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Full text of "African game trails; an account of the African wanderings of an American hunter-naturalist"

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- He loved the big game as if he were their 
father." — Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 

" Tell xrvt the course, the voyage, the ports, and 
the new stars."— Z^/m Carman. 

llll/Z on,' I'l htj llil /lCH:i 













22 1 bo 

First Edition .... August, 1910. 

Reprinted August, 1910. 

Reprinted November, 1910. 







" I SPEAK of Africa and golden joys "; the joy of wander- 
ing through lonely lands ; the joy of hunting the mighty 
and terrible lords of the wilderness, the cunning, the 
wary, and the grim. 

In these greatest of tlie world's great hunting- 
grounds there are mountain-peaks whose snows are 
dazzling imder the equatorial sun ; swamps where the 
slime oozes and bubbles and festers in the steaming 
heat ; lakes like seas ; skies that burn above deserts 
where the iron desolation is shrouded from view by the 
wavering mockery of the mirage ; vast grassy plains 
where palms and thorn-trees fringe the dwindling 
streams ; mighty rivers rushing out of the heart of the 
continent through the sadness of endless marshes ; 
forests of gorgeous beauty, where death broods in the 
dark and silent depths. 

There are regions as healthy as the Northland ; and 
other regions, radiant with bright-hued flowers, birds, 
and butterflies, odorous with sweet and heavy scents, 
but treacherous in their beauty, and sinister to human 
life. On the land and in the water there are dread 
brutes that feed on the flesh of man ; and among the 
lower things, that crawl, and fly, and sting, and bite, he 
finds swarming foes far more evil and deadly than any 
beast or reptile ; foes that kill his crops and his cattle, 



foes before which he himself perishes in his hundreds of 

The dark-skinned races that live in the land vary 
widely. Some are warlike, cattle-owning nomads ; 
some till the soil and live in thatched huts shaped 
like beehives ; some are fisherfolk ; some are ape-like, 
naked savages, who dwell in the woods and prey 
on creatures not much wilder or lower than them- 

The land teems with beasts of the chase, infinite in 
number and incredible in variety. It holds the fiercest 
beasts of ravin, and the fleetest and most timid of 
those things that live in undying fear of talon and 
fang. It holds the largest and the smallest of hoofed 
animals. It holds the mightiest creatures that tread 
the earth or swim in its rivers ; it also holds distant 
kinsfolk of these same creatures, no bigger than wood- 
chucks, which dwell in crannies of the rocks, and in the 
tree-tops. There are antelope smaller than hares, and , 
antelope larger than oxen. There are creatures which 
are the embodiments of grace ; and others whose huge 
ungainliness is like that of a shape in a nightmare. 
The plains are alive with droves of strange and beautiful 
animals whose like is not known elsewhere ; and with 
others, even stranger, that show both in form and temper 
something of the fantastic and the grotesque. It is a 
never-ending pleasure to gaze at the great herds of 
buck as they move to and fro in their myriads ; as they 
stand for their noontide rest in the quivering heat haze ; 
as the long files come down to drink at the watering- 
places ; as they feed and fight and rest and make love. 

I'he hunter who wanders through these lands sees 
sights which ever afterward remain fixed in his mind. 
H e sees the monstrous river-horse snorting and plunguig 


beside the boat ; the giraffe looking over the tree-tops 
at the nearing horseman ; the ostrich fleeing at a speed 
that none may rival ; the snarling leopard and coiled 
python, with their lethal beauty ; the zebras, barking in 
the moonlight, as the laden caravan passes on its night 
march through a thirsty land. To his mind come 
memories of the lion's charge ; of the grey bulk of the 
elephant, close at hand in the sombre woodland ; of the 
buffalo, his sullen eyes lowering from under his helmet 
of horn ; of the rhinoceros, truculent and stupid, stand- 
ing in the bright sunlight on the empty plain. 

These things can be told. But there are no words 
that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that 
can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm. 
There is delight in the hardy life of the open, in long 
rides rifle in hand, in the tin-ill of the fight with 
dangerous game. Apart from this, yet mingled with it, 
is the strong attraction of the silent places, of the large 
tropic moons, and the splendour of the new stars ; 
where the wanderer sees the awful glory of sunrise and 
sunset in the wide waste spaces of the earth, unworn of 
man, and changed only by the slow changes of the ages 
from time everlasting. 


March 15, 1910. 


At my request, Colonel Roosevelt has kindly consented 
to add to the English Edition of his book full reports 
of his speeches delivered before the University of Cairo, 
on March 28, 1910. and at the Guildhall in London, 
May 31, 1910. 

It is believed that no complete report of the former 
speech has hitherto appeared in this country. The 
Guildhall speech is based on the report in the Thnes, 
for permission to use which 1 beg to thank the pro- 
prietors of that newspaper. J. M. 












IX. TO LAKE NAIVASHA - - . - - 195 



DESERT ------ 265 

xii. to the uasin gishu ----- 315 

xiii. uganda, and the great nyanza lakes - - 363 

xiv. the great rhinoceros of the lado - - - 387 

xv. down the nile : the giant eland - - - 430 

addresses delivered in cairo and london on great 

Britain's responsibilities in egypt - - 460 

appendix a. personal acknowledgments - - - 483 

appendix b. list of small >l\mmals - .- - 484 





INDEX - - - - - - - 529 




Mr. Roosevelt and one of his big lions - - - Frontispiece 

Photogravure from a photograph by Kermit Roosevelt, 
Map showing Mr. Roosevelt's route and hunting trips in Africa - 1 

A herd of zebra and hartebeest - - - - - 28 

One of the interesting features of African wild life is the close 
association and companionship so often seen between two 
totally different species of game. 

Before he could get quite all the way round in his headlong rush 

to reach us, I struck him with my left-hand barrel - - 90 

From a drawi,ig by Philip R. Goodwin. 

Without any warning, out he came and charged straight at 

Kermit, who stopped him when he was but six yards off - 112 
From a drawing by Philip R. Goodwin. 

Mr. Roosevelt and Kermit Roosevelt with the first buffalo - 134 

It was not a nice country in which to be charged by the herd, 

and for a moment things trembled in the balance - - 140 

From a drawing by Philip R. Goodwin. 

Group : Waxbills ; courser ; elephant shrew ; springhaas ; dikdik ; 

serval kitten ; banded mongoose ; Colobus monkey - 154 

The safari fording a stream - - - - - l60 

Giraffe at home - - - - - - - 170 

Group : A rhino family. Rhino surveying the safari. " In the 

middle of the African plain, deep in prehistoric thought " - 172 

Wildebeest at home - - - - - -178 

Two bulls may suddenly drop to their knees, and for a moment or 
two fight furiously. 

Group : The wounded lioness. The wounded lioness ready to 

charge - - - - - - - 188 

He came on steadily, ears laid back and uttering terrific coughing 

grunts - - - - - - -I92 

From a drawing by Philip R. Goodwin. 




Group : What one has to shoot at when after hippo on water. 

Mr. Roosevelt's hippo charging open-mouthed - - 208 

Charged straight for the boat, with open jaws, bent on mischief 212 

From a draivincj by Philip R. Goodwiv . 

Group : Bhick-backed jackal ; tree hyrax ; big gazelle buck ; 

pelican; spotted genet; white tailed mongoose ; porcupine; 

baboon - - - - - . - 2l6 

Towing in bull hippo, Lake Naivasha - - . . 220 

Kikuyu Ngama, Neri ------ 232 

Group: Camping after death of first bull. The porters exult 

over the death of the bull ----- 240 

Falls on slope of Kenia near first elephant camp - - 244 

The charging bull elephant - - . _ - 248 

" He could have touclied me with his trunk." 
From a drawi7ig by Philip R. Goodwin. 

The first bull elephant ------ 252 

A herd of elei)hant in an open forest of high timber - - 256 

Group : The herd getting uneasy. The same herd on the eve of 

charging ------- 26O 

Mr. Roosevelt's and Kermit's cauip near which they got the 

rhino and elephant ------ 262 

My boma where I camped alone - - - . 266 

Group : An oryx bull ; an oryx cow - - - - 270 

Group : The Guaso Nyero ; ivory-nut palms on the Guaso Nyero 276 

Group : The old bull Athi giraffe ; the reticulated giraffe - 296 
Group : Black-and-white crow ; sparrow-lark ; ant wheatear ; 

ostrich nest ; rusty rock-rat ; sand-rat ; African hedgehog ; 

"mole-rat" - - - . . . -312 

Juma Yohari with the impalla killed by Kermit Roosevelt at 

Lake Hanuington - - . - . - 318 

Tlie In-okeu lioin of another ram imbedded iu the buck's neck. 
Tarlton with a singsing shot by Mr. Roosevelt - - - 338 

The hyena, which was swollen with elephant meat, had gotten 

inside the huge body ----- 346 

Rearing, the lion struck the man, bearing down the shield - 352 

Frovi a drawing by Philip R. Goodwin. 
Group: The spears that did the trick. Mr. Roosevelt photo- 
graphing the speared lion ----- 352 



Group : The lion as it fell. As he fell he gripped a spear-head 
in his jaws with such tremendous force that he bent it 
double ....... 356 

Sailinye, the Dorobo, who was with Kermit Roosevelt when he 

shot the bongo, holding up the bongo head - - 3()0 

Dance of boys of the Nyika tribe in honour of the chief's son 

who had just died ------ 362 

'I'he situtunga shot by Kermit Roosevelt at Kampalla - - 374 

Group : Ground hornbill ; wagtail ; nightjar ; fish eagle ; 

crocodile ; Nile bushbuck ; cobus maria ; baker's roan - 390 

The " white " rhino ...... 392 

From a draioing by Philip £. Goodwin. 

The papyrus afire - - - - - - 398 

We walked up to within about twenty yards - - - 406 

The cow and calf square-nosed rhino under the tree after being 

disturbed by the click of the camera _ - . 414 

Group : The calf which was old enough to shift for itself refused 
to leave the body. When alarmed, they failed to make out 
where the danger lay - - - - - 41 6 

One remained standing, but the other deliberately sat down 

upon its haunches like a dog . . _ . 420 

The monitor lizard robbing a crocodile's nest - - - 424 

Group : Kermit's first giant eland cow, shot on the Redjaf trip. 

Giant eland bull .__.-- 444 

Mr. Roosevelt and Kermit Roosevelt with giant eland horns - 448 

■ l-OATE; tt-t- CO , H.t 


Map showing Mr. Roosevelt's route and hunting trips in Africa 




The great world luov^ement which began with the 
voyages of Columbus and V^asco da Gama, and which 
has gone on with ever-increasing rapidity and complexity 
imtil our own time, has developed along a myriad lines 
of interest. In no way has it been more interesting 
than in the way in which it has brought into sudden, 
violent, and intimate contact phases of the world's life- 
history which would normally be separated by untold 
centuries of slow development. Again and again, in 
the continents new to peoples of European stock, we 
liave seen the spectacle of a high civilization all at once 
thrust into and superimposed upon a wilderness of 
savage men and savage beasts. Nowliere, and at no 
time, has the contrast been more strange and more 
striking than in British East Africa during the last 
dozen years. 

The country lies directly under the Equator ; and the 
hinterland, due west, contains the huge Nyanza lakes, 
vast inland seas which gather the head-waters of the 
\Vhite Nile. This hinterland, with its lakes and its 
marshes, its snow-capped mountains, its high, dry 



plateaux, and its forests of deadly luxuriance, was 
utterly unknown to white men half a century ago. The 
map of Ptolemy in the second century of our era gave 
a more accurate view of the lakes, mountains, and head- 
waters of the Nile than the maps published at the 
beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century, 
just before Speke, Grant, and Baker made their great 
trips of exploration and adventure. Behind these ex- 
plorers came others ; and then adventurous mission- 
aries, traders, and elephant-hunters ; and many men, 
whom risk did not daunt, who feared neither danger 
nor hardship, traversed the country hither and thither, 
now for one reason, now for another, now as naturalists, 
now as geographers, and again as Government officials 
or as mere wanderers who loved the wild and strange 
life which had survived over from an elder age. 

Most of the tribes were of puie savages, but here and 
there were intrusive races of higher type ; and in 
Uganda, beyond the Victoria Nyanza, and on the head- 
waters of the Nile proper, lived a people which had 
advanced to the upper stages of barbarism, which might 
almost be said to have developed a very primitive kind 
of semi-civilization. Over this people — for its good 
fortune — Great Britain established a protectorate ; and 
ultimately, in order to get easy access to this new out- 
post of civilization in the heart of the Dark Continent, 
the British Government built a railroad from the old 
Arab coast town of Mombasa westward to Victoria 

This railroad, the embodiment of the eager, masterful, 
materialistic civilization of to-day, was pushed through 
a region in which nature, both as regards wild man and 
wild beast, did not and does not differ materially from 
what it was in Europe in the late Pleistocene Age. The 

en. I] ouii TAirrv 3 

comparison is not fanciful. The teeming multitudes of 
wild creatures, the stupendous size of some of them, the 
terrible nature of others, and the low culture of many 
of the savage tribes, especially of the hunting tribes, 
substantially reproduces the conditions of life in Europe 
as it was led by our ancestors ages before the dawn of 
anything that could be called civilization. The great 
beasts that now live in East Africa were in that bygone 
age represented by close kinsfolk in Europe ; and in 
many places, up to the present moment, African man, 
absolutely naked, and armed as our early palaeolithic 
ancestors were armed, lives among, and on, and in 
constant dread of, these beasts, just as was true of the 
men to whom the cave lion was a nightmare of terror, 
and the mammoth and the woolly rhinoceros possible 
but most formidable prey. 

This region, this great fragment out of the long- 
buried past of our race, is now accessible by railroad to 
all who care to go thither ; and no field more inviting 
offers itself to hunter or naturalist, while even to the 
ordinary traveller it teems with interest. On March 23, 
1909, I sailed thither from Xew York, in charge of a 
scientific expedition sent out by the Smithsonian In- 
stitute, to collect birds, mammals, reptiles, and plants, 
but especially specimens of big game, for the National 
Museum at Washington. In addition to myself and 
my son Kermit (who had entered Harvard a few 
months previously), the party consisted of three 
naturalists : Surgeon- Lieutenant -Colonel Edgar A. 
Mearns, U.S.A., retired ; Mr. Edmund Heller, of 
California ; and IVIr. J. Alden Loring, of Owego, New 
York. My arrangements for the trip had been chiefly 
made through two valued English friends, Mr. Frederick 
Courteney Selous, the greatest of the world's big- game 


hunters, and Mr. Edward North Buxton, also a mighty 
hunter. On landing, we were to be met by Messrs. 
R. J. Cuninghame and Leslie Tarlton, both famous 
hunters — the latter an Australian, who served through 
the South African War ; the former by birth a Scots- 
man and a Cambridge man, but long a resident of 
Africa, and at one time a professional elephant-hunter, 
in addition to havdng been a whaler in the Arctic 
Ocean, a hunter- naturalist in Lapland, a transport rider 
in South Africa, and a collector for the British Museum 
in various odd corners of the earth. 

We sailed on the Hamburg from New York — what 
headway the Germans have made among those who go 
down to the sea in ships ! — and at Naples transhipped 
to the Admiral, of another German line, the East 
African. On both ships we were as comfortable as 
possible, and the voyage was wholly devoid of incidents. 
Now and then, as at the Azores, at Suez, and at Aden, 
the three naturalists landed, and collected some dozens 
or scores of birds, which next day were skinned and 
prepared in my room, as the largest and best fitted for 
the purpose. After reaching Suez the ordinary tourist 
type of passenger ceased to be predominant ; in his 
place there were Italian officers going out to a desolate 
coast town on the edge of Somaliland ; missionaries, 
German, English, and American ; Portuguese civil 
officials ; traders of diffisrent nationalities ; and planters 
and military and civil officers bound to German 
and British East Africa. The Englishmen included 
planters, magistrates, forest officials, army officers on 
leave from India, and other army officers going out to 
take command of black native levies in out-of-the-way 
regions where the English flag stands for all that makes 
life worth living. They were a fine set, these young 


Eno^lishnien, whether dashing army officers or capable 
civihaiis. They reminded me of our own men who liave 
reflected such honour on the American name, whether in 
civil and military positions in the Philippines and Porto 
Rico, working on the Canal Zone in Panama, taking 
care of the custom-houses in San Domingo, or serving 
in the army of occupation in Cuba. Moreover, 1 felt 
as if I knew most of them already, for they might 
have walked out of the pages of Kipling. But I was 
not as well prepared for the corresponding and equally 
interesting types among the Germans, the planters, the 
civil officials, the officers who had commanded, or were 
about to command, w^hite or native troops — men of 
evident power and energy, seeing whom made it easy 
to understand why German East Africa has thriven 
apace. They are first-class men, these English and 
Germans ; both are doing in East Africa a work of 
worth to the whole world ; there is ample room for both, 
and no possible cause for any but a thoroughly friendly 
rivalry ; and it is earnestly to be wished, in the interest 
both of them and of outsiders too, that their relations 
will grow, as they ought to grow, steadily better — and 
not only in East Africa, but everywhere else. 

On the ship at Naples we found Selous, also bound 
for East Africa on a hunting trip ; but he, a veteran 
whose first hunting in Africa was nearly forty years 
ago, cared only for exceptional trophies of a very few 
animals, while we, on the other hand, desired specimens 
of both sexes of all the species of big game that Kermit 
and I could shoot, as well as complete series of all the 
smaller mammals. We believed that our best work of 
a purely scientific character would be done with the 
mannnals, both large and small. 

No other hunter alive has had the experience of 


Selous ; and, so far as I now recall, no hunter of any- 
thing like his experience has ever also possessed his gift 
of penetrating observation joined to his power of vivid 
and accurate narration. He has killed scores of hon 
and rhinoceros and hundreds of elephant and buffalo ; 
and these four animals are the most dangerous of the 
world's big game, when hunted as they are hunted in 
Africa. I'o hear him tell of what he has seen and done 
is no less interesting to a natin-alist than to a hunter. 
There were on the ship many men who loved wild 
nature, and who were keen hunters of big game ; and 
almost every day, as we steamed over the hot, smooth 
waters of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, we would 
gather on deck around Selous to listen to tales of those 
strange adventures that only come to the man who has 
lived long the lonely life of the wilderness. 

On April 21 we steamed into the beautiful and 

picturesque harbour of Mombasa. Many centuries 

before the Cliristian era, dhows from Arabia, carrying 

seafarers of Semitic races whose very names have 

perished, rounded the Lion's Head at Guardafui and 

crept slowly southward along the barren African coast. 

Such dhows exist to-day almost unchanged, and bold 

indeed were the men who first steered them across the 

unknown oceans. I'hey were men of iron heart and 

supple conscience, who fronted inconceivable danger 

and hardship ; they established trading-stations for gold 

and ivory and slaves ; they turned these trading-stations 

into little cities and sultanates, half Arab, half negro. 

Mombasa was among them. In her time of brief 

splendour Portugal seized the city ; the Arabs won it 

back ; and now England holds it. It lies just south of 

the Equator, and when we saw it the brilliant green 

of the tropic foliage showed the town at its best. 


We were welcomed to Government House in most 
cordial fashion by the acting Governor, Lieutenant- 
Governor .Jackson, who is not only a trained public 
official of long experience, but a first-class field-naturalist 
and a renowned big-game hunter ; indeed, I could not 
too warmly express my appreciation of the hearty and 
generous courtesy with which we were received and 
treated, alike by the official and the unofficial world, 
throughout East Africa. We landed in the kind of 
torrential downpour that only comes in the tropics ; it 
reminded me of Panama at certain moments in the 
rainy season. That night we were given a dinner by 
the Mombasa Club, and it was interesting to meet the 
n"»erchants and planters of the town and the neighbour- 
hood as well as the officials. The former included not 
only Englishmen, but also Germans and Italians, 
which is quite as it should be, for at least part of the 
high inland region of British East Africa can be made 
one kind of " wliite man's country," and to achieve 
tliis white men should work heartily together, doing 
scrupulous justice to the natives, but remembering that 
progress and development in tliis particular kind of new 
land depend exclusively upon the masterful leadership 
of the whites, and that therefore it is both a calamity 
and a crime to permit the whites to be riven in sunder 
by hatreds and jealousies. The coast regions of British 
East ^Vfrica . are not suited for extensive white settle- 
ment ; but the hinterland is, and there everything 
should be done to encourage such settlement. Non- 
white aliens should not be encouraged to settle where 
they come into rivalry with the whites (exception being 
made as regards certain particular individuals and certain 
particular occupations). 

There are, of course, large regions on the coast and in 


the interior where ordinary white settlers cannot Hve, in 
which it would be wise to settle immigrants from India ; 
and there are many positions in other regions which it 
is to the advantage of everybody that the Indians 
should hold, because there is as yet no sign that sufficient 
numbers of white men are willing to hold them, while 
the native blacks, although many of them do fairly well 
in unskilled labour, are not yet competent to do the 
higher tasks which now fall to the share of the Goanese, 
and Moslem and non- Moslem Indians. The small 
merchants who deal with the natives, for instance, and 
most of the minor railroad officials, belong to these 
latter classes. I was amused, by the way, at one bit 
of native nomenclature in connection with the Goanese. 
Many of the Goanese are now as dark as most of the 
other Indians ; but they are descended in the male line 
from the early Portuguese adventurers and conquerors, 
who were the first white men ever seen by the natives 
of this coast. Accordingly, to this day some of the 
natives speak even of the dark-skinned descendants of 
the subjects of King Henry the Navigator as " the 
whites," designating the Europeans specifically as 
English, Germans, or the like ; just as in out-of-the- 
way nooks in the far North- West one of our own red 
men will occasionally be found who still speaks of 
Americans and Englishmen as " Boston men " and 
" King George's men." 

One of the Government farms was being run by an 
educated coloured man from Jamaica, and we were 
shown much courtesy by a coloured man from our own 
country who was practising as a doctor. No one could 
fail to be impressed with the immense advance these 
men represented as compared with the native negro ; 
and, indeed, to an American, who must necessarily 


think much of the race problem at home, it is pleasant 
to be made to realize in vivid fashion the progress the 
American negro has made by comparing him with the 
negro who dwells in Africa untouched, or but lightly 
touched, by white influence. 

In such a community as one finds in Mombasa or 
Nairobi one continually runs across quiet, modest men 
whose lives ha\e been fuller of wild adventure than the 
life of a Viking leader of the ninth century. One of the 
public officials whom I met at the Governor's table was 
JNIajor Hinde. He had at one time served under the 
Government of the Congo Free State ; and at a crisis 
in the fortunes of the State, when the Arab slave-traders 
bade fair to get the upper hand, he was one of the eight 
or ten white men, representing half as many distinct 
nationalities, w^ho overthrew the savage soldiery of the 
slave-traders and shattered beyond recovery the Arab 
power. They organized the wild pagan tribes just as 
their Arab foes had done ; they fought in a land w^here 
deadly sickness struck down victor and vanquished with 
ruthless impartiality ; they found their commissariat as 
best they could wherever they happened to be ; often 
they depended upon one day's victory to furnish the 
ammunition with which to wage the morrow's battle ; 
and ever they had to be on guard no less against the 
thousands of cannibals in their own ranks than against 
the thousands of cannibals in the hostile ranks, for, 
on whichever side they fought, after every battle the 
warriors of the man-eating tribes watched their chance 
to butcher the wounded indiscriminately and to feast 
on the bodies of the slain. 

The most thrilling book of true lion-stories ever 
written is Colonel Patterson's " The JMan-eaters of 
Tsavo." Colonel Patterson was one of the engineers 


engaged, some ten or twelve years back, in building the 
Uganda Railway. He was in charge of the work, at a 
place called Tsavo, when it was brought to a complete 
halt by the ravages of a couple of man-eating lions, 
which, after many adventures, he finally killed. At the 
dinner at the Mombasa Club I met one of the actors 
in a blood-curdling tragedy which Colonel Patterson 
relates. He was a German, and, in company with an 
Italian friend, he went down in the special car of one of 
the English railroad officials to try to kill a man-eating 
lion which had carried away several people from a 
station on the line. They put the car on a siding. As it 
was hot, the door was left open, and the Englishman 
sat by the open window to watch for the lion, while the 
Italian finally lay down on the floor and the German 
got into an upper bunk. Evidently the Englishman 
must have fallen asleep, and the lion, seeing him through 
the window, entered the carriage by the door to get at 
him. The Italian waked to find the lion standing on 
him with its hind-feet, while its fore-paws were on the 
seat as it killed the unfortunate Englishman ; and the 
German, my informant, hearing the disturbance, leaped 
out of his bunk actually on to the back of the lion. 
The man-eater, however, was occupied only with his 
prey ; holding the body in his mouth, he forced his 
way out through the window-sash, and made his meal 
undisturbed but a couple of hundred yards from the 

The day after we landed we boarded the train to take 
what seems to me, as I think it would to most men 
fond of natural history, the most mteresting railway 
journey in the world. It was Governor Jackson's 
special train, and in addition to his own party and ours 
there was only Selous ; and we travelled with the 


utmost comfort through a naturahst's wonclcrhmd. All 
civilized Governments are now realizing that it is 
their duty here and there to preserve certain defined 
districts, with the wild things thereon, the destruction 
of which means the destruction of half the charm of 
wild nature. The English Government has made a 
large game reserve of much of the region on the way 
to Nairobi, stretching far to the south, and one mile 
to the north, of the track. The reserve swarms with 
game ; it would be of little value except as a reserve ; 
and the attraction it now offers to travellers renders it 
an asset of real consecjuence to the whole colony. 
The wise people of Maine, in our own country, have 
discovered that intelligent game preservation, carried 
out in good faith, and in a spirit of common sense as 
far removed from nuishy sentimentality as from 
brutality, results in adding one more to the State's 
natural resources of value ; and in consequence there 
are more moose and deer in j\Iaine to-day than there 
were forty years ago. There is a better chance for every 
man in Maine, rich or poor, provided that he is not a 
game butcher, to enjoy his share of good hunting ; and 
the number of sportsmen and tourists attracted to the 
State adds verj'^ appreciably to the means of livelihood 
of the citizen. Game reserves should not be established 
where they are detrimental to the interests of large 
bodies of settlers, nor yet should they be nominally 
established in regions so remote that the only men really 
interfered with are those who respect the law, while a 
premium is thereby put on the activity of the un- 
scrupulous persons who are eager to break it. Similarly, 
game laws should be drawn primarily in the interest of 
the whole people, keeping steadily in mind certain facts 
that ought to be self-evident to everyone above the 


intellectual level of those well-meaning persons who 
apparently think that all shooting is wrong, and that 
man could continue to exist if all wild animals were 
allowed to increase unchecked. There must be recog- 
nition of the fact that almost any wild animal of the 
defenceless type, if its multiplication were unchecked, 
while its natural enemies — the dangerous carnivores — 
were killed, would by its simple increase crowd man off 
the planet ; and of the further fact that, far short of 
such increase, a time speedily comes when the existence 
of too much game is incompatible with the interests, or, 
indeed, the existence, of the cultivator. As in most 
other matters, it is only the happy mean which is healthy 
and rational. There should be certain sanctuaries and 
nurseries where game can live and breed absolutely 
unmolested ; and elsewhere the laws should, so far as 
possible, provide for the continued existence of the game 
in sufficient numbers to allow a reasonable amount of 
hunting on fair terms to any hardy and vigorous man 
fond of the sport, and yet not in sufficient numbers to 
jeopardize the interests of the actual settler, the tiller of 
the soil, the man whose well-being should be the prime 
object to be kept in mind by every statesman. Game 
butchery is as objectionable as any other form of wanton 
cruelty or barbarity ; but to protest against all hunting 
of game is a sign of softness of head, not of soundness 
of heart. 

In the creation of the great game reserve through 
which the Uganda Railway runs the British Govern- 
ment has conferred a boon upon mankind, and no less 
in the enactment and enforcement of the game laws in 
the African provinces generally. Of course, experience 
will show where, from time to time, there must be 
changes. In Uganda proper buffaloes and hippos 


throve so under protection as to become sources of 
grav^e danger, not only to the crops, but to the hves of 
the natives, and they had to be taken off the protected 
hsts and classed as vermin, to be shot in any numbers at 
any time, and only the great demand for ivory pre- 
vented the necessity of following the same course witli 
regard to the elephant ; while recently in Hritisli East 
Africa the increase of the zebras, and the harm they did 
to the crops of the settlers, rendered it necessary to 
remove a large measure of the protection formerly 
accorded them, and in some cases actually to encourage 
their slaughter ; and increase in settlement may neces- 
sitate further changes. But, speaking generally, much 
wisdoin and foresight, highly creditable to both Govern- 
ment and people, have been shown in dealing with 
and preserving East African game, while at the same 
time safeguarding the interests of the settlers. 

On our train the locomotive was fitted with a com- 
fortable seat across the cow-catcher, and on this, except 
at meal-time, I spent most of the hours of daylight, 
usually in company with Selous, and often with Governor 
Jackson, to whom the territory and the game were alike 
familiar. Tlie first afternoon we did not see many wild 
animals, but birds abounded, and the scenery was both 
beautiful and interesting. A black and-white hornbill, 
feeding on the track, rose so late that we nearly caught 
it with our hands ; guinea-fowl and francolin, and occa- 
sionally bustard, rose near by ; brilliant rollers, sun- 
birds, bee-eaters, and weaver-birds, flew beside us, or 
sat unmoved among the trees as the train passed. In 
the dusk we nearly ran over a hyena. A year or two 
previously the train actually did run over a lioness one 
night, and tlie conductor brought in her head in triumph. 
In fact, there have been continual mishaps, such as could 


only happen to a railroad in the Pleistocene Age ! The 
very night we went up there was an interruption in the 
telegraph service, due to giraffes having knocked down 
some of the wires and a pole in crossing the track ; and 
elephants have more tlian once performed the same feat. 
Two or three times at night giraffes have been run into 
and killed : once a rhinoceros was killed, the engine 
being damaged in the encounter ; and on other occasions 
the rhino has only just left the track in time, once the 
beast being struck and a good deal hurt, the engine 
again being somewhat crippled. But the lions now 
offer, and have always offered, the chief source of 
unpleasant excitement. Throughout East Africa the 
lions continually take to man-eating at the expense of 
the native tribes, and white hunters are frequently being 
killed or crippled by them. At the lonely stations on 
the railroad the two or three subordinate officials often 
live in terror of some fearsome brute that has taken to 
haunting the vicinity ; and every few months, at some 
one of these stations, a man is killed, or badly hurt by, 
or narrowly escapes from, a prowling lion. 

The stations at which the train stopped were neat 
and attractive ; and, besides the Indian officials, there 
were usually natives from the neighbourhood. Some 
of these might be dressed in the fez and shirt and 
trousers which indicate a coming under the white man's 
influence, or which, rather curiously, may also indicate 
Mohammedanism. But most of the natives are still 
wild pagans, and many of them are unchanged in the 
slightest particular from what their forefathers were 
during the countless ages when they alone were the 
heirs of the land — a land which they were utterly power- 
less in any way to improve. Some of the savages we 
saw wore red blankets, and in deference to white pre- 


judice draped them so as to hide their nakedness. But 
others appeared — men and women — with hterally not 
one stitch of clothing, although they might have rather 
elaborate hairdresses, and masses of metal ornaments on 
their arms and legs. In the region wliere one tribe 
dwelt all the people had their front teeth filed to sharp 
points. It was strange to see a group of these savages, 
stark naked, with oddly shaved heads and filed teeth, 
armed with primitive bows and arrows, stand gravely 
gazing at the train as it rolled into some station ; and 
none the less strange, by the way, because the loco- 
motive was a Baldwin, brought to Africa across the 
great ocean from our own country. One group of 
women, nearly nude, had their upper arms so tightly 
bound with masses of bronze or copper wire that their 
muscles were completely malformed. So tightly was 
the wire wrapped round the upper third of the upper 
arm that it was reduced to about one-half of its normal 
size, and the muscles could only play, and that in de- 
formed fashion, below this unyielding metal bandage. 
Why the arms did not mortify it was hard to say, and 
their freedom of use was so hampered as to make it 
difficult to understand how men or women whose 
whole lives are passed in one or another form of manual 
labour could infiict upon themselves such crippling and 
pointless punishment. 

Next morning we were in the game country, and as 
we sat on the seat over the cow-catcher it was literally 
like passing tlirough a vast zoological garden. Indeed, 
no such railway journey can be taken on any other line 
in any other land. At one time we passed a herd of a 
dozen or so of great giraffes, cows and calves, cantering 
along through the open woods a couple of hundred 
yards to the right of the train. Again, still closer, four 


waterbuck cows, their big ears thrown forward, stared 
at us without moving until we had passed. Hartebeests 
were everywhere ; one herd was on the track, and when 
the engine whistled they bucked and sprang with un- 
gainly agility and galloped clear of the danger. A 
long-tailed, straw-coloured monkey ran from one tree to 
another. Huge black ostriches appeared from time to 
time. Once a troop of impalla, close by the track, took 
fright ; and as the beautiful creatures fled we saw now 
one and now another bound clear over the high bushes. 
A herd of zebra clattered across a cutting of the line 
not a hundred yards ahead of the train ; the whistle 
hurried their progress, but only for a moment, and as 
we passed they were already turning roimd to gaze. 
The wild creatures were in their sanctuary, and they 
knew it. Some of the settlers have at times grumbled 
at this game reserve being kept of such size, but surely 
it is one of the most valuable possessions the country 
could have. The lack of water in parts, the prevalence 
in other parts of diseases harmful to both civilized man 
and domestic cattle, render this great tract of country 
the home of all homes for the creatures of the waste. 
The protection given these wild creatures is genuine, 
not nominal ; they are preserved, not for the pleasure of 
the few, but for the good of all who choose to see this 
strange and attractive spectacle ; and from this nursery 
and breeding-ground the overflow keeps up the stock of 
game in the adjacent land, to the benefit of the settler 
to whom the game gives fresh meat, and to the benefit 
of the whole country because of the attraction it furnishes 
to all who desire to visit a veritable happy hunting- 

Soon after lunch we drew up at the little station of 
Kapiti Plains, where our safari was awaiting us, " safari " 


being the term employed throughout East Africa to 
denote both the caravan with which one makes an 
expedition and the expedition itself. Our aim being to 
cure and send home specimens of all the common big 
game — in addition to as large a series as possible of the 
small mammals and birds — it was necessary to carry 
an elaborate apparatus of naturalists' supplies. We had 
brought with us, for instance, four tons of fine salt, as 
to cure the skins of the big beasts is a Herculean labour 
under the best conditions. We had hundreds of traps 
for the small creatures ; many boxes of shot-gun car- 
tridges, in addition to the ordinary rifle cartridges which 
alone would be necessary on a hunting trip ; and, in 
short, all the many impedimenta needed if scientific 
work is to be properly done under modern conditions. 
Few laymen have any idea of the expense and pains 
which must be undergone in order to provide groups of 
mounted big animals from far-off' lands, such as we see 
in museums like the National Museum in Washington 
and the American Museum of Natural History in New 
York. The modern naturalist must realize that in some 
of its branches his profession, while more than ever a 
science, has also become an art. So our preparations 
were necessarily on a very large scale ; and as we drew 
up at the station the array of porters and of tents 
looked as if some small military expedition was about 
to start. As a compliment, which I much appreciated, 
I a large American flag was floating over my own tent ; 
I and in the front line, flanking this tent on either hand, 
were other big tents for the members of the party, with 
' a dining tent and a skinning tent ; while behind were 
I the tents of the two hundred porters, the gun-bearers, the 
' tent-boys, the askaris, or native soldiers, and the horse- 
j boys, or saises. In front of the tents stood the men in two 


lines, the first containing the fifteen askaris, the second 
the porters with their head-men. The askaris were 
uniformed, each in a red fez, a blue blouse, and white 
knickerbockers, and each carrying his rifle and belt. 
The porters were chosen from several different tribes or 
races, to minimize the danger of combination in the 
event of mutiny. 

Here and there in East Africa one can utilize ox- 
waggons or pack-trains of donkeys ; but for a consider- 
able expedition it is still best to use a safari of native 
porters, of the type by which the commerce and ex- 
ploration of the country have always been carried on. 
The backbone of such a safari is generally composed 
of Swahili, the coast men, negroes who have acquired 
the Moslem religion, together with a partially Arabi- 
cized tongue and a strain of Arab blood from the Arab 
warriors and traders who have been dominant in the 
coast towns for so many centuries. It was these Swa- 
hili trading caravans, under Arab leadership, which, in 
tlieir quest for ivory and slaves, trod out the routes 
which the early white explorers followed. Without 
their work as a preliminary, the work of the white 
explorers could not have been done ; and it was the 
Swahili porters themselves who rendered this work 
itself possible. To this day every hunter, trader, mis- 
sionary, or explorer must use either a Swahili safari or 
one modelled on the Swahili basis. The part played by 
the white-topped ox-waggon in the history of South 
Africa, and by the camel caravan in North Africa, has 
been played in middle Africa by the files of strong, 
patient, childlike savages, who have borne the burdens 
of so many masters and employers hither and thither, 
through and across, the dark heart of the continent. 

Equatorial Africa is in most places none too healthy 


a place for the white man, and lie must care for himself 
as he would scorn to do in the lands of pine and birch 
and frosty weather. Camping in the Rockies or the 
North AVoods can with advantage be combined with 
" roughing it "; and the early pioneers of the West, the 
explorers, prospectors, and hunters, who always roughed 
it, were as hardy as bears, and lived to a hale old age, if 
Indians and accidents permitted. But in tropical Africa 
a lamentable proportion of the early explorers paid in 
health or life for the hardships they endured ; and 
throughout most of the country no man can long rough 
it, in the Western and Northern sense, with impunity. 

At Kapiti Plains our tents, our accommodation 
generally, seemed almost too comfortable for men who 
knew camp life only on the Great Plains, in the 
Rockies, and in the North Woods. My tent had a fly, 
which was to protect it from the great heat ; there was 
a little rear extension in which I bathed — a hot bath, 
never a cold batli, is almost a tropic necessity ; there 
was a groimd canvas, of vital moment in a land of ticks, 
jiggers, and scorpions ; and a cot to sleep on, so as to 
be raised from the ground. Quite a contrast to life on 
the round-up ! Then, I had two tent-boys to see after 
my belongings, and to wait at table as well as in the 
tent. Ali, a Mohammedan mulatto (Arab and negro), 
was the chief of the two, and spoke some English, while 
under him was " Bill," a speechless black boy, Ali 
being particularly faithful and efficient. Two other 
Mohammedan negroes, clad like the askaris, reported to 
me as my gun-bearers, Muhammed and Bakiri ; seemingly 
excellent men, loyal and enduring, no trackers, but with 
keen eyes for game, and the former speaking a little 
English. My two horse-boys, or saises, were both 
pagans. One, Hamisi, must liave had in his veins Galla 


or other non-negro blood ; derived from the Hamitic, 
or bastard Semitic, or at least non-negro, tribes which, 
pushing slowly and fitfully southward and south- 
westward among the negro peoples, have created an 
intricate tangle of ethnic and linguistic types from the 
middle Nile to far south of the Equator. Hamisi always 
wore a long feather in one of his sandals, the only 
ornament he affected. The other sais was a silent, 
gentle-mannered black heathen ; his name was Simba, 
a lion, and, as I shall later show, he was not unworthy 
of it. The two horses for which these men cared were 
stout, quiet little beasts ; one, a sorrel, I named Tran- 
quillity, and the other, a brown, had so much the coblike 
build of a zebra that we christened him Zebra-shape. 
One of Kermit's two horses, by the way, was more 
romantically named after Huandaw, the sharp-eared 
steed of the '" Mabinogion." Cuninghame, lean, sinewy, 
bearded, exactly the type of hunter and safari manager 
that one would wish for such an expedition as ours, had 
ridden up with us on the train, and at the station we 
met Tarlton, and also two settlers of the neighbourhood, 
Sir Alfred Pease and Mr. ChfTord Hill. Hill was an 
Africander. He and his cousin, Harold Hill, after 
serving through the South African War, had come to 
the new country of British East Africa to settle, and 
they represented the ideal type of settler for taking the 
lead in the spread of empire. They were descended 
from the EngUsh colonists who came to South Africa 
in 1820 ; they had never been hi England, neither had 
Tarlton. It was exceedingly interesting to meet these 
Australians and Africanders, who typified in their lives 
and deeds the greatness of the British Empire, and yet 
had never seen England. 

As for Sir Alfred, Kermit and I were to be his guests 

CH. t] KAPITI station 21 

for the next fortnight, and we owe primarily to him, to 
liis mastery of luniting craft, and his nnvarying and 
generous hospitahty and kindness, the pleasure and 
success of our introduction to African hunting. His 
life had been one of such varied interest as has only 
been possible in our own generation. He had served 
many years in Parliament ; he had for some years been 
a magistrate in a peculiarly responsible post in the 
Trans\ aal : he had journeyed and hunted and explored 
in the northern Sahara, in the Soudan, in Somaliland, 
in Abyssinia ; and now he was ranching in East Africa. 
A singularly good rider and one of the best game shots 
I have ever seen, it would have been impossible to find 
a kinder host or a hunter better fitted to teach us how 
to begin our work with African big game. 

At Kapiti Station there was little beyond tlie station 
buildings, a "compound" or square enclosure in which 
there were many natives, and an Indian store. The 
last was presided over by a turbaned Mussulman, the 
agent of other Indian traders who did business in 
Machakos-boma, a native village a dozen miles distant ; 
the means of communication being two-wheeled carts, 
each drawn by four humped oxen, driven by a wellnigh 
naked savage. 

For forty-eight hours we were busy arranging our 
outfit, and the naturalists took much longer. The 
provisions were those usually included in an African 
hunting or exploring trip, save that, in memory of my 
days in the \Vest, I included in each provision box a 
few cans of Boston baked beans, California peaches, and 
tomatoes. We had plenty of warm bedding, for the 
nights are cold at high altitudes, even under the Equator. 
While hunting I wore lieavy shoes, witli hobnails or 
rubber soles ; khaki trousers, the knees faced with 


leather, and the legs buttoning tight from the knee to 
below the ankle, to avoid the need of leggings ; a khaki- 
coloured army shirt, and a sun helmet, which T wore in 
deference to local advice, instead of my beloved and 
far more convenient slouch hat. My rifles were an 
army Springfield, 80-calibre, stocked and sighted to suit 
myself ; a Winchester -405 ; and a double-barrelled 
•500- -450 Holland, a beautiful weapon presented to 
me by some English friends.^ 

^ Mr. E. N. Buxton took the lead in the matter when he heard 
that I intended making a trip after big game in Africa. I 
received the rifle at the White House, while I was President. 
Inside the case was the following list of donors : 








E. N. Buxton, Esq. 

Rt. Hon. Lord Avebury, D.C.L. (" The Pleasures of Life," etc.) 

Major-General Sir F. Reginald Wingate, K.C.B. (Governor- 
General of the Soudan.) 

Sir Edmund G. Loder, Bart. 

Hon. N. C. Rothschild. 

The Earl of Lonsdale. (Master of Hounds.) 

Sir R. G. Harvey, Bart, 

The Right Hon. Lord Curzon of Kedleston, G.C.S.L, G.C.I.E. 

St. George Ltttledale, Esq. 

Dr. p. Chalmers Mitchell, F.R.S., F.Z.S. (Secretary of the 
Zoological Society.) 

C. E. Green, Esq. (Master of Essex Hounds.) 

F. C. Selous, Esq. (" A Hunter's Wanderings," etc.) 
Count Blijcher. 

Lieut.-Colonel C. Delme Radcliffe, C.M.G., M.V.O. 
Maurice Egerton, Esq. 
Lord Desborough, C.V.O. 
Cafi'ain M, McNeill, 

CH. t] our armament 23 

Kermit's battery was of the same type, except that 
instead of a Springfield he had another Winchester, 
shooting the army ammunition, and his double-barrel 
was a Rigby. In addition I had a Fox No. 12 shot- 
gun ; no better gun was ever made. 

Claude H. Tkitton, Esq. 


Hon. L. W. Rothschild, M.P. 

Right Hon. Sir E. Grey, Bart., M.P. (Foreign Secretary and 

author of " Dry Fly Fishing."") 
Sir M. de C. Findlay, C.M.G. (British Minister at Dresden.) 
C. PiiiLLii'PS-WoLLEY, EsQ., F.R.G.S. (" Sport in the Caucasus.") 
Right Hon. Sir G. O. Trevelyan, Bart., D.C.L. ("The 

American Revolution."'"') 
Warburton Pike, Esq. 
Sir Wm. E. Garstin, G.C.M.G. 
His Grace the Duke of Bedford, K.G. (Author of " A Great 

Her Grace the Duchess of Bedford. 
Lord Brassey, G.C.B., M.V.O. (Owner of the Sunbeam.) 
Hon. T. a. Brassey. (Editor of the Naval Annual.) 
Rhys Williams, Esq. 
Major-General a. a. A. Kinloch, C.B. (" Large Game in 

Sir Wm. Lee-Warner, K.C.S.L ("The Protected Princes of 

The Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of London. 
Major-General Dalrymple White. 
Colonel Claude Cane. 

Right Hon. Sydney Buxton, M.P. (Postmaster- General, " Fish- 
ing and Shooting.") 
Major C, E. Radclyffe, D.S.O. 
Sir a. E. Pease, Bart. (" Cleveland Hounds.") 
Sir H. H. Johnston, K.C.B., G.C.M.G. ("The Uganda Pro- 

Abel Chapman, Esq. (" Wild Spain.") 
J. G. MiLLAis, Esq., F.Z.S. (" A Breath from the Veldt.") 

E. Lort-Phillips, Esq. (Author of ornithological works.) 
R. Kearton, Esq., F.Z.S. (" Wild Nature's Ways.") 

J. H. GiRNEY, Esq., F.Z.S. (Works on ornithology.) 

F. J. Jackson, C.B., C.M.G., Lieut.-Governor East African 

Protectorate. (" Big Game," Badminton Library.) 
Colonel Sir F. Lugard, K.C.M.G., C.B., D.S.O. 


There was one other bit of impedimenta, less usual 
for African travel, but perhaps almost as essential for 
real enjoyment even on a hunting trip, if it is to be of 
any length. This was the " pigskin library," so called 
because most of the books were bound in pigskin. 
They were carried in a light aluminium and oilcloth 
case, which, with its contents, weighed a little less than 
sixty pounds, making a load for one porter. Including 
a few volumes carried in the various bags, so that I 
might be sure always to have one with me, and 
" Gregorovius," read on the voyage outward, the list 
was as printed in Appendix F. 

It represents in part Kermit's taste, in part mine ; 
and, I need hardly say, it also represents in no way all 
the books we most care for, but merely those which, for 
one reason or another, we thought we should like to 
take on this particular trip. 

I used my Whitman tree army saddle and my army 
field-glasses ; but, in addition, for studying tlie liabits of 
the game, I carried a telescope given me on the boat by 
a fellow traveller and big-game hunter, an Irish Hussar 
Captain from India — and incidentally I am out in my 
guess if this same Irish Hussar Captain be not worth 
watching should his country ever again be engaged in 

Lady Lugard. (" A Tropical Depeiidency.") 

Sir Clement L. Hili,, K.C.B., M.P. (Late Head of the African 

Department, Foreign Office.) 
Sir H. Seton-Karr, M.P., C.M.G. (" My Sporting Holidays.") 
Cafiain Boyd Alexander. (" From the Niger to the Nile.") 
Sir J. Kirk, K.C.B., G. C.M.G. (Dr. Livingstone's companion, 



The Earl of Warwick. 

P. L. Sclater, Esq., D.Sc, Ph.D. (Late Secretary Zoological 

Colonel J." H. Patterson, D.S.O. (" The Tsavo Lion.") 


war. I had a very ingenious beam or scale for weigh- 
ing game, designed and presented to me by my friend, 
Mr. Thompson Seton. I had a shcker for wet weather, 
an army overcoat, and a mackinaw jacket for cold, if 1 
had to stay out overnight in the mountains. In my 
pockets I carried, of course, a knife, a compass, and a 
waterproof matchbox. Finally, just before leaving 
liome, I had been sent, for good luck, a gold-mounted 
rabbit's foot, by Mr. John L. Sullivan, at one time ring 
champion of the w^orld. 

Our camp was on a bare, dry plain, covered with 
brown and withered grass. At most hours of the day 
we could see round about, perhaps a mile or so distant, 
or less, the game feeding. South of the track the reserve 
stretched for a long distance ; north it wxnt for but a 
mile, just enough to prevent thoughtless or cruel people 
from shooting as they went by in the train. There w^as 
very little water ; what we drank, by the w^ay, w^as care- 
fully boiled. The drawback to the camp, and to all this 
plains region, lay in the ticks, which swarmed, and were 
a scourge to man and beast. Every evening the saises 
picked them by hundreds off each horse, and some of 
oin- party were at times so bitten by the noisome little 
creatures that they could hardly sleep at night, and in 
one or two cases the man was actually laid up for a 
couple of days ; and two of our horses ultimately got 
tick fever, but recovered. 

In mid-afternoon of our third day in this camp we at 
last had matters in such shape that Kermit and I could 
begin our hunting ; and forth we rode, he wdth Hill, I 
with Sir Alfred, each accompanied by his gun-bearers 
and sais, and by a few porters to carry in the game. 
For two or three miles our little horses shuffled steadily 
northward across the desolate flats of short grass until 


the ground began to rise here and there into low hills, 
or kopjes, with rock-strewn tops. It should have been 
the rainy season, the season of " the big rains "; but the 
rains were late, as the parched desolation of the land- 
scape bore witness ; nevertheless, there were two or 
three showers that afternoon. We soon began to see 
game, but the flatness of the country and the absence of 
all cover made stalking a matter of difficulty ; the only 
bushes were a few sparsely-scattered mimosas, stunted 
things, two or three feet high, scantily leaved, but 
abounding in bulbous swellings on the twigs, and in 
long, sharp spikes of thorns. There were herds of harte- 
beest and wildebeest, and smaller parties of beautiful 
gazelles. The last were of two kinds, named severally, 
after their discoverers, the explorers Grant and Thomson ; 
many of the creatures of this region commemorate the 
men — Schilling, Jackson, Neumann, Kirke, Chanler, 
Abbot — who first saw and hunted them and brought 
them to the notice of the scientific world. The 
Thomson's gazelles, or tommies, as they are always 
locally called, are pretty, alert little things, half the size 
of our prongbuck ; their big brothers, the Grant's, are 
among the most beautiful of all antelopes, being rather 
larger than a whitetail deer, with singularly graceful 
carriage, while the old bucks carry long lyre-shaped 

Distances are deceptive on the bare plains under the 
African sunlight. I saw a fine Grant, and stalked him 
in a rain squall, but the bullets from the little Springfield 
fell short as he raced away to safety ; I had under- 
estimated the range. Then I shot, for the table, a good 
buck of the smaller gazelle, at tM^o hundred and twenty- 
five yards ; the bullet went a little high, breaking his 
back above the shoulders. 


But what I really wanted were two good speeimens, 
bull and cow. of the wildebeest. These powerful, un- 
gainly beasts, a variety of tlie brindled gnu or blue 
wildebeest of South Africa, are interesting creatures of 
(jueer, eccentric habits. With their shaggy manes, heavy 
forequarters, and generally bovine look, they remind 
one somewhat of our bison at a distance ; but of course 
they are much less bulky, a big old bull in prime con- 
dition rarely reaching a weight of seven hundred pounds. 
They are beasts of the open plains, ever alert and wary. 
The cows, with then* calves and one or more herd-bulls, 
keep in parties of several score ; the old bulls, singly or 
two or three together, keep by themselves or with herds 
of zebra, hartebeest, or gazelle ; for one of the interesting 
features of African wild life is the close association and 
companionship so often seen between totally different 
species of game. Wildebeest are as savage as they are 
suspicious ; when wounded they do not hesitate to 
charge a man who comes close, although of course 
neither tliey nor any other antelopes can be called 
dangerous when in a wild state, any more than moose 
or other deer can be called dangerous ; when tame, 
however, wildebeest are very dangerous indeed — more 
so than an ordinary domestic bull. The wild, queer- 
looking creatures prance and rollick and cut strange 
j capers when a herd first makes up its mind to flee from 
. a stranger's approach ; and even a solitary bull will 
I sometimes plunge and buck as it starts to gallop off; 
while a couple of bulls, when the herd is frightened, 
may relieve their feelings by a moment's furious battle, 
i occasionally dropping to their knees before closing. At 
I this time, the end of April, there were little calves with 
the herds of cows ; but in many places in Equatorial 
Africa the various species of antelopes seem to have no 


settled rutting-time or breeding-time ; at least, we saw 
calves of all ages. 

Our hunt after wildebeest this afternoon was success- 
ful ; but, though by veldt law each animal was mine 
because I hit it first, yet in reality the credit was com- 
munistic, so to speak, and my share was properly less 
than that of others. I first tried to get up to a solitary 
old bull, and after a good deal of manceu^'ring, and by 
taking advantage of a second rain squall, I got a standing 
shot at him at four hundred yards, and hit him, but too 
far back. Although keeping a good distance away, he 
tacked and veered so, as he ran, that by much running 
myself I got various otlier shots at him, at very long 
range, but missed them all, and he finally galloped over 
a distant ridge, his long tail switching, seemingly not 
much the worse. We followed on horseback, for I hate 
to let any wounded thing escape to suffer. But mean- 
while he had run into view of Kermit ; and Kermit — 
who is of an age and build which better fit him for 
successful breakneck galloping over unknown country 
dotted with holes and bits of rotten ground — took up 
the chase with enthusiasm. Yet it M^as sunset, after 
a run of six or eight miles, when he finally ran into and 
killed the tough old bull, which had turned to bay, 
snorting and tossing its horns. 

Meanwhile I managed to get within three hundred 
and fifty yards of a herd, and picked out a large cow 
which was unaccompanied by a calf. Again my bullet 
went too far back, and I could not hit the animal at 
that distance as it ran. But after going half a mile it 
lay down, and would have been secured without diffi- 
culty if a wretched dog had not run forward and put it 
up. My horse was a long way back ; but Pease, who 
had been looking on at a distance, was mounted, and 

A herd of zebra and liartebeest 

One of llie interesting features of African wild life is the close association and compaiiiunship 

so often seen between two totally different species of game 

From photographs by Kcrmit RoosevcH 



sped after it. By the time I had reached my horse 
Pease was out of sight ; but, riding hard for some miles, 
I overtook him, Just before the sun went down, standing 
by the cow, which he had ridden down and slain. It 
was long after nightfall before we reached camp, ready 
for a hot bath and a good supper. As always thereafter 
with anything we shot, we used the meat for food, and 
preserved the skins for the National Museum. Both 
the cow and the bull were fat and in fine condition ; 
but they were covered with ticks, especially wherever 
the skin was bare. Around the eyes the loathsome 
creatures swarmed so as to make complete rims, like 
spectacles ; and in the armpits and the grohi they were 
massed so that they looked like barnacles on an old boat. 
It is astonishing that the game should mind them so 
little ; the wildebeest evidently dreaded far more the 
biting flies which hung around them, and the maggots 
of the bot-flies in their nostrils must have been a sore 
torment. Nature is merciless indeed. 

The next day we rode some sixteen miles to the 
beautiful hills of Kitanga, and for over a fortnight were 
either Pease's guests at his farm — ranch, as we should 
call it in the West — or were on safari under his 




The house at which we were staymg stood on the 
beautiful Kitanga Hills. They were so named after an 
Englishman, to whom the natives had given the name 
of Kitanga. Some years ago, as we were told, he had 
been killed by a lion near where the ranch house now 
stood ; and we were shown his grave in the little 
JNIachakos graveyard. The house was one story high, 
clean and comfortable, with a veranda rumiing round 
three sides ; and on the veranda were lion-skins and the 
skull of a rhinoceros. From the house we looked over 
hills and wide, lonely plains ; the green valley below, 
with its flat-topped acacias, was very lovely ; and in the 
evening we could see, scores of miles away, the snowy 
summit of mighty Kilimanjaro turn crimson in the 
setting sun. The twilights were not long ; and when 
night fell, stars new to Northern eyes flashed glorious in 
the sky. Above the horizon hung the Southern Cross, 
and directly opposite in the heavens was our old familiar 
friend the Wain, the Great Bear, upside down and 
pointing to a North Star so low behind a hill that M^e 
could not see it. It is a dry country, and we saw it in 
the second year of a drought ; yet 1 believe it to be a 
country of high promise for settlers of white race. In 
many ways it reminds one rather curiously of the great 



plains of the West, where they slope upward to the 
footliills of the Rockies. It is a white man's country. 
Although under tlie Equator, the altitude is so high 
that the niglits are cool, and the region as a whole is 
very healthy. I saw many children — of the Boer 
immigrants, of English settlers, even of American 
missionaries — and they looked sound and well. Of 
course, there was no real identity in any feature ; but 
again and again the landscape struck me by its general 
likeness to the cattle country I knew so well. As my 
horse shuffled forward, under the bright, hot sunlight, 
across the endless flats or gently rolling slopes of brown 
and withered grass, I might have been on the plains 
anywhere from Texas to Montana, The hills were like 
our Western buttes ; the half-dry watercourses were 
fringed with trees, just as if they had been the Sandy, 
or the Dry, or the Beaver, or the Cottonwood, or any 
of the multitude of creeks that repeat these and similar 
names, again and again, from the Panhandle to the 
Saskatchewan. Moreover a Westerner, far better than 
an Easterner, could see the possibilities of the country. 
There should be storage reservoirs in the hills and along 
the rivers — in my judgment built by the Government, 
and paid for by the water-users in the shape of water- 
rents — and irrigation ditches. AVith the water stored 
and used there would be an excellent opening for small 
farmers, for the settlers, the actual home-makers, who, 
above all others, should be encouraged to come into a 
white man's coimtry like this of the highlands of East 
Africa. Even as it is, many settlers do well ; it is hard 
to realize that right under the Equator the conditions 
are such that wheat, potatoes, strawberries, apples, all 
flourish. No new country is a place for weaklings ; but 
the right kind of man, the settler who makes a success 


in similar parts of our own West, can do well in East 
Africa, \^'hile a man with money can undoubtedly do 
very well indeed ; and incidentally both men will be 
leading their lives under conditions peculiarly attractive 
to a certain kind of spirit. It means hard work, of 
course ; but success generally does imply hard work. 

The plains were generally covered only with the 
thick grass on which the great herds of game fed ; here 
and there small thorn-trees grew upon them, but usually 
so small and scattered as to give no shelter or cover. 
By the occasional watercourses the trees grew more 
thickly, and also on the hills and in the valleys between. 
Most of the trees were mimosas, or of similar kind, 
usually thorny ; but there were giant cactus - like 
euphorbias, shaped like candelabra, and named accord- 
ingly ; and on the higher hills fig-trees, wild olives, and 
many others whose names I do not know, but some 
of which were stately and beautiful. jMany of the 
mimosas were in bloom, and covered with sweet- 
sinelling yellow blossoms. There were many flowers. 
On the dry plains there were bushes of the colour and 
size of our own sagebrush, covered with flowers like 
morning glories. There were also wild sweet peas, on 
which the ostriches fed, as they did on another plant 
with a lilac flower of a faint heliotrope fragrance. 
Among the hills there were masses of singularly 
fragi-ant flowers like pink jessamines, growing on 
bushes sometimes fifteen feet high or over. There 
were white flowers that smelt like narcissus, blue 
flowers, red lilies, orange tiger-lilies, and many others 
of many kinds and colours, while here and there in the 
pools of the rare rivers grew the sweet-scented purple 
lotus- lily. 

There was an infinite variety of birds, small and large, 


dull-coloured and of the most brilliant plumage. For 
the most part they either had no names at all or names 
that meant nothing to us. There were glossy starlings 
of many kinds, and scores of species of weaver-finches, 
some brilliantly coloured, others remarkable because 
of the elaborate nests they built by communities among 
the trees. There were many kinds of shrikes, some of 
them big pnrti-coloured birds, almost like magpies, and 
with a kestrel-like habit of hovering in the air over one 
spot; others very small and prettily coloured. There 
was a little red-billed finch with its outer tail feathers 
several times the length of its head and body. There 
was a little emerald cuckoo, and a tiny thing, a barbet, 
that looked exactly like a kingfisher, four inches long. 
Eared owls flew up from the reeds and grass. There 
were big, restless, wonderfully- coloured plantain-eaters 
in the woods, and hornbills, with strange swollen beaks. 
A true lark, coloured like our meadow-lark (to which it 
is in no way related) sang from bushes ; but the clapper- 
lark made its curious clapping sounds (apparently with 
its ^vings, like a ruffed grouse) while it zigzagged in the 
air. Little pipits sang overhead like our Missouri sky- 
larks. There were nightjars, and doves of various 
kinds, one of wliich uttered a series of notes slightly 
resembling the call of our whip-poor-will or chuckwill's 
widow. The beautiful little sunbirds were the most 
gorgeous of all. Then there were bustards, great and 
I small, and snake-eating secretary birds, on the plains ; 
I and francolins, and African spur-fowl, Mith brilliant 
j naked throats, and sand grouse that flew in pack; 
; uttering guttural notes. The wealth of bird life was 
I bewildering. There was not much bird music, judged 
1 by the standards of a temperate climate; but the 
^ bulbuls and one or two warblers sang very sweetly. 




The naturalists caught shrews and mice in their traps ; 
molerats with velvety fur, which burrowed like our 
pocket gophers; rats that lived in holes like those of 
our kangaroo rat ; and one mouse that was striped like 
our striped gopher. There were conies among the 
rocks on the hills ; they looked like squat, heavy wood- 
chucks, but their teeth were somewhat like those of a 
wee rhinoceros, and they had little hoof-like nails 
instead of claws. There were civets and wild-cats, and 
things like a small mongoose. But the most interesting 
mammal we saw was a brilliantly-coloured yellow and 
blue, or yellow and slate, bat, which we put up one day 
while beating through a ravine. It had been hanging 
from a mimosa twig, and it flew well in the strong sun- 
light, looking like some huge parti-coloured buttei-fly. 

^'it was a settled country, this in which we did our 
first hunting, and for this reason all the more interesting. 
The growth and development of East and Middle 
Africa are phenomena of such absorbing interest, that I 
was delighted at the chance to see the parts where settle- 
ment has already begun before plunging into the 
absolute wilderness. There was much to remind one of 
conditions in Montana and Wyoming thirty years ago ; 
the ranches planted down among the hills and on the 
plains still teeming with game, the spirit of daring 
adventure everywhere visible, the hope and the heart- 
breaking disappointment, the successes and the failures. 
But the problem offered by the natives bore no resem- 
blance to that once offered by the presence of our 
tribes of horse Indians, few in numbers and incredibly 
formidable in war. The natives of East Africa are 
numerous ; many of them are agricultural or pastoral 
peoples after their own fashion ; and even the bravest 
of them, the warlike Masai, are in no way formidable 

CH. u] THE \V AKAMBA 35 

as our Indians were formidable when they went on the 
war-path. The ranch country I first visited was in 
what was once the domain of the W'akamba, and in the 
greater part of it the tribes still dA\ ell. They are in 
most ways primitive savages, with an im])erfect and 
feeble social, and therefore military, organization ; they 
live in small communities under their local chiefs ; they 
file their teeth, and though they wear blankets in the 
neighbourhood of the whites, these blankets are often 
cast aside ; even when the blanket is worn, it is often 
in such fashion as merely to accentuate the otherwise 
absolute nakedness of both sexes. Yet these savages are 
cattle-keepers and cattle-raisers, and the women do a 
good deal of simple agricultural work ; unfortunately, 
they are wastefully destructive of the forests. The chief 
of each little village is recognized as the ofhcial head- 
man by the British official, is given support, and is 
required to help the authorities keep peace and stamp 
out cattle disease — the two most important functions of 
government so far as the Wakamba themselves are 
concerned. All the tribes have their herds of black, 
brown, and white goats, of mottled sheep, and especially 
of small humped cattle. The cattle form their pride 
and joy. During the day each herd is accompanied by 
the herdsmen, and at night it is driven within its boma, 
or circular fence of thorn-bushes. Except for the milk, 
which they keep in their foul, smoky calabashes, tlie 
natives really make no use of their cattle ; they do not 
know how to work them, and they never eat them even 
in time of starvation. When there is prolonged drought, 
and consequent failure of crops, the foolish creatures die 
by the hundreds when they might readily be saved if 
they were willing to eat the iierds which they persist in 
treating as ornaments rather than as made for use. 


Many of the natives work for the settlers, as cattle- 
keepers, as ostrich-keepers, or, after a fashion, as 
laboin-ers. The settlers evidently niucli prefer to rely 
upon the natives for unskilled labour rather than see 
coolies from Hindostan brought into the country. At 
Sir Alfred Pease's ranch, as at most of the other farms 
of the neighbourhood, we found little Wakamba settle- 
ments. Untold ages separated employers and employed ; 
yet those that I saw seemed to get on well together. 
The Wakamba are as yet not sufficiently advanced to 
warrant their sharing in the smallest degree in the com- 
mon government ; the "just consent of the governed" 
in their case, if taken literally, would mean idleness, 
famine, and endless internecine warfare. They cannot 
govern themselves from witliin ; therefore they must be 
governed from without ; and their need is met in 
highest fashion by firm and just control, of the kind that 
on the whole they are now getting. At Kitanga the 
natives on the place sometimes worked about the house ; 
and they took care of the stock. The elders looked 
after the mild little humped cattle — bulls, steers, and 
cows ; and the children, often the merest toddlers, took 
naturally to guarding the parties of pretty little calves, 
during the daytime, when they were separated from 
their mothers. It was an ostrich-farm, too; and in the 
morning and evening we would meet the great birds, as 
they went to their grazing-grounds or returned to the 
ostrich boma, mincing along with their usual air of 
foolish stateliness, convoyed by two or three boys, each 
with a red blanket, a throwing stick, copper wire round 
his legs and arms, and perhaps a feather stuck in his 

There were a number of ranches in the neighbour- 
hood — using "neighbourhood" in the large Western 


sense, for they were many miles apart. The Hills — 
Clifford and Harold — were Africanders ; they knew the 
country, and were working hard and doing well ; and in 
the midst of their work they spared the time to do their 
full part in insuring a successful hunt to me, an entire 
stranger. All the settlers I met treated me with the 
same large and thoughtful courtesy — and what fine 
fellows they were ! and their wives even finer. At 
Bondini was Percival, a tall sinewy man, a fine rider 
and shot ; like so many other men whom I met, he 
wore merely a helmet, a fiannel shirt, short breeches or 
trunks, and puttees and boots, leaving the knee entirely 
bare. I shall not soon forget seeing him one day, as he 
walked beside his twelve-ox team, cracking his long 
whip, while in the big waggon sat pretty Mrs. Percival 
with a puppy and a little cheetah cub, which we had 
found and presented to her, and which slie was taming. 
They all — Sir Alfred, the Hills, everyone — behaved as 
if each was my host and felt it peculiarly incumbent on 
him to give me a good time ; and among these hosts 
one who did very much for me was Captain Arthur 
Slatter. I was his guest at Kilimakiu, where lie was 
running an ostrich-farm ; he had lost his right hand, yet 
he was an exceedingly good game shot, both with his 
light and his heavy rifles. 

At Kitanga, Sir Alfred's place, two Boers were 
working, Messrs. Prinsloo and Klopper. We fore- 
gathered, of course, as I, too, was of Dutch ancestry. 
They were strong, upstanding men, good mechanics, 
good masons, and Prinsloo spoke English well. I 
afterward stopped at the farm of Klopper's father, and 
at the farm of another Boer named Loijs ; and I met 
other Boers while out hunting — Erasmus, Botha, 
Joubert, Meyer. They were descendants of the Voor 


trekkers with the same names who led the hard-fighthig 
farmers northward from the Cape seventy years ago, 
and were kinsfolk of the men who since then have 
made these names honourably known throughout the 
world. There must, of course, be many Boers who 
have gone backward under the stress of a hard and 
semi-savage life ; just as in our communities of the 
frontier, the backwoods, and the lonely mountains, there 
are shiftless " poor whites " and " mean whites " mingled 
with the stin'dy men and women who have laid deep the 
foundations of our national greatness. But personally 
I happened not to come across these shiftless " mean 
white " Boers. Those that I met, both men and women, 
were of as good a type as anyone could wish for in his 
own countrymen or could admire in another nationality. 
They fulfilled the three prime requisites for any race : 
they worked hard, they could fight hard at need, and 
they had plenty of cliildren. These are the three 
essential qualities in any and every nation ; they are by 
no means all-sufficient in themselves, and there is need 
that many others should be added to them ; but the 
lack of any one of them is fatal, and cannot be made 
good by the presence of any other set of attributes. 

It was pleasant to see the good terms on v/hich Boer 
and Briton met. Many of the English settlers whose 
guest I was, or with whom I hunted — the Hills, Captain 
Slatter, Heatley, Judd — had fought through the South 
African War ; and so had all the Boers I met. The 
latter had been for the most part members of various 
particularly hard-fighting commandos ; when the war 
closed they felt very bitterly, and wished to avoid living 
under the British flag. Some moved west and some 
east ; those I met were among the many hundreds, 
indeed thousands, who travelled northward— a few over- 


land, most of them by water — to German East Africa. 
But in the part in which they happened to settle they 
were decimated by fever, and their stock perished of 
cattle sickness ; and most of them had again moved 
northward, and once more found themselves under the 
British Hag. They were being treated precisely on an 
equality with tlie British settlers; and every well-wisher 
to his kind, and above all every well-wisher to Africa, 
must hope that the men who in Soutli Africa fought so 
valiantly against one another, each for the right as he 
saw it, will speedily grow into a companionship of 
mutual respect, regard, and consideration such as that 
which, for our inestimable good fortune, now knits 
closely together in our own land tlie men who wore 
the blue and the men who wore the grey and their 
descendants. There could be no better and manlier 
people than those, both English and Dutch, who are at 
this moment engaged in the great and difficult task of 
adding East Africa to the domain of civilization ; their 
work is bound to be hard enough anyhow, and it would 
be a lamentable calamitv to render it more difficult by 
keeping alive a bitterness which has lost all point and 
justification, or by failing to recognize the fundamental 
virtues, the fundamental characteristics, in which the 
men of the two stocks are in reality so much alike. 

Messrs. Klopper and Loijs, wliose farms I visited, 
were doing well. The hitter, with three of his sons, took 
me out with pride to show me the dam which they had 
built across a dry watercourse, so as to make a storage 
reservoir when the rains came. The houses were of 
stone, and clean and comfortable ; the floors were 
covered with the skins of buck and zebra ; the chairs 
were home-made, as was most of the otlier furniture ; 
the " rust bunks," or couches, strongly and gracefully 


shaped, and filled with plaited raw hide, were so attrac- 
tive that I ordered one to take home. There were 
neatly kept little flower-gardens, suffering much from 
the drought ; there were ovens and out - buildings ; 
cattle-sheds for the humped oxen and the herds of 
pretty cows and calves ; the biltong was drying in 
smoke-houses ; there were patches of ground in cultiva- 
tion, for corn and vegetables ; and the wild veldt came 
up to the door-sills, and the wild game grazed quietly 
on all sides within sight of the houses. It was a very 
good kind of pioneer life ; and there could be no better 
pioneer settlers than Boers such as I saw. 

The older men wore full beards, and were spare and 
sinewy. The young men were generally smooth-faced 
or moustached, strongly built, and rather shy. The 
elder women were stout, cordial, motherly housewives ; 
the younger were often really pretty. At their houses 
I was received with hearty hospitality, and given cofiee 
or fresh milk, while we conversed through the medium 
of the sons or daughters, who knew a little English. 
They all knew that I was of Dutch origin, and were 
much interested when I repeated to them the only 
Dutch I knew, a nursery song which, as I told them, 
had been handed down to me by my own forefathers, 
and which in return I had repeated so many, many 
times to my children when they were little. It runs as 
follows, by the way ; but I have no idea how the words 
are spelled, as I have no written copy ; it is supposed 
to be sung by the father, who holds the little boy or 
little girl on his knee, and tosses him or her up in the 
air when he comes to the last line : 

" Trippa, troppa, tronjes, 
De varken's in de booiijes, 
De koejes in de klaver, 
De paardeen in de haver, 

CH. ii] imn ONS AND BOERS 41 

De eenjes in de watcr-plass ! 

So groot mvn kloine (here insert the 

Httle boy's or Httle girl's name) wass V 

My proiiiiiiciation caused trouble at first ; but I think 
they understood me the more readily because doubtless 
their own usual tongue was in some sort a dialect ; and 
some of them already knew the song, while they were 
all pleased and amused at my remembering and repeat- 
ing it ; and we were speedily on a most friendly footing. 
The essential identity of interest between the Boer 
and i5ritish settlers was shown by their attitude toward 
the district commissioner, Mr. Humphries, who was 
just leaving for his biennial holiday, and who dined 
with us in our tent on his way out. From both Boer 
farmer and English settler— and from the American 
missionaries also — 1 heard praise of Ilinnphries, as a 
strong man, not in the least afraid of either settler or 
native, but boimd to do justice to both, and, what was 
(juite as important, sijmpatliiziiig with the settlers cuid 
knowing and understanding their needs. A new country 
in which white pioneer settlers are struggling with the 
iron difliculties and hardships of frontier life is, above 
all others, that in which the officials should be men 
having both knowledge and sympathy with the other 
men over whom they are placed and for whom they 
should work. 

My host and hostess. Sir Alfred and Lady Pease, 
were on the best terms with all their neighbours, and 
their friendly interest was returned. Now it was the 
wife of a Boer farmer who sent over a basket of flowers, 
! now came a box of apples from an English settler on 
the hills ; now Prinsloo the Boer stopped to dinner ; 
now the McMillans — American friends, of whose farm 
and my stay thereon I shall speak later — rode over 


from their house on the Mua Hills, with their guest, 
Selous, to take lunch. This, by the way, was after I 
had shot my first lions, and I was much pleased to be 
able to show Selous the trophies. 

My gentle-voiced hostess and her daughter had seen 
many strange lands and strange happenings, as was 
natural with a husband and father of such adventure- 
loving nature. They took a keen interest, untinged by 
the slightest nervousness, in every kind of wild creature, 
from lions and leopards down. The game was in sight 
from the veranda of the house almost every hour of the 
day. Early one morning, in the mist, three hartebeests 
came right up to the wire fence, two score yards from 
the house itself; and the black and white striped 
zebra and ruddy hartebeest grazed or rested through 
the long afternoons in plain view on the hillsides 

It is hard for one who has not himself seen it to 
realize the immense quantities of game to be found on 
the Kapiti Plains and Athi Plains and the hills that 
bound them. The common game of tlie plains, the 
animals of which I saw most while at Kitanga and in 
the neighbourhood, were the zebi-a, wildebeest, harte- 
beest. Grant's gazelle, and "tommies," or Thomson's 
gazelle ; the zebra and the hartebeest, usually known 
by the Swahili name of kongoni, being by far the most 
plentiful. Then there w^ere impalla, mountain reed- 
buck, duyker, steinbuck, and diminutive dikdik. As 
we travelled and liunted, we were hardly ever out of 
sight of game ; and on Pease's farm itself there were 
many thousand head, and so there were on Slatter's. 
If wealthy men, who desire sport of the most varied 
and interesting kind, would purchase farms like these, 
they could get, for much less money, many times the 

cH. ii] rilOTECTl\ E COLORATION 48 

interest and enjoyment a deer-forest or grouse-moor 
can afford. 

The wildebeest or gnu were the shyest and least 
plentiful, but in some ways the most interesting, be- 
cause of the queer streak of ferocious eccentricity 
evident in all their actions. They were of all the 
animals those that were most exclusively dwellers in 
the open, where there was neither hill nor bush. Their 
size and their dark bluish hides, sometimes showing- 
white in the sunlight, but more often black, rendered 
them more easily seen than any of their companions. 
But hardly any plains animal of any size makes any 
effort to escape its enemies by eluding their observa- 
tion. Very much of what is connnonly said about 
"protective coloration" has no basis whatever in fact. 
Black and white are normally the most conspicuous 
colours in nature (and yet are borne by numerous 
creatures who have succeeded well in the struggle for 
life) ; but almost any tint, or combination of tints, 
among the greys, browns, and duns harmonizes fairly 
well with at least some surroundings in most land- 
scapes ; and in but a few instances among the larger 
mammals, and in almost none among those frequenting 
the open plains, is there the slightest reason for sup- 
posing that the creature gains any benefit whatever 
I from what is loosely called its "protective coloration." 
: Giraffes, leopards, and zebras, for instance, have actually 
been held up as instances of creatures that are " pro- 
tectingly " coloured, and are benefited thereby. The 
giraffe is one of the most conspicuous objects in nature, 
' and never makes the slightest effort to hide. Near by 
I its mottled hide is very noticeable, but, as a matter of 
] fact, under any ordinary circumstances any possible foe 
( trusting to eyesight would discover the giraffe so far 


away that its colouring would seem uniform — that is, 
would, because of the distance, be indistinguishable 
from a general tint, which really might have a slight 
protective value. In other words, while it is possible 
that the giraffe's beautifully waved colouring may 
under certain circumstances, and in an infinitesimally 
small number of cases, put it at a slight disadvantage 
in the struggle for life, in the enormous majority of 
cases — a majority so great as to make the remaining 
cases negligible — it has no effect whatever, one way or 
the other ; and it is safe to say that under no conditions 
is its colouring of the slightest value to it as affording 
it " protection " from foes trusting to their eyesight. 
So it is with the leopard. It is undoubtedly much less 
conspicuous than if it were black ; and yet the black 
leopards, the melanistic individuals, thrive as well as 
their spotted brothers ; while, on the whole, it is prob- 
ably slightly more conspicuous than if it were nearly 
unicolour, like the American cougar. As compared 
with the cougar's tawny hide, the leopard's coloration 
represents a very slight disadvantage, and not an advan- 
tage, to the beast ; but its life is led under conditions 
which make either the advantage or the disadvantage so 
slight as to be negligible. Its peculiar coloration is 
probably in actual fact of hardly the slightest service to 
it from the " protective " standpoint, whether as regards 
escaping from its enemies or approaching its prey. It 
has extraordinary facihty in liiding ; it is a master of the 
art of stealthy approach ; but it is normally nocturnal, 
and by night the colour of its hide is of no consequence 
whatever ; while by day, as I have already said, its 
varied coloration renders it slightly more easy to 
detect than is the case with the cougar. 

All of this applies with peculiar force to the zebra, 


which it has also been somewhat the fashion of recent 
years to hold up as an example of " protective colora- 
tion." As a matter of fact, the zebra's coloration is 
not protective at all : on the contrary, it is exceedingly 
conspicuous, and under the actual conditions of the 
zebra's life, probably ne\'er hides it from its foes ; the 
instances to the contrary beintr due to conditions so 
exceptional that they may be disregarded. Tf any man 
seriously regards the zebra's coloration as " protectiv^e," 
let liim try the experiment of wearing a hunting-suit of 
the zebra pattern ; he will speedily be imdeceived. 
The zebra is peculiarly a beast of the open plains, and 
makes no effort ever to hide from the observation of its 
foes. It is occasionally found in open forest, and may 
there now and then escape observation simply as any 
animal of any colour — a dun hartebeest or a nearly 
black bushbuck — may escape observation. At a dis- 
tance of over a few hundred yards the zebra's colora- 
I tion ceases to be conspicuous simply because the 
[ distance has caused it to lose all its distinctive character 
I — that is, all the quality which could possibly make it 
I protective. Near by it is always very conspicuous, and 
I if the conditions are such that any animal can be seen at 
I all, a zebra will catch the eye much more quickly than 
a Grant's gazelle, for instance. These gazelles, by the 
I way, altiiough mucli less conspicuously coloured than 
the zebra, l)ear when young, and the females even when 
J adult, the dark side stripe which characterizes all sexes and 
ages of the smaller gazelle, the " tommy "; it is a very 
conspicuous marking, quite inexplicable on any theory 
of protective coloration. The truth is that no game of 
the plains is helped in any way by its coloration in 
evading its foes, and none seeks to escape the vision of 
its foes. The larger game animals of the plains are 


always walking and standing in conspicuous places, and 
never seek to hide or take advantage of" cover ; while, 
on the contrary, the little grass and bush antelopes, like 
the duyker and steinbuck, trust very much to their 
power of hiding, and endeavour to escape the sight of 
tlieir foes by lying absolutely still, in the hope of not 
being made out against their background. On the 
plains one sees the wildebeest farthest off and with 
most ease ; the zebra and hartebeest next ; the gazelle 

The wildebeest are very wary. While the hunter is 
still a long way off the animal will stop grazing and 
stand with head raised, the heavy shoulders and short 
neck making it unmistakable. Then, when it makes up 
its mind to allow no closer approach, it brandishes its 
long tail, springs and plunges, runs once or twice in 
semicircles, and is off, the head held much lower than 
the shoulders, the tail still lashing ; and now and then a 
bull may toss up the dust with its horn's. The herds of 
cows and calves usually contain one or two or more 
bulls ; and in addition, dotted here and there over the 
plain, are single bulls or small parties of bulls, usually 
past their prime or not yet full grown. These bulls are 
often found in the company of hartebeests or zebras, 
and stray zebras and hartebeests are often found with the 
wildebeest herds. The stomachs of those I opened 
contained nothing but grass ; they are grazers, not 
browsers. The hartebeest are much faster, and if 
really frightened speedily leave their clumsy-looking 
friends behind ; but the wildebeest, as I have seen 
them, are by far the most wary. The wildebeest and 
zebra seemed to me to lie down less freely than the 
hartebeest ; but I frequently came on herds of both 
lying down during the heat of the day. Sometimes 


part of the herd will stand drowsily erect and the rest 
lie down. 

Near Kitanga there were three wildebeest which were 
usually found with a big herd of hartebeest, and which 
rcguhu'ly every afternoon lay down for some hours, just 
as their friends did. The animal has a very bovine 
look, and though called an antelope it is quite as close 
kin to the oxen as it is to many of the other beasts 
also called antelope. The fact is that antelope is not 
an exact term at all, but merely means any hollow- 
horned ruminant which the obser\'er happens to think is 
not a sheep, goat, or ox. When, with LiniiiEUS, the 
first serious effort at the systematization of living nature 
began, men naturally groped in the effort to see correctly 
I and to express what they saw. When they came to 
' describe the hollow-horned ruminants, they, of course, 
already had names at hand for anything that looked like 
one of the domestic creatures with which they were 
familiar ; and as " antelope " was also already a name of 
general, though vague, currency for some wild creatures, 
they called everything an antelope that did not seem to 
come in one of the more familiar domestic categories. 
Study has shown that sheep and goats grade into one 
another among the wild species ; and the so-called 
antelopes include forms differing from one another quite 
as sharply as any of them differ from their kinsfolk that 
are represented in the farmyard. 

Zebras share with hartebeest the distinction of being 
the most abundant game animal on the plains, through- 
out the whole Athi region. The two creatures are fond 
of associating together, usually in mixed herds, but 
sometimes there will merely be one or two indi^ iduals 
of one species in a big herd of the other. They are 
sometimes, though less frequently than the hartebeest. 


found in open bush country ; but they hve in the open 
plains by choice. 

I could not find out that they liad fixed times for 
resting, feeding, and going to water. They and the 
hartebeest formed the favourite prey of the numerous 
lions of the neighbourhood, and I believe that the 
nights, even the moonlight nights, were passed by both 
animals under a nervous strain of apprehension, ever 
dreading the attack of their arch-enemy, and stampeding 
from it. Their stampedes cause the utmost exasperation 
to the settlers, for when in terror of the real or imaginary 
attack of a lion, their mad, heedless rush takes them 
through a wire fence as if it were made of twine and 
pasteboard. But a few months before my arrival a 
mixed herd of zebra and hartebeest, stampeded either 
by lions or wild-dogs, rushed through tlie streets of 
Nairobi, several being killed by the inhabitants, and 
one of the victims falling just outside the Episcopal 
Church. The zebras are nearly powerless M^hen seized 
by lions, but they are bold creatures against less formid- 
able foes, trusting in their hoofs and their strong jaws ; 
they will, when in a herd, drive off hyenas or wild-dogs, 
and will turn on hounds if the hunter is not near. If 
the lion is abroad in the daytime, they, as well as the 
other game, seem to realize that he cannot run them 
down ; and though they follow his movements with 
great alertness, and keep at a respectful distance, they 
show no panic. Ordinarily, as I saw them, they did 
not seem very shy of men, but in this respect all the 
game displayed the widest differences, from time to 
time, without any real cause, that I could discern, for 
the difference. At one hour, or on one day, the zebra 
and hartebeest would fiee from our approach when half 
a mile off, and again they would permit us to come 

( H. II] ZEBRAS 49 

within a couple of hundred yards before moving slowly 
away. On two or three occasions at lunch herds of 
zebra remained for half an hour watching us with much 
curiosity not over a hundred yards off. Once, wlien we 
had been vainly beating for lions at the foot of the 
Khikania ridge, at least a thousand zebras stood, in 
herds, on every side of us, tliroughout lunch ; they were 
from two to four hundred yards distant, and I was 
especially struck by the fact that tliose which were to 
leeward and liad our wind were no more alarmed than 
the others, I have seen them water at dawn and 
sunset, and also in the middle of the day ; and 1 have 
seen them grazing at every hour of the day, although I 
believe most freely in the morning and evening. At 
noon, and until the late afternoon, those I saw were 
not infrequently resting, either standing or lying down. 
They are noisy. Hartebeests merely snort or sneeze 
now and then, but the shrill, querulous barking of the 
" bonte quaha," as the Boers call the zebra, is one of the 
common sounds of the African plains, both by day and 
night. It is usually represented in books by the syllables 
•' qua- ha-ha " : but of course oin- letters and syllables 
were not made to represent, and can only in arbitrary' 
and conventional fashion represent, the calls of birds 
and mammals : the bark of the bonte quagga or common 
zebra could just as well be represented by the sylhibles 
" ba-wa-wa," and as a matter of fact it can readily be 
mistaken for the bark of a shrill-voiced dog. After one 
of a herd has been killed by a lion or a hunter, its 
companions are particularly apt to keep uttering their 
cry. Zebras are very beautiful creatures, and it was 
an unending pleasure to watch them. I never molested 
them save to procure specimens for the museums, or 
food for the porters, Avho like their rather rank Hesh. 



They were covered with ticks Uke the other game ; on 
the groin, and many of the tenderest spots, the odious 
creatures w^re in soHd clusters ; yet the zebras were all 
in high condition, with masses of oily yellow fat. One 
stallion weighed six hundred and fifty pounds. 

The hartebeest — Coke's hartebeest, known locally by 
the Swahili name of " kongoni " — were at least as plenti- 
ful, and almost as tame, as the zebras As with the 
other game of Equatorial Africa, we found the young ot 
all ages ; there seems to be no especial breeding-time, 
and no one period among the males corresponding to the 
rutting season among Northern animals. The hartebeests 
were usually inseparable companions of the zebras ; but, 
though they were by preference beasts of the bare plain, 
they were rather more often found in open bush than 
were their striped friends. There are in the country 
numerous anthills, which one sees in every stage of 
development, from a patch of bare earth with a few 
funnel-like toAvers, to a hillock a dozen feet high and as 
many yards in circumference. On these big anthills 
one or tw^o kongoni will often post themselves as look- 
outs, and are then almost impossible to approach. The 
bidls sometimes fight hard among themselves, and, 
although their horns are not very formidable weapons, 
yet I knew of one case in which a bull was killed in 
such a duel, his chest being ripped open by his adver- 
sary's horns ; and now and then a bull will kneel and 
ffrind its face and horns into the dust or mud. Often a 
whole herd will gather around and on an anthill, or even 
a small patch of level ground, and make it a regular 
stamping-ground, treading it into dust with their sharp 
hoofs. They have another habit which I have not seen 
touched on in the books. Ordinarily their droppings 
are scattered anywhere on the plain ; but again and 


aoain I found wliere hiirtebeests — and, more rarely. 
Grant's gazelles — had in large numbers deposited their 
droppings for some time in one spot. Hartebeest are 
homely creatures, with long faces, high withers, and 
showing, when first in motion, a rather ungainly gait ; 
but they are among the swiftest and most endurinir 
of antelope, and when at speed their action is easy 
and regular. When pursued by a dog they will often 
play before him, just as a tommy will, taking great 
leaps with all four legs inclined backward, evidently in 
a spirit of fun and derision. In the stomachs of those i 
killed, as in those of the zebras, 1 found only grass and 
a few ground-plants ; even in the open bush or thinly- 
wooded country they seemed to graze, and not browse. 
One fat and hca\y bull weighed 340 pounds ; a very old 
bull, with horns much worn down, 299 pounds ; and a 
cow in high condition, 31.5 pounds. 

The Grant's gazelle is the most beautiful of all these 
plains creatures. It is about the size of a big white-tail 
deer ; one heavy buck which I shot, although with poor 
horns, weighed 171 pounds. The finest among the old 
bucks ha^e beautiful lyre-shaped horns, over two feet 
long, and their proud, graceful carriage and lightness of 
movement render them a delight to the eye. As I have 
already said, the young and the females have the dark 
side stripe which marks all the tommies ; but the old 
bucks lack this, and their colour fades into the brown 
or sandy of the dry plains far more completely than is 
the case with zebra or kongoni. Like the other game 
of the plains, they are sometimes found in small parties, 
or else in fair- sized herds, by themselves, and sometimes 
with other beasts ; I have seen a single fine buck in a 
herd of several hundred zebra and kongoni. The 
Thomson's gazelles, hardly a third the weight of their 


larger kinsfolk, are found scattered everywhere ; they 
are not as highly gregarious as the zebra and kongoni, 
and are not found in such big herds ; but their little 
bands^ — now a buck and several does, now a couple of 
does with their fawns, now three or four bucks together, 
now a score of individuals — are scattered everywhere on 
the flats. Like the Grants, their flesh is delicious, and 
they seem to have much the same habits. But they 
have one very marked characteristic — their tails keep 
up an incessant nervous twitching, never being still for 
more than a few seconds at a time, while the larger 
gazelle in this part of its range rarely moves its tail at 
all. They are grazers, and they feed, rest, and go to 
water at irregular times, or, at least, at different times 
in different localities ; and although they are most apt 
to rest during the heat of the day, I have seen them 
get up soon after noon, having lain down for a couple 
of hours, feed for an hour or so, and then lie down 
again. In the same way the habits of the game as to 
migration vary with the diflerent districts, in Africa as 
in America. There are places where all the game, 
perhaps notably the wildebeests, gather in herds of 
thousands, at certain times, and travel for scores of 
miles, so that a district which is teeming with game at 
one time may be almost barren of large wild life at 
another. But my information was that around the 
Kapiti plains there was no such complete and extensive 
shift. If the rains are abundant and the grass rank, 
most of the game will be found far out in the middle of 
the plains ; if, as was the case at the time of my visit, 
there has been a long drought, the game will be found 
ten or fifteen miles away, near or among the foothills. 

Unless there was something special on, like a lion or 
rhinoceros hunt, I usually rode off' followed only by my 


sais and gun-bearers. I cannot describe the beauty and 
the unceasing interest of these rides, through the teem- 
ing herds of game. It was Hke retracing the steps of 
time for sixty or seventy years, and being back in the 
days of CornwaUis Harris and Gordon Cunnning, in 
tlie pahiiy times of the giant fauna of South Africa. 
On Pease's own farm one day I passed through scores 
of herds of the beautiful and wonderful wild creatures 
I have spoken of above ; all told there were several 
thousands of them. ^Vith the exception of the wilde- 
beest, most of them were not shy, and I could have 
taken scores of shots at a distance of a couple of hundred 
yards or thereabouts. Of course, I did not shoot at 
anything unless we were out of meat or needed the 
skin for the collection ; and when we took the skin we 
almost always took the meat too, for the porters, 
although they had their rations of rice, depended for 
much of their well-being on our success with the rifle. 

These rides through the wild, lonely country, with 
only my silent black followers, had a peculiar charm. 
W^hen the sky was overcast it was cool and pleasant, 
for it is a high country ; as soon as the sun appeared 
the vertical tropic rays made the air quiver above the 
scorched land. As we passed down a hill-side we 
brushed through aromatic shrubs, and the hot, pleasant 
fragrance enveloped us. When we came to a nearly 
drv watercourse, there would be beds of rushes, beautiful 
lilies and lush green plants with staring flowers, and 
great deep green fig-trees, or flat-topped mimosas. In 
many of these trees there were sure to be native bee- 
hives ; these were sections of hollow logs hung from 
the branches ; they formed striking and characteristic 
features of the landscape. Wherever there was any 
moisture there were flowers, brilliant of hue and many 


of them sweet of smell ; and birds of numerous kinds 
abounded. When we left the hills and the wooded 
watercourses we might ride hour after hour across the 
barren desolation of the flats, while herds of zebra and 
hartebeest stared at us through the heat haze. Then 
the zebra, with shrill, barking neighs, would file off 
across the horizon, or the high-withered hartebeests, 
snorting and bucking, would rush off in a confused 
mass, as unreasoning panic succeeded foolish confidence. 
If I shot anything, vultures of several kinds and the 
tall, hideous marabout storks gathered before tlie 
skinners were through with their work ; they usually 
stayed at a wary distance, but the handsome ravens, 
glossy-hued, with white napes, big-billed, long-winged, 
and short- tailed, came rouiid more familiarly. 

I rarely had to take the trouble to stalk anything ; 
the shoothig was necessarily at rather long range, but 
by manoeuvring a little, and never walking straight 
toward a beast, I was usually able to get whatever the 
naturalists wished. Sometimes I shot fairly well, and 
sometimes badly. On one day, for instance, the entry 
in my diary ran : " Missed steinbuck, pig, impalla and 
Grant ; awful." On another day it ran in part as 
follows : " Out with Heller. Hartebeest, 250 yards, 
facing me ; shot through face, broke neck. Zebra, very 
large, quartering, 160 yards, between neck and shoulder. 
Buck Grant, 220 yards, walking, behind shoulder. 
Steinbuck, 180 yards, standing, behind shoulder.' 
Generally each head of game bagged cost me a goodly 
number of bullets ; but only twice did I wound animals 
which I failed to get ; in the other cases the extra 
cartridges represented either misses at animals which 
got clean away untouched, or else a running fusillade at 
wounded animals which I eventually got. I am a very 
strong believer in making sure, and, therefore, in shoot- 


ing at a wounded animal as long as there is the least 
chance of its getting off. The expenditure of a few 
cartridges is of no consequence whatc\ cr compared to 
the escape of a single head of game which should have 
been bagged. Sliooting at long range necessitates 
much rinming. Some of my successful shots at Grants 
gazelle and kongoni were made at 300. 3.50, and 400 
yards ; but at such distances my proportion of misses 
was \ cry large indeed — and there were altogether too 
many even at shorter ranges. 

The so-called grass antelopes, the steinbuck and 
duyker, were the ones at which I shot worst. They were 
quite plentiful, and they got up close, seeking to escape 
observation by hiding until the last moment ; but they 
were small, and when they did go tliey rushed half- 
hidden through the grass and in and out among the 
bushes at such a speed, and with such jumps and twists 
and turns, that 1 foimd it wellnigh impossible to hit 
them with the rifle. The few I got were generally shot 
when they happened to stand still. 

On the steep, rocky, bush-clad hills there were little 
klipspringers and the mountain reedbuck, or Chanler's 
reedbuck, a very pretty little creature. Usually we 
found the reedbuck does and their fawns in small 
parties, and the bucks by themselves ; but we saw too 
few to enable us to tell whether this represented their 
normal habits. They fed on the grass, the hill plants, 
and the tips of certain of the shrubs, and were true 
mountaineers in their love of the rocks and rough 
ground, to which they fled in frantic haste when 
alarmed. They were shy and elusive little things, but 
not wary in the sense that some of the larger antelopes 
are wary. I shot two does with three bullets, all of 
which hit. Then I tried hard for a buck ; at last, late 
one evening, 1 got up to one feeding on a steep hillside, 


and actually took ten shots to kill him, hitting him no 
less than seven times. 

Occasionally we drove a ravine or a range of hills by 
means of beaters. On such occasions all kinds of things 
were put up. INIost of the beaters, especially if they 
were M^ild savages impressed for the purpose from some 
neighbouring tribe, carried throwing-sticks, with which 
they were very expert, as, indeed, were some of the 
colonials, like the Hills. Hares, looking and behaving 
much like small jack-rabbits, were plentiful both on the 
plains and in the ravines, and dozens of these were 
knocked over ; while on several occasions I saw franco- 
lins and spurfowl cut down on tlie wing by a throwing- 
stick hurled from some unusually dexterous hand. 

The beats, with the noise and laughter of the good- 
humoured, excitable savages, and the alert interest as 
to what would turn up next, were great fun ; but the 
days I enjoyed most were those spent alone with my 
horse and gun-bearers. We might be off by dawn, and 
see the tropic sun flame splendid over the brink of the 
world ; strange creatures rustled through the bush or 
iied dimly through the long grass, before the light grew 
bright : and the air was fresh and sweet as it blew in 
our faces. AVlien the still heat of noon drew near I 
would stop under a tree, witli my water canteen and 
my lunch. The men lay in the shade, and the hobl.led 
pony grazed close by, while 1 either dozed or else 
watched through my telescope the herds of game lying- 
down or standing drowsily in the distance. As the 
shadows lengthened I would again mount, and finally 
ride homeward as the red sunset paled to amber and 
opal, and all the vast, mysterious African landscape 
grew to wonderful beauty in the dying twilight. 


The dangerous game of Africa are tlie lion, buffalo, 
elephant, rhinoceros, and leopard. The hunter who 
follows any of these animals always does so at a certain 
risk to life or limb — a risk which it is his business to 
minimize by coolness, caution, good judgment, and 
straight shooting. The leopard is in point of pluck and 
ferocity more than the equal of the other four ; but his 
small si/e always renders it likely that he will merely 
maul, and not kill, a man. INly friend Carl iVkely, of 
Chicago, actually killed bare-handed a leopard which 
sprang on him. He had already woUnded the beast 
twice, crippling it in one front and one hind paw ; 
whereupon it charged, followed him as he tried to 
dodge the charge, and struck him full just as he turned. 
It bit him in one arm, biting again and again as it 
worked up the arm from the wrist to the elbow ; but 
Akely threw it, holding its throat with the other hand, 
and flinging its body to one side. It luckily fell on its 
side, with its two wounded legs uppermost, so that it 
could not tear him. He fell forward with it and 
crushed in its chest with his knees, until he distinctly felt 
one of its ribs crack ; this, said Akely, was the first 
moment when he felt he might conquer. Redoubling 
his efforts, with knees and hand, he actually choked 


58 LION-HUNTING [ch. hi 

and crushed the Hfe out of it, although his arm was 
badly bitten. A leopard will charge at least as readily 
as one of the big beasts, and is rather more apt to get 
his charge home, but the risk is less to life than to limb. 
There are other animals often or occasionally danger- 
ous to human life which are, nevertheless, not dangerous 
to the hunter. Crocodiles are far greater pests, and far 
more often man-eaters, than lions or leopards ; but their 
shooting is not accompanied by the smallest element of 
risk. Poisonous snakes are fruitful sources of accident, 
but they are actuated only by fear and the anger born 
of fear. The hippopotamus sometimes destroys boats 
and kills those in them ; but again there is no risk in 
hunting him. P^inally, the hyena, too cowardly ever to 
be a source of danger to the hunter, is sometimes a 
dreadful curse to the weak and helpless. The hyena is 
a beast of unusual strength and of enormous power in 
his jaws and teeth, and thrice over would he be dreaded 
were fang and sinew driven by a heart of the leopard's 
cruel courage. But though the creature's foul and evil 
ferocity has no such backing as that yielded by the 
angry daring of the spotted cat, it is yet fraught with a 
terror all its own ; for on occasion the hyena takes to 
man-eating after its own fasliion. Carrion-feeder tliough 
it is, in certain places it will enter native huts and carry 
away children or even sleeping adults ; and where famine 
or disease has worked havoc among a people, the hideous 
spotted beasts become bolder and prey on the survivors. 
For some years past Uganda has been scourged by the 
sleeping-sickness, which has ravaged it as in the Middle 
Ages the Black Death ravaged Europe. Hundreds 
of thousands of natives have died. Every effort has 
been made by the Government officials to cope with 
the disease ; and among other things sleeping-sickness 


camps have been established, where those stricken by 
the dread malady can be isolated and cease to be 
possible sources of infection to their fellows. Recovery 
among those stricken is so rare as to be almost unknown, 
but the disease is often slow, and months may elapse 
during which the diseased man is still able to live his 
life much as usual. In the big camps of doomed men 
and women thus established there were, therefore, many 
persons carrying on their avocations much as in an 
ordinary native village. But the hyenas speedily found 
that in many of the huts the inmates were a helpless 
prey. In 1908 and throughout the early part of 1901) 
they grew constantly bolder, haunting these sleeping- 
sickness camps, and each night entering them, bursting 
into the huts and carrying off and eating the dying 
people. To guard against them, each little group of 
huts was enclosed by a thick hedge ; but after a while 
the hyenas learned to break through the hedges, and 
continued their ravages, so that every night armed 
i sentries had to patrol the camps, and every night they 
I could be heard firing at the marauders. 
I The men thus preyed on were sick to death, and for 
I the most part helpless. Rut occasionally men in full 
I vigour are attacked. One of Pease's native hunters was 
I seized by a hyena as he slept beside the camp-fire, and 
part of his face torn off. Selous informed me that a 
friend of his, Major R. T. Coryndon, then Administrator 
j of Nortli-Western Rhodesia, was attacked by a hyena 
but two or three years ago. At the time Major Coryndon 
was lying, wrapped in a blanket, beside his Avaggon. A 
hyena, stealthily approaching through the night, seized 
him by the hand and dragged him out of bed ; but, as 
he struggled and called out, the beast left him and ran 
off into the darkness. In spite of his torn hand the 

60 LION-HUNTING [ch. iii 

Major was determined to get his assailant, which he felt 
sure would soon return. Accordingly, he went back to 
his bed, drew his cocked rifle beside him, pointing 
toward his feet, and feigned sleep. When all was still 
once more, a dim form loomed up through the un- 
certain light, toward the foot of the bed ; it was the 
ravenous beast returning for his prey, and the Major 
shot and killed it where it stood. 

A few months ago a hyena entered the outskirts of 
Nairobi, crept into a hut, and seized and killed a native 
man. At Nairobi tlie wild creatures are always at the 
threshold of the town, and often cross it. At Governor 
Jackson's table, at Government House, I met Mr. and 
Mrs. Sandiford. Mr. Sandiford is managing the rail- 
road. A few months previously, while he was sitting 
with his family in his own house in Nairobi, he happened 
to ask his daughter to look for something in one of the 
bedrooms. She returned in a minute, quietly remark- 
ing : " Father, there's a leopard under the bed." So 
there was ; and it was then remembered that the house- 
cat had been showing a marked and alert distrust of 
the room in question — very probably the leopard had 
got into the house while trying to catch her or one of 
the dogs. A neighbour with a rifle was summoned, and 
shot the leopard. 

Hyenas not infrequently kill nuiles and donkeys, 
tearing open their bellies, and eating them while they 
are still alive. Yet when themselves assailed they 
usually behave with abject cowardice. The Hills had 
a large Airedale terrier, an energetic dog of much 
courage. Not long before our visit this dog put up 
a hyena from a bushy ravine in broad daylight, ran 
after it, overtook it, and flew at it. The hyena made 
no eflective flght, although the dog — not a third its 

CH. Ill] HYENAS 61 

weight -bit it severely, and delayed its flight so that 
it was killed. During the iirst few w^eeks of our trip I 
not infrequently heard hyenas atler nightfall, but saw 
none. Kcrniit, however, put one out of a ravine or dry 
creek-bed — a donga, as it is locally called— and though 
the brute had a long start he galloped after it and 
succeeded in running it down. The chase was a long 
one, for twice the hyena got in such rocky country that 
he almost distanced his pursuer ; but at last, after 
covering nearly ten miles, Kermit ran into it in the 
open, shooting it from the saddle as it shambled along 
at a canter growling with rage and terror. I would not 
have recognized the cry of the hyenas from what I had 
read, and it was long before I heard them laugh. Pease 
said that he had only once heard them really laugh. On 
that occasion he was watching for lions outside a Somali 
zareba. Suddenly a leopard leaped clear over the 
zareba, close beside him, and in a few seconds came 
flying back again, over the high thorn fence, with a 
sheep in its mouth ; but no sooner had it landed than 
the hyenas rushed at it and took away the sheep, and 
then their cackling and shrieking sounded exactly like 
the most unpleasant kind of laughter. The normal 
death of very old lions, as they grow starved and feeble 
— unless they are previously killed in an encounter with 
dangerous game like buffalo — is to be killed and eaten 
by hyenas : but of course a lion in full \'igour pays no 
heed to hyenas, unless it is to kill one if it gets in 
the way. 

During the last few decades, in Africa, hundreds of 
white hunters, and thousands of native hunters, have 
been killed or wounded by lions, buffaloes, elephants, 
and rhinos. All are dangerous game ; each species has 
to its gruesome credit a long hst of mighty hunters 

62 LION-HUNTING [ch. hi 

slain or disabled. Among those competent to express 
judgment there is the widest difference of opinion as to 
the comparative danger in hunting the several kinds of 
animals. Probably no other hunter who has ever lived 
has combined Selous's experience with his skill as a 
hunter and his power of accurate observation and narra- 
tion. He has killed between three and four hundred lions, 
elephants, buffaloes, and rhinos, and he ranks the lion as 
much the most dangerous, and the rhino as much the 
least, while he puts the buffalo and elephant in between, 
and practically on a par. Governor Jackson has 
killed between eighty and ninety of the four animals ; 
and he puts the bufialo unquestionably first in point of 
formidable capacity as a foe, the elephant equally un- 
questionably second, the lion third, and the rhino last. 
Stigand puts them in the following order : lion, elephant, 
rhino, leopard, and buffalo. Drummond, who wrote a 
capital book on South African game, who was for 
years a professional hunter like Selous, and who had 
fine opportunities for observation, but who was a much 
less accurate observer than Selous, put the rhino as un- 
questionably the most dangerous, with the lion as second, 
and the buffalo and elephant nearly on a level. Samuel 
Baker, a mighty hunter and good observer, but with less 
experience of African game tiian any one of the above, 
put the elephant first, the rhino second, the buffalo seem- 
ingly third, and the lion last. The experts of greatest 
experience thus absolutely disagree among themselves ; 
and there is the same wide divergence of view among 
good hunters and trained observers whose oppor- 
tunities have been less. Mr, Abel Chapman, for 
instance, regards both the elephant and the rhino as 
more dangerous than the lion, and many of the hunteis 
I met in East Africa seemed inclined to rank the buffalo 


as more dangerous than any otlier animal. A man who 
has shot but a dozen or a score of these various animals, 
all put together, is not entitled to express any but the 
most tentativx^ opinion as to their relative prowess and 
ferocity ; yet on the w'hole it seems to me that the 
weight of opinion among those best fitted to judge 
is that the lion is the most formidable oj)ponent of the 
liuntcr, under ordinary conditions. Tliis is my own view. 
Butwe must everkeep in mind tlie (act that the surround- 
ing conditions, the geographical locality, and the wide 
individual variation of temper within the ranks of each 
species, must all be taken into account. In certain 
circumstances a lion may be easily killed, whereas a 
rhino w^ould be a dangerous foe. Under other con- 
ditions the rhino could be attacked with impunity, and 
the lion only with the utmost hazard ; and one bull 
buffalo might flee and one bull elephant charge, and 
yet the next couple met with might show an exact 
reversal of behaviour. 

