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Full text of "Five years' hunting adventures in South Africa: being an account of sport with the lion, elephant ..."

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HUNTING AND SPORT 



IN 



SOUTH AFRICA 




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FIVE YEAR 



toting Adventures 



IN 






ERICA 



BEING 



AN ACCOUNT OF SPORT WITH THE LION, ELEPHANT 

BUFFALO, RHINOCEROS, CAMELOPARD, OSTRICH 

HIPPOPOTAMUS, WILDEBEST, KOODOO 

HYAENA, $c, $c. 



BY 



EOUALEYN GOEDON CUMMXNG, Esq. 

OF ALTYRE 



COMPLETE POPULAR EDITION 



LONDON: SIMPKIN, MARSHALL. & CO 
GLASGOW: THOMAS D. MORISON 



INTRODUCTION. 



As the reader who purposes to follow me through the five adventurous 
years I spent in the untrodden wilds of Southern Africa might like to 
know something of my previous career, I shall briefly state that the 
early portion of my life was spent in the County of Moray, where a 
love of natural history and of sport early engendered itself, and became 
stronger and more deeply rooted with my years. Salmon fishing and 
roe-stalking were my favourite amusements; and, during these early 
wanderings by wood and stream, the strong love of sport and admira- 
tion of Nature in her wildest and most attractive forms became with 
me an all-absorbing feeling, and my greatest possible enjoyment was to 
pass whole days and many a summer night in solitude, where, undis- 
turbed, I might contemplate the silent grandeur of the forest and the 
ever-varying beauty of the scenes around. Long before I proceeded to 
Eton I took pride in the goodly array of hunting trophies which hung 
around my room. 

In 1839 I sailed for India, to join my regiment, the 4th Madras Light 
Cavalry. Touching at the Cape of Good Hope, I had an opportunity 
of hunting several of the smaller antelopes, and obtained a foretaste of 
the splendid sport I was in after years so abundantly to enjoy. In 
India I procured a great number of specimens of natural history, and 
laid the foundation of a collection which has since swelled to gigantic 
proportions.* Finding that the climate did not agree with me, I retired 
from the service and returned home, where, resuming my old hunting 
habits, I was enabled, through the kindness of a wide circle of friends, 
to follow my favourite pursuit of deer-stalking so successfully that I 
speedily found myself in possession of a fine collection of select heads 
from most of the Scottish deer-forests. Growing weary, however, of 
hunting in a country where the game was strictly preserved, and where 
the continual presence of keepers and foresters took away half the charm 
of the chase, and longing once more for the freedom of nature, and the 
life of the wild hunter — so far preferable to that of the mere sportsman — 
I resolved to visit the rolling prairies and rocky mountains of the Far 
West, where my nature would find congenial sport with the bison, the 
wapiti, and the elk. With this view I obtained a commission in the 
Eoyal Veteran Newfoundland Companies. But I speedily discovered 
that the prospect of getting from the barrack-square would be small, and 
that I should have little chance of playing the Nimrod whilst attached 

* Which may now be seen in my South African Museum at the Chinese Gallery 
in London. 



INTRODUCTION. 



to this corps. I accordingly effected an exchange into the Cape Eifle- 
men, and in 1843 found myself once more in the country upon whose 
frontiers dwelt those vast herds of game which had so often fired my 
imagination, and made me long to revisit it. 

Immediately upon landing I marched with my division of the army 
of occupation, under the command of Colonel Somerset, into the country 
of the Amaponda Caffres, where we lay for some time under canvas, and 
where our principal amusements were quail-shooting and throwing the 
assegai. Being disappointed in my expectations, and there being at 
that time no prospect of fighting, I made up my mind to sell out of the 
army, and to penetrate into the interior farther than the foot of civilized 
man had yet trodden — to vast regions which would afford abundant 
food for the gratification of the passion of my youth, — the collecting of 
hunting trophies and objects of interest in science and natural history. 
And in this I ultimately succeeded to my heart's desire. 

With regard to my African adventures the following pages must 
speak for themselves. Let me here state, however, that I was the first 
to penetrate into the interior of the Bamangwato country, and that my 
axe and spade pioneered the way, which others have since followed. I 
should have pushed still farther but that the great losses I experienced 
in cattle and horses prevented me from so doing. 

During the many years I spent in the wilderness, my waggon was 
my only home. Even this I often deserted ; and alone, or attended only 
by savages, proceeded on distant hunting expeditions, leaving my few 
followers encamped around my baggage. Days and nights, on these 
occasions, have I passed in my solitary hunting hole, near some drinking- 
place, watching the majestic carriage of the lion, the sagacious actions 
of the elephant, and the curious instincts of the countless varieties of 
game that have passed .within a few yards of me, quite unaware of the 
proximity of man. Whatever on those occasions I witnessed worthy of 
attention, I noted in my journal whilst the impression was yet fresh in 
my memory — from this journal the following work is almost literally 
transcribed. Written under such circumstances, the reader will not 
look for the graces of style. The hand, wearied all day with grasping 
the rifle, is not the best suited for wielding the pen. If I have in 
simple language given pleasure to the sportsman, or added one page to 
the natural history of Southern Africa, or to our knowledge of its tribes, 
I shall think myself amply repaid for my many wanderings and watch- 
ings in a wild and savage land. 



Altyre, June, 1850. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 



vjii.xi.Jr JL JliJti/ J..} ... ... . •• ... ... ... ... Lo 

Preparations for a Hunting Expedition — Cape Traders — Travelling — 
Trader at a Farm — Danger of a Trader's Life — Articles for Barter 
— Dissuasions from the Enterprise — My Outfit — Hunting Rheebok 
— Wild Flowers. 

v^xi-A-Jr JL Jli tv -LJL., ... ... . .. ... ... ... ... All 

Mysteries of Inspanning — Cape Waggon and its Furniture — Depar- 
ture from Grahamstown — My head Servant leaves me — Impass- 
able state of the Roads — My Waggon in a fix — Change of Route 
— Singular Instinct of the Honey bird. 

\jHJ\.JT A. JiiSXi JLXJ.., ... ... ... ••• ... ... ... o Jj 

Fearful Descent of De Bruin's Poort — District lately deserted by 
Elephants — Noble Forest-trees — The Great Fish River — Cunning 
Boers — Burning effects of the Sun — The Dutch Noe's Green Tea 
Ointment — Skill of the Hottentots in "Tapping the Admiral " — 
Beautifully Wooded Country — The Village of Cradock — South 
African Climate — Countless Herds of Springbok — Mynheer 
Pocheter — The way to make a Friend on the Theba Flats — Hen- 
drick Strydom — Hunting for Springbok — Extraordinary Migra- 
tions of these Antelopes. 

CHAPTER IV., ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 44 

A Bustard shot — Flight of Locusts — Quagga Shooting in the Dark — 
Curious Mistake — Ostriches — A Sportsman napping — Leave 
Strydom's Residence in quest of Wildebeests — Wildebeest Shoot- 
ing — Meeting with a Brother Officer — Proceed to Colesberg — 
Additions to Equipments. 

v^XlxxJT J_ XjJAj **] *** * * • • •"• • * • • • • • • • ••• O Jj 

Departure from Colesberg — Jaging Springbok — Vast Herds of Game 
— Swarms of Flies — Oology — A Nomad Boer's Encampment — 
Anecdote of the Gemsbok — Cobus rides down a splendid old Bull 
Gemsbok — A Night in the Desert — Paterson arrives — Bushmen 
— Their extraordinary Raids across the Desert. 

CHAPTER VI., ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 61 

Hard Chase of an Oryx — A Brindled Gnoo reduces himself to a "dead 
lock," and is taken — Paterson slays a Gemsbok and a Bull Wilde- 
beest — He leaves for Colesberg — Ostrich-eggs — Novel method of 
carrying them — Anecdotes of the Ostrich — Affray with a Porcu- 
pine — He proves a rough Rider for my Horse — Narrow Escape 
from the Thrust of a dying Oryx — The grateful Water-root — - 
Troops of Springboks cover the face of the land — Their Migra- 
tions — The finest shot at my leisure — Beer Vley. 



8 CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

CHAPTER VIL, 69 

Leave Beer Vley — A Bushboy captured and enlisted as a Follower — 
Famous Sport with Wildebeest and Quaggas from a Hunting-hole 
— Water fails, and we march to the Great Orange River — 
Beautiful Appearance of the River — Stink Vonteyn, a famous 
sporting quarter — An Ostrich's Nest — Bold Mountain Ranges — 
The Griqua Tribe, their Manners and Customs — An ancient 
Mimosa Forest — Residence of a Bushman — Successful Chase of a 
noble Bull Oryx. 

CHAPTER VIII., 79 

We leave Stink Vonteyn and reach the Vaal River — Wait-a-bit 
Thorns — Chase and kill a Buck Koodoo, and bivouac on the 
ground — Cobus and Jacob abscond — Roan Antelope — We recross 
the Vaal River — Griqua Encampment — Stink Vonteyn again — 
A Flight of Locusts — A Saltpan — Salubrious Climate — Boers 
attempt to carry off Ruyter — A Cameeldorn Forest — A Brindled 
Gnoo bayed by Wild Dogs — Habits of the latter. 

CHAPTER IX., ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 89 

The Riet River — Nomad Boer Encampments — Surly Reception at a 
Boer's Farm — Lions slain by the Boers — Cowardice of the Boers 
in Lion-hunting — Rumours of War between the Boers and 
Griquas — The Mirage of the Plains — Habits of the Blesbok — a 
knowing old Hog — A Snake under my Pillow — A Troop of Wild 
Dogs come upon me at night in my Shooting-hole — The Roar of 
Lions — Curious Facts concerning them. 

CrlAx JLE-tii X. j ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 102 

Boer Encampment — A Night in a Storm — A Fancy Costume— Fearful 
Encounter with a Lioness — ei Colesberg " dreadfully mangled — 
Cowardice of Hottentots — We march back to Colesberg — Danger 
of being plundered by the Rebel Boers — Arrival at Colesberg — 
The Troops march against the Boers — The Battle of Schwart 
Coppice — Start for the distant Land of Elephants — The Hotten- 
tots make free with my Brandy, and mutiny — Leopards — 
Kuruman — Mr. Moffat, the good Missionary — Roasted Locusts. 

\j xlixir J. -Hi-tC XI. } ... ... ... ... ... ... ... llo 

Motito — The Bechuana Tribes — The mysterious great inland Lake 
— Blesbok and Wildebeest abundant — Park-like Country — We 
arrive at the beautiful Vale of Bakatla — Dr. Livingstone the 
Missionary — Native Fashions at Church — Determine to push on 
to Bamangwato — The Natives follow me for Venison — Great 
Variety of Game — A dangerous Fight with a herd of Buffaloes, 
two of which are slain — A Colony of Baboons — A Rhinoceros 
chases me round a Bush — Habits of the Beast — A noble Eland 
killed — An impromptu Steak— Slay a Rhinoceros, and lose my 
way in the Forest. 

CHAPTER XII, 126 

My Hottentots object to advance farther into the Interior — A Boar 
Hunt — We march through a charming Country — The Mountain 
Pass of Sesetabie — A Lion and Lioness inspect my Cattle, and 
the Lion pays for peeping — Hungry Hysenas sup upon the Cattle 
Furniture — The Camelopard — Description of its Habits — Booby, 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 



a Bechuana Kraal — Gun Medicine — Disastrous Finale to an 
Incantation — Native Conspiracy to prevent my farther Progress. 

CHAPTER XIII.j ... ... ... ... ... ... ... loo 

The Guides try to mislead me — The Cattle and Horses dying from 
Thirst — Search for Water — Melancholy Anticipations — Directed 
to a Pool by the flight of Birds — Chase and kill a Giraffe — Wan- 
dering Bechuanas point out my right Course — Miserable Condi- 
tion of the Natives — Game Pitfalls — Mimosa Grove smashed by 
Elephants — A Rhinoceros charges me — Abundance of large Game 
— Lost in the Forest. 

CHAPTER XI v., ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 1 46 

The Bamangwato Mountains — The Elephants' Fountain — A troop of 
colossal Giraffes — Elephants drinking by Night — Habits of the 
African Elephant — Elephant Hunt — A Bull shot after a dangerous 
Encounter — Cutting out the Tusks — Extraordinary Rocks — 
Mountain-retreat of Sicomy, King of Bamangwato — His Cunning 
— Barter Muskets for Ivory — His Majesty's curious Gun-practice 
— Trading for Native Weapons. 

CHAPTER XV., ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 161 

Take leave of Sicomy — Digging for Water — The Elephants' Foun- 
tain again — A wounded Roan Antelope bays in the Water, and 
kills my Dogs right and left — Sicomy's Camp again — We march 
through a beautiful Valley — Curious Instinct of the Rhinoceros- 
bird — A mighty Bull Elephant shot after a hard Conflict — 
Mutchuisho's Attentions more charitable than pleasant — Cutting 
up an Elephant — A strange Scene — Baking the Flesh — Primitive 
Tobacco-pipes — Biltongue Festoons. 

CHAPTER XVL, 175 

Elephant spooring with the Natives — The Mystic Dice — Hunt in a 
Wait-a-bit Thorn Cover — Romantic Gorge in the Mountains — 
Sabie — Ancient Elephant Path — Ludicrous Native Signal — A 
noble Bull Elephant <slain — Isaac, my Interpreter, dismissed — 
A Lioness bagged at one shot — Drunkenness and Disorder in 
Camp — My manner of taking the Field after the larger Game — 
Sicomy's Followers desert me. 

CHAPTER XVII, ... 184 

We march from Sabie — Track along a River-bed — The dry Grass on 
Fire for miles — Glorious Elephant-shooting — Cowardice of my 
After-rider — Strange circumstance at the Death of a Bull Elephant 
— A Sable Antelope — Tete-a-tete with a disabled Elephant — The 
Klipspringer Antelope — A pack of Wild Dogs capture and kill 
a Koodoo — The coming of Summer — Vast numbers of Birds visit- 
ing the Fountains — My trusty two-grooved Rifle bursts — My 
Snuffers, Spoons, and Candlesticks melted for Bullets — Elephants 
taking a Douche Bath — Two of them slain — Yet more Elephants 
— My Horse Colesberg dies of the African Distemper — Virulence 
of the Scourge. 

CHAPTER XV1IL, ... 194 

Turn my Waggons towards the Colony — A Troop of Elephants in 
Indian File — Splendid Sport amongst them — Two of them break 
their Tusks in falling — The Rainy Season commences — Erection 



10 CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

of a Bothy — The gigantic Nwana-tree — Sicomy's Mountain Kraal 
— Four of his Subjects become my Servants — Corriebely — 
The Natives astonished by my finding a Mine of Lead — Elephant- 
shooting — Leave the land, of Elephants — Bootlonamy — Terrific 
Thunderstorm. 

CHAPTER XIX., ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 203 

All my Colonial Servants desert me — Pursue them in vain — Both 
Waggons get disabled — Melancholy Anticipations — Cut a Path 
through the Forest — A Sandy Desert — Cattle dying for want of 
Water — Troubles surmounted — Pallahs and Koodoos — A Lion 
and Leopard visit the Camp at Midnight — Another horse dies 
of Distemper — We reach Booby — One of the Axletrees breaks — 
The Bakatlas assist me — The Baggage-waggon upset in a Biver 
— The Distemper kills more Horses — Lions roaring — Arrive at 
Dr. Livingstone's — March upon Chouaney — The Ngotwani — A 
Herd of Buffaloes among the Reeds. 

\j xlixJ; x JlLiJzC u\.j\. ti ... ... ... ... =.. ... ... Z\o 

Arrive at Sichely's Kraal — Description of that Chief — His Wives 
— The Rain-makers — My Gun Medicine — Bakatla — A Kraal 
struck by Lightning — Beach Mr. Moffat's Station at Kuruman 
—Daring Robberies of the Bushmen — Campbellsdorp — Discover 
my runaway Hottentots — We cross the Vaal — The Inmates of a 
Farm terrified b} T my wild Appearance — Colesberg and Grahams- 
town — English Hounds in Africa. 

CHAPTER XXL, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 220 

Set out again for the Far Interior — Fort Beaufort — Purchase fresh 
Steeds and Oxen — My old servant Corollus rejoins me — Elephant 
Fountain once more — Hunt Elephants — Corriebely — Obliged to 
act very decidedly with Sicomy — Horses and Oxen taken in 
Pits — Two Dogs killed by a Leopard — A file of Bakalahari 
Women carrying water to the Desert — A sleeping Rhinoceros 
shot — Hunting in the neighbourhood of Lotlokane and Letlochee 
— The Natives kill an Elephant — A grim Lion slain — Rheumatic 
Fever attacks me — Leave Bamangwato Country — The Game 
disturbed by Natives — Soobie — Watch nightly for Game from 
a place of Ambush — Vanquish a noble Lioness. 

CHAPTER XXII., 232 

A Lion shot from my Watching-hole at Midnight— Six Lions drink 
close beside me — A Lioness slain — A Rhinoceros bites the dust 
— Moselakose Fountain — My Shooting-hole surrounded with 
Game— Pallahs, Sassaybys, Zebras, etc. — A Rhoode-Rheebok 
shot — Extraordinary Circumstance — My fiftieth Elephant bagged 
— Intei-esting Fountains on the Hills — Leave my Waggons for the 
Hills — Struggle with a Boa Constrictor — Lions too numerous to 
be agreeable — Five Rhinoceroses shot as they came to drink — A 
Venomous Snake. 

CHAPTER XXIIL, 242 

Sichely's Kraal again — The Ngotwani — Chase and kill a waterbuck 
— A portion of the Cattle recovered— A Leopard bayed by my 
Dogs and slain — Buffalo-shooting beside the Ngotwani — A Lion 
feeds on the Carcase — My Horse knocked down by the King 
of Brutes — Meet a grim Lion face to face at midnight 1 — He 



CONTENTS. 11 



PAGE 



sheers off — These Animals unpleasantly bold — An amusing Chase 
with a Buffalo — Interesting Stalk in rocky ground — Leave my 
hunting-ground and encamp on Vaal River — Great Herds — In 
taking the Drift a Waggon sticks fast in the middle of the River 
— Great fear of losing all my Property — Rescue of the Waggon 
— Colesberg — A Farmer's Waggon capsized in the Fish River 
— Visit Strydom's farm and find it desolate — Arrival at Grahams- 
town. 

CHAPTER XXIV., 251 

Start on another Elephant-shooting Expedition — The Hart River — 
Numerous pack of Wild Dogs — Mahura, Chief of the Batlapis — 
Rumours of Wars-— The Meritsane — Lotlokane — Encounter with 
two Lions on the Molopo — Chouaney — A tremendous Fight with 
a Buffalo — The River Limpopo — Huge Crocodiles — A splendid 
Hippopotamus falls to my Rifle — Immense Herds of Buffaloes 
crossing the River — The Serolomootlooque Antelope unknown to 
Naturalists — A herd of Hippopotami — Fine Sport beside the 
. River. 

CHAPTER XXV.,... ... ... ... ... ... ... 250 

We cross the Limpopo — Rash Encounter with a Hippopotamus — 
Remarkable dome-like Rock — Two Serolomootlooques shot — 
Hollow Trees containing Honey — Gigantic Ant-hills — Hunting 
across the Limpopo — Another Boa Constrictor — A Visit from 
Seleka — A Sea-cow shot, which sinks — Resurrection of the Beast 
— Splendid Hippopotamus-shooting. 

CHAPTER XXVL, , 267 

Seleka's Town among the Rocks — Elephant-hunting with Seleka and 
his Men — Trading with Seleka — A Lion and Lioness with their 
Cubs — An immense Herd of Hippopotami — Nine of them killed 
— Trap for inflicting poisoned Wounds on Sea-cows — We cross 
the Limpopo, and a Waggon sticks in the River — We trek down 
the Stream — Two of my best Horses killed and eaten by Lions 
— The Chief of the Bamalette visits me — Audacity of the Lions 
— A Horse killed in a Pitfall — A Chief flogged for catchiDg and 
consuming a Horse. 

CHAPTER XXVIL, 274 

We trek down the Limpopo — Abundance of Sea-cows — The Lotsane 
River — An immense Herd of Elephants — Combat with a first-rate 
old Bull — Rheumatic Fever attacks me, which determines our 
course homewards — Elephants smashing Forest-trees— A Lion 
carries off one of my men from the Fireside — The Beast occupied 
consuming him all night — The man-eating Lion slain — Three 
Hippopotami shot — One of the Dogs eaten by a Crocodile — The 
fatal "Tsetse" fly— The Fountain of Seboono— An old Bull- 
Elephant held in check without Gun or Dogs. 

CHAPTER XXVIIL, 285 

Paapaa Fountain — Watch by Moonlight from a Shooting-hole — 
Remarkable Sport with Elephants — Four bagged and eight 
mortally wounded in one night — Elephant-hunting with Horse 
and Dogs by Moonlight — A Troop of Lions — The Vultures with 
the shadowy Wings — Another Dog snapped up by a Crocodile 
— The Skeleton of an Elephant shot by me discovered — The 
Tusks being gone, strong measures are adopted for their re- 
covery. 



12 CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

CHAPjlEIv .X.XI.X.., ... ... ... ... ... ... Jiuo 

We march up the Limpopo — The Guapa Mountains — Immense variety 
of Game — Stalk and shoot two Sable Antelopes — Several Hounds 
lost — Romantic Eavine in the Guapa Mountains — My Forest 
Home — Buck Koodoos — Stalking Sable Antelopes — Two of my 
Horses die from Tsetse — Continue our March — Countless Herds 
of Game. 

CHAPTER XXX., 304 

Leave the Potaquaine Country —Absurd Ceremony — My Cattle fail 
me — Send to the Missionary Station for Aid — Encamp near the 
Limpopo — Indescribable Fish — A young Secretary — Nearly all 
my Oxen die — Assistance arrives from Mr. Livingstone — We 
reach the Residence of Sichely — A Hunter's Monument — We con- 
tinue our March through a beautiful Country — An Adventure 
with two savage Lionesses — A violent Tempest — Mahura — Baka- 
lahari driving Game towards their Pitfalls — We cross the Orange 
River and reach Colesberg. 

CHAPTEE XXXI., ... 313 

Start on my fifth and last Expedition into the Interior — Mr, Orpen 
accompanies me — Hurried March — Extraordinary Herd of Bles- 
boks — The Hart River — Cattle attacked with Hoof Sickness — 
Three Lionesses fearfully mangle my pack of Dogs — Lion-hunts 
— Hyaenas devour my Camp-stools — Meritsane — Six Buffaloes shot 
— Another Lion-hunt — Glorious Chase with Elands — Sichelv's 
Kraal — We cross the Limpopo — A Lion attacks my Kraal and 
kills an Ox— A Field of Battle— Seboono— My hundredth Ele- 
phant ! — We march down the Limpopo and hunt Hippopotami 
Attacked by Rheumatic Fever — Mr. Orpen nearly killed by a 
Leopard. 

CHAPTER XXXII., ... ... ... ... ... ... 328 

Mr. Orphen and myself in a helpless condition — We leave the low- 
lying Limpopo for the Mountains — Trading with Seleka — Cere- 
mony to impart the power of successful Shooting — March to the 
Ngotwani and retrace our steps to the Limpopo — Enormous Herds 
of Buffaloes — An exciting Lion-hunt — Three of my Dogs killed — 
The noble Beast takes the water, followed by a Dog and a 
Crocodile — A bold Mountain-range — Abundance of Game — A 
brilliant Lion-hunt — Two killed out of a troop of four — Rhino- 
ceros-hunting — Leave the Mariqua River — Sublime Scenery — 
Another Lion-Hunt — A Buffalo rips up my After-rider's Horse — 
Camelopard-Chase — Sudden encounter with two huge Lions — 
Arrival at Sichely 's Kraal. 

CHAPTER XXXIII, 340 

The Pass of God — Hunt Sable and Roan Antelope — Sesetabie — My 
Cattle-losses in five Expeditions — My Cattle desperate for want 
of Water — Trading with Mahura — Inspanning young Oxen — 
We cross the "Vaal River — The Country densely covered with 
Game — An Ostrich's Nest — Bloem Vonteyn — Multitudes of 
Antelope Skeletons cover the Plains — The Great Orange River 
— We are detained by the Flood — Twenty-three Men drowned 
in attempting to cross — We have to take the Waggons to pieces 
— Arrival at Colesberg — Determine to revisit Old England and 
transport my collection of Trophies thither. 




CHAP I 



FIVE YEARS' 

HUNTING AND SPORTING 
ADVENTURES IE SOUTH AFRICA. 



CHAPTER I. 

Preparations for a Hunting Expedition — Cape Traders — Travelling — Trader at a 
Farm — Dangers of a Trader's Life — Articles for Barter — Dissuasions from the 
Enterprise — My Outfit — Hunting Rheebok — Wild Flowers. 

Having resolved to make a hunting expedition into the interior of 
Southern Africa, my first object was to seek out some experienced per- 
son, able to give me the necessary information as to what purchases I 
should require to make in the way of waggons and oxen, and as to my 
outfit in general, and I accordingly pitched upon an individual of the 
name of Murphy, a trader in the interior, who, I had reason to believe, 
was better acquainted than any other person in Grahamstown with the 
frontiers of the colony, and the adjoining territories of the Griqua and 
Bechuana tribes, situated beyond the Great Orange River. With this 
person I had already had the pleasure of becoming acquainted during 
the short time I was quartered in Grahamstown in the month of July, 
having been introduced to him by another -trader, a man from my own 
land of Moray, famous among the Dutch Boers about and beyond the 
frontiers. This man's name was Andrew Thompson, of Forres, one of 
three brothers, all of whom followed the same adventurous line of life, 
and were as steady, hard-working, and determined young men as might 
be met with throughout the colony. 

As, in the course of the following pages, I may have occasion to allude 
to these traders, and others of a similar avocation, it will perhaps be as 
well to give the reader a sketch of the manner in which their occupation 
is conducted. Each trader is supposed to be the proprietor of one or 
two ox-waggons. These they " load up," from the large stores of the 
merchants in Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth, with every species of 
merchandise which the far-dwelling isolated Dutch Boers are likely to 
require. So supplied, they set out on their long journey, which usually 
occupies from six to eight months ; at the end of which they return to 
the colony, enriched with immense droves of sleek oxen and fat wethers, 
selected from the numerous herds and flocks of the pastoral dwellers in 
the interior. The waggons of a trader generally contain every requisite 



14 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

for a farmer's establishment ; groceries, hardware, bales of cloth and 
canvas, haberdashery, saddlery, crockery — in short, everything, from an 
awl for the Boer to mend his " feldtschoens " or country shoes, to a roll 
of cherry-coloured or sky-blue riband to tie up the bonny brown locks 
of his fair daughters, whose beauty, like that of Skye terriers, I fear, in 
many cases, consists in their ugliness. They, however, sadly lack the 
" d6gagee " appearance of the Skye terrier, as their general air and gait 
might be more aptly likened to a yard of pump-water. 

As the trader advances up the country and effects exchanges, he leaves 
the cattle or sheep which he has bartered, in charge of their former 
master, picking them up on his return southward. When all his goods 
are disposed of, he generally winds up his barter by exchanging the 
waggon or waggons which bore them for cash or oxen, or both, and then, 
purchasing a horse, he returns in light marching order to the colony. 

The price which a trader gives for a waggon is usually from 4=01. to 
60/., and in war times often a thousand rix dollars, or 75/. The number 
of oxen which he usually obtains for it at the close of his journey is 
from forty to fifty, and these he is supposed to select himself. The 
value of the waggon is partly dependent on the character of the tent. 
Tents are of two kinds ; the one being coarsely yet strongly constructed 
of green boughs fitting into iron staples along the sides of the waggon, 
and lashed together with strips of green hide so as to form a succession 
of arches overhead. These are kept in their position by means of long 
straight wands laid all along the outside of the arches, the whole frame- 
work being very strongly secured by the aforementioned strips of green 
hide. On the top of this are placed coarse Kaffir mats made of reeds, 
which act as a Scotchman (to use a seafaring phrase), to keep the waggon- 
sail, which is of stout canvas, from chafing. The other variety of tent 
is of a less homely build, and is termed by the colonists a cap-tent 
waggon. It requires the hand of a skilful waggon-builder, and is much 
more elaborately finished, the wood which supports and composes the 
tent being all neatly sawed and planed, and fastened together with iron 
rivets. 

This description of waggon is preferred by the aristocracy among the 
Boers, as presenting a more distingue appearance, when they drive their 
f raus and children on a round of visits, which they are constantly doing ; 
or when flocking to the " Nachmal," or communion, which happens three 
or four times in the year. The former, or common wand tent, however, 
possesses a great advantage over the cap-tent, inasmuch as, in the first 
place, it is cheaper by 10/., and secondly, if broken in a capsize, which 
in Cape travelling is an affair of common occurrence, it is easily repaired 
on the spot ; whereas the cap-tent waggon, if once upset, is irretrievably 
ruined. 

When a trader arrives on a Boer's farm, he halts and walks up to the 
door to inquire where he is to " outspan," or unyoke the oxen, and also 
in what direction the oxen are to be driven to graze. At the door he is 
met by the baas, or master, generally pipe in mouth, who, cordially 
greeting him with one hand, raises his hat from his head with the other. 
The Boers lay great stress on this piece of etiquette, which has to be 
gone through with a whole string of juvenile Boers following in the rear, 



CAPE TRADERS. 15 

each encased in a very roomy pair of inexpressibles, and crowned with 
an immense broad rimmed tile, nearly half the size of its wearer. Per- 
mission to outspan being obtained, and a few complimentary speeches 
interchanged, the trader inquires of the Boer if he has any fat oxen to 
handle or barter, to which the Boer either at once replies in the negative, 
or more commonly says, 

" I do not know. What have you got on your waggon % " The 
trader answers, 

" I have got a little of everything, and all of the very best quality, 
and you shall have anything you require as low as a trader can possibly 
sell it. I shall presently unload a little for your inspection." The Boer 
politely says, 

" No, no, mynheer, you must not onload ; it would grieve me that 
mynheer should exert himself so much : " to which the trader replies, 

"It is no trouble ; we are accustomed to do it, and it is our business." 

The trader then instructs his knecht, or head servant, to make a 
parade of the goods, and he then accompanies the Boer into the house, 
where dinner will shortly make its appearance, to which the Boer in- 
variably, in the most hospitable manner, makes every white stranger 
welcome. Here, if the trader is wide awake to his own interest, he will 
pay marked attention to the Noe or frau, as no bargain or transaction 
of any nature can be ratified with a Dutchman without her full concur- 
rence and approval. The Dutch are particularly cleanly in their 
establishments and cooking, and moreover possess a very fair notion of 
the culinary art, their tables in general being graced with several very 
excellent and substantial dishes. When dinner is over, all hands resort 
to the waggon and overhaul the merchandise, where it is ten to one but 
the Noe will find about fifty different articles which she will prevail 
upon her husband to believe indispensible in the private economy of his 
establishment. Thus when " handling " once begins, it often goes on 
briskly, and from a Boer who at the outset declared himself indepen- 
dent of the trader's supplies, as many as two or three, or even half a 
dozen, fat oxen may be obtained. 

As the trader knows well from past experience that the Boer will be 
sure to endeavour to abate his prices, he makes. a point of asking a little 
more than he intends to take, so as to be able to give in to the Boer's 
importunities, who, with a sly wink at his wife, congratulates himself on 
his shrewdness, and flatters himself that he has run a hard bargain. 

When the trader has collected all his cattle, he drives them by 
steady marches, of from twenty to thirty miles in the twenty-four 
hours, which are performed chiefly during the night, to Grahamstown 
or Beaufort, where he disposes of them to butchers. At the former 
place they are purchased for the use of the town, and by the Govern- 
ment contractors for the supply of the troops. At Beaufort, which is 
on the high road to Cape Town, they are purchased for the supply of 
the Cape Town market. The payments for the cattle are seldom, if 
ever, made in hard cash, the poor trader having to content himself with 
approved bills, drawn at six and nine months, which in too many cases 
are never honoured, the defaulter being found either bankrupt, or to 
have bolted for England or California. 



16 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

The life of a trader is hard and harrassing, and he is often liable to 
very heavy losses by deaths from severe drought, distempers, and other 
causes ; also from the chances of war, oxen straying and being found no 
more, overstocked markets, and non-payments as above, besides the 
danger to which he is exposed from the attacks of wild beasts. During 
the time that he is engaged in driving his oxen, his rest is necessarily 
broken and disturbed, and, being compelled to watch his cattle every 
hour of the night, in all weathers, he is obliged always to have his 
clothes on, and to sleep when he can, after the manner of sea-captains in 
bad weather, who hang their nose on to a ratlin, and so take a nap. As 
an instance of the injury from chances of war, I may here allude to the 
severe losses sustained by my friend Mr. Peter Thompson, who, during 
the war which ravaged the colony in the years 1846 and 1847, was re- 
turning to Grahamstown with a large herd of some hundred fine oxen, 
the well-earned proceeds of a laborious and toilsome expedition, when he 
was attacked in De Bruin's Poort, a rugged and densely-wooded ravine, 
within one march of Grahamstown, by a band of the marauding 
Amaponda Kaffirs, armed with guns and assagais, who swept off the 
whole of his drove, he himself barely escaping with his life. 

In years when the prices of cattle are low, these traders occasionally 
vary their line of march, and, forsaking the Boers for a season, they 
load up a suitable cargo, and direct their course for the Bechuana tribes, 
from whom they obtain ivory, karosses (skin cloaks), and ostrich- 
feathers, along with various curiosities, for which they obtain a ready 
sale in the Grahamstown market, where good ivory averages from 4s. to 
4s. 6d. per pound. Karosses vary in price from <£1 to =£3 each, accord- 
ing to their size, kind, and quality. Ostrich-feathers used to fetch from 
£b to £6 per pound, but, partly owing to the feathers being less worn 
by the votaries of fashion in London, and partly to the late disturbances 
throughout Europe, the prices have greatly fallen.* The articles 
required for trading with the Bechuana tribes consist of beads of all sizes 
and colours, brass and copper wire, knives and hatchets, clothing for 
both sexes, ammunition, guns, young cows, and she-goats. The two 
latter the trader obtains in barter from the Boers, Griqua and Koranna 
tribes, more immediately adjacent to the colony. 

Some writers have erroneously stated that snuff and tobacco are a 
good circulating medium among the tribes in Southern Africa, but in 
the course of my experience I can scarcely remember having ever 
obtained the smallest article in barter for either, not even a drink of 
milk. The natives have certainly no objection to receive these articles 
when given gratuitously, but are far too wide awake to place any great 
value upon them. During my career in Southern Africa I have had 
much experience in trading with the Bechuana tribes, and, as I shall 
have occasion to refer to my trading exploits in the course of my narra- 
tive, I have entered into the above particulars that the reader may, at 
the outset, form an idea of the manner in which these things are con- 
ducted. 



* From seventy-five to ninety good sized ostrich-feathers weigh a pound. 



CAPE TRADERS. 17 



On making inquiries I had the pleasure to find that, contrary to my 
expectation, both Andrew Thompson and Murphy were still in Graham- 
stown, where I had left them about three months before, when I 
marched thence into Caffraria with my regiment ; and the latter, whom 
I found to be a confirmed tippler, was able, in his few lucid moments, 
to give me much valuable information relative to the preparations which 
I required to make in the way of purchasing oxen and waggons, engag- 
ing servants, etc., etc. ; also various wrinkles as to the conducting of my 
establishment, the hours of marching, and the line of country which I 
had chalked out for my first expedition. Poor Murphy ! he was as 
kind-hearted a creature as ever breathed. 

From the 1st till the 22nd of October I was actively employed in 
making the necessary purchases and arrangements for my coming ex- 
pedition, and in forwarding my affairs, in which Murphy, during his 
sober intervals, most willingly assisted me. As the reader will observe, 
my establishment at my first outset was on a much more limited scale 
than upon subsequent expeditions. This was partly owing to the un- 
certainty which I felt as to the success of my sporting undertakings, and 
the length of time which I might feel inclined to devote to this line of 
life. I was much in the dark as to what sport I might expect to realize, 
and what difficulties I should have to encounter in the trip I was about 
to make ; the truth being that I could not find a single individual, 
either among the natives or the military, who could in the smallest 
degree enlighten me on the subject. 

The general impression amongst my military friends was, that any 
game which remained in the interior must have, ere then, retreated to 
such remote parts, far away in the territories of savage tribes, as to 
be utterly beyond the reach of any sportsman, however enterprising ; 
and when they saw me bustling about making my purchases, they used 
to say to me, " It is all nonsense your laying out your money in this 
way. Why don't you rather go home at once to your own country ? 
We shall see you returning in a month or two, like those fellows who 
went on a shooting trip last year, with a coujp-de-sol'eil and an attack of 
dysentery, utterly disgusted with the country, and selling off all these 
things on which you are now expending so much capital." 

The shooting party here alluded to consisted of one officer of the 7th 
Dragoons, two of the 27th, and others who, having obtained a few 
week's leave, and burning to distinguish themselves in a campaign 
against the ferae of Southern Africa, had hired a waggon, and penetrated 
as far as the Thebus mountain, where for a few days they enjoyed some 
good sport among the black wildebeest and springboks which abound on 
the plains surrounding that mountain ; till, having broken the stocks of 
their rifles in falls from their horses while impetuously " jaging " the 
game, they returned to head-quarters, one suffering from coup-de-soleil, 
and the rest from dysentery brought on by drinking bad water, they 
having been unfortunate in the vley beside which they had fixed their 

encampment. My gallant friend, Lieutenant H , of the 91st, was 

one of the most urgent in endeavouring to dissuade me from my stead- 
fast purpose of trekking up the country, and recommended me rather 
to return with him to England, whither he was about to proceed. He 



18 HUNTING AND SPOKTING ADVENTUKES. 

and I had sent in our resignation of Her Majesty's service at the same 
time, and fortunately for us, by some mistake, our papers were mislaid 
at Cape Town, and not forwarded in the usual course, whereby we 

gained several months' pay. H , who, like many others of the 

military, entertained a profound disgust for the colony and everything 
connected with it, at first could hardly believe that I was in earnest 
when I spoke of going up the country ; and when convinced that such 
was my determination, he said, with a strong lisp which was habitual to 
him, "Good G — , Cummin ! you are thurely mad to remain longer in 
thith country after you have obtained leave to return to dear old Eng- 
land. I athure you, I had rather be a thoe-black in England than live 
in thith beathtly country." 

Notwithstanding these friendly dissuasions on the part of my acquain- 
tance, I continued to prosecute my affairs so unremittingly that on the 
22nd I considered my manifold arrangements complete, and, being much 
harassed and annoyed by the unavoidable delays to which I had been 
subjected, I was full of impatience to make a start. These delays were 
in a great measure occasioned by the weather, heavy and constant rains 
having fallen during the previous fourteen days, accompanied with a 
cold wind off the Southern Ocean. This, of necessity, materially inter- 
fered with and delayed me in my arrangements, and had also the effect 
of rendering the country perfectly unfit for locomotion, in many places 
cutting up the roads with rugged impassable watercourses, and in low- 
lying districts converting them into deep, impracticable quagmires. 

It will here be necessary to give a detailed account of my outfit, to 
put the reader at ouce in possession of the extent and nature of my 
establishment and camp equipage. My first object was, of course, to 
secure a travelling waggon, and I had the good fortune to obtain an 
excellent new cap-tent one, complete with all its gear ready for inspan- 
ning, from Mr. Ogilvie of Grahamstown, for the sum of £60 ; which, 
as it eventually proved to be a right good one, was decidedly a 
bargain. I very soon, however, found out, as I extensively col- 
lected specimens of natural history, that one waggon was insuffi- 
cient ; and not long after, in the town of Colesberg, on the frontiers 
of the colony, I purchased a second, also a cap-tent waggon, with 
its necessary accompaniment, a span of oxen ; and at a later period, 
as the reader will subsequently learn, I found it necessary to purchase 
a third, and became the proprietor of considerably more than a hundred 
draught oxen. 

From an English farmer in the vicinity of Grahamstown, I obtained 
a span of twelve excellent, well-trained, black, zuiir-veldt oxen, which I 
judged suited for my work, they having been in the habit, with their 
late master, of bringing in very heavy loads of wood to the Grahams- 
town market. Their price was .£3 each ; and as it is not unusual to see 
an ox, in the best of spans, knock up on long marshes, by Murphy's ad- 
vice I purchased two spare oxen of Mr. Thomson. 

My stud of horses as yet consisted of but two, which had been my 
chargers in the regiment. These were " Sinon," a stallion which I had 
bought of Major Goodman of the 27th, and "The Cow," an excellent 
dark-brown gelding which I had obtained from Colonel Somerset of 



MY SEKVANTS. 19 



" Ours." I did not think it wise to lay out more money in horse-flesh 
in Grahamstown, as I should shortly have to pass through the Hantam, 
where most of the Boers breed horses extensively, which are famed for 
their spirit and hardiness throughout the colony. I engaged four ser- 
vants, — namely, an Englishman called Long, as head-servant, a thorough 
cockney, who, as I afterwards learnt, had formerly been a cab-driver in 
London, and whom I took into my service at Murphy's recommenda- 
tion, Long being supposed to possess a certain degree of experience, 
having penetrated as far as the banks of the Orange Eiver on a trading 
excursion on his own account ; but his heart, as the event proved, in- 
clined more to worship at the shrine of Venus than at that of Diana. A 
certain little dark-eyed damsel, who acted as laundress to the military, 
and who was employed all day in driving her mangle, seemed entirely 
to engross his thoughts — Long frequently observing that " there was 
that sweet little creature obliged to drive a mangle who ought rather to 
be sitting practising at her ' pihanne.' " 

My other three servants were natives. A waggon-driver named Klein- 
boy, a stout active Hottentot, with the high cheek-bones and woolly 
head of his race, and who was quite au fait at his department. Like 
many others of his countrymen, he was subject to fits of sulks, and much 
preferred reclining for hours under my waggons, or in the shade of a 
bush practising on his violin, to looking after his master's work. My 
leader's name was Carollus : he was the third whom I had engaged in 
that capacity, the other two having absconded. He was a stout power- 
ful fellow, descended from the Mozambique races. He entered my ser- 
vice under cover of night, having absconded from Kingsley of " Ours " 
— that gentleman, according to his assertion, being in the habit of ad- 
ministering a little wholesome correction with the jambok, which on 
further acquaintance with him I had reason to believe he richly merited. 
My third native servant was Cobus, a Hottentot of light weight, the son of 
a veteran in my regiment. He 'listed in the capacity of after-rider, and 
proved to be first-rate in his calling, being the best horseman I met with 
in South Africa. He also, like Kleinboy, was liable to fits of sulkiness, 
through which I eventually lost him, for on one occasion finding it neces- 
sary to inflict on him a summary chastisement, he deserted from my 
service in consequence. 

The baggage, provisions, and general stores which I carried with me 
were as follows : — Two sacks, containing 300 lbs. of coffee, four quarter- 
chests of tea, 300 lbs. of sugar, 300 lbs. of rice, 180 lbs. of meal, 100 lbs. 
of flour, 5 lbs. of pepper, 100 lbs. of salt, an anker of vinegar, several 
large jars of pickles, half a dozen hams and cheeses, 2 cases of gin, 1 
anker of brandy, 1 half-aum of Cape brandy, iron baking-pots with long 
legs, stewing and frying pans, saucepans and gridirons, tin water-buckets 
of various sizes, 2 large "fagie" or water-casks, an accompaniment which 
no Cape waggon is ever without, 2 large flasks of tar to be subsequently 
mixed with hard fat for greasing the wheels when required, 6 dozen 
pocket knives, 24 boxes of snuff, 50 lbs. of tobacco, 300 lbs. of white, 
coral, red, and bright blue beads of various sizes ; 3 dozen tinder-boxes, 
1 cwt. of brass- and copper wire, which the Bechuana tribes, especially 
those dwelling to the east, readily barter and convert into ornaments 



20 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

for their legs and arms \ 2 dozen sickles, 2 spades, 2 shovels, 1 pickaxe, 
5 superior American axes, 2 augers, 1 stock and 36 bits, hatchets, planes, 
drawing-knives, several coarse chisels for waggon-work, a vice, black- 
smith and carpenter's hammers, and a variety of other tools appertain- 
ing to both these professions. A gross of awls, a gross of sail-needles, 
50 hanks of sail-twine, 2 bolts of sail-canvas, several rolls of stout 
woollen cloths, 2 dozen gown-pieces, 6 dozen Malay handkerchiefs ; 
thread, needles, and buttons ; ready-made jackets and trowsers for my 
people, several dozen coarse shirts, Scotch bonnets, and cocker- 
nonnys (as for shoes, colonial servants are supposed to make them for 
themselves) ; a few medicines, arsenical soap, English and coarse Boer's 
soap. Also, 1 large bell-tent, 1 mattress and bedding, 1 camp table and 
chair, and my canteen, which most fortunately I had resolved to retain 
when disposing of my other military equipments : I found it a most 
serviceable and convenient appendage during my five years' wanderings 
in Southern Africa. My saddlery consisted of 2 English hunting saddles, 
2 common saddles for servants, and 1 pack-saddle to convey venison to 
camp. My ordnance was as follows : — 3 double-barrelled rifles by Pur- 
dey, William Moore, and Dickson of Edinburgh — the latter a two- 
grooved, the most perfect and useful rifle I ever had the pleasure of 
using; 1 heavy single-barelled German rifle, carrying 12 to the lb. This 
last was an old companion, which had been presented to me, when a boy, 
by my dear and much-lamented friend, and brother-sportsman, the late 
James Duff of Innes House. With this rifle, about ten years before, I 
had brought down my first stag on the Paps of Jura, and subsequently 
bowled over many a princely master-stag and graceful roebuck in his 
summer-coat, throughout the glens and forests of my native land. The 
Purdey was also a tried friend, both it and the heavy German having 
been with me in several campaigns on the plains and in the jungles of 
Hindostan. I had also 3 stout double-barrelled guns for rough work 
when hard riding and quick-loading is required. Several lead-ladles of 
various sizes, a whole host of bullet-moulds, loading-rods, shot-belts, 
powder-flasks, and shooting belts ; 3 cwt. of lead, 50 lbs. of pewter for 
hardening the balls to be used in destroying the larger game ; 10,000 
prepared leaden bullets, bags of shot of all sizes, 100 lbs. of fine sport- 
ing gunpowder, 300 lbs. of coarse gunpowder, about 50,000 best percus- 
sion caps, 2000 gun-flints, greased patches and cloth to be converted 
into the same. I carried also several spare yokes, yoke-skeys, whip- 
sticks, rheims, and straps, 2 sets of spare linchpins, all of which last ar- 
ticles belong to the waggon. With the above, and £200 in cash which 
I carried with me, I considered myself prepared to undertake a journey 
of at least twelve months amongst Boers or Bechuanas, independent of 
either. 

While I was laying in these stores, I once or twice amused myself by 
riding in quest of rheebok in the rugged and precipitous high grounds 
lying immediately to the south of Grahamstown. On one of these occa- 
sions I was accompanied by my cousin, Colonel Campbell of the 91st 
(one of the bravest and most distinguished officers in the late Kafir war, 
and withal about the best rifle-shot and keenest sportsman then in the 
colony), a brother of Captain Campbell of Skipness, the author of the 



THE RHEEBOK. 21 



"Old Forest-Ranger," a work highly approved amongst Indian Nimrods. 
The rheebok is a species of antelope generally found in all mountain 
districts throughout Southern Africa, from Table Mountain to the lati- 
tude of Kuruman or New Litakoo. Of the rheebok there are two varie- 
ties: the rhooye-rheebok, or red rheebuck; and the vaal rheebok, or grey 
rheebuck. The range of the vaal-rheebok, to the northward, ceases in 
the latitude of the Long Mountains lying to the south of Kuruman ; the 
other variety is met with as far north as the mountains in the territory 
of Sichely, chief of the Baquaines, about fifty miles to the north of the 
Kurrichane range. Both of these antelopes frequent high and rocky 
mountains. The manner of hunting them is alike ; and, when properly 
pursued, I think more nearly resembles Scotch Highland deerstalking 
than the pursuit of any other antelope. 

Throughout the grassy mountains which the hunter must traverse in 
following this antelope, his eye is often gladdened by romantic dells and 
sparkling rivulets, whose exhilarating freshness strongly and pleasingly 
contrasts with the barren, rocky mountain heights and shoulders imme- 
diately contiguous. The green banks and little hollows along the mar- 
gins of these streamlets are adorned with innumerable species of bril- 
liant plants and flowering shrubs in wild profusion, Amongst these, to 
my eye, the most dazzling in their beauty were perhaps those lovely 
heaths for which the Cape is so justly renowned. These exquisite plants, 
singly, or in groups, here adorn the wilderness, with a freedom and 
luxuriance which, could the English gardener or amateur florist behold, 
he might well feel disheartened, so infinitely does Nature in this 
favoured clime surpass in wild exuberance the nurselings of his artificial 
care. I remember being particularly struck with two pre-eminently 
brilliant varieties, the one bearing a rose-coloured, the other a blood-red 
bell ; and though I regret to say that I am but a poor botanist, even in 
the heat of the chase I paused, spell-bound, to contemplate with admira- 
tion their fascinating beauty. 

Others, with their downy stems and waxen flowers of every gaudy 
hue, green, lilac, and various shades of pink, red, and crimson ; some of 
them with brown lips to the bel], flourished in the richer hollows of 
their native glen, or bloomed with equal. loveliness along the arid cliffs 
and fissures of the overhanging rocks. Almost equalling the heaths in 
beauty, and surpassing them in the additional attraction of their scented 
leaves, a whole host of geraniums fill the balmy breeze with their 
delicious perfume. These are too well known to admit of any novelty 
in description, but I may mention, en passant, that they attain a far 
larger growth in their native soil than I have been in the habit of see- 
ing in our greenhouses. Small groups of the lofty, fair, conscious-looking 
iris, rear their graceful heads along the edges of the streams. Their 
fairy forms reflected in the waters, " they seem to stand like guardian 
Naiads of the strand." 

Another tribe of plants, which particularly delighted me from old 
associations, though not so striking as many of its neighbours for per- 
fume and brilliancy, was composed of several varieties of the light, airy 
fern, or bracken, which, whether gracefully overshadowing the mossy 
stones, eternally moistened by the bubbling spray of the stream, which 



22 HUNTING AND SPOETING ADVENTURES. 

they kissed as it danced along, or veiling the grey lichen-clad masses of 
rock in the hollows higher up, strongly reminded me of those so con- 
spicuously adorning the wild glens in the mountains of my native land. 
Besides these, a thousand other gay flowers deck the hills and plains 
wherever the eye can fall. Endless varieties of the ixea, the hsemanthus, 
the amaryllis, the marigold, and a number of everlasting flowers, are 
scattered around with a lavish hand ; also the splendid protea, whose 
sweets never fail to attract swarms of the insect tribes, on which several 
bright kinds of fly-catchers, their plumage glancing in the noonday sun, 
are constantly preying. Farther down these watercourses, in the dense, 
shady ravines, the jungle is ornamented with long tangled festoons of 
different creepers, among which the wild jessamine ranks foremost, 
hanging in fragrant garlands amid the shaggy lichens, and bunches of 
bright orange-coloured missletoe, for which the forest of Africa, in the 
vicinity of her sea-coasts, are so remarkable. 

While touching on the floral beauties of the hills more immediately 
adjoining the sea-coast, I may remark that here are the great nurseries 
for heaths and geraniums. As the traveller advances up the country 
these gradually disappear, and, together with the animal kingdom, the 
vegetable world assumes entirely new features ; the colonial forest-trees 
and bushes, herbs, and plants, being succeeded by a vast and endless 
world of loveliness ; unseen, unknown, untrodden, save by those varied 
multitudes of stupendous, curious, and beautiful quadrupeds, whose 
forefathers have roamed its mighty solitudes from primaeval ages, and 
with whom I afterwards became so intimately acquainted. 



CHAPTEE II. 



Mysteries of Inspanning— Cape Waggon and its Furniture — Departure from 
Grahamstown — My head Servant leaves me — Impassable state of the Roads 
— My Waggon in a Fix — Change of Route — Singular Instinct of the Honey- 
bird. 

On the 23rd of October, 1843, having completed my final arrangements, 
and collected and settled all outlying debts, the weather, which had 
been wet and stormy for many days past, assuming a more settled 
appearance, I resolved to " inspan " and " trek,'' which the reader will 
bear in mind mean to yoke and march. I accordingly communicated my 
intentions to my followers, and despatched my leader Carollus to the 
neighbouring mountains, where my cattle were supposed to be pastur- 
ing, to bring them up. He expended the greater part of the day in 
searching for them in vain about their wonted feeding-ground : at 
length, late in the afternoon, he chanced to meet a comrade, who in- 
formed him that the oxen he was seeking were safely lodged in the 
" skit-kraal," or pound, Colonel Somerset, of " Ours," having detected 
them in the act of luxuriating in a field of green forage. This pleasing 
intelligence demanded my immediate attendance at the skit-kraal, 
where, by a disembursement of nine shillings, I obtained their release. 
Having secured my oxen, my next business was to find my servants, 



THE CAPE WAGGON. 23 

who were all missing. Long, as I expected, was found gallantly assist- 
ing the dark-eyed heroine of the mangle, and Kleinboy and Cobus were 
discovered in a state of brutal intoxication, stretched on the green-sward 
in front of one of the canteens, along with sundry other waggon-drivers 
and Hottentot Venuses, all in the same glorious condition, having ex- 
pended on liquor the pay which they had extracted from me in advance 
on the plea of providing themselves with necessaries. Drunk as they 
were, Carollus, who was sober, managed to allure them to the waggons, 
and, Long assisting, the inspanning commenced. As no man who has 
not visited the Cape can form any idea of the manner in which this 
daily operation is performed, it will here be necessary to explain it, 
and to say a few more words concerning the structure of a waggon. 

The Cape waggon is a large and powerful, yet loosely-constructed 
vehicle, running on four wheels. Its extreme length is about 18 feet, 
its breadth varying from 3J to 4 feet ; the depth of the sides is about 
2 feet 6 inches in front, but higher towards the back of the waggon. 
All along the sides two rows of iron staples are riveted, in which are 
fastened the boughs forming the tent, which arches over the waggon to 
a height of 5 feet, with an awning of Caffre mat, and a strong canvas 
sail over all, with "fore-clap" and "after-clap," which is the colonial 
name for two broad canvas curtains, that form part and parcel of the 
sail, and hang in front and rear of the waggon, reaching to within a few 
inches of the ground. In the front is placed a large chest occupying the 
extreme breadth of the waggon, on which the driver and two passengers 
of ordinary dimensions can sit abreast. This is called the fore-chest, 
and is secured from sliding forwards by two buffalo rheims, or strips of 
dressed hide, placed across the front of it, and secured to the sides. A 
A similar chest is fastened in like manner to the rear of the waggon, 
which is called the after-chest. Along the sides of the waggon, and out- 
side it, are two longer and narrower chests called side-chests. These 
are supported by two horizontal bars of hard wood riveted to the 
bottom of the waggon. The side-chests are very convenient for holding 
tools, and all manner of odds and ends too numerous to mention. The 
fore and after chests are likewise extremely useful for containing cloth- 
ing, ammunition, and a thousand small articles in daily use. 

Along the sides of the tent are suspended rows of square-cut canvas 
bags, called side-pockets, in which the traveller keeps his hair-brushes 
and combs, razors, knives, tooth-brushes, soap, towels, or anything else 
which he may wish to have at hand. I used to devote one to contain 
my luncheon, which often consisted of a slice of elephant's trunk. 

The traveller sleeps upon a sort of cot, termed a "cardell." This 
cardell is a light, strong, oblong frame, about eight feet in length, and 
occupying the breadth of the waggon. It is bored all round with small 
holes, through which strips of hide are interlaced, forming a sort of net- 
work on which the mattress rests. This cot is slung across the waggon, 
and is attached with thongs to the bows of the tent, its elevation being 
regulated by the cargo, which is carefully stowed away beneath it in the 
body of the waggon. Suspended underneath the hind part of the 
vehicle is a strong wooden framework called the trap, on which the pots 
and gridirons are lashed during a march. The waggon is steered by a 



24 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



pole, called the dissel-boom, to the end of which is fastened the trektow, 
a stout rope formed of raw buffalo-hide. It is pulled by a span, or 
team, consisting of twelve oxen, which draw the waggon by yokes 
fastened along the trektow at regular intervals by means of strips of raw 
hide. Passing through each end of the yoke, at distances of 18 inches 
from one another, are two parallel bars of tough wood about 18 inches 
in length ; these are called yoke-skeys. In inspanning, the yoke is 
placed on the back of the neck of the ox, with one of these skeys on 
either side, and towards the ends are notches in which is fixed the strap, 
made of twisted hide ; this, passing under the neck of the animal, 
secures him in the yoke. 

Besides these straps, each pair of oxen is strongly coupled by the 
buffalo rheims, which are used in catching and placing them in their 
proper order, preparatory to inspanning them : a rheim is a long strip 
of prepared hide with a noose at the end ; it is made either of ox or 
buffalo hide, and is about eight feet long. A waggon is also provided 
with a tar-bucket, two powerful iron chains which are called the rheim- 
chains, and a large iron drag called the rheim-schoen : also the invaria- 
ble whip and jambok ; the former consisting of a bamboo pole upwards 
of 20 feet in length, with a thong of about 25 feet, to the end of which 
is sewn with "rheimpys," or strips of dressed steinbok skin, the "after- 
slock," and to this again is fastened the "fore-slock," corresponding with 
the little whipcord lash of the English coachman. The " fore-slock," 
about which the waggon-drivers are very particular, is about a yard in 
length, and is formed of a strip of the supple skin of some particular 
variety of antelope prepared in a peculiar manner. The skins of only 
a few species of antelopes are possessed of sufficient toughness for this 
purpose. Those most highly prized amongst the colonists are the skins 
of the hartebeest, koodoo, blesbok, and bushbuck ; when none of these 
are to be obtained they use the skin of a he-goat, which is very inferior. 
The colonial waggon-driver wields this immense whip with great dexterity 
and grace. As he cracks it he produces a report nearly equal to that 
of a gun, and by this means he signals to his leader, who is perhaps 
herding the oxen at the distance of a mile, to bring them up when it is 
time to inspan. 

The "jambok " is another instrument of persuasion, indispensable in 
the outfit of every Cape waggon. It is made of the thick tough hide 
either of the white rhinoceros or hippopotamus. Its length is from six 
to 7 feet ; its thickness at the handle is about an inch and a half, and it 
tapers gradually to the point. These jamboks are exceedingly tough 
and pliant, and are capable of inflicting most tremendous chastisement 
upon the thick hides of sulky and refractory oxen. Those manufactured 
from the skin of the hippopotamus are very much superior to those of 
the rhinoceros, being naturally of a much tougher quality. If properly 
prepared, one of these will last for many years. A smaller description 
of jambok is manufactured for the benefit of horses, and may be seen in 
the hands of every horseman in the colony. 

When the leader brings up the oxen to the waggon to be inspanned, 
the waggon-driver if possible sends another Hottentot to his assistance, 
especially if any of the oxen in the span happen to be young or refrac- 



INSPANNING— THE WHIP. 25 



tory. These, armed with a huge jambok in one hand, and a handful of 
stones in the other, one on either flank, with shouts, yells, and impreca- 
tions, urge forward the unwilling team towards the yokes, where the 
driver is standing with the twelve long buffalo rheims hanging on his left 
arm, pouring forth a volley of soothing terms, such as — 

" Ah ! now, Scotland ! Wo ha, Blauberg ! you skellum, keer dar 
Carollus for Blauberg, ye stand somar da, ich wichna wha yo hadachta 
ist." (Turn there for Blauberg ; you stand there in an absent state, I 
do not know where your ideas are.) " Holland, you ould Myfooty ! " 
("Myfooty" is a common Hottentot term, which I would defy even 
themselves to construe. The Dutch word " somar," mentioned above, is 
also a word to which I think I could challenge the most learned school- 
master in the colony to attach any definite meaning. It is used both 
by Boers and Hottentots in almost every sentence ; it is an answer to 
every question; and its meanings are endless.) " Slangfeldt, you neu- 
xel ! " (Snakefield, you humbug !) " Wo ha, now, Creishmann ! '' 
(Crooked man.) "Orlam, you verdomde Kind, vacht un bidgte, ich soil 
you krae." (Civilized ! you d — d child ; wait a bit, I'll serve you out.) 
" Vitfoot, you duivel ! slahm dar fur Vitfoot, slahm ihm dat he barst ! " 
(Whitefoot, you devil ! flog there Whitefoot, flog him till he bursts.) 
" Englandt, you ould ghroote-pench ! Ah now ! Wo ha ! Ye dat so 
lowe ist in die shwor plach, und dharum so vees at inspanning ! Vacht 
un bidgte, ich soil a plach for you aitsuch. Ye lob da for nett so as ye 
will, mar ich soil you arter bring, whar ich kann you mach like baikam." 
(England, you old big-paunch ! Ah no! Wo ha ! You who are so lazy 
in the heavy place, and nevertheless so vicious at inspanning. Wait a 
little. I shall seek out a place for you ! You tramp there in front, 
exactly as you please ; but I will yoke you farther back, where I can 
reach you with facility.) 

This last is said in allusion to " England's " having lately been in the 
habit of being yoked in the front of the team, and if it is very long the 
driver cannot reach the leading oxen with his whip without descending 
from the box, and, therefore, when a fore-ox becomes lazy, he is yoked 
farther back in the team, that he may have the full benefit of the per- 
suasive " fore-slock." 

While the driver's tongue is pouring forth this flow of Hottentot elo- 
quence with amazing volubility, his hands and feet are employed with 
equal activity * the former in throwing the open noose of the rheim, 
lasso-like, over the horns of each ox, and drawing it tight round them 
as he catches him ; the latter in kicking the eyes and noses of those 
oxen which the jamboks and shouts of the leaders behind have driven 
too far in upon him. At this moment "Blauberg," who is an old 
offender, and who acquired in early youth the practice which he has 
never relinquished of bolting from the team at the moment of inspann- 
ing, being this day unusually lively, not having had any severe work for 
some weeks, suddenly springs round, notwithstanding Kleinboy, well 
aware of his propensities, has got his particular rheim firmly twisted 
round his hand ; and having once got his tail where his head ought to 
have been, and thus deprived Kleinboy of all purchase over him, he 
bounds madly forward, heedless of a large sharp stone with which one 



26 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

of the leaders salutes him in the eye. By his forward career, Carollus 
is instantly dashed to the ground ; and Kleinboy, who has pertinaciously 
grasped the rheim in the vain hope of retrieving the matter, is dragged 
several yards along the ground, and eventually relinquishes the rheim, 
at the same time losing a good deal of the outer bark of his unfortunate 
hand. Away goes Blauberg in his headlong course, tearing frantically 
over hill and dale, his rheim flying from his horns like a streamer in 
the wind. His course lies right across the middle of the Cape-Corps 
barracks, where about forty or fifty riflemen who are lounging about, 
parade being over, rush to intercept his course, preceded by a pack of 
mongrel curs of every shape and size, but in vain. Blauberg, heedless 
of a shower of sticks and stones hurled at his devoted head, charges 
through the midst of them, nor is he recovered for the space of about 
two hours. 

The rest of the team, seeing their driver sprawling on the ground, as 
a matter of course follow Blauberg's example : instantly wheeling to the 
right and left about, away they scamper, each selecting a course for him- 
self, some with and others without the appendage of the streamers. 
The Hottentots, well aware that it will be useless to follow Blauberg in 
the usual way, as he would probably lead them a chase of four or five 
miles, now adopt the most approved method usually practised in such 
cases. They accordingly drive out a small troop of tamer oxen, with 
which they proceed in quest of the truant. This troop they cunningly 
induce Mr. Blauberg to join, and eventually return with him to the 
waggon — the driver, with pouting lips and the sweat running down his 
brow, pouring forth a torrent of threatened vengeance against the 
offending Blauberg. The inspanning is then once more commenced as 
before, and Blauberg, being this time cautiously placed in a central 
position, well wedged up by the other oxen, whereby he is prevented 
from turning about, is lassoed with the strongest rheim, and firmly 
secured to the steady old ox who has purposely been driven up beside 
him. The twelve oxen are soon all securely yoked in their proper 
places; the leader has made up his "fore-tow," which is a long spare 
rheim attached round the horns of each of the fore or front oxen, by 
which he leads the team, and inspanning is reported to be accom- 
plished. 

I omitted to mention that the two fore-oxen, and the two after-oxen, 
which are yoked one on either side of the " dissel-boom," or pole, are 
always supposed to be the steadiest, most intelligent, and tractable in 
the team. The two fore-oxen in particular, to be right good ones, 
require a combination of excellences, as it is indispensable for the safety 
of the waggon that they thoroughly understand their duty. They are 
expected, unguided by reins, to hold the rare-trodden roads which occur 
throughout the remoter parts of the colony either by day or night ; and 
so well trained are these sagacious animals that it is not uncommon to 
meet with a pair of fore-oxen which will, of their own accord, hold the 
" spoor " or track of a single waggon which has perhaps crossed a plain 
six months previously. «# 

In dangerous ground, however — where the narrow road winds through 
stones and rocks, or along the brink of a precipice ; or where the road is 



SAGACITY OF OXEN. 27 

much intersected by water-courses, and bordered by the eternal hillocks 
raised by the white ants, which are of the consistence of a brick, being 
formed during damp weather, of clay, which the sun afterwards hardens; 
or where the "aard-varcke," or ant-bear, with his powerful claws has 
undermined the road with enormous holes — the fore-oxen, however 
trustworthy, should never be left to their own devices, h\it the leader 
should precede them, leading by the tow. This safe and highly neces- 
sary precaution is however rarely practised by the ruffianly Hottentots 
if the " baas " or master is not present, these worthies preferring to sit 
still and smoke their pipes or play their violins during the march, to 
performing their duty, thus frequently exposing their master's property 
to imminent peril. It is thus that more than half the capsizes, broken 
axletrees, broken dissel-booms, and smashed cap-tents, daily occur 
throughout the colony. All being now in readiness, and some pots and 
spades, which the Hottentots as a matter of course had omitted to stow 
away in their proper places, being securely lashed on the trap and to 
the sides of the waggon, the illustrious Kleinboy brandishes his hugQ 
whip, and cracking it with a report which loudly reverberates through- 
out the walls and houses of the Cape-Corps barracks, shouts out, with 
stentorian lungs — 

" Trek, trek, you duivels ! Ehure y'lla dar vor, you skellums ! Ane 
spoor trap, you neuxels ! Tabelberg, you ould kring ! Trek, you lowe 
paar marys. Schneeberg, you lowe Satan ! Blauberg, you duivel's 
kind ! " — (Draw, draw, you devils ! Move yourselves forward, there, 
you skellums ! Tramp all in the same track, you humbugs ! Table 
Mountain, you old ring ! Draw, you lazy troop of mares ! Snow 
Mountain, you lazy Satan ! Blue Mountain, you child of the devil ! 

At the same moment he catches the refractory Blauberg the most 
terrific wipe round the ribs with his fore-slock, accompanied,, by a sharp 
report like the discharge of a pistol, upon which a cloud of blue hair is 
seen to fly from the ox, and a long red streak, down which the blood 
copiously flows, denotes the power of the weapon the driver so merci- 
lessly wields over the backs of his horny team. At last the huge and 
heavily-laden waggon is in motion, and rolls lightly along after the 
powerful oxen, which on level ground seem scarcely to feel the yokes 
which lie across their necks. 

Requiring to pick up several large parcels at the stores of some of 
the merchants in the town, we trekked down the main street of 
Grahamstown ; and in passing the shops of the butchers and bakers, 
laid in a large supply of bread and fresh meat for immediate use. Be- 
fore we had proceeded far, some sharp-sighted Hottentots came running 
after us, calling out that a fountain of tiger's milk had started in the 
stern of the waggon ; and on halting we discovered that several loose 
cases of gin which I had purchased for immediate use, and which had 
not been properly stowed, had sprung a leak. The Hottentots seemed 
to regret amazingly the loss of so much good liquor, and endeavoured 
with their hands to catch it as it fell. 

Owing to the various delays which had occifrred during the day, I 
did not get more than half a mile clear of Grahamstown when the sun 
went down ; and there being then no moon, I deemed it expedient to 



28 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

halt for the night. We accordingly outspanned ; and the Hottentots, 
having secured the oxen to the yokes, and picketed my two horses on 
the wheels, requested my permission to return to the town to take 
another farewell of their wives and sweethearts. This I did not deem 
altogether prudent ; but, knowing well that if I withheld my consent 
they would go without it, I considered it best to comply with a good 
grace ; and, granting a general leave of absence, took on myself 
the charge of the castle which was destined to be my home during the 
next five years. 

The Hottentots, strange to say, according to their promise, returned 
to the waggon during the night, and next morning, at earliest dawn of 
day, I roused them, and we inspanned. When this was accomplished, 
my head servant Long not appearing, we marched without him ; but we 
had only proceeded about three miles when he managed to overtake us, 
the road being hilly and very soft, owing to the recent rains. On 
coming up and recovering his breath, he expressed himself very much 
disgusted at my starting without him, when I took the liberty of ex- 
plaining that I expected my servants to wait for me, and not that I 
should tarry for them. Our progress was considerably impeded by the 
bad state of the roads, and at ten A.M. we halted for breakfast beside a 
pool of rain-water, having performed a march of about nine miles. Here, 
having outspanned our oxen, we set about preparing our gipsy break- 
fast : one collected sticks for the fires, another filled the kettles at the 
adjoining " vley," while Long and I were busied in spreading the table 
and dusting the beefsteaks with salt and pepper. 

Having permitted the oxen to graze for a few hours, we again in- 
spanned, holding the high road for Somerset ; and about sundown we 
halted for the night on the farm of a Mr. Fichett, a great sheep-farmer, 
who received me hospitably, and invited me to dine with him. Here I 
met Captain Codrington, who had lately sold out of the 7th Dragoons. 
Our march this day lay through a succession of low, undulating hills, 
richly clothed with a variety of grasses, herbs, and flowers, with here 
and there large patches of dwarfish evergreens. I had directed my Hot- 
tentots to kraal the oxen that night, with the intention of making an 
early start on the following morning, but the herd managed to lose them 
in the thick underwood. They were, however, recovered at an early 
hour on the following morning, and, having breakfasted, I was about to 
proceed, when Long, with a face worthy of his name, came up to me 
with a whole tissue of dire complaints about his personal inconveniences, 
the most galling of which appeared to be his having to sleep on the 
ground in the tent. On my friend's advancing these objections, I saw 
very plainly that he was not the man for my work, as the life before us 
was by no means likely to be one of luxury ; so having made over to 
him his impedimenta, and paid him him his month's wages, I wished 
him a safe return to Grahamstown. 

It was a lovely day, with a bright blue sky overhead, covered with 
light, fleecy clouds, and the trees and shrubs, freshened by the recent 
rains, emitted an aromatic perfume. Having proceeded some miles, we 
commenced ascending the Zuurberg range, where we were met by two 
waggons from Somerset, laden with oranges for the Grahamstown mar- 



A WAGGON DILEMMA. 29 

ket, of which I purchased several dozen, and found them excellent. The 
drivers of these waggons informed me that the road in advance was al- 
most impassable, owing to the recent heavy rains. Although their oxen 
were better than mine, and their waggons lighter by some thousand 
pounds, they had had great difficulty in coming on, and they recom- 
mended me to retrace my steps, and, crossing the country, try the other 
road by De Bruin's Poort. Notwithstanding their remonstrances, I re- 
solved to push on and give it a trial. 

About midday I outspanned for two hours, to let the cattle graze ; 
after which, having proceeded a few miles, we found the road so cut up 
that we were obliged to abandon it, and trek along the rugged hill-side, 
holding a course parallel to it. Marching in front, and sinking up to 
my ankles in mud at every step, I endeavoured to select the hardest 
ground, on which the waggon might follow. The ground now every 
moment became worse and worse ; the panting oxen, straining every 
nerve to keep it in motion, and halting every hundred yards to take 
breath. At length the wheels suddenly sank deep into the soil, and be- 
came immoveably fixed, upon which we made loose our shovels and 
pickaxe, and worked hard for half an hour, clearing away the soil in 
front of and around the wheels ; which, being accomplished, we rigged 
out a fore-tow and extra yoke to inspan my two spare oxen, and then 
set our whole fourteen to draw, but they could not move the waggon 
an inch. 

We then lightened it of a part of the cargo, and, after half an hour's 
further labour, we had relieved the waggon of upwards of three thou- 
sand pounds ; but still the oxen, notwithstanding the most unmerciful 
application of both whip and jambok, failed to move it. The thought 
then struck me of pulling it out backwards ; we accordingly cast loose 
the trektow, and, having hooked on the long span or team to the after- 
part of the waggon, we succeeded in extricating it from its deep bed. 
We next proceeded with much care and trouble to stow away the bag- 
gage which we had removed, and the oxen being again placed in their 
position we resumed our journey ; but, before we had gone three hun- 
dred yards, the waggon again became engulfed, sinking into the earth 
to such a depth that I half expected it would disappear altogether. The 
nave of the wheel was actually six or eight inches below the surface. 
This put us at our wits' ends, and I began to think that, if this was to 
be our rate of travelling, my hair would be grey ere I reached the land 
of elephants. 

A few minutes after this had occurred, another waggon meeting us 
from Somerset hove in sight, but shortly stuck fast within a quarter of 
a mile of us. Its owner, an Englishman, an Albany transport-rider or 
carrier, of the name of Leonard, now came up and requested me to lend 
him my oxen to assist him in his difficulties, which I did, he promising 
in return to help me out of mine ; but it was not until unloaded of the 
entire cargo that they succeeded in extricating it ; after which, with 
considerable trouble, they came up to us. We now hooked to my 
waggon both spans, amounting to twenty-six strong oxen, the drivers 
standing one on either side, with their whips ready at the given signal 
to descend upon the devoted oxen. I myself, with one of the Hotten- 

2 



30 HUNTING AND SPOUTING ADVENTURES. 

tots, armed with the jamboks, stood by the after-oxen, upon whom, in 
a dilemma of this sort, much depends. Every man and beast being at 
their post, the usual cry of " Trek, trek ! " resounded on all sides, 
accompanied by a torrent of unearthly yells and abusive epithets ; at 
the same time the whips were plied with energetic dexterity, and came 
down with startling reports on the backs of the oxen throughout all 
parts of the team. 

The twenty-six oxen, thus urged, at the same moment concentrated 
their energies, laying a mighty strain on the gear. Something must 
yield, and accordingly my powerful buffalo trektow snapped asunder 
within a few feet of the dissel-boom. The trektow being strongly 
knotted together, a second attempt was made, when it again snapped in 
a fresh place. We then unhooked the long drag-chains from beneath 
the waggon, wherewith having fortified the trektow, we made a third 
trial. The cunning oxen, having now twice exerted themselves in vain, 
and being well aware that the waggon was fast, according to their usual 
custom, could not be induced to make any further effort, notwithstand- 
ing the waggon-drivers had inflicted upon them about an hour's terrific 
flogging, till the sides of half of them were running down with gore. 
In cases of this sort the oxen, instead of taking properly to their work, 
spring about in the yoke, and turn their tails round where their heads 
should be, invariably snapping the straps and yoke-skeas, and fre- 
quently splitting the yokes. 

In the present instance my gear did not escape, for, after battling 
with the oxen till the sun went down, and smashing the half of my 
rheims, straps, and skeas, and splitting one of my yokes, we were 
obliged to drop it for the night. We cast loose the oxen, and, driving 
them up the hill-side, granted them their liberty until morning ; and 
leaving our broken gear, pickaxes, spades, and other utensils scattered 
about the ground in grand confusion, tired and worn out we kindled a 
fire, and set about cooking our dinner. Leonard and his servants de- 
clared that they had not tasted anything but a little biscuit and coffee 
during the last three days, the Dutchmen along their road being very 
unfriendly and inhospitable to the English transport-riders. 

Next morning we awoke refreshed by sound slumbers, and having 
despatched all the Hottentots, excepting one man, in quest of the oxen, 
Leonard and I were actively employed for two hours in digging out and 
off-loading the waggon, after which Leonard and the Hottentot -set 
about preparing the breakfast, whilst I proceeded to darn my worsted 
stockings, having had the good fortune to obtain some hanks of worsted 
from the wife of a Scotch serjeant in Grahamstown, after vainly seeking 
that article in the shops of all the haberdashers in the town. While we 
were thus employed, Captain Codrington and Mr. Fichett rode up to us, 
and seemed very much amused at our situation. Having drunk a cup 
of coffee with me, Fichett and Codrington returned home, previously 
engaging me to dine with them, as I had resolved to retrace my steps 
and try another line of country. 

About eleven A.M. the Hottentots returned with our oxen, when, with 
the united efforts of the teams, we succeeded in extricating my now 
lightened waggon. The two oxen I purchased from Thompson, though 



CHANGE OF KOUTE. 31 

well-favoured, proving indolent in a heavy pull, I exchanged them with 
Leonard for the liberty to pick any two out of his span, giving him a 
sovereign to boot. His team consisted of twelve tough little red Zoolah 
oxen, from the district of Natal, which, like the Albany cattle, are 
termed " Zuur-feldt." This colonial phrase is applied to all oxen bred 
and reared near the sea-coast, in districts where the majority of the 
grass is sour, Those from about the frontiers of the colony, or any- 
where beyond the Orange River, are termed " Sweet-feldt " oxen. The 
Zuur-feldt cattle possess a superiority over the Sweet-feldt as trek-oxen, 
inasmuch as they thrive on any pasture, whereas the latter die if de- 
tained more than a few days in Zuur-feldt districts. 

Leonard's account of the road before me was so bad, his waggon 
having been upset four times on the preceding day, that I resolved to 
put about, and adopt the route through De Bruin's Pobrt, which had 
been recommended to me by the drivers of the Somerset orange- 
waggons. By this route I should avoid Somerset, and pass through the 
village of Cradock. My plans at this time were, in the first instance, to 
proceed direct to the Thebus Flats, where black wildebeest and spring- 
bok were reported to abound ; and thence to march upon Colesberg, a 
village on the frontiers, where I expected to meet my cousin Colonel 
Campbell, of the 91st, by whose advice, in a great measure, I intended 
to be guided in my future movements. 

We now reloaded my waggon, made all fast, and, having put every- 
thing in order, Leonard and I journeyed together to Fichett's farm, 
where I once more took up my quarters for the night. While actively 
busied with my oxen, I saw to-day for the first time the honey-bird. 
This extraordinary little bird, which is about the size of a chaffinch, and 
of a light-gray colour, will invariably lead a person following it to a 
wild-bees' nest. Chattering and twittering in a state of great excite- 
ment, it perches on a branch beside the traveller, endeavouring by 
various wiles to attract his attention; and having succeeded in doing so, 
it flies lightly forward in a wavy course in the direction of the bees' 
nest, alighting every now and then, and looking back to ascertain if the 
traveller is following it, all the time keeeping up an incessant twitter. 

When at length it arrives at the hollow tree, or deserted white ant's 
hill, which contains the honey, it for a moment hovers over the nest, 
pointing to it with its bill, and then takes up its position on a neigh- 
bouring branch, anxiously awaiting its share of the spoil. When the 
honey is taken, which is accomplished by first stupifying the bees by 
burning grass at the entrance of their domicile, the honey -bird will often 
lead to a second and even to a third nest. The person thus following it 
ought to whistle. The savages in the interior, whilst in pursuit, have 
several charmed sentences which they use on the occasion. The wild- 
bee of Southern Africa exactly corresponds with the domestic garden- 
bee of England. They are very generally diffused throughout every 
part of Africa — bees'-wax forming a considerable part of the cargoes of 
ships trading to the Gold and Ivory Coasts, and the deadly district of 
Sierra Leone, on the western shores of Africa. 

Interesting as the honey-bird is, and though sweet be the stores to 
which it leads, I have often had cause to wish it far enough, as, when 



32 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

following the warm " spoor M or track of elephants, I have often seen 
the savages, at moments of the utmost importance, resign the spoor of 
the beasts to attend to the summons of the bird. Sometimes, however, 
they are " sold," it being a well-known fact, both among the Hottentots 
and tribes of the interior, that they often lead the unwary pursuer to 
danger, sometimes guiding him to the midday retreat of a grizzly lion, 
or bringing him suddenly upon the den of the crouching panther. I re- 
member on one occasion, about three years later, when weary with 
warring against the mighty elephants and hippopotami which roam the 
vast forests and sport in the floods of the fair Limpopo, having mounted 
a pair of unwonted shot-barrels, I sought recreation in the humbler pur- 
suit of quail-shooting. While thus employed, my attention was 
suddenly invited by a garrulous honey-bird, which pertinaciously 
adhered to me for a considerable time, heedless of the reports made by 
my gun. 

Having bagged as many quails and partridges as I cared about shoot- 
ing, I whistled lustily to the honey-bird, and gave him chase ; after fol- 
lowing him to a distance of upwards of a mile, through the open glades 
adjoining the Limpopo, he led me to an unusually vast crocodile, who 
was lying with his entire body concealed, nothing but his horrid head 
being visible above the surface of the water, his eyes anxiously watch- 
ing the movements of eight or ten large bull-buffaloes, which, in seeking 
to quench their thirst in the waters of the river, were crackling through 
the dry reeds as they cautiously waded in the deep mud that a recent 
flood had deposited along the edge. Fortunately for the buffaloes, the 
depth of the mud prevented their reaching the stream, and thus the 
scaly monster of the river was disappointed of his prey. 



CHAPTER III. 



Fearful Descent of De Bruin's Poort — District lately deserted by Elephants — Noble 
Forest-trees — The Great Fish River — Cunning Boers — Burning effects of the 
Sun — The Dutch Noe's Green Tea Ointment — Skill of the Hottentots in "Tap- 
ping the Admiral " — Beautifully Wooded Country — The Village of Cradock — 
South African Climate — Countless Herds of Springbok — Mynheer Pocheter — 
The way to make a Friend on the Thebus Flats — Hendrick Strydom — Hunting 
for Springbok — Extraordinary Migrations of these Antelopes. 

My trektow having been destroyed during the recent struggles, I was 
glad to purchase a new one from a man named Mackenzie in Fichett's 
employ, which he supplied me, together with a strong thornwood yoke, 
for £1. On leaving the farm we proceeded in an easterly course, and 
struck into a track which in a few hours led us into the high road lead- 
ing from Grahamstown to Cradock. Having followed this road for 
several miles, we commenced descending through the De Bruin's Poort, 
where the road winds, in a deep, narrow, and rugged ravine, through 
dense evergreen underwood, in its descent to the lower ground adjacent 
to the banks of the Great Fish River. This poort, or mountain pass, 
the terror of waggon-drivers, being at all times perilous to waggons, was 



DE BRUIN'S POORT. 33 

in the present instance unusually dangerous and impassable, the recent 
heavy rains having entirely washed away the loose soil with which the 
colonists had been in the habit of embanking the permanent shelves and 
ridges of adamantine rock over which the waggons must necessarily 
pass, while they had at the same time undermined an immense number 
of large masses of rocks and stones which had hitherto occupied positions 
on the banks above, and which now lay scattered along the rocky way, 
presenting an apparently insurmountable barrier to our further progress. 

As we were the first who had travelled this road since the late inunda- 
tions, it had not undergone the slightest repair, which, to have done 
properly, would have required the labour of a week. Having halted 
the waggon, and descended into the ravine for an inspection, accom- 
panied by Kleinboy, I at once pronounced it, in its present state, to be 
impassable. Kleinboy, however, well aware that he would not be called 
upon to pay for damages, seemed to entertain a different opinion, 
evidently preferring to run all risks to encountering the Herculean 
labours of rolling all these boulders to one side. 

Accordingly, having made up our minds to take the pass, we re- 
ascended to the waggon, and, having rheimed or secured the two hind 
wheels by means of the drag-chains, Kleinboy took his position on the 
box, and the waggon commenced its perilous descent, I following, in 
the firm expectation every moment of beholding its destruction. Jolt- 
ing furiously along, it crashed and jumped from rock to rock ; at one 
moment the starboard hind wheel resting on a projecting ledge of rock 
several feet in height, and the front wheel on the same side buried in a 
deep hollow, and next moment the larboard wheels suddenly elevated 
by a corresponding mass of rock on the opposite side, placing the 
waggon in such a position that it seemed as though another inch must 
inevitably decide its fate. I held my breath, doubting the possibility 
of its regaining the horizontal position. Righting, again, however, with 
fearful violence it was launched, tottering from side to side, down the 
steep stony descent, and eventually, much to my astonishment, the pass 
was won, and we entered upon the more practicable road beneath. 

I could not help fancying how an English-built vehicle would have 
fared in a similar situation, and how a Brighton coachman would have 
opened his eyes could he have seen my Cape waggon in the act of 
descending this fine specimen of a colonial waggon-road, which I might 
aptly compare to the rugged mountain-bed of some Highland river. 
Having continued our journey till within an hour of sundown, we en- 
camped for the night. The country through which we had passed was 
densely covered with one vast jungle of dwarfish evergreen shrubs and 
bushes, amongst which the speck-boom was predominant. This species 
of tree, which is one of the most abundant throughout the forests and 
jungles of Albany and Caffraria, is utterly unserviceable to man, as its 
pithy branches, even when dead, are unavailable for fuel. It is, how- 
ever, interesting, as constituting a favourite food of the elephants which, 
about twenty-five years ago, frequented the whole of this country in 
large herds. The footpaths formed through successive ages by the feet 
of these mighty animals are still discernible on the sides and in the 
necks of some of the forest-clad hills ; and the skulls and larger bones 



34 HUNTING AND SPOETING ADVENTURES. 



of many are at this moment bleaching in some of the forest-kloofs or 
ravines adjacent to the sea in Lower Albany. 

From time immemorial these interesting and stupendous quadrupeds 
had maintained their ground throughout these their paternal domains, 
although they were constantly hunted, and numbers of them were slain, 
by the neighbouring active and athletic warriors of the Amaponda 
tribes, on account of their flesh — the ivory so much prized among civi- 
lised nations being by them esteemed of no value, the only purpose to 
which they adapt it being the manufacture of rings and ornaments for 
their fingers and arms. These gallant fellows, armed only with their 
assegais or light javelins of their own manufacture, were in the constant 
habit of attacking the gigantic animals, and overpowering them with 
the accumulated showers of their weapons. At length, however, when 
the white lords of the creation pitched their camps on the shores of 
Southern Africa, a more determined and general warfare was waged 
against the elephants on account of their ivory, with the more destruc- 
tive engines of ball and powder. 

In a few years, those who managed to escape from the hands of their 
oppressors, after wandering from forest to forest, and from one moun- 
tain-range to another, and finding that sanctuary there was none, turned 
their faces to the north-east, and trekked or migrated from their ances- 
tral jungles to lands unknown. A small remnant, however, remained ; 
and these, along with a few buffaloes, koodoos, and one solitary black 
rhinoceros, still found shelter in the vast jungles of the Zuurberg and 
Addo bush as late as the commencement of 1849. 

When the colonists first settled in Albany they were in the habit of 
carrying on a very lucrative traffic with the chiefs of the neighbouring 
Amaponda tribes, from whom they obtained large quantities of ivory in 
barter for beans, brass wire, and other articles of little value. 

Throughout the jungles of Albany and Caffraria, but more particu- 
larly in the deep kloofs and valleys, many varieties of noble forest-trees 
are found of considerable size and great beauty, several of which are 
much prized by the colonists on account of their excellence for waggon- 
work and house-building ; of these I may enumerate the yellow-wood 
tree, the wild cedar, the stink-wood tree, and the black and the white 
iron -wood tree. The two latter are remarkable for toughness and dura- 
bility, and are much used in the axletrees of waggons. The primitive 
system of wooden axletrees has of late years been superseded in some 
districts by patent iron ones ; many, however, still use and prefer the 
old wooden axletrees, because waggons having those made of iron, in 
steep descents, run too freely after the team, to the injury of the two 
after-oxen ; and, further, because a wooden axle, if broken, may be 
replaced in any remote part of the country ; whereas a damaged iron 
axletree cannot be mended even by the skilful smiths throughout the 
towns and villages of the colony. The iron axles are especially apt to 
be broken in cold frosty mornings during the winter, when a waggon, 
immediately after being set in motion, has to pass through rough ground 
before the friction of the wheel has imparted to it a certain degree of 
heat. 

On the following day a march of four hours brought us to the bank 



FISH RIVER DRIFT. 35 

of the Great Fish River, having crossed an extensively open glade 
covered with several varieties of low shrubs and grasses and rough 
heather. Here for the first time I saw and shot the black koran, an 
excellent game bird, allied to the bustards, so abundant throughout 
South Africa. Its weight corresponds with that of our old cock grouse ; 
its legs and neck are long like those of the ostrich ; its breast and back 
are grey, and its wings black and white. They are everywhere to be 
met with where the country is at all level and open : when disturbed 
they take wing and fly over the plain in circles, much after the manner 
of the green plover or peewit, uttering a harsh grating cry. The best 
method of getting within range is to use a horse, and ride round them 
in a circle, gradually contracting it. To this open glade, whose name I 
have forgotton, the Nimrods about Grahamstown often resort, and in- 
dulge in the exciting sport of wild boar and porcupine hunting. This 
" chasse " is conducted on bright moonlight nights, with a gathering of 
rough strong dogs, the hunters being armed with a bayonet or spear, 
with which they despatch the quarry when brought to bay. 

I found the Great Fish River, as I had anticipated, still flooded and 
impassable to waggons. It was, however, ebbing rapidly, and appa- 
rently would be fordable on the morrow. During the previous heavy 
rains, which were said not to have been equalled for twenty-seven years, 
it had risen to an immense height, and everywhere overflowed its banks. 
That part of the bank which formed the descent and ascent of the 
former waggon-road was, as a matter of course, entirely swept away, a 
steep wall on either side of the river remaining in its stead, flanked by 
a bank of deep and slimy mud. An immense deal of manual labour 
would consequently be necessary to form a road, by cutting down these 
walls, and clearing a channel through the mud, before a waggon could 
take the drift. 

Accordingly, the work being considerable, I thought the sooner we 
set about it the better ; so having cooked and partaken of a hot tiffin, 
we cast loose the pickaxes, spades, and shovels, stripped to our shirts, 
and, half wading, half swimming, succeeded in crossing the river, where, 
having laboured hard till sundown, and constructed a famous piece of 
road, we considered our task on that side as completed. Early on the 
following morning we resumed our labours on our side of the river, and 
about ten A.M. our path was finished. A party of Boers now hove in 
sight with three waggons, which they outspanned on the opposite bank, 
and drove their oxen into the neighbouring hills to graze. Presently 
observing us preparing to inspan, they beckoned to me to hold a con- 
ference with them across the stream, the object of which was to dissuade 
me from taking the drift until their oxen should return, under pretence 
of assisting us, but, in reality, fearing that we would stick fast, and that 
they should be forced to assist us, since, in the event of our waggon 
sticking before their oxen came up, they would be unable to pass us 
until we were extricated. I saw the move with half an eye, and 
instantly ordered my men to inspan with all possible despatch ; when 
we got safely through the river and up the opposite bank, which was 
much more than I had anticipated. 

It was a fearful pull for the poor oxen ; the waggon stuck fast three 



36 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

times, and was within a hair's breadth of being upset. The water just 
came up to the bottom boards, but fortunately did not wet any part of 
the cargo. The Boers seemed much surprised at the success of our ven- 
ture, as they always entertain the idea that an Englishman's oxen must 
be inferior to theirs, but this idea is grossly erroneous, the reverse being 
invariably the case. A Boer will hardly ever flog his oxen when they 
require it, which, though it may shock the ear of my fair reader, my 
regard to truth compels me to state is indispensable, oxen being of a 
strange, stubborn disposition, perfectly different from horses. This, at 
a future period, I had cause to ascertain practically, when, forsaken by 
my followers on the borders of the Kalihari desert, I was necessitated 
daily to inspan and drive my own oxen, which I did, with the assistance 
of a small Bushman, for a distance of about a thousand miles. 

It is a common thing to see a Boer's oxen stick fast on a very moder- 
ate ascent, with not above 1000 lbs. or 2000 lbs. weight in the waggon, 
where an Albany transport-rider would pass him with a load of 6000 
lbs. behind his bullocks ; and it is by no means uncommon to see these 
Albany men discharging a load of even 8000 lbs. weight at the stores of 
the Grahamstown merchants, which they have transported with a team 
of fourteen oxen through the hilly country betwixt that town and Algoa 
Bay. After crossing the river, the road continued good for about three 
miles, but after that we found it washed away in many places. Once 
we stuck fast, and were obliged to dig the waggon out, and broke our 
trektow three times in extricating it. In other places we were obliged 
to leave the usual road, and cut a new way through the thorny trees 
with our axes, the road being cut up with watercourses six and eight 
feet deep. At midday we outspanned for two hours, to rest the oxen, 
on the farm of a Mr. Corrie. Here we met a " smouse," or trader, 
coming down the country with a drove of about a hundred and fifty 
very large well-conditioned oxen. He offered me a span at £3 a head ; 
they were worth £12 each in England. I felt the sun rather oppres- 
sive. 

About two P.M. we inspanned, and, having ascended a long and very 
steep hill, we entered upon a new line of country, of wide undulating 
open plains of rank waving grass, dotted over with the mud-built habi- 
tations of white ants. We held on for three hours after sundown, and 
halted for the night at an uninhabited dilapidated mansion, in which we 
lighted a fire and cooked our dinner. Having secured our oxen on the 
yokes, instead of permitting them to graze during the night, we were 
enabled to march next morning some time before the break of day ; and 
as the rising sun gradually unveiled the landscape, I had the pleasure 
of beholding for the first time several small herds of springboks scat- 
tered over the plain. This exquisitely graceful and truly interesting 
antelope is very generally diffused throughout Southern Africa, and is 
more numerous there than any other variety ; it is very nearly allied to 
the ariel gazelle of Northern Africa, and in its nature and habits re- 
minded me of the saisin of India. 

A few herds of springboks are still to be met with on the plains in 
the district of Somerset, on which I had now entered; but as this is one 
of the nearest districts to the abodes of men where this species remains, 



GKEEN TEA OINTMENT. 37 

it is of course much hunted, and is annually becoming scarcer. The 
gentlemen farmers of the surrounding districts keep a good breed of 
greyhounds, with which they have excellent sport in pursuing these 
antelopes. On beholding the springboks I instantly directed my two 
horses to be saddled, and, desiring the Hottentots to proceed to a farm 
in advance and there outspan, I rode forth with Cobus, taking my two- 
grooved rifle to endeavour to obtain a shot. I found them extremely 
wild, and after expending a considerable deal of ammunition, firing at 
distances of from six to eight hundred yards, I rejoined my waggons, 
which I found drawn up on a Dutchman's farm, and left the antelopes 
scathless. 

Owing to the exposure to the sun while working at the Fish Eiver 
drift on the preceding days, and also to having discarded coat, waist- 
coat, and neckcloth since leaving Grahamstown, my arms, neck and 
shoulders were much swollen and severely burnt and blistered, causing 
me much pain, and at night preventing me from sleeping. The kind- 
hearted noe, or lady of the farm, commiserating my condition, and wish- 
ing to alleviate my pain, informed me that she had an excellent recipe 
for sunburn, which she had often successfully administered to her hus- 
band and sons. One of the chief ingredients of the promised balsam 
was green tea, which was to be reduced to powder, of which she directed 
me to send her a little by one of my servants. I do not know what the 
other components might have been, but I well know that, on applying 
the ointment to the raw and swollen parts, it stung me as though it had 
been a mixture of salt and vinegar, giving me intense pain, and causing 
me to hop and dance about like one demented, and wish the Boer noe 
and her ointment in the realms of Pluto, to the infinite delight and mer- 
riment of my sympathising Hottentots. 

A peculiar expression in the eyes of these gentlemen and their general 
demeanour, inclined me to think that their potations had consisted of 
some more generous beverage than water during the morning's march ; 
and on examining one of my liquor-cases, I found that I was minus a 
bottle and a half of gin since yesterday. 

This is a common failing among this monkey -faced race, nineteen in 
every twenty Hottentots being drunkards, and they have, moreover, not 
the slightest scruple of conscience as to who is the lawful proprietor of 
liquor, so long as they can get access to it. No locks nor bolts avail ; 
and thus on the Bay-road, the high road between Algoa Bay and 
Grahamstown, a constant system of tapping the admiral is maintained. 

In this pursuit these worthies, from long practice, have arrived at 
considerable skill, and it is usually accomplished in the following man- 
ner : — If the liquor is in a cask, having removed one of the hoops, a 
gimlet is inserted, when, a bucket or two of spirit having been drawn 
off, the aperture is filled with a plug, and, the hoop being replaced, no 
outward mark is visible. The liquor thus stolen, if missed, and inquiries 
issued, is very plausibly set down to the score of leakage. A great deal 
of gin arrives in Grahamstown in square case-bottles, packed in slight 
red wooden cases. To these the Hottentots devote marked attention, 
owing to the greater facility of getting at them. Having carefully re- 
moved the lid and drained several of the bottles, either by drinking 



38 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



them or pouring their contents into the water-casks belonging to the 
waggons, they either replace the liquor with water and repack the case 
again as they found it, or else they break the bottles which they have 
drained and replace them in the case, at the same time taking out a 
quantity of the chaff in which they had been packed. This is done to 
delude the merchant into the idea that the loss of liquor occurred owing 
to breakage from original bad packing. The risk and damage entailed 
on the proprietors of waggons and owners of merchandise from the 
drivers indulging in such a system, on the precarious roads of the colony, 
may be imagined. 

After breakfast we continued our march, when I was again tempted 
to saddle up and give chace to a troop of springboks, one of which I 
shot : we continued our march until sundown, when we halted beside a 
pool of rain-water. Here we found some young Boers and Hottentots, 
belonging to a neighbouring farm, actively employed in digging out a 
nest of wild bees; several of them had their eyes nearly closed from the 
stings which they had received. The spoils of the "bike," however, re- 
paid their pains by twenty pounds of honey. On approaching the nest 
a large cluster of bees chose my sunburnt arm as a place of rendezvous, 
from which I could not remove them until I had obtained a bunch of 
burning grass. 

Our march on the following day lay through a mountainous country 
abounding with rich pasture, covered in many places with picturesque 
thorny-mimosa trees, detached and in groups, imparting to the country 
the appearance of an English park. In the forenoon we halted for a 
couple of hours in a broad well-wooded hollow, where I found abun- 
dance of bustard, guinea fowl, black koran, partridge, and quail. At 
sundown we encamped at a place called Daka-Boer's Neck, on high 
ground, where the road crosses a bold precipitous mountain-range. The 
mountain road along which we trekked the following morning, was ex- 
tremely steep and rugged : on my right, high above me, I observed a 
herd of upwards of a hundred horses, consisting chiefly of brood mares 
and their foals, pasturing on the hill-side. Three more marches brought 
us to the village of Cradock, which we reached at dawn of day on Saturday 
morning the 2nd of October, having twice again had occasion to cross 
the Great Fish River. 

The country through which we passed was bold, mountainous, and 
barren, excepting along the banks of the river, which were adorned with 
groves of mimosa, willow, and whitethorn, clad with a profusion of rich 
yellow blossoms yielding a powerful and fragrant perfume. It was now 
the spring of the year, and, this season having been peculiarly favoured 
with rains, a vernal freshness robed these sometimes arid regions, and I 
consider that I first saw them under very favourable circumstances. On 
the northern bank, at one of the drifts where we crossed the Fish River, 
I observed the dry dung in an old sheep-kraal burning. It was smoul- 
dering away after the manner of Scotch peat ; and on my return from 
the interior about eighteen months after, on my way to Grahamstown, 
the dunghill was still burning, and had been burning all the time, and 
nevertheless only two-thirds were consumed. The immense time which 
these dunghills require to burn is very singular. It is quite a common 



BAEEEN STONY MOUNTAINS. 39 

occurrence for one of them to burn for three or four years ; and I have 
been informed by several respectable farmers of Lower Albany, on 
whose veracity I could rely, that in that district one of these "mid- 
dens," as they are termed in Scotland, burnt for seven years before it 
was consumed. The heaviest and most protracted rains seem to affect 
them but little, rarely if ever extinguishing them. 

Cradock is a pretty little village situated on the eastern bank of the 
Great Fish Eiver, by wich it is supplied with water and the gardens 
irrigated. It is inhabited by Dutch and English, and a goodly sprink- 
ling of Hottentots, Mozambiques, and Fingoes. The principal street is 
wide and adorned with shady trees on every side, among which I ob- 
served lots of peach-trees covered with green fruit. The houses are 
large and well built, generally of brick, some in the old Dutch and some 
in the English style. Each house has got a considerable garden attached 
to it : these are tastefully laid out and contain all the vegetables most 
used in the English kitchen. Apples, pears, oranges, quinces, nectarines, 
and grapes abound. The vision is bounded on every side by barren, 
arid, rocky hills and mountains. I marched right through the town and 
outspanned about a quarter of a mile beyond it, and after breakfast I 
re-entered the village on foot to purchase necessaries for myself and 
servants. Numbers of Dutch Boers with their wives and families were 
assembling to hold their Nachmahl or sacrament. 

About eleven a.m. we inspanned, and continued our journey about five 
miles, crossing the Great Fish Eiver twice, when I halted for some hours 
upon its bank on account of my oxen, the grass in the vicinity of the 
town having been very bare. This was the fifth and last time that we 
crossed the Great Fish Eiver. Here about a dozen waggons passed us 
on their way to Cradock, containing Dutch Boers with their fraus and 
families. Several of these were horse-waggons, drawn by eight and ten 
horses in each waggon, harnessed two abreast, and drawing by straps 
across their breasts instead of collars. These straps are generally manu- 
factured of the skin of the lion when it is to be obtained, that being 
reckoned by the Boers to be tougher and more enduring than any other. 
These long teams are well managed and dexterously driven by the 
Boers, one man holding the reins and another the whip. In the after- 
noon I again inspanned, and continued my march till sundown. The 
road since I left Cradock had improved, and was now fine and level, 
leading through a wide, open, undulating strath along the north-eastern 
bank of the Fish Eiver. The surrounding country presented in every 
direction endless chains of barren stony mountains ; the bold range of 
the Ehinaster Bergs standing forth in grand relief to the westward; not 
a tree to be seen, except a few thorny mimosas in some of the more 
favoured hollows of the hills and along the banks of the river ; the 
country covered with grass and heaths, dwarfish shrubs, and small 
thorny bushes. 

The sun during the day was powerful, but a cool breeze prevailed 
from the south. Ever since I left Grahamstown the weather had been 
very pleasant, and seldom oppressively hot, saving in the low-lying 
hollows where the breezes are not felt. South Africa, though its climate 
is dry and sultry, is nevertheless very salubrious, being surrounded on 



40 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



three sides by the sea, off which a healthy breeze prevails throughout 
the greater part of the year. At certain seasons, however, northerly 
breezes prevail : these are termed by the colonists " hot winds." On 
these occasions the wind feels as though it were blowing off a furnace in 
a glass-foundry, being heated in its passage over the burning sands of the 
Great Kalihari desert. 

In Cradock I engaged another Hottentot, named Jacob, in the 
capacity of after-rider. Having followed the course of the Fish River 
for a distance of about nine miles, our road inclined to the right in a 
more northerly direction, and we here bade the stream a final adieu. 
Two more marches through a succession of wide, undulating, sterile 
plains, bounded on all sides by bleak and barren mountains, brought 
us to the borders of the immense flats surrounding the Thebus Mountain. 

Having followed along the eastern bank an insignificant little stream 
dignified by the appellation of the Brak River, I arrived at the farm of 
Mynheer Besta, a pleasant hospitable Boer, and a field-cornet of the dis- 
trict, which means a sort of resident magistrate. Here we halted to 
breakfast, and Besta, who is a keen sportsman, entertained me with 
various anecdotes and adventures which had occurred to him during the 
earlier days of his sporting career in Albany, where he had once resided. 
He informed me that the black wildebeest and springbok were extremely 
numerous on the plains immediately beyond his farm, which made me 
resolve to saddle up and go in quest of them as soon as I had break- 
fasted. The flesh of these animals forms one of the chief articles of food 
among the Boers and their servants who inhabit the districts in which 
they are abundant ; and the skulls and horns of hundreds of black 
wildebeest and springbok were to be seen piled in heaps and scattered 
about the outhouses of the farm. Adjoining the house was a well- 
watered garden with very green trees and corn in it, which formed a 
most pleasing contrast with the surrounding barren country. 

Having directed my men to proceed to the next farm along the banks 
of the Brak River, I rode forth with Cobus and held a northerly course 
across the flats. I soon perceived herds of springbok in every direction, 
which, on my following at a hard gallop, continued to join one another 
until the whole plain seemed alive with them. Upon our crossing a 
sort of ridge on the plain I beheld the whole country as far as my eye 
could reach actually white with springboks, with here and there a herd 
of black gnoos or wildebeest, prancing and capering in every direction, 
whirling and lashing their white tails as they started off in long files on 
our approach. Having pursued them for many hours, and fired about a 
dozen shots at these and the springboks at distances of from four to six 
hundred yards, and only wounded one, which I lost, I turned my horse's 
head for camp. 

The evening set in dark and lowering, with rattling thunder and vivid 
flashes of lightning on the surrounding hills. I accordingly rode hard 
for my waggon, which I just reached in time to escape a deluge of rain 
which lasted all night. The Brak River came down a red foaming 
torrent, but fell very rapidly in the morning. This river is called Brak 
from the flavour of its waters, which, excepting in the rainy seasons, are 
barely palatable. My day's sport, although unsuccessful, was most ex- 



ABUNDANCE OF SPRINGBOKS. 41 



citing. I did not feel much mortified at my want of success, for I was 
well aware that recklessly jaging after the game in the manner in which 
I had been doing, although highly exhilarating, was not the way to fill 
the bag. Delight at beholding so much noble game in countless herds 
on their native plains was uppermost in my mind, and I felt that at last 
I had reached the borders of those glorious hunting-lands the accounts 
of which had been my chief inducements to visit this remote and deso- 
late corner of the globe ; and I rejoiced that I had not allowed the 
advice of my acquaintances to influence my movements. 

As I rode along in the intense and maddening excitement of the 
chase, I felt a glad feeling of unrestrained freedom, which was common 
to me during my career in Africa, and which I had seldom so fully ex- 
perienced ; and notwithstanding the many thorns which surrounded 
my roses during the many days and nights of toil and hardship which 
I afterwards encountered, I shall ever refer to those times as by far the 
brightest and happiest of my life. On the following morning I rode 
through the Brak River to visit Mynheer Pocheter, with the intention 
of buying some horses from him, but he had none to dispose of. I met 
the old fellow coming in from the "feldt," with his long single-barrelled 
roer and enormous flint-lock, with the usual bullock's horn powder-flask 
dangling at his side. He had gone out with his Hottentot before the 
dawn of day, and taken up a position in a little neck in an uneven part 
of the plain, through which the springboks were in the habit of passing 
before sunrise. 

In places of this description the Boers build little watching-places 
with flat stones, from which they generally obtain a shot every morning 
and evening, and at such distances as to insure success. To use their 
own words, "they secure a buck from these places, skot for skot," mean- 
ing a buck for every shot. On this occasion, however, our friend had 
been unfortunate, returning without venison, although I had heard the 
loud booming of his " roer " a short time previously. The report made 
by these unwieldy guns of the Boers, charged with a large handful of 
coarse gunpowder, is to be heard at an amazing distance through the 
calm atmosphere of these high table-lands ; and during my stay on the 
flats adjoining Thebus Mountain, scarcely an hour elapsed at morning, 
noon, or eve, but the distant booming of some Dutchman's gun saluted 
the ear. 

Mynheer Pocheter asked me in to take some breakfast with him, which 
I did, Cobus acting as interpreter, mine host not understanding a word 
of English, and I not having at that time acquired the Dutch language, 
with which I not long afterwards became thoroughly conversant. After 
breakfast I took leave of Mynheer Pocheter, and having directed the 
waggon to strike out of the direct road to Colesberg, and hold across 
country to the abode of a Boer named Hendrick Strydom, where the 
game was represented to me as being extremely plentiful, I again rode 
forth, accompanied by Oobus, to wage war with the springboks. We 
pricked over the plain, holding an easterly course, and found, as yester- 
day, the springboks in thousands, with here and there a herd of black 
wildebeest. Finding that by jaging on the open plain I could not get 
within four or five hundred yards of them, I left my horses and after- 



42 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES 

rider, and set off on foot to a low range of rocky hills, where I per- 
formed two difficult stalks upon a springbok and a wildebeest, both of 
which I wounded severely, but lost. When stalking in upon the 
springbok I took off my shoes, and had very great difficulty in finding 
them again. I experienced great distress from thirst. The sun was 
very powerful, and, notwithstanding the heavy rains of the preceding 
evening, a drop of water was nowhere to be found. 

