Durbanite, Mr. Greene, both looking stout and hearty. we were hospitably entertained, and after tiffin, under the guidance of our friends, went off on foot to inspect the better-known reefs.
Nil Desperandum Reef was close by, a wide and rugged band of quartz projecting above ground and following the steep hillside from top to bottom, where it became lost in the dense bush of a kloof. Tunnels were being driven in several places into the face of the hill, and a shaft had been sunk to trace and follow up the reef, all under the charge of an experienced miner and staff. A good deal of heavy work had been done, the reef laid bare in places, and first class quartz it yielded; gold distinctly visible to the naked eye in many specimens. Although I do not pretend to any mining or reefing knowledge, the veriest tyro in these arts could not help being struck with the massive reef thus exposed, and the economy it would thereby effect in mining operations, the cost of working having by kindly nature been reduced thus to a minimum. I was struck by the enthusiasm in his work and prospects evidenced by Mr. Hillary, the managing director, and one of the principal proprietors of the property. Well might he be enthusiastic, for a certain and ample fortune lies at his feet.
Reefs here by the way are spoken of in the feminine gender-why I can’t conceive, unless it be that their hearts readily yield to shafts when skilfully planted, and their finer qualities I come out best only under crushing difficulties. The miner said “she was a beauty,” and “she would yield ever so many ounces,” and “she was going to show something as ‘ud surprise you presently,” all of which I had no reason to doubt.”
Following this line of the reef down into the kloofs we came to a small stream between two steep hills covered at their feet with dense bush. This kloof widens as it descends, until it emerges on the banks of the Fig tree or Fever Creek; and it is where the kloof debouches that the battery is about being erected for the Nil Desperadum with which it will be connected by the Sheba train ways Company’s steam line now in preparation.
Going down this kloof on our left hand and high above the fringe of bush, are some of the most celebrated reefs, the Oriental, a huge cliff of auriferous quartz, Edwin Bray’s, a similar reef or cliff, wedged in between the Oriental and the Bray’s Quarry.
The last is, or at any rate the bared portion of it is, high upon the hill above the kloof; how far it descends into it I could not ascertain. These three properties are said to be exceedingly rich in metal. The quarry, of course, has proved this beyond doubt, eight ounces per ton having been extracted from it, with indifferent machinery, and with a probably heavy loss in the tailings. The tramway referred to is intended to serve all these properties, as all batteries will be erected near each other. At the end of the kloof, where is the only water supply, and in anticipation of the coming industry to be there focused, a township is already being pegged out, and lots bought up for business stands, and soon this lately romantic and lonely kloof will be scene of bustling and highly remunerative industry, yielding up its vast wealth to the courage and enterprise of the Anglo Saxon.
Scrambling up the hillside through the bush now fast giving way to the engineer in preparation for his work, we emerge at Bray’s Golden Quarry, of which we had heard so much. As its name denotes it is simply a quarry on the face of a steep hillside, differing in no outward respect from any other quarry that had seen. The gold was not visible to the naked eye in any pieces inspected, and