Book ID 610
Young, Francis Brett Marching on Tanga, 1917
Page Number: 018
Extract Date: 1916
Other visitors there were in this expectant camp. For a moment I saw Bishop Furze of Pretoria, that most militant Christian. He was going to attach himself, he said, to Smuts's headquarters. `If he'll have me,' he added, for he knew the General well, and respected him for a strong man like himself. `He fears neither God nor man,' he said, `and particularly the former.'
We lingered, long after the hour of the `sundowner,' about the tent of old M-- the one-armed elephant hunter, and there many friendships were renewed. Here, too, came Cherry Kearton, the photographer of big game, who had now been attached to the Naval Air Service. He said that he was going to fly to Tabora. Tabora! ... that infinitely distant and unattainable capital, when we had barely crossed the frontier. He had come to ask M-- about the nature of the country on those high plateaux, and it was strange that he should have been able to ask a question about Central Africa which M-- could not answer; but seeing that this was the case there was nothing left for Kearton to do but talk about himself, and the old days when he had taken photographs of the Masai spearing lions in the bush-veldt. And all the time, beneath our light words, I think we were conscious of the fact that we were on the edge of something big; that now, for the first time in East Africa, we were coming to grips with the enemy; that it was going to be an invasion, a conquest; and that we were going to experience emotions such as had fallen to few Englishmen in this war at that time.
So night fell upon us, and in a little while there was no sound in the camp of Taveta but the shrill cicala trills in the mud walls of the perimeter.