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Full text of "Jock of the bushveld"

JOCK OF THE BUSHVELD 



JOCK OF THE BUSHVELD 

By SIR PERCY FITZPATRICK 

With 23 full-page Illustrations (i Coloured), and 
numerous other Illustrations round the margins 
of pages by E. CALDWELL. 8vo. xos. 6d. net. 

ABRIDGED EDITION (arranged as a School 
Reading Book), with Note and Glossary. With 
Coloured Frontispiece, 8 full-page and numerous 
Illustrations in the Text. Crown 8vo. 35. 

Also in superior binding suitable for a School 
Prize. Crown 8vo. 55. net. 

Also translated into Dutch by GUSTAV S. 
PRELLER. Crown Svo. School Edition. 25. 
Prize Edition. 35. 



LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. 

LONDON, NEW YORK, TORONTO, BOMBAY, 
CALCUTTA, AND MADRAS 




"JOCK" 



Cf. 



JOCK OF THE 
BUSHVELD 



SIR PERCY FITZPATRICK 
r 



BY 

E. CALDWELL 




ELEVENTH IMPRESSION 



LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. 

39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON, E.G. 4 . 

NEW YORK, TORONTO 
BOMBAY, CALCUTTA, AND MADRAS 
1922 




BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 

LIBRARY EDITION. First printed September 1907. 

New Impressions: November 1907 (printed 3 times]. 
May 1908, September 1909, February 1911, //y 1913, 
February 1918, January 1920, and August 1922. 

SCHOOL EDITION, August 1908. 

Atea> Impressions; August 1911, April 1913, / 1916, 
January 1917, December 1917, September 1918, arf 
/w(x 1920. 

PRIZE EDITION, August 1908. 

-Atew Impressions: November 1910, A/<y 1911, December 
1915, a</ September 1918. 

DUTCH EDITION. First printed September 1909. 



* Cr<fo/ Britain 



It was the youngest of the High Authorities 

who gravely informed the Inquiring 

Stranger that 

"Jock belongs to the Likkle People " 

That being so, it is clearly the duty, no 

less than the privilege, of the 

Mere Narrator to 

Dedicate 

The Story of Jock 

to 

Those Keenest and Kindest of Critics, Best 

of Friends, and Most Delightful 

of Comrades 

The Likkle People 






PREFACE 

" SONNY, you kin reckon it dead sure, thar's something 
wrong 'bout a thing that don't explain itself." 

That was Old Rocky's advice, given three-and- 
twenty years ago not forgotten yet, but, in this 
instance, respectfully ignored. 

It happened some years ago, and this was the way 
of it : the Fox of Ballybotherem having served three 
generations in his native Tipperary, in Kaffraria, 
and in the Transvaal seemed entitled to a rest ; and 
when, in the half-hour before * lights out,' which is 
the Little People's particular own, the demand came 
from certain Autocrats of the Nightgown : " Now, 
tell us something else ! " it occurred to the Puzzled 
One to tell of Jock's fight with the table leg. And 
that is how the trouble began. Those with experience 
will know what followed ; and, for those less for- 
tunate, the modest demand of one, comfortably 
tucked up tailorwise, and emphasising his points by 
excited hand-shakes with his toes, will convey the 
idea : " It must be all true ! and don't leave out 
anything ! " 
vii 



To such, an audience a story may be told a hundred 
times, but it must be told, as Kipling says, " Just so ! " 
that is, in the same way ; because, even a romance 
(what a three-year-old once excused as " only a play 
tell ") must be true to itself ! 

Once Jock had taken the field it was not long before 
the narrator found himself helped or driven over the 
pauses by quick suggestions from the Gallery ; but 
there were days of fag and worry when thoughts 
lagged or strayed, and when slips were made, and then 
a vigilant and pitiless memory swooped like the 
striking falcon on its prey. There came a night when 
the story was of the Old Crocodile, and one in the 
Gallery one of more exuberant fancy seeing the 
gate open ran into the flower-strewn field of romance 
and by suggestive questions and eager promptings 
helped to gather a little posy : " And he caught the 
Crocodile by the tail, didn't he ? " " And he hung 
on and fought him, didn't he ? " " And the Old 
Crocodile flung him high into the air ? High ! " 
and, turning to the two juniors, added " quite as high 
as the house ! " And the narrator accessory by 
reason of a mechanical nod and an absent-minded 
" Yes " passed on, thinking it could all be put right 
next time. But there is no escape from the ' tangled 
web ' when the Little People sit in judgment. It 
was months later when retribution came. The critical 
point of the story was safely passed when Oh ; the 
irony and poetic justice of it it was the innocent 
tempter himself who laid his hand in solemn protest 
on the narrator's shoulder and, looking him reproach- 

viii 



fully in the eyes, said " Dad ! You have left out the 
best part of all. Don't you remember how . . ." 

And the description which followed only emphasises 
the present writer's unfitness for the task he has 
undertaken. In the text of the story and in the illus- 
tration by my friend Mr. Caldwell (who was himself 
subjected to the same influence) there is left a loophole 
for fancy : it is open to any one to believe that Jock 
is just beginning or just ending his aerial excursion. 
The Important People are not satisfied ; but then 
the page is not big enough to exhibit Jock at the top 
of that flight of fancy ! 

From the date of that lesson it was apparent that 
reputations would suffer if the story of Jock were 
not speedily embodied in some durable and authori- 
tative form, and during a long spell of ill health many 
of the incidents were retold in the form of letters to 
the Little People. Other Less Important Persons 
grown-ups read them and sometimes heard them, 
and so it came about that the story of Jock was to be 
printed for private circulation, for the Little People 
and their friends. Then the story was read in manu- 
script and there came still more ambitious counsels, 
some urging the human story of the early days, others 
the wild animal life of South Africa. Conscious of 
many deficiencies the narrator has left two great 
fields practically untouched, adhering to the original 
idea the story of Jock ; and those who come into it, 
men and animals, come in because of him and the life 
in which he played so large a part. The attempt to 
adapt the original letters to the symmetry of a 
ix 



connected story involved, as one might have known, 
endless trouble and changes, necessitating complete 
re-writing of most parts ; and the responsibility and 
work became still greater when, after a casual and un- 
foreseen meeting, my friend Mr. Caldwell accepted the 
suggestion to come out to South Africa and spend six 
months with us in order to study the game in its native 
bush and to know the conditions of the life and put 
that experience into the work of illustrating " Jock." 
The writer is well aware that, from the above causes 
and one other, there are grave inequalities in style and 
system, and in plane of phrase and thought, in different 
parts of the book. For this feature the * one other ' 
cause is alone put forward as a defence. The story 
belongs to the Little People, and their requirements 
were defined " It must be all true ! Don't leave 
out anything!" It has been necessary to leave out 
a great deal ; but the other condition has been fully 
and fairly complied with ; for it is a true story from 
beginning to end. It is not a diary : incidents have 
been grouped and moved to get over the difficulty of 
blank days and bad spells, but there is no incident of 
importance or of credit to Jock which is not absolutely 
true. The severest trial in this connection was in the 
last chapter, which is bound to recall perhaps the most 
famous and most cherished of all dog stories. Much, 
indeed, would have been sacrificed to avoid that ; but 
it was unthinkable that, for any reason, one should in 
the last words shatter the spell that holds Jock dear 
to those for whom his life is chronicled the spell 
that lies in ' a true story.' 



Little by little the book has grown until it has come 
perilously near the condition in which it might be 
thought to have Pretensions. It has none ! It is 
what it was : a simple record, compiled for the interest 
and satisfaction of some Little People, and a small 
tribute of remembrance and affection offered at the 
shrine of the old life and those who made it tendered 
in the hope that some one better equipped with 
opportunities and leisure may be inspired to do justice 
to it and to them for the sake of our native land. 






THE BACKGROUND .... 
INTO THE BUSHVELD .... 

JESS 

THE PICK OF THE PUPPIES 
JOCK'S SCHOOLDAYS .... 
THE FIRST HUNT .... 
IN THE HEART OF THE BUSH . 
LOST IN THE VELD .... 
THE IMPALA STAMPEDE 
JOCK'S NIGHT OUT .... 
THE KOODOO BULL .... 

JIM MAKOKEL' 

THE ALLIES 

THE BERG 

PARADISE CAMP 

THE TIGER AND BABOONS . 
BUFFALO, BUSHFIRE AND WILD DOGS 
SNOWBALL AND TSETSE 
xiii 



i 

14 
48 

54 

73 

99 

117 

131 
153 
171 
180 

192 
209 
223 
240 
257 
275 
304 



JOCK'S MISTAKE 3 I <> 

JANTJE 333 

MONKEYS AND WILDEBEESTE . 

THE OLD CROCODILE 374 

THE FIGHTING BABOON 39* 

THE LAST TREK -4" 

OUR LAST HUNT 43 

OUR VARIOUS WAYS 449 

His DUTY 46i 



XIV 




FULL PACE- ILLUSTRATIONS 

'-'-'- J ~" 



To face 
page 

" Jock " (coloured) . . . . . . Frontispiece 

" Come along o' me " 7 

" It was my dawg " -. 40 

" And there at my heels was the odd puppy " . . . -67 
" I believe you've got the champion after all " . . . . 72 
" The last we saw of our birthday treat " . . . .81 

Jim's circus crocodile . . 104 

" Say, Buggins, what in thunder are you doing ? " . . 129 

" They seemed to whirl like leaves in a wind eddy '' . . 160 
" What had happened out in the silent ghostly bush that 

night ? " 179 

" His shoulder humped against the tree, he stood the tug of 

war" 191 

" With his nose in the air eyed them with mild curiosity " . 213 
" Old Charlie coming along without any fuss at all " . . 226 

" Tugging with all his might " 254 

" Scrambling down the face came more and more baboons " . 272 
" Good-bye, and thank you ! " . . . . . 33 
" I grabbed a fistful of shirt and held on " . . . .314 
" With one toss right on top of the thorn-tree "... 345 

XV 



To face 
page 

372 



The haunting mystery of eyes and nothing more " 
"The lashing tail sent the dog up with a column of water" 
" Let him fight, Baas ! you said it ! " 
" The brave mother stood between her young and death " 
"Just to watch him, that was enough " 



444 



XVI 



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'&$i&jj?* ^^^^^"^^^^te-T"^ 

J$jj> -=^=^S^ '-^ 

<L*&iy*&gg^ 

< ' & 




OF the people who live lonely lives, on the veld or 
elsewhere, few do so of their own free choice. Some 
there are shut off from all their kind souls sheathed 
in some film invisible, through which no thrill of 
sympathy may pass ; some barred by their self-con- 
sciousness, heart hungry still, who never learned in 
childhood to make friends ; some have a secret or a 
grief ; some, thoughts too big or bad for comrade- 
ship. But most will charge to Fate the thoughtless 
choice, the chance, or hard necessity, that drew 
or drove them to the life apart ; they know the 
lesson that was learned of old : " It is not good for 
man to be alone." 

Go out among them, ever moving on, whose white 
bones mark the way for others' feet who shun the 
cities, living in the wilds, and move in silence, self- 
contained. Who knows what they think, or dream, 
or hope, or suffer ? Who can know ? For speech among 
that hard-schooled lot is but a half-remembered art. 

Yet something you may guess, since with the man 
there often goes his dog ; his silent tribute to The 
Book. Oh, it's little they know of life who cannot guess 
the secret springs of loneliness and love that prompt 
the keeping of a trifling pet ; who do not know what 





moves a man who daily takes his chance of life and 
death man whose " breath is in his nostrils " to 
lay his cheek against the muzzle of his comrade dog, 
and in the trackless miles of wilderness feel he has a 
friend. Something to hold to ; something to protect. 

There was old Blake " mad, quite mad," as every- 
body knew of whom they vaguely said that horses, 
hounds, coaches, covers, and all that goes with old 
estates, were his once. We knew him poor and 
middle-aged. How old to us ! Cheery and un- 
practical, with two old pointers and a fowling-piece, 
and a heart as warm as toast. We did not ask each 
other's business there ; and, judging by the dogs 
and gun, we put him down as a * remittance man.' 
But that, it seems, was wrong. They were his all. 

He left no letters a little pile of paper ash ; no 
money and no food ! That was his pride. He 
would not sell or give away his dogs ! That was his 
love. When he could not keep them it seemed time 
to go ! That was his madness. But before he went, 
remembering a friend in hospital, he borrowed two 
cartridges and brought him in a brace of birds. 
That was old mad Blake, who ' moved on ' and took 
his dogs with him, because they had always been 
together, and he could not leave their fate to chance. 
So we buried him with one on either side, just as he 
would have liked it ! 

There was Turner, who shot the crocodile that 
seized his dog, and reckless of the others, swam in 
and brought the dog to land. 




There was the dog that jumped in when his master 
slipped from the rock, and, swimming beside him, 
was snapped down in his stead ! And there was the 
boy who tried a rescue in the dark when a rustle, 
yelp and growl told that the lions had his dog and was 
never seen again. 

So it goes, and so it went, from year to year : a 
little showing now and then, like the iceberg's tip 
from which to guess the bulk below. 

There was a Boy who went to seek his fortune. 
Call him boy or man : the years proved nothing 
either way ! Some will be boyish always ; others 
were never young : a few most richly dowered 
few are man and boy together. He went to 
seek his fortune, as boys will and should ; no 
pressure on him from about ; no promise from 
beyond. For life was easy there, and all was 
pleasant, as it may be in a cage. ' To-day ' is 
sure and happy ; and there is no ( to-morrow ' 
in a cage. 

There were friends enough all kind and true and 
in their wisdom they said : " Here it is safe : yonder 
all is chance, where many indeed are called, but few 
so few are chosen. Many have gone forth ; some 
to return, beaten, hopeless, and despised ; some to 
fall in sight outside ; others are lost, we know not 
where ; and ah ! so few are free and well. But the 
fate of numbers is unheeded still ; for the few are those 
who count, and lead ; and those who follow do not 







think ' How few,' but cry * How strong ! How 
free ! ' Be wise and do not venture.. Here it is safe : 
there is no fortune there ! " 

But there was something stronger than the things 
he knew, around, without, beyond the thing that 
strove within him : that grew and grew, and beat 
and fought for freedom : that bade him go and walk 
alone and tell his secret on the mountain slopes to 
one who would not laugh a little red retriever ; 
that made him climb and feel his strength, and find 
an outlet for what drove within. And thus the end 
was sure ; for of all the voices none so strong as this ! 
And only those others reached him that would chime 
with it ; the gentle ones which said : " We too 
believe," and one, a stronger, saying : " Fifty years 
ago I did it. I would do it now again ! " 

So the Boy set out to seek his fortune, and did not 
find it ; for there was none in the place where he 
sought. Those who warned him were in the little 
right : yet was he in the greater right too ! 
It was not given to him as yet to know that fortune 
is not in time or place or things ; but, good or bad, 
in the man's own self for him alone to find and prove. 

Time and place and things had failed him ; still 
was effort right ; and, when the first was clear beyond 
all question, it was instinct and not knowledge . bade 
him still go on, saying : " Not back to the cage. 
Anything but that ! " 

When many days had passed, it was again a 
friend who met him, saying : " Common sense is not 

4 



cowardice. You have made a mistake : repair it 
while you may. I have seen and know : there is 
nothing here. Come back with me, and all will be made 
easy." And answer, in reason, there was none ; for 
the little truth was all too plain, and the greater not 
yet seen. But that which had swelled to bursting and 
had fought within for freedom called out : " Failure is 
the worst of all ! " And the blind and struggling 
instinct rose against all knowledge and all reason. 
" Not back to the cage ! Not that ! " 

And the heart that had once been young spoke up 
for Auld Lang Syne : the old eyes softened and 
dropped : " God speed you, Boy Good-bye ! " And 
as the mail-coach rumbled off the Boy put up his head 
to try again. 

The days passed, and still there was no work to do. 
For, those who were there already hardened men 
and strong, pioneers who had roughed it were 
themselves in straitened case, and it was no place for 
boys. 

So the Boy moved on again, and with him a man in 
equal plight, but, being a man, a guide and comfort 
to the Boy, and one to lead him on the way. Hungry, 
they walked all day ; yet when the sun went down 
and light began to fail the place where work and food 
and sleep should be was still far off. The mountain 
tracks were rough and all unknown ; the rivers many, 
cold and swift : the country wild ; none lived, few 
ever passed, that way. When night closed in the Boy 
walked on in front, and the man lagged wearily, 

5 






grumbling at their luck. In the valley at the mountain 
foot they came at midnight upon water, black and 
still, between them and the cabin's lights beyond ; 
and there the man lay down. Then the Boy, turning 
in his anger, bade him come on ; and, dragging him 
out upon the further bank, had found unknowing 
some little of the fortune he had come to seek. 
Still, morning brought no change ; still, was there 
no work to do. So the man gave up, and sagging 
back, was lost. And the Boy went on alone. 

Rough and straight-spoken, but kindly men and true, 
were those he came among. What they could they 
did : what they had they gave. They made him 
free of board and bed ; and, kinder still, now and then 
made work for him to do, knowing his spirit was as 
theirs and that his heart cried out : " Not charity, 
but work ! Give me work ! " But that they could not 
do, for there was no work they could not do themselves. 
Thus the days and weeks went by. Willing, but 
unused to fend for himself unfit by training for the 
wild rough life, heart and energy all to waste, the little 
he did know of no value there the struggle with the 
ebbing tide went on ; it was the wearing hopeless fight 
against that which one cannot grapple, and cannot 
even see. There was no work to be done. A few days 
here and there ; a little passing job ; a helping hand 
disguised ; and then the quest again. They were all 
friendly but, with the kindly habit of the place : it 
told the tale of hopelessness too well. They did not 
even ask his name ; it made no difference. 

6 




Q 

u 




Then came a day when there was nowhere else to 
try. Among the lounging diggers at their week-end 
deals he stood apart too shy, too proud to tell the 
truth ; too conscious of it to trust his voice ; too 
hungry to smile as if he did not care ! And then a 
man in muddy moleskins, with grave face, brown 
beard, and soft blue eyes, came over to him, saying 
straight : " Boy, you come along o' me ! " And he 
went. 

It was work hard work. But the joy of it ! 
Shovelling in the icy water, in mud and gravel, and 
among the boulders, from early dawn to dark. What 
matter ? It was work. It was not for hire, but just 
to help one who had helped him ; to * earn his 
grub ' and feel he was a man, doing the work of his 
friend's partner, ' who was away.' 

For three full weeks the Boy worked on ; grateful 
for the toil ; grateful for the knowledge gained ; 
most grateful that he could by work repay a kindness. 
And then the truth came out ! The kindly fiction 
fell away as they sat and rested on the day of rest. 
" The claim could not stand two white men's grub " 
had fallen from the man, accounting for his partner's 
absence. -t^**^' 

It was the simple and unstudied truth and calm 
unconsciousness of where it struck that gave the thrust 
its force ; and in the clear still air of the Sunday 
morning the Boy turned hot and cold and dizzy to 
think of his folly, and of the kindness he had so long 
imposed upon. It was a little spell before his lips 

7 





would smile, and eyes and voice were firm enough to 
lie. Then he said gently : If he could be spared 
he had not liked to ask before, but now the floods 
were over and the river turned perhaps it could be 
managed he would like to go, as there were letters 
waiting, and he expected news. 

Up the winding pathway over rocky ledge and 
grassy slope, climbing for an hour to the pass, the toil 
and effort kept the hot thoughts under. At the top 
the Boy sat down to rest. The green rock-crested 
mountains stood like resting giants all around : the 
rivers, silvered by the sun, threaded their ways between : 
the air was clear, and cool, and still. The world was 
very beautiful from there. 

Far, far below a brownish speck beside the silver 
streak stood the cabin he had left. And, without 
warning, all came back on him. What he had mastered 
rose beyond control. The little child that lies hidden 
in us all reached out as in the dark for a hand to 
hold ; and there was none. His arms went up to 
hide the mocking glory of the day, and, face buried in 
the grass, he sobbed : " Not worth my food ! " 

Science tells that Nature will recoup herself by 
ways as well defined as those that rule mechanics. 
The blood flows upward and the brain's awhirl ; 
the ebb-tide sets and there is rest. Whatever 
impulse sways the guiding hand, we know that often 
when we need it most there comes relief; gently, 
unbidden, unobserved. 

8 





The Boy slept, and there was peace awhile. Then 
came faint echoes of the waking thoughts odd 
words shot out, of hope and resolution ; murmured 
names of those at home. Once his hand went out 
and gently touched the turf, reaching for the friend 
and comrade of the past one who knew his every 
mood, had heard his wildest dreams described, had 
seen him, hot-eyed, breathless, struggling to escape 
the cage ; one to whom the boyish soul was often 
bared in foolish confidence ; one who could see and 
hear and feel, yet never tell a little red retriever 
left at home ; and the boy stirred and sighed, for answer 
to the soft brown eyes. 

No ! It is not good for man to be alone. 

A wisp of drifting cloud came by, a breath of cooler 
air, and the fickle spirit of the mountain changed the 
day as with a wand. The Boy woke up shivering, 
dazed, bewildered : the mountain of his dreams had 
vanished ; and his dog was not there ! The cold 
driving mist had blotted out the world. Stronger and 
stronger grew the wind, driving the damp cold through 
and through ; for on the bleak plateau of the mountain 
nothing broke its force. 

Pale and shaken, and a little stiff, he looked about ; 
then slowly faced the storm. It had not struck him 
to turn back. 

The gusts blew stronger, and through the mist came 
rain, in single stinging drops portents of the greater 
storm. Slowly, as he bent to breast it, the chilled 
blood warmed, and when the first thunderclap split 

9 





overhead, and lost itself in endless roars and rumblings 
in the kloofs and hills around, there came a warmth 
about [his heart and a light into his eye mute thanks- 
giving that here was something he could battle with 
and be a man again. 

On the top of the world the storms work all their 
fury. Only there come mist and wind and rain, 
thunder and lightning and hail together the pitiless 
terrible hail : there, where the hare hiding in the grass 
may know it is the highest thing in all God's world, 
and nearest to the storm the one clear mark to draw 
the lightning and, knowing, scurries to the sheltered 
slopes. 

But the Boy pressed on the little path a racing 
stream to guide him. Then in the one group of 
ghostly, mist-blurred rocks he stopped to drink ; and, 
as he bent for all the blackness of the storm 
his face leaped out at him, reflected for one instant 
in the shallow pool ; the blue-white flame of lightning, 
blinding his aching eyes, hissed down ; the sickening 
smell of brimstone spread about ; and crash ing thunder 
close above his head left him dazed and breathless. 

Heedless of the rain, blinking the blackness from 
his eyes, he sat still for head to clear, and limbs to 
feel their life again ; and, as he waited, slowly there 
came upon a colder stiller air that other roar, so far, 
so dull, so uniform ; so weird and terrifying the 
voice of the coming hail. 

Huddled beneath the shelving rock he watched the 
storm sweep by with awful battering din that swamped 

f^-;;x lo 

?53SKls v 




and silenced every other sound the tearing, smashing 
hail that seemed to strip the mountain to its very bone. 

Oh ! the wanton fury of the hail ; the wild, destruc- 
tive charge of hordes of savage cavalry ; the stamping, 
smashing sweep along the narrow strip where all the 
fury concentrates ; the long black trail of death and 
desolation ! The birds and beasts, the things that 
creep and fly, all know the portents, and all flee before 
it, or aside. But in the darkness in the night or 
mist the slow, the weak, the helpless, and the mothers 
with their young for them is little hope. 

The dense packed column swept along, ruthless, 
raging, and unheeding, overwhelming all. ... A 
sudden failing of its strength, a little straggling tail, 
and then the silence ! 

The sun came out ; the wind died down ; light 
veils of mist came slowly by bits of floating gossamer 
and melted in the clear, pure air. 

The Boy stepped out once more. Miles away the 
black column of the falling hail sped its appointed 
course. Under his feet, where all had been so green 
and beautiful, was battered turf, for the time trans- 
formed into a mass of dazzling brilliants, where 
jagged ice-stones caught the sunlight on their countless 
facets, and threw it back in one fierce flashing glare, 
blinding in its brilliance. 

On the glittering surface many things stood out. 

In the narrow pathway near the spring a snake 
lay on its back, crushed and broken ; beyond it, 
a tortoise, not yet dead, but bruised and battered 
H 






through its shell ; then a partridge poor unprotected 
thing the wet feathers lying all around, stripped 
as though a hawk had stricken it, and close behind it 
all the little brood ; and further afield lay something 
reddish-brown a buck the large eyes glazed, an ooze 
of blood upon its lips and nose. He stooped to touch 
it, but drew back : the dainty little thing was pulp. 

All striving for the sheltering rocks ; all caught 
and stricken by the ruthless storm ; and he, going 
on to face it, while others fled before he, blindly 
fighting on was spared. Was it luck ? Or was there 
something subtle, more ? He held to this, that more 
than chance had swayed the guiding hand of fate 
that fortune holds some gifts in store for those who 
try ; and faith resurgent moved him to a mute Te 
Deum, of which no more reached the conscious brain 
than : " It is good to be alive ! But . . . better 
so than in the cage." 

Once more, a little of the fortune that he had come 
to seek ! 

At sunset, passing down the long rough gorge, he 
came upon one battling with the flood to save his 
all the white man struggling with the frightened 
beasts ; the kaffir swept from off his feet ; the mad 
bewildered oxen yielding to the stream and heading 
downwards towards the falls and in their utmost 
need the Boy swam in and helped ! 

And there the long slow ebb was stayed : the Boy 
was worth his food. 

12 




But how recall the life when those who made it set 
so little store by all that passed, and took its ventures 
for their daily lot ; when those who knew it had no 
gift or thought to fix the colours of the fading past : ** 
the fire of youth ; the hopes ; the toil ; the bright 
illusions gone ! And now, the Story of a Dog to 
conjure up a face, a name, a voice, or the grip of a 
friendly hand ! And the half-dreamed sound of the 
tramping feet is all that is left of the live procession 
long since passed : the young recruits ; the laggards 
and the faint ; the few who saw it through ; the 
older men grave-eyed, thoughtful, unafraid who 
judged the future by the battered past, and who knew 
none more nor less than man unconscious equals of 
the best and least ; the grey-hued years ; the thin- 
ning ranks ; the summons answered, as they had 
lived alone. The tale untold; and, of all who 
knew it, none left to picture now the life, none left 
to play a grateful comrade's part, and place their 
record on a country's scroll the kindly, constant, 
nameless Pioneers ! 











DISTANT hills are always green," and the best 
gold further on. That is a law of nature human 
nature which is quite superior to facts ; and thus 
the world moves on. 

So from the Lydenburg Goldfields prospectors 
'humping their swags' or driving their small 
pack-donkeys spread afield, and transport-riders 
with their long spans and rumbling waggons 
followed, cutting a wider track where traders with 
winding strings of carriers had already ventured 
on. But the hunters had gone first. There were 
great hunters whose names are known ; and others 
as great who missed the accident of fame ; and 
after them hunters who traded, and traders who 
hunted. And so too with prospectors, diggers, 
transport-riders and all. 

Between the goldfields and the nearest port lay 
the Bushveld, and game enough for all to live on. 
Thus, all were hunters of a sort, but the 
great hunters the hunters of big game were 
apart ; we were the-,smaller fry, there to admire 
and to imitate. 

Trophies, carried back with pride 
or by force of habit, lay scattered 



about, neglected and forgotten, round the outspans, 
the tents of lone prospectors, the cabins of the diggers, 
and the grass wayside shanties of the traders. How 
many a ' record ' head must have gone then, when 
none had thought of time or means to save them ! 
Horns and skins lay in jumbled heaps in the yards or 
sheds of the big trading stores. The splendid horns 
of the Koodoo and Sable, and a score of others only 
less beautiful, could be seen nailed up in crude 
adornment of the roughest walls ; nailed up, and 
then unnoticed and forgotten ! And yet not quite ! 
For although to the older hands they were of no 
further interest, to the newcomer they spoke of 
something yet to see, and something to be done ; 
and the sight set him dreaming of the time when he 
too would go a-hunting and bring his trophies home. 

Perched on the edge of the Berg, we overlooked the 
wonder-world of the Bushveld, where the big game 
roamed in thousands and the " wildest tales were true." 
Living on the fringe of a hunter's paradise, most of 
us were drawn into it from time to time, for shorter 
or longer spells, as opportunity and our circumstances 
allowed ; and little by little one got to know the 
names, appearances, and habits of the many kinds of 
game below. Long talks in the quiet nights up there 
under waggons, in grass shelters in the woods, or in 
the wattle-and-daub shanties of the diggers, where 
men passed to and fro and swapped lies, as the 
polite phrase went, were our ' night's entertainments,' 
when younger hands might learn much that was useful 
and true, and more that was neither. 

15 






It was a school of grown-up schoolboys ; no doubt a 
hard one, but it had its playground side, and it was 
the habit of the school to ' drop on to ' any breach 
of the unwritten laws, to ' rub in ' with remorseless 
good humour the mistakes that were made, and to play 
upon credulity with a shamelessness and nerve quite 
paralysing to the judgment of the inexperienced. 
Yet, with it all, there was a kindliness and quick instinct 
of ' fair doos ' which tempered the wind and, in .the 
main, gave no one more than was good for him. 

There the new boy had to run the gauntlet, and, if 
without a watchful instinct or a friendly hint, there 
was nothing to warn him of it. When Faulkner 
dragged to the piano protested that he remembered 
nothing but a mere * morceau,' he was not conscious 
of transgression, but a delighted audience caught up 
the word, and thenceforth he was known only as 
* Ankore ' Harry the Sailor having explained that 
f more so ' was a recognised variant. 

" Johnny-come-lately's got to learn " was held 
to be adequate reason for letting many a beginner 
buy his experience, while those who had been through 
it all watched him stumble into the well-known pit- 
falls. It would no doubt have been a much more com- 
fortable arrangement all round had there been a polite 
ignoring of each other's blunders and absurdities. 
But that is not the way of schools where the spirit 
of fun plays its useful part ; and, after all, the lesson 
well ' rubbed in ' is well remembered. 

The new assayer, primed by us with tales of Sable 
Antelope round Macmac Camp, shot old Jim Hill's 

16 




only goat, and had to leave the carcase with a note 
of explanation Jim being out when he called. What 
he heard from us when he returned, all prickly with 
remorse and shame, was a liberal education ; but what 
he remembers best is Jim's note addressed that evening 
to our camp : 

" Boys ! Jim Hill requests your company to dinner 
to-morrow, Sunday ! " 

" Mutton ! " 

As the summer spent itself, and whispers spread 
around of new strikes further on, a spirit of restlessness 
a touch of trek fever came upon us, and each 
cast about which way to try his luck. Our camp was 
the summer headquarters of two transport-riders, 
and when many months of hard work, timber-cutting 
on the Berg, contracting for the Companies, pole- 
slipping in the bush, and other things, gave us at last 
a ' rise,' it seemed the natural thing to put it all into 
waggons and oxen, and go transport-riding too. 

The charm of a life of freedom and complete in- 
dependence a life in which a man goes as and where 
he lists, and carries his home with him is great indeed ; 
but great too was the fact that hunting would go 
with it. 

How the little things that mark a new departure 
stamp themselves indelibly on the memory ! A 
flower in the hedgerow where the roads divide will 
mark the spot in one's mind for ever ; and yet a million 
more, before and after, and all as beautiful, are passed 
unseen. In memory, it is all as fresh, bright and 
glorious as ever : only the years have gone. The 
17 B 






start, the trek along the plateau, the crystal streams, 
the ferns and trees, the cool pure air ; and, through 
and over all, the quite intoxicating sense of freedom ! 
Then came the long slow climb to Spitzkop where 
the Berg is highest and where our descent began. 
For there, with Africa's contrariness, the highest parts 
banked up and buttressed by gigantic spurs are most 
accessible from below, while the lower edges of the 
plateau are cut ofl sheer like the walls of some great 
fortress. There, near Spitzkop, we looked down upon 
the promised land ; there, stood upon the outmost 
edge, as a diver on his board, and paused and looked 
and breathed before we took the plunge. 

It is well to pitch one's expectations low, and so 
stave off disappointments. But counsels of perfection 
are wasted on the young, and when accident combines 
with the hopefulness of youth to lay the colours on 
in all their gorgeousness, what chance has Wisdom ? 

" See here, young feller ! " said Wisdom, " don't 
go fill yourself up with tomfool notions 'bout lions 
and tigers waitin' behind every bush. You won't 
see one in a twelvemonth ! Most like you won't see 
a buck for a week ! You don't know what to do, 
what to wear, how to walk, how to look, or what 
to look for ; and you'll make as much noise as a 
traction engine. This ain't open country : it's bush ; 
they can see and hear, and you can't. An' as for big 
game, you won't see any for a long while yet, so don't 
go fool yourself ! " 

Excellent ! But fortune in a sportive mood or- 
dained that the very first thing we saw as we out- 

18 



spanned at Saunderson's on the very first day in the 
Bushveld, was the fresh skin of a lion stretched out 
to dry. What would the counsels of Solomon himself 
have weighed against that wet skin ? 

Wisdom scratched its head and stared : " Well, 
I am com pletely sugared ! " 

Of course it was a fluke. No lions had been seen 
in the locality for several years ; but the beginner, 
rilled with all the wildest expectations, took no heed 
of that. If the wish be father to the thought, then 
surely fact may well beget conviction. It was so 
in this case, at any rate, and thus not all the cold 
assurances of Wisdom could banish visions of big 
game as plentiful as partridges. 

A party had set out upon a tiger hunt to clear out 
one of those marauders who used to haunt the kloofs 
of the Berg and make descents upon the Kaffir herds 
of goats and sheep ; but there was a special interest 
in this particular tiger, for he had killed one of the 
white hunters in the last attempt to get at him a few 
weeks before. Starting from the store, the party 
of men and boys worked their way towards the kloof, 
and the possibility of coming across a lion n-ever 
entered their heads. No notice was taken of smaller 
game put up from time to time as they moved care- 
lessly along ; a rustle on the left of the line was ignored, 
and Bill Saunderson was as surprised as Bill ever could 
be to see a lion facing him at something like six or 
seven yards. ,,,^ The lion, with head 

laid level and tail ^~-^$S flicking ominously, 

half crouched /^^ "^ ' for its spring. Bill's 

19 







bullet glanced along the skull, peeling off the skin. 
" It was a bad shot," he said afterwards, in answer to 
the beginner's breathless questions. " He wasn't hurt : 
just sank a little like a pointer when you check him ; 
but before he steadied up again I took for the nose 
and got him. You see," he added thoughtfully, 
" a lion's got no forehead : it is all hair." 

That was about all he had to say; but, little store 
as he may have set on it, the tip was never forgotten and 
proved of much value to at least one of our party years 
afterwards. To this day the picture of a lion brings 
up that scene the crouching beast, faced by a man 
with a long brown beard, solemn face, and clear un- 
faltering eyes ; the swift yet quiet action of reloading ; 
and the second shot an inch or so lower, because " a 
lion's got no forehead : it's all hair." 

The shooting of a lion, fair and square, and face 
to face, was the Blue Riband of the Bush, and no 
detail would have seemed superfluous ; but Bill, 
whose eye nothing could escape, had, like many great 
hunters, a laggard tongue. Only now and then a 
look of grave amusement lighted up his face to show 
he recognised the hungry enthusiasm and his own 
inability to satisfy it. The skin with the grazed 
stripe along the nose, and the broken skull, were 
handled and looked at many times, and the story 
was pumped from every Kaffir all voluble and eager, 
but none eye-witnesses. Bob, the sociable and more 
communicative, who had been nearest his brother, 
was asked a hundred questions, but all he had to say 
was that the grass was too long for him to see what 

20 



happened : he reckoned that it was " a pretty 
near thing after the first shot ; but Bill's all right ! " 

To me it was an absurd and tiresome affectation 
to show interest in any other topic, and when, during 
that evening, conversation strayed to other subjects, 
it seemed waste of time and priceless opportunity. 
Bob responded good-naturedly to many crude attempts 
to head them back to the entrancing theme, but the 
professional interest in rates, loads, rivers, roads, 
disease, drought, and * fly,' was strong in the older 
transport-riders, as it should have been, but, for the 
time at least, was not, in me. If diplomacy failed, 
however, luck was not all out ; for when all the pet 
subjects of the road had been thrashed out, and it 
was about time to turn in, a stray question brought 
the reward of patience. 

" Have you heard if Jim reached Durban all right ? " 

" Yes ! Safely shipped." 

" You got some one to take him right through ? " 

" No ! A Dutchman took him to Lydenburg, and 
I got Tom Hardy, going back empty, to take him along 
from there." 

" What about feeding ? " 

" I sent some goats," said Bob, smiling for a moment 
at some passing thought, and then went on : ' * Tom 
said he had an old span that wouldn't mind it. We 
loaded him up at Parker's, and I cleared out before 
he got the cattle up. But they tell me there was a 
gay jamboree when it came toinspanning ; and 
as soon as they got up to the other waggons and 
the young bullocks winded Jim, they started 





21 





off with their tails up a regular stampede, voorloopers 
and drivers yelling like mad, all the loose things 
shaking out of the waggons, and Tom nearly in a 
fit from running, shouting and swearing." 

Judging by the laughter, there was only one person 
present who did not understand the joke, and I had 
to ask with some misgiving who was this Jim who 
needed so much care and feeding, and caused such a 
scare. 

There was another burst of laughter as they guessed 
my thoughts, and it was Bob who answered me : 
" Only a lion, lad not a wild man or a lunatic ! Only 
a young lion ! Sold him to the Zoo, and had to 
deliver him in Durban." 

" Well, you fairly took me in with the name ! " 

" Oh ! Jim ? Well that's his pet name. His 
real name is Dabulamanzi. Jim, my hunting boy, 
caught him, so we call him Jim out of compliment," 
he added with a grin. " But Jim called him Dabula- 
manzi, also out of compliment, and I think that was 
pretty good for a nigger." 

" You see," said Bob, for the benefit of those who 
were not up in local history, " Dabulamanzi, the big 
fighting General in the Zulu War, was Jim's own chief 
and leader ; and the name means ' The one who 
conquers the waters.' : 

Then one of the others exclaimed : " Oh ! Of 
course, that's how you got him, isn't it : caught him 
in a river ? Tell us what did happen, Bob. What's 
the truth of it ? It seemed a bit steep as I heard 
it." 

22 



" Well, it's really simple enough. We came right on 
to the lioness waiting for us, and I got her ; and then 
there were shouts from the boys, and I saw a couple 
of cubs, pretty well grown, making off in the grass. ri 
This boy Jim legged it after one of them, a cub about 
as big as a Newfoundland dog not so high, but longer. 
I followed as fast as I could, but he was a big Zulu 
and went like a buck, yelling like mad all the time. 
We were in the bend of one of the long pools down 
near the Komati, and when I got through the reeds 
the cub was at the water's edge facing Jim, and Jim 
was dancing around heading it off with only one 
light stick. As soon as it saw us coming on, the cub 
took to the water, and Jim after it. It was as good 
as a play. Jim swam up behind, and putting his 
han4 on its head ducked it right under : the cub turned 
as it came up and struck out at him viciously, but he 
was back out of reach : when it turned again to go 
Jim ducked it again, and it went on like that six or 
eight times, till the thing was half drowned and had 
no more fight in it. Then Jim got hold of it by the 
tail and swam back to us, still shouting and quite mad 
with excitement. 

" Of course," added Bob with a wag of his head, 
" you can say it was only a cub ; but it takes a good 
man to go up naked and tackle a thing like that, with 
teeth and claws to cut you into ribbons." 

" Was Jim here to-day ? " I asked, as soon as there 
was an opening. Bob shook his head with a kindly 
regretful smile. " No, Sonny, not here ; you'd Y 
heard him. Jim's gone. I had to sack him. A real 
23 





fine nigger, but a terror to drink, and always in trouble. 
He fairly wore me right out." 




We were generally a party of half a dozen the 
owners of the four waggons, a couple of friends trading 
with Delagoa, a man from Swaziland, and just then 
an old Yankee hunter-prospector. It was our 
holiday time, before the hard work with loads would 
commence, and we dawdled along feeding up the 
cattle and taking it easy ourselves. 

It was too early for loads in the Bay, so we moved 
slowly and hunted on the way, sometimes camping for 
several days in places where grass and water were good ; 
and that lion skin was the cause of many disappoint- 
ments to me. Never a bush or ant-heap, never a 
donga or a patch of reeds, did I pass for many jlays 
after that without the conviction that something was 
lurking there. Game there was in plenty, no doubt, 
but it did not come my way. Days went by with, 
once or twice, the sight of some small buck just as 
it disappeared, and many times, the noise of something 
in the bush or the sound of galloping feet. Others 
brought their contributions to the pot daily, and there 
seemed to be no reason in the world why I alone should 
fail no reason except sheer bad luck ! It is difficult 
to believe you have made mistakes when you do 
not know enough to recognise them, and have no 
idea of the extent of your own ignorance ; and then 
bad luck is such an easy and such a flattering 
explanation ! If I did not go so far on the easy 

road of excuse-making as to put all the failures 

24 



down to bad luck, perhaps some one else deserves the 
credit. 

One evening as we were lounging round the camp 
fire, Robbie, failing to find a soft spot for his head 
on a thorn log, got up reluctantly to fetch his blankets, 
exclaiming with a mock tragic air : 

" The time is out of joint ; O cursed spite, 
That ever I was born to set it right." 

We knew Robbie's way. There were times when he 
would spout heroics, suggested by some passing trifle, 
his own face a marvel of solemnity the whole time, 
and only the amused expression in his spectacled grey 
eyes to show he was poking fun at himself. An 
indulgent smile, a chuckle, and the genial comment 
" Silly ass ! " came from different quarters ; for Robbie 
was a favourite. Only old Rocky maintained his usual 
gravity. 

As Robbie settled down again in comfort, the old 
man remarked in level thoughtful tones : " I reckon 
the feller as said that was a waster, he chucked it ! " 
There was a short pause in which I, in my ignorance, 
began to wonder if it was possible that Rocky did not 
know the source; or did he take the quotation seriously ? 
Then Robbie answered in mild protest : " It was 
a gentleman of the name of Hamlet who said it." 

" Well, you can bet he was no good, anyhow," 
Rocky drawled out. " * Jus' my luck ! ' is the waster's 
motto ! " 

" They do say he "was mad," Robbie replied, as 
his face twitched with a pull-your-leg expression 
2 5 






" but he got off a lot of first-class things all the 
same some of the best things ever said." 

" I da' say ; they mostly can. But a man as sets 
down and blames his luck is no good anyhow. He's 
got no sand, and got no sense, and got no honesty ! 
It ain't the time's wrong : it's the man ! It ain't 
the job's too big : it's the man's too little ! " 

" You don't believe in luck at all, Rocky ? " I 
ventured to put in. 

" I don't say thar's no such thing as luck good 
and bad ; but it ain't the explanation o' success an' 
failure not by a long way. No, sirree, luck's just 
the thing any man'd like ter believe is the reason for 
his failure and another feller's success. But it ain't 
When another man pulls off what you don't, 



so. 



the first thing you got ter believe is it's your own 
fault ; and the last, it's his luck. And you jus' got 
ter wade in an' find out whar you went wrong, an' 
put it right, 'thout any excuses an' explanations." 

" But, Rocky, explanations aren't always excuses, 
and sometimes you really have to give them ! " 

" Sonny, you kin reckon it dead sure thar's some- 
thing wrong 'bout a thing that don't explain itself ; 
an' one explanation's as bad as two mistakes it don't 
fool anybody worth speaking of, 'cept yerself. You 
find the remedy ; you can leave other folks put up 
the excuses." 

I was beaten. It was no use going on, for I knew he 
was right. I suppose the other fellows also knew whom 
he was getting at, but they said nothing ; and 
._ the subject seemed to have dropped, when Rocky, 

26 




harking back to Robbie's quotation, said, with a ghost 
of a smile : " I reckon ef that sharp o' your'n hed 
ter keep the camp in meat we'd go pretty nigh hungry." 

But it seemed a good deal to give up all at once 
the bad luck, the excuses and explanations, and the 
comfort they afforded ; and I could not help thinking 
of that wretched wrong-headed stembuck that had 
actually allowed me to pass it, and then cantered 
away behind me. 

Rocky, known, liked and respected by all, yet in- 
timate with none, was ' going North ' even to the 
Zambesi, it was whispered but no one knew where 
or why. He was going off alone, with two pack- 
donkeys and not even a boy for company, on a trip 
of many hundreds of miles and indefinite duration. 
No doubt he had an idea to work out ; perhaps a report 
of some trader or hunter or even native was his pole- 
star : most certainly he had a plan, but what it was 
no living soul would know. That was the way of his 
kind. With them there was no limit in time or 
distance, no hint of purpose or direction, no home, 
no address, no ( people ' ; perhaps a partner some- 
where or a chum, as silent as themselves, who would 
hear some day if there was anything to tell. 

Rocky had worked near our camp on the Berg. I 
had known him to nod to, and when we met again 
at one of the early outspans in the Bush and offered 
a lift for him and his packs he accepted and joined us, 
it being still a bit early to attempt crossing the rivers 
with pack-donkeys. It may be that the * lift ' saved 
his donkeys something on the roughest roads and in 
27 







the early stages ; or it may be that we served as a 
useful screen for his movements, making it difficult 
for any one else to follow his line and watch him. 
Anyway, he joined us in the way of those days : that 
is, we travelled together and as a rule we grubbed 
together ; yet each cooked for himself and used his 
own stores, and in principle we maintained our separate 
establishments. The bag alone was common ; each 
man brought what game he got and threw it into the 
common stock. 

The secret of agreement in the veld is com- 
plete independence ! Points of contact are points of 
friction nowhere more so ; and the safest plan 
is, each man his own outfit and each free to feed or 
sleep or trek as and when he chooses. I have known 
partners and friends who would from time to time 
move a trek apart, or a day apart, and always 
camp apart when they rejoined ; and so remain 
friends. 

Rocky in full, Rocky Mountain Jack had another 
name, but it was known to few besides the Mining 
Commissioner's clerk who registered his licences from 
time to time. "In the Rockies whar I was raised" 
is about the only remark having deliberate reference 
to his personal history which he was known to have 
made ; but it was enough on which to found the name 
by which we knew him. 

What struck me first about him was the long Colt's 
revolver, carried on his hip ; and for two days this 
' gun,' as he called it, conjured up visions of Poker 
Flat and Roaring Camp, Jack Hamlin and Yuba 

28 



Bill of cherished memory ; and then the inevitable 
question got itself asked : 

" Did you ever shoot a man, Rocky ? " 

" No, Sonny," he drawled gently, " never hed ter 
use it yet ! " 

" It looks very old. Have you had it long ? " 

" Jus' 'bout thirty years, I reckon ! " 

" Oh ! Seems a long time to carry a thing without 
using it ! " 

" Waal," he answered half absently, " thet's so. 
It's a thing you don't want orfen but when you do, 
you want it derned bad ! " 

Rocky seemed to me to have stepped into our life 
out of the pages of Bret Harte. For me the glamour 
of romance was cast by the Master's spell over all that 
world, and no doubt helped to make old Rocky some- 
thing of a hero in the eyes of youth ; but such help 
was of small account, for the cardinal fact was Rocky 
himself. He was a man. 

There did not seem to be any known region of the 
earth where prospectors roam that he had not sampled, 
and yet whilst gleaning something from every land, 
his native flavour clung to him unchanged. He was 
silent by habit and impossible to draw ; not helpful 
to those who looked for short cuts, yet kindly and 
patient with those who meant to try ; he was not to 
be exploited, and had an illuminating instinct for 
what was not genuine He had * no use for short 
weight ' and showed it ! 

I used to watch him in the circle round the fire 
at nights, his face grave, weather-stained and 
29 





wrinkled, with clear grey eyes and long brown beard, 
slightly grizzled then watch and wonder why Rocky, 
experienced, wise and steadfast, should at sixty 
be seeking still. Were the prizes so few in the pros- 
pector's life ? or was there something wanting in 
him too ? Why had he not achieved success ? 

It was not so clear then that ideals differ. Rocky's 
ideal was the life not the escape from it. There 
was something sentiment, imagination, poetry, call 
it what you will that could make common success 
seem to him common indeed and cheap ! To follow 
in a new rush, to reap where another had sown, had 
no charm for him. It may be that an inborn pride 
disliked it ; but it seems more likely that it simply did 
not attract him. And if as in the end I thought 
Rocky had taken the world as it is and backed himself 
against it living up to his ideal, playing a ' lone 
hand ' and playing it fair in all conditions, treading 
the unbeaten tracks, finding his triumph in his work, 
always moving on and contented so to end : the 
crown, " He was a man ! " then surely Rocky's had 
achieved success ! 

That is Rocky, as remembered now ! A bit ideal- 
ised ? Perhaps so : but who can say ! In truth 
he had his sides and the defects of his qualities, like 
every one else ; and it was not every one who made 
a hero of him. Many left him respectfully alone ; 
and something of their feeling came to me the first 
time I was with him, when a stupid chatterer talked 
and asked too much. He was not surly or taciturn, 
but I felt frozen through by a calm deadly unrespon- 

30 



siveness which anything with blood and brain should 
have shrunk under. The dull monotone, the ominous 
drawl, the steady something in his clear calm eyes 
which I cannot define, gave an almost corrosive effect 
to innocent words and a voice of lazy gentleness. 

" What's the best thing to do following up a 
wounded buffalo ? " was the question. The questions 
sprung briskly, as only a * yapper ' puts them ; and 
the answers came like reluctant drops from a filter. 

" Git out ! " 

" Yes, but if there isn't time ? " 

" Say yer prayers ! " 

" No seriously what is the best way of tackling 
one ? " 

" Ef yer wawnt to know, thar's only one way : 
Keep cool and shoot straight ! " 

" Oh ! of course if you can ? " 

" An' ef you can't," he added in fool-killer tones, 
" best stay right home ! " 

Rocky had no fancy notions : he hunted for meat 
and got it as soon as possible; he was seldom out long, 
and rarely indeed came back empty-handed. I had 
already learnt not to be too ready with questions. 
It was better, so Rocky put it, " to keep yer eyes open 
and yer mouth shut " ; but the results at first hardly 
seemed to justify the process. At the end of a week 
of failures and disappointments all I knew was that 
I knew nothing a very notable advance it is true, 
but one quite difficult to appreciate ! Thus it came 
to me in the light of a distinction when one evening, 
after a rueful confession of blundering made to the 
3 1 






party in general, Rocky passed a brief but not un- 
friendly glance over me and said, " On'y the born fools 
stays fools. You'll git ter learn bymbye ; you ain't 
always yappin' ! " 

It was not an extravagant compliment ; but failure 
and helplessness act on conceit like water on a starched 
collar : mine was limp by that time, and I was grateful 
for little things most grateful when next morning, as 
we were discussing our several ways, he turned to me 
and asked gently, " Comin' along, Boy ? ' 

Surprise and gratitude must have produced a touch 
of effusiveness which jarred on him ; for, to the eager 
exclamation and thanks, he made no answer just 
moved on, leaving me to follow. In his scheme of 
life there was * no call to slop over.' 

There was a quiet unhesitating sureness and a 
definiteness of purpose about old Rocky's movements 
which immediately inspired confidence. We had not 
been gone many minutes before I began to have visions 
of exciting chases and glorious endings, and as we 
walked silently along they took possession of me so com- 
pletely that I failed to notice the difference between 
his methods and mine. Presently, brimful of excite- 
ment and hope, I asked cheerily what he thought we 
would get. The old man stopped and with a gentle 
graveness of look and a voice from which all trace of 
tartness or sarcasm was banished, said, " See, Sonny ! 
If you been useter goin' round like a dawg with a 
tin it ain't any wonder you seen nothin'. You got 
ter walk soft an' keep yer head shut ! " 

In reply to my apology he said that there was " no 

32 



bell an' curtain in this yere play ; you got ter be thar 
waitin'." 

Rocky knew better than I did the extent of his 
good nature ; he knew that in all probability it meant 
a wasted day ; for, with the best will in the world, 
the beginner is almost certain to spoil sport. It 
looks so simple and easy when you have only read 
about it or heard others talk ; but there are pit- 
falls at every step. When, in what seemed to me 
perfectly still air, Rocky took a pinch of dust and let 
it drop, and afterwards wet one finger and held it 
up to feel which side cooled, it was not difficult to 
know that he was trying the wind ; but when he 
changed direction suddenly for no apparent reason, 
or when he stopped and, after a glance at the ground, 
slackened his frame, lost all interest in sport, wind 
and surroundings, and addressed a remark to me in 
ordinary tones, I was hopelessly at sea. His manner 
showed that some possibility was disposed of and some 
idea abandoned. Once he said " Rietbuck ! Heard 
us I reckon," and then turned off at a right-angle ; 
but a little later on he pointed to other spoor and, 
indifferently dropping the one word * Koodoo,' con- 
tinued straight on. To me the two spoors seemed 
equally fresh ; he saw hours' perhaps a whole day's 
difference between them. That the rietbuck, scared 
by us, had gone ahead and was keenly on the watch for 
us and therefore not worth following, and that the 
koodoo was on the move and had simply struck across 
our line and was therefore not to be overtaken, were 
conclusions he drew without hesitation. I only saw 
33 c 






spoor and began to palpitate with thoughts of bagging 
a koodoo bull. 

We had been out perhaps an hour, and by unceasing 
watchfulness I had learnt many things : they were 
about as well learnt and as useful as a sentence in a 
foreign tongue got off by heart ; but to me they 
seemed the essentials and the fundamentals of hunting. 
I was feeling very pleased with myself and confident 
of the result ; the stumbling over stones and stumps 
had ceased ; and there was no more catching in thorns, 
crunching on bare gritty places, clinking on rocks, 
or crackling of dry twigs ; and as we moved on in silence 
the visions of koodoo and other big game became very 
real. There was nothing to hinder them : to do as 
Rocky did had become mechanically easy; a glance 
in his direction every now and then was enough ; 
there was time and temptation to look about and still 
perhaps to be the first to spot the game. 

It was after taking one such casual glance around 
that I suddenly missed Rocky : a moment later I 
saw him moving forward, fast but silently, under cover 
of an ant-heap stooping low and signing to me with 
one hand behind his back. With a horrible feeling 
of having failed him I made a hurried step sideways 
to get into line behind him and the ant-heap, and I 
stepped right on to a pile of dry crackly sticks. Rocky 
, stood up quietly and waited, while I wished the earth 
| would open and swallow me. When I got up abreast 
'" he half turned and looked me over with eyes slightly 
narrowed and a faint but ominous smile on one side 
of his mouth, and drawled out gently : 

34 



" You'd oughter brought some fire crackers ! " 
If only he had sworn at me it would have been 
endurable. 

We moved on again and this time I had eyes for 
nothing but Rocky's back, and where to put my foot 
next. It was not very long before he checked in 
midstride and I stood rigid as a pointer. Peering 
intently over his shoulder in the direction in which 
he looked I could see nothing. The bush was very 
open, and yet, even with his raised rifle to guide me, 
1 could not for the life of me see what he was aiming 
at. Then the shot rang out, and a duiker toppled over 
kicking in the grass not a hundred yards away. 

The remembrance of certain things still makes me 
feel uncomfortable ; the yell of delight I let out as 
the buck fell ; the wild dash forward, which died 
away to a dead stop as I realised that Rocky himself 
had not moved ; the sight of him, as I looked back, 
calmly reloading ; and the silence. To me it was 
an event: to him, his work. But these things were 
forgotten then lost behind the everlasting puzzle, 
How was it possible I had not seen the buck until it 
fell ? Rocky must have known what was worrying 
me, for, after we had picked up the buck, he remarked 
without any preliminary, "It ain't easy in this bush 
ter pick up what don't move ; an' it ain't hardly 
possible ter find what ye don't know ! " 

" Game you mean ? " I asked, somewhat puzzled. 

" This one was feeding," he answered, after a nod 
in reply. " I saw his head go up ter listen ; but 
when they don't move, an' you don't jus' know what 

35 






they look like, you kin 'most walk atop o' them. You 
got ter kind o' shape 'em in yer eye, an' when you got 
that fixed you kin pick 'em up 'most anywhere ! " 

It cost Rocky an effort to volunteer anything. 
There were others always ready to talk and advise ; 
but they were no help. It was Rocky himself who 
once said that " the man who's allus offerin' his 
advice fer nothin' 's askin' 'bout 's much 's it's worth." 
He seemed to run dry of words like an overdrawn 
well. For several days he took no further notice of 
me, apparently having forgotten my existence or 
repented his good nature. Once, when in reply to 
a question, I was owning up to the hopes and chances 
and failures of the day, I caught his attentive look 
turned on me and was conscious of it and a little 
apprehensive for the rest of the evening ; but nothing 
happened. 

The following evening however it came out. I 
had felt that that look meant something, and that 
sooner or later I would catch it. It was characteristic 
of him that he could always wait, and I never felt 
quite safe with him never comfortably sure that 
something was not being saved up for me for some 
mistake perhaps days old. He was not to be hurried, 
nor was he to be put off, and nobody ever interrupted 
him or headed him off. His quiet voice was never 
raised, and the lazy gentleness never disturbed ; he 
seemed to know exactly what he wanted to say, and 
to have opening and attention waiting for him. I 
suppose it was partly because he spoke so seldom : 
but there was something else too the something that 

36 



was just Rocky himself. Although the talk appeared 
the result of accident, an instinct told me from the 
start that it was not really so : it was Rocky's slow 
and considered way. 

The only dog with us was licking a cut on her 
shoulder the result of an unauthorised rush at a 
wounded buck and after an examination of her wound 
we had wandered over the account of how she had got 
it, and so on to discussing the dog herself. Rocky 
sat in silence, smoking and looking into the fire, and 
the little discussion was closed by some one saying, 
" She's no good for a hunting dog too plucky ! " 
It was then I saw Rocky's eyes turned slowly on the 
last speaker : he looked at him thoughtfully for a 
good minute, and then remarked quietly : 

" Thar ain't no sich thing as too plucky ! " And 
with that he stopped, almost as if inviting contradic- 
tion. Whether he wanted a reply or not one cannot 
say; anyway, he got none. No one took Rocky on 
unnecessarily ; and at his leisure he resumed : 

" Thar's brave men ; an' thar's fools ; an' you kin 
get some that's both. But thar's a whole heap that 
ain't ! An' it's jus' the same with dawgs. She's 
no fool, but she ain't been taught : that's what's 
the matter with her. Men ha' got ter larn : dawgs 
too ! Men ain't born equal : no more's dawgs ! 
One's born better 'n another more brains, more 
heart ; but I ain't yet heard o' the man born with 
knowledge or experience ; that's what they got ter 
learn men an' dawgs ! The born fool's got to do 
fool's work all the time : but the others larn ; and 
37 






the brave man with brains 's got a big pull. He 
don't get shook up jus' keeps on thinkin' out his 
job right along, while the other feller's worryin' 
about his hide ! An' dawgs is the same." 

Rocky's eyes for ever grave and thoughtful 
rested on the fire ; and the remarks that came from 
the other men passed unnoticed, but they served to 
keep the subject alive. Presently he went on again 
opening with an observation that caused me to move 
uneasily before there was time to think why ! 

" Boys is like pups you got ter help 'em some ; 
but not too much, an' not too soon. They got ter 
larn themselves. I reckon ef a man's never made 
a mistake he's never had a good lesson. Ef you don't 
pay for a thing you don't know what it's worth ; 
and mistakes is part o' the price o' knowledge the 
other part is work ! But mistakes is the part you don't 
like payin' : thet's why you remember it. You save 
a boy from makin' mistakes and ef he's got good stuff 
in him, most like you spoil it. He don't know any- 
thing properly, 'cause he don't think ; and he don't 
think, 'cause you saved him the trouble an' he never 
learned how ! He don't know the meanin' o' 
consequences and risks, 'cause you kep' 'em off 
him ! An' bymbye he gets ter believe it's born in him 
ter go right, an' knows everything, an' can't go wrong ; 
an' ef things don't pan out in the end he reckon it's 
jus' bad luck ! No ! Sirree ! Ef he's got ter swim you 
let him know right there that the water's deep an' 
thar ain't no one to hoi' him up, an' ef he don't 
wade in an' larn, it's goin' ter be his funeral ! " 

38 



My eyes were all for Rocky, but he was not looking 
my way, and when the next remark came, and my heart 
jumped and my hands and feet moved of their own 
accord, his face was turned quite away from me 
towards the man on his left. 

" An' it's jus' the same 'ith huntin' ! It looks 
so blamed easy he reckons it don't need any teachin'. 
Well, let him try ! Leave him run on his own till his 
boots is walked off an' he's like to set down and cry, 
ef he wasn't 'shamed to ; let him know every pur- 
tickler sort o' blamed fool he can make of himself ; 
an' then he's fit ter teach, 'cause he'll listen, an' watch, 
an' learn art say thank ye fer it ! Mostly you got 
ter make a fool o' yourself once or twice ter know 
what it feels like an' how t' avoid it : best do it 
young it teaches a boy ; but it kind o' breaks a man 
up!" 

I kept my eyes on Rocky, avoiding the others, 
fearing that a look or word might tempt some one to 
rub it in ; and it was a relief when the old man 
naturally and easily picked up his original point and, 
turning another look on Jess, said : 

" You got ter begin on the pup. It ain't her 
fault ; it's yours. She's full up o' the right stuff, 
but she got no show to larn ! Dawgs is all 
different, good an' bad just like men : some larns 
quick ; some'll never larn. But thar ain't any too 
plucky ! " 

He tossed a chip of green wood into the heart of 
the fire and watched it spurtle and smoke, and 
after quite a long pause, added : ,,//, 

39 






" Thar's times when a dawg's got to see it through 
an' be killed. It's his dooty same as a man's. I seen 
it done ! " 

The last words were added with a narrowing of his 
eyes and a curious softening of voice as of personal 
affection or regret. Others noticed it too ; and in 
reply to a question as to how it had happened Rocky 
explained in a few words that a wounded buffalo had 
waylaid and tossed the man over its back, and as it 
turned again to gore him the dog rushed in between, 
fighting it off for a time and eventually fastening on 
to the nose when the buffalo still pushed on. The 
check enabled the man to reach his gun and shoot 
the buffalo ; but the dog was trampled to death. 

" Were you . . . ? " some one began and then 
at the look in Rocky's face, hesitated. Rocky, staring 
into the fire, answered : 

" It was my dawg ! " 

Long after the other men were asleep I lay in my 
blankets watching the tricks of light and shadow played 
by the fire, as fitfully it flamed or died away. It 
snowed the long prostrate figures of the others as 
they slept full stretch on their backs, wrapped in 
dark blankets ; the waggons, touched with unwonted 
colours by the flames, and softened to ghostly shadows 
when they died ; the oxen, sleeping contentedly at 
their yokes ; Rocky's two donkeys, black and grey, 
tethered under a thorn-tree now and then a long ear 
moving slowly to some distant sound and dropping 
back again satisfied. I could not sleep; but Rocky 

40 




was sleeping like a babe. He, gaunt and spare 
6 ft. 2 he must have stood weather-beaten and old, 
with the long solitary trip before him and sixty odd 
years of life behind, he slept when he laid his head 
down, and was wide awake and rested when he raised 
it. He, who had been through it all, slept ; but I, 
who had only listened, was haunted, bewitched, 
possessed, by racing thoughts ; and all on account of 
four words, and the way he said them, " It was my 
dawg." 

It was still dark, with a faint promise of saffron in 
the East, when I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard 
Rocky's voice saying, " Comin' along, Sonny ? " 

One of the drivers raised his head to look at us as 
we passed, and then called to his voorlooper to turn 
the cattle loose to graze, and dropped back to sleep. 
We left them so and sallied out into the pure clear 
morning while all the world was still, while the air, 
cold and subtly stimulating, put a spring into the 
step and an extra beat or two into the pulse, fairly 
rinsing lungs and eyes and brain. 

What is there to tell of that day ? Why ! nothing, 
really nothing, except that it was a happy day a day 
of little things that all went well, and so it came to 
look like the birthday of the hunting. What did 
it matter to me that we were soaked through in ten 
minutes ? for the dew weighed down the heavy- 
topped grass with clusters of crystal drops that looked 
like diamond sprays. It was all too beautiful for 
words : and so it should be in the spring-time of 
youth. 







Rocky was different that day. He showed me 
things ; reading the open book of nature that I could 
not understand. He pointed out the spoors going to 
and from the drinking-place, and named the various 
animals ; showed me one more deeply indented than 
the rest and, murmuring " Scared I guess," pointed to 
where it had dashed off out of the regular track ; 
picked out the big splayed pad of the hyena sneaking 
round under cover ; stopped quietly in his stride to 
point where a hare was sitting up cleaning itself, not 
ten yards off ; stopped again at the sound of a clear, 
almost metallic, ' clink ' and pointed to a little sandy 
gully in front of us down which presently came thirty 
or forty guinea-fowl in single file, moving swiftly, 
running and walking, and all in absolute silence except 
for that one * clink.' How did he know they were 
there, and which way they would go, and know it all 
so promptly ? were questions I asked myself. 

We walked with the sun that is towards the West 
so that the light would show up the game and be in 
their eyes, making it more difficult for them to see 
us. We watched a little red stembuck get up from 
his form, shake the dew from his coat, stretch himself, 
and then pick his way daintily through the wet grass, 
nibbling here and there as he went. Rocky did not 
fire ; he wanted something better. 

After the sun had risen, flooding the whole country 
with golden light, and, while the dew lasted, making 
it glisten like a bespangled transformation scene, we 
came on a patch of old long grass and, parted by some 
twenty yards, walked through it abreast. There was a 

42 




wild rush from under my feet, a yellowish body dashed 
through the grass, and I got out in time to see a rietbuck 
ram cantering away. Then Rocky, beside me, gave 
a shrill whistle ; the buck stopped, side on, looked 
back at us, and Rocky dropped it where it stood. 
Instantly following the shot there was another rush 
on our left, and before the second rietbuck had gone 
thirty yards Rocky toppled it over in its tracks. From 
the whistle to the second shot it was all done in about ten 
seconds. To me it looked like magic. I could only gasp. 

We cleaned the bucks, and hid them in a bush. 
There was meat enough for the camp then, and I 
thought we would return at once for boys to carry it ; 
but Rocky, after a moment's glance round, shouldered 
his rifle and moved on again. I followed, asking no 
questions. We had been gone only a few minutes 
when to my great astonishment he stopped and point- 
ing straight in front asked: 

" What 'ud you put up for that stump ? " 

I looked hard, and answered confidently, " Two 
hundred ! " 

" Step it ! " was his reply. I paced the distance ; 
it was eighty-two yards. 

It was very bewildering ; but he helped me out a 
bit with " Bush telescopes, Sonny ! " 

" You mean it magnifies them ? " I asked in surprise. 

" No ! Magnifies the distance, like lookin' down 
an avenue ! Gun barr'l looks a mile long when you 
put yer eye to it ! Open flats brings 'em closer ; and 
'cross water or a gully seems like you kin put yer hand 
on 'em ! " 
43 





" I would havermissed by feet that time Rocky ! " 

" You kin take it fer a start, Halve the distance 
and aim low ! " 

" Aim low, as well ? " 

" Thar's allus somethin' low : legs, an' ground to 
show what you done ! But thar's no ' outers ' marked 
on the sky ! " 

Once, as we walked along, he paused to look at some 
freshly overturned ground, and dropped the one word, 
* Pig.' We turned then to the right and presently 
came upon some vlei ground densely covered with 
tall green reeds. He slowed down as we approached ; 
I tip-toed in sympathy ; and when only a few yards 
off he stopped and beckoned me on, and as I came 
abreast he raised his hand in warning and pointed 
into the reeds. There was a curious subdued sort of 
murmur of many deep voices. It conveys no idea 
of the fact to say they were grunts. They were 
softened out of all recognition : there is only one word 
for it, they sounded ' confidential.' Then as we 
listened I could make out the soft silky rustling of the 
rich undergrowth, and presently, could follow, by 
the quivering and waving of odd reeds, the move- 
ments of the animals themselves. They were only 
a few yards from us the nearest four or five ; they 
were busy and contented ; and it was obvious they 
were utterly unconscious of our presence. As we 
peered down to the reeds from our greater height it 
seemed that we could see the ground and that not 
so much as a rat could have passed unnoticed. Yet 
we saw nothing ! 

44 



And then, without the slightest sign, cause or warn- 
ing that I could detect, in one instant every sound 
ceased. I watched the reeds like a cat on the pounce : 
never a stir or sign or sound : they had vanished. 
I turned to Rocky : he was standing at ease, and there 
was the faintest look of amusement in his eyes. 

" They must be there ; they can't have got away ? " 
It was a sort of indignant protest against his evident 
* chucking it ' ; but it was full of doubt all the 




same. 

(4 



Try ! " he said, and I jumped into the reeds 
straight away. The under-foliage, it is true, was 
thicker and deeper than it had looked ; but for all that 
it was like a conjuring trick they were not there ! 
I waded through a hundred yards or more of the narrow 
belt it was not more than twenty yards wide any- 
where but the place was deserted. It struck me 
then that if they could dodge us at five to ten yards 
while we were watching from the bank and they 
did not know it Well, I ' chucked it ' too. Rocky 
was standing in the same place with the same faint 
look of friendly amusement when I got back, wet and 
muddy. 

" Pigs is like that," he said, " same as elephants 
jus' disappears ! " 

We went on again, and a quarter of an hour later, it 
may be, Rocky stopped, subsided to a sitting position, 
beckoned to me, and pointed with his levelled rifle 
in front. It was a couple of minutes before he could 
get me to see the stembuck standing in the shade of 
a thorn tree. I would never have seen it but for 
45 





whisper to look for something moving : that gave it 
to me ; I saw the movement of the head as it cropped. 

" High : right ! " was Rocky's comment, as the 
bullet ripped the bark off a tree and the startled 
stembuck raced away. In the excitement I had for- 
gotten his advice already ! 

But there was no time to feel sick and disgusted ; 
the buck, puzzled by the report on one side and the 

\smash on the tree on the other, half circled us and 
stopped to look back. Rocky laid his hand on my 
shoulder : 

" Take your time, Sonny ! " he said, " Aim low ; 
an' don't pull ! Squeeze ! " And at last I got it. 

We had our breakfast there the liver roasted on the 
coals, and a couple of 'dough-boys,' with the unexpected 
addition of a bottle of cold tea, weak and unsweetened, 
produced from Rocky's knapsack ! We stayed there 
a couple of hours, and that is the only time he really 
opened out. I understood then at last that of his 
deliberate kindliness he had come out that morning 
meaning to make a happy day of it for a youngster ; 
and he did it. 

He had the knack of getting at the heart of things, 
and putting it all in the fewest words. He spoke in 
the same slow grave way, with habitual economy of 
breath and words ; and yet the pictures were living 
and real, and each incident complete. I seemed to 
get from him that morning all there was to know 
of the hunting in two great continents Grizzlies 
and other * bar,' Moose and Wapiti, hunted in the 
snows of the North West ; Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino, 

46 




Lions, and scores more, in the sweltering heat of 
Africa ! 

That was a happy day ! 

When I woke up next morning Rocky was fitting 
the packs on his donkeys. I was a little puzzled, 
wondering at first if he was testing the saddles, for he 
had said nothing about moving on ; but when he joined 
us at breakfast the donkeys stood packed ready to start. 
Then Robbie asked : 

" Going to make a move, Rocky ? " 
" Yes ! Reckon I'll git ! " he answered quietly. 
I ate in silence, thinking of what he was to face : 
many hundreds of miles perhaps a thousand or two ; 
many, many months may be a year or two ; wild 
country, wild tribes, and wild beasts ; floods and fever ; 
accident, hunger, and disease ; and alone ! 

When we had finished breakfast he rinsed out his 
beaker and hung it on one of the packs, slung his rifle 
over his shoulder, and picking up his long assegai- 
wood walking-stick tapped the donkeys lightly to 
turn them into the Kaffir footpath that led away 
North. They jogged on into place in single file. 

Rocky paused a second before following, turned one 
brief grave glance on us, and 
said : 

" Well. So long ! " 
He never came back ! 







GOOD dogs were not easy to get ; I had tried hard 

enough for one before starting, but without success. 

Even unborn puppies had jealous prospective owners 

waiting to claim them. 

There is always plenty of room at the top of the 
tree, and good hunting dogs were as rare as good 
men, good horses, and good front-oxen. A lot of 
qualities are needed in the make-up of a good hunting 
dog : size, strength, quickness, scent, sense and speed 
and plenty of courage. They are very very difficult 
to get ; but even small dogs are useful, and many a 
fine feat stands to the credit of little terriers in guarding 
camps at night and in standing off wounded animals 
that meant mischief. 

Dennison was saved from a wounded lioness by his 
two fox terriers. He had gone out to shoot bush- 
pheasants, and came unexpectedly on a lioness playing 
with her cubs : the cubs hid in the grass, but she stood 
up at bay to protect them, and he, forgetting that he 



had taken the big ' looper ' cartridges from his gun 
and reloaded with No. 6, fired. The shot only 
maddened her, and she charged ; but the two dogs 
dashed at her, one at each side, barking, snapping and 
yelling, rushing in and jumping back so fast and 
furiously that they flustered her. Leaving the man 
for the moment, she turned on them, dabbing viciously 
with her huge paws, first at one, then at the other ; 
quick as lightning she struck right and left as a kitten 
will at a twirled string ; but they kept out of reach. 
It only lasted seconds, but that was long enough for 
the man to reload and shoot the lioness through the 
heart. 

There was only the one dog in our camp ; and she 
was not an attractive one. She was a bull terrier 
with a dull brindled coat black and grey in shadowy 
stripes. She had small cross-looking eyes and un- 
certain always-moving ears ; she was bad tempered 
and most unsociable ; but she was as faithful and as 
brave a dog as ever lived. She never barked ; never 
howled when beaten for biting strangers or kaffirs or 
going for the cattle ; she was very silent, very savage, 
and very quick. She belonged to my friend Ted, 
and never left his side day or night. Her name was 
Jess. 

Jess was not a favourite, but everybody respected 
her, partly because you knew she would not stand 
any nonsense no pushing, patting or punishment, 
and very little talking to and partly be- 
cause she was so faithful and plucky. She 
was not a hunting dog, but on several 

49 D 







**, 



occasions had helped to pull down wounded 
game ; she had no knowledge or skill, and was only 
fierce and brave, and there was always the risk 
that she would be killed. She would listen to Ted, 
but to no one else ; one of us might have shouted 
his lungs out, but it would not have stopped her from 
giving chase the moment she saw anything and keeping 
on till she was too dead beat to move any further. 

The first time I saw Jess we were having dinner, 
and I gave her a bone putting it down close to her 
and saying, " Here ! good dog ! " As she did not 
even look at it, I moved it right under her nose. She 
gave a low growl, and her little eyes turned on me 
for just one look as she got up and walked away. 

There was a snigger of laughter from some of the 
others, but nobody said anything, and it seemed 
wiser to ask no questions just then. Afterwards, 
when we were alone, one of them told me Ted had 
trained her not to feed from any one else, adding, 
" You must not feed another man's dog ; a dog has 
only one master ! " 

We respected Jess greatly ; but no one knew quite 
how much we respected her until the memorable day 
near Ship Mountain. 

We had rested through the heat of the day under 
a big tree on the bank of a little stream ; it was the 
tree under which Soltke prayed and died. About 
sundown, just before we were ready to start, some 
t other waggons passed, and Ted, knowing the owner, 
went on with him intending to rejoin us at the next 
outspan. As he jumped on to the passing waggon 

5 





~-e* 

he called to Jess, and she ran out of a patch of soft 
grass under one of the big trees behind our waggons. 
She answered his call instantly, but when she saw 
him moving off on the other waggon she sat down 
in the road and watched him anxiously for some 
seconds, then ran on a few steps in her curious quick 
silent way and again stopped, giving swift glances 
alternately towards Ted and towards us. Ted re- 
marked laughingly that she evidently thought he had 
made a mistake by getting on to the wrong waggon, 
and that she would follow presently. 

After he had disappeared she ran back to her patch 
of grass and lay down, but in a few minutes she was 
back again squatting in the road looking with that 
same anxious worried expression after her master. 
Thus she went to and fro for the quarter of an hour 
it took us to inspan, and each time she passed we could 
hear a faint anxious little whine. 

The oxen were inspanned and the last odd things 
were being put up when one of the boys came to say 
that he could not get the guns and water-barrel 
because Jess would not let him near them. There was 
something the matter with the dog, he said ; he 
thought she was mad. 

Knowing how Jess hated kaffirs we laughed at the 
notion, and went for the things ourselves. As we 
came within five yards of the tree where we had left 
the guns there was a rustle in the grass, and Jess came 
out with her swift silent run, appearing as unexpectedly 
as a snake does, and with some odd suggestion of a 
snake in her look and attitude. Her head, body and 






tail were in a dead line, and she was crouching slightly 
as for a spring ; her ears were laid flat back, her lips 
twitching constantly, showing the strong white teeth, 
and her cross wicked eyes had such a look of remorseless 
cruelty in them that we stopped as if we had been 
turned to stone. She never moved a muscle or made 
a sound, but kept those eyes steadily fixed on us. 
We moved back a pace or two and began to coax and 
wheedle her ; but it was no good ; she never moved 
or made a sound, and the unblinking look remained. 
For a minute we stood our ground, and then the hair 
on her back and shoulders began very slowly to stand 
up. That was enough : we cleared off. It was a 
mighty uncanny appearance. 

Then another tried his hand ; but it was just the 
same. No one could do anything with her ; no one 
could get near the guns or the water-barrel ; as soon 
as we returned for a fresh attempt she reappeared in 
the same place and in the same way. 

The position was too ridiculous, and we were at our 
wits' end ; for Jess held the camp. The kaffirs declared 
the dog was mad, and we began to have very un- 
comfortable suspicions that they were right ; but we 
decided to make a last attempt, and surrounding the 
place approached from all sides. But the suddenness 
with which she appeared before we got into position 
so demoralised the kaffirs that they bolted, and we gave 
it up, owning ourselves beaten. We turned to watch her 
as she ran back for the last time, and as she disappeared 
in the grass we heard distinctly the cry of a very young 
puppy. Then the secret of Jess's madness was out. 

