Maritzburg, Tuesday, Dec. 5.-All right this morning. Headache quite cleared away. lam still pretty slack in Maritzburg. None of the clergy trouble me with letters now. They have all so much else to think of. And travelling is no use-half the diocese under water, so to speak, and the other too preoccupied to be able to give their thoughts to Bishops or sermons.
I have been telegraphing to General Lyttelton and Gedge as to printing hymn papers which the former wants. It is nice when a General cares about these things for his men. Gedge has some printed somewhere, but he cannot get at them. He asks if I can go to Estcourt next Sunday, but I am obliged to tell him I cannot, as I have a Confirmation in Maritzburg, for which I have been preparing the St. Anne's girls so long. In the afternoon I went up to the Camp Hospital to see the poor fellow who had his leg off a few days ago. The doctors were just dressing it, which is a bad time for him; but they speak well of him and say that he is going to pull through, they hope. This is more than they thought a few days ago.
Wednesday, Dec. 6.-Another uninteresting day. Wrote letters all the morning, reorganizing the Diocesan Magazine for next year. In the afternoon I went to call on Mrs. Gunning and Mrs. Graham, and to see their Convalescent Home. Mrs. Davis, the wife of the proprietor of "The Witness," has given part of her house for the purpose. She is living in Durban. Mrs. Gunning is the widow of the Colonel of the first 60th Rifles who fell at Talana. Mrs. Graham is wife of Major Graham, a staff officer, late D.A.A.G. under General Symons. They have started this Home together for convalescent officers.
Thursday, Dec. 7.-Very hot. In the afternoon I visited the patients in the Legislative Building. I found one man of the Carbineers is a brother of a young curate whom I met in East London last year. I promised him that I would look up his brother when I was in his neighbourhood. I little thought then that I should meet him as a wounded soldier in hospital.
Danks is still there. They will not let him go till his head needs no more dressing. When he goes I expect they will send him to Mrs. Gunning and Mrs. Graham. I had nice chats with several of them. The armoured train men seem on the whole to have got on well. They are mostly getting about again. There is one poor chap who was wounded at Elandslaagte who is still very bad, and it is about equal chances whether he lives or dies. He is shot through the lung. I hear that he himself once intended to take orders. His brother, he told me the other day, was one of the curates of the parish church of Leeds. In the evening I dined with the Johnstons, to meet Sir William MacCormac.
Saturday, Dec, 9.-At a moment's notice they have started the enrolment of a corps of stretcher-bearers, because it seems likely that the great battle may be fought at a distance from the railway, and therefore they may have to carry the wounded men a long way. So they have advertised for-I believe-2,400 men, and there seems to be no difficulty in getting them. Seeing that already about a quarter of the adult English population of Natal is under arms, this is remarkable, but it shows what crowds of refugees we have. They are offered 5s. a day, and there is to be an officer to every twenty-four men, he getting 10 s. a day. The whole is under Imperial officers. It is amusing to find the officers composed of all sorts of men who cannot otherwise get up to the front: for instance, men who came down wounded and now cannot rejoin their regiments in Ladysmith. The head of it all is Colonel Stuart Wortley of the 60th Rifles. A number of them were paraded in front of this house this morning. They are a mixed lot, some of them looking like well-to-do business men, and others a very rough set from the Transvaal. They will have, of course, to run certain risks in carrying men off the battlefield; but they seem eager to get taken on.
In the afternoon I went to the College Hospital, but found that nearly all the patients had been shipped off to Wynberg. They were cleaning out the big hall with a view to the expected large influx this week. There is something rather grim in making all these preparations for a great slaughter, when one thinks that the very men who are making all the plans may be among those to benefit by them. There were still a certain number of men in the marquees outside, and I went round to them. At dinner-time Major Heath brought me more news than we have had all this week: news of a successful sortie in the night (December 8th) from Ladysmith, in which Natal Volunteers and Light Horse, under General Hunter, surprised the enemy and took two guns and a Maxim, bringing the Maxim away with them, and blowing the guns up with gun-cotton, as too big to bring. This is just the sort of work the Carbineers have been longing to do, and they will be very pleased with their success. I expect the knowledge that General Duller is now near makes General White more inclined to a bold policy. Hitherto he has been so awfully handicapped by having such vast supplies to guard.
Sunday, Dec. 10.-Celebrated at 8 at the Garrison Church. Mr. Leary from Mashonaland is taking the rest of the duty there to-day, as Mr. Thompson is gone to Nottingham Road for the day, as I did last Sunday. At 11 I attended the Garrison Church and read prayers. Leary preached. He was curate of Claremont before he went to Mashonaland and so was under Bishop Gibson. I lunched at 1 by myself, and at 3 went to the Cathedral for the confirmation. The heat was tremendous today, a hot wind, but I felt it less than those who had nothing to do but think how hot they were. There was a very full church, in spite of the heat, and there were 106 candidates.
