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and not the wild and exaggerated picture of a hunter's dream. During this time their vast legions continued streaming through the neck in the hills in one unbroken compact phalanx. At length I saddled up, and rode into the middle of them with my rifle and after-riders, and fired into the ranks until fourteen had fallen, when I cried • Enough.' We then retraced our steps, to secure from the ever-voracious vultures the venison which lay strewed along my gory track. Having collected the springboks at different bushes, and concealed them with brushwood, we returned to camp, where I partook of coffee while my men were inspanning."
There is interspersed throughout the narrative interesting observations on natural history, of which the author is very fond. His remarks on the habits of the antelope tribe are fresh, and well worth attention. The oryx, or gemsbok, is the most beautiful of all the antelopes; and it is supposed that it gave rise to the fable of the unicorn, from its long straight horns seen in profile. It presents the general appearance of a horse, with the head and hoofs of an antelope. It inhabits the arid deserts; and it is perfectly independent of water, which we are assured it never tastes. The party met, in their northward journey, with many ostriches, whose eggs were of material service to them, when game was not immediately at hand. Sometimes they would find no fewer than between thirty and forty in one nest—a hollow scooped out of the sand, about seven feet in diameter. It is a popular mistake to fancy the eggs left by the birds to be hatched by the heat of the sand; the male bird relieves the hen in the process of incubation. It is a curious circumstance, that should only a portion of the contents of the nest be removed, the birds will destroy the remainder. It is even said, that, should a hunter or a native pass within a few yards of the nest, the birds will deliberately set themselves to smash the entire contents. We shall give an extract to show the excitement and danger of buffalo-hunting. Our party are now on the borders of the great desert to the north-west of the missionary station of Bakatla :
“ Early on the 4th we inspanned and continued our march for Booby, a large party of savages still following the waggons. Before proceeding far, I was tempted by the beautiful appearance of the country to saddle horses to huħt in the mountains westward of my course. I directed the waggons to proceed a few miles under guidance of the natives, and there await my arrival. I was accompanied by Isaac, who was mounted on the Old Grey, and carried my clumsy Dutch rifle of six to the pound. Two Bechuanas followed us, leading four of, my dogs. Having crossed a wellwooded strath, we reached a little crystal river, whose margin was trampled down with the spoor of a great variety of heavy game, but especially of buffalo and rhinoceros. We took up the spoor of a troop of buffaloes, which we followed along a path made by the heavy beasts of the forest through a neck in the hills; and emerging from the thicket, we beheld, on the other side of a valley which had opened upon us, a herd of about ten huge bull buffaloes. These I attempted to stalk, but was defeated by a large herd of zebras, which, getting our wind, charged past and started the buffaloes. I ordered the Bechuanas to release the dogs; and spurring Colesberg, which I rode for the first time since the affair with the lioness, I gave chase. The buffaloes crossed the valley in front of me, and made for a succession of dense thickets in the hills to the northward. As they crossed the valley, by riding hard I obtained a broadside shot at the last bull, and fired both barrels into him. He, however, continued his course, but I presently separated him, along with two other bulls, from the troop. My rifle being a two-grooved, which is hard to load, I was unable to do so on horseback, and followed with it empty, in the hope of bringing them to bay. In passing through a grove of thorny trees I lost sight of the wounded buffalo; he had turned short and doubled back, a common practice with them when wounded. After following the other two at a hard gallop for about two miles, I was riding within five yards of their huge broad sterns. They exhaled a strong bovine smell, which came hot in my face. I expected every minute that they would come to bay, and give me time to load ; but this they did not seem disposed to do. At length, finding I had the speed of them, I increased my pace; and going ahead, I placed myself right before the finest bull, thus expecting to force him to stand at bay; upon which he instantly charged me with a low roar, very similar to the voice of a lion. Colesberg neatly avoided the charge, and the bull resumed his porthward course. We now entered on rocky ground, and the forest became more dense as we proceeded. The buffaloes were evidently making for some strong retreat. I, however, managed with much difficulty to hold them in view, following, as best I could, through thorny thickets. Isaac rode some hundred yards behind, and kept shouting to me to drop the pursuit, or I should be killed. At last the buffaloes suddenly pulled up, and stood at bay in a thicket within twenty