52 



We had to send for Ted, and when he returned a 
couple of hours later Jess met him out on the road 
in the dark where she had been watching half the time 
ever since he left. She jumped up at his chest giving 
a long tremulous whimper of welcome, and then ran 
ahead straight to the nest in the grass. 

He took a lantern and we followed, but not too close. 
When he knelt down to look at the puppies she stood 
over them and pushed herself hi between him and 
them ; when he put out a hand to touch them she 
pushed it away with her nose, whining softly hi pro- 
test and trembling with excitement you could see 
she would not bite, but she hated him to touch her 
puppies. Finally, when he picked one up she gave a 
low cry and caught his wrist gently, but held it. 

That was Jess, the mother of Jock ! 






pp- 

THERE were sixf puppies, and as ^the waggons were 
empty we fixed up a roomy nest in one of them for 
Jess andpier family. There was no trouble with Jess ; 
nobody interfered with her, and she interfered with 
nobody." The boys kept clear of her ; but we used 
to take a look at her and the puppies as we walked 
along with the waggons ; so by degrees she got to 
know that we would not harm them, and she no longer 
wanted to eat us alive if we went near and talked to 
her. 

Five of the puppies were fat strong yellow little 
chaps with dark muzzles just like their father, as 
Ted said ; and their father was an imported dog, 
and was always spoken of as the best dog of the breed 
that had ever been in the country. I never saw him, 
so I do not really know what he was like perhaps 
he was not a yellow dog at all ; but, whatever he was, 
he had at that time a great reputation because he was 
' imported,' and there were not half a dozen imported 
dogs in the whole of the Transvaal then. Many 




people used to ask what breed the puppies were I 
suppose it was because poor cross faithful old Jess was 
not much to look at, and because no one had a very 
high opinion of yellow dogs in general, and nobody 
seemed, to remember any famous yellow bull-terriers. 
They used to smile in a queer way when they asked 
the question, as if they were going to get off a joke ; 
but when we answered " Just like their father 
Buchanan's imported dog," the smile disappeared, 
and they would give a whistle of surprise and say 
" By Jove ! " and immediately begin to examine the 
five yellow puppies, remark upon their ears and noses 
and legs, and praise them up until we were all as proud 
as if they had belonged to us. 

Jess looked after her puppies and knew nothing 
about the remarks that were made, so they did not 
worry her, but I often looked at the faithful old thing 
with her dark brindled face, cross-looking eyes and 
always- moving ears, and thought it jolly hard lines that 
nobody had a good word for her ; it seemed rough on 
her that every one should be glad there was only one 
puppy at all like the mother the sixth one, a poor 
miserable little rat of a thing about |half the size of 
the others. He was not yellow like them, nor dark 
brindled like Jess, but a sort of dirty pale half-and- 
half colour with some dark faint wavy lines all over 
him, as if he had tried to be brindled and failed ; and 
he had a dark sharp wizened little muzzle that looked 
shrivelled up with age- 
Most of the fellows said it would be a good thing to 
drown the odd one because he spoilt the litter and made 

55 








them look as though they were not really thorough- 
bred, and because he was such a miserable little rat 
that he was not worth saving anyhow ; but in the end 
he was allowed to live. I believe no one fancied the 
job of taking one of Jess's puppies away from her ; 
moreover, as any dog was better than none, I had offered 
to take him rather than let him be drowned. Ted 
had old friends to whom he had already promised 
the pick of the puppies, so when I came along it 
was too late, and all he could promise me was that 
if there should be one over I might have it. 

As they grew older and were able to crawl about 
they were taken off the waggons when we outspanned 
and put on the ground. Jess got to understand this 
at once, and she used to watch us quite quietly as 
we took them in our hands to put them down or 
lift them back again. When they were two or three 
weeks old a man came to the waggons who talked a 
great deal about dogs, and appeared to know what 
had to be done. He said that the puppies' tails 
ought to be docked, and that a bull-terrier would be 
no class at all with a long tail, but you should on no 
account clip his ears. I thought he was speaking of 
fox-terriers, and that with bull-terriers the position 
was the other way round, at that time ; but as he 
said it was 'the thing' in England, and nobody 
contradicted him, I shut up. We found out after- 
wards that he had made a mistake ; but it was too 
late then, and Jess's puppies started life as bull-terriers 
_ up to date, with long ears and short tails. 

I felt sure from the beginning that all 

56 




the yellow puppies would be claimed and that I should 
have to take the odd one, or none at all ; so I began to 
look upon him as mine already, and to take an interest in 
him and look after him. A long time ago somebody 
wrote that " the sense of possession turns sand into 
gold," and it is one of the truest things ever said. 
Until it seemed that this queer-looking odd puppy 
was going to be mine I used to think and say very much 
what the others did but with this difference, that I 
always felt sorry for him, and sorry for Jess too, because 
he was like her and not like the father. I used to 
think that perhaps if he were given a chance he might 
grow up like poor old Jess herself, ugly, cross and 
unpopular, but brave and faithful. I felt sorry for 
him, too, because he was small and weak, and the other 
five big puppies used to push him away from his food 
and trample on him ; and when they were old enough 
to play they used to pull him about by his ears and 
pack on to him three or four to one and bully him 
horribly. Many a time I rescued him, and many a 
time gave him a little preserved milk and water with 
bread soaked in it when the others had shouldered 
him out and eaten everything. 

After a little while, when my chance of getting 
one of the good puppies seemed hopeless and I got 
used to the idea that I would have to take the odd 
one, I began to notice little things about him that 
no one else noticed, and got to be quite fond of the 
little beggar in a kind of way. Perhaps I was turning 
my sand into gold, and my geese into swans ; perhaps 
I grew fond of him simply because, finding him lonely 

57 







and with no one else to depend on, I befriended him ; 
and perhaps it was because he was always cheerful 
and plucky and it seemed as if there might be some 
good stuff in him after all. Those were the things I 
used to think of sometimes when feeding the little 
outcast. The other puppies would tumble him over 
and take his food from him ; they would bump into 
him when he was stooping over the dish of milk and 
porridge, and his head was so big and his legs so weak 
that he would tip up and go heels over head into the 
dish. We were always picking him out of the food 
and scraping it off him : half the time he was wet 
and sticky, and the other half covered with porridge 
and sand baked hard by the sun. 

One day just after the waggons had started, as I 
took a final look round the outspan place to see if 
anything had been forgotten, I found the little chap 
who was only about four inches high struggling 
to walk through the long grass. He was not big enough 
or strong enough to push his way even the stems of 
the down-trodden grass tripped him and he stumbled 
and floundered at every step, but he got up again 
each time with his little tail standing straight up, 
his head erect, and his ears cocked. He looked such 
a ridiculous sight that his little tragedy of " lost in 
the veld " was forgotten one could only laugh. 

What he thought he was doing, goodness only 
knows ; he looked as proud and important as if he 
owned the whole world and knew that every one in 
it was watching him. The poor little chap could not 
see a yard in that grass ; and in any case he was not 




old enough to see much, or understand anything, 
for his eyes still had that bluish blind look that all 
very young puppies have, but he was marching along 
as full of confidence as a general at the head of his 
army. How he fell out of the waggon no one knew ; 
perhaps the big puppies tumbled him out, or he may 
have tried to follow Jess, or have climbed over the 
tail-board to see what was the other side, for he was 
always going off exploring by himself. His little 
world was small, it may be. only the bedplank of the 
waggon and the few square yards of the ground on 
which they were dumped at the outspans but he 
took it as seriously as any explorer who ever tackled a 
continent. 

The others were a bit more softened towards the 
odd puppy when I caught up to the waggons and told 
them of his valiant struggle to follow ; and the man 
who had docked the puppies' tails allowed, " I believe 
the rat's got pluck, whatever else is the matter with 
him, for he was the only one that didn't howl when 
I snipped them. The little cuss just gave a grunt 
and turned round as if he wanted to eat me. I 
think he'd 'a' been terrible angry if he hadn't been so 
s'prised. Pity he's such an awful-looking mongrel." 

But no one else said a good word for him : he was 
really beneath notice, and if ever they had to speak 
about him they called him "The Rat." There is 
no doubt about it he was extremely ugly, and instead 
of improving as he grew older, he became worse ; yet, 
I could not help liking him and looking after him, 
sometimes feeling sorry for him, sometimes being 

59 






tremendously amused, and sometimes wonderful to 
relate really admiring him. He was extraordinarily 
silent ; while the others barked at nothing, howled 
when lonely, and yelled when frightened or hurt, 
the odd puppy did none of these things ; in fact, he 
began to show many of Jess's peculiarities ; he hardly 
ever barked, and when he did it was not a wild excited 
string of barks but little suppressed muffled noises, 
half bark and half growl, and just one or two at a 
time ; and he did not appear to be afraid of anything, 
so one could not tell what he would do if he was. 

One day we had an amusing instance of his nerve : 
one of the oxen, sniffing about the outspan, caught 
sight of him all alone, and filled with curiosity came 
up to examine him, as a hulking silly old tame ox will 
do. It moved towards him slowly and heavily with its 
ears spread wide and its head down, giving great big 
sniffs at this new object, trying to make out what it 
was. " The Rat " stood quite still with his stumpy tail 
cocked up and his head a little on one side, and when 
the huge ox's nose was about a foot from him he 
gave one of those funny abrupt little barks. It was 
as if the object had suddenly ' gone off ' like a cracker, 
and the ox nearly tumbled over with fright ; but 
even when the great mountain of a thing gave a clumsy 
plunge round and trotted off, " The Rat " was not 
the least frightened ; he was startled, and his tail and 
ears flickered for a second, but stiffened up again 
instantly, and with another of those little barks he 
took a couple of steps forward and cocked his head 
on the other side. That was his way. 

60 



He was not a bit like the other puppies ; if any one 
fired off a gun or cracked one of the big whips the 
whole five would yell at the top of their voices and, 
wherever they were, would start running, scrambling 
and floundering as fast as they could towards the 
waggon without once looking back to see what they ~ 
were running away from. The odd puppy would drop 
his bone with a start or would jump round ; his ears 
and tail would flicker up and down for a second ; 
then he would slowly bristle up all over, and with his 
head cocked first on one side and then on the other, 
stare hard with his half-blind bluish puppy eyes in 
the direction of the noise ; but he never ran away. 

And so, little by little, I got to like him in spite of 
his awful ugliness. And it really was awful ! The 
other puppies grew big all over, but the odd one 
at that time seemed to grow only in one part his 
tummy ! The poor little chap was born small and 
weak ; he had always been bullied and crowded out 
by the others, and the truth is he was half starved. 
The natural consequence of this was that as soon 
as he could walk about and pick up things for himself 
he made up for lost time, and filled up his middle 
piece to an alarming size before the other parts of 
his body had time to grow ; at that time he looked 
more like a big tock-tockie beetle than a dog. 

Besides the balloon-like tummy he had stick-out 
bandy-legs, very like a beetle's too, and a neck so thin 
that it made the head look enormous, and you wondered 
how the neck ever held it up. But what made him so 
supremely ridiculous was that he evidently did not 
61 








know he was ugly ; he walked about as if he was 
always thinking of his dignity, and he had that puffed- 
out and stuck-up air of importance that you only see 
in small people and bantam cocks who are always 
trying to appear an inch taller than they really 



are. 



When the puppies were about a month old, and 
could feed on porridge or bread soaked in soup or 
gravy, they got to be too much for Jess, and she used 
to leave them for hours at a time and hide in the grass 
so as to have a little peace and sleep. Puppies are 
always hungry, so they soon began to hunt about for 
themselves, and would find scraps of meat and porridge 
or old bones ; and if they could not get anything else, 
would try to eat the raw-hide nekstrops and reims. 
Then the fights began. As soon as one puppy saw 
another busy on anything, he would walk over towards 
him and, if strong enough, fight him for it. All 
day long it was nothing but wrangle, snarl, bark and 
yelp. Sometimes four or five would be at it in one 
scrum ; because as soon as one heard a row going on 
he would trot up hoping to steal the bone while the 
others were busy fighting. 

It was then that I noticed other things about the 
odd puppy : no matter how many packed on to him, 
or how they bit or pulled him, he never once let out 
a yelp ; with four or five on top of him you would 
see him on his back, snapping right and left with bare 
white teeth, gripping and worrying them when he 
got a good hold of anything, and all the time growling 
and snarling with a fierceness that was really comical. 

62 




It sounded as a lion fight might sound in a toy phono- 
graph. 

Before many days passed, it was clear that some 
of the other puppies were inclined to leave " The 
Rat " alone, and that only two of them the two 
biggest seemed anxious to fight him and could take 
his bones away. The reason soon became apparent : 
instead of wasting his breath in making a noise, or 
wasting strength in trying to tumble the others over, 
" The Rat " simply bit hard and hung on ; noses, ears, 
lips, cheeks, feet and even tails all came handy to 
him ; anything he could get hold of and hang on to 
was good enough, and the result generally was that 
in about half a minute the other puppy would leave 
everything and clear off yelling, and probably holding 
up one paw or hanging its head on one side to ease a 
chewed ear. 

When either of the big puppies tackled the little 
fellow the fight lasted much longer. Even if he were 
tumbled over at once as generally happened and 
the other one stood over him barking and growling, 
that did not end the fight : as soon as the other chap 
got off him he would struggle up and begin again ; 
he would not give in. The other puppies seemed to 
think there was some sort of rule like the ' count out ' 
in boxing, or that once you were tumbled over you 
ought to give up the bone ; but the odd puppy 
apparently did not care about rules ; as far as I could 
see, he had just one rule : " Stick to it," so it was not 
very long before even the two big fellows gave up 
interfering with him. The bites from his little white 

*/ 







teeth sharp as needles which punctured noses and 
feet and tore ears, were most unpleasant. But apart 
from that, they found there was nothing to be gained 
by fighting him : they might roll him over time 
after time, but he came back again and worried 
them so persistently that it was quite impossible to 
enjoy the bone they had to keep on fighting for it. 
At first I drew attention to these things, but there 
was no encouragement from the others ; they merely 
laughed at the attempt to make the best of a bad job. 
Sometimes owners of other puppies were nettled by 
having their beauties compared with " The Rat," 
or were annoyed because he had the cheek to fight 
for his own and beat them. Once, when I had 
described how well he had stood up to Billy's pup, 
Robbie caught up " The Rat," and placing him on the 
table, said : " Hats off to the Duke of Wellington 
on the field of Waterloo." That seemed to me the 
poorest sort of joke to send five grown men into fits 
of laughter. He stood there on the table with his 
head on one side, one ear standing up, and his stumpy 
tail twiggling an absurd picture of friendliness, 
pride and confidence ; yet he was so ugly and ridicu- 
lous that my heart sank, and I whisked him away. 
They made fun of him, and he did not mind ; but it 
was making fun of me too, and I could not help 
knowing why ; it was only necessary to put the puppies 
together to see the reason. 

After that I stopped talking about 
him, and made the most of 
the good points he showed, 




and tried to discover more. It was the only consolation 
for having to take the leavings of the litter. 

Then there came a day when something happened 
which might easily have turned out very differently, 
and there would have been no stories and no Jock 
to tell about ; and the best dog in the world would 
never have been my friend and companion. The 
puppies had been behaving very badly, and had stolen 
several nekstrops and chewed up parts of one or two 
big whips ; the drivers were grumbling about all the 
damage done and the extra work it gave them ; and 
Ted, exasperated by the worry of it all, announced that 
the puppies were quite ?>ld enough to be taken away, 
and that those who had picked puppies must take them 
at once and look after them, or let some one else have 
them. When I heard him say that my heart gave a 
little thump from excitement, for I knew the day had 
come when the great question would be settled once 
and for all. Here was a glorious and unexpected chance ; 
perhaps - one of the others would not or could not 
take his, and I might get one of the good ones. .00 1. 
Of course the two big ones would be snapped up : 
that was certain ; for, even if the men who had 
picked them could not take them, others who 
had been promised puppies before me would 
exchange those they had already chosen for the 
better ones. Still, there were other chances ; and/ 
I thought of very little else all day long, wondering 
if any of the good ones would be left ; and if so, 
which ? 

In the afternoon Ted came up to where we were 
65 E 






all lying in the shade and startled us with the momen- 
tous announcement : 

" Billy Griffiths can't take his pup ! " 

Every man of us sat up. Billy's pup was the first 
pick, the champion of the litter, the biggest and 
strongest of the lot. Several of the others said at 
once that they would exchange theirs for this one ; 
but Ted smiled and shook his head. 

" No," lie said, " you had a good pick in the begin- 
ning." Then he turned to me, and added : " You've 
only had leavings." Some one said " The Rat," and 
there was a shout of laughter, but Ted went on ; 
"You can have Billy's pup.''-*" 

It seemed too good to be true ; not even in my 
wildest imaginings had I fancied myself getting the 
pick of the lot. I hardly waited to thank Ted before 
going off to look at my champion. I had seen and 
admired him times out of number, but it seemed as 
if he must look different now that he belonged to me. 
He was a fine big fellow, well built and strong, and 
looked as if he could beat all the rest put together. 
His legs were straight ; his neck sturdy ; his muzzle 
dark and shapely ; his ears equal and well carried ; 
and in the sunlight his yellow coat looked quite bright, 
with occasional glints of gold in it. He was-- indeed a 
handsome fellow. 

As I put him back again with the others the odd 
puppy, who had stood up and sniffed at me when I 
came, licked my hand and twiddled his tail with the 
friendliest and most independent air, as if he knew me 
quite well and was glad to see me, and I patted the 

66 





" AND THERE AT MY HEELS WAS THE ODD PUPPY " 



poor little chap as he waddled up. I had forgotten 
him in the excitement of getting Billy's pup ; but the 
sight of him made me think of his funny ways, his pluck 
and independence, and of how he had not a friend in 
the world except Jess and me ; and I felt downright 
sorry for him. I picked him up and talked to him ; 
and when his wizened little face was close to mine, 
he opened his mouth as if laughing, and shooting 
out his red tongue dabbed me right on the tip of my 
nose in pure friendliness. The poor little fellow 
looked more ludicrous than ever : he had been feeding 
again and was as tight as a drum; his skin was so 
tight one could not help thinking that if he walked 
over a mimosa thorn and got a scratch on the tummy 
he would burst like a toy balloon. 

I put him back with the other puppies and returned 
to the tree where Ted and the rest were sitting. As 
I came up there was a shout of laughter, and turning 
round to see what had provoked it I found " The 
Rat " at my heels. He had followed me and was 
trotting and stumbling along, tripping every yard 
or so, but getting up again with head erect, ears cocked 
and his stumpy tail twiddling away just as pleased 
and proud as if he thought he had really started in life 
and was doing what only a ' really and truly ' grown- 
up dog is supposed to do that is, follow his master 
wherever he goes. 

All the old chaff and jokes were fired off at me again, 
and I had no peace for quite a time. They all had 
something to say : " He won't swap you off ! " " I'll 
back * The Rat ' ! " " He is going to take care of 






you ! " " He is afraid you'll get lost ! " and so on ; 
and they were still chaffing about it when I grabbed 
" The Rat " and took him back again. 

Billy's failure to take his puppy was so entirely 
unexpected and so important that the subject kept 
cropping up all the evening. It was very amusing 
then to see how each of those who had wanted to get 
him succeeded in finding good reasons for thinking 
that his own puppy was really better than Billy's. 
However they differed in their estimates of each 
other's dogs, they all agreed that the best judge in 
the world could not be certain of picking out the best 
dog in a good litter until the puppies were several 
months old ; and they all gave instances in which 
the best looking puppy had turned out the worst 
dog, and others in which the one that no one would 
look at had grown up to be the champion. Goodness 
knows how long this would have gone on if Robbie 
had not mischievously suggested that " perhaps ' The 
Rat ' was going to beat the whole lot." There was 
such a chorus of guffaws at this that no one told any 
more stories. 

The poor little friendless Rat ! It was unfortunate, 
but the truth is that he was uglier than before ; and 
yet I could not help liking him. I fell asleep that night 
thinking of the two puppies the best and the 
worst in the litter. No sooner had I gone over all 
the splendid points in Billy's pup and made up my 
mind that he was certainly the finest I had ever seen, 
than the friendly wizened little face, the half-cocked 
ears and head on one side, the cocky little stump of 

68 





a tail, and the comical dignified plucky look of the 
odd puppy would all come back to me. The thought 
of how he had licked my hand and twiddled his tail 
at me, and how he dabbed me on the nose, and then 
the manful way in which he had struggled after me 
through the grass, all made my heart go soft to- 
wards him, and I fell asleep not knowing what 
to do. 

When I woke up in the morning, my first thought 
was of the odd puppy how he looked to me as his 
only friend, and what he would feel like if, after looking 
on me as really belonging to him and as the one person 
that he was going to take care of all his life, he knew 
he was to be left behind or given away to any one who 
would take him. It would never have entered his 
head that he required some one to look after him ; 
from the way he had followed me the night before 
it was clear he was looking after me ; and the other 
fellows thought the same thing. His whole manner 
had plainly said : " Never mind old man ! Don't 
you worry : I am here." 

We used to make our first trek at about three 
o'clock in the morning, so as to be outspanned by 
sunrise ; and walking along during that morning 
trek I recalled all the stories that the others had told 
of miserable puppies having grown into wonderful 
dogs, and of great men who had been very ordinary 
children ; and at breakfast I took the plunge. 

" Ted," I said, bracing myself 
for the laughter, " if you don't 
mind, I'll stick to * The Rat.' " 
69 






If I had fired off a gun under their noses they would 
have been much less startled. Robbie made a grab 
for his plate as it slipped from his knees. 

" Don't do that sort of thing ! " he protested 
indignantly. " My nerves won't stand it ! " 

The others stopped eating and drinking, held their 
beakers of steaming coffee well out of the way to get 
a better look at me, and when they saw it was seriously 
meant there was a chorus of : 

" Well, I'm hanged." 

I took him in hand at once for now he was really 
mine and brought him over for his saucer of soaked 
bread and milk to where we sat at breakfast. Beside 
me there was a rough camp table a luxury sometimes 
indulged in while camping or trekking with empty 
waggons on which we put our tinned-milk, treacle 
and such things to keep them out of reach of the 
ants, grasshoppers, Hottentot-gods, beetles and dust. 
I put the puppy and his saucer in a safe place under 
the table out of the way of stray feet, and sank the 
saucer into the sand so that when he trod in it he 
would not spill the food ; for puppies are quite stupid 
as they are greedy, and seem to think that they can 
eat faster by getting further into the dish. He 
appeared to be more ravenous than usual, and we were 
all amused by the way the little fellow craned his thin 
neck out further and further until he tipped up behind 
and his nose bumping into the saucer see-sawed him 
back again. He finished it all and looked round briskly 
at me, licking his lips and twiddling his stumpy tail. 

70 




Well, I meant to make a dog of him, so I gave him 
another lot. He was just like a little child he 
thought he was very hungry still and could eat any 
amount more ; but it was not possible. The lapping 
became slower and more laboured, with pauses every 
now and then to get breath or lick his lips and look 
about him, until at last he was fairly beaten : he could 
only look at it, blink and lick his chops ; and, knowing 
that he would keep on trying, I took the saucer away. 
He was too full to object or to run after it ; he was too 
full to move. He stood where he was, with his legs 
well spread and his little body blown out like a balloon, 
and finished licking the drops and crumbs off his face 
without moving a foot. 

There was something so extraordinarily funny in 
the appearance and attitude of the puppy that we 
watched to see what he would do next. He had been 
standing very close to the leg of the table, but not 
quite touching it, when he finished feeding ; and even 
after he had done washing his face and cleaning up 
generally, he stood there stock still for several minutes, 
as though it was altogether too much trouble to move. 
One little bandy hind leg stuck out behind the table- 
leg, and the bulge of his little tummy stuck out in 
front of it ; so that when at last he decided to make 
a move the very first little lurch brought his hip up 
against the table-leg. In an instant the puppy's appear- 
ance changed completely : the hair on his back and 
shoulders bristled; his head went up erect; one ear stood 
up straight and the other at half cock ; and his stumpy 
tail quivered with rage. He evidently 






^ thought that one of the other puppies had come up be- 
hind to interfere with him. He was too proud to turn 
round and appear to be nervous : with head erect 
he glared hard straight in front of him, and, with all 
the little breath that he had left after his big feed, he 
growled ferociously in comical little gasps. He stood 
like that, not moving an inch, with the front foot 
still ready to take that step forward ; and then, as 
nothing more happened, the hair on his back gradually 
went flat again ; the fierceness died out of his face ; and 
the growling stopped. 

After a minute's pause, he again very slowly and 
carefully began to step forward ; of course exactly 
the same thing happened again, except that this 
time he shook all over with rage, and the growling 
was fiercer and more choky. One could not imagine 
anything so small being in so great a rage. He took 
longer to cool down, too, and much longer before 
he made the third attempt to start. But the third 
time it was all over in a second. He seemed to think 
that this was more than any dog could stand, and that 
he must put a stop to it. The instant his hip touched 
the leg, he whipped round with a ferocious snarl 
his little white teeth bared and gleaming and bumped 
his nose against the table-leg. 

I cannot say whether it was because of the shout 
of laughter from us, or because he really understood 
what had happened, that he looked so foolish, but he 
just gave one crestfallen look at me and with a feeble 
wag of his tail waddled off as fast as he could. 

Then Ted nodded over at me, and said : " I believe 
you have got the champion after all ! " 

And I was too proud to speak. 





PjOCK'S^CHOOLDAYS 

AFTER that day no one spoke of " The Rat " or " The 
Odd Puppy," or used any of the numberless nicknames 
that they had given him, such as " The Specimen," 
" The Object," " No. 6," " Bully Beef " (because he 
got his head stuck in a half-pound tin one day), " The 
Scrap " ; and even " The Duke of Wellington " ceased 
to be a gibe. They still laughed at his ridiculous 
dignity ; and they loved to tease him to see him stiffen 
with rage and hear his choky little growls ; but they 
liked his independence and admired his tremendous 
pluck. So they respected his name when he got one. 

And his name was " Jock." 

No one bothered about the other puppies' names : 
they were known as " Billy's pup," " Jimmy's pup," 
" Old Joe's Darling," " Yellow Jack," and " Bandy- 
Legged Sue " ; but they seemed to think that this little 
chap had earned his name, fighting his way without any- 
body's help and with everything against him ; so they 
gave up all the nicknames and spoke of him as " Jock." 

Jock got such a good advertisement by his fight with 
the table-leg that *"\. every one took notice of 

1 






him now and remarked about what he did; and as he was 
only a very young; puppy, they teased him, fed him, 
petted him, and did their best to spoil him. He was 
so young that it did not seem to matter, but I think 
if he had not been a really good dog at heart he would 
have been quite spoilt. 

He soon began to grow and fill out ; and it was 
then that he taught the other puppies to leave him 
alone. If they had not interfered with him he might 
perhaps have left them alone, as it was not his nature 
to interfere with others ; but the trouble was they 
had bullied him so much while he was weak and help- 
less that he got used to the idea of fighting for every- 
thing. It is probably the best thing that could have 
happened to Jock that as a puppy he was small and 
weak, but fufl of pluck ; it compelled him to learn 
how to fight ; it made him clever, cool, and careful, 
for he could not afford to make mistakes. When he 
fought he meant business ; he went for a good spot, 
bit hard, and hung on for all he was worth ; then, 
as the enemy began to slacken, he would start 
vigorously worrying and shaking. I often saw him 
shake himself off his feet, because the thing he was 
fighting was too heavy for him. 

The day Jock fought the two big puppies one 
after the other for his bone, and beat them off, was 
the day of his independence ; we all saw the tussle, 
and cheered the little chap. And then for one whole 
day he had peace ; but it was like the pause at low 
water before the tide begins to flow the other way. 
He was so used to being interfered with that I suppose 

74 




he did not immediately understand they would never 
tackle him again. 

It took a whole day for him to realise this ; but as 
soon as he did understand it he seemed to make up 
his mind that now his turn had come, and he went 
for the first puppy he saw with a bone. He walked 
up slowly and carefully, and began to make a circle 
round him. When he got about half-way round the 
puppy took up the bone and trotted off ; but Jock 
headed him off at once, and again began to walk 
towards him very slowly and stiffly. The other 
puppy stood quite still for a moment, and then Jock's 
fierce determined look was too much for him : he 
dropped the bone and bolted. 

There was mighty little but smell on those bones, 
for we gave the puppies very little meat, so when Jock 
had taken what he could off this one, he started on 
another hunt. A few yards away Billy's pup was 
having a glorious time, struggling with a big bone 
and growling all the while as if he wanted to let the 
world know that it was as much as any one's life was 
worth to come near him. None of us thought Jock 
would tackle him, as Billy's pup was still a long way 
the biggest and strongest of the puppies, and always 
ready to bully the others. 

Jock was about three or four yards away when he 
caught sight of Billy's pup, and for about a minute 
he stood still and quietly watched. At first he seemed 
surprised, and then interested, and then gradually 
he stiffened up all over in that funny way of his ; 
and when the hair on his shoulders was all on end and 
75 







his ears and tail were properly up, he moved forward 
very deliberately. In this fashion he made a circle 
round Billy's pup, keeping about two feet away from 
him, walking infinitely slowly and glaring steadily 
at the enemy out of the corners of his eyes ; and 
while he was doing this, the other fellow was tearing 
away at his bone, growling furiously and glaring side- 
ways at Jock. When the circle was finished they stood 
once more face to face ; and then after a short pause 
Jock began to move in closer, but more slowly even 
than before. 

Billy's pup did not like this : it was beginning to 
look serious. He could not keep on eating and at 
the same time watch Jock ; moreover, there was such 
a very unpleasant wicked look about Jock, and he moved 
so steadily and silently forward, that any one would 
feel a bit creepy and nervous ; so he put his paw on 
the bone and let out a string of snarly barks, with his 
ears flat on his neck and his tail rather low down. 
But Jock still came on a little more carefully and 
slowly perhaps, but just as steadily as ever. When 
about a foot off the enemy's nose he changed his 
direction slightly, as if to walk past, and Billy's pup 
turned his head to watch him, keeping his nose pointed 
towards Jock's, but when they got side by side he 
again looked straight in front of him. 

Perhaps he did this to make sure the bone was still 
there, or perhaps to show his contempt when he 
thought Jock was going off. Whatever the reason 
was, it was a mistake ; for, as he turned his head away, 
Jock flew at him, got a good mouthful of ear, and in 

76 




no time they were rolling and struggling in the dust 
Jock's little grunts barely audible in the noise made 
by the other one. Billy's pup was big and strong, 
and he was not a coward ; but Jock was worrying his 
ear vigorously, and he could not find anything to bite 
in return. In less than a minute he began to howl, 
and was making frantic efforts to get away. Then 
Jock let go the ear and tackled the bone. 

After that he had no more puppy fights. As soon 
as any one of the others saw Jock begin to walk slowly 
and carefully towards him he seemed to suddenly get 
tired of his bone, and moved off. 

Most dogs like most people when their hearts 
fail them will try to hide the truth from one another 
and make some sort of effort or pretence to keep their 
dignity or self-respect or the good opinion of others. 
You may see it all any day in the street, when dogs 
meet and stop to * size ' each other up. As a rule 
the perfectly shameless cowards are found in the two 
extreme classes the outcasts, whose spirits are broken 
by all the world being against them ; and the pam- 
pered darlings, who have never had to do anything 
for themselves. Many dogs who are clearly anxious 
to get out of fighting will make a pretence of bravery 
at the time, or at least cover up their cowardice, with 
a ' wait-till-I-catch-you-next-time ' air, as soon as 
they are at a safe distance. Day after day at the out- 
spans the puppies went through every stage of the 
business, to our constant amusement and to my 
unconcealed pride ; for Jock was thenceforth cock 
of the walk. If they saw him some distance off 

77 






moving towards them or even staring hard and with 
his ears and tail up, the retreat would be made with 
a gloomy and dignified air, sometimes even with growls 
just loud enough to please themselves without provok- 
ing him ; if he was fairly close up when spotted they 
wasted no time in putting on airs, but trotted off 
promptly; but sometimes they would be too busy 
to notice anything until a growl or a rustle in the 
grass close behind gave warning ; and it was always 
followed by a jump and a shameless scuttle, very often 
accompanied by a strangled sort of yowling yelp, just 
as if he had already got them by the ear or throat. 

Some of them became so nervous that we could 
not resist playing practical jokes on them making 
sudden strange noises, imitating Jock's growls, tossing 
bits of bark at them or touching them from behind 
with a stick while they were completely occupied with 
their bones for the fun of seeing the stampede and 
hearing the sudden howls of surprise and fright. 

One by one the other puppies were taken away by 
their new masters, and before Jock was three months 
old he and Jess were the only dogs with the waggons. 
Then he went to school, and like all schoolboys learnt 
some things very quickly the things that he liked ; 
and some things he learnt very slowly, and hated them 
just as a boy hates extra work in play- time. When I 
poked about with a stick in the banks of dongas to 
turn out mice and field-rats for him, or when I hid a 
partridge or a hare and made him find it, he was as 
happy as could be ; but when I made him lie down 
and watch my gun or coat while I pretended to go 

- 78 



tt 



off and leave him, he did not like it ; and as for his 
lessons in manners ! well, he simply hated them. 

There are some things which a dog in that sort of 
life simply must learn or you cannot keep him ; and 
the first of these is, not to steal. Every puppy will 
help himself until he is taught not to ; and your dog 
lives with you and can get at everything. At the out- 
spans the grub-box is put on the ground, open for 
each man to help himself ; if you make a stew, or roast 
the leg of a buck, the big three-legged pot is put 
down handy and left there ; if you are lucky enough 
to have some tinned butter or condensed milk, the 
tins are opened and stood on the ground ; and if you 
have a dog thief in the camp, nothing is safe. 

There was a dog with us once a year or two later 
who was the worst thief I ever knew. He was a one- 
eyed pointer with feet like a duck's, and his name was 
Snarleyow. He looked the most foolish and most 
innocent dog in the world, and was so timid that if 
you stumbled as you passed him he would instantly 
start howling and run for the horizon. The first 
bad experience I had of Snarley was on one of the 
little hunting trips which we sometimes made in 
those days, away from the waggons. We travelled 
light on those occasions, and, except for some tea 
and a very little flour and salt, took no food ; we 
lived on what we shot and of course kept * hunter's pot.' 

' Hunter's pot ' is a perpetual stew ; you make 
one stew, and keep it going as long as necessary, main- 
taining a full pot_. ^=~-_ by adding 
to it as fast as you ^- 3 take any out ; 

79 






scraps of everything go in ; any kind of meat buck, 
bird, pig, hare and if you have such luxuries as 
onions or potatoes, so much the better ; then, to 
make the soup strong, the big bones are added 
the old ones being fished out every day and replaced 
by a fresh lot. When allowed to cool it sets like 
brawn, and a hungry hunter wants nothing better. 

We had had a good feed the first night of this trip 
and had then filled the pot up leaving it to simmer 
as long as the fire lasted, expecting to have cold 
pie set in jelly but without the pie-crust for early 
breakfast next morning before going off for the day ; 
but, to our amazement, in the morning the pot was 
empty. : :, There were some strange kaffirs camp 
followers hanging on to our trail for what they could 
pick up, and we suspected them. There was a great 
row, but the boys denied having touched the pot, 
and we could prove nothing. 

That night we made the fire close to our sleeping- 
place and moved the kaffirs further away, but next 
morning the pot was again empty cleaned and 
polished as if it had been washed out. While we, 
speechless with astonishment and anger, were wonder- 
ing who the thief was and what we should do with 
him, one of the hunting boys came up and pointed 
to the prints of a dog's feet in the soft white 
ashes of the dead fire. There was only one 
word : " Snarleyow." The thief was lying 
fast asleep comfortably curled up on 
his master's clothes. There could 
be no mistake about those big 

80 




<: THE LAST WE SAW OF OUR BIRTHDAY TREAT " 



splayed footprints, and in about two minutes Snar- 
leyow was getting a first-class hammering, with his 
head tied inside the three-legged pot for a lesson. 

After that he was kept tied up at night ; but 
Snarleyow was past curing. We had practically 
nothing to eat but what we shot, and nothing to drink 
but bush tea that is, tea made from a certain wild 
shrub with a very strong scent ; it is not nice, but 
you drink it when you cannot get anything else. 
We could not afford luxuries then, but two days 
before Ted's birthday he sent a runner off to Komati 
Drift and bought a small tin of ground coffee and a 
tin of condensed milk for his birthday treat. It was 
to be a real feast that day, so he cut the top off the 
tin instead of punching two holes and blowing the 
milk out, as we usually did in order to economise 
and keep out the dust and insects. What we could 
not use in the coffee that day we were going to spread 
on our * doughboys ' instead of butter and jam. It 
was to be a real feast ! 

The five of us sat down in a circle and began on 
our hunter's pot, saving the good things for the last. 
While we were still busy on the stew, there came a 
pathetic heartbreaking yowl from Snarleyow, and 
we looked round just in time to see him, his tail tucked 
between his legs and his head high in the air, bolting 
off into the bush as hard as he could lay legs to the 
ground, with the milk tin stuck firmly on to his nose. 
The greedy thief in trying to get the last scrap out had 
dug his nose and top jaw too far in, and the jagged edges 
of the tin had gripped him ; and the last we saw of 
81 







our birthday treat was the tin flashing in the sunlight 
on Snarley's nose as he tore away howling into the bush. 

Snarleyow came to a bad end : his master shot him 
as he was running off with a ham. He was a full- 
grown dog when he came to our camp, and too old 
to learn principles and good manners. 

Dogs are like people : what they learn when they 
are young, whether of good or of evil, is not readily 
forgotten. I began early with Jock, and remember- 
ing what Rocky had said tried to help him. It is 
little use punishing a dog for stealing if you take no 
trouble about feeding him. That is very rough on 
the dog ; he has to find out slowly and by himself 
what he may take, and what he may not. Sometimes 
he leave* what he was meant to take, and goes hungry ; 
and sometimes takes what was not intended for him, 
and gets a thrashing. That is not fair. You cannot 
expect to have a good dog, and one that will understand 
you, if you treat him in that way. Some men teach 
their dogs not to take food from any one but themselves. 
One day when we were talking about training dogs, 
Ted told one of the others to open Jess's mouth and 
put a piece of meat in it, he undertaking not to say 
a word and not even to look at her. The meat was 
put in her mouth and her jaws were shut tight on it ; 
but the instant she was free she dropped it, walked 
round to the other side of Ted and sat close up to him. 
He waited for a minute or so and, without so much 
as a glance at her, said quietly " All right." She was 
back again in a second and with one hungry bite 
bolted the lump of meat. 

82 




I taught Jock not to touch food in camp until he 
was told to ' take it.' The lesson began when he got 
his saucer of porridge in the morning ; and he must 
have thought it cruel to have that put in front of him, 
and then to be held back or tapped with a finger on 
the nose each time he tried to dive into it. At first 
he struggled and fought to get at it ; then he tried 
to back away and dodge round the other side ; then 
he became dazed, and, thinking it was not for him at 
all, wanted to walk off and have nothing more to do 
with it. In a few days, however, I got him to lie still 
and take it only when I patted him and pushed him 
towards it ; and in a very little time he got on so well 
that I could put his food down without saying any- 
thing and let him wait for permission. He would lie 
down with his head on his paws and his nose right 
up against the saucer, so as to lose no time when the 
order came ; but he would not touch it until he 
heard ' Take it.' He never moved his head, but his 
little browny dark eyes, full of childlike eagerness, 
used to be turned up sideways and fixed on mine. I 
believe he watched my lips ; he was so quick to obey 
the order when it came. 

When he grew up and had learned his lessons there 
was no need for these exercises. He got to under- 
stand me so well that if I nodded or moved my hand 
in a way that meant * all right,' he would go ahead : 
by that time too he was dignified and patient; and 
it was only in his puppyhood that he used to crouch 
up close to his food and tremble with impatience 
and excitement. 
83 






There was one lesson that he hated most of all. 
I used to balance a piece of meat on his nose and make 
him keep it there until the word to take it came. 
Time after time he would close his eyes as if the sight 
of the meat was more than he could bear, and his 
mouth would water so from the savoury smell that 
long streels of dribble would hang down on either 
side. 

It seems unnecessary and even cruel to tantalise 
a dog in that way ; but it was not : it was education ; 
and it was true kindness. It taught him to under- 
stand his master, and to be obedient, patient, and 
observant ; it taught him not to steal ; it saved him 
from much sickness, and perhaps death, by teaching him 
not to feed on anything he could find ; it taught him 
manners and made it possible for him to live with 
his master and be treated like a friend. 

Good feeding, good care, and plenty of exercise 
soon began to make a great change in Jock. He ceased 
to look like a beetle grew bigger everywhere, not 
only in one part as he had done at first ; his neck grew 
thick and strong, and his legs straightened up and 
filled out with muscle. The others, seeing him 
every day, were slow to notice these things, but my 
sand had been changed into gold long ago, and they 
always said I could not see anything wrong in Jock. 

There was one other change which came more slowly 
and seemed to me much more wonderful. After his 
morning feed, if there was nothing to do, he used to 
go to sleep in some shady place, and I remember well 
one day watching him as he lay. His bit of shade 




had moved away and left him in the bright sunshine ; 
and as he breathed and his ribs rose and fell, the tips 
of the hairs on his side and back caught the sunlight 
and shone like polished gold, and the wavy dark lines 
seemed more distinct and darker, but still very soft. 
In fact, I was astonished to see that in a certain light 
Jock looked quite handsome. That was the first time 
I noticed the change in colour ; and it made me 
remember two things. The first was what the other 
fellows had said the day Billy gave up his pup, " You 
can't tell how a puppy will turn out : even his colour 
changes " ; and the second was a remark made by 
an old hunter who had offered to buy Jock the real 
meaning of which I did not understand at the time. 

" The best dog I ever owned was a golden brindle," 
said the old man thoughtfully, after I had laughed 
at the idea of selling my dog. I had got so used to 
thinking that he was only a faded wishy-washy edition 
of Jess that the idea of his colour changing did not 
occur to me then, and I never suspected that the old 
man could see how he would turn out ; but the touch 
of sunlight opened my eyes that day, and after that 
whenever I looked at Jock the words " golden brindle " 
came back to my mind, and I pictured him as he was 
going to be and as he really did grow up having 
a coat like burnished gold with soft, dark, wavy 
brindles in it and that snow-white V on his chest. 

Jock had many things to learn besides the lessons 
he got from me the lessons of experience which 
nobody could teach him. When he was six months 
old just old enough, if he had lived in a town, to 
85 






chase a cat and make a noise he knew many things 
that respectable puppies of twice his age who stay at 
home never get a chance of learning. 

On trek there were always new places to see, new 
roads to travel, and new things to examine, tackle 
or avoid. He learnt something fresh almost every 
day : he learnt, for instance, that, although it was 
shady and cool under the waggon, it was not good 
enough to lie in the wheel track, not even for the 
pleasure of feeling the cool iron tyre against your back 
or head as you slept ; and he knew that, because one day 
he had done it and the wheel had gone over his foot ; 
and it might just as easily have been his back or head. 
Fortunately the sand was soft and his foot was not 
crushed ; but he was very lame for some days, and 
had to travel on the waggon. 

He learned a good deal from Jess : among other 
things, that it was not necessary to poke his nose up 
against a snake in order to find out what it was. He 
knew that Jess would fight anything ; and when 
one day he saw her back hair go up and watched her 
sheer off the footpath wide into the grass, he did the 
same ; and then when we had shot the snake, both 
he and Jess came up very very cautiously and sniffed 
at it, with every hair on their bodies standing up. 

He found out for himself that it was not a good 
idea to turn a scorpion over with his paw. The 
vicious little tail with a thorn in it whipped over the 
scorpion's back, and Jock had such a foot that he must 
have thought a scorpion worse than two waggons. 
He was a very sick dog for some days ; but after that, 

86 




whenever he saw a thing that he did not understand, 
he would watch it very carefully from a little way 
off and notice what it did and what it looked like, 
before trying experiments. 

So, little by little, Jock got to understand plenty of 
things that no town dog would ever know, and he got 
to know just as some people do by what we call 
instinct, whether a thing was dangerous or safe, even 
though he had never seen anything like it before. 
That is how he knew that wolves or lions were about 
and that they were dangerous when he heard or 
scented them ; although he had never seen, scented 
or heard one before to know what sort of animal it 
might be. You may well wonder how he could tell 
whether the scent or the cry belonged to a wolf which 
he must avoid, or to a buck which he might hunt, 
when he had never seen either a wolf or a buck at 
the time ; but he did know ; and he also knew that 
no dog could safely go outside the ring of the camp 
fires when wolf or lion was about. I have known 
many town-bred dogs that could scent them just 
as well as Jess or Jock could, but having no instinct 
of danger they went out to see what it was, and of 
course they never came back. 

I used to take Jock with me everywhere so that he 
could learn everything that a hunting dog ought to 
know, and above all things to learn that he was my 
dog, and to understand all that I wanted to tell him. 
So while he was still a puppy, whenever he stopped 
to sniff at something new or to look at something 
strange, I would show him what it was ; but if he 
87 






stayed behind to explore while I moved on, or if he 
fell asleep and did not hear me get up from where I 
had sat down to rest, or went off the track on his own 
account, I used to hide away from him on top of a 
rock or up a tree and let him hunt about until he 
found me. 

At first he used to be quite excited when he missed 
me, but after a little time he got to know what to do 
and would sniff along the ground and canter away 
after me always finding me quite easily. Even if 
I climbed a tree to hide from him he would follow 
my track to the foot of the tree, sniff up the trunk 
as far as he could reach standing up against it, and then 
peer up into the branches. If he could not see me 
from one place, he would try another always with his 
head tilted a bit on one side. He never barked at 
these times ; but as soon as he saw me, his ears would 
drop, his mouth open wide with the red tongue lolling 
out, and the stump of a tail would twiggle away to 
show how pleased he was. Sometimes he would give a 
few little whimpery grunts : he hardly ever barked ; when 
he did I knew there was something worth looking at. 

Jock was not a quarrelsome dog, and he was quick 
to learn and very obedient, but in one connection 
I had great difficulty with him for quite a little time. 
He had a sort of private war with the fowls ; and it 
was due to the same cause as his war with the other 
puppies : they interfered with him. Now, every one 
knows what a fowl is like : it is impudent, inquisitive, 
selfish, always looking for something to eat, and has 
principles. 

88 



A friend of mine once told me a story about a dog 
of his and the trouble he had with fowls. Several of 
us had been discussing the characters of dogs, and the 
different emotions they feel and manage to express, 
and the kind of things they seem to think about. 
Every one knows that a dog can feel angry, frightened, 
pleased, and disappointed. Any one who knows dogs 
will tell you that they can also feel anxious, hopeful, 
nervous, inquisitive, surprised, ashamed, interested, 
sad, loving, jealous, and contented just like human 
beings. 

We had told many stories illustrating this, when 
my friend asked the question : " Have dogs a sense of 
humour ? " Now I know that Jock looked very 
foolish the day he fought the table-leg and a silly 
old hen made him look just as foolish another day 
but that is not quite what my friend meant. On 
both occasions Jock clearly felt that he had made 
himself look ridiculous ; but he was very far from 
looking amused. The question was : Is a dog capable 
of sufficient thinking to appreciate a simple joke, 
and is it possible for a dog to feel amused. If Jess 
had seen Jock bursting to fight the table-leg 
would she have seen the joke ? Well, I certainly did 
not think so ; but he said he was quite certain some 
dogs have a sense of humour ; and he had had proof 
of it. 

He told the story very gravely, but I really do not 
even now know whether he Well, here it is : He 
had once owned a savage old watch-dog, whose box 
stood in the back-yard where he was kept chained up 
89 







all day ; he used to be fed once a day in the morn- 
ings and the great plague of his life was the fowls. 
They ran loose in the yard and picked up food all day, 
besides getting a really good feed of grain morning 
and evening ; possibly the knowledge of this made 
the old dog particularly angry when they would come 
round by ones or twos or dozens trying to steal part 
of his one meal. Anyhow, he hated them, and 
whenever he got a chance killed them. The old fowls 
learned to keep out of his way and never ventured 
within his reach unless they were quite sure that he 
was asleep or lying in his kennel where he could not 
see them ; but there were always new fowls coming, 
or young ones growing up ; and so the war went on. 

One Sunday morning my friend was enjoying a 
smoke on his back stoep when feeding time came 
round. The cook took the old dog's food to him in 
a high three-legged pot, and my friend, seeing the 
fowls begin to gather round and wishing to let the old 
dog have his meal in peace, told the cook to give the 
fowls a good feed in another part of the yard to draw 
them off. So the old fellow polished off his food 
and licked the pot clean, leaving not a drop or a speck 
behind. 

But fowls are very greedy ; they were soon back 
again wandering about, with their active-looking 
eyes searching everything. The old .' dog, feeling 
pretty satisfied with life, picked out a sandy spot in 
the sunshine, threw himself down full stretch on his 
side, and promptly went to sleep at peace with all 
the world. Immediately he did this, out stepped a 

90 



long-legged athletic-looking young cockerel and began 
to advance against the enemy. As he got nearer 
he slowed down, and looked first with one eye and then 
with the other so as to make sure that all was safe, 
and several times he paused with one foot poised high 
before deciding to take the next step. My friend 
was greatly amused to see all the trouble that the fowl 
was taking to get up to the empty pot, and, for the 
fun of giving the conceited young cockerel a fright, 
threw a pebble at him. He was so nervous that when 
the pebble dropped near him, he gave one great 
bound and tore off flapping and screaming down the 
yard as if he thought the old dog was after him. The 
old fellow himself was startled out of his sleep, and 
raised his head to see what the row was about ; but, 
as nothing more happened, he lay down again, and 
the cockerel, finding also that it was a false alarm, 
turned back not a bit ashamed for another try. 

The cockerel had not seen the old dog lift his head ; 
my friend had, and when he looked again he saw that, 
although the underneath eye half buried in the sand 
was shut, the top eye was open and was steadily watch- 
ing the cockerel as he came nearer and nearer to the 
pot. My friend sat dead still, expecting a rush and 
another fluttering scramble. At last the cockerel 
took the final step, craned his neck to its utmost 
and peered down into the empty pot. The old dog 
gave two gentle pats with his tail in the sand, and closing 
his eye went to sleep again. 




9 1 



Jock had the same sort of trouble. The fowls tried 





to steal his food ; and he would not stand it. His way 
of dealing with them was not good for their health : 
before I could teach him not to kill, and before the 
fowls would learn not to steal, he had finished half a 
dozen of them one after another with just one bite 
a shake. He would growl very low as they came 
up and, without lifting his head from the plate, watch 
them with his little eyes turning from soft brown to 
shiny black ; and when they came too near and tried 
to snatch just one mouthful well, one jump, one shake, 
and it was all over. 

In the end he learned to tumble them over and 
scare their wits out without hurting them ; and they 
learned to give him a very wide berth. 

I used always to keep some fowls with the waggons, 
partly to have fresh meat if we ran out of game, but 
mainly to have fresh eggs, which were a very great 
treat ; and as a rule it was only when a hen turned 
obstinate and would not lay that we ate her. I used 
to have one old rooster, whose name was Pezulu, and 
six or eight hens. The hens changed from time to 
time as we ate them but Pezulu remained. 

The fowl-coop was carried on top of everything 
else, and it was always left open so that the fowls 
could go in and out as they liked. In the very begin- 
ning of all, of course, the fowls were shut in and fed 
in the coop for a day or two to teach them where 
their home was ; but it is surprising how quickly 
a fowl will learn and how it observes things. For 
instance, the moving of the coop from one waggon 
to another is not a thing one would expect the fowls 

92 




to notice, all the waggons being so much alike and 
having no regular order at the outspans ; but they 
did notice it, and at once. They would first get on 
to the waggon on which the coop had been, and look 
about in a puzzled lost kind of way ; then walk all 
over the load apparently searching for it, with heads 
cocked this way and that, as if a great big coop was 
a thing that might have been mislaid somewhere ; 
then one after another would jerk out short cackles 
of protest, indignation and astonishment, and generally 
make no end of a fuss. It was only when old Pezulu 
led the way and perched on the coop itself and crowed 
and called to them that they would get up on to the 
other waggon. 

name by accident in fact, by a 
It is a Zulu word meaning ( up ' 

when the fowls first joined the 
waggons and were allowed to wander about at the 
outspan places, the boys would drive them up when it 
was time to trek again by cracking their big whips 
and shouting " Pezulu." In a few days no driving or 
whip-cracking was necessary; one of the boys would 
shout " Pezulu " three or four times, and they would 
all come in and one by one fly and scramble up to the 
coop. One day, after we had got a new lot of hens, 
a stranger happened to witness the performance. 
Old Pezulu was the only one who knew what was 
meant, and being a terribly fussy nervous old gentle- 
man, came tearing out of the bush making a lot of 
noise, and scrambled hastily on to the waggon. The 
stranger, hearing the boys call " Pezulu " and seeing 

93 




t_ _ 

Pezulu got his 
misunderstanding, 
or * on top,' and 





him hurry up so promptly, remarked : " How well 
he knows his name ! " So we called him Pezulu after 
that. 

Whenever we got new fowls Pezulu became as dis- 
tracted as a nervous man with a large family trying 
to find seats in an excursion train. As soon as he saw 
the oxen being brought up, and before any one had 
called for the fowls, he would begin fussing and 
fuming trying all sorts of dodges to get the hens 
up to the waggons. He would crow and cluck-cluck 
or kip-kip ; he would go a few yards towards the 
waggons and scratch in the ground, pretending to 
have found something good, and invite them to come 
and share it ; he would get on the disselboom and 
crow and flap his wings loudly ; and finally he would 
mount on top of the coop and make all sorts of signals 
to the hens, who took not the least notice of him. 
As the inspanning went on he would get more and more 
excited ; down he would come again not flying off, 
but hopping from ledge to ledge to show them the 
easy way ; and once more on the ground he would scrape 
and pick and cluck to attract them, and the whole 
game would be played over again and again. So 
even with new fowls we had very little trouble, as old 
Pezulu did most of the teaching. 

But sometimes Pezulu himself was caught napping 
to the high delight of the boys. He was so nervous 
and so fussy that they thought it great fun to play 
tricks on him and pretend to go off and leave him 
behind. It was not easy to do this because, as I say, 
he did not wait to be called, but got ready the minute 

94 




he saw the oxen coming up. He was like those fussy 
people who drive every one else crazy and waste a lot 
of time by always being half an hour early, and then 
annoy you by boasting that they have never missed 
a train in their lives. 

But there was one way in which Pezulu used to get 
caught. Just as he knew that inspanning meant 
starting, so, too, he knew that outspanning meant 
stopping ; and whenever the waggons stopped 
even for a few minutes out would pop his head, 
just like the fussy red-faced father of the big family 
looking out to see if it was their station or an accident 
on the line. Right and left he would look, giving 
excited inquisitive clucks from time to time, and if 
they did not start in another minute or two, he would 
get right out and walk anxiously to the edge of the load 
and have another good look around as the nervous 
old gentleman gets half out, and then right out, to 
look for the guard, but will not let go the handle of the 
door for fear of being left. Unless he saw the boys 
outspanning he would not get off, and if one of the 
hens ventured out he would rush back at her in a 
great state and try to bustle her back into the coop. 
But often it happens while trekking that something 
goes wrong with the gear a yokeskey or a nekstrop 
breaks, or an ox will not pull kindly or pulls too hard 
where he is, and you want to change his place ; and in 
that way it comes about that sometimes you have to 
outspan one or two or even more oxen in the middle 
of a trek. 

That is how Peeulu used to get caught : the minute 

95 












he saw outspanning begin, he would nip off with all 
the hens following him and wander about looking for 
food, chasing locusts or grasshoppers, and making darts 
at beetles and all sorts of dainties very much interested 
in his job and wandering further from the waggons 
at every step. The boys would watch him, and as soon 
as they were fixed up again, would start off without 
a word of warning to Pezulu. Then there was a 
scene. At the first sound of the waggon-wheels 
moving he would look up from where he was or walk 
briskly into the open or get on to an ant-heap to 
see what was up, and when to his horror he saw 
the waggon actually going without him, he simply 
screamed open-mouthed and tore along with wings 
outstretched the old gentleman shouting " Stop 
the train, stop the train," with his family straggling 
along behind him. It never took him long to catch 
up and scramble on, but even then he was not a bit 
less excited : he was perfectly hysterical, and his big 
red comb seemed to get quite purple as if he might 
be going to have apoplexy, and he twitched and jerked 
about so that it flapped first over one eye and then over 
the other. This was the boys' practical joke which 
they played on him whenever they could. 

That was old Pezulu Pezulu the First. He was 
thick in the body, all chest and tail, short in the legs, 
and had enormous spurs ; and his big comb made him 
& look so red in the face that one could not help think- 
ing he was too fond of his dinner. In some old 
% Christmas number we came across a coloured carica- 
ture of a militia colonel in full uniform, and for quite 



a long time it remained tacked on to the coop with 
" Pezulu " written on it. 

Pezulu the Great who was Pezulu the Second 
was not like that : he was a game cock, all muscle 
and no frills, with a very resolute manner and a real 
love of his profession ; he was a bit like Jock in some 
things ; and that is why I fancy perhaps Jock and he 
were friends in a kind of way. But Jock could not 
get on with the others : they were constantly chang- 
ing ; new ones who had to be taught manners were 
always coming ; so he just lumped them together, 
and hated fowls. He taught them manners, but 
they taught him something too at any rate, one of 
them did ; and one of the biggest surprises and best 
lessons Jock ever had was given him by a hen while he 
was still a growing-up puppy. 

He was beginning to fancy that he knew a good 
deal, and like most young dogs was very inquisitive 
and wanted to know everything and at once. At 
that time he was very keen on hunting mice, rats 
and bush squirrels, and had even fought and killed 
a meerkat after the plucky little rikkitikki had bitten 
him rather badly through the lip ; and he was still 
much inclined to poke his nose in or rush on to things 
instead of sniffing round about first. 

However, he learned to be careful, and an old hen 
helped to teach him. The hens usually laid their 
eggs in the coop because it was their home, but some- 
times they would make nests in the bush at the outspan 
places. One of the hens had done this, and the bush 
she had chosen was very low and dense. No one saw 
97 G 






the hen make the nest and no one saw her sitting on 
it, for the sunshine was so bright everywhere else, 
and the shade of the bush so dark that it was impossible 
to see anything there ; but while we were at breakfast 
Jock, who was bustling about everywhere as a puppy 
will, must have scented the hen or have seen this 
brown thing in the dark shady hole. 

The hen was sitting with her head sunk right down 
into her chest, so that he could not see any head, 
eyes or beak just a sort of brown lump. Suddenly 
we saw Jock stand stock-still, cock up one ear, put 
his head down and his nose out, hump up his shoulders 
a bit and begin to walk very slowly forward in a crouch- 
ing attitude. He lifted his feet so slowly and so softly 
that you could count five between each step. We 
were all greatly amused and thought he was pointing 
a mouse or a locust, and we watched him. 

He crept up like a boy * showing off ' until he 
was only six inches from the object, giving occasional 
cautious glances back at us to attract attention. Just 
as he got to the hole the hen let out a vicious peck on 
the top of his nose and at the same time flapped over 
his head, screaming and cackling for dear life. It was 
all so sudden and so surprising that she was gone 
before he could think of making a grab at her ; and 
when he heard our shouts of laughter he looked as 
foolish as if he understood all about it. 





JOCK'S first experience in hunting was on *" 
the Crocodile River not far from the spot where long 
afterwards we had the great fight with The Old Croco- 
dile. In the summer when the heavy rains flood the 
country the river runs ' bank high,' hiding everything 
reeds, rocks, islands, and stunted trees in some places 
silent and oily like a huge gorged snake, in others 
foaming and turbulent as an angry monster. In the 
rainless winter when the water is low and clear the 
scene is not so grand, but is quiet, peaceful, and much 
more beautiful. There is an infinite variety in it 
then the river sometimes winding along in one 
deep channel, but more often forking out into two or 
three streams in the broad bed. The loops and lacings 
of the divided water carve out islands and spaces of all 
shapes and sizes, banks of clean white sand or of firm 
damp mud swirled up by the floods, on which tall 
green reeds with yellow tasselled tops shoot up like 
crops of Kaffir corn. Looked down upon from the 
flood banks the silver streaks of water gleam brightly 
in the sun, and the graceful reeds, bowing and swaying 

99 




2i 

slowly with the gentlest breeze and alternately show- 
ing their leaf-sheathed stems and crested tops, give 
5 the appearance of an ever-changing sea of green and 
' gold. Here and there a big rock, black and polished, 
stands boldly out, and the sea of reeds laps round it 
like the waters of a lake on a bright still day. When 
_ there is no breeze the rustle of the reeds is hushed, 
v^ and the only constant sound is the ever-varying voice 
of the water, lapping, gurgling, chattering, murmur- 
ing, as it works its way along the rocky channels ; some- 
times near and loud, sometimes faint and distant ; 
and sometimes, over long sandy reaches, there is no 
sound at all. 

Get up on some vantage point upon the high bank 
and look down there one day in the winter of the 
tropics as the heat and hush of noon approach, 
and it will seem indeed a scene of peace and beauty 
a place to rest and dream, where there is neither stir 
nor sound. Then, as you sit silently watching and 
thinking, where all the world is so infinitely still, 
you will notice that one reed down among all those 
countless thousands is moving. It bows slowly and 
gracefully a certain distance, and then with a quivering 
shuddering motion straightens itself still more slowly 
and with evident difficulty, until at last it stands up- 
right again like the rest but still all a-quiver while 
they do not move a leaf. Just as you are beginning 
to wonder what the reason is, the reed bows slowly 
again, and again struggles back ; and so it goes on as 
regularly as the swing of a pendulum. Then you 
know that, down at the roots where you cannot see 
it, the water is flowing silently, and that something 

100 



attached to this reed is dragging in the stream and 
pulling it over, and swinging back to do it again 
each time the reed lifts it free a perpetual see- 
saw. 

You are glad to find the reason, because it looked 
a little uncanny ; but the behaviour of that one reed 
has stopped your dreaming and made you look about 
more carefully. Then you find that, although the 
reeds appear as still as the rocks, there is hardly a spot 
where, if you watch for a few minutes, you will not 
see something moving. A tiny field-mouse climbing 
one reed will sway it over ; a river rat gnawing at the 
roots will make it shiver and rustle ; little birds 
hopping from one to another will puzzle you ; and 
a lagavaan turning in his sunbath will make half a 
dozen sway outwards. 

All feeling that it is a home of peace, a place to rest 
and dream, leaves you ; you are wondering what goes 
on down below the green and gold where you can see 
nothing ; and when your eye catches a bigger, slower, 
continuous movement in another place, and for twenty 
yards from the bank to the stream you see the tops of 
the reeds silently and gently parting and closing again 
as something down below works its way along without 
the faintest sound, the place seems too quiet, too 
uncanny and mysterious, too silent, stealthy and 
treacherous for you to sit still in comfort : you must 
get up and do something. 

There is always good shooting along the rivers in 
a country where water is scarce. Partridges, bush- 
pheasants and stembuck were plentiful along the 
banks and among the thorns, but the reeds themselves 
101 







I 



were the home of thousands of guinea-fowl, and you 
could also count on duiker and rietbuck as almost a 
certainty there. If this were all, it would be like 
shooting in a well-stocked cover, but it is not only 
man that is on the watch for game at the drinking- 
places. The beasts of prey lions, tigers, hyenas, 
wild dogs and jackals, and lastly pythons and croco- 
diles know that the game must come to water, and 
they lie in wait near the tracks or the drinking-places. 
That is what makes the mystery and charm of the 
reeds ; you never know what you will put up. The 
lions and tigers had deserted the country near the 
main drifts and followed the big game into more 
peaceful parts ; but the reeds were still the favourite 
shelter and resting-place of the crocodiles ; and there 
were any number of them left. 

There is nothing that one comes across in hunting 
more horrible and loathsome than the crocodile : nothing 
that rouses the feeling of horror and hatred as it does : 
nothing that so surely and quickly gives the sensation of 
1 creeps in the back ' as the noiseless apparition of one in 
the water just where you least expected anything, or the 
discovery of one silently and intently watching you 
with its head resting flat on a sand-spit the thing 
you had seen half a dozen times before and mistaken 
for a small rock Many things are hunted in the 
Bushveld ; but only the crocodile is hated. There is 
always the feeling of horror that this hideous, cowardly, 
cruel thing the enemy of man and beast alike with 
its look of a cunning smile in the greeny glassy eyes 
and great wide mouth, will mercilessly drag you down 

102 



down down to the bottom of some deep still 
pool, and hold you there till you drown. Utterly 
helpless yourself to escape or fight, you cannot even 
call, and if you could, no one could help you there. 
It is all done in silence : a few bubbles come up where 
a man went down ; and that is the end of it. 

We all knew about the crocodiles and were pre- 
pared for them, but the sport was good, and when 
you are fresh at the game and get interested in a hunt 
it is not very easy to remember all the things you 
have been warned about and the precautions you were 
told to take. It was on the first day at the river that one 
of our party, who was not a very old hand at hunting, 
came in wet and muddy and told us how a crocodile 
had scared the wits out of him. He had gone out 
after guinea-fowl, he said, but as he had no dog to 
send in and flush them, the birds simply played with 
him : they would not rise but kept running in the 
reeds a little way in front of him, just out of sight. 
He could hear them quite distinctly, and thinking 
to steal a march on them took off his boots and got 
on to the rocks. Stepping bare-footed from rock to 
rock where the reeds were thin, he made no noise 
at all and got so close up that he could hear the little 
whispered chink-chink-chink that they give when ! 
near danger. The only chance of getting a shot 
at them was to mount one of the big rocks from which 
he could see down into the reeds ; and he worked his gjj 
way along a mud-bank towards one. A couple more 
steps from the mud-bank on to a low black rock would 
take him to the big one. Without taking his eyes off 
103 





the reeds where the guinea-fowl were he stepped 
cautiously on to the low black rock, and in an instant 
was swept off his feet, tossed and tumbled over and 
over, into the mud and reeds, and there was a noise of 
furious rushing and crashing as if a troop of elephants 
were stampeding through the reeds. He had stepped 
on the back of a sleeping crocodile ; no doubt it was 
every bit as frightened as he was. There was much 
laughter over this and the breathless earnestness with 
which he told the story ; but there was also a good deal 
of chaff, for it seems to be generally accepted that 
you are not bound to believe all hunting stories ; and 
Jim and his circus crocodile became the joke of the 
camp. 

We were spending a couple of days on the river 
bank to make the most of the good water and grazing, 
and all through the day some one or other would be 
out pottering about among the reeds, gun in hand, 
to keep the pot full and have some fun, and although 
we laughed and chaffed about Jim's experience, I fancy 
we were all very much on the look-out for rocks that 
looked like crocs and crocs that looked like rocks. 

One of the most difficult lessons that a beginner 
has to learn is to keep cool. The keener you are the 
more likely you are to get excited and the more 
bitterly you feel the disappointments ; and once you 
lose your head, there is no mistake too stupid for you 
to make, and the result is another good chance spoilt. 
The great silent bush is so lonely ; the strain of being 
on the look-out all the time is so great ; the un- 
certainty as to what may start up anything from 

104 








JlM's CIRCUS CROCODILE 



a partridge to a lion is so trying that the 
beginner is wound up like an alarum clock and 
goes off at the first touch. He is not fit to hit 
a haystack at twenty yards ; will fire without 
looking or aiming at all ; jerk the rifle as he 
fires ; forget to change the sight after the last 
shot ; forget to cock his gun or move the safety 
catch ; forget to load ; forget to fire at all : nothing 
is impossible nothing too silly. 

On a later trip we had with us a man who was out 
for the first time, and when we came upon a troop 
of koodoo he started yelling, war-whooping and swear- 
ing at them, chasing them on foot and waving his 
rifle over his head. When we asked him why he, 
who was nearest to them, had not fired a shot, 
all he could say was that he never remembered his 
rifle or anything else until they were gone. 

These experiences had been mine, some of them many 
times, in spite of Rocky's example and advice ; and they 
were always followed by a fresh stock of good resolutions. 

I had started out this day with the same old deter- 
mination to keep cool, but, once into the reeds, Jim's 
account of how he had stepped on the crocodile put 
all other thoughts out of my mind, and most of my 
attention was given to examining suspicious-looking 
rocks as we stole silently and quietly along. 

Jock was with me, as usual ; I always took him out 
even then not for hunting, because he was too young, 
but in order to train him. He was still only a puppy, 
about six months old, as well as I remember, and had 
never tackled or even followed a wounded buck, so 
105 





[ - x them as they fell ; but that was 
-^ v obedient and kept his place behind 



that it was impossible to say what he would do ; he 
had seen me shoot a couple and had wanted to worry 

all. He was quite 
me ; and, although 

he trembled with excitement when he saw or heard 
anything, he never rushed in or moved ahead of me 
without permission. The guinea-fowl tormented him 
that day ; he could scent and hear them, and was 
constantly making little runs forward, half crouching 
and with his nose back and tail dead level and his one 
ear full-cocked and the other half -up. 

For about half an hour we went on in this way. 
There was plenty of fresh duiker spoor to show 
us that we were in a likely place, one spoor in 
particular being so fresh in the mud that it seemed 
only a few minutes old. We were following this 
one very eagerly but very cautiously, and evidently 
Jock agreed with me that the duiker must be near, 
for he took no more notice of the guinea-fowl ; and 
I for my part forgot all about crocodiles and suspicious- 
looking rocks ; there was at that moment only one 
thing in the world for me, and that was the duiker. 
We crept along noiselessly hi and out of the reeds, 
round rocks and mudholes, across small stretches of 
firm mud or soft sand, so silently that nothing could 
have heard us, and finally we came to a very big rock, 
with the duiker spoor fresher than ever going close 
round it down stream. The rock was a long sloping one, 
polished smooth by the floods and very slippery to walk 
on. I climbed it in dead silence, peering down into the 
reeds and expecting every moment to see the duiker. 

' 106 



The slope up which we crept was long and easy, 
but that on the down-stream side was much steeper. 
I crawled up to the top on hands and knees, and 
raising myself slowly, looked carefully about, but no 
duiker could be seen ; yet Jock was sniffing and 
trembling more than ever, and it was quite clear that 
he thought we were very close up. Seeing nothing in 
front or on either side, I stood right up and turned to 
look back the way we had come- and examine the reeds 
on that side. In doing so a few grains of grit crunched 
under my foot, and instantly there was a rush in the 
reeds behind me ; I jumped round to face it, believing 
that the crocodile was grabbing at me from behind, 
and on the polished surface of the rock my feet slipped 
and shot from under me, both bare elbows bumped 
hard on the rock, jerking the rifle out of my hands ; 
and I was launched like a torpedo right into the mass 
of swaying reeds. 

When you think you are tumbling on to a crocodile 
there is only one thing you want to do get out as 
soon as possible. How long it took to reach the top 
of the rock again, goodness only knows ! It seemed 
like a life- time ; but the fact is I was out of those reeds 
and up that rock in time to see the duiker as it broke 
out of the reeds, raced up the bank, and disappeared 
into the bush with Jock tearing after it as hard as ever 
he could go. 

One call stopped him, and he came back to me 
looking very crestfallen and guilty, no doubt think- 
ing that he had behaved badly and disgraced 
himself. But he was not to blame at all; 
107 






he had known all along that the duiker was there 
having had no distracting fancies about crocodiles 
and when he saw it dash off and his master instantly 
jump in after it, he must have thought that the 
hunt had at last begun and that he was expected to 
help. 

After all that row and excitement there was not 
much use in trying for anything more in the reeds 
and indeed I had had quite enough of them for one 
afternoon ; so we wandered along the upper banks 
in the hope of finding something where there were 
no crocodiles, and it was not long before we were 
interested in something else and able to forget all 
about the duiker. 

Before we had been walking many minutes, Jock 
raised his head and ears and then lowered himself 
into a half-crouching attitude and made a little run 
forward. I looked promptly in the direction he was 
pointing and about two hundred yards away saw a 
stembuck standing in the shade of a mimosa bush 
feeding briskly on the buffalo grass. It was so small 
and in such bad light that the shot was too difficult 
for me at that distance, and I crawled along behind 
bushes, ant-heaps and trees until we were close enough 
for anything. The ground was soft and sandy, and we 
could get along easily enough without making any 
noise ; but all the time, whilst thinking how lucky 
it was to be on ground so soft for the hands and knees, 
and so easy to move on without being heard, something 
else was happening. With eyes fixed on the buck I 
did not notice that in crawling along on all-fours, 

108 




the muzzle of the rifle dipped regularly into the sand, 
picking up a little in the barrel each time. There was 
not enough to burst the rifle, but the effect was surpris- 
ing. Following on a painfully careful aim, there was 
a deafening report that made my head reel and buzz ; 
the kick of the rifle on the shoulder and cheek left 
me blue for days ; and when my eyes were clear enough 
to see anything the stembuck had disappeared. 

I was too disgusted to move, and sat in the sand 
rubbing my shoulder and thanking my stars that the 
rifle had not burst. There was plenty to think about, 
to be sure, and no hurry to do anything else, for the 
noise of the shot must have startled every living thing 
for a mile round. 

It is not always easy to tell the direction from which 
a report comes when you are near a river or in broken 
country or patchy bush ; and it is not an uncommon 
thing to find that a shot which has frightened one 
animal away from you has startled another and driven 
it towards you ; and that is what happened in this 
case. As I sat in the shade of the thorns with the 
loaded rifle across my knees there was the faint sound 
of a buck cantering along in the sand ; I looked up ; 
and only about twenty yards from me a duiker came 
to a stop, half fronting me. There it stood looking 
back over its shoulder and listening intently, evidently 
thinking that the danger lay behind it. It was hardly 
possible to miss that ; and as the duiker rolled over, I 
dropped my rifle and ran to make sure of it. 

Of course, it was dead against the rules to leave the 
rifle behind ; but it was simply a case of excitement 
109 






again : when the buck rolled over everything else 
was forgotten ! I knew the rule perfectly well 
Reload at once and never part with your gun. It 
was one of Rocky's lessons, and only a few weeks before 
this, when out for an afternoon's shooting with an 
old hunter, the lesson had been repeated. The old 
man shot a rietbuck ram, and as it had been facing 
and dropped without a kick we both thought that 
it was shot through the brain. There was no mark 
on the head, however, and although we examined 
it carefully, we failed to find the bullet-mark or a 
trace of blood ; so we put our rifles down to settle 
the question by skinning the buck. After sawing at 
the neck for half a minute, however, the old man 
found his knife too blunt to make an opening, and we 
both hunted about for a stone to sharpen it on, and 
while we were fossicking about in the grass there was 
a noise behind, and looking sharply round we saw the 
buck scramble to its feet and scamper off before we 
had time to move. The bullet must have touched 
one of its horns and stunned it. My companion was 
too old a hunter to get excited, and while I ran for 
the rifles and wanted to chase the buck on foot he 
stood quite still, gently rubbing the knife on the stone 
he had picked up. Looking at me under bushy eye- 
brows and smiling philosophically, he said : 

" That's something for you to remember, Boy. 
It's my belief if you lived for ever there'd always be 
something to learn at this game." 

Unfortunately I did not remember when it would 
have been useful, As I ran forward the duiker 

no 



tumbled, struggled and rolled over and over, then 
got up and made a dash, only to dive head fore- 
most into the sand and somersault over ; but in a 
second it was up again and racing off, again to trip 
and plunge forward on to its chest with its nose out- 
stretched sliding along the soft ground. The bullet 
had struck it in the shoulder, and the broken leg was 
tripping it and bringing it down ; but, in far less 
time than it takes to tell it, the little fellow found out 
what was wrong, and scrambling once more to its 
feet was off on three legs at a pace that left me far 
behind. Jock, remembering the mistake in the reeds, 
kept his place behind, and I in the excitement of the 
moment neither saw nor thought of him until the 
duiker, gaining at every jump, looked like vanishing 
for ever. Then I remembered and, with a frantic 
wave of my hand, shouted, " After him, Jock." 

He was gone before my hand was down, and faster 
than I had ever seen him move, leaving me ploughing 
through the heavy sand far behind. Past the big bush 
I saw them again, and there the duiker did as wounded 
game so often do : taking advantage of cover it 
changed direction and turned away for some dense 
thorns. But that suited Jock exactly ; he took the 
short cut across to head it off and was close up in a 
few more strides. He caught up to it, raced up beside 
it, and made a jump at its throat ; but the duiker 
darted away in a fresh direction, leaving him yards 
behind. Again he was after it and tried the other 
side ; but the buck was too quick, and again he missed 
and overshot the mark in his jump. He was in such 
in 






deadly earnest he seemed to turn in the air to get 
back again and once more was close up so close that 
the flying heels of the buck seemed to pass each side 
of his ears ; then he made his spring from behind, 
catching the duiker high up on one hind leg, and the 
two rolled over together, kicking and struggling in 
a cloud of dust. Time after time the duiker got on 
its feet, trying to get at him with its horns or to break 
away again ; but Jock, although swung off his feet 
and rolled on, did not let go his grip. In grim silence 
he hung on while the duiker plunged, and, when it 
fell, tugged and worried as if to shake the life out of 
it. 

What with the hot sun, the heavy sand, and the pace 
at which we had gone, I was so pumped that I finished 
the last hundred yards at a walk, and had plenty of 
time to see what was going on ; but even when I 
got up to them the struggle was so fierce and the 
movements so quick that for some time it was not 
possible to get hold of the duiker to finish it off. At 
last came one particularly bad fall, when the buck 
rolled over on its back, and then Jock let go his grip 
and made a dash for its throat ; but again the duiker 
was too quick for him ; with one twist it was up and 
round facing him on its one knee, and dug, thrust, 
and swept with its black spiky horns so vigorously 
that it was impossible to get at its neck. As Jock 
rushed in the head ducked and the horns flashed round 
so swiftly that it seemed as if nothing could save him 
from being stabbed through and through, but his 
quickness and cleverness were a revelation to me. 

112 



If he could not catch the duiker, it could not catch 
him : they were in a way too quick for each other, - 
and they were a long way too quick for me. 

