The veil is lifted for one last brief glimpse.
Ten years have gone by since the declaration
of peace, ten years each more wonderful than the last,
full to overflowing of life’s rich experience
of joy and grief.
By some strange turn in the hand of
Destiny, our heroine finds herself, after many vicissitudes,
an inhabitant of the Golden City that Golden
City which had wrecked her youth and very nearly wrecked
For years it has seemed incredible
to her that she should have been destined for the
position she now holds, a position of so much trust,
so difficult, so critical.
A plaything in the hand of Fate, she
thought at first, when looking from her balcony she
saw the Golden City, with its extensive suburbs stretched
out at her feet, and heard the distant, never-ceasing
roar of the innumerable mine-batteries of the Rand.
But the resistless hand of Fate was drawing her into
the sphere of work for which she longed most ardently woman’s
work, at home, abroad and the glamour of
Johannesburg stole over her in time.
The terms of peace have been fulfilled,
responsible government for the Transvaal and Free
State, and Hansie thinks with an intolerable pain
of that day at Teneriffe. Had she but known had
she but known but the cables (she had called
them “lying cables” then, and she was not
far wrong) had spoken only of a glorious victory for
the English and unconditional surrender on the part
of the Boers. No word about the terms, the only
terms on which the Boers would ever have yielded their
Responsible government has been followed
by the Union of the South African provinces.
South Africa is united in name,
if not yet in reality, but the time will surely come,
as we have said before, when, under the softening
influence of time, a great united race will be born.
Closely pressing around Hansie as
she writes are eager little faces, reverent little
fingers touching the scattered pages before her, brave
eyes of blue and brown, looking wonderingly into hers.
“Writing a book, mother?
About the spies? And the lemon-juice? Oh,
mother, what will the English say?”
And the accents falling on her ear
are in the expressive sweetness of the South African
Dutch, in its most cultured form.
Hansie ought to be a happy woman.
None of the joys of life have been withheld from her,
and yet and yet