yards of me. Springing from my horse, I hastily loaded my two-grooved rifle, which I had scarcely completed when Isaac rode up and inquired what had become of the buffaloes, little dreaming that they were standing within twenty yards of him. I answered by pointing my rifle across his horses' nose, and letting fly sharp right and left at the two buffaloes. A headlong charge, accompanied by a muffled roar, was the result. Inan instant I was round a clump of tangled thorn-trees; but Isaac, by the violence of his efforts to get his horse in motion, lost his balance, and, at the same instant, his girths giving way, himself, his saddle, and big Dutch rifle, all came to the ground together, with a heavy crash, right in the path of the infuriated buffaloes. Two of the dogs, which had fortunately that moment joined us, met them in their charge, and, by diverting their attention, probably saved Isaac from instant destruction. The buffaloes now took up another position in an adjoining thicket. They were both badly wounded, blotches and pools of blood marking the ground where they had stood. The dogs rendered me assistance by taking up their attention, and in a few minutes these two noble bulls breathed their last beneath the shade of a mimosa grove. Each of them in dying repeatedly uttered a very striking, low, deep moan. This I subsequently ascertained the buffalo invariably utters when in the act of expiring. On going up to them I was astonished to behold their size and powerful appearance. Their horns reminded me of the rugged trunk of an oak-tree. Each horn was upwards of a foot in breadth at the base, and together they effectually protected the skull with a massive and impenetrable shield. The horns, descending, and spreading out horizontally, completely overshadowed the animal's eyes, imparting to him a look the most ferocious and sinister that can be imagined.”
There are four varieties of rhinoceros in South Africa, distinguished by the natives by their colour and size of horn. Two of the varieties are represented as extremely fierce and dangerous. They will rush headlong and unprovoked at any object that attracts their attention. The horn is not attached to the skull, but separates with the skin. It is solid throughout, and various articles are manufactured from it, such as drinking cups, mallets for rifles, &c. &c. The fierceness of the creature is well illustrated in the following extract; but it cannot be said that he received no provocation. Though unsuccessful in this instance, Mr Cumming bagged a number of splendid specimens of this game :
“On the 22d, ordering my men to move on towards a fountain in the centre of the plain, I rode forth with Ruyter, and held east through a grove of lofty and widespreading mimosas, most of which were more or less damaged by the gigantic strength of a troop of elephants, which had passed there about twelve months before. Having proceeded about two miles, with large herds of game on every side, I observed a crusty-looking old bull borele, or black rhinoceros, cocking his ears one hundred yards in advance. He had not observed us; and soon after he walked slowly towards us, and stood broadside to, eating some wait-a-bit thorns within fifty yards of me. I fired from my saddle, and sent a bullet in behind his shoulder, upon which he rushed forward about one hundred yards in tremendous consternation, blowing like a grampus, and then stood looking about him. Presently he made off. I followed, but found it hard to come up with him. When I overtook him, I saw the blood running freely from his wound. The chase led through a large herd of blue wildebeests, zebras, and springboks, which gazed at us in utter amazement. At length I fired my second barrel, but my horse was fidgety, and I missed. I continued riding alongside of him, expecting in my ignorance that at length he would come to bay, which rhinoceroses never do, when suddenly he fell flat on his broadside on the ground; but, recovering his feet, resumed his course as if nothing had happened. Becoming at last annoyed at the length of the chase, as I wished to keep my horses fresh for the elephants, and being indifferent whether I got the rhinoceros or not, as I observed that his horn was completely worn down with age and the violence of his disposition, I determined to bring matters to a crisis ; so, spurring my horse, I dashed ahead, and rode right in his path. Upon this, the hideous monster instantly charged me in the most resolute manner, blowing loudly through his nostrils; and although I quickly wheeled about to my left, he followed me at such a furious pace for several hundred yards, with his horrid horny snout within a few yards of my horse's tail, that my little Bushman, who was looking on in great alarm, thought his master's destruction inevitable. It was certainly a very near thing; my horse was extremely afraid, and exerted his utmost energies on the occasion. The rhinoceros, however, wheeled about and continued his former course; and I, being perfeotly satisfied with the interview which I had already enjoyed with him, had no desire to cultivate his acquaintance any further, and accordingly made for camp."
of our readers ever meet with anything like the following description of a sea-cow hunt?
