The Baldmin LihTja
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA
AN AFRICAN TRADER
WILLIAM H. G. KINGSTON
AUTHOR OF "GREAT AFRICAN TRAVELLERS," DIGBY HEATHCOTE,
"SHIPWRECKS AND DISASTERS AT SEA," ETC.
WITH 42 ILLUSTRATIONS
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS
BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL
NEW YORK: 9 LAFAYETTE PLACE
BY THE SAME AUTHOR.
UNIFORM IVITIH THIS I OL ULIE.
ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.
By W. H. G. KINGSTON. With coloured Frontis-
piece and 36 Illustrations.
ARCTIC ADVENTURES. With coloured
Frontispiece and 40 Illustrations. By W. H. G.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
"WATER COME SOON, WATER COME SOON !" 3
"A TIGER, UNCLE; A TIGER, JAN !" 7
"THOSE BOSJEEMEN !" CRIED JAN 1.
"THE THREE HUNTERS LIGHTED A FIRE AND SAT THEM-
SELVES DOWN BEFORE IT" 19
"WHAT WAS MY SURPRISE TO SEE A HUGE LION!" 23
"AIMING AT THE EAR OF THE HIPPOPOTAMUS, HE FIRED" 29
"DARE WATER, DARE WATER!". 35
"A VAST HERD CAME SCAMPERING ACROSS THE PLAIN 39
"ON WENT THE CREATURES, TRUMPETING WITH RAGE" 43
"ANOTHER LION SPRANG FROM THE COVER" 51
"THE ELEPHANT, ELEVATING ITS TRUNK, ACTUALLY
TOUCHED HIS FOOT" 59
"WITH A RUSH IT IEAPT ON THE BACK OF THE GIRAFFE" 67
"SUDDENLY, DOWN CAME THE HARPOON" 7
"THEN OFF IT WENT, TOWING THE CANOE AT A TREMEN-
DOUS RATE AFTER IT" 73
"THE BLACKS RUSHED INTO TIE WATER, DARTING THEIR
SPEARS AT IT" 77
"NOW A SCENE OF SLAUGHTER COMMENCED" 81
"WHAT WAS MY DISMAY TO SEE JAN CLINGING TO HIS
HIND LEG?" 8
"I FIRED AT ITS HEAD" 91
iv LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
"A PARTY OF WOMEN SANG A MONOTONOUS CHANT AND
CLAPPED THEIR HANDS" .
"I SAW THE CROCODILE SEIZE HANS BY THE ARM 107
"THE RHINOCEROS DROVE ITS HORNS INTO ITS BODY" I17
"THE ANIMAL SENT HIM INTO THE AIR" 123
"LIONS, A WHOLE ARMY OF THEM".. 127
"FIRST CAME A STAG, A MAGNIFICENT ANIMAL' 133
"ON THEY CAME, CLOSER AND CLOSER" 139
"HARRY AND JAN'S RIFLES WENT OFF AT THE SAME MO-
"WE FIRED, AND BOTH OUR BALLS TOOK EFFECT" 153
"THEY NOW OFFERED UNUSUALLY GOOD MARKS TO OUR
"WHAT WAS OUR SURPRISE TO SEE AN ENORMOUS LION". 165
"ALMOST DIRECTLY AFTERWARDS, TWO OF THE GIRAFFES
SANK INTO OTHER PITS" 171
"OFF STARTED THE QUAGGA, FULL GALLOP" 175
" THE WOMEN SHRIEKING, THE CHILDREN HOWLING, AND
THE MEN WAVING FIREBRANDS" 179
" SHOOTING AT THE STORM-CLOUDS TO DRIVE THEM AWAY" 183
"A COUPLE OF HUGE RHINOCEROSES" 185
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA,
How many more days, Jan, will it be before we
get across this abominable desert?" I asked of our
black guide, as we trudged along, he leading our
sole remaining ox, while my uncle, Mr. Roger Farley,
and I led our two horses laden with the remnants ot.
"May be ten days, may be two ten," answered Jan
Jigger, whose knowledge of numerals was somewhat
I gave a groan, for I was footsore and weary, and
expected to have had a more satisfactory answer.
We were making our way over a light-coloured soft
sand, sprinkled in some places with tall grass, rising
in tufts, with bare spots between them. In other
parts were various creeping plants, and also-though
I called the region a desert-there were extensive
patches of bushes, above which here and there rose
clumps of trees of considerable height. This large
amount of vegetation, however, managed to exist
without streams or pools, and for miles and miles
2 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
together we had met with no water to quench our own
thirst or that of our weary beasts. My uncle was
engaged in the adventurous and not unprofitable
occupation of trading with the natives in the interior
of Africa. He had come down south some months
before to dispose of the produce of his industry at Gra-
ham's Town, where I had joined him, having been sent
for from England. After purchasing a fresh supply of
goods, arms, powder, and shot, and giving a thorough
repair to his waggons, he had again set off northward
for the neighbourhood of lake Ngami, where he was
to meet his partner, Mr. Welbourn, who had with him
his son Harry, with whom I had been at school, and
who was about my own age. We had, beyond the
borders of the colony, been attacked by a party of
savages, instigated by the Boers, two 'or three of
whom indeed led them. They had deprived us of our
cattle and men, we having escaped with a small
portion only of our goods, two of our horses, a single
ox and our one faithful Bechuana. To get away
from our enemies we had taken a route not unusually
followed across the Kalahari desert. We were aware
of the dangers and difficulties to be encountered, but
the road was much shorter than round either to the
east or west; and though we knew that wild animals
abounded, including elephants, rhinoceroses, lions,
leopards, and hyenas, yet we believed that we should
be able to contend with them, and that we should not
be impeded by human savages. Day after day we
trudged forward. The only water we could obtain
was by digging into certain depressions in the ground
which our guide pointed out, when, having scraped
M ~-3-^ -- ~ ^~ ---
r- ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ------------ *-4- -~
"WATER COME SOON, WATER COME SOON !" [p. 4.
4 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
out the sand with the single spade we possessed and
our hands, we arrived at a hard stratum, beyond
which he advised us not to go. In a short time
the water began to flow in slowly, increasing by
degrees until we had enough for ourselves and our
We had now, however, been travelling sixty miles
or more, without finding one of these water-holes;
and though we had still a small quantity of the
precious liquid for ourselves, our poor horses and ox
had begun to suffer greatly. Still Jan urged us to
"Water come soon, water come soon !" he con-
tinued saying, keeping his eye ranging about in every
direction in seach of the expected hole.
Trusting to Jan's assurances, thirst compelled us to
consume the last drop of our water. Still, hour after
hour went by, and we reached no place at which we
could replenish it. Our sufferings became terrible.
My throat felt as if seared by a hot iron. Often I
had talked of being thirsty, but I had never before
known what thirst really was. My uncle, I had no
doubt, was suffering as much as I was, but his endu-
rance was wonderful.
We had seen numbers of elands sporting round us
in every direction, but as soon as we approached
them, off they bounded.
Surely those deer do not live without water; it
cannot be far away," I observed.
"They are able to pass days and weeks without
tasting any," said my uncle. "They can besides
quickly cover thirty or forty miles of ground if they
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 5
wish to reach it. We must try to shoot one of them
for supper, which may give us both meat and drink.
See, in the wood yonder we can leave our horses and
the ox under Jan's care, and you and I will try to
stalk one of the animals."
On reaching the wood, my uncle and I, with our
guns in our hands, took a direction which would lead
us to leeward of the herd, so that we might not be
scented as we approached.
By creeping along under the shelter of some low
bushes as we neared them, the elands did not see us.
Hunger and thirst made us unusually cautious and
anxious to kill one. My uncle told me to reserve my
fire, in case he should fail to bring the eland down;
but as he was a much better shot than I was, I feared
that should he miss, I also should fail. Presently I
saw him rise from among the grass. Lifting his rifle
to his shoulder he fired; the eland gave a bound, but
alighting on its feet was scampering off, when I
eagerly raised my rifle and pulled the trigger. As
the smoke cleared off, to my infinite delight I saw the
eland struggling on the grass. We both rushed
forward, and my uncle's knife quickly deprived it of
life. It was a magnificent animal, as big as an ox,
being the largest of the South African antelopes.
On opening its stomach we discovered water, which,
on being allowed to cool, was sufficiently pure to
quench our burning thirst. We secured a portion of
it for Jan, and loading ourselves with as much meat
as we could carry, we returned to where we had left
him. A fire was soon lighted, and we lost no time in
cooking a portion of the flesh. With our thirst
6 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
partially relieved we were able to eat. We had made
our fire at some distance from the shrubs for fear of
igniting them, while we tethered our horses and ox
among the longest grass we could find. In that dry
region no shelter was required at night, so w lay
down to sleep among our bales, with our saddles for
pillows, and our rifles by our sides. I had been
sleeping soundly, dreaming of purling streams and
babbling fountains, when I awoke to find my throat
as dry and parched as ever. Hoping to find a few
drops of water in my bottle, I sat up to reach for it;
when, as I looked across the fire, what was my
dismay to see a large tiger-like animal stealthily
approaching, and tiger I fully believed it to be. On it
came, exhibiting a pair of round bright shining eyes.
I expected every moment to see it spring upon us. I
was afraid that by crying out I might only hasten its
movements, so I felt for my rifle and, presenting at
the creature's head shouted-
"A tiger, uncle; a tiger, Jan! "
"A tiger! exclaimed my uncle, springing up in a
moment. "That's not a tiger, it's a leopard, but if
pressed by hunger may prove as ugly a customer.
Don't fire until I tell you, for if wounded it will be-
All this time the leopard was crawling on, though
it must have heard the sound of our voices; perhaps
the glare of the fire in its eyes prevented it from
seeing us, for it still cautiously approached. I saw
my uncle lift his rifle; he fired, but though his bullet
struck the creature, instead of falling as I expected, it
gave a bound and the next instant would have been
" A TIGER, UNCLE; A TIGER, JAN !
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 9
upon us. Now was my time. As it rose, I fired, and
my bullet must have gone through its heart, for over it
rolled without a struggle, perfectly dead.
"Bravo! Fred," exclaimed my uncle. "This is
the second time within a few hours your rifle has done
good service. You'll become a first-rate hunter if you
go on as you've begun. How that leopard came here
it's difficult to say, unless it was driven from the hills,
and has been wandering over the desert in search of
prey; those creatures generally inhabit a high woody
Jan exhibited great delight at our victory, and
having made up the fire, we spent some time in
skinning the beast. Its fur was of great beauty, and
although it would add to the load of our ox, we
agreed to carry it with us, as it would be a welcome
present to any chief who might render us assistance.
