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Title: A Woman's Part in a Revolution
Author: Natalie Harris Hammond
Release Date: February 19, 2005 [eBook #15109]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A WOMAN'S PART IN A REVOLUTION***
To the American Public, whose sympathy was my chief support through days of bitter trial, this book is gratefully dedicated. My personal experience forms the subject of my story. The causes of the Revolt in Johannesburg, and the ensuing political questions, are but lightly touched upon, in deference to the silence enforced upon my husband as one of the terms of his liberation by the Boer Government.
I hope I may be able to tell the truth always, and to see it aright according to the eyes which God Almighty gives me.—Thackeray.
Totsey the terrier lay blinking in the hot African sun, while Cecilia Rhodes, the house kitten, languished in a cigar box wrapped about with twine to represent bars of iron. Above her meek face was a large label marked 'African Lion.' Her captor, my young son Jack, was out again among the flower-beds in quest of other big game, armed with my riding-crop. The canvas awnings flapped gently in the cool breeze. Every now and then a fan-like arm of one of the large Madeira chairs would catch the impetus and go speeding down the wide red-tiled verandah. I looked up from the little garment which I was making, upon this quiet picture. It was the last restful moment I was to know for many long months—such months of suffering and agonised apprehension as God in His mercy sends to few women.
David, my husband's black coachman, drove rapidly through the gate, and, coming up to me, handed me a letter. It was from his master and briefly written. Jameson had crossed the Border; Johannesburg was filled with strange people, and he thought it wise for me to move with our family and servants into town. Rooms had been secured for us at Heath's Hotel, and he would meet us that night at dinner. This summons was not entirely unexpected. For many months the political kettle had been simmering. Johannesburg had grown tired of sending petitions in to the Government to be answered by promises which were never redeemed. An appalling death-rate of fifty-six in each thousand, directly traceable to lack of proper sanitation, resulting from bad government, spurred the general discontent, and a number of representative citizens, unwilling longer to wait upon gods and Government, finding all attempts to obtain redress of their grievances by constitutional means ineffectual, determined to enforce their demands for right by arms if necessary. As arms for the Uitlander under the law of the Transvaal could only be obtained by a permit, guns and ammunition were smuggled into the country, hidden away in oil tanks and coal cars.
My husband had vast interests in his charge; many million pounds sterling had been invested at his instance in the mining industry of the country, and, actuated by a sense of duty and responsibility to those who had confided in him, he felt in honour bound to take an active part in the movement, for the protection and preservation of the property placed under his control.
My leaving for the Cape, in case affairs should assume a dangerous phase, was frequently discussed between us, but I could not make up my mind to leave my husband, feeling that the separation would be more trying than if I remained, even should a conflict be forced upon us. In addition to my wish to be with him, I knew that many of his staff had their wives and children in Johannesburg, and would be unable to send them away, and for me, the wife of their chief, 'to bundle to the rear' would subject my husband, as well as myself, to harsh, and not unjust, criticism.
The Leonard Manifesto was published December 26th, setting forth the demands of the Uitlander.
'We want,' it reads:
'1. The establishment of this Republic as a true Republic.
'2. A Grondwet or constitution which shall be framed by competent persons selected by representatives of the whole people, and framed on lines laid down by them; a constitution which shall be safeguarded against hasty alteration.
'3. An equitable Franchise law and fair representation.
'4. Equality of the Dutch and English languages.
'5. Responsibility to the Legislature of the heads of the great departments.
'6. Removal of religious disabilities.
'7. Independence of the Courts of Justice, with adequate and secured remuneration of the judges.
'8. Liberal and comprehensive education.
'9. An efficient Civil Service, with adequate provision for pay and pension.
'10. Free Trade in South African products.'
It was further planned to hold another meeting of the 'National Union,' and afterward make a last demand upon the Government to redress our wrongs.
Arrangement meanwhile was made with Dr. Jameson, who was encamped on the western border of the Republic with a body of the Chartered Company's troops. In case of a disturbance he was to come to the aid of Johannesburg with at least a thousand men and 1,500 guns. It was also distinctly understood between him and the five gentlemen who were the recognised leaders of the movement, that he should not start until he had received instructions to do so directly from them.
I gathered my household about me, explained the situation, and gave the servants their choice, whether they would go into town or remain in the house. The four white servants decided to remain, but the native boys begged leave to depart under various pretexts. One to get his missis from Pretoria because he was afraid the Boers might kill her. Another to tell his mother in Natal that he was all right. Another frankly said, that as the white men were going to fight among themselves, this was no place for Kaffirs.
I arranged to leave Mr. Hammond's secretary in charge of the house. We hastily packed up a few of our most precious belongings, and left, to take possession of four tiny rooms at the hotel in town. With a full heart I looked back at my pretty home. The afternoon shadows were beginning to lengthen; I saw the broad verandah, the long easy chairs suggestive of rest; my books on the sill of the low bedroom window; the quiet flower garden, sweet with old-fashioned posies associated with peace and thrift. We were going to—What?
My diary carries the story on:—
December 30.—We find the town intensely excited, but there is no disorder. Men are hurrying about in cabs and on foot with determined-looking faces, but no other visible evidence of the day's tragedy.
My husband ran in to see how we were faring about 8 o'clock this evening. I had not seen him since early morning. He told me that a Reform Committee had been formed of the leading men of the city. Also that the Americans had called a meeting in the course of the afternoon to hear the results of a Special Deputation, consisting of Messrs. Hennen Jennings and Perkins, to President Kruger. Mr. Jennings reported the President as having listened to them attentively while they conveyed to him what they believed to be the sentiment of the Americans on the Rand. They assured him that, although the Americans recognised the rights of the Boers as well as those of the Uitlanders, unless he could in some way meet the demand of the unenfranchised people of the Transvaal he could not expect their support when the revolution came. They also told him that the Americans wanted to see the Republic preserved, but on a truer basis. And when questioned by the President if in case of rebellion the Americans would be with or against the Government, they answered bluntly, 'They would be against the Government.'
President Kruger dogmatically declared 'this was no time for discussion, but a time for the people to obey the law,' and with this they were dismissed.
A Committee of three is appointed to visit Pretoria to-morrow and again lay before the President a statement of the demands of the Uitlanders, the attitude of the Americans and their wish to preserve the integrity of the Republic, but also to warn him that, if the Government insists upon ignoring these just demands, and thus precipitates war, the Americans must array themselves on the side of the other Uitlanders.
A large mass meeting is called to receive these gentlemen on their return from Pretoria and to decide upon the Americans' future course of action.
The mail train to Cape Town was crowded with hundreds of terror-stricken women and children sent away by anxious husbands to a place of safety. The ordinary accommodation was far too inadequate to supply the sudden rush. They were crowded like sheep on cattle trucks. I fear the journey of a thousand miles will be one of great discomfort.
There are many anxious souls in Johannesburg to-night.
Betty and I are sitting up. The night is sultry, and we have dragged our chairs out on to the verandah which overhangs the street.
Midnight.—The town has quieted down. Once a wild horseman clattered down the street towards the 'Gold Fields' shouting, 'A despatch, men! a despatch. We've licked the Dutchmen!' A few heads peered out of windows—but that was all.
December 31.—My husband came in at 4 o'clock this morning, looking very tired. He was on the point of going to bed, when a messenger came from the 'Gold Fields' and hurried him away.
The streets are alive at a very early hour, and the excitement increases. The Reform Committee sits in perpetual session in the offices of the 'Gold Fields.' They are appointing sub-committees for the safeguard and comfort of the town; 51,000l. for the relief of the poor has already been raised. Messengers are sent out to call in all the women and children from the mines. Arrangements are being made for the housing and feeding of these. Nothing is forgotten, and everything goes on with the utmost method and precision. It is like a great, splendid piece of machinery.
The merchants have sent up a deputation to try to bring the President to reason. He has temporarily removed the dues from food stuffs as a result of the interview. The Government has prohibited all telegraphic communication. We are cut off from the world.
The Reform Committee repudiates Dr. Jameson's inroad, but publishes its intention to adhere to the National Union Manifesto, and 'earnestly desires that the inhabitants should refrain from taking any action which can be construed as an overt act of hostility against the Government.' A certain tone of security and dignity pervades all the notices of the Reform Committee. The town is sure of success.
In order to silence rumours in regard to the hoisting of the English flag, Mr. Hammond after some difficulty secured a flag of the Transvaal, and took it into the committee room this morning. The entire body of men swore allegiance with uncovered heads and upraised hands. The flag now floats from the roof of the 'Gold Fields.' The merchants have closed their shops and battened up the windows with thick boards and plates of corrugated iron. Boer police are withdrawn from the town. Excitement at fever heat, but everything running smoothly. No drunkenness nor rioting. The streets are filled with earnest-looking men. Near the Court House arms are being distributed. At another point horses are given over to the newly-enrolled volunteers.
4 p.m.—I have driven from one end of the town to the other, through busy crowded streets, without seeing one disorderly person, or being regarded a second time by one of the thousands of men filing solemnly past my carriage. They would form into squads and march gravely to their posts of duty. A splendid-looking set of men, ranging in age from 25 to 35. Men from every walk in life, professional men, robust miners, and pale clerks, some among the faces being very familiar. My eyes filled when I thought of what the future might be bringing them. At the hotel dinner Mrs. Dodd, Betty and I were the only women present. The room was crowded with men who spoke excitedly of a possible war and exchanged specimen cartridges across the table. I hear that one thousand Lee-Metford rifles have been given out. The town is now policed by Uitlanders under Trimble.
The Americans have held another meeting. Five hundred men were present, and with only five dissenting votes determined to stand by the Manifesto. After this meeting, the George Washington Corps of 150 members was formed.
Following are the names of the various Brigades:—
Australian, Scotch, Africander, Cycle, Colonial, Natal, Irish, Northumbrian, Cornish, and Bettington's Horse and the Ambulance Corps. Most of the mines are closing down. Women and children are still flying from the town. Alas! some men, too, who are heartily jeered by the crowd at the railroad station.
St. John's Ambulance Society is advertising for qualified nurses or ladies willing to assist.
Natives are in a state of great panic. One of the Kaffir servants in the hotel gave me a tremendous shock this morning by rushing into my room to fling himself at my feet, sobbing and imploring me not to allow the Boers to kill him.
Later.—The sultry day has cooled down into a calm, moonlit night.
This evening the Reform Committee received a deputation from the Government consisting of Messrs. Marais and Malan; these gentlemen showed their authority from the Government, and were duly accredited. They are both progressive Boers and highly respected by the Uitlanders. They stated that they had come with the olive branch, that the Government had sent them to the Reform Committee to invite a delegation of that Committee to meet in Pretoria a Commission of Government officials, with the object of arranging an amicable settlement of the political questions. They emphatically asserted that the Government would meet the Reform Committee half-way—that the Government was anxious to prevent bloodshed, &c. That they could promise that the Government would redress the Uitlander grievances upon the lines laid down in the Manifesto, but that of course all the demands would not be conceded at once, and both sides must be willing to compromise. The Reform Committee met to consider this proposal, and after long discussion decided to send a deputation to Pretoria. These gentlemen leave with Messrs. Malan and Marais on a special train to-night for Pretoria.
Johannesburg is quiet as ever was country town. The streets deserted. Nothing to suggest a city girt around by a cordon of soldiers, and yet such it is.
At midnight my husband ran in for a moment to see how we had stood the strain of the day.
'Is the news from Jameson really true?' I asked, still hoping it was rumour.
'I am afraid so.'
'And are those heavy wagons just going down the street carrying the big guns to the outskirts?'
'Yes. Good-night, dear.' He was gone.
 The sufferings of this hapless crowd were acute. Provisions were hard to obtain at the way stations. The water supply gave out. A little child died of exposure, and the heart-broken mother held the lifeless body twenty-four hours on her lap. There was no room to lay it to one side. Another woman gave birth to an infant.
 The Cornish miners were politely presented at Kimberley and other places en route with bunches of white feathers by the howling mob. One Cornishman afterwards related that he was pulled out at every station and made to fight. After the fourth mauling he turned round and went back to Johannesburg, preferring to take his chances with the Boers.
January 1, 1896.—With the dawn of day I am out of bed and at the window waiting for the cry of the newsboy.
What will the New Year bring us?
With nervous dread I opened the paper brought to my door. In large headlines it told of disaster.
The Natal train filled with refugee women and children has been wrecked, with great loss of life. The papers say forty have been killed outright, and many fearfully injured. Entire families have been wiped out in some cases. Mr. —— has lost his wife, his sister, and three little children. This is the result of a Boer concession. The accident was caused by the Netherlands carriages being poorly built and top-heavy. In rounding a curve they were swung off the track—collapsed at once like card-houses, crushing and mangling the helpless and crowded occupants.
The deputation to Pretoria did not leave last night, as was expected. They go this morning instead.
My husband is greatly disturbed at the delay. He says time is all important, and the Reform Committee's hands should not be tied while the Boers gain time.
Reports of Jameson's meeting the enemy have been amplified. Now it is said that fifty of his men have been killed and three hundred Boers. Sir John Willoughby is believed to be shot.
I drove out to my home to reassure my women, Mr. Sharwood having brought in word that the coachman Adams had almost caused a panic by his garish tipsy account of 'what was going on in town,' and 'the many risks he ran when taking the mistress out.'
Parker was overjoyed to see me, and so was Totsey. I found all staunch, and ready, not only to protect themselves, but to fight anything, particularly the valiant Adams.
On my way back to town I heard firing beyond the ridge east of us. Some men at practice probably, but it gave me a wrench and detracted from Adams's dignified bearing. More organising and drilling of troops. I hear there is much suffering among them. The book-keeper, clerks, and indoor men find the unaccustomed exposure and fatigue trying in the extreme. But they are a plucky lot, and stand for hours on guard in the scorching sun, and walk miles with their poor blistered feet with pathetic cheerfulness; swooning in many cases at their posts rather than give in; to a man, eager to fight.