In the afternoon I came to a pool of mud ; the little water it con- 
tained was almost boiling ; I was, however, most thankful to find it, 
and tears of delight came into my eyes on discovering it. How 
trifling was this to the trials from thirst which I have often since 
undergone ! Shortly after this I fell in with my servant, who, 
astonished at my long absence, had come in search of me with the 
horses. I was right glad to fall in with him, and, having got into the 
saddle, I rode hard across the plain for my waggon. On my way 
thither I took up a position behind a ridge, and directed Cobus to 
" jag "■ a herd of springbok towards me, which he did most successfully 
sending upwards of a hundred of them right in my teeth. I however 
was still unfortunate, firing both barrels into the herd without doing 
any apparent injury. 

On reaching my waggon, which I found outspanned at the desolate 
abode of Mynheer Hendrick Strydom, I took a mighty draught of gin 
and water, and then walked, followed by my interpreter carrying a 
bottle of Hollands and glasses, to the door of Strydom, to cultivate the 
acquaintance of himself and frau, and wearing the garb of old Gaul, in 
which I generally hunted during my first expedition, to the intense 
surprise of the primitive Boers. Shaking Strydom most cordially by 
the hand, I told him that I was a " Berg Scott," or mountain Scotch- 
man, and that it was the custom in my country, when friends met, to 
pledge one another in a bumper of spirits ; at the same time, suiting the 
action to the word, I filled him a brimming bumper. This was my 
invariable practice on first meeting a Boer. I found it a never-failing 
method of gaining his good-will, and he always replied that the Scotch 
were the best people in the world. 

It is a strange thing that Boers are rather partial to Scotchmen, 
although they detest the sight of an Englishman. They have an idea 
that the Scotch, like themselves, were a nation conquered by the English, 
and that, consequently, we trek in the same yoke as themselves ; and 
further, a number of their ministers are Scotchmen. Hendrick Strydom 
was a tall, sunburnt, wild-looking creature, with light, sandy bair, and 
a long, shaggy red beard. He was a keen hunter, and himself and 
household subsisted, in a great measure, by the proceeds of his long 
single-barrelled " roer." His frau was rather a nice little woman, with 
a fresh colour, and fine dark eyes and eyebrows ; and displayed her 
good taste by taking a fancy to me, but perhaps the tea and coffee 
which she found I bestowed with a liberal hand might account for her 
partiality. 

These were Boers of the poorer order, and possessed but little of this 
world's goods. Their abode was in keeping with their means. It was 
a small mud cottage, with a roof which afforded scanty protection from 



A FINE FAT BUCK. 43 



the heavy periodical rains. The fire burnt on the hearthstone, and a 
hole in the roof served at once for a window and chimney. The rafters 
and bare mud walls were adorned with a profusion of skins of wild 
animals, and endless festoons of "biltongue" or sun-dried flesh of game. 
Green fields or gardens there were none whatever ; the wild Karroo 
plain stretched away from the house on all sides ; and during the night 
the springboks and wildebeests pastured before the door. 

The servants consisted of one old Bushman and his wife, and the 
whole of their worldly possessions were an old waggon, a span of oxen, 
a few milk cows, and a small herd of goats and sheep. Strydom's 
revenue seemed principally to be obtained by manufacturing ashes, with 
which he was in the habit of loading up his waggon and trekking many 
days' journey into other districts, where he sold them to richer Boers. 

The manner of obtaining this ash is first to dig up the bushes and col- 
lect them on the plains. There they are left until sufficiently dry to 
burn, when, a calm day being selected, they are set on fire, and the 
ashes are collected and stowed away in large sacks made of the raw 
skins of wildebeests and zebras, when they are fit for immediate use. 
These ashes are in great demand amongst all the Boers, as being an in- 
dispensable ingredient in the manufacture of soap. Every Boer in 
South Africa makes his own soap. There is a low, succulent, green 
bush from which the ashes are obtained, which is only found in certain 
districts, and in these desolate plains it was very abundant. 

Strydom, having sympathised with me on my continued run of ill-luck, 
remarked that it was quite a common thing when "jaging" on the prin- 
ciple which I had followed. He said that he was aware that in hunting 
on that system an immense amount of ammunition was expended with 
little profit, and that he, being a poor man, very rarely indulged in it ; 
but that if I would accompany him after I had taken my coffee, there 
being still about two hours of daylight, he would show me his 
method, and he thought it very probable that we should get a buck 
that evening. Accordingly, having partaken of coffee, Strydom and I 
stalked forth together across the wild and desolate-looking plain, fol- 
lowed by two Hottentots, large herds of graceful springboks pasturing 
on every side. He placed me behind a small green bush, about eighteen 
inches in height, upon a wide open flat, instructing me to lie flat on my 
breast ; and having proceeded some hundred yards, and taken up a 
similar position, he sent the Hottentots round a herd of springboks 
which were feeding on the plain, to endeavour to move them gently 
towards us. It was a very beautifnl thing altogether, and succeeded 
well. The whole herd came on slowly, right towards where I lay, until 
within a hundred yards, when I selected a fine fat buck, which I rolled 
over with a ball in the shoulder. This was the first fair shot that I had 
obtained at a springbok on these plains. I have always been reckoned 
by those who know my shooting to be a very fair rifle-shot, whether 
standing or running, but I do not profess to make sure work much be- 
yond one hundred and ten paces, or thereabouts. 

Two days before this, I brought down a koran flying, with single ball. 
Our chances for this evening being now over, and night setting in, I re- 
turned to the farm with Strydom in high spirits. 



44 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTUEES. 

The springbok is so termed by the colonists on account of its peculiar 
habit of springing or taking extraordinary bounds, rising to an incredible 
height in the air when pursued. The extraordinary manner in which 
springboks are capable of springing is best seen when they are chased 
by a dog. On these occasions away start the herd, with a succession of 
strange perpendicular bounds, rising with curved loins high into the air, 
and at the same time elevating the snowy folds of long white hair on 
their haunches and along their back, which imparts to them a peculiar 
fairy-like appearance, different from any other animal. They bound to 
the height of ten or twelve feet, with the elasticity of an India-rubber 
ball, clearing at each spring from twelve to fifteen feet of ground with- 
out apparently the slightest exertion. In performing the spring, they 
appear for an instant as if suspended in the air, when down come all 
four feet again together, and, striking the plain, away they soar again 
as if about to take flight. The herd only adopt this motion for a few 
hundred yards, when they subside into a light elastic trot, arching their 
graceful necks and lowering their noses to the ground, as if in sportive 
mood. Presently pulling up, they face about, and reconnoitre the ob- 
ject of their alarm. In crossing any path or waggon-road on which men 
have lately trod, the springbok invariably clears it by a single surpris- 
ing bound ; and when a herd of perhaps many thousands have to cross 
a track of the sort, it is extremely beautiful to see how each antelope 
performs this feat, so suspicious are they of the ground on which their 
enemy, man, has trodden. They bound in a similar manner when pas- 
sing to leeward of a lion, or any other animal of which they entertain 
an instinctive dread. 

The accumulated masses of living creatures which the springboks ex- 
hibit on the greater migrations is utterly astounding, and any traveller 
witnessing it as I have, and giving a true description of what he has 
seen, can hardly expect to be believed, so marvellous is the scene. 

They have been well and truly compared to the wasting swarms of 
locusts, so familiar to the traveller in this land of wonders. Like them 
they consume every green thing in their course, laying waste vast dis- 
tricts in a few hours, and ruining in a single night the fruits of the far- 
mer's toil. The course adopted by the antelopes is generally such as 
to bring them back to their own country by a route different from that 
by which they set out. Thus their line of march sometimes forms some- 
thing like a vast oval, or an extensive square, of which the diameter 
may be some hundred miles, and the time occupied in this migration 
may vary from six months to a year. 



CHAPTER IV. 



A Bustard shot — Flight of Locusts — Quagga Shooting in the Dark — Curious Mis- 
take — Ostriches — A Sportsman napping — Leave Strydom's Residence in quest of 
Wildebeests — Wildebeest Shooting — Meeting with a Brother Officer — Proceed 
to Colesberg — Additions to Equipments. 

At an early hour on the morning of the 6th, while I was yet in bed, 
Hendrick Strydom and his frau were standing over my fire, alongside 



OSTEICHES. 45 



of my waggon, with a welcome supply of sweet milk, and hurrying on 
the indolent Hottentots to prepare my breakfast, and rouse their sloth- 
ful master — the earliest dawn being, as he affirmed, the best time to go 
after the springboks. On hearing their voices I rose, and having break- 
fasted, we shouldered our "roers," walked about a mile across the plain, 
and took up positions behind two very low bushes, about three hun- 
dred yards apart, and instructed our Hottentots to endeavour to drive 
the springboks towards us. We had two beats, but were unlucky both 
times, each of us wounding and losing a springbok. 

In the evening we went out again to hunt on the same principle, on 
a very wide flat to the west of his house, where we lay down behind 
very low bushes, in the middle of the bucks. We lay there on our 
breasts for two hours, with herds of springboks moving all round us, 
our Hottentots manoeuvring in the distance. One small troop came 
within shot of me, when I sent my bullet spinning through a graceful 
doe, which bounded forward a hundred yards, and, staggering for a 
moment, fell over and expired. A little after this, I suddenly perceived 
a large paow or bustard walking on the plain before me. These birds 
are very wary and difficult to approach. I therefore resolved to have a 
shot at him, and lay like a piece of rock until he came within range, 
when I sent a bullet through him. He managed, however, to fly about 
a quarter of a mile, when he alighted ; and on going up to the place 
half an hour after, I found him lying dead, with his head stuck into a 
bush of heath. 

Strydom had two family shots, and brought down with each a well- 
conditioned buck. In high good humour with our success, we now pro- 
ceeded to gralloch or disembowel the quarry ; after which, each of us 
shouldering a buck, we returned home in heavy marching order. On 
the following day I had the pleasure of beholding the first flight of 
locusts that I had seen since my arrival in the colony. We were stand- 
ing in the middle of a plain of unlimited length, and about five miles 
across, when I observed them advancing. On they came like a snow- 
storm, flying slow and steady, about a hundred yards from the. ground. 
I stood looking at them until the air was darkened with their masses, 
while the plain on which we stood became densely covered with them. 
Far as my eye could reach — east, west, north, and south — they stretched 
in one unbroken cloud ; and more than an hour elapsed before their 
devastating legions had swept by. I was particularly struck with this 
most wonderful and truly interesting sight ; and I remember at the time 
my feeling was one of self-gratulation at having visited a country where 
I could witness such a scene. On this day and on the morrow Strydom 
and I continued to wage successful war against the springboks. We 
crossed the small stream called the Thebus Eiver, and hunted on the 
plains to the east. On one occasion Hendrick brought down two fat 
bucks at one shot, which he assured me was not an uncommon event 
with him. 

On the morning of the 9th, Strydom and I having resolved over night 
to go in quest of a troop of ostriches which his Hottentot reported 
frequenting the plains immediately adjacent to the Thebus Mountain, 

3 



46 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



we started our Hottentots two hours before the dawn of day ; and after 
an early breakfast we saddled up, and rode direct for the Thebus 
Mountain. This remarkable mountain, which I shall ever remember as 
the leading feature on the plains where I first really commenced my 
African hunting, is of peculiar shape, resembling a cone depressed at 
the apex, and surmounted by a round tower. It is also remarkable as 
being considerably higher than the surrounding mountains, with which 
the plains are bounded and intersected. As we rode along a balmy 
freshness prevaded the morning air. We passed through herds of 
thousands of springboks, with small herds of wildebeest scattered 
amongst them. I fired two or three very long shots without success. 
Strydom, however, was more fortunate. He fired into a herd of about 
a hundred bucks at three hundred yards, and hit one fine old buck right 
in the middle of the forehead, the ball passing clean through his skull. 
We hid him in a hole in the ground, and covered him with bushes, and 
then rode on to our Hottentots, whom we found waiting beside a small 
fountain in a pass formed by a wide gap in a low range of hills situated 
between two extensive plains which were thickly covered with game. 
I took up my position in a bush of rushes in the middle of the pass, and 
remained there for upwards of eight hours, during which our boys were 
supposed to be endeavouring to drive the game towards us. 

The Boer took up the best pass about a quarter of a mile to my right. 
Before we had been an hour at our passes, the boys drove up four 
beautiful ostriches, which came and stood within fifty yards of Strydom, 
but, alas ! he was asleep. About this time I was busy trying to remem- 
ber and practise a childish amusement which once delighted me as 
much as rifle-shooting — namely, making a cap of rushes — when, on 
suddenly lifting up my eyes, I saw standing within eighty yards of me 
about a dozen beautiful springboks, which were coming up to the pass 
behind me. I snatched up my rifle, and, lying flat on my breast, I sent 
a bullet through the best buck in the troop, smashing his shoulder. He 
ran about fifty yards, and fell dead. I unfortunately left him lying 
exposed in the pass, the consequence of which was that three other 
troops of springboks, which were coming up as he had come, were 
turned to the right-about by his carcase. 

It was amusing to see the birds and beasts of prey assembling to dis- 
pute the carcase with me. First came the common black and white 
carrion-crow, then the vultures ; the jackals knew the cry of the vul- 
tures, and they too came sneaking from their hiding-places in the rocks 
and holes of the ant-bear in the plains, to share in the feast, whilst I was 
obliged to remain a quiet spectator, not daring to move, as the game 
was now in herds on every side of me, and I expected to see ostriches 
every moment. Presently a herd of wildebeest came thundering down 
upon me, and passed within shot. I put a bullet into one of these, too 
far behind the shoulder, which, as is always the case with deer and 
antelopes, did not seem to affect him in the slightest degree. In the 
afternoon we altered our positions, and sent the boys to drive the plain 
beside which I had been sitting all day. The quantity of bucks which 
were now before our eyes beat all computation. The plain extended, 



GREAT DESTRUCTION OF GAME. 47 

without a break, until the eye could not discern any object smaller than 
a castle. Throughout the whole of this extent were herds of thousands 
and tens of thousands of springboks, interspersed with troops of wilde- 
beest. The boys sent us one herd of about three hundred springboks, 
into which Strydom let fly at about three hundred yards, and turned 
them and all the rest. 

It was now late in the day, so we made for home, taking up the buck 
which Strydom had shot in the morning. As we cantered along the 
flats, Strydom, tempted by a herd of springboks, which were drawn up 
together in a compact body, jumped off his horse, and, giving his ivory 
sight an elevation of several feet, let drive at them, the distance being 
about five hundred yards. As the troop bounded away, we could dis- 
tinguish a light-coloured object lying in the short heath, which he pro- 
nounced to be a springbok, and on going up we found one fine old doe 
lying dead, shot through the spine. This day, and every day since I 
arrived at these flats, I was astonished at the number of skeletons and 
well-bleached skulls with which the plains were covered. Thousands of 
skulls of springbok and wildebeest were strewed around wherever the 
hunter turned his eye. 

The sun was extremely powerful all day, but, being intent on the 
sport, I did not feel it, until I found my legs burnt ; my dress as usual 
was the kilt, with a grey stalking cap. On reaching home the following 
day a large party of natives, belonging to the chief Moshesh, arrived on 
the farm. These poor men were travelling in quest of employment. 
Numbers of natives annually visit the colony, and work for the Boers, 
making stone enclosures for their cattle, and large dams or embank- 
ments across little streams in the mouths of valley, for the purpose of 
collecting water in the rainy season, for the supply of their flocks and 
herds during the protracted droughts of summer. They are paid for 
their labour with young cows or she-goats. The recent rains having 
washed away the embankment of a dam situated in a distant range of 
hills, on the borders of the farm, Strydom engaged these men to repair 
it. The vicinity of the dam being a favourite haunt for quaggas, and 
it being necessary that Strydom should go there on the morrow, we 
resolved to hunt in the neighbouring district, in which were situated 
some high and rugged hills. 

Accordingly next day we sallied forth, and I ascended to one of their 
highest pinnacles, where I managed to shoot a rhode-raebok. Joining 
Strydom shortly afterwards, we hunted over another range of the same 
hills, where we fell in with three quaggas and other game. Night was 
now fast setting in, so we descended from the hills, and made for home. 
Cantering along, we observed what we took to be a herd of quaggas and 
a bull wildebeest standing in front of us, upon which we jumped off" our 
horses, and, bending our bodies, approached them to fire. 

It was now quite dark, and it was hard to tell what sort of game we 
were going to fire at. Strydom, however, whispered to me that they 
were quaggas, and they certainly appeared to be such. His gun snapped 
three times at the wildebeest, upon which they all set off" at a gallop. 
Strydom, who was riding my stallion, let go his bridle when he ran in to 



48 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

fire, taking advantage of which the horse set off at a gallop after them. 
I then mounted "The Cow," and after riding hard for about a mile I came 
up to them. They were now standing still, and the stallion was in the 
middle of them. I could make him out by his saddle; so, jumping off my 
horse in a state of intense excitement, I ran forward and fired both 
barrels of my two-groved rifle into the quaggas, and heard the bullets 
tell loudly. They then started off, but the stallion was soon once more 
fighting in the middle of them. I was astonished and delighted to re- 
mark how my horse was able to take up their attention, so that they 
appeared heedless of the reports of my rifle. 

In haste I commenced loading, but to my dismay I found that I had 
left my loading-rod with Hendrick. Mounting " The Cow," I rode 
nearer to the quaggas, and was delighted to find that they allowed my 
horse to come within easy shot. It was now very dark, but I set off in 
the hope to fall in with Hendrick on the wide plain, and galloped along 
shouting with all my might, but in vain. I then rode across the plain 
for the hill to try to find some bush large enough to make a ramrod. In 
this, by the greatest chance, I succeeded, and, being provided with a 
knife, I cut a good ramrod, loaded my rifle, and rode off to seek the 
quaggas once more. I soon fell in with them, and, coming within shot, 
fired at them right and left, and heard both bullets tell, upon which 
they galloped across the plain with the stallion still after them. One 
of them, however, was very hard hit, and soon dropped astern. The 
stallion remained to keep him company. 

About this time the moon shone forth faintly. I galloped on after 
the troop, and, presently coming up with them, rode on one side, and 
dismounting, and dropping on my knee, I sent a bullet through the 
shoulder of the last quagga ; he staggered forward, fell to the ground 
with a heavy crash, and expired. The rest of the troop charged wildly 
around him, snorting and prancing like the wild horses in Mazeppa, and 
then set off at full speed across the plain. I did not wait to bleed the 
quagga, but, mounting my horse, I galloped on after the troop, but 
could not, however, overtake them. I now returned and endeavoured 
to find the quagga which I had last shot, but owing to the darkness, and 
to my having no mark to guide me on the plain. I failed to find him. I 
then set off to try for the quagga which had dropped astern with the 
stallion ; having searched some time in vain, I dismounted and laid my 
head on the ground, when I made out two dark objects which turned 
out to be what I sought. On my approaching, the quagga tried to 
make off, when I sent a ball through his shoulder, which laid him low. 
On going up to him in the full expectation of inspecting for the first 
time one of these animals, what was my disappointment and vexation to 
find a fine brown gelding, with two white stars on his forehead ! The 
truth now flashed upon me ; Strydom and I had both been mistaken ; 
instead of quaggas, the waggon-team of a neighbouring Dutchman had 
afforded me my evening's shooting ! 

I caught my stallion and rode home, intending to pay for the horses 
which I had killed and wounded ; but on telling my story to Strydom, 
with which he seemed extremely amused, he told me not to say a word 



NEW GAME. 49 



about it, as the owners of the horses were very avaricious, and would 
make me pay treble their value, and that if I kept quiet it would be 
supposed they had been killed either by lions or wild Bushmen. Stry- 
dom and I continued hunting springboks till the 17th, during which 
time we enjoyed a constant run of good luck, and so fascinating was the 
sport that I felt as though I never could tire of it. 

It was, indeed, a country where a person who loved rifle-shooting 
ought to have been content. Every morning, on opening my eyes, the first 
thing which I saw, without raising my head from the pillow, was herds of 
hundreds of springboks grazing before me on the plains. On the 17th an 
old friend of Strydom's, a Boer from Magalisberg, outspanned on the 
farm. He had been to G-rahamstown with a load of ivory, and was re- 
turning home with supplies of tea, coffee, clothing, etc., sufficient for 
two year's consumption. He was accompanied by his wife and tw© tall 
gawky-looking daughters, and half a dozen noisy geese which were 
secured in a cage on the trap of the waggon. This Boer informed me 
that I could get all the rarer animals, which I wished to shoot, in his 
vicinity, namely, sable antelope, roan antelope, eland, waterbuck, koo- 
doo, pallah, elephant, black and white rhinoceros, hippopotamus, giraffe, 
buffalo, lion, etc. He told me he had shot elephants there with tusks 
weighing 100 lbs. each, and upwards of seven feet in length. He ad- 
vised me not to visit that country before the end of April, as my horses 
would assuredly die of a never-failing distemper which prevails in the 
interior, within a certain latitude, during the summer months. 

Being anxious now to devote my attention more particularly to black 
wildebeests, of which I had not yet secured a specimen, I resolved to 
take leave of my friend Hendrick Strydom, and proceed to the plains 
beyond the Thebus Mountain, where he informed me they abounded. 
Accordingly, about 9 P.M., having ihspanned by moonlight, I took leave 
of my friend, having presented him with a coffee-mill and some 
crockery, to which his f rau had taken a fancy, and also with a supply of 
coarse gunpowder, which is to a Boer a most acceptable gift. We held 
for the Thebus Mountain, steering across the the open plains and fol- 
lowing no track, with springboks and wildebeests whistling and bellow- 
ing on every side of us. About midnight we halted by a fountain near 
the pass where a few days before I had lain in ambush for eight hours, 
and, as it was probable that the oxen would wander during the night, 
we secured them on the yokes. Two of my oxen and both my horses 
were reported missing when we left the farm, and I had left Cobas to 
seek for them. 

In the afternoon of the next day my two servants joined me, bringing 
with them the lost oxen, but having failed to find the steeds. At night 
I took up a position in an old shooting-hole beside the vley, to watch 
for wildebeests. Several jackals, wildebeests, quaggas, and hyaenas 
came to drink during the night, out, not being able to see the sight of 
my rifle, I did not fire. Here I remained until the bright star of morn- 
ing had risen far above the horizon, and day was just beginning to 
dawn when, gently raising my head and looking round, I saw, on one 
side of me, four wildebeests, and on the other side ten. They were 



50 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



coming to drink ; slowly and suspiciously they approached the water, 
and, having convinced themselves that all was right, they trotted boldly 
up and commenced drinking. Selecting the finest bull, I fired, and sent 
a bullet through his shoulder, when, splashing through the water, he 
bounded madly forward, and, having run about a hundred yards, rolled 
over in the dewy grass. I did not show myself, other game being in 
sight, but lay still in the hole. In about an hour an old springbok fed 
up to within three hundred yards of me, and continued browsing there 
for a considerable time. As no more wildebeests seemed to be approach- 
ing, and as I was very hungry, I put up my sight and took a cool, calcu- 
lating aim at him, and sent the ball through the middle of his shoulder. 
I then left my hole, and, having inspected the wildebeest bull, which 
was a noble specimen, I walked up to my waggon and sent the boys to 
cut up the venison and preserve the head carefully. 

On the following morning I woke as day dawned, and held for my 
hole beside the vley, but had not gone two hundred yards round the 
hillock when I saw an old springbok feeding, which I stalked, and broke 
his fore-leg. He went off towards the waggon, when the boys slipped 
" Gauger " (one of my greyhounds), who at once ran into him and 
pulled him down. Having lain about an hour at the vley, two old 
wildebeests approached up wind, and, suspecting the ground, described 
a wide semicircle, like our red-deer, I wounded one of them, but he did 
not drop. I however managed to send a ball through the shoulder of 
the other, when he ran several hundred yards, whisking his long white 
tail as if all right, and suddenly rolled over in full career. His skin had 
a delicious smell of the grass and wild herbs on which these animals lie 
and feed. On proceeding to my waggon, I found all my men asleep. 
Having gralloched the wildebeest, we bore him bodily to the waggon on 
the "lechteruit," which is a bar of hard wood used in greasing the 
waggon- whc els, when I immediately set about curing the head, it being 
a very fine one. 

On the following morning Cobus returned, having found my two 
horses. While taking my breakfast I observed a gentleman approach- 
ing on horseback ; this was Mr. Paterson, an officer of the 91st, a 
detachment of which was then quartered at Colesberg. Lieutenant 
Borrow, a brother officer of mine, had intrusted me with the care of a 
rifle which he was sending to Mr. Paterson, and, as I had been a long 
time on the road, he had now come to look after it. He was a keen 
sportsman, and I had much pleasure in meeting so agreeable a person in 
the wilderness. Having joined me in my rough breakfast with a true 
hunter's appetite, we rode forth together to look for a wildebeest I had 
wounded in the morning, expecting to find him dead. On reaching the 
ground we found five small herds of wildebeests charging about the 
plain, and for a long time could not discover the wounded one ; at 
length I perceived an old bull with his head drooping, which I at once 
pronounced to be my friend. On observing him we dismounted and 
watched him for a short time. The others inclined to make of, but 
seemed unwilling to leave him. Being now convinced that this was the 
wildebeest we sought, we determined to give him chase, and try to ride 



LARGE VULTURES. 51 

into him ; but, just as we had come to this resolution, he fell violently 
to the ground, raising a cloud of dust. On riding up to him we found 
him dead. 

Paterson and I then made for the vley, and had not proceeded two 
hundred yards when, on looking back, I saw about thirty large vultures 
standing on the wildebeest, which in a very short space of time they 
would have devoured. On the morrow Paterson left me and rode back 
for Colesberg, having first extracted a promise that I would follow him 
within three days. I accordingly hunted until that time had expired, 
when I reluctantly inspanned and marched upon Colesberg. Three long 
marches brought us to the farm of a Boer named Penar, who had been 
recommended to me as having a good stamp of horses, and as being 
reasonable in his prices. I was however disappointed with his stud, 
and, finding him exorbitant in his prices, no business was transacted. 
The country continued much the same ; wide Karroo plains, bounded 
by abrupt rocky mountains. One more long march brought us within 
five miles of Colesberg, where I halted for the night. 

On the 27th, having taken an early breakfast, we trekked into Coles- 
berg, where, having chosen a position for my camp, I outspanned and 
took up my quarters with Paterson. The village of Colesberg is so 
called from a conspicuous, lofty table-mountain in its immediate vicinity, 
which takes its name from a former governor of the colony. The town 
is situated in a confined hollow, surrounded on all sides by low rocky 
hills. The formation of these rocks is igneous, and the way in which 
they are distributed is very remarkable. Large and shapeless masses 
are heaped together and piled one above another, as if by the hand of 
some mighty giant of the olden times. The town is well supplied with 
water from a strong fountain which bursts from the base of one of these 
rocky hillocks above the level of the town, and by which the small gar- 
dens adjoining the houses are irrigated. Abundance of water is the 
only advantage that the situation can boast of. 

In the town are several large stores, from which the Boers of the 
surrounding districts can obtain every necessary article in their domes- 
tic economy. Numbers of these farmers attend the market weekly with 
their waggons, bringing in the produce of their farms and gardens ; and, 
on sacramental occasions, which happen four times every year, the town 
is inundated with Boers, who bring in their families in horse-waggons. 
Owing to the unsettled state of the country, troops were then stationed 
at Colesberg. The garrison consisted of about two hundred men of the 
91st, under command of my cousin Colonel Campbell, and one company 
of the Cape mounted Rifles, commanded by Captain Donovan. Coles- 
berg was in those days a pleasant quarter, as there was not much pipe- 
clay, and very good shooting could be obtained within a few hours of 
cantonment. 

In the forenoon we had some some rifle practice at a large granite 
stone above the town, which the privates of the 91st were wont to 
pepper on ball-practice days. On this occasion I saw some very good 
shooting by Campbell, Yarborough, Bailey, and Paterson, all officers of 
the 91st, and about the four best shots on the frontier. These four 



52 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

Nimrods had a short time previously boldly challenged any four Dutch- 
men of the Graaf Reinet or Colesberg districts to shoot against them. 
The challenge was accepted by four Dutchmen, who of course got 
"jolly well licked." 

After spending a few days very pleasantly with the garrison, I 
resolved to hunt on and about the frontiers until the end of March, at 
which time the horse distemper begins to subside, when I proposed 
starting on an elephant-hunting expedition into the more remote dis- 
tricts of the far interior. In Colesberg I purchased, by the kind 
recommendation of Captain Donovan, a second waggon of the cap-tent 
kind, which turned out to be an unusually good one. Its price was 
£50. I also purchased an excellent span of black and white oxen from 
a Dutch blacksmith in the town. From Donovan I bought a dark- 
brown horse, which I named Colesberg. His price was 300 dollars, and 
he was well worth double that sum, for a better steed I never crossed. 
I purchased from a Boer in the town another horse, well known to the 
garrison by the sobriquet of the " Immense Brute." He was once the 
property of Captain Christie of the 91st ; when on one occasion having 
wandered, an advertisement appeared in one of the frontier papers 
relative to an " immense brute " in the shape of a tall bay horse, the 
property of Captain Christie, etc., etc., and ever since he had been dis- 
tinguished by this elegant appellation. I exchanged my brown stallion 
with Colonel Campbell for au active grey, which I considered better 
adapted to my work. Glass was at this time at a premium in Colesberg, 
every window in the town having been smashed by a recent hailstorm. 
I loaded up my new waggon with barley, oats, and forage for my horses, 
they having very hard work before them — hunting the oryx, upon 
which I was more immediately bent, being more trying to horses than 
any other sport in South Africa. 

My intention was to revisit Colesberg in four or five months, and 
refit, preparatory to starting for the far interior. I left the skulls and 
specimens of natural history which I had already collected in the charge 
of my friend Mr. Dickson, a merchant in Colesberg. During my stay 
iu Colesberg my men were in a constant state of beastly intoxication, 
and gave me much trouble, and my oxen and horses were constantly 
reported in the " skit-kraal " or pound. I engaged one more Hottentot, 
named John Stofolus, as driver to the new waggon. He was an active 
stout little man, and very neat-handed at stuffing the heads of game, 
preserving specimens, or any other little job which I might give him to 
do. He was, however, extremely fond of fighting with his comrades, 
and was ever boasting of his own prowess ; but when his courage was 
put to the proof in assisting me to hunt the more dangerous animals, he 
was found woefully deficient. 



CHAPTER V. 



Departure from Colesberg — Jaging Sprinkbok — Vast Herds of Game — Swarms of 
Flies — Oology — A Nomad Boer's Encampment — Anecdote of the Gemsbok — 
Cobus rides down a splendid old Bull Gemsbok — A Night in the Desert — 
Patersoil arrives — Bushmen — Their extraordinary Raids across the Desert. 



THE VULTURES AGAIN. 53 

On the evening of the 2nd of December with considerable difficulty I 
collected my drunken servants, my oxen and horses, and taking leave 
of my kind entertainers, I trekked out of Colesberg, steering west for 
the vast Karroo plains, where the gemsbok were said to be still abun- 
dant. It was agreed that Campbell should follow me on the second 
day to hunt springbok and black wildebeest, in a district through which 
I was to travel ; and Paterson had applied for a fortnight's leave, with 
the intention of joining me in the gemsbok country, and enjoying along 
with me, for a few days, the exciting sport of "jagging " that antelope. 
I did not proceed very far that evening, my men being intoxicated, and 
having several times very nearly capsized the waggons. I halted shortly 
after sundown, when, all the work with the oxen and horses falling 
upon me, and no fuel being at hand, I was obliged to content myself by 
dining on a handful of raw meal and a glass of gin and water. On the 
following day we performed two long marches, crossing the Sea-Cow 
River, and halted as it grew dark on a Boer's farm where the plains 
were covered with springbok. Here Campbell had instructed me to 
await his arrival, and next morning he was seen approaching the 
waggons, mounted on the " Immense Brute,'' and leading two others. 

Having breakfasted, we started on horseback to " jag " springbok and 
wildebeest, ordering the waggons to proceed to a vley about four miles 
to the west. We galloped about the plains, loading and firing for about 
six hours. The game was very wild. I wounded three springboks and 
one wildebeest, but lost them all. Campbell shot two springboks. The 
first was entirely eaten by the vultures (notwithstanding the bushes 
with which we had covered him), and skinned as neatly as if done by 
the hand of man. The second had its leg broken by the ball, and was 
making off, when a jackal suddenly appeared on the bare plain, and, 
giving him chase, after a good course ran into him. 

This is a very remarkable occurrence and not unfrequent. Often when a 
springbok is thus wounded, one or more jackals suddenly appear and assist 
the hunter in capturing his quarry. In the more distant hunting lands of 
the interior it sometimes happens that the lion assists the sportsman in a 
similar manner with the larger animals ; and though this may appear 
like a traveller's story, it is nevertheless true, and instances of the kind 
happened both to myself and to Mr. Oswell of the H.E.I.C.S., a dashing- 
sportsman, and one of the best hunters I ever met, who performed two 
hunting expeditions into the interior. Mr. Oswell and a companion 
were one day galloping along the shady banks of the Limpopo, in full 
pursuit of a wounded buffalo, when they were suddenly joined by three 
lions, who seemed determined to dispute the chase with them. The 
buffalo held stoutly on, followed by the three lions, Oswell and his com- 
panion bringing up the rear. Very soon the lions sprang upon the 
mighty bull and dragged him to the ground, when the most terrific 
scuffle ensued. Mr. Oswell and friend then approached and opened 
their fire upon the royal family, and, as each ball struck the lions, they 
seemed to consider it was a poke from the horns of the buffalo, and re- 
doubled their attentions to him. At length the sportsman succeeded in 



54 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

bowling over two of the lions, upon which the third, finding the ground 
too hot for him, made off. 

Next morning, having bathed and breakfasted, Campbell and I parted : 
he for Colesberg and I for the Karroo. I trekked on all day, and, 
having performed a march of twenty-five miles, halted at sundown on 
the farm of old Wessel, whom I found very drunk. My road lay 
through vast plains, intersected with ridges of stony hills. On these 
plains I found the game in herds exceeding anything I had yet seen — 
springbok in troops of at least ten thousand ; also large bodies of 
quaggas, wildebeest, blesbok, and several ostriches. I had hoped to 
have purchased some horses from Wessel, but he was too drunk to 
transact any business, informing me that he was a Boer, and could not 
endure the sight of Englishmen, at the same time shoving me out of the 
house, much to the horror of his wife and daughters, who seemed rather 
nice people. 

Two more days of hard marching, under a burning sun, brought me 
to the farm of Mynheer Stinkum, which I reached late on the evening 
of the 7th. He informed me that about fifteen miles to the west of his 
farm I should fall in with a Boer of the wandering tribe who would 
direct me to a remote vley in the Karroo, a good many miles beyond 
his encampment, to which he advised me at once to proceed and hunt in 
its vicinity. He represented that district as not having been recently 
disturbed by hunters, and doubted not but I should find gemsbok and 
other varieties of game abundant. 

It being now summer, flies prevailed in fearful swarms in the abodes 
of the Boers, attracted thither by the smell of meat and milk. On en- 
tering Stinkum's house, I found the walls of his large sitting-room actu- 
ally black with these disgusting insects. They are a cruel plague to the 
settlers in Southern Africa, and it often requires considerable ingenuity 
to eat one's dinner or drink a cup of coffee without consuming a num- 
ber of them. When food is served up, two or three Hottentots or 
Bush-girls are always in attendance with fans made of ostrich-feathers, 
which they keep continually waving over the food till the repast is 
finished. 

This morning I purchased a handsome chestnut pony from a Boer 
named Duprey, a field-cornet, from whom I obtained an egg of the bus- 
tard of the largest species for my collection, oology being a subject in 
which for many years of my life I had taken great interest, having in 
my possession one of the finest collections in Great Britain, amassed 
with much toil and danger. I have descended most of the loftiest pre- 
cipices in the central Highlands of Scotland, and along the sea-shore, 
with a rope round my waist, in quest of the eggs of the various eagles 
and falcons which have their eyries in those almost inaccessible situa- 
tions. Amongst Stinkum's stud was a handsome brown gelding, to 
which I took a great fancy ; and after consulting for some time with 
his wife, he made up his mind to part with him. The lowest price was 
to be £18. After a good deal of bargaining, however, I persuaded him 
to part with him for £12 in cash, 15 lbs. of coffee, and 20 lbs. of gun- 
powder. I christened this horse "Sunday," in honour of the day on 



A WANDERING BOER. 55 

which I obtained him. This bargain being concluded, I inspanned, and 
trekked to the wandering Boer, whom I reached about an hour after 
sundown. 

This man's name was Gous ; he lived in a small canvas tent pitched 
between his two waggons, round which his vast flocks of sheep assem- 
bled every evening, his cattle and horses running day and night in a 
neighbouring range of grassy hills : his wife was one of the best-looking 
women I met among the Boers; she informed me that she was of French 
extraction. On the following morning I breakfasted with Gous in his 
tent : he had lots of flesh, milk, and wild honey, which last article was 
reported abundant that season. He offered to sell to me a brown horse 
of good appearance ; his price was too high, but at a subsequent period 
we came to terms, and I bought him. After breakfast I inspanned, and 
having proceeded a few miles across a glowing plain, on which I counted 
fourteen tall ostriches stalking amid large herds of other game, I reached 
a periodical stream, where I outspanned, the sun being intensely power- 
ful. Here I found another Boer, named Sweirs, encamped with his 
flocks and herds, having been obliged to leave his farms, situated far in 
the depths of the Karroo, from want of water. Sweirs was an elderly 
man, but had been a keen sportsman, and entertained me with many 
interesting anecdotes relative to the habits of the game and of his hunt- 
ing adventures in his early days. He informed me that he remembered 
lions extremely abundant in those districts, and that a few were still to 
be met with. He related to me instances where he had seen the gems- 
bok beat off the lion, and he had also come upon the carcases of both 
rotting on the plain, the body of the lion being transfixed by the long 
sharp horns of the powerful gemsbok so that he could not extract them, 
and thus both had perished together : he also mentioned that, not- 
withstanding the agility of the springbok, he had often known the lion 
dash to the ground two, three, and four in quick succession in a troop. 

Four of my oxen being footsore and unable to proceed, I left them in 
charge of old Sweirs, and in the cool of the evening I inspanned, and, 
having proceeded about five miles through an extremely wild and deso- 
late-looking country, on clearing a neck in a range of low rocky hills I 
came full in view of the vley or pool of water beside which I had been 
directed to encamp. The breadth of this vley was about three hundred 
yards. One side of it was grassy and patronized by several flock& of 
Egyptian wild geese, a species of barnacle, wild ducks, egrets, and 
cranes. The other side was bare, and here the game drank, and the 
margin of the water was trampled by the feet of wild animals like an 
English horsepond. There being no trees beside which to form our 
camp, we drew up our waggons among some low bushes, about four 
hundred yards from the vley. When the sun went down I selected the 
three horses which were to carry myself and two after-riders in the 
chase of the unicorn on the following morning, and directed my boys to 
give them-a liberal supply of forage to eat during the night. 

The oryx, or gemsbok, to which I was now about to direct my atten- 
tion more particularly, is about the most beautiful and remarkable of all 
the antelope tribe. It is the animal which is supposed to have given 



56 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

rise to the fable of the unicorn, from its long straight horns, when seen, 
en profile, so exactly covering one another as to give it the appearance 
of having but one. It possesses the erect mane, long sweeping black 
tail, and general appearance of the horse, with the head and hoofs of an 
antelope. It is robust in its form, squarely and compactly built, and 
very noble in its bearing. Its height is about that of an ass, and in 
colour it slightly resembles that animal. The beautiful black bands 
which eccentrically adorn its head, giving it the appearance of wearing 
a stall-collar, together with the manner in which the rump and thighs 
are painted, impart to it a character peculiar to itself. The adult male 
measures 3 feet 10 inches in height at the shoulder. 

The gemsbok was destined by nature to adorn the parched karroos 
and arid deserts of South Africa, for which description of country it is 
admirably adapted. It thrives and attains high condition in barren re- 
gions, where it might be imagined that a locust would not find subsist- 
ence, and, burning as is the climate, it is perfectly independent of water, 
which, from my own observation, and the repeated reports both of the 
Boers and aborigines, I am convinced it never by any chance tastes. Its 
flesh is deservedly esteemed, and ranks next to the eland. At certain 
seasons of the year they carry a great quantity of fat, at which time 
they can more easily be ridden into. Owing to the even nature of the 
ground which the oryx frequents, its shy and suspicious disposition, and 
the extreme distances from water to which it must be followed, it is 
never stalked or driven to an ambush like other antelopes, but is hunted 
on horseback, and ridden down by a long, severe, tale-on-end chase. Of 
several animals in South Africa which are hunted in this manner, and 
may be ridden into by a horse, the oryx is by far the swiftest and most 
enduring. They are widely diffused throughout the centre and western 
parts of Southern Africa. 

On the 10th of December, everything having been made ready over- 
night, I took coffee, saddled up, and started an hour before day-dawn, 
accompanied by Cobus and Jacob as after-riders leading a spare horse 
with my packsaddle. We held a south-westerly course, and at length 
reached the base of a little hillock slightly elevated above the surround- 
ing scenery. Here I dismounted, and having ascended to the summit 
examined the country all around minutely with my spyglass, but could 
not see anything like the oryx. I was in the act of putting up my glass 
again, when to my intense delight I perceived, feeding within four hun- 
dred yards, in a hollow between two hillocks, a glorious herd of about 
five-and-twenty of the long-wish ed-f or gemsbok, with a fine old bull 
feeding at a little distance by himself, their long sharp horns glancing 
in the morning sun like the cheese-toasters of a troop of dragoons. 

I scarcely allowed myself a moment to feast my eyes on the thrilling 
sight before me, when I returned to my boys and with them concerted 
a plan to circumvent them. At this time I was very much in the dark 
as to the speed of the gemsbok, having been led by a friend to believe 
that a person even of my weight, if tolerably mounted, could invariably, 
after a long chase, ride right into them. This, however, is not the case. 
My friend was deceived in the opinion which he had formed. The fact 



THE OEYX, OR GEMSBOK. 57 

• 

of the matter was, that he had been hunting a long way to windward of 
a party who were hunting on the same plains with him, and several of 
the gemsboks which he had killed had previously been severely chased 
by the other party. In the whole course of my adventures with gems- 
bok I only remember four occasions, when mounted on the pick of my 
stud (which I nearly sacrificed in the attempt), that alone and unassisted 
I succeeded in riding the oryx to a stand-still. The plan which I 
adopted, and which is generally used by the Boers, was to mount my 
light Hottentots or Bushmen on horses of great endurance, and thus, as 
it were, convert them into greyhounds, with which I coursed the gems- 
bok as we do stags in Scotland with our rough deer-hounds. A " tail- 
on-end " chase is sometimes saved, in parts where the hunter, from a 
previous knowledge of the country, knows the course which the gems- 
bok will take ; when, having first discovered the herd, the after-rider is 
directed to remain quiet until the hunter shall have proceeded by a wide 
semicircular course some miles to windward of the herd, which being 
accomplished, the Hottentot gives the troop a tremendous burst towards 
his master, who, by riding hard for their line, generally manages to get 
within easy shot as the panting herd strains past him. 

We agreed that Jacob and I should. endeavour to ride by a circuitous 
course a long way to windward of the herd, and that Cobus should then 
gave chase and drive them towards us. The wind was westerly, but the 
district to which this herd seemed to belong unfortunately lay to the 
northward. Jacob and I rode steadily on, occasionally looking behind 
us, and, presently taking up a commanding position, strained our eyes 
in the direction of the gemsboks in the full expectation of seeing them 
flying towards us. After waiting a considerable time and nothing ap- 
pearing, I felt convinced that we were wrong, and in this conjecture I 
judged well. A slight inequality in the plain had concealed from our 
view the retreating herd, which had started in a northerly course. 
Cobus had long since dashed into the herd, and was at that moment 
flying across the plains after them, I knew not in what direction. After 
galloping athwart the boundless plains in a state bordering on distrac- 
tion, I gave it up, and accompanied by Jacob returned to the waggons 
in anything but a placid frame of mind. 

About two hours after, Cobus reached the waggon, having ridden the 
old bull to a stand-still. The old fellow had lain down repeatedly to- 
wards the end of the chase, and at length could proceed no farther, and 
Cobus, after waiting some time and seeing no signs of his master, had 
reluctantly left him. In the height of the day the sun was intensely 
powerful ; I felt much disgusted at my want of luck in my first attempt, 
and, burning with anxiety for another trial, I resolved to take the field 
again in the afternoon, more especially as we had not a pound of flesh in 
camp. Between three and four p.m. I again sallied forth with the same 
after-riders leading a spare horse. We cantered across plains to the 
north-east, and soon fell in with ostriches and quaggas, and after riding 
a few miles through rather bushy ground, a large herd of hartebeest 
cantered across our path, and these were presently joined by two or 
three herds of quaggas and wildebeests, which kept retreating as we ad- 



58 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

vanced, their course being marked by clouds of red dust : at length I per- 
ceived a herd of ash-coloured bucks stealing right away ahead of the 
other game ; I at once knew them to be gemsbok, and gave chase at a 
hard canter. 

I gradually gained upon them, and after riding hard for about two 
miles I ordered Cobus to go ahead and endeavour to close with them. 
At this moment we had reached the border of a slight depression on the 
plain, down which the herd led, affording me a perfect view of the excit- 
ing scene. The gemsbok now increased their pace, but Cobus's horse, 
which was a good one with a very light weight, gained upon them at 
every stride, and before they had reached the opposite side of the plain 
he was in the middle of the foaming herd, and had turned out a beauti- 
ful cow with a pair of uncommonly fine long horns. In one minute he 
dexterously turned her in my direction, and heading her, I obtained a 
fine chance, and rolled her over with two bullets in her shoulder. My 
thirst was intense, and, the gemsbok having a fine breast of milk, I 
milked her into my mouth, and obtained a drink of the sweetest bever- 
age I ever tasted. 

While I was thus engaged Cobus was shifting his saddle from the 
"Immense Brute" to the grey, which being accomplished I ordered him 
to renew the chase, and try to ride down the old bull for me. We 
fastened the "Immense Brute" to a bush beside the dead gemsbok, and 
then, mounting the horse which Jacob had been riding, I followed on as 
best I might. On gaining the first ridge I perceived the troop of oryx 
about two miles ahead of me ascending another ridge at the extremity 
of the plain, and Cobus riding hard for them about a mile astern, but 
rapidly gaining on them. Oryx and boy soon disappeared over the dis- 
tant ridge, the boy still far behind. 

The country here changed from grass and bushes to extreme 
sterility ; the whole ground was undermined with the holes of 
colonies of meercat or mouse-hunts. This burrowed ground, which is 
common throughout these parts, was extremely distressing to our horses, 
the soil giving way at every step, and my steed soon began to flag. On 
gaining the distant ridge a wide plain lay before me. I looked in every 
direction, straining my eyes to catch a glimpse of Cobus and the oryx, 
but they were nowhere to be seen : at length, after riding about two 
miles farther in the direction which he seemed to hold when I had last 
seen him, I detected his white shirt on a ridge a long way to my right, 
and on coming up to him I found that he had ridden the old bull to a 
stand-still : the old fellow was actually lying panting beside a green 
bush. I thought him one of the most lovely animals I had ever beheld, 
and I could have gazed for hours at him, but I was now many miles 
from my waggons without a chance of water and dying of thirst, so I 
speedily finished the poor oryx, and having carefully cut off the head I 
commenced skinning him. 

It was now late — too late to take home the cow oryx that night ; the 
bull was much too far from my camp to think of saving any part of the 
flesh. I therefore sent off Cobus to the waggons to fetch water and 
bread, desiring him to meet me at the spot where the cow gemsbok was 



HARDSHIPS OF THE HUNTER. 59 



lying, where I resolved to sleep, to protect her from hyaenas and jackals; 
but before Jacob and I had accomplished the skinning, and secured the 
skin and the head upon the horse, night had set in. My thirst was now 
fearful, and becoming more and more raging. I would have given any- 
thing I possessed for a bottle of water. In the hope of meeting Cobus, 
Jacob and I rode slowly forward, and endeavoured to find out the 
place ; but darkness coming on, and there being no feature in the desert 
to guide me, I lost my way entirely, and after wandering for several 
hours in the dark, and firing blank shots at intervals, we lay down in 
the open plain to sleep till morning, having tied our horses to a thorny 
bush beside where we lay. I felt very cold all night, but my thirst 
continued raging. My clothes consisted of a shirt and a pair of knee- 
breeches. My bed was the bull's hide laid over a thorny bush, which 
imparted to my tough mattress the elasticity of a feather bed. Having 
slept about two hours, I awoke and found that our horses had 
absconded, after which I slept little. Day dawned and I rose, and on 
looking about neither Jacob nor I had the most remote idea of the 
ground we were on, nor of the position of our camp. 

Within a few hundred yards of us was a small hill, which we ascended 
and looked about, but could not in the least recognise the ground. I 
however ascertained the points of the compass and the position of my 
camp by placing my left hand towards the rising sun. I was then 
returning to the spot where I had slept, when suddenly I perceived, 
standing within three hundred yards of me, the horse which I had 
fastened beside the cow oryx on the preceding evening, and on going 
up I found both all right. I immediately saddled the horse, and rode 
hard for camp, ordering Jacob to commence skinning the cow, and pro- 
mising to send him water and bread as soon as I reached the waggons. 

On my way thither I met Cobus on horseback, bearing bread and a 
bottle of water, wandering he knew not whither, having entirely lost his 
reckoning. My thirst had by this time departed, so I did not touch the 
water, but allowed him to take it on to Jacob. He informed me that 
John Stofolus was coming on with the baggage- waggon to take up the 
venison ; and before riding far I fell in with him, having, with a Hot- 
tentot's usual good sense, come away without water in the casks. 
Having shown him how to steer, I rode on to the camp, which I was 
right glad to reach, and felt much refreshed with a good bowl of tea. 
I was actively employed during the rest of the day in preserving the 
two oryx-heads for my collection. In the evening a horseman on a 
jaded steed was seen approaching the waggons, accompanied by an after- 
rider leading a spare horse. This was my friend Paterson, who had 
succeeded in obtaining a fortnight's leave of absence, and with whom 
that evening, over a gemsbok stew, I "fought my battles o'er again." 
Our respective studs being considerably done up, and in need of rest, 
the following day was devoted to "dulce otium," washing our rifles, and 
writing up the log. 

On the 14th we went out on foot after a troop of ostriches, one of 
which we wounded, and came home much exhausted. The very ground 
was as hot as the side of a stove. The following day we were visited 



60 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

by a party of Boers from the neighbouring encampments, who had come 
to see how we were getting on. Finding our brandy good, they made 
themselves very agreeable, and sat for many hours conversing with us. 
The leading subject of conversation was gemsbok and lion shooting, 
and the slaying and capturing of whole tribes of marauding Bushmen 
in bygone days. They informed us that when they first occupied these 
districts the game was far more abundant, and eland and koodoos were 
plentiful. Their herds of cattle were constantly attacked and plundered 
by the vindictive wild Bushmen. Unlike the Caffre tribes, who lift 
cattle for the purpose of preserving them and breeding from them, the 
sole object of the Bushmen is to drive them to their secluded habitations 
in the desert, where they massacre them indiscriminately, and continue 
feasting and gorging themselves until the flesh becomes putrid. When 
a Kaffir has lifted cattle, and finds himself so hotly pursued by the 
owners that he cannot escape with his booty, he betakes himself to 
flight, and leaves the cattle unscathed ; but the spiteful Bushmen have 
a most provoking and cruel system of horribly mutilating the poor 
cattle, when they find that they are likely to fall into the hands of their 
rightful owners, by discharging their poisoned arrows at them, ham- 
stringing them, and cutting lumps of flesh off their living carcases. 
This naturally so incenses the owners, that they never show the Bush- 
men any quarter, but shoot them down right and left, sparing only the 
children, whom they tame and convert into servants. The people who 
suffer from these depredations are Boers, Griquas, and Bechuanas, all of 
whom are possessed of large herds of cattle, and the massacres of the 
Bushmen, arising from these raids are endless. 

The Boers informed us that in a country to the south-west of our 
actual possession, a tribe of these natives for many years were in the 
habit of practising raids with impunity upon the herds of the farmers 
in the Raw-feldt, assisted by a vast and impracticable desert which 
intervened between their country and the more fertile pastoral districts. 
They seemed to prefer extremely dry seasons for these incursions, their 
object in this being that their pursuers, who of course followed on horse- 
back while they were always on foot, should not obtain water for the 
horses. Their own wants in this respect they provided for in the 
following curious manner. They had regular stages at long intervals in 
a direct line across the desert, where, assisted by their wives, they con- 
cealed water in ostrich-eggs, which they brought from amazing distances, 
and these spots, being marked by some slight inequality in the ground, 
they could discover either by day or night from their perfect knowledge 
of the country. They were thus enabled fearlessly to drive off a herd 
of cattle, whose sufferings from thirst gave them little concern, and to 
travel day and night, while their mounted pursuers, requiring light to 
hold the spoor, could necessarily only follow by day, and were soon 
obliged to give up the pursuit on account of their horses being withuot 
water. 



CHASE OF AN ORYX. 61 



CHAPTER VI. 

Hard Chase of an Oryx — A Brindled Gnoo reduces himself to a "dead lock," and is 
taken — Paterson slays a Gemsbok and a Bull Wildebeest — He leaves for Coles- 
berg — Ostrich-eggs — Novel method of carrying them — Anecdotes of the Ostrich 
— Affray with a Porcupine — He proves a rough Eider for my Horse — Narrow 
Escape from the Thrust of a dying Oryx — The grateful Water-root — Troops of 
Springboks cover the face of the land — Their Migrations — The finest shot at 
my leisure — Beer Vley. 

At an early hour on the morning of the 1 6th Paterson and I again took 
the field, accompanied by our three after-riders, and, having ridden 
several miles in a northerly direction, we started an oryx, to which 
Paterson and his after-rider gave immediate chase. I then rode in an 
easterly direction, and shortly fell in with a fine old cow oryx, which we 
instantly charged. She stole away at a killing pace, her black tail 
streaming in the wind, and her long, sharp horns laid well back over her 
shoulders. Aware of her danger, and anxious to gain the desert, she 
put forth her utmost speed and strained across the bushy plain. She 
led us a tearing chase of upwards of five miles in a northerly course, 
Cobus sticking well into her, and I falling far behind. After a sharp 
burst of about three miles, Cobus and the grey disappeared over a ridge 
about half a mile ahead of me. I here mounted a fresh horse, which had 
been led by Jacob, and followed. On gaining the ridge, I perceived the 
grey disappearing over another ridge, a fearfully long way ahead. When 
I reached this point I commanded an extremely extensive prospect, but 
no living object was visible on the desolate plain. 

Whilst deliberating in which direction to ride, I suddenly heard a 
pistol-shot, some distance to my left, which I knew to be Cobus's signal 
that the oryx was at bay. Having ridden half a mile, I discovered 
Cobus dismounted in a hollow, and no oryx in view. He had succeeded 
in riding the quarry to a stand, and, I not immediately appearing, he 
very injudiciously had at once lost sight of the buck and left it. Having 
upbraided Cobus in no measured terms for his stupidity, I sought to re- 
trieve the fortunes of the day by riding in the direction in which he 
had left the oryx. The ground here was uneven and interspersed with 
low hillocks. We extended our front and rode on up wind, and, having 
crossed two or three ridges, I discovered a troop of bucks a long way 
ahead. Having made for these, they turned out to be hartebeests. 

At this moment I perceived three magnificent oryx a short distance 
to my left. On observing us, they cantered along the ridge towards a 
fourth oryx, which I at once perceived to be " embossed with foam and 
dark with soil," and knew to be the antelope sought for. Once more 
we charged her. Our horses had now considerably recovered their wind, 
but the poor oryx was much distressed ; and after a chase of half a mile 
I jumped off my horse and sent a bullet through her ribs, which brought 
her to a stand, when I finished her with the other barrel. She proved 
a fine old cow with very handsome horns ; the spot on which she fell 
being so sterile that we could not even obtain the smallest bushes with 
which to conceal her from the vultures, we covered her with my after- 



62 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

rider's saddlecloth, which consisted of a large blanket : the head, on 
which I placed great value, we cut off and bore along with us. 

On my way home I came across Paterson's after-rider, " jagging " a 
troop of seven gemsbok, but fearfully to leeward, his illustrious master 
being nowhere in sight. An hour after I reached the camp Paterson 
came in, in a towering rage, having been unlucky in both his chases. I 
now despatched one of my waggons to bring home my oryx. It re- 
turned about twelve o'clock that night, carrying the skin of my gems- 
bok and also a magnificent old blue wildebeest (the brindled gnoo), 
which the Hottentots had obtained in an extraordinary manner. He 
was found with one of his fore legs caught over his horn, so that he 
could not run, and they hamstrung him and cut his throat. He had 
probably managed to get himself into this awkward attitude while fight- 
ing with some of his fellows. The vultures had consumed all the flesh 
of the gemsbok, and likewise torn my blanket with which I had covered 
her. 

On the following day, all our steeds being very much done up, Pater- 
son and I visited the neighbouring Boers to endeavour to buy and hire 
some horses. I bought one clipper of Mynheer Gous for £25, and 
called him " Grouse," and Paterson succeeded in hiring one, and with 
these, on the following day, we continued our campaign against the 
gemsboks. Paterson's after-rider not being well up to his work, I lent 
him Cobus, and on this occasion his perseverance was rewarded by a 
noble gemsbok which he rode down and slew, and also a fine bull blue 
wildebeest, which last animal is rather rare in these parts. We had one 
more day together, after which, much to my regret, Paterson was 
obliged to take leave of me, and start for Colesberg, his leave of absence 
having expired. One of his horses being footsore, I purchased him, in 
the hope of his soon recovering, which after a few days' rest he did : I 
call him "Paterson," after his old master. My stud now consisted of 
eight horses, but three of them were missing, and I despatched Jacob in 
quest of them, who returned on the third day bringing them with him, 
having followed the spoor upwards of fifty miles. 

In the evening two of the Hottentots walked in to camp, bending 
under a burden of ostrich-eggs, having discovered a nest containing five- 
and-thirty. Their manner of carrying them amused me. Having 
divested themselves of their leather "crackers," which in colonial phrase 
means trousers, they had secured the ankles with rheimpys, and, having 
thus converted them into bags, they had crammed them with as many 
ostrich-eggs as they would contain. They left about half of the number 
behind concealed in the sand, for which they returned on the following 
morning. While encamped at this vley we fell in with several nests of 
ostriches, and here I first ascertained a singular propensity peculiar to 
these birds. If a person discovers the nest, and does not at once remove 
the eggs, on returning he will most probably find them all smashed. 
This the old birds almost invariably do, even when the intruder has not 
handled the eggs or so much as ridden within five yards of them. 

The nest is merely a hollow scooped in the sandy soil, generally 
amongst heath or other low bushes ; its diameter is about seven feet ; it 
is believed that two hens often lay in one nest. The hatching of the 



HUNTING THE OSTRICH. 63 

eggs is not left, as is generally believed, to the heat of the sun, but, on 
the contrary, the cock relieves the hen in the incubation. These eggs 
form a considerable item in the Bushman's cuisine, and the shells are con- 
verted into water-flasks, cups, and dishes. I have often seen Bush-girls 
and Bakalahari women, who belong to the wandering Bechuana tribes of 
the Kalahari desert, come down to the fountains from their remote . 
habitations, sometimes situated at an amazing distance, each carrying on 
her back a kaross or a network containing from twelve to fifteen ostrich- 
egg shells, which had been emptied by a small aperture at one end: these 
they fill with water and cork up the hole with grass. 

A favourite method adopted by the wild Bushman for approaching 
the ostrich and other varieties of game is to clothe himself in the skin 
of one of these birds, in which, taking care of the wind, he stalks about 
the plain, cunningly imitating the gait and motions of the ostrich until 
within range, when, with a well-directed poisoned arrow from his tiny 
bow, he can generally seal the fate of any of the ordinary varieties of 
game. These insignificant-looking arrows are about two feet six inches 
in length ; they consist of a slender reed, with a sharp bone head, 
thoroughly poisoned with a composition, of which the principal ingredi- 
ents are obtained sometimes from a succulent herb, having thick leaves, 
yielding a poisonous milky juice, and sometimes from the jaws of 
snakes. The bow barely exceeds three feet in length ; its string is 
of twisted sinews. When a Bushman finds an ostrich's nest he ensconces 
himself in it and there awaits the return of the old birds, by which 
means he generally secures the pair. It is by means of these little 
arrows that the majority of the fine plumes are obtained which grace 
the heads of the fair throughout the civilized world. 

It was now the height of summer, and every day the heat of the 
sun was terrific, but there was generally a breeze of wind, and the 
nights were cool. Our vley was daily decreasing, and I saw that, unless 
we were visited by rains, it would soon be no more. On the morning 
of the 22nd I had rather an absurd adventure with a porcupine, which 
cost me my packsaddle, the only thing of the sort I had in camp. Long 
before daybreak I saddled up and rode north with my two after-riders 
and a spare horse with the packsaddle. As day dawned I came upon a 
handsome old porcupine, taking his morning airing. At first sight he 
reminded me of a badger. Unwilling to discharge my rifle, as it was 
probable that we were in the vicinity of oryx, I resolved to attempt his 
destruction with the thick end of my jambok, the porcupine, like the 
seal, being easily killed with a blow on the nose. I jumped off my 
horse, and after a short race, in which I frequently turned him, when 
he invariably doubled back between my legs, giving me the full benefit 
of his bristling quills. I succeeded in killing him with the jambok, but 
not till I had received several wounds in my hands. My boys the 
while sat grinning in their saddles, enjoying the activity of their 
"baas." 

Having covered him with bushes, we rode on, and shortly came upon 
an immense, compact herd of several thousand " trekking" springboks, 
which were exceedingly tame, and in the middle of them stood two 
oryx.^ These we managed for the first time to drive in a southerly 



64 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



direction, being that in which the camp lay; and after a sharp and 
rather circular burst, I headed the finer, and bowled her over. She 
proved to be a young cow, about three years old. Having disem- 
boweled her, and prepared her for the packsaddle with a couteau-de-chasse, 
by splitting the brisket, passing the knife along the gristly bones on 
one side of it, and breaking the back by a dexterous touch of the knife, 
where certain ribs well known to the hunter join the vertebrae, whereby 
the animal can more easily be balanced on the packsaddle, we succeeded 
with great difficulty in placing her on " Sunday," and rode slowly for 
the place where we had left the porcupine. 

We placed him on the oryx, and secured him with a rheim, but we 
had not proceeded far when some of the quills pricked the steed, upon 
which he commenced bucking and prancing in the most frantic manner, 
which of course made matters ten times worse, causing the porcupine to 
beat the devil's tattoo on his back. The gemsbok's head, also, which, 
being a poor one, I had not cut off, unfortunately got adrift, and kept 
dangling about his haunches, the sharp horns striking his belly at every 
spring. He broke loose from Jacob, who led him, and set off across the 
country at a terrific pace, eventually smashing the packsaddle, but still 
failing to disengage himself from the gemsbok, whose hind and fore feet, 
being fastened together, slipped round under his belly, impeding his 
motions, and in this condition he was eventually secured, being consider- 
ably lacerated about the haunches by the horns of the oryx. 

Next day Cobus and I fell in with the finest bull oryx I had yet met, 
which, after a severe chase, we rode into and slew. For some evenings 
previous a large bright comet had appeared in the south-west, having a 
tearing, fiery tale, which strange meteor, to the best of my recollection, 
shone brightly in the clear firmanent for five or six weeks. We lived 
well, but lonelily. My camp abounded with every delicacy — tongues, 
brains, marrow-bones, kidneys, rich soup, with the most delicious veni- 
son in the world, etc., etc., and a constant supply of ostrich-eggs. The 
25th was cool and cloudy, being the first day that the sky had been 
overcast since I had left the Thebus Flats. 

In the afternoon I resolved to ride far into the oryx country, sleep 
under a bush, and hunt them on the following morning. I accordingly 
left my waggons about three P.M., with my two after-riders and a spare 
horse, and rode about fifteen miles in a northerly course, when we 
secured our horses to a bush, to leeward of which we slept. On my 
way thither I dismounted on an arid plain to breathe our steeds and dig 
up some bulbs of the water-root for immediate consumption, my thirst 
being very severe. While cantering along we passed several troops of 
hartebeests and ostriches, and late in the day I observed a small troop 
of oryx. With regard to water-root just referred to, it has doubtless 
saved many from dying of thirst, is met with throughout the most 
parched plains of the Karroo. It is a large oval bulb, varying from 
six to ten inches in diameter, and is of an extremely juicy consistence, 
with rather an insipid flavour. It is protected by a thin brown skin, 
which is easily removed with the back of a knife. It has small insigni- 
ficant narrow leaves, with little black dotes on them, which are not 
easily detected by an inexperienced eye, The ground round it is gener- 



A HERD OF ORYX. 65 

ally so baked with the sun, that it has to be dug out with a knife. The 
top of the bulb is discovered about eight or nine inches from the surface 
of the ground, and the earth all round it must then be carefully 
removed. A knowledge of this plant is invaluable to him whose avoca- 
tions lead him into these desolate regions. Throughout the whole 
extent of the great Kalahari desert, and the vast tracts of country 
adjoining thereto, an immense variety of bulbs and roots of this juicy 
description succeed one another monthly, there being hardly a season 
in the year at which the poor Bakalahari, provided with a sharp-pointed 
stick hardened in the fire, cannot obtain a meal, being intimately 
acquainted with each and all the herbs and roots which a bountiful 
hand has provided for his sustenance. There are also several succulent 
plants, having thick juicy leaves, which in like manner answer the pur- 
pose of food and drink. 

Above all, a species of bitter water-melon is thickly scattered over the 
entire surface of the known parts of the great Kalahari desert. These 
often supply the place of food and water to the wild inhabitants of 
those remote regions, and it is stated by the Bakalahari that these 
melons improve in flavour as they penetrate farther to the west. Most 
of these roots are much eaten by the gemsboks, which are led by 
instinct to root them out. The elephants also, apprised by their acute 
sense of smell of their position, feed upon them, and whole tracks may 
be seen ploughed up by the tusks of these sagacious animals in quest of 
them. 

On the 26th I raised my head from my saddle about one o'clock A.M., 
imagining the day was dawning, and, having roused my after-riders, 
we proceeded to saddle our horses ; but I soon perceived that the bright 
moon, across which a bank of clouds was at that moment passing, had 
deceived me, and accordingly we off-saddled, and in a few minutes I 
was once more asleep. Towards morning a smart shower of rain sud- 
denly falling on my face broke in abruptly on my slumbers, when we 
once more arose, and, when day dawned, we saddled up, and held a 
northerly course. We found the fresh tracks of hyaenas not more than 
fifteen yards from our horses. Within a hundred yards of our bush we 
at once discovered the spoor of an old bull-gemsbok which had fed past 
us during the night ; and we had proceeded but a short distance when 
we discovered a, herd of seven noble oryx within a quarter of a mile of 
us, pasturing in a low hollow ; upon which I directed Cobus to ride 
round and " jag " them up to me, whilst I took up a position in front. 

The oryx presently charged past me ; but Cobus had started after an 
old bull which I did not see, and which he rode to a stand. To these 
seven oryx I accordingly gave chase, and before the first mile I was 
riding within a hundred yards of them. Here we were joined by 
another fine herd of twenty-two oryx, nearly all full-grown, and carry- 
ing superb horns. On we swept at a thrilling pace, and, after riding 
upwards of another mile, I pulled up to have a shot ; but " Grouse," 
which I rode, being very restless, the herd got a long way ahead before 
I could fire. I however wounded one fine old cow, which I ascertained 
some hours afterwards. Having fired, I resumed the chase, and, observ- 
ing that the finest bull of the first herd seemed distressed, I endeavoured 



66 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



to cut him off from the herd, which I succeeded in doing, and, in the 
excitement of the moment, I determined to follow him as long as my 
horse could go. Away and away we wildly flew — the oryx leading me 
a cruel long chase due north, tail-on-end, from my waggons, over a very 
heavy country entirely undermined by the endless burrows of the 
mouse-hunts. My poor steed became at length completely knocked up, 
while the oryx seemed to gain fresh speed, and increase the distance 
between us. I felt that my horse could not do it. 

One chance alone remained : there was still a shot in my left barrel. 
I pulled up, and, vaulting from my panting steed, with trembling hand 
and beating heart I cocked my rifle and let fly at the round stern of the 
retreating antelope. The ball passed within a few inches of his ear and 
raised the dust about fifty yards in advance of him ; and I had the 
mortification of having to content myself with watching his lessening 
form as he retreated across the boundless waste. Faint and weary, and 
intensely mortified at the issue of my long-continued chase, my lips 
cracking, and my tongue and throat parched with raging thirst, I threw 
my bridle on my arm and led my weary steed homewards, and I 
inwardly wished that, instead of my being a man of fourteen stone 
weight, nature had formed me of the most Liliputian dimensions. I 
was now a fearful long way from my camp ; hills that in the morning 
were blue before me were now equally blue far far behind me ; 
" Grouse " could scarcely walk along with me, nor did he ever recover 
that morning's work. 

Upon my return I observed Jacob making for me, leading a fresh 
horse, of which I stood not a little in need ; he stated that he had seen 
an oryx standing at a distance on the plain, which bore the appearance 
of being wounded. We then made for this oryx, and on my overhaul- 
ing her with my spyglass I saw plainly that she was badly hit. On my 
cantering up to her she ran but a short distance, when she gave in, and, 
facing about, stood at bay. I foolishly approached her without firing, 
and very nearly paid dearly for my folly, for, lowering her sharp horns, 
she made a desperate rush towards me, and would inevitably have run 
me through had not her strength at this moment failed her, when she 
staggered forward and fell to the ground. 

On the following day the waters of my vley sank into the earth and 
disappeared; the water for some days past had become very "brack," 
making myself and my people very unwell. 

On the 28th I had the satisfaction of beholding, for the first time, 
what I had often heard the Boers allude to — viz. a "trek-bokken," or 
grand migration of springboks. This was, I think, the most extraordi- 
nary and striking scene, as connected with beasts of the chase, that I 
have ever beheld. 

For about two hours before the day dawned I had been lying awake 
in my waggon, listening to the grunting of the bucks within two hun- 
dred yards of me, imagining that some large herd of springboks was 
feeding beside my camp ; but on my rising when it was clear, and look- 
ing about me, I beheld the ground to the northward of my camp actu- 
ally covered with a dense living mass of springboks, marching slowly 
and steadily along, extending from an opening in a long range of hills 



LEGIONS OF SPRINGBOK. 67 

on the west, through which they continued pouring, like the flood of 
some great river, to a ridge about a mile to the north-east, over which 
they disappeared. The breadth of the ground they covered might have 
been somewhere about half a mile, I stood upon the fore chest of my 
waggon for nearly two hours, lost in wonder at the novel and wonder- 
ful scene which was passing before me, and had some difficulty in con- 
vincing myself that it was reality which I beheld, and not the wild and 
exaggerated picture of a hunter's dream. 

During this time their vast legions continued streaming through the 
neck in the hills in one unbroken compact phalanx. At length I saddled 
up, and rode into the middle of them with my rifle and after-riders, and 
fired into the ranks until fourteen had fallen, when I cried "Enough." 
We then retraced our steps to secure from the ever-voracious vultures 
the venison which lay strewed along my gory track. Having collected 
the springboks at different bushes, and concealed them with brushwood, 
we returned to camp, where I partook of coffee while my men were in- 
spanning. 

A person anxious to kill many springboks might have bagged thirty 
or forty that morning. I never, in all my subsequent career, fell in with 
so dense a herd of these antelopes, nor found them allow me to ride so 
near them. Having inspanned, we proceeded with the waggons to take 
up the fallen game, which being accomplished, we held for the small 
periodical stream beside which the wandering Boers were encamped, 
that point being in my line of march for Beer Vley. Vast and surpris- 
ing as was the herd of springboks which I had that morning witnessed, 
it was infinitely surpassed by what I beheld on the march from my vley 
to old Sweirs's camp ; for, on our clearing the low range of hills through 
which the springboks had been pouring, I beheld the boundless plains, 
and even the hill sides which stretched away on every side of me, 
thickly covered, not with " herds," but with " one vast herd " of 
springboks ; far as the eye could strain the landscape was alive with 
them, until they softened down into a dim red mass of living creatures. 

To endeavour to form any idea of the amount of antelopes which I 
that day beheld were vain; but I have, nevertheless, no hesitation in 
stating that some hundreds of thousands of springboks were that morn- 
ing within the compass of my vision. On reaching the encampment of 
the Boers I outspanned, and set about cutting up and salting my veni- 
son ; the Boers had likewise been out with their "roers," and shot as 
many as they could carry home. Old Sweirs acknowledged that it was 
a very fair "trek-bokken," but observed that it was not many when 
compared with what he had seen. 

" You this morning," he remarked, " behold only one flat covered 
with springboks, but I give you my word that I have ridden a long 
day's journey over a succession of flats covered with them, as far as I 
could see, as thick as sheep standing in a fold." I spent the following 
two days with the Boers. Each morning and evening we rode out 
and hunted the springboks, killing as many as we could bring home. 
The vast armies of the springboks, however, did not tarry long in that 
neighbourhood; having quickly consumed every green herb, they passed 
away to give other districts a benefit, thus leaving the Boers no alterna- 



68 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

tive but to strike their tents, and remove with their flocks and herds to 
lands where they might find pasture. 

On the morning of the 31st I left this periodical stream, whose name 
was "Rhinoceros Pool," and held on for Beer Vley, which I reached in 
about eight hours. Our march was a very hot one, across a desolate 
barren country destitute of water. The country, though barren, was 
not, however, without game : I saw several herds of springboks, of from 
500 to 2000 in each ; also several troops of gigantic-looking ostriches, 
and abundance of bustard and Namaqua partridges. I shot two spring- 
boks, and broke the foreleg of a third. Beer Vley, at the southern end 
of which I had now encamped, is a very extensive, low-lying, level 
plain ; its length might be somewhat about twenty miles, and its breadth 
averaging from one to two miles. Through the entire length of this 
grassy vley runs, in the rainy season, a deep stream of water, which 
meanders in a very serpentine course along the centre of the plain, and, 
overflowing its banks, irrigates and enriches the surrounding pasture. 
At that season, however, this channel was perfectly dry, and the plain 
was covered with rich green grass. The country surrounding Beer Vley 
is extremely desolate and sterile, consisting of low rocky hills and undu- 
lating sandy plains, barely covered with dwarfish scrubby shrubs and 
small karroo bushes. 

On the morrow I removed my encampment about eight or nine miles 
farther down the vley, being obliged, from the broken and uneven 
nature of the ground, to march in a semicircular course, holding along 
the outside of the vley. I drew up my waggons on the plain close to 
the bank of a dry channel, with a fine large pool of running water in 
my vicinity. This was the finest place that can be described to shoot 
springboks, and also to select extraordinary specimens on account of 
their horns, which I was anxious to do. The country, on every side, 
was covered with immense herds of these antelopes, and they all seemed 
to have an inclination to come and feed close along the side of the 
watercourse beside which we lay. This channel being about ten feet 
deep, and extending throughout the entire length of the plain, I had 
only to study the wind, and could walk up within easy shot of any herd, 
and select what buck I pleased. 

Here I remained for several days enjoying brilliant sport, and daily 
securing fine specimens of oryx, springboks, and other game. Here, 
also, I shot my first ostrich, a fine old cock. It was a very long shot ; 
I gave my rifle several feet of elevation, yet nevertheless the ball 
struck him on the leg, breaking it below the knee, when he fell and 
was unable to rise. The power possessed by an ostrich in his leg 
can hardly be imagined. The thigh is very muscular, and resembles 
that of a horse more than of a bird. In the act of dying, he lashed out 
and caught me a severe blow on my leg, which laid me prostrate. 



LEAVE BEER VLEY. 69 



CHAPTER VII. 

Leave Beer Vley — A Bushboy captured and enlisted as a Follower — Famous Sport 
with Wildebeest and Quaggas from a Hunting-hole — Water fails, and we march 
to the Great Orange Biver — Beautiful Appearance of the Biver — Stink Von- 
teyn, a famous sporting quarter — An Ostrich's Nest — Bold Mountain Banges — 
The Griqua Tribe, their Manners and Customs — An ancient Mimosa Forest — 
Besidence of a Bushman — Successful Chase of a noble Bull Oryx. 

On the 9th I considered I had sufficiently long enjoyed the sweets of 
Beer Vley ; and accordingly, the waggons being properly packed, I in- 
spanned in the afternoon, and trekked to the south. On the following 
morning we inspanned at the dawn of day, and retraced our steps to 
the Rhinoceros Fool. The heat continued most oppressive, the wind 
still northerly. We were infested with myriads of common flies, which 
proved a constant annoyance, filling tent and waggons to such a degree 
that it was impossible to sit in them. I rode out in the morning of the 
11th, accompanied by an after-rider, and shot two springboks, which we 
bore to camp secured on our horses behind our saddles by passing the 
buckles of the girths on each side through the fore and hind legs of the 
antelopes, having first performed an incision between the bone and the 
sinews with the couteau-de-chasse, according to colonial usage. 

The Boers had informed me of a small fountain one march in advance, 
where they recommended me to hunt for a short time, and this place I 
intended to be my next encampment. On the morrow we inspanned 
at earliest dawn, and trekked about ten miles in a north-easterly course 
across a barren extensive plain, steering parallel with the country fre- 
quented by the oryx. We drew up our waggons at a place where some 
Boers had been encamped during the winter months. Here we found a 
well with nothing but mud in it. I set to work with the spade and 
cleaned it out, and presently had good water for myself and people. I 
despatched one of my Hottentots on horseback to seek for water in ad- 
vance for the horses and oxen. He shortly returned, and reported 
another deserted Boer encampment about a mile ahead, at which there 
was a stronger fountain, but considerably choked with mud. 

Having breakfasted, I removed my waggons thither, and encamped. 
This fountain will be ever memorable in the annals of my African cam- 
paign, since on the following day I was there joined by a unique and 
interesting specimen of a Bushman, who has ever since faithfully fol- 
lowed my fortunes through every peril and hardship by sea and land ; 
and is at the moment that I write brandishing in the Highlands of 
Scotland an imitation of a Cape waggon- whip which he has constructed, 
and calling out with stentorian lungs the names of the oxen composing 
the team which he, at a subsequent period, drove when he alone stood 
by me, all my followers having forsaken me in the far interior. 

In the afternoon I saddled up, and started with my two after-riders 
and a spare horse, with the intention of sleeping in the oryx country, 
and hunting next day. We rode north through sandy plains and 
hollows on which large herds of gnoos and springboks were grazing. 
Just as the sun descended we started a fine old bull oryx. We dis- 



70 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

covered him in a bushy hollow ; after a sharp burst Cobus managed to 
turn him, when, by heading him, I got within range, and finished him 
with a couple of shots. It was now dark; having off-saddled our horses, 
we knee-haltered them, and allowed them to graze for an hour ; after 
which, having secured them to a neighbouring bush, we lay down to 
sleep on the hard ground. My pillow was the neck of the old bull ; the 
jackal sang his coronach. 

On the 13th I shot a fine old steinbok, and on nearing my encamp- 
ment I discovered two different vleys, containing water. Upon reaching 
my camp I found a funny little fellow in the shape of the Bushboy be- 
fore alluded to, awaiting my arrival. My Hottentots had detected his 
black woolly head protruding from the reeds adjoining the fountain, 
and had captured him. I presented him with a suit of new clothes and 
a glass of spirits, and we immediately became and have ever since con- 
tinued the best of friends. He informed me that, when a child, he was 
taken by a party of Dutch Boers at a massacre of his countrymen, and 
from these he had subsequently absconded on account of their cruel 
treatment of him. The Boers had named him "Kuyter," probably after 
a certain Dutch admiral, which name he still bears. 

In the afternoon I rode to one of the vleys, accompanied by two of 
my men, bearing pickaxes and spades and my bedding. We dug a 
shooting hole on the usual principle, about three feet deep and eight in 
diameter, on the lee side of the largest vley. In this hole I used to take 
my station every night — the jackals and hysenas growling around me — 
and await the coming of the dawn to get a sight of the game that came 
to drink. In this manner I enjoyed excellent sport among the wilde- 
beests and quaggas until the 17th, when, through want of water for my 
oxen, I was compelled to march for the great Orange River, which was 
the nearest water, being distant upwards of thirty miles. We inspanned 
in the afternoon, and, having performed a march of twelve miles, hold- 
ing a north-easterly course, I outspanned for a couple of hours to allow 
my oxen to graze ; after which I again inspanned, and trekked about 
twelve miles farther by moonlight, when we halted till the day dawned, 
making fast the horses and oxen. The country here assumed a less 
sterile appearance than that which I had occupied during the last five 
weeks, being ornamented with a few ancient trees, bearing a leaf 
resembling that of the willow, and called by the Dutch " olean-wood ; ' : 
there were also a few dwarfish thorny trees of a species of mimosa. 

On the 18th we inspanned at the dawn of day, and after a march of 
about four hours through a wild and uninhabited country we suddenly 
found ourselves on the bank of the magnificent Orange Eiver. This 
queen of African rivers forms a leading feature in the geography of 
Southern Africa. Its length, I believe, is somewhere about a thousand 
miles. It rises in the east, in the Vitbergen mountain-range, a little to 
the northward of the latitude of Port Natal, and, flowing westward, it is 
joined by the fair Vaal river about fifty miles below the spot where I 
had now arrived ; thence it continues its course westward, and falls into 
the South Atlantic about five hundred miles to the north of the Cape of 
Good Hope. We made the river at a place called Davinar's Drift or ford, 
beside which was a comfortable Dutch farm. The owner was a young 



LAEGE FLOCKS OF BIRDS. 71 

— - ■ ■ 1 — — — — • — — ■ ... . . i . . . ... — . ■■ - ■-..... ■ » . , 

Boer from the Cape district, and had obtained his present enviable 
position by marrying a fat old widow. Their chief riches consisted of 
sheep and goats, of which they possessed enormous flocks, which were 
in very fine condition, the country being suitable for pasturing these 
animals. Large herds of trekking springboks were feeding in sight of 
the homestead. I had passed several herds on my morning's march, and 
had shot three, which were in good order. 

The Boers, contrary to my expectation, reported the river fordable, 
though I had been informed that it was very large. Before venturing 
to cross we were occupied for upwards of an hour in raising the goods 
liable to be damaged by water, by means of a platform consisting of 
green willow boughs, with which we filled the bottom of the waggons, 
and then replaced the cargo. The descent on our side was extremely 
steep, and we found it necessary to rheim, viz., to secure, by means of 
the drag-chains, both hind wheels of each waggon. The drift was ex- 
tremely rough, and jolted the waggons about sadly. We, however, got 
safely through, and, having proceeded about half a mile up the opposite 
bank, we encamped. 

No person who has not contemplated a magnificent river under similar 
circumstances can form an idea of the pleasure I felt in reaching this 
oasis of the desert. For many weeks past our lot had been cast in the 
arid plains of the parched karroo, where there had often been barely 
sufficient water for our cattle to drink, with cloudless skies and an in- 
tense burning sun over our heads, and no tree nor bush of any descrip- 
tion whose friendly shade might shelter us from the power of its rays. 
Here, "o' the sudden," a majestic river rolled before our delighted eyes, 
whose fertile banks were adorned with groves clad in everlasting ver- 
dure. At the spot where we crossed, the river reminded me of the 
appearance exhibited by certain parts of the river Spey in summer dur- 
ing a spate. The breadth of the Orange River, however, is in general 
about three hundred yards. The whole of the banks are ornamented with 
a rich fringe of weeping willows, whose branches dip into the stream, 
and also of many other trees and bushes whose blossoms and pleasing 
foliage yielded the most delicious balmy perfume. 

Numerous flocks of the feathered tribe by their beautiful plumage and 
melodious notes increased the charm of this lovely scene. The entomo- 
logist could likewise have found abundance of interesting objects in his 
department, the ground and trees swarming with curious, if not gaudy, 
insects. My first move after halting was to enjoy a delightful bath ; 
after which, having donned my best apparel, I recrossed the river on 
horseback to visit the happy couple whose farm I have previously de- 
scribed. 

I found them civil and communicative, and obtained from them a 
supply of vegetables, which to me were most acceptable, having tasted 
nothing of that sort for many weeks. They informed me that about 
fifteen miles in a northerly direction there was a saltpan, in the vicinity 
of which I might find koodoos and sassaybys, in addition to the varieties 
of game which I had already hunted. I walked through their garden, 
which, besides vegetables in great variety, contained several kinds of 
fruit-trees, such as peaches, apricots, etc. ; these throve well, their 



72 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

■ ■ - ■■ •** ■■ — ■■■ -■ - i ■■■ — -- , ..,..-■ ... i . , . ■■ — ■■■■ 

branches being laden with abundance of fruit. On the 'forenoon of the 
19th, having twice enjoyed the luxury of bathing, I saddled up, and 
rode north to an extensive range of rocky hills to seek for koodoos. 
Crossing an extensive plain which intervened, I came upon an ostrich's 
nest, containing two eggs; the cock was sitting on the nest, and, imagin- 
ing that we would pass without observing him, he allowed us to ride 
within sixty yards before he started. I found the hills for which I rode 
of so stony and rocky a character that it was impossible to ride through 
them. They, however, bore a goodly coating of rank grass of various 
kinds, and the hollows contained a few dwarfish bushes. Leaving my 
steed in charge of my after-rider, I traversed, with my rifle, several of 
these rocky ranges, but failed to find any traces of koodoos. It was the 
sort of country exactly suited for the raebok, to which I have already 
alluded, and of these antelopes I discovered three small herds. 

On ascending to the summit of the highest hill in my vicinity, I com- 
manded a grand panoramic view of the surrounding scenery. An end- 
less succession of bold mountains, of considerable height, extended as far 
as I could see in a northerly and easterly direction. Some of them were 
tabular, but others of conical and pyramidal shapes towered above their 
fellows ; their abrupt forms standing forth in grand relief above the 
surrounding country. Throughout all these mountain-ranges plains of 
considerable extent, more or less undulating, intervened. 

At one P.M. on the following day I inspanned and trekked north to 
the saltpan, which we reached in the dark. The general character of 
the country became richer after crossing the Orange River. The plains 
were adorned with a more luxuriant coating of grass and in greater 
profusion ; and the small karroo bushes were replaced by others of 
fairer growth, and of a different variety. Most of these yielded a strong 
aromatic perfume, but more particularly when the ground had been 
refreshed by a shower of rain ; on which occasions the African wilder- 
ness diffuses a perfume so exquisite and balmy, that no person that has 
not experienced its delights can form an idea of it. Our march lay 
through an extensive undulating country. We passed several troops of 
hartebeests and springboks, and saw for the first time one sassayby, a 
large antelope allied to the hartebeest, and of a purple colour. Moun- 
tain ranges bound the view on every side, and I could discover by means 
of my spyglass that strips of forests of mimosa stretched along their 
bases. The saltpan to which we had come was of an oval shape, and 
about a quarter of a mile in diameter. 

It was a low basin, whose sides sloped gently down, but the middle 
was a dead level of fine sand. Upon this sand, throughout the greater 
part of the pan, lay a thick layer of good coarse salt, varying from one 
to four inches in depth. Heavy rains fill the pan or basin with water, 
and, the dry season succeeding, the water disappears, and large deposits 
of salt are found. These pans or salt-licks are met with in several parts 
of South Africa. Those which mainly supply the colony with good salt 
are situated between Utenage and Algoa Bay ; they are of considerable 
extent, and yield a surprising quantity. Ostriches and almost every 
variety of antelope frequent these pans for the purpose of licking the 
brack or salt ground, to which they are very partial. The pan which 



WILD-LOOKING BUSHMEN. 73 



we had reached was formerly visited by Boers and Griquas for the pur- 
pose of obtaining salt, but had of late years been abandoned for others 
yielding it of a better quality. The country around was consequently 
undisturbed ; and, being utterly uninhabited, was lonely and as still as 
the grave. 

On the morning of the 21st I left my waggons encamped beside the 
salt-pan, and, having proceeded about half-a-mile in a northerly direction 
along a seldom trodden waggon-track, I discovered a fountain of excel- 
lent water, but very strongly impregnated with saltpetre. This fountain 
I afterwards learnt is termed by the Boers " Cruit Vonteyn," or Powder 
Fountain, its waters resembling the washings of a gun-barrel ; but the 
Griquas more elegantly call it " Stink Vonteyn." At breakfast-time I 
was joined by a party of ruffianly Griquas, who were proceeding with a 
dilapidated-looking waggon, which had no sail, to hunt hartebeests and 
blue wildebeests, in the vicinity of a small fountain to the north-east 
where game was reported abundant. 

They were accompanied by several wild-looking, naked Bushmen atten- 
dants, whom they had captured when young, and domesticated. These 
drove their shooting-horses loose behind the waggon, grazing as they 
went along. I also observed a couple of milch-cows with calves among 
their loose oxen, a healthy luxury without which that race of people 
seldom proceed on a journey. The country occupied by the Griquas 
extends from Rhama, a village on the Orange Eiver, about thirty miles 
to the east of my present position, to Griquastadt their capital, a village 
situated about a hundred miles to the northward of the junction of the 
Vaal with the Orange Eiver. They are governed by a chief, whose 
name is Waterboer. These men are of Hottentot origin, and in general 
possess the distinguishing features of that race, such as broad, flat noses, 
high cheek bones, small, elephant eyes, thick lips, woolly hair, and 
other Hottentot peculiarities, which, in the present enlightened state of 
society, it were superfluous to enumerate. 

They are, however, so mixed up with crosses of other tribes that 
every ramification of breed between Boers, Bechuanas, Mozambiques, 
Oorannas, Namaqua Hottentots, Bushmen, etc., may be found located 
within their territory. All of these intermarry. Some of them have 
long black hair, while the craniums of others, such as the Bushmen, are 
adorned with detached tufts of sickly-looking crisp wool, and the issue 
of such unions exhibit locks singularly varied. 

Another tribe of men in every way similar to these Griquas inhabit 
an extensive and fertile country immediately to the east of their terri- 
tory. These men term themselves Bastards. Their chief's name is 
Adam Kok. The name of their capital is Philipolis, a small village 
about thirty miles to the north of Colesberg. Their country is bounded 
on the south by the Great Orange River, and is about the most desirable 
district in Southern Africa for farming purposes, there being abundance 
of fountains throughout its whole extent capable of being led out to 
irrigate the land, without which no gardens can be formed, nor wheat 
grown in that country. Rich pasture is abundant. Cattle and sheep 
thrive and breed remarkably well ; goats, also, an animal valuable to 



74 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

the South African settler, but for which only certain districts are suit- 
able, are here very prolific. 

The goat in many districts is subject to a disease called by the Boers 
"brunt sickta," or burnt sickness, owing to the animals afflicted with it 
exhibiting the appearance of having been burnt. It is incurable ; and 
if the animals infected are not speedily killed, or put out of the way, 
the contagion rapidly spreads, and it is not uncommon for a farmer to 
lose his entire flock with it. This sad distemper also extends itself to 
the fern naturce. I have shot hartebeests, black wildebeests, blesbucks, 
and springbucks with their bodies covered with this disease. I have 
known seasons when the three latter animals were so generally affected 
by it, that the vast plains throughout which they are found were 
covered with hundreds of skulls and skeletons of those that had died 
therefrom. 

One of the chief recommendations of the Bastard's country is its 
admirable suitableness for breeding horses. Large herds of these may 
be seen throughout their country pasturing high on the mountain sides, 
or scattered in troops over its grassy plains. The deadly distemper so 
prevalent along the frontiers of the colony is here of comparatively rare 
occurrence. In the far interior, however, it is so virulent during five 
or six months of the year, that it is often impossible to save a single 
horse, and through its ravages I was annually in the habit of losing the 
greater part of my stud. 

The chiefs of the Griquas and Bastards are in close alliance with the 
English government, which protects them from the attacks of the rebel 
Dutch Boers. These, well aware of the excellent qualities of the Bas- 
tard's country, are possessed with a strong desire to appropriate it. 
The language spoken by both these tribes is Dutch. They have in 
general embraced the Christian religion, and several worthy missionaries 
have, for several years past, devoted their lives to the improvement of 
their temporal and eternal condition. The dress worn by the men con- 
sists of home-made leathern jacket, waiscoat, and trousers, feldtschoens, 
or home-made shoes, a Malay handkerchief tied round the head, and on 
Sundays and other great occasions a shirt and a neckcloth. The females 
wear a close-fitting corset reaching to the small of the waist, below 
which they sport a petticoat like the women of other countries. These 
petticoats are sometimes made of stuffs of British manufacture, and at 
other times of soft leather prepared by themselves. Their head-dress 
consists of two handkerchiefs, one of black silk, the other of a striped 
red and green colour, usually termed Malay handkerchiefs. They are 
very fond of beads of every size and colour, which they hang in large 
necklaces round their necks. They have one description of bead 
peculiar to themselves and to the tribes extending along the banks of 
the Great Orange River to its junction with the sea. This bead is 
formed of the root of a bush found near the mouth of the Orange River, 
and possesses a sweet and peculiar perfume. Every Griqua girl wears 
at least one of these ; and no traveller who has once learnt to prize this 
perfume can inhale it again without its inadvertently recalling to his 
memory the fine dark eyes and fair forms of the semi-civilized nymphs 
frequenting the northern bank of the Orange stream. 



THE GKIQUAS. 75 



Their houses somewhat resemble a bee-hive or ant-hill, consisting of 
boughs of trees stuck into the ground in a circular form, and lashed 
down across one another overhead so as to form a framework, on which 
they spread large mats formed of reeds. These mats are also used 
instead of waggon-sails, and are very effectual in resisting both sun and 
rain. The diameter of these dome-shaped huts varies from ten to fifteen 
feet. On changing their quarters, which they are occasionally com- 
pelled to do on account of pasture, it will easily be understood that 
they have little difficulty in removing their house along with them. 

A strong pack-ox can travel with the whole concern placed on his 
back ; and on occasions of their migration I have seen a pack-ox carry- 
ing not only its master's house on its back, but also a complete set of 
dairy utensils, all manufactured of wood, a couple of skin bags contain- 
ing thick milk, various cooking utensils, and, surmounting all, the guid- 
wife, with one or two of her children. They are all possessed of flocks 
and herds of goats, sheep, and cattle. A description of the houses and 
manner of living of these people may serve to convey an idea of all the 
tribes that border on the Vaal and Orange Eivers to the sea. They are, 
without exception, of an indolent disposition, and averse from hard 
work of any description. Much of their time is spent in hunting, and 
large parties annually leave their homes and proceed with their wag- 
gons, oxen, and horses on hunting expeditions into the far interior, ab- 
senting themselves for a period of from three to four months. 

They are a people remarkable for their disregard for truth, a weak- 
ness which I regret to state I found very prevalent in Southern Africa. 
They are also great beggars, generally commencing by soliciting for 
" trexels," a trexel being a pound of tea or coffee. Knowing the gal- 
lantry of our nation, they affirm this to be a present for a wife or 
daughter, whom they represent as being poorly. If this is granted they 
continue their importunities, successively fancying your hat, neckcloth, 
or coat ; and I have known them on several occasions coolly request me 
to exchange my continuations for their leathern inexpressibles, which 
they had probably worn for a couple of summers. 

When this party of Griquas came up to me, being anxious to see as 
much as possible of the natives of those parts which I traversed, I in- 
vited them to halt and drink coffee with me, an invitation which a 
Griqua was never yet known to decline. They informed me that, in 
the mountain ranges to the north-east, koodoo were to be met with, and 
they invited me to accompany them on their chasse. When breakfast 
was finished they sent their waggon in advance, with instructions to 
wait for their arrival at the fountain, where they intended to pitch their 
camp ; and, having saddled up, we all set forward and rode east to hunt 
koodoos and hartebeests, or any other game we might fall in with. After 
riding three or four miles, on approaching the base of the hills we en- 
tered an ancient forest of mimosas, every tree being a study for an ar- 
tist. There was also a considerable undercover of various sweet-smelling 
shrubs and bushes. 

Here steinbok and duyker were abundant. This venerable forest ex- 
tended all around the bases of various ranges of rocky hills which 
stretched in different directions through these plains. Close in, at the 



76 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



foot of one of the hills, we discovered a Bushman residence, consisting 
of three small huts, each about four feet high, and about eight in dia- 
meter. They were formed of boughs of trees, thatched over with rank 
grass drawn up by the roots. The natives, as usual, had fled on our ap- 
proach, and no living creature was to be seen. I entered each of the 
huts, and found lots of well " braid " (or dressed) skins of all the wild 
beasts of these parts. All their dishes were made either of ostrich-eggs 
or of the shells of land tortoises, and these were ranged round the floor 
on one side of the hut. Most of the ostrich-eggshells contained water. 

We crossed the hills by a stony neck ; and having proceeded some dis- 
tance through several well-wooded glades and hollows in the table-land 
of the hills, we suddenly looked forth upon a noble prospect. A wide 
grassy plain, covered with picturesque mimosas and detached clumps of 
evergreen bushes, stretched away from the bases of the hills on which 
we stood. Beyond, the landscape was shut in by the bold and abrupt 
forms of rugged mountain ranges, which were coloured with a softened 
blue tint. Having descended into this fine picturesque plain, we held 
north, riding parallel with the hilly chain. Presently, my comrades 
adopting a course which did not strike me as the most likely to fall in 
with game, I chose a line of march for myself, and, following along 
under the mountain chain, I soon lost sight of them, and saw them no 
more that day. On this occasion I had taken the field without any 
after-rider. 

Having ridden about a mile farther, I started a doe koodoo, the first 
I had seen, and shortly after I started another, with a young one, which 
I determined to secure, there being no flesh in our camp. Having pur- 
sued it a short distance, I came suddenly upon a troop of koodoos, con- 
sisting of three bucks and several does. Two of the bucks were old fel- 
lows, and carried magnificent, wide-set, long, spiral horns. To these I 
instantly directed my attention, when they at once made, as koodoos 
invariably do, for the adjacent rocky hills. Their pace was a succession 
of long bounds over the thorny bushes, which sadly distressed my poor 
steed. I nevertheless gained on them, and would have assuredly secured 
one, had they not reached a stony barrier of sharp, hard rocks, over 
which they disappeared, and where my horse could not follow. I was 
much struck with the noble appearance of these two buck koodoos, and 
felt very chagrined in having been unfortunate with them. Having lost 
the koodoos, I turned my face to the south, and rode along the skirts of 
the forest, in hope of falling in with my comrades. 

I had ridden about a mile, when I suddenly perceived a gallant herd 
of nine old oryxes cantering towards me, all of them carrying horns of 
immense length and beauty, surpassing anything I had hitherto seen. 
They were preceded by four beautifully striped zebras, the first I had 
met with, and followed by two brilliant red hartebeests. In half a 
minute I was flying along within sixty yards of the troop of oryxes, 
carefully studying the horns of each, and at a loss to decide which was 
the finest, they were all so very handsome. As I swept along I deplored 
my folly in having taken the field without my after-riders ; I neverthe- 
less entertained hopes of success, as these antelopes had evidently been 
followed by the Griquas from whom I parted. They led me a long and 



KOODOOS AND OBYXES. 77 

severe chase along the skirts of the hills, the wind fortunately blowing 
right across them. 

After riding hard for several miles I felt my horse very much dis- 
tressed, and was on the point of giving up the pursuit, when I observed 
one old bull make a momentary halt under a mimosa, evidently very 
much blown. This gave me fresh hope ; I resolved to follow him as 
long as my horse could go, and once more I gave chase with renewed 
speed. I was soon riding opposite to him, within sixty yards, with the 
hill on the other side, and by a desperate effort I managed to cut him 
off from his comrades, and turn his head down the wind. His fate was 
now sealed, and I at once felt that he was mine. From this moment his 
pace decreased, and, after another half mile of sharp galloping down 
hill, in which I gained upon him at every stride, I was riding within 
fifteen yards of his handsome, round stern. His tongue was now hang- 
ing from his mouth, and long streaks of foam streamed back on his sides. 
Suddenly, on rounding a thorny bush, he pulled up in his career, 
and, facing about, stood at bay. I sprang breathless and worn out from 
my panting steed, and with a shaking hand sent a bullet through his 
shoulder, when he fell and breathed his last. 

This noble oryx carried the finest horns I had met with, and I had, 
moreover, the satisfaction of knowing that he was the finest in the herd. 
Having off-saddled and knee-haltered my horse, I commenced cutting off 
the head of the oryx, which I accomplished with some trouble, the skin 
at the neck being an inch in thickness. I then broke thorny branches 
from a neighbouring mimosa, which I heaped over the carcase, to pro- 
tect it from the vultures. This being accomplished, I returned to camp, 
carrying the head on the pommel of the saddle before me, and my rifle 
over my shoulder. On occasions like this I have often felt that I should 
have been the better for a third hand for the management of my steed. 
At an early hour on the following morning I left my waggons, accom- 
panied by two after-riders, to look for koodoos, and secure the skin of 
the oryx of the preceding day. Contrary to my expectations, the 
hysenas had not discovered him. The flesh, however, owing to the heat 
of the weather was unserviceable. I rode with my boys deployed into 
line along the likely part of the old mimosa forest, hoping to fall in with 
koodoos. Here I shot two fine old steinboks, with very good horns, and 
these I carefully preserved for my collection. By firing I lost a chance 
of koodoos, as I presently discovered fresh spoor of a troop of these an- 
telopes, which my shots had disturbed. 

Eeturning towards my waggons, I rode through a gorge in the moun- 
tains where I had started a pack of about thirty wild dogs in the morn- 
ing. Observing a number of vultures sitting on the rocks about the 
place from which the dogs had started, I at once knew that they had 
killed some animal ; and on riding up I discovered the skeleton of an 
old doe koodoo, which they had run into and consumed. They had not 
cracked the marrow-bones, which the hysenas would have done if left 
there till after sunset. These, therefore, my Hottentots hastily took 
possession of, the marrow of the thigh-bones of the koodoo being by 
them esteemed a great delicacy. Springing from their horses, they 
triumphantly seized the skeleton ; and, each selecting for himself a 



78 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

couple of stones, they sat down on the ground, cracked the marrow- 
bones, and greedily devoured their raw contents. 

On reaching the waggons we found an extremely ancient and shri- 
velled-looking Bushman, who chattered just like a monkey. He signed 
to me that I had visited his hut on the preceding day, but that he 
feared the Griquas who accompanied me. He also intimated that he 
feared the Boers ; but he knew from the appearance of my waggons 
that they belonged to an Englishman. He also signified to me that, 
when the moon should rise, blue wildebeests would come and drink at 
" Stink Vonteyn." This fact I had already ascertained from personal 
observation, having seen their spoor by the water. In the evening, 
having taken several cups of strong coffee to keep me awake, I walked 
to the fountain with four of my followers, bearing spades and pickaxe, 
and my bedding to watch for wild animals. Having constructed a shoot- 
hole, my men retired, and I took up my position for the night, which 
was mild and lovely, with good moonlight. After watching several 
hours I fell asleep. 

About midnight my light sleep was disturbed by the tramp of ap- 
proaching wild animals. I peeped from my hole, and saw a herd of 
about twenty shaggy blue wildebeests, or brindled gnoos, cautiously 
advancing to the water. They were preceded by a patriarchial old bull, 
the finest in the herd. I fired at him, and heard the ball tell upon his 
shoulder, upon which he and the whole troop galloped off in a northerly 
direction, enveloped in a cloud of red dust. Being; thirsty, I then 
walked up to the eye of the fountain, and having imbibed a draught of 
its sulphurous waters, in a very few minutes I was once more asleep. 

On the 23rd I stood up in my hole at dawn of day, and, having 
donned my old grey kilt and Badenoch brogues, I took up the spoor of 
the herd of brindled gnoos. After I had proceeded a short distance I 
perceived the head of the old bull looking at me over a small rise on 
the bushy plain. The head disappeared, and I heard a loud noise of 
tramping, as of an animal endeavouring to gallop upon three legs. On 
gaining this rise I again saw the handsome head, with its strangely- 
hooked, fair-set horns, gazing at me from the long grass some hundred 
yards in advance. He had lain down. I held as though I intended to 
go past him ; but before I neared him he sprang to his feet, and endea- 
voured to make off from me. Poor old bull ! I at once perceived that 
it was all over with him. He was very faint from loss of blood, and one 
fore leg was broken in the shoulder. He made a tottering run of about 
a hundred yards, and again lay down, never more to rise. I walked up 
to within eighty yards of him, and sent a bullet through his heart. 
Receiving the ball, he rolled over on his side, and expired without a 
groan. 

I then made for my waggons, and despatched men with a span or 
team of oxen to slip the wildebeest to camp. He afforded us a welcome 
supply of excellent flesh, as he was in fine condition. I breakfasted on 
an ostrich-egg, Kleinboy having found a nest the preceding day. He 
had unfortunately taken only eight of the eggs out of the nest, foolishly 
leaving the other twelve, which on his return, he found smashed by the 
old birds, according to their usual custom. 



LOOKING FOR ROAN ANTELOPES. 79 



CHAPTER VIII. 

We leave Stink Vonteyn and reach the Vaal River — Wait-a-bit Thorns — Chase and 
kill a Buck Koodoo, and bivouac on the ground — Cobus and Jacob abscond — 
Roan Antelope — We recross the Vaal River— Griqua Encampment — Stink Von- 
teyn again — A Flight of Locusts — A Saltpan — Salubrious Climate — Boers at- 
tempt to carry off Ruyter — A Cameeldorn Forest — A Brindled Gnoo bayed by 
Wild Dogs — Habits of the latter. 

On the evening of the 24th we in spanned, and, leaving " Stink Von- 
teyn," marched upon the Vaal River, distant about twenty-five miles. 
Our road lay through soft sand, rendering the work very severe for the 
oxen. About two A.M. on the following morning we reached the fair 
Vaal River by fine moonlight. Having sent mounted men through the 
stream to -ascertain its depth, and finding a passage practicable, I re- 
solved at once to cross it — a rule generally adopted by all experienced 
in the country, among whom a general maxim prevails never to defer 
the passage of a river if at all fordable when they reach it. Endless are 
the stories related by South African travellers, who, by failing to adopt 
this plan have been compelled to remain for weeks, and even months, 
on the banks of its various rivers. The current here being very power- 
ful, I mounted the leaders of my teams, and in a few minutes my long 
double line of oxen was stoutly stemming the rapid stream, which 
reached half way up their sides. We got both the waggons across in 
safety. The water had just reached the bottom of my cargoes, but did 
not damage anything. 

The bank on the farther side was extremely steep and stony, and re- 
quired every ox to exert himself to the utmost. The river here is very 
beautiful ; broad and rapid streams are succeeded by long, deep, and 
tranquil pools, termed by the natives "zekoe ychots," signifying sea-cow 
or hippopotamus holes ; these vast and wondrous amphibious animals 
having, not many years since, been plentiful along the entire length of 
the Vaal River. The hippopotamus, however, like the elephant, is of a 
very shy and secluded disposition, and rapidly disappears before the 
approach of civilization. I drew up my waggons on a commanding open 
position on the northern bank of the stream. The margin of the Vaal, 
like the Orange River, is richly clad with dense groves of various ever- 
green trees, among which drooping willows predominate, whose long 
waving fringes dip gracefully into the limpid waters as they glide along 
in their seaward course. All along the banks of both these rivers huge 
trunks of trees are strewn, having been borne thither by the mighty 
floods to which they are annually subject. A short distance above my 
position was a beautiful island, adorned with trees of the richest verdure. 

About three P.M. I rode north-east to look for roan antelopes, which, 
next to the eland, are the largest in the world ; and being incapable of 
great speed, may at times be ridden into with a good horse. I was ac- 
companied by Cobus and Jacob. We found the country covered with 
bushes, of which the majority were of a most impracticable description, 
reminding me of a kill-devil, an implement used in angling, they being 
covered with thorns on the fish-hook principle. This variety of mimosa 



80 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

is waggishly termed by the Boers " vyacht urn bige," or wait-a-bit 
thorns, as they continually solicit the passing traveller not to be in a 
hurry ; if he disregards which request, the probability is that he leaves 
a part of his shirt or trousers in their possession. Here and there were 
hills covered with sharp adamantine rocks, throughout which, however, 
there was abundance of excellent grass and fine green bushes. In short, 
it was just the country to suit the taste of the rock-loving koodoos. 
Having proceeded some miles, we discovered fresh spoor of a troop of 
them at the foot of one of the ranges of rocky hills. We then crossed 
the ridge, still finding spoor, and the country becoming more and more 
likely. 

