Chapter III. Life at Umtata
THE history of Umtata recalls the foundation of many English towns which have grown up round the Cathedral, for it may be truly said to have been created by the first Bishop of S. John's, Dr. Callaway, so well known for many years as S.P.G. missionary at Springvale, Natal. When he first decided to fix the seat of the newly-formed See on the banks of the Umtata river, the site which he selected was marked by only two or three houses; but the Government officials followed the Bishop, and soon a little town was formed which is now the most important place between King Williamstown and the Ratal border, and boasts, as we are told by one whose home was at Umtata for thirteen years from its first foundation, "of a camp of Cape Mounted Riflemen, five places of worship, six schools, two hotels, two banks, several stores or shops, a telegraph office, and a newspaper." [Canon Cameron, "In Memoriam, Bishop Callaway," Mission Chronicle of the Scottish Episcopal Church, No. LV.] The Cathedral had scarcely been opened when, on the breaking out of the Gcaleka war in 1877, it became a refuge for all the Europeans in the neighbourhood, a laager being formed round it, and the building itself being loopholed and prepared for a siege. Again, three years later, Umtata was disturbed by the near neighbourhood of war, when the Pondomisi chief Umhlonhlo treacherously murdered his magistrate, Mr. Hamilton Hope, and a large combination of Kaffir tribes was expected to be formed against the white men. A laager was made in the town itself, portions of which were still visible when I made the acquaintance of the place a year and a half later.
The beauties of Umtata were neither numerous nor striking. It lies on the gently undulating slopes of the Tembu hills, where they reach down to the river Umtata, which winds in and out with the Camp bend, and the Mission bend, and other sinuosities, the two named marking the two outside limits of the town at different ends. From the C.M.R. barracks to the group of mission buildings is a distance of about a mile and a half, the intervening space being more or less filled up with somewhat straggling houses. To one fresh from England the noticeable features of the place were two: that all the houses had one storey only, and all were roofed with corrugated iron. Since those days Umtata has much improved externally. Some handsome buildings have been added to it; a park (still in its infancy) has been formed; the streets are better defined; gardens have developed, and trees have grown up. Although, perhaps, it can hardly lay claim as yet to beauty, it is already on the high road to do so. But in 1882, when a whole morning had to be devoted to finding out whether Umtata really had any streets or not, when it was possible to traverse the town in almost every direction undeterred by fences or buildings, the beauty of the place was concentrated in the river, which divides Tembuland from Independent Pondoland, or in the glorious views of the Kambi bush and the S. Augustine's hills, with their exquisite effects of light and shade.
On the mission itself there were two buildings worthy of notice. The Pro-Cathedral, an iron building lined with wood throughout, will seat a congregation of 250, and contains a handsome pulpit. Very unecclesiastical externally, within it has a far more church-like aspect than might have been expected; and was decidedly improved, as far as its capabilities would allow, by the late Provost. A good cathedral is one of the wants of the diocese. The Native College was, and is, a long low building of stone, with iron roof. A scheme is now on foot to enlarge and improve this; and on the success of the appeal which is now being made for that special object much of the future welfare of the diocese will depend.
The native work of Umtata centred in the College, which is not only a higher school for native boys and young men, many of whom afterwards become teachers or take up Church work, but also a theological college for the training of native students for the minor offices of the ministry or for Holy Orders. At this time the white boys' day school was also a department of the College. The Bishop was fortunate in having been able to entrust the whole of this most important work to an ex-scholar of C.C.C., Oxford, the Rev. W. M. Cameron, afterwards elected by his brother clergy to one of the first canonries in S. John's, and appointed by the diocesan first Provost of the Cathedral.
In 1882, in addition to the Pro-Cathedral of the Anglican Church, the only other place of worship was a small undenominational chapel in the middle of the town, which was utilised by the Wesleyans. Since that time the members of that communion have built a chapel for themselves, as has also been done by the Roman Catholics.
In the Pro-Cathedral the daily offices were said both in Kaffir and English; and in addition there were celebrations on holy days and Thursdays. (In 1884 a daily celebration was commenced, and a special weekly service of intercession.) The succession of services on Sunday was almost uhintermitted; the 7.30 celebration being followed by military service at 10.0, English full service 11.0, Kaffir service 1.0, English 3.0, Kaffir 7.30, so that by the end of a hot summer's day the iron building was almost unbearable, and steps had already been taken to provide a new Church in the town itself for the white people.