Betty and I began our daily visits to the women and children at the Wanderers' and Tattersall's to-day. At the Wanderers' alone are nearly three hundred. The wonderful provision made for their health and comfort spoke well for the intelligence as well as heart of the Reform Committee, and Mr. Lingham, an American, who has that especial department in charge. We found the dancing-hall of the Wanderers' converted into a huge dormitory, the supper-room into a sick ward, and the skating-rink reserved for women newly confined—fright and excitement having brought on many premature births. There is a matron in charge of the sick, and a medical inspector, who comes twice a day to visit the different wards. I overheard him soundly berate a mother who kept her children too much indoors. The food was good, and there was plenty of it. Fresh cow's milk was supplied to the children. I noticed a large vessel of galvanised iron marked 'Boiled water for drinking purposes.' The little children were romping and tumbling about with great energy. The women were wonderfully patient, I thought, and firm in their adherence to the cause. This in some cases was but vaguely understood, but there was a general belief that there was 'goin' to be some fighten,' which was sure to make us all better off. I heard but one complaint, and that from a hulking slouch of a man who had sneaked in from duty to take a nap on the foot of his sick wife's pallet. He complained of the food, showing me the remains of dainties given out to the sick woman, and which he had helped her to eat. The woman looked up at me with haggard eyes: 'It ain't the vittles, but the pain that's worrying me, ma'am.'
A touching sight were the yelping dogs of every breed, family pets tethered to the fence outside. All canteens are closed by order of the Reform Committee as a precautionary measure, and where there was doubt of these precautions being observed, the liquors were bought and thrown away.
Hundreds of varying rumours are afloat, which rush and swirl along until lost in distorting eddies.
This afternoon a horseman went through the town distributing a Proclamation from the High Commissioner, Sir Hercules Robinson:—
His Excellency the Right Hon. Sir Hercules George Robinson, Bart., Member of Her Majesty's Most Hon. Privy Council, K.C.B., of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George, Governor, Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty's Colony of the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, and of the Territories, Dependencies thereof, Governor of the Territory of British Bechuanaland, and Her Majesty's Commissioner, &c., &c.
'Whereas it has come to my knowledge that certain British subjects, said to be under the leadership of Dr. Jameson, have violated the territory of the South African Republic, and have cut telegraph wires, and done various other illegal acts; and
'Whereas the South African Republic is a friendly State in amity with Her Majesty's Government; and whereas it is my desire to respect the independence of the said State:
'Now therefore I hereby command the said Dr. Jameson and all persons accompanying him, to immediately retire from the territory of the South African Republic, on pain of the penalties attached to their illegal proceedings; and I do further hereby call upon all British subjects in the South African Republic to abstain from giving the said Dr. Jameson any countenance or assistance in his armed violation of the territory of a friendly State.
'God Save The Queen.
'Given under my hand and seal this 31st day of December, 1895.'Hercules Robinson,
'By command of His Excellency the High Commissioner.'
Johannesburg is dumfounded!
The sixth edition of the 'Star' this evening says that Jameson is only fifteen miles away, and that he has had a second encounter with the Boers. The populace has recovered from the Proclamation, and their wild enthusiasm can scarcely be restrained. They want to go out to meet Jameson and bring him in with triumphal outcry. It is hard to be only a 'she-thing' and stay in the house with a couple of limber-kneed men, when such stirring happenings are abroad.
11 p.m.—Mr. Lionel Phillips has just addressed the crowd collected around the 'Gold Fields' waiting for news. He told them that the Reform Committee Delegation—of which he was one—had been received with courtesy by the Government Commission, the Chief Justice of the Republic acting as chairman.
They were assured that their proposals should be earnestly considered. Mr. Phillips then explained what was wanted, and reiterated the Reform Committee's determination to stand by the Manifesto. He also told the Commission that the leaders of the Reform Committee had arranged with Jameson to come to their assistance when necessary, but that unfortunately he had come before required, probably through some misunderstanding or false report. While the Reform Committee regretted Jameson's precipitate action, they would stand by him. And as they had no means of stopping him they offered to prove their good faith by giving their own persons as hostages that Jameson should leave Johannesburg peacefully if he were allowed to come in unmolested. This offer was rejected by the Commission, but a list of the names of the Reform Committee was asked for.
As a result of this interview the Government decided to accept the offer made by Her Majesty's High Commissioner to come to Pretoria to settle differences and avoid bloodshed. An armistice was then agreed upon pending the High Commissioner's arrival. Mr. Phillips was often interrupted by the crowd, some with cheers and others hooting. One voice called out, 'And how about Jameson?' Mr. Phillips answered, 'I am instructed by the Reform Committee to state to you, as I did to the Government, that we intend to stand by Jameson. Gentlemen, I now call upon you to give three cheers for Dr. Jameson.' There was prolonged and enthusiastic cheering.
The Reform Committee has sent out J.J. Lace to escort a messenger from the British Agent, who carries the Proclamation, and also to explain the situation to Dr. Jameson.
It is said that Lieutenant Eloff was captured by Jameson some miles beyond Krugersdorp. Eloff declaring he had official orders to obstruct his advance, Jameson expressed his determination to go on, but added that he had no hostile intentions against the Government.
January 2.—Betty and I sat up all night. The excitement is too intense to admit of hunger or fatigue. We know nothing beyond the rumours of the street. Jameson is said to be at Langlaagte, fighting his way into town, the Boers in hot pursuit.
Mademoiselle has asked leave to go to the Convent to make her will.
In the streets, private carriages, army wagons, Cape carts and ambulances graze wheels. Every hour or two a fresh edition of the 'Star' is published; public excitement climbing these bulletins, like steps on a stair. We sit a half-dozen women in the parlour at Heath's Hotel. Two sisters weep silently in a corner. Their father is manager of the 'George and May'; a battle has been fought there a couple of hours ago. No later news has come to them. A physician, with a huge red-cross badge around his arm, puts his head in at the door, and tells his wife that he is going out with an ambulance to bring in the wounded. At this we are whiter than before, if it were possible.
Poor Mademoiselle returned an hour ago and was obliged to go to bed, done up with the nervous tension.
Jacky is loose on the community; in spite of energetic endeavours (accompanied by the laying-on of hands in my case) his Aunt Betty and I cannot restrain his activity. He is intimate with the frequenters of the hotel bar, and on speaking terms with half the town. The day seems endless.
Things have gone so far, men want the issue settled, and perhaps the irresponsible are eager for a little blood-letting; there are certain primitive instincts which are latent in us all, and the thought of war is stimulating.
Mr. Lace returned this afternoon and reported that he had ridden through the lines to Jameson. He had had very little speech with the doctor, as the time was short, and the messenger bearing the proclamation of the High Commissioner was also present. Jameson asked where the troops were. Lace told him that he could not rely on any assistance from the Uitlanders, as they were unprepared, and an armistice had been declared between the Boer Government and the people of Johannesburg.
Later.—News is brought of a battle fought at Doornkop this forenoon, and Jameson has surrendered. Johannesburg has gone mad.
Midnight.—My husband has just come in, his face as white and drawn as a death mask.
We talked earnestly, and then I insisted upon his going to bed, and for the first time in three days he drew off his clothes and lay down to rest. The exhausted man now sleeps heavily; I sit beside him writing by the spluttering candle. Now, while it is fresh in my mind, I am trying to put down all that I have just heard from my husband.
He told me the Reform Committee were greatly surprised when they received the report of Mr. Lace, as Jameson had no right to expect aid and succour from Johannesburg for the following reasons:—
First.—In answer to a telegram from Jameson, expressing restlessness at the delay, my husband wired him on December 27 a vigorous protest against his coming.
Second.—Strong and emphatic messages were taken by Major Heaney, one of Jameson's own officers, to the same effect, also by Mr. Holden. Major Heaney went by special train from Kimberley, and Mr. Holden on horseback across country.
These messages informed Dr. Jameson that the time had not arrived for his coming; that the people of Johannesburg were without arms, and that his coming would defeat the aim and purposes of the whole movement; and, further, that he could not expect any aid or co-operation from the people of Johannesburg.
Notwithstanding all this, Jameson left Pitsani Sunday night, and the first intimation which Johannesburg had of his advance was through telegrams received Monday afternoon.
The Reform Committee, thus informed of Jameson's coming, and knowing that he was fully aware of their unarmed condition, believed that he relied only on his own forces to reach Johannesburg; and the Committee were assured by Major Heaney and Captain White (two of Jameson's officers, the latter having two brothers with the invading force) that no Boer force could stop him in his march; and this was confirmed by one of Jameson's troopers, who came from him this morning of the surrender, and reported that he was getting along well; that, although his horses were tired, he would reach Johannesburg within a few hours, and that he needed no assistance.
The hope of the Committee was that, after receiving the proclamation of the High Commissioner, Jameson would retrace his steps instead of pushing on.
Monday, when we first heard of his starting, there were only 1,000 guns, and very little ammunition in the country, and these were hidden away at the different mines. One thousand five hundred more guns arrived next day. So desperate was the extremity, these guns were smuggled in at great risk of being discovered by the Boer Custom House officials, under a thin covering of coke on ordinary coal cars. But for the bold courage of several men, who rushed the coke through, they would have fallen into the hands of the Boers. The leaders had taken as few men as was possible into their confidence, so as to reduce to a minimum all liability of their plans being discovered by the Government. They had made almost no organisation, and Jameson's sudden oncoming placed them in a terrible position. To confess at this juncture that the Reform Committee was short of guns would have demoralised the people, and placed Johannesburg entirely at the mercy of the Boers. These leaders played a losing game with splendid courage. Realising that all would be lost if the true situation were suspected, and feeling the fearful responsibility of their position, they kept their counsel, and turned bold faces to the world, continuing to treat with Government with the independence of well-armed men, and men ready to fight.
When the news of Jameson's surrender was confirmed this evening, the surging crowd around the 'Gold Fields' became an excited and dangerous mob. Pressing thickly together, in their frenzy, they began to mutter threats against the Reform Committee, and demanded, 'Where is Jameson? We thought you promised to stand by Jameson! Why didn't you give us guns and let us go out to help Jameson?'
Plans were made to blow up the 'Gold Fields' where the Reformers sat in session. Several gentlemen of the Committee essayed to speak from the windows, but were received with howls and curses from the stormy tumult below. At last Mr. Samuel Jameson, brother to Dr. Jameson, made himself heard:—
'I beg you, for my brother's sake, to maintain a spirit of calm restraint. We have done everything in our power for him, and used our very best judgment. In face of the complicated circumstances, no other course could have been taken.'
It was as oil on the troubled waters.
From The Reform Committee.
The Reform Committee issued the following notice at noon:—
'Resolved: That in view of the declaration by the Transvaal Government to Her Majesty's Agent that the mediation of the High Commissioner has been accepted, and that no hostile action will be taken against Johannesburg pending the results of these negotiations, the Committee emphatically direct that under no circumstances must any hostile action be taken by the supporters of the Reform Committee, and that in the event of aggressive action being taken against them, a flag of truce be shown, and the position explained.
'In order to avoid any possibility of collision, definite orders have been given. The matter is now left with the mediation of the High Commissioner, and any breach of the peace in the meanwhile would be an act of bad faith.
'By order of the Committee.'
Deep and universal depression follows upon the great excitement. Jameson and his men are prisoners of war in Pretoria. Armed Boer troops encircle the town.
One man said to me to-day: 'If we do get the franchise after losing only thirty men, how much we will have gained and at how cheap a price.'
It was a man's view; birth and death could never mean so little to a woman!
January 4.—The High Commissioner has arrived at Pretoria.
They say poor Dr. Jameson is greatly dejected, and never speaks to a soul.
January 5.—This beautiful Sunday, quiet and serene, dawns upon us free of the sounds of the past week. No cries of newspaper boys nor hurry of wheels. A couple of bands of recruits drilled for a while sedately on Government Square, and then marched away. It is wonderful to an American woman, who still retains a vivid recollection of Presidential Elections, to see two warring factions at the most critical point of dispute mutually agree to put down arms and wait over the Sabbath, and more wonderful yet seems the self-restraint of going without the daily paper. The George Washington Corps attended a special service. The hymns were warlike and the sermon strong and anything but pacific.
January 6.—The Government issues an ultimatum: Johannesburg must lay down its arms.
The letter of invitation signed by Messrs. Charles Leonard, Francis Rhodes, Lionel Phillips, John Hays Hammond and George Farrar, inviting Dr. Jameson to come to the succour of Johannesburg under certain contingencies, was printed in this morning's paper. It was picked up on the battlefield, in a leathern pouch, supposed to be Dr. Jameson's saddle-bag. Why in the name of all that is discreet and honourable didn't he eat it!
Two messengers from the High Commissioner, Sir Jacobus de Wet, the British Agent, and Sir Sydney Shippard, were received by the Reform Committee this morning. De Wet told them that Johannesburg must lay down its arms to save Jameson and his officers' lives; that unless they complied with this appeal, which he made on behalf of the High Commissioner, who was in Pretoria ready to open negotiations, Johannesburg would be responsible for the sacrifice of Jameson and his fellow prisoners. It would be impossible for the Government to conduct negotiations with the High Commissioner for redress of grievances until arms were laid down. He urged them to comply with this appeal to prevent bloodshed, and promised that they could depend upon the protection of the High Commissioner, and that not 'a hair of their heads would be touched.' After much discussion, the Committee agreed to lay down their arms.
Betty and Mrs. Clement were busy all the morning giving out books and flowers which had been generously sent by various ladies and commercial firms for distribution among the women and children at the Wanderers' and Tattersall's. Betty says the women were most grateful. They are busy, hard-working women, and the enforced leisure is very trying to them. She spoke with the manager of Tattersall's; he thanked her for her gifts, remarking, with some weariness in his tone: 'You don't know, Miss, how hard it is to keep the women amused and contented—and several of them have been confined!' as if that, too, were a proof of insubordination.
My husband tells me that the Committee is to hold a meeting at midnight, and another at six to-morrow morning. He says that Lionel Phillips nearly fainted from exhaustion to-day. Mr. Phillips is consistent and brave, and George Farrar, too, is proving himself a hero. Dear old Colonel, with the kind thoughtfulness so characteristic of him, never fails to ask how we are bearing the trial.
January 7.—Sir Jacobus de Wet and Sir Sydney Shippard addressed the populace from the Band Club balcony, exhorting them to accept the ultimatum.
Later.—I have had such a reassuring conversation with Sir Sydney Shippard this evening. He is a most intelligent man, and speaks with such fluent decisiveness that all he says carries conviction. I am told that Sir Jacobus's speech was a rambling, poor affair and weak; the crowd showed a restlessness that at one time threatened to become dangerous. He was fortunately pulled down by his coat-tails before the crowd lost self-control.
Sir Sydney's speech, on the contrary, was strong and full of feeling. He told the people that he sympathised deeply with them in their struggle for what he believed to be their just rights, but that being an English Government official he could take no part. He reminded them that Jameson was lying in prison, his life and the lives of his followers in great jeopardy. The Government had made one condition for his safety: the giving up of their arms. 'Deliver them up to your High Commissioner, and not only Jameson and his men will be safe, but also the welfare of those concerned in this movement—I mean the leaders.' He continued: 'I, whose heart and soul are with you, say again that you should follow the advice of the High Commissioner, and I beg you to go home and to your ordinary avocations; deliver up your arms to your High Commissioner, and if you do that you will have no occasion to repent it.'
