Adventures in the land of the behemoth


Material Information

Adventures in the land of the behemoth
Uniform Title:
Aventures de trois Russes et de trois Anglais
Physical Description:
190 p., 20 leaves of plates : ill. ; 20 cm.
Verne, Jules, 1828-1905
Férat, Jules Descartes, b. 1829 ( Illustrator )
Lunt, Alphonso Moses, 1837-1885 ( Printer , Stereotyper )
Henry L. Shepard & Co ( Publisher )
Henry L. Shepard & Co.
Place of Publication:
Stereotyped and printed by A.M. Lunt
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Animals -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Surveyors -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- Nile River   ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- Niger River   ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- Zambezi River   ( lcsh )
Travelogue storybooks -- 1874   ( local )
Bldn -- 1874
Travelogue storybooks   ( local )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston


Statement of Responsibility:
by Jules Verne ; fully illustrated by Ferat.
General Note:
Translation of Aventures de trois Russes et de trois Anglais.
General Note:
"Tenth thousand"
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002239206
notis - ALH9732
oclc - 06510335
lccn - 01009779
System ID:

Full Text



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(Successors to Shepard & Gill,)

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.

Stereotyped and Printed by A. M. LUNT,
31 Hawley Street, Boston.

















































I. Frontispiece.

2. "The bushman Mokoum." 22

3. A certain Moulibahan. 29

4. "The geodetical labors were commenced." 3S

5. A Fortin theodolite. 41

6. "Large fires were kindled." 44

7. The elephant slid by." 56

8. "He cut off the tusks." 57

9. "It was an immense hippopotamus." 63

o1. "On a stump sat Nicholas Palander." 72

Ii. "The animal turned upon him." 82

12. "The forest was on fire." 91

13. "Emery was thrown down." 123

14. A strange cloud. 126

15. "The sudden attack surprised them." 140

16. An attack on Mount Scorzef. 154

17. The rice of the Boschjesmen. 58S

IS. "The 'Queen and Czar' advanced." 70

19. "They found game in abundance.". 71

20. Palander's combat with the chacma. IS3






O N the 22d of February, 1854, two men, lying at the foot of
a large weeping-willow, were busily engaged in conversa-
tion, and were watching with earnest attention the waters of
the river Orange. This river, the Groote-stream of the Holland-
ers, the Gariep of the Hottentots, is a rival of the three great
African arteries, the Nile, the Niger and the Zambese. Like
these, it has its immense waters, its rapids and its cataracts.
Certain explorers, whose names are familiarly known, -Thomp-
son, Alexander and Burchell,- have each boasted of the clear-
ness of the current and the beauty of its banks.
In this place, the Orange, nearing the mountains of the
Duke of York, affords to the eye of the spectator a most sublime
spectacle. Impassable cliffs, imposing masses of rock, and



trunks of trees petrified by the action of time, deep caverns,
impenetrable forests, which have not yet yielded to the axe of
the settler: all these, framed by a background of the Gariepius
mountains, together form a sight of incomparable magnificence.
Of these two men, whom the chances of an exploration had
doubtless allured into this portion of Southern Africa, one gave
only a vague consideration to the natural beauties afforded to
his gaze. This indifferent voyager was a bushman hunter,-a
fine type of his valiant race, and quick in his gestures,--whose
nomadic life was chiefly spent in the forest. The name of
bushman-an English word derived from the Hollandish Bosch-
jesman--literally means "a man of the bushes," and is
applied to those wandering tribes who traverse the country in
the northwest of the colony of the Cape. No family of these
bushmen remain stationed in any one place; their whole life is
passed in that region comprised between the river Orange and
the Eastern ranges, where plundering and depredations form
their sole occupation.
This bushman, aged about forty years, was a tall man, and
possessed of a large amount of muscular force. Even while in
repose, his body manifested the appearance of action. The
cleanliness, the ease and freedom of his movements, denoted
an individual energy,- a sort of personage fashioned in the
mould of the celebrated Leather-Stocking, the hero of the
American prairies, but evincing less calmness, perhaps, than
was portrayed in Cooper's favorite huntsman.
The bushman was not a savage, like his congenital race, the


ancient Saguas. Born of an English father and of a Hottentot
mother, this mongrel, by his constant intercourse with strangers.
had gained more than he had lost, and spoke fluently his pa-
ternal language. His costume, half Hottentot and half Euro-
pean, comprised a shirt of red flannel, a coat and a pair of
breeches made of the skin of the antelope, and a suit of armor
for the knees made from the hide of the wild-cat. Around the
neck of this chasseur was suspended a small bag, containing a
knife, a pipe and some tobacco. A sort of sheep-skin cap sur-
mounted his head, and a heavy girdle encircled his waist.
Upon his wrists were bracelets of most elegantly carved ivory;
and from his shoulders floated a Kross," a species of draped
mantle, of tiger skin, and which descended as far down as the
knees. A dog of indigenous race was sleeping beside him.
The bushman was enjoying his pipe of tobacco, and in the fol-
lowing words gave token of his impatience.
Come, come! Be quiet, Mokoum !" said his interlocutor to
him. You are certainly the most restless of men, when you
are not off on the hunt! But understand, my worthy friend, that
we cannot alter circumstances. Those whom we now await will
arrive sooner or later, -and that will be to-morrow, if it is not
The companion of the bushman was a young man of about
twenty-five or twenty-six years of age. His quiet countenance
showed itself at all times. As regarded his origin, no one
would have doubted it. He was an Englishman. In one word,
that young man was not a mere adventurer, but a distinguished


scholar, -William Emery, the astronomer of the Cape Observa-
tory. He, a little foreign, perhaps, in the midst of this desert
region of Southern Africa, some hundreds of miles from Cape
Town, was thoroughly unable to stifle the natural impetuosity
of his comrade.
Mr. Emery," said the bushman, in English, it is now eight
days since we came to the river Orange and to the cataract of
Morgheda. It is a long time since a member of my family was
forced to remain eight days in one place. -You forget that we
are nomads, and that our feet are not accustomed to tarry
thus! "
My friend Mokoum," replied the astronomer, "those whom
we await are on the way from England, and we ought, at least
to allow them eight days of grace. We must take into consid-
eration the long journeys to be performed, the delays which are
likely to occur from the ascent of the river Orange, -in a word,
the thousand and one difficulties that attend an enterprise of
this sort. Now, we have been told to prepare for an exploring
expedition into Southern Africa, and to await the presence
of my colleague, Colonel Everest, of the Cambridge Observa-
tory, at the falls of Morgheda. Here are the falls of Morgheda;
here is the place appointed for our meeting, and here let us re-
main. What more could you wish, my worthy bushman? "
"You are not deceived, are you, Mr. Emery?" replied Mo-
koum. Is it at the falls of Morgheda, and in the last of this
month of January, that this meeting is to take place ?"
Yes, my friend," said William Emery. Here is the letter of


Mr. Airy, the director of the Greenwich Observatory, which will
prove to you that I am not deceived."
The bushman took the letter, and like a man totally unfamil-
iar with the mysteries of calligraphy, turned it over and over.
Then, returning it to its owner, he said:-
Read to me what that paper contains."
For the twentieth time the young scholar recapitulated the
facts contained in the letter. In the latter part of the preced-
ing year William Emery had received a letter, which acquainted
him of the near approach of Colonel Everest, and of an Interna-
tional Scientific Commission destined for Southern Africa.
What were the projects of this Commission? and why was it
bent upon such an expedition? Emery himself could not ex-
plain, inasmuch as the letter of Mr. Airy was silent on this
point. The former, in strict obedience to the instructions which
he had received, had made haste to get ready at Lattakou, one
of the most northern stations of the Hottentot region, the wag-
ons, the provisions, and whatever else was deemed necessary.
Then, knowing by reputation, the huntsman, Mokoum, who had
accompanied Andersen in his adventures in Western Africa,
and the intrepid David Livingstone on his first visit to the Lake
Ngami and to the falls of the Zambese, he offered to him the
command of this caravan.
This done, it was agreed that the bushman, who thoroughly
understood the country, should conduct William Emery to the
banks of the Orange, to the falls of Morgheda, the place ap-
pointed. At this place the Scientific Commission had promised


to join them. This Commission had taken passage aboard the
British frigate Augusfa, and were now on the way. William
Emery and Mokoum had come hither with wagons, which they
had left at the foot of the valley, and which were intended as the
medium of transportation for the English gentlemen and their
These facts having been repeated, and forcibly impressed
upon the mind of the bushman, the latter advanced to the edge
of the precipice, over which the waters fell with a rushing tor-
rent. The astronomer followed closely behind him.
For some moments Mokoum and his comrade watched with
great interest the surface of those waters which moved quietly
along, just a quarter of a mile beyond. Neither boat nor ob-
ject of any sort impeded their smooth course. It was three
o'clock by the watch. The month of January corresponds to
the month of July of northern lands, and the sun, almost per-
pendicular above the twenty-ninth parallel, inflames the air to a
temperature of one hundred and fifteen degrees, Fahrenheit, ir.
the shade. Were it not for the western breezes, which mod-
erate the atmosphere a little, this extreme heat could not be
sustained by any one save the bushmen.
After ten minutes of observation, Mokoum returned, beating
the earth with his feet. His eyes, whose sight was penetrating,
had discovered nothing.
And so your people have not made their appearance ?" said
he to the astronomer.
They will come, my brave fellow," replied William Emery.


"They are men of honor, and will keep their word. Do not re-
proach them! The letter announces their arrival at the end of
the month of January. It is now the twenty-seventh; and four
days still remain for them to reach the falls of Morgheda."
"And what if they do not come then ? asked the bushman.
"Well, then it will be the time, or never, for us to exhaust
our patience; but we shall wait for them until there is enough
proof that they will not come!"
"Dieu Ko!" cried the bushman, "you would be willing to
wait until these waters had all passed over the precipice!"
No, sir," replied Emery. Reason must control all of our
actions. Now, reason says to us: If Colonel Everest and his
companions, harassed by a hard voyage, in want, perhaps, of
the necessaries of life, and lost in this solitary place, should at
length come to the appointed rendezvous and find us gone
away, we should have to bear the blame. If any misfortune
should occur, the responsibility would fall on us. We ought to
remain at our post, so long as duty places us under the obliga-
The chasseur understood and appreciated this explanation.
He resolved, therefore, to while away the hours by a hunt in
the forest. Lions, hyenas, and leopards, the sole dwellers in
the African forests, did not baffle the courage of a Nimrod such
as he; and ere many moments had elapsed Mokoum and his
faithful dog were out of sight in a dense grove which lai
beyond the cataract.
William Emery remained alone, and, while trying to sleep


idly reflected on the perilousness of his situation. At length,
after long meditation, slumber overtook him and wrapped him
in her embrace. When he awoke the sun was already setting
behind the western hills; and it being well-nigh six o'clock in
the evening, the time had arrived for the astronomer to look
after the wagons which had been left in the valley below.
On a sudden a loud noise was heard in the neighboring
bushes; and soon the bushman and his dog, Top, appeared at
the opening of the grove. Mokoum was dragging behind him
the carcass of some animal which his unerring rifle had killed.
"Are you here, ready?" exclaimed William Emery; "and
what good thing have you brought for our supper?"
"A spring-buck, Mr. Emery," replied the chasseur, throwing
down the booty at the feet of his comrade.
It was a species of antelope, more generally known as the
vaulting goat," which the traveller frequently meets with in
the regions of Southern Africa. It is a handsome-looking ani-
mal, and its flesh is considered one of the choicest delicacies.
The bushman and the astronomer, having fastened the buck
to a long pole, shouldered the latter, and departed from the
precipice overlooking the cataract. In a half hour later they
had rejoined the two bushmen who had been placed in charge
of the wagons.