Owing to the fact that Umtata is the diocesan centre, the clerical staff resident there, engaged in parochial, secretarial, or educational work, is necessarily large, our little band of clergy in those days including two white priests, two white and one native deacon. With these and the native theological students we were able, now that the disorganisation produced by the late war was passing away, largely to extend our work: serving the Cathedral on the mission, and the Church of S. James' in the town, when it was built, and supplying services at the native location (where we also commenced a day-school), at a farm some six miles away among the natives, and at three different European centres in Pondoland and Tembuland, at distances of from twenty to thirty miles from Umtata, which allowed whoever had gone out to take the monthly service time to ride back again the same afternoon to the town to take his share in the evening duty there.
Although the Europeans in the country bear numerically such a very small proportion to the native tribes, no endeavours have been wanting in Kaffraria, as in other dioceses subsidised (as that is, most liberally), by the S.P.G., to give spiritual help to our own fellow-countrymen. And certainly it is most urgently needed, as many of them are the very first to recognise. The position of the white farmer is, from this point of view, comparatively easy. Most of them are married, and have white neighbours, so that they are not devoid of social intercourse; but it may be questioned whether any situation in the whole world is so terribly full of temptations as is that of the Kaffir trader. [i.e., the European trading among Kaffirs.] Not a few of them have been accustomed to luxuries, comforts, or refinement, which have now passed away from them, probably for ever, and have only left behind that "sorrow's crown of sorrow, the remembering happier things." The whole day is spent indoors in an unwholesome atmosphere, and in the very wearying and trying employment of serving capricious and perhaps impertinent raw Kaffirs. When the evening comes, and the store is closed, there is no neighbour of European race or culture with whom to interchange ideas. The trader has no literature with which to occupy himself, except the ordinary stock of "yellow backs." In the majority of cases he cannot afford to marry a European wife. All around him are living people in a lower moral and spiritual condition than his own. There is nothing about him to remind him of the existence of God--no church, no sight of priest, no sound of bells. Worse than all is the evil atmosphere of heathenism, charged with the infection of Satan, which none can understand save those who have experienced it. Feeling all this, as any missionary who knows the country must do, and knowing that such persons felt the position yet more acutely themselves, it was a cause of intense delight to us to see traders riding their ten or twenty miles to come to the out-services which were established for them, to hear them asking for the services of the Church, and to mark the substantial offertories by which they showed their practical appreciation of the few means of grace that could be supplied to them.
The ordinary work in Umtata itself was much like that in any English village. Daily services and school; catechumen and confirmand classes; district visitors' meetings; C.E.T.S. work; constant visiting; boys'cricket clubj singing classes and choir practices, and the like. A missionary abroad must be prepared for all this--not always for the historical preaching under a tree to a crowd of attentive hearers, or for a series of sensational conversions; but not nnfrequently for an everyday life which will much resemble the work at home, and yet will be very different, because the sphere is so far larger, the labourers so far fewer.
This routine was diversified with occasional rounds of five or six days' visiting among the Europeans, arranging for or holding services, instructing candidates for confirmation, and the like. The preparation of confirmands is one of the most arduous labours which falls upon missionary clergy engaged in white work. A class of six or eight people, which to town clergy at home would represent one hour a week, to us may mean a whole week's occupation in the place of one hour, distances being so great and means of locomotion so feeble, so that the whole preparation of one set of confirmation candidates must often consume a very large amount of time. It would have been amusing at times, if it had not been melancholy, to see the un-familiarity of those who were or had once been Church people with her services, a sure index of the length of time for which they had been deprived of her ministrations. The surprise of one of the clergy when, at the end of the Te Deum, he was saluted with a very fervent Gloria from those who had steadily refused to supply it at the end of the Venite and the Psalms, was more than equalled by the perturbation of another when, in the course of a baptism, one of the god-parents turned to him with a most emphatic "I demand therefore." And yet what can be more natural than that our countrymen abroad should grow up in ignorance of our Prayer-Book, if, through want of men and means, it is impossible for our Church to keep up her supervision over them.
