[Editor: This anecdote, written at the time of the Boer War (1899-1902), is an extract from the “Books and Bookmen” column, published in Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic.), 11 January 1900.]
Books and Bookmen.
When the steamer Warrigal cleared Sydney Heads for Melbourne with the New South Wales contingent on board en route for South Africa, the captain grew plucky as well as confident when he sighted the passenger-laden steamer Tyrian following in his wake for the same port.
With difficulty he smothered his pride until the Tyrian came within gunshot of the Warrigal, and straightway challenged the captain of the passenger craft for a run to Melbourne. The challenge was accepted, and the Tyrian fell away astern, but making up the lost ground, soon passed the Warrigal with its gallant band of soldiers, who did not relish being left behind.
They were, however, rewarded by a farewell cheer from the passenger steamer, which reached the wharf four hours ahead of its rival.
Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic.), 11 January 1900, p. 10
This anecdote was written at the time of the Boer War (1899-1902).
Boer War = (1899-1902) a war fought by two Boer republics — the South African Republic (also known as the Transvaal Republic) and the Orange Free State — against the British Empire; the war was also known as the Anglo-Boer War, or the South African War, although (in Britain) it was also called the Second Boer War, as the British had fought against the Boers in 1880-1881, however, as this was the first conflict in which Australian units had fought against the Boers, in Australia it was simply known as the Boer War, whilst the Boers, or Afrikaners, called it the Second War of Independence
en route = (French) on the way