COLENSO, Frances Ellen.
My Chief and I. Or, Six Months in Natal after the Langalibalele Outbreak.
By Atherton Wylde.
Publisher: London: Chapman and Hall, 1880 [recte 1879]
Stock code: 51728
Price: £2,500 Currency Conversion
First edition, the novelist Anthony Trollope's copy, with his bookplate. (Trollope had made a trip to South Africa in 1877 and published his account, titled South Africa, the following year.) "[U]nder the fictitious guise of a young soldier, the authoress gives an account of six month's life and experiences with Colonel A.W. Durnford who lost his life at Isandhlwana. The writer was evidently an enthusiastic admirer of the gallant soldier" (Mendelssohn). As ODNB delicately phrases it: "She idolized him, but Durnford was still married, and there is no evidence to suggest that their relationship was ever other than platonic." Daughter of Bishop Colenso of Natal, described by SADNB as a "protagonist of the Zulu people," she completed Durnford's work History of the Zulu War and its Origins. The court of inquiry into the disaster at Isandlwana attributed most of the blame to Durnford: "His brother Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Durnford and Frances Colenso endeavoured through their writings and public lobbying to rehabilitate his reputation. They did not wholly succeed. Durnford's heroic death did much to blunt public criticism of him, but there can be little doubt that his actions contributed materially to the disaster at Isandhlwana. As Sir Theophilus Shepstone wrote of him, Durnford was 'as plucky as a lion but as imprudent as a child'" (ODNB). Uncommon, COPAC has BL, Cambridge, Bodleian & NLS only, rarely encountered in the cloth.