Time after time I tried to get in close enough to 
grab one of the buck's hind legs, but it was not to be 
caught. While Jock was at it fast and furious in front, 
I tried to creep up quietly behind but it was no use : 
the duiker kept facing Jock with horns down, and when- 
ever I moved it swung round and kept me in front 
also. Finally I tried a run straight in ; and then 
it made another dash for liberty. On three legs, how- 
ever, it had no chance, and in another minute Jock 
had it again, and down they came together, rolling 
over and over once more. The duiker struggled 
hard, but he hung on, and each time it got its feet to 
the ground to rise he would tug sideways and roll it 
over again, until I got up to them, and catching the 
buck by the head, held it down with my knee on its 
neck and my Bushman's Friend in hand to finish it, 

There was, however, still another lesson for us both 
to learn that day ; neither of us knew what a buck 
can do with its hind feet when it is down. The 
duiker was flat on its side ; Jock, thinking the fight 
was over, had let go ; and, before I could move 
the supple body doubled up, and the feet 
whizzed viciously at me right over its 
head. The little pointed cloven feet are as 
hard and sharp as horns and will tear 
the flesh like claws. By good luck 
the kick only grazed my arm, but 
although the touch was the lightest 

113 H 






it cut the skin and little beads of blood shot up marking 
the line like the scratch of a thorn. Missing my arm 
the hoof struck full on the handle of the Bushman's 
Friend and sent it flying yards out of reach. And it 
was not merely one kick : faster than the eye could 
follow them the little feet whizzed and the legs seemed 
to buzz round like the spokes of a wheel. Holding 
the horns at arm's length in order to dodge the kicks, 
I tried to pull the duiker towards the knife ; but it was 
too much for me, and with a sudden twist and a wrench 
freed itself and was off again. 

All the time Jock was moving round and round 
panting and licking his chops, stepping in and stepping 
back, giving anxious little whimpers, and longing to 
be at it again, but not daring to join in without 
permission. When the duiker broke away, however, 
he waited for nothing, and was on to it in one spring 
again from behind ; and this time he let go as 
it fell, and jumping free of it, had it by the throat 
before it could rise. I ran to them again, but the 
picking up of the knife had delayed me and I was not 
in time to save Jock the same lesson that the duiker 
had just taught me. 

Down on its side, with Jock's jaws locked in its throat, 
once more the duiker doubled up and used its feet. 
The first kick went over his head and scraped harm- 
lessly along his back ; but the second caught him at 
the point of the shoulder, and the razor-like toe ripped 
his side right to the hip. Then the dog showed his 
pluck and cleverness. His side was cut open as if 
it had been slashed by a knife, but he never flinched 

114 



or loosened his grip for a second ; he seemed to go at 
it more furiously than ever, but more cleverly 'and 
warily. He swung his body round clear of the whiz- 
zing feet, watching them with his little beady eyes 
fixed sideways and the gleaming whites showing in 
the corners ; he tugged away incessantly and vigor- 
ously, keeping the buck's neck stretched out and 
pulling it round in a circle backwards so that it could 
not possibly double its body up enough to kick him 
again ; and before I could catch the feet to help him, 
the kicks grew weaker ; the buck slackened out, and 
Jock had won. 

The sun was hot, the sand was deep, and the rifle 
was hard to find ; it was a long way back to the 
waggons, and the duiker made a heavy load ; but the 
end of that first chase seemed so good that nothing 
else mattered. The only thing I did mind was the 
open cut on Jock's side ; but he minded nothing : 
his tail was going like a telegraph needle; he 
was panting with his mouth open from ear to 
ear, and his red tongue hanging out and making 
great slapping licks at his chops from time to 
time ; he was not still for a second, but kept 
walking in and stepping back in a circle round the 
duiker, and looking up at me and then down at 
it, as if he was not at all sure that there might 
not be some fresh game on, and was consult- 
ing me as to whether it would not be a good 
thing to have another go in and t* make it all 
safe. 
"5 







He was just as happy as a dog could be, and 
perhaps he was proud of the wound that left 
a straight line from his shoulder to his hip and 
showed up like a cord under the golden brindle 
as long as he lived a memento of his first real 
hunt. 





WHEN the hen pecked Jock on the nose, she gave 
a useful lesson in the art of finding out what you want 
to know without getting into trouble. As he got 
older, he also learned that there are only certain things 
which concerned him and which it was necessary for 
him to know. A young dog begins by thinking that 
he can do everything, go everywhere, and know 
everything ; and a hunting dog has to learn to mind 
his own business, as well as to understand it. Some 
dogs turn sulky or timid or stupid when they are 
checked, but an intelligent dog with a stout heart 
will learn little by little to leave other things alone, 
and grow steadily keener on his own work. There 
was no mistake about Jock's keenness. When I took 
down the rifle from the waggon he did not go off into 
ecstasies of barking, as most sporting dogs will do, 
but would give a quick look up and with an eager little 
117 



run towards me give a whimper of joy, make two or 
three bounds as if wanting to stretch his muscles and 
loosen his joints, then shake himself vigorously as 
though he had just come out of the water, and with 
a soft suppressed " Woo-woo-woo " full of content- 
ment, drop silently into his place at my heels and 
give his whole attention to his work. 

He was the best of companions, and through the 
years that we hunted together I never tired of watch- 
ing him. There was always something to learn, 
something to admire, something to be grateful for, 
and very often something to laugh at in the way in 
which we laugh only at those whom we are fond of. 
It was the struggle between Jock's intense keenness 
and his sense of duty that most often raised the laugh. 
He knew that his place was behind me ; but probably 
he also knew that nine times out of ten he scented 
or saw the game long before I knew there was anything 
near, and naturally wanted to be in front or at least 
abreast of me to show me whatever there was to be 
seen. 

He noticed, just as surely and as quickly as any 
human being could, any change in my manner : nothing 
escaped him, for his eyes and ears were on the move 
the whole time. It was impossible for me to look for 
more than a few seconds in any one direction, or to 
stop or even to turn my head to listen, without being 
caught by him. His bright brown eyes were ever- 
lastingly on the watch and on the move : from me 
to the bush, from the bush back to me. When we 
were after game, and he could scent or see it, he would 

118 



keep a foot or two to the side of me so as to have a 
clear view ; and when he knew by my manner that 
I thought there was game near, he kept so close up 
that he would often bump against my heels as I walked, 
or run right into my legs if I stopped suddenly. Often 
when stalking buck very quietly and cautiously, thinking 
only of what was in front, I would get quite a start 
by feeling something bump up against me behind. 
At these times it was impossible to say anything 
without risk of scaring the game, and I got into the 
habit of making signs with my hand which he under- 
stood quite as well. 

Sometimes after having crawled up I would be in 
the act of aiming when he would press up against me. 
Nothing puts one off so much as a touch or the ex- 
pectation of being jogged when in the act of firing, and 
I used to get angry with him then, but dared not 
breathe a word ; I would lower my head slowly, turn 
round, and give him a look. He knew quite well what 
it meant. Down would go his ears instantly, and he 
would back away from me a couple of steps, drop his 
stump of a tail and wag it in a feeble deprecating 
way, and open his mouth into a sort of foolish laugh. 
That was his apology ! " I beg your pardon : it 
was an accident ! I won't do it again." 

It was quite impossible to be angry with him, he 
was so keen and he meant so well ; and when he saw 
me laughing softly at him, he would come up again 
close to me, cock his tail a few inches higher and wag 
it a bit faster. 

There is a deal of expression in a dog's tail : 
119 






it will generally tell you what his feelings are. My friend 
maintained that that was how he knew his old dog 
was enjoying the joke against the cockerel ; and that 
is certainly how I knew what Jock was thinking about 
once when lost in the veld ; and it showed me the way 
back. 

It is easy enough to lose oneself in the Bushveld. 
The Berg stands up some thousands of feet inland 
on the west, looking as if it had been put there to 
hold up the Highveld ; and between the foothills and 
the sea lies the Bushveld, stretching for hundreds 
of miles north and south. From the height and 
distance of the Berg it looks as flat as the floor, but in 
many parts it is very much cut up by deep rough 
dongas, sharp rises and depressions, and numbers of 
small kopjes. Still, it has a way of looking flat, because 
the hills are small, and very much alike ; and because 
hill and hollow are covered and hidden mile after mile 
by small trees of a wonderful sameness, just near 
enough together to prevent you from seeing more than 
a few hundred yards at a time. Most people see no 
differences in sheep : many believe that all Chinamen 
are exactly alike ; and so it is with the Bushveld : 
you have to know it first. 

So far I had never lost my way out hunting. The 
experiences of other men and the warnings from the 
old hands had made me very careful. We were always 
hearing of men being lost through leaving the road 
and following up the game while they were excited, 
without noticing which way they went and how long 
they had been going. There were no beaten tracks 

120 



and very few landmarks, so that even experienced 
hunters went astray sometimes for a few hours or a '^ 
day or two when the mists or heavy rains came on 
and nothing could be seen beyond fifty or a hundred 
yards. 

Nearly every one who goes hunting in the Bush- 
veld gets lost some time or other generally in the 
beginning before he has learned to notice things. 
Some have been lost for many days until they blundered 
on to a track by accident or were found by a search- 
party ; others have been lost and, finding no water 
or food, have died ; others have been killed by lions, 
and only a boot or a coat or, as it happened in one 
case that I know of, a ring found inside a lion told 
what had occurred ; others have been lost and nothing 
more ever heard of them. There is no feeling quite 
like that of being lost helplessness, terror, and 
despair ! The horror of it is so great that every 
beginner has it before him ; every one has heard of 
it, thought of it, and dreamed of it, and every one 
feels it holding him to the beaten track, as the fear 
of drowning keeps those who cannot swim to shallow 
water. That is just in the beginning. Presently, 
when little excursions, each bolder than the previous, 
have ended without accident, the fear grows less 
and confidence develops. Then it is, as a rule, that 
the accident comes and the lesson is learned, if you 
are lucky enough to pull through. 

When the camp is away in the trackless bush, it 
needs a good man ., ^ always to 

find the way home _/-. after a 

121 






couple of hours' chase with all its twists and turns 
and doublings ; but when camp is made on a known 
road a long main road that strikes a fair line between 
two points of the compass it seems impossible for 
any one to be hopelessly lost. If the road runs east 
and west you, knowing on which side you left it, 
have only to walk north or south steadily and you must 
strike it again. The old hands told the beginners 
this, and we were glad to know that it was only a 
matter of walking for a few hours, more or less, and 
that in the end we were bound to find the road and 
strike some camp. "Yes," said the old hands, "it is 
simple enough here where you have a road running 
east and west ; there is only one rule to remember : 
When you have lost your way, don't lose your head." 
But indeed that is just the one rule that you are quite 
unable to observe. 

Many stories have been told of men being lost : 
many volumes could be filled with them for the trouble 
of writing down what any hunter will tell you. But 
no one who has not seen it can realise how the thing 
may happen ; no one would believe the effect that 
the terror of being lost, and the demoralisation which 
it causes, can have on a sane man's senses. If you 
want to know what a man can persuade himself to 
believe against the evidence of his senses even when 
his very Hfe depends upon his holding to the absolute 
truth then you should see a man who is lost in the 
bush. He knows that he left the road on the north 
side ; she loses his bearings ; he does not know how long 
how fat, or how far he has walked ; yet if he keep, 

122 



his head he will make due south and must inevitably ; , 
strike the road. After going for half an hour and 
seeing nothing familiar, he begins to feel that he is 
going in the wrong direction ; something pulls at 
him to face right about. Only a few minutes more of 
this, and he feels sure that he must have crossed the 
road without noticing it, and therefore that he ought 
to be going north instead of south, if he hopes ever to 
strike it again. How, you will ask, can a man imagine 
impossible to cross a big dusty road twenty or thirty i 
feet wide without seeing it ? The idea seems absurd ; 
yet they do really believe it. One of the first illusions 
that occurs to men when they lose their heads is that 
they have done this, and it is the cause of scores of 
cases of * lost in the bush.' The idea that they may 
have done it is absurd enough; but stranger still is 
the fact that they actually do it. 

If you cannot understand a man thinking he had 
done such a thing, what can you say of a man actually 
doing it ? Impossible, quite impossible, you think. 
Ah ! but it is a fact : many know it for a fact and I 
have witnessed it twice myself, once in Mashonaland 
and once on the Delagoa road. I saw men, tired, 
haggard and wild-eyed, staring far in front of them, 
never looking at the ground, pressing on, on, on, and 
actually cross well-worn waggon roads, coming from 
hard veld into a sandy wheel-worn track and kicking 
up a cloud of dust as they passed,- and utterly blind to 
the fact that they were walking across the roads they 
had been searching for in one case for ten hours 
and in the other for three days. When we called to 
123 




.-r 





them they had already crossed and were disap- 
pearing again into the bush. In both cases the 
sound of the human voice and the relief of being 
* found,' made them collapse. The knees seemed 
to give way : they could not remain standing. 

The man who loses his head is really lost. He 
cannot think, remember, reason, or understand ; and the 
strangest thing of all is that he often cannot even see 
properly he fails to see the very things that he most 
wants to see, even when they are as large as life before 
him. Crossing the road without seeing it is not the 
only or the most extraordinary example of this sort of 
thing. We were out hunting once in a mounted party, 
but to spare a tired horse I went on foot and took up 
my stand in a game run among some thorn trees on the 
low spur of a hill, while the others made a big circuit 
to head off a troop of koodoo. Among our party 
there was one who was very nervous : he had been lost 
once for six or eight hours, and being haunted by the 
dread of being lost again, his nerve was all gone and 
he would not go fifty yards without a companion. 
In the excitement of shooting at and galloping after 
the koodoo probably this dread was forgotten for a 
moment : he himself could not tell how it happened that 
he became separated, and no one else had noticed him. 
The strip of wood along the hills in which I was 
waiting was four or five miles long but only from one 
to three hundred yards wide, a mere fringe enclosing 
the little range of kopjes ; and between the stems of 
the trees I could see our camp and waggons in the open 
a quarter of a mile away. Ten or twelve shots faintly 

124 



heard in the distance told me that the others were on 
to the koodoo, and knowing the preference of those 
animals for the bush I took cover behind a big stump 
and waited. For over half an hour, however, nothing 
came towards me, and believing then that the game 
had broken off another way, I was about to return to 
camp when I heard the tapping of galloping feet a long 
way off. In a few -minutes the hard thud and occa- 
sional ring on the ground told that it was not the koo- 
doo ; and soon afterwards I saw a man on horseback. 
He was leaning eagerly forward and thumping the 
exhausted horse with his rifle and his heels to keep up 
its staggering gallop. I looked about quickly to see 
what it was he was chasing that could have slipped 
past me unnoticed, but there was nothing ; then 
thinking there had been an accident and he was coming 
for help, I stepped out into the open and waited for 
him to come up. I stood quite still, and he galloped 
past within ten yards of me so close that his muttered 
" Get on, you brute ; get on, get on ! " as he thumped 
away at his poor tired horse, were perfectly audible. 

" What's up, sportsman ? " I asked, no louder than 
you would say it across a tennis-court ; but the words 
brought him up, white-faced and terrified, and he 
half slid, half tumbled, off the horse gasping out, 
" I was lost, I was lost ! " How he had managed to 
keep within that strip of bush, without once getting into 
the open where he would have seen the line of kopjes to 
which I had told him to stick or could have 
seen the waggons and the smoke of the big 
camp-fire, he could never explain. I turned 
125 







him round where he stood, and through the trees 
showed him the white tents of the waggons and the 
cattle grazing near by, but he was too dazed to 
understand or explain anything. 

There are many kinds of men. That particular 
kind is not the kind that will ever do for veld life : 
they are for other things and other work. You will 
laugh at them at times when the absurdity is greatest 
and no harm has been done. But see it ! See it 
and realise the suspense, the strain, and the terror ; 
and then even the funniest incident has another side 
to it. See it once ; and recall that the worst of endings 
have had just such beginnings. See it in the most 
absurd and farcical circumstances ever known ; and 
laugh laugh your fill ; laugh at the victim and laugh 
with him, when it is over and safe. But in the end 
will come the little chilling thought that the strongest, 
the bravest, and the best have known something of it 
too ; and that even to those whose courage holds to the 
last breath there may come a moment when the pulse 
beats a little faster and the judgment is at fault. 

Buggins who was with us in the first season was no 
hunter, but he was a good shot and not a bad fellow. 
In his case there was no tragedy ; there was much 
laughter and to me a wonderful revelation. He 
showed us, as in a play, how you can be lost ; how you 
can walk for ever in one little circle, as though drawn 
to a centre by magnetic force, and how you can miss 
seeing things in the bush if they do not move. 

We had outspanned in a flat covered with close 
grass about two feet high and shady flat-topped horn 

126 



* 



trees. The waggons, four in number, were drawn 
up a few yards off the road, two abreast. The grass 
was sweet and plentiful ; the day was hot and still ; 
and as we had had a very long early morning trek 
there was not much inclination to move. The cattle 
soon filled themselves and lay down to sleep ; the boys 
did the same ; and we, when breakfast was over, 
got into the shade of the waggons, some to sleep /^ 
and others to smoke. 

Buggins that was his pet name was a passenger 
returning to " England, Home, and Beauty " that 
is to say, literally, to a comfortable home, admiring 
sisters and a rich indulgent father after having 
sought his fortune unsuccessfully on the gold fields 
for fully four months. Buggins was good-natured, 
unselfish, and credulous ; but he had one fault he 
* yapped ' : he talked until our heads buzzed. He 
used to sleep contentedly in a rumpled tarpaulin all 
through the night treks and come up fresh as a daisy 
and full of accumulated chat at the morning outspan, 
just when we unless work or sport called for us 
were wanting to get some sleep. 

We knew well enough what to expect, so after 
breakfast Jimmy, who understood Buggins well, told 
him pleasantly that he could " sleep, shoot, or shut 
up." To shut up was impossible, and to sleep again 
without a rest difficult, even for Buggins ; so with 
a good-natured laugh he took the shot gun, saying 
that he " would potter around a bit and give us a treat." 
Well, he did ! 

We had outspanned on the edge of an open space 
127 







in the thorn bush ; there are plenty of them to be 
found in the Bushveld spaces a few hundred yards 
in diameter, like open park land, where not a single 
tree breaks the expanse of wavy yellow grass. The 
waggons with their greyish tents and buck sails and 
dusty wood-work stood in the fringe of the trees 
where this little arena touched the road, and into it 
sallied Buggins, gently drawn by the benevolent purpose 
of giving us a treat. What he hoped to find in the 
open on that sweltering day he only could tell ; we 
knew that no living thing but lizards would be out 
of the shade just then, but we wanted to find him 
employment harmless to him and us. 

He had been gone for more than half an hour when 
we heard a shot, and a few minutes later Jimmy's 
voice roused us. 

" What the dickens is Buggins doing ? " he asked 
in a tone so puzzled and interested that we all turned 
to watch that sportsman. According to Jimmy, 
he had been walking about in an erratic way for some 
time on the far side of the open ground going from 
the one end to the other and then back again ; then dis- 
appearing for a few minutes in the bush and re-appear- 
ing to again manoeuvre in the open in loops and circles, 
angles and straight lines. Now he was walking about 
at a smart pace, looking from side to side apparently 
searching for something. We could see the whole of 
the arena as clearly as you can see a cricket-field from 
the railings for our waggon formed part of the 
boundary but we could see nothing to explain 
Buggins's manoeuvres. Next we saw him face the 

128 



thorns opposite, raise his gun very deliberately, and 
fire into the top of the trees. 

" Green pigeons," said Jimmy firmly ; and we all 
agreed that Buggins was after specimens for stuffing ; 
but either our guess was wrong or his aim was bad, 
for after standing dead still for a minute he resumed his 
vigorous walk. By this time Buggins fairly fascinated 
us ; even the kaffirs had roused each other and were 
watching him. Away he went at once off to our 
left, and there he repeated the performance, but, 
again made no attempt to pick up anything and showed 
no further interest in whatever it was he had fired at, 
but turned right about face and walked across the 
open ground in our direction until he was only a couple 
of hundred yards away. There he stopped and began 
to look about him and making off some few yards in 
another direction climbed on to a fair-sized ant-heap 
five or six feet high, and balancing himself cautiously 
on this he deliberately fired off both barrels in quick 
succession. Then the same idea struck us all together, 
and " Buggins is lost " came from several all choking 
with laughter. 

Jimmy got up and, stepping out into the open beside 
the waggon, called, " Say, Buggins, what in thunder 
are you doing ? " 

To see Buggins slide off the ant-heap and shuffle 
shamefacedly back to the waggon before a gallery of 
four white men and a lot of kaffirs, all cracking and 
crying with laughter, was a sight never to be for- ^ 
gotten. 

I did not want to get lost and be eaten 
129 i 







alive, or even look ridiculous, so I began very care- 
fully : glanced back regularly to see what the track, 
trees, rocks, or kopjes looked like from the 
other side ; carefully noted which side of the 
road I had turned off ; and always kept my eye 
on the sun. But day after day and month after 
month went by without accident or serious diffi- 
culty, and then the same old thing happened : 
familiarity bred contempt, and I got the beginner's 
complaint, conceit fever, just as others did : thought 
I was rather a fine fellow, not like other chaps who 
always have doubts and difficulties in finding their way 
back, but something exceptional with the real instinct 
in me which hunters, natives, and many animals are 
supposed to have ; thought, in fact, I could not 
get lost. So each day I went further and more 
boldly off the road, and grew more confident 
and careless. 

The very last thing that would have occurred 
to me on this particular day was that there was any 
chance of being lost or any need to take note of where 
we went. For many weeks we had been hunting in 
exactly the same sort of country, but not of course 
in the same part ; and the truth is I did not give the 
matter a thought at all, but went ahead as one does 
with the things that are done every day as matters of 
habit. 





WE were outspanned near some deep shaded water- 
holes, and at about three o'clock I took my rifle and 
wandered off in the hope of dropping across something 
for the larder and having some sport during the three 
hours before the evening trek would begin ; and as 
there was plenty of spoor of many kinds the pros- 
pects seemed good enough. 

We had been going along slowly, it may be for half 
an hour, without seeing more than a little stembuck 
scurrying away in the distance, when I noticed that 
Jock was rather busy with his nose, sniffing about in 
a way that looked like business. He was not sure 
of anything ; that was clear, because he kept trying 
in different directions ; not as you see a pointer do, 
but very seriously silently and slowly, moving at a 
cautious walk for a few yards and then taking a look 
about. 

The day was hot and still, as usual at that time of 
the year, and any noise would be easily heard, so I 
had stopped to give Jock a chance of ranging about. 
At the moment we were in rather open ground, and 
finding that Jock was still very suspicious I moved 
on towards where the bush was thicker and we were 




less likely to be seen from a distance. As we got near 
the better cover there was a rasping, squawky cry 

in a cockatoo's voice, "Go 'way ; go 'way ; go' way ! " 
?-and one of those ugly big-beaked Go 'way birds came 

sailing up from behind and flapped on to the trees 
we were making for. No doubt they have another 
name, but in the Bushveld they were known as Go 
'way birds, because of this cry and because they are 
supposed to warn the game when an enemy is coming. 
But they are not like the tick bird or the rhinoceros 
bird, who stick close to their friends and as soon as 
they see or hear anything suspicious flutter straight 
up filling the air with twittering cries of alarm ; the 
Go 'way birds do not feed on ticks and have nothing 
to do with the game ; you find them where there is 
no game, and it always seemed to me that it is not 
concern for the game at all, but simply a combination 
of vulgar curiosity, disagreeableness and bad manners, 
that makes them interfere as they do. 

The reason why I do not believe the Go 'way birds 
care a rap about the game and only want to worry 
you is that often' one of them will make up its mind 
to stick to you, and you can turn twist and double 
as many ways as you like, but as soon as you begin 
to walk on again the wretched thing will fly over your 
head and perch twenty yards or so in front of you, 
screeching out " Go 'way " at the top of its voice. 
There it will sit ready to fly off again as you come on, 
its ugly head on one side and big hooked bill like an 
aggressive nose, watching you mercilessly, as vigilant 
as a hungry fowl and as cross as a tired nurse in a big 

132 



family. They seem to know that you cannot shoot 
them without making more row and doing more harm 
than they do. 

I stood still for a few minutes to give this one a 
chance to fly away, and when it would not do so, 
but kept on screeching and craning its neck at me, I 
threw a stone at it. It ducked violently and gave a 
choking hysterical squawk of alarm and anger as the 
stone whizzed close to its head ; then flying on to 
another tree a few yards off, screamed away more 
noisily than ever. Evidently the best thing to do 
was to go ahead taking no notice of the creature and 
trusting that it would tire and leave me alone ; so I 
walked off briskly. 

There was a slight rustling in the bush ahead of us 
as I stepped out, and then the sound of feet. I made 
a dash for the chance of a running shot, but it was too 
late, and all we saw was half a dozen beautiful koodoo 
disappearing among the tree stems. 

I turned towards that Go 'way bird. Perhaps he 
did not like the look on my face or the way I held the 
rifle; for he gave one more snarling shriek, as if he 
was emptying himself for ever of his rage and spite, 
and flapped away. 

Jock was standing like a statue, leaning slightly forward 
but with head very erect, jaws tightly closed, and eyes 
looking straight in front, as bright as black diamonds. 

It was a bad disappointment ; for that was the 
first time we had fairly and squarely come upon 
koodoo. However, it was still early and the 
game had not been scared, but had gone 
133 






quietly ; so hoping for another chance we started off 
at a trot along the fresh spoor. 

A big koodoo bull stands as high as a bullock, and 
although they have the small shapely feet of an ante- 
lope the spoor is heavy enough to follow at a trot 
except on stony ground. Perhaps they know this, 
for they certainly prefer the rough hard ground when 
they can get it. We went along at a good pace, but 
with many short breaks to make sure of the spoor in 
the stony parts ; and it was pretty hot work, although 
clothing was light for hunting. A rough flannel shirt, 
open at the throat, and moleskin trousers dyed with 
coffee for khaki was unknown to us then was the 
usual wear ; and we carried as little as possible. Gen- 
erally a water-bottle rilled with unsweetened cold tea 
and a cartridge belt were all we took besides the rifle. 
This time I had less than usual. Meaning to be out 
only for a couple of hours at most and to stick close to 
the road, I had pocketed half a dozen cartridges and 
left both bandolier and water-bottle behind. 

It was not long before we came upon the koodoo 
again ; but they were on the watch. They were 
standing in the fringe of some thick bush, broadside 
on but looking back full at us, and as soon as I stopped 
to aim the whole lot disappeared with the same easy 
movement, just melting away in the bush. 

If I had only known it, it was a hopeless chase for 
an inexperienced hunter : they were simply playing 
with me. The very things that seemed so encouraging 
to me would have warned an old hand that running 
on the trail was quite useless. When they moved 

'34 



off quietly, it was not because they were foolhardy 
or did not realise the danger. When they allowed 
us to catch up to them time after time, it was not 
because they did not expect us. When they stood on 
the edge of thick bush where we could see them, it 
was not stupidity. When they could disappear with 
an easy bound, it was not accident. It was all part 
of the game. They were keeping in touch with us 
so that we could not surprise them, and whenever they 
stopped it was always where they could see us coming 
through the thinner bush for a long way and where they 
themselves could disappear in the thick bush in a couple 
of strides. Moreover, with each fresh run they changed 
their direction with the object of making it difficult 
for us to follow them up, and with the deliberate 
purpose of eventually reaching some favourite and safe 
haunt of theirs. 

An old hand might have known this ; but a beginner 
goes blindly along the spoor exactly where they are 
expecting him. The chase was long and tiring, but 
there was no feeling of disappointment and no thought 
of giving it up : each time they came in sight we got 
keener and more excited, and the end seemed nearer 
and more certain. I knew what the six animals were 
four cows, one young bull, and a magnificent old fellow 
with a glorious head and great spiral horns. I carried 
his picture in my eye and could pick him out instantly 
wherever he stood and however motionless ; for, 
incredibly difficult as it is to pick out still objects in the 
bush before your eye becomes accustomed 
to it, it is wonderful what you can do 

MS 






when your eye is in and you are cool and 
intent and know what you are looking for. I 
._ had the old bull marked down as mine, and 

i "^*- 9 

^ s^knew his every detail his splendid bearing, strong 
shaggy neck with mane to the withers and bearded 
throat, the soft grey dove-colour of the coat with its 
white stripes, the easy balancing movement in carrying 
the massive horns as he cantered away, and the trick 
of throwing them back to glide them through the 
bush. 

The last run was a long and hard one ; and the 
koodoo seemed to have taken matters seriously and 
made up their minds to put a safe distance between 
us and them. The spooring was often difficult and 
the pace hot. I was wet through from the hard work, 
and so winded that further effort seemed almost im- 
possible ; but we plodded away the picture of the 
koodoo bull luring me on, and Jock content with any 
chase. Without him the spoor would have been lost 
long before ; it was in many places too faint and 
scattered for me to follow, but he would sniff about 
quietly, and, by his contented looks back at me and brisk 
wagging of that stumpy tail, show that he was on it 
again, and off we would go on another tired straggling 
trot. But at last even his help was not enough : we 
had come to the end of the chase, and not a spoor, 
scratch, or sign of any sort was to be seen. 

Time had passed unnoticed, and it was only when 
it became clear that further search would be quite 
useless that I looked at my watch and found it was 
nearly five o'clock. That was rather a shock, for it 

136 




seemed reasonable to think that, as we had been out 
for pretty nearly two hours and going fast for most 
of the time, it would take almost as long to get back 
again. 

I had not once noticed our direction or looked at 
the sun, yet when it came to making for camp again 
the idea of losing the way never occurred to me. I 
had not the slightest doubt about the way we had 
come, and it seemed the natural thing to go back 
the same way. 

A short distance from where we finally gave up the 
chase there was a rise crowned by some good-sized 
rocks and bare of trees ; it was not high enough to 
be fairly called a kopje, but I climbed it on chance 
of getting a view of the surrounding country to 
see, if possible, how far we had come. The rise was 
not sufficient, however, to give a view ; there was 
nothing to be seen, and I sat down on the highest 
rock to rest for a few minutes and smoke a cigarette. 

It is over twenty years since that day, but that 
cigarette is not forgotten, and the little rise where 
we rested is still, to me, Cigarette Kopje. I was 
so thoroughly wet from the heat and hard work that 
the matches in the breast pocket of my shirt were all 
damp, and the heads came off most of them before 
one was gently coaxed into giving a light. Five 
minutes rest was enough. We both wanted a drink, 
but there was no time then to hunt for water in such 
a dry part as that, so off we started for camp and jogged 
along for a good time, perhaps half an hour. Then 
little by little I began to feel some uncertainty 

'37 






about the way and to look about from side to side 
for reminders. 

The start back had been easy enough : that part 
of the ground where we had lost the spoor had been 
gone over very thoroughly and every object was 
familiar ; but further back, where we had followed the 
spoor at a trot for long stretches and I had hardly 
raised my eyes from the ground before me, it was a 
very different matter. I forgot all about those long 

, stretches in which nothing had been noticed except the 
koodoo spoor, and was unconsciously looking out for 

Ik things in regular succession which we had passed at 
quite long intervals. Of course, they were not to be 
found, but I kept on looking out for them first feeling 
annoyed, then puzzled, then worried. Something 
had gone wrong, and we were not going back on our 
old tracks. Several times I looked about for the 
koodoo spoor as a guide ; but it might be anywhere 
over a width of a hundred yards, and it seemed waste 
of precious time to search the dry grass-grown and 
leaf-strewn ground for that. 

At the first puzzled stop I tried to recall some of 
the more noticeable things we had passed during the 
chase. There were two flat-topped mimosas, looking 
like great rustic tables on a lawn, and we had passed 
between them ; there was a large ant-heap, with a 
twisty top like a crooked mud chimney, behind which 
the koodoo bull had calmly stood watching us approach; 
then a marula tree with a fork like a giant catapult 
stick ; and so on with a score of other things, all 
coming readily to mind. 



That was what put me hopelessly wrong. I began 
to look for particular objects instead of taking one 
direction and keeping to it. Whenever a flat-topped 
thorn, a quaint ant-heap, a patch of tambookie grass, 
or a forked marula came in sight, I would turn off to 
see if they were the same we had passed coming out. 
It was hopeless folly, of course ; for in that country 
there were hundreds and thousands of such things all 
looking very much alike, and you could walk yourself 
to death zigzagging about from one to another and 
never get any nearer home : when it comes to doing 
that sort of thing your judgment is gone and you 
have lost your head ; and the worst of it is you do 
not know it and would not believe it if any one could 
tell you so. I did not know it ; but it was nevertheless 
the fact. 

As the sun sank lower I hurried on faster, but 
never long in one line always turning this way and 
that to search for the particular marks I had in mind. 
At last we came to four trees in a line, and my heart 
gave a great jump, for these we had certainly passed 
before. In order to make quite sure I hunted for 
koodoo spoor ; there was none to be seen, but on an 
old molehill there was the single print of a dog's foot. 
" Ha, Jock's ! " I exclaimed aloud ; and Jock him- 
self at the sound of his name stepped up briskly and 
sniffed at his own spoor. Close beside it there 
was the clear mark of a heeled boot, and there 
were others further on. There was no doubt 
about it, they were Jock's and mine, and I could 
have given a whoop of delight ; but a chilly feeling 

'39 






came over me when I realised that the footprints were 

leading the same way as we were going, instead of the 
opposite way. What on earth did it mean ? 

I laid the rifle down and sat on an old stump to 
think it out, and after puzzling over it for some 
minutes came to the conclusion that by some stupid 
blunder I must have turned round somewhere and 
followed the line of the koodoo, instead of going 
back on it. The only thing to be done was to 
right about face and go faster than ever ; but, bad 
as the disappointment was, it was a certain consolation 
to know that we were on the track at last. That 
at any rate was a certainty ; for, besides the footprints, 
the general appearance of the country and many 
individual features were perfectly familiar, now that 
I took a good look at them from this point. 

At that moment I had not a shadow of doubt about 
the way no more, indeed, than if we had been on 
the road itself : no suspicion of the truth occurred to 
me ; yet the simple fact is we were not then on the 
koodoo trail at all, but, having made a complete circle, 
had come on to our own trail at the molehill and were 
now doing the circle the second time but the reverse 
way now. 

The map on the opposite page is an attempt to 
show what happened ; the details are of course only 
guesswork, but the general idea is correct. The 
koodoo themselves had moved in a rough circle and 
in the first attempt to return to the waggons I had 
started back on their trail but must have turned aside 
somewhere, and after that, by dodging about looking 

140 



MAP OF LOST IN THE VELD" 



Thick black fine sliaula track of Koodoo. 

Thin black. (UK sjuxik first circle fapinniry (Xgarette Kojye&eitdifiy at 2 , Jocks footprint in MolehM. 

Dotted line fhorJs aecond circle from "Z, inhere I fumed back again, to (Xffarette Kvpye. fy 



ahoiS the direction, in tOfiicA ate went/ on ettch trait. 





for special landmarks, have made a complete circle. 
Thus we eventually came back to the track on which 
we had started for home, and the things that then 
looked so convincingly familiar were things seen 
during the first attempt to return, and not, as I 
supposed, landmarks on the original koodoo trail. 
Jock's footprints in the molehill were only a few 
hundred yards from the Cigarette Kopje and about 
the same distance from where we had lost the koodoo 
spoor ; and we were, at that moment, actually within 
a mile of the waggons. 

It seems incredible that one could be so near and 
not see or understand. Why should one walk in 
circles instead of taking a fairly straight line ? How 
was it possible to pass Cigarette Kopje and not recog- 
nise it, for I must have gone within fifty yards or 
less of it ? As for not seeing things, the answer is that 
the bush does not allow you to see much : the 
waggons, for instance, might as well have been a 
hundred miles away. As for Cigarette Kop things do 
not look the same unless seen from the same point ; 
moreover there are heaps of things easily visible 
which you will never see at all because you are 
looking only for something else : you carry a precon- 
ceived idea, a sort of picture in your eye, and every- 
thing that does not fit in with that is not noticed 
not even seen. As for walking in circles, it is my 
belief that most people, just like most horses, have a 
natural leaning or tendency towards one side or the 
other, and unless checked unconsciously indulge it. 

When riding in the veld, or any open country, you 

142 



will notice that some horses will want to take any turn 
off to the right, others always go to the left, and only 
very few keep straight on. When out walking you 
will find that some people cannot walk on your right 
hand without coming across your front or working 
you into the gutter ; others ' mule ' you from the left. 
Get them out in open country, walk briskly, and 
talk ; then give way a little each time they bump you, 
and in a very little while you will have done the circle. 
If you have this tendency in the Bushveld, where you 
cannot see any distant object to make for as a goal, 
any obstacle straight in front of you throws you off 
to the side you incline to ; any openings in the trees 
which look like avenues or easy ways draw you ; and 
between any two of them you will always choose the 
one on your favourite side. Finally, a little know- 
ledge is a dangerous thing in the veld, as elsewhere. 
When you know enough to recognise marks with- 
out being able to identify or locate them that is, 
when you know you have seen them before but are 
not sure of the when and the where goodness only 
knows what conclusion you will come to or what you 
will do. 

I had passed Cigarette Kopje, it's true ; but when 
coming towards it from a new side it must have looked 
quite different ; and besides that, I had not been expect- 
ing it, not looking for it, not even thinking of it had 
indeed said good-bye to it for ever. When we turned 
back at the molehill, beginning to do the circle for the 
second time, we must have passed quite close to 
Cigarette Kopje again, but again it was from a different 

H3 





opening in the bush, and this time I had thought 
of nothing and seen nothing except the things I picked 
out and recognised as we hurried along. To my 
half-opened beginner's eyes these things were familiar : 
we had passed them before ; that seemed to be good 
enough : it must be right ; so on we went, simply 
doing the same circle a second time, but this time the 
reverse way. The length of my shadow stretching 
out before me as we started from the molehill was a 
reminder of the need for haste, and we set off at a smart 
double. A glance back every few minutes to make 

ii sure that we were returning the way we had come was 

.. enough, and on we sped, confident for my part that 
we, were securely on the line of the koodoo and going 
straight for the waggons. 

It is very difficult to say how long this lasted before 
once more a horrible doubt arose. It was when we 
had done half the circle that I was pulled up as if 
struck in the face : the setting sun shining into 
my eyes as we crossed an open space stopped me ; 
for, as the bright gold-dust light of the sunset met 
me full, I remembered that it was my long shadow 
in front of me as we started from the molehill that 
had urged me to hurry on. We had started due east : 
we were going dead west ! What on earth was wrong ? 
There were the trees and spaces we had passed, a 
blackened stump, an ant-bear hole ; all familiar. What 
then was the meaning of it ? Was it only a temporary 

swerve ? No ! I tested that by pushing on further 
along the track we were following, and it held steadily 

to the west. Was it then all imagination about having 

144 



been there before ? No, that was absurd ! And yet 

and yet, as I went on, no longer trotting and full of hope 
but walking heavily and weighted with doubt, the feel- 
ing of uncertainty grew until I really did not know 
whether the familiar-looking objects and scenes were 
indeed old acquaintances or merely imagination play- 
ing tricks in a country where every style and sample 
was copied a thousand times over. 

A few minutes later I again caught sight of the 
sunset glow it was on my direct right : it meant 
that the trail had taken another turn, while I could 
have sworn we were holding a course straight as an 
arrow. It was all a hopeless tangle. I was lost then 
and knew it. It was not the dread of a night out in 
the bush for after many months of roughing it, that 
had no great terrors for me but the helpless feeling 
of being lost and the anxiety and uncertainty about 
finding the road again, that gnawed at me and made 
me feel tucked-up and drawn. I wondered when they 
would begin to look for me, if they would light big 
fires and fire shots, and if it would be possible toi 
see or hear the signals. The light would not last 
much longer; the dimness, the silence, and the hateful 
doubts about the trail made it more and more diffi- 
cult to recognise the line ; so I thought it was time 
to fire a signal shot. 

There was no answer. It was silly to hope for one ; 
for even if it had been heard they would only have 
thought that I was shooting at something. Yet the 
clinging to hope was so strong that every twenty yards 
or so I stopped to listen for a reply; and 
145 K 






^when, after what seemed an eternity, none came, I fired 
.another. When you shoot in the excitement of the 
rfchase the noise of the report does not strike you as 
^anything out of the way ; but a signal shot when 
you are alone and lost seems to fill the world with 
sound and to shake the earth itself. It has a most 
chilling effect, and the feeling of loneliness becomes 
acute as the echoes die away and still no answer 
comes. 

Another short spell of tip-toe walking and intent 
listening, and then it came to me that one shot as a 
signal was useless ; I should have fired more and at 
regular intervals, like minute-guns at sea. I felt in 
my pocket : there were only four cartridges there 
and one in the rifle ; there was night before me, with 
the wolves and the lions ; there was the food for to- 
morrow, and perhaps more than to-morrow ! There 
could be no minute-guns : two shots were all that 
could be spared, and I looked about for some high 
and open ground where the sound would travel far 
and wide. On ahead of us to the right the trees seemed 
fewer and the light stronger ; and there I came upon 
some rising ground bare of bush. It was not much for 
my purpose, but it was higher than the rest and quite 
open, and there were some rocks scattered about the 
top. The same old feeling of mixed remembrance 
and doubt came over me as we climbed it : it looked 
familiar and yet different. Was it memory or imagina- 
tion ? 

But there was no time for wonderings. From the 
biggest rock, which was only waist high, I fired off two 

146 



of my precious cartridges, and stood like a statue 
listening for the reply. The silence seemed worse 
than before : the birds had gone to roost ; even the 
flies had disappeared ; there was no sound at all but 
the beat of my own heart and Jock's panting breath. 

There were three cartridges and a few damp matches 
left. There was no sun to dry them now, but I laid 
them out carefully on the smooth warm rock, and 
hoped that one at least would serve to light our camp 
fire. There was no time to waste : while the light 
lasted I had to drag up wood for the fire and pick a 
place for the camp somewhere where the rocks 
behind and the fire in front would shelter us from the 
lions and hyenas, and where I could watch and listen 
for signals in the night. 

There was plenty of wood near by, and thinking 
anxiously of the damp matches I looked about for 
dry tindery grass so that any spark would give a start 
for the fire. As I stooped to look for the grass I 
came on a patch of bare ground between the scattered 
tufts, and in the middle of it there lay a half-burnt 
match ; and such a flood of relief and hope surged up 
that my heart beat up in my throat. Where there 
were matches there had been men ! We were not in 
the wilds, then, where white men seldom went not 
off the beaten track : perhaps not far from the road 
itself. 

You must experience it to know what it meant at 
that moment. It drew me on to look for more ! 
A yard away I found the burnt end of a cigarette ; 
and before there was time to realise why that should 

147 





seem queer, I came on eight or ten matches with their 
heads knocked off. 

For a moment things seemed to go round and round. 
I sat down with my back against the rock and a funny 
choky feeling in my throat. I knew they were my 
matches and cigarette, and that we were exactly 
where we had started from hours before, when we 
gave up the chase of tte koodoo. I began to under- 
stand things then : why places and landmarks seemed 
familiar ; why Jock's spoor in the. molehill had pointed 
the wrong way ; why my shadow was in front and 
behind and beside me in turns. We had been going 
round in a circle. I jumped up and looked about 
me with a fresh light ; and it was all clear as noonday 
then. Why, this was the fourth time we had been 
on or close to some part of this same rise that day, 
each time within fifty yards of the same place ; it 
was the second time I had sat on that very rock. And 
there was nothing odd or remarkable about that either, 
for each time I had been looking for the highest point 
to spy from and had naturally picked the rock-topped 
rise ; and I had not recognised it, only because we 
came upon it from different sides each time and I was 
thinking of other things all the while. 

All at once it seemed as if my eyes were opened 
and all was clear at last. I knew what to do : just 
make the best of it for the night ; listen for shots 
and watch for fires ; and if by morning no help came 
in that way, then strike a line due south for the road 
and follow it up until we found the waggons. It 
might take all day or even more, but we were sure of 



1 



water that way and one could do it. The relief of 
really understanding was so great that the thought 
of a night out no longer worried me. 

There was enough wood gathered, and I stretched 
out on the grass to rest as there was nothing else to 
do. We were both tired out, hot, dusty, and very 
very thirsty ; but it was too late to hunt for water 
then. I was lying on my side chewing a grass stem, 
and Jock lay down in front of me a couple of feet 
away. It was a habit of his : he liked to watch my 
face, and often when I rolled over to ease one side 
and lie on the other he would get up when he found 
my back turned to him and come round deliberately 
to the other side and sling himself down in front of 
me again. There he would lie with his hind legs 
sprawled on one side, his front legs straight out, and 
his head resting on his paws. He would lie like that 
without a move, his little dark eyes fixed on mine all 
the time until the stillness and the rest made him 
sleepy, and he would blink and blink, like a drowsy 
child, fighting against sleep until it beat him ; and 
then one long-drawn breath as he rolled gently 
over on his side, and Jock was away in Snoozeland. 

In the loneliness of that evening I looked into his 
steadfast resolute face with its darker muzzle and 
bright faithful eyes that looked so soft and brown 
when there was nothing to do but got so beady black 
when it came to fighting. I felt very friendly to the 
comrade who was little more than a puppy still; 
and he seemed to feel something too ; for as I lay 
there chewing the straw and looking at him, he stirred 
149 






his stump of a tail in the dust an inch or so from time 
to time to let me know that he understood all about it 
and that it was all right as long as we were together. 
But an interruption came. Jock suddenly switched 
up his head, put it a bit sideways as a man would do, 
listening over his shoulder with his nose rather up in 
the air. I watched him, and thinking that it was 
probably only a buck out to feed in the cool of the 
evening, I tickled his nose with the long straw, saying, 
" No good, old chap ; only three cartridges left. We 
must keep them." 

JNo dog likes to have his nose tickled : it makes 
them sneeze ; and many dogs get quite offended, 
because it hurts their dignity. Jock was not offended, 
but he got up and, as if to show me that I was frivolous 
and not attending properly to business, turned away 
from me and with his ears cocked began to listen 
again. 

He was standing slightly in front of me and I 
happened to notice his tail : it was not moving ; it 
was drooping slightly and perfectly still, and he kept 
it like that as he stepped quietly forward on to another 
sloping rock overlooking a side where we had not yet 
been. Evidently there was something there, but he 
did not know what, and he wanted to find out. 

I watched him, much amused by his calm businesslike 
manner. He walked to the edge of the rock and looked 
out : for a few minutes he stood stock-still with his ears 
cocked and his tail motionless ; then his 
ears dropped and his tail wagged gently 
from side to side. 

150 




Something an instinct or sympathy quickened by 
the day's experience, that I had never quite known 
before taught me to understand, and I jumped up, ff 
thinking, " He sees something that he knows : he is 
pleased." As I walked over to him, he looked back ^ 
at me with his mouth open and tongue out, his ears 
still down and tail wagging he was smiling all over, 
in his own way. I looked out over his head, and 
there, about three hundred yards off, were the oxen 
peacefully grazing and the herd-boy in his red coat 
lounging along behind them 

Shame at losing myself and dread of the others' 
chaff kept me very quiet, and all they knew for many 
months was that we had had a long fruitless chase 
after koodoo and hard work to get back in time. 

I had had my lesson, and did not require to have 
it rubbed in and be roasted as Buggins had been. 
Only Jock and I knew all about it ; but once or twice 
there were anxious nervous moments when it looked 
as if we were not the only ones in the secret. The 
big Zulu driver, Jim Makokel' always interested in 
hunting and all that concerned Jock asked me as 
we were inspanning what I had fired the last two 
shots at ; and as I pretended not to hear or to notice 
the question, he went on to say how he had told the 
other boys that it must have been a klipspringer on 
a high rock or a monkey or a bird because the bullets 
had whistled over the waggons. I told him to inspan 
and not talk so much, and moved round to the other 
side of the waggon. 

That night I slept hard, but woke up once 






dreaming that several lions were looking down at me 
from the top of a big flat rock and Jock was keeping 
them off. 

Jock was in his usual place beside me, lying against 
my blankets. I gave him an extra pat for the dream, 
thinking, " Good old boy ; we know all about it, you 
and I, and we're not going to tell. But we've learned 
some things that we won't forget." And as I dropped 
off to sleep again I felt a few feeble sleepy pats against 
my leg, and knew it was Jock's tail wagging " Good 
night." 





NOT all our days were spent in excitement far far 
from it. For six or seven months the rains were too 
heavy, the heat too great, the grass too rank, and the 
fever too bad in the Bushveld for any one to do any 
good there ; so that for more than half of the year we 
had no hunting to speak of, as there was not much 
to be done above the Berg. But even during the 
hunting season there were many off-days and long 
spells when we never fired a shot. The work with 
the waggons was hard when we had full loads, the 
trekking slow and at night, so that there was always 
something to do in the daytime repairs to be 
done, oxen to be doctored, grass and water to be 
looked for, and so on ; and we had to make up sleep 
when we could. Even when the sport was good and 
the bag satisfactory there was usually nothing new 
to tell about it. So Jock and I had many a long 
spell when there was no hunting, many a bad day 
when we worked hard^but had no sport, and many 
a good day when we got what we were after and 
nothing happened that would interest any one else. 
153 



Every hunt was exciting and interesting for us, even 
those in which we got nothing ; indeed some of the 
most interesting were those in which the worst disap- 
pointments occurred, when after hard work and long 
chases the game escaped us. To tell all that happened 
would be to tell the same old story many times over ; 
but indeed, it would not be possible to tell all, for 
there were some things the most interesting of all, 
perhaps which only Jock knew. 

After the fight with the duiker there was never 
any doubt as to what he would do if allowed to follow 
up a wounded animal. It made a deal of difference 
in the hunting to know that he could be trusted to 
find it and hold on or bay it until I could get up. 
The bush was so thick that it was not possible to see 
more than a very few hundred yards at best, and the 
country was so dry and rough that if a wounded animal 
once got out of sight only an expert tracker had any 
chance of finding it again. Jock soon showed himself 
to be better than the best of trackers, for besides never 
losing the trail he would either pull down the buck 
or, if too big for that, attack and worry even the 
biggest of them to such an extent that they would have 
to keep turning on him to protect themselves and thus 
give me the chance to catch up. 

But the first result of my confidence in him was 
some perfectly hopeless chases. It is natural enough 
to give oneself the benefit of any doubt ; the enthu- 
siastic beginner always does so, and in his case the 
lack of experience often creates a doubt where none 
should have existed ; and the doubt is often very 

'54 



welcome, helping him out with explanations of the un- 
flattering facts. For the listener it is, at best and worst, 
only amusing or tiresome ; but for the person con- 
cerned it is different for, as Rocky said, * It don't fool 
any one worth speakin' of 'cept yerself.' And ' there's 
the rub.' Whenever a bullet struck with a thud, and no 
dust appeared to show that it had hit the ground, I 
thought that it must have wounded the buck ; and once 
you get the idea that the buck is hit, all sorts of reasons 
appear in support of it. There is hardly anything that 
the buck can do which does not seem to you to prove 
that it is wounded. It bounds into the air, races off 
suddenly, or goes away quite slowly ; it switches its 
tail or shakes its head ; it stops to look back, or does 
not stop at all ; the spoor looks awkward and scrappy ; 
the rust on the grass looks like dry blood. If you start 
with a theory instead of weighing the evidence all 
these things will help to prove that theory : they will, 
in fact, mean exactly what you want- them to mean. 
You ' put up a job on yerself ' to quote Rocky 
again and with the sweat of your brow and vexation 
of spirit you have to work that job out. 

Poor old Jock had a few hard chases after animals 
which I thought were wounded but were not hit at all 
not many, however, for he soon got hold of the right 
idea and was a better judge than his master. He 
went off the instant he was sent, but if there was 
nothing wounded that is, if he could not pick up 
a * blood spoor ' he would soon show it by casting 
across the trail, instead of following hard on it ; and 
I knew then there was nothing in it. Often he would 

'55 





come back of his own accord, and there was something 
quite peculiar in his look when he returned from these 
wild-goose chases that seemed to say, " No good : you 
were quite wrong. You missed the whole lot of them." 
He would come up to me with his mouth wide open 
and tongue out, a bit blown, and stand still with his front 
legs wide apart, looking up at me with that nothing- 
in-it sort of look in his eyes and not a movement in 
his ears or tail and never a turn of his head to show 
the least interest in anything else. I got to know that 
look quite well; and to me it meant, "Well, that job 
was a failure finished and done for. Now is there 
anything else you can think of ? " 

What always seemed to me so curious and full of 
meaning was that he never once looked back in the 
direction of the unwounded game, but seemed to 
put them out of his mind altogether as of no further 
interest. It was very different when he got on to the 
trail of a wounded buck and I had to call him off, as 
was sometimes necessary when the chase looked hope- 
less or it was too late to go further. He would obey, 
of course no amount of excitement made him forget 
that ; but he would follow me in*a sort of sideways 
trot, looking back over his shoulder|all the time, and 
whenever there was a stop, turning right round and 
staring intently in the direction of the game with 
his little tail moving steadily from side to side and his 
hind legs crouched as if ready to spring off the instant 
he got permission. 

Twice I thought he was lost for ever through 
following wounded game. The first occasion was also 

156 




the first time that we got among the impala and saw 
them in numbers. There is no more beautiful and 
fascinating sight than that of a troop of impala or 
springbuck really on the move and jumping in earnest. 
The height and distance that they clear is simply 
incredible. The impala's greater size and its delicate 
spiral horns give it a special distinction ; the spring- 
buck's brilliant white and red, and the divided crest 
which fans out along the spine when it is excited, are 
unique. But who can say which of the many beautiful 
antelopes is the most beautiful ? The oldest hunter 
will tell you of first one, then another, and then 
another, as they come to mind, just as he saw them 
in some supreme unforgettable moment ; and each at 
that moment has seemed quite the most beautiful 
animal in the world. 

It is when they are jumping that the impala are seen 
at their best. No one knows what they really can do, 
for there are no fences in their country by which to 
judge or guess, and as they run in herds it is practically 
impossible ever to find the take-off or landing-place 
of any single animal. Once when hunting along the 
Wenhla Mohali River we managed to turn seven of 
them into an old run ending in a rocky gorge ; but 
suspecting danger they would not face the natural 
outlet, and turning up the slope cleared a barrier of" 
thick thorn scrub and escaped. When we looked at 
the place afterwards we found that the bushes were 
nine feet high. We were not near enough to see 
whether they touched the tops or cleared them ; 
all we were sure of was that they did not hesitate for 

157 






a second to face a jump nine feet high at the top of a 
sharp rise, and that all seven did it in follow-my- 
leader order with the most perfect ease and grace. 

Every hunter has seen a whole troop, old and young, 
following the example of the leader, clear a road or 
donga twenty feet wide, apparently in an effortless 
stride. It is a fine sight, and the steady stream of 
buck makes an arch of red and white bodies over the 
road looking like the curve of a great wave. You 
stand and watch in speechless admiration ; and the 
first gasp at a glorious leap is followed by steady 
silent wonder at the regularity of the numbers. Then 
suddenly you see one animal for no apparent reason : 
it may be fright or it may be frolic take off away 
back behind the others, shoot up, and sail high above 
the arch of all the rest, and with head erect and feet 
comfortably gathered, land far beyond them the 
difference between ease and effort, and oh ! the perfect 
grace of both ! Something is wrung from you 
a word, a gasp and you stand breathless with wonder 
and admiration until the last one is gone. You have 
forgotten to shoot ; but they have left you something 
better than a trophy, something which time will 
only glorify a picture that in daylight or in dark 
will fill your mind whenever you hear the name 
Impala. 

Something of this I carried away from my first 
experience among them. There were a few minutes 
of complete bewilderment, a scene of the wildest 
confusion, and flashes of incident that go to make 
a great picture which it is impossible to forget. But 

158 



then there followed many hours of keen anxiety when I 
believed that Jock was gone for ever ; and it was long 
before that day found its place in the gallery of happy 
memories. 

We had gone out after breakfast, striking well away 
from the main road until we got among the thicker 
thorns where there was any amount of fresh spoor 
and we were quite certain to find a troop sooner or 
later. The day was so still, the ground so dry, and 
the bush so thick that the chances were the game would 
hear us before we could get near enough to see them. 
Several times I heard sounds of rustling bush or feet 
cantering away : something had heard us and made 
off unseen ; so I dropped down into the sandy bed of 
a dry donga and used it as a stalking trench. From 
this it was easy enough to have a good look around 
every hundred yards or so without risk of being heard 
or seen. We had been going along cautiously in this 
way for some time when, peering over the bank, I 
spied a single impala half hidden by a scraggy bush. 
It seemed queer that there should be only one, as 
their habit is to move in troops ; but there was nothing 
else to be seen ; indeed it was only the flicker of an 
ear on this one that had caught my eye. Nothing 
else in the land moved. 

Jock climbed the bank also, following so closely 
that he bumped against my heels, and when I lay flat 
actually crawled over my legs to get up beside me and 
see what was on. Little by little he got into the - 
of imitating all I did, so that after a while it was 
hardly necessary to say a word or make a sign 

159 ' 






to him. He lay down beside me and raised his head to 
look just as he saw me do. He was all excitement, 
trembling like a wet spaniel on a cold day, and instead 
of looking steadily at the impala as I was doing and as he 
usually did, he was looking here there and everywhere ; 
it seemed almost as if he was looking at things not 
for them. It was my comfortable belief at the moment 
that he had not yet spotted the buck, but was looking 
about anxiously to find out what was interesting me. 
It turned out, as usual, that he had seen a great deal 
more than his master had. 

The stalking looked very easy, as a few yards further 
up the donga there was excellent cover in some dense 
thorns, behind which we could walk boldly across open 
ground to within easy range of the buck and get a 
clear shot. We reached the cover all right, but I had 
not taken three steps into the open space beyond 
before there was a rushing and scrambling on every 
side of me. The place was a whirlpool of racing and 
plunging impala ; they came from every side and went 
in every direction as though caught suddenly in an 
enclosure and, mad with fear and bewilderment, were 
trying to find a way out. How many there were it 
was quite impossible to say : the bush was alive with 
them ; and the dust they kicked up, the noise of their 
feet, their curious sneezy snorts, and their wild con- 
fusion completely bewildered me. Not one stood 
still. Never for a moment could I see any single 
animal clearly enough or long enough to fire at it ; 
another would cross it ; a bush would cover it as I 
aimed ; or it would leap into the air, clearing bushes, 

160 



bucks and everything in its way, and disappear again 
in the moving mass. They seemed to me to whirl 
like leaves in a wind eddy : my eyes could not follow 
them and my brain swam as I looked. 

It was a hot day ; there was no breeze at all ; and 
probably the herd had been resting after their morning 
feed and drink when we came upon them. By creep- 
ing up along the donga we had managed to get un- 
observed right into the middle of the dozing herd, 
so they were literally on every side of us. At times it 
looked as if they were bound to stampede over us and 
simply trample us down in their numbers ; for in 
their panic they saw nothing, and not one appeared 
to know what or where the danger was. Time and 
again, as for part of a second I singled one out and 
tried to aim, others would come racing straight for 
us, compelling me to switch round to face them, only 
to find them swerve with a dart or a mighty bound 
when within a few paces of me. 

What Jock was doing during that time I do not 
know. It was all such a whirl of excitement and 
confusion that there are only a few clear impressions 
left on my mind. One is of a buck coming through 
the air right at me, jumping over the backs of two 
others racing across my front. I can see now the 
sudden wriggle of its body and the look of terror in 
its eyes when it saw me and realised that it was going 
to land almost at my feet. I tried to jump aside, but 
it was not necessary : with one touch on the ground 
it shot slantingly past me like a ricochet bullet. Another 
picture that always comes back is that of a splendid 
161 L 





ram clearing the first of the dense thorn bushes that 
were to have been my cover in stalking. He flew over 
it outlined against the sky in the easiest most graceful 
and most perfect curve imaginable. It came back 
to me afterwards that he was eight or ten yards from 
me, and yet I had to look up into the sky to see his 
white chest and gracefully gathered feet as he cleared 
the thorn bush like a soaring bird. 

One shot, out of three or four fired in desperation 
as they were melting away, hit something ; the un- 
mistakable thud of the bullet told me so. That time 
it was the real thing, and when you hear the real thing 
you cannot mistake it. The wounded animal went 
off with the rest and I followed, with Jock ahead 
of me hot on the trail. A hundred yards further on 
where Jock with his nose to the ground had raced 
along between some low stones and a marula tree I 
came to a stop bush all round me, not a living thing 
in sight, and all as silent as the grave. On one of the 
smooth hot stones there was a big drop of blood, and 
a few yards on I found a couple more. Here and there 
along the spoor there were smears on the long yellow 
grass, and it was clear enough, judging by the height 
of the blood-marks from the ground, that the impala 
was wounded in the body probably far back, as there 
were no frothy bubbles to show a lung shot. I knew 
that it would be a long chase unless Jock could head 
the buck off and bay it ; but unless he could do this 
at once, he was so silent in his work that there was 
little chance of finding him. The trail became more 
and more difficult to follow ; the blood was less 

162 




frequent, and the hot sun dried it so quickly that it 
was more than I could do to pick it out from the red 
streaks on the grass and many coloured leaves. So 
I gave it up and sat down to smoke and wait. 

Half an hour passed, and still no Jock. Then I 
wandered about whistling and calling for him 
calling until the sound of my own voice became quite 
uncanny, the only sound in an immense silence. 
Two hours passed in useless calling and listening, 
searching and waiting, and then I gave it up altogether 
and made back for the waggons, trying to hope against 
my real conviction that Jock had struck the road some- 
where and had followed it to the outspan, instead 
of coming back on his own trail through the bush 
to me. 

But there was no Jock at the waggons ; and my heart 
sank, although I was not surprised. It was nearly 
four hours since he had disappeared, and it was as 
sure as anything could be that something extra- 
ordinary must have happened or he would have come 
back to me long before this. No one at the waggons 
had seen him since we started out together ; and 
there was nothing to be done but to wait and see what 
would happen. It was perfectly useless to look for 
him : if alive and well, he was better able to find 
his way than the best tracker that ever lived ; if dead 
or injured and unable to move, there was not one 
chance in a million of finding him. 

There was only one kaffir whom Jock would take 
any notice of or would allow to touch him a great 
big Zulu named Jim MakokeP. Jim was one of 
163 






real fighting Zulu breed ; and the pride he took in 
Jock, and the sort of partnership that he claimed in 
tastes, disposition and exploits, began the day Jock 
fought the table-leg and grew stronger and stronger 
to the end. Jim became Jock's devoted champion, and 
more than once, as will be seen, showed that he would 
face man or beast to stand by him when he needed help. 
This day when I returned to the waggons Jim was 
sitting with the other drivers in the group round the 
big pot of porridge. I saw him give one quick look 
my way and heard him say sharply to the others, 
" Where is the dog ? Where is Jock ? " He stood 
there looking at me with a big wooden spoon full 
of porridge stopped on the way to his mouth. In 
a few minutes they all knew what had happened ; 
the other boys took it calmly, saying composedly that 
the dog would find his way back. But Jim was not 
calm : it was not his nature. At one moment he 
would agree with them, swamping them with a flood 
of reasons why Jock, the best dog in the world, would 
be sure to come back ; and the next hot with restless 
excitement would picture all that the dog might have 
been doing and all that he might still have to face, 
and then break off to proclaim loudly that every one 
ought to go out and hunt for him. Jim was not practical 
or reasonable he was too excitable for that ; but he 
was very loyal, and it was his way to show his feelings 
by doing something generally and preferably by 
fighting some one. Knowing only too well how useless 
it would be to search for Jock, I lay down under the 
waggon to rest and wait. 

164 



After half an hour of this Jim could restrain himself 
no longer. He came over to where I lay and with a 
look of severe disapproval and barely controlled in- 
dignation, asked me for a gun, saying that he himself 
meant to go out and look for Jock. It would be nearer 
the mark to say that he demanded a gun. He was so 
genuinely anxious and so indignant at what he con- 
sidered my indifference that it was impossible to be 
angry ; and I let him talk away to me and at me in 
his exciting bullying way. He would take no answer 
and listen to no reason ; so finally to keep him quiet 
I gave him the shot-gun, and off he went, muttering 
his opinions of every one else a great springy striding 
picture of fierce resolution. 

He came back nearly three hours later, silent, 
morose, hot and dusty. He put the gun down beside 
me without a word just a click of disgust ; and as 
he strode across to his waggon, called roughly to one of 
the drivers for the drinking water. Lifting the bucket to 
his mouth he drank like an ox and slammed it down again 
without a word of thanks ; then sat down in the shade 
of the waggon, filled his pipe, and smoked in silence. 

The trekking hour came and passed ; but we did not 
move. The sun went down, and in the quiet of the 
evening we heard the first jackal's yapping the first 
warning of the night. There were still lions and tigers 
in those parts, and any number of hyenas and wild 
dogs, and the darker it grew and the more I thought ' m 
of it, the more hopeless seemed Jock's chance of getting 
through a night in the bush trying to work his way back 
to the waggons. 






It was almost dark when I was startled by a yell 
from Jim Makokel', and looking round, saw him bound 
out into the road shouting, " He has come, he has 
come ! What did I tell you ? " He ran out to Jock, 
stooping to pat and talk to him, and then in a lower 
voice and with growing excitement went on rapidly, 
" See the blood ! See it ! He has fought : he has 
killed ! Dog of all dogs ! Jock, Jock ! " and his 
savage song of triumph broke off in a burst of rough 
tenderness, and he called the dog's name five or six 
times with every note of affection and welcome in his 
deep voice. Jock took no notice of Jim's dancing 
out to meet him, nor of his shouts, endearments and 
antics ; slowing his tired trot down to a walk, he 
came straight on to me, flickered his ears a bit, wagged 
his tail cordially, and gave my hand a splashy lick as 
I patted him. Then he turned round in the direction 
he had just come from, looked steadily out, cocked 
his ears well up, and moved his tail slowly from side 
to side. For the next half-hour or so he kept repeating 
this action every few minutes ; but even without 
that I knew that it had been no wild-goose chase, 
and that miles away in the bush there was something 
lying dead which he could show me if I would but 
follow him back again to see. 

What had happened in the eight hours since he 
.had dashed off in pursuit can only be guessed. That 
he had pulled down the impala and killed it seemed 
certain and what a chase and what a fight it must 
have been to take all that time ! The buck could not 
so badly wounded in the body as to be 

1 66 



been 




disabled or it would have died in far less time than 
that : then, what a fight it must have been to kill 
an animal six or eight times his own weight and 
armed with such horns and hoofs ! But was it only 
the impala ? or had the hyenas and wild dogs followed 
up the trail, as they so often do, and did Jock have to 
fight his way through them too ? 

He was hollow-flanked and empty, parched with 
thirst, and so blown that his breath still caught in 
suffocating chokes. He was covered with blood and 
sand ; his beautiful golden coat was dark and stained ; 
his white front had disappeared ; and there on his 
chest and throat, on his jaws and ears, down his front 
legs even to the toes, the blood was caked on him 
mostly black and dried but some still red and sticky. 
He was a little lame in one fore-leg, but there was 
no cut or swelling to show the cause. There was only 
one mark to be seen : over his right eye there was 
a bluish line where the hair had been shaved off clean, 
leaving the skin smooth and unbroken. What did 
it ? Was it horn, hoof, tooth, or what ? Only 
Jock knew. 

Hovering round and over me, pacing backwards 
and forwards between the waggons like a caged 
animal, Jim, growing more and more excited, filled 
the air with his talk his shouts and savage song. Want- 
ing to help, but always in the way, ordering and thrust- 
ing the other boys here and there, he worked 
himself up into a wild frenzy : it was 
the Zulu fighting blood on fire 
and he ' saw red ' eve rvw here. 

i6 7 






I called for water. " Water ! " roared Jim, " bring 
water " ; and glaring round he made a spring stick 
in hand at the nearest kaffir. The boy fled in terror, 
with Jim after him for a few paces, and brought a 
bucket of water. Jim snatched it from him and with 
a resounding thump on the ribs sent the unlucky 
kaffir sprawling on the ground. Jock took the water 
in great gulpy bites broken by pauses to get his breath 
again ; and Jim paced up and down talking, talking, 
talking ! Talking to me, to the others, to the kaffirs, 
to Jock, to the world at large, to the heavens, and to 
the dead. His eyes glared like a wild beast's and 
gradually little seams of froth gathered in the corners 
of his mouth as he poured out his cataract of words, 
telling of all Jock had done and might have done 
and would yet do ; comparing him with the fighting 
heroes of his own race, and wandering off into vivid 
recitals of single episodes and great battles ; seizing 
his sticks, shouting his war cries, and going through 
all the mimicry of fight with the wild frenzy of one 
possessed. Time after time I called him and tried 
to quiet him ; but he was beyond control. 

Once before he had broken out like this. I had 
asked him something about the Zulu war ; and that 
had started a flood of memories and excitement. In 
the midst of some description I asked why they killed 
the children ; and he turned his glaring eyes on me 
,i and said, " Inkos, you are my Inkos ; 
but you are white. If we fight to- 
morrow, I will kill you. You are 
ood to me, you have 
1 68 




saved me ; but if our own king says ' Kill ! ' we kill ! 
We see red ; we kill all that lives. I must kill you, 
your wife, your mother, your children, your horses, 
your oxen, your dog, the fowls that run with the 
waggons all that lives I kill. The blood must run." 
And I believed him ; for that was the Zulu fighting 
spirit. So this time I knew it was useless to order or 
to talk : he was beyond control, and the fit must run 
its course. 

The night closed in and there was quiet once more. 
The flames of the camp fires had died down ; the big 
thorn logs had burnt into glowing coals like the pink 
crisp hearts of giant water-melons ; Jock lay sleeping, 
tired out, but even in his sleep came little spells of 
panting now and then, like the after-sobs of a child 
that has cried itself to sleep ; we lay rolled in our 
blankets, and no sound came from where the kaffirs 
slept. But Jim only Jim sat on his rough three- 
legged stool, elbows on knees and hands clasped 
together, staring intently into the coals. The fit 
worked slowly off, and his excitement died gradually 
away ; now and then there was a fresh burst, but 
always milder and at longer intervals, as you may see 
it in a dying fire or at the end of a great storm ; slowly 
but surely he subsided until at last there were only 
occasional mutterings of " Ow, Jock ! " followed by 
the Zulu click, the expressive shake of the head, and 
that appreciative half grunt, half chuckle, by which 
they pay tribute to what seems truly wonderful. He 
wanted no sleep that night : he sat on, waiting for the 
morning trek, staring into the red coals, and thinking 
169 





of the bygone glories of his race in the days of the 
mighty Chaka. 

That was Jim, when the fit was on him transported 
by some trifling and unforeseen incident from the 
hum-drum of the road to the life he once had lived 
with splendid recklessness. 





JOCK was lost twice : that is to say, he was lost to me, 
and, as I thought, for ever. It came about both 
times through his following up wounded animals 
and leaving me behind, and happened in the days 
when our hunting was all done on foot ; when I 
could afford a horse and could keep pace with him 
that difficulty did not trouble us. The experience 
with the impala had made me very careful not to let 
him go unless I felt sure that the game was hard hit 
and that he would be able to pull it down or bay it. 
But it is not always easy to judge that. A broken leg 
shows at once ; but a body shot is very difficult to 
place, and animals shot through the lungs, and even 
through the lower part of the heart, often go away 
at a cracking pace and are out of sight in no time, 
perhaps to keep it up for miles, perhaps to drop dead 
within a few minutes. 

After that day with the impala we had many good 
days together and many hard ones : we had our 
disappointments, but we had our triumphs ; and we 
were both getting to know our way about by degrees. 
Buck of many kinds had fallen to us ; but so far as I 
171 




was concerned there was one disappointment 
that was not to be forgotten. The picture 
of that koodoo bull as he appeared for the 
last time looking over the ant-heap the day 
we were lost was always before me. I could not 
hear the name or see the spoor of koodoo with- 
out a pang of regret and the thought that 
never again would such a chance occur. Koodoo, 
like other kinds of game, were not to be found every- 
where ; they favoured some localities more than others, 
and when we passed through their known haunts 
chances of smaller game were often neglected in the 
hope of coming across the koodoo. 

I could not give up whole days to hunting for we 
had to keep moving along with the waggons all the 
time or it would have been easy enough in many 
parts to locate the koodoo and make sure of getting 
a good bag. As it was, on three or four occasions 
we did come across them, and once I got a running 
shot, but missed. This was not needed to keep my 
interest in them alive, but it made me keener than 
ever. Day by day I went out always hoping to get 
my chance, and when at last the chance did come it 
was quite in accordance with the experience of many 
others that it was not in the least expected. 

The great charm of Bushveld hunting is its variety : 
you never know what will turn up next the only 
certainty being that it will not be what you are 
expecting. 

The herd boy came 
noon to say that there 




was 



one after- 
a stem- 
172 



buck feeding among the oxen only a couple of 
hundred yards away. He had been quite close 
to it, he said, and it was very tame. Game, 
so readily alarmed by the sight of white men, will 
often take no notice of natives, allowing them to 
approach to very close quarters. They are also 
easily stalked under cover of cattle or horses, and much 
more readily approached on horseback than on foot. 
The presence of other animals seems to give them con- 
fidence or to excite mild curiosity without alarm, 
and thus distract attention from the man. In this 
case the bonny little red-brown fellow was not a bit 
scared ; he maintained his presence of mind admirably ; 
from time to time he turned his head our way and, 
with his large but shapely and most sensitive ears 
thrown forward examined us frankly while he moved 
slightly one way or another so as to keep under cover 
of the oxen and busily continue his browsing. 

In and out among some seventy head of cattle we 
played hide-and-seek for quite a while I not daring 
to fire for fear of hitting one of the bullocks until 
at last he found himself manoeuvred out of the troop ; 
and then without giving me a chance he was off into 
the bush in a few frisky skips. I followed quietly, 
knowing that as he was on the feed and not scared he 
would not go far. 

Moving along silently under good cover I reached 
a thick scrubby bush and peered over the top of it 
to search the grass under the surrounding thorn trees 
for the little red-brown form. I was looking about 
low down in the russety grass for he was only about 
173 






twice the size of Jock, and not easy to spot when 
a movement on a higher level caught my eye. It 
was just the flip of a fly-tickled ear ; but it was a 
movement where all else was still, and instantly the 
form of a koodoo cow appeared before me as a picture 
is thrown on a screen by a magic-lantern. There 
it stood within fifty yards, the soft grey-and-white 
looking still softer in the shadow of the thorns, but as 
clear to me and as still as a figure carved in stone. 
The stem of a mimosa hid the shoulders, but all the 
rest was plainly visible as it stood there utterly un- 
conscious of danger. The tree made a dead shot 
almost impossible, but the risk of trying for another 
position was too great, and I fired. The thud of the 
bullet and the tremendous bound of the koodoo straight 
up in the air told that the shot had gone home ; but 
these things were for a time forgotten in the surprise 
that followed. At the sound of the shot twenty other 
koodoo jumped into life and sight before me. The 
one I had seen and shot was but one of a herd all dozing 
peacefully in the shade, and strangest of all, it was the 
one that was farthest from me. To the right and left 
of this one, at distances from fifteen to thirty yards 
from me, the magnificent creatures had been standing, 
and I had not seen them ; it was the flicker of this 
one's ear alone that had caught my eye. My be- 
wilderment was complete when I saw the big bull 
of the herd start ofl twenty yards on my right front 
and pass away like a streak in a few sweep- 
ing strides. It was a matter of seconds 
only and they were all out of sight 

174 




all except the wounded one, which had turned 
off from the others. For all the flurry and 
confusion I had not lost sight of her, and noting 
her tucked-up appearance and shortened strides 
set Jock on her trail, believing that she would be 
down in a few minutes. 

It is not necessary to go over it all again : it was 
much the same as the impala chase. I came back 
tired, disappointed and beaten, and without Jock. 
It was only after darkness set in that things began to 
look serious. When it came to midnight, with the 
camp wrapped in silence and in sleep, and there was 
still no sign of Jock, things looked very black indeed. 

1 heard his panting breath before it was possible to 

see anything. It was past one o'clock when he returned. 

***** 

As we had missed the night trek to wait for Jock I 
decided to stay on where we were until the next 
evening and to have another try for the wounded koo- 
doo, with the chance of coming across the troop again. 

By daybreak Jock did not seem much the worse 
for his night's adventures whatever they were. 
There were no marks of blood on him this time; 
there were some scratches which might have been 
caused by thorns during the chase, and odd-looking 
grazes on both hind-quarters near the hip-bones, 
as though he had been roughly gravelled there. He 
seemed a little stiff, and flinched when I pressed his 
sides and muscles, but he was as game as ever when he 
saw the rifle taken down. 
175 





The koodoo had been shot through the body, and 
even without being run to death by Jock must have 
died in the night, or have lain down and become too 
cold and stiff to move. If not discovered by wild 
animals there was a good chance of finding it un- 
touched in the early morning ; but after sunrise 
every minute's delay meant fresh risk from the aas- 
v S e ^ s - There is very little which, if left uncovered, 
W ^ escape their eyes. You may leave your buck 
'O 1 'for help to bring the meat in, certain from the most 
careful scrutiny that there is not one of these creatures 
in sight, and return in half an hour to find nothing 
but a few bones, the horns and hoofs, a rag of skin, 
and a group of disgusting gorged vultures squatting 
on a patch of ground all smeared, torn and feather- 
strewn from their voracious struggles. 

In the winter sky unrelieved by the least fleck of 
cloud a dome of spotless polished steel nothing, 
you would think, can move unseen. Yet they are 
there. In the early morning, from their white - 
splashed eeries on some distant mountain they slide 
off like a launching ship into their sea of blue, and, 
striking the currents of the upper air, sweep round and 
upwards in immense circles, their huge motionless 
wings carrying them higher and higher until they are 
lost to human sight. Lie on your back in some dense 
shade where no side-lights strike in, but where an 
opening above forms a sort of natural telescope to the 
sky, and you may see tiny specks where nothing could 
be seen before. Take your field-glasses : the specks 
are vultures circling up on high ! Look again, and 
far, far above you will see still other specks ; and for 

176 



aught you know, there may be others still beyond. 
How high are they ? And what can they see from 
there ? Who knows ? But this is sure, that within a 
few minutes scores will come swooping down in great 
spiral rushes where not one was visible before. My own 
belief is that they watch each other, tier above tier 
away into the limitless heavens watching jealously, as 
hungry dogs do, for the least suspicious sign to swoop 
down and share the spoil. 

