Van Wyk’s Vlei, March 13

“I am the mistress of the Post,
    For Queen and country here I stand,
Some twenty letters at the most,
    Pass daily thro’ my hand.

“You claim my keys, you point your guns,
    You—men—and I—but woman born,
Yet in my veins the true blood runs,
    I laugh your threats to scorn. 

“Ay, shoot me dead! and take the keys!
    Here is my heart if shoot you must!
It is in moments such as these,
    We feel our country’s trust.”

They saw the flashing of her eye,
    There were the keys, they knew the cost;
For Britain still, at Van Wyk’s Vlei,
    A woman keeps the Post.

Note.—Miss Walton, the Postmistress at Van Wyk’s Vlei, on being threatened with instant death by the rebel Boers unless she gave up the keys of her office, placed them in the bosom of her dress, and to the man who pointed his rifle at her, said: “Shoot me dead! then you can take the keys, not otherwise!”  She succeeded eventually in escaping with the money and stamps, and even the Boers applauded her dauntless courage.     

(Ballads of the War, p. 165)