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Oom Paul's People by  Howard C. Hillegas

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CECIL JOHN RHODES

[159] SIXTEEN years ago Cecil J. Rhodes, then a man of small means and no political record, stood in a small Kimberley shop and looked for a long time at a map of Africa which hung on the wall. An acquaintance who had watched him for several minutes stepped up to Rhodes and asked whether he was attempting to find the location of Kimberley. Mr. Rhodes made no reply for several seconds, then placed his right hand over the map, and covered a large part of South and Central Africa from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. "All that British!" he said. "That is my dream."

"I will give you ten years to realize it," replied the friend.

"Give me ten more," said Rhodes, "and then we'll have a new map."

Three fourths of the required time has [160] elapsed, and the full realization of Rhodes's dream must take place within the next four years. There remain only two small spaces on that part of the map which was covered by Rhodes's hand that are not British, and those are the Orange Free State and the South African Republic. Mr. Rhodes's success will come hand-in-hand with the death of the two republics. The life of the republics hinges on his failure, and good fortune has rarely deserted him.


[Illustration]

THE RT. HON. CECIL J. RHODES ON THE PIAZZA OF HIS RESIDENCE, GROOTE SCHUUR, AT RONDEBOSCH, NEAR CAPE TOWN.

Twenty-seven years ago Cecil Rhodes, then a tall, thin college lad, was directed by his physician to go to South Africa if he wished to live more than three years. He and his brother Herbert, the sons of the poor rector of Bishop Stortford, sailed for Durban, Natal, and reached that port while the diamond fever was at its height at Kimberley. The two boys, each less than nineteen years old, joined a party of adventurers and prospectors, and, after many vicissitudes, reached the Kimberley fields safely, but with little or no money. The boys were energetic, and found opportunities for making money where others could see none.

[161] The camp was composed of the roughest characters in South Africa, all of whom had flocked thither when the discovery of diamonds was first announced. Illicit diamond buying was the easiest path to wealth, and was travelled by almost every millionaire whose name has been connected with recent South African affairs. Mr. Rhodes is one of the few exceptions, and even his enemies corroborate the statement.

"You don't steal diamonds," said Barney Barnato to Mr. Rhodes fifteen years ago, "but you must prove it when accused. I steal them, but my enemies must prove it. That's the difference between us."

The youthful Rhodes engaged in many legitimate schemes for making money, and saved almost all that he secured. For a short time he pumped water out of mines, using an abandoned engine for the purpose, and then embarked in commercial enterprises. After spending two or three years in the fields, he returned to England and resumed his course at Oxford. In connection with this visit to England, Mr. Rhodes relates the story of the [162] meeting with the physician who several years before had placed the limit of his existence at three years.

"You the same Rhodes?" asked the discomfited doctor when he saw the healthy young man. "According to my books, you have been in your grave some time. Here is the entry: 'Tuberculosis; recovery impossible.' You can't be the same Rhodes, sir. Impossible!"

At the end of each term at Oxford Mr. Rhodes returned to Kimberley, and, by judiciously investing his savings in mining claims, soon became a power in the affairs of the diamond fields. When the diamond fever was followed by the usual reaction, and evil days fell upon the industry, Mr. Rhodes secured all the shares, claims, and lands that his thousands would buy. Then he conceived the idea of making a monopoly of the diamond industry by consolidating all the mines and limiting the output.

Lacking the money wherewith to buy the valuable properties necessary for his plans, he went to the Rothschilds and asked for finan- [163] cial assistance. The scheme was extraordinary, and required such a large amount of money that the request, coming from such a young man as Mr. Rhodes was then, staggered the Rothschilds, and they asked him to call several days later for an answer.

"My time is valuable," remarked Mr. Rhodes, rather haughtily. "I will come again in an hour for your answer. If you have not decided by that time, I shall seek assistance elsewhere."