Having flayed the animal and pegged down the
skin, we returned to our beds, hoping to finish the
night without interruption. As soon as there was
light sufficient to enable us to see our way, we pushed
forward, earnestly praying that before the sun was
high in the heavens, we might fall in with water.
Notwithstanding that Jan repeatedly exclaimed, "Find
water soon! Find water soon!" not a sign of it
could we see. A glare from a cloudy sky was shed
over the whole scene; clumps of trees and bushes
looking so exactly alike, that after travelling several
miles, we might have fancied that we had made no
progress. At length even the trees and bushes be-
came scarcer, and what looked like a veritable desert
appeared before us.
10 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
I had-gone on a short distance ahead, when to my
delight I saw in front a large lake, in the centre of
which the waves were dancing and sparkling in the
sunlight, the shadows of the trees being vividly re-
flected on the mirror-like surface near the shores,
while beyond I saw what I took to be a herd of
elephants flapping their ears and intertwining their
"Water, water!" I shouted; "we shall soon
quench our thirst. We must take care to avoid those
elephants, however," I added, pointing them out to
my uncle. It would be a fearful thing to be charged
The horses and ox lifted up their heads and pressed
forward. Jan to my surprise said nothing, though I
knew he was suffering as well as my uncle and I were.
I was rushing eagerly forward, when suddenly a haze
which hung over the spot, broke and dispelled the illu-
sion. A vast salt-pan lay before us. It was covered with
an effervescence of lime, which had produced the de-
ceptive appearance. Our spirits sank lower than ever.
To avoid the salt-pan, we turned to the right, so as to
skirt its eastern side. The seeming elephants proved
to be zebras, which scampered off out of reach. We
now began to fear that our horses would give in, and
that we should have to push forward with our ox
alone, abandoning everything it could not carry.
Still my uncle cried Forward Jan had evidently
mistaken the road, and passed the spot where he had
expected to find water. Still he observed that we
need have no fear of pursuing our course. Evening
was approaching and we must again camp: without
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. It
water we could scarcely expect to get through the
Presently Jan looking out ahead, darted forward and
stopped at where a small plant grew with linear
leaves and a stalk not thicker than a crow's quill.
Instantly taking a spade fastened to the back of the
ox, he began eagerly digging away; and after he had
got down to the depth of a foot, he displayed to us a
tuber, the size of an enormous turnip. On removing
the rind, he cut it open with his axe, and showed us a
mass of cellular tissue filled up with a juicy substance
which he handed to us, and applying a piece to his
own mouth ate eagerly away at it. We imitated his
example, and were almost immediately much re-
freshed. We found several other plants of the same
sort, and digging up the roots gave them to the horses
and ox, who crunched them up with infinite satisfac-
Our thirst was relieved in a way I could scarcely
have supposed possible. The animals too, trudged
forward with far lighter steps than before. Re-
lieved of our thirst and in the hopes of finding
either water or more tubers next morning, we
lay down thankful that we had escaped the fearful
danger we had apprehended. As we advanced we
looked out anxiously for the tuber-bearing plants,
but not one could we see. I had gone on some little
distance ahead, when I caught sight of a round object
some way off, which, as the rays of sun fell on it,
appeared of scarlet hue. I ran towards it, when I saw
what looked like a small oblong red melon.
"Here's something worth having!" I exclaimed,
12 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
cutting into it with my knife. When I applied it to
my mouth, to my disappointment I found that, although
juicy in the extreme, it was perfectly bitter. I threw
it down in disgust. Jan soon afterwards, on coming
"Dis no good, but find oders presently "
Hurrying along, he struck one after another, and
quickly handed me one perfectly sweet; when he col-
lected many more, with which we returned to where
my uncle had halted with the animals.
The fruit was far more gratifying to the taste than
the tubers. We allowed the animals to eat as many
as they wished, and, loading them with a supply in
case we should fail to find others further on, we
continued our journey.
Those melons lasted us another whole day and a
night, and afforded the only liquid which passed our
mouths. As we were on foot our view over the level
desert was limited.
I was walking alongside my uncle, discussing our
future plans, having begun to hope that, in spite
of the difficulties we had to contend against, we
should get through, when I saw some objects moving
rapidly in the distance. They were coming towards
They are ostriches !" cried my uncle; we must
try and kill a few to obtain their plumes."
We halted, and remained perfectly still, hoping
that the birds might approach us. Now they ran
as fleet as a race-horse, now they stopped and went
circling round. Two or three odd-looking birds, as
they seemed, were moving at a much slower rate.
ADVENTURES VI AFRICA. 13
"Those Bosjeemen! cried Jan.
We at length saw that the latter were human
beings, their legs covered with white pigment and
carrying the head and feathers of an ostrich on their
backs, while each had in his hand a bow and a number
of arrows. Presently they cautiously approached the
ostriches to leeward, stopping every now and then
and pretending to be feeding. The ostriches would
look at the strange birds, but, not suspecting danger,
allowed them to approach. One of the Bosjeemen
then shot an arrow, when the wounded bird and his
companions ran off; the former, however, quickly
dropped, when the other birds stopped to see what
was the matter, and thus allowed their'enemy to draw
near enough to shoot another arrow.
In this way three little yellow-skinned fellows each
shot, in a short time, four magnificent ostriches.
They had seen us in the distance, but instead of run-
ning away, as we feared they would do, one of them,
guessing we were traders, came forward to bargain
for the sale of the feathers, and Jan acting as inter-
preter, my uncle expressed a willingness to trade.
The Bosjeemen then produced a number of reeds,
scarcely the thickness of my little finger. Having
plucked off the feathers, they pushed them into the
reeds; and, thus preserved, the feathers were fit to
travel any distance without being spoilt.
It was late by the time the whole operation was
performed, and we had given the articles they had
agreed to take in exchange. As the reeds weighed
but little, the loads were considerably lightened.
Jan now explained to our new friends that they
14 ADVENTURES IA AFRICA.
would b3 further rewarded if they would conduct us
to water. They at once agreed to do so, and one of
them, hurrying away to a spot at a distance where
they had left their travelling equipage, returned with
a dozen ostriches' eggs in a net at his back; he then
made a sign to us to follow him, while his companions
remained with the ostriches they had shot. Sooner
than we expected he reached a hole, into which he
rapidly dug with his hand; then, inserting a long
reed, he began to suck away with might and main.
In a short time the water flowed, and was led down
by another reed into a hole at the end of an ostrich
egg, which was soon filled with water. As we had a
leather bucket we were enabled to give our animals
a drink, though we could not allow them as much as
they would have liked.
The. Bosjeeman then, refilling the egg-shells, re-
turned with us to where we had left his companions.
We found that they had built themselves a hut, if so
it could be called, in a thick mimosa bush, by bending
the boughs so as to form a roof, covered by reeds
lightly fastened together. The inside was lined with
dried leaves, grass, and the coarser feathers of the
ostrich. When they saw that we were encamped,
the three hunters lighted a fire and sat themselves
down before it to enjoy a sumptuous repast of ostrich
flesh. Though unattractive in appearance, they were
honest little fellows, and we slept in perfect security,
knowing that they wold give us timely notice of the
approach of an enemy.
Jan assured us that we might trust them, as it was
a high mark of confidence on their part to show us
"THOSE BOSJEEMEN CRIED JAN
T----O I1 .I J N -
" THOSE BOSJEEMENi" CRIED JAN. [/. 13.
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 17
where we could procure water, for they are always
careful to hide such spots from those they tfink
They accompanied us the following day, and led us
to a pool, the only one we had met with while cross-
ing the desert. Probably in many seasons that also
would have been empty. Here our animals got as
much water as they could drink, and we filled our
water-bottles. We then parted from our yellow
friends, who said that, as they were ignorant of the
country to the northward, they could not venture
farther. Trusting to Jan's sagacity to find water, we
proceeded in good spirits.
We had hoped to trade largely with the natives,
but as we had lost the greater part of our goods, we
should have to depend upon our own exertions to
obtain the ivory and skins which would repay us for
the difficulties and dangers of our journey. We had
fortunately saved the greater part of our ammunition,
which would enable us to hunt for some months to
Of course we knew Mr. Welbourn would be much
disappointed at seeing us arrive with s6 slender an
equivalent for the skins and ivory my uncle had taken
south, instead of the waggon full of goods which he
"He is a sensible, good-natured fellow, and will
know that it was from no fault of ours we were
plundered," observed my uncle. "We shall still do
well, and shall probably encounter more adventures
than we should have met with had we confined our-
selves to simple trading with the natives, I should,
18 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
however, have preferred that to undergoing the
fatigues of hunting; besides which we might the sooner
have returned with our cargo of ivory to the coast."
Several more days passed by during which we came
to three spots where we were able to obtain a
sufficient amount of water to satisfy ourselves and our
thirsty animals. Sometimes for miles together not a
drop could be procured, and had it not been for the
tubers, and the little red melons I have described,
the horses and our patient ox must have perished.
At length the sheen of water in the bright sunlight
was seen in the distance. This time we were con-
vinced that it was not a mirage. We pushed forward,
hoping that our sufferings from thirst were at an end.
Trees of greater height than any we had yet met with
since leaving the colony fringed the banks of a fine
river. On examining the current we found that it was
flowing to the north-east, and we therefore hoped
that by following it up we should reach the lake for
which we were bound. Our black guide, however,
advised that we should cross the river, which wa-
here fordable, and by steering north, considerably
shorten the journey. On wading through the water
we looked out sharply for crocodiles and hippopotami
lest one of those fresh-water monsters should venture
to attack us; we got over, however, without accident
Having allowed our animals to drink their full of
water, and replenished our bottles, we encamped for
the night under a magnificent baobab tree with a
trunk seventy feet in girth as high as we could reach,
while our animals found an abundance of rich grass
on which to satisfy their hunger.
" THE THREE HUNTERS LIGHTED A FIRE AND SAT THEMSELVES DOWN BEFORE IT." [p. 14. -
20 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
What pigmies we felt as we stood beneath that
giant tree. An army might have found shelter from
the sun under its wide-spreading boughs. We thought
the spot a perfect paradise after our long journey
across the plain.
We had not long been seated round our camp-fire,
when Jan made a dart at his foot and caught a fly
"which had settled on it; and, exhibiting it to my
"No good, no good! "
It was of a brownish colour with thee yellow bars
across the body, and scarcely larger than a common
house-fly. We soon saw others buzzing about in
I asked Jan what he meant.