In the dewy cool of the morning we soon reached 
the place where Jock had left me behind the evening 
before ; and from that on he led the way. It was 
much slower work then ; as far as I was concerned, 
there was nothing to guide me, and it was impossible 
to know what he was after. Did he understand that 
it was not fresh game but the wounded koodoo that 
I wanted ? And, if so, was he following the scent 
of the old chase or merely what he might remember 
of the way he had gone ? It seemed impossible 
that scent could lie in that dry country for twelve 
hours ; yet it was clearly nose more than eyes that 
guided him. He went ahead soberly and steadily, 
and once when he stopped completely, to sniff at a 
particular tuft of grass, I found out what was helping 
him. The grass was well streaked with blood : quite 
dry, it is true ; still it was blood. 

A mile or so on we checked again where the grass 
was trampled and the ground scored with spoor. The 
heavy spoor was all in a ring four or five yards in 
diameter ; outside this the grass was also flattened, 
and there I found a dog's footprints. But it had no 
further interest for Jock ; while I was examining it he 
177 M 






picked up the trail and trotted on. We came upon 
four or five other rings where they had fought. The 
last of these was curiously divided by a fallen tree, 
and it puzzled me to guess how they could have made 
a circle with a good-sized trunk some two feet high 
intersecting it. I examined the dead tree and found 
a big smear of blood and a lot of coarse greyish hair 
on it. Evidently the koodoo had backed against it 
whilst facing Jock and had fallen over it, renewing 
. the fight on the other side. There were also some 
' golden hairs sticking on the stumpy end of a broken 
branch, which may have had something to do with 
Jock's scraped sides. 

Then for a matter of a hundred yards or more it 
looked as if they had fought and tumbled all the way. 
Jock was some distance ahead of me, trotting along 
quietly, when I saw him look up, give that rare growl- 
ing bark of his one of suppressed but real fury 
lower his head, and charge. Then came heavy flapping 
and scrambling and the wind of huge wings, as twenty 
or thirty great lumbering aasvogels flopped along the 
ground with Jock dashing furiously about among them 
taking flying leaps at them as they rose, and his jaws 
snapping like rat-traps as he missed them. 

On a little open flat of hard-baked sand lay 
the stripped frame of the koodoo : the head and 
leg-bones were missing ; meat-stripped fragments 
were scattered all about ; fifty yards away among 
some bushes Jock found the head ; and still further 
v afield were remains of skin and thigh-bones crushed 
|\ almost beyond recognition. 
^-^ '78 






No aasvogel had done this : it was hyenas' work. 
The high-shouldered slinking brute, with jaws like a 
stone-crusher, alone cracks bones like those and bigger 
ones which even the lion cannot tackle. I walked 
back a little way and found the scene of the last stand, 
all harrowed bare ; but there was no spoor of koodoo 
or of Jock to be seen there only prints innumerable of 
wild dogs, hyenas and jackals, and some traces of where 
the carcase, no doubt already half eaten, had been 
dragged by them in the effort to tear it asunder. 

Jock had several times shown that he strongly 
objected to any interference with his quarry ; other 
dogs, kaffirs, and even white men, had suffered or been 
badly scared for rashly laying hands on what he had 
pulled down. Without any doubt he had expected 
to find the koodoo there and had dealt with the aas- 
vogels as trespassers ; otherwise he would not have 
tackled them without word from me. It was also 
sure that until past midnight he had been there with 
the koodoo, watching or fighting. Then when had 
the hyenas and wild-dogs come ? That was the ques- 
tion I would have given much to have had answered. 
But only Jock knew that ! 

I looked at him. The mane on his neck and 
shoulders which had risen at the sight of the vultures 
was not flat yet ; he was sniffing about slowly and care- 
fully on the spoor of the hyenas and wild dogs ; and 
he looked * fight ' all over. But what it all meant 
was beyond me ; I could only guess just as you will 
what had happened out in the silent ghostly bush 
that night. 





JOCK had learned one very clever trick in pulling 
down wounded animals. It often happens when you 
[ come unexpectedly upon game that they are off 
" before you see them, and the only chance you have 
of getting anything is with a running shot. If they go 
straight from you the shot is not a very difficult one, 
although you see nothing but the lifting and falling 
hind-quarters as they canter away ; and a common 
result of such a shot is the breaking of one of the hind- 
legs between the hip and the hock. Jock made his 
discovery while following a rietbuck which I had 
wounded in this way. He had made several tries at 
its nose and throat, but the buck was going too strongly 
and was out of reach ; moreover it would not stop 
or turn when he headed it, but charged straight on, 
bounding over him. In trying once more for the 
throat he cannoned against the buck's shoulder and 

1 80 



was sent rolling yards away. This seemed to madden 
him : racing up behind he flew at the dangling leg, 
caught it at the shin, and thrusting his feet well out, 
simply dragged until the buck slowed down, and then 
began furiously tugging sideways. The crossing of the 
legs brought the wounded animal down immediately and 
Jock had it by the throat before it could rise again. 

Every one who is good at anything has some favourite 
method or device of his own : that was Jock's. It 
may have come to him, as it comes to many, by acci- 
dent ; but having once got it, he perfected it and used 
it whenever it was possible. Only once he made a 
mistake ; and he paid for it very nearly with his life. 

He had already used this device successfully several 
times, but so far only with the smaller buck. This day 
he did what I should have thought to be impossible for 
a dog of three or four times his size. I left the scene of 
torn carcase and crunched bones, consumed by regrets 
and disappointment ; each fresh detail only added 
to my feeling of disgust, but Jock did not seem to mind ; 
he jumped out briskly as soon as I started walking in 
earnest, as though he recognised that we were making 
a fresh start, and he began to look forward immediately. 

The little bare flat where the koodoo had fallen for 
the last time was at the head of one of those depressions 
which collect the waters of the summer floods and, 
changing gradually into shallow valleys, are eventually 
scoured out and become the dongas dry in winter 
but full charged with muddy flood in summer which 
drain the Bushveld to its rivers. Here and there 
where an impermeable rock formation crosses these 
181 





channels there are deep pools which, except in years 
of drought, last all through the winter ; and these are 
the drinking-places of the game. I followed this 
one down for a couple of miles without any definite 
purpose until the sight of some greener and denser 
wild figs suggested that there might be water, and 
perhaps a rietbuck or a duiker near by. As we reached 
the trees Jock showed unmistakable signs of interest 
in something, and with the utmost caution I moved 
from tree to tree in the shady grove towards where 
it seemed the water-hole might be. 

There were bushy wild plums flanking the grove, 
and beyond them the ordinary scattered thorns. As 
I reached this point, and stopped to look out between 
the bushes on to the more open ground, a koodoo cow 
walked quietly up the slope from the water, but before 
there was time to raise the rifle her easy stride had 
carried her behind a small mimosa tree. I took one 
quick step out to follow her up and found myself face 
to face at less than a dozen yards with a grand koodoo 
bull. It is impossible to convey in words any real 
idea of the scene and how things happened. Of course, 
it was only for a fraction of a second that we looked 
straight into each other's eyes ; then, as if by magic, 
he was round and going from me with the overwhelm- 
ing rush of speed and strength and weight combined. 
Yet it is' the first sight that remains with me : the 
proud head, the huge spiral horns, and the wide soft 
staring eyes before the wildness of panic had stricken 
them. The picture seems photographed on eye 
and brain, never to be forgotten. A whirlwind of 

182 




dust and leaves marked his course, and through 
it I fired, unsteadied by excitement and hardly 
able to see. Then the right hind-leg swung out 
and the great creature sank for a moment, almost 
to the ground ; and the sense of triumph, the 
longed for and unexpected success, ' went to my 
head ' like a rush of blood. 

There had been no time to aim, and the shot a 
real snap shot was not at all a bad one. It was 
after that that the natural effect of such a meeting 
and such a chance began to tell. Thinking it all out 
beforehand does not help much, for things never 
happen as they are expected to ; and even months 
of practice among the smaller kinds will not ensure 
a steady nerve when you just come face to face with 
big game there seems to be too much at stake. 

I fired again as the koodoo recovered himself, but 
he was then seventy or eighty yards away and partly 
hidden at times by trees and scrub. He struck up 
the slope, following the line of the troop through 
the scattered thorns, and there, running hard and 
dropping quickly to my knee for steadier aim, I fired 
again and again but each time a longer shot and 
more obscured by the intervening bush ; and no tell- 
tale thud came back to cheer me on. 

Forgetting the last night's experience, forgetting 
everything except how we had twice chased and twice 
lost them, seeing only another and the grandest prize 
slipping away, I sent Jock on and followed as fast as 
I could. Once more the koodoo came in sight just 
a chance at four hundred yards as he reached an open 

83 





space on rising ground. Jock was already closing up, 

but still unseen, and the noble old fellow turned full 

broadside to me as he stopped to look back. Once 

more I knelt, gripping hard and holding my breath 

to snatch a moment's steadiness, and fired ; but I missed 

'again, and as the bullet struck under him he plunged 

forward and disappeared over the rise at the moment 

that Jock, dashing out from the scrub, reached his heels. 

The old Martini carbine had one bad fault ; even 

I could not deny that ; years of rough and careless 

treatment in all sorts of weather for it was only a 

discarded old Mounted Police weapon had told on 

it, and both in barrel and breech it was well pitted 

with rust scars. One result of this was that it was 

always jamming, and unless the cartridges were kept 

well greased the empty shells would stick and the 

ejector fail to work ; and this was almost sure to happen 

when the carbine became hot from quick firing. It 

jammed now, and fearing to lose sight of the chase 

I dared not stop a second, but ran on, struggling from 

time to time to wrench the breach open. 

Reaching the place where they had disap- 
"^peared, I saw with intense relief and excite- 
ment Jock and the koodoo having it out less than a 
hundred yards away. The koodoo's leg was broken right 
up in the ham, and it was a terrible handicap for an 
animal so big and heavy, but his nimbleness and quick- 
ness were astonishing. Using the sound hind-leg as 
a pivot he swung round, always facing his enemy ; 
Jock was in and out, here, there and everywhere, 
as a buzzing fly torments one on a hot day ; and 

184 



indeed, to the koodoo just then he was the fly and 
nothing more; he could only annoy his big enemy, 
^and was playing with his life to do it. Sometimes 
he tried to get round ; sometimes pretended to 
charge straight in, stopping himself with all four feet 
spread just out of reach ; then like a red streak he 
would fly through the air with a snap for the koodoo's 
nose. It was a fight for life and a grand sight ; for 
the koodoo, in spite of his wound, easily held his own. 
No doubt he had fought out many a life and death 
struggle to win and hold his place as lord of the herd 
and knew every trick of attack and defence. Maybe 
too he was blazing with anger and contempt for this 
persistent little gad-fly that worried him so and kept 
out of reach. Sometimes he snorted and feinted 
to charge ; at other times backed slowly, giving way 
to draw the enemy on ; then with a sudden lunge the 
great horns swished like a scythe with a tremendous 
reach out, easily covering the spot where Jock had 
been a fraction of a second before. There were 
pauses too in which he watched his tormentor steadily, 
with occasional impatient shakes of the head, or, 
raising it to full height, towered up a monument 
of splendid and contemptuous indifference, looking 
about with big angry but unfrightened eyes for the 
herd his herd that had deserted him; or with a 
slight toss of his head he would walk limpingly forward, 
forcing the ignored Jock before him ; then, inter- 
rupted and annoyed by a flying snap at his nose, he 
would spring forward and strike with the sharp cloven 
fore-foot zip-zip-zipat Jock as he landed. Any 
185 





one of the vicious flashing stabs would have pinned 
him to the earth and finished him ; but Jock was 
never there. 

Keeping what cover there was I came up slowly 
behind them, struggling and using all the force I 
dared, short of smashing the lever, to get the empty 
cartridge out. At last one of the turns in the fight 
brought me in view, and the koodoo dashed off again. 
For a little way the pace seemed as great as ever, but 
it soon died away ; the driving power was gone ; 
the strain and weight on the one sound leg and the 
tripping of the broken one were telling ; and from 
that on I was close enough to see it all. In the first 
rush the koodoo seemed to dash right over Jock 
the swirl of dust and leaves and the bulk of the koodoo 
hiding him ; then I saw him close abreast, looking 
up at it and making furious jumps for its nose, alter- 
nately from one side and the other, as they raced along 
together. The koodoo holding its nose high and well 
forward, as they do when on the move, with the horns 
thrown back almost horizontally, was out of his reach 
and galloped heavily on completely ignoring his 
attacks. 

There is a suggestion of grace and poise in the 
movement of the koodoo bull's head as he gallops 
through the bush which is one of his distinctions 
above the other antelopes. The same supple balancing 
movement that one notes in the native girls bearing 
their calabashes of water upon their heads is seen 
in the neck of the koodoo, and for the same reason : 
the movements of the body are softened into mere 

186 



<*\l,)j 

undulations, and the head with its immense spiral 
horns seems to sail along in voluntary company 
indeed almost as though it were bearing the body below. 
At the fourth or fifth attempt by Jock a spurt from the 
koodoo brought him cannoning against its shoulder, and 
he was sent rolling unnoticed yards away. He scrambled 
instantly to his feet, but found himself again behind: 
it may have been this fact that inspired the next 
attempt, or perhaps he realised that attack in front 
was useless; for this time he went determinedly for 
the broken leg. It swung about in wild eccentric 
curves, but at the third or fourth attempt he got it 
and hung on ; and with all fours spread he dragged 
along the ground. The first startled spring of the 
koodoo jerked him into the air ; but there was no 
let go now, and although dragged along the rough 
ground and dashed about among the scrub, sometimes 
swinging in the air, and sometimes sliding on his back, 
he pulled from side to side in futile attempts to throw 
the big animal. Ineffectual and even hopeless as it 
looked at first, Jock's attacks soon began to tell ; the 
koodoo made wild efforts to get at him, but with 
every turn he turned too, and did it so vigorously 
that the staggering animal swayed over and had to 
plunge violently to recover its balance. So they 
turned, this way and that, until a wilder plunge swung 
Jock off his feet, throwing the broken leg across the 
other one; then, with feet firmly planted, Jock tugged 
again, and the koodoo trying to regain its footing 
was tripped by the crossed legs and came down with 
a crash. 
187 





As it fell Jock was round and fastened on the nose ; 
but it was no duiker, impala or rietbuck that he had 
to deal with this time. The koodoo gave a snort of 
indignation and shook its head : as a terrier shakes a 
rat, so it shook Jock, whipping the ground with his 
swinging body, and with* another indignant snort 
and toss of the head flung him off, sending him 
skidding along the ground on his back. The koodoo 
had fallen on the wounded leg and failed to rise with 
the first effort ; Jock while still slithering along the 
ground on his back was tearing at the air with his 
feet in his mad haste to get back to the attack, and 
as he scrambled up, he raced in again with head down 
and the little eyes black with fury. He was too mad 
to be wary, and my heart stood still as the long horns 
went round with a swish ; one black point seemed 
to pierce him through and through, showing a foot 
out the other side, and a jerky twist of the great head 
sent him twirling like a tip-cat eight or ten feet up 
in the air. It had just missed him, passing under 
his stomach next to the hind-legs ; but, until he 
dropped with a thud and, tearing and scrambling to 
his feet, he raced in again, I felt certain he had been 
gored through. 

The koodoo was up again then. I had rushed 
in with rifle clubbed, with the wild idea of stunning 
it before it could rise, but was met by the lowered 
horns and unmistakable signs of charging, and beat 
a retreat quite as speedy as my charge. 

It was a running fight from that on : the instant 

the koodoo turned to go Jock was on to the leg again, 

1 88 




and nothing could shake his hold. I had to keep 
at a respectful distance, for the bull was still good 
for a furious charge, even with Jock hanging on, 
and eyed me in the most unpromising fashion when- 
ever I attempted to head it off or even to come 
close up. 

The big eyes were blood-shot then, but there was 
no look of fear in them they blazed with baffled 
rage. Impossible as it seemed to shake Jock off or 
to get away from us, and in spite of the broken leg 
and loss of blood, the furious attempts to beat us off 
did not slacken. It was a desperate running fight, 
and right bravely he fought it to the end. 

Partly barring the way in front were the whitened 
trunks and branches of several trees struck down by 
some storm of the year before, and running ahead 
of the koodoo I made for these, hoping to find a stick 
straight enough for a ramrod to force the empty 
cartridge out. As I reached them the koodoo made 
for me with half a dozen plunges that sent me flying 
off for other cover ; but the broken leg swayed over 
one of the branches, and Jock with feet planted 
against the tree hung on ; and the koodoo, turning 
furiously on him, stumbled, floundered, tripped, 
and came down with a crash amongst the crackling 
wood. Once more like a flash Jock was over the fallen 
body and had fastened on the nose but only to be 
shaken worse than before. The koodoo literally 
flogged the ground with him, and for an instant I shut 
my eyes ; it seemed as if the plucky dog would be 
beaten into pulp. The bull tried to chop him with 
189 





its fore-feet, but could not raise itself enough, and at 
each pause Jock, with his watchful little eyes ever 
on the alert, dodged his body round to avoid the 
chopping feet without letting go his hold. Then 
with a snort of fury thejcoodoo, half rising, gave its 
head a wild upward sweep, and shook. As a springing 
rod flings a fish the koodoo flung Jock over its head 
and on to a low flat-topped thorn-tree behind. The 
dog somersaulted slowly as he circled in the air, dropped 
on his back in the thorns some twelve feet from the 
ground, and came tumbling down through the branches. 
Surely the tree saved him, for it seemed as if such a 
throw must break his back. As it was he dropped 
with a sickening thump ; yet even as he fell I saw 
again the scrambling tearing movement, as if he was 
trying to race back to the fight even before he 
reached ground. Without a pause to breathe or 
even to look, he was in again and trying once 
more for the nose. 

The koodoo lying partly on its side, with both 
hind-legs hampered by the mass of dead wood, 
could not rise, but it swept the clear space in front with 
the terrible horns, and for some time kept Jock at bay. 
I tried stick after stick for a ram-rod, but without 
success ; at last, in desperation at seeing Jock once 
more hanging to the koodoo's nose, I hooked 
the lever on to a branch and setting my 
foot against the tree wrenched until the 
empty cartridge flew out and I went 
staggering backwards. 

In the last struggle, while I was busy with 

190 




the rifle, the koodoo had moved, and it was then 
lying against one of the fallen trunks. The first 
swing to get rid of Jock had literally slogged him 
against the tree ; the second swing swept him 
under it where a bend in the trunk raised it 
about a foot from the ground, and gaining 
his foothold there Jock stood fast there, 
there, with his feet planted firmly and his shoulder 
humped against the dead tree, he stood this tug-of- 
war. The koodoo with its head twisted back, as caught 
at the end of the swing, could put no weight to the 
pull; yet the wrenches it gave to free itself drew the 
nose and upper lip out like tough rubber and seemed 
to stretch Jock's neck visibly. I had to come round 
within a few feet of them to avoid risk of hitting 
Jock, and it seemed impossible for bone and muscle 
to stand the two or three terrible wrenches that I 
saw. The shot was the end; and as the splendid 
head dropped slowly over, Jock let go his hold. 

He had not uttered a sound except the grunts 
that were knocked out of him. 






: JIM MAKOKEL' was Jock's ally and champion. 
;. There was a great deal to like and something 
to admire in Jim ; but, taking him all round, 
I am very much afraid that most people would 
consider him rather a bad lot. The fact of 
the matter is he belonged to another period and 
other conditions. He was simply a great passionate 
fighting savage, and, instead of wearing the cast-off 
clothing of the white man and peacefully driving 
bullock waggons along a transport road, should 
have been decked in his savage finery of leopard skin 
and black ostrich feathers, showing off the powerful 
bronzed limbs and body all alive with muscle, and 
sharing in some wild war-dance ; or, equipped with 
shield and assegais, leading in some murderous fight. 
Yes, Jim was out of date : he should have been one 
of the great Chaka's fighting guard to rise as a leader 
of men, or be killed on the way. He had but one 
argument and one answer to everything : Fight ! It 
was his nature, bred and born in him ; it ran in his 
blood and grew in his bones. He was a survival of 

192 



a great fighting race there are still thousands o 
them in the kraals of Zululand and Swaziland but 
it was his fate to belong to one of the expelled families, 
and to have to live and work among the white men 
under the Boer Government of the Transvaal. 

In a fighting nation Jim's kraal was known as a 
fighting one, and the turbulent blood that ran in 
their veins could not settle down into a placid stream 
merely because the Great White Queen had laid her 
hand upon his people and said, " There shall be 
peace ! " Chaka, the ' black Napoleon ' whose wars 
had cost South Africa over a million lives, had died 
murdered by his brother Dingaan full of glory, lord 
and master wherever his impis could reach. " Dogs 
whom I fed at my kraal ! " he gasped, as they stabbed 
him. Dingaan his successor, as cruel as treacherous, 
had been crushed by the gallant little band of 
Boers under Potgieter for his fiendish massacre of 
Piet Retief and his little band. Panda the third 
of the three famous brothers Panda the peace- 
ful had come and gone ! Ketshwayo, after years 
of arrogant and unquestioned rule, had loosed 
his straining impis at the people of the Great 
White Queen. The awful day of 'Sandhlwana 
where the 24th Regiment died almost to a man 
and the fight on H'lobani Mountain had blooded 
the impis to madness ; but Rorke's Drift and Kambula 
had followed those bloody victories each within a 
few hours to tell another tale; and at Ulundi the 
tides met the black and the white. And the kingdom 
and might of the house of Chaka were no more. 
193 N 






Jim had fought at 'Sandhlwana, and could tell of 
an umfaan sent out to herd some cattle within sight 
of the British camp to draw the troops out raiding 
while the impis crept round by hill and bush and donga 
behind them ; of the fight made by the red-coats as, 
taken in detail, they were attacked hand to hand with 
stabbing assegais, ten and twenty to one ; of one man 
in blue a sailor who was the last to die, fighting 
with his back to a waggon wheel against scores before 
him, and how he fell at last, stabbed in the back 
through the spokes of the wheel by one who had crept 
up behind. 

Jim had fought at Rorke's Drift ! Wild with lust 
of blood, he had gone on with the maddest of the 
victory-maddened lot to invade Natal and eat up 
the little garrison on the way. He could tell how 
seventy or eighty white men behind a little rampart 
of biscuit-tins and flour-bags had fought through 
the long and terrible hours, beating off five thousand 
of the Zulu best, fresh from a victory without parallel 
or precedent ; how, from the burning hospital, Sergeant 
Hook, V.C., and others carried sick and wounded 
through the flames into the laager ; how a man in 
black with a long beard, Father Walsh, moved about 
with calm face, speaking to some, helping others, 
carrying wounded back and cartridges 
forward Father Walsh who said 
" Don't swear, boys : fire low " ; how 
Lieutenants Chard and Bromhead 
V.C.s too for that day's work- 
led and fought, and guided and 

194 





heartened their heroic little band until the flour- 
bags and biscuit-tins stood lower than the pile of 

dead outside, and the Zulu host was beaten and Natal / jfcftB 
saved that day. \* 

Jim had seen all that and Ulundi, the Day of 
Despair ! And he knew the power of the Great 
White Queen and the way that her people fight. 
But peace was not for him or his kraal : better any 
fight than no fight. He rallied to Usibepu in the fight 
for leadership when his King, Ketshwayo, was gone, 
and Jim's kraal had moved and moved too soon : they 
were surrounded one night and massacred ; and Jim 
fought his way out, wounded and alone. Without 
kith or kin, cattle, king, or country, he fled to the 
Transvaal to work for the first time in his life ! 

Waggon-boys as the drivers were called often 
acquired a certain amount of reputation on the road 
or in the locality where they worked; but it was, as 
a rule, only a reputation as good or bad drivers. In 
Jim's case it was different. He was a character and 
had an individual reputation, which was exceptional 
in a Kaffir. I had better say at once that not even his 
best friend would claim that that reputation was a 
good one. He was known as the best driver, the 
strongest nigger, the hardest fighter, and the worst 
drinker on the road. 

His real name was Makokela, but in accordance with 
a common Zulu habit, it was usually abbreviated to 
MakokeP ! Among a certain number of the white men 
of the sort who never can get any name right he 
was oddly enough known as McCorkindale. I called him 

'95 



f\ 





Jim as a rule Makokel', when relations were strained. 
The waggon-boys found it safer to use his proper 
name. When anything had upset him it was not con- 
sidered wise to take the liberty of shouting " Jim " : 
the answer sometimes came in the shape of a hammering. 

Many men had employed Jim before he came to 
me, and all had ' sacked ' him for fighting, drinking, 
and the unbearable worry he caused. They told me 
this, and said that he gave more trouble than his work 
was worth. It may have been true : he certainly was 
a living test of patience, purpose, and management ; 
but, for something learnt in that way, I am glad now 
that Jim never * got the sack ' from me. Why he did 
not, is not easy to say ; perhaps the circumstances 
under which he came to me and the hard knocks of 
an unkind fate pleaded for him. But it was not that 
alone : there was something in Jim himself some- 
thing good and fine, something that shone out from 
time to time through his black skin and battered face 
as the soul of a real man. 

It was in the first season in the Bushveld that we 
were outspanned one night on the sand-hills over- 
looking Delagoa Bay among scores of other waggons 
dotted about in little camps all loading or waiting 
for loads to transport to the Transvaal. Delagoa 
was not a good place to stay in, in those days : liquor 
was cheap and bad ; there was very little in the way 
of law and order ; and every one took care of himself 
as well as he could. The Kaffir kraals were close about 
the town, and the natives of the place were as rascally 
a lot of thieves and vagabonds as you could find any- 

196 



where. The result was everlasting trouble with the 
waggon-boys and a chronic state of war between them 
and the natives and the banyans or Arab traders of 
the place. The boys, with pockets full of wages, haggled 
and were cheated in the stores, and by the hawkers, 
and in the canteens ; and they often ended up the night 
with beer-drinking at the kraals or reprisals on their 
enemies. Every night there were fights and rob- 
beries : the natives or Indians would rob and half- 
kill a waggon-boy ; then he in turn would rally his 
friends, and raid and clear out the kraal or the store. 
Most of the waggon-boys were Zulus or of Zulu 
descent, and they were always ready for a fight and 
would tackle any odds when their blood was up. 

It was the third night of our stay, and the usual 
row was on. Shouts and cries, the beating of tom- 
toms, and shrill ear-piercing whistles, came from all 
sides ; and through it all the dull hum of hundreds 
of human voices, all gabbling together. Near to us 
there was another camp of four waggons drawn up 
in close order, and as we sat talking and wondering 
at the strange babel in the beautiful calm moonlight 
night, one sound was ever recurring, coming away 
out of all the rest with something in it that fixed our 
attention. It was the sound of two voices from the 
next waggons. One voice was a kaffir's a great, 
deep, bull-throated voice ; it was not raised it was 
monotonously steady and low; but it carried far, with 
the ring and the lingering vibration of a big gong. 

" Funa 'nyama, Inkos ; funa 'nyama ! " (" I want 
meat, Chief ; I want meat ! ") was what the kaffir's 
197 





voice kept repeating at intervals of a minute or two 
with deadly monotony and persistency. 

The white man's voice grew more impatient, 
louder, and angrier, with each refusal ; but the boy 
paid no heed. A few minutes later the same request 
would be made, supplemented now and then with, 
" I am hungry, Baas, I can't sleep. Meat ! Meat ! 
Meat ! " ; or, " Porridge and bread are for women and 
picaninnies. I am a man : I want meat, Baas, meat." 
From the white man it was, " Go to sleep, I tell you ! " 
" Be quiet, will you ? " " Shut up that row ! " 
" Be still, you drunken brute, or I'll tie you up ! " and 
" You'll get twenty-five in a minute ! " 

It may have lasted half an hour when one of our 
party said, " That's Bob's old driver, the big Zulu. 
There'll be a row to-night ; he's with a foreigner 
chap from Natal now. New chums are always roughest 
on the niggers." 

In a flash I remembered Bob Saunderson's story of 
the boy who had caught the lion alive, and Bob's own 
words, " a real fine nigger, but a terror to drink, and 
always in trouble. He fairly wore me right out." 

A few minutes later there was a short scuffle, and 
the boy's voice could be heard protesting in the same 
deep low tone : they were tying him up to the waggon- 
wheel for a flogging. Others were helping the white 
man, but the boy was not resisting. 

At the second thin whistling stroke some one said, 

' That's a sjambok he's using, not a nek-strop ! " 

Sjambok, that will cut a bullock's hide ! At about the 

eighth there was a wrench that made the waggon rattle, 

and the deep voice was raised in protest, " Ow, Inkos ! " 

198 



It made me choke : it was the first I knew of such 
things, and the horror of it was unbearable ; but 
the man who had spoken before a good man too, 
straight and strong, and trusted by black and white 
said, " Sonny, you must not interfere between a man 
and his boys here ; it's hard sometimes, but we'd 
not live a day if they didn't know who was baas." 

I think we counted eighteen ; and then everything 

I I JO 

seemed going to burst. 

* * # * * 

The white man looked about at the faces close to 
him and stopped. He began slowly to untie the 
out-stretched arms, and blustered out some threats. 
But no one said a word ! 



The noises died down as the night wore on, until 
the stillness was broken only by the desultory barking 
of a kaffir dog or the crowing of some awakened 
rooster who had mistaken the bright moonlight for 
the dawn and thought that all the world had overslept 
itself. But for me there was one other 
sound for which I listened into the 
cool of morning with the quivering 
sensitiveness of a bruised nerve. Some- /!% 
times it was a long catchy sigh, and|/ y 
sometimes it broke into a groan just u 
audible, like the faintest rumble of 
most distant surf. Twice in the long 
night there came the same request 
to one of the boys near him, uttered 
in a deep clear unshaken voice and in 
199 







a tone that was civil but firm, and strangely moving 
from its quiet indifference. 

" Landela manzi, Umganaam ! ' : (" Bring water, 
friend ! ") was all he said ; and each time the request 
was so quickly answered that I had the guilty feeling 
of being one in a great conspiracy of silence. The 

hush was unreal ; the stillness alive with racing 
< thoughts ; the darkness full of watching eyes. 

There is, we believe, in the heart of every being 

a little germ of justice which men call conscience ! 
If that be so, there must have been in the heart of 
the white man that night some uneasy movement 
the first life-throb of the thought which one who had 
not yet written has since set down : 

" Though I've belted you and flayed you, 
By the living God that made you, 
You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din ! " 

***** 

The following afternoon I received an ultimatum. 
We had just returned from the town when from a 
group of boys squatting round the fire there stood 
up one big fellow a stranger who raised his hand 
high above his head in Zulu fashion and gave their 
salute in the deep bell-like voice that there was no 
mistaking, " Inkos ! Bayete ! " 

He stepped forward, looking me all over, and 
announced with calm and settled conviction, " I 
have come to work for you ! " I said nothing. Then 
he rapped a chest like a big drum, and nodding his 
head with a sort of defiant confidence added in quaint 

200 



English, " My naam Makokela ! Jim MakokeP ! Yes ! 
My catchum lion 'live ! Makokela, me ! " 

He had heard that I wanted a driver, had waited 
for my return, and annexed me as his future ' baas ' 
without a moment's doubt or hesitation. 

I looked him over. Big, broad-shouldered, loose- 
limbed, and as straight as an assegai ! A neck and 
head like a bull's ; a face like a weather-beaten rock, 
storm-scarred and furrowed, rugged and ugly, but 
steadfast, massive and strong ! So it looked then, 
and so it turned out : for good and for evil Jim was 
strong. 

I nodded and said, " You can come." 

Once more he raised his head aloft, and, simply 
and without a trace of surprise or gratification, said : 

" Yes, you are my chief, I will work for you." In 
his own mind it had been settled already : it had 
never been in doubt. 

Jim when sober was a splendid worker and the 
most willing of servants, and, drunk or sober, he was 
always respectful in an independent, upstanding, hearty 
kind of way. His manner was as rough and rugged 
as his face and character ; in his most peaceful moments 
it was to one who did not understand him almost 
fierce and aggressive ; but this was only skin deep ; 
for the childlike simplicity of the African native was 
in him to the full, and rude bursts of Titanic laughter 
came readily laughter as strong and unrestrained as 
his bursts of passion. 

To the other boys he was what his nature and 
training had made him not really a bully, but 
201 







masterful and over-riding. He gave his orders with 
the curtness of a drill sergeant and the rude assurance 
of a savage chief. Walking, he walked his course, 
giving way for none of them. At the outspan or on the 
road or footpath he shouldered them aside as one walks 
through standing corn, not aggressively but with the 
superb indifference of right and habit unquestioned. 
If one, loitering before him, blocked his way unseeing, 
there was no pause or step aside just " Suka ! " (" Get 
out ") and a push that looked effortless enough but 
sent the offender staggering ; or, if he had his sticks, 
more likely a smart whack on the stern that was still 
more surprising ; and not even the compliment of 
a glance back from Jim as he stalked on. He was like 
the old bull in a herd he walked his course ; none 
molested and none disputed ; the way opened before 
him. 

When sober Jim spoke Zulu ; when drunk, he broke 
into the strangest and most laughable med- 
ley of kitchen- Kaffir, bad Dutch, and worse 
English the idea being, in part to consider 
our meaner intelligences and in part to 
show what an accomplished linguist he 
was. There was no difficulty in knowing 
when Jim would go wrong : he broke 
out whenever he got a chance, whether 
at a kraal, where he could always quicken 
the reluctant hospitality of any native, 
at a wayside canteen, or in a town. 
Money was fatal he drank it all out ; 
but want of money was no security, for 

202 



he was known to every one and seemed to have friends 
everywhere ; and if he had not, he made them on the 
spot annexed and overwhelmed them. 

From time to time you do meet people like that. 
The world's their oyster, and the gift of a masterful 
and infinite confidence opens it every time : they 
walk through life taking of the best as a right, and 
the world unquestioningly submits. 

I had many troubles with Jim, but never on account 
of white men : drunk or sober, there was never trouble 
there. It may have been Rorke's Drift and Ulundi 
that did it ; but whatever it was, the question of 
black and white was settled in his mind for ever. He 
was respectful, yet stood upright with the rough 
dignity of an unvanquished spirit ; but on the one 
great issue he never raised his hand or voice again. 
His troubles all came from drink, and the exasperation 
was at times almost unbearable so great, indeed, 
that on many occasions I heartily repented ever having 
taken him on. Warnings were useless, and punish- 
ment well, the shiny new skin that made patterns 
in lines and stars and crosses on his back for the rest 
of his life made answer for always upon that point. 

The trials and worries were often great indeed. 
The trouble began as soon as we reached a town, and 
he had a hundred excuses for going in, and a hundred 
more for not coming out : he had some one to see, 
boots to be mended, clothes to buy, or medicine to 
get the only illness I ever knew him have was 
' a pain inside,' and the only medicine wanted 
grog I some one owed him money a stock excuse, 
203 





and the idea of Jim, always penniless and always in 
debt, posing as a creditor never failed to raise a laugh, 
and he would shake his head with a half-fierce half- 
sad disgust at the general scepticism and his failure 
to convince me. Then he had relations in every town ! 
Jim, the sole survivor of his fighting kraal, produced 
' blulus,' ' babas,' ' sisteles,' and even ' mamas,' in 
profusion, and they died just before we reached the 
place, as regularly as the office-boy's aunt dies before 
Derby Day, and with the same consequence he had 
to go to the funeral. 

The first precaution was to keep him at the waggons 
and put the towns and canteens ' out of bounds ' ; 
and the last defence, to banish him entirely until he 
came back sober, and meanwhile set other boys to do 
his work, paying them his wages in cash in his presence 
when he returned fit for duty. 

" Is it as I told you ? Is it just ? " I would ask 
when this was done. 

" It is just, Inkos," he would answer with a calm 
dispassionate simplicity which appealed for forgiveness 
and confidence with far greater force than any repent- 
ance ; and it did so because it was genuine ; it was 
natural and unstudied. There was never a trace of 
feeling to be detected when these affairs were squared 
off, but I knew how he hated the treatment, and it 
helped a little from time to time to keep him right. 

The banishing of him from the waggons in order 
that he might go away and have it over was not a 
device to save myself trouble, and I did it only when 
it was clear that he could stand the strain no longer. 

204 



It was simply a choice of evils, and it seemed to me 
better to let him go, clearly understanding the con- 
ditions, than drive him into breaking away with the 
bad results to him and the bad effects on the others 
of disobeying orders. It was, as a rule, far indeed 
from saving me trouble, for after the first bout of 
drinking he almost invariably found his way back to 
the waggons : the drink always produced a ravenous 
craving for meat, and when his money was gone and 
he had fought his fill and cleared out all opposition, 
he would come back to the waggons at any hour of 
the night, perhaps even two or three times between 
dark and dawn, to beg for meat. Warnings and 
orders had no effect whatever ; he was unconscious 
of everything except the overmastering craving for 
meat. He would come to my waggon and begin 
that deadly monotonous recitation, " Funa 'nyama, 
Inkos ! Wanta meat, Baas ! " There was a kind 
of hopeless determination in the tone conveying 
complete indifference to aU consequences : meat 
he must have. He was perfectly respectful ; every 
order to be quiet or go away or go to bed was received 
with the formal raising of the hand aloft, the most 
respectful of salutations, and the assenting, " Inkos ! " 
but in the very next breath would come the old 
monotonous request, " Funa 'nyama, Inkos," just as 
if he was saying it for the first time. The persistency 
was awful it was maddening ; and there was no 
remedy, for it was not the result of voluntary or even 
conscious effort on his part ; it was a sort of automatic 
process, a result of his physical condition. Had he 
205 




tin. 





known it would cost him his life, he could no more 
have resisted it than have resisted breathing. 

When the meat was there I gave it, and he would 
sit by the fire for hours eating incredible quantities 
cutting it off in slabs and devouring it when not much 
more than warmed. But it was not always possible to 
satisfy him in that way ; meat was expensive in the 
towns and often we had none at all at the waggons. 
Then the night became one long torment : the spells 
of rest might extend from a quarter of an hour to an 
hour ; then from the dead sleep of downright weariness 
I would be roused by the deep far-reaching voice ; 
" Funa 'nyama, Inkos " wove itself into my dreams, 
and waking I would find Jim standing beside me 
remorselessly urging the same request in Zulu, in 
broken English, and in Dutch " My wanta meat, 
Baas," "Wil fleisch krij, Baas," and the old, old, 
hatefully familiar explanation of the difference between 
" man's food " and " picanins' food," interspersed 
with grandiose declarations that he was " Makokela 
Jim Makokel'," who " catchum lion 'live." Sometimes 
he would expand this into comparisons between himself 
and the other boys, much to their disadvantage ; and 
on these occasions he invariably worked round to his 
private grievances, and expressed his candid opinions 
of Sam. 

Sam was the boy whom I usually set to do Jim's 
neglected work. He was a ' mission boy,' that is 
a Christian kaffir very proper in his behaviour, but 
a weakling and not much good at work. Jim would 
enumerate all Sam's shortcomings ; how he got his 
oxen mixed up on dark nights and could not pick them 

206 



out of the herd a quite unpardonable offence ; how 
he stuck in the drifts and had to be * double-spanned ' 
and pulled out by Jim ; how he once lost his way in 
the bush ; and how he upset the waggon coming down 
the Devil's Shoot. 

Jim had once brought down the Berg from Spitzkop 
a loaded waggon on which there was a cottage piano 
packed standing upright. The road was an awful 
one, it is true, and few drivers could have handled so 
top-heavy a load without capsizing he had received a 
bansela for his skill but to him the feat was one without 
parallel in the history of waggon driving ; and when 
drunk he usually coupled it with his other great achieve- 
ment of catching a lion alive. His contempt for 
Sam's misadventure on the Devil's Shoot was therefore 
great, and to it was added resentment against Sam's 
respectability and superior education, which the latter 
was able to rub in in safety by ostentatiously reading 
his Bible aloud at nights as they sat round the fire. 
Jim was a heathen, and openly affirmed his conviction 
that a Christian kaffir was an impostor, a bastard, 
and a hypocrite a thing not to be trusted under any 
circumstances whatever. The end of his morose 
outburst was always the same. When his detailed 
indictment of Sam was completed he would wind up 
with, " My catchum lion 'live. My bling panyanna 
fon Diskop (I bring piano from Spitzkop). My 
naam Makokela : Jim Makokel'. Sam no good ; 
Sam leada Bible (Sam reads the Bible). Sam no 
good ! " The intensity of conviction and the gloomy 
disgust put into the last reference to Sam are not to 
be expressed in words. 
207 






Where warning and punishment availed nothing 
threats would have been worse than foolish. Once, 
when he had broken bounds and left the waggons, 
I threatened that if he did it again I would tie him 
up, since he was like a dog that could not be 
trusted ; and I did it. He had no excuse but 
the old ones ; some one, he said, had brought 
him liquor to the waggons and he had not known 
what he was doing. The truth was that the craving 
grew so with the nearer prospect of drink that by 
hook or by crook he would find some one, a passer- 
by or a boy from other waggons, to fetch some for 
him ; and after that nothing could hold him. 

If Jim ever wavered in his loyalty to me, it must 
have been the day I tied him up : he must have been 
very near hating me then. I had caught him as he 
was leaving the waggons and still sober ; brought him 
back and told him to sit under his own waggon where 
I would tie him up like a dog. I took a piece of sail 
twine, tied it to one wrist, and, fastening the other end 
to the waggon-wheel, left him. 

A kafHr's face becomes, when he wishes it, quite 
inscrutable as expressionless as a blank wall. But 
there are exceptions to every rule ; and Jim's stoicism 
was not equal to this occasion. The look of unspeak- 
able disgust and humiliation on his face was more than 
I could bear with comfort ; and after half an hour 
or so in the pillory I released him. He did not say 
a word, but, heedless of the hot sun, rolled himself 
in his blankets and, sleeping or not, never moved for the 
rest of the day. ^^ faeSSSae *^ !S ^* =!S ^ 208 





JOCK disliked kaffirs : so did Jim. To Jim there 
were three big divisions of the human race 
white men, Zulus, and niggers. Zulu, old 
or young, was greeted by him as equal, friend 
and comrade ; but the rest were trash, and he 
cherished a most particular contempt for the Shan- 
gaans and Chopis, as a lot who were just about 
good enough for what they did that is, work in the 
mines. They could neither fight nor handle animals ; 
and the sight of them stirred him to contempt and 
pricked him to hostilities. 

It was not long before Jim discovered this bond of 
sympathy between him and Jock, and I am perfectly 
sure that the one bad habit which Jock was never 
cured of was due to deliberate encouragement from 
Jim on every possible opportunity. It would have 
been a matter of difficulty and patience in any case to 
teach Jock not to unnecessarily attack strange kaffirs. 
It was very important that he should have nothing to 
do with them, and should treat them with suspicion 
as possible enemies and keep them off the premises. 
I was glad that he did it by his own choice and instinct ; 
209 o 




but this being so, it needed all the more intelligence 
and training to get him to understand just where to 
draw the line. Jim made it worse ; he made the 
already difficult task practically impossible by egging 
Jock on ; and what finally made it quite impossible 
was the extremely funny turn it took, which caused 
such general amusement that every one joined in the 
conspiracy and backed up Jock. 

Every one knows how laughable it is to see a person 
dancing about like a mad dervish, with legs and arms 
going in all directions, dodging the rushes of a dog, es- 
pecially if the spectator knows that the dog will not 
do any real harm and is more intent on scaring his 
victim, just for the fun of the thing, than on hunting 
him. Well, that is how it began. 

As far as I know the first incident arose out of the 
intrusion of a strange kaffir at one of the outspans. 
Jock objected, and he was forcing a scared boy 
back step by step doing the same feinting rushes 
that he practised with game until the boy tripped 
over a camp stool and sat plump down on the three- 
legged pot of porridge cooking at the camp fire. I 
did not see it ; for Jock was, as usual, quite silent 
a feature which always had a most terrifying effect 
on his victims : it was a roar like a lion's from Jim 
that roused me. Jock was standing off with his feet 
on the move forwards and backwards, his head on 
one side and his face full of interest, as if he would 
dearly love another romp in ; and the waggon-boys 
were reeling and rolling about the grass, helpless with 



laughter. 




210 



A dog is just as quick as a child to find out when 
he can take liberties ; he knows that laughter and 
serious disapproval do not go together ; and Jock 
with the backing of the boys thoroughly enjoyed him- 
self. That was how it began ; and by degrees it 
developed into the great practical joke. The curious 
thing to note was the way in which Jock entered into 
the spirit of the thing, and how he improved and 
varied his methods. It was never certain what he 
would do ; sometimes it would be a wild romp, as 
it was that day ; at other times he would stalk the 
intruder in the open, much as a pointer approaches 
his birds in the last strides, and with eyes fixed steadily 
and mouth tightly pursed up, he would move straight 
at him with infinite slowness and deliberation until, 
the boy's nerve failed, and he turned and ran. At 
other times again he trotted out as if he had seen 
nothing, and then stopped suddenly. If the boy came 
on, Jock waited ; but if there was any sign of fear or 
hesitation, he lowered his head, humped up his 
shoulders as a stagey boxer does when he wants to 
appear ferocious and gave his head a kind of chuck 
forward, as if in the act of charging : this seldom failed 
to shake the intruder's nerve, and as soon as he turned 
or backed, the romp began. Still another trick was 
to make a round in the bush and come up behind 
unobserved, and then make a furious dash with rumbly 
gurgly growls ; the startled boy invariably dropped 
all he had, breaking into a series of fantastic capers 
and excited yells, to the huge delight of Jim and the 
others. 
211 





But these things were considered trifles : the piece 
that always ' brought the house down ' was the 
Shangaan gang trick, which on one occasion nearly 
got us all into serious trouble. The natives going 
to or from the gold-fields travel in gangs of from four 
or five to forty or fifty ; they walk along in Indian 
file, and even when going across the veld or walking on 
wide roads they wind along singly in the footsteps of 
the leader. What prompted the dog to start this 
new game I cannot imagine : certainly no one could 
have taught it to him ; and as well as one could judge, 
he did it entirely ' off his own bat,' without anything 
to lead up to or suggest it. 

One day a gang of about thirty of these Shangaans, 
each carrying his load of blankets, clothing, pots, 
billies and other valuables on his head, was coming 
along a footpath beside the road some twenty yards 
away from the waggons. Jock strolled out and sat 
himself down in the middle of the path ; it was the 
way he did it and his air, utterly devoid of hostile 
or even serious purpose, that attracted my attention 
without rousing any doubts. The leader of the gang, 
however, was suspicious and shied off wide into the 
veld; he passed in a semicircle round Jock, a good 
ten yards away, and came safely back to the path 
again, and the dog with his nose in the air merely eyed 
him with a look of humorous interest and mild curi- 
osity. The second kaffir made the loop shorter, and 
the third shorter still, as they found their alarm and 
suspicions unjustified ; and so on, as each came along, 
the loop was lessened until they passed in safety almost 

212 




\VlTH HIS NOSE IN THE AIR EYED THEM WITH MILD CURIOSITY " 



brushing against Jock's nose. And still he never 
budged never moved except, as each boy approached, 
to look up at his face and, slowly turning his head, 
follow him round with his eyes until he re-entered 
the path. There was something extremely funny 
in the mechanical regularity with which his head 
swung round. It was so funny that not only the boys 
at the waggons noticed it and laughed ; the un- 
suspecting Shangaans themselves shared the joke. 
When half a dozen had passed round in safety, com- 
ments followed by grunts of agreement or laughter 
ran along the line, and then, as each fresh boy passed 
and Jock's calm inspection was repeated, a regular 
chorus of guffaws and remarks broke out. The long 
heavy bundles on their heads made turning round a 
slow process, so that, except for the first half-dozen, 
they were content to enjoy what they saw in front 
and to know by the laughter from behind that the 
joke had been repeated all down the line. 

The last one walked calmly by ; but as he did so 
there came one short muffled bark, " Whoop ! " 
from Jock as he sprang out and nipped the unsuspect- 
ing Shangaan behind. The boy let out a yell that 
made the whole gang jump and clutch wildly at their 
toppling bundles, and Jock raced along the footpath, 
leaping, gurgling and snapping behind each one he 
came near, scattering them this way and that, in a 
romp of wild enjoyment. The shouts of the scared 
boys, the clatter of the tins as their bundles toppled 
down, the scrambling and scratching as they clawed 
the ground pretending to pick up stones or sticks to & 
213 





stop his rushes, and the ridiculous rout of the thirty 
Shangaans in every direction, abandoning their bag- 
gage and fleeing from the little red enemy only just 
visible in the grass as he hunted and harried them, 
were too much for my principles and far too much 
for my gravity. To be quite honest, I weakened 
badly, and from that day on preferred to look another 
way when Jock sallied out to inspect a gang of Shan- 
gaans. Between them, Jim and Jock had beaten me. 

But the weakening brought its own punishment 
and the joke was not far from making a tragedy. 
Many times while lying some way off in the shade of 
a tree or under another waggon I heard Jim, all 
unconscious of my presence, call in a low deep voice, 
almost a whisper, " Jock, Jock ; kaffirs ; Shangaans ! ' : 
Jock's head was up in a moment, and a romp of some 
sort followed unless I intervened. Afterwards, when 
Jock was deaf, Jim used to reach out and pull his foot 
or throw a handful of sand or a bunch of grass to rouse 
him, and when Jock's head switched up Jim's big black 
fist pointing to their common enemy was quite 
enough. 

Jim had his faults, but getting others into mischief 
while keeping out of it himself was not one of them. 
If he egged Jock on, he was more than ready to stand 
by him, and on these occasions his first act was to 
jump for his sticks, which were always pretty handy, 
and lie in readiness to take a hand if any of the gang 
should use what he considered unfair means of defence, 
such as throwing stones and kerries or using assegais 
or knives ; and Jim the friend of Jock, the avoided 

214 



enemy of all Shangaans, aching for an excuse to 
take a hand in the row himself was not, I fear, a 
very impartial judge. 

There was a day outside Barberton which I remem- 
ber well. We were to start that evening, and knowing 
that if Jim got into the town he might not be back 
and fit to work for days, I made him stay with the 
waggons. He lay there flat out under his waggon 
with his chin resting on his arms, staring steadily at 
the glistening corrugated iron roofs of the town, 
as morose and unapproachable as a surly old watch- 
dog. From the tent of my waggon I saw him raise 
his head, and following his glance, picked out a row of 
bundles against the sky-line. Presently a long string 
of about fifty time-expired mine-boys came in sight. 
Jim on his hands and knees scrambled over to where 
Jock lay asleep, and shook him ; for this incident 
occurred after Jock had become deaf. 

" Shangaans, Jock ; Shangaans ! Kill them ; kill, 
kill, kill ! " said Jim in gusty ferocious whispers. It 
must have seemed as if Fate had kindly provided an 
outlet for the rebellious rage and the craving for a 
fight that were consuming him. 

As Jock trotted out to head them off Jim reached 
up to the buck-rails and pulled down his bundle of 
sticks and lay down like a tiger on the spring. I had 
had a lot of trouble with Jim that day, and this annoyed 
me ; but my angry call to stop was unavailing. Jim, 
pretending not to understand, made no attempt to 
stop Jock, but contented himself with calling to him 
to come back ; and Jock, stone deaf, trotted evenly 
215 






along with his head, neck, back, and tail, all level 
an old trick of Jess's which generally meant trouble 
for some one. Slowing down as he neared the Shan- 
he walked quietly on until he headed off the 
leader, and there he stood across the path. It was 
just the same as before : the boys, rinding that he did 
nothing, merely stepped aside to avoid bumping 
against him. They were boys taking back their pur- 
chases to their kraals to dazzle the eyes of the ignorant 
with the wonders of civilisation gaudy blankets, collec- 
tions of bright tin billies and mugs, tin plates, three- 
legged pots, clothing, hats, and even small tin trunks 
painted brilliant yellow, helped to make up their huge 
bundles. The last boy was wearing a pair of Royal 
Artillery trousers ; and I have no doubt he regarded it 
ever afterwards as nothing less than a calamity that they 
were not safely stowed away in his bundle for a kaffir 
would sacrifice his skin rather than his new pants any 
day. It was from the seat of these too ample bags 
that Jock took a good mouthful ; and it was the boy's 
frantic jump, rather than Jock's tug, that made the 
piece come out. The sudden fright and the attempts 
to face about quickly caused several downfalls ; the 
clatter of these spread the panic ; and on top of it 
all came Jock's charge" along the broken line, and the 
excited shouts of those who thought they were going 
to be worried to death. 

Jim had burst into great bellows of laughter and 
excited but quite superfluous shouts of encourage- 
ment to Jock, who could not have heard a trumpet 
at ten yards. 

216 



But there came a very unexpected change. One big 
Shangaan had drawn from his bundle a brand new 
side-axe : I saw the bright steel head flash, as he held 
it menacingly aloft by the short handle and marched 
towards Jock. There was a scrambling bound from 
under the waggon, and Jim, with face distorted and 
grey with fury, rushed out. In his right hand he 
brandished a tough stout fighting stick ; in his left 
I was horrified to see an assegai, and well I knew that, 
with the fighting fury on him, he would think nothing 
of using it. The Shangaan saw him coming, and 
stopped ; then, still facing Jim, and with the axe raised 
and feinting repeatedly to throw it, he began to back 
away. Jim never paused for a second : he came straight 
on with wild leaps and blood-curdling yells in Zulu 
fighting fashion and ended with a bound that seemed to 
drop him right on top of the other. The stick came 
down with a whirr and a crash that crimped every nerve 
in my body ; and the Shangaan dropped like a log 

I had shouted myself hoarse at Jim, but he heard 
or heeded nothing ; and seizing a stick from one of 
the other boys I was already on the way to stop him, 
but before I got near him he had wrenched the axe 
from the kicking boy and, without pause, gone head- 
long for the next Shangaan he saw. Then everything 
went wrong : the more I shouted and the harder I 
ran, the worse the row. The Shangaans seemed to 
think I had joined in and was directing operations 
against them : Jim seemed to be inspired to wilder 
madness by my shouts and gesticulations ; and Jock 
well, Jock at any rate had not the remotest doubt 
217 






as to what he should do. When he saw me and Jim 
in full chase behind him, his plain duty was to go 
in for all he was worth ; and he did it. 

It was half an hour before I got that mad savage 
back. He was as unmanageable as a runaway horse. 
He had walloped the majority of the fifty himself ; 
he had broken his own two sticks and used up a number 
of theirs ; on his forehead there was a small cut and 
a lump like half an orange ; and on the back of his 
head another cut left by the sticks of the enemy when 
eight or ten had rallied once in a half-hearted attempt 
to stand against him. 

It was strange how Jim, even in that mood, yielded 
to the touch of one whom he regarded as his " Inkos." 
I could not have forced him back : in that maniac 
condition it would have needed a powerful combina- 
tion indeed to bring him back against his will. He 
yielded to the light grip of my hand on his wrist and 
walked freely along with me ; but a fiery bounding 
vitality possessed him, and with long springy strides he 
stepped out looking excitedly about, turning to right 
and left or even right about, and stepping sideways or 
even backwards to keep pace with me yet 
always yielding the imprisoned arm so as 
not to pull me about. And all the time 
there came from him a torrent of excited 
gabble in pure Zulu, too fast and too 
high-flown for me to follow, which was 
punctuated and paragraphed by bursting 
allusions to ' dogs of Shangaans,' 
' axes,' * sticks,' and ' Jock.' 

218 




Near the waggons we passed over the ' battle- 
field,' and a huge guffaw of laughter broke from Jim 
as we came on the abandoned impedimenta of the 
defeated enemy. Several of the bundles had burst 
open from the violence of the fall, and the odd collec- 
tions of the natives were scattered about ; others had 
merely shed the outside luggage of tin billies, beakers, 
pans, boots and hats. Jim looked on it all as the spoils 
of war, wanting to stop and gather in his loot there and 
then, and when I pressed on, he shouted to the other 
drivers to come out and collect the booty. 

But my chief anxiety was to end the wretched esca- 
pade as quickly as possible and get the Shangaans on 
their way again ; so I sent Jim back to his place under 
the waggon, and told the cook-boy to give him the 
rest of my coffee and half a cup of sugar to provide 
him with something else to think of and to calm him 
down. 

After a wait of half an hour or so, a head appeared 
just over the rise, and then another and another, at 
irregular intervals and at various points : they were 
scouting very cautiously before venturing back again. 
I sat in the tent-waggon out of sight and kept quiet, 
hoping that in a few minutes they would gain con- 
fidence, collect their goods, and go their way again. 
Jim, lying flat under the waggon, was much lower than 
I was, and continuing his gabble to the other boys 
saw nothing. Unfortunately he looked round just 
as a scared face peered cautiously over the top of an 
ant-heap. The temptation was, I suppose, irresistible : 
he scrambled to his knees with a pretence of starting 
219 





afresh and let out one ferocious yell that made my hair 
stand up ; and in that second every head bobbed 
down and the field was deserted once more. 

If this went on there could be but one ending: 
the police would be appealed to, Jim arrested, and I 
should spend days hanging about the courts waiting 
for a trial from which the noble Jim would probably 
emerge with three months' hard labour ; so I sallied 
out as my own herald of peace. But the position was 
more difficult than it looked : as soon as the Shan- 
gaans saw my head appearing over the rise, they 
scattered like chaff before the wind, and ran as if 
they would never stop. They evidently took me for 
the advance guard in a fresh attack, and from the way 
they ran seemed to suspect that Jim and Jock might 
be doing separate flanking movements to cut them 
off. I stood upon an ant-heap and waved and called, 
but each shout resulted in a fresh spurt and each move- 
ment only made them more suspicious. It seemed a 
hopeless case, and I gave it up. 

On the way back to the waggons, however, I thought 
of Sam Sam, with his neatly patched European 
clothes, with the slouchy heavy-footed walk of a nigger 
in boots, with his slack lanky figure and serious timid 
face ! Sam would surely be the right envoy ; even 
the routed Shangaans would feel that there was nothing 
to fear there. But Sam was by no means anxious 
to earn laurels ; he was clearly of the poet's view that 
" the paths of glory lead but to the grave ; " and it 
was a poor-looking weak-kneed and much dejected 
scarecrow that dragged its way reluctantly out into 

220 



the veld to hold parley with the routed enemy that 
day. 

At the first mention of Sam's name Jim had twitched 
round with a snort, but the humour of the situation 
tickled him when he saw the too obvious reluctance 
with which his rival received the honour conferred 
on him. Between rough gusts of laughter Jim 
rained on him crude ridicule and rude comments ; 
and Sam slouched off with head bent, relieving his 
heart with occasional clicks and low murmurs of disgust. 
How far the new herald would have ventured, if he 
had not received most unexpected encouragement, 
is a matter for speculation. Jim's last shout was to 
advise him not to hide in an ant-bear hole ; but, to 
Sam's relief, the Shangaans seemed to view him 
merely as a decoy, even more dangerous than I was ; 
for, as no one else appeared, they had now no idea 
at all from which quarter the expected attack would 
come. They were widely scattered more than half 
a mile away when Sam-came in sight ; a brief pause 
followed in which they looked anxiously around, and 
then, after some aimless dashes about like a startled troop 
of buck, they seemed to find the line of flight and headed 
off in a long string down the valley towards the river. 

Now, no one had ever run away from Sam before, 
and the exhilarating sight so encouraged him that 
he marched boldly on after them. Goodness knows 
when, if ever, they would have stopped, if Sam had 
not met a couple of other natives whom the Shan- 
gaans had passed and induced them to turn back 
and reassure the fugitives. 

221 

Y 






An hour later Sam came back in mild triumph, at 
the head of the Shangaan gang ; and, * clothed in a 
little brief authority,' stood guard and superintended 
while they collected their scattered goods all except 
the axe that caused the trouble. That they failed to 
find. The owner may have thought it wise to make 
no claim on me ; Sam, if he remembered it, would 
have seen the Shangaans and all their belongings 
burned in a pile rather than raise so delicate a 
question with Jim ; I had forgotten all about it 
being anxious only to end the trouble and get the 
Shangaans off ; and that villain Jim ' lay low.' At 
the first outspan from Barberton next day I saw him 
carving his mark on the handle, unabashed, under my 
very nose. 

The next time Jim got drunk he added something 
to his opinion of Sam : 

" Sam no good : Sam leada Bible ! Shangaan, 
Sam ; Shangaan ! " 





THE last day of each trip in the Bush- 
veld was always a day of trial and hard 
work for man and beast. The Berg 
stood up before us like an impassable 
barrier. Looked at from below the 

prospect was despairing from above, a rr o . 

There was no road that the eye could follow. 
Here and there a broad furrowed streak of red 
soil straight down some steep grass-covered spur 
was visible : it looked like a mountain timber- 
slide or the scour of some tropical storm ; and 
that was all one could see of it from below. For 
perhaps a week the towering bulwarks of the High- 
veld were visible as we toiled along at first only in 
occasional hazy glimpses, then daily clearer higher 
and grander, as the great barrier it was. 

After many hard treks through the broken foot- 
hills, with their rocky sideling slopes and boulder- 
strewn torrent beds, at last the Berg itself was reached. 
There, on a flat-topped terrace-like spur where the last 
outspan was, we took breath, halved our loads, double- 
spanned, and pulled ourselves together for the last 
big climb. 
223 




From there the scoured red streaks stood out re- 
vealed as road tracks for, made road there was none ; 
from there, lines of whitish rock and loose stones and 
big boulders, that one had taken for the beds 
of mountain torrents, stood revealed as bits of 
' road,' linking up some of the broken sections of 
the route ; but even from there not nearly all 
the track was visible. The bumpy rumbling 
and heavy clattering of waggons on the rocky 
trail, the shouts of drivers and the crack of 
whips, mixed with confusing echoes from some- 
where above, set one puzzling and searching 
higher still. Then in unexpected places here 
and there other waggons would be seen against the 
shadowy mountains, creeping up with infinite labour 
foot by foot, tacking at all sorts of angles, winding 
by undetected spur and slope and ridge towards the 
summit the long spans of oxen and the bulky loads, 
dwarfed into miniature by the vast background, look- 
ing like snails upon a face of rock. 

To those who do not know, there is not much 
difference between spans of oxen ; and the driving of 
them seems merely a matter of brute strength in arm 
and lung. One span looks like another ; and the 
weird unearthly yells of the drivers, the cracks like 
rifle-shots of the long lashes, and the hum and thud 
of the more cruel doubled whip, seem to be all that is 
needed. But it is not so : heart and training in the 
cattle, skill and judgment in the driver, are needed there; 
for the Berg is a searching test of man and beast. 
Some, double-spanned and relieved of half their 

224 



three-ton loads, will stick for a whole day where the 
pull is steepest, the road too narrow to swing the 
spans, and the curves too sharp to let the fifteen 
couples of bewildered and despairing oxen get a 
straight pull ; whilst others will pass along slowly 
but steadily and without check, knowing what each 
beast will do and stand, when to urge and when to 
ease it, when and where to stop them for a blow, 
and how to get them all leaning to the yoke, ready 
and willing for the ' heave together ' that is essential 
for restarting a heavy load against such a hill. 
Patience, understanding, judgment, and decision : 
those are the qualities it calls for, and here again the 
white man justifies his claim to lead and rule ; for, 
although they are as ten or twenty to one, there is 
not a native driver who can compare with the best 
of the white men. 

It was on the Berg that I first saw what a really 
first-class man can do. There were many waggons 
facing the pass that day ; portions of loads, dumped 
off to ease the pull, dotted the roadside ; tangles of 
disordered maddened spans blocked the way; and 
fragments of yokes, skeys, strops, and reims, and 
broken disselbooms, told the tale of trouble. 

Old Charlie Roberts came along with his two 
waggons. He was ' old ' with us being nearly fifty ; 
he was also stout and in poor health. We buried 
him at Pilgrim's Rest a week later : the cold, clear 
air on top of the Berg that night, when he brought 
the last load up, brought out the fever. It was his 
last trek. 
225 p 






He walked slowly up past us, to " take a squint at 
'things," as he put it, and see if it was possible to get 
'past the stuck waggons ; and a little later he started, 
' making three loads of his two and going up with single 
i spans of eighteen oxen each, because the other waggons, 
_ .'stuck in various places on the road, did not give him 
>3room to work double spans. To us it seemed madness 
to attempt with eighteen oxen a harder task than we 
and others were essaying with thirty ; we would have 
waited until the road ahead was clear. 

We were half-way up when we saw old Charlie 
coming along steadily and without any fuss at all. 
He had no second driver to help him ; he did no 
shouting ; he walked along heavily and with difficulty 
beside the span, playing the long whip lightly about 
as he gave the word to go or called quietly to individual 
oxen by name, but he did not touch them ; and when 
he paused to * blow ' them he leaned heavily on his 
whip-stick to rest himself. We were stopped by some 
break in the gear and were completely blocking the 
road when he caught up. Any one else would have 
waited : he pulled out into the rough sideling track 
on the slope below, to pass us. Even a good span 
with a good driver may well come to grief in trying to 
pass another that is stuck for the sight and example 
are demoralising but old Charlie did not turn a 
hair ; he went steadily on, giving a brisker call and 
touching up his oxen here and there with light flicks. 
They used to say he could kill a fly on a front ox or on 
the toe of his own boot with the voorslag of his big 
whip. 

226 




" OLD CHARLIE COMING ALONG WITHOUT ANY FUSS AT ALL 



The track he took was merely the scorings made 
by skidding waggons coming down the mountain ; it 
was so steep and rough there that a pull of ten yards 
between the spells for breath was all one could hope 
for ; and many were thankful to have done much 
less. At the second pause, as they were passing 
us, one of his oxen turned, leaning inwards against 
the chain, and looked back. Old Charlie remarked 
quietly, " I thought he would chuck it ; only bought 
him last week. He's got no heart." 

He walked along the span up to the shirking animal, 
which continued to glare back at him in a frightened 
way, and touched it behind with the butt of his long 
whip-stick to bring it up to the yoke. The ox started 
forward into place with a jerk, but eased back again 
slightly as Charlie went back to his place near the after 
oxen. Once more the span went on and the shirker 
got a smart reminder as Charlie gave the call to start, 
and he warmed it up well as a lesson while they pulled. 
At the next stop it lay back worse than before 

Not one driver in a hundred would have done then 
what he did : they would have tried other courses 
first. Charlie dropped his whip quietly and out- 
spanned the ox and its mate, saying to me as I gave 
him a hand : 

" When I strike a rotter, I chuck him 
out before he spoils the others ! " In 
another ten minutes 
he and his stalwarts 
had left us behind. 

Old Charlie knew 
227 






his oxen each one of them, their characters and 
what they could do. I think he loved them too ; 
at any rate, it was his care for them that day 
handling them himself instead of leaving it to his 
boys that killed him. 

Other men had other methods. Some are by 
nature brutal ; others, only undiscerning or im- 
patient. Most of them sooner or later realise that 
they are only harming themselves by ill-treating their 
own cattle ; and that is one but only the meanest 
reason why the white man learns to drive better 
than the native, who seldom owns the span he drives ; 
the better and bigger reasons belong to the qualities 
of race and the effects of civilisation. But, with all 
this, experience is as essential as ever ; a beginner 
has no balanced judgment, and that explains some- 
thing that I heard an old transport-rider say in the 
earliest days something which I did not understand 
then, and heard with resentment and a boy's uppish 
scorn. 

" The Lord help the beginner's boys and bullocks : 
starts by pettin', and ends by killin'. Too clever 
to learn ; too young to own up ; swearin' and sloggin' 
all the time ; and never sets down to think until the 
boys are gone and the bullocks done ! " 

I felt hot all over, but had learned enough to keep 
quiet ; besides, the hit was not meant for me, although 
the tip, I believe, was : the hit was at some one else 
who had just left us one who had been given a start 
before he had gained experience and, naturally, was 
then busy making a mess of things himself and laying 

228 



down the law for others. It was when the offender _ 
had gone that the old transport-rider took up the 
general question and finished his observations with a 
proverb which I had not heard before perhaps he 
invented it : 

" Yah ! " he said, rising and stretching himself, 
" there's no rule for a young fool." 

I did not quite know what he meant, and it seemed 
safer not to inquire. 

The driving of bullocks is not an exalted occupation : 
it is a very humble calling indeed ; yet, if one is able 
to learn, there are things worth learning in that useful 
school. But it is not good to stay at school all one's 
life. 

Brains and character tell there as everywhere ; 
experience only gives them scope ; it is not a substitute. 
The men themselves would not tell you so ; they never 
trouble themselves with introspections and analyses, 
and if you asked one of them the secret of success, 
he might tell you " Commonsense and hard work," 
or curtly give you the maxims * Watch it,' and ' Stick 
to it ' which to him express the whole creed, and 
to you, I suppose, convey nothing. Among them- 
selves, when the prime topics of loads, rates, grass, 
water and disease have been disposed of, there is as 
much interest in talking about their own and each 
other's oxen as there is in babies at a mothers' meeting. 
Spans are compared ; individual oxen discussed in 
minute detail ; and the reputations of 
1 front oxen,' in pairs or singly, are can- 
vassed as earnestly as the importance 
229 






of the subject warrants for, " The front oxen are 
half the span," they say. The simple fact is that 
they ' talk shop,' and when you hear them dis- 
cussing the characters and qualities of each individual 
animal you may be tempted to smile in a superior 
way, but it will not eventually escape you that they 
think and observe, and that they study their animals 
and reason out what to do to make the most of them ; 
and^ when they preach patience, consistency and 
purpose, it is the fruit of much experience, and nothing 
more than what the best of them practise. 

Every class has its world ; each one's world how- 
ever small is a whole world, and therefore a big world ; 
for the little things are magnified and seem big, which 
is much the same thing : Crusoe's island was a world 
to him and he got as much satisfaction out of it as 
Alexander or Napoleon probably a great deal more. 
The little world is less complicated than the big, but 
the factors do not vary ; and so it may be that the 
simpler the calling, the more clearly apparent are the 
working of principles and the relations of cause and 
effect. It was so with us. To you, as a beginner, 
there surely comes a day when things get out of hand 
and your span, which was a good one when you bought 
it, goes wrong : the load is not too heavy ; the hill 
not too steep ; the work is not beyond them for they 
have done it all before ; but now no power on earth, 
it seems, will make them face the pull. Some jib 
and pull back ; some bellow and thrust across ; some 
stand out or swerve under the chain ; some turn tail 
to front, half choked by the twisted strops, the worn- 

230 



out front oxen turn and charge downhill ; and all 
are half frantic with excitement, bewilderment or 
terror. The constant shouting, the battle with 
refractory animals, the work with the whip, and the 
hopeless chaos and failure, have just about done you 
up ; and then some one who knows comes along, 
and, because you block the way where he would pass 
and he can see what is wrong, offers to give a hand. 
Dropping his whip he moves the front oxen to where the 
foothold is best and a straight pull is possible; then walks 
up and down the team a couple of times talking to 
the oxen and getting them into place, using his hand 
to prod them up without frightening them, until he 
has the sixteen standing as true as soldiers on parade 
their excitement calmed, their confidence won, and 
their attention given to him. Then, one word of 
encouragement and one clear call to start, and the six- 
teen lean forward like one, the waggon lifts and heaves, 
and out it goes with a rattle and rush. 

It looks magical in its simplicity ; but no lecturer 
is needed to explain the magic, and if honest with 
yourself you will turn it over that night, and with a 
sense of vague discomfort it will all become clear. 
You may be tempted, under cover of darkness, to find 
a translation for ' watch it ' and ' stick to it ! ' more 
befitting your dignity and aspirations : ' observation 
and reasoning,' ' patience and purpose,' will seem 
better ; but probably you will not say so to any one 
else, for fear of being laughed at. 

And when the new-found knowledge has risen like 
yeast, and is ready to froth over in advice to others, 
231 





certain things will be brought home to you with simple 
directness : that, sufficient unto the yeast is the loaf it 
has to make ; that, there is only one person who has 
got to learn from you yourself ; and that, it is better 
to be still, for if you keep your knowledge to yourself 
you keep your ignorance from others. 

A marked span brands the driver. The scored 
bullock may be a rogue or may be a sulky obstinate 
brute ; but the chances are he is either badly trained 
or overworked, and the whip only makes matters 
worse ; the beginner cannot judge, and the oxen suffer. 
Indeed, the beginner may well fail in the task, for there 
are many and great differences in the temperaments 
and characters of oxen, just as there are in other 
animals or in human beings. Once in Mashonaland, 
when lions broke into a kraal and killed and ate two 
donkeys out of a mixed lot, the mules were found next 
day twenty miles away ; some of the oxen ran for 
several miles, and some stopped within a few hundred 
yards ; two men who had been roused by the uproar 
saw in the moonlight one old bullock stroll out through 
the gap in the kraal and stop to scratch his back with 
his horn ; and three others were contentedly dozing 
within ten yards of the half-eaten donkeys when we 
went to the kraal in the early morning and found out 
what had happened 

There are no two alike ! You find them nervous and 
lethargic, timid and bold, independent and sociable, 
exceptional and ordinary, willing 
and sulky, restless and content, 
staunch and faint-hearted 




just like human beings. I can remember some of 
them now far better than many of the men known 
then and since : Achmoed and Bakir, the big after- , 
oxen who carried the disselboom contentedly '/| 
through the trek and were spared all other 
work to save them for emergencies ; who, at a word, 
heaved together their great backs bent like bows 
and their giant strength thrown in to hoist the waggon 
from the deepest hole and up the steepest hill ; who 
were the stand-by in the worst descents, lying back 
on their haunches to hold the waggon up when brakes 
could do no more ; and inseparables always even when 
outspanned the two old comrades walked together. 
There was little Zole, contented, sociable and short 
of wind, looking like a fat boy on a hot day, always 
in distress. There was Bantom, the big red ox with 
the white band, lazy and selfish, with an enduring 
evil obstinacy that was simply incredible. There was 
Rooiland, the light red, with yellow eyeballs and 
topped horns, a fierce, wild, unapproachable, unappeas- 
able creature, restless and impatient, always straining 
to start, always moaning fretfully when delayed, 
nervous as a young thoroughbred, aloof and unfriendly 
to man and beast, ever ready to stab or kick even those 
who handled him daily, wild as a buck, but untouched 
by whip and uncalled by name ; who would work 
with a straining, tearing impatience that there was no 
checking, ever ready to outpace the rest, and at the 
outspan standing out alone, hollow flanked and pant- 
ing, eyes and nostrils wide with fierceness and distress, 
yet always ready to start again a miracle of intense 
233 






vitality ! And then there was old Zwaartland, the 
coal-black front ox, and the best of all : the sober 
steadfast leader of the span, who knew his work by 
heart and answered with quickened pace to any call 
of his name ; swinging wide at every curve to avoid 
cutting corners ; easing up, yet leading free, at every 
steep descent, so as neither to rush the incline nor 
entangle the span ; holding his ground, steady as 
a rock when the big pull came, heedless of how the 
team swayed and strained steadfast even when his 
mate gave in. He stood out from all the rest ; the 
massive horns like one huge spiral pin passed through 
his head, eight feet from tip to tip balancing with 
easy swing ; the clean limbs and small neat feet moving 
with the quick precision of a buck's tread ; and the 
large grave eyes so soft and clear and deep ! 

For those who had eyes to see the book lay open : 
there, as elsewhere ; there, as always. Jock, with his 
courage, fidelity and concentration, held the secrets 
of success ! Jim dissolute, turbulent and savage 
could yield a lesson too ; not a warning only, sometimes 
a crude but clear example ! The work itself was full 
of test and teaching ; the hard abstemious life had its 
daily lessons in patience and resource, driven home 
by every variety of means and incident on that unkindly 
road. And the dumb cattle in their plodding toil, 
in their sufferings from drought and over-work, and 
in their strength and weakness taught and tested 
too. There is little food for self-content when all 
that is best and worst comes out ; but there is much 
food for thought. 

234 



There was a day at Kruger's Post when everything 
seemed small beside the figure of one black front ox, 
who held his ground when all others failed. The 
waggon had sunk to the bed-plank in gluey turf, and, 
although the whole load had been taken off, three 
spans linked together failed to move it. For eight 
hours that day we tried to dig and pull it out, but 
forty-four oxen on that soft greasy flat toiled in vain. 
The long string of bullocks, desperate from failure 
and bewilderment, swayed in the middle from side to 
side to seek escape from the flying|'whips ; the un- 
yielding waggon held them at one end, and the front 
oxen, withltheir straining forefeet scoring the slippery 
surface as they were dragged backwards, strove to hold 
them true at the other. Seven times that day we 
changed, trying to find a mate who would stand with 
Zwaartland ; but he wore them all down. He broke 
their hearts and stood it out alone ! I looked at the 
ground afterwards : it was grooved in long parallel lines 
where the swaying spans had pulled him backwards, with 
his four feet clawing the ground in the effort to hold 
them true ; but he had never once turned or wavered. 

And there was a day at Sand River, when we saw 
a different picture. The waggons were empty, yet 
as we came up out of the stony drift, Bantom the 
sulky hung lazily back, dragging on his yoke and throw- 
ing the span out of line. Jim curled the big whip 
round him, without any good effect, and when the 
span stopped for a breather in the deep narrow road, 
he lay down and refused to budge . There was no reason 
in the world for it except 
235 






the animal's obstinate sulky temper. When the whip 
the giraffe-hide thong, doubled into a heavy loop 
produced no effect, the boys took the yoke off to see 
if freedom would tempt the animal to rise ! It did. 
At the first touch of the whip Bantom jumped up 
and charged them ; and then, seeing that there was 
nothing at all the matter, the boys inspanned him 
and made a fresh start not touching him again for 
fear of another fit of sulks ; but at the first call on 
the team, down he went again. 