These little tours were not confined to the white people, but were directed also, from time to time, to the natives. There were, then, four little oases of native members of the Church in that part of Tembuland within easy reach of Umtata, six, twelve, fifteen, and fifteen miles away or thereabouts. The communicants of these Christian families would generally come into Umtata once a month to make their communion, and for the other Sundays lay ministrations were supplied by licensed native preachers. It was our hope to start schools and mission stations at two, at least, of these centres, but our efforts proved abortive. In the one case, the Tembu chief refused his sanction through dislike to the nationality of the Christians, who were Fingoes, and fear of the introduction of the "thin end of the wedge," and the ultimate ousting of his own people by a tribe which is notorious for its land-grabbing--a fear which was by no means unreasonable. In the other case, the refusal proceeded rather from dread of the white men, who were supposed to be the inevitable followers of missionaries and mission work. And here again the train of reasoning was in itself a just one. It is a fact that the missionary is almost always the pioneer; that he is followed by the trader; and that after the trader comes the white Government, which, whatever benefits it may confer, means at any rate loss of independence and introduction of alien methods. From two, at least, of these four places, the Christians soon afterwards moved away, in order to go where they could obtain schooling for their children and the means of grace for themselves. In one of the others a church and mission has been quite recently established from Umtata.
We attempted also to begin work among the heathen Bomvanas, a tribe in which at that date no Christian communion had commenced evangelisation. Three times appointments were made for meetings, but on every occasion the arrangements fell through, unavoidably as it seemed. Since then the ground has been occupied by a Presbyterian medical mission under the son of the well-known Tiyo Sogha. [The Rev. Tiyo Sogha, a Presbyterian minister, one of the most remarkable men that the Kaffir races have produced.]
Such time as I could spare from multifarious duties as incumbent of a very large parish, diocesan secretary, registrar, and one of the two examining chaplains, had, of course, to be devoted to the acquiring of Kaffir. The first time that I took service in that language was on July 15. The Kaffir services were, by private arrangement, habitually conducted by the Warden of the College, Mr. Cameron, who was an excellent Kaffir scholar. On this occasion, however, he was unexpectedly detained in the town, and a quarter of an hour before evensong began, I received a message from him to say that he would be unable to be present. The native deacon being absent, I had to step into the breach myself, taking the service and presiding at the harmonium with no little trepidation, as six weeks had not made me familiar with either language or pointing. To make matters worse, it was the fifteenth evening of the month, so that it was no small relief to find that we were out of service before nightfall.
At Umtata, naturally, much of the work was diocesan, and it so happened that into the year and a half which I spent there several interesting events chanced to fall. 1882 happened to be the year for the triennial Diocesan Synod, which was convened for June 29, and lasted until July 6. The Synod is composed of all clergy holding, with the Bishop's sanction, any cure or public office in the diocese, or licensed by the Bishop to any extra diocesan mission (deacons having liberty to speak, but not to vote), and lay representatives, who must be communicants and of the full age of twenty-one, elected by each separate congregation to which a separate minister in Holy Orders shall have been appointed. This, at least, was the rule until the last Synod, when a fresh canon was passed, with the view of equalising more the number of lay representatives and licensed priests. As, however, the revised canons have not yet been issued, it is impossible to give the actual terms. Only communicants are entitled to vote as electors of the lay representatives.
The ordinary routine of the Synod is as follows. It is preceded by a day's retreat, and commences with a celebration of the Holy Communion, which is always celebrated daily during the sittings. The Special Synod Service is sung at 9.30, the Psalm being cxxxiii., and the Lesson i Pet. v. 1-6. After this the Synod is constituted, the Bishop sitting at a table in the aisle of the choir, the clergy in their cassocks in the choir seats, and the lay representatives in the front seats of the nave. Among the latter are to be found some of the leading men in the diocese, both, of the Civil Service and merchants, and their help in Synod is simply invaluable. The native congregations almost invariably elect white men to represent them, the native laymen being found in the native conference, which sits at the same time as the Synod, and discusses such subjects as may be sent down to it from the latter body.
The work in Synod is usually very hard. Tlie actual sittings last, as a rule, only from 9.30 to 1, and 3 to 5; but generally every available spare moment is occupied with meetings of committees until 11 or 12 at night. The closing scene is full of interest, when the Bishop and clergy pass within the sanctuary and sing, with the laymen who stand round the rails, a concluding Te Deum.