Suddenly, on raising our eyes, we saw standing on the hill side, with- 
in three hundred yards of us, five buck koodoos, four of which were 
tearing old fellows carrying extremely fine horns ; and majestic as they 
were, the elevated position which they occupied imparted to them a still 
more striking appearance. We galloped towards them, on which they 
bounded higher up the rocky hill, and stood for a few seconds looking 
at us. 

I had seen many sights thrilling to a sportsman, but few to surpass what 
I then beheld. I think an old buck koodoo, when seen standing broad- 
side on, is decidedly one of the grandest-looking antelopes in the world. 
They now broke into two lots, the two finest bucks holding to the left, 
and to these we gave chase. They led us over the most terrific ground 
for horses that can be imagined. It consisted of a mass of large sharp 
adamantine pieces of rock ; even the rock-frequenting koodoos them- 
selves made bad weather of it. Cobus, on this occasion, rode in a manner 
which astonished me. He was mounted on " The Cow," which steed, 
having in its youth led an unrestrained life, as most Cape horses do, in 
the rugged mountains of the Hantam, bounded along the hill side in a 
style worthy of a klipspringer. A flat of considerable extent, covered 
with tall bushes, intervened between us and a long range of high table- 
land to the northward, along the base of which, for an extent of many 
miles, stretched a dense forest of wait-a-bit thorns and mimosas. 

This forest was the head-quarters of the koodoos, and for it they now 
held, breaking away across the above-mentioned flat. That forest, how- 
ever, the finest koodoo was destined never to reach. As soon as we got 
clear of the rocky ground our horses gained upon them at every stride ; 
and Cobus, who was invariably far before me in every chase, was soon 
alongside of the finest. Here, in the dense bushes, we lost sight of his 
comrade. Cobus very soon prevailed on the koodoo to alter his tack, 
and strike off at a tangent from his former course ; when, by taking a 
short cut like a greyhound running cunning, I got within range, and 
with a single ball I rolled him over in the dust. I felt more pleasure in 
obtaining this fine specimen of a buck koodoo than anything I had yet 
shot in Africa. He was a first-rate old buck, and carried a pair of 
ponderous, long, wide-set spiral horns. 

Owing to the nature of the ground which they frequent, it is a very 
difficult matter to ride them down, and they are more usually obtained 
by stalking or stealing stealthily upon them. When, however, the 
hunter discovers a heavy old buck koodoo on level ground, there is no 



AN OLD COCK BUSTAKD. 81 

great difficulty to ride into him, his speed and endurance being very- 
inferior .to that of the oryx. I could have stood contemplating him for 
hours, but darkness was fast setting in; so, having off-saddled and knee- 
haltered our horses, we carefully removed the head and commenced 
skinning him. The skin of the koodoo, though thin, is extremely tough, 
and is much prized by the colonists for " foreslocks," or lashes for ox- 
waggon whips. The koodoo-skin was my mattress, my saddle was my 
pillow; and supperless I lay down to rest, without any covering save an 
old shirt and a pair of leather crackers. The excitement of the thrilling 
sport which I had enjoyed prevented my sleeping until a late hour ; and 
when "at length I closed my eyes, I dreamt that we were surrounded by 
a troop of lions, and, awaking with a loud cry, startled my men and 
horses. 

On the 26th we arose at earliest dawn, and having packed the 
trophies of the koodoo, and a part of his flesh, upon my spare horse, I 
despatched Jacob with him to camp, while Cobus and I held north-east 
to seek for roan antelope. I sought that day and the two following for 
these antelopes, but saw no traces of them. 

On the morning of the 30th I inspanned, and trekked some miles 
farther up the northern bank of the Vaal, and encamped opposite where 
the Eiet or Eeed River joins it. The stream here is extremely beautiful, 
being about a hundred and fifty yards in breadth, with sloping banks 
richly adorned with shady evergreen groves, and fringed with lofty 
reeds — a never-failing prognosticator of a sleepless night, a virulent 
species of mosquito being always abundant where reeds are met with. 
Several large bustards were stalking on a small bushy flat, as we drew 
up the waggons. I went after these, and made a fine off-hand shot at 
an old cock at a hundred and fifty yards. Here I lost Cobus and Jacob, 
my two Hottentot after-riders. Returning from the bustards to my 
waggons, where I expected to find my breakfast waiting me, I dis- 
covered these two worthies, whose duty it was to be preparing it, 
quietly reclining under the shade of a mimosa, and enjoying the sooth- 
ing influence of their short clay pipes. 

Being now beyond the pale of magisterial law, I deemed that a little 
wholesome correction might prove beneficial, which I accordingly ad- 
ministered. This so disgusted these high-minded youths, that after 
breakfast they embraced the opportunity of my bathing to abscond from 
my service. I imagined that they had sneaked into the bushes, and 
would soon return. I, however, saw no more of them until several 
months after, when I met them at Colesberg, which place they had 
reached, assisted by the Bastards, through whose country they had 
passed. Cobus, though a first-rate after-rider, was a great scamp and 
mischief-maker; and I learned from my remaining people that it was by 
his persuasion Jacob had left me. 

In the forenoon, the sun being extremely powerful, I built for myself 
a bower under an old willow beside the river. In this bower I made my 
bed, and might have had a sound sleep by way of a change, had not the 
mosquitos and midges assaulted me throughout the whole night, so that 
I hardly closed my eyes. The 31st was a charming cool day, the sky 
beautifully overcast. Having enjoyed a good swim in the waters of the 



82 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

Vaal, I breakfasted, after which I saddled up, and rode north to seek 
for roan antelope. I was accompanied by Carollus, the native of Mozam- 
bique, who was much too heavy to act as after rider, and by the little 
Bushboy named Ruyter, who had joined me on the plains of the karoo. 
This Bushboy, although he had learnt to ride among the Boers, had an 
indifferent seat on horseback, and would never push his horse to over- 
take any antelope if the ground were at all rough. 

Having -explored the country to a considerable distance, in the course 
of which we fell in with four sassaybys and a troop of hartebeests, I re- 
solved to make for home, as the darkening sky and distant thunder to 
the southward threatened a heavy storm. I had not long, however, de- 
termined on returning, when the wind, which had been out of the north, 
suddenly veered round, and blew hard from the south. In less than 
half an hour the rain descended in torrents, the wind blew extremely 
cold, and the rain beat right in my face; the peals of thunder were most 
appalling, the most fearful I think I had ever heard, the forked lightning 
dancing above and around me with such vividness as to pain my eyes : I 
thought every moment would be my last. I shifted my saddle from 
"Sunday" to "The Cow," and we pricked along at a smart pace. 

We were entering a thicket of thorny bushes, when a very large grey- 
looking antelope stood up under one of them. I could not see his head, 
but I at once knew that it was the long-sought-for roan antelope, or bas- 
tard gemsbok. Carollus quickly handed me my little Moore rifle, secure 
from the pelting storm in one of Mr. Hugh Snowie's patent waterproof 
covers. The noble buck now bounded forth, a superb old male, carry- 
ing a pair of grand scymitar-shaped horns. He stood nearly five feet 
high at the shoulder. "The Cow " knew well what he had to do, and 
set off after him with right good will over a most impracticable country. 
It was a succession of masses of adamantine rock and stone, and dense 
bushes with thorns on the boat-hook principle. In a few minutes my 
legs below the knee were a mass of blood, and my shirt, my only cover- 
ing, was flying in streamers from my waist. The old buck at first got a 
little ahead, but presently, the ground improving, I gained upon him, 
and after a sharp burst of about two miles we commenced ascending a 
slight acclivity, when he suddenly faced about and stood at bay, eyeing 
me with glowing eyes and a look of defiance. 

This was to me a joyful moment. The buck I had for many years 
heard of and longed to meet now stood at bay within forty yards of me. 
I dismounted, and, drawing my rifle from its holster, sent a bullet 
through his shoulder, upon which he cantered a short distance and lay 
down beside a bush. On my approach he endeavoured to charge, but 
his strength failed him. I then gave him a second shot in the neck, just 
where I always cut off the head. On receiving it he rolled over, and, 
stretching his limbs, closed his eyes upon the storm, which all this time 
raged with increasing severity. 

I felt extremely cold. I had lost my shirt in the chase, and all that 
was left me was my shoes and leather knee-breeches. I nevertheless 
took some time to inspect the beautiful and rare antelope which I had 
been fortunate enough to capture. He proved to be a first-rate speci- 
men : his horns were extremely rough and finely knotted. I now pro- 



A TROOP OF OSTRICHES. 83 



ceeded to cut off his head and " gralloched " him, all of which I accom- 
plished before my followers came up. They stumbled on me by chance, 
having lost sight of me in the denseness of the storm. Having shifted 
my saddle from "The Cow "to " Colesberg," I ordered them to follow, 
and I rode hard for camp, which was distant many miles. At sunset 
the storm ceased, and my boys arrived with the head. The following 
day was the 1st of February. In the morning I despatched two men 
to bring home the skin of the roan antelope and a supply of the veni- 
son, which was in high condition. Strange to say, they found the buck 
all safe, having escaped the attacks both of hyaenas and vultures. 

My meal-bag was reported almost empty ; and this being a dangerous 
country for the horse-sickness, a distemper which rages during Febru- 
ary, March, and April, I resolved to recross the Vaal River and bend 
my course for the land of blesboks, a large and beautiful violet-coloured 
antelope, which is found, together with black wildebeests and spring- 
boks, in countless thousands on the vast green plains of short sour grass 
situated about a hundred and fifty miles to the eastward of my then 
position. My purpose was to amuse myself hunting in these parts until 
the beginning of April, when the most dangerous period of the horse- 
sickness would be past ; and after that to revisit Colesberg, where I in- 
tended to store the specimens of natural history which I had already ac- 
cumulated, and, having refitted and laid in a store of supplies, to start 
for the remote districts of the far interior in quest of elephant, rhino- 
ceros, giraffe, buffalo, eland, and other varieties of large and interesting 
game to be found in those secluded regions. 

Before removing from my present encampment I had another hard 
day among the sharp rocks and wait-a-bit thorns to the northward of 
the Vaal, when I fell in with a troop of about twelve young ostriches, 
which were not much larger than guinea-fowls. I was amused to see 
the mother endeavour to lead us away exactly like a wild duck, spread- 
ing out and drooping her wings, and throwing herself down on the 
ground before us as if wounded, while the cock bird cunningly led the 
brood away in an opposite direction. 

On the afternoon of the 3rd of February we inspanned, and retraced 
our steps to the drift, which we reached in the dark : I however crossed 
the river and encamped on the opposite bank. On the following day I 
marched to a small kraal of Griquas, in hope of obtaining some corn. 
Our march was a heavy one, through a sandy country adorned in parts 
with very ancient-looking, picturesque trees of the " cameel-dorn " 
species. From the site of these kraals I obtained a distant view of both 
the Vaal and Orange River. I found these Griquas very importunate, 
flocking round my waggons and begging for tea, coffee, tobacco, gun- 
powder, etc. Some of these ruffians formed a plot to make me give up 
the Bushboy who had entered my service, but, on my threatening them 
with the vengeance of the Government if they interfered with any men 
in my service, they relinquished the idea. On the morrow it was ascer- 
tained that the oxen, having missed the fountain, had wandered very 
far in search of water : they were recovered more than half way back 
to the Vaal River. I purchased eight " emirs " or measures of wheat 
from one of the Griquas, and also a couple of goats for slaughter. In 



84 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

the afternoon we inspanned, and trekked to " Stink Vonteyn," already 
mentioned. On the march I shot a large hawk, a species of buzzard, 
with ball, and also a steinbok, at a hundred and sixty yards. 

On the following morning the Namaqua partridges, which every 
morning and evening visit the vleys and fountains in large coveys for 
the purpose of drinking, mustered in great force at "Stink Vonteyn." 
Of these birds I have met with three varieties. They are abundant 
wherever extensive open sandy districts occur, as far as I have pene- 
trated into Southern Africa. By watching the flight of these birds in 
the mornings and evenings I have discovered the fountains in the desert, 
when unassisted and forsaken by the natives. As they fly they re- 
peatedly utter a soft melodious cry, resembling the words " pretty, 
pretty dear." They are excellent eating, and a person so disposed, by 
mounting a pair of shot-barrels, might, any morning or evening, secure 
a large bag of them. 

In the forenoon I observed the base of an extensive range of hills to 
the northward concealed for miles, as if by thick clouds or mist, which 
steadily advanced towards us, holding a southerly course. This was a 
flight of countless myriads of locusts, in my opinion one of the most re- 
markable phenomena that a traveller can behold. They resembled very 
much a fall of snow, when it gently descends in large light flakes. The 
sound caused by their wings reminded me of the rustling of the summer 
breeze among the trees of the forest. In the afternoon I hunted in a 
mountain range to the westward of the saltpan named by the Boers and 
Bastards " Sautpan's berg ; " and in the evening I visited the old Bush- 
man's hut, whom I found at home with a litter of very small Bush-chil- 
dren : these he signified to me were his grand-children. I lay down to 
sleep beneath an aged mimosa in their vicinity, and about midnight the 
wind set in from off" the Southern Ocean, and, having no covering but 
my shirt, I felt it piercingly cold. Sleep was out of the question, and 
I was right glad when I heard the sparrow's chirp announcing the dawn 
of day. 

Notwithstanding these nocturnal exposures, my health since leaving 
my regiment had been perfect — not a twitch of rheumatism, a complaint 
from which I suffered while in India, although I had ceased to wear 
flannel, which I had previously done for years : I can therefore confi- 
dently recommend the country to those that suffer from that most 
grievous affliction. Colds, coughs, and sore throats are of rare occur- 
rence ; and scientific persons, in whose opinions I can place the utmost 
reliance, have informed me that the frontier districts of the colony, and 
still more the remoter districts to the northward, are the finest in the 
world for persons labouring under any pulmonary complaint. At times 
I felt very lonely when I returned to camp for want of some old com- 
panion to welcome me and discuss with me in the evenings, over my 
gipsy fire, the adventures and incidents of the day : in general, however, 
when the sport was good I enjoyed excellent spirits. 

On reaching my waggons I breakfasted, after which we inspanned 
and trekked east along a very rarely trodden old waggon-track, making 
for a small fountain situated on the borders of a large pan, which lay in 
a broad hollow in the centre of an extensive open tract of undulating 



"A FLIGHT OF LOCUSTS. 85 

country. Here the entire country was of a soft sandy character, and 
utterly uninhabited; the plains were covered with long rough heath and 
other low scrubby bushes, intermingled with much sweet grass. Kanges 
of hills of goodly height and considerable extent intersected the plains, 
and bounded the view at various distances on every side. Ancient 
forests of picturesque and venerable mimosas, interspersed with high 
grey-leaved bushes, detached and in groups, stretched along the bases of 
these mountain-ranges, their breadth extending about a mile into the 
surrounding extensive campaign country. We reached the small foun- 
tain in the dark, our road leading through the saltpan, where we halted 
for an hour, for the purpose of collecting salt, with which we had little 
difficulty in filling two large sacks. 

-On the march, as we crossed a vast plain, a flight of locusts passed 
over our heads during upwards of half an hour, flying so thick as to 
darken the sun ; they reached in dense clouds as far as we could see, 
and maintained an elevation of from six to three or four hundred feet 
above the level of the plain. Woe to the vegetation of the country on 
which they alight ! In the afternoon two mounted Boers were observed 
leading a spare horse, and following on our track. While they were yet 
afar off, Euyter, the little Bushboy, recognised them as old acquain- 
tances, and pronounced one of them to be the brother of the master 
from whom he had absconded. I at once guessed the object of their 
visit, and was right in my conjecture. By some clue they had ascer- 
tained that the boy was in my possession, and were now following me 
in the hope of recovering him. 

Accordingly, when they rode up and requested me to halt the wag- 
gons for a conference, I received them very gruffly, and replied, that, 
the water being distant, I had no time for conferences until I should ar- 
rive there. Having repeated their request, and finding that I paid them 
no regard, they took up a position in the rear, and followed my waggons 
to the halting-place. Here they began to pester me with a long yarn 
concerning their claims to the Bushboy, when I stopped their pratings 
by ordering them to drop the subject, promising them a hearing in the 
morning ; and having directed my people to place refreshments before 
the Boers, I wished them good night, and retired. 

On the following morning they renewed their importunities, stating 
many things which I knew to be false ; upon which I informed them 
that the nation to which I belonged was averse to slavery, and that I 
could not think of acceding to their demand. They then saddled up, 
and departed as wise as they had come, telling me that the matter 
should not rest there. The little Bushman seemed highly amused with 
the whole proceeding ; and as the Boers mounted their steeds and rode 
away, leading the spare horse, he shrieked with delight, exclaiming in 
Low Dutch — 

" Yah, yilla forfluxta Boera, yilla had de chadachta me te chra, mar 
ik heb noo a ghroote baas, dat sail yilla neuk ; " signifying " Yes, you 
worthless Boers, you thought to get hold of me ; but I have now a 
great master, who will serve you out." The Boers having departed, and 
my oxen and horses having effaced all original traces around the foun- 
tain, I described a circle a little distance from it to ascertain if it was 



86 HUNTING AND SPORTINQ ADVENTURES. 



much frequented. This is the manner in which spoor should at all times 
be sought for. I found a tolerable abundance of the spoor of various 
wild animals, and I therefore resolved to remain here some days for the 
purpose of hunting. I removed my waggons to an adjacent hollow, 
where I drew them up entirely concealed from view, and then con- 
structed a shooting-hole beside the fountain, where for several mornings, 
at early dawn, I shot hartebeests as they came to drink. 

On the morning of the 12th I rode north-east with attendants, and 
after proceeding several miles through an open country, we entered a 
beautiful forest of cameeldorn trees, and rode along beneath a range of 
steep rocky hills. The country gave me the idea of extreme antiquity, 
where the hand of man had wrought no change since the Creation. In 
a finely-wooded broad valley or opening among the hills we fell in with a 
magnificent herd of about sixty blue wildebeests. As they cantered across the 
grassy sward, tossing their fierce-looking, ponderous heads, their shaggy 
manes and long, black, bushy tails streaming in the breeze, they pre- 
sented an appearance at once striking and imposing ; and to a stranger 
they conveyed rather the idea of buffaloes than anything belonging to 
the antelope tribe, to which, indeed, wildebeests, both black and white, 
are but remotely allied, notwithstanding the classification of naturalists. 
Returning to camp with the trophies of a hartebeest, of which antelope 
I discovered several fine troops, I started a strand wolfe, or fuscous 
hyaena, which I rode into and slew. 

About midnight on the 1 6th, weary with tossing on my restless couch, 
I arose, and taking my two-grooved rifle, a pillow, and a blanket, I held 
for my shooting-hole beside the fountain. The remainder of the night 
was very cool, with a southerly breeze. At dawn I looked from my 
hole, and seeing no game approaching, I rolled my blanket tight around 
me and tried to sleep. In this manner I had lain for about half an hour, 
when I was suddenly startled by a large heavy animal galloping past 
within six feet of me. I at once knew that it must be either some beast 
which had been coming to drink and had got my wind, or one hunted, 
which, according to the custom of deer and the larger antelopes, had 
rushed for refuge to the water in its distress. In the latter conjecture 
I was right ; for, on cautiously peeping through the stones which sur- 
rounded my hole, I had the pleasure to behold a fine bull brindled gnoo 
dash into the waters of the fountain within forty yards of me, and stand 
at bay, followed by four tearing, fierce-looking wild dogs. All the four 
had their heads and shoulders covered with blood, and looked savage in 
the extreme. They seemed quite confident of success, and came leisurely 
up to the bull, passing within a few yards of me, their eyes glistening 
with ferocious glee. 

My anxiety to possess this fine old bull, and also a specimen of the 
wild dog, prevented my waiting to see more of the fun. I deliberated 
for a few seconds whether I would shoot the bull first or one of the 
hounds, and ended by shooting the gnoo and the largest hound right 
and left. The bull, on receiving the ball, bounded out of the fountain ; 
but suddenly wheeling about, he re-entered it, and, staggering violently 
for a moment, subsided in its waters. The hound got the bullet 
through his heart, and, springing forward from his comrades, instantly 



THE WILD DOGS. 87 

measured his length upon the gravel. I then quickly reloaded my 
rifle, lying on my side — a proceeding which, I may inform those who 
have not yet tried it, is rather difficult to accomplish. Whilst I was 
thus occupied the three remaining hounds reluctantly withdrew, and 
described a semicircle to leeward of me for the purpose of obtaining my 
wind and more correctly ascertaining the cause of their discomfiture. 
Having loaded, I re-opened my fire, and wounded another, when they 
all made off. 

I could not help feeling very reluctant to fire at the jolly hounds. 
The whole affair reminded me so very forcibly of many gallant courses 
I had enjoyed in the Scottish deer forests with my own noble deer- 
hounds, that I could not divest myself of the idea that those now before 
me deserved a better recompense for the masterly manner in which they 
were pursuing their desperate game. One hound in particular bore a 
strong expression of dear old Factor in his face, a trusty stag-hound 
bred by myself, whose deeds, though not renowned in verse like Ossian's 
Oscar and Luath, were perhaps little inferior either in speed or prowess 
to those famed in ancient song. 

The wild dogs, or " wilde honden," as they are termed by the Dutch 
Boers, are still abundant in the precincts of the Cape colony, and are 
met with in great numbers throughout the interior. These animals 
invariably hunt together in large organized packs, varying in number 
from ten to sixty, and by their extraordinary powers of endurance, and 
mode of mutual assistance, they are enabled to run into the swiftest, or 
overcome the largest and most powerful antelope. I have never heard 
of their attacking the buffalo, and I believe that the animal pursued in 
the present instance is the largest to which they give battle. Their 
pace is a long never-tiring gallop, and in the chase they relieve one 
another, the leading hounds falling to the rear when fatigued, when 
others, who have been husbanding their strength, come up and relieve 
them. Having succeeded in bringing their quarry to bay, they all 
surround him, and he is immediately dragged to the ground, and in a 
few minutes torn to pieces and consumed. 

They are of a bold and daring disposition, and do not entertain much 
fear of man, evincing less concern on his approach than any other carni- 
vorous animal with which I am acquainted. On disturbing a pack, they 
trot leisurely along before the intruder, repeatedly halting and looking 
back at him. The females bring forth their young in large holes, in 
desolate open plains. These burrows are connected with one another 
underground. When a troop of wild dogs frequenting these holes 
observe a man approaching, they do not, as might be supposed, take 
shelter in the holes, but, rather trusting to their speed, they rush forth, 
even though the intruder should be close upon them, and retreat across 
the plain, the young ones, unless very weak, accompanying them. The 
devastation occasioned by them among the flocks of the pastoral Dutch 
Boers is inconceivable. It constantly happens that when the careless 
shepherds leave their charge, in quest of honey or other amusement, a 
pack of these marauders comes across the defenceless flock. A 
sanguinary massacre in such cases invariably ensues, and incredible 
numbers of sheep are killed and wounded. The voracious pack, not 



88 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

contented with killing as many as they can eat, follow resolutely on, 
tearing and mangling all that come within their reach. 

Their voice consists of three different kinds of cry, each being used 
on special occasions. One of these cries is a sharp angry bark, usually 
uttered when they suddenly behold an object which they cannot make 
out. Another resembles a number of monkeys chattering together, or 
men conversing while their teeth are chattering violently from cold. 
This cry is emitted at night when large numbers of them are together, 
and they are excited by any particular occurrence, such as being 
barked at by domestic dogs. The third cry, and the one most 
commonly uttered by them, is a sort of rallying note to bring the 
various members of the pack together when they have been scattered in 
following several individuals of a troop of antelopes. It is a peculiarly 
soft melodious cry, yet, nevertheless, it may be distinguished at a great 
distance. It very much resembles the second note uttered by the cuc- 
koo which visits our islands during the summer months, and, when 
heard in a calm morning echoing through the distant woodlands, it has 
a very pleasing effect. -They treat all domestic dogs, however large 
and fierce, with the utmost scorn, waiting to receive their attack, and 
then, clanishly assisting one another, they generally rend them in 
pieces. The domestic dogs most cordially reciprocate their animosity, 
and abhor their very voices, at what distance soever heard, even more 
than that of the lion, starting to their feet, and angrily barking for 
hours. This interesting though destructive animal seems to form the 
connecting link between the wolf and the hyaena. 
But to return to the bull. Having summoned my men, and with con- 
siderable difficulty dragged the ponderous carcase of the old bull out of 
the water, we found that he had been cruelly lacerated by the hounds. 
It appeared to me that they had endeavoured to hamstring him. His 
hind legs, haunches, and belly were dreadfully torn ; he had lost half his 
tail, and was otherwise mutilated. Poor old bull ! I could not help 
commiserating his fate. It is melancholy to reflect that, in accordance 
with the laws of nature, such scenes of pain must ever be occurring ; one 
species, whether inhabiting earth, air, or ocean, being produced to 
become the prey of another. At night I watched the water, with fairish 
moonlight, and shot a large spotted hyaena. 

I continued here hunting hartebeests until the 21st, when I inspanned 
at an early hour and trekked due east till sundown, when I halted near 
a small fountain of fine water, having performed a march of about 
twenty-five miles. Our road lay through a wild uninhabited country, 
producing sweet grass in abundance, but destitute of water. On the 
morning of the 22nd, having breakfasted, I rode south-west, with after- 
riders, and found the game abundant, but wild and shy, having been 
recently hunted by Boers. 



NOMAD BOERS. 89 



CHAPTER IX. 

The Riet River — Nomad Boer Encampments — Surly Reception at a Boer's Farm — 
Lions slain by the Boers — Cowardice of the Boers in Lion-hunting — Rumours 
of War between the Boers and Griquas — The Mirage of the Plains — Habits of 
the Blesbok — a knowing old Hog — A Snake under my Pillow — A Troop of 
Wild Dogs come upon me at night in my Shooting-hole — The Roar of Lions — 
Curious Facts concerning them. 

We inspanned before the dawn of day on the 23rd of February, and 
after steering east and by north for a distance of about twelve miles we 
found ourselves on the southern bank of the Eiet river, where we out- 
spanned. Along the banks, both above and below me, several families 
of the nomad Boers were encamped with their tents and waggons. 
Their overgrown flocks and herds were grazing on the plains and 
grassy hill-sides around. Five of these Boers presently came up to my 
waggons, and drank coffee with me. They seemed much amused with 
the details of my sporting adventures, which I was now able to give 
them in broken Dutch, in which language, from lately hearing no other 
spoken, I was daily becoming more proficient. On learning that I had 
not as yet enjoyed any blesbok shooting, they said they were certain I 
should be delighted with the sport. 

The borders of the country inhabited by the blesboks they stated to 
be about four days distant in a north-easterly direction, and that on 
reaching it I should fall in with those antelopes in countless herds, along 
with black wildebeest, springbok, and other game. The Boers supplied 
me liberally with milk. In the height of the day we all bathed in the 
Eiet river, and in the afternoon I continued my journey eastward. The 
breadth of the Eiet river here is about thirty yards. It rises about one 
hundred miles to the eastward, and, flowing westerly, joins the Vaal 
river opposite Campbell's dorp. 

On the third day after making the Eiet river we crossed below a very 
picturesque waterfall, and resumed our march along its northern bank. 
The day was cool and pleasant, the sky overcast ; the hot days of 
summer were now past, and the weather was most enjoyable. Continu- 
ing my march in the afternoon, I left the Eiet river on my right, and 
held on through an open sandy country richly covered with abundance 
of sweet grass, and intersected by mountain ranges of very considerable 
extent. At sunset I encamped beside a Boer's farm, who received me 
hospitably, and asked me to dine with him. 

During dinner, according to the custom of the Boers, he pestered me 
with a thousand questions, such as, What was my nation ? Where was 
I from 1 Where was I bound for 1 Why I travelled about alone in 
such a manner. Where was my farm 1 Were my father and mother 
living ? How many brothers and sisters I had ? Was I married ? 
And had I never been married in the whole course of my life ? On my 
replying in the negative to this last question, the Boer seemed petrified 
with astonishment, and the family gazed at one another in utter 
amazement. 



90 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

On the farm was a fine specimen of the African wild boar, which was 
perfectly tame, and took vegetables from the hands of the children. 
On the following day I performed two long marches, and again halted 
on the farm of a Boer, whose name was Potcheter. I found this man 
particularly bitter against the Government. On my going up to him 
to inquire where I should outspan, he was very surly, and would scarcely 
deign to speak to me. Of this, however, I took no notice, but took the 
liberty of informing him that when I had outspanned I should come up 
to the house and make the acquaintance of Mrs. Potcheter. As I 
wheeled about and walked away from him, I overheard him remark to 
three other gruff-looking Boers who stood beside him that I was " a 
verdomd Englishman." 

Notwithstanding this cold reception, on returning to the house I soon 
managed to get into their good graces, and took dinner with them. 
During dinner the conversation turned on politics, when a keen discus- 
sion arose concerning the present administration of the Government. 
This being at all times a disagreeable subject, I thought it time to 
change the conversation to sporting subjects, in which the Boers always 
take intense interest. I accordingly mentioned to one of the young 
ladies who sat next to me that I had in my waggon a large work con- 
taining engravings of all the most interesting animals in the world ; on 
which she instantly expressed a strong desire to see it. I then pro- 
duced my "Museum of Animated Nature," which never failed to 
enchant the Boers, and to put an end to all political discussions ; shoot- 
ing and wild animals engrossing the conversation during the rest of the, 
evening. 

These Boers informed me that I should see herds of blesboks on the 
following day. They also stated that lions frequented the bushy moun- 
tain ranges which look down upon the plains frequented by the bles- 
boks, and they mentioned that a considerable party of Boers had 
mustered that day upon a farm a few miles in advance, to hunt a troop 
of lions which had killed some horses on the preceding day. From the 
conversation which I overheard among themselves, I learnt that a war 
was brewing between the emigrant Boers on the northern bank of the 
Orange River and the Bastard and Griqua tribes. The rumour of this 
war threw my followers, who also heard the news from the servants of 
the Boers, into a state of great alarm. I resolved, however, that my 
movements should not be influenced by these reports. 

At an early hour on the following morning a young Boer rode up to 
the farm, and informed us that the party who had been lion-hunting on 
the preceding day had bagged two fine lions, a male and female. As 
the farm lay directly in my line of march, I mounted Colesberg, and, 
directing my followers to follow with the waggons, I rode hard for the 
farm, to inspect the noble game. On my way thither I met a horse- 
waggon, drawn by eight horses, containing some of the party who had 
mustered for the battue. Arriving on the farm, I found the lion and 
lioness laid out on the grass in front of the house, and the Boer's 
Hottentots busy skinning them. Both lions were riddled with balls, 
and their heads were shot all to pieces. 

This is generally the way in which the Boers serve their lions after 



THE HOME OF THE BLESBOK. 91 



they have killed them, fearing to approach, though dead, until they 
have expended a further supply of ammunition. A Hottentot is then 
ordered to approach and throw a stone at him ; the Boers then ask if he 
is dead, and on the Hottentot replying, " Like so, baas," he is ordered 
to pull him by the tail before the hunters will venture to approach. 
My little Bushman informed me that he had often been out lion-hunt- 
ing during his captivity with the Boers. On one of these occasions a 
Boer, who had dismounted from his horse to fire, was dashed to the 
ground by the lion before he could regain his saddle. The brute, how- 
ever, did not injure him, but merely stood over him, lashing his tail, 
and growling at the rest of the party, who had galloped to a distance in 
the utmost consternation, and, instead of approaching within easy shot 
of the lion, to the rescue of their comrade, opened their fire upon him 
from a great distance, the consequence of which sportsmanlike proceed- 
ing was, that they missed the lion, and shot their comrade dead on the 
spot. The lion presently retreated, and, none daring to follow him, he 
escaped. 

The Boer on whose farm I had arrived was a tall, powerful, manly- 
looking fellow. He informed me that he was a Dane. He was in great 
distress about two favourite dogs which the lions had killed during the 
attack on the preceding day. Three more were badly wounded, and 
their recovery seemed doubtful. He confirmed the reports of an im- 
pending war between the Boers and Griquas, which I had previously 
heard, and he asked me if I was not afraid, in times of war, to remain 
hunting, with only a few followers, in the wilderness. Being anxious to 
commence my operations against the blesboks, I resumed my march 
shortly after mid-day. On taking leave, the Dane presented me with 
some meal and a couple of loaves of bread, a luxury to which I had been 
an utter stranger for many months, and which, together with vege- 
tables, I may further add I hardly ever tasted during the five hunting 
expeditions which I performed in Southern Africa. Another short march 
in a north-easterly direction brought me to the western borders of the 
boundless regions inhabited by the blesboks. I drew up my waggons 
beside a vley of rain-water, in open country, the plains before me being 
adorned with herds of black wildebeest, springbok, and blesbok. 

I had now reached the borders of a country differing entirely from 
any I had hitherto seen. The sweet grass, which had heretofore been so 
abundant, became very scarce, being succeeded by short, crisp, sour 
pasturage, which my cattle and horses refused to eat. A supply of 
forage for these, however, could generally be obtained by driving them 
to the stony killocks and rocky mountain ranges which at various dis- 
tances from one another intersected the campaign country. The plains 
were firm and hard, and admirably suited for riding ; they were 
pastured short and bare by the endless herds of game which from time 
immemorial had held possession of these extensive domains. Although 
intersected occasionally by mountain ranges, these plains often extend 
to amazing distances, without any landmark to break the monotony of 
their boundless and ocean -like expanse. At other times the eye is re- 
lieved by one or more abrupt pyramidal or cone-shaped hills, which 



-92 HUNTING AND SPOUTING ADVENTURES. 

serve as a landmark to the hunter, whereby to regain his encampment 
after the excitement of the chase. 

When the sun is powerful, which it is during the greater part of the 
year, an enduring mirage dances on the plain wherever the hunter turns 
his bewildered eyes. This mirage restricts the range of vision to a very 
moderate distance, and is very prejudicial to correct rifle-shooting. The 
effect produced by this optical illusion is remarkable : hills and herds of 
game often appear as if suspended in mid-air. Dry and sun-baked vleys, 
or pans covered with a crystallized efflorescence, constantly delude the 
thirsty traveller with the prospect of water; and more than once I have 
ridden towards a couple of springboks, magnified a hundred-fold, which 
I had mistaken for the white tilts of my waggons. 

This vast tract of bare, sour pasturage, which is peculiarly the inherit- 
ance of the black wildebeest, the springbok, and the blesbok, but more 
particularly of the latter, occupies a central position, as it were, in 
Southern Africa. On the west of my present encampment, as far as the 
shores of the South Atlantic Ocean, no blesboks are to be found. 
Neither do they extend to the northward of the latitude of the river 
Molopo, in 25° 30', of which I shall at a future period make mention, 
although their herds frequent the plains along its southern bank. To 
the south a few small herds are still to be found within the colony, but 
their head-quarters is to the northward of the Orange River ; whence 
they extend in an easterly direction throughout all the vast plains situ- 
ated to the west of the Witbergen range. 

The blesbok, in his manners and habits, very much resembles the 
springbok, which, however, it greatly exceeds in size, being as large as 
an English fallow-deer. It is one of the true antelopes, and all its 
movements and paces partake of the grace and elegance peculiar to that 
species. Its colour is similar to that of the sassayby, its skin being 
beautifully painted with every shade of purple, violet, and brown. Its 
belly is of the purest white, and a broad white band, or "blaze," adorns 
the entire length of its face. Blesboks differ from springboks in the de- 
termined and invariable manner in which they scour the plains, right in 
the wind's eye, and also in the manner in which they carry their noses 
close along the ground. Throughout the greater part of the year they 
are very wary and difficult of approach, but more especially when the 
does have young ones. At that season, when one herd is disturbed, and 
takes away up the wind, every other herd in view follows them ; and 
the alarm extending for miles and miles down the wind, to endless herds 
beyond the vision of the hunter, a continued stream of blesboks may 
often be seen scouring up wind for upwards of an hour, and covering 
the landscape as far as the eye can see. 

The springboks, which in equal numbers frequent the same ground, 
do not in general adopt the same decided course as the blesboks, but 
take away in every direction across the plains, sometimes with flying 
bounds, beautifully exhibiting the long, snowy-white hair with which 
their backs are adorned, and at others walking slowly and carelessly out 
of the hunter's way, scarcely deigning to look at him, with an air of 
perfect independence, as if aware of their own matchless speed. 

The black wildebeests, which also thickly cover the entire length and 



HABITS OF BLESBOK AND WILDEBEEST. 93 



breadth of the blesbok country, in herds averaging from twenty to fifty, 
have no regular course, like the blesboks. Unless driven by a large 
field of hunters, they do not leave their ground, although disturbed. 
Wheeling about in endless circles, and performing the most extra- 
ordinary variety of intricate evolutions, the shaggy herds of these 
eccentric and fierce-looking animals are for ever capering and gamboll- 
ing round the hunter on every side. While he is riding hard to obtain 
a family shot of a herd in front of him, other herds are charging down 
wind on his right and left, and, having described a number of circular 
movements, they take up positions upon the very ground across which 
the hunter rode only a few minutes before. 

Singly, and in small troops of four or five individuals, the old bull 
wildebeests may be seen stationed at intervals throughout the plains, 
standing motionless during a whole forenoon, coolly watching with a 
philosophic eye the movements of the other game, eternally uttering a 
loud snorting noise, and also a short, sharp cry which is peculiar to 
them. When the hunter approaches these old bulls, they commence 
whisking their long white tails in a most eccentric manner ; then 
springing suddenly into the air, they begin prancing and capering, and 
pursue each other in circles at their utmost speed. Suddenly they all 
pull up together, to overhaul the intruder, when two of the bulls will 
often commence fighting in the most violent manner, dropping on their 
knees at every shock ; then quickly wheeling about, they kick up their 
heels, whirl their tails with a fantastic flourish, and scour across the 
plain enveloped in a cloud of dust. 

Throughout the greater part of the plains frequented by blesboks, 
numbers of the sun-baked hills or mounds of clay formed by the white 
ants occur. The average height of the ant-hills, in these districts, is 
from two to three feet. They are generally distant from one another 
from one to three hundred yards, being more or less thickly placed in 
different parts. These ant-hills are of the greatest service to the hunter, 
enabling him with facility to conceal himself on the otherwise open 
plain. By means of them I was enabled to hide, and select out of the 
herds the bucks and bulls carrying the finest heads for my collection. 

On the 28th, having breakfasted, I rode forth with two after-riders, 
to try for blesboks, and took up positions on the plain, lying flat on my 
breast behind ant-hills, while my after-riders, one of whom led my horse, 
endeavoured to move them towards me. We found the blesboks abun- 
dant, but extremely wary. I wounded several, but did not bag one. I 
however shot two springboks, which were fat, and whose flesh we stood 
much in need of. I had several chances of wildebeests, but I had 
resolved not to fire at them. 

The following day was the 1st of March. After an early breakfast I 
again took the field, with my after-riders and a spare horse. There was 
thunder and lightning on all sides, and I expected the day would set in 
wet : it all passed over, however, with a few showers, and the weather 
was delightfully cool. I lay behind ant-hills, while my men, extending 
to the right and left, endeavoured to drive the game towards me. Late 
in the day I bagged a fine old blesbok ; it was a family shot, running at 



94 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

two hundred yards. I also shot a spriDgbok, and mortally wounded 
another ; both were very long shots. 

The blesbok is one of the finest antelopes in the world, and is allowed 
to be the swiftest buck in Africa. He nevertheless attains very high 
condition, and at this period was exceedingly fat. I was surprised and 
delighted with the exquisite manner in which his beautiful colours are 
blended together. Nothing can exceed the beauty of this animal. Like 
most other African antelopes, his skin emitted a most delicious and 
powerful perfume of flowers and sweet-smelling herbs. A secretion 
issues from between his hoofs which has likewise a pleasing perfume. 

The 3rd was a charmingly cool day. At an early hour in the morn- 
ing I was visited by a party of Boers, some of whom I had previously 
met. They were proceeding to hunt wildebeest and blesbok, and were 
mounted on mares, each of which was followed by a foal. They 
requested me to join them in their " jag," but I excused myself, pre- 
ferring to hunt alone. Having partaken largely of my coffee, the Boers 
mounted their mares and departed, holding a south-easterly course. As 
soon as they were out of sight I saddled up and rode north, with two 
after-riders, to try for blesboks. I found the country extremely pleas- 
ant to ride on. It resembled a well kept lawn. Troops of graceful 
springbok and blesbok were to be seen cantering right and left, and 
large herds of black wildebeests in every direction, now charging and 
capering, and now reconnoitring. I took up positions on the plain 
behind the ant-hills. In the forenoon I wounded one blesbok, and late 
in the day I made a fine double shot, knocking over two old blesboks 
right and left, at a hundred and a hundred and fifty yards. I also shot 
one springbok. 

While " gralloching " a buck, one of the Boers rode up to me to say 
that his brother had wounded a wildebeest, which stood at bay on the 
plain ; and his ammunition being expended, he would feel obliged by 
my coming to his assistance. I accordingly accompanied the Boer to 
where his brother stood sentry over the wounded bull, when I lent him 
my rifle, with which he finished his bull with a bullet in the forehead. 

On the following day I hunted to the north-east of my camp, and 
made a fine shot at a blesbok, knocking him over at a hundred and fifty 
yards. Returning to camp in a low-lying grassy vley, I started a herd 
of " vlacke varcke," or wild hogs. The herd consisted of seven half- 
grown young ones and three old ones, one of which carried a pair of 
enormous tusks, projecting eight or nine inches beyond his lip. Being 
well mounted and the ground favourable, I at once gave chase and was 
soon at their heels. My horse was " The Grey." I selected the old 
boar for my prey, and immediately separated him from his comrades. 
After two miles of sharp galloping, we commenced ascending a consider- 
able acclivity, when I managed to close with him, and succeeded in 
turning his head towards my camp. He now reduced his pace to a trot, 
and regarded me with a most malicious eye, his mouth a mass of foam. 
He was entirely in my power, as I had only to spring from my horse 
and bowl him over. I felt certain of him, but resolved not to shoot as 
long as his course lay in the direction of the waggons. 

At length, surprised at the resolute manner in which he held for my 



THE WILD BOAE. 95 

camp, I headed him ; when, to my astonishment, he did not in the 
slightest swerve from his course, but trotted along behind my horse like 
a dog following me. This at once roused my suspicions, and I felt 
certain that the cunning old fellow was making for some retreat, so I 
resolved to dismount and finish him. Just, however, as I had come to 
this resolution, I suddenly found myself in a labyrinth of enormous 
holes, the burrows of the ant-bear. In front of one of these the wild 
boar pulled up, and, charging stern foremost into it, disappeared from 
my disappointed eyes, and I saw him no more. I rode home for my 
men ; and, returning, we collected grass and bushes and eadeavoured to 
smoke him out, but without success. 

On the 7th we inspanned at dawn of day, and trekked east about ten 
miles, encamping beside a small isolated farmhouse, which had been 
lately vacated by some Boer owing to the impending war with the 
Griquas. Here we found plenty of old cow-dung for fuel — an article 
which, throughout the whole of the blesbok country, is very scarce, 
there often being great difficulty in obtaining sufficient fuel to boil the 
kettle for coffee. Beside the farmhouse were two strong springs of 
excellent water, in which cresses flourished. Game was abundant on 
all sides ; wildebeests and springboks pasturing within a few hundred 
yards of the door as we drove up. Below the fountains was a small 
garden, in which I found a welcome supply of onions and other vege- 
tables. 

On the 12th I bagged two bull wildebeests and two springboks to the 
northward of my camp. In the evening I took my pillow and "kom- 
berse," or skin blanket, to the margin of a neighbouring vley, where I 
had observed doe blesboks drink. Of these I had not yet secured a 
single specimen, which I was very anxious to do, as they likewise carry 
fine horns, which, though not so thick as those of the males, are more 
gracefully formed. Shortly after I had lain down, two porcupines came 
grunting up to me, and stood within six feet of where I lay. About 
midnight an old wildebeest came and stood within ten yards of me, 
but I was too lazy to fire at him. All night I heard some creature 
moving in the cracked earth beneath my pillow ; but, believing it to be 
a mouse, I did not feel much concerned about the matter. I could not, 
however, divest myself of a painful feeling that it might be a snake, 
and wrapped my blanket tight round my body. Awaking at an early 
hour the following morning, I forgot to look for the tenant who had 
spent the night beneath my pillow. No blesbok appearing, I stalked 
an old sprinkbok through the rushes and shot him. Having concealed 
him, I held for camp, and despatched two men to bring home the veni- 
son and my bedding. 

While taking my breakfast I observed my men returning, one of them 
carrying a very large and deadly serpent. I at once felt certain it was 
he that I had heard the previous night beneath my pillow ; and on ask- 
ing them where they had killed it, they replied "In your bed." On 
approaching the bedding, they had discovered the horrid reptile sunning 
itself on the edge of my blanket, until on perceiving them it glided in 
beneath it. It was a large specimen of the black variety of the puff 



96 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

adder, one of the most poisonous serpents of Africa, death ensuing with- 
in an hour after its bite. 

On the 15th I had a very good day's sport. As the day dawned I 
peeped from my hole, and saw troops of blesboks feeding on every side 
of me, but none came within range. I shot one springbok ; and having 
concealed him in the rushes, I walked to camp. After breakfast, I took 
the field with Kleinboy and Bushman, and rode north to try for bles- 
boks. While lying behind an ant-hill on the bare plain, a herd of about 
thirty wildebeests came thundering down upon me, and the leading bull 
nearly jumped over me. Into one of these I fired ; he got the ball too 
far back, however, and made off, but was found by one of my men the 
following day. Presently Kleinboy rode up, and stated that while he 
was driving the blesboks he had observed an old stag hartebeest standing 
in the shade of some tall green bushes in the adjacent range of hills. I 
resolved to stalk him in the most approved Highland fashion ; so, having 
made an accurate survey of the ground with my spyglass, I rode within 
a quarter of a mile of him, and then proceeded to creep in upon him on 
my hands and knees. 

In this manner I got within sixty yards of him, where I lay flat on 
my breast for several minutes until he should give me his broadside. 
Presently he walked forth from the cover of the bush beneath which he 
had been standing, when I sent a ball in at his right shoulder, which 
rested on the skin in his left haunch. Wheeling about, he bounded over 
an adjacent ridge and was out of sight in a moment. On gaining this 
ridge I was just in time to see the noble hartebeest stagger for a mo- 
ment, and then subside into the long grass in a hollow below me. He was 
a princely old stag, carrying splendid horns and a beautiful coat of new 
hair. I thought I could never sufficiently admire him. Having removed 
the head and skin, we made for the camp, and on my way thither I was 
tempted to try a long shot at one of two old blesboks that kept caper- 
ing to leeward of us. Sitting down on the grass, and resting both my 
elbows on my knees (a manner of firing much practised by the Boers), 
I let fly at a blesbok, and made one of the finest shots I had ever seen, 
sending the ball through the middle of his shoulder at upwards of two 
hundred and fifty yards. On receiving it he cantered forward a short 
distance and fell dead. 

The rifle I used in those days was a double-barrelled two-grooved one, 
by Dixon of Edinburgh, with which I managed to make such superior 
shooting to that which I could perform with the old style of rifle, that 
I considered the latter as a mere " popgun " in comparison with the 
other. In the evening I took up my position in my shooting-hole to the 
northward of camp. About an hour after the moon rose, a troop of 
wildebeests came and stood within thirty yards of me. I fired, and a 
very large bull with one horn fell to the shot. If I had allowed this 
bull to lie there, my chance of further sport was over for that night and 
the following morning. I therefore took the old fellow by his horn, and, 
exerting my utmost strength and taking time, I managed to drag him 
as he fell, and still living, to a hollow beside the water, in which I con- 
cealed him. In half an hour another troop of wildebeests came and 
stood snuffing on the spot where he had fallen. I fired, and a fine old 



AN ADVENTURE WITH WILD DOGS. 97 



bull received the ball in the shoulder, and bounding forward one hun- 
dred yards rolled over in. the dust. In about an hour a third troop of 
wildebeests came and stood within thirty yards of me. At one of these 
I let fly, and heard the ball crack loudly on his shoulder. 

On the 16th I hunted on the plains to the north-east, killing one 
springbok, and at night I watched the distant vley to the northward of 
my camp, and got a fright which I shall remember to my dying day. 
Soon after the moon rose, a troop of wildebeests came within range ; at 
one of these I fired, and he dropped to the shot, the ball passing 
through the spine. A little after this I discharged my other barrel at a 
large spotted hyaena, and then I returned my rifle to its holster without 
loading either barrel, and presently I was asleep. 

I had not slept long when my light dreams were influenced by strange 
sounds. I dreamt that lions were rushing about in quest of me, and, 
the sounds increasing, I awoke with a sudden start, uttering a loud 
shriek. I could not for several seconds remember in what part of the 
world I was, or anything connected with my present position. I heard 
the rushing of light feet as of a pack of wolves close on every side of 
me, accompanied by the most unearthly sounds. On raising my head, 
to my utter horror I saw on every side nothing but savage wild dogs, 
chattering and growling. On my right and on my left, and within a 
few paces of me, stood two lines of these ferocious-looking animals cock- 
ing their ears and stretching their necks to have a look at me ; while 
two large troops, in which there were at least forty of them, kept dash- 
ing backwards and forwards across my wind within a few yards of me, 
chattering and growling with the most extraordinary volubility. An- 
other troop of wild dogs were fighting over the wildebeest I had shot, 
which they had begun to devour. 

On beholding them I expected no other fate than to be instantly torn 
to pieces and consumed. I felt my blood curdling along my cheeks and 
my hair bristling on my head. However, I had presence of mind to 
consider that the human voice and a determined bearing might overawe 
them, and accordingly, springing to my feet, I stepped on to the little 
ledge surrounding the hole, where, drawing myself up to my full height, 
I waved my large blanket with both hands, at the same time addressing 
my savage assembly in a loud and solemn manner. This had the desired 
effect: the wild dogs removed to a more respectful distance, barking at 
me something like collies. Upon this I snatched up my rifle and com- 
menced loading, and before this was accomplished the entire pack had 
passed away and did not return. 

These had not been gone many minutes when twelve or fifteen large 
hysenas were hard at work on the wildebeest. I fired two shots at them 
at different times during the night, but none fell to my shots. Heedless 
of me they continued their banquet, and long before morning nothing 
was left of the wildebeest save a few of the larger bones. On the two 
following mornings I was annoyed by a cunning old bull wildebeest, 
which, having discovered my retreat, kept sentry over me, and 
successively drove away every troop of his fellows that approached my 
vley to drink. He kept feeding just out of rifle-range, and not only 
warned his comrades of their danger by fixing his eye on my place of 



98 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

concealment and snorting loudly, but when this failed he drove the 
other wildebeests from me in the most determined manner, like a collie 
dog driving sheep. Before leaving my hole, however, on the second 
morning, I had my revenge. A troop of cows, heedless of his warnings, 
approached the vley. In his anxiety for their safety he neglected his 
own ; and eoming for the first time within long rifle-range, I put up my 
after-sights and let drive at his ribs. The ball took effect, and, kicking 
up his heels and flourishing his long white tail, the old bull bounded 
forth, and disappearing over a ridge I saw him no more. 

The night of the 19th was to me rather a memorable one, as being the 
first on which I had the satisfaction of hearing the deep-toned thunder 
of the lion's roar. Although there was no one near, to inform me by 
what beast the haughty and impressive sounds which echoed through 
the wilderness were produced, I had little difficulty in divining. There 
was no mistake about it ; and on hearing it I at once knew, as well as if 
accustomed to the sound from my infancy, that the appalling roar which 
was uttered within half a mile of me was no other than that of the 
mighty and terrible king of beasts. Although the dignified and truly 
monarchical appearance of the lion has long rendered him famous 
amongst his fellow quadrupeds, and his appearance and habits have 
often been described by abler pens than mine, nevertheless I consider 
that a few remarks, resulting from my own personal experience, formed 
by a tolerably long acquaintance with him both by day and by night, 
may not prove uninteresting to the reader. 

There is something so noble and imposing in the presence of the lion, 
when seen walking with dignified self-possession, free and undaunted, 
on his native soil, that no description can convey an adequate idea of 
his striking appearance. The lion is exquisitely formed by nature for 
the predatory habits which he is destined to pursue. Combining in 
comparatively small compass the qualities of power and agility, he is 
enabled, by means of the tremendous machinery with which nature has 
gifted him, easily to overcome and destroy almost every beast of the 
forest, however superior to him in weight and stature. 

Though considerably under four feet in height, he has little difficulty 
in dashing to the ground and overcoming the lofty and apparently 
powerful giraffe, whose head towers above the trees of the forest, and 
whose skin is nearly an inch in thickness. The lion is the constant 
attendant of the vast herds of buffaloes which frequent the interminable 
forests of the interior; and a full-grown one, so long as his teeth are un- 
broken, generally proves a match for an old bull buffalo, which in size 
and strength greatly surpasses the most powerful breed of English cattle : 
the lion also preys on all the larger varieties of the antelopes, and on 
both varieties of the gnoo. The zebra, which is met with in large herds 
throughout the interior, is also a favourite object of his pursuit. 

Lions do not refuse, as has been asserted, to feast upon the venison 
that they have not killed themselves. I have repeatedly discovered 
lions of all ages which had taken possession of, and were feasting upon, 
the carcases of various game quadrupeds which had fallen before my 
rifle. The lion is very generally diffused throughout the secluded parts 
of Southern Africa. He is, however, nowhere met with in great abun- 



THE LION AND ITS WAYS. 99 

dance, it being very rare to find more than three, or even two, families 
of lions frequenting the same district and drinking at the same fountain. 
When a greater number were met with, I remarked that it was owing 
to long-protracted droughts, which, by drying nearly all the fountains, 
had compelled the game of various districts to crowd the remaining 
springs, and the lions, according to their custom, followed in the wake. 
It is a common thing to come upon a full-grown lion and lioness asso- 
ciating with three or four large young ones nearly full-grown ; at other 
times, full-grown males will be found associating and hunting together 
in a happy state of friendship : two, three, and four full-grown male 
lions may thus be discovered consorting together. 

The male lion is adorned with a long, rank, shaggy mane, which in 
some instances almost sweeps the ground. The colour of these manes 
varies, some being very dark, and others of a golden yellow. This 
appearance has given rise to a prevailing opinion among the Boers that 
there are two distinct varieties of lions, which they distinguish by the 
respective names of " Schwart fore life " and " Chiel fore life :" this idea, 
however^ is erroneous. The colour of the lion's mane is generally in- 
fluenced by his age. He attains his mane in the third year of his exis- 
tence. I have remarked that at first it is of a yellowish colour ; in the 
prime of life it is blackest, and when he has numbered many years, but 
still is in the full enjoyment of his power, it assumes a yellowish-grey, 
pepper-and-salt sort of colour. These old fellows are cunning and dan- 
gerous, and most to be dreaded. The females are utterly destitute of a 
mane, being covered with a short, thick, glossy coat of tawny hair. The 
manes and coats of lions frequenting open-lying districts utterly destitute 
of trees, such as the borders of the great Kalahari desert, are more rank 
and handsome than those inhabiting forest districts. 

One of the most striking things connected with the lion is his voice, 
which is extremely grand and peculiarly striking. It consists at times 
of a low, deep moaning, repeated five or six times, ending in faintly 
audible sighs ; at other times he startles the forest with loud, deep-toned, 
solemn roars, repeated five or six times in quick succession, each in- 
creasing in loudness to the third or fourth, when his voice dies away in 
five or six low, muffled sounds, very much resembling distant thunder. 
At times, and not unfrequently, a troop may be heard roaring in con- 
cert, one assuming the lead, and two, three, or four more regularly taking 
up their parts, like persons singing a catch. 

Like our Scottish stags at the rutting season, they roar loudest in 
cold, frosty nights ; but on no occasions are their voices to be heard in 
such perfection, or so intensely powerful, as when two or three strange 
troops of lions approach a fountain to drink at the same time. When 
this occurs, every member of each troop sounds a bold roar of defiance 
at the opposite parties ; and when one roars, all roar together, and each 
seems to vie with his comrades in the intensity and power of his voice. 
The power and grandeur of these nocturnal forest concerts is inconceiv- 
ably striking and pleasing to the hunter's ear. The effect, I may 
remark, is greatly enhanced when the hearer happens to be situated in 
the depths of the forest, at the dead hour of midnight, unaccompanied 
by any attendant, and ensconced within twenty yards of the fountain 



100 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

which the surrounding troops of lions are approaching. Such has been 
my situation many scores of times ; and though I am allowed to have a 
tolerably good taste for music, I consider the catches with which I was 
then regaled as the sweetest and most natural I ever heard. 

As a general rule, lions roar during the night ; their sighing moans 
commencing as the shades of evening envelop the forest, and continuing 
at intervals throughout the night. In distant and secluded regions, 
however, I have constantly heard them roaring loudly as late as nine 
and ten o'clock on a bright sunny morning. In hazy and rainy weather 
they are to be heard at every hour in the day, but their roar is subdued. 
It often happens that when two strange male lions meet at a fountain a 
terrific combat ensues, which not unfrequently ends in the death of one 
of them. The habits of the lion are strictly nocturnal ; during the day 
he lies concealed beneath the shade of some low bushy tree or wide- 
spreading bush, either in the level forest or on the mountain side. He 
is also partial to lofty reeds or fields of long rank yellow grass, such as 
occur in low-lying vleys. From these haunts he sallies forth when the 
sun goes down, and commences his nightly prowl. When he is success- 
ful in his beat, and has secured his prey, he does not roar much that 
night, only uttering occasionally a few low moans : that is, provided no 
intruders approach him, otherwise the case would be very different. 

Lions are ever most active, daring, and presuming in dark and stormy 
nights ; and consequently on such occasions the traveller ought more 
particularly to be on his guard. I remarked a fact connected with the 
lions' hour of drinking peculiar to themselves : they seemed unwilling 
to visit the fountains with good moonlight. Thus, when the. moon rose 
early, the lions deferred their hour of watering until late in the morn- 
ing ; and when the moon rose late, they drank at a very early hour in 
the night. By this acute system many a grisly lion saved his bacon, 
and is now luxuriating in the forests of South Africa, which had other- 
wise fallen by the barrels of my " Westley Richards." Owing to the 
tawny colour of the coat with which nature has robed him he is per- 
fectly invisible in the dark • and although I have often heard them 
loudly lapping the water under my very nose, not twenty yards from 
me, I could not possibly make out so much as the outline of their forms. 

When a thirsty lion comes to water, he stretches out his massive 
arms, lies down on his breast to drink, and makes a loud lapping noise 
in drinking, not to be mistaken. He continues lapping up the water for 
a long while, and four or five times during the proceeding he pauses for 
half a minute as if to take breath. One thing conspicuous about them 
is their eyes, which, in a dark night, glow like two balls of fire. The 
female is more fierce and active than the male, as a general rule. 
Lionesses which have never had young are much more dangerous than 
those which have. At no time is the lion so much to be dreaded as 
when his partner has got small young ones. At that season he knows 
no fear, and, in the coolest and most intrepid manner, he will face a 
thousand men. A remarkable instance of this kind came under my own 
observation which confirmed the reports I had before heard from the 
natives. 

One day, when out elephant-hunting in the territory of the " Base- 



THE LION MAN-EATERS. 101 

leka," accompanied by two hundred and fifty men, I was astonished 
suddenly to behold a majestic lion slowly and steadily advancing to- 
ward us with a dignified step and undaunted bearing, the most noble 
and imposing that can be conceived. Lashing his tail from side to side, 
and growling haughtily, his terribly expressive eye resolutely fixed upon 
us, and displaying a show of ivory well calculated to inspire terror 
amongst the timid " Bechuanas," he approached. A headlong flight of 
the two hundred and fifty men was the immediate result ; and, in the 
confusion of the moment, four couples of my dogs, which they had been 
leading, were allowed to escape in their couples. These instantly faced 
the lion, who, finding that by his bold bearing he had succeeded in put- 
ting his enemies to flight, now became solicitous for the safety of his 
little family, with which the lioness was retreating in the back-ground. 
Facing about, he followed after them with a haughty and independent 
step, growling fiercely at the dogs which trotted along on either side of 
him. Three troops of elephants having been discovered a few minutes 
previous to this, upon which I was marching for the attack, I, with the 
most heartfelt reluctance, reserved my fire. On running down the hill 
side, to endeavour to recall my dogs, I observed, for the first time, the 
retreating lioness with four cubs. About twenty minutes afterwards 
two noble elephants repaid my forbearance. 

Among Indian Nimrods a certain class of royal tigers is dignified with 
the appellation of " man-eaters." These are tigers, which, having once 
tasted hunlan flesh, show a predilection for the same, and such char- 
acters are very naturally famed and dreaded among the natives. Elderly 
gentlemen of similar tastes and habits are occasionally met with among 
the lions in the interior of South Africa, and the danger of such neigh- 
bours may be easily imagined. I account for lions first acquiring this 
taste in the following manner : the Bechuana tribes of the far interior do 
not bury their dead, but unceremoniously carry them forth, and leave 
them lying exposed in the forest or on the plain, a prey to the lion and 
hyaena, or the jackal and vulture; and I can readily imagine that a lion, 
having thus once tasted human flesh, would have little hesitation, when 
opportunity presented itself, of springing upon and carrying off the un- 
wary traveller or " Bechuana " inhabiting his country. Be this as it 
may, man-eaters occur; and on my fourth hunting expedition a horrible 
tragedy was acted one dark night in my little lonely camp by one of 
these formidable characters, which deprived me, in the far wilderness, of 
my most valuable servant. 

In winding up these few observations on the lion, Which I trust will 
not have been tiresome to the reader, I may remark that lion-hunting, 
under any circumstances, is decidedly a dangerous pursuit. It may, 
nevertheless, be followed, to a certain extent, with comparative safety 
by those who have, naturally, a turn for that sort of thing. A reckless- 
ness of death, perfect coolness and self-possession, an acquaintance with 
the disposition and manners of lions, and a tolerable knowledge of the 
use of the rifle, are indispensable to him who would shine in the over- 
poweringly exciting pastime of hunting this justly-celebrated king of 
beasts. 



102 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



CHAPTER X. 

Boer Encampment — A Night in a Storm — A Fancy Costume — Fearful Encounter 
with a Lioness — " Colesberg " dreadfully mangled — Cowardice of Hottentots — 
We march back to Colesberg — Danger of being plundered by the Rebel Boers 
— Arrival at Colesberg — The Troops march against the Boers — The Battle of 
Schwart Coppice — Start for the distant Land of Elephants — The Hottentots 
make free with my Brandy, and mutiny — Leopards — Kuruman — Mr. Moffat, 
the good Missionary — Boasted Locusts. 

On the 22nd of March I rode south to a distant farm, for the double 
purpose of obtaining some corn or meal, and of hearing the news of the 
impending war between the Boers and Griquas. On reaching the farm 
I found that a large party of Boers were here encamped together : they 
had mustered for mutual protection. Their tents and waggons were 
drawn up on every side of the farm-house, forming a very lively appear- 
ance. The Boers informed me that all their countrymen, and also the 
Griquas, were thus packed together in " lagers," or encampments, and 
that hostilities were about to commence. They remonstrated with me 
on what they were pleased to term my madness, in living alone in an 
isolated position in such sharp times, and invited me to place myself for 
protection under their banner. I endeavoured to persuade them to get 
up a party to hunt the lion ; but this they declined to do, remarking 
that " a lion (like Johnnie Gordon's bagpipes) was not to be played 
with." Returning to my camp I bowled over a springbok at one hun- 
dred and fifty yards. 

On the 23rd, having breakfasted, I rode north, with after-riders, to 
try for blesboks. It was a cool day, with a strong easterly breeze, and 
we found the game extremely wild. As we proceeded, vast herds kept 
streaming on up the wind, darkening the plain before us, in countless 
thousands. About two miles north of the bushy mountain where I had 
heard the lion roar, far in the vast level plain, were some bushy mimosa 
trees. Within a few hundred yards of these we discovered an old bull 
wildebeest, newly killed by a lion and half eaten. His large and strik- 
ing foot-prints were deeply embedded in the sand, and so fresh that 
they seemed to have been imprinted only a few minutes before. More- 
over, there was not a single vulture near the carcase. We therefore felt 
convinced that the lion must be lying somewhere near us, having hidden 
himself on our approach. We searched for some time in the adjacent 
hollows, where the grass was very rank, but in vain. ' The game now be- 
came more and more wild, taking away into another district in long 
strings, like our island red-deer when hard driven ; I accordingly gave 
it up, and turned my horse's head for camp. On my way thither I 
bagged one blesbok and two bull wildebeests : one of these got the 
bullet through his heart, but nevertheless stood at bay for some time 
after. 

On reaching camp I suddenly resolved to take men and horses with 
me, and spend the night in the vicinity of the lion, and search early for j 
him on the following morning. Accordingly, while dinner was prepar- 
ing, I occupied myself in cleaning and loading my three double-barrelled 



A TEERIFIC TEMPEST. 103 



rifles ; after which, having dined, I rode with Kleinboy and John 
Stofolus to my hole by the vley, where my bedding lay day and night. 
This spot was within a few miles of where we expected to fall in with 
the lion in the morning. We secured the three horses to one another, 
as there was no tree or bush within miles of us ; but these I could dis- 
pense with, for I knew very well by the looks of the Hottentots that 
they would not sleep much, but would keep a vigilant eye over our 
destinies. I spent a most miserable night. The wind, which had been 
blowing so fresh in the height of the day, had subsided to a calm when 
the sun went down, and was now succeeded by an almost death-like 
stillness, which I too well knew was the harbinger of a coming tempest. 

We had not lain down an hour when the sky to leeward became black 
as pitch. Presently the most vivid flashes of lightning followed one 
another in quick succession, accompanied by terrific peals of thunder. 
The wind, which, during the day, had been out of the north-east, now, 
as is usual on such occasions, veered right round and came whistling up 
from the south-west, where the tempest was brewing ; and in a few 
minutes more it was upon us in all its fury, the rain descending in 
torrents on our devoted heads, while vivid flashes of lightning momen- 
tarily illumined, with the brilliancy of day, the darkness that reigned 
around. In a very few minutes the whole plain was a sheet of water, 
and every atom of my clothes and bedding was thoroughly saturated. 
My three rifles had excellent holsters, and with the help of two sheep- 
skins, which I used instead of saddle cloths, I kept them quite dry. In 
two hours the tempest had passed away, but light rain fell till morning, 
until which time I lay on the wet ground, soaked to the skin. About 
midnight we heard the lion roar a mile or so to the northward ; and a 
little before the day dawned I again heard him in the direction of the 
carcase which we had found on the preceding day. Soon after this I 
gave the word to march. We then arose and saddled our horses. I 
found my trousers lying in a pool of water, so I converted a blanket 
into a long kilt by strapping it round my waist with my shooting-belt. 
The costume of my followers was equally unique. 

We held for the north end of the lion's mountain at a sharp pace, 
which we gained before it was clear enough to see surrounding objects. 
As the light broke in upon us we reduced our pace, and rode slowly up 
the middle of the vast level plain towards the carcase of the wildebeest, 
with large herds of wildebeests, springbok, blesbok, and quaggas on 
every side of us, which were this day as tame as they had been wild on 
the previous one. This is generally the case after a storm. The morn 
was cloudy ; misty vapours hung on the shoulders of the neighbouring 
mountains, and the air was loaded with balmy perfume, emitted by the 
grateful plants and herbs. As we approached the carcase, I observed 
several jackals steal away, and some half-drowned-looking vultures were 
sitting round it. But there was no appearance of the lion. I spent the 
next half-hour in riding across the plain looking for his spoor ; but I 
sought in vain. Being cold and hungry, I turned my horse's head for 
camp, and rode slowly along through the middle of the game, which 
would scarcely move out of rifle-range on either side of me. 

Suddenly I observed a number of vultures seated on the plain about 



104 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

a quarter of a mile ahead of us, and close beside them stood a huge 
lioness, consuming a blesbok which she had killed. She was assisted in 
her repast by about a dozen jackals, which were feasting along with 
her in the most friendly and confidential manner. Directing my 
followers' attention to the spot, I remarked, " I see the lion ; " to which 
they replied, " Whar 1 whar ? Yah ! Almagtig ! dat is he ; " and 
instantly reining in their steeds and wheeling about, they pressed their 
heels to their horses' sides, and were preparing to betake themselves to 
flight. I asked them what they were going to do ? 

To which they answered, "We have not yet placed caps on our rifles." 
This was true ; but while this short conversation was passing the lioness 
had observed us. Raising her full, round face, she overhauled us for a 
few seconds and then set off at a smart canter towards a range of moun- 
tains some miles to the northward ; the whole troop of jackals also 
started off in another direction ; there was, therefore, no time to think 
of caps. The first move was to bring her to bay, and not a second was 
to be lost. Spurring my good and lively steed, and shouting to my men 
to follow, I flew across the plain, and, being fortunately mounted on 
Colesberg, the flower of my stud, I gained upon her at every stride. 
This was to me a joyful moment, and I at once made up my mind that 
she or I must die. 

The lioness having had a long start of me, we went over a consider- 
able extent of ground before I came up with her. She was a large full- 
grown beast, and the bare and level nature of the plain added to her 
imposing appearance. Finding that I gained upon her, she reduced her 
pace from a canter to a trot, carrying her tail stuck out behind her, and 
slewed a little to one side. I shouted loudly to her to halt, as I wished 
to speak with her, upon which she suddenly pulled up, and sat on her 
haunches like a dog, with her back towards me, not even deigning to 
look round. She then appeared to say to herself, " Does this fellow 
know who he is after ? " Having thus sat for half a minute, as if 
involved in thought, she sprang to her feet, and, facing about, stood 
looking at me for a few seconds, moving her tail slowly from side to 
side, showing her teeth, and growling fiercely. She next made a short 
run forwards, making a loud, rumbling noise like thunder. This she 
did to intimidate me ; but, finding that I did not flinch an inch nor 
seem to heed her hostile demonstrations, she quietly stretched out her 
massive arms, and lay down on the grass. My Hottentots now coming 
up, we all three dismounted, and, drawing our rifles from their holsters, 
we looked to see if the powder was up in the nipples, and put on our 
caps. 

While this was doing the lioness sat up, and showed evident 
symptoms of uneasiness. She looked first at us, and then behind her, 
as if to see if the coast were clear ; after which she made a short run 
towards us, uttering her deep-drawn murderous growls. Having 
secured the three horses to one another by their rheims, we led them on 
as if we intended to pass her, in the hope of obtaining a broadside. 
But this she carefully avoided to expose, presenting only her full front. 
I had given Stofolus my Moore rifle, with orders to shoot her if she 
should spring upon me, but on no account to fire before me. Kleinboy 



AN ADVENTURE WITH A LIONESS. 105 

was to stand ready to hand me my Purdey rifle, in case the two- 
grooved Dixon should not prove sufficient. My men as yet had been 
steady, but they were in a precious stew, their faces having assumed a 
ghastly paleness, and I had a painful feeling that I could place no 
reliance on them. 

Now, then, for it, neck or nothing ! She is within sixty yards of us, 
and she keeps advancing. We turned the horses' tails to her. I knelt 
on one side, and, taking a steady aim at her breast, let fly. The ball 
cracked loudly on her tawny hide, and crippled her in the shoulder, 
upon which she charged with an appalling roar, and in the twinkling of 
an eye she was in the midst of us. At this moment Stofolus's rifle 
exploded in his hand, and Kleinboy, whom I had ordered to stand ready 
by me, danced about like a duck in a gale of wind. The lioness sprang 
upon Colesberg, and fearfully lacerated his ribs and haunches with her 
horrid teeth and claws ; the worst wound was on his haunch, which 
exhibited a sickening, yawning gash, more than twelve inches long, 
almost laying bare the very bone. I was very cool and steady, and did 
not feel in the least degree nervous, having fortunately great confidence 
in my own shooting ; but I must confess, when the whole affair was 
over I felt that it was a very awful situation and attended with extreme 
peril, as I had no friend with me on whom I could rely. 

When the lioness sprang on Colesberg, I stood out from the horses, 
ready with my second barrel for the first chance she should give me of 
a clear shot. This she quickly did ; for, seemingly satisfied with the 
revenge she had now taken, she quitted Colesberg, and, slewing her tail 
to one side, trotted sulkily past within a few paces of me. Taking one 
step to the left, I pitched my rifle to my shoulder, and in another 
second the lioness was stretched on the plain a lifeless corpse. In the 
struggles of death she half turned on her back, and stretched her neck 
and fore arms convulsively, when she fell back to her former position ; 
her mighty arms hung powerless by her side, her lower jaw fell, blood 
streamed from her mouth, and she expired. At the moment I fired my 
second shot, Stofolus, who hardly knew whether he was alive or dead, 
allowed the three horses to escape. These galloped frantically across 
the plain ; on which he and Kleinboy instantly started after them, 
leaving me standing alone and unarmed within a few paces of the 
lioness, which they, from their anxiety to be out of the way, evidently 
considered quite capable of doing further mischief. 

Such is ever the case with these worthies, and with nearly all the 
natives of South Africa. No reliance can be placed on them. They 
will to a certainty forsake their master in the most dastardly manner in 
the hour of peril, and leave him in the lurch. A stranger, however, 
hearing these fellows recounting their own gallant adventures, when 
sitting in the evening along with their comrades round a blazing fire, or 
under the influence of their adored " Cape smoke " or native brandy, 
might fancy them to be the bravest of the brave. Having skinned the 
lioness and cut off her head, we placed her trophies upon Beauty, and 
held for camp. Before we had proceeded a hundred yards from the 
carcase, upwards of sixty vultures, whom the lioness had often fed, were 
feasting on her remains. 



106 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

We led poor Colesberg slowly home, where having washed his 
wounds, and carefully stitched them together, I ordered the cold water 
cure to be adopted. Under this treatment his wounds rapidly healed, 
and he eventually recovered. The sky remained overcast throughout 
the day. When the shades of evening set in, terror seemed to have 
taken possession of the minds of my followers, and they swore that the 
mate of the lioness, on finding her bones, would follow on our spoor and 
revenge her death. Under this impression they refused to remain 
about the waggons or in the tent after the sun went down ; and having 
cut down the rafters and cupboards of the Boer's house for fuel, they 
kindled a large fire in the kitchen, where they took up their quarters 
for the night. 

I continued hunting here until the 29th, when I deemed it high time 
to return to Colesberg, for the purpose of packing and storing my curio- 
sities, increasing my establishment, and refitting generally, preparatory 
to starting for the distant land of elephants in the far forests of the in- 
terior. The distemper or horse sickness, which rages in those parts 
during the summer months, might be expected shortly to be past, there 
was therefore not much time to lose. The morning was spent in stow- 
ing the waggons, greasing the wheels, securing the pots, gridirons, spades^ 
etc., and overhauling the yokes, rheims, straps, and other gear, prepara- 
tory to inspanning, and in the afternoon we inspanned, and, turning our 
faces to the south, marched upon Colesberg. 

On the march I killed two springboks ; and having proceeded ten 
miles we halted for the night. It rained heavily till morning. My 
oxen were in fine condition, and having done very little work of late, 
they were very fresh and obstreperous. On the following day we crossed 
the Riet river. The country was very heavy, owing to the recent rains, 
and some of my gear, which was rotten, broke repeatedly, causing much 
delay. At sundown we halted at a lager, or encampment of Boers. 
Here about a dozen families were congregated together for mutual pro- 
tection. These men were all rebels and our enemies, being, at that very 
moment, at war with our allies, the Griquas and Bastards, whom we 
shortly afterwards assisted against the Boers. I deemed it rather a 
rash step thus coolly to march through the enemy's country, bearding 
as it were the lion in his den. There was, however, no help for it ; so 
I resolved to take the bull by the horns, and put on a bold face. The 
least that I might have expected was to have my waggons most 
thoroughly ransacked and plundered, if not taken from me altogether. 
This they would certainly have done if they had thought that I was an 
Englishman ; but by saying I was a berg Scot, or mountain Scotsman, 
backed by the garb of Old Gaul, which I always wore, I convinced them 
that I was a Scotsman. Many of the clergyman among the Boers being 
Scots, they entertain a predilection for my countrymen. 

These Boers happened to be short of coffee, a beverage of which they 
are extremely fond. I had fortunately a large supply in my waggons ; 
and as I was on my way to Colesberg, I had no objection to dispose of 
it. Accordingly, by presenting the ladies of the leading families with 
a few half-pounds of coffee, and selling them the remainder of my stock 
at a moderate price, I managed to secure the good graces of the whole, 



TROUBLES BETWEEN BOERS AND GRIQUAS. 107 

and they were pleased to express their opinion that I was a "ghooe 
carle," or good fellow. On hearing that a few days previous I had 
bagged a savage lioness, and on beholding her trophies, they seemed 
quite astonished, remarking to one another — 

" Mi scapsels ! vat zoorten mens is de ? " signifying, " My stars and 
garters ! what sort of man is this ? " 

In the course of the evening and during the night several armed 
parties of Boers halted at this lager to refresh, and then passed on to 
join the head-quarters of their army, which was encamped about forty 
miles to the southward, at a place called " Schwart Coppice." Each of 
these Boers was provided with one or more packhorses bearing his com- 
missariat and ammunition, and many of them had Hottentot and Bush- 
man after-riders. Their sole weapon consisted of their roer or long gun; 
each wore a leathern shooting-belt round his waist, and a large bullock's 
horn containing powder dangled by his side. 

On the 31st I continued my march, and on the evening of the 2nd of 
April I reached Philipolis, a missionary station, and the chief town of 
the Bastards' country. My road had led between the encampments of 
the contending parties. Troops of mounted Boers had been scouring 
the country in every direction, plundering all they could lay their hands 
on, and sweeping off the cattle and horses of the Bastards. Halting at 
an encampment of Bastards on the preceding day, I was much amused 
by their taking me for a missionary. My costume was not very clerical, 
consisting of a dirty shirt and an old Gordon tartan kilt. From a Bas- 
tard in the vicinity of Philipolis I obtained two large rough dogs, in ex- 
change for three pounds of coffee and a little tea. The names of these 
dogs were "Bles" and "Flam." Bles was of an extremely fierce and 
savage disposition. On the evening of the 3rd we encamped on the 
northern bank of the mighty Orange River, at a place called "Boata's 
Drift," which is nearly opposite Colesberg. Our march had been through 
a succession of mountains, covered with excellent pasture to their sum- 
mits. It had rained heavily throughout the day. 

After inspecting the drift or ford on the following morning, we cal- 
culated that the river was too high for the waggons to cross ; and by 
sending a man over on horseback, according to the most approved cus- 
tom, we ascertained that a passage for the waggons was impracticable. I 
accordingly instructed my men to proceed to Norval's Punt, situated a 
long march higher up the river, there to cross and join me in Colesberg 
on the evening of the following day ; and having breakfasted, I saddled 
"The Immense Brute," and, taking the ford high up, I managed to cross 
the river in safety, the current having twice taken my horse off his legs. 
In two hours I entered the village of Colesberg, where I found the 
officers of the 91st and all my other friends in great force. 

My waggons did not make their appearance in Colesberg until the 
afternoon of the third day. I took up my quarters with my old friend 
Mr. Paterson, who also kindly accommodated the half of my stud in his 
stables, and the other half I picketed in the stables of my old regiment 
the Cape Mounted Rifles. My oxen I permitted to run day and night 
in the neighbouring mountains. On the 7th we off loaded the waggons, 
and made a grand parade of my heads and hunting trophies in front of 



108 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

Paterson's house, which was situated in the centre of the village : this 
attracted crowds of persons throughout the day. In the afternoon of 
the 8th, Mr. Rawstorne, the resident magistrate, received despatches 
from Adam Kok, chief of the Bastards, stating that the Boers had com- 
menced active hostilities, and craving assistance from government. Ac- 
cordingly, in the evening an order was issued that all the available force 
in the garrison should march upon the Orange River next day. This I 
considered an intense bore, as I should thereby lose the society of all 
my friends. On the following morning all was bustle and preparation 
throughout the village, the military preparing for the march, and the 
merchants loading up their waggons with commissariat for the supply 
of the troops, while many a dark-eyed nymph wiped the hot tear from 
her expressive eye, and heaved a deep-drawn sigh as she reflected on 
the absence of her lover and the casualties of war. 

At half past twelve the men mustered on the parade-ground, and 
marched out of the village for Alleman's Drift. Paterson politely re- 
quested me to occupy his quarters as long as I remained in Colesberg, 
and not to spare his cellar, which contained most excellent wine. On 
the following day, while actively employed in forwarding my affairs, a 
friend informed me that all my oxen were safely lodged in the skit- 
kraal, or pound, from which I released them, after a deal of trouble and 
annoyance, by a small pecuniary disbursement. In the evening the vil- 
lage was agitated by a report that a skirmish had taken place between 
the Boers and the Bastards, in which several had fallen on both sides, 
and that it was the intention of the Boers to pillage Colesberg. On the 
15th, in company with Messrs. Gibbon and Draper, two merchants of 
Colesberg, I rode out to visit my friends of the 91st, who were en- 
camped at Alleman's Drift, on the south side of the river. At this spot 
the Orange River and the surrounding scenery are very beautiful, re- 
minding me of Highland scenery. At one bold sweep of the river the 
waters are hemmed in by stupendous granite-rocks, which cause a deep 
and sweeping rapid. Below are long deep pools, enclosed by banks 
adorned with drooping willows and everlasting verdure. 

I found my friends the military employed, according to the most ap- 
proved system in the army, luxuriating in brandy and cheroots. The 
privates, availing themselves of the proximity of the river, were enjoy- 
ing the recreations of angling and dragging the river with nets. They 
captured lots of mullet and barbel, averaging from one to four pounds 
in weight. 

A party of artillery and a detachment of the 7th Dragoon Guards 
were reported en route from Fort Beaufort, to assist the 91st in their 
operations against the Boers. Skirmishes were daily occurring between 
the belligerents on the opposite side, and expresses from Adam Kok 
were continually arriving in camp, soliciting assistance. The manner in 
which these skirmishes were conducted was very amusing, and illustra- 
tive of the high courage of the contending parties. Every day, having 
breakfasted, the Boers and Bastards were in the habit of meeting and 
peppering away at one another till the afternoon, when each party re- 
turned to its respective encampment. The distance at which they stood 
from one another might be somewhere above a couple of miles, and they 



A NEW FIT-OUT. 109 

fired at one another peeping over ranges of coppice or low rocky hills, 
while large herds of springboks and wildebeests kept quietly pasturing 
on the goreless field of battle between them. 

Some of these neutrals, I was informed, occasionally fell before the 
hissing balls of the redoubted warriors. Before dismissing the subject 
of the rebellion of '45, I may state that soon after this, the 91st and 
Cape Corps men being reinforced with a party of artillery and a detach- 
ment of the 7th Dragoon Guards, they crossed the Orange River, and 
advanced upon the Boers' position by forced marches, when the Boers 
were charged by the dragoons, and put to flight, and their waggons and 
commissariat fell into our hands. On this occasion the Boers had two 
pieces of ordnance, of which they were supposed to have obtained pos- 
session some years previously at Port Natal. Over one of these presided 
a Frenchman of low stature; and while little Monsieur was actively em- 
ployed in ramming down one of their home-made ball, which were con- 
structed of lead, a Cape Corps man ran up, and sent a bullet through 
the centre of his skull. Thus ended the memorable battle of Schwart 
Coppice ; and since that time the valorous Bastards have been loud in 
their own praises, declaring that " they are the boys to put the Boers 
up to the time o' day." 

On the forenoon of the 16th I rode through the river to visit a gentle- 
man of the name of Bain, who was then living on one of Mr. Fossey's 
farms. Mr. Bain had made several trips into the interior, and gave me 
much valuable information and dazzling accounts of the sport I might 
expect. He recommended my trekking down the Orange River to a 
drift near Rhama, and thence proceeding by Campbellsdorp to Kuru- 
man, a missionary station, distant from Colesberg about two hundred 
and fifty miles, where I should obtain a Bechuana interpreter, and all 
necessary information from the resident missionary. On the following 
day, having taken leave of my kind friends and brother sportsmen, I 
rode into Colesberg. Here I had the pleasure of meeting two Nimrods, 
Messrs. Murray and Oswell, proceeding, like myself, on a hunting expe- 
dition into the far interior — the former a keen salmon fisher from the 
banks of Tay ; the latter a civilian in the Honourable East India Com- 
pany's service. During my stay in Colesberg I was actively employed 
storing my collection and refitting. All my specimens were carefully 
sewn up in canvas, and nailed down in cases ; and perishable articles, 
such as skins and stuffed heads, were heremetically sealed, being care- 
fully soldered up in tin cases by old Mr. Privet, the tinsmith, one of 
the leading members of the community of Colesberg. 

I covered my waggons with new sails, and had the wheels and iron- 
work carefully overhauled by the blacksmith. I purchased from various 
parties several excellent horses and trek-oxen, and increased my kennel 
of dogs to twelve stout, rough, serviceable-looking curs. From Mr. 
Williams of the commissariat I purchased a large elephant-gun, carrying 
four to the pound. I engaged two additional Hottentots, named Johan- 
nus and Kleinf eldt, and replenished my supplies in every department ; 
and on the 22nd, everything being ready, I resolved, if possible, to get 
under way that afternoon. With inconceivable trouble I managed to 
collect all my runaway men, dogs, oxen, and horses together ; and, 



110 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

after much bustle and angry altercation with my inebriated and 
swarthy crew, my caravan was in motion, and started on its distant 
journey. 

We were followed by the female acquaintances of our Hottentots, 
screaming, yelling, and cursing at their men, at the same time catching 
up handfuls of red dust, which they tossed into the air with true Hot- 
tentot action. Having no hair fortunately to rend, they contented them- 
selves with scratching their woolly pates and rending their petticoats, 
which they soon reduced to tatters. Among other articles with which 
I loaded up while in Colesberg was a number of common muskets, which 
had been represented to me as being the most available to barter for 
ivory with the tribes of the far interior. These I afterwards turned to 
good account, and regretted that I did not possess ten times as many 
of them. As it was .not improbable that, in the event of my encamping 
too near to Colesberg that evening, my followers would avail themselves 
of the opportunity to levant under cover of night, and return to the 
embraces of their wives and sweethearts, I made up my mind, having 
once succeeded in setting them in motion, to give them a good spell of 
it; and accordingly, there being good moonlight, I did not permit them 
to outspan until after midnight. 

I held a westerly course, steering for the Saltpan's Drift, about four 
days' journey down the Orange River, where I intended crossing. By 
adopting this course I avoided the hostile Eoers, who were scouring the 
country across the river immediately opposite to Colesberg. 

On the fourth day I reached Saltpan's Drift, which I crossed with 
considerable difficulty, the waggons repeatedly sticking fast in the deep 
sand. The opposite bank was extremely steep, and required an hour's 
cutting with our pickaxes and shovels. We passed the farms of several 
Boers, from whom I purchased three excellent dogs, named "Wolf," 
"Prince,'' and " Bonteberg." On one of these farms were half-a-dozen 
ostriches, which the Boer endeavoured to persuade me to purchase. 
Continuing our march, on the 28th we passed through the Griqua kraal 
named Rhama. In the morning, on proceeding to rouse my men, I dis- 
covered Kleinboy very coolly smoking his pipe over my loose, dilapi- 
dated powder-casks ; upon which I seized the culprit, and handled him 
rather roughly. This so disgusted my friend that he dashed his pipe 
on the ground with true Hottentot action, and swore he would go no 
farther with me. The appearance, however, of a fine fat sheep, which 
I purchased a few minutes after from a Griqua, induced Mr. Kleinboy 
to alter his mind on the subject, and he sulkily returned to his duty. 

On the 4th of May we made the fair Vaal River, which we crossed at 
my old drift. Here a party of Korannas rode up to the waggons, 
mounted on pack-oxen. The bridles consisted of thongs attached to 
sticks passed through a hole in the animals' noses, and the saddle was a 
sheepskin secured with a thong across the back. In the evening we 
trekked half way to Campbellsdorp. On the march my dogs killed two 
fine porcupines, by tearing off their heads, the only vulnerable part, but 
getting at the same time their own noses and shoulders full of the quills. 
On the following day we passed through Campbellsdorp, where I was 



HOTTENTOTS REBELLIOUS. Ill 

kindly welcomed by Mr. Bartlett, the resident missionary, from whom 
I received a liberal present of bread and vegetables. 

On the third day after leaving Campbellsdorp we reached Daniel's 
Kuil, a krall of Griquas under Waterboer. The country through which 
we passed was level and uninteresting, no hill nor landmark relieving 
the ocean-like expanse and sameness of the scene in any direction. In 
parts the country was covered as far as I could see with a species of 
bush, averaging about nine feet in height, having a grey leaf and 
bunches of small grey blossoms, yielding a very sweet and powerful 
aromatic perfume. In the evening we continued our march to Kramer's 
Fonteyn, a very powerful fountain, whose waters issue hot from the 
earth, as if they were mixed with boiling water. Leaving Kramer's 
Fonteyn on the 9th, we held for Koning, a very distant water on the 
road to Kuruman. Towards midnight my men commenced driving 
furiously, and I ascertained that they were under the influence of 
liquor, which I imagined they had obtained from the Griquas. On 
ordering them to halt and outspan, Mr. Kleinboy only drove the harder, 
so I found it necessary to send him flying off the box. 

A short time after I had been asleep I was wakened by a commotion 
amongst my cattle, and found that my men had commenced inspanning 
the oxen, stating that they intended to proceed no farther, but to return 
with the waggons to the colony. Finding remonstrance vain, I had 
recourse to my double-barrelled rifle, upon which my followers for the 
moment relinquished their intention of inspanning, and, retiring to the 
shelter of a neighbouring bush, they shortly fell asleep. I kept sentry 
over the waggons during the remainder of the night, with my rifle in 
my hand and a hatchet by my side. At dawn of day on the following 
morning I roused my ruffians, and ordered them to inspan, which orders 
they mechanically obeyed, swearing, however, that this was the last 
time they would inspan my oxen. 

Having proceeded about ten miles, we arrived at Koning : this was a 
vley of fine spring-water, about six hundred yards in length, densely 
covered with lofty reeds from twelve to fifteen feet high. This place is 
said never to be without lions. Here was spoor of zebras and harte- 
beests. In the afternoon I observed that my men were again in liquor. 
I had at first imagined that the Griquas had supplied them with brandy, 
but upon examining my liquor-case 1 discovered that one had been 
broken into and two bottles of brandy stolen. This was a second night 
of anxiety and trouble. I kept watch over my goods and cattle, with 
my rifle in my hand, till morning. The night was piercingly cold, and 
in the morning the ground was white with hoar-frost, and a thick coat- 
ing of ice covered the pools of water. At midday on the 11th we left 
Koning, and continued our march to Kuruman, halting at sundown 
without water. 

On our left our view was bounded by the Kamhanni Mountains, an 
extensive rocky chain. In every other direction a vast endless plain 
extended as far as the eye could strain. The plains were covered with 
rank yellow grass, interspersed with clumps of grey-leaved bushes. 
Shortly before outspanning we started three leopards that were consum- 
ing a duiker. Throughout all this country game was very scarce. 



112 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

Since crossing the Vaal, with the exception of feathered game, I had 
shot only one springbok and one steinbok. 

On the following day we reached Kuruman, or New Litakoo, a lovely 
green spot in the wilderness, strongly contrasting with the sterile and 
inhospitable regions by which it is surrounded. I was here kindly 
welcomed and hospitably entertained by Mr. Moffat and Mr. Hamilton, 
both missionaries of the London Society, and also by Mr. Hume, an old 
trader, long resident at Kuruman. The gardens at Kuruman are exten- 
sive and extremely fertile. Besides corn and vegetables they contained 
a great variety of fruits, amongst which were vines, peach-trees, necta- 
rines, apple, orange, and lemon trees, all of which in their seasons bear 
a profusion of the most delicious fruit. These gardens are irrigated 
with the most liberal supply of water from a powerful fountain which 
gushes forth, at once forming a little river, from a subterraneous cave, 
which has several low narrow mouths, but within is lofty and extensive. 
This cave is stated by the natives to extend to a very great distance 
under ground. 

The natives about Kuruman and the surrounding districts generally 
embrace the Christian religion. Mr. Moffat kindly showed me through 
his printing establishment, church, and school-rooms, which were lofty 
and well built, and altogether on a scale which would not have dis- 
graced one of the towns of the more enlightened colony. It was Mr. 
Moffat who reduced the Bechuana language to writing and printing ; 
since which he has printed thousands of Sichuana Testaments, as also 
tracts and hymns, which were now eagerly purchased by the converted 
natives. Mr. Moffat is a person admirably calculated to excel in his 
important calling. Together with a noble and athletic frame, he 
possesses a face on which forbearance and Christian charity are very 
plainly written, and his mental and bodily attainments are great. 
Minister, gardener, blacksmith, gunsmith, mason, carpenter, glazier — 
every hour of the day finds this worthy pastor engaged in some useful 
employment — setting, by his own exemplary piety and industrious 
habits, a good example to others to go and do likewise. 

Mr. Moffat informed me that a missionary named Dr. Livingstone, 
who was married to his eldest daughter, had lately established a mission- 
ary station among the Bakatlas at Mabotsa, in the vale of Bakatla, about 
fourteen days' journey to the north-east. Thither he recommended me 
at once to proceed, as few of the larger varieties of game could now be 
expected to be found to the southward of Bakatla. He represented to 
me that my falling in with elephants, even throughout the vast forests 
in the country immediately beyond Bakatla, was very uncertain, and 
recommended me, if I was determined to have good elephant-shooting, 
to endeavour to push on to the remote and endless forests beyond the 
mountains of Bamangwato, in the territory of Sicomy, the great and 
paramount chief of the extensive country of the Bamangwato. There 
would also be a probability of obtaining ivory in barter from Sicomy, 
he being reported to possess large quantities of that valuable commo- 
dity. By Mr. Moffat's assistance I engaged a Bechuana in the capacity 
of interpreter in the Dutch and Sichuana languages. From Mr. Hume 



FEASTING ON LOCUSTS. 113 



I purchased a supply of wheat, and on the following day I set all my 
people to work on a mill of Mr. Moffat's to reduce this wheat to flour. 

On the 15th I took leave of my friends at Kuruman, and continued 
my journey in a north-easterly course through a heavy sandy country 
of boundless level plains, stretching away on every side, covered with 
rank yellow grass, which, waving in the breeze, imparted the idea of 
endless fields of ripe corn. At sundown we crossed the Matluarin 
river, an insignificant stream, and encamped on its northern bank. On 
the march we saw a few blue wildebeests and ostriches. At dawn of 
day on the following morning we pursued our journey through the same 
description of country, varied however with detached clumps of thorny 
mimosas. On the march we crossed a swarm of locusts, resting for the 
night on the grass and bushes. They lay so thick that the waggons 
could have been filled with them in a very short time, covering the 
large bushes just as a swarm of young bees covers the branch on which 
it pitches. Locusts afford fattening and wholesome food to man, birds, 
and all sorts of beasts ; cows and horses, lions, jackals, hyaenas, ante- 
lopes, elephants, etc., devour them. We met a party of Batlapis carry- 
ing heavy burdens of them on their backs. Our hungry dogs made a 
fine feast on them. The cold frosty night had rendered them unable to 
take wing until the sun should restore their powers. As it was difficult 
to obtaiu sufficient food for my dogs, I and Isaac took a large blanket, 
which we spread under a bush, whose branches were bent to the ground 
with the mass of locusts which covered it ; and having shaken the 
branches, in an instant I had more locusts than I could carry on my 
back : these we roasted for ourselves and dogs. 

Soon after the sun was up, on looking behind me, I beheld the locusts 
stretching to the west in vast clouds, resembling smoke ; but the wind, 
soon after veering round, brought them back to us, and they flew over 
our heads, for some time actually darkening the sun. In the evening I 
continued my march by moonlight, and halted within a few miles of 
Motito, an extensive kraal of the Batlapis, a tribe of Bechuanas. The 
nights were piercing cold, the grass being every morning covered with 
white frost. 



CHAPTER XL 



Motito — The Bechuana Tribes — The mysterious great inland Lake — Blesbok and 
Wildebeest abundant — Park-like Country — We arrive at the beautiful Vale of 
Bakatla — Dr. Livingstone the Missionary — Native Fashions at Church — Deter- 
mine to push on to Bamangwato — The Natives follow me for Venison — Great 
Variety of Game — A dangerous Fight with a herd of Buffaloes, two of which 
are slain — A Colony of Baboons — A Rhinoceros chases me round a Bush — 
Habits of the Beast — A noble Eland killed — An impromptu Steak—Slay a 
Rhinoceros, and lose my way in the Forest. 

At an early hour on the 17th I outspanned at Motito, where I was 
kindly received by Monsieur Loga and Mr. Edwards, the former a 
French missionary stationed at Motito, and the latter an English mis- 
sionary from Mabotza. Another French missionary, named Monsieur 
Lemue, belonging to the station, was absent. The women at Motito 



114 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

wear heavier ornaments of beads than any with whom I am acquainted. 
As I have now reached the southern borders of that vast tract of 
Southern Africa inhabited by the numerous tribes of the Bechuanas, it 
will be necessary, before proceeding further, to give a sketch of their 
manners and customs. 

They are a lively and intelligent race of people, and remarkable for 
their good humour : they are well formed, if not starved in infancy. 
They possess pleasing features and very fine eyes and teeth ; their hair 
is short and woolly ; the colour of their complexion is of a light copper. 
The various tribes live in kraals, or villages, of various sizes, along with 
their respective chiefs. Their wigwams are built in a circular form, and 
thatched with long grass ; the floor and wall, inside and out, are 
plastered with a compound of clay and cow-dung. The entrances are 
about three feet high and two feet broad. Each wigwam is surrounded 
with a hedge of wickerwork, while one grand hedge of wait-a-bit thorns 
surrounds the entire kraal, protecting the inmates from lions and other 
animals. 

The dress of the men consists of a kaross, or skin cloak, which hangs 
gracefully from their shoulders ; and another garment, termed tsecha, 
which encircles their loins, and is likewise made of skin. On their feet 
they wear a simple sandal formed of the skin of the buffalo or camelo- 
pard. On their legs and arms they carry ornaments of brass and copper 
of different patterns, which are manufactured by themselves. The men 
also wear a few ornaments of beads round their necks and on their 
arms. Around their necks, besides beads, they carry a variety of other 
appendages, the majority of which are believed to possess a powerful 
charm to preserve them from evil. One of these is a small hollow bone, 
through which they blow when in peril ; another is a set of dice formed 
of ivory, which they rattle in their hands and cast on the ground to 
ascertain if they are to be lucky in any enterprise in which they may 
be about to engage ; also a host of bits of root and bark which are medi- 
cinal. From their necks also depend gourd snuff-boxes made of an 
extremely diminutive species of pumpkin, trained to grow in a bottle- 
like shape. 

They never move without their arms, which consist of a shield, a 
bundle of assagais, a battle-axe, and a knobkerry. The shields are 
formed of the hide of the buffalo or camelopard ; their shape among 
some tribes is oval, among others round. The assagai is a sort of light 
spear or javelin, having a wooden shaft about six feet in length attached 
to it. Some of these are formed solely for throwing, and a skilful 
warrior will send one through a man's body at one hundred yards. An- 
other variety of assagai is formed solely for stabbing. The blades of 
these are stouter, and the shafts shorter and thicker, than the other 
variety. They are found mostly among the tribes very far in the 
interior. Their battle-axes are elegantly formed, consisting of a 
triangular-shaped blade, fastened in a handle formed of the horn of the 
rhinoceros. The men employ their time in war and hunting, and in 
dressing the skins of wild animals. The dress of the women consists of 
a kaross depending from the shoulders, and a short kilt formed of the 
skin of the pallah, or some other antelope. Around their necks, arms, 



THE SOCIAL GROSBEAK. 115 



waists, and ankles they wear large and cumbrous coils of beads of a 
variety of colours, tastefully arranged in different patterns. 

The women chiefly employ their time in cultivating their fields and 
gardens, in which they rear corn, pumpkins, and water-melons ; and 
likewise in harvesting their crops and grinding their corn. Both men and 
women go bareheaded : they anoint their heads with "sibelo," a shining 
composition, being a mixture of fat and a grey sparkling ore, having the 
appearance of mica. Some of the tribes besmear their bodies with a 
mixture of fat and red clay, imparting to them the appearance of Red 
Indians. Most of the tribes possess cattle ; these are attended to and 
milked solely by the men, a woman being never allowed to set foot 
within the cattle-kraal. Polygamy is allowed, and any man may keep 
as many wives as he pleases : the wife, however, has in the first instance 
to be purchased. 

Among tribes possessed of cattle the price of a wife is ten head of 
cattle ; but among the poorer tribes a wife may be obtained for a few 
spades with which they cultivate their fields. These spades, which are 
manufactured by themselves, are fastened in the end of a long shaft, 
and are used as our labourers use the hoe. Rows of women may be 
seen digging together in the fields singing songs, to which they keep 
time with their spades. 

The name of the chief at Motito was Motchuara, a subordinate of the 
great chief Mahura. He was very anxious that I should remain a day 
with him, for the purpose of trading in ostrich-feathers and karosses ; 
but being anxious to push forward, I resumed my march in the after- 
noon, and trekked on till near midnight, when I encamped in an exten- 
sive forest of grey and ancient-looking cameeldorn trees. These were 
the finest I had yet seen in Africa, each tree assuming a wide-spreading 
and picturesque appearance. They were detached and in groups, like 
oaks in an English deer-park. Many of them were inhabited by whole 
colonies of the social grosbeak, a bird with whose wonderful habitations 
the branches were loaded. These remarkable birds, which are about the 
size and appearance of the British greenfinch, construct their nests and 
live socially together under one common roof, the whole fabric being 
formed of dry grass, and exhibiting at a short distance the appearance 
of a haycock stuck up in the tree. The entrances to the nests are from 
beneath. They are built side by side, and when seen from below 
resemble a honeycomb. 

At dawn of day on the following morning we continued our march 
through the venerable cameel-dorn forest. The road was extremely 
heavy, consisting of soft loose sand. Having proceeded about six miles, 
emerging from the forest, we entered once more on a wide-spreading 
open country, covered in some parts with bushes, and in others only 
with grass. Another hour brought us to Little Ohooi, a large saltpan, 
where we obtained water for ourselves and cattle from a deep pit made 
by men. In sight were a few zebras, ostriches, and springboks. 

In the forenoon a number of cattle, belonging to Mahura, came to 
drink at the pit. Some of these carried enormous wide-spreading horns. 
Mahura and his tribe possess immense herds of cattle, the majority of 
which they " lifted " or obtained in war from other Bechuana tribes. 



116 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



Some years before this, Mahura, assisted by another tribe, had attacked 
Sobiqua, king of the Bawangketse, a tribe inhabiting the borders of the 
great Kalahari desert, whom they routed, and succeeded in driving off 
the majority of their vast herds. Upon this, Sobiqua and his tribe fled 
with the remainder of the cattle across a portion of the desert to the 
westward, and for some years located themselves on the borders of a 
vast inland lake. This mysterious lake the natives in the vale of 
Bakatla state to be situated due west from their position ; while the 
natives of Bamangwato, situated two hundred and fifty miles to the 
northward, always pointed out to me the north-west as its position. 
They represented to me that the natives on its banks were possessed of 
canoes; that its waters were salt; and that every day the waters retired 
to feed, and again returned, by which I understood that this lake, what- 
ever it may be, is affected by some tide. 

At three P.M. we inspanned, and held on till midnight with fine moon- 
light, crossing a desert and sandy country. In the vicinity of Chooi we 
passed an extensive range of old pitfalls, formed by the natives for en- 
trapping game. They were dug in the form of a crescent, and occupied 
an extent of nearly a quarter of a mile. On the march I observed some 
enormous trunks of trees that had been destroyed by fire in bygone 
years. On the following day we reached Loharon, an uninteresting and 
desolate spot, where we encamped for the day beside a pool of rain- 
water. Here I observed a few hartebeests, sassaybys, and zebras. On 
the 20th, having breakfasted, we inspanned, and continued our march 
till sunset. We passed through a very level country, covered with de- 
tached bushes. The dulness of the scene, however, was enlivened by a 
wondrous flight of locusts, the largest I had ever beheld. The prospect 
was obscured by them as far as we could see, resembling the smoke 
arising from a thousand giant bonfires ; while those above our heads 
darkened our path with a double flight — the one next the ground flying 
north, while the upper clouds of them held a southerly course. The 
dogs, as usual, made a hearty meal on them. 

We continued our march by moonlight, halting at midnight in a vast 
open plain beside a small pool of rain-water. After breakfast I rode 
forth in quest of springboks, of which I bagged a couple. I fell in with 
blue and black wildebeests, zebras, ostriches, and blesboks. The plains 
here were bare and open, resembling the country frequented by the 
blesboks to the southward of the Vaal, with which country I subse- 
quently ascertained it to be connected, in a due southerly course, by an 
endless succession of similar bare plains, throughout the entire extent of 
which the blesbok and black wildebeest are abundant. While galloping 
after a herd of zebras, " The Immense Brute " put his foot into a hole, 
and came down with great violence on his head, pitching me over his 
bows. I saved my rifle at the risk of sacrificing my collar-bone ; and 
would have escaped without further injury than the loss of a portion of 
the bark of my cheek, had not my horse described a somersault, coming 
down with the broad of his back on- the calf of my right leg, and bruis- 
ing it so severely as to incapacitate me from walking for several days. 

About midday we resumed our march, and in the evening we reached 
Great Chooi, a very large saltpan at present full of water. Here I 



SPOOR OF LIONS. 117 

found, for the first time, the bones and skull of a xhinoceros long killed. 
My interpreter informed me that the rhinoceros had long left that 
country ; to his surprise, however, we discovered fresh spoor by the 
fountain. Continuing our march, on the 22nd we entered on a new de- 
scription of country : boundless open plains being succeeded by endless 
forests of dwarfish trees and bushes, the ground slightly undulating, 
and covered with a variety of rich grasses and aromatic herbs. The 
old and seldom-trodden waggon-track which we followed seemed a 
favourite footpath for a troop of lions, their large and heavy spoor 
being deeply imprinted in our path. At sundown we encamped on the 
Siklagole River, a periodical stream, in the gravelly bed of which fine 
spring-water could be obtained by digging. As we were in great want 
of flesh, my hungry pack being nearly starving, I resolved to rest my 
oxen on the following day, and hunt for eland, the spoor of several of 
which we discovered beside our encampment. 

On the morning of the 23rd I rode east with after-riders and a pack- 
horse. The country through which we passed resembled a vast inter- 
minable park, being adorned with a continued succession of picturesque 
dwarfish forest-trees single and in groups. Such, with the exception of 
a few grassy open plains, is the character of the country from Siklagole, 
as far as the mountains of Bakatla. We failed to fall in with elands, 
but I succeeded in bringing down two zebras and a hartebeest, which, 
along with sassaybys, oryx, and ostriches, now became daily more abun- 
dant. On the 31st we reached the Kurrichane mountain range. Having 
crossed these, we proceeded up a valley about three miles, when we 
reached a gorge in the mountains which connected this fine valley with 
the great strath or vale of Bakatla. Through this gorge ran a stream 
of the purest crystal water. Our road lay along the margin of this 
stream, across large masses of stone and ledges of rock, which threatened 
every moment the destruction of our waggons. 

Following the stream for half a mile, we arrived at Mabotza, the kraal 
of Mosielely, king of the Bakatlas, a tribe of Bechuanas. Here I was 
kindly received by Dr. Livingstone, the resident missionary. The vale 
of Bakatla, which I had now reached, is one of the most beautiful spots 
in Africa. It is a broad and level strath extending from east to west, 
and bounded by picturesque rocky mountains, beautifully wooded to 
their summits. In parts the strath is adorned with groves and patches 
of beautiful forest-trees of endless variety; in others it is open, carpeted 
with a goodly coating of luxuriant grass. A large portion of the valley, 
opposite to the town, is cultivated by the Bakatla women, and a succes- 
sion of extensive corn-fields stretched away to the northward of the 
kraal. These had lately been denuded of their crops, but a goodly show 
of pumpkins and water-melons still remained on the fields. The follow- 
ing day was Sunday, and I attended Divine service in a temporary place 
of worship that had been erected by the missionaries. It was amusing 
to remark, in the costume of the Bakatlas on this occasion, the progress 
of the march of civilization. All those who had managed to get hold of 
some European article of dress had donned it, some appearing in trousers 
without shirts, and others in shirts without trousers. 

