Allan’s Wife

Author: Henry Rider Haggard


My Dear Macumazahn,

It was your native name which I borrowed at the christening of
that Allen who has become as well known to me as any other friend
I have. It is therefore fitting that I should dedicate to you
this, his last tale—the story of his wife, and the history of
some further adventures which befell him. They will remind you of
many an African yarn—that with the baboons may recall an
experience of your own which I did not share. And perhaps they
will do more than this. Perhaps they will bring back to you some
of the long past romance of days that are lost to us. The country
of which Allan Quatermain tells his tale is now, for the most
part, as well known and explored as are the fields of Norfolk.
Where we shot and trekked and galloped, scarcely seeing the face
of civilized man, there the gold-seeker builds his cities. The
shadow of the flag of Britain has, for a while, ceased to fall on
the Transvaal plains; the game has gone; the misty charm of the
morning has become the glare of day. All is changed. The blue gums
that we planted in the garden of the "Palatial" must be large
trees by now, and the "Palatial" itself has passed from us. Jess
sat in it waiting for her love after we were gone. There she
nursed him back to life. But Jess is dead, and strangers own it,
or perhaps it is a ruin.

For us too, Macumazahn, as for the land we loved, the mystery and
promise of the morning are outworn; the mid-day sun burns
overhead, and at times the way is weary. Few of those we knew are
left. Some are victims to battle and murder, their bones strew the
veldt; death has taken some in a more gentle fashion; others are
hidden from us, we know not where. We might well fear to return to
that land lest we also should see ghosts. But though we walk apart
to-day, the past yet looks upon us with its unalterable eyes.
Still we can remember many a boyish enterprise and adventure,
lightly undertaken, which now would strike us as hazardous indeed.
Still we can recall the long familiar line of the Pretoria Horse,
the face of war and panic, the weariness of midnight patrols; aye,
and hear the roar of guns echoed from the Shameful Hill.

To you then, Macumazahn, in perpetual memory of those eventful
years of youth which we passed together in the African towns and
on the African veldt, I dedicate these pages, subscribing myself
now as always, Your sincere friend, Indanda.

To Arthur H. D. Cochrane, Esq.



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Chicago: Henry Rider Haggard, "Dedication," Allan’s Wife, ed. Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915 and trans. Evans, Sebastian in Allan’s Wife Original Sources, accessed May 20, 2024,

MLA: Haggard, Henry Rider. "Dedication." Allan’s Wife, edited by Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915, and translated by Evans, Sebastian, in Allan’s Wife, Original Sources. 20 May. 2024.

Harvard: Haggard, HR, 'Dedication' in Allan’s Wife, ed. and trans. . cited in , Allan’s Wife. Original Sources, retrieved 20 May 2024, from