occasion and push on the railway at once, for if not, we may depend upon it that our rivals win step in and reap what we have sown.
With a railway to the borders of Natal, we could keep open communication with the fields all the year round, as far oxen would travel from our border, the intervening distance, all the winter through, on their own stored-up resources, supplemented by the herbage, scant though it be in the winter months.
The new passenger service just being initiated, will give us command of the passenger traffic as well, for passengers leaving Durban by rail to Ladvsmith on Monday morning, could be in Barberton by Thursday night, or Friday morning with comfort and at moderate cost, sleeping each night at places judiciously selected along the route for that purpose. The Delagoa Bay route is not only closed entirely during eight months of the year by its awful fever, but would then be avoided during the four winter months as well, the necessity for it being entirely obviated by the comfort safety, and convenience of the Natal route.
While we were at Barberton news came in from all sides of fresh and wonderfully rich reefs having been discovered nearer our own border, at Heidelberg or more correctly, between there and Pretoria, the road for which branches off just after the Natal border is crossed, and before reaching the Michaelson’s, referred to in a preceding page.
No rush was made from Barberton, as every one there seemed satisfied with his nearer prospects, but we learnt that persons were flocking in to the new diggings from all parts of the colony, the Transvaal, and Free State, and that some 2.000 people were already at work with excellent prospects.
The country there is flat and bare, entirely different to the De Kaap mountainous district., but is extremely salubrious, and being nearer to Natal, is more likely to attract a fresh population than Barberton, although in no way a rival, the riches of the latter being assured, and gold, unlike diamonds, being a marketable article in unlimited demand at a fixed price. The good news was confirmed everywhere as we travelled homewards; and it was a subject for regret that time would not permit us to turn off our road to see for ourselves, and bring some report of it back with us. As the press of the colony teems daily now with particulars of this new rush, our failure in this respect will be of little importance; and possibly it may be the writer’s privilege at a later date to give your readers a brief account of these new fields as seen through his spectacles.
Zululand, too, is now being prospected with most promising results, although this has long been expected; and any day may give us there new fields as rich as any in the Transvaal, so that Natal and the Transvaal bid fair within a very, short time to attract as much attention as did Australia in its early days of gold mining.
For the sake of these two magnificent countries only awaiting development and populating, this is a consummation in the interests of civilisation devoutly to be hoped for.
Having seen all we came to sec, we now bethought us of getting homeward; the trap was carefully overhauled horses shod, etc., etc., in preparation. It is