January 8.—Arms are being delivered up. About 1,800 guns already handed in. The Government assert that we are not keeping our agreement and are holding back the bulk of the guns. My husband tells me that these are being given up as fast as possible, but that there are not over 2,700 among the entire Uitlander population. The Reform Committee has assured the High Commissioner that they are keeping good faith, but that they never had more than about 2,700. The disarmament is universally considered the first step to an amicable settlement. The Reform Committee has sent out orders and the guns are coming quietly in. Everybody feels a certain relief now that the strain is eased; the members of the Committee are dropping down into all sorts of odd places to make up for the lost sleep of the past week. Dozens are stretched on the floor of the club rooms. Some steady-going gentlemen of abstemious habit are unprejudiced enough to allow themselves to be found under the tables wrapped in slumber as profound as that of infancy.
In contrast to my feelings of yesterday I am almost joyous. But for poor impetuous Jameson and the newly dead and wounded of Doornkop, I could laugh again.
The women are going back to the mines. Many brave little men who have remained in the shade to comfort their wives now step boldly to the front and tell us what they would have done if it had really come to a question of fighting. There is so much talk of moral courage from these heroes, I fear it is the only kind of courage which they possess. One gentleman, not conspicuous for his bravery during the preceding days, gravely said to me: 'If there had been war, I wonder if I should have had the moral courage to keep out of the fight?' I looked into his face, and, seeing there his character, answered with dryness, 'Oh! I suspect you would.' He was too complaisant to appreciate the sarcasm. God made little as well as great things! I suppose we should love all humanity, even if it be in the spirit of a collector of curios.
The protracted excitement has caused several deaths from heart failure, and I heard of two cases of acute mania. There would doubtless have been a far greater mortality but for the fact that Johannesburg is populated by young and, for the most part, vigorous men and women.
I hear that Dr. Jameson answered, when asked after his first night in the Pretoria jail if there was anything he would like to have, 'Nothing, thank you, but flea powder.'
I sat on the verandah with Sir Sydney Shippard and Betty this evening and watched the 'Zarps' take control of the town. There was no remonstrance on the part of the populace.
Later.—It is rumoured that a Commando of Boers will attack the town to-night. The place is practically defenceless; most of the men having returned to their work and the companies being disbanded.
January 9.—There is a fearful impression abroad this morning that the Reform Committee, or at least the leaders, will be arrested. My husband comforts me by saying the Government could not pursue such a course after having recognised the Reform Committee and offered not only to consider, but reform the grievances which have brought all this trouble about. He declares that Great Britain would not allow this after commanding her subjects to disarm and promising them her protection, and to see that their wrongs were righted.
'It would be the worst sort of faith,' he insists.
Noon.—The situation is very strained. I can see that my husband is trying to prepare me for his possible arrest. 'It will merely be a matter of form.' Ah me! I can read in his grave face another truth. May God in His mercy grant us a happy issue out of all our afflictions.
At a quarter to ten on the night of January 9, my husband, with two dozen others of the Reform Committee, was arrested and thrown into jail on the charge of rebellion and high treason. They had heard that this was probable several hours earlier in the day.
The four leaders were secretly offered a safe conduct over the border, but refused to forsake their comrades and the Cause. Leaving word where he was to be found, and with the further stipulation that no handcuffs were to be used in his arrest, or 'he would blow the brains out of the first man who approached him,' my husband hastened to break the news gently to us. I packed a tiny handbag with necessaries and filled his pockets with cakes of chocolate; chocolate was nourishing, and would sustain a hungry man hours, even days. We sat down hand in hand to wait for the officer, Betty in delicacy having left us alone together.
The Australians were giving a banquet below stairs, and as we clung to each other we could hear their shouts of boisterous mirth and hand-clapping. We started up at a tap on the door. A friend to tell us the officer was waiting at the street entrance. I helped my husband into his coat and we kissed each other good-bye. He was filled with solicitude for me. My thoughts were of the two thousand excited Boers laagered between Johannesburg and Pretoria, but recollection of my unborn child steadied me and gave me self-command.
Kind Mrs. Heath came to me, and, putting her arms about my shoulders, led me gently back into the bedroom, 'Mrs. Heath, will you please tell my sister-in-law that I am alone?' and Betty knew what had happened and came to me at once. Some time later Mr. John Stroyan brought a note from my husband:—
Johannesburg Jail—2 a.m.
'We are well—a couple of dozen—waiting for the train to Pretoria. Don't worry.
Then nature came to my relief. My overtaxed nerves refused to bear any more—they were paralysed. I threw myself across the foot of my little boy's bed, and lay like a dead woman until the morning broke....
Many days afterward I heard further details of the arrest. Some of the incidences were amusing, as was the polite borrowing and making use of Mr. King's carriage—he being one of the Reformers—for conveyance of the prisoners to the gaol. At the Rand Club there was so large a collection of Reformers, that the carriages, even over-crowded, could not carry them all. Lieuts. de Korte and Pietersen, the officers in charge, said in the most friendly manner, 'Very well, gentlemen, some of you must wait until we can come back for you.' And they did wait. Colonel Rhodes was taken from his own home; roused from his bed, he stood brushing his hair with martial precision, and expressing to the officer his regret at putting him to the trouble of waiting while he dressed, Mr. Seymour Fort meanwhile packing his valise. 'Fort, old man, put in some books,' said the Colonel, who is a great reader; 'all the books you can find;' and Mr. Fort threw in book after book—big ones and little ones; and for this lavish provision the poor Colonel paid dearly some hours later, in company with several husbands, whose wives in excess of tenderness had provided them with every known toilette luxury filled into silver-topped cut crystal bottles. The sight of these afflicted men carrying their heavy burdens from the station to the prison at Pretoria was both amusing and dramatic. At times their speech reached the epic.
The sad side was poor Sam Jameson, crippled and broken with rheumatism—a seriously ill man—accompanied to the very prison gates by his ever-faithful wife; and the second lot of Reformers, sent to Pretoria the following morning, met with an experience which some of them have never since been able to speak of without turning white. By the hour of their arrival the whole country round about Pretoria knew of their coming, and a large and violent mob was gathered at the railroad station to receive them. Through some misadventure, an inadequate guard was detailed to march them to the gaol. The prisoners were set upon by the mob, reviled, stoned, and spat upon, the officers in charge trampling them under their horses' hoofs, in their vain and excited endeavours to protect them. The poor prisoners reached the jail in a full run, bruised and breathless, but thankful for the asylum the prison door afforded them from their merciless pursuers. They were quickly locked into cells. For many hours they had not tasted food. The first Reformers imprisoned slipped in to them a part of their own provisions, but as it was quickly and stealthily done one cell would receive the pannikin of meat, another the tin of potatoes, &c. The cells were in a filthy condition. As has been truly said, a Boer prison is not built for gentlemen. It was an unavoidable misfortune that this prison, which had up to this time housed only refractory Kaffirs, should by force of circumstance become the domicile for six long dreary months, and through a hot tropical summer, of gentlemen nurtured in every decency. Captain Mein told me that he stood the greater part of that first night rather than sit upon the filthy floor, but exhaustion at length conquered his repugnance. These were times which proved men's natures. It distilled the very essence of a man, and if anywhere in his make-up was the salt of selfishness, it was pretty sure to appear. Many who before had appreciated Charlie Butter's open hospitality, realised now that it was more than kindliness which prompted him to give up his last swallow of whisky to a man who was older or weaker than himself. And they tell me that my own good man's cheery spirits helped along many a fellow of more biliary temperament.
The four leaders were put into a cell 11 feet by 11 feet, which was closed in by an inner court. There was no window, only a narrow grille over the door. The floor was of earth and overrun by vermin. Of the four canvas cots two were blood-stained, and all hideously dirty. They were locked in at 6 o'clock—one of them ill with dysentery—and there they remained sweltering and gasping through the tropical night until six of the morning. For two weeks they remained in this cell. Meanwhile, I knew nothing of my husband's plight, being mercifully deceived by both him and our friends, every day Mr. Heath bringing to Parktown telegrams from my husband assuring me of his good treatment by the Government, and imploring me not to worry.
The Reform Committee consisted of seventy-eight members; sixty-four were arrested. One of this number subsequently committed suicide in a temporary fit of insanity caused by protracted anxiety and prison hardship.
The Committee was composed of men of many nationalities and various professions—lawyers, doctors, and, with only one or two exceptions, all the leading mining men on the Rand. The Young Men's Christian Association was well represented, and a Sunday-school Superintendent was one of the list.
I returned to my home, and was in the doctor's care, and attended by a professional nurse.
By my Journal I see how good was Mr. Seymour Fort and how faithful Mr. Manion, the American Consular Agent, during this time of trial. From the flat of my back I listened to and took into consideration many plans suggested for the liberation of my husband. One lady proposed getting up a petition, which she would take to England to the Queen. It was to be headed with my name, as wife of one of the leaders: Mrs. Lionel Phillips being in Europe, and Mrs. George Farrar at the Cape; Colonel Rhodes a bachelor. I had small hopes of the success of things which had to be sent to Court, or placed before Courts. The subject was dismissed.
Then there was another plan thought out by a very shrewd man, and brought to my bedside, 'news which concerns your husband' being a passport to any one. I was to go at once to Cape Town, see Mr. Cecil Rhodes, and demand one hundred thousand dollars from him.
'What for?' I asked.
'You see,' said the gentleman, 'your husband and those other men are going to be tried sure, and we need money to lobby Pretoria.'
I was stupid—it was my first Revolution—and I hadn't the least idea what lobbying Pretoria meant. My friend gave me a sketchy view of its meaning, and assured me it was usually done in grave cases.
'But it will kill me to leave my bed and start for Cape Town to-morrow,' I exclaimed.
My adviser delicately hinted that my husband's life was of more value than my own. On this point we agreed. I was to make Mr. Rhodes understand that we didn't want any more 'tom-fool military men up here to ball up the game.'
He was to give the money to me unconditionally, to be disbursed as my friend saw fit. We rehearsed the part several times; I was hopelessly dull!
'And now,' he questioned, 'if Rhodes refuses to give you the money, what will you do?'
I thought of Jael and Charlotte Corday, and all the other women who had to do with history, and said, 'I suppose I'll have to shoot him.'
My preceptor looked discouraged. We went over the part once again.
It is but fair to say that he had made every provision for my comfort. Attendants were ready, and at the right moment I have no doubt but that a neat pine coffin could have been produced. Reflection, however, showed me the inadvisability of this project; but I was happily spared the embarrassment of drawing back from promised compliance.
There was a higher power ruling. The next morning's papers announced the sailing of C.J. Rhodes for England.
The morning of January 10th, Johannesburg disarmed, and the Reformers in prison, the President of the Transvaal Republic issued a proclamation offering pardon to all who should lay down their arms, and declaring them to be exempt from prosecution on account of what had occurred at Johannesburg—'with the exception of all persons or bodies who may appear to be principal criminals, leaders, instigators, or perpetrators of the troubles at Johannesburg and suburbs. Such persons or bodies will justify themselves before the legal and competent Courts of this Republic'
The principal criminals, leaders, instigators, or perpetrators were the same to whom was tendered the olive-branch brought from Pretoria by Messrs. Malan and Marais, acting envoys by the unanimous vote of the Executive; and three of these same principal criminals, leaders, instigators, or perpetrators were received seven days since, as representatives of the Reform Committee, in a conciliatory spirit by the Government's Special Commission, and told that their demands would be earnestly considered. During the intervening seven days Dr. Jameson had been conquered at Doornkop and made a prisoner of the State. The Reform Committee, in obedience to Sir Jacobus de Wet's long and prolix solicitation, and the strong appeal of Sir Sydney Shippard, assuring them that Jameson's life was in imminent danger, and the Government had made Johannesburg's disarmament the one condition of his safety, laid down their arms to preserve the life of a man already protected by the terms of his own surrender. 'Placing themselves,' cables the High Commissioner to Mr. Chamberlain, 'and their interests unreservedly in my hands, in the fullest confidence that I will see justice done them.' The sixty-four Reformers were then promptly driven into jail, and their property placed under an interdict.
Six months later, the four principal leaders were tried and sentenced to be hanged by their necks until they were dead, by a judge brought from a neighbouring Republic, the Orange Free State, for that purpose.
 This list was used as a roll-call a week later in the arrest of the Sixty-four members.
 Abbreviated term for South African police.
 The following cablegram will show that there were very substantial grounds for the rumour:—
'Sir Hercules Robinson (Pretoria) to Mr. Chamberlain.—8th January—No. 3. Since my telegram No. 1 of this morning matters have not been going so smoothly. When the Executive Council met I received a message that only 1,814 rifles and three Maxim guns had been surrendered, which the Government of the South African Republic did not consider a fulfilment of the ultimatum, and orders would be immediately issued to a Commando to attack Johannesburg. I at once replied that the ultimatum required the surrender of guns and ammunition for which no permit of importation had been obtained, and that onus rested with the Transvaal Government to show that guns and ammunition were concealed for which no permit had been issued. If before this was done any hostile step were taken against Johannesburg I should consider it a violation of the undertaking for which I had made myself personally responsible to the people of Johannesburg, and I should leave the issue in the hands of Her Majesty's Government...'
Sunday, January 12.—Mr. and Mrs. Perkins called this morning to advise Betty's not going immediately to Pretoria, as was her intention. Mr. Perkins said that the Boer feeling was very bitter, and foreign women were insulted in the streets. Advocate Wessels has also written to me, insisting upon my waiting two or three days, as my presence in Pretoria could do no good, and might prejudice my husband's cause. A little trunk was packed and sent to my husband last night. I got out of bed to superintend, and felt tragically tender as I watched the things laid in. A fresh suit of clothes, some personal and bed linen, towels, shoes, family photographs, flea powder, ginger-snaps, beef essence, soap, my little down pillow, and his beloved and well-read Shakespeare. I was able to sit up for an hour this afternoon to receive Sir Sydney Shippard, Mr. Seymour Fort, and Mr. Manion.
Yesterday the Governor of Natal, Sir Walter Hely Hutchinson, started for Pretoria to confer with the High Commissioner in regard to the transport of Dr. Jameson and his men through Natal. They are to be handed over to the English Government.
Search parties of mounted Boers are going about looking for hidden guns. The Robinson Mine seems to be the spot most suspected.
