Black and White Budget, No. 25, Vol. II, March 31st 1900

30 BLACK AND WHITE BUDGET March 31,1900 JOHANN STEP HAN PAUL K R U GER WRITTEN B Y A BOER AT THE BLOEMFONTEIN CON­ F ERE N CE, 1S99 Pres i dent K r u ger ,in common with all his country­men, is a regular church-goer, and never fails in his attendance at the Dutch Reformed Church opposite his house, where he often reads the lessons. His Honour has not a good delivery, his voice is too harsh and brusque, and he shines to better advantage when directing his Government in the way they should go in the Raadzaal than he does when expounding the Scrip­tures in the“ kerk ,”but he is in deadly earnest in both capacities. The services in the Dutch Reformed Church consist largely o f singing. The hymns at present in use are modelled after Moody and San key’s, and the worshippers join in singing these hymns with a vigour which is surprising, and in many cases with a sad dis­regard o f metre, for the Boer is not musically inclined, though every farmhouse over the length and breadth o f the country possesses some musical instrument or other. After the service, a reception will beheld in the verandah o f the President’s house, and coffee and pipes will be produced. This will last for half an hour or so, after which the guests will retire to their homes, and the balance o f the day until evening will be given over to rest. In the evening the President will again attend the service. It is this feeling o f religious faith which binds the Dutch element allover South Africa so closely together. The visit which the President is now paying to Bloemfontein in order to meet Sir Alfred M ilner will bethe last occasion on which he will leave his own country. Mr. K rug e r’s health is very indifferent, and he suffers greatly from his eyes, and in undertaking this journey at this time he is certainly inconveniencing himself in no small way. The Free State Government have all along done their utmost to bring about a peace ul settlement of the present deadlock, and the meeting could not beheld in a more favourable locality. The statements made that the President is prepared togo to war if necessary in order to protect the inde­pendence o f his country maybe lightly dismissed. The Transvaal does not mean togo to war with England, and no acton our part could induce them to do so. They have had glory enough in the past, and they don’t intend taking any chances in the future. Besides which they have no standing army to putin the field, and though the Burghers themselves are capital fighters, these men would not abandon their farms for any length o f time and the campaign in consequence would be short-lived, and the President and his Government are well aware o f this fact. During the Transvaal War Commandant Joub ert had the utmost difficulty in keeping these men from returning to their home­steads after the first few weeks. On one occasion a certain member o f the R aad journeyed to Johannesburg, where he arrived on a Sunday afternoon. On his arrival at the Park Station he was greeted by the strains o f the band in the Wanderers’ enclosure playing a merry tune to the accompaniment o f a bicycle race. Farther down the street he saw theatres with their doors wide open and crowds o f people flocking in, and he turned to a bystander and said in broken English ,“This town is! a home of the devil.” “Well,” said the Englishman, turning round, “why the deuce don’t you alter it? It belongs to you .”On his return to his home in the Potchefstroom district this gentleman described Johannesburg in such lurid terms that many burghers whose sons’ names were down on the list of applicants for service in the police took their names off in order to keep them from going to such a sink o f iniquity. It is the habit o f a number o f European inhabitants of Pretoria, locally termed London Jews, to hold sales I of furniture, clothing, and, in fact, goods of all descrip­tions in the market square ever}' Saturday. These people monopolise the whole square with their stands on this day, and it is hard work threading one’s throughway them. On one occasion when a detachment of Mounted Police was passing this way one of the troopers’ horses bolted right into the throng ol peripatetic auctioneers and in its wild career played havoc with some of the goods exposed for sale. The injured parties promptly sent in a claim for compensa­tion to the Government, which, it is needless to say, met with no response, and a deputation theieupon decided to wait upon Mr. K rug e rand lay their grievance before him. The President was seated on his stoep when the gentlemen Irom the East arrived and explained their mission. The interview lasted something under five minutes, and the deputation then withdrew and unbosomed themselves to the quiet air o f Church Street as they plodded back, though what really transpired at the meeting has never \et been divulged. “SERGE ANT ,CALL THE ROLL ”The war in South Africa has served to arouse a measure o f British patriotic fervour which has undoubt­edly surprised the world. The deeds o four heroes have been commemorated in ode, in poem, and in song, but nothing has yet appeared so pregnant of real martial spirit, or embodying so worthy a tribute to the memory :of our troops, as Mr. Sm edley N orton’s poem, “Sergeant, Call the R o ll.” The original was published in No. 14 of Black and White Budget, and the permission which we gave lor its recital has been taken full advantage of, not only by literary societies throughout the kingdom ,but by organisers o f entertainments, with the result that no program m e appears to be completely framed unless the poem occupies a. prominent position. This remarkable appreciation is not difficult to understand when it is borne in mind that Mr. Sm edley Norton saw many years’ service with the 98th Foot, and was therefore able to breathe into his poem all the ardour and touching pathos of the true soldier. Popularity is not always so readily accorded to a war poem as in this case and while balls and concert- rooms have been stirred by Mr. Norton’s expressive lines, the author has had the gratification o f receiving eulogistic and complimentary letters from some of the most distinguished people in the land. Extracts from several o f the communications are very interesting. For instance, “The Queen has been pleased to accept and thank Mr. Sm edley Norton for his poem, ‘Sergeant, Call the R o ll,’ ”her M ajesty’s letter being dated from Buckingham Palace. A letter from Marl­ borough House, under date March nth ,expresses the pleasure which the Prince o f Wales felt in accepting the poem. Princess May, writing from York House, St. Ja mes’s Palace, thanks Mr. Norton for his poem. No living author has received a more expressive tribute than the letter from vLad Roberts, the wife of our gallant Comm ?nder-in-Chief in South Africa. Writing from Seam ore Place, Park Lane, her ladyship says :—“Please accept my heartfelt thanks for the beautiful verses you have sent me, which 1 shall always keep and lvalu e exceedingly, and so will Lord Roberts when I show them to him, as I hope to do before very long, as I have arranged to start for South Africa on the 17th inst.— Believe tome remain yours truly and gratefully, Nora Roberts .”Lady White, the wife of tlie hero of Ladysm ith, in a letter from D ravcole Place, “—says: I am indeed delighted to accept your poem, ‘Sergeant, Call the Roll,’ which you so kindly sent me, and thank you most heartily for it.” Next in order comes a letter from Mrs. French, the wife o f the dash­ing cavalry officer who relieved Kimberley, written from Cavendish House, Bournemouth, thanking Mr. Norton very much for his poem, which “she thinks very nice and exceedingly touching.” Among other notable 1 people who have written to the author are the Marquis o f Salisbury7 ,and General Sir Evelyn Wood,
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