At any rate, during the last three or four years in 
German and British East Africa and Uganda over fifty 
w^hite men have been killed or mauled by lions, buffa- 
loes, elephants, and rhinos, and the lions have much 
the largest list of victims to their credit. In Nairobi 
churchyard I w^as shown the graves of seven men who 
had been killed by lions, and of one who had been killed 
by a rhino. The first num to meet us on the African 
shore was Mr. Campbell, Governor Jackson's A.D.C., 
and only a year previously he had been badly mauled 
by a lion. We met one gentleman who had been 
crippled for life by a lioness. He had marked her into 
some patches of brush, and, coming up, tried to put her 
out of one thick clump. P'ailing, he thought she might 
have gone into another thicket, and walked towards it. 

64 LION-HUNTING [ch. hi 

Instantly that his back was turned, the lioness, who had 
really been in the first clump of brush, raced out after 
him, threw him down, and bit him again and again 
before she was driven off! One night we camped at the 
very spot where, a score of years before, a strange 
tragedy had happened. It was in the early days of the 
opening of the country, and an expedition was going 
towards Uganda. One of the officials in cliarge was 
sleeping in a tent with the Hap open. There was an 
askari on duty ; yet a lion crept up, entered the tent, 
and seized and dragged forth the man. He struggled 
and made outcry ; there was a rush of people, and the 
lion dropped his prey and bounded off. The man's 
wounds were dressed, and he was put back to bed in his 
own tent ; but an hour or two after the camp again 
grew still the lion returned, bent on the victim of whom 
he had been robbed ; he re-entered the tent, seized the 
imfortunate wounded man wnth his great fangs, and 
this time made off with him into the surrounding dark- 
ness, killed and ate him. Not far from the scene of 
this tragedy another had occurred. An English officer 
named Stewart, while endeavouring to kill his first lion, 
was himself set on and slain. At yet another place we 
were shown where two settlers, Messrs. lAicas and 
Goldfinch, had been one killed and one crippled by a 
lion they had been hunting. They had been following 
the chase on horseback, and being men of bold nature, 
and having killed se\ eral lions, had become too daring. 
They hunted the lion into a small piece of brush, and 
rode too near it. It came out at a run, and was on 
them before their horses could get under way. Gold- 
finch was knocked over, and badly bitten and clawed ; 
Lucas went to liis assistance, and was in his turn 
knocked over, axid the lion then lay on him and bit him 


to death. Goldfinch, in spite of his own severe wounds, 
crawled over and shot the great beast as it lay on his 

Most of the settlers with whom I was hunting had 
met with various adventures in connection witli lions. 
Sir Alfred had shot many in different parts of Africa ; 
some had charged fiercely, but he always stopped them. 
Captain Slatter had killed a big male with a mane a few 
months previously. He was hunting it in company with 
Mr. Humphries, the District Commissioner of whom I 
have already spoken, and it gave them some exciting 
moments, for when hit it charged savagely. Humphries 
had a shot-gun loaded with buckshot, Slatter his rifle. 
When wounded, the lion charged straight home, hit 
Slatter, knocking him fiat, and rolling him over and 
over in the sand, and then went after the native efun- 
bearer, who was running away — the worst possible 
course to follow with a charging lion. The mechanism 
of Slatter's rifle was choked by the sand, and as he rose 
to his feet he saw the lion overtake the fleeing man, rise 
on his hind-legs like a rearing iiorse — not springing — 
and strike down the fugitive. Humphries fired into 
him with buckshot, which merely went through the 
skin ; and some minutes elapsed before Slatter was able 
to get his rifle in shape to kill the lion, which, fortunately, 
' had begun to feel the effect of its wounds, and was too 
sick to resume hostihties of its own accord. The gun- 
bearer was badly but not fatally injured. Before this 
I Slatter, while on a lion hunt, had been set afoot by one 
iof the animals he was after, which had killed his horse. 
It was at night, and the horse was tethered within six 
lyards of his sleeping master. The latter was aroused 
(by the horse galloping off', and lie heard it staggering 
on for some sixty yards before it fell. He and his 

66 LION-HUNTING [ch. iii 

friend followed it with lanterns and drove off the lion, 
but the horse was dead. The tracks and the marks on 
the horse showed what had happened. The lion had 
sprung clean on the horse's back, his fore-claws dug into 
the horse's shoulders, his hind- claws cutting into its 
haunches, while the great fangs bit at the neck. The 
horse struggled off at a heavy run, carrying its fearsome 
burden. After going some sixty yards the lion's teeth 
went through the spinal cord, and the ride was over. 
Neither animal had made a sound, and the lion's feet 
did not touch the earth until the horse fell. 

While a magistrate in the Transvaal, Pease had 
under him as game officer a white hunter, a fine fellow, 
who underwent an extraordinary experience. He had 
been off some distance with his Kaffir boys to hunt a 
lion. On his way home the hunter was hunted. It 
was after nightfall. He had reached a region where 
lions had not been seen for a long time, and where an 
attack by them was unknown. He was riding along a 
trail in the darkness, his big boar-hound trotting ahead, 
his native " boys " some distance behind. He heard a 
rustle in the bushes alongside the path, but paid no 
heed, thinking it was a reedbuck. Immediately after- 
ward two lions came out in the path behind and raced 
after him. One sprang on him, tore him out of the 
saddle, and trotted off, holding him in its mouth, while 
the other continued after the frightened horse. The 
lion had him by the right shoulder, and yet with his 
left hand he wrenched liis knife out of his belt and 
twice stabbed it. The second stab went to the heart, 
and the beast let go of him, stood a moment, and fell 
dead. Meanwhile the dog had followed the other lion, 
which now, having abandoned the chase of the horse, 
and with the dog still at his heels, came trotting back 


to look for the man. Crippled though he was, the 
hunter managed to chnib a small tree ; and tliough 
the lion might have got him out of it, the dog inter- 
fered. VV^henever the lion came toward the tree the 
dog worried him, and kept him off until, at the shouts 
and torches of the approaching Kaffir boys, he sullenly 
retired, and the hunter was rescued. 

Percival had a narrow escape from a lion, which 
nearly got him, though probably under a misunder- 
standing. He was riding through a wet spot of ground, 
where the grass was four feet high, when his horse 
suddenly burst into a run, and the next moment a lion 
had galloped almost alongside of him. Probably the 
lion thought it was a zebra, for when l*ercival, leaning 
over, yelled in his face, the lion stopped short. But he 
at once came on again, and nearly caught the horse. 
However, they were now out of the tall grass, and the 
lion gradually pulled up when they reached the open 

The two Hills, Clifford and Harold, were running an 
ostrich farm. The lions sometimes killed their ostriches 
and stock, and the Hills in return had killed several 
lions. The Hills were fine fellows — Africanders, as 
their forefathers for three generations had been, and 
frontiersmen of the best kind. From the first moment 
they and I became fast friends, for we instinctively 
understood one another, and found that we felt alike on 
all the big questions, and looked at life, and especially 
the life of effort led by the pioneer settler, from the 
same standpoint. They reminded me at every moment 
of those Western ranchmen and home-makers with 
j whom I have always felt a special sense of companion- 
' ship, and with whose ideals and aspirations I have always 
' felt a special sympathy. A couple of months before 

68 LION-HUNTING [ch. hi 

my visit Harold Hill had met with a rather unpleasant 
adventure. He was walking home across the lonely 
plains in the broad daylight, never dreaming that lions 
might be abroad, and was unarmed. When still some 
miles from his house, while plodding along, he glanced 
up and saw three lions in the trail only fifty yards off, 
staring fixedly at him. It happened to be a place where 
the grass was rather tall, and lions are always bold where 
there is the slightest cover ; whereas, unless angered, 
they are cautious on bare ground. He halted, and then 
walked slowly to one side, and then slowly forward 
toward his house. The lions followed him with their 
eyes, and when he had passed they rose and slouched 
after him. They were not pleasant followers, but to 
hurry would have been fatal ; and he walked slowly on 
along the road, while for a mile he kept catching 
glimpses of the tawny bodies of the beasts as they trod 
stealthily forward through the sunburned grass along- 
side or a little behind him. Then the grass grew short, 
and the lions halted and continued to gaze after him 
until he disappeared over a rise. 

Everywhere throughout the country we were crossing 
were signs that the lion was lord, and that his reign was 
cruel. There were many lions, for the game on which 
they feed was extraordinarily abundant. They occasion- 
ally took the ostriches or stock of the settlers, or ravaged 
the herds and flocks of the natives, but not often ; for 
their favourite food was yielded by the swarming herds 
of kongoni and zebras, on which they could prey at 
will. Later we found that in this region they rarely 
molested the buffalo, even where they lived in the same 
reed-beds ; and this though elsewhere they habitually 
prey on the buffalo. But where zebras and hartebeests 
could be obtahied without eiibrt, it was evidently not 


worth their while to eluillenge such formidal^le (iiinrry. 
Every " kill " I saw was a kongoni or a zebra ; probably 
I came across fifty of each. One zebra kill, which was 
not more than eighteen hours old (after the lapse of 
that tune the vultures and marabouts, not to speak 
of the hyenas and jackals, leave only the bare bones), 
showed just what had occurred. The bones were all in 
place, and the skin still on the lower legs and head. 
The animal was lying on its belly, the legs spread out, 
the neck vertebrae crushed. Evidently the lion had 
sprung clean on it, bearing it down by his weight, while 
he bit through the back of the neck, and the zebra's 
legs had spread out as the body yielded under the lion. 
One fresh kongoni kill showed no marks on the haunches, 
but a broken neck and claw-marks on the face and 
withers ; in this case the lion's hind-legs had remained 
on the ground, w^hile with his fore-paws he grasped the 
kongoni's head and shoulders, holding it until the teeth 
splintered the neck-bone. 

One or two of our efforts to get lions failed, of course ; 
the ravines we beat did not contain them, or we failed 
to make them leave some particularly difficult hill or 
swamp — for lions lie close. But Sir Alfred knew just 
the right place to go to, and was bound to get us lions — 
and he did. 

One day we started from the ranch-house in good 

season for an all-day lion hunt. Besides Kermit and 

I myself, there w^as a fellow-guest, JNledlicott, and not 

' only our host, but our hostess and her daughter ; and 

we were joined by Percival at lunch, which we took 

under a great fig-tree, at the foot of a high, rocky hill. 

I Percival had with him a little mongrel bulldog and a 

' Masai " boy," a fine, bold-looking savage, with a liand- 

, some head-dress and the usual formidable spear. Master, 

70 LION-HUNTING [ch. hi 

man, and dog evidently all looked upon any form of 
encounter with lions simply in the light of a spree. 

After lunch we began to beat down a long donga, or 
dry watercourse — a creek, as we should call it in the 
Western plains country. The watercourse, with low, 
steep banks, wound in curves, and here and there were 
patches of brush, which might contain anything in the 
shape of lion, cheetah, hyena, or wild-dog. Soon we 
came upon lion spoor in the sandy bed ; first the foot- 
prints of a big male, then those of a lioness. We walked 
cautiously along each side of the donga, the horses 
following close behind so that if the lion were missed 
we could gallop after him and round him up on the 
plain. The dogs — for besides the little bull, we had a 
large brindled mongrel named Ben, whose courage 
belied his looks — began to show signs of scenting the 
lion ; and we beat out each patch of brush, the natives 
shouting and throwing in stones, while we stood with 
the rifles where we could best command any probable 
exit. After a couple of false alarms, the dogs drew 
toward one patch, their hair bristling, and showing such 
eager excitement that it was evident something big was 
inside, and in a moment one of the boys called " Simba " 
( Lion), and pointed with his finger. It was just across 
the little ravine, there about four yards wide and as 
many feet deep ; and I shifted my position, peering 
eagerly into the bushes for some moments before I 
caught a glimpse of tawny hide. As it moved, there was 
a call to me to " shoot," for at that distance, if the lion 
charged, there would be scant time to stop it ; and I 
fired into what I saw. There was a commotion in the 
bushes, and Kermit fired ; and immediately afterward 
there broke out on the other side, not the hoped-for big 
lion, but two cubs the size of mastiffs. Each was badly 


wounded, and we finished them off; even if unwounded, 
they were too bi^ to take aUv e. 

This was a great disappointment, and as it was well 
on in tlie afternoon, and we had beaten the country 
most apt to harbour our game, it seemed inilikely that 
we would have anotlier chance. Percival was on foot 
and a long- way from his house, so he started for it ; and 
the rest of us also began to jog homeward. But Sir 
Alfred, altliougli he said nothing, intended to have 
another try. After going a mile or two, he started off 
to the left at a brisk canter ; and we, the other riders, 
followed, leaving behind our gun-bearers, saises, and 
porters. A couple of miles away was another donga, 
another shallow watercourse, with occasional big brush 
patches along the winding bed, and toward this we 
cantered. Almost as soon as we reached it our leader 
found the spoor of two big lions ; and with every sense 
acock, we dismounted and approached the tirst patch 
of tall bushes. We shouted and tlu-ew in stones, but 
nothing came out ; and another small patch sliowed 
the same result. Then we mounted our horses again, 
and rode toward another patch a quarter of a mile off. 
I was mounted on Tranquillity, tlie stout and quiet 

This patch of tall, thick brush stood on the hither 
bank — that is, on our side of the watercourse. We 
rode up to it and shouted loudly. The response was 
immediate in the shape of loud gruntings and crasli- 
ings through tlie thick brush. We were off our horses 
in an instant, I throwing the reins o\er tlie head of 
mine ; and without delay the good old fellow began 
placidly grazing, quite unmoved by the ominous sounds 
immediately in front. 

I sprang to one side, and for a second or two we 

72 LION-HUNTING [ch. hi 

waited, uncertain whether we should see the lions 
charging out ten yards distant or running away. 
Fortunately, they adopted the latter course. Right 
in front of me, thirty yards off, there appeared 
from behind the bushes which had first screened him 
from my eyes, the tawny, galloping form of a big mane- 
less lion. Crack ! the Winchester spoke ; and as the 
soft-nosed bullet ploughed forward through his flank 
the lion swerved so that I missed him with the second 
shot ; but my third bullet went through the spine and 
forward into his chest. Down he came, sixty yards off, 
his hind-quarters dragging, his head up, his ears back, 
his jaws open, and lips drawn up in a prodigious snarl, 
as he endeavoured to turn to face us. His back was 
broken ; but of this we could not at the moment be 
sure ; and if it had merely been grazed, he might have 
recovered, and then, even though dying, his charge 
might have done mischief So Kermit, Sir Alfred, and 
I fired, almost together, into his chest. His head sank, 
and he died. 

This lion had come out on the left of the bushes ; the 
other, to the right of them, had not been hit, and we 
saw him galloping off across the plain, six or eight 
hundred yards away. A couple more shots missed, 
and we mounted our horses to try to ride him down. 
The plain sloped gently upward for three-quarters of a 
mile to a low crest or divide, and long before we got 
near him he disappeared over this. Sir Alfred and 
Kermit were tearing along in front and to the right, 
with Miss Pease close behind, while Tranquillity carried 
me as fast as he could on the left, with Medlicott near 
me. On topping the divide Sir Alfred and Kermit 
missed the lion, which had swung to the left, and they 
raced ahead too far to the right. Medlicott and I, how- 


ever, saw the lion, loping along close behind some 
kongoni ; and this enabled ine to get up to him as 
quickly as the lighter men on the faster horses. The 
going was now slightly downhill, and the sorrel took me 
along very well, while Medlicott, whose horse was slow, 
bore to the right and joined the other two men. We 
gained rapidly, and, finding out this, the lion suddenly 
halted and came to bay in a slight hollow, where the 
grass was rather long. The plain seemed flat, and 
we could see the lion well from horseback ; but, 
especially when he lay down, it was most difficult to 
make him out on foot, and impossible to do so when 

AVe were about a hundred and fifty yards from the 
lion. Sir Alfred, Kermit, Medlicott, and Miss Pease off 
to one side, and slightly above him on the slope, while 
1 was on the level, about equidistant from him and 
them. Kermit and I tried shooting from the horses, 
but at such a distance this was not effective. Then 
Kermit got off, but his horse would not let him shoot ; 
i and when I got off I could not make out the animal 
through the gi*ass with sufficient distinctness to enable 
i me to take aim. Old Ben the dog had arrived, and, 
barking loudly, was strolling about near the lion, which 
paid him not the slightest attention. At this moment 
i my black sais, Simba, came running up to me and took 
hold of the bridle ; he had seen the chase from the line 
i of march and had cut across to join me. There was no 
I other sais or gun- bearer anywhere near, and his action 
I was plucky, for he was the only man afoot, with the lion 
' at bay. Lady Pease had also ridden up and was an 
j interested spectator only some fifty yards behind me. 
( Now, an elderly man with a varied past which in- 
cludes rheumatism does not vault lightly into the 

74 LION-HUNTING [en. in 

saddle, as his sons, for instance, can ; and I had ah'eady 
made up my mind that in the event of the hon's 
charging it would be wise for me to trust to straight 
powder rather than to try to scramble into the saddle 
and get under way in time. The arrival of my two 
companions settled matters. I was not sure of the 
speed of Lady Pease's horse ; and Simba was on foot, 
and it was, of course, out of the question for me to leave 
him. So I said, " Good, Simba ! now we'll see this 
thing through," and gentle-mannered Simba smiled a 
shy appreciation of my tone, though he could not 
understand the words. I was still unable to see the 
lion when I knelt, but he was now standing up, look- 
ing first at one group of horses and then at the other, 
his tail lashing to and fro, his head held low, and his 
lips dropped over his mouth in peculiar fashion, while 
his harsh and savage growling rolled thunderously over 
the plain. Seeing Simba and me on foot, he turned 
toward us, his tail lashing quicker and quicker. Rest- 
ing my elbow on Simba's bent shoulder, I took steady 
aim and pressed the trigger. The bullet went in 
between the neck and shoulder, and the lion fell over 
on his side, one fore-leg in the air. He recovered in a 
moment and stood up, evidently very sick, and once 
more faced me, growling hoarsely. I think he was on 
the eve of charging. I fired again at once, and this 
bullet broke his back just behind the shoulders ; and 
with the next I killed him outright, after we had 
gathered round him. 

These were two good-sized maneless lions ; and very 
proud of them I was. I think Sir Alfred was at least 
as proud, especially because we had performed the feat 
alone, without any professional hunters being present. 
" We were all amateurs, only gentleman riders up," 


said Sir Alfred. It Avns lute before we got the lions 
skinned. Then we set ofi* toward the ranch, two porters 
carrying each lion-skin, strapped to a pole, and two 
others carrying the cub-skins. Night fell long before 
we were near the ranch ; but the brilliant tropical moon 
lighted the trail. The stalwart savages who carried the 
bloody lion-skins swung along at a ftister walk as the 
sun went down and the moon rose higher ; and they 
began to chant in unison, one uttering a single word 
or sentence, and the others joining in a deep-toned, 
musical chorus. The men on a safari, and, indeed, 
African natives generally, are always excited over the 
death of a lion, and the hunting tribes then chant 
their rough hunting songs, or victory songs, until the 
monotonous, rjiythmical repetitions make them almost 
frenzied. The ride home througli the moonlight, the 
vast barren landscape shining like silver on either hand, 
was one to be remembered, and, above all, the sight of 
our trophies and of their wild bearers. 

Three days later we had another successful lion hunt. 
Our camp was pitched at a water-hole in a little stream 
called Potha, by a hill of tlie same name. Pease, INIed- 
licott, and botli the Hills were with us, and Heller came 
too, for he liked, when possible, to be with the hunters, 

1 so that he could at once care for any beast that was 
shot. As the safari was stationary, we took fifty or 

; sixty porters as beaters. It was thirteen hours before 
we got into camp that e^'ening. The Hills had with 
them as beaters and water-carriers half a dozen of the 
W'akamba who were working on their farm. It was 
interesting to watch these naked sa^^ages, with their 
filed teeth, their heads shaved in curious patterns, and 

( carrying for arms little bows and arrows. 

Before lunch we beat a long, low hill. Harold Hill 

76 LION-HUNTING [ch. iii 

was with me ; JNledlicott and Kermit were together. 
We placed ourselves, one couple on each side of a 
narrow neck, two-thirds of the way along the crest of 
the hill ; and soon after we were in position we heard 
the distant shouts of the beaters as they came toward 
us, covering the crest and the tops of the slopes on both 
sides. It was rather disconcerting to find how much 
better Hill's eyes were than mine. He saw everything 
first, and it usually took some time before he could 
make me see it. In this first drive nothing came my 
way except some mountain reedbuck does, at which 
I did not shoot. But a fine male cheetah came to 
Kermit, and he bowled it over in good style as it ran. 

Then the beaters halted, and waited before resuming 
their march until the guns had gone clear round and 
established themselves at the base of the farther end of 
the hill. This time Kermit, who was a couple of hundred 
yards from me, killed a reedbuck and a steinbuck. 
Suddenly Hill said " Lion !" and endeavoured to point it 
out to me as it crept cautiously among the rocks on the 
steep hillside a hundred and fifty yards away. At first 
I could not see it ; finally I thought I did, and fired, 
but, as it proved, at a place just above him. However, 
it made him start up, and I immediately put the next 
bullet behind his shoulders. It was a fatal shot, but, 
growling, he struggled 4own the hill, and I fired again 
and killed him. It was not much of a trophy, however, 
turning out to be a half-grown male. 

We lunched under a tree, and then arranged for 
another beat. There was a long, wide valley, or rather 
a slight depression in the ground — for it was only three 
or four feet below the general level — in which the grass 
grew tall, as the soil was quite wet. It was the scene 
of Percival's adventure with the lion that chased him. 


Hill and I stationed ourselves on one side of this valley 
or depression toward the upper end ; Pease took Kermit 
to the opposite side ; and we waited, our horses some 
distance behind us. The beaters were put in at the 
lower end, formed a line across the valley, and beat 
slowly toward us, making a great noise. 

They were still some distance away when Hill saw 
three lions, which had slunk stealthily off ahead of them 
through the grass. I have called the grass tall, but this 
was only by comparison with the short grass of the dry 
plains. In the depression or valley it was some three 
feet high. In such grass a lion, which is marvellously 
adept at hiding, can easily conceal itself, not merely 
when lying down, but when advancing at a crouching 
gait. If it stands erect, however, it can be seen. 

There were two lions near us — one directly in our 
front, a hundred and ten yards off. Some seconds 
passed before Hill could make me realize that the dim 
yellow smear in the yellow-brown grass was a lion ; and 
then I found such difficulty in getting a bead on him 
that I overshot. However, the bullet must have passed 
very close — indeed, I think it just grazed him — for he 
jumped up and faced us, growling savagely. Then, his 
I head lowered, he threw his tail straight into the air and 
1 began to charge. The first few steps he took at a trot, 
I and before he could start into a gallop I put the soft- 
nosed AVinchester bullet in between the neck and 
j shoulder. Down he went with a roar ; the wound was 
I fatal, but I was taking no chances, and I put two more 
I bullets in him. Then we walked toward where Hill 
' had already seen another lion — the lioness, as it proved, 
j Again he had some difficulty in making me see her, 
I but he succeeded, and I walked towards her through 
the long grass, repressing the zeal of my two gun- 

78 LION-HUNTING [ch. iii 

bearers, who were stanch, but who showed a tendency 
to walk a Uttle ahead of nie on each side, instead of a 
httle behind. I walked toward her because I could not 
kneel to shoot in grass so tall ; and when shooting off- 
hand I hke to be fairly close, so as to be sure that my 
bullets go in the right place. At sixty yards I could 
make her out clearly, snarling at me as she faced me, 
and I shot her full in the chest. She at once performed 
a series of extraordinary antics, tumbling about on her 
head, just as if she were throwing somersaults, first to 
one side and then to the other. I fired again, but 
managed to shoot between the somersaults, so to speak, 
and missed her. The shot seemed to bring her to 
herself, and away she tore ; but, instead of charging us, 
she charged the line of beaters. She was dying fast, 
however, and in her weakness failed to catch anyone, 
and she sank down into the long grass. Hill and 1 
advanced to look her up, our rifies at full cock, and 
the gun-bearers close behind. It is ticklish work to 
follow a wounded hon in tall grass, and we walked 
carefully, every sense on the alert. We passed Heller, 
who had been with the beaters. He spoke to us with 
an amused smile. His only weapon was a pair of field- 
glasses, but he always took things as they came with 
entire coolness, and to be close to a wounded honess 
when she charged merely interested him. A beater 
came running up and pointed toward where he had 
seen her, and we walked toward the place. At thirty 
yards distance Hill pointed, and, eagerly peering, I 
made out the form of the lioness showing indistinctly 
through the grass. She was half crouching, half sitting, 
her head bent down, but she still had strength to do 
mischief. She saw us, but before she could turn I sent 
a bullet through her shoulders. Down she went, and 


was dead when we walked up. A cub had been seen 
and another full-grown lion, but they had slunk off, and 
we got neither. 

This was a full-grown, but young, lioness of average 
size ; her cubs must have been several months old. We 
took her entire to camp to weigh : she weighed two 
hundred and eighty-three poimds. The first lion, which 
we had difficulty in finding, as there were no identifying 
marks in the plain ot tall grass, was a good-sized male, 
weighing about four hundred poimds, but not yet full- 
grown, although he was probably the father of the cubs. 

We were a long way from camp, and, after beating 
in vain for the other lion, we started back ; it was after 
nightfall before we saw the camp fires. It was two 
hours later before the porters appeared, bearing on poles 
the skin of the dead lion and the lioness entire. The 
moon was nearly full, and it was interesting to see 
them come swinging down the trail in the bright silver 
light, chanting in deep tones over and over again a 
line or phrase that sounded like : 

" Zou-zou-boulc ma ja guntai ; zou-zou-boale ma ja guntai."' 

Occasionally they would interrupt it by the repetition 
in unison, at short intervals, of a guttural ejaculation, 
sounding like " huzlem." They marched into camp, 
then up and down the lines, before the rows of small 
fires ; then, accompanied by all the rest of the porters, 
they paraded up to the big fire where I was standing. 
Here they stopped and ended the ceremony by a minute 
or two's vigorous dancing, amid singing and wild shout- 
ing. The firelight gleamed and flickered across the 
grim dead beasts and the shining eyes and black 
features of the excited savages, while all around the 
moon flooded the landscape with her white light. 



When we killed the last lions we were already on 
safari, and the camp was pitched by a water-hole on the 
Potha — a half-dried stream, little more than a string of 
pools and reed-beds, winding down through the sun- 
scorched plain. Next morning we started for another 
water-hole at the rocky hill of Bondoni, about eight 
miles distant. 

Safari life is very pleasant and also very picturesque. 
The porters are strong, patient, good-humoured savages, 
with something childlike about them that makes one 
really fond of them. Of course, like all savages and 
most children, they have their limitations, and in dealing 
with them firmness is even more necessary than kind- 
ness. But the man is a poor creature who does not treat 
them with kindness also, and I am rather sorry for him 
if he does not grow to feel for them, and to make them 
in return feel for him, a real and friendly liking. They 
are subject to gusts of passion, and they are now and 
then guilty of grave misdeeds and shortcomings, some- 
times for no conceivable reason — at least, from the white 
man's standpoint. But they are generally cheerful, and 
when cheerful are always amusing ; and they work hard 
if the white man is able to combine tact and considera- 
tion with that insistence on the performance of duty, the 



lack of which they despise as weakness. Any little 
change or excitement is a source of pleasure to them. 
When the march is over they sing ; and after two or 
three days in camp they will not only sing, but dance 
when another march is to begin. Of course at times 
they suffer greatly from thirst and hunger and fatigue, 
and at times they will suddenly grow sullen or rebel 
without what seems to us any adequate cause ; and 
they have an inconsequent type of mind which now and 
then leads them to commit follies all the more exaspera- 
ting because they are against their own interest no less 
than against the interest of their employer. But they 
do well on the whole, and safari life is attractive to 
them. They are fed well ; the government requires 
that they be fitted with suitable clothes and given small 
tents, so that they are better clad and sheltered than 
they would be otherwise ; and their wages represent 
money which they could get in no other way. The 
safari represents a great advantage to the porter, who in 
his turn alone makes the safari possible. 

When we were to march, camp was broken as early 

in the day as possible. Each man had his allotted task, 

' and the tents, bedding, provisions, and all else were ex- 

j peditiously made into suitable packages. Each porter 

is supposed to carry from fifty-five to sixty pounds, 

I which may all be in one bundle or in two or three. 

; The American flag, which flew over my tent, was a 

I matter of much pride to the porters, and was always 

carried at the head or near the head of the line of 

march ; and after it in single file came the long line of 

i burden-bearers. As they started, some of them would 

I blow on horns or whistles, and others beat little tom 

' toms ; and at intervals this would be renewed again and 

I again throughout the march ; or tlie men might sud- 



denly begin to chant, or merely to keep repeating in 
unison some one word or one phrase which, when we 
asked to have it translated, might or might not prove 
to be entirely meaningless. The headmen carried no 
burdens, and the tent-boys hardly anything, while the 
saises walked with the spare horses. In addition to the 
canonical and required costume of blouse or jersey and 
drawers, each porter wore a blanket, and usually some- 
thing else to which his soul inclined. It might be an 
exceedingly shabby coat ; it might be, of all things in 
the world, an umbrella, an article for which they had a 
special attachment. Often I would see a porter, who 
thought nothing whatever of walking for hours at mid- 
day under the equatorial sun with his head bare, 
trudging along with solemn pride either under an open 
umbrella, or carrying the umbrella (tied much like 
Mrs. Gamp's) in one hand, as a wand of dignity. Then 
their head-gear varied according to the fancy of the in- 
dividual. Normally it was a red fez, a kind of cap only 
used in hot climates, and exquisitely designed to be use- 
less therein because it gives absolutely no protection 
from the sun. But one would wear a skin cap ; another 
would suddenly put one or more long feathers in his 
fez ; and another, discarding the fez, would revert to 
some purely savage head-dress which he would wear 
with equal gravity whether it were, in our eyes, really 
decorative or merely comic. One such head-dress, for 
instance, consisted of the skin of the top of a zebra's 
head, with the two ears. Another was made of the 
skins of squirrels, with the tails both sticking up and 
hanging down. Another consisted of a bunch of 
feathers woven into the hair, which itself was pulled out 
into strings that were stiffened with clay. Another was 
really too intricate for description, because it included 


the mail's natunil hair, some strips of skin, and an 
empty tin can. 

If it were a long journey, and we broke it by a noon- 
day halt, or if it were a short journey, and we reached 
camp ahead of the safari, it was interesting to see the 
long file of men approach. Here and there, leading the 
porters, scattered through the line, or walking alongside, 
were the askaris, the rifle-bearing soldiers. 'I'hey were 
not marksmen, to put it mildly, and 1 should not have 
regarded them as particularly efficient allies in a serious 
fight ; but they were excellent for police duty in camp, 
and were also of use in preventing collisions with the 
natives. After the leading askaris might come one of 
the headmen ; one of whom, by the way, looked exactly 
I like a Semitic negro, and always travelled with a large 
' dirty-white umbrella in one hand ; while another, a tall, 
powerful fellow, was a mission boy who spoke good 
English. I mention his being a mission boy because it 
I is so frequently asserted that mission boys never turn 
I out well. Then would come the man with the flag, 
followed by another blowing on an antelope horn, or 
I perhaps beating an empty can as a drum ; and then the 
I long line of men, some carrying their loads on their 
I heads, others on their shoulders, others, in a very few 
I cases, on their backs. As they approached the halting- 
] place their spirits rose, the whistles and horns were 
blown, and the improvised drums beaten, and perhaps 
the whole line would burst into a chant. 

On reaching the camping ground each man at once 

set about his allotted task, and the tents were quickly 

i pitched and the camp put in order, while water and 

I firewood were fetched. The tents were pitched in long 

J lines, in the first of which stood my tent, flanked by 

those of the other white men and by the dining-tent. 



In the next line were the cook tent, the provision tent, 
the store tent, the skinning tent, and the hke ; and then 
came the hnes of small white tents for the porters. 
Between each row of tents was a broad street. In front 
of our own tents, in the first line, an askari was always 
pacing to and fro ; and when night fell we would kindle 
a camp-fire and sit around it under the stars. Before 
each of the porters' tents was a little fire, and beside it 
stood the pots and pans in which the porters did their 
cooking. Here and there were larger fires, around which 
the gun-bearers or a group of askaris or of saises might 
gather. After nightfall the multitude of fires lit up the 
darkness and showed the tents in shadowy outline ; and 
around them squatted the porters, their faces flickering 
from dusk to ruddy light, as they chatted together or 
suddenly started some snatch of wild African melody in 
which all their neighbours might join. After a while 
the talk and laughter and singing would gradually die 
away, and as we white men sat around our fire the 
silence would be unbroken except by the queer cry of 
a hyena, or much more rarely by a sound that always 
demanded attention — the yawning grunt of a questing 

If we wished to make an early start we would break- 
fast by dawn, and then we often returned to camp for 
lunch. Otherwise we would usually be absent all day, 
carrying our lunch with us. We might get in before 
sunset or we might be out till long after nightfall ; and 
then the gleam of the lit fires was a welcome sight as 
we stumbled toward them through the darkness. Once 
in, each went to his tent to take a hot bath ; and 
then, clean and refreshed, we sat down to a comfortable 
dinner, with game of some sort as the principal dish. 
On the first march after leaving our lion camp at 


Potha I shot a wart-hog. It was a good-sized sow, 
which, in company with several of her half-grown 
offspring, was grazing near our line of march ; there 
were some thorn- trees whicli gave a little cover, and I 
killed her at a hundred and eighty yards, using the 
Springfield, the lightest and handiest of all my rifles. 
Her flesh was good to eat, and the skin, as with all our 
specimens, was saved for the National Museum. I did 
not again have to shoot a sow, although I killed half- 
grown pigs for the table, and boars for specimens. This 
sow and her porkers were not rooting, but were grazing 
as if they had been antelope ; her stomach contained 
nothing but chopped green grass. Wart-hogs are 
common throughout tlie country over which we 
hunted. They are hideous beasts, witli strange pro- 
tuberances on their cheeks ; and when alarmed they 
trot or gallop away, holding the tail perfectly erect, 
with the tassel bent forward. Usually they are seen in 
family parties, but a big boar will often be alone. They 
often root up the ground, but the stomachs of those we 
shot were commonly filled with nothing but grass. If 
the weather is cloudy or wet they may be out all day 
long, but in hot, dry weather we generally found them 
abroad only in the morning and evening. A pig is 
always a comical animal ; even more so than is the case 
with a bear, which also impresses one with a sense of 
grotesque humour— and this notwithstanding the fact 
that both boar and bear may be very formidable 
creatures. A wart-hog standing alertly at gaze, head 
and tail up, legs straddled out and ears cocked forward, 
is rather a figure of fun ; and not the less so when, with 
characteristic suddenness, he bounces round with a grunt 
and scuttles madly off to safety. Wart-hogs are beasts 
of the bare plain or open forest, and thougii they will 


often lie up in patches of brush, they do not care for 
thick timber. 

After shooting the wart-hog we marched on to our 
camp at Bondoni. The gun-bearers were Mohammedans, 
and the dead pig was of no service to them ; and at 
their request I walked out while camp was being pitched 
and shot them a buck ; this I had to do now and then, 
but I always shot males, so as not to damage the 

Next day we marched to the foot of Kilimakiu 

Mountain, near Captain Slatter's ostrich farm. Our 

route lay across bare plains, thickly covered with 

withered short grass. All around us as we marched 

were the game herds, zebras and hartebeests, gazelles 

of the two kinds, and now and then wildebeests. 

Hither and thither over the plain, crossing and recross- 

ing, ran the dusty game trails, each with its myriad 

hoof-marks — the round hoof-prints of the zebra, the 

heart-shaped marks that showed where the hartebeest 

herd had trod, and the delicate etching that betrayed 

where the smaller antelope liad passed. Occasionally 

we crossed the trails of the natives, worn deep in the 

hard soil by the countless thousands of bare or sandalled 

feet that had trodden them. Africa is a country of 

trails. Across the high veldt, in every direction, run 

the tangled trails of the multitudes of game that have 

lived thereon from time immemorial. The great beasts 

of the marsh and the forest made therein broad and 

muddy trails which often offer the only pathway by 

which a man can enter the sombre depths. In wet 

ground and dry alike are also found the trails of savage 

man. They lead from village to village and in places 

they stretch for hundreds of miles, where trading parties 

have worn them in the search for ivory, or in the old 


days when raiding or purchasing slaves. The trails 
made by the men are made much as the beasts make 
theirs. They are generally longer and better defined, 
although I have seen hippo tracks more deeply marked 
than any made by savage man. But they are made 
simply by men following in one another's footsteps, and 
they are never quite straight. They bend now a little 
to one side, now a little to the other, and sudden loops 
mark tlie spot where some vanished obstacle once stood ; 
around it the first trail makers went, and their successors 
have ever trodden in their footsteps, even though the 
need for so doing lias long passed away. 

Our camp at Kilimakiu was by a grove of shady trees, 
and from it at sunset we looked across the vast plain 
and saw the far-off mountains grow umber and purple 
as the liglit waned. Behind the camp and the farm- 
house near which we were rose Kilimakiu INIountain, 
beautifully studded with groves of trees of many kinds 
On its farther side hved a tribe of the Wakamba. Their 
chief, with all the leading men of his \ illage, came in 
state to call upon me, and presented me with a fat, 
liairy sheep of tiie ordinary kind found in this part of 
Africa, where the sheep very wisely do not grow wool. 
The headman was dressed in kliaki, and showed me 
with pride an official document which confirmed him in 
his position by direction of tlie government, and re- 
quired him to perform various acts, chiefly in the way 
of preventing his tribes-people from committing robbery 
or murder, and of helping to stamp out cattle disease. 
Like all the Wakamba, they had flocks of goats and 
sheep, and herds of humped cattle ; but they were 
much in need of meat, and liailed my advent. They 
were wild savages, with filed teeth, many of them stark 
naked, though some of them carried a blanket. Their 


heads were curiously shaved, so that the hair-tufts stood 
out in odd patterns ; and they carried small bows, and 
arrows with poisoned heads. 

The following- morning I rode out with Captain 
Slatter. We kept among the hills. The long drought 
was still unbroken. The little pools were dry and their 
bottoms baked like iron, and there was not a drop in 
the watercourses. Part of the land was open, and part 
covered with a thin forest or bush of scattered mimosa- 
trees. In the open country were many zebras and 
hartebeests, and the latter were found even in the thin 
bush. In the morning we found a small herd of eland, 
at which, after some stalking, I got a long shot and 
missed. The eland is the largest of all the horned 
creatures that are called antelope, being quite as heavy 
as a fattened ox. The herd I approached consisted of 
a dozen individuals, two of them huge bulls, their coats 
having turned a slaty blue, their great dewlaps hanging 
down, and the legs looking almost too small for the 
massive bodies. The reddish-coloured cows were of far 
lighter build. Eland are beautiful creatures, and ought 
to be domesticated. As I crept toward them I was 
struck by their likeness to great clean, handsome cattle. 
They were grazing or resting, switching their long tails 
at the flies that hung in attendance upon them and lit 
on their flanks, just as if they were Jerseys in a field at 
home. My bullet fell short, their size causing me to 
underestimate the distance, and away they went at a 
run, one or two of the cows in the first hurry and con- 
fusion skipping clean over the backs of others that got 
in their way — a most unexpected example of agility in 
such large and ponderous animals. After a few hundred 
yards they settled down to the slashing trot which is 
their natural gait, and disappeared over the brow of a hill. 


The morning was a blank, but early in the afternoon 
we saw the eland herd again. They were around a tree 
in an open space, and we could not get near them. 
But instead of going straight away they struck off to 
the riglit and described almost a semicircle, and though 
they were over four hundred yards distant, they were 
such big creatures and their gait was so steady that 1 
felt warranted in shooting. On the dry plain 1 could 
mark where my bullets fell, and though I could not get 
a good chance at the bull, I finally downed a fine cow ; 
and by pacing I found it to be a little over a quarter of 
a mile from where I stood when shooting. 

It was about nine miles from camp, and I dared not 
leave the eland alone, so I stationed one of the gun- 
bearers by the great carcass and sent a messenger in to 
Heller, on whom we depended for preserving the skins 
of the big game. Hardly had this been done when a 
Wakamba man came running up to tell us that there 
was a rhinoceros on the hill-side three-quarters of a 
mile away, and that he had left a companion to watch 
it while he carried us the news. Slatter and I immedi- 
ately rode in the direction given, following our wild- 
looking guide ; the other gun-bearer trotting after us. 
In five minutes we had reached the opposite hill-crest, 
where the watcher stood, and he at once pointed out 
the rhino. The huge beast was standing in entirely 
open country, although there were a few scattered trees 
of no great size at some little distance from him. We 
left our horses in a dip of the ground and began the 
approach ; I cannot say that we stalked him, for the 
i approach was too easy. The wind blew from him to 
j us, and a rhino's eyesight is dull. Thirty yards from 
I where he stood was a bush four or five feet high, and 
though it was so thin that we could distinctly see him 


through the leaves, it shielded us from the vision of his 
small piglike eyes as we advanced toward it, stooping 
and in single file, I leading. The big beast stood like 
an uncouth statue, his hide black in the sunlight ; he 
seemed what he was, a monster surviving over from the 
world's past, from the days when the beasts of the 
prime ran riot in their strength, before man grew so 
cunning of brain and hand as to master them. So 
little did he dream of our presence that when we were a 
hundred yards off he actually lay down. 

Walking lightly, and with every sense keyed up, we 
at last reached the bush, and I pushed forward the 
safety catch of the double-barrelled Holland rifle which 
I was now to use for the first time on big game. As I 
stepped to one side of the bush so as to get a clear aim, 
with Slatter following, the rhino saw me and jumped to 
his feet with the agility of a polo pony. As he rose I 
put in the right barrel, the bullet going through both 
lungs. At the same moment he wheeled, the blood 
spouting from his nostrils, and galloped full on us. 
Before he could get quite all the way round in his head- 
long rush to reach us, I struck him with my left-hand 
barrel, the bullet entering between the neck and shoulder 
and piercing his heart. At the same instant Captain 
Slatter fired, his bullet entering the neck vertebrae. 
Ploughing up the ground with horn and feet, the great 
bull rhino, still head toward us, dropped just thirteen 
paces from where we stood. 

This was a wicked charge, for the rhino meant 
mischief and came on with the utmost determination. 
It is not safe to generalize from a few instances. 
Judging from what I have since seen, I am inclined 
to believe that both lion and buffalo are more dangerous 
game than rhino, yet the first two rhinos I met both 





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charged, whereas we killed our first four lions and first 
four buffaloes without any of them charoing, though 
two of each were stopped as they were on the point of 
charging. Moreover, our experience with this bull 
rhino illustrates what I have already said as to one 
animal being more dangerous under certain conditions, 
and another more dangerous under different conditions. 
If it had been a lion instead of a rhino, my first bullet 
Avould, I believe, have knocked all the charge out of it, 
but the vitality of the huge pachyderm was so great, its 
mere bulk counted for so much, that even such a hard- 
hittino^ rifle as mv double Holland — than which I do 
not believe there exists a better weapon for heavy game 
— could not stop it outright, although either of the 
wounds infiicted would have been fatal in a few seconds. 
Leaving a couple of men with the dead rhino, to 
protect it from the Wakamba by day and the lions by 
night, we rode straight to camp, ^\ liich we reached at 
sunset. It was necessary to get to work on the two 
dead beasts as soon as possible in order to be sure of 
preserving their skins. Heller was the man to be 
counted on for this task. He it was who handled all 
the skins, who, in other words, was making the expedi- 
tion of permanent value so far as big game was con- 
cerned, and no work at any hour of the day or night 
ever came amiss to him. He had already trained eight 
Wakamba porters to act as skiimcrs under his super- 
vision. On hearing of our success, he at once said that 
we ought to march out to the game that night so as to 
get to work by daylight. IMoreover, we were not com- 
j fortable at leaving only two men with each carcass, for 
lions were both bold and plentiful. 

The moon rose at eight, and we started as soon as 
she was above the horizon. We did not take tlie 


horses, because there was no water where we were 
going, and furthermore we did not hke to expose them 
to a possible attack by hons. The march out by moon- 
hght was good fun, for though I had been out all day, 
I had been riding, not walking, and so was not tired. 
A hundred porters went with us so as to enable us to 
do the work quickly and bring back to camp the skins 
and all the meat needed, and these porters carried 
water, food for breakfast, and what little was necessary 
for a one-night camp. We tramped along in single file 
under the moonlight, up and down the hills, and through 
the scattered thorn forest. Kermit and Medlicott went 
first, and struck such a pace that after an hour we had 
to halt them so as to let the tail end of the file of 
porters catch up. Then Captain Slatter and 1 set a 
more decorous pace, keeping the porters closed up in 
line behind us. In another hour we began to go down 
a long slope toward a pin-point of light in the distance, 
which we knew was the fire by the rhinoceros. The 
porters, like the big children they were, felt in high 
feather, and began to chant to an accompaniment of 
whistling and horn-blowing as we tramped through the 
dry grass which was fiooded with silver by the moon, 
now high in the heavens. 

As soon as we reached the rhino. Heller with his 
Wakamba skinners pushed forward the three-quarters of 
a mile to the eland, returning after midnight with the 
skin and all the best parts of the meat. 

Around the dead rhino the scene was lit up both by 
the moon and by the flicker of the fires. The porters 
made their camp under a small tree a dozen rods to one 
side of the carcass, building a low circular fence of 
branches, on which they hung their bright-coloured 
blankets, two or three big fires blazing to keep off 

en. IV] GIRAFFES 93 

possible lions. Half as far on the other side of the 
rhino a party of naked savages had established their 
camp, if camp it could be called, for really all they did 
was to squat down round a couple of fires with a few 
small bushes disposed round about. The rhino had 
been opened, and they had already taken out of the 
carcass what they regarded as titbits and wliat we 
certainly did not grudge them. Between the two 
camps lay the huge dead beast, his hide glistening in 
the moonlight. In each camp the men squatted aroimd 
the fires chatting and laughing as they roasted strips of 
meat on long sticks, the fitful blaze playing over them, 
now leaving them in darkness, now bringing them out 
into a red relief. Our own tent was pitched under 
anotlier tree a hundred yards off', and when I went to 
sleep, I could still hear the drumming and chanting of 
our feasting porters ; the savages were less at ease, and 
their revel was quiet. 

Early next morning I went back to camp, and soon 
after reaching there again started out for a hunt. In 
the afternoon I came on giraffes and got up near enough 
to shoot at them. But they are such enormous beasts 
that I thought them far nearer than they were. My 
bullet fell short, and they disappeared among the 
mimosas, at their strange leisurely-looking gallop. Of 
all the beasts in an African landscape none is more 
: striking than the giraffe. Usually it is found in small 
parties or in herds of fifteen or twenty or more 
individuals. Although it will drink regularly if occa- 
sion offers, it is able to get along without water for 
; months at a time, and frequents by choice the dry plains 
I or else the stretches of open forest where the trees are 
( scattered and ordinarily somewhat stunted. Like the 
rhinoceros — the ordinary or prehensile-lipped rhinoceros 


— the giraffe is a browsing and not a grazing animal. 
The leaves, buds, and twigs of the mimosas or thorn- 
trees form its customary food. Its extraordinary height 
enables it to bring into play to the best possible ad- 
vantage its noteworthy powers of vision, and no animal 
is harder to approach unseen. Again and again I have 
made it out a mile off, or rather have seen it a mile off 
when it was pointed out to me, and looking at it 
through my glasses, would see that it was gazing 
steadily at us. It is a striking-looking animal and 
handsome in its way, but its length of leg and neck and 
sloping back make it appear awkward even at rest. 
When alarmed it may go off at a long swinging pace or 
walk, but if really frightened it strikes into a peculiar 
gallop or canter. The tail is cocked and twisted, and 
the huge hind-legs are thrown forward well to the out- 
side of the fore-legs. The movements seem deliberate, 
and the giraffe does not appear to be going at a fast 
pace, but if it has any start a horse must gallop hard to 
overtake it. When it starts on this gait, the neck may 
be dropped forward at a sharp angle with the straight 
line of the deep chest, and the big head be thrust in 
advance. They are defenceless things, and, though they 
may kick at a man who incautiously comes within 
reach, they are in no way dangerous. 

The following day I again rode out with Captain 
Slatter. During the morning we saw nothing except 
the ordinary game, and we lunched on a hill-top, ten 
miles distant from camp, under a huge fig-tree with 
spreading branches and thick, deep -green foliage. 
Throughout the time we were taking lunch a herd of 
zebras watched us from near by, standing motionless 
with their ears pricked forward, their beautifully striped 
bodies showing finely in the sunlight. We scanned the 


country round about witli our glasses, and made out 
first a herd of eland, a mile in our rear, and then three 
giraffes a mile and a half in our front. 1 wanted a bull 
eland, but I wanted a giraffe still more, and we mounted 
our horses and rode toward where the three tall beasts 
stood, on an open hill-side with trees thinly scattered 
over it. Half a mile from them we left the horses in a 
thick belt of timber beside a dry watercourse, and went 
forward on foot. 

There was no use in trying a stalk, for that would 
merely have aroused the giraffe's suspicion. But we 
knew they were accustomed to the passing and repassing 
of Wakamba men and women, whom they did not fear 
if they kept at a reasonable distance, so we walked in 
single file diagonally in their direction ; that is, toward 
a tree which I judged to be about three hundred yards 
from them. I was carrying the Winchester loaded with 
full metal-patched bullets. I wished to get for the 
JNIuseum both a bull and a cow. One of the three 
giraffes was much larger than the other two, and as he 
was evidently a bull I thought the two others were 

As we reached the tree the giraffes showed symptoms 
of uneasiness. One of the smaller ones began to make 
off, and both the others shifted their positions slightly, 
curling their tails. I instantly dropped on my knee, 
and getting the bead just behind the big bull's shoulder, 
I fired with the three-hundred-yard sight. I heard the 
" pack " of the bullet as it struck just where I aimed , 
and away went all three giraffes at their queer rocking- 
horse canter, llunning forward I emptied my magazine, 
firing at the big bull and also at one of his smaller com- 
panions, and then, slipping into the barrel what proved 
to be a soft-nosed bullet, I fired at the latter again. 


The giraffe was going straight away and it was a long 
shot, at four or five hundred yards ; but by good luck 
the bullet broke its back and down it came. The others 
were now getting over the crest of the hill, but the big 
one was evidently sick, and we called and beckoned to 
the two saises to hurry up wdth the horses. The 
moment they arrived we jumped on, and Captain Slatter 
cantered up a neighbouring hill so as to mark the 
direction in which the giraffes went if T lost sight of 
them. Meanwhile I rode full speed after the giant 
quarry. I was on the tranquil sorrel, the horse I much 
preferred in riding down game of any kind, because he 
had a fair turn of speed, and yet was good about letting 
me get on and off. As soon as I reached the hill-crest 
I saw the giraffes ahead of me, not as far off as I had 
feared, and I raced toward them without regard to 
rotten ground and wart-hog holes. The wounded one 
lagged behind, but when I got near he put on a spurt, 
and as I thought I was close enough I leaped off, throw- 
ing the reins over the sorrel's head, and opened fire. 
Down w^ent the big bull, and I thought my task was 
done. But as I w^ent back to mount the sorrel he 
struggled to his feet again and disappeared after his 
companion among the trees, which M^ere thicker here, as 
we had reached the bottom of the valley. So I tore 
after him again, and in a minute came to a dry water- 
course. Scrambling into and out of this, I saw the 
giraffes ahead of me just beginning the ascent of the 
opposite slope ; and touching the horse Math the spur, I 
flew after the wounded bull. This time I made up my 
mind I would get up close enough ; but Tranquillity 
did not quite like the look of the thing ahead of him. 
He did not refuse to come up to the giraffe, but he 
evidently felt that, with such an object close by and 


evident in the landscape, it behoved him to be careful 
as to what niit(ht be liidden therein, and he shied so at 
each bush we passed that we progressed in series of 
loops. So off I jumped, throwing the reins over his 
head, and opened fire once more ; and this time the 
great bull went down for good. 

Tranquillity recovered his nerve at once, and grazed 
contentedly while I admired the huge proportions and 
beautiful colouring of my prize. In a few minutes 
Captain Slatter loped up, and the gun-bearers and saises 
followed. As if by magic, three or four Wakamba 
turned up immediately afterward, their eyes glistening 
at the thought of the feast ahead for the whole tribe. 
It was mid-afternoon, and there was no time to waste. 
My sais, Simba, an excellent long-distance runner, was 
sent straight to camp to get Heller and jiilot him back 
to the dead giraffes. Beside each of the latter — for 
they had fallen a mile apart — we left a couple of men 
to build fires. Then we rode toward camp. To my 
regret, the smaller giraffe turned out to be a young bull 
and not a cow. 

At this very time, and utterly without our knowledge, 
there was another giraffe hunt going on. Sir Alfred 
had taken out Kermit and JMedlicott, and they came 
across a herd of a dozen giraffes right out in the open 
plains. JMedlicott \s horse was worn out, and he could 
not keep up, but both the others were fairly well 
mounted. Both were light men and hard riders, and, 
although the giraffes had three-quarters of a mile the 
start, it was not long before both were at the heels of 
the herd. They singled out the big bull — which, by the 
way, turned out to be an even bigger bull than mine — 
and fired at him as they galloped. In such a headlong, 
helter-skelter chase, however, it is no easy matter to 


score a hit from horseback unless one is very close up ; 
and Sir Alfred made up his mind to try to drive out 
the bull from the rest of the herd. He succeeded ; but 
at this moment his horse put a fore-foot into a hole and 
turned a complete somersault, almost wrenching out his 
shoulder. Sir Alfred was hurled off head over heels, 
but even as he rolled over, clutching his rifle, he twisted 
himself round to his knees and took one last shot at the 
flying giraffe. This left Kermit alone, and he galloped 
hard on the giraffe's heels, firing again and again with 
his Winchester. Finally, his horse became completely 
done out and fell behind ; whereupon Kermit jumped 
off, and, being an excellent long-distance runner, ran 
after the giraffe on foot for more than a mile. But he 
did not need to shoot again. The great beast had been 
mortally wounded, and it suddenly slowed down, halted, 
and fell over dead. As a matter of curiosity we kept 
the Winchester bullets both from Kermit's giraffe and 
from mine. I made a point of keeping as many as 
possible of the bullets with which the different animals 
were slain, so as to see exactly what was done by the 
different types of rifles we had with us. 

When I reached camp I found that Heller had 
already started. Next morning I rode down to see him, 
and found him hard at work with the skins ; but as it 
would take him two or three days to finish them and 
put them in condition for transport, we decided that 
the safari should march back to the Potha camp, and 
that from there we would send Percival's ox-waggon 
to bring back to the camp all the skins. Heller and his 
men accompanying him. The plan was carried out, 
and the following morning we shifted the big camp as 

Heller, thus left behind, cam_e near having an un- 


pleasant adventure. He slept in his own tent, and his 
Wakainba skinners slept under the Hy not tar off. One 
night they let the fires die down, and were roused at 
midnight by hearing the grunting of a hungry lion 
apparently not a dozen yards off in the darkness. 
Heller quiekly lit his lantern, and sat up with his shot- 
gun loaded with bird-shot, the only weapon he had with 
him. The lion walked round and round the tent, 
grunting at intervals. Then, after some minutes of 
suspense, he drew off. While the grunting had been 
audible, not a sound came from the tent of the Wakam- 
bas, who all cowered under their blankets in perfect 
silence. But once he had gone, there was a great 
chattering, and in a few minutes the fires were roaming, 
nor were they again suffered to die down. 

Heller's skinners had learned to work very well when 
under his eye. He had encountered much difficulty in 
getting men who would do the work, and had tried the 
representatives of various tribes, but without success, 
until he struck the Wakamba. These were real savages' 
who filed their teeth and delighted in raw flesh, and 
Heller's explanation of their doing well was that their 
taste for the raw flesh kept them thoroughly interested 
in their job, so that they learned without difficulty. 
The porters speedily christened each of the white men 
by some title of their own, using the ordinary SwahiH 
title of Bwana (master) as a prefix. Heller was the 
Bwana Who Skinned ; Loring, who collected the small 
mammals, was named, merely descriptively, the Mouse 
Master, Bwana Pania. I was always called Bwana 
Makuba, the Chief or Great Master ;'Kermit was first 
called Bwana Medogo, the Voung Master, and after- 
ward was christened •' the Dandy," Bwana Merodadi. 

From i'otha the safari went in two days to 


McMillan's place, Jiija Farm, on the other side of the 
Athi. 1 stayed behind, as I desired to visit the Ameri- 
can Mission Station at Machakos. Accordingly, Sir 
Alfred and I rode thither. Machakos has long been a 
native town, for it was on the route formerly taken by 
the Arab caravans that went from the coast to the 
interior after slaves and ivory. Riding' toward it, we 
passed herd after herd of cattle, slieep, and goats, each 
guarded by two or three savage herdsmen. The little 
town itself was both interesting and attractive. Besides 
the natives, there were a number of Indian traders and 
the English Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner, 
with a small body of native soldiers. The latter not a 
long time before had been just such savages as those 
round about them, and the change for the better 
wrought in their physique and morale by the ordered 
discipline to which they had submitted themselves 
could hardly be exaggerated. When we arrived, the 
Commissioner and his assistant were engaged in cross- 
examining some neighbouring chiefs as to the cattle 
sickness. The English rule in Africa has been of 
incalculable benefit to Africans themselves, and indeed 
this is true of the rule of most European nations. Mis- 
takes have been made, of course, but they have proceeded 
at least as often from an unwise effort to accomplish too 
much in the way of beneficence, as from a desire to 
exploit the natives. Each of the civilized nations that 
has taken possession of any part of Africa has had its 
own peculiar good qualities and its own peculiar defects. 
Some of them have done too much in supervising and 
ordering the lives of the natives, and in interfering with 
their practices and customs. The English error, like 
our own under similar conditions, has, if anything, been 


in the other direction. 'Vhe effort has been to avoid 
wherever possible all interference with tribal customs, 
even when of an immoral and repulsive character, and 
to do no more than what is obviously necessary, such 
as insistence upon keeping the peace, and preventing 
the spread of cattle disease. Excellent reasons can be 
advanced in favour of this policy, and it must always be 
remembered that a fussy and ill-considered benevolence 
is more sure to awaken resentment than cruelty itself; 
while the natives are apt to resent deeply even things 
that are obviously for their ultimate welfare. Yet I 
cannot help thinking that with caution and wisdom it 
would be possible to proceed somewhat farther than has 
yet been the case in the direction of pushing upv/ard 
some at least of the East African tribes, and this though 
I recognize fully that many of these tribes are of a low 
and brutalized type. Having said this much in the 
way of criticism, I wish to add my tribute of unstinted 
admiration for the disinterested and efficient work being 
done, alike in the interest of the white man and the 
black, by the goverinnent officials whom I met in East 
Africa. They are men in whom their country has every 
reason to feel a just pride. 

We lunched with the American missionaries. Mission 
work among savages offers many difficulties, and often 
the wisest and most earnest effort meets with disheart- 
eningly little reward ; while lack of common sense, and 
of course above all, lack of a firm and resolute disinter- 
estedness, insures the worst kind of failure. There are 
missionaries who do not do well, just as there are men 
in every conceivable walk of life who do not do well ; 
and excellent men who are not missionaries, including 
both government officials and settlers, are only too apt 


to jump at the chance of criticizing a missionary for 
every alleged sin of either omission or commission. 
Finally, zealous missionaries, fervent in the faith, do 
not always find it easy to remember that savages can 
only be raised by slow steps, that an empty adherence 
to forms and ceremonies amounts to nothing, that 
industrial training is an essential in any permanent 
upward movement, and that the gradual elevation ot 
mind and character is a prerequisite to the achievement 
of any kind of Christianity which is worth calhng such. 
Nevertheless, after all this has been said, it remains true 
that the good done by missionary effort in Africa has 
been incalculable. There are parts of the great continent, 
and among them I include many sections of East Africa, 
which can be made a white man's country ; and in these 
parts every effort should be made to favour the growth 
of a large and prosperous white population. But over 
most of Africa the problem for the white man is to 
govern, with wisdom and firmness, and when necessary 
with severity, but always with a single eye to their own 
interests and development, the black and brown races. 
To do this needs syinpathy and devotion no less than 
strength and wisdom, and in the task the part to be 
played by the missionary and the part to be played by 
the official are alike great, and the two should work 
hand in hand. 

After returning from jMachakos, 1 spent the night at 
Sir Alfred's, and next morning said good-bye with most 
genuine regret to my host and his family. Then, 
followed by my gun-bearers and sais, I rode off across 
the Athi Plains. Through the bright white air the sun 
beat dow^n mercilessly, and the heat haze wavered above 
the endless flats of scorched grass. Hour after hour we 

CH. IV] THE ATHl 103 

went slowly forward, through the morning, and through 
the burning heat of the equatorial noon, until in mid- 
afternoon we came to the tangled tree growth which 
fringed the half-dried bed of the Athi. Here T off- 
saddled for an hour ; then, mounting, I crossed the 
river bed where it was waterless, and before evening fell 
I rode up to Juja Farm. 



At Juja Farm we were welcomed with the most 
generous hospitaUty by my fellow-countryman and his 
wife, Mr. and Mrs. W. N. McMillan. Selous had been 
staying with them, and one afternoon I had already 
ridden over from Sir Alfred's ranch to take tea with 
them at their other house, on the beautiful Mua Hills. 

Juja Farm lies on the edge of the Athi Plains, and 
the house stands near the junction of the Nairobi and 
Rewero Rivers. The house, like almost all East 
African houses, was of one story, a broad, vine-shaded 
veranda running around it. There were numerous out- 
buildings of every kind ; there were flocks and herds, 
cornfields, a vegetable garden, and, immediately in front 
of the house, a very pretty flower-garden, carefully 
tended by unsmiling Kikuyu savages. All day long 
these odd creatures worked at the grass and among the 
flower-beds. According to the custom of their tribe, 
their ears were slit so as to enable them to stretch the 
lobes to an almost incredible extent, and in these 
apertures they wore fantastically carved native orna- 
ments. One of them had been attracted by the shining 
surface of an empty tobacco-can, and he wore this in 
one ear to match the curiously carved wooden drum he 
carried in the other. Another, whose arms and legs 



were massive with copper and iron bracelets, had been 
given a blanket because he had no other garment ; he 
got along quite well with the blanket, excepting when 
he had to use the lawn-mower, and then he would 
usually wrap the blanket around liis neck, and handle 
the lawn-mower with the evident feeling that he had 
done all that the most exacting conventionalism could 

The house-boys and gun-bearers, and most of the 
boys who took care of the liorses, were Somalis, whereas 
the cattle-keepers who tended the herds of cattle were 
Masai, and the men and women who worked in the 
fields were Kikuyus. The three races had nothing to do 
with one another, and the few Indians had nothing to 
do with any of them. The Kikuyus lived in their 
beehive huts scattered in small groups ; the Somalis all 
dwelt in tlieir own little village on one side of the 
farm, and half a mile off the Masai dwelt in their 
village. Both the Somalis and Masai were fine, daring 
fellows ; the Somalis were Mohammedans and horse- 
men ; the Masai were cattle-herders, who did their work 
as they did their fighting, on foot, and were wild 
heathen of the most martial type. They looked care- 
fully after the cattle, and were delighted to join in 
the chase of dangerous game, but regular work they 
thoroughly despised. Sometimes when we had gathered 
a mass of Kikuyus or of our own porters together to do 
some job, two or three Masai would stroll up to look on 
with curiosity, sword in belt and great spear in hand ; 
their features were well cut, their hair curiously plaited, 
J and they had the erect carriage and fearless bearing that 
(naturally go with a soldierly race. 

AVithin the house, with its bedrooms and dining- 
room, its library and drawing-room, and the cool, 


shaded veranda, everything was so comfortable that it 
was hard to reahze that v^^e were far in the interior of 
Africa and almost under the Equator. Our hostess was 
herself a good rider and good shot, and had killed her 
lion ; and both our host and a friend who was staying 
with him, Mr. Bulpett, were not merely mighty hunters 
who had bagged every important \'ariety of large and 
dangerous game, but were also explorers of note, whose 
travels had materially helped in widening the area of 
our knowledge of what was once the dark continent. 

Many birds sang in the garden— bulbuls, thrushes, 
and warblers ; and from the narrow fringe of dense 
woodland along the edges of the rivers other birds 
called loudly, some with harsh, some with musical, 
voices. Here for the first time we saw the honey- 
guide, the bird that insists upon leading any man 
it sees to honey, so that he may rob the hive and give 
it a share. 

Game came right around the house. Hartebeests, 
wildebeests, and zebras grazed in sight on the open 
plain. The hippojDotami that lived close by in the 
river came out at night into the garden. A couple of 
years before a rhino had come down into the same 
garden in broad daylight, and quite M^antonly attacked 
one of the Kikuyu labourers, tossing him and breaking 
his thigh. It had then passed by the house out to the 
plain, where it saw an ox-cart, which it immediately 
attacked and upset, cannoning off after its charge and 
passing up through the span of oxen, breaking all the 
yokes but fortunately not killing an animal. Then it 
met one of the men of the house on horseback, immedi- 
ately assailed him, and was killed for its pains. 

My host was about to go on safari for a couple of 
months with Selous, and to manage their safari they 


had one of the noted professional Imnters of East 
Africa, Mr. H. Judd ; and Judd was kind enough to 
take me out hunting almost every day that we were 
at Juja. We would breakfast at dawn, and leave the 
farm about the time that it grew light enough to see. 
Ordinarily our course was eastward, toward the Athi, a 
few miles distant. These morning rides were very beau- 
tiful. In our front was the mountain mass of Donyo 
Sabuk, and the sun rose behind it, flooding the heavens 
with gold and crimson. The morning air blew fresh in 
our faces, and the unshod feet of our horses made no 
sound as they trod the dew-drenched grass. On every 
side game stood to watch us — herds of hartebeests and 
zebras, and now and then a herd of wildebeests or a few 
straggling old wildebeest bulls. Sometimes the zebras 
and kongoni were very shy, and took fright when we 
were yet a long way off; at other times they would 
stand motionless, and permit us to come within fair 
gunshot, and after we had passed we could still see 
them regarding us witliout their having moved. The 
wildebeests were warier ; usually, when we were yet a 
quarter of a mile or so distant, the herd, which had been 
standing with heads up, their short, shaggy necks and 
heavy withers giving the animals an unmistakable 
look, would take fright, and, with heavy curvets and 
occasional running in semicircles, would make off, heads 
held down and long tails lashing the air. 

In the open woods which marked the border between 
the barren plains and the forested valley of the Athi, 
Kermit and I shot waterbuck and impalla. The w^ater- 
buck is a stately antelope with long, coarse grey hair 
and fine carriage of the head and neck ; the male alone 
carries horns. We found them usually in parties of ten 
or a dozen, both of bulls and cows ; but sometimes a 


party of cows would go alone, or three or four bulls 
might be found together. In spite of its name, we did 
not find it much given to going in the water, although 
it would cross the river fearlessly whenever it desired ; 
it was, however, always found not very far from water. 
It liked the woods, and did not go many miles from the 
streams, yet we frequently saw^ it on the open plains a 
mile or two from trees, feeding in the vicinity of the 
zebra and the hartebeest. This was, however, usually 
quite early in the morning or quite late in the afternoon. 
In the heat of the day it clearly preferred to be in the 
forest, along the stream's edge, or in the bush-clad 

The impalla are found in exactly the same kind of 
country as the water-buck, and often associate with 
them. To my mind they are among the most beautiful 
of all antelope. They are about the size of a white- 
tailed deer, their beautiful annulated horns making a 
single spiral, and their coat is like satin with its con- 
trasting shades of red and w^hite. They have the most 
gracefid movements of any animal I know, and it is 
extraordinary to see a herd start off when frightened, 
both buck and does bounding clear over the top of the 
tall bushes, w^ith a peculiar birdlike motion and light- 
ness. ITsually a single old buck will be found with a 
large company of does and fawns ; the other bucks go 
singly or in small parties. It was in the middle of 
May, and we saw fawns of all ages. When in the 
open, where, like the w^aterbuck, it often went in the 
morning and evening, the impalla was very shy, but I 
did not find it particularly so among the woods. In con- 
nection w'ith shooting two of the impalla, there occurred 
little incidents which are worthy of mention. 

In one case I had just killed a waterbuck cow, 

eH. v] AN IMPALLA 109 

hitting it at a considerable distance and by a lucky 
Huke, after a good deal of bad sliooting. Wg started 
tlie porters in with the waterbuck, and then rode west 
through an open country, dotted liere and there with 
trees and with occasional ant-hills. In a few minutes w^e 
saw an impaUa l)uck, and I crept up behind an ant-hill 
and obtained a shot at about two hundred and fifty 
yards. The buck dropped, and as I was putting in 
another cartridge I said to .Judd that T didn't like to 
see an animal drop like that, so instantaneously, as 
there was always the possibility that it might only be 
creased, and that if an animal so hurt got up, it always 
went off' exactly as if unhurt. When we raised om- 
eyes again to look for the impalla, it had vanished. I 
was sure that we would never see it again, and Judd felt 
much the same w ay ; but we walked in the direction 
toward which its head had been pointed, and Judd 
ascended an ant-hill to scan the surrounding country 
with his glasses. He did so, and after a minute remarked 
that he could not see the wounded impalla ; when a 
sudden movement caused us to look down, and there it 
was, lying at our very feet, on the side of the ant-hill, 
unable to rise. I had been using a sharp-pointed bullet 
in the Springfield, and this makes a big hole. The 
bullet had gone too far back, in front of the hips. 
I should not have wondered at all if the animal had 
failed to get up after falling, but I did not understand 
why, as it recovered enough from the shock to be 
able to get up, it had not continued to travel, instead 
of falling after going one hundred yards. Indeed, I am 
inclined to think that a deer or prong-buck, hit in the 
same fashion, would have gone off and would have 
given a long chase before being overtaken. Judging 
from what others have said, 1 have no doubt that 


African game is very tough and succumbs less easily 
to wounds than is the case with animals of the northern 
temperate zone ; but in my own experience, I sev^eral 
times saw African antelopes succumb to wounds quicker 
than the average northern animal would have succumbed 
to a similar wound. One was this impalla. Another 
was the cow eland I first shot : her hind-ie"- was broken 
high up, and the wound, though crippling, was not such 
as would have prevented a moose or wapiti from hob- 
bling away on three legs ; yet in spite of hard struggles 
the eland was wholly unable to regain her feet. 

The impalla thus shot, by the Avay, although in fine 
condition and with a coat of glossy beauty, was infested 
by ticks ; around the horns the horrid little insects were 
clustered in thick masses for a space of a diameter of 
some inches. It was to me marvellous that they had 
not set up inflammation or caused great sores, for they 
were so thick that at a distance of a few feet they gave 
the appearance of there being some big gland or bare 
place at the root of each horn. 

The other impalla buck also showed an unexpected 
softness, succumbing to a wound which I do not believe 
would have given me either a white-tailed or a black-tailed 
deer. I had been vainly endeavouring to get a water- 
buck bull, and as the day was growing hot I was riding 
homeward, scanning the edge of the plain where it 
merged into the trees that extended out from the steep 
bank that hemmed in one side of the river bottom. 
From time to time we would see an impalla or a water- 
buck making its way from the plain back to the river 
bottom, to spend the day in the shade. One of these I 
stalked, and after a good deal of long-range shooting;- 
broke a hind-leg high up. It got out of sight, and we 
rode along the edge of the steep descent which led 

CH. v] A SNAKE 111 

down into the river bottom proper. In the bottom 
there were large, open, grassy places, while the trees 
made a thick fringe along the river course. We had 
given up the impalla and turned out towards the plain, 
when one of my gun- bearers whistled to us, and said he 
had seen the wounded animal cross the bottom and go 
into tlie fringe of trees bounding a deep pool, in which 
we knew there were both hippos and crocodiles. We 
were off our horses at once, and, leaving them at the 
top, scrambled down the descent and crossed the bottom 
to the spot indicated. The impalla had lain down as 
soon as it reached cover, and as we entered the fringe 
of w^ood I caught a glimpse of it getting up and making 
oft'. Vet fifty yards farther it stopped again, standing- 
right on the brink of the pool, so close that when 1 shot 
it, it fell over into the water. 

When, after arranging for tliis impalla to be carried 

back to the farm, we returned to where our horses had 

been left, the boys told us with much excitement that 

there was a large snake near by ; and, sure enough, a 

' few yards off, coiled up in the long grass under a small 

tree, was a python. I could not see it distinctly, and, 

i using a solid bullet, I just missed the backbone, the 

I bullet going through the body about its middle. 

] Immediately the snake lashed at me with open jaws, 

j and then, uncoiling, came gliding rapidly in our 

, direction. I do not think it was charging ; I think 

I it was merely trying to escape. But Judd, who 

I was utterly unmoved by lion, leopard, or rhino, evidently 

held this snake in respect, and yelled to me to get out 

I of the way. Accordingly, I jumped back a few feet, 

I and the snake came over the ground where 1 had stood ; 

' its evil genius then made it halt for a moment and raise 

its head to a height of perhaps three feet, and I killed it 


by a shot through the neck. The porters were much 
wrought up about the snake, and did not at all like my 
touching it and taking it up, first by the tail and then 
by the head. It was only twelve feet long. We tied 
it to a long stick and sent it in by two porters. 

Another day we beat for lions, but without success. 
We rode to a spot a few miles off, where we were joined 
by three Boer fiu-mers. They were big, upstanding 
men, looking just as Boer farmers ought to look who 
had been through a war and had ever since led the 
adventurous life of frontier farmers in wild regions. 
They were accompanied by a pack of big, rough-looking 
dogs, but were on foot, walking with long and easy 
strides. The dogs looked a rough-and-ready lot, but 
on this particular morning showed themselves of little 
use ; at any rate, they put up nothing. 

But Kermit had a bit of deserved good luck. While 
the main body of us went down the river-bed, he and 
McMillan, with a few natives, beat up a side ravine, 
down the middle of which ran the usual dry water- 
course fringed with patches of brush. In one of these 
they put up a leopard, and saw it shnking forward 
ahead of them through the bushes, 'ilien they lost 
sight of it, and came to the conclusion that it was in a 
large thicket. So Kermit went on one side of it and 
McMillan on the other, and the beaters approached 
to try and get the leopard out. Of course, none of the 
beaters had guns ; their function was merely to make a 
disturbance and rouse the game, and they were cautioned 
on no account to get into danger. But the leopard did 
not wait to be driven. Without any warning, out he 
came and charged straight at Kermit, who stopped him 
when he was but six yards off with a bullet in the fore 
part of the body ; the leopard turned, and as he galloped 


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back Kermit hit him again, crippHng him in the hips. 
The wounds were fatal, and they would have knocked 
the fight out of any animal less plucky and savage than 
the leopard ; but not even in Africa is there a beast of 
more imflinching courage than this spotted cat. The 
beaters were much excited by the sight of the charge 
and the way in whicii it was stopped, and they pressed 
jubilantly forward — too heedlessly. One of them, who 
was on McMillan's side of the thicket, went too near it, 
and out came the woimded leopard at him. It was 
badly crippled, or it would have got the beater at once ; 
as it was, it was slowly overtaking him as he ran 
through the tall grass, when McMillan, standing on an 
ant-heap, shot it again. Yet, in spite of having this 
third bullet in it, it ran down the beater and seized 
him, worrying him with teeth and claws. But it w^as 
weak because of its wounds, and the powerful savage 
wrenched himself free, while McMillan fired into the 
beast again, and back it went through the long grass 
into the thicket. There was a pause, and the wounded 
beater was remoAcd to a place of safety, while a 
messenger was sent on to us to bring up the Boer 
dogs. But while they were waiting, the leopard, on 
its own initiative, brought matters to a crisis ; for out it 
came again straight at Kermit, and this time it dropped 
dead to Kermit's bullet. No animal could have shown 
a more fearless and resolute temper. It was an old 
female, but small, its weight being a little short of 
seventy pounds. The smallest female cougar I ever 
killed was heavier than this, and one very big male cougar 
which I killed in Colorado was three times the weight. 
Yet I have never heard of any cougar which displayed 
anything like the spirit and ferocity of this little leopard, 
or which in any way approached it as a dangerous foe. 



It was sent back to camp in company with tlie wounded 
beater, after the wounds of the latter had been dressed ; 
they were not serious, and he was speedily as well 
as ever. 

The rivers that bounded Juja Farm, not only the Athi, 
but the Nairobi and Rewero, contained hippopotami 
and crocodiles in the deep pools, I was particularly 
anxious to get one of the former, and early one morning 
Judd and I rode off across the plains, tln-ough the herds 
of grazing game seen dimly in the dawn, to the Athi. 
We reached the river, and leaving our horses, went 
down into the wooded bottom, soon after sunrise. Judd 
had with him a Masai, a keen-eyed hunter, and I my 
two gun-bearers. We advanced with the utmost 
caution toward the brink of a great pool ; on our way 
we saw a bushbuck, but of course did not dare to shoot 
at it, for hippopotami are wary, except in very unfre- 
quented regions, and any noise will disturb them. As 
we crept noiselessly up to the steep bank which edged 
the pool, the sight was typically African. On the still 
water floated a crocodile, nothing but his eyes and nos- 
trils visible. The bank was covered with a dense growth 
of trees, festooned with vines ; among the branches sat 
herons ; a little cormorant dived into the water ; and 
a very small and brilliantly coloured kingfisher, with a 
red beak and large turquoise crest, perched unlieedingly 
within a few feet of us. Here and there a dense growth 
of the tall and singularly graceful papyrus rose out of 
the water, the feathery heads, which crowned the long 
smooth green stems, waving gently to and fro. 

We scanned the waters carefully, and could see no 
sign of hippos, and, still proceeding with the utmost 
caution, we moved a hundred yards farther down to 
another lookout. Here the Masai detected a hippo 


head a long way off on the other side of the pool, and 
we again drew back and started cautiously forward to 
reach the point opposite which he had seen the head. 

But we were not destined to get that hippo. Just as 
we had about reached tlie point at which we had 
intended to turn in toward the pool, tliere w^as a 
succession of snorts in our front, and the sound of the 
trampling of heavy feet and of a big body being shoved 
through a dense mass of tropical bush. My companions 
called to me in loud whispers that it was a rhinoceros 
comhig at us, and to " Shoot, shoot !" In another 
moment the rhinoceros appeared, twitching its tail and 
tossing and twisting its head from side to side as it 
came toward us. It did not seem to have very good 
horns, and I would much rather not have killed it, but 
there hardly seemed any alternative, for it certainly 
showed every symptom of being bent on mischief. My 
first shot, at under forty yards, produced no effect what- 
ever, except to hasten its approach. I was using the 
Winchester, with full-jacketed bullets ; my second 
bullet went in between the neck and shoulder, bringing 
it to a halt. I fired into the shoulder again, and as it 
turned toward the bush I fired into its flank both the 
bullets still remaining in my magazine. 

For a moment or two after it disappeared we heard 
the branches crash, and then there was silence. In such 
cover a wounded rhino requires cautious handling, and 
as quietly as possible we walked through the open forest 
along the edge of the dense thicket into which the 
animal had returned. The thicket was a tangle of thorn 
bushes, reeds, and small, low-branching trees ; it was 
impossible to see ten feet through it, and a man could 
only penetrate it with the utmost slowness and difficulty, 
whereas the movements of the rhino were very little 


impeded. At the far end of the thicket we examined 
the grass to see if the rhino had passed out, and sure 
enough there was the spoor, with so much blood along 
both sides that it was evident the animal was badly hit. 
It led across this space and into another thicket of the 
same character as the first, and again we stole cautiously 
along the edge some ten yards out, I had taken the 
heavy Holland double-barrel, and with the safety catch 
pressed forward under my thumb, I trod gingerly 
through the grass, peering into the thicket and expec- 
tant of developments. In a minute there was a furious 
snorting and crashing directly opposite us in the thicket, 
and I brought up my rifle, but the rhino did not quite 
place us, and broke out of the co\'er in front, some 
thirty yards away, and I put both barrels into and 
behind the shoulder. The terrific striking force of the 
heavy gun told at once, and the rhino wheeled, and 
struggled back into the thicket, and we heard it fall. 
With the utmost caution, bending and creeping under 
the branches, we made our way in, and saw the beast 
lying with its head toward us. We thought it was 
dead, but would take no chances, and I put in another, 
but, as it proved, needless, heavy bullet. 

It was an old female, considerably smaller than the 
bull 1 had already shot, with the front horn measuring 
fourteen inches as against his nineteen inches ; as always 
wdth rhinos, it was covered with ticks, which clustered 
thickly in the folds and creases of the skin, around and 
in the ears, and in all the tender places. McMillan sent 
out an ox-waggon and brought it in to the house, where 
we weighed it. It was a little over two thousand two 
hundred pounds. It had evidently been in the neigh- 
bourhood in which we found it for a considerable time, 
for a few hundred yards away we found its stamping 


ground, a circular spot where the earth had been all 
trampled up and kicked about, according to the custom 
of rhinoceroses ; they return day after day to such 
places to deposit their dung, which is then kicked about 
with the hind feet. As with all our otlier specimens, 
the skin was taken off and sent back to the National 
Museum. The stomach was tilled with leaves and 
twigs, this kind of rliinoceros browsing on tlie tips of 
the branches by means of its hooked, prehensile 
upper hp. 

Now, I did not want to kill this rhinoceros, and I am 
not certain that it really intended to charge us. It may 
very well be that if we had stood firm it would, after 
much threatening and snorting, ha\ e turned and made 
off". Veteran hunters like Selous could, I doubt not, 
have afforded to wait and see what happened. But I 
let it get witliin forty yards, and it still showed every 
symptom of meaning mischief, and at a shorter range 1 
could not have been sure of stopping it in time. Often 
under such circumstances the rhino does not mean to 
charge at all, and is acting in a spirit of truculent and 
dull curiosity ; but often, when its motions and actions 
are indistinguishable from those of an animal which does 
not mean mischief, it turns out that a given rhino does 
mean mischief. A year before 1 arrived in East Africa 
a surveyor was charged by a rhinoceros entirely without 
provocation ; he was caught and killed. Chanler's com- 
panion on his long expedition, the Austrian Von Hohnel, 
was very severely wounded by a rhino, and nearly died. 
The animal charged through the line of march of the 
safari, and then deliberately turned, hunted down Von 
H()hnel, and tossed him. Again and again there have 
been such experiences, and again and again hunters who 
did not wish to kill rhinos have been forced to do so in 


order to prevent mischief. In such circumstances it is 
not to be expected that men will take too many chances 
when face to face with a creature whose actions are 
threatening and whose intentions it is absolutely im- 
possible to divine. In fact, I do not see how the rhino- 
ceros can be permanently preserved, save in very out- 
of-the-way places or in regular game reserves. There 
is enough interest and excitement in the pursuit to 
attract every eager young hunter, and, indeed, very 
many eager old hunters ; and the beast's stupidity, 
curiosity, and truculence make up a combination of 
qualities which inevitably tend to insure its destruction. 
As we brought home the whole body of this rhino- 
ceros, and as I had put into it eight bullets, five from 
the Winchester and three from the Holland, I was able 
to make a tolerably fair comparison between the two. 
^^^ith the full-jacketed bullets of the Winchester I had 
mortally wounded the animal ; it would have died in a 
short time, and it was groggy when it came out of the 
brusli in its final charge ; but they inflicted no such 
smashing blow as the heavy bullets of the Holland. 
Moreover, when they struck the heavy bones they 
tended to break into fragments, while the big Holland 
bullets ploughed through. The Winchester and the 
Springfield were the weapons one of which I always 
carried in my own hand, and for any ordinary game I 
much preferred them to any other rifles. The Win- 
chester did admirably with lions, giraffes, elands, and 
smaller game, and, as will be seen, with hippos. For 
heavy game like the rhinoceroses and buffaloes I found 
that for me personally the heavy Holland was un- 
questionably the proper weapon. But in writing this 
I wish most distinctly to assert my full knowledge of 
the fact that the choice of a rifle is almost as much a 


matter of personal idiosyncrasy as the choice of a friend. 
The above must be taken as merely the expression of 
my personal preferences. It will doubtless arouse as 
mucli objection among the idtra champions of one type 
of gun as among the ultra-champions of another. The 
truth is that any good modern riHe is good enougli. 
The determining factor is the man behind the gun. 

In the afternoon of the day on which we killed the 
rhino Judd took me out again to try for hippos, this 
time in the Rewero, which ran close by the house. We 
rode upstream a couple of miles. Then we sent back 
our horses, and walked down the river bank as quietly 
as possible, Judd scanning the pools and the eddies in 
the running stream from every point of vantage. Once 
we aroused a crocodile, which plunged into the water. 
The stream was full of fish, some of considerable size ; 
and in the meadow land on our side we saw a flock of 
big, black wild-geese feeding. But we got within half 
a mile of MclMillan's house without seeing a hippo, and 
the light was rapidly fading. Judd announced tliat we 
would go home, but took one last look around the next 
bend, and instantly sank to his knees, beckoning to me. 
I crept forward on all-fours, and he pointed out to me 
an object in the stream, fifty yards off, under the over- 
hanging branch of a tree, which jutted out from the 
steep bank opposite. In that liglit I should not myself 
have recognized it as a hippo head : but it was one 
looking toward us, with the ears up and the nostrils, 
eyes, and forehead above water. I aimed for the centre ; 
the sound told that the bullet had struck somewhere on 
the head, and the animal disappeared without a splash. 
Judd was sure I had killed, but I was by no means so 
confident myself, and there was no way of telling until 
next morning, for the hippo always sinks when shot, 


and does not rise to the surface for several hours. 
Accordingly, back we walked to the house. 

At sunrise next morning Cuninghame, Judd, and 
I, with a crowd of porters, were down at the spot. 
There was a very leaky boat in which we three 
embarked, intending to drift and paddle downstream 
while the porters walked along the bank. We did not 
have far to go, for as we rounded the first point we 
heard the porters break into guttural exclamations ot 
delight, and there ahead of us, by a little island of 
papyrus, was the dead hippo. With the help of the 
boat, it was towed to a convenient landing-place, and 
then the porters dragged it ashore. It was a cow, of 
good size for one dwelling in a small river, where they 
never approach the dimensions of those making their 
homes in a great lake like the V^ictoria Nyanza. This 
one weighed nearly two thousand eight hundred pounds, 
and I could well believe that a big lake bull would 
weigh between three and four tons. 

In wild regions hippos rest on sandy bars, and even 
come ashore to feed, by day ; but wherever there are 
inhabitants they land to feed only at night. Those in 
the Rewero continually entered JMcMillan's garden. 
Where they are numerous they sometimes attack small 
boats and kill the people in tliem ; and where they are 
so plentiful they do great damage to the plantations of 
the natives, so much so that they then have to be taken 
off the list of preserved game and their destruction 
encouraged. Their enormous jaws sweep in quantities 
of plants, or lush grass, or corn or vegetables, at a 
mouthful, while their appetite is as gigantic as their 
body. In spite of their short legs, they go at a good 
gait on shore, but the water is their real home, and 
they always seek it when alarmed. They dive and float 

CH. v] CHEETAHS 121 

wonderfully, risiiio- to the surface or sinking to tlie 
})ottom at will, and they gallop at speed along the 
bottoms of lakes or rivers, with their bodies wholly 
submerged ; but as is natural enough, in view of their 
big bodies and short legs, they are not fast swimmers 
for any length of time. Tliey make curious and un- 
mistakable trails along the banks of any stream in which 
they dwell : their short legs are wide apart, and so when 
the)' tread out a path they leave a ridge of high soil 
down the centre. AVhere they have lived a long time, 
the rutted paths are worn deep into the soil, but always 
carry tiiis distinguishing middle ridge. 

'I'he full-jacketed Winchester bullet liad gone straight 
into the brain ; the jacket had lodged in the cranium, 
but the lead went on, entering the neck and breaking 
the atlas vertebra. 

At Juja Farm many animals were kept in cages. 
They included a fairly friendly leopard, and five lions, 
two of which were anything but friendly. There were 
three clieetahs. nearly full grown ; these were con- 
tinually taken out on leashes, JMrs. McMillan strolling 
about with them and leading them to the summer- 
house. They were good-tempered, but they did not 
lead well. Cheetahs are interesting beasts ; they are 
aberrant cats, standing very high on their legs, and with 
non-retractile claws like a dog. They are nearly the 
size of a leopard, but are not ordinarily anything like as 
ferocious, and prey on the smaller antelope, occasionally 
taking sometliing as big as a half-grown kongoni. For 
a short run, up to say a quarter of a mile or even 
perhaps half a mile, they are the swiftest animals on 
earth, and with a good start easily overtake the fastest 
antelope ; but their bolt is soon shot, and on the open 
plain they can readily be galloped down with a horse. 


When they sit on their haunches their attitude is that 
neither of a dog nor of a eat so much as of a big 
monkey. On the whole, they are much more easily 
domesticated than most other cats, but, as with all 
highly developed wild creatures, they show great indi- 
vidual variability of character and disposition. They 
have a \^ery curious note, a bird-like chirp, in uttering 
which they twist the upper lip as if whistling. When 
I first heard it I was sure that it was uttered by some 
bird, and looked about quite a time before finding that 
it was the call of a cheetah. 

Then there was a tame wart-hog, very friendly 
indeed, which usually wandered loose, and was as 
comical as pigs generally are, with its sudden starts and 
grunts. Finally, there was a young tommy buck and 
a Grant's gazelle doe, both of which were on good terms 
with everyone and needed astonishingly little looking 
after to prevent their straying. When I was returning 
to the house on the morning I killed the rhinoceros, 1 
met the string of porters and the ox- waggon just after 
they had left the gate on their way to the carcass. The 
Grant doe had been attracted by the departure, and 
was following immediately behind the last porter. A 
wild-looking Masai warrior, to whom, as I learned, the 
especial care of the gazelle had been entrusted for that 
day, was running as hard as he could after her from the 
gate ; when he overtook her he ran in between her and 
the rearmost porter, and headed her for the farm gate, 
uttering what sounded like wild war-cries, and brandish- 
ing his spear. They formed a really absurd couple, the 
little doe slowly and decorously walking back to the 
farm, quite unmoved by the clamour and threats, while 
her guardian, the very image of what a savage warrior 
should look when on the war-path, walked close behind. 


waving his spear and uttering deep-toned shouts, with 
what seemed a ludicrous disproportion of effort to the 
result needed. 

The game comes right to the outskirts of Nairobi. 
One morning Kermit walked out ft-om the McMillans' 
town-house, where we were staying, in company with 
Percival, the game-ranger, and got photographs of 
zebras, kongoni, and Kavirondo cranes ; and a leopard 
sometimes came up tiirough the garden on to the 
veranda of the house itself. 

Antelopes speedily become very tame, and recognize 
clearly their friends. Leshe Tarlton's brother was 
keeping a couple of young kongoni and a partly-grown 
Grant's gazelle on his farm just outside Nairobi. 
Tarlton's young antelopes went freely into the country 
round about, but never fled with the wild herds ; and 
they were not only great friends with Tarlton's dogs, 
but recognized them as protectors. Hyenas and other 
beasts frequently came round the farm after nightfall, 
and at their approach the antelopes fled at speed to 
where the dogs were, and then could not be persuaded 
to leave them. 

We spent a delightful week at Juja Farm, and then 
moved to Kamiti Ranch, the neighbouring farm, owned 
by Mr. Hugh H. Heatley, who had asked me to visit 
him for a bufialo hunt. While in the hitjhlands of 
British East Africa it is utterly impossible for a stranger 
to realize that he is under the Equator ; the climate is 
delightful and healthy. It is a white man's country, a 
country which should be filled with white settlers ; and 
no place could be more attractive for visitors. There is 
no more danger to health incident to an ordinary trip to 
East Africa than there is to an ordinary trip to the 
Riviera. Of course, if one goes on a hunting trip there 


is always a certain amount of risk, including the risk of 
fever, just as there would be if a man camped out in 
some of the Italian marshes. But the ordinary visitor 
need have no more fear of his health than if he were 
travelling in Italy, and it is hard to imagine a trip 
better w^orth making than the trip from Mombasa to 
Nairobi and on to the Victoria Nyanza. 



Heatley's Ranch comprises twenty thousand acres 
lying between the Rewero and Kamiti Rivers. It is 
seventeen miles long, and four across at the widest 
place. It includes some bits of natural scenery as 
beautiful as can well be imagined ; and though Heatley, 
a thorough farmer and the son and grandson of farmers, 
was making it a successful farm, with large herds of 
cattle, much-improved stock, hundreds of acres under 
cultivation, a fine dairy, and the like, yet it was also 
a game reserve such as could not be matched either in 
Europe or America. From Juja Farm we marched 
a dozen miles, and pitched our tent close beside the 

The Kamiti is a queer little stream, running for most 
of its course through a broad swamp of tall papyrus. 
Such a swamp is almost impenetrable. The papyrus 
grows to a height of over twenty feet, and the stems 
are so close together that in most places it is impossible 
to see anything at a distance of six feet. Ten yards 
from the edge, when within the swamp, I was wholly 
unable to tell in which direction the open ground lay, 
and could get out only by either following my back 
track or listening for voices. Underfoot the mud and 
water are hip-deep. This swamp was the home of a 


126 A BUFFALO HUNT [ch. vi 

herd of buffalo, numbering perhaps a hundred indi- 
viduals. They are semi-aquatic beasts, and their 
enormous strength enables them to plough through the 
mud and water and burst their way among the papyrus 
stems without the slightest difficulty, whereas a man is 
nearly helpless when once he has entered the reed-beds. 
They had made paths hither and thither across the 
swamp, these paths being three feet deep in ooze and 
black water. There were little islands in the swamp on 
which they could rest. Toward its lower end, where 
it ran into the Nairobi, the Kamiti emerged from the 
papyrus swamp and became a rapid brown stream of 
water, with only here and there a papyrus cluster along 
its banks. 

The Nairobi, which cut across the lower end of the 
farm, and the Rewero, which bounded it on the other 
side from the Kamiti, were as different as possible from 
the latter. Both were rapid streams broken by riffle 
and waterfall, and running at the bottom of tree-clad 
valleys. The Nairobi Falls, which were on Heatley's 
Ranch, were singularly beautiful. Heatley and I visited 
them one evening after sunset, coming home from a 
day's hunt. It was a ride I shall long remember. We 
left our men, and let the horses gallop. As the sun 
set behind us, the long lights changed the look of the 
country and gave it a beauty that had in it an element 
of the mysterious and the unreal. The mountains 
loomed both larger and more vague than they had been 
in the bright sunlight, and the plains lost their look 
of parched desolation as the afterglow came and went. 
We were galloping through a world of dim shade and 
dying colour ; and, in this world, our horses suddenly 
halted on the brink of a deep ravine from out of which 
came the thunder of a cataract. We reined up on a 


jutting point. The snowy masses of the fall foamed 
over a ledge on our riglit, and below at our feet was a 
great pool of swirling water. Thick-foliaged trees, of 
strange shape and festooned with creepers, climbed the 
sheer sides of the ravine. A black-and-white eagle 
perched in a blasted tree-top in front, and the bleached 
skull of a long-dead rhinoceros glimmered white near 
the brink to one side. 

On another occasion we took our lunch at the foot of 
Rewero Falls. These are not as high as the falls of the 
Nairobi, but they are almost as beautiful. We clambered 
down into the ravine a little distance below, and made 
our way toward them, beside the brawling, rock-choked 
torrent. Great trees towered overhead, and among their 
tops the monkeys chattered and screeched. The fall 
itself was broken in two parts like a miniature Niagara, 
and the spray curtain shifted to and fro as the wind 

The lower part of the farm, between the Kamiti and 

Rewero and on both sides of the Nairobi, consisted of 

immense rolling plains, and on these the game swarmed 

in almost incredible numbers. I'here were Grant's and 

Thomson's gazelles, of which we shot one or two for the 

table. There was a small herd of blue wildebeest, and 

among them one very large bull with an unusually tine 

I head ; Kermit finally killed him. There were plenty of 

wart-hogs, which were to be found feeding right out in 

( the open, both in the morning and the evening. One 

' day Kermit got a really noteworthy sow, with tusks 

much longer than those of the average boar. He ran 

into her on horseback after a sharp chase of a mile or 

I two, and shot her from the saddle as he galloped nearly 

' alongside, holding his rifle as the old buffalo -runners 

1 used to hold theirs — that is, not bringing it to his 

128 A BUFFALO HUNT [cu. vt 

shoulder. I killed two or three half-grown pigs for 
the table, but 1 am sorry to say that I missed several 
chances at good boars. Finally, one day I got up to 
just two hundred and fifty yards from a good boar as he 
stood broadside to me. Firing with the little Spring- 
field, I put the bullet through both shoulders, and he 
was dead when we came up. 

But of course the swarms of game consisted of zebra 
and hartebeest. At no time, when riding in any direc- 
tion across these plains, were we ever out of sight of 
them. Sometimes they would act warily, and take the 
alarm when we were a long distance off. At other 
times herds would stand and gaze at us while we passed 
within a couple of hundred yards. One afternoon we 
needed meat for the safari, and Cuninghame and 1 rode 
out to get it. Within half a mile we came upon big 
herds both of hartebeest and zebra. They stood to give 
me long-range shots at about three hundred yards. I 
wounded a zebra, after which Cuninghame rode. While 
he was off, 1 killed first a zebra and then a hartebeest, 
and shortly afterward a cloud of dust announced that 
Cuninghame was bringing a herd of game toward me. 
I knelt motionless, and the long files of red- coated 
hartebeest and brilliantly striped zebra came galloping 
past. They were quite a distance off, but 1 had time 
for several shots at each animal I selected, and 1 
dropped one more zebra and one more hartebeest, in 
addition, I regret to add, to w^ounding another harte- 
beest. The four hartebeest and zebra lay within a space 
of a quarter of a mile ; and half a mile farther I bagged 
a tommy at two hundred yards. His meat was for our 
own table, the kongoni and the zebra being for the 

On another day when Heatley and 1 were out 


together, he stationed me among some tliin thorn- 
buslies on a little knoll, and drove the game })y me, 
hoping to get me a sliot at some wildebeest. The 
scattered thorn-bushes were only four or five feet 
high, and so thin that there was no difficulty in looking 
through them and marking every movement of the 
game as it approached. The wildebeest took the wrong 
direction and never came near me, though they certainly 
fared as badly as if they had done so, for they passed by 
Kermit, and it was on this occasion that he killed the 
big bull. A fine cock ostrich passed me and I much 
wished to shoot at him, but did not hke to do so, 
because ostrich-farming is one of the staple industries 
of the region, and it is not well to have even the wild 
birds shot. The kongoni and the zebra streamed by 
me, herd after herd, hundreds and hundreds of them, 
many passing within fifty yards of my shelter, now on 
one side, now on the other ; they went at an easy lope, 
and I was interested to see that many of the kongoni 
ran with their mouths open. This is an attitude which 
we usually associate with exhaustion, but such cannot 
have been the case with the kongoni— they had merely 
cantered for a mile or so. The zebra were, as usual, 
noisy, a number of them uttering their barking neigli 
as they passed. I do not know liow it is ordinarily, but 
"these particular zebra— all stallions, by the way— kept 
their mouths open throughout the time they were 
neighing, and their ears pricked forward ; they did not 
^eep their mouths open while merely galloping, as did 
the kongoni. We had plenty of meat, and the naturalists 
iiad enough specimens ; and I was glad that there was 
10 need to harm the beautiful creatures. They passed 
lo close that I could mark every slight movement, and 
.the ripple of the muscles under the skin. The very 


130 A BUFFALO HUNT [ch. vi 

young fawns of the kongoni seemed to have Httle fear 
of a horseman, if he approached while they were lying 
motionless on the ground ; but they would run from a 

man on foot. 

There were interesting birds, too. Close by the 
woods at the river's edge we saw a big black ground 
hornbill walking about, on the lookout for its usual 
dinner of small snakes and lizards. Large Hocks of the 
beautiful Kavirondo cranes stalked over the plains and 
cultivated fields, or flew by with mournful, musical 
clangour. But the most interesting birds we saw were 
the black whydah finches. The female is a dull- 
coloured, ordinary-looking bird, somewhat hke a female 
bobolink. The male in his courtship dress is clad in a 
uniform dark glossy suit, and his tail-feathers are almost 
like some of those of a barnyard rooster, being over 
twice as long as the rest of the bird, with a downward 
curve at the tips. The females were generally found in 
flocks, in which there would often be a goodly number 
of males also, and when the flocks put on speed the 
males tended to drop behind. The flocks were feed- 
ing in Heatley's grain-fields, and he was threatening 
veno-eance upon them. I was sorry, for the male birds 
certainly have habits of peculiar interest. They were 
not shy, although if we approached too near them in 
their favourite haunts — the grassland adjoining the 
papyrus beds — they would fly off and perch on the 
tops of the papyrus stems. The long tail hampers the 
bird in its flight, and it is often held at rather an angle 
downward, giving the bird a peculiar and almost insect- 
like appearance. But the marked and extraordinary 
pecuharity was the custom the cocks had of dancing in 
artificially-made dancing-rings. For a mile and a half 
beyond our camp, down the course of the Kamiti, the 


grassland at the edge of the papyrus was thickly strewn 
with these dancing-rings. Each was about two feet in 
diameter, sometimes more, sometimes less. A tuft of 
growing grass, perha])s a foot high, was left in the 
centre. Over the rest of the ring the grass was cut off 
close by the roots, and the blades strewn evenly over 
the surface of the ring. The cock bird would alight in 
the ring and liop to a height of a couple of feet, wings 
spread and motionless, tail drooping, and the head 
usually thrown back. As he came down he might or 
might not give an extra couple of little hops. After a 
few seconds he would repeat the motion, sometimes 
remaining almost in the same place, at other times 
going forward during and between the hops so as finally 
I to go completely round the ring. As there were many 
> scores of these dancing-places within a comparatively 
limited territory, the effect was rather striking when a 
' large nimiber of birds were dancing at the same time. 
I As one walked along, the impression conveyed by the 
birds continually popping above the grass and then 
immediately sinking back was somewhat as if a man 
■ was making peas jump in a tin tray by tapping on it. 
! The favourite dancing times were in the early morning, 
I and, to a less extent, in the evening. W^e saw dancing- 
places of every age, some with the cut grass which 
( strewed the floor green and fresh, others with the grass 
dried into hay and the bare earth showing through. 
j But the game we were after was the buffalo herd that 
i haunted the papyrus swamp. As I have said before, 
the buffalo is by many hunters esteemed the most 
dangerous of African game. It is an enormously 
powerful beast with, in this country, a coat of black 
I hair, which becomes thin in the old bulls, and massive 
J horns, which rise into great bosses at the base, these 



bosses sometimes meeting in old age so as to cover the 
forehead with a frontlet of horn. Their habits vary 
much in different places. Where they are much per- 
secuted, they lie in the densest cover, and only venture 
out into the open to feed at night. But Heatley, 
though he himself had killed a couple of bulls, and the 
Boer farmer who was working for him another, had 
preserved the herd from outside molestation, and their 
habits were doubtless much what they would have been 
in regions where man is a rare visitor. 

The first day we were on Heatley 's farm, we saw the 
buffalo, to the number of seventy or eighty, grazing in 
the open, some hundreds of yards from the papyrus 
swamp, and this shortly after noon. For a mile from 
the papyrus swamp the country was an absolutely flat 
plain, gradually rising into a gentle slope, and it was an 
impossibility to approach the buffalo across this plain 
save in one way, to be mentioned hereafter. Probably 
when the moon was full the buffalo came out to graze by 
night. But while we were on our hunt the moon was 
young, and the buffalo evidently spent most of the 
night in the papyrus, and came out to graze by day. 
Sometimes they came out in the early morning, some- 
times in the late evening, but quite as often in the 
bright daylight. We saw herds come out to graze at 
ten o'clock in the morning, and again at three in the 
afternoon. They usually remained out several hours, 
first grazing and then lying down. Flocks of the small 
white cow- heron usually accompanied them, the birds 
stalking about among them or perching on their backs ; 
and occasionally the whereabouts of the herd in the 
papyrus swamp could be determined by seeing the flock 
of herons perched on the papyrus tops. We did not 
see any of the red-billed tick-birds on the buffalo; 


indeed, the only ones that we saw in this neighbourliood 
happened to be on domestic cattle — in other places we 
found them very common on rhinoceros. At night the 
butralo sometimes came right into the cultivated fields, 
and even into the garden close by the Boer farmer's 
house, and once at niglit he had shot a bull. The bullet 
went through tlie lieart, but the animal ran to the 
papyrus swamp, and was found next day dead just 
within the edge. Usually the main herd, of bulls, cows, 
and calves, kept together ; but there were outlying bulls 
found singly or in small parties. Not only the natives, 
but the whites, were inclined to avoid the immediate 
neighbourhootl of the papyrus swamp, for there had 
been one or two narrow escapes from unprovoked 
attacks by the buffalo. The farmer told us that a man 
who was coming to see him had been regularly followed 
by three bulls, who pursued him for quite a distance. 
'J'here is no doubt that in certain circumstances buffalo, 
in addition to showing themselves exceedingly dangerous 
opponents when wounded by hunters, become truculent 
and inclined to take the offensive themselves. There 
are places in East Africa where, as regards at least 
certain herds, this seems to be the case ; and in Uganda 
the buffalo have caused such loss of life, and such 
damage to the native plantations, that they are now 
ranked as vermin and not as game, and their killing is 
I encouraged in every possible way. The list of white 
hunters that have been killed by buffalo is very long, 
I and includes a number of men of note, while accidents 
I to natives are of constant occurrence. 

The morning after making our camp we started at 
dawn for the buffalo ground, Kerniit and I, Cuninghanie 
and Heatley, and tlie Boer farmer, with three big, 
powerful dogs. W^e walked near the edge of the 

134 A BUFFALO HUNT [ch. vi 

swamp. The whydah birds were continually bobbing 
up and down in front of us as they rose and fell on 
their dancing- places, while the Kavirondo cranes called 
mournfully all around. Before we had gone two miles 
buffalo were spied, well ahead, feeding close to the 
papyrus. The line of the papyrus which marked the 
edge of the swamp was not straight, but broken by 
projections and indentations ; and by following it closely 
and cutting cautiously across the points, the opportunity 
for stalking was good. As there was not a tree of any 
kind anywhere near, we had to rely purely on our 
shooting to prevent damage from the buffalo. Kermit 
and I had our double-barrels, with the Winchesters as 
spare guns, while Cuninghame carried a "577, and 
Heatley a magazine rifle. 