The annual meeting of the Diocesan Finance Board is also held at the time of Synod. Since 1882 the organisation of the finance has been much improved. The administration of the S.P.G. Block Grant, which is for the current year £3048, of the Scottish Block Grant [Given through the Representative Church Council of the Scottish Episcopal Church.], and the English contributions to the General Fund, known as K.C.M. (Kaffrarian Church Mission) Fund, rests entirely in the hands of this Board, which is composed of the Bishop, Archdeacons, Clergy-in-charge, Diocesan Secretary, Accountant, and a lay parishioner elected annually for each parish. (According to our canon these parishioners must be communicants.) Clergy and laity are, therefore, represented in about equal proportions, the lay members of the Board including some of the most prominent men in the diocese. Routine and ad interim business is carried on by a Standing Committee of the Board, without the consent of which no cheques can be drawn. This Committee presents its report annually at the general June meeting of the Board, when the full annual accounts of all parishes which have been previously sent in are very carefully scrutinised, and the grants for the coming year, commencing with January, are voted.
The meetings of Synod and the D.F. Board are always occasions for meetings of the clergy, who are ordinarily debarred from seeing much of one another by the great distances and want of proper means of locomotion. In 1883 there were also other causes which twice in the year drew our missionaries to Umtata.
In accordance with a provision of the Provincial Canons, the diocesan, Bishop Callaway, whose strength had for some time been overtaxed, had asked for the assistance of a coadjutor, and a mandate had been in due sequence issued for his election, for by Provincial Canon 3, any diocese in the province which possesses not less than six priests elects its own bishop. The electors are the priests, voting severally, and the deacons (if there be three or more) voting corporately through one of their number; and further, the assent of representatives of the laity is required.
As the elective assembly had been summoned for April 17, opportunity was taken to fix the dedication of S. James' Church for Europeans, in the town of Umtata, for the 15th. The erection of this Church, which set free the Cathedral on Sundays for native services, and provided the white people with a place of worship of their own in their own midst, was a very great boon both to laity and clergy; and the dedication was a very solemn service, attended by the majority of the clergy in the diocese.
The proceedings of the iyth commenced with a celebration of the Holy Communion at 7.30, and after breakfast the assembly met. It was at first suggested that resort should be had to delegation to three authorities of the Church at home, but it was generally felt that those far away could know little of our own special requirements, and that it was most advisable, if it were possible, to elect one who should bring to his work a knowledge of the language and of the people among whom his sphere of labour would lie. This principle having been established, the choice of the assembly fell unanimously on the Rev. B. L. Key (who had meanwhile been requested to retire), brother of the late Admiral Sir Cooper Key, who since 1864 had been working as a missionary in Kaffraria, for a few months at All Saints', and for the succeeding eighteen years among the Pondomisi--a priest who would bring to the missionary episcopate great powers of leading a laborious life of hardship, self-denial, and travelling, together with a consummate knowledge of the people and the language.
On August 12, 1883, Mr. Key was consecrated Bishop-Coadjutor cum jure successionis at Umtata by the Metropolitan (Bishop Jones, of Capetown), assisted by the Bishops of Maritzburg (Dr. Macrorie), S. John's (Dr. Callaway), and Zululand (Dr. M'Kenzie). It was a wonderful sight for the inhabitants of that little upland village of Umtata, which seven years before had been non-existent, to see the long surpliced choir of natives from the Cathedral and Europeans from S. James' winding round the Church, followed by some thirty clergy, and the fine-looking Bishops, whose average height was over six feet; and within S. James' Church, which was used as being larger and cooler than the Cathedral, to mark the large and reverent congregation of some 450 whites and natives, many of whom had come in from a distance to be present, and among whom might be seen the members of the Wesleyan congregation, their minister having closed his chapel for the day. The sermon was preached by Archdeacon (then Canon) Lightfoot, of Capetown, one whose name is a household word in South Africa, not only for his unremitting labours, but also for his unfailing hospitality to all missionaries. The litany was sung in Kaffir, fit reminder that ours was a missionary diocese, by the Rev. W. M. Cameron; the rest of the service, which was fully choral, was in English. It was indeed a day memorable in the annals of Umtata. There are not many villages of its size in any part of the world which can boast of having been the resting-place for a few days of five bishops.
