Stephanus Johannes Paulus Krüger is about the most accessible President on record. Every morning—except Sundays and holidays, after family worship, that is to say, from 5.30 in summer and 6 in winter to 8 o'clock—he gives audience to Boer and Uitlander, rich or poor alike, and also on each afternoon, from 4 to 6 and even later. His residence in the west end of Church Street, Pretoria, is quite an ordinary modest building of the bungalow type. The only distinction observable is two crouching lion figures, life size, on pedestals about three feet high, at the balustrade entrance to the front verandah. A lawn of about thirty feet across extends to the street limit, where at a very unpretentious gate two armed burgher guards are constantly stationed. These will receive an intending visitor's name, an unarmed domestic guard will then come forward, who, after a short scrutiny, if the person is a stranger, will report to the President and will immediately return to conduct you to that dignitary, who may be sitting under the front verandah or in the adjoining reception-room. There the President will readily shake hands and point to a chair, rather near by because he is slightly hard of hearing, the domestic guard standing or sitting between, but a good way back. By his questions and final remarks one feels assured that the topic introduced has been attentively listened to and fully grasped. While conversing, other audience-seekers would drop in, and, while waiting their turn, coffee would usually be served to all. The manners observed are devoid of any stiffness of etiquette, but rather marked with a cordial decorum approaching intimacy, most assuring to the simplest and humblest visitor.
The only leisure the President enjoys is the interval from 12 to 2, between his official labours at the Government buildings, which are about half a mile distant from his house. He drives there and back in a modest carriage attended by a guard of mounted policemen. His Honour is invariably dressed in black cloth, with the usual tall silk hat. Six feet high, with a slight stoop, broad shouldered, deep-chested, with well-developed limbs, arms rather long, the President presents a stately, burly figure, portly without obesity. When younger he was noted, as something like a Ulysses, for personal strength and prowess as well as for sagacity. Although seventy-five years old now, Mr. Krüger has still a remarkably hale bearing and an intellect of undiminished quality. His eyesight, however, has been suffering of late, rendering the attendance of an oculist necessary. His Honour is in his fifth term of presidency, and has held the office twenty-two years. His salary is £8,000 per annum, of which he probably does not expend £1,000, his habits being exceedingly simple and frugal, Mrs. Krüger being equally conservative and thrifty, preferring rather to expend money for her children and in unostentatious benevolence than in superfluities.
President Krüger is an exemplary Christian, an earnest student of the Bible since his youth, ever ready to employ his gifts to strengthen the faith of his people and to maintain their religious standard. He often occupies the pulpit, and on other occasions gives exhorting discourses. Upon the completion of the imposing Johannesburg synagogue his Honour was requested to preside at its dedication. It was an impressive function, and withal so anomalous and unrabbinical a departure—the head of the State, a devout Christian, opening the edifice for Jewish worship and addressing a discourse to the thousands of assembled Israelites. In his zeal and concern Mr. Krüger could not refrain from adverting to their blessed Messiah, the God-man of Jewish stock, rejected through ignorance by their forefathers, exalted since, but who loved His people nevertheless, as typified by Joseph's narrative when he revealed himself to his brethren in Egypt. He adjured them to a prayerful reading of their Old Testament, and he invoked God's mercy to remove the veil which obscured from their eyes their own and also the Gentiles' glorious Immanuel. The ceremony was concluded with perfect decorum, despite the surprise that the address had drifted into an impassioned Gospel sermon.
This grand old Boer is the very personification of noble patriotism and devoted concern for the welfare of his nation. While admiring and loving the man, what sorrow on the one side and indignant execration on the other do not overwhelm one, seeing that such a pattern and leader of men should have become the victim of that heartless Hollander coterie! One cannot but marvel at the same time at the alert skill and wily patience which must have been employed during the many years past to hold President Krüger with State Secretary Keitz and President Steyn in the Afrikaner Bond leash ready to let loose with unshaken convictions upon the supreme contest designed for them and their people by the machinations intended for upraising Holland at the risk of immolating the victimized Boer nation.