Cautiously threading our way along the edge of the 
swamp, we got within a hundred and fifty yards of the 
buffalo before we were perceived. There were four 
bulls, grazing close by the edge of the swamp, their 
black bodies glistening in the early sun -rays, their 
massive horns sliowing white, and the cow -herons 
perched on then- backs. 'I'hey stared sullenly at us 
with outstretched heads from under their great frontlets 
of horn. The biggest of the four stood a little out from 
the other three, and at him I fired, the bullet teUing 
with a smack on the tough hide and going through the 
lungs. We had been afraid they would at once turn 
into the papyrus, but instead of this they started straight 
across our front directly for the open country. This 
was a piece of huge good luck. Kermit put his first 
barrel into the second bull, and I my second barrel into 
one of the others, after which it became impossible to 
say which bullet struck which animal, as the firing 
became general. They ran a quarter of a mile into the 

.' / 

Mr. Roosevelt and Kermit Roosevelt witli the first buiTalo 


open, and then the big bull 1 had first shot, and which 
had no other bullet in him, dropped dead, while the 
other three, all of which were wounded, halted beside 
him. AVe walked toward them, rather expecting a 
charge ; but when we were still over two hundred yards 
away they started back for the swamp, and we began 
firing. The distance being long, I used my AVinchester. 
I aimed well before one bull, and he dropped to the shot 
as if poleaxed, falling straight on his back with his legs 
kicking ; but in a moment he was up again and after the 
others. Later I found that the bullet, a full-metal 
patch, had struck him in the head, but did not penetrate 
to the brain, and merely stunned him for the moment. 
All the time we kept running diagonally to their line of 
flight. They were all three badly woimded, and when 
they reached the tall rank grass, high as a man's head' 
which fringed the papyrus swamp, the two foremost lay 
down, while the last one, the one I had floored with the 
Winchester, turned, and with nose outstretched began 
to come toward us. He was badly crippled, however, 
and with a soft-nosed bullet from my heavy Holland 1 
knocked him down, this time for good. Tlie other two 
then rose, and though each was again hit, they reached 
the swamp, one of them to our right, the other to the 
left, where the papyrus came out in a point. 

We decided to go after the latter, and, advancing very 
cautiously toward the edge of the swamp, put in the 
three big dogs. A moment after they gave tongue 
within the papyrus ; then we heard the savage grunt of 
the buffiilo, and saw its form just within the reeds ; and 
as the rifles cracked, down it went. But it was not 
dead, for we heard it grunt savagely, and the dogs 
bayed as loudly as ever. Heatley now mounted his 
trained shooting-pony and rode toward the place, while 

136 A BUFFALO HUNT [ch. vi 

we covered him with our rifles, his plan being to run 
right across our front if the bull charged. The bull was 
past charging, lying just within the reeds, but he was 
still able to do damage, for in another minute one of the 
dogs came out by us and ran straight back to the farm- 
house, where we found him dead on our return. He 
had been caught by the buffalo's horns when he went in 
too close. Heatley, a daring fellow, with great confi- 
dence in both his horse and his rifle, pushed forward as 
we came up, and saw the bull lying on the ground 
while the two other dogs bit and worried it, and he put 
a bullet through its head. 

The remaining bull got off* into the swamp, where a 
week later Heatley found his dead body. Fortunately 
the head proved to be in less good condition than any of 
the others, as one horn was broken off about halfway 
up ; so that if any of the four had to escape, it was well 
that this should have been the one. 

Our three bulls were fine trophies. The largest, with 
the largest horns, was the first killed, being the one that 
fell to my first bullet, yet it was the youngest of the 
three. The other two were old bulls. The second one 
killed had smaller horns than the other, but the bosses 
met in the middle of the forehead for a space of several 
inches, making a solid shield. I had just been reading 
a pamphlet by a German specialist who had divided the 
African buffiilo into fifteen or twenty different species, 
based upon differences in various pairs of horns. The 
worth of such fine distinctions, when made on in- 
sufficient data, can be gathered from the fact that on the 
principles of specific division adopted in the pamplilet in 
question, the three bulls we had shot would have repre- 
sented certainly two, and possibly three, different 


Heller was soon on the ground with his skinning-tent 
and skinners, and the Boer farmer went haek to fetch 
the ox-waggon, on which the skins and meat were 
brought into camp. Laymen can hardly realize, and I 
certainly did not, what an inmiense amount of work is 
involved in preparing tlie skins of large animals, such 
as buffalo, rhino, hippo, and above all elephant, in hot 
climates. On this first five weeks' trip we got over 
seventy skins, including twenty-two species, ranging in 
size from a dikdik to a rhino, and all of these Heller 
prepared and sent to the Smithsonian. Mearns and 
Loring were just as busy shooting birds and trapping 
small mammals. Often, while Heller would be off for 
a few days with Kermit and myself, Mearns and Loring 
would be camped elsewhere, in a region better suited 
^i for the things they were after. While at Juja Farm 
they went down the Nairobi in a boat to shoot water- 
birds, and saw many more crocodiles and hippo than I 
did. Loring is a remarkably successful trapper of small 
mammals. I do not believe there is a better collector 
anywhere. Dr. Mearns, in addition to birds and 
plants, never let pass the opportunity to collect any- 
thing else, from reptiles and fishes to land shells. More- 
over, he M^as the best shot in our party. He killed 
two great bustards with the rifle, and occasionally shot 
birds like vultures on the wing with a rifle. I do not 
believe that three better men than Mearns, Heller, and 
Loring, could be found anywhere for such an expedition 
as ours. 

Three days passed before we were again successful 
with buffalo. On this occasion we started about eight 
in the morning, having come to the conclusion that 
the herd was more likely to leave the papyrus late 
than early. Our special object was to get a cow. We 

138 A BUFFALO HUiST [ch. m 

intended to take advantage of a small, half-dried water- 
course, an affluent of the Kamiti, which began a mile 
beyond where we had killed our bulls, and for three or 
four miles ran in a course generally parallel to the 
swamp, and at a distance which varied, but averaged 
perhaps a quarter of a mile. When we reached the 
beginning of this watercourse, we left oiu- horses and 
walked along it. Like all such watercourses, it wound 
in curves. The banks were four or five feet high, the 
bottom was sometimes dry and sometimes contained 
reedy pools, while at intervals there were clumps of 
papyrus. Heatley went ahead, and just as we had about 
concluded that the buffalo would not come out, he came 
back to tell us that he had caught a glimpse of several, 
and believed that the main herd was with them. 
Cuninghame, a veteran hunter and first-class shot, than 
whom there could be no better man to have with one 
when after dangerous game, took charge of our further 
movements. We crept up the watercourse until about 
opposite the buffalo, which were now lying down. 
Cuninghame peered cautiously at them, saw there were 
two or three, and then led us on all-fours toward them. 
There were patches where the grass was short, and other 
places where it was three feet high, and after a good 
deal of cautious crawling we had covered half the distance 
toward them, when one of them made us out, and 
several rose from their beds. They were still at least 
two hundred yards off — a long range for hea^y rifles ; 
but any closer approach was impossible, and we fired. 
Both the leading bulls were hit, and at the shots there 
rose from the grass not half a dozen buffalo, but seventy 
or eighty, and started at a gallop parallel to the swamp 
and across our front. In the rear were a number of 
cows and calves, and I at once singled out a cow and 


fired. She plunged forward at the shot and turned 
toward tlie swamp, going slowly and dead lame, for my 
bullet had struck the shoulder and had gone into the 
cavity of the chest. I5ut at this moment our attention 
was distracted from the wounded cow by the conduct 
of the herd, which, headed by the wounded bulls, turned 
in a quarter-circle toward us, and drew up in a phalanx 
facing us with outstretched heads. It was not a nice 
country in which to be charged by the herd, and for a 
moment things trembled in the balance. There was a 
perceptible motion of uneasiness among some of our 
followers. " Stand steady ! Don't run !" I called out. 
" And don't shoot !" called out Cuninghame, for to do 
either would invite a charge. A few seconds passed, 
and then the unwounded mass of the herd resumed 
their flight, and after a little hesitation the wounded 
bulls followed. We now turned our attention to the 
wounded cow, which was close to the papyrus. She 
went down to our shots, but the reeds and marsh-grass 
were above our heads when we drew close to the swamp. 
Once again Heatley went in with his white horse, as 
close as it was even reasonably safe, with the hope 
either of seeing the cow, or of getting her to charge 
him and so give us a fair chance at her. But nothing 
happened, and we loosed the two dogs. They took up 
the trail and went some little distance into the papyrus, 
where we heard them give tongue, and immediately 
afterward there came the angry grunt of the wounded 
buffalo. It had risen and gone ofl thirty yards into the 
papyrus, although mortally wounded — the frothy blood 
from the lungs was actually coming out of my first 
bullet-hole. Its anger now made it foolish, and it 
followed the dogs to the edge of the papyrus. Here 
we caught a glimpse of it. Down it went to our shots. 

140 A BUFFALO HUNT [ch. vi 

and in a minute we heard the moaning bellow which a 
wounded buffalo often gives before dying. Immediately 
afterward we could hear the dogs worrying it, wliile it 
bellowed again. It was still living as I came up, and 
though it evidently could not rise, there was a chance 
of its damaging one of the dogs, so I finished it off 
with a shot from the Winchester. Heller reached it 
that afternoon, and the skin and meat were brought in 
by the porters before nightfall. 

Cuninghame remained with the body while the rest 
of us rode off and killed several different animals we 
wanted. In the afternoon I returned, ha\ ing a vaguely 
uncomfortable feeling that as it grew dusk the buffalo 
might possibly make their appearance again. Sure 
enough, there they were. A number of them were in 
the open plain, although close to the swamp, a mile and 
a half beyond the point where the work of cutting up 
the cow was just being finished, and the porters were 
preparing to start with their loads. It seemed very 
strange that after their experience in the morning any 
of the herd should be willing to come into the open so 
soon. But there they were. They were grazing to the 
number of about a dozen. Looking' at them throucjh tlie 
glass I could see that their attention was attracted to 
us. They gazed at us for some time, and then walked 
slowly in our direction for at least a couple of hundred 
yards. For a moment I was even doubtful whether 
they did not intend to come toward us and charge. 
But it was only curiosity on their part, and after having 
gazed their fill, they sauntered back to the swamp and 
disappeared. There was no chance to get at them, and, 
moreover, darkness was rapidly falling. 

Next morning we broke camp. The porters, strapping 
grown-up children that they were, felt as much pleasure 





( H. vf] at ^m. HEATLEY'S HOI SE 141 

and excitement over breaking camp after a few days' 
rest as over reaching camp after a fifteen-mile march. 
On this occasion, after they liad made up their loads, 
they danced in a ring for half an liour, two tin cans 
being beaten as tomtoms. Then off they strode in 
a long line with their burdens, following one another in 
Indian file, each greeting me with a smile and a deep 
'' Vanibo, Bwana !" as he passed. I had grown attached 
to them, and of course especially to my tent-boys, gun- 
bearers, and saises, who quite touched me by their 
evident pleasiu'c in coming to see me and greet me 
if I happened to be away from them for two or tln'ee 

Kermit and I i-ode off with Heatley to pass the niglit 
at his house. This was at the other end of his farm, in 
a totally different kind of country — a country of wooded 
hills, with glades and dells and long green grass in the 
valleys. It did not in the least resemble what one 
would naturally expect in Equatorial Africa. On the 
contrary, it reminded me of the beautiful rolling wooded 
country of Middle Wisconsin. But of course every- 
thing was really different. There were monkeys and 
leopards in the forests, and we saw whydah birds of a 
new kind, with red on the head and throat, and 
brilliantly coloiu'cd woodpeckers, and black-and-gold 
weaver-birds. Indeed, the wealth of bird-life was such 
that it cannot Ije described. Here, too, there were 
many birds with nuisical voices, to wliich we listened 
in the early morning. The best timber was yielded by 
the tall mahogo-tree, a kind of sandalwood. This was 
the tree selected by the wild-fig for its deadly embrace. 
The wild-fig begins as a huge parasitic \ine, and ends 
as one of the largest and most stately, and also one of 
the greenest and most shady, trees in this part of Africa. 

142 A BUFFAT.O HUNT [ch. vi 

It grows up the mahogo as a vine, and gradually, by 
branching, and by the spreading of the branches, com- 
pletely envelops the trunk, and also grows along each 
limb, and sends out great limbs of its own. Every 
stage can be seen, from that in which the big vine has 
begun to grow up along the still flourishing mahogo, 
through that in which the tree looks like a curious 
composite, the limbs and thick foliage of the fig branch- 
ing out among the limbs and scanty foliage of the still 
living mahogo, to the stage in which the mahogo is 
simply a dead skeleton seen here and there through the 
trunk or the foliage of the fig. Finally nothing remains 
but the fig, which grows to be a huge tree. 

Heatley's house was charming, with its vine-shaded 
veranda, its summer-house and out-buildings, and the 
great trees clustered round about. He was fond of 
sport in the right way — that is, he treated it as sport 
and not business, and did not allow it to interfere with 
his prime work of being a successful farmer. He had 
big stock-yards for his cattle and swine, and he was 
growing all kinds of things of both the temperate and 
the tropic zones — wheat and apples, coffee and sugar- 
cane. The bread we ate and the coffee we drank were 
made from what he had grown on his own farm. 
There were roses in the garden and great bushes of 
heliotrope by the veranda, and the drive to his place 
was bordered by trees from Australia and beds of native 

Next day we went into Nairobi, where we spent a 
most busy week, especially the three naturalists ; for 
the task of getting into shape for shipment, and then 
shipping, the many hundreds of specimens — indeed, all 
told, there were thousands of specimens — was of Hercu- 
lean proportions. Governor Jackson — a devoted orni- 


thologist and probably the best living authority on East 
African birds, taking into account the standpoints of 
both the closet naturalist and the field naturalist — spent 
hours with Mearns, helping him to identify and arrange 
the species. 

Nairobi is a very attractive town and most interest- 
ing, with its large native quarter and its Indian colony. 
One of the streets consists of little except Indian shops 
and bazaars. Outside the business portion, the town is 
spread over much territory, the houses standing iso- 
lated, each by itself, and each usually bowered in trees, 
with vines shading the verandas and pretty fiower- 
gardens round about. Not only do I firmly believe in 
the future of East Africa for settlement as a white 
man's country, but I feel that it is an ideal playground 
alike for sportsmen and for travellers who wish to live 
in health and comfort, and yet to see what is beautiful 
and unusual. 



On June 5 we started south from Kijabe to trek 
through " the thirst," through the waterless country 
which lies across the way to the Sotik. 

The preceding Sunday at Nairobi I had visited 
the excellent French Catholic Mission, had been most 
courteously received by the fathers, had gone over their 
plantations and the school in which they taught the 
children of the settlers (much to my surprise, among 
them were three Parsee children, who were evidently 
put on a totally different plane from the other Indians, 
even the Goanese), and had been keenly interested in 
their account of their work and of the obstacles with 
which they met. 

At Kijabe I spent several exceedingly interesting- 
hours at the American Industrial Mission. Its head, 
Mr. Hurlburt, had called on me in Washington at the 
White House in the preceding October, and I had then 
made up my mind that if the chance occurred I must 
certainly visit his mission. It is an interdenominational 
mission, and is carried on in a spirit which combines to 
a marked degree broad sanity and common sense with 
disinterested fervour. Of course, such work, under the 
conditions which necessarily obtain in East Africa, can 
only show gradual progress ; but I am sure that mis- 


CH. vii] KIJABE 145 

sionary work of the Kijahe kind will be an indispensable 
factor in the slow uplifting of the natives. There is full 
recognition of the fact that industrial training is a 
foundation stone in the effort to raise ethical and moral 
standards. Industrial teaching must go hand in hand 
with moral teaching — and in both the mere force of 
example and the influence of firm, kindly sympathy and 
understanding count inmieasurably. There is further 
recognition of the fact that in such a country the 
missionary should either already know how to, or else 
at once learn how to, take the lead himself in all kinds 
of industrial and mechanical work. Finally the effort 
is made consistently to teach the native how to live a 
more comfortable, useful, and physically and morally 
cleanly life, not under white conditions, but under the 
conditions which he will actualls' have to face when he 
goes back to his people, to live among them, and, if 
things go well, to be in his turn a conscious or uncon- 
scious missionary for good. 

At lunch, in addition to the missionaries and their 
wives and children, there were half a dozen of the 
neighbouring settlers, with their families. It is always 
a good thing to see the missionary and the settler 
working shoulder to shoulder. iMany parts of East 
Africa can, and I believe will, be made into a white 
man's country ; and the process will be helped, not 
hindered, by treating the black man well. At Kijabe, 
nearly under the Equator, the beautiful scenery was 
almost northern in type ; at night we needed blazing 
camp-fires, and the days were as cool as September on 
Long Island or by the southern shores of the Great 
Lakes. It is a very healthy region ; the children of 
j the missionaries and settlers, of all ages, were bright 
and strong; those of Mr. and Mrs. Hurlburt had not 


146 TREKKING [ch. vii 

been out of tlie country for eight years, and showed no 
ill effects whatever ; on the contrary, I quite believed 
Mr. Hurlburt when she said that she regarded the 
fertile wooded hills of Kijabe, with their forests and 
clear brooks, as forming a true health resort. 

The northern look of the place was enhanced by the 
fact that the forests contained junipers ; but they also 
contained monkeys, a small green monkey, andHhe big 
guereza, with its long silky hair and bold black-and- 
white colouring. Kermit, Heller, and Loring shot 
several. There were rhinoceros and buffalo in the 
neighbourhood. A few days previously some buffalo 
had charged, unprovoked, a couple of the native boys of 
the mission, who had escaped only by their agility in 
tree-climbing. On one of his trips to an outlying 
mission station, Mr. Hurlburt had himself narrowly 
escaped a serious accident. Quite wantonly, a cow 
rhino, with a calf, charged the safari almost before they 
knew of its presence. It attacked Hurlburt's mule, 
which fortunately he was not riding, and tossed and 
killed it ; it passed through the line, and then turned 
and again charged it, this time attacking one of the 
porters. The porter dodged behind a tree, and the 
rhino hit the tree, knocked off a huge flake of bark and 
wood, and galloped away. 

The trek across " the thirst," as any waterless country 
is frequently called by an Africander, is about sixty 
miles by the road. On our horses we could have ridden 
it in a night ; but on a serious trip of any kind loads 
nmst be carried, and laden porters cannot go fast, and 
must rest at intervals. AVe had rather more than our 
porters could carry, and needed additional transportation 
for the water for the safari ; and we had hired four ox- 
waggons. They were under the lead of a fine young 


Colonial EMglishnian named Ulyate, whose great- 
grandfather had come to South Airica in 1820, as part 
of the most important English emigration tliat-ever 
went thither. His father and sisters had lunched with 
us at the missionaries' the day before ; his wife's baby 
was too young for her to come. It was the best kind 
of pioneer family ; all the members, with some of their 
fellow colonials, had spent much of the preceding three 
years in adventurous exploration of the country in their 
ox-waggons, the wives and daughters as valiant as the 
men ; one of the two daughters I met had driven one 
of the ox-waggons on the hardest and most dangerous 
trip they made, while her younger sister led the oxen. 
It was on this trip that they had pioneered the way 
across the waterless route 1 was to take. For those 
who, like ourselves, followed the path they had thus 
blazed, there was no danger to the men, and merely dis- 
comfort to the oxen ; but the first trip was a real feat, 
for no one could tell what lay ahead, or what exact 
route would be practicable. The family had now settled 
on a big farm, but also carried on the business of 
" transport riding," as freighting with waggons is called 
in Africa ; and they did it admirably. 

>Vith Ulyate were three other white waggon-drivers, 
all colonials ; two of them English, the third Dutch, or 
Boer. There was also a Cape boy, a Kaffir waggon- 
driver, utterly different from any of the East African 
natives, and dressed in ordinary clothes. In addition, 
there were various natives — primitive savages in dress 
and habit, but coming from the cattle-owning tribes. 
iEach ox-team was guided by one of these savages, 
I who led the first yoke by a leathern thong ; while the 
1 waggon-driver, with his long whip, stalked to and fro 
\ beside the line of oxen, or rode in the waggon. The 

148 TREKKING [ch. vii 

huge waggons, with their white tops or " sails," were 
larger than those our own settlers and freighters used. 
Except one small one, to which there were but eight 
oxen, each was drawn by a span of seven or eight yoke ; 
they were all native humped cattle. 

We had one lumdred and ninety-six porters, in addition 
to the askaris, tent-boys, gun-bearers, and saises. The 
management of such a saftu-i is a work of difficulty ; but 
no better man for the purpose than Cuninghame could 
be found anywhere, and he had chosen his headmen 
well. In the thirst the march goes on by day and night. 
The longest halt is made in the day, for men and 
animals both travel better at night than under the 
blazing noon. We were fortunate in that it was just 
after the full of the moon, so that our night treks were 
made in good light. Of course, on such a march the 
porters must be spared as much as possible ; camp is 
not pitched, and each white man uses for the trip only 
what he wears or carries on his horse — and the horse 
also must be loaded as lightly as possible. I took 
nothing but my army overcoat, rifle and cartridges, and 
three canteens of water. Kermit did the same. 

The waggons broke camp about ten, to trek to the 
water, a mile and a half off, where tlie oxen would be 
outspanned to take the last drink for three days ; stock 
will not drink early in the morning nearly as freely as if 
the march is begun later. We, riding our horses, fol- 
lowed by the long line of burdened porters, left at 
half-past twelve, and in a couple of hours overtook the 
waggons. The porters were in high spirits. In the 
morning, before the start, they twice held regular 
dances, the chief musician being one of tlieir own 
number who carried an extraordinary kind of native 
harp ; and after their loads were allotted they marched 


out of camp, singing and blowing their horns and 
whistles. Three askaris brought up the rear to look 
after laggards, and see that no weak or sick man fell out 
without our knowing or being able to give him help. 

The trail led first through open brush, or low dry 
forest, and then out on the vast plains, where the 
withered grass was dotted here and there with low, 
scantily-leaved thorn-trees, from three to eight feet high. 
Hour after hour we drew slowly ahead under the 
shimmering sunlight. The horsemen walked first, with 
the gun-bearers, saises, and usually a few very energetic 
and powerful porters ; then came the safari in single 
file ; and then the lumbering white-topped waggons, 
the patient oxen walking easily, each team led by a half- 
naked savage with frizzed hair and a spear or throwing- 
stick in his hand, while at intervals the long whips of 
the drivers cracked like rifles. The dust rose in clouds 
from the dry earth, and soon covered all of us ; in the 
distance herds of zebra and hartebeest gazed at us as we 
passed, and we saw the old spoor of rhino, beasts we 
hoped to avoid, as they often charge such a caravan. 

Slowly the shadows lengthened, the light waned, the 
glare of the white, dusty plain was softened, and the 
bold outlines of the distant mountains grew dim. Just 
before nightfall we halted on the further side of a dry 
watercourse. The safari came up singing and whistling, 
and the men put down their loads, lit fires, and with 
chatter and laughter prepared their food. The crossing 
was not good, the sides of the watercourse being steep, 
and each waggon was brought through by a double 
span, the whips cracking lustily as an accompaniment 
to the shouts of the drivers, as the thirty oxen threw 
their weight into the yokes by which they were 
attached to the long trek tow. The horses were fed. 

150 TREKKING [ch. vii 

We had tea, with bread and cold meat — and a most 
dehcious meal it was — and then lay dozing or talking 
beside the bush-fires. At half-past eight, the moon 
having risen, we were off again. The safiiri was still 
in high spirits, and started with the usual chanting and 

We pushed steadily onward across the plain, the dust 
rising in clouds under the spectral moonlight. Some- 
times we rode, sometimes we walked to ease our horses. 
The Southern Cross was directly ahead, not far above 
the horizon. Higher and higher rose the moon, and 
brighter grew the flood of her light. At intervals the 
barking call of zebras was heard on either hand. It was 
after midnight when we again halted. The porters were 
tired, and did not sing as they came up ; the air was 
cool, almost nipping, and they at once huddled down in 
their blankets, some of them building fires. We, the 
white men, after seeing our horses staked out, each lay 
down in his overcoat or jacket and slicker, with his head 
on his saddle, and his rifle beside liim, and had a little 
over two hours' sleep. At three we were off again, the 
shivering porters making no sound as they started ; but 
once under way, the more irrepressible spirits speedily 
began a kind of intermittent chant, and most of the rest 
by degrees joined in the occasional grunt or hum that 
served as chorus. 

For four hours we travelled steadily, flrst through 
the moonlight, and then through the reddening dawn. 
Jackals shrieked, and the plains plover wailed and 
scolded as they circled round us. When the sun was 
well up, we halted ; the desolate flats stretched far and 
wide on every side and rose into lofty hills ahead of us. 
The porters received their water and food, and lay down 
to sleep, some directly in the open, others rigging little 


sun shelters under the scattering thorn-bushes. The 
horses were fed, were given half a pail of water apiece, 
and were turned loose to graze with the oxen ; this was 
the last time the oxen would feed freely, unless there 
was rain ; and this was to be our longest halt. We had 
an excellent breakfast, like oin* supper the night before, 
and then slept as well as we could. 

Noon came, and soon afterward we again started. 
The country grew hilly and brushy. It was too dry 
for much game, but we saw a small herd of giraffe, 
which are independent of water. Now riding our 
horses, now leading them, we travelled until nearly 
sunset, when we halted at the foot of a steep divide, 
beyond which our course lay across slopes that gradually 
fell to the stream for which we were heading. Here 
the porters had all the food and water they wished, and 
so did the horses ; and, each with a double span of oxen, 
the waggons were dri\en up the slope, the weary cattle 
straining hard in the yokes. 

Black clouds had risen and thickened in the west, 
boding rain. Three-fourths of our journey wjis over, 
and it was safe to start the safari and then leave it to 
come on by itself, while the ox-waggons followed later. 
At nine, before the moon struggled above the hill-crests 
to our left, we were off. Soon we passed the waggons, 
j drawn up abreast, a lantern high on a pole, while the 
j tired oxen lay in their yokes, attached to the trek tow. 
1 An hour afterward we left the safari behind, and rode 
ahead, with only our saises and gun-bearers. Gusts of 
* rain blew in our faces, and gradually settled into a 
, steady, gentle downpour. Our horses began to slip in 
j the greasy soil ; we knew the rain would refresh the 
cattle, but would make the going harder. 

At one we halted, in the rain, for a couple of hours' 

152 TREKKING [ch. vii 

rest. Just before this we heard two Hons roaring, or 
rather grunting, not far in front of us ; they were after 
prey. Lions are bold on rainy nights, and we did not 
wish to lose any of our horses ; so a watch was organized, 
and we kept ready for immediate action, but the lions 
did not come. The native boys built fires, and lay close 
to them, relieving one another, and us, as sentinels. 
Kermit and I had our army overcoats, which are warm 
and practically waterproof ; the others had coats almost 
as good. We lay down in the rain, on the drenched 
grass, with our saddle-cloths over our feet, and our 
heads on our saddles, and slept comfortably for two 

At three we mounted and were off again, the rain 
still falling. There were steep ravines to cross, slippery 
from the wet ; but we made good time, and soon after 
six off-saddled on the farther side of a steep drift or ford 
in the little Suavi River. It is a rapid stream flowing 
between high, well-wooded banks ; it was an attractive 
camp site, and, as we afterward found, the nights were 
so cool as to make great camp-flres welcome. At half- 
past ten the safari appeared, in excellent spirits, the flag- 
waving, to an accompaniment of chanting and horn- 
blowing ; and, to their loudly expressed satisfaction, the 
porters were told that they should have an extra day's 
rations, as well as a day's rest. Camp was soon pitched, 
and all, of every rank, slept soundly that night, though 
the lions moaned near by. The waggons did not get 
in until ten the following morning. By that time the 
oxen had been nearly three days without water, so, by 
dawn, they were unyoked and driven down to drink 
before the drift was attempted, tlie waggons being left 
a mile or two back. The approaches to the drift were 
steep and difficult, and, with two spans to each, the 


waggons swayed and plunged over the twisted boulder- 
choked trails down into the river-bed, crossed it, and, 
with lurching and straining, men shouting and whips 
cracking, drew slowly up the opposite bank. 

iVfter a day's rest, we pushed on in two days' easy 

travelling to the Guaso Nyero of the south. Our camps 

were pleasant, by running streams of swift water ; one 

was really beautiful, in a grassy bend of a rapid little 

river, by huge African yew-trees, with wooded cliffs in 

I front. It was cool, rainy weather, with overcast skies 

and misty mornings, so that it seemed strangely unlike 

' the tropics. The country was alive with herds of Masai 

cattle, sheep, and donkeys. The Masai, herdsmen by 

' profession and warriors by preference, w^ith their gi-eat 

I spears and ox-hide shields, were stalwart savages, and 

( showed the mixture of types common to this part of 

j Africa, which is the edge of an ethnic whirlpool. Some 

I of them were of seemingly pure negro type ; others, 

I except in their black skin, had little negro about them, 

* their features being as clear-cut as those of ebony Nilotic 

j Arabs. They were dignified, but friendly and civil, 

I shaking hands as soon as they came up to us. 

On the Guaso Nyero was a settler from South Africa, 
1 wdth his family ; and we met another settler travelling 
I with a big fiock of sheep, which he had bought for trading 
1 purposes. The latter, while journeying over our route 
j with cattle, a month before, had been attacked by lions one 
night. They seized his cook as he lay by the fire, but 
fortunately grabbed his red blanket, which they carried 
^ off, and the terrified man escaped ; and they killed a 
< cow and a calf. Ulyate's brother-in-law. Smith, had 
I been rendered a hopeless cripple for life, six months 
I previously, by a lioness he had wounded. Another 
\ settler, while at one of our camping-places, lost two of 

154 TREKKING [ch. vii 

his horses, which were killed, although within a boma. 
One night lions came within threatening proximity of 
our ox-waggons ; and we often heard them moaning in 
the early part of the night, roaring when full fed toward 
morning ; but we were not molested. 

The safari was in high feather, for the days were cool, 
the work easy, and we shot enough game to give them 
meat. When we broke camp after breakfast, the porters 
would all stand ranged by their loads ; then Tarlton 
would whistle, and a chorus of whistles, horns, and tom- 
toms would answer, as each porter lifted and adjusted 
his burden, fell into his place, and then joined in some 
shrill or guttural chorus as the long line swung oif at 
its marching pace. After nightfall the camp-fires 
blazed in the cool air, and as we stood or sat around 
them each man had tales to tell — Cuninghame and 
Tarlton of elephant-hunting in the Congo, and of 
perilous adventures hunting lion and buffalo ; Mearns 
of long hikes and fierce fighting in the steaming Philip- 
pine forests ; Loring and Heller of hunting and collect- 
ing in Alaska, in the Rockies, and among the deserts of 
the Mexican border ; and always our talk came back to 
strange experiences with birds and beasts, both great 
and small, and to the ways of the great game. The 
three naturalists revelled in the teeming bird life, with 
its wealth of beauty and colour ; nor was the beauty 
only of colour and shape, for at dawn the bird songs 
made real music. The naturalists trapped many small 
mammals : big-eared mice looking like our white-footed 
mice, mice with spiny fur, mice that lived in trees, rats 
striped like our chipmunks, rats that jumped like 
jerboas, big cane-rats, dormice, and tiny shrews. Meer- 
cats, things akin to a small mongoose, lived out in the 
open plains, burrowing in companies like prairie-dogs, 

VVaxbills and one weaver-bird drinking Young dikdik 

A courser Tame serval kitten 

An elephant shrew A banded mongoose 

Aspringhaas Colobus monkey 


very spry and active, and looking like picket pins when 
they stood up on end to survey us. T killed a nine-foot 
python which had swallowed a rabbit. Game was not 
plentiful, but we killed enough for the table. I shot a 
wildebeest bull one day, having edged up to it on foot, 
after missing it standing ; I broke it down with a bullet 
through the hips as it galloped across my front at three 
hundred yards. Kermit killed our first topi, a bull — a 
beautiful animal, the size of a hartebeest, its glossy coat 
with a satin sheen, varying from brown to silver and 

By the Guaso Nyero we halted for several days, and 
we arranged to leave Mearns and Loring in a permanent 
camp, so that they might seriously study and collect the 
I birds and small mammals while the rest of us pushed 
I where\'er we wished after the big game. The tents 
were pitched, and the ox-waggons drawn up on the 
I southern side of the muddy river, by the edge of a wide 
j plain, on which we could see the game grazing as we 
I walked around camp. The alluvial flats bordering the 
! river and some of tlie higher plains were covered with 
I an open forest growth, the most common tree looking 
exactly hke a giant sagc-biiish, thirty feet high ; and 
there were tall aloes and cactus and flat-topped mimosa. 
We found a wee hedgehog, with much white about it. 
He would cuddle up in my hand, snuffing busily with 
his funny little nose. We did not have the heart to 
turn the tame, friendly little fellow over to the natural- 
ists, and so we let him go. Birds aboimded. One kind 
of cuckoo called like a whip-poor-will in the early morn- 
I ing and late evening, and after nightfall. Among our 
I friendly ^•isitors were the pretty, rather strikingly 
I coloured little chats — Livingstone's wheatear — which 
showed real curiosity in coming into camp. They were 

156 TREKKING [ch. vii 

nesting in burrows on the open plains round about. 
Mearns got a white egg and a nest at the end of a Httle 
burrow two feet long ; wounded, the birds ran into 
holes or burrows. They sang attractively on the wing, 
often at night. The plover-like coursers — very pretty 
birds — continually circled round us with querulous 
clamour. Gorgeously coloured, diminutive sunbirds, of 
many different kinds, were abundant ; they had an 
especial fondness for the gaudy flowers of the tall mint 
which grew close to the river. We got a small cobra, 
less than eighteen inches long ; it had swallowed another 
snake almost as big as itself ; unfortunately the head of 
the swallowed snake was digested, but the body looked 
like that of a young puff-adder. 

The day after reaching this camp 1 rode off for a 
hunt, accompanied by my two gun-bearers and with a 
dozen porters following, to handle whatever 1 killed. 
One of my original gun-bearers, Mahomet, though a 
good man in the field, had proved in other respects so 
unsatisfactory that he had been replaced by another, a 
Wakamba heathen named Gouvimali. I could not 
remember his name until, as a mnemonic aid, Kermit 
suggested that 1 think of Gouverneur Morris, the old 
Federalist statesman, whose life 1 had once studied. 
He was a capital man for the work. 

Half a mile from camp I saw a buck tommy with a 
good head, and as we needed his delicious venison for 
our own table, I dismounted, and after a little care 
killed him, as he faced me at two hundred and ten 
yards. Sending him back by one of the porters, I rode 
on toward two topi we saw far in front. But there 
were zebra, hartebeest, and wildebeest in between, all 
of which ran ; and the topi proved wary. I was still 
walking after them when we made out two eland bulls 


ahead and to our left. The ^^rouiid was too open to 
admit of tlie possibility of a stalk ; but, Icavino- my 
horse and the porters to follow slowly, the gun-bearers 
and I walked quartering toward them. They liesitated 
about going, and when I had come as close as I dared, 
I motioned to the two gun-bearers to continue walking, 
and dropped on one knee. I had the little Spring-field, 
and was anxious to test the new sharp-pointed military 
bullet on some large animal. The biggest bull was half 
facing me, just two hundred and eighty yards off. I 
fired a little bit high and a trifle to the left ; but the 
tiny ball broke his back, and the splendid beast, heavy 
as a prize steer, came plungmg and struggling to the 
gi'ound. The other bull started to run off, but after I 
had walked a hundred yards forward, he actually trotted 
back toward his companion, then halted, turned, and 
galloped across my front at a distance of a himdred and 
eighty yards ; and him, too, I brought down with a 
single shot. The little full-jacketed, sharp-pointed bullet 
made a terrific rending compared with the licaAier, 
! ordinary-shaped l^uUet of the same composition. 
I I was much pleased with my two prizes, for the 
' National Museum particidarly desired a good group 
I of eland. They were splendid animals, like beautiful 
' heavy cattle, and I could not sufficiently admire their 
, sleek, handsome, striped coats, their sliapely heads, fine 
I horns, and massive bodies. The big bull, an old one, 
I looked blue at a distance. He was very heavy, and his 
' dewlap hung down just as with cattle. His companion, 
I although much less heavy, was a full-grown bull in his 
'> prime, with longer horns, for the big one's horns had 
I begun to wear down at the tips. In their stomachs 
I were grass blades, and, rather to my surprise, aloe- 

158 TREKKING [ch. vti 

We had two canvas cloths with us, which Heller had 
instructed me to put over anything I shot, in order to 
protect it from the sun ; so, covering both bulls, I 
left a porter with them, and sent in another to notify 
Heller, who came out with an ox-waggon to bring in 
the skins and meat. I had killed these two eland bulls, | 
as well as the buck gazelle (bringing down each with a 
single bullet) within three-quarters of an hour after i 
leaving camp. 

I wanted a topi, and continued the hunt. The 
country swarmed with the herds and flocks of the 
Masai, who own a wealth of live stock. Each herd of 
cattle and donkeys or flock of sheep was guarded by 
its herdsmen — bands of stalwart, picturesque warriors, 
with their huge spears and ox-hide shields, occasionally 
strolled by us ; and we passed many bomas, the kraals 
where the stock is gathered at night, with the mud huts 
of the owners ringing them. Yet there was much game 
in the country also, chiefly zebra and hartebeest ; the 
latter, according to tlieir custom, continually jumping 
up on ant-hills to get a clearer view of me, and some- 
times standing on them motionless for a considerable 
time, as sentries to scan the country around. 

At last we spied a herd of topi, distinguishable from 
the hartebeest at a very long distance by their dark 
colouring, the purples and browns giving the coat a 
heavy shading, which when far off, in cef^^ain lights, 
looks almost black. Topi, hartebeest, and wildebeest 
belong to the same group, and are specialized, and their 
peculiar physical and mental traits developed, in the 
order named. The wildebeest is the least normal and 
most grotesque and odd-looking of the three, and his 
idiosyncrasies of temper are also the most marked. The 
hartebeest comes next, with his very high withers, long 


face, and queerly shaped horns ; while tlie topi, althou^li 
with a general hartebeest look, has the features of shape 
and horn less pronounced, and bears a greater resem- 
blance to his more ordinary kinsfolk. In the same way, 
though it will now and tlien buck and plunge when it 
begins to run after being startled, its demeanour is less 
pronounced in this respect. The topi's power of leap- 
ing is great. I have seen one, when frightened, bound 
clear over a companion, and immediately afterward over 
a higli anthill. 

The herd of topi we saw was more shy than the 
neighbouring zebra and hartebeest. There was no 
cover, and I spent an hour trying to walk up to them 
by manoeuvring in one way and another. They did not 
run clear away, but kept standing and letting me 
approach to distances varying from four hundred and 
fifty to six hundred yards, tempting me to shoot, while, 
nevertheless, I coidd not estimate the range accurately, 
and was not certain whether I was over or under- 
shooting. So I fired more times than I care to mention 
before I finally got my topi — at just five hundred and 
twenty yards. It was a handsome cow, weighing two 
hundred and sixty pounds, for topi are somewhat 
smaller than kongoni. The beauty of its coat, in 
texture and colouring, struck me afresh as I looked at 
the sleek creature stretched out on the grass. Like the 
eland, it M-as free from ticks, for the hideous pests do 
not frequent this part of the country in any great 

I reached camp early in the afternoon, and sat down 
at the mouth of my tent to enjoy myself. It was on 
such occasions that the " pigskin library " proved itself 
indeed a blessing. In addition to the original books 
we had picked up one or two old favourites on the 

160 TREKKING [ch. vii 

way : " Alice's Adventures," for instance, and Fitz- 
gerald — I say Fitzgerald, because reading other versions 
of Omar Khayyam always leaves me with the feeling 
that Fitzgerald is the major partner in the book we 
really like. Then there was a book I had not read, 
Dumas 's " Louves de Machecoul." This was presented 
to me at Port Said by M. Jusserand, the brother of 
an old and valued friend, the French ambassador 
at Washington — the vice-president of the " Tennis 
Cabinet." We had been speaking of Balzac, and I 
mentioned regretfully that I did not at heart care for 
his longer novels, excepting the " Chouans," and, as 
John Hay once told me, that in the eye of all true 
Balzacians, to like the " Chouans " merely aggravates 
the offence of not liking the novels which they deem 
really great. M. Jusserand thereupon asked me if I knew 
Dumas's Vendean novel. Being a fairly good Dumas 
man, I was rather ashamed to admit that 1 did not ; 
whereupon he sent it to me, and I enjoyed it to the full. 
The next day was Kermit's red-letter day. We were 
each out until after dark. I merely got some of the 
ordinary game, taking the skins for the naturalists, the 
flesh for our following ; he killed two cheetalis, and 
a fine maned lion, finer than any previously killed. 
There were three cheetahs together. Kermit, who was 
with Tarlton, galloped the big male, and, although it 
had a mile's start, ran into it in three miles," and shot it 
as it lay under a bush. He afterwards shot another, a 
female, who was lying on a stone kopje. Neither made 
any attempt to charge. The male had been eating a 
tommy. The lion was with a lioness, which wheeled to 
one side as the horsemen galloped after her maned mate. 
He turned to bay after a run of less than a mile, and 
started to charge from a distance of two hundred yards ; 


hut Kerniit's first hullets mortally wounded him and 
crippled him so that he could not come at any pace, 
and was easily stopped het'ore covering half the distance. 
Although nearly a foot longer than the biggest of the 
lions I had already killed, he was so gaunt — whereas 
they were very fat — that he weighed but little more, 
only four hundred and twelve pounds. 

The following day I was out by myself, after impalla 
and Roberts' gazelle ; and the day after I went out with 
Tarlton to try for lion. \Ve were away from camp for 
over fifteen hours. Each was followed by his sais and 
gun -bearers, and we took a do/en porters also. The 
day may be worth describing, as a sample of the days 
when we did not start before dawn for a morning's 
I We left camp at seven, steering for a high, rocky hill, 
four miles off'. We passed zebra and hartebeest, and on 
the hill came upon Chanler's reedbuck ; but we wanted 
none of these. Continually Tarlton stopped to examine 
some distant object with his glasses, and from the hill 
we scanned the country far and wide ; but we saw 
nothing we desired, and continued on our course. The 
day was windy and cool, and the sky often overcast. 
Slowly we walked across the stretches of brown gi'ass- 
land, sometimes treeless, sometimes scantily covered 
with an open growth of thorn-trees, each branch armed 
with long spikes, needle-sharp ; and among the thorns 
here and there stood the huge cactus-like euphorbias, 
shaped like candelabra, groups of tall aloes, and gnarled 
wild olives of great age, with hoary trunks and twisted 
> branches. Xow and then there would be a dry water- 
I course, with fiat-topped acacias bordering it, and perhaps 
I some one pool of thick greenish water. There was game 
\ always in view, and about noon we sighted three rhinos 

^ n 

162 TREKKING [ch. mi 

—a bull, a cow, and a big calf —nearly a mile ahead of 
us. We were travelling down wind, and they scented 
us, but did not charge, making ofF in a semicircle, and 
halting when abreast of us. We examined them care- 
fully through the glasses. The cow was bigger than the 
bull, and had fair horns, but nothing extraordinary; 
and as we were twelve miles from camp, so that Heller 
would have had to come out for the night if we shot 
her, we decided to leave her alone. Then our attention 
was attracted by seeing the game all gazing in one 
direction, and we made out a hyena. I got a shot at it, 
at three hundred yards, but missed. Soon afterward we 
saw another rhino, but on approacliing it proved to be 
about two-thirds grown, with a stuliby horn. We did 
not wish to shoot it, and therefore desired to avoid 
a charge ; and so we passed three or four hundred yards 
to leeward, trusting to its bad eyesight. Just opposite 
it, when it was on our right, we saw another hyena on 
our left, about as far off as the rhino. I decided to 
take a shot, and run the chance of disturbing the rhino. 
So I knelt down and aimed with the little Springfield, 
keeping the Holland by me to be ready for events. 
I never left camp, on foot or on horseback, for any dis- 
tance, no matter how short, without carrying one of the 
repeating-rifles ; and when on a hunt my two gun- 
bearers carried, one the other magazine rifle, and one 
the double-barrelled Holland. 

Tarlton, whose eye for distance was good, told me 
the hyena was over three hundred yards ofF ; it was 
walking slowly to the left. I put up the three-hundred- I 
yard sight, and drew a rather coarse bead ; and down 
went the hyena with its throat cut. The little sharp- 
pointed, full-jacketed bullet makes a slashing wound. 
The distance was just three hundred and fifty long 


paces. As soon as I had pulled trigger I wheeled to 
wateh the rhino. It started round at the shot and 
gazed toward us with its ears cocked forward, but made 
no mo\'ement to adxanee. \\nnle a couple of porters 
were dressing the hyena, 1 could not help laughing at 
finding that we were the centre of a thoroughly African 
circle of deeply interested spectators. We were in the 
middle of a vast plain, covered with sun-scorched grass, 
and here and there a stunted thorn ; in the background 
were isolated barren hills, and the mirage wavered in 
the distance. \'ultures wheeled overhead. The rhino, 
less than half a mile away, stared steadily at us. Wilde- 
beest—their heavy forequarters and the carriage of 
their heads making them look like bison— and harte- 
beest were somewhat nearer, in a ring all round us, 
intent upon our proceedings. Four topi became so 
much interested that they approached within two 
hundred and fifty yards and stood motionless. A buck 
tommy came even closer, and a zebra trotted by at 
about the same distance, uttering its queer bark or 
neigh. It continued its course past the rhino, and 
started a new train of ideas in the latter's muddled 
reptilian brain ; round it wheeled, gazed after the zebra, 
and then evidently concluded that everything was 
normal, for it lay down to sleep. 

On we went, past a wildebeest herd lying down ; at 
a distance they looked exactly like bison as they used to 
I lie out on the prairie in the old days. We halted for 
an hour and a half to rest the men and horses, and took 
our lunch under a thick-trunked olive-tree that must 
, have been a couple of centuries old. Again we went 
I on, ever scanning through the glasses every distant 
j object which we thought might possibly be a lion, and 
^ ever being disappointed. A serval-cat jumped up 

164 TREKKING [c h. mi 

ahead of us in the tall grass, but I missed it. Then, 
trotting on foot, I got ahead of two wart-hog boars, and 
killed the biggest ; making a bad initial miss and then 
emptying my magazine at it as it ran. We sent it in to 
camp, and went on, following a donga, or small water- 
course, fringed with big acacias. The afternoon was 
wearing away, and it was time for lions to be abroad. 

The sun was near the horizon when Tarlton thought 
he saw^ something tawny in the watercourse ahead of 
us, behind a grassy ant-hill, toward which we walked 
after dismounting. Some buck were grazing peacefully 
beyond it, and for a moment we supposed that this was 
what he had seen. But as we stood, one of the porters 
behind called out " Simba !" and we caught a glimpse of 
a big lioness galloping down beside the trees, just 
beyond the donga ; she was out of sight in an instant. 
Mounting our horses, we crossed the donga ; she was 
not to be seen, and we loped at a smart pace parallel 
with the line of trees, hoping to see her in the open. 
But, as it turned out, as soon as she saw us pass, she 
crouched in the bed of the donga. We had gone by her 
a quarter of a mile when a shout from one of our 
followers announced that he had seen her, and back we 
galloped, threw ourselves from our horses, and walked 
toward where the man was pointing. Tarlton took his 
big double-barrel and advised me to take mine, as the 
sun had just set and it was likely to be close work ; but 
I shook my head, for the Winchester -405 is, at least 
for me personally, the " medicine gun " for lions. In 
another moment up she jumped, and galloped slowly 
down the other side of the donga, switching her tail 
and growling. 1 scrambled across the donga, and just 
before she went round a clump of trees, eighty yards 
ofl", 1 tired. The bullet hit her fair, and going forward. 

CH. vii] A MASAI KRAAL 165 

injured her spine. Over she rolled, growling savagely, 
and dragged herself into the watercourse ; and running 
forward, I finislied her with two bullets behind the 
shoulder. She was a big, fat lioness, very old, with 
two cubs inside her ; her lower canines were much 
worn and injured. She was very heavy, and probably 
weighed considera})ly over three hundred pounds. 

The light was growing dim, and the camp was eight 
or ten miles away. The porters— they are always much 
excited over the death of a lion — wished to carry the 
body whole to camp, and I let them try. While they 
were lashing it to a pole another lion began to moan 
hungrily half a mile away. Then we started ; there 
was no moon, but the night was clear, and we could 
iguide ourselves by the stars. The porters staggered 
! under their heavy load, and we made slow progress ; 
most of the time 'I'arlton and I walked, with our 
double-barrels in our hands, for it was a dangerous 
ineiglibourhood. Again and again we heard lions, and 
itwice one accompanied us for some distance, grunting 
occasionally, while we kept the men closed. Once the 
porters were thrown into a panic by a succession of 
steam-engine-like snorts on our left, which announced 
ithe immediate proximity of a rhino. They halted in a 
huddle while Tarlton and I ran forward and crouched 
[to try to catch the great beast's loom against the sky- 
line, but it moved off. Four miles from camp was a 
iMasai kraal, and we went toward this when we caught 
the gleam of the fires, for the porters were getting 

; The kraal was in shape a big oval, with a thick wall 
^f thorn-bushes, eight feet high, the low huts standing 
lust within this wall, while the cattle and sheep were 
prowded into small bomas in the centre. The fires 

166 TREKKING [ch. vii 

gleamed here and there within, and as we approached 
we heard the talking and laughing of men and women, 
and the lowing and bleating of the pent-up herds and 
flocks. We hailed loudly, explaining our needs. At 
first they were very suspicious. They told us we could 
not bring the lion within, because it would frighten the 
cattle, but after some parley consented to our building 
a fire outside and skinning the animal. They passed 
two brands over the thorn fence, and our men speedily 
kindled a blaze, and drew the lioness beside it. By this 
time the Masai were reassured, and a score of their 
warriors, followed soon by half a dozen women, came 
out through a small opening in the fence, and crowded 
close around the fire, with boisterous, noisy good 
humoiu'. They showed a tendency to chaff our jDorters. 
One, the humorist of the crowd, excited much merri- 
ment by describing, with pantomimic accompaniment 
of gestiu'es, how when the white man shot a lion it 
might bite a Swahili. who thereupon would call for his 
mother. But they were entirely friendly, and offered 
me calabashes of milk. The men Avere tall, finely- 
shaped sav^ages, their hair plnstered with red mud, and 
drawn out into longish ringlets. They were naked 
except for a blanket worn, not round the loins, but 
over the slioidders ; tlieir ears were slit, and from them 
hinig bone and wooden ornaments ; they wore metal 
bracelets and anklets, and chains which passed around 
their necks, or else over one side of the neck and under 
the opposite arm. The women had pleasant faces, and 
were laden Mnth metal ornaments — chiefly wire anklets, 
bracelets, and necklaces — of man}^ pounds weight. 
The features of the men were bold and clear-cut, and 
their bearing warlike and self-reliant. As the flame of 
the fire glanced over them, and brought their faces and 


bronze figures into lurid relief against the darkness, the 
likeness was striking, not to the West Coast negroes, 
but to the engravings on the tombs, temples, and 
palaees of ancient Egypt ; they might have been 
soldiers in the armies of Thothmes or Rameses. They 
stood resting on their long staffs, and looked at me as 
I leaned on my rifle ; and they lauglied and jested with 
their women, who felt the lion's teeth and claws and 
lauglied back at the men. Our gim-bearers worked at 
the skinning, and answered the jests of their warlike 
friends with the freedom of men who themselves followed 
a dangerous trade. The two horses stood quiet just 
outside the circle ; and over all the firelight played and 

It was after ten when we reached camp, and I enjoyed 
a hot bath and a shave before sitting do^vn to a supper 
of eland venison and broiled spurfowl ; and surely no 
supper ever tasted more delicious. 

Next day w^e broke camp. My bag for the five days 
illustrates ordinary African shooting in this part of the 
continent. Of course, I could have killed many other 
things ; but I shot nothing that w^as not absolutely 
needed, eitlier for scientific purposes or for food. The 
skin of every animal I shot was preserved for the 
National Museum. The bag included fourteen animals, 
of ten different species : one lioness, one hyena, one 
wart-hog boar, two zebra, two eland, one wildebeest, 
two topi, two impalla, one Roberts' gazelle, one 
Thomson's gazelle. Except the lioness and one impalla 
(both of which I shot running), all were shot at rather 
long ranges ; seven were shot standing, two walking, 
five running. The average distance at which they w^ere 
shot was a little over two hundred and twenty yards. 
I used sixty-five cartridges —an amount which will seem 

168 TREKKING [ch. vij 

excessive chiefly to those who are not accustomed 
actually to count the cartridges they expend, to measure 
the distances at which they fire, and to estimate for 
themselves the range, on animals in the field when they 
are standing or running a good way off. Only one 
wounded animal got away ; and eight of the animals 1 
shot had to be finished with one bullet — two in the case 
of the lioness— as they lay on the groimd. Many of the 
cartridges expended really represented range-finding. 


Oi'R Mext camp was in the middle of the vast plains, 
by some limestone springs, at one end of a line of dark 
acacias. Tliere were rocky koppies two or three miles 
off on either hand. From the tents and white-topped 
waggons we could see the game grazing on the open 
flats or among the scattered wizened thorns. The skies 
were overcast and the nights cool. In the evenings the 
camp-fires blazed in front of the tents, and after supper 
we gathered round them, talking or sitting silently, or 
listening to Kermit strumming on his mandolin. 

The day after reaching this camp we rode out, hoping 

to get either rhino or giraffe. W^'e needed additional 

specimens of botli for the naturalists, who especially 

wanted cow giraffes. It was cloudy and cool, and the 

I common game was shy. Though we needed meat, 1 

(Could not get within fair range of the wildebeest, harte- 

'beest, topi, or big gazelle. However, I killed a couple 

of tommies, one by a good shot, the other running, after 

]1 had missed him in rather scandalous fashion while he 

iwas standing. 

I An hour or two after leaving the tents we made out 
■on the sky-line, a couple of miles to our left, some 
'objects which scrutiny showed to be giraffe. x\fler 
coming within a mile the others halted, and I rode 





170 HUNTING IN THE SOTIK [ch. viii 

ahead on the tranquil sorrel, heading for a point toward 
which the giraffe were walking. Stalking was an im- 
possibility, and I was prepared either to manoeuvre for 
a shot on foot or to ride them, as circumstances might 
determine. I carried the little Springfield, being desirous 
of testing the small, solid, sharp-pointed army bullet on 
the big beasts. As I rode, a wildebeest bull played 
around me within two hundred yards, prancing, flourish- 
ing his tail, tossing his head, and uttering his grunting 
bellow. It almost seemed as if he knew I would not 
shoot at him, or as if for the moment he had been 
infected with the absurd tameness which the giraffe 

There were seven giraffes, a medium-sized bull, four 
cows, and two young ones ; and, funnily enough, the 
young ones were by far the shyest and most suspicious. 
I did not want to kill a bull unless it was exceptionally 
large ; whereas I did want two cows and a young one 
for tlie Museum. AVhen quarter of a mile away I dis- 
mounted, threw the reins over Tranquillity's head — 
whereat the good placid old fellow at once began 
grazing — and walked diagonally toward the biggest 
cow, which was ahead of the others. The tall, hand- 
some, ungainly creatures were nothing like as shy as 
the smaller game had shown themsehes that morning, 
and, of course, they offered such big targets that three 
Iiundred yards was a fair range for them. At two 
hundred and sixty yards I fired at the big cow as she 
stood almost facing me, twisting and curling her tail. 
The bullet struck fair, and she was off at a hurried, 
clumsy gallop. I gave her another bullet, but it was 
not necessary, and down she went. The second cow, a 
fine young heifer, was now cantering across my front, 
and with two more shots I got her, the sharp-pointed 




Giraffe at home 
From photographs by Keniiit Roosevelt 


])nllets penetrating well, and not splitting into frag- 
ments, but seeming to cause a rending shock. 

I met with much more difficulty in trying to kill the 
young one I needed. I walked and trotted a mile after 
the herd. The old ones showed little alarm, standing 
again and again to look at me. Finally T shot one of 
the two young ones, at four hundred and ten long paces, 
while a cow stood much nearer, and the bull only three 
hundred yards off'. 15ut this was not all. The four 
survivors did not leave CAen after such an experience, 
but stayed in the plain, not far off, for several hours, 
and thereby gave Kermit a chance to do something 
much better worth while than shooting them. His 
shoulder was sore, and he did not wish to use a rifle, 
and so was devoting himself to his camera, which one 
of his men always carried. With this, after the exercise 
of much patience, he finally managed to take a number 
of pictures of the giraffe, getting within fifty yards of 
the bull. 

Nor were the giraffes the only animals that showed a 
tameness bordering on stupidity. Soon afterward we 
made out three rhino, a mile away. They were out in 
the bare plain, alternately grazing and enjoying a noon- 
tide rest ; the bull by himself, the cow with her calf a 
quarter of a mile off. There was not a scrap of cover, 
but we walked up wind to within a hundred and fifty 
yards of the bull. Even then he did not seem to see us, 
but the tick-birds, which were clinging to his back and 
sides, gave the alarm, and he trotted to and fro, un- 
certain as to the cause of the disturbance. If Heller 
had not had his hands full with the giraffes I might 
have shot the bull rhino ; but his horn and bulk of body, 
though fair, were not remarkable, and I did not molest 
him He went toward the cow, which left lier calf and 

172 HUNTING IN THE SOTIK [ch. viii 

advanced toward him in distinctly bellicose style ; then 
she recognized him, her calf trotted up, and the three 
animals stood together, tossing their heads, and evi- 
dently trying to make out what was near them. But 
we were down wind, and they do not see well, with their 
little twinkling pig's eyes. We were anxious not to be 
charged by the cow and calf, as her horn was very poor, 
and it would have been unpleasant to be obliged to 
shoot her, and so we drew off. 

Next day, when Kermit and 1 were out alone with 
our gun-bearers, we saw another rhino, a bull, with a 
stubby horn. This rhino, like the others of the neigh- 
bourhood, was enjoying his noonday rest in the open, 
miles from cover. " Look at him," said Kermit, 
"• standing there in the middle of the African plain, 
deep in prehistoric thought." Indeed the rhinoceros 
does seem like a survival from the elder world that has 
vanished ; he was in place in the Pliocene Age ; he would 
not have been out of place in the INIiocene ; but nowadays 
he can only exist at all in regions that have lagged 
behind, while the rest of the world, for good or for evil, 
has gone forward. Like other beasts, rhinos differ in 
habits in different places. This prehensile-lipped species 
is everywhere a browser, feeding on the twigs and leaves 
of the bushes and low trees ; but in their stomachs 1 
have found long grass stems mixed with the twig tips 
and leaves of stunted bush. In some regions they live 
entirely in rather thick bush ; whereas on the plains 
over which we were hunting the animals haunted the 
open by preference, feeding through thin bush, where 
they were visible miles away, and usually taking their 
rest, either standing or lying, out on the absolutely bare 
plains. They drank at the small shallow rain pools, 
seemingly once every twenty-four hours ; and I saw 



- ^ 



one going to water at noon, and others just at dark ; 
and their hours for feeding and lesting were also irregular, 
though they were apt to lie down or stand motionless 
during the middle of the day. Doubtless in very hot 
weather they prefer to rest under a tree ; but we were 
hunting in eool w^eather, during which they paid no 
heed whatever to the sun. Their sight is very bad, 
their scent and hearing acute. 

On this day Kermit was shooting from his left 

shoulder, and did very well, killing a fine Roberts' 

gazelle and three topi. I also shot a topi bull, as Heller 

wished a good series for the National JNluseum. The 

topi and wildebeest 1 shot were all killed at long range, 

the average distance for the first shot being over three 

hundred and fifty yards ; and in the Sotik, w^here 

hunters were few, the game seemed if anything shyer 

than on the Athi plahis, where hunters were many. 

But there w^ere wide and inexplicable differences in this 

respect among the animals of the same species. One 

day I wished to get a doe tonmiy for the JNluseum. I 

saw scores, but they were all too shy to let me approach 

within shot, yet four times 1 passed within eighty yards 

ofbucksof the same species which paid hardly any heed 

to me. Another time I walked for five minutes along- 

I side a big party of Roberts' gazelles, within a hundred 

and fifty yards, trying in vaiu to pick out a buck worth 

I shooting ; half an hour afterward I came on another 

I party which contained such a buck, but they would not 

! let me get within a quarter of a mile. 

i Wildebeest are usually the shyest of all game. Each 

I herd has its own recognized beat, to which it ordinarily 

; keeps. Near this camp there was a herd almost always 

j to be found somew^here near the southern end of a big 

hill two miles east of us ; while a sohtary bull was 

174 HUNTING IN THE SOTIK [ch. yiii 

invariably seen around the base of a small hill a couple 
of miles south-west of us. The latter was usually in 
the company of a mixed herd of Roberts' and Thomson's 
gazelles. Here, as everywhere, we found the different 
species of game associating freely with one another. 
One little party interested us much. It consisted of 
two Roberts' bucks, two Roberts' does, and one Thom- 
son's doe, which was evidently a inattresse femme, of 
strongly individualized character. The four big gazelles 
had completely surrendered their judgment to that of 
the little tommy doe. She was the acknowledged 
leader : when she started they started and followed in 
whatever direction she led ; when she stopped they 
stopped ; if she foimd a given piece of pasture good, 
upon it they grazed contentedly. Around this camp 
the topi were as common as hartebeest ; they miglit be 
found singly, or in small parties, perhaps merely of a 
bull, a cow, and a calf; or they might be mixed with 
zebra, wildebeest, and hartebeest. I^ike the hartebeest, 
but less frequently, they would mount ant-hills to get 
a better look over the country. The wildebeest were 
extraordinarily tenacious of life, and the hartebeest and 
topi only less so. I more than once had sharp runs on 
horseback after wounded individuals of all three kinds. 
On one occasion I wounded a wildebeest bull a couple 
of miles from camp. I was riding my zebra-shaped brown 
pony, who galloped well ; and after a sharp run through 
the bush I overhauled the wildebeest ; but when f 
jumped off, the pony bolted for camp, and as he 
disappeared in one direction my game disappeared in 
the other. 

At last a day came when I saw a rhino with a big 
body and a good horn. We had been riding for a 
couple of hours ; the game was all around us. Two 

( H. viii] A FIXE UHIXOCEKOS 175 

giraftes stared at us witli silly curiosity rather than 
alarm ; twice I was within range of the bigger one. At 
last Bakhari, the gun-bearer, pointed to a grey mass on 
the plain, and a glance through the glasses showed that 
it was a rhino lying asleep with his legs doubled under 
him. He proved to be a big bull, with a front horn 
nearly twenty-six inches long. I was anxious to try the 
sharp -pointed bullets of the little Springfield rifle on 
him ; and Cuninghame and I, treading cautiously, 
walked up wind straight toward him, our horses follow- 
ing a hundred yards behind. He was waked by the 
tick-birds, and twisted his head to and fro, but at first 
did not seem to hear us, although looking in our 
direction. VV^hen we were a hundred yards off he 
rose and faced us, huge and threatening, head up and 
tail erect. ]5ut he lacked heart after all. I fired into 
his throat, and, instead of charging, he whipped round 
and was off at a gallop, immediately disappearing over 
a slight rise. AVe ran back to our horses, mounted, 
and galloped after him. He had a long start, and, 
though evidently feeling his wound, was going strong, 
and it was some time before we overtook him. I 
tried to gallop alongside, but lie kept swerving ; so, 
jumping ofi" (fortunately, I was riding Tranquillity), 
I emptied the magazine at his quarters and flank. 
Rapid galloping does not tend to promote accuracy 
of aim ; the rhino went on, and, remounting, I fol- 
lowed, overtook him, and repeated the performance. 
This time he wheeled and faced round, evidently with 
the intention of charging ; but a bullet straight in his 
chest took all the fight out of him, and he continued 
his flight. But his race was evidently run, and when I 
next overtook him T brought Jiim down. I had put 
nine bullets into him, and thougii they had done their 

176 HUNTING IN THE SOTIK [ch. viii 

work well, and I was pleased to have killed the huge 
brute with the little sharp-pointed bullets of the Spring- 
field, I was confirmed in my judgment that for me 
personally the big Holland rifle was the best weapon for 
heavy game, although I did not care as much for it 
against lighter-bodied beasts like lions. In all we 
galloped four miles after this wounded rhino bull. 

We sent a porter to bring out Heller, and an ox- 
waggon on which to take the skin to camp. While 
waiting for them I killed a topi bull, at tw^o hundred and 
sixty yards, with one bullet, and a wildebeest bull with 
a dozen. I crippled him with my first shot at three 
hundred and sixty yards, and then walked and trotted 
after him a couple of miles, getting running and stand- 
ing shots at from three hundred to five hundred yards. 
I hit him several times. As with everything else I shot, 
the topi and wildebeest were preserved as specimens for 
the Museum, and their flesh used for food. Our porters 
had much to do, and they did it well, partly because 
they were fed well. We killed no game of which we 
did not make the fullest use. It would be hard to 
convey to those who have not seen it on the ground an 
accurate idea of its abundance. When I was walking 
up to this rliino, there were in sight two giraffes, several 
Mildebeest bulls, and herds of hartebeest, topi, zebra, 
and the big and little gazelles. 

In addition to being a mighty hunter, and an adept 
in the by no means easy work of handling a large safari 
in the wilderness, Cuninghame M'as also a good field 
naturalist and taxidermist, and at this camp we got so 
many specimens that he was obliged to spend most of 
his time helping Heller ; and they pressed into the work 
at times even Tarlton. Accordingly, Kermit and I 
generally went off by ourselves, either together or 


separately. Once, however, Kermit went with Tarlton, 
and was, as usual, lucky with cheetahs, killing two. 
Tarlton was an accomplished elephant, hiiffalo, and 
rhino hunter, but he ])ref erred the chase of the lion to 
all other kinds of sport ; and if lions were not to be 
found, he liked to follow anything else after which he 
could gallop on horseback. Kermit was also a good 
and hard rider. On this occasion they found a herd of 
eland, and galloped into it. The big bull they over- 
hauled at once, but saw that his horns were poor and 
left him. Then they followed a fine cow, with an 
unusually good head. She started at a rattling pace, 
t and once leaped clear over another cow that got in her 

• way ; but they rode into her alter a mile's smart gallop 
j — not a racing gallop by any means — and after that she 
I was as manageable as a tame ox. Cantering and trotting 

• within thirty yards of her on either (quarter, they drove 
j her toward camp ; but when it was still three-quarters 
I of a mile distant they put up a cheetah, and tore after 
'i it ; and they overtook and killed it just before it reached 
^ cover. A cheetali with a good start can only be over- 
taken by hard running. This one behaved just as did 
the others they ran down. For a quarter of a mile no 
animal in the world has a cheetah's speed ; but he 
cannot last. W^hen chased the cheetahs did not sprint, 
but contented themselves with gallophig ahead of the 
horses. At first they could easily keep their distance, 
but after a mile or two their strength and wind gave 
out, and then they always crouched flat to the earth, 
and were shot without their making any attempt to 
charge. But a wart-hog boar which Kermit ran down 
[the same day and shot with his revolver did charge, and 

^^^hile running one of his cheetahs, Kermit put up 


178 HUNTING IN THE SOTHv [ch. vm 

two old wildebeest bulls, and they joined in the pro- 
cession, looking as if they too were pursuing the cheetah. 
The cheetah ran first ; the two bulls, bounding and 
sMdtching their tails, came next ; and Kermit, racing in 
the rear, gained steadily. Wildebeest are the oddest 
in nature and conduct, and in many ways the most 
interesting, of all antelopes. There is in their temper 
something queer, fiery, eccentric, and their actions are 
abrupt and violent. A single bull will stand motionless, 
with head raised to stare at an intruder until the latter 
is a quarter of a mile off; then down goes his head, his 
tail is lashed up and around, and off he gallops, plunging, 
kicking, and shaking his liead. He may go straight 
away, he may circle round, or even approach nearer to 
the intruder ; and then he halts again to stare motion- 
less, and perhaps to utter his grunt of alarm and 
defiance. A herd, when approached, after fixed staring, 
will move off, perhaps at a canter. Soon tlie leaders 
make a half-wheel, and lead their followers in a semi- 
circle ; suddenly a couple of old bulls leave the rest, 
and at a tearing gallop describe a semicircle in exactly 
the opposite direction, racing by their comrades as these 
canter the other way. AVith one accord the whole 
troop may then halt and stare again at the object they 
suspect ; then off they all go at a headlong ran, kicking 
and bucking, tearing at full speed in one direction, then 
suddenly wheeling in semicircles so abrupt as to be 
almost zigzags, the dust flying in clouds ; and two bulls 
may suddenly drop to their knees, and for a moment 
or two tight furiously in their own peculiar fashion. 
By careful stalking, Kermit got some good pictures of 
the wildebeest, in spite of their wariness. Like other 
game, they seem most apt to lie down during the heat 
of the day ; but they may lie down at night too. At 















n ./ 1| 






., -v 




Wildebeest at liome 

Two bulls may suddenh- drop to their knees and for a moment or two fight furiously 

From photographs l>y Kcriiiit Ropscvcli 


any rate, I noticed one herd of hartebeest whicli, after 
feeding through the late afternoon, lay down at 

After getting the bull rhino, Heller needed a cow 
and calf to complete the group ; and Kermit and I got 
him what he needed one day when we were out alone 
with our gun-bearers. About the middle of the fore- 
noon we made out the huge grey bulk of the rhino, 
standing in tlie bare plain, with not so much as a bush 
two feet high within miles ; and we soon also made out 
her calf beside her. Getting the wind right, we rode 
up within a quarter of a mile, and then dismounted and 
walked slowly toward her. It seemed impossible that 
on that bare plain we could escape even her dull vision, 
for she stood witii her head in oin* direction ; yet she 
did not see us, and actually lay down as we walked 
toward her. Careful examination through tlie glasses 
showed that she was an unusually big cow, with thick 
horns of fair length — twenty-three inches and thirteen 
inches respectively. Accordingly we proceeded, making 
as little noise as possible. At fifty yards she made us 
out, and jumped to her feet with unwieldy agility. 
Kneeling, 1 sent the bullet from the heavy Holland just 
in front of her right shoulder as she half faced me. It 
went through lier vitals, lodging behind the opposite 
shoulder ; and at once she began the curious death waltz 
which is often, though by no means always, the sign of 
I immediate dissolutioji in a mortally wounded rhino. 
I Kermit at once put a bullet from his ^^"inchester behind 
' her slioulder, for it is never safe to take chances with a 
I rhino ; and we shot the calf, which when dymg uttered 
1 a screaming whistle almost like that of a small steam 
engine. In a few seconds both fell, and we walked up 
I to them, examined them, and then continued our ride, 

180 HUNTING IN THE SOTIK [ch. viii 

sending in a messenger to bring Cuninghame, Heller, 
and an ox-waggon to the carcasses. 

The stomach of this rhino contained some grass stems 
and blades, some leaves and twig tips of bushes, but 
chiefly the thick, thorny, fleshy leaves of a kind ot 
Euphorbia. As the juice of the euphorbia's cactus-like 
leaves is acrid enough to blister — not to speak of the 
thorns — this suffices to show what a rhino's palate 
regards as agreeably stimulating. This species of rhino, 
by the way, affords a curious illustration of how blind 
many men who live much of their lives outdoors may 
be to facts which stare them in the face. For years 
most South African hunters, and most naturalists, 
beheved in the existence of two species of prehensile- 
lipped, or so-called " black," rhinoceros : one with the 
front horn much the longer, one with the rear horn at 
least equal to the front. It was Selous, a singularly 
clear-sighted and keen observer, who first proved con- 
clusively that the difference was purely imaginary. 
Now, the curious thing is that these experienced 
lumters usually attributed entirely different tempera- j 
ments to these two imaginary species. The first kind, 
that with the long front horn, they described as a i 
miracle of dangerous ferocity, and the second as com- 
paratively mild and inoffensive ; and these veterans j 
(Drummond is an instance) persuaded themselves that 
this was true, although they were writing in each case ! 
of identically the same animal ! 

After leaving the dead rhinos we rode for several 
miles, over a plain dotted with game, and took our 
lunch at the foot of a big range of hills, by a rapid little 
brook, running under a fringe of shady thorns. Then i 
we rode back to camp. Lines of zebras filed past on the i 
horizon. Ostriches fled while we were yet far off I 


T()])i. hartebeest, wildebeest, and gazelle gazed at us as 
we rode by, the sunlight throwing their shapes and 
colours into bold relief against the parched brown grass. 
1 had an hour to myself after reaching camp, and spent 
it with Lowell's " Essays." I doubt whether any man 
takes keener enjoyment in the wilderness than he who 
also keenly enjoys many other sides of hfe ; just as no 
man can relish books more than some at least of those 
who also lo\e horse and riHe and the winds that blow 
' across lonely plains and through the gorges of the 

, Next morning a lion roared at dawn so near camp 
, that we sallied forth after him. We did not find him, 
but we enjoyed our three hours' ride through the fresli 
I air before breakfast, with game, as usual, on every hand. 
j Some of the animals showed tameness, some wild- 
j ness, the difference being not between species and 
I species, but between given individuals of almost e\'ery 
I species. While we were absent two rhinos passed close 

by camp, and stopped to stare curiously at it ; Ave saw 

1 them later as they trotted away, but their horns were 
,1 not good enough to tempt us. 

At a distance the sunlight plays pranks with the 
colouring of the animals. Cock ostriches always show 
jet black, and are visible at a greater distance than any 

\ of the common game ; the neutral tint of the hens 
making them far less conspicuous. Both cocks and 
hens are very wary, sharp-sighted, and hard to approach. 
Next to the cock ostrich in conspicuousness comes the 

I wildebeest, because it shows black in most lights ; yet 
when headed away from the onlooker, the sun will often 

1 make the backs of a herd look whitish in the distance. 
Wildebeest are warier than most other game. Round 
this camp the topi were as tame as the hartebeest ; they 


182 HUNTING IN THE SOTIK [c h. viii 

look very dark in most lights, only less dark than the 
wildebeest, and so are also conspicuous. The harte- 
beest change from a deep brown to a hght foxy red, 
according to the w^ay they stand toward the sun ; and 
when a herd was feeding away from us, their white 
sterns showed when a very long way off. The zebra's 
stripes cease to be visible after he is three hundred 
yards off, but in many lights he glistens white in the 
far distance, and is then very conspicuous. On this day 
I came across a mixed herd of zebra and eland in thin 
bush, and when still a long way off the zebras caught 
the eye, while their larger companions were as yet 
hardly to be made out without field-glasses. The 
gazelles usually show as sandy-coloured, and are there- 
fore rather less conspicuous than the others when still ; 
but they are constantly in motion, and in some lights 
show up as almost white. When they are far ofi' the 
sun-rays may make any of these animals look very dark 
or very light. In fact, all of them are conspicuous at 
long distances, and none of them make any effort to 
escape observation, as do certain kinds that haunt dense 
bush and forest. But constant allowance must be made 
for the wide variations amone* individuals. Ordinarily 
tonnnies are the tamest of the game, with the big 
gazelle and the zebra next ; but no two herds will 
behave alike. I have seen a wildebeest bull look at 
me motionless within a hundred and fifty yards, while 
the zebras, tommies, and big gazelles which were his 
companions fled in panic ; and I left him still standing, 
as I walked after the gazelles, to kill a buck for the 
table. The game is usually sensitive to getting the 
hunter's wind ; but on these plains I have again and 
again seen game stand looking at us within fairly close 
range to leeward, and yet on the same day seen the 


same kind of* ""ame flee in mad fright when twice the 
distance to windward. Sometimes there are inexphcable 
variations between the conduct of beasts in one locaHty 
and in another. In East Africa the hyenas seem only 
occasionally to crunch the lon<>- bones of the biggest 
dead animals ; whereas Cuninghanie. wlio pointed out 
this fact to me, stated that in South Africa the hyenas, 
of the same kind, always crunched up the big bones, 
eating both the marrow and fragments of the bone 

Now and then the game will choose a tree as a 
rubbing-post, and if it is small will entirely destroy the 
tree ; and 1 have seen them use for the same purpose 
an oddly-shaped stone, one corner of which tliey had 
worn quite smooth. They hav'e stamping-grounds, 
small patches of bare earth from which they have 
removed even the roots of the grass and bushes by the 
trampling of their hoofs, leaving nothing but a pool of 
dust. One evening I watched some zebras stringing 
slowly along in a line which brought them past a couple 
of these stamping-grounds. As they came in succession 
to each bare place half the herd, one after another, lay 
down and rolled to and fro, sending up spurts of dust so 
thick that the animal was hidden from sight ; while 
perhaps a companion, which did not roll, stood near by, 
seemingly to enjoy the dust. 

On this same evening we rode campward facing a 
wonderful sunset. The evening was lowering and over- 
cast. The darkening plains stretched dim and vague 
into the far distance. The sun went down under a 
frowning sky, behind shining sheets of rain, and it 
turned their radiance to an angry splendour of gold and 
murky crimson. 

At this camp the pretty little Livingstone's wheatears 

184 HUNTING IN THE SOTTK [t h. viii 

or chats were very familiar, flitting within a few yards 
of the tents. They were the earhest birds to sing. Just 
before oiu* eyes could distinguish the first faint streak of 
dawn, first one and then another of them would begin 
to sing, apparently eitlier on the ground or in the air, 
until there was a chorus of their sweet music. Then 
they M^ere silent again until the sun was about to rise. 
We always heard them when we made a very early 
start to hunt. By the way, with the game of the plains 
and the thin bush, \^e found that nothing was gained 
by getting out early in the morning ; we were quite as 
likely to get what we wanted in the e\'ening, or, indeed, 
at high noon. 

The last day at this camp Kermit, Tarlton, and I 
spent on a twelve-hour lion hunt. I opened the day 
inauspiciously, close to camp, by missing a zebra, which 
we wished for the porters. Then Kermit, by a good 
shot, killed a tommy buck with the best head we had 
yet got. Early in the afternoon we reached our objec- 
tive — some high koppies, broken by cliffs and covered 
with brush. There were klipspringers on these koppies 
— little rock-loving antelopes, with tiny lioofs and queer 
brittle Imir ; they are marvellous jumpers, and continu- 
ally utter a bleating whistle. I broke the neck of one 
as it rail at a distance of a hundred and fifty yards ; but 
the shot was a fluke, and did not make amends for the 
way I had missed the zebra in the morning. Among 
the thick brush on these liills were huge euphorbias, 
aloes bearing masses of orange flowers, and a cactus-like 
ground plant with pretty pink blossoms. All kinds of 
game from the plains, even rhino, had wandered over 
these hill-tops. 

B'.it what especially interested us was that we im- 
mediately found fresh beds of lions, and one regular 


lair. Again and again, as we beat cautiously througli 
the bushes, the rank smell of the beasts smote our 
nostrils. At last, as we sat at the foot of one koppie, 
Kermit spied through his glasses a lion on the side of 
the koppie opposite, the last and biggest, and u}) it we 
climbed. On the very summit was a mass of cleft and 
broken boulders, and while on these Kermit put up two 
lions from the bushes which crowded beneath them. 
T missed a running shot at the lioness as she made off 
through the brush. He probably hit the lion, and \ ery 
cautiously, with rifles at the ready, we beat through the 
thick cover in hopes of finding it, but in vain. Then we 
began a hunt for the lioness, as apparently she had not 
left the koppie. Soon one of the gun-bearers, wlio was 
standing on a big stone, peering under some thick 
bushes, beckoned excitedly to me, and when I jumped 
up beside him he pointed at the lioness. In a second 
I made her out. The sleek, sinister creature lay not 
ten paces off, her sinuous body following the curves of 
the rock as she crouched flat, looking straight at me. 
A stone covered the lower part, and the left of the 
upper part, of her head ; but I saw her two unwinking 
green eyes looking into mine. As she could have 
reached me in two springs, perhaps in one, I wished 
to shoot straight ; but I had to avoid the rock which 
covered the lower part of her face, and, moreover, I 
fired a little too much to the left. The bullet v/ent 
through the side of her head and in between the neck 
and shoulder, infiictino- a mortal, but not immediatelv 
fatal, wound. However, it knocked her off the little 
ledge on which she was lying, and, instead of charging, 
she rushed up hill. We promptly followed, and again 
clambered up the mass of boulders at the top. Peering 
over the one on wliich I had climbed, there was the 


lioness directly at its foot, not twelve feet away, lying 
flat on her belly. I could only see the aftermost third 
of her back. I at once fired into her spine. With 
appalling grunts she dragged herself a few paces down- 
hill ; and another bullet behind the shoulder finished 

She was skinned as rapidly as possible, and just before 
sundown we left thekoppie. At its foot was a deserted 
Masai cattle kraal, and a mile from this was a shallow, 
muddy pool, fouled by the countless herds of game that 
drank thereat. Toward this M^e went, so that tlie thirsty 
horses and men might drink their full. As we came 
near we saw three rhinoceroses leaving the pool. It was 
already too dusk for good sliooting, and we were rather 
relieved when, after some inspection, they trotted off 
and stood at a little distance in the plain. Our men 
and horses drank, and then we began our ten miles' 
march through the darkness to camp. One of Kermit's 
gun -bearers saw a puff-adder (among the most deadly 
of all snakes) ; with delightful nonchalance he stepped 
on its head, and then held it up for me to put my knife 
through its brain and neck. I slipped it into my saddle 
pocket, where its blood stained tlie pigskin cover of the 
little pocket "Nibelungenlied" which that day I happened 
to carry. Immediately afterward there was a fresh 
alarm from our friends the three rhinos. Dismoimting, 
and crouching down, we caught the loom of their bulky 
bodies against the horizon ; but a shot in the groimd 
seemed to make them hesitate, and they finally con- 
cluded not to charge. So, with the lion -skin swinging 
behind between two porters, a dead puff-adder in my 
saddle pocket, and three rhinos threatening us in the 
darkness to one side, we marched campward through 
the African night. 

CH. viiij J*H()T()(;l^APT^ING A LIONESS 187 

Next day we shifted camp to a rush-fringed pool by 
a grove of tall, flat-topped acacias at the foot of a range 
of low, steep mountains. Before us the plain stretched, 
and in front of our tents it was dotted by huge candel- 
abra euphorbias. I shot a buck for the table just as we 
pitched camp. There were Masai kraals and cattle 
herds near by, and tall warriors, pleasant and friendly, 
strolled among our tents, their huge razor-edged spears 
tipped with furry caps to protect the points. Kermit 
was off all day with Tarlton, and killed a magnificent 
lioness. In the morning, on some high hills, he obtained 
a good impalla ram, after persevering hours of climbing 
and running — -for only one of the gun-bearers and none 
of the whites could keep up with him on foot when he 
went hard. In the afternoon at four he and Tarlton 
saw the lioness. She was followed by three three-parts- 
grown young lions, doubtless her cubs, and, without 
any concealment, was walking across the open plain 
toward a pool by which lay the body of a wildebeest 
bull she liad killed the preceding night. The smaller 
lions saw the hunters and shrank back, but tlie old 
lioness never noticed them until they were within a 
hundred and fifty yards. Then she ran back, but 
Kermit crumpled her up with his first bullet. He then 
put another bullet in her, and as she seemed disabled 
walked up within fifty yards, and took some photos. 
By this time she was recovering, and, switching her tail, 
she gathered her hind-quarters under her for a charge ; 
but he stopped her with another bullet, and killed her 
outright with a fourth. 

VVe heard that jNlearns and Loring, whom we had 
left ten days before, had also killed a lioness. A Masai 
brought in word to them that he had marked her down 
taking her noonday rest near a kongoni she had killed ; 

188 HUNTING IN THE SOTIK [ch. viii 

and they rode out, and Loring shot her. Slie charged 
him savagely ; he shot her straight through the heart, 
and she fell literally at his feet. The three naturalists 
were all good shots, and were used to all the mishaps 
and adventures of life in the wilderness. Not only 
would it have been indeed difficult to find three better 
men for their particular work — Heller's work, for 
instance, with Cuninghame's help, gave the chief point 
to our big-game shooting — but it would have been 
equally difficult to find three better men for any 
emergency. I could not speak too highly of them ; 
nor, indeed, of our two other companions, C'uninghame 
and Tarlton, wliose mastery of their own field was as 
noteworthy as the pre-eminence of the naturalists in 
their field. 

The following morning the headmen asked that we 
get the porters some meat. Tarlton, Kermit, and I 
sallied forth accordingly. The country was very dry, 
and the game in our immediate neighbourhood was not 
plentiful and was rather shy. I killed three kongoni 
out of a herd, at from two hundred and fifty to three 
hundred and ninety paces ; one topi at three hundred 
and thirty paces, and a Roberts' gazelle at two hundred 
and seventy. JNIearnvhile, the other two had killed a 
kongoni and five of the big gazelles, wherever possible 
the game being hal-lalled in orthodox fashion by the 
Mohammedans among our attendants, so as to fit it for 
use by their co-religionists among the porters. Then 
we saw some giraffes, and galloped them to see if there 
was a really big bull in the lot. They had a long start, 
but Kermit and Tarlton overtook them after a couple 
of miles, while I pounded along in the rear. However, 
there was no really good bull. Kermit and Tarlton 
pulled up, and we jogged along toward the koppies 

IT- ■ •■ 





TIk- w (luniled lioness ready lu tliarLjc 


• ^^>" 




The woundetl lioness 
From photographs by Kcrmit Rooscvdl 

CH. viii] A BIG-MANED LION J 89 

where two days before I had sliot tlie Honess. I killed 
a big bustard, a very handsome, striking-looking bird, 
larger than a tiu'key, by a rather good shot at two 
hundred and thirty yards. 

It was now mid-day, and the heat waves quivered 
above the brown plain. The mirage hung in the 
middle distance, and beyond it the bold hills rose like 
mountains from a lake. In mid-afternoon we stopped 
at a little pool, to give the men and horses water ; and 
here Kermits horse suddenly went dead lame, and we 
started it back to camp with a couple of men, while 
Kermit went forward with us on foot, as we rode round 
the base of the first koppies. After we liad gone a 
mile loud shouts called our attention to one of the men 
who had left with the lame horse. He was nmning 
back to tell us that they had just seen a big-maned lion 
walking along in the open plain toward the body of a 
zebra he had killed the night before. Inmiediately 
Tarlton and I galloped in the direction indicated, while 
the heart-broken Kermit ran after us on foot, so as not 
to miss the fun, the gun-bearers and saises stringing 
out behind him. In a few minutes Tarlton pointed out 
the lion, a sj^lendid old fellow, a heavy male with a 
yellow and black mane ; and after him we went. There 
was no need to go fast ; he was too burly and too 
savage to run hard, and we were anxious that our 
hands should be reasonably steady when we shot. All 
told, the horses, galloping and cantering, did not take 
us two miles. 

The lion stopped and lay down behind a bush, .lump- 
ing off, I took a shot at him at two hundred yards, but 
only wounded him slightly in one paw, and after a 
moment's sullen hesitation off' he went, lashing his tail. 
We mounted our horses and went after him. Tarlton 

190 HUNTING IN THE SOTIK [ch. viii 

lost sight of him, but I marked him lying down behind 
a low grassy ant-hill. Again we dismounted at a dis- 
tance of two hundred yards, Tarlton telling me that 
now he was sure to charge. In all East Africa there 
is no man, not even Cuninghame himself, whom I would 
rather have by me than Tarlton. if in difficulties witii a 
charging lion ; on tliis occasion, however, I am glad to 
say that his riHe was badly siglited, and shot altogether 
too low. 

Again I knelt and fired, but the mass of hair on the 

lion made me think he was nearer than he was, and I 

undershot, inflicting a fiesh wound tliat was neither 

crippling nor fatal. He was already grunting savagely 

and tossing his tail erect, with his head held low, and at 

the shot the great sinewy beast came toward us with 

the speed of a greyhound. Tarlton then, very properly, 

fired, for lion-hunting is no child's play, and it is not 

good to run risks. Ordinarily it is a very mean thing 

to experience joy at a friend's miss, but this was not an 

ordinary case, and I felt keen delight when the bullet 

from the badly sighted rifle missed, striking the groimd 

many yards short. I was sighting carefully, fi'om my 

knee, and I knew I had the lion all right, for though 

he galloped at a great pace, he came on steadily— ears 

laid back, and uttering terrific coughing grunts — and 

there was now no question of making allowance for 

distance, nor, as he was out in the open, for the fact 

that he had not before been distinctly visible. The 

bead of my foresight was exactly on the centre of his 

chest as I pressed the trigger, and the bullet went as 

true as if the place liad been plotted with dividers. The 

blow brought him up all standing, and he fell forward 

on his head. The soft-nosed Winchester bullet had 

gone straight through the chest cavity, smashing the 

CH. viii] A CHARGING, LION 191 

lungs and the big bloodvessels of the heart. Painfully 
he recovered his feet, and tried to come on, his ferocious 
courage holding out to the last ; but he staggered, and 
turned from side to side, unable to stand firmly, still 
less to advance at a faster pace tlian a walk. He had 
not ten seconds to live, but it is a sound principle to 
take no chances witli lions. Tarlton hit him with his 
second bullet, probably in the shoulder, and with my 
next shot I broke his neck. 1 had stopped liim when 
he was still a hundred yards away, and certainly no 
finer sight could be imagined than that of this great 
maned lion as he charged. Kermit gleefully joined us 
as we walked up to the body ; only one of our followers 
liad been able to keep up with him on his two-miles 
run. He had had a fine view of the charge, from one 
side, as he ran up, still three hundred yards distant ; he 
could see all the muscles play as the lion galloped in, 
and then everything relax as he fell to the shock of my 

The Hon M^as a big old male, still in his prime. 
Between uprights his lengtli was nine feet four inches, 
and his weight four hundred and ten pounds, for he was 
not fat. We skinned him and started for camp, which 
we reached after dark. There was a thunderstorm in 
the south-west, and in the red sunset that burned behind 
us the rain-clouds tinned to many gorgeous hues. Then 
daylight tailed, the clouds cleared, and, as we made our 
way across the formless plain, the half moon hung high 
overhead, strange stars shone in the t)rilliant heavens, 
and the Southern Cross lay radiant above the sky-line. 

Our next camp was pitched on a stony plain, by a 
winding stream-bed still containing an occasional rush- 
fringed pool of muddy water, fouled by the herds and 
flocks oT the numerous Masai, Game was plentiful 


around this camp. We killed what we needed of the 
common kinds, and in addition each of us killed a big- 
rhino. The two rhinos were almost exactly alike, and 
their horns were of the so-called " Keitloa " type, the 
fore horn twenty-two inches long, the rear over seven- 
teen. The day I killed mine 1 used all three of my 
rifles. We all went out together, as Kermit was desirous 
of taking photos of my rhino, if I shot one ; he had not 
been able to get good ones of his on the previous day. 
We also took the small ox-waggon, so as to bring into 
camp bodily the rhino —if we got it — and one or two 
zebras, of which we wanted the flesh for the safari, the 
skeletons for the JMuseum. The night had been cool, 
but the day was sunny and hot. At flrst we rode 
through a broad valley, bounded by high, scrub-covered 
hills. The banks of the dry stream were fringed with 
deep green acacias, and here and there in relief against 
their dark foliage flamed the orange-red flowers of the 
tall aloe clumps. ^^ ith the Springfield I shot a stein - 
buck and a lesser bustard. Then we came out on the 
vast rolling brown plains. NA'^ith the Winchester I shot 
two zebra stallions, missing each standing, at long range, 
and then killing them as they ran, one after a two-miles 
hard gallop on my brown pony, which had a good turn 
of speed. 1 killed a third zebra stallion with my Spring- 
field, again missing it standing and killing it running. 
In mid-afternoon we spied our rhino, and, getting near, 
saw that it had good horns. It was in the middle of the 
absolutely bare plain, and we walked straight up to the 
dull-sighted, dull-witted beast, Kermit with his camera, 
I with the Holland double-barrel. The tick-birds 
warned it, but it did not make us out until we were 
well within a hundred yards, when it trotted toward us, 
head and tail up. At sixty yards I put the heavy bullet 

'%. V 




X- ' 


5 = 








>. ^ 


straight into its chest, and knocked it fiat with the blow. 
As it tried to struggle to its feet, I again knocked it flat 
with the left-hand barrel ; but it needed two more 
bullets before it died, screaming like an engine whistle. 
Before I fired my last shot 1 had walked up directly 
beside the rhino ; and just tlien Tarlton pointed out to 
me a greater bustard, stalking along with unmoved 
composure at a distance of a hundred and fifty yards. 
I took the Springfield, and, kneeling down beside the 
rhino's hind-quarters, I knocked over the bustard, and 
then killed the rhino. We rode into camp by moon- 
light. Both these rhinos had their stomachs filled with 
the closely chewed leaves and twig-tips of short brush 
mixed with grass— rather thick-stemmed grass— and in 
one case with the pulpy, spiny leaves of a low, ground- 
creeping euphorbia. 

At this camp we killed five poisonous snakes : a light- 
coloured tree-snake, two puft-adders, and two seven-foot 
cobras. One of the latter three times " spat " or ejected 
its poison at us, the poison coming out from the fangs 
like wliite films or threads, to a distance of several feet. 
A few years ago the singular power of this snake, and 
perhaps of certain other African species, thus to eject 
the poison at the face of an assailant was denied by 
scientists; but it is now well known. Selous had 
already told me of an instance which came under his 
own observation ; and Tarlton had once been struck in 
the eyes and for the moment nearly blinded by the 
poison. He found that to wash the eyes with milk was 
of much relief On the bigger puff-adder, some four 
feet long, were a dozen ticks, some swollen to the size 
of cherries ; apparently they were disregarded by their 
sluggish and deadly host. Heller trapped some jackals, 
of two species : and two striped hyenas, the first we had 


194 HUNTING IN THE SOTIK [ch. viii 

seen, apparently more timid and less noisy beasts than 
their bigger spotted brothers. 

One day Kermit had our first characteristic experience 
with a honey-bird — a smallish bird, with beak like a 
grosbeak's and toes like a woodpecker's — whose extra- 
ordinary habits as a honey-guide are known to all the 
natives of Africa throughout its range. Kermit had 
killed an eland bull, and while he was resting his gun- 
bearers drew his attention to the calling of the honey- 
bird in a tree near by. He got up, and as he approached 
the bird it flew to another tree in front and again began 
its twitter. This was repeated again and again as Kermit 
walked after it. Finally the bird darted rouiid behind 
his followers, in the direction from which they had 
come, and for a moment they thought it had played 
them false. But immediately afterward they saw that 
it had merely overshot its mark, and had now flown 
back a few rods to the honey-tree, round which it was 
flitting, occasionally twittering. When they came 
toward the tree it perched silent and motionless in 
another, and thus continued while they took some 
honey — a risky business, as the bees were vicious. 
They did not observe what the bird then did ; but 
Cuninghame told me that in one instance where a 
honey-bird led him to honey he carefully watched it 
and saw it picking up either bits of honey and comb, or 
else, more probably, the bee grubs out of the comb — he 
could not be certain which. 

To my mind no more interesting incident occurred 
at this camp. 



From this camp we turned nortli toward Lake Nai- 

The Sotik country through which we had hunted 
was sorely stricken by drought. The grass was short 
and withered, and most of the waterholes were drying 
up, while both the game and the flocks and herds of 
the nomad Masai gathered round the watercourses in 
which there were still occasional muddy pools, and 
grazed their neighbourhood bare of pasturage. It was 
an unceasing pleasure to watch the ways of the game 
and to study their A^arying habits. Where there was a 
river from which to drink or where there were many 
pools, the different kinds of buck and the zebra often 
showed comparatively little timidity about drinking, 
and came boldly down to the water's edge, sometimes 
in broad daylight, sometimes in darkness ; although 
even under those conditions they were very cautious if 
there was cover at the drinking place. But where the 
pools were few they never approached one without feel- 
ing panic dread of their great enemy the lion, who, they 
I knew well, might be lurking around their drinking 
I place. At such a pool I once saw a herd of zebras 
come to water at nightfall. They stood motionless 
i some distance oft': then they slowly approached, and 

195 " ^ 

196 TO LAKE NAIVASHA [ch. ix 

twice on false alarms wheeled and fled at speed. At 
last the leaders ventured to the brink of the pool, and 
at once the whole herd came jostling and crowding in 
behind them, the water gurgling down their thirsty 
throats ; and immediately afterward off they went at a 
gallop, stopping to graze some hundreds of yards away. 
The ceaseless dread of the lion felt by all but the 
heaviest game is amply justified by his ravages among 
them. They are always in peril from him at the drink- 
ing places ; yet in my experience 1 found that in the 
great majority of cases they were killed while feeding 
or resting far from water, the lion getting them far 
more often by stalking than by lying in wait. A lion 
will eat a zebra (beginning at the hind-quarters, by the 
way, and sometimes having, and sometimes not having, 
previously disembowelled the animal) or one of the 
bigger buck at least once a week ; perhaps once every 
five days. Tlie dozen lions we had killed would prob- 
ably, if left alive, have accoimted for seven or eight 
hundred buck, pig, and zebra within the next year. Our 
hunting was a net advantage to the harmless game. 

The zebras were the noisiest of the game. After 
them came the wildebeest, which often uttered their 
queer grunt. Sometimes a herd would stand and grunt 
at me for some minutes as I passed, a few liundred 
yards distant. The topi uttered only a kind of sneeze 
and the hartebeest a somewhat similar sound. The 
so-called Roberts' gazelle was merely the Grant's gazelle 
of the Athi, with the lyrate shape of the horns tending 
to be carried to an extreme of spread and backward 
bend. The tommy bucks carried good horns ; the horns 
of the does were usually aborted, and were never more 
than four or five inches long. The most notable feature 
about the tommies was the incessant switching of their 



tails, as if jerked by electricity. In the Sotik the topis 
all seemed to have calves of about the same age, as if 
born from four to six months earlier. The young of 
the otiier game were of every age. The males of all 
the antelopes fouglit much among themsehes. The 
gazelle bucks of both species would face one anotlier, 
their heads between the fore-legs and the horns level 
with tlie ground, and each would punch his opponent 
until the hair flew. 

Watching the game, one was struck by the intensity 
and the evanescence of their emotions. Civilized man 
now usually passes his life under conditions which 
eliminate the intensity of terror felt by his ancestors 
when death by ^■iolence was their normal end, and 
threatened them during every hour of the day and 
night. It is only in niglitmares that the average 
dweller in civilized countries now undergoes tlie hideous 
horror which was the regular and frequent portion of his 
ages-vanished forefathers, and which is still an everyday 
incident in the lives of most wild creatures. But the 
dread is short-lived, and its horror vanishes with instan- 
taneous rapidity. In these wilds the game dreaded the 
lion and the other Hesh-eating beasts rather than man. 
We saw innumerable kills of all the buck, and of zebra 
the neck being usually dislocated, and it was evident 
that none of the lions victims, not even the truculent 
wildebeest or huge eland, had been able to make any 
fight against him. The game is ever on the alert 
against this greatest of foes, and every herd, almost 
every individual, is in imminent and deadly peril every 
few days or nights, and of course suffers in addition 
from countless false alarms. But no sooner is the 
danger over than the animals resume their feeding, or 
love-making, or their fighting among themsehes. Two 

198 TO LAKE NAIVASHA [ch. ix 

bucks will do battle the minute the herd has stopped 
running from the foe that has seized one of its number, 
and a buck will cover a doe in the brief inter\'al between 
the first and the second alarm, from hunter or lion. 
Zebra will make much noise when one of their number 
has been killed ; but their fright has vanished when 
once they begin their barking calls. 

Death by violence, death by cold, death by starvation 
— these are the normal endings of the stately and 
beautiful creatures of the wilderness. 'J'he senti- 
mentalists who prattle about the peaceful life of nature 
do not realize its utter mercilessness ; although all they 
would have to do would be to look at the birds in the 
winter woods, or even at the insects on a cold morning 
or cold evening. Life is hard and cruel for all the 
lower creatures, and for man also in wliat the senti- 
mentalists call a " state of nature." The savage of 
to-day shows us what the fancied age of gold of our 
ancestors was really like ; it was an age when hunger, 
cold, violence, and iron cruelty were the ordinary 
accompaniments of life. If Matthew Arnold, when he 
expressed the wish to know the thoughts of Earth's 
" vigorous, primitive " tribes of the past, had really 
desired an answer to his question, he would have done 
well to visit the homes of the existing representatives of 
his " vigorous, primitive " ancestors, and to watch them 
feasting on blood and guts ; while as for the " pellucid 
and pure " feelings of his imaginary primitive maiden, 
they were those of any meek, cowlike creature who 
accepted marriage by purchase or of convenience, as a 
matter of course. 

It was to me a perpetual source of wonderment to 
notice the difference in the behaviour of different 
individuals of the same species, and in the behaviour of 


the same individual at different times ; as, for example, 
in the matter of wariness, of the times for going to 
water, of the times for resting, and, as regards dangerous 
game, in the matter of ferocity. Their very looks 
changed. At one moment the sun would turn the 
zebras of a mixed herd wliite, and the hartebeest 
straw-coloured, so that the former could be seen much 
fartlier off than the latter ; and again the conditions 
would be reversed, when under the light the zebras 
would show up grey, and the hartebeest as red as 

I had now^ killed almost all the specimens of the 
common game that the Museum needed, How^ever, we 
kept the skin or skeleton of w4iate\er we shot for meat. 
Now and then, after a good stalk, 1 would get a boar 
with unusually fine tusks, a big gazelle with unusually 
long and graceful horns, or a fine old wildebeest bull, 
its horns thick and battered, its knees bare and callous 
from its habit of going down on them when fighting or 
threatening fight. 

On our march northward w^e first made a long day's 
journey to what was called a salt marsh. An hour or 
two after starting we had a characteristic experience 
with a rhino. It was a bull, witli poor horns, standing 
in a plain which was dotted by a few straggling thorn- 
trees and wild olives. The safari's course would have 
taken it to windward of the rhino, whicli then might 
have charged in sheer irritable bewilderment, so we 
turned off at right angles. The long line of porters 
passed him two hundred yards away, while we gun 
men stood between with our rifles ready, except Kermit, 
who was busy taking photos. The rhino saw us, but 
apparently indistinctly. He made little dashes to and 
fro, and finally stood looking at us, with his big ears 

200 TO LAKE NAIVASHA [ch. ix 

cocked forward, but he did nothing more, and we left 
him standing, pkmged in meditation — probably it would 
be more accurate to say, thinking of absolutely nothing, 
as if he had been a huge turtle. After leaving him we 
also passed by files of zebra and topi, who gazed at us, 
intent and curious, within two hundred yards, until we 
had gone by and the danger was over, whereupon they 
fled in fright. 

The so-called salt marsh consisted of a dry water- 
course, with here and there a deep muddy pool. The 
ground was impregnated with some saline substance, 
and the game licked it, as well as coming to water. 
Our camp was near two reedy pools, in which there 
were big yellow-billed ducks, while queer brown herons, 
the hammerhead, had built big nests of sticks in the 
tall acacias. Bush cuckoos gurgled in the underbrush 
by night and day. Brilliant rollers flitted through the 
trees. There was much sweet bird music in the morn- 
ing. Funny little elephant shrews with long snouts, 
and pretty zebra mice, evidently of diurnal habit, 
scampered among the bushes or scuttled into their 
burrows. Tiny dikdiks, antelopes no bigger than hares, 
with swollen muzzles, and their little horns half hidden 
by tufts of hair, ran like rabbits through the grass ; the 
females were at least as large as the males. Another 
seven-foot cobra was killed. There were brilliant 
masses of the red aloe flowers, and of yellow-blossomed 
vines. Around the pools the ground was bare, and the 
game trails leading to the water were deeply rutted by 
the hoofs of the wild creatures that had travelled them 
for countless generations. 

The day after reaching this camp, Cuninghame and 
I hunted on the plains. Before noon we made out with 
our glasses two rhinos lying down, a mile off. As usual 


with these sluggish creatures, we made our preparations 
in leisurely style, and with scant regard to the animal 
itself. jNloreover we did not intend to kill any rhino 
unless its horns were out of the common. I first 
stalked and shot a buck Roberts' gazelle with a good 
head. Then we ofF-saddled the horses and sat down to 
lunch under a huge thorn-tree, which stood by itself, 
lonely and beautiful, and offered a shelter from tlie 
blazing sun. The game was grazing on every side, 
and I kept thinking of all the life of the wilderness, 
and of its many tragedies, which the great tree must 
have witnessed during the centuries since it was a 

Lunch over, I looked to the loading of tlie heavy 
rifle, and we started toward the rhinos, well to leeward. 
But the wind shifted every way ; and suddenly my 
gun- bearers called my attention to the rhinos, a quarter 
of a mile off, saying, " He charging, he charging." 
Sure enougli, they had cauglit our wind, and were 
rushing toward us. I jumped off the horse and studied 
the oncoming beasts through my field-glass ; but head 
on it was hard to tell about the horns. However, the 
wind shifted again, and when two hundred yards oif 
they lost our scent, and tui-ned to one side, tails in the 
air, heads tossing, evidently much excited. They were 
a large cow and a young heifer, nearly two-thirds grown. 
As they trotted sideways I could see the cow's horns, 
and her doom was sealed ; for they were of good length, 
and the hind one (it proved to be two feet long) was 
slightly longer than the stouter front one ; it was a 
specimen which the Museum needed. 

So after them we trudged over the brown plain. But 
they were uneasy, and kept trotting and walking. They 
never saw us with their dull eyes ; but a herd of wilde- 

202 TO LAKE NAIVASHA [ch. ix 

beest galloping by renewed their alarm. It was curious 
to see them sweeping the ground with their long, ugly 
heads, endeavouring to catch the scent. A mile's rapid 
walk brought us within two hundred yards, and we 
dared not risk the effort for a closer approach lest they 
should break and run. The cow turned broadside on, 
and I hit lier behind the shoulder ; but I was not 
familiar with the heavy Holland rifle at that range, and 
my bullet went rather too low. I think the wound 
would eventually have proved fatal ; but both beasts 
went off at a gallop, the cow now and then turning from 
side to side in high dudgeon, trying to catch the wind 
of her foe. We mounted our horses, and after a two- 
mile canter overhauled our quarry. Cuninghame took 
me well to leeward, and ahead, of the rhinos, which 
never saw us ; and then we walked to within a hundred 
yards, and I killed the cow. But we were now much 
puzzled by the young one, which refused to leave. We 
did not wish to kill it, for it was big enough to shift for 
itself; but it was also big enough to kill either of us. 
We drew back, hoping it would go away ; but it did 
not. So when the gun-bearers arrived we advanced 
and tried to frighten it; but this plan also failed. It 
threatened to charge, but could not quite make up its 
mind. Watching my chance, I then creased its stern 
with a bullet from the little Springfield, and after some 
wild circular galloping it finally decided to leave. 

Kermit, about this time, killed a heavy boar from 
horseback after a three-mile run. The boar charged 
twice, causing the horse to buck and shy. Finally, just 
as he was going into his burrow backward, Kermit raced 
by and sliot him, firing his rifle from the saddle after 
the manner of the old-time Western buffalo runners. 