I have already spoken of the journeys which we used to make from time to time to look after the outside work, whether white or native. Some of these presented features of considerable interest. The first which I took myself was in August 1882, in order to find out the situation and make the acquaintance of such white families as there might be in the neighbourhood of Kambi, Tabase, and Baziya. Having at that time no horse, I started on the morning of the 21st, on foot, alone, walking that day sixteen miles, and on the two following days twenty-five and twenty-eight miles respectively, getting back again on the afternoon of the 23rd in plenty of time for a game of cricket with our white boys' cricket club. In this round of two and a half days I visited five white families, having a good deal of pastoral talk with some, and was much amused and pleased with the friendliness of the various natives across whom I came. It was a great surprise to them to see a white man without a horse, and many were at first inclined to think that my horse was lost, and perhaps that I was looking for it; but I mustered up enough Kaffir to make them understand that my legs were the two horses which carried me. In two cases natives joined themselves to me as my companions for part of the road: first, a man, who in the course of our attempted conversation asked me for "imali" (money). The word is as familiar to me now as the reality is unfamiliar to all missionaries; but at that time I laboured under the delusion that "imali" meant "pictures," and have often thought since then how mystified my friend must have been when I drew some pictures for him in the road with my stick, and pointed to them with much triumph as "imali!" Later on three little boys attached themselves to me for two or three miles, of whose talk I was able to understand enough to know that they wanted (or said they wanted) work. The first night I spent at a trader's, sharing his hut with himself and his assistant, but having the luxury of a bed. For the second I found a ready welcome with our ever hospitable German friends at the Moravian Mission Station at Baziya.
My first experience of a night at a Kaffir kraal was on March 20, 1883, I had ridden out to see some white people at Cicira and near Kambi, and had been delayed by a severe hailstorm and heavy rain. My intention was to get across for the night to some of our native Christians at Mpeko; but in the drizzle and the dark I missed my road, which lay right across the veldt, and finally about 7.30, seeing a large kraal near me, decided that it was my best plan to go up there and ask for a night's lodging. I described myself, in my broken Kaffir, as a friend of the Tembu chief, Gangelizwe, [Then paramount chief of the Tembus. His great son, the present chief--Gangelizwe being now dead--was educated at S. John's College, Umtata.] and the Bishop, and was received very kindly, my horse being put into the cattle-kraal, while I myself was given a mat, and a place to sleep near the fire, which was burning in the middle of the hut. I had just dropped off to sleep, when I was roused to eat some mealies (Indian corn) which had just been cooked for me; and after that I found it very difficult to get to sleep again, being deterred not so much by the proximity of the fifteen red Tembus who shared the hut with me, as by the shameless voracity of the fleas, whose ubiquitousnesa and perseverance forcibly recalled the description which Aristophanes gives of them in one of his plays.
Occasionally on Fridays or Saturdays (for there was no school from Friday afternoon till Monday morning some of the white boys would join me for a ride--for the colonial boy is brought up, as it were, in the saddle--more particularly three who afterwards accompanied me to Ncolosi, F. Riitters, W. Vice, and W. Leary. In this way we visited in May 1883 the Tsitsa Falls, sleeping on the Friday night at a store about half way, a bed being made up for me on the counter, while the three boys had shakedowns on the floor; and riding the next day forty-five miles, or more, first on to the falls, where we spent an hour and a half, and back again to Umtata by 6.30. These falls are very fine, and well worth a visit, the height of the fall being 375 feet. On another occasion, in October of the same year, we rode out to see another of the few lions in the neighbourhood, a Bushman's cave near the Kambi. To call this a cave conveys quite a wrong idea, as it has more the aspect of a large recess or shelf in the rock; but the drawings are very curious, and show considerable cleverness, the representations of elephants, men, &c., being made with various-coloured earth.
This neighbourhood presents many traces of Bushmen in the names of the rivers, Ingxu, Gqaqala, Ndenxa, and Nqanqaru, for the "x's" and "q's," like the "c's'" of the Kaffirs, are "clicks," derived from the Bushmen's language. Indeed there is a family of Bushmen still living in a cave over the Ingxu, not far from the Gqaqala, who are considered the great rain-makers of the country, and derive their subsistence mainly, if not entirely, from the offerings or fees which, they receive in return for the rain that they are supposed to make.
