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against the robbers, denying, however, that they can be of his tribe, he does it as long as he can; but when things begin to wear a serious aspect, and retaliation is hinted at, he discovers them, affects to punish, and restores the cattle, taking great credit to himself for his prompt exertions.
To one accustomed to and weary of the hacknied sameness of civilized life, there is something exciting in the frequent applications of the settlers for parties of soldiery to trace and retake their stolen cattle and horses; and to one who owns neither farm nor stock, rather amusing. A few days since, mention was made in conversation of a gentleman, who holding a farm within four miles of the town, had lost cattle; and the speaker was expressing particular regret, as he had on former occasions suffered much; and finished by saying, that he hoped the depredations had been over, as the Kaffers had left him quiet for some weeks. I smiled, for it reminded me of the Borderer's
lament at the destruction attending on the inroad of the English troops, led by Howard, described in the Lay of the last Minstrel,
"They burnt my little tower and store,
It had not been burnt for six weeks or more."
Now, though all the subjects of interest I have been describing are rather of the savage order, you are by no means to infer that we are ' out of humanity's reach," or wholly deprived of communication with the polished world. No: we hear every nine days from Cape Town, the African seat of government, learning, and science, (laugh if you will,) and we receive the English newspapers, and read the advertisements of Warren's blacking, and Charles Wright's vinous verses, and the mysterious hints of changes in the ministry, and the announcement of a new premier, who is dead before his long sought for dignity is known in Africa. Then we have Walter Scott's last work, which has ceased to be his last before we get it; for where do they not reach? and sometimes the novel of a day comes, heaven
Think of reading
knows how, among us. Almack's in a place where, when a ball is given,—no common event, the silk-stockinged ankle is exhibited in its descent from an oxwaggon, and the beasts are turned out to graze around, until the dance is over!
Believe not, then, that I find this remote spot dull, though it is the fashion to pity those who are banished to it; for to me it unites varied sources of interest, all speaking of a new and unsettled state of society; an approximation of the artificial refinements of life, with the first, free, bold habits of the savage robber.
Description of natural Scenery.-Plants.-Flowers.-Halt on the Kap River.-Impressive Incident.-Revenge of the Kaffers.-Dutch Border Government.-The old Chiefs.-The Commando.—English military Policy.- More humane Regulations.—Character of the Kaffers.-Customs.-Adventures.-Anecdotes.-Reflections.
I KNOW not whether you share the powerful interest that I feel in every thing connected with savage life. We know to what refinement and skill have brought society, and there is pleasure in retracing the gradual progress of civilization, in examining the rude commencement of arts, in discovering what has been lost, as well as what has been gained, by the exchange.
The last week has to me been one of delightful excitement. I have rode over three hun
dred and fifty miles, have been amidst new
scenes, new trees, new flowers, new animals, and a new people. The country through which we passed (my companion, myself, and two Hottentot soldiers,) is totally different from that about the Cape, being covered with grass, which is, after rain, of the richest green; and large tracts frequently bear a striking resemblance to English park scenery; wanting, indeed, its forest-trees, for the timber in the open country does not rise to any size, but fully atoning for this want by the beauty and variety of its shrubs and flowers; the palm-like euphorbia, with its naked trunk; the mimosa, with its delicate green, rich yellow blossom, and large milk-white thorn; different jasmines, with white clustering flowers, relieved by their dark green foliage; the speck boom, food for the elephant, almost hid by the ivy geraniums rising to its top, and crowning it with purple blossoms; the various parasitical plants; the uncouth aloes, and all those strange, unnatural, snake-like plants that creep along the ground, and are known to your green-houses. These