Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas
was a gallant man, full of keenness to do his duty quickly and well, without any thought of the difficulty or danger to himself.
He, like Sir Rufane, also had a wife to whom he was devoted; and the way in which he met and married her was like a romance. He was at the storming of Badajos in the war against the French in Spain; when the British attacked the place and succeeded in taking it after tremendous losses – over 3000 killed. He found a Spanish girl in the town in terrible distress, her parents killed and home in ruins.
Moved by her beauty and distress he took her under his protection and married her; and there never was a happier marriage. The town of Harrismith in the Orange Free State was called after him, and the next town in Natal was called Ladysmith after her.
A Thankless Job
So, Colonel Harry Smith with his accustomed activity carried out a very rapid campaign against the Kaffirs in their own country, coming upon them with unexpected speed, here one day, there the next, till he fairly broke up and subdued them.
His force marched 218 miles in seven days on one occasion. He gave the enemy no peace until he had finally dispersed them and had shot their chief Hintga, recovered 3000 of the stolen cattle, and had brought back a thousand fugitives. By his prompt work the country was quickly settled again.
But do you suppose the people at home were satisfied? Not a bit of it. Although he was beloved by the colonists and even by the natives, the Government in England thought he had been too hard upon the rebels, and so they ordered him to leave South Africa, where he had done so well, and to return home.
A Plot that Failed
This was not the last of all the Kaffir troubles. Another outbreak was attempted. The chief, finding he could not get his people willingly to face the white soldiers, got a witch to prophesy that if everybody killed their cattle, more cattle than ever would spring up in their place. So they all started killing every beast they had-the carcasses rotted on the plains, but no new animals appeared in their place; and the people got hungry and famine-stricken. Then came the opportunity, and they were urged to rush the white settlements again and to help themselves from the farmers’ herds. But one thing had not been foreseen; the hunger might make them eager to steal cattle, but at the same time it made them so weak that they had not the strength to fight or to make the expedition. So the rebellion collapsed almost before it had begun.
Then once more, in 1850, Sir (as he had now become) Harry Smith was at war with the Kaffirs, though this rime the rebellion lasted a good deal longer than previously before it was finally put down. Reinforcements had been sent out from England in the ship Birkenhead (1852) to join his force, when that ship went down and gave the splendid example of men doing their duty in the face of death which has been described in “Scouting for Boys.”
If you want to find a country where scouts have met with hairbreadth escapes and thrilling adventures, go to Natal.
Natal was first visited by that wonderful old Portuguese sea scout, Vasco da Gama, in 1497, and as he arrived in the landlocked bay, which is now Durban Harbour, on the Feast of the Nativity, or the Natal Day, he called the country Natal.
And it is to-day a rich and beautiful country, hot enough to grow sugar and tropical fruits, but not too hot for Europeans to live in and be healthy. But in the early days it was a pretty rough country to live in. For one thing, it was full of big game of every description, and also of that splendid