D URING the 28th, 29th, and 3oth of January, Mokoum and
William Emery did not abandon the place of rendezvous.
While the bushman, carried away by his instincts of the hunter,
searched indiscriminately after game and deer, the astronomer
constantly surveyed the course of the river. The spectacle of
nature, grand and wild, delighted him, and filled his soul with
new emotions. He, a man of mere cipher, bent incessantly
upon his catalogues, night and day, devoted to his instruments,
watching the passage of the stars, and calculating the occulta-
tions of the planets, relished this free existence in open air,
surrounded by impenetrable forests, and girded by the desert
summits which the spray of the Morgheda forever covered with a
dense moisture. It was a joy for him to fathom the poesy of
these vast solitudes, so little known to man, and to refresh his
mind, wearied with mathematical speculations. The novelty
of the situation thus explained his unalterable patience which
the bushman was unable to share.


The 31st of January arrived, the last day fixed by the letter
of Mr. Airy. If the learned men who had been announced
should not appear on this day, William Emery would be under
the necessity of leaving the cataract. This thought perplexed
him sorely.
Mr. Emery," said the chasseur, "why shall we not go to
meet the strangers? We shall surely not miss them on the route.
There is but one way, and that along the river: if they ap-
proach by that way, as your letter states they will, we shall fall
in with them."
A most excellent idea that," replied the astronomer. "But,
do you know the true course of the Orange ?"
Yes, sir," responded Mokoumj "I have journeyed twice
from the Volpas Cape to its juncture with the Hart on the fron-
tier of the Transvaal republic."
"And is the river navigable except at the falls of Mor-
"It is, sir," replied the bushman. Sometimes, at the close
of the dry season, the Orange is quite shallow up to within five
or six miles from its mouth. It then forms a bar against which
the surge from the west dashes with great violence."
"That is of no consequence," said the astronomer, "since at
the season when the Europeans are likely to arrive the river
is navigable. There exists, therefore, no reason why they should
be delayed; therefore they will be on time."
The bushman made no reply. He placed his carbine over
his shoulder, summoned his dog, and preceded his comrade


into the direct path, which rejoined, four hundred feet below,
the waters of the cataract.
It was now nine o'clock in the morning. The two explorers
descended the course of the river, along its left bank.. Having
advanced some distance, they came to a place from whence they
could discern the river running in a straight line for a distance
of two or three miles. The channel of the river lay between
two embankments of about two hundred feet in height.
"Let us halt here," said the astronomer, "and take a rest. I
have not your strong limbs, Mokoum, and I walk more in the
heavens than on the earth. Let us rest here. From this point
we can see two or three miles' length of water; and when the
mist shall have cleared away we shall discern even farther."
The bushman and his companion had not halted more than
half an hour, when William Emery saw that Mokoum, stationed
a few feet below him, had fixed his eye attentively on some ob-
ject. Was it a boat that had met his eye ?
The astronomer approached the chasseur.
What do you see, Mokoum ?" asked the former.
Nothing; I see nothing, Mr. Emery," replied the bushman;
"bu', if I am familiar with natural effects, it seems to me as if
the distant waters of the river are not so calm as usual."
Both men maintained perfect silence, and kept their ears open.
At length Mokoum said:-
"I was deceived; it's only the winds sweeping across the
river." Mokoum, notwithstanding this acknowledgment, was
not quite satisfied.


He descended still lower, and placed his ear to the waters.
Yes cried he, after some seconds, I was not deceived !
There's a sound of oars splashing the current! "
"Probably," replied the astronomer, those whom we are
awaiting are not far off."
William Emery half doubted the assertion of his companion,
but said nothing. A half hour passed by. Once the astronomer
thought that he beheld a boat coming towards him; but in this
he was deceived. At length the loud cry of tLe bushman re-
newed his expectation.
"A smoke !" shouted Mokoum.
William Emery looked, and had not the least doubt of it.
The steamer was slowly approaching, and marking its way by
a dense volume of smoke.
It was noon. The place where the two adventurers stood
being unfavorable for a debarkation, the astronomer resolved to,
retrace his steps to the foot of the cataract. Having reached
their destination on high ground, their eyes were feasted by the
sight of the British flag waving above the transport.
Having advanced within sight of the Morgheda, the men on
board the craft signalled their appearance by a loud report.
The chasseur responded by firing his carbine, of which the deto-
nation was repeated in a thousand echoes.
At length the steamer reached the landing.. A line was
thrown off, which was seized by Mokoum and attached to the
stump of a tree.
Soon a tall man made his appearance on the bank, and ad-


vanced towards the astronomer. His companions, likewise,
came ashore.
"Colonel Everest ?" asked the astronomer.
"Mr. William Emery? replied the Colonel.
The two gentlemen, after these salutations, indulged a hearty
shaking of the hands.
"Gentlemen," continued Colonel Everest, "allow me to in-
troduce to you William Emery, of the Cape Town Observatory,
who has been so kind as to meet us at the falls of the Mor-
The party of the Colonel numbered four in all, besides him-
self; and each in turn paid his respects to the young astrono-
mer. Then the Colonel presented them in the following
official manner: -
Mr. Emery, Sir John Murray, of Devonshire, your compa-
ot; Mr. Matthew Strux, of the Poulkowa Observatory; Mr.
Ih ''.1: Palander, of the Helsinfors Observatory; and Mr.
h. h I Zorn, of the Observatory of Kiew, three Russian
scientists, who are to represent the government of the Czar in
our International Commission.




SHESE congratulations being ended, William Emery placed
himself at the service of the new-comers. In his position
of mere astronomer at the Observatory of the Cape, he found
himself hierarchally the subordinate of Colonel Everest, who was
delegated by the English government to share with Matthew
Strux the Presidency of the Scientific Commission. Matthew
Strux, aged about fifty years, a man chilling and methodical in
his manner, had an existence mathematically determined hour
by hour. Nothing escaped his watchful eye. His exactitude
in all things was not surpassed by that of the stars in crossing
the meridian. It might almost be said that all the actions of
his life were regulated to the chronometer. William Emery
knew as much; and hence he had never doubted that the
Scientific Commission would arrive at the appointed day.
The young astronomer waited for the Colonel to explain the
main purpose of his mission into Southern Africa. But the
Cr'-el was silent on this point; and Mr. Emery hesitated to


put the question to him, thinking that perhaps the Colonel was
not quite ready to discuss the subject. William also knew by
reputation Sir John Murray, the competitor of James Ross and
of Lord Elgin, who, without an official title, reflected honor upon
England by his astronomical labors. Twenty thousand pounds
sterling had been consecrated by him to the establishment of a
gigantic telescope, a rival of the telescope at Parson Town, by
means of which the elements of a certain number of doubtful
stars had been determined. He was a man of some forty years
or more, dignified in his appearance, and of most scholarly
mind and unsullied character.
As regards the three Russians, Messrs. Strux, Palander, and
Zorn, they were not wholly unknown by reputation to William
Emery. But the young astronomer was not acquainted with
them personally.
Of the Scientific party, there were thus three Englishmen and
three Russians. The name of the transport-boat was the
Queen and Czar; and the crew, ten in all, was equally divided
into English and Russians.
Mr. Emery," remarked Colonel Everest, "now that our mut-
ual congratulations are over with, I wish to tell you why it is
that we have come all the way from London to Cape Volpas.
For you I cherish the highest respect; and it was at my request
that the English government appointed you as cooperator
in our African journeys."
William Emery bowed low in token of his gratitude, and flat-
tered himself that now he was to learn the purpose of the Scien-


tific Commission. But the Colonel was not yet prepared to di-
vulge it.
Mr. Emery," said the latter, "have you concluded your
preparations ?"
"Wholly, Colonel," replied the astronomer. "In accordance
with the expressed wishes of the letter of Mr. Airy, I left Cape
Town a month ago, and betook myself to the Lattakou sta-
tion. There I brought together everything necessary to an
exploration into the interior of Africa,-including wagons
and provisions, horses and bushmen. An escort of a hundred
armed men will accompany you to Lattakou, under the com-
mand of a valiant and celebrated chasseur, whom allow me to
present to you, -the bushman Mokoum."
"The bushman Mokoum !" cried Colonel Everest; "the bush-
man Mokoum I have heard of him."
It is the name of an able and intrepid African," remarked
Sir John Murray, turning toward the chasseur, whom these Euro-
peans, with their immense dignity, will not look out of counte-
The chasseur Mokoum," said William Emery, presenting his
"Your name is well known in the United Kingdom, bush-
man," remarked Colonel Everest. "You were the friend of An-
dersen, and the guide of the illustrious David Livingstone, who
honored me by his friendship. England, through me, expresses
her gratitude to you; and I congratulate Mr. Emery with hav-
ing secured you as leader of our caravan. A c/asseur such as


you ought to be a great lover of fine weapons. We have with
us a thoroughly equipped arsenal, and I pray you to choose
therefrom the weapon which shall please you most. We feel
assured that it will be carried by worthy hands."
A smile of satisfaction played around the lips of the bush-
man. The reference which had been made to his former ser-
vices did not interest him half so much as the kind offer of Col-
onel Everest, for which he expressed a most solemn gratitude.
The young astronomer reiterated the details of the expedi-
tion organized by himself, and the Colonel declared himself per-
fectly satisfied. The latter then spoke of departing to the vil-
lage of Lattakou.
"By what route do you wish to approach the village, Col-
onel?" inquired William Emery.
"By the river Orange, and one of its tributaries, the Kuru-
man, which flows by Lattakou."
After further deliberation, Colonel Everest divulged his or-
ders. The Queen and Czar was partially taken to pieces; and
its machinery having been lifted out, was placed upon the bank
of the river.
William Emery was much astounded at the simplicity of the
work, and the rapidity with which the debarkation was accom-
plished. Soon the wagon arrived, a somewhat primitive vehicle,
resting on four massive wheels, and forming, as it were, two
distinct carriages, separated one from the other by an interval of
about twenty feet. It was a veritable American Car in re-
spect to its length.