Das de tsetse: when bite horse or ox den dey die,"
As, however, neither my uncle nor I felt any ill
effects from the bites of the flies, we thought that Jan
must be mistaken, and at all events it'was now too
late to shift our encampment. We therefore, having
made up a blazing fire to scare off any wild beasts,
lay down to sleep, without thinking more of the flies,
which did not cause us any annoyance.
The next morning we saw some of the creatures on
the legs of our horses and the ox; but we soon
brushed them away, and, loading up, we continued
our journey. They went on as usual. Jan, however,
looked much disconcerted, and I saw him continually
brushing off the flies.
"No good, no good !" he said, "hope soon get
through, for de horses not go far."
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 21
I asked my uncle what Jan meant. He replied that
he had often heard of the tsetse fly, but never having
passed through a country infested by it, he was disin-
clined to believe the stories told of the deadly effects
of its bite on cattle and horses.
WE soon passed through the tsetse district, which
was not more than a couple of miles wide, and, as our
animals showed no appearance of suffering, we hoped
that they had escaped injury.
We had determined to encamp early in the day
near a pool fed by a rivulet which fell into the main
stream, in order that we might shoot some game for
our supper. Leaving Jan in charge of the camp, my
uncle and I set off, believing that we could easily find
our way back to the fire. We had gone some distance
when we caught sight of a herd of antelopes. In
order that we might have a better chance of killing
one of them, my uncle told me to make a wide circuit,
keeping to leeward of the deer towards a clump of
trees, whence I might be able to get a favourable
shot, while he lay down concealed by the brushwood
near where we then were.
Taking advantage of all the bushes and trunks ot
trees on the way, I approached the antelopes without
disturbing them. Looking out from the cover I had
gained, I watched the beautiful creatures, hoping that
one of them would come within range of my rifle. It
"WATWA M SRPIE O EEA UG LO
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 25
was tantalising to see them feeding so quietly just out
of my reach. Still, though I might not get a shot, I
hoped that they might go off towards where my uncle
was lying hid. Presently, however, they bounded
towards me; and, thinking it possible that they might
again turn, I fired at one of the leading animals,
which, notwithstanding its wound, still went on,
though at slackened speed. Instead of reloading, as
I ought to have done, I dashed forward to secure it.
Scarcely, however, had I left my cover than what was
my surprise, and I must confess my dismay, to see a
huge lion Should I attempt to escape by flight, the
savage brute would, I knew, follow me. I fixed my
eyes as steadily as I could upon him, while I
attempted to reload. At the same time I knew that,
even should I fire, I might only wound him, when he
would become more fierce. There were trees near, up
which it was possible I might climb should he give
me time, but it was not likely that he would do that.
I wondered that he did not pursue the antelope; but
probably he had lately had his dinner, or he certainly
would have done so. I continued loading, he lashing
his tail and roaring furiously. I expected every
moment that he would spring upon me. To escape
by any other way than by shooting him dead seemed
I finished loading, and brought my gun up ready to
fire. Should I miss or only wound him, he would be
upon me in a moment. I had hitherto remained quite
silent, but it occurred to me that if I should shout
loudly enough my uncle would hear my cry for help.
I thought, too, that I might scare the lion. When
26 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
once I had made up my mind to shout, I did so with
might and main.
I was answered by a distant hollo by which I
knew that my uncle was still a long way off. He
would, however, understand that I was in danger, and
come to my assistance; or, if too late to help me,
would provide for his own safety.
The lion seemed as undecided how to act as I was.
As I shouted he roared, and again lashed his tail, but
did not advance a step. This gave me courage; but,
although the monarch of the forest did not appear in
a combative mood, I felt very sure that, should I
wound him, his rage would be excited. I dared not
for a moment withdraw my eye from him, and thus
we stood regarding each other. To me it seemed a
prodigiously long time. At last he seemed to lose
patience, for his roars became more frequent and
louder and louder, and he lashed his tail more
furiously. I raised my rifle to my shoulder. He
came on at a cat-like pace, evidently ignorant of the
power of the weapon I held in my hands. In another
instant he would spring at me. I pulled the trigger.
To my horror, the cap failed to ignite the powder. I
saw the monstrous brute in the act of springing, but
at the same moment I heard the crack of a rifle close
to me; the next, a tremendous roar rent the air. I
was felled to the earth, and felt myself weighed down
by a vast body, unable to breathe or move. It was
some time before I came to myself, when, looking up,
I saw my uncle kneeling by my side.
"The lion very nearly did for you, Fred," he said;
"but cheer up, lad. I don't think you're mortally
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 27
hurt, though you've had a narrow squeak for it. Had
your gun not missed fire, you might have shot the
lion yourself. Here he lies, and there's the springbok."
While my uncle was talking, he was examining my
hurts. The lion had given me a fearful blow with his
paw, and had injured one of my shoulders. It was a
wonder indeed that he did not kill me.
"We must get you to the camp somehow," said my
uncle; I cannot leave you here while I bring the ox,
so the sooner we set off the better."
Taking me up in his arms, he began to stagger on
with me; but, though he was a strong man, I was
no slight weight, and he had great difficulty in
getting along. I asked him to let me walk, as I
thought that I could do so with his support. When I
tried, however, I found that I could not move one
foot before the other. As we got within hail of the
camp he shouted to Jan to come and help him; and
together they carried me along the remainder of the
"Now that we have you safe here, though I
am unwilling to leave you, I must go back and fetch
the antelope, for we cannot do without food," he
Telling Jan to collect materials for building a hut,
as it was evident that I should be unable to move for
some time, and also charging him to keep an eye on
me, he started off.
I felt a great deal of pain, but I retained my senses,
and tried to divert my thoughts by watching Jan, who
was busily employed in cutting long sticks and
branches for the hut.
28 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
It seemed to me that my uncle had been gone for
more than an hour, and I began to fear that some
accident might have happened to him. Where there
was one lion it was probable that there were others,
and they might revenge themselves on the slayer of
Jan, however, kept working away as if satisfied
that all was right, now and then taking a look at me,
and throwing a few sticks on the fire to get it to burn
brightly. He then began to prepare for roasting the
expected venison by placing some uprights, with
cross pieces to serve as spits, close to the fire.
"Hurrah! here am de Cap'n!" he at length
shouted, such being the title he usually bestowed
on my uncle. "He bring springbok, an' something
I felt greatly relieved when I saw my uncle throw
down his heavy load, consisting not only of the ante-
lope which I had shot, but of the lion's skin.
"I brought this," he said, to make a bed for you.
You want it, though it is not fit at present to serve the
I thanked him for his offer, but declared that I
would rather just then be left where I was, as any
movement pained me.
Jan lost no time in cutting off some pieces of
venison, and placing them to roast. My uncle also
put on a pot with a small portion to make some soup,
which he said would suit me better than the roast.
Hungry as I was, though I tried to eat some of the
latter as soon as Jan declared it sufficiently done, I
could not manage to get it down. My thirst became
"AIMING AT THE EAR OF THE HIPPOPOTAMUS, HE FIRED." [.31. -
33 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
excessive, and it was fortunate that we were near
water, or I believe I should otherwise have died.
The hut was soon finished, and some leaves and
grass placed in it for me to lie upon. The soup did
me some good, but I suffered so much pain that I
could scarcely sleep all the night, and in the morning
was in so fevered a condition, that I was utterly unfit
to travel. I was very sorry to delay my uncle, but
it could not be helped, and he bore the detention with
his usual good temper. Nothing could exceed his
kindness. He sat by my side for hours together; he
dressed my wounds whenever he thought it necessary,
and indeed tended me with the greatest care.
Day after day, however, went by, and I still re-
mained in the same helpless state. He would not
have left me for a moment, I believe, but it was neces-
sary to go out and procure more game.
Jan had undertaken to scrape and prepare the lion's
skin. He was thus employed near the stream at a
little distance from the camp when I was startled by
hearing a loud snort; and, looking up, what was my
horror to see him rushing along, with a huge hippo-
potamus following him! In another minute I ex-
pected to see him seized by its formidable jaws and
trampled to death, and then I thought that the savage
brute would make at me. In vain I attempted to rise
and get my gun, but my uncle, when he went out,
had forgotten to place it near me. I tried to cry out
and frighten the brute, but I could not raise my voice
sufficiently high. Poor Jan shrieked loud enough,
but his cries had no effect on the monster. He was
making for a tree, up which he might possibly have
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 31
climbed, when his feet slipped, and over he rolled on
the ground. He was now perfectly helpless, and in a
few minutes the hippopotamus would trample him to
death. It seemed as if all hope was gone; but, at
the very instant that I thought poor Jan's death was
certain, my uncle suddenly appeared, when, aiming
behind the ear of the hippopotamus, he fired, and the
monster fell. Jan narrowly escaped being crushed,
which he would have been had he not by a violent
effort rolled out of the way.
Suffering as I was, I could scarcely help laughing
at Jan's face, as, getting up on his knees, he looked
with a broad grin at the hippopotamus, still uncertain
whether it was dead or not. At length, convinced
that his enemy could do him no further harm, he rose
to his feet, exclaiming-
Tankee, tankee, cap'n! If de gun not go off, Jan
no speak 'gain."
Then, hurrying on, he examined the creature, to be
certain that no life remained in it.
"What we do wid dis ?" he asked, giving the huge
body a kick with his foot.
As it will shortly become an unpleasant neigh-
bour, we must manage to drag him away from the
camp," observed my uncle. "If the stream were
deep enough, I would drag it in, and let it float down
with the current; but, as it would very likely get
stranded close to us, we must haul it away with the
ox and the horses, though I doubt if the animals will
like being thus employed."
I thought the plan a good one; and my uncle told
Jan to catch the horses and ox, while he contrived some
32 ADVENTURES IA AFRICA.
harness with the ropes and straps used for securing
their cargoes. The ox showed perfect indifference to
the dead hippopotamus, but the horses were very un-
willing to be harnessed. They submitted, however,
to act as leaders, while the ox had the creature's head,
round which a rope was passed, close' to its heels.
Even then the animals found it no easy task to drag
the huge body along over the rough ground.
",We shall not be long gone, Fred," said my uncle,
placing a rifle and a brace of pistols close to me. I
-hope that no other hippopotamus or lion or leopard
will pay you a visit while we are away. If they do,
you must use these, and I trust that you'll be able to
drive off the creatures, whatever they may be."
