MOST of these stories were written on the veldt; at odd times, in out- of-the-way prospecting camps, in the wilds of the Kalahari Desert, or of that equally little-known borderland between Klein Namaqualand, and Gordonia, Cape Colony, and what was at that time known as German South- West Africa. Four of them appeared a few years back in The State an illustrated magazine now unhappily defunct; the others, though written about the same time, have never been published. And now, time and circumstances have combined to bring the scene in which they are laid most prominently before the public.
Through the dangerous and difficult barrier of the desert sandbelt that extends all along the coast, General Botha and his formidable columns forced their way to Windhuk; from the remote lower reaches of the Orange River other troops steadily and relentlessly pushed north; and even to the east the well-nigh unexplored dunes of the southern Kalahari proved no safeguard to the Germans, for Union forces invaded them even there: and all eyes in South Africa are to-day turned towards this new addition to the Union and the Empire. Whilst imagination has naturally played the chief part in these tales, the descriptions given of certain parts of this little-known region are accurate, and by no means overdrawn; at the same time, though they treat principally of the dangerous and waterless desert, it must be borne in mind that although the sand dunes form one of Damaraland's most striking features, yet it is by no means altogether the barren, scorching dust-heap it is popularly believed to be.