Twice during my stay at Umtata I took a longer journey, far outside the parish. In November 1882 I had settled to pay a flying visit to Kokstad, to see the newly appointed priest-in-charge, who had previously been working at Umtata. As I had not yet any horse of my own, and the post-cart fare was £4 or £5, Mr. Key (as he then was) and Mr. Adkin had kindly arranged for me to have horses lent me all along the road, a distance of about 120 miles. I left Umtata on November 1, on a horse lent me by the former, accompanied by the native who had brought it down. As we cantered into Ncolosi in the afternoon, one of my stirrups broke. This caused me to lose my balance, and I fell off, being dragged for some little distance over the veldt by my other stirrup before I could disentangle my foot, the stirrups being really much too small for me, as the saddle belonged to a boy of nine. It was an ominous beginning for a long ride; and entailed a black eye, which is not the best of recommendations for a strange clergyman.
Mr. and Mrs. Key were just beginning to settle down at Ncolosi, whither they had removed in the fresh settlement of the country after the war of 1880. They were living in two or three wattle-and-daub huts, and at a distance of some 300 yards was another hut, which served not only as a church, but also as the missionary's study. Here I slept, having to rise betimes in the morning, so that my bath and other signs of tenancy might be removed before Kaffir matins.
The next day Mr. Key accompanied me, by easy stages, as far as Qumbu. It was a ride of much interest to me, as we passed the place where the out-station of S. Paul's (now new Tsolo) had been, destroyed in the late war; and further on could see on our left the rocky and thorny valley where the seven Fingoes from Mbokotwana had been killed at the same time by the Pondomisi.
On the 3rd I made an early start at five o'clock, with a native policeman, reaching Mount Frere at nine A.M. Here I had hoped to find a fresh horse waiting for me; but the magistrate being away, I had to stay till his return, and eventually spent the whole day there, not leaving again till 10.15 on the next day, which was Saturday. I travelled in company with the then magistrate of Mount Ayliff, who was returning home, attended by a native policeman driving some mules, until we were scattered by a heavy storm, when we all rode hither and thither, searching for the straying mules, or looking for shelter. With these and other delays, it was six o'clock before I left Mount Ayliff, being still twenty-four miles from Kokstad, where I was due to preach twice on the following day.
Very soon a heavy storm broke over us again, and the vividness of the lightning flashes only made the darkness that followed more intense. Seeing a light near the roadside, when we had gone some seven miles, and learning from the policeman that it was a white man's house, I determined to ask for shelter there. The reception at the first moment was not encouraging. When the owner came out, and I, sitting on my horse, asked whether he would give a night's lodging to a drenched clergyman, I was not a little astonished to be greeted with some such reply as this--"Oh no, you needn't try to take me in; I know better than that!" On my repeating that I really was what I professed to be, he came forward with a lantern, and then explanations rapidly followed. It appeared that his sons were out, and he thought that his interlocutors were these same sons trying to hoax him. After this, nothing could exceed the kindness of himself and his wife; and they insisted that I should breakfast with them as I passed on my return journey in the post-cart. The family must evidently have been fond of practical jokes; for after I had gone to bed at 8.30, in undisturbed possession of the sons' outside room, the door of which I locked, they on their arrival at a later hour thought that their father was inside, trying to make game of them, when I called out that the tenant was a benighted clergyman!
An early start the next morning brought me into Kokstad before eight o'clock, in plenty of time to fulfil my engagements. Two things struck me about the village: the beauty of its gardens and trees, and the dilapidated condition of its school-chapel, a lamp or two being blown out during service by the wind, and a bench giving way and precipitating its load to the ground. Since those days ecclesiastical affairs in Kokstad are very different.
Early on Tuesday, 8th, I started back again by post-cart. The driver had been recently appointed--in fact, this was, I believe, his first trip; and he was very nervous, which perhaps was not unnatural, considering the condition of the cart, and also of the roads down Brook's Neck and the Umzimvubu hills. (Cut roads have since been made in these places and elsewhere.) By his request I led the horses down the latter, expecting every moment to have them and the cart on the top of me. It was curious, and not reassuring, to be submitted to a critical inspection at almost every halt, and to hear the freely exchanged speculations as to whether we should reach our destination in safety or not. We slept that night at Qumbu, where I baptized a white child, and also held service (by special request) for the natives, and reached Umtata again by 1.15 P.M. on the Wednesday. Post-cart travelling in those days was neither of the pleasantest nor of the safest; but it must be borne in mind that things are much altered for the better since that date.