We now rejoined Mearns and Loring on the banks of 


the Guaso Nyero. They had coUeeted hundreds of birds 
and small mammals, among them several new speeies. 
AVe had already heard that a JMr. Williams, whom we 
had met at McMillan's ranch, had been rather badly 
mauled by a lion, which he had mortally wounded, but 
which managed to charge home. Now we found that 
Dr. Mearns had been quite busily engaged in attending 
to cases of men who were hurt by lions. I^oring nearly 
got into the category. He killed his lioness with a light 
automatic rifle, utterly unfit for use against African 
game. Though he actually put a bullet right through 
the beast's heart, the shock from the blow was so slight 
that she was not stopped even for a second ; he hit her 
four times in all, each shot being mortal — for he was an 
excellent marksman — and she died nearly at his feet, 
her charge carrying her several yards past him. Mearns 
had galloped into a herd of wildebeest and killed the 
big bull of the herd, after first ruiming clean through 
a mob of zebras, which, as he passed, skinned their long 
yellow teeth threateningly at him, but made no attempt 
actually to attack him. 

A settler had come down to trade with the ^Nlasai 
during our absence. He ran into a large party of lions, 
killed two, and wounded a lioness, which escaped after 
mauling one of his gun-bearers. The gun-bearer rode 
into camp, and the Doctor treated his wounds. Next 
day Mearns was summoned to a Masai kraal sixteen 
miles off to treat the wounds of two of the Masai. It 
appeared that a body of them had followed and killeo 
the wounded lioness, but that two of their number had 
been much maltreated in the fight. One especially had 
been fearfully bitten, the lioness having pulled the Hesh 
loose from the bones with her fixed teeth. The Doctor 
attended to all three cases. The gun-bearer recovered ; 

204 TO LAKE NAIVASHA [ch. ix 

both the Masai died, although the Doctor did all in his 
power for the two gallant fellows. Their deaths did not 
hinder the I^lasai from sending to him all kinds of cases 
in which men or boys had met with accidents. He 
attended to them all, and gained a high reputation with 
the tribe. When the case was serious, the patient's kins- 
folk would usually present him with a sheep or war- 
spear, or something else of value. He took a great 
fancy to the Masai, as indeed all of us did. They are a 
fine, manly set of savages, bold and independent in their 
bearing. They never eat vegetables, subsisting exclu- 
sively on milk, blood, and flesh, and are remarkably 
hardy and enduring. 

Kermit found a cave which had recently been the 
abode of a party of 'Ndorobo, the wild hunter-savages 
of the M ilderness, who are more primitive in their ways 
of life than any other tribes of this region. They live 
on honey and the flesh of the wild beasts they kill ; 
they are naked, with few- and rude arms and utensils ; 
and, in short, carry on existence as our own ancestors 
did at a ^^ery early period of I'akeolithic time. Around 
this cave were many bones. Within it were beds of 
grass, and a small roofed enclosure of thorn bushes for 
the dogs. Fire-sticks had been left on the walls, to be 
ready when the owners' wanderings again brought them 
back to the cave ; and also very curious soup sticks, 
each a rod with one of the vertebne of some animal 
stuck on the end, designed for use in stirring their boiled 

From our camp on the Guaso Nyero we trekked 
in a little over four days to a point on Lake Naivasha, 
where we intended to spend some time. The first two 
days were easy travelling, the porters not being pressed 
and there being plenty of time in the afternoons to 


pitch camp comfortably ; then the waggons left us, with 
their loads of hides and skeletons and spare baggage. 
The third day we rose long before dawn, breakfasted, 
broke camp, and were off* just at sunrise. There was 
no path ; at one time we followed game trails, at 
another the trails made by tlie Masai sheep and cattle, 
and again we might make our own trail. We had two 
Masai guides, tireless runners, as graceful and sinewy as 
panthers ; they helped us, but Cuninghame had to do 
most of the pathfinding himself It was a difficult 
country, passable only at certain points, which it was 
hard to place with exactness. We had seen that each 
porter had his water-bottle full before starting ; l)ut, 
though willing, good-humoured fellows, strong as bulls, 

I in forethought they are of the grasshopper type ; and 
all but a few exhausted their supply by mid-afternoon. 
At this time we were among bold mountain ridges, and 
here we struck the kraal of some Masai, who watered 
their cattle at some spring pools, three miles to one 
side, up a valley. It was too far for the heavily laden 
porters ; but we cantered our horses thither and let 
them drink their fill ; and then cantered along the trail 
left by the safari until we overtook the rear men just as 
they were going over the l)riiik of the Mau escarpment. 
I'he scenery was wild and beautiful : in the open places 
the ground was starred with flowers of many colours ; 
we rode under \ine-tangled archways through forests of 
strange trees. 

I Down the steep mountain side went the safari, and 
at its foot struck off nearly parallel to the high ridge. 
On our left the tree-clad mountain side hung above us ; 
ravines, wdth mimosas clustering in them, sundered the 
foothills, and wound until they joined into Avhat looked 
like rivers ; the thick grass grew waist-high. It looked 

206 TO LAKE NAIVASHA [ch. ix 

like a well-watered country ; but it was of porous, 
volcanic nature, and the soil was a sieve. After night- 
fall we came to where we hoped to find water ; but 
there was not a drop in the dried pools, and we had to 
make a waterless camp. A drizzling rain had set in, 
enough to wet everything, but not enough to give any 
water for drinking. It was eight o'clock before the last 
of the weary, thirsty burden-carriers stumbled through 
the black, boulder-strewn ravine on whose farther side 
we were camped, and threw down his load among his 
fellows, who were already clustered around the little 
fires they had started in the tall grass. We slept as 
we were, and comfortably enough ; indeed, there was 
no hardship for us white men, with our heavy overcoats, 
and our food and water — which we shared with our 
personal attendants ; but I was uneasy for the porters, 
as there was another long and exhausting day's march 
ahead. Before sunrise we started ; and four hours 
later, in the bottom of a deep ravine, Cuninghame 
found a pool of green water in a scooped-out cavity in 
the rock. It was a pleasant sight to see the thirsty 
porters drink. Then they sat down, built fires and 
boiled their food, and went on in good heart. 

Two or three times we crossed singularly beautiful 
ravines, the trail winding through narrow clefts that 
were almost tunnels, and along the brinks of sheer cliffs, 
while the green mat of trees and vines was spangled 
with many- coloured fiowers. Then we came to barren 
ridges and bare, dusty plains ; and at nightfall pitched 
camp near the shores of Lake Naivasha. It is a lovely 
sheet of water, surrounded by hills and mountains, the 
shores broken by rocky promontories, and indented by 
papyrus -fringed bays. Next morning we shifted camp 
four miles to a place on the farm, and near the house, 


of the Messrs. Attenborough, settlers on the shores of 
tlie hike, wlio treated us with the most generous 
courtesy and hospitahty — as, indeed, did all the settlers 
we met. They were two brothers : one had lived 
twenty years on the Pacific Coast, mining in the 
Sierras, and the other had just retired from tlie British 
Navy, with the rank of Commander. They were able to 
turn their hands to anything, and were just the men for 
work in a new country ; for a new country is a poor 
place for the weak and incompetent, whetlier of body 
or mind. They had a steam-launch and a big, heavy 
row-boat, and they most kindly and generously put 
both at our disposal for hippo-hunting. 

At this camp I presented the porters with twenty-five 
sheep, as a recognition of their good conduct and hard 
work ; whereupon they improvised long chants in my 
honour, and feasted royally. 

We spent one entire day with the row-boat in a series 
of lagoons near camp, which marked an inlet of the lake. 
We did not get any hippo, but it was a most interesting 
day. A broad belt of papyrus fringed the lagoons and 
jutted out between them. The straight green stalks, 
with their feathery heads, rose high and close, forming 
a mass so dense that it was practically impenetrable save 
where the huge bulk of the hippos had made tunnels. 
Indeed, even for the hippos it was not readily penetrable. 
The green monotony of a papyrus swamp becomes 
wearisome after a while ; yet it is very beautiful, for 
I each reed is tall, slender, graceful, with its pale flowering 
crown ; and they are typical of the tropics, and their 
mere sight suggests a vertical sun and hot, steaming 
swamps, where great marsh beasts feed and wallow and 
bellow, amidst a teeming reptilian life. A fringe of 
papyrus here and there adds mucli to the beauty of a 

208 TO LAKE NAIVASHA [ch. ix 

lake, and also to the beauty of the river pools, where 
clumps of them grow under the shade of the vine- 
tangled tropical trees. 

The open waters of the lagoons were covered with 
water-lilies, bearing purple or sometimes pink flowers. 
Across the broad lily-pads ran the curious " hly trotters," 
or jacanas — richly-coloured birds, with toes so long and 
slender that the lily-pads support them without sinking. 
They were not shy, and their varied colouring — a bright 
chestnut being the most conspicuous hue — and singular 
habits made them very conspicuous. There was a 
wealth of bird life in the lagoons. Small gulls, some- 
what like our black-headed gull, but with their hoods 
grey, flew screaming around us. Black and white king- 
fishers, tiny red-billed kingfishers, with colours so 
brilliant that they flashed like jewels in the sun, and 
brilliant green bee-eaters, wdth chestnut breasts, perched 
among the reeds. Spur-winged plover clamoured as they 
circled overhead, near the edges of the water. Little 
rails and red-legged water-hens threaded the edges of 
the papyrus, and grebes dived in the open water. A 
giant heron, the Goliath, flew up at our approach ; and 
there were many smaller herons and egrets, white or 
parti-coloured. There were small, dark cormorants, and 
larger ones with white throats ; and African ruddy 
ducks, and teal and big yellow-billed ducks, somewhat 
like mallards. Among the many kinds of ducks was 
one which made a whistling noise with its wings as it 
flew. Most plentiful of all were the coots, much 
resembling our common bald-pate coot, but with a pair 
of horns or papillae at the hinder end of the bare frontal 

There were a number of hippo in these lagoons. One 
afternoon, after four o'clock, I saw two standing half out 

\\'liat one lias to shoot at wiicn alter liippo on water 

Mr. Roosevelt's hippo char^ini; open-mouthetl 
Front photo^ raphs by Kcriitit Roosevelt 


of the water in a shallow eating the water-lilies. They 
seemed to spend the earlier part of the day sleeping or 
resting in the papyrus or near its edge ; toward evening 
they splashed and waded among the water-lilies, tearing 
them up with their huge jaws ; and during the night 
they came ashore to feed on the grass and land plants. 
In consequence those killed during the day, until the 
late afternoon, had their stomachs filled, not with water 
plants, but with grasses which they must hav^e obtained 
in their niglit journeys on dry land. At night I heard 
the bulls bellowing and roaring. They fight savagely 
among themselves, and where they are not molested, and 
tiie natives are timid, they not only do great damage to 
the gardens and crops, trampling them down and shovel- 
ling basketfuls into their huge mouths, but also become 
dangerous to human beings, attacking boats or canoes in 
a spirit of wanton and ferocious mischief At this place, 
a few weeks before our arrival, a young bull, badly 
scarred, and evidently having been roughly handled by 
a bigger bull, came ashore in the daytime and actually 
attacked the cattle, and was promptly shot in conse- 
quence. They are astonishingly quick in their move- 
ments for such shapeless-looking, short-legged things. 
Of course, they cannot swim in deep water with any- 
thing like the speed of the real swimming manniials, nor 
move on shore with the agility and speed of the true 
denizens of the land ; nevertheless, by sheer muscular 
power, and in spite of their shape, they move at an un- 
expected rate of speed both on dry land and in deep 
water ; and in shallow water, their true home, they 
gallop very fast on the bottom, under water. Ordinarily 
only their heads can be seen, and they must be shot in 
the brain. If they are found in a pool with little cover, 
and if the shots can be taken close by, from firm ground, 


210 TO LAKE NAIVASHA [ch. ix 

there is no sport whatever in kilHng them. But the 
brain is small and the skull huge, and if they are any 
distance off, and especially if the shot has to be taken 
from an unsteady boat, there is ample opportunity to 

On the day we spent with the big row-boat in the 
lagoons both Kermit and I had shots ; each of us hit, 
but neither of us got his game. My shot was at the 
head of a hippo facing me in a bay about a hundred 
yards off, so that I had to try to shoot very low between 
the eyes ; the water was smooth, and I braced my legs 
well and fired offhand. I hit him, but was confident 
that I had missed the brain, for he lifted slightly, and 
then went under, nose last ; and when a hippo is shot in 
the brain the head usually goes under nose first. An 
exasperating feature of hippo-shooting is that, save in 
exceptional circumstances, where the water is very 
shallow, the animal sinks at once when killed outright, 
and does not float for one or two or three hours, so that 
one has to wait that length of time before finding out 
whether the game has or has not been bagged. On this 
occasion we never saw a sign of the animal after I fired, 
and as it seemed impossible that in that situation the 
hippo could get off unobser\'ed, my companions thought 
1 had killed him. 1 thought not, and, unfortunately, 
my judgment proved to be correct. 

Another day, in the launch, I did much the same 
thing. Again the hippo was a long distance off, only 
his head appearing, but unfortunately not in profile, 
much the best position for a shot ; again I hit him, 
again he sank, and, look as hard as we could, not a sign 
of him appeared, so that everyone was sure he was dead ; 
and again no body ever floated. But on this day Kermit 
got his hippo. He hit it first in the head, merely a flesh 

CH. ix] OTTERS 211 

wound ; but the startled creature then rose high in the 
water, and he shot it in the lungs. It now found difficulty 
in staying under, and continually rose to the surface 
with a plunge like a porpoise, going as fast as it could 
toward the papyrus. After it we went, full speed, for 
once in the papyrus we could not have followed it ; and 
Kermit finally killed it, just before it reached the edge 
of the swamp, and, luckily, where the water was so 
shallow that we did not have to wait for it to float, but 
fastened a rope to two of its turtle-like legs, and towed 
it back forthwith. 

Tliere were otters in the lake. One day we saw two 
playing together near the shore, and at first we were all 
of us certain that it was some big water-snake. It was 
not until we were very close tliat we made out the 
supposed one big snake to be two otters ; it was rather 
interesting, as giving one of the explanations of the 
stories that always appear about large water-snakes, or 
similar monsters, existing in almost every lake of any 
size in a wild country. On another day I shot another 
near shore ; he turned over and over, splashing and 
tumbling ; but just as we were about to grasp him, he 
partially recovered and dived to safety in the reeds. 

On the second day we went out in the launch I got 
my hippo. We steamed down the lake, not far from 
the shore, for over ten miles, dragging the big, clumsy 
row-boat, in which Cuninghame had put three of our 
porters who knew how to row. Then we spied a big- 
hippo walking entirely out of water on the edge of the 
papyrus, at the farther end of a little bay which was 
filled with water-lilies. Thither we steamed, and when 
a few rods from the bay, Cuninghame, Kermit, and I 
got into the row-boat. Cuninghame steered, Kermit 
carried his camera, and I steadied myself in the bow 

212 TO LAKE NATVASHA [ch. ix 

with the little Springfield rifle. The hippo was a self- 
confident, truculent beast ; it went under water once or 
twice, but again came out to the papyrus and M^aded 
along the edge, its body out of water. We headed 
toward it, and thrust the boat in among the water-lilies, 
finding that the bay was shallow, from three to six feet 
deep. While still over a hundred yards from the hippo, 
I saw it turn as if to break into the papyrus, and at 
once fired into its shoulder, the tiny pointed bullet 
smashing the big bones. Round spun the great beast, 
plunged into the water, and with its huge jaws open 
came straight for the boat, floundering and splashing 
through the thick-growing water-lilies. I think that its 
chief object was to get to deep water ; but we were 
between it and the deep water, and instead of trying to 
pass to one side it charged straight for the boat, with 
open jaws, bent on mischief. But I hit it again and 
again with the little sharp-pointed bullet. Once I struck 
it between neck and shoulder ; once, as it rushed forward 
with its huge jaws stretched to their threatening utmost, 
1 fired right between them, whereat it closed them with 
the clash of a sprung bear-trap ; and then, when under 
the punishment it swerved for a moment, I hit it at the 
base of the ear, a brain shot which dropped it in its 
tracks. Meanwhile Kermit was busily taking photos 
of it as it charged ; and, as he mentioned afterward, 
until it was dead he never saw it except in tlie " finder" 
of his camera. The water was so shallow where I had 
killed the hippo that its body projected slightly above 
the surface. It was the hardest kind of work getting 
it out from among the water-lilies ; then we towed it to 
camp behind the launch. 

The engineer of the launch was an Indian Moslem. 
The fireman and the steersman were two half-naked 


f •"&• 

- ■< 

5 'S' 

. ■<^. 

CH. ix] MICE AND RATS 213 

and mueh-oriianiented Kikuyus. The fireman wore a 
blue head chain on one ankle, a brass armlet on the 
opposite arm, a belt of short steel chains, a dingy 
blanket (no loni-cloth), and a skuU-eap surmounted by 
a plume of ostrich feathers. Tiie two Kikuyus were 
unconsciously entertaining- companions. W'ithout any 
warning, they would suddenly start a song or chant, 
usually an impromptu recitative of whatever at the 
moment interested them. They chanted for lialf an 
iiour over the feat of the '• Bwana Makuba " (great 
master or chief —my name) in killing the hippo, laying 
especial stress upon the quantity of excellent meat it 
would furnish and how very good the eating would l)e. 
Usually one would improvise the chant and the other 
join in the chorus. Sometimes they would solenmly 
sing complimentary songs to one another, each in turn 
chanting the manifold good qualities of his companion. 

Around this camp were many birds. The most note- 
worthy was a handsome grey eagle owl, bigger than 
our great horned owl, to which it is closely akin. It 
did not hoot or scream, its voice being a kind of grunt, 
followed in a second or two by a succession of similar 
sounds, uttered more quickly and in a lower tone. 
These big owls frequently came round camp after dark, 
and at first their notes completely puzzled me, as 1 
thought they must be made by some beast. The bul- 
buls sang well. Most of the birds w^ere in no w^ay like 
our home birds. 

Loring trapped (juantities of mice and rats, and it 
was curious to see how many of them had acquired 
characters which caused tliem superficially to resemble 
American animals with which they had no real kinship. 
The sand rats that burrowed in the dry plains were in 
siiape. in colour, eyes, tail, and paws strikingly like our 

214 TO LAKE NAIVASHA [ch. ix 

pocket gophers, which have shiiilar habits. So the 
long-tailed gerbils, or gerbil-like rats, resembled our 
kangaroo rats ; and there was a blunt-nosed, stubby- 
tailed little rat superficially hardly to be told from our 
rice rat. But the most characteristic rodent — the big 
long- tailed, jumping springhaas, resembled nothing of 
ours ; and there were tree rats and spiny mice. There 
were grey monkeys in the trees around camp, which the 
naturalists shot. 

Heller trapped various beasts — beautifully marked 
genets and a big white-tailed mongoose which was very 
savage. But his most remarkable catch was a leopard. 
He had set a steel trap, fastened to a loose thorn 
branch, for mongoose, civets, or jackals. It was a 
number two Blake, such as in America we use for 
coons, skunks, foxes, and perhaps bobcats and coyotes. 
In the morning he found it gone, and followed the trail 
of the thorn branch until it led into a dense thicket, 
from which issued an ominous growl. His native boy 
shouted " Simba !" but it was a leopard, not a lion. 
He could not see into the thicket ; so he sent back to 
camp for his rifle, and when it came he climbed a tree 
and endeavoured to catch a glimpse of the animal. He 
could see nothing, however, and finally fired into the 
thicket rather at random. The answer was a furious 
growl, and the leopard charged out to the foot of the 
tree, much hampered by the big thorn branch. He put 
a bullet into it, and back it went, only to come out and 
to receive another bullet ; and he killed it. It was an 
old male, in good condition, weighing one hundred and 
twenty-six pounds. The trap was not big enough to 
contain his whole paw, and he had been cauglit firmly 
by one toe. The thorn bush acted as a drag, which 
prevented him from going far, and yet always yielded 

CH. IX] POllCl PINES 215 

somewhat when he pulled. A bear thus caught would 
have chewed up the trap or else pulled his foot loose, 
even at the cost of sacrificing the toe ; but the cats are 
more sensitive to pain. This leopard was smaller than 
any full-grown male cougar I have ever killed, and yet 
cougars often kill game rather heavier than leopards 
usually venture upon ; yet very few cougars indeed 
would show anything like the pluck and ferocity shown 
by this leopard, and characteristic of its kind. 

Kermit killed a waterbuck of a kind new to us — the 
sing-sing. He also killed two porcupines and two 
baboons. The porcupines are terrestrial animals, living 
in burrows, to which they keep during the daytime. 
They are much heavier than, and in all their ways 
totally different from, our sluggish tree porcupines. 
The baboons were numerous around this camp, living 
both among the rocks and in the tree-tops. They are 
hideous creatures. They ravage the crops and tear 
open new-born lambs to get at the milk inside them ; 
and where the natives are timid and unable to harm 
them, they become wantonly savage and aggressive, 
and attack and even kill w^omen and children. In 
Uganda, Ciminghame had once been asked by a native 
chief to come to his village and shoot the baboons, as 
they had just killed two w'omen, badly bitten several 
children, and caused such a reign of terror that the 
village would be abandoned if they were not killed 
or intimidated. He himself saw the torn and mutilated 
bodies of the dead women ; and he stayed in the village 
a week, shooting so many baboons that the remainder 
were tlioroughly cowed. Baboons and boars are the 
most formidable of all foes to the dogs that hunt them 
— just as leopards are of all wild animals those most apt 
to prey on dogs. A baboon's teeth and hands are far 

216 TO LAKE NAIVASHA [ch. ix 

more formidable weapons than those of any dog, and 
only a very few wholly exceptional dogs of huge size, 
and great courage and intelligence, can single-handed 
contend with an old male. But we saw a settler whose 
three big terriers could themselves kill a full-grown 
wart-hog boar — an almost unheard - of feat. They 
backed up one another with equal courage and adroit- 
ness, their aim being for two to seize the hind-legs ; 
then the third, watching his chance, would get one 
fore-leg, when the boar was speedily thrown, and when 
weakened, killed by bites in his stomach. 

Hitherto we had not obtained a bull hippo, and I 
made up my mind to devote myself to getting one, 
as otherwise the group for the Museum would be 
mcomplete. Save in exceptional cases I do not think 
hippo-hunting, after the first one has been obtained, a 
very attractive sport, because usually one has to wait 
an hour before it is possible to tell whether or not a 
shot has been successful, and also because, a portion 
of the head being all that is usually visible, it is 
exceedingly difficult to say whether the animal seen is 
a bull or a cow. As the time allowed for a shot is very 
short, and any hesitation probably insures the animal's 
escape, this means that two or three hippo may be 
killed, quite unavoidably, before the right specimen is 
secured. Still, there may be interesting and exciting- 
incidents in a hippo hunt. Cuninghame, the two 
Attenboroughs, and I started early in the launch, 
towing the big, clumsy row-boat, with as crew three 
of our porters who could row. We steamed down the 
lake some fifteen miles to a wide bay, indented by 
smaller bays, lagoons, and inlets, all fringed by a broad 
belt of impenetrable papyrus, while the beautiful purple 
lilies, with their leathery, tough stems and broad surface- 

A black-backed jackal 

A potted genet 

A tree hyrax 

A white-tailed mongoose 

A buck of the big gazelle, with un- 
usually fine head, shot at Saltmarsh 

A porcupine 

A pelican 

A Baboon 



floating leaves, tilled the shallows. At the mouth of 
the main bay we passed a floating island, a mass of 
papyrus perhaps a lumdred and fifty acres in extent, 
which had been broken off from the shore somewhere, 
and was floating over the lake as the winds happened to 
drive it. 

In an opening in the dense papyrus masses we left 
the lainich moored, and Cuninghame and I started in 
the row-boat to coast the green wall of tall, thick- 
growing, feather-topped reeds. Under the bright sun- 
shine tlie shallow flats were alive with bird life. Gulls, 
both the grey-hooded and the black-backed, screamed 
harshly overhead. The chestnut-coloured lily trotters 
tripped dahitily over the lily-pads, and when they flew, 
lield their long legs straight beliind them, so that they 
looked as if they had tails like pheasants. Sacred ibis, 
white, with naked black head and neck, stalked along 
the edge of the water, and on the bent papyrus small 
cormorants and herons perched. Everywhere there 
were coots and ducks, and crested grebes, big and little. 
Huge white pelicans floated on the water. Once we 
saw a string of flamingos fly by, their plumage a 
wonderful red. 

Immediately after leaving the launch we heard a 
hippo, iiidden in the green fastness on our right, 
uttering a meditative soliloquy, consisting of a succes- 
sion of squealing grimts. Then we turned a point, 
and in a little bay saw six or eight hippo, floating 
with their heads above water. There were two much 
bigger than the others, and Cuninghame, while of 
course unable to be certain, thought these were probably 
males. The smaller ones, including a cow and her calf, 
were not much alarmed, and floated quietly, looking at 
us, as we cautiously paddled and drifted nearer ; but the 

218 TO LAKE NAIVASHA [ch. ix 

bigger ones dived and began to work their way past 
us toward deep water. We could trace their course by 
the twisting of the hly-pads. Motionless the rowers lay 
on their oars ; the line of moving lily-pads showed that 
one of the big hippo was about to pass the boat. 
Suddenly the waters opened close at hand, and a 
monstrous head appeared. " Shoot," said Cuninghame, 
and I fired into the back of the head just as it dis- 
appeared. It sank out of sight without a splash, 
almost without a ripple ; the lily-pads ceased twisting ; 
a few bubbles of air rose to the surface. Evidently the 
hippo lay dead underneath. Poling to the spot, we 
at once felt the huge body with our oar blades. But, 
alas ! when the launch came round, and we raised the 
body, it proved to be that of a big cow. 

So I left Cuninghame to cut off the head for the 
Museum, and started off by myself in the boat with 
two rowers, neither of whom spoke a word of English. 
For an hour we saw only the teeming bird life. Then, 
in a broad, shallow lagoon, we made out a dozen hippo, 
two or three very big. Cautiously we approached them, 
and when seventy yards off I fired at the base of the ear 
of one of the largest. Down went every head, and utter 
calm succeeded. I had marked the spot where the one 
at which I shot had disappeared, and thither we rowed. 
When we reached the place, I told one of the rowers to 
thrust a pole down and see if he could touch the dead 
body. He thrust according, and at once shouted that 
he had found the hippo ; in another moment his face 
altered, and he shouted much more loudly that the 
hippo M^as alive. Sure enough, bump went the hippo 
against the bottom of the boat, the jar causing us all to 
sit suddenly down — for we were standing. Another 
bump showed that we had again been struck, and the 


shallow, muddy water boiled as the huge beasts, above 
and })elow the surface, scattered in every direction. 
Their eyes starting, the two rowers began to back water 
out of the dangerous neighbourhood, while 1 shot at an 
animal whose head appeared to my left, as it made off 
with frantic haste ; for 1 took it for granted that the 
hippo at which I had first fired (and which was really 
dead) had escaped. This one disappeared as usual, and 
I had not the sliohtest idea wliether or not I had killed 
it. I had small opportunity to ponder the subject, for 
twenty feet away the water bubbled and a huge head 
shot out fficing me, the jaws wide open. There was no 
time to guess at its intentions, and I fired on the instant. 
Down went the head, and I felt the boat quiver as the 
hippo passed underneath. Just here the lily-pads were 
thick ; so I marked its course, fired as it rose, and down 
it went. But on the other quarter of the boat a beast, 
evidently of great size — it proved to be a big bull — now 
appeared, well above water, and I put a bullet into its 

I did not wish to shoot again unless I had to, and 
stood motionless, with the little Springfield at the ready. 
A head burst up twenty yards off, with a lily-pad 
plastered over one eye, giving the hippo an absurd 
resemblance to a discomfited prize-fighter, and then dis- 
appeared with great agitation. Two half-grown beasts 
stupid from fright appeared, and stayed up for a minute 
or two at a time, not knowing what to do. Other heads 
popped up, getting farther and farther away. By degrees 
everything vanished, the water grew calm, and we rowed 
over to the papyrus, moored ourselves by catching hold 
of a couple of stems, and awaited events. Within an 
hour four dead hippos appeared — a very big bull and 
three big cows. Of course, I would not have shot the 

220 TO LAKE NAIVASHA [ch. ix 

latter if it could have been avoided ; but in the circum- 
stances I do not see how it was possible to help it. The 
meat was not wasted ; on the contrary, it was a godsend, 
not only to our own porters, but to the natives round 
about, many of whom were on short commons on account 
of the drought. 

Bringing over the launch, we M^orked until after dark 
to get the bull out of the difficult position in which he 
lay. It was nearly seven o'clock before we liad him 
fixed for towing on one quarter, the row-boat towing on 
the other, by which time two hippos were snorting and 
blowing within a few yards of us, their curiosity much 
excited as to what was going on. The night was over- 
cast ; there were drenching rain squalls, and a rather 
heavy sea was running, and I did not get back to camp 
until after three. Next day the launch fetched in the 
rest of the hippo meat. 

From this camp we went into Naivasha, on the line 
of the railway. In many places the road was beautiful, 
leading among the huge yellow trunks of giant thorn- 
trees, the ground rising sheer on our left as we cantered 
along the edge of the lake. We passed impalla, 
tommies, zebra, and wart-hog ; and in one place saw 
three waterbuck cows feeding just outside the papyrus 
at high noon. They belonged to a herd that lived in 
the papyrus and fed on the grassy flats outside ; and 
their feeding in the open exactly at noon was another 
proof of the fact that the custom of feeding in the early 
morning and late evening is with most game entirely 
artificial and the result of fear of man. Birds abounded. 
Parties of the dark-coloured ant-eating wlieatear sang 
sweetly from trees and bushes, and even from the roofs 
of the settlers' houses. The tri-coloured starlings — 
black, white, and chestnut — sang in the air, as well as 




g'aWI*^ ;:.;;fjl*'i":''j*'*''-..t - '.f 

(11. IX] SPRINGHAAS 221 

wlien perched on twigs. Stopping at the Government 
farm (which is most interesting ; the results obtained in 
improA'ing the native sheep, goats, and cattle by the use 
of imported thoroughbred bulls and rams have been 
astonishingly successful), wc saw the little long-tailed, 
red-billed, black and white whydahs Hitting around the 
outbuildings as familiarly as sparrows. AVater birds of 
all kinds thronged the meadows bordering the papyrus, 
and swam and waded among the water-lilies ; sacred 
ibis, herons, beautiful white spoonbills, darters, cor- 
morants, Egyptian geese, ducks, coots, and water-hens. 
T got up within rifle-range of a flock of the queer ibis 
stork, black and white birds with curved yellow bills, 
naked red faces, and wonderful purple tints on the 
edges and the insides of the wings. With the little 
S])ringfield I shot one on the ground and another on the 
wing, after the flock had risen. 

That night Kermit and Dr. INIearns went out with 
lanterns and shot-guns, and each killed one of the 
springhaas, the jumping hares, which abounded in the 
neighbourhood. These big, burrowing animals, which 
progress by jumping like kangaroos, are stri(;tly noc- 
turnal, and their eyes shine in the glare of the lanterns. 

Next day I took the Fox gun, which had already on 
ducks, guinea-fowl, and francolin, shown itself an 
exceptionally hard-hitting and close-shooting weapon, 
and collected various water birds for the naturalists ; 
among others, a couple of Egyptian geese. 1 also shot 
a white pelican with the Springfleld rifle ; there was a 
beautiful rosy flush on the breast. 

Here we again got news of the outside world. While 
on safari the only newspaper which any of us ever saw 
was the (hccgo Gazette, which Loring, in a fine spirit 
of neighbourhood loyalty, always had sent to him in his 

222 TO LAKE NAIVASHA [ch. ix 

mail. To the Doctor, by the way, I had become knit 
in a bond of close intellectual sympathy ever since a 
chance allusion to " William Henry's Letters to his 
Grandmother " had disclosed the fact that each of us, 
ever since the days of his youth, had preserved the 
bound volumes of Our Young Folks, and moreover 
firmly believed tliat there never had been its equal as a 
magazine, whether for old or young ; even though tlie 
Plancus of our golden consulship was the not wholly 
happy Andrew Johnson. 


Ox July 24, in order to ship our fresh accumulations of 
specimens and trophies, we once more went into Nairobi. 
It was a pleasure again to see its tree-bordered streets 
and charming houses, bowered in vines and bushes, and 
to meet once more the men and women who dwelt in 
the houses. T wish it were in my power to thank 
individually the members of the many East African 
households, of which 1 shall always cherish warm 
memories of friendship and regard. 

At Nairobi I saw Selous, who had just returned from 
a two months' safari with MciNIillan, W'illiams, and 
Judd. Their experience shows how large the element 
of luck is in lion-hunting. Selous was particularly 
anxious to kill a good lion ; there is nowhere to be 
found a more skilful or more hard-working hunter, yet 
he never even got a shot. W^illiams, on the other hand, 
came across three. Two he killed easily. The tliird 
charged him. He was carrying a double-barrelled -450, 
but failed to stop the beast ; it seized him by the leg, 
and his Hfe was saved by his Swahili gun-bearer, who 
gave the lion a fatal shot as it stood over him. He 
came within an ace of dying ; but when 1 saw him at 
the hospital, he was well on the road to recovery. One 
clay Selous, while on horseback, saw a couple of lionesses, 



and galloped after them, followed by Judd, seventy or 
eighty yards behind. One lioness stopped and crouched 
under a bush, let Selous pass, and then charged Judd. 
She was right alongside him, and he fired from the hip ; 
the bullet went into her eye. His horse jumped and 
swerved at the shot, throwing him off, and he found 
himself sitting on the ground, not three yards from the 
dead honess. Nothing more was seen of the other. 

Continually I met men with experiences in their past 
lives which showed how close the country was to those 
primitive conditions in which warfare witli wild beasts 
was one of the main features of man's existence. At 
one dinner my host and two of my fellow-guests had 
been within a year or eighteen months severely mauled 
by Hons. All three, by the way, informed me that the 
actual biting caused them at the moment no pain what- 
ever ; the pain came later. On meeting Harold Hill, 
my companion on one of my Kapiti Plains lion hunts, 
I found that since I had seen him he had been roughly 
handled by a dying leopard. The Government had just 
been obliged to close one of the trade routes to native 
caravans because of the ravages of a man-eating lion, 
which carried men away from tlie camps. A safari 
which had come in from tlie north had been charged by 
a rhino, and one of the porters tossed and killed, the 
horn being driven clean through his loins. At Heatley's 
Farm three buffaloes (belonging to the same herd from 
which we had shot five) rushed out of the papyrus one 
afternoon at a passing buggy, which just managed to 
escape by a breakneck run across the level plain, the 
beasts chasing it for a mile. One afternoon, at Govern- 
ment House, I met a Government official who had 
once succeeded in driving into a corral seventy zebras, 
including more stallions than mares. Their misfortune 


in no way abated their savagery toward one another, 
and as the Hmited space forbade the escape of the 
weaker, the staUions fought to the death with teeth 
and hoofs during the first night, and no less than 
twenty were killed outright or died of their wounds. 

JMost of the time in Nairobi we were the guests 
of ever-hospitable McMillan, in his low, cool house, 
with its broad vine-shaded veranda running around all 
four sides, and its garden, fragrant and brilliant with 
innumerable flowers. Birds aboimded, singing beauti- 
fully. The bulbuls were the most noticeable singers, 
but tliere were many others. The dark ant-eating chats 
liaunted the dusky roads on the outskirts of the town, 
and were interesting birds. They were usually found 
in parties, flirted their tails up and down as they sat on 
bushes or roofs or wires, sang freely in chorus until 
after dusk, and then retired to holes in the ground for 
the night. A tiny owl, with a (jueer little voice, called 
continually, not only after nightfall, but in the bright 
afternoons. Shrikes spitted insects on the spines of the 
imported cactus in the gardens. 

It was race week, and the races, in some of which 
Kermit rode, were capital fun. The white people — 
army officers, Government officials, farmers from the 
country round about, and their wives — rode to the 
races on ponies or even on camels, or drove up in rick- 
shaws, in gharries, in bullock tongas, occasionally in 
automobiles, most often in two-wheel carts or rickety 
hacks, drawn by mules and driven by a turbaned Indian 
or a native in a cotton shirt. There were l*arsees and 
(Toanese dressed just like the Europeans. There were 
many other Indians, their picturesque womenkind 
gaudy in crimson, blue, and saffron. The constabulary, 
Indian and native, were in neat uniforms and well set 




up, though often barefooted. Straight, slender Somahs, 
with clear-cut features, were in attendance on the 
horses. Native negroes, of many different tribes, flocked 
to the racecourse and its neighbourhood. Tiie Swahilis, 
and those among the others who aspired toward civili- 
zation, were well clad, the men in half European 
costume, the women in flowing, parti-coloured robes. 
But most of them were clad, or unclad, just as they' 
always had been. AVakambas, with filed teeth, crouched 
in circles on the ground. Kikuyus passed, the men each 
with a blanket hung round the shoulders and girdles 
of chains, and armlets and anklets of solid metal ; the 
older women bent under burdens they carried on the 
back, half of them, in addition, with babies slung some- 
where round them, while now and then an unmarried 
girl would have her face painted with ochre and ver- 
milion. A small party of Masai warriors kept close 
together, each clutching his sinning, long-bladed, war- 
spear, their hair daubed red and twisted into strings. 
A large band of Kavirondos, stark naked, with shield 
and spear and head-dress of nodding plumes, held a 
dance near the race-track. As for the races themselves, 
they were carried on in the most sporting spirit, and 
only the Australian poet Patterson could adequately 
write of them. 

On August 4 1 returned to Lake Naivasha, stopphig 
on the way at Kijabe to lay the corner-stone of the new 
mission building. JMearns and Loring had stayed at 
Naivasha, and had collected many birds and small 
mammals. That night they took me out on a spring- 
haas hunt. Thanks to Kermit, we had discovered that 
the way to get this curious and purely nocturnal animal 
was by " shining " it with a lantern at night, just as in 
our own country deer, coons, owls, and other creatures 


can be killed. Springlmas live in big 1)uitows, a number 
of them dwelling together in one conmiimity, the holes 
close to one another, and making what in the \\'est we 
would call a " town " in speaking of prairie dogs. At 
night they come out to feed on the grass. They are as 
lieavy as a big jack-rabbit, with short forelegs, and long 
hind-legs and tail, so that they look, and on occasion 
move, like miniature kangaroos, althougli, in addition to 
making long hops or jumps, they often run almost like 
an ordinary rat or rabbit, i'hey are pretty creatures, 
fawn-coloured above and white beneath, with tlie 
terminal half of the tail very dark. In hunting them 
we simply walked over the fiats for a couple of hours, 
Hashing the bull's-eye lantern on all sides, until we saw 
the light reflected back by a springhaas's eyes. Then 1 
would approach to within range, and hold the lantern in 
my left hand, so as to shine both on the sight and on the 
eyes in front, resting my gun on my left wrist. The 
No. 3 shot in the Fox double-barrel would always 
do the business, if I held straight enough. There was 
nothing but the gleam of the eyes to shoot at, and this 
might suddenly be raised or lowered as the intently 
watching animal crouched on all-fours or raised itself on 
its hind-legs. I shot half a dozen, all that the naturalists 
wanted. Then I tried to shoot a fox, but the moon had 
risen from behind a cloud bank. I had to take a long 
shot, and missed, but my companions killed several, and 
found that they were a new species of the peculiar 
African long-eared fox. 

While waiting for the safari to get ready, Kermit 
w ent off on a camping trip and shot two bushbuck, 
while I spent a couple of days trying for sing-sing water- 
buck on the edge of the papyrus. I missed a bull, and 
wounded another which 1 did not get. This was all the 


more exasperating because interspersed with the misses 
were some good shots : I killed a fine waterbuck cow at 
a hundred yards, and a buck tommy for the table at two 
hundred and fifty ; and, after missing a handsome black 
and white, red-billed and red-legged jabiru, or saddle- 
billed stork, at a hundred and fifty yards, as he stalked 
through the meadow after frogs, I cut him down on the 
wing at a hundred and eighty with the little Springfield 

The waterbuck spent the daytime outside, but near 
the edge of, the papyrus. I found them grazing or rest- 
ing, in the open, at all times between early morning 
and late afternoon. Some of them spent most of 
the day in the papyrus, keeping to the watery trails 
made by the hippos and by themselves ; but this was 
not the general habit, unless they had been persecuted. 
AVhen frightened they often ran into the papyrus, smash- 
ing the dead reeds and splashing tlie water in their rush. 
They are noble-looking antelope, with long, shaggy 
hair, and their chosen haimts beside the lake were very 
attractive. Clumps of thorn-trees and flowering bushes 
grew at the edge of the tall papyrus here and there, and 
oflen formed a matted jungle, the trees laced together 
by creepers, many of them brilliant in their bloom. 
The climbing morning-glories sometimes completely 
covered a tree with their pale purple flowers, and other 
blossoming vines spangled the green over which their 
sprays were flung with masses of bright yellow. 

Four days' march from Naivasha, where we again left 
Mearns and Loring, took us to Neri. Our line of march 
lay across the high plateaux and mountain chains of the 
Aberdare range. The steep, twisting trail was slippery 
with mud. Our last camp, at an altitude of about ten 
thousand feet, was so cold that the water froze in the 

CTi. x] NEllI 229 

})asin.s, and the .slii\ ering porters slept in numbed dis- 
comfort. There was constant loo- and rain, and on the 
highest plateau tlie bleak landscape, slu'ouded in driving 
mist, was northern to all the senses. Tlie ground was 
rolling, and througli the deep valleys ran brawling 
brooks of clear water ; one little foaming stream, 
suddenly tearing down a hillside, might liave been that 
which Childe Roland crossed before he came to the dark 

There was not much game, and it generally moved 
abroad by night. One frosty evening we killed a duiker 
by shining its eyes. We saw old elephant-tracks. The 
high, wet lexels swarmed with mice and shrews, just as 
our arctic and alpine meadows swarm with them. The 
species were really widely different from ours, but many 
of them showed curious analogies in form and habits ; 
there was a short-tailed shrew much like our mole 
shrew, and a long-haired, short-tailed rat like a very big 
meadow mouse. They were so plentiful that we 
frequently saw them, and the grass was cut up by their 
runways. They were abroad during the day, probably 
finding the nights too cold, and in an hour Heller 
trapped a dozen or two individuals belonging to seven 
species and ii\e different genera. There were not many 
birds so high up. There were deer-ferns; and Spanish 
moss hung from the trees and even from the bamboos. 
The flowers included utterly strange forms, as, for 
instance, giant lobelias ten feet high. Others we know 
in our gardens— geraniums and red-hot-pokers, which 
in places turned the glades to a fire colour. Yet others 
either were like, or looked like, our own wild flowers : 
orange lady-slippers, red gladiolus on stalks six feet 
high, pansy-like violets, and blackberries and yellow 
raspberries. There were stretches of bushes bearing 


masses of small red or large white flowers shaped some- 
what like columbines, or like the garden balsam ; the 
red flower bushes were under the bamboos, the white at 
a lower level. The crests and upper slopes of the 
mountains were clothed in the green uniformity of tlie 
bamboo forest, the trail winding dim under its dark 
archway of tall, close-growing stems. Lower down 
were junipers and ye^^'s, and then many other trees, 
M'ith among them tree-ferns and strange dragon-trees 
with lily-like frondage. Zone succeeded zone from top 
to bottom, each marked by a different plant- life. 

In this part of Africa, where flowers bloom and birds 
sing all the year round, there is no such burst of bloom 
and song as in the northern spring and early summer. 
There is nothing like the mass of blossoms which carpet 
the meadows of the high mountain valleys and far 
northern meadows, during their brief high tide of life, 
when one short joyous burst of teeming and vital beauty 
atones for the long death of the iron fall and winter. 
So it is with the bird songs. iNIany of them are 
beautiful, though to my ears none quite as beautiful as 
the best of our own bird songs. At any rate there is 
nothing that quite corresponds to the chorus that 
during ^Lay and June moves northward from the 
Gulf States and Southern California to Maine, Min- 
nesota, and Oregon, to Ontario and Saskatchewan ; 
when tliere comes the m-eat v^ernal burst of bloom and 
song ; when the may-flower, bloodroot, wake-robin, 
anemone, adder 's-tongue, liverwort, shadblow, dogwood, 
red bud, gladden the woods ; when mocking-birds and 
cardinals sing in the magnolia groves of the South, and 
hermit thrushes, winter wrens, and sweetheart sparrows 
in the spruce and hemlock forests of the North ; when 
bobolinks in the East and meadow-larks East and West 


sing in the fields ; and water-ousels by the cold streams 
of the Rockies, and canon wrens in their sheer gorges ; 
when from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific wood- 
tlu'ushes, veeries, rufous-backed thrushes, robins, blue- 
birds, orioles, thrashers, cat-birds, house-finches, song- 
sparrows — some in the East, some in the AVest, some 
both P^ast and West — and many, many other singers 
thrill the gardens at sunrise ; until the long days begin 
to shorten, and tawny lilies burn by the roadside, and 
the indigo buntings trill from the tops of little trees 
throughout the hot afternoons. 

We were in the Ivikuyu country. On om* march we 
met several parties of nati\es. I had been nuich in- 
clined to pity the porters, who had but one blanket 
apiece ; but when I saw the Kikuyus, each with nothing 
but a smaller blanket, and without the other clothing 
and the tents of the porters, I realized how nnich better 
off the latter were, simply because they were on a white 
man's safari. At Neri Boma we were greeted with tlie 
warmest hospitality by the District Commissioner, iNIr. 
Browne. Among other things, he arranged a great 
Kikuyu dance in our honour. Two thousand warriors 
and many women came in, as well as a small party of 
INIasai moran. The warriors were naked, or hall^naked ; 
some carried gaudy blankets, others girdles of leopard 
skin ; their ox-hide shields were coloured in bold 
patterns, their long-bladed spears quivered and gleamed. 
Their ftices and legs were painted red and yellow ; the 
faces of the young men who were about to undergo the 
rite of circumcision were stained a ghastly white and 
their bodies fantastically painted. The warriors wore 
bead necklaces and waist-belts and armlets of brass and 
steel, and spurred anklets of monkey skin. Some wore 
head-dresses made out of a lion's mane or from the lonpf 


black-and-white fur of the Colobus monkey ; others had 
plumes stuck in their red-daubed hair. They chanted 
in unison a deep-toned chorus and danced rhythmically 
in rings, while the drums throbbed and the horns 
blared ; and they danced by us in column, sprinoing 
and chanting. The w^omen shrilled applause and danced 
in groups by themselves. The JNIasai circled and swung 
in a panther-like dance of their own, and the measure 
and their own fierce singing and calling maddened them 
until two of their number, their eyes staring, their faces 
working, went into fits of berserker frenzy, and were 
disarmed at once to prevent mischief. Some of the 
tribesmen held wilder dances still in the evening by the 
lio-ht of fires that blazed in a <jfrove where their thatched 
huts stood. 

The second day after we reached Neri the clouds 
lifted, and we dried our damp clothes and blankets. 
Through the bright sunlight we saw in front of us the 
high rock peaks of Kenia, and shining among them the 
fields of everlasting snow which feed her glaciers ; for 
beautiful, lofty Kenia is one of the glacier-bearing 
mountains of the equator. Here Kermit and Tarlton 
went northward on a safari of their own, while Cuning- 
liame, Heller, and I headed for Kenia itself For two 
days we travelled through a well-peopled country. The 
fields of corn — always called mealies in Africa — of 
beans, and sweet potatoes, with occasional plantations 
of bananas, touched one another in almost uninterrupted 
succession. In most of them we saw the Kikuyu 
women at work with their native hoes ; for among the 
Kikuyus, as among other savages, the woman is the 
drudge and beast of burden. Our trail led by clear, 
rushing streams, Mdiich formed the head-waters of the 
Tana. Among the trees fringing their banks were 

CH. x] MOUNT KEN I A 233 

graceful palms, and there were groves of tree-ferns here 
and there on the sides of the gorges. 

On the afternoon of the second day we struck upward 
among the steep foot-hills of the mountain, riven by 
deep ravines. ^Vc pitched camp in an open glade, 
surrounded by the green wall of tangled forest, the 
forest of the tropical mountain-sides. 

The trees, strange of kind and endless in variety, 
grew tall and close, laced together by vine and creeper, 
while underbrush crowded the space between their 
mossy trunks, and covered the leafy mould beneath. 
Towards dusk crested ibis fiew o\'erhead with harsh 
clamour, to seek their night roosts ; parrots chattered, 
and a curiously home-like touch was gi\en by the 
presence of a thrush in colour and shape almost exactly 
like our robin. Monkeys called in the depths of the 
forest, and after dark tree-frogs piped and croaked, and 
the tree-hyraxes uttered their wailing cries. 

Elephants dwelt permanently in this mountainous 
region of hea\y woodland. On our march thither we 
had already seen their traces in the " shambas," as the 
cultivated fields of the natives are termed ; for the great 
beasts are fond of raiding the crops at night, and their 
inroads often do serious damage. In this neighbourhood 
their habit is to live high up in the mountains, in the 
bamboos, while the weather is dry : the cows and calves 
keeping closer to the bamboos than the bulls. A spell 
of wet weather, such as we had fortunately been ha\ ing, 
drives them down in the dense forest which covers the 
lower slopes. Here they may cither pass all their time, 
or at night they may go still further down, into the open 
valley where the shambas lie ; or they may occasionally 
still do what they habitually did in the days before the 
white hunters came, and wander far away, making 


migrations that are sometimes seasonal, and sometimes 
irregular and unaccountable. 

No other animal, not the lion himself, is so constant 
a theme of talk, and a subject of such unfiagging interest 
round the camp-fires of African hunters and in the 
native villages of the African wilderness, as the elephant. 
Indeed, the elephant has always profoundly impressed 
the imagination of mankind. It is, not only to hunters, 
but to naturalists, and to all people who possess any 
curiosity about wild creatures and the wild life of 
nature, the most interesting of all animals. Its huge 
bulk, its singular form, the value of its ivory, its great 
intelligence — in which it is only matched, if at all, by 
the highest apes, and possibly by one or two of the 
highest carnivores — and its varied habits, all combine to 
give it an interest such as attaches to no other living 
creature below the rank of man. In line of descent and 
in physical formation it stands by itself, wholly apart 
from all the other great land beasts, and differing from 
them even more widely than they differ from one 
another. The two existing species — the African, which 
is the larger and finer animal, and the Asiatic — differ 
from one another as much as they do from the mam- 
moth and similar extinct forms which were the contem- 
poraries of early man in Europe and North America. 
The carvings of our paktolithic forefathers, etched on 
bone by cavern-dwellers, from whom we are sundered 
by ages which stretch into an immemorial past, show 
that in their lives the hairy elephant of the North played 
the same part that his remote collateral descendant now 
plays in the lives of the savages who dwell under a 
vertical sun beside tlie tepid waters of the Nile and the 

In the first dawn of history, the scidptured records of 


the kings of Egypt, Babylon, and Nineveh show the 
immense importance which attached, in the eyes of the 
niiglitiest monarchs of the then world, to the chase and 
the trophies of this great strange beast. The ancient 
ci\'ilization of India boasts as one of its achievements 
the taming of the elephant ; and in the ancient lore of 
that civilization it phiys a distinguished part. 

The elephant is uni(j[ue among the beasts of great 
bulk in tlie fact that his growth in size has been accom- 
panied by growth in brain power. With other beasts 
growth in bulk of body has not been accompanied by 
similar growth of mind. Indeed, sometimes there 
seems to have been mental retrogression. The rhino- 
ceros, in several different forms, is found in the same 
regions as the elephant, and in one of its forms it is in 
point of size second only to the elephant among terres- 
trial animals. Seemingly the ancestors of the two 
creatures, in that period, separated from us by uncounted 
liundreds of thousands of years, whicli we may con- 
veniently designate as late miocene or early pliocene, 
were substantially equal in brain development. But in 
I one case increase in bulk seems to have induced lethargy 
I and atrophy of brain power, while in the other case 
! brain and body have both grown. At any rate tlie 
' elephant is now one of the wisest and the rhinoceros 
one of the stupidest of big mammals. In consequence 
I the elephant outlasts the rhino, although lie is the 
I largest, carries infinitely more valuable spoils, and is far 
L more eagerly and persistently hunted. Both animals 
I wandered freely over the open country of East Africa 
I thirty years ago. But the elephant learns by experience 
( infinitely more readily than the rhinoceros. As a rule, 
the former no longer lives in the open plains, and in 
many places now even crosses them if possible only at 


night. But those rhinoceroses which fonnerly dwelt in 
the plains for the most part continued to dwell there 
until killed out. So it is at the present day. Not the 
most foolish elephant woidd under similar conditions 
behave as the rhinos that we studied and hunted by 
Kilimakiu and in the Sotik behaved. No elephant, in 
regions where they have been much persecuted by 
hunters, would habitually spend its days lying or stand- 
ing in the open plain ; nor would it, in such places, 
repeatedly, and in fact uniformly, permit men to walk 
boldly up to it without heeding them until in its 
immediate neighbourhood. The elephant's sight is bad, 
as is that of the rhinoceros ; but a comparatively brief 
experience with rifle-bearing man usually makes the 
former take refuge in regions where scent and hearing 
count for more than sight ; while no experience has 
any such effect on the rhino. The rliinos that now live 
in the bush are the descendants of those which always 
lived in the bush, and it is in the bush that the species 
will linger long after it has vanished from the open ; 
and it is in the bush that it is most formidable. 

Elephant and rhino differ as much in their habits as 
in their intelligence. Tlie former is very gregarious, 
herds of several hundred being sometimes found, and is 
of a restless, wandering temper, often shifting his abode 
and sometimes making long migrations. The rhinoceros 
is a lover of solitude ; it is usually found alone, or a bull 
and cow, or cow and calf may be in company ; very 
rarely are as many as half a dozen found together. 
Moreover, it is comparatively stationary in its habits, 
and as a general thing stays permanently in one 
neighbourhood, not shifting its position for very many 
miles unless for grave reasons. 

The African elephant has recently been divided into 


a iiiimber of sub-species ; but as within a century its 
range was continuous over nearly the whole continent 
south of the Sahara, and as it was given to such exten- 
sive occasional wanderings, it is probable that the 
examination of a sufficient series of specimens would 
show that on their confines these races grade into one 
another. In its essentials the beast is almost every- 
where the same, although, of course, there must be 
variation of habits with any animal which exists through- 
out so wide and diversifies^ a range of territory ; for in 
one place it is found in high mountains, in another in 
a dry desert, in another in low-lying marshes or wet 
and dense forests. 

In East Africa the old bulls are usually found singly 
or in small parties by themselves. These have the 
biggest tusks ; the bulls in the prime of life, the herd 
bulls or breeding bulls, which keep in herds with the 
cows and calves, usually have smaller ivory. Some- 
times, however, very old but vigorous bulls are found 
with the cows ; and I am inclined to think that the 
ordinary herd bulls at times also keep by themselves, 
or at least in company with only a few cows, for at 
certain seasons, generally immediately after the rains, 
cows, most of them with calves, appear in great numbers 
at certain places, where only a few bulls are ever found. 
\Miere undisturbed, elephants rest and wander about 
at all times of the day and night, and feed without much 
regard to fixed hours. Mornhig or evening, noon or 
midnight, the herd may be on the move, or its members 
may be resting ; yet during the hottest hours of noon 
they seldom feed, and ordinarily stand almost still, 
resting — for elephants very rarely lie down imless sick. 
Where they are afraid of man, their only enemy, they 
come out to feed in thinly forested plains, or culti\ ated 


fields, when they do so at all, only at night, and before 
daybreak move back into the forest to rest. Elsewhere 
they sometimes spend the day in the open, in grass or 
low bush. AVhere we were, at this time, on Kenia, the 
elephants sometimes moved down at night to feed in 
the shambas, at the expense of the crops of the nati^'es, 
and sometimes stayed in the forest, feeding, by day or 
night, on the branches they tore off the trees, or, occa- 
sionally, on the roots they grubbed up with their tusks. 
They work vast havoc among the young or small growth 
of a forest, and the readiness with which they uproot, 
overturn, or break off medium-sized trees conveys a 
striking impression of their enormous strength. 1 have 
seen a tree a foot in diameter thus uprooted and over- 

The African elephant has never, like his Indian kins- 
man, been trained to man's use. There is still hope that 
the feat may be performed ; but hitherto its probable 
economic usefulness has for various reasons seemed so 
questionable that there has been scant encouragement 
to undergo the necessary expense and labour. Up to 
the present time the African elephant has yielded only 
his ivory as an asset of value. This, however, has been of 
such great value as wellnigh to bring about the mighty 
beast's utter extermination. Ivory himters and ivory 
traders have penetrated Africa to the haunts of the 
elephant since centuries before our era, and the elephant's 
boundaries have been slowly receding throughout historic 
time ; but during the century just past the narrowing 
process has been immensely accelerated, until now 
there are but one or two out-of-the-way nooks of the 
Dark Continent to which hunter and trader have not 
penetrated. Fortunately the civilized powers which 
now divide dominion over Africa have waked up in 


time, and there is at present no danger oC the extermina- 
tion of the lord of all four-footed creatiu'es. Large 
reserves have been established on which various herd- 
of elephants now live what is, at least for the time 
being, an entirely safe life. Furthermore, over great 
tracts of territory outside the reserves regulations have 
been promulgated which, if enibrced as they are now 
enforced, will pre\ent any excessive diminution of tlie 
lierds. In British East Africa, for instance, no cows 
are allowed to be shot save for special purposes, as for 
preservation in a museum, or to safeguard life and 
property, and no bulls with tusks weighing less than 
thirty pounds apiece. This renders safe almost all the 
females and an ample supply of breeding males. Too 
much praise cannot be gix-^en to the go^' ernments and the 
individuals who have brought about this happy result ; 
the credit belongs especially to England, and to various 
Englishmen. It would be a veritable and most tragic 
calamity if the lordly elephant, the giant among existing 
four-footed creatures, should be permitted to vanish 
from the face of the earth. 

But of course protection is not permanently possible 
over the greater part of that country which is well fitted 
for settlement ; nor anywhere, if tlie herds grow too 
numerous. It would be not merely silly, but worse 
tlian silly, to try to stop all killing of elephants. The 
unchecked increase of any big and formidable wild 
beast, even though not a Hesh-eater, is incompatible 
with the existence of man when he has emerged from 
the stage of lowest savagery. This is not a matter of 
theory, but of proved fact. In place after place in 
Africa where protection has been extended to hippo- 
potamus or buffalo, rhinoceros or elephant, it has been 
found necessary to withdraw it because the protected 


animals did such damage to property, or became such 
menaces to human hfe. Among all four species, cows 
with calves often attack men without provocation, and 
old bulls are at any time likely to become infected by a 
spirit of wanton and ferocious mischief, and are apt to 
become man-killers. I know settlers who tried to pre- 
serve the rhinoceroses which they foimd living on their 
big farms, and who were obliged to abandon the 
attempt, and themselves to kill the rhinos because of 
repeated and wanton attacks on human beings by the 
latter. Where we were, by Neri, a year or two before 
our visit the rhinos had become so dangerous, killing 
one white man and several natives, that the District 
Commissioner who preceded J\Ir. Browne was forced 
to undertake a crusade against them, killing fifteen. 
Both in South Africa and on the Nile protection 
extended to hippopotami has in places been wholly 
withdrawn because of the damage done by the beasts 
to the crops of the natives, or because of their 
unprovoked assaults on canoes and boats. In one 
instance a last surviving hippo was protected for years, 
but finally grew bold because of immunity, killed a 
boy in sheer wantonness, and had to be himself slain. 
In Uganda the buffalo were for years protected, and 
grew so bold, killed so many natives, and ruined so 
many villages, that they are now classed as vermin^ 
and their destruction in every way encouraged. In 
the very neighbourhood where I was hunting, at Kenia, 
but six weeks before my coming, a cow buffalo had 
wandered down into the plains and run amuck, had 
attacked two villages, had killed a man and a boy, and 
had then been mobbed to death by the spearmen. 
Elephants, when in numbers, and when not possessed 
of the fear of man, are more impossible neighbours than 

C'aniiiiii;^ after deatli of tlie first Imll 

'llic portL-rs exult uver tlit death ut tlic bull 
From pholograplis by Edmund Heller 


hippos, rhinos, or buffaloes ; but they are so eagerly 
sought after by ivory hunters that it is only rarely that 
they get the chance to become really dangerous to life, 
althougli in many places their ravages among the crops 
are severely felt by the unfortunate natives who live 
near them. 

The ciiase of the elephant, if persistently followed, 
entails more fatigue and hardship than any other kind 
of jVfrican hunting. As regards risk, it is hard to say 
whether it is more or less dangerous than the chase of 
the lion and the buffalo. Both Cuninghame and 
'I'arlton, men of wide experience, ranked elephant- 
lumting, in point of danger, as nearly on the level with 
lion-huntuig, and as more dangerous than buffalo- 
hunting : and all three kinds as far more dangerous 
than the chase of the rhino. Personally, I believe the 
actual conflict with a lion, where the conditions are the 
same, to be normally the more dangerous sport, though 
far greater demands are made by elephant-hunting on 
the qualities of personal endurance and hardihood and 
resolute perseverance in the face of disappointment and 
difficulty. Buffalo, seemingly, do not charge as freely 
as elephant, but are more dangerous when they do 
charge. Uliino when hunted, though at times ugly 
customers, seem to me certainly less dangerous than 
the other three ; but from sheer stupid truculence 
they are themselves apt to take the offensive in un- 
expected fashion, being far more prone to such aggres- 
sion than are any of the others— man-eating lions always 

Very few of the native tribes in Africa hunt the 
elephant systematically. But the 'Ndorobo, the wild 
bush people of East Africa, sometimes catch young 
elephants in the pits they dig with slow labour, and 



very rarely they kill one with a kind of harpoon. The 
'Ndorobo are doubtless in part descended from some 
primitive bush people, but in part also derive their blood 
from the more advanced tribes near which their wander- 
ing families happen to liv^e ; and they grade into the 
latter, by speech and through individuals wlio seem 
to stand halfway between. Tims we liad with us 
two INIasai 'Ndoiobo, true wild people, who spoke a 
bastard Masai ; who had formerly hunted with Cuning- 
hame, and who came to us because of their ancient 
friendship with him. These shy woods creatures were 
afraid to come to Neri by daylight, when we were 
camped there, but after dark crept to Cuninghame's 
tent. Cuninghame gave them two fine red blankets, 
and put them to sleep in a little tent, keeping their 
spears in his own tent, as a measure of precaution to 
prevent their running away. The elder of the two, 
he informed me, would certainly have a fit of hysterics 
when we killed our elephant ! Cuninghame was also 
joined by other old friends of former hunts, Kikuyu 
'Ndorobo these, who spoke Kikuyu like the people who 
cultivated the fields that covered the river bottoms and 
hillsides of the adjoining open country, and who were, 
indeed, merely outlying, forest-dwelling members of the 
lowland tribes. In the deep woods we met one old 
Dorobo, who had no connection with any more ad- \ 
vanced tribe, whose sole belongings were his spear, skin 
cloak, and fire-stick, and who lived purely on honey and 
game ; unlike the bastard 'Ndorobo, he was ornamented 
with neither paint nor grease. But the 'Ndorobo who 
were our guides stood farther up in the social scale. 
The men passed most of their time in the forest, but up 
the mountain sides they had squalid huts on little 
clearings, with shambas, where their wives raised scanty 


crops. To the 'Ndorobo, and to them alone, the vast, 
thick forest was an open book ; without their aid as 
guides both Cuninghanie and our own gun-bearers were 
at fault, and found tlieir way around with great 
difficulty and slowness. The bush ])eople had notliing 
in the way of clothing sa\e a blanket over the shoulders, 
but wore the usual paint and grease and ornaments ; 
each carried a spear which might have a long and 
narrow, or short and broad blade ; two of them wore 
headdresses o/V^'//;^?— skull-caps made from the inside of 
a sheep's stomach. 

P'or two days after reaching our camp in the open 
glade on the mountain side it rained. We were glad of 
this, because it meant that the elephants would not be 
in the bamboos, and Cuninghame and the 'Ndorobo 
went off to hunt for fresh signs. Cuninghame is as 
skilful an elephant-hunter as can be found in Africa, and 
is one of the very few white men able to help even the 
wild bushmen at their work. Ry the afternoon of the 
second day they were fairly well satisfied as to the 
whereabouts of the quarry. 

The following morning a fine rain was still falling 
when Cuninghame, Heller, and I started on our hunt, 
but by noon it had stopped. Of course, we went in 
single file and on foot : not even a bear-hunter from the 
cane-brakes of the lower Mississippi could ride through 
that forest. We left our home camp standing, taking 
blankets and a coat and change of underclothiixT for 
each of us, and two small Whymper tents, with enough 
food for three days ; I also took my wash kit and a book 
from the pigskin library. First marched the 'Xdorobo 
guides, each witli his spear, his blanket round his 
shoulders, and a little bundle of corn and sweet potato. 
Then came Cuninghame, followed by his gun-bearer. 


Then I came, clad in khaki-coloured flannel shirt and 
khaki trousers buttoning down the legs, with hobnailed 
shoes, and a thick slouch hat. 1 had intended to wear 
rubber-soled shoes, but the soaked ground was too 
slippery. My two gun- bearers followed, carrying the 
Holland and the Springfield. Then came Heller, at 
the head of a dozen porters and skinners ; he and they 
were to fall behind when we actually struck fresh 
elephant spoor, but to follow our trail by the help of a 
Dorobo who was left with them. 

For three hours our route lay along the edge of the 
woods. We climbed into and out of deep ravines in 
which groves of tree-ferns clustered. We waded through 
streams of swift water, whose course was broken by 
cataract and rapid. We passed through shambas and 
by the doors of little hamlets of thatched beehive huts. 
We met flocks of goats and hairy, fat-tailed sheep 
guarded by boys ; strings of burden-bearing women 
stood meekly to one side to let us pass ; parties of 
young men sauntered by, spear in hand. 

Then we struck into the great forest, and in an 
instant the sun w^as shut from sight by the thick screen 
of wet foliage. It was a riot of twisted vines, inter- 
lacing the trees and bushes. Only the elephant paths, 
which, of every age, crossed and recrossed it hither and 
thither, made it passable. One of the chief difliculties 
in hunting elephants in the forest is that it is impossible 
to travel, except very slowly and with much noise, olf 
these trails, so that it is sometimes very difficult to 
take advantage of the wind ; and altliough the sight of 
the elephant is dull, both its sense of hearing and its 
sense of smell are exceedingly acute. 

Hour after hour we worked our way onward through 
tangled forest and matted jungle. There was little sign 

Falls on slope of Kenia near first elephant cam|) 
From a photograph by Edmund Heller 


of bird or aninial lite. A troop ol' long-haired })lack and 
white monkeys bounded away among the tree-tops. 
Here and there brilliant flowers lightened the gloom. 
We ducked under vines and climbed over fallen timber. 
Poisonous nettles stung our hands. We w^ere drenched 
by the w^et boughs which we brushed aside. Mosses 
and ferns grew rank and close. The trees were of 
strange kinds. There were huge trees with little leaves, 
and small trees with big leaves. There were trees with 
bare, Heshy limbs, that writhed out through the 
neighbom-ing branches, bearing sparse clusters of large 
frondage. In places the forest was low, the trees tliirty 
or forty feet high, the bushes that choked the ground 
between, fifteen or twenty feet higli. In other places 
mighty monarchs of the wood, straight and tall, towered 
aloft to an innnense height ; among them were trees 
Avhose smooth, round boles were spotted like sycamores, 
while far above our heads their gracefully spreading 
branches were hung with vines like mistletoe and 
draped with Spanish moss ; trees whose surfaces w^ere 
corrugated and knotted as if they were made of bimdles 
of great creepers ; and giants whose buttressed trunks 
were four times a man's length across. 

Twice we got on elephant spoor, once of a single 
bull, once of a party of three. Then Cuninghame and 
the 'Xdorobo redoubled their caution. They would 
minutely examine the fresh dung ; and above all they 
continually tested the wind, scanning the tree-tops, and 
lighting matches to see from the smoke what the eddies 
were near the ground. Each time, after an hour's 
stealthy stepping and crawling along the twisted trail a 
slight shift of the wind in the almost still air gave cur 
scent to the game, and away it went before we could 
catch a glimpse of it ; and we resumed our walk. The 


elephant paths led up hill and down— for the beasts are 
wonderful climbers — and wound in and out in every 
direction. They were marked by broken branches and 
the splintered and shattered trunks of the smaller trees, 
especially where the elephant had stood and fed, 
trampling down the bushes for many yards around. 
Where they had crossed the marshy valleys they had 
punched big round holes, three feet deep, in the 
sticky mud. 

As evening fell we pitched camp by the side of a 
little brook at the bottom of a ravine, and dined 
ravenously on bread, mutton, and tea. The air was 
keen, and under our blankets we slept in comfort until 
dawn. Breakfast was soon over and camp struck ; and 
once moi'e we began our cautious progress through the 
dim, cool archways of the mountain forest. 

Two hours after leaving camp we came across the 
fresh trail of a small herd of perhaps ten or fifteen 
elephant cows and calves, but including two big herd 
bulls. At once we took up the trail. Cuninghame 
and his bush people consulted again and again, scan- 
ning every track and mark with minute attention. 
The sign showed that the elephants had fed in the 
shambas early in the night, had then returned to the 
mountain, and stood in one place resting for several 
hours, and had left this sleeping ground some time 
before we reached it. After we had followed the trail 
a short while we made the experiment of trying to 
force our own way through the jimgle, so as to get the 
wind more favourable : but our progress was too slow 
and noisy, and we returned to the path the elephants 
had beaten. Then the 'Ndorobo went ahead, travelling 
noiselessly and at speed. One of them was clad in a 
white blanket and another in a red one, which were 

cii. x] STALKING A HERD 247 

conspicuous ; but they were too silent and cautious to 
let the beasts see them, and could tell exactly where 
they were and what they were doing by the sounds. 
When these trackers waited for us they would appear 
before us like ghosts. Once one of them dropped down 
from the branches above, ha\'ing' climbed a tree with 
monkey-like agility to get a glimpse of the great game. 
At last w^e could hear the elephants, and under 
Cuninghames lead we walked more cautiously than 
ever. The wind was right, and the trail of one elephant 
led close alongside that of the rest of the herd, and 
parallel thereto. It was about noon. The elephants 
moved slowdy, and we listened to the boughs crack and 
now and then to the ciu'ious internal rumblings of the 
great beasts. Carefully, every sense on the alert, we 
kept pace with them. JNly double-barrel was in my 
hands, and wherever possible, as 1 followed the trail, I 
stepped in the huge footprints of the elephant, for 
where such a weight had pressed there were no sticks 
left to crack under my feet. It made our veins thrill 
thus for half an hour to creep stealthily along, but a 
few rods from the herd, never able to see it, because of 
the extreme denseness of the cover, but always hearing 
first one and then another of its members, and always 
trying to guess what each one might do and keeping 
ceaselessly ready for whatever might befall. A flock of 
liornbills Hew up with noisy clamour, but the elephants 
did not heed them. 

At last we came in sight of the mighty game. The 
trail took a twist to one side, and there, thirty yards in 
front of us, we made out part of the grey and massive 
head of an elephant resting his tusks on the branches 
of a young tree. A couple of minutes passed before, 
by cautious scrutiny, we were able to tell whether the 


animal was a cow or a bull, and whether, if a bull, it 
carried heavy enough tusks. Then we saw that it was 
a big bull with good ivory. It turned its head in my 
direction and I saw its eye, and I fired a little to one 
side of the eye, at a spot which 1 thought would lead 
to the brain. 1 struck exactly where I aimed, but the 
head of an elephant is enormous and the brain small, 
and the bullet missed it. However, the shock momen- 
tarily stunned the beast. He stumbled forward, half 
falling, and as he recovered I lired with the second 
barrel, again aiming for the brain. This time the bullet 
sped true, and as I lowered the rifle from my shoulder, 
1 saw the great lord of the forest come crashing to the 

But at that very instant, before there was a moment's 
time in which to reload, the thick bushes parted im- 
mediately on my left front, and through them surged 
the vast bulk of a charging bull elephant, the matted 
mass of tough creepers snapping like packthread before 
his rush. He was so close that he could have touched 
me with his trunk. 1 leaped to one side and dodged 
behind a tree trunk, opening the rifle, throwing out the 
empty sliells, and slipping in two cartridges. Meanwhile 
Cuninghame fired right and left, at the same time throw- 
ing himself into the bushes on the other side. Both liis 
bullets went home, and the bull stopped short in liis 
charge, v.heeled, and immediately disappeared in the 
thick cover. ^Ve ran forward, but the forest had closed 
over his wake. We heard him trumpet shrilly, and 
then all sounds ceased. 

The 'Ndorobo, who had quite properly disappeared 
when this second bull charged, now went forward and 
soon returned with the report that he had fled at speed, 
but was evidently hard hit, as there was much blood on 


the spoor. If we had been only after ivory we should 
liave followed liini at once ; but there was no telling 
liow long a chase he might lead us ; and as we desired 
to save the skin of tlie dead elephant entire, there was 
no time whatever to spare. It is a formidable task, 
occupying many days, to preserve an elephant for 
mounting in a museum, and if the skin is to be properly 
saved, it must be taken off' without an hour's unneces- 
sary delay. 

So back we turned to where the dead tusker lay, and 
I felt proud indeed as 1 stood by the immense bulk of 
the slain monster and put my hand on the ivory. The 
tusks weighed a hundred and thirty pounds the pair. 
There was the usual scene of joyful excitement among 
the gun-bearers — who had behaved excellently — and 
among tlie wild busli-people who had done the tracking 
for us ; and, as Cuninghame had predicted, the old 
Masai Dorobo, from pure delight, proceeded to have 
liysterics on the body of the dead elephant. The scene 
was repeated when Heller and the porters appeared halt 
an hour later. Then, chattering like monkeys, and as 
happy as possible, all — porters, gun-bearers, and 'Ndorobo 
alike — began the work of skinning and cutting up the 
(juarry, under the leadership and supervision of Heller 
and Cuninghame, and soon they were all splashed with 
blood from head to foot. One of the trackers took off 
his blanket and squatted stark naked inside the carcass 
the better to use his knife. Each labourer rewarded 
himself by cutting off strips of meat for his private 
store, and hung them in red festoons from the branches 
round about. There was no let up in tlie work until it 
was stopped by darkness. 

Our tents were pitched in a small open glade a 
hundred yards from the dead elephant. The night 


was clear, tlie stars shone brightly, and in the west the 
young moon hung just above the line of tall tree-tops. 
Fires were speedily kindled and the men sat around 
them, feasting and singing in a strange minor tone until 
late in the night. The flickering light left them at one 
moment in black obscurity, and the next brought into 
bold relief their shiewy, crouching figures, their dark 
faces, gleaming eyes, and flashing teeth. When they 
did sleep, two of the 'Ndorobo slept so close to the Are 
as to burn themselves — an accident to wliicli they are 
prone, judging from the many scars of old burns on 
their legs. I toasted slices of elephant's heart on a 
pronged stick before the fire, and found it delicious ; 
for I was hungry, and the niglit was cold. We talked 
of our success and exulted over it, and made our plans 
for the morrow ; and then we turned in under our 
blankets for another niglit's sleep. 

Next morning some of the 'Ndorobo went off' on the 
trail of Cuninghame's elephant to see if it had fallen 
but found that it had travelled steadily, though its 
wounds were probably mortal, 'i'liere was no object in 
my staying, for Heller and Cuninghame would be busy 
for the next ten days, and woidd ultimately have to use 
all the porters in taking off' and curing the skin, and 
transporting it to Neri ; so 1 made up my mind to go 
down to the plains for a hunt by myself. Taking one 
porter to carry my bedding, and with my gun-bearers, 
and a Dorobo as guide, 1 struck off through the forest 
for the main camp, reaching it early in the afternoon. 
Thence I bundled off a safiU'i to Cuninghame and Heller 
with food for a week, and tents and clothing, and then 
enjoyed the luxury of a shave and a A\'arm bath. Next 
day was spent in writing and making prepai-ations for 
my own trip. A Kikuyu chief, clad in a cloak of hyrax 


skins, and carrying his war spear, came to congi'atulate 
me on killing the elej)hant and to present me with a 
sheep. Early the following morning everything was in 
readiness ; the hull-necked porters lilted their loads. I 
stepped out in front, followed by my led horse, and in 
ten hours' march we reached Neri boma, with its neat 
buildings, its trees, and its well-kept flower beds. 

My hunting and travelling during the following fort- 
night will be told in the next chapter. On the evening 
of September 6th we were all together again at JNleru 
Boma, on the north-eastern slopes of Kenia — Kermit, 
Tarlton, Cuninghame, Heller, and I. Thanks to the 
unfailing kindness of the Commissioner, JNlr. Home, we 
were given full information of the elephant in the 
neighbourhood. He had no 'Ndorobo, but among the 
Wa-Meru, a wild martial tribe, who lived close around 
him, there were a number of hunters, or at least of men 
who knew the forest and the game, and these had been 
instructed to bring in any news. 

We had, of course, no idea that elephant would be 
found close at hand. But next morning, about eleven. 
Home came to our camp with four of his black scouts, 
who repoi'ted that three elephants were in a patch of 
thick jungle beside the shambas, not three miles away. 
Home said that the elephants were cows, that they had 
been in tiie neighbourhood some days, devastating the 
shambas, and were bold and fierce, having charged some 
men who sought to drive them away from the cultivated 
fields ; it is curious to see how little heed these elephants 
pay to the natives. I wanted a cow for the Museum, 
and also another bull. So ofi' we started at once, 
Kermit carrying his camera. I slipped on my rubber- 
soled shoes, and had my gun-})carers accompany me 
barefooted, with the Holland and the Springfield rifles. 


We followed footpaths among the fields until we 
reached the edge of the jungle in which the elephants 

This jungle lay beside the forest, and at this point 
separated it from the fields. It consisted of a mass of 
rank-gi*owing bushes, allied to the cotton plant, ten or 
twelve feet high, with only here and there a tree. It 
was not good ground in which to hunt elephant, for the 
tangle was practically impenetrable to a hunter save 
along the elephant trails ; whereas the elephants them- 
selves could move in any direction at will, with no more 
difficulty than a man would have in a hayfield. The 
bushes in most places rose just above their backs, so 
that they wxre completely hid from the himter even a 
few feet away. Yet the cover afforded no shade to the 
mighty beasts, and it seemed strange that elephants 
should stand in it at mid-day with the sun out. There 
they were, however, for, looking cautiously into the 
cover from behind the bushes on a slight hill-crest a 
quarter of a mile off, we could just make out a huge 
ear now and then as it lazily flapped. 

On account of the wind we had to go well to one side 
before entering the jungle. Then in we went in single 
file, Cuninghame and Tarlton leading, with a couple of 
our naked guides. The latter showed no great desire 
to get too close, explaining that the elephants were 
"very fierce." Once in the jungle, we trod as quietly 
as possible, threading our way along the elephant trails, 
which crossed and recrossed one another. Evidently it 
was a favourite haunt, for the sign was abundant, both 
old and new. In the impenetrable cover it was quite 
impossible to tell just where the elephants were, and 
twice we sent one of the savages up a tree to locate the 
game. The last time the watcher, who stayed in the 

1 "^ 




tree, indicated by signs tliat the elephant were not far 
ofl'; and his companions wished to lead us round to 
where the cover was a little lower and thinner. Hut to 
do so would have given them our wind, and Cuning- 
hame refused, taking into liis own hands the manage- 
ment of the stalk. I kept my heavy rifle at the ready, 
and on we went, in watchful silence, prepared at any 
moment for a charge. We could not tell at what 
second we might catch our first glimpse at very close 
quarters of " the beast that hath between his eyes the 
serpent for a hand," and when thus surprised the temper 
of " the huge earth-shaking beast " is sometimes of the 

Ciminghame and Tarlton stopped for a moment to 
consult ; Cuningliame stooped, and Tarlton mounted his 
shoulders and stood upright, steadying himself by my 
hand. Down he came and told us that he had seen a 
small tree shake seventy yards distant ; although upright 
on Cuninghame's shoulders, he could not see the 
elephant itself. Forward we stole for a few yards, and 
then a piece of good luck befell us, for we came on the 
trunk of a great fallen tree, and, scrambling up, we 
found ourselves perched in a row six feet above the 
ground. The highest part of the trunk was near the 
root, farthest from where the elephants were ; and, 
though it offered precarious footing, it also offered the 
best lookout. There 1 balanced, and, looking over the 
heads of my companions, I at once made out the 
elephant. At first I could see nothing but the shaking 
branches, and one huge ear occasionally flapping. Then 
I made out the ear of another beast, and then the trunk 
of a third was luicurled, lifted, and curled again ; it 
showered its back with earth. The watcher we had left 
behind in the tree-top coughed ; the elephants stood 


motionless, and up went the biggest elephant's trunk, 
feeling for the wind. The watcher coughed again, and 
then the bushes and saplings swayed and parted as three 
black bulks came toward us. The cover was so high 
that we could not see their tusks, only the tops of their 
heads and their backs being visible. The leader was 
the biggest, and at it 1 fired when it was sixty yards I 
away, and nearly broadside on, but heading slightly 
toward me. I had previously warned everyone to I 
kneel. The recoil of the heavy rifle made me rock, as 
I stood unsteadily on my perch, and I failed to hit the 
brain. But the bullet, only missing the brain by an 
inch or two, brought the elephant to its knees ; as it 
rose I floored it with the second barrel. The blast ot 
the big rifle, by the way, was none too pleasant for the 
other men on the log, and made Cuninghame's nose 
bleed. Reloading, I fired twice at the next animal, 
which was now turning. It stumbled and nearly fell, 
but at the same moment the first one rose again, and I 
fired both barrels into its head, bringing it once more 
to the ground. Once again it rose — an elephant's brain 
is not an easy mark to hit under such conditions — but 
as it moved slowly off, half-stunned, I snatched the 
little Springfield rifle, and this time shot true, sending 
the bullet into its brain. As it fell I took another shot 
at the wounded elephant, now disappearing in the 
forest, but without eflect. 

On walkin.g up to our prize it proved to be not a 
cow, but a good-sized adult (but not old) herd bull, 
with thick, short tusks, weighing about forty pounds 
apiece. Ordinarily, of course, a bull, and not a cow, is 
what one desires, although on this occasion I needed a 
cow to complete the group for the National Museum. 
However, Heller and Cuninghame spent the next few 


days ill preserving tiie skin, which I afterward gave to 
tlie University of California ; and I was too much 
|>leased w^ith our luck to feel inclined to grunihle. We 
were back in camp five hours after leaving it. Our 
gun-bearers usually felt it incumbent on them to keep 
a dignified bearing while in our company. But the 
death of an elephant is always a great event ; and one 
of the gun-bearers as they walked ahead of us camp- 
ward soon began to improvise a song, reciting the 
success of the hunt, the death of the elephant, and the 
power of the rifies ; and gradually, as they got farther 
ahead, the more light-hearted among them began to 
give way to their spirits, and they came into camp 
frolicking, gambolling, and dancing as if they w^ere still 
the naked savages that they had been before they 
became the white man's followers. 

Two days later Ivermit got his bull. He and Tarlton 
had camped about ten miles off in a magnificent forest, 
and late the first afternoon received news that a herd of 
elephants was in the neighbourhood. They w^ere off* by 
dawn, and in a few hours came on the herd. It con- 
sisted chiefiy of cows and calves, but there was one big- 
master bull, with fair tusks. It was open forest with 
long grass. By careful stalking they got within thirty 
yards of the bull, behind whom w^as a line of cows. 
Kermit put both barrels of his heavy double "405 into 
the tusker's head, but w^ithout even staggering him ; 
and as he walked off" Tarlton also fired both barrels into 
him, with no more effect ; then, as he slowly turned, 
Kermit killed him with a shot in the brain from the 
•405 AVinchester. Immediately the cows lifted their 
ears, and began trmnpeting and threatening. If they 
had come on in a body at that distance, there was not 
much chance of turning them or of escaping from them : 


and after standing stock still for a minute or two, 
Kermit and Tarlton stole quietly off for a hundred 
yards, and waited until the anger of the cows cooled 
and they had moved away, before going up to the dead 
bull. Then they followed the herd again, and Kermit 
got some photos which, as far as I know, are better 
than any tliat have ever before been taken of wild 
elephant. He took them close up, at imminent risk of 
a charge. 

The following day the two himters rode back to Meru, 
making a long circle. The elephants they saw were not 
worth shooting, but they killed the finest rhinoceros we 
had yet seen. They saw it in an open space of tall 
grass, surrounded by lantana brush, a flowering shrub 
with close-growing stems, perhaps twenty feet high and 
no thicker than a man's thumb ; it forms a favourite 
cover for elephants and rhinoceros, and is wellnigh 
impenetrable to hunters. Fortunately this particular 
rhino was outside it, and Kermit and Tarlton got up to 
about twenty-five yards from him. Kermit then put 
one bullet behind his shoulder, and as he whipped round 
to charge, another bullet on the point of his shoulder. 
Although mortally wounded, he showed no signs what- 
ever of being hurt, and came at the hunters with great 
speed and savage desire to do harm. Then an extra- 
ordinary thing happened. Tarlton fired, inflicting 
merely a flesh-wound in one shoulder, and the big, 
fearsome brute, which had utterly disregarded the two 
fatal shots, on receiving this flesh wound wheeled and 
ran. Botli firing, they killed him before he had gone 
many yards. He was a bull, with a thirty-inch horn. 

By this time Cuniiighame and Heller had finished the 
skin and skeleton of the bull they were preserving. 
Near the carcass Heller trapped an old male leopard — a 



3 " .- 




^ ->» o 




savage beast ; its skin was in fine shape, but it was not 
fat, and weighed just one hundred pounds. Now we all 
joined and shifted camp to a point eight or nine miles 
distant from Meru Boma, and fifteen hundred feet lower 
among the foothills. It was much hotter at this lower 
level ; palms were among the trees that bordered the 
streams. On the day we shifted camp, Tarlton and I 
rode in advance to look for elephants, followed by our 
gun-bearers and half a dozen wild Meru iumters, each 
carrying a spear or a bow and arrows. When we 
reached the hunting-grounds — open country with groves 
of trees and patches of jungle — the Meru went off in 
every direction to find elephants. We waited their 
return under a tree, by a big stretch of cultivated 
ground. The region was well peopled, and all the way 
down the path had led between fields, which the JNleru 
women were tilling with their adze-like hoes, and 
banana plantations, where among the bananas other 
trees had been planted, and the yam vines trained up 
their trunks. These cool, shady banana plantations, 
fenced in witli tall hedges and bordered by rapid brooks, 
were really very attractive. Among them were scattered 
villages of conical thatched huts, and level places 
plastered with cow-dung, on which the grain was 
threshed ; it was then stored in huts raised on posts. 
There were herds of cattle and fiocks of sheep and goats, 
and among the burdens the women bore we often saw 
huge bottles of milk. In the shambas there were plat- 
forms, and sometimes regular thatched huts, placed in 
the trees ; these were for the watchers, who were to 
keep the elephants out of the shambas at night. Some 
of the natives wore girdles of banana leaves, looking, as 
Kermit said, much like the pictures of savages in 
Sunday-school books. 



Early in the afternoon some of the scouts returned 
with news that three bull elephants were in a piece of 
forest a couple of miles distant, and thither we went. 
It was an open grove of heavy thorn timber beside a 
strip of swamp ; among the trees the grass grew tall, and 
there were many thickets of abutilon, a flowering shrub 
a dozen feet high. On this the elephants were feeding. 
Tarlton's favourite sport was lion-hunting, but he was 
also a first-class elephant-hunter, and he brought me 
up to these bulls in fine style. Although only three 
hundred yards away, it took us two hours to get close 
to them. Tarlton and the " shenzis " — wild natives, 
called in Swahili (a kind of African chinook) •' wa- 
shenzi " — who were with us climbed tree after tree, 
first to place the elephants, and then to see if they 
carried ivory heavy enough to warrant my shooting 
them. At last Tarlton brouglit me to within fifty 
yards of them. Two were feeding in bush which hid 
them from view, and the third stood between, facing 
us. We could only see the top of his head and back, 
and not his tusks, and could not tell whether he was 
worth shooting. Much puzzled, we stood where we 
were, peering anxiously at the huge half-hidden game. 
Suddenly there was a slight eddy in the wind, up went 
the elepliant's trunk, twisting to and fro in the air ; 
evidently he could not catcli a clear scent, but in 
another moment we saw the tlu'ee great dark forms 
moving gently off through the bush. As rapidly as 
possible, following the trails already tramped by the 
elephants, we walked forward, and after a hundred 
yards Tarlton pointed to a big bull with good tusks 
standing motionless behind some small trees seventy 
yards distant. As I aimed at his head he started to 
move oft". The first bullet from the heavy Holland 


brought him to his knees, and as he rose 1 knocked 
him Hat with the second. He struggled to rise, but, 
both firing, we kept him down, and I finished him 
with a bullet in the brain from the little Springfield. 
Althougli rather yoimger than either of the bulls 1 
had already shot, he was even larger. In its stomach 
were beans from the shambas, abutilon tips, and bark, 
and especially the twigs, leaves, and white blossoms of 
a smaller shrub. The tusks weighed a little over a 
hundred pounds the pair. 

We still needed a cow for the JMuseum, and a couple 
of days later, at noon, a party of natives brought in 
word that they had seen two cows in a spot five miles 
away. Piloted by a naked spearman, whose hair was 
done into a cue, we rode toward the place. For most 
of the distance we followed old elephant trails, in some 
places mere tracks beaten down through stiff grass 
which stood above the head of a man on horseback, 
in other places paths rutted deep into the earth. We 
crossed a river, where monkeys chattered among the 
tree-tops. On an open plain we saw a rhinoceros cow 
trotting off with her calf. At last we came to a hill- 
top with, on tlie summit, a noble fig-tree, whose giant 
limbs were stretched o\er the palms that clustered 
beneath. Here we left our horses and went forward 
on foot, crossing a palm-fringed stream in a little valley. 
From the next rise we saw the backs of the elephants 
as they stood in a slight valley, where tlie rank grass 
grew ten or twelve feet high. It was some time before 
we could see the ivory so as to be sure of exactly what 
( we were shooting. Then the biggest cow began to 
I move slowly forward, and we walked nearly parallel to 
j her, along an elephant trail, until from a slight knoll I 
j got a clear view of her at a distance of eighty yards. 


As she walked leisurely along, almost broadside to me, 
I fired the right barrel of the Holland into her head, 
knocking her flat down with the shock, and when she 
rose I put a bullet from the left barrel through her 
heart, again knocking her completely off her feet, and 
this time she fell permanently. She was a very old 
cow, and her ivory was rather better than in the average 
of her sex in this neighbourhood, the tusks weighing 
about eighteen pounds apiece. She had been ravaging 
the shambas overnight — which accounted in part for 
the natives being so eager to show her to me — and in 
addition to leaves and grass, her stomach contained 
quantities of beans. There was a young one — ^just out 
of calfhood, and quite able to take care of itself — with 
her ; it ran off as soon as the mother fell. 

Early next morning Cuninghame and Heller shifted 
part of the safari to the stream near where the dead 
elephant lay, intending to spend the following three 
days in taking off and preparing the skin. Meanwhile 
Tarlton, Kermit, and I were to try our luck in a short 
hunt on the other side of Meru Boma, at a little crater 
lake called Lake Ingouga. We could not get an early 
start, and reached JNIeru too late to push on to the lake 
the same day. 

The following morning we marched to the lake in 
two hours and a half. We spent an hour in crossing a 
broad tongue of woodland that stretched down from the 
wonderful mountain forest lying higher on the slopes. 
The trail was blind in many places because elephant 
paths of every age continually led along and across it, 
some of them being much better marked than the trail 
itself as it twisted through the sun-flecked shadows 
underneath the great trees. Then we came out on high 
downs, covered with tall grass and littered with volcanic 


riie licnl gcliiiit; une;isy 
Fniin a pliDlogriipli. cofiyrifhl. by Kcrmil Roosevelt 

j The same herd on the eve ot charging 

! Immediately after taking this picture, Kermit had to make his escape, quietly slipping off among the trees to 
J avoid the charge: he did not wish to shoot any of the herd if it could be avoided 

1 From a photograph, copyright, by Kermit Roosevelt 


stones, and broken by ravines whicli were choked with 
dense underbrush. There were high hills, and to the 
left of the downs, toward ]\enia, these were clad in 
forest. We pitched our tents on a steep cliff over- 
looking- the crater lake or pond, as it might more 
properly be called. It was bordered with sedge, and 
tin-ough the water-lilies on its surface we saw the 
i-efiection of the new moon after nightfall. Here and 
there thick forest came down to the brink, and through 
this, on opposite sides of the pond, deeply-worn elephant 
paths, evidently travelled for ages, wound down to the 

That evening we hunted for bushbuck, but saw none. 
W^hile we were sitting on a hillock at dusk, watching 
for game, a rhino trotted up to inspect us, with ears 
cocked forward and tail erect. A rhino always has 
something comic about it, like a pig, formidable though 
it at times is. This one carried a poor horn, and there- 
fore we were pleased wlien at last it trotted oft' without 
obliging us to shoot it. We saw new kinds of wiiydah 
birds, one with a yellow breast, one with white in its 
tail ; at this altitude the cocks were still in full plumage, 
although it was just past the middle of September ; 
whereas at \ai\'asha they had begun to lose their long 
tail feathers nearly two months previously. 

On returning to camp we received a note from 
: Cuninghame saying that Heller had been taken seriously 
' ill, and Tarlton had to go to them. This left Kermit 
and me to take our two days' hunt together. 

One day we got nothing. We saw game on the 

' open downs, but it was too wary, and though we got 

I within twenty-five yards of eland in tliick cover, we 

could only make out a cow, and she took friglit and ran 

1 without our ever getting a glimpse of the bull that was 


with her. Late in the afternoon we saw an elephant a 
mile and a half away, crossing a corner of the open 
downs. We followed its trail until the light grew too 
dim for shooting, but never overtook it, although at the 
last we could hear it ahead of us breaking the branches ; 
and we made our way back to camp through the dark- 

The other day made amends. It was Kermit's turn 
to shoot an elephant and mine to shoot a rhinoceros, 
and each of us was to act as the backing gun for the 
other. In the forenoon we saw a bull rhino with a good 
horn walking over the open downs. A convenient hill 
enabled us to cut him off without difficulty, and from 
its summit we killed him at the base, fifty or sixty yards 
off. His front horn was nearly twenty-nine inches long ; 
but though he was an old bull, his total length, from 
tip of nose to tip of tail, was only twelve feet, and he 
was, I should guess, not more than two-thirds the bulk 
of the big bull I killed in the Sotik. 

^^^e rested for an hour or two at noon, under the 
shade of a very old tree with glossy leaves and orchids 
growing on its gnarled, hoary limbs, while the unsaddled 
horses grazed and the gun-bearers slept near by, the 
cool mountain air, althougli this was midday, imder the 
Equator, making them prefer the sunlight to tlie shade. 
When we moved on it was through a sea of bush ten 
or fifteen feet liigh, dotted here and there with trees, 
and riddled in every direction by the trails of elephant, 
rhinoceros, and buffalo. Each of these animals fre- 
quents certain kinds of country to which the other two 
rarely or never penetrate ; but here they all three found 
ground to their liking. Except along their winding- 
trails, which were tunnels where the jungle was tall. 

-Mr Roosevell'b and Kermifs camp near which tlicy got the rhhin and clL-phani 

From a pholograph by Kcnnil Roosevelt 


it would have been practically impossible to traverse 
the thick and matted cover in which they had made 
tlieir abode. 

We could not tell at what moment we might find 
ourselves face to face with some big beast at such close 
quarters as to insure a cliarge, and we moved in cautious 
silence, our rifles in our hands. Rhinoceros were 
especially plentiful, and we continually came across not 
only their tracks, but the dusty wallows in which they 
I'oUed, and where they came to deposit their dung. 
The fresh sign of elepliant, however, distracted our 
attention from the lesser game, and we followed the 
big footprints eagerly, now losing the trail, now finding 
it again. At last, near a clump of big trees, we caught 
sight of three huge, dark bodies ahead of us. The wind 
was right, and we stole toward them, Kermit leading 
and 1 immediately beliind. Through the tangled 
branches their shapes loomed in vague outline ; but 
we saw that one had a pair of long tusks, and oin* 
gun-bearers unanimously pronounced it a big bull, with 
good ivory. A few more steps gave Kermit a chance 
at its head, at about sixty yards, and with a bullet from 
liis -405 Winchester he floored the mighty beast. It 
rose, and we both fired in unison, bringing it down 
again ; but as we came up it struggled to get on its 
feet, roaring savagely, and once more we botli fired 
together. This finislied it. \\^e were disappointed at 
tinding that it was not a bull ; but it was a large cow, 
with tusks over five feet long — a very unusual length 
for a cow — one weighing twenty-five and the other 
twenty-two pounds. 

Our experience had convinced us that both the 
Winchester •405 and the Springfield -300 would do 


good work with elephants, although I kept to my belief 
that, for such very heavy game, my Holland -500 to -450 
was an even better weapon. 

Not far from where this elephant fell Tarlton had, 
the year before, witnessed an interestnig incident. He 
was watching a small herd of elephants, cows and 
calves, which were in the open, when he saw them 
begin to grow uneasy. Then, with a shrill trumpet, a 
cow approached a busli, out of which bounded a big 
lion. Instantly all the cows charged him, and he fled 
as fast as his legs would carry him for the forest, two 
hundred yards distant. He just managed to reach the 
cover in safety, and then tlie infuriated cows, in their 
anger at his escape, demolished the forest for several 
rods in every direction. 



W^HEN I reached Neri, alter coming down from killing 
my first elephant on Kenia, I was kept waiting two or 
three days before I could gather enough Kikuyu porters, 
As I could not speak a word of their language, I got a 
couple of young Scottish settlers, very good fellows, to 
take charge of the safari out to where I intended to 
hunt. There was a party of the King's African Rifles 
camped at Neri ; the powerful-looking enlisted men 
were from the South, chiefly from one of the northern- 
most tribes of Zulu blood, and their two officers were of 
the best Kipling-soldier type. Then there was another 
safari, that of Messrs. Kearton and Clark, who were 
taking some really extraordinary photographs of birds 
and game. Finally, Governor and Mrs. Jackson arrived 
from a trip they had been making round Kenia, and I 
was much pleased to be able to tell the Governor, who 
had helped me in every way, about my bull elephant, 
and to discuss with him some of the birds we had seen 
and the mammals we had trapped. A great ingowa, a 
war-dance of the natives, was held in his honour, and 
the sight was, as always, one of interest and of a certain 
fascination. There was an Indian trader at Neri, from 
w^hom we had obtained donkeys to carry to our elephant 


26G THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

camp " posho," or food for the porters. He announced 
that they were all in readiness in a letter to Cuning- 
hame, which was meant to be entirely respectful, but 
which sounded odd, as it was couched in characteristic 
Baboo English. The opening lines ran : " Dear K-ham. 
the donkeys are altogether deadly." 

At last fifty Kikuyus assembled — they are not able to 
carry the loads of regular Swahili porters — and I started 
that moment, though it was too late in the afternoon to 
travel more than three or four miles. The Kikuyus 
M^ere real savages, naked save for a dingy blanket, 
usually carried round the neck. They formed a 
picturesque safari ; but it was difficult to make the 
grasshopper-like creatures take even as much thought 
for the future as the ordinary happy-go-lucky porters 
take. At night if it rained they cowered under the 
bushes in drenched and shivering discomfort ; and yet 
they had to be driven to make bough shelters for them- 
selves. Once these shelters were up, and a little fire 
kindled at the entrance of each, the moping, spiritless 
wretches would speedily become transformed into beings 
who had lost all remembrance of ever having been wet 
or cold. After their posho had been distributed and 
eaten they would sit, huddled and cheerful, in their 
shelters, and sing steadily for a couple of hours. Their 
songs were much wilder than those of the regular 
porters, and were often warlike. Occasionally, some 
" chanty man," as he would be called on shipboard, 
improvised or repeated a kind of story in short sentences 
or strophes ; but the main feature of each song was the 
endless repetition of some refrain, musically chanted in 
chorus by the whole party. This repetition of a sliort 
sentence or refrain is a characteristic of many kinds of 
savage music. I have seen the Pawnees grow almost 

I-roni a pliolosrapli by Theodore Roosevdi 






/ iA^-"^^ (LCt^^y^-*^^^^^-^ 



maddened by their triumph song, or victory song, which 
consisted of nothing whatever but the fierce, barking, 
wolf-hke repetition of the words, "In the morning the 
wolves feasted." 

Our first afternoon's march was uneventful ; but 1 
was amused at one of our porters and the " safari " ants. 
These safari ants are so called by the natives because 
they go on foraging expeditions in immense numbers. 
The big-headed warriors are able to inflict a really pain- 
ful bite. In open spaces, as wliere crossing a path, the 
column makes a little sunken way, through wliich it 
streams uninterruptedly. Whenever we came to such 
a safari ant colunm, in its sunken way, crossing our 
path, the porter in question laid two twigs on the 
ground as a peace-offering to the ants. He said that 
they were on safari, just as we were, and that it was 
wise to propitiate them. 

That evening we camped in a glade in the forest. ^Vt 
nightfall dozens of the big black-and-white hornbill, 
croaking harshly, flew overhead, their bills giving them 
a curiously top-hea^ y look. They roosted in tlie trees 
near by. 

Next day we came out on the plains, where there was 
no cultivation, and, instead of the straggling thatch and 
wattle, unfenced villages of the soil-tilling Kikuyus, we 
found ourselves again among the purely pastoral Masai, 
whose temporary villages are arranged in a ring or oval, 
the cattle being each night herded in the middle, and 
the mud-daubed, cow-dung-plastered houses so placed 
that their backs form a nearly continuous circular wall, 
the spaces between being choked with thorn bushes. 
I killed a steinbuck, missed a tommy, and at three 
hundred yards hit a Jackson's hartebeest too far back, 
and failed in an effort to ride it down. 

268 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

The day after we were out on plains untenanted by 
human beings, and early in the afternoon struck water 
by which to pitch our ten's. There was not much 
game, and it was shy ; but I thought that I could kill 
enough to keep the camp in meat, so I sent back the 
two Scotsmen and their Kikuyus, after having them 
build a thorn boma, or fence, round the camp. One of 
the reasons why the Masai had driven their herds and 
Hocks off this plain was because a couple of lions had 
turned man-eaters, and had killed a number of men and 
women. We saw no sign of lions, and believed they 
had followed the Masai ; but there was no use in taking 
needless chances. 

The camp was beside a cold, rapid stream, one of the 
head- waters of tlie Guaso Nyero. it was heavily fringed 
with thorn timber. To the east the crags and snow- 
fields of Kenia rose from the slow swell of the mountain's 
base. It should have been the dry season, but there 
were continual heavy rains, which often turned into 
torrential downpours. In the overcast mornings, as I 
rode away from camp, it was as cool as if I were riding 
through the fall weather at home ; at noon, if the sun 
came out, straight overhead, the heat was blazing ; and 
we generally returned to camp, at nightfall, drenched 
with the cold rain. The first heavy storm, the evening 
we pitched camp, much excited all my followers. Ali 
came rushing into the tent to tell me that there was 
" a big snake up high." This certainly seemed worth 
investigating, and I followed him outside, where every- 
body was looking at the " snake," which proved to be a 
huge funnel-shaped, whirling cloud, careering across the 
darkened sky. It was a kind of Materspout or cyclone ; 
fortunately it passed to one side of camp. 

The first day I hunted I shot only a steinbuck for the 

CH. xi] ELANDS 269 

table. The country alternated between bare plains and 
great stretches of sparse, stunted thorns. We saw 
zebra and two or three bands of oryx ; big, handsome 
antelope strongly built and boldly coloured, with long 
black, rapier-like horns. They were very wary, much 
more so than the zebra with which they associated, and 
we could not get anywhere near them. 

Next day I hunted along tJie edges of a big swamp. 
We saw waterbuck, but were unable to get within shot. 
However, near the fartlier end of the swamp, in an open 
swale, we found foin- eland feeding. The eland is the 
king of antelope ; and not only did I desire meat for 
camp, but 1 wished the head of a good bull as a trophy 
for myself, the ehuid I had hitherto shot being for the 
National Museum. The little band included a big bull, 
a small bull, and two cows. At a distance the big bull 
looked slaty blue. The great sleek handsome creatures 
were feeding in the long grass just like cattle, switching 
their long tails at the Hies. The country looked like a 
park, with clumps of thorn-trees scattered over the 
grassy sw^ard. (Carefully I crept on all-fours from tree- 
clump to tree-clump, trying always to move w^hen the 
elands" heads w^ere down grazing. At last I was within 
three hundred yards, when one of the cow^s caught a 
glimpse of me and alarmed the others. They were 
startled, but puzzled, and, after trotting a few rods, 
turned to stare at the half-seen object of their alarm. 
Rising to my knee, 1 shot the big bull in the throat as, 
with head erect, he gazed in my direction. Off he w^ent 
with a rush, the others bounding and leaping as they 
accompanied him, and we followed on the blood spoor. 
Bakhari and Gouvimali trotted fast on the trail, and in 
order to be fresh for the shot 1 mounted Tranquillity. 
Suddenly out bounced the wounded bull from some 

270 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

bushes close by, and the horse nearly had a fit. I could 
hardly get off in time to empty my magazine at long 
range— fortunately with effect. It was a magnificent 
bull of the variety called Patterson's eland, with a fine 
head. Few prize oxen would be as heavy, and, in spite 
of its great size, its finely moulded limbs and beautiful 
coat gave it a thoroughly game look. 

Oryx were now what I especially wished, and we 
devoted all the following day to their pursuit. We saw 
three bands, two of them accompanying herds of zebra, 
after the manner of kongoni. Both species were found 
indifferently on the bare, short-grass flats and among the 
thin, stunted thorn-trees which covered much of the 
plains. After a careful stalk — the latter part on all- 
fours — I got to within about three hundred yards of a 
mixed herd, and put a bullet into one oryx as it faced 
me, and hit another as it ran. The first, from its posi- 
tion, I thought I would surely kill if 1 liit it at all, and 
both the wounded beasts were well behind the herd 
when it halted a mile away on the other side of the 
plain ; but as we approached they all went off together, 
and I can only hope the two I hit recovered ; at any 
rate, after we had followed them for miles, the tough 
beasts were still running as strongly as ever. 

All the morning I manoeuvred and tramped hard, in 
vain. At noon I tried a stalk on a little band of six, 
who were standing still, idly switching their tails, out in 
a big Hat. They saw me, and at four hundred yards I 
missed the shot. By this time 1 felt rather desperate, 
and decided for once to abandon legitimate proceedings 
and act on the Ciceronian theory, that he who throws 
the javelin all day must hit the mark some time. 
Accordingly I emptied the magazines of both my rifles 
at the oryx, as they ran across my front, and broke the 

— '3 




CH. xi] ORYX, EI.AND, ETC. 271 

neck of a fine cow, at four luindred and fifty yards. 
Six or seven liundred yards off the survivors stopped, 
and the biggest bull, evidently much put out, uttered 
loud bawling grunts and drove tlie otliers roinid with 
his horns. Meanwhile I was admiring the handsome 
dun gray coat of my prize, its long tail and long, sharp, 
slender horns, and the bold black-and-white markings 
on its face. Hardly had we skinned the carcass before 
the vultures lit on it ; with them were two marabou 
storks, one of which I shot with a hard bullet from the 

The oryx, like the roan and sable, and in striking 
contrast to the eland, is a bold and hard fighter, and 
when cornered will charge a man or endeavour to stab 
a lion. If wounded it must be approached with a 
certain amount of caution. The eland, on the otlier 
hand, in spite of its huge size, is singularly mild and 
inoffensive, an old bull being as inferior to an oryx in 
the will and power to fight as it is in speed and 
endurance. '* Antelope," as I have said, is a very loose 
term, meaning simply any hollow-horned ruminant that 
isn't an ox, a sheep, or a goat. The eland is one of the 
group of tragelaphs, which are as different from the 
true antelopes, such as the gazelles, as they are from 
the oxen. One of its kinsfolk is the handsome little 
bushbuck, about as big as a white-tail deer — a buck of 
which Kermit had killed two specimens. The bush- 
buck is a wicked fighter, no other buck of its size being 
as dangerous, which makes the helplessness and timidity 
of its huge relative all the more striking. 