A certain Moulibahan.--Page 29.


~~~3 -


The-crew of the Queen and Czar busied themselves with load-
ing up the wagon, and in such a manner as to insure an equi-
librium. They worked like old sailors. The stowage of the
vehicle was a slight task for them. The larger pieces of the
boat and its machinery rested evenly on the axle-trees, the
strongest part of the wagon. Between them, the cases, boxes,
barrels, and both light and heavy packages, found suitable
places. So far as the explorers were concerned, a tramp of four
miles was nothing but a promenade.
At three o'clock in the afternoon, the stowage having been
completed, Colonel Everest gave the signal for the departure.
Both he and his companions, under the guidance of William
Emery, took the lead. The bushman, the boat's crew, and the
men in charge of the wagon, followed slowly after them.
The journey was performed without any fatigue. The slopes,
which were numerous around the upper course of the Orange,
facilitated the advance considerably. This was a fortunate cir-
cumstance for the heavily ladened wagon.
The various members of the Scientific Commission climbed
the hills without the slightest difficulty. Their conversation was
general; but nothing was said with reference to the purpose of
the expedition. The Europeans very much admired the grand
sights around them. Savage nature charmed them, as it had
previously charmed the young astronomer. The journey had
not yet opened upon the natural beauties of the African region,
and they wondered only with a silent wonder.
William Emery believed that it devolved upon him to do the




" The bushman Mokoum."- Page 22.


honors of the host. He was perfectly at home in this respect,
and did not spare his guests a description of his African park.
About half past four the falls of Morgheda were passed.
The Europeans, having reached the plateau, saw the upper
current of the river winding slowly along as far as the eye
could reach. They rested on the bank, and awaited the arrival
of the wagon.
The vehicle hove in sight at about five o'clock. Its journey
was happily accomplished; and the Colonel, gratified by the
same, announced that the march into the interior would begin
on the following morning.
The next day-it being February 1st-the boat was put to-
gether and again launched; the signal for departure was given.
The small engine began to exert its motive power, the smoke
curled in dense masses from out the pipe, the paddle-wheels
revolved, and ere many moments had elapsed the Queen and
Czar had fairly marked out its onward course. Both passengers
and marines had embarked; leaving to the bushmen the care
and duty of urging on the wagon and its laden stores.
When the start was made, the Colonel remarked to the
astronomer: -
"By the way, Mr. Emery, you know, of course, the reason
why we have come hither ?"
I have my doubts."
It is very easily explained, Mr. Emery," replied Colonel
Everest. "We have come to measure an arc of meridian in
Southern Africa."




T HE voyage upon the upper course of the river was being
rapidly accomplished. The weather, however, grew
cloudy, and torrents of rain began to fall; but the passengers,
comfortably installed in the cabin of the boat, did not suffer the
least inconvenience. The Queen and Czar threaded its way
along, opposed by neither rapids nor shallows.
The banks of the Orange continued to offer the same en-
chanting aspect. Magnificent forests loomed up on all sides,
and birds of variegated plumage rendered the air musical.
The bushman remarked these several beauties to Sir John
Murray, a great lover of game of all sorts. Thus a sort of inti-
macy sprang up between the latter and Mokoum, to whom, in
accordance with the promise of Colonel Everest, he had pre-
sented a most excellent rifle, of the Pauly manufacture. It is
needless to picture the satisfaction of the bushman at seeing
himself thus possessed of so magnificent a weapon.
In four days the boat had accomplished the two hundred


and forty miles which separate the falls of Morgheda from the
Kuruman, one of the tributaries which unites with the Ora.-ge
near the village of Lattakou. From this point the river winds
off to the northwest three hundred miles distant, and loses itself
in the wooded district of the Transvaal republic.
It was on the 5th of February, during the early hours of the
evening, and while the storm was still raging, that the Queen
and Czar reached the station of Klaarwater, a Hottentot vil-
lage, near which the Kuruman joins the Orange. Colonel Ever-
est, not wishing to lose a moment, passed by the village, and
entered the waters of the new tributary.
Amid this passage the bushman called the attention of his
companions to a large herd of hippopotamuses. These huge
monsters, termed by the Hollanders "marine cows," did not
manifest the least aggressive movement; but were readily fright-
ened away by the puffing of the engine. Sir John Murray
would willingly have levelled his rifle at the herd; but the bush-
man assured him that large numbers of these animals would be
met with at the end of the route, and thereby induced him to
withhold his powder and ball.
The one hundred and fifty miles which separated the mouth
of the Kuruman from the station of Lattakou, were passed over
in about fifty hours. On the 7th of February, at three o'clock
in the afternoon, the point of destination was reached.
When the boat had reached the quay, a man of about fifty
years of age, with a grave demeanor, but with a good-natured
countenance, came aboard, and held out his hand to William


Emery. The astronomer presented the new-comer to his com-
panions, saying:-
"The Reverend Thomas Dale, of the London Missionary
Society, and director of the station of Lattakou."
The Europeans saluted the Rev. Thomas Dale, who, in turn,
acknowledged the compliment, and placed himself at their ser-
The village of Lattakou is the farthest missionary station of
the Cape toward the north. It is divided into old and new Lat-
takou. The more ancient portion, near which the Queen and
Czar had come to anchor, counted, at the beginning of the cen-
tury, twelve thousand inhabitants, who have since migrated to
the northwest. The spot is now a confusion of ruins, in the
midst of which the acacia blooms in rare profusion.
The new Lattakou, to which the Europeans wended their
way, under the guidance of the clergyman, comprises about
forty groups of houses, and about five or six thousand inhabi-
tants, all belonging to the great tribe of the Bechuanas.
It was in this city that Doctor David Livingstone sojourned
for three months, in 1840, before initiating his first journey to the
Zambese; a journey which brought the famous explorer across
Central Africa, from the bay of Loanda at Congo, as far as the
harbor of Kilmane upon the coast of Mozambique.
Having arrived at the new Lattakou, Colonel Everest handed
to the missionary a letter of Doctor Livingstone, which recom-
mended the Anglo-Russian Commission to his friends of South-
ern Africa. Thomas Dale read this letter with the deepest sat-


Isfaction, and, returning it to the Colonel, remarked that it
might prove of service on the voyage of exploration, the name
of David Livingstone being both known and honored in this en-
tire part of Africa.
The members of the Commission were lodged at the house of
the missionary; and while they were there comfortably quar-
tered, the chief of the native tribe, residing at Lattakou, a cer-
tain Moulibahan, came to pay his respects. Moulibahan, a
sufficiently handsome man, having only a very slight resem-
blance to the negro race, was clad in a robe of skin sewed to-
gether with much taste and judgment, and a sort of apron,
termed "pukoje." His head was surmounted by a leather
cap, and he wore sandals upon his feet. Around his arms cir-
cled bracelets of ivory, and singularly shaped pendants of cop-
per hung down from his ears. His baton supported a tuft of
black ostrich feathers. As regarded the color of his skin, it
could hardly be distinguished beneath the thick glaze of ochre,
with which it was besmeared from head to foot.
Several incisions in the thighs, barely visible, indicated the
number of enemies slain by Moulibahan.
This chief, whose gravity was not surpassed by that of Mat-
thew Strux himself, approached the Europeans severally, and
took hold of them by the nose. The Russians were slightly dis-
mayed by this singular conduct; but the English withheld any
appearance of fear. They soon learned that this grasping of the
nose was, according to African manners, a solemn engagement
to fulfil towards the Englishmen all the duties of hospitality.


This ceremony being over with, Moulibahan retired, without.
having uttered so much as even a word.
"And now, seeing that we are all naturalized Bechuanas,"
remarked Colonel Everest, "let us busy ourselves with our
occupations, without losing either a day or an hour."
Neither a day nor an hour was lost, notwithstanding that the
organization of such an expedition required much care and
many details,- and the band was ready to start before the first
days of March.
At this time the season of rains was ended, and the waters
treasured in the bosom of the earth furnished an unending and
precious resource to the travellers of the desert.
The date of departure was fixed for the 2d of March. On
this day the whole caravan, abiding the orders of Mokoum, was
on hand. The Europeans bade farewell to the missionaries of
Lattakou, and left the village at seven o'clock in the morning.
"Where are we going to ?" asked William Emery, just as the
caravan had passed the last house of the village.
"Straight ahead, Mr. Emery," replied the Colonel, "until we
shall have arrived at some location fitted for the base of our
At eight o'clock the caravan had skirted the wooded hills
which nestled in the village of Lattakou. There the desert,
with its attendant dangers, fatigues, and risks, unfolded itself
before the travellers.




T HE escort, commanded by the bushman, numbered one
hundred men. These were all native Boschjesmen in-
dustrious, patient, good-natured, and capable of supporting the
greatest physical burdens.
Ten wagons, like those which the bushmen had brought to the
falls of Morgheda, comprised the rolling stock of the expedi-
tion. Two of these wagons were, indeed, ambulant houses, and
afforded a certain comfort, and answered all the purposes of an
encampment for the Europeans. One of these wagons was re-
served for the entire use of Colonel Everest and his two compa-
triots, Sir John Murray and William Emery. The other was oc-
cupied by the three Russians. Two other vehicles built upon a
similar model, belonged, the one to the five Englishmen and
the other to the five Russians, who composed the equipage of
the Queen and Czar.
The other wagons were used for the transportation of the in-
struments, of the provisions, the packages of the explorers, their
weapons, ammunition, and other necessaries. Both oxen and
horses accompanied the expedition, the former indigenous to
the Cape, the latter belonging to the Spanish breed.


Meanwhile, the expedition was slowly advancing. Now and
then the bushman remarked to Sir John Murray a magnificent
animal, which did not fail to excite his highest admiration. It
was a zebra, the color of whose hair, streaked with brown trans-
versal stripes, was of incomparable beauty. This zebra meas-
ured four feet to the withers, and seven feet from the mouth to
the tail. Defiant and suspicious by nature, it would recognize
no other master save Mokoum, who, in truth, had reserved it
for his own especial use.
But whither was the expedition going?
Straight ahead," had been the response of Colonel Everest.
In reality, the Colonel and Matthew Strux had not as yet
fixed upon any stated direction. Before commencing their trigo-
nometric operations, they were in search of a vast level plain,
where might be established the base of the first of the triangles,
of which the net-work should cover the southern region of
Africa over an extent of many degrees.
Colonel Everest explained to the bushman the substance of his
future operations. With the accuracy of a savant to whom
scientific language is wholly familiar, the Colonel spoke of tri-
angles, adjacent angles, base, length of meridian, vertical dis-
tances, etc. The bushman listened attentively for some mo-
ments; then, interrupting him in a moment of impatience, he
said :-
"Colonel, I know nothing of your angles, your bases, your
meridians. I haven't the slightest idea of what you are going
to do in the African desert. But, after all, that's your business,


not mine. What do you want to find ?-a beautiful and vast
plain, level and very regular? Well, we will show you that."
And, in accordance with the order of Mokoum, the caravan,
which had just passed the hills around Lattakou, took a south-
westerly turn. This direction would bring it a little to the south
of the village, that is to say, towards that region of the plains
watered by the Kuruman. The bushman hoped to find at the
level of this tributary a tract of country sufficiently favorable to
the projects of the Colonel.
During the journey William Emery and Michael Zorn were
on the best of terms, and often indulged a quiet chat together.
Upon one occasion the conversation hinged upon the leaders of
the expedition.
"Yes," said Michael Zorn, in response to a remark of his
friend, "I have quite frequently noticed, during our passage
aboard the Augusta, and it pains me to acknowledge it, that
the Colonel and his coadjutor were exceedingly jealous of each
other. If Colonel Everest appears to be the commander of our
expedition, my dear William, Matthew Strux is by no means his
equal. The Russian government clearly defined the latter's
position. Both of our leaders are endowed with equal powers;
but, alas! a jealousy has sprung up between them,-- and that,
too, of the very worst kind."
"There is certainly no reason for such conduct," replied
William Emery, "since each of the parties holds high rank as
a discoverer, and each of us is to derive profit from the com-
mon efforts. But, if your remarks are just, -and I really be-


lieve that they are, my dear Zorn, -the existence of this jealous)
is very unfavorable to our expedition. In order to insure the
success of our endeavors, the strongest harmony is desirable."
"That is beyond all doubt," replied Michael Zorn; "and I am
