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Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas - page 112 / 129





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Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas

The Boers had in the meantime sent home a messenger to Holland asking the Dutch King to come to their assistance, and they hoped that powerful reinforcements would be sent to them.

They did the same in the last war, but they did not realise two things. First, that although European Powers may often appear to be very friendly on paper, they won’t go out of their way to help any of the friends unless they know that they are going to get something out of it. Secondly, that if they want to send an expedition across the seas they have first got to reckon with the British fleet, and that is not an easy thing to do so long as it remains so strong.

So, although they pretended heaps of friendship, the Dutch in Holland sent no kind of help to the Boers in South Africa.

Then, too, a number of the more far-seeing Boers thought that as both white peoples had “come to stay” in South Africa it would be much. better if they made friends with each other. They had plenty of common enemies to deal with in the shape of Zulus and Kaffirs, difficult harvests, and cattle diseases, without fighting among themselves. The country was big, and there was plenty of room for both.

So in the end the Boers and British had friendly talks together and agreed that Natal should remain British while the Orange Free State and the Transvaal should be Boer country.

Consequently Natal soon became full of British settlers, and farms sprang up and became prosperous; trees, fields, and woods covered the veldt, villages and towns were built, roads and railways were made, so that now Natal is quite changed into a beautiful farming country and has won for itself the name of the “Garden Colony” of South Africa.

The Bathing at Durban

When I first came there some years ago, Durban was a small town with sandy streets through which the waggons were dragged by weary teams of oxen. Now it is a very different place, with its splendid town hall and public buildings, fine streets, electric trams, taxi-cabs, and all that goes to make up a fine, up-to-date, prosperous, and busy city.

The Back Beach, where we used to go and look at the surf, but where we did not dare to bathe because of the sharks, is now a delightful and popular watering place. Railings have been set up among the breakers which effectually keep the sharks and bathers apart (not that the bathers want to get at the sharks, the boot is on the other leg), and surf bathing is now both safe and enjoyable.

Boy Scouts of Natal

And of course the Boy Scouts are there in all their glory. When I went there on my tour they had a nice camp down among the bush and sand-hills overlooking the beach, and were having a glorious time of it bathing and playing Scout games.

They had a rally for my inspection, and showed how good they were at dealing with accidents, doing good turns, signalling, and pioneering. They built a bridge, too, but more silently than I had ever seen it done before. Each patrol had its own share of the work, knew exactly what it had to do, and did it without any help from the Scoutmaster and without any talking, shouting, or grousing. That’s what I like to see!

Bird’s-eye View of Natal

Not far from the Scouts’ camp was an aviator showing to thousands of astonished natives what he could do with his great, bird-like aeroplane. He flew round the racecourse low down, taking the different jumps as he came to them. Then two motor cyclists started to race round the track, and the aeroplane pursued and overtook them, swooping down close behind them and gracefully rising again exactly as a hark after a rabbit might do.

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