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All rights reserved





The Bed True Story Book needs no long Introduction. The
Editor, in presenting The Blue True Story Book, apologised
for offering tales so much less thrilling and romantic than
the legends of the Fairies, but he added that even real facts
were, sometimes, curious and interesting. Next year he
promises something quite as true as History, and quite as
entertaining as Fairies !

For this book, Mr. Rider Haggard has kindly prepared a
narrative of ' Wilson's Last Fight,' by aid of conversations
with Mr. Burnham, the gallant American scout. But Mr.
Haggard found, while writing his chapter, that Mr. Burnham
had already told the story in an ' Internew ' published by the
Westminster Gazette. The courtesy of the proprietor of that
journal, and of Mr. Burnham, has permitted Mr. Haggard
to incorporate the already printed narrative with his o\vn

' The Life and Death of Joan the Maid ' is by the Editor,
who has used ^I. Quicherat's Proccs (five volumes, published
for the Historical Society of France), with M. Quicherat's
other researches. He has also used M. Wallon's ]3iography,
the works of Father Ayroles, H.J., the Jeanne (VArc a
Domremy of M. Simeon Luce, the works of M. Sepet, of
Michelet, of Henri Lfartin, and, generally, all printed docu-
ments to which he has had access. Of unprinted contem-
porary matter perhaps none is known to exist, except the


Venetian Correspondence, now being prepared for publication
by Father Ayroles.

' How the Bass was held for King James ' is by the Editor,
mainly from Blackadder's Life.

' The Crowning of Ines de Castro ' is by Mrs. Lang, from
Schafer. ' Ortlion,' from Froissart, ' Gustavus Vasa,' ' Monsieur
de Bayard's Duel ' (Brantome), are by the same lady ; also
' Gaston de Foix,' from Froissart, and ' The White Man,' from
Mile. Aisse's Letters.

Mrs. McCunn has told the story of the Prince's Scottish
Campaign, from the contemporary histories of the Eising of
1745, contemporary tracts, TJie Lyon in MournMg, Chambers,
Scott, Maxwell of Kirkconnel, and other sources.

The short Sagas are translated from the Icelandic by the
Kev. W. C. Green, translator of Egil SJcalagrim's Saga.

Mr. S. R. Crockett, Author of The Baiders, told the tales
of ' The Bull of Earlstoun ' and ' Grisell Bailhe.'

Miss May Kendall and Mrs, Bovill are responsible for the
seafarings and shipwrecks ; the Australian adventures are by
Mrs. Bovill.

Miss Minnie Wright compiled 'The Conquest of Peru,'
from Prescott's celebrated History.

Miss Agnes Repplier, that famed essayist of America,
wrote the tale of Molly Pitcher.

' The Adventures of General Marbot ' are from the
translation of his Autobiography by Mr. Butler.

With this information the Editor leaves the book to
children, assuring them that the stories are true, except
perhaps that queer tale of ' Orthon ' ; and some of the Sagas
also may have been a little altered from the real facts before
the Icelanders became famihar with writing.


Wilson''s Last Ficjlit

The Life and Death of Joan
the Maid . . . .

How the Bass was held for
King James

The Croioningoflnes de Castro

The Story of Orthon

How Gustavus Vasa loon his
Kingdom . . . .

Monsieur de Bayard's Duel .

Story of Gudhrand of the Dales

Sir Pdcluird Grcnvillc .

The Story of Molly Pitcher .

The Voyages, Dangerous Ad-
ventures, and Imminent
Escapes of Captain Pdchard
Falconer . . . .

Marbot's March . . .

Eylau. The Mare Lisette

How Marbot crossed the

1 he piteous Death of Gaston,
Sun of tSie Count of Foix .



Rolf Stake


. 191

The Wreck of the ' Wager '

. 195


Peter Williamson

. 213


A Wonderful Voyage

. 22G

The Pitcairn Islanders

. '238






A Relation of three years'
Suffering of Robert Everard
upon the Island of Assada,
near Madagascar, in a Voy-
age to India, in the year
1686 247

The Fight at Svolder Island . 252

The Death of Hacon the Good 261

Prince Charlie's War . . 265

The Burke and Wills Explor-
ing Expedition . . . 324

The Story of Emund . . 346

The Man in White . . 354

The Adventures of ' the Bull
of Earlstoun' . . . 358

The Story of Grlscll Baillie's
Sheep's Head . . . 360

The CoJiquest of Peru . . 371



' III the Borcjhese gardens practised that royal game of


JiLst as his arm loas pois2d I fired ....

