We shared the provisions as long as they lasted, but as I had only provided for myself, the supply gradually diminished until, stopping one day for a rest near a water-hole we had found in the bush, we found that we had not a scrap of food left.
Grant had thrown himself on the ground utterly exhausted, and I went off to the pool to have a bathe. Stepping into the water, I felt something slimy under my foot, and stooping down and groping beneath my foot, I found that it was a fish of the kind known in Africa as mudfish. They are good enough eating, and in our present famished condition promised a very appetising dish, and to my delight, on feeling round, I found that the pool was simply full of the fish, and we need have no further anxiety about food for the next few days.
I learned from the experience gained later during my journeyings through Africa that the smaller
rivers all dry up after the rainy season, leaving only a few pools, such as the one we had struck, and, of course, all the fish naturally
make for the deeper spots as soon as they find the water going down. This accounted for the large quantity of fish to be found in the pool, which I proceeded to catch and throw on to the bank to dry as fast as I could. Having done this, I went back to Grant to tell him of our good luck. By way of breaking the news gently, I asked him if he would like a feed of fish, to which he replied with some comical remark to the effect that he really had no appetite, thinking that I was only chaffing. However, when he found it was really true, and saw the fish I brought up to cook for our meal, he was in no way behind me in getting to work on the best meal we had had for some days.
Not wishing to
waste the fish, of which we could not manage to take much with us, we stayed there for a few days and were much better for the rest. We managed to dry a little of the fish, which we took with us when we moved on again.
This proved to be the turning-point of our luck, as a few days later we were overtaken by a Boer, going up to Bulawayo with a mule-wagon, and exchanged some of our dried fish with him for a little tea, flour, and a few other things, which we had now been without for several days. He seemed a good sort, so we begged him to give us a lift, which he did willingly enough, so our troubles were over for that journey.
I was so anxious to get into Bulawayo that I left the wagon when we were still some miles from the end of our journey, and made my way ahead on foot. This was a stupid thing to do, as we were well aware that the Matabele were already out in that district. We had found all the forts, as the police posts were called, under arms on the way up. These posts, which were placed at intervals along the road, were small positions protected by earthworks and barbed-wire entanglements, and occupied by thirty or forty men, with perhaps a Maxim gun. Many of them were the scenes of desperate fights during the rising, but their very names are unknown to people in England, who only regarded the Matabele rising as one of our many little wars, and as it did not affect their everyday life, took little or no interest in it.
I was lucky enough to get safely into Bulawayo without adventure, arriving about two o’clock in the afternoon, and was not surprised to find the town under martial law. Everybody was armed, and a big laager had been formed in the market-place, where the women and children gathered when an alarm was raised.
Being directed to the office of the Matabeleland Mounted Police, I lost no time in presenting myself before the officer in charge. I found that the conditions of service were good, the pay being at the rate of 10s. a day and all found, so I was duly enrolled.
After a good bath I discarded my old clothes and reappeared in full war-paint, feeling the self-respect which accompanies the wearing of a decent suit of clothes for the first time after some months in rags.
The police had no recognised uniform, but all wore a khaki suit, with a slouch hat, the different troops being known by the colour of the pugaree. A troop consisted of from thirty to fifty men.
Having been supplied with a Martini-Henry rifle and fifty rounds of ammunition, I was now fully equipped, and the next day I went out, in all the glory 杭州按摩秀色丝足会所 of my new uniform, to meet the mule-wagon. My improved appearance made such an impression on Grant that he lost no time in enlisting, and was enrolled the same day.
After three months in this troop of police, I joined the Africander Corps, which was a body of irregulars attached to them under Captain Van Niekerk. As they were composed of experienced men, well acquainted with the country and accustomed to savage warfare, I thought there would be a much better chance of seeing some of the fighting.
We were scouting in the outlying district, where the Matabele had been seen, but although we got into touch with them here and there, we had no serious engagement. Later on we were sent out on the Shangani Patrol, visiting the
district where Major Wilson and his party were cut up during the first Matabele War.
This patrol numbered 杭州龙凤论坛西湖阁 from two hundred to three hundred police, with the mounted infantry of the Yorks and Lancs Regiment, a detachment of the 7th Hussars, under Colonel Paget—with whom was Prince Alexander of Teck—and a battalion of infantry.
The natives were lodged in the hills, and from a position of comparative safety were able to pour in a galling fire on the troops, while we were unable to inflict any serious loss on them in return. However, we lost only a few men killed, but had several deaths from fever.
The man who gave us the greatest trouble was a chief named Umwini, who was the leader of the rebellion in that district. I was present on several occasions at indabas (indaba is the native word for a meeting to discuss any matter), when he would come out of his stronghold and stand on the rocks in full view of us; but when asked to surrender, 杭州洗浴那里好 he replied contemptuously that we were a lot of boys and that he would never be taken by us.
His kraal was high up amongst some almost inaccessible crags on the mountain side, and all efforts failed to dislodge him, until a few of the Dutch Corps, of whom I was one, managed to steal upon him unawares. We reached his cave in the early dawn, and saw him, through the
opening, sitting, with only a few of his followers, round some lighted candles which he had probably looted from one of the stores. One of our men, taking careful aim, shot him through the shoulder, and then, rushing the cave, we took him prisoner. He was tried by a court martial, and sentenced to be shot, and when the time came for the sentence to be carried out he showed himself a thoroughly brave man, refusing to be blindfolded or to stand with his back to 杭州桑拿按摩女图片 the firing party, saying that he wished to see death coming.
It was about this time that I first met B.-P.—now General Sir R. S. S. Baden-Powell, but then only Colonel—who had been sent up to take charge of the operations, and who confirmed the court martial’s sentence on Umwini. I was on water guard that day, to see that the natives did not poison the stream, when a man whom I took for a trooper came up and entered into conversation with me, asking about my past experiences, &c., and it was only when I got back to camp, after going off duty, that I found I had been talking to the officer in command of the expedition.
A general plan of attack was now organised, under the direction of Colonel Baden-Powell, and the natives were finally dislodged from the hills and the rebellion crushed.
On the successful termination of the patrol 杭州spa吧 a
fort was built at Umvunga Drift, where I remained for some time; but it was a most unhealthy place, nearly every man going down, sooner or later, with fever and dysentery. There was absolutely no medicine of any sort in the place, and we consequently lost several men. I myself had a bad attack of dysentery, but managed to cure it by making a very thin mixture with my ration of flour and some water, which I drank daily until the attack was cured.
In the centre of the fort stood a big tree, and after cutting away the branches at the top we erected a platform on the trunk, which, besides serving as a look-out, made a splendid platform for a Maxim gun which we mounted there, and were thus able to command the surrounding country within range.
During my stay here we had one or two brushes with the natives, but they gradually settled down; so, on a relief force being sent up, I returned to Bulawayo, where the corps was disbanded. I then got a post as one of the guard over a number of murderers lying in Bulawayo gaol awaiting sentence, all of whom were finally hanged.
In the course of the twelve months that I remained in Bulawayo I made the acquaintance of a man named Elstop, who is mentioned by Mr. F. C. Selous in one of his books. This man was one of the oldest hands in the country,