The Rothschilds sent Mr. Rhodes back to Africa with the necessary amount of money to purchase the other claims and property in the Kimberley district, and, after he had formed the great De Beers Company, appointed him managing director for life at a salary of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year. Under Mr. Rhodes's management the De Beers consolidated mines have been earning annual dividends of almost fifty per cent., and more than four hundred million dollars' worth of diamonds have been placed on the market. With the exception of the Suez Canal, the mines are the best paying property in the world, and [164] much of their success is due to the personal efforts of Mr. Rhodes.

It was while he was engineering the consolidation of the diamond mines that Mr. Rhodes began his political career. He realized that his political success was founded on personal popularity, and more firmly so in a new country, where the political elements were of such a diversified character as are usually present in a mining community. In the early days of the Kimberley fields the extent of a man's popularity depended upon the amount of money he spent in wining those around him. Mr. Rhodes was astute enough to appreciate the secret of popularity, and, having gained it, allowed himself to be named as candidate for the Cape Colony Parliament from the Kimberley district.

By carefully currying the favour of the Dutch inhabitants, who were not on the friendliest political terms with the English colonists, he was elected. Thereafter Mr. Rhodes's political star was in the ascendant, and he was elected successively to the highest office in the colony's government.

[165] At the age of twenty-eight he was Treasurer-General of Cape Colony, and it was while he filled that office that Chinese Gordon appeared at the Cape and appealed to Mr. Rhodes to join the expedition to Khartoum. Mr. Rhodes was undecided whether to resign the treasurer-generalship and accompany Gordon or to remain in South Africa, but finally determined to stay in the colony. Gordon, who had taken a great fancy to the young and energetic colonist, was sorely disappointed, and went to Khartoum, where he was killed.

During the years he held minor Government offices Mr. Rhodes formed the alliances which were the foundation of his later political success. He was a friend at the same time of the Englishman, the Afrikander, the Dutchman, and the Boer, and he was always in a position where he could reciprocate the favours of one class without incurring the enmity of another. He worked with the Dutchmen when protection was the political cry, and with the Englishmen when subjects dear to them were in the foreground. He never abused his opponents in political arguments, as the major- [166] ity of Cape politicians do, but he pleaded with them on the veldt and at their firesides.

When he was unable to swerve a man's opinions by words, he has frequently been charged with having applied the more seductive method of using money. Mr. Rhodes is said to be a firm believer in money as a force superior to all others, and he does not hesitate to acknowledge his belief that every man's opinions can be shaped by the application of a necessary amount of money. This belief he formed in the early days of the diamond fields, and it has remained with him ever since.

"Find the man's price" was Mr. Rhodes's formula for success before he reached the age of thirty, and his political enemies declare it has given him the power he desired. In a country which had such a large roving and reckless population as South Africa it was not difficult for a politician with a motto similar to that of Mr. Rhodes's to become influential at election periods, nor did it require many years to establish a party that would support him on whatever grounds he chose to take.

It was with such a following that Mr. [167] Rhodes commenced his higher political career in Cape Colony. When, in 1884, he became Commissioner of Bechuanaland, the vast and then undeveloped country adjoining the colony on the north, and made his first plans for the annexation of that territory to the British Empire, he received the support of the majority of the voters of the colony. His first plan of securing control of the territory was not favourably received by the Colonial Office in London, and no sooner was it pronounced visionary than he suggested another more feasible.

Bechuanaland was then ruled by a mighty native chief, Lobengula, whose vast armies roved over the country and prevented white travellers and prospectors from crossing the bounds of his territory. In the minds of the white people of South Africa, Bechuanaland figured as a veritable Golconda—a land where precious stones and minerals could be secured without any attendant labour, where the soil was so rich as to yield four bounteous harvests every year.

Mr. Rhodes determined to break the barriers which excluded white men from the na- [168] tive chief's domain, and sent three agents to treat with Lobengula. The agents made many valuable presents to the old chief, and in 1888, after much engineering, secured from him an exclusive concession to search for and extract minerals in Bechuanaland. The payment for the concession included five hundred dollars a month, a thousand rifles and ammunition, and a small gunboat on the Zambezi.