The 2nd of June was the coldest day I had experienced in Africa, a 



118 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

cutting cold wind blowing off the Southern Ocean. On the morning of 
the 2nd I was waited upon by Mosielely, attended by a number of his 
nobility and others of the tribe, who flocked around my waggons impor- 
tunately requesting snuff. The appearance of the chief was mild, but 
not dignified. One of his generals, with whom he seemed to be on very 
intimate terms, was a jolly-looking old warrior with a wall eye, and a 
face strongly marked with the small-pox. This man's name was " Siemi." 
He had killed about twenty men in battle with his own hand, and bore 
a mark of honour for every man. This mark was a line tattooed on his 
ribs. Mosielely presented me with a bag of sour milk, and requested 
that I would tarry with him for a few days for the purpose of trading. 

I informed him that I was now anxious to push on to the country of 
the elephants, but would trade with him on my return. This intimation 
seemed very much to disappoint the king, who was anxious to exchange 
karosses for guns and ammunition. But I had resolved to part with my 
muskets solely for ivory, which article Mosielely on this particular occa- 
sion did not possess. The Bakatlas work a great deal in iron, manu- 
facturing various articles, with which they supply the neighbouring 
tribes. They obtain their iron from ore, which they procure by excava- 
ting in the surrounding mountains. This ore is smelted in crucibles, a 
great deal of the metal being wasted, and only the best and purest 
being preserved. They use a sort of double bellows, consisting of two 
bags of skin, by which the air is forced through the long tapering tubes 
of the two horns of the oryx. The person using the bellows squats be- 
tween the two bags, which he raises and depresses alternately, working 
one with each hand. Their hammer and anvil consists of two stones. 
They nevertheless contrive to turn very neat workmanship out of their 
hands, such as spears, battle-axes, assagais, knives, sewing-needles, etc. 
The men of this tribe also manufacture large wooden bowls, which they 
cut out of the solid piece, the tool they use for this purpose being a 
small implement shaped like an adze. 

Dr. Livingstone informed me that large game was abundant on all 
sides to the northward of Bakatla. He stated that herds of elephants 
occasionally visited the territories of the adjoining chiefs, sometimes fre- 
quenting a district for half a summer ; but that at present he was not 
aware of any elephants in the forests adjacent to Bakatla. He repre- 
sented the distant and unexplored forests beyond Bamangwato, the 
territory of Sicomy, as being allowed by the natives to be the country 
where elephants were at all times abundant. There was also a prospect 
of obtaining their ivory in barter for my muskets. I accordingly re- 
solved, in the first instance, to direct my attention mainly to elephants, 
and not to tarry in any district, however favourable, for the purpose of 
hunting other varieties of game. 

Dr. Livingstone stated that I should experience considerable difficulty 
in reaching Bamangwato, since there was no path nor track of any de- 
scription to guide me thither. My only chance of getting there seemed 
to depend on being able to obtain Bechuana guides from Caachy, a sub- 
ordinate chief of a branch of the " Baquaina " tribe, then resident at a 
place called " Booby," situated about eighty miles to the north-west of 
Bakatla. Without these guides it would be almost impossible to pro- 



WILDEBEESTS AND BUFFALOES. 119 

ceed, as the waters were few and very far between. The probability, 
however, was that these guides would be refused, since it is the invari- 
able policy of African chiefs to prevent all travellers from penetrating 
beyond themselves. 

Bamandwato is distant upwards of two hundred miles to the north- 
ward of Bakatla, from which it is separated by rugged and apparently 
impassable mountain ranges, extensive sandy deserts, which are desti- 
tute of water, and vast and trackless forests. Isaac, my interpreter, al- 
ready began to lose heart, and raised a thousand objections to my pro- 
ceeding to so distant a country. He recommended my rather hunting 
in the territory of " Sichely," the paramount chief of the Baquaines, 
situated about fifty miles to the north of Bakatla, where he assured me 
we should find elephants. Perceiving that his remonstrances did not 
avail, and that I was inexorable, he proposed resigning his commission, 
and was with difficulty prevailed on by Dr. Livingstone to agree to ac- 
company me farther. 

On the 3rd I took leave of my kind friend Dr. Livingstone, and started 
for Bamangwato. I was accompanied by a large party of the Bakatla 
men and two Baquaines. They followed me in the hope of obtaining 
flesh, a report having spread through the tribe that I was a successful 
hunter. The Bechuanas are extremely fond of flesh, which they con- 
sider the only food befitting men. Corn and milk they reckon the food 
of women. Having no flesh at home, and being seldom able to kill 
large game for themselves, they entertain great respect for those who 
kill plenty of venison for them, and they will travel to very great dis- 
tances for the purpose of obtaining it. We proceeded in a westerly 
course, and held up the lovely valley of Bakatla, through open glades 
and patches of ancient forests. 

I had ridden only a short distance across the valley when I fell in 
with a troop of blue wildebeests, one of which I wounded and immedi- 
ately lost in rocky ground. I then rode on, and crossed a ridge of stony 
hills covered with thick jungle, after which I entered upon another 
grassy and well wooded valley. Presently I observed seven majestic 
buck koodoos standing on the mountain side high above me. In trying 
to stalk these I disturbed a troop of graceful pallahs and a herd of 
zebras, which clattered along the mountain, and spoiled my stalk with 
the koodoos. I now observed a large herd of buffaloes reclining under 
a clump of mimosa-trees a little farther up the valley. Descending from 
my position, I secured my horse to a tree, and proceeded to stalk in on 
the buffaloes. While I was doing this, a herd of zebras, which I had 
not observed, got my wind and came cantering through the cover within 
a few yards of me. When I reached the spot where I had seen the buf- 
faloes they were gone ; having followed up the spoor, however, for a 
short distance, I overtook them ; when I shot the patriarch of the herd, 
which, as usual, brought up the rear. 

Early on the 4th we inspanned and continued our march for Booby, 
a large party of savages still following the waggons. Before proceeding 
far I was tempted by the beautiful appearance of the country to saddle 
horses to hunt in the mountains westward of my course. I directed the 
waggons to proceed a few miles under guidance of the natives, and there 



120 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

await my arrival. I was accompanied by Isaac, who was mounted on 
the Old Grey, and carried my clumsy Dutch rifle of six to the pound. 
Two Bechuanas followed us, leading four of my dogs. Having crossed 
a well-wooded strath, we reached a little crystal river, whose margin 
was trampled down with the spoor of a great variety of heavy game, 
but especially of buffalo and rhinoceros. We took up the spoor of a 
troop of buffaloes, which we followed along a path made by the heavy 
beasts of the forest through a neck in the hills ; and emerging from the 
thicket, we beheld, on the other side of a valley which had opened upon 
us, a herd of about ten huge bull buffaloes. These I attempted to stalk, 
but was defeated by a large herd of zebras, which, getting our wind, 
charged past and startled the buffaloes. I ordered the Bechuanas to re- 
lease the dogs ; and spurring Colesberg, which I rode for the first time 
since the affair with the lioness, I gave chase. The buffaloes crossed the 
valley in front of me, and made for the succession of dense thickets in 
the hills to the northward. 

As they crossed the valley, by riding hard I obtained a broadside 
shot at the last bull, and fired both barrels into him. He, however, 
continued his course, but I presently separated him, along with two 
other bulls, from the troop. My rifle being a two-grooved, which is 
hard to load, I was unable to do so on horseback, and followed with it 
empty, in the hope of bringing them to bay. In passing through a 
grove of thorny trees I lost sight of the wounded buffalo; he had turned 
short and doubled back, a common practice with them when wounded. 
After following the other two at a hard gallop for about two miles, I 
was riding within five yards of their huge broad sterns. They exhaled 
a strong bovine smell, which came hot in my face. I expected every 
minute that they would come to bay, and give me time to load ; but 
this they did not seem disposed to do. At length, finding I had the 
speed of them, I increased my pace ; and going ahead, I placed myself 
right before the finest bull, thus expecting to force him to stand at bay; 
upon which he instantly charged me with a low roar, very similar to 
the voice of a lion. Colesberg neatly avoided the charge, and the bull 
resumed his northward course. 

We now entered on rocky ground, and the forest became more dense 
as we proceeded. The buffaloes were evidently making for some strong 
retreat. I, however, managed with much difficulty to hold them in view, 
following as best I could through thorny thickets. Isaac rode some 
hundred yards behind, and kept shouting to me to drop the pursuit, or 
I should be killed. At last the buffaloes suddenly pulled up, and stood 
at bay in a thicket within twenty yards of me. Springing from my 
horse, I hastily loaded my two-grooved rifle, which I had scarcely com- 
pleted when Isaac rode up and inquired what had become of the buf- 
faloes, little dreaming that they were standing within twenty yards of 
him. I answered by pointing my rifle across his horse's nose, and let- 
ting fly sharp right and left at the two buffaloes. 

A headlong charge accompanied by a muffled roar was the result. In 
an instant I was round a clump of tangled thorn-trees ; but Isaac, by 
the violence of his efforts to get his horse in motion, lost his balance, 
his saddle, and big Dutch rifle, all came to the ground together, with a 



Moke buffalo hunting. 121 

heavy crash, right in the path of the infuriated buffaloes. Two of the 
dogs, which had fortunately that moment joined us, met them in their 
charge, and, by diverting their attention, probably saved Isaac from in- 
stant destruction. The buffaloes now took up another position in an 
adjoining thicket. They were both badly wounded, blotches and pools 
of blood marking the ground where they had stood. The dogs rendered 
me assistance by taking up their attention, and in a few minutes these 
two noble bulls breathed their last beneath the shade of a mimosa grove. 
Each of them in dying repeatedly uttered a very striking, low, deep 
moan. This I subsequently ascertained the buffalo invariably utters 
when in the act of expiring. 

On going up to them I was astonished to behold their size and power- 
ful appearance. Their horns reminded me of the rugged trunk of an 
oak-tree. Each horn was upwards of a foot in breadth at the base, and 
together they effectually protected the skull with a massive and impene- 
trable shield. The horns, descending, and spreading out horizontally, 
completely overshadowed the animal's eyes, imparting to him a look the 
most ferocious and sinister that can be imagined. On my way to the 
waggons I shot a stag sassayby, and while I was engaged in removing 
his head a troop of about thirty doe pallahs cantered past me, followed 
by one princely old buck. Snatching up my rifle, I made a fine shot, 
and rolled him over in the grass. 

Early in the afternoon I despatched men with a packhorse to bring 
the finer of the two buffalo-heads. It was so ponderous that two power- 
ful men could with difficulty raise it from the ground. The Bechuanas 
who had accompanied me, on hearing of my success, snatched up their 
shields and assagais, and hastened to secure the flesh, nor did I see any 
more of them, with the exception of the two Baquaines, who remained 
with me, being engaged in a plot with my interpreter to prevent my 
penetrating to Bamangwato. Isaac did not soon forget his adventure 
with the buffaloes ; and at night over the fire he informed my men that 
I was mad, and that any man who followed me was going headlong to his 
own destruction. At an early hour on the 5th I continued my march 
through a glorious country of hill and dale, throughout which water was 
abundant. 

Beautifully wooded hills and mountains stretched away on every 
side ; some of the mountains were particularly grand and majestic, their 
summits being surrounded by steep precipices and abrupt parapets of 
rock, the abodes of whole colonies of black-faced baboons, which, 
astonished to behold such novel intruders upon their domains, leisurely 
descended the craggy mountain sides for a nearer inspection of our cara- 
van. Seating themselves together upon a broad ledge, they seemed to 
hold a council as to the propriety of permitting us to proceed farther 
through their territories. Having advanced about nine miles, I drew 
up my waggons on the bank of a rivulet, where the spoor of large game 
was extremely abundant. In the bed of the stream I discovered the 
scaly skin of a manis, which had been newly eaten by some bird of prey. 
This extraordinary animal, which in its habits partakes of the nature of 
the hedgehog, is about three feet in length, and is covered all over with 
an impenetrable coat of mail, consisting of large rough scales about the 



122 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

size and shape of the husk of an artichoke ; these overlap one another 
in an extraordinary and very beautiful manner. Its tail is broad, and 
likewise covered with scales ; on being disturbed it rolls itself into a 
ball : the manis is met with throughout the interior of South Africa, 
but it is rare, and very seldom seen. 

Of the rhinoceros there are four varieties in South Africa, dis- 
tinguished by the Bechuanas by the names of the borel6 or black 
rhinoceros, the keitloa or two-horned black rhinoceros, the muchocho or 
common white rhinoceros, and the kobaoba or long-horned white rhin- 
oceros. Both varieties of the black rhinoceros are extremely fierce and 
dangerous, and rush headlong and unprovoked at any object which 
attracts their attention. They never attain much fat, and their flesh is 
tough, and not much esteemed by the Bechuanas. Their food consists 
almost entirely of the thorny branches of the wait-a-bit thorns. Their 
horns are much shorter than those of the other varieties, seldom exceed- 
ing eighteen inches in length. They are finely polished with constant 
rubbing against the trees. The skull is remarkably formed, its most 
striking feature being the tremendous thick ossification in which it ends 
above the nostrils. It is on this mass that the horn is supported. The 
horns are not connected with the skull, being attached merely by the 
skin, and they may thus be separated from the head by means of a 
sharp knife. They are hard and perfectly solid throughout, and are a 
fine material for various articles, such as drinking cups, mallets for 
rifles, handles for turner's tools, etc., etc. The horn is capable of a very 
high polish. The eyes of the rhinoceros are small and sparkling, and do 
not readily observe the hunter, provided he keep to leeward of them. 
The skin is extremely thick, and only to be penetrated by bullets 
hardened with solder. 

During the day the rhinoceros will be found lying asleep or standing 
indolently in some retired part of the forest, or under the base of the 
mountains, sheltered from the power of the sun by some friendly grove 
of umbrella-topped mimosas. In the evening they commence their 
nightly ramble, and wander over a great extent of country. They 
usually visit the fountains between the hours of nine and twelve o'clock 
at night, and it is on these occasions that they may be most successfully 
hunted, and with the least danger. The black rhinoceros is subject to 
paroxysms of unprovoked fury, often ploughing up the ground for 
several yards with its horn, and assaulting large bushes in the most 
violent manner. On these bushes they work for hours with their horns, 
at the same time snorting and blowing loudly, nor do they leave them 
in general until they have broken them into pieces. The rhinoceros is 
supposed by many, and by myself among the rest, to be the animal 
alluded to by Job, chap, xxxix. verses 10 and 11, where it is written, 
" Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow ? or will he 
harrow the valleys after thee ? Wilt thou trust him because his strength 
is great 1 or wilt thou leave thy labour to him ? " evidently alluding to 
an animal possessed of great strength and of untameable disposition, for 
both of which the rhinoceros is remarkable. 

All the four varieties delight to roll and wallow in mud, with which 
their rugged hides are generally encrusted. Both varieties of the black 



HUNTING THE WH.ITE EHINOCEKOS. 123 

rhinoceros are much smaller and more active than the white, and are so 
swift that a horse with a rider on his back can rarely overtake them. 
The two varieties of the white rhinoceros are so similar in habits, that 
the description of one will serve for both ; the principal difference con- 
sisting in the length and set of the anterior horn ; that of the muchocho 
averaging from two to three feet in length, and pointing backwards ; 
while the. horn of the kobaoba often exceeds four feet in length, and 
inclines forward from the nose at an angle of 45°. The posterior horn 
of either species seldom exceeds six or seven inches in length. The ko- 
baoba is the rarer of the two, and it is found very far in the interior, 
chiefly to the eastward of the Limpopo. Its horns are very valuable 
for loading rods, supplying a substance at once suitable for a sporting 
implement and excellent for the purpose. Both these varieties of 
rhinoceros attain an enormous size, being the animals next in magnitude 
to the elephant. They feed solely on grass, carry much fat, and their 
flesh is excellent, being preferable to beef. They are of a much milder 
and more inoffensive disposition than the black rhinoceros, rarely 
charging their pursuer. Their speed is very inferior to that of the other 
varieties, and a person well mounted can overtake and shoot them. 
The head of these is a foot longer than that of the borel6. They gener- 
ally carry their heads low, whereas the borel6, when disturbed, carries 
his very high, which imparts to him a saucy and independent air. 
Unlike the elephants, they never associate in herds, but are met with 
singly or in pairs. In districts where they are abundant, from three to 
six may be found in company, and I once saw upwards of a dozen con- 
gregated together on some young grass, but such an occurrence is rare. 

It was on the 4th of June that I beheld for the first time the rhino- 
ceros. Having taken some coffee, I rode out unattended, with my rifle, 
and before proceeding far I fell in with a huge white rhinoceros, with a 
large calf, standing in a thorny grove. Getting my wind, she set off at 
top speed through thick thorny bushes, the calf, as is invariably the 
case, taking the lead, and the mother guiding its course by placing her 
horn, generally about three feet in length, against its ribs. My horse 
shied very much at first, alarmed at the strange appearance of " Chuku- 
roo," but by a sharp application of spur and jambok I prevailed upon 
him to follow, and presently, the ground improving, I got alongside, and, 
firing at a gallop, sent a bullet through her shoulder. She continued 
her pace with blood streaming from the wound, and very soon reached 
an impracticable thorny jungle, where I could not follow, and instantly 
lost her. In half an hour I fell in with a second rhinoceros, being an 
old bull of the white variety. Dismounting, I crept within twenty 
yards, and saluted him with both barrels in the shoulder, upon which 
he made off, uttering a loud blowing noise, and upsetting everything 
that obstructed his progress. 

Shortly after this I found myself on the banks of the stream beside 
which my waggons were outspanned. Following along its margin, I 
presently beheld a bull of the borel6, or black rhinoceros, standing with- 
in a hundred yards of me. Dismounting from my horse I secured him 
to a tree, and then stalked within twenty yards of the huge beast under 
cover of a large strong bush. Borele, hearing me advance, came on to see 



124 HUNTING AND SPOKTING ADVENTURES. 

• 

what it was, and suddenly protruded his horny nose within twenty 
yards of me. Knowing well that a front shot would not prove deadly, 
I sprang to my feet and ran behind the bush. Upon this the villain 
charged, blowing loudly, and chased me round the bush. Had his 
activity been equal to his ugliness, my wanderings would have termin- 
ated here, but by my superior agility I had the advantage in the turn. 
After standing a short time eyeing me through the bush, he got a whiff 
of my wind, which at once alarmed him. Uttering a blowing noise, and 
erecting his insignificant yet saucy looking tail, he wheeled about, leav- 
ing me master of the field, when I sent a bullet through his ribs to teach 
him manners. 

Finding that rhinoceroses were abundant in the vicinity, I resolved 
to halt a day for the purpose of hunting, and after an early breakfast 
on the 6th I rode south-east with the two Baquaines. They led me 
along the bases of the mountains, through woody dells and open glades, 
and we eventually reached a grand forest grey with age. Here we found 
abundance of spoor of a variety of game, and started several herds of 
the more common varieties. At length I observed an old bull eland 
standing under a tree. He was the first that I had seen, and was a 
noble specimen, standing about six feet high at the shoulder. Observing 
us, he made off at a gallop, springing over the trunks of decayed trees 
which lay across his path ; but very soon he reduced his pace to a trot. 
Spurring my horse, another moment saw me riding hard behind him. 
Twice in the thickets I lost sight of him, and he very nearly escaped 
me ; but at length, the ground improving, I came up with him, and 
rode within a few yards behind him. 

Long streaks of foam now streamed from his mouth, and a profuse 
perspiration had changed his sleek grey coat to an ashy blue. Tears 
trickled from his large dark eye, and it was plain that the eland's hours 
were numbered. Pitching my rifle to my shoulder, I let fly at the gal- 
lop, and mortally wounded him behind ; then spurring my horse, I shot 
past him on his right side, and discharged my other barrel behind his 
shoulder, when the eland staggered for a moment and subsided in the 
dust. The two Baquaines soon made their appearance, and seemed de- 
lighted at my success. Having kindled a fire, they cut out steaks, which 
they roasted on the embers : I also cooked a steak for myself, spitting 
it upon a forked branch, the other end of which I sharpened with my 
knife and stuck into the ground. 

This magnificent animal is by far the largest of all the antelope tribe, 
exceeding a large ox in size. It also attains an extraordinary condition, 
being often burthened with a very large amount of fat. Its flesh is 
most excellent, and is justly esteemed above all others. It has a pecu- 
liar sweetness, and is tender and fit for use the moment the animal is 
killed. Like the gemsbok, the eland is independent of water, and fre- 
quents the borders of the great Kalahari desert in herds varying from 
ten to a hundred. It is also generally diffused throughout all the 
wooded districts of the interior where I have hunted. Like other varie- 
ties of deer and antelope, the old males may often be found consorting 
together apart from the females, and a troop of these, when in full con- 
dition, may be likened to a herd of stall-fed oxen. The eland has less 



HUNTING THE RHINOCEROS. 125 



speed than any other variety of antelope; and, by judicious riding, they 
may be driven to camp from a great distance. In this manner I have 
often ridden the best bull out of the herd, and brought him within gun- 
shot of my waggons, where I could more conveniently cut up and pre- 
serve the flesh, without the trouble of sending men and pack-oxen to 
fetch it. I have repeatedly seen an eland drop down dead at the end of 
a severe chase, owing to his plethoric habit. The skin of the eland I 
had just shot emitted, like most other antelopes, the most delicious per- 
fume of trees and grass. 

Having eaten my steak, I rode to my waggons, where I partook of 
coffee, and having mounted a fresh horse I again set forth, accompanied 
by Carollus leading a packhorse, to bring home the head of the eland 
and a supply of the flesh : I took all my dogs along with me to share 
in the banquet. We had not proceeded far when the dogs went ahead 
on some scent. Spurring my horse, I followed through the thorny 
bushes as best I might, and emerging on an open glade, I beheld two 
huge white rhinoceroses trotting along before me. The dogs attacked 
them with fury, and a scene of intense excitement ensued. The Old 
Grey, on observing them, pricked up his ears and seemed only half in- 
clined to follow, but a sharp application of the spur reminded him of 
his duty, and I was presently riding within ten yards of the stern of the 
largest, and sent a bullet through her back. 

The Old Grey shied considerably and became very unmanageable, and 
on one occasion, in consequence, the rhinoceros, finding herself hemmed 
in by a bend in a watercourse, turned round to charge : I had a very nar- 
row escape. Presently, galloping up on one side, I gave her a bad wound 
in the shoulder, soon after which she came to bay in the dry bed of a 
river. Dismounting from my horse, I commenced loading, but before 
this was accomplished she was off once more. I followed her, putting 
on my caps as I rode, and coming up alongside I made a fine shot from 
the saddle, firing at the gallop. The ball entered somewhere near her 
heart. On receiving this shot she reeled about, while torrents of blood 
streamed from her mouth and wounds, and presently she rolled over 
and expired, uttering a shrill screaming sound as she died, which rhino- 
ceroses invariably do while in the agonies of death. 

The chase had led me close in along the northern base of a lofty de- 
tached mountain, the highest in all that country. This mountain is 
called by the Bechuanas the Mountain of the Eagles. The eland which 
I had shot in the morning lay somewhere to the southward of this moun- 
tain, but far in the level forest. Having rounded the mountain, I began 
to recognise the ground, and presently I had the satisfaction to behold 
a few vultures soaring over the forest in advance, and, on proceeding a 
short distance farther, large groups of these birds were seated on the 
grey and weather-beaten branches of the loftiest old trees of the forest. 
This was a certain sign that the eland was not far distant ; and on rais- 
ing my voice and loudly calling on the name of Carollus, I was instantly 
answered by that individual, who, heedless of his master's fate, was ac- 
tively employed in cooking for himself a choice steak from the dainty 
rump of the eland. That night I slept beneath the blue and starry 

8 



126 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTUEES. 

canopy of heaven. My sleep was light and sweet, and no rude dreams 
or hankering cares disturbed the equanimity of my repose. 



CHAPTER XII. 



My Hottentots object to advance farther into the Interior — A Boar Hunt — We 
march through a charming Country — The Mountain Pass of Sesetabie — A Lion 
and Lioness inspect my Cattle, and the Lion pays for peeping — Hungry 
Hyaenas sup upon the Cattle Furniture — The Camelopard — Description of its 
Habits — Booby, a Bechuana Kraal — Gun Medicine — Disastrous Finale to an 
Incantation — Native Conspiracy to prevent my farther Progress. 

At an early hour on the 7th we arose, and, having loaded the pack-horse 
with a burden of flesh and fat, I despatched one of the Baquaines with 
him to camp. Carollus and I then rode for the rhinoceros to secure the 
horn. On nearing the carcase, a noble bull-buffalo stood within thirty 
yards of me, but I had omitted to put on my caps. Lions had con- 
sumed a large part of the rhinoceros, and had sneaked off on hearing us 
approach, leaving, as is usual, matted locks from their shaggy grey 
manes sticking on the broken points of the projecting ribs. My dogs 
on scenting them ran barking angrily in the direction which the lions 
had held, springing up into the air with their hair bristling along their 
backs. With considerable difficulty we separated the horn of the muc- 
hocho from the skin by means of a long sharp knife. It was nearly 
three feet in length, and measured almost a foot in diameter at the base. 
This being accomplished, we returned to camp. 

Here I found that Isaac had not been idle in forwarding his own 
views. I at once saw that my followers had something unusual on their 
minds; blackness and dismay were plainly written on every counte- 
nance. I had scarcely seated myself beside the fire, when Isaac 
approached me with a slow funereal step, and horror depicted in his 
face, and asked me if I had heard the news. I replied, What news 1 
He went on to state that on the preceding evening two men of the Ba- 
mangwato tribe had passed my waggons on their way to Bakatla, to 
warn that tribe of the on coming of the cruel and warlike Matabili 
(whose powerful chief, Moselekatse, has been so ably described in the 
pages of my fellow-sportsman, Captain Harris). These they represented 
as having a few days previously attacked and plundered various 
Bechuana tribes to the northward, and that they were now advancing 
by rapid marches to devastate the country and murder the inhabitants 
of these parts. 

This I at once knew to be a fabrication to prevent my penetrating 
farther, and I laughed at Isaac and told him he had dreamed it ; to 
which he replied, " Yes, you will not listen to my advice when you are 
warned of danger, but both you and your men will one day acknowledge 
the truth of my forebodings." I had considerable difficulty in calming 
the minds of my followers, and prevailing on them to proceed farther 
with me. 

In the afternoon we continued our journey to the northward, through 
a country of increasing loveliness. Beautifully wooded hills and valleys, 



WILD BOARS AND BUFFALOES. 127 

captivating to the sportsman's eye, stretched away on every side, with 
rivulets of crystal waters in the valleys, and the spoor of large game 
very abundant. On the march my dogs dashed up the wind, and in two 
. minutes the peaceful forest was disturbed by their united voices, angrily 
barking around some animal which they had brought to bay. Snatch- 
ing up my rifle, I rushed to the scene of conflict, and found them actively 
baying a fierce and grisly boar, whose foaming jaws were adorned with 
a pair of tusks so enormous as to resemble horns, each of them being 
upwards of a foot in length. It was some time before I could obtain a 
clear shot, owing to the eagerness of my dogs, but at length an opening 
occurred, when I dropped the grim boar with a bullet in the heart. 
Night had scarcely set in when lions commenced to roar in concert on 
every side of us, and continued their deep and awful music until the sun 
rose next day. 

On the 8th we performed a short march before breakfast, halting 
beside a stream of delicious water. In the afternoon we resumed our 
march, and halted at sundown beside the broad and sandy bed of a 
periodical river, through which ran a crystal stream, where we started a 
troop of eight or ten bull-buffaloes, one of which my dogs immediately 
brought to bay, when I finished him with two balls behind the 
shoulder. 

On the 9th we continued our march through a lovely and romantic 
country, steering for Sesetabie, an extremely bold and picturesque pass, 
in the lofty mountains in which the " Kouloubeng " or "river of wild 
boars," a tributary to the Ngotwani, takes its rise. As the waggons 
proceeded I walked in advance with my rifle, and presently brought 
down a sassayby. While following a herd of pallahs, the waggons got 
ahead of me ; and on overtaking them, I found them drawn up beside 
a sweet little rocky river, at a short distance from the mountain pass, 
which from its appearance we expected would prove a barrier to our 
farther progress. 

Kleinboy and Isaac had started in pursuit of a large herd of upwards 
of one hundred buffaloes, which had thundered up the river-side on the 
approach of the waggons ; presently we heard them fire, and on their 
return to the waggons they stated that they had mortally wounded an 
enormous bull. They had certainly wounded a buffalo, but, as I after- 
wards ascertained, the ball had struck him on the hind leg, within a few 
inches of the ground. 

Having breakfasted, I went out on foot with Isaac, and, directing him 
to follow up the spoor of his wounded buffalo, I proceeded to ascend a 
lofty mountain-range to the westward of the pass. Here I fell in with 
large colonies of baboons and a few klipspringers. I also saw for the 
first time green parrots and grey squirrels. A number of interesting 
birds, possessing melodious voices, and plumage more or less gaudy, 
adorned the groves and forests since I had crossed the range of the 
Kurrichane mountains ; but throughout my career in the forests of the 
interior my attention was necessarily so taken up with the pursuit of 
larger, and to me more interesting objects of the chase, that I could 
rarely bestow upon the feathered creation more than a short and passing 
glance of admiration. Having ascended to the summit of the highest 



128 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

mountain of the chain, I obtained a glorious view of the surrounding 
country. 

It was truly a fair and boundless prospect ; beautifully wooded plains 
and mountains stretched away on every side to an amazing distance, 
until the vision was lost among the faint blue outlines of the distant 
mountain-ranges. Throughout all this country, and vast tracts beyond, 
I had the satisfaction to reflect that a never-ending succession of herds 
of every species of noble game which the hunter need desire pastured 
there in undisturbed security ; and as I gazed I felt that it was all my 
own, and that I at length possessed the undisputed sway over a forest, in 
comparison with which the tame and herded narrow bounds of the 
wealthiest European sportsman sink into utter insignificance. 

Returning to my waggons, I ascertained from Isaac, who had arrived 
there a few minutes previously, that he had failed to find his wounded 
buffalo. The truth was that he had not been in quest of it, fearing to 
follow up the spoor; a wounded buffalo being deemed by the Bechuanas 
as dangerous as a lion. Having inspanned, we proceeded to take the 
bold mountain-pass of Sesetabie, and wound along the margin of the 
stream, which danced and sparkled down its abrupt and rocky channel,, 
forming a pleasing succession of babbling streams and foaming water- 
falls. As we advanced farther up the gorge the path became extremely 
contracted, there being barely sufficient room to admit of the waggons 
passing between the steep and rocky brink of the stream, and the 
rugged base of the lofty, inaccessible mountain which towered on our 
left. On the opposite side the mountain forming the eastern bulwark 
of the pass rose precipitately from the water's edge, presenting an im- 
passable barrier. It was a wild and lonely glen, hitherto untrodden, 
save by the wild denizens of the forests, which from time immemorial 
had roamed these solitudes. 

Large stones and masses of granite rock obstructed our progress, and 
several hours were occupied in rolling these to one side before we could 
venture to bring on the waggons. The rocky way was imprinted with 
the spoor of the large herd of buffaloes which my followers had that 
morning disturbed, and while my men were engaged with the granite 
boulders, having detected blood upon the stones, I proceeded to take up 
the spoor of the wounded buffalo, taking several couple of my dogs 
along with me. Having followed it a short distance up the pass, I 
reached a point where two streams met from opposite directions, and 
here the buffalo had held along the reed-clad margin of the western 
branch of the stream, which wound along the depths of a lonely and 
densely wooded valley, embosomed amid rocky mountains. At this 
spot my dogs, not being led, snuffed up the wind, and instantly disap- 
peared over the ridge above me. Having proceeded on the spoor some 
distance, still finding blood, which enabled me to distinguish it from the 
spoor of others of the herd which had accompanied him, I suddenly 
heard trampling in the grove on the rocky hill-side above me ; and on 
looking up I beheld four splendid old bull buffaloes, walking leisurely 
along ; I made a running stalk after these, and was presently within 
twenty yards of them, when, upon my whistling shrilly, the buffaloes 
halted, and looked about at me. 



SHOOTING BUFFALOES AND LIONS. 129 



Selecting the finest head, I fired at the centre of his forehead, and in 
another instant the buffalo was rolling down the mountain side a lifeless 
mass. I then returned to the spoor I had been following, and was 
shortly joined by my dogs, which had heard the report of my rifle. I 
had not proceeded far when I started the wounded bull out of a bed of 
reeds ; he limped along the margin of the stream on three legs, one of 
his hind legs being shot off above the spurs. My dogs at once brought 
him to bay, and I finished him with a shot behind the shoulder. The 
sun was some time under before I reached the waggons, which we drew 
up on a narrow open glade above the junction of the two streams. All 
night long lions and hyenas prowled around, and the dogs maintained 
an incessant barking. At dawn of day on the following morning I de- 
spatched a part of my men with a packhorse and all the dogs for a sup- 
ply of flesh, and the finer head of the two fallen buffaloes ; they found 
them, as I had anticipated, half consumed by lions and hyaenas. 

It was a cold, windy morning, and I lay in my waggon longer than 
usual. My other Hottentots thought proper to leave their charge, and 
go in quest of honey under the guidance of the garrulous honey-bird. I 
had lain about twenty minutes in my waggon after they had all started, 
and was occupied in reading a book, when suddenly I heard the oxen 
come trotting along in front of the waggons, as if sharply driven. On 
raising my head from my pillow I perceived a lioness following within 
twenty yards of them, and next moment her mate, a venerable-looking 
lion, with a shaggy mane which swept the ground, appeared in the yel- 
low grass in front of the oxen, waiting for her to put them to flight. 
The plot had evidently been preconcerted between them, this being the 
usual manner in which the lion attacks the buffaloes. Fortunately the 
oxen would not run for them, and the lions seemed surprised at the 
confidence of their game. On springing to my feet and shouting to 
them, they joined one another, and stood together beneath a shady tree 
within a hundred and twenty yards of the waggons. My horses were 
pasturing at a short distance from the lions, feeding towards me, and on 
these they seemed now to meditate an attack, their intention being 
divided between the horses and myself. 

In such a position of affairs I considered it high time to give these 
bold intruders a hint whose cattle they were so carefully herding. 
Snatching up my two-grooved rifle, which at all times hung loaded in 
my waggon, I at once ran forward under cover of a convenient bushy 
tree which intervened, and on gaining this bush I was within seventy 
yards of the lions. Here a forked branch afforded an admirable rest. I 
placed my rifle in the fork, and, taking the old lion low, I let fly, hit- 
ting him in the shoulder ; the two then wheeled about, and, bounding 
forward with angry growls, disappeared among the trees. 

From the cool state I was in when I fired, and the steady aim which 
the forked branch had afforded me, I felt convinced that the lion, if not 
dead, must be mortally wounded, but I prudently resolved not to pro- 
ceed in quest of him alone. Presently some of my men, who had gone 
to the carcase of a buffalo I had slain the previous day, returned bring- 
ing the dogs ; and, having informed them of what had happened, I pro- 
ceeded to take up the spoor of the wounded lion. On reaching the spot 



130 HUNTING AND SPOKTING ADVENTURES. 

where the lions had stood, my dogs at once commenced barking angrily 
and looking sharply round in every direction their hair bristling on 
their backs. I at once discovered blood, which increased as I proceeded 
from small red drops to large frothy blotches ; and before advancing two 
hundred yards, on approaching a dense green bush, my dogs, which led 
the way, sprang suddenly to one side, barking with great vehemence. 
By this I knew that the lion was dead, and, on cautiously rounding the 
bush, taking care at the same time to give it a wide berth, I had the 
satisfaction to behold a princely lion stretched lifeless on the ground. 

He was in the prime of life, having fine sharp teeth; and it being now 
the dead of winter he carried the most luxuriant coat of hair, the rank- 
ness of his flowing mane exceeding in beauty anything I had hitherto 
seen. I considered myself extremely fortunate in having secured so 
noble a specimen of the lion with so little danger, and I at once set men 
to work to unrobe him, which they were not long in accomplishing. 

About midday we inspanned, and trekked on till sundown through a 
country the most wild and primitive that can be conceived. We pro- 
ceeded under the guidance of two Bechuanas, who had joined us on the 
preceding day, and were proceeding to Booby. The two Baquaines who 
had accompanied me from Bakatla had forsaken my standard after I 
had shot the bull eland; so liberal a supply of flesh being far too power- 
ful a temptation to admit of their proceeding beyond it. On gaining 
the neck of the mountain-pass our march for a few miles wound through 
beautifully-wooded grassy hills, after which we descended into a rugged 
and densely wooded valley, intersected with deep watercourses which 
threatened momentarily the destruction of my axletrees. So dense was 
the jungle that we were obliged repeatedly to halt the waggons, and cut 
out a pathway with our axes before they could advance. Emerging 
from this valley, we entered upon a more level country, still, however, 
densely covered with forest-trees and bushes in endless variety. Here 
water was very abundant. We crossed several streams and marches 
whose margins were a mass of the spoor of wild animals ; that of rhino- 
ceros, buffalo, and camelopard being most abundant. At one stream 
the fresh spoor of a troop of lions was deeply imprinted in the wet 
sand. 

Although I am now acquainted with the native names of a number of 
the trees of the African forests, yet of their scientific names I am utterly 
ignorant. The shoulders and upper ridges of the mountains throughout 
all that country are profusely adorned with the graceful sandal-wood 
tree, famed on account of the delicious perfume of its timber. The leaf 
of this tree emits at every season of the year a powerful and fragrant 
perfume, which is increased by bruising the leaves in the hand. Its 
leaf is small, of a light silvery grey colour, which is strongly contrasted 
by the dark and dense evergreen foliage of the moopooroo-tree, which 
also adorns the upper ridges of the mountain ranges. This beautiful 
tree is interesting, as producing the most delicious and serviceable fruit 
that I have met with throughout those distant parts; the poorer natives 
subsisting upon it for several months, during which it continues in 
season. The moopooroo is of the size and shape of a very large olive. 
It is at first green, but, gradually ripening, like the Indian mango, it 



THE GIBAFFE AND ITS HABITS. 131 

becomes beautifully striped with yellow, and when perfectly ripe its 
colour is the deepest orange. The fruit is sweet and mealy, similar to 
the date, and contains a small brown seed. It covers the branches, and 
when ripe the golden fruit beautifully contrasts with the dark green 
leaves of the tree which bears it. 

Besides the moopooroo, a great variety of fruits are met with through- 
out these mountains and forests, all of which are known to, and gathered 
by, the natives. I must, however, forego a description of them, as it 
would swell these pages to undue bounds. Throughout the densely- 
wooded dells and hollows of the mountains the rosewood-tree occurs, of 
considerable size and in great abundance. 

Throughout the night we were beset by a daring troop of hyaenas, 
which, notwithstanding the vigilance of my dogs, consumed a part of my 
buffalo trektow and also a number of straps from off the yokes. The 
dogs kept up a loud and incessant barking until the day dawned, when 
I shot one of the hyaenas, and the rest made off. 

On the 11th we were in the yoke soon after daybreak. It was a 
bitterly cold morning, ice a quarter of an inch in thickness covering the 
pools of water. We were now clear of the extensive mountain-ranges 
through which our road had wound since leaving Bakatla, and were 
approaching towards the south-eastern limits of the great Kalahari 
desert, on whose borders Booby is situated. We continued our march, 
steering north-west ; in which direction the distant blue hills (pointed 
out to me as the position of Booby) shot abruptly above the unvaried 
sameness of the intervening forest scenery. To the west, one eternal 
ocean-like expanse of grey forest stretched away in a level and unbroken 
plain, terminated only by the far horizon. Having performed a march 
of three hours, we crossed a small stream, where I outspanned to break- 
fast. 

This day was to me rather a memorable one, as the first on which I 
saw and slew the lofty graceful-looking giraffe or camelopard, with 
which, during many years of my life, I had longed to form an acquaint- 
ance. These gigantic and exquisitely beautiful animals, which are 
admirably formed by nature to adorn the fair forests that clothe the 
boundless plains of the interior, are widely distributed throughout the 
interior of Southern Africa, but are nowhere to be met with in great 
numbers. In countries unmolested by the intrusive foot of man, the 
giraffe is found generally in herds varying from twelve to sixteen ; but 
I have not unfrequently met with herds containing thirty individuals, 
and on one occasion I counted forty together ; this, however, was owing 
to chance, and about sixteen may be reckoned as the average number of 
a herd. These herds are composed of giraffes of various sizes, from the 
young giraffe of nine or ten feet in height, to the dark chesnut-coloured 
old bull of the herd, whose exalted head towers above his companions, 
generally attaining to a height of upwards of eighteen feet. The females 
are of lower stature and more delicately formed than the males, their 
height averaging from sixteen to seventeen feet. Some writers have 
discovered ugliness and a want of grace in the giraffe, but I consider 
that he is one of the most strikingly beautiful animals in the creation ; 
and when a herd of them is seen scattered through a grove of the 



132 HUNTING AND SPOKTING ADVENTURES. 

picturesque parasol-topped acacias which adorn their native plains, and 
on whose uppermost shoots they are enabled to browse by the colossal 
height with which nature has so admirably endowed them, he must 
indeed be slow of conception who fails to discover both grace and dig- 
nity in all their movements. 

There can be no doubt that every animal is seen to the greatest 
advantage in the haunts which nature destined him to adorn, and 
amongst the various living creatures which beautify this fair creation, I 
have often traced a remarkable resemblance between the animal and the 
general appearance of the locality in which it is found. This I first 
remarked at an early period of my life, when entomology occupied a 
part of my attention. No person following this interesting pursuit can 
fail to observe the extraordinary likeness which insects bear to the vari- 
ous abodes in which they are met with. Thus, among the long green 
grass we find a variety of long green insects, whose legs and antennae so 
resemble the shoots emanating from the stalks of the grass that it 
requires a practised eye to distinguish them. Throughout sandy dis- 
tricts varieties of insects are met with of a colour similar to the sand 
which they inhabit. Among the green leaves of the various trees of the 
forest innumerable leaf-coloured insects are to be found ; while, closely 
adhering to the rough grey bark of these forest-trees, we observe beauti- 
fully coloured grey-looking moths of various patterns, yet altogether so 
resembling the bark as to be invisible to the passing observer. 

In like manner among quadrupeds I have traced a corresponding 
analogy, for, even in the case of the stupendous elephant, the ashy 
colour of his hide so corresponds with the general appearance of the 
grey thorny jungles which he frequents throughout the day, that a per- 
son unaccustomed to hunting elephants, standing on a commanding 
situation, might look down upon a herd and fail to detect their presence. 
And further, in the case of the giraffe, which is invariably met with 
among venerable forests, where innumerable blasted and weather-beaten 
trunks and stems occur, I have repeatedly been in doubt as to the pre- 
sence of a troop of them, until I had recourse to my spyglass ; and on 
referring the case to my savage attendants, I have known even their 
optics to fail, at one time mistaking these dilapidated trunks for came- 
lopards, and again confounding real camelopards with these aged 
veterans of the forest. 

Although we had now been travelling many days through the country 
of the giraffe, and had marched through forests in which their spoor was 
abundant, our eyes had not yet been gifted with a sight of " Tootla '' 
himself ; it was therefore with indescribable pleasure that, on the even- 
ing of the 11th, I beheld a troop of these interesting animals. 

Our breakfast being finished, I resumed my journey through an end- 
less grey forest of cameel-dorn and other trees, the country slightly 
undulating, and grass abundant. A little before the sun went down my 
driver remarked to me, " I was just going to say, Sir, that that old tree 
was a camelopard." 

On looking where he pointed, I saw that the old tree was indeed a 
camelopard, and, on casting my eyes a little to the right, I beheld a 
troop of them standing looking at us, their heads actually towering 



HUNTING THE GIEAFFE. 133 



above the trees of the forest. It was imprudent to commence a chase 
at such a late hour, especially in a country of so level a character, where 
the chances were against my being able to regain my waggons that 
night. I, however, resolved to chance everything • and directing my 
men to catch and saddle Colesberg, I proceeded in haste to buckle on 
my shooting-belt and spurs, and in two minutes I was in the saddle. 
The giraffes stood looking at the waggons until I was within sixty yards 
of them, when galloping round a thick bushy tree, under cover of which 
I had ridden, I suddenly beheld a sight the most astounding that a 
sportsman's eye can encounter. Before me stood a troop of ten colossal 
giraffes, the majority of which were from seventeen to eighteen feet 
high. On beholding me they at once made off, twisting their long tails 
over their backs, making a loud switching noise with them, and cantered 
along at an easy pace, which, however, obliged Colesberg to put his best 
foot foremost to keep up with them. 

The sensations which I felt on this occasion were different from any- 
thing that I had before experienced during a long sporting career. My 
senses were so absorbed by the wondrous and beautiful sight before me 
that I rode along like one entranced, and felt inclined to disbelieve that 
I was hunting living things of this world. The ground was firm and 
favourable for riding. At every stride I gained upon the giraffes, and 
after a short burst at a swingeing gallop I was in the middle of them, 
and turned the finest cow out of the herd. On finding herself driven 
from her comrades and hotly pursued, she increased her pace, and can- 
tered along with tremendous strides, clearing an amazing extent of 
ground at every bound ; while her neck and breast, coming in contact 
with the dead old branches of the trees, were continually strewing them 
in my path. 

In a few minutes I was riding within five yards of her stern, and, 
firing at the gallop, I sent a bullet into her back. Increasing my pace, 
I next rode alongside, and, placing the muzzle of my rifle within a few 
feet of her, I fired my second shot behind the shoulder ; the ball, how- 
ever seemed to have little effect. I then placed myself directly in front, 
when she came to a walk. Dismounting, I hastily loaded both barrels, 
putting in double charges of powder. Before this was accomplished she 
was off at a canter. In a short time I brought her to a stand in the 
dry bed of a watercourse, where I fired at fifteen yards, aiming where I 
thought the heart lay, upon which she again made off. Having loaded, 
I followed, and had very nearly lost her ; she had turned abruptly to 
the left, and was far out of sight among the trees. Once more I brought 
her to a stand, and dismounted from my horse. There we stood 
together alone in the wild wood. I gazed in wonder at her extreme 
beauty, while her soft dark eye, with its silky fringe, looked down 
imploringly at me, and I really felt a pang of sorrow in this moment of 
triumph for the blood I was shedding. Pointing my rifle towards the 
skies, I sent a bullet through her neck. On receiving it she reared high 
on her hind legs and fell backwards with a heavy crash, making the 
earth shake around her. A thick stream of dark blood spouted far from 
the wound, her colossal limbs quivered for a moment, and she expired. 

I had little time to contemplate the prize I had won. Night was fast 



134 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

setting in, and it was very questionable if I should succeed in regaining 
my waggons ; so, having cut off the tail of the giraffe, which was adorned 
with a bushy tuft of flowing black hair, I took "one last fond look," and 
rode hard for the spoor of the waggons, which I succeeded in reaching 
just as it was dark. 

No pen nor words can convey to a sportsman what it is to ride in the 
midst of a troop of gigantic giraffes : it must be experienced to be under- 
stood. They emitted a powerful perfume, which in the chase came hot 
in my face, reminding me of the smell of a hive of heather honey in 
September. The greater part of this chase led through bushes of the 
wait-a-bit thorn of the most virulent description, which covered my legs 
and arms with blood long before I had killed the giraffe. I rode as 
usual in the kilt, with my arms bare to my shoulder. It was Chapel- 
park of Badenoch's old grey kilt, but in this chase it received a death- 
blow which it never afterwards recovered. 

On the 12th we performed two long marches through thickly wooded 
plains, the spoor of camelopard being extremely abundant. On the 
13th we cast loose the cattle at dawn of day. Breakfast being finished, 
we inspanned, and having proceeded about eight miles through the 
forest, steering for a range of rocky mountains, we reached a gorge in 
the same. Here we crossed a small river; and having followed its banks 
about three miles, we reached Booby, a residence of Bechuanas, being a 
branch of the tribe of the Baquaines, and governed by a subordinate 
chief, who was then absent on a visit. I was, however, welcomed by his 
nephew, named Caachy, a man of pleasing exterior and prepossessing 
manners, who shortly afterwards became, and now is, chief of that tribe. 

As the manner in which Caachy succeeded to the chieftainship was 
peculiar, I may here relate the circumstances attending it. Throughout 
all the Bechuana tribes an absurd belief prevails in witchcraft and super- 
natural agencies of every kind. They also believe that for every trans- 
action there is a medicine which will enable the possessor to succeed in 
his object. Thus they think those among themselves who work in iron, 
do so under the power of medicine. Their rain-makers by the power of 
their medicines can propitiate the friendly clouds during the protracted 
droughts of summer. They have medicines to protect them from the 
lightning's stroke, from the deadly bite of the viper, and from the fatal 
spring of the lion. They further believe that there is a medicine for 
guns, the possession of which will cause the gun to shoot well; and like- 
wise one for the gunpowder, which will give it strength. 

Daring my visit to Booby I obtained from the natives some interest- 
ing specimens of native arms and other curiosities, for which they re- 
quired gunpowder, their chief having in his possession one or two mus- 
kets. When the chief and his men proceeded to use my powder, "they 
missed all they fired at; the Bechuana mode of firing being to withdraw 
the face from the gun, from a natural impulse of fear, before drawing 
the trigger, and to look back over the left shoulder instead of at the 
animal they expect to kill. The cause of their missing they at once 
ascribed to the powder, which they affirmed required medicine. Accor- 
dingly, the chief and all the long-headed men in Booby assembled in the 
forum; and having placed the unworthy gunpowder upon a large kaross, 



SHOOTING BABOONS. 135 

they all sat round it, and commenced a variety of ceremonies and in- 
cantations with a view of imparting to it that power which they con- 
sidered it had lost. At length some wiseacre among the soothsayers in- 
formed the king that the presence of fire was indispensable on the 
occasion. Fire was accordingly introduced along with the other medi- 
cines, and a censer of hot embers was passed frequently over the 
powder. Suddenly, however, an unlucky spark sprang from the censer 
into the heap of powder, which of course instantly exploded, and, the 
quantity being very considerable, the Booby men and their chief were 
blown heels over head on every side — several of the party, and among 
others the chief, being so severely burnt, that they shortly died. So 
much for Bechuana medicines. 

The kraal of Booby is encompassed on three sides by rocky hills, 
which to their summits are densely clad with sandal-wood trees. The 
sides of these mountains in parts are extremely precipitous, and are the 
abodes of baboons and klipspringers. On the march, as we approached 
Booby, I took my rifle and ascended to the base of one of these preci- 
pices, where I shot two immense baboons. One of them was sitting on 
the shelf of a rock very high above me ; and on receiving the shot he 
fell about a hundred feet without a break. The valleys between the 
mountains are extensively cultivated by the women, as also a large level 
piece of ground to the north-eastward of the kraal. The costume of this 
tribe was the same I have already described as worn by the Bechuanas ; 
but I remarked that they used the atrocious mixture of red clay and 
grease more freely than their neighbours. The Booby men flocked 
around my waggons, evidently much gratified with so novel a sight, and 
continued with me until nightfall. Shortly after I reached Booby a 
party of Baquaines arrived from Sichely. They had been sent to en- 
deavour to dissuade me from visiting Bamangwato, and to inform me 
that Sichely had ivory and karosses, with which to purchase all my 
guns ; and that, above all, he wished me to promise to reserve my big 
Dutch rifle for him. I informed these men that I was determined to 
visit Sicomy, but that I would keep the Dutch rifle for their chief, as he 
requested it. 

Having informed Caachy that I intended to march next day, he ex- 
pressed surprise, and said I made his heart sore. That evening there 
was a meeting of all the wise men in Booby to consult how I could best be 
prevented from journeying on to Bamangwato. On the morning of the 
14th I felt far from well, probably having drunk too much of Caachy 's 
beer on the preceding evening. Before I was inclined to turn out, the 
regent with all his great men were standing thick around my waggons. 
I pretended to be asleep ; so they kindled fires, around which they 
squatted. Presently I arose, and gave the regent his breakfast. I told 
him that I wished him to send men along with me to Bamangwato. He 
replied that there was war in that country, and that he was afraid of 
Moselekatse. I then said, that, though he would not give me men, I 
possessed medicine which would enable me to discover the way without 
his assistance ; and I informed him that, if he persisted in withholding 
guides, I should inform Sicomy, the great and paramount chief of 
Bamangwato, that they endeavoured to prevent the white men from 



136 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



visiting his domains. Upon this Caachy changed his story, and said 
that four men should accompany me to Bamangwato, and return with 
me. His plan however was, that these men should guide me in a wrong 
direction ; and pretending that the waters had failed, they were even- 
tually to lead me to Sichely, who resided to the eastward of Booby. 
| | This being arranged, I gave Caachy some presents, and requested him 
I to take charge of my buffalo and other heads until my return, which he 
promised to do, and ordered men to bear them directly to his kraal. 
About midday we inspanned and left Booby, accompanied by nearly the 
whole tribe, every man carrying two or three assagais and a battle-axe. 
They followed us in the hope that I would shoot large game for them. 
The guides at first held north-east; but presently drawing off that 
course, and steering due east, I halted, and said that was not the road 
to Bamangwato. They replied, they held that course on account of 
water. I then directed them to place an assagai on the ground with its 
head pointing to Bamangwato. Thereupon the savages laid down one 
of their assagais, and, having pretended for some minutes to be discuss- 
ing among themselves the exact position of Bamangwato, they ended 
by pointing it due east, declaring that Bamangwato lay in that direction. 

I told them that I had a needle in my pocket which I had rubbed 
with medicine, by which I could tell if their spear pointed to Sicomy's 
country. Knowing that Bamangwato lay a little to the east of north, I 
said that by turning the needle three times round my left wrist it would 
point a little to the left-hand side of the country I required. On hear- 
this the savages looked at one another with surprise, and pressed round 
me to see if my needle possessed the power I represented. Slipping my 
fingers into my shooting-belt, I then pulled out my pocket compass, and, 
passing it three times round my left wrist with the utmost gravity, I 
whistled shrilly ; and on opening the compass I placed it on the ground 
before them. Snatching one of their assagais, I placed it beside the 
compass a little to the east of north, and told them that it was there 
Bamangwato lay. They were struck with astonishment, and at once 
considered me as working by supernatural agency. 

Having done this, I inquired of the guides if they would lead me to 
waters in that direction. They all shouted that that was the desert, 
and that no man had ever found water there. Having said this, they all 
turned right about, and, retreating for about two hundred yards, they 
squatted on the ground. Isaac and I then approached them ; but they 
sat in silence, and looked on the ground. I asked them why they all 
sat thus. They answered that they would proceed no farther with me. 
I replied that I was happy to hear it, and that I could find the way 
better without them. I returned to my waggons, and ordered my men 
to turn about and retrace their steps to the nearest water. The savages 
then requested me to halt and speak with them. I told them to go 
home to their captain, as their presence troubled me ; and having pro- 
ceeded a few hundred yards, I encamped beside a pool of water. 

It was plain to me that Isaac, my interpreter, was in league with the 
Baquaines in their designs against me ; but as I did not intend to part 
with him, because his presence gave confidence to my people, I deemed 
it best to pretend that I believed him to be sincere. My flesh being ex- 



WILDEBEESTS AND ZEBEAS. 137 

hausted, I resolved to halt for a day for the purpose of hunting before 
proceeding farther; and having obtained a good supply, to steer through 
the forest by compass a little to the east of north, and to search for water 
with my horses in advance of the waggons. I felt poorly in health, and 
was much troubled in mind. My situation was by no means an enviable 
one. I was far in the interior of Africa, alone and friendless, surrounded 
by a tribe of men who would do anything to prevent my attaining my 
object ; but fear restrained them from using violence. What I most 
dreaded was their stealing my oxen or horses, which they could easily 
accomplish, as I was encamped in a thick forest; my men also were faint- 
hearted and anxious to return towards home. 

That night I slept little, from vexation and anxiety. The whole tribe 
of the Booby men lay encamped beside us. They lay on the ground 
around a number of fires, with a hedge of thorny bushes placed in a 
semicircle to windward of each party. After breakfast I rode east to 
hunt, accompanied by Kleinboy leading a packhorse ; about thirty of 
the Bechuanas followed us in the hope of flesh. Having proceeded 
about two miles, I perceived a large herd of blue wildebeests and zebras. 
I signed to the Bechuanas to lie down, and then rode slowly forward as 
if to pass to leeward of the herd. Having probably never before seen a 
horseman, they allowed me to approach within a hundred yards, when 
I sprang from my horse, and with my first barrel dropped a fat blue 
wildebeest. The Bechuanas then rushed forward, but I beckoned to 
them to lie down. Having loaded I galloped in pursuit of the troop, 
and after riding a short distance hard in their dusty wake, through a 
thinly-wooded part of the forest, I pulled up and was on my feet just as 
the leading cow wheeled about. I fired right and left, and shot two fat 
old cows. Both ran a short distance and fell. The Bechuanas now came 
up with Kleinboy, greatly delighted at my success. I presented them 
with the bull and one of the cows for their chief, and having placed the 
remaining cow upon my packhorse, we returned to camp. 

Here I found Caachy with all his retinue : they had come out to en- 
deavour by cunning speaking to lead me astray. Having saluted Caachy, 
I said that J had yesterday promised to kill some game for him, and 
that I had now fulfilled my word, upon which he thanked me. I then 
remarked that his men did not lead me as Dr. Livingstone had told me 
to ride ; to which he replied that the road was circuitous, and that they 
led me so on account of water. At length he had almost persuaded me 
to follow his guides, but I said I would rest till to-morrow, having de- 
termined that, as I had no friend whom I might consult, I would re- 
volve the subject in my mind that night, and determine finally in the 
morning. Caachy then drank coffee with me and departed. 

In the evening I inquired of the guides concerning the waters and the 
distances betwixt them. They replied that the first water was a mode- 
rate day's journey, but after that I must ride more than two days with- 
out water : they also persevered in pointing to the east as my course. I 
now plainly saw that their intention was to lead me far astray, and 
finally to bring me to Sichely, their own paramount chief. I therefore 
resolved to adhere to my first resolution of steering my own course by 



138 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

the compass, but I kept this intention secret, fearing that they might 
steal some of my oxen. 



CHAPTER XIII. 



The Guides try to mislead me — The Cattle and Horses dying from Thirst — Search 
for Water — Melancholy Anticipations — Directed to a Pool by the flight of Birds 
— Chase and kill a Giraffe — Wandering Bechuanas point out my right Course — 
Miserable Condition of the Natives — Game Pitfalls — Mimosa Grove smashed by 
Elephants — A Rhinoceros charges me — Abundance of large Game — Lost in the 
Forest. 

On the morning of the 16th a large party of Caachy's men were still en- 
camped beside us, and were under the impression that they had suc- 
ceeded in prevailing upon me to follow them. Having filled all my 
water-casks, I ordered my men to inspan, the Bechuanas cracking their 
jokes and fancying that I should ride east as they led ; but to their as- 
tonishment, having inspanned, I told them that they had better all re- 
turn to their captains, as I would shoot no more game for them, and I 
then ordered my men to ride for a conspicuous tree in the distance, 
bearing N.N.E. The Bechuanas sat still for some time to see how I 
would steer, and presently they shouldered their assagais and followed 
in our wake. This was a bold step on my part : the country looked 
very unlikely for water, and the Bechuanas swore that there was none 
for seven day's journey in that direction. 

Our march lay through a boundless forest, with no hill nor landmark 
to give an idea where to search for water. Fortune, however, followed 
me here as usual : if I had lived all my life in the country, I could not 
have taken a more direct course for the spot I wished to reach. After 
we had proceeded some miles, a rising ground arose in our path, from 
the summit of which I fancied that a view might be obtained of the 
country in advance. This view only served to damp my hopes, the pro- 
spect exhibiting one slightly undulating, ocean-like expanse of forest and 
dense thorny jungles. 

We halted for a few minutes to breathe the oxen, when the Bechuanas 
all came up, and sat down on the ground beside us. I asked them why 
they had not gone home as I had told them. They replied that they 
followed me because they were afraid that I should lose myself and my 
oxen. We held on, steering by compass N.N.E. All the Bechuanas 
now forsook me except the four ill-favoured men whom Caachy had 
pointed out to me as my guides. These four, contrary to my expecta- 
tions, followed in our wake at some distance. I walked a hundred yards 
in advance of the waggons with my compass jn my hand, having ordered 
the men to follow my footsteps. After travelling for several hours the 
country became more open, and presently we entered upon a wide tract 
that had been recently burned by the Bakalahari, or wild inhabitants of 
the desert. Here the trees and bushes stood scorched and burnt, and 
there was not a blade of grass to cheer the eye — blackness and ashes 
stretched away on every side wherever I turned my anxious glance. I 



SEARCH FOB WATER. 139 



felt my heart sink within me as I beheld in dim perspective my famished 
and thirsty oxen returning some days hence over this hopeless desert, 
all my endeavours to find water having failed, and all my bright hopes 
of elephant-hunting dashed and crowned with bitter disappointment : it 
was indeed a cheerless prospect. I had no friend to comfort or advise 
me, and I could hear my men behind me grumbling, and swearing that 
they would return home ; the guides, who had now come up, asking 
them why they followed me to destruction. 

At length we reached the farther side of this dreary waste of ashes, 
but now an equally cheerless prospect was before me. We entered a 
vast forest, grey with extreme age, and so thick that we could not see 
forty yards in advance. We were obliged occasionally to halt the wag- 
gons and cut down trees and branches to admit of their passing; and to 
make matters still worse, the country had become extremely heavy, the 
waggons sinking deep in soft sand. My men began to show a mutinous 
spirit by expressing their opinions aloud in my presence. I remon- 
strated with them, and told them that, if I did not bring them to water 
next day before the sun was under, they might turn the oxen on their 
spoor. We continued our march through this dense forest until night- 
fall, when I halted for the night beside a widespreading tree : here I 
cast my oxen loose for an hour, and then secured them on the yokes by 
moonlight. 

I felt very sad and unhappy in my mind, for I considered that the 
chances were against me, and I shuddered at the idea of returning to 
the colony, after coming so very far, without shooting or even seeing 
what my heart most ardently desired, viz. a wild bull elephant free in 
his native jungle. I took some wine, and, coming to the fire which the 
men had kindled ior the night beneath a magnificent old cameel-dorn 
tree, I affected great cheerfulness and contentment, and, laughing at the 
four Bechuanas, I told them that I was not a child that they should 
lead me astray, but that I was an old warrior and a cunning hunter, and 
could find my way in strange lands. I laughed, but it was the laugh of 
despair, for I expected that next evening they would be laughing at me, 
on seeing me compelled to retrace my steps. One of the greatest diffi- 
culties that presented itself was, that, if I rode in advance to search for 
water, it would be almost impossible to find my way back to the wag- 
gons through that vast and trackless forest. I went to bed but tried in 
vain to sleep. 

Care and anxiety kept me awake until a little before morning, when 
I fell asleep for a short time and dreamt that I had ridden in advance 
and found water. Day dawned, and I awoke in sorrow. My hopes were 
like a flickering flame ; care sat upon my brow. I cast loose my horses 
and oxen, and prepared some breakfast ; I then directed my men to 
catch " The Cow " and " Colesberg," and give them some corn. I asked 
the guides if they could lead me to water in a northerly direction, when 
they replied that no man ever found water in the desert. I did not talk 
more with them, but ordered my men to remain quiet during the day 
and listen for shots, lest I should lose my way in returning; and having 
given them ammunition to reply, I saddled up and held N.N.E. through 
thick forest, accompanied by Kleinboy. The ground was heavy, being 



140 HUNTING AND SPOETING ADVENTUEES 



soft sand, and the grass grew at intervals in detached bunches. We rode 
on without a break or a change, and found no spoor of wild animals to 
give me hope. I saw one duiker, but these antelopes are met with in 
the desert, and are independent of water. 

At last we reached a more open part of the forest, and emerging from 
the thicket I perceived a troop of six giraffes standing looking at us 
about two hundred yards to my right ; but this was no time to give 
them chase, which I felt very much inclined to do. I allowed them to 
depart in peace, and continued my search for water. In this open glade 
I found two or three vleys that had once contained a little water, but 
they were now hard and dry. Ee-entering the dense forest, we held one 
point more to the east, and rode on as before, For miles we continued 
our search, until my hopes sank to a very low ebb; and Kleinboy swore 
that we should never regain the waggons. At length I perceived a 
sassayby walking before me : this antelope drinks every day ; — (i fresh 
vigour with the hope returned." I once more pressed forward and 
cantered along, heedless of the distance which already intervened be- 
twixt me and my camp and the remonstrances of my attendant, who at 
last reigned up his jaded steed, and said that he would not follow me 
farther to my own destruction. I then pointed to the top of a distant 
"grey tree that stretched its bare and weather-beaten branches above the 
heads of its surrounding comrades, and said, that, if we saw nothing to 
give us hope when we reached that tree, I would abandon the search, 
and hunt during that season in Sichely's mountains to the east of Booby. 

But fate had ordained that I should penetrate farther into the interior 
of Africa ; and before I reached the old grey tree I observed a small 
flight of Namaqua partridges flying across my path in a westerly direc- 
tion. It was impossible to tell, until I should see a second flock of 
these, flying at a different angle, whether the first flock had come from, 
or were going to, water. For this I accordingly watched, nor watched 
long in vain. A considerable distance ahead of me I detected a second 
flight of these birds likewise flying westerly ; and it was evident, from 
their inclination, that they held for the same point as the first had done. 
Shortly afterwards the first flight returned, flying high above our heads, 
uttering their soft melodious cry of " pretty dear, pretty dear." I then 
rode in the direction from which the birds had come, and before pro- 
ceeding far we discovered a slight hollow running north and south. 
This I determined to follow, and presently I discovered fresh spoor of a 
rhinoceros : this was a certain sign that water was somewhere not very 
distant. 

Once more my dying hopes revived. I looked north at the glorious 
sky, which on this day was quite different from anything I had beheld 
for months. It was like one of those glorious days when the bright blue 
sky in my own dark land is seen through ten thousand joyous fleecy 
clouds, and all nature seems to strive in its sunny hour to make poor 
unhappy man forget his cares and sorrows. I took it as a favourable 
omen, and, stirring my good and lively steed, I cantered along the 
glade. The hollow took a turn, on rounding which I perceived that I 
was in an elevated part of the forest ; and I, for the first time, obtained 
a distant view of the surrounding scenery. Far as the eye could strain 



TREACHERY OF THE GUIDES. 141 



it was all forest without a break ; but there was now an undulating 
country before me, instead of the hopeless level through which I had 
come. I felt certain of success. We soon discovered vleys that had 
recently contained water ; and at last a large pool of excellent water, 
enough to supply my cattle for several days. This was to me a joyous 
moment ; it was a grand step towards attaining my object, and, as my 
difficulties had seemed to increased, my wish and determination to over- 
come them had become stronger. I knew that, whether I reached 
Bamangwato or not, if I could now only manage to travel north about 
eight days' journey I should fall in with elephants. 

I was extremely fortunate in regaining my waggons, which I did 
without a turn in my course. On reaching them I at first pretended 
not to have discovered water ; and I said to the guides, " There is 
nothing but dense wood in this country ; can you not show me water 1 
my oxen will die." They replied that they knew the country from in- 
fancy, and that if I wanted water I must travel till sunset, steering 
south of east. I then surprised them by saying, " Now I see that you 
wish to lead me astray • for I have seen abundance of water, and I will 
find my way to Bamangwato, though you do all in your power to pre- 
vent me." Having inspanned, we held for the water, which I succeeded 
in reaching at a late hour. I still felt very anxious and full of care ; 
but this first bold and successful step seemed to have made a strong im- 
pression on the guides, who still followed in our wake. It appeared to 
me that the orders they had received from their chief were, to endeavour 
to lead me astray, and bring me to Sichely ; but that, in the event of my 
finding the way myself, they were to accompany me to Sicomy to 
ensure his friendship and to convince him of their chief's sincerity. 

On the morning of the 18th, shortly after the day dawned, I was 
lying awake thinking whether I should hunt or explore the country in 
advance, my men having as usual wasted their food and already con- 
sumed the bull wildebeest which I had shot for them two days 
previously, when suddenly I heard the voices of men a little distance 
down the glade. Fortune seemed determined to favour me. The 
guides, who sat by our fire, had not heard the voices ; if they had been 
aware of men being near us they would have run to meet them, and 
warned them to lead me astray. Springing from my bed, I hastily 
donned my attire, and, proceeding in the direction of the voices, I dis- 
covered a party of ten Bechuanas squatted round a fire which they had 
just kindled. These men belonged to Booby ; they had been hunting 
jackals at a place called Bootlonamy, which is halfway from Booby to 
Bamangwato, and they were now returning home with their spoils. 
They at once pointed out to me the correct line of march for Bamang- 
wato, and advised me of a fine vley in the forest one march in advance. 

Having breakfasted, I inspanned, and after trekking for about six 
hours through dense forest we reached the vley. On the march it was 
necessary to have constant recourse to our axes to clear a path for the 
waggons. I was much delighted with the little loch to which we then 
came : it covered about an acre, in shape a circle, and its margin was 
imprinted with the fresh spoor of a variety of wild animals, such as 
giraffe, rhinoceros, buffalo, sassayby, pallah, zebra, lion, etc. We 

9 



142 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

encamped beneath two wide-spreading shady trees, and I at once saddled 
up, and rode forth with Kleinboy to hunt, our flesh being at an end. 
I had ridden about half a mile in a north-easterly course, through shady 
groves of mokala-trees, when suddenly I observed a stately giraffe walk 
slowly across my path, and crop the leaves from the upper branches of 
a mokala-tree about a hundred yards in advance This was a fine look- 
out : with hasty hand I shifted my saddle from " Sunday " to the Old 
Grey, and ordering Kleinboy to set the packsaddle on "Sunday," and 
listen for shots, I rode slowly towards the giraffe. 

As I advanced I perceived another giraffe standing looking at me a 
little to my left, which gave the alarm by starting off, when I stirred my 
steed, and on rounding an intervening clump of trees I came full in 
sight of a troop of eight giraffes, cantering before me. In another 
minute I was in the middle of them ; and selecting a fine fat cow, I rode 
hard at her, and fired my first shot at the gallop. She got it through 
her ribs, and the blood flowed freely. Again and again I broke her 
from the troop, and again she joined them. At length I fired my 
second shot at her stern ; after which, by heading her, I brought her to 
a stand, when I sprang from the fidgety, snorting Old Grey, and, hastily 
loading both barrels, I fired right and left for her heart. Her colossal 
frame shook convulsively for a few seconds, when, tottering forward, 
she subsided in the dust with tremendous violence. 

Four signal-shots brought Kleinboy and the packhorse, and also Isaac 
with the four guides. The chase was all in thick forest, and had led me 
to within a few hundred yards of the waggons. The hungry guides 
seemed enchanted at the prospect of such a banquet. They at once 
kindled a fire, and slept that night beside the carcase. I returned to 
the waggons with my horses laden with flesh. My mind was now once 
more at rest. I went to my bed and slept soundly. During the night 
lions roared around us. 

On the 19th I rose at dawn of day, and took a stroll through the 
forest. Here I found some old dung of elephants ; and observing 
several full-grown trees torn up by the roots, and others that had been 
shivered by the gigantic strength of those animals. The guides, finding 
that they prevailed nothing, at length volunteered to lead me to 
Bamangwato by a northerly course, and promised that I should not lack 
for water. We inspanned, and held on till sundown, proceeding in a 
north-easterly course, when we halted in dense forest without water. 
Our march lay through an interesting country well adapted for hunting 
the eland and giraffe. The forest was in many places thin and open, 
with here and there gigantic old trees of picturesque appearance stand- 
ing detached, some half-dead, and others falling to pieces from age. 
The soil was soft yet firm, and admirably suited for riding. The spoor 
of eland and giraffe was abundant. 

On the 20th we inspanned at dawn of day, and having proceeded 
about five miles we reached a miserable little kraal or village of Baka- 
lahari. Here was a vley of water, beside which we outspanned. Starva- 
tion was written in the faces of these inhabitants of the forest. In their 
vicinity were a few small gardens, containing water-melons and a little 
corn. Occasionally they have the luck to capture some large animal in 



GIKAFFE PITFALLS. 143 

a pitfall, when for a season they live in plenty. But as they do not 
possess salt, the flesh soon spoils, when they are compelled once more to 
roam the forest in quest of fruits and roots, on which, along with 
locusts, they in a great measure subsist. In districts where game is 
abundant, they often construct their pits on a large scale, and erect 
hedges in the form of a crescent, extending to nearly a mile on either 
side of the pit. By this means the game may easily be driven into the 
pitfalls, which are carefully covered over with thin sticks and dry 
grass ; and thus whole herds of zebras and wildebeests are massacred at 
once, which capture is followed by the most disgusting banquets, the 
poor starving savages gorging and surfeiting ' in a manner worthy only 
of the vulture or hyaena. They possess no cattle, and, if they did, the 
nearest chief would immediately rob them. All that part of the 
country abounded with the pitfalls made by these and others of the 
Bakalahari. Many of these had been dug expressly for the giraffe, and 
were generally three feet wide, and ten long ; their depth was from 
nine to ten feet. They were placed in the path of the Oamelopard, and 
in the vicinity of several of these we detected the bones of giraffes, in- 
dicating the success that had attended their formation. 

At midday we resumed our march, halting at sunset without water. 
The first of this march lay through dense forest, where we were obliged 
to cut a pathway with our axes. Here the spoor of eland was abundant. 
In the evening we passed through an open tract very thinly wooded, 
where I saw abundance of springbok and blue wildebeest. At mid- 
night the dogs giving chase to some animal, I sprang out of bed ; and 
following them in my shirt, I found them standing over a jackal. The 
guides skinned him, and, having baked him in the ashes, they consumed 
him. 

On the 22nd, ordering my men to move on to the fountain of Bootlo- 
namy, I rode forth with Ruyter, and held east through a grove of lofty 
and widespreading mimosas, most of which were more or less damaged 
by the gigantic strength of a troop of elephants, which had passed there 
about twelve months before. Having proceeded about two miles with 
large herds of game on every side, I observed a crusty -looking old bull 
borel6, or black rhinoceros, cocking his ears one hundred yards in ad- 
vance. He had not observed us ; and soon after he walked slowly 
towards us, and stood broadside to, eating some wait-a-bit thorns within 
fifty yards of me. I fired from my saddle, and sent a bullet in behind 
his shoulder, upon which he rushed forward about one hundred yards 
in tremendous consternation, blowing like a grampus, and then stood 
looking about him. Presently he made off. I followed, but found it 
hard to come up with him. When I overtook him I saw the blood run- 
ning freely from his wound. 

The chase led through a large herd of blue wildebeests, zebras, and 
springboks, which gazed at us in utter amazement. At length I fired 
my second barrel, but my horse was fidgety, and I missed. I continued 
riding alongside of him, expecting in my ignorance that at length he 
would come to bay, which rhinoceroses never do; when suddenly he fell 
flat on his broadside on the ground, but, recovering his feet, resumed 
his course as if nothing had happened. Becoming at last annoyed at 



144 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



the length of the chase, as I wished to keep my horses fresh for the ele- 
phants, and being indifferent whether I got the rhinoceros or not, as I 
observed that his horn was completely worn down with age and the 
violence of his disposition, I determined to bring matters to a crisis ; so, 
spurring my horse, I dashed ahead, and rode right in his path. 

Upon this the hideous monster instantly charged me in the most re- 
solute manner, blowing loudly through his nostrils ; and although I 
quickly wheeled about to my left, he followed me at such a furious pace 
for several hundred yards, with his horrid horny snout within a few 
yards of my horse's tail, that my little bushman, who was looking on in 
great alarm, thought his master's destruction inevitable. It was cer- 
tainly a very near thing ; my horse was extremely afraid, and exerted 
his utmost energies on the occasion. The rhinoceros, however, wheeled 
about and continued his former course ; and I, being perfectly satisfied 
with the interview which I had already enjoyed with him, had no desire 
to cultivate his acquaintance any further, and accordingly made for 
camp. We left the fountain of Bootlonamy the same day, and marched 
about six miles through an old grey forest of mimosas, when we halted 
for the night. Large flocks of guinea-fowls roosted in the trees around 
our encampment, several of which I shot for my supper. 

On the 23rd we inspanned by moonlight, and continued our march 
through a thinly-wooded level country. It was a lovely morning ; the 
sun rose in great splendour, and the sky was beautifully overcast with 
clouds. Having proceeded about ten miles, the country became thickly 
covered with detached forest-trees and groves of wait-a-bit thorns. The 
guides now informed us that the water, which is called by the Bechu- 
anus " Lepeby," was only a short distance in advance ; upon which I 
saddled steeds, and rode ahead with the Bushman, intending to hunt for 
an hour before breakfast. Presently we reached an open glade in the 
forest, where I observed a herd of zebras in advance ; and on my left 
stood a troop of springboks, with two leopards watching them from be- 
hind a bush. I rode on, and soon fell in with a troop of hartebeests, 
and, a little after, with a large herd of blue wildebeests and pallahs. I 
followed these for some distance, when they were reinforced by two 
other herds of pallahs and wildebeests. Three black rhinoceroses now 
trotted across my path. Presently I sprang from my horse, and fired 
right and left at a princely bull blue wildebeest. He got both balls, but 
did not fall ; and I immediately lost sight of him in the dense ranks of 
his shaggy companions. 

The game increased as we proceeded, until the whole forest seemed 
alive with a variety of beautifully coloured animals. On this occasion I 
was very unfortunate ; I might have killed any quantity of game if veni- 
son had been my object ; but I was trying to get a few very superior 
heads of some of the master bucks of the pallahs. Of these I wounded 
four select old bucks, but in the dust and confusion caused by the innu- 
merable quantity of the game I managed to lose them all. 

We had now ridden many miles from the waggons ; and feeling faint 
from want of food, I dropped the chase in disgust, and, without looking 
at my compass, ordered the Bushman to go ahead. My attention had 
been so engrossed with the excitement of the pursuit, that I had not 



LOSE OUE WAY. 145 

the remotest idea of the course I had taken, and the whole country exhi- 
bited such an aspect of sameness, that there was no landmark nor emin- 
ence of any description by which to steer. Having ridden many miles 
through the forest, I at length asked the Bushman, in whom on such 
occasions I generally placed great confidence, if he was sure he was rid- 
ing in the right direction, and, as he appeared quite confident, I allowed 
him to proceed. 

At length he said that we had gone a little too far to the left, and led 
me away several miles to the right, which was westerly ; whereas the 
waggons eventually proved to be a long way to the east. I felt con- 
vinced that we were wrong, and, reining up, a discussion arose between 
us, the Bushman still maintaining that we must ride west, whilst I was 
certain that our course should be east. I now adopted my own opinion, 
and, having ridden many miles in an easterly direction, we were at one 
time close upon the waggons, when the thick-headed Bushman declared 
that if I persevered we should never see the waggons again, and I with 
equal stupidity, yielded to his advice, and a south-westerly course was 
once more adopted. Having ridden for many miles, I again reined up, 
and again told the Bushman we were wrong • upon which he for the 
first time acknowledged that he knew nothing at all about the matter, 
but stated it to be his impression that we ought to ride farther to the 
west. My head was so confused that I lost all recollection of how we 
had ridden ; and while I was deliberating what I should do, I observed 
a volume of smoke a long way to the north, which I at once imagined 
had been kindled by my followers to guide their lost master *to the 
waggons. 

With revived spirits, I stirred my jaded steed and made for the 
smoke ; but, alas ! this only served to lead me farther astray. After 
riding many miles in that direction, I discovered that the fire was at an 
amazing distance, and could not have been kindled by my men ; it was 
the wild Bakalahari of the desert burning the old dry grass. I was now 
like a seaman in a hurricane — at my wit's end — I knew not how to ride 
nor what to do. The sun, which had just risen when I left the waggons, 
was about to set. There was no landmark whatever by which to steer ; 
I might wander for days, and not discover water. 

To find the waggons was comparatively a trifle. I thought little of 
them ; it was the thought of water that harrowed my mind. Already 
the pangs of thirst began to seize me. I had ridden all day, under the 
hot sun, and had neither eaten nor drunk since early the preceding 
evening. I felt faint and weary ; and my heart sank as horrible visions 
of a lingering death by maddening thirst arose before me. Dismounting 
from my horse, I sat down to think what I should do. I knew exactly 
by my compass the course we had been steering since we left Booby. I 
accordingly resolved to ride south-west for many miles, the course of the 
waggons having been north-east, and then to send Ruyter across the 
country a little to the north of west, while I should hold a correspond- 
ing course in an easterly direction. By this means one of us could not 
fail to find the spoor, and I arranged that at nightfall we should meet at 
some conspicuous tree. Having thus resolved, I mounted my horse, 
which was half dead with thirst and fatigue, and, having ridden south- 



146 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTUEES. 

west for several miles, I and Ruyter separated at a conspicuous tree, 
and rode in opposite directions. Before riding far I recognised the coun- ' 
try as being the spot where I had seen the leopards in the morning. I 
at once followed Ruyter, and fired several signal shots, which he fortu- 
nately heard, and soon joined me. We then rode due east, and eventu- 
ally, to my inexpressible gratification, we discovered the spoor of the 
waggons, which we reached after following it for about four miles in a 
north-easterly direction. 

Our poor horses were completely exhausted, and could barely walk 
to camp. I found my waggons drawn up beside the strong fountain of 
Lepeby, which, issuing from beneath a stratum of white tufous rock, 
formed an extensive deep pool of pure water, adorned on one side with 
lofty green reeds. This fountain was situated at the northern extremity 
of a level bare vley, surrounded by dense covers of the wait-a-bit thorns. 
Such a peculiar sameness characterized the country, that a person 
wandering only a few hundred yards from the fountain would have con- 
siderable difficulty in regaining it. It was night when I reached the 
waggons, and two or three cups of coffee soon restored me to my wonted 
vigour. 

On the following morning, from earliest dawn until we trekked, 
which we did about ten a.m., large herds of game kept pouring in to 
drink from every side, completely covering the open space, and impart- 
ing to it the appearance of a cattle-fair ; blue wildebeests, zebras, 
sassaybys, pallahs, springboks, etc., capered fearlessly up to the water, 
troop after troop, within two hundred yards of us. In former years a 
tribe of Bechuanas had frequented this fountain, and I beheld the 
skeletons of many rhinoceroses and of one elephant bleaching in the 
sun ; but the powerful and cruel Matabili had attacked the tribe, and 
driven them to seek a home elsewhere. I shot a pallah and a wilde- 
beest, which we secured behind the waggons. About ten A.M. we in- 
spanned, and within a mile of Lepeby we passed through another 
similar open vley, containing a strong fountain of delicious water. We 
continued our march till sundown through an undulating open country, 
thinly covered with detached trees and thorny bushes, and encamped in 
a sandy desert without water. 



CHAPTER XIV. 



The Bamangwato Mountains — The Elephants' Fountain — A troop of colossal 
Giraffes — Elephants drinking by Night — Habits of the African Elephant — 
Elephant Hunt — A Bull shot after a dangerous Encounter — Cutting out the 
Tusks — Extraordinary Rocks — Mountain-retreat of Sicomy, King of Bamang- 
wato — His Cunning — Barter Muskets for Ivory — His Majestj^'s curious Gun- 
practice — Trading for Native Weapons. 

On the 25th, at dawn of day, we inspanned, and trekked about five 
hours in a north-easterly course, through a boundless open country 
sparingly adorned with dwarfish old trees. In the distance the long- 
sought mountains of Bamangwato at length loomed blue before me. We 
halted beside a glorious fountain, which at once made me forget all the 




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A TEOOP OF GIRAFFES. 147 



cares and difficulties I had encountered in reaching it. The name of this 
fountain was Massouey, but I at once christened it "the Elephant's own 
Fountain." This was a very remarkable spot on the southern borders of 
endless elephant forests, at which I had at length arrived. The foun- 
tain was deep and strong, situated in a hollow at the eastern extremity 
of an extensive vley, and its margin was surrounded by a level stratum 
of solid old red sandstone. Here and there lay a thick layer of soil 
upon the rock, and this was packed flat with the fresh spoor of 
elephants. Around the water's edge the very rock was worn down by 
the gigantic feet which for ages had trodden there. 

The soil of the surrounding country was white and yellow sand, but 
grass, trees, and bushes were abundant. From the borders of the foun- 
tain a hundred well-trodden elephant footpaths led away in every direc- 
tion, like the radii of a circle. The breadth of these paths was about 
three feet ; those leading to the northward and east were the most fre- 
quented, the country in those directions being well wooded. We drew 
up the waggons on a hillock on the eastern side of the water. This 
position commanded a good view of any game that might approach to 
drink. I had just cooked my breakfast, and commenced to feed, when 
I heard my men exclaim, " Almagtig keek de ghroote clomp cameel ; " 
and, raising my eyes from my sassaby stew, I beheld a truly beautiful 
and very unusual scene. From the margin of the fountain there ex- 
tended an open level vley, without a tree or bush, that stretched away 
about a mile to the northward, where it was bounded by extensive 
groves of wide-spreading mimosas. 

Up the middle of this valey stalked a troop of ten colossal giraffes, 
flanked by two large herds of blue wildebeests and zebras, with an ad- 
vanced guard of pallahs. They were all coming to the fountain to drink, 
and would be within rifle-shot of the waggons before I could finish my 
breakfast. I however continued to swallow my food with the utmost 
expedition, having directed my men to catch and saddle Colesberg. In 
a few minutes the giraffes were slowly advancing within two hundred 
yards, stretching their graceful necks, and gazing in wonder at the un- 
wonted waggons. Grasping my rifle, I now mounted Colesberg, and 
rode slowly towards them. They continued gezing at the waggons until 
I was within one hundred yards of them, when, whisking their long tails 
over their rumps, they made off at an easy canter. As I pressed upon 
them they increased their pace ; but Colesberg had much the speed of 
them, and before we had proceeded half a mile I was riding by the 
shoulder of the dark-chestnut old bull, whose head towered high above 
the rest. 

Letting fly at the gallop, I wounded him behind the shoulder ; soon 
after which I broke him from the herd, and presently, going ahead of 
him, he came to a stand. I then gave him a second bullet, somewhere 
near the first. These two shots had taken effect, and he was now in my 
power, but I would not lay him low so far from camp, so, having waited 
until he had regained his breath, I drove him half-way back towards the 
waggons. Here he became obstreperous ; so, loading one barrel, and 
pointing my rifle towards the clouds, I shot him in the throat, when, 
rearing high, he fell backwards and expired. This was a magnificent 



148 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



specimen of the giraffe, measuring upwards of eighteen feet in height. 
I stood for nearly half an hour engrossed in the contemplation of his ex- 
treme beauty and gigantic proportions ; and, if there had been no 
elephants, I could have exclaimed, like Duke Alexander of Gordon 
when he killed the famous old stag with seventeen tine, "Now I can die 
happy." But I longed for an encounter with the noble elephants, and I 
thought little more of the giraffe than if I had killed a gemsbok or an 
eland. 

In the afternoon I removed my waggons to a correct distance from 
the fountain, and drew them up among some bushes about four hundred 
yards to leeward of the water. In the evening I was employed in manu- 
facturing hardened bullets for the elephants, using a composition of one 
of pewter to four of lead ; and I had just completed my work when we 
heard a troop of elephants splashing and trumpeting in the water. This 
was to me a joyful sound ; I slept little that night. 

On the 26th I arose at earliest dawn, and having fed four of my 
horses I proceeded with Isaac to the fountain to examine the spoor of the 
elephants which had drunk there during the night. A number of the 
paths contained fresh spoor of elephants of all sizes, which had gone 
from the fountain in different directions. We reckoned that at least 
thirty of these gigantic quadrupeds had visited the water during the 
night, 

We hastily returned to camp, where, having breakfasted, I saddled 
up, and proceeded to take up the spoor of the largest bull elephant, ac- 
companied by after-riders and three of the guides to assist in spooring. 
I was also accompanied by my dogs. Having selected the spoor of a 
mighty bull, the Bechuanas went ahead, and I followed them. It was 
extremely interesting and exciting work. The foot-print of this elephant 
was about two feet in diameter, and was beautifully visible in the soft 
sand. The spoor at first led us for about three miles in an easterly 
direction, along one of the sandy footpaths, without a check. We then 
entered a very thick forest, and the elephant had gone a little out of 
the path to smash some trees, and to plough up the earth with his tusks. 
He soon, however, again took the path, and held along it for several 
miles. 

We were on rather elevated ground, with a fine view of a part of the 
Bamangwato chain of mountains before us. Here the trees were large 
and handsome, but not strong enough to resist the inconceivable strength 
of the mighty monarchs of these forests. Almost every tree had half its 
branches broken short by them, and at every hundred yards I came 
upon entire trees, and these the largest in the forest, uprooted clean out 
of the ground, or broken short across their stems. I observed several 
large trees placed in an inverted position, having their roots uppermost 
in the air. Our friend had here halted, and fed for a long time upon a 
large wide-spreading tree which he had broken short across within a few 
feet of the ground. After following the spoor some distance farther 
through the dense mazes of the forest, we got into ground so thickly 
trodden by elephants that we were baffled in our endeavours to trace 
the spoor any farther ; and after wasting several hours in attempting by 




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MY FIRST ELEPHANT. 149 

casts to take up the proper spoor, we gave it rip, and with a sorrowful 
heart I turned my horse's head towards camp. 

Having reached the waggons, while drinking my coffee I reviewed the 
whole day's work, and felt much regret at my want of luck in my first 
day's elephant hunting, and I resolved that night to watch the water, 
and try what could be done with elephants by night-shooting. I accord- 
ingly ordered the usual watching-hole to be constructed ; and having 
placed my bedding in it, repaired thither shortly after sundown. I had 
lain about # two hours in the hole, when I heard a low rumbling noise 
like distant thunder, caused (as the Bechuanas affirmed), by the bowels 
of the elephants which were approaching the fountain. I lay on my 
back, with my mouth open, attentively listening, and could hear them 
ploughing up the earth with their tusks. Presently they walked up to 
the water, and commenced drinking within fifty yards of me. They ap- 
proached with so quiet a step, that I fancied it was the footsteps of 
jackals which I heard ; and I was not aware of their presence until I 
heard the water, which they had drawn up in their trunks and were 
pouring into their mouths, dropping into the fountain. I then peeped 
from my sconce with a beating heart, and beheld two enormous bull ele- 
phants, which looked like two great castles, standing before me. I could 
not see very distinctly, for there was only starlight. Having lain on my 
breast some time taking my aim, I let fly at one of the elephants, using 
the Dutch rifle carrying six to the pound. The ball told loudly on his 
shoulder, and uttering a loud cry he stumbled through the fountain, 
when both made off in different directions. 

All night large herds of zebras and blue wildebeests capered around 
me, coming sometimes within a few yards. Several parties of rhin- 
oceroses also made their appearance. I felt a little apprehensive that 
lions might visit the fountain, and every time that hyaenas or jackals 
lapped the water I looked forth, but no lions appeared. At length I fell 
into a sound sleep, nor did I again raise my head until the bright star of 
morn had shot far above the eastern horizon. 

Before proceeding further with my narrative, it may here be interest- 
ing to make a few remarks on the African elephant and his habits. The 
elephant is widely diffused through the vast forests, and is met with in 
herds of various numbers. The male is very much larger than the 
female, consequently much more difficult to kill. He is provided with 
two enormous tusks. These are long, tapering, and beautifully arched; 
their length averages from six to eight feet, s and they weigh from sixty 
to a hundred pounds each. In the vicinity of the equator the elephants 
attain to a greater size than to the southward ; and I am in the posses- 
sion of a pair of tusks of the African bull elephant, the larger of which 
measures ten feet nine inches in length, and weighs one hundred and 
seventy-three pounds. The females, unlike Asiatic elephants in this re- 
spect, are likewise provided with tusks. The price which the largest 
ivory fetches in the English market is from £28 to £32 per hundred and 
twelve pounds. 

Old bull elephants are found singly or in pairs, or consorting to- 
gether in small herds, varying from six to twenty individuals. The 
younger bulls remain for many years in the company of their mothers, 



150 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



and these are met together in large herds of from twenty to a hundred 
individuals. The food of the elephant consists of the branches, leaves, 
and roots of trees, and also of a variety of bulbs, of the situation of 
which he is advised by his exquisite sense of smell. To obtain these he 
turns up the ground with his tusks, and whole acres may be seen thus 
ploughed up. Elephants consume an immense quantity of food, and 
pass the greater part of the day and night in feeding. Like the whale 
in the ocean, the elephant on land is acquainted with, and roams over, 
wide and extensive tracts. He is extremely particular in always fre- 
quenting the freshest and most verdant districts of the forest; and when 
one district is 'parched and barren, he will forsake it for years and 
wander to great distances in quest of better pasture. 

The elephant entertains an extraordinary horror of man, and a child 
can put a hundred of them to flight by passing at a quarter of a mile to 
windward ; and when thus disturbed, they go a long way before they 
halt. It is surprising how soon these sagacious animals are aware of the 
presence of a hunter in their domains. When one troop has been 
attacked, all the other elephants frequenting the district are aware of 
the fact within two or three days, when they all forsake it, and migrate 
to distant parts, leaving the hunter no alternative but to inspan his 
waggons, and remove to fresh ground. This constitutes one of the 
greatest difficulties which a skilful elephant-hunter encounters. Even in 
the most remote parts, which may be reckoned the head-quarters of the 
elephant, it is only occasionally, and with inconceivable toil and hard- 
ships, that the eye of the hunter is cheered by the sight of one. Owing 
to habits peculiar to himself, the elephant is more inaccessible, and 
much more rarely seen, than any other game quadruped, excepting cer- 
tain rare antelopes. They choose for their resort the most lonely and 
secluded depths of the forest, generally at a very great distance from 
the rivers and fountains at which they drink. In dry and warm weather 
they visit these waters nightly ; but in cool and cloudy weather they 
drink only once every third or fourth day. 

About sundown the elephant leaves his distant midday haunt, and 
commences his march towards the fountain, which is probably from 
twelve to twenty miles distant. This he generally reaches between the 
hours of nine and midnight ; when, having slaked his thirst and cooled 
his body by spouting large volumes of water over his back with his 
trunk, he resumes the path to his forest solitudes. Having reached a 
secluded spot, I have remarked that full-grown bulls lie down on their 
broadsides, about the hour of midnight, and sleep for a few hours. The 
spot which they usually select is an anthill, and they lie around it with 
their backs resting against it; these hills, formed by the white ants, are 
from thirty to forty feet in diameter at their base. The mark of the 
under tusk is always deeply imprinted in the ground, proving that they 
lie upon their sides. I never remarked that females had thus lain 
down, and it is only in the more secluded districts that the bulls adopt 
this practice ; for I observed that, in districts where the elephants were 
liable to frequent disturbance, they took repose standing on their legs 
beneath some shady tree. 



A HERD OF ELEPHANTS. 151 

Having slept, they then proceed to feed extensively. Spreading out 
from one another, and proceeding in a zigzag course, they smash and 
destroy all the finest trees in the forest which happen to lie in their 
course. The number of goodly trees which a herd of bull elephants will 
thus destroy is utterly incredible. They are extremely capricious, and 
on coming to a group of five or six trees they break down not unfre- 
quently the whole of them, when, having perhaps only tasted one or 
two small branches, they pass on and continue their wanton work of 
destruction. I have repeatedly ridden through forests where the trees 
thus broken lay so thick across one another that it was almost impos- 
sible to ride through the district ; and it is in situations such as these 
that attacking the elephant is attended with most danger. During the 
night they will feed in open plains and thinly wooded districts ; but as 
day dawns, they retire to the densest covers within reach, which nine 
times in ten are composed of the impracticable wait-a-bit thorns ; and 
here they remain drawn up in a compact herd during the heat of the 
day. In remote districts, however, and in cool weather, I have known 
herds to continue pasturing throughout the whole day. 

The appearance of the wild elephant is inconceivably majestic and 
imposing. His gigantic height and colossal bulk, so greatly surpassing 
all other quadrupeds, combined with his sagacious disposition and 
peculiar habits, impart to him an interest in the eyes of the hunter 
which no other animal can call forth. The pace of the elephant when 
undisturbed is a bold, free, sweeping step; and from the peculiar spongy 
formation of his foot, his tread is extremely light and inaudible, and all 
his movements are attended with a peculiar gentleness and grace. This, 
however, only applies to the elephant when roaming undisturbed in his 
jungle ; for when roused by the hunter, he proves the most dangerous 
enemy, and far more difficult to conquer than any other beast of chace. 

On the 27th, as day dawned, I left my shooting-hole, and proceeded 
to inspect the spoor of my wounded elephant. After following it for 
some distance I came to an abrupt hillock, and, fancying that from the 
summit a good view might be obtained of the surrounding country, I 
left my followers to seek the spoor, while I ascended. I did not raise 
my eyes from the ground until I had reached the highest pinnacle of 
rock. I then looked east, and to my inexpressible gratification I beheld 
a troop of nine or ten elephants quietly browsing within a quarter of a 
mile of me. I allowed myself only one glance at them, and then rushed 
down to warn my followers to be silent. A council-of-war was hastily 
held, the result of which was my ordering Isaac to ride hard to camp, 
with instructions to return as quickly as possible, accompanied by Klein- 
boy, and to bring me my dogs, the large Dutch rifle, and a fresh horse. 
I once more ascended the hillock to feast my eyes upon the enchanting 
sight before me; and, drawing out my spyglass, I narrowly watched the 
motions of the elephants. The herd consisted entirely of females, 
several of which were followed by small calves. 

Presently, on reconnoitring the surrounding country, I discovered a 
second herd, consisting of five bull elephants, which were quietly feeding 
about a mile to the northward. The cows were feeding towards a ro'cky 



152 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

ridge that stretched away from the base of the hillock on which I stood. 
Burning with impatience to commence the attack, I resolved to try the 
stalking-system with these, and to hunt the troop of bulls with dogs and 
horses. Having thus decided, I directed the guides to watch the ele- 
phants from the summit of the hillock, and with a beating heart I 
approached them. The ground and wind favouring me, I soon gaineci 
the rocky ridge towards which they were feeding. They were now 
within one hundred yards, and I resolved to enjoy the pleasure of 
watching their movements for a little before I fired. They continued 
to feed slowly towards me, breaking the branches from the trees with 
their trunks, and eating the leaves and tender shoots. I soon selected 
the finest in the herd, and kept my eye on her in particular. At length 
two of the troop had walked slowly past at about sixty yards, and the 
one which I had selected was feeding with two others on a thorny tree 
before me. 

My hand was now as steady as the rock on which it rested, so, taking 
a deliberate aim, I let fly at her head a little behind the eye. She got 
it hard and sharp, just where I aimed, but it did not seem to effect her 
much. Uttering a loud cry, she wheeled about, when 1 gave her the 
second ball, close behind the shoulder. All the elephants uttered a 
strange rumbling noise, and made off in a line to the northward at a 
brisk ambling pace, their huge fanlike ears flapping in the ratio of their 
speed. I did not wait to load, but ran back to the hillock to obtain a 
view. 

On gaining its summit the guides pointed out the elephants ; they 
were standing in a grove of shady trees, but the wounded one was some 
distance behind with another elephant, doubtless its particular friend, 
who was endeavouring to assist it. These elephants had probably never 
before heard the report of a gun ; and, having neither seen nor smelt 
me, they were unaware of the presence of man, and did not seem in- 
clined to go any farther. Presently my men hove in sight, bringing 
the dogs ; and when these came up I waited some time before com- 
mencing the attack, that the dogs and horses might recover their wind. 
We then rode slowly towards the elephants, and had advanced within 
two hundred yards of them when, the ground being open, they observed 
us, and made off in an easterly direction ; but the wounded one 
immediately dropped astern, and next moment she was surrounded by 
the dogs, which, barking angrily, seemed to engross her attention. 

Having placed myself between her and the retreating troop, I 
dismounted to fire within forty yards of her, in open ground. Colesberg 
was extremely afraid of the elephants, and gave me much trouble, 
jerking my arm when I tried to fire. At length I let fly ; but, on 
endeavouring to regain my saddle, Colesberg declined to allow me to 
mount ; and when I tried to lead him, and run for it, he only backed 
towards the wounded elephant. At this moment I heard another 
elephant close behind; and on looking about I beheld the "friend," 
with uplifted trunk, charging down upon me at top speed, shrilly 
trumpeting and following an old black pointer named Schwart, that 
was perfectly deaf, and trotted along before the enraged elephant quite 



MY FIRST ELEPHANT. 153 

unaware di what was behind him. I felt certain that she would have 
either me or my horse. I however determined not to relinquish my 
steed, but to hold on by the bridle. 

My men, who of course kept at a safe distance, stood aghast with 
their mouths open, and for a few seconds my position was certainly not 
an enviable one. Fortunately, however, the dogs took off the attention 
of the elephants ; and just as they were upon me I managed to spring 
into the saddle, where I was safe. As I turned my back to mount, the 
elephants were so very near that I really expected to feel one of their 
trunks lay hold of me. I rode up to Kleinboy for my double-barrelled 
two-grooved rifle : he and Isaac were pale and almost speechless with 
fright. Returning to the charge, I was soon once more alongside, and, 
firing from the saddle, I sent another brace of bullets into the wounded 
elephant. Colesberg was extremely unsteady, and destroyed the 
correctness of my aim. 

The friend now seemed resolved to do some mischief, and charged 
me furiously, pursuing me to a distance of several hundred yards. I 
therefore deemed it proper to give her a gentle hint to act less officiously, 
and accordingly, having loaded, I approached within thirty yards, and 
gave it her sharp, right and left, behind the shoulder, upon which she 
at once made off with drooping trunk, evidently with a mortal wound. 
I never recur to this my first day's elephant-shooting without regretting 
my folly in contenting myself with securing only one elephant. The 
first was now dying, and could not leave the ground, and the second 
was also mortally wounded, and I had only to follow and finish her ; 
but I foolishly allowed her to escape, while I amused myself with the 
first, which kept walking backwards, and standing by every tree she 
passed. Two more shots finished her : on receiving them she tossed 
her trunk up and down two or three times, and, falling on her broadside 
against a thorny tree, which yielded like grass before her enormous 
weight, she uttered a deep hoarse cry and expired. This was a very 
handsome old cow elephant, and was decidedly the best in the troop. 
She was in excellent condition, and carried a pair of long and perfect 
tusks. 

I was in high spirits at my success, and felt so perfectly satisfied with 
having killed one, that, although it was still early in the day, and my 
horses were fresh, I allowed the troop of five bulls to remain unmolested, 
foolishly trusting to fall in with them next day. How little did I then 
know of the habits of elephants, or the rules to be adopted in hunting 
them, or deem it probable I should never see them more ! 

Having knee-haltered our horses, we set to work with our knives and 
assagais to prepare the skull for the hatchet, in order to cut out the tusks, 
nearly half the length of which, I may mention, is embedded in bone 
sockets in the fore part of the skull. To cut out the tusks of a cow 
elephant requires barely one-fifth of the labour requisite to cut out those 
of a bull ; and when the sun went down we had managed by our com- 
bined efforts to cut out one of the tusks of my first elephant, with which 
we triumphantly returned to camp, having left the guides in charge of 
the carcase, where they volunteered to take up their quarters for the 



154 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



night. On reaching my waggons I found Johannus and Carollus in a 
happy state of indifference to all passing events ; they were both very 
drunk, having broken into my wine-cask and spirit-case. 

On the 28th I arose at an early hour, and, burning with anxiety 
to look forth once more from the summit of the hillock which the day 
before brought me such luck, I made a hasty breakfast, and rode thither 
with after-riders and my dogs. But, alas ! I had allowed the golden 
opportunity to slip. This day I sought in vain ; and although I often 
again ascended to the summit of my favourite hillock on that and on the 
succeeding year, my eyes were destined never again to hail from it a 
troop of elephants. 

Early on the following morning I proceeded to inspect the sandy foot- 
paths leading from the fountain, and at once discovered the spoor of 
two mighty bull elephants that had drunk there during the night. 
These I followed, but did not succeed in coming up with the objects of 
my search. 

We were now within two days' march of the kraal of the great chief 
Sicomy, king of the extensive territory of Bamangwato. This chief was 
reported to be in the possession of large quantities of ivory ; and as I 
had brought a number of muskets and other articles for barter, I was 
anxious to push on, and first get over my trading before resuming 
elephant-hunting ; more especially since it was not improbable that, 
having once led the way, other adventurers might follow in my track, 
and perhaps spoil my market. Taking this into consideration, I deemed 
it proper on the morning of the 30th to march upon the kraal of 
Sicomy ; and accordingly, about 10 A.M. we inspanned, and held for the 
Bamangwato mountains, whose summits we could see peering above the 
intervening forest in an easterly direction. On our march we passed 
near to the carcase of the elephant which I had slain three days before. 
The number of vultures which were here congregated was truly wonder- 
ful. My guides had baked a part of the trunk and two of the feet of 
the elephant, and these they now brought to the waggons. 

It was ever to me a source of great pleasure to reflect that, while 
enriching myself in following my favourite pursuit of elephant-hunting, 
I was feeding and making happy the starving families of hundreds of 
the Bechuana and Bakalahari tribes, who invariably followed in my 
waggons, and assisted me in my hunting, in numbers varying from fifty 
to two hundred at a time. These men were often accompanied by their 
wives and families, and when an elephant, hippopotamus, or other large 
animal was slain, all hands repaired to the spot, when every inch of the 
animal was reduced to biltongue, viz., cut into long narrow strips, and 
hung in festoons upon poles, and dried in the sun : even the entrails 
were not left for the vultures and hyaenas, and the very bones were 
chopped to pieces with their hatchets to obtain the marrow, with which 
they enriched their soup. 

On the following morning, which was the 1st of July, we inspanned at 
dawn of day, and late in the afternoon we reached Lesausau, having 
performed an extremely arduous and fatiguing march. Our route 
during the greater part of the day lay through dense jungle and thorny 



SICOMY'S WAERIOKS. 155 



thickets, where it was necessary to clear a way with our axes before the 
waggons could pass. The ground also was in many places extremely 
rocky, and threatened the destruction of my wheels and axletrees, 
causing us much labour, it being indispensable to remove the masses of 
rock to one side. As we neared Lesausau, we entered upon a broad 
level strath, adorned throughout its length and breadth with a variety of 
picturesque acacia and other trees, which stood at intervals as if they 
had been planted by the hand of man. On either side, the mountains 
rose abruptly from the plain, and they now assumed a very bold and 
striking appearance, their sides and summits consisting of huge masses 
of rock piled one above another, some of which seemed so balanced upon 
their exalted and narrow pedestals, 

" As if an infant's touch could urge 
Their headlong passage down the verge. " 

A light and feathery fringe of dwarfish trees and varieties of gigantic 
cacti adorned the sides and upper ridges of these rugged mountains, and 
as we proceeded, I observed finely wooded wild ravines, stretching aWay 
into the bosom of the mountains. 

Here we were joined by three of Sicomy's men, who informed us that 
they were in daily apprehension of an attack from the Matabili, who 
they heard were marching against them. In consequence of this, 
Sicomy and all his tribe had forsaken their kraals, and were now living 
in wild caves and other secluded retreats in the sides and on the 
summits of these rocky mountains. They led us round the base of a 
bold projecting rock, and then up a wild and well-wooded rocky ravine, 
bearing no traces of men. On raising our eyes, however, we perceived 
the summits of the rocks covered with women and children, and very 
soon detached parties of Sicomy's warriors came pouring in from 
different directions, to gaze upon the white man, I being the first 
that many of them had seen. These men were all armed and ready for 
action, each bearing an oval shield of ox, buffalo, or camelopard's hide, 
a battle-axe, and three or four assagais. They wore karosses of jackal's 
and leopard's skins, which depended gracefully from their shoulders : 
and many of them sported a round tuft of black ostrich-feathers on their 
heads, while others had adorned their woolly hair with one or two wavy 
plumes of white ones. Both men and women wore abundance of the 
usual ornaments of beads and brass and copper wire. 

We were presently met by a messenger from Sicomy, saying that 
the king was happy we had arrived, and that he would shortly come 
to see me. We proceeded up the bold and narrow ravine of Lesausau, 
as far as it was practicable, the water being situated at its upper 
extremity. Soon after we had encamped Sicomy drew nigh, accom- 
panied by a large retinue of his principal men and warriors. He appear- 
ed to me to be about thirty years of age, and was of middle stature. 
His distinguishing feature is a wall-eye, which imparts to his countenance 
a roguish look that does not belie the cunning and deceitful character of 
the man. As he came up to the waggons I met and shook hands with 
him, and invited him to partake of coffee with me. I could see that he 



156 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

was enchanted at my arrival. He talked at a very rapid pace, and 
assumed an abrupt and rather dictatorial manner, occasionally turning 
round and cracking jokes with his councillors and nobility. He was 
very anxious to ascertain from Isaac the contents of the waggons, and 
he said that he would buy everything I had brought, and that he would 
give me a large bull elephant's tusk for each of my muskets. 

