Maritzburg, Saturday, Nov. 25.-Prepared sermons, wrote letters for the mail, and in the afternoon visited the hospital at the College. Took up a big lot of fly-papers which I had begged from Mr. Merrick. The next time I came I found them all in use and much appreciated, having caught thousands.
Sunday, Nov. 26.-I went to the Garrison Church at 8 and celebrated; at 11 I preached at St. Peter's. General Sir Redvers Buller was there with His Excellency. He arrived last night at 11.30. I had not felt sure of it till I actually saw him, as we have had so many unfounded rumours. His A.D.C. was there as well as Murray. After service Murray came to ask me to dine to-night. As the General left the church, a small crowd gathered outside and gave him great cheers. Then he drove round to the Legislative Buildings and saw the hospital arrangements there. In the afternoon I went to the College Hospital, and held a little service in one of the marquees. I got the sergeant in charge to make the necessary preparations, as Gedge had done the week before. It only meant moving a certain number of benches in, and I had a little congregation of about thirty. We had no books, so I could only give out a verse of a hymn at a time, and we sang in that way two of the best known-even so rather a poor performance. I was glad to have this chance of speaking to them, as in visiting it is difficult to do more than merely chat. They are too near to each other, and naturally too shy of each other to make anything in the way of private conversation possible. Then I went back to tea, and it was delightful on our verandah, as the day was neither too hot nor too cold. Then at 8 I went to Government House and had dinner with the Governor, General Duller, Lord Gerard, A.D.C., Colonel Hime, and Murray, and two secretaries. I sat on H. E.'s left hand and General Duller on his right, and Lord Gerard next to me. Duller had just got telegrams about Lord Methuen's second battle at Graspan.
The men I preached to this afternoon were awfully pleased when I told them I was going to dine with General Buller. They did not know for certain that he was really in Natal. We hear to-night that the line is open again to Estcourt. Whether that is due to the battle General Hildyard fought on Thursday, or to the news of General Buller's arrival, or to the accounts coming in of the battle of Belmont we cannot say; but we hope the tide has begun to turn, and that our innings is coming. The Boers have been making free with my diocese and with all the farmers' stock quite long enough.
Monday, Nov. 27.-In the town this morning I find a lot of fellows from the country districts who have come in in answer to an appeal from the Government for a corps of scouts, young farmers who can supply their own horses and rifles, and act, without pay, as scouts and guides. Mr. Frank Gordon of Enon told me that he and his two boys were going. They are schoolboys at Canon Todd's. Really Natal has played up splendidly. There will soon be hardly any adult males left who are not fighting, except just enough to keep the Civil Service going. Two train-loads of wounded and sick have come down, one with seventy and the other with eighty, since the line was open again to Estcourt. Of course a whole lot of these chaps knock up from the change of climate and being exposed on wet nights, sometimes without even tents to sleep in.
Tuesday, Nov. 28.-Went as usual to early service, and on the way back sent a telegram wishing Mother and Cecil many happy returns of the day. I wish I could be with them. There is not much new here. The enemy is in full retreat as far as the Tugela, and it is a question whether we can get there first and cut them off or at least save the bridge, but I doubt it. I fear we have not cavalry enough. I am going to have a companion in my loneliness. Murray and Major Heath came to luncheon to-day, and I proposed to the latter that he should come and stay here, which he accepted. He has been sleeping at the Brigade Office and getting his meals at the station. In the afternoon we had a meeting of the committee for the sick and wounded, and I proposed that we should supply the men in hospital with daily papers. I suggested boxes about the town, which might be cleared every day of papers which people drop into them. But the committee thought that we might as well spend the money in buying them straight out from the publishers. So they voted $s. a day, and I promised to go and see how many I could get for that. I subsequently got the publishers to give us 100 for the $s., and arranged that 40 should be sent to the Camp Hospital, 30 to the College, 20 to the Legislative Buildings, and 10 to Grey's Hospital. I think they will regard this as a great boon, as what they all want is news of the war and not old Strands or Graphics.
Wednesday, Nov. 29.-Report of another big fight-apparently the biggest of all-fought by Lord Methuen beyond Belmont. But the worst of it is they seem to have gained nothing except the enemy's position. There is no word of how many they killed or of any guns taken. It looks as if they might have it all to do again. In the afternoon I went for a few minutes to the College Hospital. In the evening I preached at St. Saviour's-at least it was hardly a sermon. It was a little account of the missionary work going on in the diocese. Mr. Clark wanted to get a series of addresses in Advent on the mission work of the Church in South Africa. A clergyman from Matabeleland has turned up. He was with Colonel Plumer's force, and was slightly wounded and taken prisoner. He was hit in the foot by a bit of a shell, and then carried off to Pretoria. His name is Leary. From there they sent him off to Delagoa Bay, whence he came round here. He has been to General Duller this morning to ask if they will employ him as a chaplain. So my chances of being wanted are so much the less.
Thursday, Nov. 30 (St. Andrew's Day).-About 6.30 I started for St. Cross, where I celebrated at 7, preparatory to the Profession of Sister Charlotte. They gave me breakfast afterwards by myself. Then I sat in the garden for half an hour and prepared an address; and at 9 the service for the Profession was held. It was the same as on former occasions. The Sister has been for ten years a most devoted worker in the society. She was the one who used to go all over the country begging for the sisterhood and orphanage. She even tackled President Kriiger and got £6 6s. a year out of him, though I presume the payment has lapsed for the present. After the service we all met in the Associates' room, and I had a long talk with Mrs. Marling, the wife of one of the officers of the 18th Hussars. She was in Ladysmith up to the moment that it was closed, being there all the time of the battle of Lombard's Kop. And she heard the shells flying overhead all day long. We see to-day by a reporter's news, who has run the gauntlet of the Boer lines, that there have been odd casualties from these daily shells, and among them is recorded the death of Dr. Stark. In the afternoon I went again to the hospital on purpose to see a young fellow who was in a good deal of trouble yesterday because Sir W. MacCormac had been round and had said that he must lose his leg. He had a bad smash in the thigh, and I know they were trying to restore feeling to the foot by hot bottles. I found, however, that he had been taken up to the Camp Hospital, that the amputation might be done this afternoon; so I must go and find him out there to-morrow.
I have got a telegram from Gedge asking me to go to Mooi River to be acting-chaplain with Lyttelton's Brigade; but this morning, just after I had got that, another chaplain turned up from England.