After Mr. Rhodes discovered the real value of the concession, he and a number of his friends formed the British South Africa Company, popularly known as the Chartered Company, and received a charter from the British Government, which gave to them the exclusive right of governing, developing, and trading in Lobengula's country. Several years afterward the white man's government became irksome to Lobengula and his tribes, as well as to the Mashonas, who occupied the immense territory adjoining Bechuanaland on the east, and all rebelled. The result was not unlike those of native rebellions in other countries. The natives were shot down by trained English soldiers, their country was taken from them, [169] and those who escaped death or captivity were compelled to fly for safety to the new countries of the north.

The British South Africa Company in 1895 practically became the sole owner of Rhodesia, the great territory taken from Lobengula and the Mashonas; and Mr. Rhodes, having realized part of his dream, began casting about for other opportunities whereby he might extend the empire.

Mr. Rhodes was then in the zenith of his glory. He was many times a millionaire, the head of one of the greatest capitalistic enterprises in the world, the director of the affairs of a dominion occupying one tenth of a continent, and the Premier of Cape Colony. His power was almost absolute over a territory that stretches from the Cape of Good Hope into Central Africa, and then eastward to within a few miles of the Indian Ocean. He had armies under his command, and two governments were at his beck and call.

But Mr. Rhodes was not satisfied. He looked again at the map of Africa, already greatly changed since he placed his hand over [170] it in the Kimberley shop, but the dream was not realized. He saw the Transvaal and the Orange Free State flags still occupying the positions he had marked for the British emblem, and he plotted for their acquisition.

The strife between the Boers and the Uitlanders in the Transvaal was then at its height, and Mr. Rhodes recognised the opportunity for the intervention of England that it afforded. Mr. Rhodes did not consider it of sufficient importance to inquire concerning the justice of the Uitlanders' claims, nor did he express any sympathy for their cause. In fact, if anything, he felt that if the Uitlanders were unjustly treated by the Boers their remedy was simple. Once he blandly told a complaining Uitlander that no Chinese wall surrounded the Transvaal, and that to escape from the alleged injustice was comparatively easy.

To Mr. Rhodes the end was sufficient excuse for the means, and, if the acquisition of the two republics carried with it the loss of his Boer friends, he was willing to accept the situation. The fall of the Transvaal Republic carried with it the subsequent fall of the Orange [171] Free State, and, in order that he might strike at the head, he determined to commence his campaign of exterminating republics by first attacking the Transvaal.

Whether he had the promise of assistance from the Colonial Office in London is a subject upon which even the principals differ. Mr. Rhodes felt that his power in the country was great enough to make the attack upon the Transvaal without assistance from the home Government, and the plot of the Jameson raid was formed.

He retired to Groote Schuur, his home at Cape Town, and awaited the fruition of the plans he had so carefully made and explained. His lieutenants might have been overhasty, or perhaps the Uitlanders in Johannesburg might have feared the Boer guns too much; whatever the reason, the plans miscarried, and Mr. Rhodes experienced the first and greatest reverse in his brilliant public career.

The dream which appeared so near realization one day was dissolved the next, and with it the reputation of the dreamer. He was obliged to resign the premiership of Cape Col- [172] ony, many of his best and oldest supporters in England deserted him, and he lost the respect and esteem of the Dutch inhabitants of South Africa, who had always been among his stanchest allies. The heroic Rhodes, the idol of Cape Colony, found himself the object of attack and ridicule of the majority of the voters of the colony. The parliamentary inquiry acquitted him of all complicity in the Jameson raid, it is true, but the Dutch people of South Africa never have and never will.

