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The laird was near enough failing: we have noticed some of the circumstances to which he owed his escape; but perhaps the main secret, after all, was that, however reduced, he had still some considerable capital at his back. The cadets wanted this important ally, as well as bis habits of rural life and practical acquaintance with farming and grazing operations. Under such circumstances, one would naturally expect to find them placing themselves under the elder brother's experienced eye, and as near him as possible ; but though the whole book seems full of proofs of strong fraternal affection among the three Moodies, such was not the case. Even the soldier and sailor, though they pitched their tents together for a time, soon parted company also. The latter is now, it appears, settled in a respectable station in the civil service of the colonywe infer that, in some way or other, all his farming attempts had failed before he solicited such employment. As for our author, the gallant Fusileer, bis book contains a very full and particular account of all his ups and downs; but we must be contented with mentioning two of the leading occurrences.
First, then, the grant of land which he originally obtained, and on which he built his house and settled his establishment, had been marked out for him at the time when Sir Rufane Donkin filled the situation of acting-governor in the absence of Lord Charles Somerset; and when Lord Charles returned to the colony, he found that his deputy had made a serious blunder the said grant, and a great number of grants besides, being within a district which the English Government had, by treaty, recognised as neutralwhich, in short, had never been ceded. Lord Charles considered that faith had been broken, though of course undesignedly, and would not continue to protect these new settlers. He withdrew the troops which had been stationed for their defence against the forays of the indignant Caffres, and they were soon obliged to abandon their houses and farms entirely. We certainly think that, as the acting-governor could have been guilty of nothing worse than an oversight, he ought to have been reprimanded indeed, but the poor settlers, who had laid out time and money in reliance on bis geographical and official authority, should have been compensated in some way for the losses thus sustained. Lieutenant Moodie, however, says, that all their petitions to this effect were fruitless. Lord Charles thought they might have taken the trouble to examine the map before cutting out their farms and erecting their houses ; and they were left to select new settlements for themselves, at their own discretion, and on the usual terms. The lieutenant chose a very beautiful place, by a fine stream, and not far from the sea-coast, though on a remote part of the colony; and he hired some servants, and reared a cottage, and for a time his herds multiplied about him, and all seemed to go well. But But presently the distance and solitude of the location became distasteful to his servants, and one by one they all left him. For some weeks the poor gentleman remained actually alone in the midst of the woods and wilds, with five hundred head of cattle to take care of. Under such circumstances, the courage even of a Fusileer might pardonably give way; and though a lucky accident brought him help and company, and he once more resumed his efforts, yet he seems never to have quite recovered the shock of his Robinson Crusoe desertion, and to have, in short, contracted a fixed disgust for the very name of Southern Africa. The lieutenant sold his lot and stock-came over to England, and wrote his bookbut before it could be published he was already on his way to Upper Canada. We sincerely hope he may have better luck there than at the Cape, but there seems some reason to fear that he is of an unsettling disposition. We doubt if he will reclaim any considerable section of the Canadian forests; but he will, if his views are moderate, find his half pay a very comfortable income, and certainly he will be at no loss either for hearty cheer or jolly company, if he chooses to locate himself within dining distance of that epicurean of the woods, Dr. Dunlop.*
We must now give a specinien or two of Lieutenant Moodie's descriptions and anecdotes ; of his historical and philosophical disquisitions the less that is said the better : it is enough to mention, as to the former department, that he opens a paragraph with a statement that · Egypt was indebted for the first germs of her improvement to Judæa' (p. 301)—and as to the latter, any one may see that before he entered the Fusileers he must have been unfortunate enough to attend at Aberdeen or elsewhere some of those dreary drivellings which Sir James Mackintosh's friend Dunbar used to call lectures on ethics, so luxuriantly does he flourish about the hunter and shepherd state,' &c. &c. &c. His account of one of the great Dutch graziers of the interior, a neighbour of his brother the laird, seems to us the best thing that ever was published on the subject of these greasy barbarians.