Many are the stories of cruelty to oxen, and I had never 
understood how human beings could be so fiendishly 
cruel as to do some of the things that one heard 
of, such as stabbing, smothering and burning cattle ; 
nor under what circumstances or for what reasons 
such acts of brutality could be perpetrated ; but what 
I saw that day threw some light on these questions, 
and, more than anything else, it showed the length 
to which sulkiness and obstinacy will go, and made 
me wonder whether the explanation was to be sought 
in endurance of pain through temper or in sheer 
incapacity to feel pain at all. This is no defence of 
such things ; it is a bare recital of what took place 
the only scene I can recall of what would be regarded 
as wanton cruelty to oxen ; and to that extent it is 
an explanation, and nothing more ! Much greater and 
real cruelty I have seen done by work and punishment ; 
but it was due to ignorance, impatience, or on rare 
occasions uncontrollable temper ; it did not look 
deliberate and wanton. 

There were two considerations here which governed 
the whole case. The first was that as long as the ox 

236 



lay there it was impossible to move the waggon, and 
there was no way for the others to pass it ; the second, 
that the ox was free, strong and perfectly well, and all 
he had to do was to get up and walk. 

The drivers from the other waggons came up to 
lend a hand and clear the way so that they might get 
on ; sometimes three were at it together with their 
double whips ; and, before they could be stopped, sticks 
and stones were used to hammer the animal on the head 
and horns, along the spine, on the hocks and shins, 
and wherever he was supposed to have feeling ; then 
he was tied by the horns to the trek-chain, so that 
the span would drag him bodily ; but not once did 
he make the smallest effort to rise. The road was 
merely a gutter scoured out by the floods and it was 
not possible either to drag the animal up the steep 
sides or to leave him and go on the waggon would 
have had to pass over him. And all this time he 
was outspanned and free to go ; but would not stir. 

Then they did the kaffir trick doubled the tail 
and bit it : very few bullocks will stand that, but 
Bantom never winced. Then they took their clasp 
knives and used them as spurs not stabbing to do 
real injury, but pricking enough to draw blood in the 
fleshy parts, where it would be most felt : he twitched 
to the pricks but nothing more. Then they made a 
fire close behind him, and as the wood blazed up, 
the heat seemed unendurable ; the smell of singed 
hair was strong, and the flames, not a foot away, seemed 
to roast the flesh, and one of the drivers took a brand 
and pressed the glowing red coal against the inside 
of the hams ; but, beyond a vicious kick at the fire, 

237 







there was no result. Then they tried to suffocate 
him, gripping the mouth and nostrils so that he could 
not breathe ; but, when the limit of endurance was 
reached and even the spectators tightened up with 
a sense of suffocation, a savage shake of the head always 
freed it the brute was too strong for them. Then 
they raised the head with reims, and with the nose 
held high poured water down the nostrils, at the same 
time keeping the mouth firmly closed ; but he blew 
the water all over them and shook himself free again. 

For the better part of an hour the struggle went on, 
but there was not the least sign of yielding on Ban- 
tom's part, and the string of waiting waggons grew 
longer, and many others, white men and black, gathered 
round watching, helping or suggesting. At last some one 
brought a bucket of water, and into this Bantom's 
muzzle was thrust as far as it would go, and reims 
passed through the ears of the bucket were slipped 
round his horns so that he could not shake himself 
free at will. We stood back and watched the animal's 
sides for signs of breathing. For an incredible time 
he held out ; but at last with a sudden plunge he was 
up ; a bubbling muffled bellow came from the bucket ; 
the boys let go the reims ; and the terrified animal 
ridding himself of the bucket after a frantic struggle, 
stood with legs apart and eyeballs starting from the 
sockets, shaking like a reed. 

But nothing that had happened revealed the vicious 
ingrained obstinacy of the ,>. animal's nature 



238 




so clearly as the last act in the struggle : it stood passive, 
and apparently beaten, while the boys inspanned it again. 
But at the first call to the team to start, and without 
a touch to provoke its temper again, it dropped down 
once more. Not one of all those looking on would 
have believed it possible ; but there it was ! In the 
most deliberate manner the challenge was again flung 
down, and the whole fight begun afresh. 

We felt really desperate : one could think of nothing 
but to repeat the bucket trick ; for it was the only one 
that had succeeded at all. The bucket had been flung 
aside on the stones as the ox freed itself, and one of 
the boys picked it up to fetch more water. But no 
more was needed : the rattle of the bucket brought 
Bantom to his feet with a terrified jump, and flinging 
his whole weight into the yoke, he gave the waggon a 
heave that started the whole span, and they went out 
at a run. The drivers had not even picked up their 
whips : the only incentive applied was the bucket, 
which the boy grasping the position at once 
rattled vigorously behind Bantom, doubling his frantic 
eagerness to get away, amid shouts of encouragement 
and laughter from the watching group. 

The trials and lessons of the work came in various 
shapes and at every turn ; and there were many trials 
where the lesson was not easy to read. It would have 
taken a good man to handle Bantom, at any time 
even in the beginning ; but, full-grown, and confirmed 
in his evil ways, only the butcher could make anything 
out of him. 

And only the butcher did ! 









IP 



THERE is a spot on the edge of the Berg which we 
made our summer quarters. When September 
came round and the sun swung higher in the 
steely blue, blazing down more pitilessly than 
ever ; when the little creeks were running 
dry and the water-holes became saucers of cracked 
mud ; when the whole country smelt of fine impal- 
pable dust ; it was a relief to quit the Bushveld, 
and even the hunting was given up almost without 
regret. 

On the Berg the air was clear and bracing, as well 
it might be five to seven thousand feet above the sea. 
The long green sweeps of undulating country were 
broken by deep gorges where the mountain streams 
had cut their way through the up-tilted outer edge 
of the big plateau and tumbled in countless water- 
falls into the Bushveld below ; and behind the rolling 
downs again stood the remnants of the upper for- 
mation the last tough fragments of those rocks 
which the miners believed originally held the gold 
worn and washed away, inch by inch and ounce 

240 



by ounce ever since the Deluge. These broken para- 
pets stood up like ruins of giant castles with every 
layer in their formation visible across their rugged 
time-worn fronts lines, in places a few yards only and 
in others a mile or more in length, laid one upon 
another as true as any spirit level could set them 
and a wealth of colouring over all that, day by day, 
one thought more wonderful in variety and blend. 
Grey and black and yellow, white and red and brown, 
were there ; yet all harmonising, all shaded by growths 
of shrub and creeper, by festoons of moss or brilliant 
lichen, all weather-stained and softened, all toned, as 
time and nature do it, to make straight lines and many 
colours blend into the picturesque. 

Paradise Camp perched on the very edge of the 
Berg. Behind us rolled green slopes to the feet of the 
higher peaks, and in front of us lay the Bushveld. 
From the broken battlements of the Berg we looked 
down three thousand feet, and eastward to the sea 
a hundred and fifty miles away, across the vast pano- 
rama. Black densely-timbered kloofs broke the edge 
of the plateau into a long series of projecting turrets, 
in some places cutting far in, deep crevices into which 
the bigger waterfalls plunged and were lost. But the 
top of the Berg itself was bare of trees : the breeze 
blew cool and fresh for ever there ; the waters trickled 
and splashed in every little break or tumbled with 
steady roar down the greater gorges; deep pools, 
fringed with masses of ferns, smooth as mirrors or 
flecked with dancing sunlight, were set like brilliants 
in the silver chain of each little stream ; and rocks and 
241 Q 





pebbles, wonderful in their colours, were magnified and 
glorified into polished gems by the sparkling water. 

But Nature has her moods, and it was not always 
thus at Paradise Camp. When the cold mist-rains, 
like wet grey fogs, swept over us and for a week 
blotted out creation, it was neither pleasant nor safe 
to grope along the edge of the Berg, in search of strayed 
cattle wet and cold, unable to see, and checked from 
time to time by a keener straighter gust that leapt 
up over the unseen precipice a few yards off. 

And there was still another mood when the summer 
rains set in and the storms burst over us, and the 
lightning stabbed viciously in all directions, and the 
crackling crash of the thunder seemed as if the very 
Berg itself must be split and shattered. Then the 
rivers rose ; the roar of waters was all around us ; 
and Paradise Camp was isolated from the rest by 
floods which no man would lightly face. 

Paradise Camp stood on the edge of the kloof where 
the nearest timber grew ; Tumbling Waters, where 
stood the thousand grey sandstone sentinels of strange 
fantastic shapes, was a couple of miles away facing Black 
Bluff, the highest point of all, and The Camel, The Wolf, 
The Sitting Hen and scores more, rough casts in rock 
by Nature's hand, stood there. Close below us was 
the Bathing Pool, with its twenty feet of purest water, 
its three rock-ledge * springboards,' and its banks of 
moss and canopies of tree ferns. Further down the 
stream spread in a thousand pools and rapids over a mile 
of black bedrock and then poured in one broad sheet 
over Graskop Falls. And still further down were the 

242 



Mac Mac Falls, three hundred feet straight drop 
into the rock-strewn gorge, where the straight walls ' 
were draped with staghorn moss, like countless folds 
of delicate green lace, bespangled by the spray. We 
were felling and slipping timber for the goldfields then, 
and it was in these surroundings that the work was 
done. 

It was a Sunday morning, and I was lying on my 
back on a sack-stretcher taking it easy, when Jock 
gave a growl and trotted out. Presently I heard 
voices in the next hut and wondered who the visitors 
were too lazily content to get up and see ; then a 
cold nose was poked against my cheek and I looked 
round to see Jess's little eyes and flickering ears within 
a few inches of my face. For the moment she did not 
look cross, but as if a faint smile of welcome were 
flitting across a soured face ; then she trotted back 
to the other hut where Ted was patting Jock and try- 
ing to trace a likeness to The Rat. 

It was a long time since mother and son had been 
together, and if the difference between them was 
remarkable, the likeness seemed to me more striking 
still. Jock had grown up by himself and made him- 
self ; he was so different from other dogs that I had 
forgotten how much he owed to good old Jess ; but 
now that they were once more side by side everything 
he did and had done recalled the likeness and yet 
showed the difference between them. Many times 
as we moved about the camp or worked in the woods 
they walked or stood together, sometimes sniffing 
along some spoor and sometimes waiting and watching 

243 






for us to come up handsome son and ugly mother. 
Ugly she might be, with her little fretful hostile eyes 
and her uncertain ever-moving ears, and silent sour 
and cross ; but stubborn fidelity and reckless courage 
were hers too ; and all the good Jock had in him came 
from Jess. 

To see them side by side was enough : every line 
in his golden brindled coat had its counterpart in 
her dull markings ; his jaw was hers, with a difference, 
every whit as determined but without the savage look ; 
his eyes were hers brown to black as the moods 
changed yet not fretful and cross, but serenely ob- 
servant, when quiet, and black, hot and angry, like 
hers, when roused yet without the look of relentless 
cruelty ; his ears were hers and yet how different, 
not shifting, nickering and ever on the move, nor 
flattened back with the look of most uncertain temper, 
but sure in their movements and faithful reflectors 
of more sober moods and more balanced temper, and 
so often cocked one full and one half with a look 
of genuinely friendly interest which, when he put his 
head on one side, seemed to change in a curiously 
comical way into an expression of quiet amusement. 

The work kept us close to camp and we gave no 
thought to shooting ; yet Jess and Jock had some good 
sport together. We gave them courses for breathers 
after Oribi in the open, but these fleetest of little 
antelopes left them out of sight in very few minutes. 
Bushbuck too were plentiful enough, but so wily in 
keeping to the ^ dark woods and 

deep kloofs that ^ftts^ ?*TSi unless we organised 

^ 

244 




a drive the only chance one got was to stalk them 
in the early morning as they fed on the fringes of the 
bush. I often wondered how the dogs would have 
fared with those desperate fighters that have injured 
and killed more dogs and more men than any other 
buck, save perhaps the Sable. 

Once they caught an ant-bear in the open, and there 
was a rough-and-tumble ; we had no weapons not 
even sticks with us, and the dogs had it all to them- 
selves. The clumsy creature could do nothing with 
them ; his powerful digging claws looked dangerous, 
but the dogs never gave him a chance ; he tried hard 
to reach his hole, but they caught him as he somer- 
saulted to dodge them, and, one in front and one 
behind, worried the life out of him. 

Once they killed a tiger-cat. We heard the rush 
and the row, and scrambled down through the tangled 
woods as fast as we could, but they fought on, tumbling 
and rolling downhill before us, and when we came up 
to them it was all over and they were tugging and 
tearing at the lifeless black and white body, Jess at 
the throat and Jock at the stomach. The cat was as 
big as either of them and armed with most formidable 
claws, which it had used to some purpose, for both 
dogs were torn and bleeding freely in several places. 
Still they thoroughly enjoyed it and searched the 
place afresh every time we passed it, as regularly as a 
boy looks about where he once picked up a sixpence. 

Then the dainty little klipspringers led them many 
a crazy dance along the crags and ledges of the 
mountain face, jumping from rock to rock with 




'tto.it/li 





the utmost ease and certainty and looking down with 
calm curiosity at the clumsy scrambling dogs as they 
vainly tried to follow. The dassies too watchful, 
silent and rubber-footed played hide-and-seek with 
them in the cracks and crevices ; but the dogs had 
no chance there. 

Often there were races after baboons. There were 
thousands of them along the Berg, but except when a 
few were found in the open, we always called the dogs 
in. Among a troop of baboons the bqst of dogs would 
have no show at all. Ugly, savage and treacherous 
as they are, they have at least one quality which 
compels admiration they stand by each other. If 
one is attacked or wounded the others will often turn 
back and help, and they will literally tear a dog to 
pieces. Even against one full-grown male a dog has 
little or no chance ; for they are very powerful, quick 
as lightning, and fierce fighters. Their enormous 
jaws and teeth outmatch a dog's, and with four 
'hands' to help them the advantage is altogether 
too great. Their method of fighting is to hold the 
dog with all four feet and tear pieces out of him 
with their teeth. 

We knew the danger well, for there was a fighting 
baboon at a wayside place not far from us a savage 
brute, owned by a still greater savage. It was kept 
chained up to a pole with its house on the top of the 
pole ; and what the owner considered to be a good 
joke was to entice dogs up, either to attack the baboon 
or at least to come sniffing about within reach of it, 
and then see them worried to death. The excuse was 

246 



always the same : " Your dog attacked the baboon. 
I can't help it." Sometimes the dogs were rescued 
by their owners ; but many were killed. To its 
native cunning this brute added all the tricks that 
experience had taught, sometimes hiding up in its 
box to induce the dog to come sniffing close up ; 
sometimes grubbing in the sand for food, pretending 
not to see the intruder until he was well within reach ; 
sometimes running back in feigned alarm to draw him 
on. Once it got a grip the baboon threw itself on its /. 
side or back and, with all four feet holding the dog ^ 
off, tore lumps out of the helpless animal. A plucky; 
dog that would try to make a fight of it had no chance ; 
the only hope was to get away, if possible. 

Not every baboon is a fighter like this, but in almost 
every troop there will be at least one terrible old fellow, 
and the biggest, strongest and fiercest always dominate 
and lead the others ; and their hostility and audacity 
are such that they will loiter behind the retreating 
troop and face a man on foot or on horseback, slowly 
and reluctantly giving way, or sometimes moving 
along abreast, 'a hostile escort, giving loud roars of 
defiance and hoarse challenges as though ready on the 
least provocation or excuse to charge. It is not a 
pleasant position for an unarmed man, as at the first 
move or call from the leader the whole troop would 
come charging down again. It is not actual danger 
that impresses one, but the uncanny effect of the short 
defiant roars, the savage half-human look of the repul- 
sive creatures, their still more human methods of 
facial expression and threatening attitudes, their tactics 
247 






in encircling their object and using cover to approach 
and peer out cautiously from behind it, and their 
evident co-operation and obedience to the leader's 
directions and example. 

One day while at work in the woods there came to 
us a grizzled worn-looking old kaffir, whose head ring 
of polished black wax attested his dignity as a kehla. 
He carried an old musket and was attended by two 
youngsters armed with throwing-sticks and a hunting 
assegai each. He appeared to be a ' somebody ' in 
a small way, and we knew at a glance that he had not 
come for nothing. 

There is a certain courtesy and a good deal of 
formality observed among the natives which is appre- 
ciated by but few of the white men who come in 
contact with them. One reason for this failure in 
appreciation is that native courtesy is in its method 
and expression sometimes just the reverse of what we 
consider proper ; and if actions which seem suggestive 
of disrespect were judged from the native's standpoint, 
and according to his code, there would be no mis- 
understanding. The old man, passing and ignoring the 
group of boys, came towards us as we sat in the shade 
for the midday rest, and slowly came to a stand a 
few yards off, leaning on his long flint-lock quietly 
taking stock of us each in turn, and waiting for us to 
inspect him. Then, after three or four minutes of this, 
he proceeded to salute us separately with " Sakubona, 
Umlungu ! " delivered with measured deliberation at 
intervals of about a quarter of a minute, each saluta- 
tion being accompanied by the customary upward 

248 



movement of the head their respectful equivalent 
of our nod or bow. When he had done the round, 
his two attendants took their turns, and when this was 
over, and another long pause had served to mark his 
respect, he drew back a few paces to a spot about half- 
way between us and where the kaffirs sat, and, tucking 
his loin skins comfortably under him, squatted down. 
Ten minutes more elapsed before he allowed his eyes 
to wander absently round towards the boys and 
finally to settle on them for a repetition of the perform- 
ance that we had been favoured with. But in this 
case it was they who led off with the " Sakubona, 
Umganaam ! " which he acknowledged with the raising 
of the head and a soft murmur of contented recogni- 
tion, "A-he." 

Once more there was silence for a spell, while he 
waited to be questioned in the customary manner and 
to give an account of himself, before it would be 
courteous or proper to introduce the subject of his 
visit. It was Jim's voice that broke the silence 
clear and imperative, as usual, but not uncivil. It 
always was Jim who cut in, as those do who are 
naturally impatient of delays and formalities. 

" Velapi, Umganaam ? " (Where do you come^frorn, 
friend ?) he asked, putting the question which is 
recognised as courteously providing the stranger with 
an opening to give an account of himself ; and he is 
expected and required to do so to their satisfaction 
before he in turn can ask all about them, their occupa- 
tions, homes, destination and master, and his occupa- 
tion, purpose and possessions. 
249 





The talk went round in low exchanges until at last 
the old man moved closer and joined the circle ; and 
then the other voices dropped out, only to be heard 
once in a while in some brief question or that briefest 
of all comments the kaffir click and " Ow ! " It 
may mean anything, according to the tone, but it was 
clearly sympathetic on that occasion. The old man's 
voice went on monotonously in a low-pitched impas- 
sive tone ; but the boys hung intent on every word 
to the end. Then one or two questions, briefly 
answered in the same tone of detached philosophic 
indifference, brought their talk to a close. The old 
fellow tapped his carved wood snuff-box with the 
carefully-preserved long yellowish nail of one fore- 
finger, and pouring some snuff into the palm of his 
hand, drew it into each nostril in turn with long luxu- 
rious sniffs ; and then, resting his arms on his knees, 
he relapsed into complete silence. 

We called the boys to start work again, and they 
came away, as is their custom, without a word or look 
towards the man whose story had held them for the 
last half-hour. Nor did he speak or stir, but sat on 
unmoved, a picture of stoical indifference. But who 
can say if it be indifference or fatalism or the most 
astute diplomacy ? Among white men opinions differ : 
I put it down as fatalism. 

We asked no questions, for we knew it was no 
accident that had brought the old man our way : 
he wanted something, and we would learn soon enough 
what it was. So we waited. 

As we gathered round the fallen tree to finish the 

250 



cleaning and slip it down to the track Jim remarked 
irrelevantly that tigers were ' schelms,' and it was 
his conviction that there were a great many in the 
kloofs round about. At intervals during the next 
hour or so he dropped other scraps about tigers and 
their ways, and how to get at them and what good 
sport it was, winding up with a short account of how 
two seasons back an English ' Capitaine ' had been 
killed by one only a few miles away. 

Jim was no diplomatist : he had tiger on the brain, 
and showed it ; so when I asked him bluntly what the 
old man had been talking about, the whole story 
came out. There was a tiger it was of course the 
biggest ever seen which had been preying on the 
old chief's kraal for the last six months : dogs, goats 
and kaffir sheep innumerable had disappeared, even 
fowls were not despised ; and only two days ago the 
climax had been reached when, in the cool of the 
afternoon and in defiance of the yelling herdboy, 
it had slipped into the herd at the drinking-place 
and carried off a calf a heifer-calf too ! The old 
man was poor : the tiger had nearly ruined him ; 
and he had come up to see if we, "who were great 
hunters," would come down and kill the thief, or 
at least lend him a tiger-trap, as he could not afford 
to buy one. 

In the evening when we returned to camp we found 
the old fellow there, and heard the story told with the 
same patient resignation or stoical indifference with 
which he had told it to the boys ; and, if there was ^ 
something inscrutable in the smoky eyes that might j 
251 





have hidden a more calculating spirit, it did not 
trouble us the tiger was what we wanted ; the chance 
jseemed good enough ; and we decided to go. Tigers 

as they are almost invariably called, but properly, 
if leopards were plentiful enough and were often to 
be heard at night in the kloofs below ; but they are ex- 
tremely wary animals and in the inhabited parts rarely 
move about by day ; however, the marauding habits 
and the audacity of this fellow were full of promise. 

The following afternoon we set off with our guns 
and blankets, a little food for two days, and the tiger- 
trap ; and by nightfall we had reached the foot of the 
Berg by paths and ways which you might think only 
a baboon could follow. 

It was moonlight, and we moved along through the 
heavily-timbered kloofs in single file behind the 
shadowy figure of the shrivelled old chief. His years 
seemed no handicap to him, as with long easy soft- 
footed strides he went on hour after hour. The air 
was delightfully cool and sweet with the fresh smells 
of the woods ; the damp carpet of moss and dead 
leaves dulled the sound of our more blundering steps ; 
now and again through the thick canopy of evergreens 
we caught glimpses of the moon, and in odd places 
the light threw stumps or rocks into quaint relief or 
turned some tall bare trunk into a ghostly sentinel 
of the forest. 

We had crossed the last of the many mountain 
streams and reached open ground when the old chief 
stopped, and pointing to the face of a high krans 
black and threatening in the shadow, as it seemed 

252 



to overhang us said that somewhere up there was 
a cave which was the tiger's home, and it was from 
this safe refuge that he raided the countryside. 

The kraal was not far off. From the top of the 
spur we could look round, as from the pit of some vast 
coliseum, and see the huge wall of the Berg towering 
up above and half enclosing us, the whole arena roofed 
over by the star-spattered sky. The brilliant moon- 
light picked out every ridge and hill, deepening the 
velvet black of the shadowed valleys, and on the rise 
before us there was the twinkling light of a small fire, 
and the sound of voices came to us, borne on the still 
night air, so clearly that words picked out here and 
there were repeated by our boys with grunting com- 
ments and chuckles of amusement. 

We started on again down an easy slope passing 
through some bush, and at the bottom came on level 
ground thinly covered with big shady trees and scat- 
tered undergrowth. As we walked briskly through the 
flecked and dappled light and shade, we were startled 
by the sudden and furious rush of Jess and Jock off 
the path and away into the scrub on the left ; and 
immediately after there was a grunting noise, a crash- 
ing and scrambling, and then one sharp clear yelp of 
pain from one of the dogs. The old chief ran back 
behind us, shouting " Ingwa, ingwa ! " (Tiger, tiger). 
We slipped our rifles round and stood facing front, 
unable to see anything and not knowing what to 
expect. There were sounds of some sort in the 
bush something like a faint scratching, and some- 
thing like smothered sobbing grunts, but so indistinct 
253 





as to be more ominous and disquieting than absolute 
silence. 

" He has killed the dogs," the old chief said, in a low 
voice. 

But as he said it there was a rustle in front, and some- 
thing came out towards us. The guns were up and 
levelled, instantly, but dropped again when we saw it 
was a dog ; and Jess came back limping badly and 
stopping every few paces to shake her head and rub 
her mouth against her fore-paws. She was in great 
pain and breathed out faint barely-audible whines 
from time to time. 

We waited for minutes, but Jock did not appear ; 
and as the curious sounds still came from the bush 
we moved forward in open order, very slowly and with 
infinite caution. As we got closer, scouting each bush 
and open space, the sounds grew clearer, and suddenly 
it came to me that it was the noise of a body being 
dragged and the grunting breathing of a dog. I 
called sharply to Jock and the sound stopped ; and 
taking a few paces forward then, I saw him in a moonlit 
space turning round and round on the pivot of his 
hind-legs and swinging or dragging something much 
bigger than himself. 

Jim gave a yell and shot past me, plunging his 
assegai into the object and shouting " Porcupine, 
porcupine," at the top of his voice. We were all 
round it in a couple of seconds, but I think the porcu- 
pine was as good as dead even before Jim had stabbed 
it. Jock was still holding on grimly, tugging with all 
his might and always with the same movement of 

254 




TUGGING WITH ALL HIS MIGHT " 



swinging it round him, or, of himself circling round it 
perhaps that is the fairer description, for the porcupine 
was much the heavier. He had it by the throat 
where the flesh is bare of quills, and- had kept himself 
out of reach of the terrible spikes by pulling away "'" '" 
all the time, just as he had done with the duiker 
and other buck to avoid their hind-feet. 

This encounter with the porcupine gave us a better 
chance of getting the tiger than we ever expected 
too good a chance to be neglected ; so we cut the 
animal up and used the worthless parts to bait the big 
tiger-trap, having first dragged them across the veld 
for a good distance each way to leave a blood spoor 
which would lead the tiger up to the trap. This, 
with the quantity of blood spread about in the fight, 
lying right in the track of his usual prowling ought 
to attract his attention, we thought ; and we fastened 
the trap to a big tree, making an avenue of bushes up 
to the bait so that he would have to walk right over the 
trap hidden under the dead leaves, in order to get at 
the bait. We hoped that, if it failed to hold, it would 
at least wound him badly enough to enable us to 
follow him up in the morning. 

In the bright light of the fire that night, as Jock 
lay beside me having his share of the porcupine steaks, 
I noticed something curious about his chest, and on 
looking closer found the whole of his white * shirt 
front ' speckled with dots of blood ; he had been 
pricked in dozens of places, and it was clear that it 
had been no walk-over for him ; he must have had a 
pretty rough handling before he got the porcupine 

255 ' 





on the swing. He was none the worse, however, and 
was the picture of contentment as he lay beside me 
in the ring facing the fire. 

But Jess was a puzzle. From the time that she 
had come hobbling back to us, carrying her one foot 
in the air and stopping to rub her mouth on her paws, 
we had been trying to find out what was the matter. 
The foot trouble was clear enough, for there was a 
quill fifteen inches long and as stiff and thick as a lead 
pencil still piercing the ball of her foot, with the needle- 
like point sticking out between her toes. Fortunately 
it had not been driven far through and the hole was 
small, so that once it was drawn and the foot bandaged 
she got along fairly well. It was not the foot that 
was troubling her ; all through the evening she kept 
repeating the movement of her head, either rubbing 
it on her front legs or wiping her muzzle with the 
paws, much as a cat does when washing its face. She 
would not touch food and could not lie still for five 
minutes ; and we could do nothing to help her. 





No one had doubted Jess's courage, even when we 
saw her come back alone : we knew there was some- 
thing wrong, but in spite of every care and effort 
we could not find out what it was, and poor old Jess 
went through the night in suffering, making no 
sound, but moving from place to place weary and 
restless, giving long tired quivering sighs, and pawing 
at her mouth from time to time. In the morning light 
we again looked her all over carefully, and especially 
opened her mouth and examined that and her nostrils, 
but could find nothing to show what was wrong. 

The puzzle was solved by accident : Ted was sitting 
on the ground when she came up to him, looking 
wistfully into his face again with one of the mute 
appeals for help. 

" What is it, Jess, old girl ? " he said, and reaching 
out, he caught her head in both hands and drew her 
towards him ; but with a sharp exclamation he instantly 
257 R 




let go again, pricked by something, and a drop of 
blood oozed from one finger-tip. Under Jess's right 
ear there was a hard sharp point just showing through 
the skin : we all felt it, and when the skin was forced 
back we saw it was the tip of a porcupine quill. There 
was no pulling it out or moving it, however, nor could 
we for a long time find where it had entered. At 
last Ted noticed what looked like a tiny narrow strip 
of bark adhering to the outside of her lower lip, and 
this turned out to be the broken end of the quill, 
snapped off close to the flesh ; not even the end of the 
quill was visible only the little strip that had peeled 
off in the breaking. 

Poor old Jess ! We had no very grand appliances 
for surgery, and had to slit her lip down with an ordi- 
nary skinning knife. Ted held her between his knees 
and gripped her head with both hands, while one of us 
pulled with steel pliers on the broken quill until it 
came out. The quill had pierced her lower lip, 
entered the gums beside the front teeth, run all along 
the jaw and through the flesh behind, coming out just 
below the ear. It was over seven inches long. She 
struggled a little under the rough treatment, and there 
was a protesting whimper when we tugged ; but she 
did not let out one cry under all the pain. 

We knew then that Jess had done her share in the 
fight, and guessed that it was she who in her reckless 
charge had rolled the porcupine over and given Jock 
his chance. 

The doctoring of Jess had delayed us considerably, 
and while we were still busy at it the old chief came 

258 



up to say that his scouts had returned and reported that 
there was no tiger to be seen, but that they thought the 
trap had been sprung. They had not liked to go close up, 
preferring to observe the spot from a tree some way off. 

The first question was what to do with Jess. We 
had no collar or chain, of course, and nothing would 
induce her to stay behind once Ted started ; she 
would have bitten through ropes and reims in a few 
minutes, and no kaffir would have faced the job of 
watching over and checking her. Finally we put her 
into one of the reed and mud huts, closing the 
entrance with some raw hides weighted with heavy 
stones ; and off we went. 

We found the trap sprung and the bait untouched. 
The spoor was a tiger's, right enough, and we saw 
where it had circled suspiciously all round before 
finally entering the little fenced approach which we 
had built to shepherd it on to the trap. There each 
footprint was clear, and it appeared that instead of 
cautiously creeping right up to the bait and stepping 
on the setting-plate, it had made a pounce at the 
bait from about ten feet away, releasing the trap by 
knocking the spring or by touching the plate with the 
barrel of its body. The tiger had evidently been 
nipped, but the body was too big for the teeth to close 
on, and no doubt the spring it gave on feeling the 
grip underneath set it free with nothing worse than 
a bad scraping and a tremendous fright. There was 
plenty of hair and some skin on the teeth of the trap, 
but very little blood there, and none at all to be found 
round about. 
259 






That was almost the worst result we could have 
had : the tiger was not crippled, nor was it wounded 
enough to enable us to track it, but must have been 
thoroughly alarmed that it would certainly be 

1 ' J r i 

extremely nervous and suspicious 01 everything now, 
and would probably avoid the neighbourhood for some 
time to come. 

The trap was clearly of no further use, but after 
coming so far for the tiger we were not disposed to 
give up the hunt without another effort. The natives 
told us it was quite useless to follow it up as it was a 
real ' schelm,' and by that time would be miles away 
in some inaccessible krans. We determined however 
to go on, and if we failed to get a trace of the tiger, 
to put in the day hunting bushbuck or wild pig, both 
of which were fairly plentiful. 

We had not gone more than a few hundred yards 
when an exclamation from one of the boys made us 
look round, and we saw Jess on the opposite slope 
coming along full speed after us with her nose to the 
trail. She had scratched and bitten her way through 
the reed and mud wall of the hut, scared the wits out 
of a couple of boys who had tried to head her off, and 
raced away after us with a pack of kafHr mongrels 
yelping unnoticed at her heels. She really did not seem 
much the worse for her wounds, and was for her 
quite demonstrative in her delight at finding us again. 

In any case there was nothing to be done but to 
let her come, and we went on once more beating up 
towards the lair in the black krans with the two dogs 
in the lead. 

260 



The guides led us down into the bed of one of the 
mountain streams, and following this up we were 
soon in the woods where the big trees meeting overhead 
made it dark and cool. It was difficult in that light 
to see anything clearly at first, and the considerable 
undergrowth of shrub and creepers and the boulders 
shed from the Berg added to the difficulty and made 
progress slow. We moved along as much as possible 
abreast, five or six yards apart, but were often driven 
by obstacles into the bed of the stream for short 
distances in order to make ^headway at all, and although 
there did not seem to be much chance of finding the 
tiger at home, we crept along cautiously and noiselessly, 
talking when we had to only in whispers. 

We were bunched together, preparing to crawl along 
a rock overhanging a little pool, when the boy in front 
made a sign and pointed with his assegai to the dogs. 
They had crossed the stream and were walking very 
slowly and abreast near the water's edge. The 
rawest of beginners would have needed no explanation. 
The two stood for a few seconds sniffing at a particular 
spot and then both together looked steadily up- 
stream : there was another pause and they moved very 
slowly and carefully forward a yard or so and sniffed 
again with their noses almost touching. As they did 
this the hair on their backs and shoulders began to 
rise until, as they reached the head of the pool, they 
were bristling like hedgehogs and giving little purring 
growls. 

The guide went over to them while we waited, 
afraid to move lest the noise of our boots on the stones 
261 






should betray us. After looking round for a bit he 
pointed to a spot on the bank where he had found the 
fresh spoor of the tiger, and picking up something 
there to show to us he came back to our side. It was 
a little fragment of whitish skin with white hairs on 
it. There was no doubt about it then : we were on 
the fresh spoor of the tiger where it had stopped to 
drink at the pool and probably to lick the scratches 
made by the trap ; and leaving the bed of the stream 
it had gone through the thick undergrowth up towards 
the krans. 

We were not more than a hundred yards from the 
krans then, and the track taken by the tiger was not 
at all an inviting one. It was at first merely a narrow 
tunnel in the undergrowth up the steep hillside, 
through which we crept in single file with the two 
dogs a few yards in front ; they moved on in the 
same silent deliberate way, so intent and strung up that 
they started slightly and instantly looked up in front 
at the least sound. As the ascent became steeper 
and more rocky, the undergrowth thinned and we 
were able to spread out into line once more, threading 
our way through several roughly-parallel game tracks 
or natural openings and stooping low to watch the 
dogs and take our cue from them. 

We were about fifteen yards from the precipitous 
face of the krans, and had just worked round a huge 
boulder into a space fairly free of bush but cumbered 
with many big rocks and loose stones, when the dogs 
stopped and stood quivering and bristling all over, 
moving their heads slowly about with noses well 

262 



raised and sniffing persistently. There was something 
now that interested them more than the spoor : 
winded the tiger itself, but could not tell where. No 
one stirred : we stood watching the dogs and snatching 
glances right and left among the boulders and their 
shady creeper-hidden caves and recesses, and as we 
stood thus, grouped together in breathless silence, 
an electrifying snarling roar came from the krans 
above and the spotted body of the tiger shot like a 
streak out of the black mouth of a cave and across 
our front into the bush ; there was a series of crashing 
bounds, as though a stone rolled from the mountain 
were leaping through the jungle ; and then absolute 
silence. 

We explored the den ; but there was nothing of 
interest in it no remains of food, no old bones, or 
other signs of cubs. It seemed to be the retreat of 
a male tiger secluded, quiet, and cool. The opening 
was not visible from any distance, a split-off slab of 
rock partly hiding it ; but when we stood upon the 
rock platform we found that almost the whole of the 
horseshoe bay in the Berg into which we had de- 
scended was visible, and it was with a " Wow ! ' of 
surprise and mortification that the kraal boys found 
they could see the kraal itself and their goats and cattle 
grazing on the slopes and in the valley below. 

Tigers do not take their kill to their dens unless 
there are young cubs to be fed ; as a rule they feed 
where they kill, or as near to it as safety permits, cr 
and when they have fed their fill they carry 
off the remainder of the carcase 
263 






and hide it. Lions, hyenas, and others leave what 
they cannot eat and return to it for their next 
Sv^feed > but tigers are more provident and more 
j&Jjjcunning, and being able to climb trees they 
^g| are very much more difficult to follow or waylay 
wby means of their kill. They are not big fellows, 
* rarely exceeding seven feet from nose to tip of tail 
and 130 Ib. in weight ; but they are extraordinarily 
active and strong, and it is difficult to believe until 
one has seen the proof of it that they are able to climb 
the bare trunk of a tree carrying a kill much bigger 
and heavier than themselves, and hang it safely wedged 
in some hidden fork out of reach of any other animal. 
I have repeatedly seen the remains of their victims 
in the forks of trees ; once it was part of a pig, but on 
the other occasions the remains were of horned animals; 
the pig was balanced in the fork ; the others were 
hooked in by the heads and horns. 

A well-known hunter once told me an experience of 
his illustrating the strength and habits of tigers. He 
had shot a young giraffe and carried off as much as he 
could put on his horse, and hid the rest ; but when 
he returned next morning it had disappeared, and the 
spoor of a full-grown tiger told him why. He 
followed the drag mark up to the foot of a big tree 
and found the remains of the carcase, fully 300 Ib. 
in weight, in a fork more than twenty feet from the 
ground. 

He left it there as a bait and returned again the 
following morning on the chance of a shot ; but the 
meat had once more been removed and on following 

264 



up the spoor he found what was left hidden in another 
tree some two hundred yards away. 

It would have been waste of time to follow our 
tiger he would be on the watch and on the move 
for hours ; so we gave it up at once, and struck across 
the spurs for another part of the big arena where pig 
and bushbuck were known to feed in the mornings. 
It was slow and difficult work, as the bush was very 
dense and the ground rough. The place was riddled 
with game tracks, and we saw spoor of koodoo and 
eland several times, and tracks innumerable of wild 
pig, rietbuck, bushbuck, and duiker. But there was 
more than spoor : a dozen times we heard the crash 
of startled animals through the reeds or bush only a 
few yards away without being able to see a thing. 

We had nearly reached the kloof we were aiming 
for when we had the good luck to get a bushbuck in 
a very unexpected way. We had worked our way 
out of a particularly dense patch of bush and brambles 
into a corner of the woods and were resting on the 
mossy ground in the shade of the big trees when the 
sound of clattering stones a good way off made us 
start up again and grab our rifles; and presently 
we saw, outlined against the band of light which marked 
the edge of the timber, a buck charging down towards 
us. Three of us fired together, and the buck rolled 
over within a few yards of where we stood. 

We were then in a * dead end ' up against the 
precipitous face of the Berg where there was no road 
or path other than game tracks, and where no human 
being ever went except for the purpose of hunting. 
265 





We knew there was no one else shooting there, and it 
puzzled us considerably to think what had scared the 
bushbuck ; for the animal had certainly been startled 
and perhaps chased ; the pace, the noise it made, and 
the blind recklessness of its dash, all showed that. 
The only explanation we could think of was that the 
tiger, in making a circuit along the slopes of the Berg 
to get away from us, must have put the buck up and 
driven it down on to us in the woods below, and if 
that were so, the reports of our rifles must have made 
him think that he was never going to get rid of us. 

We skinned and cut up the buck and pushed on 
again ; but the roughness of the trail and the various 
stoppages had delayed us greatly, and we failed to get 
the expected bag. We got one rietbuck and a young 
boar ; the rietbuck was a dead shot ; but the pig, 
from the shooting standpoint, was a most humiliating 
failure. A troop of twenty or thirty started up from 
under our feet as we came out of the blazing sunlight 
into the gloom of the woods, and no one could see 
well enough to aim. They were led by a grand boar, 
and the whole lot looked like a troop of charging 
lions as they raced by with their bristly manes erect 
and their tufted tails standing straight up. 

As we stood there, crestfallen and disgusted, we heard 
fresh grunting behind, and turning round we saw 
one pig racing past in the open, having apparently 
missed the troop while wallowing in a mudhole and 
known nothing of our intrusion until he heard the 
shooting. We gave him a regular broadside, and 
as is usually the case when you think that quantity 

266 




will do in place of quality made an awful mess of 
it, and before we had time to reload Jess and Jock 
had cut in, and we could not fire again for fear of 
hitting them. The boys, wildly delighted by this 
irregular development which gave them such a chance, 
joined in the chase and in a few seconds it became a 
chaotic romp like a rat hunt in a schoolroom. The 
dogs ranged up on each side and were on to the pig 
together, Jess hanging on to one ear and Jock at the 
neck ; the boar dug right and left at them, but his 
tusks were short and blunt, and if he managed to get 
at them at all they bore no mark of it afterwards. 
For about twenty yards they dragged and tugged, 
and then all three came somersaulting over together. 
In the scramble Jock got his grip on the throat, and 
Jess rolled and trampled on appeared between 
the pig's hind-legs, sliding on her back with her teeth 
embedded in one of the hams. For half a minute 
the boar, grunting and snorting, plunged about madly, 
trying to get at them or to free himself ; and then the 
boys caught up and riddled him with their assegais. 

After the two bombardments of the pigs and the 
fearful row made by the boys there was not much 
chance of putting up anything more, and we made 
for the nearest stream in the woods for a feed and a 
rest before returning to camp. 

We had failed to get the tiger, it is true, and it 
would be useless giving more time or further thought 
to him, for in all probability it would be a week or 
more before he returned to his old hunting-ground 
and his old marauding tricks, but the porcupine and 
267 





the pig had provided more interest and amusement 
than much bigger game might have done, and on the 
whole, although disappointed, we were not dissatisfied : 
in fact, it would have needed an ungrateful spirit 
indeed to feel discontented in such surroundings. 

Big trees of many kinds and shapes united to make 
a canopy of leaves overhead through which only occa- 
sional shafts of sunlight struck. The cold mountain 
stream tumbling over ledges, swirling among rocks 
or rippling over pebble-strewn reaches, gurgled, 
splashed and bubbled with that wonderful medley of 
sounds that go to make the lullaby of the brook. The 
floor of the forest was carpeted with a pile of staghorn 
moss a foot thick, and maidenhair fern grew every- 
where with the luxuriant profusion of weeds in a 
tropical garden. Traveller's Joy covered whole trees 
with dense creamy bloom and spread its fragrance 
everywhere ; wild clematis trailed over stumps and 
fallen branches ; quantities of maidenhair over- 
flowed the banks and drooped to the water all along 
the course of the stream ; whilst, marshalled on 
either side, huddled together on little islands, perched 
on rocks, and grouped on overhanging ledges, stood 
the tree-ferns as though they had come to drink 
their wide-reaching delicate fronds like giant green 
ostrich-feathers waving gently to each breath of air 
or quivering as the movement of the water shook the 
trunks. 

Long-tailed greeny-gray monkeys with black faces 
peered down at us, moving lightly on their branch 
trapezes, and pulled faces or chattered their indignant 

268 



protest against intrusion ; in the tops of the wild fig- 
trees bright green pigeons watched us shyly great big 
birds of a wonderful green; gorgeous 'louries too 
flashed their colours and raised their crests pictures 
of extreme and comical surprise ; golden cuckoos 
there were also and beautiful little green-backed ruby- 
throated honey-suckers, flitted like butterflies among 
the flowers on the sunlit fringe of the woods. 

Now and again guinea-fowl and bush-pheasant 
craned their necks over some fallen log or stone to 
peer curiously at us, then stooping low again darted 
along their well-worn runs into the thick bush. The 
place was in fact a natural preserve ; a ' bay ' let into 
the wall of the Berg, half-encircled by cliffs which 
nothing could climb, a little world where the common 
enemy man seldom indeed intruded. 

We stayed there until the afternoon sun had passed 
behind the crest of the Berg above us ; and, instead 
of going back the way we came, skirted along the other 
arm enclosing the bay to have the cool shade of the 
mountain with us on our return journey. But the 
way was rough ; the jungle was dense ; we were hot 
and torn and tired ; and the shadow of the mountain 
stretched far out across the foothills by the time the 
corner was reached. We sat down to rest at last in 
the open on the long spur on which, a couple of miles 
away, the slanting sun picked out the red and black 
cattle, the white goats, and the brown huts of the 
kaffir kraal. 

Our route lay along the side of the spur, skirting 
the rocky backbone and winding between occasional 
269 






boulders, clumps of trees and bush, and we had moved 
on only a little way when a loud " Waugh " from a 
baboon on the mountain behind made us stop to look 
back. The hoarse shout was repeated several times, 
and each time more loudly and emphatically ; it 
seemed like the warning call of a sentry who had seen 
Moved by curiosity we turned aside on to the 



us. 



ridge itself, and from the top of a big rock scanned 
the almost precipitous face opposite. The spur on 
which we stood was divided from the Berg itself only 
by a deep but narrow kloof or ravine, and every detail 
of the mountain side stood out in the clear evening 
air, but against the many-coloured rocks the grey 
figure of a baboon was not easy to find as long as it 
remained still, and although from time to time the 
barking roar was repeated, we were still scanning the 
opposite hill when one of the boys pointed down the 
slope immediately below us and called out, " There, 
there, Baas ! " 

The troop of baboons had evidently been quite 
close to us hidden from us only by the little line of 
rocks and on getting warning from their sentry on 
the mountain had stolen quietly away and were then 
disappearing into the timbered depth of the ravine. 
We sat still to watch them come out on the opposite 
side a few minutes later and clamber up the rocky 
face, for they are always worth watching ; but while 
we watched, the stillness was broken by an agonised 
scream horribly human in its expression of terror 
followed by roars, barks, bellows and screams from 
scores of voices in every key ; and the crackle of break- 

270 



ing sticks and the rattle of stones added to the medley 
of sound as the baboons raced out of the wood and up 
the bare rocky slope. 

" What is it ? " " What's the matter ? " " There's 
something after them." " Look, look ! there they 
come " : burst from one and another of us as we 
watched the extraordinary scene. The cries from 
below seemed to waken the whole mountain ; great 
booming " waughs " came from different places far 
apart and ever so high up the face of the Berg ; each 
big roar seemed to act like a trumpet-call and bring 
forth a multitude of others ; and the air rang with 
bewildering shouts and echoes volleying round the 
kloofs and faces of the Berg. The strange thing was 
that the baboons did not continue their terrified 
scramble up the mountain, but, once out of the bush, 
they turned and rallied. Forming an irregular semi- 
circle they faced down hill, thrusting their heads 
forward with sudden jerks as though to launch their 
cries with greater vehemence, and feinting to charge ; 
they showered loose earth, stones and debris of all sorts 
down with awkward underhand scrapes of their fore- 
paws, and gradually but surely descended to within 
a dozen yards of the bush's edge. 

" Baas, Baas, the tiger ! Look, the tiger ! There, 
there on the rock below ! " 

Jim shot the words out in vehement gusts, choky 
with excitement ; and true enough, there the tiger 
was. The long spotted body was crouched on a flat 
rock just below the baboons; he was broad-side to . 
us, with his fore-quarters slightly raised and his face 
271 






turned towards the baboons ; with wide-opened mouth 
he snarled savagely at the advancing line, and with 
right paw raised made threatening dabs in their 
direction. His left paw pinned down the body of a 
baboon. 

The voices from the mountain boomed louder and 
nearer as, clattering and scrambling down the face, 
came more and more baboons : there must have been 
hundreds of them ; the semicircle grew thicker and 
blacker, more and more threatening, foot by foot 
closer. The tiger raised himself a little more and 
took swift looks from side to side across the advancing 
front, and then his nerve went, and with one spring 
he shot from the rock into the bush. 

There was an instant forward rush of the half-moon, 
and the rock was covered with roaring baboons, 
swarming over their rescued comrade ; and a moment 
later the crowd scrambled up the slope again, taking 
the tiger's victim with them. In that seething rabble 
I could pick out nothing, but all the kaffirs maintained 
they could see the mauled one dragged along by its 
arms by two others, much as a child might be helped 
uphill. 

We were still looking excitedly about trying to 
make out what the baboons were doing, watching the 
others still coming down the Berg, and peering 
anxiously for a sight of the tiger when once more 
Jim's voice gave us a shock. 

" Where are the dogs ? " he asked ; and the ques- 
tion turned us cold. If they had gone after the baboons 
they were as good as dead already nothing could save 

272 




" SCRAMBLING DOWN THE FACE CAME MORE AND MORE BABOONS 



them. Calling was useless : nothing could be heard 
in the roar and din that the enraged animals still kept 
up. We watched the other side of the ravine with 
something more than anxiety, and when Jock's reddish- f| 
looking form broke through the bracken near to the ' 
tiger's rock, I felt like shutting my eyes till all was over. 
We saw him move close under the rock and then 
disappear. We watched for some seconds it may 
have been a minute, but it seemed an eternity and 
then, feeling the utter futility of waiting there, 
jumped off the rock and ran down the slope in the 
hope that the dogs would hear us call from there. 

From where the slope was steepest we looked down 
into the bed of the stream at the bottom of the ravine, 
and the two dogs were there : they were moving 
cautiously down the wide stony watercourse just as 
we had seen them move in the morning, their noses 
thrown up and heads turning slowly from side to side. 
We knew what was coming ; there was no time to 
reach them through the bush below ; the cries of 
the baboons made calling useless ; and the three of us 
sat down with rifles levelled ready to fire at the first 
sight. With gun gripped and breath hard held, 
watching intently every bush and tree and rock, 
every spot of light and shade, we sat not daring to 
Then, over the edge of a big rock overlook- 




move. 



ing the two dogs, appeared something round ; and, 
smoothly yet swiftly and with a snake-like movement, 
the long spotted body followed the head and, flattened 
against the rock, crept stealthily forward until the tiger 
looked straight down upon Jess and Jock. 
273 s 




The three rifles cracked like one, and with a howl 
of rage and pain the tiger shot out over the dogs' 
heads, raced along the stony bed, and suddenly 
plunging its nose into the ground, pitched over 
dead. 

It was shot through the heart, and down the 
ribs on each side were the scraped marks of the 
trap. 




THE summer slipped away the full-pulsed ripeness! 
of the year; beauty and passion ; sunshine and storm ; 
long spells of peace and gentleness, of springing life ^ 
and radiant glory; short intervals of reckless tempest 
and destructive storm! Amongthe massed evergreens 
of the woods there stood out here and there bright 
spots of colour, the careless dabs from Nature's artist 
hand ; yellow and brown, orange and crimson, all vividly 
distinct, yet all in perfect harmony. The rivers, fed 
from the replenished mountains' stores, ran full but 
clear ; the days were bright ; the nights were cold ; the 
grass was rank and seeding ; and it was time to go. 

Once more the Bushveld beckoned us away. 

We picked a spot where grass and water were good, 
and waited for the rivers to fall ; and it was while 
loitering there that a small hunting party from the 
fields making for the Sabi came across us and camped 
for the night. In the morning two of our party 
joined them for a few days to try for something big. 
275 




It was too early in the season for really good 
sport. The rank tropical grass six to eight feet 
high in most places, twelve to fourteen in some 
was too green to burn yet, and the stout stems 
and heavy seed heads made walking as difficult as in a 
field of tangled sugar cane ; for long stretches it was 
not possible to see five yards, and the dew in the early 
mornings was so heavy that after a hundred yards 
of such going one was drenched to the skin. 

We were forced into the more open parts the 
higher, stonier, more barren ground where just then 
the bigger game was by no means plentiful. 

On the third day two of us started out to try a new 
quarter in the hilly country rising towards the Berg. 
My companion, Francis, was an experienced hunter 
and his idea was that we should find the big game, 
not on the hot humid flats or the stony rises, but still 
higher up on the breezy hill tops or in the cool shady 
kloofs running towards the mountains. We passed 
a quantity of F mailer game that morning, and several 
times heard the stampede of big animals wildebeeste 
and waterbuck, as we found by the spoor but it was 
absolutely impossible to see them. The dew was so 
heavy that even our hats were soaking wet, and times 
out of number we had to stop to wipe the water out 
of our eyes in order to see our way ; a complete duck- 
ing would not have made the least difference. 

Jock fared better than we did, finding openings 
and game tracks at his own levl, which were of no 
use to us ; he also knew better than we did what was 
going on ahead, and it was tantalising in the extreme to 

276 



see him slow down and stand with his nose thrown 
up, giving quick soft sniffs and ranging his head from 
side to side, when he knew there was something quit 
close, and knew too that a few more toiling steps in 
that rank grass would be followed by a rush of some- ] 
thing which we would never see. 

Once we heard a foot stamp not twenty yards off, 
and stood for a couple of minutes on tip-toe trying to 
pierce the screen of grass in front, absolutely certain 
that eyes and ears were turned on us in death-like 
silence waiting for the last little proof of the intruder 
that would satisfy their owners and start them off 
before we could get a glimpse. The silence must have 
made them suspicious, for at some signal unknown 
to us the troop broke away and we had the mortifica- 
tion to see something, which we had ignored as a branch, 
tilt slowly back and disappear : there was no mistaking 
the koodoo bull's horns once they moved ! 

After two hours of this we struck a stream, and 
there we made somewhat better pace and less noise, 
often taking to the bed of the creek for easier going. 
There, too, we found plenty of drinking places and 
plenty of fresh spoor of the bigger game, and as the 
hills began to rise in view above the bush and trees, 
we found what Francis was looking for. Something 
caught his eye on the far side of the stream, and he 
waded in. I followed and when half way through 
saw the contented look on his face and caught his 
words : " Buffalo ! I thought so ! " 

We sat down then to think it out. The spoor told 
of a troop of a dozen to sixteen animals bulls, cows, 
277 







and calves ; and it was that morning's spoor : even 
in the soft moist ground at the stream's edge the water 
had not yet oozed into most of the prints. Fortu- 
nately there was a light breeze from the hills, and 
as it seemed probable that in any case they would make 
that way for the hot part of the day we decided to 
follow for some distance on the track and then make 
for the likeliest poort in the hills. 

The buffalo had come up from the low country 
in the night on a course striking the creek diagonally 
in the drinking place ; their departing spoor went off 
at a slight tangent from the stream the two trails 
making a very wide angle at the drinking place and 
confirming the idea that after their night's feed in the 
rich grass lower down they were making for the hills 
again in the morning and had touched at the stream 
to drink. 

Jock seemed to gather from our whispered conversa- 
tion and silent movements that there was work to 
hand, and his eyes moved from one face to the other as 
we talked, much as a child watches the faces in a con- 
versation it cannot quite follow. When we got up 
and began to move along the trail, he gave one of his 
little sideways bounds, as if he half thought of throw- 
ing a somersault and restrained himself ; and then 
with several approving waggings of his tail settled 
down at once to business. 

Jock went in front : it was best so, and quite safe, 
for, whilst certain to spot anything long before we 
could, there was not the least risk of his rushing it or 
making any noise. The slightest whisper of a " Hst " 

278 



from me would have brought him to a 
breathless standstill at any moment ; but 
even this was not likely to be needed, for 
he kept as close a watch on my face as I did on himj 

There was, of course, no difficulty whatever inl 
following the spoor ; the animals were as big as cattle, 
and their trail through the rank grass was as plain as 
a road : our difficulty was to get near enough to see 
them without being heard. Under the down-trodden 
grass there were plenty of dry sticks to step on, any 
of which would have been as fatal to our chances as 
a pistol shot, and even the unavoidable rustle of the 
grass might betray, us while the buffalo themselves 
remained hidden. Thus our progress was very slow, 
a particularly troublesome impediment being the grass 
stems thrown down across the trail by the animals 
crossing and re-crossing each others' spoor and stopping 
to crop a mouthful here and there or perhaps to play. 
The tambookie grass in these parts has a stem thicker 
than a lead pencil, more like young bamboo than grass ; 
and these stems thrown cross-ways by storms or game 
make an entanglement through which the foot cannot 
be forced : it means high stepping all the time. 

We expected to follow the spoor for several miles 
before coming on the buffalo probably right into 
the kloof towards which it appeared to lead but 
were, nevertheless, quite prepared to drop on to them 
at any moment, knowing well how game will loiter 
on their way when undisturbed and vary their time 
and course, instinctively avoiding the too regular 
habits which would make them an easy prey. 
279 




Jock moved steadily along the trodden track, sliding 
easily through the grass or jumping softly and noise- 
lessly over impediments, and we followed, looking 
ahead as far as the winding course of the trail per- 
imitted. 

To right and left of us stood the screen of tall grass, 
bush and trees. Once Jock stopped, throwing up his 
nose, and stood for some seconds while we held our 
breath ; but having satisfied himself that there was 
nothing of immediate consequence, he moved on again 
rather more slowly, as it appeared to us. I looked 
at Francis's face ; it was pale and set like marble, and 
his watchful grey eyes were large and wide like an 
antelope's, as though opened out to take in everything ; 
and those moments of intense interest and expectation 
were the best part of a memorable day. 

There was something near : we felt it ! Jock was 
going more carefully than ever, with his head up most 
of the time ; and the feeling of expectation grew 
stronger and stronger until it amounted to absolute 
certainty. Then Jock stopped, stopped in mid- 
stride, not with his nose up ranging for scent, but with 
head erect, ears cocked, and tail poised dead still : 
he was looking at something. 

We had reached the end of the grass where the bush 
and trees of the mountain slope had choked it out, and 
before us there was fairly thick bush mottled with 
black shadows and patches of bright sunlight in which 
it was most difficult to see anything. There we stood 
like statues, the dog in front with the two men abreast 
behind him, and all peering intently. Twice Jock 

280 



slowly turned his head and looked into my eyes, 
and I felt keenly the sense of hopeless inferiority. 
" There it is, what are you going to do ? " was 
what the first look seemed to say ; and the second : 
" Well, what are you waiting for ? " 

How long we stood thus it is, not possible to say : 
time is no measure of such things, and to me it seemed 
unending suspense ; but we stood our ground scarcely 
breathing, knowing that something was there, because 
he saw it and told us so, and knowing that as soon as 
we moved it would be gone. Then close to the ground 
there was a movement something swung, and the 
full picture flashed upon us. It was a buffalo calf 
standing in the shade of a big bush with its back towards 
us, and it was the swishing of the tail that had betrayed 
it. We dared not breathe a word or pass a look 
a face turned might have caught sortie glint of light 
and shown us up ; so we stood like statues each know- 
ing that the other was looking for the herd and would 
fire when he got a chance at one of the full-grown 
animals. 

My eyes were strained and burning from the in- 
tensity of the effort to see ; but except the calf I 
could not make out a living thing : the glare of the 
yellow grass in which we stood, and the sun-splotched 
darkness beyond it beat me. 

At last, in the corner of my eye, I saw Francis's 
rifle rise, as slowly almost as the mercury in 
a warmed thermometer. There was a long pause, 
and then came the shot and wild snorts of alarm 
and rage. A dozen huge black forms started 
281 






into life for a second and as quickly vanished 
scattering and crashing through the jungle. 
The first clear impression was that of Jock, 
who after one swift run forward for a few yards stood 
ready to spring off in pursuit, looking back at me and 
waiting for the word to go ; but at the sign of my 
raised hand, opened with palm towards him, he sub- 
sided slowly and lay down flat with his head resting 
on his paws. 

" Did you see ? " asked Francis. 
" Not till you fired. I heard it strike. What was it ? " 
" Hanged if I know ! I heard it too. It was one 
of the big uns ; but bull or cow I don't know." 
" Where did you get it ? " 

" Well, I couldn't make out more than a black patch 
in the bush. It moved once, but I couldn't see how 
it was standing end on or across. It may be hit 
anywhere. I took for the middle of the patch and let 
drive. Bit risky, eh ? " 

" Seems like taking chances." 

" Well, it was no use waiting : we came for this ! " 
and then he added with a careless laugh, " They always 
clear from the first shot if you get 'em at close quarters, 
but the fun'll begin now. Expect he'll lay for us in 
the track somewhere." 

That is the way of the wounded buffalo we all 
knew that ; and old Rocky's advice came to mind 
with a good deal of point : " Keep cool and shoot 
straight or stay right home " ; and Jock's expectant 
watchful look smote me with another memory " It 
was my dawg ! " 

282 



A few yards from where the buffalo had stood we 
picked up the blood spoor. There was not very much 
of it, but we saw from the marks on the bushes here 
and there, and more distinctly on some grass further 
on, that the wound was pretty high up and on the 
right side. Crossing a small stretch of more open bush 
we reached the dense growth along the banks of the 
stream, and as this continued up into the kloof it was 
clear we had a tough job before us. 

Animals when badly wounded nearly always leave 
the herd, and very often go down wind so as to be 
able to scent and avoid their pursuers. This fellow 
had followed the herd up wind, and that rather puzzled 
us. 

A wounded buffalo in thick bush is considered to 
be about as nasty a customer as any one may desire 
to tackle ; for, its vindictive indomitable courage and 
extraordinary cunning are a very formidable combina- 
tion, as a long list of fatalities bears witness. Its 
favourite device so old hunters will tell you is to 
make off down wind when hit, and after going for some 
distance, come back again in a semi-circle to intersect 
its own spoor, and there under good cover lie in wait 
for those who may follow up. 

This makes the sport quite as interesting as need 
be, for the chances are more nearly even than they 
generally are in hunting. The buffalo chooses the 
ground that suits its purpose of ambushing its enemy, 
and naturally selects a spot where concealment is 
possible ; but, making every allowance for this, it 
seems little short of a miracle that the huge black 
283 





beast is able to hide itself so effectually that it can 
charge from a distance of a dozen yards on to those 
who are searching for it. 

The secret of it seems to lie in two things : first, 
absolute stillness ; and second, breaking up the colour. 
No wild animal, except those protected by distance 
and open country, will stand against a background of 
light or of uniform colour, nor will it as a rule allow 
its own shape to form an unbroken patch against its 
chosen background. 

They work on Nature's lines. Look at the ostrich 
the cock, black and handsome, so strikingly different 
from the commonplace grey hen ! Considering that 
for periods of six weeks at a stretch they are anchored 
to one spot hatching the eggs, turn and turn about, 
it seems that one or other must be an easy victim for 
the beast of prey, since the same background cannot 
possibly suit both. But they know that too ; so the 
grey hen sits by day, and the black cock by night ! 
And the ostrich is not the fool it is thought to be 
burying its head in the sand ! Knowing how the 
long stem of a neck will catch the eye, it lays it flat 
on the ground, as other birds do, when danger threatens 
the nest or brood, and concealment is better than 
flight. That tame chicks will do this in a bare pad- 
dock is only a laughable assertion of instinct. 

Look at the zebra ! There is nothing more striking, 
nothing that arrests the eye more sharply in the 
Zoo than this vivid contrast of colour ; yet in the 
bush the wavy stripes of black and white, are a protec- 
tion, enabling him to hide at will. 

284 



I have seen a wildebeeste effectually hidden by a 
single blighted branch; a koodoo bull, by a few twisty 
sticks ; a crouching lion, by a wisp of feathery grass 
no higher than one's knee, no bigger than a vase of 
flowers ! Yet, the marvel of it is always fresh. 

After a couple of hundred yards of that sort of 
going, we changed our plan, taking to the creek again 
and making occasional cross-cuts to the trail, to be 
sure he was still ahead. It was certain then that 
the buffalo was following the herd and making for i 
the poort, and as he had not stopped once on our 
account we took to the creek after the fourth cross- 
cut and made what pace we could to reach the narrow 
gorge where we reckoned to pick up the spoor again. 

There are, however, few short cuts and no certain- 
ties in hunting ; when we reached the poort there 
was no trace to be found of the wounded buffalo ; 
the rest of the herd had passed in, but we failed to 
find blood or other trace of the wounded one, and 
Jock was clearly as much at fault as we were. 

We had overshot the mark and there was nothing 
for it but to hark back to the last blood spoor and, 
by following it up, find out what had happened 
This took over an hour, for we spoored him then fj 
with the utmost caution, being convinced that 
the buffalo, if not dead, was badly wounded and 
lying in wait for us. 

We came on his 'stand,' in a well-chosen spot, where 
the game path took a sharp turn round some 
bushes. The buffalo had stood, not where^ one would 
naturally expect it in the dense cover which 
285 







just suited for his purpose but among lighter 
bush on the opposite side and about twenty 
yards nearer to us. There was no room for 
doubt about his hostile intentions ; and when we re- 
called how we had instantly picked out the thick bush 
on the left to the exclusion of everything else as 
the spot to be watched, his selection of more open 
ground on the other side, and nearer to us, seemed 
so fiendishly clever that it made one feel cold and creepy. 
One hesitates to say it was deliberately planned ; yet 
plan, instinct or accident there was the fact. 

The marks showed us he was badly hit ; but there 
was no limb broken, and no doubt he was good for 
some hours yet. We followed along the spoor, more 
cautiously than ever ; and when we reached the sharp 
turn beyond the thick bush we found that the path was 
only a few yards from the stream, so that on our way up 
the bed of the creek we had passed within twenty yards 
of where the buffalo was waiting for us. No doubt he 
had heard us then as we walked past, and had winded us 
later on when we got ahead of him into the poort. 

What had he made of it ? What had he 
done ? Had he followed up to attack us ? Was 
he waiting somewhere near ? Or had he broken 
away into the bush on finding himself headed off ? 
These were some of the questions we asked our- 
selves as we crept along. 

Well ! what he had done did not answer our ques- 
tions. On reaching the poort again we found his spoor, 
freshly made since we had been there, and he had walked 
right along through the gorge without stopping again, 

286 



and gone into the kloof beyond. Whether he 
had followed us up when we got ahead of him 
hoping to stalk us from behind; or had 
gone ahead, expecting to meet us coming down wind I?L 
to look for him ; or, when he heard us pass down fel 
stream again and, it may be, thought we had given |fj 
up pursuit had simply walked on after the herd, 
were questions never answered. 

A breeze had risen since morning, and as we ap- 
proached the hills it grew stronger : in the poort itself 
it was far too strong for our purpose the wind coming 
through the narrow opening like a forced draught. 
The herd would not stand there, and it was not prob- 
able that the wounded animal would stop until he 
joined the others or reached a more sheltered place. 
We were keen on the chase, and as he had about an 
hour's start of us and it was already midday, there was 
no time to waste. 

Inside the poort the kloof opened out into a big 
valley away to our left our left being the right bank 
of the stream and bordering the valley on that side 
there were many miles of timbered kloofs and green 
slopes, with a few kaffir kraals visible in the distance ; 
but to the right the formation was quite different, 
and rather peculiar. The stream known to the 
natives as Hlamba-Nyati, or Buffalo's Bathing Place 
had in the course of time shortened its course to 
the poort by eating into the left bank, thus leaving a 
high, and in most places, inaccessible terrace above 
it on the left side and a wide stretch of flat alluvium 
on the right. This terrace was bounded on one side 
287 ' 








by the steep bank of the creek and walled in on the 
other side by the precipitous kranses of the mountains. 
At the top end it opened out like a fan which died 
away in a frayed edge in the numberless small kloofs 
and spurs fringing the amphitheatre of the hills. The 
shape was in fact something like the human arm and 
hand with the fingers outspread. The elbow was the 
poort, the arm the terrace except that the terrace 
was irregularly curved and the fingers the small kloofs 
in the mountains. No doubt the haunts of the buffalo 
were away in the ' fingers,' and we worked steadily 
along the spoor in that direction. 

Game paths were numerous and very irregular, and 
the place was a perfect jungle of trees, bush, bramble 
and the tallest rankest grass. I have ridden in that 
valley many times since then through grass standing 
several feet above my head. It was desperately hard 
work, but we did want to get the buffalo ; and 
although the place was full of game and we put up 
koodoo, wildebeeste, rietbuck, bushbuck, and duiker, 
we held to the wounded buffalo's spoor, neglecting all 
else. 

Just before ascending the terrace we had heard the 
curious far-travelling sound of kaffirs calling to each 
other from a distance, but, except for a passing com- 
ment, paid no heed to it and passed on ; later we heard it 
again and again, and at last, when we happened to pause 
in a more open portion of the bush after we had gone 
half way along the terrace, the calling became so 
frequent and came from so manyquarters thatwe 
stopped to take note. Francis,who spoke Zululike 

288 




one of themselves, at last made out a word or two 
which gave the clue. 

' They're after the wounded buffalo ! " he said. 
" Come on, man, before they get their dogs, or we'll 
never see him again." 

Knowing then that the buffalo was a long way ahead, 
we scrambled on as fast as we could whilst holding to 
his track ; but it was very hot and very rough and, to 
add to our troubles, smoke from a grass fire came 
driving into our faces. 

"Niggers burning on the slopes ; confound them ! " 
Francis growled. 

They habitually fire the grass in patches during the 
summer and autumn, as soon as it is dry enough to 
burn, in order to get young grass for the winter or the 
early spring, and although the smoke worried us there 
did not seem to be anything unusual about the fire. But 
ten minutes later we stopped again ; the smoke was per- 
ceptibly thicker ; birds were flying past us down wind, 
with numbers of locusts and other insects ; two or three 
times we heard buck and other animals break back ; and 
all were going the same way. Then the same thought 
struck us both it was stamped in our faces : this was 
no ordinary mountain grass fire ; it was the bush. 

Francis was a quiet fellow, one of the sort it is well 
not to rouse. His grave is in the Bushveld where his 
unbeaten record among intrepid lion-hunters was 
made, and where he fell in the war, leaving another 
and greater record to his name. The blood rose 
slowly to his face, until it was bricky red, and he looked 
an ugly customer as he said : 
289 T 





"The black brutes have fired the valley 
to burn him out. Come on quick. We 
must get out of this on to the slopes ! " 
We did not know then that there were no slopes 
iwir only a precipitous face of rock with dense jungle 
1 to the foot of it ; and after we had spent a quarter of 
an hour in that effort, we found our way blocked 
by the krans and a tangle of undergrowth much 
worse than that in the middle of the terrace. The noise 
made by the wind in the trees and our struggling 
through the grass and bush had prevented our hearing 
the fire at first, but now its ever growing roar drowned 
all sounds. Ordinarily, there would have been no 
real difficulty in avoiding a bush fire ; but, pinned in 
between the river and the precipice and with miles of 
dense bush behind us, it was not at all pleasant- 
Had we turned back even then and made for the 
poort it is possible we might have travelled faster than 
the fire, but it would have been rough work indeed ; 
moreover, that would have been going back and we 
did want to get the buffalo so we decided to make 
one more try, towards the river this time. It was 
not much of a try, however, and we had gone no 
further than the middle of the terrace again when 
it became alarmingly clear that this fire meant 
business. 

The wind increased greatly, as it always does once 
a bush fire gets a start ; the air was thick with smoke, 
and full of flying things ; in the bush and grass about 
us there was a constant scurrying ; the terror of 
stampede was in the very atmosphere. A few words 

290 




of consultation decided us, and we started to burn a 
patch for standing room and protection. 

The hot sun and strong wind had long evaporated 
all the dew and moisture from the grass, but the sap 
was still up, and the fire our fire seemed cruelly 
long in catching on. With bunches of dry grass for 
brands we started burns in twenty places over a length 
of a hundred yards, and each little flame licked up, 
spread a little, and then hesitated or died out : it 
seemed as if ours would never take, while the other 
came on with roars and leaps, sweeping clouds of sparks 
and ash over us in the dense rolling mass of smoke. 

At last a fierce rush of wind struck down on us, 
and in a few seconds each little flame became a living 
demon of destruction ; another minute, and the stretch 
before us was a field of swaying flame. There was a 
sudden roar and crackle, as of musketry, and the whole 
mass seemed lifted into the air in one blazing sheet : it 
simply leaped into life and swept everything before it. 

When we opened our scorched eyes the ground 
in front of us was all black, with only here and there 
odd lights and torches dotted about like tapers on 
a pall ; and on ahead, beyond the trellis work of bare 
scorched trees, the wall of flame swept on. 

Then down on the wings of the wind came the other 
fire ; and before it fled every living thing. Heaven jj 
only knows what passed us in those few minutes when 1 "" 
a broken stream of terrified creatures dashed by, ^ 
hardly swerving to avoid us. There is no coherent^ 
picture left of that scene just a medley of impres-^ 
sions linked up by flashes of unforgettable vividness. 
291 




A herd of koodoo came crashing by ; I know there was 
a herd, but only the first and last will come to mind 
the space between seems blurred. The clear impres- 
sions are of the koodoo bull in front, with nose out- 
thrust, eyes shut against the bush, and great horns laid 
back upon the withers, as he swept along opening the 
way for his herd ; and then, as they vanished, the big 
ears, ewe neck, and tilting hindquarters of the last cow 
between them nothing but a mass of moving grey ! 

The wildebeeste went by in Indian file, uniform in 
shape, colour and horns ; and strangely uniform in 
their mechanical action, lowered heads, and fiercely 
determined rush. 

A rietbuck ram stopped close to us, looked back 
wide-eyed and anxious, and whistled shrilly, and then 
cantered on with head erect and white tail flapping ; 
but its mate neither answered nor came by. A terri- 
fied hare with its ears laid flat scuttled past within a 
yard of Francis and did not seem to see him. Above 
us scared birds swept or fluttered down wind ; while 
others again came up swirling and swinging about, 
darting boldly through the smoke to catch the insects 
driven before the fire. 

But what comes back with the suggestion of in- 
finitely pathetic helplessness is the picture of a beetle. 
We stood on the edge of our burn, waiting for 
the ground to cool, and at my feet a pair of tock- 
tockie beetles, hump backed and bandy legged, came 
toiling slowly and earnestly along ; they reached 
the edge of our burn, touched the warm ash, 
and turned patiently aside to walk round it ! 

292 




A school of chattering monkeys raced out on to 
the blackened flat, and screamed shrilly with terror 
as the hot earth and cinders burnt their feet. 

Porcupine, antbear, meerkat ! They are vague, so 
vague that nothing is left but the shadow of their 
passing ; but there is one other thing seen in a flash 
as brief as the others, for a second or two only, but 
never to be forgotten ! Out of the yellow grass, high 
up in the waving tops, came sailing down on us the 
swaying head and glittering eyes of a black mamba 
swiftest, most vicious, most deadly of snakes. Francis 
and I were not five yards apart and it passed between 
us, giving a quick chilly beady look at each pitiless, 
and hateful and one hiss as the slithering tongue shot 
out : that was all, and it sailed past with strange 
effortless movement. How much of the body was 
on the ground propelling it, I cannot even guess ; 
but we had to look upwards to see the head as the snake 
passed between us. 

The scorching breath of the fire drove us before it 
on to the baked ground, inches deep in ashes and glow- 
ing cinders, where we kept marking time to ease our 
blistering feet ; our hats were pulled down to screen 
our necks as we stood with our backs to the coming 
flames ; our flannel shirts were so hot that we kept shift- 
ing our shoulders for relief. Jock, who had no screen 
and whose feet had no protection, was in my arms ; 
and we strove to shield ourselves from the furnace- 
blast with the branches we had used to beat out the 
fire round the big tree which was our main shelter. 
The heat was awful ! Live brands were 

293 






flying past all the time, and some struck us ; myriads of 
sparks fell round and on us, burning numberless small 
holes in our clothing, and dotting blisters on our backs ; 
great sheets of flame leaped out from the driving 
glare, and, detached by many yards from their source, 
were visible for quite a space in front of us. Then, 
just at its maddest and fiercest there came a gasp and 
sob, and the fire devil died behind us as it reached the 
black bare ground. Our burn divided it as an island 
splits the flood, and it swept along our flanks in two 
great walls of living leaping roaring flame. 

Two hundred yards away there was a bare yellow 
place in a world of inky black, and to that haven we 
ran. It was strange to look about and see the naked 
country all round us, where but a few minutes earlier 
the tall grass had shut us in ; but the big bare ant- 
heap was untouched, and there we flung ourselves 
down, utterly done. 

Faint from heat and exhaustion scorched and 
blistered, face and arms, back and feet ; weary and 
footsore, and with boots burnt through we reached 
camp long after dark, glad to be alive. 

We had forgotten the wounded buffalo ; he seemed 
part of another life ! 

***** 

There was no more hunting for us : our feet had 
* gone in,' and we were well content to sleep and rest. 
The burnt stubbly ends of the grass had pierced the 
baked leather of our boots many times ; and Jock, too, 
had suffered badly and could hardly bear to set foot 

294 



to the ground next day. The best we could hope for 
was to be sound enough to return to our own waggons 
in two or three days' time. 

The camp was under a very large wild fig tree, 
whose dense canopy gave us shade all through the 
day. We had burnt the grass for some twenty or 
thirty yards round as a protection against bush fires ; 
and as the trees and scrub were not thick just there 
it was possible to see in various directions rather 
further than one usually can in the Bushveld. The 
big tree was a fair landmark by day, and at night 
we made a good fire, which owing to the position of 
the camp one could see from a considerable distance. 
These precautions were for the benefit of strayed or 
belated members of the party ; but I mention them 
because the position of the camp and the fire brought 
us a strange visitor the last night of our stay there. 

There were, I think, seven white men ; and the 
moving spirit of the party old Teddy Blacklow of 
Ballarat was one of the old alluvial diggers, a warm- 
hearted, impulsive, ever-young old boy, and a rare 
good sportsman. That was Teddy, the * man in 
muddy moleskins,' who stretched out the hand of 
friendship when the Boy was down, and said " You 
come along o' me ! " one of * God's sort.' 

Teddy's spirits were always up ; his presence 
breathed a cheery optimism on the blankest day ; 
his humour lighted everything; his stories kept us 
going; and his language was a joy for ever. In a 
community, in which such things savoured of eccen- 
tricity, Teddy was an abstainer and never swore; 
295 





but if actual profanity was avoided, the dear old boy 
all unconsciously afforded strong support to those 
who hold that a man must find relief in vigorous ex- 
pression. To do this, without violating his principles, 
he invented words and phrases, meaningless in them- 
selves but in general outline, so to say, resembling the 
worst in vogue ; and the effect produced by them 
upon the sensitive was simply horrifying. Teddy 
himself was blissfully unconscious of this, for his lan- 
guage, being scrupulously innocent, was deemed by 
him to be suited to all circumstances and to every 
company. The inevitable consequence was that the 
first impression produced by him on the few women 
he ever met was that of an abandoned old reprobate 
whose scant veil of disguise only made the outrage 
of his language more marked. Poor old Teddy ! 
Kindest and gentlest and dearest of souls ! How he 
would have stared at this, speechless with surprise ; 
and how we used to laugh at what some one called his 
* glittering paro-fanities ! ' Pity it is that they too 
must go ; for one dare not reproduce the best of them. 
It was between eight and nine o'clock on the last 
day of our stay ; Francis and I were fit again, and 
Jock's feet, thanks to care and washing and plenty of 
castor oil, no longer troubled him ; we were examin- 
ing our boots re-soled now with raw hide in the rough 
but effective veld fashion ; Teddy was holding forth 
about the day's chase whilst he cut away the pith of 
a koodoo's horns and scraped the skull ; others were 
busy on their trophies too ; and the karfirs round 
their own fire were keeping up the simultaneous 

296 




gabble characteristic of hunting boys after a good day 
and with plenty of meat in camp. 