Joan in church

Joan rides to Chinon

Joan tells the King liis secret ......

TJie English Archers beirayed by tJtc Stag .

The Coronation of Charles VII ....

' Instantly a gust of ivind blew her off tlie rock into the

sea '

' One man . . . stalked about the deck and flourished a

cutlass . . . shouting that he ivas " king of the

country " ' .
The Indian threatens Peter Williamson . . . .
' Another party of Indians arrived, bringing twenty scalps

and three prisoners '.......

The savages attack the boat .......

' The madman dwelt alone '......

King Olaf leaps overboard

' In the Borghese gardens practised that royal game of


' I tvill, though not another man m the Highlands

should draiu a siuord ' . . . . • • •
' He galloped tip the streets of Edinburgh shouting,

" Victory ! Victory .' " '

Manco Qapac and Mama Ocllo Huaco, the Children of

the Sun, come from Lake Titicaca to govern and

civilise the tribes of Pent . . . ■ ■ ■
In one cave the soldiers found vases of pure gold, etc.


To face p. 10

„ 24


„ 42

„ 64


„ 92

„ 196
„ 214

„ 218

„ 230

„ 242

„ 256

„ 26G


„ 294






One of them Lifted his assegai 17
' The Fairy Tree ' . . . 20
Joan hears the Voice . . 28
Robert thinks Joan crazed . 34
' Sir, this is ill done of you ' . 37
' In a better language than

yours,' said Joan . . . 4G
' Lead him to the Cross ! '

cried she . . . .50
• Then spurred she her horse

. . . and xnit out the flame ' 53
Joan is icounded by the arrow 57
' Now arose adisputc among the

captains ' . . . . Gl
One Englishman at least died

well 03

Joan challenges the English

to sally forth . . .73
' Go she would not till she had

taken that town' . . . 79
Joan Captured . . .83
Joan at Beaurevoir . . . 85
' They burned Joan the Maid ' 89
The Bass attacked by the

frigates . . . .97
Ines pleads for her life . . 101
' I will send you a champion

wliom you tvill fear more

than yon fear me ' . . 107
Ortlwn's last appearance . .112
Gtistavus leaves school for

good ! . . . . .115
' Lazy loon ! Have you no

tvork todoV . . . . 119
' Surrender, Don Alonzo, or

you are a dead man ! ' . 123
' In tlie following night Gud-

brand dreamed a dream ' .127


The destruction of the idol . 130

' Still he cried to his men,
" Fight on, fight on .' " ' . . 134

Molly takes her husband's
place 139

' As we approached we saw the
pirate sinking ' . . . 143

Falconer knocks doicn a bird 145

Falconer returns to his coin-
panions ....

' Tlien, drawing their swo7-ds,
they dashed at the rest '

MarboVs fight with the
Carabineers in the alley

Lisette catches the thief in the
stable .....

' I regarded myself as a horse-
man ivlio is trying to ivin a
steeplechase ' . . . .

Lisette carries off the Russian

' Guided by the transport man
he reached me and found me
living '

' " I icill go, sir," I cried '

' We had to saw the rope ' . .

' TJie Count leaped up, a knife
in his hand ' . . .

Gaston in prison . . .

' But noiu here sits in the high
seat a thin stake '
' He fleeth not the flame
Who leapcth o'er the same ' . 193