• Among the neighbours whom we visited in the course of our rides in the vicinity of Groot Vaders Bosch was an old man of the name of Botha. His house stood in a plain, surrounded on all sides by high hills; and in front, towards the mountains, a scene met the eye which for wild and savage magnificence could hardly be exceeded in nature.
* We allude to the author of Notes by a Backwoodsman, published two or three years ago—in which he gives some specimens of a coukery book that might have found favour with Polyphemus, and records sundry post-prandial exercitations on a corresponding scale. We are far, however, from wishing to speak lightly of the work as a whole. On the contrary, the doctor's ludicrous anecdotes, and the broad humour of his own style throughout, only set off to more advantage the sterling sense and shrewdness of his advice to emigrants on the most interesting subjects.”
A river pent up among the mountains had in the lapse of ages worn a perpendicular chasm through the centre of a naked precipice several hundred feet in height. The stream, being obstructed in its course by a ledge of rocks at the mouth of this superb portal, formed a pool, which extended some hundred yards between the perpendicular sides of the chasm, overhung by trees and shrubs which had taken root in the crevices of the rocks ; but, by climbing along the projecting shelves, access could with difficulty be gained to the source of the river, in a deep and woody amphitheatre among the mountains. The sides of this valley are so high and steep, that the only way the valuable timber it contains can be got out is, by rolling the logs into the bed of the stream, where they remain until they are floated out when the river is swelled into a torrent after heavy rains.
Never was a man less alive to the enjoyment of such scenery than Martinus Botha; nor could he conceive what pleasure we experienced in its contemplation. All that he knew or cared for was, that he had a constant run of water for his mill; but whether it came from a romantic chasm, or from a muddy lake, was to him a matter of the greatest indifference. I am rather inclined to think that he had a secret suspicion that he himself was the object of my frequent visits to his abode. He was one of those monsters of obesity who are so often to be seen in this colony, and of whose appearance we can form but a faint conception from any common instance of the kind in England. He was literally a martyr to corpulence, his prodigious powers of digestion having nearly destroyed the exercise of his mental faculties.
• For several vears Martinus Botha had not been able to lie down in his bed for fear of suffocation, and the only way he could get any sleep was by leaning his head on the table before him: in this manner he could procure a little rest, which was only for a few minutes at a time. It is difficult to describe his person, for shape he had hardly any. A huge bag of fat hung below his chin, and the flesh of his ankles hung down till it touched his shoes. Notwithstanding his enormous size, he was a great gourmand, and thought little of devouring several pounds of mutton at a meal, after which he could sometimes drink a bottle of brandy without being affected by it. He was at this period beginning to feel some alarm at his increasing dimensions, and took from time to time a journey in his waggon to Swellendam to consult the medical practitioner on his case. On these occasions, he would call on his way at Groot Vaders Bosch ; but the doctor, who had killed many men without intending it, could not succeed by any means in checking the growth of his unwieldy patient, who began to fancy that he was afflicted with dropsy; and he was confirmed in the idea by the opinions of his family and neighbours.
In a country where it is found most convenient to bury the dead as speedily as possible, it is common for elderly people to keep a coffin in their houses ready for their own use, or to lend to any of their neighbours who may chance to die before them. In travelling through
this part of the colony, if you cast your eyes upwards in a “ boer's"? house, this rather melancholy object may be often seen lying across the beains; and so far from exciting any unpleasant feelings, it has often been pointed out to me by the old farmers with great self-complacency, as a proof of their good management in being beforehand with time.
Our bulky friend arrived one day at Groot Vaders Bosch in his waggon, accompanied by two of his sons. After sitting for some time and drinking a glass of brandy, he informed us that he had come to get a coffin made for his own use, as he had the "water," and did not expect to live long, and had moreover grown to such a size that none of his neighbours had any large enough to hold him. “That's true, father, what you say,” replied one of the young men, without altering a muscle of his countenance.