“I soon found fresh spoor, and after holding on for several miles, just as the sun was going down, and as I entered a dense reed cover, I came upon the fresh lairs of four hippopotami. They had been lying sleeping on the margin of the river, and, on hearing me come crackling through the reeds, had plunged into the deep water. I at once ascertained that they were newly started, for the froth and bubbles were still on the spot where they had plunged in. Next moment I heard them blowing a little way down the river. I then headed them, and, with considerable difficulty, owing to the cover and the reeds, I at length came right down above where they were standing. It was a broad part of the river, with a sandy bottom, and the water came half-way up their sides. There were four of them, three cows and an old bull; they stood in the middle of the river, and, though alarmed, did not appear aware of the extent of the impending danger. I took the sea-cow next me, and with my first ball I gave her a mortal wound, knocking loose a great plate on the top of her skull. She at once commenced plunging round and round, and then occasionally remained still, sitting for a fow minutes on the same spot. On hearing the report of my rifle two of the others took up stream, and the fourth dashed down the river; they trotted along, lik oxon, at a smart pace as long as the water was shallow. I was now in a state of very great anxiety about my wounded sea-cow, for I feared that she would get down into deep water, and be lost like the last one; her struggles were still carrying her down strenm, and the water was becoming deeper. To settle the matter, I accordingly fired
a second shot from the bank, which, entering the roof of her skull, passed out through her eye; she then kept continually splashing round and round in a circle in the middle of the river. I had great fears of the crocodiles, and I did not know that the sea-cow might not attack me. My anxiety to secure her, however, overcame all hesitation ; so, divesting myself of my leathers, and armed with a sharp knife, I dashed into the water, which at first took me up to my arm-pits, but in the middle was shallower. As I approached behemoth her eye looked very wicked. I halted for a moment, ready to dive under the water if she attacked me, but she was stunned, and did not know what she was doing ; so, running in upon her, and seizing her short tail, I attempted to incline her course to land. It was extraordinary what enormous strength she still had in the water. I could not guide her in the slightest, and she continued to splash, and plunge, and blow, and make her circular course, carrying me along with her as if I was a fly on her tail. Finding her tail gave me but a poor hold, as the only means of securing my prey, I took out my knife, and cutting two deep parallel incisions through the skin on her rump, and lifting this skin from the flesh, so that I could get in my two hands, I made use of this as a handle ; and after some desperate hard work, sometimes pushing and sometimes pulling, the sea-cow continuing her circular course all the time and I holding on at her rump like grim death, eventually I succeeded in bringing this gigantic and most powerful animal to the bank. Here the bushman quickly brought me a stout buffalo-rheim from my horse's neck, which I passed through the opening in the thick skin, and moored behemoth to a tree. I then took my rifle, and sent a ball through the centre of her head, and she was numbered with the dead.”