I felt rather uncomfortable at being left alone in
the camp, but it could not be helped; and I could
only pray that another hippopotamus might not make
its appearance. This one, in all probability, came up
the stream far from its usual haunts.
I kept my rifle and pistols ready for instant use.
The time seemed very long. As I listened to the noises
in the forest, I fancied that I could :hear the roaring
and mutterings of lions, and the cries of hyenas.
Several times I took my rifle in my hand, expecting
to see a lion stealing up to the camp. I caught sight
in the distance of the tall necks of a troop of giraffes
stalking across the country, followed soon afterwards
by a herd of bounding besboks, but no creatures
came near me. At last my uncle and Jan returned
with our four-footed attendants.
We have carried the monster's carcase far enough
off to prevent it from poisoning us by its horrible
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 33
odour when it putrifies, which it will in a few hours,"
he observed. "But I am afraid that it will attract
the hyenas and jackals in no small numbers, so that
we shall be annoyed by their howls and screechings.
I am sorry to say also that the horses seem ill able to
perform their work, and I greatly fear that they have
been injured by the tsetse fly. If we lose them we
shall have a difficulty in getting along. However, we
won't despair until the evil day comes."
I should have said that my uncle, just before he
rescued Jan from the hippopotamus, had shot another
antelope, which he had brought to the camp, so that
we were in no want of food.
Several days went by. Though I certainly was not
worse, my recovery was very slow, and I was scarcely
better able to travel than I was at first; though I
told my uncle that I would try and ride if he wished
to move on.
"I doubt if either of the horses can carry you," he
answered. Both are getting thin and weak, and
have a running from their nostrils, which Jan says is
the result of the tsetse poison. If you are better in a day
or two we will try and advance to the next stream or
water-hole; and perhaps we may fall in with natives,
from whom we may purchase sonie oxen to replace
our horses. It will be a great disappointment to lose
the animals, for I had counted on them for hunting."
That night we were entertained by a concert of
hideous howlings and cries, produced we had no
doubt by the hyenas and jackals; but by keeping
up a good fire, and occasionally discharging our rifles,
we prevented them from approaching the camp.
34 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
At the end of two days I fancied myself better.
We accordingly determined the next morning to re-
commence our journey. At daybreak we breakfasted
on the remains of the last deer shot, and my uncle
having placed me on his horse, which was the
stronger of the two, put part of its cargo on the
other. Pushing on, we soon left behind the camp we
had so long occupied.
On starting I bore the movement pretty well, and
fancied that I should be able to perform the journey
without difficulty. For the first two days, indeed, we
got on better than I had expected, though I was thank-
ful when the time for camping arrived. On the third
morning I suffered much, but did not tell my uncle
how ill I felt, hoping that I should recover during the
journey. We had a wild barren tract to cross, almost
as wild as the desert. The ox trudged on as patiently
as ever, but the horses were very weak, and I had
great difficulty in keeping mine on its legs. Several
times it had stumbled, but I was fortunately not
thrown off. Our pace, however, was necessarily very
slow, and we could discover no signs of water, yet
water we must reach before we could venture to camp.
Jan generally led the ox, while my uncle walked
by my side, holding the rein of the other horse.
Again and again my poor animal had stumbled;
when, as my uncle was looking another way, down
it came, and I was thrown with considerable violence
to the ground.
My uncle, having lifted me up, I declared that I
was not much hurt, and begged him to replace me
on the horse. The poor animal was unable to rise.
"DARE WATER, DARE WATER! [ 8.
ADVENTURES LV AFRICA. 37
In vain Jan and he tried to get it on its legs. He
and Jan took off the saddle and the remaining part
of the load, but all was of no use. At last we came
to the melancholy conclusion that its death was in-
evitable. Our fears were soon realized: after it had
given a few struggles, its head sinking on the sand,
it ceased to move. We had consequently to abandon
some more of our heavier things, and having trans-
ferred the remaining cargo to the ox, my uncle put
me on the back of the other horse. Scarcely, how-
ever, had we proceeded a mile than down it came,
and I was again thrown to the ground, this time to
be more hurt than at first.
I bore the suffering as well as I could, and made
no complaint, while my uncle and Jan tried to get
the horse up. It was soon apparent, however, that
its travelling days were done, and that we had now
the ox alone to depend upon.
I wish that I could walk," I said, but when I made
the attempt I could not proceed a dozen paces. Had
not my uncle supported me I should have sunk to the
ground. We could not stay where we were, for both
we and our poor ox required water and food.
We must abandon our goods," said my uncle;
"better to lose them than our lives. We will, however,
if we can find a spot near here, leave them en cache, as
the Canadian hunters say; and if we soon fall in with
any friendly natives, we can send and recover them."
He had just observed, he said, a small cave, and
he thought that by piling up some stones in front of
it the things would remain uninjured from the weather
or wild beasts for a considerable, time.
38 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
As it was only a short distance off, while Jan re-
mained with me, he led the ox to the spot. The cave,
fortunately, had no inhabitant; and, having placed
the goods within, and piled some stones so as com-
pletely to block up the entrance, he returned, retaining
only the powder and shot, the ostrich feathers, three
or four skins, our cooking utensils, a few packages of
tea, coffee, sugar, pepper, and similar articles
weighing but little. Unfortunately, in building up
the wall, one of the larger stones had dropped, and
severely injured his foot. He found it so painful that
he was unable to walk. He, therefore, mounting the
ox, took me up before him, I, indeed, by this time could
not even hold on to the saddle, so had not he carried
me I should have been unable to travel. We now
once more went on. It was already late in the day,
and before long darkness overtook us; still we could
not stop without water, which we hoped, however, to
find before long. In a short time the moon rose and
enabled us to see our way.
The prospect was dreary in the extreme. Here
and there a few trees sprang out of the arid soil, while
on every side were rocks with little or no vegetation
round them. We looked out eagerly for water, but
mile after mile was passed over and not a pool nor
stream could we see. I suffered greatly from thirst,
and sometimes thought that I should succumb. My
uncle cheered me up, arid Jan declared that we should
soon reach water and be able to camp. Still on and
on we went. At length Jan cried out-
Dare water, dare water! "
I tried to lift up my head, but had not strength to
move. I heard my uncle exclaim-
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. :9
I -- ..- -- _-:
"A T D S P G -R-SS TE-P-- [. 4.
""_ ItS ..
A VAST HERD CAME SCAMPERING ACROSS THE PLAIN." [p 40.
40 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
"Thank heaven! there's water, sure enough. I see
the moonbeams playing on the surface of a pool."
I believe I fainted, for I remember no more until I
found him splashing water over my face; and, open-
ing my eyes, I saw him kneeling by my side. Jan
was busily engaged in lighting a fire, while the ox
was feeding not far off. A hut was then built for me,
and as soon as I was placed in it I fell asleep. In
the morning I awoke greatly revived. My uncle
said he was determined to remain at the spot until I
was sufficiently recovered to travel, and I promised to
get well as soon as I could. When breakfast was
over he started off with his gun to try and shoot a
deer, for we had just exhausted the last remnant of
venison we possessed.
As, sheltered from the rays of the sun, I lay in my
hut, which was built on a slight elevation above the
lakelet, I could enjoy a fine view of the country in
front of me.
Jan, having just finished cleaning my gun, was en-
gaged a little way below me in cutting up the wood
for the fire, singing in a low voice one of his native
Presently I caught sight of my uncle in the far
distance advancing towards a rounded hillock which
rose out of the plain below. Almost at the same
moment, I saw still further off several animals which
I at once knew to be deer coming on at a rapid rate
towards our camp. They were taking a direction
which would lead them close to where my uncle lay
in ambush. They were followed by others in quick
succession, until a vast herd came scampering and
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 41
bounding across the plain like an army, two or three
abreast, following each other. Twice I heard the
report of my uncle's rifle. On each occasion a deer
fell to the ground.
Jan cried out that they were blesboks, one of the
finest deer in South Africa. They had long twisting
horns, and were of a reddish colour, the legs being
much darker, with a blaze of white on the face.
I never saw a more beautiful sight. Jan was all
eagerness, and, taking my gun, he went in chase;
but before he could get near enough to obtain a shot,
the whole herd was scampering away across the plain,
laughing at his puny efforts to overtake them.
In a short time my uncle appeared, carrying a
portion of one of the animals on his back, and imme-
diately sent off Jan with the ox to fetch in the re-
Here was wood and water, and game in abundance,
so that we could not have chosen a better spot for
remaining in until I was myself again. As we had
plenty of meat he was able to concoct as much broth
as I could consume. It contributed greatly to restore
my strength; and, judging by the progress I was
making, I hoped that we should be able shortly to
resume our journey.
IN a few days I was able to stroll a short distance
from the camp, always taking my gun with me.
Though I still walked with some difficulty, I every
hour found my strength returning. Had we pos-
sessed a waggon we might have loaded it with skins,
so abundant was the game; but, although we pre-
pared a few of the most valuable, we could not
venture to add much to the cargo of our poor ox. At
last my uncle, seeing that I was strong enough to
undertake the fatigue of the journey, announced his
intention of setting off, and I determined that it should
not be my fault if I broke down again.
In order to try my strength, I accompanied him on
a short shooting excursion from the camp, where we
left Jan to look after the ox and our goods. I found
that I got along far better than I had expected; the
satisfaction of once more finding myself able to move
about greatly raising my spirits. We had gone but a
short distance when looking over the bushes we saw
some objects moving up and down which, as we crept
nearer, turned out to be a pair elephant's ears.
We must have that fellow," said my uncle; we
"ON WENT THE CREATURES, TRUMPETING WITH RAGE." [p. 46.
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 43
can carry his tusks, and one of his feet will afford us
a substantial meal." The elephant, we fancied, did
not see us; and keeping ourselves concealed by the
underwood, we cautiously advanced. Presently we
found ourselves on the borders of an open glade, a
few low bushes only intervening between ourselves
and the elephant. He now saw us clearly enough,
and not liking our appearance, I suppose, lifted up
his trunk and began trumpeting loudly.
If he comes on, don't attempt to run," whispered
my uncle, "but face him for a moment, and fire at
his shoulder; then leap on one side or behind a tree,
or if you can do so, climb up it with your rifle. I will
look out for myself." As he spoke the elephant
began to advance towards us. I fired, as did my
uncle, the moment afterwards; but, though we both
hit him, the huge beast, after approaching a few
paces nearer, instead of charging, turned away to the
left, and went crashing through the wood.