"My brother had two carpenters in an adjoining outhouse employed in making up various articles of furniture for sale among the farmers; and to their workshop I accompanied our visiter. Jamie Learmouth, a little sly drunken body, was hard at work at his bench, and singing one of our favourite Scotch songs, in a manner that showed he was more occupied with the words and the recollections to which they gave rise than the modulation of his notes. He had just come to
“ We twa hae paidled in the burn," when we entered his shop. Observing the lusty customer who darkened his door, Jamie quitted his plane, and addressed him, with a sly twinkle, in a jargon in which Dutch and broad Scotch were curiously intermingled. “Goe'n dag, Mynheer Botha; hoo faar you the day?” -"I come," answered Botha in his own language, “ to have a coffin made.”_"I can shune do that for ye,” replied Jamie: “but is't for yoursel'?”-“ Yes, certainly.”—“Faith, ye'll need a gude big ane," said the carpenter; " but if ye 'll joost lay yersel' oot on the bed there, I'll shune tak yer measure.”
* Jamie cast a sly look at me as he made this proposal; for he knew it was easier said than done. However, with the assistance of his sons, the old farmer, who had seated himself on the side of the bed, was gradually lowered down on his back, to the great danger of the conscious bedstead, which uttered sundry discontented creaks at the unusual weight imposed on it, which seemed to excite Jamie's fears not a little for his hastily-constructed couch. Poor Botha's sufferings in this position were so great, that if the carpenter had not completed his measurements with expedition, he must infallibly have died of suffocation on the spot. His respiration ceased almost entirely as long as he lay in a horizontal position; and it was not until he was again raised up that the air pent up in his lungs found a passage, when it rushed out like the blowing of a porpoise when he comes to the surface of the water. When Martinus could collect his thoughts, he again addressed the workman. “ Hear, James, you must make my coffin roomy enough, for I'll swell up very much when I am dead." While he was retiring to his waggon, his son took Jamie by the árm, and begged him to make the coffin close in the joints ; “ for," he added, " father will perhaps run out after he is dead.” The perfect apathy and sang-froid with which these serious arrangements were made were highly characteristic of the people.'—vol. i. p. 152.
Mr. Moodie says elsewhere, and we can well believe every word of it,
Of all people I have ever seen, the Cape-Dutch are the coarsest and least polished in their manners. The conversation of both sexes is marked by an almost total absence of common decency: the most disgusting oaths are used on all occasions by the men; and the women do not even feel ashamed to talk on the most indelicate subjects, hardly condescending to use any circumlocution. In this respect, indeed, they are even less refined than the Hottentots.
The gallant Fusileer was, of course, an active partaker in the • Wild Sports of the South :' his descriptions of lion and elephant hunting are really quite admirable. One passage must suffice, and that we tried to curtail, but found it impossible to do so without diminishing the effect. It includes the account of one of the most remarkable escapes that ever mortal man owed, under Providence, to cool self-possession; and the whole story is told with a manly simplicity which commands implicit credence.
• The beautiful stream called by the Kaffres the Gualana, after leaving the village, 'took its course through an extensive wood or jungle, and again made its appearance in an open meadow, running close under the high hills on one side of the valley for several hundred yards, when it again entered a long strip of jungle. In consequence of losing my way in the jungle, I could not overtake the hunters until they had driven the elephants from their first station.
On getting out of the wood I was proceeding through the meadowy to a kloof, or ravine, where I heard the firing, when I was suddenly warned of approaching danger by loud cries of “ Pas op,” (look out,) coupled with my name in Dutch and English ; and, at the same moment, heard the cracking of broken branches, produced by the elephants bursting through the wood, and their angry screams resounding among the precipitous banks of the river.
• Immediately a large female, accompanied by three others of a smaller size, issued from the jungle which skirted the river margin. As they were not more than two hundred yards off, and were proceeding directly towards me, I had not much time to decide on my motions. Being alone, and in the middle of a little open plain, I saw that I must inevitably be caught should I fire in this position and my shot not take effect.
•I therefore retreated hastily out of their direct path, thinking they would not observe me, until I should find a better opportunity to attack them. But in this I was mistaken; for, on looking back, I perceived, to my dismay, that they had left their former course,