Yesterday's 'Volksstem'—a Government organ—recalled to the minds of the Boers the Slachter Nek affair of eighty years ago—a story of Boers hung by Englishmen for their insistence in punishing a negro slave according to established custom. What a cruel sinister suggestion underlies this!
Keen resentment is felt here against the young German Emperor and his indiscreet message to Kruger. I never dreamed years ago, when I used to see him, a tall, slender-legged boy in Berlin, that in maturity I should have so strong a desire to chastise him. England has commissioned a Flying Squadron, and the forces at Cape Town are to be strongly augmented.
January 13.—Mr. Manion showed me to-day a cable from the United States Secretary of State, Mr. Olney. 'Take instant measures to protect John Hays Hammond, and see that he has fair play.' It brought such a feeling of confidence and comfort! All he wants is fair play, and I pray to God that he may be protected until he gets it.
Many business meetings had to be postponed to-day on account of the large number of influential men in jail. I hear from Mr. —— that on Thursday and Friday it was most difficult to keep the Boers from storming the town. President Kruger dissuaded them by promising each a new suit of clothes. These they have since been seen carrying, tied to the cantle of their saddles.
Feeling is strong and bitter against the leaders; they are held responsible for all the trouble brought about by the Jameson invasion.
Commandant Cronje's Burgher force paraded the street this morning—they are the men who captured Jameson. Jameson is the god of the hour, and Johannesburg resented the intrusion; but for the sake of their hero, still in the power of the Government, there was no indication of intolerance beyond a few audible sarcasms; remarks which were answered in kind by the Burghers.
Betty says they were an interesting-looking body of men; strong-framed, heavy-featured, with long unkempt hair and beards. They rode shaggy, moth-eaten-looking little ponies, each man with a bundle of hay bound to his saddle and a sausage in his wallet. Fathers among them as hale as the brawny sons by their sides. They looked capable of any amount of fatigue.
Numbers of stray dogs and cats attest the many deserted homes.
January 15.—Every train brings women and children, hobby-horses and canary birds back to their homes in Johannesburg. Betty has returned, accompanied by Mr. Seymour Port, from Pretoria. She gives a very spirited account of her visit. Through Mr. Sauer, one of the advocates retained by the Reformers, a visiting permit was obtained. She and Mr. Fort were obliged to wait several hours, in company with a crowd of wives, at the prison gates, under a broiling sun. All were loaded down with offerings.
Betty's own donation was several green-lined umbrellas (a god-send in a whitewashed court beat upon by a tropical sun). After being admitted each lady was taken into a private room and 'felt all over by a Boer woman,' who was so fat, Betty declares, 'she must have grown up in the room, as she could not possibly have got through the door, even sideways.'
In the prison court the prisoners were sitting about in great diversity of costume, pyjamas predominating. The weather was suffocatingly hot. To while away the tedious time some were playing marbles, others reading, and a few of the most active brains on the Rand were caught dozing at midday, in a strip of shadow the width of one's hand, the sole shade in the whole enclosure. Colonel Bettington sat on a bench near the entrance in a peculiar and striking costume which proved to be, to those who had courage to linger and analyse, pyjama drawers rolled to the knees, a crash towel draped with happy blending of coolness and perfect propriety around body, noble Bedouin arrangement of wet crash towel on head, single eyeglass in eye, merry smile. Mr. Lace was the only one of the company who could suddenly have been set down in Piccadilly without confusion to himself and beholders. He wore a neat brown suit, pale pink shirt, and a stylish straw sailor hat. The prisoners showed a touching interest, Betty says, in the distribution of their gifts. One husband asked his wife almost before she was within arm's length what she had brought him. She had brought him a box of Pasta Mack tabloids, and unfortunately there was not at that time a bath in the whole prison. Another gentleman was presented with a Cologne spray. He was the envy of the jail; within twenty-four hours every Cologne spray in Pretoria was bought up and in the possession of the Reform Committee.
The four leaders are kept apart. After much ceremony my husband was allowed to see his sister at the door of the inner court where they are housed. Jameson and his men are in a tiny cottage by themselves, and no communication whatever is allowed between the prisoners. Arrangements have been made with the authorities to allow food to be served to the Reformers from the Pretoria Club at the prisoners' expense. The head jailer, Du Plessis, is a cousin of Kruger's. A ponderous man with a wild beard, a blood-shot eye, and a heavy voice. He is said to have gone to the President several days after the arrest and said, 'Those men are not like us, they are gentlemen, and cannot stand such hardships.' $250,000,000 are estimated as being represented by the men within the four walls of the Pretoria jail.
President Kruger suggests the adjournment of the Volksraad. Every one feels this to be a wise move while party spirit runs so high. The Hollanders in the Transvaal are much more rabid against the Reformers than the Boers.
Mr. Chamberlain has cabled to the High Commissioner respecting the leaders in the recent rising. He points out that their imprisonment may disorganise the mining industry, and inquires as to what will be the likely penalties.
America has asked Great Britain to protect Americans arrested in Johannesburg. I hear that a Burgher, who saw some of the great iron pipes of the Waterworks Company being put in the ground, reached Pretoria in a state of intense excitement, exclaiming that he had seen 'miles of big guns at Johannesburg.'
Mr. Andrew Trimble, chief detective and head of the Uitlander police, quitted Johannesburg the night of the arrest with much precipitation; unfortunately, before indeed he had filed away his most important private papers. Following his hasty flight his office was carefully guarded by Zarps; no one was allowed to enter—'Oh yes, the Kaffir boy might go in to clean up.' A good friend of Mr. Trimble's, with stern aspect, instructed the boy to make a 'good job' of the room and burn all the papers strewn over the floor and desks. This was faithfully done by the unconscious negro, to the entire satisfaction of all save the Zarps in charge.
It is said Dr. Jameson entered the Transvaal with his despatch-box filled with important papers in cypher, and the cypher code with it. I cannot believe this of any man in his sound senses.
The High Commissioner left Pretoria by special train yesterday. This was the man who offered his service as Mediator and was accepted by both Uitlander and Boer. To placate the Boer he refrained from visiting Dr. Jameson and his men imprisoned at Pretoria, nor did he permit Sir Jacobus de Wet to visit them. He never acquainted himself with the terms of Dr. Jameson's surrender. He commanded Johannesburg to disarm to appease the Boer, and this being successfully accomplished through the self-control of the Reform Committee, he departed with his gout and other belongings, leaving the unarmed betrayed Reformers to shift for themselves. Was this being a Mediator?
 This affair was the result of an interference by the English. It arose out of the ill-treatment of a negro slave. The Boers resisted arrest, there was a clash of arms, and four of the Boers were hanged.
January 21.—The Burghers are disbanding and returning to their homes.
Trade is thoroughly unsettled, and business of every kind is in an unsatisfactory condition. Great disorder prevails in the town. Scarcely a night but there is some sort of disturbance between citizens and police; the latter are mostly raw German recruits.
Dr. Jameson and his officers left Pretoria yesterday. Dr. Jameson looked very downcast, and sat gazing stolidly before him until the train started. They were cheered at many places along the route. The United States Government has thanked Mr. Chamberlain for his offer to protect Americans in the Transvaal.
All travellers coming into the country must submit to a rigorous personal search for firearms at Vereeniging. In one case even the infant of the party was overhauled for guns and ammunition before being handed over to the loving father, who had come down to meet his little family.
Later.—I came up to Pretoria this afternoon with Betty and the sick nurse. We were stopped at the station while the officials examined our handbags for cannon. This delay would have been irritating, but the men were so universally good-natured—little dull-witted, with no appreciation of fitness, but good-natured. We drove at once to the Grand Hotel, and I went to bed that I might look rested when I saw my husband on the morrow. Lady de Wet and Dr. Messum, the prison physician, called to tell me the four men had been moved into the Jameson Cottage, but I was asleep, and not allowed to be roused. There is comfort in being this much nearer to my poor prisoner. The hotel is full of Reformers' wives, and there is much excitement and coming and going. We are warned to be cautious in what we say in public places, because of spies. Every woman has a nervous look on her face, and some of them shut the windows and doors before uttering even the most commonplace remarks.
Pretoria lies in a shallow basin in the heart of the hills—a fitting home for the Sleeping Princess. It is hushed and drowsy and overrun by a tangle of roses. Weeping willows edge the streets, which are wide and as neglected as a country road. Open gutters carry off, or rather contain, the sewage of the town. Its altitude is lower than that of Johannesburg, and the climate very relaxing. Every month or couple of months the town is full of stir and life. The Boers trek in from neighbouring farms with their long span of oxen, as many as eighteen and twenty being yoked to a wagon. They buy and sell, and partake of the Nacht Maal, or sacrament, laagered around the Dopper Church; and with their dogs, Kaffirs, and oxen make of that square a most unsavoury spot.
January 24.—I have been several times to the prison, and have seen my husband. He looks thin, but his face is much rested. He was greatly distressed on my first visit at the change in my appearance, which I declared was most ungrateful, as I had put on my best clothes for the occasion. His mouth showed a tendency to grow square at the corners; I had seen his children's do the same a thousand times in our nursery, and I turned away to conceal my emotion.
The leaders are still kept apart from the other Reformers, a chalked line showing the margin of their liberty. They are fairly comfortable in the Jameson Cottage. It contains two tiny rooms; in one all four sleep, and the other is used for a sitting-room. These are kept very clean and bright. Mr. Farrar is housekeeper, and 'tidies up' with such vigour that his three comrades threaten to give up their lodgings and decamp.
'Hang it all,' says Mr. Phillips, 'we never sit down to a meal that George does not begin to sweep the floor'; 'And he takes our cups away and begins washing them before we've finished our coffee,' complains the Colonel. Mr. Farrar reproaches me for my husband's want of order. He says I have not trained him at all, which is quite the truth. Each man has his chief treasures on a little shelf above his bed. The three husbands have photographs of wife and children; Colonel Rhodes, the bachelor, a sponge-bag and pin-cushion. Every day I find a short list of things which they want got for them. It is many a long year since they had such simple desires: bed-sheets and pillow-cases, a shade for their window, Dutch dictionary, and lead pencils.
January 25.—The Reformers, with the exceptions of Messrs. Lionel Phillips, George Farrar, Colonel Rhodes, John Hays Hammond, and Percy Fitzpatrick, are released to-day on bail of ten thousand dollars each. They are not permitted to leave Pretoria however.
January 27.—Dr. Jameson has sailed on the 'Victoria' for England. The Governor of Natal was hooted at Volksrust for congratulating President Kruger on his defeat of Jameson.
We are again in Pretoria. I have asked for an interview with the President.
My First Prison Pass
Bewijs Van Toegang
Aan den Cipier van de Gevangenis te
Verlof wordt verliend aan Mrs. Hammond
en Miss Hammond en Lady de Wet
Om den gevangene genaamd Hammond,
Phillips, Rhodes en Farrar te bezoeken in
Sir James Sivewright said, as I left my rooms for the President's house, 'I am glad that you are going. You will find a man with a rough appearance but a kind heart.' Mr. Sammy Marx accompanied me.
The home of the President of the South African Republic is an unpretentious dwelling, built of wood and on one floor. There is a little piazza running across the front, upon which he is frequently seen sitting, smoking his pipe of strong Boer tobacco, with a couple of his trusted burghers beside him. Two armed sentinels stood at the latch gate. I hurried through the entrance. A negro nurse was scurrying across the hall with a plump baby in her arms. A young man with a pleasant face met me at the sitting-room door and invited me to enter. It was an old-fashioned parlour, furnished with black horse-hair, glass globes, and artificial flowers. A marble-topped centre table supported bulky volumes bound in pressed leather with large gilt titles. There were several men already in the room, Boers. Those nearest the door I saw regard me with a scowl. I was a woman from the enemy's camp. At the further end of the long room sat a large sallow-skinned man with long grizzled hair swept abruptly up from his forehead. His eyes, which were keen, were partly obscured by heavy swollen lids. The nose was massive, but not handsome. The thin-lipped mouth was large and flexible, and showed both sweetness and firmness. A fine mouth! He wore a beard. It was President Kruger. He was filling his pipe from a moleskin pouch, and I noticed that his broad stooping shoulders ended in arms abnormally long. We shook hands, and he continued to fill and light his pipe. Mr. Grobler, the pleasant-faced young man, grandson and Secretary to the President, observing that I was trembling with fatigue and suppressed excitement, offered me a chair. We sat opposite each other, the President in the middle. I spoke slowly, Mr. Grobler interpreting. This was hardly necessary, President Kruger answering much that I said before it was interpreted. I could understand him perfectly from my familiarity with German and especially Platt-Deutsch.
I explained that I had not come to talk politics. 'No, no politics,' interrupted the President in a thick loud voice. Nor had I come to ask favour for my husband, as I felt assured that the honesty of his motives would speak for themselves at the day of his trial; but I had come as a woman and daughter of a Republic to ask him to continue the clemency which he had thus far shown, and to thank Mrs. Kruger for the tears which she had shed when Johannesburg was in peril.
President Kruger relaxed a little. 'That is true, she did weep.' He fixed me with his shrewd glance. 'Where were you?' he asked abruptly.
'I was in Johannesburg with my husband.'
'Were you not afraid?'
'Yes, those days have robbed me of my youth.'
'What did you think I was going to do?'
'I hoped that you would come to an understanding with the Reformers.'
His face darkened.
'I was disappointed that the Americans went against me,' he said.
Mr. Sammy Marx rose and left the room. I was seized with one of those sudden and unaccountable panics, and from sheer embarrassment—my mood was far too tragic to admit of flippancy—blurted out, 'You must come to America, Mr. President, as soon as all this trouble is settled, and see how we manage matters.'
Kruger's face lighted up with interest. 'I am too old to go so far.'
'No man is older than his brain, Mr. President'; and Kruger, who knew that in all the trouble he had shown the mental vigour of a man in his prime, accepted my praise with a hearty laugh. This was joined in by the Boers from the other end of the room.
Mrs. Kruger refused to see me, and I liked her none the less for her honest prejudice. I stood to go. President Kruger rose, removed the pipe from between his teeth, and, coughing violently, gave me his hand.
Mr. Grobler escorted me to the gate. 'Mrs. Hammond, I shall be glad to serve you in any way possible to me,' he said with courtesy.
'Then will you say to Mrs. Kruger that I am praying to the same God that peace may come?'
Monday, February 3.—The preliminary trial of the Reform Committee prisoners was called this morning. The hearing was in the second Raadzaal. Although the accommodation for the public was limited there was a large crowd of Johannesburgers present.