1 had kept four Kikuyus with me to accompany me 
on my hunts and carry in the skins and meat. They 
were with me on this occasion ; and it was amusing to 
see how my four regular attendants, Bakhari and 

272 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

Goiivimali the gun-bearers, Simba the sais, and Kiboko 
the skinner, looked down on their wild and totally 
uncivilized brethren. They would not associate with 
the " shenzis," as they called them — that is, savages or 
bush people. But the " shenzis " always amused and 
interested me, and this was especially true on the after- 
noon in question. Soon after we had started campwards 
with the skin and meat of the oryx, we encountered a 
succession of thunderstorms. The rain came down in 
a deluge, so that the water stood ankle-deep on the 
flats, the lightning flashed continuously on every side, 
and the terriflc peals of thunder made one continuous 
roll. At flrst it maddened my horse ; but the un- 
interrupted blaze and roar, just because uninterrupted, 
ended by making him feel that there was nothing to 
be done, and he plodded stolidly forward through the 
driving storm. My regular attendants accepted it with 
an entire philosophy, which was finally copied by the 
Kikuyus, who at first felt frightened. One of them 
had an old umbrella which he shared with a crony. 
He himself was carrying the marabou stork ; his crony 
had long strips of raw oryx meat wound in a swollen 
girdle about his waist ; neither had a stitch on save the 
blankets which were wrapped round their throats, and 
they clasped each other in a tight embrace as they 
walked along under the battered old umbrella. 

In this desolate and lonely land the majesty of the 
storms impressed on the beholder a sense of awe and 
solemn exaltation. Tossing their crests, and riven by 
lightning, they gathered in their wrath from every 
quarter of the heavens, and darkness was before and 
under them ; then, in the lull of a moment, they might 
break apart, while the sun turned the rain to silver, and 
the rainbows were set in the sky ; but always they 


gatliered again, menacing and mighty — for the promise 
of the bow was never kept, and ever the clouds returned 
after the rani. Once as I rode facing Kenia the clouds 
tore asunder, to right and left, and the mountain towered 
between while across its base was flung a radiant arch. 
But almost at once the many-coloured glory was 
dinnned ; for in splendour and terror the storm strode 
in front, and shrouded all things from sight in thunder- 
shattered sheets of rain. 

These days alone in the wilderness went by very 
pleasantly, and, as it was for not too long, I thoroughly 
enjoyed being entirely by myself, so far as white men 
were concerned. By this time I had become really 
attached to my native followers, who looked after my 
interest and comfort in every way ; and in return I kept 
them su])plied with plenty of food, saw that they were 
well clothed, and forced them to gather enough firewood 
to keep their tents dry and warm at night — for cold, 
rainy weather is always hard upon them. 

Ali, my ftiithful head tent-boy, and Shemlani, his 
assistant — poor Bill the Kikuyu had left because of an 
intricate row with his fellows — were both, as they 
proudly informed me, Arabs. On the East African 
coast the so-called Arabs almost all have native blood 
in them and speak Swahili — the curious, newly-created 
language of the descendants of the natives whom the 
Arabs originally enslaved, and who themselves may 
have in their veins a little Arab blood ; in fact, the 
dividing line between Swahili and Arab becomes 
impracticable for an outsider to draw where, as is 
generally the case, it is patent that the blood of both 
races is mixed to a degree at which it is only possible 
to guess. Ali spoke some English ; and he and Shem- 
lani were devoted and efhcient servitors. Bakhari, the 


274 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

gun-bearer, was a Swahili, quite fearless with dangerous 
game, rather sullen, and innnoved by any emotion that 
1 could ever discover. He spoke a little English, but 
it could not be called idiomatic. One day we saw two 
ostriches, a cock and a hen, with their chicks, and 
Bakhari, with some excitement, said, " Look, sah ! 
ostrich ! bull, cow, and pups !" The other gun-bearer, 
Gouvimali, in some ways an even better hunter, and 
always good-tempered, knew but one English phrase ; 
regularly every afternoon or evening, after cleaning the 
rifle he had carried, he would say, as he left the tent, 
his face M^-eathed in smiles, " G-o-o-d-e-bye !" Gouvi- 
mali was a Wakamba, as were Simba and my other sais, 
M'nyassa, who had taken the place of Hamisi (Hamisi 
had broken down in health, his legs, as he assured me, 
becoming " very sick "). The cook, Roberti, was a 
mission boy, a Christian. We had several Christians 
with the safari, one being a headman, and all did 
excellently. I mention this because one so often hears 
it said that mission boys turn out worthless. Most of 
our men were heathens ; and of course many, both of the 
Christians and tlie Mohammedans, were rather thinly 
veneered with the religions they respectively professed. 
When in the morning we started on our hunt, my 
gun-bearers and sais, and the skinners, if any were 
along, walked silently behind me, on the lookout for 
game. Returning, they were apt to get in front, to 
pilot me back to camp. If, as at this time was gene- 
rally the case, we returned with our heads bent to the 
rushing rain, they trudged sturdily ahead in dripping 
silence. If the weather was clear the spirits of the 
stalwart fellows were sure to rise until they found some 
expression. The Wakamba might break into song ; or 
they might all talk together in Swahili, recounting the 

tH. XI] CAMP LIFE 275 

adventures of tlie day, and chaffing one another with 
uproarious laughter about any small misadventure; a 
difference of opinion as to the direction of camp being 
always a subject, first for earnest discussion, and then 
for much mirth at the expense of whosoever had been 
proved to be mistaken. 

My two horses, when I did not use them, grazed 
contentedly throughout the day near the little tliorn 
boma which surrounded our tents ; and at nightfall the 
friendly things came within it of their own accord to be 
given their feed of corn and be put in their own tent. 
AVhen the sun was hot they wTre tormented by biting 
flies ; but their work was easy, and they were well 
treated and throve. In the daytime \'ultures, kites, 
and white-necked ravens came round camp, and after 
nightfall jackals w^ailed and hyenas uttered their w^eird 
cries as they prowled outside the thorn walls. Twice, at 
midnight, we heard the ominous sighing or moaning of 
a hungry lion, and I looked to my rifle, which always 
stood, loaded, at the head of my bed. But on neither 
occasion did he come near us. Every night a fire was 
kept burning in the entrance to the boma, and the three 
askaris watched in turn, with instructions to call me if 
there was any need. 

I easily kept the camp supplied with meat, as I had 
anticipated that 1 could do. My men feasted on oryx 
and eland, while I reserved the tongues and tenderloins 
for myself. Each day I hunted for eight or ten hours, 
something of interest always happening. I would not 
shoot at the gazelles ; and the game I did want was so 
shy that almost all my shots w^ere at long nuige, and 
consequently a number of them did not hit. However, 
I came on my best oryx in rather thick bush, and killed 
it at a hundred and twenty-five yards, as it turned with 

276 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

a kind of sneeze of alarm or curiosity, and stood broad- 
side to me, the sun glinting on its handsome coat and 
polished black horns. One of my Kikuyu followers 
packed the skin entire to camp. I had more trouble 
with another oryx, wounding it one evening at three 
hundred and fifty yards, and next morning following the 
trail and, after much hard work and a couple of misses, 
killing it with a shot at three hundred yards. On 
September 2, I found two newly- born oryx calves. 
The colour of the oryx made them less visible than 
hartebeest when a long way off on the dry plains. I 
noticed that whenever we saw them mixed in a herd 
with zebra, it was the zebra that first struck our eyes. 
But in bright sunlight, in bush, I also noticed that the 
zebra themselves were hard to see. 

One afternoon, while skirting the edge of a marsh 
teeming with waders and water-fowl, I came across four 
stately Kavirondo cranes, specimens of which bird the 
naturalists had been particularly anxious to secure. 
They were not very shy for cranes, but they would not 
keep still, and I missed a shot with the Springfield as 
they walked along about a hundred and fifty yards 
ahead of me. However, they were unwise enough to 
circle round me when they rose, still keeping the same 
distance, and all the time uttering their musical call, 
while their great wings flapped in measured beats. To 
shoot flying with the rifle, even at such large birds of 
such slow and regular flight, is never easy, and they 
were rather far off; but M'itli the last cartridge in my 
magazine — the fifth — I brought one whirling down 
through the air, the bullet having pierced his body. It 
was a most beautiful bird, black, white, and chestnut, 
with an erect golden crest, and long, lanceolate grey 
feathers on the throat and breast. 

y< fe 

/. i; 

7^ '3 

y- ^ 



There were waterbuck and inipalla in this swamp. I 
tried to get a bull of the former, hut failed. Several 
times I was within Hfty yards of doe inipalla and cow 
waterbuck, with their young, and watched them as they 
fed and rested, quite unconscious of my presence. 
Twice 1 saw steinbuck, on catching sight of me, lie 
down, hoping to escape observation. The red coat of 
the steinbuck is rather conspicuous, much more so than 
the coat of the duiker, yet it often tries to hide from 
possible foes. 

Late in the afternoon of September 3, Cuninghame 
and Heller, with the main safari, joined me, and I 
greeted them joyfully, while my men were equally 
pleased to see their fellow^s, each shaking hands with his 
especial friends. Next morning we started toward 
INIcru, heading north-east, toward the foothills of 
Kenia. The vegetation changed its character as w^e 
rose. 13y the stream where we had camped grew the 
great thorn-trees with yellow-green trunks which we 
had become accustomed to associate with the presence 
of herds of game. Out on the dry fiats were other 
tiiorns, weazened little trees, or mere scrawny bushes, 
with swellings like bulbs on the branches and twigs, and 
the long thorns far more conspicuous than the scanty 
foliage ; though what there was of this foliage, now 
brilliant green, was exquisite in hue and form, the 
sprays of delicate little leaves being as fine as the 
daintiest lace. On the foothills all these thorn-trees 
vanished. We did not go as high as the forest belt 
proper (here narrow, while above it the bamboos 
covered the mountain side), but tongues of juniper forest 
stretched down along the valleys which we crossed, and 
there were large patches of coarse deer-fern, while 
among many unknown flowers we saw blue lupins. 

278 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xj 

oxeye daisies, and clover. That night we camped so 
high that it was really cold, and we welcomed tlie 
roaring fires of juniper logs. 

We rose at sunrise. It was a glorious morning, clear 
and cool, and as we sat at breakfast, the table spread in 
the open on the dew-drenched grass, we saw in the 
south-east the peak of Kenia, and through the high, 
transparent air the snow-fields seemed so close as almost 
to dazzle our eyes. To the north and west we looked 
far out over the wide, rolling plains to a wilderness of 
mountain ranges, barren and jagged. All that day and 
the next vv-e journeyed eastward, almost on the Equator. 
At noon the overhead sun burned with torrid heat ; but 
with the twilight— short compared to the long northern 
twilights, but not nearly as short as tropical twilights 
are often depicted — came the cold, and each night the 
frost was hea\'y. The country was untenanted by man. 
In the afternoon of the third day we began to go down- 
hill, and hour by hour the flora changed. At last we 
came to a broad belt of woodland, where the strange 
trees of many kinds grew tall and thick. Among them 
were camphor-trees, and trees with gouty branch tips, 
bearing leaves like those of the black walnut, and 
panicles of lilac flowers, changing into brown seed 
vessels ; and other trees, with clusters of purple flowers, 
and the seeds or nuts enclosed in hard pods or seed 
vessels like huge sausages. 

On the other side of the forest we came suddenly out 
on the cultivated fields of the Wa-Meru, who, like the 
Kikuyu, till the soil ; and among them, farther down, 
was Meru Boma, its neat, picturesque buildings beauti- 
fully placed among green groves and irrigated fields, 
and looking out from its cool elevation over the hot 
valleys beneath. It is one of the prettiest spots in East 


Africa. ^Ve were more than liospitably received by the 
Commissioner, Mr. Home, who had been a cow-puncher 
in AVyoming for seven years, so that naturally we had 
much in common. He had built the station himself, 
and had tamed the wild tribes around by mingled firm- 
ness and good treatment ; and he was a mighty hunter, 
and helped us in every way. 

Here we met Kermit and Tarlton, and heard all 
about their hunt. They had been away from us for 
three weeks and a half, along the Guaso Nyero, and 
had enjoyed first-rate luck. Kermit had been particu- 
larly interested in a caravan they had met, consisting 
of wild spear-bearing Borani— people like Somalis — 
who were bringing down scores of camels and hvmdreds 
of small horses to sell at Nairobi. They had come from 
the North, near the outlying xVbyssinian lands, and the 
caravan was commanded by an Arab of stately and 
courteous manners. Such an extensive caravan journey 
was rare in the old days before English rule ; but one 
of the results of the " Pax Europaica," wherever it 
obtains in German, French, or English Africa, is a great 
increase of intercourse, commercial and social, among 
the different tribes, even where widely separated. This 
caravan had been followed by lions ; and a day or two 
afterward Kermit and Tarlton ran into what were prob- 
ably these very lions. There were eleven of them — a 
male with a heavy mane, three lionesses, and seven cubs, 
some of them about half-grown. As Kermit and Tarl- 
ton galloped after them, the lion took the lead, the cubs 
coming in the middle, while the three lionesses loped 
along in the rear, guarding their young. The lion cared 
little for his wives and offspring, and gradually drew 
ahead of them, while the two horsemen, riding at full 
speed, made a wide detour round the others, in order to 

280 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

reach him ; so that at last they got between him and 
the ten honesses and cubs, the big Hon coming first, the 
horsemen next, and then the lesser lions, all headed the 
same way. As the horse-hoofs thundered closer, the 
lion turned to bay. Kermit — whose horse had once 
fallen with him in the chase — and Tarlton leaped off 
their horses, and Kermit hit the lion with his first shot, 
and, as it started to charge, mortally wounded it with a 
second bullet. It turned and tried to reach cover, and 
Tarlton stopped it with a third shot, for there was no 
time to lose, as they wished to tackle the other lions. 
After a sharp gallop, they rounded up the lionesses and 
cubs. Kermit killed one large cub, which they mistook 
for a lioness ; wounded a lioness, which for the tiine 
being escaped ; killed another with a single bullet 
from his "30 to '40 Winchester — for the others he used 
his '405 Winchester — and hit the third as she crouched 
facing him at two hundred yards. She at once came 
in at full speed, making a most determined charge. 
Kermit and Tarlton were standing near their horses. 
The lioness came on with great bounds, so that 
Kermit missed her twice, but broke her shoulder high 
up when she was but thirty yards off". She fell on her 
head, and, on rising, galloped, not at the men, but at 
the horses, who, curiously enough, paid no heed to her. 
Tarlton stopped her with a bullet in the nick of time, 
just before she reached them, and with another bullet 
Kermit killed her. Two days later they came on the 
remaining cubs and the wounded lioness, and Kermit 
killed tiie latter ; but they let the cubs go, feeling it 
unsportsmanlike to kill them — a feeling which I am 
by no means certain I share, for lions are scourges not 
only to both wild and tame animals, but to man 


Kermit also rode down and killed two cheetahs and a 
serval, and got a bad tumble while chasing a jackal, his 
horse turning a complete somersault througli a thorny 
bush. This made seven cheetahs that he had killed— a 
record unequalled for any other East African trip of tlie 
same lengtii ; and the finding and galloping down of 
these cheetahs — going at breakneck speed over any and 
every kind of groimd, and then shooting them either 
from foot or horseback — made one of the noteworthy 
featm-es of our trip. One of these two cheetahs had 
just killed a steinbuck. The serval was witli its mate, 
and Kermit watched them for some time through his 
glasses before following them. There was one curious 
feature of tlieir conduct. (3ne of them was playing 
about, now near the other, now leaving it ; and near by 
was a bustard, which it several times pretended to stalk, 
crawling toward it a few yards, and then standing up 
and walking away. The bustard paid no heed to it ; 
and, more singular still, two white-necked ravens lit 
close to it, within a few yards on either side ; the serval 
sitting erect between them, seemingly quite unconcerned 
for a couple of minutes, and tlien strolling off' without 
making any effort to molest them. I can give no 
explanation of the incident ; it illustrates afresh the 
need of ample and well-recorded observations by trust- 
worthy field naturalists, who shall go into the wilderness 
before tiie big game, the big birds, and the beasts of 
prey vanisli. Those pages of the book of natin-e which 
are best worth reading can best be read far from the 
dwellings of civilized man ; and for their full interpreta- 
tion we need the services, not of one man, but of many 
men, who, in addition to the gift of accin*ate observation, 
shall if possible possess the power fully, accurately, and 
with vividness to write about what they have observed. 

282 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

Kermit shot many other animals, among them three 
fine oryx, one of which he rode down on horseback, 
manceuvrmg so that at last it galloped fairly closely 
across his front, whereupon he leaped off his horse for 
the shot ; an ardwolf (a miniature hyena with very weak ' 
teeth), which bolted from its hole at his approach ; 
gerunuk, small antelope with necks relatively as long 
as giraffes', which are exceedingly shy and difficult to 
obtain ; and the Grevy's zebra, as big as a small horse. 
Most of his hunting was done alone, either on foot or 
on horseback ; on a long run or all-day tramp no other 
member of our outfit, black or white, could quite keep 
up with him. He and Tarlton found where a leopard 
had killed and partly eaten a nearly full-grown individual 
of this big zebra. He also shot a twelve-foot crocodile. 
The ugly, formidable brute had in its belly sticks, 
stones, the claws of a cheetah, the hoofs of an impalla, 
and the big bones of an eland, together with the shell- 
plates of one of the large river-turtles ; evidently it took 
toll indifferently from among its fellow- denizens of the 
river, and from among the creatures that came to drink, 
whether beasts of pasture or the flesh-eaters that preyed 
upon them. 

He also shot three buffalo bulls, Tarlton helping him 
to finish them off, for they are tough animals, tenacious 
of life and among the most dangerous of African game. 
One turned to charge, but was disabled by the bullets 
of both of them before he could come on. Tarlton, 
whose experience in the hunting field against dangerous 
game had been large, always maintained that, although 
lion-hunting was the most dangerous sport, because a 
hunted lion was far more apt to charge than any other 
animal, yet when a buffalo bull did charge he was more 
dangerous than a lion, because harder to kill or turn. 


W'^here zebra iiiid other game are abundant, as on the 
Athi plains, Rons do not meddle with such formidable 
quarry as buffalo ; on Heatley's farm lions sometimes 
made tlieir lairs in the same papyrus swamp with the 
buft'alo, but hardly ever molested them. In many 
))laces, however, the lion preys largely, and in some 
places chiefly, on the buffalo. The hunters of wide 
experience with wliom I conversed, men like Tarlton, 
('uninohame, and Home, were unanimous in stating 
that where a lion killed a buffalo they had always 
found that the buffalo was a cow or immature bull, and 
that whenever they had found a full-grown bull thus 
killed, several lions had been engaged in the job. 
Home had once found the carcass of a big bull whicli 
liad been killed and eaten by lions, and near by lay a 
dead lioness with a great rip in her side, made by the 
buffalo's horn in the figlit in wliich he succumbed. 
Even a buffalo cow, if fairly pitted against a single lion, 
would probably stand an even chance, but of course 
the ffght never is fair, the lion's aim being to take his 
prey unawares and get a death grip at the outset, and 
then, unless his hold is broken, he cannot be seriously 

Twenty years ago the African buffalo were smitten 
with one of tliose overwhelming disasters which are ever 
occiu'ring and recurring in the animal world. Africa is 
not only the land, beyond all others, subject to odious 
and terrible insect plagues of every conceivable kind, 
but is also peculiarly liable to cattle murrains. About 
the year 1889, or shortly before, a \'irulent form of 
rinderpest started among the domestic cattle and wild 
buffalo almost at the northern border of the buffalo's 
range, and within the next few years worked gradually 
southward to beyond the Zambesi. It wrought dreadful 

284 THE Gl ASO NYERO [ch. xi 

havoc among the cattle, and in consequence decimated 
by starvation many of the cattle -owning tribes ; it killed 
many of the large bovine antelopes, and it wellnigh 
exterminated the buffalo. In many places the buffalo 
herds were absolutely wiped out, the species being 
utterly destroyed throughout great tracts of territory, 
notably in East Africa ; in other places the few 
survivors did not represent the hundredth part of those 
that had died. For years the East African buffalo 
ceased to exist as a beast of the chase. But all the 
time it was slowly regaining the lost ground, and during 
the last decade its increase has been rapid. Unlike the 
slow-breeding elephant and rhinoceros, buffalo multiply 
apace, like domestic cattle, and in many places the 
herds have now become too numerous. Their rapid 
recovery from a calamity so terrific is interesting and 
instructive.^ Doubtless for many years after man, in 
recognizably human form, appeared on this planet, he 
played but a small part in the destruction of big 
animals, compared to plague, to insect pests, and 
microbes, to drought, flood, earth upheaval, and change 
of temperature. But during the geological moment 
covering the few thousand years of recorded history 
man has been not merely the chief, but practically the 
sole, factor in the extermination of big mammals and 

At and near Meru Boma we spent a fortnight hunt- 
ing elephant and rhinoceros, as described in the pre- 
ceding chapter. While camped by the boma, white- 
necked vulturine ravens and black-and-white crows 
came familiarly around the tents. A young eland bull, 

^ On our trip along the Guaso Nyero we heard that there had 
been a fresh outbreak of rinderpest among the buffalo. I hope it 
will not prove such a hideous disaster. 


quite as tame as a domestic cow, was picketed, now 
here, now there, about us. Home was breaking it to 
drive in a cart. 

During our stay another District Commissioner, 
JMr. Piggott, came ovxt on a short visit. It was lie who, 
the preceding year, while at Neri, had been obliged to 
undertake the crusade against the rhinos, because, quite 
unprovoked, they had killed various natives. He told 
us that at the same time a man-eating leopard made its 
appearance, and killed seven children. It did not attack 
at night, but in the daytime, its victims being the little 
boys who were watching the flocks of goats ; sometimes 
it took a boy and sometimes a goat. Two old men 
killed it with spears on the occasion of its taking the last 
victim. It was a big male, very old, much emaciated, 
and the teeth worn to stumps. Home told us that a 
month or two before our arrival at JNleru a leopard had 
begun a career of woman-killing. It killed one woman 
by a bite in the throat, and ate the body. It sprang on 
and badly wounded another, but was driven off in time 
to save her life. This was probably the leopard Heller 
trapped and shot, in the very locality where it had com- 
mitted its ravages. It was an old male, but very thin, 
with worn teeth. In these cases the reason for the 
beast's action was plain : in each instance a big, savage 
male had found his powers failing, and had been driven 
to prey on the females and yoimg of the most helpless of 
animals, man. But another attack of which Piggott 
told us was apparently due to the queer individual 
freakishness always to be taken into account in dealing 
with wild beasts. A Masai chief, with two or three 
followers, was sitting eating under a bush, when, abso- 
lutely without warning, a leopard sprang on him, clawed 
him on the head and hand without biting him, and as 

286 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

instantly disappeared. Piggott attended to the wounded 

In riding in the neighbourhood, through the tall dry 
grass, Avhich would often rattle in the wind, I was 
amused to find that, if I suddenly heard the sound, I 
was apt to stand alertly on guard, quite unconsciously 
and instinctively, because it suggested the presence of a 
rattlesnake. During the years I lived on a ranch in the 
West I was always hearing and killing rattlesnakes, and 
although I knew well that no African snake carries a 
rattle, my subconscious senses always threw me to atten- 
tion if there was a sound resembling that made by a 
rattler. Tarlton, by the way, told me an interesting 
anecdote of a white-tailed mongoose and a snake. The 
mongoose was an inmate of the house where he dwelt 
with his brother, and was quite tame. One day they 
brought in a rather small puff-adder, less than two feet 
long, put it on the floor, and showed it to the mongoose. 
Instantly the latter sprang toward the snake, every hair 
in its body and tail on end, and halted five feet away, 
while the snake lay in curves, like the thong of a whip, 
its head turned toward the mongoose. Both were 
motionless for a moment. Then suddenly the mon- 
goose seemed to lose all its excitement ; its hair 
smoothed down ; and it trotted quietly up to the 
snake, seized it by the middle of the back — it always 
devoured its food with savage voracity — and settled 
comfortably down to its meal. Like lightning the 
snake's head wliipped round ; it drove its fangs deep 
into the snout or lip of the mongoose, hung on for a 
moment, and then repeated the blow. The mongoose 
paid not the least attention, but went on munching the 
snake's body, severed its backbone at once, and then ate 
it all up, liead, fangs, poison, and everything, and it 


never showed a sign of having received any damage in 
tlie encounter. I had always understood that the mon- 
goose owed its safety to its agihty in avoiding the 
snake's stroke, and 1 can offer no explanation of this 
particular incident. 

There were eland on the high downs not far from 
Meru, apparently as nuich at home in the wet, cold 
climate as on the hot plains. Their favourite gait is the 
trot. An elephant moves at a walk, or rather rack ; a 
giraffe has a very peculiar leisurely-looking gallop, hotli 
hind-legs coming forward nearly at the same time out- 
side the fore-legs ; rhino and buffalo trot and run. 
Eland, when alarr.ied, boimd with astonishing agility 
for such large beasts — a trait not shown by other 
large antelope, like oryx — and then gallop for a short 
distance ; but the big bulls speedily begin to trot, and 
the cows and younger bulls gradually also drop back 
into the trot. In fact, their gaits are in essence those 
of the wapiti, which also prefer the trot, although 
wapiti never make the bounds that eland do at the 
start. The moose, however, is more essentially a trotter 
than either eland or wapiti. A very old and heavy 
moose never, when at speed, goes at any other gait than 
a trot, except that under the pressure of great and 
sudden danger it may, perhaps, make a few bounds.^ 

While at jNIeru Boma I received a cable, forwarded 

^ A perfectly trustworthy Maine hunter informed nie that in the 
spring he had once seen in the snow the marks where a bear had 
sprung at two big moose, and they had bounded for several rods 
before settHnij into the tremendous trot whicli is their normal gait 
when startled. I have myself seen signs that showed where a young 
moose had galloped for some rods under similar circumstances; 
and I have seen big moose calves or half-grown moose in captivity 
gallop a few yards in play, although rarely. But the normal, and 
uniler ordinary circumstances the only, gait of the moose is the 

288 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

by native runners, telling me of Peary's wonderful feat 
in reaching the North Pole. Of course, we were all 
overjoyed ; and, in particular, we Americans could not i 
but feel a special pride in the fact that it was a fellow- 
countryman who had performed the great and note- 
worthy achievement. A little more than a year had 
passed since I said good-bye to Peary as he started on 
his Arctic quest. After leaving New York in the 
Roosevelt, he had put into Oyster Bay to see us, and 
we had gone aboard the Roosevelt, had examined with 
keen hitercst how she was fitted for the boreal seas and 
the boreal winter, and had then waved farewell to the 
tall, gaunt explorer as he stood looking toward us over 
the side of the stout little ship.^ 

On September 21 Kermit and Tarlton started south- 
west toward Lake Hannington, and Cuninghame and I 
north toward the Guaso Nyero. Heller was under the 
weather, and we left him to spend a few days at Meru 
Boma, and then to take in the elephant skins and other 
museum specimens to Nairobi. 

As Cuninghame and 1 were to be nearly four weeks 
in a country Math no food supplies, we took a small 
donkey safari to carry the extra food for our porters, 
for in these remote places the difficulty of taking in 
many hundred pounds of salt, as well as skin tents, and 
the difficulty of bringing out the skeletons and skins of 
the big animals collected, make such an expedition as 
ours, undertaken for scientific purposes, far more cum- 
bersome and unwieldy than a mere hunting trip, or 
even than a voyage of exploration, and treble the 

^ When I reached Neri I received from Peary the following 
cable : "" Your farewell was a royal mascot. The Pole is ours. — 


A long day's march brought us down to the hot 
country. That e\eninn- we pitched our tents by u 
rapid brook bordered by pahns, wliose long, stiff fronds 
rustled ceaselessly in the wind. Monkeys swung in the 
tree-tops. On the march I shot a Kavirondo crane on 
the wing with the little Springfield, almost exactly 
repeating my experience with the other crane which I 
had shot tlu-ee weeks before, except that on this occasion 
I brouglit down the bird with my third bullet, and then 
wasted the last two cartridges in the magazine at his 
companions. At dusk the donkeys were driven to a 
fire within tiie camp, and they stood patiently round it 
in a circle throughout the night, safe from lions and 

Next days march brouglit us to another small 
tributary of the (Tuaso Nyero, a little stream twisting 
rapidly through the plain between sheer banks. Here 
and there it was edged with palms and beds of bul- 
rushes. A\'e pitched the tents close to half a dozen 
flat-topped thorn-trees. ^Ve spent several days at this 
camp. ^Nlany kites came around the tents, but neither 
vultures nor ravens. The country was a vast plain 
bounded on almost every hand by chains of far-ofi' 
mountains. In the south-west, just beyond the Equator, 
the snows of Kenia lifted toward the sky. To the 
north the barren ranges were grim with the grimness of 
the desert. The fiats were covered with pale, bleached 
grass which waved all day long in the wind ; for though 
there were sometimes calms, or changes in the wind, on 
most of the days we were out it never ceased blowing 
from some point in the south. In places the parched 
soil was crumbling and rotten ; in other places it was 
thickly strewn with volcanic stones. There were but 
few tracts over which a horse could gallop at speed, 


290 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

although neither the rocks nor the rotten soil seemed 
to hamper the movements of the game. Here and 
there were treeless stretches. Elsewhere there were 
occasional palms, and trees thirty or forty feet high, 
seemingly cactus or aloes, which looked even more like 
candelabra than the euphorbia which is thus named ; 
and a scattered growth of thorn-trees and bushes. The 
thorn-trees were of many kinds. One bore only a few 
leathery leaves, the place of foliage being taken by the 
mass of poisonous-looking, fleshy spines which, together 
with the ends of the branches, were bright green. The 
camel-thorn was completely armed with little, sharply 
hooked thorns which tore whatever they touched, 
whether flesh or clotlies. Then there were the mimosas, 
with long, straight thorn spikes ; they are so plentiful 
in certain places along the Guaso Nyero that almost all 
tlie lions have festering sores in their paws because of 
the spikes that have broken off in them. In these 
thorn-trees the weaver birds had built multitudes of 
their straw nests, each with its bottle-shaped mouth 
towards the north, away from the direction of the 
prevailing wind. 

Each morning we were up at dawn, and saw the 
heavens redden and the sun flame over the rim of the 
world. All day long we rode and walked across the 
endless flats, save that at noon, when the sky was like 
molten brass, we might rest under the thin half-shade 
of some thorn-tree. As the shadows lengthened and 
the harsh, pitiless glare softened, we might turn camp- 
ward ; or we might hunt until the sun went down, and 
the mountains in the far-off west, and the sky above 
them, grew faint and dim with the hues of fairyland. 
Then we would ride back through the soft, warm 
beauty of the tropic night, the stars blazing overhead 


and the silver moonlight Hooding the reaches of dry 
grass ; it Mas so bright that our shadows were almost 
as black and clear-cut as in the day. On reaching 
camp I would take a cup of tea m ith crackers or ginger- 
snaps, and after a hot bath and a shave I was always 
eager for dinner. 

Scattered over these flats were herds of zebra, oryx, 
and gazelle. The gazelle, the most plentiful and much 
the tamest of the game, were the northern form of the 
Grant's gazelle, with straighter horns which represented 
the opposite extreme when compared with the horns of 
the Roberts" type which we got on the Sotik. They 
seemed to me somewhat less in size than the big gazelle 
of the Kapiti plains. One of the bucks I shot, an 
adult of average size (I was not able to weigh my 
biggest one), weighed one hundred and flfteen pounds ; 
a very big true Grant's buck which 1 shot on the Kapiti 
plains weighed one hundred and seventy-one pounds. 
Doubtless there is complete intergradation, but the 
Guaso Nyero form seemed slinnncr and lighter, and in 
some respects seemed to tend toward the Somaliland 
gazelles. I marked no difference in the habits, except 
that these northern gazelle switched their tails more 
jerkily, more like tommies, than was customary with 
the true Grant's gazelles. But the difference may have 
been in my observation. At any rate, the gazelles in 
this neighbourhood, like those elsewhere, went in small 
parties, or herds of thirty or forty individuals, on the 
open plains or where there were a few scattered bushes, 
and behaved like those in the Sotik, or on the Athi 
plains. A near kinsman of the gazelle, the gerunuk, 
a curious creature with a very long neck, which the 
Swahilis call " little girafl'e," was scattered singly or in 
small parties through the brush, and was as wild and 

292 THE GT^ASO NYEKO [ch. xi 

wary as the common gazelle was tame. It seemed to 
prefer browsing, while the common gazelle grazes. 

The handsome oryx, with their long horns carried by 
both sexes, and their colouring of black, white, and dun 
grey, came next to the gazelle in point of numbers. 
They were generally found in herds of from half a dozen 
to fifty individuals, often mixed with zebra herds. There 
were also solitary bulls, probably turned out of the herds 
by more vigorous rivals, and often one O'" these would 
be found with a herd of zebras, more merciful to it than 
its own kinsfolk. All this game of the plains is highly 
gregarious in habit, and the species associate freely with 
one another. Tlie oryx cows were n(3w generally accom- 
panied by ver}^ young calves, for, unlike what we found 
to be the case with the hartebeest on the Athi, the oryx 
on the Guaso Nyero seem to have a definite calving- 
time — September.^ I shot only bulls (there was no 
meat, either for the porters or ourselves, except what 
I got with the rifle), and they were so wary that almost 
all those I killed were shot at ranges between three 
hundred and five hundred yards ; and at such ranges 
I need hardly say tliat I did a good deal of missing. 
One wounded bull which, the ground being favourable, 
I galloped down, turned to bay and threatened to 
charge the horse. \^"e weighed one bull ; it tipped the 
scales at four hundred pounds. The lion kills we found 
in this neighbourhood were all oryx and zebra ; and 
evidently the attack was made in such fashion that the 
oryx had no more chance to fight than the zebra. 

^ Of course this represents only one man's experience. I wish 
there were many such observations. On the Atlii in May I found 
new-born wildebeest and hartebeest calves, and others several 
months old. In June in the Sotik I saw new-born eland calves, 
and topi calves several months old. In September on the Guaso 
Nvero all the oryx calves were new-born. The zebra foals were 
also very young. 


The zebra, were of both species — the smaller or 

Burchell's, and the Grevy's, which the porters call 

, kangani. Each species went in herds by itself, and 

almost as frequently we found them in mixed herds 

containing both species. But they never interbreed, 

and associate merely as each does with the oryx. The 

kangani is a fine beast, much bigger than its kinsman ; 

it is as large as a polo pony. It is less noisy than the 

common zebra, the *' bonte quagga " of the Boers, and 

its cry is totally different. Its gaits are a free, slashing 

trot and gallop. When it stands facing one, the huge 

fringed ears make it instantly recognizable. The stripes 

are much narrower and more numerous than those on 

the small zebra, and in consequence cease to be distin- 

j guishable at a shorter distance ; the animal then looks 

( grey, like a wild ass. When the two zebras are together 

I the colouring of the smaller kind is more conspicuous. 

^1 In scanning' a herd with the iJ^lasses we often failed to 

I make out the species until we could catch the broad 

! black-and-white stripes on the rump of the common 

; " bonte quagga." Tliere were many young foals with 

j the kangani ; I happened not to see any with the 

I Burchell's. 1 found the kangani even more wary and 

more difficult to shoot than the oryx. The first one 

I killed was shot at a range of four hundred yards ; the 

next I wounded at that distance, and had to ride it 

down, at the cost of a hard gallop o^'er very bad country 

and getting torn by the wait-a-bit thorns. 

There were a number of rhinos on the plains, dull of 
wit and senses, as usual. Three times we saw cows 
with calves trotting at their heels. Once, while my men 
were skinning an oryx, I spied a rhino less than half a 
mile off'. Mounting my horse, 1 cantered down, and 
exammed it within a hundred yards. It was an old 

294 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

bull with worn horns, and never saw me. On another 
occasion, while we were skinning a big zebra, there were 
three rhinoceroses, all in different places, in sight at the 
same time. 

There were also ostriches. I saw a party of cocks, 
with wings spread and necks curved backward, strutting 
and dancing. Their mincing, springy run is far faster 
than it seems when the bird is near by. The neck is 
held back in running, and when at speed the stride is 
twenty-one feet. No game is more wary or more diffi- 
cult to approach. 1 killed both a cock and a hen, which 
I found the naturalists valued even more than a cock. 
We got them by stumbling on the nest, which con- 
tained eleven huge eggs, and was merely a bare spot in 
the sand, surrounded by grass two feet high. The bird 
lay crouched, with the neck flat on the ground. When 
we accidentally came across the nest, the cock was on 
it, and I failed to get him as he ran. The next day we 
returned, and dismounted before we reached the near 
neighbourhood of the nest. Then I advanced cautiously, 
my rifle at the ready. It seemed impossible that so 
huge a bird could lie hidden in such scanty cover ; but 
not a sign did we see until, when we were sixty yards 
off', the hen, which this time was on the nest, rose, and 
I killed her at sixty yards. Even this did not make 
the cock desert the nest ; and on a subsequent day 1 
returned, and after missing him badly, I killed him at 
eighty-five yards ; and glad I was to see the huge black- 
and-white bird tumble in the dust. He weighed two 
hundred and sixty- three pounds and was in fine plumage. 
The hen weighed two hundred and forty pounds. Her 
stomach and gizzard, in addition to small, white quartz 
pebbles, contained a mass of vegetable substance ; the 
bright green leaves and twig tips of a shrub, a kind of 

CH. xi] OSTRICHES 295 

rush with jointed stem and tuberous root, bean-pods 
from different kinds of thorn-trees, and the leaves and 
especially the seed-vessels of a bush, the seed-vessels 
being enclosed in cases or pods so thorny that they 
pinched our fingers, and made us wonder at the bird's 
palate. Cock and hen brood the eggs alternately. We 
found the heart and liver of the ostrich excellent eating ; 
the eggs were very good also. As the cock died, it 
uttered a kind of loud, long-drawn grunting boom that 
was almost a roar. Its beautiful white wing plumes were 
almost unworn. A full-grown wild ostrich is too wary 
to fiill into the clutches of a lion or leopard, save by 
accident, and it will master any of the lesser carnivora ; 
but the chicks are preyed on by jackals and wild cats, 
and of course by the larger beasts of prey also ; and the 
eggs are eagerly sought by fiu'red and feathered foes 
alike. Seemingly trustworthy settlers have assured me 
that vultures break the tough shells with stones. The 
cock and hen will try to draw their more formidable 
foes away from the nest or the chicks by lingering so 
near as to lure them in pursuit, and anything up to the 
size of a hyena they will attack and drive away, or even 
kill. The terrific downward stroke of an ostrich's leg is 
as dangerous as the kick of a horse. The thump will 
break a rib or backbone of any ordinary animal, and in 
addition to the force of the blow itself, the big nails 
may make a ghastly rip. Both cock and hen lead about 
the young brood and care for it. The two ostriches I 
shot were swarming with active parasitic flies, a little 
like those that w^ere on the lions I shot in the Sotik. 
Later the porters brought us in several ostrich chicks. 
They also brought two genet kittens, which I tried to 
raise, but failed. They were much like ordinary kittens, 
with larger ears, sharper noses, and longer tails, and 

296 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

loved to perch on my shoulder or sit on my lap while 1 
stroked them. They made dear little pets, and 1 was 
very sorry when they died. 

On the day that I shot the cock ostrich I also shot a 
giraffe. The country in which we were hunting marks 
the southern limit of the " reticulated " giraffe, a form 
or species entirely distinct from the giraffe we had 
already obtained in the country south of Kenia. The 
southern giraffe is blotched with dark on <*i light ground, 
whereas this northern or north-eastern form is of a 
uniform dark colour on the back and sides, with a net- 
work or reticulation of white lines placed in a large 
pattern on this dark background. The naturalists were 
very anxious to obtain a specimen of this form from its 
southern limit of distribution, to see if there was any 
intergradation with the southern form, of which we had 
already shot specimens near its northern, or at least 
north-eastern, limit. Tlie distinction proved sharp. 

On the day in question we breakfasted at six in the 
morning, and were off immediately afterwards ; and we 
did not eat anything again until supper at quarter to 
ten in tlie evening. In a hot chmate a hunter does not 
need lunch ; and though in a cold climate a simple 
lunch is permissible, anything like an elaborate or 
luxurious lunch is utterly out of place if the man is 
more than a parlour or drawing-room sportsman. Wg 
saw no sign of giraffe until late in the afternoon. Hour 
after hour we plodded across the plain, now walkuig. 
now riding, in the burning heat. The withered grass 
was as dry as a bone, for the country had been many 
months without rain ; yet the oryx, zebra, and gazelle 
evidently throve on the harsh pasturage. There were 
mnumerable game trails leading hither and tliither, and, 
after the fashion of game trails, usually fading out after 

The old bull Athi giraffe 
Prom n fliotogrdfili by Fiiiiiuiid Ifeihr 

The reticulated giraffe 
From a pfwtograph by Theodore Roosez'elt 

CH. xr] GIRAFFES 297 

a few hundred yards. Hut there were certain trails 
which did not fade (nit. Tliese were the ones which 
led to water. One such we followed. It led across 
stretches of grassland, through thin bush, thorny and 
almost leafless, over tracts of rotten soil, cracked and 
crumbling, and over other tracts where the unshod 
horses picked their way gingerly among the masses of 
sharp-edged volcanic stones. Other trails joined in, 
and it grew more deeply marked. At last it led to a 
bend in a little river, where flat shelves of limestone 
bordered a kind of pool in the current where there were 
beds of green rushes and a fringe of trees and thorn 
thickets. This was evidently a favourite drinking- 
place. Many trails converged toward it. and for a long 
distance round the ground was worn completely bare 
by the hoofs of the countless herds of thirsty game that 
liad tra\'elled thither from time immemorial. Sleek, 
liandsome, loiig-horned oryx, with switcliing tails, were 
loitering in the vicinity ; and at the water-hole itself we 
surprised a band of gazelles not fifty yards ofl'. They 
fled panic-stricken in every direction. Men and iiorses 
drank their All, and we returned to the sunny plains 
and the endless reaches of withered, rustling grass. 

At last, an hour or two before sunset, when the heat 
had begun to abate a little, we spied half a dozen 
giraffes scattered a mile and a half ahead of us feeding 
on the tops of the few widely-separated thorn-trees. 
C'uninghame and I started toward them on foot, but 
they saw us when we were a mile away, and, after 
gazing a short while, turned and went off at their usual 
rocking-horse canter, twisting and screwing their tails. 
We moimted and rode after them. 1 was on my zebra- 
sliaped brown horse, wiiich was hardy and witii a fair 
turn of speed, and whicli by this time I had trained to 

298 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

be a good hunting horse. On the right were two 
giraffe, which eventually turned out to be a big cow, 
followed by a nearly full-grown young one ; but 
Cuninghame, scanning them through his glasses, and 
misled by the dark coloration, pronounced them a bull 
and cow, and after the big one I went. By good luck 
we were on one of the rare pieces of the country which 
was fitted for galloping. 1 rode at an angle to the 
giraffe's line of flight, thus gaining considerably ; and 
when it finally turned and went straight away T followed 
it at a fast run, and before it was fully awake to the 
danger I was but a hundred yards behind. We were 
now getting into bad country, and, jumping off, 1 
opened fire and crippled the great beast. Mounting, I 
overtook it again in a quarter of a mile and killed it. 

In half an hour the skinners and porters came up. 
One of the troubles of hunting as a naturalist is that it 
necessitates the presence of a long tail of men to take 
off and carry in the big skins, in order that they may 
ultimately appear in museums. In an hour and a half 
the giraffe's skin, with the head and the leg bones, was 
slung on two poles ; eight porters bore it, while the 
others took for their own use all the meat they could 
carry. They were in high good-humour, for an abundant 
supply of fresh meat always means a season of rejoicing, 
and they started campwards singing loudly under their 
heavy burdens. While the girafte was being skinned 
we had seen a rhinoceros feeding near our line of march 
campwards, and had watched it until the light grew 
dim. By the time the skin was ready night had fallen, 
and we started under the brilliant moon. It lit up the 
entire landscape ; but moonlight is not sunlight, and 
there was the chance of our stumbling on the rhino 
imawares, and of its charging, so I rode at the head of 

CH. xi] HORSE FLIES 200 

the column with tiill-jacketed bullets in my rifle. How- 
ever, we never saw the rhino, nor had we any other 
adventure ; and the ride through the moonlight, which 
softened all the harshness, and gave a touch of magic 
and mystery to the landscape, was so pleasant that 
I was sorry when we caught the gleam of the camp- 

Next day we sent our porters to bring in the rest of 
the giraffe meat and the ostrich eggs. The giraffe's 
heart was good eating. There were many ticks on tiie 
giraffe, as on all the game hereabouts, and they annoyed 
us a little also, although very far from being the ])lague 
they were on the Athi plain. Among the flies which 
at times tormented the horses and hung around the 
game were big gadflies with long wings folded longi- 
tudinally down the back, not in the ordinary fly fashion ; 
they were akin to the tsetse flies, one species of which 
is fatal to domestic animals, and another, the sleeping- 
sickness fly, to man himself They produce death by 
means of the fatal microbes introduced into the blood 
by their bite ; wliereas another African fly, the seroot, 
found more to the north, in the Nile countries, is a 
scourge to man and beast merely because of its vicious 
bite, and, where it swarms, may drive the tribes that 
own herds entirely out of certain districts. 

One afternoon, while leading my horse because the 
ground was a litter of sharp-edged stones, I came out 
on a plain which was crawling with zebra. In every 
direction there were herds of scores or of liundreds. 
The}^ were all of the common or small kind, except 
three individuals of the big kangani, and were tame, 
letting me walk by within easy shot. Other game was 
mixed in with them. Soon, walking over a little ridge 
of rocks, we saw a rhino sixty yards of}'. To walk 

300 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

forward would give it our wind. I did not wish to kill 
it, and 1 was beginning to feel about rhino just as 
Alice did in Looking-Glass country, when the elephants 
"did bother so." Having spied us, the beast at once 
cocked its ears and tail, and assumed its usual absurd 
resemblance to a huge and exceedingly alert and 
interested pig. But with a rhino tragedy sometimes 
treads on the heels of comedy, and I watched it 
sharply, my rifle cocked, wliile I had all the men shout 
in unison to scare it away. The noise puzzled it much ; 
witii tail erect, and head tossing and twisting, it made 
little rushes hither and thither, but finally drew off. 
Next day, in shifting camp, Cuninghame and I were 
twice obliged to dismount and keep guard over the 
safari while it marched by within a hundred yards of 
a highly puzzled rhino, which trotted to and fro in the 
bush, evidently uncertain whether or not to let its 
bewilderment turn into indignation. 

The camp to which we thus shifted was on the banks 
of the Guaso Nyero, on the edge of an open glade in 
a shady grove of giant mimosas. It was a beautiful 
camp, and in the soft tropic nights I sat outside my 
tent and watched the full moon rising through and 
above the tree-tops. There was absolutely no dew at 
night, by the way. The Guaso Nyero runs across and 
along the equator, through a desert country, eastward 
into the dismal I^orian swamp, where it disappears, save 
in very wet seasons, when it continues to the Tana. At 
our camp it was a broad, rapid, muddy stream infested 
with crocodiles. Along its banks grew groves of ivory- 
nut palms, their fronds fan-shaped, their tall trunks 
forked twenty or thirty feet from the ground, eacii 
stem again forking — something like the antlers of a 
black-tail buck. In the irond of a small palm of this 


kind we found a pale-coloured, \cry long-tailed tree- 
mouse, in its nest, which was a ball of chopped straw. 
Spurfowl and francolin abounded, their grating cries 
being heard everywiiere. I shot a few, as well as 
one or two sandgrouse ; and with the rifie I knocked 
off the lieads of two guinea-fowls. The last feat 
sounds better in tlie narration than it was in the 
performance ; foi- 1 wasted nearly a beltful of car- 
tridges in acliie\'ing it, as tlie guineas were shy and ran 
rapidly through the tall grass. 1 also expended a large 
number of cartridges before securing a couple of 
gerunuk ; the queer, long-legged, long-necked antelope 
were wary, and as soon as they caught a glimpse of me 
off they would go at a stealthy trot or canter through 
the bushes, with neck outstretched. They had a curious 
habit of rising on their hind-legs to browse among the 
bushes. I do not remember seeing any other antelope 
act in this maimer. There were water-buck along the 
river banks, and 1 shot a couple of good bulls ; they 
belonged to the southern and eastern species, which has 
a light-coloured ring around the rump, whereas the 
western form, which 1 saw at Naivasha, has the whole 
rump light-coloured. They like the neighbourhood of 
lakes and rivers. 1 have seen parties of them resting 
in the open plains during the day, under trees which 
yielded little more shade than telegraph-poles. The 
handsome, shaggy-coated water-buck has not the high 
withers which mark the oryx, wildebeest, and harte- 
beest, and he carries his head and neck more like a stag 
or a wapiti bull. 

One day we went back from the river after girafl'e. 
It must have been a year since any rain had fallen. 
The surface of the baked soil was bare and cracked, 
the sparse tussocks of grass were brittle straw, and 

302 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

the trees and bushes were leafless ; but instead of leaves 
they almost all carried thorns, the worst being those of 
the wait-a-bit, which tore our clothes, hands, and faces. 
We found the giraffe three or four miles away from the 
river, in an absolutely waterless region, densely covered 
with these leafless wait-a-bit thorn bushes. Hanging 
among the bare bushes, by the way, we roused two or 
three of the queer, diurnal, golden-winged, slate-coloured 
bats ; they flew freely in the glare of the sunlight, 
minding it as little as they did the furnace-like heat. 
We found the really dense wait-a-bit thorn thickets 
quite impenetrable, whereas the giraffe moved through 
them witli utter unconcern. But the giraffe's in- 
difference to thorns is commonplace compared to its 
indiflerence to water. These particular giraffes were not 
drinking either at the river or at the one or two streams 
which were ruiming into it ; and in certa in places girafle 
will subsist for months without drinking at all. How 
the waste and evaporation of moisture from their huge 
bodies is supplied is one of the riddles of biology. 

We could not get a bull giraffe, and it was only a 
bull that I wanted. I was much interested, however, 
in coming up to a cow asleep. She stood with her neck 
drooping slightly forward, occasionally stamping or 
twitching an ear, like a horse when asleep standing. 
1 saw her legs flrst, tiirough the bushes, and Anally 
walked directly up to her in the open, until I stood 
facing her at thirty yards. When she at last suddenly 
saw me, she came nearer to the execution of a gambol 
than any other giraffe I have ever seen. 

Another day we went after buffalo. We left camp 
before sunrise, riding along parallel to the river to find 
the spoor of a herd which had drunk and was returning 
to the haunts, away from the river, in which they here 


habitually spent the day. Two or three hours passed 
before we found what we sought ; and we at once began 
to follow the trail. It was in open thorn bush, and the 
animals were evidently feeding. Before we had followed 
the spoor half an hour we ran across a rhinoceros. As 
the spoor led above wind, and as we did not wish to 
leave it for fear of losing it, Cuninghame stayed where 
he was, and I moved round to within fifty yards of the 
rhino, and, with my rifle ready, began shouting, trying 
to keep the just mean as regards noise, so as to scare 
him, and yet not yell so loudly as to reacli the buffalo if 
they happened to be near by. At last I succeeded, and 
he trotted sullenly off, tacking and veering, and not 
going far. On we went, and in another half-hour came 
on our quarry. T was the first to catch a glimpse of the 
line of bulky black forms, picked out with white where 
the sun glinted on the horn bosses. It was ten o'clock, 
a hot, windless morning on the Equator, with the sun 
shining from a cloudless sky ; yet these buffalo were 
feeding in the open, miles from water or dense cover. 
They were gi'cedily cropping tlie few tufts of coarse 
herbage tliat grew among the sparse thorn bushes, which 
here were not more than two feet high. In many 
places buffalo are purely nocturnal feeders, and do not 
come into the hot, bare plains in the scorching glare of 
daylight ; and our experience with this herd illustrates 
afresh the need of caution in generalizing about the 
habits of game. 

We crept tow^ard them on all-fours, having left the 
porters hidden from sight. At last we were within 
rather long range — a buffalo's eyesight is good, and can- 
not be trifled with as if he were a rhino or elephant — and 
cautiously scrutinized the herd through our glasses. 
There were only cows and perhaps one or two young 

304 THE GTTASO NYEPtO [ch. xt 

bulls with horns no bigger than those of cows. I would 
have liked another good bull's head for myself ; but I 
also wished another cow for the JMuseum. Before 1 
could shoot, however, a loud yelling was heard from 
among the porters in our rear, and away went the 
buffalo. Full of wrath, we walked back to inquire. 
We found that one porter had lost his knife, and had 
started back to look for it, accompanied by two of his 
fellows, which was absolutely against orders. They had 
come across a rhino, probably the one I liad frightened 
from our path, and had endeavoured to avoid him, but 
he had charged them, whereupon they scattered. He 
overtook one and tossed him, goring him in the thigh ; 
whereupon they came back, the two un^\'ounded ones 
supporting the other, and all howling like lost souls. I 
had some crystals of permanganate, an antiseptic, and 
some cotton in my saddle pocket : Cuninghame tore 
some of the lining out of his sleeve for a bandage ; and 
we fixed the man up and left him with one companion, 
while we sent another into camp to fetch out a dozen 
men with a ground-sheet and some poles, to make a 
litter in which the wounded man could be carried. 
While we were engaged in this field surgery another 
rhino was in sight half a mile off. 

Then on we went on the trail of the herd. It led 
straight across the open, under the blazing sun, and the 
heat w^as now terrific. At last, almost exactly at noon, 
Cuninghame, wlio was leading, stopped short. He had 
seen the buffalo, which had halted, made a half-bend 
backv/ard on their tracks, and stood for their noonday 
rest among some scattered, stunted thorn-trees, leafless, 
and yielding practically no shade whatever. A cautious 
stalk brought me to within a hundred and fifty yards. 
I merely wounded the one I first shot at, but killed 


another as the herd started to run. Leaving the skinners 
to take care of the dead animal — a fine cow — Cuning- 
hame and I started after the herd to see if the wounded 
one had fallen out. After a mile the trail led into some 
scant cover. Here the first thinor we did was to run 


into another rhinoceros. It was about seventy yards 

away, behind a thorn-tree, and began to move jerkily 

and abruptly to and fro, gazing towards us. " Oh, you 

malevolent old idiot !" T muttered, facing it with rifle 

cocked. Then, as it did not charge, I added to Cuning- 

hame : " Well, 1 guess it will let us go by all right." And 

let us go by it did. We were anxious not to shoot, both 

because in a country with no settlers a rhino rarely does 

harm, and also because I object to anything like needless 

butchery, and furthermore because we desired to avoid 

alarming the buffalo. Half a mile farther on we came on 

the latter, apparently past their fright. W^e looked them 

carefully over with our glasses. The wounded one was 

evidently not much hurt, and therefore T did not wisli 

to kill her, for I did not need another cow, and there 

was no adult bull. So we did not molest them, and 

after a while they got our wind, and went off at a 

lumbering gallop. Returning to the dead cow, we 

i found the skin ready, and marched back to camp, reach- 

i ing it just as the moon rose at seven. We had been 

[ away thirteen hours, with nothing to eat and only the 

tepid water in our canteens to drink. 

I We were in the country of the Samburu, and several 

' of their old men and warriors visited us at this camp. 

They are cattle-owning nomads like the Masai ; but in 

addition to cattle, sheep, and goats, they own herds of 

I camels, which they milk, but do not use as beasts of 

' burden. In features they are more like Somalis than 



306 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

Near this camp were the remains of the boma or 
home camp of Arthur Neiiman, once the most famous 
elephant-hunter between the Tana and Lake Rudolf. 
Neuman, whose native name was Nyama Yango, was a 
strange moody man, who died by his own hand. He 
was a mighty hunter, of bold and ad\ enture-ioving 
temper. With whites he was unsocial, living in this 
far-off region exactly like a native, and all alone among 
the natives, living in some respects too much like a 
native. But, from the native standpoint, and without 
making any effort to turn the natives into anything 
except what they were, he did them good, and left a 
deep impression on their minds. They talked to us 
often about him in many different places ; tliey would 
not believe that he was dead, and when assured it M^as 
so, they showed real grief At Meru Boma. when we 
saw the Meru tribesmen dance, one of the songs they | 
sang was : " Since Nyama Yango came, our sheep graze 
untouched by the Samburu ;" and, rather curiously, the 
Samburu sing a similar song, reciting how he saved 
them from the fear of having their herds raided by the 
nomads farther north. 

After leaving this camp we journeyed up the Guaso 
Nyero for several days. The current was rapid and 
muddy, and there were beds of reeds and of the tall, 
graceful papyrus. The coimtry round about was a mass 
of stony, broken hills, and the river wound down among 
these, occasionally cutting its way through deep gorges 
and its course being continually broken by rapids. 
Whenever on our hunts we had to cross it, we shouted 
and splashed, and even fired shots, to scare the croco- 
diles. I shot one on a sandbar in the river. The man 
the rhino lia^ wounded was carried along on a litter 
with the safari. 

cH. xi] RUBBER VINES 807 

Sometimes I left camp with my sais and gun-bearer 
before dawn, starting in the light of the waning moon, 
and riding four or five hours before halting to wait for 
the safari. On the way I had usually shot something 
for the table — a waterbuck, impalla, or gazelle. On 
other occasions Cuninghame and T woidd spend the 
day hunting in the waterless country back of the river, 
where the heat at midday was terrific. We might not 
reach camp until after nightfall. Once, as we came to 
it in the dark, it seemed as if ghostly arms stretched 
abo\'e it ; for on this evening the tents had been pitched 
under trees up which huge rubber vines had climbed, 
and their massive dead white trunks and branches 
glinnnered pale and ghostly in the darkness. 

Twice my gim-bearers tried to show me a cheetah ; 
but my eyes were too slow to catcli the animal before it 
bounded off' in safety among the bushes. Another 
time, after an excellent bit of tracking, the gun-bearers 
brought me up to a buffalo bull, standing for his noon- 
day rest in the leafless thorns a mile from the river. I 
thought 1 held the heavy Holland straight for his 
shoulder, but I must have fired high, for, though he 
fell to the shot, he recovered at once. We followed 
the blood-spoor for an liour, the last part of the time 
when the trail wandered among and through the heavy 
thickets under the trees on the river banks. Here I 
walked beside the tracker with my rifle at full cock, for 
we could not tell at what instant we might be charged. 
But his trail finally crossed the river, and as he was 
going stronger and stronger, we had to abandon the 
chase. In the waterless country, away from the river, 
we found little except herds of zebra, of both kinds, 
occasional oryx and eland, and a few giraffe. A stallion 
of the big kangani zebra which I shot stood fourteen 

308 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

hands high at the withers and weighed about eight 
hundred and thirty pounds/ according to the Seton 
beam. I shot another kangani just at nightfall, a mile 
or so from camp, as it drank in a wild, tree-clad gorge 
of the river. I was alone, stroUing quietly through the 
dusk, along the margin of the liigh banks by the stream, 
and saw a mixed herd of zebras coming down to a well- 
worn drinking-place, evidently much used by game, on 
the opposite side of the river. They were alert and 
nervous, evidently on the lookout for both lions and 
crocodiles. 1 singled out the largest, the leader of the 
troop, and shot it across the stream. 1 have rarely 
taken a shot among more picturesque surroundings. 

At our final camp on the river, before leaving it on 
our week's steady trek southward to Neri, we found a 
spot in which game abounded. It was about ten miles 
back from the river, a stretch of plain sparsely covered 
with thorn-trees, broken by koppies, and bounded by 
chains of low, jagged mountains, with an occasional 
bold, isolated peak. The crags and cliff' walls were 
fantastically carved and channelled by the weathering 
of ages in that dry climate. It was a harsh, unlovely 
spot in the glare of the hot daylight ; but at sunset it 
was very lovely, with a wild and stern beauty. 

Here the game abounded, and was not wary. Before 
starting out on our week's steady marching I wished to 

^ The aggregate of the weights of the different pieces was 778 
pounds ; the loss of blood and the drying of the pieces of flesh in 
the intense heat of the sun we thought certainly accounted for 50 
pounds more. The stallion was not fat. At any rate, it weighed 
between 800 and 850 pounds. Its testicles, though fully developed, 
had not come down out of the belly skin. One of those shot by 
Kermit showed the same pecuHarity. Cuninghame says it is a 
common occurrence with this species. Moreover, the stallons did 
not have their canine teeth developed. 


give the safari a good feed ; and one day I shot them 
five zebra and an oryx bull, together with a couple of 
gazelle for ourselves and our immediate attendants — 
enough of the game being hal-lalled to provide for the 
Mohammedans in the safari. I also shot an old bull 
giraffe of the northern form, after an uneventful stalk 
which culminated in a shot with the Winchester at a 
hundred and seventy yards. In most places this parti- 
cular stretch of country was not suitable for galloping, 
the ground being rotten, filled with holes, and covered 
with tall, coarse grass. One evening we saw two lions 
half a mile away. I tried to ride them, but my horse 
fell twice in the first hundred and fifty yards, and 1 
could not even keep them in sight. Another day we 
got a glimpse of two lions, a quarter of a mile off, gliding 
away among the thorns. They went straight to the 
river and swam across it. More surprising was the fact 
that a monkey, which lost its head when we surprised 
it in a tree by the river, actually sprang plump into the 
stream, and swam, easily and strongly, across it. 

One day we had a most interesting experience with 
a cow giraffe. We saw her a long way ofi' and stalked 
to within a couple of hundred yards before we could 
make out her sex. She was standing under some thorn- 
trees, occasionally shifting her position for a few yards, 
and then aoain standin^r motionless with her head thrust 
in among the branches. She was indulging in a series 
of noontide naps. At last, when she stood and went to 
sleep again, I walked up to her, Cunhighame and our 
two gun-bearers, Bakhari and Kongoni, following a 
hundred yards behind. W^hen I was within forty yards, 
in plain sight, away from cover, she opened her eyes 
and looked drowsily at me ; but 1 stood motionless and 
she dozed off again. This time I walked up to within 

310 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

ten feet of her. Nearer I did not care to venture, as 
giraffe strike and kick very hard with their hoofs, and, 
moreover, occasionally strike with the head, the blow 
seemingly not being delivered with the knobby, skin- 
covered horns, but with the front teeth of the lower 
jaw. She waked, looked at me, and then, rearing 
slightly, struck at me with her left fore-leg, the blow 
falling short. I laughed and leaped back, and the other 
men ran up shouting. But the giraffe would not run 
away. She stood within twenty feet of us, looking at 
us peevishly, and occasionally pouting her lips at us, as 
if she were making a f;ice. We kept close to the tree, 
so as to dodge round it, under the branches, if she came 
at us, for we should have been most reluctant to shoot 
her. I threw a stick at her, hitting her in the side, but 
she paid no attention : and when Bakhari came behind 
her with a stick she tin-ned sharply on liim and he 
made a prompt retreat. We were laughing and talking 
all the time. Then we pelted her with sticks and clods 
of earth, and, after having thus stood within twenty feet 
of us for three or four minutes, she cantered slowly off 
for fifty yards, and then walked away with leisurely 
unconcern. She was apparently in the best of health 
and in perfect condition. She did not get our wind, 
but her utter indifference to the close presence of four 
men is inexplicable.^ 

On eacli of the two days we hunted this little district 
we left camp at sunrise, and did not return until eight 
or nine in the evening, fairly well tired, and not a little 

^ After writinjj the above account I read it over to Mr. Cunina-- 
hame so as to be sure that it was accurate in all its details. All 
the game was tame in this locality, even the giraffe, but no other 
giraffe allowed us to get within two hundred yards, and most of 
them ran long before that distance was reached, even when we were 
stalking carefully. 


torn by the thorns into which we blundered during tlie 
final two liours' walk in the darkness. It was hot, and 
we neither had nor wished for food, and the tepid water 
in the canteens lasted us through. The day I shot the 
giraffe the porters carrying the skin fell behind, and 
never got in until next morning. Coming back in the 
late twilight a party of the big zebra, their forms 
shadowy and dim, ti'otted up to us, evidently attracted 
by the horses, and accompanied us for some rods ; and 
a hedgehog, directly in our path, kept bleating loudly, 
like an antelope kid. 

The day we spent in taking care of the giraft'e skin 
we, of course, made no huj\t. However, in the after- 
noon I sauntered upstream a couple of miles to look for 
crocodiles. I saw none, but T was much interested in 
some zebra and waterbuck. The zebra were on the 
opposite side of the river, standing among some thorns, 
and at three, mid-afternoon, they came down to drink. 
Up to this time I had generally found zebra drinking in 
the evening or at night. Then I saw some waterbuck, 
also on the opposite bank, working their way toward 
the river, and seeing a well-marked drinking-place ahead 
I hastened toward it. and sat down in the middle of the 
broad game ti'ail leading down to the water on my side. 
I sat perfectly still, and my clothes were just the colour 
of the ground, and the waterbuck never noticed me, 
tliough I was in plain view when they drank, just 
opposite me, and only about fifty yards off. There 
were four cows and a bull. It was four o'clock in the 
afternoon. The cows came first, one by one, and were 
very alert and suspicious. Each continually stopped 
and stood motionless, or looked in every direction, and 
g'dve little false starts of alarm. When they reached 
the green grass by the water's edge each cropped a few 

312 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

mouthfuls, between times nervously raising its head and 
looking in every direction, nostrils and ears twitching. 
They were not looking for crocodiles, but for land foes, 
lions or leopards. Each in turn drank, skipping up to 
the top of the bank after a few mouthfuls, and then 
returning to the water. The bull followed with rather 
less caution, and before he had finished drinking the 
cows scurried hurriedly back to the thorn-trees and the 
open country. We had plenty of meat in camp, and I 
had completed my series of this species of waterbuck 
for the Museum ; and I was glad there was no need to 
molest them. 

The porters were enjoying the rest and the abundance 
of meat. They were lying about camp, or were scattered 
up and down stream fishing. When, walking back, I 
came to the outskirts of camp, I was attracted by the 
buzzing and twanging of the harp ; there was the 
harper and two friends, all three singing to his accom- 
paniment. I called " Yambo !" (greeting), and they 
giinned and stood up, shouting " Yambo !" in return. 
In camp a dozen men were still at work at the giraffe 
skin, and they were all singing loudly, under the lead of 
my gun-bearer, Gouvimali, who always acted as chanty 
man, or improvisatore, on such occasions. 

For a week we now trekked steadily south across the 
Equator, heel-and-toe marching, to Neri. Our first 
day's journey took us to a gorge riven in the dry 
mountain. Halfway up it, in a side pocket, was a 
deep pool, at the foot of a sloping sheet of rock, down 
which a broad, shallow dent showed where the torrents 
swept during the rains. In the trees around the pool 
black drongo shrikes called in bell-like tones, and pied 
hornbills flirted their long tails as they bleated and 
croaked. The water was foul ; but in a dry country 

Black-and-white crow, corvus scapu- Rusty rock-rat 


Sparrow lark Sand- rat 

Ant wheatear (ant-eating chat ) African hedgehog 

Ostrich nest "Mole-rat" 


one groM\s gratefully to accept as water anything that 
is wet. Klipspringers and baboons were in the precipitous 
hills around ; and among the rocks were hyraxes (looking 
like our Eocky Mountain conies, or little chief hares), 
queer diurnal r;.ts, and bright blue-green lizards with 
orange heads. Rhinos drank at this pool. We fre- 
quently saw them on our journey, but always managed 
to avoid wounding their susceptibilities, and so escaped 
an encounter. Each day we endeavoured to camp a 
couple of hours before sundown, so as to give the men 
plenty of chance to get firewood, pitch the tents, and 
put everything in order. Sometimes we would make 
an early start, in which case we would breakfast in the 
open, while in the east the crescent of the dying moon 
hung over the glow that heralded the sunrise. 

As we reached the high, rolling downs the weather 
grew cooler, and many flowers appeared ; those of the 
aloes were bright red, standing on high stalks above 
the clump of fleshy, spined leaves, which were hand- 
somely mottled, like a snake's back. As 1 rode at the 
head of the safari 1 usually, in the course of the day, 
shot a buck of some kind for the table. I !iad not time 
to stalk, but simply took the shots as they came, generally 
at long range. One day I shot an eland, an old blue 
bull. We needed the skin for the Museum, and as 
tliere was water near by we camped where we were. I 
had already shot a waterbuck that morning, and this 
and the eland together gave the entire safari a feast of 

On another occasion an eland herd afforded me fun, 
although no profit. 1 was mounted on Brownie, the 
zebra- shaped pony. Brownie would still occasionally run 
off when I dismounted to shoot (a habit that had cost 
me an eland bull) ; but he loved to gallop after game. 

314 THE GUASO NYERO [ch. xi 

We came on a herd of eland in an open plain ; they 
were directly in our path. We were in the country 
where the ordinary, or Livingstone's, eland grades into 
the Patterson's ; and I knew that the naturalists wished 
an additional bull's head for the Museum. So I galloped 
toward the herd, and for the next fifteen or twenty 
minutes I felt as if I had renewed my youth, and was in 
the cow-camps of the ^^^est a quarter of a century ago. 
Eland are no faster than range cattle. Twice I rounded 
up the herd— just as once in tlie Yellowstone Park T 
rounded up a herd of wapiti for John Burroughs to 
look at — and three times I cut out of the herd a big 
animal, which, however, in each case proved to be a 
cow. There were no big bulls, only cows and young- 
stock ; but 1 enjoyed the gallop. 

From Neri we marched through mist and rain across 
the cold Aberdare tablelands, and in the forenoon of 
October 20 we saw from the top of the second Aberdare 
escarpment the blue waters of beautiful Ijake Naivasha. 
On the next day we reached Nairobi. 


At Nairobi Kermit joined nie, having enjoyed a notably 
suecessful hunt during the month since we had parted, 
kilhng both Neuman's hartebeest and koodoo. Tiie 
great koodoo, with its spiral horns and striped coat, 
is the stateliest and handsomest antelope in the world. 
It is a shy creature, fond of bush and of rocky hills, and 
is hard to get. 

After leaving me at Meru, Kermit and Tarlton had 
travelled hard to Rumeruti. They had intended to go 
to Lake Hannington, but, finding that this was in the 
reserve, they went three days toward the north-west, 
stopping a score of miles east of Rarengo. The country, 
which showed many traces of volcanic action, was rough, 
rocky, and dry: the hunting was exhausting, and Kermit 
was out from morning to night. Tarlton had been very 
sick on the Guaso Nyero, and, although lie was better, 
he was in no shape to accompany Kermit, who therefore 
hunted only with his gun-boys, taking them out alter- 
nately so as to spare them as much as possible. It took 
three days' steady work before he got his first koodoo. 
On the third day he hunted fruitlessly all the morning, 
came back to camp, picked up a fresh gun-bearer, Juma 
Vohari, and started out again. At four in the afternoon 
he came to the brink of a great hollow a mile across, 


316 TO THE UASIN GISHU [( h. xii 

perhaps an extinct crater, and, looking from the rimrock, 
spied a koodoo bull in the bottom. The steep sides of 
the hollow were covered with a tangled growth of thorn 
scrub and cactus, traversed by rhinoceros paths. The 
bottom was more open, strewn with bushy mounds or 
hillocks, and on one of these stood a noble koodoo bull. 
He stood with his massive spiral horns thrown back, 
and they shifted slowly as he turned his head from side 
to side. Kermit stole down one of the rhino paths, save 
for which the scrub would have been practically im- 
penetrable : it ^^'as alive with rhinos : Kermit heard 
several, and Juma, who followed some distance behind, 
saw three. The stalk took time, and the sun was on 
the horizon and the light fading when, at over two 
hundred yards, Kermit took his shot. The first bullet 
missed, but as for a moment the bull paused and 
wheeled Kermit fired again, and the second bullet went 
home. The wounded beast ran, Kermit, with Juma, 
hard on the trail ; and he overtook and killed it just as 
darkness fell. Then back to camp they stumbled and 
plunged through the darkness, Kermit tearing the sole 
completely off one shoe. They reached camp at ten, 
and Jimia, who had only been working half the day, 
took out some porters to the dead bull, which they 
skinned, and then slept by until morning. Later, on 
his birthday, he killed a cow, which completed the 
group ; the two koodoo cost him ten days' steady 
labour. The koodoo were always found on steep, rocky 
hills : their stomachs contained only grass, for both 
beasts were shot when grazing (I do not know whether 
or not they also browse). The midday hours, when the 
heat was most intense, they usually spent resting ; but 
once Kermit came on two which were drinking in a 
stream exactly at noon. 

CH xtt] lake HANNINGTON 317 

From the koodoo camp the two hunters went to 
Lake Hannington, a lovely lake, with the mountains 
rising sheer from three of its sides. The water was 
saline, abounding with crocodiles and hippos ; and there 
were myriads of flamingos. They were to be seen 
swimming by thousands on the lake, and wading and 
standing in the shallows ; and when they rose they 
looked like an enormous pink cloud. It was a glorious 
sight. They were tame ; and Kermit had no difficulty 
in killing the specimens needed for the Museum. Here 
Kermit also killed an impalla ram which had met with 
an extraordinary misadventure. It had been fighting 
with another ram, which luid stabbed it in the chest 
with one horn. The \ iolent strain and shock, as the 
two vigorous beasts boimded together, broke off the 
horn, leaving the broken part, ten inches long, imbedded 
in tiie other buck's chest, about three inches of the 
point being fixed firmly in the body of the buck, while 
the rest stuck out like a picket pin. Yet the buck 
seemed well and strong. 

Two days after leaving Lake Hannington they 
camped near the ostrich farm of Mr. London, an 
American from Baltimore. He had been waging war 
on the lions and leopards, because they attacked his 
ostriches. He had killed at least a score of each, some 
with the rifie, some with poison or steel traps. The 
day following their arrival London went out hunting 
with Kermit and Tarlton. They saw nothing imtil 
evening, when Kermit's gun-bearer, Kassitura, spied a 
leopard coming from the carcass of a zebra which 
London had shot to use as bait for his traps. The 
leopard saw them a long away off and ran. Kermit ran 
after it and wounded it badly, twice ; then Tarlton got 
a shot and liit it ; and tlien London came across the 

318 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

dying beast at close quarters, and killed it just as it was 
gathering itself to spring at him. 

Thence they went to Nakuru, where Kermit killed 
two Neuman's hartebeest. They were scarce and wild, 
and Kermit obtained his two animals by long shots, 
after following them for hours — following them until, 
as he expressed it, they got used to him, became a little 
less quick to leave, and gave him his chance. 

A'Miile on this trip Kermit passed his twentieth 
birthday. While still nineteen he had killed all the 
dangerous kinds of African game — lion, leopard, 
elephant, buffalo, and rhino. 

Heller also rejoined us, entirely recovered. He had 
visited JMearns and Loring at their camp high up on 
Mount Kenia, where they had made a thorough 
biological survey of the mountain. He had gone to 
the line of perpetual snow, where the rock peak rises 
abruptly from the swelling downs, and had camped 
near a little glacial lake, whose waters froze every night. 
The zones of plant and animal life were well marked ; 
but there are some curious differences between the zones 
on these equatorial African snow mountains and those 
on similar mountains in the northern hemisphere, espe- 
cially America. In the high mountains of Nortli 
America the mannnals are apt to be, at least in part, 
of totally different kinds from those found in the 
adjacent warm or hot plains, because they represent a 
fauna which was once spread over the land, but which 
has retreated northward, leaving faunal islands on the 
summits of the taller mountains. In this part of Africa, 
however, there has been no faunal retreat of this type, 
no survivals on the peaks of an ancient fauna, which in 
the plains and valleys has been replaced by another 
fauna. Here the mammals of the high mountains and 



Juma Yohari with the impalla killed l.y Kermit Roosevelt at Lake Uaniunglon 

The broken horn of another ram imbeddid in the l)uiks nick 

From a pholograph by Kermit RoosncU 


tablelands are merely modified forms of the mammals 
of the adjacent lowlands, which have gradually crept up 
the slopes, changing in the process. High on Mount 
Kenia, for instance, are hyraxes, living among the snow- 
fields, much bigger than their bretln-en of the forests 
and locky hills below ; and liglit-coloured mole-rats, 
also much bigger than those of the lower country. 
Moreo^'er, tlie lack of seasonal change is probably 
accountable for differences in the way that the tree 
zones are delimited. 'IMie mountain conifers of America 
are huge trees on the middle slopes, but higher up 
gradually dwindle into a thick, low scrub, composed of 
sprawling, dwarfed individuals of the same species. On 
Moimt Kenia the tree zone ceases much more abruptly 
and with much less indi\ idual chanije amoii"' the dif- 
ferent kinds of trees. Above this zone are the wet. 
cold downs and moors, with a very peculiar \ egetation, 
plants which we know only as small flowering things 
having become trees. The giant groundsel, for instance, 
reaches a lieight of twenty feet, with very thick trunk 
and limbs, which, though hollow, make good firewood ; 
and this is only one example of the kind. 

At Nairobi we learned, as usual, of incident after 
incident w'hicli liad happened among our friends and 
acquaintances of exactly the type which would occur 
were it possible in North America or Eiu'ope suddenly 
to mix among existing conditions tlie men and animals 
that died out some hundreds of thousands of years ago. 
In a previous chapter 1 mentioned on one occasion 
meeting at dinner three men, all of whom had been 
mauled by lions ; one being our host, Mr. F. A. Ward, 
who had served as a Captain in the South African War, 
and was now one of the heads of the Boma Trading 
Company. .Vinong our fellow-guests at this dinner 

320 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

was Captain Douglas Pennant, of the British Army. 
When we went north to Kenia he went south to the 
Sotik. 'Jliere he made a fine bag of hons ; but, liaving 
wounded a leopard and followed it into cover, it sud- 
denly sprang on him, apparently from a tree. His life 
was saved by his Somali gun-bearer, who blew out the 
leopard's brains as it bore him to the ground, so that it 
had time to make only one bite ; but this bite just 
missed crushing in the skull, broke the jaw, tore off one 
ear, and caused ghastly wreck. He spent some weeks 
in the hospital at Nairobi, and then went for further 
treatment to England, his place in tlie hospital being 
taken by another man who had been injured by a 

There had been quite a plague of wild beasts in 
Nairobi itself. One family had been waked at midnight 
by a leopard springing on the roof of the house, and 
thence to an adjacent shed. It finally spent a couple 
of hours on the veranda. A lion had repeatedly 
wandered at night through the outlying (the residen- 
tial) portion of the town. Dr. Milne, the head of the 
(rovernment Medical Department, had nearly run into 
it on his bicycle, and, as a measure of precaution, guests 
going out to dinner usually carried spears or rifles. One 
night I dined with the Provincial Commissioner, Mr. 
Hobley, and the next Math the town clerk. Captain 
Sanderson. In each case the hostess, the host, and the 
house were all delightful, and the evening, just like a 
very pleasant evening spent anywhere in civilization. 
The houses were only half a mile apart ; and yet on the 
road between them a fortnight previously a lady on a 
bicycle, wheeling down to a rehearsal of '■ Trial by 
Jury," had been run into and upset by a herd of 
frightened zebras. One of my friends, Captain Smith, 

cH. xii] NAIROBI 321 

Director of Surveys in the Protectorate, had figured in 
another zebra incident to wliich only Mark Twain could 
do justice. Captain Smilli lived on the outskirts of 
the town, and was much annoyed by the zebras tearing 
through his ground and trani])ling down his vegetables 
and flowers. So one night, by his direction, his JNIasai 
servant sallied out and speared a zebra which was 
tangled in a wire fence. But the magistrate, a rigid 
upliolder of the letter of the law, fined the Masai for 
killing game witliout a licence ! (A touch quite worthy 
of comparison with Mark Twain's account of how, when 
he called for assistance while drowning, he was arrested 
for disturbing the peace.) Captain Smith decided that 
next time there sliould be no taint of illegality about 
I his Ijehaviour, so he got ropes ready, and when the 
' zebras returned, he and his attendants again chased 
them toward the wire fences, and tied up one which got 
cauglit tlierein ; and then with much dilHculty he led it 
I down town, put it in the pound, and notified Captain 
Sanderson, the town clerk, what he liad done. This 
proceeding was entirely regular, and so was all that 
followed. For seven days the zebra was kept in tlie 
pound, while the authorities solemnly advertised for a 
highly improbable owner ; then it was sold at auction, 
being brought to the sale, bucking, rolling, and fighting, 
securely held by ropes in the hands of various stalwart 
natives, and disposed of to the only bidder for five 
rupees. The Court records are complete. The District 
Court criminal register, under date of February 1, 11)09, 
contains the entry of the prosecution by the Crown 
through " Mutwa Wa. Najaka, A.N." of the Masai for 
"killing zebra without a licence (under section 4 35 
Game Regulations of April 15, 11)06," and of the in- 
fliction of a fine of twenty rupees. The sequel appears 


322 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

in the Nairobi JNlunicipality Pound Book under date of 
August 6, 1909. In the column headed " Description 
of Animal "' is the entry, •' 1 zebra " ; under the heading 
" By whom impounded " is the entry, " Major Smith, 
R.E." ; under the heading " Remarks '" is the entry, 
" Sold by Public Auctioneers, Raphael & Coy., on 

We had with us several recent books on East African 
big game : Chapman's " On Safari," dealing alike witli 
the hunting and the natural history of big game ; 
Powell Cotton's accounts of his notew^ortliy experiences 
both in hunting and in bold exploration ; Stigand's 
capital studies of the spoor and habits of big game (it is 
to be regretted that he was too modest to narrate some 
of his own really extraordinary adventures in the chase 
of dangerous beasts) ; and Buxton's account of his two 
African trips. Edward North Buxton's books ought 
to be in the hands of every hunter everywhere, and 
especially of every young hunter, because they teach 
just the right way in which to look at the sport. With 
Buxton big-game hunting is not a business, but a pas- 
time, not allowed to become a mania or in any way to 
interfere with the serious occupations of life, whether 
public or private ; and yet as he carried it on it is much 
more than a mere pastime — it is a craft, a piu'suit of 
value, in exercising and developing hardihood of body 
and the virile courage and resolution which necessarily 
lie at the base of every strong and manly character. 
He has not a touch of the game butcher in him ; nor 
has he a touch of that craving for ease and luxury the 
indulgence in which turns any sport into a sham and 
a laughing-stock. Big-game hunting, pursued as he has 
pursued it, stands at the opposite pole from those so- 
called sports carried on primarily either as money-making 

CH. xit] MV BIllTHDAV 828 

exhibitions or, what is quite as bad — though the two 
evils are usually found in different social strata — in a 
spirit of such luxurious self-indulgence as to render 
them at best harmless extravagances, and at worst 
forces which positively tend to the weakening of moral 
and physical fibre. 

On October 20 Tarlton, Kermit, Heller, and 1 started 
from the railroad station of Londiani for tlic IJasin 
(iishu Plateau and the 'Nzoi River, wliich flows not far 
from the foot of Mount Elgon. This stretch of country 
has apparently received its fauna from the shores of 
Lake \ ictoria Xyanza, and contains several kinds of 
antelope, and a race or variety of giraffe, the five-horned, 
which are not found to the eastward, in the region where 
wc had already hunted. 

On the 27th we were marching hard, and I had no 
chance of sport. 1 would have enjoyed a hunt, 
because it was my birthday. The year before I had 
celebrated my fiftieth birthday by riding my jumping 
horse, Roswell, over all the jumps in Rock Creek Park, 
at Washington. Roswell is a safe and good jumper, 
and a Aery easy horse to sit at a jump ; he took me. 
without hesitation or error, over ever}^thing, from the 
water jump to the stone wall, the rails, and the bank, 
including a brush hurdle just over five feet and a half 

For the first four days our route led among rolling 
hills and along valleys and ravines, the country being so 
high tliat the nights were actually cold, although we 
crossed and recrossed the Equatoi-. The landscape in its 
general effect called to mind Southern Oregon and 
Northern California ratiier than any tropical country. 
Some of tlie hills were bald, others wooded to the top ; 
there were wet meadows, and hill-sides covered with 

324 TO T HE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

tussocks of rank, thick-growing grass, alternating with 
stretches of forest ; and the chief trees of the forest 
were stately cedars, yews, and tall laiu'el-leaved olives. 
All this was, at least in superficial aspect, northern 
enough ; but now and then we came to patches of the 
thoroughly tropical bamboo, which in East Africa, how- 
ever, one soon grows to associate with cold, rainy 
weather, for it only grows at high altitudes. In this 
country, high, cold, rainy, there were several kinds of 
buck, but none in any numbers. The most interesting 
were the roan antelope, which went in herds. Their 
trails led everywhere, across the high, rolling hill 
pastures of coarse gi'ass, and through the tangled tree 
groves and the still, lifeless bamboo jungle. They were 
found in herds and lived in the open, feeding on the 
bare hill-sides and in the wet ^ alleys at all hours ; but 
they took cover freely, and when the merciless gales 
blew they sought shelter in woodland and jungle. 
Usually they grazed, but once I saw one browsing. 
Both on our way in and on our way back, through this 
hill country, we shot se\'eral roan, for, though tlieir 
horns are poor, they form a distinct sub-species, peculiar 
to the region. The roan is a big antelope, nearly as tall, 
although by no means as bulky, as an eland, with 
curved scimitar-like horns, huge ears, and face markings 
as sharply defined as those of an oryx. It is found here 
and there, in isolated localities throughout Africa soutli 
of the Sahara, and is of bold, fierce temper. One of 
those which Kermit shot was only crippled by the first 
bullet, and charged the gun-bearers, squealing savagely, 
in addition to using its horns ; an angry roan, like a 
sable, is said sometimes to bite with its teeth. Kermit 
also killed a ratel, or honey badger, in a bamboo thicket ; 

CH. xu] NAriVE PORTERS 325 

it is Jill interestiiio- beast, its back snow white and the rest 
of its body jet black. 

As oil tlie Aberdares and the slopes of Kenia, the 
nights among tliese momitains were cold ; sometimes 
so cold that I was glad to wear a mackinaw, a lumber- 
man's jacket, which had been given me by Jack 
Greenway, and which I certainly never expected to 
wear in Africa. 

The porters always minded cold, especially if there 
was rain, and 1 was glad to get them to the Uasin 
Gishu, where the nights were merely cool enough to 
make one appreciate blankets, while the days were 
never oppressi\'ely hot. Although the Swahilis have 
furnished the model for all East African safari work, 
and supply the lingua franca for the country, they no 
longer compose the bulk of the porters. Of our porters 
at this time about two-fifths were stalwart M'nuwezi 
from German East Africa, two-fifths were Wakamba, 
and the remainder Swahilis, with half a dozen Kavirondos 
and Kikuyus. The M'nuwezi are the strongest of all, 
and make excellent porters. They will often be as 
much as two or three years away from their homes ; for 
safari work is very attractive to the best type of natives, 
as they live mucli better than if travelling on their 
own account, and it offers almost the only way in which 
they can earn money. The most severe punishment 
tiiat can be inflicted on a gun-bearer, tent-boy, sais, or 
porter is to dismiss him on such terms as to make it 
impossible for him again to be employed on a safari. 
In camp the men of each tribe group themselves to- 
gether in parties, each man sharing any unwonted 
delicacy with his cronies. 

Very rarely did we have to take such long marches 
as to exhaust our strapping burden-bearers. Usually 

326 TO THE UASTN GTSHU [ch. xii 

they came into camp in high good humour, singing and 
blowing antelope horns ; and in the evening, after the 
posho had been distributed, cooked, and eaten, the 
different groups would gather each around its camp- 
fire, and the men would chant in unison while the 
flutes wailed and the buzzing harps twanged. Of covu-se, 
individuals were all the time meeting with accidents or 
falling sick, especially when they had the chance to 
gorge themselves on game that we had killed ; and then 
Cuninohame or Tarlton— than whom two stancher and 
pleasanter friends, keener hunters, or better safari 
managers, are not to be found in all Africa — would 
have to add the functions of a doctor to an already 
multifarious round of duties. Some of the men had to 
be watched lest they should malinger ; others were 
always complaining of trifles ; others never complained 
at all. Gosho, our excellent headman, came in the last 
category. On this ITasin Gishu trip we noticed him 
limping one evening, and inquiry developed the fact 
that the previous night, while in his tent, he had been 
bitten by a small poisonous snake. The leg was much 
swollen, and looked angry and inflamed ; but Gosho 
never so much as mentioned the incident until we 
questioned him, and in a few days was as well as ever. 
Heller's chief feeling, by the way, when informed what 
had happened, was one of indignation, because the 
offending snake, after paying the death penalty, had 
been thrown away, instead of being given to him as a 

The roans were calving in early November, whereas, 
when we went thirty miles on, at an elevation a 
thousand feet less, we at first saw no very young fawns 
accompanying the hartebeests, and no very young foals 
with the zebras. These hartebeests, which are named 


after their discoverer. Governor Jackson, are totally 
different from the harteheests of the Athi and the Sotik 
countries, and are larger and finer in every way. One 
bull 1 shot weigiied, in pieces, four hundred and seventy 
pounds. No allowance was made for the spilt blood, 
and, inasmucli as he had been hal-lalled. I think his live 
weight would have been nearly four hundred and ninety 
pounds. He was a big, full-grown bull, but not of 
extraordinary size. Later I killed much bigger ones — 
unusually fine specimens, which must have weighed 
well over five hundred pounds. Tlie horns, which are 
sometimes two feet long, are set on great bony pedicels, 
so that the face seems long and homely even for a 
hartebeest. The first two or three of these hartebeests 
which I killed were shot at long range, for, like all 
game, they are sometimes exceedingly wary ; but ^^'e 
soon found that normally they were as tame as they 
were plentiful. We frequently saw them close by the 
herds of the l^oer settlers. They were the common 
game of the plains. At times, of course, they were 
difficult to approach : but again and again, usually 
when we were riding, we came upon, not only in- 
dividuals, but herds down wind and in plain ^•iew, 
whicli permitted us to approach to within a liundred 
yards before they definitely took flight. Their motions 
look ungainly until they get into their full-speed stride. 
They utter no sound save the usual hartebeest sneeze. 

Tliere were bohor reedbuck also — pretty creatures, 
about the size of a whitetail deer, which lay close in 
the reed beds, or in hollows among the tall grass, and 
usually offered rather difficult running shots or v^ery 
long standing shots. Still prettier were the little oribi. 
These are grass antelopes, frequenting much the same 
places as the duiker and steinbuck. and not much 

328 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

larger. Where the grass was long they would lie close, 
with neck flat along the ground, and dart off when 
nearly stepped on, with a pig-like rush like that of a 
reedbuck or duiker in similar thick cover. But where 
the grass was short, and especially where it was burned, 
they did not trust to lying down and hiding ; on the 
contrary, in such places they were conspicuous little 
creatures, and trusted to their speed and alert vigilance 
for their safety. Tliey run very fast, with great bounds, 
and when they stand — usually at a hundred and fifty or 
two hundred yards — they face the Inniter, the forward- 
thrown ears being the most noticeable thing about 
them. We found that each oribi bagged cost us an 
unpleasantly large number of cartridges. 

(3ne day we foinid the spot where a large party of 
hyenas had establislied their day lairs in the wet seclusion 
of some reed beds. We beat through these reed beds, 
and, in the words once used by an old plains friend in 
describing the behaviour of a family of black bears 
under similar circumstances, the hyenas " came bilin 
out." As they bolted Kermit shot one and I another ; 
his bit savagely at a stick with which one of the gun- 
bearers poked it. It is difficult at first glance to tell 
the sex of a hyena, and our followers stoutly upheld 
the widespread African belief that they are bisexual, 
being male or female as they choose. A wounded or 
trapped hyena will of course bite if seized, but shows 
no sign of the ferocious courage which marks the leopard 
under such circumstances ; for the hyena is as cowardly 
as it is savage, although its size and the tremendous 
power of its jaws ought to make it as formidable as the 
fierce spotted cat. 

The day after this incident we came on a herd of 
giraffe. It was Kermit 's turn for a giraffe ; and just as 


the herd got under way he wounded the big bull. 
Away went the tall creatures, their tails twisting and 
curling, as they cantered along over the rough veldt 
and among the thorn bushes, at that gait of theirs 
which looks so leisurely and which yet enables them to 
cover so much ground. After them we tore, Kermit 
and Tarlton in the lead ; and a fine chase we had. It 
was not until we had sfone two or three miles that the 
})ull lagged behind the herd. I was riding the tranquil 
sorrel, not a speedy horse, and by this time my weight 
was telling on him. Kermit and his horse had already 
turned a somersault, having gone into an ant-bear hole, 
which the tall grass concealed ; but they were up and 
off in an instant. All Tranquillity's enthusiasm had 
vanished, and only by constant thumping with lieels 
and gun butt could I keep him at a slow hand gallop, 
and in sight of the leaders. We came to a slight rise, 
where the rank grass grew high and thick ; and Tran- 
(|uillity put both his fore-legs into an ant-bear hole, and 
with obvious relief rolled gently over on liis side. It 
was not really a tumble ; he hailed the ant-bear burrow 
as offering a way out of a chase in which he had grown 
to take less than no interest. Besides, he really was 
winded, and wjien we got up I could barely get him 
into a canter; and I saw no more of the run. Mean- 
while Kermit and Tarlton raced alongside the wounded 
bull, one on each Hank, and started him toward camp, 
which was about five miles from where the hunt began. 
Two or three times he came to a standstill, and turned 
first toward one and then toward the other of his 
pursuers, almost as if he meditated a charge ; but they 
shouted at him and he resumed his flight. They 
brought him within three hundred yards of camp, and 
then Kermit leaped off and finished him. 

330 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xti 

This bull was a fine specimen, coloured almost exactly 
like the giraffes of the Athi and Sotik, but with much 
more horn development. T doubt whether this five- 
horned kind is more than a local race. The bulls have 
been described as very dark : but the one thus shot, a 
big and old master bull, was unusually light, and in the 
herd there were individuals of every shade, much the 
darkest being a rather small cow. Indeed, in none of 
the varieties of giraffe did we find that the old bulls 
were markedly darker than the others ; many of them 
were dark, but some of the biggest were light coloured, 
and the darkest individuals in a herd were often cows. 
Giraffes, by the way, do sometimes lie down to sleep, 
but not often. ^ 

In order that Heller might take care of the giraffe 
skin we had to spend a couple of days where we were 
tlien camped. The tents were pitched near a spring of 
good water, beside a slight valley in which there were 
marshy spots and reed beds. The country was rolling, 
and covered with fine grass, imfortunately so tall as to 
afford secure cover for lions. There were stretches bare 
of trees, and other stretches with a sparse, scattered 
growth of low thorns or of the big glossy-leaved bush 
which I have spoken of as the African jessamine because 
of the singularly sweet and jessamine-like fragrance of 

^ This is just one of the points as to which no one observer 
should dogmatize or try to lay down general laws with no excep- 
tions. Moreover, the personal equation of even the most honest 
observer must always be taken into account in considering not 
merely matters like this, but even such things as measurements. 
For example, Neuman, in his "Elephant Hunting," gives measure- 
ments of the height of both elephants and Grcvy's zebra. Our 
measurements made the elephants taller and the big zebras less tall 
than he found them. Measurements of the lengths of lions made 
by different observers are for this reason rarely of much value for 
purposes of comparison. 


its floM^ers. Most of these bushes were in full bloom, 
as they had been six months before on the Athi and 
three months before near Kenia ; some bore berries, of 
which it is said that the wild elephant herds are fond. 

It is hard to lay down general rules as to the l)lossom- 
ing times of plants or breeding times of animals in 
equatorial Africa. 15efore we left the I'asin Gishu 
tableland some of the hartebeest cows appeared witli 
new-born calves. Some of tlie acacias had put forth 
their siiiall, globular, yellow blossoms, just as the 
acacias on the Athi plains were doing in the previous 
May. The blue lupins were flowering, for it is a cool, 
pleasant country. 

Our camp here was attractive, and Kermit and I took 
advantage of our leisure to fill out the series of speci- 
mens of the big hartebeest and the oribi which Heller 
needed for the National JNIuseum. The flesh of tlie 
oribis was reserved for our own table ; that of the 
kanganis — which iiad been dulyhal-lallcd by the Moslems 
among our gun-bearers — was turned over to what might 
be called the officers' mess of the safari proper, the head- 
men, cooks, tent-boys, gun-bearers, and saises ; while, of 
course, the skinners and porters who happened to be out 
with us when any animal was slain got their share of the 
meat. We also killed two more hyenas ; one, a dog, 
weighed one hundred and twenty pounds, being smaller 
than those Heller had trapped while skinning the first 
bull elephant I shot in the Kenia forest. 

Good Ali, my tent-boy, kept bowls of the sweet- 
scented jessamine on our dining-table. Now that there 
were four of us together again we used the dining-tent, 
which T had discarded on the Guaso Nyero trip. Bak- 
hari had been rather worn down by the work on the 
Guaso Nyero, and in his place 1 had taken Kongoni, a 

332 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

Waknmba with filed teeth, hke my second gun-bearer, 
GouvimaH, but a Moslem, although his INIoslemism did 
not go very deep. Kongoni was the best gun-bearer I 
had yet had, very willing, and excellent both at seeing 
and tracking game. Kermit's two gun-bearers were 
Juma Yohari, a coal-black SM^ahili Moslem, and Kassi- 
tura, a Christian negro from Uganda. Both of them 
were as eager to do everything for Kermit as mine were 
to render me any service, great or small, and in addition 
they were capital men for their special work. Juma was 
always smiling and happy, and was a high favourite 
among his fellows. At lunch, when we had any, if I 
gave my own followers some of the chocolate, or what- 
ever else it was that I had put in my saddle pocket, I 
always noticed tliat they called up Yohari to share it. 
He it was who would receive the coloured cards from 
my companions' tobacco-pouches or from the packages 
of chocolate, and, after puzzling over them until he 
could himself identify the brilliantly coloured ladies, 
gentlemen, little girls, and wild beasts, would volubly 
explain them to the others. Kassitura, quite as efficient 
and hard-working, was a huge, solemn black man, as 
faithful and uncomplaining a soul as I ever met. 
Kermit had picked him out from among the poi-ters to 
carry his camera, and had then promoted him to be 
gun-bearer. In his place he had taken as camera-bearer 
an equally powerful porter, a heathen 'Mnuwezi named 
Mali. His tent-boy had gone crooked, and one evening, 
some months later, after a long and trying march, he 
found Mali, whose performance of his new duties he had 
been closely watching, the only man up ; and Mali, 
always willing, turned in of his own accord to help get 
Kermifs tent in shape, so Kermit suddenly told him he 
would promote him to be tent-boy. At first Mali did 


not quite understand ; tlien he pondered a moment or 
two, and suddenly leaped into the air, exclaiming in 
Swahili : " Now I am a big man." And he faithfully 
stro\'e to justify his promotion. In similar fashion 
Kermit picked out on the Nairobi race-track a Kikuyu 
sais named Magi, and brought him out with us. Magi 
turned out the best sais in the safari, and besides doing 
his own duty so well, he was always exceedingly inter- 
ested in everything that concerned his own Bwana, 
Kermit, or me, from the proper arrangement of our sun- 
pads to the success of our shooting. 

From the giraffe camp we went two days' journey to 
the 'Nz-oi River. Until this Uasin Gishu trip we had 
been on waters which either vanished in the desert or 
else flowed into the Indian Ocean. Now we had crossed 
the divide, and were on the Nile side of the watershed. 
The 'Nzoi, a rapid, muddy river passing south of Mount 
Elgon, empties into the Victoria Nyanza. Our route 
to its bank led across a rollhig country, covered by a 
dense growth of tall grass, and in most places by open 
thorn scrub, while here and there, in the shallow valleys 
or depressions, were swamps, 'i'here were lions, and 
at night we heard them ; but in such long grass it was 
wellnigh hopeless to look for them. Evidently troops 
of elephants occasionally visited these plahis, for the 
tops of the little thorn-trees were torn off and browsed 
down by the mighty brutes. How they can tear off 
and swallow sucli prickly dainties as these thorn 
branches, armoured with needle -pointed spikes, is a 
mystery. Tarlton told me that he had seen an elephant, 
while feeding greedily on the yoimg top of a thorn-tree, 
prick its trunk imtil it uttered a little scream or whine 
of pain ; and it then, in a fit of pettishness, revenged 
itself by wrecking the thorn-tree. 

834 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

Game abounded on the plains. We saw a couple of 
herds of giraffes. The hartebeests were the most 
plentifid and the least shy ; time after time a small 
herd loitered until we were within a hundred yards 
before cantering away. Once or twice we saw topi 
among them ; and often there were mixed herds of 
zebras and hartebeests. Oribi were common, and some- 
times uttered a peculiar squealing whistle when they 
first saw us. The reedbuck also whistled, but their 
whistle was entirely distinct. It was astonishing how 
close the reedbuck lay. Again and again we put them 
up within a few feet of us from patches of reeds or 
hollows in the long grass. A much more singular 
habit is the way in which they share these retreats with 
dangerous wild beasts — a trait common also to the 
cover-loving bushbuck. From one of the patches of 
reeds in which Kermit and 1 shot two hyenas a reed- 
buck doe innnediately afterward took flight. She had 
been reposing peacefully during the day within fifty 
yards of several hyenas ! 'I'arlton had more than once 
found both reedbuck and bushbuck in comparatively 
small patches of cover whicli also held lions. 

It is, by the way, a little difficult to know what 
names to use in distinguishing between the sexes of 
African game. The trouble is one which obtains in 
all new countries, where the settlers have to name new 
beasts, and is, of course, primarily due to the fact 
that the terms already found in the language originally 
applied only to domestic animals and to European 
beasts of the chase. Africanders, whether Dutch or 
Enghsli, speak of all antelope, of either sex, as "buck." 
Then they call the males and females of the larger kinds 
bulls and cows, just as Americans do when they speak 
of moose, wapiti, and caribou , and the males and females 

CH. xii] THE NZOI 335 

of the smaller kinds they usually speak of as rams and 

W^hile on safari to tiie 'Nzoi 1 was even mt)re in- 
terested in honey-birds which led us to honey than 1 
was in the game. John Burroughs had especially 
charged me before starting for Africa to look personally 
into tliis extraordinary habit of the honey-bird — a habit 
so extraordinary that he was inclined to disbelieve the 
reality of its existence. But it un(|uestionably does 
exist. Every experienced hunter and every native who 
lives in the wilderness has again and again been an eye- 
witness of it. Kerniit, in addition to his experience in 
the Sotik, had been led by a honey-bird to honey in a 
rock near Lake Hannington. Once while I was track- 
ing game a honey-bird made his appearance, chattering 
loudly and Hying beside us. 1 let two of the porters 
follow it, and it led them to honey. On the morning 
of the day we reached the 'Xzoi a honey-bird appeared 
beside the safari, behaving in the same manner. Some 
of the men begged to be allowed to follow it. While 
they were talking to me, the honey-bird flew to a big 
tree fifty yards off, and called loudly as it flitted to and 
fro in the branches ; and sure enough there was honey 
iu the tree. 1 let some of the men stay to get the 
honey ; but they found little except comb filled with 
grubs. Some of this was put aside for the bird, which 
ate the orubs. The natives believe that misfortune will 
follow any failure on their part to leave the honey-bird 
its share of the booty. They also insist that sometimes 
the honey-bird will lead a man to a serpent or wild 
beast ; and sure enough Dr. ^learns was once thus led 
up to a rhinoceroso \\ hile camped on the 'Xzoi, the 
honey-birds were almost a nuisance. They were very 
common, and were continually accompanying us as we 

336 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

hunted, flying from tree to tree, and never ceasing their 
harsh chatter. Several times we followed birds, which 
in each case led us to bee-trees, and then perched 
quietly by until the gun-bearers and porters (Gouvimali 
shone on such occasions) got out the honey, which we 
found excellent eating, by the way. 

Our camp here was in a beautiful country, and game 
— for the most part Uganda kob and singsing water- 
liuck — often fed in sight of the tents. The kob is a 
small short-haned waterbuck, with slightly different 
horns. It is a chunky antelope, with a golden red coat. 
I weighed one old buck which I shot, and it tipped 
the beam at two hundred and twenty pounds. Kermit 
killed a bigger one, weighing two hundred and forty 
pounds, but its horns were poorer. In their habits the 
kob somewhat resemble impalla, the does being found 
in bands of twenty or thirty with a single master buck ; 
and they sometimes make great impalla-like bounds. 
They fed, at all hours of the day, in the flats near the 
river and along the edges of the swamps, and were not 
very wary. They never tried to hide, and were always 
easily seen — in utter contrast to the close-lying, skulk- 
ing, bohor reedbuck, which lay like a rabbit in the long 
grass or reeds. The kob, on the contrary, were always 
anxious themselves to see round about, and, like water- 
buck and hartebeest, frequently used the ant-heaps as 
lookout stations. It was a pretty sight to see a herd 
of the bright red creatures clustered on a big ant-hill, 
all the necks outstretched and all the ears thrown for- 
ward. The females are hornless. By the middle of 
November we noticed an occasional new-born calf. 

The handsome, shaggy-coated, singsing waterbuck 
had much the same habits as the kob. Like the kob, 
they fed at all hours of the day ; but they were more 


wary, and more apt to be found in country where there 
were a good many bushes or small trees. \\^aterbuck 
and kob sometimes associated together. 

The best singsing bull I got I owed to Tarl ton's 
good eyesight and skill in tracking and stalking. The 
herd of whicli it w^as master bull were shy, and took 
the alarm just as we first saw them. Tarlton follow^ed 
their trail for a couple of miles, and then stalked them 
to an inch by the dexterous use of a couple of bushes 
and an ant-hill, the ant-hill being reached after a two 
hundred yards' crawl, first on all-fours and tlien flat on 
the ground, which resulted in my getting a good off- 
hand shot at a hundred and eighty yards. At this 
time, about the middle of November, some of the cows 
had new-born calves. One day I shot a hartebeest bull, 
with horns tw^enty-four inches long, as it stood on the 
top of an ant-heap. On going up to it we noticed 
something behind a little bush, sixty yards off. We 
were puzzled what it could be, but finally made out 
a w^aterbuck cow, and a minute or two later away she 
bounded to safety, followed by a wee calf. The porters 
much appreciated the flesh of the waterbuck. We did 
not. It is the poorest eating of African antelope ; and 
among the big antelope only the eland is good as a 
steady diet. 

