Sunday 24th December - Christmas Eve

I don't know when you will get this, but I wish you all a merry Xmas & a happy New Year.   I sincerely hope that Arnold has recovered from his attack & that you are keeping well.   Should the Military Authorities make it compulsory for everyone to leave I shall in all probability come home, you see there will be no business doing for some 6 months or more.   The DeBeers are going to close down on account of having no coal, wood or dynamite & we have now got into the 10th week of the siege & we don't know when communication is likely to be got through and when the line is opened it is only going to be open for a week or two, to get the troops through, also foodstuff for the troops, ammunition too.   The line will be guarded for that short time & then the troops will be withdrawn when they have got sufficient thro. & then in all probability the Boers will pull up the line again & we shall be shut off for some time longer.   Don't take it for granted that I am coming home but supposing I had to leave, what should I do with all the packed cases.   I should not be able to bring anything away & you can sell nothing.   I think I shall open them & repack all the linen & anything that one might sell & things we want to keep pack them in readiness to send home to you, as you will not be coming out here again for a very long time.  Of course, all will depend upon circumstances.   At the fight near Modder River on the 11th Dec. the British lost over 800 killed & wounded, it is stated the Boer losses were about 2000 & that they are still lying in heaps in the Kopje because they have not ground to bury them in, it being all stones.

17th December 1899

31st December 1899