The Jameson raid was a mere incident in Mr. Rhodes's career; he would probably call it an accident. Having failed to overthrow the Transvaal Republic by means of an armed revolution, he attempted to accomplish the same object by means of a commercial revolution. Rhodesia, the new country which had a short time previously been taken from the Matabeles and the Mashonas, was proclaimed by Mr. Rhodes to be a paradise for settlers and an Ophir for prospectors. He personally conducted the campaign to rob the Transvaal of its inhabitants and its commerce; but the golden promises, the magnificent farms, the Solomon's [173] mines, the new railways, and the new telegraph lines all failed to attract the coveted prizes to the land which, after all, was found to be void of real merit except as a hunting ground where the so-called British poor-house, the army, might pot negroes.

Mr. Rhodes spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in developing the country which bears his name, and the British South Africa Company added thousands more, but the hand which was wont to turn into gold all that it touched had lost its cunning. To add to Mr. Rhodes's perplexities, the natives who had been conquered by Dr. Jameson learned that their conqueror had been taken prisoner by the Boers, and rose in another rebellion against English authority. Mr. Rhodes and one of his sisters journeyed alone into the enemy's stronghold and made terms with Lobengula, whereby the revolution was practically ended.

After the Rhodesian country had been pacified, and he had placed the routine work of the campaign to secure settlers for the country in the hands of his lieutenants, Mr. Rhodes bent [174] all his energies toward the completion of the transcontinental railway and telegraph lines which had been started under his auspices several years before, but had been allowed to lag on account of the pressure of weightier matters. The Cape Town to Cairo railroad and telegraph are undertakings of such vast proportions and importance that Mr. Rhodes's fame might easily have been secured through them alone had he never been heard of in connection with other great enterprises.

He himself originated the plans by which the Mediterranean and Table Bay will eventually be united by bands of steel and strands of copper, and it is through his own personal efforts that the English financiers are being induced to subscribe the money with which his plans are being carried out. The marvellous faith which the English people have in Mr. Rhodes has been illustrated on several occasions when he was called to London to meet storms of protests from shareholders, who feared that the two great enterprises were gigantic fiascos. He has invariably returned to South Africa with the renewed confidence of [175] the timid ones and many millions of additional capital.

Mr. Rhodes has tasted of the power which is absolute, and he will brook no earthly interference with his plans. The natives may destroy hundreds of miles of the telegraph lines, as they have done on several occasions. He teaches them a lesson by means of the quick-firing gun, and rebuilds the line. White men may fear the deadly fever of Central Africa, but princely salaries and life-insurance policies for a host of relatives will always attract men to take the risk. Shareholders may rebel at the expenditures, but Mr. Rhodes will indicate to them that their other properties will be ruined if they withdraw their support from the railway and telegraph.

A strip of territory belonging to another nation may be an impediment to the line, but an interview with the Emperor of Germany or the King of Portugal will be all-sufficient for the accomplishment of Mr. Rhodes's purpose. Providence may swerve him in his purpose many times, but nations and individuals rarely. All South Africans agree that Mr. Rhodes [176] is the most remarkable Englishman that ever figured in the history of the African continent. Some will go further and declare that he has done more for the British Empire than any one man in history. No two South Africans will agree on the methods by which Mr. Rhodes attained his position in the affairs of the country. Some say that he owes his success to his great wealth; others declare that his personal magnetism is responsible for all that he ever attained. His enemies intimate that political chicanery is the foundation of his progress, while his friends resent the intimation and laud his sterling honesty as the basis of his successful career.

No one has ever accused him of being the fortunate victim of circumstances which carried him to the pre-eminent rank he occupies among Englishmen, although such an opinion might readily be formed from a personal study of the man. South Africa is the indolent man's paradise, and of that garden of physical inactivity Mr. Rhodes, by virtue of his pre-eminent qualifications, is king. "Almost as lazy as Rhodes" is a South Africanism [177] that has caused lifelong enmities and rivers of blood.