Shortly before ten o'clock an armed escort marched up to the jail for Messrs. Hammond, Phillips, Farrar, Fitz-Patrick, and Rhodes. The other Reformers stood in a bunch at the entrance of the hall. All the principal Government officials were present. Sir Jacobus de Wet appeared, accompanied by Mr. J. Rose Innes, Q.C., who had come from the Cape to watch the case on behalf of the Imperial Government.
Punctually at ten the State Attorney, Coster, took his seat, and, beginning with my husband's name, called the accused into Court.
The sixty-four prisoners were assigned to rows of cane-bottomed chairs in the north-west corner of the building. The proceedings were in Dutch, and continued throughout the day. With the exception of a few, none of the Reformers understood Dutch. The hall was without ventilation, and overcrowded, and sixty-four more bored and disconsolate-looking men, I believe, were never brought together. Some of them fanned vigorously with their hats, others gave themselves up to circumstance and sank into apathy. On the second day, profiting by experience, fans and paper-backed novels were brought into the Court room by the arraigned.
When the Reformers filed in I noticed my husband was not amongst them. Captain Mein caught my eye and beckoned me to come down from the ladies' gallery. I hurried to him in some alarm. He told me that my husband was not well, and handed me a permit which Advocate Sauer had procured for me. I went at once to the prison, and found my husband with acute symptoms of dysentery, a feeble pulse, and a heart which murmured when it beat.
'Jack,' I said, 'I am going to dig you out of this jail!'
He looked incredulous, and said despondently, 'I'd rather stay here than go to the prison hospital.'
'I'm not thinking of the prison hospital,' simply to reassure him, and with absolutely no plan of procedure in mind I smiled wisely.
On my way back to the hotel I was perplexed and uncertain which end to try first—the American Government or the Government of the Transvaal. I decided upon the latter, and, assisted by Advocate Scholtz, set to work with such good effect that by the end of the day I had received permission to remove my invalid into a private house and personally attend him. Captain Mein cabled to Mr. David Benjamin, who was in England, for the use of his cottage. An answer returned within a few hours, granting us cordial possession.
I was told that we should be kept under strict guard and that an officer would be lodged in the house with us. Colonel Bettington advised me to ask the Government that this officer might be Lieutenant de Korte, who was a gentleman, and a man of kindly instincts. This I did, and again my wishes were generously considered. My first act in the cottage home was to cable the United States Secretary of State of my privilege; Betty and my faithful housemaid, Parker, were allowed to be with us.
Thirteen men were stationed on guard around the tiny flower-covered cottage. No letters or telegrams were allowed to be sent or received without first being read by Lieutenant de Korte; visitors were obliged to obtain permits to see us, and many were the times I saw my best friends hang disconsolate faces over the garden gate, because the prescribed number of passes had already been distributed.
The ladies of the house were allowed to go out twice in the week. I never accepted this freedom. Betty did once, and returning after hours was refused entrance by the sentinel. Fortunately Mr. de Korte came to the rescue. Another time, in consequence of a change of guard, he himself was obliged to show his papers before being allowed to leave the premises. Lieutenant de Korte was excessively strict, as was his duty to the Government, but throughout the two weeks we were under his care he proved himself entirely worthy of Colonel Bettington's praise, 'A gentleman and a man of kindly instincts!' One piece of kindness I particularly appreciated. He never wore his uniform in the house. When he sat down to table it was in the usual evening dress of a man of the world, and our conversation was always on pleasant subjects. We never forgot, however, that we were prisoners. My husband and I slept like Royalty in the throne-room, with all the Court assembled. One guard sat at our bedroom door, gun in hand, and two others on the verandah just outside the low window. I could hear their breathing throughout the night. My husband and I could never exchange a private word; sometimes I would write a message which was hurriedly burnt in the bedroom candle. The day we moved into the cottage I saw a rose in the garden which I thought would please and refresh my patient. I stepped over the threshold to find my nose in conjunction with the highly-polished barrel of an unfriendly rifle. There was no necessity for me to understand the guttural speech of the guard, to appreciate that he desired me to return into the house at once. I did so. Efforts to induce Mr. Hammond to take a little exercise in the garden I soon gave over. After a few steps (a guard only two feet behind him) he would be utterly exhausted, and would almost faint away on reaching his chair again. Under these petty irritations my husband showed an angelic patience and fortitude that alarmed me. It was so unlike his normal self. I longed to hear him cuss a cosy swear; it would have braced us both. But he was gentle, and appreciative of little kindnesses; so, to keep from weakening tears, I took to swearing myself.
Pretoria was like a steam bath. Frequent thunderstorms were followed by a blazing sun. Vegetation grew inches in a day, and emitted a rank smell. People were sallow and languid, and went about with yellow-white lips. My husband was losing strength perceptibly.
I called upon Dr. Messum, and begged that he would summon Dr. Murray, our family physician, from Johannesburg, in consultation. He preferred a Hollander. I would have none of them! We haggled, and he gave in. Dr. Murray came to Pretoria. He was very grave when he came out of my husband's sick room. His report to the Government gained the allowance of a daily drive, but even for this slight exertion the sick man was soon too feeble. I wanted to take him to the bracing heights of Johannesburg, but lawyers and physicians advised me not to make this request. Johannesburg was still a red rag to the Government, and I would be sure to meet with a rebuff. Notwithstanding, I went one night at eleven o'clock, escorted by Lieutenant de Korte, carrying a glimmering lantern, to interview Dr. Schaagen van Leuwen, and laid the case before him.
My husband would surely die if kept in Pretoria; the Government physician who had been attending him could attest the truth of my statement. I begged to be allowed to take him to his home in Johannesburg, under whatever restrictions or guard the Government might choose to impose. Johannesburg was my desire, and I positively refused to accept any alternative. Dr. Schaagen van Leuwen was very kind, and promised to do all he could to help me, and he gave me good reason to hope that my request would be considered.
In the morning I went again to visit Dr. Messum, this time with Mr. Percy Farrar. I urged him to send in his report of my husband's case at once, as he seemed inclined to let the matter drift. Mr. Farrar and I also drew his attention to the condition of the Jameson Cottage. The walls were covered with mildew from the recent rains and the floor damp with seepage water. Mr. Phillips was suffering from lumbago, and Mr. Fitzpatrick with acute neuralgia.
Next day we were pleasantly surprised by a call at the cottage from Messrs. Phillips, Farrar, and Colonel Rhodes, liberated under the same conditions as was my husband—a bail of 50,000 dollars and a heavy guard. They were then on their way to a cottage at Sunnyside. Mrs. Farrar and I hugged each other with joy, and were quite ready to do the same to the lawyers who had been so successful in attaining this end. When I learned a little later that consent had been given for Mr. Hammond to be taken to Johannesburg my measure of happiness seemed indeed complete.
With all speed Parker and I tied up our belongings. Lieutenant de Korte, with nine guards, was to attend us as far as Johannesburg. A bed was made for the sick man on one of the seats, and frequent stimulants helped him bear the journey. The thought of going home did as much as the cordials to stay his strength, I shall always believe. A number of gentlemen of my husband's staff were at the station to meet us. Mr. Catlin's kind face I could see above all the others, and dear Pope Yeatman's. Before we could exchange greetings we were whisked off into our carriage by the officer whose duty it was to take us in charge. A soldier hopped up on the box, and another planted himself on the seat opposite to us—to my inconvenience, and Parker's intense indignation. Our home was alight. There was a good dinner on the table, and my husband, with his natural hospitality, invited the officer to share it with us. I think I should have shot him if he had accepted—but he did not accept.
There had been a fearful dynamite explosion at Fordsburg, a suburb of Johannesburg, late in the afternoon, and he was busied with bringing in the wounded. Very politely he asked me to take him through the house. This I did, grimly remarking, as I pointed to the window in my dressing-room, 'That is the one he will escape by when we have made up our minds to run.' This cheap wit cost me weeks of inconvenience, for the literal Hollander took me at my word, and posted a guard directly opposite this window. Being a Vrywilliger  and a gentleman, this poor man suffered as sharply from his position as did I. That night two armed men stood at our chamber door. One was stationed at each of our bedroom windows. Another guarded the house entrance, and the remainder of the guard were dispersed around the yard. Their guns were loaded, and a bandolier of cartridges crossed their breasts. All this to restrain a poor, broken man, who could not walk a dozen yards!
 A volunteer.
Ash Wednesday, February 19.—The dynamite explosion was something terrific. Fifty-five tons exploded at one time, wounding 700 people, killing 80, and leaving 1,500 homeless. It ripped a chasm in the earth deep enough to hold an Atlantic steamer with all her rigging. The Kaffirs thought the sun had burst. Betty says the noise of the report was something awful. Little Jacky was digging in the garden at the time. He returned to the house at once with a very troubled face. The coachman coming from town an hour later told of the dreadful catastrophe. Jacky took his aunt aside: 'Aunt Bet, I heard that great big noise when I was diggin' and I thought I had dug up hell.'
The explosion was the result of neglect. For four days fifty-five and a half tons of dynamite lay under a hot sun at the Netherlands Railroad junction, left in charge of an inexperienced youth of twenty who had 'forgotten to remove it' as was ordered the day before the explosion occurred.
Fordsburg is populated by poor Dutch and Boers. With generous disregard of recent conflicts, the Uitlanders at once gave help and sympathy to the afflicted. Seven of the members on the Relief Committee were Reformers; and Reformers' wives were among the first to nurse the wounded. President Kruger came over to Johannesburg to visit the scene of the accident. He visited the wounded at the Wanderers' and hospital, and seemed greatly affected. He made a speech in which he begged the sufferers to turn their eyes to the Great Healer, who alone could comfort. He also said that he was gratified to hear that the subscriptions in aid of the distressed had reached so high a figure; 'Johannesburg had come nobly to the rescue, and he was glad to know it.' He quoted the words of the Saviour, 'Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.' In benefiting others he declared they would benefit themselves.
February 23.—I am housed with my ill husband. Betty comes in and goes out in constant service to the sufferers from the dynamite explosion. We can think of nothing else. All the tragic stories we hear from friends and read in the papers fill our days with sadness.
A friend of my cook's was visiting a neighbour at Fordsburg. She stood on the threshold, an infant in her arms, and a three-year-old boy at her side. The explosion came. Her baby was killed outright, and the child clinging to her skirts dropped with one leg ripped entirely from the socket. The mother was not even scratched. Another woman was sewing on a sewing machine. After recovering from the shock, she found herself unhurt, her house collapsed, and the sewing machine entirely disappeared. Most of the houses fell outward and not inward, and those persons near the explosion describe their experience of the shock as falling asleep or going off in a trance.
The society women of Johannesburg are doing noble work. Dr. Murray says it is astonishing how intelligently alert and self-sacrificing they are proving themselves to be. A story has been told me of a Boer woman who was fearfully mangled; she bore the necessary surgical operation with fortitude, but wept copiously when a green baize petticoat, which she had recently made out of a tablecloth, was taken off. Only a solemn promise from Mrs. Joel, her lady nurse, to keep the garment safe until her recovery, appeased her outcries.
I asked the officer in charge yesterday if I might see some of my friends who called, the sentinels having thus far denied them entrance. 'Yes, but there are some women in the place whom I do not care to have come here.' 'And who might they be?' I asked. 'The wives of the Reformers,' he answered. 'Then,' I flashed out, 'I do not care to accept any favours at your hands; those women are my personal friends, and the only persons under existing circumstances whom I wish to see.'
(We were under this gentleman's surveillance for some time, and he afterwards proved very friendly, so my husband says, but I never spoke to him again. I did not like him. His voice was unpleasant and he had a high, hard nose, and I do not fancy people with hard, high noses.)
A poor little two-year-old baby was found wandering among the ruins at Fordsburg, with only a slight scratch on her wrist. It is supposed that she has been lying unconscious under the débris.
A Malay woman was discovered cowering over the ruins of what was once her home, crooning to a dead child at her breast.
The Netherlands Railroad Company, under whose auspices the accident took place, have donated 50,000 dollars to the Relief Fund; and the Transvaal Government has set aside 125,000 dollars for the same purpose; the Uitlanders, 325,000 dollars, which was collected within a few hours after the explosion.
February 25.—Business continues stagnant.
A deputation of mining men go to Pretoria in regard to the depression in the mining industry resulting from the imprisonment of the leaders. I hear many of the mines will have to shut down.
England's Queen and President Kruger have exchanged messages over the explosion.
A Kaffir has been found in the wrecked station at Fordsburg; although he had been imprisoned five days in the débris, he was still alive, and revived promptly after being given food. (He succumbed however, some days later to pneumonia brought on by the exposure).
1,500 of the survivors from the dynamite disaster are now encamped at the Agricultural Show Yard. The Relief Committee are doing all possible to assuage their sufferings. Poor people! many of them are utterly crushed, and sit about dazed and listless; while the little children, unconscious of the despair surrounding them, frolic about with the chickens, and make mud-pies as if nothing had happened. But for the thoughtless elasticity of childhood, how few of us could live to grow up!
The preliminary trial dragged its undignified course through the Courts with a fortnight's interruption, because a youth named Shumacher refused to give his opinions on a certain subject to the Attorney-General, and was committed to prison for contempt.
The High Commissioner was going through genuflexions before the Boer President. Peace, peace, at any price! at the cost of broken promises, humiliating compromises, and the lives of sixty-four Reformers, if need be.
Mr. Chamberlain had caught the infection, and was salaaming across the world to Mr. Kruger, like a marionette out of a box. Thoughtful people began to wonder if he were swung by a heavy weight, which was unknown to us. Sir William Harcourt was giving the House of Commons, in England, ill-founded and flippant assurances that 'the Uitlanders desired no interference from the outside, whether British or other, but preferred rather to work out their own salvation.' He added many unpleasant remarks about the Reformers. I said to one of his countrymen, 'Why does he, in his safety, flourish about, pinning us deeper down in the wreckage?'
'Don't let that distress you. Everybody understands that he belongs to the other party. If he were of the party in power he would be howling for the Reformers. Remember, Mrs. Hammond, that our system of party politics seems to call for such attitudes of injustice.' I didn't quite understand the argument, but the gentleman spoke with conviction, and I was willing to accept his proffered comfort.
In our quiet home at Park Town we had settled down to domestic routine. The guard had gone to housekeeping in a tent under the dining-room window. They had made friends with Totsey, and then with Totsey's master, little Jack. Although I never recognised them beyond a formal bow, in answer to their salute as we drove in and out of the grounds, I realised that they were kind-hearted men. They were Burghers belonging to the Volunteer Corps, and were quite a different grade altogether from the men who composed our guard at Pretoria. At first we had thirteen, then the number was diminished to nine. Each man was paid $5.00 a day out of my good man's pocket, fed, and cab fare provided (to fetch and carry the relief squad from and to the town).