We having reloaded were about to follow him,
when the heads of nearly a dozen other elephants
appeared from the direction where we had seen the
first; and, advancing rapidly through the shrubs
which they trampled under foot, with trunks and tail
stuck out, and uttering loud trumpetings, they came
rushing like a torrent down upon us.
Come behind these bushes!" cried my uncle, and
don't move thence if you value your life."
I felt as if my life was of very little value just then,
for I could not see how we were to escape being
crushed by the huge monsters as they rushed over us.
My uncle fortunately possessed all the coolness re-
quired by an elephant hunter.
6 ADVENTURES LV AFRICA.
Fire at that fellow opposite," he cried. I'll take
the next, and they'll probably turn aside."
We almost at the same moment pulled our triggers.
The elephant at which my uncle fired stopped short,
then down it came with a crash on its knees; while
the one I aimed at rushed by with its companions,
very nearly giving me an ugly kick with its feet.
We had both dropped behind the bush the moment
we had delivered our fire. On went the creatures
trumpeting with rage, and disappointed at not find-
We were not free from danger, for it was possible
that they might return. As soon, therefore, as their
tails had disappeared among the brushwood, we re-
loaded and ran towards some trees, the trunks of
which would afford us some protection. Here we
waited a short time in sight of the elephant which
lay dead on the ground. We could hear the trumpet-
ing of the others grow less distinct as they made their
way through the forest, either influenced by fear or
excited by rage, fancying they were still following
"They will not come back for the present," said
my uncle at length as we issued out from among the
trees, when he at once began to cut out the tusks
from the dead elephant. These he calculated weighed
together fully a hundred and ten pounds. This, how-
ever, was a greater weight than he could carry, and
he would not allow me to attempt to help him.
You shall convey one of the feet to the camp, and
we will try our skill in cooking it," he said, dexter-
ously cutting it off.
ADVENTURES LV AFRICA. 47
Taking a stick he ran it through the foot so that
I could the more easily carry it. He then having
shouldered one of the tusks, we set out for the camp,
well satisfied with our day's sport.
As soon as we arrived we sent off Jan for th'e other
tusk, as he could easily find the way by the track we
had made; while my uncle dug a hole close to the
fire, into which he raked a quantity of ashes, and then
covered it up. After some time he again scraped out
the ashes, and having wrapt the foot up in leaves,
he put it into the hole, and covered it up with hot
earth. On the top of all he once more lit a fire, and
kept it blazing away for some time.
The fire had well-nigh burnt out when Jan returned
with the other tusk. He told us that on his way back
he had seen the spoors of the elephants, and that if
we chose to follow them, he was sure that we should
come up with them, and should most probably find
those we had wounded.
We now uncovered our elephant's foot, which Jan
pronounced to be as satisfactorily cooked as his own
countrymen could have done it. The flesh was soft
and gelatinous greatly resembling calves-head, and
was so tender that we could scoop it out with a
spoon. I don't know that I ever enjoyed a meal
more. Although we could not venture to load our
ox with more than the two tusks we had already
obtained, my uncle, hoping soon to fall in with Mr.
Welbourn, determined to try and obtain the tusks
from the other two elephants we had wounded, and to
leave them concealed, until we could send for them.
There was the risk, of course, of their being dis-
48 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
covered by the natives, as we were now approaching
an inhabited part of the country. We had still a
couple of hours of day-light, and as I did not feel
myself fatigued with my previous exertions, my uncle
agreed to allow me to accompany him, while Jan was
left to clean the tusks and to prepare straps for. carry-
ing them on the back of the ox.
We soon discovered the elephants' spoor, and
followed it for some distance, the splashes of blood
we found here and there showing that the wounded
animal had stopped to rest. It would be necessary,
as we approached them, to be cautious, as they would
be on the alert and ready to revenge themselves for
the injury they had received.
We now every moment expected to come upon them.
We stopped to listen; no sound could we hear to in-
dicate that they were near us. We, therefore, went
on until, reaching the top of a hillock, we caught
sight of some water glittering among the trees. Ad-
vancing a little further a small lakelet opened out
before us, in the shallow part of which, near the shore,
stood an elephant, sucking up the water with his
trunk and throwing it over his neck and shoulders.
My uncle remarked that he was sure it was the
animal we had wounded, but that he was still too far
off to give us a chance of killing him. We were
making our way among the trees, hoping to get near
without being perceived-though that was no easy
matter as he kept his sharp eyes turning about in
every direction-when, from behind the grove which
had before concealed them, several more rushed out.
"They see us!" cried my uncle. "We must get
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 49
up among the branches and shoot them as they pass,
for they will not let us escape as easily as before."
Fortunately, near at hand was a tree, up which,
without much difficulty, we could make our way.
My uncle, going up first, helped me to follow him.
Scarcely had we secured ourselves when the ele-
phants came up with their trunks sticking out and
trumpeting as loudly as before. As they kept their
eyes on the ground, they did not see us. We fired
at them as they passed.
We remained for some time expecting the wounded
elephant to follow its companions, but as it did not
we began to hope that it had succumbed, and that we
might find it dead in the neighbourhood. We were
about to descend to look for it, when the heads of
three giraffes, or camelopards, as they are sometimes
called, appeared among the trees; the animals lifting
up their tall necks to crop the leaves as they advanced
As they were coming in our direction we agreed to
wait. By descending we might frighten them. In a
short time one separated from the others, and got so
close that my uncle could not resist the temptation of
firing. As the shot entered its neck the graceful
animal sank down to the ground, and lay perfectly
dead. The other two trotted off to a short distance,
alarmed by the report; but, seeing no human foe and
not knowing what had happened to their companion,
they stopped and continued browsing on the leaves as
The chances are that they will soon come this way,
and so we cannot do better than remain where we
are," observed my uncle.
so ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
We sat some time watching the graceful creatures
as they stretched up their long necks to a remarkable
height, in search of the young shoots and leaves.
Presently we saw one of them turn its head and look
towards its dead companion. The next moment a
lion burst out from among the bushes and sprang
towards the giraffe on the ground. I had fancied that
lions never condescended to feast on a dead animal;
but probably there was still some little life in the
giraffe, or, at all events, having only just been
killed, the carcase could have had no savoury odour.
Directly afterwards we heard a roar, and another lion
sprang from the cover, the first replying with a roar
which made the welkin ring. If we could not kill the
lions, it was evident that we should soon have none of
the meat to carry back with us. Instead, however, of
beginning to tear the giraffe to pieces, the lions began
walking round and round it and roaring lustily, pos-
sibly thinking that it was the bait to a trap, as they
are taught by experience to be wary, many of their
relatives having been caught in traps set by the
natives. So occupied were the brutes with this matter
that they did not discover us though we were at no
great distance from them.
The two giraffes, on hearing the first lion roar, had
trotted off, or they would probably have soon been
Stay here, Fred! whispered my uncle to me : "I
will descend and get a shot at one of those fellows-
don't be alarmed. If I kill him, the chances are the
other runs off. At all events, I will retreat to the
tree, and do you keep ready to fire, should he follow
"ANOTHER LION SPRANG FROM THE COVER."
ADVENTURES LV AFRICA. 53
me, while I reload. In the meantime there is no real
I felt somewhat nervous at hearing this, though my
uncle knew so well what he was about that I need not
have been alarmed for his safety. Before I could
reply he had descended the tree. Holding his rifle
ready, he advanced towards the lions, but even then,
as he was to leeward they did not discover him.
He was within fifteen paces of them, when he
stopped and levelled his rifle. Just then they both
saw him, and looked up as if greatly astonished at his
audacity. He fired, and the first lion, giving a spring
in the air, fell over on the body of the giraffe.
The second stopped, hesitating whether to leap on
his enemy or to take to flight. This gave my uncle
time to reload when he slowly stepped back towards
the tree, facing the lion, which advanced at the same
"Now, Fred! let me see what you can do," he
shouted out as he found that the brute had got within
range of my rifle.
I obeyed him, earnestly trusting that my shot
would take effect. I felt sure that I had hit the
animal, though, when the smoke cleared off, to my
dismay I saw it about to spring at my uncle. He
stood as calm as if the creature had been a harmless
sheep. Just as the lion rose from the ground, I heard
the crack of his rifle, and it fell back, shot through the
heart. I quickly scrambled down to the ground to
survey the giraffe and the two lions. My uncle
seemed in no way elated by his victory. "If we had
had our waggon we might have secured the skins,"
54 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
he observed; "but as it is, we must content ourselves
with some of the giraffe's flesh, which we shall find
palatable enough for want of better."
Drawing his knife, he at once commenced opera-
tions on the giraffe. We soon, having secured as
much of the meat as we could require, ran a couple
of sticks through it and started off to return to the
Darkness, however, came down upon us before we
had gone far; still, we hoped to be able to find our
way. Scarcely, however, had the sun set, when the
mutterings and roars of lions saluted our ears; and of
course we had the uncomfortable feeling that at any
moment one of them might spring out on us. We
cast many an anxious glance round, and kept our
rifles in our hands ready for instant use, hoping that
we should have time to see a lion before he was upon
us. We had no fear at present of human foes, as the
country through which we were travelling was unin-
habited; though we might fall in with hunting parties,
who were, however, likely to prove friendly. Besides
lions, there was a possibility of our encountering
hyenas, leopards, and wolves, which, when hunting in
packs, are as dangerous as in other parts of the world.
My uncle made me go ahead, while he kept five or
six paces behind, so that, should a lion spring out at
me, he might be ready to come to my assistance. We
kept shouting too, to scare away any of the brutes we
most dreaded; for, savage as is the lion, he is a
cowardly animal except when pressed by hunger.
Fortunately the sky was clear, and the stars shining
out brightly enabled us to steer our course by them;
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 55
but we went on and on, and I began to fear that we
had already passed our camp. I expressed my ap-
prehensions to my uncle.
No he answered, "we are all right. We shall
see the fire in a short time, unless Jan has let it out,
which is not likely."
"But perhaps a lion may have carried him off, and
killed our ox also, and we shall then be in a sad
plight," I remarked.
"Nonsense, Fred! he answered; "you are over-
tired with your long walk, and allow gloomy appre
hensions to oppress you. I wish that I had not
brought you so far."
After this I said no more, but exerted myself to the
utmost; though I could scarcely drag one foot after
the other, and had it become necessary to run for our
lives, I do not think I could have moved. I looked
about, now on one side now on the other, and fancied
that I could see the vast heads and shaggy manes of
huge lions watching us from among the trees. I did
not fear their roars as long as they were at a distance.
