The Days of My Life, by H. Rider Haggard

Table of Contents



    Danish origin of the Haggards — Early history in Herts and Norfolk — H. R. H.‘s father and mother — His birth at Bradenham, Norfolk — Early characteristics — First school — Garsington Rectory, Oxon, and Farmer Quatermain — Lively times at Dunkirk — Adventure at Treport — Cologne — His uncle Fowle.
  2. YOUTH
    Bradenham Hall — Let to Nelson’s sister — Mr. W. M. R. Haggard, father of H. R. H. — Chairman of Quarter Sessions — His factotum Samuel Adcock — Rows at Bradenham — Their comical side — Mrs. W. M. R. Haggard — Her beautiful character and poetic nature — Entrance examination for Army — Floored in Euclid — Hunting and shooting at Bradenham — Ipswich Grammar School — Fight with big boy — Dr. Holden, head master — Left Ipswich to cram for F.O. at Scoones’ — Life in London — Spiritualist seances — First love affair — Left Scoones’ for Natal on Sir Henry Bulwer’s staff.
  3. NATAL
    Leave for South Africa with Sir Henry Bulwer — Arrive Cape Town — Government House — Lady Barkly — Bishop Colenso — Go on to Durban — Then to Pietermaritzburg — Reception of Sir H. Bulwer there — Sir George Colley — Duties of H. R. H. at Government House — Buck-hunting — Journey up-country to Weenen — Zulu customs — Witch-finding — Pagate’s kraal — Great native war-dance — Lost in bush — Saved by Kaffir — More about Bishop Colenso — Sir Theophilus Shepstone — His friendship for H. R. H. — His character and policy — Captain Cox.
    Shepstone appointed Special Commissioner to Transvaal — Wide powers — H. R. H. on Shepstone’s staff — Umslopogaas attached to Commission — To Pretoria by ox-waggon — Thirty-five days — Melmoth Osborn and Major Marshal Clarke on Commission — First acquaintance with Boers — “Opsitting” — President Burgers — Danger to Transvaal from Cetewayo’s Zulus and Secocoeni’s tribe — Arrive Pretoria — H. R. H. accompanies Osborn and Clarke on Mission to Secocoeni — Rough journey — Indaba at his kraal — Plot to murder English Mission — Frustrated by an accident — Safe return to Pretoria.
    Doubtful attitude of Boers towards Mission — H. R. H. attends debates in Volksraad — Paul Kruger — H. R. H.‘s projected journey home — Which was given up — Transvaal annexed — H. R. H. delivers copies of Proclamation and hoists British flag with Colonel Brooke.
    H. R. H. appointed Master of the High Court at age of twenty-one — Boers very litigious — Fleeced by lawyers — H. R. H. reforms practice and taxes bills — Much opposition — H. R. H. supported by Judge Kotze — Boer revolt expected — Zulu War threatened — H. R. H. builds house with Cochrane — Jess’s cottage — Sir Bartle Frere — Zulu War — Isandhlwana — Shepstone returns home — Treated shabbily by Government — H. R. H. joins Pretoria Horse — Elected Adjutant — Ordered to Zululand — Orders countermanded — Regiment to defend Pretoria against possible Boer revolt — H. R. H. sent in command of detachment to watch force of 3000 Boers — Exciting incidents but war postponed — Sir Bartle Frere at Pretoria — Estimate of his character — Anthony Trollope — Journeys on circuit with Judge Kotze — Herd of blesbuck — Pretoria Horse disbanded — H. R. H. resigns Mastership of High Court — Buys farm in Natal with Cochrane to breed ostriches.
    Death of Prince Imperial — Justin Sheil, early friend of H. R. H. — Thinks of becoming Trappist monk — H. R. H. tries to dissuade him — Sheil takes simple vows — H. R. H. visits him — Takes final vows as Brother Basil — Death of Father Basil, who had become Sub–Prior — H. R. H. returns home to Bradenham — Engaged to be married — Married August 11, 1880 — Jack Osborn, son of Sir Melmoth — H. R. H. becomes his guardian — Goes to school in England — Returns to South Africa and dies — Sir Melmoth Osborn’s gratitude to H. R. H. and his father — He becomes British Resident in Zululand — Origin of character of Alston in “The Witch’s Head” — Letters from Judge Kotze.
    H. R. H. and wife sail for Natal — Farm near Transvaal — Maritzburg — Dinner at Government House — Started for Newcastle — Adventures on journey — Hilldrop — Boer revolt — Natal invaded — Majuba and Colley’s death — Work on farm — Royal Commission — Sir Hercules Robinson President — Hilldrop let to Sir Hercules and staff — Birth of H. R. H.‘s son — President Brand and Sir H. de Villiers — Retrocession of Transvaal — Popular indignation — Farming — Return home — Mazooku.
    Return to England — Called to Bar — Wrote “Cetewayo and his White Neighbours” — Reception of the work — Why H. R. H. took to writing fiction — “Dawn” — J. Cordy Jeaffreson — Press notices encouraging but sales small at first — “The Witch’s Head” — Quiet life at Ditchingham — Letters from Shepstone — Life in London — Practice in Divorce Court.
    “King Solomon’s Mines” — Andrew Lang — Estimate of Lang’s character — Anecdotes of Lang — Cassells and “King Solomon’s Mines” — Instant success — Letters from R. L. S. — Bazett Haggard and R. L. S. in Samoa. — The writing of “Jess” and “She” — What I shall be remembered by — Fifteen months’ work — “She” dedicated to Lang — Published by Longmans — Letters about it — The Sherd of Amenartas.
  11. EGYPT