The Captain shoots Mr. Cozens 202

Mr. Hamilton's fight tcith the
sea-lion 205

The Cacique fires off the gun . 208

Byron rides past the turnpikes 211












The captain cjuardcd hy the

mutineers . . . . 228
The Pitcairn islanders on

board the English frigate . 239
Old John Adams teaches the

children . .... 245
Death of the supercargo . . 248
' None will now deny that

" Long Snake " sails by^ . 255
Hacon casts his shield away . 263
' Go, sir, to your general ; tell

hivi what you, have seen . . .' 276
Escape of the Duke of Perth . 281
•* Li many a panelled parlour ' 284
' Och no ! she be relieved ' . 287
Mrs. Murray of Broughton

distributes cockades to the

c-oivd 289

James More wounded at

Prestonpans . . . 293
Crossing Shap Fell . . . 301
' Many had their broadsiuords

and dirks sharpened ' . 304

* The Prince caught Jiivi by

the liair ' .... 307
TJie poor boy fell, mortally

wounded . . . .311
The ' Bout of Moy ' . . . 315
The end of Cullodcn . . 322
■' The advance party of eight

started on October 29 ' . . 327


Golah is abandoned . . 332

' King, they are gone / ' . . 337

Death of Burke . . . 342

Bessd introduced to the Man
in Mliite . . . . 355

' Saio reflected in the mirror
the white figure '

' Sometimes lie xvould find a
party searching for him
quite close at hand ' . .

Alexander Gordon wood-
chopping in the disguise of
a labourer ....

Grisell brings the sheep's head
to her father in the vault .

A Peruvian postman . .

Almagro tconnded in the eye .

Many of the Spaniards were
killed by the snakes and
alligators . . . .

Amazement of the hidians at
seeing a cavalier fall from
his horse ....

Pizarro sees llamas for the
first time . . . .

The cavalier displays Jiis horse-
manship before Atahuallpa 401

The friar tirges Pizarro to
attack the Peruvians . . 404

The Spatiiards destroy the idol
at Pachacamac . . . 407








They were men whose fathers were men '

TO make it clear how Major AVilson and his companions came to
die on the banks of the Shangani on December 4, 1893, it will
be necessary, very briefly, to sketch the events which led to the war
between the English settlers in Mashonaland in South Africa and
the Matabele tribe, an offshoot of the Zulu race.

In October 1889, at the instance of Mr. Cecil Rhodes and
others interested, the Chartered Companj^ of British South Africa
was incorporated, with the sanction of Her Majesty's Government.

In 1890 Mashonaland was occupied, a vast and fertile territory
nominally' imder the rule of Lobengula, king of the Matabele,
which had been ceded by him to the repres3ntatives of the Company
in return for certain valuable considerations. It is, however, an
easier task for savage kings to sign concessions than to ensure that
such concessions will be respected by their subjects, especially when
those subjects are warriors by nature, tradition, and practice, as in
the present case, and organised into regiments, kept from year to
year in perfect efficiency and readiness for attack. "Whatever may
have been Lobengula's private wishes and opinions, it soon became
evident that the gathering of the white men upon their borders,
and in a country which they claimed by right of conqi:est if they
did not occupy it, was most distasteful to the more warlike sec-
tions of the Matabele.

Mashonaland takes its name from the Mashona tribes who in-
habit it, a peaceful and, speaking bj' comparison, an industrious
race, whom, ever since they first settled in the neighbourhood, it
had been the custom of the subjects of Lobengiila and of his pre-
decessor, Mosilikatze, ' the lion,' to attack with every cruelty con-
ceivable, raiding their cattle, slaughtering their men, and sweeping
their maidens and young children into captivity. Terrified, half
K. B


externiinatcd indeed, as they were by these constant and nnprovoked
onslaughts, the Mashonas welcomed with delight the occupation
of their country by white men, and thankfully placed themselves
under the protection of tlie Chartered Company.

The Mataliele regiments, however, took a different view of the
question, for now their favourite sport was gone : they could no
longer practise rapine and murder, at least in this direction, when-
ever the spirit moved them. Presently the force of habit overcame
their fear of the white men and their respect for treaties, and
towards tlie end of 1891 the chief Lomaghondi, who lived under
the protection of the Company, was killed b}' them. Thereon Dr.
Jameson, the Administrator of Mashonaland, remonstrated with
Lobengula, who expressed regret, saying that the incident had
liajipened by mistake.