of the opinion that this harmony does not exist. Just think of
our confusion, if every detail of operation, the choice of the
base, the method of calculation, the locating of the stations, the
verification of the ciphers, are always to give rise to an endless
"You surprise me, my dear Zorn replied William Emery.
"It would, indeed, be sad if, after having journeyed so far, the
members of this Commission should be separated by discord.
God grant that your fears are groundless! "
"I hope as much, William," said the Russian astronomer;
"but I say to you again, that, during our voyage, I listened to
certain discussions of scientific methods, which proved that
there was a sure and indisputable stubbornness characteristic of
both the Colonel and his rival, and that it was fast leading to a
most miserable jealousy."
"And yet," said Mr. Emery, "these two gentlemen appear to
be inseparable; even more so than we "
"Yes; they are inseparable so long as the day lasts, but they
do not exchange ten words. If they should separate, woe be
unto us !"
"And in that event," asked William Emery, with a marked
hesitation, "which of the two would you stand by?"
"My dear William," said Michael Zorn, "I should loyally


accept him whom I considered most worthy of my support.
In this scientific expedition, I have neither prejudice noi
patriotism. Matthew Strux and Colonel Everest are both
remarkable men, and both are valuable. England and Russia
ought equally to profit by their labors; and it is of small conse-
quence whether these labors be directed by an Englishman or
a Russian. Isn't that your opinion?"
"Absolutely, my dear Zorn," replied William Emery. "Let
us not, however, -give ourselves wholly up to despair, but rather
endeavor to ward off the impending crisis. Your compatriot,
Nicholas Palander- "
"He!" interposed Zorn; "he sees nothing, hears nothing,
knows nothing. He is neither Russian, English, Prussian, nor
Chinese. He is not even an inhabitant of the sublunary globe.
He is Nicholas Palander, that is all."
"I shall not speak of my compatriot, Sir John Murray," re-
plied William Emery. "His Honor is a thorough-bred English
gentleman, but he is also a determined huntsman, and would
count more on the tracks of a giraffe or of an elephant, than on
a discussion of scientific methods. Let us rely, then, upon our
own efforts, my dear Zorn, to bring about a reconciliation of the
hearts of our two chieftains. It is hardly necessary for me to
add, that if a crisis shall have come, you and I will remain
If it does come, always "
Meanwhile the caravan, guided by the bushman, was continu-
ing its descent towards the regions of the Southwest. On the


4th of March, at noon, it reached the base of those long
wooded hills, which had been in sight since the explorers had
left Lattakou.
On the 5th, the journey was still being pursued. No incident
would have occurred to break in upon the monotony, if Sir
John Murray had not shot, at a distance of two hundred feet, a
most singular animal, whose nose was like that of an ox, whose
tail was both long and white, and whose forehead was armed
with sharp-pointed horns. It was a gnu, whose fall was accom-
panied by a most horrible groan.
Toward mid-day the caravan arrived at a vast prairie, as
smooth throughout its whole reach as the surface of the sea.
It was favorable as a basis of operations. Hence, the bush-
man, having examined it well, turned toward the Colonel, and
said to him :--
"Colonel, the plain you asked for I"

The geodetical labors were commenced."--Page 38.




SHE geodetical labor which the Commission had under
taken to complete, was, as has already been said, one of
triangulation, having for its object the measure of an arc of
meridian. Now, the measurement of one or more degrees, di-
rectly, by means of metallic rules placed end to end, would be a
task absolutely impracticable, in view of mathematical exacti-
tude. No piece of ground, in any part of the globe, could be
sufficiently united upon a space of many hundreds of leagues;
so as to insure the execution of an operation so extremely deli-
cate. Very happily, however, a most satisfactory method can
be brought into use, by dividing the ground which the line of
meridian is supposed to traverse into a certain number of
"aerial" triangles, the determination of which is less difficult.
These triangles are obtained by means of very precise instru-
ments, -the theodolite, and some natural or artificial signals,
such as bells, light-houses, reflectors, stakes, etc. At each signal
a triangle comes out, whose angles are given by the aforemen-
tioned instruments with a mathematical exactitude. Indeed,


any object whatever--a bell, the day, a reflector, the night-
can be remarked with perfect accuracy by a capable observer,
who discerns them by means of a telescope, the object-glass of
which is half obscured by a threaded net. In this manner tri-
angles are obtained whose sides measure, oftentimes, many
miles in length. Thus it was that Arago succeeded in joining
the coast of Valencia, in Spain, to the Balearic Isles by an im-
mense triangle, of which one side measured eighty-two thousand
five hundred and fifty-five fathoms in length.*
It was during the journey of the 5th of March that the first
geodetical labors were commenced, to the great astonishment
of the Boschjesmen, who were utterly unable to comprehend the
purpose of the same. To measure the earth with rules six feet
in length, placed end to end, appeared to the chasseur a mere
amusement for the learned men. In every case Mokoum had
performed his duty. He had been asked to furnish them a
well-united plain, and had done so to the entire satisfaction of
his companions.
The place which had been chosen was admirably adapted for
the direct measurement of a base. The plain, clothed in liv-
ing green, extended in one unbroken surface as far as the hori-
zon. In the background undulated a line of hills which mark
the extreme limit south of the desert of Kalahari. To the
north, the infinite. In the east vanished in gentle declivities
those heights which marked the plateau of Lattakou. In the
west, the plain was one broad marsh-land, which imbibed the
Or about one hundred and twenty-five English miles.


stagnant waters which the tributaries of the Kuruman had failed
to drain.
I think, Colonel Everest," said Matthew Strux, after he had
reconnoitered this level plain, -" I think that when once our
base shall have been fixed, we shall then be able to establish
the terminal point of the meridian."
"I shall think as you do," replied Colonel Everest, "after
we shall have determined the exact longitude of this point.
It is necessary in the first place to find out by a consultation of
the map, whether or not this arc of meridian does not meet
with any obstacles in its course which may interrupt our geodet-
ical operation."
"I do not think so," responded the Russian astronomer.
"Let us see about it," said the English astronomer. "Let us
measure the base in this place, inasmuch as this is the primal
operation, and we can then decide as to whether it will be possi-
ble to frame a series of auxiliary triangles to the net-work of
triangles which traverse the arc of meridian."
The Scientific Commission now resolved to proceed, without
further delay, to the measurement of the base. The task was
necessarily a long and tedious one, because the several gentle-
men wished to accomplish it with a most rigorous exactitude.
The orders for the encampment were then given, and a sort
of Boschjesman village, a species of "kraal," was improvised
on the plain. The wagons were arranged like veritable houses,
and the small borough was divided into English and Russian
quarters, over which floated respectively the national colors.


On the outside of the circular line of wagons were pastured the
horses and cattle, under the surveillance of their keepers. Dur-
ing the night they were all brought into the circle, beyond the
reach of the smaller wild animals which are so abundant in
Southern Africa.
It was Mokoum who took upon himself the organization of
the hunting-corps, on which devolved the duty of procuring the
live game for the Commission.
Sir John Murray, whose presence was not indispensable to
the proper measurement of the base, united himself to this
corps; and to him belonged the sole management of the commis-
sary department.
On the 6th of March the geodetical operations were begun.
The two younger members of the Commission were charged
with all preliminary proceedings.
"At once to the work," exclaimed Michael Zorn, joyously, to
William Emery; "and may God lend precision to our undertak-
ing I"
The first operation consisted in tracing upon the most even
and smooth portion of the plain a rectilinear direction. The
position of the sun gave to this spot the oxcultation of the
southeast to the northwest. Its rectilinearism was obtained by
means of wooden pegs driven into the earth at a short distance
from each other. Michael Zorn, fortified with a netted tele-
scope, verified the location of these stakes, whilst the vertical
line divided all their focal images into equal parts.
It would prove of no especial interest to the reader, to detail

f _

A Fortin theodolite.- Page 41.


I Im-~~j


in consecutive order the several operations which had to be
gone through with before attaining the desired results. Suffice
it to say that the work progressed both slowly and surely, and
to the entire satisfaction of all concerned.
The series of operations continued on during thirty-eight
days. All figures were kept in double entry, being verified, col-
lated, and approved by every member of the Commission.
Only a very few discussions arose between Colonel Everest
and his Russian colleague. Whenever a disagreement did hap-
pen to occur, it was always considered and decided upon by
universal judgment.
The measurement of the base, as has already been said, re-
quired no less than thirty-eight days. Begun on the 6th of
March, it was not concluded till April i3th. Without losing a
single moment, the leader of the expedition resolved to hasten
the series of triangles.
On the 14th, the most precise observations were made in view
of determining the latitude of the place. Already, during the
preceding nights, whilst the operation of the base was sus-
pended, William Emery and Michael Zorn had obtained numer-
ous elevations of stars by means of a Fortin theodolite.
From these observations, so carefully repeated, it was possible
to deduce, with more than ordinary approximation, the latitude
of the southern extremity of the arc. This latitude was, in
decimal degrees, 27.954789.
The latitude having thus been determined, the longitude was
next calculated. By consultation of a large map of the African


continent, on which were marked out the several routes of the
voyagers or naturalists, such as Livingstone, Andersen, Mag-
gar, Baldwin, Vaillant, Burchell, and Lichteinstin, the follow-
ing points of useful information were laid bare.
That portion of Africa to which the expedition was soon to
wend its way was, indeed, covered by the desert of Kalahari,
a vast wilderness which extends from the banks of the river
Orange to Lake Ngami, or between the twenty and twenty-
ninth parallels of latitude. Its broadest width is that com-
prised between the Atlantic on the west and the twenty-fifth me-
ridian east longitude. It was on this meridian that Doctor
Livingstone found himself in 1849, whilst following out the
eastern limit of the desert, when he started on his journey to
Lake Ngami and to the falls of Zambese. As regards the
desert itself, it can barely be said to merit the designation.
The Kalahari produces a large vegetable growth, and is peopled
by a few sedentary tribes of bushmen and of Bakalaharis. In
the greater part of the year, however, water is rarely to be
found in this vast wilderness; and this is one of the obstacles
which renders any extended exploration hardly possible.
Inasmuch as it was now the wet season of the year, Colonel
Everest and Matthew Strux were both agreed that this vast and
desert waste presented every condition favorable to a successful
The new labors commenced as soon as possible, and pro-
gressed with equal rapidity, after the astronomer had chosen
station at which might be formed the apex of the first triangle.


The work began on the i4th of April. Colonel Everest,
Michael Zorn, and Nicholas Palander calculated the angle
which the southeasterly extremity of the base formed with a
large, isolated tree, which had been selected as the first station;
while Matthew Strux, William Emery, and Sir John Murray, be-
taking themselves to the northwestern extremity, measured the
angle which that extremity formed with the same tree.
Meanwhile, the camp had been broken up, the cattle herded,
and the caravan, under the command of the bushman, was ap-
proaching the first station before mentioned. This was to serve
as a new halting-place. Two camels and their conductors, in
use for the transportation of the instrument, accompanied the
The weather was delightful, and the temperature was not
burdened with extreme heat. It had been decided that, should
the weather continue to hold good, the work should proceed
during the night, and observations should be made by means of
reflectors or of electric lamps, with which the Commission was
well supplied.
At the approach of evening, all the astronomers were gath-
ered together around the isolated tree.
It was an enormous baobab, measuring more than eighty
feet in circumference. Its bark, of the color of syenite, gave
to it a peculiar aspect. Beneath the immense branches of this
giant, the entire caravan found a resting-place, and supper was
prepared for the Europeans by the steward of the boat. The
chasseurs of the band had scoured the neighboring country, and


succeeded in slaying a certain number of antelopes. Soon the
odor of the roasting game had diffused itself, and whetted the
appetites of the scientific observers.
This repast being over, the astronomers retired to their spe-
cial quarters, whilst Mokoum stationed his sentinels along the
line of the encampment. Large fires were kindled around the
giant baobab, which served to hold at respectful distance the
numberless wild beasts which might otherwise have been
tempted to enact some fatal mischief.
However, after two hours of sleep, Michael Zorn and William