This was a fishing remark to hear what I should say; so I replied that 
the muskets cost many teeth in my own country, and that I had not 
stolen them. I had resolved to maintain a firm and independent man- 
ner in my dealings with him, treating him at the same time with the 
utmost affability. I told him that other men feared to come so far to 
trade with him, but that his friend Dr. Livingstone had directed me to 
come, and had sent him a present by me. I then gave him Dr. Livingstone's 
present, with a similar one from myself, consisting of beads, snuff, and 
ammunition. It amused me to observe the timid and cringing de- 
meanour of the men of Booby when seated in the presence of the king. 
Approaching him with the utmost humility, they saluted him by stretch- 
ing out their hands and clapping the palms together, saying at the same 
time : 

" Rumela, cosi," signifying, Hail, king ! which his majesty was 
graciously pleased to acknowledge by squinting at them with his cock- 
eye, and saying " Eh," which is the invariable Bechuana acknowledge- 
ment of a salutation. Often, however, when I saluted the natives, they 
acknowledged my salutation by saying "Eh! keitumela, cosi a Machoa;" 
signifying, "Eh ! thank you, king of the white men." Having saluted 
the king, the Booby men at once proceeded to expatiate upon the diffi- 
culty they had had in prevailing upon the great white man to visit his 
dominions, and the meritorious manner in which they had conducted me 
thither; for which the king expressed his gratitude, and ordered 
"boyalwa," or native beer, to be placed before them. Sicomy remained 
long at the waggons, engaged in deep and constant conversation with 
my interpreter and several of his elder councillors, and at a late hour he 
departed, promising to visit us early on the following day. Eearing that 
any of his people might come and trade with me during his absence, the 
king instructed his uncle Mutchuisho, with a retinue, to remain beside 
the waggons during the night. 

At an early hour on the following morning the king made his appear- 
ance, attended by a number of his warriors, all carrying their battle- 
gear. I was still in bed, and seeing the king peeping into my waggon 
I pretended to be asleep. Presently I observed a savage coming up the 
glen bearing on his shoulders a bull-elephant's tooth, which he laid 
under the waggon. Coffee was now announced, so I arose, and the king 
breakfasted with me. I had resolved to say as little as possible about 
the trading, and to appear very indiflerent, a system indispensable in 
trading with the natives, which at all times progresses slowly, but much 
more so if the trader allows them to imagine that he is very anxious to 
obtain possession of their goods. 

In trading with the Bechuanas the most difficult point is agreeing 
about the price of any article in the first instance ; and often when trad- 



TRADING FOR IVORY. 157 



has once commenced, and the natives are satisfied with the price, ex- 
changes are effected rapidly. ■ It is generally necessary for the trader to 
ask a little more than he expects to get, that he may appear to yield to 
their importunity, otherwise they would not deal with him. They never 
conclude a bargain in a hurry, and always deem it necessary to ask the 
advice of nearly every one present before they can make up their minds ; 
and if it should happen that any one individual present disapprove of 
the bargain, the exchange is for the time at an end. 

I have more than once been prevented from effecting a sale, which I 
had all but concluded, by some old wife, who happened to be passing at 
the moment, exclaiming that I was too high in my prices, although she 
was perfectly ignorant of our transaction. 

While Sicomy was taking his coffee, he told me that he had des- 
patched men to bring elephants' teeth, which he said were at a distance^ 
and that he would purchase everything as quickly as possible, that I 
might be enabled to leave the country before the Matabili should come. 
This rumour about the Matabili I at the time suspected to" be a fabrica- 
tion, but I subsequently ascertained that it was a fact. 

In the forenoon I occupied myself in writing the journal in my wag- 
gon, and I could see that the king was annoyed at my indifference about the 
trading. At length he asked me to come out of the waggon, saying that 
he had got a present for me, and he brought forward the elephant's tusk 
which lay beneath the waggon. Having thanked him, I expressed my- 
self satisfied with his present ; and in return I immediately presented 
him with what he reckoned an equivalent in beads. He asked me the 
price of my muskets, and I answered four large bull's teeth for each. 
He then retired to an adjacent grove of shady trees, where he sat con- 
sulting with his men for hours. Two men at length appeared, coming 
from opposite directions, each bearing a bull's tooth. When these ar- 
rived, Sicomy ordered them to be placed before me, and, calling Isaac, 
he inflicted on me a long harangue, talking all manner of nonsense, and 
endeavouring to obtain a musket for these two teeth. At length a third 
tusk was brought, but it was a small one. 

It was now late in the afternoon, so I told the king that I was going 
to take a walk in the mountains to obtain a view of his country. He 
said that he was going to buy one of the muskets immediately, and re- 
quested that I would not leave the waggons. After sitting talking with 
his men till it was near sunset, he once more offered me two tusks for a 
gun. I replied that I had already spoken. He then said he was going 
home, and that he did not know if he would come again to trade with 
me. If the king had indeed resolved not to trade with me, no request 
on my part would have altered the case. So I replied that I had never 
asked him to purchase anything, and was perfectly indifferent whether 
he did or not; that there were other chiefs who were anxious to pur- 
chase my goods ; and that my reason for visiting his territory was to 
enjoy the sport of elephant-hunting. Having thus spoken, I wished him 
good evening, and shouldering my rifle, I stalked up the rocky ravine 
and shot two baboons. 

At an early hour on the following morning Sicomy was at the wag- 

10 



158 HUNTING AND SPOTTING ADVENTURES. 



gons ; and having breakfasted, he commenced as on the previous day 
to endeavour to purchase a gun with two tusks. At length I said that 
he should have one for three tusks, provided they were large. After a 
protracted discussion, the third tusk was produced, when I handed him 
a musket. He next bothered for a bullet-mould, which I also gave him 
into the bargain. Having obtained the mould, he insisted on having a 
lead-ladle. This I said I could not give him with one gun ; but pro- 
mised if he dealt liberally with me he should have one. He continued 
his importunity about the ladle till late in the afternoon, when he began 
to talk about buying a second gun. Three tusks were brought, and we 
had nearly concluded a bargain, when some of his councillors told him 
that he ought to have received powder and bullets along with the first 
gun. He commenced to pester me on this subject ; but I stoutly re- 
sisted, and told him. the bargain was concluded. He, however, continued 
to harp on this string till a late hour, when I told him, as I had done 
the preceding day, that I must now take a walk ; and I remarked that, 
if he thought he had given too much for my gun, he had better return 
it, and take away his tusks. Having consulted a short time with his 
wise men, he returned the gun, and resumed possession of his* tusks. 
I then shouldered my rifle, and held for the wells, to give the dogs 
water. 

These wells were situated at a great distance from my camp, and 
yielded a very moderate supply of water. Here I met with large parties 
of the Bamangwato women drawing water, which they bore in earthen 
vessels balanced on their heads to their elevated retreats in the moun- 
tains. The pits where my oxen drank were very distant from the camp, 
and were reported not to yield a sufficient supply of water, the conse- 
quence of which was that my horses and oxen had already greatly 
fallen off in condition. In this state of things I resolved that my stay 
at Bamangwato should not exceed another day, and I determined if 
possible to come to terms with Sicomy on the following morning. On 
returning to the waggons, Carollus came up to me and reported half the 
oxen missing. This threw me into a state of great alarm. I at once 
suspected treachery, and I well knew that if Sicomy had taken them 
they would not easily be recovered. I instantly despatched two 
mounted men in different directions, with instructions to ride hard and 
seek the spoor, and these returned at a late hour, having found them. 

On reviewing my trading I could not help feeling annoyed at the 
dilatory mode in which it progressed. I had now spent two entire days 
endeavouring to trade, yet no exchanges had been effected. For this, 
however, there was no help. I could not have acted otherwise, and on 
the following day I reaped the benefit of my unyielding resolution. 

Although I voted the trading an intense bore, it was nevertheless 
well worth a little time and inconvenience, on account of the enormous 
profit I should realise. The price I paid for the muskets was £16 for 
each case containing twenty muskets ; and the value of the ivory I re- 
quired for each musket was upwards of <£30, being about 3000 per cent., 
which I am informed is reckoned among mercantile men to be a very 
fair profit. Sicomy was in those days in the possession of very large 



A VISIT TO SICOMY'S STRONGHOLD. 159 



quantities of splendid ivory, and still considerable quantities pass 
annually through his hands. Since I first visited Bamangwato, and 
taught the natives the use of fire-arms, they have learnt to kill the ele- 
phant themselves ; but previous to my arrival they were utterly incap- 
able of subduing a full-grown elephant, even by the united exertions of 
the whole tribe. All the ivory which Sicomy then possessed, and the 
majority of that which still passes through his hands, is obtained from 
elephants slain with assagais by an active and daring race of Bushmen 
inhabiting very remote regions to the northward and north-west of 
Bamangwato. r 

The manner in which Sicomy obtained this ivory was by sending a 
party of his warriors to the Bushmen, who first obtained the tusks in 
barter for a few beads, and then compelled some of the poor Bakala- 
hari, or wild natives of the desert, over whom Sicomy conceives that he 
has a perfect right to tyrannize, to bear them on their shoulders across 
extensive deserts of burning sand to his head-quarters at Bamangwato. 
So great was the fatigue endured by the poor Bakalahari on these occa- 
sions, that many of them died of exhaustion before reaching Bamang- 
wato. • At an early hour on the 4th, Sicomy not appearing, I proceeded 
to visit him at his mountain residence, accompanied by Isaac and a 
party of his own men. We wound along the base of the mountains for 
a distance of half a mile, and then commenced ascending the almost 
perpendicular and rugged mountain side, consisting of immense masses 
of rock heaped together in dire confusion. Having gained the summit, 
which was of a tabular character, we advanced a short distance through 
a succession of heaps of disjointed masses of rock, and presently we 
reached the chief's temporary retreat ; which consisted of a small 
circular hut, composed of a framework of boughs of trees, interlined 
with twigs and covered with grass. A number of similar huts were 
erected around the royal dwelling, on areas which his men had cleared 
among the rocks. This, however, was the abode of only a very small 
part of his tribe, which was extensively scattered over different parts 
of the mountain range, and occupied sundry distant cattle outposts. 

I found Sicomy seated before his wigwam, in earnest conversation 
with his councillors. He seemed pleased to see me, and thanked me for 
my visit. I shook hands with him, and informed him that, owing to the 
scarcity of water at Lesausau, I could not prolong my visit to him; and 
that I had come to take my leave, and had brought him a few presents, 
which I then laid before him. He thanked me, and said that I was 
very good, and that he was happy that I had visited his country ; but 
that one thing made his heart sore, viz. that we had not been able to 
trade. I replied that that was his fault, and not mine, having offered 
him my goods on equally liberal terms as I did to others. I then ex- 
pressed myself anxious to depart. Hereupon Sicomy requested me to 
remain with him another day, promising to bring me abundance of 
tusks, and to purchase all my muskets. To this I replied that I was 
still willing to deal with him, if he would only deal fairly ; but I gave 
him to understand that this was positively the last day I could remain 
with him. 



160 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES 



We then all started for the waggons, where this day the barter went 
on as briskly as it had been dilatory on the two preceding ones. The 
king continued drinking coffee and taking snuff at a tremendous rate, 
and large bowls of his boyalwa kept continually arriving, and were 
freely circulated throughout the day. Sicomy gave me three bull's tusks 
for each of the first two muskets, I giving him some powder and lead to 
boot ; after which the price fell to two tusks for each musket. With 
this rate of exchange the whole assembly seemed perfectly satisfied, and 
the trading went on without a murmur. Athletic savages were con- 
stantly coming and going throughout the day in three different direc- 
tions, bearing on their shoulders the precious spoils of the elephants of 
the Kalahari ; and when the sun went down ail my muskets were dis- 
posed of, and I found myself in the possession of a very valuable lot of 
ivory. 

I also effected several exchanges of beads and ammunition for the 
tusks of cow elephants. I had resolved to purchase fine specimens of 
the native costume and arms, etc., but ivory being the most important 
article, it was best to defer all minor transactions until our trade in it 
was concluded. The king seemed highly delighted with his purchases, 
and insisted on discharging each of the muskets as he bought it. It was 
amusing to see the manner in which he performed this operation. 
Throwing back his kaross, and applying the stock to his naked shoulder, 
he shut his good eye, and kept the wall-eye open, to the intense amuse- 
ment of the Hottentots, who were his instructors on the occasion. Each 
report caused the utmost excitement and merriment among the 
warriors, who pressed forward and requested that they also might be 
permitted to try their skill with these novel implements of war. 

The king had in his possession a most wonderful knobkerry, which I 
was determined to obtain. It was made of the horn of the kobaoba, a 
very rare species of the rhinoceros, and its chief interest consisted in its 
extraordinary length, which greatly exceeded anything I had ever seen 
of the kind before, or have since met with. Handing Sicomy my snuff- 
box, I pointed to the kerry, and asked him where the kobaoba had been 
killed. He replied that that kerry had been sent him by a chief who 
resided at an amazing distance on the borders of the Lake of Boats. I 
then asked him to present it to me, that I might have something to 
keep in remembrance of him ; but he replied that it belonged to his 
wife, and he could not part with it. Presently, however, while sipping 
his coffee, he said that if I chose I might purchase it. I asked him 
what he required for it, and he answered, the cup which he then held 
full of gunpowder. Accordingly, when his majesty had drained the cup, 
I handed him the powder, and became possessor of the kobaoba kerry, 
which is now in my possession, and on which I place a very great value. 
It was now night, and king said that he would sleep by the waggons, as 
it was too late to go home. 

A number of his men prepared for the bivouac, some collecting logs 
for the nocturnal watch-fire, which the Bechuanas invariably keep up, 
while others were occupied in forming circular hedges of thorny branches 
around the fires, within which they carefully levelled the ground with 




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LEAVE FOR THE FORESTS. 161 

pointed sticks, preparatory to spreading out their couches, which con- 
sist of long dried grass, and extend in a circular form around the fire. 
On these couches the Bechuanas sleep, with the soles of their feet to the 
fire, with no other covering than a light kaross. They lie huddled to- 
gether like silver spoons on a tray, and the number of individuals 
around each fire is usually about a dozen. Before retiring to rest I in- 
formed Sicomy that I should march on the morrow as soon as my oxen 
had drunk, and I expressed my wish to trade with his people for 
karosses and armour at an . early hour. Sicomy promised that these 
articles should be forthcoming, and at once informed his people of my 
wish. 

At an early hour on the morning of the 5th I commenced to trade 
with Sicomy's men for karosses and Bechuana arms, of each of which I 
obtained some very fine specimens. With these, as with the ivory, 
there was considerable discussion before the prices could be agreed on 
in the first instance, after which exchanges were effected rapidly. I had, 
however, to pay them long prices for their " chakas " or battle-axes, on 
which all the Bechuana tribes place a very great value. 

I had intended to penetrate beyond Bamangwato, with a wish to ex- 
plore the country, and for the purpose of hunting elephants ; but owing 
to gross misrepresentations made to me by Isaac relative to Sicomy's 
wishes on the subject, and partly owing to the threatened attack from 
the Matabili, I resolved for the present not to extend my peregrinations 
beyond Bamangwato, but to occupy my time for the remainder of that 
season in hunting throughout the fine country between Bamangwato 
and Sichely's mountains. As Isaac's character, however, gradually un- 
folded itself to me, and as I became more intimate and conversant with 
the natives, I discovered that he had interpreted Sicomy's wishes to me 
in utterly false colours ; and I afterwards ascertained from the natives, 
whose language I very soon began to understand, that Sicomy and his 
people were not only willing, but anxious, that I should remain and 
hunt elephants in their territory. In consequence of this, as the reader 
will shortly learn, being informed by Sicomy's men that the invasion by 
the Matabili was no longer apprehended, I returned to Bamangwato, 
and penetrated into the extensive forests to the northward and east- 
ward of that mountain range, where for several months I continued 
hunting elephants, accompanied by large parties of Sicomy's men. 



CHAPTER XV. 



Take leave of Sicomy — Digging for Water — The Elephants' Fountain again — A 
wounded Roan Antelop© bays in the Water, and kills my Dogs right and left 
— Sicomy's Camp again — We march through a beautiful Valley — Curious In- 
stinct of the Rhinoceros-bird — A mighty Bull Elephant shot after a hard Con- 
flict — Mutchuisho's Attentions more charitable than pleasant — Cutting up an 
Elephant — A strange Scene — Baking the Flesh — Primitive Tobacco-pipes — 
Biltongue Festoons. 

About eleven o'clock a.m. on the 5th of July, everything being ready, I 
took leave of Sicomy and retraced my steps for Corriebely. It caused 



162 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



me much pain and anxiety to observe that my cattle were extremely 
hollow-looking and spiritless from want of water ; not one of them 
having obtained a sufficiency of that essential of life since they had last 
drunk at Corriebely, and several appearing so distressed that I enter- 
tained considerable fears of their being able to reach that fountain. I 
was accompanied by a small party of Sicomy's men, who followed me in 
the hope of obtaining flesh. 

Having proceeded about a mile, I missed my greyhound " Flam," 
which had been doubtless stolen by Sicomy's orders, he being notorious 
for his predilection for that variety of dog. I therefore at once de- 
spatched a messenger to the king, to say that I required him to find my 
dog ; and shortly after this men overtook me, bearing a kaross, which 
they said the king had sent to purchase one of my dogs. I replied that 
they had already taken the dog, but that I would not have the kaross. 
They then departed, and I continued my march. After trekking about 
six miles we reached a deep gravel-hole beside a mass of red granite 
rock, at the bottom of which there was about a bucketful of spring 
water ; and here was the fresh spoor of a huge bull elephant, which had 
scooped out large portions of the gravel with his trunk on the preced- 
ing evening, but on turning about he had entirely undone what he had 
accomplished by trampling it down again into the well with his huge 
feet. 

On inspecting the spot I fancied that by digging we might obtain a 
little water for the unfortunate cattle, which at this moment was an ob- 
ject of the utmost importance, the fountain of Corriebely being still 
very distant. I accordingly set to work hard with all my followers, 
assisted by the Bechuanas ; and having removed an immense quantity 
of the gravel, I had the satisfaction to discover a small spring of excel- 
lent water, which issued from beneath the granite rock and ran as fast 
as we could catch it in our pails. I then placed my large flesh-pot near 
the pit, and, ordering the men to bring up the cattle in small detach- 
ments, we baled out the water as fast as they could drink it, the 
buckets being handed along by a line of men extending up the gravel 
bank to the cattle : and thus in a short time every one of them obtained 
a sufficiency. This opportune supply of water was to me invaluable, 
my poor dogs having also been much distressed and requiring water no 
less than the cattle. 

With renewed spirits we continued our journey, and at sundown we 
halted about half-way to Corriebely. On the march two of the oxen 
evinced distress, and we were obliged to outspan them and allow them 
to follow slowly with the loose cattle. About ten o'clock on the follow- 
ing morning I reached Corriebely, and was most thankful to have 
succeeded in bringing all my wretched cattle alive to a fountain where 
they could drink their fill. While breakfasting, three of Sicomy's men 
approached, leading my greyhound Flam ; they said that they were 
sent by Sicomy, who, on hearing that she was missing, had at once 
issued orders for her recovery. 

In the afternoon we inspanned, and marched to the scene of the fall 
of my first elephant, where we halted for the night. On reaching 



A HERD OF BLUE WILDEBEESTS. 163 



Massouey I commenced examining the elephants' footpaths on the side 
on which were my strongest hopes. I had almost made the circuit of 
the fountain, and hope had died within me, when, lo ! broad and long, 
and fresh as fresh could be, the enormous spoor of two mighty bull 
elephants which had drunk there during the night. This was glorious ! 
I had great faith in the spooring powers of the Bamangwato men, and 
I felt certain that at length the day had arrived on which I was to kill 
my first bull elephant. The Bechuanas at once took up the spoor, and 
went ahead in a masterly manner ; and with buoyant spirits I followed 
in their steps. The spoor led about due west, a direction in which I had 
not yet been. Having followed it for many miles through this desert 
country, we reached a district where the bushes, to whose berries Knop- 
kop was so partial, grew in great abundance ; and here the elephants 
had commenced to feed upon their roots, ploughing up the sand 
extensively with their tusks. We now entered upon ground much 
frequented by elephants, their traces, of various dates, extending on all 
sides, crossing and recrossing one another in every direction : and by 
this means we eventually lost the spoor. 

After a fruitless search of several hours, and many vain endeavours 
to retrieve the day by trying back on the spoor and making wide casts 
to the right and left, I was completely beaten, and compelled to drop it, 
the Bechuanas sitting down and sulkily refusing to proceed farther. We 
now bent our steps homeward. We had not ridden many miles when 
we observed a herd of fifteen camelopards browsing quietly in an open 
glade of the forest. After a very severe chase, in the course of which 
they stretched out into a magnificent widely-extended front, keeping 
their line with a regularity worthy of a troop of dragoons, I succeeded 
in separating a fine bull, upwards of eighteen feet in height, from the 
rest of the herd, and brought him to the ground within a short distance 
of the camp. The Bechuanas expressed themselves delighted at my 
success. They kindled a fire and slept beside the carcase, which they 
very soon reduced to biltongue and marrow-bones. 

On the morning of the 8th I walked to the fountain, and examined 
all the elephants' footpaths, but there was no fresh spoor. Having 
breakfasted, I rode for a conical hill, distant from the waggons about 
five miles in a northerly direction, from whose summit I fancied that 
elephants might be seen. It was a charming cool day, with a fine 
bracing wind, the sky beautifully overcast with clouds. I rode along, 
holding the elephants' footpaths. The marks of their strength were 
visible in every grove, and all the large trees in the vicinity of the 
muddy vleys, which at this season were dry, were plastered with sun- 
baked mud to a height of twelve feet from the ground. On reaching 
the base of the conical hill I secured my horse to a tree, and ascended 
to its summit^ from which I carefully examined the distant forest land- 
scape with my spyglass, but sought in vain for elephants. 

In the evening I took my heavy single-barrelled rifle, and sauntered 
towards the fountain. A large herd of blue wildebeests were slowly 
advancing up the vley to drink. I accordingly took up a position 
behind a low bush near which they must pass, and lay flat on the 



164 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

ground, waiting their approach. Presently I raised my head to see how 
they were coming on, when I perceived a pair of the rare and beautiful 
roan antelope or bastard gemsbok warily approaching the fountain. 
These came up, and were passing within a hundred and twenty yards 
of me, when, selecting the buck, I let fly, and missed. The whole herd 
of wildebeests now wheeled to the right-about, and thundered down the 
vley, enveloped in a cloud of dust ; but the two roan antelopes, which 
had probably never before heard the report of a gun, stood looking 
about them, while I hastily loaded, lying flat on my side. This being 
accomplished, I again let fly, and the old buck dropped to the shot ; the 
ball had entered his shoulder, and he lay kicking and roaring until I 
had almost reloaded, when he regained his feet and made off after his 
comrade. 

At this moment "Argyll" and "Bonteberg," two right good dogs, 
came up, having heard the shots, and, perceiving the bastard gemsboks, 
they gave chase. To my surprise the wounded buck, instead of turning 
to bay, now set off at a rapid pace. He had not gone far, however, 
when he turned, and stood at bay for about a minute. Two or three 
more of the dogs heard their comrades barking, and came up to the 
buck, which then broke bay and made off through the bushes, and in 
another moment all was still. It was now almost dark, and I followed 
in the direction which the buck had held, when suddenly I heard a 
rushing noise, and in another instant the wounded buck met me face to 
face, closely pursued by five of the dogs. He was making for the 
water, where he would have bayed,. but I unluckily turned him. Owing 
to light rain which was falling at the moment, I had unfortunately 
slipped my rifle into a water-proof holster, which prevented my firing, 
and the buck held close past the waggons, where more dogs joined in 
the chase. 

On reaching camp I inquired of the men if they had seen the buck, 
and they answered Yes, but that he was not wounded. This I fancied 
must be the case, and that the dogs had followed the fresh buck ; and as 
two of them made their appearance, I thought that the affair was at an 
end. In the mean time, however, Kleinboy had seen the chase, and, 
hastily bridling a horse, had followed. He now rode breathless to the 
waggons, and reported that the buck was at bay beyond a low ridge 
within half a mile of camp, and that he was killing the dogs right and 
left. Seizing my rifle, I mounted a horse and followed after Kleinboy 
.in the dark. Presently I heard the music of my pack, and on coming 
up I found the bastard gemsbok lying beside a bush, with the dogs 
barking round him. Three dogs that had followed me from camp, on 
seeing the buck lying, rushed in upon him, when he struck furiously right 
and left, and killed one dead on the spot, severely wounding another 
behind the shoulder; these were Vitfoot and Argyll, two of my best dogs. 
Again he struck right and left, and knocked over Wolf and Flam with 
amazing violence, severely injuring their stomachs. He had killed Bles, 
my stoutest and fiercest dog, before I came up, the horn having entered 
his heart. 

It was a long time before I could fire, for the night was dark, and 



STALKING A WHITE RHINOCEROS. 165 

the buck lay on the ground, with the surviving dogs still pressing close 
around him. At length he stood up, when I shot him dead with a single 
shot. He proved to be the wounded buck, having received my first shot 
in the shoulder. This was a first-rate specimen of the roan antelope, 
and carried a pair of superb scimitar-shaped horns, which were long and 
fairly set, and beautifully knotted. Before leaving Massouey two 
more noble giraffes fell before my rifle, also several fat elands and other 
varieties of game. 

After remaining in the neighbourhood of the fountain for several days, 
and finding that it was entirely deserted by the elephants, I determined 
to retrace my steps, and seek for them beyond Bamangwato, and on the 
18th we again came to the camp of Sicomy upon the Rocky Mountains. 
I found the king in a kraal which I had not hitherto visited. He was 
seated beneath a low shady tree, with a few friends and some of his 
wives. A number of splendid koodoos' skulls and horns lay rotting 
about the kraal, among which were several pairs exceeding any I had 
yet beheld. Casting my eyes to the south-east, I obtained a very 
distant view of the country in that direction. From the base of the 
mountain on which I stood stretched a dead level park through a bold 
opening in the mountains. This park was regularly ornamented with 
groves and forest-trees, and extended without the slightest break or 
change as far as I could see. The scene exactly resembled the ocean 
when viewed from the summit of some bold mountain standing near its 
shore. Having partaken of the king's beer, I descended to my waggons, 
when we continued our march along the aforesaid valley. I was 
accompanied by Sicomy's brother ; and on looking behind me as we 
proceeded, I beheld long strings of the natives following in our wake, 
and small detached parties kept pouring down from the rocks and glens 
on every side, until my suite exceeded two hundred men. 

We held a northerly course, and on the second day we reached 
Letlochee, a strong perpetual fountain, situated in an abrupt and rocky 
ravine. This ravine lay in a range of low rocky hills, which were 
bounded on the north and west by a wide and gently sloping basin or 
hollow, diversified with extensive groves and open glades. This hollow 
extended to a breadth of from six to eight miles, and was much 
frequented by elands and giraffes, and beyond it stretched the boundless 
extent of the sandy Kalahari desert. Here I daily enjoyed excellent 
sport with these two varieties of game ; but though elephants occasion- 
ally visited the water, and we followed on their tracks to an amazing 
distance, we always failed to obtain a view of them. 

On the forenoon of the 23rd a native came and informed me that he 
had discovered a white rhinoceros lying asleep in thick cover to the 
south. I accordingly accompanied him to the spot and commenced 
stalking in upon the vast muchocho. He was lying asleep beneath a 
shady tree, and his appearance reminded me of an enormous hog, which 
in shape he slightly resembles. He kept constantly flapping his ears, 
which they invariably do when sleeping. Before I could reach the 
proper distance to fire, several "rhinoceros-birds," by which he was 
attended, warned him of his impending danger by sticking their bills into 



166 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

his ear, and uttering their harsh, grating cry. Thus aroused, he suddenly 
sprang to his feet and crashed away through the jungle at a rapid trot, 
and I saw no more of him. 

These rhinoceros-birds are constant attendants upon the hippopotamus 
and the four varieties of rhinoceros, their object being to feed upon the 
ticks and other parasitic insects that swarm upon these animals. They 
are of a greyish colour, and are nearly as large as a common thrush ; 
their voice is very similar to that of the mistletoe- thrush. Many a 
time have these ever-watchful birds disappointed me in my stalk, and 
tempted me to invoke an anathema upon their devoted heads. They 
are the best friends the rhinoceros has, and rarely fail to awaken him 
even in his soundest nap. " Chukuroo " perfectly understands their 
warning, and, springing to his feet, he generally first looks about him 
in every direction, after which he invariably makes off. 

I have often hunted a rhinoceros on horseback, which led me a chase 
of many miles and required a number of shots before he fell, during 
which chase several of these birds remained by the rhinoceros to the 
last. They reminded me of mariners on the deck of some bark sailing 
on the ocean, for they perched along his back and sides ; and as each of 
my bullets told on the shoulder of the rhinoceros, they ascended about 
six feet into the air, uttering their harsh cry of alarm, and then resumed 
their position. It sometimes happened that the lower branches of trees, 
under which the rhinoceros passed, swept them from their living deck, 
but they always recovered their former station ; they also adhere to the 
rhinoceros during the night. I have often shot these animals at mid- 
night when drinking at the fountains, and the birds, imagining they 
were asleep, remained with them till morning, and on my approaching, 
before taking flight, they exerted themselves to their utmost to awaken 
Chukuroo from his deep sleep. 

In the evening one of the parties sent out to seek for the spoor of 
elephants returned to camp, stating that a small tribe of Bakalahari, 
who resided in a range of mountains to the east, reported these beasts 
to frequent the forests in the vicinity of their abode, and Mutchuisho, 
Sicomy's uncle, who attended me whilst hunting his country, accord- 
ingly requested me to hold myself in readiness to accompany him in 
quest of the elephants at an early hour next day. It was customary 
with me to console myself, when hope had almost died under a long- 
continued run of bad luck, by saying to myself that : ' Patience will have 
her perfect work," thus making up my mind that a man who is a good 
stalker and a fair rifle-shot must eventually obtain by perseverance 
whatever game be seeks to kill. But in the present instance things 
looked so bad that I had begun to think it not improbable that I might 
be compelled to leave the Bamangwato country without again even see- 
ing what my heart so ardently desired, viz. an old bull elephant free in 
his native forests ; and day and night I mourned my folly in losing the 
opportunity which I had neglected on the 27th day of June. 

But patience will have her perfect work, and the day had at last ar- 
rived which was to repay my steady perseverance with complete suc- 
cess. At an early hour on the 24th, upon the strength of the report 



IN QUEST OF ELEPHANTS. 167 

brought to us on the preceding evening, I took the field with Isaac and 
Kleinboy as after-riders, accompanied by Mutchuisho and a hundred 
and fifty of his tribe. We held a north-easterly course, and, having 
proceeded about five miles through the forest, we reached a fountain, 
where I observed the spoor of a herd of cow elephants, two days old. 
Here we made a short halt, and snuff was briskly circulated, while the 
leading men debated on the course we were to follow, and it was agreed 
that we should hold for the Bakalahari kraal. Having continued our 
course for several miles, we rounded the northern extremity of a range 
of rocky monntains which rose abruptly in the forest and stretched 
away to the south of east in a long-continued chain. Here we were met 
by men whom Mutchuisho had despatched before daybreak, who said 
that the Bakalahari women had that morning seen elephants. This was 
joyous news. My hopes were high, and I at once felt certain that the 
hour of triumph was at hand. But disappointment was still in store for 
me. We all sat down on the grass, while men were despatched to bring 
the Bakalahari, and when these came we ascertained that it was only 
spoor and not elephants they had seen. We held on for an inspection 
of it ; and here I was further to be disappointed, the spoor proving to 
be two days old. 

The country now before me was a vast level forest extending to the 
north and east for about twenty miles without a break. At that dis- 
tance, however, the landscape was shut in by blue mountain ranges of 
considerable height, and two bold conical mountains standing close to- 
gether rose conspicuous above the rest. These mountains the Bamang- 
wato men informed me were their ancient habitation, and that of their 
forefathers, but the cruel Matabili had driven them from thence to the 
rocky mountains which they now occupy. We continued our course in 
an easterly direction, and twice crossed the gravelly bed of a periodical 
river, in which were several small springs of excellent water. These 
springs had been exposed by elephants, which had cleared away the 
gravel with their trunks. Around these springs the spoor of rhinoceros 
was abundant. After proceeding several miles through a dry and barren 
tract, where wait-a-bit thorns prevailed, we entered upon more interest- 
ing ground. 

The forest was adorned with very picturesque old trees of various 
sorts and sizes, which stood singly and in shady groups, while the main 
body of the forest consisted of a variety of trees of other sorts, averag- 
ing the height of a giraffe. The elephants had left abundant traces of 
their presence, but all the marks were old. Fresh spoor of giraffe was 
imprinted on the ground on every side, and we presently saw a large 
herd of these, standing scattered through the forest to our left. They 
were glorious fellows, but I was now in pursuit of nobler game : the 
natives were leading me to some distant fountain, where they expected 
we should discover spoor. 

On we sped through the depths of the forest, our view being confined 
to about fifty yards on every side. Presently emerging upon a small 
open glade, I observed a herd of brindled gnoos and two or three troops 
of pallahs ; and soon after a second herd of about fifteen camelopards 



168 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

stood browsing before us, and, getting our wind, dashed away to our 
left. We had proceeded about two miles farther, and it was now within 
two hours of sunset, when, lo ! a thorny tree, newly smashed by an ele- 
phant. Some of the natives attentively examined the leaves of the 
broken branches to ascertain exactly when he had been there ; while 
some for the same purpose overhauled the spoor. It was the spoor of a 
first-rate bull ; he had fed there that morning at the dawn of day. The 
ground was hard and bad for spooring, but the natives evinced great 
skill ; and following it for a short distance, we came to ground where a 
troop of bull elephants had pastured not many hours before. Here the 
thorny trees on every side were demolished by them, and huge branches 
and entire trees were rent and uprooted, and lay scattered across our 
path, having been carried several yards in the trunks of the elephants 
before they stood to eat the leaves : the ground also was here and there 
ploughed up by their tusks in quest of roots ; and in these places the 
enormous fresh spoor — that thrilling sight to a hunter's eye — was beauti- 
fully visible. 

All this was extremely interesting and gratifying ; but I had been so 
often disappointed, and it was now so very near sunset, that I enter- 
tained but faint hopes of finding them that evening. Mutchuisho was 
very anxious that I should see the elephants ; he had divested himself 
of his kaross, and, carrying one of the muskets which Sicomy had 
bought from me, he led the spooring party, consisting of about fifteen cun- 
ning old hands. The great body of the men he had ordered to sit down 
and remain quiet until the attack commenced. Having followed the 
spoor for a short distance, old Mutchuisho became extremely excited, 
and told me that we were close to the elephants. A few minutes after 
several of the spoorers affirmed that they had heard the elephants break 
a tree in advance ; they differed, however, about the direction, some 
saying it was in front, and others that it was away to our left. Two or 
three men quickly ascended the tallest trees that stood near us, but they 
could not see the elephants. Mutchuisho then extended men to the 
right and left, while we continued on the spoor. 

In a few minutes one of those who had gone off to our left came run- 
ning breathless to say that he had seen the mighty game. I halted for 
a minute, and instructed Isaac, who carried the big Dutch rifle, to act 
independently of me, while Kleinboy was to assist me in the chase ; but, 
as usual, when the row began, my followers thought only of number 
one. I bared my arms to the shoulder, and, having imbibed a draught 
of aqua pura from the calabash of one of the spoorers, I grasped my 
trusty two-grooved rifle, and told my guide to go ahead. We proceeded 
silently as might be for a few hundred yards, following the guide; when 
he suddenly pointed, exclaiming, " Klow ! " and before us stood a herd 
of mighty bull elephant, packed together beneath a shady grove about 
a hundred and fifty yards in advance. I rode slowly towards them; and 
as soon as they observed me they made a loud rumbling noise, and, tos- 
sing their trunks, wheeled right about and made off in one direction, 
crashing through the forest and leaving a cloud of dust behind them. I 



NARROW ESCAPE FROM AN ELEPHANT. 169 

was accompanied by a detachment of my dogs, who assisted me in the 
pursuit. 

The distance I had come, and the difficulties I had undergone, to be- 
hold these elephants, rose fresh before me. I determined that on this 
occasion at least I would do my duty, and, dashing my spurs into 
"Sunday's" ribs, I was very soon much too close in their rear for safety. 
The elephants now made an inclination to my left, whereby I obtained 
a good view of the ivory. The herd consisted of six bulls ; four of them 
were full-grown, first-rate elephants ; the other two were fine fellows, 
but had not yet arrived at perfect stature. Of the four old fellows, two 
had much finer tusks than the rest, and for a few seconds I was unde- 
cided which of these two I would follow; when, suddenly, the one 
which I fancied had the stoutest tusks broke from his comrades, and I 
at once felt convinced that he was the patriarch of the herd, and fol- 
lowed him accordingly. Cantering alongside, I was about to fire, when 
he instantly turned, and, uttering a trumpet so strong and shrill that 
the earth seemed to vibrate beneath my feet, he charged furiously after 
me for several hundred yards in a direct line not altering his course in 
the slightest degree for the trees of the forest, which he snapped and 
overthrew like reeds in his headlong career. 

When he pulled up in his charge, I likewise halted ; and as he slowly 
turned to retreat I let fly at his shoulder, " Sunday " capering and 
prancing and giving me much trouble. On receiving the ball the ele- 
phant shrugged his shoulder, and made off at a free majestic walk. 
This shot brought ^several of the dogs to my assistance which had been 
following the other elephants, and on their coming up and barking an- 
other headlong charge was the result, accompanied by the never-failing 
trumpet as before. In his charge he passed close to me, when I saluted 
him with a second bullet in the shoulder, of which he did not take the 
slightest notice. I now determined not to fire again until I could 
make a steady shot ; but although the elephant turned repeatedly, 
" Sunday " invariably disappointed me, capering so that it was impos- 
sible to fire. 

At length exasperated, I became reckless of the danger, and, spring- 
ing from the saddle, I approached the elephant under cover of a 
tree, and gave him a bullet in the side of the head, when, trumpeting 
so shrilly that the forest trembled, he charged among the dogs, from 
whom he seemed to fancy that the blow had come; after which he took 
up a position in a grove of thorns, with his head towards me. I walked 
up very near, and as he was in the act of charging, I (being in those 
days under wrong impressions as to the impracticability of bringing 
down an elephant with a shot in the forehead) stood coolly in his path 
until he was within fifteen paces of me, and let drive at the hollow of 
his forehead, in the vain expectation that by so doing I should end his 
career. The shot only served to increase his fury — an effect which, I 
have remarked, shots in the head invariably produce ; and continuing 
his charge with incredible quickness and impetuosity, he all but termin- 
ated my elephant-hunting for ever. 

A large party of the Bechuanas who had come up yelled out simul- 



170 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

taneously, imagining I was killed, for the elephant was at one moment 
almost on the top of me : I however escaped by my activity, and by 
dodging round the bushy trees. As the elephant was charging, an 
enormous thorn ran deep into the sole of my foot, the old Badenoch 
brogues, which I that day sported, being worn through ; and this 
caused me severe pain, laming me throughout the rest of the conflict. 

The elephant held on through the forest at a sweeping pace ; but he 
was hardly out of sight when I was loaded and in the saddle, and soon 
once more alongside. About this time I heard Isaac blazing away at 
another bull ; but when the elephant charged, his cowardly heart failed 
him, and he very soon made his appearance at a safe distance in my 
rear. My elephant kept crashing along at a steady pace, with blood 
streaming from his wounds ; the dogs, which were knocked up with 
fatigue and thirst, no longer barked around him, but had dropped astern. 
It was long before I again fired, for I was afraid to dismount, and 
" Sunday " was extremely troublesome. At length I fired sharp right 
and left from the saddle : he got both balls behind the shoulder and 
made a long charge after me, rumbling and trumpeting as before. The 
whole body of the Bamangwato men had now come up, and were 
following a short distance behind me. Among these was Mollyeon, 
who volunteered to help ; and being a very swift and active fellow, he 
rendered me important service by holding my fidgety horse's head while 
I fired and loaded. I then fired six broadsides from the saddle, the 
elephant charging almost every time, and pursuing us back to the main 
body in our rear, who fled in all directions as he approached. 

The sun had now sunk behind the tops of the trees : it would very 
soon be dark, and the elephant did not seem much distressed, notwith- 
standing all he had received. I recollected that my time was short, 
therefore at once resolved to fire no more from the saddle, but to go 
close up to him and fire on foot. Riding up to him I dismounted, and, 
approaching very near, I gave it him right and left in the side of the 
head, upon which he made a long and determined charge after me ; but 
I was now very reckless of his charges, for I saw that he could not 
overtake me, and in a twinkling I was loaded, and, again approaching, I 
fired sharp right and left behind his shoulder. Again he charged with 
a terrific trumpet, which sent " Sunday " flying through the forest. 

This was his last charge. The wounds which he had received began 
to tell on his constitution, and he now stood at bay beside a thorny 
tree, with the dogs barking around him. These, refreshed by the even- 
ing breeze, and perceiving that it was nearly over with the elephant, 
had once more come to my assistance. Having loaded, I drew near and 
fired right and left at his forehead. On receiving these shots, instead of 
charging he tossed his trunk up and down, and by various sounds and 
motions, most gratifying to the hungry natives, evinced that his demise 
was near. Again I loaded, and fired my last shot behind his shoulder : 
on receiving it, he turned round the busby tree beside which he stood, 
and I ran round to give him the other barrel, but the mighty old mon- 
arch of the forest needed no more ; before I could clear the bushy tree 
he fell heavily on his side, and his spirit had fled. My feelings at this 



CUTTING UP THE ELEPHANT. 171 



moment can only be understood by a few brother Nimrods, who have 
had the good fortune to enjoy a similar encounter. I never felt so 
gratified on any former occasion as I did then. 

By this time all the natives had come up ; they were in the highest 
spirits, and flocked around the elephant laughing and talking at a rapid 
pace. I climbed on to him, and sat enthroned upon his side, which was 
as high as my eyes when standing on the ground. In a few minutes 
night set in, when the natives, having illuminated the jungle with a 
score of fires, and formed a semicircle of bushes to windward, lay down 
to rest without partaking of a morsel of food. Mutchuisho would not 
allow a man to put an assagai into the elephant until the morrow, and 
placed two relays of sentries to keep watch on either side of him. My 
dinner consisted of a piece of flesh from the temple of the elephant, 
which I broiled on the hot embers. In the conflict I had lost my shirt, 
which was reduced to streamers by the wait-a-bit thorns, and all the 
clothing that remained was a pair of buckskin knee-breeches. 

The night was very cold, it being now the dead of the African 
winter. Having collected dry grass, I spread it beside my fire, and lay 
down for the night with no other covering than an old sheepskin, which 
I had used for a saddle-cloth. Shortly after I had dropped asleep, 
Mutchuisho, commiserating my bare condition, spread an old jackal 
kaross over me. This kaross, as all Bechuana garments are, was thickly 
tenanted by small transparent insects, usually denominated lice. These 
virulent creatures, probably finding my skin more tender than that of 
the owner of the kaross, seemed resolved to enjoy a banquet while they 
could ; and presently I awoke with my whole body so poisoned and in- 
flamed that I felt as if attacked with a severe fever. All further rest 
that night was at an end. I returned the kaross to Mutchuisho, with 
grateful acknowledgments for his polite intentions ; and piling dry 
wood on the fire, which emitted a light as bright as day, I aroused the 
slumbering Kleinboy to assist me in turning my buckskins outside in, 
when an animating " chasse " commenced, which terminated in the 
capture of about fourscore of my white-currant coloured visitors. I 
then lit another fire opposite to the first, and spent the remainder of 
the night squatted between the two, thus imbibing caloric before and 
behind. 

As the sun rose on the morning of the 25th, Mutchuisho gave the 
word to cut up the elephant, when a scene of blood, noise, and turmoil 
ensued, which baffles all description. Every native there, divested of 
his kaross and armed with an assagai, rushed to the onslaught ; and in 
less than two hours every inch of the elephant was gone, and carried by 
the different parties to their respective temporary locations, which they 
had chosen beneath each convenient tree that grew around. 

The manner in which the elephant is cut up is as follows: — The 
rough outer skin is first removed, in large sheets, from the side which 
lies uppermost. Several coats of an under skin are then met with. 
This skin is of a tough and pliant nature, and is used by the natives for 
making water-bags, in which they convey supplies of water from the 
nearest vley or fountain (which is often ten milles distant) to the ele- 



172 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

phant. They remove this inner skin with caution, taking care not to 
cut it with the assagai ; and it is formed into water-bags by gathering 
the corners and edges, and transfixing the whole on a pointed wand. 
The flesh is then removed in enormous sheets from the ribs, when the 
hatchets come into play, with which they chop through, and remove 
individually, each colossal rib. The bowels are thus laid bare ; and in 
the removal of these the leading men take a lively interest and active 
part, for it is throughout and around the bowels that the fat of the 
elephant is mainly found. 

There are few things which a Bechuana prizes so highly as fat of any 
description ; they will go an amazing distance for a small portion of it. 
They use it principally in cooking their sun-dried biltongue, and they 
also eat it with their corn. The fat of the elephant lies in extensive 
layers and sheets in his inside, and the quantity which is obtained from 
a full-grown bull, in high condition, is very great. Before it can be 
obtained, the greater part of the bowels must be removed. To accom- 
plish this, several men eventually enter the immense cavity of his inside, 
where they continue mining away with their assagais, and handing the 
fat to their comrades outside until all is bare. While this is transpiring 
with the sides and bowels, other parties are equally active in removing 
the skin and flesh from the remaining parts of the carcase. The natives 
have a horrid practice on these occasions of besmearing their bodies, 
from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, with the black and 
clotted gore ; and in this anointing they assist one another, each man 
taking up the fill of both his hands, and spreading it over the back and 
shoulders of his friend. 

Throughout the entire proceeding an incessant and deafening clamour 
of many voices and confused sounds is maintained, and violent jostling 
and wrestling are practised by every man, elbowing the breasts and 
countenances of his fellows, all slippery with gore, as he endeavours to 
force his way to the venison through the dense intervening ranks, while 
the sharp and ready assagai gleams in every hand. The angry voices 
and gory appearances of these naked savages, combined with their 
excited aud frantic gestures and glistening arms, presented an effect so 
wild and striking, that when I first beheld the scene I contemplated it 
in the momentary expectation of beholding one half of the gathering 
turn their weapons against the other. 

The trunk and feet are considered a delicacy, and a detachment are 
employed on these. The four feet are amputated at the fetlock joint, 
and the trunk, which at the base is about two feet in thickness, is cut 
into convenient lengths. Trunk and feet are then baked, preparatory 
to their removal to head-quarters. The manner in which this is done is 
as follows : — A party, provided with sharp-pointed sticks, dig a hole in 
the ground for each foot and a portion of the trunk. These holes are 
about two feet deep, and a yard in width ; the excavated earth is 
embanked around the margin of the hole. This work being completed, 
they next collect an immense quantity of dry branches and trunks of 
trees, of which there is always a profusion scattered around, having 
been broken by the elephants in former years. These they pile above 



ELEPHANT COOKING. 173 



the holes to the height of eight or nine feet, and then set fire to the 
heap. When these strong fires have burnt down, and the whole of the 
wood is reduced to ashes, the holes and the surrounding earth are 
heated in a high degree. 

Ten or twelve men then stand round the pit, and rake out the ashes 
with a pole about sixteen feet in length, having a hook at the end. 
They relieve one another in quick succession, each man running in and 
raking the ashes for a few seconds, and then pitching the pole to his 
comrade and retreating, since the heat is so intense that it is scarcely to 
be endured. When all the ashes are thus raked out beyond the 
surrounding bank of earth, each elephant's foot and portion of the trunk 
is lifted by two athletic men, standing side by side, who place it on their 
shoulders ; and approaching the pit together, they heave it into it. The 
long pole is now again resumed, and with it they shove in the heated 
bank of earth upon the foot, shoving and raking until it is completely 
buried in the earth. The hot embers, of which there is always a great 
supply, are then raked into a heap above the foot, and another bonfire 
is kindled over each, which is allowed to burn down and die a natural 
death ; by which time the enormous foot or trunk will be found to be 
equally baked throughout its inmost parts. When the foot is supposed 
to be ready, it is taken out of the ground with pointed sticks, and is 
first well beaten, and then scraped with an assagai, whereby adhering 
particles of sand are got rid of. The outside is then pared off, and it 
is transfixed with a sharp stake for facility of carriage. 

The feet thus cooked are excellent, as is also the trunk, which very 
much resembles buffalo's tongue. The reason why such large fires are 
requisite is owing to the mass of the flesh that must be baked. In 
raking the sand on the foot, the natives are careful not to rake the red- 
hot embers in with it, which would burn and destroy the meat ; whereas 
the sand or earth protects it, imparting an even and steady heat. When 
the natives have cut up the elephant, and removed the large masses of 
flesh, etc., to their respective temporary kraals around, they sit down 
for a little to rest and draw their breath, and for a short time smoking 
and snuffing are indulged in. 

The Bechuana pipe is of a very primitive description, differing from 
any I had ever seen. When they wish to smoke they moisten a spot of 
earth, not being particular whence they obtain the water. Into this 
earth they insert a green twig, bent into a semicircle, whose bend is 
below the said earth, and both ends protruding. They then knead the 
moist earth down with their knuckles on the twig, which they work 
backwards and forwards until a hole is established, when the twig is 
withdrawn, and one end of the aperture is enlarged with the fingers, so 
as to form a bowl to contain the tobacco. The pipe is thus finished and 
ready for immediate use, when tobacco and fire are introduced, and the 
smoker drops on his knees, and resting on the palms of his hands, he 
brings his lips in contact with the mud at the small end of the hole, and 
thus inhales the grateful fumes. Large volumes of smoke are emitted 
through the nostrils, while a copious flow of tears from the eyes of the 
smoker evinces the pleasure he enjoys. One of these pipes will serve 

11 



174 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



a large party, who replenish the bowl and relieve one another in 
succession. 

The natives, having drawn their breath, once more devote their 
attention to the flesh, which they next reduce to biltongue, cutting every 
morsel into thin strips from six to twenty feet in length. These strips 
are of the breadth and thickness of a man's two fingers. When all is 
reduced to biltongue they sally forth with their tomahawks, and cut 
down a number of poles of two sorts, for uprights and cross-poles. The 
uprights are eight feet long, and forked at one end. They place them 
upright in the ground around their respective trees, laying the cross- 
poles resting on the forks, and these are adorned with endless garlands 
of the raw meat, which is permitted to hang in the sun for two or three 
days, when it will have lost much of its weight, and be stiff and easy to 
be carried. They then remove the biltongue from the poles, and, fold- 
ing it together, they form it into bundles, which are strongly lashed and 
secured with long strips of the tough inner bark of thorny mimosas'. 
Their work in the forest is now completed, and, each man placing one 
bundle on his head, and slinging several others across his shoulders, 
returns to his wife and family at head-quatters. 

The appearance which the flesh of a single elephant exhibits when 
reduced to strips and suspended from the poles is truly surprising, the 
forest far around displaying a succession of ruby festoons, and reminding 
one of a vineyard laden with its clustering fruits. When the skull of 
my elephant was ready for the axe, Mutchuisho caused a party to hew 
out for me the tusks — a work of great labour and needing considerable 
skill. In the present instance the work was clumsily executed, the 
natives hacking and injuring the ivory in removing the bone with their 
little tomahawks. In consequence of this I invariably afterwards 
performed the task myself, using superior American hatchets, which I 
had provided expressly for the purpose. When the tusks had been 
extracted, I saddled up, and started for the camp, accompanied by my 
after-riders and a party of the natives bearing the ivory, with a supply 
of baked foot and trunk and a portion of the flesh. The natives had 
appropriated all the rest, and when I left them they were quarelling 
over the remnant of the skull, whose marrowy bones were in high 
demand. They fought for every chip as it flew from the axe, and 
chewed it raw. On our way to camp we passed through the kraal of 
the Bakalahari, situated in the mountain range. In the valleys they 
had formed considerable gardens, in which corn and water-melons were 
extensively grown. I was right glad to reach my comfortable camp 
and get a bowl of coffee. 

On the evening of the 26th men kept pouring into camp heavily laden 
with the flesh of the elephant, a large part of which was for Sicomy : 
they halted with me for the night, and resumed their march in the 
morning. 




CHAR XYI 



ELEPHANT SPOORING. 175 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Elephant spooring with the Natives — The Mystic Dice — Hunt in a Wait-a-bit Thorn 
Cover — Romantic Gorge in the Mountains — Sabie — Ancient Elephant Path — 
Ludicrous Native Signal — A noble Bull Elephant slain — Isaac, my Interpreter, 
dismissed — A Lioness bagged at one shot — Drunkenness and Disorder in Camp 
— My manner of taking the Field after the larger Game — Sicomy's Followers 
desert me. 

On the 27th of July I resolved to move my waggons further to the east, 
and informed the waggon-drivers of my intentions : they however raised 
many objections, and all but gave me a direct refusal. As I was not 
aware of the position of the waters, and knowing well that Isaac would 
not assist me in discovering them, I deemed it prudent first to make an 
excursion to the east on horseback. I accordingly stowed some 
ammunition and a washing-rod in my old game-bag (to the inside of 
which, by the by, adhered a goodly coating of the scales of grilse and 
salmon, along with sundry speckled and blood-stained feathers of the 
grouse and partridge), and having made bread and ground coffee sufficient 
for three days' consumption, I ordered two of my men to be ready to 
accompany me next morning. My interpreter's countenance never lacked 
a scowl ; and, instead of forwarding my interests, he actively employed 
his energies in sowing dissension betwixt me and the natives, and 
disseminating mutiny among the Hottentots. I discovered that all 
along he had deceived me, and carefully concealed the direction where 
most elephants abounded, and I began to think that, in justice to 
myself, it was high time that he should be ignominously dismissed the 
service. 

On the 28th, as I was breakfasting, natives arrived and reported fresh 
spoor within a mile of camp. I therefore resolved to defer for the 
present the trip to the eastward on which I had determined ; but it so 
happened that the spoor which was reported led me in that direction, 
and was the means of introducing me to a succession of fine hunting- 
districts, throughout which elephant and rhinoceros were abundant. 
Everything being ready, I proceeded to take up the spoor ; accompanied 
by after-riders and about a hundred of the Bamangwato men, fresh 
parties having joined me : it was the spoor of a small troop of cow 
elephants. Mutchuisho and the spooring party took it up in a 
masterly manner, and went along at a rapid pace all day, with scarcely a 
check, until we found the elephants. The spoor led us first through a 
gorge in the mountains, which I mentioned as having rounded on the 
24th ; after which we followed it in an easterly course, skirting the base 
of the mountain chain. The country increased in beauty as we ad- 
vanced; and, having followed the spoor some hours, it led us into a new 
variety of country, and, as I fancied, into a new climate. Here large 
trees were abundant, and the grass and leaves were much greener than 
in the country we had left behind. We crossed the gravelly beds of 
two periodical rivers. In one of these I observed the recent spoor of a 
herd of bull elephants deeply imprinted in the sand. This day the 



176 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

wind, which had for weeks been cold and blighting, blowing off the ice- 
bergs of the Southern Ocean, shifted to north-east, and breathed warm 
and balmy upon us. 

As we advanced the work of elephants became more and more ap- 
parent on the trees and in the earth, and late in the afternoon, we 
reached ground where a large herd of cows had fed that morning. Here 
we had a short check, when Mutchuisho rated the trackers for their 
negligence ; and, having despatched parties to try back upon the spoor, 
and extended others to. make casts on our right and left, he leisurely 
ensconced himself beneath a shady tree, and proceeded, along with 
several of his cronies, to enjoy the luxury of taking snuff, which impor- 
tant ceremony having been duly performed, they began with the utmost 
gravity to smooth a portion of the ground before them, preparatory to 
casting the mystic dice which most of the Bechuanas carry strung 
around their necks. These dice, which are of sundry indescribable 
shapes, are formed of ivory, and the Bechuanas invariably appeal to 
them before entering upon any project of importance to ascertain the 
probability of its ultimate success. Having unstrung the dice, which 
are four in number, they rattle them between their hand, and drop 
them on the ground, when the long-headed old men carefully study the 
directions of the points, and decide the merits of the case accordingly. 

In the present instance the dice spoke favourably, auguring the speedy 
capture of an elephant ; and one of the trackers at this moment coming 
up, and stating that his comrades had regained the spoor, we sprang to 
our feet, and again held on. We had proceeded about half a mile when 
we suddenly beheld a herd of about twelve old cow elephants, some of 
which were accompanied by little calves, feeding high on the side of the 
rocky mountains, about five hundred yards to our right. The interven- 
ing ground was a dense and almost impenetrable mass of wait-a-bit 
thorny bushes, averaging twenty feet in height, every inch of which 
was to be dreaded as the hooks upon a "kill-devil." On perceiving the 
elephants we halted, and Mutchuischo despatched two men to wind- 
ward, in the hope of driving them from the impracticable ground they 
occupied into the level forest where we stood. The elephants, however, 
were much too wide awake to leave their stronghold of wait-a-bit bushes. 
On getting the wind of the men they tossed their trunks, and, wheeling 
about, they held along the mountain side at a rapid pace until they 
reached an impenetrable jungle of thorns, from which all our efforts 
proved unavailing to dislodge them. 

This jungle densely covered the sides and bottom of a wide semicir- 
cular basin or hollow in the mountains ; it was throughout so dense, 
that a man on foot could scarcely penetrate it. When the elephants 
started I rode hard after them, followed by my after-riders, and, not 
understanding the intentions of the elephants, we followed on through 
the mazes of the jungle in an elephant path, until we reached the centre 
of the thicket, when we suddenly found ourselves upon them. The 
dogs then ran in barking, when a general trumpeting took place, and 
a charging and crashing in all directions, and, owing to the extremely 
dangerous nature of the ground, I was glad to beat a precipitate retreat. 



DANGERS OF ELEPHANT HUNTING. 177 

Once more all was quiet ; my dogs were jaded with the sun, and 
would not fight. Fancying that the elephants had gone ahead, and fear- 
ing to lose them, I again pushed on, holding the footpath as before ; 
when crash came a second charge of elephants at our very elbows, ac- 
companied by a trumpeting which caused our ears to tingle. They 
charged upon us from opposite directions, and we were actually in the 
very middle of them. They were extremely fierce, and, but for the 
dogs, not a man of us had escaped to tell the tale. Fortunately, the 
dogs, which they seemed to think designed the capture of their calves, 
engrossed their whole attention ; whereas, by reason of the colour of 
the horses on which we rode, they took us for gregarious creatures like 
themselves ; and actually grazing our animals' haunches with their legs, 
they left us scatheless and pursued the dogs. I seldom remember a 
more startling or dangerous position ; it was a decided case of "De'il 
tak the hin'most." Spurs and jamboks were energetically plied ; there 
was no time to select a path. Placing my head below my horse's neck 
and trusting to Providence, I charged through the thickest of the thorns, 
and presently found myself out of the way of the elephants. I know 
nothing which so effectually teaches a hunter the art of riding through 
"Vacht um big6," or "wait-a-bit" jungle, in an artistical manner, as 
hearing the trumpet of an enraged elephant, which is following about a 
spear's length in his wake. After a few such lessons he will have learnt 
to bring his breast in contact with the side of his horse's neck, his head 
being well under it, whereby his prominent feature will be secured, and, 
agitating his persuaders, he will drive through the most impracticable 
"wait-a-bits," with apparently the facility with which an Eton boy takes 
a header into the Thames at the Lion's Leap. 

With very great difficulty we got clear of the cover, and gained the 
level forest on the lower side. By this time the natives had lined the 
side of the mountain above the cover, and were shouting and yelling in 
the hope of driving out the elephants \ but not a man would venture in. 
Presently some of them came round to me, and I proposed to go in on 
foot, but they would not hear of it, saying that the elephants were ex- 
tremely fierce, and would kill me to a certainty. I then proposed that 
all the natives should enter the jungle in a line, and try to drive them 
out, but they said that no power could force the elephants from their 
stronghold until night set in. 

The elephants now shifted their ground a little, forcing their way 
through the jungle to the higher side of the basin. Leaving the horses 
in charge of a native, I went round to the line of men above. Here I 
commanded a fine view of the exasperated elephants, being high above 
them, and distant about two hundred and fifty yards, and I observed 
that they displayed considerable cunning in their movements. Placing 
my rifle on a forked branch, and giving it the proper elevation, I let 
drive at the nearest cow, and wounded her severely. The shot rever- 
berated through the dale, and the dogs once more ran into the midst of 
them, when a general charge and trumpeting ensued, which was truly 
terrific. They rushed after the dogs, following them up to a great dis- 
tance, crashing through and upsetting the high bushy wait-a-bits and 



178 HUNTING AND SPOETING ADVENTURES. 

other trees like grass. They then turned and formed in two separate 
detachments, standing thick together ; but two wicked old cows that 
had calves stood far out from the others, with their heads turned to us, 
ready to charge whatever might approach. 

I saw that it was extremely dangerous to attack them, but the sun 
was now fast sinking behind a shoulder of the mountains, so I resolved 
to defy all chances and enter the cover. I first, however, fired two shots 
at the elephants that formed the advanced piquets ; both cows got it in 
the ribs, and, finding themselves wounded, retreated to the main body, 
where they stood smashing the trees with rage, and, catching up volumes 
of the red dust with their trunks, threw it in clouds above their backs. 
Mutchuisho and I now descended into the jungle, and crept stealthily 
along, listening for the breathing of the elephants. They had moved to 
the lower side, and were standing thick together within one hundred 
yards of the outside. On ascertaining their position, we emerged from 
the cover, and followed along the outside until we were opposite them. 
I then stalked in within twenty yards, and fired at the side of the head 
of the elephant that stood next to me; and before the smoke had cleared 
my back was to them, and I was running for the outside of the cover at 
my utmost speed. The elephants held their ground ; so, having loaded, 
I again drew near and fired sharp right and left into another, and turn- 
ing my back I ran for it once more. Ee-entering the cover a third time, 
I was listening which way they had gone, when, casting my eyes to the 
left, a noble elephant lay dead before me. The ball had penetrated to 
her brain, and she had dropped dead upon the spot. 

A little after this an old cow came charging after the dogs, and took 
up a position in the jungle close beside us. We heard her preparing for 
a second charge, when the natives beat a precipitate retreat, but I very 
rashly waited to receive her, and just as she cleared the cover I let fly 
at her forehead. Eegardless of my shot, she came down upon me a,t a 
tremendous pace, shrilly trumpeting. It was rather a near thing, for I 
was burdened with my rifle and rhinoceros-horn loading-rod, and my 
shooting-belt containing about forty rounds of ammunition. I escaped 
her by my speed, and the instant she halted I faced about, and gave her 
the other barrel behind the shoulder. 

Night now set in, and I saw no more of the elephants. A number of 
them were wounded and must have died ; I, however, felt satisfied with 
the one I had secured. The natives made me more cautious than I 
should otherwise have been, and, had we found them at an earlier hour, 
I should probably have killed one half the troop. Weary and hungry, 
we formed our kraals and kindled fires ; after which, having partaken 
of the elephant, I lay down to sleep beside my fire. 

On the 29th I sent Oarollus to the waggons with instruction to bring 
all the horses and the Bushman, with bread, coffee, and ammunition. 
In the forenoon I ascended the neighbouring mountain-range, to obtain 
a view of the surrounding country. On clearing the first ridge I looked 
down upon a bold and romantic gorge, which here intersected the 
mountain chain, connecting the forests on either side. Far below me 
through the bottom of the ravine twined the gravelly bed of a periodical 



ON THE SPOOR OF A BULL ELEPHANT. 179 

river, which in the rainy season flows in an easterly direction. Though 
in all other parts this gravelly channel was now dry, yet just at this 
spot, deep in the bosom of the mountains, its bed was covered with 
delicious spring water to a depth of several inches ; and here the ele- 
phants had excavated sundry holes, about two feet deep, for the purpose 
of drinking. I descended to the water by an elephant-path, and stood 
long contemplating the interesting spot. The bed of the river was 
deeply imprinted with the spoor of elephants, buffaloes, and rhinoceros, 
of various dates. The gorge was wide and open by the water, and its 
abrupt and rocky sides were adorned with a profusion of trees and 
shrubs. A little farther down the gorge was more confined, the river 
winding through huge perpendicular walls of rock, that raised their 
giant forms on both sides to a height of several hundred feet. 

From the basis of these stupendous ramparts to the margin of the 
river on either side was a sloping bank, along which grew an avenue of 
picturesque acacias of enormous bulk and lofty stature ; beneath these 
were well-beaten paths of elephants, and the sides of the trees were well 
polished to the usual distance from the ground. Leaving the river, I 
ascended to the summits of loftier hills beyond, where I commanded a 
glorious prospect of the endless grey forests which stretched away as 
far as I could see over slightly undulating country, the faint blue outline 
of extensive mountain ranges bounding the landscape to the east.' 
Descending from my lofty station, I discovered four bull-buffaloes 
feeding in the valley far beneath me ; I left them undisturbed, and bent 
my steps towards the carcase of the elephant. 

In the evening Carollus arrived, bringing the horses and ammunition, 
and accompanied by a numerous body of the natives. At an early hour 
on the 30th I started with Mutchuisho and a numerous retinue to search 
for elephants in an easterly direction ; and we crossed the gravelly bed of 
the river Mahalapia, about a mile below the gorge I had visited on the 
preceding day. In after years I renewed my acquaintance with the 
Mahalapia, on the banks of the fair Limpopo, into which it empties 
itself several days' journey to the east. 

This was one of the loveliest spots I had seen in Southern Africa : 
a bold bend of the river was adorned with groves of remarkably lofty 
and picturesque acacias. Three trees in particular, of the same des- 
scription, graced the spot, which in size and beauty surpassed any I had 
hitherto met with, carrying their thickness to an immense height from 
the ground, when they divided into goodly branches, which stretched 
away in beauty to the skies. 

Here, in the bed of the river, we took up the spoor of a huge bull 
elephant ; and having followed it a short distance through the verdant 
forest, we started the old fellow, but no man saw him. The great body 
of the natives never would be quiet, and ever pressed upon the spooring 
party, notwithstanding my remonstrances. One native heard him, but 
said he thought it was a rhinoceros. In half a minute, however, we 
discovered our mistake, and there ensued a general rush upon the spoor, 
at a pace which must shortly have overtaken him, for he had not 
started in great alarm. Whistling to my dogs, they took up the 



L £> 



180 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

scent and went ahead ; but as I galloped after them, expecting every 
instant to behold the elephant, whose spoor I now saw beneath my 
horse's feet, an unlucky troop of camelopards dashed across our path, 
and away went all the dogs, leaving me in the lurch just as I was 
upon the elephant. The trackers, however, soon came up, and we again 
held briskly on; but had not proceeded far when we entered upon 
ground so covered with fresh footmarks that the trackers in their haste 
overran the spoor we followed, and a long check was the result. Here, 
to add to my annoyance, another large herd of camelopards came 
cantering up the wind, and dashed away before us, to spread further 
alarm. 

Old Mutchuisho now came up in a state of intense excitement, his 
watery eyes fixed upon the ground, and his tongue going like perpetual 
motion. He blew up the trackers right and left, who seemed to quail 
before his menacing aspect, and redoubled their energies in the doubt- 
ful pursuit. Presently one of these, loudly smacking his " nether end," 
intimated that he had hit off the proper spoor. This peculiar signal, I 
remarked, was used by the Bechuanas to warn one another on various 
occasions. In spooring game it was invariably practised ; and when a 
line of men were threading the mazes of the forest, each warned the 
man behind him of any rough sticks, stones, or thorns which lay across 
the path, by the same elegant and friendly gesture. 

We resumed the spoor at a rapid pace, with a widely extended front, 
and presently on my left I heard the joyous signal of the presence, 
" Klow ; " and, cantering in that direction, I came full in sight of an 
enormous bull elephant, marching along at a free majestic pace, and in 
another minute I was riding by his side. The horse which I bestrode 
on this occasion was " The Cow," one of my best and steadiest shoot- 
ing-horses ; and the forest being tolerably suited for the sport, I was 
not long in finishing the elephant. I fired thirteen bullets at his head 
and shoulder ; on receiving the last two shots sharp right and left be- 
hind the shoulder, he made a rapid charge, and disappeared among the 
trees. Cautiously following, I discovered him lying in an upright 
position, with his two fore-legs stretched out before him. Fancying he 
was still alive, I fired both barrels at his ear; but though the balls rang 
loudly on his venerable head, the noble elephant heeded not their force ; 
his ancient spirit had departed. 

This was a very large old elephant ; but his tusks were much de- 
stroyed, being worn down, and having been broken (probably in rocky 
ground) in former years. Mutchuisho appeared in the highest glee, and 
despatched messengers through the gorge in the mountains, the name of 
which is Sabi6, to advise Sicomy of the death of the elephant. The 
chase had led me to within rifle range of the three veteran acacias I ad- 
mired in the morning. I made my bower and a couch of grass beneath 
a shady wait-a-bit thorn -tree, and encircled my fire with a hedge of the 
same description. 

I resolved to bring on my waggons to the pass of Sabi6, where there 
was sufficient water for all my cattle, my intention being to continue 
hunting through the forests to the eastward, returning to Bamangwato 



SHOOTING A LIONESS. 181 



by a different route. I, however, foresaw that I must give Isaac his 
dismissal before proposing such a measure ; and accordingly I rode to 
camp on the 1st day of August, and informed Mr. Isaac that his 
valuable services could for the future be dispensed with, requesting at 
the same time that he would make himself scarce as quickly as possible. 
I then explained to my Hottentots my future course ; and having 
directed them to inspan and follow me to Sabi6, under guidance of the 
natives, I mounted the Old Grey, and started to return to my bower on 
the bank of the Mahalapia. The country between Letlochee and Sabi6 
was almost impracticable for waggons, the forest in many parts being 
extremely dense, and sundry difficult nullahs intervening. I therefore 
did not expect them to reach their destination till the afternoon of the 
following day. My men, however, did not appear until the evening of 
the third day. They did not seem at all to fancy the idea of following 
me farther through the wilderness; but finding they could make no 
better of it, they submitted to their fate ; and no sooner had I turned 
my back than Mr. Kleinboy proposed that they should drown their 
sorrows in the bowl. This brilliant idea was unanimously seconded by 
all the rest. Axes and hatchets were immediately resorted to, the 
liquor was obtained, and before I had been gone an hour all hands were 
mortal drunk. 

At an early hour on the following day I started with about sixty 
natives to look for elephants. We filled our water kalabashes at an 
elephant's hole in the bed of the Mahalapia, and held east through the 
forest ; and presently we discovered the fresh spoor of two bull ele- 
phants. As we were threading the spoor, the dogs dashed up wind on 
some scent, and the forest was awakened with their music. I imagined 
they had found the elephants, and pressed through the thicket at my 
utmost speed. As I approached I heard a hoarse noise like the voice of 
an elephant ; but my eye sought in vain for his lofty back towering 
above the wait-a-bits. I then fancied it must be a buffalo ; but on 
rounding the thick bush, behind which my dogs were barking, I came 
full in sight of an angry lioness, which stood lashing her tail, and growl- 
ing fiercely at the dogs. 

Observing the lioness, I shouted to the natives, who were pressing 
forward, that it was "Tao," when a headlong retreat was the immediate 
result, a number of the party taking refuge in the trees. I dismounted, 
and, advancing to within twenty yards of the lioness, I waited till she 
turned her head, avhen I fired at the back of her neck, and stretched 
her lifeless on the ground. The bullet had passed along the spine, and, 
penetrating the skull, rested in her brain. On shouting to the natives, 
for a long time none of them would venture to approach, and, when at 
length they did, their astonishment knew no bounds at beholding their 
formidable enemy so easily disposed of. Having resumed the spoor of 
the elephants, we soon ascertained that the hubbub with the lioness had 
started them ; and after following the spoor some distance through 
dense jungle, and over very rocky ground, along the mountain side, 
the trackers declared themselves to be fairly beaten and we gave it up. 

At an early hour on the 3rd I again held east with a large retinue to 



182 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

seek for elephants. We took up spoor at the fountains where I 
discovered borele" on the preceding day. This spoor led us in a south- 
easterly course, first through verdant forest, and then over an extremely 
rugged ridge that stretched into the forest from the mountain chain. 
Beyond this ridge was an extensive and almost impracticable jungle of 
wait-a-bit thorns, and in this jungle we now heard the rumbling sound 
of elephants. As we advanced I perceived from the nature of the 
ground that success was very doubtful, and in a few minutes the dogs, 
winding the elephants, ran in upon them and gave tongue ; a crashing 
and trumpeting ensued, and all the natives shouted out "Machoa" 
(signifying white man). With the utmost difficulty I pressed through 
the jungle, and obtained a view of one of the elephants, around which 
my dogs were barking angrily ; but perceiving that it was a small cow, 
and knowing well that if I shot her the natives would not take up the 
spoor again for at least a couple of days, I reserved my fire ; and the 
dogs being jaded by the sun, and returning to my call, we left the 
elephants to their own devices. 

A few minutes afterwards we discovered the fresh spoor of two 
enormous bull elephants, which had pastured towards the hills. Having 
followed it a short distance, we came upon some dung, the outside of 
which the sun had not yet dried ; from which we might presume that 
the elephants were at that moment in the same valley with ourselves. 
Two young men were despatched in haste to ascend the beetling crags 
of the adjacent mountain, from which they could obtain a bird's-eye 
view of the length and breadth of that and the surrounding valleys. 
The main body of the natives squatted on the ground, and I sat down to 
eat some bread and elephant, and take a drink of water. I had scarcely 
time to finish my luncheon when the two young men returned breath- 
less with excitement to report that they had discovered the two bull 
elephants browsing in a grove of thorny trees on the mountain side 
within a quarter of a mile of us. I approached under cover of a bushy 
tree, on clearing which I beheld two of the finest elephants in Africa 
standing broadside on within fifty yards. The finer of these had one 
of his tusks broken short off by the lip ; I therefore chose his comrade 
which carrried a pair of very long and perfect tusks. I had hard work 
with this elephant, and the sun was under before I laid him low. 

On the 4th I rode for my boWer on the Mahalapia, in the hope of 
finding my waggons waiting for me ; but I had misgivings about my 
men, who ought to have appeared on the evening of the 2nd. On 
reaching my bower where the former elephant had died, I found the 
fires still smoking, but every man had disappeared : Carollus, whom I 
had ordered to await me, had vanished with the rest. I now fancied 
that I must have missed the natives who had passed me on their way 
to the elephant of the previous day, and that Carollus had joined the 
waggons wherever they might be. 

I was^right in my conjecture, and presently, on firing a signal shot, I 
received an answer from the waggons, which were drawn up in the 
romantic gorge of Sabie\ as near as might be to the water. Drunken- 
ness and disorder had prevailed during my absence, as I had Jeared ; my 



EQUIPMENT FOR THE FOKEST. 183 

chests were broken open, the fine captents of both my waggons were 
most seriously damaged, oxen had been lost, and horses ridden off their 
legs in search of them. It appeared that Mr. Kleinboy had been the 
chief delinquent. Under the influence of the liquor, and anxious to 
distinguish himself, he had resolved to try his hand in hunting the 
giraffe. Accordingly he saddled Colesberg, my favourite steed, and 
borrowed one of my 80 guinea rifles, armed with which he had sped 
through the forest he knew not whither ; and eventually becoming 
bewildered, he had lost himself entirely. In this condition he was 
fortunately discovered by a party of Bakalahari, who conducted him 
safely to my camp. 

I had at length got into the way of making myself tolerably comfort- 
able in the field, and from this date I seldom went in quest of elephants 
without the following impedimenta, viz., a large blanket, which I folded 
and secured before my saddle, as a dragoon does his cloak ; and two 
leather sacks, containing a flannel shirt, warm trousers, and a woollen 
nightcap, spare ammunition, washing-rod, coffee, bread, sugar, pepper 
and salt, dried meat, a wooden bowl, and a teaspoon. These sacks were 
carried on the shoulders of the natives, for which service I remuner- 
ated them with beads. They also carried my coffee-kettle, two calabashes 
of water, two American axes, and two sickles, which I used every evening 
to cut grass for my bed, and likewise for my horses to eat throughout 
the night. My after-rider carried extra ammunition and a spare rifle ; 
and my own personal appointments consisted of a wide-awake hat, 
secured under my chin by " rheimpys," or strips of dressed skin, a coarse 
linenby shirt, sometimes a kilt, and sometimes a pair of buckskin knee- 
breeches, and a pair of " veldtschoens," or home-made shoes. I entirely 
discarded coat, waistcoat, and neckcloth, and I always hunted with my 
arms bare. My heels were armed with a pair of powerful persuaders, 
and from my left wrist depended by a double rheimpy an equally 
persuasive sea-cow jambok. 

Around my waist I wore two leathern belts or girdles. The smaller 
of these discharged the duty of suspenders, and from it on my left side 
depended a plaited rheimpy, eight inches in length, forming a loop in 
which dangled my powerful loading rod, formed of a solid piece of horn 
of the rhinoceros. The larger girdle was my shooting-belt : this was a 
broad leather belt, on which were fastened four separate compartments 
made of otter-skin, with flaps to button over of the same material. The 
first of these held my percussion-caps, the second a large powder-flask, 
the third and fourth, which had divisions in them, contained balls and 
patches, two sharp clasp-knives, a compass, flint and steel. In this 
belt -I also carried a loading mallet, formed from the horn of the 
rhinoceros; this and the powder-flask were each secured to the belt by long 
rheimpys, to prevent my losing them. Last, but not least, in my right 
hand I usually carried my double-barrelled two-grooved rifle, which was 
my favourite weapon. This, however, I subsequently made up my 
mind, is not the proper tool for a mounted man, especially when quick 
loading is necessary. 

I remember having a discussion with the commanding officer of a 



184 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

regiment of heavy dragoons on this subject, and he and I agreed that 
nothing can surpass a double-barrelled smooth bore for practical utility. 
When a two-grooved rifle has been once or twice discharged, the bullet 
requires considerable power to drive it home ; and to a mounted man 
this is extremely inconvenient. I consider that no regiment in the ser- 
vice was more effectually armed than my own old corps, the Cape Mounted 
Rifles, who were furnished with short double-barrelled smooth-bored 
pieces, carrying a ball of twelve to the pound, and having stout percus- 
sion-locks. Give me a weapon of this description to war against the 
larger game of Africa. To accelerate loading, the hunter ought to have 
his balls stitched up in their patches, and well greased before taking 
the field. This was my invariable custom : I found it a great con- 
venience, and after a little practice I could load and fire in the saddle, 
although riding in rough ground at a swingeing gallop. 

On the evening of the 12th a herald from Sicomy stood up in the 
centre of my camp, and loudly proclaimed that it was the king's orders 
that on the following day every man should return to head-quarters ; 
and accordingly next day all hands shouldered their impedients and for- 
sook me. I could not rightly divine the cause of this mysterious com- 
mand ; but I attributed it to some plotting scheme of Isaac's, who I 
understand was living with Sicomy. I saw very plainly that Mutchuisho 
was against the move. In consideration of his services, I begged his 
acceptance of several considerable presents, and I also sent some 
presents to the king. On parting, Mutchuisho promised shortly to 
return, and he informed me that he had instructed a party of Bakala- 
hari to assist me in my hunting during his absence. 



CHAPTER XVII. 



We march from Sabi6 — Track along a River-bed — The dry Grass on Fire for miles — 
Glorious Elephant-shooting — Cowardice of my After-rider — Strange circum- 
stance at the Death of a Bull Elephant — A Sable Antelope — Tete-a-tete with a 
disabled Elephant — The Klipspringer Antelope — A pack of Wild Dogs cap- 
ture and kill a Koodoo — The coming of Summer — Vast numbers of Birds visit- 
ing the Fountains — My trusty two-grooved Rifle bursts — My Snuffers, Spoons, 
and Candlesticks melted for Bullets — Elephants taking a Douche Bath — Two 
of them slain — Yet more Elephants — My Horse Colesberg dies of the African 
Distemper — Virulence of the Scourge. 

I remained at Sabi6, hunting elephant and rhinoceros with various 
success, till the morning of the 22nd of August, when I inspanned, and 
marched for Mangmaluky, which we reached at sundown, when I drew 
up my waggons in an open grassy glade on a rather elevated position, 
commanding a fine view of the bold outline of the surrounding moun- 
tains. On the march I shot a white rhinoceros in the act of charging 
down a rocky face, with all the dogs in full pursuit of him. The ball 
disabled him in the shoulder, when, pitching upon his head, he de- 
scribed the most tremendous somersault, coming down among the stones 
and bushes with the overwhelming violence of an avalanche. 




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FIGHT WITH AN ELEPHANT. 185 

On the 27th I cast loose my horses at earliest dawn of day, and then 
lay half asleep for two hours, when I arose to consume coffee and rhin- 
oceros. Having breakfasted, I started with a party of the natives to 
search for elephants in a southerly direction. We held along the 
gravelly bed of a periodical river, in which were abundance of holes ex- 
cavated by the elephants in quest of water. Here the spoor of rhin- 
oceros was extremely plentiful, and in every hole where they had drunk 
the print of the horn was visible. We soon found the spoor of an old 
bull elephant, which led us into a dense forest, where the ground was 
particularly unfavourable for spooring ; we, however, threaded it out 
for a considerable distance, when it joined the spoor of other bulls. 
The natives now requested me to halt, while men went off in different 
directions to reconnoitre. 

In the mean time a tremendous conflagration was roaring and crack- 
ling close to windward of us. It was caused by the Bakalahari burning 
the old dry grass to enable the young to spring up with greater facility, 
whereby they retained the game in their dominions. The fire stretched 
away for many miles on either side of us, darkening the forest far to 
leeward with a dense impenetrable canopy of smoke. Here we remained 
for about half an hour, when one of the men returned, reporting that he 
had discovered elephants. This I could scarcely credit, for I fancied 
that the extensive fire which raged so fearfully must have driven, not 
only elephants, but every living creature out of the district. The 
native, however, pointed to his eye, repeating the word " Klow," and 
signed to me to follow him. My guide led me about a mile through 
dense forest, when we reached a little well- wooded hill, to whose sum- 
mit we ascended, whence a view might have been obtained of the 
surrounding country, had not volumes of smoke obscured the scenery 
far and wide, as though issuing from the funnels of a thousand steam- 
boats. Here, to my astonishment, my guide halted, and pointed to the 
thicket close beneath me, when I instantly perceived the colossal backs 
of a herd of bull elephants. There they stood quietly browsing on the 
lee side of the hill, while the fire in its might was raging to windward 
within two hundred yards of them. 

I directed Johannus to choose an elephant, and promised to reward 
him should he prove successful. Galloping furiously down the hill, I 
started the elephants with an unearthly yell, and instantly selected the 
finest in the herd. Placing myself alongside, I fired both barrels behind 
his shoulder, when he instantly turned upon me, and in his impetuous 
career charged head foremost against a large bushy tree which he sent 
flying before him high in the air with tremendous force, coming down 
at the same moment violently on his knees. He then met the raging 
fire, when, altering his course, he wheeled to the right-about. As I 
galloped after him I perceived another noble elephant meeting us in an 
opposite direction, and presently the gallant Johannus hove in sight, 
following his quarry at a respectful distance. Both elephants held on 
together, so I shouted to Johannus, " I will give your elephant a shot 
in the shoulder, and you must try to finish him." Spurring my horse, I 
rode close alongside, and gave the fresh elephant two balls immediately 



186 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



behind the shoulder, when he parted from mine, Johannus following ; 
but before many minutes had elapsed that mighty Nimrod reappeared, 
having fired one shot and lost his prey. 

In the mean time I was loading and firing as fast as could be, some- 
times at the head, and sometimes behind the shoulder, until my 
elephant's fore-quarters were a mass of gore, notwithstanding which he 
continued to hold stoutly on, leaving the grass and branches of the 
forest scarlet in his wake. 

On one occasion he endeavoured to escape by charging desperately 
amid the thickest of the flames ; but this did not avail, and I was soon 
once more alongside. I blazed away at this elephant, until I began to 
think that he was proof against my weapons. Having fired thirty-five 
rounds with my two-grooved rifle, I opened fire upon him with the 
Dutch six-pounder ; and when forty bullets had perforated his hide, he 
began for the first time to evince signs of a dilapidated constitution. 
He took up a position in a grove ; and as the dogs kept barking round 
him, he backed stern foremost among the trees, which yielded before 
his gigantic strength. Poor old fellow ! he had long braved my deadly 
shafts, but I plainly saw that it was now all over with him; so I resolved 
to expend no further ammunition, but hold him in view until he died. 
Throughout the chase this elephant repeatedly cooled his person with 
large quantities of water, which he ejected from his trunk over his back 
and sides ; and just as the pangs of death came over him, he stood 
trembling violently beside a thorny tree, and kept pouring water into 
his bloody mouth until he died, when he pitched heavily forward, with 
the whole weight of his fore-quarters resting on the points of his tusks. 

A most singular occurrence now took place. He lay in this posture 
for several seconds, but the amazing pressure of the carcase was more 
than the head was able to support. He had fallen with his head so 
short under him that the tusks received little assistance from his legs. 
Something must give way. The strain on the mighty tusks was fair ; 
they did not, therefore, yield ; but the portion of his head in which the 
tusk was imbedded, extending a long way above the eye, yielded and 
burst with a muffied crash. The tusk was thus free, and turned right 
round in his head, so that a man could draw it out, and the carcase fell 
over and rested on its side. This was a very first-rate elephant, and 
the tusks he carried were long and perfect. 

On the 28th I saddled up, and rode for the waggons, steering my 
course by the lofty pyramidal mountain, in whose vicinity they were 
drawn up. The remainder of the day was spent in constructing a loading- 
rod of rhinoceros-horn, and writing up the log. At an early hour on 
the 29th I started a party of the natives, bearing my impedimenta, to 
await me at the carcase of the last elephant ; and in the forenoon I held 
thither, accompanied by Johannus. Cantering along through the forest, 
I came suddenly in full view of one of the loveliest animals which 
graces this fair creation. This was an old buck of the sable antelope, 
the rarest and most beautiful animal in Africa. It is large and powerful, 
partaking considerably of the nature of the ibex. Its back and sides are 
of glossy black, beautifully contrasting with the belly, which is white as 



ANOTHER ELEPHANT HUNT. 187 

driven snow. The horns are upwards of three feet in length, and bend 
strongly back with a bold sweep, reaching nearly to the haunches. 

This animal was first discovered by Captain Harris, of the Bombay 
Engineers, in 1837. As I subsequently devoted a great deal of time in 
the pursuit of this antelope, I shall not here make any remarks con- 
cerning him. The one which was now before me was the first I had 
seen, and I shall never forget the sensations I experienced on beholding 
a sight so thrilling to the sportsman's eye. He stood with a small troop 
of pallahs right in our path, and had unfortunately detected us before 
we saw him. Shouting to my pack, I galloped after him ; but the day 
was close and warm, and the dogs had lost their spirit with the sun. 
My horse being an indifferent one, I soon lost ground, and the beautiful 
sable antelope, gaining a rocky ridge, was very soon beyond my reach, 
and vanished for ever from my view. I then rode on for the carcase of 
the elephant, where I took up my quarters for the night, but I sought 
in vain to close my eyelids : the image of the sable antelope was still 
before me, and I slept little throughout the night. 

On the 31st I held south-east in quest of elephants, with a large party 
of the natives. Our course lay through an open part of the forest, 
where I beheld a troop of springboks and two ostriches, the first I had 
seen for a long time. We held for Towannie, a strong fountain in the 
gravelly bed of a periodical river : here two herds of cow elephants had 
drunk on the preceding evening, but I declined to follow these ; and 
presently, at a muddy fountain a little in advance, we took up the spoor 
of an enormous bull, which had wallowed in the mud and then plastered 
the sides of several of the adjacent veteran looking trees. We followed 
the spoor through level forest in an easterly direction, when the leading 
party overran the spoor, and casts were made for its recovery. Pre- 
sently I detected an excited native beckoning violently a little to my 
left, and, cantering up to him, he said that he had seen the elephant. 
He led me through the forest a few hundred yards, when, clearing a 
wait-a-bit, I came full in view of the tallest and largest bull elephant I 
had ever seen. He stood broadside to me, at upwards of one hundred 
yards, and his attention at the moment was occupied with the dogs, 
which, having winded him, were rushing past in search of his exact 
position, while the old fellow seemed to gaze at their unwonted appear- 
ance with surprise. 

Halting my horse, I fired at his shoulder, and secured him with a 
single shot. The ball caught him high upon the shoulder-blade, 
rendering him instantly dead lame ; and before the echo of the bullet 
could reach my ear, I plainly saw that the elephant was mine. The 
dogs now came up and barked around him, but, finding himself 
incapacitated, the old fellow seemed determined to take it easy, and, 
limping slowly to a neighbouring tree, he remained stationary, eyeing 
his pursuers with a resigned and philosophic air. 

I resolved to devote a short time to the contemplation of this noble 
elephant before I should lay him low ; accordingly, having off-saddled 
the horses beneath a shady tree which was to be my quarters for the 
night and ensuing day, I quickly kindled a fire and put on the kettle, 



188 HUNTING AND SPOKTING ADVENTURES. 



and in a very few minutes my coffee was prepared. There I sat in my 
forest home, coolly sipping my coffee, with one of the finest elephants 
in Africa awaiting my pleasure beside a neighbouring tree. 

It was, indeed, a striking scene ; and as I gazed upon the stupendous 
veteran of the forest, I thought of the red deer which I loved to follow 
in my native land, and felt that, though the Fates had driven me to 
follow a more daring and arduous avocation in a distant land, it was 
a good exchange which I had made, for I was now a chief over bound- 
less forests, which yielded unspeakably more noble and exciting sport. 

Having admired the elephant for a considerable time, I resolved to 
make experiments for vulnerable points, and, approaching very near, I 
fired several bullets at different parts of his enormous skull. These did 
not seem to affect him in the slightest ; he only acknowledged the shots 
by a " salaam-like " movement of his trunk, with the point of which he 
gently touched the wound with a striking and peculiar action. Sur- 
prised and shocked to find that I was only tormenting and prolonging 
the sufferings of the noble beast, which bore his trials with such digni- 
fied composure, I resolved to finish the proceeding with all possible des- 
patch ; accordingly I opened fire upon him from the left side, aiming 
behind the shoulder ; but even there it was long before my bullets 
seemed to take effect. I first fired six shots with the two-grooved, which 
must have eventually proved mortal, but as yet he evinced no visible 
distress; after which I fired three shots at the same part with the Dutch 
six-pounder. Large tears now trickled from his eyes, which he slowly 
shut and opened ; his colossal frame quivered convulsively, and, falling 
on his side, he expired. The tusks of this elephant were beautifully 
arched, and were the heaviest I had yet met with, averaging 90 lbs. 
weight apiece. 

In case any fair reader may misinterpret my motive for killing this 
elephant in the manner which I describe, I will remark that my object 
was not to uselessly torture the animal, but to put an end to its life and 
pain in the quickest manner possible. I had often lamented having to 
inflict so many wounds on the noble animals before they fell. 

To any sportsman, or person understanding such matters, this ex- 
planation is not required. 

On the 1st of September — so full of interest to the British Nimrod — 
we saddled our steeds and steered our course for Mangmaluky. Can- 
tering along the base of a mountain range, I started two klipspringers, 
which went bounding up the mountain side with the elasticity of an 
India-rubber ball, selecting for their path the most prominent points of 
the large fragments of rock of which the mountain-side was chiefly com- 
posed. I shot one of these, being the first of the species I had killed, 
though in subsequent years, while hunting the sable antelope, I secured 
a number of fine specimens. This darling little antelope frequents pre- 
cipitous rocky hills and mountains, and bounds along over the broken 
masses of rock with the most extraordinary ease and agility : it may 
often be seen perched, like a chamois, on the sharp pinnacle of some 
rock or stone, with its four feet drawn up close together. Its hoofs are 
different from those of other antelopes, being suited solely for rocky 



CONFLICT WITH AN ELEPHANT. 189 

ground, and are so formed that the weight of the animal rests upon 
their tips. On looking down a precipice I have often seen two or 
three of this interesting antelope lying together on a large flat mass of 
rock, and sheltered from the power of the noonday sun by the friendly 
shade of some sandal-wood or other mountain tree. They are about 
half the size of the Scottish roebuck, whose winter coat the texture 
of their hair very much resembles, but it is stiffer and of a yellower 
colour. 

On the afternoon of the 2nd, as I was sitting in my waggon writing 
up my journal, a koodoo charged past me, closely followed by a pack of 
hungry wild dogs, which maintained their position although all my 
kennel joined them in the chase, and, holding on, the wild dogs killed 
the koodoo just as it reached the water where my oxen drank. On the 
3rd I took the field with Johannus and a small party of Bakalahari, and 
held a northerly direction. After following the spoor of four bull ele- 
phants for many miles in a semicircular course, we came up with them 
in extremely dangerous and unfavourable ground, when I was fortunate 
enough to secure the finest, after a severe and dangerous conflict, during 
which, on three separate occasions, I narowly escaped destruction. The 
horse I rode was " Colesberg," which, as usual, capered and balked me 
when I tried to fire from his back ; when I dismounted, he seemed to 
take a pleasure in jerking my arm as I was taking aim ; and on the ele- 
phant charging he declined permitting me to regain the saddle. 

This elephant was a first-rate bull, with large and perfect tusks : he 
fell within three hundred yards of the fountains, where I found a black 
rhinoceros which I wounded on the 31st of August. The sun was 
powerful throughout the day ; the months of winter were gone by, and 
summer was rapidly advancing. The trees were budding and putting 
forth leaves, which loaded the passing breeze with a sweet and balmy 
fragrance. In low-lying districts the young grass had already com- 
menced to shoot forth its tender blades, and all nature seemed to 
pant for the grateful rains to robe herself in her mantle of summer 
verdure. 

In the evening I laved in the fountain my sunburnt eyes, which were 
sore and irritated from the constant strain necessarily concomitant on 
spooring ; after which I sat for a long time silently contemplating the 
tranquil scene. As the sun went down, the number of the feathered 
tribe that visited the fountains was truly surprising : turtle-doves, and 
extremely small long-tailed pigeons, were most abundant. These kept 
collecting from every side, uttering their gentle notes, till the trees and 
bushes around the glade were thickly covered with them. I also ob- 
served four distinct varieties of partridge ; and guinea-fowls attended in 
flocks of from twenty to sixty. On the 4th, having few followers, I was 
occupied from early dawn until the sun was under in cleaning the skull 
and hewing out the tusks of my bull elephant ; and on the following 
day I returned to camp with a party of Bakalahari bearing them upon 
their shoulders. On the 6th I took the field with about forty natives 
and held through the forest in a south-easterly direction. Falling in 
with two white rhinoceroses, one of which carried an unusually long 

12 



190 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



horn, I was induced to give her chase ; and by hard riding I soon over- 
took and finished her with four shots behind the shoulder. 

In the afternoon I was engaged for three or four hours combating 
with a vicious elephant, which I finished with thirty-five bullets in the 
shoulder, in an impracticable jungle of wait-a-bit thorns. The conflict 
was greatly prolonged by the "Immense Brute," which capered continu- 
ally, and constantly destroyed the correctness of my aim. While I was 
fighting with this elephant, my dogs were combating with a younger 
bull, which they hunted backwards and forwards in the same thicket 
with myself. This elephant took up a position beside the one which 
had fallen, and the dogs continued barking around him. My rifle being 
now extremely dirty, I experienced considerable difficulty in ramming 
home the balls, notwithstanding the power of my rhinoceros-horn load- 
ing-rod. This being accomplished, I ran cautiously within twenty yards 
of this second elephant, and, resting my rifle on a branch, I aimed for 
his heart and pressed the trigger. 

Alas ! it was for the last time. The barrel burst with a terrific ex- 
plosion, sending the locks and half the stock flying right and left, and 
very nearly sending me to "the land of the leal." I, however, received 
no futher damage than a slight burn on my left arm, and the loss for 
many days of the use of my left ear, a fragment of the barrel having 
whizzed close past it. At first I was so stunned that I knew not if I 
were wounded or not, and on recovering from the shock my person un- 
derwent a strict scrutiny. Before I discovered these elephants I was 
faint from thirst, and quite done up with the power of the sun, owing 
to which I considered that I did not attack the elephant so bravely as I 
might otherwise have done. 

The loss of my trusty two-grooved rifle, in such a remote corner of 
the world, was irreparable, and cut me to the heart. It was my main- 
stay ; and as I thought of the many services it had performed for me in 
the hour of need, I mourned over it as David mourned for Absalom. 
On the evening of the 7th I returned to Mangmaluky under a burning 
sun, which continued oppressive throughout the day. Having lost my 
two-grooved rifle, I resolved to try what could be done with the double- 
barrelled Moore and Purdey rifles, carrying sixteen to the pound, and I 
accordingly set about casting hardened bullets to suit them. For this 
purpose I had brought in with me a quantity of solder, but I now had 
the mortification to discover that all that I had possessed of this impor- 
tant article had mysteriously vanished by some underhand transaction 
betwixt my followers and Sicomy. I was thus reduced to the extremity 
of melting the contents of my old military canteen to harden the 
bullets ; and upon overhauling it, I ascertained that the tray of the 
snuffers, the spoons, candlesticks, teapots, and two drinking-cups, were 
admirably suited for this purpose, and I accordingly sentenced them to 
undergo the fiery ordeal of the ladle. 

In the evening I had much pleasure to behold my old friend 
Mutchuisho walk into my camp, followed by a numerous party of the 
natives. He seemed glad to see me, and we at once arranged to make 
an expedition to the eastward on the following day. Accordingly, on 



ELEPHANT SPOOKING. 191 

the morning of the 9th I took the field with Johannus and Mutchuisho 
and about eighty men, and proceeded in a south-easterly direction. We 
continued our course till the sun went down without finding fresh spoor, 
when we halted for the night to leeward of a fountain, where we hoped 
that elephants would come to drink. The heat throughout the day had 
been most oppressive, the dense level forest rendering it still more in- 
supportable. 

On the morrow we cast loose the horses to graze long before the dawn 
of day. No elephants had visited the fountain, so after an early break- 
fast we saddled up, and again held on in an easterly direction through 
boundless forests, till I found myself in a country which I had not 
hitherto visited. Passing along beneath a rocky hillock we started a 
detachment of hideous hyaenas, which sought shelter from the sun be- 
neath the shadow of the rocks. We passed several large herds of lovely 
camelopards, and I also obtained two very deadly chances of rhinoceros, 
both fine old bulls ; but knowing well from past experience that my 
policy was to keep my followers hungry, I refrained from firing a single 
shot. 

In the afternoon we reached a small vley, where five first-rate bull 
elephants had drunk on the preceding evening. Here my followers all 
sat down and rested for a quarter of an hour, a wild duck swimming 
fearlessly beside us. We then took up the spoor, but, as it was late in 
the day, I had not the slightest expectation of success, and was so done 
up with the power of the sun that I felt it irksome to sit in the saddle. 
The spoor led east, right away from camp, but the elephants seemed to 
have proceeded slowly, having extended widely from one another, and 
rent and uprooted an amazing number of goodly trees. Presently the 
spoor took a turn to our left, when I grieved to remark that we were 
following it down the wind ; thus we eventually started the elephants, 
which were feeding in the forest at no great distance, but, owing to a 
check among the trackers, we were not aware of this until the elephants 
had gained a considerable start. 

On finding that they were gone, Johannus and I went off on the spoor 
at a rapid pace, but I had not the slightest expectation of overtaking 
them ; for it was so late that, even if I had already commenced the 
attack, the chances were that before I could finish one the night would 
have set in. It is much easier to hold the spoor of a herd of elephants 
that have been alarmed than to follow those which have been undis- 
turbed, since the former adopt a decided course and follow one another 
in a direct line. Thus we were enabled to hold the spoor at a gallop 
without a check until our horses began to evince distress ; and, despair- 
ing of success, I was just going to pull up, when I heard Johannus ex- 
claim, 

" Sir, sir, dar stand ilia," and, looking before me, I beheld five enor- 
mous old bull elephants walking slowly along. 

They seemed heated by the pace at which they had retreated, and 
were now refreshing themselves with large volumes of water, which 
nature enables them to discharge from their capacious stomachs, and 
shower back upon their bodies with their extraordinary trunks. I over- 



192 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



took these elephants in open ground, which enabled me at once to make 
a fine selection. I had never before obtained so satisfactory a view of a 
herd of bulls : they really looked wondrous vast. It is a heart-stirring 
sight to behold one bull elephant; but when five gigantic old fellows are 
walking slowly along before you, and you feel that you can ride up and 
vanquish whichever one you fancy, it is so overpoweringly exciting that 
it almost takes a man's breath away ; but it was now too late in the day 
to part with my breath for a single moment. 

Johannus whispered to me to wait a little, to allow the horses to re- 
cover their wind ; but Wolf dashing in upon them, I was obliged to 
follow to obtain an accurate selection of the tusks. Spurring my horse, 
in another moment I was in the middle of them, closely followed by 
Johannus ; and in a twinkling the finest bull had received the contents 
of the Moore and Purdey behind the shoulder. I was now joined by 
Wolf, who rendered me important service by considerably engrossing 
the attention of the elephant, running barking before him as he charged. 
I was in a precious hurry, as the sun was setting, and I kept loading 
and firing at duelling distance. On receiving the twenty-fourth shot he 
stood trembling violently for several seconds, and then fell heavily for- 
ward on his tusks, after which he rolled over and rested on his side. I 
reckoned this to be a fortunate conclusion after the hard and toilsome 
day I had spent under the power of a scorching sun. Mutchuisho and 
the natives soon made their appearance, all in wondrous good humour 
at our success. 

The nearest water to this elephant was in a vley situated several 
miles to the eastward; and when the natives had constructed a 
number of water-bags of the under skin of the elephant, a watering 
party was despatched with these and a number of calabashes which they 
always carried along with them. This party rejoined us at the hour of 
midnight, and reported that while they were filling their water-bags at 
one side of the vley a troop of bull elephants were drinking at the other. 
Accordingly, on the morrow I went in quest of these, accompanied by 
Mutchuisho and a small party, and on the second day I came up with 
them and bagged an old bull whose tusks were the stoutest I had ever 
seen. 

After a most weary and toilsome spoor of two days I cast loose the 
steeds at earliest dawn of the 3rd, and soon after we heard the hoarse 
cry of an elephant within half a mile of us. I permitted my horses to 
graze while the dew was on the grass, after which I sent them along 
with the dogs to water with a party of Bakalahari at a fountain re- 
ported three miles distant, and in the mean time I regaled myself with 
coffee and rhinoceros. 

It is extraordinary how soon the mind accustoms itself to everything, 
good or bad. There I sat taking my breakfast, with a troop of princely 
elephants feeding within a few minutes' ride of me, with as much 
indifference as if I were going woodcock-shooting. I certainly did 
not feel half so anxious about the matter as I usually did when taking 
my breakfast on a fine May morning, with a southerly wind, before 
starting to fish my native river. This indifference was probably owing 



DEATH OF COLESBERG. 195 

to the reduced state of my system from improper diet and constant 
toil. 

When the Bakalahari returned with the dogs and horses, they re- 
ported fresh spoor of bull elephants by the fountain ; and at the same 
moment another party, whom Mutchuisho had despatched in the direc- 
tion of the cry, returned to say that it was a herd of bulls which we had 
heard that morning. This was very pleasing intelligence, for I had 
fancied that the elephants must be a troop of cows, whose traces we had 
observed on the preceding evening. Everything being ready we made 
for the elephants, and, as we approached them, an old bull rhinoceros 
was detected standing within forty yards, which, as if aware that I 
dared not fire on him, kept trotting along the path before me. We dis- 
covered the elephants quietly browsing on very unfavourable ground, 
the greater part of the forest consisting of the ever- recurring wait-a-bits. 
The troop was composed of three old bulls, two of which carried stumpy 
and broken tusks. 

On the evening of the 20th, after bowling over another elephant with 
a splendid pair of tusks, I returned to camp, where, to my utter horror, 
I found my favourite Colesberg dangerously ill. Guessing that it was 
the distemper, I had him up instantly and bled him freely, but to no 
purpose. Finding him worse on the morrow, I bled him again, but before 
midday he died in great pain, and shortly after life had departed a 
copious discharge of white foam issued from his nostrils, by which I 
knew that his illness was the African distemper. 

This bitter scourge of the African sportsman prevails throughout 
every district of the interior during the greater part of the year. At no 
season is the hunter's stud exempt from its ravages ; it is most prevalent 
however during the summer months, generally commencing with the 
early rains. There are various opinions among the horse-breeders of the 
colony regarding its prevention and cure ; but notwithstanding all that 
has been done and said, the subject still remains wrapped in utter mys- 
tery. The distemper rarely visits districts adjacent to the sea, and is 
also unusual in mountain districts. In proportion as the traveller ad- 
vances from the sea, so will he find the sickness prevalent. In all years 
it is not alike, and every fifth or seventh year it ravages the farms on 
the frontier districts, where a farmer often loses from fifty to a hundred 
horses in a single season. Bleeding is generally believed to act as a pre- 
ventive. When a horse is attacked with it he almost invariably comes 
up to his master's waggon, or the door of his dwelling-place, as if solicit- 
ing assistance in his deep distress, and when led away to a distance, un- 
less he be secured, the poor animal will continue to return to his mas- 
ter's dwelling. This was the case with my much-lamented Colesberg, 
of the free and fiery indomitable spirit. 

I had also the mortification to observe that the " Immense Brute " 
was affected, evincing symptoms similar to those of Colesberg, on which 
I had him caught and bled him freely. About the hour of midday we 
got under way, when I trekked till sundown in a south-westerly course, 
steering for the mountains of Bamangwato. I formed my encampment 
beside a little fountain, whose name I never ascertained. 



194 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

Turn my Waggons towards the Colony — A Troop of Elephants in Indian File — 
Splendid Sport amongst them — Two of them break their Tusks in falling — The 
Rainy Season commences — Erection of a Bothy — The gigantic Nwana-tree — 
Sicomy's Mountain Kraal — Four of his Subjects become my Servants — 
Corriebely — The Natives astonished by my finding a Mine of Lead — Elephant- 
shooting — Leave the land of Elephants — Bootlonamy — Terrific Thunderstorm. 

Having so far succeeded in the object of my expedition, and both my 
waggons being now heavily laden with the tusks of elephants and a large 
collection of the spoils of the chase, with a number of other interesting 
curiosities, I at length resolved once more to turn my face towards the 
distant dwellings of my countrymen. On the 23rd of September, how- 
ever, although harassed in my mind, and fearing to lose all my horses if 
I did not speedily forsake the country, I yielded to my inclination, and 
the persuasions of Mutchuisho, once more to take the field, and follow 
the spoor of two bull elephants, reported to have visited a distant foun- 
tain. Before starting I gave Johannus my phlegme, and a hasty lesson 
in the art of bleeding, with instructions to bleed copiously any of my 
stud evincing the slightest symptoms of distemper. We held an easterly 
course, and at sundown on the second day I bagged a white rhinoceros 
and a fine old bull elephant, beside whose carcase I bivouacked as usual. 
On the forenoon of the 25th I saddled up and held for camp, accom- 
panied by only one attendant. 

It was a glorious day, with a cloudy sky, and the wind blew fresh off 
the Southern Ocean. Having ridden some miles in a northerly direction, 
we crossed the broad and gravelly bed of a periodical river, in which 
were abundance of holes excavated by the elephants, containing 
delicious water. Having passed the river, we entered an extensive 
grove of picturesque cameel-dorn trees, clad in young foliage of the 
most delicious green. On gaining a gentle eminence about a mile be- 
yond this grove, I looked forth upon an extensive hollow, where I 
beheld for the first time for many days a fine old cock ostrich, which 
quickly observed us and dashed away to our left. I had ceased to de- 
vote my attention to the ostrich, and was straining my eyes in opposite 
direction, when Kleinboy called out to me, 

" Dar loup de old carle ; " and turning my eyes to the retreating 
ostrich, I beheld two first-rate old bull elephants, charging along at 
their utmost speed within a hundred yards of it. They seemed at first 
to be in great alarm, but, quickly discovering what it was that had 
caused their confusion, they at once reduced their pace to a slow and 
stately walk. This was a fine look-out, the country appeared to be 
favourable for an attack, and I was followed by Wolf and Bonteberg, 
both tried and serviceable dogs with elephants. Owing to the pace at 
which I had been riding, both dogs and horses were out of breath, so I 
resolved not to attack the elephants immediately, but to follow slowly, 
holding them in view. 

