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The Siege of Kimberley   By:

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THE SIEGE OF KIMBERLEY

Its Humorous and Social Side

ANGLO BOER WAR (1899 1902)

EIGHTEEN WEEKS IN EIGHTEEN CHAPTERS

BY T. PHELAN

DUBLIN M.H. GILL & SON, LTD.

1913

All Rights Reserved

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I Week ending 21st October, 1899

CHAPTER II Week ending 28th October, 1899

CHAPTER III Week ending 4th November, 1899

CHAPTER IV Week ending 11th November, 1899

CHAPTER V Week ending 18th November, 1899

CHAPTER VI Week ending 25th November, 1899

CHAPTER VII Week ending 2nd December, 1899

CHAPTER VIII Week ending 9th December, 1899

CHAPTER IX Week ending 16th December, 1899

CHAPTER X Week ending 23rd December, 1899

CHAPTER XI Week ending 30th December, 1899

CHAPTER XII Week ending 6th January, 1900

CHAPTER XIII Week ending 13th January, 1900

CHAPTER XIV Week ending 20th January, 1900

CHAPTER XV Week ending 27th January, 1900

CHAPTER XVI Week ending 3rd February, 1900

CHAPTER XVII Week ending 10th February, 1900

CHAPTER XVIII Week ending 17th February, 1900

INTRODUCTION

The famous Ultimatum had gone forth to the world. War had come at last. We, in Kimberley, were in for it though happily unconscious of our destiny until it was revealed by the gradations of time. Nothing awful was anticipated. The future was veiled. The knowledge of what was to come was brought home to us by a gradual process that kept us permanently sane. Dull Kimberley was to be enlivened in a manner that made us wish it were dull again. We felt it from the first the sense of imprisonment the deprivation of liberty. But that was all, we thought all that we should be called to endure. Nobody could leave Kimberley for a little while; it was awkward, certainly; but nothing more. How long would the Siege last? "About a week" was a favoured illusion; until reflective minds put our period of probation at a fortnight. But the higher critics shook their heads, and added another seven days. Three weeks was made the maximum by general, dogmatic consent. Nobody ventured beyond it; in fact, nobody dared to. Suspicion would be apt to fall upon the man who suggested a month. Feeling ran high, and as we all felt the limits of our confinement narrow enough already, we entertained no wish to have them made narrower still, by knocking our heads against the stone walls of the gaol. Not then. There came a time, alas! when we reflected with a sigh upon the probability of our rations being more regular and assured if we broke a window, or the law in some way, and gave ourselves up. For the nonce, however, three weeks would pass, and with them all our woes. The idea of eighteen weeks occurred to nobody; it would have been too farcical, too puerile. That starvation must have killed us long ere the period had fled, would have been our axiom, if it were pertinent to the issue, when the 'pros' and 'cons' of the situation were being eagerly discussed on the opening days of a Siege that was to send the fame of the Diamond City farther than ever did its diamonds. A few weeks would terminate the trouble; and if, in the interim, we ran short of trifles, like salt or pepper, well we would bear it for sake of the Flag. Kimberley is a British stronghold, with a loyal population imbued with a fine sense of the invincibility of the British army. Many people were surprised to find that they could descant sincerely and patriotically upon the might and glories of the Empire. Even the Irish Nationalist seemed to feel that it took a nation upon whose territory the sun itself could not set to subjugate his native land; and he was moved to remind his Anglo Saxon mates that the absent minded beggars of the Emerald Isle had contributed to the promotion of daytime all night.

The Diamond City was in certain respects well adapted to withstand a siege. The old residents delighted to call it a city. Newcomers, who had Continental ideas on the subject, inclined to think the term a misnomer, and a reflection upon Europe and America... Continue reading book >>




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