Marie

Marie

MARIE H. RIDER HAGGARD DEDICATION Ditchingham 1912. My dear Sir Henry-- Nearly thirty-seven years have gone by more than a generation since first we saw the shores of Southern Africa rising from the sea. Since then how much has happened: the Annexation of the Transvaal the Zulu War the first Boer War the discovery of the Rand the taking of Rhodesia the second Boer War and many other matters which in these quick-moving times are now reckoned as ancient history. Alas! I fear that were we to re-visit that country we should find but few faces which we knew. Yet of one thing we may be glad. Those historical events in some of which you as the ruler of Natal played a great part and I as it chanced a smaller one so far as we can foresee have at length brought a period of peace to Southern Africa. To-day the flag of England flies from the Zambesi to the Cape. Beneath its shadow may all ancient feuds and blood jealousies be forgotten. May the natives prosper also and be justly ruled for after all in the beginning the land was theirs. Such I know are your hopes as they are mine. It is however with an earlier Africa that this story deals. In 1836 hate and suspicion ran high between the Home Government and its Dutch subjects. Owing to the freeing of the slaves and mutual misunderstandings the Cape Colony was then in tumult almost in rebellion and the Boers by thousands sought new homes in the unknown savage-peopled North. Of this blood-stained time I have tried to tell; of the Great Trek and its tragedies such as the massacre of the true-hearted Retief and his companions at the hands of the Zulu king Dingaan. But you have read the tale and know its substance. What then remains for me to say? Only that in memory of long-past days I dedicate it to you whose image ever springs to mind when I strive to picture an English gentleman as he should be. Your kindness I never shall forget; in memory of it I offer you this book. Ever sincerely yours H. RIDER HAGGARD. To Sir Henry Bulwer G.C.M.G. PREFACE The Author hopes that the reader may find some historical interest in the tale set out in these pages of the massacre of the Boer general Retief and his companions at the hands of the Zulu king Dingaan. Save for some added circumstances he believes it to be accurate in its details. The same may be said of the account given of the hideous sufferings of the trek-Boers who wandered into the fever veld there to perish in the neighbourhood of Delagoa Bay. Of these sufferings especially those that were endured by Triechard and his companions a few brief contemporary records still exist buried in scarce works of reference. It may be mentioned also that it was a common belief among the Boers of that generation that the cruel death of Retief and his companions and other misfortunes which befell them were due to the treacherous plottings of an Englishman or of Englishmen with the despot Dingaan. EDITOR'S NOTE The following extract explains how the manuscript of "Marie" and with it some others one of which is named "Child of Storm" came into the hands of the Editor. It is from a letter dated January 17th 1909 and written by Mr. George Curtis the brother of Sir Henry Curtis Bart. who it will be remembered was one of the late Mr. Allan Quatermain's friends and companions in adventure when he discovered King Solomon's Mines and who afterwards disappeared with him in Central Africa. ...