One day we drove a big swamp, putting a hundred 
porters across it in line, w^hile Kermit and I Avalked 
a little ahead of them along the edges, he on one side 
and I on the other. I shot a couple of bushbuck — an 
ewe and a yoimg ram ; and after the drive was over he 
shot a female leopard as she stood on the side of an 

There were a nimiber of both reedbuck and bush- 
buck in the swamp. The reedbuck were all ewes, 


338 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

which we did not want. There were one or two big 
bushbuck rams, but they broke back through the 
beaters ; and so did two bushbuck ewes and one reed- 
buck ewe, one of the bushbuck ewes actually knocking 
down a beater. They usually either cleared out while 
the beaters were still half a mile distant, or else waited 
until they were almost trodden on. The bushbuck 
rams were very dark coloured ; the hornless ewes and 
the young were a brilliant red, the belly, the under side 
and edges of the conspicuous fluffy tail, and a few dim 
spots on the cheeks and flanks being white. Although 
these buck frequent thick cover, forest, or swamp, and 
trust for their safety to liiding, and to eluding observa- 
tion by their stealthy, skulking ways, then coloration 
has not the smallest protective value, being, on the 
contrary, very conspicuous in botli sexes, but especially 
in the females and young, who most need protection. 
Bushbuck utter a loud bark. Tlie hoofs of those we 
shot were very long, as is often the case with water- 
loving, marsh-frequenting species. There is a curious 
collar-like space around the neck, on which there is no 
hair. Although, if anything, smaller than our wliite- 
tail deer, the bushbuck is a vicious and redoubtable 
fighter, and will charge a man without hesitation. 

The last day we were at the 'Nzoi the porters 
petitioned for one ample meal of meat, arxd we shot 
a dozen buck for them — kangani, kob, and singsing. 
One of the latter, a very fine bull, fairly charged Kermit 
and his gun-bearer when they got within a few yards of 
it, as it lay wounded. This bull grunted loudly as he 
charged ; the grunt of an oryx under similar circum- 
stances is almost a growl. On this day both Kermit 
and I were led to bee trees by honey-birds, and took 
some of the honey for lunch. Kermit stayed after his 

-- < 

— I ^ 


..^i-: V 


boys luid left the tree, so as to see exactly what the 
honey-bird did. The boys had smoked out the bees, 
and when they left the tree was still smoking. Tiiroiigh- 
out the process the lioney-bird had stayed quietly in 
a neiglibouri ng tree, occasionally uttering a single 
l)ub})ling cluck. As soon as the boys left, it flew 
straight for the smoking bee tree, uttering a long trill, 
utterly different from the chattering noise made while 
trying to attract the attention of the men and lead 
them to the tree ; and not only did it eat the grubs, 
but it also ate the bees that were stupefied by the 

Next day we moved camp to the edge of a swamp 
about five miles from the river. Near the tents was one 
of the trees which, not knowing its real name, we called 
" sausage tree "; the seeds or fruits are encased in a kind 
of hard gourd, the size of a giant sausage, wliich swings 
loosely at the end of a long tendril. The swamp was 
half or three-quarters of a mile across, with one or 
two ponds in the middle, from which we shot ducks. 
Francolins — delicious eating, as the ducks were also — 
uttered their grating calls near by ; while oribi and 
iiartebeest were usually to be seen from the tents. The 
liartebeest, by the way, in its three forms, is much the 
commonest game animal of East Africa. 

A few miles beyond this swamp we suddenly came 
on a small herd of elephants in the open. There were 
eight cows and two calves, and they were moving 
slowly, feeding on the thorny tops of the scattered 
mimosas and of other bushes which were thornless. 
The eyesight of elephants is very bad ; 1 doubt whether 
they see more clearly than a rather near-sighted man ; 
and Ave walked up to within seventy yards of these, 
slight though the co\er was, so that Ivermit could try 

340 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

to photograph them. We did not need to kill another 
cow for the National Museum, and so, after we had 
looked at the huge, interesting creatures as long as we 
wished, we croaked and whistled, and they moved off 
with leisurely indifference. There is always a fascina- 
tion about watching elephants ; they are such giants, 
they are so intelligent —much more so than any other 
game, except perhaps the lion, whose intelligence has a 
very sinister bent — and they look so odd with their 
great ears flapping and their trunks lifting and curling. 
Elephants are rai-ely absolutely still for any length of 
time ; now and then they flap an ear, or their bodies 
sway slightly, while at intervals they utter curious 
internal rumblings, or trumpet gently. These were 
feeding on saplings of the mimosas and other trees, 
apparently caring nothing for the thorns of the former ; 
they would tear off branches, big or little, or snap a 
trunk short off" if the whim seized them. They sM^al- 
lowed the leaves and twigs of these trees ; but I have 
known them merely chew and spit out the stems of 
certain bushes. 

After leaving the elephants we were on oin- way back 
to camp when we saw a white man in the trail ahead ; 
and on coming nearer who should it prove to be but 
Carl Akeley, who was out on a trip for the American 
Museum of Natural History, in New York. We went 
with him to his camp, where we found JNlrs. Akeley, 
Clark, who was assisting him, and Messrs. McCutcheon 
and Stevenson, who were on a similar errand. They 
were old friends, and I was very glad to see them. 
McCutcheon, the cartoonist, had been at a farewell 
lunch given me by llobert Collier just before I left 
New York, and at the lunch we had been talking much 
of George Ade, and the first question I put to him was 

cii. xii] CHASED BY A HIPPO ,341 

*' Where is George Ade ?" for if one unexpectedly meets 

an American cartoonist on a hunting trip in mid-Africa 

there seems no reason why one should not also see his 

crony, an American playright, A year previously 

Mr. and Mrs, Akeley had lunched with me at the 

White House, and we had talked over our proposed 

African trips. Akeley, an old African wanderer, was 

going out with the especial purpose of getting a group 

of elephants for the American Museum, and was 

anxious that I should shoot one or two of them for him. 

I liad told him that I certainly would if it were a 

possibility ; and on learning that we had just seen a 

herd of cows he felt— as I did — that the chance had 

come for me to fulfil my promise. So we decided that 

he should camp with us that night, and that next 

morning we would start with a light outfit to see 

whether we could not overtake the herd. 

An amusing incident occurred that evening. After 
dark some of the porters went through the reeds to get 
water from the pond in the middle of the swamp. I 
was sitting in my tent when a loud yelling and scream- 
ing rose from the swamp, and in rushed Kongoni to say 
that one of the men, while drawing water, had been 
seized by a lion. Snatching up a rifle, I was off at a 
run for the swamp, calling for lanterns ; Kermit and 
Tarlton joined me, the lanterns were brought, and we 
reached the meadow of short marsh grass which sur- 
rounded the high reeds in the middle. No sooner were 
we on this meadow than there were loud snortings in 
the darkness ahead of us, and then the sound of a 
heavy animal galloping across our front. It turned out 
that there was no lion in the case at all, but that the 
porters had been chased by a hippo. I should not have 
supposed tliat a hippo would live in such a small, 


isolated swamp ; but there he was on the meadow in 
front of me, invisible, but snorting, and galloping to 
and fro. Evidently he was much interested in the 
lights, and we thought he might charge us ; but he did 
not, retreating slowly as we advanced, until he plunged 
nto the little pond. Hippos are sometimes dangerous 
at night, and so we waded through the swamp until we 
came to the pool at which the porters filled their buckets, 
and stood guard over them until they were through ; 
while the hippo, unseen in the darkness, came closer to 
us, snorting and plunging — possibly from wrath and 
insolence, but more probably from mere curiosity. 

Next morning Akeley, Tarlton, Kermit, and I started 
on our elephant hunt. We were travelling light. I 
took nothing but my bedding, wash kit, spare socks, 
and slippers, all in a roll of waterproof canvas. We 
went to where we had seen the herd, and then took up 
the trail, Kongoni and two or three other gun-bearers 
walking ahead as trackers. They did their work well. 
The elephants had not been hi the least alarmed. 
AVhere they had walked in single file it was easy to 
follow their trail ; but the trackers had hard work 
puzzling it out where the animals had scattered out and 
loitered along feeding. The trail led up and down hills 
and through open thorn scrub, and it crossed and re- 
crossed the wooded watercourses in the bottoms of the 
valleys. At last, after going some ten miles, we came 
on signs of where the elephants had fed that morning, 
and four or five miles farther on we overtook them. 
That we did not scare them into flight was due to 
Tarlton. The trail went nearly across wind ; the 
trackers were leading us swiftly along it, M^ien suddenly 
Tarlton heard a low trumpet ahead and to the right 
hand. We at once doubled back, left the horses, and 


advanced towards wliere the noise indicated that the 
herd were standin<^. 

In a couple of minutes we sighted them. It was just 
noon. There were six cows and two well-grown calves 
— these last being quite big enough to shift for them- 
selves or to be awkward antagonists for any man of 
whom they could get hold. They stood in a clump, 
each occasionally shifting its position or lazily flapping 
an ear ; and now and then one would break off a branch 
with its trunk, tuck it into its mouth, and withdraw it 
stripped of its leaves. The wind blew fair, we were 
careful to make no noise, and with ordinary caution we 
had nothing to fear from their eyesight. The ground 
was neither forest nor bare plain ; it was covered with 
long grass and a scattered open growth of small scantily 
leaved trees, chiefly mimosas, but including some trees 
covered with gorgeous orange-red flowers. After 
careful scrutiny we advanced behind an ant-hill to 
within sixty yards, and I stepped forward for the shot. 

Akeley wanted two cows and a calf. Of the two best 
cows one had ratlier thick, worn tusks ; those of the 
other were smaller, but better shaped. The latter stood 
half facing me, and I put the bullet from the right 
barrel of the Holland through her lungs, and fired the 
left barrel for the heart of the other. Tarlton, and then 
Akeley and Kermit, followed suit. At once the herd 
started diagonally past us, but half halted and faced 
toward us when only twenty-five yards distant, an un- 
wounded cow beginning to advance with her great ears 
cocked at right angles to her head ; and Tarlton called, 
" Look out ; they are coming for us." At such a 
distance a charge from half a dozen elephants is a 
serious thing. I put a bullet into the foreliead of the 
advancing cow, causing her to lurch heavily forward to 

344 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

her knees ; and then we all fired. The heavy rifles 
were too much even for such big beasts, and round they 
spun and rushed off. As they turned I dropped the 
second cow I had wounded with a shot in the brain, 
and the cow that had started to charge also fell, though 
it needed two or three more shots to keep it down as it 
struggled to rise. The cow at which I had flrst flred 
kept on with the rest of the herd, but fell dead before 
going a hundred yards. After we had turned the herd 
Kermit with his Winchester killed a bull calf, necessary 
to complete the Museum group ; we had been unable to 
kill it before because we were too busy stopping the 
charge of the cows. I was sorry to have to shoot the 
third cow, but with elephant starting to charge at 
twenty-five yards the risk is too great, and the need 
of instant action too imperative, to allow of any 

We pitched camp a hundred yards from the elephants, 
and Akeley, working like a demon, and assisted by 
Tarlton, had the skins off the two biggest cows and the 
calf by the time night fell. I walked out and shot an 
oribi for supper. Soon after dark the hyenas began to 
gather at the carcasses and to quarrel among themselves 
as they gorged. Toward morning a lion came near and 
uttered a kind of booming, long-drawn moan, an ominous 
and menacing sound. The hyenas answered with an 
extraordinary chorus of yelling, howling, laughing, and 
chuckling, as weird a volume of noise as any to which 
I ever listened. At dawn we stole down to the carcasses 
in the faint hope of a shot at the lion. However, he 
was not there ; but as we came toward one carcass a 
hyena raised its head seemingly from beside the elephant's 
belly, and I brained it with the little Springfleld. On 
walking up it appeared that 1 need not have shot at all. 

CH. xii] LAKE SRRGOI 345 

The hyena, which was swollen with elephant meat, had 
got inside the huge body, and had then bitten a hole 
through the abdominal wall of tough muscle and thrust 
his head through. The wedge-shaped head had slipped 
through the hole all right, but the muscle had then 
contracted, and the hyena was fairly caught, with its 
body inside the elephant's belly and its head thrust out 
through the hole. We took several photos of the beast 
in its queer trap. 

After breakfast we rode back to our camp by the 
swamp. Akelcy and Clark were working hard at the 
elephant skins ; but Mrs. Akeley, Stevenson, and 
McCutcheon took lunch with us at our camp. They 
had been having a very successful hunt. Mrs. Akeley 
had to her credit a fine maned lion and a bull elephant 
with enormous tusks. This was the first saffiri we had 
met while we were out in the field ; though in Nairobi, 
and once or twice at outlying bomas, we had met men 
about to start on, or returning from, expeditions ; and 
as we marched into Meru we encountered the safari of 
an old friend, A\'illiam Lord Smith — " Tiger " Smith — 
who, with Messrs. Brooks and Allen, was on a trip 
which was partly a hunting trip and partly a scientific 
trip imdertaken on behalf of the Cambridge Museum. 

From the 'Xzoi we made a couple of days' march to 
Lake Sergoi, which we had passed on our way out : a 
reed-fringed pond, surrounded by rocky hills which 
marked about the limit to which the Boer and English 
settlers who were taking up the country had spread. 
f All along our route we encountered herds of game. 
Sometimes the herd would be of only one species ; at 
other times we would come across a great mixed herd, 
the red hartebeest always predominating ; while among 
them might be zebras, showing silvery white or dark 

346 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

grey in the distance, topis with beautifully coloured 
coats, and even waterbuck. We shot what hartebeests, 
topis, and oribis were needed for food. All over the 
uplands we came on the remains of a race of which even 
the memory has long since vanished. These remains 
consist of large, nearly circular walls of stone, which 
are sometimes roughly squared. A few of these circular 
enclosures contain more than one chamber. Many of 
them, at least, are not cattle kraals, being too small, 
and built round hollows ; the walls are so low that by 
themselves they could not serve for shelter or defence, 
and must probably have been used as supports for roofs 
of timber or skins. They were certainly built by people 
who were in some respects more advanced than the 
savage tribes who now dwell in the land i but the grass 
grows thick on the earth mounds into which the ancient 
stone walls are slowly crumbling, and not a trace of the 
builders remains. Barbarians they doubtless were ; but 
they have been engulfed in the black oblivion of a lower 
barbarism, and not the smallest tradition lingers to tell 
of their craft or their cruelty, their industry or prowess, 
or to ffive us the least hint as to the race from which 
they sprang. 

We had with us an ox-waggon, with the regulation 
span of sixteen oxen, the driver being a young Colonial 
Englishman from South Africa, for the Dutch and 
English Africanders are the best ox-waggon drivers in 
the world. On the way back to Sergoi he lost his oxen, 
which were probably driven off by some savages from the 
mountains ; so at Sergoi we had to hire another ox- 
waggon, the South African who drove it being a Dutch- 
man named Botha. Sergoi was as yet the limit of 
settlement, but it was evident that the whole Uasin 
Gishu country would soon be occupied. Already many 


Boers from South ^Vfrica and a number of English 
Africanders had come in, and no better pioneers exist 
to-day than tliese South ^Vfricans, both Dutch and 
En<>']ish. Both are so good that I earnestly hope tliey 
will become indissolubly welded into one people, and 
the Dutch Boer has the supreme merit of preferring the 
coimtry to the town and of bringing liis wife and children 
— plenty of children — with him to settle on the land. 
The home-maker is tlie only type of settler of perma- 
nent value, and the cool, healthy, fertile IJasin Gishu 
i-egion is an ideal land for the right kind of pioneer 
home-maker, whether he hopes to make his living by 
raising stock or by growing crops. 

At Sergoi Lake there is a store kept by Mr. Kirke, a 
Soutli African of Scottish blood. VVitli a kind courtesy 
which I cannot too highly appreciate, he, with the 
equally cordial lielp of another settler, Mr. Skally — also 
a Soutli African, but of Irish birth — and of the District 
Connnissioner, Mv. Corbett, had arranged for a party of 
Nandi warriors to come over and show me how they 
hunted the lion. Two Dutch farmers (Boers) from the 
neigiibourhood liad also come : they were Messrs. 
Mouton and Jordaan, fine fellows both, the former 
liaving served with De ^Vet during the war. Mr. and 
Mrs. Corbett— who were hospitality itself — had also 
come to see the sport, and so had Captain Chapman, an 
English army officer who was taking a rest after several 
years' service in Northern Nigeria. 

The Nandi are a warlike pastoral tribe, close kin to 
the Masai in blood and tongue, in weapons and in 
manner of life. They have long been accustomed to 
kill with the spear lions which become man-eaters or 
which molest their cattle overmuch ; and the peace 
which British rule has imposed upon them — a peace so 

348 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

welcome to the weaker, so irksome to the predatory, 
tribes — has left lion-killing one of the few pursuits in 
which glory can be won by a young warrior. When it 
was told them that if they wished they could come to 
hunt lions at Sergoi, eight hundred warriors volunteered, 
and much heartburning was caused in choosing the 
sixty or seventy who were allowed the privilege. They 
stipulated, however, that they should not be used 
merely as beaters, but should kill the lion themselves, 
and refused to come unless with this understanding. 

The day before we reached Sergoi they had gone out 
and had killed a lion and lioness. The beasts were put 
up from a small covert and despatched wath the heavy 
throwing spears on the instant, before they offered, or, 
indeed, had the chance to offer, any resistance. The day 
after our arrival there was mist and cold rain, and we 
found no lions. Next day, November 20th, we were 

VV^e started immediately after breakfast. Kirke, 
Skally, Mouton, Jordaan, Mr. and Mrs. Corbett, Cap- 
tain Chapman, and our party were on horseback. Of 
course, we carried our rifles, but our duty was merely to 
round up the lion and hold him if he went off so far in 
advance that even the Nandi runners could not over- 
take him. We intended to beat the country toward 
some shallow, swampy valleys twelve miles distant. 

In an hour we overtook the Nandi warriors, who 
were advancing across the rolling, grassy plains in a long 
line, with intervals of six or eight yards between the 
men. They were splendid savages, stark naked, lithe 
as panthers, the muscles rippling under their smooth 
dark skins. All their lives they had lived on nothing 
but animal food — milk, blood, and flesh — and they were 
fit for any fatigue or danger. Their faces were proud, 


cruel, fearless ; as they ran they moved with long 
springy strides. Their head-dresses were fantastic ; they 
carried ox-hide shields painted with strange devices ; and 
each bore in his right hand the formidable war-spear, 
used both for stabbing and for throwing at close 
quarters. 'J' he narrow spear- lieads of soft iron were 
bm-nished till tliey shone like silver ; they were four 
feet long, and the point and edges were razor sharp. 
Tiie wooden haft appeared for but a few inches ; the 
long butt w;is also of iron, ending in a spike, so that the 
spear looked almost solid metal. Yet each sinewy 
warrior carried his heavy weapon as if it were a toy, 
twirling it till it glinted in the sun-rays. Herds of 
game — red hartebeests and striped zebra and wild 
swine — fled right and left before tlie advance of the 

It was noon before we reached a wide, shallow valley, 
with beds of rushes here and there in the middle, and on 
either side high grass and dwarfed and scattered thorn- 
trees. Down this we beat for a couple of miles. Then, 
suddenly, a mailed lion rose a quarter of a mile ahead of 
the line and galloped off througli the high grass to the 
right, and all of us on horseback tore after him. 

He was a magnificent beast, with a black and tawny 
mane ; in his prime, teeth and claws perfect, with 
mighty thews, and savage heart. He was lying near 
a hartebeest on which he had been feasting ; his life 
had been one unbroken career of rapine and violence ; 
and now the nianed master of the wilderness, the terror 
that stalked by night, the grim lord of slaughter, was to 
meet his doom at the hands of the only foes who dared 
molest him. 

It was a mile before we brought him to bay. Then 
the Dutch farmer, Mouton, who had not even a rifle, 

350 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

but who rode foremost, was almost on him. He halted 
and turned under a low thorn-tree, and we galloped 
past hun to the opposite side, to hold him until the 
spearmen could come. It was a sore temptation to 
shoot him ; but of course we could not break faith with 
our Nandi friends. We were only some sixty yards 
from him, and we watched him with our rifles ready, 
lest he should charge either us or the first two or three 
spearmen, before their companions arrived. 

One by one the spearmen came up at a run, and 
gradually began to form a ring round him. Each, when 
he came near enough, crouched behind his shield, his 
spear in his right hand, his fierce, eager face peering 
over the shield rim. As man followed man, the lion 
rose to his feet. His mane bristled, his tail lashed, he 
held his head low, the upper lip now drooping over 
the jaws, now drawn up so as to show the gleam of the 
long fangs. He faced first one way and then another, 
and never ceased to utter his murderous grunting roars. 
It was a wild sight ; the ring of spearmen, intent, silent, 
bent on blood, and in the centre the great nian-killing 
beast, his thunderous wrath growing ever more 

At last the tense ring was complete, and the spearmen 
rose and closed in. The lion looked quickly from side 
to side, saw where the line was thinnest, and charged at 
his topmost speed. The crowded moment began. With 
shields held steady, and quivering spears poised, the 
men in front braced themselves for the rush and the 
shock ; and from either hand the warriors sprang for- 
ward to take their foe in flank. Bounding ahead of 
his fellows, the leader reached throwing distance ; the 
long spear flickered and plunged ; as the lion felt the 
woimd he half turned, and then flung himself on the 


man in front. Tlie warrior threw his spear ; it drove 
deep into the ht'e, for, entering at one shoulder, it eanie 
out of the opposite flank, near the thigh, a yard of steel 
through the great body. Hearing, the lion struck the 
man, bearing down the shield, his back arched ; and for 
a moment he slaked his fury with fang and talon. Hut 
on the instant I saw another spear driven clear through 
his body from side to side ; and as the lion turned again 
the briglit spear-blades darting toward him were flashes 
ol" white flame. The end had come. He seized another 
man, who stabbed him and wrenched loose. As he fell 
he gripped a spear-head in his jaws with such tremendous 
force that he bent it double. Then the warriors were 
round and over him, stabbing and shouting, wild with 
furious exultation. 

From the moment when he charged luitil his death 
1 doubt whether ten seconds had elapsed — perhaps less ; 
but what a ten seconds ! The first half-dozen spears 
had done the work. Three of the spear-blades had gone 
clean through the body, the points projecting several 
inches ; and these and one or two others, including the 
one he had seized in liis jaws, had been twisted out of 
shape in the terrible death-struggle. 

We at once attended to the two wounded men. 
Treating their wounds with antiseptic was painful, and 
so, while the operation was in progress, I told them, 
througii Kirke, that I would give each a heifer. A 
Nandi prizes his cattle rather more than his wives, and 
each sufferer smiled broadly at the news, and forgot all 
about the pain of his wounds. 

Then the warriors, raising their shields above their 
heads, and chanting the deep-toned victory song, 
marched with a slow, dancing step around the dead 
body of the lion, and this sa\'age dance of triumph 

352 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

ended a scene of as fierce interest and excitement as 
I ever hope to see. 

The Nandi marched back by themselves, carrying the 
two wounded men on their shields. We rode to camp 
by a roundabout way, on the chance that we might see 
another lion. The afternoon waned, and we cast long 
shadows before us as we rode across the vast, lonely 
plain. The game stared at us as we passed ; a cold 
wind blew in our faces, and the tall grass waved cease- 
lessly ; the sun set behind a sullen cloud-bank ; and 
then, just at nightfall, the tents glimmered white through 
the dusk. 

Tarlton's partner, Newland — also an Australian, and 
as fine a fellow as Tarlton himself — once had a rather 
eerie adventure with a man-eating lion. He was camped 
near Kilimakiu, and after nightfall the alarm was raised 
that a lion was near by. He came out of his tent, more 
wood was thrown on the fire, and he heard footsteps 
retreating, but could not make out whether they were 
those of a lion or a hyena. Going back to his tent, lie 
lay down on his bed with his face turned toward the 
tent wall Just as he was falling to sleep the canvas 
was pushed almost into his face by the head of some 
creature outside ; immediately afterward he heard the 
sound of a heavy animal galloping, and then the scream 
of one of his porters, whom the lion had seized and was 
dragging off into the darkness. Rushing out with his 
rifle, he fired toward the sounds, shooting high ; the lion 
let go his hold and made off, and the man ultimately 

It has been said that lions are monogamous and that 
they mate for life. If this were so they would almost 
always be found in pairs, a lion and a lioness. They 
are sometimes so found, but it is much more common 


'- -2 




M s 

- t^ 


^- V; 

en. \ii] VARIOUS GAME .353 

to coine across a lioness and her cubs, an old lion with 
several lionesses and their young (for they are often 
polygamous), a single lion or lioness, or a couple of 
lions or lionesses, or a small troup, either all lions or all 
lionesses, or of mixed sexes. These facts are not com- 
patible with the romantic theory in question. 

We tried to get the Nandi to stay with us for a few 
days and beat for lions, but this they refused to do, 
unless they were also to kill them ; and I did not care 
to assist as a mere spectator at any more lion hunts, no 
matter how exciting — though to do so once was well 
worth while. So we moved on by ourselves, camping 
in likely places. In the swamps, living among the 
reeds, were big handsome cuckoos, which ate mice. 
Our first camp was by a stream bordered by trees like 
clove-trees ; at evening multitudes of yellow-billed 
pigeons flew up its course. They were feeding on 
olives, and were good for the table ; and so were the 
yellow-billed mallards, which were found in the occa- 
sional pools. Everything we shot at this time went 
into the pot— except a hyena. The stomachs of the 
reedbuck and oribi contained nothing but grass, but the 
stomachs of the duikers were filled with berries from a 
plant which looked like the deadly nightshade. On the 
burned ground, by the way, the oribi, which were very 
plentiful, behaved precisely like tommies, except that 
they did not go in as large troops ; they made no efibrt 
to hide as they do in thick grass, and as duikers, stein- 
bucks, and reedbucks always do. We saw, but could 
not get a shot at, one topi with a white or blazed face, 
like a South African blesbok. AVhile beating one 
swamp a lion appeared for an instant at its edge, a 
hundred and fifty yards off. I got a snap shot, and 
ought to have hit him, but didn't. We tried our best 


354 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

to get him out of the swamp, finally burning all of it 
that was not too wet ; but we never saw him again. 

We recrossed the high hill country, through mists 
and driving rains, and were back at Londiani on the 
last day of November. Here, with genuine regret, we 
said good-bye to our safari ; for we were about to leave 
East Africa, and could only take a few of our personal 
attendants with us into Uganda and the Nile Valley. 
I was really sorry to see the last of the big, strong, 
good-natured porters. They had been with us over 
seven months, and had always behaved well — though 
this, of course, was mainly owing to Cuninghame's and 
Tarlton's management. We had not lost a single man 
by death. One had been tossed by a rhino, one clawed 
by a leopard, and several had been sent to hospital for 
dysentery, small-pox, or fever ; but none had died. 
While on the Guaso Nyero trip we had run into a 
narrow belt of the dreaded tsetse fly, whose bite is fatal 
to domestic animals. Five of our horses were bitten, 
and four of them died, two not until we were on the 
Uasin Gishu ; the fifth, my zebra -shaped brown, 
although very sick, ultimately recovered, to the astonish- 
ment of the experts. Only three of our horses lasted 
in such shape that we could ride them into Londiani ; 
one of them being Tranquillity, and another Kermit's 
white pony, Huan Daw, who was always dancing and 
curvetting, and wliom iji consequence the saises had 
christened '• merodadi," the dandy. 

The hrst ten days of December 1 spent at Njoro, on 
the edge of the JNlau escarpment, with Lord Delamere. 
It is a beautiful farming country ; and Lord Delamere 
is a practical and successful farmer, and the most useful 
settler, from tlie standpoint of the all-round interests of 
tlie country, in British East Africa. Incidentally, the 

CH. XII] LORD DELAMP:RE'S ranch 355 

home ranch was most attractive — especially the library, 
the room containing Lady Delamere's books. Delamere 
liad been himself a noted big-game himter, his bag 
including fifty-two lions ; but instead of continuing to 
be a mere sportsman, he turned his attention to stock- 
raising and wheat-growing, and became a leader in the 
work of taming the wilderness, of conquering for 
civilization the world's waste spaces. No career can be 
better worth following. 

During his hunting years Delamere had met with 
many strange adventures. One of the lions he shot 
mauled him, breaking his leg, and also mauling his two 
Somali gun-bearers. The lion then crawled off into 
some bushes fifty yards away, and camp was pitched 
where tiie wounded men were lying. Soon after night- 
fall the liyenas assembled in numbers, and attacked, 
killed, and ate the mortally wounded lion, the noise 
made by the combatants being ear-rending. On another 
occasion he had heard a leopard attack some baboons in 
the rocks, a tremendous row following as the big dog 
baboons hastened to the assistance of the one who had 
been seized, and drove off the leopard. That evening 
a leopard, evidently the same one, very thin and hungry, 
came into camp and was shot ; it was frightfully bitten, 
the injuries being such as only baboons inflict, and 
would unquestionably have died of its wounds. The 
leopard, wherever possible, takes his kill up a tree, 
showing extraordinary strength in the performance of 
this feat. It is undoubtedly due to fear of interference 
from hyenas. The Ndorobo said that no single hyena 
^\ould meddle with a leopard, but that three or four 
would without hesitation rob it of its prey. Some 
years before this time, while hunting north of Kenia, 
Lord Delamere had met a Dr. Kolb, who was killed by 

356 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

a rhino immediately afterward. Dr. Kolb was fond of 
rhinoceros hver, and killed scores of the animals for 
food ; but finally a cow, with a half-grown calf, which 
he had wounded, charged him and thrust her horn right 
through the middle of his body. 

We spent several days vainly hunting bongo in the 
dense mountain forests with half a dozen 'Ndorobo. 
These were true 'Ndorobo, who never cultivate the 
ground, living in the deep forests on wild honey and 
game. It has been said that they hunt but little, and 
only elephant and rhino ; but this is not correct as 
regards the 'Ndorobo in question. They were all clad 
in short cloaks of the skin of the tree hyrax ; hyrax, 
monkey, bongo, and forest hog, the only game of the 
dense, cool, wet forest, were all habitually killed by 
them. They also occasionally killed rhino and buffalo, 
finding the former, because it must occasionally be 
attacked in the open, the more dangerous of the two. 
Twice Delamere had come across small communities of 
'Ndorobo literally starving because the strong man, the 
chief hunter, the breadwinner, had been killed by a 
rhino which he had attacked. The headman of those 
with us, who was named Mel-el-lek, had himself been 
fearfully injured by a wounded buffalo ; and the father 
of another one who was with us had been killed by 
baboons which had rallied to the aid of one which he 
was trying to kill with his knobkerry. Usually they 
did not venture to meddle with the lions which they 
found on the edge of the forest, or with the leopards 
which occasionally dwelt in the deep woods ; but once 
Mel-el-lek killed a leopard with a poisoned arrow from 
a tree, and once a whole party of them attacked and 
killed with their poisoned arrows a lion which had slain 
a cow buffalo near the forest. On another occasion a 

Tlu' lion as il fell 
Fniiii a plitHi>i;>\iph by Edmund lldlcr 


As he fell he gripped a si)ear head in his jaws with such iremendous force thai 

he bent il double 
From a photograph by Kcrmit Roosciclt 


lion in its turn killed two of their hunters. In fact, 
they were living just as palaeolithic man lived in Europe 
ages ago. 

Their arms were bows and arrows, the arrows being 
carried in skin quivers, and the bows, whicli were strung 
with zebra gut, l)eing swathed in strips of hide. When 
resting they often stood on one leg, like storks. 'I'heir 
eyesight was marvellous, and they were extremely skilful 
alike in tracking and in seeing game. They threaded 
their way through the forest noiselessly and at speed, 
and were extraordinary climbers. They were continually 
climbing trees to get at the hyrax, and once when a big 
black and white colobus monkey whicli I had shot 
lodged in the top of a giant cedar one of them ascended 
and brought it down with matter-of-course inditference. 
He cut down a sapling, twenty-five feet long, with the 
stub of a stout branch left on as a hook, and for a rope 
used a section of vine which he broke and twisted into 
flexibility. Then, festooned with all his belongings, he 
made the ascent. There was a tall olive, sixty or eighty 
feet high, close to the cedar, and up this he went. 
From its topmost branches, where only a monkey or a 
'Ndorobo could liave felt at home, he reached his sapling 
over to the lowest limb of the giant cedar, and hooked 
it on ; and then crawled across on this dizzy bridge. 
Up he went, got the monkey, recrossed the bridge, and 
climbed down again, quite unconcerned. 

'I'he big black and white monkeys ate nothing but 
leaves, and usually trusted for safety to ascending into 
the \'ery tops of the tallest cedars. Occasionally they 
would come in a flying leap down to the ground, or to 
a neighbouring tree ; when on the ground they merely 
dashed toward another tree, being less agile than the 
ordinary monkeys, whether in the tree-tops or on solid 

358 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

earth. They are strikingly handsome and conspicuous 
creatures. Their bold coloration has been spoken of as 
"protective"; but it is protective only to town-bred 
eyes. A non- expert finds any object, of no matter 
what colour, difficult to make out when hidden among 
the branches at the top of a tall tree ; but the black and 
white coloration of this monkey has not the slightest 
protective value of any kind. On the contrary, it is 
calculated at once to attract the eye. The 'Ndorobo 
were a unit in saying that these monkeys were much 
more easy to see than their less brightly coloured kins- 
folk who dwell in the same forests ; and this was my 
own experience. 

When camped in these high forests the woods after 
nightfall were vocal with the croaking and wailing of 
tlie tree hyraxes. They are squat, woolly, funny things, 
and to my great amusement T found that most of the 
settlers called them " Teddy bears." They are purely 
arboreal and nocturnal creatiu'cs, living in hollows high 
up in the big trees, by preference in the cedars. At 
night they are very noisy, the call consisting of an 
opening series of batrachian-like croaks, followed by a 
succession of quavering wails — eerie sounds enough, as 
they come out of the black stillness of the midnight. 
They are preyed on now and then by big owls and by 
leopards, and the white-tailed mongoose is their especial 
foe, following them everywhere among the tree-tops. 
This mongoose is both terrestrial and arboreal in habits, 
and is hated by the Ndorobo because it robs their honey 

The bongo and the giant hog were the big game of 
these deep forests, where a tangle of undergrowth filled 
the spaces between the trunks of the cedar, the olive, 
and the yew or yellow-wood, while where the bamboos 

CH. xii] BONGO 359 

grew they usually clicked out all other plants. Dela- 
inere had killed several giant hogs with his hal (-breed 
hounds ; but on this occasion the hounds woidd not 
follow them. On three days we came across bongo ; 
once a solitary bull, on both the other occasions herds. 
We never saw them, although we heard the solitary 
bull crash ofi' through the bamboos ; for they are very 
wary and elusive, being incessantly followed by the 
'Ndorobo. They are as large as native bullocks, with 
handsomely striped skins, and both sexes carry horns. 
On each of the three days we followed them all day 
long, and it was interesting to trace so much as we 
could of their habits. Their trails are deeply beaten, 
and converge toward the watercourses, which run 
between the steep, forest-clad spurs of the mountains. 
They do not graze, but browse, cropping the leaves, 
Howers, and twigs of various shrubs, and eating thistles ; 
they are said to eat bark, but this our 'Ndorobo denied. 
'I'liey are also said to be nocturnal, feeding at night, and 
lying up in the daytime ; but this was certainly not the 
case with those we came across. IJoth of the herds, 
whicli we followed patiently and cautiously for hours 
without alarming them, were feeding as they moved 
slowly along. One herd lay down for a few hours at 
noon ; the other kept feeding until mid-afternoon, when 
we alarmed it; and the animals then went straight up the 
mountain over the rimrock. It was cold rainy weather, 
and the dark of the moon, which may perhaps have had 
something to do with the bongo being on the move and 
feeding during the day ; but the 'Ndorobo said that they 
never fed at night — I of course know nothing about this 
personally. Leopards catch the young bongo and giant 
hog, but dare not meddle with those that are full-grown. 
The forest which they frequent is so dense, so wcllnigh 

360 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

impenetrable, that half the time no man can follow their 
trails save by bending and crawling, and one cannot make 
out an object twenty yards ahead. It is extraordinary 
to see the places through which the bongo pass, and 
which are their chosen haunts. 

While Lord Delamere and I were hunting in vain, 
Kermit was more fortunate. He was the guest of 
Barclay Cole, Delamere's brother-in-law. They took 
eight portei"s, and went into the forest, accompanied by 
four 'Ndorobo. They marched straight up to the 
bamboo and yellow-wood forest near the top of the 
Mau escarpment. They spent five days in hunting. 
The procedure was simply to find the trail of a herd, 
to follow it through the tangled woods as rapidly and 
noiselessly as possible until it was overtaken, and then 
to try to get a shot at the first patch of reddish hide of 
which they got a glimpse — for they never saw more than 
such a patch, and then only for a moment. The first 
day Kermit, firing at such a patch, knocked over the 
animal ; but it rose, and the tracks were so confused 
that even the keen eyes of the wild men could not pick 
out the right one. Next day they again got into a 
herd. This time Kermit was the first to see the game, 
all that was visible being a reddish patch the size of a 
man's two hands, with a white stripe across it. Firing, 
he killed the animal, but it proved to be only half 
grown. Even the 'Ndorobo now thought it useless to 
follow the herd, but Kermit took one of them and 
started in pursuit. After a couple of hours' trailing the 
herd was again overtaken, and again Kermit got a 
glimpse of the animals. He hit two, and, selecting the 
trail with most blood, they followed it for three or four 
miles, until Kermit overtook and finished off' the 
wounded bongo, a fine cow. 

Kermit always found them lying up during the 

Sailinyc, the [)ovo\>o, \vl:o was with Kt-rmii Roosc\'elt when he shut the bongo, 

holding up the hongcj head 

Front a photograph by Kcrmit Koosciclt 


middle of the day and feeding in the morning and 
afternoon ; otherwise his observations of their habits 
coineided with mine. 

The next ten days Kermit spent in a trip to the eoast, 
near Mombasa, for sable — the most beautiful antelope 
next to the koodoo. The cows and bulls are red, the 
very old bulls (oP the typieal form) jet black, all with 
white bellies ; like the roan, both sexes carry scimitar- 
shaped horns, but longer than the roans. He was alone 
with his two gun-bearers and some Swahili porters ; he 
acted as headman himself They marched from Mom- 
basa, being ferried across the harbour of Kilindini in a 
dhow, and then going some fifteen miles south. Next 
day they marched about ten miles to a Nyika village, 
where they arrived just in the middle of a funeral dance 
which was being held in honour of a chief's son who had 
died. Kermit was nuich anmsed to find that this death 
dance had more life and go in it than any dance he had 
yet seen, and the music — the dirge music —had such 
swing and vivacity that it almost reminded him of a 
comic opera. The dancers wore tied round their legs 
queer little wickerwork baskets, with beans inside, w^hich 
rattled in the rhythm of their dancing. Camp was 
pitched under a huge baobab- tree, in sight of the Indian 
Ocean ; but in the middle of the night the ants swarmed 
in and drove everybody out, and next day, while Kermit 
w^as hunting, camp was shifted on about an hour's march 
to a little grove of trees by a brook. It was a well- 
watered country, very hilly, with palm-bordered streams 
in each valley. These wild palms bore ivory nuts, the 
fruit tasting something like an apple. Each village had 
a grove of cocoanut palms, and Kermit found the cool 
cocoanut milk delicious after the return from a long- 
day's hunting. 

Each morning he was off before daylight, and rarely 

362 TO THE UASIN GISHU [ch. xii 

returned until after nightfall ; and, tired though he was, 
he enjoyed to the full the walks campward in the bright 
moonlight among the palm groves beside the rushing 
streams, while the cicadas cried like katydids at home. 
The grass was long. The weather was very hot, and 
almost every day there were drenching thunderstorms, 
and the dews were exceedingly heavy, so that Kermit 
was wet almost all the time, although he kept in first- 
rate health. There were not many sable, and they were 
shy. About nine or ten o'clock they would stop feed- 
ing, and leave their pasture-grounds of long grass, taking 
refuge in some grove of trees and thick bushes, not 
coming out again until nearly five o'clock. 

On the second day's hunting Juma spied a little band 
of sable just entering a grove. A long and careful stalk 
brought the hunters to the grove, but after reaching it 
they at first saw nothing of tlie game. Tlien Kermit 
caught a glimpse of a head, fired, and brought down the 
beast in its tracks. It proved to be a bull, just clianging 
from the red to the black coat ; tlie liorns were ftiir — in 
this northern form they never reach tlie length of those 
borne by the sable bulls of South Africa. He also killed 
a cow, not fully grown. He therefore still needed a 
full-grown cow, which he obtained three days later. 
This animal, when wounded, was very savage, and tried 
to charge. 

We now went to Nairobi, where Cuninghame, Tarlton, 
and the three natiualists were already preparing for the 
Uganda trip and shipping the stuff' hitherto collected. 
Working like beavers, we got everything ready — in- 
cluding additions to the pigskin library, which included, 
among others, Cervantes, Goethe's " Faust," Moliere, 
Pascal, Montaigne, St. Simon, Darwin's " Voyage of the 
Beagle,'' and Huxley's "Essays" — and on December 18th 
started for Lake Victoria Nyanza. 

■r •&. 



When we left Nairobi, it was with real regret that we 
said good-bye to the many friends who had l)een so kind 
to us — officials, private citizens, almost everyone we had 
met, including Sir Percy Girouard, the new Governor. 
At Kijabe the men and women from the American 
Mission^ — and the children, too — were down at the 
station to wish us good luck ; and at Nakuru the 
settlers from the neiglibourhood gathered on the plat- 
form to give us a farewell cheer. The following morning 
we reached Kisumu, on Lake \ictoria Nyanza. It is in 
the Kavirondo country, wliere the natives, both men 
and women, as a rule go absolutely naked, although 
they are peaceable and industrious. In the native 
market they had brought in baskets, iron spade-heads, 
and food, to sell to the native and Indian traders who 
had their booths round about ; the meat market, under 
the trees, was especially interesting. 

At noon we embarked in a smart little steamer to 
cross the lake. Twenty-four hours later we landed at 
Entebbe, the seat of the English Governor of Uganda. 
Throughout our passage the wind hardly ruffled the 
smooth surface of the lake. As we steamed away from 
the eastern shore the mountains behind us and on our 
right hand rose harsh and barren, yet with a kind of 


364 UGANDA [ch. xiii 

forbidding beauty. Dark clouds hung over the land 
we had left, and a rainbow stretched across their front. 
At nightfall, as the red sunset faded, the lonely waters 
of the vast inland sea stretched, ocean-like, west and 
south into a shoreless gloom. Then the darkness 
deepened, the tropic stars blazed overhead, and the 
lioht of the half-moon drowned in silver the embers 
of the sunset. 

Next morning we steamed along and across the 
Equator — the last time we were to cross it, for thence- 
forth our course lay northward. We passed by many 
islands, green with meadow and forest, beautiful in the 
bright sunshine, but empty with the emptiness of death. A 
decade previously these islands were thronged with tribes 
of fisher-folk ; their villages studded the shores, and their 
long canoes, planks held together with fibre, furrowed 
the surface of the lake. Then, from out of the depths 
of the Congo forest came the dreadful scourge of the 
sleeping sickness, and smote the doomed peoples who 
dwelt beside the Victorian Nile, and on the coasts of 
the Nyanza Lakes, and in the lands between, lis agent 
was a biting fly, brother to the tsetse, whose bite is fatal 
to domestic animals. This fly dwells in forests, beside 
lakes and rivers ; and wherever it dwells, after the 
sleeping sickness came, it was found that man could not 
live. In this country, between and along the shores of 
the great lakes, two hundred thousand people died in 
slow torment before the hard-taxed wisdom and skill 
of medical science and governmental administration 
could work any betterment whatever in the situation. 
Men still die by thousands, and the disease is slowly 
spreading into fresh districts. But it has proved possible 
to keep it within limits in the regions already affected ; 
yet only by absolutely abandoning certain districts, and 


by clearing all the forest and brush in tracts, which 
serve as barriers to the fly, and whicli permit passage 
through the infected belts. On the western shores of 
Victoria Nyanza, and in the islands adjacent tliereto, 
the ravages of the pestilence were such, the mortality it 
caused was so appal Hng, that the Government was finally 
forced to deport all the survivors inland, to forbid all 
residence beside or fishing in the lake, and with this end 
in view to destroy the villages and the fishing fleets of 
the people. The teeming lake fish were formerly a 
main source of food supply to all who dwelt near by ; 
but this has now been cut off, and the myriads of fish 
are left to themsehes, to the hosts of water birds, and 
to the monstrous man-eating crocodiles of the lake, on 
whose blood the fly also feeds, and whence it is supposed 
by some that it draws the germs so deadly to human- 

When we landed, there was nothing in the hot, 
laughing, tropical beauty of the land to suggest the 
grisly horror that brooded so near. In green luxuriance 
the earth lay under a cloudless sky, yielding her increase 
to the sun's burning caresses, and men and women 
were living their lives and doing their work well and 

At Entebbe we stayed with the acting-Governor, 
]Mr. Boyle, at Kampalla with the District Commissioner, 
Mr. Knowles, both of them veteran administrators, and 
the latter also a mighty hunter ; and both of them 
showed us every courtesy, and treated us with all 
possible kindness. Entebbe is a pretty little town of 
English residents, chiefly officials, with well-kept roads, 
a golf course, lawn-tennis courts, and an attractive 
club-house. The whole place is bowered in flowers, on 
tree, bush, and vine, of every hue — masses of lilac, 

366 UGANDA [ch. xiii 

purple, yellow, blue, and fiery crimson. Kampalla is 
the native town, where the little King of Uganda, a 
boy, lives, and his chiefs of State, and where the native 
council meets ; and it is the headquarters of the missions, 
both Church of England and Roman Catholic. 

Kampalla is an interesting place ; and so is all 
Uganda. The first explorers who penetrated thither, 
half a century ago, found in this heathen State, of 
almost pure negroes, a veritable semi-civilization, or 
advanced barbarism, comparable to that of the little 
Arab-negro or Berber-negro sultanates strung along the 
southern edge of the Sahara, and contrasting sharply 
with the weltering savagery wliich surrounded it, and 
which stretched away without a break for many hundreds 
of miles in every direction. The people were industrious 
tillers of the soil, who owned sheep, goats, and some 
cattle ; they wore decent clothing, and hence were 
styled *' womanish " by the savages of the Uppei Nile 
region, who prided themselves on the nakedness of their 
men as a proof of manliness ; they were unusually 
intelligent and ceremoniously courteous ; and, most 
singular of all, although the monarch was a cruel despot, 
of the usual African (whether Mohammedan or heathen) 
type, there were certain excellent governmental customs, 
of binding observance, which in the aggregate might 
almost be called an unwritten constitution. Alone 
among the natives of tropical Africa the people of 
Uganda have proved very accessible to Christian teach- 
ing, so that the creed of Christianity is now dominant 
among them. For their good fortune, England has 
established a protectorate over them. JMost wisely the 
English Government officials, and as a rule the mis- 
sionaries, have bent their energies to developing them 
along their own lines, in government, dress, and ways 


of life, constantly striving to better them and bring 
them forward, but not twisting them aside from their 
natural line of development, nor wrenching them loose 
from what was good in their past, by attempting the 
impossible task of turning an entire native population 
into black Englishmen at one stroke. 

The problem set to tlie governing caste in Uganda is 
totally different from tliat which offers itself in British 
East Africa. The highlands of East Africa form a 
white man's country, and the prime need is to build up 
a large, healthy population of true white settlers, white 
home makers, who shall take the land as an inheritance 
for their children's children. Uganda can never be this 
kind of white man's country ; and although planters 
I and merchants of the right type can undoubtedly do 
I well there — to the advantage of the country as well as 
I of themseh'es — it must remain essentially a black man's 
I country, and the chief task of the officials of the 
\ intrusive and masterful race must be to bring forward 
* the natives, to train them, and above all to help them 
train themselves, so that they may advance in industry, 
I in learning, in morality, in capacity for self-government 
I — for it is idle to talk of " giving " a people self- 
' government ; the gift of the forms, when the inward 
I spirit is lacking, is mere folly ; all that can be done is 
( patiently to help a people accjuire the necessary qiiali- 
: ties — social, moral, intellectual, industrial, and. lastly, 
I political — and meanwhile to exercise for their benefit, 
with justice, sympathy, and firmness, the governing 
ability which as yet they themselves lack. The widely- 
' spread rule of a strong European race in lands like 
I Africa gives, as one incident thereof, the chance for 
nascent cultures, nascent semi-civilizations, to develop 
I without fear of being overwhelmed in the surrounding 

368 UGANDA [ch. xiii 

gulfs of savagery ; and this apart from the direct 
stimulus to development conferred by the consciously 
and unconsciously exercised influence of the white man, 
wherein there is much of evil, but much more of 
ultimate good. In any region of widespread savagery, 
the chances for the growth of each self-produced 
civilization are necessarily small, because each little 
centre of effort toward this end is always exposed to 
destruction from the neighboiu'ing masses of pure 
savagery ; and therefore progress is often immensely 
accelerated by outside invasion and control. In Africa 
the control and guidance is needed as much in the 
things ot the spirit as in the things of the body. Those 
who complain of or rail at missionary work in Africa, 
and who confine themselves to pointing out the un- 
doubtedly too numerous errors of the missionaries and 
shortcomings of their flocks, would do well to consider 
that even if the light which has been let in is but feeble 
and grey, it has at least dispelled a worse than Stygian 
darkness. As soon as native African religions— prac- 
cally none of which have hitherto evolved any substantial 
ethical basis — develop beyond the most primitive stage 
they tend, notably in middle and western Africa, to 
grow into malign creeds of unspeakable cruelty and 
immorality, with a bestial and revolting ritual and 
ceremonial. Even a poorly taught and imperfectly 
understood Christianity, with its underlying foundation 
of justice and mercy, represents an immeasurable 
advance on such a creed. 

Where, as in Uganda, the people are intelligent and 
the missionaries unite disinterestedness and zeal with 
common sense, the result is astounding. The majority 
of the people of Uganda are now Christian, Protestant 
or Roman Catholic ; and many thousands among them 


«ire sincerely Christian, and show their Christianity in 
practical fashion by putting"' conduct above ceremonial 
and dogma. Most fortunately, Protestant and Roman 
Catholic seem to be gradually working more and more 
in charity together, and to show rivalry only in healthy 
effort against the common foe ; there is certainly enougli 
evil in the world to offer a target at which all good men 
can direct their shafts, without expending them on one 

We visited the Church of England Mission, where 
we were received by Bishop Tucker, and the two Roman 
Catholic Missions, where we were received by Bishops 
Hanlon and Streicher; we went through the churches 
and saw the schools with the pupils actually at work. 
In all the missions we were received with American 
and British flags and listened to the children singing 
the "Star-spangled Banner." Tlie Church of England 
Mission has been at work for a quarter of a century ; 
what has been accomplished by Bishop Tucker and 
those associated with him makes one of the most in- 
teresting chapters in all recent missionary history. I 
saw the high-school, where the sons of the chiefs are 
being trained in large numbers for their fui^urc duties, 
and I was especially struck by the admirab e Medical 
Mission, and by the handsome Cathedral, b ailt by the 
native Christians themselves without outside assistance 
in either money or labour. At dinner at Mr. Knowlcs' 
Bishop Tucker gave us exceedingly interesting details 
of his past experiences in Uganda, and of the progress 
of the missionary work. He had been much amused 
by an American missionary who had urged him to visit 
America, saying that he would " find the latch-string 
outside the door." To an American who knows the 
country districts well the expression seems so natural 


370 UGANDA [ch. xtii 

that I had never even reahzed that it was an Ameri- 

At Bishop Hanlon's mission, where I lunched with 
the Bishop, there was a friend. Mother Paul, an 
American ; before T left America I had promised that 
I would surely see her, and look into the work which 
she and the Sisters associated with her were doing. It 
was delightful seeing her ; she not merely spoke my 
language, but my neighbourhood dialect. She informed 
me that she had just received a message of goodwill for 
me in a letter from two of "the finest" — of course I 
felt at home when in mid- Africa, under the Equator, 1 
received in such fashion a message from two of the 
men who had served under me in the New York pohce.^ 
She had been teaching her pupils to sing some lines of 
the " Star-spangled Banner " in English, in my especial 
honour ; and of course had been obliged, in writing it 
out, to use spelling far more purely phonetic than I had 
ever dreamed of using. The first lines ran as follows : 
(Some of our word sounds have no equivalent in 
Uganda. ) 

" O se ka nyu si bai di mo nseli laiti 
(O say can you see by the morn's^ early light) 

Wati so pulauli wi eli adi twayi laiti silasi giremi " 
(What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming.) 

After having taught the children the first verse in 
this manner. Mother Paul said that she stopped to avoid 
brain fever. 

^ For the benefit of those who do not live in the neighbourhood 
of New York, I may explain that all good or typical New Yorkers 
invariably speak of their police force as " the finest "" ; and if any 
one desires to know what a " good " or " typical " New Yorker is, 
I shall add, on the authority of either Brander Matthews or the 
late H. C. Bunner — I forget which — that when he isn't a 
Southerner or of Irish or German descent, he is usually a man 
born out West of New England parentage. 

■' Sic. 


In addition to scholastic exercises, Mother Paul and 
her associates were training their school-children in all 
kinds of industrial work, taking especial pains to develop 
those industries that were natural to them and would he 
of use when they returned to their own homes. Both at 
Bishop Hanlon's mission and at Bishop Streicher's, the 
Mission of the White Fathers — originally a Frencli 
organization, which has established churches and schools 
in almost all parts of Africa— the fathers were teaching 
the native men to cultivate coffee, and various fruits 
and vegetables. 

1 called on the little king, who is being well trained 
by his English tutor — few tutors perform more exacting 
or responsible duties — and whose comfortable house was 
furnished in English fashion. I met his native advisers, 
shrewd, powerful-looking men, and went into the 
Council Chamber, where I was greeted by the council, 
substantial-looking men, well dressed in the native 
fashion, and representing all the districts of the king- 
dom. W^lien we visited the king it was after dark, and 
we were received by smart-looking black soldiers in 
ordinary khaki uniform, while accompanying them were 
other attendants dressed in the old-time native fashion ; 
men with flaming torciies, and others with the big- 
Uganda drums, which they beat to an accompaniment 
of wild cries. These drmns are characteristic of 
Uganda ; each chief has one, and beats upon it his 
own peculiar tattoo. The king and all other people of 
consequence, white, Indian, or native, went round in 
rickshaws, one man pulling in the shafts and three 
others pushing behind. The rickshaw men ran well, 
and sang all the time, the man in the shafts serving as 
chanty-man, while the three behind repeated in chorus 
every second or two a kind of clanging note ; and this 

372 UGANDA [ch. xiii 

went on without a break hour after hour. The natives 
looked well and were dressed well ; the men in long 
flowing garments of white, the women usually in brown 
cloth made in the old native style out of the bark of the 
bark cloth tree. The clothes of the chiefs were taste- 
fully ornamented. All the people, gentle and simple, 
were very polite and ceremonious both to one another 
and to strangers. Now and then we met parties of 
Sikh soldiers, tall, bearded, fine-looking men with 
turbans ; and there were Indian and Swahili, and even 
Arab and Persian, traders. 

The houses had mud walls and thatched roofs. The 
gardens were surrounded by braided cane fences. In 
the gardens and along the streets were many trees ; 
among them bark cloth trees, from which the bark is 
stripped every year for cloth ; great incense trees, the 
sweet-scented gum oozing through wounds in the bark ; 
the date palms, in the fronds of which hung the nests of 
the golden weaver-birds, now breeding. White cow 
herons, tamer than barnyard fowls, accompanied the 
cattle, perching on their backs, or walking beside them. 
Beautiful Kavirondo cranes came familiarly round the 
houses. It was all strange and attractive. Birds sang 
everywhere. The air was heavy with the fragrance of 
flowers of niany colours ; the whole place was a riot of 
lush growing plants. Every day there were terrific 
thunderstorms. At Kampalla three men had been 
killed by lightning within six weeks ; a year or two 
before our host, Knowles, had been struck by lightning 
and knocked senseless, a hugh zigzag mark being left 
across his body, and the links of his gold watchchain 
being fused ; it was many months before he completely 

Knowles arranged a situtunga hunt for us. The 


sitiitiinga is closely related to the bush})iick, but is 
bigger, witli very long hoof's, and shaggy hair like a 
waterbiK'k. It is exclusi\ely a beast of the marshes, 
making its home in tlie thick reed-beds, where the water 
is deep ; and it is exceedingly shy, so that very few 
white men have shot, or even seen, it. Its long hoofs 
enable it to go over the most treaclierous ground, and 
it swims well ; in many of its haunts, in the thick 
papyrus, the water is waist-deep on a man. Through 
the papyrus, and the reeds and marsli grass, it makes 
well-beaten paths. Where it is in any danger of 
molestation it is never seen abroad in the daytime, 
venturing from the safe cover of the high reeds only at 
night ; but fifty miles inland, in the marsh grass on the 
edge of a big papyrus swamp, Kermit caught a glimpse 
of half a dozen feeding in the open, knee-deep in water, 
long after sunrise. On the hunt in question a patch of 
marsh was driven by a hundred natives, while the guns 
were strung along the likely passes which led to another 
patch of marsh. A fine situtunga })uck came to 
Kermit's post, and he killed it as it bolted away. It 
had stolen up so quietly through the long marsh grass 
that he only saw it when it was directly on him. Its 
stomach contained, not grass, but the leaves and twig 
tips of a shrub which grows in and alongside of the 

The day after this hunt our safari started on its 
march north-westward to I^ake Albert Nyanza. We 
had taken with us from P],ast Africa our gun-bearers 
tent-boys, and the men whom the naturalists had trained 
as skinners. The porters were men of Uganda ; the 
askaris were from the constabulary, and widely diiferent 
races were represented among them, but all had been 
drilled into soldierly uniformity. The porters were 

374 UGANDA [ch. xiii 

well-clad, well-behaved, fine-looking men, and did their 
work better than the " shenzis," the wild JNIerii of 
Kiku} u tribesmen, whom we had occasionally employed 
in East Africa ; but they were not the equals of the 
regular East African porters. I think this was largely 
because of their inferior food, for they ate chiefly yams 
and plantains ; in other words, inferior sweet potatoes 
and bananas. They were quite as fond of singing as the 
East African porters, and in addition were cheered on 
the march by drum and fife ; several men had fifes, and 
one carried nothing but one of the big Uganda drums, 
which he usually bore at the head of the safari, marching 
in company with the flag-bearer. Every hour or two 
the men would halt, often beside one of the queer little 
wickerwork booths in which native hucksters disposed 
of their wares by the roadside. 

Along the road we often met wayfarers ; once or 
twice bullock-carts ; more often men carrying rolls of 
hides or long bales of cotton on their heads ; or a set of 
Bahima herdsmen, with clear-cut features, guarding 
their herds of huge-horned Angola cattle. 

All greeted us most courteously, frequently crouching 
or kneeling, as is their custom when they salute a 
superior ; and we were scrupulous to acknowledge their 
salutes, and to return their greetings in the native 
fashion, with words of courtesy and long-drawn e-h-h-s 
and a-a-h-s. Along the line of march the chiefs had 
made preparations to receive us. Each afternoon, as 
we came to the spot where we were to camp for the 
night, we found a cleared space strewed with straw and 
surrounded by a plaited reed fence. Within this space 
cane houses, with thatched roofs of coarse grass, had 
been erected — some for our stores, one for a kitchen, one, 
which was always decked with flowers, as a rest-house 

Tlie situiunga shot hv Kcrmit R()<)sc'\clt at Kampalla 
From a pholograpli by Edmund lldlcr 


for ourselves ; the latter with open sides, the roof upheld 
by cane pillars, so that it was cool and comfortable, and 
afforded a welcome shelter, cither from the burning sun 
if the weather was clear, or from the pelting, driving 
tropical storms if there was rain. The moon was 
almost full wlicn we left Kampalla, and night after 
night it lent a half-uneartlily beauty to the tropical 

Sometimes in the evenings the mosquitoes bothered 
us ; more often they did not ; but in any event we slept 
well under our nettings. Usually at each camp we 
found either the head chief of the district or a sub- 
chief witli presents — eggs, chickens, sheep, once or 
twice a bullock, always pine-apples and bananas. The 
chief was always well dressed in flowing robes, ana 
usually welcomed us with dignity and courtesy (some- 
times, however, permitting the courtesy to assume the 
form of servility) ; and we would have him in to tea, 
where he was sure to enjoy the bread and jam. Some- 
times he came in a rickshaw, sometimes in a kind of 
wickerwork palanquin, sometimes on foot. When we 
left his territory we made him a return gift. 

We avoided all old camping-grounds, because of tht 
spirillum tick. This dangerous fever tick is one of 
the insect scourges of Uganda, for its bite brings on a 
virulent spirillum fever, which lasts intermittently for 
months, and may be accompanied by partial paralysis. 
It is common on old camping grounds and in native 
villages. The malarial mosquitoes also abound in 
places ; and repeated attacks of malaria pave the way 
for black-water fever, which is often fatal. 

The first day's march from Kampalla led us through 
shambas, the fields of sweet potatoes and plantations 
of bananas being separated by hedges or by cane fences. 

376 UGANDA [ch. xiii 

Then for two or three days we passed over low hills 
and through swampy valleys, the whole landscape 
covered by a sea of elephant-grass, the close-growing, 
coarse blades more than twice the height of a man on 
horseback. Here and there it was dotted with groves 
of strange trees ; in these groves monkeys of various 
kinds — some black, some red -tailed, some auburn — 
chattered as they raced away among the branches ; 
there were brilliant rollers and bee-eaters ; little green 
and yellow parrots, and grey parrots with red tails ; 
and many-coloured butterflies. Once or twice we saw 
the handsome, fierce, short-tailed eagle, the bateleur 
eagle, and scared one from a reedbuck fawn it had 
killed. Among the common birds there were black 
drongos and musical bush shrikes ; small black magpies 
with brown tails ; white-headed kites and slate-coloured 
sparrow-hawks ; palm swifts ; big hornbills ; blue and 
mottled kingfishers, which never went near the water, 
and had their upper mandibles red and their under ones 
black ; barbets, with swollen, saw-toothed bills, their 
plumage iridescent purple above and red below ; bulbuls, 
also dark purple above and red below, which whistled 
and bubbled incessantly as they hopped among the 
thick bushes, behaving much like our own yellow- 
breasted chats ; and a multitude of other birds, beautiful 
or fantastic. There were striped squirrels too, reminding 
us of the big Rocky INIountain chipmunk or Say's chip- 
munk, but with smaller ears and a longer tail. 

Christmas Day we passed on the march. There is 
not much use in trying to celebrate Christmas unless 
there are small folks to hang up their stockings on 
Christmas Eve, to rush gleefully in at dawn next morn- 
ing to open the stockings, and after breakfast to wait in 
hopping expectancy until their elders throw open the 


doors of the room in which the hig presents are arran^red, 
those for each child on a separate table. 

Forty miles from the coast the elephant grass began 
to disappear. Tlie hills became somewhat higher ; there 
were thorn-trees and stately royal palms of great height, 
their stems swollen and bulging at the top, near the 
fronds. Parasitic ferns, with leaves as large as cabbage 
leaves, grew on the brandies of the acacias. One kind 
of tree sent down from its branches to tlie ground roots 
which grew into thick trunks. There were wide, 
shallow marshes, and altliough the grass was tall, it 
was no longer abov^e a man's head. Kermit and I 
usually got two or three hours' hunting each day. We 
killed singsing, waterbuck, bushbuck, and bohor reed- 
buck. The reedbuck differed slightly from those of 
East Africa ; in places they were plentiful, and they 
were not wary. W^e also killed several hartebeests— a 
variety of the Jackson's hartebeest, being more highly 
coloured, with black markings. 1 killed a very hand- 
some harnessed bushbuck ram. It was rather bigger 
than a good-sized white-tail buck, its brilliant red coat 
beautifully marked with rows of white spots, its twisted 
black horns sharp and polished. It seemed to stand 
about halfway between the dark-coloiu'ed bushbuck 
rams of East and South Africa and the beautifully 
marked harnessed antelope rams of the West Coast 
forests. The ewes and young rams showed the harness 
markings even more plainly, and, as with all bushbuck, 
were of small size compared to the old rams. These 
bushbuck were found in tall grass, where the ground 
was wet, instead of in the thick bush where tlieir East 
African kinsfolk spend the daytime. 

At the bushbuck camp we met a number of porters 
returning from the Congo, where they had been with an 

378 UGANDA [ch. xiii 

elephant poacher named Busherri — at least, that was as 
near the name as we could make out. He had gone 
into the Congo to get ivory, by shooting and trading ; 
but the wild forest people had attacked him, and had 
killed him and seven of his followers, and the others were 
straggling homeward. In Kampalla we had met an 
elephant-hunter named Quin, wlio had recently lost his 
right arm in an encounter with a wounded tusker. Near 
one camp the head chief pointed out two places, now 
overgrown with jimgle, where little villages had stood 
less than a year before. In each case elephants had 
taken to feeding at night in the shambas, and had 
steadily grown bolder and bolder, until the natives, their 
crops ruined by the depredations and their lives in 
danger, had abandoned the struggle, and sliifted to 
some new place in the wilderness. 

We were soon to meet elephants ourselves. The 
morning of tlie 28th was rainy. We struck camp 
rather late, and the march was long, so that it \\ as mid- 
afternoon when Kermit and I reached our new camping- 
place. Soon afterwards word was brought us that some 
elephants were near by. We were told that the beasts 
were in the habit of devastating the shambas, and were 
bold and truculent, having killed a man who had tried 
to interfere with them. Kermit and I at once started 
after them, just as the last of the safari came in, accom- 
panied by Cuninghame, who could not go with us, as 
he was recovering from a bout of fever. 

In half an hour we came on fresh signs of game, 
and began to work cautiously along them. Our guide, 
a wild-looking savage with a blunt spear, went first, 
followed by Kongoni, who is excellent on spoor ; then I 
came, followed by Kermit and by the other gun-bearers. 
The country was covered with tall grass, and studded 

CH. xiii] ELEPHANTS 379 

with numerous patches of jungle and small forest. In 
a few minutes we heard the elephants, four or fiv'e of 
them, feeding in thick jungle, where the vines that hung 
in tangled masses from the trees, and that draped the 
bushes, made dark caves of greenery. It was difficult 
to find any space clear enough to see thirty yards ahead. 
Fortunately there was no wind whatever. Wx^ picked 
out the spoor of a big bull, and for an hour and a half 
we followed it, Kongoni usually in the lead. Two or 
three times, as we threaded our way among the bushes 
as noiselessly as possible, we caught glimpses of grey, 
shadowy bulks, but only for a second at a time, and 
never with sufficient distinctness to shoot. The elephants 
were feeding, tearing down tlie branches of a rather 
large-leafed tree with bark like that of a scrub oak and 
big pods containing beans ; evidently these beans were 
a favourite food. They fed in circles and zigzags, but 
toward camp, until they w^ere not much more than half 
a mile from it, and the noise made by the porters in 
talking and gathering w^ood was plainly audible ; but 
the elephants paid no heed to it, being evidently too 
much accustomed to the natives to have much fear of 
man. We continually heard them breaking branches, 
and making rumbling or squeaking sounds. Tliey then 
fed slowly along in the opposite direction, and got into 
rather more open country ; and we followed faster in 
the big footprints of the bull w^e had selected. Suddenly, 
in an open glade, Kongoni crouched and beckoned to 
me, and through a bush I caught a glimpse of the tusker. 
But at that instant he either heard us, saw us, or caught 
a whiffi of our wind, and without a moment's hesitation 
he himself assumed the offensive. ^Vith his huge ears 
cocked at right angles to his head, and his trunk hanging 
down, he charged full tilt at us, coming steadily, silently, 

380 UGANDA [ch. xiii 

and at a great pace, his feet swishing through the long 
grass ; and a formidable monster he looked. At forty 
yards I fired the right barrel of the Holland into his 
head, and, though I missed the brain, the shock dazed 
him and brought him to an instant halt. Immediately 
Kermit put a bullet from the Winchester into his head ; 
as he wheeled I gave him the second barrel between the 
neck and shoulder, through his ear ; and Kermit gave 
him three more shots before he slewed round and dis- 
appeared. There were not many minutes of daylight 
left, and we followed hard on his trail, Kongoni leading. 
At first there was only an occasional gout of dark blood, 
but soon we found splashes of red froth from the lungs ; 
then we came to where he had fallen, and then we 
heard him crasliing among the branches in thick jungle 
to the right. In we went after him, through the gather- 
ing gloom, Kongoni leading and I close behind, with 
the rifle ready for instant action ; for, though his strength 
was evidently fast failuig, he was also evidently in a 
savage temper, anxious to wreak his vengeance before 
he died. On we went, following the bloody trail through 
dim, cavernous windings in the dark, vine-covered 
jungle ; we heard him smash the branches but a few 
yards ahead, and fall and rise ; and, stealing forward, 
Kermit and I slipped up to within a dozen feet of him 
as he stood on the other side of some small twisted trees 
hung with a mat of creepers. I put a bullet into his 
heart ; Kermit fired. Each of us fired again on the in- 
stant ; the mighty bull threw up his trunk, crashed over 
backward, and lay dead on his side among the bushes. 
A fine sight he was, a sight to gladden any hunter's 
heart, as he lay in the twilight, a giant in death. 

At once we trotted back to camp, reaching it as 
darkness fell ; and next morning all of us came out to 


the carcass. He was full grown, and was ten feet nine 
inches higli. The tusks were rather short, but thick, 
and weighed a hmidred and ten pounds the pair. Out 
of the trunk we made excellent soup. 

Several times while following the trail of this big bull 
we could tell he was close by the strong elephant smell. 
Most game animals have a peculiar scent, often strong 
enough for the species to be readily recognizable before 
it is seen, if in forest or jungle. On the open plains, of 
course, one rarely gets close enough to an animal to 
smell it before seeing it ; but I once smelt a herd of 
hartebeest, when the wind was blowing strongly from 
them, although they were out of sight over a gentle 
rise. ^V^aterbuck have a very strong smell. Buffalo 
smell very much like domestic cattle, but old bulls are 
rank. More than once, in forest, my nostrils have 
warned me before my eyes that I was getting near the 
quarry whose spoor I was on. 

After leaving the elephant camp we journeyed through 
country for the most part covered with an open forest 
growth. The trees were chiefly acacias. Among them 
were interspersed huge candelabra euphorbias, all in 
bloom, and now and then one of the brilliant red- 
flowering trees, which never seem to carry many leaves 
at the same time with their gaudy blossoms. At one 
place for miles the open forest was composed of the 
pod-bearing, thick-leafed trees on which we had found 
the elephants feeding ; their bark and manner of growth 
gave them somewhat the look of jack-oaks ; where they 
made up the forest, growing well apart from one another, 
it reminded us of the cross-timbers of Texas and Okla- 
homa. The grass was everywhere three or four feet 
high ; here and there were patches of the cane-like 
elephant-grass, fifteen feet high. 

382 UGANDA [ch. xiii 

It was pleasant to stride along the road in the early 
mornings, followed by the safari, and we saw many 
a glorious sunrise. But as noon approached it grew 
very hot under the glare of the brazen equatorial sun, 
and we were always glad when we approached our new 
camp, with its grass-strewn ground, its wickerwork 
fence, and cool, open rest-house. The local sub-chief 
and his elders were usually drawn up to receive me at 
the gate, bowing, clapping their hands, and uttering 
their long-drawn e-h-h-s ; and often banana saplings or 
branches would be stuck in the ground to form avenues 
of approach, and the fence and rest-house might be 
decorated with flowers of many kinds. Sometimes we 
were met with music, on instruments of one string, of 
three strings, of ten strings — rudimentary fiddles and 
harps ; and there was a much more complicated instru- 
ment, big and cumbrous, made of bars of wood placed 
on two banana-stems, the bars being struck with a 
hammer, as if they were keys ; its tones were deep and 
good. Along the road we did not see habitations or 
people ; but continually there led away from it, twisting 
through the tall grass and the bush jungles, native 
paths, the earth beaten brown and hard by countless 
bare feet ; and these, crossing and recrossing in a net- 
work, led to plantation after plantation of bananas and 
sweet potatoes, and clusters of thatched huts. 

In the afternoon, as the sun began to get well beyond 
the meridian, we usually sallied forth to hunt, under the 
guidance of some native who had come in to tell us 
where he had seen game that morning. The jungle 
was so thick in places and the grass was everywhere so 
long, that without such guidance there was little 
successful hunting to be done in only two or three 
hours. We miglit come back with a buck, or with two 
or three guinea-fowl, or with nothing. 

CH. xiii] SNAKES, BIRDS, ETC. 383 

There were a good mHiiy poisonous snakes. I killed 
a big pufi'-adder with thirteen eggs inside it ; and w^e 
also killed a squat, short-tailed viper, beautifully 
mottled, not eighteen inehes long, but with a wide, flat 
liead and a girth of body out of all proportion to its 
length ; and another very poisonous and vicious snake, 
apparently of colubrine type, long and slender. The 
birds were an unceasing pleasure. White wagtails and 
yellow wagtails walked familiarly about us within a few 
feet, wherever we halted and when w^e were in camp. 
Long-tailed crested colys, with all four of their red toes 
pointed forward, clung to the sides of tlie big fruits at 
which they picked. White-headed swallows caught 
flies and gnats by our heads. There were large plantain 
eaters, and birds like small jays with yellow wattles 
round the eyes. There were boat-tailed birds, in colour 
iridescent green and purple, which looked like our 
grakles, but w^ere kin to the bulbuls ; and another bird, 
related to the shrikes, with bristly feathers on the i*ump, 
wliich was coloiu-ed like a red-winged blackbird, l)lack 
with red shoulders. \^ultures were not plentiful, but 
the yellow billed kites, true camp scavengers, were 
common and tame, screaming as they circled overhead, 
and catching bits of meat which were thrown in the air 
for them. The shrews and mice which the naturalists 
trapped around each camping-place were kin to the 
species we had already obtained in East Africa, but in 
most cases there w^as a fairly well-marked difference ; 
the jerbilles, for instance, had shorter tails, more like 
ordinary rats. Frogs with queer voices abounded in 
the marshes. Among the ants was one arboreal kind, 
which made huge nests, shaped like beehives, or rather 
like big grey bells, in the trees. Near the lake, by 
the way, there were Goliath beetles, as large as small 

384 UGANDA [ch. xiii 

Ten days from Kampalla we crossed the little Kafu 
River, the black, smooth current twisting quickly along 
between beds of plumed papyrus. Beyond it we entered 
the native kingdom of Unyoro. It is part of the British 
protectorate of Uganda, but is separate from the native 
kingdom of Uganda, though its people in ethnic type 
and social development seem much the same. We 
halted for a day at Hoima, a spread-out little native 
town, pleasantly situated among hills, and surrounded 
by plantations of cotton, plaintains, yams, millet, and 
beans. It is the capital of Unyoro, where the king 
lives, as well as three or four English officials, and 
Episcopalian and Roman Catholic missionaries. The 
king, accompanied by his prime minister and by the 
English Commissioner, called on me, and I gave him 
five o'clock tea. He is a Christian, as are most of his 
chiefs and headmen, and they are sending their cliildren 
to the mission schools. 

A heron, about the size of our night heron, but with 
a longer neck, and with a curiously crow-like voice, 
strolled about among the native houses at Hoima ; and 
the kites almost brushed us with their wings as they 
swooped down for morsels of food. The cheerful, con- 
fiding little wagtails crossed the threshold of the rest- 
house in which we sat. Black and white crows and 
vultures came around camp ; and handsome, dark 
hawks, with white on their wings and tails, and with 
long, conspicuous crests, perched upright on the trees. 
There were many kinds of doves ; one pretty little 
fellow was but six inches long. At night the jackals 
wailed w ith shrill woe among the gardens. 

From Hoima we entered a country covered with the 
tall, rank elephant-grass. It was traversed by papyrus- 
bordered streams, and broken by patches of forest. The 

CH. xiit] lake ALl^ERT XYANZA 385 

date palms gi-ew tall, and among the trees were some 
-with orange-red flowers like trumpet flowers, growing 
in grape-shaped clusters ; and hoth the flowers and the 
seed-pods into which they turned stood straight up in 
rows abo\'e the leafy tops of the trees that bore them. 

The first evening, as we sat in tlie cool, open cane 
rest-house, word was })rought us that an elephant was 
close at hand. We found him after ten minutes' walk : 
a young bull, with very small tusks, not worth shooting. 
For three-quarters of an hour we watched him, strolling 
al)out and feeding, just on the edge of a wall of high 
elephant grass. Although we were in plain sight, 
ninety yards off, and sometimes moved about, he never 
saw us ; for an elephant's eyes are very bad. He was 
feeding on some thick, luscious grass, in the usual 
leisurely elephant fashion, plucking a big tuft, waving 
it nonchalantly about in his trunk, and finally tucking 
it into his mouth ; pausing to rub his side against a tree, 
or to sway to and fro as he stood ; and continually 
waving his tail and half cocking his ears. 

At noon on January 5, 1910, we reached Butiaba, a 
sandspit and marsh on the shores of I^ake Albert 
Nyanza. We had marched about one hundred and 
sixty miles from Lake \^ictoria. We camped on the 
sandy beach by the edge of the beautiful lake, looking 
across its waters to the mountains that walled in the 
opposite shore. At mid-day the whole landscape 
trembled in the white, glaring heat ; as the afternoon 
waned a wind blew off the lake, and the west kindled 
in ruddy splendour as the sun went down. 

At Butiaba we took boats to go down the Nile to the 
Lado country. The head of the water transportation 
service in Uganda, Captain Hutchinson R N R. met 
us, having most kindly decided to take charge of our 


386 UGANDA [ch. xiii 

flotilla himself. Captain Hutchinson was a mighty 
hunter, and had met with one most extraordinary 
experience while elephant hunting ; in Uganda the 
number of hunters who have been killed or injured by 
elephants and buffaloes is large. He wounded a big 
bull in the head, and followed it for three days. The 
wound was serious, and on the fourth day he overtook 
the elephant. It charged as soon as it saw him. He 
hit it twice in the head with his "450 double barrel as it 
came on, but neither stopped nor turned it ; his second 
rifle, a double 8 bore, failed to act ; and the elephant 
seized him in its trunk. It brandished him to and fro 
in the air several times, and then planting him on the 
ground, knelt and stabbed at him with its tusks. 
Grasping one of its fore-legs he pulled himself between 
them in time to avoid the blow ; and as it rose he 
managed to seize a hind-leg and cling to it. But the 
tusker reached round and plucked him ofl^ with its 
trunk, and once more brandished him high in the air, 
swinging him violently about. He fainted from pain 
and dizziness. When he came to he was lying on the 
ground ; one of his attendants had stabbed the elephant 
with a spear, whereupon the animal had dropped the 
white man, vainly tried to catch its new assailant, and 
had then gone off for some tliree miles and died. 
Hutchinson was frightfully bruised and strained, and it 
was six months before he recovered. 



" 'J'hk region of which 1 speak is a dreary reoion in 
Libya, by the borders of the River Zaire. And there, 
is no quiet there nor silence. The waters of the river 
have a saffron hue, and for many miles on either side of 
the river's oozy bed is a pale desert of gigantic water- 
hhes . . . and I stood in the morass among tiie tall 
Ulies, and the lilies sighed one unto the other in the 
solemnity of their desolation. And all at once the 
moon arose through the thin, ghastly mist, and was 
crimson in colour. . . . And the man looked out upon 
the dreary River Zaire, and upon the yellow, ghastly 
waters, and upon the pale legions of the water-lilies. . . . 
Then I went down into the recess of the morass, and 
waded afar in among the wilderness of the lilies, and 
called unto the hippojiotami which dwelt among the 
fens in the recesses of the morass." I was reading Poe, 
on the banks of the Upper Nile ; and surely his " fable " 
does deserve to rank witli the '' tales in the \'olumes of 
the Magi — in the ironbound, melancholy volumes of the 

We had come down through the second of the great 
Nvanza lakes. As we sailed northward, its waters 
stretched behind us, beyond the ken of vision, to where 
they were fed by streams from the Mountains of the 


Mooii. On our left hand rose the frowning ranges, on 
the other side of which the Congo forest hes hke a 
shroud over the land. On our right we passed the 
mouth of the A^ictorian Nile, alive with monstrous 
crocodiles, and its banks barren of human life because 
of the swarms of the ily whose bite brings tlie torment 
which ends in death. As night fell we entered the 
White Nile, and steamed and drifted down the mighty 
stream. Its current swirled in long curves between 
endless ranks of plumed papyrus. White, and blue, 
and red, the floating water-lilies covered the lagoons 
and the still inlets among the reeds ; and here and there 
the lotus lifted its leaves and flowers stiffly above the 
surface. The brilliant tropic stars made lanes of light 
on the lapping water as we ran on through the night. 
The river horses roared from the reed beds, and snorted 
and plunged beside the boat, and crocodiles slipped 
sullenly into the river as we glided by. Toward morn- 
ing a mist arose, and through it the crescent of the 
dying moon shone red and lurid. Then the sun flamed 
aloft, and soon the African landscape, vast, lonely, 
mysterious, stretched on every side in a shimmering 
glare of heat and light ; and ahead of us the great, 
strange river went twisting away into the distance. 

At midnight we had stopped at the station of Koba, 
where we were warmly received by the District Com- 
missioner, and where we met lialf a dozen of the 
professional elephant hunters, who for the most part 
make their money, at hazard of their lives, by poaching 
ivory in the Congo. They are a hard-bitten set, these 
elephant poachers ; there are few careers more adven- 
turous, or fraught with more peril, or which make 
heavier demands upon the daring, the endurance, and 
the physical hardihood of tliose who follow them. 

CH. xiv] WADKI.M 389 

Elephant hunters face death at every turn —from fever, 
from the assaults of warlike native tribes, from their 
conflicts with their giant quarry ; and the unending 
strain on their healtli and strength is tremendous. 

At noon the following day we stopped at the deserted 
station of \Vadelai, still in liritish territory. There 
have been outposts of white mastery on the Upper Nile 
for many years, but some of them are now abandoned, 
for as yet there has been no successful attempt at such 
development of the region as would alone mean per- 
manency of occupation. The natives whom we saw 
offered a sharp contrast to those of Uganda ; we were 
again back among wild savages. Near the landing at 
^¥adelai was a group of thatclied huts surrounded by 
a fence ; there were small fields of mealies and beans, 
cultivated by the w^omen, and a few cattle and goats ; 
while big wickerwork fish-traps showed that the river 
also offered a means of livelihood. Both men and 
women were practically naked ; some of the women 
entirely so except for a few beads. Here we were 
joined by an elephant hunter, Quentin Grogan, who 
w^as to show us the haunts of the great square-mouthed 
rhinoceros, the so-called white rhinoceros, of the Lado, 
the only kind of African heavy game which wc had 
not yet obtained. We were allowed to hunt in the 
Lado, owing to the considerate courtesy of the Belgian 
Government, for wliicli I was sincerely grateful. 

After leaving NV^adelai we again went downstream. 
The river flowed through immense beds of papyrus. 
Beyond these on either side were rolling plains, gradually 
rising in the distance into hills or low mountains. The 
plains were covered witli high grass, dry and withered ; 
and the smoke here and there showed that the natives, 
according to their custom, were now burning it. There 


was no forest ; but scattered over the plains were trees, 
generally thorns, but other kinds also, among them 
palms and euphorbias. 

The following morning, forty-eight hours after leaving 
Butiaba, on Lake Albert Nyanza, we disembarked from 
the little flotilla which had carried us — a crazy little 
steam-launch, two sail-boats, and two big row-boats. 
We made our camp close to the river's edge, on the 
l^ado side, in a thhi grove of scattered thorn-trees. 
The grass grew rank and tall all about us. Our tents 
were pitched, and the grass huts of the porters built, on 
a kind of promontory, the main stream running past 
one side, while on the other was a bay. The nights 
were hot, and the days burning ; the mosquitoes came 
with darkness, sometimes necessitating our putting on 
head-nets and gloves in the evenings, and they would 
have made sleep impossible if we had not had mosquito 
biers. Nevertheless it was a very pleasant camp, and 
we thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a wild, lonely 
country, and we saw no human beings except an 
occasional party of naked savages armed with bows 
and poisoned arrows. Game was plentiful, and a 
himter always enjoys a permanent camp in a good 
game country ; for while the expedition is marchhig, 
his movements must largely be regulated by those of 
the safari, whereas at a permanent camp he is more 

There was an abundance of animal life, big and little, 
about our camp. In the reed sand among the water- 
lilies of the bay there were crocodiles, monitor lizards 
six feet long, and many water birds — herons, flocks of 
beautiful white egrets, clamorous spur-winged plover, 
sacred ibis, noisy purple ibis, saddle-billed storks, and 
lily- trotters, which ran lightly over the lily-pads. There 

Crocodile shot by Theodore Roosevelt 
at rhino camp 

Ground hornbill, rhino camp 

Nile bushbuck 


Cobus maria, Lake No 

Nightjar, with long plumes in wmgs 

Baker's Roan antelope, Gondokoro 

Fish eagle 


were cormorants and snake-birds. Fish-eagles screamed 
as they circled around— very handsome birds, the head, 
neck, tail, breast, and forepart of the back white, the 
rest of the plumage black and rich chestnut. There 
was a queer little eagle owl with inflamed red eyelids. 
The black and red liulbuls sang noisily. There were 
many kingfishers, some no larger than chippy sparrows, 
and many of them brilliantly coloured ; some had, and 
others had not, the regular kingfisher voice ; and while 
some dwelt by the river bank and caught fish, others 
did not come near the water and lived on insects. 
There were paradise flycatchers, with long, wavy white 
tails : and olive-green pigeons, with yellow bellies. Red- 
headed, red-tailed lizards ran swiftly up and down the 
trees. The most extraordinary birds were the nightjars ; 
the cocks carried in each wing one very long, waving 
plume, the phable quill being twice the length of the 
bird's body and tail, and bare except for a patch of dark 
feather webbing at the end. The two big, dark plume 
tips were very conspicuous, trailing behind the bird as 
it flew, and so riveting the observer's attention as to 
make the bird itself almost escape notice. AVhen seen 
flying, the first impression conveyed was of two large, 
dark moths or butterflies fluttering rapidly through the 
air ; it was with a positive effort of the eye that 1 fixed 
the actual bird. The big slate and yellow bats were 
more interesting still. There were several kinds of bats 
at this camp ; a small dark kind that appeared only 
when night had fallen and flew very near the ground all 
night long, and a somewhat larger one, lighter beneath, 
which appeared late in the evening and flew higher in 
the air. Both of these had the ordinary bat habits of 
continuous, swallow-like flight. Hut the habits of the 
slate and yellow bats were utterly different. They were 


very abundant, hanging in the thinly-leaved acacias 
around the tents, and, as everywhere else, were crepus- 
cular — indeed, to a large extent actually diurnal — in habit. 
They saw w^ell and flew well by daylight, passing the 
time hanging from twigs. They became active before 
sunset. In catching insects they behaved not like swal- 
lows, but like flycatchers. Except that they perched 
upside down, so to speak — that is, that they hung from 
the twigs instead of sitting on them— their conduct was 
precisely that of a phoebe-bird or a wood peewee. Each 
bat hung from its twig until it espied a passing insect, 
when it swooped down upon it, and after a short flight 
returned with its booty to the same perch or went on 
to a new one close by ; and it kept twitching its long 
ears as it hung head downward devouring its prey. 

There were no native villages in our immediate neigh- 
bourhood, and the game was not shy. There were 
many buck : waterbuck, kob, hartebeest, bushbuck, 
reedbuck, oribi, and duiker. Every day or two Kermit 
or I would shoot a buck for the camp. We generally 
went out together with our gun-bearers, Kermit striding 
along in front, with short trousers and leggings, his 
knees bare. Sometimes only one of us would go out. 
The kob and waterbuck were usually found in bands, 
and were perhaps the commonest of all. The buck 
seemed to have no settled time for feeding. Two oribi 
which I shot were feeding right in the open, just at 
noon, utterly indifferent to the heat. There were hippo 
both in the bay and in the river. All night long we 
could hear them splashing, snorting, and grunting ; they 
were very noisy, sometimes uttering a strange, long- 
drawn bellow, a little like the exhaust of a giant steam- 
pipe, once or twice whinnying or neighing; but usually 
making a succession of grunts or bubbling squeals 








t «*' ■? ^^ ' i,rf 






^ 1Ha'l^(fool^^<l 

The •• while ■■ rhino 
DrazcH by Philip R. Gocdu'in/rcu photosraphs, and from descriptions Jurnishcd by Mr. Roosi-'clt 


through the nostrils. The long grass was traversed in 
all directions by elephant trails, and there was much 
fresh sign of tlie huge beasts — their dung, and the 
wrecked trees on whicli they liad been feeding ; and 
there was sign of buffalo also. In Middle Africa, thanks 
to wise legislation, and to the very limited size of tlie 
areas open to true settlement, tliere lias been no such 
reckless, wliolesale slaughter of big game as that which 
has brought the once wonderful big game fauna of 
South Africa to the verge of extinction. In certain 
small areas of Middle Africa, of course, it has gone ; 
but as a whole it has not much diminished, some species 
have actually increased, and none is in danger of im- 
mediate extinction, unless it be the white rhinoceros. 
During the last decade, for instance, the buffalo have 
been recovering their lost ground throughout the I>ado, 
Uganda, and British East Africa, having multiplied 
many times over. During the same period, in the 
same region, the elephant have not greatly diminished 
in aggregate numbers, although the number of bulls 
carrying big ivory has been very much reduced ; indeed, 
the reproductive capacity of the herds has probably been 
very little impaired, the energies of tlie hunters having 
been almost exclusively directed to the killing of the 
bulls with tusks weighing over thirty pounds apiece ; 
and the really big tuskers, which are most eagerly 
sought after, are almost always past their prime, and 
no longer associate with the herd. 

But this does not apply to the great beast which was 
the object of our comhig to the Lado, the square- 
mouthed, or, as it is sometimes miscalled, the white, 
rhinoceros. Africa is a huge continent, and many 
species of the big mammals inhabiting it are spread 
over a vast surface ; and some of them offer strange 


problems for inquiry in the discontinuity of their dis- 
tribution. The most extraordinary instance of this 
discontinuity is that offered by the distribution of the 
square-mouthed rhinoceros. It is ahnost as if our bison 
had never been known within historic times except in 
Texas and Ecuador. This great rliinoceros was formerly 
plentiful in South Africa south of the Zambesi, where 
it has been completely exterminated except for a score 
or so of individuals on a game reserve. North of the 
Zambesi it was and is uttei'ly unknown, save that 
during the last ten years it has been found to exist in 
several localities on the left bank of the Upper Nile, 
close to the river, and covering a north and south 
extension of about two hundred miles. Even in this 
narrow ribbon of territory the square-mouthed rhino- 
ceros is found only in certain localities, and although 
there has not hitherto been nuich slaughter of the 
mighty beast, it would certainly be well if all killing of 
it were prohibited until careful inquiry has been made 
as to its numbers and exact distribution. It is a curious 
animal, on the average distinctly larger than, and utterly 
different from, the ordinary African rhinoceros. The 
spinal processes of the dorsal vertebrae are so developed 
as to make ii very prominent hump over the withers, 
while forward of this is a still higher and more prominent 
fleshy hump on the neck. The huge misshapen head 
differs in all respects as widely from the head of the 
common, or so-called black, rhinoceros as the head of a 
moose differs from that of a wapiti. 

The morning after making camp we started on a 
rhinoceros hunt. At this time in this neighbourhood 
the rhinoceros seemed to spend the heat of tlie day in 
sleep, and to feed in the morning and evening, and 
perhaps tluoughout the night ; and to drink in the 


evening and morning, usually at some bay or inlet of 
the river. In the morning they walked away from the 
water for an hour or two, until they eame to a place 
which suited them for the day's sleep. Unlike the 
ordinary rhinoceros, the square-mouthed rhinoceros 
feeds exclusively on grass. Its dung is very different ; 
we only occasionally saw it deposited in heaps, according 
to the custom of its more common cousin. The big, 
sluggish beast seems fond of nosing the ant-hills of red 
earth, both with its horn and with its square muzzle ; it 
may be that it licks them for some saline substance. It 
is apparently of less solitary nature than the prehensile- 
lipped rhino, frequently going in parties of four or five 
or half a dozen individuals. 

We did not get an early start. Hoiu- after hour we 
plodded on, under the burning sun, througli the tall, 
tangled grass, which was often higher than our heads. 
Continually we crossed the trails of elephant and more 
rarely of rhinoceros, but the hard sun-baked earth and 
stiff, tinder-dry long grass made it a matter of extreme 
difficulty to tell W a trail was fresh, or to follow it. 
Finally, Kermit and his gun-bearer, Kassitura, dis- 
covered some unquestionably fresh footprints which 
those of us who were in front had passed over. Imme- 
diately we took the trail, Kongoni and Kassitura acting 
as trackers, while Kermit and I followed at their heels. 
Once or twdce the two trackers were puzzled, but they 
were never entirely at fault ; and after half an hour 
Kassitura suddenly })ointed tow^ard a thorn-tree about 
' sixtv vards off. Mountintr a low ant-hill I saw rather 
dimly through the long grass a big grey bulk, near the 
foot of the tree : it was a rhinoceros lying asleep on its 
side, looking like an enormous pig. It heard something 
and raised itself on its fore-legs, in a sitting posture, the 


big ears thrown forward. I fired for the chest, and the 
heavy Holland bullet knocked it clean off its feet. 
Squealing loudly it rose again, but it was clearly done 
for, and it never got ten yards from where it had been 

At the shot four other rliino rose. One bolted to the 
right, two others ran to the left. Firing through the 
grass Kermit wounded a bull and followed it for a long 
distance, but could not overtake it : ten days later, ^ 
however, he found the carcass, and saved the skull and 
horns. Meanwhile I killed a calf, which was needed 
for the Museum ; the rhino I had already shot was a 
full-grown cow, doubtless the calfs mother. As the 
rhino rose I was struck by their likeness to the picture 
of the white rhino in Cornwallis Harris's folio of the 
big game of South Africa seventy years ago. They 
were totally different in look from the common rhino, 
seeming to stand higher and to be shorter in proportion 
to their height, while the hump and the huge, ungainly, 
square-mouthed head added to the dissimilarity. The 
common rhino is in colour a very dark slate grey ; 
these were a rather lighter slate grey ; but this was 
probably a mere individual peculiarity, for the best 
observers say that they are of the same hue. The 
muzzle is broad and square, and the upper lip without a 
vestige of the curved, prehensile development which 
makes the upper lip of a common rhino look like the 
hook of a turtle's beak. The stomachs contained nothing 
but grass ; it is a grazing, not a browsing, animal. 

There were some white egrets — not, as is usually the 
case with both rhinos and elephants, the cow heron, but 

^ Kermit on this occasion was using the double-barrelled riHe 
which had been most i^indiy lent him for the trip by Mr. John Jay 
White, of New York. 

CH. xiv] A FIRE 397 

the slender, l)lack-leg<>'e(l, yellow-toed egret — on the 
rhinos, and the hodies and lieads of both the cow and 
calf looked as though they had been splashed with 
streaks of whitewash. One of the egrets returned after 
the shooting and perched on the dead body of the calf 

The heat was intense, and our gun-bearers at once 
began skinning tiie ani mals, lest they should spoil ; and 
that afternoon Cuninghame and Heller came out from 
camp with tents, (bod, and water, and Heller cared for 
the skins on the spot, taking tliirty-six hours for the job. 
The second niglit he was visited by a party of lions, 
which were after the rhinoceros meat, and came within 
fifteen feet of the tents. 

On the same niglit that Heller was visited by the 
lions we had to tight fire in the main camp. At noon 
we noticed two fires come toward us, and could soon 
hear their roaring. The tall, tliick grass was like 
tinder; and if we let the fires reach camp we were 
certain to lose everything we had. So Loring, Mearns, 
Kermit, and I, who were in camp, got out the porters 
and cut a lane around our tents and goods ; and then 
started a back fire, section after section, from the other 
side of this lane. VA''e kept everyone ready, with 
branches and wet gunny-sacks, and lit each section in 
turn, so that we could readily beat out the flames at 
any point where they threatened. The air was still, 
and soon after nightfall our back fire had burnt fifty or 
a hundred yards away from camp, and the danger was 
practically over. Shortly afterward one of the fires 
against which we were guarding came over a low hill 
crest into view, beyond the line of our back fire. It 
was a fine sight to see the long line of leaping, wavering 
flames advance toward one another. An liour or two 
passed before they met, lialf a mile from camp. 


Wherever they came together there would be a 
moment's spurt of roaring, crackhng lire, and then it 
would vanish, leaving at that point a blank in the circle 
of flame. Gradually the blanks in the lines extended, 
until the Are thus burnt itself out, and darkness 
succeeded the bright red glare. 

The fires continued to burn in our neighbourhood for 
a couple of days. Finally, one evening the great beds 
of papyrus across the bay caught fire. After nightfall it 
was splendid to see the line of flames leaping fifty feet 
into the air as they worked across the serried masses of 
tall papyrus, ^^^hen tliey came toward the water they 
kindled the surface of the bay into a ruddy glare, while 
above them the crimson smoke-clouds drifted slowly to 
leeward. The fire did not die out until toward morning, 
and then, behind it, we heard the grand booming chorus 
of a party of lions. They were full fed, and roaring as 
they went to their day beds ; each would utter a succes- 
sion of roars, which grew louder and louder until they 
fairly thundered, and then died gradually away, until 
they ended in a succession of sighs and grunts. 

As the fires burned to and fro across the country, 
birds of many kinds came to the edge of the flames to 
pick up the insects which were driven out. There were 
marabou storks, kites, hawks, ground hornbills, and 
flocks of beautiful egrets and cow herons, which stalked 
sedately through the grass, and now and then turned 
a small tree nearly white by all perching in it. The 
little bank-swallows came in myriads — exactly the same, 
by the way, as our familiar home friends, for the bank- 
swallow is the most widely distributed of all birds. The 
most conspicuous attendants of the fires, however, were 
the bee-eaters, the largest and handsomest we had yet 
seen, their plumage every shade of blended red and rose 


varied with brilliant blue and green. The fires seemed 
to bother the bigger animals iiardly at all. 'I'he game 
did not shift their haunts, or do more than move in 
quite leisurely fashion out of the line of ad^'anee of the 
Haines. 1 saw two oribi which had found a patch of 
short grass that split the fire, feeding thereon, entirely 
undisturl)ed, although the flames were crackling by some 
fifty yards on each side of them. Even the mice and 
shrews did not suffer much, probably because they went 
into holes. Shrews, by the way, were very plentiful, 
and Loring trapped four kinds, two of them new. It 
was always a surprise to me to find these tiny shrews 
swarming in Equatorial Africa just as they swarm in 
Arctic America. 

In a little patch of country not far from this camp 
there were a few sleeping-sickness fly, and one or two of 
us were bitten ; but seemingly the fiy were not infected, 
although at this very time eight men were dying of 
sleeping sickness at ^^ adelai, where we had stopped. 
There were also some ordinary tsetse fly, which caused 
us imeasiness about our mule. We had brought four 
little mules through Uganda, riding them occasionally 
on safari ; and had taken one across into the Lado, 
while the other three, with the bulk of the porters, 
marched on the opposite bank of the Nile from Koba, 
and were to join us at Xinude. 

It was Kermit's turn for the next rhino, and by good 
luck it was a bull, giving us a complete group of bull, 
cow, and calf for the National Museum. \Ve got it as 
we had got our first two. Marching through likely 
country — burnt, this time — we came across the tracks 
of three rhino, two big and one small, and followed them 
through the black ashes. It was an intricate and diffi- 
cult piece of tracking, for the trail wound hither and 


thither and was criss-crossed by others ; but Kongoni 
and Kassitura gradually untangled the maze, found 
where the beasts had drank at a small pool that morn- 
ing, and then led us to where they were lying asleep 
under some thorn-trees. It was about eleven o'clock. 
As the bull rose, Kermit gave him a fatal shot with his 
beloved Winchester. He galloped full speed toward us, 
not charging, but in a mad panic of terror and bewilder- 
ment, and with a bullet from the Holland I brought 
him down in his tracks only a few yards away. The 
cow went off at a gallop. The calf, a big creature, half 
grown, hung about for some time, and came up quite 
close, but was finally frightened away by shouting and 
hand-clapping. Some cow herons were round these 
rhino, and the head and body of the bull looked as if it 
had been splashed with whitewash. 

It was an old bull, with a short, stubby, worn-down 
horn. It was probably no heavier than a big ordinary 
rhino bull such as we had shot on the Sotik, and its 
horns were no larger, and the front and rear ones were 
of the same proportions relatively to each other. But 
the misshapen head was much larger, and the height 
seemed greater because of the curious hump. This 
fleshy hump is not over the high dorsal vertebra?, but 
just forward of them, on the neck itself, and has no 
connection with the spinal column. The square-mouthed 
rhinoceros of South Africa is always described as being 
very much bigger than the common prehensile-lipped 
African rhinoceros, and as carrying much longer horns. 
But the square-mouthed rhinos we saw and killed in 
the Lado did not differ from the common kind in size 
and horn development as much as we had been led to 
expect ; although on an average they were undoubtedly 
larger, and with bigger horns, yet there was in both 


respects overlapping, the bigger preheiisile-lipped rliiiios 
equalling or surpassing the smaller individuals of the 
other kind. The huge, square-muzzled head, and the 
hiuiip. gave the Lado rhino an utterly different look, 
however, and its habits are also in some important 
respects different. Our gim-bearers were all East 
Africans, who had never before been in the Lado. 
They had been very sceptical when told that the rhinos 
were different from those they knew, remarking that 
"all rhinos were the same"; and the first sight of the 
spoor merely confirmed them in their belief; but they 
at once recognized the dung as being different ; and 
when the first animal was down they examined it eagerly 
and proclaimed it as a rhinoceros with a hump, like 
their own native cattle, and with the mouth of a 

On the way to camp, after the death of this bull 

rhhio. I shot a waterbuck b\dl with finer horns than any 

1 had yet obtained. Herds of waterbuck and of kob 

stared tamely at me as T walked along, w^hereas a little 

party of hartebeest were wild and shy. On other occa- 

I sions I have seen this conduct exactly reversed, the 

I hartebeest being tame and the waterbuck and kob shy. 

I Heller, as usual, came out and camped by this rhino, to 

I handle the skhi and skeleton. In the middle of the 

1 night a leopard got caught in one of his small steel 

' traps, which he had set out ^y\th a light drag. The 

I beast made a terrific row% and went off with the trap 

and drag. It was only caught by one toe. A hyena 

similarly caught would have wrenched itself loose, but 

' the leopard, though a far braver and more dangerous 

I beast, has less fortitude under pain than a hyena. 

I Heller tracked it up in the morning, and shot it as, 

] hampered by the trap and drag, it charged the porters. 

' 26 


On the ashes of the fresh burn the footprmts of the 
game showed ahnost as distinctly as on snow. One 
morning we saw where a herd of elephant, cows and 
calves, had come down the night before to drink at a 
big bay of the Nile, three or four miles north of our 
camp. Numerous hippo tracks showed that during the 
darkness these beasts wandered freely a mile or two 
inland. They often wandered behind our camp at 
night. Always beside these night-trails we found 
withered remnants of water cabbage and other aquatic 
plants which they had carried inland with them — I 
suppose accidentally on their backs. On several occa- 
sions where we could only make out scrapes on the 
ground the hippo trails puzzled us, being so far inland 
that we thought they might be those of rhinos, until we 
would come on some patch of ashes or of soft soil where 
we could trace the four toe-marks. The rhino has but 
three toes, the one in the middle being very big ; it 
belongs, with the tapir and horse, to the group of 
ungulates which tends to develop one digit of each foot 
at the expense of all the others, a group which in a 
long-past geological age was the predominant imgulate 
group of the world. The hippo, on the contrary, belongs 
to the class of such cloven-hoofed creatures as the cow 
and pig, in the group of ungulates which has developed 
equally two main digits in each foot — a group much 
more numerously represented than the other in the 
world of to-day. 

As the hippos grew familiar with the camp they 
became bolder and more venturesome after nightfall. 
They grunted and brayed to one another throughout 
the night, splashed and M^allowed among the reeds, and 
came close to the tents during their dry-land rambles in 
the darkness. One night, in addition to the hippo 

CH. xiv] El.EPHANTS 403 

chorus, we heard the roaring of lions and the trnnipet- 
ing of elephants. We were indeed in tlie heart of the 
African wilderness. 

Early in the morning after this concert we started for 
a day's rhino hunt. Heller and Cuninghanie having just 
finished the preparation, and transport to camp, of the 
skin of Kerniit's bull. Loring, who had not liitherto 
seen either elephant or rhino alive, went with us, and by 
good luck he saw both. 

A couple of miles from camp we were crossing a 
wide. Hat, swampy valley, in which the coarse grass 
grew as tall as our heads. Here and there were kob, 
which leaped up on the ant-hills to get a clear view of 
us. Suddenly our attention was attracted by the move- 
ments of a big flock of cow herons in front of us, and 
then, watching sharply, we caught a glimpse of some 
elephants about four hundred yards off. We now 
cUmbed an ant-hill ourselves, and inspected the elephants, 
: to see if among them were any big-tusked bulls. There 
i were no bulls, however ; the little herd consisted of five 
' cows and four calves, which were marching across a 
patch of burnt ground ahead of us, accompanied by 
about fifty white cow herons. \Ve stood where we 
I were until they had passed ; we did not wish to get too 
close, lest they might charge us and force us to shoot in 
I self-defence. They walked in unhurried confidence, and 
i yet were watchful, continually cocking their ears and 
I raising and curling their trunks. One dropped behind 
and looked fixedly in our direction, probably having 
heard us talking ; then, with head aloft and tail stiffly 
! erect, it hastened after the others, presenting an absurd 
likeness to a baboon. The four calves played friskily 
about, especially a very comical little pink fellow which 
accompanied the leading cow. Meanwhile, a few of the 

404 RHINOCEROS OF 1^HE LADO [ch. xiv 

white herons rode on their backs, but most of the flock 
stalked sedately alongside through the burnt grass, 
catching the grasshoppers which were disturbed by the 
great feet. Wlien, however, the herd reached the tall 
grass all the herons flew up and perched on the backs 
and heads of their friends ; even the pink calf carried 
one. Half a mile inside the edge of tlie tall grass the 
elephants stopped for the day beside a clump of bushes ; 
and there they stood, the white birds clustered on their 
dark bodies. At the time we could distinctly hear the 
doctor's shot-gun as he collected birds near camp. The 
reports did not disturb the elephants, and when we 
walked on we left them standing unconcernedly in the 

A couple of hours later, as we followed an elephant 
path, we came to a spot where it was crossed by the spoor 
of two rhino. Our gun-bearers took up the trail, over the 
burnt ground, while Kermit and 1 followed immediately 
l^ehind them. The trail wound about, and was not 
always easy to disentangle ; but after a mile or two we 
saw the beasts. They were standing among bushes and 
patches of rank, unburned grass ; it was just ten o'clock, 
and they were evidently preparing to lie down for the 
day. As they stood they kept twitching their big ears ; 
both rhino and elephant are perpetually annoyed, as are 
most game, by biting flies, large and small. We got 
up very close, Kermit with his camera and I with the 
heavy rifle. Too little is known of these northern 
square-mouthed rhino for us to be sure that they are 
not lingering slowly toward extinction ; and, lest this 
should be the case, we were not willing to kill any 
merely for trophies ; while, on the other hand, we 
deemed it really important to get good groups for the 
National ^luseum in Washington and the American 


Museum in New York, and a head tor the National 
Collection of Heads and Horns which was started by 
Mr. Hornaday, the director of the Bronx Zoological 
Park. Moreover, Kerniit and Loring desired to get 
some photos of tlic animals while they were alive. 