It was very like boiling a kid in its mother's milk, but I had the gratification of remarking once or twice with casual superiority during conjugal conversation, that revolutions were expensive things, and that was some comfort.
My invalid's health, which at first showed a decided change for the better, began to wane again. Massage was tried, and tonics were freely administered. Dr. Murray and I thought of Cape Town and the sea; but I must own up, it was the officer in charge who was most influential in obtaining a permit for my husband to leave the Transvaal. The bail bond was increased to a hundred thousand dollars. Fearing somebody might change his mind, I insisted on Dr. Murray's starting at once with my husband for the Cape. Jacky was thrown in as a bonus. Parker and I were to follow on the mail train two days later.
The guard, who were by this time genuinely attached to their charge, begged him to be photographed in a group with themselves. To their great pride this was done. I missed my husband just before his departure, and Jacky, joining in my search from room to room, gave the information, 'Papa is playing with his guard outside.' Weak though he was, he had crawled out to the tent, with a big bottle of champagne, and when I stepped to the study window I saw, in the pale twilight, Mr. Hammond standing with the men about him. They lifted their glasses to him, and their hearty cheers shook me through.
The travellers were despatched, and, according to our plan, I followed with the maid. My dear husband was well enough to meet us in Cape Town at the depot, and Jacky was in high feather—he had a tin steamboat; he was inclined to swagger; and showed a personal complacency not warranted by his appearance, for some of his clothes were put on with great care, hind-part before.
We found lodgment at Muizenburg, near Cape Town—sun, wind, and primitive discomfort, this last mitigated by the never-failing kindness of the proprietor. His little children fell over one another in eager service to my invalid; they were always sure of appreciative recognition from him, and every child is sensitive to kindness.
Mr. Joseph Story Curtis, the Reformer, joined us, brought down from the Rand by his physician and sick nurse; he was suffering from partial paralysis, induced by the excitement of the revolution and preliminary trial.
Young Shumacher had come to the coast for building up, also Mr. Van Goenert, who had carried a gun on duty when Johannesburg was under arms. We were a saddened little circle at Muizenburg, and we used to watch the great ships sail out for 'home' with a lump in our throats.
The strong salt breeze buoyed us up to fresh hope. A new friend came to me: a woman with all a woman's tenderness, and the simple necessities of life had a fresh meaning when supplied by you, dear Jessie Rose Innes!
Dr. Murray was obliged to leave us.
An untimely sea-bath brought back most serious symptoms to my patient, and I was the prey every afternoon to a low fever which sapped my strength. Although at first this fever bore a horrible menace, it proved a disguised blessing. For two or three hours each day I was absolutely free of care, and would lie with quick pulse and mildly intoxicated brain dreaming I was with my elder boy on the border of England. I saw him in his little Eton jacket and broad turned-down collar, his sweet young face fresh as the morning. Or I would dream of the pretty home under the hill, in far-off California. The fragrance of thick beds of violets would seem to float to me over the long waste of sea, and I could see the tall roses nodding in the white summer fog. My temples beat like the winter rain on the roof, and the light before my eyes was the library fire, picking out, in its old familiar way, the gilt lettering on the books ranged about. It was sweet to go back to all this, even down the scorching path of fever.
Our stay at Cape Town was coming to its close.
The first trial was called for April 24, and my husband insisted upon going back to meet his sentence. Drs. Thomas and Scholtz declared this most unadvisable. His heart was in such condition, any shock might prove fatal. Their reports were forwarded to the Transvaal Government, and I begged for a few days' reprieve, cabling my urgent request to Mr. Olney in Washington, Dr. Coster at Pretoria, and our faithful friend, Mr. Robert Chapin, United States Consul at Johannesburg. Mr. Olney at once petitioned the Boer Government in our behalf. Dr. Coster answered curtly by wiring Mr. Chapin that John Hays Hammond was summoned to appear before the High Court of the Transvaal on the morning of April 24, at 10 o'clock. To me he vouchsafed no word.
Letters came from friends in Johannesburg begging my husband not to return, and cables from the United States to the same effect. The sentence was sure to be a death sentence or a term of long imprisonment.
From important sources, which for obvious reasons I cannot quote, I received private messages and letters informing of a plan on foot to lynch the leaders. The beam from which four Boers had been hung years before at Schlaagter's Nek (Oh! that poisonous suggestion in the 'Volksstem') had already been brought from the Colony for this special purpose. Mr. Manion, the Consular Agent, and Mr. K.B. Brown, an American just arrived in Cape Town from the Rand, took me aside and laid the case in all its bare brutality before me. To allow my husband to return to Pretoria was for him to meet certain death. If he were not lynched by the excited Boers, he was sure to get a death sentence. Mr. Brown showed feeling as he plead with me to use a wife's influence to save her husband's life. My head was swimming. I could only repeat in a dull, dogged way: 'He says his honour takes him back. He is the father of my sons, and I'd rather see him dead than dishonoured.'
Somehow I got to my room, and the page-boy stumbled over me at the door some time afterward, and ran for Mrs. Cavanagh. When I felt a little recovered, I put on my hat, and, not waiting for my husband's return from an appointment with Dr. Thomas, I drove to the office of Mr. Rose Innes. He was not in, and his clerk declared he did not know when he would be in. 'Very well, then; I'll wait until he does come in.'
I was given a comfortable chair, and a dictionary was dusted and placed under my feet. Mr. Rose Innes at length appeared. He was greatly astonished to find me waiting for him. I began abruptly: 'Dear Mr. Innes, I am in need of a friend; my distress is so great that I can no longer distinguish right from wrong.' I told him everything; showed him the letters which I had received, and, facing him, asked, 'What is my duty? I can appeal to my husband—for my sake, to save the life of our child—and perhaps dissuade him! My God, it is a temptation!'
Mr. Rose Innes sat deep in thought.
'If you think his going back is a needless throwing away of a valuable life,' I began, with a timid hope beginning to grow in my heart—'I will chloroform him and have him taken to sea!'
Mr. Rose Innes leaned forward, and took my hand gently between his own: 'Mrs. Hammond, your husband is doing the right thing in going back; don't try to dissuade him. If he were my own brother I would say the same'—and I accepted his decision.
For a further strong but ineffectual effort to gain a few days' longer leave of absence for Mr. Hammond, I am indebted to this good friend. Also for many personal kindnesses which I can never forget. Miss Louisa Rhodes was a most helpful friend as well; the anxiety in common brought us very close together. She was a veritable fairy-godmother, bringing us wines and dainty food from Groote Schuur's well-stocked larder to tempt us to eat.
 Cablegram of the High Commissioner to Mr. Chamberlain, January 8, 1896:—
'I intend, if I find that the Johannesburg people have substantially complied with the Ultimatum, to insist on the fulfilment of promises as regards prisoners and consideration of grievances, and will not allow, at this stage, the introduction of any fresh conditions as regards the London Convention of 1884. Do you approve?'
At Cape Town I saw the High Commissioner—a gentle old man with delicate hands. He had lived two-thirds of his life, and passed the virile period.
The responsibility of taking my husband to Pretoria was more than I could assume alone; my strength was nearly spent. Doctors Thomas and Scholtz assisted me in every way. Although called separately, and not in consultation, these two gentlemen were far too broad-minded and generously interested in our welfare to stand upon professional etiquette. Dr. Scholtz accepted the post of medical attendant on the journey up-country, and one of the last faces which I saw at Cape Town as our train drew out was that of Dr. Thomas, who had left a critical case to hurry down in order to wish us God-speed.
Jessie Rose Innes had come too, wild night though it was. Under her tweed cape she had brought from her home at Rondebosch a basket filled with food—fresh butter, chicken jelly, extract of coffee, and a home-made cake for 'Jacky boy.' Dear heart of gold! there was no need of words between us that sorrowful night.
Trotting along beside the slowly-moving train, Sir James Sivewright held my hands thrust through the open window.
'When the worst comes, you'll do all you can to help us, Sir James?' I asked.
'Indeed I will,' was the hearty response.
The trip was a wearisome one. The weather was hot, and there was much dust. Little Jack was the leaven of our heavy days, and a sweet letter, tucked away in a safe place, from the boy in England, wrung and cheered my aching heart. It bade us to 'brace up.' He had heard all about the troubles, and was glad his father was not idle when men were needed. His house had won the football match. There were only a few more weeks to wait, and we would all be together again! Fate carried a smile in her pocket for me so long as that boy kept well!
At night we reached Vereenigen, on the border of the Transvaal. We were delayed there two hours (120 minutes, 7,200 seconds) while the Custom House officials examined the luggage. Faint and exhausted, my husband lay on the seat before me. I sat at the open window waiting—waiting with every nerve strained and a fearful rushing sound in my ears, for the possible attack of excited Boers or a stray shot from some fanatic's rifle. Jacky, trying to clamber over my lap, would whimper under the fierce clutch of my fingers as I dragged him down from the window.
As is usual, the passengers' names had been telegraphed ahead, and a crowd of Boers had gathered at the station to see the man who had come back to get his sentence. They were a wild, uncouth-looking crowd from the adjacent farms. I could hear them ask, 'Where is he?' 'In there,' another would answer, pointing with his thumb over his shoulder to our compartment. In threes and fours they would shuffle into our car and gaze with dull, stupid curiosity upon the prostrate man, as sheep gaze at a dead member of the flock. Dr. Scholtz, keen-eyed and watchful, stood on guard in the doorway. Platinum would have melted under the courteous warmth of his manner to the officials.
Our train at last under way, I found some one had thrust a bunch of fresh grapes into my little boy's hand.
Nearing Johannesburg Dr. Scholtz came to me: 'Your husband is exhausted. I think it best for him to pass the night at his home, going to Pretoria on the mid-day train to-morrow.'
It was well we did this, for between Johannesburg and Pretoria this train met with one of the collisions so frequent on the Netherlands Railway. Only the engineer and a brakeman were killed, but the shock would certainly have been most disastrous to us.
Sunday, Noon, April 26.—My husband with Dr. Scholtz started for Pretoria. I was unable to leave my bed, but it was agreed that Betty and I should follow on the early train of the morrow.
The Reform trial which was begun on Friday, April 24, was resumed on Monday.
Repeated wires from Mr. Hammond and Dr. Scholtz prevailed upon me to remain at my home to rest another day. 'It would probably be a long trial.'
My husband reached Pretoria Sunday evening, April 26. The information that we had received en route, regarding the pleas of guilty entered by the imprisoned Reformers, was confirmed by his associates: the other three leaders, Messrs. Rhodes, Farrar, and Phillips, had entered a plea of guilty under count one of the indictment for high treason, the fifty-nine Reformers entering a like plea of guilty under the count of lese-majesté. As conjectured by us when we heard of this action of the Reformers, the prisoners had received certain assurances before making such pleas:
First.—That they should not be tried under the comparatively obsolete Roman Dutch Law, which punished the crime of treason with death; but they would be tried and punished under, and in accordance with, the code laws of the Transvaal Republic, which imposed penalties of fine and imprisonment for the crime charged in the indictment.
Second.—The leaders were further assured that this action on their part would measurably mitigate the sentences of the other fifty-nine Reformers.
On Monday, the 27th, the Court reconvened in the market hall, the imported Judge Gregorowsky occupying the bench.
Mr. Hammond took his place with the three leaders, attended by his physician, Dr. Scholtz, who remained at his side during the entire trial.
After some preliminary matters were disposed of, Mr. Hammond, actuated by the same influences that were brought to bear on his associates, entered a plea of guilty to count one of the indictment, and placed his signature to the written statement which had been previously signed by Messrs. Rhodes, Phillips, and Farrar.
This written paper was in substance as follows:—
That for a number of years the Uitlanders had earnestly and peacefully sought relief for their grievances by the constitutional right of petition. That what they asked was only what was conceded to new-comers by every other South African Government.
That petition after petition was placed before the authorities—one bearing 40,000 signatures, asking alleviation of their burdens and wrongs; that they could never obtain a hearing, and that the provisions of law already deemed obnoxious and unfair were being made more stringent; and, realising that they would never be accorded the rights they were entitled to receive, it was determined to make a demonstration of force in support of their just demands.
The statement then recites the coming of Jameson against their express commands and understanding with him, and all the subsequent acts of the Transvaal Government, the High Commissioner, and De Wet, Her Majesty's Agent, which are now matters of history.
The paper concluded as follows:—
'We admit responsibility for the action taken by us. We practically avowed it at the time of the negotiations with the Government, when we were informed that the services of the High Commissioner had been accepted with a view to a peaceful settlement.
'We submit that we kept faith in every detail of the arrangement. We did all that was humanly possible to protect both the State and Dr. Jameson from the consequences of his action; that we have committed no breach of the law which was not known to the Government at the time; and that the earnest consideration of our grievances was promised.
'We can now only put the bare facts before the Court, and submit to the judgment that may be passed upon us.'
After the examination of several witnesses and the introduction of the celebrated cipher telegrams, the Court was adjourned for the day.
Tuesday, The 28th.—There was a vast concourse gathered at the Market Hall on this day of the trial. The chamber was crowded to its utmost limit by anxious and interested listeners. Many ladies were present.
His Lordship (the imported Judge) was late in ascending the bench, unnecessarily prolonging the suspense of the waiting crowd.
The proceedings were commenced with every formality that could render them impressive. A large number of armed men were stationed at the entrance and about the Court-room. A prominent object in the Court-room, one which immediately struck the eye of those entering, as this was its first appearance during the trial, was a plain wooden dock, low in front, high at the back, and large enough to hold four men.
As in the preliminary examination, the Court proceedings were conducted in the Dutch language, an unfamiliar tongue to a majority of the accused.
After the despatch of some minor matters, Mr. Wessels, counsel for the defence, made his address to the Court, closing by reading the written statement of the four leaders, and asking the clemency of the Court.
He made no reference or protest to the tribunal as constituted—a Court presided over by a Judge not a citizen of the country whose sovereignty had been offended by the treasonable acts charged.
Mr. Wessels was followed by the State Attorney, Dr. Coster, in a bitter and vindictive speech.
He demanded that the prisoners at the bar should be punished under the Roman Dutch Law, and that the four leaders should receive the death penalty.