Emery arose. Their work as observers was not completed.
They wished to calculate the latitude of that station by first
ascertaining the elevation of certain of the stars. Both, un-
mindful of the fatigues of the previous day, armed themselves
with their telescopes; and whilst the barking of the vye.aas and
the roaring of the lions were distinctly audible a 'Awvv thev,
they again took up the united burden of their task

"Large fires were kindled."- Page 44.




D URING this first series of operations, Colonel Everest
and Matthew Strux were rarely associated together.
They worked daily in stations separated from each other by
many miles; and this wide interval was a safe guarantee against
any dispute of jealousy. Evening having come on, each of the
gentlemen would retire to his own encampment, and there busy
himself with his own occupations. Some discussions, it is true,
arose relative to the choice of stations, which had to be decided
by common consent; but in no case did they cause any serious
altercations. Michael Zorn and his friend William, therefore,
took courage, and hoped thanks to the separation of the two
rivals -that the geodetical operations might be continued with-
out any lamentable occurrence.
On the i5th of May the observers found that they were lo-
cated on the parallel of Lattakou. The African village was sit-
uated just thirty-five miles east of this station.
A large kraal had been recently established in this place.


It was, indeed, a natural halting-place; and, in obedience to the
p -ipooition of Sir John Murray, it was decided that the expedi-
tion should tarry here several days. Michael Zorn and William
Imery profited by this delay to take the elevation of the sun.
Meanwhile, Nicholas Palander busied his mind with mathemat-
ical deductions; and Sir John Murray, wearied of such tasks,
went off to study the beauties of nature.
The indigenes of Southern Africa term a moving village a
kraal. It is an enclosure comprising about thirty houses,
and peopled by many hundreds of inhabitants. The kraal
reached by the Anglo-Russian expedition comprised an im-
portant agglomeration of huts, circularly located along the bank
of a small tributary of the Kuruman. These huts, constructed
of mats fastened to upright wooden beams, had the appearance
of large beehives, of which the entrance, closed by a skin,
was so low and narrow that the occupant was obliged to
crawl in upon his hands and knees.
Upon the arrival of the caravan, the kraal was alive with
people. The dogs, attached to the door-post of each hut,
began to bark with hideous fury. The warriors of the village,
armed with battle-axes, knives, and clubs, and protected by large
lcathern shields, bravely came forward. Their number was
estimated at about two hundred; which plainly indicated the
importance of the kraal, which could not have contained less
than seventy or eighty huts. However, the warlike aspects
of this people were soon obliterated when the chasseur Mokoum
had spoken a few words to one of their chieftains. The car-


avan secured permission to encamp near the palisades and
upon the banks of the same river. The Boschjesmen did not
even dispute with the expedition the right of pasturage; and
the horses, the cattle and other ruminating animals, were
enabled to find rich fodder, without being in any way driven off
or molested.
In due time, in accordance with the orders and directions
of the bushman, the encampment was organized after the usual
manner. The wagons were grouped in the form of a circle,
and the occupants of each one minded their own business
without meddling with those of another.
Sir John Murray, leaving then his companions to their cal-
culations and scientific observations, departed, without delay,
in company with Mokoum. The English hunter was mounted
on his ordinary steed, and Mokoum rode his domesticated
zebra. Three dogs followed behind them. Sir John Murray
and Mokoum were armed each with a carbine, and were
in hopes of making use of the same in the slaughter of
The two hunters went off in the direction of the northeast,
toward a wooded region, situated several miles distant from
the kraal. On the way, they engaged in a busied conver-
I hope, Master Mokoum," said Sir John Murray, that you
will remember the promise which you made to me at the falls
of Morgheda, and conduct me into a region richly abounding
in game. But understand that I have not come into Southern


Africa for the purpose of shooting hares or chasing foxes. We
have all these in our highlands of Scotland. Before one hour
I wish to have brought to earth-"
Before one hour !" replied the bushman. "Your Honor will
permit me to say that that is counting up a little too fast, and
that before all things, you must be patient. As for me, I am
patient only in the chase. Do you not know, Sir John, that
in chasing a large animal there is need of vast science, and
that you must first learn the lay of the country, the habits of
the animals, their modes of escape, and then wait for hours,
perhaps, before opening on the pursuit? You must not utter
a loud noise, nor make a false step, nor allow your eyes to
wander carelessly. I myself have spent whole days in trying
to sight a buffalo or a gemsbok, and then, when after thirty-six
hours of strategem and patience I at length killed the beast,
I did not think that I had wasted my time."
"Very good, my friend," replied Sir John Murray. "I
shall grant to your service as much patience as you demand;
but let us not forget that this halt of the expedition will last
only three or four days, and that therefore we must lose neither
an hour nor a minute."
"That is a consideration," said the bushman, in a calm tone
of voice; "that is a consideration. We shall kill only what
comes in our way, Sir John; we can have no choice. Antelope
or deer, gnu or gazelle: anything will be good enough for
hunters so hard pressed!"
"Antelope or gazelle!" exclaimed Sir John Murray. "I


I i not ask even so much for' my first exploit on African soil.
B,'t what do you hope to offer me, my brave bushman ? "
The chasseur eyed his companion with a singular gaze; then
in a sarcastic tone of voice he said:-
"So soon as your Honor shall have declared himself satisfied,
I shall have nothing more to say. I think that nothing short
of a rhinoceros or a pair of elephants would make me feel
satisfied with the chase."
Chasseur," responded Sir John Murray, I shall follow
wherever you guide me. I shall kill whatever you tell me
to kill. But let us not waste time in idle talk."
The spurs were put to the steeds, and the hunters galloped
off at rapid rate toward the forest.
The plain which they were traversing rose almost imper-
ceptibly toward the northeast, and was dotted here and there
by small forests, from which issued most delicious perfumes.
In less than an hour after leaving the kraal, Sir John Murray
and Mokoum arrived at the edge of one of these forests, dense
with innumerable trees and shrubs, through which not even
a sun's ray could penetrate. However, the zebra of Mokoum
and the horse of Sir John did not hesitate to work out a path
in the midst of this tangled mass.
It must be said here that this first journey was not favorable
to Sir John Murray. The two hunters wended their way
through the grove; but no bird of plumage crossed their
path, and only once was Sir John induced to discharge his
carbine. Perhaps the close vicinity of the kraal had con-


tribute toward ridding the forest of its game. Mokoum
manifested neither surprise nor mortification. For him this
chase was no chase at all, but a rash progress through an
almost impassable wood.
At six o'clock in the evening it was necessary to return to
camp. Sir John Murray was quite vexed, without wishing
to acknowledge it. He flattered himself with being able to
shoot the first animal, bird or quadruped, which should come
within range of his rifle.
Fortune favored him in this. The two hunters had gone
within about three miles from the kraal, when a rodent, one of
that African species designated under the name of "lepus
rupestris," a hare, in other words, darted out from under a
bush about one hundred and fifty feet from Sir John. Sir
John did not hesitate, but sent whizzing after the inoffensive
animal a swift ball from his carbine.
The bushman uttered a loud cry of indignation. But the
Englishman hurried on in search of his fallen game.
Utterly useless! Not a trace of the hare was visible. There
was a small pool of blood on the ground, but no carcass. Sir
John examined under the bushes and among the tufts of grass,
- in vain. Even the dogs could not scent out the victim.
"I surely hit it!" cried Sir John.
"You hit it too much," replied the bushman. "Whoever
strikes a hare with a cartridge will rarely find so much as
a piece of him afterwards."
And true it was; the hare had literally been reduced


to atoms. Sir John, absolutely discouraged, remounted his
horse, and, without saying a word, regained the encampment.
On the following day, the bushman waited for Sir John to
make some new propositions. But the latter, for some reason
or other, avoided meeting his friend. He appeared to be
forgetful of every sporting project, and to be busying him-
self with verifying the instruments and making observations.
Then, by way of change, he visited the kraal, where he
paused to look at the men engaged in all manner of
healthful exercises.
On the early morning of the i7th of May, Sir John
Murray was awakened out of sleep by the following words
pronounced in his ear:-
"I think, your Honor, that we shall be more fortunate to-day.
But let us not fire at any more hares with mountain-cannon!"
Sir John Murray was not angered by this ironical recom-
mendation, and declared himself ready for departure. The
two hunters had travelled several miles beyond the left of the
encampment before their companions had arisen from their
couches. This time Sir John carried a simple fowling-piece,
much more suitable than the terrible carbine for the slaughter
of light game.
Just as Mokoum had prophesied, fortune favored the two
hunters. They succeeded in killing a couple of "harrisbucks,"
a species of black antelopes, very rare and very difficult to
bring down. These harrisbucks were handsome creatures,
about four feet high, and with large horns diverging and


curved in the form of a cimeter. Their muzzles were thin
and literally compressed, and their feet black; their hair was
soft and compact, their eyes straight and pointed. Their belly
and face, white as the driven snow, beautifully contrasted with
the sable fur on the back. By all travellers the harrisbuck is
deemed one of the most admirable specimens of African
But that which caused the heart of the English hunter to
palpitate with unwonted intensity, was the discovery of certain
foot-marks near the edge of a dense copse.
"Sir," said Mokoum to him, "if to-morrow your Honor
wishes to come to this place, I shall counsel him, this time, not
to forget his carbine."
"Why, what do you mean, Mokoum?" asked Sir John
"Those fresh imprints which you see on the moist
earth "
"What! these large traces are footprints of animals? But
then, the feet which made them are more than half a fathom in
circumference !"
That only proves," replied the bushman, "that the animal
which formed such imprints measures at least nine feet from
the sole to the shoulders."
"An elephant! exclaimed Sir John Murray.
"Yes, your Honor; and, if I am not mistaken, a full-grown
male one, too."
"To-morrow, then, bushman."


"To-morrow, your Honor."
The two hunters returned to the encampment, bearing with
them the harrisbucks, which had been placed on the horse
of Sir John Murray. These beautiful antelopes, so rarely
captured, provoked the admiration of the whole caravan.
Every one congratulated Sir John, except perhaps the grave
Matthew Strux, who, so far as animals were concerned, de-
lighted in none save the Great Bear, the Dragon, the Centaur,
Pegasus, and other constellations of the celestial fauna.
The next day, at four o'clock in the morning, the two com-
panions mounted on their steeds, and, accompanied by their
do:;, awaited near a wooded copse the arrival of the mammoth
r.p. From the new imprints they learned that the elephants
came, in bands, to quench their thirst in a neighboring pond
of water. Each of the hunters was armed with a carbine and
For fully a half-hour they remained nearly motionless
and speechless. At length they caught sight of their
wished-for antagonists.
Sir John Murray had seized his carbine, but the bushman
motioned with his hand for him to remain quiet.
Soon the gigantic living mass appeared. The earth seemed
to give way to the irresistible pressure; the wood crackled, and
the trodden brushwood was crushed into atoms. It was a
troop of elephants. A half dozen of these gigantic animals,
nearly as large as their congenera of India, were slowly advancing
toward the water.


The growing dawn permitted Sir John to admire these power-
ful animals. One of them, a male, and of enormous size,
especially excited his attention. His dimensions were truly
colossal. His attitude and uncertain motion seemed to bespeak
his consciousness of approaching danger.
The bushman, pointing to this specimen, whispered in the
ear of Sir John Murray, and said:-
"There, does that suit you?"
Sir John replied in the affirmative.
"Well, then," said Mokoum, "let us separate him from
the rest of the troop."
At this moment the elephants reached the edge of the polo.
Their feet had already buried themselves in the soft soil. They
drew up the water with their trunks, and as it was passed into
the gullet a loud gurgling noise ensued. All the while, the
large male elephant was snuffing the air around him, as if to
find some stronger reason for his suspicion.
Suddenly the bushman yelled a loud cry. His three dogs,
realizing the meaning of this, bounded out from the copse
and rushed headlong toward the elephants. At the same
time, Mokoum, after having uttered to his companions this
word, Hold spurred on his zebra, and sought to cut off the
retreat of the male.
This magnificent animal did not attempt to flee. Sir John,
with his finger on the trigger of his carbine, maintained a
steady watch. The elephant continued to beat the undergrowth
with his trunk, and shook his tail frantically,--not as a sign of


