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AMONG THE ZULUS. I ^ —

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AMONG THE ZULUS. — SANATORIUM OF OuR LADY OF GRACES," ESTCOURT, NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA, March 18th, 1897. A snake, a cobra, 26 feet long! Ok! what a monster! I did not see him alive, hub his skin was unfolded for my inspection by the Catholic priest of Newcastle, Father Ford, a few days ago. I have had no opportunity of learning the pedigree and biography of this charming reptile, but he appears to have inherited the spite of the great old serpent of Eden, for his last hours were spent in deadly conflict with the Catholic priest. Father Ford was riding through a field when the brute sprang at him. There was a sharp encounter, but the priest shot the serpent through the head. The animal was afterwards skinned, and it was the skin I saw 26 feet long and beautifully speckled. Goodness gracious what's that ? Thunder and lightning, why the world appears on lire, and oh! such thunder. But oh see the windows are being smashed fifty panes of glass riddled in a few minutes. Hail stones as big as hen eggs are flying down. The noise on the corrugated iron is fearful. It is like the end of the world. The nuns are getting under safe cover. But two persons have already been cut on the face severely by the hail stones. This represents a storm of hail that burst over Estcourt on last Friday week. In former days I was often caught in these grand thunder storms in the great Karoo in the Cape Colony; but in Natal during summer you have an average of two supremely grand thunder storms each week. They exhibit nature in full splendour and power. Quite recently I visited a real Zulu Kraal. It was on the top of a high hill. The chief re- ceived me very graciously, and in due course, introduced me to his wives, a little regiment, each having her own hut, in which she keeps her own children. Each lady was loosely encased in a blanket which serves as a bed at night, and as a state dress when white visitors are received. The children were free of all encumbrance of dress, except the girls who wore an Eye's apron about a foot square, embordered with beads. I bent lowly, and on all fours crept into the chief's own hut. The entrance to a Kaffir hut is only sufficient to admit one person at a time, and so low that you have to enter on hands and feet, but once within, it is clean, cool and com- fortable. There is jib' window, hence the cool- ness and there is no chimney, for the cooking (little does the Kaffir) is done outside. The shape of a Kaffir's hut is exactly like a bee-hive large enough to seat twenty persons. Th& material of which it is formed is first a frame-work of saplings or any bendable wood, then straw tied together in a most artistic fashion, the whole is made on the outside per- fectly smooth the floor within is of cow dung and burnt wood, tempered into a cement hard as steel, and polished quite brightly. The articles of furniture—barely what are wanted, not a useless article, mealies and snuff and mealie beer, assegais or spears, and their long and short handles—constitute the stock in trade. The women work, the men hunt and fight when required, but all lead an ■ easy, quiet, happy life. The chief's wealth con- sists in cattle. The girls, when marriageable, are sold to the coming bridegroom at ten or twelve oxen each, and a metal pot and wooden spoon. The oxen are given to the father, and the pot ,and spoon fo the mother. You will see, therefore, that children are a Source of wealth to the Zulu, and the more children he has the richer he becomes. Hence polygamy. Here then is a difficulty that Christianity lueets in dealing with the Kaffirs. You never see a. deformed Kaffir, nor a cripple, for if children are not well formed, and healthy, they are-well not killed, but left to die. The ease with which the Kaffirs have always lived makes it difficult to induce them to work; servants will rarely work for over six Months in the year; when they get their wages and return to their kraal, where they bask in the sun and eat mealies, and drink mealie beer and dance and sing and laugh for six months tnore. Hence you must have two strings to your how.; that is, two sets of servants to meet your Wants the whole year out. Faithfully yours, JAMES O'HAIRE. March 19th, 1897. Natal, once a part of Zululand, is now a British Colony. From north to south it is 255 miles J°ng; from west to east 160 miles. The climate is hot, charming, very healthy. The population is: Zulus, 500,000; Whites, 45,000; Indians, 42,000. The colony is governed by its own lws-Home Rule. The Queen's representa- tive has less trouble and the people more self reliance. English magistrates have charge of districts, btilt under them Zulu chiefs, and under the Zulu chiefs, what we call Indunas. The police are White and Zulu. The Zulu police arrest Only coloured people. They have a uniform, but never wear shoes, they are bare legged and bare footed. Indeed, it would be a pity and a shame to cover the splendidly formed leg and foot of a Zulu. The Kaffirs and Indians all Wisely go barefooted. I now turn back to the subject of my first three letters already published by you, and gamely Catholic Missionary Work in Natal." Way I premise that the Catholic Vicariate of !1tal and Natal as a political colony mean widely different things. The Vicariate of Natal, of Which Bishop of Olivet is Vicar Apostolic, is a.r more extensive than Natal Colony, for it ?braces, Pondoland, Swaziland, Kaffmria, and ?hila.Bd An enormous charge for one Bishop. ?y remarks hitherto have been confined to •Natal itself because up to this I ha.ve not travelled beyond the political boundaries of Natal. I write as a Catholic traveller, and as snch llly heart swells with gratitude to God who has s° signally blessed the efforts of Catholic ??. ssionaries in this colony, and hence my Expressions of admiration at what is being done for the Zulus, the Indians, and the Europeans. I will close this letter by a. few words about the Religious Orders of Women and their work In Natal, :p I have already written of the nuns of the ecIOUs Blood who are working side by side \Vlth the Prappist Monks. Their work is exclusjveiy for the Zulu girls. There are 200 of those holy sisters in convents pattered along the line of the nineteen Prap- Plst's missions. They have day schools, and industrial sChools, and orphanages, all for the Zulus. Their ^°rk is one of deepest self-abnegation, and Interest in souls, and love of God. But I now ?ome to other Orders. The sisters of Nazereth -have a house in the Berea, Durban—a very fine tlollge) with extensive grounds. But they are "together overcrowded. They must build. ?hese sisters are so well-known in England that I need not say more of them. Th,Y have seven establshments in South ^»tA rica. Then there are the Dominicans ot koru I wrote in my second letter on the SSlons of Oakford. There is also a Dominican Convent in New- ? le doing substantial work, and there is a third Dominican Convent in Zululand. Next comes the order of the Holy Family. They have a Noviciafe in "Maria Stella" Durban, an oTphanag-e at the Bluff, and very large day and boarding schools in Durban, and also at Peitermaritzburg, as well as an orphan- age at the latter city, and the care of the Indian day schools in the same two town*. They are devoted to Zulu and Indian work, and also to Europeans. Their schools for young ladies rank among the first schools in Natal, and would be highly prized in the first cities of Europe. Finally there are the Sisters Hos- pitallers of Saint Augustin." There is a French cloistered order, but many of the subjects are Irish. They want Irish subjects badly, or English speaking subjects. I would recommend strongly young ladies in England or Ireland, who have, first, a desire for the religious life second, an aptitude for education or nursing the sick, and third, an inclination for the foreign missions, to apply to the Rev. mother of this convent with the view of devoting their lives to this apostolic propaganda. This is a very old order, dating brick to the 12th century. Their houses are chiefly in France and America. In Natal they have their establish- ments (vice) at Durban, Estcourt and Lady- smith. They have day schools and young ladies' boarding schools, orphanages and sanatorium, patronised by non-Catholics as well as by Catholics. Their convents are magnificently situated. Indeed, they have the most healthy and picturesque positions in all Natal. Yours faithfully, JAMES O'HAIRE.

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