The cameleopard, or giraffe, an exquisitely beautiful, but withal a timid creature, is very abundant in the interior of Southern Africa. It stands, in the case of the bull, full grown, eighteen feet in height; and roams, in herds of from ten to thirty, the boundless forests untrodden by the foot of civilised man, perhaps, in many instances, not even by the savage, in the vast regions of that yet but little-known continent. Of course the giraffe did not escape the all-devouring desire of sport which our hero so constantly cherished; but, in taking the life of this magnificent and harmless creature, a powerful pang of remorse shot athwart his breast:
“Our breakfast being finished, I resumed my journey through an endless grey forest of cameel-dorn and other trees, the country slightly undulating and grass abundant. A little before the sun went down my driver remarked to me,‘I was just going to say, sir, that that old tree was a cameleopard,' and, on casting my eyes a little to the right, I beheld a troop of them standing looking at us, their heads actually towering above the trees of the forest. It was imprudent to commence a chase at such a late hour, especially in a country of so level a character, where the chances were against my being able to regain my waggons that night. I, however, resolved to chance everything; and directing my men to catch and saddle Colesberg, I proceeded in haste to buckle on my shooting-belt and spurs, and in two minutes I was in the saddle. The giraffes stood looking at the waggons until I was within sixty yards of them, when, galloping round a thick bushy tree, under cover of which I had ridden, I suddenly beheld a sight the most astounding that a sportsman's eye can encounter. Before me stood a troop of ten colossal giraffes, the majority of which were from seventeen to eighteen feet high. On beholding me they at once made off, twisting their long tails over their backs, making a loud switching noise with them, and cantered along at an easy pace, which, however, obliged Colesberg to put his best foot foremost to keep up with them. The sensations which I felt on this occasion were different from anything that I had before experienced during a long sporting career. My senses were so absorbed by the wondrous and beautiful sight before me that I rode along like one entranced, and felt inclined to disbelieve that I was hunting living things of this world. The ground was firm and favourable for riding. At every stride I gained upon the giraffes, and after a short burst at a swingeing gallop I was in the middle of them, and turned the finest cow out of the herd. On finding herself driven from her comrades and hotly pursued, she increased her pace, and cantered along with tremendous strides, clearing an amazing extent of ground at every bound; while her neck and breast, coming in contact with the dead old branches of the trees, were continually strewing them in my path. In a few minutes, I was riding within five yards of her stern, and, firing at the gallop, I sent a bullet into her back. Increasing my pace, I next rode alongside, and, placing the muzzle of my rifle within a few feet of her, I fired my second shot behind the shoulder. The ball, however, seemed to have little effect. I then placed myself directly in front, when she came to a walk. Dismounting, I hastily loaded both barrels, putting in double charges of powder. Before this was accomplished she was off at a canter. In a short time I brought her to a stand in the dry bed of a water-course, where I fired at fifteen yards, aiming where I thought the heart lay, upon which she again made off. Having loaded, I followed, and had very nearly lost her; she had turned abruptly to the left, and was far out of sight among the trees. Once more I brought her to a stand, and dismounted from my horse. There we stood together alone in the wild wood. I gazed in wonder at her extreme beauty, while her soft dark eye, with its silky fringe, looked down imploringly at me, and I really felt a pang of sorrow in this moment of triumph for the blood I was shedding. Pointing my rifle towards the skies, I sent a bullet through her neck. On receiving it, she reared high on her hind legs and fell backwards with a heavy crash, making the earth shake around her. A thick stream of dark blood spouted out from the wound, her colossal limbs quivered for a moment, and she expired. I had little time to contemplate the prize I had won. Night was fast setting in, and it was very questionable if I should succeed in regaining my waggons; so, having cut off the tail of the giraffe, which was adorned with a bushy tuft of flowing black hair, I took one last fond look,' and rode hard for the spoor of the waggons, which I succeeded in reaching just as it was dark.
No pen nor words can convey to a sportsman what it is to ride in the midst of a troop of gigantic giraffes ; it must be experienced to be understood. They emitted a powerful perfume, which in the chase came hot in my face, reminding me of the smell of a hive of heather honey in September. The greater part of this chase led through bushes of the wait-a-bit thorn of the most virulent description, which covered my legs and arms with blood long before I had killed the giraffe. I rode, as usual, in the kilt, with my arms bare to my shoulder. It was Chapelpark of Badenoch's old grey kilt, but in this chase it received a death-blow which it never afterwards recovered.”
Mr Cumming met in his wanderings with some of the missionaries connected especially with the London Missionary Society. He particularly mentions Moffat, Edwards, and Dr Livingstone; and expresses, in warm terms, the numerous obligations under which they laid him. He bears strong testimony to the work of Christianisation and civilisation which these men are carrying forward among the Bechuana tribes. At the time of Mr Cumming's first visit, he heard much talk of the great inland lake; but no white man had as yet penetrated to its shores. Two enterprising and enthusiastic travellers, Messrs Murray and Oswell, with whom he met when on one of his hunting excursions, were then contemplating an expedition in search of this wonder; and Dr Livingstone undertook to guide them to it. He was successful, as our readers know;