The elephants were proceeding right up the wind, and the distance 



MORE ELEPHANT SHOOTING. 195 

betwixt us was about five hundred yards. I advanced quietly towards 
them, and had proceeded about half way, when, casting my eyes to my 
right, I beheld a whole herd of tearing bull elephants standing thick to- 
gether on a wooded eminence within three hundred yards of me. These 
elephants were almost to leeward. Now the correct thing to do was to 
slay the best in each troop, which I accomplished in the following- 
manner : — I gave the large herd my wind, upon which they instantly 
tossed their trunks aloft, " a moment snuffed the tainted gale," and, 
wheeling about, charged right down wind, crashing through the jungle 
in dire alarm. My object now was to endeavour to select the finest bull, 
and hunt him to a distance from the other troop before I should com- 
mence to play upon his hide. Stirring my steed, I galloped forward. 
Right in my path stood two rhinoceroses of the white variety, and to 
these the dogs instantly gave chase. I followed in the wake of the re- 
treating elephants, tracing their course by the red dust which they 
raised and left in clouds behind them. 

Presently emerging into an open glade, I came in full sight of the 
mighty game ; it was a truly glorious sight ; there were nine or ten of 
them, which were, with one exception, full-grown, first-rate bulls, and 
all of them carried very long, heavy, and perfect tusks. Their first 
panic being over, they had reduced their pace to a free, majestic walk, 
and they followed one leader in a long line, exhibiting an appearance so 
grand and striking that any description, however brilliant, must fail to 
convey to the mind of the reader an adequate idea of the reality. In- 
creasing my pace, I shot alongside, at the same time riding well out 
from the elephants, the better to obtain an inspection of their tusks. It 
was a difficult matter to decide which of them I should select, for every 
elephant seemed better than his neighbour ; but, on account of the 
extraordinary size and beauty of his tusks, I eventually pitched upon 
a patriarchal bull, which, as is usual with the heaviest, brought up the 
rear. 

I presently separated him from his comrades, and endeavoured to 
drive him in a northerly direction. There is a peculiar art in driving an 
elephant in the particular course which you may fancy, and, simple as it 
may seem, it nevertheless requires the hunter to have a tolerable idea of 
what he is about. It is widely different from driving in an eland, which 
also requires judicious riding: if you approach too near your elephant or 
shout to him, a furious charge will certainly ensue, whilst, on the other 
hand, if you give him too wide a berth, the chances are that you will 
lose him in the jungle, which, notwithstanding his size, is a very simple 
matter, and, if once lost sight of, it is more than an even bet that the 
hunter will never again obtain a glimpse of him. The ground being 
favourable, Kleinboy called to me to commence firing, remarking very 
prudently that he was probably making for some jungle of wait-a-bit 
thorns, where we might eventually lose him. I continued, however, to 
reserve my fire until I had hunted him to what I considered to be a safe 
distance from the two old fellows which we had first discovered. 

At length closing with him, I dared him to charge, which he instantly 
did in fine style, and as he pulled up in his career I yelled to him a note 



196 HUNTING AND SPOKTING ADVENTURES. 

of bold defiance, and, cantering alongside, I again defied him to the com- 
bat. It was thus the fight began, and, the ground being still favourable, 
I opened a sharp fire upon him, and in about a quarter of an hour 
twelve of my bullets were lodged in his forequarters. He now evinced 
strong symptoms of approaching dissolution, and stood catching up the 
dust with the point of his trunk and throwing it in clouds above and 
around him. At such a moment it is extremely dangerous to approach 
an elephant on foot, for I have remarked that, although nearly dead, he 
can muster strength to make a charge with great impetuosity. Being 
anxious to finish him, I dismounted from my steed, and, availing myself 
of the cover of a gigantic nwana-tree, whose diameter was not less than 
ten feet, I ran up within twenty yards, and gave it him sharp right and 
left behind the shoulder. 

These two shots wound up the proceeding ; on receiving them, he 
backed stern foremost into the cover, and then walked slowly away. I 
had loaded my rifle, and was putting on the caps, when I heard him fall 
over heavily ; but, alas ! the sound was accompanied by a sharp crack, 
which, I too well knew, denoted the destruction of one of his lovely 
tusks ; and, on running forward, I found him lying dead, with the tusk, 
which lay under, snapped through the middle. 

I did not tarry long for an inspection of the elephant, but, mounting 
my horse, I at once set off to follow on the spoor of the two old fellows 
which the ostrich had alarmed. Fortunately I fell in with a party of 
natives, who were on their way to the waggons with the impedimenta, 
and, assisted by these, I had sanguine hopes of shortly overtaking the 
noble quarry. We had not gone far when two wild boars, with enor- 
mous tusks, stood within thirty yards of me, but this was no time to 
fire, and a little after a pair of white rhinoceroses stood directly in our 
path. Casting my eyes to the right, I beheld within a quarter of a mile 
of me a herd of eight or ten cow elephants, with calves, peacefully brow- 
sing on a sparely wooded knoll. The spoor we followed led due south, 
and the wind was as fair as it could blow. We passed between two 
twin-looking abrupt pyramidal hills, composed of huge disjointed blocks 
of granite, which lay piled above each other in grand confusion. To the 
summit of one of these I ascended with a native, but the forest in ad- 
vance was so impenetrable that we could see nothing of the game we 
sought. Descending from the hillock we resumed the spoor, and were 
enabled to follow at a rapid pace; the native who led the spooring party 
being the best tracker in Bamangwato. I had presently very great satis- 
faction to perceive that the elephants had not been alarmed, their course 
being strewed with branches which they had chewed as they slowly fed 
along. 

The trackers now became extremely excited, and strained their eyes 
on every side in the momentary expectation of beholding the elephants. 
At length we emerged into an open glade, and, clearing a grove of 
thorny mimosas, we came full in sight of one of them. Cautiously ad- 
vancing, and looking to my right, I next discovered his comrade, stand- 
ing in a thicket of low wait-a-bits, within a hundred and fifty yards of 
me ; they were both first-rate old bulls, with enormous tusks of great 



MORE ELEPHANT SHOOTING. 197 

length. I dismounted; and warily approached the second elephant for 
a closer inspection of his tusks. As I drew near he slightly turned his 
head, and I then perceived that his farther one was damaged towards 
the point, while at the same instant his comrade, raising his head clear 
of the bush on which he browsed, displayed to my delighted eyes a pair 
of the most beautiful and perfect tusks I had ever seen. 

Regaining my horse, I advanced towards this elephant, and when 
within forty yards of him he walked slowly on before me in an open 
space, his huge ears gently flapping, and entirely concealing me from his 
view. Inclining to the left, I slightly increased my pace, and walked 
past him within sixty yards, upon which he observed me for the first 
time ; but probably mistaking " Sunday " for a hartebeest, he continued 
his course with his eye upon me, but showed no symptoms of alarm. 
The natives had requested me to endeavour, if possible, to hunt him to- 
wards the water, which lay in a northerly direction, and this I resolved 
to do. Having advanced a little, I gave him my wind, when he was 
instantly alarmed and backed into the bushes, holding his head high 
and right to me. 

Thus he stood motionless as a statue, under the impression probably 
that owing to his Lilliputian dimensions I had failed to observe him, 
and fancying that I would pass on without detecting him. I rode slowly 
on, and described a semicircle to obtain a shot at his shoulder, and, halt- 
ing my horse, I fired from the saddle ; he got it in the shoulder-blade, 
and, as slowly and silently I continued my course, he still stood gazing 
at me in utter astonishment. Bill and Flam were now slipped by the 
natives, and in another moment they were barking around him. I 
shouted loudly to encourage the dogs and perplex the elephant, who 
seemed puzzled to know what to think of us, and, shrilly trumpeting, 
charged headlong after the dogs. Retreating, he backed into the 
thicket, then charged once more, and made clean away, holding the 
course I wanted. 

When I tried to fire, " Sunday " was very fidgety, and destroyed the 
correctness of my aim. Approaching the elephant, I presently 
dismounted, and, running in, gave him two fine shots behind the 
shoulder ; then the dogs, which were both indifferent ones, ran barking 
at him. The consequence was a terrific charge, the dogs at once making 
for their master, and bringing the elephant right upon me. I had no 
time to gain my saddle, but ran for my life. The dogs, fortunately, took 
after " Sunday," who, alarmed by the trumpeting, dashed frantically 
away. Though in the midst of a most dangerous affray, I could not 
help laughing to remark horse, dogs, and elephant all charging along in 
a direct line. 

The dogs, having missed their master, held away for Kleinboy, who 
had long disappeared I knew not whither. " Sunday " stood still, and 
commenced to graze, while the elephant, slowly passing within a few 
yards of him, assumed a position under a tree beside him. Kleinboy 
presently making his appearance, I called to him to ride in and bring 
me my steed, but he refused and asked me if I wished him to go head- 
long to destruction. " Sunday " having fed slowly away from the 



198 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



elephant, I went up and he allowed me to recapture him. I now 
plainly saw that the elephant was dying, but I continued firing, to 
hasten his demise. Towards the end he took up a position in a dense 
thorny thicket, where for a long time he remained. 

Approaching within twelve paces, I fired my last two shots, aiming at 
his left side, close behind the shoulder. On receiving these he backed 
slowly through the thicket, and, clearing it, walked gently forward 
about twenty yards, when he suddenly came down with tremendous 
violence right on his broadside. To my intense mortification, the heavy 
fall was accompanied by a loud sharp crack, and on going up I found 
one of his matchless tusks broken off short by the lip. This was a 
glorious day's sport : I had bagged in one afternoon probably the two 
finest bull elephants in Bamangwato, and, had it not been for the 
destruction of their noble trophies, which were the two finest pair of 
tusks I had obtained that season, my triumph on the occasion would 
have been great and unalloyed. 

I was now languid and faint from excessive thirst, and the nearest 
water was still very remote. Being joined by the natives, we quickly 
proceeded to divest the side of the elephant of a large sheet of the outer 
skin, when of the under one we constructed a pair of water-bags, with 
which two of the natives set out, leading along with them the dogs and 
horses ; nor did they rejoin us till after midnight, having lost their 
reckoning by the way. Their comrades who were with me, conjecturing 
the cause of the delay, requested me to fire signal-shots at intervals 
throughout the night, which was the means of their eventually reaching 
their destination. At an early hour on the following day, leaving 
Kleinboy with the natives to look after the ivory, I set out with two 
men, to show them where the other elephant lay, and thence to continue 
my way to camp. 

The weather had hitherto been favourable for the toilsome pursuit of 
elephant-hunting, little rain having fallen since I first entered the country. 
At length, however, the rainy season was at hand, and we were constantly 
visited by the most appalling thunderstorms, accompanied by over- 
whelming torrents of rain, which filled the hitherto dry nullahs and 
gravelly water-courses with running streams, and converted the parched 
forest and arid plains into blossoming verdure and grassy meads. While 
hunting I was often overtaken by the rains, and on these occasions I 
still managed to keep myself tolerably comfortable, by compelling the 
natives to erect for me a bothy, or temporary hut. This duty they 
often proved reluctant to perform ; but I invariably managed to gain 
my point, by explaining to them that, if my guns and powder were 
exposed to the rain, they would die, and then I could kill no more 
elephants for them. 

When attended by a large party the erection of a good substantial 
bothy was a simple and easy proceeding, and was accomplished in the 
following manner : — One party, armed with tomahawks, went in quest of 
long forked poles, which they cut in lengths of ten feet ; a second party 
gathered green brushwood ; and the third collected a large quantity of 
long dry grass, which they tore out of the ground by the roots. The 



ELEPHANTS AND RHINOCEKOSES . 199 



poles were set up in a circular position, the forked ends meeting and 
resting against one another overhead, then the brushwood was tightly 
interlaced between the poles, leaving a small low aperture for the door, 
and the fabric was effectually thatched with the long grass, the conical 
summit being usually crowned either with the enormous ear or a portion 
of the hide of an elephant. Such was the bothy which the natives were 
wont to build for me when overtaken by storms, or when the sky looked 
threatening, during the remainder of that and all the subsequent seasons 
that I hunted among the Bechuana tribes. 

But it often happened, when I had lain down for the night with no 
other roof above me than the vaulted canopy of heaven, that my placid 
slumbers were rudely disturbed by rain falling like a water-spout on my 
face. Such events as these were extremely disagreeable, more especially 
when it came down so heavily as to preclude the possibility of maintain- 
ing our usual watch-fires. In weather like this the prowling tyrant of 
the forest is ever most active in search of his prey, and our ears were 
occasionally greeted with the deep-toned voices of troops of lions, as 
attracted by the smell of our beef, they prowled around our encampments. 

I continued hunting to the eastward of Bamangwato until the 3rd of 
October, during which time I added four other noble elephants, besides 
rhinoceroses and other animals, to my already satisfactory list of game. 
It is about this latitude that the traveller will first meet with the gigantic 
and castle-like nwana, which is decidedly the most striking and wonder- 
ful tree among the thousands which adorn the South African forests. 
It is chiefly remarkable on account of its extraordinary size, actually 
resembling a castle or tower more than a forest-tree. Throughout the 
country of Bamangwato the average circumference of these trees was 
from thirty to forty feet ; but on subsequently extending my researches 
in a north-easterly direction, throughout the more fertile forests which 
clothe the boundless tracts through which the fair Limpopo winds, I 
daily met with specimens of this extraordinary tree averaging from 
sixty to hundred feet in circumference, and maintaining this thickness to 
a height from twenty to thirty feet, when they diverge into numerous 
goodly branches, whose general character is abrupt and horizontal, and 
which seem to terminate with a peculiar suddenness. The wood of this 
tree is soft and utterly unserviceable; the shape of the leaf is similar to 
that of the sycamore-tree, but its texture partakes more of the fig-leaf ; 
its fruit is a nut, which in size and shape resembles the egg of the swan. 

A remarkable fact, in connection with these trees, is the manner in 
which they are disposed throughout the forest. They are found standing 
singly, or in rows, invariably at considerable distances from one another, 
as if planted by the hand of man ; and from their wondrous size and 
unusual height (for they always tower high above their surrounding 
compeers), they convey the idea of being strangers or interlopers on the 
ground they occupy. 

The rains having fallen, the country was already adorned with a 
goodly coating of verdant grass, and my oxen, having done little else 
than feed and rest themselves for several months, were now full of spirit 
and in fine condition, and rattled along before my heavily laden waggons, 



200 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES 



over rugged hills and through the trackless mazes of the forest, at a 
rapid and willing pace, and on the evening of the 4th of October I once 
more formed my encampment at Lesausau, in the Bamangwato Moun- 
tains, in the neighbourhood of Sicomy's kraal. 

Here I was quickly welcomed by Sicomy, who visited me in company 
with a numerous body of his tribe. He expressed himself much 
gratified at seeing me return in safety from the dangerous pursuit in 
which I had been employed, remarking that he was anxious about me 
in my absence, for, if any casualty had befallen me, my king, he said, 
would be certain to seek restitution at his hands. His Majesty was 
pleased to compliment me on my extraordinary success and skill in 
hunting, and observed that the medicine of the white man must indeed 
be strong. 

In the course of the evening he amused me with the quaintness of his 
questions, asking me if my father and mother were alive, how many 
brothers and sisters I had, if the flocks and herds of my king were 
extremely abundant, and if his subjects were more numerous than his 
own. On informing him that our chief was a woman, he seemed much 
tickled by the disclosure; and when I said that her subjects were as 
numerous as the locusts, he looked round on his warriors with an 
evident grin of disbelief, and then inquired of me if all my countrymen 
could vanquish the elephants as easily as I did. This was a puzzler : so 
I replied that I could not say ; but I knew that the hearts of all my 
nation were very strong, like the heart of the lion when his cubs are 
small. The whole assembly was greatly moved by this bright remark, 
and a general murmur of surprise and admiration extended through the 
dusky ranks as "each man repeated to his neighbour the surpassing 
courage of my lion-hearted countrymen. Old Mutchuisho understood 
my gibberish better than any of the rest, and acted in the capacity of 
interpreter between me and the king. 

Our conversation was maintained partly by means of signs, my attain- 
ments in the Sichuana language being as yet but limited. Mutchuisho 
now intimated to me that two friends of Sicomy's, with their two 
attendants, wished to accompany me to the colony in the capacity of 
cattle-herds, who promised at the same time to make themselves 
generally useful in the way of collecting firewood and carrying venison 
home to the waggons. To this proposal I fortunately agreed, and the 
four aspirants came forward, and were duly introduced to me. The 
names of these four Bechuanas were Mollyee, Mollyeon, Kapain, and 
Kuruman : the two former belonged to the aristocracy, and were old 
friends of mine, having often assisted me in the field. These men 
agreed to serve me faithfully as far as the sea and back again to the 
country of their chief, in consideration of which I promised on my part 
to reward them with a cow and musket each. 

Mollyee and Mollyeon were brothers ; they were tall, active-looking 
savages, with large, bright, sparkling eyes and a pleasing cast of features. 
Kapain was a short, thickset, noisy individual, remarkable for his ugliness, 
and was the funniest fellow in all Bamangwato. Kuruman was a good- 
natured boy of about sixteen years of age ; his face was prepossessing, 



"CLEAN SWEEP" OF ELEPHANTS. 201 



resembling that of a girl more than the sex to which he professed to 
belong. I entertained Sicomy with stewed meat and coffee, and he and 
his retinue remained that night in my encampment. Before retiring to 
rest he intimated to me, through Mutchuisho, that he wished to trade 
with me on the ensuing day, which I said I should be happy to do until 
the hour of midday, when I would positively inspan and leave Lesausau. 

Accordingly, at an early hour on the morrow sundry fine tusks and 
some good specimens of native arms and costume made their appearance, 
which I obtained in barter for beads, ammunition, and other articles. 
On inquiring of the king what had become of Isaac, he said that he had 
long since returned to Kuruman in company with a son of "old Seretse," 
a Bechuana of distinction residing in the vicinity of Kuruman. This 
individual, whose name, being translated, signifies "mud," is remarkable 
for his bitterness against the advancement of the Christian religion and 
for the number of his progeny. Bidding adieu to Sicomy at midday on 
the 5th, I continued my march for Corriebely, which I reached about 
noon on the following day. I was accompanied, as usual, by a number 
of the natives, in the hope of obtaining a supply of flesh, elephants being 
reported to have revisited Massouey. Heavy rains had fallen through- 
out this district, and the country now presented an entirely new 
appearance, rank young grass having everywhere sprung up, and the 
plains and forests displaying a profusion of the richest verdure. It was 
here that I had concealed a large quantity of lead, in a hole beneath the 
ashes of my fire, before recrossing the mountains of Bamangwato. 

Proceeding to the spot, I had the satisfaction to observe that the 
ground appeared to have been undisturbed ; and, returning to the 
waggons, I commenced to unlash from the side of one of these a 
shovel. The natives, who always watched my movements with great 
attention, at once observed me, and a large party followed me to my 
former fireplace. Here, to their surprise, I began to excavate ; and on 
beholding the lead they seemed utterly astounded, and I could read 
very plainly in their faces that, had they known it was there, they 
would have saved my oxen the trouble of transporting it across the 
sandy deserts betwixt me and Bakatla. On reaching Massouey, and 
examining the fountain, I sought in vain for the tracks of elephants ; 
the natives, nevertheless, declared that one or two herds of these were 
still to be met with in the district, which I inclined to credit ; and this 
report turned out to be correct, for the succeeding day I followed and 
succeeded in bagging a whole herd of eight bull and cow elephants, 
after a most exciting chase. The natives were overjoyed at my success, 
and, while talking over the circumstance to each other, I observed that 
they frequently drew their hands across their mouth, a gesture com- 
monly made use of by them when a " clean sweep " (as in the present 
instance) had been made, either in the chase or in their combats with 
each other. 

I continued hunting at Massouey till the 12th, when, bidding a long 
farewell to the land of elephants, I inspanned, and marched upon 
Lepeby, which I reached at an early hour on the following day, having 
travelled several hours during the night, availing myself of the bright 



202 HUNTING AND SPOETING ADVENTUEES. 

moonlight. When last I visited this fine fountain the game drank at it 
in numerous herds, but now not an animal of any kind came near it, 
with the exception of a few rhinoceroses. This I always found to be 
the case at the fountains during the summer months, when the game are 
very independent of water, owing to the more abundant moisture con- 
tained in the young grass. In the forenoon I went birdnesting among 
the reeds and rushes which grew around the fountain. Hundreds of 
birds resembling the redpole were busy building their grassy nests, 
which they ingeniously suspended between the tops of the reeds. In 
the rushes I found two nests of the water-hen, containing eggs, which, 
along with the nests, exactly corresponded with these in Scotland. 
Two beautifully-painted wild geese, an egret, or white heron, and about 
twenty teal, ornamented the fountain, and were so tame that they per- 
mitted me to approach within a few yards of them. 

At an early hour on the 16th I trekked for Bootlonamy, which I 
reached at sundown on the same evening, and drew up the waggons 
under an impenetrable grove of picturesque mimosas, which were then 
gaily decked with a profusion of highly scented yellow blossoms, 
brightly contrasting with their summer vestment of delicious green. 
Here I continued hunting for several days, and enjoyed excellent sport, 
daily securing several fine specimens of the different varieties of game 
frequenting the district. On one occasion while hunting I started a 
secretary from off her nest, which was built on the top of a very dense 
green tree, with thorns on the fish-hook principle. With much diffi- 
culty I cut my way to the large thorny branch on which the nest was 
built, and, to proceed farther being impossible, from the denseness of 
the thorns, I cut through this branch with my knife, and by dragging it 
down I got hold of the eggs, which were the size and shape of a 
turkey's, and the colour of a buzzard's egg. 

On the forenoon of the 19th we were visited by a most terrific storm. 
The thunder was the most appalling I had ever heard, resembling the 
simultaneous discharge of a thousand pieces of artillery : it burst close 
over my head with a report so sudden and tremendous, that I involun- 
tarily trembled, and the sweat ran down my brow. At other times the 
thunder rumbled on every side, and rolled away with a long-protracted 
sound, which had not died before fresh explosions burst above and 
around me. The lightning was so vivid that it pained my eyes ; it 
seemed so near, that I fancied every moment it must strike the wag- 
gons, which would certainly have proved extremely inconvenient, as I 
had 300 lbs. of gunpowder stowed in one of them beneath my bed. 

About sundown the storm had passed away, having exquisitely puri- 
fied the atmosphere, while the grateful earth and fragrant forest emitted 
a perfume of overpowering sweetness. I then sauntered out with my 
rifle towards where the oxen were grazing, and, falling in with a herd of 
brindled gnoos, I shot a couple of shaggy old fellows, firing right and 
left. The storm set in again about ten p.m. with thunder and lightning, 
which continued throughout the greater part of the night. 



DESERTION OF MY SERVANTS. 203 



CHAPTER XIX. 

All my Colonial Servants desert me — Pursue them in vain — Both Waggons get dis- 
abled — Melancholy Anticipations — Cut a Path through the Forest — A Sandy 
Desert — Cattle dying for want of Water — Troubles surmounted — Pallahs and 
Koodoos — A Lion and Leopard visit the Camp at Midnight — Another horse 
dies of Distemper — We reach Booby — One of the Axletrees breaks — The Bakat- 
las assist me — The Baggage-waggon upset in a River — The Distemper kills 
more Horses — Lions roaring — Arrive at Dr. Livingstone's — March upon Chou- 
aney — The Ngotwani — A Herd of Buffaloes among the Reeds. 

I had now arrived at a period of considerable importance in my lonely 
expedition, an event here occurring which caused me a world of trouble 
and anxiety, yet which was nevertheless finally beneficial in its results, 
as it taught me what difficulties a man may surmount when he is pressed 
by adversity, and it was also the means of my becoming an accomplished 
waggon-driver. I allude to my being abandoned by all my colonial ser- 
vants, with the exception of Ruyter, the little Bushman. I attributed 
this unmanly and dastardly proceeding mainly to their despair of suc- 
ceeding in bringing the waggons safely across the sandy deserts inter- 
vening betwixt me and the distant missionary station of Bakatla, on ac- 
count of the broken state of one of the axletrees of my travelling 
waggon, Kleinboy in one of his drunken fits having driven it against a 
tree with such violence that one of the wooden arms of the fore axletree 
was cracked right across, so that little now held the wheel excepting the 
linchpin and the iron, skein. I remarked on the 22nd that there was 
something unusual on the minds of my colonial followers, for none of 
them could look me in the face ; and in the evening I spoke harshly to 
them concerning some ground coffee which I had missed from my 
canteen. 

On the 23rd of October I was lying asleep in my waggon, a little be- 
fore the day dawned, when Ruyter awoke me, to report that my four 
Hottentots had decamped during the night. He said that each of them 
had taken with him a large bundle of biltongue or sun-dried meat, and 
that they had tried hard to prevail on him to accompany them. This 
was a rather startling announcement, for I had barely enough of hands 
to perform the work when they were with me, and the four savages 
from Bamangwato were, like myself, quite unaccustomed to the labori- 
ous and intricate art of waggon leading and driving, and the inspanning 
and outspanning of oxen. Imagining that the Hottentots would not 
persevere in so rash and unwarranted a measure, and that they would 
assuredly change their minds and retrace their steps to their master 
when they reflected on the step they had taken, I did not endeavour 
to overtake them, but employed the morning in stowing the waggons, 
lashing down pots, spades, axes, etc., in their proper places, and over- 
hauling the gear preparatory to marching. 

Having breakfasted, I and the little bushman, assisted by the savages, 
lassoed, sorted, and yoked twenty-four oxen, placing twelve before each 
waggon, when we cracked our whips and started for Bootlonamy. Mol- 
lyee and Mollyeon led the teams, and Kapain and Kuruman followed 



204 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES 



behind the waggons, driving the horses and loose oxen. In former days 
I had acquired considerable experience in driving tandem and four-in- 
hand ; but I had now undertaken a pursuit of a widely different char- 
acter. I soon, however, became quite au fait in the mysteries connected 
with the driving of oxen, and learnt to inspan and drive my own wag- 
gons with nearly the same expedition as before the desertion of the 
Hottentots. 

The vley of Bootlonamy being firm and hard, we rattled along it at 
our wonted pace ; but in the evening, as we cleared the vley, and en- 
tered on the sandy tracts beyond, the oxen, having discovered that their 
new drivers could not wield the whips with the rapidity and execution 
of the old, declined to move along the heavy sand beyond the pace they 
fancied, often halting of their own accord. Eventually, in ascending a 
sandy ridge, the Bushman's waggon stuck fast in the deep sand, and in 
trying to drag it out the oxen broke the " disselboom," or pole. Find- 
ing that the labours we had undertaken were greater than I had calcu- 
lated upon, I resolved to ride on the morrow in pursuit of the runa- 
ways ; and accordingly at daybreak on the following day, leaving the 
waggons and their valuable contents at the mercy of the savages, I 
started with the Bushman and a spare horse to endeavour to overtake 
them. 

There was no water where the waggons stood, so I instructed Mol- 
lyeon to proceed with the cattle in quest of that essential requisite. I 
held along my old waggon-track, where we traced the footsteps of the 
Hottentots ; and having ridden some miles, we reached the spot where 
they, had slept, and where the ashes of the fire still were smouldering. 
I followed up their spoor till mid-day, when I accidentally took up the 
spoor of a party of Bakalahari, which we followed in a westerly direction, 
imagining that the Hottentots were with them. This spoor we even- 
tually lost in stony ground, and then we rode back to where we had 
lost the right spoor, which after some search we found, and once more 
held on. 

Our steeds were now fatigued, for we had ridden sharp, and they 
were faint with thirst, as we were also ; but we sought in vain for water 
in the vleys which had contained it when we last passed through the 
country. A little before the sun went down we reached three small 
pools of water left by the recent rains, and here the Hottentots had 
drunk and were at that moment hiding in a bush within a hundred 
yards of me, as I discovered on the ensuing day. I however failed to 
observe them ; and fancying that they had held on to a larger vley, 
where I had encamped on my way to Bamangwato, we proceeded for 
that place, but, night setting in, we at length lost our way in the intri- 
cacies of the forest. 

Faint, hungry, and thirsty, we now desisted from our fruitless search, 
and on looking for my matches I found to my intense mortification that 
I had lost them; and being on this occasion minus my shooting-belt and 
rifle, we spent the night without a fire, thereby incurring great danger 
of losing the horses and ourselves by lions. Scarcely had we off-saddled 
when two huge rhinoceroses came up and stood within twenty yards of 



THE WAGGONS DISABLED. 205 



us, and would not for a long time be persuaded to depart. Some time 
after I observed a dark-looking object prowling around us, and evidently 
anxious to cultivate the acquaintance either of ourselves or the horses. 
It was a hyaena. Rising from my comfortless couch, I pelted him with 
stones, when he took the hint and made off. The horses were com- 
pletely done up, and when knee-haltered would not feed. One of them 
on being off- saddled lay stretched upon the ground, and after a while, 
on endeavouring to walk, repeatedly rolled over on his side. 

On the 25th I cast loose the horses as soon as it was clear, and 
ascended to the summit of a pyramidal little hill beside which we had 
slept, to ascertain from thence whither I had wandered ; but the view 
from this hill did not help to elucidate matters, endless forests stretching 
away on every side without a mark to assist my memory. I now re- 
solved to seek no longer for my ruffianly Hottentots, but to retrace my 
spoor to the water I had discovered on the preceding evening, and halt 
there for a day until the horses should sufficiently recover their strength 
to carry us back to the waggons. By adhering to the horses' tracks, I 
reached the water at an early hour, and here I discovered the fresh 
tracks of the Hottentots on the top of our horses' spoor of the preceding 
evening. 

I had, however, resolved not to ride another yard after them ; I ac- 
cordingly off-saddled, and remained there for the remainder of the day. 
In the vicinity of the water we discovered the spot where the Hottentots 
had slept during the night. Although possessed of flint and steel, they 
had not kindled a fire, having nevertheless collected fuel for that pur- 
pose previous to our arrival on the preceding evening. This, as I after- 
wards learnt from themselves, was to prevent our discovering their 
position, in case we had returned that evening. I spent most of the day 
in endeavouring to make fire, which I failed to accomplish for want of 
tinder. This was extremely annoying, for I had brought along with me 
both tea and coffee, as also a kettle, and a haunch of springbok. 

On the morning of the 26th we cast loose our horses, and proceeded 
to consume raw meat and water. While thus breakfasting, a pair of 
superb roan antelopes approached the water, advancing within easy 
range before they noticed us. We saddled up and rode for the waggons, 
which we reached in the afternoon, having off-saddled for an hour by 
the way. I found the waggons as I had left them, and also the savages, 
who had fortunately discovered a small vley of rain-water about two 
miles to the southward of their position, where they had daily refreshed 
themselves and the cattle. 

My situation was by no means an enviable one, and my mind was 
burdened with anxiety. One of the waggons was fast in deep sand, 
with the dissel-boom broken, and the fore-axle of the other was cracked, 
so that at any moment it was likely to give way ; and if this should 
happen on the line of march while crossing the desert and far from 
water, I should have had no alternative but to abandon the waggon to 
its fate._ Moreover, owing to the indolent disposition of the Hottentots, 
everything connected with the gear was broken and out of order, while 

13 



206 HUNTING AND SPOKTING ADVENTURES. 

the hatchets appeared to have been used in chopping gun-flints, and all 
their handles were in similar condition. 

I arose at dawn on the morning of the 27th, and, having cast loose 
the horses and oxen, I rummaged out my tools, and in two hours I got 
out the broken dissel-boom, and put in a new one, which I formed from 
the stem of a tough mimosa. This being accomplished, I yoked twelve 
oxen to the waggon which was sticking in the sand, but tried in vain to 
make them drag it out, for the cunning animals knew that it was fast, 
and would not exert themselves to attempt to extricate it. After in- 
conceivable trouble and repeatedly shifting the positions of the various 
oxen in the span, I at length made a fortunate arrangement of the oxen. 
The brutes for once pulled all together, and once more the waggon was 
in motion. I then inspanned the other team, and we reached the water 
without further trouble. As we neared the water I detected a giraffe 
browsing within a quarter of a mile ; this was well, for we required flesh. 

Commanding silence, I hastily outspanned, and, having saddled the 
Old Grey, I rode with Ruyter to where we last had seen the " Tootla." 
Having proceeded a short distance through the forest, I again discovered 
him within a hundred yards of me. He proved to be a young bull, and 
led me a severe chase over very heavy ground. Towards the end I 
thought he was going to beat me, and I was about to pull up, when 
suddenly he lowered his tail, by which I knew that his race was run. 
Urging my horse, I was soon alongside of him, and with three shots I 
ended his career. Having obtained for the present both flesh and water, 
my next lookout was to consider how I was to cross the sandy desert 
which lay betwixt, me and the kraal of Booby. It was very evident 
that I could not return by the route I had previously held, having al- 
ready ascertained that that country to ox-waggons was now impassable, 
all the waters being dry. 

On explaining this to my Bamangwato followers, Mollyeon stated 
that he had once traversed that country in a dry season many years 
before, and that he and his comrades had obtained water in some deep 
pits, which had been excavated by Bakalahari in a rocky part of the 
desert, considerably to the eastward of my former route. He said we 
should require the greater part of two days to reach this water, our 
route thither lying across a soft sandy soil, varied in many places by al- 
most impenetrable forest ; he moreover seemed a little doubtful as to 
whether we should be able to discover the place, and, when we did, 
whether the pits might not prove dry. This was certainly a bright look- 
out, more especially as the next water (which he represented as a per- 
petual fountain) was two days beyond the uncertain pits. 

On the 28th I was occupied about the waggons all the day, putting 
sundry things to rights. I had thoughts of trekking on the following 
day, and could not divest myself of the most dismal forebodings, for I 
felt certain that the heavier waggon would again stick fast, or that the 
cracked axletree would come in contact with some tree, and leave me in 
the desert a hopeless wreck, remote from water or any assistance. I 
had certainly good reason to be uneasy. On the 29th I waited till the 
sun was up, that the cattle might drink plentifully, when I immediately 



A SANDY DESERT. 207 

inspanned, and commenced my anxious journey. For the first ten or 
twelve miles we proceeded along a hollow, where the soil was in general 
tolerably firm ; but on leaving this hollow we entered upon a most im- 
practicable country, the waggons sinking about four inches in the soft 
sand. Though I held on I had not the slightest hope of getting through 
it, for every hundred yards required the utmost exertion both of our- 
selves and oxen ; yet I had the best of two days more of it to expect 
before I could reach the promised water. To increase our difficulties 
our progress was presently opposed by an interminable forest, where the 
trees stood so close together as often to bar the possibility of the 
waggons passing betwixt them. 

On these occasions it became, imperative upon me to turn pioneer, 
and in the course of the day I felled with the axe not less than fifty 
trees. In this manner I held on till the sun went down, when I halted 
in dense forest and cast loose the oxen for an hour ; after which, with 
infinite trouble, I lassoed the two teams and made them fast on the 
trektow, in their proper places, ready to inspan at dawn of day. I had 
also nine horses to catch and make fast, and none to assist me but the 
little Bushman ; for the savages were so lazy, awkward, and disobliging, 
that one Hottentot would have assisted me more than the whole pack 
of them. 

On the 30th I inspanned before it was light, and again held on, as on 
the preceding day, through heavy sand and interminable forest, where 
it was necessary to keep the axes in constant operation. In the after- 
noon we reached the promised watering-place, but on springing from the 
waggon, and running anxiously forward for an inspection of the pits, I 
had the mortification to find that all they contained was a little mud, in 
which sundry heterogeneous insects were sprawling. The Bechuanas, 
however, signified to me that, by clearing out the pits and digging a 
little, water would make its appearance. Accordingly, having out- 
spanned the jaded oxen, I unlashed the spades, which were vigorously 
plied, when the water began very reluctantly to trickle in from every 
side. 

"We thus cleared out the three most likely pits, and in two hours I 
obtained a very moderate supply of water for each of the oxen, which I 
gave them individually out of my large flesh-pot. My poor horses did 
not get a drop ; and we now proceeded to inspan, and resume our march 
beneath a burning sun of unusual intensity. The sand became, if 
possible, worse than ever, and the waggons repeatedly stuck fast. We 
held through a jungle of the most virulent wait-a-bit thorns, which re- 
duced my waggon-sails to ribbons ; and when the sun went down I 
halted for the night, and cast loose my wretched oxen for an hour. 

On the 31st my vans were again in motion before daylight ; and 
about four p.m., to my infinite delight and great relief, I got clear of the 
desert, and reached a strong perennial fountain situated in a finely- 
wooded valley on the northern borders of the mountain country, ex- 
tending to the southward, with little intermission, as far as the chain of 
the Kurrichane range. Towards the end of the march it was necessary 
to descend into a rugged valley, and cross a very awkward watercourse, 



208 HUNTING AND SPOETING ADVENTUEES. 

in which the baggage-waggon was within a hair-breath of being capsized. 
Ascending from this valley, we crossed a precipitous ridge, where large 
disjointed masses of rock threatened the momentary destruction of the 
waggons. 

As I was yoking one of the oxen, which had broken his yokeskey and 
got out of his place, I received from a vicious ox in front a severe kick 
on the cap of the knee, which gave me intense pain and laid me pros- 
trate on the ground. I however managed to drive the waggon to its 
destination, where, after lying for a few minutes, the pain increased so 
much that I lay panting on my bed. Just as I had outspanned, and 
before my knee had stiffened, a herd of zebras approached the fountain 
to drink. This was a godsend at such a moment, our flesh being at an 
end and the dogs starving. In torture as I was, I managed to make a 
limping stalk towards them, when I obtained a fine double-shot and 
brought down a brace of fine old mares. 

The following day was the 1st of November ; my knee was much 
better, and in the afternoon I went out with Euyter and shot two 
koodoos and a pallah. I shot one of the koodoos from the saddle as he 
bounded past me at a hundred yards. At night, as I lay down, I heard 
a lion roar in the vicinity of camp, and presently I was asleep. In a 
few hours I was awoke by an unusual disturbance in the camp, and, 
raising my head, I saw the Bechuanas standing close together round 
the fire with their faces outwards, while they shrieked and talked with 
unusual volubility. I guessed at once that a lion caused the rumpus ; 
and I was right. The dogs were barking loud and angrily, and kept 
rushing back occasionally to the fire, as if pursued by some animal. 
The night was pitch dark, so that nothing could be seen ; but Mollyeon 
told me that a lion and a leopard were prowling around us, endeavour- 
ing to obtain the venison of the zebras, which hung in festoons in 
the trees beside us ; and next moment I heard the voices of both, for 
the lion roared and the leopard shrieked wildly as they sprang after the 
dogs. 

At length their boldness increased ; the lion chased the dogs with 
angry growls within twenty yards of where we stood, and the leopard 
actually sprang into the centre of my larder beside the fire, and was 
making off with a large fragment of ribs, when the dogs went gallantly 
at him. He turned upon them, and so terribly lacerated two that they 
soon after died from their wounds. We now snatched up large flaming 
brands from the fire, and, meeting the lion as he advanced, we sent 
them flying in his face, when I fancy he made off. I feared to use my 
rifle lest I should shoot the dogs. The horses and oxen, although much 
alarmed, did not endeavour to break loose, being still very much fatigued 
from the hardships they had undergone. 

On the morning of the 2nd I shot a koodoo, which antelope seemed 
here to be tolerably abundant ; and about midday, as I sat writing 
beneath the waggon, I observed a troop of zebras approaching the 
fountain, followed by a string of koodoos, three of which carried un- 
usually fine horns. While I sat looking at them through my spyglass, 
I directed Euyter to bring up the horses, when we saddled the " Grey*" 



DEATH OF THE "OLD GREY." 209 

and the "Chestnut Pony," and rode slowly towards them, till they started, 
when we gave them chase. They took right up the face of a stony 
ridge, and as they disappeared over its summit the Bushman was riding 
within a spear's length of the finest buck. 

Before, however, I could gain the ridge, the " Old Grey '' refused to 
proceed farther, when, dismounting, I resumed the chase on foot, but 
failed to fall in with my after-rider, who eventually brought the koodoo 
to a stand. Retracing my steps, I directed my attention to my poor 
" Old Grey," which was evidently attacked with the African distemper. 
With considerable difficulty I brought him to the camp, where I instantly 
bled him, but to no purpose, and in another hour the "gallant grey" lay 
down and " stretched his stiff limbs to rise no more." At night the lion 
feasted on the body, and when he was full the leopard and hysenas 
finished it. 

On the morning of the 3rd I left this fountain and held for Booby, 
which I reached at midday on the 5th. On my way thither we one 
evening fell in with a large herd of elands, out of which I captured a 
first-rate bull. I was kindly welcomed by Caachy, now the chief of 
Booby, the former chief having been blown up in my absence as already 
mentioned. Caachy informed me that my runaway Hottentots had 
reached his kraal, and were very much exhausted by their march. He 
had assisted them with corn, and passed them on to Bakatla. They 
informed this chief that I had dismissed them from my service, having 
engaged other servants at Bamangwato. 

I remained at Booby till midday on the 7th, and obtained several very 
fine karosses and other native curiosities in barter from the tribe. The 
king supplied me liberally with boyalwa, or native beer, which I thought 
most excellent, but found that it possessed a soporific tendency, inducing 
me on one occasion to lie down and sleep for half the day while the 
king and his nobility were waiting to trade with me. A large body of 
the natives accompanied me from Booby, some of them leading pack- 
oxen which were sent by Caachy to convey the venison of sundry 
rhinoceroses which I engaged to shoot for him. These men led me 
towards Bakatla by a different route from that which I had formerly 
adopted. 

Early on the 13th, while taking coffee, I was met by a party from 
Bakatla who had been kindly depatched by Dr. Livingstone, the resident 
missionary, on hearing of my abandonment by my colonial servants. 
The party consisted of a Bechuana, named Mabal, belonging to Kuruman 
(who assisted Dr. Livingstone in teaching the children of the Bakatlas), 
and three of the Bakatla tribe. These men reached me just at the 
proper moment ; for, having inspanned, before we had proceeded three 
hundred yards the damaged axletree broke short across, and the wheel 
rolling away the waggon came down on its side. This was a catastrophe 
I had for some time anticipated, and I was only thankful that it had 
been deferred so long. We outspanned, and, having unloaded the 
waggon, we put a support under it, and took out the forestell, and I 
then set about making a false axletree of tough thorn-wood. The verti- 
cal sun was extremely powerful, and both my ankles gave me severe 



210 HUNTING AND SPOETING ADVENTURES. 



and never-ceasing pain from wounds inflicted by the cruel wait-a-bits 
and inflammation induced by the unvarying animal diet on which I had 
so long subsisted. In the afternoon of the following day I got the false 
axletree fixed in its proper position, and having loaded up the waggon 
we were once more ready for a start. 

On the 15th we inspanned, and, having passed through the bold 
mountain gorge of Sesetabie, we encamped on the margin of a periodical 
river whose precipitous banks and broad channel of deep soft sand 
caused me considerable apprehensions of difficulties for the morrow. 

On the 16th I unlashed my spades and pickaxe, and worked hard for 
several hours cutting down the precipitous banks of the river and con- 
structing a road for the waggons to pass ; after which we inspanned 
and took the stream. I drove my waggon safely through ; but, alas ! 
not so with the baggage-waggon. Twice it stuck fast in the treacherous 
sand while crossing the river's bed, but the sturdy oxen pulled it out, 
and had dragged it more than half-way up the almost perpendicular 
bank, when the native who led the long team, unmindful that a waggon 
was behind them, suddenly turned the leading oxen short towards the 
river's bank, thus rendering it impossible for the driver to steer his 
after-oxen. The waggon was dragged off the fine road which I had 
made for it, and after quivering for a moment as if loth to meet its fate, 
it fell heavily over and rolled down the bank with a most terrific crash, 
smashing the fine capped tent, and sending the ivory and all my highly- 
valued trophies flying into the bed of the river in a mass of the most 
dire confusion. 

This was enough to vex any man, but I had now become so seasoned 
to adversity that I only laughed at the capsize as though the accident 
had happened to a foe ; and having unyoked the oxen, we commenced 
carrying the heavy ivory and other articles up the bank to the level 
ground beyond ; after which we righted the waggon, and a team of oxen 
dragged it up the bank. I then set to work to repair the tent with 
green boughs, and before sunset we had again replaced the greater part 
of the cargo. As the sun went down " The Cow " died from the dis- 
temper which had carried off my other two horses. The night set in 
with thunder, lightning, and rain ; jackals and hyaenas prowled around 
us, and soon found the remains of my lamented charger, on which they 
feasted till the dawn of day. 

The 17th ushered in a lovely morning, and the sky was beautifully 
overcast with clouds. When I got things dry I finished stowing the 
waggon, and we then trekked, holding on till the evening, when the 
axle-tree which I had made burst, and the linchpin giving way the 
wheel rolled off, leaving me once more a wreck. While securing my 
few remaining horses, I remarked that a handsome little bay horse, 
named " Hutton," evinced symptoms of the distemper, but I did not 
bleed him, as it seemed to be of no avail. Heavy rain continned falling 
throughout the night, and next morning the ground where we had out- 
spanned was a mass of deep mud. 

At an early hour all hands were busy in again unloading the broken 
waggon, and before night I had finished another axletree and fixed it in 



ON THE MARCH. 211 



its place. The day throughout was dark and gloomy — heavy clouds 
hung low on the mountain of the eagles, reminding me of the mist I 
was wont to see in the distant country of the Gael, and our ears were 
repeatedly saluted with the subdued voices of a troop of lions which 
were moaning in concert around its base. In the evening the horse 
called " Hutton " died, and scarcely had night set in when his doleful 
coronach was wildly re-echoed by the shrill voices of a score of jackals, 
which the lions hearing soon came to their assistance, and presently we 
heard them feasting on his remains. 

On the morning of the 1 9th we resumed our march, and at a late hour 
on the evening of the 20th we reached the missionary station at Bakatla, 
where I was kindly received by Dr. Livingstone and his amiable lady. 
They had been anxious concerning my fate, and entertained great appre- 
hensions for my safety. Mrs. Livingstone had seen my Hottentots as 
they passed through Bakatla, where they remained only one day ; and 
that lady represented them as bearing the appearance of men who had 
been guilty of crime. She had endeavoured, but without success, to 
prevail upon them to rejoin their master and return to their duty. Dr. 
Livingstone at the time was absent on a visit to Sichely, superintending 
the erection of a dwelling-house and place of public worship at that 
chief's kraal, named " Ohouaney," whither he intended shortly to re- 
move, there being another missionary, named Mr. Edwards, already 
stationed at Bakatla, who was then absent on a visit to the colony. Dr. 
Livingstone informed me that at present there was war between the 
Baquaines, of whom Sichely is chief, and the Bakatlas, and that the 
latter were in daily expectation of an attack. 

The 23rd was Sunday, when Dr. Livingstone showed me, on com- 
paring notes, that I had lost a day during my sojourn in the far interior. 
I attended Divine service, and had considerable difficulty to maintain 
my gravity as sundry members of the congregation entered the church 
clad in the most unique apparel. Some of these wore extraordinary old 
hats ornamented with fragments of women's clothes and ostrich-feathers. 
These fine hats they were very reluctant to take off, and one man sat with 
his beaver on immediately before the minister until the doorkeeper went 
up to him and ordered him to remove it. At dinner we had a variety 
of excellent vegetables, the garden producing almost every sort in great 
perfection ; the potatoes in particular were very fine. To-day another 
of my stud, named Yarborough (so called in honour of a gallant major 
of the 91st from whom I purchased him), died of the distemper, and was 
immediately consumed by the starving curs of the Bakatlas. Being 
anxious to visit Sichely and his tribe, Dr. Livingstone and I resolved 
to leave Bakatla and march upon Chouaney with one of my waggons on ' 
the ensuing day ; the Doctor's object being to establish peace between 
the two tribes, and mine to enrich myself with ivory and karosses and 
other objects of interest. 

On the morning of the 24th I off-loaded the baggage waggon, and 
stowed its contents in Dr. Livingstone's premises, after which the Doctor 
and I started for Chouaney, which bore a little to the east of north. 
Our road lay through the most perfect country. On clearing the 



212 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

romantic valley of Bakatla we descended into another beautiful valley, 
through which meandered the crystal waters of the Ngotwani, an 
interesting stream, which, flowing in a north-easterly direction, falls into 
the Limpopo about sixty miles below its junction with the Mariqua. 
The Ngotwani contains several varieties of fish, which are of good 
flavour, and afford the angler steady average sport both with bait and 
fly. After following some distance along the finely-wooded banks of the 
Ngotwani, and having twice crossed its stream, we entered upon an ex- 
tensive open tract of country adorned with a carpet of the most 
luxuriant herbage. 

This interesting plain was beautifully wooded towards the mountain 
, ranges which bound it on every side, and the Ngotwani twined in a 
serpentine course along the middle of it, forming in one part an exten- 
sive vley or marsh about four miles long and a quarter of a mile in 
breadth. This vley was now beautified with a dense crop of waving 
green reeds, averaging about fourteen feet in height, and forming a 
favourite resort of buffaloes and their invariable attendants the lions. 
Dr. Livingstone told me that a party of Baquaines were to leave 
Ohouaney on the ensuing day to visit this vley, for the purpose of 
cutting a supply of the long rank reeds with which to thatch his new 
church and dwelling-house ; and he said that he should wish me, if 
opportunity presented itself, to shoot some large game on which these 
men might feed. 

We were marching quietly along and were nearly opposite the centre 
of the reeds, when, on emerging from a grove of thorny mokala trees, 
casting our eyes to the right, we suddenly beheld a numerous herd of 
buffaloes grazing on the open plain betwixt us and the vley. Their 
dark imposing squadrons extended over a great space of ground, and 
we reckoned that there might have been between six and eight hundred 
of them. I immediately saddled " Sunday," and rode towards them. 
As I drew near they stood gazing at me for a minute, and then, panic- 
stricken, the whole herd started off together, making for the nearest 
wood. 

Pressing my horse, I was soon ahead of them, and by shouting I 
turned them right about, when they thundered along in a compressed 
mass, and held for the reeds. Their amazing numbers greatly impeded 
their progress, and I had no difficulty in keeping alongside of them. I 
kept on their right flank to enable me more conveniently to fire, and on 
one occasion, on my riding very near the foremost of the herd, a large 
division of those behind me suddenly extended to the right and increased 
their pace, and, on looking over my shoulder, I found myself almost 
surrounded by their helmeted squadrons. As I galloped along I 
endeavoured to select the finest head, but among so many it was no 
easy matter to make a choice, and as soon as I selected one he disappeared 
among the ranks of his companions. At length, riding at the gallop, I 
let fly right and left into the herd, and next moment they had gained 
the margin of the lofty reeds. 

Here the whole herd suddenly halted and faced about with the 
regularity and precision of a regiment of cavalry, when, having over- 



A HEED OF BUFFALOES. 213 



hauled me for half a minute, they charged headlong into the soft muddy 
vley, and in another moment they were hidden from my view. I 
marked the reeds bowing before them far on my right and left as they 
splashed and struggled through the marshy vley, and presently they 
gained the other side, when, emerging from the reeds, they held across 
the open plain, steering for their strongholds in the woods beyond. 
As the clouds of dust behind me cleared away, I looked back and beheld 
a fine old cow stagger for a moment and then fall dead, and near her 
stood a wounded calf, whose mother had remained beside it, being loth 
to leave her offspring. 

I now returned to Dr. Livingstone, when we brought up the waggon 
for the fallen buffaloes, and halted for the night. Just as we had out- 
spanned, a blue wildebeest, having observed the oxen, and taking them 
for buffaloes, fearlessly approached the waggon, when, advancing under 
cover of one of the oxen, I bowled him over with my rifle. Early on 
the following morning the reed-cutters from Chouaney hove in sight, 
and were not a little gratified to find so bountiful a supply of their 
favourite "niama," or flesh, awaiting their arrival. The afternoon was 
cold and rainy, and at a late hour we outspanned at Chouaney, where 
we were immediately welcomed by a messenger from Sichely, who 
expressed himself highly gratified at our arrival and promised to come 
and breakfast with me next morning. 



CHAPTEE XX. 



Arrive at Sichely 's Kraal — Description of that Chief — His Wives — The Rain- 
makers — My Gun Medicine — Bakatla — A Kraal struck by Lightning — Reach Mr. 
Moffat's Station at Kuruman — Daring Robberies of the Bushmen — Campbells- 
dorp — Discover my runaway Hottentots — We cross the Vaal — The Inmates of a 
Farm terrified bj T my wild Appearance — Colesberg and Grahamstown — English 
Hounds in Africa. 

At an early hour on the 26 th of November Sichely presented himself 
with a large retinue. The appearance of this chief was prepossessing, 
and his manner was civil and engaging ; his stature was about five feet 
ten inches, and in his person he inclined to corpulency. His dress con- 
sisted of a handsome leopard-skin kaross, and on his arms and legs, 
which were stout and well turned, he wore a profusion of brass and 
copper ornaments manufactured by tribes residing a long way to the 
eastward. In the forenoon I accompanied Sichely to his kraal situated 
in the centre of the town, and alongside of it stood respectively the 
kraals of his wives, which were five in number. These kraals were 
neatly built, and were of a circular form, the walls and floors being 
smoothly plastered with a composition of clay and cow-dung, and secured 
from the weather by a firm and well-constructed thatch of long dry 
grass. Each kraal was surrounded by an area enclosed with a strong 
impenetrable fence six feet in height. The town was built on a gentle 
slope on the northern side of a broad extensive strath, throughout the 



214 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



whole extent of which lay wide fields and gardens enclosed with hedges 
of the wait-a-bits. 

A short time previous to my arrival, a rumour having reached Sichely 
that he was likely to be attacked by the emigrant Boers, he suddenly 
resolved to secure his city with a wall of stones, which he at once com- 
menced erecting. It was now completed, entirely surrounding the town, 
with loopholes at intervals all along through which to play upon the ad- 
vancing enemy with the muskets which he had resolved to purchase 
from hunters and traders like myself. 

I was duly introduced to the five queens, each of whose wigwams I 
visited in succession. These ladies were of goodly stature and comely 
in their appearance ; they all possessed a choice assortment of very fine 
karosses of various descriptions, and their persons were adorned with a 
profusion of ornaments of beads and brass and copper wire. Sichely 
professed and was believed by his tribe to be a skilful rainmaker, viz. 
one having the power of creating rain when required for the fields and 
gardens. 

The rainmaker's art is a regular profession among the Bechuanas, and 
the individuals who practise it are much esteemed and highly venerated 
among their fellow-men. They are supposed to work by supernatural 
agency ; and acting probably on the general principle that a prophet is 
not without honour save in his own country, they invariably practise 
their arts amongst tribes remote from their own particular districts. 
Their birth and original place of residence are always involved in mys- 
tery, and they pretend to have been suddenly created in some lonely 
cave, or on the summit of a mountain, from which they came in a state 
of manhood without undergoing the usual ordeal of birth. Some of 
these rainmakers attain to much higher reputation than their fellow 
necromancers : an illustrious character of this description is much sought 
after, and is often sent for from an amazing distance by a chief on whose 
dominions . the periodical thunderstorms (which are often very partial) 
have failed to descend. 

The modes in which they propitiate the clouds are various. The one 
most commonly practised is, by collecting a few leaves of each individual 
variety of tree in the forest, which they allow to simmer in large pots 
over a slow fire, and, while a sheep is killed by pricking it in the heart 
with a " lemue " or long sewing-needle, the rainmaker is employed in 
performing a variety of absurd incantations. The steam arising from 
the simmering leaves is supposed to reach and propitiate the clouds, and 
the remainder of the day is spent in dances which are joined in by all 
the tribe and kept up till midnight, being accompanied with songs 
having a long-continued chorus in which all join, and the burden of 
which is the power and praises of the rainmaker. It often, however, 
happens that the relentless clouds decline attending to the solicitations 
of the rainmaker, and the fields of young corn become parched and 
withered. 

Other schemes are then resorted to. A number of the young men 
sally forth, and, forming an extensive circle, they enclose the rocky face 
of some mountain-side in which the rock-loving klipspringer is likely 



GUN-MEDICINE. 215 

to be met with, when, by gradually contracting their circle like our 
Highlanders of old, they generally manage to catch alive sundry klip- 
springers, whose voices are supposed to attract rain. The unfortunate 
little antelopes thus captured are paraded round the kraal, while the 
rainmaker, by pinching and tormenting them, induces them to scream. 
But as it often happens that these and his other machinations prove 
unavailing, the rainmaker is at times obliged eventually to make a 
moonlight flitting and cut and run for it, when the services of another 
of the fraternity are courted. 

When the rainmakers fail to fulfil their promises they always ascribe 
their want of success to the presence of some mysterious agency which 
has destroyed the effect of their otherwise infallible nostrums. One of 
these anti-rainmaking articles is ivory, which is believed to have great 
influence in driving away rain, in consequence of which, in the summer 
season, they produce it only as the sun goes down, at which time it is 
brought for the trader's inspection carefully wrapped up in a kaross. I 
remember on one occasion incurring the censure of a whole tribe, who 
firmly believed me to have frightened the rain from their dominions by 
exposing a quantity of ivory at noonday ; and . on another occasion the 
chief of a certain tribe commanded a missionary with whom I am 
acquainted to remove all the rafters from the roof of his house, these 
having been pointed out by the rainmaker as obstructing the success of 
his incantations. 

The Griquas, taking advantage of the superstitions of the Bechuanas, 
often practise on their credulity, and, a short time before I visited 
Sichely, a party of Griquas who were hunting in his territory had 
obtained from him several valuable karosses in barter for a little sulphur, 
which they represented as a most effectual medicine for guns, having 
assured Sichely that by rubbing a small quantity on their hands before 
proceeding to the field they would assuredly obtain the animal they 
hunted. 

It happened in the course of my converse with the chief that the 
subject turned on ball practice, when, probably relying on the power of 
his medicine, the king challenged me to shoot against him for a con- 
siderable wager, stipulating at the same time that his three brothers 
were to be permitted to assist him in the competition. The king staked 
a couple of valuable karosses against a large measure filled with my 
gunpowder, and we then at once proceeded to the waggon, where the 
match was to come off, followed by a number of the tribe. Whilst 
Sichely was loading his gun, I repaired to the fore-chest of the waggon, 
where, observing that I was watched by several of the natives, I pro- 
ceeded to rub my hands with sulphur, which was instantly reported to 
the chief, who directly joined me, and, clapping me on the back, 
entreated me to give him a little of my medicine for his gun, which I of 
course told him he must purchase. Our target being set up, we commenced 
firing; it was a small piece of wood six inches long by four in breadth, and 
was placed on the stump of a tree at the distance of one hundred paces. 
Sichely fired the first shot, and very naturally missed it, upon which I 
let fly and split it through the middle. It was then set up again, when 



216 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

Sichely and his brothers continued firing, without one touching it, till 
night setting in put an end to their proceedings. This of course was 
solely attributed by all present to the power of the medicine I had used. 

When Dr. Livingstone was informed of the circumstance he was very 
much shocked, declaring that in future the natives would fail to believe 
him when he denounced supernatural agency, having now seen it 
practised by his own countryman. I obtained several very fine karosses, 
as also ivory, ostrich-feathers, and sundry interesting curiosities, in 
barter from Sichely and his tribe ; and at noon on the 27th we took 
leave of Sichely and started for Bakatla. In the evening of the following 
day I lost another horse of the distemper : it was the " Immense 
Brute; " and next morning the chesnut pony also died. About midnight 
an immense herd of buffaloes came feeding slowly towards us, and, 
imagining our oxen to belong to their own party, they continued to 
advance until we were actually surrounded by them. I then arose in 
my sleep, and, having remarked in Sichuana to the natives that the 
buffaloes were very good, I once more lay down, utterly unconscious of 
what I had done or spoken. 

On the afternoon of the 29th we outspanned at Bakatla. A party of 
Baralongs were then on a visit to Mosielely on a trading excursion for 
skins for the manufacture of karosses. The head-quarters of these men 
was situated to the westward of Motito, on the borders of the great 
Kalahari desert. Night set in with a terrific thunderstorm, which pre- 
vailed for several hours : the lightning was most painful to the eyes, 
and deafening peals of thunder continually burst above and around us. 
From the proximity of the explosions we entertained considerable fears 
for the safety of the natives in the town, for the lightning appeared 
repeatedly to strike in that direction ; and when the storm had subsided, 
a messenger from the king came down to the missionary's dwelling- 
house to report that the kraal occupied by the six strangers had been 
struck by the electric fluid, and that one of them was killed on the spot, 
and the other five were more or less affected by the shock. Dr. Living- 
stone informed me that this melancholy event would entail great alarm 
and uneasiness upon Mosielely, since all the tribes would blame him for 
the accident. 

The following day was Sunday, and in the forenoon Dr. Livingstone 
and I visited Mosielely, and inspected the kraal that had been struck by 
lightning. We found the natives engaged in the most absurd idolatrous 
rites to cleanse the kraal and the survivors from the effects of the 
electricity. Unlike the Romans of old, these five individuals did not 
consider themselves honoured by the partiality which the lightning had 
evinced for them ; huddled together, we found them lying speechless 
and terrified upon the ground, their hearts having died within them. 
On the 1st of December, with Dr. Livingstone's kind assistance, I com- 
menced making a new axletree for the waggon, and by the evening of 
that day week we had completed a good, substantial axletree of 
seasoned hard wood, mounted with iron skeins, and secured it in its 
place. 

The greatest difficulty we encountered in the accomplishment of our 



BUSHMEN'S OAVES. 217 

work was in welding the iron skeins and fixing them in their proper 
places. During my stay at Bakatla I traded extensively with the 
natives, and obtained from them a number of karosses and various 
curiosities and articles of interest. It was the heat of summer, and the 
sun at noon was extremely overpowering ; the atmosphere, however, 
was occasionally refreshed by thunderstorms, accompanied with grateful 
showers of rain, which, of course, was attributed to the power of the 
rainmaker, and the vale rang nightly with loud and joyous songs, re- 
echoing his praises in a prolonged chorus. Before leaving Bakatla my 
horse " Sunday " died of the distemper, which reduced my stud from 
ten to two ; and, before dismissing this subject, I may mention that I 
managed to save these two from the distemper, and succeeded in bringing 
them back to the colony, by preventing them from eating grass and by 
keeping them covered at night with blankets. 

On the 11th I took leave of my kind host Dr. Livingstone, and, after 
a steady march of many days, on the 2nd of January I reached Kuru- 
man, where I was entertained by Mr. Moffat with his usual kindness 
and hospitality. The following day was Sunday, when I attended 
Divine service in the large church morning and evening, and saw sixteen 
men and women who had embraced the Christian faith baptized by Mr. 
Moffat. It was now the fruit season, and the trees in the gardens of the 
missionaries were groaning under a burden of the most delicious peaches, 
figs, and apples. The vines bore goodly clusters of grapes, but these 
had not yet ripened. My runaway Hottentots had passed through 
Kuruman some time previous to my arrival, and it was reported that 
disease had overtaken them at the missionary station of Oampbellsdorp, 
where they were now all four stretched upon a bed of sickness, and in a 
state of the most abject want and misery. Isaac had likewise made his 
appearance in due course, and he now came boldly forward to claim his 
wages, which I honestly paid him. I left in Mr. Moffat's kind keeping 
one of the waggons with its contents (which we stowed away in a room 
obligingly lent me by Mr. Moffat for the purpose), and also the whole 
of my oxen, with the exception of one span, with which, on the evening 
of the 7th, I set out for Koning, which I reached at an early hour on the 
following morning, having marched during the greater portion of the 
night. 

Leaving Koning on the afternoon of the 8th, I resumed my march for 
Daniel's-kuil. Between Koning and Daniel's-kuil occur two interesting 
caves, long famous as affording a residence and protection to hordes of 
marauding Bushmen. The larger of these caves is situated on the west 
side of the waggon-track ; it is of great size, and contains a perpetual 
fountain of delicious water, and its sides have been adorned by its Lilli- 
putian inhabitants with correct likenesses of most of the game quad- 
rupeds of Africa, as also unicorns, which of course they never saw, and 
must therefore have heard spoken of by other men. From this cave the 
Bushmen were wont to sally forth not very long since and lift fat cattle 
from the sleek herds of their more industrious neighbours the Griquas 
and Bechuanas. 

Returning with these cattle, their custom was to drive them all into 



218 HUNTING AND SPOBTING ADYENTUEES. 

the cave, whence, being well supplied with water, they did not again 
proceed until the flesh was either rotten or consumed. It was in vain 
that the exasperated owners of the cattle followed on their traces to the 
Bushman-cave, for here they well knew it was madness to follow farther, 
as inevitable death would be the result, by the poisoned arrows of their 
subtle foes within. At length the Bushmen became so frequent and 
daring in their attacks, that a number of the Bechuanas held " a great 
talk " on the subject (as they say in America), and ended by resolving 
to attack the Bushmen, and accomplish their destruction at whatever 
cost. 

Accordingly, when the next robbery was committed, the Bechuanas 
marched upon the Bushman-cave, armed with large oval shields and 
battle-axes ; and, entering the cave, they steadily advanced under cover 
of their shields, while the Bushmen's arrows rattled thick upon them 
like a storm of hail. The Bechuanas thus continued to advance until 
they came to close quarters, when they cut them down with their battle- 
axes. The other cave is situated to the eastward of the waggon-track ; 
here, on a similar occasion, fire was made use of to smoke out the Bush- 
men, when those who escaped death by suffocation fell by the battle- 
axes and assagais of their foes without. 

When driven to extremity the Bushmen are extremely plucky, and 
show fight to the last. In the year 1847, a Bechuana chief, named 
Assyabona, who is nearly related to Mahura, despatched a strong party 
of his tribe, armed with guns and assagais, to accomplish the destruction 
of a strong horde of wild Bushmen, whose robberies had become so 
daring and extensive that they were the terror of all who dwelt a hun- 
dred miles around them. On this occasion a great number of Bushmen 
were destroyed, having been overtaken in open ground. One deter- 
mined fellow, having hastily collected several of the quivers of his dying 
comrades, which were full of poisoned arrows, ensconced himself within 
three large stones, from which position he for a long time defied the 
whole hostile array of Bechuanas, shooting two of them dead on the 
spot, and wounding a number of others. Though continuing gallantly 
to defend himself, he seemed aware that he could not possibly escape ; 
and while peppering at the Bechuanas and upbraiding them with 
cowardice, he called out to them, that, if they had not killed his brother 
(who lay dead beside him, and who was a famous marksman among his 
fellows), it would have gone hard with them that day. He was event- 
ually finished with a shot in the forehead by a son of Mahura, chief of 
the Batlapis, as he was in the act of discharging one of his diminutive 
yet deadly shafts. 

On the 10th I marched from Daniel's-kuil, and early on the 12th I 
encamped at Campbellsdorp where I found Mr. Bartlett and Captain 
Cornelius Kok in great force. Here I at length overtook my runaway 
Hottentots. Sickness and starvation had done their work upon them, 
and they were so altered in their appearance that I scarcely knew them. 
They were now acting as servants to the Griquas who had nursed them 
in their illness, and they were working hard to earn their bread. On 
inquiring of them why they had forsaken me, they said that they had 



MY WILD APPEARANCE. 219 



started in a rash and thoughtless moment, and that, although they 
almost immediately repented the step they had taken, fear and shame 
prevented them from returning to their duty. 

Commiserating their condition, I presented them with the amount of 
their wages during the time they had remained with me, and, being now 
quite independent of their services, I allowed them to remain with the 
masters they had chosen. I here met an extremely plausible individual, 
a Dutchman, from the Bo-land or Cape district, who was got up in his 
rig at considerable expense. This fellow was swindling the Griquas right 
and left, purchasing from them all their best cattle at extravagant 
prices, and settling for them with paper notes, which naturally were 
forged. He represented himself as being one of a wealthy firm in Cape 
Town, and stated that two of his partners were then purchasing cattle 
among the Boers to the eastward, from whom they had already collected 
two thousand head ; which cool assertion the Griquas were silly enough 
to believe, and he left their country for the Bo-land with a large drove 
of fat oxen. Eventually, however, he was brought to justice, and I 
afterwards heard of his being safely quartered in the jail of Beaufort. 

At a late hour on the 13th I outspanned my waggons on the fragrant 
bank of the lovely Vaal river by clear moonlight, and on the morrow, 
the water being then fortunately low, I crossed the river with little 
difficulty, and on the 20th I took the drift of the Great Orange River, but 
with very faint hopes that my worn-out oxen would succeed in dragging 
me through its treacherous sands, more especially since two Boers who 
had crossed an hour previous had deemed it necessary to inspan sixteen 
tearing well-conditioned oxen into their light waggons. I was right in 
my conjecture, for with infinite flogging and shouting I got the waggon 
half-way through, when it stuck fast, and no efforts could prevail upon 
the oxen to move it a yard farther. A Griqua offered to lend me on 
hire a fresh span of able-bodied oxen, when, with the help of these and 
some of my best, I got safely through, and once more encamped within 
Her Majesty's dominions. While the waggon was sticking in the middle 
of the river a Boer took the drift from the opposite side with a light 
new waggon and twelve superb oxen, which bore him through in gallant 
style. Resuming my march for Colesberg, I trekked on till near mid- 
night, when I lost my way in the dark. The country here was parched 
and arid, not a blade of grass for the weary oxen, but hopeless sterility 
stretched far around. 

On the 21st I left the Bushman to bring on the waggon while I walked 
ahead under a most terrific sun to the farm where I had purchased 
Prince and Bonteberg, while en route to the far interior. My costume 
consisted of a dilapidated wide-awake hat, which had run the gauntlet 
with many a grove of wait-a-bits, a dusty-looking ragged shirt, and a 
pair of still more ragged-looking canvas trousers, which were, moreover, 
amputated, above the knee, while my face was adorned with a shaggy 
red beard, which tout ensemble imparted to me the appearance of one 
escaped from Bedlam. As I drew near the farm its inmates took fright 
at my wild appearance, and two of the Boers, timidly projecting their 
heads from the half-closed door, loudly shouted to me to lay down my 



220 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

gun. I however pretended not to understand, and advancing boldly I 
wished them good morning. 

One of these was the owner of the farm, and the man from whom I 
had bought the dogs, yet nevertheless he failed to recognise me. He 
still appeared to be much alarmed, and evidently looked upon me as a 
dangerous character ; but, commiserating the transparent texture of my 
continuations, he offered to lend me a pair of leather " crackers." De- 
clining the proffered apparel, I entered the house without ceremony, 
and having come to an anchor I requested some milk. Here I was 
immediately recognised by the children as "de carle wha heb vor 
Bonteberg ha-quoch, ; ' viz., the man that bought Bonteberg. 

On the 26th I marched at dawn of day, and in four hours I entered 
the village of Colesberg, where I found my old friends, the 91st, re- 
placed by a detachment of the 45th. My first move was to visit the 
post-office, where I was very much disappointed to find no letters 
awaiting my arrival. Having off-loaded my waggon, I handed it over 
to Mr. Arnott, the resident blacksmith, to undergo repairs, of which it 
stood much in need. My Bechuana followers were extremely struck 
with the size and appearance of Colesberg, and the movements of the 
military elicited their unfeigned delight and approbation. On the 28th 
the village of Colesberg was enlightened with the presence of Mr. 
Kleinboy, who arrived with waggons from Kuruman. Having sought 
me out, he declared himself thoroughly penitent for all his former mis- 
demeanours, and, expressing a wish again to join the service, I re- 
enlisted him. 

On the 1st of February I left Colesberg, and reached Grahams town 
on the forenoon of the 22nd, when I took up my residence with Captain 
Hogg of the 7th Dragoon Guards, in my old quarters at the barracks of 
the Cape Mounted Rifles. The officers of the 7th had brought out with 
them a pack of fox-hounds, which, while they lasted, afforded excellent 
sport, but unfortunately the climate of Southern Africa, especially near 
the coast, is so very unfavourable for well-bred English dogs, that, 
although no trouble nor expense was spared in the management of these 
hounds, and fresh drafts were constantly exported from England, and 
litters of pups carefully reared in the colony, the pack nevertheless had 
considerably diminished. These hounds were under the especial 
surveillance of Captain Hogg, who hunted them in a manner which 
evinced his consummate skill and judgment in the manly and ennobling 
pursuit of the chase. 



CHAPTER XXI. 



Set out again for the Far Interior — Fort Beaufort — Purchase fresh Steeds and 
Oxen — My old servant Corollus rejoins me — Elephant Fountain once more — 
Hunt Elephants — Corriebely — Obliged to act very decidedly with Sicomy— 
Horses and Oxen taken in Pits— Two Dogs killed by a Leopard — A file of 
Bakalahari Women carrying water to the Desert — A sleeping Rhinoceros shot — 
Hunting in the neighbourhood of Lotlokane and Letlochee — The Natives kill an 



PKEPAKHSTG FOR ANOTHER CAMPAIGN. 221 



Elephant — A grim Lion slain — Rheumatic Fever attacks me — Leave Bamang- 
wato Country — The Game disturbed by Natives — Soobie — Watch nightly for 
Game from a place of Ambush — Vanquish a noble Lioness. 

I CONTINUED in Grahamstown until the 7th day of March, when I set 
out once more on my weary journey for the distant forests of the far 
interior. Before leaving the town I settled my accounts with the mer- 
chants from whom I had obtained supplies, and who evidently seemed 
to consider my returning to the colony as a very doubtful event. I en- 
gaged a discharged soldier of the 91st, named George Martin, in the 
capacity of head servant. This man hailed from Haddington, and bore 
an excellent character on leaving the regiment. He was accustomed to 
the charge of horses, in which he took a great interest. 

My most important purchases in the sporting department consisted of 
a valuable double-barrelled rifle, with spare shot-barrels, by Westley 
Eichards, which I obtained from Captain Hogg ; and two right good 
steeds, one of which was a very superior coal-black gelding, which I 
purchased of Captain Walpole of the Engineers for =£20, which was con- 
siderably below its value. I named this horse Black Jack ; in paces and 
disposition he very much resembled my lamented Colesberg, and he was 
altogether one of the finest horses I ever mounted. His end was sudden 
and severe ; for on a subsequent expedition, along with another of my 
favourite horses, he was torn to pieces and consumed by a troop of 
ruthless lions. The other horse which I purchased was a grey ; and as 
it is probable that this horse may be introduced in future pages, under 
the designation of the " Old Grey," I trust the reader will not be con- 
founded with the idea of the resurrection of the original " Old Grey." 

On the morning of the 9th I reached Fort Beaufort, when I en- 
camped at the mess-house of the 7th. I continued there until the 
morning of the 15th, when I ^resumed my march for the interior. In 
Fort Beaufort I purchased four right good horses from the officers of 
the garrison ; one of these was a jet black steed, and was named by his 
late master J3chwartland. This horse was one of the finest shooting- 
horses in Southern Africa, and understood his work so well that he 
seemed to follow the game with all the eagerness of a greyhound, and 
yet he would suddenly halt in full career when I wished to fire, if I 
merely placed my hand upon his neck. From his back I subsequently 
shot many elephants and other game, and his name will often appear in 
after pages. At the farm of Messrs. Nelson and Blane I purchased two 
more horses, which I called Brown Jock and Mazeppa, and also a span 
of oxen and some milch cows. 

On the 2nd of April I entered the village of Colesberg, where I was 
actively employed in making final preparations for my distant campaign 
until the 9th. I engaged two Hottentot servants named Booi and. 
Kleinfeldt, the latter individual being one of those who had forsaken 
my banner at Bootlonamy, and I purchased two more valuable steeds, 
which increased my stud to ten very superior young horses. I also 
purchased a number of rough long-legged serviceable dogs of a variety 
of breeds, which, with several other ragged-looking tykes, that I subse- 
quently purchased from Boers along the line of march, increased my 

14 



222 HUNTING AND* SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

kennel to about twenty business-like dogs. At sunrise on the 9th we 
marched out of the village and held on until we reached the Orange 
River at Boata's Drift, where we outspanned beneath the shade of a 
grove of willows. 

Having crossed the river on horseback, it proved too deep to take the 
waggons over, but I had the consolation to remark that the waters were 
on the ebb, and by the forenoon of the following day they had so far 
subsided that I was enabled to cross the great river without wetting my 
cargo. The ascension of the opposite side proved extremely severe, 
being an almost perpendicular bank of soft sand, and I was obliged to 
relieve the waggon of half its load before the oxen could drag it to the 
more practicable road beyond. 

I was now all anxiety to reach my Fountain of Elephants, and pushed 
on with all speed for Massouey. On the 15th, just as I had reached the 
Bastard kraal of Rhama, I fell in with my old servant Carollus, who 
had absconded from me at Bootlonamy. He was in company with the 
waggons belonging to Mr. David Hume, the trader, on their return to 
the colony, but, meeting with his old companions Kleinfeldt and Klein- 
boy, he resolved to turn about and re-enter my service, which I was not 
sorry for, as I was short of hands for the distant expedition I was about 
to make. I also fell in with Captain Arkwright and Mr. Christie, who 
were proceeding up the country on a similar expedition to my own. 

On the 16th of May I halted at Chouaney, at the residence of Dr. 
Livingstone, who told me that one or two troops of elephants had been 
frequenting the district. With one of these I fell in on the 20th, when 
I had an opportunity of testing the sportsmanlike qualities of my new 
servant Martin. The troop consisted of nine bull elephants, the finest 
of which I shot, but Martin, after selecting the poorest of the lot, ulti- 
mately lost him. We now pressed on*as rapidly as possible for my 
favourite fountain Massouey, which we at length reached on the 29th. 

I felt sincere pleasure in revisiting this very interesting spot. I 
found it well frequented by the elephants. Two troops of cows and 
three old bulls had drunk there on the preceding night. When the 
waggons came up to my old halting-place I took a hasty breakfast, and 
then started on the spoor of an enormous old bull. After following him 
north for about six miles we lost him in the spoor of a troop of cows ; I 
accordingly followed the spoor of the cows, and soon came up with 
them. The troop consisted in all of about ten, but there were only 
three full-grown cows in the troop j each of these three, unluckily, went 
off in different directions. I rode within twenty yards of the best, and, 
halting, I put two balls close behind her shoulder, and, calling to Martin 
to finish her, I galloped after the second best. I soon got a view of her, 
and in three minutes I had turned her head towards camp, and pre- 
sently I rolled her over with about six shots. Martin and the Bushman 
not appearing when two hours had elapsed, I rode to camp, where, to 
my astonishment, I found my servant, who had actually lost my ele- 
phant through the most inexcusable want of pluck. I was very much 
annoyed, and regretted having attacked the troop at all. 

At da»wn of day Molly eon and I walked to the fountain to seek for 



A FIGHT WITH AN ELEPHANT. 223 

elephants' spoor. A troop of cows, several small bulls, and two well- 
grown bulls, had drunk during the night, besides an unusual number of 
rhinoceroses, perhaps twenty. I made a hasty breakfast, and then took 
up the spoor of the two best bulls, with one after-rider. The spoor led 
nearly south-east. After following it for about six miles we found our- 
selves in an elevated part of the forest, which commanded a fine view of 
the mountains to the east, and here Mollyeon climbed to the summit of 
a sandal-wood tree to try if he could see the elephants. He could not 
see those we were spooring ; but he saw three other bull elephants, 
about three parts grown, feeding slowly along, steering about north ; 
after a short and dangerous conflict I slew the best with five bullets. 

We then followed up the spoor of one of our first elephants, which 
had now taken a northerly course. After following it up very sharply 
for about five miles through very open country, we reached some dense 
wait-a-bit cover, where we discovered our friend hiding himself within 
twenty yards of us. He took away at once through the thickest of the 
cover, and on my approaching for a shot he made the most terrific 
charge after me, sending large thorny trees flying like grass before him. 
When he halted after his charge, I sent a ball through his ribs, and he 
then made clean away, and got into better country. Here I fought with 
him for about an hour, and gave him sixteen shots from the saddle. 
My horse was extremely troublesome, and invariably destroyed the 
correctness of my aim ; the elephant was fierce and active, and made 
repeated charges with very destructive intentions ; at length he turned 
and regained the dense thorny cover, in which I lost him. 

On the morning of June 1st, before the sun rose, Mollyeon and I 
walked to the fountain to see if elephants had drunk. Ten bull ele- 
phants had been there, and had all gone off together, holding a south- 
easterly course ; this was glorious. I started on the spoor with five 
natives, and Kleinfeldt as after-rider on Dreadnought. I took eight of 
my dogs, all led in strings, and rode Schwartland, my best shooting- 
horse. After following the spoor for about five miles, we found our- 
selves to leeward of the elephant I had shot on Saturday, and here the 
elephants had smelt the blood, and started off in great fear, going clean 
away through open country, steeling one point west of south. They 
got into an old elephant footpath, and held steadily on for many miles, 
not halting to break one branch, or to plough the ground. The leading 
native said he did not expect to see them ; and I was certainly of the 
same opinion. At length they got into a thickly wooded part of the 
country, and, although they were still holding clean away up wind, they 
had occasionally halted to feed. Here I started an oryx. We presently 
reached the border of a very wide open country, where the spoor took 
a turn to the east. We proceeded a few hundred yards farther, when 
we had the unexpected satisfaction to behold the mighty squadron 
drawn up in the open cover, in open order, two hundred yards ahead. 
Some of them stood motionless as statues, others moved slowly here 
and there, and browsed upon the trees. 

The troop consisted of ten bull elephants : eight of them were about 
three parts grown ; the other two were enormous old" bull elephants, in 



224 HUNTING AND SPOKTING ADVENTURES. 



magnificent condition. We halted and gave the dogs water, and I then 
rode slowly round the elephants to ascertain which was the best. After 
riding twice along their front, they all, as if by one accord, turned their 
faces to me, and advanced leisurely within forty yards, giving me an 
excellent opportunity of making my choice. At length they saw me, 
and, sounding the alarm, all made off together in great consternation. 
I galloped alongside of them to make my final choice, and selected the 
largest elephant. I had some difficulty in getting him clear of his com- 
rades, some of which were extremely fierce, and were trumpeting along, 
with their tails and trunks aloft. At length I got him clear : all my 
dogs had gone off to the right and left after other elephants, and Dread- 
nought came galloping up to me, having thrown my after-rider, who did 
not succeed in recapturing him. 

My elephant now, hearing the barking and trumpeting on every side, 
halted beside a bushy tree, with his head high, and right to me ; but 
presently turning his broad-side, I gave it him sharp right and left after 
the shoulder ; and the dogs, hearing the shots, came to my assistance. 
The conflict now became fast and furious ; I had very pleasant work 
with this fine old elephant. My horse behaved very well', and his fury 
and attention were chiefly directed towards the dogs, who stuck well to 
him ; but he was by far the toughest elephant to finish that I had ever 
engaged with. I gave him thirty-five balls, all about and behind his 
shoulder, and discharged at distances varying from fifteen to thirty-five 
yards, before he would halt and die. At length he reduced his pace to 
a very slow walk ; blood flowed from his trunk and all his wounds, 
leaving the ground behind him a mass of gore ; his frame shuddered 
violently, his mouth opened and shut, his lips quivered, his eyes were 
filled with tears ; he halted beside a thorny tree, and having turned 
right about he rocked forwards and backwards for a few seconds, and, 
falling heavily over, his ancient spirit fled. The natives now came up, 
and, having promised to go on the spoor of my horse Dreadnought, I 
returned to Massouey, having off-saddled for an hour. 

No elephants having drunk at the fount for some days, on the 5th I 
resolved to leave my favourite Massouey. I accordingly marched about 
one p.m. I passed Corriebely an hour before dark ; there was water 
enough for the horses. Here I met Mutchuisho with a large party of 
Bechuanas, sent by Sicomy to endeavour to make me come and trade 
with him. I halted for an hour after sunset, and then inspanned and 
trekked on till the moon went down, when I halted near my old out- 
span ning-place, having performed a very long and difficult march. 

On the 6th, a very cold morning, we trekked at dawn of day, and in 
about three hours reached Lesausau, a bold and romantic gorge in the 
Bamangwato mountains, in the depth of which was a strong fountain. 
Sicomy soon made his appearance, and bothered all day; but he did 
not produce any ivory. At night I watched the fountain in the bold 
ravine, and shot two old black rhinoceroses, bull and cow, with my 
smooth bore carrying six to the pound. Both of these ran considerable 
distances, but were found by the natives. Along with the cow borhU 



TRADING FOR IVORY. 225 

• : — — — ■ • *r 

were two other old bulls, who fought together for three hours alongside 
of me. 

On the 7th Sicomy made his appearance early, and towards evening 
bought powder and lead with seven elephants' teeth. Soon after this 
bargain was concluded he ordered men to take away the teeth, and he 
threw me back the powder ; but on my kicking back the powder, and 
swearing I would shoot the first man who touched the ivory, he relin- 
quished the idea. 

On the succeeding day Sicomy prowled about the waggons all day, 
and bothered me so that I at last lost my temper, and swore at him. 
The natives held a consultation for a few minutes, which ended by their 
saying that they were all going to leave me. I said that I was happy 
to hear it. Then they decamped to a man ; but in an hour four of my 
old acquaintances appeared, and said that the captain wished me to 
come and see him ; but I replied that I was sick, and going to sleep. 
In another hour he made his appearance ; and on asking him what I 
had done that he had called all his men away, he replied that they had 
gone away to have a sleep. Presently Arkwright and Christie rode up 
to my waggons : theirs were at hand. On the march they had lost one 
ox and two horses in pitfalls, and their "butler," while running to the 
assistance of the steeds, had been himself engulphed in another pitfall, 
which, fortunately, however, lacked the usual sharp-pointed stake for 
impaling the game, which the probabilities are that he would have con- 
verted into a "rump steak." At night Arkwright and I watched the 
water, but did not get a shot. 

On the 9th Sicomy brought me .ivory. He asked me to go to my 
hunting-ground, saying that he would trade with me there. He was 
very anxious to separate the two parties. As soon as possible, there- 
fore, I inspanned, and trekked down the broad strath, steering south, 
although the natives asserted that I should find no water, and tried to 
guide me north. After trekking about eight miles, much to the annoy- 
ance of the Bamangwatos, I discovered the residence of the Bakaas, 
where I halted for the night, having sent a message to Schooey, the old 
chief, that I would trade with him next day. 

The next day the old chief, with his wives and nobility, appeared at 
an early hour, and by midday I had purchased several tusks of ele- 
phants ; also two very fine karosses of leopard-skin, etc. I then in- 
spanned, and in two hours I got clear of the Bamangwato mountains, 
when I held about east, through thick forest, halting for the night 
beside a small fount, where the horses could not drink. On the march 
pallah were abundant and very tame. 

On the morning of the 12th Sicomy came to my fireside, and said he 
was going to trade with me. A party of Bakalahari had arrived a little 
before, bearing twenty-nine elephants' teeth. After some trouble we 
set the trading agoing, and in about three hours I had purchased ten 
bull and ten cow elephants' teeth for ten muskets, and seven other cow 
elephants' teeth for powder, lead, and flints. I then bought two 
kobaoba knobkerries. At this moment natives came in, and reported 
elephants to have drunk within a mile during the night. This caused 



226 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

an immense bustle : in twenty minutes I was under way, with two after- 
riders and a party of good spoorers, followed by about a hundred and 
fifty starving natives. We took up the spoor a mile to the south, and 
followed it due east until the sun went down, when we halted for the 
night. While spooring we found the country in flames far and wide, 
but we crossed the fire, and took up the spoor beyond. We saw a troop 
of eight fat male elands, and a troop of eight giraffes. 

Next day we followed the spoor for several miles in an easterly 
course, when it took a turn to the north-west, through most horrible 
wait-a-bit thorns. About midday we came up with the elephants. The 
troop consisted of one mighty old bull, and two bulls three-parts grown. 
I first shot the best of the two small bulls, and then the old bull. The 
natives and all my dogs had kept him in view, and one fellow had 
pricked him in the stern with an assagai. Upon the strength of this 
the Bechuanas came up and claimed him as theirs when he fell ; but on 
my threatening to leave their country they relinquished the idea. . . 

On the 16th and 17th I bagged two first-rate bull elephants in the 
level forests to the eastward of Mangmaluky. 

On the 18th, after breakfast, I rode to Mangmaluky, to water my 
horses. One old bull elephant had been there, but the natives had too 
much flesh, and would not spoor. I rested all day, expecting my 
waggons, but they did not appear. At night a panther came within 
ten yards of my fire, and killed Cradock and disabled Wolf, my two best 
elephant-dogs. 

On the 21st I held south, down a beautiful wide valley full of very 
green trees of various kinds. This was evidently a favourite haunt 
with the elephants : every tree bore their marks. At the southern end 
of this valley was one of the most interesting fountains I ever beheld ; 
the water came gushing down through the wildest chasms, formed of 
one succession of huge masses of rock of all shapes and sizes, thrown 
loosely together in some places, and in others piled high one above 
another, as if by the hand of some giant. All the ground and rock 
about the fountain were covered with a layer of elephants' dung about 
a foot deep. We had proceeded about half-way up the valley when we 
heard elephants trumpeting ahead of us : it was a very fine troop of 
cows. There was one cow in the troop larger, I think, than any I had 
ever seen. 

On this occasion I was extremely unfortunate. I began by sending 
two balls into the shoulder of the fine cow just as they were charging 
into a dense cover of wait-a-bits. The dogs took after two calves, which 
I was obliged to shoot ; the natives, in attempting to assagai them, 
killed Bluma and wounded* Alert in the loin. The elephants were 
hiding in the thorns, and no man knew or seemed to care where they were. 
At this moment we beheld another fine troop of cow elephants going 
along the wooded mountain-side opposite to us. I immediately made 
for them, and had the mortification to see them gain a neck in the 
mountain just above my head as I got within two hundred yards of 
them. I now returned to the thorny cover, where we found the cows 
concealed. The natives eventually drove them out on the wrong side of 



ELEPHANT AND KHINOCEROS SHOOTING. 227 

the cover without warning me, and, to my extreme vexation, this fine 
troop of cows got away without my killing one. I was extremely 
sorry to lose the large cow elephant : she carried a pair of most beauti- 
ful and perfect teeth. I slept near the fountain, where I picked up a 
piece of a tooth of a cow elephant. 

On the 29th of June I reached a water called Lothokane, and 
hunted in the neighbourhood for several days, bagging some very fine 
elephants. 

On the 13th of July I held west with Mollyeon and about twenty 
natives on the spoor of bull elephants two days old. In the desert I 
came upon a troop of about twenty elands, the best of which I rode 
into and slew. In the evening we took up fresher spoor of three old 
bull elephants ; but night setting in, we halted beneath a shady tree. 

Early in the morning we resumed the spoor, which led us due west 
along the borders of the desert without a check until sundown. We 
had now spoored these elephants a very great distance, and the horses 
had not had water since the morning of the preceding day. I felt com- 
passion for the thirsty steeds, and was on the point of turning, when lo ! 
a string of Bakalahari women were seen half a mile before us, each bear- 
ing on her head an immense earthen vase and wooden bowl containing 
water. They had been to a great distance to draw water at a small 
fountain, and were now returning to their distant desert home. This 
was to us a perfect godsend. The horses and dogs got as much as they 
could drink, and all our vessels were replenished. The sun being now 
under, we halted for the night. 

At sunrise we resumed the spoor, and after following it for about ten 
miles, and finding that these elephants had gone clean away into the 
desert beyond the reach of man, we gave it up, and made for the foun- 
tain where the women had drawn the water on the preceding day. On 
reaching the fountain we found that four bull elephants had drunk there 
during the night. It was a soft, sandy soil, and the spoor was beauti- 
fully visible.. I had never seen larger spoor than that of two of these ; 
they had fed slowly away from the fountain, and we followed on with 
high hopes of seeing them that day. 

At length we got into a more densely wooded country, and presently 
observed the elephants standing in the forest about one hundred yards 
off. Having succeeded in securing the dogs r I shifted my saddle to 
Jock, and rode slowly forward to inspect the mighty game. Two of the 
elephants were but three parts grown ; the other two were very large, 
but one of them was a great deal taller and stouter than the other. This 
immense elephant, which was. I think, decidedly the largest I had ever 
seen, had unfortunately both his tusks broken short off close to the lip ; 
I therefore hunted his comrade, who carried a pair of very beautiful and 
perfect tusks. At the sixth shot he came to a stand and presently fell. 
I then dismounted and ran up to him, when he rose to his feet and 
stood some time, and then walked a few paces and fell again and died. 
On going up to him I found that he carried the finest teeth I had yet 
obtained ; they must have weighed one hundred pounds each, He was 



228 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

an extremely old bull, and had been once much wounded with assagais, 
the blades of two of which were found in his back. 

On the 17th I made for camp, and held through a fine open country- 
lying north-west from Corriebely. In following some ostriches I came 
upon an extremely old and noted black rhinoceros lying fast asleep in 
some low wait-a-bits, the birds having tried in vain to waken him. I 
fired from the saddle : the first ball hit him, as he lay, in the shoulder ; 
the second near his heart, as he gained his feet. In an instant the dogs 
were round him ; he set off down hill at a steady canter, and led me a 
chase of a mile, when he came to a stand, his shoulder failing him. At 
this instant I beheld a troop of about twenty fine elands trotting before 
me on the open slope ; I therefore quickly finished the black rhinoceros 
with two more balls, and then gave chase to the elands. I bagged the 
two best in the troop, a bull and cow, the latter about the fattest I 
have ever seen. I brought the bull within one hundred yards of the 
chukuroo. 

At dawn next day I shot, from the spot I had slept on, a springbok, 
running, through the heart, at one hundred yards. After cutting off the 
horns of the black rhinoceros, I held on for Letlochee, and slept at 
Lebotane, a very strong and perpetual fountain. 

On the 19th at sunrise I continued my march upon Letlochee, and 
presently detected an old buck koodoo, to which I gave chase. Just as 
I came up to him my horse fell and got away from me, whereby I lost 
the koodoo. My after-rider soon appeared and caught my steed, and 
once more we held on, and, presently gaining the ridge of the vast basin 
in which Letlochee lies, we started a second buck koodoo, to which I 
and the dogs gave chase, and, after a long and rocky chase, I shot him : 
he was an old buck with very wide-set horns. I then off-saddled for an 
hour, and once more held for camp. Presently I started a large troop 
of giraffes, to which I gave chase, and after a very hard and long run I 
rode into a princely old bull, which I drove within half a mile of camp, 
and then bowled over with a shot in the heart. Jock on this occasion 
was very much done up. On the 24th I left Letlochee, and marched 
upon Lotlokane. 

In the forenoon of the next day I rode out to look for koodoos, with- 
out success. While riding through the forest I came upon the bloody 
spoor of an elephant ; he had been evidently hunted by natives. The 
elephant was not far away, for, following the spoor a few hundred 
yards, I came upon about sixty natives who were hanging the flesh in 
garlands upon the thorny trees all around. This was an old bull ele- 
phant, and was quite lame, when the Bechuanas found him, from a ball- 
wound in the shoulder. On returning to camp, one of my Hottentots, 
who had been after some strayed oxen, stated that he had come upon a 
buffalo newlykilled by a lion, and that the lion was lying in the bushes 
close by, watching his prey. Having taken some coffee, I saddled up 
three horses, and rode for the lion, with Booi and Kleinboy carrying 
my Moore and Westley Richards, and accompanied by all my dogs. 

As we approached the carcase of the buffalo, which lay in a wait-a- 
bit thorn cover, the dogs all dashed away to my left, and in an instant 



LION AND ANTELOPE SHOOTING. 229 

they gave tongue, which was immediately followed by the deep and 
continued growling of the lion ; he seemed to be advancing right to 
where we stood. I turned my head to ask Kleinboy for my shooting- 
horse, which he had ridden to the field of battle, but my trusty after- 
riders had fled on hearing the first growl of the advancing lion. I be- 
held Booi swept out of the saddle by the bough of a tree, and fall 
heavily to the ground with my pet rifle; while Kleinboy, with my other 
gun, was charging panic-stricken in another direction. After a short 
chase I came up with Kleinboy, who did not lack my blessing ; and 
having changed horses and got my gun from him, I galloped to meet the 
grim lion. 

Ye Gods ! what a savage he looked. The whole of his mane was 
deeply tinged with the blood of the buffalo, and the rays of the declin- 
ing sun added to it a lustre which imparted to the now exasperated lion 
a look of surpassing fierceness. He was making for the adjacent rocky 
mountains, and he marched along in front of the dogs with his tail 
stuck straight out, stepping along with an air of the most consummate 
pride and independence. There was not a moment to lose, so I galloped 
forward on one side, and then rode in slowly to get a near shot ; as he 
came on I rode within thirty yards of him, and, halting my horse, I 
fired for his heart from the saddle. On receiving the ball he wheeled 
about, when I gave him the second a little below the first ; he then 
walked or ran about ten yards forward and fell dead. This was a very 
large old lion ; he had cleaned his buffalo very nicely, dragging up all 
the offal into a heap at a distance from the carcase, and he watched it 
all day to keep away the vultures, etc. The buffalo carried a very fine 
head. 

On the 26th, feeling in very indifferent health, I remained at home, 
and stretched the lion's skin. 

The next day after breakfast I rode up the wild glen above camp, in- 
tending to seek for bastard gemsbok on the other side of the mountains. 
I had ridden half-way up the glen, when, lo ! the long-wished-f or lovely 
sable antelope stood right in my path ; a princely old buck : he stood 
about two hundred yards ahead looking at me. Having heard that dogs 
can easily catch this antelope, and having all my dogs at my heels, I 
sent them ahead, and fired a shot to encourage them ; in half a minute 
they were at the heels of the potaquaine, and turned him down hill. 
He crossed the glen before me, and dashed up a very rough and rocky 
pass in the rocks to my right, the dogs following, but considerably 
thrown out. I listened to hear a bay, but listened in vain. To follow 
on horseback was impossible ; I therefore galloped round to an opposite 
point, and listened with breathless anxiety, standing in my stirrups to 
catch one sharp note from my trusty dogs. Nor did I wait long : in a 
distant hollow in the rocks I could faintly here my dogs at bay. 

My heart beat high ; it must be the sable antelope, and the dogs 
would never leave him. Already I felt that he was mine, and with a 
joyous heart I urged Mazeppa over the most fearful masses of adaman- 
tine rock, and at last came into the hollow, where my dogs were keep- 
ing up a furious bay. Some thick bushes concealed the game from my 



230 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

view ; I peeped over these, and, to my intense disappointment, instead 
of the sable antelope I beheld an old bull koodoo fighting gallantly for 
his life. I bowled him over with a shot in the heart ; and rode to 
follow two other sable antelopes which I had seen on the face of a rocky 
hill while galloping round the rocks to seek for my dogs. I had ridden 
a few hundred yards, when, high above me on the shoulder of a rocky 
and well- wooded mountain on the opposite side of the ravine, I detected 
a fourth sable antelope, a fine old buck. I then rode into the deep 
ravine, and, having secured the steeds, I stripped to my shirt, and 
ascended the bold face to stalk him. 

I held for a little to the leeward of where I had marked him ;*the 
Bushman followed with Boxer on a string. When I gained the summit 
I proceeded with extreme caution, and at length beheld him through 
the trees within a hundred yards of me ; I crept about ten yards nearer, 
and then lay till he should move ; this he presently did. He walked 
obligingly forward, and stood broadside in all his glory, with his 
magnificent scimitar-shaped horns sweeping back over his haunches. I 
fired. The ball broke his fore-leg in the shoulder, and he dropped on 
his face, but, recovering himself, he gained his legs, and limped slowly 
over the ridge. Boxer immediately appeared, and was beside me just 
as I peeped over the ridge, and beheld the wounded buck looking back 
within fifty yards of me. On seeing Boxer, he turned about, and, as he 
turned, I sent my second ball through his ribs. He then disappeared, 
and stumbled down the rocky mountain side, with Boxer at his heels. 
I followed as fast as could be, and 'found him half-way down the moun- 
tain, sitting on his haunches at bay, where I finished him with a shot in 
the heart. This was a magnificent sable antelope in the prime of life ; 
he was very fat, and the flesh was excellent. 

■ On the 28th I rode through the hills in quest of potaquaine, and 
went over a deal of rough ground on foot, and saw spoor, but no pota- 
quaine. In the evening I took some bedding up the glen, and slept 
there. 

I had lain in great pain all night, and in the morning of the 29th I 
found myself attacked with acute rheumatic fever. I had just strength 
to gain my waggons, when the disease came on in fall force, swelling up 
all the joints of my body, and giving me the most excruciating torture. 
I could not move hand nor foot nor turn on my bed. I had no medi- 
cine except salts ; these I made use of, and bled myself, and in about 
eight days the intense pains left me, but left me so weak that I could 
not stand. 

On the morning of the 4th % of August I determined to leave the 
Bamangwato country and to return to Sichely by way of Massouey, 
which place I reached on the 15th. It was, however, infested by 
natives, and all the game gone. I accordingly trekked for Lepeby, 
which I reached the next day. Here too the natives had gathered, so I 
proceeded on to Soobie ; where I found the skull of a very large lion, 
which the natives said had been killed by another lion. 

At night I lay by the water with Kleinboy; abundance of game came 
and drank, but it was too dark to shoot with any certainty. About 



A NOBLE LIONESS. 231 

midnight a lion and a lioness came within ten yards of us before we 
noticed them. I was lying half asleep, but detected Kleinboy removing 
the big rifle from my side : he made a lucky shot, the ball passed 
. through the lion's heart. He bounded forward about fifty yards, and, 
groaning fearfully, he died. Presently we heard the hyaenas and 
jackals feasting on him, and before morn he was consumed. After 
some time the lioness re-approached the water to seek her mate, and 
drew nearer and nearer to us, roaring most fearfully ; it was truly 
enough to make the stoutest heart quail. Kleinboy's quite failed him ; 
and presently, hearing other lions approaching on the opposite side of 
the*fount, I certainly felt that we were in danger, and accordingly 
agreed to light a fire, which was soon blazing cheerfully. I continued 
to watch the water from my deadly lair, both by day and night, till the 
1st of September, enjoying extraordinary sport, and securing uncom- 
monly fine specimens of the heads of all the varieties of game frequent- 
ing the district. m . 

On the 1st of September, about twelve o'clock, Molly ee came and told 
me that my cattle-herd had come upon four wildebeests killed by a 
troop of lions. I immediately sent for the steeds and rode to the spot, 
with Martin and the Bushman as after-riders, and accompanied by all 
my dogs. On reaching the ground, the dogs immediately took up scent, 
and went beating up the wind. I rode after, hunting them on, and 
presently I missed Boxer and Alert. Wolf now beat up a scent to 
windward, on which he afterwards went off at full speed, and was soon 
heard at bay with a lion. Just as Wolf started I heard a dog bark to 
leeward, and, riding hard in that line, I found Lassie barking at a large 
bush, in which the lions had taken shelter, but were gone. I was fol- 
lowed by poor cripple Argyll, who went boldly in and took up the 
scent. I lost sight of Argyll in the bushes. I then turned my face, as 
Wolf had gone, and rode hard to seek him; at length he came up to me, 
quite exhausted with his exertions. 

I rode back to seek Boxer, Alert, and Argyll. On coming to the 
place where Argyll had gone off, I found lions' spoor, and the spoor of 
the dogs on the top of. After holding this spoor for a few hundred 
yards I met my dogs, who, returning, led me to the game I sought — it 
was a noble lioness. As I approached I first beheld her great round 
face and black-tipped ears peeping over the low bushes. On riding up 
she obstinately kept her full front to me, although the dogs were bark- 
ing close around her ; at length she exposed a raking side shot, and the 
ball smashed her shoulder. She then charged among the dogs without 
doing any harm. 

At my second shot Schwartland was unsteady and spoilt my aim; the 
ball, however, passed through the middle of her foot from side to side. 
■I beckoned to Martin for my Moore, and, having got it, I rode up 
within a few yards of the lioness and gave her a shot, which crippled 
her in her other shoulder. She then fell powerless on the ground, and 
I fired my fourth shot for her heart : on receiving it she rolled over on 
her side and died. I cut off her head and the ten nails of her two fore 
feet and rode to camp, where I found that the rascally Hottentots, 



232 HUNTING AND SPOKTING ADVENTUKES. 

taking advantage of Martin's absence, had boned all my rich game-broth, 
replacing it with cold water. It blew a very stiff breeze of wind while 
I was hunting the lions, which entirely prevented me from hearing the 
dogs bark. The evening being very cold and windy, I did not watch 
the water. Lions roared around our camp all night. 



CHAPTER XXII. 



A Lion shot from my Watching-hole at Midnight — Six Lions drink close beside me 
— A Lioness slain — A Rhinoceros bites the dust — Moselakose Fountain — My 
Shooting-hole surrounded with Grame — Pallahs, Sassaybys, Zebras, etc. — A 
Rhoode-Rheebok shot — Extraordinary Circumstance — My fiftieth Elephant 
bagged — Interesting Fountains on the Hills — Leave my Waggons for the Hills 
— Struggle with a Boa Constrictor — Lions too numerous to be agreeable — Five 
Rhinoceroses shot as they came*to drink — A Venomous Snake. ' 

On the afternoon of the 3rd of September I watched the fountain. To- 
wards sunset one blue wildebeest, six zebras, and a large herd of pallahs, 
were all drinking before me. I lay enjoying contemplation for at least 
fifteen minutes, and, most of them having then slaked their thirst, I sent 
a ball through the heart of the best headed pallah. I then took a long 
shot at the blue wildebeest bull, and sent the other ball into his 
shoulder. I now came to the camp, and ordered the pallah to be placed 
in front of my hole beside the water, to attract the lions. Having taken 
my coffee, I returned to the water with Kleinboy and Mollyee. It was 
bright moonlight. 

We had scarcely lain down when the terrible voice of a lion was heard 
a little to the east ; the jackals were feasting over the remains of the 
white rhinoceros of yesterday, and only one or two occasionally came 
and snuffed at the pallah. Presently a herd of zebras, accompanied by 
elands, approached the water, but were too timid to come in and drink : 
a troop of wild dogs now came boldly up, and were walking off with the 
pallah, when I fired into them. They made off, but immediately re- 
turning, and again seizing my pallah, I fired again, and wounded one of 
them. 

Soon after we had lain down a thundering clattering of hoofs was 
heard coming up the vley, and on came an immense herd of blue wilde- 
beest. They were very thirsty, and the leading cow very soon came 
boldly up and drank before me. I sent a ball through her ; she ran 
sixty yards up the slope behind me, and fell dead. Her comrades then 
thundered across the vley, and took up a position on the opposite rising 
ground. In two minutes the hysenas and jackals had attacked the car- 
case of this wildebeest. Soon after this a lion gave a most appalling 
roar on the bushy height close opposite to us, which was succeeded by 
a deathlike stillness which lasted for nearly a minute. I had then only 
one shot in my four barrels, and I hastily loaded the other barrel of my 
Westley E-ichards, and with breathless attention I kept the strictest watch 
in front, expecting every moment to see the mighty and terrible king of 



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A MAGNIFICENT LION. 233 

beasts approaching ; but he was too cunning. He saw all the other 
game fight shy of the water, so he made a circuit to leeward to get the 
wind off the fountain. Soon after he roared I heard a number of jackals 
bothering him, as if telling him to come across the vley to the wilde- 
beest : he growled from side to side, as if playing with them, and after 
this all was still. 

I had listened with intense anxiety for about fifteen minutes longer, 
when I heard the hyaenas and jackals give way on either side behind 
me from the carcase of the wildebeest, and, turning my head slowly 
round, I beheld a huge and majestic lion, with a black mane which nearly 
swept the ground, standing over the carcase. He seemed aware of my 
proximity, and lowering his head he at once laid hold of the wildebeest 
and dragged it some distance up the hill. He then halted to take 
breath, but did not expose a broadside, and in a quarter of a minute he 
again laid hold of the wildebeest and dragged it about twelve yards 
farther towards the cover, when he again raised his noble head and 
halted to take breath. 

I had not an instant to lose ; he stood with his right side exposed to 
me in a very slanting position; I stretched my left arm across the grass, 
and, taking him rajther low, I fired : the ball took effect, and the lion 
sank to the shot. All was still as death for many seconds, when he 
uttered a deep growl, and slowly gaining his feet he limped toward the 
cover, roaring mournfully as he went. When he got into the thorny 
bushes he stumbled through them as he moved along, and in half a 
minute I heard him halt and growl fearfully, as if dying. I had now 
every reason to believe that he was either dead or would die im- 
mediately, and if I did not seek him till the morning I knew very well 
that the hysenas and jackals would destroy him. I accordingly went 
up to camp, and, having saddled two horses, I and Martin rode to seek 
him, taking all the dogs, led in strings by the natives. 

On reaching the carcase of the wildebeest we slipped the dogs, and 
they went off after the hyaenas and jackals : we listened in vain for the 
deep growl of the lion, but I was persuaded that he was dead, and rode 
forward to the spot where I had last heard him growl. Lassie, now 
coming up, commenced barking at a bush in front of me, and, riding 
round, I had the immense satisfaction to behold the most magnificent 
old black-maned lion stretched out before me. 