Tilings did not go well this time, however. The 
rhinos saw us before either Kermit or Loring could get 
a good picture. As they wheeled I tired hastily into 
the cliest of one, but not quite in the middle, and away 
they dashed — for they do not seem as truculent as the 
common rhino. We followed them. After an houi" 
the trails separated ; Cuninghame went on one, but 
failed to overtake the animal, and we did not see liim 
until we reached camp late that afternoon. 

Meanwiiilc, our own gun-bearers (bllowed the bloody 
spoor of the rhino I had hit, Kermit and I close behind, 
and Loring with us. The rhino had gone straight otf 
at a gallop, and the trail offered little ditiiculty, so we 
walked fast. A couple of hours passed. The sun was 
now high and the heat intense as we walked over the 
burnt ground. Tlie scattered trees bore such scanty 
foliage as to cast hardly any shade. The rhino galloped 
strongly and without faltering ; but there was a good 
deal of blood on the trail. At last, after we had gone 
seven or eight miles, Kiboko the skinner, who was 
acting as my gun-bearer, pointed toward a small thorn- 
tree ; and beside it I saw the rliino standing with 
drooping head. It had been fatally hit, and if undis- 
turbed would probably never have moved from where 
it was standing ; and we finished it off forthwith. It 
was a cow, and before dying it ran round and round in 
a circle, in the manner of the common rhino. 

Loring stayed to superintend the skinning and bring- 
ing in of the head and feet and slabs of hide. Mean- 


while, Kermit and I, with our gun-bearers, went off with 
a " shenzi," a wild native who had just come in with the 
news that he knew where another rhino was lynig, a 
few miles away. While bound thither, we passed 
numbers of oribi, and went close to a herd of water- 
buck, which stared at us with stupid tameness ; a single 
hartebeest was with them. When we reached the spot 
there was the rhino, sure enough, under a little tree, 
sleeping on his belly, his legs doubled up, and his head 
flat on the ground. Unfortunately, the grass was long, 
so that it was almost impossible to photograph him. 
However, Kermit tried to get his picture from an 
ant-hill fifty yards distant, and then, he with his camera 
and I with my rifle, walked up to within about twenty 
yards. At this point we halted, and on the instant the 
rhino jumped to his feet with surprising agility, and 
trotted a few yards out from under the tree. It was a 
huge bull, with a fair horn ; much the biggest bull we 
had yet seen ; and with head up and action high, the 
sun glinting on his slate hide and bringing out his 
enormous bulk, he was indeed a fine sight. I waited a 
moment for Kermit to snap him. Unfortunately the 
waving grass spoiled the picture. Then I fired right 
and left into his body, behind the shoulders, and down 
he went. In colour he seemed of exactly the same 
shade as the common rhino, but he was taller and 
heavier, being six feet high. He carried a stout horn, 
a little over two feet long ; the girth at the base was 
very great. 

Leaving the gun-bearers (with all our water) to skin 
the mighty beast, Kermit and I started for camp ; and 
as we were rather late Kermit struck out at a great 
pace in front, while I followed on the little ambling 
mule. On our way in we passed the elephants, still 


standing where we liad left them in the morning, with 
the white cow lierons flying and walking around and 
over them. Heller and Cuninghame at once went out 
to camp by the skin and take care of it, and to bring 
back the skeleton. We had been out about eleven 
hours without food ; we were very dirty from the ashes 
on the burnt ground ; we had triumphed ; and we were 
tlioroughly happy as we took our baths and ate our 
hearty dinner. 

It was anuisincp to look at our three naturalists and 
compare them with the conventional pictures of men of 
science and learning — especially men of science and 
learning in the wilderness — drawn by the nov^elists a 
century ago. Nowadays the field naturalist — who is 
usually at all points superior to the mere closet 
naturalist — follows a profession as full of hazard and 
interest as that of the explorer or of the big-game 
hunter in the remote wilderness. He penetrates to all 
the out-of-the-way nooks and corners of the earth ; he 
is schooled to the performance of \'ery hard work, to 
the endurance of fatigue and hardship, to encountering 
all kinds of risks, and to grappling with every concei^-able 
emergency. In consequence he is exceedingly competent, 
resourceful, and self-reliant, and tlie man of all others to 
trust in a tight place. 

Around this camp there were no ravens or crows ; 
but nniltitudes of kites, almost as tame as sparrows, 
circled among the tents, uttering their wailing cries, 
and lit on the little trees near by or waddled about on 
the ground near the cook tires. Numerous vultures, 
many marabou storks, and a single fish eagle, came to 
the carcasses set for them outside the camp by Loring : 
and he took pictures of them. The handsome fish eagle 
looked altogether out of place among the foul carrion- 


feeding throng ; on the ground the vultures made way 
for him respectfully enough, but they resented his 
presence, and now and then two or three would unite 
to mob him while on the wing. 

We wished for another cow rhino, so as to have a bull 
and a cow both for the National Museum at Washington, 
and for the American Museum in New York ; and 
Kermit was to shoot this. Accordingly he and 1 started 
off early one morning with Grogan — a man of about 
twenty-five, a good hunter and a capital fellow, with 
whom by this time we were great friends. It was 
much like our other hunts. We tramped through high 
grass across a big, swampy plain or broad valley between 
low rises of ground, until, on the opposite side, we 
struck a by-this-time familiar landmark, two tall royal 
palms, the only ones for some miles around. Here we 
turned into a broad elephant and rhinoceros path, worn 
deep and smooth by the generation of huge feet that 
had tramped it ; for it led from the dry inland to a 
favourite drinking place on the Nile. Along this we 
walked until Kassitura made out the trail of two rhino 
crossing it at right angles. They were evidently feeduig 
and seeking a noonday resting-place ; in this country 
the square-mouthed rhinoceros live on the grassy flats, 
sparsely covered with small thorn-trees, and only go 
into the high reeds on their way to drink. With 
Kassitura and Kongoni in the lead we followed the fresh 
trail for a mile or so, until we saw our quarry. The 
stupid beasts had smelt us, but were trotting to and fro 
in a state of indecision and excitement, tails twisting 
and ears cocked, uncertain what to do. At first we 
thought they were a bull and a small cow ; but they 
proved to be a big cow with good horns, and a calf 
which was nearly full grown. The wind and sun were 


both exactly wrong, so Kerinit could not take any 
pliotos ; and accordingly he shot the cow behind the 
shoulder. Away both animals went, Kermit tearing 
along behind, while Grogan and I followed. iVfter a 
sharp run of a mile and a half Kermit overtook them, 
and brought down the cow\ The younger one then 
trotted threateningly toward him. He let it get within 
ten yards, trying to scare it ; as it kept coming on, and 
could of course easily kill him, he then fired into its 
face, to one side, so as to avoid inflicting a serious 
injury, and, turning, off it went at a gallop. When I 
came up the cow had raised itself on its forelegs, and he 
was taking its picture. It had been wallowing, and its 
w^hole body was covered wdth dry caked mud. It was 
exactly the colour of the common rhino, but a little 
larger than any cow of the latter that we had killed. 
We at once sent for Heller — who had been working 
without intermission since we struck the Lado, and 
liked it -and waited by tlie body until he appeared, in 

Here in the Lado we were in a wild, uninhabited 
country, and foi* meat we depended entirely on our 
rifles ; nor was there any difficulty in obtaining all we 
needed. We only shot for meat, or for Museimi 
specimens — all the Museum specimens being used for 
food too — and as the naturalists were as busy as they 
well could be, we found that, except when we were after 
rhinoceros, it was not necessary to hunt for more than 
half a day or thereabouts. On one of these hunts, on 
wdiich he shot a couple of buck, Kermit also killed a 
monitor lizard, and a crocodile ten feet long : it was a 
female, and contained fifty-two eggs, which, when 
scrambled, we ate and found good. 

The morning after Kermit killed his cow rhino he 


and Grogan went off for the clay to see if they could 
not get some live rhino photos. Cuninghame started 
to join Heller at the temporary camp which we had 
made beside the dead rhino, in order to help him with 
the skin and skeletons. Mearns and Loring were busy 
with birds, small beasts, and photographs. So, as we 
were out of fresh meat, I walked away from camp to 
get some, followed by my gun-bearers, the little mule 
M'ith its well-meaning and utterly ignorant shenzi sais, 
and a dozen porters. 

We first went along the river l^rink to look for 
crocodiles. In most places the bank was high and 
steep. Wherever it was broken there was a drinking 
place, with leading down to it trails deeply rutted in 
the soil by the herds of giant game that had travelled 
them for untold years. At this point the Nile was 
miles wide, and was divided into curving channels which 
here and there spread into lake-hke expanses of still 
water. Along the edges of the river, and between the 
winding channels and lagoons, grew vast water-fields of 
papyrus, their sheets and bands of dark green breaking 
the burnished silver of the sunlit waters. Beyond the 
farther bank rose steep, sharply peaked hills. The tri- 
coloin-ed fish eagles, striking to the eye because of their 
snow-white heads and breasts, screamed continually — 
a wild, eerie sound. Cormorants and snake-birds were 
perched on trees o\'erlianging the water, and flew away, 
or plunged Hke stones into the stream, as I approached ; 
herons of many kinds rose from the marshy edges of the 
bays and inlets ; wattled and spur- winged plovers circled 
overhead ; and I saw a party of hippopotami in a shallow 
on the other side of the nearest charmel, their lazy bulks 
raised above water as they basked asleep in the sun. 
The semi-diurnal slate-and-yellow bats flitted from one 

CH. xiv] A VARIED T?AG 411 

scantily leaved tree to another as 1 disturbed them. At 
the foot of a steep bluff, several yards from the water, a 
crocodile lay. I broke its neck with a soft-nosed bullet 
from the little S})rin_iTffield ; for the plated skin of a 
crocodile offers no resistance to a modern riHe. We 
dragoed the ut>ly man-eater u]) tlie bank, and sent one 
of the porters back to camp to brini>' out cnouoh men to 
carry tlie brute in bodily. It was a female, containing 
thirty eggs. We did not find any crocodile's nest ; but 
near camp, in digging a hole for the disposal of refuse, 
we came on a clutch of a dozen eggs of the monitor 
lizard. They were in sandy loam, two feet and a half 
beneath the surface, without the vestige of a burrow 
leading to them. When exposed to the sun, unlike 
the crocodile's eggs, they soon burst. Evidently the 
young are hatched in the cool earth and dig their way 

AVe continued our walk, and soon came on some kob. 
At two hundred yards I got a fine buck, though he 
went a (juarter of a mile. Then, at a himdred and fifty 
yards, I dropped a straw-coloured Nile hartebeest. 
Sending in the kob and liartebeest used up all our 
porters but two, and I mounted the little mule and 
tin*ned toward camp, having been out three hours. 
Soon Gouvimali pointed out a big bustard, marching 
away through the grass a iiundred yards off. I dis- 
mounted, shot him through the base of the neck, and 
remounted. Then Kongoni pointed out, some distance 
ahead, a bushbuck ram, of the harnessed kind found in 
tliis part of the Nile \ alley. Hastily dismounting, and 
stealing rapidly from ant-heap to ant-heap, until I was 
not much over a hundred yards from him, I gave him a 
fatal shot ; but the bullet was placed a little too far 
back, and he could still go a considerable distance. So 


far I had been shooting well ; now pride had a fall. 
Immediately after the shot a difficulty arose in the rear 
between the mule and the shenzi sais ; they parted 
company, and the mule joined the shooting party in 
front at a gallop. The bushbuck, which had halted 
with its liead down, started off, and I trotted after it, 
while the mule pursued an uncertain course between us, 
and I don't know which it annoyed most. I emptied 
my magazine twice, and partly a third time, before 1 
finally killed the buck and scared the mule so that it 
started for camp. The bushbuck in this part of the 
Nile Valley did not live in dense forest, like those of 
East Africa, but among the scattered bushes and acacias. 
Those that I shot in the Lado had in tlieir stomaclis 
leaves, twig-tips, and pods ; one tliat Kermit shot, a 
fine buck, liad been eating grass also. On the Uasin 
Gishu, in addition to leaves and a little grass, tliey had 
been feeding on the wild olives. 

Our porters were not, as a rule, by any means the 
equals of those we had in East Africa, and we had some 
trouble because, as we did not know their names and 
faces, those who wished to shirk would go off in the 
bushes while their more willino' comrades woidd be told 
ofi' for tlie needed work. So Cuninghame determined 
to make each readily identifiable ; and one day I found 
him sitting, in Rhadamanthus mood, at his table before 
his tent, while all the porters filed by. each in turn 
being decorated with a tag, conspicuously numbered, 
which was hung round liis neck — the tags, by the way, 
being Smithsonian label cards, contributed by Dr. 

At last Kermit succeeded in getting some good v/hite 
rhino pictures. He was out with his gun-bearers and 
Grogan. They had hunted steadily for nearly two days 


without seeing a rhino ; then Kerinit made out a big cow 
with a calf lying under a large tree, on a bare plain of 
short grass. Accompanied by Grogan, and by a gun- 
bearer carrying his rifle, while he himself carried his 
" naturalist's graphlex " camera, he got up to within 
fifty or sixty yards of the dull-witted beasts, and spent 
an hour cautiously manoeuvrnig and taking photos. He 
got se\ end photos of the cow and calf lying under the 
tree. Then something, probably the click of the camera, 
rendered them uneasy, and they stood up. Soon the 
calf lay down again, while the cow continued standing 
on the other side ot the tree, her head held down, the 
muzzle almost touching the ground, according to the 
custom of this species. After taking one or two more 
pictures Kermit edged in, so as to get better ones. 
Gradually the cow grew^ alarmed. She raised her head, 
as these animals always do when interested or excited, 
twisted her tail into a tight knot, and walked out from 
under the tree, followed by the calf. She and the calf 
stood stern to stern for a few seconds, and Kermit took 
another photo. By this time the cow had become both 
puzzled and irritated. Even with her dim eyes she could 
make out the men and the camera, and once or twice 
she threatened a charge, but thought better of it. Then 
she began to move off, but suddenly wheeled and 
charged, this time bent on mischief. She came on at a 
slashing trot, gradually increasing her pace, the huge 
square lips shaking from side to side. Hophig that she 
would turn, Kermit shouted loudly and waited before 
tiring until she was only ten yards off; then, with the 
\\'inchester, he put a bullet in between her neck and 
shoulder — a mortal wound. She halted and half 
wheeled, and Grogan gave her right and left, Kermit 
putting in a couple of additional bullets as she went off. 


A couple of hundred yards away she fell, rose again, 
staggered, fell again, and died. The calf, which was old 
enough to shift for itself, refused to leave the body, 
although Kermit and Grogan pelted it with sticks and 
clods. Finally, a shot through the Hesh of the buttocks 
sent it oft' in frantic haste. Kermit had only killed the 
cow because it was absolutely necessary in order to avoid 
an accident, and he was sorry for the necessity ; but 1 
was not, for it was a very fine specimen, with the front 
horn thirty-one inches long, being longer than any other 
we had secured. The second horn was compressed 
laterally, exactly as with many black rhinos (although 
it is sometimes stated that this does not occur in the 
case of the white rhino). We preserved the head, skin, 
and skull for the National Museum. 

The llesh of tins rhino, especially the hump, proved 
excellent. It is a singular thing that scientific writers 
seem almost to have overlooked, and never lay any stress 
upon, the existence of this neck hump. It is on the 
neck, in front of the long dorsal vertebra, and is very 
conspicuous in the living animal ; and I am inclined 
to think tliat some inches of the exceptional height 
measurements attributed to South African white rhinos 
may be due to measuring to the top of this hump. I 
am also puzzled by what seems to be the great inferiority 
m horn development of these square-mouthed rhinos of 
the Lado to the square-mouthed or white rhinos of 
South Africa (and, by the way, I may mention that on 
the whole these Lado rhinos certainly looked lighter 
coloured when we came across them standing in the 
open than did their prehensile-lipped East African 
brethren). We saw between thirty and forty square- 
mouthed rhinos in the Lado, and Kermit's cow had 
much the longest horn of any of them ; and while they 

The cow and call squarc-noscd rhino under the tree alter being disturlje<i 

by the click of the camera 

From a photograph, copyright, by Kerinit Roosexell 


averaged mucli better horns tlian the black rhinos we 
had seen in East Africa, between one and two hundred 
in number, there were any number of exceptions on botli 
sides. 'I'liere are recorded measurements of white rhino 
liorns from South Africa double as long as our longest 
from the Lado. Now this is, scientifically, a fact of 
some importance, but it is of no consequence whatever 
when compared with the question as to what, if any, the 
difference is between the average liorns ; and this last 
fact is very difliciilt to ascertain, largely because of the 
foolish obsession for " record " heads which seems com- 
pletely to absorb so many hunters who write. AVhat 
we need at the moment is more information about the 
average South ^Vfrican heads. There are to be found 
I among most kinds of horn-bearing animals individuals 
I with horns of wholly exceptional size, just as among all 
I nations there are individuals of wholly exceptional 
I height. lUit a comparison of these wliolly exceptional 
( horns, although it has a certain value, is, scientifically, 
I much like a comparison of the giants of different nations. 
' A good liead is, of course, better than a poor one, and a 
special effort to secure an exceptional head is sportsman- 
I like and proper ; but to let the desire for " record " 
I heads, to the exclusion of all else, become a craze, is 
j absurd. The making of such a collection is in itself not 
I only proper, but meritorious ; all I object to is the loss 
of all sense of proportion in connection therewith. It 
is just as with philately, or heraldry, or collecting the 
signatures of famous men. The study of stamps, or of 
coats of arms, or the collecting of autographs, is an 
entirely legitimate amusement, and may be more than 
a mere amusement ; it is only when the student or 
collector allows himself utterly to overestimate the 
importance of his pursuit that it becomes ridiculous. 


Cuiiinghame, Grogan, Heller, Kermit, and I now 
went off on a week's safari inland, travelling as light as 
possible. The first day's march brought us to the kraal 
of a local chief named Sururu. There were a few 
banana-trees and patches of scrawny cultivation round 
the little cluster of huts, ringed with a thorn fence, 
througli M^iich led a low door, and the natives owned 
goats and chickens. Sururu himself wore a white sheet 
of cotton as a toga, and he owned a red fez and a pair 
of baggy blue breeches, which last he generally carried 
over his shoulder. His people were very scantily clad 
indeed, and a few of them, both men and women, wore 
absolutely nothing except a string of blue beads around 
the waist or neck. Their ears had not been pierced and 
stretched like so many East African savages, but their 
lower lips were pierced for wooden ornaments and 
quills. They brought us eggs and chickens, which we 
paid for with American cloth, this cloth and some 
umbrellas constituting our stock of trade goods, or 
gift goods, for the Nile. 

The following day Sururu himself led us to our next 
camp, only a couple of hours away. It was a dry 
country of harsh grass, everywhere covered by a sparse 
growth of euphorbias and stunted thorns, which were 
never in sufficient numbers to make a forest, each little, 
well-nigh leafless tree, standing a dozen rods or so 
distant from its nearest fellow. Most of the grass had 
been burnt, and fires were still raging. Our camp was 
by a beautiful pond, covered with white and lilac water- 
lilies. We pitched our two tents on a bluli, under 
some large acacias that cast real shade. It was between 
two or three degrees north of the Equator. The moon, 
the hot January moon of the mid-tropics, was at the 
full, and the nights were very lovely ; the little sheet of 



"i •■,.1-H rt 







»»*r . ««k 

•? i 

The calf which was old enough to shift for itself refused to leave the body 
From a photograph, copyright, by Kcrmit Roosevelt 

I r- 

When alarmed they failed to make out where the danger lay 
From a photograph, copyright, by Kcrmit Rooseveh 


water glimmered in the moon rays, and round about the 
dry landscape shone with a strange, spectral light. 

Near the pond, just before camping, I shot a couple 
of young waterbuck bulls for food, and while we were 
pitching the tents a small herd of elephants — cows, 
young bulls, and calves, seemingly disturbed by a grass 
fire which was burning a little way off — came up within 
four hundred yards of us. At first we mistook one 
large cow for a bull, and running quickly from bush to 
bush, diagonally to its course, I got within sixty yards, 
and watched it pass at a quick shuffling walk, lifting 
and curling its trunk. The blindness of both elephant 
and rhino has never been sufficiently emphasized in 
books. Near camp was the bloody, broken skeleton 
of a young wart-hog boar, killed by a lion the previous 

' night. There were a number of lions in the neiglibour- 
hood, and they roared at intervals all night long. Next 
morning, after Grogan and I had started from camp, 

I when the sun had been up an hour, we heard one roar 
loudly less than a mile away. Running toward the 
place, w^e tried to find the lion, but near by a small river 

I ran through beds of reeds, and the fires had left many 
patches of tall, yellow, half-burned grass, so that it had 
ample cover, and our search was fruitless. 

Near the pond were green parrots and brilliant wood 

j hoopoos, rollers, and sunbirds, and buck of the ordinary 

, kinds drank at it. A duiker which I shot for the table 

I had been feeding on grass tips and on the stems and 

I leaves of a small, low-growing plant. 

After giving up the quest for the lion, Grogan and I, 
with our gun-bearers, spent the day walking over the 

' great dry flats of burnt grass-land and sparse, withered 

' forest. The heat grew intense as the sun rose higher 
and higher. Hour after hour we plodded on across 

1 27 


\'ast level stretches, or up or do^^1l mcliiies so slight as 
hardly to be noticeable. The black dust of the burnt 
soil rose in puffs beneath our feet, and now and then 
we saw dust devils, violent little whirlwinds, which 
darted right and left, raising to a height of many feet 
grey funnels of ashes and withered leaves. In places 
the coarse grass had half resisted the flames, and rose 
above our heads. Here and there bleached skulls of 
elephant and rhino, long dead, showed white against 
the charred surface of the soil. Everywhere, crossing 
and recrossing one another, were game trails, some 
slightly marked, others broad and hard, and beaten 
deep into the soil by the feet of the giant creatures that 
had trodden them for ages. The elephants had been 
the chief road-makers, but the rhinoceros had travelled 
their trails, and also buffalo and buck. 

There were elephant about, but only cows and calves, 
and an occasional bull with very small tusks. Of 
rhinoceros, all square-mouthed, we saw nine, none 
carrying horns which made them worth shooting. The 
first one I saw was in long grass. My attention was 
attracted by a row of white objects moving at some 
speed through the top of the grass. It took a second 
look before I made out that they were cow herons 
perched on the back of a rhino. This proved to be a 
bull, which joined a cow and a calf. None had decent 
horns, and we plodded on. Soon we came to the trail 
of two others, and after a couple of miles' tracking 
Kongoni pointed to two grey bulks lying down under a 
tree. I walked cautiously to within thirty yards. They 
heard something, and up rose the two pig-like blinking 
creatures, who gradually became aware of my presence, 
and retreated a few steps at a time, dull curiosity con- 
tinually overcoming an uneasiness which never grew 


into tear. Tossing their stumpy-horned heads, and 
twisting their tails into tight knots, they ambled briskly 
from side to side, and were ten minutes in getting to a 
distance of a hundred yards. Then our shenzi guide 
mentioned that there were other rhinos close by. and 
we walked off to inspect them. In three hundred yards 
we came on them, a cow and a well-o^rown calf. Sixty 
yards from them was an ant-hill with little trees on it. 
From this we looked at them until some sound or other 
must have made them uneasy, for up they got. The 
young one seemed to have rather keener suspicions, 
although no more sense, than its mother, and after a 
while grew so restless that it persuaded the cow to go 
off witli it. But the still air gave no hint of our where- 
abouts, and they walked straight toward us. 1 did not 
wish to have to shoot one. and so when they were 
within thirty yards we raised a shout and away they 
cantered, heads tossintr and tails twistino-. 

Three hours later we saw another cow and calf By 
this time it was half-past three in the afternoon, and the 
two animals had risen from their noonday rest and were 
grazing busily, the great clumsy heads sweeping the 
orround. As I watched them forty yards off. it was 
some time before the cow raised her head hiorh enouorli 
for me to see that her horns were not good. Then they 
became suspicious, and the cow stood motionless for 
several minutes, her head held low. We moved quietly 
back, and at last they either dimly saw us. or heard us, 

I and stood looking toward us. their big ears cocked 
forward. At this moment we stumbled on a rhino 
skull, bleached, but in such good preservation that we 
I knew Heller would like it ; and we loaded it on the 
porters that had followed us. All the time we were 
) thus engaged the two rhinos, only a hundred yards off, 


were intently gazing in our direction, with fool and 
bewildered solemnity ; and there we left them, su «ivors 
from a long vanished world, standing alone ii- the 
parched desolation of the wilderness. 

On another day Kermit saw ten rhino, none with 
more than ordinary horns. Five of them were ui one 
party, and were much agitated by the approach o. the 
men ; they ran to and fro, their tails twisted into the 
usual pig-like curl, and from sheer nervous stupidity 
bade fair at one time to force the hunters to fire in self- 
defence. Finally, however, they all ran off. In the 
case of a couple of others a curious incident happened. 
When alarmed they failed to make out where the 
danger lay, and after running away a short distance 
they returned to a bush near by to look about. 0"=^ 
remained standing, but the other deliberately sat down 
upon its haunches like a dog, staring ahead, Kermit 
meanwhile being busy with his camera. Two or three 
times I saw rhino, when roused from sleep, thus sit up 
on their haunches and look around before rising on all 
four legs ; but this was the only time that any of us 
saw a rhino which was already standing assume such a 
position. No other kind of heavy game has this habit ; 
and, indeed, so far as I know, only one other hoofed 
animal, the white goat of the northern Rocky Mountains. 
In the case of the white goat, however, the attitude is 
far more often assumed, and in more extreme form ; it 
is one of the characteristic traits of the queer goat- 
antelope, so many of whose ways and looks are peculiar 
to itself alone. 

From the lily-pond camp we went back to our camp 
outside Sururu's village. This was a very pleasant 
camp because while there, although the heat was intense 
in the daytime, the nights were cool and there were 

3 '^ 

_0 <>. 


no mosquitoes. During our stay in the Lado it \vas 
generally necessary to wear head-nets and gloves in the 
evenings and to go to bed at once after dinner, and then 
to lie under the mosquito bar with practically nothing 
on through the long hot night, sleeping or contentedly 
listening to the humming of the baffled myriads outside 
tlie net. At the Sururu camp, however, we could sit 
at a table in front of the tents, after supper — or dinner, 
whichever one chose to call it — and read by lamplight, 
in the still, cool, pleasant air ; or walk up and down the 
hard, smooth elephant path which led by the tents, 
looking at the large red moon just risen, as it hung low 
over the horizon, or later when, white and clear, it rode 
high in the heavens and flooded the land with its 

There was a swamp close by, and we went through 
this the first afternoon in search of buffalo. We found 
plenty of sign ; but the close-growing reeds were ten 
feet high, and even along the winding buffalo trails by 
which alone they could be penetrated it was impossible 
to see a dozen paces ahead. Inside the reeds it was 
nearly impossible to get to the buffalo, or at least to be 
sure to kill only a bull, which was all I wanted ; and at 
this time, when the moon was just past the full, these 
particular buffalo only came out into the open to feed 
at night, or very early in the morning and late in the 
evening. But Sururu said that there were other buffalo 
which lived away from the reeds, among the thorn-trees 
on the grassy fiats and low hills ; and he volunteered to 
bring me information about them on tlie morrow. Sure 
enough, shortly before eleven next morning, he turned 
up with the news that he had found a solitary bull only 
about five miles away. Grogan and I at once started 
back with him, accompanied by our gun-bearers. Tlie 


country was just such as that in which we had hitherto 
found our rhinos ; and there was fresh sign of rhino as 
well as buffalo. The thorny, scantily-leaved trees were 
perhaps a little closer together than in most places, and 
there were a good many half-burned patches of tall 
grass. We passed a couple of ponds which must have 
been permanent, as water-lilies were growing in them ; 
at one a buffalo had been drinking. It was half-past 
twelve when we reached the place where Sururu had 
seen the bull. We then advanced with the utmost 
caution, as the wind was shifty, and although the cover 
was thin, it yet rendered it difficult to see a hundred 
yards in advance. At last we made out the bull, on 
his feet and feeding, although it was high noon. He 
was stern toward us, and while we were stealing toward 
him a puff of wind gave him our scent. At once he 
whipped around, gazed at us for a moment with out- 
stretched head, and galloped off. I could not get a 
shot through the bushes, and after him we ran, Kongoni 
leading, with me at his heels. It was hot work running, 
for at this time the thermometer registered 102° F. in the 
shade. Fortunately the bull had little fear of man, and 
being curious, and rather truculent, he halted two or 
three times to look round. Finally, after we had run a 
mile and a half, he halted once too often, and I got a 
shot at him at eighty yards. The heavy bullet went 
home. I fired twice again as rapidly as possible, and 
the animal never moved from where he had stood. 
He was an old bull, as big as an East African buffalo, 
but his worn horns were smaller and rather different. 
This had rendered Kongoni uncertain whether he might 
not be a cow ; and when we came up to the body he 
exclaimed with delight that it was a " duck " — Kongoni's 
invariable method of pronouncing " buck," the term he 


used to describe anything male, fi*om a lion or an 
elephant to a bustard or a crocodile ; " cow " being his 
expression for the female of these and all other creatures. 
As Gouvimali came running up to shake hands, his face 
wreathed in smiles, he exclaimed " G-o-o-d-e morning " 
— a phrase which he had picked up under the impression 
that it was a species of congratulation. 

As always when I have killed buffalo, I was struck 
by the massive bulk of the great bull as he lay in death, 
and by the evident and tremendous muscular power of 
his big-boned frame. He looked what he was, a for- 
midable beast. Thirty porters had to be sent out to 
bring to camp the head, hide, and meat. We found, 
by the way, that his meat made excellent soup, his 
kidneys a good stew, while liis tongue was delicious. 

Next morning Kermit and I with the bulk of the 
safari walked back to our main camp, on the Nile, 
leaving Cuninghame and Heller where they were for a 
day, to take care of the buffalo skin. Each of us struck 
off across the country by himself, with his gun-bearers. 
After walking five or six miles I saw a big rhino three 
(juarters of a mile off. At this point the country was 
Hat, the acacias very thinly scattered, and the grass 
completely burnt off, the green young blades sprouting ; 
and there was no difficulty in making out, at the 
distance we did, the vast grey bulk of the rhino as it 
stood inertly under a tree. Drawing nearer, we saw 
that it had a good horn, although not as good as 
Kermit's best ; and, approaching quietly to within 
forty yards, I sliot the beast. 

At the main camp we found that Mearns had made 
a fine collection of birds in our absence ; while Loring 
had taken a variety of excellent photos, of marabou, 
vultures, and kites feeding, and, above all, of a monitor 


lizard plundering the nest of a crocodile. The monitors 
were quite plentiful near camp. They are amphibious, 
carnivorous lizards of large size ; they frequent the 
banks of the river, running well on the land, and some- 
times even climbing trees, but taking to the water when 
alarmed. They feed on mice and rats, other lizards, 
eggs, and fish ; the stomachs of those we caught 
generally contained fish, for they are expert swimmers. 
One morning I^oring surprised a monitor which had 
just uncovered some crocodile eggs on a small sandy 
beach. 'I'he eggs, about thirty in number, were buried 
in rather shallow fashion, so that the monitor readily 
uncovered them. The monitor had one of the eggs 
transversely in its mouth, and, head erect, was marching 
off with it. As soon as it saw Loring it dropped the 
egg and scuttled into the reeds ; in a few minutes it 
returned, took another egg, and walked off into the 
bushes, where it broke the shell, swallowed the yolk, 
and at once returned to the nest for another egg. 
Loring took me out to see the feat repeated, replenish- 
ing the rifled nest with eggs taken from a crocodile the 
Doctor had shot ; and I was delighted to watch, from 
our hiding-place, the big lizard as he cautiously ap- 
proached, seized an egg, and then retired to cover with 
his booty. Kermit came on a monitor plundering a 
crocodile's nest at the top of a steep bank, while, 
funnily enough, a large crocodile lay asleep at the foot 
of the bank only a few yards distant. As soon as it 
saw Kermit the monitor dropped the egg it was carrying, 
ran up a slanting tree which overhung the river, and 
dropped into the water like a snake-bird. 

There was always something interesting to do or to 
see at this camp. One afternoon I spent in the boat. 
The papyrus along the channel rose like a forest, thirty 

1^ J ''. « -»«'■'''''• '- " ^/t-. 


Tlic niunilor lizanl robbing a crocodile's ncsl 
From pholographs by J. Alden Loring 


feet high, the close-growing stems knit together by 
vines. As we drifted down, the green wall was con- 
tinually broken by openings, through which side streams 
from the great river rushed, swirling and winding, down 
narrow lanes and under low archways, into the dim 
mysterious heart of the vast reed-beds, where dwelt 
bird and reptile and water beast. In a shallow bay we 
came on two hippo cows with their calves, and a dozen 
crocodiles. I shot one of the latter — as I always do, 
when I get a chance — and it turned over and over, 
lashing with its tail as it sank. A half-grown hippo 
came up close by the boat and leaped nearly clear of 
the water ; and in another place I saw a mother hippo 
swimming, with the young one resting half on its back. 
j Another day Kermit came on some black and white 
Colobus monkeys. Those we had shot east of the Rift 
! Valley had long mantles, and more white than black in 
their colouring ; west of the Rift \^alley they had less 
(Wiiite and less of the very long hair ; and here on the 
Nile the change had gone still farther in the same 
direction. On the w^est coast this kind of monkey is 
said to be entirely black. But we were not prepared 
for the complete change in habits. In East Africa the 
Colobus monkeys kept to the dense, cool, mountain 
forests, dwelt in the tops of the big trees, and rarely 
'descended to the ground. Here, on the Nile, they 
lived in exactly such country as that affected by the 
I smaller greenish-yellow monkeys, which we found along 
'the Guaso Nyero for instance — country into which the 
jEast African Colobus never by any chance wandered. 
Moreover, instead of living in the tall timber, and never 
i going on the ground except for a few yards, as in East 
I Africa, here on the Nile they sought to escape danger 
by flight over the ground, in the scrub. Kermit found 


some in a grove of fairly big acacias, but they instantly 
dropped to the earth and galloped off' among the dry, 
scattered bushes and small thorn-trees. Kermit also 
shot a twelve-foot crocodile in which he found the 
remains of a big heron. 

One morning we saw from camp a herd of elephants 
in a piece of unburned swamp. It was a mile and a 
half away in a straight line, although we had to walk 
three miles to get there. There were between forty 
and fifty of them, a few big cows with calves, the rest 
half-grown and three-quarters-grown animals. Over a 
hundred white herons accompanied them. From an 
ant-hill to leeward we watched them standing by a mud 
hole in the swamp ; evidently they now and then got a 
whiff" from our camp, for they were coiitinually hfting 
and curling their trunks. To see if by any chance there 
was a bull among them we moved them out of the 
swamp by shouting. The wind blew hard, and as they 
moved they evidently smelled the camp strongly, for all 
their trunks went into the air ; and off' they went at a 
rapid pace, half of the herons riding on them, while 
the others hovered over and alongside, like a white 
cloud. Two days later the same herd again made its 

Spur-winged plover were nesting near camp, and 
evidently distrusted the carrion feeders, for they attacked 
and drove off' every kite or vulture that crossed what 
they considered the prohibited zone. They also harassed 
the marabous, but Math more circumspection ; for the 
big storks were short-tempered, and rather daunted the 
spurwings by the way they opened their enormous beaks 
at them. The fish eagles fed exclusively on fish, as far 
as we could tell, and there were piles of fish-bones and 
heads under their favourite perches. Once I saw one 


plunge into the water, but it failed to catch anything. 
Another time, suddenly, and seemingly in mere mischief, 
one attacked a purple heron which was standing on a 
mud bank. The eagle swooped down from a tree and 
knocked over the heron ; and when the astonished heron 
struggled to its feet and attempted to fly off, the eagle 
made another swoop and this time knocked it into the 
water. The heron then edged into the papyrus, and the 
eagle paid it no further attention. 

In this camp we had to watch the white ants, which 
strove to devour everything. They are nocturnal, and 
work in the daytime only under the tuimcls of earth 
which they build over the surface of the box, or what- 
ever else it is, that they are devouring ; they eat out 
everything, leaving this outside shell of earth. We also 
saw a long column of the dreaded driver ants. These 
are carnivorous. I have seen both red and black species ; 
they kill every living thing in their path, and I have 
known them at night drive all the men in a camp out 
into the jungle to fight the mosquitoes unprotected 
imtil daylight. On another occasion, where a steam- 
boat was moored close to a bank, an ant column 
entered the boat after nightfall, and kept complete 
possession of it for forty-eight hours. Fires and 
boiling water offer the only effectual means of re- 
sistance. The bees are at times as formidable ; when 
their nests are disturbed they will attack everyone in 
sight, driving all the crew of a boat overboard or 
scattering a safari, and not infrequently killing men and 
beasts of burden that are unable to reach some place of 

The last afternoon, when the flotilla had called to 
take us farther on our journey, we shot about a dozen 
buck to give the porters and sailors a feast, which they 


had amply earned. All the meat did not get into camp 
until after dark — one of the sailors, unfortunately, falling 
out of a tree and breaking his neck on the way in — and 
it was picturesque to see the rows of big antelope — 
hartebeest, kob, water buck — stretched in front of the 
flaring fires, and the dark faces of the waiting negroes, 
each deputed by some particular group of gun-bearers, 
porters, or sailors to bring back its share. 

Next morning we embarked, and steamed and drifted 
down the Nile ; ourselves, our men, our belongings, and 
the spoils of the chase all huddled together under the 
torrid sun. Two or three times we grounded on sand- 
bars, but no damage was done, and in twenty-six hours 
we reached Nimule. We were no longer in healthy 
East Africa. Kermit and I had been in robust health 
throughout the time we were in Uganda and the Lado ; 
but all the other white men of the party had suffered 
more or less from dysentery, fever, and sun-prostration 
while in the Lado ; some of the gun-bearers had been 
down with fever, one of them dying while we were in 
Uganda ; and four of the porters who had marched from 
Koba to Nimule had died of dysentery — they were 
burying one when we arrived. 

At Nimule we were, as usual, greeted with hospitable 
heartiness by the English officials, as well as by two or 
three elephant hunters. One of the latter, three days 
before, had been charged by an unwounded bull elephant. 
He fired both barrels into it as it came on, but it 
charged home, knocked him down, killed his gun-bearer, 
and made its escape into the forest. In the forlorn 
little graveyard at the station were the graves of two 
white men who had been killed by elephants. One of 
them, named Stoney, had been caught by a wounded 
bull, which stamped the life out of him and then liter- 

t II. xiv] AT NIMULE 429 

ally dismembered him, tearing his arms from his body. 
In the African wilderness, when a man dies, his com- 
panion usually brings in something to show that he is 
dead, or some remnant of whatever it is that has de- 
stroyed him. The sailors whose companion was killed 
by falling out of the tree near oin* I.ado camp, for 
instance, brought in the dead branch which had broken 
luulcr his weight ; and Stoney's gun-bearer marched 
back to Niniule carrying an arm of his dead master, 
and deposited his gruesome burden in the office of the 
District Commissioner. 



We spent two or three days in Nimule, getting every- 
thing ready for the march north to Gondokoro. 

By this time Kermit and I had grown really attached 
to our personal followers, whose devotion to us, and 
whose zeal for our success and welfare and comfort, had 
many times been made rather touchingly manifest ; 
even their shortcomings were merely those of big, 
naughty children, and, though they occasionally needed 
discipline, this was rare, whereas the amusement they 
gave us was unending. When we reached Nimule we 
were greeted with enthusiasm by Magi, Kermit's Kikuyu 
sais, who had been in charge of the mules which we did 
not take into the Lado. INIagi was now acting as sais 
for me as well as for Kermit, and he came to Kermit to 
discuss the new dual relationship. " Now I am the sais 
of the Bwana INIakuba, as well as of you, the Bwana 
Merodadi " (the Dandy Master, as, for some inscrutable 
reason, all the men now called Kermit) ; " well, then, 
you'll both have to take care of me," concluded the 
ruse Magi. 

Whenever we reached one of these little stations 
where there was an Indian trading store, we would see 
that those of our followers who had been specially 
devoted to us — and this always included all our imme- 



diate attendants — had a chance of obtaming the few 
httle comforts and luxuries — tea, sugar, or tobacco, 
for instance — whicli meant so much to them. Usually 
Kermit would take them to the store himself, for they 
were less wily than the Indian trader, and, moreover, in 
the excitement of shopping occasionally purchased some- 
thing for which they really had no use. Kermit would 
march his tail of followers into the store, give them 
time to look round, and then make the first purchase 
for the man who had least coming to him ; this to avoid 
heartburnings, as the man was invariably too much 
interested in what he had received to scrutinize closely 
what the others were getting. The purchase might be 
an article of clothing or a knife, but usually took the 
form of tobacco, sugar, and tea ; in tobacco the man 
was offered his choice between quality and quantity — 
that is, either a moderate quantity of good cigarettes or 
a large amount of trade tobacco. Funny little Juma 
Yohari, for instance, one of Kermit's gun-bearers, 
usually went in for quality, whereas his colleague 
Kassitura preferred quantity. Juma was a Zanzibari, 
a wiry, merry little grig of a man, loyal, hard-working, 
fearless ; Kassitura a huge Basoga negro, of guileless 
honesty and good faith, incapable of neglecting his duty. 
Juma was rather the wit of the gun-bearers' mess, and 
Kassitura the musician, having a little native harp, on 
which for hours at a time he would strum queer little 
melancholy tunes, to which he hummed an accompani- 
ment in undertone. 

All the natives we met, and the men in our employ, 
were fond of singing, sometimes simply improvised 
chants, sometimes sentences of tliree or four words 
repeated over and over again. The Uganda porters 
who were with us after we left Kampalla did not sing 

432 THE GIANT ELAND [ch. xv 

nearly as freely as our East African safari, although they 
depended much on the man who beat the drum at the 
head of the marching column. The East African 
porters did every kind of work to an accompaniment of 
chanting. When, for instance, after camp was pitched, 
a detail of men was sent out for wood — the " wood 
safari " — the men as thy came back to camp with their 
loads never did anything so commonplace as each 
merely to deposit his burden at the proper spot. The 
first comers waited in the middle of the camp until all 
had assembled, and then marched in order to where the 
fire was to be made, all singing vigorously and stepping 
in time together. The leader, or chanty man, would 
call out " Kooni " (wood), and all the others would hum 
in unison " Kooni telli " (plenty of wood). " Kooni " 
again came the shout of the chanty man, and the answer 
would be "Kooni." "Kooni" from the chanty man, 
and this time all the rest would simply utter a long- 
drawn " Hum-m-m." " Kooni " again, and the answer 
would be " Kooni telli," with strong emphasis on the 
"telli." Then, if they saw me, the chanty man might 
vary by shouting that the wood was for the Bwana 
JNI akuba ; and so it would continue until the loads were 
thrown down. 

Often a man would improvise a song regarding any 
small incident which had just happened to him or a 
thought which had occurred to him. Drifting down 
the Nile to Nimule, Kermit and the three naturalists 
and sixty porters were packed in sardine fashion on one 
of the sail-boats. At nightfall one of the sailors, the 
helmsman, a Swahili from Mombasa, began to plan how 
he would write a letter to his people in Mombasa and 
give it to another sailor, a friend of his, who intended 
shortly to return thither. He crooned to himself as he 


crouched by the tiller, steering the boat ; and gradually, 
as the moon shone on the swift, quiet water of the river, 
his crooning turned into a regular song. His voice was 
beautiful, and there was a wild, meaningless refrain to 
each verse, the verses reciting how he intended to write 
this letter to those whom he had not seen for two years ; 
how a friend would take it to them, so that the letter 
would be in Mombasa : but he, the man who wrote it, 
would for two years more be in the far-off wilderness. 

On February 17 the long line of our laden safari 
left Ninuile on its ten days' march to Gondokoro. We 
went through a barren and thirsty land. Our first camp 
was by a shallow, running river, with a shaded pool, in 
which we bathed. After that we never came on running 
water, merely on dry watercourses wdth pools here and 
there, some of the pools being crowded with fish. Tall, 
half-burnt grass and scattered, well-nigh leafless thorn- 
scrub covered the monotonous landscape, although we 
could generally find some fairly leafy tree near which to 
pitch the tents. The heat was great ; more than once 
the thermometer at noon rose to 112° in the shade — not 
real shade, however, but in a stifling tent, or beneath a 
tree the foliage of which let through at least a third of 
the sun-rays. The fiery heat of the ground so burnt and 
crippled the feet of the porters that we had to start each 
day's march very early. 

At a quarter to three in the morning the whistle blew. 
We dressed and breakfasted while the tents were taken 
down and the loads adjusted ; then off we strode through 
the hot starlit night, our backs to the Southern Cross 
and oiu* faces toward the Great Bear, for we were 
marching northward and homeward. The drum 
throbbed and muttered as we walked on and on along 
the dim trail. At last the stars began to pale, the grey 

434 THE GIANT ELAND [ch. xv 

east changed to opal and amber and amethyst, the red 
splendoiu' of the sunrise flooded the world, and to the 
heat of the night succeeded the more merciless heat of 
the day. Higlier and higher rose the sun. The sweat 
streamed down our faces, and the bodies of the black 
men glistened like oiled iron. We might halt early in 
the forenoon, or we might have to march until noon, 
according to the distance from water- hole to water-hole. 

Occasionally in the afternoons, and once when we 
halted for a day to rest the porters, Kermit and 1 would 
kill buck for the table — hartebeest, reedbuck, and oribi. 
I also killed a big red groimd monkey, with baboon-like 
habits. We had first seen the species on the Uasin 
Gishu, and had tried in vain to get it, for it was wary, 
never sought safety in trees, and showed both speed and 
endurance in rimning. Kermit killed a bull and a cow 
roan antelope. 'J'hese so-called horse antelope are fine 
beasts, light roan in colour, with high withers, rather 
short curved horns, huge ears, and bold face-markings. 
Usually we found them shy, but occasionally very tame. 
They are the most truculent and dangerous of all ante- 
lope. This bull, when seemingly on the point of death, 
rose like a flash when Kermit approached, and charged 
him full tilt. Kermit had to fire from the hip, luckily 
breaking the animal's neck. 

On the same day Loring had an interesting experi- 
ence with one of the small cormorants so common in 
this region. Previously, while visiting the rapids of the 
Nile below Nimule, I had been struck by the com- 
parative un wariness of these birds, one of them re- 
peatedly landing on a rock a few yards away from me, 
and thence slipping unconcernedly into the swift water 
— -and, by the way, it was entirely at home in the 
boiling rapids. But the conduct of Loring's bird was 


wholly exceptional. He was taking a swim in a pool 
when the bird lit beside him. It paid no more heed to 
the naked white man than it would have paid to a 
hippo, and, although it would not allow itself to be 
actually touched, it merely moved a few feet out of his 
way when he approached it. Moreover, it seemed to 
be on the lookout for enemies in tlie air, not in the 
water. It was continually glancing upward, and, when 
a big hawk appeared, followed its movements with close 
attention. It stayed in and about the pool for many 
minutes before flying off*. I suppose that certain eagles 
and hawks prey on cormorants ; but I should also be 
inclined to think that crocodiles at least occasionally 
prey on them. 

The most attractive birds we met in Middle ^Vfrica 
and along the Nile were the brave, cheery little wag- 
tails. They wear trim black-and-white suits, when on 
the ground they walk instead of hopping, they have a 
merry, pleasing song, and they are as confiding and 
fearless as they are pretty. The natives never molest 
them, for they figure to advantage in the folklore of the 
various tribes. They came round us at every halting- 
place, entering the rest-houses in Uganda and some- 
times even our tents, coming up within a few feet of us 
as we lay under trees, and boarding our boats on the 
Nile ; and they would stroll about camp quite uncon- 
cernedly, in pairs, the male stopping every now and 
then to sing. Except the whisky jacks and Hudsonian 
chickadees of the North Woods, I never saw such tame 
little birds. 

At Gondokoro we met the boat which the Sirdar, 
Major-General Sir Reginald VN^ingate, had sent to take 
us down the Nile to Khartoum ; for he, and all the 
Soudan officials — including especially Colonel Asser, 

436 THE GIANT ELAND [ch. xv 

Colonel Owen, Slatin Pasha, and Butler Bey — treated 
us with a courtesy of which I cannot too strongly 
express my appreciation. In the boat we were to have 
met an old friend and fellow-countryman, Leigh Hunt. 
To our great regret, he could not meet us, but he insisted 
on treating us as his guests, and on our way down the 
Nile we felt as if we were on the most comfortable 
kind of yachting trip ; and everything was done for us 
by Captain Middleton, the Scottish engineer in charge. 

Nor was our debt only to British officials and to 
American friends. At Gondokoro I was met by 
M. Banquet, the Belgian Commandant of the Lado 
district, and both he and M. Massart, the Chef de 
Poste at Redjaf, were kindness itself, and aided us in 
every way. 

From Gondokoro Kermit and I crossed to Redjaf, for 
an eight days' trip after the largest and handsomest, and 
one of the least known, of African antelopes — the 
giant eland. We went alone, because all the other 
white men of the party were down with dysentery or 
fever. We had with us sixty Uganda porters, and a 
dozen mules sent us by the Sirdar, together with a 
couple of our little riding mules, which we used now 
and then for a couple of hours on safari, or in getting 
to the actual hunting-ground. As always when only 
one or two of us went, or when the safari was sliort, we 
travelled light, with no dining-tent, and nothing unneces- 
sary in the way of baggage ; the only impedimenta 
wliich we could not reduce were those connected with 
the preservation of the skins of the big animals, which, 
of course, were throughout our whole trip what neces- 
sitated the use of the bulk of the porters and other 
means of transportation employed. 

From the neat little station of Redjaf, lying at the 


foot of the bold pyramidal hill of the same name, we 
marched two days west, stopping short of the River 
Koda, where we knew the game drank. Now and then 
we came on Hower-bearing bushes, of marvellously 
sweet scent, like gardenias. It was the height of the 
dry season ; the country was covered with coarse grass 
and a scrub growth of nearly leaHess thorn-trees, usually 
growing rather wide apart, occasionally close enough 
together to look almost like a forest. There were a 
few palms, euphorbias, and very rarely scattered clumps 
of withered bamboo, and also bright green trees with 
rather thick leaves and bean-pods, on which we after- 
ward found that the eland fed. 

The streams we crossed were dry torrent beds, sandy 
or rocky ; in two or three of them were pools of stagnant 
water, while better water could be obtained by digging 
in the sand alongside. A couple of hours after reaching 
each camp everything was in order, and Ali had made 
a fire of some slivers of wood and boiled our tea ; and 
our two meals, breakfast and dinner, were taken at a 
table in the open, under a tree. 

We had with us seven black soldiers of the Belgian 
native troops, under a corporal : they came from every 
quarter of the Congo, but several of them could speak 
Swahili, the Inigna franca of Middle ^Africa, and so 
Kermit could talk freely with them. Tliese black 
soldiers behaved excellently, and the attitude, both 
toward them and toward us, of the natives in the various 
villages we came across was totally incompatible with 
any theory that these natives had suffered from any 
maltreatment ; they behaved just like the natives in 
British territory. There iiad to be tlie usual parleys 
with the chiefs of the villages to obtain food for the 
soldiers (we carried the posho for our own men), and 

438 THE GIANT ELAND [ch. xv 

ample payment was given for what was brought in ; 
and in the only two cases where the natives thought 
themselves aggrieved by the soldiers they at once 
brought the matter before us. One soldier had taken 
a big gourd of water when very thirsty ; another, a 
knife from a man who was misbehaving himself. On 
careful inquiry, and delivering judgment in the spirit 
of Solomon, we decided that both soldiers had been 
justified by the provocation received ; but as we were 
dealing with the misdeeds of mere big children, we gave 
the gourd back to its owner with a reprimand for having 
refused the water, and permitted the owner of the 
knife, whose offence had been more serious, to ransom 
his property by bringing in a chicken to the soldier who 
had it. 

The natives lived in the usual pointed beehive huts in 
unfenced villages, with shambas lying about them ; and 
they kept goats, chickens, and a few cattle. Our pA'- 
manent camp was near such a village. It was interesting 
to pass through it at sunrise or sunset, when starting on 
or returning from a hunt. The hard, bare earth was 
swept clean. The doors in the low mud walls of the 
huts were but a couple of feet high and had to be 
entc; ed on all-fours ; black pickaninnies scuttled into 
them in wild alarm as we passed. Skinny, haggard old 
men and women, almost naked, sat by the fires smoking 
long pipes ; tlie younger men and women laughed and 
jested as they moved among the houses. One day, in 
the course of a long and fruitless hunt, we stopped to 
rest near such a village, at about two in the afternoon, 
having been walking hard since dawn. We — my gun- 
bearer, a black askari, and I, a couple of porters, and a 
native guide — sat down under a big tree a hundred 
yards from the village. Soon the chief and several of 


his people came out to see us. The chief proudly wore 
a dirty jersey and pair of drawers ; a follower carried 
his spear and the little wooden stool of dignity on which 
he sat. There Avere a couple of \\arriors with him, one 
a man in a bark apron with an old breech-loading rifle, 
the other a stark-naked savage — not a rag on him — 
witli a bow and arrows, a very powerfully built man 
with a ferocious and sinister face. Two women bore on 
their heads, as gifts for us, one a large earthenware jar 
of water, the other a basket of groundnuts. They were 
tall and well-shaped. One as her sole clothing wore a 
beaded cord around her waist, and a breechclout con- 
sisting of lialf a dozen long, thickly leaved, fresh sprays 
of a kind of vine ; the other, instead of this vine breech- 
clout, had hanging from her girdle in front a cluster of 
long-stemmed green leaves, and behind a bundle of long- 
strings, carried like a horse's tail. 

The weather was very hot, and the country, far and 
wide, was a waste of barren desolation. The flats of 
endless thorn-scrub were broken by occasional low and 
rugged hills, and in the empty watercourses the pools 
were many miles apart. Yet there was a good deal of 
game. We saw buffalo, giraffe, and elephant : and on 
our way back to camp in the evenings we now and then 
killed a roan, hartebeest, or oribi. But the game we 
sought was the giant eland, and we never fired when 
there was the slightest chance of disturbing our quarry. 
They usually went in herds, but there were solitary 
bulls. We found that they drank at some pool in the 
Koda before dawn and then travelled many miles back 
into the parched interior, feeding as they went ; and, 
after lying up for some hours about mid-day, again 
moved slowly off, feeding. They did not graze, but 
fed on the green lea\'es, and the bean-pods of the tree 

440 THE GIANT ELAND [ch. xv 

of which I have already spoken and of another tree. 
One of their marked habits — shared in some degree by 
their forest cousin, the bongo — was breaking the higher 
branches with their horns, to get at the leaves ; they 
thus broke branches two or three inches in diameter 
and seven or eight feet from the ground, the crash of 
the branches being a sound for which we continually 
listened as we followed the tracks of a herd. They 
were far more wary than roan, or hartebeest, or any of 
the other buck, and the country was such that it was 
difficult to see more than a couple of hundred yards 

It took me three hard days' work before I got my 
eland. Each day I left camp before sunrise, and on 
the first two I came back after dark, while it always 
happened that at noon we were on a trail and could not 
stop. We would walk until we found tracks made that 
morning, and then the gun-bearers and the native guide 
would slowly follow them, hour after hour, under the 
burning sun. On the first day we saw nothing ; on the 
next we got a moment's glimpse of an eland, trotting at 
the usual slashing gait. I had no chance to fire. By 
mid-afternoon on each day it was evident that further 
following of the trail we were on was useless, and we 
plodded campward, tired and thirsty. Gradually the 
merciless glare softened ; then the sun sank crimson 
behind a chain of fantastically carved mountains in the 
distance ; and the hues of the after-glow were drowned 
in the silver light of the moon, which was nearing the 

On the third day we found the spoor of a single bull 
by eight o'clock. Hour after hour went by while the 
gun-bearers, even more eager than weary, puzzled out 
the trail. At half-past twelve we knew we were close 

CH. xv] ELANDS 441 

on the beast, and immediately afterward caufyht a 
glimpse of it. Taking advantage of every patch of 
cover, I crawled toward it on all-fours, my rifle too hot 
for me to touch the barrel, while the blistering heat of 
the baked ground hurt my hands. At a little over a 
liundred yards I knelt and aimed at the noble beast. I 
could now plainly see his huge bulk and great, massive 
horns, as he stood under a tree. The pointed bullet 
from the little Springfield liit a trifle too far back 
and up, but made such a rip tliat he never got ten 
yards from where he was standing ; and great was my 
pride as I stood over him, and examined liis horns, 
twisted almost like a koodoo's, and admired his size, 
his finely modelled head and legs, and the beauty of his 

Meanwhile, Kermit had killed two eland, a cow on 
tlie first day, and on the second a bull even better than, 
although not quite so old as, mine. Kermit could see 
game and follow tracks almost as well as his gun- 
bearers, and in a long chase could outrun them. On 
each day he struck the track of a herd of eland, and 
after a while left his gun-bearers and porters, and ran 
along the trail, accompanied only by a native guide. 
The cow was killed at two hundred yards with a shot 
from his Winchester. The bull yielded more excite- 
ment. He was in a herd of about forty which Kermit 
had followed for over five hours, toward the last 
accompanied only by the wild native ; at one point the 
eland had come upon a small party of elephant, and 
trotted off at right angles to their former course — 
Kermit following them after he had satisfied himself 
that the elephants were cows and half-grown animals. 
When he finally overtook the eland, during the torrid 
heat of the early afternoon, they were all lying down, 

442 THE GIANT ELAND [ch. xv 

in a place where the trees grew rather more thickly 
than usual. 

Stalking as close as he dared, he selected a big animal 
which he hoped was a bull, and fired three shots into it ; 
however, it ran, and he then saw that it was a cow. 
As the rest of the herd jumped up he saw the form of 
the master bull looming above the others. They crossed 
his front at a slashing trot, the cows clustered round the 
great bull ; but just as they came to a small opening, 
they parted a little, giving him a clear shot. Down 
went the bull on his head, rose, received another bullet, 
and came to a standstill. This was the last bullet from 
the maoazine ; and now the mechanism of the rifle 
refused to work or to throw the empty shell out of the 
chamber. The faithful Winchester, which Kermit had 
used steadily for ten months, on foot and on horseback, 
which had suffered every kind of hard treatment and 
had killed every kind of game, without once failing, had 
at last given way under the strain. While Kermit was 
working desperately at the mechanism, the bull, which 
was standing looking at him within fifty yards, gradually 
recovered, moved off step by step, and broke into a 
slow trot. After it went Kermit as hard as he could 
go, still fussing with the rifle, which he finally opened, 
and refilled with five cartridges. Kermit could just 
about keep the eland in sight, running as hard as he 
was able. After a mi e or two it lay down, but rose as 
he came near, and went off again, while he was so 
blown that though, with four shots, he hit it twice, he 
failed to kill it. He now had but one bullet left, after 
which he knew that the rifle would jam again ; and it 
was accordingly necessary to kill outright with the next 
shot. He was just able to keep close to the bull for 
half a mile, then it halted ; and he killed it. Leaving 


the shenzi by the carcass, he went off to see about the 
wounded cow, but after an hoiu' was forced to give up 
the chase and return, so as to be sure to save the bull's 
skin. The gun-bearers and another shenzi had by this 
time reached the dead eland ; they had only Kennit's 
canteen of water among them. One of the shenzis was 
at once sent to camp to bring back twenty porters, with 
rope, and plenty of water ; and, with parched mouths, 
Kermit and the gun-bearers began to take off the tliick 
liide of the dead bull. Four hours later the porters 
appeared with the ropes and tlie water, and tlie thirsty 
men drank gallons ; the porters were loaded with the 
hide, head, and meat ; and they marched back to camp 
by moonlight. 

It was no easy job, in that climate, to care for and 
save the three big skins ; but we did it. On the trip 
we had taken, besides our gun-bearers and tent-boys, 
Magi, the sais, and two of our East African skinners, 
Kiboko and Merefu ; tliey formed in the safari a kind of 
chief-petty-officer's mess, so to speak. They were all 
devoted to their duties, and they worked equally liard 
whether hunting or caring for the skins ; the day Kermit 
killed his bull he and the gun-bearers and skinners, with 
Magi as a \oluntecr, worked until midnight at the hide. 
But they had any amount of meat, and we shared our 
sugar and tea witli them. On the last evening there 
was nothing to do, and they sat in tlie brilliant moon- 
liglit in front of their tents, while Kassitura played his 
odd little harp. Kermit and I strolled over to listen ; 
and at once Kassitura began to improvise a chant in 
my honour, reciting how the Bwana ^lakuba had come, 
liow he was far from his own country, how he had just 
killed a giant eland, and so on and so on. Meanwhile, 
over many little fires strips of meat were drying on 

444 THE GIANT ELAND [ch. xv 

scaffolds of bent branches, and askaris and porters 
were gathered in groups, chatting and singing ; while 
the mighty tree near which our tents were pitched cast 
a black shadow on the silver plain. Then the shenzis 
who had helped us came to receive their reward, and 
their hearts were gladdened with red cloth and salt, and 
for those whose services had been greatest there were 
special treasures in the shape of three green-and-white 
umbrellas. It was a pleasant ending to a successful 

On our return to Gondokoro we found Cuninghame 
all right, although he had been obliged single-handed 
to do the work of getting our porters safely started on 
their return march to Kampalla, as well as getting all 
the skins and skeletons properly packed for shipment. 
Heller had also recovered, and had gone on a short trip, 
during which he trapped a leopard and a serval at the 
same carcass, the leopard killing the serval. Dr. IMearns 
and Loring were both seriously sick ; so was the District 
Commissioner, kind JNlr. Haddon. One day a German 
missionary dined with us ; the next he was dead, of 
black-water fever. An English sportsman whom we 
had met at Nimule had been brought in so sick that 
he was at death's door. Dr. M earns took care of him, 
badly off though he himself was. We had brought 
with us a case of champagne for just such emergencies ; 
this was the first time that we made use of it. 

On the last day of February we started down the 
Nile, slipping easily along on the rapid current, which 
wound and twisted through stretches of reeds and 
marsh grass and papyrus. We halted at the attractive 
station of Lado for a good-bye breakfast with our kind 
Belgian friends, and that evening we dined at Mongalla 
with Colonel Owen, the Chief of the southernmost 

Kermit's first giant ekinfl row, shot on the Rrdjaf trij) 

Cliant eland bull 
From a photograph by Kcrmit Roosncll 


section of the Soudan. I was greatly interested in the 
Egyptian and Soudanese soldiers, and their service 
medals. Many of these medals showed that their 
owners had been in a dozen campaigns ; some of the 
native officers and men (and also the Reis, or native 
captain of our boat, by the way) had served in the 
battles which broke foi* ever the Mahdi's cruel power ; 
two or three had been with Gordon. They were a fine- 
looking set, and their obvious self-respect was a good 
thing to see. That same afternoon I witnessed a native 
dance, and was struck by the lack of men of middle 
age. All the tribes which were touched by the blight 
of the Mahdist tyranny, with its accompaniments of 
unspeakable horror, suffered such slaughter of the then 
young men that the loss has left its mark to this day. 
'I'he English, when they destroyed Mahdism, rendered 
a great service to humanity ; and their rule in the 
Soudan has been astoundingly successful and beneficial 
from every standpoint.^ 

We steamed onward down the Nile, sometimes tying 
up to the bank at nightfall, sometimes steaming steadily 
through the night. We reached the Sud, the vast 
papyrus marsh once so formidable a barrier to all who 
would journey along the river ; and sunrise and sunset 
were beautiful over the endless, melancholy stretches of 
water reeds. In the Sud the only tree seen was the 
water-loving ambatch, light as cork. Occasionally we 
saw hippos and crocodiles and a few water birds, and 
now and then passed native villages, the tall, lean men 

^ The despotism of Mahdist rule was so revoltini^, so vilely cruel 
and hideous, that the worst despotism by men of European blood 
in recent times seems a model of humanity by comparison ; and yet 
there were nominal " anti-militarists " and self-styled "apostles of 
peace" who did their feeble best to prevent the destruction of this 

446 THE GIANT ELAND [ch. xv 

and women stark naked, and their bodies daubed with 
mud, grease, and ashes to keep off the mosquitoes. 

On March 4 we were steaming slowly along the 
reedy, water-soaked shores of Lake No, keeping a sharp 
lookout for the white-eared kob, and especially for the 
handsome saddle-marked lechwe kob, which has been 
cursed with the foolishly inappropriate name of '* INIrs. 
Gray's waterbuck." 

Early in the morning we saw a herd of these saddle- 
marked lechwe in tlie long marsh grass, and pushed the 
steamer's nose as near to the shore as possible. Then 
Cuninghame, keen-eyed Kongoni, and I started for what 
prov^ed to be a five hours' tramp. The walking was 
hard ; sometimes we were on dry land, but more often 
in water up to oiu* ankles or knees, and occasionally 
floundering and wallowing up to our hips through 
stretches of reeds, water-lilies, green water, and foul 
black slime. Yet there were ant-hills in the marsh. 
Once or twice we caught a glimpse of the game in small 
patches of open ground covered with short grass, but 
almost always they kept to the high grass and reeds. 
There were with the herd two very old bucks, with a 
white saddle-shaped patch on the withers, the white 
extending up the back of the neck to the head — a mark 
of their being in full maturity, or past it, for on some of 
the males at least this coloration only begins to appear 
M'^hen they seem already to have attained their growth 
of horn and body, their teeth showing them to be five 
or six years old, while they are obviously in the prime 
of vigour and breeding capacity. Unfortunately, in the 
long grass it was impossible to single out these old 
bucks. Marking as well as we could the general direc- 
tion of the herd, we would steal toward it until we 
thought we were in the neighbourhood, and then 



cautiously climb an ant-hill to look about. Nothing- 
would be in sight. We would scan the ground in every 
direction ; still nothing. Suddenly a dozen heads would 
pop up, just above the grass, two or three hundred 
yards oif, and after a steady gaze would disappear, and 
some minutes later would again appear a quarter of a 
mile farther on. Usually they skulked off at a trot or 
canter, necks stretched level with the back, for they 
were great skulkers, and trusted chiefly to escaping 
observation and stealing away from danger unperceived. 
But occasionally they would break into a gallop, making 
lofty bounds, clear above the tops of the grass, and then 
they might go a long way before stopping. I never saw 
them leap on the ant-hills to look about, as is the 
custom of the common or Uganda kob. They were 
rather noisy ; we heard them grunting continually, both 
when they were grazing and when they saw us. 

At last, from an ant-hill, 1 saw dim outlines of two or 
three aiiimals moving past a little over a hundred yards 
ahead. There was nothing to shoot at, but a moment 
afterward I saw a pair of horns through the grass tops, 
in such a position that it was evident the owner was look- 
ing at me. I guessed that he had been moving in the 
direction iii which the others had gone, and I guessed at 
the position of the shoulder and fired. The horns dis- 
appeared. Then I caught a glimpse, first of a doe, next 
of a buck, in full flight, each occasionally appearing for 
an instant in a great bound over the grass tops. I had 
no idea whether or not I had hit my buck, so Cuning- 
hame stayed on the ant-heap to guide us, while Kongoni 
and I plunged into the long grass, as high as our heads. 
Sure enough, there was the buck, a youngish one, about 
four years old ; my bullet had gone true. WHiile we 
were looking at him we suddenly caught a momentary 

448 THE GIANT ELAND [ch. xv 

glimpse of two more of the herd rushing off to our right, 
and we heard another grunting and sneaking away, 
invisible, thirty yards or so to our left. 

Half an hour afterward I shot another buck, at over 
a hundred and fifty yards, after much the same kind of 
experience. At this one I fired four times, hitting him 
with three bullets ; three of the shots were taken when I 
could only see his horns and had to guess at the position 
of the body. This was a very big buck, with horns over 
twenty-nine inches long, but the saddle-mark was yellow, 
with many whitish hairs, showing that he was about to 
assume the white saddle of advanced maturity. His 
stomach was full of the fine swamp grass. 

These handsome antelopes come next to the situtunga 
as lovers of water and dwellers in the marshes. They 
are far more properly to be called " waterbuck " than 
are the present proprietors of that name, which, like the 
ordinary kob, though liking to be near streams, spend 
most of their time on dry plains and hill-sides. This 
saddle- marked antelope of the swamps has the hoofs 
very long and the whole foot flexible and spreading, so 
as to help it in passing over wet ground and soft mud ; 
the pasterns behind are largely bare of hair. It seems to 
be much like the lechwe, a less handsome, but equally 
water-loving, antelope of Southern Africa, which is put 
in the same genus with the waterbuck and kob. 

That afternoon Dr. Mearns killed with his X'N^inchester 
•30 to '40, on the wing, one of the most interesting birds 
we obtained on our whole trip, the whale-billed stork. It 
was an old male, and its gizzard was full of the remains 
of small fish. The whalebill is a large wader, blackish- 
grey in colour, slightly crested, with big feet and a huge 
swollen bill — a queer-looking bird, with no near kinsfolk, 
and so interesting that nothing would have persuaded 

^Ir. Roosevelt and Kermii Roosevelt with giant eland hornif 


me to try to kill more than the four actually needed for 
the public (not ])rivate) Museum to which our collections 
were ^oing. It is of solitary habits, and is found only 
in certain vast, lonely marshes of tropical iVfrica, where 
it is conspicuous by its extraordinary bill, dark colora- 
tion, and sluggishness of conduct, hunting sedately in 
the muddy shallows, or standing motionless for hours, 
surrounded by reed-beds or by long reaches of quaking 
and treacherous ooze. 

Next morning, while at brcakfiist on the breezy deck, 
we spied another herd of the saddle-marked lechwe, in 
the marsh alongside, and Kermit landed and killed one, 
after deep wading, up to his chin in some places, and 
much hard work in the rank grass. This buck was 
interesting when compared with the two I had shot. 
He was apparently a little older than either, but not 
aged ; on the contrary, in his prime, and fat. He had 
the white saddle-like mark on the withers and the w^hite 
back of the neck well developed. Yet he was smaller 
than either of mine, and the horns much smaller ; 
indeed, they were seven inches shorter than my longest 
ones. It looks as if, in some animals at least, the full 
size of body and horns are reached before the white 
saddle-markings are acquired. The horns of these 
saddle- mark lechwes are, relati\'ely to the body, far 
longer and finer than in other species of the genus ; 
just as is the case with the big East African gazelle 
when compared with other gazelles. 

That afternoon, near the mouth of the Rohr, which 
runs into the Bahr el Ghazal, I landed and shot a good 
buck of the Vaughan's kob, which is perhaps merely a 
sub-species of the white- eared kob. It is a handsome 
animal, handsomer than its close kinsman, the common 
or Uganda kob, although much less so than its associate 


450 THE GIANT ELAND [ch. xv 

tlie saddle-marked lechwe. Its hoofs are like those of 
the ordinary kobs and waterbucks, not in the least like 
those of the saddle-back ; so that, although the does are 
coloured alike, there is no chance of mistaking any 
lechwe doe for any true kob doe. We found these kobs 
in much drier ground than the saddle-backs, and there- 
fore they were easier to get at. The one I shot was an 
old ram, accompanied by several ewes. We saw them 
from the boat, but they ran. Cuninghame and I, with 
Kongoni and Gouvimali, hunted for them in vain for a 
couple of hours. I'hen we met a savage, a very tall, 
lean Nuer. He was clad in a fawn skin, and carried 
two spears, one with a bright, sharp, broad-bladed head, 
the other narrow-headed with villainous barbs. His hair, 
much longer than that of a AVest Coast negro, was tied 
back. As we came toward him he stood on one leg, 
with the other foot resting against it, and, raising his 
hand, with fingers extended, he motioned to us with 
what in civilized regions would be regarded as a gesture 
bidding us halt. But he meant it as a friendly greeting, 
and solemnly shook hands with all four of us, including 
the gun-bearers. By signs we made him understand 
that we were after game ; so was he ; and he led us to 
the little herd of kob. Kongoni, as usual, saw them 
before anyone else. From an ant-hill I could make out 
the buck's horns and his white ears, which he was con- 
tinually Happing at the biting flies that worried him ; 
when he lowered his head I could see nothing. Finally, 
he looked fixedly at us ; he was a hundred and fifty 
yards off, and I had to shoot standing on the peak of 
the ant-heap, and aim through the grass, guessing where 
his hidden body might be ; and I missed him. At the 
shot the does went ofi' to the left, but he ran to the 
right, once or twice leaping high ; and when he halted. 


at less than two hundred yards, althouij^h I could still 
only see his horns, I knew where his body was ; and 
this time I killed liini. VVe gave most of the meat to 
the Nuer. He ^vas an utterly wild savage, and when 
Cuninghame suddenly lit a match he was so friglitened 
that it was all we could do to keep him from bolting. 

Kermit went on to try for a doe, but had bad luck, 
twice killing a spikebuck by mistake, and did not get 
back to the boat until long after dark. 

The followinij day we were in the mouth of the Bahr 
el Ghazal. It ran sluggishly through immense marshes, 
which stretched back from the river for miles on either 
hand, broken here and there by flats of slightly higher 
land with thorn-trees. The whale-billed storks were 
fairly common, and were very conspicuous as they stood 
on the quaking siu'face of the marsh, supported by their 
long-toed feet. After several fruitless stalks and much 
following through the thick marsh grass, sometimes up 
to our necks in water, I killed one with the Springfield 
at a distance of one hundred and thirty yards, and 
Kermit, after missing one standing, cut it down as it rose 
with his Winchester IM) to '40. These whalebills had 
in their gizzards, not only small fish, but quite a number 
of the green blades of the marsh grass. Tlie Arabs call 
them the " Fatlier of the Shoe," and Europeans call 
them shoebills as well as whalebills. Tlie Bahr el 
Ghazal was alive with water-fowl, saddle-bill storks, 
sacred and purple ibis, many kinds of herons, cormorants, 
plover, and pretty tree-ducks, which twittered instead 
of quacking. There were sweet-scented lotus water- 
lilies in the ponds. A party of waterbuck cows and 
calves let the steamer pass within fifty yards without 

We went back to Eake No. where we met another 

452 THE GIANT ELAND [ch. xv 

steamer, with aboard it M. Solve, a Belgian sportsman, 
a very successful hunter, whom we had already met at 
Lado ; with him were his wife, his sister, and his 
brother-in-law, both of the last being as ardent in the 
chase, especially of dangerous game, as he was. His 
party had killed two whalebills, one for the British 
Museum and one for the Congo Museum. They were 
a male and female who were near their nest, which con- 
tained two downy young ; these were on M. Solvd's 
boat, where we saw them. The nest was right on the 
marsh water ; the birds had bent the long blades of 
marsh grass into an interlacing foundation, and on this 
had piled grass, which they had cut with their beaks. 
These beaks can give a formidable bite, by the way, as 
one of our sailors foimd to his cost when he rashly tried 
to pick up a wounded bird. 

I was anxious to get a ewe of the saddle-back lechwe 
for the Museimi, and landed in the late afternoon, on 
seeing a herd. The swamp was so deep that it took an 
hour's very hard and fatiguing wading, forcing ourselves 
through the rank grass up to our shoulders in water, 
before we got near them. The herd numbered about 
forty individuals ; their broad trail showed where they 
had come through the swamp, and even through a 
papyrus bed ; but we found them grazing on merely 
moist ground, where there were ant-hills in the long 
grass. As I crept up they saw me, and greeted me 
with a chorus of croaking grunts ; they are a very noisy 
buck. I shot a ewe, and away rushed the herd through 
the long grass, making a noise which could have been 
heard nearly a mile off, and splashing and bounding 
through the shallow lagoons. They halted, and again 
begun grunting ; and then off they rushed once 
more. The doe's stomach was filled with tender marsh 


grass. Meanwhile, Kermit killed, on drier ground, a 
youngish male of the white-eared kob. 

Next morning we were up at the Bahr el Zeraf. At 
ten we sighted from the boat several herds of white- 
eared kob, and Kermit and I went in different directions 
after them, getting foui-. The old rams were very hand- 
some animals, with coats of a deep rich brown that was 
almost black, and sharply contrasted black and white 
markings on their faces ; but it was interesting to see 
that many of the younger rams, not yet in the fully 
adult pelage, had horns as long as those of their elders. 
The young rams and ewes were a light reddish-yellow, 
being in colour much like the ewes of the saddle-back 
lechwe ; and there was the usual disproportion in size 
between the sexes. AN'ith each liock of ewes and young 
rams there was ordinarily one old black ram ; and some 
of the old rams went by themselves. The ground was 
so open that all my shots had to be taken at long range. 
In habits they differed from the saddle-back lechwes, 
for they were found on dry land, often w^here the grass 
was quite short, and went freely among the thorn- 
trees ; they cared for the neighbourhood of water merely 
as ordinary waterbuck or kob care for it. 

Here we met another boat, with aboard it Sir William 
Garstin, one of the men who have made Egypt and the 
Soudan what they are to-day, and who have thereby 
rendered an incalculable service, not only to England, 
but to civilization. 

We had now finished our hunting, save that once or 
twice we landed to shoot a buck or some birds for the 
table. It was amusing to see how sharply the birds 
discriminated between the birds of prey which they 
feared and tliose which they regarded as harmless. We 
saw a flock of guinea-fowl strolling unconcernedly about 

454 THE GIANT ELAND [ch. xv 

at the foot of a tree in which a fish eagle was perched ; 
and one evening Dr. Mearns saw some guinea-fowl go 
to roost in a bush in which two kites had already settled 
themselves for the night, the kites and the guineas 
perching amiably side by side, 

We stopped at the mouth of the Sobat to visit the 
American Mission, and were most warmly and hos- 
pitably received by the missionaries, and were genuinely 
impressed by the faithful work they are doing, under 
such great difliculties and with such cheerfulness and 
courage. The Medical Mission was especially interest- 
ing. It formed an important part of the mission work ; 
and not only were the natives round about treated, but 
those from far away also came in numbers. At the 
time of our visit there were about thirty patients, 
taking courses of treatment, who had come from 
distances varying from twenty-five miles to a hundred 
and fifty. 

We steamed steadily down the Nile. Where the 
great river bent to the east we v.ould sit in the shade 
on the forward deck during the late afternoon and look 
down the long glistening water-street in front of us, 
with its fringe of reed- bed and marshy grassland and 
papyrus swamp, and the slightly higher dry land on 
Avhich grew acacias and scattered palms. Along the 
river banks and inland were villages of Shilluks and 
other tribes, mostly cattle owners ; some showing slight 
traces of improvement, others utter savages, tall, naked 
men, bearing bows and arrows. 

Our Egyptian and Nubian crew recalled to my mind 
the crew of the dahabiah on which as a boy I had gone 
up the Egyptian Nile thirty- seven years before ; 
especially when some piece of work was being done by 
the crew as they chanted in grunting chorus " Ya Allah, 


ul Allah." As we went down the Nile we kept seeing 
more and more of the birds which I remembered, one 
species after another appearing ; familiar cow herons, 
crocodile plover, noisy spurwing plover, black and white 
kingfishers, hoopoos, green bee-eaters, black and white 
chats, desert larks, and trumpeter bullfinches. 

At night we sat on deck and watclied the stars and 
the dark, lonely river. The swinniiing crocodiles and 
plunging hippos made whirls and wakes of feeble light 
that glimmered for a moment against the black water. 
The unseen birds of the marsh and the night called to 
one another in strange voices. Often there were grass 
fires, burning, leaping, lines of red, the lurid glare in 
the sky above them making even more sombre the 
surrounding gloom. 

As we steamed northward down the long stretch of 
the Nile which ends at Khartoum, the wind blew in our 
faces, day after day, hard and steadily. Narrow reed- 
beds bordered the shore ; there were grass flats and 
groves of acacias and palms, and farther down reaches 
of sandy desert. The health of our companions who 
had been suffering from fever and dysentery gradually 
improved ; but the case of champagne, which we had 
first opened at Gondokoro, was of real service, for two 
members of the party were at times so sick that their 
situation was critical. 

We reached Khartoum on the afternoon of JNIarch 14, 
1910, and Kermit and 1 parted from our conn-ades of 
the trip with real regret. During the year we spent 
together there had not been a jar, and my respect and 
liking for them had grown steadily, ^loreover, it was 
a sad parting from our faithful black followers, whom 
we knew we should never see again. It had been an 
interesting and a happy year ; though I was very glad 

456 THE GIANT ELAND [ch. xv 

to be once more with those who were dear to me, and 
to turn my face toward my own home and my own 

Kermit's and my health througliout the trip had been 
excellent. He had been laid up for three days all told, 
and I for five. Kermit's three days were due, two to 
tick fever on the Kapiti plains, one probably to the sun. 
Mine were all due to fever ; but I think my fever had 
nothing to do with Africa at all, and was simply a recur- 
rence of the fever I caught in the Santiago campaign, 
and which ever since has come on at long and irregular 
intervals for a day or two at a time. The couple of attacks 
I had in Africa were very slight, by no means as severe 
as one I had while bear-himting early one spring in the 
Rocky Mountains. One of these attacks came on u<nder 
rather funny circumstances. It was at Lake Naivasha, 
on the day I killed the hippo which charged the boat. 
We were in the steam-launch, and I began to feel badly, 
and knew I was in for a bout of fever. Just then we 
spied the hippo, and went after it in the row-boat. I 
was anxious to hold back the attack until I got the 
hippo, as when shaking with a chill it is, of course, very 
difficult to take aim. I just succeeded, the excitement 
keeping me steady, and as soon as the hippo was dead, 
I curled up in the boat and had my chill in peace and 

There are differences of opinion as to whether any 
spirituous liquors should be drunk in the tropics. Per- 
sonally, I think that the less one has to do with them 
the better. Not liking whisky, I took a bottle of 
brandy for emergencies, ^^ery early in the trip I 
decided that, even when feverish or exhausted by a 
hard day's tramp, hot tea did me more good than brandy, 
and I handed the bottle over to Cuninghame. At 

CH. XV] 



Khartoum he produced it, and asked what he should do 
with it, and I told him to put it in the steamer's stores. 
He did so, after finding out the amount that had been 
drunk, and hiformed me that I had taken just six ounces 
in eleven months. 


BY T. K. 

nv K. u. 










Square-mouthed rhinoceros 



Hook lipped rhinoceros 



Wart-hofv ... 



Conniion zebra 



Big or Grevy's zebra ... 









Giant eland ... 



Connuon eland 









Bushbuck : 

East African 



Uganda harnessed 



Nile harnessed 









Wildebeest ... 



Neumann's hartebeest ... 


Coke's hartebeest 



Big hartebeest : 







Nilotic ... 






458 THE GIANT ELAND [ch. xv 

BY T. R. 

BY K. R. 

Common waterbuck 

... 5 


Singsing waterbuck 

... 6 


Common kob 

. . . 

... 10 


Vaughan's kob 

... 1 


White-eared kob 

• • • 

... 3 


Saddle-backed lechwe 


Gray^s) 3 


Bohor reedbuck 

• > . 

... 10 


Chanler's buck 

. . . 

... 3 



... 7 


Big gazelle : 

Granti . . . 





... 4 


Notata ... 


... 8 


Thomson's gazelle 

• . , 

... 11 



• < > 

... 3 


Klipspringer . . . 

... 1 



• t • 

.. 18 




... 3 







• ■ • 




* • • 


Red ground monkey 

. . . 


Green monkey 

. . . 


Black and white mon 


... 5 



■ • t 




• • • 



• • • 









■ • * 


Great bustard 


... 41 


Lesser bustard 

... 1 


Kavirondo crane 

. • . 



• • • 


Whale-headed stork 

... 1 



• • • 

... 1 


Saddle- billed stork 


... V 

> • • 

Ibis stork 


... 21 


• « • 

... 1 

• . . 

Guinea-fowl ... 

• • * 

... 5 


Fran col in 

• t • 

... 1 


Fish eagle 




^ One on wing. 

2 On 






HV T. K. 
.'.'. '.'.'. 1 
... ... 3 

ItV K. 





Grand total 


111 addition, we killed with the Fox shot-gun Egyptian 
geese, yellow-billed mallards, francolins, spur-fowl, and 
sand-grouse for the pot, and certain other birds for 

Kermit and I kept about a dozen trophies for oiu'- 
selves : otherwise we shot nothing that was not used 
cither as a nmseuni specimen or for meat — usually for 
both purposes. ^Ve were in hunting-grounds practically 
as good as any that have ever existed, but we did not 
kill a tenth nor a hundredth part of what we might have 
killed had we been willing. The mere size of the bag 
indicates little as to a man's prowess as a hunter, and 
almost nothing as to the interest or value of his achieve- 


By colonel ROOSEVELT, 

March !28, 19IO. 

It is to me a peculiar pleasure to speak to-day under 
such distinguished auspices as yours, Prince Fouad,^ 
before this National University, and it is of good 
augury for the great cause of higher education in Egypt 
that it should have enlisted the special interest of so 
distinguished and eminent a man. The Arabic-speak- 
ing world produced the great University of Cordova, 
which flourished a thousand years ago, and was a source 
of light and learning when the rest of Europe was 
either in twilight or darkness. In the centuries following 
the creation of this Spanish Moslem University, Arabic 
men of science, travellers, and geographers — such as the 
noteworthy African traveller, Ibn Batuta, a copy of 
whose book, by the way, I saw yesterday in the library 
of the Alhazar^ — were teachers whose works are still to 
be eagerly studied ; and I trust that here we shall see 
the revival, and more than the revival, of the conditions 
that made possible such contributions to the growth of 

This scheme of a National University is fraught with 
literally untold possibilities for good to your country. 

^ Prince Fouad is the uncle of the Khedive. 
- The great Moslem University of Cairo. 



You have many rocks ahead of which you must steer 
clear ; and because I am your earnest friend and well- 
M'isher, I desire to point out one or two of these which 
it is necessary especially to avoid. In the first place, 
there is one point upon which I always lay stress in my 
own country, in your country, in all countries tlie 
need of entire honesty as the only foundation on whicli 
it is safe to build. It is a prime essential that all who 
are in any way responsible for tlie beginnings of the 
University shall make it evident to everyone that the 
management of the University, financial and otherwise, 
will be conducted with absolute honesty. Very much 
money will have to be raised and expended for this 
Uni\'ersity in order to make it what it can and ought to 
be made ; for, if properly managed, I firmly believe that 
it will become one of tlie greatest influences, and 
perhaps the very greatest influence, for good in all that 
part of the world where Mohammedanism is the leading 
religion — that is, in all those regions of the Orient, 
including North Africa and South- Western Asia, which 
stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the farther confines 
of India and to the hither provinces of China. This 
University should ha\'e a profoimd influence in all 
things educational, social, economic, industrial, through- 
out this whole region, because of the very fact of 
Egypt's inmiense strategic importance, so to speak, in 
the world of the Orient, an importance due partly to 
her geographical position, partly to other causes. 
Moreover, it is most fortimate that Egypt's present 
position is such that this University will enjoy a free- 
dom hitherto unparalleled in the investigation and 
testing out of all problems vital to the future of the 
peoples of the Orient. 

Nor will the importance of this University be con- 


fined to the Orient. Egypt must necessarily, from now 
on, always occupy a similar strategic position as regards 
the peoples, of the Occident, for she sits on one of 
the highways of the commerce that will flow in ever- 
increasing volume from Europe to the East. Those 
responsible for the management of this University 
should set before themselves a very high ideal. Not 
merely should it stand for the uplifting of all Moham- 
medan peoples, and of all Christians and peoples of 
other religions who live in Mohammedan lands, but 
it should also carry its teaching and practice to such 
perfection as in the end to make it a factor in instruct- 
ing the Occident. AVhen a scholar is sufficiently apt, 
sufficiently sincere and intelligent, he always has before 
him the opportunity of eventually himself giving aid to 
the teachers from whom he has received aid. 

Now, to make a good beginning towards the definite 
achievement of these high ends, it is essential that you 
should command respect and should be absolutely 
trusted. Make it felt that you will not tolerate the least 
little particle of financial crookedness in the raising or ex- 
penditure of any money, so that those who wish to give 
money to this deserving cause may feel entire confidence 
that their piastres will be well and honestly applied. 

In the next place, show the same good faith, wisdom, 
and sincerity in your educational plans that you do in 
the financial management of the institution. Avoid 
sham and hollow pretence just as you avoid religious, 
racial, and political bigotry. You have much to learn 
from the Universities of Europe and of my own land, 
but there is also in them not a little which it is well to 
avoid. Copy what is good in them, but test in a 
critical spirit whatever you take, so as to be sure that 
you take only what is wisest and best for yourselves. 


More important even than avoiding any mere educa- 
tional shortconiin<>' is the avoidance of moral short- 
coming. Students are already being sent to Europe to 
prepare themselves to return as professors. Such 
preparation is now essential, for it is of prime impor- 
tance that the University should be familiar with what 
is being done in the best Universities of Europe and 
America. IJut let the men who are sent be careful to 
bring back what is fine and good, what is essential to 
the highest kind of modern progress ; and let them 
avoid what are the mere non-essentials of the present- 
day civilization, and, above all, the vices of modern 
civilized nations. Let these men keep open minds. 
It would be a capital blunder to refuse to copy, and 
thereafter to adapt to your own needs, what has raised 
the Occident in the scale of power and justice and 
clean living. But it would be a no less capital blunder 
to copy what is cheap or trivial or vicious, or even what 
is merely wrong-headed. Let the men who go to 
Europe feel that they have much to learn, and much 
also to avoid and reject ; let them bring back the good 
and leave behind the discarded evil. 

Remember that character is far more important than 
intellect, and that a really great University should strive 
to develop the qualities that go to make up character 
even more than the qualities that go to make up 
a highly trained mind. No man can reach the 
front rank if he is not intelligent and if he is not 
trained with intelligence ; but mere intelligence by 
itself is worse than useless unless it is guided by an 
upright heart, unless there are also strength and 
courage behind it. Morality, decency, clean living, 
courage, manliness, self-respect — these qualities are 
more important in the make-up of a people than any 


mental subtlety. Shape this University's course so that 
it shall help in the production of a constantly upward 
trend for all your people. 

You should be always on your guard against one 
defect in Western education. There has been alto- 
gether too great a tendency in the higher schools of 
learning in the West to train men merely for literary, 
professional, and official positions ; altogether too great 
a tendency to act as if a literary education were the 
only real education. I am exceedingly glad that you 
have already started industrial and agricultural schools 
in Egypt. A literary education is simply one of many 
different kinds of education, and it is not wise that 
more than a small percentage of the people of any 
country should have an exclusively literary education. 
The average man must either supplement it by another 
education, or else as soon as he has left an institution of 
learning, even though he has benefited by it, he must at 
once begin to train himself to do work along totally 
different lines. His Highness the Khedive, in the 
midst of his activities touching many phases of Egyptian 
life, has shown conspicuous wisdom, great foresight, and 
keen understanding of the needs of the country in the 
way in which he has devoted himself to its agricultural 
betterment, in the interest which he has taken in the 
improvement of cattle, crops, etc. You need in this 
country, as is the case in every other country, a certain 
number of men whose education shall fit them for the 
life of scholarship, or to become teachers or public 
officials. But it is a very unhealthy thing for any 
country for more than a small proportion of the 
strongest and best minds of the country to turn into 
such channels. It is essential also to develop indus- 
trialism, to train people so that they can be cultivators 


of tlie soil ill tlie largest sense on as successful a scale as 
the most successful lawyer or public man, to train them 
so that they shall be engineers, merchants -in short, 
men able to take the lead in all the various functions 
indispensable in a great modern civilized State. An 
honest, courageous, and far-sighted politician is a good 
thing in any country. l?ut his usefulness will depend 
chiefly upon his being able to express the wishes of a 
population wherein the politician forms but a fragment 
of the leadership, where the business man and the land- 
owner, the engineer and the man of technical knowledge, 
the men of a hundred different pursuits, represent the 
average type of leadership. No people has ever perma- 
nently amounted to anything if its only public leaders 
were clerks, politicians, and lawyers. The base, the 
foundation, of healthy life in any country, in any 
society, is necessarily composed of the men who do the 
actual productive work of the country, whether in 
tilling the soil, in the handicrafts, or in business ; and it 
matters little whether they work witli hands or head, 
although more and more we are growing to realize that 
it is a good thing to have the same man work with both 
head and hands. These men, in many differing careers, 
do the work which is most important to the com- 
munity s life, although, of course, it must be supple- 
mented by the work of the other men whose education 
and activities are literary and scholastic ; who work in 
politics or law, or in literary and clerical positions. 

Never forget that in any country the most important 
activities are the activities of the man who works with 
head or hands in the ordinary life of the community, 
whether he be handicraftsman, farmer, or business man 
— no matter what his occupation, so long as it is useful, 
and no matter what his position, from the guiding 


intelligence at the top doAvn all the way through, just 
as long as his work is good. I preach this to you here 
by the banks of the Nile, and it is the identical doctrine 
I preach no less earnestly by the banks of the Hudson, 
the Mississippi, and the Columbia. 

Remember always that the securing of a substantial 
education, whether by the individual or by a people, 
is attained only by a process, not by an act. You can no 
more make a man really educated by giving him a 
certain curriculum of studies than you can make a 
people fit for self-government by giving it a paper 
constitution. The training of an individual so as to fit 
him to do good work in the world is a matter of years, 
just as the training of a nation to fit it successfully to 
fulfil the duties of self-government is a matter, not of a 
decade or two, but of generations. There are foolish 
empiricists who believe tliat the granting of a paper 
constitution, prefaced by some high-sounding declara- 
tion, of itself confers the power of self-government upon 
a people. This is never so. Nobody can " give " a 
people " self-government," any more than it is possible 
to "give" an individual "self-help." You know that 
the Arab proverb runs, " God helps those who help 
themselves." In the long-run, the only permanent way 
by which an individual can be helped is to help him to 
help himself, and this is one of the things your University 
should inculcate. But it must be his own slow growth in 
character that is the final and determining factor in the 
problem. So it is with a people. In the two Americas we 
have seen certain commonwealths rise and prosper greatly. 
We have also seen other commonwealths start under 
identically the same conditions, with the same freedom 
and the same rights, the same guarantees, and yet have 
seen them fail miserably and lamentably, and sink into 


corruption and anarchy and tyranny, simply because 
the people for whom the constitution was made did not 
develop the qualities which alone would enable them to 
take advantage of it. With any people the essential 
quality to show is, not haste in grasping after a power 
whicli it is only too easy to misuse, but a slow, steady, 
resolute development of those substantial qualities, 
such as the love of justice, the love of fair play, the 
spirit of self-reliance, of moderation, which alone enable 
a people to govern themselves. In this long and even 
tedious but absolutely essential process, I believe your 
University will take an important part, ^^''hen I was 
in the Soudan I heard a vernacular proverb, based on a 
text in the Koran, w^hich is so apt that, although not an 
Arabic scholar, 1 shall attempt to repeat it in Arabic : 
'^ Allah ma el sabe?in, izza sabaru'' — God is with the 
patient, if they knotv how to wait. 

One essential feature of this process must be a spirit 
which will condemn every form of lawless evil, every 
form of envy and hatred, and, above all, hatred based 
upon rehgion or race. All good men, all the men 
of every nation whose respect is worth having, have 
been inexpressibly shocked by the recent assassination 
of Boutros Pasha. It was an even greater calamity for 
Egypt than it w^as a wrong to the individual himself. 
The type of man which turns out an assassin is a type 
possessing all the qualities most alien to good citizen- 
ship ; the type which produces poor soldiers in time of 
war and worse citizens in time of peace. Such a man 
stands on a pinnacle of evil infamy ; and those who 
apologize for or condone his act, those who, by word or 
deed, directly or indirectly, encourage such an act in 
advance, or detend it afterwards, occupy the same bad 
eminence. It is of no consequence whether the assassin 


be a Moslem, or a Christian, or a man of no creed ; 
whether the crime be committed in pohtical strife or 
industrial warfare ; whether it be an act hired by a rich 
man or performed by a poor man ; whether it be 
committed under the pretence of preserving order or 
the pretence of obtaining liberty. It is equally abhorrent 
in the eyes of all decent men, and, in the long-run, 
equally damaging to the very cause to which the assassin 
professes to be devoted. 

Yours is a National University, and as such knows 
no creed. This is as it should be. When I speak of 
equality between Moslem and Christian, I speak as one 
who believes that where the Christian is more powerful 
he should be scrupulous in doing justice to the JNloslem, 
exactly as under reverse conditions justice should be 
done by the Moslem to the Christian. In my own 
country we have in the Philippines IMoslems as well as 
Christians. We do not tolerate for one moment any 
oppression by the one or by the other, any discrimina- 
tion by the Government between them or failure to 
mete out the same justice to each, treating each man 
on his worth as a man, and behaving towards him as his 
conduct demands and deserves. 

In short, I earnestly hope that all responsible for the 
beginnings of the University, which I trust will become 
one of the greatest and most powerful educational 
influences throughout the world, will feel it incumbent 
upon themselves to frown on every form of wrong- 
doing, whether in the shape of injustice, or corruption, 
or lawlessness, and to stand with firmness, with good 
sense, and with courage, for those immutable principles 
of justice and merciful dealing as between man and 
man, without which there can never be the slightest 
growth towards a really fine and high civilization. 



May 31, 1910. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, — It is a peculiar pleasure to 
me to be here. And yet I cannot but appreciate, as we 
all do, the sadness of the fact tliat I come here just 
after the death of the Sovereign whom }'ou so mourn, 
and whose death caused such an outburst of sympatliy 
for you tlu'oughout the civilized world. One of the 
tilings I shall never forget is the attitude of that great 
mass of people, assembled on the day of the funeral, 
who, in silence, in perfect order, and with uncovered 
heads, saw the body of the dead King pass to its last 
resting-place. I had the high honour of being deputed 
to come to the funeral as the representative of America, 
and by my presence to express the deep and universal 
feeling of sympathy wliich moves the entire American 
people for the British people in their hour of sadness 
and trial. 

I need hardly say how profoimdly I feel the high 
honour that you confer upon me — an honour great in 
itself, and great because of the ancient historic associa- 
tions connected with it, with the ceremonies incident to 
conferring it, and with the place in which it is conferred. 
I am very deeply appreciative of all that this ceremony 
means, all that this gift implies, and all the kind words 

which Sir Joseph Dimsdale has used in conferring it. 



I thank you heartily for myself. I thank you still more 
because I know that what you have done is to be taken 
primarily as a sign of the respect and friendly goodwill 
which more and more, as time goes by, tends to knit 
the English-speaking peoples. 

I shall not try to make you any extended address of 

mere thanks, still less of mere eulogy. I prefer to 

speak, and I know you would prefer to have me speak, 

on matters of real concern to you, as to which I happen 

at this moment to possess some first-hand knowledge ; 

for recently I traversed certain portions of the British 

Empire under conditions which made me intimately 

cognizant of their circumstances and needs. I have 

just spent nearly a year in Africa. While there 1 saw 

four Bi'itish protectorates. I grew heartily to respect 

the men whom I there met — settlers and military and 

civil officials — and it seems to me that the best service 

I can render them and you is very briefly to tell you 

how I was impressed by some of the things that I saw. 

Your men in Africa are doing a great work for your 

Empire, and they are also doing a great work for 

civilization. This fact and my sympathy for and belief 

in them are my reasons for speaking. The people at 

home, whether in Europe or in America, who live 

softly often fail fully to realize what is being done 

for them by the men who are actually engaged in the 

pioneer work of civilization abroad. Of course, in any 

mass of men there are sure to be some who are weak 

or unworthy, and even those who are good are sure to 

make occasional mistakes — that is as true of pioneers as 

of other men. Nevertheless, the great fact in world 

history during the last century has been the spread 

of civilization over the world's waste spaces. The work 

is still going on ; and the soldiers, the settlers, and the 


civic officials who are actually doing it are, as a whole, 
entitled to the heartiest respect and the fullest support 
from their brothers who remain at home. 

At the outset there is one point upon which I wish to 
insist Avith all possible emphasis. The civilized nations 
who are conquering for civilization savage lands should 
work together in a spirit of hearty mutual goodwill. I 
listened with special interest to what Sir Joseph Dims- 
dale said about the blessing of peace and goodwill 
among nations. I agree witli that in the abstract. Let 
us show by our actions and our words in specific cases 
that we agree with it also in the concrete. Ill-will 
between civilized nations is bad enough anywhere, but 
it is peculiarly harmful and contemptible when those 
actuated by it are engaged in the same task — a task of 
such far-reaching importance to the future of humanity 
— the task of subduing the savagery of wild man and 
wild nature, and of bringing abreast of our civilization 
those lands where there is an older civilization which 
has somehow gone crooked. Mankind, as a whole, has 
benefited by tlie noteworthy success that has attended 
the French occupation of Algiers and Tunis, just as 
mankind, as a whole, has benefited by what England 
has done in India ; and each nation should be glad of 
the other nation's achie\'ements. In the same way it 
is of interest to all civilized men that a similar success 
shall attend alike tlie Britislier and the German as they 
work in East Africa ; exactly as it has been a benefit to 
everyone that America took possession of the Philip- 
pines. Those of you who know Lord Cromer's excel- 
lent book, in whicli he compares modern and ancient 
Imperialism, need no words from me to prove that the 
domhiion of modern civilized nations over the dark 
places of the earth has been fraught with widespread 


good for mankind ; and my plea is that the civihzed 
nations engaged in doing this work shall treat one 
another with respect and friendship, and shall hold it as 
discreditable to permit envy and jealousy, backbiting 
and antagonism, among themselves. 

I visited four different British protectorates or posses- 
sions in Africa — namely, British East Africa, Uganda, 
the Soudan, and Egypt. About tlie first three I have 
nothing to say to you save what is pleasant, as well as 
true. About the last I wish to say a few words because 
they are true, without regard to whether or not they 
are pleasant. 

In the highlands of East Africa you have a land 
which can be made a true white man's country. While 
there I met many settlers on intimate terms, and I felt 
for them a peculiar sympathy, because they so strikingly 
reminded me of the men of our own western frontier of 
America, of the pioneer farmers and ranchmen who 
build up the States of the great plains and the Rocky 
Mountains. It is of high importance to encourage 
these settlers in every way, remembering — I say that 
here in the City — remembering that the prime need is 
not for capitalists to exploit the land, but for settlers 
who shall make their permanent homes therein. Capital 
is a good servant, but a mighty poor master. No alien 
race should be permitted to come into competition 
with the settlers. Fortunately, you have now in the 
Governor of East Africa, Sir Percy Girouard, a man 
admirably fitted to deal wisely and firmly with the 
many problems before him. He is on the ground and 
knows the needs of the country, and is zealously 
devoted to its interests. All that is necessary is to 
follow his lead, and to give him cordial support and 
backing. The principle upon which I think it is wise to 


act in dealing with far-away possessions is this : clioose 
your man, change him if you become discontented with 
him, but while you keep him back him up. 

In Uganda the problem is totally different. Uganda 
cannot be made a white man's country, and the prime 
need is to administer the land in the interest of the 
native races, and to help forward their development. 
Uganda has been the scene of an extraordinary develop- 
ment of Christianity. Nowhere else of recent times has 
missionary effort met with such success. The inhabi- 
tants stand far above most of the races in the Dark 
Continent in their capacity for progress towards civiliza- 
tion. They have made great strides, and the British 
officials have shown equal judgment and disinterested- 
ness in the work they have done ; and they have been 
especially wise in trying to develop the natives along their 
own lines, instead of seeking to turn them into imitation 
Englishmen. In Uganda all that is necessary is to go 
forward on the paths you have already marked out. 

The Soudan is peculiarly interesting because it 
affords the best possible example of the wisdom — and 
when I say that I speak with historical accuracy — ot 
disregarding the well-meaning but unwise sentimen- 
talists who object to the spread of civilization at the 
expense of sa^'agery. I remember a quarter of a century 
ago, when you were engaged in the occupation of the 
Soudan, that many of your people at home, and some of 
ours in America, said tliat what was demanded in the 
Soudan was the application of the piinciples of indepen- 
dence and self-government to the Soudanese, coupled 
with insistence upon complete religious toleration and 
the abolition of the slave-trade. Unfortunately, the 
chief reason why the iNlahdists wanted independence 
and self-government was that they could put down all 


religions but their own and carry on the slave-trade. 
I do not believe that in the whole world there is to be 
found any nook of territory which has shown such 
astonishing progress from the most hideous misery to 
well-being and prosperity as the Soudan has shown 
during the last twelve years, while it has been under 
British rule. Up to that time it was independent, and 
it governed itself; and independence and self-govern- 
ment in the hands of the Soudanese proved to be much 
what independence and self-government would be in a 
wolf pack. Great crimes were committed there — crimes 
so dark that their very hideousness protected them from 
exposure. During a decade and a half, while Mahdism 
controlled the country, there flourished a tyranny which 
for cruelty, bloodthirstiness, unintelligence, and wanton 
destructiveness, surpassed anything which a civilized 
people can even imagine. The keystones of the Mahdist 
party were religious intolerance and slavery, with 
murder and the most abominable cruelty as the method 
of obtaining each. 

During those fifteen years at least two-thirds of the 
popidation, probably seven or eight millions of people, 
died by violence or by starvation. Then the British 
came in, put an end to the independence and self- 
government which had wrought this hideous evil, 
restored order, kept the peace, and gave to each 
individual a liberty which during the evil days of their 
own self-government not one human being possessed, 
save only the blood-stained tyrant who at the moment 
was ruler. I stoj^ped at village after village in the 
Soudan, and in many of them I was struck by the fact 
that, while there were plenty of children, they were all 
under twelve years old ; and inquiry always developed 
that these children were known as " Government 


children," because in the days of Mahdism it was the 
hteral triitli that in a very hirge proportion of the 
coninnniities every child was either killed or died of 
starvation and hardship, wliereas under the peace 
brought by British rule families are floin-ishing, men 
and women are no longer lunited to death, and the 
children are brouglit up luuler more favourable circum- 
stances, for soul and bod}', tlian have ever previously 
obtained in tlie entire history of the Soudan. In 
administration, in education, in police work, the Sirdar 
and his lieutenants, great and small, have performed to 
perfection a task equally important and difficult. The 
Government officials, civil and military, who are respon- 
sible for this task, and the Egyptian and Soudanese 
who have worked with and under them, and as directed 
by them, have a claim upon all civilized mankind which 
should be heartily admitted. It would be a crime not 
to go on with the work — a work which the inhabitants 
themselves are helpless to perform, unless under firm 
and outside wise guidance. I have met people who 
had some doubt as to whether the Soudan would pay. 
Personally, I think it probably will. But I may add 
that, in my judgment, this fact does not alter the duty 
of l^ritain to stay there. It is not worth while belong- 
ing to a big nation imless the big nation is willing 
when the necessity arises to undertake a big task. I 
feel about you in the Soudan just as I felt about us in 
Panama. \Mien we acquired the right to build the 
Panama Canal, and entered on the task, there were 
worthy people who came to me and said they wondered 
whether it would pay. I always answered that it was 
one of the great world works which had to be done ; 
that it was our business as a nation to do it, if we were 
ready to make good our claim to be treated as a great 

47r» EGYPT 

world Power ; and that as we were unwilling to abandon 
the claim, no American worth his salt ought to hesitate 
about performing the task. I feel just the same way 
about you in the Soudan. 

