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THE CAPE PENINSULA ***




Produced by Melissa McDaniel and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)







Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have
been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.




THE CAPE PENINSULA

[Illustration: CAPE TOWN FROM TABLE BAY]




THE CAPE
PENINSULA

PEN AND COLOUR SKETCHES

DESCRIBED BY
RÉNÉ JUTA

PAINTED BY
W. WESTHOFEN


LONDON: ADAM & CHARLES BLACK
CAPE TOWN: J. C. JUTA & CO.
1910




DEDICATION


'Only those who see take off their shoes. The rest sit round and pluck
blackberries and stain their faces with the natural hue of them.'

* * * * *

'I am told there are people who do not care for maps, and find it hard
to believe. The names, the shapes of the woodlands, the courses of the
roads and rivers, the prehistoric footsteps of man still distinctly
traceable up hill and down dale, the mills and the ruins, the ponds
and the ferries, perhaps the Standing Stone or the Druidic Circle on
the heath; here is an inexhaustible fund of interest for any man with
eyes to see or twopence worth of imagination to understand with.'

R. L. STEVENSON.




CONTENTS


CHAPTER PAGE

I. THE CASTLE 1

II. EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY SOCIETY AND SLAVERY 15

III. IN THE BLUE SHADOW OF TABLE MOUNTAIN 30

IV. 'PARADISE' AND THE BARNARDS 46

V. THE LIESBEEK RIVER 53

VI. THE BOSHEUVEL, OR HEN AND CHICKENS HILL 62

VII. THE CONSTANTIA VALLEY 73

VIII. THE MOUNTAIN 78

IX. ROUND THE LION'S HEAD AND THE VICTORIA ROAD 92

X. FALSE BAY 100

XI. THE BLUE SHADOW ACROSS THE FLATS 110




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


1. Cape Town from Table Bay (_Frontispiece_)
FACING PAGE
2. On the Ramparts of the old Castle (moonlight) 5

3. Table Bay from the Kloof Nek 17

4. Blaauwberg and Head of Table Bay 32

5. Tigerberg and Diep River 34

6. Blue Hydrangeas at Groote Schuur 41

7. The Blue Shadow - View from Rhodes's Monument 45

8. The Southern Part of False Bay, with Cape Hangclip 47

9. Oak Avenue, Newlands 59

10. Silver Trees and Wild Geraniums 62

11. Fir Avenue - 'Alphen' 72

12. Constantia Valley and False Bay, with Cape Point 78

13. A Sunset on the Lions Head: Effect of South-east Wind 88

14. On the Victoria Road, near Oude Kraal 92

15. Camps Bay, on the Victoria Road 95

16. Hout Bay and Hangberg 97

17. Chapman's Peak and Slang Kop Point from Hout Bay 99

18. At Lakeside, looking towards Constantia 102

19. At Lakeside, looking South-East 103

20. On Fish Hoek Beach, Nord Hoek Mountains in
Distance 105

21. Simonstown Mountains, with Cape Point and Roman
Rock Lighthouses 106

22. Table Mountain from Retreat Flats 110

23. Sand Dunes 112

24. On the Sandhills near Muizenberg 115

25. At the Head of False Bay 118




CHARACTERS


MARINUS and THE WRITER, two slightly sentimental travellers, in modern
dress, generally riding-clothes.

_Immortals._

MYNHEER VAN RIEBEEK, AND ALL THE DUTCH COMMANDERS.
CAPTAIN COOK.
MARION LE ROUX.
MR. AND LADY ANNE BARNARD.
OLD MAN VAN DER POOL.
THE ENGLISH GOVERNORS.
SOME ENGLISH MIDSHIPMEN.
MYNHEER VAN RHEENEN, a brewer.
MR. BARROW, a naturalist.
MONSIEUR LE VAILLANT, a French explorer with a temperament.
LIEUTENANT ABRAHAM SCHUT.
KOLBÉ, a great liar with a sense of humour.
MYNHEER CLOETE, a wealthy farmer,

And some others.

_Chorus._

Hottentots, Bushmen, Saldanhas, Dutch Soldiers and Sailors, English
Soldiers and Sailors, Burghers, Slaves, Market-Gardeners, Wine-Makers,
Fishermen, and ordinary people from 1651 to 1910.




