rabble from the Temple; the same great Christ who calmly faced the seething mob in Pilate’s judgment hall; the same sweet Christ who took the babes upon His knee; the same Divine Christ who, with hyssop and gall, and mingled blood and tears, passed death’s dread portals on the dark brow of Calvary.  The same grand figure, but quaintly dressed in words that savoured of the London slums and of the soldier’s camp, and yet so hedged around with earnest love and childlike faith that all its grossest trappings fell away and left us nothing but the ideal Christ.

Once more we heard the distant batteries speak to those whose hands had rudely grasped the Empire’s flag, and every rock, and hill, and crag, and stony height took up the echo, like a lion’s roar, until the whispering wind was tremulous with sound.  Then all was hushed except the preacher’s voice.

“Prepare ter meet yer God!  I’ve come ter tell yer all abart a General whose armies hold ther City of Eternal Life.  If you are wounded, throw yer rifles down, ’nd ’e will send the ambulance of ’is love, with Red Cross angels, and ’is adjutant, whose name is Mercy, to dress yer wounds.  Throw down yer rifles ’nd surrender.  No rebels can enter the City of Eternal Life.  You can’t storm ther walls, Or take ther gates

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