In a lonely valley under the mimosa-covered heights which dominate the Great Tugela is the lonely homestead of Spearman’s Farm. Those who built it and made a home in it could have had little thought that it would one day figure in the annals of history. The farmhouse and the farm buildings and the garden were enclosed by a rough stone wall, and upon this solitary homestead the hand of the Boer had fallen heavily. The house had been looted, and what was breakable in it had been broken. The garden had been trampled out of recognition, the gates were gone, the agricultural implements had been wantonly destroyed, and the unpretending road which led to the farm was marked by the wheels of heavy guns. The house was small and of one story, and was possessed of the unblushing ugliness which corrugated iron alone can provide. The door swung open, and any could enter who would, and through the broken windows there was nothing to be seen but indiscriminate wreckage. There was about the little house and its cluster of outbuildings a suggestion of the Old Country, and it wanted but a rick or so, and a pond with white ducks to complete a picture of a small English farm. The garden had evidently been the subject of solicitous care, and was on that account all the more desolate, and what delight it ever had had been trampled out of it by countless hoofs or obliterated by the rattling passage over it of a battery or so of artillery.
At the back of the farm, and at the foot of a green kopje, was a quaint little burial ground - little because it held but two graves, and quaint because these were surmounted by unexpected stone memorials of a type to be associated with a suburban English cemetery. These monuments were fitly carved, and were distinctly the product of no mean town, and they were to the memory respectively of George Spearman and of Susan Spearman. For some undefinable reason these finished memorials, so formal and so hackneyed in their design, appeared inappropriate and even unworthy of the dignity of the lonely graves at the foot of the kopje. Some more rugged emblem, free from artificiality and from any suggestion of the crowded haunts of men, would have covered more fittingly the last resting-place of these two pioneers. A few trees, almost the only trees within sight, shaded the little graveyard, and the trees and the monuments were enclosed by a very solid iron railing. It was in the shadow of this oasis that the dead from our hospital were buried.