This demand of the State Attorney was apparently a surprise to Mr. Wessels, for he sprung to his feet in an excited manner and protested most vigorously against the demand of Dr. Coster; his language and manner were such as to impress many present that it was provoked by a breach of good faith.
At the conclusion of the speech of the State Attorney, Gregorowsky (the imported Judge) summed up the case at length, and held that the prisoners were guilty of high treason as charged in the indictment, and that the Roman Dutch Law governed in such cases; and that the sentences imposed would be in accordance therewith.
The Sheriff then with a loud voice commanded silence whilst the sentence of death was pronounced.
A deep hush fell upon the Court-room—a profound, breathless silence that became oppressive before the next official utterances disturbed it.
'Lionel Phillips, George Farrar, Francis Rhodes, John Hays Hammond!' called the Registrar.
In response these four were singled out from the rest of the prisoners and conducted to the new dock.
It was the Registrar who again spoke.
'Lionel Phillips, have you any legal reasons to urge why sentence of death should not be passed upon you, according to law?'
'No,' was the response.
This was followed by the sentence.
In like manner, Farrar and Rhodes were interrogated and sentenced.
Mr. Hammond was then called to his feet and the same formal question asked.
Although pale and weak from protracted illness, Mr. Hammond responded in a firm voice to the Registrar's question.
The Judge, then addressing the prisoner, said: 'John Hays Hammond, it is my painful duty to pass sentence of death upon you.
'I am only applying the punishment which is meted out and laid down according to law, leaving it to his Honour the State President, and the Executive Council, to show you any mercy which may lie in their power.
'May the magnanimity shown by his Honour the State President, and this Government, to the whole world, during the recent painful events be also shown to you.
'I have nothing to do with that, however.
'I can only say, that in any other country you would not have a claim on their mercy. The sentence of the Court is, that you be taken from this place where you are now, and be conveyed to the jail at Pretoria, or any such other jail in this Republic as may be appointed by law, to be kept there till a time and place of execution shall be appointed by lawful authority, that you be taken to the place of execution to be there hanged by the neck till you are dead.
'May Almighty God have mercy on your soul!'
Whilst the sentences were being passed upon the four leaders the auditors were wrought up to the highest pitch; sobs were heard on every side, tears were on many cheeks, and even stolid old Boers were seen to weep. One man was carried from the room in a fit.
The four Reform leaders, who had borne themselves during this trying time in a brave and fearless manner, then stepped out of the dock firmly and unhesitatingly, and were taken to the Pretoria jail.
The other fifty-nine prisoners were then called to the bar and sentenced each to pay a fine of ten thousand dollars, and to suffer two years' imprisonment.
Thus ended this remarkable trial, a judicial trial unprecedented in the annals of jurisprudence.
A mockery of justice and a travesty upon civilisation.
 The foregoing regarding the trial and sentence of the Reformers is from information derived from eye-witnesses and the local Press.
By a strange providence Betty and I missed the early train. I had not reckoned on the delay in dressing which sorrow and fatigue could occasion.
The paper had announced that the sentence was to be given at noon. Though I had no intention of being present in the Court-room, I wished to be within reach of my husband in case he should need me. We took the local train which left Johannesburg at 10.30.
Our journey came to an end. I saw Mr. Rose Innes and Dr. Scholtz on the platform.
'Is it the death sentence?'
Mr. Rose Innes, with both hands on my shoulders to keep me from falling, said 'Yes.'
There were many other friends, I have since learned, who were there to receive me. I have a hazy recollection of Mr. Barnato, good kind-hearted 'Barney,' begging me 'not to fret'; that he had brought my husband to Africa and he meant to stand by him till he got out of Africa. Mrs. Clement and Betty remained beside me. The day was without hours to me, a dry aching stretch of time; I had no tears to shed!
At some time in the afternoon Mrs. Joel brought me a flower and a note from my husband, beseeching me to keep up a brave heart, and assuring me that he was all right and as comfortable as was possible under the circumstances.
After the death sentence had been pronounced and the Court dismissed, Mrs. Joel, with woman's thoughtfulness, put a flask of brandy in her pocket and started for the prison. In the confusion of receiving the prisoners she managed to slip in and went at once to the condemned cell. Her visit was a God-send to the four unhappy men, who were much worn by months of anxiety, ill-health, and this final strain of the death sentence. They were bearing up wonderfully well, she said.
One of the lawyers came and sat at the end of my sofa. He burst into tears. 'We've been played! we've been played!' he exclaimed, with vehemence. Remembering how the lawyers for the Reformers had muddled everything from the beginning of the trial, how they had conscientiously and persistently walked into every trap laid for them, I sat upright to look squarely into his face. 'My God! when haven't you been played?'
The effect of the death sentence on Johannesburg was extreme: all shops and the Stock Exchange were closed, and the flags of the town were placed at half mast.
This, from the 'Standard and Diggers' News'—a tribute from the enemy's paper—goes to my heart:—
'One respects the probity of the man who, dangerously ill and totally unfit for the hardship of a prison, preferred to take his stand in the dock, rather than sacrifice his self-respect by flight from Cape Town; Mr. Hammond has worthily upheld the reputation of a nation which claims its sons as men who "never run away."'
It was decided by the Executive this same night to commute the death sentence, but this was not communicated to the condemned men until the following morning. The night of suspense passed under the eye of the death watch with a dim light burning was a needless cruelty; it made the President's subsequent magnanimity more dramatic, but with that I naturally felt no sympathy.
I have often been asked since if I did not realise that the Boers would never have dared execute my husband? And many dear friends who were thousands of miles away assure me now that they never had a moment's real apprehension for his safety. We however, who were in Pretoria, at the time, a helpless handful in the power of a primitive population of narrow experience, a people inflamed by long years of racial feud and recent victory, were by no means so sure that all would end well. Two prominent men, standing high in authority, confessed to me later that they were most anxious and fearful of results, although at the time their sustaining support helped to keep my body and soul together. The gallows was prepared, and the order was to hang the four victims simultaneously.
The night following the sentence, Mr. Chapin, the U.S. Consul, and his wife came to me. They were then and for months afterwards as tender and faithful as people of my own kindred. Mr. Chapin was tireless in his efforts in behalf of the Americans in trouble, and the high personal regard in which he was held by the Boer, as well as Uitlander, did much subsequently to ameliorate their circumstances. Mr. Chapin at once interviewed Mr. Wessels, chief advocate for the Reformers—and he told me immediately after the interview the result of their meeting. Mr. Wessels distinctly said that, although it was not put in writing, it was understood between the State Attorney and himself 'as between man and man' that if the prisoners pleaded guilty he would not press for severe punishment. (Mr. Wessels has since, for reasons only known to himself, denied this both privately and publicly.)
April 29.—The commutation was published. Mrs. George Farrar had come from Johannesburg, and together we went to see our husbands. Our visit was limited to five minutes. We found the four men haggard, but apparently cheerful. The condemned cell had an earthen floor. It had been newly whitewashed and reeked of antiseptics. Four canvas stretchers, a tin pail filled with water, and a dipper, furnished it. A negro murderer had been its last occupant. I sat on one of the canvas cots with an arm around my husband and holding Colonel Rhodes' hand. Mrs. Farrar was sitting on the opposite cot, locked in her husband's embrace. The guard came to order us out. Poor Mrs. Farrar looked so frail and white, I put my arm about her to give her support. In the courtyard we stopped to speak to one of the Reformers. The guard became furious, and, swinging his arms in a threatening manner, rushed at us with curses. We were driven violently out of the yard like depredating dogs. Surely the sun never looked upon two women in sadder case. She was just up from her confinement, and I was far advanced in pregnancy.
No cable of political purport could be sent from Pretoria safe from mutilation. I therefore despatched Mr. Hammond's secretary to Cape Town with a message to the American press, reporting Mr. Wessels' plea for the Reformers, the statement of the four leaders, and the sentence. I did this, believing that, if the American public fully understood the circumstances of the case, popular sympathy would allow no stone to remain unturned to protect their unfortunate countryman from so violent and unjust a sentence.
Pretoria seethed with overwrought wives. In the prison the men were suffering real hardship. The sanitary arrangements were shocking. Twenty-two Reformers were crowded into a room thirty feet by ten. This room had been hastily built of corrugated iron, and leaked at every seam. Draughts were strong enough to blow the hair about their temples; the men slept on straw mattresses laid on the floor, and there was scarcely room enough for a man to get out of bed without stepping on his neighbour. Rations of mealie pap—a coarse, insipid porridge—with a hunk of hard, dark-coloured bread were given to each prisoner in tin pannikins—not particularly clean. At mid-day a little greasy soup and soup meat were added. This unsavoury fare caused many of the Reformers to go hungry rather than eat it. Others ate it, but their stomach afterwards rejected it. They were locked in the cells at 5 o'clock and without lights. Prison regulations were most strict at this period.
Mr. S., one of the Reformers, had the misfortune to have his teeth drawn a short while before the trial. A new set was completed the day after his incarceration, and although his friends used every effort to convince the jailers of the perfect harmlessness of these false teeth, and explained Mr. S.'s painful predicament in being without them when he had nothing but hard food to chew, they insisted upon considering them contraband, and would not allow them to pass. Poor Mr. S. lived for three days on a half-tin of condensed milk, smuggled in by the wife of a fellow-prisoner. The world has never seen such wholesale smuggling as was practised by these devoted women. Mrs. Solly Joel as she passed daily through the prison gate was a complete buttery. The crown of her hat was filled with cigars; suspended from her waist, under her dainty summer silk skirt, hung a bottle of cream. Tied to her back by way of a bustle was a brace of duck, or a roasted fowl wrapped neatly in linen. She said this gave her a slightly out-of-date appearance, but she did not mind that. Under her cape Mrs. Clement wore a good-sized Bologna sausage around her waist as a belt; this was in time adroitly removed by Mr. Clement. Another lady supplied the prisoners with tins of sardines and beef essence, which she carried concealed in her stockings. Occasional vagaries on the part of these affectionate wives were subsequently explained to the complete satisfaction of their captive lords. Mrs. Butters' coyness and refusal to be embraced because of the flask of coffee in her bosom is an instance of this. All this sounds very funny now, but it was desperately earnest work then. In time the stringent rules relaxed. The prisoners were allowed to buy their own food, and Mr. Advocate Sauer made the same arrangement with the Pretoria Club to supply food for the Reformers as had been done during their former imprisonment. Those were boom times for little Pretoria. Hotel-keepers and tradesmen coined money, and the cab-drivers were able to open an account with the bank.
Mrs. Lionel Phillips closed up her beautiful home in Johannesburg, sent her babies to her people at the Cape, and took permanent lodgings in Pretoria. She was most faithful in her visits to the prison, and was kind to the three room-mates of her husband in many ways.
My diary continues through May:
First Week.—Petitions in favour of the Reformers are being signed all over the country. All feeling against the Reform Committee has veered round, and the strongest sympathy is now felt for them. Only the extreme of the Boer and Hollander factions chant the old story of their trying to subvert the Government—conniving with Jameson, and then deserting him, &c., &c.
Landdrost Schutte and Captain Shields quarrel over who shall have charge of the jail. Apparently it is an appointment of honour, or large emolument.
Gregorowski is publicly hooted on his return to Bloemfontein. I hear that as soon as Gregorowski had pronounced the death sentence, Judge Morice dashed from the Court-room and ran hatless through the streets of Pretoria to withdraw Gregorowski's name, which had been put up at the Club, at his request. This is a sample of the feeling among honourable men. Judge Morice is a Burgher and a prominent Judge of the Transvaal Court. The Jury of Burghers called for the final trial, which was never empanelled, were greatly surprised and affected by the fearful sentence—some of them wept like children. And they were the first to draw up a petition for commutation.
Prisoners are still wearing their own clothes, although it is said that enough jumpers of prison sacking are waiting to breech the lot. They suffer severely from cold and dampness, the prison accommodations offering little or no protection from the weather. Many of them are ill. There is talk of separating the Reformers and sending them to jail in various districts—Barberton, Rustenburg, and Lydenburg. This threat causes much apprehension, for their one solace is being together.
Rumour of English troops gathering on the Border.
President Kruger and the High Commissioner exchanging opinion over the uneasiness. Kruger calls out, 'I see Bugaboos in your front yard,' and Sir Hercules responds, 'Oh no; that's our tame cat.'
Petitions come in from the country districts of the Transvaal. From Durban and Pietermaritzburg, with over a thousand signatures, from Lorenço Marques, a second from Durban, and one from the Orange Free State, expressing sympathy and the hopes of President Steyn.
Natal sends a petition signed by 4,000 Burghers.
The sentences are commuted, but nobody knows to what.
General Joubert is sent off with a ten days' leave of absence to take his annual bath.
Messrs. Rose Lines and Solomon visit the jail daily.
Second Week.—In spite of hardships my dear husband's health improves. He vows the death sentence has cured him. From day to day we are promised a final decision from the Executive, but matters are still drifting. Nothing will probably be done in this direction until General Joubert returns to Pretoria, as he is one of the members of the Executive Council. It is suggested to me by one of the Government circle that a visit from me to Mr. Kruger would be timely. All which I wished to say I would not be allowed to say, and just to pay an aimless visit seemed a foolish thing to do, and, being outspoken, I said so. A friend in whom I had implicit confidence advised me to go by all means. I was possibly being used as a political pivot. After some delay I did go, splattering through the mud in a wheezy old cab behind a splayfooted white horse driven by a hunchbacked negro boy. The interview lasted five minutes, and was perfectly meaningless. I suppose it was meant to be that. Ten fathoms down under many other things I could see that Kruger had strong heart qualities. Educated and morally matured, he would be one of those grand characters who make epochs in the world's history. We shook hands at parting and went out of each other's lives for ever.
Mr. G. told me, as he helped me into the cab at the door, that Mr. Kruger had received a cable from America in my husband's behalf, signed by the Vice-President and a large number of the Senate and House of Representatives. This information opened my eyes. I now saw why a visit from me would be 'timely.'
Within an hour news was cabled by some one to all parts of the civilised world that the wife of the American prisoner, John Hays Hammond, had received audience of the President of the Transvaal. 'The interview was of long duration. What transpired was of a private character, but it is believed to be very hopeful and satisfactory.'
Third Week.—Delays, shiftings, postponements, delays with excuses, and delays without excuses. Each day strong petitions sent in to the Executive. A continual stream of disheartened wives and friends on their way to the Presidency, many going in the early dawn, as the President—an early riser and of simple habit—was known then to be easy of access. A pitiful picture lingers in my mind of a dozen Reformers' wives in the deep golden yellow of an African sunrise sitting on the edge of the broad side-walk with their feet in the dust waiting for the President to return from burying a Landdrost's wife. I cannot remember that Mr. Kruger made any specific promises. 'All shall come right,' he said frequently. 'Wait; don't hurry me. I must go slow, or my Burghers will get out of hand.' We waited, and the men inside of the prison walls one after another sickened and lost heart.