I was sitting on a small camp stool critically examin- 
ing a boot and wondering if the dried hide would 
grip well enough to permit of the top lacings being 
removed, and Jock was lying in front of me, carefully 
licking the last sore spot on one fore paw, when I saw 
his head switch up suddenly and his whole body set 
hard in a study of intense listening. Then he got up 
and trotted briskly off some ten or fifteen yards, and 
stood a bright spot picked out by the glare of the 
camp fire with his back towards me and his uneven 
ears topping him off. 

I walked out to him, and silence fell on the camp ; 
all watched and listened. At first we heard nothing 
but soon the call of a wild dog explained Jock's move- 
ments ; the sound, however, did not come from the 
direction in which he was looking, but a good deal to 
the right ; and as he instantly looked to this new 
quarter I concluded that this was not the dog he had 
previously heard, or else it must have moved rapidly. 
There was another wait, and then there followed calls 
from other quarters. 

There was nothing unusual in the presence of wild 
dogs : hyenas, jackals, wild dogs and all the smaller 
beasts of prey were heard nightly ; what attracted 
attention in this case was the regular calling from 
different points. The boys said the wild dogs were 
hunting something and calling to each other ^ to 
indicate the direction of the hunt, so that those in 
front might turn the buck and by keeping it in a circle 
297 






enable fresh or rested dogs to jump in from time to 
time and so, eventually, wear the poor hunted creature 
down. This, according to the natives, is the system 
of the wild pack. When they cannot find easy prey 
in the young, weak or wounded, and are forced by 
hunger to hunt hard, they first scatter widely over 
the chosen area where game is located, and then one 
buck is chosen the easiest victim, a ewe with young 
for choice and cutting it out from the herd, they 
follow that one and that alone with remorseless in- 
vincible persistency. They begin the hunt knowing 
that it will last for hours knowing too that in speed 
they have no chance against the buck and when the 
intended victim is cut out from the herd one or two 
of the dogs so the natives say take up the chase 
and with long easy gallop keep it going, giving no 
moment's rest for breath ; from time to time they 
give their weird peculiar call and others of the pack 
posted afar head the buck off to turn it back again ; 
the fresh ones then take up the chase, and the first 
pair drop out to rest and wait, or follow slowly until 
their chance and turn come round again. There is 
something so hateful in the calculated pitiless method 
that one feels it a duty to kill the cruel brutes when- 
ever a chance occurs. 

The hunt went on round us ; sometimes near 
enough to hear the dogs' eager cries quite clearly ; 
sometimes so far away that for a while nothing could 
be heard ; and Jock moved from point to point in the 
outermost circle of the camp-fire's light nearest to 
the chase. 



^When at last hunters and hunted completed their 
wide circuit round the camp, and passed again the point 
where we had first heard them, the end seemed near ; 
for there were no longer single calls widely separated, 
but the voices of the pack in hot close chase. They 
seemed to be passing half a mile away from us ; but in 
the stillness of the night sound travels far, and one can 
only guess. Again a little while and the cries sounded 
nearer and as if coming from one quarter not moving 
round us as before ; and a few minutes more, and it was 
certain they were still nearer and coming straight 
towards us. We took our guns then, and I called Jock 
back to where we stood under the tree with our backs 
to the fire. 

The growing sounds came on out of the night where 
all was hidden with the weird crescendo effect of a 
coming flood ; we could pick them out then the louder 
harsher cries ; the crashing through bush ; the rush 
in grass ; the sobbing gasps in front ; and the hungry 
panting after. The hunt came at us like a cyclone 
out of the stillness, and in the forefront of it there burst 
into the circle of light an impala ewe with open mouth 
and haunting hunted despairing eyes and wide spread 
ears ; and the last staggering strides brought her in 
among us, tumbling at our feet. 

A kaffir jumped out with assegai aloft ; but Teddy, 
with the spring of a tiger and a yell of rage, swung his 
rifle round and down on assegai arm and head, and 
dropped the boy in his tracks. 

" Go-sh ! Da-11 ! Cr-r-r-i-miny ! What the Hex 
are you up to ? " and the fiery soft-hearted old 
299 




boy was down on to his knees in a second, panting 
with anger and excitement, and threw his arms about 
the buck. 

The foremost of the pack followed hot foot 
close behind the buck oblivious of fire and men, 
^ seeing nothing but the quarry and at a distance of 
five yards a mixed volley of bullets and assegais tumbled 
it over. Another followed, and again another : both 
fell where they had stopped, a dozen yards away, 
puzzled by the fire and the shooting ; and still more 
and more came on, but, warned by the unexpected 
check in front, they stopped at the clearing's edge, 
until over twenty pairs of eyes reflecting the fire's 
light shone out at us in a rough semi-circle. The 
shot guns came in better then ; and more than half 
the pack went under that night before the others 
cleared off. Perhaps they did not realise that the 
shots and flashes were not part of the camp fire from 
which they seemed to come ; perhaps their system 
of never relinquishing a chase had not been tried 
against the white man before. 

One of the wild dogs, wounded by a shot, seemed 
to go mad with agony and raced straight into the clear- 
ing towards the fire, uttering the strangest maniac-like 
yaps. Jock had all along been straining to go for them 
from where I had jammed him between my feet as I 
sat and fired, and the charge of this dog was more than 
he could bear : he shot out like a rocket, and the col- 
lision sent the two flying apart ; but he was on to the 
wild dog again and had it by the throat before it could 
recover. Instantly the row of lights went out, as if 

300 



switched off they were no longer looking at us ; 
there was a rustle and a sound of padded feet, and 
dim grey-looking forms gathered at the edge of the 
clearing nearest where Jock and the wounded dog 
fought. I shouted to Jock to come back, and several 
of us ran out to help, just as another of the pack made 
a dash in. It seemed certain that Jock, gripping 
and worrying his enemy's throat, had neither time 
nor thought for anything else ; yet as the fresh dog 
came at him he let go his grip of the other, and jumped 
to meet the new-comer; in mid-spring Jock caught 
the other by the ear and the two spun completely 
round their positions being reversed ; then, with 
another wrench as he landed, he flung the attacker 
behind him and jumped back at the wounded one 
which had already turned to go. 

It looked like the clean and easy movement of a 
finished gymnast. It was an affair of a few seconds only, 
for of course the instant we got a chance at the dogs, 
without the risk to Jock, both were shot ; and he, 
struggling to get at the others, was haled back to the tree. 

While this was going on the impala stood with 
wide spread legs, dazed and helpless, between Teddy's 
feet, just as he had placed it. Its breath came in 
broken choking sobs ; the look of terror and despair 
had not yet faded from the staring eyes ; the head 
swayed from side to side ; the mouth hung open and 
the tongue lolled out ; all told beyond the power of 
words the tale of desperate struggle and 
exhaustion. It drank greedily from the 
dish that Teddy held for it emptied it, 
301 






and five minutes later drank it again and then lay 
down. 

For half an hour it lay there, slowly recovering ; 
sometimes for spells of a few minutes it appeared to 
breathe normally once more ; then the heavy open- 
mouthed panting would return again ; and all the 
time Teddy kept on stroking or patting it gently 
and talking to it as if he were comforting a child, and 
every now and then bursting out with sudden gusty 
execrations, in his own particular style, of wild dogs 
and kaffirs. At last it rose briskly, and standing be- 
tween his knees looked about, taking no notice of 
Teddy's hands laid on either side and gently patting it. 
No one moved or spoke. Jock, at my feet, appeared 
most interested of all, but I am afraid his views differed 
considerably from ours on that occasion, and he must 
have been greatly puzzled ; he remained watching 
intently with his head laid on his paws, his ears cocked, 
and his brown eyes fixed unblinkingly ; and at each 
movement on the buck's part something stirred in him, 
drawing every muscle tense and ready for the spring 
internal grips which were reflected in the twitching 
and stiffening of his neck and back ; but each time as 
I laid a hand on him he slackened out again and 
subsided. 

We sat like statues as the impala walked out from 
its stall between Teddy's knees, and stood looking 
about wonderingly at the faces white and black, at the 
strange figures, and at the fire. It stepped out quite 
quietly, much as it might have moved about here and 
there any peaceful morning in its usual haunts ; the 

302 



head swung about briskly, but unalarmed ; and ears 
and eyes were turned this way and that in easy con- 
fidence and mild curiosity. 

With a few more steps it threaded its way close to 
one sitting figure and round a bucket ; stepped daintily 
over Teddy's rifle ; and passed the koodoo's head un- 
noticed. 

It seemed to us even to us, and at the moment 
like a scene in fairyland in which some spell held us 
while the beautiful wild thing strolled about un- 
frightened. 

A few yards away it stopped for perhaps a couple 
of minutes ; its back was towards us and the fire ; 
the silence was absolute ; and it stood thus with eyes 
and ears for the bush alone. There was a warning 
whisk of the white tail and it started off again this 
time at a brisk trot and we thought it had gone ; 
but at the edge of the clearing it once more stood and 
listened. Now and again the ears flickered and the 
head turned slightly one way or another, but no sound 
came from the bush ; the out-thrust nose was raised 
with gentle tosses, but no taint reached it on the gentle 
breeze. 

All was well ! 

It looked slowly round, giving one long full gaze 
back at us which seemed to be " Good-bye, and thank 
you ! " and cantered out into the dark. 







SNOWBALL was an * old soldier ' I say it with all 
respect ! He had been through the wars ; that is 
to say, he had seen the ups and downs of life and 
had learnt the equine equivalent of " God helps those 
who help themselves." For Snowball was a horse. 

Tsetse was also an old soldier, but he was what you 
might call a gentleman old soldier, with a sense of 
duty ; and in his case the discipline and honour of 
his calling were not garments for occasion but part of 
himself. Snowball was no gentleman : he was selfish 
and unscrupulous, a confirmed shirker, often absent 
without leave, and upon occasions a rank deserter 
for which last he once narrowly escaped being shot. 

Tsetse belonged to my friend Hall ; but Snowball 
was mine ! What I know about him was learnt with 
mortification of the spirit and flesh ; and what he 
could not teach in that way was ' over the head ' of 
the most indurated old dodger that ever lived. 

Tsetse had his peculiarities and prejudices : like 
many old soldiers he was a stickler for etiquette and 
did not like departures from habit and routine ; for 

34 



instance, he would not under any circumstances 
permit mounting on the wrong side a most prepos- 
terous stand for an old salted shooting horse to take, 
and the cause of much inconvenience at times. On 
the mountains it often happened that the path was 
too narrow and the slope too steep to permit one to 
mount on the left side, whereas the sharp rise of the 
ground made it very easy on the right. But Tsetse 
made no allowance for this, and if the attempt were 
made he would stand quite still until the rider was off 
the ground but not yet in the saddle, and then buck 
continuously until the offender shot overhead and went 
skidding down the slope. To one encumbered with 
a rifle in hand, and a kettle or perhaps a couple of legs 
of buck slung on the saddle, Tsetse's protest was 
usually irresistible. 

Snowball had no unpractical prejudices : he 
objected to work that was all. He was a pure white 
horse, goodness knows how old, with enormously long 
teeth ; every vestige of grey or other tinge had faded 
out of him, and his eyes had an aged and resigned look : 
one warmed to him at sight as a " dear old pet of a 
Dobbin ! " who ought to be passing his last years 
grazing contentedly in a meadow and giving bare- 
back rides to little children. The reproach of his 
venerable look nearly put me off taking him it seemed 
such a shame to make the dear old fellow work ; but 
I hardened my heart and, feeling rather a brute, 
bought him because he was ' salted ' and would live 
in the Bushveld : beside that, all other considerations 
were trivial. Of course he was said to be a shooting 
305 u 





horse, and he certainly took no notice of a gun fired 
under his nose or from his back which was all the 
test I could apply at the time ; and then his legs were 
quite sound ; his feet were excellent ; he had lost no 
teeth yet ; and he was in tip top condition. What 
more could one want ? 

" He looks rather a fool of a horse ! " I had remarked 
dubiously to Joey the Smith, who was * willin' to let 
him go,' and I can recall now the peculiar glint in 
Joey's eye and the way he sort of steadied himself 
with a little cough before he answered feelingly : 

" He's no fool, sonny ! You won't want to get a 
cleverer horse as long as you live ! " 
And no more I did as we used to say ! 
Snowball had one disfigurement, consisting of a 
large black swelling as big as a small orange behind 
his left eye, which must have annoyed him greatly ; 
it could easily have been removed, and many sugges- 
tions were made on the subject but all of them were 
firmly declined. Without that lump I should have 
had no chance against him : it was the weak spot in 
his defence : it was the only cover under which it 
was possible to stalk him when he made one of his 
determined attempts to dodge or desert ; for he could 
see nothing that came up behind him on the left side 
without turning his head completely round ; hence 
one part of the country was always hidden from him, 
and of course it was from this quarter that we in- 
variably made our approaches to attack. 

So well did Snowball realise this that when the old 
villain intended giving trouble he would start off with 

306 



his head swung away to the right, and when far enough 
away to graze in security a hundred yards or so was 
enough would turn right about and face towards _^ 
the waggons or camp, or wherever the danger-quarter"' 
was ; then, keeping us well in view, he would either 
graze off sideways, or from time to time walk briskly 
off to occupy a new place, with the right eye swung 
round on us like a search-light. 

Against all this, however, it is only fair to admit that 
there were times when for days, and even weeks, at a 
stretch he would behave admirably, giving no more 
trouble than Jock did. Moreover he had qualities 
which were not to be despised . he was as sound as a 
bell, very clever on his feet, never lost his condi- 
tion, and, although not fast, could last for ever at his 
own pace. 

Experience taught me to take no chances with Snow- 
ball. After a hard day he was apt to think that 
* enough was as good as a feast,' and then trouble 
might be expected. But there was really no safe rule 
with him ; he seemed to have moods to l get out 
of bed on the wrong side ' on certain days and, 
for no reason in the world, behave with a calculated 
hostility that was simply maddening. 

Hunting horses live almost entirely by grazing, as 
it is seldom possible to carry any grain or other foods ^ 
for them and never possible to carry enough ; 
salted horses have therefore a particular value in that 
they can be turned out to graze at night or in the morn- 
ing and evening dews when animals not immunised 

, .1 , 1 ^1 aOiSKiMKUIi^Mt-a^fa 

will contract horse-sickness ; tnus 
307 






feed during the hours when hunting is not possible 
and keep their condition when an unsalted horse 
would fall away from sheer want of food. 

According to their training, disposition, and know- 
ledge of good and evil, horses are differently treated 
when ' offsaddled ' ; some may be trusted without 
even a halter, and can be caught and saddled when 
and where required ; others are knee-haltered ; others 
are hobbled by a strap coupling either both fore feet, or 
one fore and one hind foot, with enough slack to allow 
walking, but not enough for the greater reach of a trot 
or gallop ; whilst some incorrigibles are both knee- 
haltered and hobbled ; and in this gallery Snowball 
figured upon occasion a mournful and injured inno- 
cent, if appearances went for anything ! 

It was not, as a rule, at the outspan, where many 
hands were available, that Snowball gave trouble, 
but out hunting when I was alone or with only one 
companion. A trained shooting horse should stop 
as soon as his rider lays hand on mane to dismount, 
and should remain where he is left for any length of 
time until his master returns ; some horses require the 
reins to be dropped over their heads to remind them 
of their duty but many can safely be left to them- 
selves and will be found grazing quietly where left. 

Snowball knew well what to do, but he pleased 
himself about doing it ; sometimes he would stand ; 
sometimes move off a little way, and keep moving 
just out of reach holding his head well on one side 
so that he should not tread on the trailing reins or the 
long weighted reimpje which was attached to his bit 

308 



for the purpose of hindering and catching him ; some- 
times, with a troop of buck moving on ahead or perhaps 
a wounded one to follow, this old sinner would right- 
about-face and simply walk off only a few yards 
separating us with his ears laid back, his tail tucked / 
down ominously, and occasional little liftings of his 
hindquarters to let me know what to expect and his 
right eye on me all the while ; and, if I ran to head 
him off, he would break into a trot and leave me a 
little worse off than before; and sometimes, in familiar 
country, he would make straight away for the waggons 
without more ado. 

It is demoralising in the extreme to be expecting 
a jerk when in the act of aiming and Snowball, who 
cared no more for shooting than a deaf gunner, would 
plunge like a two-year-old when he was play-acting 
and it is little better, while creeping forward for a 
shot, to hear your horse strolling off behind and realise 
that you will have to hunt for him and perhaps walk 
many miles back to camp without means of carrying 
anything you may shoot. The result of experience was 
that I had to choose between two alternatives : either 
to hook him up to a tree or bush each time or hobble 
him with his reins, and so lose many good chances of 
quick shots when coming unexpectedly on game ; or to 
slip an arm through the reins and take chance of being 
plucked off my aim or jerked violently backwards as 
I fired. But it was at the ' off saddles ' on long journeys 
across country or during the rest in a day's hunt that 
trouble was most to be feared, and although hobbling 
is dangerous in a country so full of holes, stumps, and 

39 





all sorts of grass-hidden obstacles, there were times 
when consideration for Snowball seemed mighty like 
pure foolishness, and it would have been no grief to 
me if he had broken his neck ! 

To the credit of Snowball stand certain things, 
however, and it is but justice to say that, when once 
in the ranks, he played his part well ; and it is due to 
him to say that during one hard season a camp of 
waggons with their complement of men had to be 
kept in meat, and it was Snowball who carried for 
short and long distances, through dry rough country, 
at all times of day and night, hot, thirsty and tired, 
and without a breakdown or a day's sickness a bag 
that totalled many thousands of pounds in weight, 
and the man who made the bag. 

" That wall-eyed brute of yours " was launched at 
me in bitterness of spirit on many occasions when 
Snowball led the normally well-behaved ones astray ; 
and it is curious to note how strength of character 
or clear purpose will establish leadership among animals, 
as among men. Rooiland the restless, when dissatis- 
fied with the grass or in want of water, would cast 
about up wind for a few minutes and then with his 
hot eyeballs staring and nostrils well distended choose 
his line, going resolutely along and only pausing from 
time to time to give a low moan for signal and allow 
the straggling string of unquestioning followers to 
catch up. When Rooiland had ' trek fever ' there 
was no rest for herd boys. So too with old Snowball : 
he led the well-behaved astray and they followed him 
blindly. Had Snowball been a schoolboy, a wise 

310 



headmaster would have expelled him for the general 
good and discipline of the school. 

On one long horseback journey through Swaziland 
to the coast, where few white men and no horses had 
yet been seen, we learned to know Snowball and 
Tsetse well, and found out what a horse can do when 
put to it. It was a curious experience on that trip I 
to see whole villages flee in terror at the first sight of 'I 
the new strange animals one brown and one white ; 
in some places not even the grown men would ap- 
proach, but too proud to show fear, they stood their 
ground, their bronze faces blanching visibly and setting 
hard as we rode up ; the women fled with half-stifled 
cries of alarm ; and once, when we came unexpectedly 
upon a party of naked urchins playing on the banks 
of a stream, the whole pack set off full cry for the 
water and, jumping in like a school of alarmed frogs, 
disappeared. Infinitely amused by the stampede we 
rode up to see what had become of them, but the 
silence was absolute, and for a while they seemed to have 
vanished altogether; then a tell-tale ripple gave the clue, 
and under the banks among the ferns and exposed roots 
we picked out little black faces half submerged and pairs 
of frightened eyes staring at us from all sides. They 
were not to be reassured, either: the only effect pro- 
duced by our laughing comments and friendly 
overtures being that the head which dee 
itself pointedly addressed would disappear 
completely and remain so long out of 
sight as to make us feel quite smothery 
and criminally responsible. 

3" 





It is in the rivers that a man feels the importance 
of a good horse with a stout heart, and his dependence 
on it. There were no roads, and not even known tracks, 
there ; and when we reached the Black Umbelusi 
we picked a place where there was little current and 
apparently an easy way out on the opposite side. It 
was much deeper than it looked ; however, we were 
prepared, and thirty yards of swimming did not 
trouble us ; yet it certainly was a surprise to us 
when the horses swam right up to the other bank 
without finding bottom and, turning aside, began 
to swim up stream. Looking down into the clear 
depths we saw that there was a sheer wall of rock to 
within a few inches of the surface. Now, a horse 
with a man on his back swims low only the head 
and half the neck showing above water and by what 
instinct or means the horses realised the position I do 
not know, but, with little hesitation and apparently 
of one accord, they got back a yard or two from the 
ledge and, raising first one fore foot and then the 
other, literally climbed out exactly as a man or a dog 
does out of a swimming bath hoisting their riders 
out with them without apparent difficulty. That 
was something which we had not thought possible, 
and to satisfy ourselves we dismounted and tried 
the depth ; but the ten foot reeds failed to reach 
bottom. 

When it came to crossing the Crocodile River we 
chose the widest spot in the hope that it would 
be shallow and free of rocks. We fired some shots 
into the river to scare the crocodiles, and started to 

312 



cross ; but to our surprise Tsetse, trie strong-nerved 
and reliable, who always had the post of honour in 
front, absolutely refused to enter. 

The water of the Crocodile is at its best of amber 
clearness and we could not see bottom, but the sloping 
grassy bank promised well enough and no hint reached 
us of what the horses knew quite well. All we had 
was on our horses food, blankets, billy, rifles and 
ammunition. We were off on a long trip and, to vary 
or supplement the game diet, carried a small packet 
of tea, a little sugar, flour, and salt, and some beads with 
which to trade for native fowls and thick milk ; the 
guns had to do the rest. Thus there were certain 
things we could not afford to wet, and these we used 
to wrap up in a mackintosh and carry high when it 
came to swimming, but this crossing looked so easy 
that it seemed sufficient to raise the packs instead of 
carrying part of them. 

Tsetse, who in the ordinary way regarded the spur 
as part of the accepted discipline, promptly resented 
it when there seemed to him to be sufficient reason ; 
and when Hall, astonished at Tsetse's unexpected 
obstinacy, gave him both heels, the old horse consider- 
ately swung round away from the river, and with a 
couple of neatly executed bucks shot his encumbered 
rider off the raised pack, yards away on to the soft 
g rass water-bottle, rifle, bandolier and man landing 
in a lovely tangle. 

I then put old Snowball at it, fully expecting 
trouble ; but the old soldier was quite at 
home; he walked quietly to the edge 






sat down comfortably, and slid into the water 
launching himself with scarce a ripple just like 
'an old hippo. That gave us the explanation of 
Tsetse's tantrum : the water came up to the seat of 
my saddle and walking was only just possible. I 
stopped at once, waiting for Tsetse to follow ; and 
Hall, prepared for another refusal, sat back and again 
used his spurs. No doubt Tsetse, once he knew the 
depth, was quite satisfied and meant to go in quietly, 
and the prick of the spur must have been unexpected, 
for he gave a plunge forward, landing with his fore 
feet in deep water and hind quarters still on the bank, 
and Hall shot out overhead, landing half across old 
Snowball's back. There was a moment of ludicrous 
but agonised suspense ! Hall's legs were firmly grip- 
ping Tsetse behind the ears while he sprawled on his 
stomach on Snowball's crupper, with the reins still in 
one hand and the rifle in the other. Doubled up with 
suppressed laughter I grabbed a fist full of shirt and 
held on, every moment expecting Tsetse to hoist his 
head or pull back and complete the disaster, while 
Hall was spluttering out directions, entreaties and 
imprecations ; but good old Tsetse never moved, and 
Hall handing me the rifle managed to swarm back- 
wards on to Tsetse's withers and scramble on to the 
pack again. 

Then, saddle-deep in the river duckings and 
crocodiles forgotten we sat looking at each other 
and laughed till we ached. 

The river was about three hundred yards wide 
there with a good' sandy bottom and of uniform depth, 



but, to our disappointment, we found that the other 
bank which had appeared to slope gently to the water 
edge was in fact a sheer wall standing up several feet 
above the river level. The beautiful slope which we 
had seen consisted of water grass and reed tops ; the 
bank itself was of firm moist clay ; and the river 
bottom close under it was soft mud. We tried a little 
way up and down, but found deeper water, more mud 
and reeds, and no break in the bank ; there was not 
even a lagavaan slide, a game path, or a drinking-place. 
There seemed to be nothing for it but to go back again 
and try somewhere else. 

Hall was ' bad to beat ' when he started on any- 
thing he did not know how to give in ; but when he 
looked at the bank and said, " We'll have a shot at 
this," I thought at first he was joking. Later, to my 
remark that "no horse ever born would face that," he 
answered that " any way we could try : it would be just 
as good as hunting for more places of the same sort ! " 

I do not know the height of the bank, as we were 
not thinking of records at that time, but there are 
certain facts which enable one to guess fairly closely. 

Tsetse was ranged up beside the bank, and Hall 
standing in the saddle threw his rifle and bandolier 
up and scrambled out himself. I then loosened 
Tsetse's girths from my seat on Snowball, and 
handed up the packed saddle Hall lying down 
on the bank to take it from me ; and we did 
the same with Snowball's load, including 
my own clothes, for, as it was already 
sundown, a ducking was not desirable. 

315 






I loosened one side of Tsetse's reins, and after attach- 
ing one of mine in order to give the necessary 
length to them threw the end up to Hall, and he cut 
and handed me a long supple rod for a whip to stir 
Tsetse to his best endeavours. The water there was 
rather more than half saddle-flap high ; I know that 
because it just left me a good expanse of hindquarters 
to aim at when the moment came. 

" Now ! " yelled Hall, " Up, Tsetse ! Up ! " ; and 
whack went the stick ! Tsetse reared up, right on 
end ; he could not reach the top but struck his fore 
feet into the moist bank near the top, and with a 
mighty plunge that soused Snowball and me, went 
out. The tug on the leading rein, on which Hall 
had thrown all his weight when Tsetse used it to lever 
himself up, had jerked Hall flat on his face ; but he was 
up in a minute, and releasing Tsetse threw back the rein 
to get Snowball to face it while the example was fresh. 

Then for the first time we thought of the crocodiles 
and the river was full of them ! But Snowball without 
some one behind him with a stick would never face 
that jump, and there was nothing for it but to fire 
some scaring shots, and slip into the water and get 
the job over as quickly as possible. 

Snarleyow was with us I had left Jock at the 
waggons fearing that we would get into fly country on 
the Umbelusi and the bank was too high and too 
steep for him ; he huddled up against it half 
supported by reeds, and whined plain- 
tively. 

To our relief Snowball faced the 
jump quite readily ; indeed, the old 

316 




sinner did it with much less effort and splash than the 
bigger Tsetse. But then came an extremely unpleasant 
spell. Snowball got a scare, because Hall in his anxiety 
to get me out rushed up to him on the warty side to 
get the reins off ; and the old ruffian waltzed around, 
dragging Hall through the thorns, while Snarleyow 
and I waited in the water for help. ,=5 

At that moment I had a poorer opinion of Snowball 
and Snarley than at any other I can remember. I 
wished Snarley dead twenty times in twenty seconds. 
Crocodiles love dogs ; and it seemed to me a million 
to one that a pair of green eyes and a black snout must 
slide out of the water any moment, drawn to us by 
those advertising whines ! And the worst of it was, 
I was outside Snarley with my white legs gleaming 
in the open water, while his cringing form was tucked 
away half hidden by the reeds. What an age it 
seemed ! How each reed shaken by the river breeze 
caught the eye, giving me goose-flesh and sending 
waves of cold shudders creeping over me ! How the 
cold smooth touch of a reed stem against my leg made 
me want to jump and to get out with one huge plunge as 
the horses had done ! And even when I had passed the 
struggling yowling Snarleyup,the fewremaining seconds 
seemed painfully long. Hall had to lie flat and reach his 
furthest to grip my hand ; and I nearly pulled him in, 
scrambling up that bank like a chased cat up a tree. 

When one comes to think it out, the bank must 
have been nine feet high. It was mighty unpleasant ; 
but it taught us what a horse can do when he puts ' 
back into it ! 




his 




wiiitiirt|i I.JB 
""IHIBIHI I 



*y*S' 



HALF-WAY between the Crocodile and Komati Rivers, 
a few miles south of the old road, there are half a 
dozen or more small kopjes betwee^which lie broad 
richly grassed depressions, too wide and flat to be 
called valleys. The fall of the country is slight, yet 
the rich loamy soil has been washed out in places 
into dongas of considerable depth. There is no 
running water there in winter, but there are a few 
big pools long narrow irregularly shaped bits of 
water with shady trees around them. 
I came upon the place by accident one day, and 
thereafter we kept it dark as our own preserve ; for it 
was full of game, and a most delightful spot. It was 
there that Snarleyow twice cleaned out the hunter's 
pot. 

Apart from the discovery of this preserve, the day 
was memorable for the reason that it was my first 
experience of a big mixed herd ; and I learned that 
day how difficult the work may be when several kinds 
of game run together. After a dry and warm morning 
the sight of the big pool had prompted an offsaddle ; 



Snowball was tethered in a patch of good grass, and 
Jock and I were lying in the shade. 

When he began to sniff and walk up wind I took 
the rifle and followed, and only a little way off we 
came into dry vlei ground where there were few trees 
and the grass stood about waist high. Some two 
hundred yards away where the ground rose slightly 
and the bush became thicker there was a fair sized 
troop of impala, perhaps a hundred or more, and just 
behind, and mostly to one side of them, were between 
twenty and thirty tsessebe. We saw them clearly 
and in time to avoid exposing ourselves : they were 
neither feeding nor resting, but simply standing about, 
and individual animals were moving unconcernedly 
from time to time with an air of idle loitering. I 
tried to pick out a good tsessebe ram, but the impala 
were in the way, and it was necessary to crawl for some 
distance to reach certain cover away on the right. 

Crawling is hard work and very rough on both hands 
and knees in the Bushveld, frequent rests being neces- 
sary ; and in one of the pauses I heard a curious sound 
of soft padded feet jumping behind me, and looking 
quickly about caught Jock in the act of taking his 
observations. The grass was too high for him to see 
over, even when he stood up on his hind legs, and he 
was giving jumps of slowly increasing strength to get 
the height which would enable him to see what was on. 
I shall never forget that first view of Jock's ballooning 
observations ; it became a regular practice afterwards 
and I grew accustomed to seeing him stand on his hind 
legs or jump when his view was shut out indeed 







sometimes when we were having a slow time I used to 
draw him by pretending to stalk something ; but it is 
that first view that remains a picture of him. I 
turned at the instant when he was at the top of his 
jump ; his legs were all bunched up, his eyes staring 
eagerly and his ears had flapped out, giving him a look 
of comic astonishment. It was a most surprisingly 
unreal sight : he looked like a caricature of Jock shot 
into the air by a galvanic shock. A sign with my 
hand brought him flat on the ground, looking distinctly 
guilty, and we moved along again ; but I was shaking 
with silent laughter. 

At the next stop I had a look back to see how he 
was behaving, and to my surprise, although he was 
following carefully close behind me, he was looking 
steadily away to our immediate right. I subsided gently 
on to my left side to see what it was that interested 
him, and to my delight saw a troop of twenty to 
twenty-five Blue Wildebeeste. They, too, were 
* standing any way,' and evidently had not seen us. 

I worked myself cautiously round to face them so 
as to be able to pick my shot and take it kneeling, thus 
clearing the tops of the grass ; but whilst doing this 
another surprising development took place. Looking 
hard and carefully at the wildebeetse two hundred 
yards away, I became conscious of something else in 
between us, and only half the distance off, looking at 
me. It had the effect of a shock ; the disagreeable 
effect produced by having a book or picture suddenly 
thrust close to the face ; the feeling of wanting to get 
further away from it to re-focus one's sight. 

320 



What I saw was simply a dozen quagga, all exactly 
alike, all standing alike, all looking at me, all full face 
to me, their fore feet together, their ears cocked, and 
their heads quite motionless all gazing steadily at 
me, alive with interest and curiosity. There was 
something quite ludicrous in it, and something perplex- 
ing also : when I looked at the quagga the wildebeeste 
seemed to get out of focus and were lost to me ; when 
I looked at the wildebeeste the quagga ' blurred ' 
and faded out of sight. The difference in distance, 
perhaps as much as the very marked difference in the 
distinctive colourings, threw me out; and the effect 
of being watched also told. Of course I. wanted to get 
a wildebeeste, but I was conscious of the watching 
quagga all the time, and, for the life of me, could not 
help constantly looking at them to see if they were 
going to start off and stampede the others. 

Whilst trying to pick out the best of the wildebeeste 
a movement away on the left made me look that way : 
the impala jumped off like one animal, scaring the 
tsessebe into a scattering rout ; the quagga switched 
round and thundered off like a stampede of horses ; 
and the wildebeeste simply vanished. One signal in 
one troop had sent the whole lot off. Jock and I were 
left alone, still crouching, looking from side to side, 
staring at the slowly drifting dust, and listening to the 
distant dying sound of galloping feet. 

It was a great disappointment, but the conviction 
that we had found a really good spot made some amends, 
and Snowball was left undisturbed to feed and rest for 
another two hours. We made for the waggons along 
321 x 






another route taking in some of the newly discovered 
country in the home sweep, and the promise of the 
morning was fulfilled. We had not been more than 
a few minutes on the way when a fine rietbuck ram 
jumped up within a dozen yards of Snowball's nose. 
Old Rocky had taught me to imitate the rietbuck's 
shrill whistle and this one fell to the first shot. He was 
a fine big fellow, and as Snowball put on airs and 
pretended to be nervous when it came to packing the 
meat, I had to blindfold him, and after hoisting the 
buck up to a horizontal branch lowered it on' to his 
back. 

Snowball was villainously slow and bad to lead. 
He knew that whilst being led neither whip nor spur 
could touch him, and when loaded up with meat he 
dragged along at a miserable walk : one had to haul 
him. Once but only once I had tried driving 
him before me, trusting to about 400 Ib. weight of 
koodoo meat to keep him steady ; but no sooner had 
I stepped behind with a switch than he went off with 
a cumbrous plunge and bucked like a frantic mule 
until he rid himself of his load, saddle and all. The 
fact is one person could not manage him on foot, it 
needed one at each end of him, and he knew it : thus 
it worked out at a compromise : he carried my load, 
and I went his pace ! 

We were labouring along in this fashion when we 
came on the wildebeeste again. A white man on foot 
seems to be recognised as an enemy ; but if accom- 
panied by animals, either on horseback, driving in a 
vehicle, leading a horse, or walking among cattle, he 

322 



may pass unnoticed for a long while : attention seems 
to be fixed on the animals rather than the man, and 
frank curiosity instead of alarm is quite evidently the 
feeling aroused. 

The wildebeeste had allowed me to get close up, 
and I picked out the big bull and took the shot kneeling, 
with my toe hooked in the reins to secure Snowball, 
taking chance of being jerked off my aim rather than 
let him go ; but he behaved like an angel, and once 
more that day a single shot was enough. 

It was a long and tedious job skinning the big fellow, 
cutting him up, hauling the heavy limbs and the rest 
of the meat up into a suitable tree, and making all safe 
against the robbers of the earth and the air ; and 
most troublesome of all was packing the head and skin 
on Snowball, who showed the profoundest mistrust of 
this dark ferocious-looking monster. 

Snowball and I had had enough of it when we 
reached camp, well after dark; but Jock I am not so 
sure of : his invincible keenness seemed at times to 
have something in it of mute reproach the tinge of 
disappointment in those they love which great hearts 
feel, and strive to hide ! I never outstayed Jock, and 
never once knew him * own up ' that he had had 
enough. 

No two days were quite alike ; yet many were alike 
in the sense that they were successful without hitch 
and without interest to any but the hunters ; many 
others were marked by chases in which Jock's part 
most essential to success too closely resembled that 
of other days to be worth repeating. On that day 

3 2 3 






he had, as usual, been the one to see the wildebeeste 
and had ' given the word ' in time ; the rest was only 
one straight shot. That was fair partnership in which 
both were happy ; but there was nothing to talk 
about. 

There was very little wanton shooting with us, 
for when we had more fresh meat than was re- 
quired, as often happened, it was dried as ' bultong ' for 
the days of shortage which were sure to come. 

I started off early next morning with the boys to 
bring in the meat, and went on foot, giving Snow- 
ball a rest, more or less deserved. By nine o'clock 
the boys were on their way back, and leaving 
them to take the direct route I struck away east- 
wards along the line of the pools, not expecting 
much and least of all dreaming that fate had one of 
the worst days in store for us : " From cloudless 
heavens her lightnings glance " did not occur to 
my mind as we moved silently along in the bright 
sunshine. 

We passed the second pool, loitering a few minutes 
in the cool shade of the evergreens to watch the green 
pigeons feeding on the wild figs and peering down 
curiously at us ; then moved briskly into more open 
ground. It is not wise to step too suddenly out of the 
dark shade into strong glare, and it may have been that 
* act of carelessness that enabled the koodoo to get off 
before I saw them. They cantered away in a string with 
the cows in the rear, between me and two full grown 
bulls. It was a running shot end on and the last 

the troop, a big cow, gave a stumble : but catching 

3*4 



herself up again she cantered off slowly. Her 
body was all bunched up and she was pitching 
greatly, and her hind legs kept flying out in 
irregular kicks, much as you may see a horse kick 
out when a blind fly is biting him. 

There was no time for a second shot and we started 
off in hot pursuit ; and fifty yards further on where 
there was a clear view I saw that the koodoo was 
going no faster than an easy canter, and Jock was close 
behind. 

Whether he was misled by the curious action, and 
believed there was a broken leg to grip, or was simply 
over bold, it is impossible to know. Whatever the 
reason, he jumped for one of the hind legs, and at the 
same moment the koodoo lashed out viciously. One 
foot struck him under the jaw close to the throat, 
* whipped ' his head and neck back like a bent switch, 
and hurled him somersaulting backwards. 

I have the impression as one sees oneself in a night- 
mare of a person throwing up his arms and calling 
the name of his child as a train passed over it. 

Jock lay limp and motionless, with the blood oozing 
from mouth, nose, and eyes. I recollect feeling for 
his heart-beat and breath, and shaking him roughly 
and calling him by name ; then, remembering the 
pool near by, I left him in the shade of a tree, filled 
my hat with water, ran back again and poured it 
over him and into his mouth, shaking him again to 
rouse him, and several times pressing his sides 
bellows fashion in a ridiculous effort to 
restore breathing. 
325 







The old hat was leaky and I had to grip the rough- 
cut ventilations to make it hold any water at all, and 
I was returning with a second supply when with a 
great big heart-jump, I saw Jock heel over from his 
side and with his forelegs flat on the ground raise 
himself to a resting position, his head wagging groggily 
and his eyes blinking in a very dazed way. 

He took no notice when I called his name, but at 
the touch of my hand his ears moved up and the stumpy 
tail scraped feebly in the dead leaves. He was stone 
deaf ; but I did not know it then. He lapped a little 
of the water, sneezed the blood away and licked his 
chops ; and then, with evident effort, stood up. 

But this is the picture which it is impossible to 
forget. The dog was still so dazed and shaken that he 
reeled slightly, steadying himself by spreading his legs 
well apart, and there followed a few seconds' pause in 
which he stood thus ; and then he began to walk 
forward with the uncertain staggery walk of a toddling 
child. His jaws were set close ; his eyes were beady 
black, and he looked ( fight ' all over. He took no 
notice of me ; and I, never dreaming that he was 
after the koodoo, watched the walk quicken to a 
laboured trot before I moved or called; but he 
paid no heed to the call. For the first time in his 
life there was rank open defiance of orders, and he 
trotted slowly along with his nose to the ground. 
Then I understood ; and, thinking he was maddened by 
the kick and not quite responsible for himself, and 
more than that admiring his pluck far too much 
to be angry, I ran to bring him back ; but at a turn in 

326 



his course he saw me coming, and this time he obeyed 
the call and signal instantly, and with a limp air of 
disappointment followed quietly back to the tree. 

The reason for Jock's persistent disobedience that day 
was not ^even suspected then ; I put everything down 
to the kick ; and he seemed to me to be ' all wrong,' 
but indeed there was excuse enough for him. Never- 
theless it was puzzling that at times he should ignore 
me in positively contemptuous fashion, and at others 
obey with all his old readiness : I neither knew he 
was deaf, nor realised that the habit of using certain 
signs and gestures when I spoke to him and even of 
using them in place of orders when silence was im- 
perative had made him almost independent of the 
word of mouth. From that day he depended wholly 
upon signs ; for he never heard another sound. 

Jock came back with me and lay down ; but he was 
not content. Presently he rose again and remained 
standing with his back to me, looking steadily in the 
direction taken by the koodoo. It was fine to see 
the indomitable spirit, but I did not mean to let him 
try again ; the koodoo was as good as dead no doubt, 
yet a hundred koodoo would not have tempted me 
to risk taking him out : to rest him and get him back 
to the camp was the only thought. I was feeling 
very soft about the dog then. And while I sat thus 
watching him and waiting for him to rest and recover, 
once more and almost within reach of me he started 
off again. But it was not as he had done before : 
this time he went with a spring and a rush, and with 
head lowered and meaning business. In vain I called 

3 2 7 





and followed : he outpaced me and left me in a few 

strides. 

The koodoo had gone along the right bank of the 
onga which, commencing just below the pool, ex- 
tended half a mile or more down the flat valley. Jock's 
rush was magnificent, but it was puzzling, and his 
direction was even more so ; for he made straight for 
the donga. 

I ran back for the rifle and followed, and he had 
already disappeared down the steep bank of the donga 
when, through the trees on the opposite side, I saw 
a koodoo cow moving along at a slow cramped walk. 
The donga was a deep one with perpendicular sides, 
and in places even overhanging crumbling banks, 
and I reached it as Jock, slipping and struggling, 
worked his way up the other wall writhing and climb- 
ing through the tree roots exposed by the floods. 
As he rushed out the koodoo saw him and turned ; 
there was just a chance a second of time : a foot of 
space before he got in the line of fire ; and I took it. 
One hind leg gave way, and in the short sidelong 
stagger that followed Jock jumped at the koodoo's 
throat and they went down together. 

It took me several minutes to get through the donga, 
and by that time the koodoo was dead and Jock was 
standing, wide-mouthed and panting, on guard at 
its head : the second shot had been enough. 

It was an unexpected and puzzling end ; and, in a 
way, not a welcome one, as it meant delay in getting 
back. After the morning's experience there was not 
much inclination for the skinning and cutting 

328 




up of a big animal and I set to work gathering branches 
and grass to hide the carcase, meaning to send the 
boys back for it. 

But the day's experiences were not over yet : a 
low growl from Jock made me look sharply round, to 
see half a dozen kaffirs coming through the bush with 
a string of mongrel hounds at their heels. 

So that was the explanation of the koodoo's return 
to us ! The natives, a hunting party, had heard the 
shot and coming along in hopes of meat had met and 
headed off the wounded koodoo, turning her back 
almost on her own tracks. There was satisfaction in 
having the puzzle solved, but the more practical point 
was that here was all the help I wanted ; and the boys 
readily agreed to skin the animal and carry the four 
quarters to the camp for the gift of the rest. 

Then my trouble began with Jock. He flew at the 
first of the" kafrir dogs that sneaked up to sniff at the 
koodoo. Shouting at him produced no effect what- 
ever, and before I could get hold of him he had mauled 
the animal pretty badly. After hauling him off I 
sat down in the shade, with him beside me ; but there 
were many dogs, and a succession of affairs, and I, 
knowing nothing of his deafness, became thoroughly 
exasperated and surprised by poor old Jock's behaviour. 

His instinct to defend our kills, which was always 
strong, was roused that day beyond control, and his 
hatred of kaffir dogs an implacable one in any case 
made a perfect fury of him ; still, the sickening awful 
feeling that came over me as he lay limp and lifeless 
was too fresh, and it was not possible to be really angry ; 

329 





and after half a dozen of the dogs had been badly 
handled there was something so comical in the way 
they sheered off and eyed Jock that I could only laugh. 
They sneaked behind bushes and tried to circumvent 
him in all sorts of ways, but fled precipitately as soon 
as he moved a step or lowered his head and humped 
his shoulders threateningly. Even the kaffir owners, 
who had begun to look glum, broke into appreciative 
laughter and shouts of admiration for the white man's 
dog. 

Jock kept up an unbroken string of growls, not loud, 
of course, but I could feel them going all the while 
like a volcano's rumbling as my restraining hand rested 
on him, and when the boys came up to skin the koodoo 
I had to hold him down and shake him sharply. The 
dog was mad with fight ; he bristled all over ; and 
no patting or talking produced more than a flicker 
of his ears. The growling went on ; the hair stood 
up ; the tail was quite .unresponsive ; his jaws were set 
like a vice; and his eyes shone like two black diamonds. 
He had actually struggled to get free of my hand when 
the boys began to skin, and they were so scared by his 
resolute attempt that they would not start until I put 
him down between my knees and held him. 

I was sitting against a tree only three or four yards 
from the koodoo, and the boys, who had lighted a fire 
in anticipation of early tit-bits which would grill 
while they worked, were getting along well with the 
skinning, when one of them saw fit to pause in order 
to hold forth in the native fashion on the glories of 
the chase and the might of the white man. Jock's 

33 



head lay on his paws and his mouth was shut like a 
rat-trap ; his growling grew louder as the bombastic 
nigger, all unconscious of the wicked watching eyes 
behind him, waved his blood-stained knife and warmed 
to his theme. 

" Great you thought yourself," proclaimed the 
orator, addressing the dead koodoo in a long rigmarole 
which was only partly understood by me but evidently 
much approved by the other boys as they stooped to 
their work, " Swift of foot and strong of limb. But the 
white man came, and there ! " I could not make 
out the words with any certainty ; but whatever the last 
word was, it was intended as a dramatic climax, and 
to lend additional force to his point the orator let fly 
a resounding kick on the koodoo's stomach. 

The effect was quite electrical ! Like an arrow 
from the bow Jock flew at him ! The warning shout 
came too late, and as Jock's teeth fastened in him behind 
the terrified boy gave a wild bound over the koodoo, 
carrying Jock like a streaming coat-tail behind him. 

The work was stopped and the natives drew off hi 
grave consultation. I thought that they had had 
enough of Jock for one day and that they would 
strike work and leave me, probably returning later 
on to steal the meat while I went for help from the 
waggons. But it turned out that the consultation 
was purely medical, and in a few minutes I had an 
interesting exhibition of native doctoring. They laid 
the late orator out face downwards, and one burly 
* brother ' straddled him across the small of the back ; 
then after a little preliminary examination of the four 

331 





slits left by Jock's fangs, he proceeded to cauterise 
them with the glowing ends of sundry sticks which 
an assistant took from the fire and handed to him as 
required. The victim flapped his hands on the ground 
and hallooed out " My babo ! My babo ! " but he 
did not struggle ; and the operator toasted away with 
methodical indifference. 

The orator stood it well ! 

I took Jock away to the big tree near the pool : it 
was evident that he, too, had had enough of it for one 
day. 





THERE was no hunting for several days after the 
affair with the koodoo cow. Jock looked worse 
the following day than he had done since recover- 
ing consciousness : his head and neck swelled up 
so that chewing was impossible and he could only 
lap a little soup or milk, and could hardly bend 
his neck at all. 

On the morning of the second day Jim Makokel' 
came up with his hostile-looking swagger and a cross 
worried look on his face, and in a half-angry and 
wholly disgusted tone jerked out at me, " The dog is 
deaf. I say so ! Me ! Makokela ! Jock is deaf. 
He does not hear when you speak. Deaf ! yes, 
deaf ! " 

Jim's tone grew fiercer as he warmed up ; he seemed 
to hold me responsible. The moment the boy spoke 
I knew it was true it was the only possible explana- 
tion of many little things ; nevertheless I jumped up 
hurriedly to try him in a dozen ways, hoping to find 
that he could hear something. Jim was right ; he 
was really stone deaf. It was pathetic to find how 
each little subterfuge that drew his eyes from me left 

333 




him out of reach : it seemed as if a link had broken 
between us and I had lost my hold. That was wrong, 
however ! In a few days he began to realise the loss 
of hearing ; and after that, feeling so much greater 
dependence on sight, his watchfulness increased so 
that nothing escaped him. None of those who saw 
him in that year, when he was at his very best, could 
bring themselves to believe that he was deaf. With 
me it made differences both ways : something lost, 
and something gained. If he could hear nothing, 
he saw more ; the language of signs developed ; and 
taking it all round I believe the sense of mutual de- 
pendence for success and of mutual understanding 
was greater than ever. 

Snowball went on to the retired list at the end of 
the next trip. 

Joey the Smith stood at the forge one day, trimming 
a red-hot horse-shoe, when I rode up and dropping 
the reins over Snowball's head, sang out " Morning, 
Joey ! " 

Joey placed the chisel on the shoe with nice calcula- 
tion of the amount he wanted to snip off ; his assistant 
boy swung the big hammer, and an inch cube of red- 
hot iron dropped off. Then Joey looked up with, what 
seemed to me, a conflict of innocent surprise and stifled 
amusement in his face. The boy also turned to look, and 
the insignificant incident is curiously unforgettable 
trod upon the piece of hot iron. " Look where 
you're standing," said Joey reproachfully, as the smoke 
and smell of burning skin-welt rose up ; and the boy 
with a grunt of disgust, such as we might give at a 

334 



burned boot, looked to see what damage had been 
done to his ' unders.' It gave me an even better 
idea of a nigger's feet than those thorn digging opera- 
tions when we had to cut through a solid whitish welt 
a third of an inch thick. 

Joey grinned openly at the boy ; but he was thinking 
of Snowball. 

" I wonder you had the heart, Joey, I do indeed ! " 
I said, shaking my head at him. 

" You would have him, lad, there was no re- 
fusin' you ! You arst so nice and wanted him so 
bad ! " 

" But how could you bear to part with him, Joey ? 
It must have been like selling one of the family." 

" 'Es, Boy, 'es ! We are a bit stoopid our lot ! 
Is he still such a fool, or has he improved any with 
you ? " 

" Joey, I've learned him full up to the teeth. 
If he stops longer he will become wicked, like me ; 
and you would not be the ruin of an innocent young 
thing trying to earn a living honestly, if he can ? " 

" Come round behind the shop, Boy. I got a 
pony '11 suit you proper ! " He gave a hearty laugh, 
and added " You can always get what you arsk for 
if it ain't worth having. Moril ! Don't arsk ! I 
never offered you Snowball. This one's different. 
You can have him at cost price ; and that's an old twelve 
month account ! Ten pounds. He's worth four of 
it ! Salted an' shootin' ! Shake ! " and I gripped 






his grimy old fist gladly, knowing it was jonnick and 
* a square deal.' 

That was Mungo Park the long, strong, low-built, 
' half-bred Basuto pony well-trained and without guile. 

I left Snowball with his previous owner, to use as 
required, and never called back for him ; and if this 
should meet the eye of Joey the Smith he will know 
that I no longer hope his future life will be spent in 
stalking a wart-eyed white horse in a phantom Bush- 
veld. Mungo made amends. 

There was a spot between the Komati and Crocodile 

rivers on the north side of the road where the white 

man seldom passed and nature was undisturbed ; few 

f i knew of water there ; it was too well concealed between 

'// deep banks and the dense growth of thorns and large 

trees. 

The spot always had great attractions for me apart 
| from the big game to be found there. I used to steal 
along the banks of this lone water and watch the smaller 
life of the bush. It was a delightful field for naturalist 
and artist, but unfortunately we thought little of such 
things, and knew even less ; and now nothing is left 
from all the glorious opportunities but the memory of 
an endless fascination and a few facts that touch the 
human chord and will not submit to be forgotten. 

There were plenty of birds guinea-fowl, pheasant, 
partridge, knoorhaan and bush pauw. Jock accom- 
panied me of course when I took the fowling-piece, 
I but merely for companionship ; for there was no need 
for him on these occasions. I shot birds to get a 
change of food and trusted to walking them up along 

336 



the river banks and near drinking pools; but 
evening Jock came forward of his own accord to help 
me a sort of amused volunteer ; and after that I 
always used him. 

He had been at my heels, apparently taking little 
interest in the proceedings from the moment the first 
bird fell and he saw what the game was ; probably 
he was intelligently interested all the time but con- 
sidered it nothing to get excited about. After a time 
I saw him turn aside from the line we had been taking 
and stroll off at a walking pace, sniffing softly the while. 
When he had gone a dozen yards he stopped and 
looked back at me ; then he looked in front again with 
his head slightly on one side, much as he would have 
done examining a beetle rolling his ball. 

There were no signs of anything, yet the grass was 
short for those parts, scarce a foot high, and close, 
soft and curly. A brace of partridges rose a few feet 
from Jock, and he stood at ease calmly watching them, 
without a sign or move to indicate more than amused 
interest. The birds were absurdly tame and sailed 
so quietly along that I hesitated at first to shoot ; then 
the noise of the two shots put up the largest number 
of partridges I have ever seen in one lot, and a line of 
birds rose for perhaps sixty yards across our front. 
There was no wild whirr and confusion : they rose 
in leisurely fashion as if told to move on, sailing in- 
finitely slowly down the slope to the thorns near the 
donga. Running my eye along the line I counted 
them in twos up to between thirty and forty; and that 
could not have been more than half. How 








coveys had packed there, and for what purpose, and 
whether they came every evening, were questions 
which one would like answered now ; but they were 
not of sufficient interest then to encourage a second 
visit another evening. The birds sailed quietly into 
the little wood, and many of them alighted on branches 
of the larger trees. It is the only time I have seen a 
partridge in a tree ; but when one comes to think it 
out, it seems common-sense that, in a country teeming 
with vermin and night-prowlers, all birds should sleep 
off the ground. Perhaps they do ! 

There were numbers of little squirrel-like creatures 
there too. Our fellows used to call them ground- 
squirrels and " tree-rats " ; because they live under- 
ground, yet climb trees readily in search of food ; 
they were little fellows like meerkats, with bushy 
tails ringed in brown, black and white, of which the 
waggon boys made decorations for their slouch hats. 

Jock wanted a go at them : they did not appear 
quite so much beneath notice as the birds. 

Along the water's edge one came on the lagavaans, 
huge repulsive water-lizards three to four feet long, 
like crocodiles in miniature, sunning themselves in 
some favourite spot in the margin of the reeds or on 
the edge of the bank ; they give one the jumps by 
the suddenness of their rush through the reeds and 
plunge into deep water. 

There were otters too, big black-brown fierce 
fellows, to be seen swimming silently close under the 
banks. I got a couple of them, but was always nervous 
of letting Jock into the water after things, as one never 

338 



knew where the crocodile lurked. He got an ugly 
bite from one old dog-otter which I shot in shallow 
water ; and, mortally wounded as he was, the otter put 
up a rare good fight before Jock finally hauled him out. 

Then there were the cane-rats, considered by some 
most excellent and delicate of meats, as big and tender / 
as small sucking-pigs. The cane-rat, living and dead, 
was one of the stock surprises, and the subject of jokes 
and tricks upon the unsuspecting : there seems to be 
no sort of ground for associating the extraordinary 
fat thing, gliding among the reeds or swimming silently 
under the banks, with either its live capacity of rat or 
its more attractive dead role of roast sucking-pig. 

The hardened ones enjoyed setting this treat before 
the hungry and unsuspecting, and, after a hearty 
meal, announcing " That was roast rat : good, isn't 
it ? " The memory of one experience gives me water 
in the gills now ! It was unpleasant, but not equal 
to the nausea and upheaval which supervened when, 
after a very savoury stew of delicate white meat, we 
were shown the fresh skin of a monkey hanging from 
the end of the buck-rails, with the head drooping 
forward, eyes closed, arms dangling lifeless, and limp 
open hands a ghastly caricature of some hanged 
human, shrivelled and shrunk within its clothes of 
skin. I felt like a cannibal. 

The water tortoises in the silent pools, grotesque 
muddy fellows, were full of interest to the quiet 
watcher, and better that way than as the " turtle 
soup " which once or twice we ventured on and tried 
to think was good ! 
339 






There were certain hours of the day when it was 
more pleasant and profitable to lie in the shade and rest. 
It is the time of rest for the Bushveld that spell 
about middle-day ; and yet if one remains quiet, there 
is generally something to see and something worth 
watching. There were the insects on the ground 
about one which would not otherwise be seen at all ; 
there were caterpillars clad in spiky armour made of 
tiny fragments of grass fair defence no doubt against 
some enemies and a most marvellous disguise ; other 
caterpillars clad in bark, impossible to detect until 
they moved ; there were grasshoppers like leaves, and 
irregularly shaped stick insects, with legs as bulky as 
the body, and all jointed by knots like irregular twigs 
wonderful mimetic creatures. 

Jock often found these things for me. Something 
would move and interest him ; and when I saw him 
stand up and examine a thing at his feet, turning it 
over with his nose or giving it a scrape with his paw, 
it was usually worth joining in the inspection. The 
Hottentot-gods always attracted him as they reared 
up and ' prayed ' before him ; quaint things, with tiny 
heads and thin necks and enormous eyes, that sat up 
with forelegs raised to pray, as a pet dog sits up and 
begs. 

One day I was watching the ants as they travelled 
along their route sometimes stopping to hobnob with 
those they met, sometimes hurrying past, and some- 
times turning as though sent back on a message or 
reminded of something forgotten when a little dry 
brown bean lying in a spot of sunlight gave a jump 

34 



of an inch or two. At first it seemed that I must have 
unknowingly moved some twig or grass stem that . 
flicked it ; but as I watched it there was another J| 
vigorous jump. I took it up and examined it but there 
was nothing unusual about it, it was just a common 
light brown bean with no peculiarities or marks ; it 
was a real puzzle, a most surprising and ridiculous one. 
I found half a dozen more in the same place ; but it was 
some days before we discovered the secret. Domiciled 
in each of them was a very small but very energetic 
worm, with a trap-door or stopper on his one end, 
so artfully contrived that it was almost impossible 
with the naked eye to locate the spot where the hole 
was. The worm objected to too much heat and if 
the beans were placed in the sun or near the fire the 
weird astonishing jumping would commence. 

The beans were good for jumping for several months, 
and once in Delagoa, one of our party put some on a 
plate in the sun beside a fellow who had been doing him- 
self too well for some time previously: he had become 
a perfect nuisance to us and we could not get rid of him. 
He had a mouth full of bread, and a mug of coffee on 
the way to help it down, when the first bean jumped. 
He gave a sort of peck, blinked several times to clear 
his eyes, and then with his left hand pulled slightly at his 
collar, as though to ease it. Then came another jump, 
and his mouth opened slowly and his eyes got big. The 
plate being hollow and glazed was not a fair field for the 
jumpers they could not escape ; and in about half a 
minute eight or ten beans were having a 
rough and tumble. 

341 






With a white scared face our guest slowly lowered 
his mug, screened his eyes with the other hand, and 
after fighting down the mouthful of bread, got up and 
walked off without a word. 

We tried to smother our laughter, but some one's 
choking made him look back and he saw the whole 
lot of us in various stages of convulsions. He made 
one rude remark, and went on ; but every one he met 
that day made some allusion to beans, and he took the 
Durban steamer next morning. 

The insect life was prodigious in its numbers and 
variety ; and the birds, the beasts, and the reptiles were 
all interesting. There is a goodness-knows-what-will- 
turn-up-next atmosphere about the Bushveld which 
is, I fancy, unique. The story of the curate, armed 
with a butterfly net, coming face to face with a black- 
maned lion may or may not be true in fact ; but it 
is true enough as an illustration ; and it is no more 
absurd or unlikely than the meeting at five yards of 
a lioness and a fever-stricken lad carrying a white 
green-lined umbrella which is true ! The boy stood 
and looked : the lioness did the same. " She seemed 
to think I was not worth eating, so she walked off," he 
used to say and he was Trooper 242 of the Imperial 
Light Horse who went back under fire for wounded 
comrades and was killed as he brought the last one 

out. 

I had an old cross-bred 
Hottentot-Bushman boy 
once one could not tell 

342 




which lot he favoured who was full of the folklore 
stories and superstitions of his strange and dying race, 
which he half humorously and half seriously blended 
with his own knowledge and hunting experiences. Jantje 
had the ugly wrinkled dry-leather face of his breed, with 
hollow cheeks, high cheek-bones, and little pinched eyes, 
so small and so deeply set that no one ever saw the 
colour of them ; the pepper-corns of tight wiry wool , % v 
that did duty for hair were sparsely scattered over * 
his head like the stunted bushes in the desert ; and his 
face and head were seamed with scars too numerous 
to count, the souvenirs of his drunken brawls. He 
resembled a tame monkey rather than a human 
creature, being, like so many of his kind without the 
moral side or qualities of human nature which go to 
mark the distinction between man and monkey. He 
was normally most cheery and obliging ; but it meant 
nothing, for in a moment the monkey would peep 
out, vicious, treacherous and unrestrained. Honesty, 
sobriety, gratitude, truth, fidelity, and humanity were 
impossible to him : it seemed as if even the germs 
were not there to cultivate, and the material with which 
to work did not exist. He had certain make-believe 
substitutes, which had in a sense been grafted on to his 
nature, and appeared to work, while there was no real 
use for them ; they made a show, until they were 
tested ; one took them for granted, as long as they 
were not disproved : it was a skin graft only, and there 
seemed to be no real ' union ' possible between them 
and the tough alien stock. He differed in character 
and nature from the Zulu as much as he did from the 

343 





white man ; he was as void of principle as 
well, as his next of kin, the monkey ; yet, while 
without either shame of, or contempt for, 
cowardice ; he was wholly without fear of physical 
danger, having a sort of fatalist's indifference to it ; 
and that was something to set off against his moral 
deficit. I put Jantje on to wash clothes the day he 
turned up at the waggons to look for work, and as he 
knelt on the rocks stripped to the waist I noticed a very 
curious knotted line running up his right side from 
the lowest rib into the armpit. The line was whiter 
than his yellow skin ; over each rib there was a knot 
or widening in the line ; and under the arm there was a 
big splotchy star all markings of some curious wound. 
He laughed almost hysterically, his eyes disappearing 
altogether and every tooth showing, as I lifted his arm 
to investigate ; and then in high-pitched falsetto tones 
he shouted in a sort of ecstasy of delight, " Die ouw 
buffels, Baas ! Die buffels bull, Baas ! " 
" Buffalo ! Did he toss you ? " I asked. 
Jantje seemed to think it the best joke in the world 
and with constant squeals of laughter and graphic 
gestures gabbled off his account. 

His master, it appears, had shot at and slightly 
wounded the buffalo, and Jantje had been placed at 
one exit from the bush to prevent the herd from break- 
ing away. As they came towards him he fired at the 
foremost one ; but before he could reload the wounded 
bull made for him and he ran for dear life to the only 
tree near one of the flat-topped thorns. He heard 
the thundering hoofs and the snorting breath behind, 

344 




but raced on hoping to reach the tree and dodge 
behind it ; a few yards short, however, the bull caught 
him, in spite of a jump aside, and flung him with 
one toss right on top of the thorn tree. 

When he recovered consciousness he was lying face 
upwards in the sun, with nothing to rest his head on 
and only sticks and thorns around him. He did not 
know where he was or what had happened ; he tried 
to move, but one arm was useless and the effort made 
him slip and sag, and he thought he was falling through 
the earth. Presently he heard regular tramping under- 
neath him and the breath of a big animal : and the 
whole incident came back to him. By feeling about 
cautiously he at last located the biggest branch under 
him, and getting a grip on this he managed to turn 
over and ease his right side. He could then see the 
buffalo : it had tramped a circle round the tree and 
was doing sentry over him. Now and again the huge 
creature stopped to sniff, snort and stamp, and then 
resumed the round, perhaps the reverse way. The 
buffalo could not see him and never once looked 
up, but glared about at its own accustomed level ; 
and, relying entirely on its sense of smell, it kept r 
the relentless vengeful watch for hours, always 
stopping in the same place, to leeward, to satisfy 
itself that the enemy had not escaped. 

Late in the afternoon the buffalo, for the first 
time, suddenly came to a stand on the windward 
side of the tree, and after a good minute's silence 
turned its tail on Jantje and with angry sniffs and | 
tosses stepped swiftly and resolutely forward some paces. Jj 

345 



up 





There was nothing to be seen; but Jantje judged the 
position and yelled out a warning to his master whom he 
guessed to be coming through the bush to look for him, 
and at the same time he made what noise he could in the 
tree top to make the buffalo think he was coming down. 
The animal looked round from time to time with 
swings and tosses of the head and threatening angry 
sneezes, much as one sees a cow do when standing 
between her young calf and threatened danger : it 
was defending Jantje, for his own purposes, and 
facing the danger. 

For many minutes there was dead silence : no answer 
came to Jantje's call, and the bull stood its ground 
glaring and sniffing towards the bush. At last there 
was a heavy thud below, instantly followed by the 
report of the rifle the bullet came faster than the 
sound ; the buffalo gave a heavy plunge and with a 
grunting sob slid forward on its chest. 

Round the camp fire at night Jantje used to tell tales 
in which fact, fancy, and superstition were curiously 
mingled ; and Jantje when not out of humour was 
free with his stories. The boys, for whose benefit 
they were told, listened open-mouthed ; and I often 
stood outside the ring of gaping boys at their fire, an 
interested listener. 

The tale of his experiences with the honey-bird 
which he had cheated of its share was the first I heard 
him tell. Who could say how much was fact, how 
much fancy, and how much the superstitions of his 
race ? Not even Jantje knew that ! He believed it 
all. 

346 



The Honey-bird met him one day with cheery 
cheep-cheep, and as he whistled in reply it led him to 
an old tree where the beehive was : it was a small 
hive, _ and Jantje was hungry; so he ate it all. All 
the time he was eating, the bird kept fluttering about, 
calling anxiously, and expecting some honey or fat 
young bees to be thrown out for it ; and when he 
had finished, the bird came down and searched in vain 
for its share. As he walked away the guilty Jantje 
noticed that the indignant bird followed him with 
angry cries and threats. 

All day long he failed to find game ; whenever 
there seemed to be a chance an angry honey-bird 
would appear ahead of him and cry a warning to the 
game ; and that night as he came back, empty-handed 
and hungry, all the portents of bad luck came to him 
in turn. An owl screeched three times over his head; 
a goat-sucker with its long wavy wings and tail 
flitted before him in swoops and rings in most ghostly 
silence and there is nothing more ghostly than that 
flappy wavy soundless flitting of the goat-sucker ; a 
jackal trotted persistently in front looking back at 
him ; and a striped hyena, humpbacked, savage, and 
solitary, stalked by in silence, and glared. 

At night as he lay unable to sleep the bats came 
and made faces at him ; a night adder rose up before 
his face and slithered out its forked tongue the two 
black beady eyes glinting the firelight back ; and which- 
ever way he looked there was a honey-bird, silent 
and angry, yet with a look of satisfaction, as it watched. 
So it went all night : no sleep for him ; no rest ! 
347 

bM 






In the morning he rose early and taking his gun 
and chopper set out in search of hives : he would give 
all to the honey-bird he had cheated, and thus make 
amends. 

He had not gone far before, to his great delight, 
there came a welcome chattering in answer to his 
low whistle, and the busy little fellow flew up to show 
himself and promptly led the way, going ahead ten 
to twenty yards at a flight. Jantje followed eagerly 
until they came to a small donga with a sandy bottom, 
and then the honey-bird calling briskly, fluttered from 
tree to tree on either bank, leading him on. 

Jantje, thinking the hive must be near by, was walk- 
ing slowly along the sandy bed and looking upwards in 
the trees, when something on the ground caught his 
eye and he sprang back just as the head of a big puff- 
adder struck where his bare foot had been a moment 
before. With one swing of his chopper he killed it ; 
he took the skin off for an ornament, the poison- 
glands for medicine, and the fangs for charms, and then 
whistled and looked about for the honey-bird ; but 
it had gone. 

A little later on, however, he came upon another, 
and it led him to a big and shady wild fig-tree. The 
honey-bird flew to the trunk itself and cheeped and 
chattered there, and Jantje put down his gun 
and looked about for an easy place to climb. As 
he peered through the foliage he met a pair of 
large green eyes looking full into his : on a big limb 
of the tree lay a tiger, still as death, with its head 
resting on its paws, watching him with a cat-like 



eagerness for its prey. Jantje hooked his toe in the 
reim sling of his old gun and slowly gathered it up 
without moving his eyes from the tiger's, and back- 
ing away slowly, foot by foot, he got out into the 
sunshine and made off as fast as he could. 

It was the honey-bird's revenge : he knew it then ! 

He sat down on some bare ground to think what 
next to do ; for he knew he must die if he did not find 
honey and make good a hundred times what he had 
cheated. 

All day long he kept meeting honey-birds and follow- 
ing them ; but he would no longer follow them into 
the bad places, for he could not tell whether they 
were new birds or the one he had robbed ! Once he 
had nearly been caught ; the bird had perched on an 
old ant-heap, and Jantje, thinking there was a ground 
hive there, walked boldly forward. A small misshapen 
tree grew out of the ant-heap, and one of the twisted 
branches caught his eye because of the 
thick ring around it : it was the coil 
of a long green mamba; and far below 
that, half hidden by the leaves, hung 
the snake's head with the neck gathered 
in half -loop coils ready to strike at him. 

After that Jantje kept in the open, 

searching for himself among rocks and 

in all the old dead trees for the tell-tale stains that 
mark the hive's entrance ; but he had no luck, and 
when he reached the river in the early afternoon he 
was glad of a cool drink and a place to rest. 

For a couple of hours he had seen no honey-birds, 

349 








and it seemed that at last his pursuer had given him 
up, for that day at least. As he sat in the shade of 
the high bank, however, with the river only a few 
yards from his feet he heard again a faint chattering : it 
came from the river-side beyond a turn in the bank, and 
it was too far away for the bird to have seen Jantje 
from where it called, so he had no doubt about this 
being a new bird. It seemed to him a glorious piece 
of luck that he should find honey by the aid of a 
strange bird and be able to take half of it back to the 
hive he had emptied the day before and leave it there 
for the cheated bird. 

There was a beach of pebbles and rocks between 
the high bank and the river, and as Jantje walked along 
it on the keen look-out for the bird, he spotted it 
sitting on a root half-way down the bank some twenty 
yards ahead. Close to where the chattering bird 
perched there was a break in the pebbly beach, and 
there shallow water extended up to the perpen- 
dicular bank. In the middle of this little stretch 
of water, and conveniently placed as a stepping- 
stone, there was a black rock, and the bare-footed 
Jantje stepped noiselessly from stone to stone towards 
it. 

An alarmed cane-rat, cut off by Jantje from the 
river, ran along the foot of the bank to avoid him ; but 
when it reached the little patch of shallow water it 
suddenly doubled back in fright and raced under the 
boy's feet into the river. 

Jantje stopped ! He did not know why ; but there 
seemed to be something wrong. Something had 

35 



frightened the cane-rat back on to him, and he stared 
hard at the bank and the stretch of beach ahead of him. 
Then the rock he meant to step on to gave a heave, 
and a long blackish thing curved towards him ; he 
sprang into the air as high as he could, and the 
crocodile's tail swept under his feet ! 

Jantje fled back like a buck the rattle on the stones 
behind him and crash of reeds putting yards into every 
bound. 

For four days he stayed in camp waiting for some 
one to find a hive and give him honey enough to make 
his peace ; and then, for an old snuff-box and a little 
powder, he bought a huge basket full of comb, young 
and old, from a kaffir woman at one of the kraals 
some miles away, and put it all at the foot of the tree 
he had cleaned out. 

Then he had peace. 

The boys believed every word of that story : so, 
I am sure, did Jantje himself. The buffalo story was 
obviously true, and Jantje thought nothing of it : 
the honey -bird story was not, yet he gloried in it ; 
it touched his superstitious nature, and it was impossible 
for him to tell the truth or to separate fact from 
fancy and superstition. 

How much of fact there may have been in it I cannot 
say : honey-birds gave me many a wild goose chase, 
but when they led to anything at all it was to hives, 
and not to snakes, tigers and crocodiles. Perhaps it is 
right to own up that I never cheated a honey-bird ! 
We pretended to laugh at the superstition, but we 
left some honey all the same just for luck ! After 

35 1 





all, as we used to say, the bird earned its share and 
deserved encouragement. 

Round the camp fire at nights it was no uncommon 
thing to see some one jump up and let out with what- 
ever was handiest at some poisonous intruder. There 
was always plenty of dead wood about and we piled 
on big branches and logs freely, and as the ends burnt 

fw to ashes in the heart of the fire we kept pushing the 

is^ logs further in. Of course, dead trees are the home 

of all sorts of ' creepy-crawly ' things, and as the log 
warmed up and the fire eat into the decayed heart 
and drove thick hot smoke through the cracks and corri- 
dors and secret places in the logs the occupants would 
come scuttling out at the butt ends. Small snakes 
were common the big ones usually clearing when 
the log was first disturbed and they slipped away into 
the darkness giving hard quick glances about them ; 
but scorpions, centipedes and all sorts of spiders were 
by far the most numerous. 

Occasionally in the mornings we found snakes 
under our blankets, where they had worked in 
during the night for the warmth of the human body ; 
but no one was bitten, and one made a practice of 
getting up at once, and with one movement, so that 
unwelcome visitors should not be warned or provoked 
by any preliminary rolling. The scorpions, centi- 
pedes and tarantulas seemed to be more objectionable ; 
but they were quite as anxious to get away as we were, 
and it is wonderful how little damage is done. 

One night when we had been watching them coming 
out of a big honeycombed log like the animals from the 

352 




Ark, and were commenting on the astonishing number 
and variety of these things, I heard Jantje conveying 
in high-pitched tones fanciful bits of information to the 
credulous waggon boys. When he found that we too 
were listening and Jantje had the storyteller's love for a 
'gallery' he turned our way and dropped into a jargon 
of broken English, helped out with Hottentot-Dutch, 
which it is impossible to reproduce in intelligible form. 

He had made some allusion to ' the great battle,' 
and when I asked for an explanation he told us the 
story. It is well enough known in South Africa, 
and similar stories are to be found in the folklore 
of other countries, but it had a special interest for us 
in that Jantje gave it as having come to him from his 
own people. He called it " The Great Battle between 
the Things of the Earth and the Things of the Air." 

For a long time there had been jealousy between the 
Things of the Earth and the Things of the Air, each 
claiming superiority for themselves ; each could do 
something the others could not do ; and each thought 
their powers greater and their qualities superior. 
One day a number of them happened to meet on an 
open plain near the river's bank, and the game of brag 
began again as usual. At last the Lion, who was very 
cross, turned to the old Black Aasvogel, as he sat half 
asleep on a dead tree, and challenged him^ 

" You only eat the dead : you steal where^others 
kill. It is all talk with you ; you will not fight ! " 

The Aasvogel said nothing, but let his bald head 
and bare neck settle down between his shoulders, 
and closed his eyes. 
353 z 






" He wakes up soon enough when we find him 
squatting above the carcase," said the Jackal. " See 
him flop along then." 

" When we find him ! " the Aasvogel said, open- 
ing his eyes wide. " Sneaking prowler of the night ! 
Little bastard of the Striped Thief ! " 

" Come down and fight," snarled the Hyena angrily. 
" Thief and scavenger yourself ! " 

So the Things of the Air gathered about and joined 
in backing the Black Aasvogel ; and the Things of the 
Earth kept on challenging them to come down and 
have it out ; but nobody could hear anything because 
the Jackal yapped incessantly and the Go'way bird, 
with its feathers all on end and its neck craned out, 
screamed itself drunk with passion. 

Then the Eagle spoke out : 

" You have talked enough. Strike strike for the 
eyes ! " and he swept down close to the Lion's head, 
but swerving to avoid the big paw that darted out at 
him, he struck in passing at the Jackal, and took off 
part of his ear. 

" I am killed ! I am killed ! " screamed the Jackal, 
racing for a hole to hide in. But the other beasts 
laughed at him ; and when the Lion called them up 
and bade them take their places in the field for the 
great battle, the Jackal walked close behind him holding 
his head on one side and showing each one what the 
Eagle had done. 

" Where is my place ? " asked the Crocodile, in a 
soft voice, from the bank where no one had noticed 
him come up. 

354 



The Things of the Earth that were near him 
moved quietly away. 

^ " Your place is in the water," the Lion answered. 

Coward and traitor whom no one trusts ! Who 
would fight with his back to you ? " 

The Crocodile laughed softly and rolled his green eyes 
from one to another ; and they moved still further 
away. 

" What am I ? " asked the Ostrich. " Kindred 
of the Birds, I am of the winged ones ; yet I cannot 
fight with them ! " 

" Let him fly ! " said the Jackal, grinning, " and we 
shall then see to whom he belongs ! Fly, old Three 
Sticks ! Fly ! " 

The Ostrich ran at him, waltzing and darting with 
wings outspread, but the Jackal dodged away under 
the Lion and squealed out, " Take your feet off the 
ground, Clumsy, and fly ! " 

Then it was arranged that there should be two 
Umpires, one for each party, and that the Umpires 
should stand on two high hills where all could see 
them. The Ostrich was made Umpire for the Things 
of the Air, and as long as the fight went well with his 
party he was to hold his head high so that the Things 
of the Air might see the long thin neck upright and, 
knowing that all was well, fight on. 

The Jackal asked that he might be Umpire for the 
Things of the Earth. 

" You are too small to be seen ! " objected the Lion 
gruffly. 

" No ! No ! " urged the Jackal, " I will stand on 

355 






a big ant-heap and hold my bushy tail on high where 
all will see it shining silver and gold in the sunlight." 

" Good ! " said the Lion. " It is better so, perhaps, 
for you would never fight ; and as soon as one begins 
to run, others follow ! " 

The Things of the Air gathered in their numbers, 
and the Eagle led them, showing them how to make 
up for their weakness by coming swiftly down in 
numbers where they found their enemies alone or 
weak ; how to keep the sun behind them so that it 
would shine in their enemies' eyes and blind them ; 
and how the loud-voiced ones should attack on the 
rear and scream suddenly, while those with bill and 
claw swooped down in front and struck at the eyes. 

And for a time it went well with the Things of the 
Air. The little birds and locusts and butterflies came 
in clouds about the Lion and he could see nothing as 
he moved from place to place ; and the Things of the 
Earth were confused by these sudden attacks ; and, 
giving up the fight, began to flee from their places. 