THE CAPE PENINSULA




CHAPTER I

THE CASTLE


Under three purple-flowered trees standing in the Castle courtyard,
one blazing hot morning, we, more sentimentally than travellingly
inclined, sat and rested while a khaki-clothed Tommy wandered round to
find a guide to show us over the old Dutch fort. We thanked Heaven for
his half-heartedness and for some shade. Marinus, fortunately for us
both, smoked his pipe of peace and of Transvaal tobacco, and I opened
the Brass Bottle, which, indeed, is no bottle at all, but, as everyone
not vulgarly inclined knows, a fairy-tale metaphor for one's
imagination. The barometer registered 97° F. in the shade, which is a
perfect state of atmosphere for the fumes of the Brass Bottle, in
which, all mingling with the smoke from Marinus' pipe, the building of
the Castle began.

The walls dissolved into blue air: the brasswork of the 'Kat,' the
block of buildings dividing the Castle into two courtyards, melted
into one small spot of liquid, leaving a dry, dusty, levelled yellow
plain, with an earthwork wall embodying the spirit of the dykes of the
Netherlands in its composition - for the green waves of Table Bay
lapped at its base. It was the second day of January, 1666; under the
blazing sun three hundred discontented-looking men were digging and
levelling the hard earth. At the westerly land-points were the
foundations of two bastions. Suddenly a group of men appeared, looking
like Rembrandt's 'Night-Watch' come to life, carrying sealed
parchments and plans, followed by many Madagascar slaves in clean
white linen tunics not to be renewed for six whole months, this being
the New Year. The slaves carried bags of food and a long tray made of
wood, on which were about one hundred small moneybags. One of the
Night-Watch, who was the Commander Wagenaar, walked up to a long table
whereon was a white stone; the guns of the old fort, crumbling to
pieces across the parade-ground, fired. It was noon, and the
foundation-stone of the Castle was laid. The three hundred weary,
sweating men raised a feeble cheer, the masons, carpenters, and
smiths, advancing separately, received from the hands of the 'Fiscal,'
Chief Magistrate and Attorney-General of the Colony, the gift of the
General Netherlands East India Company of thirty Rds., or rix-dollars,
tied up in the small black bags. Then the Company moved across to
another part of the ground, and the Predikant, the Rev. Joan van
Arckel, proceeded to lay another stone, followed by the Fiscal, Sieur
Hendrick Lucas, to whose honour fell the laying of the third great
corner-stone. Then were the entire three hundred malcontents, as well
as the soldiers who had also laboured, presented with two oxen, six
sheep, one hundred fresh-baked wheaten loaves, and eight casks of
Cape-brewed beer, 'which food and drink, well cooked and well
prepared,' whispered the Chief Surgeon, Sieur Pieter van Clinckenberg,
to Lieutenant Abraham Schut, 'let us hope may induce these sluggish
fellows to be better encouraged and made more willing to work.'

Lieutenant Abraham Schut, to whose duties of supervising the Company's
stables and the Mounted Guards in the country, and the watch-houses,
and the supervising of the workings and workers of the vineyards, the
orchards, and the granary, were also added those of 'keeping an eye'
on the 'lazy fellows at work in the brick and tile fields,' very
solemnly stared before him at the 'encouraged' diggers, and wondered
what reward the General Netherlands East India Company had laid up for
him.

But the Fiscal was addressing the crowd gathered round the Commander.
I had missed some of his speech because of these two babbling
Night-Watchers next me, but I now listened: 'And that it may also
somewhat be evident that by this continual digging and delving in and
under the ground, poets have also been found and thrown up, a certain
amateur this day presents to the Commander the following eight
verses.' The crowd drew closer to the Fiscal, who continued with the
amateur's verses:

DEN EERSTEN STEEN VAN 'T NIEUWE CASTEEL GOEDE HOOP HEEFT WAGENAAR
GELECHT MET HOOP VAN GOEDE HOOP.

_Ampliatie._

Soo worden voort en voort de rijcken uijtgespreijt,
Soo worden al de swart en geluwen gespreijt,
Soo doet men uijt den aerd' een steen wall oprechten,
Daer't donderend metael seer weijnigh (an ophecten)
Voor Hottentoosen waren 't altijts eerde wallen.
Nu komt men hier met steen van anderen oock brallen,
Dus maeckt men dan een schrik soowel d'Europiaen,
Als vor den Aes! Ame! en wilden Africaen,
Dus wort beroemt gemaeckt 't geheijligst Christendom,
Die zetels stellen in het woeste heijdendom,
Wij loven 't Groot Bestier, en zeggen met malcander,
Augustus heerschappij, noch winnend' Alexander,
Noch Caesars groot beleijd zijn noijt daermee geswaerd,
Met 't leggen van een steen op 't eijnde van de Aerd!