At length I heard what I took to be the mutterings or
half-a-dozen, at least, close to us. I shouted louder
than ever, to try and drive them off. As soon as I
stopped shouting I listened for my uncle's voice,
dreading lest one of the brutes should have seized
him. I could not stop to look round, and I was most
thankful when I again heard him shout-
Go on, Fred; go on, my boy. We shall see Jan's
camp-fire before long. I don't believe there's a lion
within half a mile of us. During the night we hear
their voices a long distance off."
56 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA
At length I saw, right ahead, a glare cast on the
trunks and branches of the trees. It was I hoped
produced by our camp fire. Again, again, we shouted;
should any lions be stalking us, they were very likely
to follow our footsteps close up to our camp, and might
pounce down upon us at the last moment, fearful of
losing their prey. I felt greatly relieved on hearing
Jan's shout in reply to ours; and pushing eagerly on,
we saw him sitting close to a blazing fire which he
had made up. He was delighted to see us, for he had
become very anxious at our long absence; especially
as a troop of elephants, he said, had passed close to
the camp; and, as one of them was wounded, he
knew that they had been met with by us, and he feared
might possibly have trampled us to death. He had
heard, too, the roar of lions near at hand. We found
the giraffe's flesh more palatable than I had expected.
As soon as we had eaten a hearty supper we lay down
to rest, Jan promising to remain awake and keep up
a blazing fire so as to scare away the lions.
Every now and then I awoke, and could hear the
roarings and mutterings of the monarchs of the forest,
which I heartily wished were sovereigns of some
other part of the world.
Greatly to my disappointment, after the fatigue I
had gone through I was unable to travel the next
morning, and we had to put off our departure for
My uncle went out for a short time, to shoot an
antelope or any other species of deer he could come
across for provisions, as what he killed for food one
day was unfit for eating the next.
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 57
He had been absent for some time, and as I felt
that a short walk would do me good, I took my gun,
intending not to go far from the camp. I had some
hopes that I might come across an antelope or deer
during my short excursion. I of course took good
care to keep a look-out on either side, lest I should be
surprised by a lion or a leopard, the animals mostly
to be feared in that region. It was not impossible
that I might fall in with an elephant, but I had no
intention of attacking one if I did, and should have
ample notice of its approach, so that I might keep out
of its way. I had gone about a quarter of a mile or
so from the camp, and was thinking of turning back
when I reached a tree which I found I could easily
climb, as the remains of branches stuck out almost
close to the ground. I got up for the sake of taking
a survey of the country around, and especially over
that part of it we had to travel the next morning. I
found my lofty seat very pleasant, for I was well
shaded by the thick foliage over head, while a light
breeze played among the leaves, which was refreshing
in the extreme. I had some difficulty in keeping
awake, but I endeavoured to do so fearful of letting
go my gun, or, perhaps, of falling to the ground my-
self. I did my best not to fall asleep, by singing
and by occasionally getting up and looking around
The tree grew, I should have said, on the side of a
bank, with a wide extent of level ground to the east-
ward, dotted over with thick clumps of trees, some
large enough to be called woods; while nearer at
hand, on either side of me, the vegetation was more
58 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
scattered, here and there two or three trees only grow-
ing together. In some places single trees alone
could be seen, rising in solitary grandeur from the
soil. I had just got up when I caught sight of an
elephant, which had come out from one of the clumps
I have mentioned, where it had probably been spend-
ing the hot hours of the day, and advanced slowly
towards me, now plucking a bunch of leaves with its
trunk, now pulling up a shrub or plant. Presently I
caught sight of a man with a gun in his hand coming
out from the forest to the left and making his way
towards where the elephant was feeding. He ap-
parently did not see the animal, which was hidden
from him by an intervening clump. When he got
closer I recognized my uncle. Wishing to warn him
of the neighbourhood of the elephant, I shouted as
loudly as I could bawl; but, from the distance we
were apart, he could not hear me. The elephant
also took no notice of my voice, but went on feeding
Presently my uncle came in sight of the monstrous
beast, which must have seen him at the same time,
for it ceased feeding and turned its head in the direc-
tion he was coming. Nothing daunted, my uncle
continued to advance, keeping, however, more to the
right, which would bring him towards the tree on
which I was perched. The elephant began to move
towards him. He quickened his pace-he was now
in the open ground, over which he was making his
way, exposed to great danger. He was aware of
this and kept his gun ready to fire, though should he
miss, he would be at the mercy of the brute, I con-
~ // *" 9
,i '' ^:- ^:/ /
I. .ft r^S
^ ^ -- -=:^ ~ ^ r\
'*TH ELPHNT ELVTN TSTU CUAL OCE
HIS FOT/ [. l
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA, 6i
sidered how I could help him, but saw it would,_be
madness to descend the tree to fire, and therefore
remained, where I was, praying that, should my uncle
fire, his shot might be successful.
Presently, up went the elephant's trunk; 'and,
trumpeting loudly, he went at a fast trot directly
towards my uncle, who, stopping for a moment,
levelled his rifle and fired; but, although the shot
took effect, it did not stop the elephant's progress.
He had not a moment to reload-flight was his
only resource. Happily not far off was a tree, but
whether its branches grew low down enough to enable
him to climb up it, I could not see, and I trembled
for his safety. I shouted and shrieked, hoping to
divert the attention of the elephant. It appeared to
me that its trunk was not a dozen yards from my
uncle. Should it once encircle him, his fate would be
sealed. I never felt more anxious in my life. I
might still stop its course I hoped, and, raising my
rifle, I fired at its head, but my bullet seemed to make
not the slightest impression. I shrieked with alarm.
The next moment I saw my uncle seize the bough of
a tree which had appeared to me above his head,
when, exerting all his strength, he drew himself up.
The elephant, elevating its trunk, actually touched his
foot, but he drew it beyond its reach, and quickly
clambered up into a place of safety. The elephant
stood for a moment, its trunk raised as if expecting
him to fall, and then made a furious dash at the tree
in a vain endeavour to batter it down. The tree
trembled from the shock but stood firm.
The elephant then, taking my uncle's cap which had
62 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
fallen off, trampled it under foot, going round and
round the tree and trumpeting loudly. It was evi-
dently a rogue elephant, an ill-tempered brute who
had been driven from the herd to spend a solitary
existence. Such are always the most dangerous, as
they appear to have a greater hatred of man and to
be more cunning than the elephants found in herds.
It seemed to have made up its mind to besiege us.
Our position was unpleasant in the extreme, for while
it remained we dared not descend, and for what we
could tell, we might be kept up our respective trees
all night, and perhaps the following day, or still
MY uncle and I felt far from happy up our trees. He
had had nothing to eat since he left camp in the
morning, and I too was getting very hungry. An
hour or more went by, and yet the old "rogue"
elephant showed no inclination to take its departure.
Fortunately it had not discovered my uncle's rifle,
which lay concealed in the grass close to the foot of
He now shouted to me to try to shoot the brute.
This was no easy matter perched as I was high up;
and as I was not likely to hit any vital part, I feared
that any shot would only contribute to increase its
rage without bringing it to the ground or driving it
off. I had but five more bullets in my pouch, but I
determined to do my best and not throw a shot away.
I waited until the animal presented its side to me,
when I fired, and the bullet struck it on the neck;
but, though the blood flowed, it seemed to take no
notice of the wound. The next I planted just below
the shoulder.- The elephant uttered several loud
trumpetings and rushing again at the tree, seized the
stem with its trunk, and endeavoured to pull it down
64 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
It shook violently, compelling my uncle to hold on
with arms and legs.
I quickly reloaded and fired another shot directly
behind the creature's ear. I saw the blood spouting
forth and flowing down until it formed a pool dyeing
the surrounding grass. Gradually the elephant's
trunk unwound and hung down from its vast head.
"You've done for it," shouted my uncle; "send
another shot into its neck and we shall be free."
I was reloading while he spoke, and before the
elephant altered its favourable position I again fired.
Less than a minute elapsed, then down it sank
on its knees. It made several efforts to rise but
without success-its strength was fast failing. I had
one more bullet remaining, but I wished to save it
for any emergency which might occur. We had not
long to wait before the elephant fell over on its side
and lay an inanimate mass.
My uncle quickly descended the tree and I followed
his example. His first act was to pick up and examine
his gun. It having escaped injury he at once reloaded,
and then, shaking hands, we surveyed our fallen foe.
I wish that we could carry these magnificent
tusks with us, but that is out of the question," ob-
served my uncle. "We will, however, try to secure
them. Help me to cut them out."
We set to work; and having fastened all the straps
we could muster round one of them, he ascended the
tree in which I had taken refuge, and I assisting him,
we hauled up one of the tusks, and deposited it safely
among the branches. The other was hauled up in
the same fashion, and pretty hard work it was, as
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 65
each tusk was considerably above half a hundred-
"I hope that we shall be able to send for these
some day or other, and we are not likely to forget
this spot in a hurry," remarked my uncle.
Having cut off one of the elephant's feet we ran a
stick through it and started off for the camp. The
day, however, was not to pass without another adven-
ture. We had not gone half the distance when we
saw, above the bushes, the head and neck of a giraffe.
It did not appear to be alarmed; but influenced by
curiosity, instead of cantering away, it drew nearer,
coming round the end of the clump, evidently wonder-
ing what strange creatures we could be. So in-
terested was it that it did not notice another and more
formidable enemy which had been creeping up close
behind. This was a lion, which, engaged in stalking
its prey, did not discover us. We, therefore, could
watch at a safe distance what was taking place. The
lion kept creeping on, cautious as a cat, and with
movements very similar, when, believing that it had
got near enough for its purpose, with a rush and a
tremendous bound, it leapt on the back of the giraffe
before the latter could use its heels to drive off its foe.
With fearful tenacity the savage creature hung on to
the shoulders of the terrified giraffe, which bounded
forward, and leapt and sprang from side to side in a
vain endeavour to shake off its foe. Not a sound did
it utter, but dashed on, with head erect; while the
lion was tearing away with its teeth and claws at its
shoulders and neck. There was no doubt from the
first which of the two would gain the victory. Blood
66 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
was streaming from the neck and flanks of the poor
giraffe, which very quickly slackened its pace and then
down it came, unable longer to endure the pain it was
suffering. The lion at once began tearing away at
the flesh. Still it kicked, and struggled, but its efforts
were useless, and it very quickly ceased to move.
We must have that lion," said my uncle.