This repi;diation notwithstanding, an impi, or armed body of
savages, again crossed the border in 1892, and raided in the
Victoria district. Encouraged by the success of these proceedings,
in July 1893 Lobengula sent a picked company to harry in the
neighbourhood of Victoria itself, writing to Dr. Jameson that he
made no excuse for so doing, claiming as he did the right to
raid when, where, and whom he chose. The 'indunas,' or
captains, in command of this force were instructed not to kill
white men, but to fall particularly upon those tribes who were in
their employ. On July 9, 1893, and the following days came
the climax, for then the impi began to slaughter every Mashona
whom they could find. Many of these unfortunates were butchered
in the presence of their masters, who were bidden to ' stand upon
one side as the time of the white men had not yet come.'

Seeing that it was necessary to take action. Dr. Jameson
summoned the head indunas of the impi, and ordered them to cross
the border within an hour or to suffer the consequences of their
disobedience. The majority obeyed, and those who defied him were
attacked by Captain Lendy and a small force while in the act
of raiding a kraal, some of them being killed and the rest driven

From this moment war became inevitable;, for the qiiestion
lay between the breaking of the power of Lobengula and the
evacuation of Mashonaland. Into the details of that war it
is not proposed to enter ; they are outside the scope of this
narrative. It is enough to say that it was one of the most
brilliant and successful ever carried out bv Englishmen. The


odds against the little force of a thousand or twelve hundred white
men who invaded Matabeleland were almost overwhelming, and
when it is remembered that the Imperial troops did not succeed
in their contest against Cetywayo, the Zulu king, until nearly as
many soldiers were massed in the country as there were able-bodied
Zulus left to oppose them, the brilliancy of the achievement of these
colonists led by a civilian, Dr. Jameson, can be estimated. The
Matabele were beaten in two pitched battles : that of the Shangani
on October 25, and that of the Imbembezi on November 1. They
fought bravely, even with desperation, but their valour was broken
by the skill and the cool courage of the white man. Those terrible
engines of war, the Maxim guns and the Hotchkiss shells, con-
tributed largely to our success on these occasions. The Matabele,
brave as they were, could not face the incessant fire of the Maxims,
and as to the Hotchkiss thej' developed a curious superstition. See-
ing that men fell dead in all directions after the explosion of a shell,
they came to believe that as it burst out of each missile numbers
of tiny and invisible imps ran forth carrying death and destruction
to the white men's foes, and thus it happened that to their minds
moral terrors were added to the physical dangers of warfare.
So strong was this belief among them, indeed, that A\henever a
shell struck they would turn and fire at it in the hope that thus
they might destroy the ' live devils ' who dwelt within it.

After these battles Lobengula, having first set fire to it, fled from
his chief place, Buluwayo, which was occupied by the white men
within a month of the commencement of the campaign.

In reply to a letter sent to him by Dr. Jameson, demanding his
surrender and guaranteeing his safety, Lobengula wrote that he
' would come in.'

The promised period of two daj^s' grace having gone by, liowever,
and there being no sign of his appearance, a force was despatched
from Buluwayo to foUow and capture him. This force, which was
imdor the leadersliip of ^lajor Patrick W. Forbes, consisted of ninety
men of the Salisbury Column, with Captains Ileany and Spreckley
and a mule Maxim gmi under Lieutenant Biscoe, R.N. ; sixty men
of the Victoria Column commanded by Major AVilson, with a horse
Maxim imder Captain Lendy ; sixty men of tlie Tuli Column, and
ninety men of the Bechuanaland Border Police, commanded by
Captain Raaf, C.M.G., accompanied by two horse Maxims and a
mule seven-pounder, commanded by Captain Tancred.

The column, which started on or about November 14, took with



it food for three days only, carried by natives, and a hundred rounds
of ammunition per man. After several days' journeying northward
the patrol reached the Bubye River, where dissensions arose between
Captain liaaf and Major Forbes, the former being of opinion, rightly
enough as the issue showed, that the mission was too dangerous to
be pursued by a small body of men without supplies of food, and
having no reserve of ammunition and no means of carrying the
womided. The upshot was that Major Forbes decided to return,
but was prevented from doing so by a letter received from Dr.
Jameson, stating that he was sending forward a reinforcement of
dismounted men under Captain Napier, with food, ammunition,
and wagons, also sixteen mounted men under Captain Borrow.
The force then proceeded to a deserted Mission Station known as
Shiloh. On November 25 the column, three hundred strong and
carrying with it three-quarter rations for twelve days, took uji the
King's wagon spoor about one mile from Shiloh, and followed it
through much discomfort, caused by the constant rain and the
lack of roads, till, on December 3, a point was reached on the
Shangani River, N.N.W. of Shiloh and distant from it about eighty

On November 29, however, Major Forbes, finding that he could
make small progress with the wagons, sent them away, and pro-
ceeded with the best mounted men and two Maxims only, so that
the actual force which reached the Shangani on the 3rd consisted
of about one hundred and sixty men and a couple of machine guns.

