No corrections yet
STHE W.A. CONTINGENTi LETTER FROM REV. STANLEY - REID. Under date March 25 the Rev.. Stan ley Reid, formerly of the Boulder, :and now .a miember of the W.A. contingenit in South Africa, writes:- "Here we are camped in a fearful state of chaos. - It has been pouring for over two days, ^and the flat on which we are camped is a veritable lake, covered with two or three inches of water. We have no teits, in fact they are worse I than useless;-, as the rain, is so-solid and the water so deep'that it floods them out. I am at present bare-legged and footed for the purpose of walking about.. We scame in. here (Vanwykerlic) two. days 'ago; .and. were to have stayed only. one night, butihe roads are now impassable, and it is hard to say how long we shill be here. There seems -little -or no -chance of our seeing any active service. The': war seems -to be iiarlyover :and 'bur work seems to be to patrol 'the, country and keep rebels from rising. About 2o of us are camped in a mud house.- about ':o by- -o feet, "anid the thatch roof;leaks like anything; and as `our kit bags, are- a:l lost re have no .,hange of -clothing. Most of .us have Sbeen wet through- anid the only way is to allow them to dry on- you. One of our fellows has-got -rheumatics pretty badly. The other day as we were -marching along across the veldt we saw an ostrich in .the- distance. .He ambled toiards us and came right up.. Finally he dropped--into the lines and marched. along with us for about-five miles when .we had to locklhim up in'a fairm house -stable to get rid of him.Now I must have 40 'winks, as I have been on tradsport guard for 34 hours, and had .no sleep. the night before-that. No mail to hand yet fromi Abstralia, although it is ex p..ectedain a-day or two. - We have -been marching ithrough the- same m kind of country- exactly as a.t first. No trees, no gras,. but waste veldt, the mbst bar ren part of South Africa:. Our "destina tion is Rennart, and probably ;froin that t- De Aas -The farmhiioues along. the road look very iiliite and dlean; in fact, one is suiprised .how- the.gardens bcanl ok sf weill. 'My' face is in a very -bad stote from sun'bitrn.i my ears, and " -lower lip especially, but it ouglfhto get :well rapidly now.\ ' Natirally our horses are not :looking vety -well -now; thii. cold rainy 'weather has, not improved their colds and influenzas. However, we` are not losing:niiny, while eleven of the Canadian horses died the night before last. Neatly all the'farmhbouses we camp near or visit are Rutch, and some of them decidedly opposed to the English--won't sell us anything, and lo&k very .sour when we appear on the scene. The roads are likely to be so heavy now that it will be. impossible for the transport to move for some days. It will be fearful staying on. here, with literally not a foot of dry soil to be .found. Offr saddles and rifles are in a fearful state of mud and wet, and there- is no chance of cleaning them until .the weather breaks. Most of the fellows are vei.y disappointed,but there is no chance of active service, and that they are too late -you, I expect, will- rejoice at this. Dread costs us. Tommies 2-. a 2lb loaf about -here, and then it is .icaFly always sour and sodden. Still, after hatd biscuits one is willing to sac rifice a- good deal. The rain is pour ing on with renewed force,, and I can feel it -trickling and percolating over me, so you will excuse my letter. I .will wmake- up for it when we reach civilisa.. ktion, ' We may be returning to Cape 'Town very soon; in fact, the forward movements of our contingent are quite- uanknowna. As:it is we re _marchamg
f-ather and farther from any railway. . they talk about sending al the co lonial troops. to England after; the war is over, but this may.be only rumor: A. dozen of our most useless fellows have been left behind at Carnarvon,. so our contingent is not increasing. iDon't be surprised if you hear of my return soon: Things are not at all warlike here at present, and they report that Kruger has surrendered."