The ball had entered his belly a little before the flank, and traversed 
the length and breadth of his body, crippling him in the opposite 
shoulder. No description could give a correct idea of the surpassing 
beauty of this most majestic animal, as he lay still warm before me. I 
lighted a fire and gazed with delight upon his lovely marie, his massive 
arms, his sharp yellow nails, his hard and terrible head, his immense 
and powerful teeth, his perfect beauty and symmetry throughout ; and 
I felt that I had won the noblest prize that this wide world could yield 
to a sportsman. Having about fifteen natives with me, I sent for 
rheims and the lechteruit, and we bore the lion to camp. 

On my way from the water to get the horses and dogs, I shot an ex- 
tremely old bull black rhinoceros with a single ball : he dropped to the 



234 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

shot. His horns were quite worn down and amalgamated, resembling 
the stump .of an old oak-tree. 

On the afternoon of the 4th I deepened my hole and watched the 
water. As the sun went down two graceful springboks and a herd of 
pallah came and drank, when I shot the best pallah in the troop. At 
night I watched the water with Kleinboy : very soon a black cow rhin- 
oceros came and drank, and got off for the present with two balls in 
her. A little afterwards two black rhinoceroses and two white ones 
came to the water-side. We both fired together at the finest of the two 
black rhinoceroses ; she ran three hundred yards, and fell dead. Soon 
after this the other black rhinoceros came up again and stood at the 
water-side ; I gave her one ball after the shoulder ; she ran a hundred 
yards and fell dead. In half an hour a third old borel6 appeared, and, 
having inspected the two dead ones, he came up to the water-side. We 
fired together ; he ran two hundred yards and fell dead. I felt satisfied 
with our success, and gave it up for the night. 

By the following evening the natives had cleared away the greater 
part of two of the rhinoceroses which lay right in the way of the game 
approaching the water ; I, however, enforced their leaving the third 
rhinoceros, which had fallen on the bare rising ground, almost opposite 
to my hiding-place, in the hope of attracting a lion, as I intended to 
watch the water at night. Soon after the twilight had died away, I 
went down to my hole with Kleinboy and two natives, who lay con- 
cealed in another hole, with Wolf and Boxer ready to slip in the event 
of wounding a lion. 

On reaching the water I looked towards the carcase of the rhinoceros, 
and, to my astonishment, I beheld the ground alive with large- creatures* 
as though a troop of zebras were approaching the fountain to drink. 
Kleinboy remarked to me that a troop of zebras were standing on the 
height. I answered, " Yes : " but I knew very well that zebras would 
not be capering around the carcase of a rhinoceros. I quickly arranged 
my blankets, pillow, and guns in the hole, and then lay down to feast 
my eyes on the interesting sight before me. It was bright moonlight, 
as clear as I need wish, and within one night of being full moon. There 
were six large lions, about twelve or fifteen hysenas, and from twenty 
to thirty jackals, feasting on and around the carcases of the three rhin- 
oceroses. The lions feasted peacefully, but the hysenas and jackals 
fought over every mouthful, and chased one another round and round 
the carcases, growling, laughing, screeching, chattering, and howling 
without any intermission. 

The hyaenas did not seem afraid of the lions, although they gave way 
before them ; for I observed that they followed them in the most dis- 
respectful manner, and stood laughing, one or two on either side, when 
any lions came after their comrades to examine pieces of skin or bones 
which they were dragging. I had lain watching this banquet for about 
three hours, in the strong hope that, when the lions had feasted, they 
would come and drink. Two black and two white rhinoceroses had 
made their appearance, but, scared by the smell of the blood, they had 
made off. 



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A TROOP OF LIONS. 235 

At length the lions seemed satisfied. They all walked about with 
their heads up, and seemed to be thinking about the water; and in two 
minutes one of them turned his face towards me, and came on ; he was 
immediately followed by a second lion, and in half a minute by the 
remaining four. It was a decided and general move, they were all 
coming to drink right bang in my face, within fifteen yards of me. 

I charged the unfortunate, pale, and panting Kleinboy to convert 
himself into a stone, and knowing, from old spoor, exactly where they 
would driuk, I cocked my left barrel, and placed myself and gun in 
position. The six lions came steadily on along the stony ridge, until 
within sixty yards of me, when they halted for a minute to recon- 
noitre. One of them stretched out his massive arms on the rock and 
lay down ; the others then came on, and he rose and brought up the rear. 
They walked, as I had anticipated, to the old drinking-place, and three 
of them had put down their heads and were lapping the water loudly, 
when Kleinboy thought it necessary to shove up his ugly head. I turned 
my head slowly to rebuke him, and again turning to the lions I found 
myself discovered. 

An old lioness, who seemed to take the lead, had detected me, and, 
with" her head high and her eyes fixed full upon me, she was coming 
slowly round the corner of the vley to cultivate further my acquaintance ! 
This unfortunate proceeding put a stop at once to all further contempla- 
tion. I thought, in my haste, that it was perhaps most prudent to shoot 
this lioness, especially as none of the others had noticed me. I accord- 
ingly moved my arm and covered her : she saw me move and halted, 
exposing a full broadside. I fired ; the ball entered one shoulder and 
passed out behind the other. She bounded forward with repeated 
growls, and was followed by her five comrades all enveloped in a cloud of 
dust ; nor did they stop until they had reached the cover behind me, 
except one old gentleman, who halted and looked back for a few seconds 
when I fired, but the ball went high. 

I listened anxiously for some sound to denote the approaching end of 
the lioness ; nor listened in vain. I heard her growling and stationary, 
as if dying. In one minute her comrades crossed the vley a little below 
me, and made towards the rhinoceros. I then slipped Wolf and Boxer 
on her scent/ and, following them into the cover, I found her lying dead 
within twenty yards of where the old lion had lain two nights before. 
This was a fine old lioness, with perfect teeth, and was certainly a noble 
prize; but I felt dissatisfied at not having rather shot a lion, which I had 
most certainly done if my Hottentot had not destroyed my contem- 
plation. 

On. the 8th, as I and Kleinboy watched the under water about mid- 
night, we heard a black rhinoceros blowing beside the upper water. We 
very rashly walked up within about eighteen yards of him, with no other 
shelter than a small bush. On perceiving us the borkle" at once turned 
his head to me and advanced slowly : Kleinboy, who was on my right 
and had a good chance, fortunately fired without orders, and the ball 
entered the shoulder with a fine direction. Borel6 then charged madly 
and furiously, through trees and bushes, right towards camp, making 



236 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



the most tremendous blowing noise, and halting in a stony open flat close 
to the waggons : he stood, and staggered about for a minute or two, 
and then fell. On coming up to him I found him a magnificent specimen, 
carrying three distinct horns. 

After breakfast on the 10th, the oxen having drunk, we inspanned 
and marched to Botolonamy, which we reached at sunset. 

After a march of three days, during which the cattle and horses 
nearly died of thirst, we reached Moselakose, a retired fountain in a 
bold glen, or gorge, in the first mountain chain before us. As we ap- 
proached this fine fountain, the poor, thirsty, loose cattle rushed ahead 
to the water, not a little gratified by the sight. 

I found the spoor of game abundant at the water ; accordingly I out- 
spanned at a considerable distance from it, and at once set about making 
a hole from which to shoot the game as they came up to drink. 

After breakfast on the 1 6th I rode to the water and again lay in my 
hole. There were large herds of game standing within a few hundred 
yards of me when I lay down, and soon after the horses had disappeared 
they came on from all sides and completely surrounded me. It was of 
no consequence that they got my wind, and frequent alarms were 
sounded — the thirsty game to windward would not heed the alarm, and, 
standing their ground fearlessly, they gave the others confidence. There 
were standing within shot of me at once about three hundred pallahs, 
about twelve sassaybys, and twenty zebras. I could only make out two 
very fair heads in all that vast herd of pallahs, and these were not to be 
compared with my best Soobie heads ; I, therefore, amused myself by 
watching the game, and did not fire, having resolved to wait quietly, in 
the hope of some rarer game appearing, such as koodoo, sable antelope, 
or wild boar, etc. At length I observed three shy, strange-looking an- 
telopes approach the water, with large bushy tails and furry-looking 
reddish-grey hair. They were three rhoode-rheeboks, a buck and two 
does. I had never before heard that either of the rheeboks frequented 
these parts ; being anxious to certify that this antelope did so, I shot 
the buck through the heart. 

The, next day I again rode to the water and lay down, with large 
herds of pallahs, etc., in view: soon after the horses were gone they 
came in and surrounded me, the same as the day before. It was a fine 
show of game : there were about two hundred pallahs, about fifty blue 
wildebeests, thirty zebras, and thirty sassaybys — all at once drinking 
and standing within easy shot of me. After watching them for a short 
time I selected a fine old cow blue wildebeest, and fired, when this vast 
body of game thundered, panic-stricken, away on every side. As the 
dust cleared away the gnoo was to be seen standing alone, and in about 
ten minutes she staggered, fell, and died. Fifteen minutes afterwards 
two herds of pallahs approached from different directions. 

I was overhauling them, when up came two tearing wild boars and 

stood broadside before me, with their long tails stuck right up. I took the 

best behind the shoulder ; he ran off with his comrade up a very rocky 

■ hill above the fountain, leaving the stones red in his wake, and, feeling 

himself unable to proceed farther, he charged and staggered violently 



\ \ 




U 



MY FIFTIETH ELEPHANT. 237 

about the stones, and, at last, gave in, having broken both his under- 
teeth ; like any other pig, he also squealed violently when the struggles 
of death came over him. 

A similar circumstance occurred as I watched the waters on the 20th. 
Having shot a sassayby, he immediately commenced choking from the 
blood, and his body began to swell in a most extraordinary manner ; it 
continued swelling, with the animal still alive, until it literally resembled 
a fisherman's float, when the sassayby died of suffocation. It was not 
only his body that swelled in this extraordinary manner, but even his 
head and legs, down to his knees. 

The 21st was a bitter cold morning, with a strong wind from the 
south-west. I rode to my hole at the fountain before the morning star 
appeared. Shortly, becoming impatient of lying still, I rose from my 
hole to examine what game had drunk during the night, and, to my 
astonishment, I at once discovered the spoor of a mighty bull elephant, 
which must have drunk there not many hours before. I went in haste 
to camp, and, having made all ready for a three-days' trip, I took up the 
spoor with two after-riders and six natives. It led us in an easterly 
course — first, through a neck in the mountains, and then skirting them 
for about five miles through thick cover and over hard adamantine 
rocks and sharp stones. The elephant had fed as he went along, and 
we soon came up with him standing in a thicket. When we first caught 
sight of him he was within twenty yards of us, a bushy tree nearly con- 
cealing him from our view. I first observed one of his tusks, and then 
I had to despatch Kleinboy to catch the cowardly natives, who were 
making off at top speed with my dogs on strings. The dogs fought well 
with him ; it was very rocky ground, and I gave him one deadly shot 
before he was aware of our presence. I then hunted him into softer 
ground and slew him with the tenth shot. 

This fellow made up my fiftieth elephant bagged in Africa ; not to 
mention numbers lost. 

On our way to camp, while following an old established elephant and 
rhinoceros footpath, I observed a grej^ mass beneath a bush, with some- 
thing which looked like a shining black horn stuck out on one side ) it 
was within about eighteen yards of our path. When I got alongside of 
it I saw that it was a princely old bull buffalo, with a very remarkably 
fine head. He had lain his head flat on the ground and was crouching, 
in the hope that we should ride past without observing him, just as an 
old stag or a roebuck does in Scotland. I gave the dogs the signal of 
the presence of game, when, as dogs invariably will do, they dashed off 
in the wrong direction. The buffalo sprang to his feet, and in one in- 
stant he was lost in the thicket. 

From the quantity of buffalo's spoor on the north side of this moun- 
tain range, I made up my mind that there must be some strong water 
on that side of the hills, as only one or two buffaloes occasionally came 
to drink at the fountain where I was encamped; the natives all declared 
that there was none. I, however, on the 22nd, determined to ride 
thither to explore, and accordingly started with Kleinboy and the 
Bushman. We held first about west, and then crossed the mountains 

15 



238 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

by a succession of very rocky valleys and ravines. When we had 
gained the highest part of the rock, which opened to us the forests to 
the north, a troop of seven doe koodoos and three rhooze-rheeboks 
started on the opposite side of the ravine. The dogs, observing the 
koodoos, gave immediate chase ; and after a very fine and bold course 
they brought one to bay far in the valley below, which Kleinboy shot. 

I had, in the mean time, ridden ahead, following an old established 
game footpath, and after proceeding two or three miles I had the satis- 
faction to discover a beautiful fountain in a deep rocky ravine on the 
north side of the mountains. Here was fresh spoor of black and white 
rhinoceros, buffalo, wildebeest, sassayby, koodoo, klipspringer, etc. A 
little after this I was met by my after-riders, who had likewise dis- 
covered a ravine containing water a little to the east. There they had 
started two bull buffaloes, three buck koodoos, and a troop of rheebok. 
I then rode to inspect this water, and took up the spoor of the buffaloes, 
in the hope of bringing them to bay with the dogs. I held up the hol- 
low on their spoor, and presently observed one of them standing among 
some trees to my left. The dogs were snuffing about close under his 
nose ; nevertheless they failed to observe him, but set off at top speed 
on some other scent ; nor did they return for about ten minutes. The 
buffalo did not seem startled by the dogs, but walked slowly over the 
rocky ridge. 

I was following briskly after him, when I observed his comrade lying 
right in our path ; we squatted instantly, but he got our wind and was 
off. I followed, and got a shot across the ravine, wounding him behind 
the shoulder. When the dogs came up I tried to put them on this 
spoor, but they dashed up the ravine and started three other buffaloes, 
which they failed in bringing to bay, nor did I again see the dogs till I had 
been two hours in camp. I nearly killed myself by running after them, 
for I was on foot, the ground being too bad for the horses. 

On reaching the steeds I rode hard for camp, as the day was far 
spent. Passing the mouth of another bold ravine, we crossed very well 
beaten paths, which led me to suspect that this ravine also contained a 
fountain. We had ridden about half-way to camp when a fine old bull 
eland came charging up to leeward, having got our wind. I sprang 
from the back of Mazeppa, and gave him both barrels as he passed me. 
We then gave him chase through very thick cover, and after a sharp 
burst of about a mile I shot him from the saddle : he carried a very fine 
head, and was, notwithstanding the lateness of the season, in very good 
condition. 

On the 23rd, in the forenoon, I rode to explore the suspected ravine 
of the day before, and having crossed the mountain chain I came upon 
the fresh spoor of a very large troop of cow elephants leading towards 
the spot. I at once determined to follow it, and despatched the Bushman 
to camp for the dogs and Kleinboy's gun, etc. I rode slowly ahead on 
the spoor, imagining the elephants at a great distance, when, on gaining 
a ridge, I came full upon the troop drawn up within twenty -five yards 
of me. There were perhaps from twenty-five to thirty of them. The 



ON THE SPOOR OF LARGE GAME. 239 



instant I came upon them they got my wind, and, rumbling, away they 
went in three divisions into the impenetrable cover. 

The ground that I had now reached was one solid mass of sharp ada- 
mantine blocks of rock, so that a horse could with difficulty walk on it. 
I held along the ridge above the cover, and in half a minute I heard one 
division of the elephants crashing through the cover after me. They 
came on a little above me, and another troop held the same course a 
little before me, so that I had considerable difficulty in getting clear of 
them, and when I did so I held for the level ground beneath the dense 
cover. Here I fell in with one elephant with a calf : she had only one 
tooth. I gave her a shot behind the shoulder ; and next minute, while 
trying to head her in the dense cover, she very nearly ran me down in 
her charge, and being without dogs I lost her immediately. 

I then gave up the elephants in vexation with the ground, and rode 
to explore the ravine. My wounded elephant, however, happened to 
take the same course above me in the cover, and I once more fell in 
with her. She was going slowly along the hill-sides, keeping in the 
thickest cover, with a rocky ground, where my horse would be of no 
service to me. I might now have got her, but as she had only one 
tooth I was not anxious about her, so I held up the bold ravine. 

Here, as I expected, I found a strong fountain in a solid rocky basin 
not more than ten feet wide : it was a very interesting spot, approach- 
able by three different rugged passes, the sides of which were furrowed 
by broad footpaths established through ages. The large stones and 
masses of rock were either kicked to the side or packed into a level 
" like a pavement ; " even the solid adamantine rock was worn hollow 
by the feet of the mighty game which most probably for a thousand 
years had passed over it. Here I found fresh spoor of most of the 
larger game, and, resolving to play havoc by light of the coming moon, 
I left the glen and rode for camp. 

On the 25th, after breakfast, I started with bedding and provisions to 
hunt for a few days on the other side of the hills. We visited the first 
water and established a place of concealment with rocks and green 
boughs on the rock. While we were making this bothy a wild boar 
hove in view, but, observing us, he escaped. We then held on to the 
farther ravine, and on my way thither I nearly rode down a fine old 
bastard gemsbok, which got away among the rocks. I repaired an old 
hiding-hole at this water, building it up with fragments of rock. I then 
sent the steeds to a proper distance, put out my fire, and lay down to 
. watch for the night. 

First came a pallah, closely followed by a wild dog. The pallah 
escaped, the wild dog presently returned, and observing my retreating 
men he barked loudly ; ten minutes after, about eight wild dogs came 
up the glen and drank. Night now set in, and the moonlight was very 
faint. Presently an occasional loud displacement of rock and stone 
announced the approach of large game : it was two old bull buffaloes ; 
they came and drank, and went away without approaching within shot. 
Soon after fourteen buffaloes came ; but before these had finished drink- 
ing they got an alarm and charged panic-stricken up the rugged moun- 



240 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

tain side. They had winded two lions, which came up to the fountain- 
head, and drank within eighteen yards of me, where they lay lapping 
loudly and occasionally halting for four or five minutes, but, from their 
light colour and the masses of rock that surrounded them, I could not 
see to fire. About ten minutes after they had drunk I fancied that 
they were still lingering, and on throwing a stone their step was heard 
retreating among the dry leaves and stones. 

Soon after this six old bull buffaloes approached from a glen behind 
us : they walked very slowly, standing long to listen. When the leader 
came up within twenty yards of us, Kleinboy and I fired together ; it 
ran thirty yards and in two minutes fell. His comrades, after consider- 
ing the matter for five minutes, came on once more : we again took the 
leader, and he also dropped. His comrades, as before, retreated, but 
soon returning we wounded a third, which we did not get. The moon 
was now under and it was very dark; the buffaloes however were deter- 
mined to try it on once more, and coming up a fourth and last time we 
shot another old bull. In about ten minutes lions were very busy on 
the carcase of the first buffalo, where they feasted till morning, taking 
another drink before they went away. Towards daybreak we wounded 
a white rhinoceros, and soon after two black rhinoceroses fought beside 
us, but I was too sleepy to rise. 

On the 26th I rose at earliest dawn to inspect the heads of the three 
old buffaloes; they were all enormous old bulls, and one of them carried 
a most splendid head. The lions had cleaned out all his entrails : their 
spoor was immense. Having taken some buffalo breast and liver for 
breakfast, I despatched Ruyter to the waggons to call the natives to re- 
move the carcases, whilst I and Kleinboy held through the hills to see 
what game might be in the next glen which contained water. On our 
way thither we started a fine old buck koodoo, which I shot, putting 
both barrels into him at one hundred yards. As I was examining the 
spoor of the game by the fountain I suddenly detected an enormous old 
rock-snake stealing in beneath a mass of rock beside me. He was truly 
an enormous snake, and, having never before dealt with this specimen 
of game, I did not exactly know how to set about capturing him. Being 
very anxious to preserve his skin entire, and not wishing to have re- 
course to my rifle, I cut a stout and tough stick about eight feet long, 
and having lightened myself of my shooting-belt I commenced the 
attack. Seizing him by the tail I tried to get him out of his place of 
refuge ; but I hauled in vain, he only drew his large folds firmer 
together ; I could not move him. At length I got a rheim round one of 
his folds about the middle of his body, and Kleinboy and I commenced 
hauling away in good earnest. 

The snake, finding the ground to hot for him, relaxed his coils, and, 
suddenly bringing round his head to the front, he sprang out at us like 
an arrow, with his immense and hideous mouth opened to its largest 
dimensions, and before I could get out of his way he was clean out of 
his hole, and made a second spring, throwing himself forward about 
eight or ten feet and snapping his horrid fangs within a foot of my 



KILLING A LAEGE SNAKE. 241 

naked legs. I sprang out of his way, and getting a hold of the green 
bough I had cut I returned to the charge. 

The snake now glided along at top speed : he knew the ground well, 
and was making for a mass of broken rocks where he would have been 
beyond my reach, but before he could gain this place of refuge I caught 
him two or three tremendous whacks on the head. He however held 
on, and gained a pool of muddy water, which he was rapidly crossing 
when I again belaboured him, and at length reduced his pace to a stand. 
We then hanged him by the neck to a bough of a tree, and in about 
fifteen minutes he seemed dead, but he again became very troublesome 
during the operation of skinning, twisting his body in all manner of 
ways. This serpent measured fourteen feet. 

At night no game visited the water, being scared by the strong smell 
of the carrion. Lions however were so numerous that we deemed it safe 
to shift a position we had taken down the glen, for they trotted past 
within twenty yards of us, growling fearfully. We fired off the big 
gun to scare them for the moment while we shifted to our baggage at 
the fountain-head, where we instantly lighted a large fire. The lions, 
for a short time after this, kept quiet, when they again returned, and 
the fire being low they soon commenced upon the buffalo the natives 
had left within fifty yards of us, and before morning two of them came 
up and looked into our bothy, when Boxer giving a sharp bark, and I 
suddenly awaking and popping up my head, they bounded off. 

In the evening of the 28th I shot an old bull koodoo. At night I 
watched the water near my camp with Kleinboy. After a long time had 
elapsed an enormous old bull muchocho or white rhinoceros came slowly 
on, and commenced drinking within fifteen yards of us, and next minute 
a large herd of zebras and blue wildebeest. It was long before the 
muchocho would turn his side ; when he did, we fired together, and away 
he went with zebras and wildebeests concealed in a cloud of dust. Next 
came an old bull borel6 ; we fired together, and he made off, blowing 
loudly, after charging round and round, seeking some object on which to 
wreak his vengeance. Next came another borel6; and he got two 
bullets into his person. The fourth that came was another old bull 
muchocho ; he ran forty yards and fell. And fifth came a cow borele" ; 
she fell dead to the shots. Three other rhinoceroses came about me, but 
I was too drowsy to watch any longer, and fell asleep. 

When day dawned I rose to see if the wounded chukuroos had gone 
far, and how like were their horns. We got the two old bull muchochos 
and a bull and a cow borel6 : both the muchochos and the bull borele 
carried very fine horns ; the two former were very fat. I immediately 
set all the natives to work to clear away the flesh and bring a supply 
to camp. The heat in the middle of the day was very oppressive ; in 
the evening I lay by the fountain. Two troops of pallahs and a herd of 
sassaybys came up, when I shot the best stag sassayby in the troop : he 
got a raking shot at a hundred yards, and, after galloping after his 
comrades a couple of hundred yards at top speed, he fell violently over 
in the dust. Wishing to give my man Martin some diversion, I told him 
to come up to the water at sunset with Kleinboy and the two big guns 



242 HUNTING AND SPOETING ADVENTUEES. 



to watch all night for rhinoceros. As we were making our beds ready 
we suddenly observed a superb old bull buffalo coming briskly on to 
drink : he was already in full sight of us ; there was no time to get the 
horses out of the way, and there they stood saddled and bridled beside 
the water. In an instant we were out of sight in the hole. 

On came the buffalo, but, detecting the saddlery, he eyed the steeds 
with great suspicion : one of these was fortunately " the pony," who 
entered a great dislike to buffaloes, having been once furiously charged 
by one ; accordingly, when the pony beheld the buffalo he cocked his 
ears at him, and, turning right about face, he held away for his comrades : 
then the old buffalo came on ; he was going to make a cast to leeward, 
but to this I objected, and, taking him a raking shot at eighty yards, I 
shot him in the heart ; he ran forty-six yards and fell dead. But little 
game appeared during the night, scared by the blood of last night's 
carnage. About midnight I put a ball through a hyaena. A little 
before the moon was under a fine old borel6 stood within fifteen yards of 
us. Directing Martin and Kleinboy to present, and await my signal to 
fire, I covered Borele, but before I had given any signal Martin thought 
proper to fire with the borele" standing almost tail on end to us ; we of 
course lost him, and, after consigning Martin and the borel6 to the shades 
below, I lay down to rest in anything but a smooth temper. 

These fountains afforded me excellent shooting for about a fortnight 
longer, during the whole of which time I watched nightly in my different 
hiding-holes, and bagged buffaloes, rhinoceros, koodoos, zebras, and other 
game. One night, while so engaged, a horrid snake which Kleinboy 
had tried to kill with his loading-rod flew up at my eye, and spat poison 
into it. Immediately I washed it well out at the fountain. I endured 
great pain all night, but next day the eye came all right. 



CHAPTEE XXIII. 



Sichely's Kraal again — The Ngotwani — Chase and kill a waterbuck — A portion of 
the Cattle recovered — A Leopard bayed by my Dogs and slain — Buffalo-shoot- 
ing beside the Ngotwani — A Lion feeds on the Carcase — My Horse knocked 
down by the King of Brutes — Meet a grim Lion face to face at midnight ! — He 
sheers off — These Animals unpleasantly bold — An amusing Chase with a Buf- 
falo — Interesting Stalk in rocky ground — Leave my hunting-ground and encamp 
on Vaal River — Great Herds — In taking the Drift a Waggon sticks fast in the 
middle of the River — Great fear of losing all my Property — Rescue of the 
Waggon — Colesberg — A Farmer's Waggon capsized in the Fish River — Visit 
Strydom's farm and find it desolate — Arrival at Grahamstown. 

On the 16th of October we inspanned, and trekked steadily on for Sichely 
under a most terrific sun, and halted at sundown without water : the 
country was covered with spoor of all the larger varieties of game 
including elephants. 

On the 17th I inspanned, and trekked a couple of miles, when I found 
myself once more on the banks of the Ngotwani, which, except at its 
source, was this year generally dried up ; we however found a spot in 



SHOOTING A WATERBUCK. 243 

its gravelly bed where, by digging, we obtained sufficient water for all. 
The natives in charge of the loose cattle chose to remain behind all 
night, I having too well supplied them with flesh. Though my remaining 
stud of six horses and twelve trek-oxen were thus absent all night, I 
was not anxious about them, trusting to the usual good herding of the 
natives. When, however, they came up after breakfast, they were minus 
all the oxen, without being able to give any account of them, further 
than that they imagined that they were with us : I accordingly despatched 
two of my men on horseback to take up their spoor. 

On the 18th I arose before it was clear, and rode up the banks of the 
river with my dogs to seek for water-buck, and presently arrived where 
another considerable river's bed joins the Ngotwani. Near this spot I 
came upon an old waterbuck, the first I had ever seen. He was 
standing among some young thorn-trees, within sixty yards, and had his 
eye full upon me. Before I could pull up my horse he was off at a 
rapid pace, and crossed the river's bed above me. I shouted to the 
dogs, and fired a shot to encourage them ; they had a pretty fair start,. 
and in half a minute the buck disappeared over a rocky ridge, with 
three or four of my best dogs within thirty yards of his stern. I knew 
that he would make for the nearest water ; accordingly I kept my eye 
down the river, and listened with an attentive ear for the baying of the 
dogs. 

Presently the noble buck appeared ascending a rocky pyramidal hill 
down the river side, with the agility of a chamois, and only one dog, 
Boxer, my best, at his heels. I then galloped down the river side at 
top speed to meet him, but was too late : I however fired a long shot to 
encourage Boxer. Next moment, in ascending the opposite bank of the 
Ngotwani, my horse fell and rolled down the bank very nearly on the 
top of me. One of the barrels of my favourite ball gun was thereby 
stove, by coming in violent contact with a piece of rock. Jock, on 
gaining his legs, declined being caught, and made off for camp, followed 
by my after-rider : Alert at this moment came up to me, having eight 
or ten inches of the skin of his breast and forearm ripped clean up by 
the waterbuck. 

I now fancied that I had lost him, but a little after I heard Boxer's 
voice coming down the river side with the buck, having once more 
turned him. I ran up the bank of the Ngotwani at my best pace to 
meet them, and found the waterbuck at bay in a deep pool of water, 
surrounded by high banks of granite rock. He would not stand at bay, 
but swam through the deep water and broke bay on the opposite side. 
Boxer, however, held on and followed him up the river, and once more 
turned him to this pool. I met them coming down the watercourse, 
and sent a ball into the buck's throat, which made blood flow freely 
from his mouth. He held stoutly on, however, and plunged into the 
deep pool, there standing at bay under a granite rock. I then headed 
him, and from above put a bullet between his two shoulder-blades, which 
dropped him dead on the spot. He died as a waterbuck ought, in the 
deep water. My success with this noble and very beautiful antelope 
gave me most sincere pleasure. 



244 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



I had now shot noble specimens of every sort of game in South Africa, 
excepting a few small bucks common in the colony, and the hippopotamus. 
Having contemplated the waterbuck for some time, I cut off his hand- 
some head, which I bore to camp in triumph. The next day I suc- 
ceeded in bringing down another fine waterbuck after a hot chase. 

On the 19th Kleinboy returned without the lost oxen : the natives said 
that they had been found by Bakalahari, and were driven to Sichely. 
Next day the half of them were sent by the chief, with a message that 
no more had been found, but that spoor had been seen. 

On the morning of the 22nd I rode into camp, after unsuccessfully 
following the spoor of a herd of elephants for two days in a westerly 
course. Having partaken of some refreshment, I saddled up two steeds 
and rode down the bank of the Ngotwani with the Bushman, to seek for 
any game I might find. After riding about a mile along the river's 
green bank I came suddenly upon an old male leopard, lying under the 
shade of a thorn grove, and panting from the great heat. Although I 
was within sixty yards of him he had not heard the horses' tread. I 
thought he was a lioness, and, dismounting, took a rest in my saddle on 
the old grey, and sent a bullet into him. He sprang to his feet and ran 
half way down the river's bank and stood to look about him, when I 
sent a second bullet into his person, and he disappeared over the bank. 
The ground being very dangerous, I did not disturb him by following 
then, but I at once sent Ruyter back to camp for the dogs. 

Presently he returned with Wolf and Boxer, very much done up with 
the sun. I rode forward, and on looking over the bank the leopard 
started up and sneaked off alongside of the tall reeds and was instantly 
out of sight. I fired a random shot from the saddle to encourage the 
dogs, and shouted to them ; they however stood looking stupidly round 
and would not take up his scent at all. I led them over his spoor again 
and again, but to no purpose ; the dogs seemed quite stupid, and yet 
they were Wolf and Boxer, my two best. 

At length I gave it up as a lost affair, and was riding down the river's 
bank when I heard Wolf give tongue behind me, and, galloping back, 
I found him at bay with the leopard, immediately beneath where I had 
fired at him : he was very severely wounded, and had slipped down into 
the river's bed and doubled back, whereby he had thrown out both the 
dogs and myself. As I approached he flew out upon Wolf and knocked 
him over, and then, running up the bed of the river, he took shelter in 
a thick bush : Wolf, however, followed him, and at this moment my 
other dogs came up, having heard the shot, and bayed him fiercely. He 
sprang out upon them and then crossed the river's bed, taking shelter 
beneath some large tangled roots on the opposite bank. As he crossed 
the river I put a third bullet into him, firing from the saddle, and as 
soon as he came to bay I gave him a fourth, which finished him. This 
leopard was a very fine old male : in the conflict the unfortunate Alert 
was wounded, as usual, getting his face torn open ; he was still going on 
three legs, with all his breast laid bare by the first waterbuck. 

In the evening I directed my Hottentots to watch a fine pool in the 
river, and do their best while I rode to a distant pool several miles up 



AN OLD BULL BUFFALO. 245 

the Ngotwani, reported as very good for game, to lie all night and 
watch : my Totties, however, fearing " Tao," * disobeyed me. As I rode 
along the river's bank I suddenly met a very old bull buffalo coming 
down the river on my side, with a troop of beautiful water does coming 
down on the opposite side. I sprang from my horse, and running down 
the bank towards him I sent a bullet through his correct part, and a 
second as he charged up the bank. He ran forty yards and stood look- 
ing about, and, detecting me, he turned towards me, looking very much 
as if he were going to charge. I thought I was in for it, and stood 
ready to spring down into the long reeds ; his course was, however, 
run ; he gazed but for a few seconds, and falling over he expired. This 
bull had many old wounds by lions. On reaching the water I was 
bound for, I found it very promising, and, having fastened my two 
horses to a tree beneath the river's bank, I prepared a place of conceal- 
ment close by and lay down for the night. 

The river's banks on each side were clad with groves of shady thorn- 
trees. After I had lain some time, squadrons of buffaloes were heard 
coming on, until the shady grove on the east bank of the water im- 
mediately above me was alive with them. After some time the leaders 
ventured down the river's bank to drink, and this was the signal for a 
general rush into the large pool of water : they came on like a regiment 
of cavalry at a gallop, making a mighty din and obscuring the air with 
a dense cloud of dust. At length I sent a ball into one of them, when 
the most tremendous rush followed up the bank, where they all stood 
still, listening attentively. I knew that the buffalo was severely 
wounded, but I did not hear him fall. 

Some time after I fired at a second, as they stood on the bank above 
me ; this buffalo was also hard hit, but did not then fall. A little after 
I fired at a third on the same spot ; he ran forty yards, and falling 
groaned fearfully : this at once brought on a number of the others to 
butt their dying comrade, according to their benevolent custom. I then 
crept in towards them, and, firing my fourth shot, a second buffalo ran 
forward a few yards, and falling groaned as the last ; her comrades, 
coming up, served her in the same manner. A second time I crept in, 
and, firing a fifth shot, a third buffalo ran forward and fell close to her 
dying comrades : in a few minutes all the other buffaloes made off, and 
the sound of teeth tearing at the flesh was heard immediately. 

I fancied it was the hyaenas, and fired a shot to scare them from the 
flesh. All was still : and, being anxious to inspect the heads of the 
buffaloes, I went boldly forward, taking the native who accompanied me 
along with me. We were within about five yards of the nearest buffalo, 
when I observed a yellow mass lying alongside of him, and at the same 
instant a lion gave a deep growl. I thought it was all over with me. 
The native shouted " Tao," and, springing away, instantly commenced 
blowing shrilly through a charmed piece of bone which he wore on his 
necklace. I retreated to the native ; and we then knelt down. The lion 
continued his meal, tearing away at the buffalo, and growling at his 

* Tao, the native name for lion. 



246 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

wife and family, whom I found next day by the spoor had accompanied 
him. Knowing that he would not molest me if I left him alone, I pro- 
posed to the native to go to our hole and lie down, but he would not 
hear of it, and entreated me to fire at the lion. I fired three different 
shots where I thought I saw him, but without any effect ; he would not 
so much as for a moment cease munching my buffalo. I then proceeded 
to lie down, and was soon asleep, the native keeping watch over our 
destinies. Some time after midnight other lions were heard coming on 
from other airts, and my old friend commenced roaring so loudly that 
the native thought it proper to awake me. 

The first old lion now wanted to drink, and held right away for the 
two unfortunate steeds, roaring terribly. I felt rather alarmed for their 
safety ; but, trusting that the lion had had flesh enough for one night, 
I lay still, and listened with an attentive ear. In a few minutes, to my 
utter horror, I heard him spring upon one of the steeds with an angry 
growl, and dash him to the earth ; the steed gave a slight groan, and all 
was still. I listened to hear the sound of teeth, but all continued still. 
Soon after this " Tao" was once more to be heard munching the buffalo. 
In a few minutes he came forward, and stood on the bank close above us, 
and roared most terribly, walking up and down, as if meditating some 
mischief. I now thought it high time to make a fire, and, quickly 
collecting some dry reeds and little sticks, in half a minute we had a 
cheerful blaze. The lion, which had not yet got our wind, came 
forward at once, to find out what the deuce was up ; but, not seeing to 
his entire satisfaction from the top of the bank, he was proceeding to 
descend by a game-path into the river-bed within a few yards of us. I 
happened at the very moment to go to this spot to fetch more wood, 
and, being entirely concealed from the lion's view by the intervening 
high reeds, we actually met face to face ! 

The first notice I got was his sudden spring to one side, accompanied 
by repeated angry growls, whilst I involuntarily made a convulsive 
spring backwards, at the same time giving a fearful shriek, such as I 
never before remembered uttering. I fancied just as he growled that 
he was coming upon me. We now heaped on more wood, and kept up 
a very strong fire until the day dawned, the lions feasting beside us all 
the time, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the little native, who, 
with a true Bechuana spirit, lamenting the loss of so much good flesh, 
kept continually shouting and pelting them with flaming brands. 

The next morning, when it was clear, I arose and inspected the 
buffaloes. The three that had fallen were fine old cows, and two of 
them were partly consumed by the lions. The ground all around was 
packed flat with their spoor ; one particular spoor was nearly as large as 
that of a borele\ I then proceeded to inspect the steeds : the sand 
around them was also covered with the lion's spoor. He had sprung 
upon the Old Grey, but had done him no further injury than scratching 
his back through the skin : perhaps the lion had been scared by the 
rheims, or, on discovering his spare condition, had preferred the buffalo. 

On the 24th we marched at dawn of day, and held up the Ngotwani, 
halting at the fine large pool of water where I had shot the three cow 



LION AND BUFFALO SHOOTING. 247 

buffaloes two nights previously. I had left Euyter and some natives 
to look after my flesh, and these reported lions to have surrounded 
them all night, coming boldly up within a few yards of them, and only 
retreating when burning brands were sent flying at their heads. 

In the forenoon I shot a very beautifully coloured wild goose with my 
Moore, putting two bullets through him. In the afternoon I rode up 
the Ngotwani to explore, I found it generally well supplied with deep 
pools of water, and surrounded with fine green trees, chiefly thorn. I 
made a clever shot at two' wild geese, waiting until their heads were in 
line, and then pinking them both with one bullet. At night I lay be- 
side a favourite drinking-place with the game ; in two hours large herds 
of buffaloes were trampling on the bank above me ; at length the leaders 
came down and commenced drinking, which was instantly followed by 
a general rush of thirsty buffaloes. I got one good shot, but the dust 
which instantly followed obscured them for another chance. I, however, 
let drive into them when they halted to listen in the thicket above me. 
I heard one fall and die. 

A little after this a noble lion presented himself on the bank above 
me, and was immediately saluted with a bullet in his ribs. The 
buffaloes capered about the banks, and at length they descended by a 
steep and unusual place to drink, crashing the reeds before them. 
There were three or four old lions roaring close about me all night, and 
feasting on my game. In the course of the night I fired three other 
long shots at the buffaloes, and towards morning, a very large lion and 
a lioness presenting themselves on the horizon of the bank, about 
twenty yards above me, I sent a ball into the lion ; he bounded off, and 
presently we heard him growling as if dying ; he lay a long time in one 
spot. I could hear the lioness bothering him to stand up, to which he 
objected, growling fearfully. I felt convinced that he was mine, and I 
had good hopes of the other lion. In the morning, when it was clear, 
I arose to see what game had died ; I found two fine old cow buffaloes 
with very handsome heads, but, to my great regret, both the lions had 
made off. The day was extremely warm. I felt in need of rest, and 
slept most of the day by the water's margin, under cover of the long 
reeds. 

The 26th was a cool cloudy morning, and looked like much rain. I 
was in the saddle before the sun rose, and rode down the river to seek 
waterbuck, accompanied by all my dogs. I had not ridden far when 
the dogs dashed up the wind, and started a large herd of cow buffaloes, 
to which I gave chase. They led me a long gallop right round camp, 
and ended by taking down wind up the Ngotwani, and sought shelter 
in the thorny thickets along its banks. Here, as a troop of them charged 
past me, I dismounted and shot one fine old cow ; she brought up in a 
thicket, but took two more balls before she fell. 

The dogs were now coursing up and down the river's bank after an 
old cow, with her two calves of this and last year. At length all three 
took into a deep pool some hundred yards long, and swam up and down 
and from side to side, followed by all the dogs. I wounded the old 
cow, but would not finish her then, and I next shot the two calves, one 



248 HUNTING A5D SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

of which sank to the bottom, but soon after floated. I then came home 
to my camp for the natives to draw the flesh. Returning, we found 
the old cow still there, but standing in deep muddy water. She carried 
a very fine head, but, unfortunately, a bullet had splintered the point 
of one of the horns. While we were cutting up the veal the old cow 
came to the side, and got away. I came shortly afterwards, however, 
upon a very fine old cow buffalo, newly killed by a lion, and was 
astonished to find that it was my friend of the morning, with the 
splintered horn. The lion, ever prowling about, had detected her, and, 
after a sharp chase, had knocked her over. She bore the most fearful 
marks of his teeth on her throat, and all her back was marked by his 
terrible claws. I thought that there had been a long chase, as the 
buffalo was covered with foam from the lion's mouth. 

Having inspected the buffalo I held on up the bank of the river for a 
couple of miles — banks densely wooded — and I then turned my face for 
home, having had a good bathe, and been saluted by a crocodile, who 
popped up his nose close beside me. I rode out a little distance from the 
river's bank, and presently came upon four waterbucks. The dogs at 
once gave chase, and broke a buck from the herd, which in one minute 
was standing at bay in the river, when I galloped up, and, dismounting, 
I shot him. 

Soon after this, while skirting some rocky hills bordering on the river, 
I detected a very fine old waterbuck standing high up on the snmmit of 
one of these. I stalked him in true Highland fashion ; and when within 
seventy yards I sent my right ball through his shoulder. The buck 
bounded over the ridge, and was out of sight in a moment. On gaining 
the ridge, with my gun at the ready, I came once more within range, 
when I sent a second bullet through his ribs. While following his 
bloody spoor I heard groans on the bank a little above me, and, going 
forward, I found a noble waterbuck lying dying, with the blood stream- 
ing from his mouth. When the life was gone I cut off his head, which 
was borne to camp before my after-rider. 

The morning of the 27th was extremely hot, but I nevertheless resolved 
to pack up and march to Ohouaney. Accordingly, after much trouble 
and management in stowing away all my lumber, we got under way 
about eleven A.M., and reached Sichely's a little aftersundown. On the 
march one of my waggon's after-wheels rolled off", but very fortunately, 
the axletree escaped. I found Mr. Livingstone at his devotions, and he 
informed me that it was Sunday. 

The next day was deliciously cloudy, with some slight showers of rain. 
In the evening Sichely came down to see me, bringing my four lost oxen 
which he had at length made up his mind to restore. Three of Sichely's 
men engaged to accompany me to the colony, their wages to be three 
guns and two cows. 

I now proceeded slowly by way of Lotlokane, Motito, and Campbells- 
dorp, and encamped on the Vaal River on the 11th of November. Here 
I was obliged to wait for several days, owing to the great body of water 
coming down rendering a passage impossible. 

On the 16th, however, the river having subsided, I inspanned my two 



A PERILOUS POSITION. 249 

waggons, and took the drift with the heaviest waggon, drawn by four- 
teen oxen. I led the team on horseback, and, several Griquas assisting 
us, we took the drift very high, and got a little more than half-way 
through when two of my oxen became entangled in the gear, and, being 
dragged along, my driver foolishly halted the waggon. The result of 
this foolish management was, that the oxen instantly turned right-about- 
face, and stood with their heads up water, the stream being too powerful 
for them to stand still otherwise. We spent a fruitless hour of very 
harassing work, trying to right the oxen, which was, however impossible, 
and at length we were obliged to cut away the trektow, and get the 
oxen ashore. 

Here, after resting them for a little, we inspanned them in the trek- 
tow, and, taking them some distance above the isolated waggon, we 
swam them down, and tried to fix the trektow on the dissel-boom ; but 
in this we failed, the stream carrying away the cattle before they made 
the waggon. We had then to go ashore and repeat the process. In the 
next attempt the oxen were brought too near the waggon, and, getting 
foul of it, we had great difficulty in extricating them. One ox remained 
there for half an hour before we got him clear, the strong current 
holding him against the waggon. We next got over the oxen and trek- 
tow of the other waggon, and made several attempts with these, but 
without success. 

The day was now waning away, and both men and oxen were very 
much knocked up. It was most distressing work, and it was greatly 
aggravated by the cruel, sharp stones which composed the river's bed, 
and the virulent invisible doublegee-thorns with which the banks were 
strewed. I began to despair of getting the waggon out that day ; and 
from the appearance of the weather toward the sources of the river for 
some time past, we had every reason to expect a flood at any moment. 
It was a dismal prospect, and my heart was ill at ease. Late in the day 
we made loose my strong new buffalo trektow, and bent it on to the 
dissel-boom, and then, bringing in the oxen, we managed to fasten the 
tow on to this one. I also placed several men on the wheels. This 
time we very nearly succeeded ; the waggon started and proceeded 
several yards, when one of the tows gave way, and we were again left 
in the lurch. Once more we made the attempt, and again failed, the 
oxen becoming entangled with the gear. The sun was now under, and, 
all hands being most completely done up, we desisted for the night. 
My men came off to the waggon with three of my steeds, and I rum- 
maged out some flesh, meal, and coffee, with some sleeping toggery and 
cooking utensils ; we then left the desolate waggon, with great doubts 
of ever boarding it again. 

I could not help thinking of Robinson Crusoe when he visited for the 
last time the wreck of his ship. I rested but little that night, and I had 
good reason to be anxious ; for if the river should come down at all, it 
would be impossible to do anything with the waggon next day, and I 
could not expect anything but to see a tearing flood. If this had 
happened I should have been utterly ruined, for nearly all my worldly 
property was contained in the waggon. I sent a message to Mr. 



250 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

Hughes, requesting him to assist me in my troubles with men and oxen 
next day, although it was the Sabbath. 

I had the gratification to find at daydawn that the river had fallen a 
little during the night ; and I had just finished my breakfast when four 
Griquas came up, bearing a long stout rope, which Mr. Hughes had 
forwarded for my use. These men informed me that he had sent men 
out in different directions to seek for three spans of his oxen to be 
brought to my assistance. We then set about getting the gear in order, 
and very soon two spans of the oxen appeared with another party of 
Griquas. We next made fast one end of the rope to the dissel-boom, 
and to the other end of this rope we fastened the large buffalo trektow, 
which reached slanting across the strong current to shallower water 
where the oxen could stand. We then brought in two span of oxen, 
and fastened the end of their tow on the buffalo, and put the oxen in 
motion. They laid a mighty strain on the long tow, and the waggon 
moved slightly, when a strong rheim, that with many turns fastened two 
of the trektows, gave way, and left me once more in trouble. 

The river had at this moment increased about six inches, and was 
now stronger than on the preceding day ; moreover it was still 
increasing. This put me at once in great consternation; my hopes, 
which a little before were very high, now sank, and I expected in a few 
hours perhaps to see my waggon overwhelmed and swept away. This, 
however, was not the case ; the river did not increase much more, and 
in our second attempt we were successful. The trektows were on this 
occasion knotted together, the oxen all trekked fair and together, and 
the heavily-laden waggon, with its precious contents, was rescued from 
a watery grave. We hailed its rescue with continued cheers : the oxen 
held stoutly on, and dragged the waggon without a check right out to 
the shallow water on the border of the river. We then shortened the 
gear, and, having inspanned two after-bullocks, we pulled the waggon 
right out of the river's bed and outspanned on the top of the high bank. 

The next move was to get the other waggons through. The Griquas 
at first made some demur, saying that it was Sunday ; but I very soon 
got rid of that objection, by telling them that I would prepare some 
food and coffee for them, when they set to work with a good will, and 
in two hours more the other three waggons were brought safely through, 
and were high and dry. 

On the 8th we entered the village of Colesberg. All the forenoon I 
was busy off-loading two of the waggons. We spread out the curiosities 
in the market-ground, making no end of a parade : it was truly a very 
remarkable sight, and struck all beholders with astonishment. 

On the 13th I left Colesberg, and set out on my way to Grahamstown ; 
passing on the 17th the Thebus flats. On the march I saddled up, and, 
leaving the waggons, I rode across country for Hendrick Strydom's 
farm, where I had commenced my sporting career in South Africa. As 
I rode across the flats I found springbok and black wildebeest still 
abundant. On reaching the residence of my former friend, I found the 
blackness of desolation pictured there. The house was falling to pieces, 
and the grass grew rank where the pot was wont to boil. In a melan- 




ft." 

< 

u 



ANOTHER ELEPHANT EXPEDITION. 251 

choly mood I then turned my face for the farm where I had ordered my 
waggons to halt; and, as I rode along, I mused on the fleeting and tran- 
sient nature of all human condition. On the 25th I reached Fort Beau- 
fort, where I dined with some old acquaintances at the mess of the 7th. 

On the 29th we marched to the Fish River at dawn of day. Here I 
found about sixty waggons waiting the fall of the river to get through. 
Some of us set to work to clear away a bank of mud on the opposite side, 
after which a good many waggons, lightly laden, crossed the river ; but on 
attempting to bring through my large waggon, she stuck fast, but was at 
length extricated with the help of another span. We saved her just in 
time, for the river was increasing fast when we got her out, and in 
another half-hour was running a rapid torrent, at least ten feet deep. 
I found several very jolly farmers, English and Scotch,, lying on the 
opposite side ; in particular, one Annesley, of whom I had heard a great 
deal. This man was a regular " brick," a thorough Scotsman from the 
borders. He came up to me at once, and asked me to come and have a 
glass of whisky with him : he was accompanied by his family ; his eldest 
daughter was a very fine girl. 

By the 1st of February the river had fallen most rapidly. After some 
work in clearing the mud on both sides, waggons began to cross, and a 
great rumpus was kept up during the remainder of the day. I got my 
second waggon through about eleven A.M. Soon after I had got through 
good old Annesley took the drift, and on approaching the opposite side 
his waggon had the most fearful capsize in deep water, seriously damag- 
ing a quantity of very valuable property. In an instant we were all at 
his assistance, and in a very short time we got out his wife and family 
and damaged cargo and righted his waggon for him. I brought him over 
dry clothes, and spent about three hours in assisting him in his difficulty. 
I then inspanned and trekked on to Boatasberg, where I halted about 
midnight, with good moonlight. 

On the 2nd I marched into Grahamstown, where I sold my ivory well, 
the ivory and ostrich-feathers realising in the market somewhere about 
£1000. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 



Start on another Elephant-shooting Expedition — The Hart River — Numerous pack 
of Wild Dogs — Mahura, Chief of the Batlapis — Rumours of Wars-— The 
Meritsane — Lotlokane — Encounter with two Lions on the Molopo — Chouaney — 
A tremendous Fight with a Buffalo — The River Limpopo — Huge Crocodiles — 
A splendid Hippopotamus falls to my Rifle — Immense Herds of Buffaloes 
crossing the River — The Serolomootlooque Antelope unknown to Naturalists — 
A herd of Hippopotami — Fine Sport beside the River. 

I remained in Grahamstown for some weeks, being undecided as to my 
future plans. At last, however, I decided upon making another 
elephant-shooting expedition. I accordingly started for the far interior 
on the 11th of March, and, having resolved to try a short cut through 
the territories of the chief Mahura, I crossed the Yaal river on the 5th 
of May, far to the eastward of my former track. 



252 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

Early on the 7th we entered upon the broad strath through which 
the Hart River flows. Here we discovered a small fountain, where we 
halted for the night. We marched early on the 8th, holding up the 
strath parallel with the Hart River. Presently we came upon the 
largest pack of wild dogs I had ever seen : there were about forty of 
them. They went off very leisurely, and when my dogs chased them 
they turned about and showed fight. We were in motion most of the 
day • very large herds of cattle were to be seen pasturing on all sides. 

On the 12th we marched before breakfast to within three miles of 
Mahura. Having taken breakfast, I rode ahead with Ruyter, and called 
on Mr. Ross, the resident missionary. We walked together to the town 
and visited Mahura and his brother ; the expressions of neither of these 
men were at all in their favour. I told Mahura that I wanted an ox 
with very large horns, which he promised to provide. He asked me if 
we were still at war with the Tambookie tribes. He also mentioned 
that ten men of the Bastards had been shot by Mochesse's natives Mr. 
Ross informed me that Mahura was at present meditating war upon a 
tribe to the north-east, and also that Mochuarra, the chief at Motito, 
meditated an attack upon Sichely. In the evening -my waggons came 
up, when I directed them to draw up in a grove of cameel-dorn about a 
mile beyond the town. 

The next day Mahura sent a party of men to inquire who had given 
me permission to outspan where I now stood, and ordering me to inspan 
and return to the town. These men were very insolent and overbearing 
in their manner. I accordingly at once assumed a very high tone, and 
said that, if Mahura was particular as to where I outspanned, he ought 
to have told me so on the preceding evening ; that as to returning, I 
would on no account return ; and that if the chief's heart was against 
me I would not wait to trade with him, but would at once proceed on 
my journey. I also told them that Mahura was not my chief, and that 
I cared not for his words. They then became still more insolent, and 
said that I should learn what Mahura could do before sunset, and they 
departed to report my words to their tyrannical chief. 

Mahura was sitting in the missionary's house : accordingly I rode 
thither and arrived along with these men. On my words being reported, 
he was at first exceedingly wroth, and said that in consequence of what 
I had said he would not permit me to proceed through his country. I 
only smiled at threats ; and he eventually cooled down, and took leave 
of us apparently in good humour. In the evening he returned and took 
tea with Mr Ross and myself, and then accompanied me to camp ; he rode 
on horseback in a large white great-coat, accompanied by his brother and 
two other mounted attendants. I showed him all my rifles, with which 
he expressed himself much pleased ; having drunk his coffee, he took a 
friendly leave, promising to visit me early next day. 

True to his word, Mahura came and breakfasted with me, after which 
I obtained six karosses from him in barter for ammunition. I then 
presented him with a whipstick and two pound of powder, and walked 
down to the missionary's house, ordering my men to inspan. Mahura pro- 



TWO FINE LIONS. 253 

mised to come thither and take leave of me, but did not keep his word. 
About midday I marched, holding a spoor of three waggons some months 
old, said to lead me into my old course at Great Chooi. 

On the 20th we reached the bank of the Meristane, two miles below my 
old spoor. On the march we saw for the first time spoor of the black 
rhinoceros, also pallah and koodoo on the mountain, and hartebeests on 
the open country, 

On the 22nd we marched at early dawn, and, having proceeded 
about four miles, left the main road to Bakatla, and held across-country 
to our right for my old out-spanning place at Lotlokane ; two hours more 
brought us thither. I did not find the vast herds of game congregated 
here as usual, water being everywhere abundant ; the grass over the 
whole country was remarkable, being much higher than my oxen. 

On the 23rd, when within two miles of the Molopo, the dogs took 
up the scent of lions. I then halted my waggons, and, having 
saddled up my two horses, I rode with Euyter in quest of them, ac- 
companied by ten of my dogs, who kept the scent for a short 
distance, and at last lost it altogether, and went off in the scent 
of some hartebeests. I now rode forward to the Molopo, which I 
made about one mile lower down than the drift. This darling little 
river is here completely concealed by lofty reeds and long grass which 
densely clothe its margin to a distance of at least a hundred yards. On 
each side reitbuck were very abundant. On making the river we 
started one of these. I rode up the river side, and immediately 
observed two old lions come slowly out from the adjoining cover 
and slant off toward the reeds. I galloped forward to endeavour 
to get between them and the reeds ; in this I succeeded. The lions, 
imagining that we were some species of game, did not attempt to 
retreat, but stood looking in wonder until I was within 'fifty yards of 
them, and right between the last lion and the reeds. I was struck with 
wonder and admiration at the majestic and truly awful appearance 
which these two noble old lions presented. 

They were both very large ; the first, a "schwart fore-life," or black- 
maned lion, — the last, which was the finest and the oldest, a "chiell 
fore-life," or yellow-maned lion. The black-maned lion, after looking at 
me for half a minute, walked slowly forward and bounded into the reeds ; 
the dark-brown lion would fain have done the same, but I was now right 
between him and his retreat. He seemed not at all to like my appear- 
ance, but he did not yet feel certain what I was, and, fancying that I 
had not observed him, he lay down in the long grass. Euyter now 
came up with my rifle. Having loaded in the saddle, I waited a minute 
for all my dogs to come up, they having gone off after the reitbuck, and 
I then rode slowly forward towards the lion as if to pass within twenty- 
five yards of him. Not one of the dogs was yet aware of the lion, and 
they came on behind my horse. 

This move on my part lost me the lion, for by so doing I laid open 
the ground of retreat between him and the reeds ; and on coming within 
twenty or twenty-five yards of him, and whilst in the act of reining in 
my horse to fire, he took his eye off me, examined the ground between 

16 



254 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

him and the reeds, and, seeing the coast clear, he suddenly bounded 
forward, and, before I could even dismount from my panic-stricken 
steed, was at the edge of the reeds, which he entered with a lofty spring, 
making the water fly as he pitched into it. Several of the dogs entered 
after him, but immediately retreated, barking over their shoulders in 
great fear. Thus I lost this most noble lion, which, with better 
management, I might easily have slain. I ought to have approached 
him on foot, leading my steed, and I ought not to have laid open the 
ground of retreat. 

On the 27th we trekked to Chouaney, which we reached at sundown, 
and remained there to trade next day. I obtained from Sichely two 
natives to accompany me to the Limpopo, their pay being a musket 
each. I got also from the chief twelve elephants' teeth, several very fine 
karosses, native arms, and other curiosities. 

About midday we marched, and slept near the Ngotwani, along whose 
banks my course lay for the Limpopo. The country through which the 
Ngotwani twines is soft and sandy, and in general covered with dense 
thorny jungle which greatly impeded our progress, having constantly to 
cut a passage before the waggons could advance. Several lions com- 
menced roaring around us soon after the sun went down. 

On the evening of the next day I had a glorious row with an old bull 
buffalo : he was the only large bull in a fine herd of cows. I found 
their spoor while walking ahead of the waggons, and, following it up, I 
came upon a part of the herd feeding quietly in a dense part of the 
forest. I fired my first shot at a cow, which I wounded. The other 
half of the herd then came up right in my face, within six yards of me. 
They would have trampled on me if I had not sung out in their faces 
and turned them. I selected the old bull and sent a bullet into his 
shoulder. The herd then crashed along through the jungle to my right, 
but he at once broke away from them and took to my left. On 
examining his spoor, I found it bloody. I then went to meet my 
waggons, which I heard coming on, and, ordering the men to outspan, 
I took all my dogs to the spoor. They ran it up in fine style, and in a 
few minutes the silence of the forest was disturbed by a tremendous 
bay. On running towards the sound I met the old fellow coming on 
towards the waggons, with all my dogs after him. I saluted him with 
a second ball in the shoulder ; he held on and took up a position in the 
thicket within forty yards of the waggons, where I finished him. He 
carried a most splendid head. 

On the 8th of June we made the long-wish ed-f or fair Limpopo an hour 
before sunset. I was at once struck with this most interesting river : 
the trees along its banks were of prodigious size and very great beauty. 
At the very spot where I made the water, a huge crocodile lay upon the 
sand on the opposite side ; on observing me he dashed into the stream. 

The next day I rode ahead of the waggons with Ruyter, and hunted 
along the bank of the river. I immediately shot a waterbuck. This 
animal and pallah were very abundant. As I advanced I found large 
vleys along the river side, a favourite haunt of the waterbuck. After 
breakfast I again rode forth with fresh horses with my Bushman. Wo 



AN ENORMOUS CROCODILE. 255 



still found waterbuck and pallah very abundant. I presently gave 
chase to a herd of the former to try their speed ; but as they led me 
into the midst of a labyrinth of marshy vleys, I gave it up. 

At that instant the Bushman whispered " Sir, Sir • " and looking to 
my right, two princely old bull buffaloes stood in the jungle within forty 
yards of me. They got my wind, and started before I could get ready 
to fire. They held along the river-bank ahead of me, but not requiring 
them I did not give chase. After this I came upon a huge crocodile 
basking on the sand, which instantly dashed into the stream. I now 
got into a vast labyrinth of marshes of great extent. Several species of 
wild duck and a variety of water-fowl were extremely abundant and 
very tame, hundreds passing before my eye at once ; guinea-fowl, three 
sorts of large partridge, and two kinds of quail being likewise numerous. 

I presently wounded a noble old waterbuck as he dashed past me in 
marshy ground. In following him up I met an old buck pallah, which 
I killed on the spot with a shot in the middle of the breast. Following 
on after the wounded waterbuck, along the high bank of the river, which 
was, however, concealed from my view by the dense cover, I suddenly 
heard a loud splash, and, coming suddenly clear of the cover, I beheld 
the lovely waterbuck standing broadside on an island in the middle of 
the river. Before I could dismount to fire, he dashed into the water 
and swam to the opposite bank. I grasped my trusty little Moore and 
waited till he won the terra firma, when with one well-directed shot I 
dropped him on the spot. A very strange thing then occurred ; the 
buck in his death-pangs slid down into the river, and continuing his 
struggles he swam half-way across the river back to the island, where 
he lay upon a sand-bank. I then divested myself of my leathers, spurs, 
and veldtschoens, and was wading in to fetch him, when the river carried 
him off, and, fearing the horrible crocodiles, I did not attempt to follow. 
It was now late, and I rode for my waggon-spoor, which I failed to find 
until I had returned to where we had that morning breakfasted. I had 
been following the turns of the river, and the waggons had taken a short 
cut across the country. I reached them in the dark by great good luck. 

On the 10th I rode ahead of my waggons at day-dawn : thick mist 
was rolling along the Limpopo. Presently I saw two crocodiles in the 
stream below me. A little after I had the pleasure to find, for the first 
time, the spoor of sea-cows or hippopotami. I had never before seen it, 
but I knew it must be theirs ; it was very similar to the spoor of borel6, 
or black rhinoceros, but larger, and had four toes instead of three. 
Before returning to my waggons I tried to ride down a waterbuck which 
I turned off from the river, but in this I failed, though I managed to 
keep close to him in the chase, and eventually to knock him up along 
with my horse. 

I again sallied forth with the Bushman and fresh steeds, and, directing 
the waggons to take the straight course, I followed the windings of the 
river. Presently, looking over the bank, I beheld three enormous 
crocodiles basking on the sand on the opposite side. I was astonished 
at their awful appearance and size, one of them appearing to me to be 
sixteen or eighteen feet in length, with a body as thick as that of an ox. 



256 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

On observing us they plunged into the dead water by the side of the 
stream. The next minute, one of them popping up his terrible head in 
the middle of the stream, I made a beautiful shot, and sent a ball through 
the middle of his brains. The convulsions of death which followed were 
truly awful. At first he sank for an instant to the shot, but instantly 
striking the bottom with his tail he shot up above the water, when he 
struggled violently, sometimes on his back and then again on his belly, 
with at one time his head and fore feet above the water, and immediately 
after his tail and hind legs, the former lashing the water with a force 
truly astounding. Clouds of sand accompanied him in all his movements, 
the strong stream carrying him along with it, till at length the struggle 
of death was over, and he sank to rise no more. 

Following the windings of the river I detected a small crocodile 
basking on the sand, when I gave him a shot and he instantly plunged 
into the river. A little farther on I wounded a third as he lay on a 
promontory of sand, and he likewise made the water. A little farther 
down the stream, yet another crocodile, a huge old sinner, lay basking 
on the sand. I determined to make a very correct shot in this case, 
and set about stalking him. Creeping up behind the trunk of a prostrate 
old tree, I took a rest and sent the ball into his nostril, when he 
plunged into the river, colouring the water with his blood. 

We now got into a fine green turn of the river, where I saw a great 
many waterbucks. I shot one buck pallah, and immediately after I 
came suddenly upon a troop of five or six beautiful leopards. At the 
next bend of the river three huge crocodiles lay on the sand on the 
opposite side. Stalking within easy range, I shot one of them in the 
head : his comrades instantly dashed into the water, but he lay as if 
dead on the high sand. A second shot, however, through the ribs 
brought him back to life. On receiving it he kept running round and 
round, snapping his horrid jaws fearfully at his own wounded side. In • 
the convulsions of death he made one run clean away from the water, 
but another unlucky turn brought his head toward the river, into which 
he eventually rolled. 

Galloping along from this place to my waggons, I came suddenly upon 
a lion and lioness lying in the grass below a gigantic old mimosa. Dis- 
mounting from my horse, I took a couple of shots at the lion, missing 
him with my first, but wounding him with my second shot, when he 
rose with several angry short growls and bounded off. A few hundred 
yards farther on I found my waggons drawn up, and on reaching them 
my men informed me that they had just seen two huge hippopotami in 
the river beneath. Proceeding to the spot, we found them still swim- 
ming there. I shot one, putting three balls into his head, when he sank, 
but night setting in we lost him. 

At dawn of day on the 12th a noise was heard for about twenty 
minutes up the river, like the sound of the sea, accompanied by the 
lowing of buffaloes. It was a herd crossing the river. I rode thither 
to look at them, and was retracing my steps to camp, when, within 
three hundred yards of my waggons, I beheld an old bull-buffalo standing 
contemplating my camp, with my followers looking at him in great 



A LOVELY ANTELOPE. 257 

consternation. They set the dogs after him, when he took away up the 
river. As the ground was extremely bad for riding, being full of deep 
holes, and all concealed with long grass, it was some time before I could 
get away after the dogs ; and when I had ridden a short distance I met 
them all returning, their feet being completely done up with the long 
march from the colony. 

I now turned my face once more for camp, when I heard one of my 
dogs at bay behind me. Galloping up to the spot, I found my dog 
""Lion " standing barking at an old waterbuck in an open flat. The 
buck, on observing me, made away for the river, and, joining a herd of 
does, they dashed into the stream, and were immediately upon the 
opposite bank. I was in a sequestered bend of the river, where the 
banks for several acres were densely clad with lofty reeds and grass 
which towered above my head as I sat on my horse's back. Beyond the 
reeds and grass were trees of all sizes, forming a dense shade ; this is the 
general character of the banks of the Limpopo, as far as I have yet seen. 

I was slowly returning to my camp, in anything but good humour at 
my want of success with the game I had just been after, when, behold, 
an antelope of the most exquisite beauty, and utterly unknown to 
sportsmen or naturalists, stood broadside in my path, looking me full in 
the face. It was a princely old buck of the serolomootlooque of the 
Bakalahari, or bushbuck of the Limpopo. He carried a very fine wide- 
set pair of horns. On beholding him I was struck with wonder and 
delight. My heart beat with excitement. I sprang from my saddle, 
but before I could fire a shot this gem of beauty bounded into the reeds, 
and was lost to my sight. At that moment I would have given half 
what I possessed in this world for a broadside at that lovely antelope, 
and I at once resolved not to proceed farther on my expedition until I 
had captured him, although it should cost me the labour of a month. 

The antelope having entered the reeds, I gave my horse to my after- 
rider, and with my rifle on full cock and at the ready I proceeded to 
stalk with extreme caution throughout the length and breadth of the 
cover ; but I stalked in vain ; the antelope had vanished, and was 
nowhere to be found. I then returned to my steed, and rode slowly up 
the river's bank towards my camp. I had ridden to within a few hun- 
dred yards of the waggons, and was meditating how I should best cir- 
cumvent the serolomootlooque, when once more this lovely antelope 
crossed my path ; I had been unwittingly driving him before me along 
the bank of the river. He trotted like a roebuck into the thick cover, 
and then stood broadside among the thorn bushes. 

I sprang from my saddle, and, guessing about his position, I fired and 
missed him ; he then trotted along a rhinoceros's footpath, and gave me 
a second chance. Again I fired, and before my rifle was down from my 
shoulder the serolomootlooque lay prostrate in the dust. The ball had 
cut the skin open along his ribs, and, entering his body, had passed along 
his neck, and had lodged in his brains, where we found it on preparing 
the head for stuffing. I was not a little gratified at my good fortune in 
securing this novel and valuable trophy ; he was one of the most perfect 
antelopes I had ever beheld, both in symmetry and colour. I had him 



258 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

' — ' ' -'^ ■ ■ ' " ' ■■■ i— ■■■ m i i i i i .11 1 .. ■ ■!.■■■■■■ ■■ i — «»— — —— — wm ■' I ■ 1^ -!■■ I ■ J .-— — — ^Wf 

immediately conveyed to camp, where I took his measurement, and 
wrote out a correct description of him for the benefit of naturalists. I 
christened him the " Antelopus Roualeynei," or "bushbuck of the Lim- 
popo." 

The next day I breakfasted before the sun rose, and then rode down 
the river's bank with Ruyter. I first shot an old buck pallah, and 
having ridden a few miles farther I came upon two fine old waterbucks 
fighting, when I stalked in within a hundred yards, and shot them both 
right and left. The heads were fair specimens, but, having many 
better, I reluctantly left them to perish in the feldt. Hereabouts I 
found fresh spoor of hippopotami of the preceding night. I followed 
this spoor to a considerable distance along the margin of the river, and 
at last I came upon the troop. They were lying in a shady, sequestered 
bend of the river, beneath some gigantic shady trees. In this place the 
water in heavy floods had thrown up large banks of sand, in which they 
had hollowed out their beds. The spot was surrounded with dense 
underwood and reeds, and was adjacent to a very deep and broad 
stream, into which their footpaths led in every direction. 

I was first apprized of my proximity to them by a loud cry from one 
old bull, who took alarm at the sudden flight of a species of heron : his 
cry was not unlike that of an elephant. He stood in water which 
reached half way up his side, shaking his short ears in the sun ; every 
half-minute he disappeared beneath the water, when, again parading half 
of his body, he uttered a loud snorting, blowing noise. On observing 
him, I dismounted, and every time he disappeared I ran in, until I 
stood behind the tall reeds within twenty yards of him. Here I might 
have dropped him with a single ball, but I unfortunately made up my 
mind not to molest them until next day, when I should have men to 
assist me to get them out. Presently he observed me, when he dived, 
and swam round a shady promontory into the deep stream, where he 
and his comrades kept up a continual loud blowing noise. I returned 
to camp, and, having ordered my men to inspan, I tried a drift on 
horseback, and crossed the Limpopo, but, the water coming over my 
saddle, I did not attempt to bring through my waggons. We 
accordingly held on our course on the north-western bank of the river, 
and outspanned about a mile above the place where I had found the 
hippopotami. 

When the sun went down the sea-cows commenced a march up the 
river. They passed along opposite to my camp, making the most extra- 
ordinary sounds — plowing, snorting, and roaring, sometimes crashing 
through reeds, and sometimes swimming gently, and splashing and 
sporting through the water. There being a little moonlight, I went 
down with my man Carey, and sat some time on the river's bank con- 
templating these wonderful monsters of the river. It was a truly grand 
and very extraordinary scene ; the opposite bank of the stream was clad 
with trees of gigantic size and great beauty, which added greatly to the 
interest of the picture. 

On the 1 4th, after a very early breakfast, I proceeded with three after- 
riders, two double-barrelled rifles, and about a hundred rounds of ammu- 



HIPPOPOTAMI AND CEOCODILES. 259 

— . — — i m^^—mm —— ■ ■ ■ ■!■ —■ ■ ■ ■ wjt*. m.»»w w i ■ ■ ■>—! ^ ^«^ ^ " ^« w" ^— ^ — ■ , — — — . — 

nition, to the spot where I had yesterday found the hippopotami ; but 
they had taken alarm, and were all gone. The spoor leading up the 
river, I rode along the banks, examining every pool until my steed was 
quite knocked up, but found not a single sea-cow. The spoor still led 
up the river ; they had made short cuts at every bend, sometimes taking 
the direct line on my side, and sometimes on the other. Finding that I 
must sleep in the feldt if I followed on, I despatched Euyter to camp 
for my blankets, coffee-kettle, biscuit, etc., and fresh steeds. I searched 
on foot, and penetrated every thicket and every dense jungle of reeds 
that overhung the river, until at last, faint with hunger and fatigue, I 
sought some game on which to make luncheon, and had good fortune to 
fall in with a young doe of the " Antelopus Koualeynei," which I shot, 
and in a few minutes she was roasting on a mighty fire. 

Euyter, at this moment coming up, brought a welcome supply of 
biscuit and coffee, and reported my horse " Flux," about my very best, 
to have died of horse-sickness. After luncheon I continued my search 
for hippopotami ; and just as the sun went down I started an old fellow 
from beneath some tall reeds, which hung over a deep broad pool. On 
hearing me approach he dived with a loud splash, and immediately re- 
appeared with a blowing noise a little farther up the river, and within 
twenty yards of the bank. Having looked about him, he again dived, 
and continued his course up the river, which could be traced from the 
wave above. 

I ran in front of him, and when he came up the third time I was stand- 
ing opposite to him, ready with my rifle at my shoulder. I sent the 
bullet into his brain, when he floundered for one moment at the surface, 
and then sank to the bottom. There he most probably only remained 
for half an hour, but in a few minutes night set in, and I had thus the 
extreme mortification to lose my hippopotamus, the second one which I 
had shot. We slept beneath a shady tree ; at midnight a few drops of 
rain fell, and I feared a drenching ; it, however, passed away. In the 
course of the day we saw several large crocodiles, three of which I shot. 
One of these lay upon an island ; I shot him dead on the spot ; he did 
not gain the water. 



CHAPTEE XXV. 



We cross the Limpopo — Rash Encounter with a Hippopotamus — Remarkable dome- 
like Rock — Two Serolomootlooques shot — Hollow Trees containing Honey — 
Gigantic Ant-hills — Hunting across the Limpopo — Another Boa Constrictor — 
A Visit from Seleka — A Sea-cow shot, which sinks — Resurrection of the 
Beast — Splendid Hippopotamus-shooting. 

On the 17th of June, having found a good drift, I crossed the Limpopo 
with my waggons, and drew them up in a green and shady spot. I 
then rode a long way down the eastern bank in quest of hippopotami, 
and late in the evening I found one, which I did not molest, trusting to 
find him next day. 

On the 18th a dense mist hung over the river all the morning. 



260 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



Ordering the waggons to follow in an hour, I rode ahead to seek the 
sea-cow of the previous night, but after a long search I gave it up as a 
bad job, and, kindling a fire to warm myself, I awaited the waggons, 
which presently came up. Here I halted for two hours, and then once 
more rode ahead to seek hippopotami. The river became more promising 
for sea-cow. At every turn there occurred deep, still pools, with 
occasional sandy islands densely clad with lofty reeds, and with banks 
covered with reeds to a breadth of thirty yards. Above and beyond 
these reeds stood trees of immense age and gigantic size, beneath which 
grew a long and very rank description of grass, on which the sea-cow 
delights to pasture. 

I soon found fresh spoor, and after holding on for several miles, just 
as the sun was going down, and as I entered a dense reed cover, I came 
upon the fresh lairs of four hippopotami. They had been lying sleeping 
on the margin of the river, and, on hearing me come crackling through 
the reeds, had plunged into the deep water. I at once ascertained that 
they were newly started, for the froth and bubbles were still on the 
spot where they had plunged in. Next moment I heard them blowing 
a little way down the river. I then headed them, and, with considerable 
difficulty, owing to the cover and the reeds, I at length came down-right 
above where they were standing. It was a broad part of the river, with 
a sandy bottom, and the water came half-way up their sides. There 
were four of them, three cows and an old bull ; they stood in the middle 
of the river, and, though alarmed, did not appear aware of the extent 
of the impending danger. 

I took the sea-cow next me, and with my first ball I gave her a mortal 
wound, knocking loose a great plate on the top of her skull. She at 
once commenced plunging round and round, and then occasionally re- 
mained still, sitting for a few minutes on the same spot. On hearing 
the report of my rifle two of the others took up stream, and the fourth 
dashed down the river ; they trotted along, like oxen, at a smart pace 
as long as the water was shallow. I was now in a state of very great 
anxiety about my wounded sea-cow, for I feared that she would get 
down into deep water, and be lost like the last one ; her struggles were 
still carrying her down stream, and the water was becoming deeper. 
To settle the matter I accordingly fired a second shot from bank, which, 
entering the roof of her skull, passed out through her eye ; she then 
kept continually splashing round and round in a circle in the middle of 
the river. I had great fears of the crocodiles, and I did not know that 
the sea-cow might not attack me. My anxiety to secure her, however, 
overcame all hesitation ; so, divesting myself of my leathers, and armed 
with a sharp knife, I dashed into the water, which at first took me up 
to my arm-pits, but in the middle was shallower. 

As I approached Behemoth her eye looked very wicked. I halted for 
a moment, ready to dive under the water if she attacked me, but she 
was stunned, and did not know what she was doing ; so, running in 
upon her, and seizing her short tail, I attempted to incline her course to 
land: It was extraordinary what enormous strength she still had in the 
water. I could not guide her in the slightest, and she continued to 



ADVENTURE WITH A SEA-COW. 261 

splash, and plunge, and blow, and make her circular course, carrying 
me along with her as if I was a fly on her tail. Finding her tail gave 
me but a poor hold, as the only means of securing my prey, I took out 
my knife, and cutting two deep parallel incisions through the skin on 
her rump,, and lifting this skin from the flesh, so that I could get in my 
two hands, I made use of this as a handle ; and after some desperate 
hard work, sometimes pushing and sometimes pulling, the sea-cow con- 
tinuing her circular course all the time and I holding on at her rump 
like grim Death, eventually I succeeded in bringing this gigantic and 
most powerful animal to the bank. Here the Bushman quickly brought 
me a stout buffalo rheim from my horse's neck, which I passed through 
the opening in the thick skin, and moored Behemoth to a tree. I then 
took my rifle and sent a ball through the centre of her head, and she 
was numbered with the dead. 

At this moment my waggons came up within a few hundred yards of 
the spot, where I outspanned, and by moonlight we took down a span 
of select oxen and a pair of rheim chains, and succeeded in dragging the 
sea-cow high and dry. We were all astonished at her enormous size ; 
she appeared to be about five feet broad across the belly. I could see 
much beauty in the animal, which Nature has admirably formed for the 
amphibious life it was destined to pursue. 

We were occupied all the morning of the 19th cutting up and salting 
the select parts of the sea-cow ; of the skull I took particular charge. 
She was extremely fat, more resembling a pig than a cow or a horse. 
In the evening I rode down the river, and shot a brace of waterbucks, 
after which I left the river-bank and rode to the summit of an adjacent 
hill, from which I obtained a fine view of the surrounding country. 
Many bold blue mountain ranges stood to the north and north-west ; to 
the east and south-east were also mountain ranges ; whilst to the south 
a very remarkable light-coloured rock, in the form of a dome, shot high 
above the level of the surrounding forest. 

The next day at dawn I rode down the river-side to seek serolomoot- 
looques, and ordered my waggons to follow in a couple of hours. After 
riding a few miles, I observed a serolomootlooque of surpassing beauty 
standing on the top of the opposite bank of the river ; he stood with his 
breast to me, and from the broad belt of reeds on this side of the water 
it was impossible to get nearer than a hundred yards of him. Taking a 
deliberate aim, I fired off-hand, and heard the ball tell upon him. Here 
the river was deep, requiring swimming, and I had fears of the crocodiles. 
I sent the Bushman across, however, on horseback, who immediately 
discovered blood, and presently came upon the buck, and found his 
fore-arm smashed in the shoulder. I went over, and, starting the buck 
in the cover, put a bullet in his ribs. He then got into some thick 
reeds, when I took up a position on one side, and ordered Ruyter to 
beat up the cover. The buck broke near me, when I sent a third bullet 
right through and through his shoulder ; and the tough old buck still 
scorning to fall, I quickly fired my other barrel, and most unluckily cut 
his lovely horn off at the base. The buck now charged headlong into a 
thick bush, and died. His head, before I destroyed it, was perhaps the 



262 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

finest along the banks of the Limpopo ; the horns were of extraordinary 
length, and had a most perfect set and turn. 

We now swam our steeds back to the saddlery, and presently overtook 
the waggons. I deposited my damaged trophy, and mounting fresh 
steeds, rode once more ahead. I was not ten minutes away from the 
waggons when I started another serolomootlooque, a first-rate old buck, 
very nearly as good as the last. Imagining our horses were some beasts 
of the forest, he turned to look at us, when I shot him in the heart. 
The waggons being close at hand, the buck was deposited in my larder, 
and I once more rode forth. 

After proceeding many miles along the borders of the river, on emerg- 
ing into an open space running parallel with the stream, I came upon 
large herds of pallahs, blue wildebeests, zebras, and to my utter astonish- 
ment, a herd of about ten bull elands. I was not aware that they were 
met with in these parts. I gave chase, and soon selected the best bull 
in the herd, a ponderous grey old fellow; he began at once to trot, 
though all the rest were still at a gallop. After a sharp ride of a few 
miles I turned this eland, and brought him back close on the river, when 
I shot him in the shoulder, holding out my rifle with one hand, like a 
pistol. I then rode back to seek my waggons, which I failed to find, 
they not having come on as I had ordered. I fancied that the natives 
had led them some short cut, and that the river might have a great bend ; 
so, being faint and hungry, I rode back to the eland, where I had left 
my Bushman, kindled a fire, and roasted and ate flesh and liver of the 
eland. As night was on, I skinned his side which lay uppermost that I 
might have some covering, as I had neither coat nor waistcoat. When, 
however, the sun went down, signal shots disclosed to me the position 
of the waggons ; they had come within half a mile of where the eland 
died. 

On the 21st I rode some distance down the river with Ruyter in 
quest of sea-cow and serolomootlooques ; we found fresh spoor of the 
former, and I shot one doe of the latter. Ruyter drove her up to me 
by beating the reeds ; he also started a fine old buck, which did not 
break cover. As I rode along I saw six crocodiles and a great number 
of monkeys of two varieties ; also several deadly serpents, one of them 
a cobra very similar to the Indian cobra. Bees were very abundant 
along the Limpopo, the gigantic old hollow trees affording them abun- 
dant homes. My natives brought me some fine honey while I was 
taking my breakfast ; they found it in an old ant-hill. I was astonished 
to observed along the banks of the river enormous trees from three to 
four feet in diameter, cut down by Bakalahari, only for the sake of the 
honey which they contain. The Bakalahari fell them with immense 
trouble and perseverance with little tomahawks of their own formation. 

The ant-hills along the Limpopo and throughout this part of Africa 
are truly wonderful ; it is common to see them upwards of twenty feet 
high and one hundred feet in circumference. They are composed of 
clay, which hardens in the sun like a brick ; they have generally one 
tall tapering spire in the middle of the fabric, the base of the spire being 
surrounded with similar projections of smaller height. The natives in- 



SEROLOMOOTLOOQUES AND CROCODILES. 263 

formed me that we were opposite to the tribe Seleka, whom they tried 
to persuade me to visit, but I resolved to stick to the Limpopo. 

On the 22nd we came upon the Macoolwey, a large clear running 
river, joining the Limpopo from the south-east : here I bagged a princely 
waterbuck. 

At dawn of the succeeding day I rode forth to try to cross the Lim- 
popo and hunt for serolomootlooques, but I failed to find a drift. I 
then rode some distance along the bank of the Macoolwey seeking a 
passage ; but I was still unsuccessful. I then retraced my steps to the 
Limpopo, determined to get through, cost what it might, as the banks 
looked very promising for serolomootlooques. I discovered a drift, but 
deep. I returned to camp for fresh horses, and rode forth with two 
after-riders, and a packhorse carrying bedding, as I had resolved to hunt 
for serolomootlooques over the river for a couple of days. We got 
safely through, and held up the stream. I sought every turn of the 
water on foot, the boys leading my horse, but failed to fall in with a 
buck serolomootlooque. I therefore retraced my steps down the river 
to a spot where buffaloes had drunk on the preceding evening, and there 
I spent the night. 

In the morning I rode down to a likely cover for serolomootlooques 
opposite the drift. Here I started one old buck, but did not fire ; he 
went off barking exactly like a roebuck, which they very much resemble 
in form, gait, voice, and habit. Following on after this buck, I started 
two does, one of which I shot. Here I left one of my after-riders with 
two of the steeds, whilst I and Ruyter rode down the bank of the Lim- 
popo to explore. I found the river wearing quite a different appear- 
ance below its junction, being very much broader — nearly as large, in- 
deed, as the Orange River. Crocodiles of enormous size were to be seen 
at every turn, and I shot four huge fellows. We then fell in with a 
large rock serpent, or " metsapallah," about eleven feet long, which I 
shot with a ball through the head, and brought to camp slung round my 
neck. 

Having resolved over-night to rob a colony of bees of their precious 
stores, and to try for the old serolomootlooque at the drift, I started on 
the 25th at day-dawn, with two after-riders, one of them carrying a 
large tin pail for the expected honey. After crossing the river I stalked 
carefully through the cover where the serolomootlooque dwelt. I 
started him and another buck, but failed to obtain a shot. I then set 
my after-riders to beat up the cover, and they started them two or three 
times, but I was still unsuccessful. We now started for the bees' nest, 
which was in an old hollow tree. I kindled a large fire in front of the 
hole, and having smoked them with dry grass took out the honey, 
which was excellent. I got, however, about fifty stings on my hands 
and arms. In the afternoon I inspanned, and crossed the Macoolwey a 
few miles above its junction with the Limpopo. The natives again tried 
hard to lead me to Seleka, but I would not leave the Limpopo, and 
accordingly sheered off to its banks, which I reached by bright moon- 
light. Here we heard hippopotami snorting in the river, and lions 



264 HUNTING- AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



roared near us all night long. Next day I had the luck to shoot two 
very fine old buck serolomootlooques. 

On the 27th I rode down the river at dawn of day, and ordered my 
waggons to follow in two hours. Whilst riding along the river's bank, 
some distance beyond the limits of yesterday's ride, opposite to a broad 
sandbank densely covered with reeds, I heard a loud plunge, which was 
immediately followed by the welcome blowing sound of sea-cows. I 
instantly divested myself of my leather trousers, and went down into 
the reeds, where I came suddenly upon a crocodile of average size, lying 
in a shallow back stream ; and on his attempting to gain the main river, 
I shot him with a bullet in the shoulder : he lay dead on the spot. This 
was the first crocodile which I had managed to lay my hands upon, 
although I had shot many. The sound of my rifle alarmed the sea- 
cows ; some took up, and some down the river. I was unfortunate with 
them, shooting two and losing them both. As I was seeking the 
wounded hippopotami, my waggons came up. Soon after breakfast, the 
chief Seleka, with a number of his aristocracy, paid me a visit ; and in 
the afternoon I rode down the river, ordering my waggons to follow, 
and found the fresh spoor of a mighty old bull elephant. 

I rode forth at sunrise on the 28th, ordering my waggons to follow in 
two hours. Seleka had sent men down the river, before it was clear, to 
seek sea-cows ; and they soon came running after me to say that they 
had found some. I accordingly followed them to the river, where, in a 
long, broad, and deep bend, were four hippopotami, two full-grown 
cows, a small cow, and a calf. At the tail of this pool was a strong and 
rapid stream, which thundered along in Highland fashion over large 
masses of dark rock. 

On coming to the shady bank, I could at first only see one old cow 
and calf. When they dived I ran into the reeds, and as the cow came 
up I shot her in the head ; she, however, got away down the river, and 
I lost her. The other three took away up the river, and became very 
shy, remaining under the water for five minutes at a time, and then 
only popping their heads up for a few seconds. I accordingly remained 
quiet behind the reeds, in hope of their dismissing their alarms. Pre- 
sently the two smaller ones seemed to be no longer frightened, popping 
up their entire heads, and remaining above water for a minute at a time ; 
but the third, which was by far the largest, and which I thought must 
be a bull, continued extremely shy, remaining under the water for ten 
minutes at a time, and then just showing her face for a second, making 
a blowing like a whale, and returning to the bottom. I stood there with 
rifle at my shoulder, and my eye on the sight, until I was quite tired. 
I thought I should never get a chance at her, and had just resolved to 
fire at one of the smaller ones, when she shoved up half her head and 
looked about her. I made a correct shot ; the ball cracked loudly below 
her ear, and the huge body of the sea-cow came floundering to the top. 
I was enchanted ; she could not escape. Though not dead she had lost 
her senses, and continued swimming round and round, sometimes beneath 
and sometimes at the surface of the water, creating a fearful commotion. 

Hearing my waggons coming on, I sent a message to my followers to 



SEROLOMOOTLOOQUE AND HIPPOPOTAMI. 265 

outspan, and to come and behold Behemoth floundering in her native 
element. When they came up I finished her with a shot in the neck, 
upon which she instantly sank to the bottom, and disappeared in the 
strong rapid torrent at the tail of the sea-cow hole. There she remained 
for a long time, and I thought that I had lost her, but the natives said 
that she would soon reappear. Being in want of refreshment, I left my 
people to watch for the resurrection of Behemoth, and I held to the 
waggon to feed. While taking my breakfast there was a loud hue-and- 
cry among the natives, that the koodoo had floated and was sailing down 
the river. It was so, and my Hottentots swam in and brought her to 
the bank. Her flesh proved most excellent. In the afternoon I rode 
down the river with Ruyter, and shot one very splendid old waterbuck 
with a princely head, which I kept. 

The next day, after proceeding a few miles, I killed a very fine buck 
of the serolomootlooque. I again rode down the river's bank, with two 
after-riders, to seek hippopotami, the natives reporting that they were 
to be found in a pool in advance, where another river joined the Lim- 
popo. After riding a short distance I found the banks unusually green 
and shady, and very much frequented by the sea-cow ; and presently in 
a broad, deep, and long still bend of the river, I disturbed the game I 
sought. 

They were lying in their sandy beds among the rank reeds at the 
river's margin, and on hearing me galloping over the gravelly shingle 
between the bank and the reeds, the deposit of some great flood, they 
plunged into their native stronghold in dire alarm, and commenced 
blowing, snorting, and uttering a sound very similar to that made by 
the musical instrument called a serpent. It was a fairish place for an 
attack, so, divesting myself of my leather trousers, I ordered my after- 
riders to remain utterly silent, and then crept cautiously forward, 
determined not to fire a shot until I had thoroughly overhauled the herd 
to see if it did not contain a bull, and at all events to secure, if possible, 
the very finest head amongst them. 

The herd consisted of about fourteen hippopotami ; ten of these were 
a little farther down the stream than the other four. Having carefully 
examined these ten, I made out two particular hippopotami decidedly 
larger than all the others. I then crept a little distance up the river 
behind the reeds, to obtain a view of the others. They were two 
enormous old cows with two large calves beside them. The old 
ones had exactly the same size of head as the two best cows below ; 
I accordingly chose what I thought the best of these two, and, making 
a fine shot at the side of her head, I at once disabled her. She dis- 
appeared for a few seconds, and then came floundering to the surface, 
and continued swimming round and round, sometimes diving, and then 
reappearing with a loud splash and a blowing noise, always getting 
slowly down the river, until I re-attacked and finished her a quarter of 
a mile farther down, about an hour after. 

The other sea-cows were now greatly alarmed, and only occasionally 
put up their heads, showing but a small part, remaining but a few 
seconds at a time. I, however, managed to select one of the three 



266 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

remaining ones, and, making a most perfect shot, I sent a bullet crashing 
into her brain. This caused instantaneous death, and she sank to the 
bottom. I then wounded two more sea-cows in the head, both of which 
I lost. The others were so alarmed and cunning that it was impossible 
to do anything with them. 

The one I had first shot was now resting with half her body above 
water on a sandbank in the Limpopo, at the mouth of the other river 
Lepalala, which was broad, clear, and rapid. From this resting-place I 
started her with one shot in the shoulder and another in the side of the 
head ; this last shot set her in motion once more, and she commenced 
struggling in the water in the most extraordinary manner, disappearing 
for a few seconds and then coming up like a great whale, setting the 
whole river in an uproar. Presently she took away down the stream, 
holding to the other side, but, again returning, I finished her with a shot 
in the middle of the forehead. 

This proved a most magnificent specimen of the female of the 
wondrous hippopotamus, an animal with which I was extremely sur- 
prised and delighted. She far surpassed the brightest conceptions I had 
formed of her, being a larger, a more lively, and in every way a more 
interesting animal than certain writers had led me to expect. On securing 
this fine sea-cow I immediately cut off her head and placed it high and 
dry : this was a work of considerably difficulty for four men. We left 
her body in the water, being of course, unable to do anything with it 
there. It was well I secured the head when I did, for next morning the 
crocodiles had dragged her away. 

I held up the river to see what the other sea-cows were doing, when 
to my particular satisfaction, I beheld the body of the other huge sea- 
cow which I had shot in the brain floating in the pool where I had shot 
her, and stationary within about twenty yards of the other side. I then 
held down the river to the tail of the pool, where the stream was broad 
and rapid and less likely to hold crocodiles, and here, although cold and 
worn out, I swam across to secure my game. The waggons now came 
up, and two of my Hottentots swam over to my assistance ; but just as 
we were going in to secure the sea-cow, she became disengaged from 
the invisible fetters that had held her, and which turned out to be the 
branch of a gigantic old tree that some flood had lodged in the bottom 
of the pool. The sea-cow now floated down the middle of the river ; 
when she neared the tail of the pool, we swam in and inclined her course 
to shore, and stranded her on a fine gravel bank. 

This truly magnificent specimen was just about the same size as the 
first, and apparently older, but her teeth were not so thick. Ordering 
the natives at once to cut off her huge head, and having seen it deposited 
safely on the bank along with that of her comrade, I held for my 
waggons, having to cross the Lepalala to reach them. I was very cold 
and worn out, but most highly gratified at my good fortune in first kill- 
ing, and then in securing, two out of the four best sea-cows in a herd 
of fourteen. 



ANOTHEK ELEPHANT HUNT. 267 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

Seleka's Town among the Rocks — Elephant-hunting with Seleka and his Men — 
Trading with Seleka — A Lion and Lioness with their Cubs — An immense Herd 
of Hippopotami — Nine of them killed — Trap for inflicting poisoned Wounds on 
Sea-cows — We cross the Limpopo, and a Waggon sticks in the River — We trek 
down the Stream — Two of my best Horses killed and eaten by Lions — The 
Chief of the Bamalette visits me — Audacity of the Lions — A Horse killed in a 
Pitfall — A Chief flogged for catching and consuming a Horse. 

On the 1st of July I inspanned at sunrise and marched to the town of 
the Baseleka, which I reached in about four hours, having crossed the 
Lepalala on the way. I outspanned on the bank of the river. Seleka's 
town is built on the top and sides of a steep and precipitous white 
quartz rock, "which rises abruptly, and forms a very remarkable feature 
in the green forest scenery which surrounds it. In the evening Seleka 
brought down four fairish bull elephant's teeth, which I bought for four 
muskets. 

On the morrow I took an early breakfast, and then held east with 
Seleka and about a hundred and fifty of his men to seek elephants, they 
having heard from the Bakalahari of the position of a troop of bulls. 
This day I might reckon as the beginning of my elephant-hunting this 
season. As the country appeared to me well adapted for the sport, and 
as I regretted not a little that my men and a good stud of horses should 
be idle at the waggons while they might be bringing me in fifty pounds 
once or twice a-week, I armed and mounted John Stofolus and Carey, 
both of whom vaunted much of their courage and skill. I instructed 
them, in the event of our finding, to select a good elephant, and, if not 
able to kill him, at least to hold him in view until I had finished mine, 
which I promised to do as quickly as possible, and then to come to their 
assistance. 

We had not proceeded far from the white rock when we entered a 
forest frequented by elephants, and we very soon came upon the fresh 
spoor of a troop of about ten fine bulls. The spooring was conducted 
very properly, the old chief taking the greatest care of the wind, keeping 
his followers far back, and maintaining silence, extending picquets in 
advance, and to the right and left, and ordering them to ascend to the 
summits of the tallest trees to obtain a correct view of the surrounding 
forest. Presently the mighty game was detected. Old Schwartland 
was led alongside of me, and my dogs were all in the couples, eight in 
number. I quickly mounted, and, riding slowly forward, obtained a 
blink of one of the elephants. 

I called to the natives to slip the dogs, and then dashed forward for 
a selection. I chose the last, and gave him a shot as he passed me, and 
then riding hard under his stern I yelled like a demon to clear him from 
his comrades and to bring the dogs to my assistance. The dogs came 
as I expected to my elephant, and I shot him from the saddle in a 
business-like style, loading and firing with great rapidity ; he took from 
fifteen to twenty shots before he fell. All this time I listened in vain 



268 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

for shots from John or Carey. The former did not even consider him- 
self safe in the same forest with the elephants, and had slunk away from 
Carey while in sight of a splendid bull ; nor did we hear more of him 
that day. Carey did but little better, for he lost his elephant immedi- 
ately, one charge being sufficient. 

The natives were now fighting with an immense old bull : hearing 
them, I rode in their direction, and came upon Carey stationary in 
the forest. Here the dogs took up the scent of an elephant, and I 
followed them, but they eventually dropped it. I then tried to retrace 
my steps to the dead elephant, which I did by chance, having lost my 
way in the level boundless jungle and wandered far. I found a few 
natives, who reported their captain and most of his men to be still engaged 
with the elephant, and they said that Carey had joined them in the 
chase. I off-saddled for a little, but, hearing the cries of the natives in 
the distance, I saddled old Schwartland, and rode onward till I found 
the natives and Carey quite done up, and on the point of dropping the 
game. The elephant, although red with blood, and resembling a 
porcupine from the number of the assagais, was little the worse for all 
that he had received. I then attacked him, and, with eight or ten shots, 
ended his career. 

Next morning, Bakalahari coming up and reporting to have heard 
elephants during the night, old Seleka and I went in quest of them. 
We were joined by the gallant and vaunting John Stofolus ; who had 
slept at the waggons, and swore that he had lost his way in a long chase 
after an elephant. Both he and Carey expressing regret for their 
previous mismanagement, and vowing to prove themselves men this day, 
I allowed them to accompany me. We soon took up the spoor of one 
old bull, which led us into a forest thoroughly ploughed up and broken 
with bull elephants. Here this fine fellow joined a glorious squadron of 
from twenty to thirty mighty bulls. When we discovered their position 
I dashed forward, shouting to the dogs, and was instantly in the middle 
of them. Then followed a wondrous scene. The elephants, panic- 
stricken, charged forward, levelling the forest before them, trumpeting, 
with trunks and tails aloft, as the dogs mingled with them. 

Looking back over my shoulder I beheld the elephants come crashing on 
behind and within a few yards of me. I then pressed forward, overtook 
about ten bulls that were inclining to the west, rode under their sterns, 
chose the best, and, yelling at the top of my voice, I separated him from 
his comrades, and brought my dogs to my assistance. In a few minutes 
he had many mortal wounds. Not hearing my trusty John and Carey 
fire, and the elephant's course being right towards camp, I ceased firing 
and drove him on before me. Presently these worthies came up to me, 
having been after a most splendid bull — the cock of the troop — which I 
in my haste, had ridden by. They had fired two or three shots, and 
then left him. 

I now saw that all my hunting this season must depend on my own 
single hand, as my followers, instead of a help, were a very great hinder- 
ance and annoyance to me. If I had been alone that day I should most 
certainly have taken more time, and have selected the elephant they had 



A TROOP OF SEA-COWS. 269 



lost, which the natives said parried extremely large and long teeth. 
Presently, my elephant declining to proceed farther, and, becoming ex- 
tremely wicked, I recommenced firing, and at last he fell, having received 
twenty-nine balls, twenty-seven of these being in a very correct part. 
This was an enormous first-rate bull ; but his teeth, though large, being 
not the best in the troop, I felt very much dissatisfied. 

On the forenoon of the 5th I traded with Seleka for karosses of 
pallah's skin and tusks of elephants, and in the evening I walked up to 
inspect the town, and climbed to the summit of the quartz rock on 
which the citadel of Seleka is situated. Here I viewed the surrounding 
country ; chainS of mountains of moderate height shot above the level 
forest in every direction, but mostly to the east and south. 

The next day, after breakfast, I saddled up steeds and took the field 
for elephants, accompanied by two after-riders. We were soon joined 
by the greater part of the Seleka tribe, and held about south, following 
the bank of the river Lepalala, which we eventually crossed. Having 
proceeded some distance through a tract but little frequented by 
elephants, men who had been sent to seek in a south-westerly direction 
came and reported that they had found. We then held at once for a 
steep and very rocky hill which rose abruptly in the forest, and on the 
west side of which the elephants had been seen. We had ascended 
about half-way up this hill, the natives following on in a long string and 
detached parties, when we discovered that we had nearly hemmed in a 
huge and most daring old lion, with his partner and a troop of very 
small cubs. I had passed him within about sixty yards, and was a little 
above him on the hill before I was aware of his presence. He gave us 
notice of his proximity by loud and continued growling, advancing 
boldly with open jaws towards the natives. These fled before him ; and 
the lioness having now slunk away with her cubs, and some of our dogs 
having attacked him, he turned right about and followed slowly after 
his mate, growling fearfully. 

We feared that all this noise might have started the elephants : when, 
however, we had gained a commanding point on the shoulder of the hill, 
we could see them standing in a thick low forest a short distance from the 
base of the hill ; it was a troop of very middling cow elephants with a 
number of calves of all sizes : about half a mile to the north we could 
see another troop of cows. I wished to attack these, but the natives 
prevailed upon me to attack the nearest troop. Leaving the greater 
part of the natives to watch our movements from this elevated position, 
I descended the hill and held for the mighty game. I felt rather nervous 
on this ocassion. I was not in good health, and the forest here was not 
well adapted for the sport, the cover being thick, with a great deal of 
bad wait-a-bit thorns. 

When we came upon the troop they were considerably scattered, and 
we first approached two very indifferent cows, which, hearing us, instant- 
ly retreated into the thick cover. I would not follow these, but at once 
slipped my dogs in the hope that they would find me better elephants. 
The dogs then ran forward in different directions, and immediately a 
loud trumpeting followed from three detachment of cows. Galloping 

17 



270 HUNTING AND SPOBTING ADVENTURES. 

forward, I obtained a view of them all. There was but one right good 
cow in the troop : she brought up the rear of a detachment which came 
crashing past on my right, making for the densest cover round the base 
of the hill. This cow carried two fine long white tusks, one of them 
With a very sharp point. On attacking her she at once separated from 
her comrades, and every one of my dogs took, as is usual, away after the 
calves ; galloping up alongside and very near this cow, and firing from 
the saddle I bowled her over with a single ball behind the shoulder. 

On the 11th we marched at dawn of day, holding north-east, and halted 
on the bank of the Limpopo. There the waggons remained, whilst I 
hunted the banks of the river, bagging two first-rate bull elephants and 
one hippopotamus. One of these elephants I shot across the Limpopo, 
under the mountains of Guapa ; I fought him in dense wait-a-bit jungle 
from half-past eleven till the sun was under, when his tough old spirit 
•fled, and the venerable monarch of the forest fell, pierced with fifty-seven 
balls. On the 17th we inspanned and trekked about five miles down 
the stream, when I halted beside a long deep hippopotamus hole, in which 
were two bulls and one cow, but it being late I did not trouble them. 

The next day I rode down the river to seek sea-cows, accompanied 
by my two after-riders \ taking, as usual, my double-barrelled rifles. We 
had proceeded about two miles when we came upon some most thoroughly 
beaten old-established hippopotamus paths, and presently, in a broad, 
long, deep, and shaded pool of the river, we heard the sea-cows bellowing. . 
There I beheld one of the most wondrous and interesting sights that a 
sportsman can be blessed with. I at once knew that there must be an 
immense herd of them, for the voices came from different parts of the 
pool ; so, creeping in through the bushes to obtain an inspection, a large 
sandy island appeared at the neck of the pool, on which stood several 
large shady trees. 

The neck of the pool was very wide and shallow, with rocks and large 
stones ; below it was deep and still. On a sandy promontory of this 
island stood about thirty cows and calyes, whilst in the pool opposite, 
and a little below them, stood about twenty more sea-cows, with their 
heads and backs above water. About fifty yards farther down the river 
again, showing out their heads, were eight or ten immense fellows, 
which I think were all bulls ; and about one hundred yards below these 
in the middle of the stream stood another herd of about eight or ten 
cows with calves, and two huge bulls. The sea-cows lay close together 
like pigs \ a favourite position was to rest their heads on their comrades' 
sterns and sides. The herds were attended by an immense number of 
the invariable rhinoceros birds, which, on observing me, did their best 
to spread alarm throughout the hippotami. I was resolved to select if 
possible a first-rate old bull out of this vast herd, and I accordingly 
delayed firing for nearly two hours, continually running up and down 
behind the thick thorny cover, attentively studying the heads. At 
length I determined to go close in and select the best hqad out of the 
eight or ten bulls which lay below the cows. I accordingly left the 
cover and walked slowly forward in full view of the whole herd to the 
water's edge, where I lay down on my belly and studied the heads of 



SHOOTING HIPPOPOTAMI. 271 



these bulls. The cows, on seeing me, splashed into the water and kept 
up a continual snorting and blowing till night set in. 

After selecting for a few minutes I fired my first shot at a splendid 
bull, and sent the ball in a little behind the eye. He was at once 
incapacitated, and kept plunging and swimming round and round, 
wearing away down the pool, until I finished him with two more shots. 
The whole pool was now in a state of intense commotion. The best 
cows and the bulls at once became very shy and cunning, showing only 
the flat roofs of their heads, and sometimes only their nostrils. The 
younger cows were not so shy, producing the whole head \ and if I had 
wished to make a bag I might have shot an immense number. This 
however was not my object ; and as there was likely to be a difficulty 
in securing what I did kill, I determined only to fire at the very best. 
When, therefore, the sun went down I had not fired a great many shots, 
but had bagged five first-rate hippopotami, four cows and one bull, and 
besides these there were three or four more very severely wounded which 
were spouting blood throughout the pool. 

The next day I removed my waggons to the bank where I had waged 
successful war with the hippopotami. Here we halted beneath a shady 
tree with a very dark green leaf, and having drawn up the waggons we 
cast loose the trektows, and marching the two spans of oxen down to 
the edge of the river we dragged out one of the sea-cows high and dry. 
After breakfast I rode down the river with Carey to seek those I had 
wounded. Having ridden about three miles down the river, we heard 
sea-cows snorting ; and on dismounting from my horse and creeping in 
through very dense thorny cover which here clothed the banks, I found 
a very fine herd of about thirty hippopotami basking in the sun : they 
lay upon a sand-bank in the middle of the river, in about three feet of 
water. After taking a long time to make a selection I opened my fire 
and discharged my four barrels : one sea-cow lay dead, and two others 
were stunned and took to the other side, but eventually recovered and 
were not numbered with the slain. I continued with them till sundown 
and fired a good many shots, but only bagged one other cow : they were 
very shy and cunning. 

On the 20th I again rode down the river to the pool, and found a herd 
of sea-cows still there; so I remained with them till sundown, and 
bagged two very first-rate old sea-cows, which were forthcoming next 
day. This day I detected a most dangerous trap constructed by the 
Bakalahari for slaying sea-cows. It consisted of a sharp little assagai or 
spike most thoroughly poisoned, and stuck firmly into the end of a heavy 
block of thorn-wood about four feet long and five inches in diameter. 
This formidable affair was suspended over the centre of a sea-cow path 
at a height of about thirty feet from the ground by a bark cord which 
passed over a high branch of a tree and thence to a peg on the other 
side, where it was fastened. To the suspending cord were two triggers 
so constructed that, when the sea-cow struck against the cord which led 
across the path, the heavy block above was set at liberty, which instantly 
dropped with immense force with poisonous dart, inflicting a sure and 
mortal wound. The bones and old teeth of sea-cows which lay rotting 



272 HUNTING AND SPOTTING ADVENTURES. 

along the bank of the river here evinced the success of this dangerous 
invention. I remained in the neighbourhood of the pool for several 
days, during which time I bagged no less than fifteen first-rate hippopo- 
tami, the greater portion of them being bulls. 

At dawn of day on the 28th we inspanned and marched up the river 
to the drift. All hands worked hard in cutting down the bank on the 
opposite side, the Bakalahari assisting us ; and in the afternoon we got 
the cap-tent waggon, which was very lightly laden, through the river, 
with twelve oxen. The baggage-waggon stuck fast in the mud, and 
remained there all night, with the fore-wheels half way up the bank, 
and the after-chest under the water ; and although we put twenty oxen 
to it, we could not get it out. 

The next day our first work was to reduce the bank on which the 
waggon stood, after which, with considerable difficulty, we got it out 
with twenty of my best oxen. The whole day we were busy drying the 
innumerable contents of the fore and after chests of each waggon, 
almost everything being thoroughly, saturated, and I sustained con- 
siderable loss in fine powder, percussion -caps, biscuit, tea, coffee, sugar, 
and a number of other articles, some of which were damaged and some 
entirely destroyed. 

I marched at dawn of day on the 30th. Seleka and his men and my 
hired Baquaines had done all in their power to prevent my proceeding 
farther ; but as they could not conceal the waters from me, my course 
being to follow the Limpopo, I was perfectly independent of them. 
They remained by me until I crossed the Limpopo, and then they all 
turned home. I was now once more without natives, and held down the 
north-western bank of the river, but very soon Bakalahari joined us, 
and their numbers increased as we held on. I had the good luck this 
day to bag five more first-rate hippopotami. 