Then the Jackal, believing that he would not be 
found out, cheated : he kept his tail up to make them 
think they were not beaten. The Lion roared to 
them, so that all could hear, to watch the hill where 
the Jackal stood and see the sign of victory ; and the 
Things of the Earth, being strong, gathered together 
again and withstood the enemy and drove them off. 

The battle was going against the Things of the Air 
when the Go'way bird came to the Eagle and said : 

" It is the Jackal who has done this. Long ago we 
had won ; but, Cheat and Coward, he kept his tail 

356 



aloft and his people have returned and are winning 



now. 



Then the Eagle, looking round the field, said, " Send 
me the Bee." 

And when the Bee came the Eagle told him what 
to do ; and setting quietly about his work, as his habit 
is, he made a circuit through the trees that brought 
him to the hill where the Jackal watched from the 
ant-heap. 

While the Jackal stood there with his mouth open 
and tongue out, laughing to see how his cheating had 
succeeded, the Bee came up quietly behind and, as 
Jantje put it, " stuck him from hereafter ! " 

The Jackal gave a scream of pain and, tucking his 
tail down, jumped from the ant-heap and ran away 
into the bush ; and when the Things of the Earth 
saw the signal go down they thought that all was lost, 
and fled. 

So was the Great Battle won ! 






MUNGO was not a perfect mount, but he was a great 
improvement on Snowball ; he had a wretched walk, 
and led almost as badly as his predecessor ; but this 
did not matter so much because he could be driven 
like a pack donkey and relied on not to play pranks. 
In a gallop after game he was much faster than Snow- 
ball, having a wonderfully long stride for so low a 
pony. 

A horse made a good deal of difference in the hunting 
in many ways, not the least of which was that some 
sort of excursion was possible on most days. One 
could go further in the time available and, even if 
delayed, still be pretty sure of catching up to the 
waggons without much difficulty. 

Sometimes after a long night's trekking I would start 
off after breakfast for some * likely ' spot, off-saddle 
there in a shady place, sleep during the heat of the day, 
and after a billy of tea start hunting towards the waggons 
in the afternoon. 

358 



It was in such a spot on the Komati River, a couple 
of hundred yards from the bank, that on one occasion 
I settled down to make up lost ground in the matter 
of sleep, and with Mungo knee-haltered in good grass 
and Jock beside me, I lay flat on my back with hat 
covering my eyes and was soon comfortably asleep. 

The sleep had lasted a couple of hours when I began 
to dream that it was raining and woke up in the belief 
that a hail storm following the rain was just break- 
ing over me. I started up to find all just as it had been, 
and the sunlight beyond the big tree so glaring as to 
make the eyes ache. Through half-closed lids I saw 
Mungo lying down asleep and made out Jock standing 
some yards away quietly watching me. 

With a yawn and stretch I lay back again ; sleep 
was over but a good lazy rest was welcome : it had been 
earned, and, most comforting of all, there was nothing 
else to be done. In the doze that followed I was sur- 
prised to feel quite distinctly something like a drop 
of rain strike my leg, and then another on my hat. 

" Hang it all, it is raining," I said, sitting up again 
and quite wide awake this time. There was Jock 
still looking at me, but only for the moment of moving, 
it appears; for, a minute later he looked up into 
the tree above me with ears cocked, head on one side, 
and tail held lazily on the horizontal and moving 
slowly from time to time. 

It was his look of interested amusement. 

A couple of leaves fluttered down, and then the 
half-eaten pip of a ' wooden orange ' struck me in 
the face as I lay back again to see what was going on 

359 





above. The pip gave me the line, and away up among 
the thick dark foliage I saw a little old face looking 
down at me ; the quick restless eyes were watchfully 
on the move, and the mouth partly opened in the shape 
of an O face and attitude together a vivid expression 
of surprise and indignation combined with breathless 
interest. 

As my eyes fairly met those above me, the monkey 
ducked its head forward and promptly * made a face ' 
at me without uttering a sound. Then others showed 
up in different places, and whole figures became visible 
now as the monkeys stole softly along the branches 
to get a better look at Jock and me : there were a 
couple of dozen of them of all sizes. 

They are the liveliest, most restless, and most in- 
quisitive of creatures ; ludicrously nervous and excit- 
able ; quick to chattering anger and bursts of hysterical 
passion, which are intensely comical, especially when 
they have been scared. They are creatures whose 
method of progress most readily betrays them by the 
swaying of a branch or quivering of leaves, yet they 
can steal about and melt away at will, like small grey 
ghosts, silent as the grave. 

I had often tried to trap them, but never succeeded : 
Jantje caught them, as he caught everything, with 
cunning that out-matched his wilder kindred ; pit- 
falls, nooses, whip-traps, fall-traps, foot-snares, drags, 
slip-knots of all kinds, and tricks that I cannot now 
remember, were in his repertory ; but he disliked 
showing his traps, and when told to explain he would 
half sulkily show one of the common kind. 

360 



The day he caught the monkey he was well pleased, . 
and may possibly have told the truth. Baboons and' 
monkeys, he said, can count just like men, but they can 
only count two ! If one man goes into a mealie field 
and waits for them with a gun, their sentry will see 
him, and he may wait for ever ; if two go and one 
remains, it is useless, for they realise that only one has 
come out where two went in ; but if three go in, one 
may remain behind to lie in wait for them, for the 
monkeys, seeing more than one return, will invade 
the mealie field as soon as the two are safely out of 
the way. That was only Jantje's explanation of the 
well-known fact that monkeys and baboons know the 
difference between one and more than one. 

But, as Jantje explained, their cleverness helped him 
to catch them. He went alone and came away alone, 
leaving his trap behind, knowing that they were watch- 
ing his every movement, but knowing also that their 
intense curiosity would draw them to it the moment 
it seemed safe. The trap he used was an old calabash 
or gourd with a round hole in it about an inch in 
diameter ; and a few pumpkin seeds and mealies and 
a hard crust of bread, just small enough to get into 
the calabash, formed the bait 

After fastening the gourd by a cord to a small 
stump, he left it lying on its side on the ground where 
he had been sitting. A few crumbs and seeds were 
dropped near it and the rest placed in the gourd, with 
one or two showing in the mouth. Then he walked 
off on the side where he would be longest in view, 
and when well out of sight sped round in a circuit 
361 

A 







to a previously selected spot where he could get close 
up again and watch. 

The foremost monkey was already on the ground 
when he got back and others were hanging from low 
branches or clinging to the stems, ready to drop or 
retreat. Then began the grunts and careful timid ap- 
proaches, such as one sees in a party of children hunting 
for the hidden * ghost ' who is expected to appear sud- 
denly and chase them ; next, the chattering garrulous 
warnings and protests from the timid ones the 
females in the upper branches ; the sudden start and 
scurry of one of the youngsters ; and the scare com- 
municated to all, making even the leader jump back 
a pace ; then his angry grunt and loud scolding of the 
frightened ones angry because they had given him a 
fright, and loud because he was reassuring himself. 

After a pause they began the careful roundabout 
approach and the squatting and waiting, making pre- 
tences of not being particularly interested, while 
their quick eyes watched everything ; then the deft 
picking up of one thing instantly dropped again, 
as one picks up a roasted chestnut and drops it in the 
same movement, in case it should be hot ; and finally 
the greedy scramble and chatter. 

I have seen all that, but not, alas, the successful 
ending, when trying to imitate Jantje's methods. 
Jantje waited until the tugs at the gourd became 
serious, and then, knowing that the smaller things had 
been taken out or shaken out and eaten and that 
some enterprising monkey had put its arm into the 
hole and grabbed the crust, he ran out. 

362 



A monkey rarely lets go any food it has grabbed, 
and when, as in this case, the hand is jammed in a 
narrow neck, the letting go cannot easily be done 
instinctively or inadvertently; the act requires 
deliberate effort. So Jantje caught his monkey, and 
flinging his ragged coat over the captive sat down to 
make it safe. By pushing the monkey's arm deeper 
into the gourd the crust became released and the hand 
freed ; he then gradually shifted the monkey about 
until he got the head into the shoulders of the loose 
old coat, and thence into the sleeve ; and worked 
away at this until he had the creature as helpless as a 
mummy with the head appearing at the cuff-opening 
and the body jammed in the sleeve like a bulging over- 
stuffed sausage. The monkey struggled, screamed, 
chattered, made faces, and cried like a child ; but 
Jantje gripping it between his knees worked away 
unmoved. 

He next took the cord from the calabash and tied 
one end securely round the monkey's neck, to the 
shrinking horror of that individual, and the other end 
to a stout bush stick about seven or eight feet long ; 
and then slipped monkey cord and stick back through 
the sleeve and had his captive safe ; the cord prevented 
it from getting away, and the stick from getting too 
close and biting him. When they sat opposite and 
pulled faces at each other the family likeness was 
surprising. 

The grimacing little imps invariably tempt one to 
tease or chase them, just to see their antics and methods ; 
and when I rose, openly watching them and stepping 

363 






about for a better view, they abandoned the silent 
methods and bounded freely from branch to branch 
for fresh cover, always ducking behind something if 
I pointed the gun or a stick or even my arm at them, 
and getting into paroxysms of rage and leaning over 
to slang and cheek me whenever it seemed safe. 
Jock was full of excitement, thoroughly warmed up 
and anxious to be at them, running about from place 
to place to watch them, tacking and turning and jump- 
ing for better views, and now and then running to the 
trunk and scraping at it. Whenever he did this there 
was a moment's silence ; the idea of playing a trick 
on them struck me and I caught Jock up and put him in 
the fork of a big main branch about six feet from the 
ground. The effect was magical : the whole of the top 
of the tree seemed to whip and rustle at once, and in 
two seconds there was not a monkey left. 

Then a wave in the top of a small tree some distance 
off betrayed them and we gave chase a useless romp- 
ing school-boy chase. They were in the small trees 
away from the river and it was easy to see and follow 
them ; and to add to the fun and excitement I threw 
stones at the branches behind them. Their excite- 
ment and alarm then became hysterical, and as we 
darted about to head them off they were several times 
obliged to scamper a few yards along the ground to 
avoid me and gain other trees. It was then that Jock 
enjoyed himself most : he ran at them and made 
flying leaps and snaps as they sprang up the trees out 
of reach. It was like a caricature of children in one 
of their make-believe chases ; the screams, grimaces, 




and actions were so human that it would have seemed 
like a tragedy had one of them been hurt. They got 
away into the big trees once more, to Jock's disappoint- 
ment but greatly to my relief ; for I was quite pumped 
from the romp and laughter. 

The river at this point was broken into several sluices 
by islands formed of piles of rocks on which there were 
a few stunted trees and dense growths of tall reeds, 
and here and there little spits and fringes of white 
sand were visible. There was plenty of small game 
in that part, and it was a great place for crocodiles. 
As we were then about half a mile below where 
Mungo had been left I strolled along the bank on the 
look out for a shot, frequently stopping to examine 
suspicious-looking rocks on the sand spits or at the 
borders of the reed fringes on the little islands. 

The shooting of crocodiles was an act of war : it 
was enmity and not sport or a desire for trophies that 
prompted it, and when it did not interfere with other 
chances we never missed a practice shot at these fellows. 
I picked out several * rocks,' so suspicious looking that 
I would have had a shot at them had there been a 
clear chance, and twice, while I was trying to make 
them out, they slid silently into the water before there 
was time to fire. 

However, further on there came a better chance than 
any : there was something so peculiar about the look 
of this ' rock ' that I picked a good spot and sat down 
to watch it ; and presently the part nearest me turned 
slightly, just enough to show that it was a crocodile 
lying on the flat sand with his nose towards me and his 

365 





tail hidden in the reeds. It was fifty yards away, and 
from where I sat there was not much to aim at, as 
a Martini bullet would glance from almost any part 
of that polished hard case if it struck at such an 
angle. 

I was sitting on the bank above the shelving beach 
of the river on which a dense mass of reeds grew, and the 
waving feathery tops partly obscured the sight. I know 
the bullet hit him somewhere, because he bounded with 
astonishing strength and activity several feet in the 
air and his tail slashed through the reeds like a mighty 
scythe. The huge jaws opened and he gave a horrible 
angry bellow something between a roar and a snarl 
as he plunged into the river, sending masses of spray 
and water flying every way. He made straight across, 
apparently at me, swimming on top of the water at 
amazing speed and throwing up a wave on either side 
and a white swirl of foam from the propelling tail. 

Itwas certainly a most surprising and unheard-of pro- 
ceeding, and as he reached my side of the stream, and be- 
cause hidden from me by the screen of reeds at my feet, 
I turned and bolted. It may be that he came at me with 
murderous intent ; or it may be that, blinded by rage 
orpain,he came towards me simplybecause he happened 
to be facing that way ; but, whatever the reason, it was 
painfully clear that if he meant business he would be on 
to me before it was possible to see him in the reeds. 
That was enough for me. It had never occurred to 
me that there was going to be any fun in this for the 
crocodile ; but one's sense of humour and justice was 
always being stimulated in the Bushveld. 

366 



With twenty yards of open ground between us I 
turned and waited ; but no crocodile appeared, nor 
was there a sound to be heard in the reeds. A few 
minutes wait ; a cautious return ; a careful scrutiny ; 
and then resort to sticks and stones ; but all to no 
purpose : there was neither sign nor sound of the 
crocodile ; and not being disposed to go into the 
reeds to look for something which I did not want, 
but might want me, I returned to Mungo a little 
wiser, it is true, but not unduly * heady ' on that 
account. 

Half an hour's jogging along the bank having failed 
to propose anything, I struck away from the river 
taking a line through the bush towards camp, and 
eventually came across a small herd of blue wildebeeste. 
Mungo's pricked ears and raised head warned me ; 
but the grass being high it was not easy to see enough 
of them from the ground to place an effective shot, 
and before a chance offered they moved off slowly. 
I walked after them, leading Mungo and trying to get 
a fair opening on slightly higher ground. 

Presently half a dozen blackish things appeared 
above the tall grass ; they were the heads of the wilde- 
beeste all turned one way, and all looking at us with 
ears wide spread. Only the upper halves of the heads 
were visible through the thinner tops of the grass, 
and even an ordinary standing shot was not possible. 
I had to go to a tree for support in order to tip-toe 
for the shot, and whilst in the act of raising my rifle 
the heads disappeared ; but I took chance and fired 
just below where the last one had shown up. 
367 





The wildebeeste were out of sight, hidden by grass 
six feet high, but a branch of the tree beside me served 
as a horizontal bar and hoisting myself chin high I was 
able to see them again. In front of us there was a dry 
vlei quite free of bush, some two hundred yards across and 
four hundred yards long, and the wildebeeste had gone 
away to the right and were skirting the vlei, apparently 
meaning to get round to the opposite side, avoiding 
the direct cut across the vlei for reasons of their own. 
It occurred to me that there must be a deep donga or 
perhaps a mud hole in front which they were avoiding ; 
but that it might be possible for me to get across, or 
even half way across, in time to have another shot at 
them the next time they stopped to look back, as they 
were almost certain to do ; so I ran straight on. 

One does not have to reason things out like that in 
actual practice : the conclusion comes instantly, as 
if by instinct, and no time is lost. To drop from the 
branch, pick up the rifle, and start running were all 
parts of one movement. Stooping slightly to prevent 
my bobbing hat from showing up in the grass tops, 
and holding the rifle obliquely before me as a sort of 
snowplough to clear the grass from my eyes, I made as 
good pace as the ground would allow. 

No doubt the rifle held in front of me made it diffi- 
cult to notice anything on the ground; but the con- 
centrated stare across the vlei in the direction of the 
galloping wildebeeste was quite as much the cause of 
what followed. Going fast and stooping low, with all 
my weight thrown forward, I ran right into a wilde- 
beeste cow. My shot had wounded her through the 

368 




kidneys, completely paralysing the hind quarters, and | 
she had instantly dropped out of sight in the grass. 
The only warning I got was a furious snort, and the 
black looking monster with great blazing blood-shot 
eyes rose up on its front legs as I ran into it. 

To charge into a wounded wildebeeste ready to go for 
you, just when your whole attention is concentrated 
upon others two hundred yards beyond, is nearly as un- 
pleasant as it is unexpected ; it becomes a question of 
what will happen to you, rather than of what you will 
do. That at any rate was my experience. The rifle, 
if it had hindered me, also helped : held out at arms 
length it struck the wildebeeste across the forehead 
and the collision saved my chest from the horns. 
There was an angry toss of the big head and the rifle 
was twirled out of my hand, as one might flip a match 
away. 

I do not know exactly what happened : the impres- 
sion is of a breathless second's whirl and scramble, 
and then finding myself standing untouched five yards 
away, with the half-paralysed wilde- 
beeste squatting like a dog and strug- -,- 
gling to drag the useless hind quarters J$ 
along in its furious efforts to 
get at Jock who had already 
intervened to help me. 

The rifle lay within the circle^ 
of the big hooked horns; and^J! 
the squatting animal, making 
a pivot of its hind quarters,"^ 
slewed round and round, 
369 2 A 






making savage lunges at Jock and great heaves 
at me each time I tried to get the rifle. 
It often happens that shots touching the kidneys 
produce a paralysis, temporarily severe, which passes 
off to a great extent after some minutes and leaves the 
wounded animal well able to charge : it happened to 
me some years later while trying to photograph a 
wounded sable. 

I tried to hook the gun out with a stick but the 
wildebeeste swung round and faced me at once, 
snapping the sticks and twirling them out of my hands 
with surprising ease and quickness. I then tried 
another game, and by making feint attacks from the 
other side at last got the animal gradually worked away 
from my gun ; and the next attempt at raking was 
successful. 

When the excitement was over and there was a 
chance of taking stock of the position, I found that 
Jock had a pretty good ' gravel rash ' on one hip and 
a nasty cut down one leg ; he had caught the wildebeeste 
by the nose the instant I ran into it, and it had ' wiped 
the floor ' with him and flung him aside. 

I found my bandolier with a broken buckle lying on 
the grass ; one shirt sleeve was ripped open ; 
the back of the right hand cut across ; hands 
and knees were well grated ; and there were 
lumps and bruises about the legs for which 
there was no satisfactory explanation. I 
must have scrambled out like an unwilling 
participant in a dog fight. 

It was a long job skinning, 

37 




cutting up, and packing the wildebeeste, and when 
we reached the outspan the waggons had already- 
started and we had a long tramp before us to catch 
them. 

I drove Mungo before me, keeping him at an easy- 
jog. We had been going for possibly an hour and it 
was quite dark, except for the stars and the young moon 
low down on our right ; the road was soft and Mungo's 
jogging paces sounded like floppy pats ; there was no 
other sound at all, not even a distant rumble from 
the waggons to cheer us ; Mungo must have been sick 
of it and one might have thought him jogging in his 
sleep but for the occasional pricking of his ears a 
trick that always makes me wonder how much more 
do horses see in the dark than we do. I walked like 
a machine, with rifle on shoulder and glad to be rid of 
the broken bandolier, then transferred to Mungo; 
and Jock trotted at my heels. 

This tired monotonous progress was disturbed by 
Mungo : his ears pricked ; his head went up ; and 
he stopped, looking hard at a big low bush on our left. 
I gave him a tap with the switch, and without an 
instant hesitation he dashed off to the right making 
a half circle through the veld and coming into the road 
again fifty yards ahead, and galloped away leaving a 
rising column of dust behind him. 

I stood and faced the bush that Mungo had shied 
at, and the first thing that occurred to me was that 
my bandolier and cartridges were with the pony. 
Then Jock growled low and moved a few steps forward 
and slightly to the right, also sheering off from that 

371 





bush. I felt that he was bristling all over, but there 
was neither time nor light to watch him. I stepped 
slowly sideways after him gripping the rifle and looking 
hard at the bush. 

Our line was much the same as Mungo's and would 
take us some seven or eight paces off the road more 
than that was not possible owing to the barrier of 
thorns on that side. When we got abreast of the bush 
two large spots of pale light appeared in the middle 
of it, apparently waist high from the ground. 

It is impossible to forget the tense creepy feeling 
caused by the dead stillness, the soft light, and the pale 
expressionless glow of those eyes the haunting mystery 
of eyes and nothing more ! 

It is not unusual to see eyes in the night ; but this 
was a * nervy ' occasion, and there is no other that 
comes back with all the vividness and reality of the 
experience itself, as this one does. And I was not the 
only nervous one. Mungo incontinently bolted 
probably what he saw warranted it ; Jock, as ever, 
faced it ; but when my foot touched his hind leg as 
we sidled away he flew round with a convulsive jump. 
He too was strung to concert pitch. 

As we moved on and passed the reflecting angle of 
the moon, the light of the eyes went out as suddenly 
and silently as it had appeared. There was nothing 
then to show me where danger lay ; but Jock knew, 
and I kept a watch on him. He jogged beside me, 
lagging slightly as if to cover our retreat, always 
looking back. A couple of times he stopped entirely 
and stood in the road, facing straight back and 

372 




THE HAUNTING MYSTERY OF EYES AND NOTHING MORI 



growling ; and I followed suit. He was in command ; 
he knew ! 

There was nothing more. Gradually Jock's subdued 
purring growl died down and the glances back became ^ 
fewer. I found Mungo a long way on, brought"^ 
to a standstill by the slipping of his load ; and we 
caught up to the waggons at the next outspan. 





WE reached the Crocodile River drift on a Sunday 
morning, after a particularly dry and dusty night trek. 
' Wanting a wash ' did not on such occasions mean 
a mild inclination for a luxury : it meant that washing 
was badly needed. The dust lay inches deep on the 
one worn veld road, and the long strings of oxen toil- 
ing along kicked up suffocating clouds of fine dust 
which there was seldom any breeze to carry off : it 
powdered white man and black to an equal level of 
yellowy red. The waggons were a couple of hun- 
dred yards from the river ; and, taking a complete 
change, I went off for a real clean up. 

We generally managed to get in a couple of bathes 
at the rivers real swims but that was only done in 
the regular drifts and when there were people about or 
waggons crossing. In such conditions crocodiles rarely 
appeared ; they prefer solitude and silence. The 
swims were very delightful but somewhat different 
from ordinary bathes ; however remote may have been 
the risk of meeting a crocodile when you dived, or of 
being grabbed by one as you swam, the idea was always 
there and made it more interesting. 

374 



Being alone that day I had no intention of having 
a swim or of going into the open river, and I took a 
little trouble to pick a suitable pool with a rock on 
which to stand and dress. The water was clear and 
I could see the bottom of the pool. It was quite 
shallow three feet deep at most made by a scour 
in the sandy bed and divided from the main stream 
by a narrow spit of sand a couple of yards wide and 
twenty long. At the top end of the sand spit was a 
flat rock my dressing table. 

After a dip in the pool I stood on to the sand spit 
to scrub off the brown dust, keeping one unsoaped eye 
roving round for intrusive crocodiles, and the loaded 
rifle lying beside me. The brutes slide out so silently 
and unexpectedly that in that exposed position, with 
water all round, one could not afford to turn one's 
back on any quarter for long. There is something 
laughable it seemed faintly humorous even then 
in the idea of a naked man hastily washing soap out 
of his eyes and squeezing away the water to take a 
hurried look behind him, and then after careful survey, 
doing an ' altogether ' dowse just as hastily blowing 
and spluttering all the time like a boy after his first 
dive. 

The bath was successful and ended without incident 
not a sign of a crocodile the whole time ! Breakfast 
was ready when I reached the waggons, and feeling 
very fit and clean in a fresh flannel shirt and white 
moleskins, I sat down to it. Jim Makokel' brought the 
kettle of coffee from the fire and was in the act of 
pouring some into a big mug when he stopped with 

375 





a grunt of surprise and, looking towards the river, 
called out sharply, " What is it ? " 

One of the herd boys was coming at a trot towards 
us, and the drivers, thinking something had happened 
to the oxen, called a question to him. He did not 
answer until he reached them and even then spoke 
in so quiet a tone that I could not catch what he 
said. But Jim, putting down the kettle, ran to his 
waggon and grabbing his sticks and assegais called to 
me in a husky shouting whisper which imperfectly 
describes Jim's way of relieving his feelings, without 
making the whole world echo : " Ingwenye, Inkos ! 
Ingwenye Umkulu ! Big Clocodile ! Groot Krokodil, 
Baas ! " 

Then abandoning his excited polyglot he gabbled 
off in pure Zulu and at incredible speed a long account 
of the big Crocodile : it had carried off four boys 
going to the gold-fields that year ; it had taken a 
woman and a baby from the kraal near by, but a white 
man had beaten it off with a bucket ; it had taken all 
the dogs, and even calves and goats, at the drinking 
place ; and goodness knows how much more. How Jim 
got his news, and when he made his friends, were puzzles 
never solved. 

Hunting stories, like travellers tales, are proverbially 
dangerous to reputations, however literally true they 
may be ; and this is necessarily so, partly because only 
exceptional things are worth telling, and partly because 
the conditions of the country or the life referred to 
are unfamiliar and cannot be grasped. It is a depress- 
ing but accepted fact that the ideal, lurid and, I 

376 



suppose, convincing pictures of wild life are done in 
London, where the author is unhampered by fact or 
experience. 

" Stick to the impossible, and you will be believed : 
keep clear of fact and commonplace, and you cannot 
be checked." 

Such was the cynical advice given many years ago 
by one who had bought his experience in childhood 
and could not forget it. Sent home as a small boy 
from a mission station in Zululand to be educated 
by his grandparents, he found the demand for marvels 
among his simple country relatives so great that his 
small experience of snakes and wild animals was soon 
used up ; but the eager suggestive questions of the 
good people, old and young, led him on, and he shyly 
crossed the border. The Fields of Fancy were fair 
and free ; there were no fences there ; and he stepped 
out gaily into the Little People's country The Land 
of Let's Pretendia ! He became very popular. 

One day, however, whilst looking at the cows, he 
remarked that in Zululand a cow would not yield her 
milk unless the calf stood by. 

The old farmer stopped in his walk, gave him one 
suspicious look, and asked coldly, "What do they do 
when a calf is killed or dies ? " 

" They never kill the calves there;" the boy answered, 
" but once when one died father stuffed the skin with 
grass and showed it to the cow; because they said that 
would do." 

The old man, red with anger, took the boy 
to his room, saying that as long as he spoke 

377 





of the lions, tigers and snakes that he knew about, 
they believed him ; but when it came to farming ! 
No ! Downright lying he would not have ; and there 
was nothing for it but larruping. 

" It was the only piece of solid truth they had 
allowed me to tell for months," he added thoughtfully, 
" and I got a first-class hiding for it." 

And was there no one who doubted Du Chaillu and 
Stanley and others ? Did no one question Gordon 
Cumming's story of the herd of elephants caught and 
killed in a little kloof ? and did not we of Barberton 
many years later locate the spot by the enormous 
pile of bones, and name it " Elephants' Kloof " ? 

There are two crocodile incidents well known to 
those whom time has now made old hands, but believed 
by no one else ; even in the day of their happening 
they divided men into believers and unbelievers. The 
one was of ' Mad ' Owen only mad, because utterly 
reckless riding through Komati Drift one moonlight 
night alone and unarmed, who, riding, found his horse 
brought to a stop, plunging, kicking and struggling 
on the sand bank in mid-stream where the water was 
not waist deep. Owen looking back saw that a croco- 
dile had his horse by the leg. All he had was a leaded 
hunting crop, but, jumping into the water he laid 
on so vigorously that the crocodile made off, and Owen 
remounted and rode out. 

There are many who say that it is not true that 
it cannot be true ; for no man would do it. But 
there are others who have an open mind, because they 
knew Owen Mad Owen, who for a wager bandaged 

378 



his horse's eyes and galloped him over a twenty foot 
bank headlong into the Jew's Hole in Lydenburg ; 
Owen, who when driving four young horses in a Cape 
cart flung the reins away and whipped up the team, 
bellowing with laughter, because his nervous com- 
panion said he had never been upset and did not want 

to be ; Owen, who But too many things rise up 

that earned him his title and blow the ' impossible ' 
to the winds. 

Mad Owen deserves a book to himself ; but 
here is my little testimony on his behalf, given shame- 
faced at the thought of how he would roar to think 
it needed. 

I crossed that same drift one evening and on riding 
up the bank to Furley's store saw a horse standing in 
a dejected attitude with one hind leg clothed in 
' trowsers ' made of sacking and held up by a sus- 
pender ingeniously fastened across his back. 

During the evening something reminded me of the 
horse, and I asked a question ; and the end of Furley's 
answer was, " They say it's all a yarn about ' horse- 
whipping ' a crocodile : all we know is that one night, 
a week ago, he turned up here dripping wet, and 
after having a drink told us the yarn. He had the 
leaded hunting-crop in his hand ; and that's the horse 
he was riding. You can make what you like of it. 
We've been doctoring the horse ever since, but I doubt 
if it will pull through ! " 

I have no doubt about the incident. Owen did not 
invent : he had no need to ; and Furley himself was 
no mean judge of crocodiles and men. Furley kept 

379 







a ferry boat for the use of natives and others when 
the river was up, at half a crown a trip. The business 
ran itself and went strong during the summer floods, 
but in winter when the river was low and fordable 
it needed pushing; and then Furley's boatman, an 
intelligent native, would loiter about the drift and 
interest travellers in his crocodile stories, and if they 
proved over-confident or sceptical, would manoeuvre 
them a little way down stream where, from the bank, 
they would usually see a big crocodile sunning him- 
self on a sand spit below the drift. The boys always 
took the boat. One day some police entered the 
store and joyously announced that they had got him 
" bagged the old villain at last ! " ; and Furley 
dropped on a sack of mealies groaning out " Glory, 
Boys ! The ferry's ruined. Why, I've preserved him 
for years ! " 

The other crocodile incident concerns " Lying Tom " 
brave merry-faced blue-eyed Tom ; bubbling with 
good humour ; overflowing with kindness ; and full 
of the wildest yarns, always good and amusing, but so 
steep that they made the most case-hardened draw 
a long breath. 

The name Lying Tom was understood and 
accepted by every one in the place, barring Tom 
himself; for, oddly enough, there was another Tom 
of the same surname, but no relation, and once when 
his name cropped up I heard the real Simon Pure refer 
to him as " my namesake the chap they call Lying 
Tom." To the day of his death Tom believed that 
it was the other Tom who was esteemed the liar. 

380 



Tom was a prospector who * came in ' occasionally 
for supplies or licenses ; and there came a day when 
Barberton was convulsed by Lying Tom's latest. 

He had been walking along the bank of the Crocodile 
River, and on hearing screams ran down just in time 
to see a kaffir woman with a child on her back dragged 
off through the shallow water by a crocodile. Tom 
ran in to help " I kicked the dashed thing on the 
head and in the eyes," he said, " and punched its ribs 
and then grabbed the bucket that the woman had in 
her hand and hammered the blamed thing over the 
head till it let go. By Jimminy, Boys, the woman was 
in a mess : never saw any one in such a fright ! " 

Poor Tom suffered from consumption in the throat 
and talked in husky jerks broken by coughs and laughter. 
Is there one among them who knew him who does not 
remember the breezy cheeriness, the indomitable 
pluck, the merry blue eyes, so limpidly clear, the 
expressive bushy eyebrows, and the teeth, too perfect 
to be wasted on a man, and ever flashing with his un- 
failing smiles ? 

Tom would end up with "Niggers said I was 
* takati ' : asked for some of my medicine ! Blamed 
niggers ; got no pluck : would've let the woman 

go!" 

Of course this story went the rounds as Tom's 
latest and best; but one day we turned 
up in Barberton to deliver our loads, and 
that evening a whisper went about and 
with faces humorously puzzled 




men 



looked at 

381 



one another 





" Lying Tom's a fraud : the crocodile story is 
true ! " 

For our party, shooting guinea-fowl in the kaffir 
lands along the river, came upon a kraal where there 
sat a woman with an arm so scarred and marked that 
we could not but ask what had caused it. There was 
no difference in the stories, except that the kafHrs after 
saying that the white man had kicked the crocodile 
and beaten it with the bucket, added " and he kicked 
and beat with the bucket the two men who were there, 
saying that they were not men but dogs, who would not 
go in and help the woman. But he was bewitched : 
the crocodile could not touch him ! " 

Some of Tom's stories were truly incredible, but 
not those in which he figured to advantage : he was 
too brave a man to have consciously gained credit he 
did not deserve. He died, slowly starved to death 
by the cruel disease the brave, kindly, cheery spirit, 
smiling unbeaten to the end. 

That was what Jim referred to when he called me 
to kill the murderer of women and children. It 
pleased him and others to say that this was the same 
crocodile ; and I believe it was. The locality was 
the same, and the kraal boys said that it was in the old 
place from which all its murderous raids had been 
made ; and that was all we knew. 

I took the rifle and went with the herd boy ; Jim 
followed close behind, walking on his toes with the 
waltzy springy movement of an ostrich, eager to get 
ahead and repeatedly silenced and driven back by me 
in the few hundred yards' walk to the river. 

382 



A queer premonitory feeling came over me as I 
saw we were making straight for the bathing pool ; 
but before reaching the bank the herd boy squatted 
down, indicating that somewhere in front and below 
us the enemy would be found. An easy crawl brought 
me to the river bank and, sure enough, on the very 
spot where I had stood to wash, only fifty yards from 
us, there was an enormous crocodile. He was lying 
along the sand-spit with his full length exposed to me. 
Such a shot would have been a moral certainty, but 
as I brought the rifle slowly up it may have glinted in 
the sun, or perhaps the crocodile had been watching 
us all the time, for with one easy turn and no splash 
at all he slid into the river and was gone. 

It was very disgusting and I pitched into Jim and 
the other boys behind for having made a noise and 
shown themselves ; but they were still squatting 
when I reached them and vowed they had neither 
moved nor spoken. We had already turned to go 
when there came a distant call from beyond the river. 
To me it was merely a kaffir's voice and a sound 
quite meaningless : but to the boys' trained ears 
it spoke clearly. Jim pressed me downwards 
and we all squatted again. 

" He is coming out on another sand- 
bank," Jim explained. 

Again I crawled to the bank and 
lay flat, with the rifle ready. There 
was another sand streak a hundred 
yards out in the stream with 
two out-croppings of 

383 






black rock at the upper end of it they were rocks 
right enough, for I had examined them carefully when 
bathing. This was the only other sandbank in sight : 
it was higher than it appeared to be from a distance 
and the crocodile whilst hidden from us was visible 
to the natives on the opposite bank as it lay in the 
shallow water and emerged inch by inch to resume 
its morning sun bath. The crocodile was so slow in 
showing up that I quite thought it had been scared 
off again, and I turned to examine other objects and 
spots up and down the stream ; but presently glancing 
back at the bank again I saw what appeared to be 
a third rock, no bigger than a loaf of bread. This 
object I watched until my eyes ached and swam ; it 
was the only possible crocodile ; yet it was so small, 
so motionless, so permanent looking, it seemed absurd 
to doubt that it really was a stone which had passed 
unnoticed before. 

As I watched unblinkingly it seemed to grow bigger 
and again contract with regular swing, as if it swelled 
and shrank with breathing ; and knowing that this 
must be merely an optical delusion caused by staring 
too long, I shut my eyes for a minute. The effect was 
excellent : the rock was much bigger ; and after that 
it was easy to lie still and wait for the cunning old 
reptile to show himself. 

It took half an hour of this cautious manoeuvring 
and edging on the part of the crocodile before he 
was comfortably settled on the sand with the sun 
warming all his back. In the meantime the waggon 
boys behind me had not stirred ; on the opposite side 

384 



of the river kaffirs from the neighbouring kraal had 
gathered to the number of thirty or forty, men, women 
and children, and they stood loosely grouped, instinc- 
tively still silent and watchful, like a little scattered 
herd of deer. All on both sides were watching me 
and waiting for the shot. It seemed useless to delay 
longer ; the whole length of the body was showing, 
but it looked so wanting in thickness, so shallow f 
in fact, that it was evident the crocodile was lying, 
not on the top, but on the other slope of the sand spit ; 
and probably not more than six or eight inches in 
depth of body was visible. 

It was little enough to aim at, and the bullet 
seemed to strike the top of the bank first, sending 
up a column of sand, and then, probably knocked all 
out of shape, ploughed into the body with a tremendous 
thump. 

The crocodile threw a back somersault that is, 
it seemed to rear up on its tail and spring backwards ; 
the jaws divided into a huge fork as, for a second, it 
stood up on end ; and it let out an enraged roar, 
seemingly aimed at the heavens. It was a very sudden 
and dramatic effect, following on the long silence. 

Then the whole world seemed to burst into in- 
describable turmoil ; shouts and yells burst out on 
all sides; the kaffirs rushed down to the banks 
the men armed with sticks and assegais, and the 
women and children with nothing more formidable 
than their voices ; the crocodile was alive very 
much alive and in the water ; the waggon boys, 
headed by Jim, were all round me and all yelling 
385 2B 





out together what should or should not be done, and 
what would happen if we did or did not do it. It was 
Babel and Bedlam let loose. 

With the first plunge the crocodile disappeared, 
but it came up again ten yards away thrashing the 
water into foam and going up stream like a paddle- 
boat gone reeling roaring mad if one can imagine such 
a thing ! I had another shot at him the instant he 
^ reappeared, but one could neither see nor hear where 
it struck ; and again and again I fired whenever he 
showed up for a second. He appeared to be shot 
through the lungs ; at any rate the kaffirs on the other 
bank, who were then quite close enough to see, said 
that it was so. The waggon boys had run down the 
bank out on to the first sand spit and I followed them, 
shouting to the kaffirs opposite to get out of the line 
of fire, as I could no longer shoot without risk of hitting 
them. 

The crocodile after his first straight dash up stream 
had tacked about in all directions during the next 
few minutes, disappearing for short spells and plunging 
out again in unexpected places. One of these sudden 
reappearances brought him once more abreast, and 
quite near to us, and Jim with a fierce yell and with 
his assegai held high in his right hand dashed into the 
water, going through the shallows in wild leaps. I 
called to him to come back but against his yells and 
the excited shouts of the ever-increasing crowd my 
voice could not live ; and Jim, mad with excitement, 
went on. Twenty yards out, where increasing depth 
steadied him, he turned for a moment and seeing himself 

386 



alone in the water called to me with eager confidence, 
" Come on, Baas." 

It had never occurred to me that any one would be 
such an idiot as to go into water after a wounded 
crocodile. There was no need to finish off this one, 
for it was bound to die, and no one wanted the meat 
or skin. Who, then, would be so mad as to think of 
such a thing ? Five minutes earlier I would have 
answered very confidently for myself ; but there are 
times when one cannot afford to be sensible. There 
was a world of unconscious irony in Jim's choice of 
words " Come on ! " and " Baas ! " 

The boy giving the lead to his master was too 
much for me ; and in I went ! 

I cannot say that there was much enjoyment in it 
for the first few moments not until the excitement 
took hold and all else was forgotten. The first thing 
that struck me was that in the deep water my rifle 
was worth no more than a walking-stick, and not 
nearly as useful as an assegai ; but what drove this and 
many other thoughts from my mind in a second was 
the appearance of Jock on the stage and his sudden 
jump into the leading place. 

In the first confusion he had passed unnoticed, pro- 
bably at my heels as usual, but the instant I answered 
Jim's challenge by jumping into the water he gave one 
whimpering yelp of excitement and plunged in too ; and 
in a few seconds he had outdistanced us all and was 
leading straight for the crocodile. I shouted to him, 
of course in vain he heard nothing ; and Jim and I 
plunged and struggled along to head the dog off. 
387 







As the crocodile came up Jock went straight for 
him his eyes gleaming, his shoulders up, his nose 
out, his neck stretched to the utmost in his eagerness 
and he ploughed along straining every muscle to catch 
up. When the crocodile went under he slackened and 
looked anxiously about, but each fresh rise was greeted 
by the whimpering yelps of intense suppressed excite- 
ment as he fairly hoisted himself out of the water with 
the vigour of his swimming. 

The water was now breast-high for us, and we were 
far out in the stream, beyond the sand spit where the 
crocodile had lain, when the kaffirs on the bank got 
their first chance and a flight of assegais went at the 
enemy as he rose. Several struck and two remained 
in him ; he rose again a few yards from Jim, and that 
sportsman let fly one that struck well home. Jock, 
who had been toiling close behind for some time and 
gaining slowly, was not five yards off then ; the 
floundering and lashing of the crocodile were bewilder- 
ing, but on he went as grimly and eagerly as ever. 
I fired again not more than eight yards away but 
the water was then up to my arms, and it was impossible 
to pick a vital part ; the brain and neck were the only 
spots to finish him, but one could see nothing beyond 
a great upheaval of water and clouds of spray and 
blood-stained foam. 

The crocodile turned from the shot and dived up 
stream, heading straight for Jock : the din of yelling 
voices stopped instantly as the huge open mouthed 
thing plunged towards the dog ; and for one sick 
horrified moment I stood and watched helpless. 

388 



Had the crocodile risen in front of Jock that would 
have been the end one snap would have done it ; 
but it passed clear underneath, and, coming up just 
beyond him, the great lashing tail sent the dog up with 
the column of water a couple of feet in the air. He 
did as he had done when the koodoo bull tossed him : 
his head was round straining to get at the crocodile 
before he was able to turn his body in the water ; and 
the silence was broken by a yell of wild delight and 
approval from the bank. 

Before us the water was too deep and the stream 
too strong to stand in ; Jim in his eagerness had gone 
in shoulder high, and my rifle when aimed only just 
cleared the water. The crocodile was the mark for 
more assegais from the bank as it charged up stream 
again, with Jock tailing behind, and it was then easy 
enough to follow its movements by the shafts that 
were never all submerged. The struggles became 
perceptibly weaker, and as it turned again to go with 
the stream every effort was concentrated on killing 
and landing it before it reached the rocks and rapids. 

I moved back for higher ground and, finding that 
the bed shelved up rapidly down stream, made for a 
position where there would be enough elevation to 
put in a brain shot. The water was not more than 
waist high then, and as the crocodile came rolling and 
thrashing down I waited for his head to show up 
clearly. My right foot touched a sloping rock which 
rose almost to the surface of the water close above the 
rapids, and anxious to get the best possible position 
for a last shot, I took my stand there. The rock was 

389 




the ordinary shelving bedrock, uptilted at an easy 
angle and cut off sheer on the exposed side, and the 
wave in the current would have shown this to any one 
not wholly occupied with other things ; but I had eyes 
for nothing except the crocodile which was then less 
than a dozen yards off, and in my anxiety to secure a 
firm footing for the shot I moved the right foot again 
a few inches over the edge of the rock. The result 
was as complete a spill as if one unthinkingly stepped 
backwards off a diving board : I disappeared in deep 
water, with the knowledge that the crocodile would 
join me there in a few seconds. 

One never knows how these things are done or how 
long they take : I was back on the rock without the 
rifle and had the water out of my eyes in time to see 
the crocodile roll helplessly by, six feet away, with 
Jock behind making excited but ridiculously futile 
attempts to get hold of the tail ; Jim swimming, 
plunging and blowing like a maddened hippo formed 
the tail of the procession, which was headed by my 
water-logged hat floating heavily a yard or so in front 
of the crocodile. 

While a crowd of yelling niggers under the general- 
ship of Jim were landing the crocodile, I had time to do 
some diving, and managed to fish out my rifle. 

My Sunday change was wasted. But we got the 
old crocodile ; and that was something, after all. 




ON the way to Lydenburg, not many treks from 
Paradise Camp, we were outspanned for the day. 
Those were the settled parts ; on the hills and 
in the valleys about us were the widely scattered 
workings of the gold diggers or the white tents 
of occasional prospectors. 

The place was a well-known and much-frequented 
public outspan, and a fair sized wayside store marked 
its importance. After breakfast we went to the 
store to ' swap ' news with the men on the spot and 
a couple of horsemen who had offsaddled there. 

There were several other houses of sorts ; they 
were rough wattle and daub erections which were called 
houses, as an acknowledgment of pretensions expressed 
in the rectangular shape and corrugated iron roof. 
One of these belonged to Seedling, the Field Cornet 
and only official in the district. He was the petty 
local Justice who was supposed to administer minor 
laws, collect certain revenues and taxes, and issue passes. 
The salary was nominal, but the position bristled with 
opportunities for one who was not very particular; 

39 1 





and the then occupant of the office seemed well enough 
pleased with the arrangement, whatever the public may 
have thought of it. 

He was neither popular nor trusted : many tales of 
great harshness and injustice to the natives, and 
of corruption and favouritism in dealing with the 
whites, added to habitual drunkenness and uncertain 
temper, made a formidable tally in the account against 
him ; he was also a bully and a coward, and all knew 
it ; but unfortunately he was the law as it stood for 
us ! 

Seedling, although an official of the Boer Govern- 
ment, was an Englishman ; there were several of them 
on the goldfields in those days, and for the most part, 
they were good fellows and good officials this one 
was an exception. We all knew him personally : he 
was effusively friendly ; and we suffered him and 
paid for the drinks. That was in his public capacity: 
in his private capacity he was the owner of the fighting 
baboon of evil and cruel repute. 

If ever fate's instruments moved unconscious of 
their mission and the part they were to play, it is certain 
that Jock and Jim Makokel' did so that day the day 
that was the beginning of Seedling's fall and end. 

It is not very clear how the trouble began. We had 
been sitting on the little store-counter and talking for 
over an hour, a group of half a dozen, swap- 
ping off the news of the goldfields and 
the big world against that from 
Delagoa and the Bushveld ; 
Seedling had joined us early 

39 2 




and, as usual, began the morning with drinks. We 
were not used to that on the road or out hunting ; 
indeed, we rarely took any drink, and most of us 
never touched a drop except in the towns. The 
transport rider had opportunities which might easily 
become temptations the load often consisting of 
liquor, easy to broach and only to be paid for at the 
end of the trip ; but we had always before us the lesson 
of the failures. Apart from this, however, we did not 
take liquor, because we could not work as well or last 
as long, run as fast or shoot as straight, if we did. And 
that was reason enough ! 

We had one round of drinks which was * called ' 
by one of the horsemen, and then, to return the com- 
pliment, another round called by one of us. A few 
minutes later Seedling announced effusively that it was 
his i shout.' But it was only ten in the morning, and 
those who had taken spirits had had enough, indeed, 
several had only taken a sip of the second round in 
order to comply with a stupid and vicious custom ; 
I would not and could not attack another bottle of 
sour gingerbeer; and thus Seedling's round was 
reduced to himself and the proprietor. No man 
however thirsty would drink alone in those days it 
was taken a mark of meanness or evidence of ' soaking ' 
and the proprietor had to be ready at any time to 
' take one for the good of the house.' 

A quarter of an hour passed, and Seedling, who had 
said nothing since his t shout ' was declined, turned away 
and strolled out, with hands thrust deep in the pockets 
of his riding breeches and a long heavy sjambok dangling 

393 





from one wrist. There was silence as he moved through 
the doorway, and when the square patch of sunlight 
on the earth floor was again unbroken the man behind 
the counter remarked, 

" Too long between drinks for him ! Gone for a 
pull at the private bottle." 

" Is that how it's going ? " 

" Yah ! all day long. Drinks here as long as any 
one'll call, but don't do much shoutin' on his own, I 
tell you ! That's the first time I seen him call for a 
week. He wanted to get you chaps on the go, I reckon. 
He'll be wrong all day to-day. I know him ! " 

" Cost him two bob for nothing, eh ! " 

" Well, it ain't so much that ; ye see, he reckoned 
you'd all shout your turns, and drinks 'd come regular ; 
but he sees you're not on. Twig ? I'm not complainin' 
mind you Lord no ! He don't pay any way ! It's 
all ' chalked up ' for him, an' I got to wipe it off the slate 
when the next loads comes and he collects my customs' 
duties. His liquor's took him wrong to-day you'll 
see ! " 

We did see ; and that before very long. We had 
forgotten Seedling, and were hearing all about the new 
finds reported from Barberton district, when one of the 
waggon boys came running into the store calling to me 
by my kaffir name and shouting excitedly, " Baas, 
Baas ! come quickly ! The baboon has got Jock : 
it will kill him ! " 

I had known all about the vicious brute, and had 
often heard of Seedling's fiendish delight in arranging 
fights or enticing dogs up to attack it for the pleasure 

394 



of seeing the beast kill the over-matched dogs. The 
dog had no chance at all, for the baboon remained out of 
reach in his house on the pole as long as it chose, if the 
dog was too big or the opening not a good one, and 
made its rush when it would tell best. But apart 
from this the baboon was an exceptionally big and 
powerful one, and it is very doubtful if any dog could 
have tackled it successfully in an open fight. The 
creature was as clever as even they can be ; its enormous 
jaws and teeth were quite equal to the biggest dog's, 
and it had the advantage of four * hands.' Its tactics 
in a fight were quite simple and most effective ; with 
its front feet it caught the dog by the ears or neck, 
holding the head so that there was no risk of being 
bitten, and then gripping the body lower down with 
the hind feet, it tore lumps out of the throat, breast, 
and stomach pushing with all four feet and tearing 
with the terrible teeth. The poor dogs were hopelessly 
outmatched. 

I did not see the beginning of Jock's encounter, 
but the boys' stories pieced together told everything. 
It appears that when Seedling left the store he went 
in to his own hut and remained there some little time ; 
on coming out again he strolled over to the baboon's 
pole about half way between the two houses and began 
teasing it, throwing pebbles at it to see it dodge and 
duck behind the pole, and then flicking at it with the 
sjambok, amused by its frightened and angry protests. 
While he was doing this, Jock, who had followed me to 
the store, strolled out again making his way towards 
the waggons. He was not interested in our talk ; he 

395 

m 






had twice been accidentally trodden on by men step- 
ping back as he lay stretched out on the floor behind 
them ; and doubtless he felt that it was no place for him : 
his deafness prevented him from hearing movements, 
except such as caused vibration in the ground, and, 
poor old fellow, he was always at a disadvantage in 
nouses and towns. 

The baboon had then taken refuge in its box on 
top of the pole to escape the sjambok, and when Seed- 
ling saw Jock come out he commenced whistling and 
calling softly to him. Jock, of course, heard nothing : 
he may have responded mildly to the friendly overtures 
conveyed by the extended hand and patting of legs, 
or more probably simply took the nearest way to the 
waggon where he might sleep in peace, since there 
was nothing else to do. What the boys agree on is 
that as Jock passed the pole Seedling patted and held 
him, at the same time calling the baboon, and then gave 
the dog a push which did not quite roll him over 
but upset his balance ; and Jock, recovering himself, 
naturally jumped round and faced Seedling, standing 
almost directly between him and the baboon. He 
could not hear the rattle of the chain on the box and 
pole, and saw nothing of the charging brute, and it was 
the purest accident that the dog stood a few inches out 
of reach. The baboon chained by the neck instead 
of the waist, because it used to bite through all 
loin straps made its rush, but the chain brought 
it up before its hands could reach Jock and 
threw the hind-quarters round with such force 
against him that he was sent rolling yards away. 

396 




I can well believe that this second attack from a 
different and wholly unexpected quarter thoroughly 
roused him, and can picture how he turned to face 
it. 

It was at this moment that Jim first noticed what was 
going on. The other boys had not expected anything 
when Seedling called the dog, and they were taken 
completely by surprise by what followed. Jim would 
have known what to expect : his kraal was in the neigh- 
bourhood ; he knew Seedling well, and had already 
suffered in fines and confiscations at his hands ; he 
also knew about the baboon ; but he was ignorant, just 
as I was, of the fact that Seedling had left his old place 
across the river and come to live in the new hut, bring- 
ing his pet with him. 

It was the hoarse threatening shout of the baboon 
as it jumped at Jock, as much as the exclamations of 
the boys, that roused Jim. He knew instantly what was 
on, and grabbing a stick made a dash to save the dog, 
with the other boys following him. 

When Jock was sent spinning in the dust the baboon 
recovered itself first, and standing up on its hind legs 
reached out its long ungainly arms towards him, and 
let out a shout of defiance. Jock regaining his feet 
dashed in, jumped aside, feinted again and again, as 
he had learnt to do when big horns swished at him ; 
and he kept out of reach just as he had done ever since 
the duiker taught him the use of its hoofs. He knew 
what to do, just as he had known how to swing the 
porcupine : the dog for all the fighting fury that 
possessed him took the measure of the chain and kept 

397 





outside it. Round and round he flew, darting in, 
jumping back, snapping and dodging, but never 
getting right home. The baboon was as clever as 
he was : at times it jumped several feet in the air, 
straight up, in the hope that Jock would run under- 
neath ; at others, it would make a sudden lunge with 
the long arms, or a more surprising reach out with the 
hind legs to grab him. Then the baboon began gradu- 
ally to reduce its circle, leaving behind it slack chain 
enough for a spring ; but Jock was not to be drawn. 
In cleverness they were well-matched neither scored 
in attack ; neither made or lost a point. 

When Jim rushed up to save Jock, it was with eager 
anxious shouts of the dog's name that warned Seedling 
and made him turn ; and as the boy ran forward the 
white man stepped out to stop him. 

" Leave the dog alone ! " he shouted, pale with 
anger. 

" Baas, Baas, the dog will be killed," Jim called 
excitedly, as he tried to get round; but the white 
man made a jump towards him, and with a back- 
hand slash of the sjambok struck him across the face, 
shouting at him again : 

" Leave him, I tell you." 

Jim jumped back, thrusting out his stick to guard 
another vicious cut ; and so it went on with alternate 
slash and guard, and the big Zulu danced round with 
nimble bounds, guarding, dodging, or bearing the 
sjambok cuts, to save the dog. Seedling was mad with 
rage ; for who had ever heard of a nigger standing 
up to a Field Cornet ? Still Jim would not give way ; 

398 



he kept trying to get in front of Jock, to head him off the 
fight, and all the while shouting to the other boys to j 
call me. But Seedling was the Field Cornet, and if 
not one of them dared to move against him. 

At last the baboon, finding that Jock would not come 
on, tried other tactics ; it made a sudden retreat and, 
rushing for the pole, hid behind it as for protection. 
Jock made a jump and the baboon leaped out to meet 
him, but the dog stopped at the chain's limit, and the 
baboon just as in the first dash of all overshot the 
mark ; it was brought up by the jerk of the collar, and 
for one second sprawled on its back. That was the 
first chance for Jock, and he took it. With one spring 
he was in ; his head shot between the baboon's hind 
legs, and with his teeth buried in the soft stomach he 
lay back and pulled pulled for dear life, as he had 
pulled and dragged on the legs of wounded game ; 
tugged as he had tugged at the porcupine ; held on, 
as he had held when the koodoo bull wrenched and 
strained every bone and muscle in his body. 

Then came the sudden turn ! As Jock fastened 
on to the baboon, dragging the chain taut while the 
screaming brute struggled on its back, Seedling stood 
for a second irresolute, and then with a stride forward 
raised his sjambok to strike the dog. That was too 
much for Jim ; he made a spring in and grasping the 
raised sjambok with his left hand held Seedling power- 
less, while in his right the boy raised his stick on guard. 

" Let him fight, Baas ! You said it ! Let the dog 
fight ! " he panted, hoarse with excitement. 

The white man, livid with fury, struggled and 

399 






kicked, but the wrist loop of his sjambok held him 
prisoner and he could do nothing. 

That was the moment when a panic-stricken boy 
plucked up courage enough to call me ; and that was 
the scene we saw as we ran out of the little shop. Jim 
would not strike the white man : but his face was a 
muddy grey, and it was written there that he would 
rather die than give up the dog. 

Before I reached them it was clear to us all what 
had happened ; Jim was protesting to Seedling and 
at the same time calling to me ; it was a jumble, but 
a jumble eloquent enough for us, and all intelligible. 
Jim's excited gabble was addressed with reckless in- 
coherence to Seedling, to me, and to Jock ! 

" You threw him in ; you tried to kill him. He 
did it. It was not the dog. Kill him, Jock, kill him. 
Leave him, let him fight. You said it Let him fight ! 
Kill him, Jock ! Kill! Kill ! Kill ! " 

Then Seedling did the worst thing possible ; he 
turned on me with, 

" Call off your dog, I tell you, or I'll shoot him 
and your nigger too ! " 

" We'll see about that ! They can fight it out 
now," and I took the sjambok from Jim's hand and 
cut it from the white man's wrist. 
" Now ! Stand back ! " 
And he stood back. 
The baboon was quite helpless. Powerful as the 

brute was, and formidable as were the arms and 

gripping feet, it had no chance while Jock could keep 

his feet and had strength to drag and hold the chain 

400 



tight. The collar was choking it, and the grip on the 
stomach the baboon's own favourite and most success- 
ful device was fatal. 

I set my teeth, and thought of the poor helpless dogs 
that had been decoyed in and treated the same way. 
Jim danced about, the white seam of froth on his lips, 
hoarse gusts of encouragement bursting from him 
as he leant over Jock, and his whole body vibrating like 
an over-heated boiler. And Jock hung on in grim 
earnest, the silence on his side broken only by grunting 
efforts as the deadly tug tug tug went on. Each 
pull caused his feet to slip a little on the smooth worn 
ground ; but each time he set them back again, and 

the grunting tugs went on. 

***** 

It was not justice to call Jock off ; but I did it. 
The cruel brute deserved killing, but the human look 
and cries and behaviour of the baboon were too 
sickening ; and Seedling went into his hut without 
even a look at his stricken champion. 

Jock stood off, with his mouth open from ear to ear 
and his red tongue dangling, blood-stained and pant- 
ing, but with eager feet ever on the move shifting 
from spot to spot, ears going back and forward, and 
eyes now on the baboon and now on me pleading 
for the sign to go in again. 

Before evening the baboon was dead. 

***** 

The day's excitement was too much for Jim. After 
singing and dancing himself into a frenzy round Jock, 
after shouting the whole story of the fight in violent 
401 2C 





and incessant gabble over and over again to those 
who had witnessed it, after making every ear ring and 
every head swim with his mad din, he grabbed his 
sticks once more and made off for one of the kraals, 
there to find drink for which he thirsted body and 
soul. 

In the afternoon the sudden scattering of the 
inhabitants of a small kraal on the hillside opposite, 
and some lusty shouting, drew attention that way. 
At distances of from two to five hundred yards from 
the huts there stood figures, singly or grouped in twos 
and threes, up to the highest slopes ; they formed a 
sort of crescent above the kraal ; and on the lower side 
of it, hiding under the bank of the river, were a dozen 
or more whose heads only were visible. They were 
all looking towards the kraal like a startled herd of 
buck. Now and then a burly figure would dart out 
from the huts with wild bounds and blood-curdling 
yells, and the watchers on that side would scatter like 
chaff and flee for dear life up the mountain side or 
duck instantly and disappear in the river. Then he 
would stalk back again and disappear, to repeat the 
performance on another side a little later on. 

It was all painfully clear to me. Jim had broken 
out. 

We were loaded for Lydenburg another week's 
trekking through and over the mountains and as 
we intended coming back the same way a fortnight 
later I decided at once to leave Jim at his kraal, which 
was only a little further on, and pick him up on the 
return journey. 

402 



I nearly always paid him off in live stock or sheep : 
he had good wages, and for many months at a time 
would draw no money ; the boy was a splendid worker 
and as true as steel ; so that, in spite of all the awful 
worry I had a soft spot for Jim and had taken a good 
deal of trouble on his account. He got his pay at 
the end of the trip or the season, but not in cash. It 
was invested for him greatly to his disgust at the time, 
I am bound to say in live stock, so that he would not 
be able to squander it in drink or be robbed of it while 
incapable. 

Jim's gloomy dignity was colossal when it came to 
squaring up and I invited him to state what he wished 
me to buy for him. To be treated like an irresponsible 
child ; to be chaffed and cheerfully warned by me ; 
to be met by the giggles and squirts of laughter of the 
other boys, for whom he had the most profound con- 
tempt ; to see the respectable Sam counting out with 
awkward eager hands and gleaming eyes the good red 
gold, while he, Makokela the Zulu, was treated like 
a piccanin Ugh ! It was horrible ! Intolerable ! 

Jim would hold aloof in injured gloomy silence, not 
once looking at me, but standing sideways and staring 
stonily past me into the far distance, and not relaxing 
for a second the expression of profound displeasure 
on his weather-beaten face. No joke or chaff, 
question or reason, would move him to even look 
my way. All he would do was, now and again, 
give a click of disgust, a quick shake of the head, 
and say : " Aug ! Ang-a-funa ! " (" I do not desire 
it ! ") 
43 




no 






We had the same fight over and over again, but I 
always won in the end. Once, when he would not 
make up his mind what to buy, I offered him instead 
of cash two of the worst oxen in his span at the highest 
possible valuation, and the effect was excellent ; but the 
usual lever was to announce that if he could not make 
his choice and bargain for himself I would do it for 
him. In the end he invariably gave way and bargained 
with his kaffir friends for a deal, venting on them by 
his hard driving and brow-beating some of the accumu- 
lated indignation which ought to have gone elsewhere. 

When it was all over Jim recovered rapidly, and 
at parting time there was the broadest of grins and a 
stentorian shout of " Hlala Kahle ! Inkos ! " and 
Jim went off with his springy walk, swinging his sticks 
and jabbering his thoughts aloud, evidently about me, 
for every now and again he would spring lightly into 
the air, twirl the stick, and shout a deep throated 
" Inkos ! " full of the joy of living. A boy going home 
for his holiday ! 

This time Jim was too fully wound up to be dealt 
with as before, and I simply turned him off, telling 
him to come to the camp in a fortnight's time. 
***** 

I was a day behind the waggons returning, 
and riding up to the camp towards midday 
; T - found Jim waiting for me. He looked ill 
!_" and shrunken, wrapped in an old coat and 
squatting against the wall of the little hut. 
As I passed he rose slowly and gave his " Saku- 
bona ! Inkos ! " with that curious controlled 

404 



air by which the kaffir manages to suggest a kind of 
fatalist resignation or indifference touched with disgust. 
There was something wrong ; so I rode past without 
stopping one learns from them to find out how 
the land lies before doing anything. 

It was a bad story, almost as bad as one would think 
possible where civilised beings are concerned. Jim's 
own story lacked certain details of which he was 
necessarily ignorant, it also omitted the fact that 
had been drunk ; but in the main it was quite true. 

This is what happened, as gleaned from several 
sources : several days after our departure Jim went down 
to the store again and raised some liquor ; he was not 
fighting, but he was noisy, and was the centre of a 
small knot of shouting, arguing boys near the store 
when Seedling returned after a two days' absence. 
No doubt it was unfortunate that the very first thing 
he saw on his return was the boy who had defied 
him and who was the cause of his humiliation ; 
and that that boy should by his behaviour give the 
slenderest excuse for interference was in the last degree 
unlucky. Seedling's mind was made up from the 
moment he set eyes on Jim. Throwing the reins 
over his horse's head he walked into the excited 
gabbling knot, all unconscious of his advent, and laid 
about him with the sjambok, scattering and silencing 
them instantly ; he then took Jim by the wrist saying, 
" I want you " ; he called to one of his own boys 
to bring a reim, and leading Jim over to the side of 
the store tied him up to the horse rail with arms at 
full stretch. Taking out his knife he cut the boy's 

45 






clothing down the back so that it fell away in two 
halves in front of him ; then he took off his own coat 
and flogged the boy with his sjambok. 

I would like to tell all that happened for one reason : 
it would explain the murderous man-hunting feeling 
that possessed us when we heard it ! But it was too 
cruel : let it be ! Only one thing to show the spirit : 
twice during the flogging Seedling stopped to go into 
the store for a drink. 

Jim crawled home to find his kraal ransacked and 
deserted, and his wives and children driven off in panic. 
In addition to the '/flogging Seedling had, in accordance 
with his practice, imposed fines far beyond the boy's 
means in cash, so as to provide an excuse for seizing 
what he wanted. The police boys had raided the 
kraal ; and the cattle and goats his only property 
were gone. 

He told it all in a dull monotone : for the time the 
life and fire were gone out of him ; but he was not 
cowed, not broken. There was a curl of contempt 
on his mouth and in his tone that whipped the white 
skin on my own back and made it all a disgrace unbear- 
able. That this should be the reward for his 
courageous defence of Jock seemed too awful. 
We went inside to talk it over and make 
our plans. The waggons should go on 
next day as if nothing had happened, 
Jim remaining in one of the half tents 
or elsewhere out of sight of passers-by. 
I was to ride into Lydenburg and lodge 
information for in such a case the 

406 



authorities would surely act. That was the best, or 
at any rate the first, course to be tried. 

There was no difficulty about the warrant, for there 
were many counts in the indictment against Seedling ; 
but even so worthless a brute as that seemed to have 
one friend, or perhaps an accomplice, to give him 
warning, and before we reached his quarters with the 
police he had cleared on horseback for Portuguese 
territory, taking with him a led horse. 

We got most of Jim's cattle back for him which he 
seemed to consider the main thing but we were 
sorely disgusted at the man's escape. 

That was the year of the ' rush.' Thousands of 
new comers poured into the country on the strength 
of the gold discoveries ; materials and provisions of 
all kinds were almost unprocurable and stood at famine 
prices ; and consequently we the transport riders 
reaped a golden harvest. Never had there been such 
times ; waggons and spans were paid for in single 
trips ; and so great was the demand for supplies that 
some refused transport and bought their own goods, 
which they re-sold on the goldfields at prices twice 
as profitable as the highest rates of transport. 

Thus the days lost in the attempt to catch Seedling 
were valuable days. The season was limited, and as 
early rains might cut us off, a few days thrown away 
might mean the loss of a whole trip. We hurried down, 
therefore, for the Bay, doing little hunting that time. 

Near the Crocodile on our way down we heard 
from men coming up that Seedling had been there 
some days before but that, hearing we were on the way 
407 





down and had sworn to shoot him, he had ridden on 
to Komati, leaving one horse behind bad with horse- 
sickness. The report about shooting him was, of course, 
ridiculous probably his own imagination but it was 
some comfort to know that he was in such a state of 
terror that his own fancies were hunting him down. 

At Komati we learned that he had stayed three days 
at the store of that Goanese murderer, Antonio the 
same Antonio who on one occasion had tried to drug 
and hand over to the enemy two of our men who had got 
into trouble defending themselves against raiding 
natives ; the same Antonio who afterwards made an 
ill-judged attempt to stab one Mickey O'Connor in 
a Barberton canteen and happily got brained with a 
bottle of his own doctored spirit for his pains. 

Antonio suspecting something wrong about a white 
man who came on horseback and dawdled aimlessly 
three days at Komati Drift, going indoors whenever 
a stranger appeared, wormed the secret out with 
liquor and sympathy ; and when he had got most of 
Seedling's money out of him, by pretence of bribing 
the Portuguese officials and getting news, made a bold 
bid for the rest by saying that a warrant was out for 
him in Delagoa and he must on no account go on. 
The evil-looking half-caste no doubt hoped to get the 
horse saddle and bridle, as well as the cash, and was 
quite prepared to drug Seedling when the time came, 
and slip him quietly into the Komati at night where 
the crocodiles would take care of the evidence. 

Antonio, however, overshot the mark ; Seedling 
who knew all about him, took fright, saddled up and 

408 




bolted up the river meaning to make for the Lebombo, 
near the Tembe Drift, where Bob McNab and his 
merry comrades ran free of Governments and were a 
law unto themselves. It was no place for a nervous 
man, but Seedling had no choice, and he went on. 
He had liquor in his saddle bags and food for several 
days ; but he was not used to the bush, and at the end 
of the first day he had lost his way and was beyond the 
river district where the kaffirs lived. 

So much is believed, though not positively known ; 
at any rate he left the last kraal in those parts about 
noon, and was next heard of two days later at a kraal 
under the Lebombo. There he learnt that the Black 
Umbelusi, which it would be necessary to swim as 
Snowball and Tsetse had done lay before him, and that 
it was yet a great distance to Sebougwaans,and even then 
he would be only half way to Bob's. Seedling could 
not face it alone, and turned back for the nearest store. 

The natives said that before leaving the kraal he 
bought beer from them, but did not want food ; for 
he looked sick ; he was red and swollen in the face ; 
and his eyes were wild ; the horse was weak and also 
looked sick, being very thin and empty ; but they 
showed him the foot-path over the hills which would 
take him to Tom's a white man's store on the road 
to Delagoa and he left them ! That was Tom 
Barnett's at Piscene, where we always stopped ; for 
Tom was a good friend of ours. 

That was how we came to meet Seedling again. He 
had made a loop of a hundred and fifty miles in four 
days in his efforts to avoid us ; but he was waiting for 
409 





us when we arrived at Tom Barnett's. We who had 
hurried on to catch him, believing that the vengeance 
of justice depended on us, forgot that it has been 
otherwise decreed. 

Tom stood in the doorway of his store as we walked 
up five feet one in his boots, but every inch of it a 
man with his hands resting idly on his hips and a 
queer smile on his face as he nodded welcome. 

" Did a white man come here on horseback during 
the last few days from the Drift ? " 

" No ! " 

" On foot ? " 

" No, not the whole way." 

" Is he here now ? " 

Tom nodded. 

" You know about him, Tom ? " 

" Seedling ! the chap you're after, isn't it ? ' 

" Yes," we answered, lowering our voices. 

Tom looked from one to the other with the same 
queer smile, and then making a move to let us into the 
store said quietly : " He won't clear, boys ; he's dead ! " 

Some kaffirs coming along the footpath from the 
'Bombo had found the horse dead of horse-sickness 
half a day away, and further on only a mile or so 
from the store the rider lying on his back in the sun, 
dying of thirst. He died before they got him in. 

He was buried under a big fig-tree where another 

and more honoured grave was made later on. 
* * * * * 

Jim sat by himself the whole evening and never 
spoke a word. 










i-'. ! "' ' : i j ' !<i >i ; .'/'.',' ~v 




IT was Pettigrew's Road that brought home to me, 4. 
and to others, the wisdom of the old transport riders' f 
maxim : * Take no risks.' We all knew that there 
were ' fly ' belts on the old main road but we rushed .- 
these at night, for we knew enough of the tsetse fly 
to avoid it ; however the discovery of the new road 
to Barberton, a short cut with plenty of water and 
grass, which offered the chance of working an extra 
trip into the short Delagoa season, tempted me, 
among others, to take a risk. We had seen no * fly ' 
when riding through to spy out the land, and again 
on the trip down with empty waggons all had 
seemed to be well ; but I had good reason afterwards 
to recall that hurried trip down and the night spent 
at Low's Creek. It was a lovely moonlight night, 
cool and still, and the grass was splendid ; after many 
weeks of poor feeding and drought the cattle revelled 
in the land of plenty. We had timed our treks so as 
to get through the suspected parts of the road at night, 
believing that the fly did not trouble after dark, and 
thus we were that night outspanned in the worst spot 
411 




of all a tropical garden of clear streams, tree ferns, 
foliage plants, mosses, maidenhair, and sweet grass ! 
I moved among the cattle myself, watching them feed 

| greedily and waiting to see them satisfied before in- 
> spanning again to trek through the night to some higher 
and more open ground. I noticed then that their 

" tails were rather busy. At first it seemed the usual 
accompaniment of a good feed, an expression of satis- 
faction ; after a while, however, the swishing became 
too vigorous for this, and when heads began to swing 
round and legs also were made use of, it seemed clear 
that something was worrying them. The older hands 
were so positive that at night cattle were safe from 
fly, that it did not even then occur to me to suspect 
anything seriously wrong. Weeks passed by, and 
although the cattle became poorer, it was reasonable 
enough to put it down to the exceptional drought. 

It was late in the season when we loaded up for the 
last time in Delagoa and ploughed our way through 
the Matolla swamp and the heavy sands at Piscene ; 
but late as it was, there was no sign of rain, and the 
rain that we usually wanted to avoid would have been 
very welcome then. The roads were all blistering 
stones or powdery dust, and it was cruel work for man 
and beast. The heat was intense, and there was no 
breeze ; the dust moved along slowly apace with us 
in a dense cloud men, waggons, and animals, all toned 
to the same hue ; and the poor oxen toiling slowly along 
drew in the finely-powdered stuff at every breath. 
At the outspan they stood about exhausted and pant- 
ing, with rings and lines of brown marking where the 

412 



moisture from nostrils, eyes and mouths had caught 
the dust and turned it into mud. At Matolla Poort, 
where the Lebombo Range runs low, where the 
polished black rocks shone like anvils, where the stones 
and baked earth scorched the feet of man and beast 
to aching, the world was like an oven ; the heat came 
from above, below, around a thousand glistening 
surfaces flashing back with intensity the sun's fierce 
rays. And there, at Matolla Poort, the big pool had 
given out ! 

Our stand-by was gone ! There, in the deep cleft in 
the rocks where the feeding spring, cool and constant, 
had trickled down a smooth black rock beneath another 
overhanging slab, and where ferns and mosses had 
clustered in one little spot in all the miles of blistering 
rocks, there was nothing left but mud and slime. The 
water was as green and thick as pea-soup ; filth of all 
kinds lay in it and on it ; half a dozen rotting carcases 
stuck in the mud round the one small wet spot where;] 
the pool had been just where they fell and died ; 
the coat had dropped away from some, and mats of 
hair, black brown and white, helped to thicken the 
green water. But we drank it. Sinking a handker- 
chief where the water looked thinnest and making a 
little well into which the moisture slowly filtered, we 
drank it greedily. 

The next water on the road was Komati River, but 
the cattle were too weak to reach it in one trek, and 
remembering another pool off the road a small 
lagoon found by accident when out hunting the year 
before we moved on that night out on to the flats, 

413 





and made through the bush for several miles to loo 
for water and grass. 

We found the place just after dawn. There was 
a string of half a dozen pools ringed with yellow- 
plumed reeds like a bracelet of sapphires set in gold 
deep deep pools of beautiful water in the midst of 
acres and acres of rich buffalo grass. It was too in- 
credibly good I 

I was trekking alone that trip, the only white man 
there, and tired out by the all-night's work, the long 
ride, and the searching in the bush for the lagoon I 
had gone to sleep after seeing the cattle to the water 
and grass. Before midday I was back among them 
again ; some odd movements struck a chord of memory, 
and the night at Low's Creek flashed back. Tails 
were swishing freely, and the bullock nearest me kicked 
up sharply at its side and swung its head round to 
brush something away. I moved closer up to see what 
was causing the trouble : in a few minutes I heard a 
thin sing of wings, different from a mosquito's, and 
there settled on my shirt a grey fly, very like and not 
much larger than a common house-fly, whose wings 
folded over like a pair of scissors. That was the 
" mark of the beast." I knew then why this oasis 
had been left by transport-rider and trekker, as nature 
made it, untrodden and untouched. 

Not a moment was lost in getting away from the 
' fly.' But the mischief was already done ; the cattle 
must have been bitten at Low's Creek weeks before, 
and again that morning during the time I slept ; and 
it was clear that, not drought and poverty, but ' fly ' 

414 



'^ 

was the cause of their weakness. After the first rains 
they would begin to die, and the right thing to do 
now was to press on as fast as possible and deliver the / 
loads. Barberton was booming and short of supplies'/ 
and the rates were the highest ever paid ; but I had 
done better still, having bought my own goods, and 
the certain profit looked a fortune to me. Even if 
all the cattle became unfit for use or died, the loads 
would pay for everything and the right course there- 
fore was to press on ; for delay would mean losing 
both cattle and loads all I had in the world and 
starting again penniless with the years of hard work 
thrown away. 

So the last hard struggle began. And it was work 
and puzzle day and night, without peace or rest ; 
trying to nurse the cattle in their daily failing strength, 
and yet to push them for all they could do ; watching 
the sky cloud over every afternoon, promising rain 
that never came, and not knowing whether to call it 
promise or threat ; for although rain would bring grass 
and water to save the cattle, it also meant death to the 
fly-bitten. 

We crossed the Komati with three spans forty- 
four oxen to a waggon, for the drift was deep in two 
places and the weakened cattle could not keep their 
feet. It was a hard day, and by nightfall it was easy 
to pick out the oxen who would not last out a week. 
That night Zole lay down and did not get up again 
Zole the little fat schoolboy, always out of breath, 
always good-tempered and quiet, as tame as a pet 
dog. 
4*5 





He was only the first to go ; day by day others 
followed. Some were only cattle : others were old 
friends and comrades on many a trek. The two big 
after-oxen Achmoed and Bakir went down early ; 
the Komati Drift had over-tried them, and the weight 
and jolting of the heavy disselboom on the bad roads 
finished them off. These were the two inseparables 
who worked and grazed, walked and slept, side by 
side never more than a few yards apart day or night 
since the day they became yoke-fellows. They died 
on consecutive days. 

But the living wonder of that last trek was still 
old Zwaartland the front ox ! With his steady sober 
air, perfect understanding of his work, and firm clean 
buck-like tread, he still led the front span. Before 
we reached the Crocodile his mate gave in worn to 
death by the ebbing of his own strength and by the 
steady indomitable courage of his comrade. Old 
Zwaartland pulled on ; but my heart sank as I looked 
at him and noted the slightly ' staring ' coat, the 
falling flanks, the tread less sure and brisk, and a look 
in his eyes that made me think he knew what was 
coming but would do his best. 

The gallant-hearted old fellow held on. One after 
another we tried with him in the lead, half a dozen 
or more ; but he wore them all down. In the dongas 
and spruits, where the crossings were often very bad 
and steep, the waggons would stick for hours, and the 
wear and strain on the exhausted cattle was killing : 
it was bad enough for the man who drove them. To 
see old Zwaartland then holding his ground, never for 

416 




one moment turning or wavering while the others 
backed jibbed and swayed and dragged him staggering 
backwards, made one's heart ache. The end was 
sure : flesh and blood will not last for ever ; the 
stoutest heart can be broken. 

The worst of it was that with all the work and strain 
we accomplished less than we used to do before in a 
quarter of the time. Distances formerly covered in 
one trek took three, four, and even five now. Water, 
never too plentiful in certain parts, was sadly dimin- 
ished by the drought, and it sometimes took us three 
or even four treks to get from water to water. Thus 
we had at times to drive the oxen back to the last place 
or on to the next one for their drinks, and by the time 
the poor beasts got back to the waggons to begin their 
trek they had done nearly as much as they were able 
to do. 

And trouble begot trouble, as usual ! Sam the 
respectable, who had drawn all his pay in Delagoa, 
gave up after one hard day and deserted me. He said 
that the hand of the Lord had smitten me and mine, 
and great misfortune would come to all ; so he left 
in the dark at Crocodile Drift, taking one of the 
leaders with him, and joined some waggons making 
for Lydenburg. The work was too hard for him ; 
it was late in the season ; he feared the rains and fever ; 
and he had no pluck or loyalty, and cared for no one 
but himself. 

