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man, but the master, or boss, who looks after the working


I liked Pieter Maritzburg very much,-perhaps the best of all South African towns. But whenever I would express such an opinion to a Pieter Maritzburger he would never quite agree with me. It is difficult to get a Colonist to assent to any opinion as to his own Colony. If you find fault, he is injured and almost insulted. The traveller soon learns that he had better abstain from all spoken criticism, even when that often repeated, that dreadful question is put to him,—which I was called upon to answer sometimes four or five times a day,-"Well, Mr. Trollope, what do you think of- "-let us say for the moment, "South Africa ?" But even praise is not accepted without contradiction, and the peculiar hardships of a Colonist's life are insisted upon almost with indignation when colonial blessings are spoken of with admiration. The Government at home is doing everything that is cruel, and the Government in the Colony is doing everything that is foolish. With whatever interest the gentleman himself is concerned, that peculiar interest is peculiarly ill-managed by the existing powers. But for some fatuous maddening law he himself could make his own fortune and almost that of the Colony. In Pieter Maritzburg everybody seemed to me very comfortable, but everybody was ill-used. There was no labour,-though the streets were full of Zulus, who would do anything for a shilling and half anything for sixpence. There was no emigration from England provided for by the country. There were not half soldiers enough in Natal,-though

Natal has luckily had no real use for soldiers since the Dutch went away. But perhaps the most popular source of everything was so dear that nobody Nevertheless I did not hear that any

complaint was that could afford to live.

great number of the inhabitants of the town were encumbered by debt, and everybody seemed to live comfortably enough.


"You must begin," said one lady to me, "by computing that £400 a year in England means £200 a year here." this I demurred before the lady,-with very little effect, as of course she had the better of me in the argument. But I demur again here, with better chance of success, as I have not the lady by to contradict me.

The point is one on which it is very difficult to come to a direct and positive conclusion. The lady began by appealing to wages, rent, the price of tea and all such articles as must be imported, the price of clothes, the material of which must at least be imported, the price of butter and vegetables, the price of schooling, of medical assistance and of law, which must be regulated in accordance with the price of the articles which the schoolmaster, doctors, and lawyers consume,--and the price of washing. In all such arguments the price of washing is brought forward as a matter in which the Colonist suffers great hardships. It must be acknowledged that the washing is dear, and bad, atrociously bad ;

-so bad that the coming home of one's linen is a season for tears and wailing. Bread and meat she gave up to me. Bread might be about the same as in Europe, and meat no doubt in Pieter Maritzburg was to be had at about half the

London prices. She defied me to name another article of consumption which was not cheaper at home than in the Colony.

I did not care to go through the list with her, though I think that a London butler costs more than a Zulu boy. I found the matter of wages paid to native servants to be so inexplicable as to defy my enquiries. A boy,-that is a Zulu man-would run almost anywhere for a shilling with a portmanteau on his head. I often heard of 7s. a month as the amount of wages paid by a farmer,—with a diet exclusively of mealies or of Kafir corn. And yet housekeepers have told me that they paid £5 and £6 a month wages for a man, and that they considered his diet to cost them 15s. a week. In the heat of argument exceptional circumstances are often taken to prove general statements. You will be assured that the Swiss are the tallest people in Europe because a Swiss has been found seven feet high. A man will teach himself to think that he pays a shilling each for the apples he eats, because he once gave a shilling for an apple in Covent Garden. The abnormally dear Zulu servants of whom I have heard have been I think like the giant Swiss and the shilling apple. Taking it all round I feel sure that Zulu service in Natal is very much cheaper than English service in England, -that it does not cost the half. I have no doubt that it is less regular, but then it is more good humoured, and what it lacks in comfort is made up in freedom.

But I would not compare items with my friend; nor do I think that any true result can be reached by such compariComfort in living depends not so much on the amount of good things which a man can afford to consume, but on the


amount of good things which those with whom he lives will think that he ought to consume. It may be true,-nay, it certainly is true, that for every square foot of house room. which a householder enjoys he pays more in Pieter Maritzburg than a householder of the same rank and standing pays in London for the same space. But a professional man, a lawyer let us say, can afford to live, without being supposed to derogate from his position, in a much smaller house in Natal than he can in England. It may cost sixpence to wash a shirt in Natal, and only threepence in England; but if an Englishman be required by the exacting fastidiousness of his neighbours to put on a clean white shirt every day, whereas the Natalian can wear a flannel shirt for three days running, it will be found, I think, that the Natalian will wash his shirts a penny a day cheaper than the Englishman. A man with a family, living on £400 a year, cannot entertain his friends very often either in London or in Pieter Maritzburg; but, of the two, hospitality is more within the reach of the latter because the Colonist who dines out expects much less than the Englishman. We clothe ourselves in broadcloth instead of fustian because we are afraid of our neighbours, but the obligation on us is imperative. In a country where it is less so, money spent in clothing will of course go further. I do not hesitate to say that a gentleman. living with a wife and children on any income between £400 and £1,000 would feel less of the inconveniences of poverty in Natal than in England. That he would experience many drawbacks, especially in regard to the education of his children,-is incidental to all colonial life.


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I find the following given in a list of prices prevailing at Pieter Maritzburg in March 1876, and I quote from it as I have seen no list so general of later date. Meat 6d. per pound. Wheat 13s. per cwt. Turkeys from 8s. upwards. Fowls 2s. 4d. each. Ham 1s. 1d. per lb. Bacon 8d. Butter, fresh, 1s. 2d. to 1s. 6d. This is an article which often becomes very much dearer, and is always too bad to be eaten. Coals £3 6s. 8d. per ton. Good coal could not be bought for this; but coal is never used in houses. Little fuel is needed except for cooking, and for that wood is used-quoted at 1s. 4d. per cwt. Potatoes 4s. to 6s. per cwt. Onions 16s. per cwt. A horse can be kept at livery at 17s. 6d. a week. The same clothes would be dearer in Pieter Maritzburg than in London, but the same clothes are not worn. I pay £2 2s. for a

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pair of trowsers in London. Before I left South Africa I found myself wearing garments that a liberal tradesman in the Orange Free State, six hundred miles away from the sea, had sold me for 16s.-although they had been brought ready made all the way from England. This purchase had not taken place when I was discussing the matter with the lady, or perhaps I might have been able to convince her. I bought a hat at the Diamond Fields cheaper than my friend Scott would sell it me at the corner of Bond Street.

While in Pieter Maritzburg a public dinner was given to which I had the honour of receiving an invitation. After dinner, as is usual on such occasions, a great many speeches were made, which differed very much from such speeches as are usually spoken at public dinners in England, by being all worth hearing. I do not know that I ever heard so

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