Rough Notes of A Trip
TRANSVAAL GOLD FIELDS
BY R. JAMESON, DURBAN
In order to account for the allusions in the following “Notes” of well-known local persons it is necessary to explain that they were originally intended (as reprints from the Natal Mercury for private circulation among the writer’s friends only; but the subject matter being considered of some interest for a wider circle of readers he has been urged to publish them for that purpose. With this explanation, and apologies for their many literary faults, he submits them to the indulgent reader; the time at his disposal not permitting him to re-cast them in a more popular form.
Durban, 23rd August, 1886
………………….Our trap and four good horses ahead as far as Ladysmith, under the care of “Christian”, an excellent specimen of the Cape “boy”, as these capital drivers are called, we joined it and him by rail, breaking our journey in this way by 189 miles. As winter in the high latitudes is a very substantial reality, we duly provided ourselves with garments, as unnecessary as they are unknown to coast residents; woollen under-clothing and socks, ulsters and mufflers and above all the kaross so indispensable to the African traveller and none too warm did we find any of them. A kettle, some groceries, and a few tinned provisions, guns and ammunition, competed our outfit; and all duly stowed away we made a start on Friday, the 16th ult., the capitalist (Mr. Greenacre), Nimrod……………………….
……………………..palates of town dwellers. The indispensable pipe followed while stretched at ease on the grass and we felt as only those accustomed to the endless round of worries of business life can feel when released from its cares and burdens, and out of reach alike of post office and telegraph. The pleasure of such al fresco meals was enhanced, if possible, by the charm of novelty, the exquisite climate of these upper districts, and the fun of being at once our own masters and servants. Imagine the portly merchant divested of most of the impedimenta of civilised life, gravely trotting off, kettle in hand, as if to be a water bheestie had been his life-long occupation. Fancy our Nimrod lying flat on the ground, an animated bellows, coaxing a flame out of such a commonplace material as cow-dung; and shades of West Street!