He takes pride in his indolence, and declares that the man who performs more labour than his physical needs demand is a fool. He says he never makes a long speech because he is too lazy to expend the energy necessary for its delivery. He declines to walk more than an eighth of a mile unless it is impossible to secure a vehicle or native hammock-bearers to convey him, and then he proceeds so slowly that his progress is almost imperceptible. His indolence may be the result of the same line of reasoning as that indulged in by the cautious man who carries an umbrella when the sun shines, in which case every one who has travelled in the tropics will agree that Mr. Rhodes is a modern Solomon. The only exercise he indulges in is an hour's canter on horseback in the early morning, before the generous rays of the African sun appear.

Notwithstanding his antipathy to physical exertion, Mr. Rhodes is a great traveller, and is constantly moving from one place to an-other. One week may find him at Groote [178] Schuur, his Cape Town residence, while the following week he may be planning a new farm in far-away Mashonaland. The third week may have him in the Portuguese possessions on the east coast, and at the end of the month he may be back in Cape Town, prepared for a voyage to England and a fortnight's stay in Paris. He will charter a bullock team or a steamship with like disregard of expense in order that he may reach his destination at a specified time, and in like manner he will be watchful of his comfort by causing houses to be built in unfrequented territory which he may wish to investigate.

So wealthy that he could almost double his fortune in the time it would require to count it, Mr. Rhodes is a firm believer in the doctrine that money was created for the purpose of being spent, and never hesitates to put it into practice. He does not assist beggars, nor does he squander sixpence in a year, but he will pay the expenses of a trip to Europe for a man whom he wishes to reconcile, and will donate the value of a thousand-acre farm to a tribe of natives which has pleased him by its actions.

[179] His generosity is best illustrated by a story told by one of his most intimate friends in Kimberley. Several years before Barney Barnato's death, that not-too-honest speculator induced almost all of the employees of the diamond mines to invest their savings in the stock of the Pleiades gold mine in Johannesburg, which Barnato and his friends were attempting to manipulate. The attempt was unsuccessful, and the diamond miners lost all the money they had invested. Mr. Rhodes heard of Barnato's deceit, and asked him to refund the money, but was laughed at. Mr. Rhodes learned the total amount of the losses—about twenty-five thousand dollars—and paid the money out of his own pocket.

Although he has more financial patronage at his command than almost any banking house in existence, Mr. Rhodes rarely has sufficient money in his purse to buy lunch. His valet, a half-breed Malay named Tony, is his banker, and from him he is continually borrowing money. It is related that on a voyage to England he offered to make a wager of money, but found that he had nothing less valuable [180] than a handful of loose rough diamonds in his trousers pocket.

Mr. Rhodes is an eloquently silent man. He talks little, but his paucity of words is no criterion of their weight. He can condense a chapter into a word, and a book into a sentence. The man whose hobby is to run an empire is almost as silent as the Sphinx in the land toward which that empire is being elongated. His sentences are short and curt. "I want a railroad here," or "We want this mine," or "We must have this strip of land," are common examples of his style of speech and the expression of his dominant spirit.

He has the faculty of leading people to believe that they want the exact opposite of what they really want, and he does it in such a polished manner that they give their consent before they realize what he has asked them. His personal charm, which in itself is almost irresistible, is fortified with a straight-forward, breezy heartiness, that carries with it respect, admiration, confidence, and, finally, conviction. He has argued and treated with persons ranging in intelligence and station from [181] a native chief to the most learned diplomats and rulers in the world, and his experience has taught him that argument will win any case.

Lobengula called him "the brother who eats a whole country for his dinner." To this title might be added "the debater who swallows up the opposition in one breath." Mr. Rhodes never asks exactly what he wants. He will ask the shareholders of a company for ten million, when he really needs only five million, but in that manner he is almost certain of satisfying his needs. In the same way when he pleads with an opponent he makes the demands so great that he can afford to yield half and still attain his object. Twelve years ago Mr. Rhodes demanded the appointment of Prime Minister of the Colony, but he was satisfied with the Commissionership of Crown Lands and Works, the real object of his aim.

