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William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh and London, 1900
ContentsI. Off to South Africa
II. On board the Briton
III. Cape Town
IV. I leave Cape Town
V. Cape Town to Durban
VI. At Pietermaritzburg
VII. The relief of Ladysmith
VIII. With Thorneycroft at Ladysmith
IX. Back in camp again
X. On patrol with Thorneycroft's
XI. I bid farewell to Thorneycroft's
XII. A ride through Basutoland
XIV. The night ride
XV. I am captured and escape
XVI. The battle of Mosar's Hoek, Reddersburg
XVII. We are marched to Pretoria
XVIII. At the racecourse, Pretoria
XIX. In the British officers' prison, Dasport, Pretoria
XX. A chapter of protests
XXI. Chancery House, Pretoria
XXII. Occupation and expectation - 'The Gram'
XXIII. A day of sensation
XXIV. My last days under the Boer Government
XXV. The surrender of Pretoria
XXVI. A week with the British Army in Pretoria
XXVII. An exciting journey home
XXVIII. Idle reflections
In my capacity as roving Correspondent to the ' Daily Mail' and ' Sphere' during the Boer war, my readers will find in this narrative not a heavy continuous account of the doings of any individual column which fought its way to Pretoria, but a light, and I hope bright and interesting, tale of my personal adventures in South Africa. I have ventured to publish this book from a feeling that my experiences have been almost unique. Not only was I present at the battle of Pieters Hill and the subsequent relief of Ladysmith in a soldier's capacity, but having crossed Basutoland by a hitherto almost untravelled track, I got through the Boer lines near Thaba Nchu, was taken prisoner at Dewetsdorf, escaped from my Boer guards, and was recaptured at the Reddersburg disaster, into which battle I unwittingly drove, and where I was fired on by both the British and Boer troops! My enforced journey to Pretoria, culminating in nine weeks' imprisonment, gave me an insight into the manners and methods of the Boers second to none. I also had the opportunity afforded me of being confined in all the three different prisons! Moreover, my last week in Pretoria, when the famous if premature telegram was sent, and my subsequent journey to Bloemfontein during the time De Wet was cutting the lines of communication, form by no means the least interesting items in an eventful six months' campaign.
There is at least a feeling of triumph that as I write this Introduction several prognostications have been justified by their fulfilment.
What criticisms I have made in the last chapters may be read with the assurance that the unbiassed opinion of an individual may be of material assistance in the future. My only regret is that the hand may fail to describe what the mind would fain have it write, and I trust that this narrative will be looked on not as the efflux of a clever pen, but in the light of a true and descriptive account of my personal adventures and experiences.
I have dedicated my book to Mr J. Leigh Wood as a mark of appreciation for a brave strong man who, through the greatest difficulty and danger, when Manager of the Natal Bank, Pretoria, won the universal esteem of both officers and men for the good work he did in the amelioration of their condition in prison. As a personal friend I could wish for no better, and I trust the burden of his labours will not be overlooked. As for the wreath which surrounds the Dedication, it was a present to me when I started. If dead and withered now, it still remains evergreen in my memory, and its motto, towards which I have been trying to climb during my years of endeavour to kill the past in the interests of the future, will ever be gratefully cherished.