    Leave for Egypt — Reincarnation — Boulak Museum — Excavations — Removal of mummies — Nofertari — Adventure in tomb — Mr. Brownrigg’s danger on Pyramid — Cyprus — Article on “Fiction” — “Jess” — Home by long sea — “Cleopatra” — “Colonel Quaritch, V.C.” — Press attacks — Publishing arrangements — Lang’s advice — “Cleopatra” dedicated to H. R. H.‘s mother — Her death — Savile Club — Thomas Hardy — H. R. H. weary of writing novels — Lang’s encouragement — Allan Quatermain and Umslopogaas — Winston Churchill’s approval — Letters from W. E. Henley — “Maiwa’s Revenge” — “Beatrice” — Collaboration with Lang in “The World’s Desire” — Letters from Lang — “The Song of the Bow.”
    To Iceland on the Copeland — William Morris — Njal Saga — Golden Falls — Bergthorsknoll — Salmon and trout fishing — Copeland again — Cargo of ponies — Gale — Off Thurso — Fog — Wrecked in Pentland Firth — Escaped to Stroma Island — Subsequently to Wick.
    “Eric Brighteyes” — Dedicated to the Empress Frederick — Correspondence with her — Lang’s letters about Eric — Letters from R. L. S. — Poem by him — “Beatrice” — Marie Corelli — Lady Florence Dixie — Cordy Jeaffreson again — Criticism of “Beatrice” — “Nada the Lily” — “Epic of a dying people” — Last letters from Sir Theophilus Shepstone — Dedication of “Nada” to him — Vale, Sompseu, Vale — Savile Club — Sir Ian Hamilton — His experiences at Majuba — Rudyard Kipling — Sir Henry Thompson — Michael Fairless at Bungay — Sir E. W. Budge — His anecdotes.
  14. MEXICO
    J. Gladwyn Jebb — His character — Mr. and Mrs. H. R. H. visit him in Mexico — Death of their only son while absent — New York on way to Mexico — Reports — Their loyalty to each other — Mexico City — Don Anselmo — Golden Head of Montezuma — Treasure hunt — Zumpango — Journey to silver mine — Chiapas — Vera Cruz — Frontera — Millions of mosquitoes — A mule load of silver — Attempt of robbers to steal it — Silver mine — Tarantulas — Mishap on journey back — Return to England.
    Death of Andrew Lang — Recent letters from him — Suggested further collaboration — Lecture tour in S. Africa proposed — Letter from Charles Longman — Queen Taia’s ring.
  16. Miss Ida Hector — H. R. H. dictates his works to her — Wishes for change of occupation — Dream-pictures — H. R. H.‘s theory of Romance-writing — Literary coincidences — Examples from the works of H. R. H. — The Spectator.
    H. R. H.‘s political views — Bred a Tory — Cross-bench mind — Strong Imperialist — Asked to stand for King’s Lynn — Declined — Co-director of African Review — Undertook later to contest East Norfolk — Difficult constituency for Conservative — Beaten by 198 votes — Stood in the agricultural interest — Specially interested in S. African affairs — Cecil Rhodes — Retired from African Review — Death of H. R. H.‘s father — Elected chairman of local bench — Major Burnham — Some of his adventures — Major Cheyne.
    H. R. H. returns to the country — Devotes himself to agriculture — “Farmer’s Year” — Arthur Young — Bradfield Combust — Bobbin — Determines to follow Arthur Young’s example — Agreed with Daily Express for series of articles on Rural England — Visit to Cyprus and Holy Land — A Winter Pilgrimage — Rural England journeys — Heaviest labour of H. R. H.‘s life — Arthur Cochrane’s help — Hundreds of interviews — Practical results disappointing — Mr. R. W. Hanbury — Agricultural Post — Lord Onslow — Mrs. Asquith.
    With eldest daughter to Egypt — Return by Italy and Spain — Abu Simbel with Carter — Bee’s nest 2000 years old — “The Way of the Spirit” — Dedicated to Kipling — Death of H. R. H.‘s retriever Bob — Appears to him in dream — Report published in Journal of Society for Psychical Research — Lasting effect on H. R. H.‘s mind — More dream-pictures — Sir Oliver Lodge.
    Appointed Commissioner to report to Secretary of State for Colonies on Salvation Army Labour Colonies in U.S.A. — Alfred Lyttelton — H. R. H.‘s daughter Angela goes with him as secretary — Washington — Mr. Hay — President Roosevelt — The White House — Notes of interview with Roosevelt — Correspondence with Roosevelt.
    Letter to Alfred Lyttelton — Interview with him — Opportunities of Conservative Government — How used — Nature of H. R. H.‘s scheme — Approved by Earl Grey, Governor–General of Canada — Cold reception by Government — Alfred Lyttelton a believer in it — Referred to a Departmental Committee — The bottom knocked out of it — Letters from Earl Grey — Letter from Bramwell Booth.
    Operation in Nursing Home — “Ayesha” — H. R. H. often asked which he thinks best passages in his works — An answer to the question — Member of Royal Commission on Coast Erosion — Lloyd George — Afforestation added to the reference — Scheme presented to Government — Dropped — King Edward’s funeral — H. R. H. undertook a report for Salvation Army — Regeneration — General William Booth — His death — H. R. H. wrote pamphlet for Archbishop Benson — “Rural Denmark” — The Development Board — Notes of interview with Lloyd George — Knighthood conferred — Offered seat on Dominions Royal Commission — Egypt Again — “Marie” — Dedicated to Sir Henry Bulwer — End of Chronicle of H. R. H.



I dedicate this record of my days to my dear Wife and to the memory of our son whom now I seek

H. Rider Haggard

Midnight White Sunday 1912

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55