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Charge! A Story of Briton and Boer   By: (1831-1909)

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Charge! A Story of Briton and Boer, by George Manville Fenn.

The earliest European settlers in South Africa were mostly Dutch. They were known as Boers, the Dutch word for farmer. They were doing well, and even though the British had come to rule the country, their comfortable and profitable existence was all that most of them wanted. However, an Irishman of the name of Moriarty thought otherwise, and urged them to rebel against the British, simply because there is a class of Irish people that enjoy fights, and the English are their nearest neighbours, and Ireland was part of Great Britain.

Val Moray is the son of John Moray, who is farming in South Africa, and he has a brother, Bob. There is also a Kaffir worker on the farm, Joe, or by his preference Joeboy. Joeboy is a co hero of the story. Moriarty arrives with a few of the Boers and demands that Val be handed over to him to go and fight the British. Val has to go, but manages to escape. He gets to a place where his father has whispered to him would be where Joeboy was to wait for him. They meet up with a Light Horse unit of the British army, where Val meets an old friend, Denham, and they take part in various skirmishes against the Boers, in which they are injured and captured, but manage to escape with the help of Bob and John.

There is plenty of action, but one can't help feeling that the author has bitten off more than he can chew, as these skirmishes in real life became more than that, and the whole thing became a real, if pointless, war. NH




"Hi! Val! Come, quick!"

"What's the matter?" I said excitedly, for my brother Bob came tearing down to the enclosure, sending the long legged young ostriches scampering away towards the other side; and I knew directly that something unusual must be on the way, or, after the warnings he had received about not startling the wild young coveys, he would not have dashed up like that.

"I dunno. Father sent me to fetch you while he got the guns ready. He said something about mounted men on the other side of the kopje, so it can't be Kaffirs. I say, do back me up, Val, and get father to let me have a gun."

"Ugh! you bloodthirsty young wretch!" I cried as I started with him for our place, now partly hidden by the orchard apple and pear trees I had helped to plant seven years before, when father really pitched his tent by the kopje, and he, Bob a little, round headed tot of a fellow then Aunt Jenny, and I lived in the canvas construction till we had built a house of stone.

The orchard was planted long before the tent was given up all trees that father had ordered to be sent to us from a famous nursery in Hertfordshire. How well I remember it all! the arrival of the four big bundles wrapped in matting, and tied behind a great Cape wagon drawn by twenty oxen, whose foreloper was a big, shiny black fellow, who wore a tremendous straw hat, and seemed to think that was all he needed in the way of clothes, as it was big enough to keep off the sun (of which there was a great deal) and the rain (of which there was little). In fact, he wore scarcely anything else only part of a very old pair of canvas trousers, which he made comfortable and according to his taste by cutting down at the top, so as to get rid of the waist, and tearing close in the fork till the legs were about three inches long.

I remember it all so well: seeing the foreloper come striding along by the foremost pair of oxen, holding one of them by its horn, and carrying a long, thin pole like a very big fishing rod over his shoulder, for use instead of a whip to guide the oxen. Yes, I recollect it as if it were only yesterday. I looked at him, and he looked at me... Continue reading book >>

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