I was left with three leaders and two drivers to 
manage four waggons. It was Jim who told me of 
Sam's desertion. He had the cross, defiant, pre- 
41/ 2 D 





occupied look of old ; but there was also something 
of satisfaction in his air as he walked up to me and 
stood to deliver the great vindication of his own 
unerring judgment : 

" Sam has deserted you and taken his voorlooper." 
He jerked the words out at me, speaking in Zulu. 

I said nothing. It was just about Sam's form ; it 
annoyed but did not surprise me. Jim favoured me 
with a hard searching look, a subdued grunt, and a 
click expressive of things he could not put into words, 
and without another word he turned and walked back 
towards his waggon. But half-way to it he broke 
silence : facing me once more, he thumped his chest 
and hurled at me in mixed Zulu and English : " I 
said so ! Sam lead a Bible. Sam no good. Umph ! 
M'Shangaan ! I said so ! I always said so ! " 

When Jim helped me to inspan Sam's waggon, he did 
it to an accompaniment of Zulu imprecations which 
only a Zulu could properly appreciate. They were 
quite ' above my head,' but every now and then I 
caught one sentence repeated like the responses in a 
litany : " I'll kill that Shangaan when I see him again 1" 

At Lion Spruit there was more bad luck. Lions 
had been troublesome there in former years, but for 
a couple of seasons nothing had been seen of them. 
Their return was probably due to the fact that, because 
of the drought and consequent failure of other waters, 
the game on which they preyed had moved down 
towards the river. At any rate, they returned un- 
expectedly and we had one bad night when the cattle 
were unmanageable, and their nerves all on edge. 

418 



The herd-boys had seen spoor in the afternoon ; at 
dusk we heard the distant roaring, and later on, the 
nearer and more ominous grunting. I fastened Jock 
up in the tent waggon lest the sight of him should 
prove too tempting ; he was bristling like a hedgehog 
and constantly working out beyond the cattle, glaring 
and growling incessantly towards the bush. We had 
four big fires at the four corners of the outspan, and 
no doubt this saved a bad stampede, for in the morning 
we found a circle of spoor where the lions had walked 
round and round the outspan. There were scores of 
footprints the tracks of at least four or five animals. 
In the Bushveld the oxen were invariably tied up 
at night, picketed to the trek-chain, each pair at its 
yoke ready to be inspanned for the early morning trek. 
Ordinarily the weight of the chain and yokes was 
sufficient to keep them in place, but when there were 
lions about, and the cattle liable to be scared and all 
to sway off together in the same direction, we took the 
extra precaution of pegging down the chain and anchor- 
ing the front yoke to a tree or stake. We had a lot 
of trouble that night, as one of the lions persistently 
took his stand to windward of the cattle to scare them 
with his scent. We knew well enough when he was 
there, although unable to see anything, as all the oxen 
would face up-wind, staring with bulging eye-balls 
in that direction and braced up tense with excitement. 
If one of them made a sudden move, the whole lot 
jumped in response and swayed off down wind away 
from the danger, dragging the gear with them 
and straining until the heavy 
419 






waggons yielded to the tug. We had to run out 
and then drive them up again to stay the stampede. 
It is a favourite device of lions, when tackling camps 
and outspans, for one of them to go to windward 
so that the terrified animals on winding him may 
stampede in the opposite direction where the other 
lions are lying in wait. 

Two oxen broke away that night and were never seen 
again. Once I saw a low light-coloured form steal 
across the road, and took a shot at it ; but rifle-shooting 
at night is a gamble, and there was no sign of a hit. 

I was too short-handed and too pressed for time to 
make a real try for the lions next day, and after a 
morning spent in fruitless search for the lost bullocks 
we went on again. 

Instead of fifteen to eighteen miles a day, as we 
should have done, we were then making between four 
and eight and sometimes not one. The heat and 
the drought were awful ; but at last we reached the 
Crocodile and struck up the right bank for the short 
cut Pettigrew's Road to Barberton, and there we 
had good water and some pickings of grass and young 
reeds along the river bank. 

The clouds piled up every afternoon ; the air grew 
still and sultry ; the thunder growled and rumbled ; 
a few drops of rain pitted the dusty road and pattered 
on the dry leaves ; and that was all. Anything seemed 
preferable to the intolerable heat and dust and drought, 
and each day I hoped the rain would come, cost what 
it might to the fly-bitten cattle ; but the days dragged 
on, and still the rain held off. 

420 



Then came one black day as we crawled slowly 
along the river bank, which is not to be forgotten. 
In one of the cross-spruits cutting sharply down to the 
river the second waggon stuck : the poor tired-out 
cattle were too weak and dispirited to pull it out. 
Being short of drivers and leaders it was necessary to 
do the work in turns, that is, after getting one waggon 
through a bad place, to go back for another. We had 
to double-span this waggon, taking the span from the 
front waggon back to hook on in front of the other ; 
and on this occasion I led the span while Jim drove. 
We were all tired out by the work and heat, and I lay 
down in the dusty road in front of the oxen to rest 
while the chains were being coupled up. I looked up 
into old Zwaartland's eyes, deep, placid, constant, 
dark grey eyes the ox-eyes of which so many speak 
and write and so few really know. There was 
trouble in them ; he looked anxious and hunted ; and 
it made me heart-sick to see it. 

When the pull came, the back span, already dis- 
heartened and out of hand, swayed and turned every 
way, straining the front oxen to the utmost ; yet 
Zwaartland took the strain and pulled. For a few 
moments both front oxen stood firm ; then his mate 
cut it and turned ; the team swung away with a rush, 
and the old fellow was jerked backwards and rolled 
over on his side. He struggled gamely, but it was 
some minutes before he could rise ; and then his eye 
looked wilder and more despairing ; his legs were 
planted apart to balance him, and his flanks were 
quivering. 
42* * 







Jim straightened up the double span again. Zwaart- 
land leaned forward once more, and the others fol- 
lowed his lead ; the waggon moved a little and they 
managed to pull it out. But I, walking in front, 
felt the brave old fellow stagger, and saw him, with 
head lowered, plod blindly like one stricken to death. 

We outspanned on the rise, and I told Jim to leave 
the reim on Zwaartland's head. Many a good turn 
from him deserved one more from me the last. I sent 
Jim for the rifle, and led the old front ox to the edge 
of the donga where a bleached tree lay across it. ... 
He dropped into the donga under the dead tree ; and 
I packed the dry branches over him and set fire to the 
pile. It looks absurd now ; but to leave him to the 
wolf and the jackal seemed like going back on a friend ; 
and the queer looks of the boys, and what they would 
think of me, were easier to bear. Jim watched, but 
said nothing : with a single grunt and a shrug of his 
shoulders he stalked back to the waggons. 

The talk that night at the boys' fire went on in 
low-pitched tones not a single word audible to me ; 
but I knew what it was about. As Jim stood up to 
get his blanket off the waggon, he stretched himself 
and closed off the evening's talk with his Zulu click 
and the remark that " All white men are mad, in some 
way." 

So we crawled on until we reached the turn where 
T| the road turned between the mountain range and the 
> -river and where the railway runs to-day. There, 

where afterwards Cassidy did his work, we outspanned 

one day when the heat became so great that it was no 

422 



longer possible to go on. For weeks the storm-clouds 
had gathered, threatened, and dispersed ; thunder 
had come half-heartedly, little spots of rain enough 
to pock-mark the dust ; but there had been no break 
in the drought. 

It was past noon that day when everything grew 
still ; the birds and insects hushed their sound ; the 
dry leaves did not give a whisper. There was the 
warning in the air that one knows but cannot explain ; 
and it struck me and the boys together that it was time 
t0 spread and tie down the buck-sails which we had 
not unfolded for months. 

While we were busy at this there came an un- 
heralded flash and crash ; then a few drops as big as 
florins ; and then the flood-gates were opened and 
the reservoir of the long months of drought was 
turned loose on us. Crouching under the waggon 
where I had crept to lash down the sail, I looked out 
at the deluge, hesitating whether to make a dash for 
my tent-waggon or remain there. 

All along the surface of the earth there lay for a 
minute or so a two-feet screen of mingled dust and 
splash : long spikes of rain drove down and dashed 
into spray, each bursting its little column of dust 
from the powdery earth. There was an indescribable 
and unforgettable progression in sounds and smells 
and sights a growth and change rapid yet steady, 
inevitable, breathless, overwhelming. Little enough 
could one realise in those first few minutes and in 
the few square yards around; yet there are details, 
unnoticed at the time, which come back quite vividly 

423 





when the bewildering rush is over, and there are 
impressions which it is not possible to forget. 

There were the sounds and the smells and the 
sights ! The sounds that began with the sudden 
crash of thunder ; the dead silence that followed it ; 
the first great drops that fell with such pats on the 
dust ; then more and faster yet still so big and 
separate as to make one look round to see where they 
fell ; the sound on the waggon-sail at first as of 
bouncing marbles, then the * devil's tattoo,' and then 
the roar ! 

And outside there was the mufHed puff and patter 
in the dust ; the rustle as the drops struck dead leaves 
and grass and sticks ; the blend of many notes that 
made one great sound, always growing, changing and 
moving on full of weird significance until there 
came the steady swish and hiss of water upon water, 
when the earth had ceased to stand up against the rain 
and was swamped. But even that did not last ; for 
then the fallen rain raised its voice against the rest, 
and little sounds of trickling scurrying waters came 
to tone the ceaseless hiss, and grew and grew until 
from every side the chorus of rushing tumbling waters 
filled the air with the steady roar of the flood. 

And the smells ! The smell of the baked drought- 
bound earth ; the faint clearing and purifying by 
the first few drops ; the mingled dust and damp ; 
the rinsed air ; the clean sense of water, water every- 
where ; and in the end the bracing sensation in 
nostrils and head, of, not wind exactly, but of swirling 
air thrust out to make room for the falling rain ; and, 

424 



when all was over, the sense of glorious clarified air 
and scoured earth the smell of a new-washed world ! 

And the things that one saw went with the rest, 
marking the stages of the storm's short vivid life. 
The first puffs of dust, where drops struck like bullets ; 
the cloud that rose to meet them ; the drops them- 
selves that streaked slanting down like a flight of 
steel ramrods ; the dust dissolved in a dado of splash. 
I had seen the yellow-brown ground change colour ; 
in a few seconds it was damp ; then mud ; then all 
asheen. A minute more, and busy little trickles 
started everywhere tiny things a few inches long ; 
and while one watched them they joined and merged, 
hurrying on with twist and turn, but ever onward to 
a given point to meet like the veins in a leaf. Each 
tuft of grass became a fountain-head : each space 
between, a little rivulet : swelling rapidly, racing away 
with its burden of leaf and twig and dust and foam 
until in a few minutes all were lost in one sheet of 
moving water. 

Crouching under the waggon I watched it and saw 
the little streamlets, dirty and debris-laden, steal 
slowly on like sluggard snakes down to my feet, and 
winding round me, meet beyond and hasten on. 
Soon the grass-tufts and higher spots were wet ; and 
as the water rose on my boots and the splash beat up 
to my knees, it seemed worth while making for the 
tent of the waggon. But in there the roar was deafen- 
ing ; the rain beat down with such force that it drove 
through the canvas-covered waggon-tent and greased 
buck-sail in fine mist. In there it was black dark, 
425 





the tarpaulin covering all, and I slipped out again 
back to my place under the waggon to watch the 
storm. 

We were on high ground which fell gently away on 
three sides a long spur running down to the river 
between two of the numberless small watercourses 
scoring the flanks of the hills. Mere gutters they were, 
easy corrugations in the slope from the range to the 
river, insignificant drains in which no water ever ran 
except during the heavy rains. One would walk 
through scores of them with easy swinging stride and 
never notice their existence. Yet, when the half- 
hour's storm was over and it was possible to get out and 
look round, they were rushing boiling torrents, twenty 
to thirty feet across and six to ten feet deep, foaming 
and plunging towards the river, red with the soil of the 
stripped earth, and laden with leaves, grass, sticks, and 
branches water-furies, wild and ungovernable, against 
which neither man nor beast could stand for a moment. 

When the rain ceased the air was full of the roar 
of waters, growing louder and nearer all the time. 
I walked down the long low spur to look at the river, 
expecting much, and was grievously disappointed. 
It was no fuller and not much changed. On either 
side of me the once dry dongas emptied their soil- 
stained and debris-laden contents in foaming cataracts, 
each deepening the yellowy red of the river at its 
banks ; but out in mid-stream the river was un- 
disturbed, and its normal colour the clear yellow 
of some ambers was unchanged. How small the 
great storm seemed then ! How puny the flooded 

426 



creeks and dongas yet each master of man and his 
work ! How many of them are needed to make a real 
flood ! 

There are few things more deceptive than the 
tropical storm. To one caught in it, all the world 
seems deluged and overwhelmed; yet a mile away 
it may be all peace and sunshine. I looked at the 
river and laughed : at myself ! The revelation seemed 
complete ; it was humiliating ; one felt so small. 
Still, the drought was broken ; the rains had come ; 
and in spite of disappointment I stayed to watch, 
drawn by the scores of little things caught up and 
carried by the first harvest garnered by the rains. 

A quarter of an hour or more may have been spent 
thus, when amid all the chorus of the rushing waters 
there stole in a duller murmur. Murmur it was at 
first, but it grew steadily into a low-toned, monotoned, 
distant roar ; and it caught and held one like the roar 
of coming hail or hurricane. It was the river coming 
down. 

The sun was out again, and in the straight reach 
above the bend there was every chance to watch the 
flood from the bank where I stood. It seemed strangely 
long in coming, but come it did at last, in waves like 
the half-spent breakers on a sandy beach a slope of 
foam and broken waters in the van, an ugly wall with 
spray-tipped feathered crest behind, and tier on tier 
to follow. Heavens, what a scene ! The force of 
waters, and the utter hopeless puniness of man ! The 
racing waves, each dashing for the foremost place, 
only to force the further on ; the tall reeds caught 
427 





(m 



axyiv.^p^ waist high and then laid low, their silvery tops dipped, 
/v, 'm hidden, and drowned in the flood; the trees yielding, 
and the branches snapping like matches and twirling 
like feathers down the stream ; the rumbling thunder 
of big boulders loosed and tumbled, rolled like marbles 
on the rocks below ; whole trees brought down, and 
turning helplessly in the flood drowned giants with 
their branches swinging slowly over like nerveless arms. 
It was tremendous ; and one had to stay and watch. 

Then the waves ceased ; and behind the opposite bank 
another stream began to make its way, winding like 
a huge snake, spreading wider as it went across the flats 
beyond, until the two rejoined and the river became 
one again. The roar of waters gradually lessened ; 
the two cataracts beside me were silent ; and looking 
down I saw that the fall was gone and that water ran to 
water swift as ever, but voiceless now and was lost 
in the river itself. Inch by inch the water rose towards 
my feet ; tufts of grass trembled, wavered, and went 
down ; little wavelets flipped and licked like tongues 
against the remaining bank of soft earth below me ; 
piece after piece of it leant gently forward, and toppled 
headlong in the eager creeping tide ; deltas of yellow 
scum-flecked water worked silently up the dongas, 
reaching out with stealthy feelers to enclose the place 
where I was standing ; and then it was time to go ! 
* * * * * 

The cattle had turned their tails to the storm, and 
stood it out. They too were washed clean and looked 
fresher and brighter ; but there was nothing in that ! 
Two of them had been seen by the boys moving slowly, 

428 




foot by foot, before the driving rain down the slope 
from the outspan, stung by the heavy drops and yield- 
ing in their weakness to the easy gradient. Only fifty 
yards away they should have stopped in the hollow 
the shallow dry donga of the morning ; but they were 
gone ! Unwilling to turn back and face the rain, 
they had no doubt been caught in the rush of storm- 
water and swirled away, and their bodies were bobbing 
in the Crocodile many miles below by the time we 
missed them. 

In a couple of hours the water had run off ; the 
flooded dongas were almost dry again ; and we moved 
on. 

It was then that the real * rot ' set in. Next 
morning there were half a dozen oxen unable to stand 
up ; and so again the following day. It was no longer 
possible to take the four waggons ; all the spare cattle 
had been used up and it was better to face the worst 
at once ; so I distributed the best of the load on the 
other three waggons and abandoned the rest of it 
with the fourth waggon in the bush. But day by 
day the oxen dropped out, and when we reached the 
Junction and branched up the Kaap, there were not 
enough left for three waggons. 

This time it meant abandoning both waggon and 
load ; and I gave the cattle a day's rest then, hopbg 
that they would pick up strength on good grass to 
face the eight drifts that lay between us and Barberton. 






had not touched fresh meat for many days, 
| as there had been no time for shooting ; but I 
knew that game was plentiful across the river in 
the rough country between the Kaap and Croco- 
^dile, and I started off to make the best of the 
day's delay, little dreaming that it was to be the last 
time Jock and I would hunt together. 

Weeks had passed without a hunt, and Jock must 
have thought there was a sad falling away on the part 
of his master ; he no longer expected anything ; 
the rifle was never taken down now except for an odd 
shot from the outspan or to put some poor animal out 
of its misery. Since the night with the lions, when he 
had been ignominiously cooped up, there had been 
nothing to stir his blood and make life worth living ; 
and this morning as he saw me rise from breakfast 
and proceed to potter about the waggons in the way 
he had come to regard as inevitable, he looked on in- 
differently for a few minutes and then stretched out 
full length in the sun and went to sleep. 

43 



I could not take him with me across the river, as the 
* fly ' was said to be bad there, and it was no place to 
risk horse or dog. The best of prospects would not 
have tempted me to take chance with him, but I hated 
ordering him to stay behind, as it hurt his dignity 
and sense of comradeship, so it seemed a happy accident 
that he was asleep and I could slip away unseen. As 
the cattle were grazing along the river-bank only a few 
hundred yards off, I took a turn that way to have a 
look at them, with natural but quite fruitless concern 
for their welfare, and a moment later met the herd-boy 
running towards me and calling out excitedly some- 
thing which I made out to be : 

" Crocodile ! Crocodile, Inkos ! A crocodile has 
taken one of the oxen." The waggon-boys heard it 
also, and armed with assegais and sticks were on the 
bank almost as soon as I was ; but there was no 
sign of crocodile or bullock. The boy showed 
us the place where the weakened animal had gone 
down to drink the hoof slides were plain enough 
and told how, as it drank, the long black coffin-head had 
appeared out of the water. He described stolidly how 
the big jaws had opened and gripped the bullock's 
nose ; how he, a few yards away, had seen 
the struggle ; how he had shouted and hurled 
his sticks and stones and tufts of grass, and 
feinted to rush down at it ; and how, 
after a muffled bellow and a weak 
staggering effort to pull back, the poor 
beast had slid out into the deep water 
and disappeared. It seemed to be a, 

431 





quite unnecessary addition to my troubles : misfor- 
tunes were coming thick and fast ! 

Half an hour was wasted in watching and searching ; 
but we saw no more of crocodile or bullock, and as 
there was nothing to be done I turned up stream to 
find a shallower and a safer crossing. 

At best it was not pleasant : the water was waist- 
high and racing in narrow channels between and over 
boulders and loose slippery stones, and I was glad to 
get through without a tumble and a swim. 

The country was rough on the other side, and the 
old grass was high and dense, for no one went there in 
those days, and the grass stood unburnt from season 
to season. Climbing over rocks and stony ground, 
crunching dry sticks underfoot, and driving a path 
through the rank tambookil grass, it seemed well-nigh 
hopeless to look for a shot ; several times I heard buck 
start up and dash off only a few yards away, and it 
began to look as if the wiser course would be to turn 
back. At last I got out of the valley into more level 
and more open ground, and came out upon a ledge 
or plateau a hundred yards or more wide, with a low 
ridge of rocks and some thorns on the far side quite 
a likely spot. I searched the open ground from my 
cover, and seeing nothing there crossed over to the 
rocks, threading my way silently between them and 
expecting to find another clear space beyond. The 
snort of a buck brought me to a standstill among the 
rocks, and as I listened it was followed by another and 
another from the same quarter, delivered at irregular 
intervals ; and each snort was accompanied by the 

432 



sound of trampling feet, sometimes like stamps of 
anger and at other times seemingly a hasty movement. 

I had on several occasions interrupted fights between 
angry rivals : once two splendid koodoo bulls were 
at it ; a second time it was two sables, and the vicious 
and incredibly swift sweep of the scimitar horns still 
lives in memory, along with the wonderful nimbleness 
of the other fellow who dodged it ; and another time 
they were blue wildebeeste ; but some interruption had 
occurred each time, and I had no more than a glimpse 
of what might have been a rare scene to witness. 

I was determined not to spoil it this time : no doubt 
it was a fight, and probably they were fencing and 
circling for an opening, as there was no bump of heads 
or clash of horns and no tearing scramble of feet to 
indicate the real struggle. I crept on through the 
rocks and found before me a tangle of thorns and 
dead wood, impossible to pass through in silence ; it 
was better to work back again and try the other side 
of the rocks. The way was clearer there, and I crept 
up to a rock four or five feet high, feeling certain from 
the sound that the fight would be in full view a few 
yards beyond. With the rifle ready I raised myself 
slowly until my eyes were over the top of the rock. 
Some twenty yards off, in an open flat of downtrodden 
grass, I saw a sable cow : she was standing with feet 
firmly and widely planted, looking fiercely in front of 
her, ducking -her head in threatening manner every 
few seconds, and giving angry snorts ; and behind, 
and huddled up against her, was her scared bewildered 
little red-brown calf. 
433 2E 





It seems stupid not to have guessed what it all meant ; 
yet the fact is that for the lew remaining seconds 1 
was simply puzzled and fascinated by the behaviour 
of the two sables. Then in the corner of my eye I 
saw. away on my right, another red-brown thing come 
into the open : it was Jock, casting about with nose 
to ground for my trail which he had over-run at the 
point where I had turned back near the deadwood 
on . the other side of the -rocks. 

What happened then 1 was a matter of a second or 
two. As I turned to look at him he raised his head, 
bristled up all over, and made one jump forward ; 
then a long low yellowish thing moved in the unbeaten 
grass in front of the sable cow, raised its head sharply, 
and looked full into my eyes ; and before I could 
move a finger it shot away in one streak-like 
bound. A wild shot at the lioness, as I jumped up 
full height ; a shout at Jock to come back ; a scramble 
of black and brown on my left ; and it was all over : 
I was standing in the open ground, breathless with 
excitement, and Jock, a few yards off, with hind-legs 
crouched ready for a dash, looking back at me for leave 
to go ! 

The spoor told the tale ; there was the outer circle 
made by the lioness in the grass, broken in 
places where she had feinted to rush 
in and stopped before the 
lowered horns ; and inside 
this there was the smaller 
circle, a tangle of trampled 
grass and spoor, where the 

434 




brave mother had stood between her young and 
death. 

***** 

Any attempt to follow the lioness after that would 
have been waste of time. We struck off in a new 
direction, and in crossing a stretch of level ground 
where the thorn-trees were well scattered and the grass 
fairly short my eye caught a movement in front that 
brought me to instant standstill. It was as if the stem 
of a young thorn-tree had suddenly waved itself and 
settled back again, and it meant that some long- 
horned buck, perhaps a koodoo or a sable bull, was 
lying down and had swung his head ; and it meant 
also that he was comfortably settled, quite unconscious 
of danger. I marked and watched the spot, or rather, 
the line, for the glimpse was too brief to tell more than 
the direction ; but there was no other move. The 
air was almost still, with just a faint drift from him 
to us, and I examined every stick and branch, every 
stump and ant-heap, every bush and tussock, without 
stirring a foot. But I could make out nothing : I 
could trace no outline and see no patch of colour, 
dark or light, to betray him. 

It was an incident very characteristic of Bushveld 
hunting. There I stood minute after minute not 
risking a move, which would be certain to reveal me 
staring and searching for some big animal lying half- 
asleep within eighty yards of me on ground that you 
would not call good cover for a rabbit. We were in 
the sunlight : he lay somewhere beyond, where a few 
scattered thorn-trees threw dabs of shade, marbling 

435 





with dappled shade and light the already : 
surface of earth and grass. I was hopelessly 



mottled 
beaten, 

but Jock could see him well enough ; he crouched 
beside me with ears cocked, and his eyes, all ablaze, 
were fixed intently on the spot, except for an occa- 
sional swift look up to me to see what on earth was 
wrong and why the shot did not come ; his hind-legs 
were tucked under him and he was trembling with 
excitement. Only those will realise it who have been 
through the tantalising humiliating experience. There 
was nothing to be done but wait, leaving the buck to 
make the first move. 

And at last it came : there was another slight shake 
of the horns, and the whole figure stood out in 
bold relief. It was a fine sable bull lying in the 
shadow of one of the thorn-trees with his back 
towards us, and there was a small ant-heap close 
behind him, making a greyish blot against his 
black back and shoulder, and breaking the expanse 
of colour which the eye would otherwise easily have 
picked up. 

The ant-heap made a certain shot impossible, so I 
lowered myself slowly to the ground to wait until he 
should begin feeding or change his position for comfort 
or shade, as they often do : this might mean waiting 
for half an hour or more, but it was better than risking 
a shot in the position in which he was lying. I settled 
down for a long wait with the rifle resting on my 
knees, confidently expecting that when the time came 

to move he would get up 
slowly, stretch himself, 
436 




and have a good look round. But he did nothing of the 
kind ; a turn or eddy of the faint breeze must have 
given him my wind ; for there was one twitch of the 
horns, as his nose was laid to windward, and without 
an instant's pause he dashed off. It was the quickest 
thing imaginable in a big animal : it looked as though 
he started racing from his lying position. The bush 
was not close enough to save him, however, in spite 
of his start, and through the thin veil of smoke I saw 
him plunge and stumble, and then dash off again ; and 
Jock seeing me give chase, went ahead and in half a 
minute I was left well behind, but still in sight of the 
hunt. 

I shouted at Jock to come back, just as one murmurs 
good-day to a passing friend in the din of traffic 
from force of habit : of course, he could hear nothing. 
It was his first and only go at a sable ; he knew nothing 
of the terrible horns and the deadly scythe-like sweep 
that makes the wounded sable so dangerous even the 
lioness had fought shy of them and great as was my 
faith in him, the risk in this case was not one I would 
have taken. There was nothing to do but follow. 
A quarter of a mile on I drew closer up and found 
them standing face to face among the thorns. It was 
the first of three or four stands ; the sable, with a 
watchful eye on me, always moved on as I drew near 
enough to shoot. The beautiful black and white bull 
stood facing his little red enemy and the fence and play 
of feint and thrust, guard and dodge, was wonderful 
to see. Not once did either touch the other ; at 
Jock's least movement the sable's head would go down 

437 





with his nose into his chest and the magnificent horns 
arched forward and poised so as to strike either right 
or left, and if Jock feinted a rush either way the 
scythe-sweep came with lightning quickness, covering 
more than half a circle and carrying the gleaming points 
with a swing right over the sable's own back. Then 
Ik he would advance slowly and menacingly, with horns 
^ well forward ready to strike and eyes blazing through 
his eyebrows, driving Jock before him. 

There were three or four of these encounters in 
which I could take no hand : the distance, the inter- 
vening thorns and grass, and the quickness of their 
movements, made a safe shot impossible ; and there was 
always the risk of hitting Jock, for a hard run does 
not make for good shooting. Each time as the sable 
drove him back there would be a short vicious rush 
suddenly following the first deliberate advance, and 
as Jock scrambled back out of the way the bull would 
swing round with incredible quickness and be off 
full gallop in another direction. Evidently the final 
rush was a manoeuvre to get Jock clear of his heels 
and flanks as he started, and thus secure a lead for the 
next run. 

Since the day he was kicked by the koodoo cow 
Jock had never tackled an unbroken hind-leg ; a 
dangling one he never missed ; but the lesson of the 
flying heels had been too severe to be forgotten, and 
he never made that mistake again. In this chase I 
saw him time after time try at the sable's flanks and 
run up abreast of his shoulder and make flying leaps 
at the throat ; but he never got in front where the 

438 



9 

horns could reach him, and although he passed and 
repassed behind to try on the other side when he had 
failed at the one, and looked up eagerly at the hind- 
legs as he passed them, he made no attempt at them. 

It must have been at the fourth or fifth stand that 
Jock got through the guard at last. The sable was 
badly wounded in the body and doubtless strength 
was failing, but there was little evidence of this yet. 
In the pauses Jock's tongue shot and slithered about, 
a glittering red streak, but after short spells of panting, 
his head would shut up with a snap like a steel trap 
and his face set with that look of invincible resolution 
which it got in part from the pursed-up mouth and 
in part from the intensity of the beady black-brown 
eyes : he was good for hours of this sort of work. 

This time the sable drove him back towards a big 
thorn-tree. It may have been done without design, 
or it may have been done with the idea of pinning him 
up against the trunk. But Jock was not to be caught 
that way ; in a fight he took in the whole field, behind 
as well as in front as he had shown the night the second 
wild dog tackled him. On his side, too, there may or 
may not have been design in backing towards the tree ; 
who knows ? I thought that he scored, not by a 
mano3uvre, but simply because of his unrelaxing 
watchfulness and his resolute unhesitating courage. 
He seemed to know instinctively that 
the jump aside, so safe with the 
straight-charging animals, was no 
game to play against the side rtftif. 
sweep of a sable's horns. 

439 






and at each charge of the enemy he had scrambled 
back out of range without the least pretence of taking 
liberties. 

This time the sable drove him steadily back towards 
the tree, but in the last step, just as the bull made his 
rush, Jock jumped past the tree and instead of scramb- 
ling back out of reach as before, dodged round and was 
in the rear of the buck before it could turn on him. 
There were no flying heels to fear then, and without 
an instant's hesitation he fastened on one of the hind- 
legs above the hock. With a snort of rage and in- 
dignation the sable spun round and round, kicking 
and plunging wildly and making vicious sweeps with 
his horns ; but Jock, although swung about and 
shaken like a rat, was out of reach and kept his grip. 
It was a quick and furious struggle, in which I was 
altogether forgotten, and as one more desperate 
plunge brought the bull down in a struggling kicking 
heap with Jock completely hidden under him, I ran 
up and ended the fight. 

It always took him some time to calm down after 
these tussles : he became so wound up by the excite- 
ment of the struggle that time was needed to run down 
again, so to say. While I was busy on the double 
precaution of fixing up a scare for the aasvogels and 
cutting grass and branches to cover the buck, Jock 
moved restlessly round the sable, ever ready to pounce 
on him again at the least sign of life. The slithering 
tongue and wide-open mouth looked like a big red 
gash splitting his head in two ; he was so blown, his 
breath came and went like the puffing of a diminutive 

44 




steam-engine at full speed, and his eyes with all the 
wickedness of fight but none of the watchfulness 
gone out of them, flickered incessantly from the buck 
to me : one sign from either would have been enough ! 
It was the same old scene, the same old performance, 
that I had watched scores of times ; but it never grew 
stale or failed to draw a laugh, a word of cheer, and pat 
of affection ; and from him there came always the same 
response, the friendly wagging of that stumpy tail, 
a splashy lick, a soft upward look, and a wider split 
of the mouth that was a laugh as plain as if one heard 
it. But that was only an interruption a few seconds' 
distraction : it did not put him off or satisfy him that 
all was well. His attention went back to the buck, 
and the everlasting footwork went on again. With his 
front to the fallen enemy and his fore-legs well apart 
he kept ever on the move forwards and backwards, 
in quick steps of a few inches each, and at the same 
time edging round in his zigzag circle, making a track 
round the buck like a weather chart with the glass at 
' Changeable.' 

" Silly old fusser ! Can't you see he's finished ? " 
He could not hear anything, but the responsive wag 
showed that he knew I was talking to him ; and, 
dodging the piece of bark I threw at him, he resumed 
his ridiculous round. 

I was still laughing at him, when he stopped and turn- 
ing sharply round made a snap at his side ; and a few 
seconds later he did it again. Then there was a thin sing of 
insect wings ; and I knew that the Tsetse fly were on us. 

The only thought then was for Jock, who was still 
441 





working busily round the sable. For some minutes 
I sat with him between my legs, wisping away the flies 
with a small branch and wondering what to do. It 
soon became clear that there was nothing to be gained 
by waiting : instead of passing away the fly became 
more numerous, and there was not a moment's peace 
or comfort to be had, for they were tackling me on 
the neck, arms, and legs, where the thorn-ripped pants 
left them bare to the knees ; so, slinging the rifle over 
my shoulder, I picked Jock up, greatly to his discomfort, 
and carried him off in my arms at the best pace possible 
under the circumstances. Half a mile of that was 
enough, however : the weight, the awkwardness of 
the position, the effort to screen him, and the difficulty 
of picking my way in very rough country at the same 
time, were too much for me. A tumble into a grass- 
hidden hole laid us both out sprawling, and I sat down 
again to rest and think, swishing the flies off as before. 

Then an idea came which, in spite of all the anxiety, 
made me laugh, and ended in putting poor old Jock 
in quite the most undignified and ridiculous plight 
he had known since the days of his puppyhood when 
his head stuck in the bully-beef tin or the hen pecked 
him on the nose. I ripped off as much of my shirt 
as was not needed to protect me against the flies, and 
making holes in it for his legs and tail fitted him out 
with a home-made suit in about five minutes. Time 
was everything ; it was impossible to run with him 
in my arms, but we could run together until we got 
out of the fly belt, and there was not much risk of 
being bitten as long as we kept up the running in the 

442 



long grass. It was a long spell, and what with the 
rough country and the uncontrollable laughter at the 
sight of Jock, I was pretty well done by the time we were 
safely out of the * fly.' We pulled up when the 
country began to fall away sharply towards the river, 
and there, to Jock's evident satisfaction, I took off his 
suit by that time very much tattered and awry. 

It was there, lying between two rocks in the shade 
of a marula tree, that I got one of those chances to see 
game at close quarters of which most men only hear or 
dream. There were no snapshot cameras then ! 

We had been lying there it may be for half an hour 
or more, Jock asleep and I spread out on my back, 
when a slight but distinct click, as of a hoof against a 
stone, made me turn quietly over on my side and listen. 
The rock beside me was about four feet high, and on the 
other side of it a buck of some kind, and a big one 
too, was walking with easy stride towards the river. 
Every footstep was perfectly clear ; the walk was firm 
and confident : evidently there was not the least 
suspicion of danger. It was only a matter of yards 
between us, and what little breeze there was drifted 
across his course towards me, as he too made for the 
river, holding a course parallel with the two long rocks 
between which we were lying. The footsteps came 
abreast of us and then stopped, just as I was expecting 
him to walk on past the rock and down the hill in 
front of me. The sudden halt seemed to mean that 
some warning instinct had arrested him, or some least 
taint upon the pure air softly eddying between the 
rocks had reached him. I could hear his sniffs, and 

443 






pictured him looking about, silent but alarmed, before 
deciding which, way to make his rush. 

I raised myself by inches, close to the rock, until I 
could see over it. A magnificent waterbuck bull, 
full-grown and in perfect coat and condition, was 
standing less than five yards away and a little to the 
right, having already passed me when he came to a 
stop : he was so close that I could see the waves and 
partings in his heavy coat ; the rise and fall in his 
flanks as he breathed ; the ruff on his shaggy bearded 
throat, that gave such an air of grandeur to the head ; 
the noble carriage, as with head held high and slightly 
turned to windward he sniffed the breeze from the 
valley ; the nostrils, mobile and sensitive, searching 
for the least hint of danger ; and the eye, large and 
full and soft, luminous with watchful intelligence, 
and yet mild and calm so free was it from all trace 
of a disturbing thought. And yet I was so close, 
it seemed almost possible to reach out and touch him. 
There was no thought of shooting : it was a moment 
of supreme enjoyment. Just to watch him : that 
was enough. 

In a little while he seemed satisfied that all was well, 
and with head thrown slightly forward and the sure 
clean tread of his kind, he took his line unhesitatingly 
down the hill. As he neared the thicker bush twenty 
yards away a sudden impulse made me give a shout. 
In a single bound he was lost among the trees, and the 
clattering of loose stones and the crackle of sticks in 
his path had ceased before the cold shiver-down-the- 
back, which my spell-breaking shout provoked, had 

444 



passed away. When I turned round Jock was 
still asleep : little incidents like that brought his 
deafness home. 

***** 

It was our last day's hunting together ; and I went 
back to the dreary round of hard, hopeless, useless 
struggle and daily loss. 

One day, a calm cloudless day, there came without 
warning a tremendous booming roar that left the air 
vibrating and seemed to shake the very earth, as a 
thousand echoes called and answered from hill to hill 
down the long valley. There was nothing to explain 
it ; the kaffirs turned a sickly grey, and appealed to 
me ; but I could give them no explanation it was 
something beyond my ken and they seemed to think 
it an evil omen of still greater ill-luck. But, as it 
turned out, the luck was not all bad : some days 
passed before the mystery was solved, and then we 
came to where Coombes, with whom a week earlier 
I had tried and failed to keep pace, had been 
blown to pieces with his boys, waggon, oxen, and three 
tons of dynamite : there was no fragment of waggon 
bigger than one's hand ; and the trees all around were 
barked on one side. We turned out to avoid the 
huge hole in the drift, and passed on. 

There were only twenty oxen left when we 
reached the drift below Fig Tree. The water 
was nearly breast high and we carried three- 
fourths of the loads through on our heads, case 
by case, to make the pull as easy as possible 
for the oxen, as they could only crawl then. 

445 






We got one waggon through with some difficulty, 
but at nightfall the second was still in the river ; we 
had carried out everything removable, even to the 
bucksails, but the weakened bullocks could not move 
the empty waggon. 

The thunder-clouds were piling up ahead, and 
distant lightning gave warning of a storm away up 
river ; so we wound the trek-chain round a big tree 
on the bank, to anchor the waggon in case of flood, 
and reeling from work and weariness, too tired to 
think of food, I flung myself down in my blankets 
under the other waggon which was outspanned where 
we had stopped it in the double-rutted veld road, 
and settling comfortably into the sandy furrow cut 
by many wheels, was ' dead to the world ' in a few 
minutes. Near midnight the storm awoke me and 
a curious coldness about the neck and shoulders made 
me turn over to pull the blankets up. The road had 
served as a storm-water drain, converting the two 
wheel furrows into running streams, and I, rolled in 
my blankets, had dammed up one of them. The 
prompt flow of the released water as soon as I turned 
over, told plainly what had happened. I looked out 
at the driving rain and the glistening earth, as shown 
up by constant flashes of lightning : it was a world 
of rain and spray and running water. It seemed that 
there was neither hope nor mercy anywhere ; I was 
too tired to care, and dropping back into the trough, 

slept the night out in water. 
'-^ssi^jjy/ ff I* 1 tne morning we found the 

waggon still in the drift, although 

446 




partly hidden by the flood, but the force of the 
stream had half-floated and half-forced it round on 
to higher ground ; only the anchoring chain had 
saved it. We had to wait some hours for the river 
to run down, and then to my relief the rested but 
staggering oxen pulled it out at the first attempt 

Rooiland, the light red ox with blazing yellow eyes 
and topped horns, fierce and untamable to the end, 
was in the lead then. I saw him as he took the strain 
in that last pull, and it was pitiful to see the restless 
eager spirit fighting against the failing strength: he 
looked desperate. The thought seems fanciful 
about a dumb animal and perhaps it is ; but what 
happened just afterwards makes it still vivid and 
fitted in very curiously with the superstitious notions 
of the boys. We outspanned in order to re-pack the 
loads, and Rooiland, who as front ox was the last to be 
released, stood for a few moments alone while the rest 
of the cattle moved away ; then turning his back on 
them he gave a couple of low moaning bellows and 
walked down the road back to the drift again. I had 
no doubt it was to drink ; but the boys stopped their 
work and watched him curiously, and some remarks 
passed which were inaudible to me. As the ox dis- 
appeared down the slope into the drift, Jim called to 
his leader to bring him back, and then turning to me, 
added with his usual positiveness, " Rooiland is mad. 
Umtagati ! Bewitched ! He is look- 
ing for the dead ones. He is going to 
die to-day ! " 

The boy came back presently 

447 






alone. When he reached the drift, he said, Rooiland 
was standing breast-high in the river, and then in a 
moment, whether by step or slip, he was into the flood 
and swept away. The leader's account was received 
by the others in absolute silence : a little tightening 
of the jaws and a little brightening of the eyes, perhaps, 
were all I could detect. They were saturated with 
superstition, and as pagan fatalists they accepted the 
position without a word. I suggested to Jim that it 
was nothing but a return of Rooiland's old straying 
habit, and probed him with questions, but could get 
nothing out of him ; finally he walked off with an 
expressive shake of the head and the repetition of his 
former remark, without a shade of triumph, surprise, 
or excitement in his voice : " He is looking for the 
dead ones ! " 

We were out of the fly then, and the next day we 
reached Fig Tree. 

That was the end of the last trek. Only three oxen 
reached Barberton, and they died within the week : 
the ruin was complete. 





WHEN the trip was squared off and the boys 
paid, there was nothing left. Jim went home 
with waggons returning to Spitzkop : once 
more for the last time grievously hurt in 
dignity because his money was handed to my 
friend the owner of the waggon to be paid 
out to him when he reached his kraal ; but his 
gloomy resentment melted as I handed over to him 
things for which there was no further need. The 
waggons moved off, and Jim with them ; but twice 
he broke back again to dance and shout his gratitude ; 
for it was wealth to him to have the reims and voor- 
slag, the odd yokes and strops and waggon tools, the 
baking pot and pan and billies ; and they were little to 
me when all else was gone. And Jim, with all his faults, 
had earned some title to remembrance for his loyalty. 
My way had been his way ; and the hardest day had 
never been too hard for him : he had seen it all through 
to the finish, without a grumble and without a shirk. 

His last shout, like the bellow of a bull, was an up- 
roarious good-bye to Jock. And Jock seemed to know 
449 2F 





it was something of an occasion, for, as he stood before 
me looking down the road at the receding waggons 
and the dancing figure of Jim, his ears were cocked, 
his head was tilted a little sideways, and his tail stirred 
gently. It was at least a friendly nod in return ! 

A couple of weeks later I heard from my friend : 
"You will be interested to hear that that lunatic of 
yours reached his kraal all right ; but that's not his 
fault. He is a holy terror. I have never known such 
a restless animal : he is like a change in the weather 
you seem to feel him everywhere, upsetting every- 
thing and every one the whole time. I suppose you 
hammered him into his place and kept him there ; 
but I wouldn't have him at a gift. It is not that 
there was anything really wrong ; only there was no 
rest, no peace. 

" But he's a gay fighter ! That was a treat : I never 
laughed so much in my life. Below the Devil's 
Kantoor we met a lot of waggons from Lydenburg, 
and he had a row with one of the drivers, a lanky 
nigger with dandy-patched clothes. The boy wouldn't 
fight just yelled blue murder while Jim walloped 
him. I heard the yells and the whacks, like the 
beating of carpets, and there was Jim laying it on all 
over him legs, head, back, and arms with a sort of 
ferocious satisfaction, every whack being accompanied 
by a husky suppressed shout : ' Fight, Shangaan ! 
Fight ! ' But the other fellow was not on for fighting ; 
he floundered about, yelled for mercy and help, and 
tried to run away ; but Jim simply played round him 
one spring put him alongside each time. I felt 

450 



sorry for the long nigger and was going to interfere 
and save him, but just then one of his pals called out 
to their gang to come along and help, and ran for his 
sticks. It was rare fun then. Jim dropped the 
patched fellow and went like a charging lion straight 
for the waggons where the gang were swarming for 
their sticks, letting out right and left whenever he 
saw a nigger, whether they wanted to fight or not ; 
and in about five seconds the whole lot were heading 
for the bush with Jim in full chase. 

" Goodness knows what the row was about. As far 
as I can make out from your heathen, it is because the 
other boy is a Shangaan and reads the Bible. Jim says 
this boy Sam is his name worked for you and ran 
away. Sam says it is not true, and that he never even 
heard of you, and that Jim is a stranger to him. There's 
something wrong in this, though, because when the 
row began, Sam first tried to pacify your lunatic, 
and I heard him sing out in answer to the first 
few licks, ' Kahle, Umganaam ; Kahle, MakokeP ! ' 
(Gently, friend; gently, MakokeP.) 'Wow, Mako- 
kela, y' ou bulala mena ! ' (Wow, Makokela, you 
will kill me.) He knew Jim right enough ; that was 
evident. But it didn't help him ; he had to skip for 
it all the same. I was glad to pay the noble Jim off and 
drop him at his kraal. Sam was laid up when we left." 

It is better to skip the change from the old life to 
the new when the luck, as we called it, was all out, 
when each straw seemed the last for the camel's break- 
ing back, and there was always still another to come. 
But the turn came at last, and the ' Ion*? arm of 







coincidence ' reached out to make the ' impossible ' 
a matter of fact. It is better to skip all that : for it 
is not the story of Jock, and it concerns him only so 
far that in the end it made our parting unavoidable. 

When the turn did come it was strange, and at times 
almost bewildering, to realise that the things one had 
struggled hardest against and regarded as the worst 
of bad luck were blessings in disguise and were all for 
the best. So the new life began and the old was put 
away ; but the new life, for all its brighter and wider 
outlook and work of another class, for all the charm 
that makes Barberton now a cherished memory to all 
who knew the early days, was not all happy. The 
new life had its hours of darkness too ; of almost 
unbearable ' trek fever ' ; of restless, sleepless, longing 
for the old life ; of ' home -sickness ' for the veld, the 
freedom, the roaming, the nights by the fire, and the 
days in the bush ! Now and again would come a 
sleepless night with its endless procession of scenes, 
in which some remembered from the past were inter- 
linked with others imagined for the future ; and here 
and there in these long waking dreams came stabs of 
memory flashes of lightning vividness : the head 
and staring eyes of the koodoo bull, as we had stood 
for a portion of a second face to face ; the yawning 
mouth of the maddened crocodile ; the mamba and 
its beady hateful eyes, as it swept by before the bush- 
fire. And there were others too that struck another 
chord : the cattle, the poor dumb beasts that had 
worked and died : stepping-stones in a man's career ; 
the * books,' the ' chalk and blackboard ' of the 

452 




school used, discarded, and forgotten ! No, 
were not forgotten ; and the memory of the last trek / 
was one long mute reproach on their behalf : they / 
had paved the roadway for the Juggernaut man. \ / 

All that was left of the old life was Jock ; and soon 
there was no place for him. He could not always be 
with me ; and when left behind he was miserable, 
leading a life that was utterly strange to him, without 
interest and among strangers. While I was in Barber- 
ton he accompanied me everywhere, but absurd as 
it seems there was a constant danger for him there, 
greater though less glorious than those he faced so 
lightly in the veld. His deafness, which passed almost 
unnoticed and did not seem to handicap him at all in 
the veld, became a serious danger in camp. For a long 
time he had been unable to hear a sound, but he could 
feel sounds : that is to say, he was quick to notice 
anything that caused a vibration. In the early days 
of his deafness I had been worried by the thought that 
he would be run over while lying asleep near or under 
the waggons, and the boys were always on the look-out 
to stir him up ; but we soon found that this was not 
necessary. At the first movement he would feel the 
vibration and jump up. Jim realised this well enough, 
for when wishing to direct his attention to strange dogs 
or Shangaans, the villain could always dodge me by 
stamping or hammering on the ground, and Jock 
always looked up : he seemed to know the difference 
between the sounds he could ignore, such as chopping 
wood, and those that he ought to notice. 

In camp Barberton in those days was reckoned 

453 




a mining camp, and was always referred to as * camp ' 
the danger was due to the number of sounds. He 
would stand behind me as I stopped in the street, and 
sometimes lie down and snooze if the wait was a long 
one ; and the poor old fellow must have thought it a 
sad falling off, a weary monotonous change from the 
real life of the veld. At first he was very watchful, 
and every rumbling wheel or horse's footfall drew his 
alert little eyes round to the danger point ; but the 
traffic and noise were almost continuous and one sound 
ran into another ; and thus he became careless or 
puzzled and on several occasions had narrowly escaped 
being run over or trodden on. 

Once, in desperation after a bad scare, I tried 
chaining him up, and although his injured reproachful 
look hurt, it did not weaken me : I had hardened my 
heart to do it, and it was for his own sake. At lunch- 
time he was still squatting at the full length of the 
chain, off the mat and -straw, and with his head hang- 
ing in the most hopeless dejected attitude one could 
imagine. It was too much for me the dog really 
felt it ; and when I released him there was no rejoicing 
in his freedom as the hated collar and chain dropped 
off : he turned from me without a sign or sound of 
any sort, and walking off slowly, lay down some ten 
yards away with his head resting on his paws ! He 
went to think not to sleep. 

I felt abominably guilty, and was conscious of 
wanting to make up for it all the afternoon. 

Once I took him out to Fig Tree Creek fifteen miles 
away, and left him with a prospector friend at whose 

454 



camp in the hills it seemed he would be much better 
off and much happier. When I got back to Barberton 
that night he was waiting for me, with a tag of chewed 
rope^ hanging round his neck, not the least ashamed 
of ^ himself, but openly rejoicing in the meeting and 
evidently never doubting that I was equally pleased. 
And he was quite right there. 

But it could not go on. One day as he lay asleep 
behind me, a loaded waggon coming sharply round a 
corners nearly as possible passed over him. The wheel 
was within inches of his back as he lay asleep in the 
sand : there was no chance to grab it was a rush and 
a kick that saved him ; and he rolled over under the 
waggon, and found his own way out between the wheels. 

A few days after this Ted passed through Barberton, 
and I handed Jock over to him, to keep and to care 
for until I had a better and safer home for him. 
***** 

One day some two years later there turned up at 
my quarters an old friend of the transport days 
Harry Williams he had been away on a long trek 
* up north ' to look for some supposed mine of 
fabulous richness of which there had been vague and 
secret reports from natives. He stayed with me 
for some days, and one evening after the bout of fever 
and ague had passed off and rest and good feeding had 
begun to pull him round, he told us the story of their 
search. It was a trip of much adventure, but it was 
the end of his story that interested me most ; and 
that is all that need be told here. 

They had failed to find the mine ; the native who 

455 






was supposed to know all about it had deserted, with 
all he could carry off ; they were short of food and 
money, and out of medicines ; the delays had been 
great ; they were two hundred miles from any white 
men ; there was no road but their own erratic track 
through the bush ; the rains had begun and the fever 
season set in ; the cattle they had one waggon and 
span were worn out ; the fever had gripped them, 
and of the six white men, three were dead, one dying, 
and two only able to crawl ; most of their boys had 
deserted ; one umfaan fit for work, and the driver- 
then delirious with fever completed the party. 

The long journey was almost over ; and they were 
only a few treks from the store and camp for which 
they were making ; but they were so stricken and 
helpless it seemed as though that little was too much, 
and they must die within reach of help. The driver, 
a big Zulu, was then raving mad ; he had twice run 
off into the bush and been lost for hours. Precious 
time and waning strength were spent in the search, and 
with infinite effort and much good luck they had found 
him and induced him to return. On the second occa- 
sion they had enticed him on to the waggon and, as he 
lay half unconscious between bursts of delirium, had 
tied him down flat on his back, with wrists and ankles 
fastened to the buckrails. It was all they could do 
to save him : they had barely strength to climb up 
and pour water into his mouth from time to time. 

It was midday then, and their dying comrade was 
so far gone that they decided to abandon one trek 
and wait for evening, to allow him to die in peace. 

456 



Later on, when they thought it was all over, they tried 
to scrape out a grave for him, and began to pull out 
one old blanket to wrap round him in place of a 
shroud and coffin. It was then that the man opened 
his eyes and faintly shook his head ; so they inspanned 
as best they could and made another trek. I met the 
man some years afterwards, and he told me he had 
heard all they said, but could only remember one thing, 
and that was Harry's remark, that ' two gin-cases were 
not enough for a coffin, so they would have to take 
one of the blankets instead.' 

In the morning they went on again. It was then 
at most two treks more to their destination ; but they 
were too weak to work or walk, and the cattle were left 
to crawl along undriven ; but after half an hour's 
trekking, they reached a bad drift where the waggon 
stuck ; the cattle would not face the pull. The two 
tottering trembling white men did their best, but 
neither had strength to use the whip ; the umfaan 
led the oxen this way and that, but there was no more 
effort in them. The water had given out, and the 
despairing helpless men saw death from thirst awaiting 
them within a few hours' trek of help ; and to add to 
the horror of it all, the Zulu driver, 
with thirst aggravating his de- 
lirium, was a raving lunatic 
struggling and wrench- 
ing at his bonds until the 
waggon rattled, and utter- 
ing maniac yells and gab- 
bling incessantly. 

457 






Hours had gone by in hopeless effort ; but the 
oxen stood out at all angles, and no two would pull 
together in answer to the feeble efforts of the fainting 
men. Then there came a lull in the shouts from the 
waggon and in answer to the little voorlooper's 
warning shout, " Pas op, Baas ! " (Look out, Master !), 
the white men looked round and saw the Zulu driver 
up on his knees freeing himself from the reims. In 
another moment he was standing up full height 
a magnificent but most unwelcome sight : there was 
a thin line of froth along the half-opened mouth ; 
the deep-set eyes glared out under eyebrows and fore- 
head bunched into frowning wrinkles, as for a few 
seconds he leaned forward like a lion about to spring 
and scanned the men and oxen before him ; and then 
as they watched him in breathless silence, he sprang 
lightly off the waggon, picked up a small dry stick 
as he landed, and ran up along the span. 

He spoke to the after-ox by name as he passed ; 
called to another, and touched it into place ; thrust 
his way between the next one and the dazed white 
man standing near it, tossing him aside with a brush 
of his arm, as a ploughshare spurns a sod ; and then 
they saw how the boy's madness had taken him. His 
work and his span had called to him in his delirium ; 
and he had answered. With low mutterings, short 
words hissed out, and all the sounds and terms the 
cattle knew shot at them low pitched and with 
intense repression he ran along the span, crouching 
low all the time like a savage stealing up for murderous 
attack. 

458 



The two white men stood back and watched. 

Reaching the front oxen, he grasped the leading 
reim and pulled them round until they stood level 
for the straight pull out ; then down the other side 
of the span he ran with cat-like tread and activity, 
talking to each and straightening them up as he had 
done with the others ; and when he reached the 
waggon again, he turned sharply and overlooked the 
span. One ox had swung round and stood out of 
line ; there was a pause of seconds, and then the big 
Zulu called to the ox by name not loudly but in a 
deep low tone, husky with intensity and the animal 
swung back into line again. 

Then out of the silence that followed came an 
electrifying yell to the span : every bullock leaned to 
its yoke, and the waggon went out with a rush. 

And he drove them at a half-trot all the way to the 
store : without water ; without help ; without con- 
sciousness ; the little dry twig still in his hand, and 
only his masterful intensity and knowledge of his work 
and span to see him through. 

" A mad troublesome savage," said Harry Williams, 
" but one of the very best. Anyhow, we thought so ; 
he saved us ! >: 

There was something very familiar in this, and it was 
with a queer feeling of pride and excitement that I 
asked : 

" Did he ever say to you * My catchum lion 
'live ' ? " 

" By gum ! You know him ? Jim : Jim Mako- 
keP ! " 
459 





" Indeed I do. Good old Jim ! " 

* * * * 

Years afterwards Jim was still a driver, working 
when necessary, righting when possible, and enjoying 
intervals of lordly ease at his kraal where the wives 
and cattle stayed and prospered. 





AND Jock ? 

But I never saw my dog again. For a year 
or so he lived something of the old veld life, 
trekking and hunting ; from time to time I 
heard of him from Ted and others : stories seemed 
to gather easily about him as they do about certain 
people, and many knew Jock and were glad to bring 
news of him. The things they thought wonderful 
and admirable made pleasant news for them to tell 
and welcome news to me, and they were heard with 
contented pride, but without surprise, as " just like 
him " : there was nothing more to be said. 

One day I received word from Ted that he was off 
to Scotland for a few months and had left Jock with 
another old friend, Tom Barnett Tom, at whose 
store under the Big Fig Tree, Seedling lies buried ; 
and although I was glad that he had been left with 
a good friend like Tom, who would care for him as 
well as any one could, the life there was not of the kind 
461 





to suit him. For a few months it would not matter ; 
but I had no idea of letting him end his days as a watch- 
dog at a trader's store in the kaffir country. Tom's 
trouble was with thieves ; for the natives about there 
were not a good lot, and their dogs were worse. When 
Jock saw or scented them, they had the poorest sort 
of luck or chance : he fought to kill, and not as town 
dogs fight ; he had learnt his work in a hard school, 
and he never stopped or slackened until the work 
was done ; so his fame soon spread and it brought 
Tom more peace than he had enjoyed for many a day. 
Natives no longer wandered at will into the reed- 
enclosed yard ; kaffir dogs ceased to sneak into the 
store and through the house, stealing everything they 
could get. Jock took up his place at the door, and 
hungry mongrels watched him from a distance or 
sneaked up a little closer when from time to time he 
trotted round to the yard at the back of the building 
to see how things were going there. 

All that was well enough during the day ; but the 
trouble occurred at night. The kaffirs were too scared 
to risk being caught by him, but the dogs from the 
surrounding kraals prowled about after dark, scaveng- 
ing and thieving where they could ; and what angered 
Tom most of all was the killing of his fowls. The yard 
at the back of the store was enclosed by a fence of 
close-packed reeds, and in the middle of the yard 
stood the fowl-house with a clear space of bare ground 
all round it. On many occasions kaffir dogs had 
found their way through the reed fence and killed 
fowls perching about the yard, and several times they 

462 



had burgled the fowl-house itself. In spite of Jock's 
presence and reputation, this night robbing still con- 
tinued, for while he slept peacefully in front of the 
store, the robbers would do their work at the back. 
Poor old fellow ! They were many and he was one ; 
they prowled night and day, and he had to sleep 
sometimes ; they were watchful and he was deaf ; so 
he had no chance at all unless he saw or scented them. 

There were two small windows looking out on to 
the yard, but no door in the back of the building ; 
thus, in order to get into the yard, it was necessary 
to go out of the front door and round the side of the 
house. On many occasions Tom, roused by the 
screaming of the fowls, had seized his gun and run 
round to get a shot at the thieves ; but the time so 
lost was enough for a kafRr dog, and the noise made 
in opening the reed gate gave ample warning of his 
coming. 

The result was that Tom generally had all his trouble 
for nothing ; but it was not always so. Several times 
he roused Jock as he ran out, and invariably got some 
satisfaction out of what followed ; once Jock caught 
one of the thieves struggling to force a way through 
the fence and held on to the hind leg until Tom came 
up with the gun ; on other occasions he had caught 
them in the yard ; on others, again, he had run them 
down in the bush and finished it off there without 
help or hindrance. 

That was the kind of life to which Jock seemed to 
have settled down. 

He was then in the very prime of life, and I still 
463 






hoped to get him back to me some day to a home 
where he would end his days in peace. Yet it seemed 
impossible to picture him in a life of ease and idleness 
a watch-dog in a house sleeping away his life on a mat, 
his only excitement keeping off strange kaffirs and 
stray dogs, or burrowing for rats and moles in a garden, 
with old age, deafness, and infirmities growing year 
by year to make his end miserable. I had often 
thought that it might have been better had he died 
fighting hanging on with his indomitable pluck and 
tenacity, tackling something with all the odds against 
him ; doing his duty and his best as he had always 
done and died as Rocky's dog had died. If on that 
last day of our hunting together he had got at the 
lioness, and gone under in the hopeless fight ; if the 
sable bull had caught and finished him with one of 
the scythe-like sweeps of the scimitar horns ; if he 
could have died like Nelson in the hour of victory ! 
Would it not have been better for him happier for 
me ? Often I thought so. For to fade slowly away ; 
to lose his strength and fire and intelligence ; to 
outlive his character, and no longer be himself ! No, 
that could not be happiness ! 

Well, Jock is dead ! Jock, the innocent cause of 
Seedling's downfall and death, lies buried under 
the same big Fig Tree : the graves stand side by side. 
He died, as he lived true to his trust ; and this is 
how it happened, as it was faithfully told to me : 

It was a bright moonlight night Think of the scores 
we had spent together, the mild glorious nights of 
the Bushveld ! and once more Tom was roused by 

.464 



a clatter of falling boxes and the wild screams of fowls 
in the yard. Only the night before the thieves had 
beaten him again ; but this time he was determined to be 
even with them. Jumping out of bed he opened 
the little window looking out on to the fowl-house, 
and, with his gun resting on the sill, waited for the 
thief. He waited long and patiently ; and by-and-by 
the screaming of the fowls subsided enough for him 
to hear the gurgling and scratching about in the 
fowl-house, and he settled down to a still longer 
watch ; evidently the kaffir dog was enjoying his stolen 
meal in there. 

" Go on ! Finish it ! " Tom muttered grimly ; 
" I'll have you this time if I wait till morning ! " 

So he stood at the window waiting and watching, 
until every sound had died away outside. He listened 
intently : there was not a stir ; there was nothing to 
be seen in the moonlit yard ; nothing to be heard ; 
not even a breath of air to rustle the leaves in the big 
fig-tree. 

Then, in the same dead stillness the dim form of a 
dog appeared in the doorway, stepped softly out of 
the fowl-house, and stood in the deep shadow of the 
little porch. Tom lifted the gun slowly and took 
careful aim. When the smoke cleared away, the 
figure of the dog lay still, stretched out on the ground 
where it had stood ; and Tom went back to bed, 

satisfied. 

***** 

The morning sun slanting across the yard shone in 
Tom's eyes as he pushed the reed gate open and made 
465 2 G 





his way towards the fowl-house. Under the porch, 
where the sunlight touched it, something shone like 
burnished gold. 

He was stretched on his side it might have been 
in sleep ; but on the snow-white chest there was one 
red spot. 

And inside the fowl-house lay the kaffir dog dead 

Jock had done his duty. 



THE END 




NOTES 

SNAKE stories are proverbially an ' uncommercial risk ' for 
those who value a reputation for truthfulness. Hailstorms 
are scarcely less disastrous ; hence these notes ! 

MAMBA. This is believed to be the largest and swiftest of 
the deadly snakes, and one of the most wantonly vicious. The 
late Dr. Colenso (Bishop of Zululand) in his Zulu dictionary 
describes them as attaining a length of twelve feet, and capable 
of chasing a man on horseback. The writer has seen several 
of this length, and has heard of measurements up to fourteen 
feet (which, however, were not sufficiently verified) ; he has 
also often heard stories of men on horseback being chased by 
black mambas, but has never met the man himself, nor suc- 
ceeded in eliciting the important facts as to pace and distance. 
However that may be, the movements of a mamba, even on 
open ground, are, as the writer has several times observed, so 
incredibly swift as to leave no other impression on the mind 
than that of having witnessed a magical disappearance. How 
often and how far they * travel on their tails,' whether it is a 
continuous movement or merely a momentary uprising to 
command a view, and what length or what proportion of the 
body is on the ground for support or propulsion, the writer 
has no means of knowing : during the Zulu war an Imperial 
officer was bitten by a mamba while on horseback and died 
immediately. 

HAILSTORMS. Bad hailstorms occur every year in South 
467 



Africa, but they do not last long (ten minutes is enough to 
destroy everything that stands). The distances are immense, 
and the area of disturbance is usually a narrow strip ; hence, 
except when one strikes a town, very few people ever witness 
them'. This summer hailstorms were more general and more 
severe in the Transvaal than for some time past. A bad storm 
baffles description. The size of the hailstones is only one of 
the factors a strong wind enormously increases the destruc- 
tiveness ; yet some idea may be gathered from the size of the 
stones. The writer took a plaster cast of one picked up at 
Zuurfontein (near Johannesburg), in November 1906, which 
measured 4$ inches long, 3^ wide and i^ inches thick a slab 
of white ice. In the Hekpoort Valley (near Johannesburg) and 
in Barberton, about the same date, the veld was like a glacier ; 
the hail lay like snow, inches deep, and during the worst spells 
the general run of the hailstones varied in size from pigeons' 
eggs to hens' eggs ; but the big ones, the crash of whose 
individual blows was distinctly heard through the general roar, 
are described as ' bigger than cricket balls ' and * the size of 
breakfast cups,' generally with an elongation or tail like a 
balloon. Sheep and buck were killed, and full-grown cattle 
so battered that some were useless and others died of the 
injuries ; wooden doors were broken in, the panels being 
completely shattered ; corrugated iron roofs were perforated, 
and in some cases the hailstones drove completely through them. 
The writer photographed a portion of a roof in Barberton 
which had suffered thus, and saw plaster casts formed by 
pouring plaster of Paris into the indentations which two 
hailstones had made in a flower bed in diameter equalling, 
respectively, tennis and cricket balls. 

Near Harrismith, O.R.C., in 1903, two herd boys with a 
troop of about a hundred goats and calves were caught by the 
hail. The boys and all the stock, except one old goat, were 
killed. 



GLOSSARY 



NOTE. The spelling of Cape Dutch and native names is in many cases not to 
be determined by recognised authority. The pronunciation cannot be quite 
accurately suggested through the medium of English. The figures of 
weights and measurements of animals are gathered from many sources, 
and refer only to first-class specimens. The weights are necessarily 
approximate. 

AASVOGEL (D), a vulture (///. carrion bird). 

ANTBEAR, AARDVARK (D) (Orycteropus Afer). 

ANT-HEAP, mound made by termites or 'white ants.' Usually 
formed by one colony of ants ; about two to four feet in base 
diameter and height, but often in certain localities very much 
larger. The writer photographed one this year near the scene 
of the Last Hunt, eighteen feet base diameter and ten feet high, 
and another in Rhodesia which formed a complete background 
for a travelling waggonette and six mules. In both cases these 
mounds were ' deserted cities,' and trees, probably fifty to one 
hundred years old, were growing out of them. 

ASSEGAI (pro. ass-e-guy) (N), native spear. 

BAAS (D), master. 

BANSELA (pro. baan-se-la) (N), a present. 

BEKER (pro. beaker) (D), a cup. 

BILLY, a small tin utensil with lid and handle, used for boiling water. 

BUCKSAIL, tarpaulin used for covering transport waggons, which are 

known as buck-waggons. 
469 2 G 2 



BUFFALO, Cape buftalo (Bos Caffer). Height, 5 ft. 6 in.; weight, 

possibly 1000 Ibs. ; horns, 48 in. from tip to tip and 36 in. each 

in length on curve. 
BULTONG, or BILTONG (pro. biltong) (n), meat cut in strips, slightly 

salted, and dried in the open air. 
BUSHBUCK, a medium-sized but very courageous antelope (Trage- 

laphus scriptus). Height, 3 ft. ; weight, 1 30 Ibs. ; horns (male only), 

l8in. 
BUSHVELD, properly BOSCHVELD (D), bush country; also called Low 

Veld and Low Country. 

CANE RAT (Thryonomys swinderenianus). 
CETYWAYO (see KETSHWAYO). 

CHAKA, properly TSHAKA (N), the first of the great Zulu kings and 
founder of the Zulu military power. 

DASSIE (pro. daas-ey) (D), rock-rabbit ; coney (Procavia (Hyrax) ca- 
pemii) (lit. little badger). 

DINGAAN, properly DINGAN (E) (N), the second of the great Zulu 
kings; brother, murderer, and successor of Chaka. 

DISSELBOOM (D), the pole of a vehicle. 

DONGA (N), a gully or dry watercourse with steep banks. 

DOUGHBOYS, scones ; frequently unleavened dough baked in coals ; 
also ash-cakes, roaster cookies, stick-in-the-gizzards, veld-bricks, 
&c. 

DRIFT (D), a ford. 

DUIKER (pro. in Eng. dyker, in Dutch dayker) (D), a small antelope 
found throughout Africa (Cephalophus grlmmi). Gross weight, 
30 to 40 Ibs.; height, 28 in.; horns, 5 Jin. (//'/. diver, so called from 
its habit of disappearing and reappearing in low scrub in a suc- 
cession of bounds when it first starts running). 

GO'WAY BIRD, the grey plantain eater (Schizorhis concolor). 

HARTEBEESTE (pro. haar-te-beast) (D), a large antelope, of which there 
are several varieties, varying in gross weight from 300 to 500 Ibs. 
Height, 48 in. ; horns, 24 in. 

HIGHVELD, properly HOOGEVELD (D), high country ; the plateau, about 
5000 to 6000 ft. above sea-level. 

470 



HONEY BIRD, the honey guide (several species ; family, Indicatoriace). 

HONEY-SUCKER, sunbird (several species ; family, Nectariniid*). 

HORSE-SICKNESS, a lung affection prevalent during summer in low- 
lying parts ; generally fatal ; caused by microbes introduced in the 
blood by some insect. 

IMPALA (N), an antelope (&pyceros melampus) ; habitat, Bushveld ; 

weight, 140 Ibs. ; horns, up to 20 in., straight. 
IMPI (pro. impey) (N), an army or body of armed natives gathered for 

or engaged in war. 
INDUNA (pro. in-doo-nah) (N), a head-man, captain, or chief, great or 

petty. 
INKOS (pro. in-kos 'os' as in verbose) (N), chief; used as a term of 

respect in address or salutation. 

INSPAN, properly ENSPAN (D), to yoke up, harness up, or hitch up. 
ISANDHL'WANA, also 'SANDHL'WANA, incorrectly ISANDULA (pro. saan- 

shle-waa-na), meaning ' the little hand,' the hill which gave the 

name to the battle in which the 24th Regiment was annihilated 

in the Zulu War, 1879. 

KAFFIR CORN, sorghum. 

KAHLE (pro. kaa-shle, corrupted in kitchen Kaffir to 'gaashly') 

(N), gently, carefully, pleasantly, well. 'Hamba kahle,' farewell, 

go in peace. ' Hlala (pro. shlala) kahle,' farewell, stay in peace. 
KEHLA (pro. keh-shlaa) (N), a native of certain age and position 

entitled to wear the head ring. Dutch, ring kop ring head. 
KERRIE, or KIRRIE, native sticks used for fighting, frequently knobbed ; 

hence, knob-kerrie. 
KETSHWAYO (pro. ketsh-wy-o), incorrectly CETYWAYO, fourth and last 

of the great Zulu kings. 
KLIPSPRINGER (D), a small antelope, in appearance and habit rather 

like chamois (Oreotragus saltator) (lit. a rock-jumper). 
KLOOF (D), a gorge. 
KNEEHALTER (D), to couple the head to one foreleg by a reim or strap 

attached to the halter, closely enough to prevent the animal 

from moving fast. 
KNOORHAAN, commonly, but incorrectly, KOORHAAN or KORAAN, 

(D), the smaller bustard (///. scolding cock). 

471 



KOODOO, properly KUDU (N) (Strepsiceros capensif). Habitat, rugged 

bushy country. Height, 5 ft.; weight, 600 Ibs.; horns, up to 

48 in. straight, and 66 in. on curve. 
KOPJE (pro. copy) (D), a hill (///. a little head). 
KRAAL (pro. in Eng. crawl) (D), an enclosure for cattle, sheep, &c., 

a corral ; also a collection of native huts, the home of a family, 

the village of a chief or tribe. 
KRANS (D), often spelt KRANTZ (German) (D. krans, a circlet or crown), 

a precipitous face or coronet of rock on a hill or mountain. 

LAGAVAAN, a huge water lizard, the monitor. Cape Dutch, lagewaan 
(pure Dutch, laguaan) (l^aranus mloticui). Maximum length up 
to 8 ft. 

LOOPER, round shot for fowling-piece, about four times the size of 
buck shot. 

MARULA, in Zulu UMOANO, a tree which furnishes soft white wood, 

which is carved into bowls, spoons, &c. j fruit eaten or fermented 

for drink (Sclerocarya caffra). 
MEERKAT (D), a small animal of the mongoose kind (properly applied 

to Suricata tetradactyla, but loosely to several species). 
MIDDLEVELD, properly MIDDELVELD (D), the mixed country lying 

between the Highveld and the Bushveld. 

NEKSTROP (D), the neck-strap, or reim, which, attached to the 

yokeskeys, keeps the yoke in place. 
Nix (D), nothing (from D. niets). 

ORIBI (N), a small antelope (Ourebla scoparia). Weight, 30 Ibs.; 

height, 24 in.; horns, 6 in. 
OUTSPAN, properly UITSPAN (D), to unyoke or unharness; also the camp 

where one has outspanned, and places where it is customary, or 

by law permitted, to outspan. 

PAUW (pro. pow) (D), the great bustard (lit. peacock). 

PANDA, properly 'MPANDE (N), the third of the great Zulu kings. 

PEZULU (N), on top, up, above. 

PARTRIDGE, PHEASANT, names applied somewhat loosely to various 

species of francolin. 

POORT (pro. pooh-rt) (D), a gap or gorge in a range of hills (/;/. gate). 

472 



QUAGGA, zebra (correctly applied to Equus quagga, now extinct, but 
still applied to the various species of zebra found in South 
Africa). 

REIM (fro. reem) (D), a stout strip of raw hide. 

REIMPJE (pro. reempy) (D), a small reim. 

RIETBUCK, properly (D) RIETBOK (pro. reet-buck), reed buck (Cervi- 

capra arundinum ). Height, 3 ft. 6 in. ; gross weight, 140 Ibs. ; 

horns, male only, up to 16 in. 

SABLE ANTELOPE (Hippotragus nlger ; Dutch, zwaart witpens}. Habitat, 
bushveld. Height, 4 ft. 6 in.; weight, 350 Ibs. ; horns, up to 
48 in. on curve, 

SAKUBONA (N), Zulu equivalent of* Good day.' 

SALTED HORSE, one which has had horse-sickness, and is thus con- 
sidered immune (as in small-pox) ; hence * salted ' is freely used 
colloquially as meaning acclimatised, tough, hardened, &c. 

SCHANS (pro. skaans) (D), a stone or earth breastwork for defence, 
very common in old native wars. 

SCHELM (D), a rascal ; like Scotch skellum. 

SCHERM (pro. skarem) (D), a protection of bush or trees, usually against 
wild animals. 

SJAMBOK (pro. in English shambok, in Dutch saam-bok) (D), taper- 
ing raw-hide whip made from rhinoceros, hippopotamus, or 
giraffe skin. 

SKEY (pro. skay), a yokeskey ; short for Dutch jukskel. 

SLOOT (D), a ditch. 

SPAN (D), a team. 

SPOOR (D), footprints ; also a trail of man, animal, or vehicle. 

SPRINGBUCK, properly SPRINGBOK (D), a small antelope (Antidorcas 
(Gazella)euchore). Habitat, highveld andother open grass country. 
Height, 30 in. ; weight, up to 90 Ibs. ; horns, 19 in. (//'/.jumping 
buck). 

SPRUIT (pro. sprait ; also commonly, but incorrectly, sproot) (D), a 
stream. 

SQUIRREL, or TREE RAT, native nzme'McKi^AA'HD(Funisfiuruspa//tatus). 

STEMBUCK (Cape Dutch, stembok or steinbok, from the pure Dutch 
steenbok, the Alpine ibex), a small antelope (Raphieerus cam- 
testais). Height, 22 in.; weight, 25 Ibs. ; horns, 5 in. 

473 



STOP.P (pro. stoop) (D), a raised promenade or paved verandah in front 
or at sides of a house. 

TAMBUKI GRASS, also TAMBOOKIE, and sometimes TAMBUTI (N), a very 

rank grass ; in places reaches I 5 ft. high and stem diameter in. 
TICK, or -RHINOCEROS, BIRD, the 'ox-pecker' (Buphaga Africana). 
TIGER. In South Africa the leopard is generally called a tiger ; first so 

described by the Dutch tijger. 
TOCK-TOCKIE, a slow-moving beetle, incapable of flight. Gets its 

name from its means of signalling by rapping the abdomen on 

the ground (tenebrion'id beetle of the genus Psatnmodes). 
TREK (D) (//'/. to pull), to move off or go on a journey; a journey, 

an expedition e.g., the Great Trek (or exodus of Boers from 

Cape Colony, 1836-48); also, and commonly, the time, distance, 

or journey from one outspan to another. 
TREK GEAR, the traction gear, chain, yokes, &c., of a waggon. The 

Boer pioneers had no chains, and used reims plaited into a stout 

'rope'; hence trek-touw, or pulling-rope. 
TSESSEBE, an antelope, one of the hartebeeste family (Dama/iscus luna- 

tus; Dutch, bastard hartebeeste). Height, 48 in.; weight. 3Oolbs.; 

horns, 15 in. 
TSETSE FLY, a grey fly, little larger than the common house fly, whose 

bite is fatal to domesticated animals. 
TWIGGLE, little people's word for the excited movement of a small 

dog's tail, believed to be a combination of wriggle and twiddle, 

UMFAAN (N), a boy. 

UMGANAAM (N), my friend. 

UMLUNGU (N), the native word to describe a white man. 

VELD (pro. felt) (D), the open or unoccupied country ; uncultivated 

or grazing land. 
VLEI (pro. flay) (D), a small, shallow lake, a swamp, a depression 

intermittently damp, a water meadow. 
VOORLOOPER (D) (lit. front walker), the leader, the boy who leads the 

front oxen ; the paf-intambu (Zulu for ' take the reim '). 
VOORSLAG (pro. foor-slaach) (D) (lit. front lash or skin), the strip of 

buck hide which forms the fine end of a whip-lash. 

474 



WATBRBUCK (Cobus ellipsiprymnus ; Dutch, h'ing-gat). Height, 48 

in.; weight, 350 Ibs.; horns, males only, 36 in. 
WILDEBEESTE (pro. vill-de- beast) (D) (lit. wild cattle), the brindled 

gnu, blue wildebeeste (Connochaetes taurinui). Height, 4 ft. 6 in. ; 

weight, 400 Ibs.; horns, 30 in. 

WILD DOG, the ' Cape hunting dog' (Lycaon pictus). 
WOODEN ORANGE, fruit of the klapper (a species of Strychnos). 
WOLF, the usual name for the hyena, derived from ti/ger-wojf, the 

pure Dutch name for the spotted hyena. 

YOKESKEY, the wooden slat which, coupled by nekstrops, holds the 
yoke in place. 



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