Having examined our rifles we hurried towards the
spot where the savage brute was enjoying its banquet,
so busily employed that it did not see us. When at
length it was aware of our approach it ceased feeding,
and gazed at us with its fore paws on the body of its
victim, presenting a truly magnificent spectacle.
We were near enough by this time to take a steady
Do you fire, Fred, and then reload as rapidly as
you can, while I will wait until you are ready."
"But I have no second bullet," fortunately recol-
lecting at the moment that I had expended all my
"bullets but one.
My uncle handed me a couple, and I obeyed his
injunctions. My bullet passed through the lion's
thick mane and crashed into its neck.
Uttering a tremendous roar as it felt the pain, it
came towards us. Without a moment's loss of time
I reloaded, fearing that, should my uncle's bullet fail
to stop it, the brute would be upon us.
Notwithstanding the lion's near approach my uncle
waited, and then fired, hitting it between the eyes.
Still it advanced, but, blinded and almost stunned,
though it made a desperate bound towards us, its aim
was uncertain. My uncle sprang on one side and I
~--~ -- _- _--~--~--
WITH A RO
"WITH A RUSH IT LEAPT ON THE BACK OF THE GIRAFFE."
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 69
on the other, when, before I had finished loading,
over it fell, and lay dead between us.
"A pretty good afternoon's sport," observed my
uncle. We'll take the liberty of cutting a few steaks
from the giraffe which this brute here has hunted
for us, and the sooner we get back to camp the
The chief difficulty in obtaining the steaks was in
cutting through the tough skin of the giraffe, which
was almost as thick as that of a rhinoceros. By
employing our axes we soon, however, accomplished
our task, and in a few minutes reached the camp,
where Jan, who had heard our shots, had made up a
large fire in expectation of any game we should
While the elephant foot was cooking we regaled
ourselves on some fine slices of giraffe meat, which
assisted to stop the cravings of hunger. All night
long we were surrounded by the abominable cries of
hyenas and jackals which were collected round the
carcases of the slain animals.
It is said that they dare not touch even a dead lion,
but at all events when we went out to look the next
morning the bones only of the two animals remained.
We now once more reloaded our ox and set out
northward. We remarked that the poor creature, in
spite of its long rest, looked thinner, and in worse
condition than before.
Him tse-tse do it. You see, ox die exclaimed
Still the faithful brute stepped on with its heavy
load, and we hoped that Jan was mistaken,
70 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
At length we came in sight of a broader river than
we had crossed since we had left the desert.
We had no doubt that it would conduct us down to
the lake, on the borders of which we hoped to find
our friends encamped. How to cross it was the
difficulty. I suggested that we should construct a
raft, as the reeds which fringed the bank would supply
us with abundance of material.
Not far off was a tree-covered island, the interven-
ing space being filled with reeds. Leaving Jan and
the ox on the shore, my uncle and I set off to reach
the island, thinking that we could there more con-
veniently build our raft and launch it than from the
Plunging in among the reeds we soon found our-
selves almost overwhelmed : not a breath of air could
reach us, and the heat was so stifling that we almost
fainted. Still, having begun, we were unwilling to
Frequently we could only get on by leaning against
the mass of reeds, and bending them down until we
could stand upon them. They were mixed with a
serrated grass which cut our hands, while the whole
was bound together by the climbing convolvulus,
with stalks so strong that we could not break them.
Plying our axes, however, we managed to make
our onward way until we gained the island, but here
to our disappointment we found that we were thirty
yards or more from the clear water, which was full of
great masses of papyrus with stalks ten feet in height,
and an inch and a half in diameter. These also were
bound together by the convolvulus in a way which
NW- t- A-; III L5
"SD"DENLY D CE.- ,
S --~'- ~ :4--.~ - -- -- --
"LSUDDENLY, DOWN CAMIE THE HARPOON." [P _
72 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
made them perfectly impenetrable. While we stood
on the shore of the island the sound of human voices
reached our ears, and we saw in the distance several
canoes descending the stream. Each carried three
men, two paddling and one standing up with a large
harpoon attached to a rope in his hand. They were
in pursuit of some large dark creatures whose heads,
just rising above the water, looked like those of
"They are hippopotami!" exclaimed my uncle,
"and we shall see some sport presently."
Suddenly, down came the harpoon, and was fixed
in the back of one of the monsters, which almost
sprang out of the water as it felt the pain of the
wound; then off it went, towing the canoe at a
tremendous rate after it, the end of the rope being
secured to the bows, while the barb to which the rope
was attached being shaken out of its socket remained
firmly fixed in the animal's body.
We ran along the island to watch the canoe as long
as it remained in sight, but it was towed so rapidly
that it soon disappeared. Presently, however, we
saw another coming down the stream fast to a second
hippopotamus, not only the head but a considerable
portion of the body of which was floating above the
water. The men in the canoe were hauling them-
selves up closer to their prey, preparatory to plunging
their lances or harpoons into its body. I fancied that
I could almost distinguish the savage glance of the
brute's eyes. Suddenly it stopped; then, turning
round, gave a rush at the canoe.
In vain the blacks slackened the rope, and seizing
"" r --
z_. ... =-'" ,--:- ---- --.-------
-ECWE A TRE
"THEN OFF IT WENT, TOWING THE CANOE AT A TREMENDOUS RATE AFTER IT." [p. 72.
74 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
their paddles, endeavoured to escape from it. With
open mouth the hippopotamus rushed on the boat,
and, seizing it in its enormous jaws, crushed it up as
if it had been made of paper.
One poor fellow was caught; a fearful shriek was
heard; and, directly afterwards, we saw his body, cut
in two, floating down the stream. The other two men
had disappeared, and we fancied must also have been
killed. Again and again the animal darted at the
canoe, expending his rage upon it.
While he was thus employed the two men rose to
the surface and instantly made for the shore, dragging
the end of the rope by a path we had not before
observed, between the reeds. With wonderful activity
they made it fast to the trunk of a tree. Directly
afterwards three other canoes arrived, and the men,
armed with harpoons and heavy spears, jumping on
shore, joined their companions in hauling in on the
rope attached to the hippopotamus. In vain the
monster struggled, endeavouring to tear itself away
from the rope. The blacks with wonderful boldness
rushed into the water, darting their spears at it. It
had seized the shaft of the harpoon, which had broken
in two, and was endeavouring to bite through the
Two other canoes now came up and their crews
attacked the hippopotamus in the rear. So engaged
were the hunters that they did not observe us. As
we watched their proceedings it appeared very prob-
able that in spite of its wounds the hippopotamus
would break away. Seeing this, my uncle unslung
his rifle and advanced towards the monster, which
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 75
had already severed several strands of the rope. As
it opened its vast mouth, he fired down its throat, and
it almost instantly, giving another convulsive struggle,
His success was greeted with triumphant shouts by
the hunters who had only just before discovered us.
Having drawn the body of the hippopotamus up to
the dry land, the blacks crowded round us, and by
signs and exclamations expressed their admiration
of the way in which my uncle had killed the creature.
We tried to explain that we were very happy to
have been of service to them, and that we should feel
obliged, if, in return, they would ferry us across the
river, and guide us to the waggons of the white men
who had encamped not far off.
Leaving the hunters to cut up. the hippopotamus,
and stow its flesh on board their canoes, we returned
to where we had left Jan and the ox. As it was
getting late, we agreed to remain where we were until
the following day,-in the meantime to try to shoot
an antelope or deer of some sort which would enable
us to provide a feast for the natives by whom we
might be visited.
I was fortunate enough, while lying down among
some rocks near our camp, to kill a springbok, one of
the most, light and elegant of the gazelle tribe; but
its companions, of which it had several, bounded off
at so rapid a rate that I had no chance of killing
another. I, therefore, lifting my prize on my shoulder
returned to camp, where my uncle soon after arrived,
laden with the flesh of a quagga, which, although be-
longing to the family of asses, is good food.
76 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
Scarcely had we put on some meat to cook, when
half a dozen of our acquaintances arrived. It was
satisfactory to find that Jan understood their language.
They appeared to be well disposed towards us, and
our friendship was cemented by the feast of quagga
flesh which we got ready for them. We ourselves,
however, preferred the more delicate meat of the
springbok. We kept some of the meat for our next
day's breakfast, and offered the remainder to our
guests, which they quickly stowed away.
They undertook to convey us down the river the
following morning in their canoes, or on a raft,
observing that, if we went in the canoes, we must be
separated, as each could carry only one of us. We,
therefore, determined to trust to a raft, such as we
ourselves had proposed building. Our guests retired
for a short distance from us, and formed a camp by
themselves for the night.
I awoke about two hours before dawn, when my
attention was attracted to a peculiar noise which I
might liken to a low grunting and the tread of
numberless feet. As day broke, I saw the ground to
the southward covered with a dense mass of deer
moving slowly and steadily on towards an opening in
a long range of hills to the east. They appeared to
be in no hurry, but continued feeding as they went. I
aroused my uncle, who pronounced them to be spring-
boks, one of which I had shot on the previous evening
migrating for the winter to the northward. They were
beautiful animals, graceful in form, of a light cinna-
mon red on the back, fading into white on the under
part of the body, a narrow band of reddish brown
"TEBAKSRSE IT H ATR A,IGTER PASATI. 4
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 79
separating the two colours. As far as the eye could
reach, the whole country seemed alive with them,-
not only the plain but the hill-side, along which they
bounded with graceful leaps.
Our guests on the previous evening had disappeared,
but they quickly came back with a large party of their
tribe, and gave us to understand that they could not
escort us down to the river for the present, as they
must set out to attack the springboks, and hoped that
we would accompany them.
This my uncle and I at once agreed to do, and,
supplying ourselves with a good stock of ammunition,
we set off with the first party that started. Our
friends led us at a rapid rate over the hills by a short
cut, so that we might intercept the animals, as they
passed through the mountains. Another party, we
found, remained behind, to drive them through, or
prevent them turning back when frightened by our
presence. We were only just in time, for already the
leaders of the herd had made their appearance. As
we approached the mouth of the gorge, while some of
the hunters rushed up the hills, and stationed them-
selves on either side, so as to dart their javelins at the
passing deer, others took post at the mouth of the
gorge, thus preventing the egress of the animals,
without coming within range of their weapons.
Now a scene of slaughter commenced such as I
have seldom witnessed. The leaders of the herd
turned to retreat, but were met by the party who had
remained on the other side shrieking and shouting,
and knocking the handles of their spears against
their shields. Some of the animals tried to escape
to ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
up the mountains, others dashed forward to our very
feet, and many fell down killed by terror itself. We
shot a few, but the slaughter seemed so unnecessary
that we refrained from again firing, and would gladly
have asked the natives to desist ; but while' the
animals were in their power, they would evidently
have refused to do so.
