So effective did these prove that their use was extended to the more dangerous portions of the country, and lines were pushed through the Magaliesberg district to form a chain of posts between Krugersdorp and Rustenburg. In the Orange River Colony and on the northern lines of the Cape Colony the same system was extensively applied.
When last mentioned De la Rey was in the Marico district, near Zeerust, where he fought two actions with Methuen in the early part of September. Thence he made his way to Rustenburg and into the Magaliesberg country, where he joined Kemp. The Boer force was followed up by two British columns under Kekewich and Fetherstonhaugh.
When he reached Zeerust a considerable portion of his command was withdrawn under C. Douglas to reinforce French, and the end of November found him again at Mafeking, too weak to work outside his own district. The Magaliesberg was patrolled by Clements and Broadwood, who made some captures.
From this time onwards there was nothing of importance in this part of the seat of war. It is necessary now to turn from the north-east to the north-west of Pretoria, where the presence of De la Rey and the cover afforded by the Magaliesberg mountains had kept alive the Boer resistance.
French and Clements took the field without delay, and although they failed in their plan to pin Delarey and Beyers on to the wall of the Magaliesberg, the Boer leaders were compelled to separate. Their brilliant and brief co-operation did much to awake the British nation out of its torpor.
This very important work of getting a firm hold upon the Magaliesberg was accomplished in July by Barton, Allenby, Kekewich, and Lord Basing, who penetrated into the wild country and established blockhouses and small forts in very much the same way as Cumberland and Wade in 1746 held down the Highlands.
At the end of July Ian Hamilton's force was diverted from its movement towards the north and ordered westward to relieve and bring away Baden-Powell; and Carrington was instructed to co-operate from Mafeking. Lord Roberts had decided to abandon Rustenburg and Olifant's Nek and the greater part of the Magaliesberg.
Again it came, stirring the celadon-green carpet of veld that is spread at the feet of the Magaliesberg Ranges, that were turquoise-blue as the scillas growing in the South Welsh garden that lies before the window where I write, this variable spring day.
The southern ridge was taken, and when the northern ridge was turned by Ian Hamilton, who was recalled from acting at large in support of French, the Boers retired. French passed through Zilikat's Nek and marched on Pretoria north of the Magaliesberg. On June 5 the capital of the South African Republic surrendered to Lord Roberts. The Boers streamed away towards the east.
He had been of those who, for many a night and many a year, eating food scarce fit for Kaffirs, had, in poverty and grim endeavour, seen the sun rise and fall over the Magaliesberg range, hope alive in the morning and dead at night.