If Mr. Rhodes had cast his lines in America instead of South Africa, he would be called a political boss. He would be the dominant factor of one of the parties, and he would be able to secure delegates with as much ease as he does in Cape Colony, where the population is [182] less mixed than in our country. His political lieutenants act with the same vigour and on the same general lines as those in our country, and if a close examination of their work could be made, many political tricks that the American campaigner never heard of would probably be disclosed.

One of the mildest accusations against him is that he paid fifty thousand dollars for the support that first secured for him a seat in the Cape Colony Parliament, but he has never considered it worth the time to deny the report. His political success depends in no little measure upon his personal acquaintanceship with the small men of his party, and his method of treating them with as much consideration and respect as those who have greater influence. He is in constant communication with the leaders of the rural communities, and misses no opportunity to show his appreciation of their support. Mr. Rhodes may be kingly when he is among kings, but he is also a farmer among farmers, and among the Cape Dutch and Boers such a metamorphosis is the necessary stepping-stone to the hearts and votes of that numerous [183] people. It is not uncommon to find Mr. Rhodes among a party of farmers or transport riders each one of whom has better clothing than the multimillionaire.

When he was in the Cape Parliament Mr. Rhodes wore a hat which was so shabby that it became the subject of newspaper importance. When he is in Rhodesia he dons the oldest suit of clothing in his wardrobe, and follows the habits of the pioneers who are settling the country. He sleeps in a native kraal when he is not near a town, and eats of the same canned beef and crackers that his Chartered Company serves to its mounted police. When he is in that primeval country he despises ostentation and displays in his honour, and will travel fifty miles on horseback in an opposite direction in order to avoid a formal proceeding of any nature. Two years ago, when the railroad to Buluwayo, the capital of Rhodesia, was formally opened, Mr. Rhodes telegraphed his regrets, and intimated that he was ill. As a matter of fact he travelled night and day in order to escape to a place where telegrams and messages could not reach him. When his host [184] suggested that he was missing many entertainments and the society of the most distinguished men of South Africa, Mr. Rhodes smiled and said: "For that reason I escaped."

Formality bores him, and he would rather live a month coatless and collarless in a native kraal with an old colony story-teller than spend half an hour at a state dinner in the governor's mansion. It is related in this connection that Mr. Rhodes was one of a distinguished party who attended the opening of a railroad extension near Cape Town. While the speeches were being made, and the chairman was trying to find him, Mr. Rhodes slipped quietly away, and was discovered discarding his clothing preparatory to enjoying a bath in a near-by creek.

Mr. Rhodes is unmarried, and throughout the country has the reputation of being an avowed hater of women. He believes that a woman is an impediment to a man's existence until he has attained the object and aim of his life, and has become deserving of luxuries. He not only believes in that himself, but takes advantage of every opportunity to impress the [185] belief upon the minds of those around him. In the summer of 1897 a captain in the volunteer army, and one of his most faithful lieutenants in Mashonaland, asked Mr. Rhodes for a three months' leave of absence to go to Cape Colony. The captain had been through many native campaigns, and richly deserved a vacation, although that was not the real object of his request for leave. The man wanted to go to Cape Colony to marry, and by severe cross-examination Mr. Rhodes learned that such was the case.

"I can not let you go to Cape Colony; I want you to start for London to-morrow. I'll cable instructions when you arrive there," said Mr. Rhodes, and the wedding was postponed. When the captain reached London, a cablegram from Mr. Rhodes said simply, "Study London for three months."

Nowhere in South Africa is there anything more interesting than Groote Schuur, the country residence of Mr. Rhodes, at Rondebosch, a suburb of Cape Town. He has found time amid his momentous public duties to make his estate the most magnificent on the continent [186] of Africa. Besides a mansion which is a relic of the first settlers of the peninsula, and now a palace worthy of a king's occupancy, there is an estate which consists of hundreds of acres of land overlooking both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and under the walls of Table Mountain, the curio of a country. In addition to this, there are a zoological collection, which comprises almost every specimen of African fauna that will thrive in captivity, and hundreds of flowering trees and plants brought from great distances to enrich the beauty of the landscape.