Happily the affrighted deer found an opening,
which, from the excessive steepness of the path, had
been neglected. Through this a considerable number
made their escape, and were soon beyond the reach
of their merciless pursuers.
The natives now began to collect the animals they
had slain, and each man returned in triumph with a
springbok on his shoulders.
We, not to be outdone, each carried one of those
we had shot, and a pretty heavy load it was. I was
thankful when we got back to the camp, where we
cooked a portion of the venison.
As we might have felt sure, the natives, having
plenty of food, were not at all disposed to move from
the spot, and, indeed, continued feasting the whole of
the next day. On the following, they were so gorged
that they were utterly unable to make any exertion.
Had an enemy been near, and found them in this con-
dition, the whole tribe might have been killed or
carried off into captivity.
We in the meantime explored the banks of the
river until we found a convenient spot for forming our
raft. In most places the reeds extended so far from
the shore that during the operation we should have
had to stand up to our middles in water among them,
NOW A SCENE OF SLAUGHTER COMMENCED. 79.
82 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
with the risk of being picked up by a crocodile or
hippopotamus, both of which delectable creatures
were, in considerable numbers, frequenters of the
As the blacks still showed no inclination to ac-
company us, Jan volunteered to return for the ele-
phant's tusks and other articles we had left behind, if
I would go with him.
To this my uncle somewhat demurred, but, at last,
when I pressed the point, he consented to remain in
charge of the goods we had brought while we set off
on our expedition.
_. .-. '
AT daybreak Jan and I set off, he as usual leading
the ox, while I walked ahead with my rifle, ready for
a shot. Our baggage consisted of a couple of skins
to sleep on, a stock of ammunition, a small portion of
our remnant of flour, tea, sugar, and pepper. We
had no fear of not finding food, as game of all sorts
was abundant, provided I kept my health, and was
able to shoot it.
I asked Jan what he thought of the ox which
looked remarkably thin.
"No good!" he answered; "last till get back, but
not more-den him die."
I trusted that the poor animal would hold out as
long as he supposed.
We rested at noon under an enormous acacia, of
the younger branches of which the elephants are
apparently very fond. We saw that they were every
where twisted off to the height of about twenty-five
feet, which is as far as an elephant can reach.
Here and there, under the trees, were conical hills
twenty feet high, built up for residences by the white
ants. Frequently they were covered with creeping
84 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
plants which met at the top, hanging back in an
umbrella shape, completely shading them. I shot
several doves and other birds to serve us for dinner,
and while Jan was cooking them I went in search of
fruit, and discovered an abundance of medlars very
similar to those we have in England, as well as some
small purple figs growing on bushes. The most
curious fruit I met with was like a lime in appearance,
with a thick rind, but inside was a large nut. I had
to climb a tree to obtain them, for all those lower
down had been carried off by elephants who were
evidently very fond of the fruit.
As our object was to make as much haste as
possible, I was resolved not to go out of the way
to shoot any large game, though I kept my rifle
loaded with ball as a defence against lions, leopards,
rhinoceroses, or hyenas.
The first day's journey we saw several in the
distance, though none came near us. We formed
our camp at the foot of a tree, with a large fire in
front of us, and on either side of the trunk we erected
a fence of stout stakes in a semi-circular form ; so we
hoped that we should be able to sleep without being
molested by wild beasts. The ox remained outside,
and we knew that he would run to the fire, should
danger threaten him.
The usual cries proceeding from an African forest
prevented us from sleeping over soundly, and I was
awakened by the roar of a lion, which stood on a
mound some little distance from our camp, afraid of
approaching near our fire, and the palisade which he
probably took for a trap.
r--- .~--- *
*"WHAT ~ ~ `; WAS MY DISMAYl TOSE A CIGNG O I HN EG" [ 7
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. F7
We had exhausted our stock of wood during the
night, and in the morning Jan went out to procure
a fresh supply for cooking our breakfast. I was em-
ployed in plucking some birds which I had killed in
the evening, when I heard my companion shouting
lustily for help, and at the same time, a loud crashing
of boughs reached my ears, while the ox came hurry-
ing up to the camp in evident alarm.
Seizing my rifle, I sprang up, fearing that a lion
had pounced down upon Jan, while picking up sticks,
and I was fully prepared for an encounter with the
savage brute. Instead of a lion, however, I saw an
elephant, with trunk uplifted, rush out from among
the brushwood. I sprang behind a tree, as the only
place of safety, when what was my dismay, to see, as
he passed, Jan clinging to his hind leg. How the black
had got there was the puzzle, and how to rescue him
from his awkward position was the next question to
be solved. Should he let go, he might naturally
expect to receive a kick from the elephant's hind foot
which would effectually knock all the breath out of
his body; and yet, should he not get free, he might
be carried miles away and perish miserably. My
only hope was at once to mortally wound the ele-
phant. Not a moment was to be lost if I was to save
poor Jan. Just then the elephant caught sight of the
ox, and stopped as if considering if he should attack
it. Whether he was aware that Jan was clinging to
his leg or not, I could not tell, as the black's weight
no more impeded him than a fly would a man when
The ox, instead of endeavouring to escape, pre-
83 ADVENTURES LV AFRICA.
sented its head to the elephant, though it trembled in
Jan, who seemed paralyzed with fear, did not let
go as I thought he would have done, and his best
chance would have been to spring back, even though
he had fallen on the ground directly behind the ele-
phant. I did not like to shout to him for fear of
attracting the creature's attention.
Now or never was my time to save the poor fellow.
I stepped from under cover of the tree, and, levelling
my rifle, aimed at a spot directly behind the ear.
The huge monster did not move, then presently it
began swaying to and fro. I shouted to Jan to leap
off and hurried on to help him. Before I reached the
spot, he had followed my advice, and hardly had he
done so, than down came the elephant with a crash,
to the ground. Jan raised a shout of triumph.
"De master hab done well!" he cried out. I
could not help joining him, and even the ox gave a
bellow of satisfaction as he saw his huge foe stretched
lifeless on the ground.
We at once set to work to extract the tusks with
our axes. Rather than leave them, we agreed to
take them with us. We therefore placed them on the
back of our ox, together with some slices of elephant
meat which would prevent the necessity of shooting
game during the day.
We now pushed forward for the cave where we had
left our goods, and met with no adventures worth
noticing. We saw numerous herds of antelopes,
giraffes, and a few ostriches. The latter I would have
killed if I could, for the sake of their valuable feathers.
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 89
The cave had been untouched, and it was with no
small satisfaction that I loaded up the ox with its
contents, as we prepared to set off the next morning
on our return, intending, on our way back, to obtain
the elephant's tusks we had deposited in the tree,
which had afforded me such seasonable shelter when
attacked by their owner.
We met as before buffaloes, elands, koodoos, and
various antelopes. As I was walking along ahead,
suddenly I found my face enveloped as if by a thick
veil; and as I was tearing off the web-for such it,
was-I caught sight of a large yellow spider, hauling
himself up to the tree above. In the neighbourhood
were many other webs, the fibres radiating from a
centre point where the greedy insect was waiting for
Each web was about a yard in diameter, and the
lines on which they were hung, suspended from one
tree to another, were as thick as coarse thread. We
occasionally met with serpents, but they generally
kept out of our way.
One day, during a halt, while seated under a tree,
I caught sight of another enormous spider of a reddish
tinge. Never did I see a creature so active. It sud-
denlymade its appearance from a hole in the bark,
and giving a tremendous bound, caught a large moth
which it quickly devoured. With wonderful rapidity
it ran about the tree, now darting forward, now
springing back. With a feeling of horror lest it
should spring upon me, I removed to a distance.
On looking down on the ground, I saw what I at
first thought was a coin the size of a shilling; but on
90 ADVENTURES IN AFRICA.
looking closer I discovered that it was of a pure white
silky substance like paper, and that it formed the
door to a hole. On trying to lift it up I discovered
that it was fastened by a hinge on one side, and on
turning it over upon the hole it fitted exactly-the
upper side being covered with earth and grass, so
that, had it not been for the circumstance that the
inmate had been out, I could not possibly have
detected it. Jan said it was the hole of a spider,
probably the creature I had seen engaged in seeking
While encamped that night, I heard the crashing
of heads and horns. Jan told me it was caused by a
troop of buffaloes who were fighting. Presently a
loud snorting and puffing reached our ears. The
uproar increased, and he declared that the noise was
produced by rhinoceroses and buffaloes quarrelling.
My fear was that in their heady fight the animals
might come our way and trample over us, or per-
haps the rhinoceroses would attack our poor ox, who
was but ill able to defend himself.
While I was looking out beyond our camp-fire I
caught sight of a herd of elephants, the huge males
going first, followed by the females, on their way
down to a large pool where they were going to drink.
I followed them cautiously until they entered the
Having satisfied their thirst, they began throwing
it over themselves and disporting in the cool element,
gambolling and rolling about like a party of school-
boys bathing. As I could not have carried away
their tusks, I did not attempt to shoot one but left
"I FIRED AT ITS HIEAD."?[p 94-
ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. 93
them unmolested. After a while I saw them return-
ing by the way they had come, appearing in the
uncertain light like huge phantoms so noiselessly did
they stalk over the ground.
It is strange that, huge as the elephant is, from the
soft padding of its feet, the sound of its steps is not
heard even on hard ground. Its approach is only
to be discovered by the snapping of boughs and twigs
as it makes its way among the brushwood.
We were but a short distance from the spot where
we had left the elephant's tusks, one of the objects of
our expedition. I felt very sure of the place, as the
adventure we had there met with had marked it in
I was going up to the tree followed by Jan, when I
saw an object moving among the branches. This
made me approach cautiously, and fortunately I did
so, for on looking up, I caught sight of an enormous
leopard, which probably had been attracted by the
smell of the flesh still adhering to the roots of the
tusks. As the creature had got possession of the
tree, I had first to dislodge him before I could obtain
our tusks; that they were still there I discovered by
seeing their points sticking out beyond the forks of
the boughs where we had deposited them. I knew
the leopard's habit of leaping down on passing
animals, and thought it might attempt to catch me
in the same manner. I therefore stood at a distance,
but though I shouted at the top of my voice, and
threw pieces of wood at it, it held its post, snarling
and growling savagely.
"Better shoot him, or he come down when no