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With Buller in Natal, Or, a Born Leader   By: (1832-1902)

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WITH BULLER IN NATAL

[Illustration: "CHRIS SPRANG AT HIM."]

WITH BULLER IN NATAL

OR, A BORN LEADER

BY

G. A. HENTY

PREFACE

It will be a long time before the story of the late war can be written fully and impartially. Even among the narratives of those who witnessed the engagements there are many differences and discrepancies, as is necessarily the case when the men who write are in different parts of the field. Until, then, the very meagre military despatches are supplemented by much fuller details, anything like an accurate history of the war would be impossible. I have, however, endeavoured to reconcile the various narratives of the fighting in Natal, and to make the account of the military occurrences as clear as possible. Fortunately this is not a history, but a story, to which the war forms the background, and, as is necessary in such a case, it is the heroes of my tale, the little band of lads from Johannesburg, rather than the leaders of the British troops, who are the most conspicuous characters in the narrative. As these, although possessed of many admirable qualities, had not the faculty of being at two places at once, I was obliged to confine the action of the story to Natal. With the doings of the main army I hope to deal next year.

G. A. HENTY

CONTENTS

I. THE BURSTING OF THE STORM

II. A TERRIBLE JOURNEY

III. AT THE FRONT

IV. DUNDEE

V. THE FIRST BATTLE

VI. ELANDSLAAGTE

VII. LADYSMITH BESIEGED

VIII. A DESPERATE PROJECT

IX. KOMATI POORT

X. AN EXPLOSION

XI. BACK WITH THE ARMY

XII. THE BATTLE OF COLENSO

XIII. PRISONERS

XIV. SPION KOP

XV. SPION KOP

XVI. A COLONIST'S ADVENTURE

XVII. A RESCUE

XVIII. RAILWAY HILL

XIX. MAJUBA DAY

XX. LADYSMITH

ILLUSTRATIONS

"CHRIS SPRANG AT HIM"

CHRIS OFFERS HIS SERVICES TO SIR PENN SYMONS

CHRIS AND HIS COMPANIONS SCOUTING

"BOTH RIFLES CRACKED AT ONCE"

"THERE WAS A TREMENDOUS ROAR AND A BLINDING CRASH"

"WITH A SHOUT OF TRIUMPH THE TWO BOERS RAN DOWN"

"PRESENTLY FROM BEHIND THE FOOT OF THE HILL SIX HORSEMEN DASHED OUT"

THE NAVAL GUNS ON MOUNT ALICE

"ONE OF THE BOERS HELD UP HIS RIFLE WITH A WHITE FLAG TIED TO IT"

THE RELIEF OF LADYSMITH

[Illustration: SOUTH EASTERN AFRICA]

WITH BULLER IN NATAL

CHAPTER I

THE BURSTING OF THE STORM

A group of excited men were gathered in front of the Stock Exchange at Johannesburg. It was evident that something altogether unusual had happened. All wore anxious and angry expressions, but a few shook hands with each other, as if the news that so much agitated them, although painful, was yet welcome; and indeed this was so.

For months a war cloud had hung over the town, but it had been thought that it might pass over without bursting. None imagined that the blow would come so suddenly, and when it fell it had all the force of a complete surprise, although it had been so threatening for many weeks that a considerable portion of the population had already fled. It was true that great numbers of men, well armed, and with large numbers of cannon, had been moving south, but negotiations were still going on and might continue for some time yet; and now by the folly and arrogance of one man the cloud had burst, and in thirty hours war would begin.

Similar though smaller groups were gathered here and there in the streets. Parties of Boers from the country round rode up and down with an air of insolent triumph, some of them shouting "We shall soon be rid of you; in another month there will not be a rooinek left in South Africa."

Those addressed paid no heed to the words. They had heard the same thing over and over again for the past two months. There was a tightening of the lips and a closing of the fingers as if on a sword or rifle, but no one replied to the insolent taunts. For years it had been the hope of the Uitlanders that this would come, and that there would be an end to a position that was well nigh intolerable... Continue reading book >>




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