It is always nicer and seems to give one heart, when one is addressing those one has helped to prepare. Then I came home to tea and spent a quiet evening, not going to church again. Major Heath has been obliged to work all Sunday, and even to go back to his office after dinner. He tells me there is bad news today, though it is not mentioned in the paper and will be kept quiet, I dare say, for a day or two. It is a reverse to Gatacre's column. It is serious enough to make them divert a regiment that was coming here-the Derbyshire-and send them to East London instead.
Monday, Dec. 11.-Another rather slack and unsatisfactory day. In the afternoon I visited the Camp Hospital and saw my friend Massey, who has had his leg off. He seems to be doing well, and I should hope is not in danger now of further mortification. He seems very grateful to Sir W. MacCormac, who not only saved his life by ordering the leg off at once, but also saved the upper part of his leg by making them take it off below the knee instead of above, as other surgeons wanted to do. There is a little account of how he was rescued, in the paper to-day, which I thought he might like to send to his people, so I took it up for him, but I found he had it already. In another ward I visited some of the men of the West York and the Surrey Regiments, who were wounded at the fight on Willow Grange Hill. One of them, a Leeds man, was taken prisoner by the Boers after his wound. He says that nearly all their medicals were English or Scotch-several of them Edinburgh men. They treated him well, and sent him back after a couple of days. I suppose they did not want to be burdened with useless prisoners so far from their base. One young fellow of the West Surreys had a bullet extracted from his chest. He showed me the stitches right across his breast where he had been cut open, and also the bullet, of which he was very proud; he said he had been offered a lot of money for it. Another man had two bullets which had been taken out of him, one a Mauser bullet, which had been flattened either against a rock or against his bone, and the other a round bullet from a shrapnel shell. They all seemed pretty cheerful. There was one American who had joined the Army Service Corps, and was down with malarial fever. It was a most terrible day for damp sweltering heat. We sat on the verandah after dinner, when it began to be tolerable.
Tuesday, Dec. 12.-A great relief to-day in the weather, cool this morning and almost cold this afternoon. I have had a letter from Gedge asking me to make arrangements in connection with General Wolfe Murray for the chaplaincy of all the troops on the line of communications, i.e., Nottingham Road, Mooi River, Brinbella, Estcourt, and probably after a day or two Frere. So I went to the Brigade Office and made my proposal. In the afternoon I paid a visit to Tylor, the Leeds Clergy School man, in the Legislative Hospital. He is doing fairly well, but he still has a very high temperature at times, and I don't know what to think of his chances of pulling through. Then I directed all my circulars to the clergy. Major Heath brought me news at tea-time of another sortie at Ladysmith, this time by the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade under Colonel Metcalfe, which seems to have succeeded in capturing another gun. But they were attacked on their return march, and lost some, but must also have killed a good many Boers, as they got into them with the bayonet. We are a bit uneasy about Lord Methuen's column, as beside persistent rumour of fighting from Boer sources we have no direct news from him, which looks suspicious.
Wednesday, Dec, 13.-This afternoon I thought I would take some real exercise, so I went on my bicycle to Wilgefontein. I have never been far along that road before. I found it rather pretty, and it is a lovely hill coming back to coast down, a long gradual slope with a road like concrete. I got thoroughly hot, which was what I wanted, and enjoyed a change and my tea. Major Heath has now got two ponies, so we may get a ride together some day; but he is so busy that he does not often get time. The news has come of the terrible battle at Modder River, but we wait to know if the second day (yesterday) was more decisive.
Thursday, Dec. 14.-The fight yesterday (or rather on the 11th) at Magersfontein seems to have been rather more effective than at first appeared. At all events, the enemy is said to have lost terribly and to have left the field. So I hope it may be set down to the side of profit and not loss. But, in order to turn the scale, everything now depends on General Buller's tactics round Ladysmith.
This morning there was a meeting of the committee for distributing the Lord Mayor's Fund at Government House. In the afternoon I went to see the Commandant of Maritzburg about the electric light for the Garrison Church. I have got new plans from the architect to-day for the chancel and tower. I think they are an improvement on what we had before, and I hope we may get the appeal printed before long. At 4 I went to give the prizes at St. Anne's. They were to have no function at all; so no outsiders were there, only the girls, the mistresses, and myself. However, we had a nice little talk, and said nice things about each other. It brings home the unpleasantness of this war when you see Dutch and English girls side by side in the same school. But I am glad to hear that it has not caused a feeling of bitterness between the girls. Of course some are gone. Some of the Transvaal parents sent for their girls at the beginning of the war; at least one did. Others have left them all through; while many of the English parents at a distance have taken their girls away because of the scare. In the evening I went to the Johnstons for a little while and met Major Bird there. He is still down here in consequence of a fall from his horse.