On May 12, Dr. Messum sent the following report in to the Landdrost:—
Dear Sir,—I have, on the 29th and 30th April, written to the Inspector of Jails about the state of the jail. I do not know if I am to report to you or to the Inspector of Jails; in any case, I have the honour again to report that as yet no alteration has been made in the sheds in which the political prisoners are kept. I must repeat again that they are too small and unhealthy for the number of prisoners placed in them. I find now, on account of their immediate vicinity to the native section, that vermin is beginning to trouble the political prisoners. There are amongst the political prisoners very old and sickly men, whose lives, on account of the insufficient accommodation, are placed in danger. There is not yet any proper hospital room for the sick, who are thus obliged to remain amongst the others. I find that the accommodation is very insanitary and unhealthy.
About the prisoner F. Gray I wish to make special mention, because he is showing signs of developing melancholia (lunacy), caused by the uncertainty of the future and what he has gone through during the last few months.I have the honour to be, etc.,
Unfortunately this report was not considered, and on the 16th day of May poor Gray, distraught by his sufferings, cut his throat.
Mr. Fred Gray was a man of high business standing. He was married, and the father of six children. His tragic death was a shock to every one. Johannesburg turned out in a body ten thousand strong to carry his remains to the burial-place. Inside the jail, his fellow prisoners had formed in procession and with uncovered heads followed the body as far as the prison gates, the limit of their freedom, not a man with dry eyes.
The first prisoner was liberated.
Fourth Week.—The decision still withheld. President Kruger excuses this by saying it is due to the fact that only half the captive Randites have signed the petition for commuting the banishment and imprisonment clauses to fines.
The suspense is heartbreaking, and night brings no forgetfulness. Those long voiceless nights of South Africa! Not a bird's call, nor a chirp from the tiny creatures which hide in the grass. A white moon, a wide heaven filled with strange stars, and the tall moon-flowers at the gate lifting up their mute white trumpets to the night wind.
The little boy beside me rouses from his sleep to ask:—'Mother dear, why do you laugh and shake the bed so?'
Fearing an illness, I yearned for a last interview with my husband. It was a Saturday that I went to Pretoria, and although the prison was supposed to be closed on that day to visitors, I had several times gained admittance through the kindness of those in authority. I went to the Landdrost who had the dispensing of permits.
'Will you please make an exception in my favour and allow me to see my husband? I am ill, and must return to my home in Johannesburg at once.'
'What does she say?' roared the Landdrost, who for some reason was in a furious temper. He turned to a Boer in the room. 'Tell her she may whine as much as she pleases, she can't see her husband on Saturday. Nobody can go in the prison on Saturday. If she wants to see her husband she must wait until next Monday!' The man turned fiercely towards me, but seeing my patient face, or perhaps for the sake of some Boer woman on a distant farm, his voice broke, and became quite gentle as he delivered the message.
With one exception this was the only time I ever received harsh treatment from a Boer official. Of course I sometimes met with a strictness of manner which was to be expected, and which I was quite prepared to submit to. Brutal unkindness I never experienced but twice.
Reaching the jail, whither I had directed the cabman to drive me, I found Advocate Sauer and Mr. Du Plessis standing at the gate. They almost dropped at sight of my face. Dignity had deserted me. I was actually howling in my distress,
'Please, please let me in to my husband!'
Du Plessis, rough and violent as he was to most people, was always kind to me. He opened the wicket and pushed me gently through. That was his answer. My sudden entrance, a ball of a woman with the tears dripping down on to her breast, surprised the warders. They regarded me with stricken faces. One at last rallied. With his eyes still fastened upon me, he called,
'Mister H-a-m-mond, Mister H-a-m-mond, your missis is here!' and my husband came rapidly across the yard.
I went home to my bed. Dr. Murray came in charge.
'Poor little woman! There is nothing to prescribe but oblivion in a case like this.' He ordered narcotics. Two weeks later I was told that I had been dangerously ill. In that darkened room I had suspected my jeopardy. Surely there is a special place in heaven for mothers who die unwillingly.
From distant parts of the world kind letters came to me—and from Johannesburg messages, sweet, with full-hearted sympathy—many of these from people whom I had never seen, nor ever shall in this life. I found friends in the days of my trouble, as precious as rare jewels, whom I shall wear on my heart until it stops its beating.
The Government most generously allowed my husband to come to my bedside. He was accompanied by the chief jailer, Du Plessis. He wore some violets in his buttonhole, I remember, which the jailer's child had given him. Mr. Du Plessis asked to see me. He had news to tell me which would cheer me up, he said. Brought to my bedside, all he could say, and he said it over and over again in his embarrassment, was:
'Don't be unhappy; your husband won't be many years in prison.'
This did not bring the cheer intended. Playing the part of guest was irksome to Du Plessis. He went home to Pretoria the second day—leaving Mr. Hammond, who was not on parole, or even under bail, entirely free. No point in my husband's career has ever given me so entire a sense of gratification as the confidence in his honour thus manifested by the Boer Government. In my convalescence he returned to Pretoria and gave himself up at the prison.
'You might have waited another day,' said the warder in charge; 'we don't need you yet.'
One day the 'Star' (in a third edition) announced the great decision was at last concluded. The sixty-three Reformers were to be divided into four groups and sentenced in lots. Ten were to be liberated because of ill-health. Some were to be imprisoned twelve months, others five, and still others three months. The four leaders were sentenced to fifteen years' imprisonment, which, if carried out, was equivalent to death. However, this sentence was provisional, and it was understood petitions would be entertained.
This news was first taken into the jail by two wives who had outrun the messenger. My husband says that when he saw Mrs. X. throw herself weeping and speechless into her husband's arms, he thought 'it was all up with him.'
X. wasn't half the offender he was, and the sentence was evidently something too dreadful to tell. Mr. X. was one of the three months' men, I believe.
These sentences, although unpopular, relieved to a certain extent the awful strain. But what was Johannesburg's wrath to hear two days later that the sentences were not for the periods mentioned, but that at the expiration of these periods the prisoners could make fresh applications to be again considered! This was juggling with human souls! Everybody believed it to be the work of Dr. Leyds. A man more execrated than Dr. Leyds, I believe, does not live!
Three more weeks of cruel suspense followed.
Mr. Chamberlain continued to tumble down the Boer back stairs head over heels, yelling out excuses as he descended. He publicly denied on the 29th that Great Britain had promised to protect the Reformers, and added that they were not being unfairly treated. I will never make statesmen of my sons. I'd rather set them to ploughing.
Mark Twain came to the Rand. He visited the men at Pretoria. My husband did the honours of the prison, and introduced him to the Reformers. He talked a long while to them, sitting on a dry goods box. Expressed his satisfaction at finding only one journalist in the crowd, and no surprise that the lawyers were largely represented. He assured them that they were to be congratulated and envied, although they did not know it. There was no place one was so safe from interruption as in a jail. He recalled to their minds Cervantes and Columbus—it was an honour to share captivity with such men as these.
They have sent another member of the Executive away to the baths, and later his absence will be given as an excuse for delay.
May 30.—All the Reformers with the exception of Davies and Sampson, and the four leaders, are released after paying ten thousand dollars each, and giving their oath to abstain in future from discussing or participating in Transvaal politics.
June.—Meetings are called by the labourers on the Rand. They send a monster petition to Pretoria. The miners and mechanics also send a petition. The famous Innes petition is being circulated all over South Africa, and the mayors of all the large towns are preparing to go in a body to Pretoria to present their petitions for the release of the leaders. The President promises and postpones from day to day. The retention of the leaders is acknowledged to be only a question of the amount of fine.
An influential deputation from the Cape Town branch of the Africander Bond wait upon President Kruger, and a petition signed by sixty members of the Cape Parliament is read to him. Another deputation comes from the Chamber of Commerce. The Mayor of Durban forwards through the Colonial Secretary a petition bearing 1,250 names, and the Kimberley branch of the Bond send a petition. Nothing comes of it all. The President appoints the 7th to be a day of humiliation and prayer, and Dr. Leyds doubles his bodyguard.
June 10.—The whole of South Africa is appealing to President Kruger to let the leaders free. The entire white population—two millions of people—give voice to this desire and hope of United South Africa. One hundred and fifty mayors, representing 200 towns and many of the rural districts, are in Pretoria waiting for audience with the Executive Council.
This evening, Thursday, June 11, the leaders were given their liberty after paying each a fine of 125,000 dollars, and taking an oath to abstain from taking part in the politics of the Transvaal. Colonel Rhodes refused, being an English officer, to take the oath, and was banished, not to appear again in the Transvaal, under pain of death.
The Executive then politely announced its decision to receive the Mayoral delegates on Saturday morning next. Perhaps the Mayors were not mad! Some of these men had trekked for days in ox-wagons before reaching the railroad to take train for Pretoria. A large banquet was given in their honour. They insisted upon the liberated leaders being invited as guests—but those criminals, leaders, and instigators did not attend, deeming it injudicious under the circumstances.
My husband flew to me, who am still kept indoors. He came with a light in his face I had not seen for months. 'We are free!'
June 12.—This is a gala day in Johannesburg. Everybody is joyous—Kruger's name is cheered everywhere. Several thousand people were at the station to receive the leaders. Messrs. Phillips and Farrar were the only two left of the four to step off the train. They were caught up shoulder-high and carried by the crowd. Cheers rent the air. The horses were unyoked from their victoria, and willing hands grasped the shafts; and like returning conquerors, instead of criminals, these instigators were dragged triumphantly down the heart of the town followed by a vociferous multitude.
As the invited guests of Cape Colony we travelled on a special train to Cape Town—by 'we,' I mean a dozen or two Reformers with their families. The heartfelt ringing cheers as we pulled out of the station I can never forget. The cheers again at Bloemfontein and the strangers who came forward to shake hands and congratulate have enriched my life. One man at a way station in the Free State rode up shouting:
'Where is the American, John Hays Hammond?' My husband came forward. 'Mr. Hammond, I have come miles from an ostrich farm to shake hands with you. You are a white man, and Americans are proud of you!'
The Mayor of Cape Town received us, and dear friends were there to tell us with brimming eyes of their joy in our release.
Those good people who have followed me thus far will see that a woman's part in a revolution is a very poor part to play. There is little hazard and no glory in it.
The day we made Southampton, as we stood, a number of Reformers and Reformers' wives, on the 'Norham's' deck, one of the gentlemen who had come to welcome us asked:
'Mrs. Hammond, what did you do in the revolution?'
'She helped us bear our trouble,' said Lionel Phillips, and his words were sweet praise to my ears.
A few weeks later, in my lovely English home, a third son was born to us. There was something very appropriate in this child of war-times being first consigned to the professional arms of a Miss Gunn.
'He is perfect,' were his father's first words to me as he leaned over the new-born infant, and every mother will know all that meant to me.
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Works of Reference.
Longmans' Gazetteer Of The World. Edited by George G. Chisholm, M.A., B.Sc. Imp. 8vo., £2 2s. cloth, £2 2s. 6d. half-morocca.
Biographical Treasury. With Supplement brought down to 1889. By Rev. James Wood. Fcp. 8vo., 6s.
Treasury Of Natural History: or, Popular Dictionary of Zoology. With 900 Woodcuts. Fcp. 8vo., 6s.
Treasury Of Geography, Physical. Historical, Descriptive, and Political. With 7 Maps and 16 Plates. Fcp 8vo., 6s.
The Treasury Of Bible Knowledge. By the Rev. J. Ayre, M.A. With 5 Maps, 15 Plates, and 300 Woodcuts. Fcp. 8vo., 6s.
Treasury Of Knowledge And Library Of Reference. Fcp. 8vo., 6s.
Historical Treasury: Fcp. 8vo., 6s.
Scientific And Literary Treasury. Fcp. 8vo., 6s.
The Treasury Of Botany. Edited by J. Lindley, F.R.S., and T. Moore, F.L.S. With 274 Woodcuts and 20 Steel Plates. 2 vols. Fcp. 8vo., 12s.
Roget.—Thesaurus Of English Words And Phrases. Classified and Arranged so as to Facilitate the Expression of Ideas and assist in Literary Composition. By Peter Mark Roget, M.D., F.R.S. Recomposed throughout, enlarged and improved, partly from the Author's Notes and with a full Index, by the Author's Son, John Lewis Roget. Crown 8vo., 10s. 6d.
Willich.—Popular Tables for giving information for ascertaining the value of Lifehold, Leasehold, and Church Property, the Public Funds, &c. By Charles M. Willich. Edited by H. Bence Jones. Crown 8vo., 10s. 6d.
Crake (Rev. A.D.).
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The House Of Walderne. A. Tale of the Cloister and the Forest in the Days of the Barons' Wars. Crown 8vo., 2s. 6d.
Brian Fitz-count. A Story of Wallingford Castle and Dorchester Abbey. Crown 8vo., 2s. 6d.
Lang (Andrew)—Edited By.
The Blue Fairy Book. With 138 Illustrations. Crown 8vo., 6s.
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The Yellow Fairy Book. With 104 Illustrations. Crown 8vo., 6s.
The Blue Poetry Book. With 100 Illustrations. Crown 8vo., 6s.
The Blue Poetry Book. School Edition, without Illustrations. Fcp. 8vo., 2s. 6d.
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The Animal Story Book. With 67 Illustrations. Crown 8vo., 6s.
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Molesworth.—Silverthorns. By Mrs. Molesworth. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo., 5s.
Stevenson.—A Child's Garden Of Verses. By Robert Louis Stevenson. fcp. 8vo., 5s.
Upton (Florence K., and Bertha).
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Longmans' Series of Books for Girls.
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Atelier (The) Du Lys: or an Art Student in the Reign of Terror.
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Atherstone Priory. By L.N. Comyn.
The Story Of A Spring Morning, &c. By Mrs. Molesworth. Illustrated.
The Palace In The Garden. By Mrs. Molesworth. Illustrated.
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The Third Miss St. Quentin. By Mrs. Molesworth.
Very Young; and Quite Another Story. Two Stories. By Jean Ingelow.
Can This Be Love? By Louisa Parr.
Keith Deramore. By the Author of 'Miss Molly'.
Sidney. By Margaret Deland.
An Arranged Marriage. By Dorothea Gerard.
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The Silver Library.
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