Your welcome & long letter from Southampton (2nd letter) received on the 11th Oct.   I was pleased to hear that Arnold was progressing very favourably & that you expected to be leaving for home in a few days.   I only hope not too soon.   I can quite understand that A would crave for something more than Milk & Beef Tea & I should have been surprised at you if you had yielded.   Knowing how Mrs Humphrey had to be kept from solid food.   I am pleased to hear he was a good patient and gave you no trouble in carrying out the Dr's instructions.   I asked William the technical term for Camp fever, he says he hardly knows but thinks it is a mild form of Typhoid.   William says that Lucy had written you asking you to take Arnold over there thinking it would be a little warmer than Sheffield.   Of course you will see how Sheffield suits him - I did not write you last week (the first time I have missed) & I cannot say when you will get this, as all communication by telegraph & train is cut off.   War has really started & of course the first thing the Boers have done was to cut the telegraph wire & pull up the railway rails & blow up the bridge, so that Kimberley has no communication either by rail or telegraph.   Nothing very serious has been done in the way of fighting, the first that happened was that the Boers took up some part of the Rails between Vryburg and Mafeking and an armoured train which left Vryburg on the evening of the 11th came to grief & the Boers took advantage by firing on the stranded train & took the men prisoners.   After this they have worked their way down & have taken places like Vryburg, Taungs, Warrenton, destroyed the bridge on 14 streams, gone on to Riverton, done damage to the Water Works.   Riverton people fled across the river to Harris Farm.   Here is a little incident.  Mr Beaton was married on the 11th (I was not asked) & took his bride with the 2 children to spend their honeymoon at Riverton & of course when the Boers arrived they with the rest had to fly across the river.   It was rumoured that the hotel was burnt down, but this is not correct but the Boers have allowed ??? and all the visitors to return to the hotel but will not allow them to leave for fear of giving information so they are all prisoners including the Bride & Bridegroom.

News has reached us twice from Mafeking that the Volunteers have had encounter with the Boers and have given them leave both times.   You must understand that the places I have mentioned above, except Mafeking, which the Dutch have taken (only for a time) are places where there was no defence whatever.   A very sad affair happened in the Vryburg district.   Commander Scott (Miss Mostyn Owen husband) had charge of Vryburg & the towns people having warning from the Boers that they were coming in to Vryburg, begged of Scott to give in as they could offer no resistance & this must have prayed on his mind for the poor fellow shot  himself at Herman Abt's place.   At Modder River the bridge is destroyed & Glovers Hotel is in charge of the Dutch & all the people including several Kimberley-ites are all prisoners.  The line is pull up in several places and all communication stopped but it won't be for long.

As I said the water works at Riverton was damaged and the supply of water cut off so that the water is now only turned on for 2 hours a day.   Last Sunday at 12 o'clock Martial Law was proclaimed in Kimberley so that now we are entirely at the hands of the Military.   No one is allowed out between 9pm & 6am unless they have a permit from the authorities.   It is fun to hear the Town Guards at night (when sitting on the YMCA balcony) who are acting as police, shout out to people who are out after 9, "Halt, who goes there!" the answer "A friend".   Then the Guard says "Advance, friend, & give the countersign" if all is in order the Guard says "Pass on friend" & so it goes on night after night & I suppose will do until war is ended.   Mr Kent took Mrs K down to Cape Town the day before the lines were pulled up & he of course cannot get back & not likely to for a few weeks.  It makes no difference to me as the Creamery is going on just the same.


23rd October 1899