THE FIRST STONE OF THE NEW CASTLE GOOD HOPE HAS WAGENAAR LAID WITH
HOPE OF GOOD HOPE.

Thus more and more the kingdoms are extended;
Thus more and more are black and yellow spread;
Thus from the ground a wall of stone is raised,
On which the thundering brass can no impression make.
For Hottentoos the walls were always earthen,
But now we come with stone to boast before all men,
And terrify not only Europeans, but also
Asians, Americans, and savage Africans.
Thus holy Christendom is glorified;
Establishing its seats amidst the savage heathen.
We praise the Great Director, and say with one another:
'Augustus's dominion, nor conquering Alexander,
Nor Cæsar's mighty genius, has ever had the glory
To lay a corner-stone at earth's extremest end!'

[Illustration: ON THE RAMPARTS OF THE OLD CASTLE (MOONLIGHT)]

Lieutenant Abraham Schut came towards me; no, it was not this
wonderful Abraham, though he wore a uniform - the cheering of the crowd
still rung in my ears. 'Who wrote it?' I said. 'Wrote what?' The
subaltern stared at me. 'Built it, I suppose you mean,' he smiled. 'Oh
yes, built, of course, of course,' I muttered, hotter than ever.
Marinus' pipe had burnt out, and the officer who stood before us wore
khaki.

With the last words of the quaint Dutch poem ringing in my ears, we
followed our guide across the courtyard into an arched white doorway.
The old entrance, the sea entrance to the Castle, was blocked up,
because on the other side runs the Cape Government Railway, with all
its paraphernalia of tin walls, engine-rooms, dirty, ugly workshops,
gasometers, coal-heaps, all making up the foreshore scenery of Table
Bay, and delighting the eyes of the workers and drones who are daily
hurried (_sic_) along like 'animated packages in a rabbit hutch.'[1]

In the plaster ceiling of this archway is such a charming miniature
plan, in raised stucco, of the Castle buildings. From here we climbed
some stone steps and came on to the ramparts, called after the ships
that first brought Company rule to the Cape - the _Reiger_, the
_Walvis_, the _Dromedaris_. We climbed up stone stairs, and in white
stucco, in the wall, were the Company's arms - the big galleon in full
sail. We passed the cells - the one used by Cetewayo, the rebellious
Chief of the Zulus, the 'Children of Heaven,' had a special little
fireplace sunk into the wall - walked along wonderfully neat, bricked
ramparts past the Guard Tower, and climbed down more steps into the
courtyard.

We rambled through the quarters of the old Governors. Everything is
groaning under heavy military paint - teak doors, beautiful brass
fittings and beamed ceilings - and about a mile away, shut up in a
small ugly museum room, are the Rightful Inhabitants - the proper
belongings of these long rooms: the oak tables, the big chairs, which
once held the old Dutch Governors, the glass they used, the huge
silver spittoons, their swords, the flowered panniers of their wives'
dresses, fire-irons, brasses, china, the old flags, someone's
sedan-chair - all bundled together in grotesque array. The teak-beamed
rooms in the Castle would make a better setting than the little room
in the museum.

'Marinus,' I said, 'isn't it awful - this horrible clean paint and
these little tin sheds in the old garden? Oh, Marinus, _do_ let us
scrape this tiny bit of latch, just to peep at the lovely brass
beneath! And let us pretend we are putting back the old cupboards, and
coffers, and china, and let us burn all that' - with my eye on sheets
of neat military maps and deal tables. But Marinus, with the fear of
God and of the King, pushed me rudely past a Georgian fireplace into a
large room with a big open chimney. Over the grate, let into the wood,
I saw the most ridiculous old painting - like a piece of ancient
sampler in paint instead of silk - an absurd tree with an impossible
bird on a bough, and beneath it a terraced wall with some animals like
peacocks, with the _paysage_ background _à la_ Noah's ark, but
slightly less accurate. 'There is a superstitious story about that
picture,' said Marinus. 'They say some treasure was hidden in the
thick wooden screen over the chimney, and the picture was gummed over
it. The story goes that whoever should touch this picture, or attempt
to remove it, would die shortly afterwards. It may be that the curse,
or a bit of it, landed on the old, stamped brass screen which was
taken to Groote Schuur, shortly before Rhodes died. But no one would
want this horror, would they?' This story made me love the chintz
picture, and, after all, the colours were good; it was antique; it
was old; and there was treasure behind it!