Now as to Egypt. It would not be worth my while 
to speak to you at all, nor would it be worth your while 
to listen, unless on condition that I say what I deeply 
feel ought to be said. I speak as an outsider, but in 
one way this is an advantage, for I speak without 
national prejudice. I would not talk to you about 
your own internal affairs here at home ; but you are so 
very busy at home that 1 am not sure whether you 
realize just how things are, in some places at least, 
abroad. At any rate, it can do you no harm to hear 
the view of one who has actually been on the ground, 
and has information at first hand ; of one, moreover, 
who, it is true, is a sincere well-wisher of the British 
Empire, but who is not British by blood, and who is 
impelled to speak mainly because of his deep concern 
for the welfare of mankind and for the future of civiliza- 
tion. Remember also that I who address you am not 
only an American, but a Radical, a real — not a mock — 
Democrat, and that what I have to say is spoken chiefly 
because I am a Democrat — a man who feels that his 
first thought is bound to be the welfare of the masses of 
mankind, and his first duty to war against violence and 
injustice and wrong-doing, wherever found ; and I 
advise you only in accordance with the principles on 
w^hich I myself acted when 1 was President of the 
United States in dealing with the Philippines. 

In Egypt you are not only the guardians of your 
own interests ; you are also the guardians of the interests 
of civilization ; and the present condition of affairs in 
Egypt is a grave menace both to your Empire and to 


civilization. You have given Egypt tlie best govern- 
ment it has had for at least two thousand years — 
probably a better government than it has ever had 
before ; for never in history has the poor man in Egypt 
—the tiller of the soil, the ordinary laboiu'er — been 
treated with as much justice and mercy, under a rule as 
free from corruption and brutality, as during the last 
twenty-eight years. Yet recent events, and especially 
what has happened in connection with and following on 
the assassination of Houtros Pasha three months ago, 
have shown that, in certain vital points, you have erred, 
and it is for you to make good your error. It has been 
an error proceeding from the effort to do too much, and 
not too little, in the interests of the Egyptians tiiem 
selves ; but, imlbrtunately, it is necessary for all of us 
who have to do with uncivilized peoples, and especially 
with fanatical peoples, to remember that in such a 
situation as yours in Egypt weakness, timidity, and 
sentimentality, may cause even more far-reaching harm 
than violence and injustice. Of all broken reeds, senti- 
mentality is the most broken reed on which righteous- 
ness can lean. 

In Egypt you have been treating all religions with 
studied fairness and impartiality ; and instead of grate- 
fully acknowledging this, a noisy section of the nativ^e 
population takes advantage of what your good treat- 
ment has done to bring about an anti- foreign movement 
— a movement in which, as events have shown, murder 
on a large or a small scale is expected to play a leading 
part. Boutros Pasha was the best and most competent 
Egyptian official, a steadfast upholder of British rule, 
and an earnest worker for the welfare of his country- 
men ; and he was murdered simply and solely because 
of these facts, and because he did his duty wisely, 


fearlessly, and uprightly. The attitude of the so-called 
Egypt Nationalist Party in connection with this murder 
has shown that they were neither desirous nor capable 
of guaranteeing even that primary justice the failure to 
supply which makes self-government not merely an 
empty but a noxious farce. Such are the conditions ; 
and where the effort made by your officials to help the 
Egyptians towards self-government is taken advantage 
of by them, not to make things better, not to help their 
country, but to try to bring murderous chaos upon the 
land, then it becomes the primary duty of whoever is 
responsible for the Government in Egypt to establish 
order, and to take whatever measures are necessary to 
that end. 

It was with this primary object of establishing order 
that you went into Egypt twenty-eight years ago ; and 
the chief and ample justification for your presence in 
Egypt was this absolute necessity of order being estab- 
lished from without, coupled with your ability and 
willingness to establish it. Now, either you have the 
right to be in Egypt or you have not ; either it is or it 
is not your duty to establish and keep order. If you 
feel that you have not the right to be in Egypt, if you 
do not wish to establish and to keep order there, why, 
then, by all means get out of Egypt. If, as I hope, you 
feel that your duty to civihzed mankind and your fealty 
to your own great traditions alike bid you to stay, then 
make the fact and the name agree, and show that you 
are ready to meet in very deed the responsibility which 
is yours. It is the thing, not the form, which is vital. 
If the present forms of government in Egypt, established 
by you in the hope that they would help the Egyptians 
upward, merely serve to provoke and permit disorder, 
then it is for you to alter the forms ; for if you stay 


HI P],gypt, it is your first duty to keep order, and, above 
all things, also to punish murder and to bring to justice 
all who directly or indirectly incite others to commit 
murder or condone the crime when it is committed 
When a people treats assassination as the corner-stone 
of self -government, it forfeits all right to be treated as 
worthy of self-go\'ernment. You are in Egypt for 
several purposes, and among tliem one of the greatest is 
the benefit of the Egyptian people. You saved them 
from ruin by coming in, and at the present moment, if 
they are not governed from outside, they will again 
sink into a welter of cliaos. Some nation must govern 
Egypt. I hope and believe that you will decide that it 
is your duty to be that nation. 




I WISH to thank Sir Edward Grey and Lord Crewe for the 
numerous courtesies extended to me by the British officials 
throughout the British possessions in Africa; and M. Renkin for 
the equal courtesy shown me by the Belgian officials in the 

The scientific part of the expedition could not have been under- 
taken save for the generous assistance of Mr. Andrew Carnegie, 
Mr. Oscar Straus, Mr. Leigh Hunt, and certain others, to all of 
whom lovers of natural history are therefore deeply indebted. 

I owe more than I can express to the thoughtful and unwearied 
consideration of Mr. F. C. Selous and Mr. E. N. Buxton, through 
whom my excellent outfit was obtained. 

Mr. Jl. J. Cuninghame, assisted in East Africa by Mr. Leslie 
J. Tarlton, managed the expedition in the field, and no two better 
men for our purposes could have been found anywhere. I doubt 
if Mr. Cuninghame's equal in handling such an expedition as ours 
exists ; I know no one else who combines as he does the qualities 
which make a first-class explorer, guide, hunter, field-naturalist, 
and safari manager. Messrs. Newland and Tarlton, of Nairobi, 
did the actual work of providing and arranging for our whole 
journey in the most satisfactory manner. 



The following is ta partial list of the small mammals obtained on 
the trip, except certain bats, shrews, and rodents, which it is not 
possible to identify in the field. Even some of these identifications 
are not final. 



Frocavia mackinderi 
Procavia brucei marulata 
Procavia {Dendrohyrax) bettoni . 
Procavia {Dendrohyrax) crawshayi 

Alpine Hyrax. 
Athi Rock Hyra.x. 
Kikuyu Tree Hyra.x. 
Alpine Tree Hyrax. 


Heliosciurus kenice 
Paraxerus boehmi emini 
Paraxerus jacksoni 
Paraxerus jacksoni capitis 
Euxerus microdon fitlvior 
Graphiurus raptor 
Graphiurus parvus 
Lophiontys testudo 
Tatera, niombasre 
Tatera pothce 
Tatera fallax 
Tatera varia 
Tatera emini 
Tatera nigrita 
Dipodillus harwoodi 
Otomys irroratus orestes 
Otomys irroratus tropicalis 
Dendromus nigrifrotis . 
Dendromus insigiiis 
Dendromus whytei pallescens 
Steatomys athi . 
Lophuromys ansorgei 
Lopkuromys aquikis 
Mns (Leggada) bellus 


Keuia Forest Squirrel. 

Uganda Striped Squirrel. 

Jackson Forest Squirrel. 

Nairobi Forest Squirrel. ■ 

Kenia Ground Squirrel. 

Kenia Dormouse. 

Pigmy Dormouse. 

Nandi Maned Rat. 

Mombasa Gerbille. 

Highland Gerbille. 

Uganda Gerbille. 

Sotik Gerbille. 

Nile Gerbille. 

Dusky Gerbille. 

Pigmy Gerbille 

Alpine Veldt Uat. 

Masai Veldt Rat. 

Black fronted Tree Mouse. 

Greater Tree Mouse. 

Athi Tree Mouse. 

East African Fat Mouse. 

Uganda Harsh-furred Mouse. 

Masai Harsh-furred Mouse. 

East African Pigmy Mouse. 



Mus (Leggada) gratutt . 

Mwf {Leggada) itorelliia . 

Mas {Leggada) triton niurillun 

Mat! {Leggada) trito)i naivasha; 

Epimys hindei . 

Epimys endorohce 

Epimyn jack.soni 

Epimys peroiuyscu.s 

Epimys Mldcbranti 

Epiniy.s ugandce . 

Epimys panya . 

Epimys nieveiitris ulw . 

Zelotomys hildegardct 

Thnmiiomys sitrdiisfrr poliono}js 

Thamnomys loringi 

(Enomys hypoxanthns bacchante 

Dasymus helukus 

Acomys wilsoni . 

Arvicanthis abyssiniciis nairoba 

Arvicanthis abyssinirus rubescen 

Arvicanthis jnilchellus masscicus 

Arvicanthis barbarns albnlineatu 

Arvicanthis pumilio iliminutns 

Arvicanthis dorsalis muculosus 

Pehmys rooseveiti 

Snccostomus umbriventer 

iSaccostomus mearnsi 

Tachyoryctes annectens . 

Tnchyoryctes splendens ibeanus 

Tachyoryctes rex 

Myoscalops kapiti 

Pedetes surdaster 

Hystrix galeata . 

Lepits victoria' . 

Uganda Pigmy Mouse. 

Elgoii Pigmy Mouse. 

Sooty Pigmy Mouse. 

Naivasha I'igmy Mouse. 

Masai Bush Rat. 

Small-footed Forest Mouse. 

Uganda Forest Mouse. 

Large-footed Forest Mouse. 

Taita Multimammate Mouse. 

Uganda Multimammate Mouse. 

Masai Multimammate Mouse. 

Athi Hock Mouse. 

IJroad-lieaded liush Mouse. 

Atlii 'i'ree Rat. 

Masked Tree Rat. 

Rusty-nosed Rat. 

East African Suamp Rat. 

Fast African Spiny Mouse 

Athi Grass Rat. 

Uganda Grass Rat. 

Spotted (irass Rat. 

Striped (irass Rat. 

Pigmy Gra^s Rat. 

Single Striped Gi-ass Rat. 

Iridescent C'rce!< Rat. 

Sotik Pouched Rat. 

Suahili P(uuhed Rat. 

Rift X'alley Mole Rat. 

Nairol)i Mole Rat. 

Alpine Mole Rat. 

Masai Blesmol. 

Fast African Springhaas. 

East African Porcupine. 

East African Hare. 


llycenu striata schiltingsi 
Hycoia crocuta germiiians 
Proteles cristatus septentrioitulis 
Genetta hettoni . 
Crossarchus foJiciatus macrnnis 
Mungos sanguienus ibeoe 
Mangos albicaudus ibeanns 
C'anis mesomelas 
Oanis variegatus 
J^ycaon pictus tupinvs . 
Otocyon virgutus 
Mellivora ratel . 

Masai Striped Hyiena. 
East African Spotted Hyajna. 
.Somali Aard W^olf. 
East African Genet. 
Uganda Banded Mongoose. 
Kikuyu Lesser Mongoose. 
.Masai ^\'hite-tailed Mongoose. 
Black-backed Jackal^ 
Silver-backed Jackal. 
East African Hunting Dog. 
Masai Great-eared Fov. 
Cape Honey Badger. 


Xasifio brachyrhynchus delamerei 
Elepltantulus j)u/rher 
Erinaceus albiventris 
Crociditru Jiavescens myansoe 

Athi Lesser Elephant Shrew. 
East African Elephant Shrew. 
A\'hite-bellied Hedgehog. 
Giant Shrew. 



C'rocidura ulcheniilla 


( 'rocidura argentatajiske/i 

Crocidura bicolor e/goniittt 

Crocidura allex . 

Surdisorex norct 

Alpine Slirew. 

Dusky Shrew. 

Veldt Shrew. 

Elgon Pigmy Shrew. 

Rift \"alley Pigmy Shrew, 

Short- tailed Shrew. 


tScotophilus nigrita colian 

Pijnstrellus huhin fnseatus 

Nycthtomus hivdei 


Luvia frons affinis 

Petalia thebaiva . 

Rhinolophus hildehrandti e/oqueua 

Hipposiderus caffer centrdlin 

Kikuyu Green Bat. 
Naivasha Pigmy Bat. 
Free-tailed Bat. 
East African Great-eared Bat. 
Nile Great eared Bat. 
Nile Wrinkle nosed Bat. 
Elgon Horseshoe Bat. 
Uganda Leaf-nosed Bat. 


Galago [Otoleitmr) luniotls 
Papio iheamis . 
Cercocehua albigena johnstoni 
Erythrocebus formosus . 
(Jercopithecus ascanius ttchmidti . 
Oercopithecus pygerythrus johnstoni 
Cercopitheciis kolbi 
Corcopithecus kolbi hindei 
(.'olobus aby.s.sinicu.s cmidatiis 
Colobus ubyt^sinicufi niatschii'i 
Colobun paHiatits cottoni 

Mombasa Lemur. 
East African Baboon. 
Uganda Mangabey, 
Uganda Patas Monkey. 
Uganda White-nosed Monkey. 
Masai Green Monkey. 
Kikuyu Forest Green Monkey. 
Kenia Forest (ireen Monkey. 
White-tailed Colobus Monkey. 
Uganda Colobus Monkey. 
Nile Colobus Monkey. 



Diceros sirnus cotfoni 

Dicer OS bicornis 

Equus burchelli grant i . 

Equus grevyi 

Hippopotamus amph ibins 

Potamochw.rus choeropotamus dainionis 

Hylochccrns meincrtzhagen i 

Phacochoerus cethiopicus massaicus 

Bos caffer radc/iffei 

Bos aquinoctialis 

Taurotragus oryx livingstonii 

Taurotragus gigas 

Boocer citsaisaci 

Strepsiceros strepsiceros 

Tragelaphus scriptus heywoodi 

Tragelaphus scriptus dama 

Tragelaphus scriptus hor 

Limnotragus spekii 

Ozanna roosevelti 

Ozanna equimis langheldi 

Nile Square-nosed Rhinoceros 
Black Rhinoceros. 
Northern Burchell Zebra. 
Grevy Zebra. 
Nile Hippopotamus. 
East African Bush Pig. 
East African Forest Hog. 
East African Wart Hog. 
East African Buffalo. 
Abyssinian Buffalo. 
East African Eland. 
Giant Eland. 
East African Bongo. 
Greater Koodoo. 
Aberdare Bushbuck. 
Kavirondo Bushbuck. 
Nile Bushbuck. 
Uganda Situtunga. 
Roose\elt Sable Antelope. 
East African Roan Antelope. 

TJST OF laiu;e mammals 


Oxanua eqtdnus bakeri . 

Oryx beisu annectens 

Gaze/la granti . 

Gazella gninti rohertsi . 

Gazi'llu yranti uotatu 

Gazella thonisoni 

Lithocranius walleri 

^fipi/ceros melainpu.s nuura 

Redunca fulroruj'ula chanter i 

Reduncu redunca wardi 

Redunca redunca donaldsonl 

Kobu-s kob thoinasi 

Kobus vaughaui 

Kobun leucoti.s- . 

Kobus defassa ugandce . 

Kobus d''fa.ssu harnleri . 

Kobus eltipsipripiiiius 

Kobus niaria 

Cephalojjhns abyssinicus hiudei 

Cephalnphus abyssinicus nyansce 

Cephalopus ignifer 

Nototragus neutuanni 

Ourebia niontana 

Ourebia cottwi . 

lihynchotragus kirki hiudei 

Oreotragns schil/ingsi 

Con n och cetes albojnba t us 

Damaliscus eorriguui Jintcia 

Bubalis jacksoni 

Kiibalis jacksoni insignis 

Bubulis cokei 

Bubalis neumanni 

Bubalis lelwel nicdicrki . 

Giraffu reticulata 

Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirrhi 

Girajfa camelopardalis mthschildi 

Elephas ufricanus peeli . 

Nile Roan Antelope. 
Kast African Beisa. 
Grant Gazelle. 
Nyanza Grant Gazelle. 
Boran Grant (ia/.elle. 
Thomson Gazelle, 
(ierenuk Gazelle. 

Kast African Rock Reedbuck. 

Mi^lilaiid Bolior Reeilbuck. 

I'i^anda Bolior Reedbnck. 

Kavirondo Kolt. 

Rufous White-eared Kob. 

Wliite-eared Kob. 

IJpfanda Defassa \\'aterbuck. 

White Nile Defassa ^^'aterbuck. 

Kast African Waterhuck. 

\\'hite-withered AV^atcrbuck. 

-Masailand Duikerljok. 

Kavirondo Duikerbok. 

Hufous Forest Duikerbok. 

East African Steinbok. 

Abyssinian Oribi. 

Guas Npfishn Oribi. 

Masai Dikdik. African Kiijjpsprin^er. 

\V^hite- bearded \\'ildebeest. 

p]ast African Topi. 

Jackson Hartebeest. 

Uganda Hartebeest. 

Kongoni Hartebeest. 


White Nile Hartebeest. 

Somali Giraffe. 

Masailand Giraffe. 

I-'ive horned Giraffe. 

British East African Klepliant. 


Felis Iro nuissaica 
Felis purdus suahelica 
Felis ca pens is hindei 
Cynalurus jubatus guttatus 

East African Lion. 
East African Leopard. 
East African Serval Cat. 
African Cheetah. 

The following is a partial of those species obtained by 
Heller, concerning which he (^and occasionally I) could make 
observations as to their life histories. In the comparisons with or 
allusions to our American species there is, I need hardly say, no 
implication'of kinship ; the differences are generally fundamental, 
and I speak of the American animals only for the purpose of 
securing'a familiar standard of comparison. The Central African 
fauna is of course much more nearly allied to that of Europe than 
to that of North America, and were I familiar with small Tuiropean 


mammals, I should use them, rather than the American, for pur- 
poses of illustration. 

Hdiosciurus henice (Kenia Forest Squirrel). Mount Kenia, B. E. A. Heller 
shot one in a tree in the heavy forest by our first elephant camp. In 
size and actions like our grey squirrel. Shy. 
Paraxerus jacksoni. Shot at same camp ; common at Nairobi and Kijabe, 
B. E. A. A little smaller tlian our red squirrel ; much less noisy and 
less vivacious in action. Tamer than the larger squirrel, but mucli 
shyer than our red squirrel or chickaree. Kept among the bushes and 
lower limbs of the trees. Local in distribution ; found in pairs or small 
Grnphmriis parvus (Pigmy Dormouse). Everywhere in B. E. A. in the forest ; 
arboreal, often descending to the ground at night, for they are strictly 
noctui-nal. Found in the woods frinijing the rivers in the Sotik and on 
the Athi Plains, but most common in tlie jiniiper forests of the higher 
levels. Spend the daytime in crevices and hollows in the big trees. 
Build round, ball-like nests of bark fibre and woolly or cottony vegetable 
' fibre. One of them place 1 in a hollow, four inches across, in a stump, 
the entrance being five feet above the ground. C'auglit in traps baited 
with -walnuts or peanuts. 
Tutern pofhce Heller (n. s.) (Athi Gerbille). Common on the Athi Plains, in 
open ground at the foot of the hills. Live in short grass, not bush. 
Nocturnal. Live in burrows, each burrow often possessing several 
entrances, and sometimes several burrows, all inhabited by same animal, 
not communicating. 
Tatera varia Heller (n. s.) (Sotik Gerbille). A large form, seemingly new. 
Lives in the open plains, among the grass ; not among bushes, nor at 
foot of hills. Lives in burrows, one animal apparently having several, 
each burrow with a little mound at the entrance Nocturnal. In aspect 
and habits bears much resemblance to our totally different kangaroo 
Dipodillvs hnrwoocli (Naivasha Pigmy Gerbille). Gommon around Naivasha, 
also in Sotik. A small form, quarter the size of the above ; about as 
big as a hou^e mouse. Same habits as above, but apparently only one 
burrow to each animal ; much moi-e plentiful. The burrows in the Sotik 
were in hard ground, and went straight down. Round Naivasha the 
ground was soft and dry, and most of the buiTOws entered it diagonally. 
Otoniys irroratus tropicalis (' eldt Rat). Generally throughout B. E. A., but 
always in moist places, never on dry plains. Abundant on top of Aber- 
dares, and ten thousand feet up on slopes of Kenia. Always in open 
grass. Make very definite trails, which they cut with their teeth through 
the grass. Feed on the grass, which they cut into lengths just as our 
meadow mice (Mirotux) do. Largely diurnal, but also run about at night. 
The gravid females examined had in each of them two embryos only. 
Live in burrows, in which they place nests of fine grass six inches in 
Dendromjis mgrofi-onn (Black-fronted Tree Mouse). On Athi Plains and on 
the Sotik. Size of our harvest mouse. Do not go into forest, but dwell 
in bush country and thin timber along streams. Nocturnal ; not 
abundant. Live in covered nests in bushes ; nests made of long wiry 
grass, not lined, and very small, less than three inches in diameter. 
They are globular, and entered by a hole in one side, as with our marsh 
wrons. Only one mouse to a nest, as far as we saw ; Heller caught two 
in tlieir ne.sts. The nests were in thorn bushes, only about a foot and a 
half from the ground ; once or twice these mice were found in what were 


apparently abaiuloned weaver birds' nests. If frio:litene(l, one would 
drop out of its nest to tlie jjround and run off ; but if Heller waited 
quietly for ten niinutos tbe mouse would come back, climb up the twigs 
of the bush, and re enter the nest. It never stayed away long, seeming 
to need the nest for protection. 

l^cndromys insignis. Although belonging to the genus of tree mice, this large 
Dendromys lives on the ground, seemingly builds no nest, and is most 
often found in the runways of the Otomyn. 

Luplturo}tiyN aquilns (Harsh -furred Mouse). Common in Rift Valley, on the 
top of the Aberdares, and in the Kenia forest. Go up to timber line^ 
but are not found in the deep forest, save above the edges of the stream. 
\'ery fond of brush. Do not go out on the grassy plains. Usually, but 
not strictly, nocturnal ; and in the cold, foggy uplands, as on the 
Aberdares, become diurnal. 

(Leggada) Mim gmlu.s- (Pigmy Harvest Mouse). As small as our smallest 
harvest mouse. A grass mouse, usually entirely away from bushes and 
trees. Usually taken in the runways of the larger species. Occasionally 
come into tents. Nocturnal. Tound generally throughout Ka-t Africa, 
but nowhere as abundant as many other species. 

Epiiiiys hindei (Masai Hush Rat) Trapped on the Kapiti and Atbi Plains. 
About the size of the Southern wood rat of California ; almost the size 
of the wood rat of the Eastern States. Is a ground-loving species, fond 
of bushes ; in habits like the Mus pimya, but less widely distributed, and 
entering houses less freely. 

Ephny.s peroniyscux Jlellrr fn.s.) (Africa!) \Vliite-footed Mouse). Externally 
strikingly like our white-footed mouse. Found in thick forest, along the 
ed'zes of the Rift \'alley and on Mount Kenia. Near our elephant camp 
Heller failed to trap any white-footed mice in the open glades, even 
when the glades were of small size, but caught them easily if the traps 
were set only a few yards within the dense forest. Evidently very 
abundant in the forest, but not venturing at all into the open Strictly 
nocturnal. Dwell under logs and in decayed places around .stumps, and 
the trunks of big trees. 

Epimys pariya (East African House Mouse) Common in H. E. A., coming 
into the houses, and acting like a house mouse, but twice the size. 
Frequently came into our camps, entering the tents, \e\-\ common on 
the edges of the forest, and in brush country and long grass, and among 
the shambas ; not in the deep forests, except along streams, and not in 
the bare open plains. Nocturnal. Found in the runways of Otomys and 
Arvicanthin. Does not seem to be a grass-feeding species, like Otomys ; 
eats grain, beans, etc. 

Epimys nieventris ulcc (Athi Rock Mouse). On the .\thi Plains, in the Sotik, 
around Naivasha, and in the Rift Valle}'. Body only slightly larger than 
that of a house mouse, but tail at least a third longer than the head and 
body together. Yellowish-brown above and whitish beneath. Never 
found except among rocks ; we always found it where there were cliffs or 
on stony koppies. Lives in crevices in the rocks and along the ledges of 
the cliffs. Nocturnal. Caught in traps vvith nuts. 
Zelotomys hildegardce (Broad-headed Bush .Mouse). Looks like a small-eared, 
broad-headed house mouse. Rather common on Athi Plains, in same 
localities witli Uganda mouse, but rarer, and seldom enters houses. 

Thaninomys surdaster po/iouop.s (Long-tailed Tree Moused. Arboreal ; more 
like a mouse than a rat. On the Athi Plains, in the Sotik and Rift 
Valley. Not found in heavy forest, but in the open acacia woods and in 
bushy country. Apparently lives much of the time on the ground, and 
builds no nests in the trees, but runs up and down them and among their 
branches freely. Nocturnal. 


Thnmnomys Loritu/i Heller (ii. s.) (Masked Tree Rat). In the Rift Valley : 
common around Naivasha. Has a black ring' around each eye^ the colour 
spreading over the nose like a mask. Arboreal and nocturnal. Much 
the habits of our Neotoma, but do not build large nests. Build nests 
about six inches in diameter, made of sticks, placed in the branches of 
the thorn trees ; also in burrows near the bottom of the trunks ; runways 
lead from the trees containing the nests to the burrows. Trapped on the 
ground and in traps set in notches of the trees. 
(Enoviys hypoxanthus bacchante (Rusty-nosed Rat). Found in same country 
as above, and with similar habits, but somewhat less arboreal. A hand- 
some species. 
Dasyinus helukas Heller (n. s.) (Swamp Rat). In appearance much like the 
Alexandrian or roof rat, but with longer hair and sliorter, much less 
oonsnicuous ears. Found all over the Athi Plains where there was brush, 
especially along stream beds. Nocturnal. 
Arriiantliis abysshdvn-s nairohce (Athi Grass Rat). The commonest mouse in 
B. E. A. on the plains. Outnumbers any other species. Found every- 
where in grass and brush, but not in deep forest. Often lives in shallow 
burrows round the bases of thorn -trees, from which its well-marked 
runways radiate into the grass. Strictly diurnal. Often seen running 
about in bright sunlight. Never found in traps at night. A striped 
mouse that has lost its stripes, vestiges of which are occasionally found in 
the young. 
Ar i-icanihis piilchrllns niasainiii {Na\rohi Striped Mouse). Diurnal. Common 
on the Athi Plains, and on the Sotik and in Rift Valley. Around Neri 
we often saw them running about through the shambas. Live in brush 
and cultivated fields. In pattern of coloration mucli like our thirteen- 
striped gopher. 
Arviranthis ])uniilio dhninutu)^ (Naivasha Striped Rat). Common in Rift 
Valley, and on the Aberdares and around Kenia. Sometimes occurs in 
company with Nairobi mouse, but less widely distributed ; much more 
abundant where found, and ascends to much higiier altitudes. 
FeloDiy.s roosevelH Heller (n. s.). About the size of our cotton rat, and with 
much the same build. Coarse, l)ristly hair ; the dorsal coloration is 
golden yellow, overlaid by long hairs, with an olive iridescence ; the 
under parts are silky white. It is a meadoAv mouse, found at high 
altitudes, seven to nine thousand feet high ; usually lives close to streams 
in heavy grass, through which it makes runways. Not common. 
SuceostomiLs vnihriventer (Sotik Pouched Rat). Heller trapped several on the 
Sotik, at the base of the southernmost range of mountains we reached. 
Found in the longish grass along a dry creek bed. Trapped in their 
rather indistinct runways. The pockets, or pouches, are internal, not 
external, as in our pocket mice. 
Tuc/iyroycte-'i /■plendens ibeanus (Nairobi Mole Rat). A mole rat of B. £. A., 
with general habits of above, but avoiding rocky places, and not 
generally found many miles out on the plains away from the forest. 
Rarely found in the bamboos, in spite of its name. 
Myosca'opif kapiti Heller (n. s.) (Kapiti Blesmole). On the Kapiti and Athi 
Plains, and in the Sotik. Smaller than German East African form, and 
no white occipital spot ; a cinnamon wash on its silvery fur. Burrows 
like our pocket gophers, and has same squat look and general habits. 
Lives in rocky ground, where bamboo rat does not penetrate. It does 
not run just below the surface of the soil, as the pocket gopher does in 
winter. The blesmole's burrows are about a foot below the surface. 
Eats roots. 
Pedetes surdaster (Springhaas). (See body of book.) One young at birth. 
A colony of four to eight open burrows, all inhabited by a single animal. 


Hystrix ga/eata. (See body of hook.) Heller found in stomach the remains; 
of a root or tuber, and seeds like those of the nightshade. 

Lepu-s victoria. Generally distributed on plains ; much the habits and look 
of a small jack-rabbit. Does not burrow. 

Elephuntnlus pnlchvr (Elephant Slirew). Fairly common throughout IJ. E. A. 
in IiU'^h and on hills, not in deep forests or on bare plains. Often out 
at dusk, but generally nocturnal. A jrravid female contained a sinfj:le 
embryo. One in a trap had its mouth full of partly masticated brown 
ants. A e:entle tliinfr, witliout tlie fierceness of the true slirews. Trapped 
in the runways of Arnicau'hifi. 

I'riiKireux (i/birr)i()'is- {Ued'^ehoij:). Fairly connnon in the Sotik. In certain 
places, under trees. Heller found accumulations of their sj)iny skins, as 
if some bird of prey had been feeding on them. 

('vfiiifliira fishfri. The common shrew of tlie Athi I'lains and the fSotik, in 
the Uift \ alley. Largely diurnal. .Males (juite yollowisii, females smoky 
brown, (ienerally trapped in runways of J racaH^Aj.v. Pregnant females 
contained three to five embryos, usually four. Not found in heavy 
forest or swamp. 

Crondura fiunosa (Dusky Shrew). .V darker form found in the rusli swamps 
and sedgy places of tlie same region. Number of young usually three. 
Diurnal. Occasional in forests. 

Crocidura alcheniillo' I Idler (n. s.). Aberdare shrew ; a diurnal form, occur- 
ring above timber line on the Aberdare ; perhaps identical with the 

Crocidura allcx. A pigmy shrei\-, taken at N'aivasha. 

Croridura nj/diisa'. Very l>ig for a shrew. Chiefly in the high country, near 
watercourses ; found round the edge of the forest at Kenia and Kijabe. 
A tierce, carnivorous creature, preying on small rodents as well as 
insects ; habitually ate mice, rats, or shrews which it found in the traps, 
and would then come back and itself lie readily trapped. 

Surdisorex iiorcf. A shrew in shape, not unlike our mole shrew. On the 
high, cold, wet Aberdare plateau. Diurnal. 

Scntophilus nntjrita colias. ( ommon at Nairobi ; flying among the tree-tops 
in the evenings. Oreenish back, with metallic glint ; belly sulphui-. 
Has the sanie flight as our l)ig brown hat— Vespertiliofusciif. 

Pipigfre//i(.s kahlii fuscntrin. Common at Naivasha and Nairobi, ^'ery closely 
kin to our Myotis, or little bi-own bat, with same habits. Flies high in the 
air after dusk, and is easily shot. We never found its day roosts. 

Xyitiiiomus liindei (Free-tailed Hat). At Naivasha. \'ery swift flight, almost 
like a swallow's ; fairly high in the air. Live in colonies ; one such in a 
liouse at Naivasha. On the Atbi Plains they were found in daytime 
hanging up behind the loose bark of the big yellow-trunked acacias. 

' Crocidura alchemillce, new species (Heller). Type from the summit of the 
Aberdare Range; altitude. 10,500 feet; British East Africa; adult male, number 
163,087, U.S. Nat. Mus ; collected by Edmund Heller, October 17, 1909 ; original 
number, 1,177. 

Allied to funtosa of Mount Kenia, but coloration much darkei', everywhere clove- 
brown, the under parts but slightly lighter in shade ; feet somewhat lighter sepia 
brown, but much darker than in fumosa; hair at base slaty-black. Hair long and 
hea^'y, on back 6 to 7 mm. long ; considerably longer than in fumosa. Musk-glands 
on sides of body, clothed with short brownish hairs, the glands producing an oily 
odour verj' similar to that of a petrel. Skull somewhat smaller tlmn fumosa , with 
relatively smaller teeth. 

Measurements: Head and body, 90; tail, 55 ; hind foot, 15'3. Skull: Condylo- 
incisive length, 21 ; mastoid breadth, 97 ; upper tooth row (alveoli), S^S. 

This species is an inliabitant of the dense beds of AhhemiUa which clothe the 
alpine moorland of the Aberdare range. 


Luvia frons (Great-eared Bat). Bluish body and yellowish wings ; very long 
ears. Almost diurnal ; flies well by day ; hangs from the thorn-tree 
branches in the sunlight, and flies as soon as it sees a man approaching. 
One young, which remains attached to the mother until it is more than 
half lier size. 

Petaliu thebaica (Large-eared Nycterine Bat). Caves in the Rift Valley, also 
in the Sotik, spending the day in the tops of the limestone wells or 
caverns which contained water. Both sexes occurred together in company 
with a bat of another genus — Rhinolophns: Fly very close to the ground, 
only two or three feet above it, and usually among trees and brush, and 
not in the open, so that it is almost impossible to shoot them. 

lihinolophiis. Found at the Limestone Springs in the Sotik, and in great 
numbers in a ca\-e at Naivasha, no other bat being found in the cave. 
Same general habits as the Nycterin. Specimens flew among our tents 
in the evening. 

Rapio ibeamis. The baboon is common all over the plains, in troops. It 
digs up lily bulbs, and industriously turns over stones for grubs and 
insects. Very curious, intelligent, and bestial. 

Cercopitheciis kolbi. Found in company with the Colobus in heavy forest along 
the Kikuyu escarpment. The sub-species Hindti is found on Kenia. 

Cercopitheciis pi/gcri/Hiritfi johnsoni (Green Monkey). In the yellow thorns of 
the Sotik and Rift \'alley, and along the northern Guaso Nyero. Leaves 
and acacia pods in their stomachs. Live in troops of from ten to twenty 
individually. Exceedingly active and agile. Oiten sit motionless on the 
very tops of the trees, when they cannot be seen from below. Run well 
on tlie ground. 

Colobus caudulns (Black and White iMonkey). Heavy mountain forests, 
Kijabe and Kenia, and on the Aberdares. Only foliage in the stomachs 
of those shot. Goes in small troops, each seemingly containing both 
males and females ; not as agile as the other monkeys, and less wary. 
The natives prize their skins. 

On the Guas Ngishu the small mammals were in general identical with 
those of the Aberdares and Mount Kenia. 

In LTganda Heller sliot an old male, Cercopithecus uscanius schmidti- 
a red-backed, red-tailed, \\hite-nosed monkey ; it was alone in a small 
grove of trees surrounded by elephant grass. In the same grove he shot 
a squirrel, Paraxerus, very different from the Kenia species. In Uganda 
there were fewer species of small mammals than in East Africa, in spite 
of the abundance of vegetation and water. 

In the Lado we found rats, mice, and shrews abundant, but the 
number of species limited, and for the most part representing wide- 
spread types. Some of the bats were different from any yet 
obtained ; the same may be true of the shrews. The small 
carnivores, and hyaenas also, were very scarce. 

North of Nimule Kermit shot another FurAscmrus, while it was 
climbing a bamboo. 

At Gondokoro there were many bats in the houses, chiefly 
Nyctinomiis, the swift-flying, high-Hying, free-tailed bats, with a 
few leaf-nosed bats, and yellow bats. 

I wish field naturalists would observe the relation of zebras and 
wild-dogs. Our observations were too limited to be decisive ; but 
it seemed to us that zebras did not share the fear felt by the other 


game for the dogs. I saw a zebra, in a herd, run toward some 
wild-dogs, with its mouth open and ears back ; and they got out 
of the way, although seemingly not much frightened. Loring saw 
a solitary zebra seemingly unmoved by the close neighbourhood of 
some wild-dogs. 

Once, on the Nile, while Loring and I were watching a monitor 
stealing crocodiles' eggs, we noticed a hippo in mid-stream. It 
was about ten in the morning. The hippo appeared regularly, at 
two or three minute intervals, always in the same place, breathed, 
and immediately sank. This continued for an hour. We could 
not make out what he was doing. It seemed unlikely that he 
could be feeding ; and the current was too swift to allow him to 
rest; all other hippos at that time were for the most part lying in 
the shallows or were back among the papyrus beds. 


The following notes were made by Loring in East Africa : 

Alpine Hyrax {Procavia mackinderi). On Mount Kenia^ at altitudes between 
12,000 and 15,000 feet^ we found these animals common wherever pro- 
tective rocks occurred. Under the shelving rocks were great heaps of 
their droppings ; and in the places where for centuries they had sunned 
themselves the stone was stained and worn smooth. At all times of the 
day, but more frequently after the sun had risen, they could be seen 
singly, in pairs, and in families, perched on tlie peaks. At our highest 
camp (14,700 feet), where, on !:?eptemher '22, more than half an inch 
of ice formed in buckets of water outside the tent, they were often 
heard. They emit a variety of chatters, whistles, and catlike squalls 
that cannot be described in print, and Me found them very noisy. 
^Vhenever they saw anyone approaching they always sounded some note 
of alarm, and frequently continued to harangue the intruder until he had 
approached so close that they took fright and disappeared in the rocks* 
or until he had passed. All along the base of cliffs, and leading from 
one mass of rocks to another, they made well-worn trails through the 
grass. At this time of the year many young ones, about one-third 
grown, were seen and taken. 

Keiiia Tree Hyrax {Procavia rraw-shayi). From the time that we reached 
the edge of the forest belt (altitude 7,000), on Mount Kenia, we heard 
these tree dassies every night, and at all camps to an altitude of 
10,700 feet they were common. I once heard one on a bright afternoon 
about four o'clock, and on a second occasion another about tAvo hours 
before sundown. Although I searched diligently on the ground for run- 
ways and for suitable places to set traps, no such place was found. In a 
large yew-tree that had split and divided fifteen feet from the ground I 
found a bed or bulky platform of dried leaves and moss of Nature's 
manufacture. On the top of this some animal had placed a few dried 
green leaves. In this bed I set a steel trap, and carefully covered it, 
and on the second night (October 14) captured a dassie containing a 
foetus almost mature. We were informed by our "^boys ' that these 
animals inhabited hollow stumps and logs, as well as the foliage of the 
live trees, but we found no signs that proved it, although, judging from 
the din at night, dassies were abundant everywhere in the forests. 

At evening, about an hour after darkness had fully settled, a dassie 
would call, and in a few seconds dassies were answering from all around, 
and the din continued for half an hour or an hour. The note began with 
a series of deep, froglike croaks, that gradually gave way to a series of 
shrill, tremulous screams, at times resembling tlie squealing of a pig, and 
again the cries of a child. It was a far-reaching sound, and always came 



from the large forest trees. Often the cries were directly over our 
heads^ and at a time when the porters were singing and dancing about a 
bright cainp fire. Although we tried many times to shine their eyes 
with a powerful light, we never succeeded, nor were we able to hear any 
rustling of the branches or scraping on the tree-trunks as one might 
expect an animal of such size to make. The porters were offered a rupee 
apiece for dassies, but none were brought in. 

Rock Hyrax {Procavia brucei maciilata). These animals inhabited the rocks 
and cliffs on Ulukenia Hills in fair numbers. None lived in burrows of 
their own make, but took advantage of the natural crevices for cover. I 
heard their shrill calls at night, usually when the moon was out. 
Several were shot, and two trapped in traps set in narrow passages 
through which the animals travelled. 

Klippspringer (Oreotragns oreofrugus). Several pairs of these little antelopes 
were seen on Ulukenia Hills, but never were more than two found at a 
time. They lived on the rocky hillsides, and were quite tame, allowing 
one to approach within twenty-five yards before taking fright and dashing 
into the rocks —invariably their shelter when alarmed. When thoroughly 
friglitened they made a loud sneezing sound. Two were collected, one 
of which was a female with horns. A young Boer who had lived in that 
neighbourhood three years told me that all the females of proper age 
had horns. 

Pigmy Gerbille {Dipodillus harwoodi). These little sand mice resemble very 
closely some of our American pocket mice {Perognathus). Heller took 
several on the Xjoro O Solali, and found them common ; and 1 caught 
one specimen on the South Guaso Nyero River. On the sandy desert 
flats on the south-west side of Lake Naivasha they were abundant. The 
holes, running obliquely into the ground, were sometimes blocked with 
sand from the inside. On the opposite side of the lake there was less 
sand, and here the gerbilles were found only in spot*. In sand alone 
their burrows resembled those described, but where the ground was hard 
they entered almost perpendicular, and were never blocked with sand. 
Often seed-pods and tiny cockle-burrs were strewn about the entrances. 

Pigmy Mouse {Mas [Leggada] grafiis). Various forms of this tiny little 
mouse were taken all along the route we travelled. They were caught in 
traps set at random in the brushy thickets in the lowland, as well as in 
the open grassy spots on the rocky hillsides, where tliey frequented the 
runways made by various species of Mils. A few were collected on 
Mount Kenia. 

Athi Rock Mouse {Epimy.s nieventris alee). This mouse proved to be a new 
species. It was common in and about the rocks on Ulukenia Hills, 
which is the only place where we found them. Those taken were caught 
in traps, baited with peanut-butter, dried apple, and rolled oats, and set 
among the rocks. 

Forest .Mouse {Epimgs peromysciis). At our camp, at 8,500 feet altitude, 
we first met with this mouse ; and although a good line of traps, well 
baited, and set about stumps, tree-trunks, and logs, for three nights, but 
one mouse was captured, that being taken under a large log. Several 
others were trapped in the thick brush bordering the bamboos. At 
10,000 feet several were caught in the bamboo, and at 10,700 feet a 
good series was collected on a well-thicketed and timbered rocky ridge. 

Masked Tree Rat (rAf/ninow?^.? /oj-m^ft). None were taken until we reached 
the south-west end of Lake Naivasha. Here, and also at Naivasha 
Station, a number were collected in traps baited with rolled oats and 
dried apple, and set at the base of large trees and in brushy thickets in 
groves. In some of these trees and in the bushes, nests of sticks, grass, 


and leaves were found. While setting traps one afternoon 1 saw what 
might have been one of these rats dart from a deserted bird's-nest and 
run down a limb to the ground. The following morning 1 caught a 
masked tree rat in a trap set beneath the nest. 

Four-striped Grass Rat {Arvicanthiis puinilio ininutus). At Naivasha we first 
came across this species, where it was found on the east side of the lake 
only, although the spotted rat was common on both the east and the 
west side. At Naivasha these two animals inhabited slightly different 
regions. In the brushy and grassy thickets bordering the lake spotted 
rats were abundant, but a few four-striped rats were captured. As soon 
as the traps were transferred to thorn-tree groves, where there was 
plenty of uuder-bushes, and not so much grass and weedSj the spotted 
rats were found in great numbers, but no four-striped rats. All the way 
from Fort Hail to Mount Kenia, and as high as 10,700 feet, where 
Dr. Mearns secured one specimen, this species was common. We also 
caught them along the route between Kampala aud Butiaba. 

Giant Rat (Thrt/notnys gregoriamis). Along the skirtings of the rivers in the 
thick weeds, grass, and bushes at Fort Hall signs of these animals were 
common. There were no well-defined paths. Footprints the size and 
shape of those made by our rauskrats {Fiber) were found in the mud at 
the water's edge, and here and there were clusters of grass and weed- 
stems cut in lengths averaging six inches. In sections wliere the vegeta- 
tion had been burned were innumerable holes, where some animal had 
dug about the base of grass- tufts. Their signs did not extend farther 
than fifty feet from water. While passing through a thicket close to the 
water, l' started a large rodent, which darted through the grass and 
plunged into the water. 

Mole-Rat {Tachyoryctes splendens ibeanus). Mounds of earth that these rats 
had thrown from the mouth of their burrows at the time that the tunnels 
were made were found as far west as Uljoro O'iNyon River, but none at 
N'garri Narok River. At our camp on the South Guaso Nyero River a 
pale, mole-coloured mole rat took this animal's place. Some fifteen miles 
west of Lake Naivasha mole-rats became common, and on the sandy flats, 
within five miles of the lake, they were so abundant that our horses 
broke into their runways nearly every step. Tlieir underground tunnels 
and the mounds of eartli that were thrown out were similar to those 
made by the pocket gophers of \Vestern United States. Many were 
snared by the porters and brought to camp alive. They would crawl 
about slowly, not attempting to run away, but looking for a hole to enter. 
After the lapse of a few seconds tliey would begin to dig. In any slight 
depression they began work ; and when small roots or a tussock of grass 
intervened, they used their teeth until the obstruction was removed, and 
then, with the nails of their front feet only, continued digging. As the 
hole deepened they threw the dirt out between their hind-legs, and with 
them still farther beyond. After the earth had accumulated so that it 
drifted back, they faced about, and, using their chest as a scoop, pushed 
it entirely out of the way. They were most active in the evening, at 
night, and in early morning. Several were found dead near their holes, 
having evidently been killed by owls or small carnivorous mammals. 

Alpine Mole-Rat {Tachyoryctes rex). Mole-rat mounds were comnaon about 
the West Kenia Forest Station, but none were seen between 7,500 and 
8,500 feet, and from this altitude they ranged to 11,000 feet. They 
inhabited all of the open grassy plots in the bamboo belt and in the open 
timber. The "boys" snared many in nooses ingeniously placed in the 
runs that were opened and closed after the trap was set. VVhile digging 
into the burrows, several times I found bulky nests of dried grass in side 


pockets just oft' the main runway. Most of tliein were empty, luit (luo 
was filled with the aiiiiiiars droppiufrs. 
Kapiti lilesmol ( .)/i/fMYY/Ay//.v /iT/yxV/). Tlii- mole-rat. wliich proved to he new 
to eioieuce, was first encountered at Potha, on Kapiti Plains, and it was 
again met with at Ulukenia Hills. I was shown several skins tliat were 
tiken al)oiit lifteen miles east of Nairohi. Tiiey were the most difficult 
of all mole-rats to catch, because tliey lived in the very sandy soil, and 
almost invariably covered the trap with sand without themselves getting 
into it. J found a number of tlieir skulls in the pellets of I)arn and other 
species of owls. 

Springhaas (Pedcfes surdastcr). \'ery common at Xaivasha station, where 
their burrows were numerous, on a sandy flat practically in the town, 
and many were taken within a liundred yards of the station. They are 
nocturnal, although one instance canu' under my observation where a 
springhaas was seen on a dark day to rini from one burrow to another. 
By hunting them on dark nights, witli the aid of an acetylene light, we 
were able to secure a good series of skins. ^Vhen the light was flasherl 
on them, their eyes shone like l)alls of tire tlie size of a penny, and it w;is 
not uncommon to see from two to five and six within the radius of the 
light at one time. They were usually flashed at a distance of about a 
liundred yards, ami as the light drew near tliey would watch it, frequently 
bo])l)ing up and down. Often they liopjied away tr) right or to left, but 
very seldom did their fright carry them into their burrows unless a shot 
was fired ; in fact, even then we sometimes followed up one of their 
companions and secured it. Some allowed us to approacli within ten 
feet before moving, and then off tiiey would go in great bounds, but 1 
was never able in the dim light to see wliether or not their tails aided 
them in jumping. I once shot a fox from a cluster of eyes that I am 
positive were those of springhaas ; this, together with the fact that the 
stomachs of all of the foxes killed contained termites and insects, leads 
me to believe that these two animals are more or less congenial. Dr. 
Mearns saw a springhaas sitting witli its tail curled around to one side of 
its body, similar to the position often assumed by a house cat. 

Several small colonies of springhaas were discovered on sandy flats near 
Ulukenia Hills. Two females taken from the same burrow showed great 
variation in size, one having a tail several inches longer and ears larger 
than the other. Although I never discovered a burrow that was com- 
pletely blocked with .sand, in the morning one could find quantities of 
fresh sand that had been thrown out of the entrance during the night. 

Great-eared Fox {(Hoiyon virgartus). This new species of fox we discovered 
at Naivasha, and fourul it very common there. All of the seven specimens 
secured were taken by "jacking" at night, although while travelling 
over the Uganda Railroad we frequently saw them singly or in pairs in 
broad daylight. The white j)eople knew nothing of a fox in this country, 
and had always called them "jackals.'' They seemed to live in pairs, 
and groups of three to six. On dark nights it was usually easy to shine 
their eyes, and approach within shooting range. ^Ve would shine a fox, 
then suddenly the glare of its eyes would disappear, and we would walk 
about, casting the light in all directions, until we again saw the two balls 
of fire glaring some fifty or a hundred yards away. Often the foxes 
would slink about for some time before we got within gunshot range. 
Frequently we saw two, and sometimes three and four, standing so close 
together that it was surprising that the spread of the shot did not kill 
more tlian one. One evening Dr. Mearns and I started out about nine 
o'clock, and returned about midnight. Most of the hunting was done 
on an elevated brushv plateau, within short distance of a native village, 



where the occupants were singing, dancings and playing their crude 
stringed instruments. We ran into a bunch of five of these foxes, and 
got four of them, none of which was the young of the year. After 
shooting one, we would search about in the dark until the light picked 
up another pair of eyes, and in this way we kept circling about close to 
the village. One fox was killed within two hundred yards of the rail- 
road station, and at dusk one evening I saw a fox emerge from a burrow 
close to a group of natives, and scamper across the flat. The stomachs 
of several were examined, and found to contain about a quart of termites 
and other insects. 

Giant Shrew {Crociditra nyanscE). Giant shrews were common at Lake 
Naivasha, where most of them were caught in the thick reeds and rank 
grass bordering the lake. One was taken at Nyeri and another on 
Mount Kenia, at an altitude of 10,700 feet. They seemed to be as much 
diurnal as nocturnal, and were captured in traps baited with rolled oats, 
dried apple, and raw meat. They inhabited the dense parts of the 
thickets, where the foliage had to be parted, and a clearing made for the 
traps. These localities were the home of a large rat, and many of the 
rats captured were decapitated or partly eaten by animals that probably 
were giant shrews. A shrew captured alive was very ferocious, and 
would seize upon anything that came within its reach. When fully 
excited, and lifted into the air by its tail, it would emit a loud, shrill, 
chirping note. 

Short-tailed Shrew (Surdisorex norce). Collected between altitudes of 10,000 
and 12,100 feet on Mount Kenia. With the exception of those collected 
at 10,000 feet, where they were trapped in open grassy and brushy parks 
in the bamboo, most of them were taken in runways of Otomys, and all 
of those taken at 12,100 were caught in such runways in tall marsh 

Elephant Shrew [Elephantulus pulcher). Both diurnal and nocturnal. While 

riding over the country I frequently saw them darting through the 

runways from one thicket to another. Nearly every clump of bushes 

and patch of rank vegetation in the Sotik and Naivasha districts was 

tra\ersed with well-worn trails, used by diiferent species of Mus and 

shrews. The elephant shrews were most common on the dry flats, where 

clumps of fibre plants grew, and their trails usually led into some thorny 

thicket and finally entered the ground. 

Yellow-Winged Tree Bat {Lavia J'rons). These large semi-diurnal bats lived 

in the thorn-tree groves and thick bush along the Athi, South Guaso 

Nyero, and Nile rivers, wliere we found them more or less common, and 

at the latter place abundant. At the two first named places they were 

almost always found in pairs, hanging from the thorn trees by their feet, 

their wings folded before their faces. When disturbed, they fly a short 

distance and alight ; but when we returned to the spot a few minutes 

later, they would often be found in the same tree from which they had 

been started. On the Nile at Rhino Camp, and in suitable places all 

along the trail between Kampala and Butiaba, it was not unusual to find 

three and four in a single thorn-tree. On dark days, and once in the 

bright sunlight, I saw these bats flying about and feeding. At evening 

they always appeared an hour or so before the sun went down. Their 

method of feeding was quite similar to that of our fly-catching birds. 

They would dart from the branches of a thorn-tree, catch an insect, then 

return and hang head downward in the tree while they ate the morsel. 

One was captured with a young one clinging to it head downward, its 

feet clasped about its mother's neck. 


Du. Mearks, accompanied by Loring, spent from the middle of 
September to after the middle of October, 1909, in a biolo<^ical 
survey of Mount Kenia. I take the following account from his 
notes. In them he treats the mountain proper as beginning at an 
altitude of 7,500 feet. 

Mount Kenia is the only snow-capped mountain lying exactly 
on the equator. Its altitude is about 17,200 feet. The mountain 
is supposed to support fifteen glaciers ; those that Mearns and 
Loring examined resembled vast snow-banks rather than clear 
ice-glaciers. The permanent snow-line begins at the edge of the 
glacial lakes at 15,000 feet ; on October 18 there was a heavy 
snow-storm as low down as 11,000 feet. For some distance below 
the snow-line the slopes were of broken rock, bare earth, and 
gravel, Avith a scanty and insignificant vegetable growth in the 
crannies between the rocks. These grasses and Alpine plants, 
including giant groundsels and lobelias, cover the soil. At 
13,000 feet timber line is reached. 

The Kenia forest belt, separating this treeless Alpine region from 
the surrounding open plains, is from six to nine miles wide. The 
forest zone is only imperfectly divided into successive belts of trees 
of the same species ; for the species vary on different sides of the 
mountain. Even the bamboo zone is interrupted. On the west 
side the zones may be divided into : 

1. A cedar zone from 7,000 or 7,500 to 8,500 feet. The cedars 

are mixed with many hardwood trees. 

2. A belt composed mainly of bamboo and yellow-wood (African 

yew) from 8,500 to 10,700 feet. Here the true timber 
zone ends. 

3. A zone of giant heath, mixed with giant groundsels and 

shrubs, extending to 1 '3,000 feet. The heaths may be 30 
feet high, and can be used as fuel. In this zone are many 
boggy meadows. 

Loring and Meanis occupied five collecting camps in the forest 
zone and one above it, at 13,700 feet. One day Mearns followed 



the snow-line for a mile without seeing any traces of large animals, 
although leopards and smaller cats sometimes wander to this 
height. The groove-toothed rat {Otomys) was numerous in the grass 
bordering the glacial lakes at a height of 15,000 feet : so were the 
big mountain hyrax ; and Mearns shot one of these animals at 
15,500 feet, by a snow-bank; it was the highest point at which 
any mammal was collected. Various kinds of rats and shrews 
were numerous about the 13,700-foot camp. Above 12,000 feet 
only three small birds were seen : a long-tailed sunbird, a stone- 
chat, and a fantail warbler. 

On the entire Mount Kenia trip 1,112 birds, of 210 species, were 
collected ; 1,320 mammals and 771 reptiles and batrachians were 
collected, but the species represented were much fewer. Mearns 
also made an excellent collection of plants and a good collection of 
invertebrates. Fresh-water crabs were numerous in the streams up 
to 10,000 feet, frogs went as high as 10,700, a chameleon was 
taken at 11,000, and a lizard at 12,100. 

Loring ascended the mountain to the base of the pinnacle, at 
about 10,500 feet. He started from the highest camp, where the 
water froze each night. The ascent was easy, and he carried his 
camera ; but the glare of the snow gave him snow -blindness. 



Mk. Digmokk has taken a wonderful series of photographs of 
African big game. Mr. Kearton has taken a series of moving 
pictures of various big animals which were taken alive by Buflalo 
Jones and his two cowboys, Loveless and Meany, on his recent trip 
to East Africa — a trip on which they were accompanied by a 
former member of my regiment, Guy Scull. All three men are 
old-time Westerners and plainsmen, skilled in handling both horse 
and rope. They took their big, powerful, thoroughly trained cow 
horses with them, and roped and captured a lioness, a rhinoceros, 
a giraffe, and other animals. I regard these feats of my three 
fellow-countrymen as surpassing any feats which can possibly be 
performed by men who hunt with the rifle. 

For the natural history of African big game, probably the 
three most valuable books — certainly the most valuable modern 
books — are Selous's "African Nature Notes," Schilling's " Flash- 
light and llifle," and Millais's "Breath from the Veldt." The 
photographer plays an exceedingly valuable part in Nature study, 
but our appreciation of the great value of this part must never 
lead us into forgetting that as a rule even the best photograph 
renders its highest service when treated as material for the best 
picture, instead of as a substitute for the best picture ; and that 
the picture itself, important though it is, comes entirely secondary 
to the text in any book worthy of serious consideration either from 
the standpoint of science or the standpoint of literature. Of 
course this does not mean any failure to appreciate the absolute 
importance of photographs — of Mr. Dugmore's capital photo- 
graphs, for instance ; what I desire is merely that we keep in 
mind, when books are treated seriously, the relative values of the 
photograph, the picture, and the text. The text, again, to be of 
the highest worth, must be good both in form and in substance — 
that is, the writer who tells us of the habits of big game must be a 
man of ample personal experience, of trained mind, of keen powers 



of observation, and, in addition, a man possessing the ability to 
portray vividly, clearly, and with interest what he has seen. 

Experience in the field is of great value in hel{)ing to test various 
biological theories. One of the theories which has had a very 
great vogue of recent years is that of the protective coloration of 
animals. It has been worked out with a special elaborateness in 
Mr. Thayer's book on " Concealing Coloration in the Animal 
Kingdom."' I do not question the fact that there are in all 
probability multitudes of cases in which the coloration of an 
animal is of protective value in concealing it from its prey or its 
foes. But the theory is certainly pushed to preposterous extremes; 
its ultra-adherents taking up a position Hke that of some of the 
earlier champions of the glacial theory, who, having really dis- 
covered notable proofs of glacial acticm in parts of Europe and 
North America, then went slightly crazy on their favourite subject, 
and proceeded to find proofs of glacial action over the entire world 
surface, including, for instance, the Amazon Valley. As regards 
many of the big game animals, at any rate, which are claimed by 
the ultra-exponents of the protective coloration theoi'y as ofl'ering 
examples thereof, there is not the least particle of justification for 
the claim. 

I select Mr. Thayer's book because it is a really noteworthy 
book, written and illustrated by men of great ability, and because 
it contains much that is of genuine scientific value. -^ I have no 
question whatever, for instance, that concealing coloration is of 
real value in the struggle for existence to certain maunnals and 
certain birds, not to mention invertebrates. The night hawk, 
certain partridges and grouse, and numerous other birds which 
seek to escape observation by squatting motionless, do unquestion- 
ably owe an immense amount to the way in which their colours 
harmonize with the surrounding colours, thus enabling them to lie 
undetected while they keep still, and probably even protecting 
them somewhat if they try to skulk off. In these cases, where the 
theory really applies, the creature benefited by the coloration 
secures the benefit by acting in a way which enables the coloration 
to further its concealment. A night hawk, or a woodcock, or a 
prairie chicken, will lie until nearly trodden on, the bird showing 
by its action that its one thought is to escape observation, and its 
coloration and squatting attitude enabling it thus to escape 
observation, as Mr. Beddard puts it in his book on " Animal 
Coloration," " absence of movement is absolutely essential for 
protectively coloured animals, whether they make use of their 

'■ In passing I wish to bear testimony to the admirable work done by various 
members of the Thayer family in preserving birds ami wild life — work so admirable 
that if those concerned in it will go on with it, they are entitled to believe anything 
in the world they wish about protective coloration i 


coloration for defensive purposes or offensive purposes.'' So far as 
Mr. Thayer's book or similar books confine themselves to pointing 
out cases of this kind, and to working on hypotheses where the 
facts are supplied by such cases, they do a real service. But it is 
wholly different when the theory is pushed to fantastic extremes, 
as by those who seek to make the coloration of big game animals 
such as zebras, giraffes, hartebeests, and the like, protective. I 
very gravely doubt whether some of the smaller mammals and 
birds to which Mr. Thayer refers really bear out his theory at all. 
He has, for instance, a picture of blue jays by snow and blue 
shadow, which is designed to show how closely the blue jay agrees 
with its surroundings (I would be uncertain from the picture 
whether it is really blue water or a blue shadow). Now, it is a 
simple physical impossibility that the brilliant and striking 
coloration of the blue jay can be protective both in the bare 
woods when snow is on the ground and in the thick leafy woods 
of midsummer. Countless such instances could be given. Mr. 
Thayer insists, as vital to his theory, that partridges and other 
protectively coloured animals owe their safety, not at all to being 
inconspicuously coloured — that is, to being coloured like their 
surroundings — but to their counter-shading, to their being coloured 
dark above and light below. But, as a matter of fact, most small 
maiinnals and birds which normally owe their safety to the fact 
that their coloration matches their surroundings, crouch Hat when- 
ever they seek to escape observation ; and when thus crouched flat, 
the counter-shading on which Mr. Thayer lays such stress almost, 
or completely, disappears. The counter-shading ce;ises to be of 
any use in concealing or protecting the animal at the precise 
moment when it trusts to its coloration for concealment. Small 
rodents and small dull-coloured ground birds are normally in fear 
of foes which must see them from above at the critical moment if 
they see them at all ; and from above no such shading is visible. 
This is true of almost all the small birds in question, and of the 
little mice and rats and shrews, and it completely upsets Mr. 
Thayer's theory as regards an innnense proportion of the animals 
to which he applies it ; most species of mice, for example, which 
he insists owe their safety to counter-shading, live under conditions 
which make this counter-shading of practically no consequence 
whatever in saving them from their foes. The nearly uniform 
coloured mice and shrews are exactly as difficult to see as the 

Again, take what Mr. Thayer says of hares and prongbucks. 
Mr. Thayer insists that the white tails and rumps of deer, 
antelopes, hares, etc., help them by " obliteration " of them as they 
flee. He actually continues that " when these beasts flee at night 
before terrestrial enemies, their brightly displayed, sky-lit white 


sterns blot out their foreshortened bodies against the sky.'' He 
illustrates what he means by pictures, and states that " in the 
night the illusion must often be complete, and most beneficent to 
the hunted beast,'' and that what he calls " these rear- end sky- 
pictures are worn by most fleet ruminants of the open land, and 
by many rodents with more or less corresponding habits, notably 
hares " and smaller things whose enemies are beasts of low stature, 
like weasels, minks, snakes, and foxes ; " in short, that they are 
worn by animals that are habitually or most commonly looked up 
at by their enemies." Mr. Thayer gives several pictures of the 
prongbuck and of the northern rabbit to illustrate his theory, 
and actually treats the extraordinarily conspicuous white rump 
patch of the prongbuck as an " obliterative "" nmrking. In reality, 
so far from hiding the animal, the white rump is at night often 
the only cause of the animal's being seen at all. Under one picture 
of the prongbuck Mr. Thayer says that it is commonly seen with 
the white rump against the sky-line by all its terrestrial enemies, 
such as wolves and cougars. Of course, as a matter of fact, 
when seen against the sky-line, the rest of the prongbuck's 
silhouette is so distinct that the white rump mark has not the 
slightest obliterative value of any kind. I can testify personally 
as to this, for I have seen prongbuck against the sky-line hundreds 
of times by daylight, and at least a score of times by night. The 
only occasion it could ever have such obliterative value would be 
at the precise moment when it happened to be standing stern-on 
in such a position that the rump was above the sky-line and all 
the rest of the body below it. Ten steps farther back, or ten 
steps farther forward, would in each case make it visible instantly 
to the dullest-sighted wolf or cougar that ever killed game; so 
that Mr. Thayer's theory is of value only on the supposition that 
both the prongbuck and its enemy happen to be so placed that the 
enemy never glances in its direction save at just the one particular 
moment when, by a combination of circumstances which might not 
occur once in a million times, the piongbuck happens to be helped 
by the obliterative eiuality of the white rump mark. Now, in the 
first place, the chance of the benefit happening to any individual 
prongbuck is so inconceivably small that it can be neglected, and, 
in the next place, in reality the white rump mark is exceedingly 
conspicuous under all ordinary circumstances, and, for once that it 
might help the animal to elude attention, must attract attention 
to it at least a thousand times. At night, in the darkness, as 
anyone who has ever spent much time hunting them knows, the 
white rump mark of the antelope is almost always the first thing 
about them that is seen, and is very often the only thing that is 
e\er seen ; and at night it does not fade into the sky, even if the 
animal is on the sky-line. So far as beasts of prey are guided by 


their siorht at night, the white rump must always under all circum- 
stances be a source of danger to the prongbuck, and never of any 
use as an obliterative pattern. In the daytime, so far from using 
this white rump as obliterative, the prongbuck almost invariably 
erects the white hairs with a kind of chrysanthemum effect when 
excited or surprised, and thereby doubles its conspicuousness. In 
the daytime, if the animals are seen against the sky-line, the white 
rump has hardly the slightest effect in making them less con- 
spicuous ; while if they are not seen against the sky-line (and of 
course in a great majority of cases they are not so seen), it is much 
the most conspicuous feature about them, and attracts attention 
from a very long distance. But this is not all. Anyone ac- 
quainted with the habits of the prongbuck knows that the adult 
prongbuck practically never seeks to protect itself from its foes by 
concealment or by eluding their observation ; its one desire is 
itself to observe its foes, and it is cjuite indifferent as to whether or 
not it is seen. It lives in open ground, where it is always very 
conspicuous, excepting during the noonday rest, when it prefers to 
lie down in a hollow, almost always under conditions which render 
the white rump patch much less conspicuous than at any other 
time. In other words, during the time when it is comparatively 
off its guard and resting it takes a position where it does not stand 
against the sky-line— as, according to Mr. Thayer's ingenious 
theory, it should ; and, again contrary to this same theory, it 
usually lies down, so that any foe would have to look down at it 
fi'om above. Whenever it does lie down, the white patch becomes 
less conspicuous ; it is rarely quiet for any length of time except 
when lying down. The kids of the prongbuck, on the other hand, 
do seek to escape observation, and they seek to do so by Iving 
perfectly flat on the ground, with their heads outstretched and the 
body pressed so against the ground that the effect of the white 
rump is minimized, as is also the effect of the "counter-shading'"'; 
for the light-coloured under parts are pressed against the earth, 
and the little kid lies motionless, trusting to escape observation 
owing to absence of movement, helped by the unbroken colour 
surface which is exposed to view. If the adult prongbucks really 
ever gained any benefit by any " protective "' quality in their 
coloration, they would certainly act like the kids, and crouch 
motionless. In reality the adult prongbuck never seeks to escape 
observation, never trusts in any way to the concealing or protec- 
tive power of any part of its coloration, and is not benefited in 
the slightest degree by this supposed, but in reality entirely non- 
existent, concealing, or protective power. The white rump 
practically never has any obliterative or concealing function ; on 
the contrary, in the great niajority of instances, it acts as an 
advertisement to all outside creatures of the prongbuck's existence. 


Probably it is an example of what is known as directive coloration, 
of coloration used for purposes of advertisement or communication 
with the animal's followers. But however this may be, it is certain 
that there is not the smallest justification for Mr. Thayer's theory 
so far as the prongbuck is concerned. 

It is practically the same as regards the rabbit or the hare. 
Anyone who has ever been in the woods must know, or certainly 
ought to know, that when hares are sitting still and trying to 
escape observation, they crouch flat, so that the white of the tail 
and rump is almost concealed, as well as the white of the under 
parts, while the effect of the counter-shading almost or entirely 
vanishes. No terrestrial foe of the hare would ever see the white 
rump against the sky-line unless the animal was in rapid motion 
(and parenthetically I may observe that even then it would only 
see the rump against the sky-line in an infinitesimally small number 
of cases). Of course, as soon as the animal is in motion it is 
conspicuous to even the most dull-sighted beast of prey ; and 
Mr. Thayer's idea that the white rear patch may mislead a foe as 
it jumjjs upon it is mere supposition, unsustained by any proof, 
antl contrary to all the facts that I have observed. Civilized man, 
who is much more dull-sighted than most wild things, can always 
see a rabbit when it runs because its white is then so very con- 
s})icuous. Here, again, I do not think there is the slightest value 
in Mr. Thayer's theory. The white rump is certainly not a pro- 
tective or obliterative marking; it is probably a directive or 
advertisement marking. 

The Virginia deer, utterly unlike the prongbuck, does often seek 
to evade observation by lying close, or skulking. When it lies 
close, it lies flat on the ground like a hare, and its white tail is 
almost invisible, while of course even the most low-creeping foe 
would not under such circumstances get it against the sky-line. 
When it skulks, it moves off with head and neck outstretched and 
tail flattened down, with the white as much obscured as possible. 
The white is never shown in conspicuous fashion until the animal 
is frightened and no lonoer seeks concealment. It then bounds off 
openly, crashing through the bush, with its white tail flaunted, 
and under such circumstances the white mark is extremely con- 

Indeed, I feel that there is grave ground to question the general 
statement of Mr. Thayer that " almost all mammals are equipped 
with a full obliterative shading of surface colours ; that is, they 
are darkest on the back and lightest on the belly, usually with 
connected intermediate shades." This is undoubtedly true as a 
statement of the coloration, but whether this coloration is in 
fact obliterative needs further investigation. Of course, if it is 
obliterative, then its use is to conceal the mammals. Mr. Thayer's 


whole thesis is that such is the case. But as a matter of tact, the 
great majority of these mammals, when they seek to escape 
observation, crouch on the grounti, and in that postuae the light 
belly escapes observation, and the animaPs colour pattern loses 
very much of, and sometimes all of, the " full obliterative shading 
of surface colours^' of which Mr. 'J'hayer speaks. Moreover, when 
crouched down in seeking to escape observation, the foes of the 
animal are most apt to see it from above, not from below or from 
one side. This is also the case with carnivorous animals which 
seek to escape the observation of their prey. The cougar crouches 
when lying in wait or stalking, so that it is precisely when it is 
seeking to escape observation that its lighter-coloured under parts 
are obscured, and the supposed benefit of the " obliterative shading 
pattern " lost. I do not intend without qualification to take 
ground one way or the other on this general question ; but it is 
certainly true that any such sweeping statement as that (juoted 
above by Mr. Thayer is as yet entirely unproved. I have no doubt 
that in most cases animals whose colours harmonize with their 
environment, and which also seek to escape observation by remain- 
ing motionless when they think there is danger, are very materially 
helped by their concealing coloration ; but when this concealment 
is said to be due to the obliterative shading as described by 
Mr. Thayer, it is certainly worth while considering the fact that 
the so-called obliterative j)attern is least shown, or is not shown at 
all, at the only time when the animal seeks to escape observation, 
or succeeds in escaping observation — that is, when it crouches 
motionless, or skulks slowly, with the conscious aim of not being 
seen. No colour scheme whatever is of much avail to animals 
when they move, unless the movement is very slow and cautious; 
rats, mice, gophers, rabbits, shrews, and the enormous majority ot 
mammals which are coloured in this fashion are not helped by their 
special coloration pattern at all when they are in motion. Against 
birds of prey they are practically never helped by the counter- 
shading, but merely by the general coloration and by absence of 
movement. Their chief destroyers among mammals — such as 
weasels, for instance — hunt them almost or altogether purely by 
scent, and though the final pounce is usually guided by sight, it is 
made from a distance so small that, as far as we can tell by 
observation, the " counter-shading '' is useless as a protection. In 
fact, while the general shading of these small mammals"' coats may 
very probably protect them from certain foes, it is as yet an open 
question as to just how far they are helped (and indeed in very 
many cases whether they really are helped to any appreciable 
extent) by what Mr. Thayer lays such special stress upon as being 
" full obliterative shading (counter-shading) of surface colouring." 
Certainly nmny of the markings of mammals, just as is the case 


with birds, must be wholly independent of any benefit they give to 
their possessors in the way of concealment. Mr. Thayer's pictures 
in some cases portray such entirely exceptional situations or sur- 
roundings that they are misleading — as, for instance, in his pictures 
of the peacock and the male wood-duck. An instant's reflection is 
sufficient to show that if the gaudily-coloured males of these two 
birds are really protectively coloured, then the females are not, and 
vice versa ; for the males and females inhabit similar places, and if 
the elaborate arrangement of sky or water and foliage in which 
Mr. Thayer has placed his peacock and wood-drake represented 
(which they do not) their habitual environment, a peahen and 
wood-duck could not be regarded as protectively coloured at all ; 
whereas of course in reality, as everyone knows, they are ffir more 
difficult to see than the corresponding males. Again, he shows a 
chipmunk among twigs and leaves, to make it evident that the 
white and black markings conceal it ; but a weasel, which lacks 
these markings, would be even more difficult to see. The simple 
truth is that in most woodland, mountain, and prairie surroundings 
any small mammal that remains motionless is, unless very vividly 
coloured, exceedingly apt to escape notice. I do not think that 
the stripes of the chipmunk are of any protective value — that is, I 
believe (and the case of the weasel seems to me to prove) that its 
coloration would be at least as fully " protective "" without them. 
The striped gophers and grey gophers seem equally easy to see ; 
they live in similar habitats, and the stripes seem to have no 
protective effect one way or the other. 

It is when Mr. Thayer and the other extreme members of the 
protective coloration school deal with the big game of Africa 
that they go most completely wide of the mark. For instance, 
Mr. Thayer speaks of the giraffe as a sylvan mammal with a 
checkered sun-fleck and leaf-coloured pattern of coloration, accom- 
panied by complete obliterative shading, and the whole point of 
his remark is that the giraffe's coloration " always maintains its 
potency for obliteration.''' Now, of course, this means nothing 
unless Mr. Thayer intends by it to mean that the giraffe's coloration 
allows it to escape the observation of its foes. I doubt whether 
this is ever under any circumstances the case — that is, I doubt 
whether the girafl'e's varied coloration ever " enables " it to escape 
observation save as the dark monochrome of the elephant, rhinoceros, 
or buffalo may " enable " one of these animals to escape observation 
under practically identical conditions. There is, of course, no 
conceivable colour or scheme of colour which may not, under some 
conceivable circumstances, enable the bearer to escape observation ; 
but if such colouring, for once that it enables the bearer to escape 
observation exposes the bearer to observation a thousand times, it 
cannot be called protective. I do not think that the giraffes 


coloration exposes it to observation on tiie part of its toes; I tliink 
that it simply has no effect whatsoever. The giraffe never trusts 
to escaping observation ; its sole thought is itself to obsei've any 
possible foe. At a distance of a few hundred yards, the colour 
pattern becomes indistinct to the eye. and the animal appears of a 
nearly uniform tint, so that any benefit given by the colour pattern 
must be comparatively close at hand. On the very rare occasions 
when beasts of prey — that is, lions — do attack giraffes, it is usually 
at night, when the coloration is of no consequence ; but even by 
dav'liffht I should really doubt whether any i^iraffe has been saved 
from an attack by lions owing to its coloration allowing it to 
escape observation. It is so big, and so (jueerly shaped, that any 
trained eyes detect it at once, if within a reasonable distance ; it 
only escapes observation when so far off that its coloration does 
not count one way or the other. There is no animal which will 
not at times seem invisible to the untrained eyes of the average 
white hunter, and any beast of any shape or any colour standing or 
lying motionless, under exceptional circumstances, may now and 
then escape observation. The elephant is a much more truly 
sylvan beast than the giraffe, and it is a one-coloured beast, its 
coloration pattern being precisely that which Mr. Thayer points 
out as being most visible. Kut I have spent over a minute in 
trying to see an elephant not fifty yards off, in thick forest, my 
black companion vainly trying to show it to me; I have had just 
the same experience with the similarly coloured rhinoceros and 
buffalo when standing in the same scanty bush that is affected by 
giraffes, and with the rhinoceros also in open plains where there 
are ant-hills. It happens that I have never had such an experience 
with a giraffe. Doubtless such experiences do occur with giraffes, 
but no more frecjuently than with elephant, rhinoceros, and buffalo ; 
and in my own experience I found that I usually made out giraffes 
at considerably larger distances than I made out rhinos. The 
buffalo does sometimes try to conceal itself, and, Mr. Thayer to 
the contrary notwithstanding, it is then much more difficult to 
make out than a giraffe, because it is much smaller and less oddly 
shaped. The buffalo, by the way, really might be benefited by 
protective coloration, if it possessed it, as it habitually lives in 
cover, and is often preyed on by the lion ; whereas the giraffe is 
not protected at all by its coloration, and is rarely attacked by 

Elephants and rhinoceroses occasionally stand motionless, wait- 
ing to see if they can place a foe, and at such times it is possible 
they are consciously seeking to evade observation. But the girafl'e 
never under any circumstances tries to escape observation, and I 
doubt if, practically speaking, it ever succeeds so far as wild men or 
wild beasts that use their eyes at all are concerned. It stands 


motionless, looking at the hunter, out it never tries to hide from 
him. It is one of the most conspicuous animals in Nature. Native 
hunters of the true hunting tribes pick it up invariably at an 
astonishing distance, and near by it never escapes their eyes ; its 
coloration is of not the slightest use to it from the standpoint of 
concealment. Of course, white men, even though good ordinary 
hunters, and black men of the non-hunting tribes, often fail to see 
it, just as they often fail to see a man or a horse, at a distance ; 
but this is almost always at such a distance that the coloration 
pattern cannot be made out at all, the animal seeming neutral 
tinted, like the rest of the landscape, and escaping observation 
because it is motionless, just as at the same distance a rhinoceros 
may escape observation. A motionless man, if dressed in neutral- 
tinted clothes, will in the same manner escape observation, even 
from wild beasts, at distances so short that no giraffe could possibly 
avoid beinjr seen. I have often watched ii;ame come to watering;- 
places, or graze toward me on a nearly bare plain ; on such occasions 
I might be unable to use cover, and then merely sat motionless on 
the grass or in a game trail. My neutral-tinted clothes, grey or 
yellow-brown, were all of one colour, without any covnter-sliadmg ; 
but neither the antelope nor the zebra saw me, and they would 
frequently pass me, or come down to drink, but thirty or forty 
yards off, without ever knowing of my presence. My " conceal- 
ment "" or " protection "'*' was due to resting motionless and to 
wearing a neutral-tinted suit, although there was no counter- 
shading, and although the colour was uniform instead of being 
broken up with a pattern of various tints. 

The zebra offers another marked exam[)le of the complete break- 
down of the protective coloration theory. Mr. Thayer says : 
" Among all the bolder obliterative patterns worn by mammals, 
that of the zebra probably bears away the palm for potency." 
The zebra's coloration has proved especially attractive to many 
disciples of this school, even to some who are usually good ob- 
servers ; but as a matter of fact, the zebra's coloration is the 
reverse of protective, and it is really extraordinary how any fairly 
good observer of accurate mind can consider it so. One argument 
used by Mr. Thayer is really funny, when taken in connection with 
an argument frequently used by other disciples of the protective 
coloration theory as applied to zebras. Mr. Thayer shows by in- 
genious pictures that a wild ass is much less protectively coloured 
than a zebra. Some of his fellow-disciples triumphantly point out 
that at a little distance the zebra's stripes merge into one another, 
and that the animal then becomes protectively coloured because it 
looks exactly like a wild ass ! Of course, each author forgets that 
zebras and wild asses live under substantially the same conditions, 
and that this mere fact totally upsets the theory that each is 


beneficially affected by its protective coloration. The two animals 
cannot both be protectively coloured ; they cannot each owe to its 
coloration an advantage in escaping from its foes. It is absolutely 
impossible, if one of them is so coloured as to enable it to escape 
the observation of its foes, that the other can be. As a matter of 
fact, neither is, and neither makes any attempt to elude observa- 
tion by its foes, but trusts entirely to vigilance in discerning them 
and Heetness in escaping from them ; although the wild ass, unlike 
the zebra, really is so coloured that because thereof it may occa' 
sionally escape observation from dull-sighted foes. 

Mr. Thayer's argument is based throughout on a complete 
failure to understand the conditions of zebra life. He makes an 
elaborate statement to show that the brilliant cross-bands of the 
zebra have great obliterative effect, insisting that, owing to the 
obliterative coloration, zebras continually escape observation in 
the country in which they live. He continues : " Furthermore, all 
beasts must have water, and so the zebras of the dry plains must 
needs make frequent visits to the nearest living sloughs cind rivers. 
There, by the water's edge, tall reeds and grasses almost always, and there, where all beasts meet to drink, is the great 
place of danger for the ruminants, and all on whom the lion preys. 
In the open land they can often detect their enemy afar off', and 
depend on their fleetness for escape ; but when they are down in 
the river-bed, among the reeds, he may approach unseen and leap 
among them without warning. It is probably at these drinking- 
places that the zebra's pattern is most beneficently potent. From 
far or near the watching eye of the hunter (bestial or human) is 
likely to see nothing, or nothing but reed-stripes, where it might 
otherwise detect the contour of a zebra." In a footnote he adds 
that, however largely lions and other rapacious mammals hunt by 
scent, it is only sight that serves them when they are down wind 
of their quarry ; and that sight alone must guide their ultimate 
killing dash and spring. 

Now, this theory of Mr. Thayer's about the benefit of the zebra's 
coloration at drinking-places, as a shield against foes, lacks even 
the slightest foundation in fact; for it is self-evident that animals, 
when they come down to drink, necessarily move. The moment 
that any animal the size of a zebra moves, it at once becomes 
visible to the eye of its human or bestial foes, unless it skulks in 
the most cautious manner. The zebra never skulks, and, like most 
of the plains game, it never, at least when adult, seeks ho escape 
observation — indeed, in the case of the zebra (unlike what is true 
of the antelope) I am not sure that even the young seek to escape 
observation. I have many times watched zebras and antelopes — 
wildebeest, hartebeest, gazelle, waterbuck, kob — coming down to 
water ; their conduct was substantially similar. The zebras, for 


instance, made no effort whatever to escape observation ; they 
usually went to some drinking-place as clear of reeds as possible ; 
but sometimes they were forced to come down to drink where 
there was rather thick cover, in which case they always seemed 
more nervous, more on the alert, and quicker in their movements. 
They came down in herds, and they would usually move forward 
by fits and starts — that is, travel a few hundred yards, and then 
stop and stand motionless for some time, looking around. They 
were always very conspicuous, and it was quite impossible for any 
watcher to fail to make them out. As they came nearer to the 
water they seemed to grow more cautious. They would move 
forward some distance, halt, perhaps wheel and dash off for a 
hundred yards, and then after a little while return. As they got 
near the water they would again wait, and then march boldly 
down to drink — except in one case where, after numerous false 
starts, they finally seemed to suspect that there was something in 
the neighbourhood, and went off for good without drinking. 
Never in any case did I see a zebra come down to drink under 
conditions which would have rendered it possible for the most 
dull-sighted beast to avoid seeing it. Of course, I usually watched 
the pools and rivers when there was daylight ; but after nightfall 
the zebra's stripes would be entirely invisible, so that their only 
effect at the drinking-place must be in the daytime ; and in the 
daytime there was absolutely no effect, and the zebras that I saw 
could by no possibility have escaped observation from a lion, for 
they made no effort whatever thus to escape observation, but 
moved about continually, and, after drinking, retired to the open 

The zebra's coloration is certainly never of use to him in helping 
him escape observation at a drinking-place. But neither is it of 
use to him in escaping observation anywhere else. As I have said 
before, there are, of course, circumstances under which any pattern 
or coloration will harmonize with the environment. Once I came 
upon zebras standing in partially burned grass, some of the yellow 
stalks still erect, and here the zebras were undoubtedly less con- 
spicuous than tlie red-coated hartebeests with which they were 
associated ; but as against the one or two occasions where I have 
seen the zebra's coat make it less conspicuous than most other 
animals, there have been scores where it has been more conspicuous. 
I think it would be a safe estimate to say that for one occasion on 
which the coloration of the zebra serves it for purposes of conceal- 
ment from any enemy, there are scores, or more likely hundreds, 
of occasions when it reveals it to an enemy ; while in the great 
majority of instances it has no effect one way or the other. The 
different effects of light and shade make different patterns of 
coloration more or less visible on different occasions. There have 


been occasions when I have seen antelopes (juicker than I have 
seen the zebra witli which they happened to be associatetl. More 
often the light has been such that I have seen the zebra first. 
Where I was, in Africa, the zebra herds were on the same gronnd, 
and often associated, with eland, oryx, wildebeest, topi, hartebeest, 
Grant's <;azelle, and Thomson's gazelle. Of all these animals, the 
wildebeest, because of its dark coloration, was the most conspicuous 
and most readily seen. The topi also usually looked very dark. 
Both of these animals were ordinarily made out at longer distances 
than the others. The gazelles, partly from their small size and 
partly from their sandy coloration, were, I should say, usually a 
little harder to make out than the others. The remaining animals 
were consj)icuous or not, largely as the light happened to strike 
them. Ordinarily, if zebras were mixed with elands or oryx, I saw 
the zebras before seeing the eland and oryx, although I ought to 
add that my black companions on these occasions usually made out 
both sets of animals at the same time. But in mixed herds of 
hartebeests and zebras I have sometimes seen the hartebeests first, 
and sometimes the zebras. - 

The truth is that this plains game never seeks to escape observa- 
tion at all, and that the coloration patterns of the various animals 
arc not concealing, and are of practically no use whatever in 
l)rotecting the animals from their foes. The beasts above 
enumerated are coloured in widely different fashions. If anv one 
of them was really obliteratively coloured, it would mean that 
some or all of the others were not so coloured. But, as a matter 
of fact, they are none of them instances of concealing coloration ; 
none of the beasts seek to escape observation, or trust for safety to 
eluding the sight of their foes. When they lie down they almost 
always lie down in very open ground, where they are readily seen, 
and where they can hope to see their foes. When topi, roan 
antelope, hartebeest, and so foith, are standing head-on, the under 
parts look darker instead of lighter than the upper parts, so that 
in this connnon position there is no " counter-shading." The 
roan and oryx have nearly uniform coloured coats which often do 
harmonize with their surroundings ; but their bold face-markings 
are conspicuous.- None of these big or medium-sized plains 

' Air. Thayer tries to show that the cross stripes on the legs of zebras are of 
protective value. He has fort^otten that in the tj'pical Burchell's zebra the legs are 
white ; whether they are striped or not is evidently of no consequence from the 
protective standpoint. Tiiere is even less basis for ilr. Thayer's theory that 
the strijiings on the legs of elands and one or two other antelopes have any, even 
the slightest, protective value. 

- A curious instance of the lengths to which some protective-coloration theorists 
go is afforded by the fact that they actually treat these bold markings as oblitcrative 
or concealing. In actual fact the reverse is true ; these face-markings are much more 
apt to advertise the animal's presence. 



animals, while health}^ and unhurt, seeks to escape observation by 

This is the direct reverse of what occurs with many bush ante- 
lopes. Undoubtedly many of the latter do seek to escape observa- 
tion. 1 have seen waterbucks stand perfectly still, and then steal 
cautiously off through the brush ; and I have seen duiker and 
steinbuck lie down and stretch their heads out flat on the ground 
when they noticed a horseman approaching from some distance. 
Yet even in these cases it is very hard to say whether their 
coloration is really protective. The steinbuck, a very common 
little antelope, is of a foxy red, which is decidedly conspicuous. 
The duiker lives in the same localities, and seems to me to be 
more protectivel}- coloured — at any rate, if the coloration is 
protective for one it certainly is not for the other. The bushbuck 
is a boldly- coloured beast, and I do not believe for a moment that 
it ever owes its safety to protective coloration. The reedbuck, 
which in manners corresponds to our white-tailed deer, may very 
possibly at times be helped by its coloration, although my own 
belief is that all these bush creatures owe their jiower of conceal- 
ment primarily to their caution, noiselessness, and power to remain 
motionless, rather than to any pattern of coloration. But all of 
these animals undoubtedly spend nmch of their time in trying to 
elude observation. 

On the open plains, however, nothing of the kind happens. 
The little tommy gazelle, for instance, never strives to escape 
observation. It has a habit of constantly jerking its tail in a way 
which immediately attracts notice, even if it is not moving other- 
wise. When it lies down, its obliterative shading entirely dis- 
appears, because it has a very vivid black line along its side, and 
when recumbent — or indeed, for the matter of that, when standing 
up — this black line at once catches the eye. However, when stand- 
ing, it can be seen at once anyhow. The bigger Grant's gazelle is, as 
far as the adult male is concerned, a little better off than the 
tommy, because the bucks have not got the conspicuous black 
lateral stripe ; but this is possessed by both the young and the 
does — who stand in much more need of concealing coloration. 
But as I have already so often said, neither concealment nor 
concealing coloration plays any part whatever in protecting these 
animals from their foes. There is never any difficulty in seeing 
them ; the difficulty is to prevent their seeing the hunter. 

Mr. Thayer's thesis is " that all patterns and colours whatsoever 
of all animals that ever prey or are preyed on are under certain 
normal circumstances obliterative.'''' Either this sentence is entirely 
incorrect or else it means nothing ; either no possible scheme of 
coloration can be imagined which is not protective (in which case, 
of course, the whole theory becomes meaningless), or else the state- 


ment so sweepingly made is entirely incorrect. As I have already 
shown, there are great numbers ot" aninials to which it cannot apply ; 
and some of the very animals which do escape observation in com- 
plete fashion are coloured utterly differently when compared one 
with the other, althoui^h their habitats are the same. The intricate 
pattern of the leopard, and the uniform, simple pattern of the 
cougar, seem etjually eHicient under precisely similar conditions; 
and so do all the intermediate patterns when the general tint is 
neutral ; and even the strikingly-coloured melanistic forms of these 
creatures seem as well fed and successful as the others. Mono- 
coloured ct)Ugars and spotted jaguars, black leopards and spotted 
leopards, and other cats of all tints and shades, broken or unbroken, 
are frequently found in the same forests, dwelling under precisely 
similar conditions, and all ec[ually successful in eluding observation 
and in catching their jirey. 

One of the most extreme, and most unwarrantable, of the 
positions taken by the ultra-advocates of the protective-coloration 
theory is that in reference to certain boldly-marked black and 
white animals, like skunks and Colobus monkeys, whose coloration 
patterns they assert to be obliterative. In skunks, the coloration 
is certainly not protective in any way against foes, as every human 
being must know if he has ever come across skunks by night or by 
day in the wilderness ; their coloration advertises their j)resence to 
all other creatures which n)ight prey on them. In all probability, 
moreover, it is not of the slightest use in helping them obtain the 
little beasts on which they themselves prey. IVIr. Thayer's "sky- 
pattern '' theory about skunks cannot apply, for bears, which are 
equally good mousers and insect-grubbers, have no white on them, 
nor have (ishers, weasels, raccoons, or foxes ; and in any event the 
"sky-pattern" would not as oiten obliterate the skunk from the 
view^ of its prey as it would advertise it to its prey. It is to the 
last degree unlikely that any mouse or insect is ever more easily 
caught because of the white "sky-pattern" on the skunk; and it 
is absolutely certain that any of these little creatures that trust to 
their eyes at all must have their vision readily attracted by the 
skunk's bold coloration; and the skunk's method of hunting is 
incompatible with deriving benefit from its coloration. Besides, it 
usually hunts at night, and at night the white " sky-pattern " is 
not a sky-pattern at all, but is exceedingly conspicuous, serving as 
an advertisement. 

The big black and white Colobus monkey has been adduced as 
an instance of the " concealing " cjuality of bold and conspicuous 
coloration patterns. Of course, as I have said before, there is no 
conceivable pattern which may not, under some wholly exceptional 
circumstances, be of use from the protective standpoint ; a soldier 
in a black frock-coat and top-hat, with white duck trousers, might 


conceivably in the course of some city fight get into a coal-cellar 
with a white-washed Hoor, and find that the "coloration pattern" 
of his preposterous uniform was protective ; and really it would be 
no more misleading to speak of such a soldier's dress as protective 
compared to khaki than it is to speak of the Colobus monkey's 
coloration as protective when compared with the colorations of the 
duller-coloured monkeys of other species that are found in the 
same forests. When hunting with the wild 'Ndorobo, 1 often 
found it impossible to see the ordinary monkeys, which they tried 
to point out to me, before the latter fled ; but I rarely failed to 
see the Colobus monkey when it was pointed out. In the tops of 
the giant trees, any monkey that stood motionless was to my eyes 
difi^cult to observe; but nine times out of ten it was the dull- 
coloured monkey, and not the black and white Colobus, which was 
most difficult to observe. 1 questioned the 'Ndorobos as to which 
they found hardest to see, and, rather to my amusement, at first 
they could not understand my question, simply because they could 
not understand failing to make out either ; but, when they did 
understand, they always responded that the black and white 
Colobus was the monkey easiest to see and easiest to kill. These 
monkeys stretch nearly across Africa, from a form at one extremity 
of the range which is almost entirely black, to a form at the other 
extremity of the range which is mainly or most conspicuously white. 
Of course it is quite impossible that both forms can be protec- 
tively coloured ; and, as a matter of fact, neither is. 

I am not speaking of the general theory of protective coloration. 
1 am speaking of certain phases thereof as to which I have made 
observations at first-hand. I have studied the facts as regards big 
game and certain other animals, and I am convinced that as 
regards these animals the protective-coloration theory either does 
not apply at all or applies so little as to render it necessary to 
accept with the utmost reserve the sweeping generalizations of 
Mr. Thayer and the jjrotective-coloration extremists. It is an 
exceedingly interesting subject. It certainly seems that the theory 
must apply as regards many animals ; but it is even more certain 
that it does not, as its advocates claim, apply universally ; and 
careful study and cautious generalizations are imperatively neces- 
sary in striving to apply it extensively, while fanciful and im- 
possible efforts to apply it where it certainly does not apply can 
do no real good. It is necessary to remember that some totally 
different principle, in addition to or in substitution for protective 
coloration, must have been at work where totally different colora- 
tions and colour patterns seem to bring the same results to the 
wearers. The bear and the skunk are both catchers of small 
rodents, and when the colour patterns of the back, nose, and 
breast, for instance, are directly opposite in the two animals, there 


is at least neetl of very «>Teat caution in deciding that either 
represents obliterative coh)ration of a sort that benefits the 
creature in catching its prey. Siniihirly, to say that white herons 
and pehcans and roseate-colomed Hamingoes and spoon-bills are 
helped bv their coloration, when other birds tliat live exactly in 
the same fashion and just as successfully, are black, or brown, or 
black and white, or grey, or green, or blue, certainly represents 
mere presumption, as yet unaccompanied by a vestige of proof, 
and probably lepresents error. 'I'here is probably imuh in the 
general theory of concealment coloration, but it is not possible to 
say how much until it is thoroughly tested by men who do not 
violate the advice of the French scientific professor to his pupils: 
" Above all things remend)or in the course of youi' investigations 
that if you determine to find out something you will probably 
do so." 

I have dealt chiefiy with big game. IJut I think it high 
time that sober scientific men desirous to find out facts should 
not leave this c|uestion of concealing coloration or piotec- 
tive coloration to theorists who, however able, become so 
interested in their theory that they lose the capacity to state facts 
exactly. Mr. Thayer and the various gentlemen who .share his 
views have undoubtedly made some very interesting discoveries, 
and it may well be that these discoveries are of widespread impor- 
tance. But they nnist be most carefully weighed, considered, and 
corrected by capable scientific men before it is possible to say how 
far the theory applies and what limitations there are to it. At 
present all tihat is absolutely certain is that it does not apply 
anywhere near as extensively as Mr. Thayer alleges, and that he 
is so completely mistaken as to some of his facts as to make it 
necessary carefully to reconsider most of the others. I have 
shown that as regards most kinds of big game which inhabit 
open places and do not seek to escape observation, but trust 
to their own wariness for protection, his theories do not apply at 
all. They certainly do not apply at all to various other mammals. 
Many of his sweeping assertions are certainly not always true, and 
may not be true in even a very small number of Thus, in 
his introduction, Mr. Thayer says of birds that the so-called 
" nuptial colours, etc., are confined to situations where the same 
colours are to be found in the wearer's background, either at certain 
periods of his life or all the time," and that apparently not one of 
these colours " exists anywhere in the world where there is not 
every reason to believe it the very best conceivable device for the 
concealment of its wearer, either throughout the main part of this 
wearer's life or under certain peculiarly im})ortant circumstances.'' 
It is really difficult to argue al)out a statement .so fiatly contra- 
dicted by ordinary experience. Taking at random two of the 


common birds around our own homes, it is only necessary to 
consider the bobolink and the scarlet tanager. The males of 
these two birds in the breeding season put on liveries which are 
not only not the " very best conceivable," but, on the contrary, are 
the very worst conceivable devices for the concealment of the 
wearers. If the breeding cock bobolink and breeding cock tanager 
are not coloured in the most conspicuous manner to attract atten- 
tion, if they are not so coloured as to make it impossible for 
them to be more conspicuous, then it is absolutely hopeless for 
man or Nature or any power above or under the earth to devise 
any scheme of coloration whatsoever which shall not be concealing 
or protective ; and in such cases Mr. Thayer's whole argument is 
a mere play upon words. In sufficiently thick cover, whether of 
trees or grass, any small animal of any colour or shape may, if 
motionless, escape observation ; but the coloration patterns of the 
breeding bobolink and breeding tanager males, so far from being 
concealing or protective, are in the highest degree advertising ; 
and the same is true of multitudes of birds, of the red-winged 
blackbird, of the yellow-headed grackle, of the wood-duck, of the 
spruce grouse, of birds which could be mentioned offhand by 
the hundred, and probably, after a little study, by the thousand. 
As regards many of these birds, the coloration can never be 
protective or concealing ; as regards others, it may under certain 
rare combinations of conditions, like those set forth in some 
of Mr. Thayer"'s ingenious but misleading coloured pictures, ^ serve 
for concealment or protection, but in an infinitely larger number 
of cases it serves simply to advertise and attract attention to the 
wearers. As regards these cases, and countless others, Mr. Thayer's 
theories seem to me without substantial foundation in fact, and 
other influences than those he mentions must be responsible for the 
coloration. It may be that his theories really do not apply to a 
very large number of animals which are coloured white, or are pale 
in tint, beneath. For instance, in the cases of creatures like those 
of snakes and mice — where the white or pale tint beneath can never 
be seen by either their foes or their prey — this " counter-shading " 
may be due to some cause wholly differing from anything concerned 
with protection or concealment. 

There are other problems of coloration for which Mr. Thayer 
professes to give an explanation where this explanation breaks 
down for a different reason. The cougar's coloration, for instance, 
is certainly in a high degree concealing and protective, or at any 
rate it is such that it does not interfere with the animaPs pro- 
tecting itself by concealment, for the cougar is one of the most 

^ Some of the pictures are excellent, and uudoubtedly put the facts truthfully 
and clearly ; others portray as normal conditions which are wholly abnormal and 
exceptional, and are therefore completely misleading. 


elusive of creatures, one of the most difficult to see, either by the 
hunter who follows it or by the animal on which it preys. But 
the cougar is found in every kind of country — in northern pine- 
woods, in thick tropical forests, on barren j)lains and among- rocky 
mountains. Mr. Thayer in his introduction states that " one may 
read on an animaFs coat the main facts of his habits and habitat, 
without ever seeing him in his home." It would be interestino; to 
know how he would apply this statement to the cougar, and, if he 
knew nothing about the animal, tell from its coat which specimen 
lived in a Wisconsin pine-forest, which among stunted cedars in 
the Rocky Mountains, which on the snow-line of the Andes, which 
in the forest of the iVmazon, and which on the plains of Patagonia. 
With which habitat is the cougar's coat supposed especially to 
harmonize ? A lioness is coloured like a cougar, and in Africa we 
found by actual experience that the very differently-coloured 
leopard and lioness and cheetah and serval were, when in precisely 
similar localities, ecjually difficult to observe. It almost seems as 
if with many animals the matter of coloration is immaterial, so 
far as concealment is concerned, compared with the ability of the 
animal to profit by cover and to crouch motionless or slink 
stealthily along. 

Ajjain, there seems to be much truth in Mr. Thayer's statement 
of the concealing (piality of moNt mottled snake-skins. Ikit 
Mr. Thayer does not touch on the fact that in exactly the same 
localities as those where these mottled snakes dwell, there are often 
snakes entirely black or brown or green, and yet all seem to get 
along equally well, to escape ecjually well from their foes, and prey 
with equal ease on sn)aller animals. In Africa, the two most 
common poisonous snakes we found were the black cobra and the 
mottled j)uff-adder. If the coloration of one was that best suited 
for concealment, then the reverse was certainly true of the colora- 
tion of the other. 

But perhaps the climax of Mr. Thayer's theory is reached when 
he suddenly apj)lies it to human beings, saying: "Among the 
aboriginal human races, the various war-paints, tattooings, head 
decorations, and appendages, such as the long, erect mane of eagle 
feathers worn by North American Indians — all these, whatever 
purposes their wearers believe they serve, do tend to obliterate 
them, precisely as similar devices obliterate animals." Now, this 
simply is not so, and it is exceedingly difficult to understand how 
any man trained to proper scientific observation can believe it to 
be so. The Indian, and the savage generally, have a marvellous 
and wild-beast- like knack of concealinu" themselves. I have seen 
in Africa 'Ndorobo hunters, one clad in a white blanket and one in 
a red one, coming close toward ele})hants, and yet, thanks to their 
skill, less apt to be observed than I was in dull-coloured garments. 


So I have seen an Indian in a rusty frock-coat and a battered derby 
hat make a successful stalk on a deer which a white hunter would 
have had some difficulty in approachino-. But when the 'Ndorobos 
got to what they — not I — considered close quarters, they quietly 
dropped the red or white blankets; and an Indian would take 
similar pains when it came to making what he regarded as a 
difficult stalk. The feathered head-dress to which Mr. Thayer 
alludes would be almost as conspicuous as a sun umbrella, and an 
Indian would no more take it out on purpose to go stalking in than 
a white hunter would attempt the same feat with an open umbrella. 
The same is true of the paint and tattooing of which Mr. Thayer 
speaks, where thev are sufficiently conspicuous to be visible from 
any distance. Not only do the war- bonnets and war-paint of the 
American Indians and other savages have no concealing or pro- 
tective quality, as Mr. Thayer supposes, but, as a matter of fact, 
they are highly conspicuous ; and this I know by actual experience, 
by having seen in the o})en savages thus arrayed, and compared 
them with the aspect of the same savages wlien hunting. 


The original list of the "Pigskin Library"" was as follows 










La Clianson de Roland. 






Poe ." 


Bret Harte 


Bible in Spain. 
Wild Wales. 
The Romany Rye. 

Faerie Qiieene. 

Sea Power. 






Frederick the Great. 



Literary Essays. 

Biglow Papers. 



Paradise Lost (Books L and II.). 

Inferno (Carlyle's translation). 


Over the Teacups. 


Tales of the Argonauts. 

Luck of Roaring Camp 


Gentle Reader. 

Pardoner's ^Vallet. 



Mark Twain . . Huckleberry Finn. 

Tom Sawyer. 
Buuyan's " Pilgrim's Progress.'^ 
Euripides (Murray's translation) . Hippolytus. 

'I'he I'ederalist. 

Gregorovius . . . Rome. 

Scott .... Legend of Montrose. 

Guy Mannering. 


Rob Roy. 

Cooper .... I'ilot. 

Two Admiral)?. 
Percy's Reliques. 
Tliackeray .... Vanity Fair. 

Dickens .... Mutual Frii-ud. 


I received so many inquiries about the "Pigskin Library" (as 
the list appeared in the first chapter of" my African articles in 
Scribners Magazine [see p. 23]), and so many comments were 
made upon it, often in connection with the list of books recently 
made public by ex-President Eliot, of Harvaixl, that I may as well 
myself add a word on the subject. 

In addition to the books originally belonging to the " library," 
various others were from time to time added. Among them, 
" Alice in AVonderland " and " Through the Looking-Glass," 
Dumas' " Louves de Machekoule," " Tartarin de Tarascon" (not 
until after I had shot my lions !), Maurice Egan's " Wiles of Sexton 
Maginnis," James Lane Allen's " Summer in Arcady," William 
Allen White's "A Certain Rich Man," George Meredith's " Farina," 
and d'Aurevilly's " Chevalier des Touches." I also had sent out 
to me Darwin's " Origin of Species " and " Voyage of the Beagle," 
Huxley's Essays, Frazer's " Pas.sages from the Bible," Braithwaite's 
" Book of Elizabethan Verse," FitzGerald's " Omar Khayyam," 
Gobineau's " Inegalite des Races Humaines" (a well-written book, 
containing some good guesses ; but for a student to approach it 
for serious information would be much as if an abaltross should 
apply to a dodo for an essay on flight), " Don Quixote," Montaigne, 
Moliere, Goethe's " Faust,'"' Green's " Short History of the English 
People," Pascal, Voltaire's " Siecle de Louis XIV.," the " Memoires 
de M. Simon " (to read on the way home), and "The Soul's In- 
heritance," by George Cabot Lodge. Where possible I had them 
bound in pigskin. They were for use, not ornament. I almost 
always had some volume with me, either in my saddle-pocket or in 
the cartridge-bag which one of my gun-bearers carried to hold 
odds and ends. Often my reading would be done while resting 


under a tree at Moon, ])erhaps beside the carcass of a beast I had 
killed, or else while \vaitin<>; for camp to be pitched ; and in either 
case it iiiii^ht be impossible to get water for washing. In conse- 
quence the books were stained with blood, sweat, gun-oil, dust, 
and ashes ; oi'dinarv bindings either vanished or became loath- 
some, wliereas pigskin merely grew to look as a well -used saddle 

Now, it ought io be evident, on a mere glance at the coniplete 
list, both that the books themselves are of une(|ual value, and also 
that they were chosen for various reasons, and for this particular 
trip. Some few of them I would take with me on any trip of like 
length ; but the majority I should of course change for others — 
as good antl no better -were I to start on another such trip. On 
trips of various length in recent vears, I have taken, among many 
other books, the " Memoirs of Marbot,'"' ,Es(;hylus, Sophocles, 
Aristotle, Joinville's " History of St. Louis,'" the Odyssey (Pal- 
mer's translation), volumes of Gibbon and Parkman, Lounsbnry's 
Chaucer, Theocritus, Lea''s " History of the In(]uisition," Lord 
Acton's Essays, and llidgeway's " Prehistoric Greece." Once I 
took Ferrero's " History of llome,'" and liked it so much that I 
got the author to come to America and stay at the White House ; 
once De La Gorce's " History of the Second Republic and Second 
Empire'' — an invaluable book. I did not regaid those books as 
better or worse than those I left behind ; I took them because at 
the moment I wished to read them. The choice would largely 
depend u])on what I had just been reading. This time I took 
Euripides, because I had just been reading Muii-av's " History of 
the Greek Epic."^ Having become interested in MahaH'y's Essays 
on Hellenistic (ireece, I took Polybius on my next trip ; having 
just read Benjamin Ide Wheeler's " History of Alexander," I took 
Arrian on my next hunt. Something having started me reading 
German poetry, I once took Schiller, Koerner, and Heine to my ranch. 
Another time I started with a collection of essays on and transla- 
tions from early Irish poetry. Yet another tinie I took Morris's 
translations of various Norse Sagas, including the Heimskringia, 
and liked them so mu