fear, but of anger. Until then he had never encountered an
enemy. Now, as soon as he saw him, he pounced down upon
Sir John Murray was stationed only about sixty paces
from the animal. He waited until it had come within forty
feet, and then raising his carbine, he fired straight against the
animal's side. Unfortunately, a slight motion of his horse
caused him to miss his aim, and the ball only grazed the flank,
without producing any serious result. The elephant, maddened
by this, started on a precipitous gallop, and fairly out-distanced
the horse. The horse of Sir John, after prancing about,
dashed out of the copse, and on, with so furious a speed that
his master was unable to hold him in check. The elephant
kept on in the pursuit, snapping his ears, and pounding the
earth with his trunk. Meanwhile the hunter endeavored by
every possible method to keep himself in the saddle, and at
the same time to load up with a fresh cartridge.
Slowly but surely the beast was gaining upon him. Both
were soon bounding across the plain far from the woods. Sir
John again spurred the flanks of his steed. Two of the dogs,
barking all the while, were also fleeing, almost out of breath.
The elephant was only two lengths behind! Every instant
was one of life or death.
All at once the horse paused. The elephant's trunk, ele-
vated in mid-air, came down with a violent crash upon the
poor animal, who, uttering a loud cry of pain, stumbled, and
darted off to one side. This stumbling saved the life of Sir


John Murray! The elephant, in quick speed, slid by; but
as he passed, his trunk caught one of the dogs and tossed
it into the air with a violence most fearful.
Sir John had no other resource but to retreat under cover of
the woods. The instinct of his horse carried him thither.
The elephant, now his own master, still brandishing the
unfortunate dog, dashed its head against the trunk of a
sycamore tree, and then hurled it into the forest. The
horse, having reached a shelter, paused for an instant.
Sir John, exhausted, and completely bespattered with blood,
but with no lack of courage, shouldered his carbine and took
aim at the elephant. The ball, striking a bone, exploded.
The animal trembled; and, at the moment, a second discharge
lodged itself in his left flank. He fell upon his knees near
a small pool of water, which lay partially hidden beneath the
grass. There, pumping up the water with his trunk, he began
to sprinkle his wound, and to give utterance to the most
pi able cries.
Just then the bushman appeared. "He is ours! he is
ours! exclaimed Mokoum.
The giant beast was mortally wounded. His moans in-
creased; his respiration grew short; his tail was tossed about
with diminished violence; and his trunk, rising and falling in
the pool, tinged with blood and water the earth around him.
Then, his strength having completely exhausted itself, he
fell over and died.
At this instant Sir John Murray issued forth from his

"The elephant slid by."--Page 56.


hiding-place. He was partially nude; for of his hunting gar-
ments only a few shreds remained. He had, indeed, proven
himself a veritable sportsman.
"A famous animal, bushman," said Sir John, whilst examin-
ing the elephant; "a famous animal; but a little too heavy
for the game-bag of a chasseur!"
"Glorious!" replied Mokoum. "We will cut him up on the
spot, and carry back only the choicest parts. See what mag-
nificent means of defence nature has provided him with!
They weigh at least twenty-five pounds each; and ivory being
worth five shillings a pound, they will bring a large sum."
Whilst speaking these words, the chasseur proceeded to cut
up the animal. He cut off the tusks with his hatchet, and con-
tented himself with severing the feet and trunk, which are
considered of high value, and with which he wished to delight
the members of the Scientific Commission. This operation
consumed a considerable amount of time, and for this reason
the two hunters did not start upon their return to the encamp-
ment until the sun had reached its meridian.
There the bushman roasted the feet of the gigantic animal,
after the African fashion, by burying them in a hole previously

heated like an oven by means of some live coals.
It is hardly necessary to add that this mess was duly appre
ciated, even by the indifferent Palander, and secured for Si,
John Murray the hearty well-wishes of the learned Commission.




D URING their sojourn by the kraal, Colonel Everest and
Matthew Strux had been absolutely strangers. On the
eve of their departure for their divided labors, they had cere-
moniously taken leave one of the other, and had not since met.
The caravan continued its northward route, and the weather
being favorable, during the next ten days two fresh triangles
were measured. The vast verdant wilderness was intersected
by streams flowing between rows of the willow-like "karree-
hout," from which the Boschjesmen make their bows. Large
tracts of desert land occurred, where every trace of moisture dis-
appeared, leaving the soil utterly bare but for the cropping-up
occasionally of those mucilaginous plants which no aridity can
kill. For miles there was no natural object that could be used
for a station, and consequently the astronomers were obliged to
employ natural objects for their point of sight. This caused
considerable loss of time, but was not attended with much real
difficulty The crew of the Queen and Czar were employed


-c w;r~ ->

"He cut off the tusks."-Page 57.

_~~_~~~~~~__~ ~___=___ .._._ ~____I__ ~i~




in this part of the work, and performed their task well and rap-
idly; but the same jealousy that divided their chiefs crept in
sometimes among the seamen. Zorn and Emery did all they
could to neutralize any unpleasantness, but the discussions
took a serious character. The Colonel and Strux continually
interfered in behalf of their country, whether they were right or
wrong, but they only succeeded in making matters worse. Af-
ter a while Zorn and Emery were the only members of the party
who had preserved a perfect concord. Even Sir John Murray
and Nicholas Palander (generally absorbed as they were, the
(one in his calculations, the other in his hunting), began to join
the fray.
One day the dispute went so far that Strux said to the Col-
onel, "You must please to moderate your tone with astron-
omers from Poulkowa: remember it was their telescope that
showed that the disc of Uranus is circular."
Yes," replied the Colonel; but ours at Cambridge enabled
us to classify the nebula of Andromeda."
The irritation was evident, and at times seemed to imperil the
fate of the triangulation. Hitherto the discussions had no in-
jurious effect, but perhaps rather served to keep every operation
more scrupulously exact.
On the 3oth the weather suddenly changed. In any other
region a storm and torrents of rain might have been expected :
angry-looking clouds covered the sky, and lightning unaccom-
panied by thunder, gleamed through the mass of vapor. But
condensation did not ensue, -not a drop of rain fell to the


thirsty soil. The sky remained overcast for some days, and the
fog rendered the points of sight invisible at the distance of a
mile. The astronomers, however, would not lose time, and de-
termined to set up lighted signals and work at night. The
bushman prudently advised caution, lest the electric lights
should attract the wild beasts too closely to their quarters; and,
in fact, during the night, the yelp of the jackal and the hoarse
laugh of the hyena, like that of a drunken negro, could plainly
be heard.
In the midst of this clamor, in which the roar of a lion could
sometimes be distinguished, the astronomers felt rather dis-
tracted, and the measurements were taken at least less rapidly,
if not less accurately. To take zenith distances while gleaming
eyes might be gazing at them through the darkness, required
imperturbable composure and the utmost sang-froid. But these
qualities were not wanting in the members of the Commission,
and after a few days they regained their presence of mind, and
worked away in the midst of the beasts as calmly as if they were
in their own observatories. Armed hunters attended them at
every station, and no inconsiderable number of hyenas fell by
their balls. Sir John thought this way of surveying delightful,
and whilst his eye was at his telescope his hand was on his gun,
and more than once he made a shot in the interval between two
Nothing occurred to check the steady progress of the survey,
so that the astronomers hoped before the end of June to meas-
ure a second degree of the meridian. On the i7th they found


that their path was crossed by an affluent of the Kuruman. The
Europeans could easily take their instruments across in their
india-rubber canoe; but Mokoum would have to take the cara-
van to a ford which he remembered some miles below. The
river was about half-a-mile wide, and its rapid current, broken
here and there by rocks and stems of trees embedded in the
mud, offered considerable danger to any light craft. Matthew
Strux did not fail to represent this, but finding that his compan-
ions did not recoil from the attempt, he gave way.
Nicholas Palander alone was to accompany the caravan in its
detour. He was too much absorbed in his calculations to give
any thought to danger; but his presence was not indispensable
to his companions, and the boat would only hold a limited num-
ber of passengers. Accordingly, he gave up his place to an
Englishman of the crew of the Queen and Czar, who would
be more useful under the circumstances.
After making an arrangement to meet at the north of the
rapid, the caravan disappeared down the left bank of the stream
leaving Colonel Everest, Strux, Emery, Zorn, Sir john, two sail-
ors, and a Boschjesman, who was the pioneer of the caravan, and
had been recommended by Mokoum as having much experi-
ence in African rapids.
A pretty river," observed Zorn to his friend, as the sailors
were preparing the boat.
"Very so, but hard to cross," answered Emery. "These
rapids have not long to live, and therefore enjoy life. With
a few weeks of this dry season there will hardly remain


enough of this swollen torrent to water a caravan. It' is soon
exhausted; such is the law of nature, moral and physical. But
we must not waste time in moralizing. See, the boat is
equipped, and I am all anxiety to see her performances."
In a few minutes the boat was launched beside a sloping bank
of red granite. Here, sheltered by a projecting rock, the water
quietly bathed the reeds and creepers. The instruments and
provisions were put in the boat, and the passengers seated
themselves so as not to interfere with the action of the oars.
The Boschjesman took the helm; he spoke but a few words of
English, and advised the travellers to keep a profound silence
whilst they were crossing. The boat soon felt the influence of
the current. The sailors carefully obeyed every order of the
Boschjesman. Sometimes they had to raise their oars to avoid
some half-emerged stump; sometimes to row hard across a
whirlpool. When the current became too strong they could
only guide the light boat as it drifted with the stream. The
native, tiller in hand, sat watchful and motionless, prepared for
every danger. The Europeans were half uneasy at their novel
situation; they seemed carried away by an irresistible force.
The Colonel and Strux gazed at each other without a word; Sir
John, with his rifle between his knees, watched the numerous
birds that skimmed the water; and the two younger astronomers
gazed with admiration at the banks, past which they flew with
dizzy speed. The light boat soon reached the true rapid, which
it was necessary to cross obliquely. At a word from the Bosch-
jesman, the sailors put forth their strength; but, despite all their




"It was an immense hippopotamu.i."- Page 63.


efforts, they were carried down parallel to the banks. The tillet
and oars had no longer any effect, and the situation became
really perilous; a rock or stump of a tree would inevitably have
overturned the boat. In spite of the manifest peril, no one
uttered a word. The Boschjesman half arose, and watched the
direction which he could not control. Two hundred yards dis-
tant rose an islet of stones and trees, which it was impossible
to avoid. In a few seconds the boat apparently must be lost;
but the shock came with less violence than had seemed inevita-
ble. The boat lurched, and shipped a little water, but the pas-
sengers kept their places. They were astonished to observe
that what they had presumed to be rock had moved, and was
plunging about in the rush of the waters. It was an immense
hippopotamus, ten feet long, which had been carried by the cur-
rent against the islet, and dared not venture out again into the
rapid. Feeling the shock, he raised and shook his head, look-
ing about him with his little dull eyes, and with his mouth wide
open, showing his great canine teeth. He rushed furiously on
the boat, which he threatened to bite to pieces.
But Sir John Murray's presence of mind did not forsake him.
Quietly shouldering his rifle, he fired at the animal near the ear.
The hippopotamus did not quit his hold, but shook the boat as
a dog would a hare. A second shot was soon lodged in his
head. The blow was mortal. After pushing the boat with a
last effort off the islet, the fleshy mass sank in the deep water.
Before the dismayed voyagers could collect their thoughts, they
were whirled obliquely into the rapid. A hundred yards below,


a sharp bend in the river broke the current; thither was the
boat carried, and was arrested by a violent shock. Safe and
sound the whole party leapt to the bank. They were about two
miles below the spot where they had embarked.




N continuing the survey the astronomers had to be on their
guard against the serpents that infested the region, veno-
mous mambas, ten to twelve feet long, whose bite would have
been fatal.
Four days after the passage of the rapid, the observers found
themselves in a wooded country. The trees, however, were not
so high as to interfere with their labors, and at all points rose
eminences which afforded excellent sites for the posts and
electric lamps. The district, lying considerably lower than the
rest of the plain, was moist and fertile. Emery noticed thou-
sands of Hottentot fig trees, whose sour fruit is much relished
by the Boschjesmen. From the ground arose a soft odor from