My other journey of some length took place in January 1883, when I went to Port S. John's and S. Andrew's in Pondoland. It had been my intention to start at 3.30 A.M. on January 1st, but my Kaffir guide was late in arriving, so that we could not get off till five, and consequently did not reach our destination before nightfall. It had been a very hot day, and the flies had been very troublesome in the valleys beyond Bunting, so that it had been necessary to keep one hand constantly employed in scraping them off my face. It was then by no means unpleasant to offsaddle at nine P.M., and have a three hours' nap on the veldt. When the moon rose we went on again, and soon reached the place where we had intended to sleep; but finding the white man out, continued our ride, and after another two hours' offsaddle and sleep on the veldt, arrived at Port S. John's by 7.15 on the morning of the and. The beauty of the surroundings at the Umzimvubu mouth is naturally very great, and was all the more striking after the comparative barrenness of Umtata. For the last few miles the path runs along the river side, with its broad expanse on the left, bordered on the other side by hills clothed with bush down to the water's edge, while on the right again the hills rise up covered with trees which droop down over the traveller, or form an arch above his head, until at last, where the hills culminate in the grand cliffs known as the Gates, the river spreads itself out into the sea, and a little village is found nestling in among the thick foliage which reaches right down to the shore. The climate here is at the least semi-tropical, and no better spot could have been selected for the six days' holiday which forms such an unusual feature in Kaffrarian life. As a general rule, holidays have to be unknown to us for various reasons; not only because it is impossible to procure locum tenentes for our vacant parishes, but also because it is hard to find suitable places for a holiday within easy reach, or places where the stray clergyman will not immediately find a call upon his services; and moreover it is no easy task to begin with, where parishes are so large, to get out of one's parish at all. However, on the other hand, there is not the same need for holidays in a country where the ordinary parochial work presents so much variety and change, and where the constant itineration from station to station enables the same sermon not unfrequently to be used again and again.
The week passed very pleasantly in bathing and boating, and on the Sunday we were enabled to have three services--the early celebration in the R.M.'s house, and English matins and Kaffir evensong under the trees which enclosed a church-like space, where indeed very soon afterwards the actual church was built.
On the Monday I left early for S. Andrew's, accompanied by a guide whom the R.M., from whom, as well as his wife, I had experienced great hospitality and kindness, had placed at my disposal. The Umzimvubu had to be crossed in a boat, and on the other side I found my own horse, which had been sent on the night before, and had been swum across the river. By 1.30 we were at S. Andrew's, and I saw with great interest the long wattle-and-daub building, and the neat wood school-chapel, surrounded by trees, which marked the place where Bishop Callaway had first thought to form his diocesan centre. The celebration on the following morning was the first which there had been at the station for many months. The vastness of the Egoso forest, in the immediate neighbourhood of which S. Andrew's lies, recalls the preconceived ideas of African scenery which so many form to themselves at home. A half day's ride back to Port S. John's, and two days' to Umtata, brought me home again in time for Sunday services.
When Bishop Key was consecrated in August 1883, it was decided that I should at the end of the year leave Umtata, where he was coming to reside, and go up to Ncolosi, to succeed him in the charge of S. Augustine's parish. Meanwhile, for the last few months of the year, that work was really placed in my charge. We were then very short-handed at Umtata. The Bishop was almost always away; Mr. Cameron was absent, acting as school-inspector; Mr. Adkin, now in priest's orders, had been placed in charge at Kokstad; Mr. Stewart had gone to Port S. John's, to commence church work there; and Messrs. Bean and Ntsiko, two deacons, with myself, had to serve the two churches at Umtata, together with all the outwork, and the parish of S. Augustine's. As regards the latter, it was impossible to do more than make periodical visits to Ncolosi and Umjika of two days at a time. At the former place a small wattle-and-daub house had by this time been built, and a small modicum of furniture had been left in it by the Bishop, such as a bed, table, chair, and some blankets. We used to bring up our own food with us from Umtata ready cooked, borrow such crockery as was needed from the native catechist, who lived some fifty yards away, from whom also we obtained hot water, and after meals would go down to the stream which ran hard by and do our own washing, as we had done our own bed-making earlier. In fact these little visits used to be to myself and whoever accompanied me a kind of picnic, and brought me into a pleasant preliminary relationship with those who were shortly to be formally entrusted to my care.
By the end of the year Mr. Cameron had completed his work as school-inspector, and the Rev. R. H. Godwin having come out to take charge of S. James', there was nothing further to keep me at Umtata.