The next day, after assisting my men to get out some of the sea-cows, 
I rode down the river with two after-riders to explore. Having ridden 
a few miles, I came upon a troop of twelve, the best of which I disabled 
and killed the next day. This was a most splendid old cow, and carried 
tusks far superior to any we had yet seen ; in the afternoon I bagged 
six more. 

From a continued run of good luck in all my hunting expeditions 
with my horses and oxen, in regard to lions and Bakalahari pitfalls, I 
had become foolishly careless of them, and I had got into a most 
dangerous custom of allowing the cattle to feed about the waggons long 
after the sun was under. I was always boasting of my good luck, and 
used to say that the lions knew that the cattle belonged to me, and 
feared to molest them. This night, however, a bitter lesson was in 
store for me. The sun as usual had been under an hour before I 
ordered my men to make fast my horses : the oxen had of their own 
accord come to the waggons and lain down ; the horses, however, were 
not forthcoming. My hired natives, who were now anxious to prevent 
my proceeding farther from their country, were wilfully neglecting their 
charge, and, instead of looking after my cattle, they were exchanging 
the flesh and fat of my sea-cows for assagais, etc., with the Bakalahari. 



HORSES KILLED BY LIONS. 273 



The night was very dark, and the horses were sought for in vain. I re- 
marked to Carey that it was some since we had heard the voice of a 
lion ; but a few minutes after we heard the low moan of the king of 
beasts repeated several time^ at no great distance, and in the very direc- 
tion in which my horses were supposed to be. 

The next day the sun had been up two hours, and my horses could 
not yet be found. I entertained no apprehensions, however, from the 
lion, but rather suspected some plot between Seleka and my natives to 
drive my cattle back, and so force me to retrace my steps. I therefore 
ordered John Stofolus and Hendrick to take bridles and a supply of 
meat, and to follow up the spoor wherever it might lead ; and being 
anxious to see which way it went, I took a rifle and followed in quest of 
it myself. Observing a number of vultures to the west, and hearing the 
voices of natives in that direction, I proceeded thither at top speed. 

To my utter horror, I found my two most valuable and especially 
favourite veteran shooting-horses lying fearfully mangled and half con- 
sumed by a troop of ruthless lions. They were " Black Jock " and 
" Schwartland," the former a first-rate young horse, worth =£24, the 
latter aged, but by far my most valuable steed, being perhaps the best 
shooting-horse in Southern Africa; he knew no fear, and would approach 
as near as I chose to elephant or lion, or any description of game. From 
his back I had shot nearly all my elephants last year ; and so fond was 
I of this horse, that I never rode or even saddled him until we had found 
elephants, when I used him in the fight and then immediately off-saddled. 

With a sickening heart I turned from this most painful scene, and, 
utterly dejected, I returned to camp. As there was much to do about 
the waggons, and as two of my men were absent seeking the lost horses, 
I did not immediately go in quest of the lions ; this I however did in 
the afternoon, taking all my dogs, but I failed to find them. A large 
party of the natives from the south-west, the Bamalette, reached me late 
in the day ; their object was flesh, and to endeavour to persuade me to 
come and trade with them. They had fallen in with three of my steeds, 
the others were found by my men near the drift where I had last crossed 
the river. I formed a very strong kraal for my cattle, and made all fast 
at sundown. Very soon after, the troop of lions came up to my camp 
on the spoor of the horses, fancying that they could repeat the tragedy 
of last night ; they fought with my dogs in the most daring manner, off 
and on, until near dawn of day, driving them in to the fire-side. The 
cattle were very restive, and nearly broke away, but the kraal was good 
and saved them. 

In the morning, ordering my waggons to follow, I rode down the river, 
followed by at least two hundred natives, to secure the hippopotami shot 
two days previous. Six of these were forthcoming, and we set about 
getting them to the side : they lay upon the rocks in the middle of the 
river. One of these proved to be an out-and-outer, a tearing old bull 
with tusks which far surpassed anything I had yet seen, and quite per- 
fect ; I was very much gratified with this fine trophy. There were also 
two of the cows which carried immense and perfect tusks. When the 



274 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

waggons came up, I found myself minus another steed : a fine young 
mare had fallen into a Bakalahari pitfall, and had been suffocated. 

On the 5th I rode down the river and fell in with a large herd of 
about thirty hippopotami : they lay upon some rocks in the middle of 
a very long and broad pool. I wounded seven or eight of these in the 
head, and killed two, a bull and a cow, both of which we found next 
day. At night the lions prowled around our camp, and fought with the 
dogs until the morning : they came boldly in between the fires of the 
natives, who lay around my camp. 

The next day I ordered my waggons to come on, and I rode ahead to 
the pool where I had last shot. When the waggons came up, I detected 
the head Bakalahari of the kraal beside which my mare had been killed ; 
he was talking with my cattle herds, with whom he seemed to be on 
very intimate terms. This killing of my horse was either intentional or 
most culpably careless, as the pits were left covered, and the cattle 
driven to pasture in the middle of them ; I accordingly deemed it proper 
that this man should be made an example of ; so, calling to my English 
servant, Carey, to assist me, we each seized an arm of the guilty chief, 
and I then caused Hendrick to flog him, with a sea-cow jambok ; after 
which I admonished him, and told him that if the holes were not opened 
in future I would make a more severe example as I proceeded. The 
consequence of this salutary admonition was that all the pitfalls along 
the river were thrown open in advance of my march, a thing which I 
had never before seen among the Bechuana tribes. In- the afternoon I 
rode down the river a few pools, and found a very fine herd of about 
thirty hippopotami. I wounded three or four of these, and killed one. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

We trek down the Limpopo — Abundance of Sea-cows — The Lotsane River — An 
immense Herd of Elephants — Combat with a first-rate old Bull— Rheumatic 
Fever attacks me, which determines our course homewards — Elephants smash- 
ing Forest-trees— A Lion carries off one of my men from the Fireside — The 
Beast occupied consuming him all night — The man-eating Lion slain — Three 
Hippopotami shot — One of the Dogs eaten by a Crocodile — The fatal ' ' Tsetse " 
fly — The Fountain of Seboono — An old Bull-Elephant held in check without 
Gun or Dogs. 

I resolved now to cease for a time hunting sea-cows, and to trek 
ahead in good earnest. I accordingly took considerable trouble in 
stowing the waggons properly. We then trekked down the river until 
sundown. I rode ahead of the waggons to explore, and was struck with 
astonishment at the number of the hippopotami. They seemed to 
increase the farther I trekked down the river ; every pool had its herd ; 
they were extremely fearless, allowing me to approach within fifteen 
yards of them. In the morning I found myself minus my hired natives : 
these ruffians, fearing to receive a chastisement similar to that of the 
chief of the Bakalahari, which they felt they deserved, thought it best 
to get out of the way in time, and had cut the service. The chief 




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ANOTHER ELEPHANT EXPEDITION. 275 



Matsaca brought me ivory, which I obtained in barter for muskets and 
some ammunition. 

On the 8th we trekked at dawn of day, and after proceeding a few 
miles came upon the Lotsane, one of those gravelly-bedded rivers, with 
only water in occasional spots, such as are met with in the Bamangwato 
country. Here was much spoor of elephant ; and the natives pressing 
me to halt and hunt, I outspanned and got everything ready for a trip 
from the waggons. 

The next morning I started with a party of natives to seek elephants. 
We held along the banks of the Lotsane for several miles, holding a north- 
westerly course ; after which we left the river and held south-west ; and, 
at last, followed down to the Limpopo, and so home to camp, without 
finding a single fresh spoor. Here I found my old friends from 
Bamangwato, Mollyeon and Kapain, with a party. I was glad to see 
these men, as I knew they would assist me in my hunting, and they 
could also converse with me. 

On the 10th, at dawn of day, I rode down the river, and ordered my 
waggons to follow. I found sea-cows more and more abundant : every 
pool had its herd : the margin of the river on each side was trampled 
down by elephants, rhinoceroces, buffaloes, etc. Having ridden about 
six miles, I found the fresh spoor of a troop of bull elephants. I off- 
saddled, and in an hour the waggons came up, when I took up the spoor, 
accompanied by Carey, Hendrick, and Ruyter. After following the 
spoor for some miles, the natives lost it. A little distance ahead of us 
was a rocky hill, to the summit of which I ascended. This spot com- 
manded a good view of the adjacent forest. I at once detected an 
immense herd of elephants. They were drinking in a wide open spot 
on a gravelly-bedded river which falls into the Limpopo, called by the 
natives Suking. 

We then made a turn to leeward and came in upon this fine herd ; it 
was the largest I had ever seen ; there must have been upwards of one 
hundred elephants before my eye at once. The troop consisted chiefly 
of cows and calves ; I however detected one fine well-grown bull, carry- 
ing very fair tusks. I rode slowly towards him, followed ■ by my men, 
and the natives leading the dogs. We advanced unobserved until we 
were within twenty yards of some of the outside cows. Here I enjoyed 
a fine view of the herd ; they stood drinking on a vast surface of granite 
rock, and, though no trees intervened between us and them, they took 
not the slightest notice of us. 

At length I gave the bull a shot in the shoulder and then followed 
him up. He stumbled, and fell once upon the slippery rock, but, 
recovering his feet, went off at a pace which I could hardly equal on the 
dangerous ground. By good luck, most of my dogs came to my assist- 
ance, and I slew him in a few minutes with eight or ten shots. I had 
directed Hendrick and Carey to try to hold some of the cows for me 
until I was ready with the bull ; accordingly, these doughty Nimrods 
followed and turned four cows for a short time, and then left them, 
without even firing a shot to advise me of their course ; the consequence 



276 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

of which was, that I knocked up myself, my dogs, and horses, in chasing 
the retreating herd to a great distance, to no purpose. 

On the following day I shot another bull elephant and a white 
rhinoceros ; and on the afternoon of the 12th, returning to camp weary 
and worn, I came unexpectedly upon a bull elephant of unusual size, 
standing in the shade on the margin of the Limpopo. He took refuge 
in an extensive jungle of impracticable wait-a-bits, where it was 
impossible to do anything on horseback, and I was therefore obliged to 
hunt him on foot. I slew him with thirty bullets after an extremely 
severe and dangerous combat of about two hours. I afterwards felt 
much the worse for this severe exertion. 

On the 14th I despatched Hendrick to bring on the waggons, which 
came up in the afternoon. Night set in warm, calm, and still, with a 
good moonlight. Elephants, sea-cows, and panthers kept up a continued 
music above and below us along the river until I fell asleep. 

On the 15th I felt very ill, but in the forenoon I went down to the 
river, where I shot two sea-cows. In the evening, feeling worse, I bled 
myself, but strong fever was on me all night. 

Next morning I marched, halting at sundown on the Mokojay, a 
gravelly-bedded periodical river, where elephants occasionally drank. 

On the 18th at dawn of day I took leave of Molly eon and Kapain of 
Bamangwato, as they would not follow me farther. We then inspanned, 
and held down the Limpopo. I regretted to observe that the spoor of 
elephants did not seem to increase in the same ratio as I had allowed 
myself to imagine. We were in an extremely remote and secluded 
corner of the world, quite uninhabited ; yet the elephants, though 
frequenting it, were decidedly scarce. I felt extremely weak and 
nervous from the fever and the quantity of blood which I had lost, in 
so much that I started at my own shadow, and several times sprang to 
one side when the leaves rustled in the bushes. I walked along the 
bank of the river with my gun loaded with small shot, intending to shoot 
a partridge for my breakfast. Presently I came upon the fresh dung of 
bull elephants, and at the same moment my people at the waggons saw 
two old bull elephants within two hundred yards of them ; and the wind 
being favourable, they walked unsuspiciously away. 

A singular piece of good luck here occurred ; on beholding the 
elephants my weakness (brought on by bleeding) and my nervousness of 
mind immediately left me. 

Having caught and saddled steeds, I attacked these two noble 
elephants, and had the good fortune to secure them both, while my oxen 
were standing close by in their yokes, and my people were looking on. 
I was enabled to do this by the assistance of my dogs, who kept one of 
the elephants in play until his comrade was mortally wounded, when I 
galloped hard to their assistance, and secured him before the first had 
fallen to the ground. 

On the 20th, early in the morning, I rode some distance down the 
river, with one after-rider, to explore. I found the country here not 
much frequented by elephants ; I, however, found the fresh spoor of one 
troop, but I was much too weak to follow it. Following an elephant 



AN APPALLING TRAGEDY. 277 

path in very rocky ground, I came suddenly within ten yards of an old 
bull buffalo, who instantly charged me most fiercely, and had not my 
horse been most particularly active I could not have escaped him : so 
headlong was his charge that he lost his footing in the rocky ground, 
and fell with amazing violence, getting up and retreating quite crippled 
with the fall. A little after this I had ascended to the summit of a 
tree to obtain a view of the surrounding forest, when two white 
rhinoceroses came trotting up, despite my shouting, and stood within 
fifteen yards of my already terrified steeds. 

My fever still continuing on me, and the natives having deserted, I 
determined upon turning my face homewards. Accordingly, on the 
21st, I ordered my men to inspan and retrace their spoor. A troop of 
lions had killed some game within a few hundred yards of us, and had 
been roaring very loudly all the morning : these gave us a parting salute 
as we were inspanning. Their voices sounded to me ominous, perhaps 
from the nervous state of my health. I thought they said, " Yes, you 
do well to retrace your rash steps ; you have just come far enough." I 
must acknowledge that I felt a little anxious as to the safety of proceed- 
ing farther on several accounts. First, the natives had spoken of 
Moselekatse, now resident not very far in advance, as one who would 
most unquestionably murder me, and seize all my property. They also 
told me that I should lose all my cattle by the fly calted " Tsetse;" and I 
had also reason to believe the country in advance not very healthy for man. 

My followers received my orders to turn homewards with sincere 
gratification : we trekked till sundown, halting on the march for a sick 
ox, which we eventually left behind a prey to the lions, and slept on 
the Mokojay, where the Bamangwato men had left me. 

On the 29th we arrived at a small village of Bakalahari. These 
natives told me that elephants were abundant on the opposite side of the 
river. I accordingly resolved to halt here and hunt, and drew my 
waggons up on the river's bank, within thirty yards of the water and 
about one hundred yards from the native village. Having outspanned, 
we at once set about making for the cattle a kraal of the worst descrip- 
tion of thorn-trees. Of this I had now become very particular, since my 
severe loss by lions on the first of this month ; and my cattle were, at 
night, secured by a strong kraal, which enclosed my two waggons, the 
horses being made fast to a trektow stretched between the hind-wheels 
of the waggons. I had yet, however, a fearful lesson to learn as to the 
nature and character of the lion, of which I had at one time entertained 
so little fear ; and on this night a horrible tragedy was to be acted in 
my little lonely camp of so very awful and appalling a nature as to make 
the blood curdle in our veins, I worked till near sundown at one side 
of the kraal with Hendrick, my first waggon-driver — I cutting down 
the trees with my axe, and he dragging them to the kraal. When the 
kraal for the cattle was finished, I turned my attention to making a pot 
of barley-broth, and lighted a fire between the waggons and the water, 
close on the river's bank, under a dense grove of shady trees, making no 
sort of kraal around our sitting-place for the evening. 

The Hottentots, without any reason, made their fire about fifty yards 



278 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

from mine ; they, accordingly to their usual custom, being satisfied with 
the shelter of a large dense bush. The evening passed away cheerfully. 
Soon after it was dark we heard elephants breaking the trees in the 
forest across the river ; and once or twice I strode away into the darkness 
some distance from the fireside, to stand and listen to them. I little, 
at that moment, deemed of the imminent peril to which I was exposing 
my life, nor thought that a bloodthirsty man-eater lion was crouching 
near, and only watching his opportunity to spring in the midst of us, 
and consign one of our number to a most terrible death. 

About three hours after the sun went down I called to my men to 
come and take their coffee and supper, which was ready for them at my 
fire ; and after supper three of them returned before their comrades to 
their own fireside, and lay down ; these were John Stofolus, Hendrick, 
and Ruyter. In a few minutes an ox came out by the gate of the kraal 
and walked round the back of it. Hendrick got up and drove him in 
again, and then went back to his fireside and lay down. Hendrick and 
Ruyter lay on one side of the fire under one blanket, and John Stofolus 
lay on the other. At this moment I was sitting taking some barley- 
broth ; our fire was very small, and the night was pitch-dark and windy. 
Owing to our proximity to the native village the wood was very scarce, 
the Bakalahari having burnt it all in their fires. 

Suddenly the appalling and murderous voice of an angry bloodthirsty 
lion burst upon my ear within a few yards of us, followed by the 
shrieking of the Hottentots. Again and again the murderous roar of 
attack was repeated. We heard John and Ruyter shriek "The lion! the 
lion"! still,, for a few moments, we thought he was but chasing one of the 
dogs round the kraal ; but, next instant, John Stofolus rushed into the 
midst of us almost speechless with fear and terror, his eyes bursting from 
their sockets, and shrieked out, " The lion ! the lion ! He has got Hen- 
drick ; he dragged him away from the fire beside me. I struck him with 
the burning brands upon his head, but he would not let go his hold. Hen- 
drick is dead ! Oh, God ! Hendrick is dead ! Let us take fire and seek 
him." 

The rest of my people rushed about, shrieking and yelling as if they 
were mad. I was at once angry with them for their folly, and told them 
that if they did not stand still and keep quiet the lion would have 
another of us ; and that very likely there was a troop of them. I 
ordered the dogs, which were nearly all fast, to be made loose, and the 
fire to be increased as far as could be. I then shouted Hendrick's name, 
but all was still. I told my men that Hendrick was dead, and that a 
regiment of soldiers could not now help him, and, hunting my dogs for- 
ward, I had everything brought within the cattle kraal, when we lighted 
our fire and closed the entrance as well as we could. 

My terrified people sat round the fire with guns in their hands 
till the day broke, still fancying that every moment the lion would 
return and spring again into the midst of us. When the dogs were 
first let go, the stupid brutes, as dogs often prove when most required, 
instead of going at the lion, rushed fiercely on one another, and fought 
desperately for some minutes. After this they got his wind, and, 



THE SCENE OF THE TRAGEDY. 279 

going at him, disclosed to us his position : they kept up a continued 
barking until the day dawned, the lion occasionally springing after them 
and driving them in upon the kraal. The horrible monster lay all night 
within forty yards of us, consuming the wretched man whom he had 
chosen for his prey. He had dragged him into a little hollow at the 
back of the thick bush, beside which the fire was kindled, and there he 
remained till the day dawned, careless of our proximity. 

It appeared that when the unfortunate Hendrick rose to drive in the 
ox, the lion had watched him to his fireside, and he had scarcely lain 
down when the brute sprang upon him and Ruyter (for both lay under 
one blanket), with his appalling murderous roar, and, roaring as he lay, 
grappled him with his fearful claws, and kept biting him on the breast 
and shoulder, all the while feeling for his neck ; having got hold of 
which, he at once dragged him away backwards round the bush into the 
dense shade. 

As the lion lay upon the unfortunate man he faintly cried " Help me, 
help me ! Oh, God ! men, help me ! " After which the fearful beast got 
a hold of his neck, and then all was still, except that his comrades heard 
the bones of his neck cracking between the teeth of the lion. John 
Stofolus had lain with his back to the fire on the opposite side, and on 
hearing the lion he sprang up, and, seizing a large flaming brand, he bad 
belaboured him on the head with the burning wood ; but the brute did 
not take any notice of him. The Bushman had a narrow escape ; he 
was not altogether scatheless, the lion having inflicted two gashes in his 
seat with his claws. 

The next morning, just as the day began to dawn, we heard the lion 
dragging something up the river-side under cover of the bank. We 
drove the cattle out of the kraal, and then proceeded to inspect the scene 
of the night's awful tragedy. In the hollow, where the lion had lain 
consuming his prey, we found one leg of the unfortunate Hendrick, 
bitten off below the knee, the shoe still on his foot ; the grass and bushes 
were all stained with his blood, and fragments of his pea-coat lay around. 
Poor Hendrick ! I knew the fragments of that old coat, and had often 
marked them hanging in the dense covers where the elephant had 
charged after my unfortunate after-rider. Hendrick was by far the 
best man I had about my waggons, of a most cheerful disposition, a 
first-rate waggon-driver, fearless in the field, ever active, willing, and 
obliging : his loss to us all was very serious. I felt confounded and 
utterly sick in my heart ; I could not remain at the waggons, so I 
resolved to go after elephants to divert my mind. I had that morning 
heard them breaking the trees on the opposite side of the river. I 
accordingly told the natives of the village of my intentions ; and having 
ordered my people to devote the day to fortifying the kraal, I started 
with Piet and Ruyter as my after-riders. It was a very cool day. We 
crossed the river, and at once took up the fresh spoor of a troop of bull 
elephants. 

These bulls unfortunately joined a troop of cows, and when we came 
on them the dogs attacked the cows, and the bulls were off in a moment, 
before we could even see them. One remarkably fine old cow charged 



280 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



the dogs. I hunted this cow, and finished her with two shots from the 
saddle. Being anxious to return to my people before night, I did not 
attempt to follow the troop. My followers were not a little gratified to 
see me returning, for terror had taken hold of their minds, and they 
expected that the lion would return, and, emboldened by the success of 
the preceding night, would prove still more daring in his attack. The 
lion would most certainly have returned, but fate had otherwise ordained. 
My health had been better in the last three days : my fever was leaving 
me, but I was, of course, still very weak. It would still be two hours 
before the sun would set, and, feeling refreshed by a little rest, and able 
for further work, I ordered the steeds to be saddled, and went in search 
of the lion. 

I took John and Carey as after-riders, armed, and a party of the 
natives followed up the spoor and led the dogs. The lion had dragged 
the remains of poor Hendrick along a native footpath that led up the 
river-side. We found fragments of his coat all along the spoor, and at 
last the mangled coat itself. About six hundred yards from our camp 
a dry river's course joined the Limpopo. At this spot was much shade, 
cover, and heaps of dry reeds and trees deposited by the Limpopo in 
some great flood. The lion had left the footpath and entered this 
secluded spot. I at once felt convinced that we were upon him, and 
ordered the natives to make loose the dogs. These walked suspiciously 
forward on the spoor, and next minute began to spring about, barking 
angrily, with all their hair bristling on their backs : a crash upon the 
dry reeds immediately followed — it was the lion bounding away. 

Several of the dogs were extremely afraid of him, and kept rushing 
continually backwards and springing aloft to obtain a view. I now 
pressed forward and urged them on ; old Argyll and Bles took up his 
spoor in gallant style and led on the other dogs. Then commenced a 
short but lively and glorious chase, whose conclusion was the only small 
satisfaction that I could obtain to answer for the horrors of the preceding 
evening. The lion held up the river's bank for a short distance and 
took away through some wait-a-bit thorn cover, the best he could find, 
but nevertheless open. Here, in two minutes, the dogs were up with 
him, and he turned and stood at bay> As I approached he stood, his 
horrid head right to me, with open jaws growling fiercely, his tail 
waving from side to side. 

On beholding him my blood boiled with rage. I wished that I could 
take him alive and torture him, and, setting my teeth, I dashed my 
steed forward within thirty yards of him and shouted, " Your time is up, 
old fellow." I halted my horse, and, placing my rifle to my shoulder, I 
waited for a broadside. This, next moment, he exposed, when I sent a 
bullet through his shoulder and dropped him on the spot. He rose, 
however, again, when I finished him with a second in the breast. The 
Bakalahari now came up in wonder and delight. I ordered John to 
cut off his head and forepaws and bring them to the waggons, and 
mounting my horse I galloped home, having been absent about fifteen 
minutes. When the Bakalahari women heard that the man-eater was 
dead, they all commenced dancing about with joy, calling me their father. 



THE "TSETSE" FLY. 281 

On the 6th of September, there being no flesh in camp, I galloped up 
the river-side to slay a hippopotamus, and presently heard a troop of 
them chanting behind me : I had ridden past them and not observed 
them. With these I was unlucky : I wounded six or seven, but did not 
bag one ; they became very shy and cunning after the first shot, only 
protruding their noses. At midday I returned to camp and drank tea, 
after which I galloped down the river to a favourite sea-cow pool about 
a mile below my waggons : I was accompanied by natives carrying my rifles. 
I found an immense herd of at least thirty hippopotami lying upon the 
rocks in the middle of the river. I shot the best bull and two fine old 
cows, and wounded a fourth. The bull and two cows soon floated, and 
all three rested together on a ledge of rocks in the middle of the river. 
I then sent for John and Adonis, and with the assistance of the 
Bakalahari we got them into shallow water, where we could work upon 
them. 

I was occupied most of the next day in superintending the cutting up 
of the flesh of the sea-cows, and reducing the same to biltongue, which we 
hung in garlands upon ox-rheims stretched between the trees, surrounding 
them by a strong kraal of thorn-trees. 

In the evening a large party of Seleka's Bechuanas arrrived at my 
camp. On the 8th one of my horses died of horse sickness ; it was of 
course my favourite, being my best shooting-horse. On reaching camp 
after my last hunting excursion, " Lion," my very best dog, was reported 
consumed by a huge crocodile, whe frequented the spot where we drew 
water : for such little pleasing varieties the African hunter must make 
up his mind ; they are mere occurrences of every day. 

I saddled up at an early hour, and went in quest of elephants with 
Seleka's men. We crossed the Limpopo and then held east through the 
forest for the strong fountain called Seboono. I was unlucky here, how- 
ever, as I also was next day, although we hunted by a splendid fountain 
in a more southerly direction. When under the mountains I met with 
the famous fly called " tsetse," whose bite is certain death to oxen and 
horses. This "hunter's scourge" is similar to a fly in Scotland called 
" kleg," but a little smaller ; they are very quick and active, and storm 
a horse like a swarm of bees, alighting on him in hundreds and drinking 
his blood. The animal thus bitten pines away and dies at periods vary- 
ing from a week to three months, according to the extent to which he 
has been bitten. 

On the 10th the chief Pocoolway arrived with a large retinue : he was 
a short stout man, of a prepossessing expression, and both in appearance 
and manner much reminded me of a certain Scottish Earl. 

After three or four days' unsuccessful hunting I resolved on the 14th, 
there being good moonlight, to try what might be done with the 
elephants by night-shooting at the fountains, and I determined to make 
Carey shoot with me, he using the big rifle of six to the pound, and I 
my single-barrelled two-grooved of eight to the pound. In the forenoon 
we were occupied making very hard bullets and sorting our ammunition, 
etc., etc., for a week's expedition, and at mid-day we started, followed 
by about sixty natives. We crossed the Limpopo, and held about east, 



282 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

right away through the forest, for the fountain which I had visited on 
the 8th. On our lines of march we found no fresh spoor : the day was 
extremely hot, and the shuffling Bechuanas chose to lag behind in the 
forest until they lost me entirely, with the exception of three or four 
who kept up with Piet my after-rider, carrying my gun, and leading 
" Filbert " and " Frochum," two of my best dogs. Not one of these men 
knew the country, and they had no Bakalahari men with them to act as 
guides. 

When I reached the small fountain which lies west of the famous 
fountain for which I was steering, I told Piet to come on with the 
natives, and that I would ride ahead to the large fountain. I then 
galloped ahead, and made the fountain on its lee side. On slowly 
emerging from the thorny thicket through which I rode, I was astonished 
to behold two superb old bull elephants standing before me in the open 
space between the cover and the fountain. Both of them carried 
enormous tusks ; one bull however was much taller and stouter than his 
comrade ; I had very rarely seen his match, and his tusks at once took 
my eye as being perhaps the finest I had ever beheld. Here then was 
I standing without gun or dogs, and with a very jaded steed, beside, as 
I afterwards had good reason to believe, the very best elephant in all 
that district, and in perhaps many of the surrounding parts. I would 
have given anything at that moment for my gun and dogs. 

I felt much perplexed what to do, but at length I resolved that it was 
best to hold the elephants in my view, and in the event of their being 
started to endeavour to hold the larger bull in play, and hunt him always 
back toward the fountain, until assistance should arrive. It was well 
that I came to so shrewd a resolution, for I had not stood sentry over 
them for many minutes, when, some straggling party having missed the 
fountain, and passing to windward, they suddenly tossed up their trunks, 
and, snuffing the tainted gale, they crashed past me down-wind at top 
speed. 

Now came the tug of war. I had no child's play before me : alone and 
unassisted, and on a very jaded steed, I had resolved to endeavour what 
no two of my men had ever accomplished for me. I had not only to 
stick by the elephant wherever he chose to go, which was all I required 
of my people when endeavouring to assist me in my hunting, but I must 
also drive him back and keep him by the fountain, or else all my 
exertions would be fruitless. 

I had very slight hope of success, but he was well worthy of a tough 
struggle, and I determined that he should have it. I thought what my 
feelings would be that night by my fireside if I let him escape, and on 
the other hand how highly I should prize his noble trophies if I 
succeeded. I at once dashed after him and separated him from his 
comrade. When he found that I had the speed of him he turned at 
once upon me and charged furiously back toward the fountain, after 
which he tried to conceal himself among the trees, and, having stood 
motionless for some time with his head towards me, he crashed away 
through the forest to the southward. I soon headed him again, yelling 
with all my might. Of course another charge followed : I eventually 



MY FINEST ELEPHANT. 283 

managed however to drive him back close to the fountain; still no 
assistance hove in sight. My after-rider, though he had been there 
before, had missed the fountain. It was he and the natives with him 
who had started the elephants : they had crossed the fountain to wind- 
ward, and were wandering about with my gun and dogs some miles 
beyond me. 

It were long to describe all the turns and twists I had with this 
princely old bull. I certainly did my duty, and stuck by him like a 
good old deer-hound by his stag. At length the elephant became 
extremely fierce, following up his charges with most determined intent 
to crush me and my steed, which, at first very much jaded, was now so 
completely done up that he could barely hold his own. I myself felt 
much exhausted, and my throat was becoming so sore and hoarse that 
my shouting was for the present nearing to a close. In this state of 
things I could not have held him much longer. Help was, however, at 
hand. Carey and Mutchuisho, with a large party of the natives, were 
at this moment carefully following up the spoor of my horse where I 
had first ridden ahead to the fountain, and were passing a considerable 
distance to leeward of where I was at bay, or rather, I should say, 
baying, when my hoarse voice fell on Carey's ear, and he instantly 
called silence among the natives and sat listening in his saddle. A 
second time my voice fell on his ear, and he at once held forward right 
for me, contrary to the opinion of the thick-headed natives, who swore 
that the voice came from behind. 

Fortunately at this very moment the elephant made a furious charge 
after me, accompanied by a tremendous trumpet which at once sealed 
his fate. They all heard it, and " Cooley " and " Affriar," two right 
good dogs, were instantly released from the couples and flew to my 
assistance, followed by Carey and the natives. Eight glad was I when 
I saw black Cooley come up to help me. I at once felt that the elephant 
was mine, being certain that further assistance was at hand, and, with 
revived spirits, I yelled with all my might. In two minutes up came 
Carey on horseback, but without a gun. I called out to him, " For 
God's sake, Carey, bring me a gun ! here is the finest elephant in Africa ; 
I have held him at bay and fought with him for nearly two hours." 
Carey rode back and brought me his single-barrelled smooth bore, 
carrying twelve to the pound, and gave me eight bullets out of his belt, 
expressing immense regret that my gun was not forthcoming. Carey 
had always an absurd idea that his gun could not kill an elephant : to- 
day, however, it was in other hands. "My good fellow," I said, " it is 
all right ; the elephant is ours." 

I then opened my fire on him from the saddle. I put my seventh 
bullet through his heart : on receiving it he made a short charge and 
stood trembling for a few seconds, when he fell forward on his breast 
and so lay ; but as he evinced a desire to alter his position, which was 
a very good one for cutting out the teeth, I dismounted, and, going close 
up to him, I put two bullets into his ear, when he expired. The tusks 
of this elephant equalled my expectations ; one of them, as usual, was 
more perfect than its fellow. I had never seen their match but once. 



m HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

On reviewing the whole afternoon's work, I considered myself extremely 
fortunate in capturing this noble prize, and I felt most gratified with the 
satisfactory termination of my exertions. Piet and his party heard my 
shots, and they presently came up to us ; coffee and other good things 
were soon spread out on a sheep-skin, and a comfortable sofa being 
quickly constructed of soft grass, covered with a kaross, I lay down to 
rest, the happiest of the happy. 

The 15th was an extremely hot day. Carey and I were occupied all 
the morning cutting out the tusks of the big bull elephant ; we took 
particular care not to let the blood fall upon them. In the evening we 
made hiding-places beside the fountain from which to shoot elephants, 
and when the sun went down we returned thither and took up our 
positions for the night. Unfortunately the dead elephant lay directly 
to windward of the southern margin of the fountain, on which side were 
all the best elephant-footpaths. The consequence was that every 
elephant as he came up got the wind of the natives and turned right 
about. Late in the night a troop of eight or ten bull elephants walked 
slowly across the vley with their heads to the north. I rushed forward 
to get before them in the wind, and running down the edge of the thorn 
cover I got within thirty yards of the last bull, which was the best in 
the troop. Observing me move, he stood with his tusks up and his head 
directed towards me in a very suspicious manner for two minutes, when 
his fears died away, and he turned to me his left side. I then gave him 
a deadly shot which brought blood from his trunk, as I ascertained next 
day. Returning from firing at him I met Carey ; his pluck had failed 
him, and he had dropped behind. On upbraiding him for not standing 
by me, he swore stoutly that he had stuck in the mud ! as we had to 
cross a bog below the fountain in running for the shot. I thought this 
was good, and I said to myself, " I have got a name for you at last." 
But Carey was a good servant, and very attentive to me throughout my 
expedition. 

The next morning I and Mutchuisho took up the spoor of my wounded 
elephant. He had gone off very slowly, with blood running from his 
trunk. After following the spoor some distance we lost it amongst 
others, and we then gave it up. I sent Carey to the waggons with the 
teeth, to act as guard, they being well worthy of an escort, and at night 
I watched the fountain along with three Bakalahari. We had not been 
long on the watch before three enormous old bull-elephants came ; and, 
after much hesitation, and walking once or twice round the water, they 
came in and commenced drinking. I lay close to the edge of the fountain 
in a little hollow. The elephants came in to drink on the north side of 
a run which led away from the fountain, and I lay on the south side of 
it. Suddenly the finest bull of the three walked boldly through the 
run and came straight forward to where I lay. If I had remained still 
he would have walked upon me ; but when he came within six or eight 
yards I gave a loud cough, upon which he tossed his head aloft and gave 
me a broadside, exposing his left side. I then gave him a shot from the 
big two-grooved rifle, and he dashed off with his two comrades in 
immense consternation, holding for the Limpopo. 



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A FINE NIGHT'S SPORT. 285 



The next day one of my steeds died of "tsetse." He had been bitten 
under the mountain range lying to the south of this fountain. The head 
and body of the poor animal swelled up in a most distressing manner 
before he died. His eyes were so swollen that he could not see, and in 
darkness he neighed for his comrades who stood feeding beside him. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 



Paapaa Fountain — Watch by Moonlight from a Shooting-hole — Remarkable Sport 
with Elephants — Four bagged and eight mortally wounded in one night — 
Elephant-hunting with Horse and Dogs by Moonlight — A Troop of Lions — 
The Vultures with the shadowy Wings — Another Dog snapped up by a Cro- 
codile — The Skeleton of an Elephant shot by me discovered — The Tusks being 
gone, strong measures are adopted for their recovery. 

On the 17th of September I resolved to leave the fountain of Seboono, 
as it was much disturbed, and to proceed with a few Bakalahari to a 
small yet famous water about six miles to the south-east. We accord- 
ingly saddled up and held thither. On reaching this fountain, which is 
called by the natives "Paapaa," I found the numerous footpaths leading 
to it covered, as I had anticipated, with fresh spoor of elephant and rhi- 
noceros. I then at once proceeded to study the best spot on which to 
make our shooting-hole for the night. It would be impossible to prevent 
some of the game from getting our wind, for the footpaths led to it from 
every side. The prevailing wind was from the east, so I pitched upon 
the south-west corner of the fountain. The water was not more than 
twenty yards long and ten yards broad. The west side was bounded by 
tufous rock which rose abruptly from the water about five feet high. 
The top of this rock was level with the surrounding vley, and here all 
the elephants drank as if suspicious of treading on the muddy margin 
on the other three sides of the fountain. 

I made our shooting-box within six or eight yards of the water, con- 
structing it in a circular form, of bushes packed together so as to form 
a hedge about three feet high. On the top of the hedge I placed heavy 
dead old branches of trees, so as to form a fine clear rest for our rifles ; 
these clean old branches were all lashed firmly together with strips of 
thorn bark. All being completed, I took the Bakalahari and our steeds 
to a shady tree, about a quarter of a mile to leeward of the fountain, 
where we formed a kraal and off-saddled. This day was particularly 
adapted to bring game to the water, the sun being extremely powerful, 
and a hot dry wind prevailing all the afternoon. I told Carey that we 
were certain of having a good night's sport, and I was right, for we un- 
doubtedly had about the finest night's sport and the most wonderful that 
was ever enjoyed by man. 

A little before the sun went down, leaving our kraal, we held to the 
fountain, having with us our heavy-metalled rifles, karosses, and two 
Bakalahari. We also had two small guns, my double-barrelled Westley 
Richards, and Carey's single-barrelled gun. As we approached the foun- 
tain a stately bull giraffe stood before us ; the heat of the day had 

18 



286 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

brought him thither, but he feared to go in and drink ; on observing us 
he walked slowly away. Two jackals were next detected. Guinea 
fowl, partridges, two or three sorts of pigeon and turtle-dove, and small 
birds in countless thousands, were pouring in to drink from every airt, 
as we walked up to our hiding-place and lay down. In a few minutes 
the sun was under ; but the moon was strong and high (it being within 
three nights of the full), and the sky was clear, with scarcely a cloud. 

Very soon a step was heard approaching from the east ; it was a pre- 
suming black rhinoceros. He came up within ten yards of the hiding- 
hole, and, observing us with his sharp prying eye, he at once came slowly 
forward for a nearer inspection. I then shouted to him ; but this he did 
not heed in the slightest. I then sprang up and waved my large kaross, 
shouting at the same time. This, however, only seemed to amuse Borel6, 
for he stood within four yards of us, with his horn threatening our mo- 
mentary destruction, nor would he wheel about until I threw a log of 
wood at him. Black rhinoceroses are very difficult to scare when they 
do not get the wind ; the best way to do so is to hit them with a stone, 
— that is, in the event of the sportsman not wishing to fire off his gun. 

Soon after Borel6 departed four old bull elephants drew near from the 
south. They were coming right on for the spot where we lay, and they 
seemed very likely to walk over the top of us. We therefore placed our 
two big rifles in position, and awaited their forward movement with in- 
tense interest. On they came with a slow and stately step, until within 
twenty yards of us, when the leading elephant took it into his head to 
pass to leeward. We let him come on until he got our wind ; he was 
then within ten yards of the muzzles of our heavy-metalled rifles ; on 
winding us he tossed his trunk aloft, and we instantly fired together. I 
caught him somewhere about the heart, and my big six-pound rifle burst 
in Carey's hands, very nearly killing us both. The elephant on being 
fired at wheeled about, and retreated to the forest at top speed. I now 
directed " Stick-in-the-mud " to make use of his single-barrelled twelve 
to the pound, in the event of more elephants coming up ; and thanking 
my stars that the old Dutch rifle had not sent us both to the land of the 
leal, I sat down and watched the dark masses of trees that cut the sky 
on every side, in the hope of seeing a mass as high and wide come 
towering forward into the open space that surrounded the fountain. 

Nor did I watch long in vain, for very soon three princely bull 
elephants appeared exactly where the first came on, and holding exactly 
the same course. They approached just as the first had done. When 
the leading elephant came within ten yards of us he got our wind, and 
tossed up his trunk, and was wheeling round to retreat, when we fired 
together and sent our bullets somewhere about his heart. He ran two 
hundred yards and then stood, being evidently dying. His comrades 
halted likewise, but one of them, the finest of the three, almost im- 
mediately turned his head once more to the fountain, and very slowly 
and warily came on. We now heard the wounded elephant utter the 
cry of death, and fall heavily on the earth. Carey, whose ears were 
damaged by the bursting of the big rifle, did not catch this sound, but 



MORE ELEPHANT SHOOTING. 287 



swore that the elephant which now so stealthily approached the water 
was the one at which we had fired. 

It was interesting to observe this grand old bull approach the fountain : 
he seemed to mistrust the very earth on which he stood, and smelt and 
examined with his trunk every yard of the ground before he trod on it, 
and sometimes stood five minutes on one spot without moving. At 
length, having gone round three sides of the fountain, and being appar- 
ently satisfied as to the correctness of everything, he stepped boldly 
forward on to the rock on the west, walking up within six or seven yards 
of the muzzles of our rifles, he turned his broadside, and, lowering his 
trunk into the water, drew up a volume of water, which he threw over 
his back to cool his person. This operation he repeated two or three 
times, after which he commenced drinking, by drawing the water into 
his trunk and then pouring it into his mouth. I determined to break 
his leg if possible, so, covering the limb about level with the lower line 
of his body, I fired, Carey firing for his heart. I made a lucky shot ; 
and as the elephant turned and attempted to make away, his leg broke 
with a loud crack, and he stood upon his three sound ones. At once 
disabled and utterly incapable of escaping, he stood statue-like beside the 
fountain, within a few yards of where he had got the shot, and only 
occasionally made an attempt at locomotion. 

The patch of my rifle fired at this elephant's comrade had ignited a 
large ball of dry old dung, about eight yards to leeward of our kraal, 
and fanned by the breeze, it was now burning away very brightly, the 
sparks flying in the wind. Presently, on looking about me, I beheld 
two bull elephants approaching by the selfsame footpath which the 
others had held. The first of these was a half-grown bull, the last was 
an out-and-out old fellow with enormous tusks. They came on as the 
first had done, but seemed inclined to pass to windward of us. The 
young bull however observed the fire ; he at once walked up to it 
and smelling at it with his trunk he seemed extremely amused, and in a 
gambolling humour threw his trunk about, as if not knowing what to 
think of it. The larger bull now came up, and exposed a fine broadside ; 
we took him behind the shoulder and fired together : on receiving the 
shots he wheeled about and held west with drooping ears, evidently 
mortally wounded. 

Some time after this I detected an enormous old bull elephant 
approaching from the west. If we lay still where we were, he must in 
a few minutes get our wind, so we jumped up and ran forward out of his 
line of march. Here a borelk opposed our farther progress, and we had 
to stone him out of our way. The elephant came on, and presently got 
the wind of where we had been lying. This at once seemed to awake 
his suspicions, for he stood still among the trees, stretching his trunk 
from side to side to catch the scent, and doubtful whether he should 
advance or retreat. We then ran towards him, and stalked in within 
forty yards of where he stood, and taking up a position behind a bush 
awaited his forward movement. The elephant came slowly forward, and 
I thought would pass to windward of us, when he suddenly altered his 
course, and walked boldly forward right for where we stood. He came 



288 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

on until within seven or eight yards, when I coughed loudly to turn 
him. He tossed up his trunk and turned quickly round to fly ; as he 
turned, however, we fired together, when the elephant uttered a shrill 
cry of distress, and crashed away evidently hard hit. When this bull 
was standing before us, we both remarked that he was the finest we had 
seen that night : his tusks were extremely long, thick, and very un- 
usually wide set. 

We now returned to the fountain, and once more lay down to watch. 
Rhinoceroses, both black and white, were parading around us all night 
in every direction. We had lain but a short time when I detected 
a single old bull elephant approaching from the south by the same path 
which all the others had held. This elephant must have been very 
thirsty, for he came boldly on without any hesitation, and, keeping to 
windward, he walked past within about eight yards of us. We fired at 
the same moment ; the elephant wheeled about, and after running a 
hundred yards reduced his pace to a slow walk. I clapped Carey on 
the shoulder, and said, " We have him." I had hardly uttered the 
words when he fell over on his side ; he rose however again to his feet. 
At this moment the same presuming borele who had troubled us in the 
early part of the night came up to us again, and, declining as before to 
part by gentle hints, I thought it a fitting moment to put an end to his 
intrusion, and accordingly gave him a ball behind the shoulder. On 
receiving it he galloped off in tremendous consternation, and passed 
close under the dying elephant, who at the moment fell dead with a 
heavy crash, and broke one of his hind legs under him in the fall. 

About an hour after two more elephants came touring on from the 
east. When they came up they stood for a long time motionless within 
forty yards of the water ; and at length the finer of the two, which was 
a very first-rate old bull, and carrying immense tusks, walked boldly 
forward, and, passing round the north side of the fountain, commenced 
drinking on the rock just as the crippled bull had done. We both fired 
together, holding for his heart ; the bullets must have gone nearly 
through him, for we had double charges of powder in our weapons. 
On receiving the shots he dropped a volume of water from his trunk, 
and, tossing it aloft, uttered a loud cry and made off, steering north ; 
but before he was out of our sight he reduced his pace to a slow walk, 
and I could quite plainly hear, by the loud painful breathing through 
his trunk, that he was mortally wounded ; but whether the natives were 
too lazy to seek hini, or having found him would not tell me, I know 
not, but I never got him. We shot another bull elephant shortly after 
this ; he too uttered a shrill cry, and went off holding the same course 
the last one did ; that was, however, all that I ever saw of him. 

It was now wearing on towards morning : the moon was low and the 
sky was cloudy ; and feeling very sleepy, I set the two Bakalahari to 
watch whilst I lay down to rest. Carey was already enjoying a sound 
sleep, and snoring loudly. I had lain nearly an hour, and was neither 
waking nor sleeping, when the Bakalahari whispered "Clou toona, 
macoa," which signifies " Bull elephants, white man." I sat up on my 
kaross, and beheld three old bulls approaching from the west. At this 



MORE ELEPHANT SHOOTING. 289 

moment there was a death-like calm in the atmosphere, and the sky 
looked very threatening all along the mountain range which bounds 
this favourite elephant district on the south-west. I greatly feared a 
thunderstorm. Suddenly a breeze came whistling from the mountains, 
and gave these three elephants our wind. We then left the fountain 
and held to our saddles, where we slept till the sun rose. 

When the sun rose I proceeded with the Bakalahari to inspect the 
spoors of the wounded elephants. I was struck with astonishment when 
I thought over our night's sport : nine times had first-rate old bull 
elephants come up to drink, and we had fired at eight of these at distances 
of from six to ten yards, with cool steady rests. Two of them lay dead 
beside the fountain • another had a broken leg, and could not escape ; 
and the only one which we imagined had escaped was the bull with the 
wide-set tusks, which we both felt certain was wounded too far back 
in the body. 

The event, however, proved that our expectations were incorrect, for 
that afternoon we found this princely elephant lying dead very near 
our kraal. Both our shots were very far back, wounding him some- 
where about the kidneys. We never saw anything of the four other 
elephants shot by us. The bull with the broken leg had gone nearly a 
mile from the fountain when we came up to him. At first he made vain 
attempts to escape, and then to charge ; but finding he could neither 
escape nor catch any of us, he stood at bay beside a tree, and my after- 
riders began to assail him. It was curious to watch his movements as 
the boys at about twenty yards distance, pelted him with sticks, etc. 
Each thing as it was thrown he took up and hurled back at them. 
When, however, dry balls of elephants' dung were pitched at him, he 
contented himself with smelling at them with his trunk. At length, 
wishing to put an end to his existence, I gave him four shots behind the 
shoulder, when he at once exhibited signs of distress • water ran from his 
eyes, and he could barely keep them open ; presently his gigantic form 
quivered, and, falling over, he expired. At night we again watched the 
fountain. Only one elephant appeared ; late in the night he came up to 
leeward, and got our wind. I, however, shot two fine old muchocho, or 
white rhinoceroses, and wounded two or three borel6, which were found 
by the natives. 

On the 19th I proceeded with Carey and Piet, and a few Bakalahari, 
to a small fountain lying one mile to the south : here we made two 
shooting boxes of boughs of trees. There were three pools at which the 
game drank, the largest not being more than twelve feet in breadth. I 
and Carey at night shot one fine bull elephant and four rhinoceroses, 
wounding two others, which escaped. On the night following we also 
wounded two elephants, which got away. 

On the next night, on looking up the open vley to the south of the 
fountain, I beheld an unusually vast bull elephant coming freshly on to 
drink ; but scared by a shot which I fired at other game, and hearing his 
courier crashing through the forest, he turned out of his course, and 
walked into the jungle. Presently, however, he again appeared a little 
to leeward of the dead elephant — this scared him a second time ; again, 



290 HUNTING AND SPOBTING ADVENTURES. 

a third time, he came on ; but on this occasion he got a puff of our wind, 
and a third time he retreated into the forest. It was now after midnight, 
the sky was clear and cloudless, and the moon was full. 

I had long entertained an idea that elephants might be hunted in the 
saddle by moonlight with dogs, as in the day ; but I thought it very 
probable that a man might get his eyes torn out by the wait-a-bits ; I 
had also a notion that the elephants might prove more active, and per- 
haps more vicious. This night, however, I resolved to put the question 
to trial ; I had horses and some of my best dogs in couples beside the 
fire, within two hundred yards of where we lay. When this mighty 
elephant retreated for the third time into the forest, the idea of hunting 
them in this manner again recurred to me, being very much annoyed at 
uselessly wounding and losing in the last week no less than ten first-rate 
old bull elephants. I communicated my idea to " Stick-in-the-mud," 
and we hastily proceeded to saddle my steed. 

I led my dogs, eight in number, through the forest to leeward of 
where a bull who had come to the fountain to drink had gone in, and 
when I saw that they had got his wind I slipped them. They dashed 
forward, and next minute was heard the baying of the dogs and the crash 
and the trumpet of the elephant. He rushed away at first without 
halting, and held right for the mountains to the south-west. When, 
however, he found that his speed did not avail, and that he could not 
get away from his pursuers, he began to turn and dodge about in the 
thickest of the cover, occasionally making charges after the dogs. I 
followed on as best I could, shouting with all my might to encourage my 
good hounds. These, hearing their master's voice beside them, stuck well 
by the elephant, and fought better than in the day. I gave him my 
first two shots from the saddle ; after which I rode close up to him, and, 
running in on foot, I gave him some deadly shots at distances of from 
fifteen to twenty yards. 

The elephant very soon evinced signs of distress, and ceased to make 
away from us. Taking up positions in the densest parts of the cover, 
he caught up the red dust with his trunk, and throwing it over his head 
and back, endeavoured to conceal himself in a cloud. This was a fine 
opportunity to pour in my deadly shafts, and I took care to avail myself 
of it. When be had received about twelve shots he walked slowly for- 
ward in a dying state, the blood streaming from his trunk. I rode close 
up to him, and gave him a sharp right and left from the saddle : he 
turned and walked a few yards, then suddenly came down with tremen- 
dous violence on his vast stern, pitching his head and trunk aloft to a 
prodigious height, and, falling over on his side, he expired. This was 
an extremely large and handsome elephant, decidedly the finest bull I had 
shot this year. Afraid of taking cold or rheumatism, for I was in a 
most profuse perspiration, I hastened back to my fireside, having first 
secured all the dogs in their couples. Here I divested myself of my 
leather trousers, shooting-belt, and veltschoens, and, stretched on my 
kaross, I took tea, and wondered at the facility with which I had cap- 
tured this mighty elephant. 

Feeling fatigued, I intended to lie down and rest till morning. Just, 



MORE ELEPHANT SHOOTING. 291 

however, as I was arranging my saddles for a pillow, I beheld another 
first-rate old bull elephant advancing up the vley from the south. I at 
once resolved that he, too, should run the gauntlet with the dogs. In 
immense haste, therefore, I once more pulled on my old leathers, and 
buckled on my shooting-belt ; and ran down into the rank long grass 
beside the fountain to meet him, armed with the large two-grooved rifle, 
having directed Carey and Piet to come slowly up with the dogs and my 
horse and gun as soon as they were ready. The elephant came on, and 
stood drinking within thirty yards of me. When I saw Carey coming 
on with the dogs and steed I fired, but my rifle hung fire. The shot, 
however, gave the dogs good courage, and they fought well. The 
elephant took away at a rapid pace toward the other fountain where the 
Bechuanas lay, and at first led me through very bad wait-a-bit thorn cover, 
which once or twice nearly swept me out of the saddle. Presently he 
inclined to the west, and got into better country ; I then rode close to 
him, and bowled him over with four shots. I also wounded a fine old 
black rhinoceros. 

The next morning, my ammunition being expended, or very nearly 
so, I despatched Carey to camp for fresh supplies. When he was gone 
I walked through the forest around the fountain to seek for my wounded 
game. I first came upon the black rhinoceros of last night, and a little 
farther on I observed " Frachum " snuff up the wind and go ahead. 
I soon saw him returning, with two jackals trotting behind him, so I at 
once knew that there was some game lying dead in advance. When I 
had proceeded a little farther the dogs ran forward, and next moment 
a rush of many feet was heard charging towards where I stood. It was 
a troop of half-grown lions, with a lioness ; which dashed past me, 
followed by the dogs. They had been feasting on a white rhinoceros, 
shot by me two nights previously, which I found lying a little in advance. 
Beside the carcase stood a fine fat calf — the poor thing, no doubt, 
fancying that its mother slept ; heedless of lions, and all the other 
creatures that had trodden there, it had remained beside its dead mother 
for a day and two nights. Rhinoceroses' calves always stick to their 
mothers long after they are dead. The next night I was again 
successful in a night-hunt, and bagged a very fine bull elephant. This 
wound up my elephant night-shooting for that moon, for next day there, 
was a most awful thunderstorm, which filled the forest with large pools 
of water. 

While reviewing my extraordinary good fortune during the last week's 
hunting, I could not help deeply regretting that I had not earlier thought 
of pursuing the elephants at night with dogs and horses : if I had 
commenced with the dogs only a week sooner, I might have bagged 
eight or ten first-rate bulls, which I knew were mortally wounded, but 
were, nevertheless, not forthcoming. The ivory of these elephants would 
have brought me in upwards of £200 ; and it was vexing to think that 
many, if not all of them, were lying rotting in the surrounding 
forest. My only chance of finding them was by watching the vultures ; 
but these birds, knowing that they cannot break the skin of the larger 
game, preferred remaining above and around the Bechuanas, where the 



292 HUNTING AND SPOKTING ADVENTURES. 



butchering was going briskly forward. They perched in groups upon 
the old branches of the larger trees, or darkened the sky in hundreds 
with their broad and shadowy wings. 

While, however, I mourned the loss of these wounded elephants, I 
reckoned that I had been favoured with immense good fortune in many 
instances during the past week. Ever intent upon embellishing and 
increasing my princely collection of African hunting-trophies, I placed 
great value upon any specimen I happened to shoot which I thought 
worth adorning it. Thus I neglected my real interest ; and instead of 
devoting my attention to rendering my expedition profitable, I allowed 
this very necessary part of the business to remain quite a secondary 
consideration. Thus, when I shot an ordinary bull elephant, I was 
accustomed to say to myself, " Ah ! a good bull ; tusks at least fifty ■ 
pounds each; 4s. 6d. a pound; bring me in =£22 10s. Capital day's 
work ; help to pay for the two horses that died last week, or the four 
that are bitten with 'tsetse,' and must die in a week or two." But if, 
on the other hand, I shot an elephant with a pair of tusks of unusual 
size, perfection, or beauty, I at once devoted them to my collection, and 
valued them at a tenfold price. This, then, was one thing in which I 
reckoned I had been extremely fortunate — I had secured the finest tusks 
in all that nest of patriarchial old bulls which I had so sadly cut up in 
one short week, and which perhaps the summers of a century had seen 
roaming through these boundless forests in peaceful security. 

The night-shooting being at an end, on the 23rd I retraced my steps 
to the dead elephants, to assist Carey in superintending the cutting out 
of the ivory, and in escorting the same along with our supply of fat and 
flesh to the waggons. Early in the afternoon we had got all ready for 
a start. The Bechuana captains who were there, and had appropriated 
my elephants and rhinoceroses, and nearly all the fat, then brought up 
about fifty men, who shouldered my impedimenta, and we marched for 
camp. Carey went in front, I rode in the middle, and my after-riders 
brought up the rear. This long line of naked savages threading the 
mazes of the forest, and bearing home the spoils of a few days' hunting, 
formed a truly interesting and unusual picture. Every man that was 
there carried something of mine : some led the dogs, some carried the 
guns and extra ammunition, some cooking-vessels, axes, sickles, water- 
calibashes, provisions, rhinoceroses' horns, the elephants' teeth, and an 
immense supply of flesh and fat, etc., etc. We made the Limpopo as the 
sun went down, which we crossed all right, and brought everything safe 
to camp. I made other excursions from this encampment in quest of 
elephants, in which I was very successful ; but as they did not differ in 
their details from the many already described, I shall not run the risk 
of wearying my reader with an account of them. 

On the 30th one of those minor incidents occurred which the hunter 
in these parts must be prepared continually to encounter. As I awoke 
that morning I heard a scream which denoted that "Prince," a most 
worthless dog, was consumed by a crocodile. There were several of 
these terrible animals frequenting the still deep stream beside which we 
lay. They seemed ever to be on the look-out for prey, and I have not 



THKEATEN TO SHOOT THE CHIEF. 293 



the slightest doubt they would have taken one of us if we had ventured 
in. 

On the 2nd of October, in the morning, we packed the cap-tent 
waggon, and stowed carefully away in grass my favourite tusks, which 
I intended to keep as specimens. 

The next afternoon, whilst making for the fountain called Setoque, 
accompanied by Kapain and a party from Bamangwato, I observed a 
number of crows and vultures, and came across the spoor of a party of 
Bakalahari. I at once felt convinced that one of my wounded elephants 
lay rotting near me, but, the sun being nearly under, I did not then 
wait, resolving to seek it at another time ; Kapain promised to send two 
of his companions early next morning to see if I had not surmised 
correctly. These men next day arrived, bearing some putrid fat which 
they had got from the Bakalahari ; and I at once said, " Oh, you have 
found my dead elephant 1 " They answered, " Yes, but the tusks are 
stolen." They also said that they had cut that fat out of the elephant. 
Kapain then promised me to do his best to recover the ivory for me ; 
but I found out, very soon afterwards, that he was playing me false. 
Next day I shot an old bull elephant. 

On the 5th I began to think of hunting no more across the Limpopo, 
as the season of rain was up ; and any day I might come to the river, 
returning from hunting, and find myself cut off from camp by a mighty 
stream, which would probably remain impassable for months. I also 
wished to save, if possible, one or two of my horses from the "tsetse," 
as my stud was now reduced to five. I therefore resolved to return at 
once to camp, and cross the Limpopo no more. After an early breakfast 
I marched thither, with thirteen Bechuanas bearing the tusks, flesh, etc. 

On my way I visited the remains of the elephant which Kapain's men 
had found ; it was the carcase of an enormous old bull, no doubt the 
elephant which I had first shot on the night of the 16th of last month, 
for I had followed his spoor to within half a mile of the spot. His tusks 
were stolen as reported ; they had not been cut out, but drawn. The 
skull remained perfect, and was finely cleaned by hyaenas, vultures, and 
insects. On beholding the carcase, I at once knew that Kapain had lied 
in saying that his men had cut the fat I saw with them out of the ele- 
phant, for it was evident that all flesh and fat had been at an end many 
days previously : the tusks, however, had quite lately been drawn, per- 
haps on the preceding day. I felt quite certain that Kapain was 
deceiving me, so I at once charged him with falsehood, and resolved in 
my own mind to take some very strong measures for the recovery of 
the tusks. I suspected that a tribe of Bakalahari who lived not far from 
the elephant, upon the river, knew all about the tusks, for there were 
no other natives in that district ; so I resolved to ride to the village early 
next morn, and threaten to shoot the chief if the teeth did not quickly 
appear. 

Accordingly, on the morning of the 6th, before it was clear, four steeds 
were saddled ; and having taken coffee, I crossed the Limpopo, accom- 
panied by Carey, John, and Piet, bearing double-barrelled guns, and held 
down the river side for the Bakalahari village, whith we made in about 



294 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

an hour. As soon as I observed the huts I dashed across their corn-lands 
at a racing pace, and was standing in the middle of the natives before 
they were aware of my approach. 

The chief whom I wanted sat in the forum with most of his men, so, 
dismounting from my horse, I walked up to them, and sat down on the 
ground in native custom, and, taking snuff myself, I handed it round. 
While I was doing this, John and Carey, armed, occupied the two places 
of exit from the forum. I sat silent for a little, and then said, " My 
heart is very bitter with the chief of this village. You were hungry, 
and I killed much flesh and fat for you. I told you that many of my 
elephants were lying dead, and that I wanted their teeth. You promised 
me to watch the vultures, and bring me the teeth. I have traced your 
spoor home from one of these elephants. Why did the tusks not come 
to my waggons ? I do not want to shed your blood, but I require the 
teeth to be laid immediately before me." 

They all immediately exclaimed, " The teeth are forthcoming, they 
are forthcoming : wait a little, chief of the white men. We saw the 
vultures, and hid the teeth for you." I was delighted to hear this, but 
I pretended still to be very angry, and answered, " My heart is still 
very bitter, for you should have brought the teeth at once to me, and 
not caused me to come with guns to seek my teeth." The chief then at 
once despatched five or six active men to bring the teeth ; and Bechuana 
beer and porridge were placed before me. In an hour the men returned, 
bearing the tusks of my lost elephant. I was right glad to see them : 
they were immense teeth, and very finely arched, and almost perfect. I 
then chose some skins of koodoo and blue wildebeests out of their kraals 
for packing my ivory in the waggons, for which I promised them beads ; 
after which I returned to camp, the natives going before me, bearing the 
teeth and skins. These men had drawn the tusks, and concealed them 
somewhere close to the carcase of the elephant. 

Here they would most probably have been concealed until I had left 
the country, when they would have forwarded them to their chief. 
Just as we reached the drift we met a string of natives returning from 
my last elephant, bearing flesh and fat. This was a fine opportunity for 
a seizure. I selected several large bundles of the flesh and some fat, and 
marched the same to camp on the shoulders of the Bakalahari, along with 
the ivory. When Kapain saw us arrive at camp, he was utterly con- 
founded, and began to abuse the Bakalahari ; thereupon I bundled him 
out of the kraal. In the afternoon we packed the ivory in the baggage- 
waggon ; it had hitherto lain loose in the kraal. There were fifty-three 
tusks of bull, and seventeen tusks of cow elephants. Three pairs of 
these bulls' teeth I intended to keep in my collection ; in the cap-tent 
were seven pairs of picked bulls' tusks, and two pairs of cow-elephants' 
tusks : all of which I likewise devoted to my collection. 



MARCH UP THE LIMPOPO. 295 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

We inarch up the Limpopo — The Guapa Mountains — Immense variety of Game — 
Stalk and shoot two Sable Antelopes — Several Hounds lost — Romantic Eavine 
in the Guapa Mountains — My Forest Home — Buck Koodoos — Stalking Sable 
Antelopes — Two of my Horses die from Tsetse — Continue our March — 
Countless Herds of Game. 

On the morning of the 8th of October we packed the waggons, and 
about midday inspanned, and left the Bakalahari village, where we had 
lain for nearly six weeks. The old chief of these Bakalahari looked 
extremely downhearted when he saw us preparing to depart ; and could 
hardly refrain from crying. I had come there and found them starving; 
but ever since my arrival they had had more good flesh and fat than 
they could eat. I had also employed the women to stamp my barley 
and Bechuana corn, and had always rewarded them liberally with beads, 
which they made into native ornaments, and with which they adorned 
their persons. The old chief was distinguished by a snake-skin, which 
he wore round his head. I gave him some presents at parting, and we 
then trekked, holding up the river, but at a considerable distance from 
it, the Limpopo having at this part a very considerable bend. In the 
evening we came again upon the river, and halted at our ola kraal, 
where I had been troubled with lions on the 5th of August. On the 
march I lost " Argyll," my best dog, of whom I have often made mention 
in former expeditions, he having weathered my two campaigns in the 
Bamangwato country. He was strangled on the trap of the waggon, 
where he was coupled along with the other dogs. 

I now resolved to leave the Limpopo, and explore the country in a 
north-westerly direction. I was accompanied by a large body of Sicomy's 
men. These scoundrels would not give me any information either as to 
water or elephants, excepting in one direction which suited themselves, 
invariably answering my questions with " There is no water in that 
direction, there are no elephants there." Thus I was .left entirely in the 
dark how to proceed, and was obliged to use my own discretion. About 
due north-west from where we lay, a bold mountain range rose blue 
above the forest. Thither in the morning I directed our course, and in 
the evening we halted at a small vley, which I found by following an 
elephant footpath ; the rascally Bechuanas swearing that we should not 
find water till sundown next day. On the march we started an ostrich 
from her nest, in which we found sixteen large serviceable eggs. The 
country through which we passed was very soft and sandy, the forest 
often so dense as to compel us to halt and use our axes. 

On the 13th we reached a strong succession of fountains, forming a 
running stream of pure water. Here the country became extremely 
beautiful ; a very wide and finely wooded valley stretched away into 
the bosom of the mountains, ending in a bold ravine. This district I 
discovered to be the abode of a considerable tribe called "Moroking." 
Their cultivated corn-lands stretched away on every side of the fountain. 



296 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



Here I outspanned, and presently the chief and all his people came to 
me, highly pleased that I had visited them. These men were dependents 
of Sicomy, and for some reason which I could not comprehend, had been 
instructed by the Bamangwato natives not to give me any information 
regarding the elephants or the waters in advance. At night we were 
visited by a terrible and long-protracted thunderstorm, and much rain 
fell, rendering the country very unfit for trekking. 

The next morning I shot a large wild goose, a splendid bird, its 
general colour dark glossy green, with white patches on its sides and 
beneath its wings. While seeking for wild fowl along the edge of the 
stream I almost trod upon the tail of a fearful " cobra," which instantly 
reared its head on high and spread its neck out like the Indian cobra. 
Before it could strike, however, I sprang to one side and escaped its 
deadly fangs ; Ruyter and I then slew him with sticks and stones. The 
chief of the Moroking, and all his people, both men and women, came 
again to see the white man, the waggons, and the oxen : they still 
persisted in saying that there were no elephants in advance. As the 
country was now quite unfit for trekking, and probably I might not find 
elephants until I had proceeded to a great distance, I resolved to turn 
back. Accordingly, after breakfast we trekked, and halted for the night 
at the fountain we had left on the preceding day. On the march I 
shot an extremely beautiful wood-pigeon ; its back and tail were grass- 
green, j,t& thighs bright orange, its bill and feet bright coral red. 

On the 15th at sunrise we inspanned, and held on until late in the 
afternoon, steering for the mountain of Gluapa, where I had seen sable 
antelope on the 16th of July. We halted for the night without water; 
during the night rain fell. On the march we saw spoor of eland ; my troop 
of dogs took away after a herd of zebras, one of which broke Filbert's 
shoulder with a kick, so as I was obliged to shoot him. This was a sad 
loss to me ; Filbert was the best dog I had left. 

Next day at dawn we marched, holding for a vley close under the blue 
mountain in advance. Having proceeded some miles we fell in with 
springboks, zebras, blue gnoos ; and, soon after, to my surprise, an old 
kookama or oryx, carrying a superb pair of horns, started away before 
the waggons. My dogs were fresh and hungry : they were instantly 
slipped, and dashed forward on the scent of the oryx. Unluckily, a wild 
dog sprang up right in their path, to which they at once gave chase, and 
thus I lost this most splendid antelope. 

I walked ahead of the waggons with my rifle, and soon started two 
pairs of ostriches. I was going down wind, and kept starting the game. 
I next sent away a herd of zebras and brindled gnoos ; next a sounder 
of wild boar ; next a troop of giraffes ; and, close to the vley where I 
intended to halt, I wounded a koodoo, which left a bloody spoor, that I 
did not choose to follow. The vley to which I had been trusting proved 
dry. We outspanned here for an hour, however, and then held round 
the western extremity of this fine mountain-range ; and as the sun went 
down I halted my waggons on its south side, opposite the mouth of a 
bold and well-wooded ravine, which contained a strong fountain. On 
the march I rode ahead of my waggons on the spoor of two old buffaloes, 



ZEBRAS, ANTELOPES, AND RHINOCEROSES. 297 



which our waggon-whips had started ; these had gone out of my course, 
so I did not follow far. Returning, I came to a black rhinoceros, which 
I wounded, but did not get. As I neared the ravine where I intended 
to halt, I stalked in close upon a second black rhinoceros, which on 
receiving two deadly shots charged madly forward and subsided in the 
dust. A few minutes after firing at Borel6 I was following a troop of 
pallahs close under the green rocky mountain, when, lo ! a herd of the 
lovely sable antelope caught my attention. These were quietly browsing 
on a shoulder of the mountain among the green trees far, far above me. 
I instantly threw off my leathers, and proceeded to stalk in upon them. 
An old doe detected me, however, and, instantly sounding the alarm, 
the herd, which consisted of eight — three coal-black bucks and five does 
— dashed off, and took through a rocky ravine. . 

As it was too late in the day to follow them farther, I turned my face 
towards my horses, which I had left at the base of the mountain ; and 
straining my eyes along the level forest beneath me to seek my waggons, 
which were now due, I detected them far out from the mountain, 
steering to go past the fountain. I then fired a signal shot, which 
brought them up. This unlucky shot started away two bull elephants 
which were feeding in the thorn cover close beneath me. I drew up my 
waggons in an open spot more than half a mile from the fountain, wait- 
a-bit thorns forbidding our nearer approach. 

The 17th was a very cool and clondy day ; I took an early breakfast, 
and then held north-east, close in under the mountain-range, accompanied 
by Kapain and a party of Bakalahari, to seek elephants. 

We fell in with immense herds of zebras and buffaloes numbering 
between three and five hundred in each herd, and towards evening with 
a numerous herd of elephants, when I killed one of the finest after an 
easy chase. 

After several unsuccessful stalks for sable antelope I at length met with 
the success my perseverance deserved. Returning in the afternoon of 
the 20th homewards, I suddenly observed a herd of about ten of them 
in open cover on the mountain's ridge, upon which I commenced ascend- 
ing the rugged acclivity as fast as I could, for the daylight would be 
gone in a very short time. When I got within two hundred yards of 
them, I found it impossible to get in any nearer, for I must cross a stony 
flat in sight of several of the ever wary does ; it was, moreover, now so 
late that I could not well see the sights of my rifle. I had almost 
resolved not to disturb them, and to return to camp : on second thoughts, 
however, I resolved to give it a trial. I made a successful stalk, and 
crossed this dangerous rocky flat unobserved. There was no moss nor 
heather under my knees, but a mass of adamantine fragments of rock ; 
yet this I did not heed, so I succeeded in my stalk. 

Having crossed the flat, I soon stalked within shot, when, raising my 
rifle slowly, I fired at a lovely old doe which stood on my left. The ball 
passed right through her a little behind the shoulder; she bounded 
down hill, when I fired my second barrel at her, but, owing to the 
darkness, I missed. The potaquaines above me, seeing nothing and 
smelling nothing, stood bewildered until I had reloaded, lying on my 



298 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



side. I then shot another splendid doe with a perfect pair of wide-set 
horns, putting two bullets through her fore-quarters. She, however, took 
two more balls before she lay, when I put a fifth bullet into her to stop 
her kicking, as she was injuring her horns on the rocky ground. By 
this time the sun was under and the moon shone bright. Highly 
gratified at my success, I now cut off this magnificent antelope's head, and 
descended the mountain with a slow and careful step. The other pota- 
quaine did not leave the ground, and I got her also next day. 

I now reckoned my collection of African trophies as almost perfect. 
Last year I shot an old buck potaquaine in the Bamangwato country, 
which I had carefully preserved ; and I had now shot two splendid does, 
which was what I most particularly required to complete my collection. 
I still wanted heads of the "bluebuck," or "kleenbok," "Vaal rheebok," 
" ourebi," and " reitbok ; " but these were abundant in the colony, and 
were not hard to get. 

Next morning I ascended the mountain to secure the flesh of the dead 
potaquaine and to secure the wounded one. I found her still alive, and 
on seeing me she made off; I, however, followed her up, and, making a 
correct stalk barefooted, I shot her where she stood ; she proved a very 
old doe. 

The 23rd was a very cool and cloudy morning, and looked likely for 
light rain. At an early hour I left my waggons with some provisions, 
and ascended the mountain to the north-east to seek sable antelope. 
Soon after gaining the upper heights of the mountain I had the satis- 
faction to detect a fine herd of these feeding among the trees on the 
table summit of a ridge of the mountain, which stretched away to the 
east. I determined to stalk them in true Highland fashion, and to use 
my very best endeavours to ensure success; accordingly, having surveyed 
the ground, I made a cast to leeward, and approached the herd upon my 
belly. When I got within two hundred yards of them I found it was 
impossible to approach nearer on that side, so I was obliged to creep 
away back again, and try to come upon them from another quarter. 
When next I crept in, the herd had vanished, and I could not find them 
for some time. At length, however, I came suddenly upon them, when 
the herd rushed in a semicircle round me. I ran forward as hard as I 
could, and, pulling suddenly up, fired at the big black buck as he dashed 
past me at top speed ; the ball told loudly, and the buck bent up his 
back to the shot. 

They now charged for the southern ridge of the mountain, and dis- 
appeared over it at a tremendous pace. I quickly loaded, and proceeded 
to take up the spoor, and at once had the satisfaction to find great spouts 
of blood all along the spoor of the patriarchal old black buck. This gave 
me high hopes of success ; I waited a few minutes, and whistled for the 
Bechuanas, who immediately came up to me with "Bles" and "Affriar," 
two right good dogs. When the wounded buck had proceeded a short 
distance down the mountain's face, he left the herd and slanted away by 
himself. In a few minutes, however, I espied him : he stood about three 
hundred yards from me, under a low tree on the rocky mountain side, 
with drooping head and outstretched tail, which he kept constantly 



AN EXCITING CHASE. 299 

• 

whisking from side to side, and he was evidently extremely sick. As 
he exhibited no intention of going farther, and as the waggons were 
near, I thought it would be a fine opportunity to give all the dogs blood ; 
so I despatched Ruyter to camp to fetch them, and I remained stationary 
and watched the wounded potaquaine. After standing in one spot for 
some time, he made a few tottering steps, then lay heavily down in the 
grass as if dead, and nothing was visible but his side. 

This was most satisfactory : there, on the side of his native rugged 
mountain, lay the ever-wary, the scarce, the lovely, long-sought sable 
antelope, and a most noble specimen — perhaps the finest buck in all the 
district. His ever-watchful eye was now sunk in the long grass ; and as 
he was lying beside a little ravine, and a stiff breeze was blowing, I 
could, if I had chosen, have crept in within thirty yards of him, and 
shot him dead on the spot; but so far from doing this, I rather lamented 
that he was thus badly wounded, for I feared that he would not have life 
enough left to show a good fight when the dogs came up. It has been 
truly said that there is many a slip between the cup and the lip, and the 
truth of this old saying I was about most bitterly to experience. In 
half an hour the Bushman came on with three Bechuanas, leading all 
my best dogs. I went up to the potaquaine. He had arisen, and was 
looking at us as we came on ; when I approached within a hundred and 
fifty yards of him he disappeared over the ridge. I did not, however, 
slip the trustless dogs until they should be on his scent or see him. 
When I gained the ridge I again beheld him standing within a hundred 
yards of "me. I now slipped all my trustiest hounds ; they ran forward 
towards the buck, and then took away up the hill, where, finding 
nothing, they presently came down again, and, after snuffing about for 
a little, followed up the scent of the buck. 

All this time the potaquaine remained utterly motionless, regarding 
the dogs with a wicked eye. They, however, did not observe him until 
they were within about ten yards of him, when he stamped his foot, and 
turned as if to fight with them. The dogs opened a bay, and the next 
instant the potaquaine bounded through the middle of them, and, 
holding down the mountain side, was out of my sight in two seconds, 
the dogs all at his heels. 

I pressed forward in the most perfect confidence of an immediate bay ; 
but when I obtained a view of the open forest around the mountain's 
base, nor dog nor potaquaine could I see ; neither could I hear a sound. 
I thought the chase must have led up wind, so I held on at my best 
pace along the rugged mountain's side. 

I gained shoulder after shoulder, and opened fresh ground, but 
nothing living could I see, nor could I hear a sound. To make matters 
worse, it was blowing half a gale of wind. Most thoroughly confounded, 
I now in haste retraced my steps to the natives. These useless creatures 
I found sitting just where I had slipped the dogs. In vain I asked them 
whither they were gone ; they only put me wrong, and lost me the day; 
for they declared that they had watched the ground below to leeward, 
and that no dog had gone in that course. They had, however, gone that 
way, and were at that moment baying a fresh buck very near me, but 



300 HIT NTING- AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

the unlucky wind prevented me from hearing them. I hastily retraced 
my steps once more up wind, and, after proceeding a little farther than 
I had been before, I saw " Alert," a very uncertain animal which I had 
long possessed, returning towards me. 

The dogs have then gone up wind, I thought to myself, and they have 
the buck at bay in advance. Next moment, however, to my utter 
amazement, I beheld my wounded potaquaine standing in the forest 
below me, and not a single dog near him. I was now aware that my 
dogs had fallen in with some other bucks which I was not aware of, 
and were gone I knew not whither. After waiting an hour for them, I 
endeavoured to stalk in on the potaquaine ; it was bad ground, and he 
saw me and made off. He went but a short distance, however, and 
stood again in a drooping attitude beneath a tree ; the Bechuanas tried 
to drive him to a position which I took up, when he left the ground, and 
I never saw him again. 

When I returned to my camp, my people told me that the dogs had 
bayed a buck for a long time under the mountain, within hearing of the 
waggons, and that the sounds had died away, as if they had pulled him 
down and killed him. On hearing this I at once saddled up two steeds, 
and rode in that direction to seek my dogs, but saw nothing of them, 
and, night setting in, I returned to camp. Next day three of the dogs 
returned ; they were covered with the blood of the potaquaine they had 
killed, and one of them was wounded by his horns. I, however, never 
found the remains of either this buck or the one I had shot, nor did I 
see more of my three good dogs which were missing ; no doubt they 
had all been found by the natives, and stolen by them. 

I resolved on the 26th to make an expedition on foot across the 
mountain, and hunt in its northern limits for a few days. I accordingly 
started with Ruyter and four Bechuanas bearing my bedding, pots, 
water, and other impedimenta. Having ascended the upper heights of 
the mountain, I crossed to its western ridges, and held for its northern 
limits ; and when the sun went down I halted beneath a green tree, 
where I slept. 

I made my coffee by moonlight before the day dawned ; and when it 
was clear I stalked along the upper ridges of the mountain. Presently, 
peeping over a rocky and well-wooded ridge, I saw a small troop of doe 
koodoos, one of which I shot for food. Immediately below where this 
koodoo fell was a lonely kraal of Bakalahari. These men had chosen 
for their place of residence a wild and most romantic ravine which here 
parted the mouDtain for a distance of about a mile, forming a deep and 
almost impassable gulf. At the upper end of this ravine was a most 
delicious fountain, forming a strong running stream, which wound- 
along the shady depths of this wild and most secluded spot. When 
these Bakalahari heard the report of my rifle echoing through their 
valley, they left their pots upon their fires, and fled to a man. My 
Bechuanas, however, eventually got them to come back again, and they 
cut up for me my koodoo, and carried the flesh to a shady tree on the 
table summit of this tabular range, immediately above the strong 
fountain in the gulf beneath me. 



SHOOTING SABLE ANTELOPE. 301 

This spot I selected to be my forest home for a short time ; and here 
I spent some merry days, and feasted like a prince on fat vension, 
marrow-bones, Bechuana corn, Bechuana beer, tea, coffee, biscuit, etc. 
I was also provided with a rich dessert consisting of a delicious African 
fruit called " moopooroo," which was now ripe and extremely abundant 
throughout this range. This fine fruit grows on a tree with a very dark 
green leaf ; the fruit is the size and shape of a large olive, and when 
ripe is bright orange. In the afternoon I went out with Euyter, and 
found four buck koodoos on the northern ridge of the mountain. I 
wounded one of these, and followed up his bloody spoor, and, coming 
on him in cover on the mountain side, I broke his fore-leg with a second 
shot; he, however, took away down to the level forest beneath, and 
there I lost him. 

At earliest dawn next day I held down wind with Euyter, and 
presently found fresh spoor of a herd of sable antelope which had got 
my wind, and they were off. I then inclined my steps in the direction in 
which their spoor led, and presently we observed them among the trees 
within three hundred yards of us, some lying and some standing. One 
of the old does soon observed us. We sat gently down in the grass, 
however, and I crept away back, and made a very fine stalk upon the 
herd in very difficult ground. I was obliged to do a hundred and fifty 
yards of it on my breast. A wary old doe kept sentry, and prevented 
my approaching within a hundred yards. I therefore took this doe, and 
shot her with a bullet in the shoulder. I then sent Euyter for the 
natives and at once despatched the head to camp to be stuffed. 

In the evening I fell in again with this same troop of potaquaines on 
the northern range of the mountain. They heard me coming on before 
I was aware of them, and held up wind over very rocky ground and 
through thick cover. I followed on in their wake like an old staghound, 
keeping close to them, and always halting when they halted ; thus they 
did not observe me, and at last I got close in upon them. I could then 
have had a fine shot at several of the does, but I wanted the old black 
buck. I aimed for his heart, but an unlucky branch intervened, and, 
altering the line of my ball, lost me this most noble animal. I, however, 
fired a snap shot at him with my left barrel, and sent a bullet through 
his flank. The herd then dashed down the mountain side, making a 
tremendous rumpus among the loose masses of rock, the old buck leaving 
a bloody spoor. I did not disturb them further then, the sun being 
under, but returned to my home beneath the greenwood tree. 

I followed the old buck up next day, but without success, and on the 
31st I determined to return to my waggons. Accordingly, at dawn of 
day I rolled up my bedding, and, directing my Bechuanas to go and call 
Bakalahari to carry my flesh and impedimenta to camp, I held a south- 
westerly course across the mountains with Euyter and a Bechuana boy. 
This morning richly repaid me for all my toil and exertions in following 
the sable antelope throughout these stony and rugged mountains. 
Having proceeded about a mile down wind, on looking over a height which 
commanded a fine view of well-wooded undulating table-land below me, 
I had the sincere pleasure to behold a beautiful herd of sable antelopes 

19 



302 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



feeding quietly up wind a within a quarter of a mile of me. The herd 
consisted of seven does and one coal-black magnificent old buck. Even 
at the distance at which they then were, I could very plainly see that 
this buck was a most superb specimen ; his horns seemed almost too 
large for him, and swept back over his shoulders with a determined and 
perfect curve. 

I sat some time to watch their movements, and gazed upon them with 
intense delight. The ground on which they were feeding being very 
level, and observing that the does were extremely wary, I thought the 
best way to stalk them would be to cut in before them to windward, as 
they were proceeding in that direction, taking care of course to keep out 
of their way sufficiently far to ensure their not getting my wind. I 
then crept back from the ridge where I had observed them, and, describ- 
ing a semicircle, crept in on my knees through the large rough stones. 
The does came freshly on, and inclined their course to the spot where I 
lay flat on my belly awaiting their forward movement. They continued 
to approach until one fine old doe was within range of my rifle. When, 
however, they had come thus far, they seemed all at once to change 
their minds, and after feeding about for a few minutes they took another 
track and altered their course from east to north. I then divested my- 
self of my shoes and shooting-belt, and commenced following them up. 

Presently, however, I observed a wary old doe, which had fed away 
among the trees apart from her comrades, standing looking at me. My 
position was a very awkward one ; but I dared not alter it, as this 
would have lost me the day, so I remained motionless as the rocks over 
which I crept, and presently her patience was exhausted, and she ceased to 
suspect me, and held on to her comrades. I now made up my mind that 
it was impossible to do anything with them where they then were, and 
that it would be best to watch them from a distance until they should 
move into some more uneven ground, where a stalker would have some 
chance with them. 

Having thus resolved, I beat a retreat, and returned to the ridge above, 
where I had at first made them out. Here I again sat, and with a 
longing heart watched the movements of these loveliest of Afric's lovely 
antelopes. I was struck with admiration at the magnificence of the noble 
old black buck, and I vowed in my heart to slay him, although I should 
follow him for a twelvemonth. The old fellow seemed very fidgety in 
his movements, and while the does fed steadily on he lagged far behind, 
occasionally taking a mouthful of grass, and then standing for a few 
minutes under the trees, rubbing his huge, knotted, scimitar-shaped 
horns upon their branches. At length the does had fed away a hundred 
and fifty yards from him, and he still lagged behind. This was the golden 
moment to make a rapid stalk in upon him, while his everwatchful 
sentinels were absent. I saw my chance, and stole rapidly down the 
rocky hill-side and gained the level on which the herd were pasturing. 
He was now obscured from my view by the bushy dwarfish trees which 
adorned the ground ; the next move was to get my eye upon him before 
he should observe me : I stole stealthily forward and detected him. He 
was still feeding very slowly on after the does, and seemed quite unsus- 



SHOOTING SABLE ANTELOPE. 303 

picious. I then instantly cast off my shoes and shooting-belt, and, 
watching the lowering of his noble horns, my eye fixed tiger-like upon 
him, stalked rapidly in. My heart beat with anxiety as I advanced, and 
was almost within shot ; twenty yards nearer and I would fire. Again 
he lowered his head to crop the young grass ; I seized the moment, and 
the twenty yards were won. 

Here was a young tree with a fork, from which I had resolved to fire. 
The potaquaine stood with his round stern right to me. I took a deadly 
aim and fired : the ball entered very near his tail, and passing through 
the length of his vitals rested in his breast. He staggered about for a 
second, and then, bounding forward about sixty yards, he halted, and 
looked to see from whence the deadly shaft had sped that had thus so 
unceremoniously disturbed his morning meal. The sights of my rifle 
were still fixed upon him, and just as he pulled up and exposed to me 
his full broadside a second bullet left the ringing steel, and crashed 
through the very centre of the old fellow's shoulder. 

On receiving this second shot the sable antelope wheeled about and 
held after the does, and I knew from his movement, though his pace 
was good, that he had got the ball in his shoulder and could not go very 
far. I then walked leisurely back to seek my shoes and shooting-belt, 
and, having found them, I was loading my rifle, when the Bushman, 
who had been watching my stalk from the height above, joined me, and 
said that the buck had run but a short distance, and had lain down 
under a tree. I stole carefully forward and immediately observing him 
lying as if still alive, his noble head not laid on the ground,*but in an 
upright posture. Fancying him still alive, and having too often been 
tricked with wounded antelopes, I then gave him a third bullet, but the 
dark form of this lovely habitant of the mountain quailed not to the 
shot ; the spirit of the sable antelope had fled. 

I was transported with delight when I came up and saw the surpassing 
beauty and magnificence of the invaluable trophy I had won. This 
potaquaine was very old, and his horns were enormous, fair set, perfect, 
and exquisitely beautiful. I cut off his head,, and, leaving men to convey 
the flesh to camp, I held thither in advance, escorting my hard-won 
trophy. On my way to camp, coming down the footpath from the 
fountain, to my dejectment I found the untameable Mazeppa stretched 
to rise no more, and half consumed by hysenas and vultures; he had died 
of horse-sickness. The reduction of my stock by the fell hand of death 
during this week was, alas ! not confined to Mazeppa only ; the pony I 
bought of my cousin Colonel Campbell died of " tsetse," a valuable fore- 
ox died of some severe sickness, and " Fox," a very good dog, died of 
the African distemper ; three of my very best dogs had also mysteriously 
disappeared the day they chased the potaquaine. 

We remained in the neighbourhood frequented by the sable antelope 
for several days longer, but I did not succeed in killing another, although 
with other game of every kind I met with great success. 



304 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



CHAPTER XXX. 

Leave the Potaquaine Country — Absurd Ceremony — My Cattle fail me — Send to 
the Missionary Station for Aid — Encamp near the Limpopo — Indescribable 
Fish — A young Secretary — Nearly all my Oxen die — Assistance arrives from 
Mr. Livingstone — We reach the Residence of Sichely — A Hunter's Monument 
— We continue our March through a beautiful Country — An Adventure with two 
savage Lionesses — A violent Tempest — Mahura — Bakalahari driving Game 
towards their Pitfalls — We cross the Orange River and reach Colesberg. 

On the 15th of November we inspanned, and left the mountains of 
Linguapa. Rapain and his Bechuanas held for Bamangwato ; Seleka's 
Bechuanas held for their chief; and we held a -south-westerly course for 
the Limpopo, which we reached in less than three hours. 

Next day we trekked at dawn, and having marched a few miles we 
were joined by Bakalahari, who reported having seen elephants on the 
preceding day. A little after this I shot a waterbuck close to the river, 
when I outspanned. 

During the day "Matsaca," chief of the Bamalette, visited me with a 
retinue : he brought a kaross for me, for which I was to cut him on the 
arm and shoulder and anoint him with medicine to make him shoot well 
with the gun which he had bought of me. In the evening I walked a 
short distance down the river's bank, and shot a lovely fawn of the sero- 
lomootlooque, and a buck pallah with a very handsome head. 

On the Ji 7th I went in quest of elephants, accompanied by the Bama- 
lette men. We continued along the bank of the river for several miles, 
when we took up the spoor of three or four enormous old bulls. On 
our way I wounded a white rhinoceros, which I did not follow to secure. 
The elephants had fed very slowly away from the river, and before we 
had followed the spoor an hour we were close upon them. The 
Bechuanas chose to leave the spoor, and making a cast to windward 
they started the elephants. My dogs being much distressed with the 
sun, and I not being aware that the- game were started, we at this very 
moment, unfortunately, sat down and rested for half an hour, which of 
course lost me the day. When I discovered that the elephants had 
moved off, I turned my face for camp, and before proceeding far I 
started an ostrich off her nest ; the nest contained twenty eggs, which I 
directed the Bechuanas to bring to camp. 

As we held up the side of the river I detected a very fine old black 
rhinoceros standing among some wait-a-bit thorn. Directing Piet, my 
dismounted after-rider (for my stud of fifteen was now reduced to one), 
to watch my movements, I commenced a stalk upon Bo'rele, and, having 
got within about sixty yards of where he stood in dense cover, I signed 
to Piet to get on the other side and start him towards me ; this plan 
succeeded, for he was charged out of the cover, and, holding for the bush 
behind which I was concealed, he passed within twelve yards. My first 
shot was a very deadly one. It set him charging round and round in a circle, 
when I gave him a second, and he made off mortally wounded. I then 
ran to my little mare, and, mounting her, I gave him chase, and presently 



GREAT VARIETY OF GAME. 305 

dropped him with a shot behind the shoulder. Loud thunder was 
rumbling to windward of my camp, so I hastened to cut off Borel6's horn, 
after which I rode home. 

In course of the day I saw the fresh spoor of about twenty varieties 
of large game, and most of the animals themselves, viz., elephant, black, 
white, and long-horned rhinoceros, hippopotamus, camelopard, buffalo, 
blue wildebeest, zebra, waterbuck, sassayby, koodoo, pallah, springbok, 
serolomootlooque, wild boar, duiker, steinbok, lion, leopard. This district 
of Africa contains a larger variety of game than any other in the whole 
of this tract of the globe, and perhaps more than any other district 
throughout the world ; for besides the game which I have just noted, 
the following are not uncommon, viz., keilton, or two-horned black 
rhinoceros, eland, oryx, roan antelope, sable antelope, hartebeest, klip- 
springer, and grys steinbuck : the reitbuck is also to be found, but not 
abundantly. 

We inspanned on the 18th before it was day, and trekked up the 
Limpopo for about three hours. In the forenoon Matsaca arrived from 
the carcase of the borele" : he brought with him a very fine leopard's 
skin kaross, and an elephant's tooth ; these were for me, in return for 
which I was to cut him to make him shoot well. This I did in the follow- 
ing manner : opening a large book of natural history, containing prints of 
all the chief quadrupeds, I placed his forefinger successively on several 
of the prints of the commonest of the South African quadruped, and as I 
placed his finger on each I repeated some absurd sentence and anointed him 
with turpentine. When this was accomplished I made four cuts on his arm 
with a lancet, and then, anointing the bleeding wounds with gunpowder 
and turpentine, I told him that his gun had power over each of the 
animals which his finger had touched, provided he held it straight. 
Matsaca and his retinue seemed highly gratified, and presently took 
leave and departed : I afterwards trekked up the river till sundown. 

On the succeeding day we marched with the dawn, and held up the 
river. In the afternoon Bechuanas from Seleka visited me, bearing a 
tooth of a bull-elephant, for which they wanted a gun ; the tooth, 
however, being small, I would not give them one for it, although I might 
have done so at a fair profit. I found the game extremely abundant, 
counting no less than twenty-two rhinoceroses, nine of which were in one 
herd, feeding on the open plain. The wind was as foul as it could blow 
and kept continually starting the game. At length, late in the after- 
noon, I got within shot of four white rhinoceroses. The old bull stood 
next to me, so, resting my six-pound rifle on the trunk of a tree which 
an elephant had over-thrown, I took him on the shoulder and smashed 
his forearm; he ran for thirty yards, and then rolled over on his back. 
He however regained his legs and ran a hundred yards farther, when 
his leg failed him, and coming up on his spoor I finished him in a few 
minutes. The waggons now came up, and I halted them on the river's 
bank, opposite to the rhinoceros. 

On the 21st much rain fell throughout the day, rendering the country 
unfit for trekking. A birth and a death occurred among my cattle. In 
the afternoon a loud rushing noise was heard coming on like a hurricane : 



306 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 



this was a large troop of pallah pursued by a pack of about twenty wild 
dogs ; they passed our camp in fine style within a hundred yards of us, 
and in two minutes the wild dogs had caught two of the pallahs, which 
my Bechuanas ran up and secured. A pallah in passing my camp 
cleared a distance of fifty feet in two successive bounds, and this on 
unfavourable ground, it being soft and slippery. 

I left the sable antelopes' mountain mainly in consequence of a general 
falling off amongst my cattle. I did not then know to what cause to 
attribute this sad and to me all-important change in their condition, 
which only a few weeks before had been a source of admiration to us. 
Alas ! it was now too evident that nearly all of them were dying, having 
been bitten by the fly " tsetse " at the mountain. The rains of the last 
three days had made this melancholy truth more strongly manifest ; 
the cattle presented a most woful appearance. Listless and powerless, 
they cared not to feed, and, though the grass covered the country with 
the richest and most luxuriant pasturage, their sides remained hollow, 
and their whole bodies became daily more emaciated ; the eyes also of 
many of them were closed and swollen. 

The next morning being fair, I inspanned, although the country was 
very unfit for trekking ; my heavily laden waggons sinking deep in the 
soft rich soil which lies along the banks of the Limpopo; My poor oxen, 
as expected, became knocked up on the march before they had pro- 
ceeded three miles, and many of them lying down and refusing to proceed 
farther, or even to stand up. I was obliged in consequence to outspan 
one waggon and leave it behind, and to bring on the other waggon with 
the able oxen, and then send them back to assist their dying comrades 
in bringing up the second. I performed a short march, and halted on a 
fine sandy spot, where I made a strong thorn kraal for the cattle. Soon 
after we had outspanned the second waggon heavy rain set in, which 
Continued at intervals throughout the night. 

Light rains continued to fall throughout the 24th. I, however, per- 
formed a short march, and brought my waggons a few miles further up 
the Limpopo. I was obliged, as on the last march, to bring on one 
waggon at a time. 

Heavy rains fell at intervals throughout the next day. " Ronoberg," 
a Natal ox, died during the night, and it was evident that many more 
would die in a few days ; even now the half of them were utterly unfit 
to work. The heavy and continued rains which had lately set in made 
me feel my heavy misfortune with increased severity, for the country 
was hardly to be travelled with such loads as mine, even with oxen in 
good working condition. At length I found myself reduced to a stand, 
or the next thing to it. In this state of things I deemed it necessary to 
despatch natives to the nearest missionary station for assistance. I 
accordingly wrote a letter to Mr. Livingstone, the resident missionary 
at Sichely's, requesting the loan of two spans of oxen, and, having sealed 
up my epistle in a bottle, I sent it off with two natives,*instructing them 
to use all possible speed. One of these men was a native in my service, 
named " Ramachumey ; " the other was one of Sichely's subjects, having 



FISHING IN THE LIMPOPO. 307 

been on a visit to Seleka. They expected to reach Sichely in seven 
days. 

For many succeeding days my difficulties with respect to bringing on 
the waggons continued to increase. The rain still poured down, ren- 
dering the country impossible to travel, and my oxen died daily of the 
tsetse-bite. In this condition my progress was slow and painful in the 
extreme, and I awaited anxiously the expected succour from Mr. 
Livingstone. At length I came fairly to a stand, not having sufficient 
oxen left to draw one waggon. I formed my camp in a shady bend of 
the river, and fortified it with a high hedge of thorny trees, and in a 
few days more all my cattle had died with the exception of two young 
oxen, which I inclined to think would survive the bite of the fatal "tsetse." 

On the 7th of December I resolved to have some fishing ; accordingly 
I routed out some old salmon-fishing tackle, and sallied forth with one 
of the waggon whip-sticks for a rod, and some string for a line. I 
baited my hook with a bit of blue wildebeest, and put on a cork for a 
bob. I cast in my bait in a quiet bend of the river, and anxiously 
watched the cork, which very soon began to bob. I then conjured up 
many forms in my mind, and wondered whether it would be a fair fish, 
such as I might expect in my own land's rivers, or something more like 
a young crocodile. I was not fated to live long upon conjecture how- 
ever, for next moment under went the cork, and striking sharply I 
threw over my head a fine grey fish about a pound weight, and in 
appearance like a haddock, with a broad mouth and eight or ten feelers. 
My Bushman said the Boers about the Orange Kiver knew this fish, and 
loved to catch and eat it. Presently my perseverance was rewarded by 
a second fish of the same kind as the first ; and after this I hooked a 
very heavy fish, which I lost. I doubt not but most excellent sport 
might be obtained in the Limpopo. 

In the evening Carey and I cut down a very dense thorn-tree to 
inspect the nest of a secretary. The summit of the tree was very wide, 
dense, and level, and from the terrible nature of the thorns it was 
utterly inaccessible without the aid of the hatchet. When the tree fell, 
out from its nest rolled a young secretary, and immediately disgorged 
its last meal, which consisted of " four lizards of different sorts (of 
which one was a cameleon), one locust, one quail, and a mouse." 

A few days after this I sent out John and Carey into different airts 
to seek game, and each killed a pallah ; but the sky threatening rain 
they did not wait to escort their venison, but left natives to bring it on. 
A considerable time having elapsed, and the Bakalahari not appearing, 
I despatched John and some of the natives in my service to look after 
them, and it was well I did so ; for on reaching his pallah John found 
the Bakalahari whom he had left to convey it to camp, in the act of 
bolting with the half of it, having cunningly (as he thought) hacked the 
other half with a sharp stone, and dirtied the flesh with the entrails, 
thinking to persuade us that it had been done by a leopard or hyaena. 

It was now twenty days since I despatched natives to the nearest 
missionary to inform him of my distress, and solicit assistance in oxen, 
and they might ere now have reached me, if all was well ; this caused 



308 HUNTING AND SPORTING ADVENTURES. 

me many painful doubts and apprehensions. Day after day was passing 
away, and hourly I felt my situation more and more irksome and 
tedious. Moreover, my supplies were fast coming to an end. I cer- 
tainly felt my fixed position most painful. At length, however, that 
aid which I so earnestly yet fearfully prayed for was at hand. 

On the morning of the 16 th, as I was preparing my breakfast, I sud- 
denly beheld a civilized-looking native approach me ; he wore a shirt, a 
pair of leather trousers, and a sailor's red nightcap, and carried a gun 
and shooting-belt. The instant I beheld him I said aloud, " Natives 
from Sichely — the oxen are at hand." It was even so : my messengers 
had found Mr. Livingstone at home, who, on hearing of my distress, 
had at once in the noblest manner despatched men with his whole stock 
of trek-oxen to my assistance. These I had now the inexpressible satis- 
faction to behold reach me in safety. We inspanned at once, and com- 
menced our march, and continued to make good way for several days ; 
and on the 26th we reached Kolubeng, the new residence of Sichely. 
In the morning that chief brought me two young oxen, which I all but 
purchased for an old saddle and two pounds of powder ; but we split 
upon the cup of powder being level and not piled. 

A day or two after I ascended the rocky hill above the town with 
Mr. Livingstone, to obtain a view of the surrounding country. I came 
upon a very high heap of well-bleached mouldering bones of many 
varieties of game, amassed and piled here by a mighty Nimrod, now no 
more, who had in days of yore chosen this hill for his habitation. Mr. 
Livingstone pointed out to me a range of tabular hills to the south-east, 
near the sources of the Kolubeng, throughout which he informed me 
the sable antelope was to be met with. In the evening Sichely came 
to trade with me, when I obtained several young oxen in barter from 
him. 

On arriving at Sichely's I despatched natives to Bakatla, to fetch two 
spans of oxen which I had left on my way into the interior in charge of 
Mr. Edwards, and with these on the 3rd of the new year, we again 
inspanned and tried to make a start with twelve oxen in each waggon : 
they, however, finding the waggons extremely heavy, would not move 
then!, nor could we prevail upon them to take to their wonted work, as 
they ought to do, until every ox had been most unmercifully flogged 
with both waggon-whips and jamboks. Our course for Bakatla was 
south-westerly, but owing to the position of the mountains we were 
obliged to make a very zigzag and circuitous march. We halted at 
sundown. The country here is the most pleasing I have seen in Africa — 
beautifully wooded, undulating plains, valleys, straths, and conical and 
tabular mountains of most fascinating appearance, invariably wooded to 
their summits, stretching away on every side. 

We marched .steadily for several days, and on the 7th reached Bakatla, 
which was looking extremely beautiful, being surrounded by very green 
fields of Bechuana corn. Here we remained a few days whilst I obtained 
fresh oxen, and then pushing on we gained the river Molopo. Early on 
the 4th I drew up my waggons on its northern bank, and in the fore- 
noon I sallied forth to seek for reitbuck, which are here abundant. At 



ADVENTURE WITH A LIONESS 309 

this hour of the day, however, it was of little use to seek for them, as 
they were lying concealed in the endless dense reeds which enclose the 
Molopo, in some parts extending to a breadth of half a mile ; their 
height averaging from twelve to twenty feet and upwards. I found 
plenty of spoor, including the fresh spoor of lions, which along the 
Molopo are always abundant. The day was excessively hot, and there 
was a most painful oppressive feeling in the atmosphere to an extent 
which I had rarely experienced. In the afternoon dark masses of clouds 
arose along the horizon on every side, and constant thunder bellowed in 
the distance : a little before the sun went down the sky above and all 
around looked extremely threatening, and I directed my people to pre- 
pare for a tempestuous night. 

At this time I observed a reitbuck grazing beyond the dense reeds on 
the other side of the Molopo, and I at once held for him, with my little 
Moore rifle, accompanied by my Bushman. We had some difficulty in 
penetrating the dense reeds, and on gaining the other side a change in 
the direction of the wind started off the reitbuck ; I then observed two 
other reitbuck, a buck and a doe, coming out to graze some distance to 
windward, and commenced a stalk in upon them. Having proceeded 
about half-way I suddenly observed two huge yellow lionesses, about a 
hundred and fifty yards to my left, walking along the edge of the reeds, 
holding a course parallel to my own. The reitbucks smelt the lions and 
lay down. I got very near them, but they started off", and bounded 
straight away from me : I fired and missed the buck. 

Ruyter came towards me, and I ran forward to obtain a view beyond 
a slight rise in the ground to see whether the lionesses had gone. In 
so doing I came suddenly upon them, within about seventy yards ; they 
were standing looking back at E-uyter. I then very rashly commenced 
making a rapid stalk in upon them, and fired at the nearest, having only 
one shot in my rifle. The ball told loudly, and the lioness at which I 
had fired wheeled right round, and came on lashing her tail, showing 
her teeth, and making that horrid murderous deep growl which an angry 
lion generally utters. At the same moment her comrade, who seemed 
better to know that she was in the presence of man, made a hasty 
retreat into the reeds. The instant the lioness came on I stood up to 
my full height, holding my rifle, and my arms extended, and high above 
my head. This checked her in her course, but on looking round and 
missing her comrade, and observing Euyter slowly advancing, she was 
still more exasperated, and, fancying that she was being surrounded, she 
made another forward movement, growling terribly. This was a moment 
of great danger. I felt that my only chance of safety was extreme 
steadiness, so, standing motionless as a rock, with my eyes firmly fixed 
upon her, I called out in a clear commanding voice, "Holloa ! old girl, 
what's the hurry ? take it easy ; holloa ! holloa ! " She instantly once 
more halted, and seemed perplexed, looking round for her comrade. I 
then thought it prudent to beat a retreat, which I very slowly did, 
talking to the lioness all the time. She seemed undecided as to her 
future movements, and was gazing after me and snuffing the ground 
when I last beheld her. 



310 HUNTING AND SPOETING ADVENTUEES. 

The sun was under, and terrific thunder which burst around pro- 
claimed a coming tempest : I therefore deemed it safe to reach my camp 
with all possible speed, and, having loaded my rifle, we held thither at 
a sharp trot, holding for the old waggon-drift to avoid having to pass 
through the dense reeds. Before I reached the drift two reitbuck dashed 
past me, one of which I shot and bore to camp. On reaching camp the 
first move was to refresh the person. Before however I could accom- 
plish this the tempest was upon us ; it was one of the most violent I 
had experienced for years, the wind blowing a perfect hurricane, accom- 
panied by rattling hailstones and rain, which fell in such torrents as in 
a few minutes to convert the dry ground into a befitting habitation for 
fish or water-fowl : the thunder and lightning were most appalling, and 
burst and flashed above and around us, threatening our momentary 
destruction. 

The wind blew one side of my sail over the roof of the tent, the sail's 
fastenings having been insecure, leaving myself and my property ex- 
posed to the pelting rain, which in a few seconds had deluged bedding, 
blankets, pillows, rifles, sacks, leopard-skins, karosses, stuffed heads, etc., 
etc. I however quickly piped all hands to bend on another sail which I 
fortunately had in the waggon, and when this was accomplished my castle 
was once more waterproof. The violence of the wind had set my oxen 
at liberty, and when the tempest had passed away they were found to 
have passed away with it, which it may be supposed left me in no very 
placid temper, this being exactly the sort of night on which the stealthy 
prowling tyrant of the wilderness is ever found to be most active in his 
murderous pursuits ; and, as if to add to my anxiety on the subject, 
lions immediately commenced roaring on every side, especially to lee- 
ward, being the course which cattle invariably take before a storm. 

When day dawned men were despatched on the spoor of the oxen. I 
was busy all the forenoon drying my saturated property. The sun was 
high, and yet no tidings of my cattle. I began to be extremely anxious. 
About midday some of the Bakatla Bechuanas brought me one ox ; it 
was " Youngman," the last of the Mohicans. On beholding him a pang 
of sorrow shot through my heart. He brought my melancholy losses 
all fresh as at a single glance before me ; his appearance was worn and 
emaciated, and it was evident that soon the vulture and hyaena would 
leave his whitening bones to bleach upon the glowing plain. 

Who then was "Youngman" that he could call up such melancholy 
associations? "Youngman" was the only dying survivor of thirty 
selected trek-oxen which I had chosen to accompany me into the far 
interior, all of which I had seen pine away and die, and fail me in the 
hour of need. The men who brought me "Youngman" said that they 
had found him on the spoor of the other cattle, and about two hours 
afterwards I had the satisfaction to behold all the missing truants 
recovered. They had been seduced away by some young oxen I had 
obtained at Bakatla, which seemed to have resolved to return to their 
former masters, perhaps not relishing old Adonis's treatment of them in 
the yoke. 

We now held on to the Meritsane (rendered famous among sportsmen 



LARGE HORNED OXEN. 311 

by Harris's glowing description of its charms), and found it full -of 
water. Before reaching this point, however, I left the old-established 
Kuruman waggon-road about three miles from the drift, my line of 
march being .to visit Mahura, chief of the Batlapis, residing about the 
sources of the Hart River. This route is by many days shorter than 
by the old road, and has also the advantage of being through a firm 
grassy country. As we reached the Meritsane we started a cock and 
hen ostrich, with a large troop of extremely small young ones, which 
did not seem larger than guinea-fowls. 

We held on for several days through a country abounding in game, 
and reached Mahura's town on the 25th. As we drew near to the town, 
Mahura was pointed out to me. He was walking in company with 
another old man, and carried a double-barrelled percussion rifle on his 
shoulder. He was dressed in a shirt, waistcoat, and baggy trousers, and 
wore a broad-rimmed hat a la Boer. Halting my waggons, I went up 
and shook hands with him, and asked his permission to outspan, which 
was graciously granted. Mahura and his aristocracy remained with us 
all the evening drinking my coffee, and fis