Above this room are Anne Barnard's apartments, where she came to live
when the Secretary of State, Melville, gave 'the prettiest appointment
in the world for any young fellow' - the Secretaryship to the Governor
of the Cape - to Lady Anne's husband in 1797. She had to write Melville
several letters before she got this appointment. 'To pay me all you
have owed and still owe me, you _never can_ - but what you can you
should do, and you have got before you the pleasure of obliging me,'
she wrote. There is stuff for a novel in this sentence. The last
appeal, 'You owe me some happiness, in truth you do,' brought this
pretty appointment with a salary of £3,500 a year.

I looked out of a window of her room, which opened on to a small
balcony, and conjured up the procession she saw the day after she
landed - the taking of the oath of allegiance to King George III., the
crowd trooping in through the yellow-bricked gateway, clattering over
the cobble-stones, every man with his hat off (an old Dutch regulation
on entering the Castle on a public occasion). 'Well-fed, rosy-cheeked
men, well-powdered and dressed in black! "Boers" from the country,
farmers and settlers, in blue cloth jackets and trousers and very
large flat hats, with a Hottentot slave slinking behind, each carrying
his master's umbrella, a red handkerchief round his head, and a piece
of leather round his waist comprising his toilette.'

I heard voices under the arch-gateway leading to the inner courtyard;
the subaltern had another party in tow, and his nice voice was very
clear: 'Oh yes, wonderful people, these old Dutch Johnnies; everything
they built lasts so well. Now look at this old sundial; same old
thing! there it is, _keeping the right time still - what_?'

I laughed quite loudly, and the party looked up, but I had flown back
into Anne's room, which is haunted, so perhaps they thought it was the
ghost - same old ghost! a good lusty ghost - what?

I met Marinus in the inner court with a man carrying a lantern and
some huge keys - our guide to the magazine and armoury, which might
have been the crypt of some old European monastery, with what seemed
to be miles of white arches, arches with broad brass shutters over the
windows, covered with red or grey army paint.

The garden of this second courtyard exists no longer, though the man
with the lantern and the keys told us he remembered it - a pond with
bamboos and trees. Beyond the moat on the mountain side, on a low
level, is a disused Tennis court, a real court for the 'Jeu de Paume'
of the seventeenth century, with hard cement walls and cement floor.

Although Governor Borghorst, with his entire family, amused
themselves by carrying the earth in baskets from the ditch which was
to form the moat, the real work of the Castle was carried out from old
plans of Vauban by Isbrand Goski, in a great hurry, with the shadows
of French cannon and French flags disturbing his dreams. The shadows
proved worthless phantoms, for peace was declared before the fort was
ready. Later on, Sir James Craig, filled with zeal for the defence of
this ultra-important outpost, which had come, with some slight
misunderstanding, into the hands of England, caused more blockhouses
to be built along the slopes of the Devil's Peak, realizing the
ridiculous position of the Castle for defence purposes. Fort Knokke
was connected with the Castle by a long, low, fortified wall, called
the 'Sea Lines.' Beyond the Castle stood the 'Rogge Bay,' the
'Amsterdam,' and the 'Chavonnes' batteries, while at the water edge of
the old Downs - now called Green Point Common - stood the little
'Mouille' battery. The land on which, unfortunately, the Amsterdam
battery was built has become a valuable adjunct of the docks, and it
now stands a scarred, maimed thing with its sea-wall lying in débris.
A sad spectacle, like a deserted beehive, with all its cells and
secrets exposed to the dock world - half solid rock, half small, yellow
Dutch brick.

It is Wednesday morning in present Cape Town, we have left the
Castle, wept over the Amsterdam battery, and marched up Adderley
Street.

At the top of Adderley Street is the old Slave Lodge, now used for
Government Offices and the Supreme Court, low and white, with cobbled
courtyard and thick walls. About here, in the old days, began the
Government Gardens or 'Company's' Gardens, a long oak avenue running
through them. At the time of the Cession of the Cape to the English,
the Gardens had been very much neglected. Lord Macartney appropriated
a large slice for the rearing of curious and rare plants (the
Botanical Gardens).

