BLACK AND WHITE BUDGET 3 THE PLOT THICKENS -------------+»+»+-------------Tho ugh the news which reaches us from South Africa is scrappy and unsensational, it details developments of extreme importance. Everything points to the beginning of thfe end The last act of the great drama is rapidly approaching. Nearly 30,000 men of the great army destined to arouse in the Boer mind a sense of the might and majesty of the British arms have now reached the scat of war. O f the thirty-two transports now in South African waters, twelve have been sent onto Durban, with something like 14,000 men. But more has happened than a mere arrival at the ports. The great advance on Colonel Hamilton,Ian who is likely to pet the V.C. for his brave conduct in the field. He is a soldier who has seen a good deal of service, and has often won the commendation of his chiefs the Boers has begun, and now, in the words of General Gatacre, “there can be no going back.” Meanwhile, what of the gallant garrisons that have been keeping the Boers employed while the advance has been prepared ?What of General White at Lady smith, Colonel Baden-Powcll at Mafeking, Colonel Kekewich at Kimberley, and we must now add Major-General Hildyard at Estcourt A“? ll’s w ell!”is the monotonous but satisfactory message that is flashed by the searchlight or heliograph, or carried by homing- pigeons or native runners from all these places. Not only the Boers, but— the greater danger in a beleaguered town— illness and epidemic are being kept at bay and while the Boers at Donnerspruit have seventy men down with measles, the English everywhere show a clean bill of health. For sometime the Boers have given up attacking these places, and a sortie from the garrison is much more usual than a repelled assault. The enemy have been reduced to attempts to regain prestige by attacks on smaller towns— such as Kuruman. Yet even here the small garrison sufficed, and the assailants had to retire. A t Ladysmith, even bombardment has practically ceased, and moreno of real importance has taken place since November 9th, when the Kin g’s Royal Rifles and theR!^e Brigade in the North, and the Manchester Regiment in the South, did splendid work in repelling two simultaneous attacks, and inflicted on the Boers a loss which is variously estimated at from 700 to 1,000.