At this time the information in possession of the leaders of the
column was to the effect that the King was just in front of them
across the river, accompanied only by a few of his followers.
Under these circumstances Major Forbes instructed Major ^Yilson
and eighteen men to go forward and reconnoitre along Lobengula's
spoor ; the understanding seeming to have been that the party was
to return by sundown, but that if it did not return it was, if neces-
sary, to be supported by the whole column. "With this patrol went
Mr. Burnham, the American scout, one of the three surviving white
men who were eye-witnesses of that eventful night's Work, which
ended so tragically at dawn.

What followed is best told as he narrated it by word of mouth
to the compiler of this true story, and to a reporter of the ' West-
minster Gazette,' the editor of which paper has courteously given
periuission for the reproduction of the interview. Indeed, it would
be difficult to tell it so well in words other than Mr. Burnham's own.


' In the afternoon of December 3,' sajs Mr. Biirnham, ' I ^vas
scouting ahead of the column with Colenbrander, when in a strip of
bush we Ht on two Matabele boys driving some cattle, one of whom
we caught and brought in. He was a plucky boy, and when threatened
he just looked us sullenly in the face. He turned out to be a sort
of grandson or grand-nephew of Lobengula himself. He said the
King's camp was just ahead, and the King himself near, with ver^'

Sketch of

Route of the Wilson Patrol

and of the

Scouts'ride back to Major Forbes

Dratvn from memory Ijy Mr.Burnham

U.B. Supposed distance nf King's Wagons
from Forbes Camp 5 MHes,u)indings by
the Spoor might be a little more.

Open i/,''

Skerm 3 in Bush

' * - ^ —

*"*;.* }f''"\f^X'"9'^ Wagon

i^First Fight Dec. ''■th.
at Daylight


few men, and these sick, and that he wanted to give himself up.
He represented that the King had been back to this place that very
day to get help because his wagons were stuck in a bog. The
column pushed on through the strip of bush, and there, near bj',
was the King's camp —quite deserted. We searched the huts, and
in one lay a Maholi slave-boy, fast asleep. (The Maholis are the
slaves of the Matabele.) ^^'e pulled him oiit, and were questioning
him, when the other boy, the sulky Matabele, caught his eye, and


^n\e him a ferocious look, shouting across to him to take care what
he tohl.

' The slave-boy agreed with the others that the King had only
left this camp the day before ; but as it was getting dark, Major
Forbes decided to reconnoitre before going on with the column. I
learnt of the decision to send forward Major Wilson and fifteen
men on the best horses when I got my orders to accompany them,
and, along with Bayne, to do their scouting. My horse was
exhausted with the work he had done already ; I told Major Forbes,
and he at once gave me his. It was a young horse, rather skittish,
but strong and fairly fresh by comparison.

' Ingram, my fellow-scout, remained with the column, and so
got some hoiars' rest ; thanks to which he was able not only to do
his part of tracking for the twenty men afterwards sent on to us
through the bush at night, but also, when he and I got through
after the smash, to do the long and dangerous ride down country
to Buluwayo with the despatches — a ride on which he was accom-
panied by Lynch.

' So we set off along the wagon track, while the main body of
the column went into laager.

' Close to the river the track turned and led down stream along
the west bank. Two miles down was a drift ' (they call a fordable
dip a drift in South Africa), ' and here the track crossed the
Shangani. We splashed through, and the first thing we scouts
knew on the other side was that we were riding into the middle of
a lot of Matabele among some scherms, or temporary shelters.
There were men, and some women and children. The men were
armed. We put a bold face on it, and gave out the usual announce-

Online LibraryAndrew LangThe red true story book → online text (page 1 of 33)