the "kucumakranti," a yellow fruit two or three inches long,
growing from bulbous roots like the colchicum, and eagerly de-
voured by the native children. Here, too, in this more watered
country, reappeared the fields of colocynths and borders of the
mint so successfully naturalized in England. Notwithstanding
its fertility, the country appeared little frequented by the wan-


during tribes, and not a kraal or a camp-fire was to be seen; yet
water was abundant, forming some considerable streams and
The astronomers halted to await the caravan. The time fixed
by Mokoum had just expired, and if he had reckoned well, he
would join them to-day. The day, however, passed on, and no
Boschjesman appeared. -Sir J)hn conjectured that the hunter
had probably been obliged to ford farther south than he had ex-
pected, since the river was unusually swollen. Another day
passed and the caravan had not appeared. The Colonel be-
came uneasy; he could not go on, and the delay might affect
the success of the operations. Matthew Strux said that it had
always been his wish to accompany the caravan, and that if his
advice had been followed they would not have found themselves
in this predicament; but he would not admit that the responsi-
bility rested on the Russians. Colonel Everest began to pro-
test against these insinuations, but Sir John interposed, saying
that what was done could not be undone, and that all the re-
criminations in the world would make no difference.
It was then decided that if the caravan did not appear on the
following day, Emery and Zorn, under the guidance of the
Boschjesman, should start to ascertain the reason of the delay.
For the rest of the day the rivals kept apart, and Sir John
passed his time in beating the surrounding woods. He failed
in finding any game, but from a naturalist's point of view he
ought to have been satisfied, since he brought down two fine
specimens of African birds. One was a kind of partridge, a


francolin, thirteen inches long, with short legs, dark gray back,
red beak and claws, and elegant wings, shaded with brown.
The other bird, with a red throat and white tail, was a species
of falcon. The Boschjesman pioneer cleverly took off the
skins, in order that they should be preserved entire.
The next day was half over, and the two young men were

just about to start on their search, when a distant bark arrested
them. Soon Mokoum, on his zebra, emerged at full speed from
the thicket of aloes on the left, and advanced toward the
"Welcome," cried Sir John, joyfully; "we had almost given
you up, and apart from you I should be inconsolable. "I am only
successful when you are with me. We will celebrate your re-
turn in a glass of usquebaugh."
Mokoum made no answer, but anxiously scanned and counted
the Europeans. Colonel Everest perceived his perplexity, and
as he was dismounting, said:-
For whom are you looking, Mokoum ? "
For Mr. Palander," replied the bushman.
Is he not with you ?" said the Colonel.
"Not now," answered Mokoum. "I thought I should find
him with you. He is lost! "
At these words, Matthew Strux stepped forward.
"Lost!" he cried. "He was confided to your care. You
are responsible for his safety, and it is not enough to say he is
Mokoum's face flushed, and he answered, impatiently:-


Why should you expect me to take care of one who can't
take care of himself? Why blame me? If Mr. Palander is
lost, it is by his own folly. Twenty times I have found him ab-
sorbed in his figures, and have brought him back to the caravan.
But the evening before last he disappeared, and I have not seen
him since. Perhaps if you are so clever, you can spy him out
with your telescope."
The bushman would, doubtless, have become more irritable
still, if Sir John had not pacified him. Matthew Strux had not
been able to get in a word, but now turned round unexpectedly
to the Colonel, saying:-
"I shall not abandon my countryman. I suppose that if Sir
John Murray or Mr. Emery were lost, you would suspend opera-
tions; and I don't see why you should do less for a Russian
than for an Englishman."
"Mr. Strux," cried the Colonel, folding his arms, and fixing
his eyes on his adversary, "do you wish to insult me? Why
should you suppose that we will not seek this blundering calcu-
"Sir I" said Strux.
"Yes, blundering," repeated the Colonel. "And to return to
what you said, I maintain that any embarrassment to the prog-
ress of the operations from this circumstance would be due to
the Russians alone."
"Colonel," cried Strux, with gleaming eyes, "your words are
"My words, on the contrary, are well weighed. Let it be un-


derstood that operations are suspended until Mr. Palander is
found. Are you ready to start?"
"I was ready before you spoke a word," answered Strux,
The caravan having now arrived, the disputants each went to
his wagon. On the way Sir John could not help saying:-
"It is lucky that the stupid fellow has not carried off the
double register."
"Just what I was thinking," said the Colonel.
The Englishmen proceeded more strictly to interrogate Mo-
koum. He told them that Palander had been missing for two
days, and had last been seen alongside of the caravan about
twelve miles from the encampment; that after missing him, he
at once set out to seek for him, but being unsuccessful in all his
search, had concluded that he must have made his way to his
Mokoum proposed that they should now explore the woods to
the north-east, adding that they must not lose an hour if they
wanted to find him alive, knowing that no one could wander
with impunity for two days in a country infested like that with
wild beasts. Where any one else could find a subsistence, Pa-
lander, ever engrossed by his figures, would inevitably die of
starvation. At one o'clock, guided by the hunter, they mounted
and left the camp. The grotesque attitudes of Strux, as he
clung uneasily to his steed, caused considerable diversion to his
companions, who, however, were polite enough to pass no


Before leaving the camp, Mokoum asked the pioneer to lend
him his keen-scented dog. The sagacious animal, after scenting
a hat belonging to Palander, darted off in a north-easterly di-
rection, whilst his master urged him on by a peculiar whistle.
The little troop followed, and soon disappeared in the under-
All the day the Colonel and his companions followed the dog.
who seemed instinctively to know what was required of him.
They shouted, they fired their guns, but night came on when
they had scoured the woods for five miles round, and they were
at length obliged to rest until the following day. They spent
the night in a grove, before which the bushman had prudently
kindled a wood fire. Some wild howls were heard, by no means
reassuring. Hours passed in arguing about Palander, and dis-
cussing plans for his assistance. The English showed as much
devotion as Strux could desire; and it was decided that all
work should be adjourned till the Russian was found, alive or
After a weary night the day dawned. The horses were sad-
dled, and the little troop again followed the dog. Towards the
north-east they arrived at a district almost swampy in its charac-
ter. The small water-courses increased in number, but they
were easily forded, care being taken to avoid the crocodiles, of
which Sir John, for the first time in his life, now saw some
specimens. The bushman would not permit that time should
be wasted in any attack upon the reptiles, and restrained Sir
John, who was always on the qui-vive to discharge a ball.


Whenever a crocodile, snapping its prey with its formidable jaw,
put its head out of water, the horses set off at a gallop to escape.
The troop of riders went on over woods, plains, and marshes,
noting the most insignificant tokens: here a broken bough;
there a freshly-trodden tuft of grass; or farther on some inexpli-
cable mark; but no trace of Palander.
When they had advanced ten miles north of the last encamp-
ment, and were about to turn south-east, the dog suddenly gave
signs of agitation. He barked, and in an excited way wagged
his tail. Sniffing the dry grass, he ran on a few steps, and re-
turned to the same spot.
"The dog scents something," exclaimed the bushman.
"It seems," said Sir John, "he is on a right track. Listen to
his yelping: he seems to be talking to himself. He will be an
invaluable creature if he scents out Palander."
Strux did not quite relish the way in which his countryman
was treated as a head of game; but the important thing now
was to find him, and they all waited to follow the dog, as soon
as he should be sure of the scent.
Very soon the animal, with a loud yelp, bounded over the
thicket and disappeared. The horses could not follow through
the dense forest, but were obliged to take a circuitous path.
The dog was certainly on the right track now; the only question
was whether Palander was alive or dead.
In a few minutes the yelping ceased, and the bushman and
Sir John, who were in advance, were becoming uneasy, when
suddenly the barking began again outside the forest, about half


a mile away. The horses were spurred in that direction, and
soon reached the confines of the marsh. The dog could dis-
tinctly be heard, but, on account of the lofty reeds, could not
be seen. The riders dismounted, and tied their horses to a
tree. With difficulty they made their way through the reeds,
and reached a large space covered with water and aquatic
plants. In the lowest part lay the brown waters of a lagoon
half a mile square. The dog stopped at the muddy edge, and
barked furiously.
"There he is !" cried Mokoum.
And, sure enough, on a stump at the extremity of a sort of
peninsula, sat Nicholas Palander, pencil in hand, and a note-
book on his knees, wrapt in calculations. His friends could not
suppress a cry. About twenty paces off a number of crocodiles,
quite unknown to him, lay watching, and evidently designing an
Make haste," said Mokoum, in a low voice; I don't under-
stand why these animals don't rush on him."
"They are waiting till he is gamey," said Sir John, alluding to
the idea common among the natives that these reptiles never
touch fresh meat.
The bushman and Sir John, telling their companions to wait
for them, passed round the lagoon, and reached the narrow
isthmus by which alone they could get near Palander. They
had not gone two hundred steps, when the crocodiles, leaving
the water, made straight toward their prey. Palander saw noth-
ing, but went on writing.

"On a stump sat Nicholas Palander."- Page 72.


"Be quick and calm," whispered Mokoum, "or all is lost."
Both, kneeling down, aimed at the nearest reptiles, and fired.
Two monsters rolled into the water with broken backs, and the
rest simultaneously disappeared beneath the surface.
At the sound of the guns Palander raised his head. He
recognized his companions, and ran toward them waving his
note-book, and like the philosopher of old exclaiming Eureka! "
he cried, "I have found it! "
"What have you found ? asked Sir John.
"An error in the last decimal of a logarithm of James
It was a fact. The worthy man had discovered the error, and
had secured a right to the prize offered by Wolston's editor.
For four days had the astronomer wandered in solitude. Truly
Ampere, with his unrivalled gift of abstraction, could not have
done better




SO the Russian mathematician was found! When they asked
him how he had passed those four days, he could not tell;
he thought the whole story of the crocodiles was a joke, and did
not believe it. He had not been hungry; he had lived upon
figures. Matthew Strux would not reproach his countryman be-
fore his colleagues, but there was every reason to believe that in
private he gave him a severe reprimand.
The geodetic operations were now resumed, and went on as
usual till the 28th of June, when they had measured the base of
the 15th triangle, which would conclude the second and com-
mence the third degree of the meridian. Here a physical diffi-
culty arose. The country was so thickly covered with under-
wood, that although the artificial signals could be erected, they
could not be discerned at any distance. One station was rec-
ognized as available for an electric lamp. This was a mountain
i2oc feet high, about thirty miles to the north-west. The choice
of this would make the sides of this triangle considerably longer
than any of the former, but it was at length determined to


adopt it. Colonel Everest, Emery, Zorn, three sailors, and
two Boschjesmen, were appointed to establish the lighted sig-
nal, the distance being too great to work otherwise than at
The little troop, accompanied by mules laden with the instru-
ments and provisions, set off in the morning. The Colonel did
not expect to reach the base of the mountain till the following
day, and however few might be the difficulties of the ascent, the
observers in the camp would not see the lighted signal till the
night of the 29th or 3oth.
In the interval of waiting, Strux and Palander went to their
usual occupations, while Sir John and the bushman shot ante-
lopes. They found opportunity of hunting a giraffe, which is
considered fine sport. Coming across a herd of twenty, but so
wild that they could not approach within 500 yards, they suc-
ceeded in detaching a female from the herd. The animal set
off at first at a slow trot, allowing the horsemen to gain upon
her; but when she found them near, she twisted her tail, and
started at full speed. The hunters followed for about two miles,
when a ball from Sir John's rifle threw her on to her side, and
made her an easy victim.
In the course of the next night the two Russians took some
altitudes of the stars, which enabled them to determine the lati-
tude of the encampment. The following night was clear and
dry, without moon and stars, and the observers impatiently
watched for the appearance of the electric light. Strux, Palan-
der, and Sir John relieved guard at the telescope, but no light


appeared. They concluded that the ascent of the mountain had
offered serious difficulty, and again postponed their observations
till the next night. Great, however, was their surprise, when,
about two o'clock in the afternoon, Colonel Everest and his
companions suddenly reappeared in camp.
In answer to inquiries whether he had found the mountain in-
accessible, Colonel Everest replied that although in itself the
mountain was entirely accessible, it was so guarded that they