The estate, which comprises almost twelve hundred acres, is situated about five miles to the north of Cape Town, on the narrowest part of the peninsula, through which the waters of the two oceans seem ever anxious to rush and clasp hands. It lies along the northwestern base of Table Mountain, and stretches down toward the waters of Table Bay and northward toward the death-dealing desert known as the Great Karroo. From one of the shady streets winding toward Cape Town there stretches a fine avenue of lofty pines and oaks to the man- [187] sion of Groote Schuur, which, as its name indicates, was originally a granary, where two hundred years ago the Dutch colonizers hoarded their stores of grain and guarded them against the attacks of thieving natives.

Although many changes have been made in the structure since it was secured by Mr. Rhodes, it still preserves the quaint architectural characteristics of Holland. The scrolled gables, moulded chimney pots, and wide verandas, or "stoeps," are none the less indicative of the tendencies of the old settlers than the Dutch cabinets, bureaus, and other household furniture that still remains in the mansion from those early days.

The entire estate breathes of the old Dutch era. Everything has the ancient setting, although not at the expense of modern convenience. While the buildings and grounds are arranged in the picturesque style of Holland, the furnishings and comforts are the most modern that the countries of Europe afford. The library contains, besides such classics as a graduate of Oxford would have, one of the largest collections of books and manuscripts bearing [188] on Africa in existence. In the same room is a museum of souvenirs connected with Mr. Rhodes's work of extending English empire toward the heart of the continent. There are flags captured in wars with the Portuguese, Union Jacks riddled with shot and cut by assegai, and hundreds of curiosities gathered in Rhodesia after the conquest of the natives. In this building have gathered for conference the men who laid the foundations for all the great enterprises of South Africa. There the Jameson raid was planned, it is said, and there, the Boers say, the directors of the British South, Africa Chartered Company were drinking champagne while the forces of Dr. Jameson were engaged in mortal combat with those of Kruger near Johannesburg.

Surrounding the mansion are most beautiful gardens, such as can be found only in semi-tropical climates. In the foreground of the view from the back part of the house is a Dutch garden, rising in three terraces from the marble-paved courtyard to a grassy knoll, fringed with tall pines, and dotted here and there with graves of former dwellers at Groote Schuur. [189] Behind the pine fringe, but only at intervals obscured by it, is the background of the picture—the bush-clad slopes of Table Mountain and the Devil's Peak, near enough for every detail of their strange formations and innumerable attractions to be observed. Art and Nature have joined hands everywhere to make lovely landscapes, in which the colour effects are produced by hydrangeas, azaleas, and scores of other flowers, growing in the utmost profusion. Besides the mimosa, palms, firs, and other tropical trees that add beauty to the grounds, there is a low tree which is found nowhere else on earth. Its leaves are like the purest silver, and form a charming contrast to the deep green of the firs and the vivid brightness of the flowers that are everywhere around.

Undoubtedly, however, the most interesting feature of the estate is the natural zoological garden. It is quite unique to have in this immense park, with drives six miles in length and ornamentations brought thousands of miles, wild animals of every variety wandering about with as much freedom as if they were in their native haunts. In this collection are repre- [190] sented every kind of African deer and antelope. Zebra, kangaroo, giraffe, emu, pheasant, and ostrich seem to be perfectly contented with their adopted home, and have become so tame that the presence of human beings has no terrors for them.

This vast estate, which cost Mr. Rhodes several million dollars to bring to its present condition, sees but little of the former Premier of Cape Colony. His vast enterprises in the diamond fields of Kimberley and in the new country which bears his name require so much of his time that he but seldom visits it. But his inability to enjoy the product of his brain and labour does not cause the estate to be unappreciated, for he has thrown this unique and charming pleasure resort open to the public, and by them it is regarded as a national possession.


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