Government House, on the left, was originally built as a pleasure
pavilion or overflow guesthouse during the 'Company's' régime. One or
two of the later Dutch Governors used it as their residence, and
during the short English rule in 1797 Lord Macartney and his
successor, Sir George Younge, ceased to use the large suite of rooms
in the old Castle. Poor Lord Macartney, because of his gout, found the
narrow, steep stairs in the Gardens House a great trial. He hopped up
the stairs like a parrot to its perch, says one of his staff in a
private letter; but Sir George Younge, fresh from Holyrood, rebuilt
the stairs and kitchens and the high wall round a part of the garden.
For the occasion the avenue was shut to the public, which nearly
caused a revolution. It has seen much, this low, yellow 'Pavilion in
the Gardens.' It has sheltered French, English, and Dutch: famous for
its ancient hospitality, its big white ball-room saw our
great-grandmothers, in white muslin and cashmere shawls, dancing under
the tallow candles: every tree in the garden hung with lights: Van
Rheenen and Mostaert ladies dancing away, while their husbands and
fathers and mothers stood outside and cursed their partners: but one
must dance, no matter what one's politics may be.

Hanging on the walls of the present day Government House are portraits
of the Past-Governors - Milner with the thinking eyes, dignified Lord
Loch, Rosmead, Grey, Bartle Frere benignly gazing. Skip some history,
and you have Somerset, stern and disliked; 'Davie' Baird, full of good
round oaths, in 'Raeburn' red; Sir Harry Smith of the perfect profile,
too short for the greatness of his spirit. Marinus grows sentimental
before this portrait, because of Juanita, Lady Smith, her beauty, and
her bravery. 'But she was fat' - this from me. Marinus looks
compassionately on such doubtful tactics. 'She was not fat when he
found her in that sacked Spanish town; she was not fat when he sent
her that long ride to return the looted silver candlesticks; she was
not fat when she rode with him into danger during the Kaffir
wars - wonderful energetic woman!' 'Sir Harry was very short,'
continued Marinus, whose methods are quite unoriginal. 'But his
dignity, and his beautiful nose!' I said; 'it reminds me of that story
told of Napoleon, who tried and failed, through being too short, to
reach a certain book from a shelf. A tall Marshal came to his aid,
and, looking down at the little Emperor, said: "Ah, sire, je suis plus
grand que vous." "Pas du tout, vous êtes plus long," said the
Emperor.'

Then there is the portrait of Macartney, looking straight across the
room at old Dutch Rhenius in wig and satins, whose shrewd, amused eyes
follow one about the room. I think Rhenius' dinner-parties were
probably amusing.

There are no other portraits of Dutch Governors; none of those who
followed in such quick succession just before the first British
occupation.

One of these, De Chavonnes, ruled with pomp and circumstance. There is
an amusing story set down in the 1720 _Journal_ wherein the Governor
maintained his dignity in the face of a humorous situation.

De Chavonnes was at the Castle, and into Table Bay sailed the English
ship, the _Marlborough_. She failed to salute the Castle on arrival.
Much bustle and fuss - such an insult cannot be passed over. The
Wharf-master, Cornelius Volk, is ordered to proceed on board and
inform the captain that no one will be allowed to land before the
usual salute is fired. With more haste arrives an English midshipman,
very pink and well-mannered: 'We have on board an elephant, your
Excellency, and are afraid the firing might frighten him.' His
Excellency and the Wharf-master and the chief merchant, Jan de la
Fontaine, together with the members of the Council and officers of the
garrison, stared at the pink-faced middy. De Chavonnes hesitated only
one minute, which is a long period of time for the middy, who I am
quite sure had compromising dimples; then came His Excellency's
answer: 'The excuse is allowed.'

A very dignified finale! Smaller things than elephants have unbalanced
the scales of peace.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] The Right Hon. J. X. Merriman.




CHAPTER II

EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY SOCIETY AND SLAVERY


We walked across the parade-ground, and past the spot where, in my
dream, I had seen the old Van Riebeek fort crumbling to pieces, with
its canal and little bridges: now, there is a building called the Post
Office, and instead of the canal, with its tree-bordered pathways, a
street called Adderley Street, with shop-windows where the trees
stood. Even the old Exchange is gone, with its stiff row of trees and
its chained posts and _kiosque_, before which, in the turbulent days
of Sir Harry Smith's régime, all Cape Town, English, Dutch, Malay, in
stock, and crinoline, and turban, with one united voice roared against
the Imperial Government's decree, which was to turn the Peninsula into
a dumping-ground for convicts. Crinoline, stock, and turban kept the
half-starved convict ships with their unwelcome freight for five
months at anchor in Simon's Bay. Sir Harry, with an eye of sympathy on
the mob, and the other eye of duty on the starving convict ships,
ordered food to be sent, offered famine prices: no one moved. A few


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