had found it necessary to come back for reinforcements.
"Do you mean," said Sir John, "that the natives were assem.
bled in force ?"
Yes, natives with four paws and black manes, who have
eaten up one of our horses."
The Colonel went on to say that the mountain was only to
be approached by a spur on the south-west side. In the narrow
defile leading to the spur a troop of lions had taken up their
abode. These he had endeavored to dislodge, but, insufficiently
armed, he was compelled to beat a retreat, after losing one of
his horses by- a single blow of a lion's paw.
The recital kindled the interest of Sir John and the bushman.
Clearly it was a station worth conquering, and an expedition was
at once arranged. All the Europeans, without exception, were
eager to join, but it was necessary that some should remain at
the camp to measure the angles at the base of the triangle;
therefore the Colonel resolved to stay behind with Strux and
Palander, while Sir John, Emery, and Zorn (to whose entreaties
their chiefs had been obliged to yield), Mokoum, and three na-


tives on whose courage he could rely, made up the party for the
They started at four in the afternoon, and by nine were with-
in two miles of the mountain. Here they dismounted, and
made their arrangements for the night. No fire was kindled,
Mokoum being unwilling to provoke a nocturnal attack from the
animals, which he wished to meet by daylight.
Throughout the night the roar of the lions could almost in-
cessantly be heard. Not one of the hunters slept for so much
as an hour, and Mokoum took advantage of their wakefulness
to give them some advice from his own experience.
"From what Colonel Everest tells us," he said, calmly, these
are black-maned lions, the fiercest and most dangerous species
of any. They leap for a distance of sixteen to twenty paces,
and I should advise you to avoid their first bound. Should the
first fail, they rarely take a second. We will attack them as
they re-enter their den at daybreak; they are always less fierce
when they are well filled. But they will defend themselves well;
for here, in this uninhabited district, they are unusually fero-
cious. Measure your distance well before you fire; let the ani-
mal approach, and take a sure aim near the shoulder. We
must leave our horses behind; the sight of a lion terrifies them,
and therefore the safety of their rider is imperilled. We must
fight on foot, and I rely on your calmness."
All listened with silent attention : Mokoum was now the pa-
tient hunter. Although the lion seldom attacks a man without
provocation, yet his fury, when once aroused, is terrible; and


therefore the bushman enjoined composure on his companions,
especially on Sir John, who was'often carried away by his bold-
Shoot at a lion," said Mokoum, as calmly as if you were
shooting a partridge."
At four o'clock, only a few red streaks being visible in the far
east, the hunters tied up their horses securely and left their
"Examine your guns, and be careful that your cartridges are
in good trim," continued Mokoum, to those who carried rifles;
for the three natives were armed otherwise, satisfied with their
bows of aloe, which already had rendered them good service.
The party, in a compact group, turned toward the defile,
which had been partially reconnoitred the evening before.
They crept, like Red Indians, silently between the trees, and
soon reached the narrow gorge which formed the entrance.
Here, winding between piles of granite, began the path leading
to the first slopes of the spur. Midway the path had been
widened by a landslip, and here was the cave tenanted by the
It was then arranged that Sir John, one of the natives, and
Mokoum, should creep along the upper edge of the defile, with
the intention of driving out the animals to the lower extremity
of the gorge. There the two young Europeans and the other
two Boschjesmen should be in ambush to receive the fugitive
beasts with shot and arrows.
No spot could be better adapted for the manoeuvres. The


forked branches of a gigantic sycamore afforded a safe position,
since lions do not climb; and the hunters, perched at a consid-
erable height, could escape their bounds and aim at them under
favorable conditions.
William Emery objected to the plan as being dangerous for
Sir John and the bushman, but the latter would hear of no modi-
fication, and Emery reluctantly acquiesced.
Day now began to dawn, and the mountain-top was glowing
in the sun. Mokoum, after seeing his four companions installed
in the sycamore, started off with Sir John and the Boschjes-
man, and soon mounted the devious path which lay on the
right edge of the defile. Cautiously examining their path, they
continued to advance. In the event of the lions having re-
turned to their den and being at repose, it would be possible to
make short work of them.
After about a quarter of an hour the hunters, reaching the
landslip before the cave to which Zorn had directed them,
crouched down and examined the spot. It seemed a wide ex-
cavation, though at present they could hardly estimate the size.
The entrance was marked by piles of bones and remains of ani-
mals, demonstrating, beyond doubt, that it was the lions' retreat.
Contrary to the hunter's expectation, the cave seemed de-
serted. He crept to the entrance and satisfied himself that it
was really empty. .Calling his companions, who joined him im-
mediately, he said:-
"Our game has not returned, Sir John, but it will not be long:
I think we had better install ourselves in its place. Better to


be besieged than besiegers, especially as we have an armed suc.
cor at hand. What- do you think ?"
"I am at your orders, Mokoum," replied Sir John.
All three accordingly entered. It was a deep grotto, strewn
with bones and stained with blood. Repeating their scrutiny,
lest they should be mistaken as to the cave being empty, they
hastened to barricade the entrance by piling up stones, the in-
tervening spaces being filled with boughs and dry brushwood.
This only occupied a few minutes, the mouth of the cave being
comparatively narrow. They then went behind their loop-holes
and awaited their prey, which was not long in coming. A lion
and two lionesses approached within a hundred yards of the
cave. The lion, tossing his mane and sweeping the ground with
his tail, carried in his teeth an entire antelope, which he shook
with as much ease as a cat would a mouse. The two lionesses
frisked along at his side.
Sir John afterwards confessed that it was a moment of no lit-
tle trepidation; he felt his pulses beat fast, and was conscious of
something like fear; but he was soon himself again. His two
companions retained their composure undisturbed.
At the sight of the barricade, the beasts paused. They were
within sixty paces. With a harsh roar from the lion, they all
three rushed into a thicket on the right, a little below the spot
where the hunters had first stopped. Their tawny backs and
gleaming eyes were distinctly visible through the foliage.
"The partridges are there," whispered Sir John; let us each
take one."



"No," answered Mokoum softly; "the brood is not all here,
and the report of a gun would frighten the rest. Boschjesman,
are you sure of your arrow at this distance ?"
"Yes, Mokoum," said the native.
Then aim at the male's left flank, and pierce his heart."
The Boschjesman bent his bow, and the arrow whistled
through the brushwood. With a loud roar, the lion made a
bound and fell. He lay motionless, and his sharp teeth stood
out in strong relief against his blood-stained lips.
"Well done, Boschjesman!" said Mokoum.
At this moment the lionesses, leaving the thicket, flung them-
selves on the lion's body. Attracted by their roar, two other
lions and a third lioness appeared round the corner of the de-
file. Bristling with anger, they looked twice their ordinary
size, and bounded forward with terrific roars.
"Now for the rifles," cried the bushman; "we must shoot
them on the wing, since they will not perch."
The bushman took deliberate aim, and one lion fell, as it were
paralyzed. The other, his paw broken by Sir John's bullet,
rushed toward the barricade, followed by the infuriated lion-
esses. Unless the rifles could now be brought successfully to
bear, the three animals would succeed in entering their den.
The hunters retired; their guns were quickly reloaded; two or
three lucky shots, and all would be well; but an unforeseen cir-
cumstance occurred which rendered the hunters' situation to the
last degree alarming.
All at once a dense smoke filled the cave. One of the wads,


falling on the dry brushwood, had set it alight, and soon a sheet
of flames, fanned by the wind, lay between the men and the
beasts. The lions recoiled, but the hunters would be suffocated
if they remained where they were. It was a terrible moment,
but they dared not hesitate.
"Come out come out! cried Mokoum.
They pushed aside the brushwood with the butt ends of their
guns, knocked down the stones, and, half choked, leaped out of
the cloud of smoke.
The native and Sir John had hardly time to collect their
senses when they were both knocked over. The African, struck
on the chest by one of the lionesses, lay motionless on the
ground; Sir John, who received a blow from the tail of the
A other, thought his leg was broken, and fell on his knees. But
just as the animal turned upon him, a ball from the bushman
arrested her, and, meeting a bone, exploded in her body. At
this instant Zorn, Emery, and the two Boschjesmen appeared
opportunely, although unsummoned, hastening up the defile.
Two lions and one lioness were dead; but two lionesses and the
lion with the broken paw were still sufficiently formidable. The
rifles, however, performed their duty. A second lioness fell,
struck in both head and flank. The third lioness and the
wounded lion bounded over the young men's heads, and amid a
last salute of balls and arrows disappeared round the corner of
the defile.
Sir John uttered a loud hurrah. The lions were conquered;
four carcasses measured the ground.


"The animal turned upon him."-Page 82.


With his friend's assistance, Sir John was soon on his feet
again; his leg was not broken. The native soon recovered his
consciousness, being merely stunned by the blow from the ani-
mal's head. An hour later, the little troop, without further trace
of the fugitive couple, regained the thicket where they had left
their horses.
"Well," said Mokoum to Sir John, "I hope you like our
African partridges."
"Delightful! delightful !" said Sir John, rubbing his leg, "but
what tails they have, to be sure "




A T the camp Colonel Everest and his colleagues, with
a natural impatience, anxiously abided the result of the
lion-hunt. If the chase proved successful, the light would
appear in the course of the night. The Colonel and Strux
passed the clay uneasily; Palander, always engrossed, forgot
that any danger menaced his friends. It might be said of him,
as of the mathematician Bouvard, He will continue to cal-
culate while he continues to live;" for apart from his calculations
life for him would have lost its purpose.
The two chiefs certainly thought quite as much of the
accomplishment of their survey as of any danger incurred by
their companions; they would themselves have braved any peril
rather than have a physical obstacle to arrest their operations.
At length, after a day that seemed interminable, the night
arrived. Punctually every half-hour the Colonel and Matthew
Strux silently relieved guard at the telescope, each desiring to
be the first to discover the light. But hours passed on, and


no light appeared. At last, at a quarter to three, Colonel
Everest arose, and calmly said, "The .signal! "
The Russian, although he did not utter a word, could
scarcely conceal the chagrin which he felt at chance favoring
the Colonel.
The angle was then carefully measured, and was found to
be exactly 73 degrees, 58 minutes, and 42.413 seconds.
Colonel Everest being anxious to join his companions as
soon as possible, the camp was raised at dawn, and by mid-
day all the members of the Commission had met once more.
The incidents of the lion-hunt were recounted, and the victors
heartily congratulated.
During the morning Sir John, Emery, and Zorn had pro-
ceeded to the summit of the mountain, and had thence
measured the angular distance of a new station, situated a few
miles to the west of the meridian. Palander also announced
that the measurement of the second degree was now complete.
For five weeks all went on well. The weather was fine, and
the country, being only slightly undulated, offered fair sites
for the stations. Provisions were abundant, and Sir John's
revictualling expeditions provided full many a variety of
antelopes and buffaloes. The general health was good, and
water could always be found. Even the discussions between
the Colonel and Strux were less violent, and each seemed to
vie with the other in zeal for success, when a local difficulty
occurred which for a while hindered the work and revived


It was the IIth of August. During the night the caravan
had passed through a wooded country, and in the morning
halted before an immense forest extending beyond the horizon.
Imposing masses of foliage formed a verdant curtain which
was of indescribable beauty. There were the gounda," the
"mosokoso," and the "mokoumdon," a wood much sought
for ship-building; great ebony trees, their bark covering a
perfectly black wood; "bauhinias," with fibre of iron; "buch-
neras," with their orange-colored flowers; magnificent "roode-
blatts," with whitish trunks, crowned with crimson foliage;
and thousands of "guaiacums," measuring fifteen feet in cir-
cumference. There was ever a murmur like that of the surf
on a sandy coast; it was the wind, which, passing across the
branches, was calmed on the skirts of the forest. In answer
to a question from the Colonel, Mokoum said:-
"It is the forest of Rovouma."
"What is its size?"
It is about forty-five miles wide, and ten long."
"How shall we cross it?"
"Cross it we cannot," said Mokoum. "There is but one
resource: we must go round either to the east or to the
At this intelligence the chiefs were much perplexed. In
the forest they could not establish stations; to pass round
would involve them in an additional series of perhaps ten
auxiliary triangles.
Here was a difficulty of no little magnitude. Encamping