Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/346

This page has been validated.
304
MY LIFE AND LOVES.

world, I was so untutored, so thoughtless that I got practically nothing out of my long journeying.

Like Odysseus I saw many cities of men; but scenes seldom enrich the spirit: yet one or two places made a distinct impression on me, young and hard though I was: Sidney Bay and Heights, Hong Kong, too; but above all, the old Chinese gate leading into the Chinese City of Shanghai so close to the European town and so astonishingly different. Kioto, too, imprinted itself on my memory and the Japanese men and girls that ran naked out of their hot baths in order to see whether I was really white all over.

But I learned nothing worth recalling till I came to Table Bay and saw the long line of Table Mountain four thousand feet above me, a cliff cutting the sky with an incomparable effect of dignity and grandeur. I stayed in Cape Town a month or so, and by good luck I got to know Jan Hofmeyr there who taught me what good fellows the Boers really were and how highly the English Premier Gladstone was esteemed for giving freedom to them after Majuba: "we look on him with reverence" said my friend, Hofmeyr, "as the embodied conscience of England"; but alas! England could not stomach Majuba and had to spend blood and treasure later to demonstrate the manhood of the Boers to the world. But thank God, England then gave freedom and self-government again to South Africa and so atoned for her shameful "Concentration Camps". Thanks to Jan Hofmeyr I got to know and esteem the South African Boer even on this first short acquaintance.

When I went round the world for the second time twenty years later, I tried to find the Hofmeyrs of every country and so learned all manner of things worthful and strange that I shall tell of, I hope, at the end of my next volume. For the only short cut to