Page 8 – ‘Notes of a trip’ by Robert Jameson

After an early morning plunge in the delightful sulphur bath, too great a luxury to be missed, we started afresh on our journey, passing along a charming valley, bounded on one side by a range of high hills, the sloping buttresses of which were thickly dotted over with stunted mimosa, while the kloofs and river courses were thickly clothed with green bush-a most welcome change after the monotony of the high lands. In one of these hills is an ancient tunnel, large enough to allow a wagon and oxen to enter, evidently an abandoned gold mine, as gold is still found in the neighbourhood. We reached the Komati river early in the day, and a very beautiful stream it is, watering a country, which, when clothed in summer verdure, must be lovely in the extreme. Here the wagonette waiting the convenience of Nimrod for a while-result seven brace of partridges, redwing the financial secretary pushed on ahead on foot for some miles and overtook a wagon.

                     The transport-rider gauging the pedestrian by the paucity of his garments, and his evident divorce from soap and razor, addressing him, said” Hullo, mate, you look awful hard up; where are you bound for?” Secretary (not quite flattered) Fields, mate. “T.-R.: Poor chap you do look bad, not even a swag or a billy; why, man, you’ll never get there.” S: ‘ Hard up.” T.-R.:” Well, if you’ll stand. a tot, mate, I’ll give you a lift in the wagon, save yer boots and yer poor old bones,” S: “Down on my luck, lad, not a bob in my pocket.” T.-H: “Well, you air a poor -; never mind, up ye get and I’ll give you a lift and a bit of grub too.” Note: lf the benevolent transport-rider will call in at West Street, Durban, he will hear of something to his advantage, for” the quality of mercy is not strained; it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed, it blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

                     Dunn’s was the next place: reached, a very tidy and comfortable house with a most obliging and civil host and hostess. From here the hills became more steep and difficult, trying even Nimrod’s brawny legs in the rocky short cuts we took to save the good horses. The formidable ranges of hills are called respectively the Witte Hooghte (White Heights) and Rooi Hooghte (Red Heights) from the colour of their soils. Travellers, who have ascended the latter, will take honours with acrobats in Fillis’ Circus. The country round here had at one time a very large population of natives, as evidenced by the innumerable circular walls of stone enclosing -in some cases large pieces of ground They were evidently not a warlike race, as these kraals were built in places commanded by adjacent hills, and it must have been many years since they were swept away by some wave of war, as in many of the kraals were trees of considerable girth. The question; occurs who were they, for inhabited kraals are few and far between now. The sun was about setting as we approached our next halting place, and as we had been ascending for some time we were on a high mountain ridge, from which we commanded a very wide view of the mountain tops around and beneath us. Anything more wondrously wild and beautiful it is impossible to conceive. The fantastic and rugged crests, were bathed in a glorious flood of gold and purple and thrown out in the boldest relief, while the valleys were enwrapped in soft, fleecy vapours, on which the departing’ tints of the setting sun still fondly lingered. The Capitalist, who had travelled over Italy and Switzerland, said he had not seen in the Alps anything more exquisite or enchanting. There is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous, for passing from this lovely scene a bend in the road brought us to our “hotel.” No kindly, genial, thoughtful” Jonsson came out to meet us; no snow-clad and turbaned Indians bustled around us, but Mike, the proprietor, in ancient trousers and shirt, pipe in mouth, lounged against the doorpost and