Arrived yesterday-afternoon and heard the exciting news of first three battles. No one had any orders for us, but to-day I went to Headquarters and have received orders to go to De Aar, where the advance base is expected to be established. There are a good few troops there, and I think I have been lucky.I shall be working under Major H - , who was at the S.C. with me - a great comfort to have a friend. Du C - , who is Staff officer, has been more than kind. I have got a Horse Artillery reservist as groom.J - D - has also been most attentive and helpful. Please thank Uncle Henry for his letters. I had an interview with the bank manager,andhe wascharming, and said hewould do all to help me.I have not seen Lady E - C - , she is at Rhodes's place. I am going to leave your book for her if possible. I have bought some provisions, which may be useful or not, but still it is a safeguard to have them. I have no idea what my work is going to be; probably preparing for the advance of the army corps; they ought to be here in about a fortnight. S - is going to East London, not nearly such a good post. Everyone is very jolly and cheerful here, and pleased with our having held our own. I have only seen the General in the distance, not to speak to. I must close now to make my final preparations, and get down to the station. I am dining with Du C - . Much love to all. Rather disappointed at not getting any letter by the ' Mexican.' I suppose they were posted too late. I have sent a wire to let you know my whereabouts; you had better still address Standard Bank.

Your affectionate son,

Sydney Earle.

No. 3

(From Cape. My only letters are to you.)

Sunday, Oct. 29, '99 :De Aar.

Dear Mother, - On arriving here I found your comforting little note, and the extract from the 'Globe' which, as you will see by my other letter, I had already read. I was also given the telegram about Max, which was indeed good news, though I am afraid it will greatly increase your worries. However, by the time he gets out and up to the front the serious business will be over. Alas! I hadn't a moment at Capetown to get the photo done.It was all rush from beginning to end.I gave 'Pot-Pourri,' No. 2 to J - D - to give to Lady E - C - .I received a wire on my way up - it was about twenty-nine hours' journey - to say that my saloon was going to be put in a siding, so that I could go on sleeping peacefully; but I found that that was impossible, so I bundled out at about 1.30 a.m., and got a good night's rest in an empty carriage. This morning, soon after I got up, I met my new chief, Major H - ,Gamp Commandant, whometme in a most friendly manner. He told me I was to sleep in the office, which is a large, airy, well-found waiting-room. Nothing could be more comfortable, and it has far exceeded my wildest hopes. Meals - very fair - we get from station contractor, in company with a large number of newspaper correspondents.One of them, P -L - , I know, a friend of Lord B - 's.The Lochs will tell you all about him; he is always civil to me. Immediately after break-fast I met Col. C -B - , who commands the regiment here - the Lochs can tell you all about him - and to us came Major Henry Earle, who is the second in command ; he was very civil, and it certainly is very refreshing meeting friends at every turn. After I had settled down a bit, I rode round the place with Major H - on Col. B - 's pony.

Everything is in perfect order, and in an advanced condition.We first inspected the spot selected for General W - 's camp and mess, who is expected soon; quite a nice garden with shady trees, and water laid on. A railway official has prepared for him a bath-room and kitchen, as he had the necessary range, &c, to put in a house he was building. We next went on past the little hospital and the medical camp (chiefly Volunteers) to the remount officer, and, practically, bought a couple of horses. I am going to try them with a saddle on to-morrow. They are poor-looking beasts ; but I dare say they are willing - one of them is about thirteen years old, but has good strong legs. I think that one will be my first charger. I had the good fortune to pick up a Horse Artillery reservist as groom in Capetown. This will be a great comfort, as he can ride my second horse and carry kit. I have, of course, hardly got to know what my work will be ; but it will consist chiefly of making arrangements for the large number of men and horses that will use this point as their advanced base when the army corps lands.

Monday, Oct. 30th. - In the afternoon I walked round the defences with Major H - and an intelligent young sapper called W -; he has done excellent work all through, and has been particularly clever in making a gun carriage out of iron rails, chiefly with his own hands.

After Kimberley was invested a Hotchkiss gun and ammunition came through here, but no carriage.However, that is all put right by W -; he has tried his gun, and bar the first shot, which missed the hill aimed at altogether, and is supposed to have fallen on a Dutchman's farm about five miles away (he has asked us to discontinue this practice), he has done very well with it. Except for the fact that the defences are much over extended (about three and a half miles for one battalion), they are very satisfactory, and I think it would require a very large force to do us any harm. We have small look-out posts all day long. Scouts ride out just before dawn, and all night the forts are held by strong picquets. Some of the forts are very neatly made, and without artillery I don't think the Boers could ever turn us out.I dined in the evening with F - of the A.S.C. at a little mess of Army Service Corps, E.E., and A. Ordnance.I got up in the middle of the night to receive Col. G - , the cavalry A.A.G., who was passing through on his way to Capetown. Several correspondents also arrived - Knight, of the 'Morning Post,' and Bennet Stanford, of the 'Daily Mail.' There was also a very suspicious Irish-American who came out in the 'Mexican.' He is supposed to have married Kruger's daughter; he refused to drink the Queen's health; he stated he was going to Aliwal North to buy horses, and had 1,000 rounds of ammunition and a Mauser gun. This morning we have wired on to have him stopped, if he cannot show a pass or give a good account of himself. A wire was received to-day from the Postmaster-General asking who gave military people authority to act as censors to telegrams. No one did, but it is hardly likely we should allow all sorts of rumours and real reports of important moves to fly about all over the country. Heaps of telegrams come to me, but we hardly stop any, unless they contain anything which may disturb the existing quiet as regards local farmers, who are pretty friendly on the whole - i.e., they are willing to sell us anything. This morning I went to try my two quads ; one is so yellow that I propose calling them Mustard and Cress, which ought to please a vegetarian mother. I think I shall take them both. After breakfast I went out to decide upon camping grounds for cavalry brigade and infantry division; they had been mapped out before, but in a confused manner ; they are, I think, now square. There is of course plenty of room, but we want all the camps near water, which is also abundant, but we have had to wire for more pipes, &c. We have had absolutely no news of any kind lately, but that is good news; every hour we get stronger and the enemy weaker, and the Dutch colonists less likely to rise.This afternoon I am going for a ride with Major H - (with whom I am getting on admirably, and who is evidently a very good man) and Col. B - to consider a portion of the defences, and to visit two Dutch farmers in the neighbourhood.